Archive | May 19th, 2011

Pakistan Forces Clash With NATO Forces

Clash of Allies – US-Pakistani tensions on the rise; The Drop Scene Coming Close!

By Keith Jones


Two Pakistani soldiers were injured Tuesday when Pakistani ground troops were fired on by NATO helicopters that had crossed into Pakistani airspace over North Waziristan. NATO denied that its helicopters entered into Pakistan, but did concede that they fired into North Waziristan after coming under attack.

The Pakistani army said it has lodged a “strong protest” with NATO, while making clear that it stood by the troops’ action to oppose this latest violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

Yesterday’s border clash came amid the deepest crisis in US-Pakistani relations since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. At the time, Washington threatened to bomb Pakistan “back into the Stone Age” if it did not break relations with the Taliban regime in Kabul and provide logistical support for the US invasion of Afghanistan.

The current crisis was provoked by the unilateral May 2 raid the US mounted in Abbottabad, deep inside Pakistan, to assassinate Osama bin Laden. The operation included plans to attack Pakistan’s military if it tried to oppose this violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

Last weekend, Pakistan’s parliament unanimously passed a resolution denouncing both the May 2 raid and the ongoing US campaign of Predator drone strikes inside Pakistan, warning that Pakistan would resist future encroachments on its sovereignty.

The resolution was passed the day after an 11-hour closed door session of parliament, at which Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s main military intelligence agency, the ISI, gave a lengthy presentation on the May 2 raid and US-Pakistani relations. Pasha was flanked by the military brass, including the head of the armed forces, General Ashfaq Parvaz Kayani.

Parliamentarians who attended the closed-door session said Pasha reported he recently had had a “shouting match” with CIA boss Leon Panetta.

Pasha denied that there is, or ever has been, any formal agreement between Pakistan’s military and the US allowing the CIA to carry out Predator drone strikes in Pakistan. However, he is said to have conceded that most of the strikes are launched from a CIA-controlled Pakistani air base. Under questioning, he also said that Pakistan’s US-supplied F-16 jets could shoot down the drones.

Pasha reportedly bitterly attacked the US, with which the Pakistani elite has a six decades long military-strategic partnership, for repeatedly and invariably betraying Pakistan.

As for the illegal mission that led to the killing of Bin Laden, Pasha characterized it as a “sting operation,” aimed at discrediting and humiliating Pakistan.

He made clear that the raid had raised the risks of a military confrontation with India. He took note of the Indian military’s boasts that it can mount an Abbottabad-type raid in Pakistan. According to Dawn, Pakistan’s most influential daily, Pasha then said that “a contingency plan was in place and targets inside India had already been identified. ‘We have also carried out rehearsal for it’.”

The US has used the Bin Laden affair—the revelation that Bin Laden lived in Pakistan, including for several years in the garrison city of Abbottabad—to pressure Islamabad to escalate the counter-insurgency war it has waged in Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal areas for the past seven years. This aims to help suppress opposition to the US occupation of Afghanistan. The war has caused thousands of civilian deaths through carpet-bombing and shelling, forced hundreds of thousands from their homes, and helped further entrench the power of Pakistan’s military-security forces.

On May 12 the New York Times wrote that after “the May 2 raid that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan, American officials say they now have greater leverage to force Pakistani cooperation in hunting down Taliban and Al- Qaeda leaders, so the United States can end the war in Afghanistan.”

Senator John Kerry visited Pakistan this past Monday, bringing a series of demands from the Obama administration—backed up by threats, including of possible cuts to the $3 billion in annual civilian and military aid the US provides Pakistan. Kerry was also reportedly mandated to convey assurances that Islamabad would be included in any negotiations to include sections of Taliban into the US-backed puppet regime in Kabul, and that Washington will ensure that India’s role in Afghanistan is limited.

Kerry spoke of “profound” consequences if the US-Pakistan rift is not bridged. On his return to the US, Kerry said Pakistan’s leaders had agreed to act on some of the Obama administration’s demands, but that he could not say what this entailed. “Some of” these things, said Kerry, “are very important to us strategically, but they are not appropriate to discuss publicly.”

Kerry also made clear that the US will maintain or even escalate pressure on Islamabad. “This relationship,” he declared, “will not be measured by words or by communiqués after meetings like the ones that I engaged in. It will only be measured by actions”.

He said that Pakistan’s leaders had agreed to “concrete,” “precise,” “measurable” steps that “are in many cases joint”—i.e. involve closer cooperation between US and Pakistani forces. “We will know precisely what is happening with them in very, very short order.”

The US has long pressed Pakistan’s military to invade North Waziristan, home to the Haqqani network—a Taliban-aligned Islamist militia with longstanding ties to Pakistani security forces, and formerly to the CIA. US officials have also discussed plans to extend Predator drone strikes beyond these areas, and specifically to mount attacks around Quetta. A city of almost a million people, Quetta is reportedly home to the Taliban leadership-in-exile.

In the two weeks since the Abbottabad raid, Washington has brazenly ignored Pakistani complaints about the legality of the drone strikes. Not only have they insisted that the attacks will continue, but the CIA has increased their frequency.

Unquestionably the US has many ways to pressure Islamabad. Not least of these is the country’s desperate need for further financial support from the IMF. Although the Pakistani military criticizes the US, it knows that its position and privileges are bound up with its decades-long mercenary relationship with US imperialism.

However, the Pakistani elite also finds its geopolitical position undermined by US strategy in Asia. Under US pressure, Islamabad had to abandon the Taliban regime in Kabul, which had been a Pakistani proxy regime, thus opening the door for arch-rival India to increase its influence in Afghanistan.

More broadly, the US’s forging of a “global strategic” partnership with India, with a view to containing China, has altered the balance of power between Pakistan and India, the two main rival, nuclear-armed South Asian states. The US has fashioned a unique position within the world nuclear regulatory framework for India, giving it access to civilian nuclear technology so it can concentrate its nuclear program on weapons development. Meanwhile, Washington treats Pakistan as a nuclear pariah, also blocking the energy-starved country from building a pipeline to transport Iranian natural gas.

In response to US pressure, Pakistani officials point to continuing US dependence on Pakistan as the conduit for three-quarters of the supplies for the US-NATO war machine in Afghanistan.

Pakistani leaders are also promoting the close, longstanding ties between Islamabad and Beijing. Pakistani government officials have repeatedly called China Pakistan’s “all-weather” and “best” friend, while noting that Beijing was virtually alone in the world in criticizing the US’s raid on Abbottabad as a flagrant violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani began a 4-day visit to China. Last week, Nawaf Sharif, the leader of the principal opposition party, also praised China: “At this crucial juncture of history, I cannot say anybody is standing with Pakistan except for China.”

Neither Washington nor Islamabad is seeking to break the reactionary partnership between US imperialism and the Pakistani military. However, as the US recklessly presses forward with its war to subjugate Afghanistan and establish a beachhead in oil-rich Central Asia, and to counter a rising China by courting India, events can easily spin out of control.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan Forces Clash With NATO Forces

Pakistan: Neither Complicit nor Incompetent

NOVANEWS

 

By Huma Hashmi-Hanley

 

So it’s finally out! U.S. to deploy troops if Pakistan nukes come under threat, according to Sunday Express.

They waited for the most opportune moment to make this statement, which was after the Bin Laden killing. And the point was proven with the targetting of FC recruits and other terrorist incidents, which occurred after Bin Laden’s demise. Convenient, to say the least! Getting back to the Bin Laden killing, very pertinent questions have still not been answered.

· The U.S. Special Forces were equipped with cameras when they raided Osama’s compound, why hasn’t the video been released? “Hazy” said the White House.

· Saddam Hussein’s sons’ bullet-riddled bodies were displayed in photos worldwide, as also were photos of Saddam’s lynching, yet Osama’s, the world’s most notorious terrorist footage is still kept hidden. Why?

· Who is to verify the authenticity of the video showing Osama viewing himself on TV in the infamous compound? The U.S.?

· Why was not Osama moving from place to place and was a sitting duck?

· Who is going to verify the results of the DNA test conducted by the USA?

· Statements being leaked to the media about Osama’s wives and a statement by his daughter are another question mark. Who is leaking these statements? And why isn’t his family being shown to the media and the people?

· Worryingly, the tapes and manuscripts called ‘treasure trove of info’ are also going to be used for further attacks by the U.S. Is this material gospel truth?

· Most importantly, if the U.S. did manage to claim the head of Osama in the said operation in Abottabad, why wasn’t he captured alive, but struck down unarmed by brave U.S. Navy Seals

· The biggest question: Was it really Osama who was killed, taken away and dumped at sea?

As they say, the proof lies in the pudding. Alas, I have gone blind searching for the elusive ‘imaginary’ pudding.

The world witnessed the drama of the century unfold on May 2nd. After 9/11, the biggest farce was played out, and this time the unsuspecting victim was Pakistan. So my friends, there was neither complicity nor incompetence on Pakistan’s part. No one was aware as it was all a hoax. Until facts are established to the contrary, logic defies any other explanation, but that it was not Osama bin Laden on that fateful night.

Now the Mother of all Questions: Did Osama plan and execute the 9/11 attacks from a cave in Afghanistan, or was it an ‘inside job’? Elementary, my dear Watson, as the latter seems more likely, especially witnessing the aftermath: war in Iraq, Afghanistan…Pakistan? So WMDs stand for ‘Walnuts Most Delightful’?

Putting conspiracy theories aside, let’s look at facts:

As exemplified with the phenomenally accurate drone strikes in the northern regions of Pakistan and more recently in Libya and Yemen, the U.S., as the world’s only superpower, holds the military monopoly in the mastery of drone technology for pilotless attack aircraft. Recent revelations have provided critical answers to 9/11 with the QRS-11 microprocessor, a computer chip installed on aircraft autopilot systems resulting in an uninterruptible autopilot transforming any aircraft into a remotely-controlled “drone”.

On September 11, 2001, Captain McConnell, a former 35-year highly-qualified and experienced Air National Guard F-16 pilot, whose unit stationed out of Fargo, North Dakota stood the ‘ready alert’ NORAD watch at Langley AFB just south of Washington, DC. Two of his squadron mates had been launched that day in pursuit of an airborne target inbound to Washington, DC, but were vectored due east over the Atlantic Ocean even though the inbound hostile target had been acquired on Air Traffic Control and AWACS aircraft radar.

Meanwhile, in the rear seat of another dual seat F-16, already airborne from the same Fargo North Dakota Air National Guard squadron, sat the New York State Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and this before any aircraft had struck any targets that day. Concurrently, a FEMA AWACS aircraft orbited overhead New England as a supposed participant in a joint military exercise.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton had transferred the military AWACS aircraft from the U.S. Air Force inventory to FEMA. This same pilotless technology was available on

September 11, 2001 and in 2006, the Boeing Aircraft Corporation quietly settled a suit with a $650-million settlement with the Department of Justice for integrating this technology into the autopilot systems of their aircraft.

AWACS aircraft are fully capable of jamming airborne communications systems and disappearing/appearing/replacing radar contacts on air traffic controllers’ radar screens. It has been conclusively proven with evidence that the FEMA AWACS aircraft orbiting overhead Washington DC and New York City on 9/11 was employed to ‘disappear’ American flight 77 that departed Washington Dulles Airport and replace the radar signature with the inbound Navy A-3 Skywarrior aircraft adorn with an American Airlines paint job that struck the Pentagon that day, which contained explosive materials.

Supporting evidence of secretly obtained of copied encrypted Nextel text messages emanating on 9/11 from the ‘City of London’ to the city of Chicago and NASA further strengthen allegations of collusion, deceit, and traitorous deeds by numerous agencies and governments.

Any wonder, that the Stealth helicopters employed in the raid on the compound evaded radar detection?

9-11 is cloaked in secrecy and no subsequent credible investigation has been conducted. This time around, history will not repeat itself, as Pakistan will ensure that the wool will not be pulled over the eyes of the world and truth and justice will prevail.

Senator Kerry is willing to demonstrate his sincerity by writing in his blood that the U.S. has no evil designs on our nukes. Thank you, sir, we respect you, but do not trust you.

So our message is: BACK OFF! We are a proud nation. Mistakes have been made like the Raymond Davis fiasco, thanks to our benevolent rulers, but now we stand on our own feet and may starve…but we will not compromise on our country’s sovereignty.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan: Neither Complicit nor Incompetent

Clouds over freedom in West Bank

NOVANEWS

 

Dear All,

Bassem and Naji Tamimi are fathers, scholars, committed peace activists. Why is Israel jailing them? Because the army wants to use them as examples in order to stop the unarmed protests in the village of Nabi Saleh.

Like other villages, such as Bil’in and Ni’ilin, which protest weekly against Israeli Occupation, Nabi Saleh has been the target of systematic military repression in an attempt to quell the protests. The Israeli army has raided the village by day and by night, causing hundreds of injuries and carrying out 75 protest-related arrests – more than 10% of the village 550 people population – including women and many children.

Take the case of Bassem Tamimi. Since demonstrations began in the village, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was arrested twice and two of his sons were injured – Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days after a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. Sadly, his case is not unique.

Despite of all of this, the Israeli army has not managed to break the spirit of the residents of Nabi Saleh, who continue to hold unarmed protests.

Naji and Bassem Tamimi were jailed on equally dubious grounds as Abdallah Abu Rahmah of Bil’in, who was finally freed after a year and a half in prison. Naji and Bassem were arrested based on confessions from teenagers who were themselves seized in midnight raids, denied legal counsel, and beaten. This is not justice. We must raise our voices again to secure their quick release.

Thousands of you raised your voices on behalf of Abdallah Abu Rahme, along with people around the world, to say that no one should be jailed for organizing peaceful protests against the theft of their land.  If you believe in grassroots, unarmed organizing against the Israeli occupation, please stand by Bassem and Naji Tamimi.
Please send an email to the U.S. State Department to ask them to call for the Tamimis’ release.

Sincerely,

Sydney Levy


PS. Last weekend there was a marked increased in violence against unarmed protestors on the occasion of Nakba Day. Read Jewish Voice for Peace’s response.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Clouds over freedom in West Bank

Second generation Nakba survivors tell their family’s stories

NOVANEWS

 

If you followed the protests all around the Palestinian Diaspora for Nakba Day,

you saw how vividly this issue lives on 63 years later.

This site hosts videos and tweets are one minute testimonials from second and

third generation Nakba survivors, that is people whose parents or grandparents

were dispossessed following the creation of the state of Israel. Thus most of the

witnesses are the  same age as our Young, Jewish, and Proud protestors.

They provide personal oral history to corroborate the kind of claims that

almost got Tony Kushner denied his honorary degreee..

You can read Jewish Voice for Peace’s statement on the Nakba Day protests here.

A few selected videos  of the 21 that appear on the site:


Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Second generation Nakba survivors tell their family’s stories

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

‘Third Intifada’ flares up across the Middle East and on a Chicago campus

May 18, 2011

Shirien D.

Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day on Sunday, protesting as part of the official start of the “Third Intifada.” Massive nonviolent protests took place in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, West Bank, Gaza and even inside Israel. Indeed, these protests were unprecedented and undoubtedly influenced by the Arab brethren of the Palestinians who have recently risen up in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria.

But this isn’t the first time Palestinians have used nonviolence. Palestinians, long before the Arab Spring, have been practicing nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. It made up the core of the First Intifada, before it was violently suppressed by Israel. The Second Intifada, on the other hand, was characterized by violent resistance. But once again, it was met with brutal violence. So for the past few years, Palestinians have reinvigorated the nonviolent struggle, more powerful than ever before.

Peaceful demonstrations, hunger strikes and sit-ins have been taking place weekly across Palestinian towns and villages like Bi’lin, Silwan, Shiekh Jarrah, Budrus and Beit Omar in recent years.

The Third Intifada is indeed similar to the First, encompassing nonviolent resistance once again. But this time around, it’s not just the Palestinians. International activists are standing up for Palestinian rights, both abroad and within the occupied territories.

If you go to West Bank or Gaza, you’ll find tons of people from all over the world. People just like Rachel Corrie and Vittorio Arrigoni. They work and volunteer in Palestine to organize and help build up Palestinian society while participating in creative nonviolent resistance against Israeli policies. Many Israelis even risk arrest by crossing borders and coming to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. Moreover, hundreds of internationals have risked their lives to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Viva Palestina convoy and the Freedom Flotilla.  It has become clear that this is no longer just a Palestinian issue; it is fundamentally a human issue.

It can be argued that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has been the catalyst in changing the Palestinian struggle into a struggle that people can engage in globally. In 2005, Palestinian civil society initiated a call for BDS from Israeli institutions, companies and academia. Today, the call has become an international movement, reigniting activism worldwide, especially on college campuses. Many campuses have divested from companies that support Israel, Hampshire being the first.

BDS campaigns come in many different forms. This week, there has been media buzz about Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) campaign to replace Sabra hummus at DePaul University in Chicago, which I helped to launch. A campaign against hummus may seem harmless, but it was dubbed as one of the most “serious” cases of BDS in the US.

Why target Sabra? Sabra is co-owned by the Strauss Group, which sends financial support and supplies to two units of the Israeli military, the Givati and Golani brigades. Although the Israeli military itself has a history of violating international law, the Golani and Givati Brigades are notorious for their severe human rights violations against Palestinian civilians for over sixty-three years. The brigades most recently attracted attention for their actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. In one instance, members of the Golani brigade endangered Palestinian children by reportedly forcing them to serve as human shields. In another instance, a Givati brigade soldier shot and killed a Palestinian mother and daughter both carrying white flags. In yet another instance, a Givati brigade commander authorized the use ofwhite phosphorus chemical weapons to attack a UN compound in Gaza that sheltered approximately 700 displaced civilians.

Last week, at the request of SJP, DePaul’s Student Government Association agreed to place a referendum on the election ballot asking students if they would be in favor of replacing Sabra with an alternative brand of hummus. This was the first referendum approved on the ballot in over ten years. Students have until 9:00am on Friday, May 20 to vote on the online ballot. If 1,500 students vote, and the majority votes in favor of the historic referendum, it will pass.

SJP and other students supportive of the referendum have been grassroots campaigning to educate the campus on Israel’s human rights abuses and motivate people to take action against it. There are now deep conversations and intense debates on campus about Israel and Palestine that I have not seen since Finkelstein was on campus.

Next week, SJP is also hosting an event called The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights: The Boycott Movement against Israeli Occupation featuring renowned journalist Ali Abunimah and spoken word artist, Remi Kanazi. This event, as well as the boycott Sabra movement at DePaul will certainly help raise awareness and spark conversation and action, not only at the University but across the nation.

The Third Intifada is not just contained in the Middle East; it’s happening all over the world. While Palestinians are protesting for their human rights, civil rights and equality on the front lines, activists everywhere are doing important work in raising awareness and campaigning our institutions to stop doing business with Israeli companies until Israel changes its policies.

Together, people around the world are taking part in the Third Intifada by working in solidarity to pressure Israel to comply with international law and end its occupation, discrimination and human rights violations of the Palestinian people.

Shirien D. is a Palestinian activist and blogger for Yansoon. She recently received her MA in Sociology at DePaul University, where she is peer advisor for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Shirien is also co-founder of the Chicago chapter of the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights (AAPER) and currently works as an Apprentice for the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Middle East program.

AIPAC issues annual

May 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

“Don’t boo Obama” warning.

US hails Bahrain as model of reform!

May 18, 2011

Seham

and other news from the Arab uprisings:

Bahrain

US hails Bahrain as model of reform!
“Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa and Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa met at the Foreign Ministry today US Deputy secretary of State James Steinberg, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and the accompanying delegation. Both sides reviewed bilateral friendly relations of cooperation and ways of boosting them at all levels. They also discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern. Mr. Steinberg underlined the US keenness on Bahrain’s security and stability pointing out the importance of further promoting bilateral partnership. He also hailed the royal reform project which put Bahrain on the path of progress and prosperity.”
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2011/05/us-hails-bahrain-as-model-of-reform.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+friday-lunch-club+%28%22friday-lunch-club%22%29

Bahraini activist said threatened with rape: report (Reuters)
Reuters – A prominent Bahraini human rights activist said he had been threatened with rape while in custody after he refused to apologize to the king over his role in anti-government protests.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110517/wl_nm/us_bahrain_rights

Bahrain rights activist’s wife details torture, unfair trial
Bahrain’s crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising has shifted from the streets to courtrooms, workplaces, and schools. One prisoner’s wife describes sexual assault and psychological abuse.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/rH0vyQVBOtw/Bahrain-rights-activist-s-wife-details-torture-unfair-trial

Bahrain ex-editors plead not guilty in press trial (AP)
AP – Three former top editors of Bahrain’s main opposition newspaper pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of unethical coverage of Shiite-led opposition protests against the kingdom’s Sunni rulers.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110518/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain

Top U.S. diplomat presses Bahrain on rights (Reuters)
Reuters – A senior U.S. diplomat urged Bahrain’s rulers on Tuesday to pursue political dialogue with the opposition and stressed “the importance of full respect for universal human rights,” the State Department said.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110517/pl_nm/us_bahrain_usa

Witness: Expelled from Bahrain, a nation now in fear (Reuters)
Reuters – When I got the usual call to visit Bahrain’s Information Ministry, I braced myself for complaints about my coverage of the crackdown on Bahraini Shi’ites protesting against the kingdom’s Sunni-led government.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110517/wl_nm/us_witness_bahrain

Bahrain parliament accepts Shiite MP resignations (AP)
AP – Bahrain’s parliament accepted the resignations Tuesday of the last seven lawmakers of the Shiite opposition in a move that could exacerbate sectarian tensions in the strategic Gulf island kingdom.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110517/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain

WITNESS-Expelled correspondent reflects on Bahrain changes
Reuters correspondent Frederik Richter left Bahrain on Tuesday, a week after the government announced it was expelling him from the Gulf kingdom for his coverage of a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. In a WITNESS piece [ID:nLDE74A0E1], he describes how the small island nation has been transformed by violence and fear from the bustling business hub which he had come to know well in nearly three years living and working in the capital Manama. Richter, an Arabic speaker, joined the agency in his native Germany in 2007. Reuters still maintains editorial and business operations in Bahrain and has been told by the authorities that they will accredit a new correspondent to replace Richter.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/witness-expelled-correspondent-reflects-on-bahrain-changes

Iran orders Bahrain bound boats to return: Press TV (AFP)
AFP – Iran on Monday ordered the return home of two boats carrying Iranian “activists” to Bahrain to express solidarity with Shiite-led protests there, the English-language Press TV said.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110516/wl_mideast_afp/iranbahrainunrest

Iranian aid ships set sail to Bahrain
Two ships carrying Iranian activists return to docks after facing “threats” from warships en route to Bahrain.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/2011516212347351820.html

Al-Qaida Backers Use Unrest To Gain Foothold in Bahrain
http://defensenews.va.newsmemory.com/eebrowser/frame/check

Egypt
Hosni Mubarak to apologize
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is to apologize to the nation and plead for amnesty, three months after he was overthrown by a popular uprising, according to a report in the independent daily al-Shorouk.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/05/17/149369.html

Egypt military says no pardon for Mubarak
CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s ruling military council dismissed on Wednesday a report that it might pardon ousted leader Hosni Mubarak or his family, saying it does not intervene in judicial affairs.
http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=25213

Mubarak’s wife released from detention
Suzanne Mubarak still faces investigation regarding wealth she amassed during time spent as Egypt’s first lady.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201151718219682587.html

Mubarak’s wife returns millions to state
Suzanne Mubarak, ex-Egyptian first lady, returns assets to the state after authorities order detention for corruption.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201151623363534378.html

Pharaohs do not apology , they do not return back what they stole !! “Updated”, Zeinoba
So Suzanne Mubarak gave up her LE 24 million assets to the state yesterday and today the public prosecutor orders her release on a bail !!Updated : The public prosecutor denied the news and stated that it did not interrogate her. It turns out that the Illicit gains authority is the one involved in our case here. It turns out the  because she did not have officially anything except those LE 20 million !!
Is this a joke !? Suzanne Mubarak has got only LE 20 million only !? And she pays a bail to be released !?  LE 20 million my ***  !! What about Alexandria library bank account !? What about her jewels !? Already can some tell me from she got these LE 20 million , last time I check first wives do not get that money from being chairwomen of charities in 3rd world countries. Is this the bone she throwing to us !? Take the LE 20 million and leave alone !? Is not the TV Drama she starring in Sharm El Sheikh hospital enough ?  If Fatimah , the daughter of Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” steals , her hand will be cut Dr. Abdel Magid Mahmoud , Suzanne Mubarak is not greater than Fatimah Ben Mohamed “PBUH”. I understand that this is the first time in Egypt and the Middle East “some say the world” we have such situation but this is too much. Is not it enough the provoking news that Mubarak himself is going to address us in a new recorded audio message asking us for forgiveness and amnesty !!?   By the way why did Al Arabiya air yesterday a documentary about Mubarak the war hero yesterday !? Since when Pharaohs ask for forgiveness or return what they have taken illegally !!? This push us to May 27th , it pushes us all back to Tahrir square !!
http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/05/pharaohs-do-not-apology-do-not-return.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EgyptianChronicles+%28Egyptian+chronicles%29

Egypt court says releases Mubarak aid on bail
CAIRO, May 17 (Reuters) – An Egyptian court on Tuesday released the former chief of staff of toppled President Hosni Mubarak from custody on a 200,000 Egyptian pound ($33,640) bail pending further investigation, the court said. Zakaria Azmi, one of Mubarak’s closest aides, was detained for 15 days on April 7 as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal gains. He has been remanded twice since, each time for 15 days, court officials said. The court said the decision to release Azmi came after deliberations at the appeals court in Nasr City, a Cairo suburb.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/egypt-court-says-releases-mubarak-aid-on-bail

Former Mubarak minister to face Egypt corruption trial
Ibrahim Soliman, who was minister between 1993 and 2005, is the second housing minister to face trial over several controversial real estate deals.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/mideast-in-turmoil/former-mubarak-minister-to-face-egypt-corruption-trial-1.362554?localLinksEnabled=false

Tel Aviv dismayed over El Arabi’s appointment as Arab League Secretary General
In the first Israeli reaction to the appointment of Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Dr Nabil El Arabi, as a replacement for Amr Mussa as the new Secretary General of the Arab League, Israeli media organisations, including certain state outlets, have reported that he had become the leader of 22 Arab States to work against Israel and its interests in the region. Israeli media sources including Ha’aretz, Jerusalem Post, Yediot Ahronot and Israel Radio confirmed that the fears of the government in Tel Aviv over El Arabi’s appointment have become greater than ever due to his history of criticism of the Zionist state. During his tenure at the United Nations, El Arabi accused Israel of causing bloodshed in the region and carrying out genocide against the Palestinian people.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/05/17/149369.html

Fatah, Hamas say Cairo unity talks ‘positive’ (AFP)
AFP – Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Monday described as “positive” talks in Cairo aimed at hammering out a unity government as agreed under a reconciliation deal, the MENA news agency said.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110516/wl_mideast_afp/palestinianspoliticsfatahhamasegypt

Egyptian Women and Palestinian Men Can Now Confer Egyptian Citizenship on Their Children
The new Egyptian Interior Minister, Major-General Mansour al-Issawi, announced last week that Egyptian women who have a child with a Palestinian man can confer their Egyptian citizenship to their child. This is a significant shift in Egyptian citizenship law with implications from both a gender and a Palestinian perspective.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katherine-franke/egyptian-women-can-confer-citizenship_b_862979.html

Egyptian rage at Israel
Yesterday, after a brief unannounced visit by an official of the Israeli occupation military ministry, the Egyptian regime of the Military Council, cracked down on Egyptian protesters and arrested some 180 protesters.  Can you imagine the uproar if those who were arrested were liberal advocates of American and Israeli occupations?  Not a word about that in the Western press.   The Arabic press reported widely on the matter.  Among the slogans chanted outside the embassy were:  “Burn in the Israeli flag.  Those are the ones who killed me and slit my throat.”  And “The People want the downfall of Israel.”  And “The first demand of the masses…Closure of the embassy and expulsion of the ambassador.”  And “Toward the Aqsa we are going…Millions victorious.”  And “Egypt and Palestine. One Hand.”  (Typical of Egyptian slogans, all of them rhyme in Arabic except the last one).
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/05/egyptian-rage-at-israel.html

The Lede: Egypt Holds 136 for Israeli Protest
The Egyptian military could bring charges against 136 people arrested during a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo on Sunday, including two prominent bloggers.
http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=73c475e00e8b76668eebf35540a9ee36

Over 350 hurt in Israel embassy protest in Cairo (Reuters)
Reuters – More than 350 people were injured in a protest outside Israel’s embassy in Cairo to mark the displacement of Palestinians at the 1948 creation of the Jewish state, the Egyptian state news agency said on Monday.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110516/wl_nm/us_egypt_israel_embassy

Egypt marks al-Nakba
Egyptian police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, after a group of demonstrators reportedly attempted to storm the building. Thousands of protesters had massed outside of the embassy in the capital on Sunday to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” – the day […]
http://pulsemedia.org/2011/05/16/egypt-marks-al-nakba/

Nakba night in Giza, Zeinobia
It was very sad to see some Israeli official praising on BBC Arabic how the Egyptian government cracked and how it saved the Israeli embassy , it was sad and disgusting actually because that Israeli official knows that the Israeli police can’t crack an Israeli protest against the Egyptian embassy in this way or even half this way. According to the official numbers not less than 353 were injured , most of them left hospital except 10 including some in critical condition.186 protesters were arrested including my dear online friend Tarek Shalaby and tweep Mosab El-Shamy. The Israeli flag is still there. Yes Tarek Shalaby , our revolutionary leftist activist and geek was detained while he was filming the protests. He was taken along other protesters to the Haiksteb camp. His sister Nora Shalaby has already taken a permission from the military prosecution office to visit him and insh Allah is going to meet him. I have not met Shalaby in person but he is truly nice guy and he helps everybody. I feel sad , worried and angry. Tarek recorded his own arrest moment , you will not be able to see anything but you are going to listen to a language you do not want to hear.
http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/05/nakba-night-in-giza.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EgyptianChronicles+%28Egyptian+chronicles%29

Egypt’s Second Grassroots Resurgence
The Egyptian people must still yet overturn an overbearing force that has marginalized them for generations: top-down government control of budgets and local development.  Egypt’s central government administration consumes the far majority of public resources, allocating just 15 percent for local administration spending, which is less than half of the average percent spent by developed countries.  Three quarters of Egypt’s local spending goes toward wages and salaries, leaving just 6 percent of the remaining for local capital expenditures over which local officials have minimal discretion.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/articles/middle-east/2361-egypts-second-grassroots-resurgence

Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal
A sign of the new Egypt is the fact that Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal has returned to the pages of Al-Ahram.  For the first time in decades, the paper sold more than a million copies. It featured a long interview with this anti-Israeli Nasserist journalist.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/05/muhammad-hasanayn-haykal.html

Libya
Arabs: 90% say Qaddafi illegitimate, 75% Want him Forcibly Removed
I received this press release from the Doha Debates (a member of the Qatar Foundation) by email. The results vis-a-vis Libya are not surprising, since Qaddafi is widely hated in the Arab world and everyone watched in horror as he had tank salvos and cluster bombs fired at non-combatants. But that last bit about being willing to consider a NATO intervention in Syria is astonishing. The poll is based on 1,000 respondents from 16 Arab states; it is not scientific because respondents replied to a call to fill out the form, which means that the sample is skewed to those who felt strongly enough to do volunteer to do so.
http://www.juancole.com/2011/05/arabs-90-say-qaddafi-illegitimate-75-want-him-forcibly-removed.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+juancole%2Fymbn+%28Informed+Comment%29

Tunisia demands Libya stop cross-border shelling
TUNIS/TRIPOLI, May 18 (Reuters) – Tunisia threatened to report Libya to the U.N. Security Council if it fired into Tunisian border areas again, and a hospital doctor in rebel-held Misrata said seven people died in fighting there on Tuesday. Libyan rebels and a Tunisian security source said the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation had defected and fled to Tunisia, an act that if confirmed would be a major blow to Muammar Gaddafi’s efforts to cling to power. Libyan state television said its forces had hit a NATO warship that was shelling targets in western Misrata, but a NATO official denied the report as “a totally fabricated allegation”.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/tunisia-demands-libya-stop-cross-border-shelling

Ministries ablaze after Tripoli strikes
Security services building and anti-corruption agency hit in overnight strikes as NATO bombing campaign continues. Julia Mills reports.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AYZMj8af64&feature=youtube_gdata

Libyan opposition fighters control border
Opposition fighters have controlled the Libya-Tunisia border for almost three weeks. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from the border.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsyOdIG-BMw&feature=youtube_gdata

Libyan oil minister Shokri Ghanem ‘defects’
Sources say minister is on his way to Tunisian capital as NATO warplanes continue to hit targets in Tripoli.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/05/20115171257877670.html

Gaddafi envoys due in Moscow on Tuesday
MOSCOW, May 16 (Reuters) – Representatives of Muammar Gaddafi’s government were expected in Moscow on Tuesday and Russia also hopes to host Libyan rebel envoys soon, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. “We agreed on meetings in Moscow with representatives of both Tripoli and Benghazi. Official envoys from Tripoli will be here tomorrow. Envoys from Benghazi were supposed to be here on Wednesday, but as they informed us, they were forced to ask us to postpone this visit for technical reasons,” Lavrov said.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/gaddafi-envoys-due-in-moscow-on-tuesday

The Lede: Libyan Woman Describes Rape by Qaddafi Forces
Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel packed with foreign journalists in March to say that she had been raped by government forces, described her ordeal in an interview broadcast on Monday.
http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=ffcaf1940cf5871a29ccc7f04c85e1c1

How ICC warrants could change NATO strikes in Libya
NATO airstrikes today hit two government buildings in Tripoli, including the Interior Ministry.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/zhRrEF0ODOs/How-ICC-warrants-could-change-NATO-strikes-in-Libya

Libya’s Gaddafi continues to hold on
It is three months to the day that pro-democracy protestors first clashed with security forces in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. But the protester’s main aim, removing Gaddafi from power, has still to be realised. Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Benghazi.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2vAHgfFDb8&feature=youtube_gdata

Libya: The general’s reality check
It’s not hard to fathom why the defence chief has shifted position on regime change in Libya. When David Cameron, egged on by an enthusiastic Nicolas Sarkozy, placed Britain in the vanguard of military action against Muammar Gaddafi‘s forces, defence chiefs were less than thrilled. It is a mistake to believe that military commanders are always gung-ho to go to war, especially when there is no clear exit strategy.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/16/libya-uk-generals-regime-change

Syria
Syrian crosses border, hitchhikes to Tel Aviv (AP)
AP – A Syrian man who crossed into Israel in a large crowd that breached a border fence hitchhiked across the country, even sitting beside Israeli soldiers on a public bus, to find the home he said his family lost during Israel’s 1948 establishment.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110517/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_illegal_entry

Russia ‘to oppose use of force against Syria’
President Medvedev comes out against any UN move to authorise use of force, saying Syria must settle own affairs.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/05/201151812340492298.html

‘Dozens killed’ in Syrian border town
Security forces killed at least 27 civilians in three-day attack on Tel Kelakh, a rights lawyer told Al Jazeera.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201151722757252901.html

Syria denies ‘mass grave’ claims
Villagers say they have found 13 bodies buried on farmland near Deraa – but government says claim is “totally false”.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/05/201151761533287251.html

Syria ‘tightens security grip’ in border area

At least 15 tanks enter rural area near northern Lebanese border, human rights activists report.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201151613739330881.html

Syrians flee city after siege takes lives
Carrying mattresses and bags of clothing, Syrians fleeing their homeland described a “catastrophic” scene yesterday in a besieged border town that has been largely sealed off as the army tries to crush a two-month uprising.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrians-flee-city-after-siege-takes-lives-2285018.html

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Our time has come!’
… said it was trying to take a larger role in organizing the disparate opposition as Syria’s street protests appear to wane….(and) as opposition activists fail to coalesce into a solid front… The Brotherhood poses a particular problem for some of the antiregime activists trying to forge secular coalitions more in line with the street movement… On Sunday, two days after Syria’s government said it would start a “national dialogue”—and on a day of protests in which at least six people were killed— the Brotherhood slammed the initiative and said it would “deploy our full energy to back and support” protesters. Mr. Salim said on Monday the group wasn’t taking a stronger line, and will not call people onto the streets.”We have caution, understandably and justifiably so, not to call on the street to protest—we have just announced our cohesion with a movement that has its own momentum,” he said… Last summer, Muhammad Riad al-Shakfa succeeded Ali Bayanouni as the Syrian Brotherhood’s leader, raising concerns that gains made under Mr. Bayanouni to shift the movement to the center would be reversed. The party under Mr. Shakfa, seen as taking a harder line, found itself “sitting on the sidelines of history” as the Arab Spring swept into Syria, one opposition member described…. Failed alliances, including abandoning in 2009 a coalition with former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam after he turned against the regime and brief overtures to the regime itself cast doubt over the Brotherhood’s ability to command leadership of even the anti-regime movement abroad. “Those 30 years destroyed their organization, and they lost their legitimacy because they changed positions so much without explanation over the past five years,” said Burhan Ghalioun, an opposition member who is a scholar of contemporary oriental studies at the Sorbonne in Paris….”People on the street are getting tired, they’re running out of resources, and they don’t have that much experience,” said one protest coordinator outside Syria. “They recognize, and we have to recognize, that the Brothers are better organized and better funded.”
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2011/05/syrias-muslim-brotherhood-our-time-has.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+friday-lunch-club+%28%22friday-lunch-club%22%29

Other Mideast/Op-ed
US, Obama’s image sour in Muslim nations: poll (AFP)
AFP – The image of the United States has soured in Muslim nations in the past year, says a poll released two days before President Barack Obama is due to deliver a speech on the pro-democracy revolts sweeping the Arab world.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110517/pl_afp/mideastconflictusobamaislam

WikiLeaks cables show that it was all about the oil
The communication, part of the cache of State Department cables that WikiLeaks passed to McClatchy and other news organizations, is just one indication of how the U.S. government over the years has maneuvered to influence the world’s oil and natural gas markets.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/05/16/114269/wikileaks-cables-show-oil-a-major.html

Norman Finkelstein: Arab dignity will bring peace to the Middle East
In a lecture that linked Egypt’s revolution to the balance of power in the region, the renowned American academic Norman Finkelstein painted the clear fear change will induce in Israel
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/12312/World/Region/Norman-Finkelstein-Arab-dignity-will-bring-peace-t.aspx

This is a reliable report on the protest at the Lebanese-Palestinian border
“The small elevated Lebanese village just overlooking the border with Israel became a massive parking lot as buses carrying Palestinian refugees and Lebanese from across Lebanon converged for a protest commemorating what Israeli historian Ilan Pappé calls the “ethnic cleansing” by Zionist militias of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their lands and homes in 1948 – what Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba”, or catastrophe. Large buses had difficulties reaching the top of the mountain, and rather than wait, protesters chose to make the half-mile climb by foot.   Men and women, young and old, secular and religious, were all present. This was the first time in 63 years that Palestinian refugees would go to the border in their tens of thousands and call for their right to return home. For most, it was their first time even seeing the land that they’ve grown up hearing described in precise detail through the popular stories of elders old enough to remember life in what is today considered Israel.  The Israeli regime not only keeps under occupation more than 4 million people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and limits the rights of more than a million Palestinian citizens of Israel, it also denies more than 5 million refugees the fundamental right of return to the place they were forced to flee.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/05/this-is-reliable-report-on-protest-at.html

SAUDI ARABIA GIVES UP ON WASHINGTON; VOWS TO LEAD THE “ARAB WORLD” AGAINST IRANIAN “AGGRESSION”
Last month, we were among the first to analyze critically Saudi Arabia’s emerging strategy for “counter-revolution” in the Middle East and that strategy’s anti-Iranian focus.  Today, in the Washington Post, we received powerful confirmation for our analysis, in the form of an op-ed Nawaf Obaid, a well-connected Saudi national security analyst and adviser.
http://www.raceforiran.com/saudi-arabia-gives-up-on-washington-vows-to-lead-the-%e2%80%9carab-world%e2%80%9d-against-iranian-%e2%80%9caggression%e2%80%9d

Shiaphobia Hits Kuwait
If you ever talk to Kuwaiti Shias over 40 years old about discrimination against the Shia in their country, they might mention how they have been mistreated, on different levels, during the Iran-Iraq War. Then they would quickly tell you how the Shia proved their detractors wrong when they became part and parcel of the Kuwaiti resistance during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. That the Al Sabah government was deeply betrayed by Saddam Hussein, whom they had supported in his war with Iran only a few years back and because of which they had oppressed their own Shia citizens, only strengthens the case of Kuwaiti Shia loyalty to their country.
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/1603/shiaphobia-hits-kuwait-

Awakening, Cataclysm, or Just a Series of Events? Reflections on the Current Wave of Protest in the Arab World
Perhaps the best starting point for understanding the current remarkable wave of protest spreading across the Arab world, would be to examine the nomenclature used to describe or frame it.   To some observers it is seen as a ‘cataclysm.’ Others speak of the ‘contagion effect’. Still others might see it as simply a series of (fortunate or unfortunate) events not significantly related to each other. The terminology we use influences the conclusions we draw. We can see this if we juxtapose this Western branding which invokes undesirable images with the terms used by many commentators in the Arab world such as a ‘blossoming’ or ‘renaissance.’   What are these movements: a ‘disease’ or a ‘cure’? Are they monolithic or locally distinct? Is the outbreak of one protest related to, or caused by another? Finally, are the various Arab countries (and must they be only Arab?[1]) equally ‘susceptible’ to the contagion?
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/1601/awakening-cataclysm-or-just-a-series-of-events-ref

U.S. already affirmed ’67 borders–only to have Obama backtrack

May 18, 2011

Alex Kane

President Barack Obama is set to deliver a hotly anticipated speech tomorrow to “argue that the political upheaval [in the Arab world] raises the prospect for progress on all fronts, and will offer ‘some specific new ideas about U.S. policy toward the region,'” the New York Timesreports.  And according to a report in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth, Obama will “call upon Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines, with border alterations that will be agreed upon with the Palestinian Authority”–a move that would “disturb” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But perhaps Netanyahu has little to worry about.  The Obama administration has already backtracked on the 1967 borders in private meetings with Palestinian officials, according to documents released by Al Jazeera as part of the “Palestine Papers.” The backtracking on the 1967 lines came despite an an affirmation in the Bush administration-backed “Road Map” on Middle East peace that the ’67 borders would be the border for Israel and a Palestinian state.

Analysis by Ali Abunimah for Al Jazeera indicates how little a commitment to the 1967 borders by Obama in his speech Thursday could mean:

In apparently contentious meetings between Mitchell and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and their respective teams in September and October 2009 — whose detailed contents have been revealed for the first time — Mitchell claimed the Bush administration position was nonbinding. He pressed the Palestinians to accept terms of reference that acquiesced to Israel’s refusal to recognize the 1967 line which separates Israel as it was established in 1948 from the West Bank and Gaza Strip where Palestinians hoped to have their state…

At a critical 21 October 2009 meeting, [George] Mitchell read out proposed language for terms of reference:

“The US believes that through good faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that achieves both the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state encompassing all the territory occupied in 1967 or its equivalent in value, and the Israeli goal of secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meets Israeli security requirements.”

Erekat’s response was blunt: “So no Road Map?” The implication of the words “or equivalent in value” is that the US would only commit to Palestinians receiving a specific amount of territory — 6258 square kilometers, or the equivalent area of the West Bank and Gaza Strip — but not to any specific borders.

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist based in New York City, blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia at alexbkane.wordpress.com, where this post originally appeared.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

The ’48 discussion is replacing the ’67 discussion

May 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

Yesterday Jeffrey Goldberg went off on Mahmoud Abbas’s statement that his family was expelled from Israel during the Nakba; Goldberg said angrily this was the fault of the Arab armies. So suddenly Goldberg’s energies are not really concerned with the settlements and the ’67 lines any more– no even Tom Friedman is conceding that Israel has blocked a peace deal — he is concerned with the ’48 lines.

This is the political achievement of the Palestinian solidarity movement and the Israeli rejectionists in the last year or so: serious people are not disputing the ’67 question, it would be like arguing over when people are going to Jetson up to Mars. They are fighting over the ’48 lines, the Nakba, the refugees. On All Things Considered last night, a Hamas spokesman talked about the inequity of Palestinian refugees not being able to return to their homes– even as Israel exercises a law of return that allows any Jew to move to the West Bank, a gross inequity of 7 decades, indeed… On NPR this morning, a panicked Israeli spoke of the refugees’ scary demands and his fears of democracy in Syria and Jordan. We need Assad, we need Hezbollah, he said, not democracy!

The ’48 discussion is replacing the ’67 discussion. And ’48 is an existential discussion. The prediction by Ehud Olmert and John Mearsheimer that Israel was pursuing a policy of national suicide by turning up its nose at the Arab Peace Initiative’s ’67 offer is coming true, in the Arab spring. The conversation is ceasing to be about the borders of the Jewish state, which the Israelis could never agree on, and more and more about What is this thing called a Jewish state? What did Partition create?

I’m not against Partition– I wonder how brutalized these two peoples are on religious and racial lines, I think revolution would be very bloody; I saw the Stars of David painted on the trashbins in besieged Gaza– but Partition hasn’t worked, and by stages I imagine it will come to an end in a postracial age.

This new conversation, which reflects the reality that the two-state solution is a dead letter, is a sign of the next stage. Serious people around the world are questioning the establishment of a Jewish state in ’48 when the promised Arab state never emerged and the refugees were not allowed to come back to their homes, serious people are questioning that fundamental inequity and revisiting a Partition resolution that granted no self-determination to Arabs– even as Pakistanis, Indians, Turkmenistanis, Kosovars, East Timorese, Slovakians have had self-determination.

This is the conversation pro-Israel forces in this country fear more than anything else, yet they have brought it on themselves– through an original sin, of denying the right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Kennedy and Eisenhower and Johnson and Nixon all wanted to honor, of the refugees being allowed to return to their homes; of erasing their villages; and of pursuing a greater and grabbier Israel during four decades of occupation. And in the months to come we will see more nakedly than ever the power upon which these forces depend: the Israel lobby, the U.S. government. The only pillar, as a democracy movement sweeps the Middle East, and Israel calls out for us to support dictatorships.

Desmond Travers on Geo Mitchell: Irish-American Diaspora wanted an end to the troubles, Jewish-American Diaspora hasn’t opened its eyes

May 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

On Thursday night Col. Desmond Travers, the Irish member of the Goldstone mission, will be speaking in New York. (Click here or the image above if you want to get a ticket.) Yesterday I phoned him at his home in the Republic of Ireland to ask about why George Mitchell was successful in the Irish troubles but failed in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Here’s what Travers said:

“I am not at all the least surprised by George Mitchell’s resignation. For I understand the structural impediments to his work in Israel and Palestine.

“To quote Mitchell himself, he had 700 days of failure and one day of success in northern Ireland. He showed a phenomenal comprehension of the steps that could be achieved incrementally with two communities that were implacably opposed to the idea of settlement and of the compromises that an approach to settlement would entail. And he has a genius for timing. He knew precisely when to throw an additional possibility that might just be attainable into the works.

“And the net result? We haven’t had violence since the northern Ireland accords were signed in 1998. Today you see the representatives of extreme loyalism and extreme Republicanism sitting side by side hammering out the business of statehood, and they were reelected only a week ago. The best and worst that can be said about the accords are that we are better off now than when people were blowing one another up and shooting each other. And it is quite amazing to see these sides horsetrading in democratic fora and doing it quite well. No one would have predicted that.”

So why didn’t this approach work in Israel and Palestine? Travers, the grandson of an Irish revolutionary in the years 1917-1921, points to the Irish and Jewish Diasporas in the United States.

“Diaspora Irish-Americans wanted a peace. The troubles reflected negatively on them, and they wanted them ended. In the multicultural world of the United States, nobody outside the Irish experience could comprehend anything other than Irish as troublesome, violent, aggressive terrorists, and people outside the Irish milieu were not in a position to make distinctions about cause and effect. And so when an emissary with an enormous amount of clout arrived in Ireland he didn’t have to look over his shoulder at the Diaspora Irish who were saying, we don’t want this to happen.”

By contrast, Mitchell spent a lot of his time in Israel and Palestine worrying about Diaspora Jewry, who questioned his efforts.

Also crucial was the end of Diaspora support for Irish terrorism. In the United States and in England, funding Irish republican causes became illegal. “I’m quite certain that American Jews subscribe to Israeli fundraising without being quite aware that some of that funding may not be appropriate, in the very way that Diaspora Irish were funding violence.”

“You have to convince the wider Diaspora community that a resolution is in the Jewish people’s and in Israel’s best interest. I don’t think you can convince Israel of that.” Why not? Travers lived in Israel for several years in the 80s as a military adviser to peacekeeping missions. He says the country is too caught up in a security mindset, convinced that it is surrounded by enemies, and the entire military-industrial culture of the country is built on that understanding, which also generates social “cohesion and camaraderie.”

Can Travers extract optimism for Israel/Palestine from the ending of the Irish troubles?

“I had no optimism whatsoever for George Mitchell’s venture into Northern Ireland.” And yet today the ancient divisions are softening. “For over 300 years we have had institutionalized multigenerational prejudices accumulated in our hearts. The two communities are still entrenched, but they are not shooting each other.”

But there is Partition between the largely-Catholic Republic of Ireland and majority-Protestant Northern Ireland.

“Partition in Ireland was determined by an exiting empire that [in 1921] made compromises to serve the residual majority that was pro-empire, to give them a foothold in Ireland.”

And yet Partition will not last more than a century, he says. Because of the larger forces that are driving the sides together throughout Europe. Ireland and England now need each other economically. And “the two governments are absolutely marching in step.” These processes, he said, will melt multigenerational enmities created by Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and European empire and colony, conflicts that played out in Ireland longer than anywhere else in Europe. “We are steeped in the past, when others had moved on.”

Shouldn’t there be Partition between Israel and Palestine?

It might work, Travers said, if there were a division in keeping with the 67 lines, making two viable states. But he has grave doubts.

“I am not entirely convinced that a single religious entity in the entirety of a state is in the best interests of the society that aspires to that. There is inherent prejudice in it, for starters, inherent racism in it, a propensity to draconian laws that exclude rather than include. And there is a historical propensity toward corruption, in cronyism.”

I said, You are a Roman Catholic, though, in a largely-Catholic state. Travers said the RC on his identity disc now stands for Re Considering (especially in light of the child abuse scandals in the church).

“I can say that my grandfather’s dream of a single Roman Catholic republic with an anti-British stance has outlived its purpose.

“And I would say that the great dynamism and innovation of the Jewish community may be stultified and hindered in a single religious state apparatus. The magnificent Jewish creations of the west have arisen in a multicultural environment. We’ve seen that over the last 500 years. That is the Jewish forte.”

I asked one more question about George Mitchell’s failure, but Travers objected.

“I would hate to describe George Mitchell as having failed– as I would not say that Richard Goldstone recanted. It is not for an Irishman to say that Geore Mitchell has failed– a man who did what he did over 700 days here.

“As we are speaking the Queen of England is coming to Ireland. Imagine that. This is not something that has happened in 100 years. And so the strongest statement I would make is that George Mitchell did not achieve success in Israel and Palestine.”

Facebook counterrevolution: Jews and Arabs can’t live together

May 18, 2011

Ahmed Moor

Most of the time when Zionists discuss democracy, it’s from under a dark cloud’s pall. The words they issue are strained and a compressed desperation suffuses their arguments. Invariably, they become aggressive. Masada is rebuilt in their own heads and they wait for it to fall. They prepare.

A friend forwarded a conversation he had with a troupe of Zionists on Facebook. He made all the reasonable arguments that Americans understand: We are all equal irrespective of race; international law is inviolable; apartheid is a crime against humanity; and so on.

His arguments were met by two responses mainly: The Jews insist on their right to self-determination and will never give up control of the country (the Palestinians and democracy be damned); and, one state means war.

My friend was arguing exclusively with American Jewish Zionists, which always makes the first argument he encountered seem stupid – for lack of a better word. Perhaps American Jewish Zionists ought to argue that “The Jews insist on their right to an ironclad insurance policy.”

This site is partly dedicated to challenging the idea that Jews are exceptional in American life or that America will produce the next Hitler. So it’s worth talking about the second argument.

In combating my friend’s insistence that Palestinians and Israelis can share a single state, one American Zionist (who I had the pleasure of meeting in Beirut) openly stated that Arabs and Jews cannot live together. Presumably, that’s for the same reason that Germans and Jews cannot live together.

My friend then asked what that meant for the twenty percent of Israelis who are Palestinians. The American Zionist responded that second-class citizenship is an unavoidable reality. It springs from the reality of a Jewish state (like radiation from uranium).

I’m avoiding quotations for the sake of privacy (although Facebook is very, very public), but this young American argued that the “Arabs” had no choice but to accept the 3/5ths rule. The Jews must have their state, but over time, maybe, conditions would get better for Palestinian-Israelis (As an aside, what does this say about the quality of civics education in American schools?).

Also, they’re better off in Israel than they would be if they lived on the surface of Jupiter. But if Palestinians and Palestinian-Israelis demand full civil rights, it’s going to get very bloody.

The main argument that Zionists and their friends make for the maintenance of the status-quo (read: apartheid) is that the Jewish Israelis would never permit a democratic state to arise in Palestine/Israel. Allusions are made to catastrophic violence. Really, Zionists and their friends are threatening us with catastrophic violence. More and more, I’m convinced that it’s a threat they’re willing to follow through on.

On Nakba Day, members of the Israeli army murdered eleven unarmed refugees. They killed them, of course, because their existence threatens the existence of the Jewish state. This is precisely the kind of violence that we’re continuously warned about. Do we really want to incur the wrath of armed Zionists by threatening their illusions of racial supremacy and their real racial privilege in Palestine/Israel?

The question rests on a normal person’s conscience like an oil slick. Bashar Al Assad, the greatest mass murderer in the history of ophthalmology, is relying on the same calculus to maintain his despotic control in Syria. The question for those who oppose equal rights in Palestine/Israel because they portend violence is whether they’re prepared to reward racists for the havoc they threaten to wreak.

The one-state solution is a foregone conclusion; the end of the Jewish state is a foregone conclusion. Palestinians will not be cowed because of the threat of violence – we saw that on Nakba Day. So how far will the Zionists go? How long will their American friends insist that the Jewish state “has a right to exist?” How many more Palestinians will be exterminated in the fight for equal rights?

As Juan Cole already pointed out, the Israelis are perpetrating a slow genocide in Palestine/Israel. But the slowness of it is excruciating.

Bush/Obama: New State Dep’t spokesperson has goldplated neocon pedigree

May 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

PJ Crowley is gone as the spokesman at State, for his unconsidered remarks about the persecution of Bradley Manning, and who is replacing him, reportedly a longtime State staffer named Victoria Nuland, a former Cheney aide who happens to be married to neocon Rob’t Kagan.

“Toria is very skilled and talented and will do very well here,” one denizen of the State Department’s “executive level” seventh floor said, noting that given Nuland’s ties to GOP circles – her husband is Brookings foreign policy scholar and Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan, and she previously served as an adviser to Cheney — “who better…to aggressively defend the Administration’s foreign policy?”

Greenwald, some time back:

No rational person would believe a word Robert Kagan says about anything. He has been spewing out one falsehood after the next for the last four years in order to blind Americans about the real state of affairs concerning the invasion which he and his comrade and writing partner, Bill Kristol, did as much as anyone else to sell to the American public.

‘NYT’ won’t say Nakba, just ‘anniversary of Israel’s creation’

May 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

Today’s Times has an editorial about trying to revive the peace process that begins with an account of the skirmishes on Nakba Day. But they don’t say Nakba Day:

On Sunday, the anniversary of Israel’s creation, thousands marching from Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank breached Israel’s borders and confronted Israeli troops. More than a dozen people were killed; scores were injured.

Well they didn’t breach the borders, did they? They breached the Golan occupation. And more than a dozen were killed. Who killed them?

Another country, another time

May 18, 2011

Philip Weiss

PBS is promoting a long documentary on the Freedom Riders in the south. I know, good; but why do we study history?

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Korean War and Private First Class Charlie Johnson

NOVANEWS

This past week I began a story on a forgotten battle in the Korean War to honor the brave who fought and died there, and to put a “face” on the heroes of war. I wrote about Sgt. Mize, the recipient of the Medal of Honor, and Monday I started to tell you about Pfc. Charles Johnson.

June 10, 1953, the Chinese overran a vital outpost known as Outpost Harry which is along the 38th Parallel just about 100 miles from the armistice talks going on at Panmunjom to end the Korean War. The battle which ensued to retake the outpost was a remarkable feat, but the battle to hold at all costs for the following seven days, made heroes out of all who were there.

Photo Credit: Sgt. Robert Schaffner, Jr., The Frontline staff

On June 11, the US Army was able to drive the Chinese off the hill and retake the position. Now all they could do was dig even further into the trenches and hold on at all costs. With more than 10,000 Chinese looking to retake the outpost against a company of infantry supported by artillery, motors and a platoon of tanks, the odds were more than 30 to 1 in favor of the Red Army.

On June 12, just after midnight, the Chinese began an all-out assault with no fewer than a thousand troops at a time coming on in constant waves. From their trench Pfc. Johnson, his hometown friend, Donald Dingee and Robert Hooker fought along side rest of the company of about 150 men until nearly out of ammunition. The wounded were stacking up like cord wood on the American side, and each wave of Chinese soldiers coming up to Outpost Harry over the dead bodies of their comrades made it nearly impossible, but they eventually got into the trench line.

Dingee had taken a shrapnel wound in his forearm while fighting side by side with Johnson and Hooker. Grenades and artillery were landing everywhere in the chaos. Twice the three riflemen were knocked unconscious. As the hand to hand action intensified, Johnson and Hooker were still knocked out from the percussion from one of the grenades. Hooker had been bayoneted while unconscious, but when Johnson came to, he found Dingee now badly wounded with half his foot missing to go along with the wound in the forearm. He also found Johnson was still alive. He got Dingee bandaged up and then both he and Dingee worked on patching up Hooker with pieces of their clothing. Johnson then used his belt to make a tow-rope so he could pull Dingee 150 yards to safety down the backside of the hill.

The Chinese had taken their weapons while they were unconscious in the bunker. Johnson was able to find a rifle so he could start fighting the way to the backside of the hill to safety dragging the wounded Dingee and guiding Hooker. With so many Chinese in the trenches, this became a daunting task. He paused several times along the trenches picking up other weapons to fight with as they made their way. Imagine the chaotic scene with Johnson pulling Dingee and assisting the badly wounded Hooker making their way among the hand to hand combat in the trenches. This is the savagery of war.

They made it to safety where wounded were being deposited for evacuation to a MASH unit. Johnson wasn’t done yet. He secured several more weapons so the wounded could defend themselves if a complete breakthrough occurred and despite several smaller wounds to himself, fought his way back up the hill to aid more of his fellow soldiers. That was the last time Dingee and Hooker saw Pfc. Johnson alive.

As it began to rain adding to the mayhem, Dingee and Hooker lost track of Charlie Johnson until they discovered his body face down in the mud the following day during their evacuation. All those in the battle that night gave what they could to hold the outpost at all costs just as they were ordered. Charlie Johnson gave all, saving the lives of his fellow soldiers with disregard for his own safety.

The battle for Outpost Harry is but a paragraph in the annals of military history. Those who were there have never forgotten the heroic efforts that many displayed throughout the eight-day battle, and Donald Dingee would not let the military forget the efforts of Pfc. Johnson. It took 57 years before Brigadier General Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear, presented Pfc. Charlie Johnson, posthumously, with the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for valor in combat. The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

Posted in WorldComments Off on Korean War and Private First Class Charlie Johnson

Obama Myth Making Designed For Sheeple

NOVANEWS

President Barack Obama’s refusal to release photos and DNA of his supposed assassination of a questionably alive Bin Laden spanks of his trademark lack of transparency except when it is politically expedient ~ but it is also step three in Myth making as Obama kicks off  his re-election campaign which is designed for the sheeple : Allen L Roland

The Obama hyped Bin Laden assassination myth is riddled with so many inaccuracies that it’s being openly mocked on the internet such as in this supposedly secret footage released from the Osama raid  Video: 30 seconds

Myth making is relatively simple when your target audience is sheeple who are more than willing to accept the administration’s deceits and fabrications ~ for to do otherwise would personally be deeply humiliating. Here is the typical myth making four step process;

Step One is create the event ~ without verification except the leader’s word ( Think 9/11 official story )

Step Two is destroy the evidence ~ relying once again on the leader’s word ( Think 9/11 trade center scrap steel crime scene evidence being sent to Taiwan and South Korea )

Step Three is celebrating the great victory ~ although still unconfirmed by anyone except the leader and his minions ( Think GW Bush’s Mission accomplished in Iraq )

Step Four is completely disqualifying the target ~ to justify the leaders illegal actions (Think Saddam and weapons of Mass Destruction, think Bin Laden with supposedly found pornography video tapes as well as never proven involvement with 9/11 )

But the Bin Laden raid story continues to rapidly unravel as many eye witnesses question the official Obama report. Here’s the latest ~ according to Gordon Duff, Senior editor of Veteran’s Today: Bin Laden Raid Operation Was Not Successful – Eye Witness Claims: A Pakistan news agency reports that the bin Laden raid on Abbottabad was aborted because of a helicopter crash which killed several passengers, believed to be Pashtu speaking AmericansSee story ~

The term Sheeple is often used to denote persons who voluntarily acquiesce to a perceived authority figure’s suggestion without critical analysis or sufficient research to understand the ramifications of that decision. By doing so, Sheeple undermine their own individuality and may willingly give up their rights. The implication of the term is that people fallaciously appeal to authority and believe or do what they are told by perceived authority figures who they view as trustworthy. The term is generally used in a political, social, and sometimes spiritual sense.

In other words, It’s taking the blue pill of eternal unquestioned government allegiance or bondage and submitting to authority versus the red pill of critical thinking, individuality and searching for the truth. Morpheus explains it all to Neo in the Matrix ~ “Neo, Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. ” The Matrix (1999) Four minute video

Are you a sheeple? Let’s find out !

Have you heard about the Sheeple Quiz? Although most of my readers will easily beat it, it’s a fun quiz to find out how smart (or gullible) your friends really are. So let ‘em take the Sheeple Quiz! And then you’ll know whether they’re independent thinkers or just zombie-minded sheeple like the rest of the flock.

Here’s the quiz. Choose “A” or “B” as the answer for each question, then check your score below.

The Sheeple Quiz

#1) The purpose of the mainstream media is to:

A) Keep you informed.
B) Feed you misinformation while keeping you distracted from the real issues our world is facing.

#2) Social Security is:

A) A financial safety net that makes sure people have a retirement income.
B) A government-run Ponzi scheme that requires more and more people to keep paying in just to stay afloat and will ultimately collapse into total bankruptcy.

#3) The fluoride dripped into municipal water supplies is:

A) A naturally-occurring mineral.
B) An industrial chemical waste byproduct.

#4) When you donate money to find the cure for cancer, that money goes:

A) To fund research programs that assess actual cancer cures for the purpose of freely sharing them with the public.
B) To fund mammogram campaigns that actually irradiate women’s breasts, causing the very cancers that earn huge profits for the cancer treatment industry.

#5) The national debt is:

A) Under control and will be paid off in a few years.
B) Out of control and will spiral into a runaway debt collapse.

#6) GMOs will:

A) Feed the world and prevent starvation.
B) Threaten the future of life on our planet through genetic contamination and widespread crop failures.

#7) The FDA protects:

A) The people from dangerous medicines.
B) The financial interests of the drug companies.

#8) The EPA’s real agenda is to:

A) Protect the environment.
B) Protect the financial interests of the chemical companies whose toxic products destroy the environment.

#9) The Federal Reserve functions to:

A) Stabilize the economy and keep America strong.
B) Loot the economy and control America’s economy for the interests of the few.

#10) The purpose of TSA checkpoints at airports is to:

A) Keep air passengers safe and secure.
B) Indoctrinate Americans into surrendering to police state invasions of their privacy.

#11) The practical function of the U.S. Supreme Court is to:

A) Protect the constitutional rights of the citizens.
B) Legitimize federal tyranny over the People by ignoring the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

#12) Vaccines are based on:

A) Gold standard science that conclusively proves their safety and effectiveness.
B) Quackery and fraud combined with a persistent medical mythology that utterly lacks a factual basis.

#13) Herbs and superfoods:

A) Are medically useless and cannot treat, prevent or cure any disease.
B) Contain powerful plant-based medicines that can help reverse and prevent disease.

#14) In Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, America:

A) Led a humanitarian effort to save innocent people from tyranny.
B) Waged an illegal imperialist war to occupy foreign nations and control their oil.

#15) The U.S. Bill of Rights

A) Grants you rights and freedoms.
B) Merely acknowledges the rights and freedoms you already possess.

Score your Sheeple Quiz
To score your Sheeple Quiz, simply count the number of times you answered “A” to the questions above.

If you answered “A” 10 times or more…

You are a total news-watching, gullible fairytale swallowing Sheeple! Be sure to keep taking those medications and watching more network news. Don’t bother thinking for yourself because you seem to be incapable of accomplishing that. You’ve already swallowed the Blue pill.

If you answered “A” fewer than 10 times…

You are sadly Sheeple-minded but there is hope for your rescue. Learn more about the world around you and train yourself to think critically so you can depart from the herd mentality.

If you answered “A” fewer than 5 times…

You are an unusually intelligent free-minded thinker who questions the world around you and doesn’t buy into the usual propaganda. You still got suckered on a few items, so there’s more yet to learn. But you’re on the right track!

If you answered “A” exactly zero times… you swallowed the Red pill.

You are the complete opposite of a Sheeple. You’re independent minded, well informed and probably a regular reader of mine. Stay on track and question events in the world around you. Keep reading the alternative press and voice your intelligent views to others willing to listen. (But don’t waste your time on those who aren’t.) Learn more:

Here’s a group of non-sheeple students making life rightfully miserable for Condoleezza Rice at Stanford University recently!  2 minute video

In other words, take the Red pill!

Posted in USAComments Off on Obama Myth Making Designed For Sheeple

Here comes your non-violent resistance

NOVANEWS

Will Americans support a non-violent resistance movement?

The Economist

On the week end tens of thousands of Palestinians stage non-violent protests

FOR many years now, we’ve heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement. If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we hear, they’d have had their state long ago. Surely no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian movement of national liberation seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination.

Palestinian commentators and organisers, including Fadi Elsalameen and Moustafa Barghouthi, have spent the last couple of years pointing out that these complaints resolutely ignore the actual and growing Palestinian non-violent resistance movement. For that matter, they elide the fact that the first intifada, which broke out in 1987, was initially as close to non-violent as could be reasonably expected. For the most part, it consisted of general strikes and protest marches. In addition, there was a fair amount of kids throwing rocks, as well as the continuing threat of low-level terrorism, mainly from organisations based abroad; the Israelis conflated the autochthonous protest movement with the terrorism and responded brutally, and the intifada quickly lost its non-violent character. That’s not that different from what has happened over the past couple of months in Libya; it shows that it’s very hard to keep a non-violent movement non-violent when the government you’re demonstrating against subjects you to gunfire for a sustained period of time.

In any case, if you’re among those who have made the argument that Israelis would give Palestinians a state if only the Palestinians would learn to employ Ghandhian tactics of non-violent protest, it appears your moment of truth has arrived. As my colleague writes, what happened on Nakba Day was Israel’s “nightmare scenario: masses of Palestinians marching, unarmed, towards the borders of the Jewish state, demanding the redress of their decades-old national grievance.” Peter Beinart writes that this represents “Israel’s Palestinian Arab Spring”: the tactics of mass non-violent protest that brought down the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, and are threatening to bring down those of Libya, Yemen and Syria, are now being used in the Palestinian cause.

10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli snipers and more than 120 wounded, some critically. None of the demonstrators had weapons. (Franklin Lamb)

So now we have an opportunity to see how Americans will react. We’ve asked the Palestinians to lay down their arms. We’ve told them their lack of a state is their own fault; if only they would embrace non-violence, a reasonable and unprejudiced world would see the merit of their claims. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of them did just that, and it seems likely to continue. If crowds of tens of thousands of non-violent Palestinian protestors continue to march, and if Israel continues to shoot at them, what will we do? Will we make good on our rhetoric, and press Israel to give them their state? Or will it turn out that our paeans to non-violence were just cynical tactics in an amoral international power contest staged by militaristic Israeli and American right-wing groups whose elective affinities lead them to shape a common narrative of the alien Arab/Muslim threat? Will we even bother to acknowledge that the Palestinians are protesting non-violently?

Or will we soldier on with the same empty decades-old rhetoric, now drained of any truth or meaning, because it protects established relationships of power? What will it take to make Americans recognise that the real Martin Luther King-style non-violent Palestinian protestors have arrived, and that Israeli soldiers are shooting them with real bullets?

(Photo credit: AFP)

Unrest on the borders

Posted in USAComments Off on Here comes your non-violent resistance

Paradigm Shift on Chessboard of Afghan “Great-Game”

NOVANEWS

 

It seems, by all appearances, that this quartet is attempting to make strides towards an effort to introduce a model initiative initially engineered by Pakistan’s craving for a prime leadership status in Afghanistan’s forth coming endgame.

by Khalil Nouri


Ever since Pakistan began lobbying against Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai’s efforts to build a long-term strategic partnership with the U.S., urging him to look to Pakistan instead—and its Chinese ally—for help in striking a peace deal with the Taliban and rebuilding the Afghan economy, it was perceived to be Pakistan calling the shots for a new move on the chessboard of the Great-Game. However, despite how attractive that move may seem to them, it cannot come to fruition when few to even none of the players will consent to an all Afghan initiative; but in actuality, they are keeping the Afghan majority at bay from asserting their desire for such a plan. That said, this Pakistani rush to stack the deck in their favor in Afghanistan will fail due to the fact that there can only be one legitimate way to obtain stability in Afghanistan; through an all Afghan national ratification of a reconciliation process put forth for a genuine endgame to this decades old grinding war in Afghanistan.

Subsequent to Pakistan’s clandestine call in Kabul, the Kremlin announced a three-day official visit by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Russia at the invitation of President Dmitry Medvedev. This was scheduled ahead of Zardari’s trip to Washington which has already been postponed; and now seems quite unlikely to take place anytime in the near future. Meanwhile, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasoul was immediately sent to Beijing for a quick rendezvous with his Chinese counterpart. And, thereafter, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was due to arrive in Moscow last Thursday on an official visit.

It seems, by all appearances, that this quartet is attempting to make strides towards an effort to introduce a model initiative initially engineered by Pakistan’s craving for a prime leadership status in Afghanistan’s forth coming endgame.

However, in the wake of the May 2 killing of Osama Bin Laden and the Great-Game players’ interlaced stopovers in Moscow and Beijing, along comes another keen contestant in the game, but a solitary one; the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must now consider steps to advance his partnership cajolement with Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

These interwoven trips are all a push for strategic positioning by the aforementioned Great-Game playing quartet in a post U.S. troop drawdown environment starting in July 2011 and ending in 2014. It also boils down to acrimoniously preventing a long term U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Pakistan, as the front runner to this antagonism, seeks to legitimize this notion where all parties have yet to give their endorsements. On the other hand, the underrepresented by majority, inept and weak government of Hamid Karzai who seems to have grown closer to Pakistan over the last year, cannot weather an outcome where all the key players have the decisive upper hand in this Great Game. Therefore, Karzai whether he likes it or not, will have to abide by any outcome dictated to him by the major players.

In that context, if Pakistan’s prayers are to be answered, the planned withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan by 2014 will create such a power vacuum that it will allow Islamist militants now fighting U.S. forces to destabilize Afghanistan and all of Central Asia. Such an upsurge in Islamic fundamentalist violence and heroin trafficking could upset the predominantly Muslim, oil-and gas-producing regions; forcing Moscow to send thousands of its troops back into its former breakaway republics bordering Afghanistan and starting a fresh round of Russian Islamic fundamentalist contention, where the aged cold war era Great-Game rivalries between Russia and the West could resurface.

In retrospect, NATO may undertake combat operations beyond 2014 if and when the need arises. As the Obama administration said, “A conditions-based drawdown will begin in July 2011.”

In that regards, clearly, the billions of dollars that have been pumped into the upgrading of Soviet-era military bases in Afghanistan in the recent past and the construction of new military bases, especially in Mazar-i-sharif, Khost and Heart regions, fall into clearer perspective.

Additionally, the upcoming TAPI (Turkmen-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) natural gas pipeline will become the primary finished product of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. It consolidates NATO’s political and military presence in the strategic high plateau that overlooks Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan and China. In other words, TAPI proves a perfect setting for the alliance’s future projection of military power for “crisis management” in Central Asia – or should it?

While most players in the said circle of four—Pakistan to a higher degree—share the apprehensions of the prospect of a long-term American military presence in Afghanistan, and since the chemistry of the US-Pakistan relationship has drastically changed following the U.S. killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad (Pakistan), Pakistan faces grave insecurities in the period ahead; hence, Pakistan is looking for regional support systems. So far, Pakistan has shown receptiveness towards Russia and China; therefore, the Great-Game players’ decisions will not constitute a genuine endgame result for Afghanistan. Even if it did, the Afghan silent majority—not Mr. Karzai, who does not represent the majority—has the ultimate say for ratifying the notion of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Therefore, Afghan national reconciliation ratification for stability in Afghanistan should be of interest to all.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Paradigm Shift on Chessboard of Afghan “Great-Game”

Earth into Property, Arrest Bush, and 9/11

NOVANEWS

 

A Gallery of Recent You Tubes Produced in Canada

by Joshua Blakeney and Professor Anthony J. Hall



YouTube – Veterans Today -Earth into Property: An Exploration of Colonization, Decolonization and Capitalism

Earth into Property

These You Tubes embody and express different aspects of the collaboration between Professor Anthony J. Hall and Joshua Blakeney in the Globalization Studies unit at the University of Lethbridge in the southern portion of the Canadian province of Alberta. Earth into Property combines excerpts of the book launch of Hall’s text of the same name with a Blackfoot naming ceremony at the International Peace Pow Wow in Lethbridge. The broad-ranging topics explored in the team’s most technically-ambitious You Tube to date suggest the scope of Hall’s recent book, Earth into Property. One of these topics is the lies and crimes of 9/11, an issue emphasized in Joshua’s filmed introduction of Hall. There are, lamentably, few institutions of higher learning willing to host and protect the academic pursuit of genuine 9/11 scepticism as opposed to the pseudo-skepticism epitomized by psy op specialist Michael Shermer.


YouTube – Veterans Today -Anthony J. Hall and Joshua Blakeney Challenge Michael Shermer About His 9/11 Denialism

Both Blakeney and Hall acknowledge that the University of Lethbridge has respected their academic freedom to pursue scholarly subjects that tragically have been ignored, resisted or outright censored in some academic venues such as the University of Wisconsin. We were especially pleased that the U of L’s Vice-President Academic, Prof. Andrew Hakin, stepped up to the plate to deliver a stirring endorsement of the quality of Professor Hall’s scholarship.

Pushing For the Arrest in British Columbia of George W. Bush for War Crimes

This You Tube was filmed on May 2nd at the City Hall of Surrey, British Columbia. Surrey is part of the Greater Vancouver Area. At the demonstration Hall and Blakeney were joined by, among others, the inimitable Mohawk Warrior, Splitting the Sky. STS led our intervention with various officials. Travis Ball was also instrumental in organizing this public demonstration to assert the principle that credibly accused war criminal George W. Bush is not welcome in Canada and should be arrested on arrival in the country next October 20th. Hall, Blakeney and their associates thus served notice to those who invited the former US presidents to visit Canada for an economic summit that they had made a terrible mistake. The invitation originally came from the Surrey Mayor Diane Watts. This action in Surrey represents an extension of the activism culminating in a protest in March of 2009 in Calgary, Alberta while George W. Bush addressed an oil-patch audience in the commercial capital of Texas North. In organizing for the protest in 2009, Hall authored a widely-disseminated essay explaining why George Bush should be arrested in Calgary and charged with committing a host of international crimes including torture. When law enforcement officers in Canada refused to do their job in 2009 by arresting Bush not only for the violation of many international laws, conventions and treaties but also for violating Canada’s own Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000), Splitting the Sky attempted a citizens arrest for which he was tried and convicted of obstructing a police officer.


YouTube – Veterans Today –

We hope that by next autumn the international coalition that began to coalesce around our Arrest Bush initiative in Alberta will deepen and expand, building upon the important help rendered by Cynthia McKinney and Ramsay Clark. President Barack Obama can expect similar treatment from citizens of all countries who are no longer willing to tolerate the organized criminality that, more than ever before, has become the stock in trade of the US Executive Branch.

An Exchange on 9/11 Between Prof. Niels Harrit, Prof. Anthony Hall and Ms. Pernille Grumme

Hall and Blakeney made this You Tube last February when they were in Edmonton, Alberta to listen to the lecture of Professor Niels Harrit, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen. Professor Harrit is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the controlled demolitions on 9/11 of the three World Trade Center buildings in New York. With Blakeney filming Hall, Harrit and his wife, Pernille Grumme, sat down in the Sir Winston Churchill Square to discuss the culture of deceit and corruption nurtured by the wide complicity of many kinds of professionals, but especially professors, journalists and politicians, in the lies and crimes of 9/11. During the conversation comparisons were made to the experience of Europeans during the period of Axis Rule. In those times as now, many ruling elites as well as middle managers would not take responsibility for the horrendous crimes against humanity taking place in their midst and in their name. In the course of the conversation Hall came up with his first articulation of the global scope of the Tahrir Square Freedom Movement. The crimes of Hosne Mubarak against his own people were not an isolated phenomenon but merely one part of a global regime of oppression orchestrated by the agents of imperial rule concentrated in Washington and Tel-Aviv.


YouTube – Veterans Today –

Posted in USAComments Off on Earth into Property, Arrest Bush, and 9/11

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