Archive | July 19th, 2011

The Ab-A$$ buffoon is back


“There he was in Washington earlier this month, courting the media with his well-honed quips and turns-of-phrase…” What I love is that he resigned after the embarrassment (nay treason) of the Palestine Papers, and yet he returned without any explanation.  I guess that no one can fulfill the bufoonish responsibilities better than him.

Veteran Palestinian negotiator Erekat back after embarrassment of Al Jazeera revelations

Hugh Naylor (Foreign Correspondent)


The National

Jul 19, 2011

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator, is carried during a rally upon his return from Cairo to Jericho in January this year. Mr Erekat initially accused Al Jazeera of misrepresenting quotes and making up others in its coverage of "The Palestine Papers", its name for what it says are leaked documents showing the Palestinians giving way on major issues in talks with Israel. Ammar Awad / Reuters

JERUSALEM // Saeb Erekat is back. Only a few months ago, the veteran Palestinian negotiator and, thanks to satellite television, a worldwide face of the Palestinian struggle, resigned in embarrassment after documents leaked to Al Jazeera by an apparently disgruntled employee in his office portrayed him in a less-than-flattering light.

The meeting notes and memoranda of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s negotiation affairs department, which he headed, show Mr Erekat as sometimes overly eager to ingratiate himself with US and Israeli officials and offering concessions sharply at odds with the Palestinian leadership’s public positions.

The damage to Mr Erekat’s reputation and credibility from the revelations were thought by many Palestinians to be irreparable, and he retreated to his home in Jericho. Now, however, in a confounding twist, he says he never really left.

“It was announced that I resigned from my office, the negotiations affairs department, and that I’m still the chief negotiator,” he explained in a telephone interview earlier this week. “It was announced and it was known that I am the chief negotiator and that I do the negotiations,” he said.

That is a skilled parsing of last February’s events: the statement by spokesman Yaser Abed Rabbo in February announcing Mr Erekat’s resignation makes no mention of retaining his post as chief negotiator. Whatever the case, there should be no doubts about the re-emergence of the 56-year-old Mr Erekat.

There he was in Washington earlier this month, courting the media with his well-honed quips and turns-of-phrase as he insisted that, yes, the Palestinians would forge ahead with their plan to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations in September, despite opposition from the United States and Israel.

The National Blogs

As Mr Erekat forges ahead in his inimitable style, barely missing a beat from the controversy that threatened to engulf him, in his wake is only a mist of confusion.

“I met him a few days ago,” said Hani Masri, a Palestinian political analyst, who said Mr Erekat explained to him the same story about the resignation. “What’s the difference? I don’t know.”

For a great many more, watching Mr Erekat’s abrupt return to high-profile public official embodies the wide disconnect between Palestinians and a leadership that has long been dominated by “old guard” figures.

Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a research organisation in Washington, said: “What is bothering people is not Abu Mazen being Abu Mazen [Mr Abbas] or Erekat being Erekat. It’s the fact that there aren’t negotiations. It’s the fact that the strategy isn’t working, and that no one has a viable alternative.”

Ordinary Palestinians, he added, are more “concerned about their daily lives under [Israel’s] occupation and how they’re going to get out of it”.

That apparent disconnect was at the core of the Al Jazeera controversy embroiling him earlier this year.

The roughly 1,600 documents leaked from his office purported to show Mr Erekat and fellow negotiators offering deep concessions to Israel on a number of hot-button issues, which went beyond what many Palestinians were willing to give.

In one exchange that drew criticism, Mr Erekat is portrayed as grovelling on the subject of dividing Jerusalem during a meeting in May 2008 with the then Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni. “It is no secret that … we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim [Hebrew for Jerusalem] in history,” one memorandum quotes him as saying. Israel ultimately rejected the offer.

In another exchange, this one with the former US envoy to the region, George Mitchell, Mr Erekat declares the “deal is there” on a plan that over a decade would allow some 10,000 Palestinian refugees to return to their land in what is now Israel but deny the right of return to millions of others.

Mr Erekat, initially defiant, branded Al Jazeera’s sensational reporting on the documents a “pack of lies” and accused the Doha-based network of endangering his life.

But after promising to step down if it was determined the leaked documents were genuine, he admitted that some of the documents indeed may have been authentic, and resigned. The PLO’s negotiations team was reportedly overhauled and its mainly foreign staff were dismissed.

Assem Khalil, the director of Birzeit University’s Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies, said Mr Erekat’s handling of the issue has raised serious questions about his leadership and return.

“Instead of using this to show how the Palestinians had gone so far to make negotiations succeed, and yet were still rebuffed by the Israelis,” he said, “Erekat lost his temper and acted like a child who was somehow attacked.”

Analysts say his longevity as an influential politician has long hinged on an ability to cultivate loyalty from superiors, despite lacking a popular base of support and failing in nearly two decades of peace talks with Israel to strike a negotiated end to the conflict.

Sameh Shabib, a columnist at the Ramallah-based Al Ayyam daily, said Mr Erekat owes his political ascent to Yasser Arafat. It was on the late Palestinian president’s coattails that Mr Erekat, a native of East Jerusalem but educated in America and Britain, rode to power and developed his formidable negotiating skills.

“After every meeting with the Israelis, he would go straight to Arafat and ask him, ‘What should I do?’” Mr Shabib recalled.

In return for his intimate access to power, Mr Erekat gave Arafat his unflagging loyalty. He has shown the same loyalty to Mr Abbas, Arafat’s successor, with all the pluses and minuses that entails.

“He’s not popular, but he’s loyal and considered a good negotiator, a very good negotiator.”

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Pakistani view of Saudi Arabia


“One can witness a pervasive sort of racism, a form of Saudi supremacy that views other types of Arabs and particularly the South Asian expats (who are mostly labourers) as inferior and mere ‘commodities’ who can be bought and sold ruthlessly. Expats are not human beings but a commodity to be bartered and acquired.

Connected to racial supremacy is an attempt to insulate the regime from criticism by using the cloak of religion. Saudi textbooks are filled with references to hate; the Islamic Studies curriculum in the country is simply barbaric. I’ve experienced first-hand being taught by an Islamic Studies teacher in one of the most prominent private schools in Riyadh, about the dangers of having non-Muslims as friends and about the evil conspiracies hatched by Christians, Jews and Shias.

In Pakistan, Saudi petro-dollars have funded factories of hate in the form of the madrassa system. ‘Petro-Islam’ is a nightmare scenario – capitalism and a dangerous ideology locked in a tight embrace. It is because of the sheer amount of money behind this austere and dangerous theology that it can easily overwhelm the moderate elements in any given society.”  A reader in Pakistan sent me this with the comment that such a sentiment is rarely expres

A dangerous Saudi affair

A dangerous Saudi affair

Life in Saudi Arabia is good – oil rich, tax free incomes, multiple servants, big villas and security.  Even labourers, remark on the improved quality of life in Saudi as compared to Pakistan. For them this is an opportunity to support their families in the relative security of the Kingdom.

It seems Pakistani expat workers are satisfied with life. Even migrant labourers who I have conversed with personally say life is better in Saudi than in Pakistan, and the incomes they receive give their families back home a fighting chance. Personally, I’ve had good experiences and memories of living in the Kingdom for many years. But let’s face it – there is a conflict between personal gain and ethical integrity when it comes to Saudi Arabia.

One can witness a pervasive sort of racism,  a form of Saudi supremacy that views other types of Arabs and particularly the South Asian expats (who are mostly labourers) as inferior and mere ‘commodities’ who can be bought and sold ruthlessly. Expats are not human beings but a commodity to be bartered and acquired.

Connected to racial supremacy is an attempt to insulate the regime from criticism by using the cloak of religion. Saudi textbooks are filled with references to hate; the Islamic Studies curriculum in the country is simply barbaric. I’ve experienced first-hand being taught by an Islamic Studies teacher in one of the most prominent private schools in Riyadh, about the dangers of having non-Muslims as friends and about the evil conspiracies hatched by Christians, Jews and Shias.

In Pakistan, Saudi petro-dollars have funded factories of hate in the form of the madrassa system. ‘Petro-Islam’ is a nightmare scenario – capitalism and a dangerous ideology locked in a tight embrace. It is because of the sheer amount of money behind this austere and dangerous theology that it can easily overwhelm the moderate elements in any given society.

Little attention is given in Pakistan about the treatment of Pakistani labourers. If the Saudis will not speak about the suffering of these people then why should we remain silent? It is understandable that Pakistanis within Saudi cannot protest, but why do Pakistanis living outside who have witnessed first-hand the harsh treatment of their fellow citizens choose to remain silent? The Gulf countries practice a modern day equivalent of slavery, and our media should be more vocal about it, instead of weaving tales about Mossad and RAW.

The treatment of Pakistani labourers as sub-humans is deeply pervasive. The underlying logic of this treatment is that a non-Saudi can never be an equal; they are always meant to serve. Pakistanis like to criticise Europe’s hostility to immigrants but the anti-immigration feeling in Saudi Arabia is deeply toxic and yet it is never scrutinised.

A famous Pakistani defence of Saudi Arabia is that it is an ‘Islamic country’ and ergo a good place to raise the kids. But there is very little ‘Islamic’ about the country – in my time in Saudi, I talked to converts to Islam who travelled from as far as America and the UK to see for themselves the ‘Islamic’ Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Privately, they reveal a story of disillusionment and profuse disappointment.

Many were shocked by what they see in Saudi. They talk about a hypocrisy running deep within the society. Whilst the elite enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle of drinking and private nightclub-style parties, the religious police make life hell. I once saw a mullah in a GMC reverse on one of the main roads in Riyadh just to tell a woman to put her burqa on properly.

I find we are confused about our reaction to the prospect of a ‘Saudi Revolution’. When Mubarak was toppled and Ben Ali fled, the reaction amongst Pakistanis was positive, after all these dictators were merely pawns of the West. But talk about Saudi, and again there is that sense of unease and discomfort. After all, for all their faults the Saudis still do some great work. Many Pakistanis and indeed Muslims around the world have a sense of deep respect in regards to the provision of the Hajj. Indeed, the Saudis have continually done a fantastic job in improving facilities, crowd control and should be given credit for handling such a difficult event with efficiency.

But on the issue of faith, some Pakistanis are naive in thinking that a Muslim country can never be unjust with another Muslim country; they refuse to accept that in the reality of real politick there is no ‘Islamic Ummah’.

It is this sense of moral unease we have when we talk about Saudi Arabia that has haunted Pakistani hearts and minds. On the one hand, we receive great remittances from Pakistani workers who are employed in the Kingdom, but on the other hand everyone knows that they are discriminated against and have little or no rights. But yet again the response is that those Pakistanis living and working in Saudi Arabia should be grateful that they even have a job because of the deteriorating economic conditions back home. In this cold, utilitarian world where money talks, it is impossible that the Pakistani government will fight for its citizens rights in front of the Saudi Royal family.

The old adage, ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’, comes to mind. Pakistan is trapped in an abusive marriage (or maybe a delusional affair?) when it comes to Saudi.

Today the Kingdom is launching a great counter-revolution trying to contain the ‘Arab Spring’ by buying off Arab militaries, supporting dictators, issuing fatwas against the protestors and involving the Pakistani security forces in controlling protests in Bahrain which has become a stage for its great feud with Iran. Pakistan is very much a supporter of tyranny in the greatest political awakening of the 21st century, and this will hurt only Pakistanis in the end.

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No apology to Zionism, ever


It is high time for Hanin to resign her post from

KKKnesset content with Zoabi’s apology

Majority of Knesset House Committee members satisfied with Balad MK’s apology over usher incident. Chairman: She understood such acts are forbidden

Moran Azulay

The Knesset’s House Committee discussed Tuesday the Balad) allegedly attacked a
Most of the committee members said that although this was a serious case, they were content with Zoabi’s apology. They also voiced their support of the attacked usher, stressing she was only doing her job.Receive Likud) addressed the committee: “Knesset Members are not above the law and such behavior dishonors the Knesset and disturbs us all.”
  • Levin added that Zoabi did in fact apologize for her conduct. “She understood that such acts are not allowed,” he said. “This case proves that there are clear limits. I have reasonable ground to believe that chances of such a thing happening again are slim.”
    The chairman also criticized the fact that there are only two female ushers working in the Knesset, despite there being more female Knesset Members than ever before.
    MK Nissim Zeev (Kadima) noted that the debate has turned Zoabi into a “martyr.”
    MK Michael Ben Ari ( According to Hotovely’s proposal, the Ethics Committee would be able to fine MKs who stray from acceptable norms in the residency and even rule on whether or not one’s term in office might be terminated.

    Aside from MK Talab El-Sana () and MK Ahmad Tibi, who participated in the debate for only a few minutes, no other Arab MKs came to the meeting. They claimed the proposal hinders the freedom of action and expression and resembles political persecution.

    Hotovely explained that “there are some MKs involved in problematic activities. Starting with an MK that boards the Marmara flotilla, organized by a terror organization, followed by MKs traveling to other countries where there is clear support ofHezbollah, as we’ve seen before.

    When we look at these actions, which are considered appalling, we see no reason not to deal with their origins. I feel that the handling of such cases by the Ethics Committee today is easy… There are some actions here which contradict the very existence of Israel is so many ways.”

that awful body.  I fault her for offering her apology.

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That lousy Syrian regime


There is another reason to call for the downfall of the Syrian regime.  It officially yesterday recognized the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders: it is a desperate attempt by a desperate failing regime to appease the West and to ingratiate itself with Israel and world Zionists.

Former Lebanese prime minister, Salim Huss, issued a strongly worded statement condemning the Syrian move.

الحص ينتقد بشدة اعتراف سوريا بدولة فلسطين على حدود عام 67

 انتقد رئيس الوزراء اللبناني الأسبق، الدكتور سليم الحص، بشدة قرار سوريا الاعتراف بدولة فلسطين على حدود عام 1967 وعاصمتها القدس الشرقية، وقال، في بيان له: “إن النبأ الصحفي الذي حمل هذا الموقف السوري، اليوم الثلاثاء، كان مفاجئا وغير متوقع، خصوصا أن سوريا كانت دوما تدعو إلى تحرير فلسطين من الاحتلال والأطماع الإسرائيلية”.

وحذر من أن الموقف المستجد ينطوي على تنازل عن التزام قومي تمسكت به سوريا سنوات طويلة، وتمسكت بمطلب تحرير فلسطين من الأطماع الصهيونية، ويشكل تخليا عن موقف مبدئي أخذ به كل العرب في وقت من الأوقات.

واستغرب الحص تخلي سوريا عن موقف قومي مبدئي، معتبرا أن ليس له من داع سوى إرضاء قوى دولية تهادن إسرائيل وتحابيها، وطالب العرب جميعا بالتمسك بموقفهم الثابت من فلسطين مهما طال الزمن، مبديا ثقته بأنه لا بد في يوم من الأيام أن تتبدل المعطيات ويغدو بإمكان العرب أن يتطلعوا بواقعية إلى تحرير فلسطين.

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A letter about sectarianism in Syria


“Well, for instance this past day, many in Hims (some sources are saying 30) were killed, with corpses mutilated and dumped — victims were mainly Christians and Alawis and those of course retaliated. Another small but significant event that was not in any media whatsoever happened in my hometown Al-Hamidiyah in Tartous at the Syrian-Lebanese border.

To tell you a bit about me, I am an atheist and comes from an Alawi family. My hometown is predominantly Alawi and there is another town called Arab Al-Shati’ (Arabs of the Shore) exactly next to Al-Hamidiyah (really, they have become one big town due to growth). Now, what happened, and this is my own testimony from there at the time of the events, is that after Bashar’s last speech armed people from Arab Ashati’ attacked Al-Hamidiyah and started shooting randomly at balconies and front doors explicitly saying “Your time has come, Alawis إجا أجلكم يا علوية) many people were killed (12 to be exact three of which are regular guards positioned at the local police station), tens of shops were attacked and vandalized.

The most disturbing thing is that they set the mosque in Arab Ashati’ on fire and claimed on Facebook pages that Alawis were the culprit. The people of Al-Hamidiyah were shocked by the number of weapons used, with some claiming it came from Lebanon (I can not confirm that whatsoever). People from nearby villages (vast majority are Alawis) indeed came to the outskirts of the town when they heard the events but the military mukhabarat were deployed just in time to stop the Alawis from retaliating. After that, and sadfully enough, everyone in Alhamidiyah is armed to the teeth, waiting for the next even and that time, they say, they will be prepared.

The regime was out of the picture completely, and if it was not for an individual with high connection who deliberately exaggerated what was happening when he was contacting Damascus, the military mukhabarat wouldn’t have been deployed and the entire Sunni town would have probably been wiped out. I managed to talk to some close friends from Arab Al-Shati’ after things cooled down a bit trying to figure out what was the motive behind their attacks, and I received many answers, mainly revolving around Adnan Al’ar’oor.

I was completely sympathetic with protesters when it started in Dar’aa and I believe it was genuine and spontaneous and all the bullshit about armed gangs there is completely fabricated by the regime. But once it spilled out of Dar’aa, ugly sectarianism emerged. I was personally accused of being a shabeeh by acquaintances who know me well to realize I am an atheist and a communist and was threatened twice that once the regime falls, I will be “punished”.

I am anti-Assad, but I can’t side with sectarians.. I am just watching by and hoping for the best, and almost every Alawi, Christian, Druze and Ismaili I know feel exactly the same way.”

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Syria: Zionist Mobilization Kicks Into High Gear-Part 1


By Jonathan Azaziah

Editor’s Note: WARNING – Photos and hyperlinks in the ‘conclusion’ section of this essay are of extremely graphic nature. They have been included in this piece due to their unequivocal importance to the overall view of what is taking place in Syria.



The hasbara (propaganda) that is spread throughout the Zionist-owned mainstream media is identical in nature to a house of cards. No matter how imposing the house may be, remove one card from the structure, and it shall immediately collapse in an almost glorious fashion. It is due to its foundation; its towering essence is overshadowed by its flimsiness. The Zionist media imposes its hasbara in terrorizing fashion; like the usurping Israeli entity’s bombs falling upon illegally besieged Gaza or Lebanon, the hasbara enters the psyche as an F-16 bombardment. But unlike the bombs, which are so unstoppably and menacingly destructive, the hasbara is weaker than the web of a spider coming in contact with a machete. Remove just one element, one detail from a news story laced with hasbara, like the house of cards, the aforesaid story will crash to the ground, broken and dismembered.

This house of cards is what has been built upon the events unfolding in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is facing an uprising not seen since his father’s days. The Zionist media, in partnership with ‘Arab’ media giant Al-Jazeera, painted a rosy picture of heroic, peaceful demonstrators rising up against the dictatorship that has ruled their nation repressively for more than four decades. But that is all that it is, a picture; a story not rooted in reality or fact. Al-Jazeera has finally admitted, that the opposition has lied and exaggerated about casualties and protest numbers (1), to ‘further its cause,’ of course, in typical hasbara fasion, but this small admission, this small card removed from the frame, brings the house of cards crashing down.

Al-Jazeera’s admission only gives further credence to what has already been exposed: the Zionist entity and the House of Saud, allied with the US, Turkey and Jordan, have launched a full-scale destabilization operation against Bashar al-Assad and his government. Mobilizing its forces from certain ‘hotspots,’ or joint operations rooms, the Zionist-Saudi axis has used its agents ex-Syrian VP Abdel-Halim Khaddam, AIPAC member Farid al-Ghadry, Brookings Institution Fellow Ammar AbdulHamid, State Dept giant Jeffrey Feltman and multiple Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leaders to fund, incite, train, guide, organize and direct its agents within Syria to drive the Assad leadership into the ground in hopes of replacing it with an anti-Iran, anti-Hezbollah regime subservient to the Zionist-Saudi axis. With weapons being provided by Jordan and armed operations initiated by Zionist agent Muthanna al-Dhari, Syria has been plunged into chaos (2). Feltman’s role is crucial, as he developed the final phase of this plot with Saudi National Security Advisor ‘Prince’ Bandar bin Sultan, spending $2 billion in the process (3).

The Zionist entity’s hopes of prolonging the ‘kiss of democratic death’ destablization operation and weakening Syria, prior to invading it, destroying it and colonizing it as it did with 13 years of sanctions against (occupied) Iraq, seem to have died down. It seems the next phase has already arrived. Events in the last week have spun out of control at lightning speed and Zionist mobilization has kicked into high gear.

Syrian Crimes Against Humanity: Fact or Pretext For Invasion?

Amnesty International (AI) has a long, disturbing history of collaborating with globalist powers to foment illegal wars and conquer indigenous resources and territory. A corporate member of the Chatham House and bankrolled by Zionist billionaire war criminal George Soros, AI is a ruthless organization that has fooled a great deal of people due to the mask of ‘human rights’ that it parades around in. Most infamously, in the ‘incubator babies’ scandal, it represented an integral wing of the Zionist operation against Iraq just prior to the criminal Gulf War, disseminating horrific propaganda across the globe, portraying Iraqis as animals and baby killers to justify the invasion. The story was revealed to be false on absolutely every level, but AI’s mission had already been accomplished: the Zionist war against Iraq had begun. Over the years, AI has directed mountains of hasbara against Syria, specifically towards Bashar al-Assad’s father, the late Hafez al-Assad (4).

On June 6th 2011, Amnesty International accused the Syrian government, under the direction of Bashar al-Assad and his top officials, of committing crimes against humanity in the town of Tell Kalakh. AI stated that ‘scores of men’ were arbitrarily arrested, tortured and at least 9 had died in custody. Seemingly infuriated, AI thundered in its report that the Syrian regime would respond to nothing but ‘concrete international measures.’ The report was a call to the UN Security Council and International Criminal Court to take action against Bashar al-Assad. A very gripping account indeed; one that pulls right at the heart strings in a whirlwind of emotion. A civilian population under siege at the hands of a monstrous dictator and his security apparatus. But a problem exists within this account; a very prominent, drastic problem. AI obtained all of the information from ‘eyewitnesses’ in Lebanon in addition to telephone conversations (5).

First and foremost, how can ‘crimes against humanity’ accusations be made without any physical evidence provided? Secondly, how can an ‘independent’ NGO have such power that it can demand action to be taken against the nation it is accusing of such crimes from the highest international bodies on earth and be taken seriously? Thirdly, with Amnesty International’s track record of fabricating ‘humanitarian crises’ for the benefit of Zionist hegemony, how can such accusations even be considered credible?

Fourthly, if villagers are armed and firing on soldiers and policemen, they are not civilians; ‘eyewitnesses’ be damned. And if they’re not civilians, ‘crimes against humanity’ are out of the question. On that note, why hasn’t AI reported on the hundreds of Syrian security forces shot dead across Syria by armed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood fighters (6)? Specifically, why hasn’t AI reported on the Syrian security forces shot dead in Tell Kalakh? At least 2 were killed and more than 7 were badly wounded (7). This crucial piece of evidence simply reaffirms that these are not peaceful protesters but gunmen. It reaffirms that what is unfolding in Syria is not a ‘peaceful uprising’ but an armed insurrection. And it reaffirms, that AI’s ‘crimes against humanity’ accusations against Syria are monstrously false.

With that said, who are these so-called ‘eyewitnesses’ that AI met in Lebanon? And why were the meetings held in Lebanon? Why not Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the Zionist regime itself or any other neighboring entity? Were these ‘eyewitnesses’ provided to AI? If so, by whom? The reason why these particular questions are so vital, is because former Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri’s Future Movement has worked closely with Zionist Near East Affairs asset Jeffrey Feltman and US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in organizing the press campaign against Syria (8), shaping public opinion in the region, and it would by no means be out of the ordinary if AI’s ‘Lebanese sources’ were provided by the Feltman-Hariri-Shapiro coordination, considering AI’s history of collaborating with Zionism and the role being played in Syria by the aforementioned three men.

Yet again, Amnesty International has been exposed manipulating and fabricating information to justify a take-down of what the Israeli entity and its allies commonly refer to as a ‘hostile environment.’ Yet again, Amnesty International shows that its true colors are not its typical yellow, but Israeli blue and white.

Arrival of The Ambassadors: Incitement and Subversion     

Just two days after Amnesty International submitted its (now-debunked) ludicrous claims of Syria committing crimes against humanity in Tell Kalakh, the US and French Ambassadors to Syria made an unauthorized trip to Hama, a stronghold of the Zionist-Saudi axis’ operations against the Bashar al-Assad government. The US State Department called the visit a ‘show of solidarity with the protesters.’ And the solidarity was reciprocated. ‘Protesters’ disgustingly placed olive branches and roses on the vehicles transporting the Western ambassadors as they chanted ‘down with the regime!’ The perturbed Syrian Foreign Ministry, rightfully, blasted the unauthorized visit as incitement. Also, it is not a coincidence that enemies of Al-Jumhuriyyah al-Arabiyyah as-Suriyyah would travel to an anti-government hub as the government prepared to hold a national dialogue and end the nightmarish unrest in the country (9).

There is another element that the US State Department did not reveal to the public. An element behind the curtain, behind the ‘solidarity.’ The primary reason why US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford traveled to Hama was to deliver tapping devices to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood-dominated opposition. The devices were meant to capture images of their protests to later be amplified prior to airing them with the international Zionist media. The devices were also meant to spy on Syrian security forces, including the army and police in anti-Assad areas. While Syrian security forces dismantled a good deal of these apparatuses, many of them still exist in the Saudi-Zionist-backed opposition’s strongholds (10).

This is simply another example of foreign powers meddling in the internal affairs of Syria to accomplish the mission of toppling Bashar al-Assad and replacing him with a puppet that will happily bow before the international dominance of Zionism. It is excessively important to document that this batch of incitement, while blatant, is nothing but the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Weapons, monies, intelligence and military support have been provided to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots by the Zionist-occupied governments in the EU, US and Jordan to drown out the cries of the peaceful reformists who have been fully acknowledged by the Assad leadership (11).

The Ambassadors’ incitement and delivery of materials represents the culmination of more than 3 months of destabilization at the Zionist-led coalition’s hands; an overt act of subversion on top of all of the various covert operations. This infuriated the Syrian people, who have marched in the millions over the last few months in support of the Bashar al-Assad’s Resistance government (12). Their fury was expressed in the streets as hundreds marched to the US and French embassies in Damascus. Protesters broke the embassies’ windows and thunderously chanted against the Western regimes’ meddling (13).

In the aftermath, avid Zionist and murderous war criminal Hillary Clinton responded to the rage of the Syrian people and sharpened her sword of rhetoric. She explicitly stated, “He (Bashar al-Assad) has lost legitimacy, he has failed to deliver on the promises he’s made, he has sought and accepted aid from the Iranians as to how to repress his own people. He is not indispensable (14).” The arrogance of Clinton is nauseating; as if she and her government, who take their orders from the Zionist regime that has stolen al-Quds, have the right to dictate who will or who will not lead Syria; as if the majority of the Syrian people who support the Assad government and its Resistance don’t exist.

If the elements of the ‘Syrian Revolution’ that are calling for Bashar al-Assad’s ouster were actually indigenous, legitimate,  honest, ‘pro-democracy’ protesters and not a militia-type force that is being armed and directed by an axis of foreign powers led by the Zionist entity and Saudi Arabia, why did they welcome the US and French Ambassadors to Syria with roses? Why would those who claim to represent the typical Resistance-based mindset that the righteous, dignified and strong Syrian people tend to have, show solidarity with nations that are enemies of Syria and are actively pursuing its downfall? And knowing that Syria has been a target perpetually locked in the crosshairs of Zionism and its allies, why would these ‘protesters’ pander to such powers? The answers to these questions are of course, rhetorical.

President Barack Obama, who has served the Zionist entity so well since being placed into office he has had an illegal settlement named after him (15), echoed the words of Hillary Clinton on July 13th as Western governments work closely to fight Russian and Chinese blocks and pass a resolution in the UN to take action against Syria (16). Though it would be an utterly devastating scenario for the Syrian people, it seems that another ‘humanitarian’ invasion is right around the corner.

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Globetrotting Zionist Asset

The French ‘intellectual and philosopher’ Bernard-Henri Lévy is no stranger to anti-Zionist writers and solidarity activists. He is known from one end of the globe to the next for infamously and disgracefully stating, “I have never seen such a democratic army (IOF), which asks itself so many moral questions (17).” Needless to say, Lévy is an ardent Zionist who is wholeheartedly dedicated to defending the criminal existence of the Israeli ‘state.’

Most recently, Lévy has been seen in Libya, playing an exceedingly prominent role, if not the most prominent role of all, in getting the West ‘involved’ in the murderous bombing of the oil-rich North African nation. Lévy single-handedly secured meetings for the CIA-proxy Libyan rebels with Zionist French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton. He warned Sarkozy that if the West didn’t intervene, there would be a ‘bloodbath in Benghazi,’ Libya’s second largest city (18).

Thanks to the efforts of Lévy and the Zionists of the Foreign Policy Initiative who ordered President Obama to attack Libya (19), there isn’t just a bloodbath in Benghazi but a bloodbath across Libya. The NATO coalition led by the US, France and Britain has murdered at least 1,108 Libyan civilians and wounded over 4,537 others since the genocidal, colonial effort began at the end of March (20). Lévy, who is very good friends with mass murderer and Zionist war criminal (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu, conveyed to his friend that the Libyan rebels are ready to recognize the Zionist entity as a legitimate state and that they will be ‘concerned with Israeli security (21).’ Lévy’s high-level meddling in Libya has led to a scenario right out of Qaddafi’s worst nightmare: the CIA-proxy, Israeli-advised rebels are prepared to let the Zionist regime establish a base in eastern Cyrenaica on a 30-year lease (22). These activities confirm that Lévy is no mere Zionist; he is a high-level sayan (helper) doing the bidding of Tel Aviv.

With Libya now in complete disarray at the hands of NATO and Israel, the globetrotting Zionist Lévy has set his sights on Bashar al-Assad and Syria. Lévy led a conference last week in Paris’s Cinema St. Germaine against the Assad government, likening Bashar al-Assad’s ‘crackdown on pro-democracy protesters’ to that of the Nazis. The conference was comprised of Zionists, former French officials, Syrian opposition figures and a Syrian Muslim Brotherhood representative. The point of Lévy’s conference was to mobilize the ex-French regime officials to lobby Russia and China in dropping their support for the Syrian Resistance government and getting both nations behind Libya-like resolutions against Bashar al-Assad. Lévy demanded that Syria be referred to an international tribunal (23).

The most disturbing of the attendees of Lévy’s meddlesome conference is a ‘Syrian opposition figure’ named Ammar Qurabi (24). Qurabi is the main source of information, statistics and rumors throughout the media institutions owned by the sheikhdoms of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and has repeatedly delivered fraudulent information and inflated protest numbers to the Zionist media (25). Qurabi’s wife writes for the London-based Saudi Arabia propaganda outlet, Elaph (26). He is frequently quoted as a ‘credible source’ by Western wire services like Reuters and AFP in regards to the ‘civilian death toll’ of the ‘Syrian Revolution.’ Qurabi however, is anything but credible. If the information initially presented doesn’t indicate that he is a stooge of the House of Saud, Qatar and Zionism, the following revelation most certainly will.

Prior to establishing Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights, Ammar Qurabi worked for Human Rights Watch and the Syrian Human Rights Committee. Human Rights Watch, handsomely funded to the tune of $100 million by billionaire Zionist war criminal George Soros, has a long history of working with Zionist think tanks and intelligence agencies in fostering war propaganda, specifically against the now ravaged nation of (occupied) Iraq. The Syrian Human Rights Committee is a promoter of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and an affiliate of the Patriotic Union Of Kurdistan, a Mossad-linked Zionist political party in northern Iraq with a militia trained by IOF (27). Do all ‘human rights activists’ work with elements of the Zionist war machine? Clearly, Qurabi is no ‘Syrian human rights advocate.’ He is an agent of the Zionist-Saudi axis’ destabilization operations against Syria.

With Ammar Qurabi keeping the lies flowing throughout Eastern and Western media and Tel Aviv’s ‘man in France’ Bernard-Henri Lévy upping the ante on the international front, Syria just cannot get a break from the Zionist entity’s mobilization.

Turkey’s Deadly Role In Syria Corroborated

The most diabolical character in Israel’s plot to take down Syria is the government of Turkey. In the two-part series on Syria preceding this piece, this author laid waste to the theory that Turkey represented Resistance in the region and exposed the Ankara regime as a willing participant in the ongoing destabilization operation in Syria, providing intelligence, military support, safe havens and meeting grounds to Syrian Muslim Brotherhood fighters, leaders and operatives and also facilitating contact between the Zionist-occupied American government and the Brotherhood. This treacherous, duplicitous behavior is part of a 1993 Turkish-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that unites the two entities in military-intelligence cooperation on a large scale. The focus of this cooperation is to undermine Syria, Iran and Iraq; all enemies of the Zionist entity. The Zionist-run operations are funded with the billions in annual Turkish-Israeli bilateral trade (28).

As documented in the previous sections with the vital role of Bernard-Henri Lévy and the incitement operation in Hama carried out by the French Ambassador to Syria, as well as in the aforementioned series with France leading the European charge in sanctioning Syria, the government of Nicolas Sarkozy has played a major part in fomenting the violent unrest in Syria. Sarkozy did excessive spy work for Mossad in the 1980s and remains a high-level sayan to this day (29); his allegiance to Zionism is undeniable. Multiple sources have now confirmed to Mask of Zion that the French and Turkish governments have drawn up their own MOU, to strengthen the 1993 Turkish-Israeli MOU and to focus more intimate cooperation in toppling Bashar al-Assad. The leaked MOU document was initially provided to Mask of Zion in French and then translated by a second source. The French-Turkish MOU is between PM Erdogan himself and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.

To be continued


(1) The Syrian Propaganda War by Listening Post, Al-Jazeera English

(2) Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria I; Section – The Syrian Revolution: 100% Manufactured by Israel and Saudi Arabia by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(3) US Seeks To Exploit Anti-Assad Movement In Syria by Jean Shaoul, World Socialist Web Site

(4) Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria I; Section – History On The Fly I: The 1976-1982 ‘Uprising’ by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(5) Report Reveals Crimes Against Humanity In Syrian Town by Amnesty International

(6) Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria II; Section – Media Manipulation: Zionism and Al-Jazeera Unite by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(7) Interior Ministry Source: 2 Security Members Martyred, 7 Injured By Extremist And Terrorist Groups In Daraa And Tall Kalakh by Syrian Arab News Agency

(8) Syria, In The Eye Of The Storm – Part II by Nidal Hmedeh and translated by Eslam al-Rihani, Al-Manar

(9) U.S. Ambassador Greeted With Roses By Syrian Protesters In Hama by Robert Mackey, The New York Times

(10) U.S. Ambassador Smuggles Tapping Devices To Opposition In Syria by Al-Manar

(11) Lining The Chessboard Against The Resistance Bloc: War With Syria, Iran And Lebanon In The Works? by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Voltaire Network

(12) Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria II; Section – Media Manipulation: Zionism and Al-Jazeera Unite by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(13) Mobs Storm U.S., French Embassies In Syria by The Raw Story

(14) Clinton Says Syria’s Assad Has Lost Legitimacy by Andrew Quinn and Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters

(15) Israel Creates ‘Obama’ Settlement, More Obstacles For Viable Palestinian State by Saleh Naami, Al-Ahram Online

(16) West Piles Pressure For UN Action On Syria by Ma’an News Agency

(17) Bernard-Henri Levy: I Have Never Seen An Army As Democratic As The IDF by Or Kashti, Haaretz

(18) By His Own Reckoning, One Man Made Libya A French Cause by Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

(19) US Neo-Cons Urge Libya Intervention by Jim Lobe, Al-Jazeera English

(20) 1,108 Libyans Killed In NATO Attacks by Press TV

(21) Libyan Rebels Will Recognise Israel by Global Research

(22) NATO’s Alternative Universe In Libya by Wayne Madsen, The San Francisco Bay View

(23) Syria Opposition And Pro-Israeli Confab by Press TV

(24) Ammar Qurabi July 07, 2011 by As’ad Abu Khalil, The Angry Arab News Service

(25) Syrian Muslim Brotherhood And Zionism: Who Is Ammar Qurabi? by As’ad Abu Khalil, The Angry Arab News Service

(26) Ammar Qurabi July 06, 2011 by As’ad Abu Khalil, The Angry Arab News Service

(27) Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria I; Section – History On The Fly I: The 1976-1982 ‘Uprising’ by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(28) Kiss Of ‘Democratic’ Death: Israel’s Plot To Take Down Syria II; Section – Turkey: The Beast Of Two Faces Emerges by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(29) Sarkozy Accused Of Working For Israeli Intelligence by Gamal Nkrumah, Global Research

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: Zionist Mobilization Kicks Into High Gear-Part 1

Pakistan-US Relations: The Widening Gulf


By Raja G Mujtaba


Hamid Rajput is an interesting person, always digging for something new and different and in different lands but for him Pakistan remains at the core.

Today he surfed into a report that if gets through would have some face to face with death staring at them from a point blank range. For some killing of people is like shredding vegetables but those who die leave a trail of their blood that hunts the killer no matter where he or she maybe.

In this not so friendly world, there are people who have a heart and a living conscience. One such person is British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith who is leading the campaign to have John Rizzo, the CIA head in-charge of Drone Attacks to kill Pakistanis.

John Rizzo has admitted to have approved the attacks in Pakistan that killed minimal or no militants but scores of innocents very conveniently declared as collaterals. One can only wish if some kith and kin of the attackers such as John Rizzo, Panetta, Bush or Obama were part of such collaterals only then the pain of death would have been understood.

Clive Smith is a brave man, with a strong conscience who has the Pakistani families and lawyers on his side. He has decided to register the first case in Islamabad, Pakistan; of course later the net would be expanded to lope in all those who were involved in this ruthless cold blooded killing. Of course the further leads to the killer gang would be provided by none other than John Rizzo. This would only be a tip of the iceberg, the world would certainly witness some fireworks provided Clive Smith succeeds in netting the criminals in.

John Rizzo who now stands retired admitting in an interview with Newsweek that since 2004 he had approved monthly drone attacks on targets in Pakistan, even though the US is not at war with the country. Here no Pakistani can forget and forgive Parvez Musharraf who lied to the people and allowed the US to base its drones on Shamsi Base in Balochistan. Maybe at some stage of the case, even he is roped in.

Might is right, on the face of it Pakistan is US ally but in actuality is being treated like an enemy. Not only the drones are being launched but CIA agents were also released in the country like ants. Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor through Blackwater/Xe killed two Pakistanis and was responsible for the deaths of two more including Shumaila the widow of one gunned person by Raymond.

Raymond’s killings brought the people on the streets but for some luck an ugly situation was averted. Had the people got violent, not single American could have left the country. As if that was not enough, on May 2nd, US launched another sneak raid against Pakistan; in fact it was an act of aggression against a sovereign state and that too a declared ally. If this is how allies are treated then it’s better to be an enemy and be ready to fight off any intrusion and aggression.

After this act of May 2, Pakistan decided and very rightly so to pack up all the US and British trainers in Pakistan. They were not only costing very heavily but were all potential spies who can not be seen on Pakistan soil. Pakistan has learnt a bitter lesson and now very difficult to trust the US again and get trapped for something worse. Pakistan has to protect her nuclear assets and that can only be done by keeping the Americans at bay.

Feeling helpless, the US decided to freeze all the military aid to Pakistan; the first freeze was of 800 million dollars. Pakistan took it with a bold face and stood firm on her ground. The Corps Commanders Conference chaired by General Kayani was a testimony to the fact that now on Pakistan must fight its own war through her own resources. Little realizing that by choking Pakistan, the US had a knife on her jugular vein. Pakistan is the jugular vein for the US in fighting the Afghan war, more than Pakistan it would been the US who would have been hurt had the aid not been restored.

General Pasha, who is known to break off the talks at any stage would not budge an inch to compromise the national interest. He can walk off half way through the meetings but not surrendering to the American pressure. On the aid freeze even the US media warned the US administration that it would hurt the US more than it would hurt Pakistan. Here credit must also be given to our friends over the Karakuram mountains, China who stood behind Pakistan very firmly. General Pasha had paid a visit to China before embarking on the Washington sojourn. Ultimately the aid was released and the US saved herself from a major embarrassment.

Coming back to deadly drones, Peter Beaumont writing for the Guardian says, “Rizzo, who was by his own admission “up to my eyeballs” in approving CIA use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, said in the interview that the CIA operated “a hit list”. He also asked: “How many law professors have signed off on a death warrant?”

According to Peter, Rizzo has also admitted being present while civilian operators conducted drone strikes from their terminals at the CIA headquarters in Virginia.

So come Virginians, Clive Smith is waiting for you. He is very optimistic that he would get the Interpol to issue the arrest warrant and apprehend Rizzo. If that’s done then, then some of you may also be tagged to Rizzo. Islamabad would once again become the center stage for world media. How the Pakistan government would take the pressure would be quite interesting or may be amusing for some. Maybe Pakistan is saved that embarrassment if the US refuses to extradite John Rizzo but certainly the public pressure is likely to mount at least in three places if not more namely, Washington, London and Islamabad.

While killing civilians in military operations is unavoidable hence not illegal under international law but if proved to be deliberate, disproportionate or reckless, the tables can be turned on the attacker. Drone attacks in Pakistan has enough substance to prove the Gringo adventurism of the US operators therefore Clive Smith will have a ball in getting the case initiated.

All along through my writings and TV talks, I have been insisting that Pakistan must redefine her foreign policy. Should get more closer to China, Iran, Russia and Afghanistan. Now it seems the words have been heard, Zardari left for Iran and Lt Gen Waheed for China.

Now the US must be regretting to have over played her card of ‘Do More.’ Pakistan has said ‘enough is enough’ and taken off on a tangent. Today Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani President has flown to Tehran where he will have friendly and heart to heart discussions with Ahmedinejad. In today’s scenario, Iran and Pakistan have become a mutual need for each other. Lt General Waheed Arshad, Chief of General Staff has flown to Beijing to cement military ties with China and procure more modern equipment for our defence forces. This visit would also ink mutual military training programs to the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Thank you Uncle Sam for your arrogance and stubbornness, you helped us in getting away from your clutches. This would certainly give Pakistan more leverage, freedom and independence to peruse our national interests.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan-US Relations: The Widening Gulf



By Brig Samson S Sharaf


Within the context of National Power, idiosyncratic notions like Leadership, National Character and Morale are elements that can propel a nation. History has repeatedly recorded how the two have combined in prohibitive conditions for socio-economic revolutions. National leadership is not about making fiery speeches and hallow promises; least a game of scoring brownies in meaningless talk shows. It is a serious and delicate business of managing the destiny of a country through vision, selfless devotion, mental resilience and team building.

Abraham Lincoln was a self educated person with no physical charisma. A novice in military strategy, he taught himself the subject during his presidency; he could guide his generals leading a technically inferior army. The American Civil War is a splendid case study of Leadership. To begin, Lincoln was actually a one man lonely team swarmed by experts who wished to capitalise on his popularity. Towards the end, he had nurtured his own team to finish the job.

Charles De Gaulle, a loner, brilliant French military strategist was denied his day in preparations against the Germans. He fled France the day Paris fell and was sentenced to death for desertion. He was back in the middle of Normandy Landings. To begin, he just had two other men in the team and had to struggle through many years to deliver. He led and inspired France to become a great nation once again.

Japan and South Korea; two countries rose within a few decades to become global actors. Societal ethics and character aside, both were fortunate to have an occupational administrator like General Douglas McArthur. Like a true leader, McArthur went through reverses, defeats, victories, criticism and resurgence to fulfil a promise he made to his defeated soldiers in battle. He won the war both from military and economic perspectives.

Though much has been written on the Chinese Revolution, China actually turned the corner under Chairman Deng. His policies with a small team in due course transformed the country into an economic juggernaut.

Malaysia is another success story. Dr. Mohhatir was able to infuse a new spirit and ironically exploit the same Chinese Social Capital that once fought an insurgency against the state.

Post Qaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s leadership crises are perennial. Fate denied Jinnah time to forge an efficient team for nation building. He himself referred to his team as Khota Sikkas (worthless coins). His 11 August Speech to the Constituent Assembly was completely blacked out by vested interests. Muslim Leaguers who inherited his party were never die hard and ideological members. The merry go round alternating between military dictatorships, civil rule and sometimes joint suzerainty over Pakistan (we do ours, you do yours) with bureaucratic oversight did not work. Within 25 years, Pakistan was reduced by half. What remains has remained in turmoil, insurgencies and militancies.  This Achilles heel is like an octopus’ tentacles that never allowed Jinnah’s Pakistan to grow (Pakistan’s Achilles Heel. Nation 10 January 2010).

Bhutto could have turned it round. He was young, educated, charismatic and a visionary rebel. Lamentably, he was a product of the system. Despite his vision and charisma, his nationalisations, isolation of the sub nationalities and political victimisations became his stumbling blocks. Justice, sincerity and good governance were never the forte of the first or any of the later PPP dispensations. The lesson leant was that a true vision if adulterated is no vision.

Nawaz Sharif was a handpicked blue eyed. He could never grow out of the biases induced in him. Being a successful industrialist, people expected him to deliver with single minded devotion to development. He chose foraying into systemic changes and played into the hands of elites and power politics. Nothing has prevented his party from showing Punjab as a model of development and good governance.  Yet, unlike his previous tenure, Shahbaz Sharif has been constrained and tentative in his imposing demeanour.

The present dispensation is a domestic cum international political compromise based on a shady agreement never made public. Having ceded initiative on major policy issues, there is nothing worthy of the credentials to describe it.

So who can steer Pakistan out of the crises towards a strong, self reliant, economically prosperus and a proud Pakistan?

First, all successful leaders have been men of intense concentration. They have spent years in the wilderness before their time came.  They commanded charisma, demanded attention and earned respect. They were adorable, imbued with sincerity, integrity, selfless devotion and a doer attitude. This leader unlike the past has to be a new one; unconventional, with proven personal character traits, ability to resist praise, down to earth, visionary and nurtured in the wild rather than the establishment.

Secondly, the leader must internalise the Lahore Resolution and Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan as flawlessly as Jinnah did. He has to be acceptable to the entire range of diversity inside Pakistan. Such a leader must possess the twin attributes of knowledge and wisdom, proud that he has learnt so much, humble that he knows no more.

Thirdly, this leader must seize the moment to inspire his people.

For long I have been an advocate of a new social contract.  I take the liberty to indicate such a leader from within us.

For a long time, he remained an in-out member of his team. He used the time of his exclusions to concentrate and meditate. He was never considered leadership material and was handed the captaincy when no other alternative existed. He rallied an army of aging men, unproven youngsters and fearless boys into a world winning combination. His leadership skills still dominate the captaincy debates world over.

He visualised a hospital and accomplished much more. He visualised a university and it became the best education environment in Pakistan. He went into the floods and returned with a bumper wheat crop. Despite no parliamentary strength, he is dominating air time and headlines world over. Four successive international surveys have declared him the choicest for Pakistan. He has remained establishment’s wonder boy for over 15 years but has resisted the devil’s temptation.

Even his personal foibles have not deterred his resolve.  He knows he is vulnerable on his off stump but has taken his guard determinedly against some very hostile bowling. Like ever, his team is a blend of experience, youth and vigour. He knows that he is the indomitable KAPTAANwith traits to steer the country out of troubled waters.

Is Imran Khan the Godot we have been waiting for?

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on PAKISTAN’S LEADERSHIP CRISES



by Khalid Iqbal 


After Iran, America has lost another ally in Asia, the people of Pakistan, and that too for times to come. Neither public opinion would reverse nor would the national leadership be able to go against it.

By Air Commodore ® KhaIid Iqbal

Even after more than two months, public anger against America’s cowardly ambush in Abbottabad has not receded. It has changed in form. From an outrage against the armed forces, it has transformed into a national resolve; an anti-America attitude. Focus of anger has largely shifted from the armed forces to other reasons leading to Abbotabad fiasco. A recent survey indicated that 79% Pakistanis did not consider it as a military failure alone. It was a pleasant surprise for the people of Pakistan that for a decade their armed forces have been foregoing about 70% of American military aid to support civil sector economy.

After Iran, America has lost another ally in Asia, the people of Pakistan, and that too for times to come. Neither public opinion would reverse nor would the national leadership be able to go against it. In long term perspective, armed forces have no option but to scale back their dependence on American cash and technology. Once again, time tested strategy of self reliance and indigenization of ‘sanctions days’ needs to be re-invoked.

Armed forces of Pakistan held the Soviets at bay during their protracted occupation of Afghanistan. Political leadership of that time was clear about the status of war and its who’s who’. When Prime Minister Junejo gave clear orders to shoot intruding Soviet aircraft, even if they had to be chased into Afghanistan and shot down in Afghan airspace, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) displayed brilliant skills and shot down a number of intruders without any combat loss. Nation expects similar resolve and direction from the present political leadership.

Today, the PAF is equipped in a much better way; it has acquired additional capabilities and competencies. The only reason why it could not react to shoot the American intruders over Abbottabad is because who’s who about the so called war on terror is ambiguous at the national as well as at military leadership level. It was never envisaged that while those with whom PAF is fighting shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy would ditch it is such a way.

Likewise, only a year back ISI topped the ranking of ten best intelligence agencies of the world with a citation that its agents have never been caught under camera. Out of complacency it committed a cardinal sin of trusting CIA.

Beside other attributes Operation ‘Geronimo’ (Abbottabad attack) has a unique distinction of being an operation by a superpower against its own ally. It was indeed a stabbing at the back; a misadventure against an ally who had suffered the most in supporting America’s fight in so called war on terrorism. Had America publically announced the location of Osama, and asked for his extradition, in all probability Pakistan would have obliged. But Americans never wanted to capture Osama alive; they could not have absorbed his revelations during a fair and independent trial. Only dead Osama suited Americans. Adopted method also carried the advantage that Pakistan could be blamed for all American failures in Afghanistan. And a sense of insecurity could be created amongst the masses of Pakistan to rupture the bond of trust between the armed forces and the people.

Ongoing criticism of Pakistan on its ‘failure’ to do the US bidding or for providing safe havens to some groups of anti-US militants, as well as the mounting pressure for taking certain actions is a part of well thought out psychological war against Pakistan.

Venomous Secretary Defence Leon Panetta has promptly picked up the threads from where he left them as Director CIA. During his recent visit to Kabul, he urged Pakistan to go after Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Pakistan needs to call the bluff and ask Americans to pinpoint Al-Zawahiri’s exact location and make an offer of conducting a joint operation. The US media has also stepped up its campaign of vilification against Pakistan, by finding holes in the military and ISI’s performance and reincarnating the old stories regarding some former Generals’ kickbacks for allegedly supplying nuclear secrets to North Korea. Admiral Mike Mullen sternly stated that the Pakistani government had “sanctioned” the killing of a Pakistani journalist. American ambassador in Islamabad violated the diplomatic norms and made an uncalled for statement during recent Karachi disturbances.

Announcing the decision to hold back a portion of aid, the US said Pakistan was an important ally but there were “difficulties” to overcome in this relationship. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told ABC television that Pakistan had “taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid”. “When it comes to our military assistance, we’re not prepared to continue providing that at the pace that we were providing it unless and until we see certain steps taken,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. Pentagon has stated that Pakistan’s aid would be resumed if the expelled ‘trainers’ are again permitted to resume their functions. The US trainers stationed in Pakistan were monitored and found involved in illegal operations that aimed at acquainting themselves with the Pakistani terrain in FATA, KPH and Baluchistan. Hence they were expelled.

Reacting to American decision to withhold a portion of aid, Pakistan’s military spokesperson said, “The US decision will have no significant effect on Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts…The Pakistan Army will continue its operations in the tribal areas as it was doing in the past.”  On an average, Pakistan gets $600 million a year under the Coalition Support Fund. During the recent years, flow of CSF was often interrupted on one flimsy pretext or the other. During the last ten years, against an expected figure of over US$ 13 b, Pakistan got US$ 8.6 b as military aid. Out of this amount, only US$ 2.6 b went to the military, rest was used by the government for civil sector budgetary support!

For quite some time, the American Joint Special Operation Command, in unison with infamous Black-water category troops, has been conducting assassinations of high value targets in Pakistan. This clandestine guerrilla war inside Pakistan was further hyped by General David Petraeus while he was commanding the US troops in Afghanistan, in collaboration with former CIA chief Leon Panetta. It is not without reason that the duo has been retained in Obama’s new war team.

Time has come for Pakistan’s national leadership to undertake a holistic review of Pakistan’s multidimensional relations with the US. There is a need to clearly articulate the steps that Pakistan would undertake in case of a repeat of Geronimo like cowardly act. Military leadership needs to come out of an aura of complacency and upgrade the readiness posture to minimise the chances of success of such operations in future. Moreover, public opinion needs to be informed that even with full military readiness, there would still remain some chances of success of such cowardly covert missions.

The Inquiry Commission looking into Abbottabad incident is expected to conduct a wholesome probe digging into the reasons that led to this strategic fiasco. It would be worthwhile to refer to the recommendations of Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission, and extent of their implementation. Commission must also evaluate the correctness of our national policy after 9/11 which led to incremental proliferation of American influence in some important institutions including the media. There is also a need to re-evaluate the military doctrine and the efficacy of our Higher Defence Organisation by comparing it with contemporary models. Commission would only do a worthwhile service to the nation if it comes out with convincing findings to fix the responsibility alongside concrete recommendations to avoid recurrences.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan: ABBOTTABAD FIASCO

Libya’s Palestinian Refugees: The current crisis


By Franklin Lamb


As Tripoli’s Palestinian Refugees awakened the morning of 7/17/11, like the rest of us here, they saw in the western sky over the Mediterranean a vast swatch of black stratocumulus clouds of acrid smoke from last night’s NATO bombing.

This latest attack, in the Ain Zara and Tajoura districts in the eastern suburbs of Tripoli killed 3 more civilians

increasing the more than 1,100 total civilian deaths by NATO, according to Libyan Ministry of Health statistics. This latest attack is believed to have employed four US MK-83, 1000 lb. guided bombs and four US hell fire missiles.

// Two weeks ago, on 6/23/11 the Abdullah Muhammad Ash-Shihab Palestinian refugee family of four which included Abdullah, his wife Karime and their six-month-old twins Khalid and Juanah were among civilians killed in a NATO bombing attack. The family had lived in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus, Syria but came here seeking Libya’s well known security and quiet life.

Men Under the Sun – by Ghassan Kanafani

The tragic death of the uprooted Palestinian Abdullah Muhammad Ash-Shihab

and his family recalls the story of three Palestinians trying to escape from

their miserable lives in refugee camps by travelling to Kuwait in search of jobs.

The difficulty of obtaining a visa forced them to pay a “smuggler” to transfer

them to Kuwait in his tank.

At the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border, they entered the tank and under the heat of the

Desert sun, they died inside the tank.

Their story reflects the political and social conditions that surround

the issue of the besieged uprooted Palestinians and their desperate attempts to break

the siege.

The only difference is that Palestinians like Abdullah Muhammad Ash-Shihab and his

family holding travel documents were able to enter Libya without a visa

but unfortunately got besieged again.

Tripoli’s humid air is still pungent with the smell of cordite. Many Palestinians, like the increasingly defiant population of Western Libya, view the bombing and killing of yet more civilians as NATO’s answer to “Baba” (father) Qaddafi’s resistance broadcast Friday night on state-run Libyan TV, just three hours after the decisions made by the 30 member Contact Group at Istanbul were announced.

T?he Istanbul assembly, claiming authority from UNSC resolutions 1979 and 1973, to “protect the civilian population” granted additional diplomatic recognition and funds to the anti-Qaddafi National Transition Council (NTC).

Five months ago, when the events of February 17, 2011 erupted in Benghazi near the eastern shore of the Gulf of Sidra, this country’s nearly 75,000 Palestinian refugees who are dispersed all over the country, were as shocked as most Libyans and foreigners here. Virtually every Palestinian interviewed for this report mentioned that they saw no advance signs that the normal domestic tranquility would be suddenly shattered.

Some of the thousands of Palestinians who came here from Lebanon to escape the civil war, the post Sabra-Shatila Massacre reign of terror with which they were targeted from the US and Israel supported Amin Gemayel government, and it’s the Deuxieme Bureau (Lebanese Army Intelligence Force), asked the Beirut new Lebanese-Palestinian Coordination Commission to urgently intervene with the Lebanese government to let them depart Libya aboard ships and return to Lebanon. They received no assistance or even a reply.

When the violence continued and then started to spread rapidly, Palestinians from Lebanese camps appealed to president Michel Suleiman and the Palestine Embassy in Tripoli, Libya (there is no Lebanese Embassy in Libya because of the August 31,1978 “disappearance” of the Lebanese Shia leader, Imam Musa Sadr) to help them leave this country.   Nearly one million others quickly departed, including thousands of foreign workers, among them 20,000 of the 30,000 Chinese based here who have been busy in Libya in all manner of commercial ventures.

This, to the growing consternation of some of the NATO countries and certainly the French who withdrew from NATO in 1966 on the initiative of President Charles De Gaulle, only to have President Nickolas Sarkozy return France with full membership in the military alliance. France is angry because they blame Qaddafi first and China second for their loss of most of their commercial relations in Africa even among their former colonies. President Sarkozy has made plain that France intends to benefit with oil contracts once NATO succeeds and a new more friendly government is installed.

The published Palestinian refugee appeal read:

“We the Palestinians living in Libya, some for more than 35 years have come from Lebanon to flee (civil) war and resided among our brothers in Libya where we got married and worked. However, after the 17 February insurrection and the worsening security situation, we are trying to leave the country via its ports but were not allowed because of inadequate travel documents. We are now stranded and sell our belongings to eat; we do not have work or shelter and do not know what to do or where to go.”

Not even a reply to this request has been received five months later. This silence comes as no surprise given Lebanon’s deeply ingrained hostility toward its remaining 270.000 Palestinians, roughly half of whom remain trapped in 12 squalid camps, and not one of whom is granted even the basic internationally mandated right to work or to own a home.

Umm Mohammed, a 70-year-old woman, who is from the Maghazi area in central Gaza Strip spent days sitting in front of her tent near the border crossing at Salloum at the Libyan-Egyptian border, hoping to return to Gaza after she fled fighting between security battalions loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan rebels in the Albayda’a area. She commented, ‘‘I do not know how to express displacement and disaster I and my family have experienced for the past sixty years”.

Rami Diab, a 67-year-old Palestinian refugee who was born in the Zionist occupied city of Ashkelon, also hopes to return to the Gaza Strip to save his family from war raging in Libya. “I left my family home in Benghazi and headed to the crossing of Salloum to try to take refuge in the Gaza Strip. But we did not have permission to enter Egypt.”

Entry Denied to Egypt

Approximately 3000 Palestinians have tried to cross into Egypt since Monday 7 March, 2011, but the Egyptian military had received instructions to not let Palestinians refugees in. Many Palestinians who had travelled to the border returned home, to the Libyan cities of Benghazi and Tobruk and adjacent areas. On Tuesday March 8, 2011, 15 Palestinians were still in Salloum demanding to cross, while hundreds of other Palestinians refusing to go back to their homes, had chosen to wait in the homes of Libyan host families in a village near the crossing. It has been reported that Palestinians without national identity cards or valid residency in Egypt were not allowed to cross, whereas even Asian laborers without papers managed to get into the country.

The Palestinian Authority has tried to coordinate the evacuation of the Palestinian community in Libya and indeed Israel offered to allow 300 into the occupied territories as a “humanitarian gesture”. The first flow of Palestinian refugees that was evacuated followed unverified NTC reports of pro-Gaddafi’s forces detaining a group of 43 Palestinian students in Misurata after they reportedly refused to join the pro-regime forces. By the end of February 2011, a total of 104 Palestinian students had left Libya.

Mohammad Hammad, director of cultural affairs at the Palestinian consulate in Alexandria, arrived at the Salloum crossing on the Egypt-Libya border in early March to provide assistance to fleeing Palestinians. Currently, more than 100,000 Palestinian refugees live in Egypt, most of whom were expelled following Israel’s 1967 invasion and occupation of the Gaza Strip

According to Mr. Hammad, most Palestinians arriving in Egypt were sent back to Libya by the authorities. According to Egyptian officials, Egyptian law requires Palestinians who enter Egypt to have a visa from the host country’s embassy first. For this reason, the Palestinian Authority ambassador in Cairo tried to obtain this permission from the Egyptian government in order to allow them to go to the Gaza Strip via Egypt. Hammad reported that the Palestinian consulate in Cairo was providing refugees with essential supplies. The situation is critical, he said, with “families living outdoors without anything. Many of them do not even have money and turned to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for emergency help.

UNHCR does not usually deal with Palestinians in the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) area of operations, which is mainly the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, but following the February 17 eruption, it did provide some Palestinians with help during February-April. This is a welcomed exception to UNHCR practice and it recognizes that all of Libya’s Palestinians are refugees and hence UNHCR has the humanitarian obligation to protect them, especially since Egypt and Libya are not included in the UNRWA area of operations.

The current chain of misfortunes started for the refugees pictured with the U.N. blockade of Libya in 1992. This was followed by Libya’s attempt to expand employment opportunities for its own nationals. This was accompanied by a widening gulf of distrust between the Libyan government and the PLO, especially after the signing of the Oslo accords. In September 1995, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi announced that all Palestinians in Libya, estimated at 30,000, would be expelled. It was a partial bluff which he meant to be a blow to the newly formed Palestinian Authority. His message to the Yasser Arafat was, “If you do not have sovereignty, do not claim to be in control. If you cannot provide shelter for your citizens, do not pretend to be their governor.”

As the expulsions began, Palestinians were put on ships without a destination. Lebanon and Syria accepted a fraction that had lived there previously. Egypt allowed Palestinian expellees with valid travel documents to pass through its land, but none were allowed to stay for more than 24 hours. Thirty-six Palestinians were stranded for several weeks at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, waiting for permission from the Israeli authorities to enter Gaza. However, the majority of those expelled had no place to go. The next month, in October 1995, Qaddafi redefined the order to allow the luckless Palestinians to return to Libya until their “government” finds a better place for them.

There have been some fears expressed by Hamas and others that the Qaddafi regime may take revenge on Libya’s Palestinian community because of rumors than some Palestinians are involved with the Muslim Brotherhood in Benghazi and even with some of the Salafist groups comprising part of the National Transition Council. In addition, anti-Qaddafi protests, graffiti, and burning of Qaddafi poster in Gaza fueled these fears by Hamas and the refugee community here.

However, this observer has been repeatedly assured by Libyan officials in Tripoli that Palestinians in Libya are welcome, will retain all their civil rights (please refer to Part II) and will in no way be discriminated against or pressured due to some Palestinians presumably favoring the NTC. (On this subject and the current legal and social status of Palestinian refugees in Libya please refer to Part II)

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