Archive | May 15th, 2012

Stop the Amazon Chainsaw Massacre

NOVANEWS
Dear friends,

Brazil’s Congress has just passed a bill that gives loggers and farmers free rein to cut down huge swaths of the Amazon. OnlyPresident Dilma can veto it.Domestic pressure is mounting, but a massive global outcry will prove her international reputation is at stake. Let’s tip her over the edge to stop the Amazon chainsaw massacre — sign the urgent petition and tell everyone:

Sign the petition

The Brazilian Congress has just passed a catastrophic forestry bill that gives loggers and farmers free rein to cut down huge swaths of the Amazon. Now only President Dilma can stop it.

Fortunately, the timing is on our side — in weeks Dilma will host the world’s biggest environmental summit and insiders say she cannot afford to open it as the leader who approved the destruction of the rainforest. She’s facing mounting domestic pressure, with 79% of Brazilians rejecting this new bill. Now, if we join them we can turn up the global heat and push her to axe the bill, not the rainforest.

Dilma could make her decision any day. Let’s get her to veto the bill now. Click below to sign the urgent petition to stop the Amazon chainsaw massacre and if you have already signed —send this to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/veto_dilma_global/?vl

The Amazon is vital to life on earth — 20% of our oxygen comes from this magnificent rainforest, and it plays a key role in mitigating global climate change.  Over the last decade, Brazil has vastly reduced deforestation rates, achieving a 78% decline between 2004 and 2011. The reason? A world-acclaimed forestry law, strong enforcement and satellite monitoring.

But this dangerous new bill would open up an area the size of France and Britain combined to clear-cutting and gives loggers amnesty for all past deforestation crimes. This would not only spark total forest devastation in Brazil, it would also set a bad precedent for other countries. That’s why it’s so crucial that we all protect it.

Brazil is a rapidly developing country, battling to lift tens of millions out of poverty. Despite evidence that growth does not require deforestation, Dilma is under pressure from the powerful agriculture lobby that helped her get elected to cut down rainforest for profit. And it is an ugly battle — activists are being murdered, intimidated and silenced. But ex-Environmental Ministers and people across Brazil have sent a clear message to Dilma that they want to save the Amazon. Now, it’s up to all of us to stand with them and urge President Dilma to remain strong.

The fate of Brazil’s rainforests is dangling by a thread. But, with President Dilma so vulnerable to public pressure right now, we can bring the global force of people power to get a win for our planet! Sign the urgent petition below and tell everyone — the petition will be delivered by Brazil’s former Environment Ministers directly to Dilma:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/veto_dilma_global/?vl

In the last three years, we have won battle after battle against the odds. Now, let’s come together before it is too late to stop the destruction of the Amazon, protect our planet and herald Dilma as a true international environmental leader.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Pedro, Maria Paz, Alice, Ricken, Carol, Lisa, Rewan and the entire Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION:

Brazil’s Congress approves controversial forest law (BBC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17851237

Brazil Forest Code Passes In Defeat For Dilma Rousseff (Huffington Post)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/brazil-forest-code_n_1457149.html

Revised Brazilian Forest Code good for environmental criminals, bad for forests (IB Times)
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/20120501/revised-brazilian-forest-code-environmental-criminals-forests-common.htm

Amazon deforestation record low (BBC)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8358094.stm

Brazilians reject axing of forest protections (WWF)
http://wwf.panda.org/?uNewsID=200698

Posted in HealthComments Off on Stop the Amazon Chainsaw Massacre

الربيع وصل الى الاردن؟

Posted By: Siba Bizri

Arabic Shoah Edtor in Chief

تسفي بارئيل

فايز فايز باي باي، إذهب مع عون الى لاهاي’، ‘لا فايز ولا غيره ـ بس الشعب يقرر مصيره’، هذه الشعارات التي اطلقها اكثر من الف شخص شاركوا يوم الجمعة في المظاهرة في الاردن، كانت موجهة ظاهرا الى رئيس الوزراء حديث العهد فايز الطراونة، الذي حل محل عون الخصاونة في منصبه (الذي كان قاضي المحكمة الدولية في لاهاي).ولكن الهدف الحقيقي لاصوات الاحتجاج كان مكتب الملك عبدالله. 

ظاهرا، الثورة العربية قفزت عن الاردن. فلم تشهد المملكة مظاهرات كبرى ضد نظام الحكم أو ضد الملك.
ولكن الدولة تعتمل. يوم السبت صرح رئيس اتحاد شركات الصناعة الصغيرة والمتوسطة، فتحي الجربير، بانه اذا رفعت الحكومة سعر الكهرباء، فاننا سنغلق مصانعنا ونسلم المفاتيح للحكومة. وحسب المعطيات التي عرضها، فان اكثر من 60 في المئة من العاملين في الاردن في القطاع الخاص يعملون في مصانع صغيرة ومتوسطة، يصل فيها بند النفقات على الكهرباء الى نحو 30 في المئة من مداخيلها. 

في نفس اليوم عقدت امام قصر الملك مظاهرة هادئة لـ 300 ضرير ومرافقيهم، طالبوا تحسين ظروفهم والحرص لهم على أماكن عمل. اما الحكومة على طريقتها، فوعدت بالبحث في طلبهم، ولكن لولا تدخل قوات الامن، التي فرقت المتظاهرين الذين سعوا الى الدخول الى البلاط الملكي، لكان هذا الاضراب استمر لعدة ايام اخرى. مظاهرات العمال في المحافظات هي موضوع شبه دائم، مثل اضراب عمال مصانع التبغ، ممن يطالبون برفع اجورهم بما يتناسب مع التضخم المالي (الذي يبلغ نحو 6 في المائة في السنة)، أو عمال ادارة محافظة البتراء ممن يطالبون بتحسين شروطعملهم. 

ومع أن هذه اضرابات صغيرة، محلية، لا تعرض للخطر استقرار النظام، على الاقل ليس في هذه المرحلة، ولكن اضرابات ‘صغيرة’ تطورت الى اضرابات كبرى اشارت ايضا الى بداية الثورة في مصر قبل سبع سنوات. والان، عندما تكون أجواء اعصيان هي جزء من الواقع القائم في الاردن ايضا، فمن شأن هذه الاضرابات ان تصبح كرة ثلج. تعيين رؤساء وزراء جدد الطراونة هو العاشر منذ تتويج عبدالله في العام 1999 ـ استخدم بشكل عام كعلاج لتهدئةالخواطر. 

كما أن تعبير ‘حكومة تكنوقراط’ هو جزء من القاموس الذي تبناه الملك عبدالله، كي يظهر نيته الجدية في احداث اصلاحات على الاقتصاد وعلى النظام. ولكن بالذات تعبير الاصلاحات اصبح رديفا لعجز الملك. ومع ان البنك الدولي يثني في تقريره الاخير على الاعمال التي تتخذها الحكومة الاردنية، الا انه يطالبها بتطبيق اصلاحات حقيقية، وبالاساس التقليص العميق للدعم الحكومي للوقود والكهرباء، والذي يكلف صندوق الدولة نحو 2 مليار دولار. مشكوك أن يستجيب الملك المحب للاصلاحات لهذا الطلب الذي من شأنه أن يرفع الاسعار وان يخرج الى الشوارع الاف المتظاهرين. وفي السنة الماضية أيضا حاول الملك تقليص الدعم الحكومي ولكنه سرعان ما تراجع عن ذلك ولا سيمافي ضوء الخوف من انتقال الثورة العربية الى نطاق المملكة.

قاموس ‘الاصلاحات’، ‘التكنوقراطيين’، ‘الشفافية’ كف عن الاقناع، ولا سيما حركات المعارضة والكتلة الاسلامية والاخوان المسلمين ممن يطالبون الان بصوت آخذ بالتصاعد بتغييرات جوهرية ليس فقط في الحكومة، بل في نظام الحكم. 

‘عصبة الفاسدين سيطرت على سياقات اتخاذ القرارات وهي تملك الاحتكار على مقدرات الدولة، ثروتها ومؤسساتها الوطنية وكلما كان خلاف فانه يحسم في صالح اجهزة الامن’، جاء في بيان لحركة الاخوان المسلمين الاردنيين. وهذا هو البيان الاكثر حدة الذي اطلقه الاخوان حتى الان. وهم يتهمون بشكل محدد ‘القرار السياسي والاقتصادي في صالحالدول الامبريالية، الامر الذي دهور الدولة الى العجز، الاهمال والمذلة’. ‘القرار’ هو بالطبع قرار الملك.

قرار الملك تغيير قانون الانتخابات بشكل يسمح بانتخاب الاحزاب على اساس سياسي وليس فقط شخصي، يبدو الان كعلاج غير كاف لشكاوى المعارضة. كما أن تعيين لجنة رقابة على الانتخابات، برئاسة عبد الاله الخطيب، وزير الخارجية الاردنية السابق، يبعث التخوف من ‘رقابة ملكية’ على الانتخابات، من شأنها ان تغير نتائجها. قانون الانتخابات، الذي لم يقر بعد، والذي اعتبره حتى الاخوان المسلمون ‘خطوة الى الامام’، ولكن صغيرة ومتأخرة، لانه لا يتضمن مثلا اعادة توزيع المحافظات الانتخابية، بحيث يمنع الانتصار المضمون لممثلي العشائر البدوية المؤيدة للملك. وبالاساس، ليس واضحا في هذه الاثناء متى ستجرى الانتخابات. صحيح أن الملك يريد تقديم موعدها، ولكن المعارضة تطلب بداية تغيير مشروع قانون الانتخابات. 

السؤال المقلق الآن هو الى أي مدى يقصد الملك بجدية توزيع قوته ومنح مزيد من القوة للبرلمان والسماح بنشاط سياسي حقيقي، وبالاساس، تغيير وجه اقتصاد المملكة. اذا ما حاكمنا الامور حسب سنوات حكمه الـ 13، فان احتمال ذلك ليس كبيرا.

Posted in Arabic, JordanComments Off on الربيع وصل الى الاردن؟

Iran executes alleged Mossad agent for killing nuclear scientist

NOVANEWS

Massoud Ali Mohammadi - AP - 14.1.2010

People carrying the flag-draped body of slain Iranian physics professor, Massoud Ali Mohammadi in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.

Haaretz

Iran has hanged a man it said was an agent for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad whom it convicted of killing one of its nuclear scientists in 2010, Iranian state media reported on Tuesday.

Twenty-four year old Majid Jamali Fashi was hanged at Tehran’s Evin Prison after being sentenced to death in August last year for the murder of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Iran’s state news agency quoted the central prosecutor’s office as saying. It said he had confessed to the crime.

Ali-Mohammadi was killed in January 2010 when a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle outside his home in Tehran went off.

Tuesday’s report said Fashi had travelled abroad on several occasions to receive training from Mossad before returning to Iran to plot the assassination.

Yet Western analysts said Ali-Mohammadi, a 50-year-old Tehran University professor, had little, if any, role in Iran’s sensitive nuclear program. A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said at the time he was not involved in its activities. The most recent attack on an Iranian scientist occurred in January. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan – a deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility – was killed when a magnetic bomb planted on his vehicle detonated.

Tehran has accused Israel and the United States of assassinating four Iranian scientists in order to sabotage its controversial nuclear program. Washington has denied any U.S. role, while Israel has declined to comment.

Last month, Iranian intelligence officials said they had arrested 15 people they called a “major terror and sabotage network with links to the Zionist regime”. The group had plotted to assassinate an Iranian scientist in February, the authorities said.

Iran denies Western accusations it is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, but major powers are pushing Tehran to become more transparent and cooperative ahead of talks later this month.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday warned the European Union would impose tougher sanctions on Iran if it failed to take concrete steps to allay international concerns over its nuclear program.

Posted in IranComments Off on Iran executes alleged Mossad agent for killing nuclear scientist

AIPAC Resolution Demanding War With Iran On House Floor Tomorrow

NOVANEWS

By M.J. Rosenberg

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives is slated to vote on a resolution designed to tie the president’s hands on Iran policy. The resolution, which is coming up under an expedited House procedure, was the centerpiece of AIPAC’s recent conference. In fact, 13,000 AIPAC delegates were dispatched to Capitol Hill, on the last day of the conference, with instructions to tell the senators and representatives whom they met that supporting this resolution was #1 on AIPAC’s election year agenda.

Accordingly, it is not particularly surprising that the resolution is being rushed to the House floor for a vote, nor that it is expected to pass with very little opposition. Those voting “no” on this one will pay a price in campaign contributions (the ones they won’t receive) and, very likely, will be smeared as “anti-Israel.” That is how it works.

Most of the language in H. Res.568 is unremarkable, the usual boilerplate (some of it factual) denouncing the Islamic Republic of Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism” that is on the road to nuclear weapons capability.

The resolution’s overarching message is that Iran must be deterred from developing weapons, a position the White House (and our allies share). That is why the sanctions regime is in place and also why negotiations with Iran have resumed (the next session is May 23).

But the resolution does not stop with urging the president to use his authority to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. If it did, the resolution would be uncontroversial .

But there is also this: The House “urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Think about that.

The resolution, which almost surely will pass on Tuesday, is telling the president that he may not “rely on containment” in response to “the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Since the resolution, and U.S. policy itself defines Iranian possession of nuclear weapons as, ipso facto, a threat, Congress would be telling the president that any U.S. response to that threat other than war is unacceptable. In fact, it goes farther than that, not only ruling out containment of a nuclear armed Iran but also containment of an Iran that has a “nuclear weapons capability.”

That means that the only acceptable response to a nuclear armed or nuclear capable Iran is not containment but its opposite: war.

Any doubt that this is the intention of the backers of this approach was removed back in March, when the Senate was considering new Iran sanctions. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bob Casey (D-PA) offered their own “no containment” language to the sanctions bill and the Senate moved to quickly to accept it.

However, amending a bill once it is already on the Senate floor requires unanimous consent and one, and only one, senator objected. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that he would oppose the containment clause unless a provision was added specifying that “nothing in the Act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran…”

That did it.

Neither the Democratic or Republican leadership would accept that (knowing that AIPAC wouldn’t) and Paul’s objection killed the bill, for the time being. In other words, the purpose of “no containment” language is precisely to make war virtually automatic. Because Paul’s provision would thwart that goal, it was unacceptable.

So now it’s the House’s turn.

On the substance, the “no containment” idea is absurd and reckless.

Imagine if President Kennedy had been told by the Congress back in 1962 that if the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba, he would have no choice but to attack Cuba or the USSR. If it had, it is likely none of us would be around today.

Presidents need latitude to make decisions affecting matters of national security and, until now, all presidents have been afforded it, as provided for in the United States Constitution. But, in the case of Iran, the cheerleaders for war are trying to change the rules. They are doing that because they understand that after almost a decade of war, the last thing Americans want is another one.

No president is going to ask Congress to declare war, or even to authorize it. Making war against Iran automatic would eliminate that problem. (That is precisely Sen. Paul’s objection; he believes that backing into war is unconstitutional. He recalls the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964 which led to ten years of war in Vietnam and 50,000 American dead without a declaration of war or even a specific authorization for war).

So why would the House vote for a resolution like this? The main reason is AIPAC. It may be the only lobby pushing for war with Iran but it also, by far, the most powerful foreign policy lobby and also the one that sees to it that those who play ball with it are rewarded and those who don’t are punished. AIPAC has been pushing war with Iran for a decade; it won’t stop until the missiles fly.

The other reason is that the resolution is non-binding. Voting for it is good politics but does not affect policy.

Believing that is a mistake. An overwhelming vote for “no containment” may not tie the president’s hands legally, but it does go a long way to tying his hands politically. After all, Congress will be expressing its clear (bipartisan) intent. A president cannot easily ignore that.

Moreover, the lobby is unlikely to stop with a non-binding resolution. Once the House and Senate have passed that, the lobby will look for an opportunity to make it binding. The goal is to take the president’s discretion away from him because this president is unlikely to choose war when there are other options available.

It is those options that the lobby is determined to block. It remains hell-bent for war

Posted in USAComments Off on AIPAC Resolution Demanding War With Iran On House Floor Tomorrow

Syrian rebels (terrorists) ask Kosovo (terrorists) for advice

NOVANEWS

foxnews.com

PRISTINA, Kosovo –  A Syrian dissident said Thursday his country’s opposition is turning to Kosovo’s former rebels-turned-politicians for advice on how to topple Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus.

Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled anti-Assad activist, said that seeing a new country “emerging out of the nightmare and emerging as a state” could be inspiring for Syrian dissidents.

Assad’s government has cracked down on a 13-month-old popular uprising in Syria, leading to an estimated 9,000-plus deaths.

“We are here to learn,” Abdulhamid said during an interview with The Associated Press in Pristina. “Kosovo has gone through an experience that I think will be very useful to us in terms of how the different armed groups that formed the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) organized themselves.”

Abdulhamid is one of three Syrian opposition activists visiting Kosovo, where they met former Kosovo rebels who fought a separatist war against Serbia in 1998-99. Serbia still rejects Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.

No details were given about the meetings with former rebels whose identities were not disclosed.

Syria’s opposition has been criticized for failing to put up a more united front.

“We really need to get our act together as opposition coalitions,” Abdulhamid said.

The dissident, who has been living in exile in the United States since 2005, compared the apparent lack of unity among Syria’s opposition to Kosovo’s own political divisions in the late 1990s between pacifist leader Ibrahim Rugova and armed rebels.

“Somehow they’ve managed to make it work so that gives us a hope that we can also rise above the differences and make transition to democracy in Syria something viable,” Abdulhamid said.

The ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army launched an uprising against the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic in 1997. Serbia’s response provoked international condemnation and led to NATO’s 78-day bombing in 1999 that ended the crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians and brought Kosovo under U.N. administration. About 10,000 people died in the Kosovo conflict.

Russia supports Serbia in rejecting Kosovo’s declaration of independence, which many countries, including the U.S. and most EU countries, support.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syrian rebels (terrorists) ask Kosovo (terrorists) for advice

Iran Exile Group Nears U.S. Rebirth

NOVANEWS

 

[MEK]

State Department Is Moving to Take MeK Off Banned List at Risk of Angering Iran

Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is moving to remove an Iranian opposition group from the State Department’s terrorism list, say officials briefed on the talks, in an action that could further poison Washington’s relations with Tehran at a time of renewed diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

The exile organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, was originally named as a terrorist entity 15 years ago for its alleged role in assassinating U.S. citizens in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and for allying with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein against Tehran.

The MeK has engaged in an aggressive legal and lobbying campaign in Washington over the past two years to win its removal from the State Department’s list. The terrorism designation, which has been in place since 1997, freezes the MeK’s assets inside the U.S. and prevents the exile group from fundraising.

Senior U.S. officials said on Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to make any final decision on the MeK’s status. But they said the State Department was looking favorably at delisting MeK if it continued cooperating by vacating a former paramilitary base inside Iraq, called Camp Ashraf, which the group had used to stage cross-border strikes into Iran.

The group has already renounced terrorism, which was the main earlier sticking point. Residents have resisted leaving the camp because they feared retribution if they were returned to Iran and political irrelevancy abroad.

The U.S. officials said Mrs. Clinton would make her final decision on the MeK’s status no less than 60 days after the last MeK member is relocated from Camp Ashraf to a new transit facility near Baghdad International Airport. The U.S. is working with the United Nations to resettle Camp Ashraf residents in third countries. Roughly 1,200 people remain at the camp from an earlier population of over 3,000.

“The MeK’s cooperation in the successful and peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf…will be a key factor in her decision regarding the MeK’s [foreign-terrorist organization] status,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Monday.

Western and Iranian diplomats are concerned that the MeK issue could draw serious recriminations from Tehran, which has been fixated on neutralizing the group. Many of Iran’s top leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were targets of MeK attacks during the 1980s.

Iran has regularly accused Western countries of hypocrisy for providing shelter to MeK members while criticizing Tehran’s support for militant groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. “We believe that despite the claims that others make about fighting terrorism, they [Western nations] provide the most support for terrorist groups,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said last week. “In Europe, the MeK has already been removed from the list of terrorist organizations and they are completely safe to continue their activities.”

U.S. officials said that the moves weren’t related to coming nuclear talks, but are tied to the MeK’s legal challenge to its designation in a Washington appeals court.

A judge ordered the State Department to review the MeK’s status nearly two years ago, and congressional rules maintain the process should take only 180 days.

“There is a great deal of animosity among Iranian officialdom toward the MeK. But Our delisting has to be done by the facts and the law,” said a senior U.S. official. “Any move to delist should not be seen as a sign of our support.”

Other officials briefed on the MeK issue said Mrs. Clinton purposefully tied the closing of Camp Ashraf to the designation issue to defuse a thorny diplomatic issue between Washington and Baghdad. The U.S. military had provided security at the camp before pulling its forces from Iraq last year. Baghdad now controls the camp and has threatened to return MeK members to Iran if it isn’t swiftly closed.

These officials stressed that Mrs. Clinton could still rule against delisting the MeK due to other information gathered on its role in terrorism. But they acknowledged it would be difficult politically for Mrs. Clinton to maintain the designation after publicly stating the importance of the Camp Ashraf issue.

“The secretary’s statement was clear that there’s a relationship between delisting and closing Ashraf. It is also true that we are making progress,” said an official briefed on the deliberations. “To make that assertion on your own that the MeK will be removed is a realistic one. But in policy making you never know for sure what will happen.”

The MeK’s status has become an explosive political issue inside Washington and a major irritant in U.S.-Iranian relations.

The group, despite its history of terrorism and anti-Americanism, reoriented itself after Saddam Hussein’s 2003 fall and the capturing of Camp Ashraf by U.S. forces. The MeK renounced violence and turned over its weapons. And it has cooperated with the U.S. and U.N. in gathering intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.

This ideological shift by the MeK has been accompanied by an intensive lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill. A number of former senior U.S. officials said they were offered payments to speak on behalf of the MeK, including James Jones, President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser, and James Woolsey, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Jones confirmed last year that he received a fee, but declined to specify how much. Mr. Woolsey said he waives his usual speaker’s fee.

Spotlight on Iran

Take a look at key dates in the U.S.-Iran relationship and recent international sanctions, details on major players, a map of major nuclear sites, and possible naval strategies.

The Treasury Department has an continuing inquiry into payments made to MeK advocates, for possible violation of sanctions that prohibit financial dealings with terrorist groups. It is unclear how any delisting would affect that probe.

The deliberations over the MeK’s status come as the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, are gathering in Baghdad next week for negotiations with Iran aimed at curbing its nuclear program. Officials from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency met Monday with Iranian officials in Vienna and pressed for greater access to the country’s nuclear facilities.

Diplomats and Iran analysts worry that any moves to delist the MeK could result in Iran driving up its demands at the negotiating table. Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, but also says it needs advanced weapons systems to guard against the U.S. and other hostile states. The MeK issue will likely be perceived in Tehran as another American-led effort to topple Iran’s theocratic government, these analysts said.

“In the cynical, conspiratorial world view of the Iranian regime, delisting the MeK will be interpreted in Tehran as validation that Washington’s underlying goal is regime change, not behavior change,” said Karim Sadjadpour of Washington’s Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Critics of the MeK allege that the organization has no major support inside Iran and that its leaders, who are based outside Paris, run the group like a cult. They also worry that any perceived U.S. support for it could undercut the Iranian opposition, known as the Green Movement, which pushed for democratic change during 2009 street protests.

Still, the organization has large support on Capitol Hill. And some lawmakers are seeking to use the possible delisting of the organization to begin providing U.S. financial support. Congress took similar steps in the 1990s to provide funding to Iraq’s opposition and, in particular, the exiled politician, Ahmad Chalabi.

“If there’s a coalition against the mullahs, then we should fund that coalition, and the MeK should be a part of it,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.). He cautioned that for now, he wasn’t advocating directly funding MeK. “The MeK has the resources to resist and fight the mullah dictatorship. They don’t need our money, they just need us to get out of the way and take the shackles off.”

Posted in IranComments Off on Iran Exile Group Nears U.S. Rebirth

السوق التجاري انتهى إلى غير رجعة

Posted By: Siba Bizri

Arabic Shoah Editor in Chief

عد نزوح فلسطينيّي البارد إثر تدمير مخيمهم، سكن معظمهم في مخيم وجبل البداوي، حيث فتحوا سوقاً تجارية على امتداد الطريق الفاصلةبين المخيم والجبل، لكن تلك السوق لا تشبه ما كان سائداً في مخيم البارد

روبير عبد الله – صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية 

البداوي | «كان الزلمة بالنهار يخاف يمر من هون»، هكذا يصف الحاج حسني عبد الغني، الفلسطيني المسنّ الذي لفّ الدنيا، موقع السوق الجديدة التي أوجدتها الحاجة هنا في البداوي، بين المخيم والجبل المسمى باسمها، إثر تدمير البارد، حيث كان السوق القديمة الشهيرة.

يسترزق عبد الغني اليوم من دكان سمانة وحلويات للأطفال على الشارع العام. للوهلة الأولى أخذني الظن نحو افتراض أن سنوات الرجل الثمانين قد ذهبت ببعض عقله، فراح يخلط بين لبنان وفلسطين، لكنه عاجلني بجملة، ما عادت تتردد لا في أزقة المخيمات ومكاتب فصائلها،ولا حتى في مكاتب الأحزاب اللبنانية، قال ببساطة «ألسنا كلنا من بلاد الشام»؟

لم تكن الطريق التي تمر بمحاذاة مخيم البداوي، في موقع السوق اليوم من ناحية مدخله الشرقي، تشهد حركة مرور ملحوظة. فسكان المخيم كانوا يتحركون في اتجاه آخر يفضي الى المدينة، أي طرابلس، عبر مدخل المخيم الغربي. كان ابن زغرتا أو الضنية وعكار، وحتىابن البارد يمر عبر طرابلس، بدلاً من هذه الطريق المختصرة.

أما اليوم، فقد طبّعت حركة الناس المرور هنا، فأصبحت الطريق مألوفة، لا بل إنه ومع تهجير أبناء البارد، «عجقت» تماماً. ثم ما لبث الشارع أن أخذ يشهد ازدحاماً يتحول إلى اختناقات مرورية في أوقات الذروة، حتى إن صاحب محل لبيع الليمون أكد لنا، أن مرور السيارات لم يعد ينقطع حتى بعد منتصف الليل. ويضيف الرجل إن سبعين بالمئة من المحال التجارية على امتداد الشارع يستثمرها اليوم أبناء البارد،وعشرين بالمئة فقط من أبناء مخيم البداوي. أما اللبنانيون، فلا يستثمرون إلا عدداً قليلاً جداً من المحال هنا.

وإذ يرى صاحب محل الليمون أنه محظوظ لأن بلدية البداوي وافقت على وضعه بسطته بمحاذاة الشارع العام «شرط عدم مضايقة حركة المرور»، فإن غيره يعاني في المقابل الارتفاع المستجدّ في إيجارات المحال التجارية. فبينما كان محمد الخطيب يعيش مجاناً مع «أهلي وعمامي في بناية واحدة قبل ما نتهجر»، وكان الطابق الأول في البناية مخصصاً للمحال التجارية، يقول «هون تشتتنا»، مضيفاً: «أجرة المحل خمسمية دولار عدا مصروف الكهرباء والاشتراك والبلدية، اذا شلنا ما تدفعه لنا الأونروا (150$) كبدل إيجار شقة سكنية بانتظاراستلام البيوت بعد إعمار البارد، يبقى أن أدفع مئة دولار اضافية، فيصبح مصروفي حوالى 700 دولار في أحسن الأحوال».

لم يشكُ أيّ فلسطيني ممن قابلناهم من أيّ سوء معاملة من قبل جيرانهم اللبنانيين كما افترضنا. فهم يتقاسمون وإياهم الشقق في البناية الواحدة، ولا تحدث أية مشاكل بينهم بشأن صندوق البناية وما شابه من القضايا المشتركة، «لكن، يستدرك محمد مصطفى عياش، الجو هنا جو مدينة». يقصد طبيعة العلاقات بين الناس. ويوافقه الرأي جاره (رفض إعطاء بقية الاسم) صاحب مكتبة إياد، مضيفاً إن الشغل هنا اختلف عما كان عليه قرب البارد على طريق عكار «يمكن الشغل متأثر بوضع البلد، وكل سنة لوَرا». أما بالنسبة إلى المشاكل التي يمكن أن تحدث في الشارع في مناطق مثل هذه، مكتظة بسكان مؤقتين، فيؤكد لنا ابراهيم شحرور، وهو صاحب محل عصير، أن أياً منها لا يحصلهنا، حتى في الشارع العام، حيث يبقى الناس «سهرانين حتى الحادية عشرة ليلاً».

لكن اللبناني عبد السلام غمرواي، وهو من أهالي البداوي «الأصليين»، يرى أن مبيعات محله للزهور الاصطناعية تحسنت مع مجيء نازحي البارد، لكنها عادت إلى طبيعتها بعد حين. فقد افتتح منافسون له محالاً عدة للأصناف ذاتها. «لكن المتغير الأساسي، يضيف غمراوي، أن أبناء المنطقة ما عادوا بحاجة إلى التوجه إلى طرابلس، إذ صار لدينا شبه اكتفاء ذاتي»، بل إنه يذهب للتأكيد أن منطقة البداوي أصبحتتجذب زبائن من طرابلس «لأن الأسعار هنا أرخص»، تماماً كما كان يحصل قبل تدمير البارد.

فيوم دمر مخيم البارد وسوقه، وتشتت أهله في كل الأماكن ابتدعت قريحة حكومة السنيورة وقتها، ومن باب تهدئة عاصفة الاستنكار مقولة «الخروج مؤقت والعودة حتمية». مقولة أخرى حاول أصحابها، ومنهم كاتب هذه السطور، أن يعزّوا أنفسهم بها قائلين إن هذا النزوح سيكون إيجابياً، لأن انضمام أبناء البارد إلى مخيم البداوي وجواره يضاعف عدد الفلسطينيين المقيمين شرق مدينة طرابلس، وبالتالي يفعّل تأثيرهم السياسي كمجموعة. أما أبعد الاحتمالات، فكان إمكان نقل سوق مخيم البارد التجاري الشهير إلى البداوي، بأهميته نفسها التي كانت ما قبل النزوح.

ولدى مناقشة مسارات الاحتمالات المذكورة، رأى الاختصاصي في علم الاجتماع أحمد مفلح في حديث مع «الأخبار»، وهو من المقيمين بالقرب من مخيم البارد، أن ثمة فارقاً جوهرياً بين أبناء البارد وابناء البداوي. فأبناء الأول متحدرون من أصول قروية كسعسع وصفوريوعلما، وأبناء البداوي متحدرون من أصول مدينية، كحيفا ويافا وعكا.

ثم قال إن أبناء البارد نجحوا بالعمل التجاري مع أهالي عكار بداية، بسبب تشابه البنى الاجتماعية الفلاحية. ومن هنا جاء «الموقع الريادي لأبناء مخيم البارد في الثورة الفلسطينية»، لكونهم من أبناء الطبقات الكادحة بخلاف أبناء المدن الميسورين، الذين كانوا أكثر ميلاً إلىالعمل التنظيمي ضمن الأطر القيادية.

من هنا يرى مفلح أن تهجير الفلسطينيين من البارد قد يكون مؤقتاً، لكن هذا «المؤقت» الذي امتد خمس سنوات حتى الآن، وينتظر على الأقل خمس سنوات أخرى، سيُرجع إلى البارد جيلاً من الفلسطينيين بـ«سمات هجينة، فاقدة لطيبة وإخلاص ووفاء أهل القرى، من دون تمثل مهارات القيادة لدى أبناء المدن».

من جهة أخرى، وباستثناء المشاركة الجماهيرية في ذكرى يوم الأرض، التي أصيب في خلالها بعض أبناء مخيمي البارد والبداوي بجروح متفاوتة، الأمر الذي أعاد إحياء الشعور الوطني الفلسطيني في المخيمين، لم يشهد المخيمان نشاطات واسعة النطاق، فاقتصرت الأنشطةالسياسية على مناسبات محددة، لم تأخذ البعد الجماهيري المعهود في أدبيات الثورة الفلسطينية.

لذلك، ضمن هذا السياق وسياقات أخرى، لم يعثر على أيّ إشارة تلمّح من قريب أو بعيد إلى وجود فلسطيني على امتداد الشارع الحافل بالمحال التجارية الفلسطينية، ما يعني أن التجاور الجغرافي لنازحي البارد مع أبناء مخيم البداوي، ظلّ مسكوناً بهاجس المشاكل والمعاناة الحياتية، محولاً أنظارهم، كالعادة الى لقمة العيش على حساب الاهتمام بالسياسة، ولذلك لم يشغل حيزاً سياسياً فلسطينياً، فكيف الحال بالنسبة إلى الجوار الطرابلسي؟

Posted in Arabic, LebanonComments Off on السوق التجاري انتهى إلى غير رجعة

غزّة تحيي ذكرى النكبة

Posted By: Siba Bizri

Arabic Shoah Editor in Chife

صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية

أحيا الفلسطينيون في قطاع غزة، اليوم، الذكرى الرابعة والستين لنكبة عام 1948، من خلال تظاهرات شارك فيها الآلاف، في ظل دعوات إلى عدم استئناف المفاوضات مع إسرائيل والتمسك بالوحدة وخيار المقاومة.

تظاهر آلاف الفلسطينيين في غزة، اليوم، إحياءً للذكرى الرابعة والستين للنكبة، وسط الدعوة إلى عدم العودة إلىالمفاوضات مع إسرائيل والتمسك بالوحدة وخيار المقاومة.

وانطلقت التظاهرة، التي نظمتها اللجنة الوطنية العليا لإحياء ذكرى النكبة والتي تضم كل الفصائل، وفي مقدمها «حماس» و«فتح»، من وسط مدينة غزة باتجاه مقر المجلس التشريعي قبل الوصول الى مقر الأمم المتحدة غربالمدينة، حيث جرى تسليم رسالة موجهة إلى الأمين العام بان كي مون.

وشارك أيضاً في هذه التظاهرة رئيس حكومة «حماس» إسماعيل هنية.

وفي كلمته أمام مقر الأمم المتحدة، شدد رئيس اللجنة الوطنية وعضو اللجنة المركزية لحركة «فتح»، زكريا الآغا، على أن الشعب الفلسطيني «لن يقبل أي بديل من العودة»، داعياً القيادة الفلسطينية إلى «استمرار التمسك بوقف كل أشكال المفاوضات ورفض عدم استئنافها والإصرار على وقف الاستيطان وتوفير مرجعية دولية لعملية السلام».
وفي السياق، طالب الآغا المجتمع الدولي، وفي مقدمه بريطانيا، بـ«رفع الظلم التاريخي، والضغط على حكومة إسرائيل للانسحاب من الأرض الفلسطينية وتنفيذ قرارات الأمم المتحدة الخاصة بالقضية الفلسطينية، ولا سيما القرار 194».
وبعدما أشار الى «الوحدة الفلسطينية» للتضامن مع قضية الأسرى، عبر الآغا عن أمله في أن يكون «هذا الانتصارمقدمة للنصر الأعظم لتحرير كل الأسرى دون قيد أو شرط».

من جهته، أكد النائب عن حركة «حماس» في المجلس التشريعي، مشير المصري، في كلمته أن «حق العودة مقدسولا يجوز التفريط فيه».

وشارك في التظاهرة مئات النساء والأطفال، الذين رفعوا أعلاماً فلسطينية ورايات الفصائل المختلفة، فيما رفع بعض 1948 المشاركين مفاتيح ترمز إلى العودة إلى بلداتهم التي هجروا منها عا.

وردد المتظاهرون هتافات تشدد على الوحدة الوطنية الفلسطينية ونبذ الخلافات وإنهاء الانقسام.
من ناحيته، أكد الأمين العام لحكومة «حماس»، محمد عسقول، في بيان، تمسك حكومته «بحق عودة جميع اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الى أرضهم الذين هجروا منها عام 48… حق العودة حق مقدس وشرعي وخط أحمر ولا يمكن التنازلعنه بأي شكل من الأشكال».

تجدر الإشارة إلى أن هنية شارك إلى جانب عشرات العدائين الفلسطينيين في ماراثون نظمته وزارة الشباب والرياضة في حكومته، انطلق من شارع «الجلاء» وسط مدينة غزة باتجاه ميدان الجندي المجهول غرب المدينة.
إلى ذلك، قام عدد من الفلسطينيين بزراعة مئتي شجرة زيتون على الطريق الساحلي، غرب غزة، ترمز الى مئتي طفل قتلوا في الحرب الإسرائيلية على القطاع في شتاء 2008.

(أ ف ب، يو بي آي)

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Palestinian Prisoners Score Heroic Victory

NOVANEWS


Struggle to End Israel’s Oppression and International Complicity Continues

15 May 2012 — Nearly a month into the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, a historic victory has been achieved, as Israeli authorities were forced to comply with the prisoners’ main demands. Coinciding with the Palestinian commemoration of the 64th anniversary of the Nakba, the systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing that uprooted most Palestinians from their homeland around 1948, the prisoners’ victory has heightened hope about the prospects for Palestinian freedom, justice, self determination and the return of refugees.

This important triumph for the Palestinian popular struggle could not have been reached without the unwavering resolve of the prisoners themselves, grassroots mobilization in their support in Palestine, and the immense wave of effective solidarity and calls for holding Israel accountable that the strike has triggered around the world.

More than a thousand people around the globe have pledged to undertake a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners, to take place this Thursday. While the solidarity hunger-strike has been called off, due to the prisoners’ victory, injustice and illegal repression continue in Israeli prisons.

Emphasizing imprisonment as a critical component of Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid practiced against the Palestinian people, Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations have called for intensifying the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’sprison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

Please click here to demand G4S ends its involvement in the Israeli prison system and its complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.

Signed:
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

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Nakba day: Message from the Secretary-General

NOVANEWS

On Nakba Day, 15 May 2012

By Walid Khalidi

Tuesday, 15 May 2012, is the 64th Anniversary of Palestinian Nakba Day. This date commemorates the end, on 15 May 1948, of the so-called “Mandate” over Palestine “granted” to Britain by the League of Nations (the UN’s predecessor) following the end of World War I.

The Mandate system, a form of imposed international trusteeship, was devised by the victorious powers, chiefly Britain and France, to give a veneer of legality to their post-war military occupation and rule over the former Middle Eastern Arab provinces of the defeated Ottoman Empire. Thus, while Britain obtained mandates over Iraq, Palestine, and Trans-Jordan, France obtained mandates over Syria and Lebanon. The main purpose of Britain’s mandate over Palestine was to give effect to a unilateral promise made by its government in 1917 (the Balfour Declaration, after the then British foreign secretary) to the World Zionist Organization (WZO) to establish “a Jewish National Home” in Palestine.

At the time of the Balfour Declaration, about 90 percent of the population of Palestine was Arab and about 10 percent Jewish. Needless to say the Palestine Arabs were never consulted about either the Balfour Declaration or the British mandate over their country.

Advancing from British-occupied Egypt, British forces had wrested Jerusalem from the Ottomans in December 1917. The period 1920-1948 saw the relentless growth of the Jewish National Home through massive Jewish immigration from Eastern and Central Europe under Britain’s imperial protection, despite increasingly desperate Palestinian protests and resistance.

Already by the mid-1940s the Zionist leadership, headed by the redoubtable David Ben-Gurion and drawing upon the support of the American Jewish community, felt strong enough to want Britain out of the way. With the Yishuv (1) highly militarized, it was confident that it could overcome any Arab opposition to turning the Jewish National Home into the Jewish state, which had been the WZO’s objective ever since the first Zionist Congress in 1897. Caught between the two contending parties in a conflict of its own making, Britain finally decided to turn “the problem” over to the UN, successor to the League of Nations.

In November 1947, thanks to massive US pressure on the UN member states, (1948 was an American Presidential election year), the UNGA recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, with a special international regime (corpus separatum) for Jerusalem and its hinterland.

The UN partition plan, presented as a compromise between the two communities was anything but. It gave the Jewish population, which by then had artificially grown into about 30 percent of the population, over half (55 percent) of Palestine where Jews owned less than 8 percent of the land. It condemned hundreds of thousands of Palestinians within the UN-drawn boundaries to live in separation from their compatriots as a minority in the Jewish state-to-be.

The Jews were overjoyed, but the Palestinians were outraged at this dismemberment of their country and fragmentation of their society – a prolonged nightmare realized. Artfully the Zionist leaders represented their “acceptance” of partition as evidence of their readiness to “compromise” and to comply with the will of the international community.

Well before November 1947, David Ben-Gurion had already envisaged partition (i.e. a Jewish state in a part of Palestine) not only as an opportunity to “transfer” (i.e. expel) the Palestinians from the state to make way for Jewish immigrants from overseas, but also as a bridgehead to expand the state beyond its borders with the help of these immigrants (2). To achieve his geostrategic objectives, he had devoted the decade before November 1947 to building the military might of the Yishuv via the Haganah (and its striking force the Palmach) as well as to detailed military planning. The November 1947 UNGA partition resolution was the ultimate green-light for Ben-Gurion to go into action.

Ben-Gurion’s master plan for the military takeover of Palestine and the transfer of Palestinians in the wake of the 1947 UNGA’s resolution was known as “Plan Dalet” (3). British withdrawal from Palestine began soon after the resolution was passed. The vacuum created by this withdrawal was quickly filled by the Haganah, which carefully avoided clashing with the departing British. In early April 1948, Plan Dalet was put into operation. Within six weeks, such were the Zionist victories that Israeli statehood could be declared the day the Mandate officially ended, on 15 May 1948 – symbolically chosen by the Palestinians as Nakba Day.

By that time the Plan’s devastating impact on the civilian Palestinian population (hundreds of thousands had already abandoned their homes) was well in evidence. Indeed, but for this vast Palestinian exodus into the neighboring Arab countries generated by Plan Dalet (and the atrocities committed by the “dissident” terrorist gangs, Irgun and Stern), it is doubtful that the collective intervention on 15 May of the regular forces of the Arab League member states would have taken place following the departure of the British. But already this intervention was too little and too late.

As for nascent Israel’s “Davidian” status vis-a vis the Goliath of the “invading” Arab states, Ben Gurion provides eloquent testimony on it in his War Diary. Thus, on 24 May 1948, less than ten days after the Arab armies had entered those parts of Palestine allocated to the Arab state under the partition plan to preempt the advancing Jewish forces, David Ben-Gurion wrote (4):

Maklef [Carmeli brigade] should receive reinforcements. His job is to occupy South Lebanon after bombing Tyre, Sidon and Beirut from the air. We will also shell Beirut from the sea. Yigal [Alon] should hit Syria [Syrian army] at [Mishmar Haemek] from the East and the North. Our airforce must bomb and destroy Amman. The weak link in the Arab coalition is Lebanon because Muslim authority there is artificial, and easy to undermine. We must establish a Christian state with the Litani River as its southern border (5). We will form an alliance with it.

Once we destroy the power of the Arab Legion [the army of Trans-Jordan] we will destroy Tran-Jordan and Syria will then fall. If Egypt dares to continue fighting, we will bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo. This is how we shall end this war and wind up our ancestors’ accounts with Egypt, Ashur and Aram….

-Walid Khalidi
Secretary-General, Institute for Palestine Studies

http://palestine-studies.org/

www.palestine-studies.org

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