Sunday, October 31, 2010
"... Who would have thought that a gynecologist’s office in the Hizbullah-dominated southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh would be the symbolic place where the colonial and anti-colonial struggles of the past century would reach their confrontational peak and bring to a head this long-simmering war. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s call Thursday night for all Lebanese to stop cooperating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is investigating and will soon indict those it believes killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others five years ago, followed an attempt by STL officers to examine patient files in the doctor’s office in Dahiyeh a few days ago, presumably because the STL has evidence it believes implicates some Hizbullah personnel in the assassinations. Hizbullah supporters, mostly women, beat back the STL party and quickly heightened the political confrontation that has been brewing in the country for months.
Nasrallah’s open call to boycott and actively oppose the STL marks a historic moment of reckoning that is as dangerous as it was inevitable. This is because Hizbullah and the STL represent perhaps the two most powerful symbols of the two most important forces that have defined the Middle East for the past century or more: On the one hand, Western (including Israeli) interests and interventions that seek to shape this region in a manner that suits Western aims more than it suits indigenous rights, and, on the other hand, native Arab-Islamic-nationalist resistance that seeks to shape our societies according to Arab-Islamic worldviews as defined by a consensus of local actors, identities and forces.
Stripped to its core, this tension between Hizbullah and the STL is a microcosm of the overarching fact of the modern era in which Western-manufactured Arab statehood has generally failed to gain either real traction or sustained credibility; thus it has fallen on groups like Hizbullah to play a leading role in confronting Israeli and Western power in a manner that most Arab governments have been unable or unwilling to do. Therefore we live through this historic but frightening moment when a century of confrontation reaches a pivotal juncture: the collective will of the Western-dominated world (the Security Council-created STL) confronts the strong rejection and public resistance of the only Arab group (Hizbullah) that has forced an Israeli military withdrawal and confounded the Israeli armed forces, while transcending Arabism and Islamism, religiosity and secularism, Arabs and Iranians, Shiites and Sunnis, and assorted Lebanese Christians and Muslims.
The confrontation now playing itself out in various public milieus between Hizbullah and the STL is made more complex and difficult to resolve because of deep links with other regional actors, especially Israel, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. The STL is unlike anything that the Arab world has witnessed or experienced in its entire modern history, because it represents something frightening to many Arabs: the unanimous decision of the Security Council of the UN to probe deep into the inner fibers of Arab societies – mostly Lebanon and Syria, in this case – in order to stop the political assassinations that shocked the world five years ago (but that have also plagued the modern Arab world for the past half a century or more, without anyone caring).
The majority of Lebanese want to know who killed Rafik Hariri and would like to see such assassinations cease once and for all, but they have proven unable to do this on their own. The Security Council stepped in forcefully in early 2005 to do the job, and it did so partly because some powers who dominate the council saw an opportunity to hit the Syrians and Hizbullah hard. At a moment when the neoconservative-controlled US thought it could frighten any Arab party into compliance with its dictates simply by brandishing the threat of an Iraq-like assault, the move was made to push Syria out of Lebanon and to disarm Hizbullah. The scenes that followed did not conform to the script the Bush-Cheney White House and their pro-Israeli zealot friends had envisaged, because Syria, Hizbullah, Iran and others pushed back and resisted the moves against them. That dynamic has now reached its climax in events centered on Lebanon.
Two powerful forces confront each other now in public, American-dominated Western colonial intervention in the Arab region, and Islamist-dominated Arab-Islamic resistance from within that same Arab region. Three options present themselves: One of these two forces has to back down, both have to compromise and postpone the day of reckoning in their epic struggle, or they will soon settle this on the battlefields of Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Iran, American-dominated Iran and Afghanistan, and the oil and gas fields of the Gulf Arab states. Armageddon will look like a kindergarten cookie dance if the third option materializes, which is now a bit more likely than it was a week ago – because of the past century, more than the past week...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 11:22 AM
"...Lawrence Korb said that Pollard should be freed since his punishment was too severe relative to the felonies he committe ...In the letter, Secretary of Defense Caspar Willard Weinberger detailed the damage that Pollard caused to the national security of the U.S., including an apparent connection with the exposure and subsequent killing of 11 American agents in the former USSR. According to Korb, the letter demanded that Pollard be severely punished. In Korb's article, he says the thinking that any of Pollard's information had reached the USSR has been debunked..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 8:04 AM
Keep in mind that this book's timing & Nouzille access to Elysee's records carries the imprematur of the President's office!
"... le journaliste Vincent Nouzille raconte coment Jacques Chirac et Bush ont tenté d’affaiblir le régime syrien, et mettre en place le Tribunal spécial du Liban....et que l’assassinat du premier ministre Rafic Hariri n’est au fond qu’un détail d’un scénario écrit pour le Liban et la région. Il explique que, durant les premiers mois de l’année 2004 l'Elysée a fait savoir son désir de se rapprocher de Washington autour du dossier syro-libanais. Chirac a affirmé aux sénateurs américains en Mars 2004: «Vous devez aider le Liban à se débarrasser de la tutelle syrienne». Il a par ailleurs déclaré au président George W. Bush le 5 Juin 2004, qu’il y aura des élections présidentielles au Liban en Octobre et que ce sera un nouvelle page pour le Liban si son président est élu sans la tutelle de la Syrie. Chirac avait demandé des sanctions contre la Syrie par la forcer à se retirer du Liban. Quatre jours après l'assassinat de Rafic Hariri, l'ambassadeur des États-Unis au Liban Jeffrey Feltman et l’ambassadeur de la France Bernard Aime ont déclaré que «la République arabe syrienne est le criminel».............Dans cet ordre d’idées, Vincent Nouzille révèle une lettre écrite par l'ancien président français Jacques Chirac: « Lorsque vous poussez le régime syrien à l'échec sur la question libanaise, nous le visons en plein dedans, je suis convaincu que la Syrie n’abandonnera pas que si nous l’effrayons et nous lui causons du mal », ajoutant qu'il sait comment fonctionne le système en Syrie et donc pas de doute que la décision d'assassiner Hariri a été prise par Bachar al-Assad, et toutes les autre hypothèse n'ont pas de sens pour lui, selon les dires de Chirac. Le journaliste français révèle comment Paris en consultation avec Washington, a cherché à éloigner le Hezbollah de Damas, et que la France a envoyé son ambassadeur au Liban Bernard Emié pour rencontrer en secret le Secrétaire général du Hezbollah Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, mais que ce dernier lui a répondu que la résistance se poursuivra et qu’il ne faut pas toucher à la Syrie. L’écrivain français précise comment l’idée de créer un tribunal international pour juger les assassins de Rafic Hariri, est arrivée à maturation au cours de la réunion entre le président français et la secrétaire d’Etat Condoleezza Rice dans le 14 Octobre 2005, et qu’à peine quelques semaines après le gouvernement libanais a demandé à l'Organisation des Nations Unies de créer le TSL..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 6:14 AM
Feltman to Jumblatt: "We don't care if chaos leads to Hariri's fall, nor if the army disintegrates ... as long as the 'tribunal' survives"
الحوار الذي جرى بين النائب وليد جنبلاط والسفير جيفري فيلتمان اثناء زيارة الأخير له في الكليمنصو حمل أكثر من رسالة أميركية الى زعيم المختارة وعبره الى قوى 8 آذار خصوصاً عندما صارحه فيلتمان رداً على مخاوف جبنلاط من تداعيات المحكمة الدولية وقرارها الظني، قائلا: نحن لا يهمنا اذا سقطت الحكومة، وحصلت الفوضى في لبنان ولا اذا انقسم الجيش والمحكمة ستبقى والفتنة المذهبية التي تخشاها سيد وليد هي قبل المحكمة كما هي مستمرة بعدها، فنحن نعرف جيداً مدى الخلاف بين السنة والشيعة في لبنان والمنطقة.
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:20 AM
"... The National Alliance, Iraq's main Shia bloc, has turned down a Saudi offer to host all-party talks to resolve months of deadlock over forming a new Iraqi government. The offer was turned down on Sunday after some politicians voiced fears over foreign interference. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah had a day earlier volunteered to host the talks in November.The National Alliance, a coalition of Shia blocs, including that of incumbent prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki's coalition, said that a deal in Baghdad was close after the highest court ordered parliament to resume sessions last week........ According to a senior member of al-Maliki's bloc, the Kurdish Alliance also supports this statement.....A spokeswoman for the rival Iraqiya list, led by Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, however, welcomed the Saudi monarch's initiative. ......he enjoys strong support among Sunni Arabs, who were dominant during Saddam Hussein's rule....."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:09 AM
"... Moslehi described holding talks with Palestinian officials as one of the objectives of his visit and said, "In the arranged talks with Palestinian groups in Syria, issues pertaining to Palestine and the recent actions of domineering powers and Zionists in the region will be discussed," IRINN reported. ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:07 AM
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Turkey's 'Normalization of History': Deep ties with both the US & Europe on one hand, and with China, Iran & S
"... With all the discussion these days about U.S. and Western primacy and relative decline, it's worth considering what a normalization of history represents to the rest of the planet. For Turkey, it means deep ties with both the U.S. and Europe on one hand, and with China -- as well as Iran and Syria -- on the other. There are still a lot of caveats. China is operating under many constraints, including suspicions over its strategic and commercial intentions, but also the almost-universal fear among its trading partners of being overwhelmed by trade imbalances. But other South-South networks are emerging, with Turkey simply representing an early adapter in this process. That means that while the U.S. will continue to possess a disproportionate amount of power for the foreseeable future, we will find it increasingly difficult to wield that power effectively in order to translate it into influence. The question is how American exceptionalism will adapt to the new normal that the rest of the world is busy preparing for. Recently we've done a good job of exploiting China's mistakes, particularly in Asia. But we should be putting more energy into exploring how to capitalize on Turkey's successes...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 1:26 PM
ABC's Pierre Thomas: "Al Qaeda scambling to hit America before the 9/11 anniversary in a few days ..."
Mr. Thomas; 9/11 is SEPTEMBER 11 and not the French version, NOVEMBER 11!
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 11:32 AM
'Kibbles & Bits' for Abbas: Remember the two months 'extension'? Now we get 'interim transitional solution' including 'temporary state' with 'borrowed borders' ...
Quick Abou Mazen, 'Kibbles & Bits'
"...Netanyahu is trying to convince the US administration to accept a plan for an "interim solution", a 10-year transition period in which the Palestinian state will be established on temporary borders.... Jerusalem and right of return will not be addressed in the current plan. ...... Netanyahu's solution is gradual and will be implemented in the course of more than 10 years. According to the report, Israeli settlement blocks and "their areas of influence" as well as Jerusalem will remain under Israeli control, the Jordan River Valley will be leased for 40 years and IDF bases will remain in entrances to West Bank cities..... This means that Netanyahu is interested in keeping more than 40% of West Bank territories for the transition period....."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:45 AM
"...The Channel 10 report on Saturday, citing Turkish media outlets, said Turkey's National Security Council rectified an amendment to Ankara's central policy paper, nicknamed the "secret constitution," defining Israel as "a central threat to Turkey.... The region's instability stems from Israeli actions and policy, which could lead to an arms race in the Middle East," the paper outlining Turkey's foreign and home policy for the next five years said, adding that those actions posed "a major threat on Turkey." Channel 10 also said Turkish media dubbed the amendment "historic," as it represented the first time Israel had been seen as a threat to Turkey since 1949. The document fails to mention Iran or Syria as outside threats, apparently as a result of Ankara's recently improved relations with both states. ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:26 AM
Friday, October 29, 2010
When did you say the mid-term elections where? Funny that the JUF/ Chicago should even give directives regarding packages "from Yemen or has the name Yemen in it"...
"... "Last night, intelligence and law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States," the White House said Friday. "Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in East Midlands, United Kingdom and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen. As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports." One such package was ultimately headed to Chicago, according to an alert by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. "The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has alerted area synagogues not to open packages that appear suspicious due to the way they are wrapped, or which come from Yemen or from any organization that has the name 'Yemen' in it," it said. "Any institution that receives such a package is advised to call “911” and to evacuate the premises until law enforcement arrives."..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:55 PM
"...Aboul Gheit said his government is continuing its contacts with the U.S. and Israel, but that "up to now, the necessary breakthrough did not take place.".... Aboul Gheit said Netanyahu's national security adviser, Uzi Arad, recently held talks with Egyptian officials. "During the meeting, Egypt confirmed its ... support for the Palestinian demand," Aboul Gheit told the news conference...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 12:46 PM
"... The Obama administration asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop building settlements. He refused, then agreed to merely pause building, then said he'd consider pausing for another two months after Obama made a generous set of security guarantees. The administration hasn't cut off aid and hasn't even raised the possibility that it would (in fact, just the opposite).
And this is in no way unique to Israel. Egypt gets boatloads of taxpayer cash without many demands on their government. American and NATO soldiers are dying to protect Hamid "Plastic Bag" Karzai despite his flagrant disregard for American wishes. Only if you're a country of little strategic or political significance will the U.S. may make you jump through some hoops before doling out the taxpayer cash...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 6:43 AM
Going with the grain of the HAARETZ story below, the editorial in Al Akhbar adds that Feltman is anxious to have the 'Hezbollah indictment' issued sooner than 'scheduled' because he senses that Abdallah of Saudi Arabia and Saad Hariri are buckling under pressure, and could end up making a deal with the Iranians & Syrians. Feltman has been adamant in his refusal to link the impasses in Iraq & in Lebanon ...
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:36 AM
This is a REAL patriot! An Israeli patriot!
'Antoine Lahad & his militia were never intended...'
"... Well-armed militias and heated rhetoric have turned Lebanon into a tinderbox for violence in the Middle East, a United Nations official warned Thursday. "We know that in Lebanon you have militias which are very heavily armed and increasingly so. This creates a hyper-dangerous situation," Terje Roed-Larsen, a special U.N. envoy told reporters in New York after briefing the U.N. Security Council in private......"Critical to this is also the disbanding and disarming of all militias. Militias holding arms in Lebanon today is an intimidation in itself, particularly when it is paired with reckless and irresponsible rhetoric. ...... the Middle East is at "an extremely critical juncture," with "crosswinds and a hurricane blowing up" in the region. ...... And in the middle of those crosswinds, there is a tent standing, and that tent is critically upheld by two poles," he said. "One is the Palestinian one and the other one is the Lebanese. If one of those poles cracks, the whole tent will go down."The report dealt with the status of Resolution 1559, which was adopted by the Security Council in 2004 and calls for free and fair elections, an end to foreign interference and the disbanding of all militias....'
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 3:30 AM
Thursday, October 28, 2010
"... Tensions were running high in Umm al-Fahm after the Supreme Court authorised the march by the right-wing Israeli group through the mainly Israeli Arab town.......
Some 20 Jewish demonstrators travelled from Jerusalem to Umm al-Fahm under heavy police protection. They arrived in armoured buses, but were only allowed off briefly by police, and the march was largely symbolic, says the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes from the site of the clashes..... The town is considered a stronghold of Israeli-Arab sentiment, and is also where 13 Israeli-Arab protesters were killed during riots as the last Palestinian uprising, or intifada, broke out in 2000. The anger on the streets of Umm al-Fahm is symptomatic of a growing sense of alienation among Israeli Arabs, observers say. Israeli Arabs, who make up 20% of the population, are descended from families who remained in Israel after the war that followed the state's creation in 1948. They are full Israeli citizens, but face widely documented discrimination...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 3:27 PM
"I call on every Lebanese official and every citizen to boycott these investigators and not to cooperate with them," he said in a speech via a video link ... (all the information that they requested, all the canvassing are way beyond the scope of an investigation into an assassination ... they go the heart of 'their' plan of encircling the 'Resistance' and its base support) "All the information and data and addresses (they get) is sent to Israel," he said. .."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 1:52 PM
Apparently, the FUTURE movement & its 'boss' sees the 'restrictive garbs in sectarian eyes! Saudi, Bahreini & Emirati tchador-like garbs are OK...
Friends from Bahrein ...
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 7:58 AM
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 7:42 AM
"...the conditions on Tehran would be even more onerous than a deal that the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rejected last year...... many officials suspect that this latest initiative is likely to fail. But they say that it fulfills President Obama’s promise to keep negotiating even while the pressure of sanctions increases. ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:11 AM
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"... America's 17 intelligence agencies have spent more than half-a-trillion dollars - more than $500,000,000,000 - since Sept. 11, 2001, most of it on the global war on terror, and the Obama administration still believes that if Taliban supreme Mullah Mohammed Omar were to return to power in Kabul, al Qaeda would be back, too - "in a heartbeat." And this despite much evidence to the contrary.......
UPI consultant Ammar Turabi, a Pakistan-born American, and this reporter, sat cross-legged on the carpeted mud floor of Mullah Omar's spartan adobe house on the west end of Kandahar and listened to the reclusive war leader's list of complaints about Osama bin Laden. The world's most wanted terrorist - and the scion of a wealthy Saudi family - was expelled from Sudan under Western pressure in 1996 and decided to return to the country of his wartime exploits against the Soviet Union. Mullah Omar, still consolidating his civil war victory, was paid handsomely by bin Laden, who then began setting up terrorist training camps. But it soon became apparent that bin Laden was overplaying his hand....
Mullah Omar and his immediate entourage made clear to Mr. Turabi, a multilinguist, and me that any fatwa issued by bin Laden declaring jihad, or holy war, was "null and void." He explained that bin Laden hadn't completed his 12 years of mandatory Koranic studies to qualify for the position of mufti...... The one-eyed, 6-foot-6-inch, five-times-wounded guerrilla leader against the Soviet occupation, made clear to us the Taliban regime would like to "resolve or dissolve" the bin Laden issue. In return, he expected the United States to establish a dialogue to work out an acceptable solution that would lead to "an easing and then lifting of United Nations sanctions that are strangling and killing the people of the emirate." Afghanistan, according to Mullah Omar's entourage, has suggested to the United States via the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, that international "monitors" keep bin Laden under observation pending a resolution of the case, "but so far we have received no reply.".....
It would be interesting to know whether President Obama ever read what Mullah Omar had to say three months before Sept. 11. In his interview with Mr. Zakaria on Sunday, it became clear Mr. Holbrooke hadn't. Unknown, too, is the Saudi link with Mullah Omar. Mr. Holbrooke, the diplomatic magician who engineered the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, ending the Bosnia war, knows from personal experience nothing was possible without the hated Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. This time, exchange Dayton for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the late Milosevic for Mullah Omar. Add Pakistan and remove Afghan President Hamid Karzai. And you may get a peace deal that would enable 44 nations involved in Afghanistan to go home.
This was a direct message to this reporter from Mullah Omar...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:09 AM
'Wielding the real power in Iraq & Lebanon...'
"...But the frequent contacts between Iran and Saudi Arabia are not over the big arms deal or Iran's nuclear plans. The two countries have concluded that they need to reach an agreement on two other issues regarding their sphere of influence in the region: Iraq and Lebanon.
Regarding Lebanon, Iran is trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to help stop the work of the special international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This would prevent the collapse of the Lebanese regime. While Iran is worried about Hezbollah's status, it also doesn't want Lebanon to collapse or fall into another civil war, whose results cannot be ensured.
In this respect, Tehran doesn't have to make too great an effort to get Riyadh's support. This became clear last week to Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to Beirut, when he visited Riyadh. During his meeting with King Abdullah, the monarch tried to figure out America's position if the international court's work were stopped. Arab sources say Feltman was "furious but restrained," and made it clear to the king that Washington was determined to support the tribunal. With all due respect to the American insistence, if the client that is supposed to pay Washington $60 billion decides it's vital to halt the tribunal's work, it won't make do with consulting the Americans. It will throw its full weight behind the efforts. Meanwhile, the indictment the tribunal is due to publish is not expected before February.
After all, what is happening in Lebanon - and Saudi Arabia can't be accused of not supporting the establishment of the tribunal - is not isolated from other regional issues that involve the Saudis and Iran. Riyadh, which paid millions of dollars in Ayad Allawi's election campaign in Iraq, is aware that his chances of being elected prime minister are diminishing. The aid last time helped Allawi win two seats more in parliament than his rival, outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Meanwhile, in the past two weeks, Maliki has visited Syria, Turkey, Iran and Egypt in an attempt to garner support. He is trying to persuade Iraq's neighbors that he is worthy of being prime minister again. But that's not enough. To win, he has to convince his rivals at home to forgo their aspirations of being Iraqi prime minister and join him.
Tehran understands that it can't get the Iraqi prime minister it was hoping for, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. But it has "convinced" the influential Iraqi religious leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, who is living in Iran until completing religious studies there, to support Maliki. Maliki is not exactly Iran's dream prime minister, especially considering that he accused Tehran and Damascus of terrorist involvement.... Nevertheless, even with Sadr's support, Maliki will not be able to set up a coalition without getting at least one other bloc to support him, either the Kurds or Allawi. That's why Iran needs Saudi Arabia's help to try to persuade its proteges in Iraq, especially Allawi, to join such a coalition or at least not work against it.
For its part, Saudi Arabia is not prepared to give Iran gifts, but it also doesn't want to lose all influence in Iraq. In Iraq as in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia realizes it's in a relatively inferior position vis-a-vis Iran; all it can do in these countries is to prevent Tehran from wielding exclusive influence. This is what the discussion between Saudi Arabia and Iran is now focusing on: deliberations during which Riyadh will try to divide its sphere of influence in Iraq and Lebanon with Iran.
One significant element is missing from these moves - the United States. Washington seeks to promote the process at the international tribunal on the Lebanese issue, blame Hezbollah for the Hariri assassination, see Allawi as Iraqi prime minister and block Iran's influence in the region. ....... it seems the Americans are aiming too high. The real game is in the hands of local forces that are sketching the strategic map, which will be presented to Washington as a fait accompli. ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 3:39 AM
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
UNIQUE Confidential Report: "Hezbollah acquires missiles, and delivers them, from point A to point B, by 'trucks'..."
The 'Confidential' report contained stuff that no one knew, not even my 13 years old son: Hezbollah has 40,000 missiles & 10,000fighters, ... a 'unit' in Hezbollah transports the missiles from location A to location B ...(amazing) ...one of the locations is 'near an airport' ... Aleppo (the city) is 'in Syria' ...(they don't waste time, these French agents, do they?)... another 'unit' delivers the arms... Deliveries are (listen to this) MADE BY TRUCK!
"... En janvier dernier, une alerte clignota sur les écrans radar des services de renseignements américains. Le transfert de 26 missiles M-6002 était repéré quelque part entre Damas et la frontière syro-libanaise. De fabrication syrienne, ces engins balistiques d'une portée d'environ 250 km auraient été livrés au Hezbollah libanais, pour lui permettre de frapper Israël en profondeur. «De source indépendante, nous n'avons pas eu confirmation de ce transfert hautement sensible de missiles à technologie iranienne, qui se déclinent en versions guidées et non guidées», affirme un militaire français, proche du dossier. En revanche, peu après, des informations parvenaient à Paris sur la chaîne d'approvisionnement en armes du Hezbollah, c'est-à-dire l'un des pans les plus secrets de son fonctionnement. Allié de l'Iran et de la Syrie, le Parti de Dieu dispose de trois structures logistiques dédiées au transport de ses armes - 40.000 roquettes environ - et de ses personnels - plus de dix mille combattants - selon une note «Confidentiel défense», que nous avons consultée. La première est l'unité 108, celle qui a vraisemblablement «pris en compte» les missiles M-6002. Son «bureau principal» est à Damas. L'unité 108 est chargée d'assurer le transport des armes et des munitions .... non loin de la capitale syrienne, et près d'Adra, juste à côté de l'aéroport de Damas - proximité bien utile quand on sait que la plupart des armes viennent d'Iran par avion. Les sites de réserve se trouvent, eux, dans la région d'Alep, de Homs et de Tartous, toujours en Syrie... l'unité 112 est chargée de la distribution des armes fournies par l'unité 108 ... Les convoyages se font par camions... Pour passer incognito, les chauffeurs jouent sur l'anarchie des plaques minéralogiques au Liban.... Une chose est sûre: face aux menaces de Tsahal, la Syrie et l'Iran se sont rapprochés. L'implication iranienne dans le projet syrien du M-6002 est désormais «avérée». Il y a quelques mois, on en était encore au stade des essais en vol. Et aujourd'hui? «On ne peut exclure que des vecteurs fabriqués à titre de modèle en Iran aient été fournis à la Syrie», ajoute l'expert précité. En contrepartie, Téhéran pourrait avoir demandé à Damas la mise à disposition de plusieurs exemplaires du M-600 au Parti de Dieu, en prévision d'un éventuel conflit avec Israël....."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:08 PM
"... In the centre of the rebuilt Beirut, the massive old Maronite Cathedral of St George stands beside the even larger mass of the new Mohammad al-Amin mosque. The mosque's minarets tower over the cathedral, but the Maronites were built a spanking new archbishop's house between the two buildings as compensation. Yet every day, the two calls to prayer – the clanging of church bells and the wailing of the muezzin – beat an infernal percussion across the city. Both bells and wails are tape recordings, but they have been turned up to the highest decibel pitch to outdo each other, louder than an aircraft's roar, almost as crazed as the nightclub music from Gemmayzeh across the square. But the Christians are leaving.
Across the Middle East, it is the same story of despairing – sometimes frightened – Christian minorities, and of an exodus that reaches almost Biblical proportions. Almost half of Iraq's Christians have fled their country since the first Gulf War in 1991, most of them after the 2004 invasion – a weird tribute to the self-proclaimed Christian faith of the two Bush presidents who went to war with Iraq – and stand now at 550,000, scarcely 3 per cent of the population. More than half of Lebanon's Christians now live outside their country. Once a majority, the nation's one and a half million Christians, most of them Maronite Catholics, comprise perhaps 35 per cent of the Lebanese. Egypt's Coptic Christians – there are at most around eight million – now represent less than 10 per cent of the population.
This is, however, not so much a flight of fear, more a chronicle of a death foretold. Christians are being outbred by the majority Muslim populations in their countries and they are almost hopelessly divided.
Americans, so obsessed by the myths of East-West "clashes of civilisation" since 11 September 2001, often seem to regard Christianity as a "Western" rather than an Eastern religion, neatly separating the Middle East roots of their own religion from the lands of Islam. That in itself is a loss of faith...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 2:48 PM
"... There is little to be done in Iraq at the moment except delay the withdrawal of forces, which adds little to his political position. Obama could attempt to force an Israeli-Palestinian settlement, but that would require Hamas to change its position, which is unlikely, or that Israel make massive concessions, which it doesn't think it has to do. The problem with Israel and the Palestinians is that peace talks, such as those under Clinton at Camp David, have a nasty tendency to end in chaos.....
This leaves the obvious choice: Iran. Iran is the one issue on which the president could galvanize public opinion..... If Obama were to use foreign policy to enhance his political standing through decisive action, and achieve some positive results in relations with foreign governments, the one place he could do it would be Iran. The issue is what he might have to do and what the risks would be. Nothing could, after all, hurt him more than an aggressive stance against Iran that failed to achieve its goals or turned into a military disaster for the United States. ..... Obama has avoided overt military action against Iran, so a confrontation with Iran would require a deliberate shift in the U.S. stance, which would require a justification.
The most obvious justification would be to claim that Iran is about to construct a nuclear device. Whether or not this is true would be immaterial....
An attack on Iran would not be an invasion, nor would it be a short war. Like Yugoslavia in 1999, it would be an extended air war lasting an unknown number of months.... It would strengthen the Iranian regime (as aerial bombing usually does) by rallying the Iranian public to its side against the aggression. If the campaign were successful, the Iranian regime would be stronger politically, at least for a while, but eviscerated militarily. A successful campaign would ease the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, calm the Saudis and demonstrate to the Europeans American capability and will. It would also cause the Russians and Chinese to become very thoughtful....
We have argued that a negotiation with Iran in the order of President Richard Nixon's reversal on China would be a lower-risk solution to the nuclear problem than the military option. But for Obama, this is politically difficult to do. Had Bush done this, he would have had the ideological credentials to deal with Iran, as Nixon had the ideological credentials to deal with China. But Obama does not. Negotiating an agreement with Iran in the wake of an electoral rout would open the floodgates to condemnation of Obama as an appeaser. In losing power, he loses the option for negotiation unless he is content to be a one-term president.....
I am saying that, at this moment in history, given the domestic gridlock that appears to be in the offing, a shift to a foreign policy emphasis makes sense, Obama needs to be seen as an effective commander in chief and Iran is the logical target....."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 2:30 PM
"... It is quite likely that the Iraqi government is going to ask for an extension of our deployed presence..."
"...In his remarks, Crocker downplayed Iran's role in Iraq, and he suggested that when the dust clears in the formation of a new government in Iraq that Baghdad would come to the United States to ask for an extension of the US military presence beyond the end of 2011. ..... Crocker said that it is "quite likely that the Iraqi government is going to ask for an extension of our deployed presence."
He also predicted that Prime Minister Maliki would return to that office, atop a broad-based government that would include Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. He outlined innumerable problems that Iraq faces—a refugee crisis, Arab-Kurd tensions, countless disputed internal boundaries, the leftover forces of the Sons of Iraq (the old sahwa or Awakening movement)—but he expressed optimism that Iraq will deal with each of these. And he called the United States the "indispensable outside power" that can "help to broker compromises." The notion that Maliki, who has recently established an alliance with Muqtada al-Sadr, can form a government that might include Sadr but exclude former Prime Minister Allawi and his Iraqiya bloc recently set off alarm bells in Washington. ....... it's likely that the Kurds, who hold the balance of power, will refuse to back Maliki unless the prime minister cuts a deal with Allawi, too, undermining Sadr's clout. The Kurds, though mostly pro-American, are heavily influenced by Iran, too, and are caught in the middle.
After the spoke, I interviewed Crocker. When I asked about the Maliki-Sadr pact, he said: "The Sadr-Maliki relationship is fundamentally difficult and unstable. It fell apart once before. We'll see how long it lasts this time. I'm not overly concerned about the Sadr-Maliki alliance." I asked Crocker about Iran's role. "Iran is going to try to control or dominate affairs in Iraq," he said. "But Iranian influence is self-limiting. The harder they push, the more resistance they get." ..... So far, unlike during the Bush administration, the Obama administration has chosen not to engage Iran over Iraq diplomatically. When he was ambassador, Crocker held a series of meetings with Iran's then-ambassador in Baghdad, a senior official of the Revolutionary Guard, to discuss US-Iran cooperation. When I asked Crocker about whether the resumption of such a dialogue might be useful now, he expressed some reservations. "The Obama administration has rightly said that it would agree to discuss a range of issues with Iran," said Crocker. But he said that Washington must be very careful about any effort that might make it look like Washington and Tehran were talking about Iraq's future without Baghdad's consent. "The Iraqis are very sensitive to that," he said. True enough. (Also, the Gulf Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia, are paranoid about better relations between the United States and Iran, since they think it might come at their expense.). ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 2:12 PM
وكان الرئيس السوري يتحدث الى «الحياة» التي حملت إليه أسئلة عن موقف بلاده من التطورات في العراق ولبنان وفلسطين، وعلاقات سورية العربية والإقليمية والدولية. وأعرب الأسد عن قناعته بأن رئيس الوزراء اللبناني سعد الحريري هو «الشخص المناسب جداً لهذه المرحلة الصعبة»... وهو قادر على تجاوز الوضع الحالي في لبنان. ونفى وجود مشكلة مع الحريري أو جفاء، مؤكداً ان أبواب دمشق مفتوحة أمامه ساعة يشاء. وجدّد الحديث عن «كيمياء» بينهما، لافتاً الى ان العلاقات بين الدول تبنى عبر المؤسسات وهي «تسير في شكل جيد، وسقفها هو العلاقة اللبنانية - اللبنانية». وقال الرئيس السوري إن القوى اللبنانية التي التقاها في الأسابيع القليلة الماضية لم تطرح موضوع تغيير الحكومة، داعياً الى التمسك بالحوار لحل المشاكل. وأضاف: «القوة دائماً تجلب المزيد من الدمار والخراب على الجميع». وذكر ان ليست لدى سورية معلومات عن موعد صدور القرار الظني في ما يتعلق بالمحكمة الخاصة بقضية اغتيال رئيس الوزراء اللبناني الراحل رفيق الحريري، وأن المحكمة شأن لبناني، قائلاً: «تطرح قوى لبنانية أن كلمة قرار ظنّي، تكون عادة في جريمة عادية، أما في جريمة وطنية في بلد منقسم طائفياً، فالقرار الظني يدمر بلداً. أي إذا كان الهدف هو اتهام أشخاص، فلماذا لا يُبنى الاتهام على أدلة وليس على ظن. أنت بحاجة إلى أدلة. فهذا هو الطرح الذي نسمعه من القوى اللبنانية، وهو طرح مقنِع». وأبدى ارتياحه الى العلاقة مع رئيس الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي النائب وليد جنبلاط، وقال :»رجع وليد الذي كنا نعرفه منذ زمن». ووصف علاقته بالعماد ميشال عون بأنها «جيدة».
"... Dennis Ross, Obama's Special Assistant and NSC Senior Director on the Central Region (Near East/South Asia), spoke about the administration's Iran policy before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee national summit in Hollywood Florida Monday, .......Ross used the last few minutes of his remarks to discuss Israel and the Middle East peace efforts with which he is increasingly engaged, and to vigorously defend what he called the Obama administration's unprecedented level of security cooperaton with Israel.... "Frankly, this degree of coordination is unprecedented," Ross said of current U.S.-Israeli security coordination. "I have participated in these types of discussions for the last 30 years, and they have never been as intense or focused, reflecting the serious cooperation that we have today with Israel." ...
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 3:18 AM
Monday, October 25, 2010
"Hariri thought we were with Hezbollah because of the Saudis ... then he discovered this was untrue ..."
"... The situation in Lebanon will continue like this; politicians tend to exaggerate things...", Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said, when asked whether he was worried over the circumstances in Lebanon..... "If they (the Lebanese) have the good intentions and the willingness, and they require us to mediate, of course we will." Asked about the Lebanese divisions over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the emir of Qatar said: "We have to wait and see. It's hard to answer now… It's really hard to answer now. The only thing is: are the Lebanese ready for more bloodshed and for pulling the Arabs with them?" Sheikh Hamad noted that there is "a feeling in the Arab world that Israel is trying to do something to … engage the Lebanese inside Lebanon, turn them against each other." Asked about the Doha Agreement Qatar brokered in 2008 following the infamous May 7 clashes, the emir noted that "the March 14 forces, the (Premier Saad) Hariri bloc, thought we are with Hizbullah because in the past we had differences with the Saudis. "But then they discovered that this was not true and they came here to Qatar and we succeeded in solving their problem."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:19 PM
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 4:11 PM
"... The law technically applies to all arrests in Israel and the West Bank but in practice is applied almost exclusively to Palestinian detainees...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 3:53 PM
"Settlements are a unilateral step taken by Israel, .... Is there anything clearer than settlements and invasions and roadblocks and all that has been done on Palestinian land? .... Netanyahu should not lecture the Palestinians about a step they might take in the future, "which is to resort to the United Nations."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 3:50 PM
"... According to a report published Monday in the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman, Ankara has sought and reportedly received explicit assurances from the U.S. that intelligence gathered using the missile shield's sensors will not be shared with Israel.
American officials have not been shy about fingering Israel's enemy, Iran, as the major reason for deploying the system, citing Iranian threats to Europe. But the article in Today's Zaman was rife with skepticism, pointing out that as a non-member, Israel is not eligible for protection from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. "In fact, given the unpredictability of the security situation across the globe, it is possible that the missile defense system could even be used against Israel some day in the future," the article said. "NATO is an organization that operates on the principle of collective defense and an attack on an ally is considered an attack on the entire alliance."
It wouldn't be the first time that the U.Ss. was torn between its allegiance to NATO and its historic friendship with Israel. When Israeli forces stormed a Turkish aid ship off Gaza in June, resulting in the death of nine Turkish activists, Turkey threatened to invoke the NATO Treaty, which could have obligated the U.S. to become involved militarily...."
"... Many long-standing allies of the United States have been deeply engaged in cyber espionage for decades. A retired four-star Navy admiral, who spent much of his career in signals intelligence, said that Russia, France, Israel, and Taiwan conduct the most cyber espionage against the U.S. “I’ve looked at the extraordinary amount of Russian and Chinese cyber activity,” he told me, “and I am hard put to it to sort out how much is planning for warfare and how much is for economic purposes.”
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:10 AM
Resorting to sensationalism & feats of impeccable operations are signs that the Israeli services are not only "mediocre" (as per a former Director of the DIA) but quite affected by the long series of failures, some of which are comical. If that was a clandestine operation, it was surely one by American assets or associates.
"...La responsabilité du Mossad, les services secrets israéliens, est de nouveau envisagée. D'autres analystes parlent d'un raid aérien. Mais, comme il est d'usage dans la guerre de l'ombre que se livrent israéliens et iraniens, personne n'a évidemment revendiqué quoi que ce soit. Quels qu'en soient les responsables, cette dernière série d'explosions dans l'une des installations les plus secrètes et les mieux protégées d'Iran, est un coup sérieux porté à Téhéran. Elle affaiblit les capacités de riposte à longue portée de l'Iran dans l'éventualité d'une attaque contre ses sites nucléaires. ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 6:21 AM
'Day after' plans for tackling nuclear Iran, as doubts of efficicay of military & other solutions mount
"... But many independent experts believe Israeli forces could not take on Iran alone. The Iranians have dug in, dispersed and prepared to defend many of their nuclear facilities.
Even were its warplanes to manage a successful sneak attack, Israel would almost certainly suffer retaliatory Iranian missile salvoes worse than the short-range rocket attacks of Lebanese and Palestinian guerrillas in the 2006 and 2009 border wars..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 6:09 AM
Sunday, October 24, 2010
"... This week's rare glimpse into the Egoz Unit training exercise reveals how the ground forces commando prepares for close range combat against Hezbollah. The only knowledge these Egoz combat soldiers have of the Second Lebanon War is what they saw on their television screens. Most of them were in school during the battles of Bint Jbeil and Maroun al-Ras. This week, it was their turn to prepare for the next war, which could in many ways, be a lot like the battles of the summer of 2006.... A senior officer described the situation: "Hezbollah hasn't changed its method of operation, which includes munitions charges, anti-tank missiles, and guerilla fighting. Even though it carries out operations in residential areas, it knows how to operate in open areas, the thicket, and to fire rockets at civilians from there. These soldiers need to get to those places and attack.".... The IDF's working premise is that Hezbollah will try minimizing face to face combat as much as possible. "Not for nothing do they wrap themselves in detonators, rockets and obstacles; it is in order to avoid close combat. Their nightmare is to face the Egoz unit" says a senior officer. ..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 1:50 PM