Friday, September 30, 2011

On the bogus Pepperdine 'secret poll' on Syria

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Pepperdine University's poll of Syria: Saudi and Qatari media have been touting a "poll of Syria". It got my attention because I try to follow public opinion surveys in the regi...

Mikati: 'It will be a long process after Assad falls!'

"NEW YORK—Lebanon's prime minister said unrest in Syria runs the risk of destabilizing his nation and creating broader havoc in the Middle East, a delicate step by a Lebanese leader away from one of his country's most vital neighbors and allies.
"Any explosion in Syria will be regional, and Lebanon is in a very delicate situation," Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in an interview this week. "I wish for the Syrian people what Syrians wish for themselves." The sentiment is notable coming from Mr. Mikati, a controversial figure at home and in the West for his alliance with Hezbollah. He came to power this year with the backing of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant and political group that is supported by Iran and Syria...  Mr. Mikati expressed concern about what might come next should Mr. Assad's regime fall. "I don't see what and who will be the post-Assad regime, ... It will be a long process."...  "I do know Mr. Assad very well. But I haven't had a chance to talk to him for a few months," said Mr. Mikati, a 55-year-old Sunni Muslim and telecommunications billionaire...Mr. Mikati says he sees no benefit in taking a stand on Syria because it could upset Lebanon's precarious stability. "I choose my words very delicately because I have a divided society," ... 

Stop the Presses: Merkell has 'doubts' about Netanyahu's aims

Angela: 'Are you serious about Peace?'
Netanyahu: 'Would I lie to you?'
Germany reprimands Israel over new Jerusalem construction - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Israel firster & convict: "Erdogan Should Mind His Own Glass House!"

"... but in fact Erdogan’s foreign policy is in shambles. The Arab Spring, which often cites approvingly Turkey’s domestic model, has also presented the Turkish prime minister with his first serious tests. And Erdogan has stumbled badly.
But it is in Syria that Erdogan has suffered his most serious setbacks. He had once loudly advertised a regional foreign policy of “zero problems with neighbors"; helped create an EU-like free trade and travel zone with Syria, Iraq and Iran; and backed Syria’s President Assad and Iran’s rulers in their quarrels with the West, even seeking to shield Iran’s nuclear program. But today, Turkey staggers under problems with Syria, Iraq and Iran. Worse yet, Erdogan has appeared ineffective. The Syrian crisis is the proximate cause, but Erdogan’s problems run deeper still.It began in Libya, where Erdogan had warned sternly against NATO intervention, even though NATO sought to protect Muslim civilians. NATO ignored him, and Erdogan soon crept back into line, even trying to claim credit.Erdogan raised the stakes in Syria by declaring it to be not merely a regional issue, but a crucial “domestic” one for Turkey. After all, violence in Syria risks flooding Turkey with Syrian Kurds; and Turkey’s long-running problems with its Kurdish population includes terror attacks by the Kurdish group, PKK. So Erdogan demanded that Assad halt assaults on Syrians and reform, even as Erdogan was bombing PKK camps in Northern Iraq, killing Iraqi civilians, violating Iraqi sovereignty and causing Iraq to complain about Turkey.Nonplussed, Assad has repeatedly rejected Turkish demands, despite Turkish sputtering that its “patience” was running out. Once, Turkey’s foreign minister proudly announced he had persuaded Syria to withdraw tanks from a siege, only to see the tanks return hours later. Turkey looked the fool.Turkey failed because Assad knows both the dreadful price of looking weak and that Iran will support him. Herein lies the deeper cause of Erdogan’s failures in Syria: Iran also seeks to lead the region. For that, it needs its proxy Syria. Erdogan is in Syria’s and Iran’s way. So Iran charges that Turkey’s suppression of its Kurdish opposition is no different than Assad’s suppression of his opposition. Iran - which is itself shelling Iraqi territory – refers sometimes to the PKK not as “terrorists” but as “insurgents,” who are an authentic voice of legitimate Kurdish aspirations. As Erdogan squirms, Iran chortles.For the moment, and for so long as Assad stands, the region will see Iran as winning. As long as Iran continues work on its nuclear program, time works against Erdogan. This is what lay behind Turkey’s recent decision to accept installation of a U.S. radar needed to protect against IranAgainst this background, Erdogan launched his Arab Spring tour, expelled the Israeli Ambassador and threatened naval war with Israel. He sought to shift the focus to those Arab and largely Sunni lands where his strengths lay; but his liabilities lurk still. Arab League dignitaries in the audience were enraptured by Erdogan’s denunciations of Israel, but others - the Egyptian military included – do not relish where this may lead. And the League’s serious business that day was Syria, about which Erdogan sat silent. As he left the hall, Syrian exiles called him “coward.”Indeed, some in the Turkish opposition have begun to denounce Erdogan’s morally hypocritical “glass house.” They ridicule his government’s travels as motion without results. They deride his vanity, a man given to delivering moral sermons whose tests he fails - ironic commentary on the man who still holds with pride the Gaddafi prize for human rights.All this, then, marks Erdogan’s reverting to trump: the anti-Israel card....For a would-be leader of the new Middle East, his anti-Israeli, anti-Western tactics look awfully similar to the old. So far, at least, Erdogan’s foreign policy has mostly just entangled Turkey more in the unproductive Middle East politics his predecessors avoided. Erdogan’s foreign minister has essentially admitted as much. While calling the “zero problems” policy a success, he now defines it narrowly as Turkish-Egyptian alliance, one implicitly directed against Israel..."

Quote of the Year!

One of my all time favorites, Rudyard Kipling:
"Now it is not good for the Christian's health
To hustle the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles and the Aryan smiles,
And it weareth the Christian down.
And the end of the fight
Is a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased
And the epitaph drear: "A fool lies here
who tried to hustle the East."

Tehran-Taliban: Positioning for a better read of the West's epitaph!

'Rabbani & Hezbollah's Naim Qassem in Tehran'
"KABUL — Iran quietly hosted a delegation of Taliban members in Tehran this month in a powerful and unusual signal of its ambition to shape the trajectory of the Afghanistan conflict as U.S. troops begin to withdraw.
Iranian officials had apparently hoped to facilitate a meeting between the delegation and Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president and leader of the country’s reconciliation efforts, who was attending the same conference in Tehran, his associates said. Although that did not happen, the presence of the Taliban members suggests Iran has cultivated deeper ties with the insurgent group than was previously known and is stepping up efforts to influence its eastern neighbor as the U.S. role recedes.
The relationship between Iran and the Taliban’s central leadership has long been deeply fraught; when the Taliban was running Afghanistan in the 1990s, the two countries came to the brink of war.
U.S. officials have for years accused Iran of fueling the Afghanistan war by providing training and sophisticated weapons to its favored insurgent commanders, although they have described Tehran’s role as minimal compared with other regional players. There have been few signs of senior-level contact between the Taliban and Iran.
Hosting Taliban members at the Tehran conference might have been an attempt by Iran to mend ties as it becomes clear that the group will be a major power broker in Afghanistan after the United States withdraws ..."

For show: Israeli warplanes fly towards Turkish ship

Cambanis is 'puzzled & saddened'

Cambanis writes to Mousawi that he "...never once used
the words "off the record"  and that he was was not told by either Mousawi or Hoteit that there was a Hezbollah media freeze.
Cambanis went on with his plaidoirie to say that he "did not fabricate the quote..." and that these were the exact words said. In his final salvo he concludes that he was "...surprised and saddened to have to contend with an unfounded, spurious allegation of reportorial misconduct."

'The Atlantic' stands by Cambanis

Max Fisher, the Atlantic's international editor replies to Mousawi that "...the article is correct and stand by its contents... that the meeting was on the
record and that his quotes are accurate..." That they have worked with him for
months, do not doubt his account & will not post a correction...

Hezbollah's Ibrahim Mousawi responds to 'The Atlantic's' fabrication

Dear all,

As the head of Hizbullah¹s media office, I wish to alert the editors
of the Atlantic that one of its contributors, Thanassis Cambanis, has
fabricated a quote attributed to me in his recent article ³Hezbollah
Considers a Future Without Syria's Assad
. I am referring specifically
to this excerpt: ŒOne Hezbollah official, Ibrahim Mousawi, told me
that at root, the interests uniting the resistance axis would persist.
"I don't like to make predictions based on a murky situation," he
said. "But it's hard for me to imagine that a future regime in Syria
would not see its interests aligned with the resistance."¹

In this connection, I would like to clarify the following points:

In the first place, I did not grant Mr Cambanis an interview with
myself or anyone else in the party
. Hizbullah¹s media freeze was made
very clear to him from the outset  of his visit both by myself and my
assistant, Ms. Wafaa Hoteit. In fact, Mr Cambanis did not even request
an interview with me once he had been informed of our recent media
. Second, given Mr Cambanis¹ knowledge of the media freeze, the
brief and informal chat I had with him  was clearly off the record.
Most importantly, in the brief course of our discussion, not once did
I say anything along the lines of the quote he falsely attributed to
me. To the contrary, I expressed my conviction that the majority of
Syrians support their government and have always supported the
resistance and would most likely continue to do so in the future. That
is all. How he misconstrued this to mean that Hizbullah believes its
interests would be aligned with a potential opposition-led regime is
beyond my comprehension. I urge the Atlantic to rectify this
deliberate falsification of facts on Mr Cambanis¹ part so that its
readers are not misled.

Ibrahim al Mousawi

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Arabs lining up to join Mossad!

 "Most Cultured in the region & respects Personal Freedom!"
The Arab Spring has brought Israel a flurry of complimentary correspondence from across the Middle East, according to its Foreign Ministry.
... Since the Arab Spring began, there has been a spike in correspondence. While some is critical, thousands have made contact with words of praise, requests for asylum,  and even offers to serve in the army and Mossad. Some requests have come from Arab politicians and officials."Supposed enemies are looking to us and seeing and saying: 'It seems like a nice place to live,'" said ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson. He added: "It is illustrative of the fact that across the Middle East there are people who hold Israel in far higher regard than is presumed."The ministry released the text of some of the messages to the Yehiot Ahronot newspaper on Monday. Dawoud, a computer technician from Iraq, wrote in a request for political asylum that in the Middle East, Israel is "the only country that respects personal freedom". An Iranian man who would like to move to Israel described the country's citizens as "the strongest and most cultured in the region". Bar Ilan University academic Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli expert in politics of the Arab world, said he was unsurprised by the revelation, recalling that at the start of the Arab Spring he saw pictures of a Syrian demonstration where a banner read "we wish Israel would occupy us"

US general: al-Qaida in Iraq severely weakened ... busy in Syria!

"... "Where we see that manifest itself is a dramatic decrease in numbers of attacks, especially your typical al-Qaida signature attacks, spectacular attacks, ones with a large amount of suicide folks involved," he said...

Perkins said he has seen no clear evidence that the decline in numbers of foreign fighters crossing the border from Syria is connected to a 6-month-old anti-government uprising in Syria..."

MEPGS: On Egypt, the US's 'silver lining' is Amr Moussa!

* On Lebanon, the 'Red Line' in US-Lebanese relations, as understood by PM Mikati,  is the Hariri Carnival ...
* On Iran, there is 'a curious lack of “creativity” in trying to dissuade Iran... 
While most attention was focused on events at the United Nations, US officials found themselves struggling to keep up with rapidly changing developments throughout the Middle East.... 
            Despite determined opposition from the US supported by key European allies, Palestinian Authority head Abu Mazen forged ahead at the United Nations in calling for acceptance as a full fledged member of the international organization..  While some diplomats noted that the Palestinian leader took what one called a “minimalist” approach by not demanding an immediate vote at the Security Council [which has ultimate say on full membership], others noted that may have reflected the fact that the Palestinians by most counts still lack the necessary votes for passage.  And, of course, they are aware that should they achieve the required nine votes, the promised US vote against would act as a veto, dooming the attempt.
            Instead, the Palestinians have been presented by the so-called “Quartet”    a plan considered by most, including the Israelis, to be much closer to Israel’s view of negotiations than that of the Palestinians [eg. There is no mention that Israel freeze construction of new settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem].  “We are just trying to buy time,” said one well-placed source.” Others are not so cynical.  They believe that there is at least a one month “window” in which the Quartet could get Israel and the Palestinians back to the bargaining table and away form the potentially destabilizing attempt to gain a limited form of statehood recognition from the UN General Assembly.. For some, especially the Europeans, there always the chimera of an emboldened second term US President unencumbered by domestic politics of reelection [If anything convinced these skeptics, it was President Obama’s speech to the UN, in which he used some of the most pro-Israel rhetoric employed since he was a candidate in 2008].
'Silver Lining & Red Lines'
            While the Israelis may be feeling more secure about support from the Obama Administration, they are increasingly concerned about developments next door in Egypt.  Yet again this week, the pipeline that brings natural gas from Egypt to Israel was sabotaged... more worrisome was the attack on its embassy in Cairo and the growing hostile rhetoric from individuals engaged in politicking in the upcoming Parliamentary and Presidential elections....  The one possible silver lining is that the US may get its wish with moderate Amr Mousa ...
            If Islamists like Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who is running for President, worry US policy makers, he and other former associates from Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood, are considered tame when compared to their namesakes in Syria.  This fear of an extremist Islamic takeover has helped the regime of Bashar al-Assad keep a variety of factions loyal as it continues unabated its crackdown on the opposition.  Helping too, is the fractured nature of the opposition which, according to one veteran US official “…is riven with organizational and resources issues.”  Also, hampering the opposition is the inability and unwillingness of outside powers to intervene in any way resembling the NATO action in Libya.  In fact, some officials worry that the US and the European Union  have run out of pressure points to move Bashar from power.  Still, few believe that Bashar will ultimately weather this storm.  Most analysts give him, at most, a year more in power.  But for the outside world to act decisively {eg. Bringing world wide pressure thourgh a UN Security Council resolution similar to the one passed against Qaddaffy’s  regime}, it would take, in the words of one State Department official “a major massacre of civilians on a level many times the ones we have witnessed since the revolt began.”
            But even as Bashar clings to power, Syria’s influence has begun to wane.  Lebanon’s new Prime Minister Mikati has been given enough room to gain support from his cabinet to allow Lebanon to continue to pay its share of the international investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri, something that Syria and its Hezbollah ally have vehemently opposed.  For the US, this action is, what one top official calls a “red line” in US-Lebanese relations.  And when Bashar’s Alawite dominated regime is replaced by a Sunni led alliance (Sunnis make up about 75% of Syria’s population), US officials, as well as nearly all regional analysts say it will be a major setback for the Shias of Hezbollah and especially Iran.
            In Iran, as noted above, Ayotollah  Khameini has, in effect, made President Ahmanejad a lame duck as he serves out his term into 2013.  But that has not, in the opinion of most US and Israeli officials, deterred Iran from its efforts to develop an ability to produce a nuclear weapon.  For many in the State Department, the Pentagon and the Intelligence community, there is a curious lack of “creativity” in trying to dissuade Iran from continuing on its current path.  As one State Department official put it recently, “Our policy amounts to applying pressure and when this doesn’t work, apply more of the same.”  Proponents of the current policy, which is clearly driven by the White House, counter that adding pressure will work, they just cannot predict when.  “There is a tipping point” says one veteran analyst.  Or as another observer puts it, “Nothing will happen until it happens.” (WHOA! And the guy is a VETERAN Analyst-expert...!)
            In the meantime, the Israelis, in particular would like to see more brandishing of the military option.  “Only a credible military threat will dissuade the Iranians,” says one Israeli official.  But, for the time being, efforts continue, mainly with the Treasury Department at the helm, to tighten sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors.

Source: US ambassador Robert Ford besieged in Syrian opposition office

US to Syrian groups: 'Here are some 'self-help' brochures!'

"..."One of the things we've told the opposition is that they should not think we are going to treat Syria the same way we treated Libya," Ford says. "The main thing for the opposition to do is figure out how to win away support from the regime, and not look to outsiders to try and solve the problem. This is a Syrian problem and it needs Syrian solutions."
The first step toward a Syrian solution is to organize the opposition into a united front. The recently formed Syrian National Council (SNC) aims to bring Assad's fragmented foes under a single umbrella. Last week, the influential Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a key grassroots protest group, grudgingly offered its support to the 140-member SNC despite "the way it was formed, and the forces [it] represent[s]." The group was unhappy with the number of Islamists involved in the SNC, and the process by which its members were appointed...."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


These stories would be funny if the subject matter was not disinformation at the service of yet another Arab country's dismemberment.
"...deserters fighting the military in al-Rastan destroyed nine to 13 tanks, said Rami Abdel Rahman ...
Deserting soldiers, which activists estimate now number in the thousands, ... have appeared to put up a formidable fight over the past few days. At least 13 defected soldiers have been killed over the past week—either in fighting or after being pursued by army and security forces—compared with about 100 regular military soldiers killed in clashes with the defectors, said Mr. Abdel Rahman..."

"All their foreign policies are best served by somebody who is in Damascus, does the job & maintains stability, and right now, that’s Assad!"

"... Some are drawing a comparison with Libya, where the opposition movement, the Transitional National Council (TNC), gelled within a month of the uprising. But Syria's situation is unique, experts caution...

And while Libya's TNC was able to form a coalition in a matter of weeks, the dynamics in Syria don't allow for such haste. But experts say the lack of a clear, coherent opposition movement is only part of why the US administration is holding back from stronger intervention in Syria.
"Even if [the opposition] were really united and had an organizational structure, I don't think Washington would do more than what it is doing now," said Bilal Saab, a visiting fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. "As far as rhetoric, the US has reached the ceiling by saying Assad should step down."
"The US position is about as good as it's going to get, given the limitations on the US," said Aaron David Miller, Middle East analyst, author and negotiator. "We've done as much as we can do with respect to the Syrians... and we're over-extended as it is," he added, alluding to military in engagement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. 
One thing the US could do to help the Syrian opposition without overt military involvement is supplying them with arms. But there are some reservations. "Weapons exacerbate an arc and drift toward civil war… without the capacity to back it up. We could end up with a Hungary situation in 1956. The last thing we want to do is to encourage unarmed domestic opposition and then not be there for them. Assad could easily use that to his advantage," said Miller... 

One thing holding the US back from further involvement is the start of election season in America. "The US has now entered election mode; everything happens with that in mind,” said Salhani. “A possible intervention in Syria… could affect the president's chances of re-election. I think it would bring his ratings to an all-time low.” ... Given that the US is powerless to do much with regard to Syria, all hopes for stronger action against Assad seem to rest on Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, has condemned the regime, and has been relatively magnanimous in accepting refugees. But in line with its “zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey prefers to play the role of mediator in the region over instigator, noted Miller. 
"All their foreign policies are best served by somebody who is in Damascus who can do the job and maintain stability, and right now, that’s Assad," said Saab..."

Western states give way on UN Syria sanctions

Western states give way on UN Syria sanctions - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

'Best Wishes' on Saudi National day in ... Beirut!

Via AngryArab

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In Lebanon, the Nepalese (UNIFIL contingent) care more about the country's heritage than, let's say, the government?!

Lavrov to the West: Enough with the "We-need-to-drive-Assad-into-a-corner-&-then-we'll-see” bull!

"... Russia cannot support the project on Syria being pushed through by the West, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated in New York ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly.
Sergey Lavrov said he believed that placing sanctions on Syria are “not a very reliable strategy”.
“We ask what the next strategy is, how have you calculated your next steps? The answer we get is that we haven't thought about it yet, but President Assad needs to go, we need to drive him into a corner with sanctions – he should go first, and then we'll see,” Lavrov said in an interview with “Russia 24” channel. “It's a very simple but – I believe – not very reliable strategy, if it can be called a strategy at all,” he concluded..."

Saudi woman sentenced to 10 lashes for 'driving'!

CAIRO - Saudi activists say a court has sentenced a Saudi woman with 10 lashes for defying the kingdom's ban on women driving.
 ... No laws prohibit women from driving, but conservative religious edicts have banned it.Activist Samar Badawi says Shaima Ghassaniya was found guilty Tuesday of driving without the government's permission..."

From Israel to Pakistan to Taiwan, Washington's 'client states' are becoming a headache

"... Whatever the reasons, U.S. client states have been causing Washington more headaches than normal this year, and particularly over the past week. Here are ten of the most closely held U.S. clients, measured in part by foreign assistance (scheduled for fiscal year 2012) and by number of U.S. troops stationed there (according to Department of Defense statistics). Each is labeled with the reason for their strategic importance and with a rough gauge of how much trouble it's been causing the U.S., rated on a scale from "Zero Problems" to "Migraines in Washington." The most extreme cases are labeled "Client Relationship at Risk." Looking over the list of troubled client relationships, it's easy to wonder if the entire Cold War-inspired enterprise could be nearing its end. Maybe Egypt, just as it helped end the centuries of European imperialism in 1956, could make 2011 the year that began the end of clientalism. 
Of course, what separates a client state from an ally is a subjective matter. Japan and Germany, despite the thousands of U.S. troops stationed in each, aren't listed -- the two are powerful, wealthy, and democratic enough that the U.S. assumes they will go their own way, which they often do. Israel is listed for its economic, military, and foreign policy reliance on the U.S. Though the long-term U.S.-Israel alliance is built on much deeper and more enduring cultural and ideological ties than any amount of money can buy, the day-to-day is deeply informed by a client-like relationship.... 


  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Taiwan
  • Colombia
  • South Korea
  • Yemen
  • Bahrain
Foreign Assistance: $3.1 billionU.S. Troops: 35Strategic Value: Israel-Palestine peace, Middle East peaceStatus: Migraines in WashingtonThe Obama administration's relationship with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been declining sharply for over a year, with now-retired Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently calling Netanyahu an ungrateful ally that has given the U.S. nothing in return. Israeli conduct in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Israeli raid on last year's Gaza-bound aid flotilla have put the U.S.-Israel relationship at odds with U.S. efforts to court newly democratic Arab states. Netanyahu has also made domestic political problems for Obama, courting Congressional Republicans and, in a speech last year before Congress, haranguing the president who is also his most important sponsor. The close ideological and cultural ties between the U.S. and Israel appear to overpower any political divisions, but can that last forever?

US condemns Israeli settlements (yawn, yawn!)

U.S. condemns Israeli plan for new construction beyond Green Line - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

'Burnishing Obama's pro-Israel credentials' or Warning to Tehran?

"... American policymakers had--and indeed have--many reasons to be wary of Israel initiating a confrontation with Iran--chief among them the roughly 150,000 American troops the United States currently has deployed on either side of Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other forces and assets assigned to bases in Qatar, Bahrain and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region.
So why has the Obama administration seemingly reversed that call? After all, the Obama White House has sought to curtail Iran's nuclear program through diplomatic and economic measures--and the export of 5,000-pound bunker buster bombs to Israel would seem to severely test Israeli patience for that slow and frustrating effort. And, secondly, why is the information emerging now--nearly two years after the administration carried out the deal?
Some policy observers suggest that the U.S. military under Obama was trying to "hug Israel close," in order to increase its feeling of security and thus hopefully stave off the prospect that Israel might launch a surprise strike on Iran on its own, thereby wreaking all sorts of havoc with U.S. military and diplomatic initiatives in the region.
The reported transfer may have been a "gesture" by the Obama White House "to assure the Israelis we love them," one Washington Iran expert who insisted on anonymity told The Envoy via email. (Still, he confessed that he found the ultimate motivation behind the transfer mystifying.)... 
As to the timing of the revelation, while some observers have suggested that American officials may have leaked it in order to burnish Obama's pro-Israel credentials as he faces a tough 2012 presidential campaign, Lake himself, in an interview with NPR Saturday, discounted such a political motivation by his initial sources....
The simpler explanation may in this case be the more compelling one: American and Israeli officials initiated the disclosure of the information now to send a potent warning to Iran.... 
(And in actuality, Israel has received earlier shipments of U.S. bunker buster bombs, analysts said. For instance, the Bush Defense Department announced in 2008 plans to sell 1,000 GBU-39 smart bunker buster bombs to Israel, "to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability," according to an Associated Press report. However, Israeli analysts said at the time that the smaller, 250-pound, precision GBU-39 bombs were more useful against buried arsenals in Lebanon and Gaza--not Iran: "You would need something a lot heavier" for Iran, former Israeli military strategic planner Shlomo Brom told the AP. "The GBU-39 can penetrate 6 feet of concrete, and 6 feet is not enough" for targeting Iran's buried nuclear facilities, he said. By contrast, analysts note that the GBU-28 bombs reportedly transferred in the 2009 Obama deal are 5,000-pound bombs--e.g. twenty times heavier than the ones the Bush administration shipped in 2008.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bill Clinton: "The two GREAT tragedies in the History of the Middle East!"

You would think Bubba meant Palestine 1948,
... and Iraq, 2003,
... Noooo, Bubba meant this:
"... Clinton said, "The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were Rabin's assassination and Sharon's stroke."

Shimon Peres: 'Mahmoud Abbas is the best man for Israel!'

"... stood like a deer in the headlights!"

Local News | Lewis-McChord soldier gets 7-year sentence for murder of Afghan | Seattle Times Newspaper

'Bunker-Buster Bombs' for ... Peace!

"...At the U.N. last week, Obama sided with Israel by pushing against the Palestinian vote for statehood. Even more telling: behind the scenes Obama has pressed hard to secure the Israeli state—through major military support...
But what participants didn’t know was that Obama had finally authorized military deals the Israelis had been waiting for for years. It is support that has drawn the two nations’ militaries increasingly close even as their leaders seem politely distant.
The aid, U.S. and Israeli officials confirmed to Newsweek, includes the long-delayed delivery of 55 powerful GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators, better known as bunker-buster bombs, deemed important to any future military strike against Iranian nuclear sites. It also includes a network of proposed radar sites—some located in Arab neighbors—designed to help Israel repel a missile attack, as well as joint military exercises and regular national-security consultations.
“What is unique in the Obama administration is their decision that in spite of the disagreements on the political level, the military and intelligence relationship which benefits both sides will not be spoiled by the political tension,” says Amos Yadlin, former head of intelligence for the Israeli military. He declined to discuss any secret military cooperation.
Even some of the hawks from the George W. Bush administration grudgingly give Obama credit for behind-the-scenes progress...
The bunker busters were a significant breakthrough. The Israelis first requested the sale in 2005, only to be rebuffed by the Bush administration. At the time, the Pentagon had frozen almost all U.S.-Israeli joint defense projects out of concern that Israel was transferring advanced military technology to China.In 2007, Bush informed then–prime minister Ehud Olmert that he would order the bunker busters for delivery in 2009 or 2010. The Israelis wanted them in 2007. Obama finally released the weapons in 2009, according to officials familiar with the secret decision.
James Cartwright, who served until August as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Newsweek the military chiefs had no objections to the sale. Rather, he said there was a concern about “how the Iranians would perceive it” and “how the Israelis might perceive it.” In other words, would the sale be seen as a green light for Israel to attack Iran’s secret nuclear sites one day?"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ali Abdullah Saleh thanks the United States and Saudi Arabia...

(al Jazeera, tweets)
#Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh thanks the United States and Saudi Arabia in helping him "fight Al Qaeda"
AJELive 1 hour ago 12 retweets

The Syrian E-Army: ' ...I've really never seen anything like this before...'

"...They call themselves the Syrian Electronic Army, conducting the most intense cyberwarfare in the Arab world, says Jillian York, with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"I've really never seen anything like this before, like the Syrian Electronic Army, which just seems to have so many members," she says. "I think it's really just their level of persistence and their level of activity that sets them apart."
Are they a part of the regime? That is uncertain, says York, although Syrian President Bashar Assad saluted the youth of the Electronic Army in a June speech when they first emerged.
"So it may be that they are supported by the government; it may be that they are independent pro-government forces," York says..."

The French Connection: JDL 'Vigilante Tourism' in Palestine ...

"... But AGEN says each of its demonstrations have been targeted by the JDL. "They hear about pro-Palestinian demonstrations, such as the Gaza flotilla solidarity events we had this summer, and they show up and start abusing people. It's not self-defence when they actively search for the demonstration," he said. "They hide in the streets when demonstrations happen, and attack the tail-end of the protests."...
"We know the IDF doesn't need us, but we"re going to show our solidarity. We're going over to make sure all areas are covered, and to defend the settlements," he said.
Pro-Palestinian activists such as Shahshahani say the call should be taken seriously. "They are publicly recruiting people with military experience, French citizens with military experience, to serve a foreign country with guns, what is this called?" he said. "We all know of people who were sent to Guantanamo, including French citizens, because of actions like these. What about the ones who aid the Israeli army?"..."

on Egypt: "The Obama Administration is trying to steer a course between its long valued relationship with the military & the civilians"

As anticipated, the Palestinian decision to seek statehood in the UN was surrounded by a frenzy of diplomatic activity and explanatory briefing. In the end, US officials believe they have bought time through the alternative timetable launched by the Middle East Quartet. Behind the scenes, however, officials acknowledge that the longer-term implications of their approach in New York are largely unforeseeable. One senior official commented privately to us: “We want to treat Palestine-Israel in its own basket, separate from the Arab Spring, separate from our human rights agenda, separate from the War on Terror. Somewhere we will have to pay a price.” The most immediate area of concern is the US relationship with the complex mix of now composed of Arab allies, unsettled protest movements and a more assertive Turkey.
 The biggest prize in US eyes remains Egypt. Here, the Administration is trying to steer a course between its long-established and valued relationship with the Egyptian military and the more volatile mix of civilian parties. A State Department official summed it up: “We are still facing the usual tensions between stability and democracy.” More importantly, internal debate is intensifying on the subject of Pakistan. Divisions are emerging between the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community on the subject of Pakistan. The charges leveled by top defense officials of official complicity on the part of the Pakistani government in providing a safe haven and direct support to anti-Afghan and anti-NATO forces are complicating US working relationships with their Pakistani counterparts. We doubt that either side will tolerate a complete breakdown in relations, but there is no doubt that US progress in Afghanistan is being severely hampered by the shortcomings in cooperation with Islamabad. Unless this can be fixed, the prospects are for a substantial expansion of unilateral US action in the Waziristan region in the form of drone attacks and operations by special forces. A more optimistic area relates to the Korean Peninsular where the feared hostilities over the summer have not emerged.  On the domestic front, further polarization on budgetary matters looms – even at the same time as Treasury officials are urging their Eurozone colleagues to take unified, decisive action.

Saturday, September 24, 2011



Uncle Sam & the Saudi Split

'The way it ended for King Faisal in 1975'
"... So once again the Saudis find themselves staring at a test of their tangled relationship with Washington. Is a U.S. veto of a Palestinian state worth jeopardizing the new security and military cooperation with Washington? However angry Saudi leaders are today, they have acknowledged again and again that when it comes to countering the threat from Iran, there is only "one game in town" -- namely, the military might of Uncle Sam. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has even suggested that the United States would be ready to establish a "defense umbrella" overt the Arab Gulf states to protect them against a nuclear-armed Iran.
Nonetheless, King Abdullah remains a man of high emotion and occasional spur-of-the-moment decisions, a character trait that could still produce an unexpected turn in the unsettled U.S.-Saudi relationship."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Israel and Turkey: 'Trade booming like never before!'

Israel and Turkey: It's Hard to Fight with Your Hands in Each Other's Pockets

Abbas: (...- كفى, كفى, كفى...كفى, كفى, كفى...-كفى, كفى, كفى)*


His Excellency, President of Nothing, speaking now at the UNGA: "... Israel killed one Palestinian today!"

Syria: The revolution will be weaponised

Syria: The revolution will be weaponised - Features - Al Jazeera English

Neocons & Israel-firsters are delighted with Ford's 'terrific job' in Damascus!

"... And now some American foreign-policy outfits are starting to acknowledge Ford's critical role. The Foreign Policy Initiative, a small advocacy group co-founded by the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol to promote a strong U.S. military and neoconservative U.S. foreign policy, reversed its earlier position on Ford's presence in the country. The group had previously pressed Washington policymakers to withdraw Ford from Damascus as a gesture of protest against Bashar al-Assad's crackdown -- but now it's calling on the U.S. Senate to confirm Ford as the U.S. ambassador to Syria.
"Ford has been doing a terrific job, and at some personal risk, of making clear to the people of Syria that the US stands with them and against Assad," Robert Kagan, co-founder of FPI and a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, told The Envoy by email Thursday. "I understand why some believed we should withdraw our ambassador, but circumstances have changed.  It's very important that Ford be kept in Damascus, and the Senate should confirm him as soon as possible."..."

Sarkozy wants to 'lead from behind' & allow the Palestinians to 'observe' their despair!

"..."Why not envisage offering Palestine the status of United Nations observer state?" Sarkozy continued. "This would be an important step forward. Most important, it would mean emerging from a state of immobility that favors only the extremists."
Sarkozy's push for a middle way--and a greater voice in the traditionally U.S.-dominated peace process--comes as Obama is increasingly asserting a more public defense of Israeli positions and security concerns in its volatile region. The shift seems calculated in part to shore up Obama's support for his 2012 presidential election campaign. In reality, Obama's administration has given more in U.S. military assistance to Israel than any previous administration. ..."

As usual, Arabs cower to US & European pressure at the IAEA

"... With the support of the United States and other Western nations, Israel was active behind the scenes to torpedo the Arab initiative, and were ultimately successful. It would seem that one of the reasons that the Arab bloc withdrew their proposal was last year’s failure, when the conference denied their request to discuss the issue...."

Also, because the status quo benefitted American interests, although the crackdown is still ongoing!

"Yemen—President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned Friday to the Yemeni capital after more than three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in a surprise move that could further enflame violence between forces loyal to him and his opponents. Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia in June after he was seriously injured in an attack on his presidential compound in the capital Sanaa...
But the violence took a serious turn this week after a regionally-sponsored, U.S.-backed deal to transfer power hit a new snag. Saleh had repeatedly refused to sign the deal, and has recently delegated his deputy to restart negotiations with opponents on the deal. It was considered another stalling tactic by Saleh that was followed by a violent crackdown on protesters and the most violent bout of fighting between Saleh loyalists and his armed opponents...
Nearly 100 people have been killed in Sanaa and elsewhere in Yemen since Sunday...."