"Iraq has now already achieved victory -- apart from some technicalities."
- Iraqi Ambassador to the Arab League, Mohsen Khalil
I wonder what those 'technicalities' might be ...
At the end of February, with war in Iraq looming, U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen paid a visit to Yasir Arafat in his shattered compound in Ramallah. For months, the Palestinian leader had believed the outbreak of war would work to his advantage, restoring him as a key player in peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But Roed-Larsen laid it on the line: According to diplomatic sources, he told Arafat that the Palestinian leader would be "finished" unless he immediately appointed a prime minister with substantial powers--a precondition set by Ariel Sharon and the White House for restarting the peace process. Weeks later, Arafat grudgingly named his aide, Mahmoud Abbas, known by the nom de guerre Abu Mazen, to the post. Then, in dozens of phone conversations and meetings in smoke-filled rooms in Ramallah over the next two weeks, reformers from the Fatah movement, a faction within the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), persuaded key Arafat loyalists to block Arafat's bid to retain de facto control of the P.A. On March 18, the Palestinian Legislative Council rejected by an overwhelming majority Arafat's attempt to weaken the post, giving Abu Mazen total control over Cabinet appointments and other key responsibilities. "It was a democratic revolution," says Mohammed Hurani, a Fatah deputy who organized the rebellion.
Yet, even before the road map gets off the ground, it is facing withering skepticism from all sides. Despite Bush's public endorsement, according to U.N. officials, top White House officials, such as Dick Cheney, have been lukewarm toward the plan because they believe it does not make security for Israel the top priority, and they have sparred with the State Department, the key participant with the United Nations in the drafting of the document. Sharon's government has raised dozens of objections, including the plan's call for the creation of an "independent" Palestinian state. But the biggest short-term obstacle may be the very phenomenon that gave the road map momentum: the war in Iraq. ..
For the moment, Sharon is expressing cautious support for Abu Mazen. Israel once denounced him for "supporting terrorism" and vilified him as a "Holocaust denier." But the Israel Defense Forces have removed from their website excerpts from a book about Abu Mazen published in the early '80s based on his dissertation from Moscow's Oriental College in which he questioned whether the Nazis had used gas chambers and claimed that fewer than one million Jews were exterminated during the Holocaust. Israeli Director of Military Intelligence Major General Aharon Ze'evi Farkash told the Israeli Cabinet last weekend that he discerns "an authentic and positive desire for change" in Abu Mazen, the only member of Arafat's inner circle who has consistently spoken out against the intifada. Sharon's top aide, Ephraim Halevy, has held at least one private meeting with the new prime minister, and one member of the diplomatic quartet that drew up the road map predicts that Sharon and Abu Mazen will have their first meeting in the coming weeks.
But the honeymoon could end quickly. Abu Mazen has begun holding talks with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in an effort to induce them to declare a cease-fire. Both Palestinians and Western diplomats, however, say that the rejectionists still have the upper hand. Disarming the militants, a key initial component of the road map, may prove to be far too ambitious a goal. "I can't see them giving up their guns," a European envoy who talks frequently to Hamas told me. The appointment of a strong Palestinian interior minister could intensify pressure on the radicals: One leading candidate is Mohammed Dahlan, the former preventive security chief in the Gaza Strip, who argued that the uprising was destroying the P.A. and who resigned his post last year. But Hamas and Islamic Jihad still enjoy strong support among Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, and any attempted crackdown against the militants is certain to backfire unless the Israeli government makes some substantial concessions of its own. "Abu Mazen has to show his people that the Israelis are freeing prisoners, withdrawing from the occupied territories, and stopping house demolitions," Roed-Larsen told me. "And he has to show Israel and the United States that there is no more terror." ...
Yet, despite such pressures--and even if the Iraq war ends quickly--most Palestinians and Israelis I talked to aren't optimistic about the prospects for peace. Sharon's requirement of a total cessation of violence before substantial negotiations can begin may be unattainable. "All you need is one idiot in Gaza, that's enough to derail the process," says Yossi Beilin, former minister of justice in Ehud Barak's government and a member of the Israeli negotiating teams at Oslo and Taba. Sharon's opposition to surrendering settlements also makes it unlikely that the road map will move beyond phase one, which calls upon Israel to take down outposts built after March 2001 and declare a settlement freeze. Even if the two sides progress past the first phase, most observers expect negotiations to bog down over the boundaries of a provisional Palestinian state. Foreign Minister Shalom said this week that Israel will give Abu Mazen one or two months to prove he can stop terrorist attacks--something that Palestinians close to the new prime minister say will be difficult. After two and a half years of suspicion and intransigence on both sides, most peace-process veterans I spoke with believe that the road map will end up like all the other peace initiatives of the last two years: a long detour to nowhere.
WASHINGTON - If you want to figure out whether the administration of President George W Bush intends a crusade to remake the Middle East in the wake of Washington's presumed military victory in Iraq, watch what happens with R James Woolsey. A former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Woolsey is being pushed hard by his fellow neoconservatives in the Pentagon to play a key role in the post-Saddam Hussein US occupation.
Less well-known than his long-time associates and close friends, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the former head of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) Richard Perle, Woolsey has long believed that Washington has a mission to use its overwhelming military power and its democratic ideals to transform the Arab world. And he has pushed for war with Iraq as hard as anyone, even before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
If he soon pops up in Baghdad, you can bet that the "clash of civilizations" is imminent, if it has not begun already. To Woolsey's mind, the US is already engaged in what he and many of his fellow neoconservatives call "World War IV", a struggle that pits the US and Britain against Islamist and Wahhabi extremists like al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, Iranian theocrats, and Ba'ath Party "fascists" in Syria and Iraq. In their view, the Cold War was World War III.
Their list also includes other authoritarian rulers in the Arab world, such as Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and the ruling Saud family in Saudi Arabia, whose "Faustian bargain" with the Muslim Wahhabi sect, in Woolsey's view, is responsible for al-Qaeda and much of Islamist-related terrorism throughout the world.
"We want you nervous," Woolsey told Mubarak and the Saudi monarchy in a speech to students at the University of California at Los Angeles last week. "We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, that this country and its allies are on the march, and that we are on the side of those you most fear: we're on the side of your own people." (Worth reading MORE)
ALBU MUHAWISH, Iraq - U.S. soldiers evacuated an Iraqi military compound on Sunday after tests by a mobile laboratory confirmed evidence of sarin nerve gas. More than a dozen soldiers of the Army's 101st Airborne Division had been sent earlier for chemical weapons decontamination after they exhibited symptoms of possible exposure to nerve agents.Similarly, on April 4, 2003, MSNBC posted an article entitled, "Positive test for terror toxins in Iraq - Evidence of ricin, botulinum at Islamic militants’ camp" , in which MSNBC stated:
U.S. soldiers found the suspect chemicals at two sites: an agricultural warehouse containing 55-gallon chemical drums and a military compound, which soldiers had begun searching on Saturday. The soldiers also found hundreds of gas masks and chemical suits at the military complex, along with large numbers of mortar and artillery rounds.
SARGAT, Iraq, April 4 — MSNBC.com tests reveal evidence of the deadly toxins ricin and botulinum at a laboratory in a remote mountain region of northern Iraq allegedly used as a terrorist training camp by Islamic militants with ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network.This evidence is over and above what even Blix found, e.g., the missiles which constituted a clear case of "banned weapons".
Israel has been trying to get rid of Yasir Arafat for years, but it was a legitimate process, managed by the Palestinian legislature, that last month produced the first legitimate alternative: the first Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.Now aside from the question of how legitmate the process was or if Abbas even represents much of a departure from Arafat, let's accept Friedman's premise that this is a good thing. Did it come about because the PLC simply decided that Arafat was immoral, or a terrorist or had led his people to ruin? Well no. It had everything to do with America showing resolve and telling the Palestinians that the gig was up. Arafat was not legitimate; go find someone else.
Mr. Bush should visit the West Bank. It is a cautionary tale of an occupation gone wrong. It is a miserable landscape of settlements, bypass roads, barbed wire and cement walls. Why? Because the Israeli and Palestinian mainstreams spent the last 36 years, since Israel's victory in 1967, avoiding any clear decision over how to govern this land. So those extremists who had a clear idea, like the settlers and Hamas, hijacked the situation and drove the agenda.If my math is correct 36 years brings us to 2003. It's as if 2000 never happened. Ehud Barak was the perfect Israeli PM by Friedman's standards, yet his efforts are simply forgotten by a man who pretends to be the world's greatest living expert on the Middle East.
A possible weapons of mass destruction storage site has been found near Baghdad, according to a US military official.
There are unconfirmed reports there could be Sarin - a chemical agent that causes death by suffocation -at the site south of the central Iraqi town of Hindiyah, a US military officer said. "Our detectors have indicated something," said Major Ros Coffman, public affairs officer with the US 3rd Infantry.
"We're talking about finding a site of possible WMD storage. This is an initial report, but it could be a smoking gun.
"It is not as if there is a cloud of gas hanging everywhere endangering soldiers lives. We're talking about a facility," Coffman added.
The report follows a find of a thousands of boxes containing viles of suspicious white powder and liquid on Friday at a site south of Baghdad. However, a US officer said on Saturday that initial tests suggested both substances were not chemical weapons.
Over the weekend US Marines began digging up a site where chemical weapons are suspected of being hidden at a girl's school in the town of Aziziyah.[more]
As US Forces tightened their grip on Baghdad, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, along with his two sons, fled the capital three days ago for his home town of Tikrit, 175 km to the north, media reports said.
"I have been informed that once he had firm evidence that the Americans were closing in on Baghdad, he fled to his home town of Tikrit," claimed Haitham Rashid Wihaib, Saddam's former Chief of Protocol in The Mail.
The dictator who used to being ferried around in a vast fleet of heavily armoured Mercedes left by way of anonymous taxis and battered pick up trucks in a convoy which would have looked like any other group of fleeing Iraqis.
"He has taken his two sons Uday and Qusay, and a handful of key advisors still loyal to him. In Baghdad, each local commander has been told to act as he sees fit," Wihaib said.
Wihaib, who claims to have spent nearly 20 years working for Saddam, said he also got to know Saddam's doubles.
"And the Saddam Hussein we saw shaking the hands of his subjects in that extraordinary walkab out on Friday, was definitely a doppelganger, thinner than the real thing and without his rolling walk.
"This was a stunt ordered by his son Qusay in an attempt to convince the Allies that Saddam was still in Baghdad and a last ditch bid to show the Iraqi people their leader was brave and prepared to fight from the capital.
"But Saddam is not brave. He is mad and desperate and, unlike them, is readying himself for exile."
The peace movement has never been known for its moral fortitude, although they have always regarded themselves as morally superior, as if the single-minded pursuit of peace at all cost is the sign of a more advanced intellect. It is in fact the opposite, as it provides a seemingly easy way out of real life dilemmas, and ignores the real life costs of pursuing peace at all cost. The lesson of the 1930's has been completely lost on them. Appeasement does not work. Sometimes the peace won in the short term begets much more serious problems in the long term, but I guess if you're a sophisticated thinker such reasoning can be shot down easily.
But that's just the charitable interpretation, as the so-called "peace" movement has a long history of serving as the useful idiots for foreign regimes guilty of horrific human rights violations. In the 1980's it was the Soviet Union, now it is the likes of Saddam who find support on the left. But these peace-movements, together with the rise in Islamic influence in Europe (see also recent experiences in Denmark) a new element has been added to the "peace" movement's canon: anti-semitism. This has been mirrored by the rise of anti-semitism in the incubators of far-left radicalism on American campuses.
In France the toxic mix of Islamofascism from the Arab immigrants and the anti-Americanism of the French governments is leading to a dangerous environment if you happen to be Jew in France, as the Washington Times reports on the latest attacks of Muslim youths on Jews there. Of course, the fact that these Jews were protesting the war too made no difference to the Arabs. As the Washington Times writes:The French government was forced to appeal for calm after protesters, some of them carrying pictures of Saddam Hussein, burned the Israeli flag and turned on Jewish students, attacking one of them with an iron bar, during a series of antiwar rallies.That last slogan really sums it up. "Vive Chirac. Stop the Jews." And what does the celebrated Chirac do? According to the Washington Times, he's keeping quiet.
Officials fear that antiwar sentiment, supported by President Jacques Chirac, may be running out of control and could ignite widespread violence. Banners at recent demonstrations have shown the Star of David intertwined with a Nazi swastika, while protesters shouted: "Vive Chirac. Stop the Jews."
To be fair, the police are setting up a new unit to investigate racist and anti-semitic crimes. It's a bit late to focus on that only now, as anti-semitic violence has been increasing in France was several years now. The article also points out the potential for civil unrest in France, where millions of unassimilated Arabs live in the vast and depressing suburbs of French cities. The embers Chirac has been fanning may yet rise up into a fire
There is a history of Palestine that is extraodinarily popular on a large number of Arab and pro-Arab websites. Called The Origin of The Conflict in the Middle East (OCME), the book is Middle Eastern history as the Arabs would like it to have been. It is 37 pages long and is now in its third edition. It can be obtained in hardcopy from only one source, a post office box in Berkeley. Or it can be downloaded from many websites. It is published by a group calling itself Jews for Justice in the Middle East (JFJME). Its authors are unlisted.
This is an examination of this history text disseminated on many Arab websites and some neutral sites that provide historical documents on the Middle East. It is said to have been produced by a group of Jewish scholars, an anonymous group that calls itself Jews for Justice in the Middle East. We think it's a fraud. MORE
Beleaguered Israeli doctors now have to fend off mindless attacks from their scientific colleagues, particularly in Europe.
It's bad enough that Israeli doctors are spending their lives in emergency rooms treating Jewish and Arab victims of suicide bombers.
What really makes them heartsick these days, however, is that they also have to fend off mindless attacks from their scientific colleagues, particularly in Europe. That was the most gut-wrenching impression I returned with after a recent trip to Israel along with 70 other senior physicians from across America. We had gone to bolster the spirits of our Israeli colleagues, exhausted and bewildered from two years of the relentless experience of treating victims of terror. We arrived at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem less than 24 hours after a particularly horrific bus bombing in Jerusalem.
Hours earlier, teams of Jewish-Arab doctors had done what they've done for the past two years: jumped into action to save the lives of the critically injured.
On Israeli television the night before, the father of the homicidal bomber bragged that he was proud of his son who had attacked a busload of schoolchildren and senior citizens.
On the day we arrived, that same father suffered chest pains and was brought to Hadassah. He was seen by the same doctors who were still treating the victims of his son's madness.
The humanitarian approach to medicine of our colleagues in Israel stands in stark contrast to actions recently taken by our European colleagues.
In Britain and Norway, countries we Americans generally feel are kindred to our way of life, university professors and scientific researchers have recently refused to share research information with Israel's academics and physicians because they oppose Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.
The head of Hadassah's gene therapy institute, Dr. Eitan Galun, an Israeli Jew, has been engaged in research to cure a blood disease prevalent in the Palestinian community. He recently requested assistance from a Norwegian scientist and was refused. "Due to the present situation in the Middle East, I will not deliver any material to an Israeli university," she responded by e-mail.
By her actions, which confuse science with politics, the Palestinian population will needlessly continue to suffer from a disease that could be cured through scientific cooperation [more]
CAIRO (AFP) Apr 05, 2003Suicide attacks on the US-led coalition in Iraq are "permitted under (Islamic) religious law," the sheikh of Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni Muslim spiritual authority, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, said here Saturday. "Martyr operations against the invading forces are permitted under religious law," he said, quoted by the official MENA news agency.
Tantawi described the invasion of Iraq to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein as "an unjust ggression". "Whoever attacks others, spilling blood, harming the other's honour and land is a terrorist," he added, referring to the US-led coalition. Tantawi, however, said the US-led war was not a crusade against Islam since many Christian nations and religious leaders, including Pope John Paul II, have opposed it.[more]
AMMAN, Jordan, March 31 (JTA) — Aviv’s mother marvels at the way her son, perhaps one of Jordan’s only self-avowed Judeophiles, references the Bible in discussing contemporary politics in the Middle East.
“You see,” says Aviv professorially, “the borders of Israel are supposed to stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates. That is what it says in the Bible: Numbers, Chapter 2.”
Aviv, who has cat eyes and receding hair combed straight back on his head, says, “Who knows? Maybe I have Jewish blood somewhere in these veins.”
Aviv — a Christian whose family asked that his Arabic name not be used — stands in stark contrast to the prevailing sentiment in Jordan.
With the local and Arabic satellite channels searing the suffering of the Iraqi people onto Jordanians’ minds, anything American, British and especially Jewish is taboo.
Thus his courtship with Hebrew is conducted under supreme secrecy.
A crafter of mosaics who once owned a thriving arts shop near the Roman ruins in Jerash, he has developed numerous friendships with visiting Israelis who were stunned to hear his astoundingly good Hebrew.
His only formal training was a six-week course conducted at a local tourism college in Amman. The rest he picked up from tourists and long hours of studying after work.
Now his Hebrew books — Amman booksellers have since taken such texts off the racks — are stashed away under the family’s Armenian Orthodox Bible.[more]
The Foreign Ministry is urging the government to launch a diplomatic offensive in Europe, warning that Israel stands to lose further ground on the continent after the war in Iraq.
According to media reports, the warning is included in a new position paper that foresees European countries cranking up the pressure on Israel after the war to make concessions to the Palestinians.
One of the measures it recommends is making more conciliatory gestures toward the newly chosen Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. It also urges the government to take the initiative in involving the Europeans in peace efforts so as to avoid steps being taken behind Israel's back.
The reports of the policy paper comes amid increasing concern among members of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government about a US-backed Mideast peace plan known as the "road map" which calls for achieving Palestinian statehood by 2005.
[...]"It is scary, but we know the more effective we are the more hostile they will be. Now is the most important time to stand our ground," said Joe Smith, 21, also of Evergreen College, where Corrie had also been a student.
The IDF said its bulldozers were in Rafah Sunday destroying abandoned buildings, to block a tunnel underneath used by Palestinian terrorists to smuggle weapons and explosives from Egypt to the camp, which sits on the border.
But ISM members said they believe the IDF had needlessly targeted the homes of innocent Rafah residents.
ISM spokesman Michael Shaik said that Avery was conscious and that his brain appears to be functioning normally, but that his face is heavily bandaged and he still can't speak. He has undergone one operation and is likely to have another one on Tuesday. "He can write and communicate with his hands and seems to even have a sense of humor," said Shaik.
The IDF said Avery was hit in an exchange of fire between the IDF and Palestinians. [more]
[...]For now, the Pentagon, which rules the war arena and the Iraqi scene as a whole has placed a keep out sign for State Department officials bent on taking up posts in the interim administration.If Debka has got it right, that my unifying theory is wrong insofar as Bush having agreed to pacify the Arabs. And Powell is also wrong in what he has been saying. It won't be the first time for either of us. We'll have to see this one play out.
No Handouts for War Opponents
3. The governments who opposed the American war in Iraq will be barred from partaking in its fruits. They fall into two groups. The first, led by France, Germany, Russia and the other nations, is seen as having fought the United States every inch of the road to the war, placing obstacles in every international forum, including the UN and NATO, and continuing to place cogs in the war wheel. (Just what I have always maintained. Well, almost always)
The Arab governments who supported the American war effort belong to the second group of nations clamoring for a say in post-war Iraq. They are led by Saudi Arabia which, despite initial anti-war declarations, its de facto ruler, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, subsequently opened up the kingdom’s bases and air space to the passage of US troops and the staging of assaults in Iraq. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak followed the same pattern of conduct. The big military base at Cairo-West and the Suez Canal became the two principal logistical arteries carrying US personnel and supplies to the combat units into the war arena.
Post-war Iraq Key to Larger Scheme
All these demands and Tony Blair’s attempts to reconcile the diametrically opposed European, Arab and American approaches on Iraq will most likely fall on deaf ears with the US President. Bush and his team will reply that they did not set out to conquer one of the richest and most important Arab nations and expel its tyrannous regime in order to hand out plums to its adversaries – or even for private gain. Above all, the Bush administration has set out a blueprint for a new world order to rise after international terror is vanquished. Iraq’s post-war structure is meant to stand as a prototype for the next stages of this broad scheme.
That being the case, Bush will not be inclined to heed Tony Blair, Saud al Faisal, Hosni Mubarak, Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Putin, Gerhard Schroeder or Koffi Anan – either their views or their demands to play a significant role in the rebuilding of Iraq.
The same world leaders are just as unlikely to be afforded the lead role they seek in the diplomacy for settling the Israel-Palestinian conflict and forging a peace, a process allotted a space in the same broad scheme charted by the Bush presidency. (What have I been telling you)
DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources report a showdown last Thursday, April 3, between Yasser Arafat and the first Palestinian prime minister-designate, Abu Mazen, attended also by the Palestinian Authority’s incumbent interior minister Hani al Hassen.
Back from a few days in the Gaza Strip, Abu Mazen asked to be relieved of the appointment. Arafat told him angrily he could not accept an historical appointment one minute and drop it the next. Sources close to Abu Mazen reveal that he has despaired of making inroads on Arafat’s powers and acquiring any real authority. And, as long as Arafat is in charge, Palestinian terrorism will continue to surge, closing the door to reform, an accommodation with Israel and any change in the fortunes of the Palestinian people.
At present, Israel lives with between 50 and 60 suicide terror alerts per day! Most are only averted by the presence of Israeli forces in very Palestinian urban center and constant round-ups, searches and surprise raids against terrorist strongholds.
Even if President Bush had decided to meet Tony Blair, the Arabs and the Europeans halfway by forcing the Quartet’s road map unamended down Israel’s throat, Arafat and his terror machine would sabotage any progress towards a settlement. (Like Abba Eban always said "Arafat never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.")
some In this time of debate on whether we should go into Iraq without UN approval, and why the French and German's are so adamant about vetoing the use of force, it's important to get the facts so we can make intelligent, informed opinions. Too many people who spiel anti-US and anti-Bush arguments are not in the habit of taking the time to research the facts. Most of them get their information in 30 second doses on TV while they are channel surfing between the "West Wing", some idiot sitcom, or the newest "reality show". Being informed at this critical juncture in history is every American's duty. More time spent researching and less time watching will benefit our society.
The following quote, from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 should be taken to heart by everyone who has been "round-heeled" and have done nothing but critisize Pres. Bush on the Iraq debate; "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat " .
Now take some time and read the important following report.
Facts on Who Benefits From Keeping Saddam Hussein In Power by The Heritage Foundation, February 28, 2003
[ 1 ] According to the CIA World Factbook, France controls over 22.5 percent of Iraq's imports.
[ 2 ] French total trade with Iraq under the oil-for-food program is the third largest, totaling $3.1 billion since 1996, according to the United Nations.
[ 3 ] In 2001 France became Iraq's largest European trading partner. Roughly 60 French companies do an estimated $1.5 billion in trade with Baghdad annually under the U.N. oil-for-food program.
[ 4 ] France's largest oil company, Total Fina Elf, has negotiated a deal to develop the Majnoon field in western Iraq. The Majnoon field purportedly contains up to 30 billion barrels of oil.
[ 5 ] Total Fina Elf also negotiated a deal for future oil exploration in Iraq's Nahr Umar field. Both the Majnoon and Nahr Umar fields are estimated to contain as much as 25 percent of the country's reserves.
[ 6 ] France's Alcatel company, a major telecom firm, is negotiating a $76 million contract to rehabilitate Iraq's telephone system.
[ 7 ] From 1981 to 2001, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), France was responsible for over 13 percent of Iraq's arms imports .
[ 8 ] Direct trade between Germany and Iraq amounts to about $350 million annually, and another $1 billion is reportedly sold through third parties.
[ 9 ] It has recently been reported that Saddam Hussein has ordered Iraqi domestic businesses to show preference to German companies as a reward for Germany's "firm positive stand in rejecting the launching of a military attack against Iraq." It was also reported that over 101 German companies were present at the Baghdad Annual exposition.
[ 10 ] During the 35th Annual Baghdad International Fair in November 2002, a German company signed a contract for $80 million for 5,000 cars and spare parts.
 In 2002, Daimler Chrysler was awarded over $13 million in contracts for German trucks and spare parts.
 German officials are investigating a German corporation accused of illegally channeling weapons to Iraq via Jordan. The equipment in question is used for boring the barrels of large cannons and is allegedly intendedfor Saddam Hussein's Al Fao Supercannon project.
 According to the CIA World Factbook, Russia controls roughly 5.8 percent of Iraq's annual imports.
[ 14 ] Under the U.N. oil-for-food program, Russia's total trade with Iraq was somewhere between $530 million and $1 billion for the six months ending in December of 2001.
[ 15 ] According to the Russian Ambassador to Iraq, Vladimir Titorenko, new contracts worth another $200 million under the U.N. oil-for-food program are to be signed over the next three months.
[ 16 ] Soviet-era debt of $7 billion through $8 billion was generated by arms sales to Iraq during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Russia's LUKoil negotiated a $4 billion, 23-year contract in 1997 to rehabilitate the 15 billion-barrel West Qurna field in southern Iraq. Work on the oil field was expected to commence upon cancellation of U.N. sanctions on Iraq. The deal is currently on hold.
[ 17 ] In October 2001, Salvneft, a Russian-Belarus company, negotiated a $52 million service contract to drill at the Tuba field in Southern Iraq.
[ 18 ] In April 2001, Russia's Zaruezhneft company received a service contract to drill in the Saddam, Kirkuk, and Bai Hassan fields to rehabilitate the fields and reduce water incursion. A future $40 billion Iraqi-Russian economic agreement, reportedly signed in 2002, would allow for extensive oil exploration opportunities throughout western Iraq.
[19 ] The proposal calls for 67 new projects, over a 10-year time frame, to explore and further develop fields in southern Iraq and the Western Desert, including the Suba, Luhais, West Qurna, and Rumaila projects. Additional projects added to the deal include second-phase construction of a pipeline running from southern to northern Iraq, and extensive drilling and gas projects. Work on these projects would commence upon cancellation of sanctions.
[ 20 ] Russia's Gazprom company over the past few years has signed contracts worth $18 million to repair gas stations in Iraq.
[ 21 ] The former Soviet Union was the premier supplier of Iraqi arms. From 1981 to 2001, Russia supplied Iraq with 50 percent of its arms.
 According to the CIA World Factbook, China controls roughly 5.8 percent of Iraq's annual imports.
[ 23 ] China National Oil Company, partnered with China North Industries Corp., negotiated a 22-year-long deal for future oil exploration in the Al Ahdab field in southern Iraq.
[ 24 ] In recent years, the Chinese Aero-Technology Import-Export Company (CATIC) has been contracted to sell "meteorological satellite" and "surface observation" equipment to Iraq. This contract was approved by the U.N. oil-for-food program.
[ 25 ] CATIC also won approval from the U.N. in July 2000 to sell $2 million worth of fiber optic cables. This and similar contracts approved were disguised as telecommunications gear. These cables can be used for secure data and communications links between national command and control centers and long-range search radar, targeting radar, and missile-launch units, according to U.S. officials. In addition, China National Electric Wire & Cable and China National Technical Import Telecommunications Equipment Company are believed to have sold Iraq $6 million and $15.5 million worth of communications equipment and other unspecified supplies, respectively.
[ 26 ] According to a report from SIPRI, from 1981 to 2001, China was the second largest supplier of weapons and arms to Iraq, supplying over 18 percent of Iraq's weapons imports.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 2002, at
2]Jon Talton, "French Ideals and Profits in the Iraqi Triangle", The Arizona Republic, February 23, 2003.
Jon Talton, "French Ideals and Profits in the Iraqi Triangle," The Arizona Republic, February 23, 2003.
4]Kenneth Katzman, Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade, Congressional Research Service, September 26, 2002.
Kenneth Katzman, Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade, Congressional Research Service, September 26, 2002.
Evelyn Iritani, "Hussein's Government Signs Lucrative Contracts, Especially with Nations that Oppose the U.S. Led Effort to Oust the
Regime," The Los Angeles Verdana,Arial,Helvetica, November 11, 2002.
Information from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), "Arms Transfers to Iraq, 1981-2001," at http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/IRQ_IMPORTS_1982-2001.pdf.
David R. Sands, "France, Germany Protect Iraq Ties," The Washington Verdana,Arial,Helvetica, February 20, 2003.
David R. Sands, "France, Germany Protect Iraq Ties," The Washington Verdana,Arial,Helvetica, February 20, 2003.
"Africa Analysis-Trade Points Way to Peace", The Financial Verdana,Arial,Helvetica: Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, November 19, 2002.
Faye Bowers, "Driving Forces in War-Wary Nations: The Stances of France, Germany, Russia and China Are Colored by Economic and National Interests," Christian Science Monitor, February 25, 2003.
"Helping Saddam Rearm," The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2002.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 2002, at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook.
Testimony provided by Ariel Cohen to the House International Relations Committee, "Russia and the Axis of Evil: Money, Ambition and U.S. Interests," February 26, 2003.
Nelli Sharushkina, "Russia Plays the Field in Iraq-Mixed Signals Worry Baghdad," Energy Intelligence Briefing, February 5, 2003.
Dan Morgan and David B. Ottaway, "In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue," The Washington Post, September 15, 2002.
Dan Morgan and David B. Ottaway, "In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue," The Washington Post, September 15, 2002.
Scott Peterson, "Russia's Newest Tie to Iraq: Moscow Is Set to Sign a $40 billion Economic Pact with Baghdad Next Month," Christian Science Monitor, August 20, 2002.
"Mideast Tensions to Delay Iraq Iraqi-Russian Signing," Energy Compass, April 19, 2002.
Dmitry Zhdannikov, "Russian's Grim About Working Under Saddam," The Houston Chronicle, April 14, 2002.
Information from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), "Arms Transfers to Iraq, 1981-2001," at http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/IRQ_IMPORTS_1982-2001.pdf.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 2002, at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook.
Trish Saywell, "Oil: The Danger of Deals with Iraq," Far Eastern Economic Review, March 6, 2003.
Kenneth R. Timmerman, "Rogues Lending Hand to Saddam," Insight on the News, March 4, 2003.
Kenneth R. Timmerman, "Rogues Lending Hand to Saddam," Insight on the News, March 4, 2003.
Information from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), "Arms Transfers to Iraq, 1981-2001," at
France is Not a Western Country Anymore
By Guy Milliere
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 31, 2003
French-bashing is everywhere in the American media. I am French, and I must say if Americans knew completely what's happening in France, the French-bashing would be far harsher.
Jacques Chirac has been a friend of Saddam Hussein for more than thirty years. He allowed the sale of nuclear facilities to Iraq that were destroyed just in time by Israël. He sold Iraq the planes that were been used to gas thousands of Kurds. And Saddam is not the only friend Chirac has. Chirac has never met a ruthless dictator he did not like. Worse, Chirac is unprincipled and greedy. It is common knowledge in France that he stole a lot of money when he was the mayor of Paris, and everyone knows that if he had not been re-elected in May 2002, he would be in jail now. To hear him speaking about morality or international law nauseates every decent Frenchman.
And Chirac is not the only politician of this stripe in France. These days, it is becoming hard to find a French politician ready to speak about human rights, freedom or democracy. All of them seem to have the same speechwriter or to belong to the same totalitarian political party; all of them are anti-American, anti-Israeli and "pacifists." They regard Western civilization as something filthy and abhorrent.
If you read the newspapers, it's the same. At times it seems the only difference between the Soviet Union twenty years ago and France today is that in Soviet Union you had only one Pravda, and in France you now have at least ten such propaganda outlets: Different titles, same content. Their party line is clear in reporting on the personalities found in the present Middle Eastern crisis. Saddam Hussein, the "President of Iraq"? Well, maybe he has been brutal, but you know, in "those" countries... George W. Bush? He 's a "moron" - a former alcoholic, who has become a crazy fanatic, in fact the most dangerous man on the face of earth. Ariel Sharon? A fascist who loves to kill Arabs. Arafat? A great freedom fighter. When an American general speaks, it is merely propaganda, but when Tariq Aziz pontificates, it is pure truth. Almost everyday you hear anti-Semitic remarks, to boot.
The anti-Semitism has created a threat to the physical safety for French Jews. Almost every week, some Jews get mugged, simply for being Jews. Almost nobody pays attention to it. When an anti-Semitic act is so disgusting it is impossible to hide it, journalists will speak of "confrontation between communities." When confronted with the reality that these "confrontations" are always Muslims attacking Jews, the editorial response: "Just because
there has yet to be a single documented case of a Jew attacking a Muslim yet doesn't mean it will never happen. . . ."
And Jews are not the only victims of France's new identification with radical Islam. In many French cities with a growing radical Islamist population, no teenage girl can go out in the evening, at least not without a full burqa. If she does, it will mean that "she is for everybody": in short, a whore. In the same cities, every teenage girl - regardless of religion - has to wear the Muslim veil if she does not want to be harassed or killed. Almost every month, a young woman is mugged and raped in a suburb of a big city. Gang rape has become so frequent that a new word, used by the rapists themselves to define their hideous actions, is used by everybody:
tournantes (revolving). To the rapists, the woman is nothing, a mere object to be thrown away after use. The people who speak about "revolving" seem to forget a human being is involved as the victim. Policemen do nothing. Every decent person knows the problem is Islam, but no one dares to say it. It could be dangerous. The streets are not safe.
One year ago, a French Muslim decided to create a new business: he was tired of seeing people drinking Coca-Cola - all this money going to Americans! He found a factory and started to produce Mecca Cola. On the label, he put a picture of the Al Aqsa mosque, with a large part of his profits would help to support the Palestinian cause. In some suburbs of Paris, Coca-Cola has disappeared; Mecca Cola has replaced it. A few days ago, another Muslim businessman announced he will start to sell Muslim-Up. It will have the taste of Sprite or Seven-Up, but it will be a Muslim drink - and naturally the profits will go to the Palestinian jihad, as well.
Three radio stations in France are Muslim radio stations, and if you listen to them, dedicated to broadcasting the voice of hate and racism all day long. One radio station belongs to a friend of the rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen, and curiously, if you listen to it, you will hear the same voice of hate and racism. Rightists and radical Muslims have discovered they have many things in common.
If you want to understand why all this is happening, you have to understand one
thing: thirty years ago, French governments started to have a new foreign policy. They called this new policy, "Arabian Policy." France became closer to Arab countries - all of them disgusting dictatorships. France "benefited" by doing business easily in these countries. In exchange, France had to push Europe to unknot its ties with Israël and the United States. In exchange too, "professors" came from the Arabian dictatorships to teach the Arabic language to the young Arabs living in France. The only book they used to teach the Arabic language was THE book, Al Kuran.
Now comes the time to pay the check: six million Muslims live in France, at least ten per cent of them are radical Islamists poised on the edge of violence. And these radical Muslims have allies on both the extreme Left and the extreme Right. France is not a Western country anymore, it is now the leader of the Arab/Muslim world. Israel has to know France is its main enemy. The United States has to understand they have nothing to expect from today's France except nastiness, treason, and cheating.
It looked like a successful strike against Al Qaeda in Europe. Last month German police raided a suspected terrorist cell in Berlin, arresting a half-dozen men and seizing bomb-making equipment, flight-simulator software and chemicals. Now the investigation has taken an unexpected turn. GERMAN OFFICIALS SAY the terror suspects may have had a highly placed friend: a top diplomat at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin. Sources say Muhammad J. Fakihi, chief of the embassy’s Islamic-affairs branch, met frequently with the suspected terrorist cell’s leader, Ihsan Garnaoui, at Berlin’s Al Nur mosque—a notorious haven for Islamic extremists. The Germans confronted the Saudis and threatened to declare Fakihi persona non grata. “We don’t do that unless the evidence is very grave,” says a German official. Four days after the arrests, Fakihi left Germany and was supposed to have returned to Saudi Arabia. But, NEWSWEEK has learned, he never showed up. Now the Saudis want him for questioning, and officials are uncertain of his whereabouts. “There is close cooperation between the Saudi and German authorities on this matter, and we intend to get to the bottom of it,” says one Saudi official. U.S. officials were already aware of Fakihi: his business card had been found in the apartment of Mounir el-Motassadeq, who was convicted of being an accomplice of the “Hamburg cell” that committed the 9-11 attacks.
[...]But the Saudi charities also facilitated the growth of Islamic militancy, subsidizing, for example, the flow of men and material to conflict areas. After the death of Abdullah Azzam in 1989, his successor, Osama bin Laden, used the charities to pay the salaries of his al Qaeda operatives around the world.
THE International Islamic Relief Organizations (IIRO), in particular, was repeatedly identified as a conduit for funding to the Abu Sayyaf organization, which fought the government in the Philippines, to al-Khattab's militia in Russia, and to terrorist networks in East Africa. In fact, IIRO payment schedules to Hamas were found by Israel. And if IIRO was involved in terrorism in each of these areas, that meant the Saudi government was involved as well.
In recent years, the connection between the Saudi government and its Wahhabi charities was graphically laid out in court testimony given in Canada by a local representative of the Muslim World League: "Let me tell you one thing. The Muslim World League, which is the mother of IIRO, is a fully government-funded organization. In other words, I work for the government of Saudi Arabia. Second, the IIRO is the relief branch of that organization, which means we are all controlled in all our activities and plans by the government of Saudi Arabia."
WHAT will be essential after Iraq is getting Saudi Arabia to change its ways.
It is not necessary to talk about regime change in Saudi Arabia. And it would be a mistake to focus on Wahhabi Islam, as its Muslim detractors insist; but it is legitimate to insist that Saudi Arabia finally address some of its more noticeable external manifestations.
First, the Saudi regime must stop using its large Wahhabi charities to fund terrorist groups, once and for all. Unfortunately, it looks like the Saudis are making a far greater effort at covering up these faults, with expensive p.r. efforts, rather than actually halting their contacts with these organizations.
It is also legitimate to expect that Saudi Arabia stop the systematic incitement of its population against the West and non-Wahhabi religious groups. Of course, Saudi Arabia is free to teach what it wants to its children, but there are consequences that result from the systematic delegitimization of other peoples by Saudi Arabia's national educational institutions.
IT was no coincidence that Osama bin Laden recruited 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers from Saudi Arabia. In the 1990s, Saudis were the largest national component brought into the al Qaeda network because they were predisposed to its message. Saudi Arabia should not continue to be a breeding ground for these groups.
Diplomats are trained to deal chiefly with classic international problems like the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It comes to them naturally to become engrossed in its details, even before the Iraqi issue is resolved. But if terrorism is to be put to an end, altering the behavior of Saudi Arabia must become a top postwar priority [more]
In other news, Israel says it will unilaterally dump the international Roadmap for Middle East Peace if amendments it's demanding are rejected.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weissglas made the statement prior to traveling to Washington with a list of 15 amendments demanded by Tel Aviv.
Peter Cave reports from Jerusalem.
Mr Weissglas said Israel would submit what he called remarks on the Roadmap and if a refusal of those remarks jeopardised Israel's security it would reject the Roadmap. He said Israel's concerns were mainly over the dismantling and disarming of terrorist organizations and the creation of new Palestinian security services with no links to terrorism. Israel would make no concessions on these issues and if necessary, would leave the table and come home. US President George Bush has repeatedly delayed the release of the peace plan drawn up with the United Nations, Europe and Russia. But his aides now say it will be released when a Cabinet appointed by the New Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen is in place.
NINE DECADES ON, the list of broken Western promises has grown longer. But Tony Blair means to leave all that behind. The British prime minister has long argued that an Israeli-Palestinian peace is central to solving post-9-11 security worries. He angered Arabs, his own Labour Party and continental Europeans by supporting the war in Iraq. Going forward, he knows that pushing the Americans toward an Israeli-Palestinian solution could be a giant step in mending ties with all three of those camps. Hence his promise that seeking a Middle East peace will become a “central priority” once the shooting stops in Iraq.
The question is whether George W. Bush will be with him. At Camp David last month, the U.S. president claimed so. “Soon,” he said, Washington and London will release their “road map” for peace, drawn up by the so-called Quartet—the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. In Brussels last week, after every single European foreign minister mentioned how important it was that the United States backed the road map, Colin Powell declared it would be published, without amendments, when the government of the new Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen is confirmed.
Nobody’s holding their breath, however. Palestinians point out that the much-anticipated plan has already been delayed six times. By some accounts, the Israelis have already asked for 100 amendments. Skeptics say that Washington might well lack the political will to go beyond symbolic gestures. The Bush administration is busy with Iraq, and may think it safer to park the peace process until after the 2004 elections. “We are as committed to Palestinian peace as to Iraqi peace,” says a senior State Department official. But appointing a new prime minister won’t by itself ensure progress, he adds. “Security needs to be established. You have to end the violence.”
Such caveats may be too open-ended for Blair. He is determined to push the pace on the Middle East, and U.S. recalcitrance would be one of the few things that could unsettle his cozy relationship with Washington. Blair has pressed Bush at each of their recent meetings not only to release the road map as soon as possible but to cast it as part of a broader effort to engage their bruised European allies, chiefly France and Germany. According to Downing Street aides, the two leaders will discuss the issue once again at their summit in Northern Ireland this week. [more]
President Chirac, whose bitter opposition to the United States-led military offensive in Iraq has won him almost universal support in France, has remained silent on the attacks...Have a good weekend.
The fears of increased anti-Semitism come only a month after the French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin allegedly told a group of centre-Right MPs that "the hawks in the US administration are in the hands of [Ariel] Sharon".
JERUSALEM - An American peace activist working as a human shield in the West Bank was seriously wounded on Saturday when Israeli troops allegedly opened fire on him.
Brian Avery, 24, from Albuquerque, N.M., heard shots fired and came out of his apartment building in Jenin to investigate just as an armored personnel carrier rounded a corner, said Tobias Karlsson, a fellow activist from Sweden.
Both Avery and Karlsson are members of the Palestinian-backed group International Solidarity Movement.
"We had our hands up and we were wearing vests that clearly identified us as international workers when they began firing," Tobias said. "Brian was shot in the face, and it looks like he was hit by a heavy caliber bullet because of the extent of the wound."
Avery was taken to a Jenin hospital but will be transferred to an Israeli hospital. There was no immediate comment from the army.
Tobias said he, Avery and a Palestinian medical worker not with the group were approached slowly by the troops and stood with their hands up for about 10 minutes. There was no communication with the soldiers, who Tobias says fired unprovoked.
Avery was semiconscious when taken in the ambulance, Tobias said. There were few Palestinians on the streets Saturday because of a curfew Israeli troops were enforcing.
[...]Now, Eli Lake of UPI reports that the government is aware of Iranian terrorist operations inside Iraq, and there have been many stories reporting Syria’s campaign to send terrorists across the border to attack us. In truth, we didn’t need intelligence to know this was going on, because the Iranian and Syrian tyrants had announced it publicly. Assad gave an interview recently in which he proclaimed — in words that could have been taken right out of my book — that Lebanon was the model for the struggle that had to be waged in Iraq against Coalition forces. And Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a speech a few weeks ago in which he said that the presence of American troops in Iraq would be even worse for Iran than the hated regime of Saddam Hussein.
So they are coming to kill us, which means that there is no more time for diplomatic “solutions.” We will have to deal with the terror masters, here and now. Iran, at least, offers us the possibility of a memorable victory, because the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will enthusiastically combat it, if only the United States supports them in their just struggle. One may legitimately ask if the Iraqi people are fully prepared for the burdens of democracy after the mind-numbing years of Saddam (I think they are, mind you, but the question is fair), but there is no doubt that the Iranians are up to it. And Syria cannot stand alone against a successful democratic revolution that topples tyrannical regimes in Kabul, Tehran, and Iraq.
This is the path — the correct path — that the president has charted, despite the opposition of so many of his diplomats, and despite the near-total indifference of the Western press to the plight of the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian people. It is the path that most fully expresses our own revolutionary tradition, and gives the peoples of the Middle East the chance to recapture their dignity by empowering them to govern their own lands. Finally, for those obsessed by the Arab-Israeli question, it is the best chance for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. President Bush has said that he will not support a Palestinian state that is governed by people hostile to democracy. Yet it is impossible for a democratic Palestine to emerge, let alone survive, so long as the dominant countries in the region are tyrannical supporters of terrorism.
If, at long last, we are going to transform the Middle East in the name of the democratic revolution, it is madness to entrust this task to a Department of State that clearly does not believe in it. State, and with it CIA, does not believe that democracy can succeed in the Middle East. That is why they have long supported a coup in Baghdad, rather than regime change. That is why they have violently opposed the Iraqi National Congress, which has fought for democracy for more than a decade, only to be repeatedly betrayed and sabotaged by the United States government. MORE
Making the world safer for us — defusing terrorism and beginning to reform a region that is a source of toxic hostility to what we stand for — happens to make the world safer for Israel as well. But the idea that Israel's interests are driving one of the most momentous shifts in America's foreign policy is simple-minded and offensive. (There is also a simple-minded and offensive flip side, which holds that opposition to the war is heavily fueled by anti-Semitism — another sweeping slander with a grain of truth in it.)A key question is, what will happen to the Israel-Palestine conflict after Iraqi liberation:
What is demonstrably true is that Israelis believe that the war in Iraq is — to use a phrase that is a staple of Jewish satire — good for the Jews. Even though Israel is a likely target of Iraqi reprisals when war breaks out, it is the only country I know of where polls show overwhelming support for an invasion to oust Saddam, preferably sooner.
The administration prefers not to advertise Israel alongside Bulgaria and Spain on its marquee of allied supporters, for the same reason it has gone to tremendous lengths to keep Israel out of the coming war. No one wants to feed the dangerous idea that this is, as the jihad propagandists claim, a war of Americans and Zionists against Arabs and Islam.
There are obvious reasons that Israelis would like to rid the region of a man who trains terrorists and pays blood money to suicide bombers' families. But the deeper explanation, says Stephen Cohen, an analyst at the Israel Policy Forum, is profound despair over the bloody dead end in which Israeli-Palestinian politics sit. A conquest of Iraq offers the prospect that the United States will take the region in hand. It is, to many Israelis, the only hope of change for the better.
What will Mr. Bush make of this moment? If the U.S. manages to make a more benign Iraq — and perhaps a chastened Syria — the Israelis could decide to dig in their heels: Our friend Mr. Bush is here, he's on our side; we can now sit tight, wait for the Palestinians to read the handwriting on the walls of Baghdad and maybe offer them half a state.
Or the Americans could seize the opportunity to say to Ariel Sharon, who has shown no prior gift for strategic statesmanship: "We are here now — you know we won't let you down. It's time to roll back the settlements and close a deal."
[...]In the last five years or so, Zionism has come to be one of those ideas that puts up the walls. It's just accepted that, on the Left, you are against corporate control of politics, in favor of multiculturalism, against imperialism, in favor of the Palestinians. The logic seems to fit. Israel is the big, powerful member of the United States' empire; Palestine is the occupied country whose citizens are being oppressed by it. It's not that the Left is being brainwashed, exactly; it's that the vocabulary of Israel-Palestine fits so neatly into the overall liberal-Leftist grammar of justice that, of course, the Palestinians are in the right...And why the focus on Israel? How can a few crying Arab mothers on TV cause people to think that the situation in Palestine is more important than those in Tibet, Chechnya, Congo, and Kurdistan ?. Millions of Tibetans, Chechnyans, Rwandans, and Kurds have been massacred; millions of monasteries and mosques obliterated; entire villages slaughtered or gassed. France and Spain, which both ceaselessly criticize Israel, occupy the Basque territory, banning the Basque independence movements. America has yet to pay a dime of reparations either to the Africans it exiled and enslaved or to the Native Americans it slaughtered and betrayed. The Moroccans oppress the Berbers, and carry on a slave trade. The Sudanese Muslims massacre the Southern Sudanese Christians and Animists. The Hashemite minority in Jordan discriminates against the Palestinian majority. Brazilian elites and transnational corporations destroy the lands of indigenous peoples in the Amazon; global oil companies poison whole tribes in Nigeria, stealing their land and resources. Britain continues its occupation of Northern Ireland. China tortures monks and nuns. The list goes on, but the Left is fixated on a few villages on the West Bank of the Jordan, the population of which would all fit into the Bronx.[more]
Akamai Technologies Inc., a U.S. Web content delivery firm, has scrapped a contract to provide services for Arabic news network al-Jazeera's Internet site, according to a published report Friday. (2) Jazeera, which has been criticized by the United States and Britain for its allegedly pro-Iraq war coverage, said on Thursday Iraq had ordered one of its reporters to leave the country and told another to stop working. (4) Perched atop a hillside road, the Khourys' red brick house in a New York suburb blends into a neighborhood that's picture-perfect Americana: green lawns, kids playing baseball and Old Glory fluttering in the wind. (7) In spite of being mostly knocked offline after a hack attack, the Web site of Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera was among the most sought-after on the Internet last week. (3) The Web portal Lycos reported that "Al-Jazeera" and variant spellings became its top search term last week, with three times more searches than " sex. (3) The war in Iraq has piqued international interest in the site, which el-Nawawy says saw four times the expected amount of web traffic following its March 24 launch. (6) American news networks have broadcast pictures of dead Iraqi soldiers, creating what el-Nawawy sees as a double standard. (6) [click here for links]
JENIN, West Bank (AP) -- At a roadside cemetery in the West Bank, in the midst of thistles and pictures honoring Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the graves of 53 Iraqis stand as potent reminders of the Arab nation's involvement in the Palestinian struggle for statehood.
In Jenin, Iraqi ties run deep. In 1948 Iraqi troops rushed there to help fight off Israeli soldiers who had taken temporary control of the town. After a series of deadly battles that killed dozens of Iraqis, the town was returned to Arab control.
A more recent tie between Iraq and Jenin came last year when Saddam donated more than $2 million to families who lost homes during an 11-day standoff that destroyed pockets of the town and killed 23 Israeli troops and 52 Palestinians.
"The elders of this town all remember what the Iraqis did for us," said Fakhri Turkman, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a local historian. "And it's clear that what is happening today in Iraq is a picture of Palestine and of our struggle."
With the U.S.-led strike against Iraq approaching its third week, residents of Jenin and other towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have rallied behind Saddam, holding mass demonstrations and blood drives for the Iraqis. On Thursday, Jenin residents commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 11-day battle with Israeli troops in the Jenin refugee camp by holding a pro-Iraq and Saddam rally.
Emotionally, many Palestinians have sided with Iraq but there is fear among some that after the war is over, their support for Saddam will come back to haunt them. [more]
For too long, the citizens of the Middle East have lived in the midst of death and fear. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many, hostage. The forces of extremism and terror are attempting to kill progress and peace by killing the innocent. And this casts a dark shadow over an entire region. For the sake of all humanity, things must change in the Middle East.
I've said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations.How much more specific can he get.
Leaders who want to be included in the peace process must show by their deeds an undivided support for peace. And as we move toward a peaceful solution, Arab states will be expected to build closer ties of diplomacy and commerce with Israel, leading to full normalization of relations between Israel and the entire Arab world.We all cheered at these remarks but focused on Israel rather than the Middle East.
We must also resolve questions concerning Jerusalem, the plight and future of Palestinian refugees, and a final peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror.
We have reached a hopeful moment for progress toward the vision of Middle Eastern peace that I outlined last June.Those of us who vigorously oppose the Road Map and the Quartet’s involvement view these things in the context of the present Middle East. Bush on the other hand sees them in the context of a new Middle East.
[…]And the Arab states must oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel.
A communique received in Jerusalem from the American administration this week says the United States is operating with strong resolution to neutralize the Iraqi threat to Israel. After the war, the message continued, the United States will deal with other radical regimes in the region - not necessarily by military means - to moderate their activities and fight terrorism.So he makes it clear Israel is being sacrificed to appease the Arabs. This has nothing to do with rights, or blame. It just makes America's job easier .
These current and future U.S. operations will also serve Israel, the American administration says, but have caused tensions between the United States and the Arab world. Israel, the American message says, must play its part to help ease these tensions by taking action with regard to settlements in the territories.