02 February, 2013 – By Timothy V. Gatto
Saudi ArabiaI’ve been staying out of most world events as of late, preferring to watch things unfold silently as there are so many that seem to have all of the answers. I don’t claim to have any answers, but I sure do have a lot of questions. There is a good chance that many of you have the same questions that I have. Sometimes, the questions are more important than the answers. In this 21st Century, there are so many of our leaders that will give us the answers to any questions we ask, they just aren’t the right answers. In fact, they lie continuously.
One question I have is why do we support a collection of fundamentalist Islamic States like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE with their Wahhabi and Salafi militant Muslim sects? According to the “official” 9/11 explanation, all of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and were members of the extremist Wahhabi Muslim sect. Just like the majority of al-Qaeda.
In the recent fighting in Syria, the so-called “rebels” are made up of mostly non-Syrian Salafi and Wahhabi extremists. They also have support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and other nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council with help from Turkey, United Kingdom, Israel and France. Why put extremists in a country that was ruled by a moderate Alawite?
The so-called civil war in Mali is presumably being caused by forces loyal to al-Qaeda; in fact, they gave it the name al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). French forces have responded to this “threat” by sending in 3,500 ground troops courtesy of the United States Military Airlift Command. Mali, which used to be a French Colony, has always had trouble with the Tuareg tribe in the north of that country. Former Libyan leader Mohamar Gadhafi employed many of these people in his army. When we engineered the “Libyan Spring” the Tuareg’s fled the country because they lost their employment and because “freedom fighters” were executing anyone of color at the time. They left with storehouses of arms and ammunition, a perfect beginning to finally wrest Northern Mali away from the rest of the country, something they have been trying to do for hundreds of years. Why is this an American interest? Why are we involved transporting French troops? Who gave authorization for our military to use our tax dollars to transport these French troops?
We saw what the blow-back led to in Libya. Not only was our Envoy and three other Americans killed and our compound burned out, but the country is separated into different fiefdoms with various strongholds led by different sects. Who is telling us the truth about what is going on over there? From the reports I’m reading about the insurrection in Mali from Global Research and others, this is an imperialist expansion for resources by the French.
The rest of Africa is just as perplexing. We have American military officers embedded with almost every army in every country on the continent. The continent is rich in mineral and metal deposits as well as oil and natural gas. Didn’t we learn from the debacle in Iraq that we just can’t go in and grab resources? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to buy the oil?
Speaking of Iraq, American’s still don’t understand that this was an illegal and immoral war. John “Bomb Bomb Iran” McCain grilled Chuck Hagel about his opposition to the surge. Hagel told them it resulted in needless American deaths. I’m surprised he didn’t bring up the fact that at about the same time the surge was “working”, the Sunni’s started getting paid not to fight the Americans. Maybe it was just a coincidence (if you believe in coincidences). It’s really amazing that so many people in the U.S. never read the Downing Street Memo or realize that Bush and company planned on invading Iraq way before 9/11. Ignorance is bliss, so they say. Ignorance is frustrating, especially when it’s willful ignorance or should I say feigned ignorance.
There are a lot of supposedly ignorant Americans. Either they are ignorant or they just don’t have the backbone or the wherewithal to question authority in any shape or manner anymore. Seems to me that one of the greatest generations this nation ever witnessed was the one that took to the streets and protested the senseless death and carnage we rained down on Southeast Asia. While many in that generation forgot the effectiveness of grassroots protests and organization, the U.S. Government never forgot the lessons of that era. It dawned on them much too late in that war that the media was the message. Since then, they have incrementally gained total control of the American media.
The people in politics and the media like to call it “spin”. That’s another way to say propaganda without offending anyone’s sensibilities. They call torture “enhanced interrogation”. They call those who fight against Western domination and imperialism “insurgents”. When they resort to violence against out interests they are called “terrorists”. When they act on our behalf they are called “freedom fighters”. The government is very good at what they do.
Now that France has claimed victory in Mali, what will they do next? Will they keep a contingent of French Forces in that country to keep the peace? Will French firms move in and exploit the mineral and petroleum reserves there? What do you think?
Our peace-loving ally Israel reportedly bombed a Syrian facility outside of Damascus Wednesday. It was ostensibly done to stop Syria from transferring biological or nerve agent munitions to Hezbollah. With Syria fighting for its very survival, why would they start shipping their weapons out of the country? Does that make any sense? Yet, that was the reason given by the Israeli’s for the attack. They are also reportedly deathly afraid that these weapons will fall into the jihadist’s rebels hands.
“Israel has publicly warned that it would take military action to prevent the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon or “global jihadists” fighting inside Syria. Israeli military intelligence is said to be monitoring the area round the clock via satellite for possible convoys carrying weapons.” Guardian 30 Jan 2013
So why was the attack described as an attack on a convoy by the media in the U.S.? This situation makes Russia nervous about the Israeli attack.
“If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.’ Guardian 31 Jan 2013
Meanwhile, Israel has suffered a defeat in the UN where a United Nations Commission has declared that the settlements in the West Bank are illegal and that the approximately 500,000 Jewish settlers should leave or face possible war crimes charges. Where was the coverage of that little tidbit in the U.S. Press? …more
February 8, 2013 No Comments
by Thierry Meyssan – Voltaire Network – Damascus (Syria) – 28, November 2012
Enjoying a legitimacy reinforced by his reelection, President Barack Obama is preparing to launch a new foreign policy – drawing the conclusions from the relative economic weakening of the United States, he has renounced the idea of governing the world on his own. US forces continue their departure from Europe and their partial disengagement from the Middle East in order to take up positions around China. From this perspective, he wants to weaken the developing Russo-Chinese alliance at the same time as sharing the burden of the Middle East with Russia. Consequently, he is ready to apply the agreement on Syria which was reached on the 30th June in Geneva – deployment of a UN peace force, composed mainly of troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and maintenance of Bachar el-Assad in power if he is designated by his people.
This new foreign policy is running into strong resistance in Washington. In July, a series of organised leaks to the Press sank the Geneva agreement and forced Kofi Annan to resign. This sabotage seems to have been hatched by a group of senior officers who are unable to accept the end of their dreams of a global empire.
This problem was never evoked during the Presidential campaign, since the two main candidates were in agreement about the change of policy and only disagreed on the manner in which it should be presented.
So Barack Obama waited no longer than the evening of his victory before giving the signal for the start of a purge which has been in cautious preparation for months. The resignation of General David Petraeus from his functions as head of the CIA has been widely publicized, but it was only the appetizer. The heads of many other senior officers are about to roll in the dust.
The purge first affects the Supreme Commander of NATO and Commander of EuCom (Admiral James G. Stravidis), who is at the end of his term, and his scheduled successor (General John R. Allen). It continues with the ex-Commander of AfriCom (General William E. Ward) and the man who has been his successor for a year (General Carter Ham). It will probably also eliminate the chief of the anti-missile shield (General Patrick J. O’Reilly) and still others of lesser importance.
Each time, the senior officers are accused either of sexual misconduct or embezzlement. The US Press has feasted on the sordid details of the sexual triangle which implicates Petraeus, Allen and Petraeus’ biographer, Paula Broadwell, while avoiding any mention of the fact that she is a Lieutenant-Colonel in Military Intelligence. It seems abundantly clear that she was infiltrated into the entourage of the two Generals in order to bring them down.
The purge in Washington was preceded in July by the elimination of the foreign executives who oppose this new policy and who were implicated in the battle of Damascus. Everything went down as if Obama had allowed the clean-up to happen. For example, the premature death of General Omar Suleiman (Egypt), who had come to undergo treatment at a US hospital, or the attack on Prince Bandar ben Sultan (Saudi Arabia), seven days later. …more
November 28, 2012 No Comments
Currently showing : The U.S. Election Spectacle
by Thierry Meyssan – Voltaire Network – Damascus (Syria) – 22 October, 2012
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sharing a hearty laugh at charity gala held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on October 18, 2012 in New York City.
Every four years the U.S. presidential election becomes a planetary spectacle. The dominant press attempts to convince international public opinion that the American people are democratically designating the leader who will direct the affairs of the world.
In certain countries, notably in Europe, the media coverage is at least as saturated as the election of their own leader. Implicitly, the press is indicating that while these states may also be called democracies, their citizens have no real voice in determining their own future, a future subject to the good graces of the occupant of the White House. So how can it be said that these states are really democracies?
The problem is that voting has been conflated with democracy. This remark also applies to the United States. The electoral spectacle is supposed to be the proof that they are living under a vibrant democracy, but this is all smoke and mirrors. Despite the widespread conviction that the president of the United States is elected directly by the people, he is not, not even secondarily. In the United States the people are not sovereign and the citizens are not electors. The choice of President and Vice-President is determined in a winner-take-all process by an electoral college of 538 people where electors are designated by voters’ and party choices at the state level. To win, the candidate must have at least 270 electoral votes, a number based on the population of each state. States are the true locus for presidential selection because they are subject to the politics of choosing electors. The national popular vote does not count; if no candidate reaches 270, the choice is made in Congress. The Gore vs. Bush election of 2000 and the Kerry vs. Bush election of 2004 were potent reminders that the voice of the people can be out-manoeuvred. In 2000, the Supreme Court decided that it was not going to wait for a recount of votes in Florida before proclaiming the winner. All that mattered was the Court’s decision that in turn confirmed the Electoral College numbers despite anything the voters had said.
The illusion doesn’t stop there. When George W. Bush resided in the White House, no one seriously imagined that so uneducated and incompetent a man was actually exercising power. It was thought that a team of advisors discretely exercised it for him. When Barack Obama succeeded him, and since he was thought to be more intelligent it was believed that he was truly in charge. But how can it be assumed that the team that exercised power under Bush would spontaneously renounce it under Obama?
The daily agenda of a U.S. president consists of ceaseless audience appearances, speeches and ceremonies. How can this individual find the time to really familiarize himself with the topics of his speeches? He is no more president than the newscasters on TV are journalists. They share in fact the same profession: teleprompter reading.
We may sense that, as in previous contests, there is more to the Obama-Romney Show than meets the eye, that something really is being decided. And it is. In the constitutional system of the U.S., the primary function of the president, in addition to his role as putative Commander in Chief, is to name over 6000 appointees to public office. This political rotation effectively entails a vast migration of elites. In the current context, thousands of high-level functionaries and tens of thousands of assistants and advisors could possibly be discharged and largely replaced by appointees from the Bush era. The presidential election determines the personal careers of all these people and brings with it the corrupt bidding process that favors this or that multinational. Indeed, there are real reasons for investing money, a whole lot of money, in this contest.
Where is international politics in all this? Over the last two decades, major campaign promises made during electoral campaigns became something fundamentally different during the president’s term in office. Bill Clinton (1993-2008) pledged to reduce military budgets following the disappearance of the USSR and bring about economic prosperity. Instead, in 1995 he commenced an expanded program of military rearmament. George W. Bush (2001-2008) was going to rationalize the Pentagon and wage “war without end” but by the end of 2006 he had stopped the privatization of the military and begun the pull-out from Afghanistan and Iraq. Barack Obama (2009-2012) was going to continue the retreat and “reset” relations with Russia and the Muslim world. What occurred instead was the continued construction of the missile shield around Russia, U.S. support for the color revolution in Egypt and wars on Libya and Syria. Each time that these teleprompter readers did such an about-face, they betrayed their constituents and did so without qualm or hesitation. …more
October 23, 2012 No Comments
By Talal Abu Rahman and Sara Sidner – 18 October, 2012
Jerusalem (CNN) — Militant sources in Gaza tell CNN that a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile was used to try to shoot down an Israeli helicopter flying east of Gaza last week.
It is significant because it is the first time a weapon of this type has been used against an Israeli aircraft, though the missile did not manage to hit its target. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has not commented on the incident.
The weapon is said to be a Strela SA-7 and was smuggled in from the Sinai desert but originally came from Libya, according to a source in Gaza.
Libya has been grappling with a huge number of unaccounted for weaponry since the revolution that toppled its dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, and left everything from mines and mortars to anti-aircraft missiles in the hands of its citizenry. No group has taken responsibility for firing the surface-to-air missile from Gaza.
So far the Israeli military has declined comment and has not publicly acknowledged the provocation.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior Israeli Army official told CNN there has been a significant change in the kind of weaponry being used by militant groups in Gaza since the Arab Spring. The weapons are more powerful and sophisticated than have been used in times past.
In the past week, there has been an increase in rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and subsequent air strikes by Israel on targets in Gaza. …more
October 18, 2012 No Comments
October 17, 2012 No Comments
POMED – 17 October, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted responsibility for the attack in Benghazi that killed four State Department employees, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world (at) 275 posts.” Clinton defended Vice President Joe Biden‘s statement in last week’s vice-presidential debate that the Obama administration was unaware of the request for additional security leading up to the attacks. “The president and the vice-president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals,” Clinton said. She also sat down for interviews with NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, and CNN to answer questions about the Benghazi attack.
Blake Hounshell, in an op-ed for Foreign Policy, expressed frustration with the U.S. political notion “that Libya is the most important story in the world after ignoring it for months. It reeks of political opportunism.” Frustrated by the lack of clear information on the events in Benghazi, Larry Clifton said, “Clinton can fall on the political sword for Obama if she wishes, but that doesn’t explain …source
October 17, 2012 No Comments
by Thierry Meyssan – Voltaire Network – 16 October, 2012
On October 8, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSO) began maneuvers dubbed “Inviolable Fraternity” (“НЕРУШИМОЕ БРАТСТВО”). The scenario focuses on the deployment of a peace force in an imaginary country where international jihadists and terrorist organizations operate against a backdrop of ethnic and confessional divisions. The accredited diplomatic corps, which was invited to attend the exercises, listened attentively to the opening address of the deputy secretary general of the organization. He clearly indicated that the CTSO is preparing for an eventual intervention in the Greater Middle East. And for those feigning deafness, Nikolai Bordyuzha specified that his deputy was not speaking of Afghanistan.
The Geneva Declaration negotiated by Kofi Annan on June 30 foresaw the deployment of a peace force if the Syrian government and the opposition jointly made the demand. The Free Syrian Army rejected the accord. The term “opposition” refers only to the political parties who have been meeting since in Damascus, under the aupices of the Russian and Chinese ambassadors. As the Geneva Accord was validated by the Security Council, the deployment of the “blue chapkas” can be set in motion without requiring an ad hoc resolution. Valery Semerikov stated that 4,000 men had already been enlisted in the Peace Force with 46,000 others in the wings available for the rapid mobilization.
With this as background, the signs of Western retreat from Syria are multiplying. The influx of Western arms and combatants is drying up except for the ongoing transfers funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Even more surprising: on six successive occasions, the NATO Command at Incirlik gave jihadists instructions to regroup within specified zones to prepare for huge offensives. While the Syrian Arab Army, which was formed to confront the Israeli Army, may be ill-adapted for guerilla warfare, it is highly effective in conventional combat. In each of these engagements, it easily encircled and wiped out the assembled units of the Free Syrian Army. Though the initial defeats suffered by the jihadists could have been attributed to a tactical error or to an incompetent commander, after the sixth debacle another hypothesis must be considered: that NATO is willingly sending these combatants to their deaths.
In contrast to popular perceptions, the motivation of the jihadists is not, properly speaking, ideological or religious but rather, aesthetic. They are not looking to die for a cause and are not focused on the future of Jerusalem. They strike a romantic posture and seek to intensify their sensations whether through drugs or through death. Their behavior makes them easy to manipulate; they seek extreme situations which they are then placed in, and their movements are totally steered. Over the last years, Prince Bandar bin Sultan became the leading architect of these assemblages, including those of al-Qaeda. He supplied them with preachers promising a paradise where seventy virgins would provide them with ecstatic pleasures not if they accomplished a particular military or political feat but only if they died as martyrs wherever Bandar had need for them.
It seems Prince Bandar has disappeared from the scene since the attack on him on July 26. He may well be dead. From Morroco to Zinjiang, the jihadists have been left to their own devices, without any real coordination. They could be recruited by any number of actors, as the recent assassination of the U.S. Ambassador in Libya confirms. As a result, Washington wants to unload this risky and burdensome rabble or at the very least reduce their number. The orders that NATO gives to the jihadists are designed to expose them to fire by the Syrian Arab Army which is eliminating them en masse.
Recently, the French police killed a French Salafist who attacked a Jewish business establishment. The investigation that followed revealed that he belonged to a network including individuals that had gone to do jihad in Syria. The British police made a similar discovery four days later.
The message from Paris and London is that the French and British killed in Syria were not agents on a secret mission but fanatics who acted on their own initiative. This is obviously false because certain of these jihadists were carrying communication instruments of NATO specification, supplied by France and the United Kingdom. Whatever the case, these events are marking the end of the Franco-British involvement alongside the Free Syrian Army, while Damascus discretely exchanges its prisoners. A page has been turned.
Under the circumstances, one can understand the frustration of Turkey and the Wahhabist monarchies who at the request of the Alliance invested in the secret war unreservedly, but who now must assume alone the failure of the operation. Going for broke, Ankara threw itself into a series of provocations designed to prevent NATO from pulling out. Anything goes, from the firing of Turkish artillery into Syrian territory to the pirating of a civil airline. But these gestures are counterproductive.
Specifically, the Syrian air plane coming from Moscow which was turned around by Turkish fighters contained no weapons but rather high-explosive detection equipment to be used for the protection of civilians. Turkey, actually, did not seek to prevent Russia from delivering material aimed at protecting Syrian civilians from terrorism but aimed instead to increase tension by mistreating the Russian passangers and refusing to allow their ambassador to render assistance. Wasted effort: NATO did not react to the imaginary accusations put forward by Recep Tayip Erdogan. The only consequence is that President Putin has postponed sine die his visit to Ankara originally scheduled for the first half of December.
There is a long way still to go on the path to peace. But even if Turkey now or the Wahhabist monarchies later attempt to prolong the war, a process has been set in motion. NATO is packing up and the media are turning their gaze to other horizons.
October 17, 2012 No Comments
16 October, 2012 – Shia Post
Around 10 citizens were arrested on Sunday and 2 were injured in attacks by regime forces. The forces used excessive force subjecting 23 areas to collective punishment, 6 places including houses were raided.
The internationally banned weapon, Birdshot was used heavily, along with disproportionate use of toxic teargas in neighborhoods, causing asphyxiation between citizens even in their homes.
As usual, the forces chose pre-dawn hours to raid citizens’ homes in order terrorize households and perpetrate more violations including beatings, vandalism and robbery. A number of houses were reported to have been raided and children and wanted persons were arrested.
Protests and demonstrations went on in different areas across Bahrain including: Manama, Dair, Sitra, JidAli, Kawara, Tubli, Aali, Buri, Saar, Bani-Jamra, Shakhoura, Dar-Kulaib, Saddad, Shahrakan, Nabih Saleh, Bilad Qadeem, Ma’ameer, Eker, Nuwaidrat, Jablat Habshi, Jufair.
Most protests were violently attacked and suppressed with excessive force punishing citizens for practicing their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The demonstrations denounced the official summon to al-Wefaq secretary general, Sheikh Ali Salman and the insults to Sheikh Issa Qassim, warning of its consequences. These protests carried messages of warning of the regime’s persistence to the suppressive security solution that has done no good to anyone.
A medical staff working at Salmaniya hospital was arrested on Sunday, at a checkpoint when the forces found ‘Kerosene’ in her car. She had used it in a family trip a few days ago, but the forces did not give her the chance to explain, as everything could be turned into an accusation that could lead to jail, in a police-state ruled and controlled by the military.
The forces also arrested a number of children from bed during illegal dawn house raids in Issa-Town. Their families were neither shown legal warrants nor given any reasons for the raids and arrests. …source
October 17, 2012 No Comments
16 October, 2012 – Front Line Defenders
On 16 October 2012, prominent human rights defender Mr Mohammed Al-Maskati was summoned to Hoora Police Station for interrogation on accusations of rioting and participating in illegal gathering.
He is currently being detained overnight and he was informed that he will be taken to the office of the Prosecutor General on the morning of 17 October 2012. Mohammed Al-Maskati is the founder and the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).
Mohammed Al-Maskati was summoned to Hoora Police Station by phone in the early morning of 16 October 2012. He subsequently went to the police station with his lawyer. However, it is reported that his lawyer was refused access to the police station, while Mohammed Al-Maskati was held for questioning. Later in the day, the human rights defender was informed that he would be held overnight and taken to the office of the Prosecutor General the following morning. As yet it remains unclear to which specific events the charges of rioting and participating in illegal gathering refer.
In September 2012, during his participation in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on Bahrain in Geneva, he informed the UN Human Rights Council that he was receiving numerous anonymous calls which threatened his and his family’s life, in connection to his participation to the Council’s session.
Front Line Defenders has previously issued a number of urgent appeals on behalf of Mohammed Al-Maskati, the most recent of which is dated 11 March 2011, when the human rights defender was the subject of death threats circulating on several social networking websites identifying him and other Bahraini human rights defenders as “traitors” and urging for them to be killed.
These messages provided many personal details about him, including his full name, home address, telephone number and car model and registration plate, information normally found on a National Identity Card. Following the publication of these messages, Mohammed Al-Maskati received a number of anonymous phone calls with threats or insults. …source
October 17, 2012 No Comments
28 September, 2012 – Al Akhbar
An Egyptian-American man behind an anti-Islam film that has stoked violent protests across the Muslim world was arrested on Thursday in California for allegedly violating his probation, and a federal judge ordered him jailed without bond.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was taken into custody at an undisclosed location by US marshals and brought to court in Los Angeles still wearing his street clothes but handcuffed and shackled at the waist.
Nakoula has been under investigation by probation officials looking into whether he violated the terms of his 2011 release from prison on a bank fraud conviction while making the film, though authorities have said they were not probing the movie itself.
“The court has a lack of trust in the defendant at this time,” US Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said in refusing Nakoula’s request for bail at a hearing in US District Court.
His crudely made 13-minute video was filmed in California and circulated online under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims.” It portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and a sexual deviant. …source
September 28, 2012 No Comments
Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones promotes anti-Islam film
Voltaire Network – 13 September, 2012
Pastor Terry Jones, whose Quran-torching escapade in 2011 brought him hatred in the Islamic world, has reportedly promoted Innocence of Muslims, a controversial low-budget movie that sparked anti-American protests in Libya and Egypt.
Innocence of Muslims’ director Sam Bacile said he had received some $5 million from a “hundred of Jews” to shoot the film and called Islam “a cancer.” However, he denounced allegations that his movie was religious, saying it was a political one.
Pastor Terry Jones announced he was going to show an Innocence of Muslims fragment during a prayer service.
In 2011, Pastor Jones rose to prominence after staging several public Quran burnings. The first of these dubious events ran off in March 2011, triggering a wave of unrest in Afghanistan, which claimed the lives of more than a hundred people.
Mass protests erupted Tuesday in Egypt’s capital of Cairo and in Libya’s Benghazi. In Cairo, demonstrators climbed the wall of the US Embassy to then shred and burn the American flag. In Benghazi, several armed men assailed the US Consulate, killing the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. …source
September 13, 2012 No Comments
17 July, 2012 – Associated Press – by Bradley Klapper and Josef Federman
JERUSALEM – Mideast peace, America’s defining issue for decades of dealings with Israel and its Arab neighbors, was just a postscript Monday as Hillary Rodham Clinton made perhaps her final visit to the region as secretary of state.
Three years after President Barack Obama declared the plight of the Palestinians “intolerable,” his administration no longer sees the failing Arab-Israeli peace efforts with the same immediacy. U.S. interests are focused now on Iran and Syria, though the deep differences between Israel and the Palestinians are not ignored.
“Peace among Israel, the Palestinian people and all of Israel’s Arab neighbors is crucial for Israel’s long-term progress and prosperity,” Clinton said following discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s president, foreign minister and defense minister.
Clinton also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, but she couldn’t report any progress toward an accord that might secure an independent Palestine and an Israel at peace with its neighbors.
In a departure from the usual pattern for top U.S. diplomats, she did not travel to the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank seat of government in Ramallah.
The Palestinians said a visit was unnecessary because Clinton had met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, just a few days earlier in Paris.
Israel has defied Obama’s call to halt settlement construction in occupied lands, and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has refused to resume negotiations, leaving peace hopes in a tense status quo with no breakthrough in sight.
Both Israelis and Palestinians are frustrated with one another and with Obama’s peace efforts so far.
Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi said Obama’s Mideast policy has been a “disaster.”
“The American standing and credibility have never been worse than now,” she said. “A major power is being constantly humiliated by Israel, and they put up with it and they take it.”
Obama acknowledged frustrations in an interview Sunday, but in many ways the region’s crises and Washington’s priorities have moved on. Syria’s civil war, Egypt’s political instability and the Iranian nuclear program have all overshadowed the moribund peace process.
Asked what he believed he failed at in his first term, Obama cited Arab-Israeli peace efforts in an interview with WJLA-TV, a Washington, D.C., station.
“I have not been able to move the peace process forward in the Middle East the way I wanted,” he said. “It’s something we focused on very early. But the truth of the matter is that the parties, they’ve got to want it as well.”
Iran’s nuclear program has become the most pressing problem for the U.S. and Israel, and one that is a far easier cause to take up for an American administration in an election year. Republicans have consistently criticized Obama for putting too much pressure on Israel in the peace process and being too weak on Iran.
Obama rejects the criticism, and his aides point to what they call unprecedented U.S.-Israeli security cooperation. Still, his frosty relationship with Netanyahu has fueled the perception that U.S.-Israeli relations have deteriorated, a potential problem for Obama with Jewish voters in the swing state of Florida.
Israel is getting more attention at the moment as the U.S. political race proceeds. …more
July 17, 2012 No Comments
By Stephen Zunes – November 9, 2011 – FPIP
Stephen ZunesThe U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a move initiated by the Obama administration, has voted to waive Bush-era human rights restrictions on military aid to the Islam Karimov dictatorship in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal and repressive regimes on the planet. The lifting of the restrictions, now part of the Foreign Operations bill, is before the full Senate and appears to have bipartisan support. The Obama administration has indicated that it intends to provide taxpayer-funded military assistance to Uzbekistan once the legislation passes both houses of Congress.
Torture is endemic in Karimov’s Uzbekistan, where his regime has banned all opposition political parties, severely restricted freedom of expression, forced international human rights and NGOs out of the country, suppressed religious freedom, and annually taken as many as two million children out of school to engage in forced labor for the cotton harvest. Thousands of dissidents have been jailed and many hundreds have been killed, some of them literally boiled alive.
In reaction to the Obama administration’s efforts, 20human rights, labor, consumer, and other groups signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying “We strongly urge you to oppose passage of the law and not to invoke this waiver.” The signers encouraged the administration “to stand behind your strong past statements regarding human rights abuses in Uzbekistan” and not move toward “business as usual” with that regime.
Signatories included the AFL-CIO, Amnesty International USA, and Human Rights Watch, as well as organizations with close ties to the foreign policy establishment like Freedom House and the International Crisis Group.
White House Claims
Despite evidence to the contrary, Secretary of State Clinton, who visited Uzbekistan on October 23, has claimed that the regime was “showing signs of improving its human rights record and expanding political freedoms.” Similarly, when asked about the dictator’s claim that he was committed to leave a legacy of freedom and democracy for his grandchildren, a senior State Department official responded, “Yeah. I do believe him. I mean, he’s said several times that he’s committed to this. He’s made a speech last November where he talked about this.” In response to some skeptical follow-up questions by journalists, the official replied that “we still have some quite serious concerns about the situations on the human rights.” However, “we think that there is really quite an important opening now to work on that stuff, also work on developing civil society, which again President Karimov has expressed support for. So, yeah, I do take him at his word.” …more
November 9, 2011 No Comments
Is Cold War just a structural product of US Foreign Policy? US military industrial complex can’t ‘succeed’ without an antagonist?
By Richard Javad Heydarian, November 4, 2011
For many Iran observers, Washington’s latest accusations against Iran — implicating members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States — come off as surreal, if not wholly bizarre.
At this juncture, it may be too early to pass a credible judgment on the substance and validity of the allegations, but there are just too many reasons to dismiss them as another cynical attempt to further isolate Iran. In the greater scheme of things, such accusations might be part of America’s strategy to push its “regime change” agenda in Iran. Although only a trial in an impartial, credible, and civilian court could shed light on the truthfulness of the U.S. claims, we have every reason to take Washington’s allegations with a grain of salt.
In geo-strategic terms, these allegations might pave the way for a new stage of “cold war” between Iran on one hand, and the United States and its [Persian] Gulf allies, such as Saudi Arabia, on the other. As U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq and popular revolutions engulf much of the Middle East, the last thing Washington needs is to extinguish the prospect of a negotiated solution to Tehran’s nuclear program. Instead, Washington should accommodate Iran’s increasing interest in restarting nuclear negotiations and improving ties with its neighbors and the great powers. This is our best chance at avoiding another major clash in the region, embroiling America in an even more destructive conflict. …more
November 5, 2011 No Comments