Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Netanyahu: We are committed to the “unity of Jerusalem” with US support

Middle East Monitor, Monday, 30 May 2011
Netanyahu: We are committed to the "unity of Jerusalem" with US support 
Benjamin Netanyahu, has confirmed his government’s commitment to the construction and development of occupied Jerusalem. 
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has confirmed his government’s commitment to the construction and development of occupied Jerusalem, through the implementation of a number of Judaization projects supported by both houses of the US Congress.

Speaking at the beginning of a cabinet meeting on Sunday, 29th May, Netanyahu said, “the unity of Jerusalem is one of the foundations of unity for the people of Israel, and the broad support these foundations have received from the Knesset and Congress, is an asset of the State of Israel”.

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Afghan killings by U.S. and NATO

arabnews.com, May 31, 2011

This war is only fueling anti-Western anger in the region and across the Muslim world

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths a statistic, argued the late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. For the United States and its NATO allies, the killing of 52 Afghan civilians, at least 12 of them young children and two women, Saturday night in another airstrike is merely another statistic in the “war on terror.”

And if the killing of civilians in the bombing of a residential compound in Helmand drew angry protests and “warnings” by President Hamid Karzai, they were predictably followed by “sincere apologies” by the coalition saying “top priority is given to prevent civilian casualties and it takes such cases very seriously.” Karzai thunders he has repeatedly warned the coalition against air raids that kill innocents and this is his “last warning” to the coalition.  And White House says it takes “Afghan concerns very seriously,” adding, “We work very hard to avoid civilian casualties.”

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Israeli Deputy PM Urges Attack on Iran

Calls on ‘Entire Civilized World’ to Unite Against Iran

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, May 30, 2011
Speaking today in an interview with Russian media, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon urged a military attack on Iran, saying it was necessary to prevent the nation from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Ya’alon was hoping it wouldn’t simply be the oft-threatened Israeli attack, however. In the interview he calls on the “entire civilized world” to join in the attack because Iran is “a threat to the entire civilized world.”

Interestingly enough, just five months ago Ya’alon was downplaying the need for immediate action against Iran, saying that the nation was technologically incapable of creating nuclear weapons and was several years away.

Ya’alon has been calling for attacks on Iran off and on for several years, saying that talks with Iran were doomed to failure and only a military attack was an option. The calls have often come with a sense of urgency, but despite years of “imminent threats” never materializing, they still appear to have considerable currency among Israeli politicians.

The Syrian regime must go…now

Khalid Amayreh, MWC News, May 29, 2011


The gruesome images and horrifying accounts that keep coming from Syria defy linguistic description. They go beyond the pale of human decency.

A few weeks ago, Hamza al Khatib, a vivacious and charming boy from Dira’a was abducted from his home by the regime’s Shabbiha thugs or death squads, for allegedly taking part in an anti-regime demonstration.

A few days later, his body, riddled with bullets, and bearing indescribable scars of torture of all kinds, was handed over to his family.

According to eyewitnesses and human rights operatives who examined the body, the agents of the regime also severed the boy’s sexual organ before turning in the body for burial.

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Obama, Israel, and Palestine

by Gulamhusein A. Abba, Dissident Voice,  May 30th, 2011

From the frenzy that was let loose on President Barrack Obama referring to the 1967 borders in his Middle East speech, one would think that he had announced a major shift in US policy on the Israel/Palestine issue, had abandoned Israel and was now pandering to the Palestinians!

Former Massachusetts Gov. and GOP’s leading presidential candidate Mitt Romney screeched that Obama had “thrown Israel under the bus”. Talk show hosts outdid one another in claiming that Obama was letting down Israel. Glen Beck denounced Obama for “betraying” Israel. Matt Drudge claimed that Obama had sided with the Palestinians. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called it “the most dangerous speech ever made by an American president for the survival of Israel.”

Netanyahu went over the top and immediately issued a statement, just one day prior to his meeting with Obama, rejecting the President’s proposal! His performance, when he did meet the President, was described in the media as “lecturing” to the President. . .

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U.S. Role in the Arab Counterrevolution

Revolutionary Flowerpot Society, May 26, 2011

Keep formation; Await further instruction!

This is the fourth article in a series analyzing the Arab Revolution, written by M.R. Shalgooni, writer/analyst/activist with Raah-e Kargar (Worker’s Path). This installment focuses on the role played so far by the U.S. in relation to the Arab Revolution.
[The original article can be read, in Persian,
here, the second article is here, and the third here.] 

Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World – 4

by Mohammad-Reza Shalgooni / May 22, 2011

When any revolution starts, the ruling political system usually proceeds to turn to more violent and more widespread methods of oppression and crackdown. In other words, every revolution instigates a counterrevolution against itself, and it is in the process of this facing off, this struggle, that the fate of the revolution is determined. It is with reference to this reality that Antonio Gramsci says: Every revolutionary condition/situation is simultaneously a counterrevolutionary situation as well. Therefore, in order to analyze the horizons of a revolution it is not enough to look at who the revolutionary forces are and what they want; additionally, we must consider what forces constitute the counterrevolution and what their plans and capabilities are.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Twelve children killed in another US massacre in Afghanistan

By Patrick O’Connor, wsws.org, 30 May 2011

American forces in Afghanistan killed twelve children and two women in a night-time bombing of two houses in Nawzad district of Helmand province Saturday. The incident, one of several involving civilian deaths recently, is yet another atrocity committed by the US-NATO forces engaged in the illegal occupation.

According to local Afghan officials, the fourteen civilians died as they slept in two family compounds in a small farming community about 80 kilometres north of Helmand Province’s capital, Lashkar Gah. Six others were reported wounded in the airstrike, though differing accounts have emerged of the total number of dead and wounded. President Hamid Karzai’s office said that 10 children, two women, and two men were killed, while NATO officials said nine civilians had died.

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Mass protests demand "second revolution" in Egypt

By Patrick Martin, opednews.com, May 29, 2011

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians turned out for demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo and in cities throughout the country, demanding an end to military rule and the trial and punishment of officials of the dictatorship of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Protest groups, mainly comprised of young people, labeled Friday's protests the "second day of rage," the first having taken place on January 27, when demonstrators confronted Mubarak's thugs in a pitched battle that left them in control of Tahrir Square.

Many demonstrators voiced calls for a "second revolution," expressing widespread sentiment that the revolution that brought down Mubarak has not resulted in any fundamental improvement in the conditions of life for the masses of working people, small farmers and agricultural laborers.

Tahrir Square was decorated with photographs of many of the 840 people killed during the 17 days of mass struggle that brought down Mubarak, as well as placards demanding punishment of those responsible for the killings, and for the corruption and mismanagement of the 30-year Mubarak regime.

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Behind the Netanyahu Spectacle

By bouncing up and down, again and again, Democrats and Republicans in Congress demonstrated their support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even as he criticized the Mideast policies of President Obama and essentially shut off prospects for serious peace talks. Lawrence Davidson looks at what was behind this curious congressional spectacle.

By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium News,  May 29, 2011

According to a May 19 story in the Wall Street Journal, the American Zionists are starting to turn the screws on President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

“Jewish donors and fund raisers are warning the Obama re-election campaign that the president is at risk of losing financial support because of concerns about his handling of Israel,” the article said.

If you doubt that this tactic can work, just watch the video of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress. Those 20-plus “sustained and standing ovations” did not come from mere true believers.

They came from the thoroughly bought and bullied.

The Zionists have a strikingly successful and very longstanding vote-buying operation and they are, of course, applying it to the President and his reelection campaign.

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Egyptian journalists to be questioned tomorrow by military for denouncing the torture of activists

Tomorrow blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy and Reem Maged will be interrogated by the military prosecution for criticising Egypt’s ruling military on air; protests are expected

Salma Shukrallah, Ahram Online,  May 30, 2011
Blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy in Reem Maged’s TV show
Blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy and television host Reem Maged were given a summons on Monday to appear before military prosecution after Maged screened on her show on Thursday Hamalawy criticising the role of military police, holding the head of the military police responsible for torturing activists.

The questioning will start tomorrow at 11am, and there has already been a call for demonstrations in front of the military prosecutor’s building.

Journalist Nabil Sharaf El-Din was also summoned on the same day after he criticised on OnTV Friday the way the military was handling the transition period.

Sharaf El-Din claims that the military’s approach makes many suspect that there is a transfer-of-power deal with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The same programme aired a very critical phone call with Mamdouh Shahin, member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), who attacked both OnTV and Sharaf El-Din.

The SCAF has criticised what it calls “irresponsible media,” arguing that it is creating a national split between the military and the people. The SCAF has decided to hold a forum 5 June to discuss the Egyptian media with the country’s various political forces.

Obama’s Hypocrisy: Insulting Our Intelligence

By Joe Catron, The Palestine Chronicle, May 24, 2011

Barack Obama wants it both ways. Like every United States president since Bill Clinton, who partially brokered the now-defunct Oslo Accords in 1993, he aspires to act as a trusted intermediary in the 63-year old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, while simultaneously pandering to America’s massive pro-Israel lobby. These clashing goals have spurred him to propose an array of conflicting claims and positions that, aside from being fundamentally incompatible, are often simply painful to observe.

Over the course of four short days in mid-May, he managed, in three separate addresses – at the US State Department, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House briefing room, and at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful flagship of the Israel lobby – to offer blatant discrepancies, of policy or omission, on nearly every aspect of the conflict. This jarring discord did nothing to bolster Washington’s role in the situation and, to careful listeners, reinforced its ultimate irrelevance to any genuine resolution of it.

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Who's Afraid of the Israel Lobby?

Obama's Capitulation

By ANDREW LEVINE, Counterpunch, May 30, 2011

Seldom has any country been as dependent on another as Israel is on the United States, and never in American history has the United States been as servile towards another country as it is towards this beneficiary of its diplomatic, economic and military largesse. Are geopolitical considerations the decisive factor joining the United States and Israel or is American domestic politics to blame? 

These are not mutually exclusive options; the difference is one of degree. It bears mention too that domestic and international considerations interact, and that circumstances are always in flux. This is why there is no simple answer to the question. However, at particular moments in the history of American, Israeli and Palestinian relations, the present one especially, the question becomes more tractable. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Indian-held Kashmir: Human rights group seeks probe into 1,400 ‘disappeared’

Yahoo! News, May 28, 2011

Kashmir group seeks probe into 1,400 'disappeared'
AFP – Kashmiri relatives of missing persons attend a protest organised by the Association of Parents of Disappeared …
Sat May 28, 9:28 am ET
SRINAGAR, India (AFP) – A human rights group in Indian Kashmir on Saturday said it had documented the cases of more than 1,400 people who were victims of “enforced disappearances” in the revolt-hit region.

The group said it had submitted the list of 1,417 names to Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for an “independent and impartial” investigation.

“This is a preliminary list of cases of enforced disappearances documented by us,” the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons said in a statement.

The group says some 8,000 Kashmiri Muslims have disappeared since the insurgency against Indian rule erupted in 1989.

The list of missing was distributed at a protest at a park in Srinagar, summer capital of the Himalayan region.

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NATO airstrike killed 112 in Afghanistan: governor

by Abdul Moeed Hashmi, Pajhwok Afghan News,  May 28,  2011

JALALABAD (PAN): As many as 112 people were killed in an airstrike by NATO-led troops in the remote eastern province of Nuristan, a senior official said on Saturday.

Twenty-two policemen, 20, civilians and 70 Taliban fighters were among the dead, Governor Jamaluddin Badr told Pajhwok Afghan News, quoting a probe into the incidents.

Foreign soldiers conducted the air raid on Thursday to drive insurgents from Doab district, he said, adding Afghan forces recaptured the town late on Thursday night.

Up to 40 people, including district’s administrative head and police chief, were wounded, Badr added. Both officials were discharged from hospital after receiving treatment.

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Netanyahu wants a Palestinian quisling, not peace partner

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine, MWC News, May 28, 2011


There is absolutely no doubt that a true, dignified peace with the Palestinians is nowhere on Benyamin Netanyahu’s agenda. The clear spirit of insolence characterizing his recent speech before Congress, often described as an Israeli-occupied territory, caricatures an extremist demagogue who understands peace to mean domination and enslavement by Zionist Jews of the Palestinian people.

Netanyahu doesn’t use terms such as “domination,” “enslavement” or even “subjugation. “However, the misleading  rationales, pretexts, and  red herrings he  keeps invoking  to justify Israeli recalcitrance and rejection of a just peace  illustrate a depraved mindset that covets more lebensraum or “breathing  space” at the Palestinians expense.

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Deadly Mix: Hubris and Cowardice

Admitting failure in Iraq and Afghanistan is anathema to Official Washington, especially to the still-influential neocons whose status depends on maintaining the illusion of “victory” or at least limited success, even at the cost of more blood and treasure. But Daniel N. White says only a frank acknowledgement of failure can free America from even worse calamities ahead.

By Daniel N. White, Consortium News, May 28, 2011

There’s an important but little known story from World War II that comes to mind these days. It’s from the days before Hitler’s invasion of Russia in 1941.

It needs telling with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in their current state of failure – and with a war against Iran waiting in the wings.

The German Army, the Wehrmacht, was on a roll in late 1940. It had defeated and conquered Poland and France, and had thoroughly whipped the British Army in the process.

Adolf Hitler, a knowledgeable self-taught amateur historian and the most successful German politician ever in both domestic and foreign affairs, gave orders to the German General Staff to study and make plans for an invasion of Russia.

The staff officers, the bright young captains and majors, the older lieutenant colonels with gray hair and experience, went to work, and came up with plans for an invasion for the Wehrmacht General Staff to evaluate and present to Hitler.

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Former Egypt spy chief: Mubarak knew of ‘every bullet fired’

By Samer al-Atrush – CAIRO, Middle East Online, May 27, 2011

Partners in crime; now spilling the beans on each other
Egyptian ex-president Hosni Mubarak, charged with murder, “had complete knowledge of every bullet fired” at protesters, according to damning testimony by his former spy chief published in a state newspaper on Thursday.

The Al-Akhbar daily reported that prosecutors partly relied on testimony provided by Omar Suleiman, the former head of intelligence and briefly vice president, to charge Mubarak with premeditated murder.

“Mubarak had complete knowledge of every bullet fired at protesters, and the number of those killed or wounded,” Suleiman is reported to have told prosecutors.
Suleiman said he relayed to the president hourly updates on the police’s deadly response to the mass protests that began on January 25 to overthrow Mubarak, who ruled the country for three decades.

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The New Face of War

Conn Hallinan,  Foreign Policy in Focus, May 28, 2011
The assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden did more than knock off U.S. Public Enemy Number One. It formalized a new kind of warfare, where sovereignty is irrelevant, armies tangential, and decisions are secret. It is, in the words of counterinsurgency expert John Nagl, “an astounding change in the nature of warfare.”

This type of war requires a vast intelligence apparatus, which now constitutes almost a fourth arm of government that most Americans are almost completely unaware of.. According to The Washington Post, this murky world includes 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies in more than 10,000 locations across the country, with a budget last year of at least $80.1 billion.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Obama enables Israel’s worst impulses

Rashid Khalidi explains how President Obama is reinforcing every roadblock to peace Israel has created

By Rashid Khalidi, Salon, May 27, 2011
How Obama enables Isrel's worst impulses
Reuters/Jim Young
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, May 20, 2011.
The old Arabic proverb has it that the dogs bark but the caravan goes on. President Obama’s comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his speeches last week at the State Department and then at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) produced a great deal of sound and fury in Washington. However, the sense I had being in Beirut and the Gulf when they were delivered was that they meant much less to Arabs than they did in Washington or in Israel. There is little sense in the Arab world or among Palestinians that the United States has a constructive role to play in resolving this conflict. Indeed, if anything, it has only succeeded in making itself even more of a roadblock to progress than it was before.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Massive Anti-US Rally in Baghdad: Shi’ites Demand Pullout

Top US Commander Slams March as ‘Affront to Iraq’s Democracy’

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, May 26, 2011

Though Iraq’s government had mostly managed to keep the protesters off the streets over the past several weeks, a massive rally organized by supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr took place in the capital city of Baghdad today. There, tens of thousands of Shi’ites marched to Sadr City, condemning the US and demanding that the American troops leave by December 31.

The march featured thousands of people wearing red white and black Iraqi flag uniforms, and included warnings that the mass of followers of Sadr could reform the Mahdi Army and resist the US occupation if the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) deadline is not honored.

US officials have repeatedly pressed Prime Minister Maliki to accept an open-ended US presence, and have argued that keeping US troops in Iraq would be a great way to spite neighboring Iran.
But they are extremely uncomfortable to hear how unpopular the occupation has become, with US commander Major General Jeffrey Buchanan slamming the protest march, saying it was “an affront to Iraq’s democracy.”

The International Criminal Court: A Help or a Hindrance?

by Stuart Littlewood, Dissident Voice, May 27th, 2011

Do you fume at the International Criminal Court (ICC) when you see all those obnoxious war criminals still walking free and still thumbing their noses at the civilised world while their gruesome crime sheet just gets longer?

There should be no hiding place. But international law never reaches into some corners because the levers that control the wheels of justice, we discover, are sometimes leaned on by the criminals themselves.

The International Criminal Court was supposed to change all that. It is governed by the Rome Statute and is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”.

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Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey Changey

By John Pilger, ZNet, May 27, 2011
Source: www.johnpilger.com
When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”. 

 The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged. A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic. The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control. 

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Bibi and the Yo-Yos

Netanyahu on the Hill

By URI AVNERY, Counterpunch, May 26, 2011

It was all rather disgusting.

There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.

What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?

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Corrie lawyers expose army smear campaign against ISM

Charlotte Silver, The Electronic Intifada, 26 May 2011
Palestinians in Beit Jala carry a banner on the anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death, March 2010.(Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

Israeli army spokesperson Brigadier General Ruth Yaron testified this week in what was expected to be the final hearing of the Rachel Corrie trial, now in its fifteenth month of oral testimonies.

But once again, the conclusion of the oral testimonies has been pushed back and the Corrie family continues to wait for a final decision.

Colonel Pinhas (Pinky) Zuaretz, the commanding officer of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade at the time of Rachel’s death, was expected to testify in court but could not appear.

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Peace No Longer Even Gets Lip Service

by: Norman Solomon, Truthout, May 26, 2011

Soldiers of the US Army’s Alpha Company of Third Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division prepare to fire illumination rounds during a training exercise with the Afghan police in the village of Salamanzi, in the eastern Ghazni Province of Afghanistan, January 23, 2011. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)

In times of war, US presidents have often talked about yearning for peace. But the last decade has brought a gradual shift in the rhetorical zeitgeist while a tacit assumption has taken hold – war must go on, one way or another.

“I am continuing and I am increasing the search for every possible path to peace,” Lyndon Johnson said while escalating the Vietnam War. In early 1991, the first President Bush offered the public this convolution: “Even as planes of the multinational forces attack Iraq, I prefer to think of peace, not war.” More than a decade later, George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress: “We seek peace. We strive for peace.”

While absurdly hypocritical, such claims mouthed the idea that the United States need not be at war 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the Middle East and North Africa

by Manlio Dinucci

Global Research, May 24, 2011
Il manifesto. translated from Italian – 2011-05-18
In Zayed Military City, in a training camp in a desert area of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a secret army is in the making.

This secret army of mercenaries, which is slated to be used not only in the Emirates but throughout the Middle East and North Africa, was created by Erik Prince, a former member of Navy SEALS who in 1997 founded Blackwater, the largest private military company on contract to the Pentagon in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones. The company, which in 2009 was renamed Xe Services (also in order to escape legal action for the massacres of civilians in Iraq), owns a large training camp in the United States, where more than fifty thousand “specialists of war and repression” have been trained. And Xe is in the process of opening other training camps.

In Abu Dhabi, Erick Prince, without appearing in person but through the joint-venture Reflex Responses, signed a first contract of $529 million (the deal was signed on July 13, 2010, according to the New York Times).

In several countries including South Africa and Colombia, they started recruiting mercenaries to form an initial battalion of 800 men. They are trained in the UAE by U.S., British, French and German military professionals, with a background in special forces and the secret services. The trainers are paid 200-300 thousand dollars a year, while the recruits receive about $150 a day.

Obama Claims to “Reset” the Imperial Clock

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, May 25, 2011

Since when does the leader of an empire voluntarily “reset” to become a non-interfering power? Never. President Obama’s speech, last week, was mainly geared to maintaining U.S. supremacy in the Mideast and North Africa following the shock of the Arab Reawakening. Obama chided Arabs and Africans who believe colonialism is the root of their problems. But “if colonialism is a thing of the distant past, then why are the combined militaries of the world’s historical colonial powers, the U.S. and Europe, bombing and strafing their way through Africa?”
The United States is still the boss, even if you think it’s springtime for Arabs.”

When the world starts spinning away and the situation is no longer in control, the first inclination of the control freak is to reset the clock, so that nobody else knows what time it is. The people of the Arab and Middle Eastern world know that it’s way past time to get free of American corporate and military tentacles. Oh no, said President Obama in his speech last week, insisting on the “indispensable role that our country can play – and must play – in the world.” Translation: The United States is still the boss, even if you think it’s springtime for Arabs. Off camera and thousands of miles away, NATO was making Obama’s point, having by then flown over 2,500 bombing sorties over Libya.

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Ira Chernus: Ass-Backwards in the Middle East

Ira Chernus, TomDispatch.com, May 26, 2011

It’s been like dueling banjos in Washington this week.  President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu each got to say the same thing at length and at least twice.  Last Thursday, the president gave his “Arab Spring” speech in which — after a reportedly “furious phone call” between Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — he included the following line: “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

And a storm of commentary burst forth.  Though this, it was said, had long been a privately agreed upon American presidential position, it had never before been stated publicly by a president (or perhaps any other top U.S. official).  Netanyahu was reportedly incensed and on Friday could be found “hectoring” a polite but uncomfortable-looking Obama before the cameras in the Oval Office on the “indefensibility” of those 1967 borders.  On Sunday, Obama nonetheless went before the wildly pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC and gave a speech restating his position on the 1967 borders, but qualifying it as well.

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Obama’s AIPAC Speech: A Further Betrayal of the Palestinian People

by Richard Falk, Foreign Policy Journal, May 25, 2011

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, President Barack Obama spoke at an AIPAC Conference, three days after giving his decidedly pro-Israeli speech at the State Department on his broader Middle East foreign policy. It was a shockingly partisan speech to the extremist lobbying group that has the entire U.S. Congress in an unprecedented headlock that has become the envy of even the National Rifle Association. Of course, I assume that Obama’s handlers regarded a speech to AIPAC as obligatory given the upcoming presidential election in 2012. The dependence of political candidates for almost any significant elective office in the United States on Jewish electoral and funding support has become an article of secular political faith, and particularly so for a national office like the presidency. Nevertheless, the enactment of this political ritual by Obama seemed excessive even taking full account of the role of Israeli Lobby as to be worth noting and decrying.

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Ilan Pappe: Throwing a Shoe at Obama’s Betrayal

by Ilan Pappe, CommonDreams, May 24, 2011

At 4:17pm GMT on Sunday, I threw a shoe at my television screen, aimed at US President Barack Obama, precisely at the moment he began to explain that the reference in his Thursday speech at the State Department to the 1967 borders was in accordance with
the Israeli interpretation of these borders.

Palestinians protest after Obama’s Middle East policy speech, Qalandiya checkpoint, occupied West Bank, 20 May 2011. ( Anne Paq / ActiveStills )

Not that I was thrilled with that speech either but it was at least as meaningless as his previous speeches on the topic. But at 4:17 he said there will be “no return to the borders of June 4, 1967” and the thousands who attended the AIPAC convention cheered wildly. Annexation of Israeli settlement blocs built illegally in the occupied West Bank and the creation of a small Palestinian bantustan in the spaces in between was the essence of Obama’s real vision for peace.

It was a soft shoe and all it did was to bounce off the screen. Being such a harmless weapon it was also directed at my Palestinian friends who since Friday explained, publicly, how unusual and important was Obama’s speech at the State Department.

It is tough enough to know that in the White House sits someone who betrayed not only the Palestinians, but all the oppressed people in the world and in the US he promised to engage and represent.

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U.S. Congress Cheering Netanyahu’s Intransigence

Exclusive: Republicans and Democrats in Congress leapt to their feet again and again to applaud Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even as he was challenging the policies of President Barack Obama. Yet, this pro-Israeli solidarity could have harmful consequences for Israel, the Palestinians and the United States, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry, Consortium News,  May 25, 2011

Congress, with repeated standing ovations, showed its love for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the valentine may have unintended consequences by stirring dangerous passions of Likud’s rejectionist wing, which is now weighing the risks of transforming Israel into an overtly apartheid state.

These hardliners might well interpret the congressional obsequiousness as signaling that Israel still has a free hand to do whatever it wants, even if that means defying President Barack Obama’s mild pressure for movement toward peace with the Palestinians.
As Democrats and Republicans competed to see who could jump to their feet the fastest and most often, Netanyahu mixed a rhetorical commitment to peace with preconditions that he knows are unacceptable to the Palestinians, including his insistence that they not only recognize Israel’s right to exist but hail it as a Jewish state.

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‘The smallest minds and cowardliest hearts’: Is Congress clapping for apartheid?

Posted By Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy,  May 25, 2011

Mark Twain once described members of Congress as having “the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.” Twain’s mordant assessment provides a parsimonious explanation for the predictably rapturous reception that Bibi Netanyahu received there yesterday. All one can say about the vast majority of our courageous elected officials is that they aren’t genuine friends of Israel, because every burst of applause was another nail in the coffin of the Zionist dream.

Why? Because Netanyahu’s central message yesterday was an emphatic rejection of a genuine two-state solution. While professing to be willing to make major sacrifices for the sake of peace, his lengthy list of preconditions made it abundantly clear that he thinks Israel is entitled to rule the Palestinian population in perpetuity-even when it becomes numerically larger than Israel’s Jewish citizens — and that the United States should back this effort no matter what. And even though the only alternatives to a two-state solution are 1) further ethnic cleansing, 2) a binational, one-state democracy, or 3) permanent apartheid, Congress is just fine with that.

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Jewistan: Finally Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State

by Francis A. Boyle, Dissident Voice,  October 21st, 2010

Israel’s Likudnik Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached into his bag of Zionist tricks and pulled out a brand-new demand that had never surfaced before in the history of the Middle East Peace Process going all the way back to their beginning with the negotiation of the original Camp David Accords conducted under the personal auspices of U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1978: The Palestinians must recognize Israel as “the Jewish State.” Not surprisingly, the Zionist controlled and funded Obama administration publicly endorsed this latest roadblock to peace that was maliciously constructed by Israel.

Netanyahu deliberately shifted the goal-posts on the Palestinians. It would be as if the United States of America demanded that Iran recognize it as the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) State as a condition for negotiating and then concluding any comprehensive peace settlement with it. Of course such demands are racist and premeditated non-starters to begin with.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A contract to kill in the UAE

Eamonn McCann looks at revelations that Blackwater is expanding its operations to recruit a mercenary army for the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Socialist Worker, May 24, 2011

Blackwater's Erik Prince
Blackwater’s Erik Prince

YOU CAN buy a war for half a billion dollars. But get in quick. That’s at current market prices.

Costs may rise following last Saturday’s New York Times story revealing that the United Arab Emirates has paid $529 million to a company set up by Blackwater boss Eric Prince to recruit and train a mercenary army to undertake “special missions” against the oil state’s enemies, defend oil pipelines, crush internal opposition and so forth.

Emirate dictator Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan has also agreed to pay more than $100 million a year to meet running costs and supply weapons and equipment–including rifles, mortars and armored vehicles.

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Israeli right mocks Obama’s rapid submission to Netanyahu

Lauded by settlers and derided by commentators, the US president’s AIPAC speech is portrayed as a victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Saleh Naami, Ahram Online, Monday 23 May 2011

 Barack Obama

President Barack Obama arrives to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington (Photo:AP)
Jewish settler leaders were moved to express their satisfaction with Barack Obama’s Middle East speech at the AIPAC annual conference, going as far as inviting the US president to join the leadership of their association.

Benny Katzover, longtime leader of the West Bank settlement movement, said that the speech didn’t just represent a victory for Israel, but it was also a great statement of support to the concept of settlement and to the “entrenchment of Jewish presence” in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel Seven, Katzover explained that Obama’s honest and clear mention of the necessity to take into consideration the demographic shifts taking place in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan after 1967 gives legitimacy to Israel’s right to keep Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and supports without reservation the Jewish right to reinforce the settlement project as a whole and the Judaisation of Jerusalem. In his speech, Obama implied his support for Jerusalem to be the eternal and unified capital for the Jewish people, said Katzover.

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AIPAC Chief Warns Obama: Don’t Be Even-Handed With Palestinians

Insists Treating Sides Equitably ‘Unfair’ to Israel

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, May 23, 2011
Speaking one day after President Barack Obama’s address to their national conference, AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr warned the president against treating both Israel and the Palestinians “even-handedly.

According to Kohr, treating both sides equally would mean “Israel is authomatically at a disadvantage” and that it would put “Palestinians and Arabs” in a better position. The comments echo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s angry condemnation of the notion of a return to the 1967 borders.

Of course in yesterday’s speech, Obama already completely disavowed his previous comments about the 1967 borders. Prime Minister Netanyahu likewise insisted that Obama’s furious backpedal was acceptable to him. This Kohr’s rebuke of Obama seem like kicking a man when he’s down.

Kohr went on to insist that even the suggestion of equal treatment by the US in brokering a peace deal would make such a deal impossible, and that only by insisting the US and Israel have identical positions would the Palestinians ever agree to a deal. The talks ended in September after Israel refused to pause expanding settlements into the territory of a potential Palestinian state.

Ongoing: Killings, Detentions, and Torture in Egypt

by Stephen Lendman, Dissident Voice,  May 23rd, 2011

On February 9, London Guardian writer Chris McGreal headlined, “Egypt’s army ‘involved in detentions and torture,’ ” saying:

Military forces “secretly detained hundreds and possibly thousands of suspected government opponents since mass (anti-Mubarak) protests began, (and) at least some of these detainees have been tortured, according to testimony gathered by the Guardian.”

Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other human rights organizations cited years of army involvement in disappearances and torture. Former detainees confirmed “extensive beatings and other abuses at the hands of the military in what appears to be an organized campaign of intimidation.” Electric shocks, Taser guns, threatened rapes, beatings, disappearances, and killings left families grieving for loved ones.

Under Mubarak, Egypt’s military wasn’t neutral. It’s no different now, cracking down hard to keep power and deny change, policies Washington endorses, funds and practices at home and abroad.

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Pakistan: Seven killed in yet another U.S. drone strike in NWA

uruknet.info, May 23, 2011

Source: The News International

MIRAMSHAH: Seven people were killed in a US drone strike on a vehicle in Machikhel village in Mir Ali subdivision in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) on Monday, sources said. Sources said an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fired two missiles at a vehicle moving on a road in Machikhel village. The vehicle was destroyed and its seven occupants killed.

 The identity of the slain men, whose bodies were disfigured, couldn’t be ascertained. This is the seventh missile attack by US drones in North Waziristan since the May 2 assassination of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces in Abbottabad. This strike is the 28th by the CIA-operated drones in North Waziristan this year.

 North Waziristan is the primary target for US drones in Pakistan nowadays. Occasionally, the unmanned planes also attack targets in neighbouring South Waziristan Agency. These drone strikes are being conducted despite a recent unanimous resolution by parliament in Islamabad, asking the government to put an end to such attacks.

Complex But Clear US Foreign Policies

by Jack D. Douglas, LewRockwell.com, May 23, 2011

I’ve heard Congress people and others say repeatedly that the U.S. has no real or clear foreign policy for the Middle East. I think the U.S. has a clear but complex and changing, general policy in the Middle East which we can infer from U.S. actions, but Obama et al. keep using short run tactics and proclamations to deceive the various major powers there and the American people.

There is no simple, overall, constant policy like containment was toward the USSR for its final roughly forty years of existence. But there is a systematic set of nearly absolute goals which are interrelated. Let me set them out a bit starkly and clearly.

1. The U.S. will do whatever is necessary, if possible, to keep the Saudi and Persian Gulf oil flowing at its current rate.

2. The U.S. will protect Israel to keep it going.

3. The U.S. will contain Iran, work to decrease its wealth and power, carry out cyber and spy attacks on vital industries like nuclear enrichment and encourage revolutions against the government to bring it down and put a pro-U.S. one in place.

4. The U.S. will seek to keep in place pro-American puppet regimes by all effective means that do not subvert the other general goals. 

5. The U.S. will accept new pro-American regimes when necessary and work to make them more so in every way to control the oil and other vital resources.

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Obama and the Israel Lobby

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon, May 22, 2011

Obama and the Israel Lobby
President Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Friday at the White House.
(updated below – Update II [Mon.])

This week’s hysterical, reality-deprived reaction to President Obama’s pronouncements on the Israel/Palestine conflict genuinely provoked laughter on several occasions.  That happened when I thought of the intense controversy triggered by publication of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby, which examined the “loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction,” a coalition driven by “a core consisting of organizations whose declared purpose is to encourage the U.S. government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these goals are also a top priority.”  This week’s events underscore how remarkable it is that that book’s argument was demonized as some sort of radical, hateful conspiracy tract rather than treated as what it was: a statement of the bleeding obvious (albeit a brave one, given that discussions of that reality had previously been taboo).

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PAKISTAN: A human rights defender was booked on murder charges for raising the cases of scheduled caste Hindus

AHRC, May 24, 2011

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-105-2011

PAKISTAN: A human rights defender was booked on murder charges for raising the cases of scheduled caste Hindus
ISSUES: Religious minority, human rights defender, false cases, intimidation,
Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a human rights defender, who belongs to the Kohli group, a scheduled caste Hindu, was booked in a murder case whereas on the day of murder of a land grabber he was 500 kilometers away. He was attending a daylong conference of the civil society on the issue of Eighteenth amendment in the constitution and provincial autonomy. In 2010 he was abducted by the land grabbers who were also involved allegedly in the rape of a 17 years old Dalit girl. He was severely beaten during his captivity and was intimidated for raising his voice for the rights of the Dalits who have been bonded labourers for decades.

The police and a provincial minister are providing protection to the perpetrators. The provincial minister is allegedly involved in grabbing the land where the precious China Clay was found.


On May 20, 6:00 am, a group of land grabbers attacked a village of Vishnoo Kolhi, Nagar Parker sub-district, Sindh province and opened firing directly at the villagers to vacate their houses, seriously injuring four persons; Mr. Eshwar, Mr. Mohan, Mr. Hari, and Mr. Kombho who received bullet wounds. After heavy firing the villagers came out to defend the women and children and captured a few accused from whom they confiscated their guns which they later handed over to the police. The attackers names are Salah Shoro, Luqman Shoro, Mataro Shoro, Shafique Shoro, Rahib Shoro, Ranjho Shoro, Qadir Shoro Akbar Shoro, came to rescue his partners and in such circumstance one attacker, Saleh Shoro, was injured. He was taken away by the attackers and they escaped. He later died.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

PAKISTAN: Sindh government provides protection to the killers of the Fisherfolk Forum activists instead of the victims and their families

AHRC, May 20, 2011
The activists of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and members of civil society was brutally baton charged and manhandled by the police in front of the Provincial Assembly building. Twelve protestors were injured including four women and eight men. The Forum had already informed the authorities some four days before that they would hold a sit-in outside the assembly in protest of the killing of their two activists.


The protestors were demanding the arrest of the killers of two activists of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) who were killed after their abduction by the two local leaders of the ruling party, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, and their henchmen. Before their abduction the henchmen of the land grabbers of the ruling party attacked the Kakka village, Karachi, warning the villagers to vacate the land otherwise they would be forcibly displaced. The village is centuries old and was registered by the then British government.

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Richard Falk: Obama’s Flawed Approach to the Israel/Palestine Conflict

Richard Falk, wordpress.com, May 21, 2011

  There is no world leader that is more skilled at speechmaking than Barack Obama, especially when it comes to inspiring rhetoric that resonates with deep and widely held human aspirations. And his speech on Middle East policy, symbolically delivered to a Washington audience gathered at the State Department, was no exception, and it contained certain welcome reassurances about American intentions in the region.  I would point to his overall endorsement of the Arab Spring as a demonstration that the shaping of political order ultimately is a prerogative of the people. Further that populist outrage if mobilized is capable of liberating an oppressed people from the yoke of brutal and corrupt dictatorships, and amazingly to do so without recourse to violence. Obama also was honest enough to acknowledge that the national strategic interests of the United States sometimes take precedence over this preferential option for democracy and respect for human rights. Finally, his proposed $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt was a concrete expression of support for the completion of its revolutionary process, although the further $1 billion tied to an opening to outside investment and a free trade framework was far more ambiguous, threatening the enfeebled Egyptian economy with the sort of competitive intrusions that have been so devastating for indigenous agriculture and industry throughout the African continent.

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Is Israel Really Wagging the Dog?



Obama struts about the world like a colossus, making speeches that ooze the sickly falsehood of moral America that belongs to Hollywood and the handshake that passed the Kennedy baton to Clinton. The left and right of politics are arguably defined in terms of adoring or detesting the relentless US obsession with capitalism and American interests. In this analysis the knee-bending to Zionism is explained on the thin pretext of Israel being a US base in the heart (or some other organ) of the Middle East. On the surface, if one understands the world in terms of nations and empires, it would appear that the Israeli tail is wagging the American superpower dog. But this construction ceased to exist in reality somewhere in the middle of the second half of the 20th Century and it’s persistence as an illusion is one of the most dangerous false premises of our time. There is another analysis.

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American troops embedded with Pak forces: US cables

The Times of India, May 21, 2011

US troops embedded with Pak forces
The cables released by WikiLeaks said that US special operations forces were embedded with Pakistani troops for intelligence gathering by the summer of 2009. (AFP Photo)
ISLAMABAD: Contrary to Pakistani military’s persistent assertion that it will not allow foreign troops to operate within the country, US special forces were embedded with Pakistani troops for intelligence gathering and were also deployed on joint operations in their territory, according to secret US diplomatic cables.
The cables released by WikiLeaks said that US special operations forces were embedded with Pakistani troops for intelligence gathering by the summer of 2009 and deployed with them on joint operations in Pakistani territory by September the same year.
The issue has gained heightened sensitivity in the wake of the US raid against Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
The revelations go against the Pakistani military’s claim that it will not allow foreign troops to operate within the country for operations to flush out the Taliban and other militant elements.

Obama and the Iron Cage

By JOHN MEARSHEIMER, Counterpunch, May 23, 2011

Barack Obama gave a major speech on the Middle East last week and it is clear from the subsequent commentary that he impressed few people. The main reason is that he did not say much new or indicate that there would be any serious changes in US policy in the region. It was essentially more of the same with the some tweaking here and there. Nevertheless, he did manage to anger some people. For example, Israel’s hard-line supporters were outraged that he said, “Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” For them, the 1967 borders are “Auschwitz borders” and thus can never serve as a basis for negotiations.

Many Palestinians, on the other hand, did not like Obama’s assertion that it made little sense for them to go to the UN General Assembly this September and win recognition for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Surely they also noticed that shortly after saying that “every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself,” the president said that the Palestinians would have to be content with “a sovereign non-militarized state,” which means that they will not be able to defend themselves against Israel or any other state for that matter. Hypocrisy appears to be wired into the DNA of American foreign-policy makers.

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Netanyahu and the One-State Solution

by Neve Gordon, Al Jazeera, May 23, 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address US legislators on Tuesday. He will, no doubt, tell members of Congress that he supports a two-state solution, but his support will be predicated on four negative principles: no to Israel’s full withdrawal to the 1967 borders; no to the division of Jerusalem; no to the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and no to a Palestinian military presence in the new state.

Netanyahu’s uncompromising stance is not grounded in unfolding events, and if his rejectionist policy continues, it will reinforce the idea of a bi-national one-state solution. (Getty)

The problem with Netanyahu’s approach is not so much that it is informed by a rejectionist worldview. The problem is not even Netanyahu’s distorted conception of Palestine’s future sovereignty, which Meron Benvenisti aptly described as “scattered, lacking any cohesive physical infrastructure, with no direct connection to the outside world, and limited to the height of its residential buildings and the depth of its graves. The airspace and the water resources will remain under Israeli control…”

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Join the One State Initiative Share

Various undersigned

uruknet.info, May  24, 2011
Many people of good faith yearn for a future that is a joint democratic pluralistic state that encompasses all of the historic land of Palestine (currently the political entities of the apartheid State of Israel and the post-1967 Israeli occupied Palestinian Territories). It is time to put our beliefs into practice by bringing together all these people to effect the needed transformation socially and politically. We call on you to join us to formulate all the needed mechanisms for this transformation.  We are seeking local and international legal experts to draft a constitution for our joint future state and we are seeking activists with other skills (media, lobbying, civil disobedience etc) to translate the vision into reality. In our joint future state, Palestinian Refugees will have the right to return to their homes and lands and to receive reparation for their suffering as supported by UNGA resolution 194. Return and self-determination are key pillars of peace based on justice. . .
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Pakistani Establishment’s true lies

By Adnan Rehmat,  DAWN.COM, May 21, 2011
Activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) hold up a burning mock drone aircraft during a rally against drone attacks in Peshawar May 13, 2011. – Reuters Photo

 The WikiLeaks’ cables on drone attacks in Pakistan by the Americans have finally confirmed what’s been an open secret albeit sans official admission: the authority in charge of the security policy in Pakistan – the army and its chief General Pervaiz Kayani – has privately sanctioned them while publicly vociferously opposing them.

While post 9/11, it was General Pervez Musharraf who shaped up the security and foreign policies aligning them with the American war on terrorism, principally against al Qaeda and centered on the Af-Pak theater, there is evidence now that even his successor General Kayani was so convinced of the general efficacy of US drone attacks in the tribal areas that he not only had an agreement on two “air corridors” for strikes identified by the Americans but also put one of his own, the third corridor, on the table. This happened as far back as in early 2008, when he made the request to Centcom chief Admiral Fallon, just a few months after taking over from General Musharraf as the army chief.

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Obama: would raid Pakistan again if militant found

Reuters, May 22, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama is seen being interviewed by Britian's Andrew Marr of the BBC in the Diplomatic Reception Room in the White House, in Washington in this photograph received in London on May 21, 2011. REUTERS/Pete Souza/The White House/BBC/Handout
LONDON | Sun May 22, 2011 7:07am EDT

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama would approve a new incursion into Pakistan if the United States found another leading militant there, he said in a BBC interview broadcast on Sunday.

U.S. Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 attacks on U.S. cities in 2001, in a raid on his fortified compound in Pakistan on May 2, ending a manhunt for the world’s most-wanted militant.

Asked if Obama would do the same again if the United States discovered another “high-value target” in Pakistan or another country, such as a senior al Qaeda member or Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, he said he would “take the shot.”

“We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan. But we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our allies’ people, we can’t allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action,” Obama told the BBC.

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Pakistanis protest against US drone strikes

Imran Khan leads thousands in Karachi rally, calling for an end to strikes seen as violation of Pakistan’s territory.

Al Jazeera, May 22, 2011

Khan leads a rally to condemn US drone attacks targeting suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan [EPA]   

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s cricket-great-turned-politician and the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party (Movement for Justice), has led around 6,000 protesters in Karachi demanding an end to US drone strikes on Pakistani soil.

On Saturday, thousands of anti-US protesters gathered near the port of Pakistan’s largest city Karachi to stage a protest on the first of the planned two-day sit-in against what they regard as violations of Pakistan’s territory by the US and NATO forces.

Khan called for the blocking of NATO’s supply line to put a stop to the unpopular drone attacks which are carried out mainly in Pakistan’s tribal regions, where al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters are believed to be based.

US-Pakistani relations are at a low point over the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.

Pakistan is angry that it was not told in advance of the raid and says it did not know that the al-Qaeda chief was hiding in the area.

In the wake of the operation in which Bin Laden was killed, Pakistan’s parliament has demanded that the US stop its missile strikes and drone attacks, warning that it may cut off the supply route into Afghanistan altogether if the attacks do not end.

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Barack Obama: America’s new master of cosmetic eloquence?

By Ben Tanosborn, MWC News, May 20, 2011

Barack Obama
Change in foreign policy, or a political faux pas by Obama?

Two years ago in Cairo, Barack Obama had everything going for him as he addressed the global Muslim community as new leader of powerful America; someone who had been elected to help bring about change not just domestically but in foreign policy as well, particularly in that region of the world where there was so much at stake for the United States: the Middle East.

President Obama had a great start, if only symbolically, by using the traditional greeting of Assalaamu alaykum as the salutation to begin his address. However, that probably was also the high point of his speech. The entire address conveyed a tone of realism sweetened with hope which did not set particularly well with those in the Middle East who had anticipated, at the very least, a more conciliatory move by the US towards the region; definitely a foreign policy change in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, one that would bring the US closer, if not in tune, with the international community as reflected in the voting throughout the years in the United Nations.

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