Tag Archives: Middle east

Is Saudi Arabia to blame for Islamic State?

Is Saudi Arabia to blame for the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIL)? It is commonly claimed that Wahhabism, the strict form of Islam originating in the Kingdom – and the Saudi state’s aggressive promotion of it – has fuelled terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is also accused of funding IS, either directly or by failing to prevent private donors from sending money to the group.

But Saudi Arabia rejects both accusations, and has announced the formation of a new Islamic anti-terrorism coalition.

Five experts share their views.

Professor Bernard Haykel: IS theology directly linked to Wahhabism

Professor Bernard Haykel is director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University.

“The Islamic State’s religious genealogy comes from ‘Jihadi Salafism’, a theological current that is very old in Islam that is quite literalist.

“[Followers are] extremely rigorous, and condemn other Muslims who don’t share their theology. That gives them the hard edge when it comes to violence, because they can justify it theologically.

“Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab is in that Salafist tradition. He was a religious reformer in Arabia who was able to create a religious movement that ended up creating a state.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35101612

Pakistan surprised by its inclusion in 34-nation military alliance

BY BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed 34-nation military alliance of Muslim countries meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent.

Talking to journalists, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said he was surprised to read the news that Saudi Arabia had named Pakistan as part of the alliance.

He said he had asked the country’s ambassador in Riyadh to get a clarification from Saudi Arabia on the matter.

Another senior official also confirmed that Pakistan was not consulted before inclusion in the alliance.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Saudi government surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. The headquarters of the new Saudi-led coalition would be based in Riyadh.

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has named Pakistan as part of its military alliances without Islamabad’s knowledge and consent. The Saudis earlier named Pakistan as part of the coalition that carried out operations in Yemen and a Pakistani flag was displayed at the alliance’s media centre.

Pakistan later declined to join the Yemen war.

It is Pakistani government’s policy that it will not deploy its troops outside the country’s borders except for UN peacekeeping missions.

In the past Pakistan has twice rejected US calls for joining alliances against the militant Islamic State (IS) group on the same pretext.

“We are not looking for any involvement outside our region,” army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had said last month while replying to a question about the possibility of Pakistan becoming part of a US-led coalition against IS.

It is unclear how Riyadh went ahead with announcing Pakistan’s participation in the new alliance. It is also difficult to speculate if Islamabad will change its policy because of its close ties with the kingdom.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1226723/

Russia hits back at Turkey by changing Syria ‘game’

Moscow’s retaliation after Turkey downed its military jet could tie Ankara’s hands in Syria.

By Zeina Khodr, Roving Correspondent

Russia is striking back after a “stab in the back by an accomplice to terrorists” by changing the “game” in Syria.

Moscow’s retaliation is not just about severing economic and diplomatic ties. It is pursuing a policy that could tie Turkey’s hands in Syria.

Ankara never received international backing for a safe zone across its border, but Russia has now ruled that out.

The deployment of S-400 anti-air missiles means Russia has effectively imposed a no-fly zone over Syria.

And now, Moscow seems to be moving closer to a group that has been the US-led coalition’s main ground force in Syria – a group which Turkey, itself a member of that coalition, calls “terrorists”.

The Syrian Kurdish forces (YPG) is a US-backed Kurdish group that has pushed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from areas along the border with Turkey.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/europe/2015/11/russia-hits-turkey-changing-syria-game-151129172933416.html

The Czar vs. the Sultan

Putin and Erdogan see themselves as heirs to proud empires. But fighter jets and tough talk can’t mask imperial decline.

BY JULIA IOFFE

Before Crimea was Russian, or Ukrainian, or even Soviet, it was Turkish. Well, Ottoman. And Russia had already annexed Crimea once before 2014, long before — in 1783. This was after a six-year war with the Turks, in which the Russians essentially wiped out the Ottoman navy. The conflict ended with the Treaty of Kainardrji, signed in 1774, which has come to be seen by historians as the first partition of the Ottoman Empire, the beginning of its long, slow decline. In losing Crimea to Russia, the Ottoman Empire, for the first time ever, lost Muslim subjects to a Christian power. (The Crimean Tatars, who have been especially opposed to Moscow’s newest takeover of the peninsula, are the vestigial limb left behind by the Ottomans, bucking again at its new Russian owner — which has, in turn,cracked down on them.) That war and the treaty that ended it, Bernard Lewis wrote some 200 years later, was “the turning point in the relations between Europe and the Middle East.”

Read more » Foreign Policy
See more » http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/25/the-czar-vs-the-sultan-turkey-russia-putin-erdogan-syria-jet-shootdown/?utm_content=buffer210ac&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 The Saudis Are Stumbling. They May Take the Middle East with Them.

America’s leading Sunni ally is proving how easily hubris, delusion, and old-fashioned ineptitude can trump even bottomless wealth

By Conn Hallinan

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful.

Using its vast oil wealth, it’s quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region, and prudently kept to the shadows while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, underwrote Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and bankrolled Islamic movements and terrorist groups from the Caucasus to the Hindu Kush.

It wasn’t a modest foreign policy, but it was a discreet one.

Today that circumspect diplomacy is in ruins, and the House of Saud looks more vulnerable than it has since the country was founded in 1926. Unraveling the reasons for the current train wreck is a study in how easily hubris, delusion, and old-fashioned ineptness can trump even bottomless wealth.

Read more » The Nation
See more » http://www.thenation.com/article/the-saudis-are-stumbling-they-may-take-the-middle-east-with-them/

Syria and The New World Disorder

The New World Disorder

BY

On October 20, 2011, the day that Libyan rebel fighters found Colonel Muammar Qaddafi hiding in a desert culvert, hauled him out, and killed him, President Barack Obama called a press conference in the Rose Garden, and announced that we had “achieved our objectives.” (Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, put it more archly, telling a reporter, “We came, we saw, he died.”) The previous spring, when the United States had decided to join in the NATO air strikes against Libya, the White House said that regime change was not the objective, and that persuaded Russia not to veto a Security Council mandate authorizing action to protect Libyans from their ruler “by all necessary measures.” Russia was furious about NATO’s mission creep, but Obama said, “Faced with the potential of mass atrocities, and a call from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.” Now, he said, America’s part was done and the Libyans were free to establish full democracy. The President added, “This comes at a time when we see the strength of American leadership across the world. We’ve taken out Al Qaeda leaders, and we’ve put them on the path to defeat. We’re winding down the war in Iraq, and have begun a transition in Afghanistan.”

Four years later, Libya is a battle-worn wasteland, a bitter outcome;

Read more » The New Yorker
See more » http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/12/the-new-world-disorder-comment-philip-gourevitch

Senior IDF source: If Lebanon war scenario becomes reality, artillery will cross border

If conflict were to break out, artillery units will have to accompany maneuvering forces over the border rather than provide supporting fire, as they did last summer.

The IDF held a series of intensive drills around the country in the past week, part of a directive issued by recently appointed Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who placed war training back at the top of the military’s priorities.

One of the exercises took place in the Jordan Valley, where the Artillery Corps 282 Support Unit spent five days training for war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Although the unit of conscripts holds this type of drill annually, this year was different due to the scope and variety of live fire employed, according to a senior Artillery Corps officer who spoke to The Jerusalem Post.

“What is special in our unit is its fusion of a variety of surface- based firepower,” he said. The unit can deploy cannons to strike ground targets, precision- guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and the Spike [Tamuz] electro-optical fireand- forget missile.

It can also employ a radar battalion that can look far beyond the immediate battle zone, to locate enemies, provide early warning of incoming fire, and pass on target coordinates for return fire in seconds.

All of this activity simulated a full-scale war in southern Lebanon, the source said. Until last week, “my battalions were in Judea and Samaria, doing daily security missions. On Saturday night, they switched to a livefire drill,” he said. Usually, a full-scale drill of this kind comes at the end of a gradually escalating exercise, involving more and more military units. This time around, the source said, the Artillery Corps flipped things around, and started with the biggest drill.

“Together with the Armored Corps’ 7 Brigade, we held two-division exercises. We want to create the most realistic simulation, so this had to involve live fire,” he said. The unit moved from Ma’aleh Efraim to Beit She’an, activating the full range of its fire power – the first time this has happened in a drill, the source said.

Read more » The Jerusalem Post
See more » http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Senior-IDF-source-If-Lebanon-war-scenario-becomes-reality-soldiers-will-cross-border-402491

Putin lifts ban on delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran

The Russian president has repealed the ban prohibiting the delivery of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran, according to the Kremlin’s press service. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

“[The presidential] decree lifts the ban on transit through Russian territory, including airlift, and the export from the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also the transfer to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of the Russian Federation, both by sea and by air, of air defense missile systems S-300,” says the information note accompanying the document, RIA Novosti reported.

The decree enters into force upon the president’s signature.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/249229-russia-s300-delivery-iran/

Iranian guards killed on Pakistan border

Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in a clash with gunmen near Pakistan
Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in a clash with gunmen near Pakistan

Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in a clash with gunmen near Pakistan, Iranian media say.

They were shot dead after the attackers crossed into Iran’s Sistan Baluchistan province, according to reports.

The gunmen then fled back across the border, Iranian official said. The identity of the attackers is not known.

Sistan Baluchistan has seen frequent clashes in recent years between Iranian security forces and drug smugglers and Sunni rebel groups.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32200996

A Strategic Seaport – Is Pakistan Key to China’s Energy Supremacy?

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

A seaport in southwest Pakistan may hold the key to China’s energy supremacy. At least, that’s what China hopes. The Gwadar port, which China has built and will operate in the province of Balochistan, is situated near the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil-shipping lane that can serve as an energy corridor from western China through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf.

Beijing’s pivot to Pakistan is a substantial one. The story goes back to 2008, when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf proposed a railroad and an oil pipeline to link Gwadar to the Kashi port in Xinjiang—allowing China to take advantage of the shortest possible route to the Middle East. In exchange, Pakistan would get an influx of Chinese investment. Indeed, in 2014, the Chinese government committed to spending $45.6 billion over the next six years to build the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways, and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East. China’s stake in Gwadar will also allow it to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean, a vital route for oil transportation between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Another advantage to China is that it will be able to bypass the Strait of Malacca. As of now, 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and 80 percent of that is transported to China through this strait, the dangerous, piracy-rife maritime route through the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas.

The United States fears that China will come out of its dealings with Pakistan with more power. But it need not be worried: China’s involvement in Balochistan, a restive area prone to insurgencies, will not end well. Many believe Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, is hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Meanwhile, small towns in Balochistan are the breeding grounds for a decades-old separatist movement targeting federal agencies. Increasingly, China has been caught up in the violence. In 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine wounded when separatists attacked their van in Gwadar. In 2009, China shelved its $12 billion plans to build an oil refinery and an oil city in Gwadar due to security concerns.

China’s involvement in the region’s politics can only be bad news. In 2012, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution that asked the United States to support Baloch separatists as freedom fighters. The resolution was tabled, but if the United States ever does decide to involve itself in the conflict, China’s strategic interests will be at risk.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143227/syed-fazl-e-haider/a-strategic-seaport

Islamic State poses a Dangerous Threat to the world

By GURMEET KANWAL

On February 16, 2015, the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic Caliphate (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) released a video showing the gruesome execution of 21 Egyptian citizens in Libya. All of them were Coptic Christians. Egypt promptly joined the fight against ISIS by launching air strikes in Derna, a hotbed of terrorism. Egypt has already been fighting terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula where many Army personnel have been killed since President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in July 2013.

A few days earlier, ISIS fighters had burnt alive a captured Jordanian pilot because Jordan had refused to be blackmailed into releasing Sajida Al-Rishawi, a jailed ISIS activist. And, a week before that brutal execution, the ISIS had beheaded the second of two Japanese hostages.

The emergence of the ISIS is only the latest manifestation of the continuing conflict in the arc of instability known as West Asia or the Middle East. The triumphant march of the virulently radical Sunni terrorists of the ISIS in 2014 was finally halted virtually on the gates of Baghdad. The ISIS, numbering between 20,000 and 30,000, now controls a large area straddling the Syria-Iraq border and have seized key border crossings on the Syrian border with Jordan. After capturing Faluja in January 2014, ISIS fighters made rapid progress in advancing along the Euphrates River in Anbar province of Iraq.

Read more » NITI Central
See more » http://www.niticentral.com/stream

CHINA’S STRATEGIC SHIFT TOWARD THE REGION OF THE FOUR SEAS: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM ARRIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

 

BY

Since the Arab Spring, China has been quietly asserting its influence and fortifying its foothold in the Middle East, while the United States pivots to the Asia Pacific after a decade of war.  It is aligning with states that have problematic relations with the West and are also geo-strategically placed on the littoral of the “Four Seas”–the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf. Paradoxically, the U.S. eastward pivot is matched by the resurgent Middle Kingdom’s westward pivot across its new Silk Road, and threatens to outflank the citadel of American geo-strategies in the region.

INTRODUCTION: CHINA’S STRATEGIC INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Energy Security

China’s interest in the Middle East is first and foremost energy-driven.[1] In 1993, when it became a net oil importer for the first time, Beijing embarked on a “go out” (zhouchuqu) policy to procure energy assets abroad to feed its growing economy.  The legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rests on continued economic growth and delivering a rising standard of living for the Chinese population.  As a corollary, China is also concerned about security of energy supply lines and Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCS).  Because the United States is considered its main opponent in the international system, China is wary of U.S. naval dominance and the risk of choking China’s energy supply through the Malacca Straits should hostilities break out over Taiwan.  This is referred to as the “Malacca Dilemma,” where 80 percent of China’s oil imports traverse this chokepoint that is vulnerable to piracy and U.S. blockade.  Indeed, given increasing tension in the three flash points of the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Straits, this concern is even more pressing for the Chinese leadership.

Market Access

The Middle East is also a strategic logistics and trade hub for China’s exports and market access in Europe and Africa. China understands the importance of having strong economic foundations for military power and sees that continued market access for their exports to fuel China’s economy would build up their war chest to further underwrite military modernization.[2]  The EU is currently China’s largest trading partner ahead of the United States.[3] Moreover, China also has vast interests on the African continent–both via infrastructure projects and long-term energy supply contracts.  More than 1 million Chinese are in Africa (up from about 100,000 in the early 2000s), with trade at $120 billion in 2011.[4] In 2009, China overtook the United States to become Africa’s number one trading partner.[5]  As such, the Middle East is a strategic region that connects Europe, Africa, and Asia markets.

Thus, given the Middle East’s location as a trade hub linking the three continents, a vital region for market access, and site of vast energy reserves to fuel China’s continued economic growth, the CCP deems the Middle East as a high priority on its foreign policy agenda. As the United States “pivots” towards Asia, China will naturally seek strategic depth in areas that were once dominated by the United States and its Western allies.  This is even more so in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Continue reading CHINA’S STRATEGIC SHIFT TOWARD THE REGION OF THE FOUR SEAS: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM ARRIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

‘War is madness’: Pope Francis says WWIII is happening already

Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’

Pope Francis has compared the current situation internationally to a third World War “fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction.” Calling wars irrational, the Pontiff lamented conflicts are often “justified by an ideology.”

“War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” Francis said while visiting Italy’s largest war memorial Saturday. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often…”

“War is madness” which “ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers” the Pope said as he recalled the Genesis story of how Cain killed his brother Abel.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass.

Francis has also spoken during a mass at the Italian First World War memorial at Fogliano di Redipuglia, in northern Italy, where more than 100,000 fallen Italian soldiers are believed to be buried in the military graveyard.

“Here lie many victims. Today, we remember them. There are tears, there is sadness. From this place we remember all the victims of every war. Today, too, the victims are many,” the Pope said.

“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction,” Francis said. “And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, ‘What does it matter to me?’”

In the past few months, Francis has repeatedly called for the end of military conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and throughout Africa.

In July, he also made an emotional appeal to the world, calling to stop war, especially in the Middle East and Ukraine, saying that the children who live in conflict zones are suffering most and are deprived of hope and a future.

During his visit to Korea in August, the Pope said that humanity was in the midst of a Third World War.

“Today we are in a world at war everywhere. A man said to me, ‘Father, we are in World War III, but spread out in small pockets everywhere.’ He was right,” Francis said at the time.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29190890

Peace Not Apartheid – Jimmy Carter’s Roadmap

By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN

Excerpt; The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens–and honors its own previous commitments–by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions. The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories. (p. 216)

Read more » Counter Punch
http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/11/13/jimmy-carter-s-roadmap/

Syria President Bashar al-Assad sworn in for third term

Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third seven-year term as president of Syria, after an election last month that opponents dismissed as a “farce”.

State television broadcast what it said was a live ceremony from the presidential palace in Damascus.

Mr Assad vowed to fight “terrorism” until security was restored to all of the country, but also promised to offer “national reconciliation” to opponents.

He has defied calls to step down since an uprising began in March 2011.

The conflict that erupted after the authorities launched a brutal crackdown on protests has left at least 170,000 people dead and driven more than nine million others from their homes.

‘Monstrous faces’

Mr Assad won 88.7% of the votes cast in the first multi-candidate election in decades, which took place only in areas of Syria that were under government control.

After taking the oath of office on Wednesday, Mr Assad told his supporters: “Syrians, three years and four months… have passed since some cried ‘freedom’.”

“They wanted a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries. I congratulate you for your revolution and for your victory,” he added.

“Those who lost their way can now see clearly… the monstrous faces have been unveiled, the mask of freedom and the revolution has fallen.”

Mr Assad also promised that Arab, regional and Western countries who are helping the rebels trying to topple him would soon “pay a high price for supporting terrorism.

Over the past year, Mr Assad’s forces – backed by Iran and the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah – have consolidated their control over a corridor of territory stretching north from the capital to the city of Homs and then into Hama and Latakia provinces.

However, large swathes of the north and east remain under the control of rebel forces, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The powerful al-Qaeda breakaway declared the creation of a “caliphate” in its territories last month after launching an offensive that saw it capture parts of northern and western Iraq.

Western-backed and more moderate Islamist rebels in Syria, who have been engaged in deadly battles with the group’s fighters since the start of the year, rejected the announcement.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28328138

More » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2014/07/140716_syria_president_assad_rwa.shtml

“Neo-Terrorism”: The mutation of Al-Qaeda into the Islamic State

By Roy Murray

One of the suboptimal habits of humans is to compare different things, expect them to behave similarly, and treat them the way we are ‘used to’. So, when the “Islamic State” (IS) debacle began, the world’s intelligences agencies did what they were used to – tracking jihadists back home. Since Al-Qaeda attacked the western home front, IS must have similar ambitions. They attempted to identify the jihadists, tracked their footsteps to the conflict, then they waited back home, ready to pounce on them with decades of counter terrorism experience. The hysteria grew, with ever more resources ploughed into it, augmented by vast media accounts of the threat the “Islamic State” (IS) of Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi poses to our ‘home front’.

It became a dangerous addiction which distracted us from the real “neo-terrorism” threat. By tracking Baghdadi’s returning jihadists, the west is effectively acting as his military police, locking up his deserters – after all, jihad is a lifelong adventure. He couldn’t care less.  In fact, our actions morphed into a powerful propaganda tool for the ‘terrorist extraordinaire’ –   feeding his propaganda narrative that Muslims were being oppressed around the world, and must rise up against their “tyrants” and establish a great Islamic State. Focusing on the home front, The West left him alone in the Middle East, free to stir chaos, establish, and expand his ‘Caliphate’. With just 10,000 of his Jihadists and other allies, he took down vast armies and militias that outnumbered his forces by factors upwards of 10 to 1. He is not some supreme being, neither are his men super human. Rather, he is a manifestation of the “neo-terrorist”. A veteran jihadist, he is also a cunning strategist, who designed his escapades with a powerful knowledge of the present, and a generous imagination of the future. He exploited the enmities between his enemies and preyed on their most damning weaknesses. Further, Baghdadi exploited almost every racial, sectarian, and political fault line in the Middle East and left all his enemies in a predicament. He wrong footed almost everyone, all the while being humble about the limits of his power, rarely embarking on battles where he doesn’t have ‘the edge’.”. Everyone played into his hand, and the current reality is that the different powers of the Middle East no longer have any ‘good’ options. Rather, they have options of varying degrees of ‘badness’, or even catastrophe. All this is at the expense of the local civilians, who are now staring down at an extended sectarian conflict that will condemn the Middle East to decades of poverty, threatening the social and political fabric of the region.

Read more » SYKES PICOT
http://sykespicot.net/2014/07/06/neo-terrorism-the-mutation-of-al-qaeda-into-the-islamic-state/

Mass beheadings reported in Iraq as al-Qaeda forces take Mosul and Tikrit

Iraq crisis: ISIS militants push towards Baghdad – live

Group claims mass killings of Iraqi troops, as militants battle security forces 50 miles from Baghdad – follow latest developments – follow latest developments

By 

It is impossible to confirm at present whether the ISIS claim on Twitter to have executed 1,700 Shia soldiers in Iraq is accurate, or an exaggeration intended to create fear among the Shia populace. But earlier, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, expressed “extreme alarm” at the situation and spoke of verified reports of “summary executions and extrajudicial killings”. Some of the reports cited suggest that Iraqi security forces are being purged, though it is unclear whether there is an ethnic dimension to all of the killings.

According to the UN mission in Iraq, “the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching one thousand,” Rupert Colville, Ms Pillay’s spokesman, said in Geneva.

He said UN had received reports of horrific abuses after the capture of Iraq’s second city Mosul, one such case involving the “summary executions of Iraqi soldiers (and) of 17 civilians” thought to have been working for the police, in one particular street in Mosul on 11 June.

Read more » The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10892299/Iraq-crisis-ISIS-militants-push-towards-Baghdad-live.html

Living with Jihadistan – Parthasarathy reviews Avoiding Armageddon

Books by American academics, officials and journalists on India and Pakistan almost invariably portray reluctance of the authors to call a spade a spade. They underplay the serious global implications of Pakistan’s links with radical Islamist terrorist groups and the dangerous role of these groups within Pakistan and beyond its borders, particularly in India and Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel is different. He is an American specialist on the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, with 29 years’ experience in the CIA. He has also served four presidents in the White House.

Riedel’s new book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back, is a colourful and interesting account of the imperatives, twists and turns of America’s policies, especially since the days of World War II and the subsequent partition of the sub-continent in August 1947. While the birth pangs of the partition, the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Pakistan conflicts of 1965 and 1971 are covered factually and impartially, it is important for all those interested in the geopolitics of India’s neighbourhood to read and absorb Riedel’s analysis of how the US cultivated Pakistan’s military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, to “bleed” the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In the process, America made Pakistan a playground for radical Islamist groups worldwide, which undermined security and stability within Pakistan and across its entire neighbourhood.

General Zia laid the foundations for Pakistan’s ambitions to make Afghanistan a radical Islamic state and the epicentre for global jihad. Over 80,000 Afghans were armed and trained by the isi during the Zia period, with an aim of ending Afghan territorial claims on Pakistan and eliminating Indian and Soviet influence there, while also making Afghanistan “a real, Islamic State, part of a pan-Islamic revival that will one day win over the Muslims of the Soviet Union”. Riedel reveals how General Zia used the Afghan conflict for carrying his enthusiasm for jihad into Jammu and Kashmir, following a secret meeting with Kashmiri Jamat-e-Islami leader Maulana Abdul Bari in 1980. Riedel also reveals Zia’s role in fomenting terrorism in Punjab in the 1980s. He exposes US duplicity in rewarding Pakistan in the 1980s, by deliberately turning a blind eye to its nuclear weapons programme.

Riedel explains how short-sighted American policies promoted Wahhabi-oriented radicalisation in a nuclear-armed Pakistan. These policies also increased the dominance of the army, weakening democratic institutions. They led to the emergence of global links between radical Islamist organisations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and their counterparts across the world. The Kargil conflict is discussed in detail, as is the military standoff that followed the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. Riedel is unsparing on the links of the isi with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). He dwells on the nexus between isi-supported terrorist groups like the let and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, with the Taliban and with groups like the al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The book commences with the 26/11 terrorist strike on Mumbai. The actions of the let and its chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and their terrorist links are clinically analysed. Riedel describes how the tentacles of the ISI extend from the let to the Taliban and jihadi groups worldwide.

Riedel spells out two nightmare scenarios. The first is a takeover of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons by terrorists. The second nightmare he alludes to is a 26/11-type terrorist attack leading to nuclear escalation, after an angered India responds militarily.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/parthasarathy-reviews-avoiding-armageddon/1/277746.html

The Nation of Sindh & Sindh diaspora of USA, Canada, UK, Belgium and UAE, reject apartheid SPLG law

Washington-USA, Toronto-Canada, Brussels-Belgium, London-U.K., Middle East+ Sharjah+ Abu Dhabi, UAE, *Sindh*-Pakistan.

13th October 2012 – We, the undersigned Sindh Diaspora Organizations, Sindh Civil Society Organizations and Sindh Nationalist Parties unequivocally and resoundingly reject the controversial and apartheid Bill passed by the Sindh Assembly, to give a legal facade to the SPLG ordinance 2012.

It may be remembered that this same forum had twice rejected this and a previous ordinance emanating from the Governor House, which had the same purpose: Administrative, Fiscal and eventual Political Division of Sindh.

This forum view these repeated onslaughts on the fundamental rights of the nation of Sindh on their own land as an act of aggression against humanity.

The Sindhi Nation is not only cognizant of the contents and intentions of this so called “Bill”, but has resolved to struggle for its reversal.

The obscure and back room circumstances and haste surrounding the promulgation of first, the SPLGO and second its passage into “law” by the Sindh Assembly on 1st October 2012, further and finally confirmed to the Sindhi Nation that the intentions of the current coalition partners in the ruling Sindh Government, the PPPP and MQM, are malafide. This coalition stands rejected by the nation of nation, and has lost their confidence.

The SPLGO has been designed to further dis-empower and disenfranchise the nation of Sindh in their own historic homeland.

It is aimed to divide Sindh administratively with a view to its eventual political division in the future.

Further, the SPLGO privileges urban areas dominated and controlled by the MQM and expands their writ into adjoining areas where their vote base is non existent. The SPLGO has given the MQM a license to eradicate or render marginal, the vast Sindhi speaking population that lives in Sindh’s urban areas particularly in and around Karachi and its historical districts and coastal areas. The cooperation and compliance of PPPP leaders in delivering to the demands of the MQM, shows that the PPPP is not in a position to safeguard the interests of Sindh.

Sindh’s entire civil society, Nationalist Political Parties and Sindhi Diaspora Organizations stand united in their opposition to the apartheid SPLG Bill. The SPLG Bill stands rejected.

Sindhi Association of North America, SANA, World Sindhi Institute, WSI, Canada, USA+Europe, World Sindhi Congress, WSC, USA+Eurooe, Sindhi Sangat Middle East, Dubai+Sharjah+Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sindh Bachayo Commitee, Awami Tehreek, Sindh, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Awami Jamhoori Party, Sindh National Movement, Sindh Univerity Teachers Association,  Centre for Peace and Civil Society, Women’s Action Forum, Sindh.

Israel and its black immigrants

Israel and its black immigrants

Keep out – Racial tension is rising as black asylum-seekers pour in

TEL AVIV – ON MAY 28th it was the turn of Yorusalem Mestun, a 22-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker in hot-pants. Five young Israelis smashed the glass door of her internet café and pulled a knife on her, while her Jewish neighbours looked on. The police came, checked her visa and left without, she said, offering help or sympathy.

Attacks on Israel’s fast-growing population of African asylum-seekers, mainly from South Sudan and Eritrea, are rising. Hundreds of Jews led by settlers from the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to create their state, recently marched through districts of south Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, where black immigrants proliferate, chanting “Africans Out!” Pumped up with angry excitement, the middle-aged chef of a fast-food shop, in HaTikva, a working-class district where migrants are also settling in large numbers, offers passers-by “grilled kushi”, provocatively meaning “grilled blacks”, and suggests getting rid of the immigrants by throwing grenades at their tenements. In recent weeks, several homes and a kindergarten for Africans have been firebombed.

Liberal Israelis have staged anti-racist rallies. A generation after their arrival, over 120,000 Ethiopian Jews have been integrated. The country has received an estimated 60,000 black asylum-seekers. It is not the first to struggle when large numbers of people suddenly arrive.

On May 29th the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said he was adding African “infiltrators” to his list of threats to the Jewish homeland. He said he shared the rioters’ pain and promised to solve the problem by completing a wall along the border with Egypt. He said he would also build the world’s largest detention centre—and deport all those within, starting with the South Sudanese.

Until 2009 the 15,000 or so asylum-seekers entering via Sinai every year were banned from coming within a radius of 30km (19 miles) of Tel Aviv. Since the government revoked that order, the security forces, after catching immigrants crossing, verify their identity and then pack them off to Tel Aviv. Scores of destitute new arrivals bed down every night in a park near the main bus station.

Continue reading Israel and its black immigrants

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….

Read more » http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/09/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news

via – Twitter

Pakistan and India: apples and oranges? – Dr Manzur Ejaz

…. Most Pakistanis and Indians equate Pakistan with the Muslim world and start idealising or criticising it, as if religion is the single most important denominator. Pakistanis project themselves to be part of the so-called ummah in self-denial of their own real history to idealise their past and Indians find it convenient to put Pakistan in a religious category and demonise it. Pakistanis believe they are heirs of Muslim rule and their opponents believe in the same notion as well. In short, Pakistani and Indian nationalists agree on this point.

The fact of the matter is that most of the Muslims living in Pakistan are converts of lower layers of different castes. Till the time of the partition their status as a lowly mass of peasants, artisans and labourers continued. Muslim feudal lords mostly owned land and urban centres were completely run by the Hindu elite. Muslims of the present Pakistan had hardly any representation in the business community, bureaucracy, or education. During the entire Muslim rule, their status remained similar to the untouchables who converted to Christianity during the British rule. Therefore, other than a small percentage of Urdu speakers who may have come from the old ruling Muslim elite, it is misleading for the Pakistanis to idealise themselves as heirs to Muslim ruling elites who had descended from Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East. …

Read more >> WICHAAR

States formed on the basis of religion can never survive a peaceful future (Bertrand Russell) e.g Pakistan and Israel!

Gandhi’s Advice for Israelis and Palestinians

By ROBERT MACKEY

Writing from the West Bank town of Bilin, where there are weekly protests against the path of Israel’s separation barrier, my colleague Nicholas Kristof has sparked a discussion of “the possibility of Palestinians using nonviolent resistance on a massive scale to help change the political dynamic in the Middle East and achieve a two-state solution,” in a column and a blog post.

As my colleague Ethan Bronner reported in April, some Palestinians have explicitly endorsed just that approach and Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, visited Bilin three months ago. Mr. Gandhi toured the West Bank with Mustafa Barghouti, a leader of the Palestinian nonviolent movement who explained the approach in an interview on The Daily Show last year.

Although Mahatma Gandhi died in 1948, Pankaj Mishra pointed out in an essay last year on “the eerie echoes between the formative and postcolonial experiences of India and Israel” that the Indian leader did speak out against the resort to violence by both Jews and Arabs in mandatory Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s.

Gandhi told London’s Jewish Chronicle in an interview in 1931: “I can understand the longing of a Jew to return to Palestine, and he can do so if he can without the help of bayonets, whether his own or those of Britain… in perfect friendliness with the Arabs.”

In 1937, after Arabs tried to stop Jewish immigration to British-administered Palestine by force, Gandhi repeated his view that a homeland for Jews in the Middle East would only be possible “when Arab opinion is ripe for it.”

In his most extended treatment of the problem, an essay called “The Jews,” published in his newspaper Harijan in 1938, Gandhi began:

Several letters have been received by me, asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question. My sympathies are all with the Jews.

That said, he counseled Jews in both Germany and Palestine to avoid violence, writing:

If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. […]

And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart.

Read more >> The New York Times

The Global Peace Institute condemned the Israeli attack on a refugee cargo ship.

Press Release (May 31, 2010) – Delaware USA : The Chairman of The Global Peace Institute Masood Zakria Choudhary in a press statement strongly condemned the Israeli army attack on a refugee cargo ship proceeding to Ghaza, Palestine in which twenty innocent persons are killed and fifty wounded. Masood Zakria Choudhary regarded it an open aggression of the Israeli government mirroring its’ aggressive and hegemonic designs. By performing such a hideous bloody act Israel has tarnished its’ image in the world community. Israel has breached international law and trampled human rights. The constant Israeli aggression is pushing the peaceful world to war. It is the democratic, moral and human duty of America to harness and bridle the steed and direct it to the right path of peace. Masood Zakria Choudhary said that the secretary general of the UNO Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the U.S.A State Department, the government of France and other countries have condemned the aggression of Israel that shows the sanity still prevails in the world and no nation has supported the inhuman act of Israel. The detainees in Israel must be safely returned to their countries and International Court of Justice should take suo moto action and ask Israel to apologize and pay the ransom to the affected families. The middle east crisis can only be resolved under Oslo Pact agreed by both the nations. Masood Zakria Choudhary appealed to the world powers to intervene for world peace and resolve the middle east issue amicably. He also appreciated the courage of the journalists who put their lives at stake and proceeded on the mission of human rights. He expressed deep grief of the killing of the human rights’ activists. At the same time he paid homage to three Pakistani journalists and human rights activists Talat Hussain, Raza Agha and Nadeem Khan or their courage and conviction.

The survey was a huge failure;

In Africa they didn’t know what ‘* food*’ meant,
In
India they didn’t know what ‘*honest*’ meant,
In
Europe they didn’t know what ‘* shortage*’ meant,
In
China they didn’t know what ‘*opinion*’ meant,
In the
Middle East they didn’t know what ‘*solution *’
meant,
In
South America they didn’t know what ‘*please*’
meant,
And in the
USA they didn’t know what ‘* the rest of the
world
*’ meant!

“The hell it should had!?

A disappointed salesman of a Cola returns from his Middle East assignment.
A friend asked, “Why weren’t you successful with the Arabs?
The salesman explained
When I got posted in the Middle East , I was very confident that I would make a good sales pitch as Cola is virtually unknown there. But, I had a problem I didn’t know to speak Arabic. So, I planned to convey the message through three posters
First poster: A man lying in the hot desert sand…totally exhausted and fainting.
Second poster: The man is drinking our Cola.
Third poster: Our man is now totally refreshed.
And then these posters were pasted all over the place
Then that should have worked!” said the friend.
The hell it should had!? said the salesman. Didn’t realize that Arabs read from right to left

Israeli barbarism in Gaza

By Dekel Avshalom in Israel

In a surprise attack last week, Israel’s air force infiltrated the Gaza Strip and started blasting away. On Saturday, the air force was accompanied by blasting from the navy and infiltration of tanks and foot soldiers into the Strip causing death and destruction in horrifying dimensions. Up to this time, the death toll for Palestinians stands at 526 people, with 2500 injured. Israeli officials, in particular Defense Minister Ehud Barak, keep reminding us that “this is just the beginning”. Israeli media is overjoyed in stressing the claim that the “majority” of the victims are Hamas soldiers. We do not exactly know how they define a “Hamas soldier”, but the fact that 107 of the murdered victims were children, makes it very hard for us to believe such claims. This attack is overwhelming in nature. It has been reported that since the 1967 war Israel had never used such a massive air attack.

This attack was preceded by a series of deceptive manoeuvres on the part of Israel in order to keep Hamas off guard. Israel kept up the pretence of negotiations on the ceasefire and even allowed goods to enter the Strip. This deception should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows Ehud Barak’s tactical mind. Just a short while ago, Barak used the same deceptive tactics in order to lull some entrenched Rightist Jewish settlers in Hebron before evacuating them by force.

A statesman in such a high position does not normally use such tactics unless he is desperate. And Barak’s desperation is what lies behind such an unprecedented attack. Barak apparently saved the attack for a special moment in which he could improve his position in the polls for the upcoming national elections. These polls consistently show that the party under his leadership will receive its lowest number of votes to date.

For a long time Barak postponed the attack so it would not seem that he was working under the pressure of his opponents. He wanted the credit all for himself. Now, the Israeli masses, worked up by the media, got what the media told them they wanted: revenge. Barak plans to surf on a wave of Palestinian blood into a position of larger number of seats in parliament.

In many ways, this attack has similarities with the Lebanese fiasco in 2006. It also is a staggering failure for Israel from the very moment it was concocted in the twisted minds of Barak and the army generals. Just as in Lebanon, also here the army has failed to stop the rocket launching into Israel. Hamas launched hundreds of them uninterruptedly, killing 3 Israelis in one day and wounding several others. It would also not be surprising if it comes out that the army wanted this result in order to incite Israelis against the Palestinians and to maintain support for the current operation. Just as in Lebanon, also here the operation has no concrete purpose. It is obvious that it cannot destroy Hamas, which will surely rearm itself within a few months of the operation ending. So it all seems just like an unleashing of random violence by the army for no obvious reason other than crude revenge. The difference between the current operation and the Lebanese one is that now the media is full of praises for the Defense Minister and the army on the exact level of performance that was shown in Lebanon.

Collaborating democracy with imperialism

How do we explain a situation where the Israeli masses have been whipped up into such a state of mind of a vengeful and shortsighted focus of their political worldview on “getting back” at the Palestinians? What should not be underestimated here is the psychological warfare the Israeli ruling elite has been waging against the Israeli masses. The media, the military and the politicians have been collaborating to create the impression that the rocket launching from the Gaza Strip has made the surrounding Israeli settlements look like a war zone. In actual fact, since 2004 to just before the recent operation began, the number of Israelis killed by such rockets is less than 15. To put things in perspective, the number of Israeli workers that died because of accidents in their workplaces during this period, was over 10 times that number. This number also resembles the number of Israelis that die in traffic accidents in less than two weeks. So if Barak is really so eager to protect Israeli lives through military means, he should be mobilising the air force against the Israeli bourgeoisie and the state bureaucrats responsible for transport safety rather than against the Palestinian masses!

The military is making the lives of the Israelis in the settlements around Gaza as fearful as it can be. It is inducing a feeling of panic among the public using every means including loud sirens, arbitrary “defence” measures such as ducking and hiding, and forcing people into bomb shelters, all in response to rockets that pose a minimal security threat. All this horror show is designed with one aim in mind: to make ordinary Israelis support the continuity of Israel’s control over Gaza, and thus to pressure or to help democratically elected politicians to fall in line with imperialist interests.

In the current economic crisis, control over Gaza is crucial to Israeli imperialism more than ever since the first Palestinian uprising in 1987. First of all, it satisfies the military’s hunger for state spending on arms. The military, and the politicians under its influence, have proven themselves eager to do battle in any period in which their fiscal prerogatives are at jeopardy.

The most crucial thing for Israeli imperialism, however, is to maintain stability for the “moderate” PLO in the West Bank which provide Israel with numerous resources in terms of one of the cheapest workforces in the world, a captive market that is dependent on absorbing Israel’s surpluses, and land and water resources that Israel desperately needs. It requires the “pacifying” of Gaza in order to make sure that the terrorism it hosts will not slide over into the West Bank and undermine the PLO regime.

This is not to say that Gaza is meaningless to Israel in its own right. Despite its massive levels of poverty, the fact that the Gaza masses depend on goods coming through Israel gives the Israeli capitalists an advantage in terms of a captive market as well, that is, as a long-term perspective. This may also explain why the Israeli army has made much more of an effort to destroy the tunnels that smuggle goods from Egypt than it has to destroy the rocket launchers which were the formal reason for the operation in the first place!

What does Hamas want?

Unlike common-sense economic reductionism held by many on the Left, terrorist groups don’t simply grow out of poverty. Just as the PLO, Hamas emerged from within the Palestinian petty bourgeoisie. They use the masses and their plight mostly as a tool to achieve their class interests which in this context usually include more lucrative jobs and positions. After Israel co-opted the PLO into collaboration with it in exchange for jobs created especially for the PLO members (the jobs created under the cloak of the “Palestinian Authority”), Hamas wanted its peace of the pie as well.

It started to gather support from many frustrated Palestinians in the face of the PLO’s betrayal using, among other things, vengeful acts of terrorism against Israelis. In parallel, it used similar tactics of terrorism in order to lure Israel into negotiating with it, carrying the risk of Israel’s military, rather than diplomatic, retaliation.

Just like Israel’s ruling class, Hamas also benefits from the occupation. It uses it in order to gather support by the same populist means of violent rhetoric and actions used by the Israeli politicians. It also enjoys political and economic benefits via its control over smuggling commodities into the Strip: just like Israel, it to can benefit from the captive market in Gaza.

In such a situation it is puzzling why, some among the international Left are tempted to take a supportive stance towards Hamas. They usually state that despite Hamas’ reactionary ideology, it should be supported because of its “progressive fight against Israeli imperialism”. The folly of such an idea becomes obvious if we look at Hamas from materialistic lines and ask ourselves what would happen if Hamas were to win this conflict? Will it weaken Israeli imperialism as the idealistic Leftists assume? A victory for Hamas could only mean that Israel would be forced to negotiate with it and give it similar political concessions as it gave to the PLO. The imperial relation of Israel towards the Palestinians may take a different form, but it will remain intact. Because under capitalism Palestine cannot be completely cut off from Israel, and will always be dependent on it, a national liberation movement that limits itself to struggling within the confines of capitalism cannot go in any other direction.

Furthermore, bourgeois or petit bourgeois national liberation leaders have usually tended to push the proletariat in the oppressed nation into accepting their leadership because they became aware of the potential power of the workers. Such was the alliance between the South African workers and the ANC leaders who brought down the apartheid regime. But Here, Hamas has made very little effort to create an alliance with the Palestinian workers. Until now it has mostly just harassed their trade unions. Hamas thus have only the power of terrorism and collisions with the Israeli army to get concessions from Israel. Relying on this broken reed, its “anti-imperialist” credentials appear as somewhat exaggerated.

Is there a way out?

We are entering yet another cycle of violence between Israel’s ruling class and Hamas. Such cycles began with Israel’s opening up to the PLO in 1994. Each cycle brings Israel to a more violent response. However, the army has no intention of remaining entangled in the Strip for too long. This operation may last a bit longer and be much more violent than its predecessors because Barak’s election campaign has to be taken into consideration. Although it is also true that once it ends, the operation always leaves behind the preconditions for the next operation.

The Zionist chauvinism that characterized the first days of the operation is gradually being replaced by fear of yet another debacle such as in Lebanon. Journalists are constantly asking political and military leaders for the actual goals which this operation intends to achieve. The answers are always vague and illusive, such as “to radically change the array of deterrence”. In that background, the announcement of Barak on Saturday was especially alarming. He said that the operation would take a long time and would have numerous victims. With no one knowing what this operation is for, this holds a puzzling future for the stability of the political system in Israel: after the chauvinism fades away, the death toll will keep increasing and many questions will be raised by the masses.

To the dismay of the Israeli ruling class, thousands of Jews and Palestinians came this Saturday to Tel Aviv for a mass demonstration against the war (see video below). This is unprecedented. In the Lebanese war it took two months of bloody entanglement for so many protestors to show up. The protestors were constantly harassed by Zionist counter-protests which show just how frightened they are of the emerging protest movement in Israel. Small as it is now, the Zionists are instinctively aware of the fact that it holds the only real key to their downfall.

As this website has repeated many times over, there cannot be a solution within the confines of bourgeois politics to this or any other major political conflict in the world. However, for the moment Israel and Palestine are deprived of any other form of politics. As long as this situation persists, these cycles of violence will continue. We can be sure, though, that from the impossibility of a solution to the situation under capitalism, new political forces are bound to emerge on both sides. The nature of these new forces is impossible to predict at this stage. But if they do not base themselves on the revolutionary collaboration of Israeli and Palestinian workers and poor against their mutual oppressors, no progressive change can be forthcoming from within the Israeli-Palestinian borders.

Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Courtesy: http://www.marxist.com/israeli-barbarism-in-gaza.htm

Israel’s Flag Is Not Mine- Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal: historian, journalist, and lecturer

History of Israel

For Jews as a human everything, For Jews as the Zionist nothing

Lilienthal was born in 1913 in New York City. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Law School. As an American of Jewish faith, he first became interested in the Middle East while in the U.S. military and stationed in Egypt during World War II. He later served with the Department of State and as a consultant to the American delegation at the organizing meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco. In 1949, his article, “Israel’s Flag Is Not Mine,” published in the Reader’s Digest, caused great controversy because of its anti-Zionist position.

Despite condemnation from many influential quarters, Lilienthal has remained in the forefront of the struggle for a balanced U.S. policy not dictated by favoritism toward Israel. He traveled over 25 times to the Middle East for firsthand investigation of events and authored several books including The Zionist Connection that was described by Foreign Affairs journal as “his culminating masterwork.” He continues today, after over a half century of effort, to defend the Palestinian people and to call repeatedly for an independent State of Palestine…

King Hussein (with help from Zia-ul-Haq of the Pakistani army) sent in his Bedouin army on 27 September to clear out the Palestinian bases in Jordan. A massacre of innumerable proportions ensued. Moshe Dayan noted that Hussein “killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years.” Dayan is right in spirit, but it is hardly the case that anyone can tch the Sharonism in its brutality…

To read more, click here

Courtesy: http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/01/history-of-israel.html

Israeli bombing, Hamas and Gaza

by Tarek Fatah

… As Palestinans die, we all suffer, but at some stage one has to ask, what have been doing wrong that even after 60 years we do not see anyhting other than sloganeering and suffering of common people. And now we hear the dead Hamas leader died alongisde two of his four wives. Is this how national liberation movement have been led anywhere else? Four wives?

Continue reading Israeli bombing, Hamas and Gaza