Saturday, 31 March 2012

'We need a Frankenstein insurgency to defeat Assad!'

Via FLC

"... So there won't be an intervention or, in all likelihood, a diplomatic deus ex machina. What's in between those two extremes? Last week, the Obama administration announced that, along with Turkey, it would ship communications equipment and other "nonlethal" gear to armed rebels inside Syria. (Saudi Arabia and Qatar have already begun to supply the rebels with weapons.) This is an important shift in policy, since the equipment would permit rebels militias to securely communicate with one another. Such gear may be nonlethal, but it's still military. How far is the White House prepared to go in helping the Free Syrian Army, as the military opposition calls itself? For the moment, it seems, not much further...............(Giving the rebels satellite phones is, of course, one way to do just that.) And then what? White House officials have not wanted to say what they would do once the opposition begins to present a united front -- perhaps in part because they don't know. But reports that the rebels are literally running out of bullets argue that if outsiders don't act fast, there will be no insurgency to support -- at which point, Assad will be able to crush his opponents with impunity.
One person I spoke to who does have a plan is a former government official with extensive experience in Syria. The opposition, he argues, needs not just weapons but "a comprehensive military and civilian battle plan" to defeat Assad. He envisions a multilateral effort in which the United States would provide not just communications technology but real-time military intelligence to help the rebels respond to government troop movements. Gulf states would provide the bulk of the weapons and funds; the Jordanians might provide special forces to work closely with the militia; Turkey would provide the staging ground itself as well as other forms of aid; and diplomats would give strategic guidance to the SNC.
Such an effort would look less like the bombing campaign in Libya and more like, well, the CIA-sponsored campaign to arm and train the mujahideen who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. This is, of course, not a terribly encouraging analogy, since yesterday's anti-Soviet warriors became today's anti-American Taliban. We need no better reminder of the unintended consequences of supporting foreign insurgencies. But he did not shy away from the comparison. "We need to do what we did under Reagan," he said, "which is to actively support these insurgencies." But, he adds, we need to know who we are working with, to set out clear standards of behavior (LOL) and to condition our help on maintaining those standards -- as we did not do in Afghanistan. And we need to be careful that the international effort doesn't exacerbate the problem: The Saudis, for example, are likely to bring an overtly sectarian agenda to Syria. The effort would be better off with a bigger role for the Turks, and a smaller one for the Saudis.
The neo-mujahideen strategy has plenty of problems -- beyond the possibility of a Frankenstein insurgency...... there are no good solutions; only less bad ones. And Assad's evident willingness to kill his opponents, and his opponents' willingness to keep fighting, compels outsiders to urgently devise and implement a least-bad solution rather than wait for the opposition to demonstrate that it deserves support...."
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Global March to Jerusalem Celebrates Land Day at Lebanese-Palestinian Borders

Land Day Memorial, Sakhnin, Galilee

Land Day and Global March to Jerusalem ceremonies were launched Friday in Lebanon, after participants gathered at Beaufort Fortress in the Southern Lebanese village of Arnon, near the borders with Palestine.
Global March to Jerusalem, Beaufort Fortress; March 30, 2012Friday prayers at the scene were followed by the ceremony activities, starting with the arrival of international delegations coming from Arab and foreign countries to participate in the event, Al-Manar Website correspondent Mohammad Alloush reported.

Waving Palestinian flags and singing Palestinian national songs, participants chanted slogans of death to Israel and support for the Palestinian cause, and lifted a large banner reading "Global March to Jerusalem, the world's people want to liberate Jerusalem."

The demonstrators delivered speeches on the occasion stressing that the issue of Palestine will remain the nation's first cause of priority.
Global March to Jerusalem, Beaufort Fortress; March 30, 2012
Intensive masses from Asian countries of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and many other states attended the march, alongside Arabs, Iranians and Turks activists. The most prominent were the anti-Zionist rabbis of "Neturei Karta".

The Lebanese army conducted intense security checks and barbed wires had been installed around the gathering courtyard.

Global March to Jerusalem, Beaufort Fortress; March 30, 2012Similar protests were held in the West Bank and Gaza. While organizers said the events would be nonviolent, Zionist army and police were girding for trouble after similar demonstrations last year turned deadly.

Thousands of Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Zionist troops at a West Bank checkpoint of Qalqiliya Friday as hundreds more gathered by Jerusalem's Old City to mark Land Day.

Global March to Jerusalem, West Bank demonstrators commemorating the Land DayTensions were high at the Qalandia checkpoint, just north of Jerusalem, as a handful of Palestinian youths hurled rocks and set tires alight, with Israeli troops firing a barrage of teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against the protest.

Troops also fired a foul-smelling liquid called "skunk" into the crowd, an Agence France Presse correspondent said. By 1100 GMT, around 30 people had been treated for teargas inhalation, Palestinian medics said.

At least a dozen rallies were held across the occupied territories, AFP reported.

In annexed Arab east Jerusalem, around 400 demonstrators waving huge Palestinian flags gathered outside the Old City near Damascus Gate.
Damascus_Gate_M_30

However, another hundred or so people gathered by Lion's Gate, where Zionist police arrested four people, and another two were treated by medics after being injured by police batons, an AFP correspondent said.

The main Land Day march took place in the Arab ‘Israeli’ town of Deir Hanna in Galilee, with another march scheduled in the southern Negev desert.



In anticipation of mass protests, the Zionist occupation army imposed a 24-hour closure on the occupied territories late on Thursday, barring Palestinians from entering the entity, excepted for humanitarian reasons or medical emergencies.
Source: Websites 

30-03-2012 - 18:05 Last updated 30-03-2012 - 18:09 
Land Day: Syria

Palestinian lawmaker wounded in Land Day protest
Land Day Clashes: Youth Martyred, 130 Injured Including MP Barghouti


A Gaza youth was martyred and at least five more people seriously injured, including a journalist, at the Erez checkpoint between "Israel" and Gaza, as security forces are clashing with protesting Palestinians.

RT's correspondent also reported that the Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti was rushed to hospital and is in serious condition after being hit in the head by an "Israeli" tear gas canister at Qalandia checkpoint in West Bank.

"Ambulances are racing to and from the scene," the agency added.

The standoff between the "Israeli" army and Palestinians continues at various checkpoints, with occasional bursts of tear gas being fired at protesters. "Israeli" forces were using water cannons and rubber bullets.

At least 130 people have reportedly been wounded throughout the West Bank so far, according to medical sources. Reports also suggest that four medics were struck with rubber bullets.

Moreover, two Palestinians have been injured as "Israeli" forces were carrying out mass arrests in al-Quds, particularly around Damascus gate in the old city.

The Palestinian rallies, joined by international human rights activists, are part of an international campaign named Global March on al-Quds, a peaceful international movement that also condemns the "Israeli" occupation of the holy city.

Source:RT, Edited by moqawama.org



Scores Injured as Israeli Troops Attack West Bank land Day Protests

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Huge Victory for the Anti War Respect Party – Galloway Wins Bradford West Seat

 
Laura StuartA huge win for George Galloway in Bradford West yesterday shows voters total frustration with mainstream parties and their pro war policies. George Galloway and the Respect party stands for
The Respect Party is opposed to war, privatisation and unemployment. The Respect Party stands for peace, publicly owned services and a decent future for all
George Galloway's Victory in Bradford West
 Exactly what this country needs is a change from the two main parties who dominate politics. It is no democracy that we have because we can only vote for Conservative or Labour and anything else is a throwaway vote. Labour left behind its roots of representing the working classes when Tony Blair came into power and since then it’s been War War War with both Labour and Conservative with nothing to distinguish between them.
 
Here is an excerpt of a leaflet from the Respect Party Campaign “The Drumbeats of War Are Getting Louder
The drumbeats for war with Iran are getting louder, and the escalating provocations by Western capitals are developing a logic of their own. It admits of no alternative and points in only one direction – towardsmilitary conflict. Or to put itmore accurately, towards openmilitary conflict. The head of Britain’s MI6 has already called for covert military operations in Iran – which are, of course, an act of war – and they have been taking place. So are the drone overflights, which are also legally an act of aggression.
Exactly ! This is exactly the problem, the British public protested in hundreds of thousands against the war in Iraq yet the government did not listen, and all of the ensuing deaths based on lies and the deaths continue every day still in Iraq.
 
Every voter needs to send a message to the government by not voting at all because none of the main parties represent the will or aspirations of the British people. We need to say NO to 80% of Conservative M.P.s being “Friends of Israel” and the continous aggression in the Middle East that such friendship requires.
 
Here are the results of the Bradford West by election
The full result (with vote share and change since 2010 in brackets):
George Galloway (Respect) 18,341 (55.89%, +52.83%)
Imran Hussain (Lab) 8,201 (24.99%, -20.36%)
Jackie Whiteley (C) 2,746 (8.37%, -22.78%)
Jeanette Sunderland (LD) 1,505 (4.59%, -7.08%)
Sonja McNally (UKIP) 1,085 (3.31%, +1.31%)
Dawud Islam (Green) 481 (1.47%, -0.85%)
Neil Craig (D Nats) 344 (1.05%)
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 111 (0.34%)

This decisive victory shows that Muslims will not vote for a candidate just because he is a Muslim if he does not represent the voters interests. The Muslim candidates who stood for the Bradford West seat lost resoundingly. Muslims will not vote like sheep for a candidate who follows the party line of endless war whatever his religion is, rather they will vote for the person who is saying what they want to hear. Any candidate if they be Muslim or not who represents Conservative or Labour is part of a corrupt war making machine and at best they can only offer to throw a few pennies in the voters way by adjusting taxation etc but in reality we are in deep recession and the millions spent on war would be put to better use building up Britain again not destroying someone elses country.

وَأَلْقَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ كُلَّمَا أَوْقَدُوا نَارًا لِّلْحَرْبِ أَطْفَأَهَا اللَّـهُ ۚوَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ ﴿٦٤
Surat al Maidah 5-64

And We have cast among them animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. Every time they kindled the fire of war , Allah extinguished it. And they strive throughout the land [causing] corruption, and Allah does not like corrupters.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
by Laura Stuart
Friday, March 30th, 2012

Iran Bashing, Terrorism and Who Chose The Chosen People, Anyway?



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

The New Mandela

Marwan Barghouti disappointed Uri Avnery, the low calorie zionist, after a long silence, Marwan has sent a a disapointing message from prison.
Yasser Arafat holds up picture of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti"In Israeli ears, this message does not sound pleasant. But for Palestinians, and for Arabs in general, it makes sense." said Uri who "first met Marwan in the heyday of post-Oslo optimism."
The topic of Uri's, the old settler,  conversations with Marwan was "the organization of demonstrations and other non-violent actions, based on close cooperation between the Palestinians and Israeli peace groups. The aim was peace between Israel and a new State of Palestine."
Why Uri is disapoined?
"Marwan Barghouti has given up all hope of achieving Palestinian freedom through cooperation with Israel, or even Israeli opposition forces. The Israeli peace movement is not mentioned anymore. “Normalization” has become a dirty word.
These ideas are not new, but coming from the No. 1 Palestinian prisoner, the foremost candidate for the succession of Mahmoud Abbas, the "hero" of the Palestinian masses, it means a turn to a more militant course, both in substance and in tone."
However, Uri, is still optimistic because "Marwan remains peace oriented – as he made clear when, in a rare recent appearance in court, he called out to the Israeli journalists that he continues to support the two-state solution. He also remains committed to non-violent action, having come to the conclusion that the violent attacks of yesteryear harmed the Palestinian cause instead of furthering it."
The New Mandela
Marwan Barghouti has spoken up. After a long silence, he has sent a message from prison. In Israeli ears, this message does not sound pleasant. But for Palestinians, and for Arabs in general, it makes sense.

His message may well become the new program of the Palestinian liberation movement.

I first met Marwan in the heyday of post-Oslo optimism. He was emerging as a leader of the new Palestinian generation, the home-grown young activists, men and women, who had matured in the first Intifada. He is a man of small physical stature and large personality. When I met him, he was already the leader of Tanzim (“organization”), the youth group of the Fatah movement.

The topic of our conversations then was the organization of demonstrations and other non-violent actions, based on close cooperation between the Palestinians and Israeli peace groups. The aim was peace between Israel and a new State of Palestine.
When the Oslo process died with the assassinations of Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, Marwan and his organization became targets. Successive Israeli leaders – Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon – decided to put an end to the two-state agenda. In the brutal“Defensive Shield operation (launched by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the new leader of the Kadima Party) the Palestinian Authority was attacked, its services destroyed and many of its activists arrested.
Marwan Barghouti was put on trial. It was alleged that, as the leader of Tanzim, he was responsible for several “terrorist” attacks in Israel. His trial was a mockery, resembling a Roman gladiatorial arena more than a judicial process. The hall was packed with howling rightists, presenting themselves as “victims of terrorism”. Members of Gush Shalom protested against the trial inside the court building but we were not allowed anywhere near the accused.

Marwan was sentenced to five life sentences. The picture of him raising his shackled hands above his head has become a Palestinian national icon. When I visited his family in Ramallah, it was hanging in the living room.

IN PRISON, Marwan Barghouti was immediately recognized as the leader of all Fatah prisoners. He is respected by Hamas activists as well. Together, the imprisoned leaders of Fatah and Hamas published several statements calling for Palestinian unity and reconciliation. These were widely distributed outside and received with admiration and respect.

(Members of the extended Barghouti family, by the way, play a major role in Palestinian affairs across the entire spectrum from moderate to extremist. One of them is Mustapha Barghouti, a doctor who heads a moderate Palestinian party with many connections abroad, whom I regularly meet at demonstrations in Bilin and elsewhere. I once joked that we always cry when we see each other – from tear gas. The family has its roots in a group of villages north of Jerusalem.)

NOWADAYS, MARWAN Barghouti is considered the outstanding candidate for leader of Fatah and president of the Palestinian Authority after Mahmoud Abbas. He is one of the very few personalities around whom all Palestinians, Fatah as well as Hamas, can unite.

After the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, when the prisoner exchange was discussed, Hamas put Marwan Barghouti on top of the list of Palestinian prisoners whose release it demanded. This was a very unusual gesture, since Marwan belonged to the rival – and reviled - faction.

The Israeli government struck Marwan from the list right away, and remained adamant. When Shalit was finally released, Marwan stayed in prison. Obviously he was considered more dangerous than hundreds of Hamas “terrorists” with “blood on their hands”.
Why?

Cynics would say: because he wants peace. Because he sticks to the two-state solution. Because he can unify the Palestinian people for that purpose. All good reasons for a Netanyahu to keep him behind bars.

SO WHAT did Marwan tell his people this week?

Clearly, his attitude has hardened. So, one must assume, has the attitude of the Palestinian people at large.

He calls for a Third Intifada, a non-violent mass uprising in the spirit of the Arab Spring.
His manifesto is a clear rejection of the policy of Mahmoud Abbas, who maintains limited but all-important cooperation with the Israeli occupation authorities. Marwan calls for a total rupture of all forms of cooperation, whether economic, military or other.

A focal point of this cooperation is the day-to-day collaboration of the American-trained Palestinian security services with the Israeli occupation forces. This arrangement has effectively stopped violent Palestinian attacks in the occupied territories and in Israel proper. It guarantees, In practice, the security of the growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Marwan also calls for a total boycott of Israel, Israeli institutions and products in the Palestinian territories and throughout the world. Israeli products should disappear from West Bank shops, Palestinian products should be promoted.

At the same time, Marwan advocates an official end to the charade called “peace negotiations”. This term, by the way, is never heard anymore in Israel. First it was replaced with “peace process”, then“political process”, and lately “the political matter”. The simple word“peace” has become taboo among rightists and most “leftists” alike. It’s political poison.

Marwan proposes to make the absence of peace negotiations official. No more international talk about “reviving the peace process”, no more rushing around of ridiculous people like Tony Blair, no more hollow announcements by Hillary Clinton and Catherine Ashton, no more empty declarations of the “Quartet”. Since the Israeli government clearly has abandoned the two-state solution – which it never really accepted in the first place – keeping up the pretense just harms the Palestinian struggle.

Instead of this hypocrisy, Marwan proposes to renew the battle in the UN. First, apply again to the Security Council for the acceptance of Palestine as a member state, challenging the US to use its solitary veto openly against practically the whole world. After the expected rejection of the Palestinian request by the Council as a result of the veto, request a decision by the General Assembly, where the vast majority would vote in favor. Though this would not be binding, it would demonstrate that the freedom of Palestine enjoys the overwhelming support of the family of nations, and isolate Israel (and the US) even more.

Parallel to this course of action, Marwan insists on Palestinian unity, using his considerable moral force to put pressure on both Fatah and Hamas.

TO SUMMARIZE, Marwan Barghouti has given up all hope of achieving Palestinian freedom through cooperation with Israel, or even Israeli opposition forces. The Israeli peace movement is not mentioned anymore.“Normalization” has become a dirty word.

These ideas are not new, but coming from the No. 1 Palestinian prisoner, the foremost candidate for the succession of Mahmoud Abbas, the hero of the Palestinian masses, it means a turn to a more militant course, both in substance and in tone.

Marwan remains peace oriented as he made clear when, in a rare recent appearance in court, he called out to the Israeli journalists that he continues to support the two-state solution. He also remains committed to non-violent action, having come to the conclusion that the violent attacks of yesteryear harmed the Palestinian cause instead of furthering it.

He wants to call a halt to the gradual and unwilling slide of the Palestinian Authority into a Vichy-like collaboration, while the expansion of the Israeli “settlement enterprise” goes on undisturbed.

NOT BY accident did Marwan publish his manifesto on the eve of “Land Day”, the world-wide day of protest against the occupation.

“Land Day” is the anniversary of an event that took place in 1976 to protest against the decision of the Israeli government to expropriate huge tracts of Arab-owned land in Galilee and other parts of Israel. The Israeli army and police fired on the protesters, killing six of them. (The day after, two of my friends and I laid wreaths on the graves of the victims, an act that earned me an outbreak of hatred and vilification I have seldom experienced.)

Land day was a turning point for Israel’s Arab citizens, and later became a symbol for Arabs everywhere. This year, the Netanyahu government threatened to shoot anybody who even approaches our borders. It may well be a harbinger for the Third Intifada heralded by Marwan.

For some time now, the world has lost much of its interest in Palestine. Everything looks quiet. Netanyahu has succeeded in deflecting world attention from Palestine to Iran. But in this country, nothing is ever static. While it seems that nothing is happening, settlements are growing incessantly, and so is the deep resentment of the Palestinians who see this happening before their eyes.

Marwan Barghouti’s manifesto expresses the near-unanimous feelings of the Palestinians in the West Bank and elsewhere. Like Nelson Mandela in apartheid South Africa, the man in prison may well be more important than the leaders outside.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Assad's visit to Baba Amr ... Declaration of victory standing at the tomb of the plot

 Amin Htait
الرئيس الاسد خلال زيارته بابا عمروWith professional knowledge of the art of strategic battles leadership, the Syrians leadership fought battles in all its forms and levels, from military and security through diplomacy leading to political and achieved strong victory on the conspiratorial group of states represented by numerous armed groups in many cities and provinces, especially in Homs and its famous neighborhood, Baba Amr
From Baba Amr neighborhood, the central military base to manage the plot and expand to control of the entire country, Assad declared victory not only on Baba Amr militants but on conspirators and all armed squads in the country, and Launched his practical campaign to solve the crisis according to Syrian terms, thus confirmedthe retired strategic and military expert to Manar site.
Brigadier General Htait considered that President Bashar Al-Assad visit to Baba Amr reflect the success of Syria in absorbing the plot targeting Syria, adding that the plot fell and Syria won and risks have receded.

This is a Declaration of military victory.
Assad allowed himself to be move by road from Damascus to Homs (200 KMs).  
In terms of economic and political future Assad wanted Baba Amr to be Syria's gateway to workshop reconstruction according to specific time plan, added Htait, Assad's speech on reconstruction is an important indication that the military battle is over. Politically, Htait considered Assad's statement "Give the construction time plan and let people watch" a very important development in Syria, urging people to monitor the authority
The Visit delivered three messages to Syrians:
"The visit renewed the Covenant and promise to embrace the system of correctional movement". Assad said to citizens who stayed with the system "you were with me and I am with you and amongst you, together we stay and I'm here now"

internal national opposition
meeting in Damuscus 
For internal national opposition not connected with the abroad and rejecting foreign military intervention, Assad "invited them to join the dialogue, because Syrian State is for all Syrians"

Istanbul opposition
For the external opposition abroad, the visit carried a deep message "your dreams buried here" in the tomb of Baba Amr
"We will not consider you and will never beg you.."
The closed the road in front of Istanbul hotels opposition insisting on hand over power dialogue.
To Arabs in General and particularly for Qatari-Saudi League which invited him to step down, Assad said "the people decide and I am among my people let your decisions your anger and irritation explode the tomb within your chests. In that Assad, reflected the Russian position insisting that the people decide who govern, that the calling Governors to step-down lion is a kind of short-sightedness….
"The visit delivered a message to Western leaders (USA and Europe) that Syria is strong and I'm strong President among his people. Peaceful settlement could be held between strong, otherwise its compliance.

According to Brigadier Htait "The visit formed a kick-off moment for peaceful solution based on Syrian terms. Referring to the "bypass the military phase and the start of the political solution phase".
Htait said that the appointment of Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab Envoy to Syria Secretary-General confirms Syria success in imposing its peaceful solution under the leadership of President Al-Assad, leaving a face-saving window for the Americans and Europeans.
The visit is a message to (Iran, Russia and China) that victorious Syria, after the fall of the plot, shall maintain its strategic position as prior to the. "This will enhance the multi-polar new world order born from the womb of Syria.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Land Day in West Bank

Two of our friends were among the over >150 people injured today by the Israeli occupation forces.



Demonstrations were held in dozens of locations in Palestine and the border areas of Palestine. Other demosntrations were held for Land Day in cities around the world. The ambulance took our friend and home guest Don Bryant (US Citizen) to the hospital as he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister. We quickly gathered the rest of the group and rushed to the hospital. There we find many injured people (I counted 8 in the emergency room and two at the X-ray). One of the injured there was our friend Yusef Sharqawi hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet that fractured his shoulder blade.
 
 
Mohamed Zakout, 20 year old was shot and kileld by Israeli forces in Gaza as he participated in a demonstration near the Erez checkpoint. In Jerusalem, Israeli occupation forces used horses to trample on people and arrested 36 individuals. Before all is done Israel will likely to arrest 300 people. Below is our video and other relevant videos.

Some of my students have more logic/sense than the political leadership of the USA, Israel and the "Palestinian authority" combined. For example, last week we had a lively discussion about roles of politiciansin creating the problems and perpetuuating the disastrous human rights violations here. I don't teach this course human rights but I coach it so after we exchanged significant information about these issues all of it showing the bad things of politics (collaborations, agreements of surrender, etc), I asked to take time for us to talk just about the positives (no negatives). I was surprised at some of the good comments that came out: persistance of the Palestinain people, demonstrations and many forms of popular resistance happening, the fact that rights are not lost for people even when their leadershuip is corrupt and weak, the fact that many were martyred/injured/imprisoned for their work for Palestine, the fact that while some collaborated and even sold their conscience and tehir heritabe, more simply refused ……

So it is that we can always look at the glass half empty or half full. We can always curse the darkness or light a candle and hope for the best. We can feel depressed and powerless or we can actually do something. I was anxious before the demonstrations today. Our mind racing to worry about level of participation/attendance and about Israeli authorities' violent reaction to peaceful demonstrators (there is afterall a long history of that including shooting at unarmed demonstrators). We have to remind myself of the positives and forget all the negatives (or at least just learn from them lessons and keep them in the back of our mind). The march was a success even before it started. The thousands who tried to arrive to us here in Palestine got an education THROUGH the process of preparing to come to nearby boerders and they each told many othesr where they are going and why. This ripple effect that started montsh before today's events is critical. Here are a few other positives before, during and after this event today:

-37 Indian activists were stranded in a ship off the port of Beirut for 36 hours. Activists in India mobilized speaking to parliamentarians and other officials and the indian embassy was able to get the Lebanese government to finally issue the visas for them. This ensured that more people because aware of our predicament here: not only the Zionist regime but the collision sometiems of Arab regimes. It also meant more avtivism in india will be growing and more boycotts, divestments and sanctions.
- Hundreds of actvists from different countries did not know about each other or their common interests until this event. The process of linking together via physical meetings and internet empowered many of them and they became more active in their local communities. I know of several example where new projects (e.g. on boycotts divestment, sacnction, different ways of media work etc) were started in some copuntries or localities because they learned from the networking with other activists.
-Activists learned via doing how to work in team efforts, how to make collective decisions etc. These skills are useful for any kind of collective work.
-The attempts by the Zionist manipulated media to hide and ignore the brutality of the apartheid regime is backfiring. More and more people stopped seeking news via these corporate outlets and started to get news directly via blogs, live feed, email etc.
-Israeli Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said about the events today "It's important to remember that this is the first day. The Nakba and Naksa days are ahead of us, and that is where the challenge will be." It is obvious that they start to worry!

I could go on to list a few more. But we need now to focus on our next events : the Welcopme to Palestine Campaign for 15-21 April. We do need people to work hard on this (volunteers are always welcome). Action is the best antidote to despair.
 
Our video in Bethlehem: http://youtu.be/7U1qQVqVnsM
 
Other videos

Pictures


Israel Defense Ministry plan earmarks 10 percent of West Bank for settlement expansion. Newly released maps indicate Civil Administration secretly setting aside additional land for Jewish settlements, presumably with the intention of expanding them. By Akiva Eldar

More links/news on this land day events
Thousands of demonstrators mark Land Day in Jordan
Rabbis of Anti-Zionist Group Join Protest Marking Land Day on Lebanon-Israel Border
Why Land Day still matters: Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Futile posturing at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit

 US President Barack Obama says he is pushing for “a world without nuclear weapons.” Disingenuously lumping together the nuclear-armed state of North Korea and nuclear-weapon-free Iran, Mr Obama claimed that a “new international norm” was emerging to deal with their “intransigence”. Perversely turning a blind eye towards the West’s double standards and special allowances for close friends, the US head of state asserted, as if it were an accomplished fact, “Treaties are binding. Rules will be enforced. And violations will have consequences.” President Obama did not make clear, though, that the US and its allies exempt close friends from any enforcement of international law and protects them militarily and diplomatically from the consequences that should be due for gross human rights violations.

Iran has been overrun and occupied frequently and its territory has been altered throughout the centuries by Greeks, Arabs, Turks and Mongols. In modern times, the West overthrew the legitimate Mossadeq government and imposed the corrupt regime of the puppet Shah. It was the West, of course, that armed and supported Iraq in its war against Iran. But since the end of the Persian Empire the land of Iran has not invaded its neighbours’ territory for well over 1400 years.

Israel, on the other hand, continues to occupy its neighbours’ land and frequently violates Lebanese air space, from time to time destroying lives, property and infrastructure. The destruction of life, livelihood, property and infrastructure by Israel is an almost daily occurrence in Occupied Palestine. All this, in defiance of international law.

Which Middle East Power, therefore, is the greater threat to global peace and stability? Is it Israel, the only country to have introduced nuclear weapons to the Middle East and that refuses to respect the borders of its neighbours? Or is it Iran, which, unlike Israel, respects its neighbours’ borders and has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty? Is it Israel that refuses to co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency? Or is it Iran, that does co-operate with the IAEA?


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
by Leslie Bravery
Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Friday, 30 March 2012

"Like US, Hezbollah Caught in the Middle of Israel-Iran Conflict"

Via FLC

Abu acknowledges: "...The relationship between Hezbollah and Iran remains complex and opaque, which is why it is worth taking with a grain of salt the analysis of anyone who claims to fully understand its intricacies..."
"... Hezbollah eventually forced Israeli troops out of southern Lebanon in 2000 and again defeated Israel in the 2006 Lebanon War, known in Lebanon as the July War. But even if Hezbollah’s senior leadership continues to pledge its fealty to the supreme leader in Tehran, there is ample reason to doubt Hezbollah is enthusiastic about attacking Israel again.
First, Hezbollah’s core strength long ago ceased to be its relationship with Iran and is instead its relationship with its political constituency in Lebanon, which supports Hezbollah both by voting for its endorsed candidates in elections as well as through financial donations. This constituency, almost exclusively Shiite, was long made up of Lebanon’s economic and political downtrodden, but it is much wealthier today than it was in the early 1980s. People living in southern Lebanon and the predominantly Shiite suburbs of southern Beirut have a lot more to lose, materially, today than they did even in the 1990s. Hezbollah knows this, and it knows the war in 2006 was painful for its constituency. This might explain why the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, made the extraordinary concession after the war’s conclusion that he would not have ordered the July 12 kidnapping of Israeli soldiers that triggered the fighting had he known that the consequences would be so severe.
Second, Israelis worried in the aftermath of the war in 2006 that they had lost their deterrence capability. Never again, they fretted, will our Arab enemies take us seriously. They could not have been more wrong. From the perspective of Hezbollah, each major Israeli offensive on Lebanon since the end of the Lebanese Civil War has been progressively more severe. Operation Accountability of 1993 was a brutal air and artillery campaign that destroyed more than 6,000 homes in southern Lebanon. Operation Grapes of Wrath of 1996 was likewise an air and artillery campaign, but one that also targeted civilian infrastructure in Beirut. And during the 2006 war, Israeli air and ground forces struck all over Lebanon, killing more than a thousand Lebanese and displacing hundreds of thousands more, while destroying billions of dollars worth of infrastructure. None of these punitive campaigns accomplished any of Israel’s immediate objectives. They were all, in a sense, failures. But all of them laid the groundwork for a pretty credible deterrent threat. When Israeli commanders speak of destroying the entirety of the southern suburbs of Beirut in a new campaign, as they did in 2006, Lebanese and Hezbollah leaders must take them at their word.
Third, while Israel did not, in fact, lose its deterrent capability in 2006, the Iranians just might have. Israelis weathered the war in 2006 relatively well, with very few civilian casualties despite a 34-day bombardment of northern Israel by Hezbollah’s missiles. If the cost of a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which Israel considers to be an existential threat, were a similar assault from southern Lebanon, that would be a price Israel could live with. If Iran was counting on Hezbollah to intimidate Israel into not attacking Iran, that strategy has obviously failed.
I nonetheless believe that Hezbollah will strike Israel if the latter attacks Iran. The relationship between Hezbollah and Iran remains complex and opaque, which is why it is worth taking with a grain of salt the analysis of anyone who claims to fully understand its intricacies. But the financial, political and ideological ties between the two sides’ senior leadership will likely trump any constraints imposed by Hezbollah’s war-weary constituency.
More interesting than the question of whether or not Hezbollah will strike Israel is the question of how it might do so. An expansion of the battlefield beyond southern Lebanon and northern Israel to Israeli targets abroad, such as embassies, might be one option Hezbollah would consider ...
Another scenario, also quite possible, is one in which Israel pre-empts any action by Hezbollah by attacking targets in Lebanon -- specifically, sites suspected of housing Hezbollah’s medium-range rockets -- simultaneous to an attack on Iran. Such a pre-emptive attack would almost certainly trigger a response in the form of Hezbollah rockets. Previously, analysts had worried that a new war between Israel and Hezbollah would spill over into Syria, but the ongoing crisis there makes that less likely.
In the end, Hezbollah finds itself in much the same position as the United States as it watches the clouds of war gather between Israel and Iran. Like the United States, it has reason to hope conflict can be averted. But like the United States, it is realistic about the likelihood that it will be drawn into a conflict once the first shots are fired."
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!