Saturday 31 July 2010


Via My Catbird Seat

- 01. Aug, 2010 By Dr. Alan Sabrosky*

The sanctions imposed recently against Iran by the United Nations, and later separately by the US Congress, have one thing in common. Both were driven by the US at the instigation of Israel.

But they are also, I believe, generally misunderstood. Sanctions are normally intended to alter the behavior of the country being sanctioned — to punish it for what it is doing, to keep it from continuing practices or policies others find objectionable, or both.

And overtly, that is the function of these sanctions. But that is not their actual purpose.

Now, I do not know whether Iran’s government has a hidden military agenda to its nuclear program. Given Israel’s own nuclear capabilities, and the very different fates of Iraq (which had no nuclear weapons) and North Korea (which did), any sensible country anywhere on Israel’s enemies list — which is by extension today America’s target list — would acquire a deliverable nuclear capability by any means whatsoever as soon as possible.

But the reality is to see sanctions against Iran in the same light as inspections for the non-existent WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq in 2002-2003. In those days, the US and its close partners kept insisting that Iraq had WMDs when none of the inspectors on the ground, including the US representatives, found or believed it had.

Yet the claims persisted, and the purpose was to condition the US public for a war that need never have happened, except for Israel and its partisans in the US. And they succeeded. Americans generally believed the false claims, generally supported the war against Iraq, and whatever disenchantment occurred took place only because the war and the subsequent occupation did not proceed as smoothly as its architects had intended.

This is the pattern being repeated against Iran. The real purpose of sanctions is not to affect the policies of the Iranian government, because nothing it does will affect the sanctions. It is to prepare the US public for an attack against Iran, almost certainly in conjunction with Israel, to destroy Israel’s last remaining competitor in the region and to provide a cover for Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, into Jordan and the Sinai respectively.

So it would be unwise either to disregard sanctions or to try to accommodate them. The only sensible response, I believe, for Iran and its friends is to put in place something that the US would not dare to attack. That inevitably means something with or from China or India, especially the former, no matter what the cost — because anything expended to preclude a US-Israeli strike would be far cheaper than enduring that strike and its aftermath, even if the region then exploded in America’s face. Watching an enemy suffer is fine, but not at that price.

*Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at

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IOA summons wife of detained Hamas leader

[ 31/07/2010 - 03:06 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The Ahrar center for prisoners' studies and human rights has denounced the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) for summoning Ikhlas Al-Suwais, the wife of detained Hamas leader Abbas Al-Sayyed, for questioning.

Fuad Al-Khafsh, the director of the center, said in a press release on Saturday that the IOA was insisting on "showing its ugly image", adding that it summoned Ikhlas and put her in a prison cell beside that of her sister Fathia, 57, who has been in custody for two weeks.

He underlined that the IOA threatened Fathia with detaining her sisters and old mother if she did not confess what the interrogators want her to confess.

Khafsh quoted Ikhlas as saying that she was called bad names amid threats against her and her detained husband then she was forced to stand in the hot sun for long hours. She said that the most difficult scene was when the interrogators let her sister enter her cell, adding that her sister looked tired and exhausted.

The director noted that Fathia, who is held in the Jalama detention center, rejected all charges leveled against her and insisted that her trip to Beirut was meant to treat her niece whose mother Ikhalas could not accompany because of the IOA travel ban on her.

Khafsh charged that the IOA was only trying to pressure Sayyed, who is described by the IOA as the most "dangerous resistance figure and prisoner", and refuses to release him in any prisoners' exchange deal.

In another context, the higher national committee for the support of prisoners said that the Israeli jailers stormed cells and rooms of Palestinian prisoners 37 times since the beginning of this year and wounded dozens of them during the break-ins.

The committee added that Israel uses special units to ransack these cells and rooms at the pretext of searching for mobile phones.

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UNCHR demands Israel to lift Gaza siege, let probe into its attack on Flotilla

[ 31/07/2010 - 02:32 PM ]


The UN commission for human rights demanded Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip and invite an independent committee to investigate its deadly raid on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla aid convoy.

The human rights commission also told Israel to ensure that the Palestinians in the occupied lands enjoy human rights that it had pledged to uphold in the main international human rights treaty and to end discrimination acts against them.

The commission urged Israel to end extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, illegalize torture, end construction of settlements in the occupied lands, stop building the segregation wall cutting off Palestinian lands from other areas, and stop destroying homes as a mass punishment.

It asked Israel to say in its next report due by July 2013 what action it had taken on these and other recommendations.

UNRWA slams Israeli seizure of 9 houses in Old City, J’lem

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Arrested for revealing the "legitimate laws" permitting killing non-Jew

Israeli religious and government leaders condemn arrest of rabbi who authored book permitting killing of non-Jews

YNET - Dozens of rabbis, National Religious figures sign condemnation of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira's arrest over book.

Rabbi Aviner tells Ynet:

I am opposed to book, but religious laws governing killing non-Jews outlined in it are legitimate, must be dealt with halachically'

The Religious Zionist movement has issued a blanket condemnation of the arrest of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira over the book he authored. Dozens of rabbis, Knesset members, and National Religious public figures have signed a petition against the rabbi's arrest, claiming that he expressed "a halachic opinion."

The petition also came out against the manner in which he was arrested – in the middle of the night by dozens of policemen.

Beit El Rabbi Shlomo Aviner told Ynet on Monday that the book "Torat Hamelech" is a "halachic-academic work, a pedagogical work," and, therefore, there is no justification to send its author to prison.

According to Aviner, the "'religious laws governing the killing of a non-Jew' outlined in the book are a legitimate stance and must be addressed via clarification of halachic sources and nothing else."

'Treated like worst of criminals'

Despite this, Rabbi Aviner said that he is against the book's publication. "I do not think it is correct to write various halachas on killing a non-Jew, just a Swede should not write about killing a Norwegian," he said. "It is clear that it is forbidden to kill non-Jews for naught, and it is clear that in a time of war, it is permissible to defend yourself against anyone shooting at you, even if he is a 'good' person."

Even head of the Tzohar organization, Rabbi David Stav, known as one o the moderate forces within Religious Zionism, condemned Shapira's arrest: "Regardless of the level of halachic legitimacy of his opinions, it is unreasonable and illogical that a rabbi in Israel be treated like the worst of criminals. For some reason, they are treating him in a way they would not dare treat public officials or even Palestinians."

Rabbi Stav said that he would expect the security forces to contact Shapira and summon him to the police station honorably, and not treat him as someone who is likely to escape and evade investigation.

"Nothing new happened yesterday or today," he mentioned. "Apparently, it was simply a desire to mock and humiliate him."

In principle, the Tzohar chairman believes the State has the right to arrest rabbis over their halachic positions if they believe there is significant concern that they may be acted on or could realistically encourage breaking the law so as to prevent "chaos."

"A distinction must be made between making a theoretical statement and a model for an operative plan of action," he said. "For this matter, even if it is halachically permissible to kill Arabs, it is the State's right to arrest whoever says this," he said.
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Israel razes Christian ancient site in O. Jerusalem

[ 31/07/2010 - 09:33 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Father Atallah Hanna, the Greek orthodox patriarchate of occupied Jerusalem, said the Israeli municipal council in the holy city demolished and obliterated Christian ancient monuments dating from the Byzantine era in Ein Kerem area.

"We strongly condemn this heinous crime committed against the Christian antiquities in Ein Kerem, which is the birthplace of Saint Youhanna Al-Meamedan (John the Baptist) and his family, and where Virgin Mary lived plenty of time," father Hanna stressed in a statement to Al-Jazeera net.

The Israeli municipal council in coordination with the authority of antiquities and the ministry of tourism is now building illegal stores on the ruins of the Christian monuments discovered in a piece of land adjacent to the spring of Virgin Mary (Mary's well).

Lawyer Qais Naser, a specialist in planning and building law, said that the Israeli ministry of tourism and the municipal council in Jerusalem refused to keep the Christian historical site and turn it into a shrine open to the public.

Naser affirmed that the Israeli excavations revealed an important Christian ancient site related to the spring of Virgin Mary, but the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) insisted on demolishing it and building stores in its place.

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Is the use of terms like “Jewish Nazism” Justified?

by Khalid Amayreh

I do realize that the use of terms like “Jewish Nazism” offends many people, particularly among Jews. However, those offended should also have sufficient rectitude to call the spade a spade, especially when they see it in Jewish hands.

In the final analysis, we are living in a moral universe where truth should apply to all human beings equally.

This means that all peoples and all communities, Jews and non-Jews alike, ought to be treated in accordance with the same moral standards.

In fact, this is what the Ten Commandments taught thousands of years ago.

Hence, when the Almighty taught “thou shall not murder,” He meant thou shall not murder any human beings, and when He taught “thou shall not steal,” He meant “thou shall not steal from any human beings.” And when He taught thou “shall not lie,” He meant “thou shall not lie to any human beings.”

Unfortunately, some misguided Talmudic sages, who appeared hundreds of years later, distorted the meaning and intention of these sublime moral standards, by arguing rather erroneously that since these commandments were given to “Jews,” it followed that Jews and Jews alone were concerned with these principles.

The implication was very clear: “Thou shall not murder” meant thou shall not murder a Jew. “Thou shall not steal” meant thou shall not steal from a Jew, and “thou shall not lie” meant thou shall not lie to a Jew.

As to non-Jews, the goyem, who are often viewed as cattle in some Talmudic literature, they may be murdered, stolen from and lied to. The reason is clear. Goyem are not bona fide human beings and their very existence is not essential in terms of universal wisdom.

I have opted to begin with this introduction, not so much to malign Jews, but rather to elucidate how far they, or most of them, have deviated from the original message of the Torah by adopting a racist and segregationalist interpretation of an originally universal and integrationalist message.

The great Jewish author and intellectual Alfred Lilienthal described this serious distortion in his great book “the Zionist Connection” as “having a hoarding on God”

Unfortunately, as a result of this serious distortion of the original glorious Judaic message sprang many Jewish sects and movements that eventually came to view the rest of humanity as inherently inferior to Jews in every conceivable aspect.

Take for example, the Chabad movement, which can be described as Judeo-Nazi group without the slightest exaggeration.

According to Chabad’s fundamental book “hatanya”, “Non-Jews are totally satanic creatures in whom there is absolutely nothing good. Even a non-Jewish embryo is qualitatively different from a Jewish embryo. The very existence of non-Jew is inessential, whereas all of creation was created solely for the sake of the Jews.”

More than a year ago, Manis Friedman, a prominent and highly-respected Chabad-Lubavitch “rabbi” living in Minnesota , wrote in response to a question that “the only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish war. Destroy their holy sites, kill their men, women and children, and the cattle.”

Writing in the Moment magazine, the Rabbi added “I don’t believe in western morality, living by the Torah values will make us the light to the nations who suffer defeat because of disastrous morality of human invention.”

So, this despicable thug wants to be a light upon the nations by murdering our “men, women, and children and even cattle.”!!!

In fact, Friedman in no way represents the exception as his ideas represent the mainstream especially among Zionist Judaism, which is now dominant in Israel.

Another Chabadist-affiliate, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, wrote a book a few months ago, permitting Jews to murder non-Jewish civilians even if they didn’t pose any immediate threat to Jews.

The book, named “The King’s Torah,” deems the killing of non-Jews religiously permissible.

“It is permissible to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation,” the book says, adding: “If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments – because we care about the commandments – there is nothing wrong with the murder.”

The theological mentor of Zionist Judaism, Abraham Kook, preached the absolute superiority of Jews over non-Jews just as the Nazis taught the superiority of Aryans over the rest of mankind.

According to the book Jewish Fundamentalism, written by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Kook wrote that “the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews -all of them in all different levels- is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

The teachings of Kook are based on the Lurianic Cabala (Jewish Mysticism). Which teaches the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. This means, according to one Lubavitcher Rabbi that “every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity and is part of God.”

In 2003, Rabbi Sadya Grama of the Beth Medrash Govoha, the renowned Talmudic school of Lakewood, NJ, published a book in which he claimed that Gentiles were completely evil and that Jews constituted a separate, genetically superior species.

The book, published under the Hebrew title “Romemut Yisrael Ufrashat Haghalut” quoted numerous classical Jewish sources to prove Jewish superiority over the rest of mankind.
The difference between Jews and gentiles, the author argued, is not religious, historical or political. It is rather racial, genetic and scientifically unalterable. One group is at its very root and by natural constitution “totally evil” while the other is “totally good.”

“Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of all other peoples, only when the gentiles face total catastrophe, Jews do experience good fortune. The Jews themselves brought their own destruction during the Holocaust since they arrogantly endeavored to overcome their very essence, dictated by divine law.”

A few years ago, Mordechai Elyahu, religious mentor and leader of hundreds of thousands of Zionist-religious Jews in Israel, advocated a total genocide of Gaza civilians in retaliation for mostly innocuous resistance attacks by Palestinian freedom fighters, carried out in response to devastating daily attacks by the Israeli occupation army.

Elyahu, who died a few weeks ago, wrote that it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian civilians.

“If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand, and if they don’t stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill, 100,00, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”

He reportedly quoted Psalm, saying “I will pursue my enemies and apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them.” In other words “No hold barred.” This is the same policy that the Nazi leadership adopted vis-à-vis the European Jewry in the course of the Second World War. We all know the rest of the story.

There is no doubt that these clear-cut Nazi doctrines serve as a philosophical basis for Israel ‘s genocidal crimes against the Palestinian, the Lebanese and other peoples of the Middle East. This journalist had spoken with several Israeli soldiers who explained rather candidly that “we are only doing to you what the Nazis did to us.”

Again, the purpose of this piece is not to incite against Jews, especially honest and God-fearing Jews who love and respect their fellow human beings. Moreover, I do recognize that there is ample Jewish literature that urges Jews to treat their fellow human beings as they wish to be treated by them. Unfortunately this literature is ignored by the bulk of Zionist rabbis since it doesn’t serve their hateful agenda.

None the less, there are obviously too many Jews who have opted to walk in the path of evil and criminality, the path of Zionism. Needless to say, these people are a cancer upon the true conscience of Judaism.

It is those people that should be isolated and exposed, because, if not, they would kill the remaining humanity in the heart of every Jewish man, woman and child. The harm has already been done.

We can only hope that that Jews will undergo a speedy awakening in order to eradicate the cancer called Zionism.

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Arabs' Direct Talks approval: A green light to attack Gaza

31/07/2010 A series of Israeli air strikes bombed the Gaza Strip Friday night killing one Palestinian and injured 8 others, Palestinian witnesses reported.

Al-Jazeera reported that among the targets bombed were Tel al-Hawa neighborhood and the Ansar compound, both in Gaza City, as well as targets in Rafah and Deir al-Balah.

The Hamas military group announced that one of its field leaders, 40-year-old Issa Abdul-Hadi Al-Batran, was martyred by one of the strikes near the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, the resistance movement vowed revenge for the Israeli aggression.

The military wing of Hamas said in a statement, "These new Zionist crimes will not pass without answer."

In a statement on Saturday, the military wing of Hamas identified the man as Issa Al-Batran, 40, and said he was a senior field commander. "These new Zionist crimes will not pass without answer," the statement said.

Eight others were injured in a second strike targeting the Ansar Security Compound, formerly the presidential compound in Gaza City, which caused massive damages to the buildings and nearby homes, officials said.

Palestinian sources described the strikes on Gaza as the heaviest since Israel's two-week aggression against the Strip a year and a half ago which killed more than 1400 Palestinians, including 420 children and injured over 5300 others.

The Israeli occupation army confirmed the air-strike, and claimed it targeted a Hamas-linked site in the northern Gaza Strip, a weapons-manufacturing warehouse in the central Gaza Strip and a weapons-smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip.

A strike on the Al-Muntada area injured a young girl and an elderly man, both were evacuated to the Ash-Shifa Hospital where medics said they were being treated for moderate wounds.

Witnesses said sites were targeted by both air and artillery fire, saying tanks were used in the northern district.

Earlier Friday, Israel lodged a complaint to the United Nations about rocket and mortar attacks launched from the Gaza Strip into southern occupied territories.

"These recent attacks on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip seriously violate international law and should be adequately addressed and condemned by the international community," Israel's ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev wrote in a letter to UN chief Ban ki-Moon. "In response to the escalating threat of terrorism, Israel will exercise its right of self-defense and will continue to take all necessary measures to protect its citizens."

A rocket fired from Gaza on Friday slammed into southern of Ashkelon, causing no casualties but some damage.

The Israeli army said in a statement that it "holds Hamas solely responsible for terror emanating from the Gaza Strip."

Hamas: Arabs' approval of talks with Israel yielded military action against Gaza

[ 31/07/2010 - 02:26 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement said that the Israeli military escalation which started Friday night was a natural result of the Arab decision to give Mahmoud Abbas a green light for his peace talks with Israelis.

"This escalation is intentional in terms of timing; it is a reaction to the Arab decision and aimed at disturbing the calm and stability in the Gaza Strip and create a state of confusion," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri underlined in a statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC) on Saturday.

Spokesman Abu Zuhri denied Israeli allegations about the landing of a missile fired from Gaza in Israel, affirming that Israel uses such pretexts to escalate its aggression on Gaza.

Israel last night carried out a number of air raids on Gaza areas that resulted in the death of a prominent leader of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and the injury of 10 other Palestinians.

The Qassam Brigades, for its part, vowed to avenge its leader Issa Batran and warned Israel that its crime would not go unpunished.

A statement issued by the Brigades noted that Batran's wife and five kids were already killed during the last Israeli war on Gaza.

Qassam leader killed, 10 injuries during several air raids on Gaza areas

[ 31/07/2010 - 08:04 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- A senior leader of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, was killed and 10 other Palestinians were wounded during Israeli aerial raids on different areas in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Qassam Brigades stated that one of its prominent leaders called Issa Batran, 40, was killed at dawn Saturday when Israeli warplanes bombed an area in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza.

It said that Batran joined his wife and five children who were killed in a deadly raid on his house during the last Israeli war on Gaza.

Israel escalated its military actions against Gaza on Friday evening and carried out four air raids on Gaza city, the central province and Rafah tunnels.

Director of the health ministry's emergency unit Muawiya Hassanein told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the medical crews evacuated eight security men and two civilians, a children and an aged man after a raid on the headquarters of Palestinian security forces, west of Gaza city.

This military aggression on Gaza took place after Abbas managed to receive a green light from Arab states for his direct negotiations with Israelis, while most of the Palestinian factions reject any peace talks with Israel.

For his part, Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC), strongly denounced the Arab League for giving Abbas the go-ahead to restart his direct talks with Israelis, warning that the next stage could witness a widespread Israeli escalation.

Dr. Bahar said in a press statement on Friday that the Arab League would not have dared to take such a decision without the full consent of Abbas's authority.

He pointed out that the Arab League always reflects the defeatist positions of the Arab regimes which joined the Zio-American axis and legalized all forms of political degradation in order to protect their existence.

The lawmaker stressed the need for confronting the policies pursued by Abbas's authority which desecrated all national rights, constants and values.

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US Firms Used to Transfer Money to Mabhouh Case Suspects

American investigators working on the international probe of the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, have identified links to US companies believed to have been used to transfer money to suspects in the case, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

According to the report, this find brings the authorities closer to identifying the elements that funded the operation, which Israel has been accused of organizing. Dubai police claim that the killing was carried out by the Mossad.

The American companies in question mainly include internet-based businesses that match freelancers with employers and process payments between the parties. US authorities have identified money transfers from these companies to bank accounts apparently used by the suspects in the murder.

However, the investigators believe the companies had no way of knowing who the transfers were destined for or what purpose the money would serve.

The investigators believe the suspects posed as freelancers in order to obtain money from the online companies in a manner that covers up their source of funding, and then used the money for their operational needs, such as the purchase of plane tickets into and out of Dubai.

Now, the investigation is focusing on identifying the employers involved in the transactions.

White House officials have refused to comment on the scope of the US' involvement in the assassination probe, and representatives of the companies in question told the Wall Street Journal that they have yet to be contacted by the authorities and weren't aware of any investigation.

Earlier this year, Dubai police identified 13 US-based bank accounts, which they said were used by the hit men. Dubai also emphasized that all suspects in the affair had used forged passports, meaning their names would not have been on any of the companies' blacklists.

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The Hariri Tribunal Conspiracy

My Catbird Seat

- 31. Jul, 2010
By Sami Moubayed

Saudi King Abdullah’s landmark visit to Syria on Thursday, his second since assuming the throne in 2005, mirrors Arab diplomacy at its finest hour.

The king is worried – just like his Syrian host President Bashar al-Assad – about two critical files in the Arab world: Iraq and Lebanon.

In Iraq, political rivalries have prevented creation of a cabinet for five months, signaling a political vacuum and security disaster in the weeks to come that would be very troubling for Syria and Saudi Arabia, two of Iraq’s main neighbors.

The situation in Lebanon is even more dangerous and if allowed to explode could shake the Middle East beyond repair. Earlier this summer, the deputy Israeli chief of staff, Gaby Ashkenazi said that an earthquake was in store for Lebanon later this year, when the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) names Hezbollah figures in connection with the 2005 murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah, furious with the accusation, cried foul play, claiming that the entire investigation is flawed because it has relied on false witnesses (who were never arrested or questioned for their motives) and because it never considered Israel as a possible suspect in the Hariri affair.

Last week, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah came out accusing the tribunal of being “an Israeli project” that aimed at targeting the Lebanese resistance. What Israel failed to achieve through war in 2006, he added, it will try to attain through the STL.

The international community, with strong Israeli encouragement, tried to break Hezbollah through United Nations Security Council resolution 1559, in 2004. That clearly did not work and nor did the war of 2006, which promised – and failed – to annihilate Hezbollah.
Today, four years down the road, Hezbollah is stronger than ever and, even by testimony of Israeli military strategists, seems have been left almost unscratched by the war of 2006. The war rumored to take place this summer is no guaranteed success for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and it cannot shoulder another defeat at the hands of the Lebanese guerrillas.

It seems only logical that Israel would try to nail the Lebanese group through the Hariri affair, hoping that this would shatter the current alliance between Hezbollah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the second son of Rafik, along with creating havoc between Lebanese Sunnis and Shi’ites.

The handwriting has been on the wall for nearly four years now, first surfacing in a French publication in 2006 then vibrating throughout upper echelons of power in Beirut. However, it has never been so bluntly debated in public and the media.

After an article in Le Figaro blamed Hezbollah for the Hariri murder, another report in a Kuwaiti daily was published in March 2009, followed by a very controversial report in Der Spiegel in May 2009. Der Spiegel, while refraining from naming a single source, said that a “special force” from Hezbollah had “planned and executed the diabolical attack” under orders from a certain Hajj Samil (no last name), who it described as Hezbollah’s second-in-command and head of a special operational unit.

Le Monde repeated the accusation in February 2010, followed by Ashkenazi last June. Hezbollah says that it can never take the tribunal seriously so long if Ashkenazi knew of its verdicts beforehand. This would only confirm what Nasrallah has been saying all along: that the international investigation is a vehicle aimed at tarnishing Hezbollah’s image and trying to finish what was started in 2004 and 2006 by resolution 1559 and the 33-day war respectively.

It seems a steady case is being prepared against Hezbollah by its opponents, both at home and in the international community. It started in November 2009 when a German ship was apprehended by the Israelis, who claimed that it was carrying Iranian arms to Hezbollah.

Then came the April 2010 affair when Israel said that Hezbollah had received long-range Scud missiles from Syria. Now comes the STL which will say that Hezbollah officials were responsible for Hariri’s murder.

Hezbollah claims that ultimately Israel is trying to create a situation where Lebanon erupts into chaos and becomes hostile territory for the group. If it is accused of killing Hariri, the premier would be forced to distance himself from Hezbollah, who are crucial pillars of his coalition cabinet. Perhaps – if Israel gets its way – he would need to revoke a cabinet pledge to “protect and embrace” the arms of Hezbollah.

Ultimately, many in Hezbollah fear that someone will resume political assassinations in Lebanon so as to blame them and set the stage for a thundering declaration of their guilt in the Hariri assassination.

If the predictions turn out to be correct, and such an indictment is released later in 2010, several options would be on the table. One is for the UN to place Lebanon under Chapter Seven, which gives the Security Council the right to take military action to maintain security. The UN could claim that the 23 Hezbollah figures earmarked for accusation are a threat to international peace.

If this happens, Hezbollah will certainly refuse the verdicts and so will the Lebanese state, perhaps prompting the international community to wage war on Lebanon. Another option would be for the Lebanese government to try talking Nasrallah into a trade-off; meaning the figures named would be accused of acting at their own will and not as members of Hezbollah.

Nasrallah has repeatedly said that such trade-off is absolutely not on the table, refusing to even discuss the option that his party had been infiltrated by undisciplined warriors. A third option – and this is where Syrian and Saudi Arabian diplomacy can come into play – would be for Saad Hariri to come to his senses and repeat what Nasrallah has said – that the STL is an Israeli project that needs to be drowned at any cost.

In his capacity as both son of the slain prime minister and the current premier of Lebanon, Hariri could deprive the STL from any legitimacy.

Both Syria and Saudi Arabia refuse to see Lebanon slip into chaos. The Saudis have too much at stake in Lebanon, politically, emotionally, financially and morally, to see their ally crash so abruptly. Saad simply cannot hold on to his post without full Hezbollah support and in order to maintain it, he needs to take sides against the STL and put his full weight behind Hezbollah.

If this means turning his back on the STL and anti-Hezbollah allies like the Lebanese Forces council president, Samir Geagea, then this is a price the premier would be – should be – willing to pay to keep Lebanon safe and united. The Syrians made it clear to Saad during his last visit to Damascus that Hezbollah is a red line that cannot be crossed.
They will never tolerate any international meddling with the arms, reputation, or future of Hezbollah. According to media reports, the Saudi king and Syrian president will head to Beirut on Friday to hammer out a solution to the boiling crisis in Lebanese politics. Only these two Arab heavyweights can talk Saad Hariri into a u-turn on the STL.

Sami Moubayed is Historian, political commentator and editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Syria. This article appeared in Asia Times on July 30, 2010 entitled, “Hezbollah sees plot behind Hariri Tribunal.’’

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US Assistant Secretary of Defense in Lebanon: Any Mission?

US Assistant Secretary of Defense in Lebanon: Any Mission?

30/07/2010 US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Michael Vickers is in Beirut.

His "suspicious" visit is enough to raise tens of question marks about the "mission" the US Defense official is seeking to accomplish in Lebanon as well as the timing of his visit.

The visit comes after another tour made by US Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow in South Lebanon and his meeting with the UNIFIL leadership, given that there is no American unit within the international forces.

Yet, most Lebanese don't know a lot about their latest American guest whose "suspicious visit" to their country is "calmly" taking place without serious media coverage.

Actually, Vickers' main "mission" is that no body knows anything about his mission. He's an ambiguous man, believed to be the expert in Special Operation that determines the course of any crisis or war.

Vickers served as a Special Forces NCO, later as a commissioned officer, and CIA paramilitary operations officer. In the mid-1980s, Vickers became involved with Operation Cyclone, the CIA program during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He was the head military strategist for the US, coordinating an effort that involved ten countries and providing direction to forces made up of over 500,000 Afghan fighters.

Later he was Senior Vice President, Strategic Studies, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), during which he provided advice on Iraq strategy to US President George H.W. Bush and his war cabinet. In July 2007 he was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he is the senior civilian advisor to the US Secretary of Defense on such matters as "counter-terrorism" strategy and operational employment of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces.

Vickers, who's believed to favor noisy wars such as those launched by Bush, believes in the theory stating that using a much smaller force is better in wars to accurately fight targets.

Before visiting Beirut, the US guest got the green light from the Pentagon. He formed since 2007 trained groups with the mission of ending organization classified by his administrations as terrorist, with the cooperation of local security authorities in a number of countries, including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and Philippines.

Finally, it might not be a "coincident" the concurrence of the visit of the "mafia man," as labeled by one of those who worked with him for years, with the predictions of new assassinations in the upcoming stage.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

IOF troops deliver demolition notice against mosque, declare village closed

[ 31/07/2010 - 09:20 AM ]

TOBAS, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) served demolition notices against a mosque and four houses in Yerza village, Tobas district, on Friday, the municipal council chairman Mokhles Masa'eed said.

He told Safa news agency that the notices included the demolition of four houses in addition to the newly built mosque in the village, noting that it was built over an area of 100 square meters.

Masa'eed pointed out that the IOF soldiers also handed him another notification that a villager would stand trial for building in the village's vicinity.

He underlined that his village inhabitants are constantly targeted by IOF search campaigns, recalling that the soldiers previously halted the work of a bulldozer that was paving a new road linking the village to Tobas city.

He said that the village inhabitants walk on foot or in tractors along rugged land for nine kilometers in order to reach the nearest service center in Tobas city.

Meanwhile, the IOF command announced on Saturday the closure of the Irak Burin village, Nablus district, blocking activists and medical teams from entering it.

Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers stationed at the entrance to the village were blocking anyone from outside the village to enter it so that none would take part in its weekly protest march.

The village is the target of a ferocious campaign on the part of IOF troops and Jewish settlers who plan to confiscate a large chunk of its land.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Middle East History Buff Hague whitewashes Israel’s Villainy on the High Seas

Intifada Palestine

30. Jul, 2010
By Stuart Littlewood

Thousands of Palestinian Muslims and Christians are denied the entry to their holiest sites in Jerusalem
“We have to be steeped in the Middle East, way back to historical matters. Because you can’t understand it without the history.”

My MP, a Foreign Office minister in the shiny new coalition government, has written to me saying he believes the Foreign Secretary was “extremely fair, tough and statesmanlike” in his reaction to Israel’s murderous assault on the vessel Mavi Marmara and the rest of the Free Gaza flotilla.

So I re-read William Hague’s statement to the House of Commons on 2 June, and it struck me as something the Israeli government spin doctor Mark Regev might have penned.
Here are some extracts:
  • “Our clear advice to British nationals is not to travel to Gaza.
Just what Israel wants to hear. This “advice” serves to legitimize Israel’s illegal sea blockade and use of lethal force against unarmed British citizens and other nationals peacefully going about their lawfully business in international waters.
  • “We deeply deplore the loss of life…”
There must be stinging consequences for this latest barbaric act. The word “deplore” is for the spineless, do-nothing handwringers.
  • “Their welfare [meaning the British nationals on board] is our top priority.”
Mr Hague must have been alerted to advance warnings that Israel would go to any lengths, including violence, to stop the mercy ships but he took no precautionary action. Where is the mighty Royal Navy when not cruising the Caribbean or sunning itself in the Gulf? When consular access was then denied to some of the 37 Britishers abducted and jailed by Israel the Foreign Office meekly accepted the insult.
  • “…those individuals who are allegedly involved in violence against Israeli servicemen during the boarding”
Mr Hague doesn’t seem to grasp that the violence was committed by Israeli storm-troopers dropping from helicopters with guns blazing under cover of darkness.
  • “Restrictions on Gaza should be lifted – a view confirmed in United Nations security council resolution 1860.”
Resolution 1860 goes much further and calls for the sustained reopening of crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access, which provides for
Ø the reduction of obstacles to movement within the West Bank
Ø bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza
Ø the building of a new seaport in Gaza
Ø re-opening of the airport in Gaza

Nearly eight months ago the European Council repeated the EU’s call for “an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza” and for “full implementation of The Agreement on Movement and Access”.

What is the point of mouthing this stuff again and again and not backing it up with ACTION?
  • Hamas now has near total control of the economy”.
Perhaps our Treasury people should take lessons from them…
  • “We will, therefore, continue to press the Israeli government to lift the closure of Gaza, and plan early discussions… about what more can be done to ensure an unfettered flow of aid.”
The Foreign Office is exceedingly well practised at pressing and urging. However, “unfettered flow” is not going to happen without a naval escort and/or sanctions. If Mr Hague hasn’t learned this he hasn’t been paying attention.
  • The House should not forget the role played by Hamas in this conflict. They continue to pursue an ideology of violence and directly to undermine prospects for peace in the region.”
Mr Hague must take everyone for fools. Hamas won the 2006 elections fair and square and has been subjected to a relentless blockade, armed incursions, air strikes, sanctions, assassinations, an attempted putsch and a devastating 22-day blitzkrieg. Continually accusing Hamas of undermining prospects for peace is the ultimate absurdity.
  • “Violence has continued in recent days, with rocket fire from militants in Gaza and Israeli military incursions and air strikes in response.”

On the question of who provokes and who responds Mr Hague should consider how Israel violated the cease-fire to pave the way to the Gaza war of December 2008 and still carries out air-strikes on a daily basis.
  • “We call on Hamas to make immediate and concrete steps towards the quartet principles – unconditionally to release Gilad Shalit.”

Something like 11,000 Palestinian civilians are held (and believed tortured) in Israeli jails, many without charge. Why isn’t Mr Hague calling for their release? Shalit is a tank gunner captured in 2006. In the three years following Israel’s troop withdrawal to Gaza’s perimeter in 2005 some 1,250 Gazans, including 222 children, were killed by tank gunners and other Israeli military personnel while 11 Israelis were killed by Palestinian rocket fire.
  • “The only long-term and sustainable solution to the conflict which produced these tragic events is a two-state solution.
Politicians like Hague have stood back and allowed Israel to seize so much key Palestinian territory and establish so many ‘facts on the ground’ that the chances of a viable Palestinian state are vanishing fast.
  • “The proximity talks that are currently underway are more important than ever.”
Is he serious? How credible are ‘talks’ when one party has a gun to the other’s head and continues to steal its land, colonize its territory and murder its citizens? What honest broker would be party to such a farce?

William Hague is our top international representative. He has the power to heavily influence whether Britain makes war or peace, whether we make friends or enemies, and whether our soldiers live or needlessly die. Yet he seems to have trouble interpreting intelligence. One can see how the poor chap got his knickers in a fearful twist over Iraq and voted enthusiastically to get us mired in that shameful war… And did anyone hear him speak out against the folly of invading Afghanistan when it was his duty, as a leading Opposition figure at the time, to hold our lunatic Labour government to account?

Now he rattles his sabre at Iran and wants to turn Britain into a safe haven for Israel’s war criminals.

All things considered the guy is a big worry.

Prime minister David Cameron was a little nearer the mark when he called the blockaded Gaza Strip a “prison camp”. That brought loud squawks from the usual suspects. Plain speaking earns him a cheer but Cameron, like Hague, is an avid admirer of Israel and calls himself a Zionist.

He too only talked of “humanitarian access”, failing to acknowledge that Gazans are not allowed to export anything and therefore cannot make a living.

He has nothing to say about the 3,500 licensed fishermen who are shot up by Israeli patrol boats whenever they put to sea. Or Gaza’s students who are blocked from studying at their West Bank universities.

Or all the Christians and their Muslim brothers and sisters who are prevented from worshipping at their holy places in Jerusalem.
Or even Gaza’s marine gas field, which Israel has its greedy eyes on and Palestinians can’t go near.

Mr Hague, according to the Jewish Chronicle, told David Cameron as soon as he became Conservative party leader in 2005 that a deep understanding of the Middle East would be crucial to his claims to be taken seriously as a statesman. “We have to be steeped in the Middle East, way back to historical matters. Because you can’t understand it without the history. That’s been one of the failings sometimes with the Western governments.”

Yes, but when is the history lesson, and the story of the West’s betrayal, going to sink in?

Finally, Viva Palestina has just sent this message: “Despite the recent claims by Israel that they have ‘eased’ the siege on Gaza, vital medical supplies and equipment are still prohibited from entering the besieged region.

In June, the World Health Organization reported that Israel blocked the delivery of essential medical equipment, including a CT scanner, defibrillators and monitors.

“In addition, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Israel confiscated seven oxygen machines, donated by a Norwegian development agency, and refused to allow delivery of x-ray machines, claiming they could be used for military purposes.”

Consequently, says the message, there is a critical shortage of vital medicines and essential life saving equipment, and other supplies are expected to run out very soon.

What does it take for Cameron, Hague and Britain’s limp-wristed Foreign Office to run out of patience and forcibly smash this cruel blockade?
Stuart Littlewood
30 July 2010
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian