Saturday, 10 March 2012

US intelligence officials: "Assad firmly in control. He might survive this"


"A year into the uprising in Syria, senior U.S. intelligence officials described the nation’s president, Bashar al-Assad, on Friday as firmly in control and ... also said Assad’s inner circle is “remaining steadfast,” with little indication that senior figures in the regime are inclined to peel off, despite efforts by the Obama administration and its allies to use sanctions and other measures to create a wave of defections that would undermine Assad. .... Assad “is very much in charge,” said a senior U.S. intelligence official responsible for tracking the conflict, adding that Assad and his inner circle seem convinced that the rebellion is being driven by external foes and that they are equipped to withstand all but a large-scale military intervention.... McClatchy's has the longer version of the assessment (must have been hard for the WaPo to digest):
"..."Our sense is right now he's very much in charge," of their military operations, one U.S. official said. Another noted, "He (Assad) might survive this." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.The intelligence assessments run counter to a message voiced with confidence for months by senior administration officials including President Barack Obama, who told a White House news conference on Tuesday that "ultimately, this dictator will fall."Perhaps more fundamentally, the analysis calls into question an American foreign policy that has been based on the idea that Assad's regime is overwhelmed and doomed.

Read more here: comments, provided by three intelligence officials on the condition of anonymity to share candid assessments, were the most detailed to date by U.S. analysts on the status of the uprising, which began last March.
The officials said the regime’s tactics have taken a more aggressive turn, and ... they described Syria as a formidable military power, with 330,000 active-duty soldiers, surveillance drones supplied by Iran and a dense network of air defense installations that would make it difficult for the United States or other powers to establish a no-fly zone.
“This is an army that was built for a land war with the Israelis,” said a second senior U.S. intelligence official. After the regime hesitated to attack civilian population centers earlier in the conflict, its “restraint . . . has been lifted,” the official said....
So far, the officials said, the bloodiest attacks against the regime appear to have been carried out by al-Qaeda elements seeking to slip unannounced into opposition groups that do not seem eager to have any affiliation with the terrorist network.... “That network is still there,” said the first U.S. intelligence official, who acknowledged that the size and composition of the al-Qaeda presence in Syria is unclear. Some al-Qaeda members may be Syrian, others Iraqis..."


[Great idea, from Jonathan Teppereman, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine.]
"... start a serious military operation to topple the government.

This would mean a Libya-style coalition air campaign but shouldn’t require many boots on the ground. Western air power could make short work of Mr. Assad’s army: though often described as formidable, the Syrian military is having trouble completely suppressing the rebels and could never withstand a sustained outside onslaught. After all, Saddam Hussein’s much feared and much bigger army dissolved quickly in the face of American firepower...."

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"Hair", the new Musical, a story of 'opposition & defection'!



About that Syrian 'Senior' official who defected ....well, he was neither senior nor did he defect!

according to this Syrian opposition website, he is not a 'deputy minister' (as described by Western mainstream media, but an assistant at the Ministry of resources responsible for liquid gas deliveries. But the best part is the fact that the 'defector' was actually a wanted person in Syria, where he embezzled close to $3 millions from this 'delivery' service he headed. The website laments that the 'defectors' who join the opposition in Syria are mostly crooks or killers or both, such as Rifaat Assad, Khaddam,... and now Hussameldine...
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12 Palestinians, Including Resistance Leaders Killed in Israeli Attacks

Local Editor
Twelve Palestinians including leaders in the Al-Quds Brigades were killed and at least 20 people were wounded in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip throughout midnight.

The Israeli military said the air force launched 13 attacks on a range of targets, including a militant leader, claiming that the attacks came in response to Palestinian rocket fire on the southern area of the occupied territories.

In contrast, "the Palestinians fired dozens of rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel, injuring four people, one of them seriously," Israeli military sources said.
Among the Palestinian martyrs were head of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zohair Al-Qaisi, and freed prisoner Mahmoud Hanani.

The PRC threatened reprisals for Al-Qaisi's death, and around 45 rockets and shells were subsequently fired on southern Israel.

For its part, the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, said that the Israeli air strikes also killed 10 of its members.

In a statement it issued, the Israeli army said that “Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 10 Grad rockets fired at the southern Israeli towns of Beersheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon, which have a combined population of more than half a million people.”
Source: AFP

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Syrian Army Fully Controls Idlib, Opposition Hit by Resignations

Local Editor

syrian armyThe Syrian army has overrun Syria’s northwestern city of idlib, with militants have fled following four days of clashes.

Meanehile, the opposition has also suffered a setback as three major figures of the so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) announced resignation.

Agence France Press cited the “activist” Noureddin al-Abdo as saying that the militants have withdrawn.
"Since last night there has been no more fighting," said al-Abdo, reached by telephone from Beirut.

"The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has withdrawn and regime forces have stormed the entire city and are carrying out house-to-house searches."

"The FSA preferred to withdraw because everyone knows it cannot resist the army," Abdo said.

For its part, Syrian daily al-Watan reported on Tuesday that the city has fallen, saying regime forces had managed to capture it in record time.

idlib map syria"A major operation launched three days ago in Idlib... ended in record time with army units wrapping up search operations during which dozens of armed men and fugitives were killed," Al-Watan daily said.

The time in which Idlib has been controlled is considered a record since the city reportedly contains huge number of militants and ammunitions.

The control of Idlib comes just twi weeks after the seize of Baba Amro neighborhood in the city of Homs.


Meanwhile on Wednesday, the opposition was hit by resignations, with three prominent activists from the SNC announcing their demission.

Catherine al-Telli, Haitham al-Maleh and Kamal al-Labwani announced on their Facebook pages that they were resigning due to differences" and the "inefficiency" of the SNC.

Agence France Press quoted an official with the SNC that the there were “disagreements” between the activists and the council.

Maleh said he was quitting after the council's executive had rejected his efforts to reform and unite opposition ranks, complaining its head Burhan Ghalioun was "monopolising opinion."
"All avenues for change have been blocked," protested Labwani.


assad annanOn the other hand, President Bashar Assad responded to the proposals handed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who met the Syrian leader during the weekend.

"Their responses are being considered," Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for the envoy, told AFP, declining to comment on the substance of the Syrian response.

Annan is expected to make a statement later Wednesday in Geneva, after he said on Sunday that he offered “concrete proposals” to Assad.

During the meeting with Annan, Assad said he would back any "honest" bid to end the violence, but warned dialogue would fail if "terrorist groups" remained.

Source: Agencies

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The Terror Genie (I): Muslims as the New Infidels of England

Muslims stand in the prayer hall during Friday prayers in Baitul Futuh Mosque in south London, on 18 February 2011, as they attend a Unite Against Extremism call at Western Europe's largest mosque. (Photo: AFP - Carl Court)
Published Saturday, March 10, 2012
Ever since Britain released the terror genie, it has hardly gone back into the bottle. In this series, activist and novelist Tariq Mehmood recounts tragic tales and alarming transformations in the wake of Britain’s perpetual “war on terror”.

Part I: Muslims as the Infidels of England

In the past, crude racism of the street in Britain ensured that whether you were Pakistani, African, Arab, or Indian, all people of color were Pakis, wogs, and niggers. If we complained about racism, it was not unusual to be told, “go back to where you come from.” With one fell swoop, the genie has transformed the old racism, so people who look like me are all Muslims now. It doesn't matter if you are Hindu, Christian, or Sikh. If you look like a Muslim, you are a Muslim, a potential walking bomb.
On my way back from the UK to Lebanon last month, I picked up two popular newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph. Both papers lead with stories about how the dreadful European Court of Human rights had stopped Britain from throwing Abu Qatada, a cleric who is deemed to be a threat to national security, out of the country. In the past, the genie has described Abu Qatada as Osama bin Laden's “right hand man in Europe.” With his long terrorist beard and a prayer cap on his head, what else could he be?
About ten years ago, I watched a mullah being interviewed on British television. The interviewer asked him, “if you don't like this country, why don't you leave?”
He replied, “It’s like living in a toilet surrounded by landmines.” While I don't agree much with Abu Qatada, I certainly understood the depth of his feelings.

If you look like a Muslim, you are a Muslim, a potential walking bomb.
In April 2009 I was at home in Manchester when I saw breaking news on the television. The genie had once again saved Britain from Muslims. This time, from a really, really “big terror plot.” Armed anti-terror police raided houses across the northwest of the country and made a number of arrests. Twelve Pakistanis were arrested. One turned out to be a minor and he was released. Another was a British citizen and he was released a few weeks later. The remaining ten were locked in a high security prison.
I had seen the genie many times before this. On 19 April 2004, 400 police officers raided houses where Muslims were living and arrested some North Africans and Kurds. The genie told the British people that the police had stopped the terrorist from blowing up a Manchester United game. What most people didn't hear about was that actually these Muslims just happened to be Manchester United fans and after the genie was put back in the bottle and the media frenzy had died down, they were given some complimentary tickets to go see a United game.
The genie popped up again in the north of England when a humanitarian aid convoy planned to travel from Manchester to Gaza. When the convoy was travelling overland, it was stopped on the motorway by anti-terrorist police officers and the drivers were arrested. What people saw and heard in blaring headlines was the terror raids and pictures of bearded men. Most people didn’t hear about how the police paid the price of getting the drivers and their vehicles to Tunis to join up with the convoy.
When I heard about the new raids of 2009, especially when it became clear that those arrested were Pakistani students, who had come here from Pakistan to study, it was obvious to me that the terror genie had targeted a group of young men who did not have any roots in this country. They would therefore have no one to ask questions on their behalf or to defend them.

I felt particularly indignant when the then Prime Minister Gordan Brown said of these students, on 9 April 2009, the day after their arrests:
“We are dealing with a very big terrorist plot. We have been following it for some time. There were a number of people who are suspected of it who have been arrested. That police operation was successful. We know that there are links between terrorists in Britain and terrorists in Pakistan. That is an important issue for us to follow through on. That is why I will be speaking with [Pakistani] President Zardari about what Pakistan can do to help us in the future. I think we must not forget that the police have been successful in carrying out their arrests and, of course, what happens in the next few days is a matter for the police inquiries. But we had to act pre-emptively to ensure the safety of the public and the safety of the public is the paramount and utmost concern in all that we do.”

Two systems of justice now work in Britain. One where there is a presumption of innocence, but if you happen to be a Muslim, a second kafkaesque one comes into effect.
Unlike the arrest of the students, which was plastered across the media, the fact that two weeks into their imprisonment, the police declared them to be innocent, was hardly mentioned. Not that it would have mattered because this declaration of innocence did not mean the students were free. They were still kept in prison, this time on an immigration technicality. They were denied contact with their families. They did not know what they had done. But what they did learn very quickly, from an immigration judge, was that they could either spend the next 18 months or so in prison, or go back to Pakistan tomorrow..
Two systems of justice now work in Britain. One where there is a presumption of innocence, but if you happen to be a Muslim, a second kafkaesque one comes into effect under the spell of the genie. You can be locked away for years without charge, without being told what evidence there is against you. You could be put under house arrest, tagged electronically, and denied any contact with the outside world. Your lawyers are supposed to defend the person who has been charged without knowing what the case against their client is. If there is any evidence, it is shown to the trial judge behind closed doors, with the defense lawyers excluded on the grounds that the evidence is secret.
Following the announcement of innocence, I went to see a friend who had in the past campaigned concerning the issues of human rights in Britain, to see if we could work together and defend these students. My friend was aware of what had happened and said to me, “Listen yaar, I can make a financial donation to the campaign, but these times are bad and I don't want any hassle from the police.”

The atmosphere of fear and intimidation had moved into even the left and liberal groups in this country.
Another friend who was instrumental in helping me make contact with families of the students in Pakistan was advised by his wife to stay away from this issue when she said to him, “Look there are writers and lawyers who are already exposed. You are nobody. Why do you want to expose yourself on this issue?”
What I did not realize at the time was how the atmosphere of fear and intimidation had moved into even the left and liberal groups in this country. Some withdrew from the campaign to defend the students, worried about the negative fallout for themselves as a result of their potential of association with terrorism.
Notwithstanding the initial setbacks, a campaign to defend the students was organized. At the first meeting, held on Saturday 9 May 2009, three family members of the students spoke on the phone from northwest of Pakistan. Tahir Rahman, brother of on of the imprisoned students Tariq Rahman, said, “he was sent to the UK to study, to make a better life for his family and himself. His young wife died during the birth of their first child. His father is dead. His paralysed mother cannot come to terms with her son’s imprisonment. She has not spoken to her son since his arrest.”
Raza Ullah Khan, brother of imprisoned suspect Mohammad Ramzan, speaking from Abbotabad, Pakistan said, “His [Mohammad’s] mother dreamed he would come back educated from the UK. She is ill now, waiting for him. He should be released now so that he can come back to Pakistan to see his mother. She asks, ‘When will he phone?’ I want to appeal to the British Government – you know he has not done anything so release my brother. And to the Pakistani government – for God’s sake, don’t lie. You are doing nothing to help us.”
And Nasrallah Jaan Khattak, father of Abid Nasir, spoke from Peshawar, Pakistan. “I fear for my son,” he said. “I appeal to the government to give him the chance to finish his education. I have not been able to speak to my son since the arrest and we are very worried about him and his health. We sent our son to study not to be oppressed.”
I was present at the meeting and asked, “What sort of a society locks people up without charge, without evidence, threatens to throw them out of the country on the whims of politicians and sexed up intelligence reports. What has happened to this country where the police are threatening more such raids? We are all but in a police state. The gloves are nearly off and it won’t simply be Muslims who will feel the heat.”
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The U.S.: Does Kucinich’s Defeat Signal the End of Liberal Left Anti-imperialism?

March 9th 2012 | كتبها

Muhammad Abu Nasr
March 3, 2012
For many years the most anti-war or anti-imperialist members of the US Congress have been the liberal leftist Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and the rightist libertarian Ron Paul of Texas.

The Zionists hated both of them and have been working against them any way they can. On Tuesday, 6 March 2012, Kucinich was defeated in the Democratic primary in Ohio. The authorities had shifted electoral districts to change the political balance against Kucinich and he was defeated by another Democratic liberal, a woman named Marcy Kaptur. Kaptur (of Polish background) is also liberal, but according to Wikipedia ‘votes for all military appropriation bills.’ As far as that goes, Kaptur is a classic American ‘leftist’ politician – meaning that she will support anything that brings benefits to blue-collar workers in her district – including Defence Department contracts and foreign intervention.

If such ‘leftists’ lived in Germany in the 1930s, they would be Nazis. In the U.S., the ideology of ‘help our poor by screwing the world’ is considered ‘leftist.’

In my own opinion, Kucinich was guilty of a lot of the problems that have marginalized the liberal left in the US. For example, since the 1960s, the liberal left identified itself with the cause of ‘helping the poor and disadvantaged.’ When the US economy was generally expanding and doing well in the 1950s and 1960s, the working population generally had a positive view of these welfare programs which seemed to be simply expanding the opportunities offered to working people in general by the government programs initiated by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s. Also the tax structure prior to the 1970s put a greater burden on wealthier people than it does now. But as the economy in the US began to slow down and as the right-wing began its counterattack during the Nixon and later Reagan eras, the tax burden was shifted downward to the working people (described as ‘middle class’) and so programs to ‘help the poor and disadvantaged’ seemed to be an attempt not to spread prosperity to the ones still suffering, but a program to take money from the working people who were having increasing trouble ‘making ends meet’ to the poor who were not working.

Essentially, the liberals who continue to talk in terms used in the 1960s are (in the current context of tax laws and economic reality) effectively saying – ‘the working people must sacrifice to help the poor because that is morally right.’ The Right wing at least since Reagan have capitalized on this, turning the working population (“middle class”) into allies of the wealthy by focusing their campaigns on tax issues.

America’s Marxists, like the liberals, have tended to keep looking for ‘proletarians’ among the most disadvantaged – minorities in rural areas, migrant labor, and lots of Lumpen-proletarian elements, because the ‘lifestyle’ of these people reminds them of classic Marxist descriptions ‘they have nothing to lose but their chains’ and so on.

In fact Marxism is supposed to focus on the working masses, not on the Lumpen-proletarians and other marginal groups on the bottom. The social base of Marxism is supposed to be the workers, not marginal groups. But the liberals have managed to alienate the working people in the US from anything even reminiscent of leftist perspectives by focusing on the welfare of the poorest and most forgotten while being powerless or unwilling to challenge a system that fundamentally serves the super-rich.

This issue also affects how anti-war activity has been crippled.

The cornerstone of leftist anti-war attitudes is that working people everywhere are on one side and the exploiters are on the other. Therefore there should be solidarity between working people against aggressive wars waged by the elites. The idea is that the material interests of all working people dictate that in their own interest they should oppose ‘their governments’ waging wars on other countries. Marxist anti-war activity is not supposed to be about ‘moral qualms’ about violence, but about defending the true class interests of working people.

But liberals have undermined the whole class concept, substituting a kind of ‘moral solicitude’ for victims instead of solidarity. So domestically liberals are supposed to sacrifice to help the poor and internationally they should sacrifice to help the victims abroad. And that sort of thinking has deeply penetrated what little left there is in the US. So when the working people start to suffer from dislocations of retreating capitalism, they are led by the right-wing to react NOT against the wealthy but against the policies of ‘helping victims’.

First, this liberal thinking tends to feed tendencies towards ‘humanitarian intervention.’ So that when the liberal wing of the ruling class wants to wage aggressive wars, it simply dresses it up in ‘helping the victims’ language. When the right-wing wants to wage aggressive wars it presents them as “necessary for ‘our’ self-preservation.”

So as a result when Kucinich, a liberal, complains about US aggression abroad it usually sounds like whining that the US is doing nasty things to people abroad and that this is immoral. The Right-wing easily overcomes that moralistic objection by saying, ‘but we’ve got to do this or our enemies will take advantage of us.’ The Zionists play on this as well, of course.

However, in the current climate of thinking, Ron Paul, the libertarian, attacks imperialism from the right. Instead of complaining that it is nasty and immoral to hurt other people, he says ‘let’s quit helping everybody’ (i.e., let’s end humanitarian intervention) and “let’s take care of our own problems.”

So in effect he’s actually appealing to the interests of working people and – objectively – to the reality that there are shared interests among the world’s working people. He’s not a Marxist or closet Marxist at all, yet by appealing to the interests of the working people (middle classes) rather than their ‘moral conscience’ he is actually being a better “Marxist” than the liberals who try to appeal to a kind of spirit of charity and helping the poor and disadvantaged.

And, not surprisingly, Ron Paul’s appeal is much greater than that of the liberal ‘leftists’.

So Kucinich always seemed to me a rather pathetic figure. He apparently had support in his traditional district (now merged with another district – hence his loss in the primary election yesterday) but nationally he wasn’t able to appeal to the masses because he never addressed their interests but tried always to appeal to their conscience and charitability.

There are lots of other facets of the problems of the left in the US. The Jewish issue is one.

Writing in the liberal left publication Counterpunch (“A Snare and a Delusion: Ron Paul’s Anti-Imperialism” 20-22 January 2012) Andrew Levine wrote that it would be a ‘colossal mistake’ for leftists to support the anti-imperialist Ron Paul. Levine suggested: “that people should back Jill Stein of the Green Party of the United States or some other left opposition candidate.” Such an approach, Levine said, would send an unequivocal message.” But what message? Well look up the Greens. Their candidate (whom nobody’s heard of) is a Jewish woman, and her campaign manager is a Jew and when asked about Palestine they claimed that they hadn’t been thinking about that issue. Yeah, like a Jew raised in the US never thinks about “Israel” and Palestine ! Forget that bullshit. In fact the Green platform is all about protecting the environment and domestic concerns and often the Greens even call for humanitarian aggression – “we always support dictators, but we should be supporting democracy.”
By the way, even if – like me – you don’t think electoral politics makes any difference, the slogans and the appeal you try to present in writing or demonstrations or any public context is colored by this environment. Most of the anti-war groups, consequently, appeal to a sort of pacifist conscience of ‘causing no harm.’ And so, such people are doomed to be marginal, to appeal to the constituency of Buddhist monks and Christian Quakers. Since there’s virtually no conscious left – even a screwed-up left – talking about ‘workers solidarity’ is about as useful as screaming in some foreign language. This is one of the problems of the whole ‘occupy’ movement. These people are angry over the power of the wealthy elite that calls the shots in the society, but they have no broader framework or ideology and so all they can come up with is that ‘we all should think of the poor and disadvantaged,’ ‘down with greed’ and that sort of thing – all of which is easily manipulated and none of which has much appeal to the average person EVEN if he or she also hates the ‘top 1 percent’.

Of the top 20 richest Americans listed by Forbes magazine*, 17 are liberal Democrats, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Wal-Mart’s Jim Walton, Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison, and Google’s Larry Page. With George Soros-style liberals at the core of the American ruling elite, the co-optation of the slogans and moralistic talk of the ‘occupy’ movement will be easy. And it will also be simple for this leadership to channel discontent internationally into color revolutions and ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

The liberal lefts who are genuinely against imperialism, like Kucinich, have trouble overcoming the confusion in their own camp really.

As a result it’s more the Right wing that has potential to move people towards some kind of actual changes. But they too are easily co-opted because the language of national pride and aggression can too easily slip into the context of national isolation is too easily – particularly since US aggression is always presented as ‘defence.’ But still, in terms of acquiring some kind of mass audience to anti-imperialism, that seems more likely on the right than on the left in the US these days.

And the defeat of Kucinich is at least a symbol of the demise of the anti-imperialist liberal left, if not the actual demise of the liberal anti-imperialist left.
*(The reference to the Forbes magazine richest being largely Democrats is here:

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Egyptians hold anti-US demo in Cairo


Egyptian protesters burn the US flag during a demonstration outside the US Embassy in Cairo.
Fri Mar 9, 2012 10:49PM GMT
Security forces have clashed with Egyptians protesting about US interference in Egypt's internal affairs near the US Embassy in Cairo.

On Friday, a large number of protesters, shouting slogans against the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the United States and calling for the departure of the US ambassador, threw stones at the security forces, who threw the stones back at the crowd and used other heavy-handed tactics to disperse the demonstrators.

Earlier, the protesters clashed with supporters of the ruling military council in front of the US Embassy. Dozens of people were injured in the first incident.

One of the main issues for the protesters is the fact that several foreigners accused of meddling in Egypt's internal affairs were allowed to leave the country.

Forty-three foreign and Egyptian activists, including 16 US citizens, have been accused of receiving illegal funds and running unlicensed NGOs in Egypt.

Egyptian officials said the groups were using the funds to fuel unrest in the country and are pursuing a legal case against them.

Last week, under intense US pressure, most of the foreign defendants were permitted to leave the country after posting bail. They were allowed to leave, even though a travel ban had been imposed on them.

The US had threatened to cut the 1.5 billion dollars in financial assistance it provides to Egypt if the issue was not resolved.

Protesters injured in clashes outside US Embassy in Cairo
Clashes between supporters of Tawfiq Okasha, and
Tahrir protesters at headquarters of US embassy,
Cairo, March 9,2012          

Protesters outside the US Embassy in Cairo supporting the Egyptian military's crackdown on international pro-democracy groups clashed Friday with demonstrators rallying against the country's military leadership. Dozens of people were injured.

The issue of pro-democracy groups operating in Egypt has been at the center of one of the most divisive chapters of US-Egyptian relations in recent decades.

Egyptian officials alleged the groups were using foreign funding to foment unrest in Egypt and were pursuing a legal case against dozens of defendants, including 16 Americans.

However, Egypt allowed the American defendants to leave the country, effectively letting them avoid trial.
But the decision to lift the travel ban incited a backlash among many Egyptians, who accused the country's ruling generals of bowing to US pressure and meddling in what is supposed to be an independent judiciary.

The pro-military protest was led by Tawfiq Okasha, a staunch loyalist to the military leadership and a well-known TV presenter whose daily show has been banned for airing insults against pro-democracy activists.

Okasha has repeatedly accused activists of receiving foreign funds to destabilize the country.
Witnesses said the clashes began when pro-military supporters began throwing rocks at anti-military protesters who were marching to the nearby Tahrir Square.

Dozens were wounded in the clashes, according to Egypt's Middle East News Agency.
The square was the focal point of demonstrations that eventually led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak one year ago and has been at the center of demonstrations against the military regime that assumed power in Mubarak's wake.
AP, Al-Akhbar
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Sheik Zuhair Qaisi "Abu Ibrahim": Assasinated for insisting on Armed Resistance

 - اضغط هنا لعرض الصورة بحجمها الطبيعي – March 9, 2012
An Israeli strike targeting a car in western Gaza killed Zuhair Qaisi Moses, "Abu Ibrahim", the head of the Popular Resistance Committees and Mahmoud Hanani, a former prisoner freed in the deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Al-Qessi was elected chief of the PRC last August after Israel killed his predecessor in an airstrike in the southern Gazan town of Rafah.

Two people were killed as Israel launched a second airstrike on the Gaza Strip, bringing Friday’s death toll to four people.

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which is an umbrella group that draws together armed activists from different factions, held Israel fully responsible for the escalation and called on Egypt to intervene, a statement said.


Israel routinely carries out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, despite Hamas observing a tacit truce and maintaining restraint. Palestinian factions announced the end of the truce with the Zionist enemy.
Many of the Palestinian resistance factions and military wings declared end of the truce with the Zionist enemy after the Zionist crime. Factions have demanded a unified deterrent response to this crime.

The Islamic Jihad movement on Friday vowed to respond to Israeli airstrikes which killed 4 people in the Gaza Strip. “The enemy is the one who initiates violence, murder and arrests, therefore the jihad and resistance should be set as it is the only option that will deter the occupation,” Sheikh Nafeth Azzam said in a statement.
The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Friday demanded a response to the assassination of two Palestinian faction members earlier in the day.

Zionist sources admitted assassinated military commander of the Resistance Committees, Zuhair Qaisi Sheikh "Abu Abraham" and the Mahmoud Ahmed Hanani, a Nablus native freed in the deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The sources told the Zionist occupation army radio that the assassination of Sheik Zuhair Qaisi "Abuabrahim" and which is considered one of the most dangerous Palestinian figures, who insists on the "violence" as a message to anyone who tries to harm the security of the Zionist entity. The radio said the enemy.

The bodies of two Palestinian men arrive in hospital after a second Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip on March 9, 2012, bringing the number of Palestinians killed in a day of cross-boarder fighting to four.

 Maan News Agency

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The ADL, Gilad Atzmon & Free Speech

by Jonathon Blakeley
Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Atzmon_defamation_League Gilad Atzmon, well known Jazz activist has been touring the US recently promoting his Book – ‘the Wandering Who’ and talking about Israel and Palestine. Yet some people have determined that Gilad Atzmon is not kosher for the general public, and he is not fit to talk, or be even listened to. The ADL (Atzmon Defamation League) have put their names to an anti-Atzmon list, they claim he is variously a racist, anti-semite, neo-nazi and so on.

On the other hand, many others claim quite the opposite that he is a peace activist but just an out-spoken critic of Israel. So the question is this – is the list below a list of people expressing their moral outrage valid or is it a list of people who suppress free speech?

On a further thought, the list affirms, in fact, Atzmon’s argument regarding the continuum between hard core Zionist JAZZ (Jewish Anti-Zionist Zionists) and some elements within the left. However we believe that the list is far from being completed. We would also like to see Alan Dershowitz , Abe Foxman, CST , BOD, David Aaronivitch and other prominent names and organisations who fight Atzmon in vein.

As political activists committed to resisting colonialism and imperialism—in North America and around the world—we recognize that there can be different interpretations of history, and we welcome exploring these. Without wishing to debate the question of whether far-right and racist ideologues should be censored, or how, we see no reason for progressive people to organize events to promote their works
In our struggle against Zionism, racism, and all forms of colonialism and imperialism, there is no place for antisemitism or the vilification of Jews, Palestinians or any people based on their religions, cultures, nationalities, ethnicity or history. At this historic junction—when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed—no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.
  • As’ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Arab News Service, Turlock, CA
  • Suha Afyouni, solidarity activist, Beirut, LEBANON
  • Max Ajl, essayist, rabble-rouser, proprietor of Jewbonics blog site, Ithaca, NY
  • Haifaa Al-Moammar, activist, stay-at-home mom, and marathon walker, Los Angeles, CA
  • Electa Arenal, professor emerita, CUNY Graduate Center/Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Women’s Studies, New York, NY
  • Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Geneva, SWITZERLAND
  • Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
  • Dan Berger, Wild Poppies Collective, Philadelphia, PA
  • Chip Berlet, Boston, MA
  • Nazila Bettache, activist, Montréal, CANADA
  • Sam Bick, Tadamon!, Immigrant Workers Center, Montréal, Québec
  • Max Blumenthal, author; writing fellow, The Nation, New York, NY
  • Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, New York, NY
  • Café Intifada
  • Paola Canarutto, Rete-ECO (Italian Network of Jews against the Occupation), Torino, ITALY
  • Paulette d’Auteuil, National Jericho Movement, Albuquerque, NM
  • Susie Day, Monthly Review, New York, NY
  • Ali Hocine Dimerdji, PhD student at The University of Nottingham, in Nottingham, UK
  • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, professor emerita, California State University
  • Todd Eaton, Park Slope Food Coop Members for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions, Brooklyn, NY
  • Mark Elf, Jews sans frontieres
  • S. EtShalom, registered nurse, Philadelphia, PA
• Benjamin Evans, solidarity activist, Chicago, IL
• First of May Anarchist Alliance
• Sherna Berger Gluck, professor emerita, California State University/Israel Divestment Campaign, CA
• Neta Golan, International Solidarity Movement
• Tony Greenstein, Secretary Brighton Unemployed Centre/UNISON, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Brighton, UK
• Andrew Griggs, Café Intifada, Los Angeles, CA
• Jenny Grossbard, artist, designer, writer and fighter, New York, NY
• Freda Guttman, activist, Montréal, CANADA
• Adam Hanieh, lecturer, Department of Development Studies/SOAS, University of London, UK
• Swaneagle Harijan, anti-racism, social justice activism, Seattle, WA
Sarah Hawas, researcher and solidarity activist, Cairo, EGYPT• Stanley Heller, “The Struggle” Video News, moderator “Jews Who Speak Out”
• Mostafa Henaway, Tadamon!, Immigrant Workers Center, Montréal, CANADA
• Elise Hendrick, Meldungen aus dem Exil/Noticias de una multipátrida, Cincinnati, OH
• Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer, New York, NY
• Ken Hiebert, activist, Ladysmith, CANADA
• Elizabeth Horowitz, solidarity activist, New York, NY
• Adam Hudson, writer/blogger, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
• Dhruv Jain, Researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academie and PhD student at York University, Paris, FRANCE
• Tom Keefer, an editor of the journal Upping the Anti, Toronto, CANADA
• Karl Kersplebedeb, Left Wing Books, Montréal, CANADA
• Anne Key, Penrith, Cumbria, UK
• Mark Klein, activist, Toronto, CANADA
• Bill Koehnlein, Brecht Forum, New York, NY
• L.A. Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, Los Angeles, CA
• Mark Lance, Georgetown University/Institute for Anarchist Studies, Washington, DC
• David Landy, author, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel, Dublin, IRELAND
• Bob Lederer, Pacifica/WBAI producer, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, New York, NY
• Matthew Lyons, Three Way Fight, Philadelphia, PA
• Karen MacRae, solidarity activist, Toronto, CANADA
Heba Farouk Mahfouz, student activist, blogger, Cairo, EGYPT• Marvin Mandell and Betty Reid Mandell, co-editors, New Politics, West Roxbury, MA
• Ruth Sarah Berman McConnell, retired teacher, DeLand, FL
• Kathleen McLeod, poet, Brisbane, Australia
• Karrie Melendres, Los Angeles, CA
• Matt Meyer, Resistance in Brooklyn, New York, NY
• Amirah Mizrahi, poet and educator, New York, NY
• mesha Monge-Irizarry, co-director of Education Not Incarceration; SF MOOC City commissioner, San Francisco, CA
• Matthew Morgan-Brown, solidarity activist, Ottawa, CANADA
• Michael Novick, People Against Racist Terror/Anti-Racist Action, Los Angeles, CA
• Saffo Papantonopoulou, New School Students for Justice in Palestine, New York, NY
• Susan Pashkoff, Jews Against Zionism, London, UK
• Tom Pessah, UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, Berkeley, CA
• Marie-Claire Picher, Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB), New York, NY
• Sylvia Posadas (Jinjirrie), Kadaitcha, Noosa, AUSTRALIA
• Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism, London, UK
• Danielle Ratcliff, San Francisco, CA
• Liz Roberts, War Resisters League, New York, NY
• Emma Rosenthal, contributor, Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation, Los Angeles, CA
• Penny Rosenwasser, PhD, Oakland, CA
• Suzanne Ross, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, The Riverside Church Prison Ministry, New York, NY
• Gabriel San Roman, Orange County Weekly, Orange County, CA
• Ian Saville, performer and lecturer, London, UK
• Joel Schwartz, CSEA retiree/AFSCME, New York, NY
• Tali Shapiro, Anarchists Against the Wall, Boycott From Within, Tel Aviv, OCCUPIED PALESTINE
• Simona Sharoni, SUNY, author, Gender & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Plattsburgh, NY
• Jaggi Singh, No One Is Illegal-Montreal/Solidarity Across Borders, Montréal, CANADA
• Michael S. Smith, board member, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, NY
• Pierre Stambul, Union juive française pour la paix (French Jewish Union for Peace), Paris, FRANCE
• Muffy Sunde, Los Angeles, CA
• Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of Jacobin, Bronx, NY
• Tadamon! (, Montréal, CANADA
• Ian Trujillo, atheist, Los Angeles, CA
• Gabriella Turek, PhD, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
• Henry Walton, SEIU, retired, Los Angeles, CA
• Bill Weinberg, New Jewish Resistance, New York, NY
• Abraham Weizfeld, author, The End of Zionism and the liberation of the Jewish People, Montreal, CANADA
• Ben White, author, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination, and Democracy, Cambridge, UK
• Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner, NYS Task Force on Political Prisoners, New York, NY
• Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, founding member, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)
• Asa Winstanley, journalist for Electronic Intifada, Al-Akhbar and others, London, UK
Ziyaad Yousef, solidarity activist
* List in formation
* Organizations listed for identification purposes only
* Contact us at:
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Of Occupation, Resistance and Women

By Roqayah Chamseddine

Women duck from tear gas canisters at Women's Day rally
Women at the heart of struggle
Despite the establishment of stale orientalist campaigns, created in the name of women’s liberation in the Middle East and North Africa, the existence of enduring, self-sufficient women in the region has far-reaching historical context. The search for female Middle East voices amongst pundits in the mainstream media echoes the same tired “Palestinian Gandhi” aphorism; analysts have long used Laurence of Arabia-esque exoticism as a means to portray the women of the Arab world, in that if they are not subservient housewives they are coy and reserved daughters, sheltered and locked away by the domineering male figures in the household.

These conjectures are not false in their entirety, but they are also not subjective as to one specific region, culture, religion or people.

The pervasive Western tradition of characterizing an entire community by certain traits, which their Western audiences can ooh and ahh at, has helped manufacture a plethora of distortions.

Jamila Bu Hreid of Algeria,
History confirms that Arab women have long played an active political role in their societies; from Egyptian women who demonstrated alongside men during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, against British occupation of Egypt and Sudan, to resistance fighter Jamila Bu Hreid of Algeria, who was nearly tortured to death by French occupation forces during the Algerian revolution and independence movement, lasting from 1954 to 1962, which resulted in Algeria gaining its independence from France.

South Lebanon, liberated in 2000 after nearly 22 years of Israeli occupation, was also home to female political action. Lebanese women would quietly supply resistance fighters with ammunition, often times wrapping them across their stomachs before passing through Israeli checkpoints unnoticed.

As of late, the women of the Arab world are being actively pursued by journalists, media figures and political commentators as sort of stock characters to be featured in their next editorial or television broadcast. Those usually courted by the media are there to reassert orientalist theories; for a Western audience to relish in sheer amusement, because for many an outspoken and visible Arab woman is an alluring token.

This has much to do with the current state of the Middle East and North Africa, specifically the uprisings that have captured the hearts and minds of many from across much of world. Prior to the deposing of Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali there was little to no media attention given to Arab women in respect to what role they played in the region, besides being propagandized as second-class to their more aggressive male counterparts.

Although the media claims to be on a scavenger-hunt of sorts, in search of the dauntless women of the Middle East, there has always been little talk of female Palestinian heroins and their struggle against Israel’s brutal system of apartheid and occupation of their native land.

The Palestinian village of Bil'in has hosted non-violent demonstrations weekly against the occupation of their land since 2005. For nearly 7 years an assemblage of men and women courageously face Israeli Forces in order to prevent further usurpation of their villages, the destruction of their resources and the subjugation of their people.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, one of many female Palestinian protesters, was killed by Israeli Forces after inhaling extensive amounts of tear-gas during a non-violent demonstration in Bil'in in 2011; she suffered from severe asphyxiation and poisoning caused by ingredients in the tear-gas. Abu Rahmah’s brother Bassem was killed in 2009 after a tear-gas canister was fired at his chest by an Israeli soldier during a similar non-violent village demonstration.
Hana Shalabi, a 30 year old Palestinian woman from Jenin, is currently on a hunger-strike, protesting her administrative detainment without charge by the state of Israel:

"Hana Shalabi was released from over two years in administrative detention on 18 October 2011, as part of the prisoner exchange deal concluded by the Israeli government and Hamas, whereby 1,027 Palestinian political prisoners were released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Hana was re-arrested less than four months later on 16 February 2012, and immediately began a hunger strike in protest of her detention."

Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Shalabi has been subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment by Israeli Forces and despite having had her detention recently reduced from 6 months to four months since beginning her hunger-strike some 20 days ago she has declared that her hunger-strike will continue until her demand for freedom is met.

The archetypal Arab women most often approved of, for the viewing pleasure of television audiences, is one which is confined to a subservient role; a coy, bashful creature who’s raison d'être is based off of approval from a domineering male society. This decayed misconception attempts to brand every aspect of Middle Eastern and North African society as being a homogeneous Disney caricature has long been refuted by those much like Hana Shalabi and Jawaher Abu Rahmah, and a great number of other women who are deliberately ignored by the mainstream media.

Women of the Middle East and North Africa are of compelling strength, doubtless courage and incorruptible dignity and history is laden with prominent female activists, poets, authors and political figures from this region who have have long existed, despite the deliberate evasion of their stories and in the printing their names; and they will continue to exist.
Source: Al-Manar Website
09-03-2012 - 14:12 Last updated 09-03-2012 - 14:18

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