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Syria and the ‘devious’ Israeli connection — Dr. Olmert doth protest too much, methinks

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | September 18, 2013

In a September 9 blog for The Huffington Post, Dr. Josef Olmert seizes on Professor Stephen Walt’s open letter to Congressman Joseph Kennnedy, urging him to oppose the use of military force against Syria, as an opportunity to attack Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis that the influential — not “demonic” as Olmert chooses to misrepresent it — Israel Lobby has managed to skew U.S. foreign policy from its national interest. Writes Olmert:

So, under these circumstances, I eagerly expected to read about the Israeli connection of the Syrian problem, as well as it being behind the President’s decision to attack in Syria. Nothing of the kind in the open letter, and for good reason. The Syrian conflict has nothing to do with Israel. So was the case in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring started, so it was in Libya, where the US intervened ” from behind,” so it was in Egypt, where the secular-liberal Tamarud movement agitates against the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty and the deposed Muhammad Morsi related to Jews as descendants of pigs and monkeys.

Well, Israel has not been involved in all these situations, as well as in Yemen, Bahrain etc. because the Arab Spring had nothing to do with the Arab-Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It has to do with poverty, corruption, authoritarianism and sectarianism — all are huge issues which are concerned with the very fabric of the Arab state system, with basic ills of Arab societies; in sum, with issues that are mostly the makings of the Arabs, ones which ought to be solved by them.

The Arab Spring has been a cataclysmic, formative event, the most important to have happened in the Middle East since the heydays of Nasserism, back in the 1950′s. Such a huge event and no Israel connection, so where is the big thesis of Walt and Mearsheimer? How is it connected to the Middle East circa 2013? Well, it is not.

Dr. Olmert’s denial of an Israeli connection to the so-called “Arab Spring” is undermined, however, by his own biography. Although omitted from his “full bio” page at the HuffPost, the adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina is a contributor to an “online community” known as Fikra Forum, “that aims to generate ideas to support Arab democrats in their struggle with authoritarians and extremists.” Notwithstanding the high-sounding self-description, the pro-democracy “Arab” forum is in fact a creation of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that was itself created by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful and best known organization in the Israel Lobby.

Among Olmert’s fellow Fikra Forum contributors is Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that lobbies Washington for military intervention on behalf of the Syrian opposition. As Moustafa’s Israeli Fikra co-contributor no doubt remembers, an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal by SETF’s recently resigned political director, “Doctor” Elizabeth O’Bagy, was touted by John McCain and John Kerry during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing to bolster the dubious case for intervention in support of the supposedly “moderate” rebels.

So who does the one-time advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and the brother of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert think he’s fooling when he claims there’s no “ever devious” Israeli connection to the Syrian problem?

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worldwide corruption on the rise as public trust plummets – report

RT | July 10, 2013

A report by Transparency International has revealed the extent of worldwide corruption over the last two years, with Israel and Greece showing the highest levels among developed countries. Politicians are considered the most corrupt among all sectors.

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013, conducted by the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog, is a sampling of over 114,000 opinions of people from 107 countries. The survey asked participants about corruption and the institutions engaged in it.

The report shows that corruption numbers have increased over the last two years, along with the number of people exhibiting distrust toward their governments and law enforcement agencies.

Before the 2008 financial meltdown, 32 per cent of people believed their governments to be effective at tackling corruption. That figure has now fallen to just 23 per cent. Transparency International said in a press release that the report “shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of those institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice.”

The survey asked participants to rank the corruption levels of various institutions from 1 to 5, with 1 being “not corrupt at all” and 5 being “extremely corrupt.”

Political parties were perceived to be the most corrupt institutions worldwide, scoring 3.8 out of 5. Police forces came in second place with a score of 3.7. Public officials, civil servants, and the parliament and judiciary came in third place, scoring 3.6.

The media came in ninth place, although it was voted to be the most corrupt sector in Britain. The UK media has lost the respect of many residents in recent years – around 69 per cent of survey participants now believe the media is corrupt, compared to just 39 per cent in 2010.

“This very sharp jump is in large part due to the series of scandals around phone hacking, the Leveson Inquiry, and the concentration of media ownership,” said Robert Barrington, head of the British wing of Transparency International.

Business and private sectors, along with the healthcare sector, came in at eighth on the corruption scale, with the education system not far behind. The military and NGOs took the 10th and 11th places.

Although religion came in last place on the corruption scale, it still ranked among the most corrupt in certain countries, including Israel, Japan, Sudan and South Sudan.

Of all OECD members surveyed, the corruption levels of Greece and Israel came in first and second place respectively, with their political and cultural institutions ranking at the top of the corruption meter.

Over 80 per cent of Israelis believe that one must have contacts very high up in the public sector in order to get anything done. Transparency International says it sees “deep-rooted failures of governance” in Israel. A similar figure was seen in Lebanon, Russia, and Ukraine.

Arab countries have seen a rise in corruption since their 2011 uprisings, although public anger against corrupt officials was what sparked the Arab Spring in the first place. The expectation of having cleaner, more transparent regimes did not match the countries’ political and business realities.

Of the four countries that experienced regime change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen feel that corruption has only increased since 2011. While 64 per cent of Egyptians think corruption is on the rise, a staggering 80 per cent of Tunisians believe that to be the case within their country. Eighty-four per cent of Lebanese citizens believe corruption to be on the rise in within their nation, while only around half of Libyans believe that corruption is worsening.

Egypt leads the pack in anti-police sentiments, largely because police violence has injured so many people over the past year. The 80 per cent disapproval rating dropped to only 45 per cent when Egyptians were asked about the military, which just several days ago ousted former Islamist-backed president Mohamed Morsi.

To glean more analysis on the increasing slide into corruption and public distrust of political institutions, RT talked to Finn Heinrich, who is director of research at Transparency International in Berlin. He sees the world as split into two major trends. The first is petty corruption and bribery in the southern hemisphere – mostly Africa, where citizens feel there is no other way to take care of one’s day-to-day needs. The second is corruption on a more official level, which is witnessed in the northern and western parts of the world – mainly in business and politics governed by financial greed.

As a way out of the situation, Heinrich believes “you really need to be in it in a long-term. You can’t expect quick gains from the fight against corruption. So, I think what we see in many of those countries are the upheavals which you find in many countries, including many post-communist countries, after revolution where old systems are no longer intact and new systems are yet to be built. So, corruption is on the rise. We hope that the new leaders, compared to their predecessors, are really taking the challenge of setting up systems of transparency and accountability much more serious.”

Heinrich thinks that only an integral and comprehensive effort can last, and that effort must include both the government and its citizens.

Transparency International is the world’s foremost organization on fighting corruption. It has 90 chapters worldwide, which aim to raise awareness and establish methods of tackling corruption and measuring its harmful effects.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Erdogan Gets Taste of His Own Medicine?

By Daniel McAdams | LRC | June 1, 2013

After nearly a week of increasing public protests in Turkey, ostensibly over government plans to turn a last bit of green space in Istanbul into another shopping mall, matters became far more serious on Friday. Riot police descended on the protestors with various forms of tear gas (and possibly worse chemical and biological agents — raw sewage?) and water cannon, blasting everyone and everything in sight including non-participants. When they caught protestors, they beat them violently and brutally, as can be seen in this video. Photographs show that police fired tear gas into crowded underground metro stations, leading to panic and worse. Istanbul looks like a war zone.

Today indications are that protests have only increased in number and fury in response to the violence with which they were met yesterday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come under increased criticism at home over his enthusiastic support for those fighting to overthrow the government in neighboring Syria. Turkish government support for the rebels came early and has included providing safe havens for the Islamist insurgents and safe passage into Syria from Libya, Yemen, and other countries of the insurgents’ origin.

Erdogan’s stated policy of “zero problems with neighbors” has been turned on its head by his support for the rebels fighting next door. Public dissatisfaction with the Turkish government’s policy of encouraging an Islamist insurgency next door has steadily increased.

The insurgents fighting the Syrian government were still unsatisfied by the level of support they received from their Turkish hosts and they took to false flag attacks in places like Reyhanli and a planned false-flag sarin gas attack on southern Turkey in Adana in attempt to provoke a Turkish (and NATO) military response against Syria.

Suddenly the tables are turned at home.

Faced with a nascent but growing protest movement of his own, Erdogan expresses a very different view toward the people in the street. The Prime Minister strongly supported the “Arab Spring” overthrow in Egypt and supports the overthrow of Assad next door because he said the leaders of these countries did not listen to their people. Just last week he met with President Obama and agreed that “Assad must go.” Now with protesters in Turkey chanting “Erdogan must go” he is singing a different tune. Now “the people” he claimed to speak for — on the streets in Egypt and Syria, at least — were, in Turkey, “with terror, have dark ties,” in his words.

Suddenly “the people” are not so noble when they are calling for his ouster. With the tables turned on Erdogan, he can only demand order! “I call on the protesters to stop their demonstrations immediately,” he thundered yesterday.

Erdogan caught the tiger by the tail and thought he would become a new Ottoman Sultan. Reality bites back hard on the streets of Istanbul and elsewhere. This is far from over.

June 1, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkey: AKP loses public support on Syrian policy

Rehmat’s World | September 24, 2012

Some readers will be surprised to know that Erdogan’s regime-change in Damascus policy has nothing to do with AKP’s moral support for the Syrian Sunni majority. It’s based on greed for the Middle Eastern petro-dollars. Since last year, AKP leaders have received huge investment promises from rich regional American puppet rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in return for distancing from Iran, Iraq and Syria. On April 29, 2011, Al-Arabiya News reported that Riyadh had promised to invest $600 billion in Turkey’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors in the next 20 years. Turkish companies are looking forward to grab some contracts from Qatar’s $170 billion investment in infrastructure, stadium and hotel projects ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

However, Turkey’s booming economy has failed to maintain AKP’s earlier popularity among its voters. AKP’s knee-jerk foreign policy toward some of Turkey’s Muslim neighbors is costing the party in a big way. The latest poll shows AKP’s popularity among its committed Islamist voters has dipped to its lowest point. The results of an August Andy-Ar survey shows that only 18.3% of respondents said they favored Ankara’s handling of sectarian violence in the Arab world especially in Syria – while 67.1% Turks disapproved AKP’s Syrian policy. The overall AKP support dropped from 49.2% in July to 46.7% in August.

Damascus and several independent think tanks and political analysts have blamed Turkey for running a proxy war on behalf of US-Israel. Bashar Al-Assad in a television speech had blamed Ankara for bloodshed in Syria and ridiculed Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu for proposing  UN-backed buffer zones along Turkish-Syrian border.

American political and military strategists have come to the conclusion that American dominance of Middle East is on a rapid decline – leaving the Zionist regime alone to survive in the heart of an anti-Zionist Muslim world. This was the very reason the US State Department gave birth to the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ in 2008. The plan to destabilize the Muslim world was cooked-up during a meeting in New York city by the CIA, Mossad and several Zionist Jewish heads of  social networking sites to implement the ‘New Middle East’ project. In July 2012, Gabriel M. Scheinmann, a visiting Fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), admitted that the Zionist entity is in fact the winner of the Arab Spring.

In order to counter Iran’s rise as the regional power , the US pushed Ankara to lead the Arab Sunni Muslim majority against Shia Iran with the help of western poodles like Saudi and Qatar ‘royals’. However, with the election of Dr. Mohamed Morsi as president of Egypt, Erdogan’s dream of becoming the leader of Sunni Arab has gone down the drain. Egypt, with the largest Arab population in the region – has always held a strategic position in the region. Last week, Morsi irked Washington by asserting that the bloody confrontation in Syria cannot be resolved without the active participation of Iran – which has been the views of both Russia and China for a long time.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s opposition party, Republican People’s Party (CHP), is very critical of AKP’s Syrian policy. He recently said that the AKP’s policy on Syria “was short-sighted and has already collapsed”.

Some Turkish analysts believe that if Bashar al-Assad is not removed from power by the pro-Israel rebel groups in the next month or so – the AKP will reverse its policy on Syria in order to shore-up its declining vote bank.

September 24, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turkey: AKP loses public support on Syrian policy

Russian stance on Bahrain at UNSC ‘unprecedented development’

Al-Manar | August 11, 2012

The Bahraini Freedom Movement issued a statement Friday in which it described the Russian demand in the Security Council as an “unprecedented development.”

“Russia has asked the UN Security Council to debate the case of Bahrain where a popular revolution has been taking place for the past 18 months. This reflects the new direction of Russian policies in the Middle East following two decades of downward opportunities following the fragmentation of the former Soviet Union. Earlier, the Chinese representative at UNSC had said that its double standards in dealing with the Arab Spring revolutions had damaged its impartiality,” the statement read.

“The internationalization of the Bahraini revolution will be a blow to the Al-khalifa and Al-Saud policies as they attempt to destroy the Bahraini revolution with shear state terrorism. The American and British military and security support of the despotic rulers of Bahrain is causing unease on the international scene especially after the recent flare up of the Syrian situation,” it added.

Turning to the Bahraini revolution, the Movement said that “among the recent deaths by chemical gases is a fetus in his mother’s womb. Atiyya Hassan Jassim Al Nakal of Sitra has confirmed that his wife had suffered a miscarriage following the inhalation by the mother of excessive amounts of chemical gases and tear gas. His family has been devastated. More than fifty citizens have lost their lives as a result of excessive use of chemical gases by the Al-khalifa and Al-Saud forces occupying the country.”

“Another detained human rights activist is Zainab Al Khawja who was arrested last week for protesting at a roundabout. Amnesty International has called for her immediate release. It said: In the past nine months Zainab Al-Khawaja has been arrested and released several times. She has been put on trial several times for “illegal gathering” and “insulting officials.” She is still facing three more trials,” it stated.

“Meanwhile the revolution has gained momentum in recent weeks following intensification by the regime of its barbaric attacks on civilian areas. About thirty demonstrations every day and night in almost all neighborhoods are taking place. The routine has become standard. The youth would gather at a place and would march followed by women procession. Few minutes later they would be attacked by overwhelming forces using chemical gases and tear gas canisters. A fracas would often ensue, and confrontations would continue for hours. While the troops would fire large amounts of lethal gases, shotguns and rubber bullets the youth would try to stop the attackers using petrol bottles to defend their own homes,” it noted.

“It is now clear that no settlement is possible between the people and the ruling family and the only way out is for the Al-khalifa to go,” the statement concluded.

August 11, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russian stance on Bahrain at UNSC ‘unprecedented development’

Sudan’s National Congress Party defiant amid electricity rates hike protests in Khartoum

Sudan Tribune | July 22, 2012

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has again dismissed the significance of protests that erupted in different part of the country over the last month describing them as “isolated”.

On Sunday night some hundreds of demonstrators took the streets in areas south of the capital Khartoum to protest a previously unannounced increase in electricity rates that were introduced yesterday which were as high as 150%.

There was no official explanation from the government regarding the rate change.

The move contradicted government assertions made in the past that electricity rates would remain unchanged following the inauguration of the multi-billion dollar Merowe dam in northern Sudan three years ago.

Police and security officers managed to disperse the protests which continued until late into the night in Buri Lamab and and Jebel Awlia areas in Khartoum State.

Abdel-Jalil al-Karoori, a member of the NCP leadership bureau, said that the protests that began in late June are “isolated” and not reflective of the general sentiments among the people.

He stressed that the government is putting significant efforts to contain the economic crisis and accused the opposition of attempting to exploit it politically.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting that Sudan’s GDP growth will shrink by 7.3% in 2012 following the secession of the oil-rich South a year ago. South Sudan now controls what used to be 75% of the formerly united Sudan’s oil production worth billions of dollars.

The government scrambled to find alternatives in the form of expanding gold exploration which is not expected to make up for the revenue shortfall any time soon. Moreover, Sudanese officials have made little progress in attempts to get financial aid from Arab and friendly nations.

China, a major ally of Sudan, has suspended funding to dozens of projects citing the lack of oil collateral after South Sudan broke away.

In a bid to redeem the state’s ailing finances, the government announced a number of measures including the lifting subsidies on fuel which increased frustration among ordinary Sudanese who are struggling to make ends meet amid rising prices.

Annual inflation hit 37.2% in June this year, double the level in June 2011.

Furthermore, the government partially devalued the currency in a bid to further align it with the black market exchange rate and encourage those with US dollars to sell them in the official market. The move meant that Sudan will pay more for imports considering that much of its needs, including many basic food products come from abroad.

The government has also slashed ministries on the federal and local levels to cut expenses but economists say that the step is largely symbolic and would have a negligible impact on the budget.

Despite widespread anger among Sudanese citizens with the measures, only small protests broke out, which saw the participation of few hundred. Khartoum insists that the demonstrations do not amount to an “Arab Spring” as activists have hoped.

In Khartoum, a senior NCP official further downplayed its significance.

“Of more than 5,000 mosques in Khartoum only two protested [after Friday prayers]. That can give you the size of the whole thing,” NCP’s external relations secretary Ibrahim Ghandour told Reuters.

Ghandour revealed that the government would keep in place some fuel subsidies until the end of 2013 to minimise social pressures.

“I don’t think the government will go and fully lift subsidies to oil. That would be a very unwise political and economic decision,” he said.

The NCP official said the austerity measures would generate savings of 7 billion pounds, enough to close a finance gap of around 6.5 billion pounds, stated by Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool, due to the loss of oil revenues.

“The goodies… of those economic arrangements are expected to start coming out at the end of the year provided that the Bank of Sudan [central bank] was able to support the pound,” Ghandour said.

He acknowledged that the central bank has been unable to stop a slide of the pound against the dollar, despite the partial devaluation.

“Until now they managed [to stabilise] to a degree but now the dollar is coming up in the equivalent [black] market,” the NCP official said.

“The Bank of Sudan [central bank] cannot in my opinion continue to support the pound against the dollar. They need new measures,” Ghandour added.

To stop the slide Ghandour said the central bank should license more foreign currency exchange bureaus to attract more dollars from Sudanese who are using the black market.

“Why don’t we open exchange offices for whoever wishes to sell and buy?” he said. “There are few very exchange offices.”

However, he ruled out a total liberalisation of the exchange rate, saying this would be a “disastrous” move.

July 23, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Sudan’s National Congress Party defiant amid electricity rates hike protests in Khartoum

JINSA: ‘Israel is winner of Arab Spring’

Rehmat’s World | July 17, 2012

In April 2011 – Turkish President Abdullah Gul in a New York Times Op-Ed, warned both Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama that the “Arab Revolution is aimed at Israel”. However, later events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria proved that Abdullah Gul was totally wrong.

Last week, Gabriel M. Scheinmann, a visiting Fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), admitted that the Zionist entity is in fact the winner of the so-called “Arab Spring”.

“The so-called “Arab Spring” has, paradoxically, made Israel stronger as Israel’s enemies have turned on each other. While Arab capitals burn, Jerusalem has calmly and carefully steeled itself against the possible immediate deleterious effects, building fences along its Egyptian and Jordanian borders and accelerating the deployment of its Iron Dome anti-missile system,” wrote Scheinmann. He then added: “Even as it rightly plans for the changes wrought by the “Arab Spring”, Israel should also recognize that as the Middle East convulses, it is more likely to be left alone. As Alawites battle Arab Sunnis and Kurds in Syria, as Kurds target Turks in Turkey, as the Imazighen fight Arabs in Libya, as the Army contends with Islamists in Egypt, and as Sunnis and Christians confront Shiites in Lebanon, people don’t have the time, energy, or resources to fight the Jews in Israel. The more the region tears itself apart, the more Israel floats to the top, unscathed economically, militarily, or diplomatically. While an Islamist ascent is undesirable, the intervening disorder only makes Israel stronger.”

Karen DeYoung, in Gen. Colin Powell’s biography, ‘SOLDIER: The life of Colin Powell’, has quoted Powell twice saying that “the Iraq war was the product of Donald Rumsfeld’s absorption in the “JINSA crowd.” By the way, Dick Cheney was on JINSA’s Board of Advisors before becoming vice president, where he was joined by Ledeen, Feith, Perle, James Woolsey, and John Bolton.

Both AIPAC and JINSA are behind Washington’s regime change in Tehran.” So far the Israel lobby has failed to make its dream come true, as Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival, wrote: “The wars of 2001 and 2003 have fundamentally changed the Middle East to Iran’s advantage.”

Lebanon’s interior minister, retired Maj. Gen. Marwan Charbel in a recent interview with RT has claimed that the Zionist entity is the only country which has benefited from the so-called “Arab Spring”.

The so-called “Arab Spring” is the defacto working of Zionist elements in the United States. The brainchild is within the Israel-Firsters, and by extension the Zionist entity.

July 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel lobby celebrates Treasury’s successful use of “financial tools” to support Arab Spring

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | June 14, 2012

In his introduction to “Finding a Balance: U.S. Security Interests and the Arab Awakening,” the recently published fifth volume (.pdf) of The Washington Institute’s counterterrorism lecture series, editor Matthew Levitt writes:

Together, these lectures provide a window into both the struggle against extremism and the challenges and opportunities presented by the Arab Spring during the Obama administration’s third and fourth years in office. From finding new counterterrorism partners to keeping al-Qaeda and other illiberal forces at bay as new regimes take root, Washington and its allies must continue showing the flexibility and creativity that produced the State Department’s CSCC and facilitated the Treasury Department’s spectacular success at using financial tools to support democratic transition in the Middle East (emphasis added). After all, events in the region are still unfolding, and the outcome remains to be seen. Even as Washington and its allies contend with an evolving but still potent terrorist threat—including the rise of homegrown violent extremism—they have much more work to do in aiding the forces of democracy and liberalism in the Middle East. Although al-Qaeda and its affiliates have been remarkably absent from the Arab Spring to date, violent or nonviolent Islamist extremists could still hijack the revolutions orchestrated by liberal Arab youths and turn them to their own purpose. Preventing this will require timely analysis and creative thinking of the kind presented in this volume.

As Daniel L. Glaser, assistant secretary for terrorist financing in the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, remarked in his lecture, “Treasury’s Response to the Arab Spring,” Levitt, the director of WINEP’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Treasury Department, “played an integral role in the development of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.”

Those who still believe that the Arab Spring poses a threat to Israel need to consider this question: Why is the think tank AIPAC built so enthusiastic about the “spectacular success” of the lobby’s Treasury Department creation “at using financial tools to support democratic transition in the Middle East”?

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on Israel lobby celebrates Treasury’s successful use of “financial tools” to support Arab Spring

Lebanon: ‘Arab Spring benefits Israel only’

Rehmat’s World | June 8, 2012

In June 2006, both US secretary of state, Conoleeza Rice, and Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, unveiled the notorious anti-Muslim plan (New Middle East) for reshaping the map of the Middle East. The plan called for first creating instability, chaos, and violence within Muslim nation-states (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt) and then using ‘humanitarian military invasions’ to divide those countries – to make sure they never pose a threat to the Zionist entity.

Lebanon has always been a target of Zionists’ dream of a ‘Eretz Israel’. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had a vision of creating an Israeli-controlled Maronite Christian state along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and steal water from the Litani River for the newly established Jewish settlements.

“This is the time, he (Ben Gurion) said, to push Lebanon, that is, the Maronites in that country, to proclaim a Christian State…”, wrote Moshe Sharett in his personal Diary in 1954. The tactics, Sharett writes, were Gen. Moshe Dayan’s:

“According to him (Dayan), the only thing that’s necessary is to find an officer, even just a major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel…”

The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ was cooked-up during a meeting in New York city by the CIA, Mossad and several Zionist Jewish heads of  social networking sites to implement the ‘New Middle East’ project.

Lebanon’s interior minister, retired Maj. Gen. Marwan Charbel (a choice of country’s Christian president Gen. Michel Suleiman) in a recent interview with RT has claimed that the Zionist entity is the only country which has benefited from the Arab Spring.

“The Arab Spring has born no fruit for any of the affected countries, so the ongoing process should rather be called “the Israel Spring”, since no country now poses a threat to Israel. External forces seek to divide and weaken all the countries surrounding Israel in order to ensure that state’s security,” said Marwan.

June 10, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lebanon: ‘Arab Spring benefits Israel only’

A month is a long time in the Zionist “Clash” narrative

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | May 14, 2012

In an April 4 op-ed on titled “The Christian Era in the Middle East is Over,” Giulio Meotti declared:

Arab Christians have been Islamicized. Supported by the Vatican and the Orthodox Churches, they choose the war against the Jews. They will be paid back with their own extinction.

A little over a month later, Meotti appears to have changed his tune. In a May 12 op-ed on titled “Christians, Jews to unite against Islam?” the Italian author of “A New Shoah” reports on a new alignment of the Abrahamic religions:

The Coliseum, where thousands upon thousands of “Judaeis” have been massacred by the Roman emperors, became for one night an arena for alliance between Christians and Jews against “odium fidei,” or religious hatred.

Last Wednesday in Rome, Jewish leaders for the first time rallied alongside Christians in a candlelit vigil to denounce the attacks in the Middle East and Africa. It was “interfaith” or “ecumenical” dialogue at its best. Forget the theological questions, which remain unsolvable. There is an urgent mutual solidarity about the single most defining issue of our time: religious freedom.

It is about the right to life of Jews and Christians in an Islamicized Middle East. Speaking at the Coliseum, Rome’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni slammed Western “indifference” surrounding the massacre of minorities in the Middle East.

But if Meotti is so concerned about the massacre of Christian minorities in the region, why doesn’t he denounce the key role Israel partisans played in bringing about the Iraq War or their cheering on of the Arab Spring both of which have greatly facilitated the “Islamicized Middle East” he decries?

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

I Want My Sunni Back

By Sharmine Narwani | Al Akhbar | 2012-03-25

There is something quite unique about the Middle East’s “Resistance Axis” which includes Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas and a smattering of smaller groups opposed to western imperialism and zionism.

It is the only major grouping or alliance in the region that includes 1) Arab and Iranian, 2) Sunni and Shia, 3) Islamist and Secularist.

People in this part of the world use communal and political affiliations as a calling card. First name, last name, village of origin, neighborhood, school, mosque, church, group of friends, reading material…all of these things are a quick measure of “identity.”

This emotional link to community has often been exploited as a useful political tool to split people across national, political and religious lines. I have written before about these three “Mideast Stink Bombs,” cleverly wielded by dictators, religious extremists and western hegemonists to “divide-and-rule” the region’s populations to advantage.

The Resistance Axis poses an existential threat to these antagonists, whose very authority depends on vilifying the “Other:” the longterm Saudi project to demonize the Shia/Iran; pro-US autocrats and monarchies using “radical Islam” as an excuse to exclude moderate Islamists from the political process; manufacturing an Iranian “nuclear threat” to isolate a foe and justify weapons sales and military build-ups.

Instead, the rather successful alliance of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah annihilates the argument that these “differences” are unbreachable fault lines in the Middle East. We can see with our own eyes, that here – standing strong and supportive in the face of common external foes – are Shiite, Sunni, Islamist, Secularist, Arab and Iranian.

Wrenching Away Our Sunni

So it is not at all surprising that the moment the Arab Spring touched a member of this Axis – Syria –all hands came on board to exploit any vulnerabilities and crow about the imminent break-up of the Resistance.

I recall the Wall Street Journal first breaking the Hamas-defecting-from-Axis story – it was called: Hamas Removing Staff From Syria – that bit was true. The next two paragraphs, however, greedily projected on the storyline: “The Islamic militant group’s parting of ways with Mr. Assad…” and the even more ambitious “Leaving Syria also distances Hamas from Iran…”

Plenty of Hamas officials went on the record denying a break with Syria and Iran, but the WSJ story grew legs, arms and heads. Not many western journalists rushed to cover the visit of Hamas’ top official in Gaza travelling to Iran afterward. But they went full-court press when the very same Ismail Haniyeh addressed a select crowd inside Cairo’s Al Azhar Mosque, saying: “I salute all people of the Arab Spring, or Islamic winter, and I salute the Syrian people who seek freedom, democracy and reform.”

The New York Times’ unabashed interpretation of that solitary quote leads its breaking story: “A leader of Hamas spoke out against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Friday, throwing its support behind the opposition…”

Actually, no. Assad and Iran and Russia and China also claim to support freedom, democracy and reform for the Syrian people. They are just as vague about from whence this freedom, democracy and reform will come as was Haniyeh during his Friday Prayer sermon.

So where exactly does Hamas stand on Resistance? And what does this mean for the future of the group and the geopolitics of the region?

The Arab Spring has made way for the “established opposition” in various countries to unseat autocratic governments. The most entrenched opponents of secular, pro-US regimes in the Mideast happen to be Islamists – most of which are of Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) origin, like Hamas.

But while Hamas was marked as an early “winner” of the Arab Spring – their co-religionists in Egypt were, after all, meant to sweep away the previous regime’s oppressive actions against Gaza – they instead found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place in Syria.

It is the old holdover of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria that forms the backbone of the opposition there. And so Hamas found itself in the indelicate position of being expected to choose between its Islamist identity and its Resistance identity. It is worth noting that other Islamist Resistance Axis members do not seem to struggle with the issue: even other Sunni groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) who have also been under scrutiny over this very issue. It really begs the question: is Hamas just too big a Resistance prize for regional players who want this Axis destroyed? The ones courting Hamas assiduously – and asking them to make these choices – are the same ones trying to break Syria’s back, isolate Iran, neutralize Hezbollah and stop armed resistance in Gaza (PIJ).

Hamas: Islamist or Resistance?

It is a difficult challenge for the group. The fact is that Hamas is both Islamist and Resistance. The question of whether one prevails over the other is an interesting one, and has been with me since my August 2010 interview with Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal, at which time I concluded: “Hamas is clearly a national liberation movement that has at it roots a “resistance” outlook. It’s focus is the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation, and the group’s Islamist character complements rather than competes with Hamas’ political objectives.”

Meshaal even took a crack at explaining the roots of the Resistance Bloc, which has long been an area of interest for me: “The forming of this bloc is a natural consequence of events in the region – firstly, the presence of Israel and its atrocities against the region, and then the failure of the negotiation process to achieve something substantial… So there is a vacuum. There is a fiasco. There is a frustration. There is an increasing fury and anger among the masses. And now, embarrassment at the official level in the region. Resistance has therefore become an attractive model for states in the region.”

Prescient statement. The Arab Awakening, of course, kicked off a few short months later in Tunisia.

But then Meshaal said something very interesting, which I think goes to the heart of this Axis. Pointing to Iran, Syria, Turkey, Sudan and Qatar, Meshaal insisted: “They each have their own modus operandi and interests. Something these nations do share, however, is the self-desire to develop this new trend, but at the same time to remain open – not closed or bound – to enjoying options.”

In other words, the Resistance Axis is not an ideological grouping – it is an opportunistic one. An alliance based more on common goals than commonalities. When Saudi Prince Faisal famously quizzed Meshaal about his alliance with Iran, the Hamas chief explained: “Yes, we have relations with Iran and will do so with whomever supports us. We will say thank you to them, but this is not at the expense of our Arab relations. We are a resistance movement, open to the Arabs, to the Muslims and to all countries in the world, and we are not part of any agenda for regional forces.”

Does Hamas know where Hamas is going?

Which brings us to today. In my view, Hamas is exploring its options right now. I have confirmation from both Hamas and Iran that financial assistance continues as before. And it seems that every time speculation about worsening relations hits a peak, a senior Hamas official pops up in Tehran to dispel rumors.

Syria is a much harder problem. Hamas officials tell me that the reason for vacating their political office in Damascus is because other nationals were refusing to meet them in Syria. But let’s be honest, the sectarian undercurrents in both Syria and the region – fanned heavily by Saudis, Qataris, Salafists and the western cabal hyper-focused on Iran – are putting the screws on Hamas.

The group is under tremendous pressure from these parties to break from the Resistance Axis, which many have disparagingly dubbed the “Shiite Crescent.” They have offered money, incentives, sanctuary to Hamas. They have used threats. They have invoked the “Brotherhood” of the Sunni. But then consider this: why, a year later, are we still uncertain of Hamas’ position regarding its alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria.

A rather observant pro-Resistance source remarked the other day: “Hamas is under tremendous pressure to criticize Syria, and that’s all they came up with? It’s not very convincing. Hamas is not giving opinions voluntarily about Syria, I can assure you.”

As Hamas looks to the future and finds many natural co-religionist allies in the various Ikhwan groups emerging on the Arab political landscape, it will be faced with the same dilemma – this time from a different direction. The Islamist character of Hamas may be more fulfilled, but will there be a big gaping hole in their resistance outlook?

Can the Ikhwan get them Palestine? Or can Iran, Syria and Hezbollah fulfill that long-held ambition? Part of the problem with the emerging Ikhwan political parties is that Saudi Arabia, Qatar – even the United States – are trying to guide their direction. If successful, that will not be a comfortable home for Hamas. These new “mentors” will not allow them much breathing space – these are the Old Regimes that actively support the regional Old Order and encourage “flexibility” with Israel.

The big dog-and-pony show of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation led to Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas taking the lead. What became of Hamas’ awkward Jordanian visit that was only possible because of Qatari hand-holding? Fatah and Jordan are the last places to look for a Palestinian solution – they are too beholden to western interests.

The new mentors will bang away at Hamas; demand political blood from the group; push them toward unpalatable concessions. A wise colleague points out: “Hamas will be finished when it becomes Fatah.”

In a 2009 interview with Usama Hamdan, Hamas’ international relations chief told me: “In the West, they try to shape you before dealing with you. This is the Palestinian experience. They’ve done this with Fatah. Hamas’ position is to say what we are, what we stand for – clearly – and we can defend our rights best that way.”

An equally-senior Hamas official told me recently in a lengthy off-the-record conversation that there were “good changes” taking place in the region, but “real dangers” ahead: “The international community does not care about the people of the region… the conflict still is between real independence and being under occupation – or the influence of outsiders.”

He also refuses the notion that Islamist trends in the region will end up hostile to the Resistance: “You can’t say the Ikhwan is against Resistance – they have been real supporters of Hamas.”

There are two main priorities for Hamas these days, he says: “The needs of the people in the region and dealing with Israel and its supporters.”

Hamas may evolve in the next few years, but if it cleaves to its core values – somewhere in the middle of the current leadership’s political spectrum – I think you will find a group that will not commit itself to concepts or allies outside of those parameters. The group will talk to all players, consider all options, test the new waters of this fast-changing region – as it should. In the final analysis, it is the liberation of Palestine that bestows popular legitimacy on this group, and Hamas will need to choose the path that best serves that goal.

And Resistance itself might change, as one Hamas official hinted to me. If sectarianism can be contained, when this ferocious geopolitical Battle of the Blocs is over, we might perhaps even see a clean sweep from the Persian Gulf to North Africa of people rejecting foreign hegemony and Zionism. This is what the Old Guard fears most – and the vast majority of Arabs, Iranians, Sunni, Shia, Islamists and Secularists wholeheartedly support.

It will take some time, but I will have my Sunni back.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

March 26, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Comments Off on I Want My Sunni Back

The Israeli Litmus Test

Ambassador Shapiro’s Revelations

By ALISON WEIR | September 14, 2011

While many Americans may believe that US policies are designed to address American needs, America’s new Ambassador to Israel explains that this is far from the case.

In a recent speech before the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), Ambassador Daniel Shapiro clarified what drives US policies:

“The test of every policy the Administration develops in the Middle East is whether it is consistent with the goal of ensuring Israel’s future as a secure, Jewish, democratic state. That is a commitment that runs as a common thread through our entire government.”

Shapiro went on to say:

“This test explains our extraordinary security cooperation, our stand against the delegitimization of Israel, our efforts on Iran, our response to the Arab Spring, and our efforts on Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

US funding of Israel and its weapons industry

Shapiro elaborated:

“Israel will receive over $3 billion in U.S. funding for training and equipment in the coming fiscal year.  This assistance allows Israel to purchase the sophisticated defense equipment it needs to protect itself, by itself, including the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  Our assistance has also helped boost Israel’s domestic defense industry.”

On top of this, Shapiro pointed out,

“Congress, at the request of President Obama, provided $205 million to accelerate production and deployment of the Iron Dome short-range missile system, a project to which I devoted particular attention during my tenure at the White House.”

Shapiro failed to note that this system competes with American defense firms, causing still further job loss for Americans, who have a higher unemployment rate than Israel.

Shapiro said that one of his first visits as Ambassador to Israel was to see an Iron Dome battery deployed near Ashkelon, where he “had very moving visits with the victims of rocket attacks in Ashdod.” Palestinian rocket attacks have killed approximately 20 Israelis. There is no report that Shapiro has visited the victims of Israeli shelling attacks on Gaza, where over 1,400 have been killed.

Opposing international initiatives

Shapiro said:

“The test of our policy – that it advances Israel’s status as a secure, Jewish, democratic state – also explains our commitment to vigorously battle against those who would attempt to isolate or delegitimize Israel in the international community.”

As a result, Shapiro said, the US withdrew from the South African conference on racism in Durban and vetoed UN efforts on Israel (which otherwise would have passed).

Currently, he said, the administration is “doing everything we can” to oppose the Palestinian bid for UN membership to come later this month. “We are taking our opposition to capitals around the world.”

This campaign is reminiscent of previous pro-Israel campaigns, including the original pressure brought by Israel partisans in 1947 on the UN General Assembly to pass a recommendation to give over half of Palestine to a Jewish state.

Policies on Iran based on Israeli concerns

Shapiro went on to say:

“The test of our policy – to advance Israel’s status as a secure, Jewish democratic state – explains our persistent efforts and the President’s determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“Since 2009, the United States has led the world in imposing the toughest sanctions ever against Iran, through U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, through the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act, and through additional sanctions imposed by European and other partners beyond those mandated by the U.N. Security Council…  We are working to increase pressure on Iran through additional means, and have taken no option off the table.”

Twenty years ago similar pressure on Iraq created a humanitarian catastrophe in which, according to the World Health Organization, over 5,000 children under the age of five died each month from “embargo-related causes.”

Arab Spring actions predicated on Israeli interests

Shapiro explained that concerns for Israel also drive the US administration’s actions regarding the Arab Spring:

“The test of our policy explains President Obama’s original outreach to the Muslim world, and his response to the Arab Spring.

“Israel’s interests were not served by the deep anger felt toward the United States in many Muslim communities, and the President made clear that those who would accept his outstretched hand must do so knowing that the United States will remain a fierce defender of Israel’s legitimacy and call on others to build their own connections with Israel.

“As the unprecedented events of the Arab Spring have unfolded, we have recognized the opportunity presented by the possible emergence of more open, transparent, peaceful, and democratic governments, who will make better neighbors, while remaining vigilant about the risks these changes could present.  We know the stakes for Israel are high, and in a situation where neither of us can control outcomes, we are working closely together to chart a common strategy.” 

Shapiro said that US support for a “two-state solution” is also based on Israeli desires, explaining that he and the Administration are “convinced that a two-state solution is the only way to guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.” Therefore, he said, the administration’s “vigorous pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace” also meets the pro-Israel test.

Need to bolster pro-Israel ties among Jewish Americans

Shapiro spoke of the close allegiance that most Jewish Americans feel for Israel, but expressed concern that “much research has shown that growing numbers of younger American Jews feel disconnected, or at best ambivalent, toward Israel.  Valuable programs like Birthright have exposed many to this connection, but many more have not been reached.”

He said that “a stronger commitment to Zionist education for American Jewish youth could do much to strengthen bonds that we want to be even stronger in the next generation, but may not be if left untended.”

Helping Israeli finances even further

Shapiro said that “one of the most fruitful opportunities for deepening ties” between Americans and Israelis is in the economic sphere:

“There are approximately one dozen American-Israel Chambers of Commerce throughout the United States, based in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.   These organizations are run and organized by Americans who care deeply about the U.S.- Israel relationship and strive to facilitate U.S.-Israel business connections.”

Shapiro pointed out:

“In 2010 alone the U.S. imported $21 billion of Israeli goods and services; that’s 10 percent of Israel’s GDP.   American companies and their representatives here directly employ about 60,000 Israelis; that’s fully 2 percent of Israel’s entire workforce. This figure does not include the many thousands more that are supported by American companies here as subcontractors or in downstream businesses.

“American companies have opened two-thirds of all foreign R&D facilities in Israel and brought in nearly 60 percent of all foreign direct investment.  In 2011, American companies have acquired ten Israeli startups to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars, not just for their products, but to establish leading international R&D centers tapping into the greatest asset of Israel’s people, their brainpower.  American-sourced venture capitalism provides more than half of all money for nascent technology companies to get off the ground.

“Just as other Diaspora communities are often in the lead in promoting economic ties with their countries of origin, many of these projects began because of Jewish-American ‘champions’ of corporate interaction with Israel.”

Ambassador Shapiro failed to mention that Israel’s current account balance is 29th in the world; the U.S. comes in at 196th.

1973 War and Shapiro’s personal ties to Israel

In his speech, Ambassador Shapiro recounted his personal history “for the insights it can give us about the connection of the American Jewish community to the U.S.-Israel relationship.” He stated:

“I am a proud member of our Jewish community in Washington, DC, active in a Conservative synagogue and the Jewish day school that my children attend and where my wife, Julie, worked for many years. And my profound respect for the State of Israel and its remarkable achievements stems from a lifetime of exposure to the extraordinary people who brought Theodore Herzl’s Zionist dream to life.”

Shapiro explained that his close attachment to Israel began in 1973 when he was four years old and his family spent a fall semester in Israel. They were there during the war in which Egypt and Syria tried to retrieve land that had been taken by Israel seven years before.

While Ambassador Shapiro didn’t go into this, there is a close US connection to the 1973 war, called by Israel and US media the “Yom Kippur War.”

Before and during this war, Saudi Arabia called on the US to pressure Israel to return the lands that it had taken and held since 1967, in violation of international law. Instead, Henry Kissinger arranged a massive airlift of US weaponry to Israel, saving Israel from losing the war.  This support led to the oil embargo against the US that caused a deep depression and cost thousands of Americans their jobs.

As historian Donald Neff later wrote, this boycott, induced by Kissinger’s weapons to Israel, left “economies around the world shattered and many individuals living poorer lives.” Neff wrote that while “Kissinger admitted, ‘I made a mistake,’ skeptics might wonder whether it was a mistake, or wanton disregard of U.S. interests during a passionate effort to help Israel.”

Shapiro explained that the 1973 war had a major impact on his family:

“By the end of the war, and even more so, by the end of our stay, our family’s relationship with Israel had been utterly transformed, from a solid but light connection to the deepest of bonds.  Throughout the remainder of my childhood, family dinner conversations turned easily to events in Israel, from the thrill of the peace with Egypt to the anguish of the Lebanon War [initiated by Israel; fatalities were approximately 25:1 Lebanese to Israelis].  The ample bookshelves in my parents’ home grew laden with studies in Zionism, Jewish history, and Israeli literature.

“A product of the Reform Movement, I nurtured my own connection to Israel primarily through summer camp experiences at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, an unlikely setting for some of the most innovative Jewish and Zionist education to be found anywhere.

“These experiences led me to spend half a year after high school in Israel on a Reform Movement program, living with an Israeli family in Jerusalem, studying at Hebrew Union College, traveling widely throughout the country, and volunteering on Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava.

“I returned for my sophomore year of college at Hebrew University, supplementing my studies with work as a waiter at the wedding hall in the Beit Knesset HaGadol and long walks in Rehavia, where my girlfriend – who is now my wife of 19 years – took an apartment.

“In the years since, I have made Israel, its history and people, its quest for peace and security in the Middle East, and its relationship with the United States, the centerpiece of my academic studies at Brandeis and Harvard, my work on Capitol Hill, and my service in the Clinton and Obama Administrations.”

Shapiro emphasized that in many ways his story is not unique, stating that “it is impossible to deny the special connection that most in the American Jewish community feel for Israel…. wherever they fall on the political spectrum, and whatever their views on American policy, Israeli policy or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the vast majority of American Jews care deeply about Israel…”

Shapiro said that he is deeply honored that President Obama has entrusted him with the “task and responsibility of strengthening and deepening” US ties to Israel.

Shapiro concluded:

“… as a committed Jewish American, with deep roots in the American Jewish community and warm bonds of affection with Israel, I will have an opportunity to draw on those associations to help make the U.S.-Israel relationship, strong as it is, even stronger in the years ahead.”

Alison Weir is Executive Director of If Americans Knew and President of the Council for the National Interest. She can be reached at


September 14, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 6 Comments