Saturday, August 26, 2006

'Law Put to Unusual Use in Hezbollah TV Case, Some Legal Experts Say'

'Hezbollah says Israeli response was a surprise'

Friday, August 25, 2006

Israelican cluster bombs litter Lebanon

Beirut's Brutal Beauty

These are opportune times for the world to naturally realize, accept, and embrace Anarchism. And here are some (totally unchronological) words about Beirut by Dr. Patrick McGreevy:

Why and how does Beirut get under your skin? Is it simply the beauty of the place...Is it the sensuousness...Is it the easy hospitality...Is it the vitality...Is it the history...Is it the stories?

To understand the city, Walter Benjamin suggested, you must just walk until you are completely lost. In Beirut, a few steps will do.

Is it, then, the anarchy itself? Driving in Beirut, at first, can seem completely out of control, like being washed down a tube. If you let yourself flow, it eventually seems absolutely normal. After months of Beirut driving, I had to ask myself why I was so much more relaxed than when driving in the States? Then it occurred to me: there are no police, no one in your rear-view mirror, no one to give you a ticket: all responsibility was yours. Then I began to notice the nature of the anarchy all around me; without an imposed order, some things worked better. It all depended on us. Beirut is a city of relentless surprise...

Surprise?

Russia and Central Asian Allies Conduct War Games in Response to US Threats, by Michel Chossudovsky

Barely acknowledged by the Western media, military exercises organized by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, (CSTO) were launched on the 24th of August. These war games, officially tagged as part of a counter terrorism program, are in direct response to US military threats in the region including the planned attacks against Iran...

...The conduct of the CSTO war games must be seen as a signal to Washington that an attack on Iran could lead to a much broader military conflict in which Russia and the member states of the CSTO could potentially be involved, siding with Iran and Syria. Also of significance is the structure of bilateral military cooperation agreements. Russia and China are the main suppliers of advanced weapons systems of Iran and Syria. Russia is contemplating the installation of a Navy base in Syria on the eastern Mediterranean coastline. In turn, the US and Israel have military cooperation agreements with Azerbaijan and Georgia...

Israel ‘waging economic war on Lebanon’

By Roula Khalaf in Beirut, Financial Times

Mr Berri charged that Israel had been seeking to undermine Lebanon’s economy and that it had targeted companies during the war, including a milk factory and soft drink distributor, that had won contracts in the region against Israeli competitors...

...Mr Berri said it was “natural” to hear criticism but played down concerns that divisions would aggravate sectarian tensions. “What I care about is one thing: when Israel committed its crimes against the population and the property and 1m people were displaced, can you name one area that refused to take them in, can you name one party that didn’t take care of them?” he said.

“I care that there was unity in the face of the Israeli aggression. If after that, there are expressions of recrimination and criticism, that’s not something that is unacceptable.”

'Israel's Broken Process'

'Israel gives up on disarming Hizbullah'

Opinion: Israel Deserved "War Crime" Label

"What U.S. Jews now expect of Israel"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New lessons in the Mideast

Let's not get carried away, NY...

U.S. really needs to get a grip on handling explosives

Containers for Beirut "turned away by Israel"

UN: More than 350 Schools Destroyed or Severely Damaged

Divisions in Lebanese society and an interview with Aoun

In today's Guardian, Declan Walsh writes about "fears of fresh divisions within Lebanese society" in Rifts over Hizbullah form Lebanon's new green line.

And Mideastwire has translated one of Michel Aoun's interviews. It's an interesting read for those who wonder about the Muslim-Christian "divide" in Lebanon focused on by the Western media. Nicholas Noe has kindly forwarded me a copy:

On August 20, General Michel Aoun leader of Lebanon's Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and head of the parliamentary Reform and Change Bloc said on Al Jazeera: "...The resistance represents a big part of our people. In victory and in defeat we will live together. There is a balance and an existential link between us as Lebanese. We will accept victory together and we will also bear defeat together. I believe what Al-Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah said that it is a victory for Lebanon and he means all the Lebanese."

"...All such reports [as to the collapse of the Taif Agreement] emanate from threatened political positions. You know in this stage there are now political options, or certain political wagers that are misplaced. Those who hold such positions believe they are now threatened in those positions. That is why there is a kind of hostility in producing such rumours in order to frighten the Lebanese people. There is no cause for fear."

"... we said at the time that the human being will obstruct the destructive machine. Perhaps that equation made some people ridicule that assessment at the beginning, but it seemed that the assessment was correct. We said Hezbollah was not an armed group, it is the people - it is the people in reality."

"...There is a difference between criticizing a military action and an offensive criticism of the matter. No-one in Lebanon wanted a war. There is a will of resistance and objection to a war that was launched on Lebanon. That will of objection was steadfast and achieved what no-one had dreamed of. It should be preserved as a model. Of course, there is a time for everything. They argue that in Israel they are now taking the prime minister to task, but they are not taking him to task because he declared war, but perhaps because he made mistakes in managing the war, since he did not win it. That is the taking to task there. But in defense we must all be one front, regardless of various views, especially in humanitarian work, it is the duty of every citizen to engage in it. I believe this stage has strengthened the ties among the Lebanese. There is no fear that there will be unexpected political results from the military action. There is no need to frighten people. I believe there is a bad intention if some people continue to insist on
circulating rumours. I consider them people on the fringe who want to harm the Lebanese people and are planning for something else."

"...There is a little deception there. We must be objective, we have to criticize ourselves. I want to level criticism at Hezbollah, but I cannot consider the military operation carried out by Hezbollah a declaration of war. It was not a declaration of war. It was a limited military operation. The other side exploited it and used it as a pretext to declare war. But it was exposed. The preparations for war were exposed, the meetings were exposed. I believe it was the Americans who exposed it in their newspapers."

"...It was part of the general climate in which the incidents between Hezbollah and Israel have been occurring from 1985 to this moment. At this moment Israel changed the rules of the game and launched an all-out war on Lebanon. In that all-out war, the Lebanese should concentrate on Israel's transgressions in the war. To hold Hezbollah responsible for the destruction and for hitting the infrastructure, and
the destruction of Lebanese ports and the airport, and the killing of innocent people - to ignore all that and concentrate only on Hezbollah's mistake, is wrong. We can criticize Hezbollah but we must not forget the massacres that took place during the war and Israel's responsibility. We are today wholly concentrating on condemning Hezbollah on the matter of the war and we are forgetting Israel's
responsibility. Often in Lebanon, the victim bears the responsibility for the crime committed against him. When some political assassinations occur, one hears public opinion saying: Couldn't he have kept quiet? Why must he speak out?"

"...We have drawn up a mechanism so that Hezbollah's weapons will go to the state, but where is the state that will receive Hezbollah's weapons? The state still does not exist."

"...If Israel wants to launch another war of destruction that means it is as though there is a decision, which is agreed upon internationally, to condemn Lebanon to death. The United Nations must now shoulder its responsibility, and especially the great powers in the UNSC, the permanent members. Such threats of another round are unacceptable. Why another round?"

"...I believe the Americans are pragmatic. Everyone talks about American pragmatism. It is inconceivable that Hezbollah which stood fast in the face of the best army in the Middle East can be considered a terrorist party. Secondly, it was fighting on its own land. Hezbollah was not fighting on anyone else's territory. We have put forward solutions and we would not have had got to this war had they adopted those solutions. We have two simple rights: 40 square kilometres in the Shab'a Farms and three prisoners in Israel....Our responsibility towards Israel in this matter is to ensure calm and security on the border. Israel can ask about security along the border, but it has no right to ask us to account for what we do inside the country."

"...The reformation of the government. It is futile to try with the present government which is wholly responsible for the present situation. It is collectively responsible, I hold Hezbollah responsible and I hold the majority responsible. They are the government and I am in opposition. I tried to reconcile them and I did not succeed with the paper of understanding. Now they bear the responsibility for what happened. Previously, I was asked on a television programme: You had an understanding with Hezbollah, why are they still in the government? Therefore Hezbollah together with the government bears responsibility for the situation if it deteriorates. The present government is fully responsible for the present situation. It couldn't do anything suitable to curb the violations which led to this hot stage.

"Here I would like to point out, because every time it is said that Hezbollah is covered by the ministerial statement in its operations: They say we gave it the vital backing to start the war. They are escaping the responsibility of military action and they are shifting it to the FPM. Most of them, the merchants of politics, say Gen Aoun is responsible. If they were men who shoulder their responsibilities they should have all resigned from the government and formed a new government when the disagreement with Hezbollah occurred. However, since they remained together with Hezbollah in the same government they all together bear the responsibility. They cannot say that I gave a cover to Hezbollah in the ministerial statement and I am its partner in the government and then hold a third person responsible. That is a
political innovation of the negligent members of the government who are subservient to the majority. That is something regrettable and we have been silent on it for a long time, but it must end with them taking all responsibility."

"...They bear moral responsibility. From the day the government was formed I said it lacks harmony and solidarity and it will be a disaster for Lebanon. I said this to Ms. Rice when she came to the US embassy and asked me why I did not join the government. I said to her the government lacks harmony and solidarity, and it will be a failure...When we tried to have the members of the government agree on the main contentious points, the majority also refused to heed our advice. Now you see the result. It is not important that in the end we say it is Hezbollah that bears the responsibility for the outbreak of the war. What did we do to put an end to the series of events that brought us here? That is the responsibility of the government which lacked foresight and vision."

"...The reason is that the existence of a moderate line of thought, which is also independent and is not mortgaged to any external will, means it could stand up and be decisive within government. And it's a moderate Christian line of thought. And it is possible that I can resolve the matter. That is why they were exposed in front of me at the dialogue table with regards to Syria. When matters became confused I
proposed the idea of a joint delegation to go there and we said let's all of us together reach an understanding with Syria or let's all of us together disagree with Syria. The plan didn't work because each one had his own calculations. If we were in the government, not just at the monthly session of the dialogue, the matter would have been forcefully put forward and then no-one could escape it. That is why I am present with all my strength and I am prepared to help with all my mind. However, I cannot avoid all the ploys that are concocted."

"...I do not fear such a political coup [by Hezbollah] at all. That is the kind of fear intended to mobilize the people against Hezbollah. In the present stage, Hezbollah should be left to remove the rubble. Where is the dynamism of the state in keeping abreast with the events? We did not see the state with those who left their homes and we did not see it with the returnees, and we did not see it with those who are lifting the rubble and removing the dead and wounded."

"...A national unity - I am not asking to take part in government, but if they want a solution that is the solution. Call it a national unity government or call it reformation of the government in a balanced manner - not a national unity government where you bring all the sides in an unbalanced manner. There are real forces that must be represented, each according to its strength - not represented by the strength of its neighbour. You cannot have anyone represent the Christians, or anyone represent the Shi'is, or anyone represent the Sunnis, or anyone represent the Druze. There are real forces that have a representative capacity which must be present in a national unity government. Now there is a numerical balance, but is there a balance in the power to make decisions? We want a balance in the power of decision making. We want participation in the power of decision making. If a
minister goes abroad we want a report from him, a report that is binding on him so that we have a state with documentation, a state that knows what it is doing. They are taking Hezbollah to task, but shouldn't they do better than it?"

"...Until they hold elections. If they do not acknowledge this, then let elections be held tomorrow and let them win the majority. As long as I am in this parliament, I represent the majority of Christians, the votes. That does not mean if they lose the votes with other alliances I have lost my representative capacity or I have become a minority. I am not a minority. I represent an overwhelming majority and I have the right to represent the Christians regardless of my secular thinking which I seek to implement in the future. However, until now I - and not any other person - represent the Christians. We are in a political system in which I have a right to represent them. They are not represented by subordinates whose voice we hardly hear. We hear them on television, but we have never heard them in the cabinet."

"...I am General Aoun. You know me in military life since 1955, from the time I became a cadet in the army. I rose through all the military ranks and all combat positions, and I fought for Lebanon, and you know me. I also fought politically for Lebanon. At one stage I confronted all the political forces, and they included Syria, the United States and Israel in 1990. I refused to submit to decisions that infringed on Lebanon's sovereignty. My stand is still the same. In my view I adopted
the right stand in order to assure you and for the sake of your future, and to protect you and protect your livelihood, and so that you remain dignified, assured and respected in this homeland. Even if there is an international game against Lebanon, God forbid, you must remain stable and calm. There is nothing on your conscience; you have not done anything wrong. On the contrary, your attachment to your homeland and your openness to others, mean you have a clear conscience. Persevere in this behaviour and do not listen to rumours..."

Lebanon: A greater folly than '82 war

Robert Fisk: Untold story of the massacre of Marjayoun leaves blame on both sides of the border

Israeli military admits Lebanon failings

By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - In a letter to the troops, Israel's military chief acknowledged publicly for the first time Thursday that there were shortcomings in the military's performance during the recent fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon...

..."Alongside the achievements, the fighting uncovered shortcomings in various areas — logistical, operational and command. We are committed to a thorough, honest, rapid and complete investigation of all the shortcomings and successes."

"Questions will be answered professionally, and everyone will be investigated — from me down to the last soldier," according to the letter, released by the military Thursday...

While Halutz was owning up to military missteps, the head of the Shin Bet security service was calling the war "a fiasco" in his first public statement on the fighting...

'Israeli Military Places Blame for Killings on U.N. Force'

Negotiations Preceded Attack On Convoy of Fleeing Lebanese
Israeli Military Places Blame for Killings on U.N. Force

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, August 24, 2006; A14

"I could never have imagined that there could be an attack on this convoy of 3,000 civilians, men, women and children," said Karamallah Daher, who was driving to Beirut that night with his 80-year-old mother, Neifeh...

The attack on the convoy, during the height of fighting on Aug. 11, was one of the least understood and most tragic chapters of the 33-day war between Hezbollah and Israel. For reasons still under dispute, a column of hundreds of cars carrying Lebanese troops and panic-stricken civilians from the border town of Marjayoun came under a sustained Israeli missile attack more than 30 miles north of the battle zone along the Lebanese-Israeli frontier...

Israel adds 2 nuclear-capable submarines

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Maybe we can commission Hezbollah to rebuild the World Trade Center"

Why America Needs Hezbollah , By Ted Rall

Who cares if Hezbollah is a State Department-designated terrorist organization? Unlike our worthless government, it gets things done!

...You know the U.S. has gone Third World when bombed-out Lebanese get a better deal than we do...Hezbollah gives out "decent and suitable furniture" and a year's free rent to all Lebanese who lost their homes. Unlike the racist government officials who managed the botched response along the Gulf Coast last year, where whites were rescued while blacks were shot, the Shiite terrorist group's offer also applies to Sunnis, Christians and even Jews...Hezbollah men also traveled door to door checking on residents and asking them what help they needed." With terrorists like that, who needs FEMA?

A year after Katrina, officials are still pulling bodies out of the rubble. Dozens of corpses remain unidentified; the president, governor and mayor continue to pass the blame for their willful inaction. George W. Bush still refuses to accept responsibility. Just one day after the Lebanese ceasefire, however, Sheikh Nasrallah had already delivered a thorough accounting of the damage caused by Israel's bombing campaign and launched a comprehensive rebuilding program...

As often occurs during emergencies in the U.S., price gouging for housing, water, gasoline and other essentials was rampant during and after Katrina. Bush did nothing. Nasrallah, by contrast, warned businesses not to exploit the situation: "No one should raise prices due to a surge in demand..."


The 'New Middle East' Bush Is Resisting

By Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Wednesday, August 23, 2006; Page A15 (Washington Post)

Born in the thick of an earlier Israeli invasion, in 1982, Hezbollah is at once a resistance movement against foreign occupation, a social service provider for the needy of the rural south and the slum-dwellers of Beirut, and a model actor in Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics. Despite access to millions of dollars in resources from within and from regional allies Syria and Iran, its three successive leaders have projected an image of clean governance and a pious personal lifestyle.

What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference!
'It's clear Bush doesn't understand Iraq, or Lebanon, or Gaza, or...'
By Fred Kaplan

The key reality that Bush fails to grasp is that terrorism and democracy are not opposites. They can, and sometimes do, coexist. One is not a cure for the other.

Israeli Affairs: a rapist for a president & a pervert for a justice minister. Terrific!

Israeli president quizzed on sex claims, by Jennie Matthew (AFP)

Investigators arrived at his (Israeli President Moshe Katsav) Jerusalem residence Wednesday morning to question Katsav under caution about what the press said were the criminal offences of prohibited sexual relations, exploitation of status and possibly even rape...

Israeli ex-justice minister charged with sexual harassment

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Former Israeli justice minister Haim Ramon has been formally charged with sexually harassing a female soldier, a judicial source has said...

MEANWHILE...Yoel Marcus asks: Where are the voices of protest?

"The war has created a serious dilemma for the Israeli public."

"In 48 hours, 34 soldiers were killed for no rhyme or reason. The reservists felt duped. Like cannon fodder. God only knows how things might have ended if President Bush had not rushed to draw up a cease-fire agreement that gave us an honorable way of retreating from this unfortunate military campaign."

"Ehud Olmert's promise that Israel would soon be a fun place to live has become the joke of the year. The arrogance projected by our heads of state, including the defense minister, who promised that Nasrallah would never forget his name, and Olmert, who assured us that victory was already in our hands, has only made the public angrier. Israel's citizens want to know who is responsible around here."

Acid rain in the heart of summertime...Will it be all right to breathe?

Post-Conflict Assessment Sought For Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon, August 22, 2006 (ENS) - The international environmental group Friends of the Earth is appealing to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to send a team from its Post-Conflict Branch to Lebanon and Israel to conduct an independent assessment of the environmental impacts of the recent war between Hezbollah and Israel...

Bromberg is particularly concerned about possible Israeli use of ammunition containing depleted uranium. "Allegations currently made such as those concerning the Israeli use of ammunition with depleted uranium need to be either substantiated or rejected based on a scientific and impartial investigation," he said.

The British media reported that U.S. cargo planes filled with depleted uranium munitions had landed at Prestwick airport, near Glasgow, for refuelling before delivering the weapons to the Israeli armed forces. On July 21, Indymedia UK reported that photos taken near the Lebanese border on July 14 by David Silverman showed Israeli soldiers loading depleted uranium shells into tanks.

The Lebanese Environment Ministry shares these concerns. In a statement earlier this month on the environmental effects of the conflict, the ministry said, "There has been mention in different sources that Israel has been using artillery that contains depleted uranium. The effects of these weapons, as has happened in Iraq, are long term and impact the human gene pool and spans generations."

The ministry is worried about air pollution, saying in a statement August 5, "The particulate air matter that are emitted by the bombing of buildings and infrastructure and that are carried by the air can cause breathing problems."

Piles of decomposing solid waste on roads and pathways are producing methane and volatile organic compounds. "Due to the war, the evacuation of the workers that were integral to the collection of the solid waste led to the piling up of the waste in the streets which has started to decompose due to the heat and has caused the spread of bad smells and can lead to the spread of diseases, insects and vermin," the ministry said.

Pollutants in the air can cause an increase in respiratory illnesses such as asthma and allergies. In addition, the bombardments have caused an increase in acid rain and in the emission of greenhouse gases that will impact climate change, the ministry said...

Rebuilding - How many more times?

Lebanese prime minister asks U.S. help

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora urged the United States on Wednesday to help end Israel's sea and air blockade, and said his country was making "every effort" to secure its borders.

"The United States can support us in putting real pressure on Israel to lift the siege," the Western-backed Saniora told reporters.


Lebanon unveils recovery plan to salvage post-war tourism

Before the 34-day war that began July 12 between Israel and the Hezbollah Shiite militia, Lebanon was anticipating 4.4-billion-dollars in revenue and investment in its tourism and tourism infrastructure this year.

"Now all this has gone," Sarkis said. "It's a total disaster."


Lebanon calls for post-war rebuilding 'sponsorship'

BEIRUT (AFP) --- "How to fund it?" Siniora asked of Lebanon's reconstruction at a press conference Wednesday..."We are in dire need of assistance."

Lebanon received an emergency aid of 500 million dollars from Saudi Arabia and 800 million dollars from Kuwait...Sixty governments and organizations are due to take part in an international donors' conference for Lebanon on August 31 in Sweden...Siniora said the cash donations offered by the Lebanese Shiite militant Hezbollah "are limited to" one-year rent and furniture for citizens whose homes were totally destroyed. "But at the end of the day, the issue (reconstruction) will be up to the government," he said.

New (messier) Middle East

Lebanon facing 'security vacuum', by Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Wednesday August 23, 2006, The Guardian

· UN warns fragile peace may face months of delay
· Italy will not send troops if Israel 'keeps shooting'

Italy's foreign minister, Massimo D'Alema, highlighted those concerns when he said his forces would not go in unless Israel respected the ceasefire. "From Israel, we expect a renewed effort, this time truly binding, to respect the ceasefire," he told La Repubblica newspaper. "It's fair to expect that Hizbullah put down their weapons, but we cannot send our troops to Lebanon if the [Israeli] army keeps shooting."


Three Lebanese soldiers killed by cluster bomb blast

BEIRUT (AFP) - Three Lebanese soldiers were killed trying to defuse an unexploded Israeli cluster bomb as the Jewish state lost a soldier to one of its own mines in Lebanon...the three were part of a team of deminers who had been clearing unexploded shells and bombs in areas of south Lebanon heavily bombed by the Israeli army.

Their deaths bring to 44 the number of Lebanese troops killed since Israel launched its military offensive on Lebanon on July 12.


Soldier killed by Israeli landmine in Lebanon

JERUSALEM (AFP) - The Israeli army has confirmed that a soldier was killed during an overnight "operation" in south Lebanon that wounded three others, saying the troops had accidentally hit an Israeli land mine...The unit "by accident entered a mine field placed by the Israeli army in south Lebanon near the Israeli border."

Syria threatens to close Lebanon border

HELSINKI,Finland - Syria has threatened to close its border with Lebanon if U.N. peacekeepers are deployed along the frontier, Finland's foreign minister said Wednesday.


And last but not least, Oil slick has sunk to seabed, says Greenpeace, by John Vidal, Wednesday August 23, 2006, The Guardian


Oh and Israelis: Lebanon situation 'explosive', By JENNY BARCHFIELD, (AP)

Watch Amnesty's 'destruction of civilian infrastructure' film online

Lebanon, Israel, & the UN

Israel accused of war crimes in Lebanon
By SUE LEEMAN, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Israel of war crimes, saying it broke international law by deliberately destroying Lebanon's civilian infrastructure during its recent war with Hezbollah guerrillas...

Amnesty International, whose delegates monitored the fighting in both Israel and Lebanon, said Israel violated international laws banning direct attacks on civilians and barring indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.

"The scale of the destruction was just extraordinary," said Amnesty researcher Donatella Rovera, who visited Lebanon during the war and co-authored the report.

"There is clear evidence of disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks."

The group urged the United Nations to look into whether both combatants, Israel and Hezbollah, broke international law.

Amnesty International said it would address Hezbollah's attacks on Israel separately.


Israel: No plans to end Lebanon blockade

By JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that Israel has no plans to lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon until an international peacekeeping force takes up positions along the Syrian border and at Beirut's airport...


UN permits wide use of force in Lebanon
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - New rules of engagement for U.N. troops in Lebanon permit soldiers to shoot in self-defense, use force to protect civilians and resist armed attempts to interfere with their duties, a U.N. document says...

The soldiers can also use force against anyone preventing UNIFIL from carrying out its duties and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of U.N. personnel and humanitarian workers and to protect civilians under imminent threat, the rules say.

The use of force, "including deadly force," is also authorized to defend the Lebanese armed forces that a U.N. unit may be assigned to accompany, providing the threatening group or person is armed...



Challenges facing Lebanon peace force

By Paul Reynolds, World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

"I think the next few days are still indeed quite dangerous," said Jean-Marie Guehenno, the French diplomat who heads the UN's peacekeeping operations


In this war, the Protocols are to blame , by Hadassa Ben-Itto

For a hundred years now, the world has been exposed to a dangerous lie accusing us of all humanity's downfalls, a claim that our very existence threatens world peace. This is the famous "Jewish conspiracy" whose objective is world domination, and is documented with great detail in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," published in every language in millions of copies. We haven't read it, or even bothered translating it into Hebrew...

Then why are you writing an article about it?


"Ask bombed-out residents in Lebanon". Read more about the residents.

What's going on: Iran, Israel, and the U.S.

U.S. prepares to propose economic sanctions on Iran,
by Yossi Melman and Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondents


Minister says Israel must be ready for any Iranian attack
By Reuters

A week after the end of the war with Hezbollah, Minister Rafi Eitan warned Tuesday that Israel should prepare for the possibility of a missile attack from Iran.

"We are liable to face an Iranian missile attack. The Iranians have said very clearly that if they come under attack, their primary target would be Israel," Eitan, a member of the decision-making security cabinet, told Israel Radio.

Iran could fire missiles at Israel "therefore we must prepare for what could come, and prepare the entire country for a missile strike attack, to prepare all the civilian systems so they are ready for this," Eitan said.



Iran wants to talk but keep nuke program
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran said Tuesday it was ready for "serious negotiations" on its nuclear program, offering a new formula to resolve a crisis with the West. A semiofficial news agency said the government was unwilling to abandon uranium enrichment — the key U.S. demand...

Good news, for those who are interested

Finally, Mideastwire has published a bundle of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's public speeches and interviews translated from Arabic to English. The 64-paged document looks good so far, but I've only just started to read it. I can only publish some excerpts for the time being (they'll be on the side bar at the top), but I'll update the links when it's all right to do so...

The English translations are obviously there for whoever has no idea what the man is saying but would like to know. You can buy them here.

(Thank you, Nicholas).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hezbollah's many mistakes

by Uri Dromi, International Herald Tribune, JERUSALEM

Come to think of it, for Israel, peace with Lebanon is far more feasible than peace with Syria or with the Palestinians. There is no meaningful territorial issue at stake, and there is no zero-sum game between the two states, but rather the opposite: Both Lebanon and Israel would gain immensely from peace. Just think of joint investments, tourism and more.

Am I getting carried away here? Maybe. But if it happens, it will be Nasrallah's worst nightmare. And if he lives to see it, he will only have himself to blame.


Getting carried away? Yes. I think so, Uri. Lebanon and Israel will not unite against Nasrallah for the sake of tourism and joint investments. That's the most desperate thing I've heard so far, it's almost delusional. We're at that stage where we're still trying to stop killing each other. The Holy Land Theme Park thing is not going to happen any time soon.

"An outlaw state: Israel breaks ceasefire, threatens to assassinate Hezbollah leader"

By Patrick Martin

According to reports in the Lebanese press, based on local eyewitnesses, the Israeli commandos landed by helicopter in the eastern foothills of Mount Lebanon, dressed in Lebanese Army uniforms and seeking to conceal their identity as they passed through Hezbollah checkpoints on the road to Baalbek by speaking in Arabic. They were headed for a school thought to be owned by Yazbeck, who was born in Boudai but no longer lives there...

The raid became a debacle, however. Hezbollah fighters detected the Israeli ruse—reportedly because of the soldiers’ Palestinian Arabic accents—and opened fire on them. Although only ten Hezbollah soldiers were initially involved, some 300 townspeople mobilized, seized weapons and joined the fight, forcing the Israeli commandos to withdraw...

The raid on Boudai is something of a metaphor for the entire war: Israeli arrogance and military command of the air, running up against fierce resistance in the form of a militia based on and drawn from the local population. Even the notoriously pro-Israeli American press, whose editorials invariably characterize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization equivalent to Al Qaeda, has been compelled to acknowledge the mass base of the Shia militia...

Friday’s New York Times, for instance, carried the following paragraph: “Hezbollah guerrillas, known in Lebanon as ‘the resistance,’ have operated in the south for years. They are almost entirely local men hardened by 18 years of Israeli occupation after its 1982 invasion...

"the sin of hubris"

Israeli reserve soldiers accuse government of 'cold feet' over conflict

· Brigade signs letter calling for Lebanon inquiry
· Newspaper demands general's resignation

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Tuesday August 22, 2006, The Guardian

In the most outspoken acknowledgment of Israel's failings in the war, one retiring senior army officer also admitted that the military felt "a certain sense of failure" after 34 days of combat. Brigadier Yossi Heiman, head of infantry and paratroopers, told a ceremony on Sunday: "We have sinned the sin of hubris."

Nasrallah

Silence in the Security Council

'Melanie Phillips' makes provocative warning

New deal even for Fox

From the August 19 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch:

Cal Thomas: "No wonder" Gabler "like[s]" Hezbollah's offers to rebuild Lebanon, it's "the Middle East version of the New Deal"

GABLER: Well, I mean, clearly the media story this week has been the tally: Who won? And you're absolutely right, that's all anybody's talking about. And I think there's consensus. You know, Jim said it, too. Hezbollah won. That's -- they're even saying that in Israel. So, this is not an anti-Israel, you know, statement. You don't even meet conservatives in this country who are pro-Israel --

If you read The Washington Post, The New York Times, you watch CNN, you watch Fox, you watch everything, it's Hezbollah coming in there and being the old state of Lebanon. "We're going to take care of everything. We're going to rebuild. We're going to give you houses. We're going to buy you furniture. We're going to give you health care." That's the issue right now that the media is covering, and there's no way that Israel can break through that...

Trouble in Zion

A sole Israeli protestor starts to draw supporters

by Florence Biederman, JERUSALEM (AFP)

Commander David Tatarsky has seen a lot of Israeli wars in his lifetime, but the recent conflict in Lebanon was too much.

"My protest is not political, it is one of a citizen," says Tatarsky, 60. Army chief of staff Dan "Halutz failed, the result is clear after days of war in Lebanon. He should step down," he says.

"When I heard Halutz tell television last week that he was not afraid of a commission, I was indignant -- I made my signs with my wife and I came down from Haifa to demonstrate," he says, referring to Israel's northern port city.

"This war is a loss! It had three goals: free the two seized soldiers, dismantle Hezbollah and drive it from south Lebanon, and protect the residents of northern Israel," he says.

"The soldiers are not freed, Hezbollah is still there, and the north of Israel was attacked as never before during the 60 years of Israel's existence," he says.

"The government did not do what it said it would," says Miriam Vizen, a 40-year-old artist.

"The whole government is responsible and should step down," she says, holding a sign "Olmert and Halutz, resign!"

"The civilians in the north were not protected against Hezbollah rockets," she says. "They didn't have bomb shelters, the help was slow in coming and badly organized, they should have prepared all this before launching into war."

"And what about the preparation of the army? This war was not a great success, we must quickly extract conclusions, we cannot afford the luxury of waiting years, we are a small democracy encircled by countries that would like to see us elsewhere," she says.


David Tatarsky and Miriam Vizen are right. I also hope they realize that our civilians in the South had no bomb shelters at all, have lost their homes and entire villages, and were pretty much all killed or displaced. I hope in their hearts, they're also protesting on behalf of our victims, and our country. I hope it's not just about the army and their military image, and I hope that more and more Israeli citizens will begin to see things for what they really are.

Which reminds me to post this from Amnesty, Imprisoned for refusing to attack.

"The number of imprisoned conscientious objectors at the time of writing is five. According to Yesh Gvul, an Israeli group supporting Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories, five others soldiers face sentencing before the Military Court for objecting to participate in the attacks on Lebanon."

Among them Amir Pasteur and Itamar Shapira. You can 'take action' on Amnesty's page if you want. I did, but I think emails to Israel from Lebanon are blocked. So my letter didn't get through.

Monday, August 21, 2006

OOPS. Bush frees 13.5 million dollars for Lebanon. NOT 50 million.

Today is Angry Post Day.

Today, in a memorandum for the Secretary of State, Bush determined that "it is important to the national interest that up to $13.5 million be made available from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to meet unexpected urgent humanitarian needs related to the conflict in Lebanon."

Unexpected urgent humanitarian needs? UNEXPECTED?

Last night on CNN I heard the U.S. was giving Lebanon 50 million bucks. I guess somebody was misinformed. Either way, the sums are p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. (Not that we want money from the U.S. in the first place).

The "Israelican" war on Lebanon, which continued for one month and four days, has caused Lebanon $9.5 billion damage.

NINE POINT FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.

Enough of the Security Council already...

(Angry Post 3, or 6?)

It is totally undemocratic. There's absolutely NOTHING democratic about the UN Security Council. I *can't wait* to see it crumble.

U.S. resolution would disarm Hezbollah

Right. The U.S. will disarm Hezbollah over our dead bodies.

"It's better for U.S. to just SHUT UP! KEEP QUIET. It's much, much better."

To get to the good part, you'll have to fast-forward the BBC audio player until it gets to 22:00 or 22:05 on the timer:

Ambassador Sha Zu Kang, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, talks to Carrie Gracie on The Interview.

Listen: "It's high time (for U.S.) to shut up!"

The August 17th transcript of "WHAT CHINA WANTS" is available here.

You can also read about this interview on the BBC website. Enjoy!

Airline prevents passenger from boarding because of T-Shirt

From Democracy Now
Monday, August 21st, 2006

Iraqi Peace Activist Forced to Change T-Shirt Bearing Arabic Script Before Boarding Plane at JFK

On a trip back from the Middle East, Iraqi blogger and activist Raed Jarrar was not allowed to board a flight at JFK airport because he was wearing a T-Shirt that said "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic. Representatives of Jet Blue Airways forced him to change his T-Shirt saying wearing it was like "going to a bank with a T-Shirt reading 'I am a robber.'" [includes rush transcript]

And:

"I Was a Propaganda Intern in Iraq" - Fmr. Lincoln Group Intern Describes Paying Iraqi Press to Plant Pro-American Articles Secretly Written by U.S. Military

We speak with Willem Marx, a former intern with the Washington-based government contractor, the Lincoln Group. He spent a summer in Baghdad paying to plant pro-American articles secretly written by the U.S. military in the Iraqi press. [includes rush transcript]

"Paranoia in the official (Israeli) psyche"

War 'straining the psyche of our country,' he says

Don't go away mad. Just GO AWAY.

(Angry Post 1)

Israel Prepares To Resume Its War Against Hezbollah

BY TIM BUTCHER and COLIN RANDALL - The Daily Telegraph
August 21, 2006

JERUSALEM — Any chance of long-term peace between Lebanon and Israel all but vanished last night after the Israeli defense minister, Amir Peretz, said his country was preparing for another round of fighting.

Israel is probably *the* most annoying "state" in the world. It bugs me so much that I'm going to check out Ahmadinejad's blog right now...

Ok, nothing special happening at Nejad's blog. Except that Israelis are voting on his site. (Do they ever NOT vote ANYWHERE?? They are so...proactively annoying). Yes, annoying. Irritating and annoying. Irritating, annoying, and dangerous. I don't know why I bothered wasting my breath defending that state for 10 years when I should have known all along not to argue with the Lebanese about their own neighbor. See why people have problems with Israel? It's not because it's a Jewish state. It's because it's an a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g state. It knows no shame. It knows no respect. It knows no boundaries. It only knows false pride. And it knows Hezbollah - the "terrorist" organization that has put the world to shame with the example it is setting. Hezbollah is not a state within a state. Nor is it a state within a non-state. Like it or not, Hezbollah is an exemplary new government.

Let's reflect on some of Bush's latest utterances this time (but only just this one time): "Sometimes it takes people a while to come to the sober realization of what forces create stability and which don't..."

Buzz off, Israel

Israeli warplanes roar over Lebanon

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Writer

"Israel and the US are still focused on the wrong issues"

"Unexploded cluster bombs prompt fear and fury in returning refugees"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Speaking of sober...

Days later, I still can't get over his reaction.

When asked how he can say "that Hezbollah has suffered such a bad defeat when it's rebuilding -- helping rebuild in southern Lebanon, and it remains intact? And secondly, are you disappointed at all about France's decision to scale back its support of the international force?"
Bush replies, solemnly, with that 'borrowed' Rumsfeldy 'I-understand-things-that-only-special-men-like-me-can-understand' look on his face, "I think when people take a sober look at what took place in Lebanon, they'll realize that the destruction was caused by Hezbollah...sometimes it takes people a while to come to the sober realization of what forces create stability and which don't...

Yes. We actually have noticed that sometimes it takes a while.

I wonder how long it will take the US President to come to the sober realization that for his own personal stability, the only force required is a 'robust' dose of Haldol. The rest of the world will manage just fine thereafter...

"Abducted soldier's brother: War failed main goal - to free troops"

By Aluf Benn, Jack Khoury and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents

"Dear Prime Minister," the petition reads, "you may have managed to forget, but the reason Israel waged the [Lebanon] war was not the presence of Hezbollah militants along the Israel-Lebanon border, but in fact it was Hezbollah's abduction of two soldiers from the 8110 battalion!"

Speaking of managing to forget, let's also not forget that Hezbollah's abduction of those two soldiers took place across the border in southern Lebanon, so let's please try not to forget that either, despite the incredibly successful efforts of the Israeli media squad to make us forget, primarily by bullying the press.

Apart from the above July 12th article from Forbes, you can also read a short announcement here, from the Bahrain News Agency.