Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lebanese parliament speaker urges Arab aircraft and ships to break Israeli blockade

...During a special session of parliament, speaker Nabih Berri proposed a series of protest actions to draw international attention to the blockade that has continued since cease-fire went into effect Aug. 14, ending the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel.

"It is a military aggression that is an attack on national sovereignty and a clear violation of resolution 1701," Berri said referring to the United Nations resolution that opened the way for an end to the 34 days of fighting.

Parliament plans to send a letter to Arab governments urging them to ignore the blockade and to encourage those that have diplomatic ties with Israel to reduce. And it will ask those who do business with Israel to put it on hold.

"We are not asking for the severing of diplomatic ties, but at least the withdrawal of envoys, and an end or freezing of economic ties with Israel as long as there is a blockade of Lebanon," said Berri...

Learning from Hezbollah

by Stephen Dinan

While Hezbollah's hatred of Israel and terrorist activities certainly bear partial responsibility for the war, I also think we have something to learn from what they did in the aftermath of the pummeling. Instead of focusing all their efforts on a losing fight with a superior army, Hezbollah moved rapidly into the devastated areas of Lebanon with Iranian money and committed manpower to start the rebuilding. Money that could have been spent on more guns and rocket launchers instead went to families that lost homes, who received an average of $12,000 apiece. Hezbollah's response to the damage has been noticeably more efficient and effective than the government's...

...Today, American efforts to rebuild Iraq have been pathetic; our military prowess in the first phase of the war has been followed by an ineffective, corrupt, underfunded, and half-hearted effort at nation-building . If we had instead planned from the beginning to spend more money, creativity, and human power on peaceful nation-building than we spent on conducting the war, we might have shown that we had the sincere long-term interests of the Iraqis in our hearts. That in turn would have laid the groundwork for a real ally in the Arab Middle East. Similarly, if Israel spent twice the money and creative thinking on rebuilding Lebanon now as it spent on attacking it, it could better demonstrate that it has the sincere interest of their neighbors at heart. Ultimately, generous help is what creates allies. By itself, aggression only creates enemies...

To those who still don't get it: Hezbollah will not take money from the US!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Planes crash often thanks to US sanctions

This has happened so many times before, it's ridiculous. Here's an old article from the BBC (December 2005): Iran air safety hit by sanctions

And as for today's Iranian plane crash:

At least 80 killed in Iran plane fire
Friday 01 September 2006
US sanctions on the Islamic state have prevented it from buying new aircraft or spares from the West, forcing it to supplement its aging fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes with aircraft from the former Soviet Union.

Recent major air disasters in Iran
Friday 01 September 2006
It was only the latest in a long line of air disasters in that country since 1980.

Israeli army blows up Hezbollah bunkers in southern Lebanon

The Price of Israel

Israel's war on Lebanon has exposed once and for all that its security will be bought even at the cost of war crimes and mass destruction. This immoral situation must come to an end, writes Lamis Andoni

...Indeed, while 1701 calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops and stresses the sovereignty and integrity of Lebanon, its main aim is to prevent future attacks against Israel. Neither the resolution nor the diplomatic efforts that followed included any measures to prevent future Israeli attacks against Lebanon...

Holding Hizbullah accountable for both its deeds and with regard to its obligations, as a political party and a resistance force, within a sovereign state is both understandable and legitimate. But blaming Hizbullah for Israel's war crimes while ignoring US-backing of Israeli impunity leaves the Lebanese and the Palestinians at the mercy of US-Israeli plans of perpetual torture...

...Opposing Israeli aggression against the Arab people is construed as "terrorism", while Israel's destruction of people and societies who dare challenge its power is presented as "self-defence".

...An honest bid for a true solution would have directly addressed the core issue of ending Israeli occupation of Arab lands and the dispossession this led to. For their part, Western governments proved again too weak, if not downright right cowardly, to stand up to Washington's sanctioning of Israel's continued impunity.

The unfolding scene of the moral depravity of a US-led unipolar world is neither new nor shocking. Neither the US nor Israel have learned any lessons about the limits of political coercion and military force from the mess they have created in Iraq and Palestine. But while this is the nature of unchecked power, it is no excuse for the absence of an honest political discourse. It is time to openly challenge the sacred notion of the supremacy of Israeli security over the humanity and security of other people involved.

Whereas Israel's devastation of Palestine was hidden under "the umbrella" of terrorist Palestinians in Gaza, the Lebanon war has exposed Israeli security as self-defence as a euphemism for aggression with impunity.

Replicating Hezbollah's Experience

Pre-war Beirut wins high honor from travel magazine

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Under fire from UN, Israel defends use of weaponry in Lebanon

Defiance is en vogue

Bush: Must be consequences for Iran's nuclear 'defiance'
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

"The world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran," the president said. "We know the depth of suffering that Iran's sponsorship of terrorists has brought. And we can imagine how much worse it would be if Iran were allowed to acquire nuclear weapons."

Bush delivered his starkest threat yet to Tehran.

"There must be consequences for Iran's defiance," he said, "and we must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons."


Defiant Iran still enriching uranium

VIENNA -- A defiant Iran kept on enriching uranium up to two days before today's UN Security Council's deadline for Tehran to freeze such activity or face the threat of sanctions, UN and European officials said...

"Sanctions cannot dissuade the Iranian nation from achieving our lofty goals of progress. So it's better for Europe to be independent (of the U.S.) in decision-making and to settle problems through negotiations," Ahmadinejad said yesterday, according to state-run television.

Happy birthday to Nasrallah.

Israelis have a "mission" because they're "better"

Hizbullah's victory has transformed the Middle East

The smorgasbord analogy

Ahmadinejad: "The Iranian nation will not succumb to bullying, invasion and the violation of its rights"

TEHRAN, Iran - U.S. and European officials appeared ready to push for low-level sanctions against Iran like travel bans Thursday as country's president made clear he would not compromise on the day of a U.N. deadline...

In a speech devoted mostly to local issues, Ahmadinejad said enemies of the country were trying to stir up differences among the Iranian people, but "I tell them: you are wrong. The Iranian nation is united."

"They claim to be supporting freedom but they support the most tyrannical governments in the world to pursue their own interests," he said, referring to the United States.

"They talk about human rights while maintaining the most notorious prisons," he said. "Those powers that do not abide by God and follow evil are the main source of all the current problems of mankind."



More on sanctions from the New York Times: U.S. Drafting Sanctions as Iran Ignores Deadline

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Chavez, al-Assad unite against 'American empire'

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Venezuela's firebrand President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that he and Syria will "build a new world" free of U.S. domination, vowing eventually to "dig the grave of U.S. imperialism."

..."No matter how strong the American empire becomes and no matter how much force it uses, it will be defeated," Chavez said. "We and Syria as well as other countries will be an army of tigers, struggling and strong...

...The cause of the violence unleashed across the planet... is U.S. imperialism," said Chavez, whose speech was relayed by phone to state TV in Venezuela. "That is the fundamental cause of the most serious problems -- (U.S.) imperialism and its allies, its ramifications, its arms, its political mechanisms."

"Against all that we must fight everywhere," Chavez said. "It must be said to the peoples of the world, and it must be said to imperialism itself that in this 21st century I will dig the grave of U.S. imperialism."

'Rejecting Ahmadinejad's Debate Proposal an Insult to Americans by Bush'

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Rapporteur of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission stressed that refusal to accept Ahmadinejad's invitation for a televised debate by George W. Bush will be deemed as the US President's open insult to the Americans.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, Kazem Jalali viewed as positive President Ahmadinejad's proposal to his American counterpart for a televised debate where both parties could raise their view points, and said, "If Americans' discourse is based on logic and reasoning, then US officials can attend a television debate with our President."

He said any kind of debate or discussion can pave the ground for enhanced transparency in the world, and meantime, expressed regret over the performance of some western media in this regard and said most world media are profit-oriented and thus, they move on the reverse side of the road and don't pave the ground for such dialogues.

Get a load of this: "Israel First in Multiple Births; Moslem Births - Down"

What exactly is the point here??

Israel First in Multiple Births; Moslem Births - Down
by Hillel Fendel, August 30, 2006

The Central Bureau of Statistics has found that some 100,000 Jewish babies were born in Israel in 2005, maintaining a steady rate, while some 34,000 Moslems were born - a drop of some 5.6%.

Could it be that "Moslem births" have gone "down" because for some time now, the Israeli government (backed by the USA and EU) has been "moving aggressively to starve a people already suffering from widespread malnutrition and poverty"?

"Rumsfeld's Enemy: It's Us"

Fine example set by Nasrallah

(Canadian) MP resigns post over Hezbollah remarks

Israeli Aggressions Soon Responded by Hezbollah

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Representative of Hezbollah in Tehran said that the leader of the Shiite group, Seyed Hassan Nasrallah protests to the Israelis' aggressions and breach of ceasefire on a daily basis, and further warned that Hezbollah's patience has limits.

"Hezbollah troops will soon respond to the Israeli aggressions," he stressed.

Nasrallah for Prime Minister - of Israel

By Bradley Burston

At this point in Olmert's career, about the only thing that could save Olmert's head, is that of Hassan Nasrallah.

Maybe that's our answer. If assassinating or abducting the Hezbollah leader is still on the agenda, as Israeli officials maintain, why not put Nasrallah to useful purpose?

Look at the issues. Consider his record. Here is a man who is both strong and wise on security issues. He saw to it that his troops were well-prepared, well-trained, well-supplied, and and well-protected.

Nasrallah would be a new sort of Israeli leader. One who gets things done.

Here is a man who addresses social welfare needs head-on. He doesn't wait to help home-owners rebuild residences destroyed by aerial attacks. He hands out literal lump-sums, immediately, in cash.

Here is a man who delivers medical care to the needy, affordable housing to the homeless, food and even clothing to society's disadvantaged.

Here is a man who cares deeply about, and puts major emphasis on, education and youth [even if the message is one of incitement, hatred, and anti-Semitism].

Moreover, as he proved this week in admitting to having miscalculated the Israeli response in Lebanon, Nasrallah, as opposed to, say, Olmert, is a leader who, when he's made an error in judgment, can openly admit to it.

For more than 20 years, Israeli prime ministers have come to office pledging to be leaders for all the people, only to exacerbate existing divides and create new ones.

Why not tap the one leader who has managed to unite the Israeli people as has no prime minister in memory?

Annan: Israel responsible for most truce violations

'Italy’s Peacekeeping Offer Signals Shift in Its Foreign Policy'

The big elephant in the room

'Lebanon Refuses Contact With Israel'

Go Galloway!

George Galloway on the streets of Beirut

by Simon Assaf

George Galloway warned last week that plans to use United Nations (UN) troops to disarm Hizbollah and patrol the border with Syria will spell disaster and lead to more conflict.

The Respect MP was in the Lebanese capital to do a special edition of his weekly radio show live from Beirut. Over three million people tuned in to hear him defend the resistance and condemn Israel’s war.

Speaking at a meeting in Beirut, Galloway argued that the Lebanese government should resist pressure to disarm Hizbollah.

He said it is “important that the Lebanese government does not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When you win it’s important to act like you won - and not offer the enemy what they failed to achieve on the battlefield.

“Lebanon should demand the enemy leave its land, air and sea.”

He added, “The impact of Israel’s defeat is reverberating around Ehud Olmert and his allies George Bush and Tony Blair.”

“The anti-war movement has, over the last five or six weeks, been protesting and marching, demanding the recall of parliament.

“We have shown our solidarity with the Lebanese people who have suffered so much during the Israeli, British and US aggression.

“Thousands have died or have been injured. Billions of dollars of damage has been done to essential infrastructure - to schools, hospitals, the electricity grid, water, bridges and roads.

“We extend our congratulations to Lebanon on a great and historic victory against this aggression.

“I congratulate Hizbollah, who have achieved a great victory, and in particular Hassan Nasrallah, whose name is ringing across the world.”

But he warned there are many dangers in the US plan for a “new Middle East”.

There is deep unease in the country about the arrival of tens of thousands of UN troops, led by former colonial power France. Now the US is promising Lebanon $200 million reconstruction aid.

The condition is that the government disbands the resistance.

“No one can disarm Hizbollah,” Galloway said. “If Israel cannot, then no one can. Hizbollah are a part of the Lebanese armed forces, and should be treated as such.”

Talk of foreign troops patrolling Lebanon’s border with Syria has sparked widespread anger.

Border

“If any foreign soldiers are sent to the Syrian border it will mean war,” Galloway warned.

“Syria is not at war with Lebanon, Israel is at war with Lebanon. If European governments allow their soldiers to be sent to the border they will enter a conflict that they will lose.”

Galloway was given a tour of the Dahieh area in the south of Beirut. The working class Shia Muslim neighbourhood was levelled during Israel’s 34-day bombardment of the country.

“The destruction of the Dahieh was more shocking that I expected,” he said. “It looked like Hiroshima, every stick and stone has been destroyed. What the Israelis did to this neighbourhood is a war crime.”

Galloway also visited the southern town of Bint Jbail, which repelled repeated Israeli ground assaults in the month-long war.

The MP was given a tour of the hospital and the historic market, which was devastated by aerial bombardment.

He told resistance fighters in the town, “You have destroyed forever the myth that Israel is invincible, that Israel is too great to be confronted.

“Never again do the Arabs have to surrender to Israeli aggression.”

He added “the Intifada, Iraq and Lebanon have shown that not only can Israel be defeated, but that the US can be defeated.

“The main problem for the Arabs is not Washington or London, but the capitals of their own regimes. We are used to their silence when Arab capitals are in flames, but this is the first time they have openly supported aggression.”

Galloway condemned US allies Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia after they denounced the resistance for being composed of Shia Muslims.

Impressive

“We thought the Arab rulers could not go any lower - but their attempt to infest the poison of sectarianism into the war on Lebanon marks the lowest point,” he said.

“The good news is that they failed. The people of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan refused to be divided. The Arab masses were 100 percent behind Lebanon and the resistance.

“One of the most impressive things has been the unity of the Lebanese people. We know that 80 percent of Christians and 89 percent of Sunni Muslims supported the resistance.

“These 34 days of war have exposed the systematic failings of the Arab regimes. These puppet presidents and corrupt kings - who rule their countries on behalf of others.”

Health threats in Lebanon

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Italian FM: Hezbollah, Hamas are not al-Qaida

Israeli Leaders Say There Is No Deal On Hezbollah Prisoner Swap

Monday, August 28, 2006

'US legislator vows to block aid to Beirut'

TIME: The War For Hearts and Minds

By rushing to rebuild Lebanon, Hizballah and Iran are spreading their influence in the Middle East. Can the U.S. do more?
By NICHOLAS BLANFORD, SCOTT MACLEOD/ BEIRUT

The war in Lebanon has driven Washington's influence to a new low...Washington didn't do itself any favors by initially pledging just $50 million for Lebanon's recovery; the Iranians have already spent up to three times that. The White House last week more than quadrupled the U.S. aid package for Lebanon to $230 million, including support for the Lebanese Army to strengthen the central government against Hizballah.

But the U.S. could still do more. Siniora wants Bush to pressure Israel to lift a continuing air and sea blockade. He also says the U.S.'s aid pledge won't be nearly enough to get Lebanon back on its feet. A Siniora aide points out that the government is nearly $3 billion short of what it would need just to get the country's infrastructure back to prewar levels...

Nasrallah regrets the two kidnappings that led to war

Sunday, August 27, 2006

'Fed up with the whiners'

From Israel: Ezra says Arab towns shouldn't receive aid

Nasrallah: "We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude."

Demonizing Iran is an exercise in futility

Israel's Paranoid Schizophrenia

(Who still believes this stuff? Who cares if Ahmadinejad is a bit dodgy? All presidents and prime ministers are dodgy - to say the least. Ahmadinejad may be an anti-Zionist that talks the talk, but judging by his actions, he's far more peaceful than Bush, Blair, or any prime minister in Israeli history. So, will Israel ever relax? Or is it mass paranoid schizophrenia that we're dealing with here?)

"Israel air force chief to plan war on Iran"
By Harry de Quetteville in Jerusalem

Israel has appointed a top general to oversee a war against Iran, prompting speculation that it is preparing for possible military action against Teheran's nuclear programme.

Maj Gen Elyezer Shkedy, Israel's air force chief, will be overall commander for the "Iran front", according to military sources spoken to by The Sunday Telegraph...

"This… nuclear weaponry can come to constitute an existential threat to Israel and the rest of the world. My job is to maximise our capabilities in every respect. Beyond that, in this case, the less said the better."

Hey!

Report: Israel And Hezbollah To Swap Prisoners
August 27, 2006 9:00 a.m. EST
Ryan R. Jones - All Headline News Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - Despite its earlier stance, Israel has agreed to conduct a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, Egypt's state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported Sunday...

Annan: "Troops are not going in there to disarm - let's be clear"

'Israel in clear breach of international law'