Update on the AIPAC affair

According to Forward, it is definitely a FBI set up, and reflects a struggle within the US administration.

It is interesting to see how the struggle is no more understood as being between American ‘nationalists’ and Dual-allegiance (American+Israeli) dudes such as neocons, but between the Intelligence community (the “old sick man”) and the neoconservatives “tout court”.

Daniel Pipes still pissed

Now that Arafat is dead, the US should severely resist the temptation of sending any kind of aid to the Palestinian according to Daniel Pipes, board member of the United States Institute for “PEACE”. More so, this article is posted on Israel’s Hasbara Committee site…

Al Manar Mystified

I was sure we could find a thinktank scholar behind the recent turbulences over Al Manar’s effects. Check here for a summary of the case (with an opinion that could be acceptable). And here the guy that could have (in part of course) made this possible. The guy: Avi Jorish, has another article in the Middle East Quarterly that discusses the “Dark side of the New Arab media”. Al Manar’s propaganda pales in comparison to MEF’s…

Here are the policy recommendations of Avi Jorish:

•The Treasury Department should add al-Manar to its terrorism sanctions list.

•The United States should ask the four Lebanese banks that currently hold Hizballah bank accounts — and any other banks with which Hizballah does business — to freeze the accounts in question. If these banks refuse to comply, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control should designate them as institutions harboring accounts of a terrorist organization. This designation would allow Washington to freeze their U.S.-based assets and block their access to U.S. markets.

•The United States should take action against any American financial institutions that continue to serve as agents for noncompliant Lebanese banks.

•The Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center — the intergovernmental task force responsible for uncovering terrorist financing — should begin monitoring al-Manar broadcasts for advertised bank accounts.

•The United States should enforce existing laws or pass new legislation prohibiting U.S. companies from advertising on any of Hizballah’s mass media outlets.

•Washington should begin a dialogue with European Union officials regarding European companies that advertise on al-Manar.

•The United States should enforce existing laws or pass new legislation prohibiting U.S. media from purchasing footage from, or providing footage to, al-Manar. Washington should encourage Europe to do the same.

•The United States should enforce existing laws that ban U.S. citizens and companies from working with SDGT entities and FTOs. In doing so, the U.S. government should close down al-Manar’s Washington bureau (housed within the Associated Press’s Washington bureau) and consider pressing criminal charges against the bureau’s chief, Muhammad Dalbah.

•The United States should investigate foreign firms that have provided assistance, including media training, to Hizballah or al-Manar.

•The United States should encourage foreign satellite package providers to remove al-Manar from their networks. It should also force IntelSat, a U.S.-based provider, to cease offering al-Manar.

•The United States should consider providing the Lebanese government with the intelligence and support it needs to enforce its own ban on foreign financing of Lebanese media.

•Washington should ask Iraqi authorities to remove al-Manar’s correspondents from Iraq.

•In light of Syria’s ongoing occupation of Lebanon, the United States should demand that Damascus end al-Manar’s calls for suicide attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and elsewhere. Syria’s response should be treated as a central test for whether Damascus is cooperating in the war on terrorism.

•The United States should pressure Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates to close down al-Manar bureaus. It should also pressure Belgium, France, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Russia, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to forbid al-Manar correspondents from reporting on their soil.

National Endowment for Democracy and others

For those who care about Arab ‘political’ and ‘economic’ reforms, you should know that the number one agency working on the issue is the National Endowment for Democracy. Here is an interesting article that depicts the pedigree of this organization in Latin America. Its title? “National Endowment for Death Squads”…

Although the author uses simplistic socialist prose, some information stays interesting.

US Defense update

“It’s all about Defense” in this article. The industry apparently has registered exceptional peaks in profit and share prices. The article is written by Richard Sparks from Schaeffer’s Investment Research, it includes nice tables where you can find all the bad guys.

other atrocities

So among abuses scandals that have been denounced by the FBI, can someone explain what’s the logic behind wrapping detainees in Israeli flag?

FBI agents are increasingly complaining about what they consider abusive physical and mental torture by military officials against prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, including lighted cigarettes stuck in detainees’ ears and Arab captives being humiliated with Israeli flags wrapped around them, according to new documents.

And in the Daily Star Adnan Abu Odeh, former Jordanian ambassador, information minister and chief of the Royal Court, persuasively argues that the new US Antisemitism law “exacerbates culture of hate”. He also provides us with useful information on antisemitism and the politics of it.

Finally whatever happened in Halabja? Mohammed al-Obaidi a Uk professor has his own theory behind events. Well, first that it’s pro-Israeli agents in Kurdish area and out that spread the rumor that Saddam is the reponsible culprit, and second, that it’s actually the Iranians who had chemical weapons and not Saddam.

Also check out the account of Eric Margolis on the history of chemical weapons in Iraq.

Who was the first high government official to authorize use of mustard gas against rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq?

If your answer was Saddam Hussein’s cousin, the notorious “Chemical Ali” — aka Ali Hassan al-Majid — you’re wrong.

The correct answer: Sainted Winston Churchill. As colonial secretary and secretary for war and air, he authorized the RAF in the 1920s to routinely use mustard gas against rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq and against Pashtun tribes on British India’s northwest frontier.

Also slightly echoing al-Obaidi:

The Halabja atrocity remains murky. The CIA’s former Iraq desk chief claims Kurds who died at Halabja were killed by cyanide gas, not nerve gas, as is generally believed.

At the time, Iraq and Iran were locked in the ferocious last battles of their eight-year war. Halabja was caught between the two armies that were exchanging salvos of regular and chemical munitions. Only Iran had cyanide gas. If the CIA official is correct, the Kurds were accidentally killed by Iran, not Iraq.

But it’s also possible al-Majid ordered an attack. Kurds in that region had rebelled against Iraq and opened the way for invading Iranian forces.

What’s the difference between the U.S. destroying the rebellious Iraqi city of Fallujah and Saddam destroying rebellious Halabja? What difference does it make if you’re killed by poison gas, artillery or 2,000-pound bombs?

Two interesting Indian articles on Israeli affairs

Two indians have written interesting articles today.

The first, Sudha Ramachandran writes in the Asia Times about Sino-Israeli Military deals since the early 1980s and how/why Washington is not happy about it.

Here are some interesting bits:

Israel is China’s second-largest arms supplier (the first being Russia). Although diplomatic relations between Israel and China were established only in 1992, military ties go back to the early 1980s. Until formal diplomatic ties were established, the military relationship was covert. Israel sold about US$4 billion worth of arms to China during the covert courtship. In the 1990s, the Sino-Israel military relationship grew rapidly. In fact, arms sales contributed to the strengthening of diplomatic engagement. (…)

The military relationship hit a trough in 2000, however, when Israel came under pressure from the US to scrap a $250 million deal to sell China the Phalcon, an airborne radar system equipped with advanced Israeli-made aeronautics on board a Russian-made plane. Washington’s argument was that providing Beijing access to the technology would upset the military balance between China and Taiwan and threaten US interests in the region. When the US Congress threatened to cut the $2.8 billion it gives Israel annually if the deal went ahead, Israel buckled and scrapped it. (…)

China is keen to have access to Israel’s high-quality defense products and services, and the relationship with Israel has enabled it to acquire “dual-use technology” that the US and Europe have been reluctant to provide.

Israel, which is among the world’s top exporters of arms, is keen on its military ties with China for several reasons. According to Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at the Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv and consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Security Council, since Israel does not sell arms to the Arab countries or Iran, it has fewer potential markets than other major players in the high-tech arms market. (However, a look at Israel’s arms market over the past several decades indicates that the country has sold arms to regimes that other countries have been reluctant to trade with.)

Unlike most other arms manufacturers, Israel exports 75% of the total production of its military industries. Israel’s military industry is dependent on exports for its survival.

The second, Syed Shahabuddin, writes in the Milli Gazette the “Indian Muslims’ Leading Newspaper”, about the Jerusalem Summit and its apocalyptic objectives which Declaration

sees the creation of a ‘PLO State in Judea and Samaria as colossal injustice arising out of primordial anti-Semitism which is at the root of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist attitudes’. It likens the PLO to international terrorism and calls on Israel to provide moral leadership to the world in the struggle against terror, by

– Ceasing to negotiate with terrorists and releasing captured murderers.

– Eliminating the terror capabilities of the Palestinian Authority.

– Liberating Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza from the Jihadist machine.

– Promoting a viable humanistic alternative instead of creating a PLO State.

The Summit calls on all free nations:

– To remove despotic Islamic regimes

– To re-educate Muslim children

– To recognize PLO/PA as terrorist organization

– To stop forcing Israel to negotiate with PLO/PA

– To encourage Israel to establish sovereignty throughout the land of Israel.

Let’s not forget who are the wise individuals behind those calls: Daniel Pipes, Benjamin Netanyahu, Richard Perle, Olmert Liberman, to name but a few.

Among the organizations represented were Michael Cherney Foundation, Bridges for Peace, World Jewish Congress, ZOA, ICEJ, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, American Center for Democracy, JINSA, Palestinian Media Watch, Middle East Forum, Centre d’Etudes Huives Contemporaries de Paris, Americans for a Safe Israel, Truman Institute for Peace, Religious Zionists of America and Professors for a Strong Israel.

Among the Israeli Universities involved in the event were the Hebrew University, Oral Roberts University, Tel-Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, University of Haifa, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Yehuda and Shomron College, College of Judea and Samaria.

That’s not just the wackos of Arutz Sheva or Gush Shalom. That’s influential people from the US and Israel.

The Milli Gazette provides us with some information on the Strategic Dialogue Center yet another Israeli Thinktank with Foreign sponsorphip:

The Strategic Dialog Center (SDC) is a think-tank based at Netanya Academic College in Netanya, Israel. Its founding co-chairman is Michael Gorbachev. (…)

The Board of Directors of the SDC includes:

Mikhail Gorbachev (co-chair), former President of the USSR.

Ehud Barak (co-chair), former Prime Minister of Israel.

Prince Hassan Bin Tallal of Jordan (co-chair).

Dr. Mustafa Khalil, former Prime Minister of Egypt.

Karl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden.

Sergei Stepashin, former President of Russia.

Frederick W. De Klerk, former President of South Africa.

Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia.

Giulio Andreotti, former Prime Minister of Italy.

Danny Yatom, MK, Maj.Gen.(ret),former Mossad chief.

R. James Woolsey, former director of Central Intelligence, USA.

Louis Freeh, former FBI director, USA.

Ya’akov Perry, former Shin Bet chief.

Sandy Berger, former US presidential adviser on National Security.

Martin Indyk, former US Ambassador to Israel.

Att. Zaki Kamal Dalyat al-Karmel.

Assaf Hefetz, former Israel Police Commissioner.

Lt. Gen (ret) Moshe Levi, former IDF Chief of Staff.

David Ivry, Maj.Gen.(ret), former Israel Ambassador to Washington.

Prof Gabi Ben-Dor, director International Security Resrch Center, Haifa.

Prof. Mark Jurgenmeyer, University of California.

Saudi Lobby firm raided

It seems that

[t]he Justice Department has opened a politically sensitive investigation into allegations that the Saudi government, working through a prominent Washington public-relations firm, deceptively financed an advertising campaign promoting Crown Prince Abdullah’s Middle East peace plan

What’s going on exactly? check it here.

So one we raid the Israeli lobby and then we go after the Saudis? Even though both events seem disconnected, it signals a push within the US government to clean some of the mess. Of course strong interests will oppose such sanitary measures..

Israeli spy affair – a summary

The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent summary of the Israeli Spy affair with lots of links. This is useful for those who haven’t followed the case.

Which one first Syria or Iran

The biggest point of argument within the neocons is whether to pressure Syria or Iran first. Whether to go in from porous Lebanon, neutralize Syria and Hezbollah, or rather grab the big fish

While Michael Ledeen is fixated on Iran, William Kristol just requested immediate intervention in Syria.

Their Lebanese clone Walid Phares argues likewise in the National Review though in a subtler, more machiavelic way.

Here is a good summary .

Military news miscellaneous

Boeing is becoming like Enron and other big fishes in the military industry will takeover Pentagon’s privileges here .

And here , a black market triangle of arms trade between US, Israel, and Iran has been identified.

US not happy about Israeli arm deal with China

Haaretz reported that the US has condemned an Israeli arm sale to China. Douglas Feith was the most vocal critic of the deal and has supposedly asked for Yaron’s resignation (the Defense Ministry Director General) then denied by US and Israeli authorities.

Jerusalem Post has some more information on Yaron’s carrier, an ex-Sabra & Chatila spook.

Laura Rozen has an interesting take on the whole affair as to why Douglas Feith behaved in this manner. It seems that the latter has an interest in keeping the US the prime beneficiary of arms deals with China. But Israel always wanted to bypass the US as the story of the Middle East goes.

Military Industry update

Apparently, European defense firms are increasingly buying in the US market. French, British, and Italian. I wonder how this will impact on American Foreign policy one day. It can have gloomy as well as happy repercussions. no one knows for sure..

I’m also reading a book (2004) by François Missen on the Carlyle Group from its orgins to its growing influential role in American policy. Business (alas with military overtones) connections, from Frank Carlucci, to the Bushs and the Bin Ladens. Check out this interview with the guy.

En vrac

A comprehensive article on the failure to implement democracies by waging wars . The Neoconservative theory of democratization by the rule of the fist was also attacked by chief ideologue Fukuyama a while ago. This is just to keep track of the debate at the “ideational” level. The worse level.

Meanwhile, the Israeli spy affair in the US is taking on possible disproportionate dimensions. The Jerusalem Post reports that the US has accused Israel of “industrial espionage”. Please keep in mind that this seems to be different from the Larry Franklin et al. case . The whole FBI campaign is being discredited by the Jerusalem Post that claims that it was all an FBI set-up . How much does it take to have friends like these!

Presbyterian churches in the US condemn Israeli actions against Palestinians and are ready to take appropriate divestiment measures to pressure. Of course there are different type of churches. Ça, c’est les gentils!

Larouche’s group have an ‘interesting’ biography of Georges Shultz. One thing is sure, they don’t chew their words…