Hariri’s assassination

A brilliant article by Chris Sanders:

In retrospect his assassination should probably be less of a surprise than the fact that he survived as long as he did. He and his patron Fahd symbolise an old equilibrium in the politics of the region that became untenable once the United States decided on a global offensive informed by the regional priorities of its client Israel. The Taif Agreement of October 1989 legitimised the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon and committed Saudi largesse as part of a larger strategic plan to stabilize the region under the aegis of the United States, an important part of which was the commitment of the latter to bring about a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It was this basic framework that made possible the coalition assembled by the US during the Gulf War in 1990, which, be it not forgotten, included Syrian troops.

The adoption by Messrs. Cheney, Rumsfeld & Bush of a strategic plan that is basically Israeli in origin and orientation[1] swept away the basis for the existing regional equilibrium. Indeed, sweeping away the equilibrium is exactly what that plan is intended to do. The Taif equilibrium bound Israel to find a settlement with the Palestinians toward which Israel’s leadership was at best equivocal, because that equilibrium neutralised Israeli freedom of action to unilaterally define its role in the regional political economy. With the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the assumption of power by Binyamin Netanyahu in the mid-90s, equivocation became open hostility. The Israeli, or rather Zionist, dilemma was and is really quite simple. A settlement with the Palestinians and regional peace means openness, openness means Palestinian access to Saudi funding, and Saudi funding plus the Palestinian birthrate spell the end, ultimately, of an Israeli state defined by a Jewish as opposed to a national identity.

Another analysis which adds another culprit (Israel) to the already big list of enemies to Rafic Hariri

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Danielle Pletka is getting excited over Syria

In the Los Angeles Times… I think that certain publications should have at least a minimum of decency (due to their size) and not let freaks write dangerous propaganda.

Confronting China

Neocons again and again here:

Using the immense wealth of the Scalife, Olin, and Carthage foundations under the umbrella of the highly influential American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the “lobby” recruited a group of well-placed, powerful political figures.
AEI members include neoconservative icons like Lynne Cheney, Charles Murry, Michael Novak, Irving Kristol, Ben Wattenberg, Frank Gaffney, and Michael Ledeen.
The AEI is closely aligned with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the group that successfully lobbied for “regime change” in Iraq and argues that it is a strategic necessity for the U.S. to control the world’s oil supplies.
PNAC, the brainchild of AEI’s Kristol, includes among its members Vice President Dick Cheney, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former State Department officials Richard Armitage and John Bolton, and other leading administration figures like Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle, and Zalmay Khalilzad, presently U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.
The confrontationist’s goals are much the same as they were in the opening years of the Cold War: ring China with military bases, support Taiwanese independence, and, in Kristol’s words, “Work for the fall of the Communist Party oligarchy in China.”
In short: corner the dragon.

Pat Buchanan

reminds us of the true problem:

In his inaugural address, Mr. Bush calls 9/11 the day “when freedom came under attack.” This is sophomoric. Osama did not send fanatics to ram planes into the World Trade Center because he hates the Bill of Rights. He sent the terrorists here because he hates our presence and policies in the Middle East. He did it for the same reason FLN rebels blew up cafes in Paris and Hamas suicide bombers blow up pizza parlors in Jerusalem.

From the Battle of Algiers to the bombing of the Beirut Marine barracks, from the expulsion of the Red Army by the mujahideen of Afghanistan to the expulsion of Israel from Lebanon by Hezbollah, guerrilla war and terror tactics have been the means Muslims have used to expel armies they could not defeat in conventional war.

The 9/11 killers were over here because we are over there. We were not attacked because of who we are but because of what we do. It is not our principles they hate. It is our policies. U.S. intervention in the Middle East was the cause of the 9/11 terror. Bush believes it is the cure. Has he learned nothing from Iraq?

Syria Targeted

Eyal Zisser, a pundit from JCPA (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) has been interviewed on what Syria will do next. Zisser showed his scepticism and thinks that Americans should show “real pressure” if it intends to uproot Syria from Lebanon, because Syria won’t easily relinquish “vital Economic and Political assets”. the concert of nations should not rule out force according to Zisser. Oh and this article features the insights of Walid Phares. This guy is practically everywhere.

Fortunately enough, we still have some interesting elements around such as one valuable analysis by Stephen Zunes who wraps up the main challenges facing the post Hariri era.

Military Industry update

Hey, I missed the advices given by Frank Gaffney Jr. to George Bush before he took off for his European tour. The focus is on Russia. It reads well now that Bush has criticized Putin of scoring low on the “democracy” test, Frank Gaffney had already said basically the same thing. As a proponent of extravagant American military build-up, democratizing reads more like a process of abiding by the American rules and imperial interests. Thus, Russia cannot try to build its position in its region. It can only “democratize” and resume the process of oligarchization that started with western capital, and let the rest of its periphery dismember. The point of no return would be to help Syria. Oh is it trying? Well Russia is in trouble.

Also on the agenda is the European arms ban to China that is questioned and could be lifted. It seems that

there is much more at stake in the decision by Europe than whether it sells French fighter jets or German submarines to Beijing: namely, broader commercial ties and some genuine diplomacy. That, say political and military analysts here, is why European leaders have been willing to oppose the United States, which opposes lifting the embargo.(…)
For years, the trade has been dominated by Russia. Israel is the next-largest supplier to China, and its role has particularly troubled American experts because it specializes in technologically advanced equipment, like drones.
Such equipment, the United States worries, could tilt the security balance between China and Taiwan.
Neither Russia nor Israel observes the embargo, which was imposed after the Chinese leadership massacred the student-led opposition in Tiananmen Square in 1989. France and Germany, which do observe it, are believed by some experts to be third- and fourth-largest suppliers to China.

Anyway, Europe has never stopped delivering arms to China
Another example of conflict of interests is the European and American arm trade to… Iran:

It’s generally illegal for American companies to do business with Iran. But NBC News found more than a dozen European defense and aviation firms eager to fill the void. Some do business with the Pentagon, yet they were actively selling their wares to Iran. (…)
Steven Bryen used to be the Pentagon official responsible for preventing technology from going to countries like Iran. Now he’s the president of Finmeccanica in the United States. Does he think Iran is an enemy of the United States?
“I think they’re our enemy at this point,” says Bryen. “I mean, they’re behaving like our enemy.”
So why would Bryen’s company trade with an enemy?
“In Europe, they don’t call it the enemy,” he says. “If it’s a civilian item that doesn’t threaten anyone, then I don’t have a problem with that.”
European subsidiaries of NBC’s parent company, General Electric, have sold energy and power equipment to Iran, but GE recently announced it will make no new sales. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Meanwhile, the US has a new scapegoat in Iraq:Mexico.