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by CTuttle

The I/P Peace Farce

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

(Pls watch from the 40 min mark, at least!)

From today’s Ma’an News…

PA: Israel settlements led to peace talks impasse

US-sponsored peace talks with Israel have reached an impasse because of Jewish settlement activity, a Palestinian spokesman said, as plans for over 2,000 West Bank units were moved forward.

The latest crisis comes as Washington scrambles for a formula to allow the Palestinians and Israelis to carry on the peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline.

“Israel’s settlement activity caused the negotiations to fail and led them to an impasse,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, told AFP.

Abu Rudeina was reacting to the decision of an Israeli defense ministry committee, revealed earlier on Thursday, to push forward with plans to build 2,269 new West Bank homes.

A ministry spokesman said last month the committee had approved the building of 1,015 units in Leshem, Beit El and Almog, leaving Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s approval as the final step.

The same committee approved 1,254 units in Ariel, Shvut Rachel and Shavei Shomron. Those projects will be published in the media for public comment before returning to the committee for further discussion.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are teetering on the brink of collapse, with Washington fighting an uphill battle to get the two sides to agree to a framework proposal to extend the negotiations to the year’s end.

To be sure…

From hocus pocus to open sesame to recognition as Jewish state: It’s a kind of magic

Forget refugees, settlements, Jerusalem or security: Everyone is waiting for Abbas to say the magic words that will launch a whole new world, presto-change-o.

To the long list of such enchanted incantations as open sesame, hocus pocus, and bibbedy-bobbedy-boo, we can now add “recognition as a Jewish state.” If Mahmoud Abbas would only say the magic words, then presto-change-o, the walls will come tumbling down, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end and we’ll have a whole new world, shining, shimmering and splendid.

This, at least, the impression one gets from the focus of the discussion in recent weeks about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s struggling peace initiative. Forget once-burning but now-boring issues such as settlements, security, refugees, borders, Jerusalem or Temple Mount: recognition as Jewish state is the only game in town. Once the words are said, it’s going to be wham-bam-alakazaam, welcome to the magic kingdom.

It’s not for nothing that Benjamin Netanyahu was once widely known in Israel as hakosem, the magician. His mastery of the media, his meteoric rise in the Likud, his utterly fantastic victory over Shimon Peres in the 1996 elections – all of these endowed Bibi with a supernatural mystique. And while the magic didn’t last forever and Netanyahu was subsequently subjected to a barrage of obligatory clichés – his spell is broken, no more tricks up his sleeve, King Midas in reverse etc – once an illusionist, always an illusionist. He’s still got plenty of wizardry left up his sleeves.

Standing up to AIPAC means supporting Israeli dissidents

The voice of ‘pro-Israel’ militarism has been ringing through the halls of Washington D.C. since the 1970s. Now, to end the occupation, American citizens must couple their opposition to AIPAC with support for anti-occupation groups in Israel.

BDS works…! Boycott movement has empowered Palestinians, says co-founder

However, it seems the PA is not the solution either, from Haaretz…

The Palestinian Authority is on the brink of collapse, study says

Only achieving statehood could save the West Bank from an impending wave of violence, crime, chaos, disease, says major Palestinian report

The breakdown of the Palestinian Authority would turn the West Bank into a violent, criminal, chaotic, disease-ridden place. But even though most Palestinians want the PA to survive, either for the sake of basic social order or personal interest, and although Israel dreads having to resume responsibility for 3 million West Bankers, President Mahmoud Abbas’ regime will collapse before too long if Israel continues to thwart Palestinian aspirations for independence.

This is the conclusion of a massive six-month study by the highly-regarded Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, directed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki.

A great many Palestinians have a deeply vested interest in the PA’s continued existence, Shikaki notes. Connections with the PA bring “financial well being, social and political status in society, and there are circles that depend on their relation to PA. Anything that happens to the PA will take all of that away from them. These could be organizations, business interests or individuals who have positions of power that allow them to reward sympathizers.

“If they could call the shots, they would do their best to prevent [the PA’s collapse],” Shikaki said, “But even those who have a vested interest in satisfying Israel, for the sake of preserving the PA, cannot do it for too long.”

If ordinary Palestinians still support the existence of the PA, it’s because they have a need for some kind of order, he adds. “People do not want to see themselves without a central authority that prevents chaos and anarchy in the streets, even if they have a lot of criticism of the PA and its functioning. But the Palestinians are willing to risk it collapsing completely, if it happens in the midst of a struggle for a change in the status quo. If there is a good reason for it to collapse, then [the attitude is] let it be.”

The PA is 20 years old, but voices questioning its efficacy were already being heard at the start of the second intifada in 2000. They’ve returned and intensified over the past two or three years, as it has become clear that the PA is not delivering on either of the two goals it was established to achieve: statehood and the provision of public services. Add to this the increasing economic difficulties and the rupture with the Gaza Strip, and the picture of failure is complete.

And, I have to agree with Abbas’ son… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Syria

7:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Delving further…

Israeli troops kill Jordan judge

Israeli troops at a border crossing yesterday shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge who allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon, prompting Amman and the Palestinian Authority to demand an investigation.

The shooting took place at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, with the Israeli military saying troops had opened fire after a man tried to snatch a weapon from one of its soldiers.

The Western-backed Palestinian Authority sharply condemned the incident and Amman summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest, demanding an “immediate investigation.”

Palestinian security officials identified the man as 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, and Amman confirmed he also held Jordanian nationality. A Jordanian security official said that Zeiter worked as a judge in Amman and had left for the West Bank early yesterday. Jordan’s justice ministry said he worked at a magistrates court in the capital.

Nazmi Muhanna, the Palestinian official responsible for border crossings, said investigators were questioning around 50 people who had been with Zeiter on the bus carrying travellers from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side of the crossing.

“We are investigating with all the witnesses who were on the same bus. We will verify everything,” he said. “There are no surveillance cameras there so we cannot get to the truth without the witnesses who were on that bus.”

Jordan’s foreign minister summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to “strongly condemn” the shooting at the border crossing and demand an immediate probe, a statement said.

“The Jordanian government is expecting a comprehensive report on the incident from the Israeli government. Jordan wants an immediate investigation without any delay,” a statement quoted Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh as saying.

The Palestinian Authority also strongly condemned the incident and demanded an “international investigation” into the circumstances of Zeiter’s death.

Palestinian security officials said Zeiter was originally from the city of Nablus in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but had left the territories in 2011 and not returned.

Zeiter, who leaves behind a wife and two young children — one of whom is in a coma in hospital — was to be buried in Nablus today morning, his family said.

Not a very swift move by the IDF… Tensions high in Amman as protesters gather at Israeli embassy after IDF shooting

Hmmm… Should NATO troops help enforce an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement?

Or better yet… Israel open to joint missile defence with Jordan, Egypt

It’s Non-Stop Terra, Terra, Terra, 24/7… Israel fears future drone attacks

To be sure…

From Haaretz even…

Netanyahu’s display of seized ship: Meaningless Hollywood-style propaganda

Here and there during the live broadcast of the government propaganda event staged at the Israel Navy base in Eilat, the camera lingered on the face of Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz understood that the media circus surrounding the seizure of the ship carrying Iranian weapons had run its course over the weekend, which is why he took off Saturday night to make a previously scheduled visit to the United States. Eizenkot, a disciplined soldier, was required to take his place on the dock in Eilat, alongside the prime minister and defense minister. For a time it looked as if the deputy chief of staff would have preferred to be elsewhere, though perhaps it just seemed that way to this observer. {…}

So there is nothing original about the show Netanyahu put on today, when he publicly displayed the weapons discovered after the Israel Navy raided the Klos C last week. Perhaps the most noteworthy element of Monday’s event is the opportunity it has given to Eizenkot, the deputy chief of staff, and Zamir, the prime minister’s military secretary, to visit the city where they were born.

The order he gave to the officers — to take part in Netanyahu’s show — was not completely illegal, nor was there any reason to disobey it. Still, it gives off a bad odor. The relief over the successful interception of the rocket-laden Klos C was genuine. That was enough. Heating up the cold noodles five days later just because Netanyahu had been out of the country when the Iranian shipment was seized on its way to the Gaza Strip, and therefore absent from the photographs of the generals at the naval outpost, crosses the line of bad taste.

The wisdom of Netanyahu’s press conference at Eilat Port, where the ship was escorted, is dubious as well. Everybody knows that Iran supplies arms to groups working against Israel from Gaza and Lebanon. The documentation of the captured weapons does not change people’s awareness. As a backdrop for Netanyahu’s propaganda, the Klos C is problematic. Iran does not deny its support for groups that take hostile action against Israel; it takes pride in it. What does that have to do with the fight of the superpowers against Iranian military nukes?

Now, I know I have questioned the sudden providence of that said ‘Iranian Arms Ship’…!

Moving along to Syria…

b at MOA took a dim view of the spectacle… Syrian Nuns Freed – Media Is Concealing the Villains

In wrapping up, some other noteworthy reads…Assad military advance in western Syria pushed deal that led to nuns’ release, official says

EU: No guarantee of success in negotiations with Iran

U.S. DEPT. OF THE TREASURY press release: “Our allies” openly funding Al-Qaeda in Syria, yet they will stay U.S. partners

Saudi Arabia turns away from the jihadis in Syria.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and Tunisia

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Kerry hadn’t even cleared Israeli airspace when Bibi announced those new ‘settlements’…!

One of Kerry’s (misguided) demands on Abbas was to concede on Likud’s Jewish State stance, Juan Cole served up an excellent diatribe…

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is adding a fifth demand to his negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas: That the Palestinians recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish state.

For Netanyahu’s demand to make any sense, he first has to define ‘Jewish.’ ‘Jewish’ has a number of possible meanings. It can mean ‘those recognized by Talmudic law as members of the Jewish “race” via maternal descent.’ The latter is the legal definition of Jewishness in Israeli law itself, and for this reason we must presume that it is what Netanyahu has in mind. It can also mean ‘adherents of the Judaic religion,’ and we can explore those implications, as well.

Needless to say no real ‘Framework’ was realized, except to agree to talk some more…

Kerry on Sunday wrapped up a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Before leaving for Jordan, Kerry was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that the United States and President Barack Obama are committed to presenting a ‘fair and balanced’ peace plan for the Middle East and improving security for all nations in the region.

During the press conference after his meeting with Abbas on Saturday, Kerry also said some progress were made in the peace talks, without mentioning any details.

However, the Palestinian source said on condition of anonymity that Kerry hasn’t officially presented to the Palestinian side any written document or a plan for a framework agreement, except for discussing issues such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Nabil Abu Rdineh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a press statement that ‘President Abbas rejects all transitional, partial and temporary solutions.’

He added that Abbas and Kerry agreed to continue their meetings in the coming weeks.

To be sure… Like lambs to the slaughter, the Palestinians are sleep-walking to disaster, again…!

And, US-Israeli agenda is to fragment Mideast.

Stay tuned… Snowden has more US-Israel secrets to expose…!

Moving along…

From the Grey Lady, recently… Saudis’ Grant to Lebanon Is Seen as Message to U.S.

Experts: Lebanese army “likely” to be attacked by Al Qaeda-linked brigade in coming days…!

Interestingly, it’s not just the Saudis’ fault… Lebanon complains to UN on Israel border espionage

So with all the Saudi perfidy in Anbar province and Syria, et al… Jordan on “alert” as tension rises on borders with Iraq, Syria

Meanwhile, Abbas met with King Playstation today… Abbas discusses peace process with Jordanian king While they both categorically rejected Israel’s demands on the Jordan Valley, they did craft a unified response to Kerry Israel, flatly, repudiated Kerry’s pathetic proposals… Israel rejects US proposals on Jordan Valley

Looking at our Libyan Fiasco…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

The Syrian Swale & ‘Iran Won’t Crack’

8:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Interestingly, China took much affront to Madame Shrillary’s slander in Paris, apparently, just before her ‘surprise’ visit to Kabul…

Clinton ‘slander’ of China will not work, Beijing says

Chinese spokesman rejects America’s claim that the nation and Moscow have hindered resolution of crisis…

China yesterday rebuffed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s accusation that Beijing and Moscow have hindered the resolution of the crisis in Syria, saying any attempt to “slander” China was doomed to fail…

Now, why is it that the UN head, Ban Ki Moon, is still pushing the ‘Annan Plan’, when Kofi, himself, is declaring it a ‘failure’…?

Looking inside Syria, the BBC…

‘Death or exchange’ fate of seized Syrian soldiers

…Amidst all the doubt and speculation that surrounds the violence in Syria, these “confessions” are part of opposition groups’ efforts at proving to the outside world that the government is behind the bloodshed.

But when the camera has stopped rolling, and the point is made, the captured are no longer of use. So what becomes of these men?

UK-based Syrian journalist Malik al-Abdeh told the BBC: “What do you think they do with them? They kill them. What else can they do?” {…}

Activists claim rebel groups only kill the detainee if he “has been heavily involved in killing civilians.”

But since the FSA holds the government responsible for massacres like those in Houla and Qubair, along with frequent brutal attacks around the country that may have left nearly 16,000 people dead, how many of the detained could have committed crimes that, in the eyes of the rebels, do not merit death?

Estimates of soldiers killed in the conflict range from 1,500 to nearly 5,000, but it is unclear whether these numbers include those facing rebel firing squads.

This local brand of rebel justice points to a new trend in insurgent operations, with an opposition instituting its own makeshift tribunals as it prepares for what could be a long, drawn-out war…

From Reuters…

Friend flees Assad as U.S. pressures Russia

…One of President Bashar al-Assad’s personal friends has defected and was headed for exile in France on Friday, as the Syrian crisis took on a Cold War tone when Washington threatened to make Russia and China “pay” for backing the government in Damascus. {…}

…As Clinton declared in Paris: “Let me say to the soldiers and officials still supporting the Assad regime – the Syrian people will remember the choices you make in the coming days.

“It is time to abandon the dictator, embrace your countrymen and women, and get on the right side of history.”

SECTARIAN STRAINS

As rare faces from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority within a ruling clique dominated by Assad’s fellow Alawites, Tlas and his father Mustapha, who friends said left for Paris some months ago claiming medical problems, long furnished an answer to Syrians who complained of sectarian domination by Alawites. Their flight may show Assad is losing wider support among wealthier Sunnis.

It also suggests the Tlas clan, whatever moral scruples friends say were their prime motive for abandoning their friend and patron, has seen the writing on the wall for Assad’s rule…

…Abdel Baset Seda, the president of the opposition Syrian National Council, told a news conference in Paris that he was in contact with “several” high-ranking officials still inside the country and also hoped to speak with Tlas in the coming days.

This shows that the very heart of the regime is starting to crumble. This is reminiscent of what happened in Libya toward the end, when there were defections every day,” he said, recalling the fall of Muammar Gaddafi last August…

Woo-hoo, Just think how much of a ‘smashing’ success Libya is… Ballots burn as most of Benghazi votes…!

Col. W. Pat Lang served up some interesting commentary on Tlas’s defection, today…

Tlas defection sets the stage…

…The father, Mustafa Tlas, was Minister of Defense for a very long time. If memory serves, he lived next door to the US Embassy in Damascus and was a good neighbor. He was a connaissaeur of fine Kurdish antique carpets. I visited his carpets once. He also liked good Scotch (his, not mine).

Contrary to ignorant expectation many of the Baathi elite in Syria are Sunni Muslims. This fellow has been a favored creature of the regime. He differed with the rest of the inner circle around Bashar in that he thought that an unwillingness to compromise with the secular left would lead to an onslaught of Jihadi Islamists. Maliki over in Iraq says his situation is now better because AQ in Iraq have left to fight in Syria for a Sunni Islamist state there. In that endeavor the AQ types have the active encouragement of the BHO Administration.

No matter. If the Government of Syria is swept away, there will be a need for a Sunni leader… pl

Btw, as most of the Western lame stream media is trumpeting…

Another shell hit the nearby village of Al Hisheh, they said, killing an 8-year-old boy and wounding his father and four children. (Reuters, quoting residents, reported that three other Lebanese civilians were killed in the shelling.)

The security officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of police rules.

It should be noted that some good old gumshoe reporting soon proved it false…

…In Lebanon, a teenager died when a rocket hit her house in the border region of Wadi Khaled, a Lebanese security official told AFP, adding that five others were wounded by rockets and exchanges of gunfire.
“A few hours later, an eight-year-old Bedouin girl, who recently fled with her parents from Syria, was killed,” said a hospital source in Akkar province. “A military expert who visited the site said it was either a mine planted in the area or an explosive they were handling,” the security source said, after initially reporting that a shell had hit their tent.
A local official said clashes had broken out at dawn between the Syrian army and gunmen on the Lebanese side of the border

The whole point of this entire sordid affair is to destabilize all the Secular/Shi’ite regimes, and replace them with a Sunni, Salafist/Wahabbist, and/or, any combination thereof…! Any coalition that would impose a strict Conservative view of Shari’a law…! Akin to what is happening in most of the Red States, right now…! Just like with the Texas School Board and even in the neighboring state, with Jindal’s school ‘vouchers’ crusade…!

Anyways, moving along to Iran, the ever-intrepid, Pepe Escobar, says it’s well past time for the real adults to step up to the plate…

Iran Won’t Crack

…Let’s start sledgehammer style. Iran won’t crack. Iran won’t crack. Iran won’t crack.

No sledgehammer, though, is likely to perforate the limitless fog of delusion hovering over a US elite that a relentless propaganda campaign tries to sell as “the international community”.

See, for instance, this bland op-ed, where we discover that “the international community is now on watch for cracks in Iran’s defiant stance: Will increased sanctions compel Tehran to make real concessions and allow for a diplomatic solution to the standoff?”

Here’s your short answer: no. {…}

…The Obama administration has to make a real decision; it’s either the “roll over and die” school of diplomacy, or real negotiations. Treating Iran like a pariah will only lead to a blunder equaling the Bush administration’s – whose Shock and Awe ended up with a Baghdad closely aligned with Tehran (while the US didn’t even become “the new OPEC”, as savant warmonger Paul Wolfowitz would have it).

But this will pale compared to Iran, Russia and China trading energy in other currencies (as they are already doing); the beginning of the end of the petrodollar as the pillar of global energy politics, and thus of American hegemony. Time for the Iran cracking gang to go back to school.

Here’s a great primer that should be mandatory for all CIA, DoD, Foggy Bottom, and/or, other related personnel…!

Are there any ‘Big Boyz’(or Girlz!) left, capable of stepping up…?

*gah*