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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, House of Saud, I/P Peace Farce, and Turkey

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Trita Parsi, in The National Interest…

Why the Saudis Are Panicking

As President Barack Obama must have noticed during his visit, there is a panicky tone to almost everything the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does these days, whether it’s campaigning for two years to win a coveted seat on the UN Security Council only to give it up immediately after the vote, or its public pronouncements of going it alone in the chaos of Syria, or its break with its fellow Arab state Qatar, or the closing of the Al Jazeera office in Riyadh, or the banning of the books of renowned Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish. Or, of course, its opposition to diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program and the prospects of a US-Iranian thaw.

Riyadh’s opposition to the Iran nuclear talks has largely been understood in the context of the larger Saudi-Iranian and Sunni-Shia rivalry. Consequently, Saudi’s negative reaction was predictable, the argument goes. The Saudi royal house would undoubtedly not sit idly by as its regional rival negotiated its way out of harsh sanctions and into a potential US-Iranian rapprochement that could pave the way for an American tilt towards Tehran—all at the expense of Saudi interests. {…}

The new reality is that in spite of Riyadh’s massive arms purchase from the US, Washington will likely not come to its aid if the Arab spring reaches Saudi. This means that a critical avenue for Saudi Arabia to ensure regime survival is in jeopardy—at best—or, at worst, lost…

I liked how Trita cited an old DSW post on how the Sauds are willing to go it alone in Syria…!

Speaking of Syria, from the Council on Foreign Relations…

Syria Civil War Total Fatalities

Estimates released today by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) portray a different picture of the civil war in Syria than U.S. policymakers and media convey. SOHR’s estimated death toll reinforces the point made in an article published on ForeignPolicy.com in September 2013, when they last released updated data: most of the reported deaths in Syria have not been committed by forces under Bashar al-Assad’s command. Additionally, the involvement of various individuals and groups in the conflict has broadened greatly since SOHR’s September 2013 estimate.

Meanwhile, right next door…

Moving along to Egypt, the Coup regime is tightening the screws on the Muslim Brotherhood… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bahrain, Bureau of Democracy, Egypt, House of Saud, Qatar, and Turkey

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Honestly, folks, isn’t this just lovely…?

US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists

Documents reveal US money trail to Egyptian groups that pressed for president’s removal.

…The State Department’s programme, dubbed by US officials as a “democracy assistance” initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East. {snip}

‘Bureau for Democracy’

Washington’s democracy assistance programme for the Middle East is filtered through a pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based, quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, among others. Federal documents show these groups have sent funds to certain organisations in Egypt, mostly run by senior members of anti-Morsi political parties who double as NGO activists.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative – launched by the George W Bush administration in 2002 in a bid to influence politics in the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks – has spent close to $900m on democracy projects across the region, a federal grants database shows.

USAID manages about $1.4bn annually in the Middle East, with nearly $390m designated for democracy promotion, according to the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED).

The US government doesn’t issue figures on democracy spending per country, but Stephen McInerney, POMED’s executive director, estimated that Washington spent some $65m in 2011 and $25m in 2012. He said he expects a similar amount paid out this year…

So, Cui Bono…?

Morsi’s fall in Egypt comforts Saudis, disconcerts Qatar

The $12 billion in aid Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait offered Egypt this week showed their delight at the army’s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in a reversal for Islamists empowered by the Arab ferment of 2011.

It also marked a recalibration of power among Gulf Arab states which, with the notable exception of Qatar, had viewed the Arab uprisings as catastrophic for regional stability and feared the Muslim Brotherhood would use its domination of Egypt to push a radical, Islamist agenda in their own backyard.

Qatar, however, saw support for the Muslim Brotherhood as a means to project its influence in the Middle East, and gave Egypt $7 billion in aid during the movement’s year in power.

“I suspect the Qataris will draw back somewhat,” said Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Riyadh. “Their infatuation with the Muslim Brotherhood has probably been dampened. They’re likely to come around to a position closer to the Saudis.”

Saudi Arabia in particular was alarmed by the popular unrest that toppled Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali, and rippled through Bahrain, Yemen and other countries.

But most Gulf rulers had fewer qualms about rebellions against Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, whose links with Shi’ite Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement had long antagonised U.S.-backed Sunni Arab states.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which has challenged Riyadh’s traditional leadership in recent years, were broadly aligned on support for rebels in Syria and Libya, but they bitterly disagreed over their attitude to Islamist groups. Now that argument appears to be over – at least for now…

From the Angry Arab…

Qatar in retreat

Aljazeera after the coup is almost dead. And the editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Abdul-Bari Atwan, has just resigned without explaining the reasons as he had promised on Twitter. House of Saud will now take full control of all Arab media. From bad to worse.

Now, here’s an interesting new wrinkle on Saudi intentions… Saudis may be targeting Iran, Israel with new missile program…

Meanwhile, right next door to the House of Saud, and home to the US 5th Fleet… Al Khalifa regime to collapse soon…

In wrapping up, Turkey is on the wrong side of history…

…So the simplistic assumption that being Islamic is enough to unify all Muslims in one “ummah” is shattered. This assumption actually started to crumble with Syria first, where Islam was seen not to be enough to unify people under a single umbrella. One could argue, of course, that the reasons for the sectarianism in Syria go back centuries and the outbreak of a civil war along the Alevi-Sunni line in that country should not have come as a surprise to anyone.

But Ankara misjudged the situation by hardly paying any attention to historical tensions that exist between rival communities in Syria based on sectarian and religious affinities.

It chose instead to demonize Bashar al-Assad – which is of course not hard to do given his brutal and ruthless nature – while overlooking the fact that large number of non-Sunni Syrians actually support al-Assad and his regime.

Turkey’s Syria policy also drove a wedge between Ankara and Tehran, because the two countries are backing opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, and worsened the already-tense relations between Ankara and Baghdad following Iraqi accusations of Turkish meddling in that country to promote Sunni interests. Ankara’s Syria policy has also resulted in gaining a new Islamic enemy for Turkey in the form of the region’s Shiites, and most notably Lebanese Hezbollah.

Now we see a new crisis looming for Turkey’s policy toward the region, with Saudi Arabia leading those standing on the opposite side of the fence from Ankara on Egypt. While Islam was seen, as a result of Syria, not to be the unifying religion that AKP circles assumed, Sunni Islam is also proving to be insufficient in doing this, given the radically different positions that Ankara and Riyadh have taken on the Egyptian coup.

Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will, of course, still try to influence the events in Egypt in line with their own political expectations. It is very unlikely, however, that they will make much headway now that major Arab powers have stepped in to shape the Middle East in line with their own expectations, and not those of a country like Turkey that is ultimately an outsider for Arabs, and one that has not endeared itself to everyone in the region, Shiite, Sunni or otherwise.

What a Clusterf*ck…! *gah*

by CTuttle

The ‘Eager Lion’ Roars…

6:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

“If you want peace, you prepare for peace. If you want war, you prepare for war.” ~Dennis Kucinich in House floor testimony against HR 4310 and sec.’s 1221 and 1222 …

Straight from the Lions’ den… Eager Lion commanders hold press conference…

The generals addressed topics ranging from the number of countries participating to the exercise’s focus on irregular warfare.

They also clarified that the exercise has no connection with any real-world events, including the unrest in Syria.

This exercise does not target anyone – none of the neighboring or world countries,” Edwan said.

“The message that I want to send from this exercise is that we have developed great partners throughout the region and really from across the world that have the same interest and that is ensuring that we have the ability to operate together when called upon by our nations’ leadership to meet challenges that are common to our nations,” Tovo said.

There are 19 nations participating in Eager Lion 12 which include: Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Egypt, France, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Spain, Romania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States…

Remember, It’s all just a ‘coincidence’

…Experts in the region said the exercises were most certainly more than just building bridges between different countries.

Report: Syria rebels get better weapons as US boosts support

“You can’t honestly say that there is not a message when you get 19 nations together in multilateral force less than 50 miles away from the Syrian border,” Michael Stephens of London-based military and security think tank RUSI told msnbc.com from Qatar.

“There is no possible reason as to why the Americans wouldn’t want a joint operation held close to Syria,” he added. “It enhances deterrence (and) the Americans could’ve quietened it down if they wanted to.”

Media reports in Jordan claimed that the exercises were a message not only to Syria but Iran.

Syria violence spills into streets of Lebanon’s Tripoli

However, American and Jordanian military officials strenuously denied that there were operations taking place close to Syria.

It’s not about Syria, it’s just a pure coincidence,” U.S. Central Command Maj. Robert Bockholt told msnbc.com from Jordan. “Eager Lion 12 has been pre-planned.“…

Now, seriously, where is that proverbial carrot of ‘diplomacy’ again, Miz Starr started off with…? It’s been nothing but stick, I mean really… US Officials: IAEA-Iran Deal Won’t Interrupt Sanctions…

And, straight from the horse’s ass mouth… U.S. to keep heat on Iran over nuclear work – W.House…

Meanwhile, hot off the AP wire… UN nuclear chief : Deal with Iran reached on probe…

…Amano’s talks included Jalili as well as Iran’s foreign minister and other officials including the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Fereidoun Abbasi.

Iranian lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahtpisheh told The Associated Press on Monday that Tehran will likely accept more inspections of Parchin “if it feels there is good will within the (IAEA).”

But Falahtpisheh warned that this new openness will likely come with expectations that the West would in return ease international sanctions on Iran.

“In opening up to more inspections, Iran aims at lowering the crisis over its nuclear case,” he said. “But if the sanctions continue, Iran would stop this.”

A political analyst in Tehran, Hamid Reza Shokouhi, said Iran is carefully watching to see if the West shows more “flexibility and pays attention to Iranian demands” during Amano’s trip.

“Then Iran will show flexibility, too,” Shokouhi said…

I wouldn’t hold my breath…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Let Us Call Terror, Terror…

5:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle


Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!

I’ve been screaming ‘bloody murder’ about this Syrian miasma for sometime, I would peg the starting point from early January, when the EU/GCC/US/Nato first started to pivot from Libya to Syria. As Col. Lang wrote today; Terrorism in Syria…

The Obama administration, pre-occupied with its re-election and the need to sooth its financial backers, continues to support the neocon policy position that all anti-establishment revolution is good in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The simple truth that there are not and will not be governments in the ME made up of “good guys” seems beyond the reach of “scholars” at AEI and WINEP as well as members of the Foreign Service.

What we have in Syria is revolutionary civil war waged by the forces of salafist Sunni Islam against the forces of the Alawis, the Druze and the Christians. In this civil war the Sunni salafists are backed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, US media and I suppose Israel in some underhanded way. Iran backs the Assad government, and Iraq is edging its way closer toward the position of the Mullocracy in Teheran.

The war has not been going well for the Sunni insurgents. Assad and company are not willing to surrender to the UN or anyone else since they know that they will be put down like the proverbial dogs if they do.

Logically, the Sunni salafists have now resorted to the kind of large scale terror that has characterized the last ten years in the greater ME.

Let us call terror, terror…

Yes, let’s call it for what it really is! Now, let’s look at some of the ‘sources’ of that specific terror threat, Syria says attackers came from “well known” countries, and, Syria envoy says British, French, Belgian fighters killed…

Syria’s UN envoy said Thursday that British, French and Belgian nationals were among foreign fighters killed in the country’s mounting conflict and that there was Al-Qaeda involvement.

The ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told the UN Security Council that 12 foreign fighters had been killed and 26 detained in recent clashes with Syrian forces.

“We have a list that contains 12 names of foreign terrorists killed in Syria, including one French citizen, one British citizen, one Belgian citizen,” Jaafari told the 15-member council.

He said a list of the 26 foreigners detained had been sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the Security Council.

The 26 have “confessed they are terrorists and entered Syria to carry out terror operations,” he added. Some were “associated” with Al-Qaeda.

The ambassador later told reporters that those detained were mainly Tunisians and Libyans but there was one Palestinian and one Jordanian.

All of the “confessions” have been shown on Syrian television, Jaafari said.

The ambassador said that recent bomb attacks in Syria “carried the stamp of Al-Qaeda methods.”

Jaafari renewed condemnation of Gulf Arab states and Turkey who he accused of backing the foreign fighters and Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile, in Aleppo today, while Syrian forces stopped one car bomb, another one detonated…

An explosion hit Syria’s northern city of Aleppo Friday, just hours after state TV said the army had foiled a would-be suicide attack in the city, raising fears the country is drifting toward an Iraq-style insurgency.

Elsewhere across the country Friday, peaceful protesters defied Syrian army gunfire and took to the streets in the tens of thousands to protest the rule of President Bashar Assad.

The anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said no one had been killed by the Aleppo blast close to the ruling party headquarters, which came a day after twin bombings in Damascus left scores dead.

“Initial details indicate that the Aleppo blast was targeting the local branch of the ruling Baath party and there is no information until now on the number of victims that fell in the explosion,” the British-based group said in an email… {snip}

…Thursday’s bombings have raised fears that extremist elements could be taking advantage of the deadlock in Syria to stoke the unrest.

An Islamist group calling itself Al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility online for the Damascus attack, the SITE Monitoring Service said Thursday.

It said two bombs it had placed near a military headquarters on a central highway in the capital on May 5 had killed around 20 guards. For many, the Al-Qaeda-style tactics recall those once familiar in the country’s eastern neighbor, Iraq, raising fears that Syria’s conflict was drifting further away from the Arab Spring calls for political change and closer to a bloody insurgency.

“Syria is slowly but surely turning into another Iraq,” said Bilal Y. Saab, a Syria expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Even Hezbollah was saying today; Hezbollah chief says Syria may descend into Iraq-like abyss…

Now, lets look at a common thread that wends it’s insidious ways through the tapestry, that is the Middle East, and our GWOT, namely, the House of Saud…! From; 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11, to Iraq’s ‘awakening’, Libya, Bahrain, and, even Yemen, the Saudi-fueled Salafist/Wahabbi based Sunni Insurgency has led the way.

Emptywheel did an awesome job of connecting-the-dots in some of the House of Saud’s nefarious machinations, yesterday…

Cluster Bombs on the Head of a Saudi Pinpoint

Congratulations to the NYT, which offers the superlative version of a story everyone seems to be writing today. It describes a whole host of reasons why we should not trust the Saudis.

That collaboration appears to have intensified over the past two years, despite a long history of mistrust rooted in the role of Saudi hijackers in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The relationship was tested again last year when Saudi leaders responded furiously to American endorsement of the revolt that ousted a Saudi ally, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. American diplomats were surprised and angered in turn soon afterward when Saudi Arabia sent troops to help put down unrest in neighboring Bahrain.

[snip]

The counterterrorism cooperation has not been without bumps, officials from both countries acknowledge.

In 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation quietly sent a handful of agents to Saudi Arabia to work with officials there on a classified counterterrorism strategy, according to a senior American official who was briefed on the program. After several months, however, the two sides disagreed on a common strategy, and the F.B.I. agents went home.

Internal State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations revealed American frustration with Saudi Arabia in curtailing financial supporters of many extremist activities.

“It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” said a classified cable sent by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in December 2009, concluding that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

But ultimately concludes that in spite of all this evidence, our partnership with the Saudis is working just great…

Yes, indeedy, we do in fact have the AP, and our entire agitprop, Western Lamestream Media peddling that very same Neo/Ziocon Snake Oil… Saudis emerge as key US ally against terror…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Giving Thanks: A Cornucopia of Middle East Affairs

10:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From my Ohana to yours, I’d like to extend a hale Happy Holiday…!

I’ve been absorbed in my local Occupy Hilo and haven’t posted much about the I/P and the Middle East, my humble apologies…!

As you’re cooking and basting your turkey (I’m cooking two birds) I’d like to provide you a veritable cornucopia of Middle East news and intel…

As my first dish, I’d like to serve up some Seymour Hersch (mp3)…! Antiwar’s Scott Horton talks with Sy about his recent blog post: Iran and the I.A.E.A… It is certainly refreshing to hear Sy attesting to much of what I’ve already reported earlier, such as my; Wag The Dog: Green Salt is The New Yellowcake…

Staying with Antiwar radio, this Philip Giraldi interview is a must-hear too…! To wit; Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses the CIA agents “rolled up” in Iran and Lebanon because of sloppy tradecraft (like regularly meeting at a Beirut Pizza Hut). Now, remind me again of how many Billion$ we are spending on these utter buffoons…?

Now, I do have a lot of links to provide… So continuing with the Lebanon meme… The intrepid Richard Silverstein unleashed another veritable ‘bombshell’…

Exclusive: Israeli Military Intelligence Caused Massive Explosion in Hezbollah South Lebanon Arms Cache

…Now comes an exclusive report from an authoritative Israeli source with considerable military experience, that IDF military intelligence (Aman) has out foxed Hezbollah by deliberately crash-landing a booby-trapped Trojan Horse drone in southern Lebanon…

…The moral being, in this dirty game called asymmetrical warfare, you and your enemy circle each other warily seeking to exploit any weakness. And you will make mistakes because you are only human. The fatal assumption is that your opponent is the only dumb one who will make them, and you never will…

Moving on, it was surprising to see Lt. Pike make an appearance in Tel Aviv…

Tel Aviv police pepper-spray democracy protesters

…Earlier, I read a few Twitter messages about tear gas being used by the police. This sounded strange – Israeli security forces never use it in Jewish neighborhoods. On King George, the mystery was solved – it was pepper spray, the current world-wide celebrity of the crowd control department. An activist I knew was still red-eyed when I met him – he said the police had lost control for a minute, and sprayed the protesters for no reason at all.

You can see it happen clearly in the video (min 0:18), take by Eran Vered. Later, you can also spot the district police commander (min 1:46, not in uniform but in blue clothes) kicking protesters that are on sitting on the road…

The accompanying YouTubes were just as damning as Lt. Pike’s viral heroics…

Now, continuing along with Israeli news… I did find it rather ironic to hear Tzipi Livni, belatedly, bemoaning the real facts on the ground…

Israel turning into dictatorship

Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni accused the government during a Knesset hearing of compromising Israel’s democratic system.

“We have always prided ourselves on being the only democracy in the Middle East. We were a democracy, and the others were dictatorships,” she said. “While Egypt is trying to become a democracy like us, we’re passing laws that will turn Israel into a dictatorship.”

Haaretz featured two articles to that effect…

MKs to debate bill that would limit freedom to petition Israel’s High Court

Former chief justice Aharon Barak: Democracy is not just majority rule.

And…

Israel’s investigative journalists facing increasing obstacles

Investigative journalism is hard enough in a country as small as Israel, and an intensifying onslaught against freedom of the press is endangering it even further.

Btw, Bibi had totally lost all his senses in the Knesset, yesterday…

Netanyahu: Arab world moving backward, not forward

…”In February, when millions of Egyptians thronged to the streets in Cairo, commentators and quite a few Israeli members of the opposition said that we’re facing a new era of liberalism and progress…They said I was trying to scare the public and was on the wrong side of history and don’t see where things are heading,” he said.

But time has proved him right, Netanyahu said. His forecast that the Arab Spring would turn into an “Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave” turned out to be true, he said.

Netanyahu also slammed Western leaders, and especially U.S. President Barak Obama, who had pushed Mubarak to resign from power. At the time this was happening Netanyahu said in closed talks that the American administration and many European leaders don’t understand reality. On Wednesday, he called them “naive.”

I ask today, who here didn’t understand reality? Who here didn’t understand history?” he called from the Knesset podium. “Israel is facing a period of instability and uncertainty in the region. This is certainly not the time to listen to those who say follow your heart.”
Netanyahu used the upheaval in the Arab world to justify his government’s inaction vis-a-vis the peace process with the Palestinians.

“I remember many of you urged me to take the opportunity to make hasty concessions, to rush to an agreement,” he said.

“But I will not establish Israel’s policy on illusions. There’s a huge upheaval here…whoever doesn’t see it is burying his head in the sand,” he said.

“That didn’t stop people from coming to me and suggesting we make all kinds of concessions. I said we insist on foundations of stability and security…all the more so now,” he said.

And it wasn’t just Bibi raving like the lunatic he his, Avi Lieberman, just had to chime in too…

Israel won’t give Fatah-Hamas unity government even one dime

FM says Israel will not recognize or negotiate with a Palestinian unity government if it does not accept the principles outlined by the Mideast Quartet.

Bibi, doubled down and told everyone to f*ck off… Netanyahu Rejects U.S., International Calls To Release Palestinian Money…

It’s already been 5-6 months worth of Palestinian tax revenues that have been collected by Israel, and subsequently withheld from Abu Mazen’s already cash starved PA bureaucracy…! Contrary to the Grey Lady’s pathetic reporting…! Is it any coinky-doink that Abbas is finally teaming up with Hamas…?

Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo for unity talks

A delegation from Hamas arrived in the Egyptian capital Wednesday in preparation for meetings with President Abbas in a bid to implement the reconciliation deal signed in May.

The delegation includes Khalid Mashaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzouq, Muhammad Naser, Izzat al-Rishq, Khalil al-Hayya, and Nizar Awad.

Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said “we hope the meeting will be fruitful,” and added that the Islamist movement expected to agree with Fatah on establishing a joint authority in the occupied territories.

He also expressed hopes they would adopt a single national strategy.

Abbas is already in Cairo for the unity talks and had even met with the soon-to-be supplanted Tantawi…!

In other ME news, Bahrain is slammed with a withering report… Probe says excessive force used in Bahrain crackdown… Much to the chagrin of the PNAC crew, No Iranian role found in Bahrain unrest… Sucks doesn’t it…?

God help us all…! We’re all the 99% trying to survive the games that are being played…!

As Ike had once famously said…

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

Amen…!

by CTuttle

As The Arab Spring Turns Into Summer…

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It seems this Friday just happened to be another Friday, in that, once again a few Arabs, seemed to be a little pissed off with the ‘promised’ pace in the Arab Spring’s reforms and progress…

First off, from Tunisia…

Tunisian rally faces off tear gas

…Tunisian police used teargas yesterday to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators demanding progress in reforms promised after the president’s removal in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.

More than 700 protesters gathered in Kasbah square in the centre of the Tunisian capital but were quickly dispersed by hundreds of police officers in riot gear. Protesters shouted “We are not afraid” as police pushed them out of the square, where Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi has his office.

Protests also took place in Sidi Bouzid, the central Tunisian town where a vegetable seller set himself on fire last December, setting in train protests that brought to an end the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

From Egypt…

Egyptians extend protests at Tahrir Square

Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, after a week of demonstrations, to tell the ruling generals they are failing to meet demands to reform the system…

From Syria…

1 Million Protesters Push Syria’s Assad to the Brink…

An estimated 1 million Syrians took to the streets Friday to press for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, whose use of force and offers of dialogue have failed to stop a four-month revolt. At least 32 protesters were killed around the country, including more than 20 in the capital of Damascus…

From Jordan…

Jordanian police beat up journalists covering demonstration

…At least 10 people, mostly journalists, were injured yesterday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.
Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists who were wearing orange vests marked “press,” an AFP reporter at the scene witnessed. The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.
“We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests,” said the photographer. “We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes.”
A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen.
Around 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the nearby Al Husseini mosque to the city hall before the clashes occurred with hundreds of government supporters.
“Rulers, we want to reform the regime. We want the palace to hear the voices of Jordanians,” the demonstrators chanted.
They carried banners reading “We need political, economic and social reforms for future generations,” and “It’s our right to fight corruption.”

From Bahrain…

Thousands rally for political reform in Bahrain

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis shouting “one man, one vote” attended a rally for political reform held by a leading opposition party on Friday, days before the group decides whether to pull out of national reform talks. Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have launched a national dialogue to discuss reforms and heal deep rifts in the Gulf island kingdom…

Now, lets put some proper perspective on the problem…

More Harm Than Good…

…Now, before Tunisia and Egypt even have new governments in place, the IMF has jumped to offer them loans for vast infrastructure projects in the desert—as if the fund didn’t know that young Arabs there want ways to start businesses and have careers, not temporary construction jobs.

The Greek debacle and the North African drama raise existential questions about the IMF. Responsible governments have no business borrowing vast sums from abroad, rather than from domestic sources. That’s what tinpot regimes do. And lending even more to borrowers who can’t pay what they already owe? That’s what loan sharks and mafiosi do.

The IMF’s business model sabotages properly functioning capitalism, victimizing ordinary people while benefiting the elites. Do we need international agencies to enable irresponsible—verging on immoral—borrowing and lending? Instead of dreaming up too-clever-by-half schemes to stumble through crises after they happen, why not just stop imprudent banks from accommodating foreign borrowing by feckless governments? After all, it’s French and German taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the Greeks and the Irish…

Now, today in Libya, we’ve officially recognized the Rebels, freeing up the $34 Billion that we had froze, shortly after Qaddafi had announced that he was earmarking that specified amount to the African Development Bank…

U.S. formally recognizes rebel group as Libya’s government

…The chief effect of recognition may be financial. The rebels have been pleading with Washington and other governments for months to release frozen Libyan assets, including $34 billion held in U.S. banks, and that now appears increasingly likely.

At the Istanbul meeting, France said it was taking steps to unfreeze $250 million, while Italy said it was moving to unfreeze $100 million. U.S. officials said it would take time to release the Libyan money because of legal restrictions, but the task is easier if the council is the recognized government.

The rebels have said they need $3.5 billion this year to prosecute the war and administer the cities and towns they control.

Here’s a juicy little tidbit about those very same Al QaedaLibyan Rebels…

Now, speaking about ‘prosecuting’ and ‘administering the cities and towns they control’. The House of Saud is in full panic mode…

Saudis Seeking Arms amid Growing Fears

Saudi Arabia’s hunger for weapons has grown with the upcoming US withdrawal from Iraq and instability in Yemen and Bahrain.

…”Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries in general realize that they must rely on themselves to defend themselves during this critical period marked by the beginning of a US withdrawal from Iraq,” said Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies. [...]

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has traditionally bought US and British arms, but it showed no hesitation in contacting a new supplier, Berlin, with which it is negotiating the purchase of 200 Leopard tanks, according to reports in Germany.

The order is worth some two billion Euros ($2.8 billion), German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website.

“The kingdom is looking for weapons in Germany and even in Russia, knowing that with the vacuum left by the Americans in Iraq, Iran might begin to extend its influence to the Levant reaching out to the Mediterranean sea,” said Eshki.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country sent about 1,500 troops to Bahrain, freeing up local security forces to crush a month-long uprising, recently reiterated Riyadh’s rejection of “foreign adventures” in Bahrain.

“Persian [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states have strategy to maintain their security,” Faisal said on July 5…

As, b at M of A, pointed out some of the unique features of those 200 Main Battle Tanks…

German Tanks For Saudi ‘Peace Support Operations’

…But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.

The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for “Peace Support Operations”. Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.

Hmmm… Yeppers, it’s all those pesky Iranians fault…

Btw, can we finally be rid of this annoying Beach Boy earworm…?

…There is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict,” Baer explained.

….It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.

They need an external enemy. Because we are leaving Iraq, it’s Israel. But in order to make this threat believable, they would love an attack on their nuclear facilities, love to go to war in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and hit us where they could. Their defense is asymmetrical. We can take out all of their armored units. It’s of little difference to them, same with their surface-to-air missile sites. It would make little difference because they would use terrorism. They would do serious damage to our fleet in the Gulf.

Given all that, is it possible that the United States would allow Israel to attack when the president knows “we would be forced” to join the war on Israel’s side?

Baer’s response: “the President is up for re-election next year” and Israel is “truly out of control.”

What happens when you see 100 F-16′s approaching Iraq and there is a call to the White House [from Netanyahu] that says “We’re going in, we’re at war with Iran”? What does the President of the United States do? He has little influence over Bibi Netanyahu. …We can’t stop him. And he knows it.

Hmmm…! I suppose not…!

Now, this was some great news which actually did instill some hope in my cold, cynical heart…

Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence…

Several MKs participate in the ‘March for Independence,’ the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years…

Arab League seeking full status for Palestine at UN…

The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said yesterday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communique.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move, saying if the Palestinians really wanted peace, “they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution.”

Even the ever-odious Mustache of Fury just had to chime in… …PA bid for UN recognition means ‘next to nothing’…

*gah*

by CTuttle

‘What Do You Call Radical? Democracy!’

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Obama to reach out to Muslims in post-bin Laden world

President preparing major policy speech on political change in Middle East

Amid searing change in the Middle East and North Africa, President Barack Obama will address U.S. policy toward the region in a speech that could be delivered as early as next week.

Aides said Obama’s emphasis would be regional and political, highlighting the democratic values that have linked the popular uprisings that started in Tunisia and Egypt and quickly spread throughout the region. But Obama was not expected to focus on religion, as he did in his address to the Muslim world during a 2009 trip to Cairo.

A U.S. official said Obama had originally planned to deliver the speech during the first week in May, but it was pushed back because of the raid in Pakistan that led to the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. A new date has not been officially set, but the White House said Obama could speak before he leaves for a nearly weeklong trip to Europe next weekend. The speech would be in this country, not overseas.

Now, being the betting man, that I am… I’ll betcha Obummer will either deliver it at the AIPAC Confab, or, at that joint session of Congress (like there’s any difference between them), in either case, he’ll still be following Bibi’s biding lead…!

It is a mighty tight schedule next week… With Bibi having a little Tête à tête with Obummer in the WH on the 20th, the AIPAC Confab starting on the 22nd, and, the joint session of Congress will be on the 24th…

Now remember that Bibi wants Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to stay in power…

So…

As far as interviews go, the latest interview given by a member of the Syrian ‘establishment’ is sure to send ripples across the political spectrum. Rami Makhlouf, the presidents cousin and one of the richest men in Syria, with interests in all the major industries and firms that run the country, has given an interview to the New York Times where has made some alarming statements about the Syrian regime. For one thing, he’s promised that the regime will ‘fight to the end’. There is no mention of stupid conspiracies, Salafis or even Bandar bin Sultan. Instead we hear it straight ‘from the horses mouth’ – so to speak – that the regime is here to stay and will do whatever it takes to survive.

Perhaps more alarmingly, he has linked stability in Israel with stability in Syria. That is quite confusing because most people thought that Syria has been in a state of war with Israel for the past 63 years. It seems, like with Egypt and Libya, that the Syrian regime is more interested in the stability of Israel, and in maintaining a status quo in the area for the United States, than in responding to the political aspirations of their own people. But let us not deceive ourselves, this interview was not intended for the Syrian people, or anybody who speaks Arabic. This interview aims at sending a message to the Americans, a warning not to meddle, and an enticement of future cooperation if the protests are put down successfully. That is the only explanation for it, because usually Makhlouf is extremely secretive and camera-shy.

Syrian regime likely to survive uprising: analysts…

“The international community is cautious in its response to the actions of the Syrian regime, which apparently has won the first round of the battle through bloodshed,” a Syrian analyst in Amman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Israel is satisfied with the status quo with the Syrian regime and the United States needs Syria because it has an influence on the Sunni resistance in Iraq and because it is a key link between Washington and Tehran in issues related to Iraq.”

Abu Adham, a Syrian dissident who has lived in Jordan since 1996 after imprisonment in his country from 1986 to 1991, meanwhile slammed the international community.

“World powers are lethargic when it comes to Syria because they do not want to see chaos on the doorsteps of Israel, which enjoys the most secure borders with Syria since the establishment of a demilitarised border zone in 1974.”

“It seems that Bashar Assad is currently wining(sic) but I hope that the Syrian people will win in the end. The people and regime have reached a point of no return.”

I’d love to read the cables being written right now out of Damascus, they must be blistering…

If ya lost Holy Joe…

…On Wednesday, in Washington, Independent Senator Joe Lieberman introduced a bipartisan resolution urging the Obama administration to speak out more forcefully against Syrian leader. “In my opinion, Bashar al-Assad is a thug, a murderer, a totalitarian leader who is pursuing the Gadhafi model and hopes to get away with it,” he said.

But Joe, no comment on Bahrain…?

Bahraini MP complains “…unfair that the media is saying that due process is not occurring in Bahrain”

…”It is unfair that the media is saying that due process is not occurring in Bahrain,” he added. “It is a wild misstatement to say that everyone tried is being convicted, as some have written. Actually over 300 people have been … arrested, interrogated, and they didn’t find anything and they let them go.”

AlKooheji dispelled the myth that those recently arrested in Bahrain are being tried by military tribunals.

“That’s absolutely false,” AlKooheji said. “There is one military judge, two civilian judges, sitting on the panel, and every man who’s being accused has the right to a lawyer. The lawyer is present and family members are present in the court. I don’t know why people are saying that it’s a military court because that’s not true at all.”

The Parliamentarian said that Bahrain is on the mend and the nation is a work in progress.

“It takes awhile for any democratic country, and especially Bahrain being such a young democratic country,” AlKooheji said. “It takes awhile for people to understand the true meaning of democracy. If you ask a group of people in one room what is the definition of democracy, they might give you the definition, but the understanding of it could differ from a person to another.”

AlKooheji said that in the months to come he expects greater consensus to emerge among all Bahrainis.

Dayam, Don’t ya just love the smell of that democracy…

Speaking of the ‘Arab Spring’ and Sunni Monarchies…

Sunni Monarchies Close Ranks

Reports that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considering some form of membership for two non-Gulf states – Jordan and Morocco – confirm that the conservative Sunni monarchies of the Middle East are closing ranks against Iran, Shiite-led Iraq and the democratic wave sweeping the region.

GCC secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani made the announcement Tuesday after a summit of the six-member group affirmed support for Saudi and United Arab Emirates military intervention against predominantly Shiite pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain.

Zayani did not make clear whether Morocco and Jordan would be offered a second-tier membership in the GCC, which groups Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

Foreign ministers from Jordan and Morocco will meet with GCC foreign ministers to “complete required procedures”, Zayani told reporters. [...]

However, the wave of popular unrest that has swept the region since January – and toppled once durable pro-Western authoritarian non- monarchies in Tunisia and Egypt – has spread anxiety among conservative Sunni monarchies already unsettled by the Shiite replacement of a Sunni regime in Iraq and by Iran’s slow but steady nuclear advancement.

Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said it was clear that GCC members regard “the success of monarchies in the Middle East as important for regional security and their own security. They want Jordan and Morocco to stay as moderate pro- Western states.”

Alterman added that GCC members regard “the experiment of republican military rule [in the region] as a failure. After 50-60 years, it’s run its course and the model of choice is enlightened monarchies.”

He predicted that the GCC would seek to funnel more investment into Jordan and Morocco to ensure that they survive any popular protests…

To put the Gulf Cooperation Council’s ludicrous decision to ‘support’ the Kingdom of Morocco, into some geographical perspective, Casablanca is as close to New York City, as it is to the Persian Gulf…!

So now, what do ya’ll think our Nobel Peace Laureate-in-Chief will propose to advance the peace in the Middle East…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Wikileaks: Hamas Needs to be ‘Strong Enough to Enforce a Ceasefire’, Settlers Will Leave if Price is Right, And, Bahrain Has ‘Friendly Ties’ With Mossad

7:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Personally, I think Assange should just release the ‘key’ for the BoA files already…

Now, from today’s Forward…Julian Assange: New Revelations Will Rock Israel…

After keeping a relatively low profile in recent months, Julian Assange has re-emerged with a lengthy interview in this weekend’s edition of Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. Speaking from the English estate where he’s under house arrest, the Wikileaks founder denied recent accusations of anti-Semitism, and promised more embarrassing revelations on his controversial Web site — which this time will focus on Israel.

As the the Guardian reported…

Latest WikiLeaks cables reveal Israel’s fears and alliances

Julian Assange hands over tranche of secret files to newspapers in Israel on its co-operation with US and view of neighbours

…The revelations come in a tranche of the most militarily sensitive cables from the US embassy in Tel Aviv. They have been handed over to Israeli newspapers by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Hebrew-language paper Yediot this week announced a deal under which it will print an interview with Assange, who has recently had to defend WikiLeaks from accusations of antisemitism.

The cables show intimate co-operation between US and Israeli intelligence organisations. Israel’s preoccupation with Iranian nuclear ambitions is well known and the US cables detail the battering on the subject that diplomats repeatedly receive from Tel Aviv.

They also shed detailed and sometimes unexpected light on Israel’s military analyses of its other enemies and friends in the region.

Now, diving into the weeds…

First in a ‘Scenesetter for the visit of Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg‘, dated from Nov. 12, 2009…

Israel – calm before the storm?
Gaza Dilemmas
————-

¶5. (S) Gaza poses its own set of dilemmas. The IDF general
responsible for Gaza and southern Israel, Major General Yoav
Galant, recently commented to us that Israel’s political
leadership has not yet made the necessary policy choices
among competing priorities: a short-term priority of wanting
Hamas to be strong enough to enforce the de facto ceasefire
and prevent the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel; a
medium-priority of preventing Hamas from consolidating its
hold on Gaza; and a longer-term priority of avoiding a return
of Israeli control of Gaza and full responsibility for the
well-being of Gaza’s civilian population.
Israel appears
determined to maintain its current policy of allowing only
humanitarian supplies and limited commercial goods into Gaza,
while sealing the borders into Israel. There are indications
of progress in the indirect negotiations with Hamas over the
release of Gilad Shalit in return for the release of hundreds
of Palestinian prisoners, many of them hardened
terrorists,but it is difficult to predict the timing of such
a deal. Shalit’s release would likely result in a more
lenient Israeli policy toward the Gaza crossings, but a large
prisoner exchange would be played by Hamas as a major
political achievement and thus further damage the standing of
Abu Mazen among Palestinians. [...]

Impasse with the Palestinians
—————————–

¶9. (C) Polls show that close to seventy percent of Israeli
Jews support a two-state solution, but a similar percentage
do not believe that a final status agreement can be reached
with the Palestinian leadership. Expressed another way,
Israelis of varying political views tell us that after Abu
Mazen spurned Ehud Olmert’s peace offer one year ago, it
became clearer than ever that there is too wide a gap between
the maximum offer any Israeli prime minister could make and
the minimum terms any Palestinian leader could accept and
survive.
Sixteen years after Oslo and the Declaration of
Principles, there is a widespread conviction here that
neither final status negotiations nor unilateral
disengagements have worked. While some on the left conclude
that the only hope is a U.S.-imposed settlement, a more
widely held narrative holds that the Oslo arrangements
collapsed in the violence of the Second Intifada after Arafat
rejected Barak’s offer at Camp David, while Sharon’s
unilateral disengagement from Gaza resulted in the Hamas
takeover and a rain of rockets on southern Israel. Netanyahu
effectively captured the public mood with his Bar Ilan
University speech last June, in which he expressed support
for a two-state solution, but only if the Plestinian
leadership would accept Israel as the ation-state of the
Jewish people and the Palestiian state would be
demilitarized (and subject toa number of other
security-related restrictions o its sovereignty that he did
not spell out in deail in the speech but which are well
known in Wahington). Palestinian PM Fayyad has recently
temed Netanyahu’s goal a “Mickey Mouse state” due to all the
limitations on Palestinian sovereignty that it would appear
to entail.

¶10. (S) Abu Mazen’s stated intent not to seek another term is
widely seen here as an effort to put pressure on Washington
to put pressure on Israel to meet Palestinian terms for
starting negotiations. Abu Mazen’s statements have likely
reinforced his image among Israelis as a decent man, and
certainly a different breed from Arafat, but a weak and
unreliable leader. Yet even some of the Israeli officials,
including Avigdor Lieberman and Sylvan Shalom, who have been
most skeptical about the prospects for a final status
agreement in the near term, are now expressing concern at the
lack of engagement with the PA and the prospects of the PA
collapsing. Advocates of a bottom-up approach are finally
realizing that without a political process, the security
cooperation and economic development approach will become
unsustainable. Netanyahu has told us that he considers Abu
Mazen to be his negotiating partner, and in his latest public
statements has stressed that he is not interested in
negotiations for their own sake, but rather seeks a
far-reaching agreement with the Palestinians, but it remains
unclear to us how far Netanyahu is prepared to go.
Netanyahu
is interested in taking steps to strengthen Abu Mazen, but he
will not agree to the total freeze on Israeli construction in
the West Bank and East Jerusalem that Abu Mazen insists is a
requirement for engaging with Netanyahu.

Israeli Choices
—————

¶11. (C) Former Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff
Shaul Mofaz generated a lot of media attention this week when
he announced a peace plan that calls for establishing a
Palestinian state with temporary borders on sixty percent of
the West Bank
, then entering final status negotiations.
Mofaz’ approach is similar to ideas that have been floated
quietly over the past few months by Defense Minister Barak
and President Peres, and Mofaz claims that both Barak and
Peres support his plan. Mofaz’ plan is in part an effort to
undermine the political position of his rival for Kadima
party leadership, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Livni, presumably drawing on her experience negotiating with
the Palestinians during the Olmert government, says she
opposes the idea of an interim solution, but instead supports
intensive final status negotiations, perhaps this time with
direct U.S. involvement. Livni and Mofaz both stress that
they are motivated by a sense of urgency and that time is not
on Israel’s side.

¶12. (C) Netanyahu still holds the political cards here,
however, and we see no scenarios in which Livni or Mofaz
become prime minister in the near future. As Mofaz told the
Ambassador earlier this week, Netanyahu may wait until the
Palestinian elections, if they are in fact held in January,
but the initiative is in his hands. If the Palestinians
continue to refuse to engage on terms that Netanyahu can
accept, it is possible that Netanyahu could turn his
attention to Syria. Media reports that Netanyahu asked
President Sarkozy to deliver a message to Asad may turn out
to be accurate, but as with the Palestinians, Netanyahu will
not resume talks with Syria where they left off under Olmert,
but will insist on negotiations without preconditions.

*heh* I did enjoy this little tract: “Palestinian PM Fayyad has recently termed Netanyahu’s goal a “Mickey Mouse state” due to all the limitations on Palestinian sovereignty that it would appear to entail.”

Ironically, in this 2007 cable, then Israeli Military Intel Chief Yadlin had said…

Summary. During a June 12 meeting with the
Ambassador, IDI Director MG Amos Yadlin said that Gaza was
“number four” on his list of threats
, preceded by Iran,
Syria, and Hizballah in that order. Yadlin said the IDI has
been predicting armed confrontation in Gaza between Hamas and
Fatah since Hamas won the January 2006 legislative council
elections. Yadlin felt that the Hamas military wing had
initiated the current escalation with the tacit consent of
external Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, adding that he did not
believe there had been a premeditated political-level
decision by Hamas to wipe out Fatah in Gaza. Yadlin
dismissed Fatah’s capabilities in Gaza, saying Hamas could
have taken over there any time it wanted for the past year,
but he agreed that Fatah remained strong in the West Bank.
Although not necessarily reflecting a GOI consensus view,
Yadlin said Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza
because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a hostile state.

He dismissed the significance of an Iranian role in a
Hamas-controlled Gaza “as long as they don’t have a port.”

Regarding predictions of war with Syria this summer, Yadlin
recalled the lead-up to the 1967 war, which he said was
provoked by the Soviet Ambassador in Israel. Both Israel and
Syria are in a state of high alert, so war could happen
easily even though neither side is seeking it. Yadlin
suggested that the Asad regime would probably not survive a
war, but added that Israel was no longer concerned with
maintaining that “evil” regime. On Lebanon, Yadlin felt that
the fighting in the Nahr Al-Barid camp was a positive
development for Israel since it had “embarrassed” Hizballah,
adding that IDI had information that the Fatah Al-Islam
terrorist group was planning to attack UNIFIL before it
blundered into its confrontation with the LAF. End Summary

Anyways, moving along…

Now, in another cable, which I’ve not been able to identify yet, has already sparked an immediate response…

From the Wapoo…

WikiLeaks: Jewish settler leader says some would be ready to leave West Bank for a price

…Publicly, Dani Dayan, leader of the Yesha settler council, has made forceful declarations that settlers will not leave their homes under any circumstances.

Palestinians seek the West Bank for part of a future state and want the 300,000 Jewish settlers there to leave as part of a peace deal with Israel.

Haaretz published the WikiLeaks finding from among 250,000 leaked U.S. State Department memos provided by the secret-spilling website. It said some 10,000 related to Israel.

In one of the documents, written by U.S. diplomats in Israel, Dayan is quoted as saying that some settlers will move in return for proper compensation.

“I’m an economist, and I know that some people will take it if the price is right,” he is quoted as saying.

The report also said that Dayan expressed embarrassment over settler violence and that he “understood” the Palestinian connection to West Bank lands.

Dayan played down the WikiLeaks comments attributed to him, saying they were taken out of context. He added that he thought very few settlers would agree to leave but that “the larger the bribe, the more settlers would agree to evacuate.”

I could support having our annual $3 Billion+ in US military aid to Israel diverted into ‘bribes’…

Moving along… Ha’aretz has just started their very own Wikileaks section…

Bahrain King boasted of intelligence ties with Israel

According to latest trove of documents revealed by WikiLeaks, the Bahraini King instructed that official statements stop referring to Israel as the ‘Zionist entity’ or ‘enemy.’

The Bahraini King bragged about intelligence contacts with Israel, and instructed that official statements stop referring to Israel as the “Zionist entity,” according to the latest trove of documents revealed by WikiLeaks.

On February 15, 2005, U.S. ambassador to Bahrain William Monroe met with the leader of the small kingdom, Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa – the same king whose position is now threatened by popular protests.

After that meeting, Monroe wrote to Washington that “He [the king] revealed that Bahrain already has contacts with Israel at the intelligence/security level (ie with Mossad) and indicated that Bahrain will be willing to move forward in other areas.”

In summation, I think Ha’aretz best summed up the Israeli handling of Hamas and/or Gaza…

Israel has no clear or consistent policy on Gaza Strip or Hamas…

*gah*