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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, Iran, Israel, and House of Saud

5:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

To punctuate Phyllis’ point on the Peace Farce between Bibi and Abbas…

Abbas: There’s ‘No Way’ We’ll Recognize Israel

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stood his ground on Friday and reiterated that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Speaking to youth activists of his Fatah party and quoted by The Associated Press (AP), Abbas unequivocally declared that there is “no way” he will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and accept a Palestinian capital in just a portion of eastern Jerusalem.

Abbas further stated that he withstood international pressure in the past, when he sought UN recognition of a state of Palestine despite the United States’ objections.

“They are pressing and saying, ‘No peace without the Jewish state,”‘ he said, though not spelling out who is applying the pressure. “There is no way. We will not accept.”

Now, I do wonder about her basic premise that AIPAC is in fact weakened…! From Alex Kane in Mondoweiss…

House delivers for AIPAC, 410-1, passing Israel as ‘strategic partner’ bill

…Today, the House of Representatives passed the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act by a 410-1 vote. The lone dissenting voice was Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), a libertarian aligned with Senator Rand Paul. The Senate has not voted on their version of the bill yet, though it has strong support there, with 55 co-sponsors from both parties.

In addition to the “major strategic partner” designation, the bill allows for Israelis to travel to the U.S. without visas, though the State Department has to certify that Israel meets the requirements for the visa-waiver program. The legislation also calls for giving Israel advanced combat aircraft and military tanker transports. It was authored by the hawkish Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. {…}

The liberal Zionist lobby group J Street applauded the bill’s passage.

The legislation had languished in Congress for a year. While it was a priority for AIPAC at last year’s conference, it was held up because of concerns that it would codify Israel’s discrimination against activists and Arab- and Palestinian-American travelers. Those concerns, pushed to the forefront by a coalition of groups, led to the stripping out of language that gave Israel a right to deny entry to travelers if they threatened the state’s security. The security pretext is a favored tool used by Israeli authorities to deny people entry.

The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act was one of the initiatives AIPAC members pushed for when lobbying Congress on Tuesday. AIPAC activists also asked elected officials to sign onto a pair of letters stressing that Congress should be informed of the nuclear negotiations with Iran. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency‘s Ron Kampeas reported, the letter for the House of Representatives, which J Street also backed, “does not include AIPAC’s previous calls for new and enhanced sanctions” and “does not include prescriptions for what the outcome of an agreement should look like.” The Senate letter, on the other hand, does include prescriptions for a deal with Iran, like the dismantling of enrichment capacity–a demand Iran has categorically rejected.

Now, Jim Lobe is reporting that AIPAC has been blunted… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: It Is All About Israel, The Grand Waffle, Pepe Escobar, And, Mali

7:21 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Philip Giraldi wrote recently…

It Is All About Israel

…While applauding the efforts of many Americans to pull out the stops in support the Hagel nomination, I would nevertheless argue that the attempt to identify some kind of rainbow coalition in the opposition to Hagel is pretty much a canard. It really is all about Israel, at least in the minds of most of those who seriously are seeking to block the nomination. Consider for a second whether Hagel would be facing any serious opposition at all if it were not for the claim that he is anti-Israel and not predisposed to use force against Iran. And bear in mind that Iran is really a subset of the Israel issue since it is Benjamin Netanyahu who is driving the belligerency even though the Iranians do not actually threaten the United States in any serious way…

…And for those who still doubt that it is all about Israel, I would suggest a little history lesson. In 2004 Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission, admitted that the Iraq war was fought to protect Israel, which he described as “the threat that dare not speak its name.” He meant that if there had not been the connivance of the Pentagon’s friends of Israel in creating a false weapons of mass destruction narrative coupled with the fulsome support of the Lobby a war on behalf of Israel would never have been endorsed by the American people. And it is also useful to review what happened to the last brave soul who dared to put American interests ahead of those of Israel. That was Chas Freeman who was proposed as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council during President Obama’s first term in 2009. Freeman had an exemplary record as a public servant and was known to be an independent thinker willing to reconsider and challenge orthodox policies. Freeman had served as Ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia and was regarded as something of an Arabist, which immediately made him suspect to the usual crowd in congress and the media. For that he was immediately attacked by Israel’s friends, in what was described as a “thunderous, coordinated assault.” The critics frequently pretended that they were actually opposing Freeman’s views on China and his close personal ties to the Saudis, just as Hagel is now being falsely pilloried because he lacks management experience and because his wartime service in Vietnam will color his judgments. But no one was really fooled regarding Chas Freeman – it was all about Israel. Freeman, realizing that the debate over his views would become a distraction, asked that his name be withdrawn…

Speaking of Chas Freeman, as Jim Lobe reported…


“Grand Waffle” in the Middle East

…The definitive failure of the decades-long American-sponsored “peace process” between Israelis, Palestinians, and other Arabs adds greatly to the uncertainty. Whether it yielded peace or not, the “peace process” made the United States the apparently indispensable partner for both Israel and the Arabs. It served dual political purposes. It enabled Arab governments to persuade their publics that maintaining good relations with the United States did not imply selling out Arab or Islamic interests in Palestine, and it supported the U.S. strategic objective of achieving acceptance for a Jewish state by the other states and peoples of the Middle East. Washington’s abandonment of this diplomacy was a boon to Israeli territorial expansion but a disaster for American influence in the region, including in Israel.

Over the years, America protected Israel from international rebuke and punishment. Its stated purpose was the preservation of prospects for a negotiated “two-state solution” that could bring security and peace to Israelis and Palestinians alike. A decade ago, every member of both the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation endorsed this objective and pledged normalization with Israel if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations succeeded. In response, Israel spun out its talks with the Palestinians while working hard to preclude their self-determination. It has now succeeded in doing so.

There has been no American-led peace process worthy of the name for nearly two decades. There is no prospect of such a process resuming. No one in the international community now accepts the pretense of a “peace process” as an excuse for American protection of Israel. Eleven years on, the Arab and Islamic peace offer has exceeded its shelf life. On the Israel-Palestine issue, American diplomacy has been running on fumes for some time. It is now totally out of gas and universally perceived to be going nowhere…

Of course, I had stuck a fork in the Peace Farce’s carcass a looong time ago…!

Now, I’ve been a long-time fan of Pepe’s and often cited his articles at the AsiaTimes, and/or, posted many of his interviews on Press TV, Real News, RT, etc…! So, I was pleasantly surprised to see another of my ‘Heroes’ citing Pepe…

Escobar on the Mali War

“The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States). Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.” Pepe Escobar

—————————

An excellent and informative article. I do not subscribe to the “knee jerk” Chomskyite economic determiist motivation that Escobar ascribes to the US and France, but, other than that, this is really “good stuff.” He also raises the question of why these particular Islamist revolutionaries are treated to a taste of the club while those in Syria are the heroes of Western elites. The answer is simple. Mali is far from Israel and the Israeli government foolishly wants Assad gone. pl

Now, I happen to disagree with the good Col’s dismissal of Pepe’s Chomskyite Economic Determinist motivation, simply because he’s been dead right…! You be the judge from this recent lengthy interview…

Btw, what’s up with all these Mystery flights of late…?

On a final note, The Wapoo is finally catching up on Libya…

Algerian hostage crisis throws spotlight on spillover of Libyan war

The hostage standoff at an Algerian gas field has thrown a fresh spotlight on the spillover unleashed by the 2011 war that toppled Moammar Gaddafi in Libya.

Experts say the vast quantities of weapons and fighters that streamed out of Gaddafi’s arsenals may have served as a catalyst for the region’s expanding crisis.

But the bold move on the gas complex near the Libyan border this week, coupled with the swift military successes of militants in Mali, have also raised questions about NATO’s handling of Libyan arsenals, as well as the country’s borders, during the eight-month revolution, in which the alliance assisted Libya’s rebel forces.

Some experts say that NATO forces and the U.S. government were so consumed by the threat of surface-to-air missiles in the wake of Gaddafi’s fall that they failed to halt the proliferation of the ordinary high-caliber weapons that may now be fueling Mali’s Islamist insurgency and could carry drastic implications for a region already reeling from lawlessness and a growing al-Qaeda threat. Some of those weapons have already reached Syria and the Gaza Strip…

What brilliant, f*cking Geniuses, eh…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israel ‘Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’, ‘Institute for Scary Iran Stories’, And, Mali

6:35 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

 

“The modern liberal state … often uses deception to gain its ends — not so much deception of the foreign enemy, but of its own citizens,who have been taught to trust their leaders.” – Howard Zinn

In all my years of blogging, my sole regret is my inability to piece together more than two paragraphs, in any literary fashion, like most are able to…!

So, please allow me the luxury to blend together some of my old scribblings with some of the latest ‘News’ out of the MENA

Obama Privately Says Israel ‘Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’

“When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn’t even bother getting angry,” Goldberg writes. “He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.”

As I wrote way back when…‘Israel’s mentality is a barrier to Mideast peace’

Btw, don’t you find this mighty hypocritical of Bibi…? Obama Comments ‘Gross Interference’ in Elections…

Moving along, FDL Alum Jim White penned another awesome post today, and spelt it all out…

Albright Follows Warrick Into Full Neocon Mode, Presents Iran Sanction Manifesto

…It now is clear that the article from Warrick was meant to prepare the ground for the unveiling, one week later, of David Albright’s new working group developed precisely for the purpose of furthering the neocon position on Iran sanctions. By taking on additional policy members in this working group, Albright is now branching out from his usual area of commentary on technical issues (where Moon of Alabama has dubbed his Institute for Science and International Security the “Institute for Scary Iran Stories“) all the way into policy and now promotes the full neocon position that Iran is dangerously close to having a nuclear weapon and therefore sanctions must be ratcheted up further.

As Jim Lobe wrote today… New Push in U.S. for Tougher Sanctions, War Threats Against Iran…

As I had once opined…The Road to Tyranny And Real Men go to Tehran…

Even Jimmy Carter had sounded the alarm awhile back on our failed FP…Carter: ‘Oppose Unnecessary Wars, Preemptive Strikes, And, Embargoes’ And, Obama Imposes Another Round of Sanctions on Syria/Iran…

Moving along to Mali…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

The War Drums Beat Louder

5:24 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Greg Thielmann and Ray McGovern really delved into the facts and issues behind the hype of the Iranian nuke intentions to Congressional staffers and the press in DC in Oct. of 2009. Entitled:"Beneath the hype: Is Iran close to nukes?" That clip above was Part 4 of 5…

Here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and, Part 5

Philip Giraldi chimed in recently with his: Shaping the Story on Iran

…And now it is Iran’s turn and the story and the storytellers are exactly the same.

Even when everything changes, nothing changes for the American mainstream media (MSM), which continues to be wedded to a policy of all war all the time. There is a long history of media lies. [...]

Today it is different as newspapers rarely compete for market share and have no interest in exposing the half-truths of their peers. The unanimity of view is particularly evident on the editorial pages where the neocons and the groupthink that they have fostered have become deeply embedded. Everyone in the MSM agrees that Iran either already has nukes or is about to go nuclear and that the country shelters terrorists on every block, all colluding to attack a completely innocent and guileless United States. Saturated with the propaganda, the American public more or less accepts that narrative...

Jim Lobe lays out the time frame: Stirrings of a New Push for Military Option on Iran

…And while it’s only July – and less than a month after the U.N., the European Union (EU) and the U.S. Congress approved new economic sanctions against Iran – a familiar clutch of Iraq war hawks appear to be preparing the ground for a major new campaign to rally public opinion behind military action against the Islamic Republic.

Barring an unexpected breakthrough on the diplomatic front, that campaign, like the one eight years ago, is likely to move into high gear this autumn, beginning shortly after the Labour Day holiday, Sep. 6, that marks the end of summer vacation.

By the following week, the November mid-term election campaign will be in full swing, and Republican candidates are expected to make the charge that Democrats and President Barack Obama are "soft on Iran" their top foreign policy issue.

In any event, veterans of the Bush administration’s pre-Iraq invasion propaganda offensive are clearly mobilising their arguments for a similar effort on Iran, even suggesting that the timetable between campaign launch and possible military action – a mere six months in Iraq’s case – could be appropriate.

Marc Lynch asked the pertinent question: Why put an attack on Iran back on the table?

…I suspect that the real reason for the new flood of commentary calling for attacks on Iran is simply that hawks hope to pocket their winnings from the long argument over sanctions, such as they are, and now push to the next stage in the confrontation they’ve long demanded. Hopefully, this pressure will not gain immediate traction. Congress can proudly demonstrate their sanctions-passingness, so the artificial Washington timeline should recede for a while. The Pentagon is now working closely with Israel, it’s said, in order to reassure them and prevent their making a unilateral strike, which should hopefully push back another artificial clock. That should buy some time for the administration’s strategy to unfold, for better or for worse. An attack on Iran would still be a disaster, unnecessary and counterproductive, and the White House knows that, and it’s exceedingly unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. But the real risk is that the public discourse about an attack on Iran normalizes the idea and makes it seem plausible, if not inevitable, and that the administration talks itself into a political corner. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

Today’s Haaretz had this ominous Op-ed from Shrub’s former CIA Director…

U.S. strike on Iran likelier than ever, former CIA chief says

Michael Hayden says Iran intends to reach the point where it’s just below having a nuclear weapon, adding that such a step would be as destabilizing to the region as the ‘real thing.’

Arms Control Wonk posted a great article pointing out the futility "On Bombing the Bomb"…

…Call it the “Say it with JDAMs“ school of nonproliferation diplomacy. Unfortunately, it overlooks a couple of the key puzzle pieces needed to understand the situation.

**

First and most importantly, you can bomb an enrichment facility, but you can’t bomb an enrichment program. (Or not one as well-developed as Iran’s.) It’s not like a reactor, with billions of dollars’ worth of hard-to-replace capital piled up in one spot over the course of several years. Instead, it’s thousands of interchangeable pieces that can be brought together and operated more or less anywhere. [...]

Bomb the workshops — if you are lucky enough to locate them — and new workshops could be set up before very long.

Following this line of reasoning leads you to a realization that Iran’s capacity for precision engineering would have to be bombed somehow. That’s not a problem with a solution.

On Friday the House Repugnants introduced H.RES.1553 … (PDF!)

Expressing support for the State of Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel.

Please take some time to send a message to demand that House Republic Leader John Boehner denounce this resolution…

We need to stop the madness now…! We certainly can’t afford another war…!