Posts Tagged ‘house’

"If Syria’s friends have set out to destroy the country, they are doing it well"

July 12th, 2012 Comments off

“… How did Syria become so popular that almost half of the members of the UN are scrambling to save it? What other country can claim more than 100 sovereign friends? What inspired this rush of affection for Syria?
Where have these friends been hiding for the past 50 years? What were they doing in 1967 when Israel seized the Syrian Golan? What support did they send to more than 100,000 Syrian citizens when Israel demolished their villages and expelled them from their homes? What was their reaction to Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan in 1981? Have they taken a stand against the 30 settlements that Israel planted on property stolen from Syrians? Are they calling for sanctions against Israel until it withdraws from Syrian territory, dismantles its settlements and permits Syria’s Golan citizens to return home?
You know the answers. So do the Syrians.
Would it be churlish to suggest that Syria’s friends want something from Syria for themselves? George Bush was eyeing Syria when he left the White House, and, as in so much else, the Obama administration is taking the policy further.
On March 5, 2007 Seymour Hersh, whose American intelligence sources are second to none, wrote in TheNew Yorker:

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the administration has co-operated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hizbollah, the Shiite organisation that is backed by Iran. The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Syria is a house on fire, and the US and Russia have turned up with flame-throwers.
Thus, arms have flowed in abundance to both sides – at least until this week when Russia stopped shipments.
A conflict which screams out for a diplomatic settlement perpetuates itself with outside help, for outside interests.
If Syria’s friends have set out to destroy the country, they are doing it well. Neighbour has turned against neighbour. People who thought of themselves two years ago as Syrians have now become Sunnis, Druze, Christians or Alawites.
The CIA is arming and guiding gunmen near the Turkish border, as it once did anti-Sandinista Contras along the Honduran-Nicaraguan frontier.”
To avoid Congressional scrutiny as it did in Nicaragua, the US has turned again to Saudi Arabia. The British are running anti-Syrian government operations from Lebanon. France, my sources say, is playing a similar role from both Turkey and Lebanon. Russia and Turkey vie for influence in a country whose citizens hate them both….”

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May 2nd, 2012 Comments off

“… Israel’s military has closed its probe into the 2009 shelling of a house in the Gaza Strip that killed 21 members of the Samouni family during Operation Cast Lead.It said on Tuesday that the civilians had not been purposefully targeted .. and that the incident did not constitute a war crime.
Witnesses said that on January 4, 2009 Israeli troops had ordered about 100 civilians to enter the house and stay there, out of their way. But the following day the house was hit by Israeli shells and collapsed.
After an investigation into the shelling and allegations of war crimes, the Military Advocate General “found the accusations groundless”,.. the military said, but added it was making changes to “ensure that such events will not happen again“.…”

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burial of Prince Sultan

October 22nd, 2011 Comments off
I contacted the House of Saud to offer condolences.  I even offered to bury Prince Sultan with my own hands, provided I am permitted to bury with him the King and the rest of the living princes of the House of Saud.  My offer is being studied.  More later.  

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US House bill to cut aid to Pakistan, Lebanon & Egypt …

July 19th, 2011 Comments off
Categories: Arab Blogs Tags: , , , , ,

The NYT on Dennis Ross

May 24th, 2011 Comments off

When George Mitchell resigned last week, a PA official suggested it might have been because he had been elbowed out of his role as US envoy for the Middle East peace process by senior White House advisor Dennis Ross, the longtime peace-processor of the Bush I and Clinton administrations. Some were skeptical when it came from a Palestinian, but the NYT runs a rare story basically confirming this take on Ross’ role in the White House as an advocate for Israel. In a sense it might be seen as a positive step that the NYT is talking about this: Ross is a major figure pro-Israel figure of the Democratic establishment with strong ties as a “centrist” or “moderate” in the Israel lobby.

One thing that’s signicant in the article is that Jordan’s King Abdullah chimes in on the criticism of Ross:

From the State Department, “we get good responses,” the Jordanian king said, according to several people who were in the room. And from the Pentagon, too. “But not from the White House, and we know the reason why is because of Dennis Ross” — President Obama’s chief Middle East adviser.

Mr. Ross, King Abdullah concluded, “is giving wrong advice to the White House.”

By almost all accounts, Dennis B. Ross — Middle East envoy to three presidents, well-known architect of incremental and painstaking diplomacy in the Middle East that eschews game-changing plays — is Israel’s friend in the Obama White House and one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in town.

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"Somebody else should do that…"

April 1st, 2011 Comments off
“…He and Mullen were repeatedly prodded in both hearings on whether the Obama administration would provide training and weapons to the rebels. Both strongly indicated that it was unlikely that the United States would take on that task. “My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” Gates told the House panel. “Somebody else should do that.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama had taken no decision on whether the U.S. should arm and train the rebels. But Carney said that Obama agrees with Gates that other countries should train Gadhafi’s opponents…”

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standing by Israel

November 16th, 2010 Comments off

Soon-to-be GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the same day when the actual U.S. Secretary of State met with Netanyahu — and vowed that he and his GOP colleagues would protect and defend Israeli interests against his own Government.  According to a statement proudly issued by Cantor’s own office:

Regarding the midterms, Cantor may have given Netanyahu some reason to stand firm against the American administration.
Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington,” the readout continued. “He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.”” (thanks Redouane)

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Netanyahu is "eagerly awaiting" the results of the US elections to have his Republican friends "repell Obama…"

October 21st, 2010 Comments off

“The Obama administration has secured pledges from senior Mideast leaders to continue their fitful peace negotiations until after next month’s U.S. midterm elections, largely to avoid handing the Obama administration an embarrassing diplomatic setback before the Nov. 2 elections…..

“The time frame we are following has been designed around the elections in America,” said a senior member of the Palestinian negotiating team. “We have been asked not to issue announcements that could embarrass negotiation officials.”… 

An official in Netanyahu’s office confirmed that Israel’s position is to continue seeking compromises through the U.S. midterm elections. He added, however, that Netanyahu’s administration is “eagerly awaiting” the results of the election. “There is a feeling that (President Barack) Obama could increase pressure on us after the election, when he doesn’t have to worry about the pro-Israel lobby affecting election outcomes,” he said.

An article in a leading Israeli daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, however, quoted “aides close to Netanyahu” saying that if Democrats fared poorly in the midterm elections, Netanyahu would be less likely to give into White House demands.

“Netanyahu and Abu Mazen’s (Abbas’s) target date is November 3, a day after the midterm elections in the United States. Abu Mazen hopes that Obama will impose an arrangement on Israel,” Yediot said. “Netanyahu hopes that he will succeed in repelling the American president’s initiative by means of friends of Israel in the House of Representatives, which is expected to have a Republican majority that is opposed to Obama.”

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White House chief of staff to meet Netanyahu, Peres (AFP)

May 25th, 2010 Comments off

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in Israel for his son's bar mitzvah, will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials this week, officials said Tuesday.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)AFP – White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in Israel for his son’s bar mitzvah, will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials this week, officials said Tuesday.

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"The damage caused by Netanyahu is worse than the threat of a nuclear Iran…"

May 24th, 2010 Comments off

Eldar/ Haaretz/ here

In an overtly self-deprecating comment last week during a meeting with Jewish congressmen, U.S. President Barack Obama said he had stepped on a few mines as he took his first steps in the Middle East. The delegation left the White House assuaged, feeling perhaps that a president who has been hurt by mines would be wary of much bigger bombs. It appears that the Obama administration has realized that it will not succeed where its predecessors have failed. If no peace with the Arabs emerges from the president’s initiative, why should he fight with the Jews? When Republicans are threatening to take over the House of Representatives in six months, it’s not so bad if the Israeli occupation continues for another 43 years.

Obama’s efforts to woo Jewish politicians are like our secular politicians who make a pilgrimage to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The meeting with the congressmen was preceded by one with Elie Wiesel – his dinner with the president after the Nobel peace laureate called on the administration to remove Jerusalem from the negotiations. Also, two senior members of the National Security Council at the White House were sent to calm the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League. And White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held private talks with a group of concerned rabbis. All went home pleased; they were promised that Obama would not pressure Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to give back land. In simpler words: They don’t want peace; there is no need for it.

It’s possible that Obama’s withdrawal from his vision of peace (“when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims …. It is time for these settlements to stop …. T he continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security,” Cairo address, June 4, 2009 ) will open the purses of a handful of Jewish donors to his party. However, it’s not at all certain that a business-as-usual approach toward a right-wing government in Israel will improve Obama’s lot among Jewish voters . The vast majority of them are not interested in the ethnic origin of their congressmen. Very few know the names of the Jewish congressmen who are being presented to them by Obama and his aides.

In his flight out of the Middle Eastern minefield, the U.S. president stepped on a homemade mine. He failed to address the steady weakening of the link between the Jewish community in the United States and the Jewish community in Israel. The vast majority (78 percent ) of Jewish voters voted for Obama and Democratic candidates for Congress. Peter Beinart, who comes from an Orthodox Jewish family, describes in the New York Review of Books the growing alienation of American Jews from the Zionist idea. These are mostly the young ones.

Obama’s Jewish camp is not buying the message of the poor weakling that the right wing is selling with some success in the local market. A Jewish student at Princeton feels greater affinity to his Muslim classmates than to Effi Eitam, Netanyahu’s public-relations messenger to U.S. university campuses who is calling for the eviction of Arab MKs from the Knesset. A Jewish lawyer in Los Angeles doesn’t see which justice serves as the basis for throwing a Palestinian family, refugees from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon, out of their home in Sheikh Jarrah, only to put in their place settlers from the extreme right. The Jewish lecturer in Boston finds it hard to explain to his children why Israelis prevented his colleague, Prof. Noam Chomsky, from speaking at Bir Zeit University.

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Unfortunately, Obama’s mine is our bomb; over the years, U.S. Jewry has become one of the Zionist movement’s most strategic assets. This influential community’s link to the historic homeland and its influence on centers of power in the United States is one of the cornerstones of Israel’s deterrence. The damage caused by the Netanyahu government to this core support of American Jews is no better than the threat of a nuclear Iran.

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