Tag Archives | Middle East
Since its founding six years ago, J Street has emerged as a major Jewish organization under the banner “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace.” By now J Street is able to be a partial counterweight to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The contrast between the two U.S. groups is sometimes stark. J Street applauds diplomacy with Iran, while AIPAC works to undermine it. J Street encourages U.S. support for “the peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while AIPAC opposes any meaningful Israeli concessions. In the pressure cooker of Washington politics, J Street’s emergence has been mostly positive. But what does its motto “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” really mean?
That question calls for grasping the context of Zionism among Jews in the United States — aspects of history, largely obscured and left to archives, that can shed light on J Street’s current political role. Extolling President Obama’s policies while urging him to intensify efforts to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the organization has staked out positions apt to sound humanistic and fresh.… Read the rest
Israeli politician Ariel Sharon has died. CNN asks what his legacy should be: hero or butcher?
… Read the rest
Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who died Saturday at age 85, made a name for himself as a military and political leader who put Israel’s security above all else.
It was a position that earned the controversial figure the nickname “the bulldozer” as a fearless leader who got things done.
To many Israelis, he was a hero. To some in the Arab world, he was a killer.
Here are five things to know about Sharon:
Some saw him as a war hero: Sharon, who rose through the ranks of the Israeli Defense Forces, first gained hero status among Israelis during the 1967 Six-Day War that saw Israel attack Egypt, Jordan and Syria to counter what they saw as an impending attack by the Arab nations.
Under Sharon’s command, Israeli troops routed Egyptian forces during a nighttime battle to capture Um Cataf, a crucial crossroads in the Sinai.
… Read the rest
The war that will determine the future of Iraq is just beginning. The temporary illusion of pacification, control, and peace that was financed by U.S. taxpayers through the “surge” and the “Awakening” has vanished. Left behind are a destitute people in a war-torn country awaiting their final fate as violence escalates in this proxy war between regional and global superpowers.
We’ll talk more about the reasons, the players, and the most likely outcome for the region in the future. For now, as the government of Iraq armed with U.S. weapons and supported by Iran prepares to enter Fallujah to try and displace “terrorists” armed and supported by “Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, all allies of the United States”[sic], let’s take a look at what is in store for the inhabitants of this ancient land by taking a look at what happened in Fallujah in 2004 when the United States and Britain razed the city(please note, Dahr Jamail’s testimony of what happened in Fallujah is a must watch).
More than ever, Israel is isolated from world opinion and the squishy entity known as “the international community.” The Israeli government keeps condemning the Iran nuclear deal, by any rational standard a positive step away from the threat of catastrophic war.
In the short run, the belligerent responses from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are bound to play badly in most of the U.S. media. But Netanyahu and the forces he represents have only begun to fight. They want war on Iran, and they are determined to exercise their political muscle that has long extended through most of the Washington establishment.
While it’s unlikely that such muscle can undo the initial six-month nuclear deal reached with Iran last weekend, efforts are already underway to damage and destroy the negotiations down the road. On Capitol Hill the attacks are most intense from Republicans, and some leading Democrats have also sniped at the agreement reached in Geneva.… Read the rest
Top officials in Washington are happy that American “lethal aid” has begun to flow into Syria, and they act as though such arms shipments are unstoppable. In a similar way, just a few short weeks ago, they — and the conventional wisdom — insisted that U.S. missile strikes on Syria were imminent and inevitable.
But public opinion, when activated, can screw up the best-laid plans of war-makers. And political conditions are now ripe for cutting off the flow of weaponry to Syria — again giving new meaning to the adage that “when the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
Contrary to what many assume, the latest polls show that a large majority of Americans are opposed to the U.S. government sending weapons to Syria.… Read the rest
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One of the main reasons that we are on the brink of one of the greatest global catastrophes ever known to human civilization is because people do not have a clear picture of what is happening in the world.
“The chorus of denunciations of the New Hitlers in Teheran and the threat they pose to survival has been marred by a few voices from the back rooms. Former Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy recently warned that an Israeli attack on Iran ‘could have an impact on us for the next 100 years.’” – Noam Chomsky, August 6, 2008
To remedy the lack of appreciation of this situation, the following maps are being presented to help in the visualization of what the United States of America is proposing, referred to as a crusade by some, World War III (2):
“But even with the help of the Israelis – especially with the help of the Israelis!
… Read the rest
Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation.
American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.
The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup.
In a piece for the BBC, Adam Curtis gives short history of American intervention in Syria, consisting largely of misguided attempts to foster democracy via military coup. In my opinion, this is essential context as we debate further involvement in that country:
What is happening in Syria feels like one of the last gasps of the age of the military dictators. An old way of running the world is still desperately trying to cling to power, but the underlying feeling in the west is that somehow Assad’s archaic and cruel military rule will inevitably collapse and Syrians will move forward into a democratic age.
That may, or may not, happen, but what is extraordinary is that we have been here before. Between 1947 and 1949 an odd group of idealists and hard realists in the American government set out to intervene in Syria. Their aim was to liberate the Syrian people from a corrupt autocratic elite – and allow true democracy to flourish.… Read the rest
First, there are very few US or western journalists stationed in Syria, and many of the citizen reporters on the ground have become casualties, and/or have been intimidated and forced to leave.
That assures poor coverage of those who will be hurt or become predictable and disposable “collateral damage.”
A front page New York Times article on Friday reporting on Syria, carries no dateline and was filed from Beirut. The Times explains that mainstream journalists cannot work freely in Syria, and contends that social media offers better coverage.
The paper quotes Absi Smesem, Syrian journalist, as saying,
“There are no objective sources of information on either side, neither with the regime nor the rebels .We need to get out of this Facebook phase, where all we do is whine and complain about the regime.”
Writing on Salon, in a piece picked up by Mediachannel.org, Patrick L Smith indicts western “lapdog media,” asking,
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“When was it that journalists began thinking of themselves as national security operatives?