tagged w/ Israel war
Good short article on the possibility of another stupid damn war in the Middle East. Follow the link for "...a nationwide day of action on Saturday 11 February..."Good short article on the possibility of another stupid damn war in the Middle East.... more
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week warned Lebanese leaders that Israel may be planning an attack on its northern neighbor.Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week warned Lebanese leaders that... more
The London Times reports that a general who was once in charge of Israel’s nuclear weapons says that Iran is a very long way from having nuclear weapons capabilities. Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, considered to be a pillar of Israel’s military establishment, believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons. Eilam, who is thought to be updated by former colleagues on developments in Iran, calls his country’s official view hysterical.The London Times reports that a general who was once in charge of Israel’s... more
The US military commander for the Middle East and the Gulf region has confirmed that the United States has developed contingency plans to deal with Iran's nuclear facilities. Asked about the vulnerability of Iran's nuclear installations, Gen. Petraeus told CNN: "Well, they certainly can be bombed…. It would be almost literally irresponsible if CENTCOM were not to have been thinking about the various 'what ifs' and to make plans for a whole variety of different contingencies."The US military commander for the Middle East and the Gulf region has confirmed that... more
According to BioPrepWatch.com, Israel will begin distributing gas masks to its entire population in February, though no reason has officially been given by the Israeli government.According to BioPrepWatch.com, Israel will begin distributing gas masks to its entire... more
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accusing the west of treating Iran unfairly over its nuclear program. In an interview with the London Guardian, Erdogan down-played western fears that Iran wants to build an atomic bomb as "gossip" and said a military strike against Iranian nuclear installations would be "crazy."Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accusing the west of treating Iran... more
A Grad rocket smashed into a busy shopping mall in the coastal city of Ashkelon at 6 pm, burying many shoppers under the rubble. 90 people were wounded, three of them seriously.
The aftermath at the Ashkelon mall, after being struck by a Grad missile launched by Hamas from Gaza (Photo: Edi Israel)
An Iranian-made Grad rocket launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip hit a busy shopping mall in central Ashkelon (Wednesday, 14 May 2008). The attack occurred at approximately 6 pm Israel time.
A total of 90 people were wounded, many of them children. Three were wounded seriously, including a mother and her two-year-old daughter who were in the medical clinic at the mall at the time of the attack. Three additional people were injured moderately and the rest slightly. The rocket ripped through the roof of the mall, causing extensive damage and burying many shoppers under piles of rubble.
MDA paramedics reached the scene seconds after the mall was hit, and struggled to extract shoppers buried under the rubble. Ambulances rushed the wounded to nearby Barzilai Hospital, which was itself attacked about two months ago. An additional 62 people were treated for shock at the scene.
Two Palestinian terror groups, the Jabril Front and the Popular Resistance Committees, have claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred while US President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert were meeting in Jerusalem. Later that evening, in his address at the Presidential Conference, PM Olmert mentioned "the dangers, the fears that so many Israelis have to face living in the State of Israel, in the south part of our country." Then he declared, "What happened today is entirely intolerable and unacceptable. The Government of Israel is committed to stop it, and we will take the necessary steps so that this will stop."
The rocket which hit the mall was a standard 122mm Grad rod of the type found in Hamas's possession and regularly fired at Ashkelon (there have been over 30 identified Grad rocket hits in Ashkelon over the past two months). Even if other terrorist organizations claimed responsibility the attack. In any case, Hamas praised the attack, which served its objectives.
The rocket is believed to have been manufactured in Iran. In view of the Grad's extended range, the large quantity of explosives in its warhead (18 kg , almost 40 lbs), and its fragmentation effect upon hitting, it causes far more damage than the rockets manufactured in the Gaza Strip. In addition, Ashkelon has a population of over 120,000, and its buildings are more congested than those of Sderot and the other western Negev population centers, which increases the rocket's potential for inflicting casualties and property damage.
In the recent escalation of deadly rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at civilian population centers in southern Israel, 70-year-old Shuli Katz was killed on Monday in Moshav Yesha, and Jimmy Kedoshim was killed last Friday outside his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza.A Grad rocket smashed into a busy shopping mall in the coastal city of Ashkelon at 6... more
Total rocket attacks:
Since the first rocket fell on Israel on 16 April 2001: 4,548
Since the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in August 2005: 3,965
Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in mid-June 2007: 2,527
Mortar bomb hits since April 2001: 4,366
• A total of 223 rockets and 139 mortar shells were fired during the lull in the fighting (June 18 - Dec 19, 2008), including 203 rockets and 121 mortar shells between November 4 and December 19.
• During Operation Cast Lead (27 Dec 2008 - 18 Jan 2009), 571 rockets and 205 mortar shells landed in Israeli territory. Magen David Adom personnel treated and evacuated a total of 770 casualties: 4 fatalities, 4 severely wounded, 11 moderately and 167 lightly wounded. An additional 584 persons suffered from shock and anxiety syndrome.
Breakdown by year:
No. of rockets
No. of Mortar bombs
108 until the withdrawal, 71 afterwards
421 until the Hamas takeover, 475 afterwards
571 rockets and 205 mortar shells during Operation Cast Lead
Jan 1 - June 2
Source: Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)
* * *
From Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip in mid-August 2005 until the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip 1,826 missiles were fired into Israeli territory from Gaza, as follows:
15 August - 31 December 2005: 270
1 January - 31 December 2006: 1020
1 January - 14 June 2007: 536Total rocket attacks:
Since the first rocket fell on Israel on 16 April 2001: 4,548... more
Oh here we go AGAIN!
The little Zionist bully in the Middle East is threatening MAD--Mutually Assured Destruction.
They say if other nations acquire nukes in the Middle East, it will be a nightmare for them! I'm sure Israel's continued destruction of their ancient lands must make Palestinians feel they are living a nightmare, as well.
Why is it ok that Israel has never answered to the UN about their own stockpiles of nukes????Oh here we go AGAIN!
The little Zionist bully in the Middle East is threatening... more
I kid you not.
Let's count the number of double entendres in this article... I got me eight.I kid you not.
Let's count the number of double entendres in this article... I... more
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to impose a solution on the festering Arab-Israeli conflict if necessary, a Saudi newspaper said on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab states want Obama to get tough with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has balked at Palestinian statehood and defied U.S. calls to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements.
King Abdullah told Obama during his visit to Riyadh last week that Arab patience was wearing thin and that a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict would be the "magic key" to all issues in the region, al-Hayat said, quoting what it called informed sources.
"We want from you a serious participation to solve the Palestinian issue and impose the solution if necessary," the Saudi monarch told Obama, according to the paper, which is owned by a nephew of the monarch. It did not elaborate.
Saudi Arabia was the driving force behind an Arab peace initiative first put forward by Arab states in 2002 offering Israel recognition in return for withdrawal from Arab land occupied in 1967 and a Palestinian state.
Israel has reacted coolly to the offer, renewed in 2007, saying a return of Palestinian refugees to areas now inside Israel would destroy the Jewish character of the state.
"We (Arabs) want to devote our time ... to build a generation capable of confronting the future with science and work," King Abdullah said, according to al-Hayat.
Saudi Arabia believes the collapse of Middle East peacemaking has given Iran a chance to expand its regional influence through Sunni Islamist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, as well as its Shi'ite traditional Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to impose a... more
By Patrick J. Buchanan
On Sept. 20, 2002, as the War Party was beating the drum for preventive war on Iraq, lest we wake up to “a mushroom cloud over an American city,” The Wall Street Journal introduced an eminent voice to confirm that, yes, Saddam was driving straight for an atomic bomb.
“This is a dictator who is … feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons,” wrote Bibi Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel.
“Saddam’s nuclear program has changed. He no longer needs one large reactor to produce the deadly material necessary for atomic bombs. He can produce it in centrifuges the size of washing machines that can be hidden throughout the country — and Iraq is a very big country. Even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover these portable manufacturing sites of mass death. …
“(I)f action is not taken now, we will all be threatened by a much greater peril … (for) no gas mask and no vaccine can protect against nuclear weapons.”
This was horse manure of a high grade, as high as that which Richard Perle deposited on the podium of the Foreign Policy Research Institute a year earlier, when he informed a stunned audience that Saddam “is busily at work on a nuclear weapon.”
Perle had it straight from Saddam’s “Bomb Maker,” “a man named Kadir Hamza.” Hamza, said Perle, told him that after the Osirak reactor was destroyed by Israel in 1981, Saddam “began to build uranium enrichment facilities, many facilities, and we built 400 of them, and they’re all over the country. Some of them look like farmhouses, some of them look like classrooms, some of them look like warehouses. You’ll never find them. They don’t turn out much, but every day they turn out a little bit of nuclear materials.”
“So,” Perle warned his riveted audience, “it’s simply a matter of time before he acquires nuclear weapons.”
Washing-machine centrifuges in uranium enrichment facilities disguised as barns and chicken coops! And Americans believed it. And so we were stampeded into war against a nation that did not threaten or attack us, to strip it of weapons it did not even have.
That war has cost 4,500 American dead and 35,000 wounded. It has brought death to perhaps a hundred thousand Iraqis. Four million people have been driven from their homes, 2 million, including half the Christians, into exile. Hundreds of thousands of fatherless Iraqi children are being raised by women widowed by that war.
Undaunted, the War Party has a new war planned for us.
Target: Tehran. And Obama may just have boxed himself in.
In return for Bibi’s willingness to talk to the Palestinians, Obama agreed to a December deadline for progress in talks with Iran. If the talks are not fruitful by then, America will step on the escalator.
“I’ve been very clear that I don’t take any options off the table with respect to Iran,” said the president.
Bibi got what he came for.
By setting a six-month deadline, Obama has given an incentive to Israel, AIPAC, the neocons and even al-Qaida, which wants Shia Iran bombed back to the stone age, to provoke collisions with Iran, until December, then demand that Obama keep his word, suspend talks, impose severe sanctions and start us on the escalator to war.EXCERPTS
By Patrick J. Buchanan
On Sept. 20, 2002, as the War Party was beating... more
A flawed study of ‘rogue' Iran
The Secret War with Iran by Ronen Bergman
Reviewed by Mahan Abedin
The geopolitical rise of Iran and the undoubted successes of its clerical leadership in countering American influence and interests in the Middle East have sparked an intense interest in the institutions and personalities that underpin Iranian success on the international stage.
Specifically, there has been a concerted interest in the study of the Iranian intelligence services, both from academic and journalistic points of view. The Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman's The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a 'Rogue' State falls neatly into the latter category. This politically-charged and ideological title, with its emphasis on
"rogue" state, is a fitting description of the contents of the book. It is often said that a book should not be judged by its cover, but in Bergman's case, the cover sets the stage for the many assumptions and presuppositions that inform his narrative.
Bergman sets out to "situate" a collection of anecdotal evidence and sources (that are not referenced properly) into a meta-narrative that fits neatly into a right-wing Israeli and American view of post-revolutionary Iran. Bergman's work is less a serious study into the covert intelligence wars between Iran and the West than an ideologically-driven exercise to frame Iran and its leadership as a "terrorist" state bent on undermining the international system.
At the center of it all is Israeli security and Bergman's unstated belief that this security (or a right-wing conception of it) should inform the considerations and priorities of the leaders of the Western world. Bergman may be a talented investigative journalist and a credible student of intelligence studies, but he falls into the trap that bedevils Israeli researchers and commentators of all political stripes; namely the simplistic narrative that divides the world between "us" and "them" from the vantage point of Israeli legitimacy and impunity.
First and foremost, Bergman clearly knows very little about Iran, its history, cultures and people. He seems to be inspired by the writings of the sensational (and widely discredited) Iranian journalist Amir Taheri. Indeed, the first two chapters of the book (the Twilight of the Iranian Monarchy and Death to the Infidels) are suffused with the journalistic hyperbole that is the mainstay of Taheri's books on Iran and the Middle East.
More embarrassingly for Bergman he makes costly mistakes. For instance, he identifies the forerunners of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as the "Revolutionary Organization of the Masses of the Islamic Republic"; no such awkward-sounding organization existed and the IRGC itself was formally established in May 1979, a fact that seems to have escaped Bergman's research.
An even costlier mistake is Bergman's description of the SAVAK acronym as the "Royal Organization for Security and Intelligence"; in fact it was the "National Intelligence and Security Organization". These mistakes may be dismissed as minor and insignificant, but given Bergman's role as a serious student of intelligence and security services (he claims to have completed a PhD on Mossad under the tutelage of Cambridge University's Christopher Andrew, the leading scholar on intelligence history) these mistakes cast a shadow of doubt on his knowledge and the thoroughness of his research.EXCERPTS:
A flawed study of ‘rogue' Iran
The Secret War... more
"Obama Calls on World to ‘Stand Up to’ North Korea" read the headline. The United States, Obama said, was determined to protect "the peace and security of the world."
North Korea is a small place. China alone could snuff it out in a few minutes. Yet the president of the U.S. thinks that nothing less than the entire world is a match for North Korea.
We are witnessing the Washington gangsters construct yet another threat like Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, John Walker Lindh, Yaser Hamdi, José Padilla, Sami al-Arian, Hamas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the hapless detainees demonized by former secretary of defense Rumsfeld as "the 700 most dangerous terrorists on the face of the earth," who were tortured for six years at Gitmo only to be quietly released. Just another mistake, sorry.
The military/security complex that rules America, together with the Israel Lobby and the banksters, needs a long list of dangerous enemies to keep the taxpayers’ money flowing into its coffers.
The Homeland Security lobby is dependent on endless threats to convince Americans that they must forgo civil liberty in order to be safe and secure.
The real question: who is going to stand up to the American and Israeli governments?
Who is going to protect Americans’ and Israelis’ civil liberties, especially those of Israeli dissenters and Israel’s Arab citizens?
Who is going to protect Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Lebanese, Iranians, and Syrians from Americans and Israelis?
Not Obama, and not the right-wing brownshirts who today rule Israel.
Obama’s notion that it takes the entire world to stand up to North Korea is mind-boggling, but this mind-boggling idea pales in comparison to Obama’s guarantee that America will protect "the peace and security of the world."
Is this the same America that bombed Serbia, including Chinese diplomatic offices and civilian passenger trains, and pried Kosovo loose from Serbia and gave it to a gang of Muslim drug lords, lending them NATO troops to protect their operation?
Is this the same America that is responsible for approximately 1 million dead Iraqis, leaving orphans and widows everywhere and making refugees out of one-fifth of the Iraqi population?
Is this the same America that blocked the rest of the world from condemning Israel for its murderous attack on Lebanese civilians in 2006 and on Gazans most recently, the same America that has covered up for Israel’s theft of Palestine over the past 60 years, a theft that has produced 4 million Palestinian refugees driven by Israeli violence and terror from their homes and villages?
Is this the same America that is conducting military exercises in former constituent parts of Russia and ringing Russia with missile bases?
Is this the same America that has bombed Afghanistan into rubble with massive civilian casualties?
Is this the same America that has started a horrific new war in Pakistan, a war that in its first few days has produced 1 million refugees?
"The peace and security of the world"? Whose world?
On his return from his consultation with Obama in Washington, the brownshirted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that it was Israel’s responsibility to "eliminate" the "nuclear threat" from Iran.
What nuclear threat? The U.S. intelligence agencies are unanimous in their conclusion that Iran has had no nuclear weapons program since 2003. The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency report that there is no sign of a nuclear weapons program in Iran.
"Obama Calls on World to ‘Stand Up to’ North Korea"... more
Nations define their relationships based on a number of interactions, but when it comes to going to war there should be only one standard: whether a nation’s very existence or a vital national interest at stake. Nothing else justifies the unintended consequences that inevitably result from warfare, and nothing less merits sending one’s sons and daughters to their possible deaths. In this age of nation-building and regime-change, that fundamental principle has been blurred, but it remains as true now as it did when Machiavelli first examined war’s place in the art of statecraft. War opens the gates of hell, releasing a Pandora’s box of evils. It should be the last option, only resorted to when all else fails.
The past eight years have seen several wars that have been unnecessary if judged by the national interest standard. Iraq posed no threat to the United States or to any of its neighbors. Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest and most backward countries, was a threat to its neighbors and to the world only because it gave shelter to an international terrorist group. That al-Qaeda should have been attacked and removed from Afghan soil would be considered a proportionate and appropriate use of force by most observers, but nobody could have foreseen a completely bungled military operation that actually let the perpetrators of 9/11 go free and move to neighboring Pakistan. There followed a seven-year occupation of Afghanistan in support of an unpopular and corrupt puppet government that has culminated in an imploding security environment that has also spilled over into Pakistan.
The United States has apparently not learned from its mistakes as new President Barack Obama seems dedicated to continuing the occupation of Iraq while waging an expanding war in Af-Pak, as it is now being called. As if that were not enough, Obama is also being drawn somewhat reluctantly into a hot war with Iran, something that neoconservatives and Blue Dog Democrats alike seem to favor. Iran would seem to be an unlikely enemy, with virtually no industrial base and an economy less than 5 percent the size of the U.S. economy. Its military spending amounts to only about 1 percent of the U.S. defense budget. Nevertheless, Obama has repeated the Bush administration mantra that "all options are on the table" regarding Iran. He has stressed his willingness to talk with Tehran, but he has unwisely allowed himself to be locked into a timetable by visiting Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. If the negotiations route does not show solid results by the end of the year, Washington will be committed to moving toward a punishing sanctions regime. Netanyahu wants the U.S. to do his fighting for him against Iran, and he wants to shift the narrative away from his avoidance of negotiations with the Palestinians, so a focus on a short timetable centered on Iran suits him very well.
Obama is clearly uneasy with the prospect of war with Iran. Admittedly, sanctions are not war, but they create an environment where armed conflict is just one small step away. If a resolution moving through Congress is any indication, sanctions could include blocking the import of refined petroleum products. As Iran, a major petroleum exporter, has only limited refining capacity, the country’s economy would grind to a halt, resulting in catastrophic hardship for most of the Iranian people. Many would consider the sanctioning of Iranian energy imports to be an act of war. It would also reopen old wounds and pit the United States against most Europeans, who are rightly wary of yet another war in the Middle East.EXCERPTS:
Nations define their relationships based on a number of interactions, but... more
I don't want to get overconfident, but there were glimmerings of sanity on the subject of Iran from not one, but two leading Israeli politicians this week.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak: "We are not the Jews of Europe. The State of Israel is the strong one here. I don't see anyone annihilating it."
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni: "(T)he connection to the Holocaust... is wrong, both with regards to the Holocaust itself, and also with regards to the correct ethos of our nation, from the perspective of its strength."
What should we make of this? It might be that Barak and Livni were just getting in a dig at their rival, Prime Minister Binyamin ("It's 1938 and Iran is Germany") Netanyahu, but maybe they meant what they were saying. Maybe they really think the balance of power between Iran and Israel is more than a little different from what it was between Nazi Germany and European Jewry. They may even think Iran's leaders actually aren't looking forward to dooming their ancient civilization to nuclear extinction at the hands of Zionists.
Taking Barak and Livni at their word, those are some pretty daring statements to be making in 21st-century Israel. To suggest that we are living through anything but a reprise of the European '30s is considered either fatally naïve or subversive. It's considered our patriotic duty to be scared to death of Iran, and it's our leaders' responsibility to keep themselves and us at the end of our wits. And we're all doing a great job. We've come up with all sorts of doomsday scenarios that don't even require the Iranians to use nuclear weapons against us; they can destroy Israel just by having them, we're convinced.
"THE FIRST-STAGE Iranian goal, in the understanding of Netanyahu and his advisers, is to frighten Israel's most talented citizens into leaving the country," wrote The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg after an interview with the prime minister. Michael Oren, just before being named ambassador to the US, wrote in Commentary that if Iran goes nuclear, "Israel will swiftly find itself in a profoundly unstable nuclear neighborhood prone to violent revolutions and miscalculations leading to war. As former Labor Party minister Efraim Sneh says, under such circumstances, all Israelis who can leave the country will."
What? Where do they get this idea? There are tens of thousands of enemy missiles pointed at Israel at this moment; the Iranians, the Syrians and who knows which other Muslim countries have chemical weapons and maybe biological weapons as well - and is any Israeli running away?
Did any Americans flee the US during the Red Scare? Did any Reds flee Russia? Has India become depopulated in the decade since Pakistan got The Bomb? Are the Pakistanis emigrating en masse in fear of nuclear-armed India?
What is this craziness? Israelis are going to leave the country if Iran builds nuclear weapons? Actually, they might, if people keep telling them that Hitler's back and this time he's got nukes and he's going to turn the country into one big Auschwitz. With that sort of message dripping into our brains day after day, maybe this place really would empty out if Iran got nukes.
MORE LIKELY, of course, this brainwashing by popular demand will cause us to attack Iran - unless Barack Obama stops us, which I think he will. But then who knows? If you take Netanyahu at his word - a dicey proposition, I know - he's going to do whatever's necessary to keep The Bomb out of Iran's hands, no matter what price he or Israel has to pay. What is Obama, what is America, what is anything when you're convinced your country is on the brink of destruction?
And again, destruction wouldn't have to come from falling Iranian nukes - according to leading-edge opinion around here, Iran's mere possession of nuclear weapons would cause not only mass emigration but a flight of foreign capital, too. The economy would dry up!EXCERPTS:
I don't want to get overconfident, but there were glimmerings of... more
There is no viable military option for dealing the Iranian nuclear threat, and efforts by the Israeli government and its supporters to link that threat to progress in peace with the Palestinians and Syria are "nonsense" and an obstacle to the Arab-Israeli and international cooperation essential to changing Iranian behavior.
That's the conclusion of Keith Weissman, the Iran expert formerly at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), speaking publicly for the first time since the government dropped espionage charges against him and his colleague, Steve Rosen, earlier this month.
There's no assurance an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities - even if all of them could be located - would be anything more than a temporary setback, Weissman told me. Instead, a military strike would unify Iranians behind an unpopular regime, ignite a wave of retaliation that would leave thousands dead from Teheran to Tel Aviv, block oil exports from the Persian Gulf and probably necessitate a ground war, he said.
"The only viable solution is dialogue. You don't deal with Iran with threats or preaching regime change," said Weissman, who has lived in Iran, knows Farsi (as well as Arabic, Turkish and French) and wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago on Iranian history. That's where the Bush administration went wrong, in his view.
"President Bush's demand that Iran halt all nuclear enrichment before we would talk with the regime was an excuse not to talk at all," Weissman said. "And the administration's preaching of regime change only made the Iranians more paranoid and told them there was no real desire to engage them, only demonize them. The thing they fear most is American meddling in their internal politics."
HE SAID PRESIDENT Barack Obama is right to make it clear that regime change is not our goal. "Without that assurance we can't begin any dialogue or hope to be able to do anything about their nuclear program. Without a doubt, talking with Iran will be very difficult and frustrating, but there are no other viable options."
AIPAC has been the driving force on Capitol Hill for a get-tough policy, pushing through Congress a series of sanction bills, and Weissman was the lobby's expert on the topic.
"All along the idea was that sanctions were a bargaining chip to be traded for something tangible," he said. "We never opposed America and Iran talking to each other about these issues. However, the US strategy should have been directed at the supreme leader; he's the guy at the top and the one who makes the important decisions, not politicians like presidents Khatami or Ahmadinejad."
Weissman said Israel's worries about Iran getting a nuclear weapon are understandable, but despite some of the rhetoric coming out of Teheran, the Iranian leaders "are not fanatics and they're not suicidal. They know that Israel could make Iran glow for many years." He was referring to reports that Israel may have 200 or more nuclear weapons as well as the missiles and aircraft for devastating retaliation.
He believes Iran has the know-how to build a nuclear device, but he doubts it's made the final decision to go ahead with it. Iran may be "a few years or more" away from having an actual weapon and the means for accurate delivery.
"However, they would be crazy to test a weapon," he said. "That would essentially unite the world against them. Right now we can't get Russia and China to seriously help us deal with Iran, but if the Iranians tested a weapon, that would change in a flash. I don't think the Iranians are that stupid."
There is no viable military option for dealing the Iranian nuclear threat,... more
Were you disturbed by the news that Donald Rumsfeld used biblical quotations in headlines of war reports to President Bush so as to command the commander-in-chief's shallow attention? It's so easy to bash Bush. Zionists do this stuff too. The smartest response I've seen to Jeffrey Goldberg's piece in the Times on Netanyahu's biblical thought process re Iran comes from Daniel Luban, who points out that in invoking Amalek, the villains of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, Netanyahyu/Goldberg are citing a controversial section of the bible in which God orders genocide against a people. Luban:
Goldberg clearly does not wish to rattle his right-thinking liberal New York Times audience, so he conveniently omits all this from his account of Amalek. However, if Netanyahu’s advisors are right to say that Bibi sees Iran as the new Amalek, this is a fact with profoundly disturbing implications. After all, the biblically ordained way to deal with the Amalekites is not through “smart but tough” diplomacy, “crippling” sanctions, or even precise and targeted military strikes. Rather, it is through root-and-branch extermination — that is, wiping Iran off the map. Goldberg writes that “[i]f Iran’s nuclear program is, metaphorically, Amalek’s arsenal, then an Israeli prime minister is bound by Jewish history to seek its destruction, regardless of what his allies think.” This is not quite accurate. If we take God’s command and the Amalek analogy literally, then an Israeli prime minister would be bound not to seek “its [the Amalekite arsenal’s] destruction,” but rather “their [the Amalekites’] destruction.”
I do not in fact believe that Netanyahu wishes to exterminate the Iranian people, but the Amalek analogy is nonetheless an alarming indication of the tenor of his thought about Iran. Furthermore, this is the sort of rhetoric that, when uttered by someone like Ahmadinejad, is taken quite literally and held up as proof of genocidal intent. When Netanyahu does it, however, we are supposed to understand that of course he doesn’t really mean what his advisor’s statement implies, and that this bloody rhetoric is simply evidence of his hard-nosed and serious approach to the Iranian threat.EXCERPTS:
Were you disturbed by the news that Donald Rumsfeld used biblical... more
Aipac's hidden persuaders
The Israel lobby is aiming to soften up US public opinion for an attack on Iran. Americans should resist its propaganda
Despite the ballyhoo of the recent Aipac national policy conference in Washington, when Israel-US bonds were feted, relations between the two countries are currently more strained than at any time since 1991. That was when the elder George Bush, as US president, fiercely lobbied Yitzchak Shamir to join in the Madrid peace conference. Relations then reached their nadir when James Baker uttered his infamous remark about Israel's American-Jewish supporters: "Fuck the Jews, they don't even vote for us."
If relations continue to deteriorate in coming months, we might have to go back in time to the Suez crisis of 1956 to find a time when relations were this fraught.
A case in point is Iran. That bogey-nation was everywhere at the Aipac conference. Every keynote speech – if they weren't directly written by that group's staff – seemed unmistakably scripted and "on message", dedicated to the existential threat that Iran poses not just to Israel, but the entire world.
A glossy brochure distributed at the Aipac meeting showed a map (pictured below) centred on Iran and beyond, with a dark ominous ring around Iran's neighbours and as far away as India, Russia, Africa and eastern Europe. The message: these are the countries under imminent threat of Iranian ballistic missiles.
The brochure copy even intimates that the next step for Iran is "building a missile with range to reach US territory". (Never mind that Iran doesn't yet have any ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, nor will it have the bomb itself for anywhere from a year to five years depending on which you source you choose to believe.)
Israel is in the midst of a massive diplomatic, political and intelligence campaign, both public and covert, that could lead – if those officials behind it have their way – towards a military strike on Iran. It is a war for the hearts and minds of Americans. Or you might call it the war before the war. In intelligence circles, this Israeli project is known as perception management and defined by the department of defence as:
Actions to convey and/or deny information … to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders … ultimately resulting in foreign behaviours and official actions favourable to [US] objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception and psychological operations.
The Israelis are following the template of the Bush administration's run-up to the Iraq war. First, the US government advocated half-hearted efforts at diplomatic engagement. Then it ratcheted up pressure through sanctions and UN resolutions. That is where the Israeli campaign stands now.
Aipac's members carried a unified message to Capitol Hill during their lobbying of US senators and members of Congress. They demanded that Congress pass the most draconian sanctions ever proposed against Iran. They demanded that Iran be offered a limited time in which to respond to an ultimatum insisting it drop its nuclear programme.
What then? If you review Aipac's literature and the various commentaries published either by Israeli diplomats or their supporters in the US media, they don't specify what comes next. But any sensible person can guess that the final step will be war: "Israeli leaders have … hinted at pre-emptive military strikes if they decide that diplomacy has failed."
The Israelis surely know that the Obama administration will never go to war against Iran. In fact, they know that Obama would not approve of Israel doing so. But I've become convinced, in doing the research and speaking to knowledgeable sources, that Israel is prepared at some date in the near future to attack Iran itself, even against the wishes of the US.
continuedAipac's hidden persuaders
The Israel lobby is aiming to soften up US public... more
As everybody was being distracted by the swine flu hysteria, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. As soon as it is approved by the Senate, it will serve as a mechanism to undermine free speech making it a crime, inter alia, for any American to criticize Israel’s colonialist policies and brutal treatment of Palestinians.
On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby’s bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-Semitism worldwide.
To monitor anti-Semitism, it has to be defined. What is the definition? Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews.
Rahm Israel Emanuel hasn’t been mopping floors at the White House. As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands.
It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testament’s account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus.
It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel Lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the AIPAC-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 percent of the US Senate and 99 per cent of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity.
It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust.
It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.
In other words, it means the end of free speech, free inquiry, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Any facts or truths that cast aspersion upon Israel will simply be banned.
Given the hubris of the US government, which leads Washington to apply US law to every country and organization, what will happen to the International Red Cross, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the various human rights organizations that have demanded investigations of Israel’s military assault on Gaza’s civilian population? Will they all be arrested for the hate crime of “excessive” criticism of Israel?
This is a serious question.
A recent UN report, which is yet to be released in its entirety, blames Israel for the deaths and injuries that occurred within the United Nations premises in Gaza. The Israeli government has responded by charging that the UN report is “tendentious, patently biased,” which puts the UN report into the State Department’s category of excessive criticism and strong anti-Israel sentiment.
Israel is getting away with its blatant use of the American government to silence its critics despite the fact that the Israeli press and Israeli soldiers have exposed the Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the premeditated murder of women and children urged upon the Israeli invaders by rabbis. These acts are clearly war crimes.
It was the Israeli press that published the pictures of the Israeli soldiers’ T-shirts that indicate that the willful murder of women and children is now the culture of the Israeli army. The T-shirts are horrific expressions of barbarity. For example, one shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a crosshairs over her stomach and the slogan, “One shot, two kills.” These T-shirts are an indication that Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians is one of extermination.
It has been true for years that the most potent criticism of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians comes from the Israeli press and Israeli peace groups. For example, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Jeff Halper of ICAHD have shown a moral conscience that apparently does not exist in the Western democracies where Israel’s crimes are covered up and even praised.
As everybody was being distracted by the swine flu hysteria, the U.S. House... more