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Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

So Much For GOP Smears Vs. Keith Ellison

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 30, 2010

Wikileaks reveals that Keith Ellison, the representative for Minnesota’s Fifth US Congressional District, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Binyamin) Netanyahu in Washington in the spring of 2009.

Since the Wikileaks site is currently being slammed by conservative US hackers, here’s the Google cache link (h/t to David Brauer, a true man among men):

¶9. (C) Representative Ellison, noting that he is the first
Muslim to be elected to Congress, said he visited Gaza in
February and met with NGO representatives who could deliver
assistance without the credit going to Hamas. He urged
Netanyahu to consider opening the Gaza crossings, adding that
Gazans he had met told him they want peace and would like to
get their jobs back in Israel. Netanyahu responded that he
is looking at ways to balance Israeli security with enabling
Gazans to have a normal life. The flow of money and weapons
to Hamas remains a problem since Hamas is extending the range
and payload of the rockets it possesses. In response to
Representative Ellison’s comment that Israel should allow
USAID to return to Gaza, Netanyahu said he thought that it
might be a good thing to have USAID operate in Gaza.

Uh-oh! Wait until AIPAC sees this! Allow actual aid to Gaza? Sheldon Adelson will stamp his billion-dollar feet when he hears of Bibi’s blasphemy.

Posted in Gaza, Islam, israel, Keith Ellison, Middle East, Minnesota | 4 Comments »

Israel as a liability? Also, allegations that Israel had hit list for Mavi Marmara passengers. Plus: Red Crescent reports for duty!

Posted by Charles II on June 7, 2010

First, the allegations. Catrina Stewart, London Independent:

the protesters rummaged through captured soldiers’ belongings and claimed to unearth a document that they allege is a list of people Israel intended to assassinate. The booklet, written in Hebrew and in English, contained some photographs of passengers on the Marmara, including the leader of IHH, the Turkish charity that provided two of the ships, an 88-year-old priest and Ra’ad Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Mr Elshayyal said.

A military spokesman, Lt Col Avital Leibowitz, insisted soldiers acted in self-defence and that she “was not aware” of any list. But one thing is fast becoming clear – many of the dead were shot multiple times at point-blank range. One was a journalist taking photographs. “A man was shot … between the eyebrows, which indicates that it was not an attack that took place from self-defence,” Hassan Ghani, a passenger, said in an account posted on YouTube. “The soldier had time to set up the shot.” Mattias Gardell, a Swedish activist, told the TT news bureau: “The Israelis committed premeditated murder … Two people were killed by shots in the forehead, one was shot in the back of the head and one in the chest.”

But this article is too striking not to comment on. By Anthony Cordesman, it asks “Israel as a Strategic Liability?”:

America’s ties to Israel are not based primarily on U.S. strategic interests. At the best of times, an Israeli government that pursues the path to peace provides some intelligence, some minor advances in military technology, and a potential source of stabilizing military power that could help Arab states like Jordan. Even then, however, any actual Israeli military intervention in an Arab state could prove as destabilizing as beneficial. The fact is that the real motives behind America’s commitment to Israel are moral and ethical….

…the depth of America’s moral commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset. It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbors. It does not mean that the United States has the slightest interest in supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or that the United States should take a hard-line position on Jerusalem that would effectively make it a Jewish rather than a mixed city. It does not mean that the United States should be passive when Israel makes a series of major strategic blunders–such as persisting in the strategic bombing of Lebanon during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, escalating its attack on Gaza long after it had achieved its key objectives, embarrassing the U.S. president by announcing the expansion of Israeli building programs in east Jerusalem at a critical moment in U.S. efforts to put Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, or sending commandos to seize a Turkish ship in a horribly mismanaged effort to halt the “peace flotilla” going to Gaza.

It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel…

…it is time to return to the kind of strategic realism exemplified by leaders like Yitzhak Rabin. No aspect of what happened this week off the coast of Gaza can be blamed on Israeli commandos or the Israel Defense Forces. Israel’s prime minister and defense minister had full warning about the situation, and they knew the flotilla was deliberately designed as a political provocation to capture the attention of the world’s media in the most negative way possible. They personally are responsible for what happened, and they need to show far more care and pragmatism in the future.

Granted, it’s more of a criticism of the clumsiness of the present government, but the clumsiness of the present government is a consequence of its indifference to human suffering.

Added: Via C. Tuttle of Firedoglake in comments, this Yahoo piece by Farhad Pouladi:

The Iranian Red Crescent said on Monday that it will send three aid ships to Gaza in the latest bid to break the blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory by Iran’s archfoe Israel.

It will also send a plane carrying 30 tonnes of medical equipment to Egypt for onward delivery to Gaza.

Red Crescent director for international affairs Abdolrauf Adibzadeh told Iranian media that two ships would leave for Gaza this week, followed at a later date by a third vessel.

The first two ships will head to Gaza in coordination with the Turkish government.

What public relations coup will Israel carry off this time? Machinegun the nurses of the Red Crescent?

Posted in israel, Middle East | 2 Comments »

Due to unforeseen circumstances…

Posted by Charles II on December 30, 2008

Juan Cole’s blog is the place to go for a roundup of analysis on the situation in Gaza. One link he provides to Farnaz Fassihi points out that a consequence of the bombing of Gaza is that governments across the Middle East are at elevated risk of being overthrown by radicals:

The ferocity of the Israeli attacks in Gaza — and mounting casualties, which United Nations estimated Monday at 320 dead, including 62 civilians, and more than 1,400 injured — could channel pent-up anger against Arab leaders into further support for Islamist groups. These groups are increasingly seen as the only organized movements willing to stand up to Israel.

In Iraq, Ayatollah al-Sistani has called for “[t]he Arab and Muslim worlds … to take practical steps in order to stop this continual aggression and to break this cruel blockade…”

As Juan Cole says, “Sistani’s forceful call for practical action, on the other, shows an increased militancy and self-assuredness on the part of the Shiite authorities in Iraq.”

And al-Maliki has responded. According to Zeina Karam of AP:

the political party of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement condemning the attacks and calling on Islamic countries to cut relations with Israel and end all “secret and public talks” with it.

According to Karam, in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrullah has mobilized huge numbers (half a million?) of members of Hezbollah, and even the king Abdullah II of Jordan has donated blood for Gazans. While clearly just a symbolic gesture, it is a sign that American policymakers should consider. In Egypt, repression is too heavy for people to demonstrate openly, but that just makes it the more likely that there will be a coup. The Taliban has also joined in.

In Europe, countries with significant immigrant populations also have to be concerned. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the attacks (Juan Cole’s translation here).

One would never have imagined that Israel would succeed in uniting Sunni radicals like Hamas with Shi’a like Iran, or that it could have succeeded in alienating its natural allies in Europe. But it has, and it is not far from bringing down the pro-western regimes that have made the job of the IDF relatively easy. I’m sure that when things spiral out of control and Israel’s continued existence is no longer a sure thing that Likud will say that these were completely unforeseen circumstances.

Posted in israel, Middle East, wrong way to go about it | 10 Comments »

Obama Talks Peace With Abbas

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 18, 2008

From AFP via TPM:

US president-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday called Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and vowed to continue pushing Middle East peace efforts, a senior official said.

In their first conversation since the November 4 US elections, Obama also reiterated his strong support for a Palestinian state living alongside Israel, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

But of course he’s evil and not to be trusted, never ever ever ever.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Good Things, israel, Middle East, peace | 3 Comments »

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