Several hours after the July 12 abduction, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared war on Hezbollah and Israeli warplanes began bombing targets deep inside Lebanon.
But as the country's political and military echelons met urgently to discuss the possible declaration of war, Halutz went at 12:00 P.M. to sell an investment portfolio, the Ma'ariv newspaper reported on Tuesday.
In response to the report, Halutz confirmed to Ma'ariv that he sold the portfolio on that date and at that time, but denied it had anything to do with the possibility of an imminent war. The IDF chief said he sold the portfolio because of recent losses he took prior to July 12.
The United States and Israel have shared intelligence and enjoyed close military coöperation for decades, but early this spring, according to a former senior intelligence official, high-level planners from the U.S. Air Force—under pressure from the White House to develop a war plan for a decisive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities—began consulting with their counterparts in the Israeli Air Force.
“The big question for our Air Force was how to hit a series of hard targets in Iran successfully,” the former senior intelligence official said. “Who is the closest ally of the U.S. Air Force in its planning? It’s not Congo—it’s Israel. Everybody knows that Iranian engineers have been advising Hezbollah on tunnels and underground gun emplacements. And so the Air Force went to the Israelis with some new tactics and said to them, ‘Let’s concentrate on the bombing and share what we have on Iran and what you have on Lebanon.’ ” The discussions reached the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he said.
“The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. “Why oppose it? We’ll be able to hunt down and bomb missiles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would be a demo for Iran.”
The initial plan, as outlined by the Israelis, called for a major bombing campaign in response to the next Hezbollah provocation, according to the Middle East expert with knowledge of U.S. and Israeli thinking. Israel believed that, by targeting Lebanon’s infrastructure, including highways, fuel depots, and even the civilian runways at the main Beirut airport, it could persuade Lebanon’s large Christian and Sunni populations to turn against Hezbollah, according to the former senior intelligence official. The airport, highways, and bridges, among other things, have been hit in the bombing campaign. The Israeli Air Force had flown almost nine thousand missions as of last week. (David Siegel, the Israeli spokesman, said that Israel had targeted only sites connected to Hezbollah; the bombing of bridges and roads was meant to prevent the transport of weapons.)
The Israeli plan, according to the former senior intelligence official, was “the mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran.” (The initial U.S. Air Force proposals for an air attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity, which included the option of intense bombing of civilian infrastructure targets inside Iran, have been resisted by the top leadership of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps, according to current and former officials. They argue that the Air Force plan will not work and will inevitably lead, as in the Israeli war with Hezbollah, to the insertion of troops on the ground.)
Cheney’s office supported the Israeli plan, as did Elliott Abrams, a deputy national-security adviser, according to several former and current officials. (A spokesman for the N.S.C. denied that Abrams had done so.) They believed that Israel should move quickly in its air war against Hezbollah. A former intelligence officer said, “We told Israel, ‘Look, if you guys have to go, we’re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later—the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.’ ”
Cheney’s point, the former senior intelligence official said, was “What if the Israelis execute their part of this first, and it’s really successful? It’d be great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in Lebanon.”
The Pentagon consultant told me that intelligence about Hezbollah and Iran is being mishandled by the White House the same way intelligence had been when, in 2002 and early 2003, the Administration was making the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “The big complaint now in the intelligence community is that all of the important stuff is being sent directly to the top—at the insistence of the White House—and not being analyzed at all, or scarcely,” he said. “It’s an awful policy and violates all of the N.S.A.’s strictures, and if you complain about it you’re out,” he said. “Cheney had a strong hand in this.”
The surprising strength of Hezbollah’s resistance, and its continuing ability to fire rockets into northern Israel in the face of the constant Israeli bombing, the Middle East expert told me, “is a massive setback for those in the White House who want to use force in Iran. And those who argue that the bombing will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back.”
Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said. “There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,” he said. “When the smoke clears, they’ll say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.”
Even those who continue to support Israel’s war against Hezbollah agree that it is failing to achieve one of its main goals—to rally the Lebanese against Hezbollah. “Strategic bombing has been a failed military concept for ninety years, and yet air forces all over the world keep on doing it,” John Arquilla, a defense analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, told me. Arquilla has been campaigning for more than a decade, with growing success, to change the way America fights terrorism. “The warfare of today is not mass on mass,” he said. “You have to hunt like a network to defeat a network. Israel focussed on bombing against Hezbollah, and, when that did not work, it became more aggressive on the ground. The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result.”
This is like a scene from a bar fight, where one of the pugilists first makes sure his friends have a good strong hold of him, and then starts yelling "Let me at him!"Ehud Olmert's office said late Friday that the expanded incursion into Lebanon would continue "for the time being," despite agreeing to a cease-fire resolution drafted by the United Nations Security Council.
Senior Israel Defense Forces officers said that the IDF is "continuing forward at full power. . . "
This, of course, is 100% kosher bullshit -- nobody in their right mind would start a major offensive at "full power" knowing full well it will all have to be shut down within 48 or at most 72 hours. So it looks like the big push was just a big fraud all along -- a desperate attempt by Olmert and his bedraggled colleagues to try to kick a little dust in the eyes of their domestic constituents. But the message -- "Yeah, boy, if they had'na stopped me I would have kicked Hizbullah's ass but good -- isn't very original or at this point even slightly believable.
What else can they going to do? They've blown it, right down the line, from the opening bid for an aerial knockout, through the defeats and retreats, the incredible shrinking war aims, and the daily humiliation of seeing a third of Israel bombarded with rockets. And now this -- a ceasefire that appears to give Hizbullah all or nearly all of what it demanded (although not the Laker tickets), supervised by a "reinforced" version of UNIFIL (most of the reinforcements will probably never arrive) working under a limited one-year mandate, and with
no more legal authority to use force than the current bunch of blue helmets.
(Update: There is some language in the resolution that appears to allow the use of deadly force, including to "protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence," which is a particularly unfunny joke considering what the sides have been doing to each other for the past month. It's a joke because despite its steadfast tone, the resolution was approved under Chapter 6, not Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. So it's not clear to me what the legal basis is for authorizing the use of force.
In any case, if anyone expects even a big, fat UNIFIL to be able to effectively police a ceasefire that one or both parties don't want to keep, they haven't been paying attention for the past 25 years.)
And for this, Lebanon was ravaged, thousands were killled, millions of civilians on both sides spent weeks couped up in air raid shelters, and the credibility and any lingering shreds of respectability the U.S. government had in the Islamic world were flushed straigh down the you-know-what.
All for this:Why did we embark on the war, if not to ensure that French soldiers will protect Israel from the Hezbollah rocket battery.
The long knives are out -- for Olmert, for Peretz (the ward boss and ex-"peace" activist turned defense minister) for Halutz and the commander of the Northern Front (who was effectively sacked in the middle of the war) and for that matter probably half of entire IDF general staff -- if they don't sink daggers into each other's backs first. Losing is never pretty, and the post-war settling of accounts after this loss is going to be even less so.
Already it seems as if every minor league neocon in Washington is taking the opportunity to remind Israel that if there's one thing Americans detest it's a loser. So much for all that tearful singing of the Ha'tikvah. If Washington's Middle Eastern Rottweiler wants to keep getting its kennel ration, it's going to have to put a little more teeth into its work next time.
At this point I'm not sure if the Israeli branch of the punditburo has yet to recognize the full magnitude of the debacle, or whether it's just trying to put a brave face on it. But this statement, from Ha'aretz's Ze'ev Schiff, is a leading nominee for the Emperor Hirohito Memorial Prize for Ridiculous Understatement:In regard to other Arab elements, it is very possible that Israeli deterrence will be somewhat undercut.
All the bellicose rhetoric in the world -- like Schiff's threat that Israel will respond with "cruel craziness" if other red lines are crossed in the future -- can't conceal the multiple failures: of a miltary aristocracy's arrogant faith in technology, of an Army that's grown accustomed to waging war against Palestinian teenagers, of a political establishment that believes with zombie-like intensity that the cure for its own incompetence is ever greater applications of military force. (Because, of course, that's the only thing the Arabs understand.)
There will be hell to pay for this fiasco -- coming as it did on top of Uncle Sam's own murder suicide pact in Iraq. When and where that payment wil be demanded isn't clear yet, but if the past is any guide it will be paid in the blood of the innocent, not the guilty. Condi better swap her forceps for a shovel, because it looks like there's going to be a plenty of graves to dig in the "new" Middle East.
Update 8/12 1:05 AM ET: Full text of the new resolution can be found here..
It contains the same asymetrical language as the first draft on the nature of the ceasefire -- that is, Hizbullah is told to halt "all attacks" while Israel is expected to stop all "offensive actions." Some have seen this as cover for a continued IDF onslaught, under the Israeli logic that all its actions are defensive. But I continue to see it as a meaningless distinction designed to avoid the appearance that Hizbullah and Israel are being placed on an equal footing.
Other than that, the only actual, tangible demand made upon Hizbullah is that it withdraw from the area south of the Litani River. Given that many, if not most of Hizbullah's fighters (and all of its supporters) in the area live there, it's hard to see what this is supposed to mean in the real world, other than instructions to Hizbullah men south of the Litani to store their weapons, take off their uniforms and stand by for further orders.
There's also some verbage about a weapons embargo and sealing the borders, but since the Lebanese Army is supposed to do the sealing (UNIFIL can also pitch in, but only at the Lebanese government's request) I think we can safely disregard it. Likewise the Security Council's demand that the Lebanese government move to implement its previous resolution to disarm Hizbullah. It would be one thing if the resolution called upon Hizbullah to disarm the Lebanese Army and the blue helmets. That I could believe. But the reverse is about as likely to happen as full implementation of the various Security Council resolutions dealing with the Palestinian refugees and the occupied territories.
In other words, your grandchildren will be dead first.
But Israel's Third Lebanon War will begin a lot sooner than that, I think.
Update 8/12 1:45 AM ET: It strikes me that Sheikh Nasrallah shouldn't have been quite so stingy about providing the Israelis with fig leaves. In light of how ineptly the Olmert government managed this war, it's probably in Hizbullah's interests to keep it in power.
Then again, Nasrallah may simply have calculated that Olmert is a lost cause, beyond salvaging.
QASMIYA, Lebanon — Israeli bombing has knocked out irrigation canals supplying Litani River water to more than 10,000 acres of farmland and 23 villages in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, prompting accusations here that Israel is using its war against Hezbollah to lay claim to Lebanon's prime watersheds.
Heavy fighting and a series of targeted strikes on open water channels and underground water diversion pipes have suspended much of Lebanon's agricultural use of the Litani River along the coastal plain and in parts of the Bekaa Valley near Qaraoun Dam, said water engineers who have surveyed the south.
The damaged or broken facilities include a pumping station on the Wazzani River, whose inauguration by Lebanon in 2002 prompted Israel to threaten military action because it diverted water a few hundred yards from the Israeli border, in a watershed that feeds the Jordan River, Lebanese officials said. At the time, Hezbollah promised to defend the facility.
The strikes went largely unnoticed by the outside world in the nearly monthlong air assault targeting Hezbollah guerrilla strongholds in southern Lebanon. But Lebanese point to the extensive damage to their irrigation and drinking water system as evidence that border security and water issues remain intertwined in a region short on both.
"Whenever Israel throughout history has thought of its northern border, they don't talk, for example, of the mountains as a border. They always think of the valley of the Litani," said Mohammed Shaya, dean of the college of social sciences at Lebanese University in Beirut.
Israel has said repeatedly that it has no designs on Lebanon's water.
"There's a policy decision at the highest level not to target those water pumping stations," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "We don't claim an inch of Lebanese sovereign territory. We don't claim a gallon of Lebanese water. We have no hostile intentions whatever towards Lebanon as a country, towards the Lebanese people or towards Lebanese natural resources."
But the enduring suspicion in Lebanon that Israel regards the water of the Litani as its own and the lands to its south as a security perimeter help explain Beirut's reluctance to accept any U.N. cease-fire resolution that does not call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from the region.
At a minimum, Lebanese officials fear that the repeated attacks on water facilities — as well as bridges, highways, power plants and roads — signal an intention to debilitate Hezbollah-dominated southern Lebanon and enable a long-term Israeli presence there.
"They started [bombing] with the Litani water reservoir, the Litani dam. And we all know that the Litani has a special place in this country," said Fadl Shalaq, president of the Lebanese Council for Reconstruction and Development. "It's a big reservoir of water, and the Israelis don't hide it that there are several parts of the Litani that they would like to take for themselves."
Officials in southern Lebanon said the attacks hit not only bridges, but open water canals, crippling irrigation to thousands of acres here in the Tyre region and in the Bekaa Valley.
During fighting near the Wazzani springs, a guard at the pumping station was killed, the pump was knocked out of service and the underground pipes through which water is transported were heavily damaged, said Hussein Ramal, an engineer for the Litani Water Authority, which operates irrigation systems in the region. "Now every one of these villages is without water."
The Litani flows 102 miles, entirely within Lebanon. It courses south through eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, before turning sharply westward just 2 1/2 miles from the Israeli border, then heading through the coastal plain, past the town of Qasmiya to the Mediterranean, north of Tyre.
Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who would become the first president of Israel, in 1919 included the Litani valley among the "minimum requirements essential to the realization of the Jewish National Home." David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, proposed including the Litani again in the 1940s on the eve of the creation of the Jewish state. In the 1950s, historical records show, Moshe Dayan, then chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and others favored occupying and ultimately annexing southern Lebanon up to the Litani River.
Occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, though motivated by security concerns, has provided Israel with an important source of water. Experts note that the small slice of land known as the Shebaa Farms, one of the issues in the current conflict, is graced with abundant groundwater flowing from the slopes of Mt. Hermon.
Israel also sees Shebaa Farms as a strategic asset because of its proximity to the Israeli, Syrian and Lebanese borders.
Israel has always argued that much of the Litani's water flows to the sea, wasted.
A large portion of the river's flow is diverted to a series of hydropower dams, leaving relatively little for irrigation in southern Lebanon. But the Lebanese government had planned to offer a $200-million contract this summer to irrigate major new sections of the region.
Both states would benefit if Israel sold Lebanon power and Lebanon sold Israel water, said Haim Gvirtzman, hydrology professor at Hebrew University.
"Should there be peace between Israel and Lebanon, then it will be possible to use the Litani's water as a trigger for a fruitful cooperation between the two countries," Gvirtzman said.
But the Lebanese fear that a prolonged Israeli occupation would give the Jewish state ample time to develop its own international "projects" for sharing the Litani's water.
"In this war, the whole symbol of water has come back with the insurgency now. Because Israel's declared war is to push out the Katyushas" — the rockets being fired by Hezbollah militants — "but the long-range aim, I believe, is to again enter the water issue and push it on the Lebanese," said Mahmoud Haidar, head of the Delta Center for Research and the Press in Beirut.
"If Israel is the winner in this war, in any settlement," he said, "water will become an issue. It will become part of the Israeli demands."
A report on Debka File, a website often described as reflecting the thinking of Israeli intelligence, described "Israel's recovery of control over its main sources of water" at Wazzani as "the most important gain from the crisis" in Lebanon.
‘Lebanon: An Open Country for Civil Resistance’
Civilian Resistance: Call For Action & Solidarity For Lebanon
Download Arabic version (.pdf, 46kb)
Spanish version below
Media contacts and the official Press Release here
We, the people of Lebanon, call upon the local and international community to join a campaign of civil resistance to Israel’s war against our country and our people. We declare Lebanon an open country for civil resistance.
In the face of Israel’s systematic killing of our people, the indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages, and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say NO!
In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress and add the urgent need TO ACT!
We urge you to join us in defying Israel’s aggression against our country and in defending the rights of the inhabitants throughout Lebanon, and particularly in the South, to live on their land. When the United Nations, created to preserve peace and security in the world, is paralyzed; when governments become complicit in war crimes, then people must show their strength and rise up. When justice and human rights are scorned, those who care must unite in their defense.
Building on our belief in our country, the efforts of the civil resistance, and on the arrival of the internationals coming to Lebanon for solidarity, we declare that Lebanon is an open country for civil resistance, starting from August 12.
On August 12 at 7 am, we will gather in Martyrs’ Square to form a civilian convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and international civilians will carry relief as an expression of solidarity for the inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south who have been bravely withstanding the assault of the Israeli military.
After August 12th, the campaign will continue with a series of civil actions for which your presence and participation is needed. Working together in solidarity we will overcome the complacency, inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and destroying the fabric of our country.
To sign up to join the convoy, send an email to one of the following addresses:
If you are in Lebanon
Email Rania Masri: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an international
Email Adam Shapiro: email@example.com
If you are Spanish speaking
Email Alberto Arce: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are outside Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, you should know:
- You need to obtain a visa for Lebanon and for Syria if your plan is to enter Lebanon from Syria.
- We don’t have the funds to cover for the cost of your travel, however we can help with finding accomodations.
Multiple military sources have told the Global Network that Pentagon personnel responsible for selecting targets for cruise missile first strike attacks have been sent to Israel.
This indicates that U.S. and Israeli military strategists are now likely meeting to plan a joint attack on Syria and/or Iran.
The Persian Gulf war and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq both began with cruise missile attacks by the U.S. from Naval ships. U.S. military satellites were used to guide the missiles to their targets.
It would be wise to recognize that Bush has decided to expand the current war and chaos into the entire Middle East region. The implications for the U.S. will be enormous.
Israel's recent bombing of Lebanon near the Syrian border indicate to me that they are trying to draw a response from Syria. So far Syria has not responded. Look for more such efforts by Israel and the U.S. to provoke Syria.
I would highly recommend local peace groups call on their members of Congress and demand they speak out against a further widening of this already insane war.
More and larger public protests should be organized immediately.
Via Space4Peace et Moon over Alabama.
The loser in Lebanon: The Atlantic alliance
By Mark Perry and Alastair Crooke
The United States and France have produced a United Nations resolution of sorts aimed at ending the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, but the negotiations between US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton and France's Jean-Marc de La Sabliere nearly ended in disaster.
Through the course of a single week, the US and France came as close to a bitter split over Middle East policy as they had on the eve of the Iraq war. At issue in the confrontation was a US insistence that an international force (led by France) be deployed to Lebanon prior to the declaration of a ceasefire - a requirement the French thought ludicrous. They weren't the only ones.
"The position that we're taking in the UN is just nuts," a former White House official close to the US decision-making process said during the negotiations. "The US wants to put international forces on the ground in the middle of the conflict, before there's a ceasefire. The reasoning at the White House is that the international force could weigh on the side of the Israelis - could enforce Hezbollah's disarmament."
All of this, this former official noted, "is covered over by this talk about how we need a substantive agreement that addresses the fundamental problems and that will last. But no one is willing to say exactly what this means."
A former US Central Intelligence Agency officer confirmed this view: "I am under the impression that [President] George [W] Bush and [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice were surprised when the Europeans disagreed with the US position - they were running around saying, 'But how can you disagree, don't you understand? Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.'"
The normally taciturn La Sabliere was particularly enraged when Bolton indirectly accused him of naivety. Responding to a reporter's question about the French position calling for a ceasefire prior to a troop deployment, Bolton was at his arrogant best: "I think it simplistic, among other things. I want somebody to address the problem on how to get a ceasefire with a terrorist organization."
Bolton then took a leaf from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's 2003 criticism of France and Germany as "old Europe" - calling the French ceasefire initiative "old thinking". La Sabliere not only bristled at Bolton's language, he threatened to end all discussions with the US over ending the Lebanon conflict.
While Bolton and La Sabliere eventually buried their differences, the US-French face-off reflected deep-rooted and long-lasting French resentments over America's apparent willingness to allow the conflict to run its course - under the belief that it is only a matter of time before Israel destroyed Hezbollah.
"The Bush people have never heard a shot fired in anger, and it's apparent," an official in the UN Secretary General's Office noted. "The French were quite fearful that one miscalculation, one stray rocket could set the region on fire. No one in Washington seemed willing to admit that as a possibility."
Bolton's continued "cheerleading for Israel" didn't help, according to this same official. "It's a real row that started with Bolton's statement that you couldn't compare the deaths of Lebanese to the deaths of Israelis," the official said. "He implied that because Lebanon harbored Hezbollah, Lebanese lives were forfeit. It was a stupid thing to say. It tore the scab off the wound."
Bolton refused to back down, reiterating that the death of Lebanese civilians, while "tragic and unfortunate", was understandable considering Israel's right to "self-defense". In any event, Bolton went on to say, Israel did not "desire" the deaths of innocents - unlike Hezbollah.
The US press was quick to pick up on this, parroting the administration's line. Even the venerable Washington Post implied that seven Canadians who had died as a result of Israeli air strikes in the war's first days were of lesser value than other Westerners - since they were "Lebanese holding Canadian passports".
The French, as well as the British, also resented what they viewed as Israel's "high-handed" lecturing of the Europeans on their own constituent problems. The European anger boiled over, according to one UN diplomat, during an exchange between Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman and a French official during a meeting on the composition of a proposed international force.
While the diplomat would not recount the words used by Gillerman, he confirmed that the phrases Gillerman used "he repeated in the media". The diplomat was referring to Gillerman's remarks during an appearance on CNN, where he was spurred on by host Anderson Cooper's comparison of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to Adolf Hitler. "I certainly hope the world understands [that] this war is not just about the safety of Israel or the freedom of Lebanon, it is about preserving civilization as we know it," Gillerman said.
"When you see Hezbollah flags in London and in Brussels and in Paris and you see that most of the demonstrators in Trafalgar Square and in the other cities are Muslims, I would advise these European countries to look very carefully at what is happening in Beirut today because to a very great extent, what they're seeing in Beirut, what they're seeing happening in Lebanon, what Hezbollah has done to the Lebanese people is really just a preview of what they may expect if they don't take care of that problem as they say in this country, soon to be seen in theaters everywhere."
Even the British were enraged: "Take care of that problem? Take care of that problem? What would Ambassador Gillerman suggest we do with our Muslims? That's a hell of a thing for him to say," a British member of parliament sputtered.
Bolton's inflammatory statements, US insistence on the deployment of an international force prior to a ceasefire, and Gillerman's offensive hectoring of European diplomats deepened French suspicions over US-Israeli aims at the height of negotiations over a UN resolution.
But despite his offensive characterizations of the Muslim problem, Gillerman is right in one sense - the shifting demographics of Europe, where Muslim minorities constitute increasingly powerful voting blocs, is beginning to exact a toll on America's long-standing ties with its erstwhile allies. The French, in particular, are painfully aware that their Muslim minorities are capable of making their presence felt, particularly if they believe their political grievances are not being aired.
"The difference between the US and Europe on how to handle the Middle East is stark," a Finnish diplomat said during a recent private meeting in Washington. "In the US your political parties worry about the Jewish vote - in Europe, political parties worry about the Muslim vote. It's just that simple."
Some of these concerns, and the divide that Europe's new demographics are cleaving between Washington and European capitals, is now finally beginning to make its way into the press. At issue is US and Israeli terminology, which tends to paint Muslims as terrorists and Israelis as Westerners fighting for civilization.
"It's not helpful to couch this war in the language of international terrorism," UN deputy secretary Mark Malloch Brown said last Tuesday. His voice edged with anger, Brown hinted that the United Kingdom could be forced to rethink its by now predictable support for the US initiative.
"Britain has tried very, very hard to keep with the US on this; no one respects the reasons for that entirely, but you have a Security Council and international public opinion, while fully understanding what has been done to Israel, now believes strongly in a cessation to hostilities."
After hesitating for only a moment, Brown issued a warning on a future British vote - stating almost baldly that Prime Minister Tony Blair's government might decide to side with Europe over the United States. "This is where the UK is a crucial swing vote," he said. "When it comes behind a cessation of hostilities, it makes it that much harder for the last stalwarts to hold out."
The Saturday announcement that France and the United States had agreed on a draft resolution has not helped to allay these growing fears. The draft resolution finesses the divide between America's call for the deployment of an international force and France's call for a ceasefire - saying that there should be a "full cessation of hostilities" prior to the tabling of a second resolution, which will deal with the more difficult political issues posed by the Israeli-Hezbollah war.
In truth, a number of UN diplomats concede that the battle between the US and France inside the Security Council only diverted the attention of both countries from the conflict in the Middle East. Getting Arab nations to sign on to the resolution was postponed in order to get the resolution agreed to. Nor, it seems, were the Lebanese consulted at all during the process. The resolution, in fact, seems to satisfy the French and Americans - but no one else, and so angered Arab diplomats that Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, denounced it publicly, while privately calling the resolution "a surrender document".
A spokesman for Hezbollah in Beirut was even blunter, saying that the resolution was "dead on arrival". He added, "The French caved in to American and Israeli pressure. Israel gets to stay on our land. We are required to disarm. Why isn't an international force deployed in northern Israel? Our arms get cut off and the US gets to fly cluster munitions into Ben Gurion [Airport in Tel Aviv]. Just who do they think is winning this war?"
For now, Condoleezza Rice is hailing the US-French draft as a symbol for US-European cooperation. But for many European diplomats, agreement on the draft resolution has only papered over a deepening rift between the United States and its European partners, with some European diplomats muttering that America's real goal is to induce the Europeans to wade into Lebanon on the side of a defanged and humiliated Israel.
Voici ce qu'en dit NewsMine:
BLIND INDO PREZ SHATTERS ELITE?
Sunday, October 16, 2005 - FreeMarketNews.com
An extraordinary documentary produced by Australian public television, "Inside Indonesia's War on Terrorism," will be rebroadcast again on Monday, October 17 at 1PM.
In the program which first aired on October 12, the blind, former President of Indonesia – reportedly more trusted than any other official in the country - told SBS-TV Date-Line, Australia’s state-run public TV, that the horrendous Bali bombing, which killed more than 200 in Indonesia, was planned and carried out by Indonesian police or military personnel at the behest of Western powers.
The transcript has already reportedly been removed from the archives of the SBS, Australia's Special Broadcasting Services, but certain alternative Internet sites, apparently anticipating this, claim to have downloaded the transcript and have reproduced it in its entirety. One of them is GlobalResearch.ca, and the excerpt that follows is taking from its site. It features Abdurrahman Wahid, the former Indonesian president who has achieved an almost iconic status in that ordinarily peaceful but impoverished country.
Rense.Com described the program as follows, “In this documentary, which is described as the world's most explosive expose of International Intelligence Agencies ops and cover-ups, the former president of Indonesia (who Australians describe as the only honest high-level Indonesian politician), disclosed that the Indonesian police or military are behind the Bali bombings. Also in this program, Indonesian journalists and researchers state, unequivocally, that 'Moslem terrorists organizations' DO NOT EXIST as portrayed by the government - that they are created and coordinated to act by military-connected provocateurs. … They further claim that the Indonesian military is totally corrupt and that Generals and politicians are pocketing vast hordes of money they receive to 'fight terrorism' - 'terrorism' which, in fact, they are creating themselves."
The Australian (Australian.news.com) carried an analysis of the program from which the following is excerpted:
“The program … claims a key figure behind the formation of terror group Jemaah Islamiah was an Indonesian spy. Former terrorist Umar Abduh, who is now a researcher and writer, told Dateline Indonesian authorities had a hand in many terror groups. 'There is not a single Islamic group either in the movement or the political groups that is not controlled by (Indonesian) intelligence,' he said. Abduh has written a book on Teungku Fauzi Hasbi, a key figure in Jemaah Islamiah (JI) who had close contact with JI operations chief Hambali and lived next door to Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. He says Hasbi was a secret agent for Indonesia's military intelligence while at the same time a key player in creating JI. Security analyst John Mempi told SBS that Hasbi, who was also known as Abu Jihad, had played a key role in JI in its early years. … Another terrorism expert, George Aditjondro, said a bombing in May this year that killed 23 people in the Christian village of Tentena, in central Sulawesi, had been organised by senior military and police officers. 'This is a strategy of depopulating an area and when an area has been depopulated both becoming refugees or becoming paramilitary fighters then that is the time when they can invest their money in major resource exploitation there,' he said."
The Sunday Times August 06, 2006
Iran's plot to mine uranium in Africa
Jon Swain, David Leppard and Brian Johnson-Thomas
IRAN is seeking to import large consignments of bomb-making uranium from the African mining area that produced the Hiroshima bomb, an investigation has revealed.
A United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was “no doubt” that a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the Congo.
Tanzanian customs officials told The Sunday Times it was destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and was stopped on October 22 last year during a routine check.
The disclosure will heighten western fears about the extent of Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons programme and the strategic implications of Iran’s continuing support for Hezbollah during the war with Israel.
Une vague impression de déjà vu.
Via Moon of Alabama.
Interrogé sur cette question, le président de l’ordre des médecins, Mario Aoun, explique que « des prélèvements effectués sur des corps de victimes présentant des caractéristiques ayant attiré l’attention des médecins ont été envoyés à un laboratoire spécialisé à Beyrouth, et nous attendons les résultats d’ici à une semaine ».
Mais qu’est-ce qui a éveillé les soupçons ? Le Dr Aoun parle de caractéristiques bien particulières : « Les corps de huit victimes, tombées à Rmeilé aux premiers jours du conflit et ramenées à Saïda, avaient une couleur très foncée, mais n’étaient pas brûlés pour autant. Leurs cheveux, leurs muscles et même leurs habits étaient intacts, ils n’avaient pas d’éclats d’obus dans le corps, ne présentaient ni des traces d’hémorragie ni des signes de problèmes respiratoires. Les médecins ont alors pensé à une autre possibilité, celle de l’utilisation probable de bombes libérant des substances chimiques. »
Le Dr Aoun précise que les médecins ont alors notifié le ministère de la Santé, qui a demandé au médecin du caza de s’assurer du fait, puis d’effectuer des biopsies sur différentes parties des corps des victimes, avant de les confier aux spécialistes et au service d’anthropométrie. Ce service a même ajouté des échantillons de sol prélevés dans les régions bombardées, en raison de soupçons sur l’utilisation de bombes au phosphore, toujours selon lui. « À Tyr, nous avons même reçu des rapports de médecins qui soupçonnent l’utilisation de bombes avec des matières paralysantes, se basant sur des comportements de certains blessés », ajoute-t-il.
Le Dr Bachir Cham, professeur de chirurgie dans un hôpital à Saïda, était le médecin qui avait examiné les huit victimes de Rmeilé. Il considère qu’il n’est pas possible de déterminer quel type de produit chimique serait en cause avant de connaître les résultats des tests. « Je soupçonne qu’il ne s’agit pas d’une matière qui passe par le système respiratoire, mais plutôt de matières transcutanées, dit-il. Ces bombes ont plusieurs caractéristiques, elles sont très précises, elles tuent par implosion et contiendraient des substances dopantes pour augmenter le taux de mortalité, ce qui explique que le rapport tués/blessés soit de un sur deux, donc particulièrement élevé. »
Omar Nachabé, docteur en criminologie au journal al-Akhbar, est celui qui a reçu les 24 biopsies et les a envoyées au laboratoire, après avoir obtenu la signature du procureur militaire. Il confirme les soupçons exprimés par les autres spécialistes qui ont conduit aux tests, mais déclare qu’il est impossible d’affirmer quoi que ce soit tant que des résultats concluants n’auront pas été obtenus. Le retard dans le début des tests (sachant qu’ils ont déjà commencé), selon lui, est dû à des considérations techniques. Les résultats devraient être prêts dans quelques jours à une semaine, selon les différentes personnes interrogées.
Que faire des résultats s’ils s’avèrent positifs ? « Nous les transmettrons au gouvernement, et c’est lui qui décidera quoi en faire, explique le Dr Aoun. Auparavant, nous aurions envoyé les prélèvements à des laboratoires européens pour une confirmation. »
Over the past six months, the administration has adopted almost all of the hard-line stance advocated by the war cabal in the Pentagon. In May, Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, appeared before AIPAC's annual conference and warned that Iran "must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences." To back up the tough talk, the State Department is spending $66 million to promote political change inside Iran—funding the same kind of dissident groups that helped drive the U.S. to war in Iraq. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared.
In addition, the State Department recently beefed up its Iran Desk from two people to ten, hired more Farsi speakers and set up eight intelligence units in foreign countries to focus on Iran. The administration's National Security Strategy—the official policy document that sets out U.S. strategic priorities—now calls Iran the "single country" that most threatens U.S. interests.
The shift in official policy has thrilled former members of the cabal. To them, the war in Lebanon represents the final step in their plan to turn Iran into the next Iraq. Ledeen, writing in the National Review on July 13th, could hardly restrain himself. "Faster, please," he urged the White House, arguing that the war should now be taken over by the U.S. military and expanded across the entire region. "The only way we are going to win this war is to bring down those regimes in Tehran and Damascus, and they are not going to fall as a result of fighting between their terrorist proxies in Gaza and Lebanon on the one hand, and Israel on the other. Only the United States can accomplish it," he concluded. "There is no other way."