"So if you want a civil war in Iraq, forget $60 a barrel, you won't be able to buy oil at $600 a barrel"
07/16/06 , An Interview with George Galloway, MP in British Parliament and leader of Respect - the Unity Coalition
GALLOWAY: I said in Parliament just four days after 9/11 that if we handle this in the wrong way we will create 10,000 new Bin Ladens
So if you want a civil war in Iraq, forget $60 a barrel, you won't be able to buy oil at $600 a barrel because there will be no oil as there will be no production of oil in the Gulf, Iran or Iraq. Most of the world's oil supply will be wiped out.
GALLOWAY: There will never be a winner because terrorism isn't an adversary -- it is a tactic. Peter Ustinov, the great European intellectual, put it this way: "War is the terrorism of the rich and powerful, and terrorism is the war of the poor and powerless." This word terrorism has been distorted beyond any further usefulness. Terrorism is what the other guy does.
GALLOWAY:If you reduce Fallujah to ash, and kill thousands of people using white phosphorus and other banned weapons and overwhelming firepower, that's not terrorism. No person with half a brain can accept that definition of terrorism. So there will be no end to the war on terrorism, because there is no end to the injustice that produced it.
GALLOWAY: For the purposes of this interview I'll deal only with the Muslim world, although there are many other issues of injustice that afflict much of the planet. The way to drain the swamp is this.
First of all, we have to recognize the centrality of the Palestine question to this big crisis. We have to recognize that the flaw at the heart of Western policy is the injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, and the endless insult added to injury over the past 50 years.
We have to make reparation to the Palestinian people and stop bankrolling and arming Israel. We have to force them to knock down the wall, force them to disgorge every inch of the territory that they illegally occupied in 1967, force them to allow a Palestinian state with an Arab border with Jerusalem as its capital and no Zionist settlements on its land. No control over the airspace, sea space, access and so on. None of that will be done, but it needs to be done.
The second thing that needs to be done is that we need to withdraw from occupied Muslim lands, get our forces out of their lands.
In search of the truth about the Israel lobby's influence on Washington
Glenn Frankel, Washington Post, 7/16/06
Thanks to the work of the lobby and its allies, Israel gets more direct foreign aid -- about $3 billion a year -- than any other nation. There's a file cabinet somewhere in the State Department full of memoranda of understanding on military, diplomatic and economic affairs. Israel gets treated like a NATO member when it comes to military matters and like Canada or Mexico when it comes to free trade. There's an annual calendar full of meetings of joint strategic task forces and other collaborative sessions. And there's a presidential pledge, re-avowed by Bush in the East Room, that the United States will come to Israel's aid in the event of attack.
On Capitol Hill the Israel lobby commands large majorities in both the House and Senate. Polls show strong public support for Israel -- a connection that has grown even deeper after the September 11 attacks. The popular equation goes like this: Israelis equal good guys, Arabs equal terrorists. Working the Hill these days, says Josh Block, spokesman for the premier Israeli lobbying group known as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, "is like pushing at an open door."
Not everyone believes this is a good thing. In March two distinguished political scientists -- Stephen Walt from Harvard and John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago -- published a 42-page, heavily footnoted essay arguing that the Bush administration's support for Israel and its related effort to spread democracy throughout the Middle East have "inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security."
The professors claim that our intimate partnership with Israel is both dangerous and unprecedented. "Other special interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest," they argue. They go on to say that the war in Iraq "was due in large part to the Lobby's influence," and that the same combine is "using all of the strategies in its playbook" to pressure the administration into being aggressive and belligerent with Iran. The bottom line: "Israel's enemies get weakened or overthrown, Israel gets a free hand with the Palestinians, and the United States does most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding and paying."
A sweet deal for Israel, in other words, but a very bad one for America.
Hezbollah has shattered the Myth of Israeli Invincibility
By attacking Haifa, Hezbollah has transferred the conflict to Israeli territory, undermining the latter’s longstanding military doctrine of defeating its enemies on foreign soil. It has shattered the myth of Israeli invincibility.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, appeared on television yesterday to warn Israel that the guerrillas’ military capabilities remained strong and that “we are still at the beginning” of the conflict.
“Our fighters are still there and they love the confrontation,” he said. “They are looking to show the world a new vision of victory.”
Such defiance may dismay Israelis
What worries the rulers of pro-USA Arab countries is that, as their citizens watch satellite television images of the destruction wrought by Israel on Lebanon, sympathy will grow for Hezbollah, regarded by many Arabs — Sunni and Shia alike — as the only credible political and military force willing to match words with actions by taking on the might of Israel’s military force.
Hezbollah came into existence in 1982 and the Hezbollah's tough fighters eventually drove Israeli occupation forces from Lebanon by 2000, becoming the only Arab military force to ever defeat Israel, shattering the myth of Israeli military invincibility.
Hezbollah is an independent-minded movement that is Lebanon's dominant political and military force and pursues its own local interests.
Ironically, Hamas in Palestine is a democratically-elected government and the Hezbollah has elected members in Lebanon's ruling party, including cabinet ministers. So far, Hezbollah is the only Arab force that has made even a gesture to help the embattled Palestinians.
The Bush administration is dominated by neoconservatives and Protestant Zionist-Christian fundamentalists aligned with Israel's expansionist policies.
Certainly the Palestinians have endless grievances against Israel. In addition to four decades of Israeli military occupation of their land, Israel has attempted to destroy the Hamas government, which was democratically elected by Palestinians last January.
Hezbollah's seizure of the two Israeli soldiers was probably an act of support for the Palestinians in Gaza, who have been under Israeli military siege since the capture of the first soldier. Hezbollah also said it seized the soldiers because it wanted to trade them for thousands of Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails. A similar Israeli-Hezbollah prisoner exchange took place in 2004.
Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah leader, told the Lebanese on television last night. "The resistance is on the front line and the Lebanese are behind them."
By Robert Fisk in Beirut:
07/17/06 "The Independent" -- -- You could see the Israeli missiles coming through the clouds of smoke, hurtling like thunderbolts into the apartment blocks of Ghobeiri, the crack of the explosions so loud that my ears are still singing hours later as I write this report.
The few who were not lying in their basements ran shrieking through the streets - not gunmen, but women with screaming children, families holding suitcases, desperate to leave the heaps of broken buildings, entire apartment blocks smashed to bits, the roadways covered in smashed balconies and torn electrical wires. "You don't have to help the resistance," Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah leader, told the Lebanese on television last night. "The resistance is on the front line and the Lebanese are behind them."
I watched one of these from my sea-front balcony at dusk on Saturday, an American-made Apache helicopter turning three times over the Mediterranean before firing a single missile - perfectly visible, with smoke pouring from the tail - that smacked into Beirut's brand new lighthouse on the Corniche in a cloud of brown muck. So what was this for? Another "terrorist" target, I suppose. Like the gas stations bombed in the Bekaa Valley. Like the convoy of 20 civilians incinerated in an Israeli air-raid on Saturday after being ordered - by the Israelis themselves - to leave their home village on the border.
Last night, Hizbollah's missiles - after killing 10 Israelis in Haifa - were falling on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, setting the forests alight, and on the Israeli city of Acre. The Syrians warned of an "unlimited" response if Israel attacked them - the Israelis have been saying, untruthfully, that Syrian troops and Iranians are present in Lebanon, helping Hizbollah in their battle - and the preposterous response of the G8 summit was greeted with despair.
Certainly, the powerless Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, cannot do so. With his government accused by Israel of responsibility for Wednesday's capture of two Israeli soldiers - a claim as preposterous as it is wrong - he went on television in tears to appeal to the United Nations to arrange a ceasefire for his "disaster-stricken nation". The Lebanese appreciated the tears, but those tears are unlikely to have had President Bush shaking in his boots. Churchill in 1940, Siniora - a sincere and good man, uncorrupted by Lebanese politics - is not. "If our Prime Minister is crying," one Lebanese woman astutely pointed out to me yesterday, " what is the civilian population of our country supposed to do?"
But where are the other supposed political titans of Lebanon? What is Saad Hariri, son of the assassinated ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri - who rebuilt the Lebanon which Israel is now destroying - doing in Kuwait, chatting to the Kuwaitis about his country's predicament? The Kuwaiti army is scarcely going to come to defend Lebanon. Why isn't Hariri the son on his private jet to the G8 summit in St Petersburg to demand of President Bush that he protect the democratically-elected government and the nation he praised for its "cedar revolution" last year? Or doesn't democracy matter when Israel is smashing Lebanon? Answer: no, it doesn't.
Nasrallah, meanwhile, told the Israelis that: "If you do not want to play by rules, we can do the same." It was a grim little threat that was obviously meant to counter Ehud Olmert's equally grim little threat that there would be "far-reaching consequences" for the missile attack on Haifa.
The weapons of war
An Iranian-built rocket with range of 45km which can carry a 45kg warhead. Israel accused Hizbollah of firing 240mm Fajr-3 missiles against Haifa. Iran denies supplying the missiles to Hizbollah
Longer-range version of Fajr-3 that can strike targets up to 72km away
Iranian-built missile with range of 120km. Could reach central Israel. Israelis accused Hizbollah of firing Raad ("Thunder") missiles yesterday. Hizbollah said last week it had fired Raad for the first time
Previously the Hizbollah missile of choice, the Russian-designed Katyushas have a range of 22km and variable accuracy. Israel accused Syria of supplying Hizbollah with a longer-range model
Rockets with range of up to 10km, used by Hamas guerrillas in Palestinian-ruled Gaza. Israeli town of Sderot has been a frequent target of the accurate missiles
The US-made "fighting Falcon" is a multi-role fighter which has been dropping quarter-ton bombs on targets in Lebanon
© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited
Only the beginning, warns Nasrallah
Nasrallah showed determination to continue to fight Israel
07/16/06 "Aljazeera" -- -- The leader of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has warned that the current confrontation with Israel was only the beginning.
"We will continue. We still have a lot more and we are just at the beginning," Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday in a taped address on Al-Manar television.
"We promise them surprises in (any) confrontation," he said a few hours after a Hezbollah rockets hit the northern Israeli city of Haifa.
"We will use all means. As long as the enemy has no limits, we will have no limits."
'Fighting for Muslims'
Nasrallah said his fighters are "longing" to fight Israeli forces in any ground invasion as he urged Arabs and Muslims worldwide to support Hezbollah, saying it is fighting Israel on their behalf.
"The peoples of the Arab and Islamic world have a historic opportunity to score a defeat against the Zionist enemy ... We are providing the example," he said.
Nasrallah's predecessor, Abbas al-Musawi, was killed in a 1992 Israeli air strike along with his wife and three-year-old daughter.
"We are still in our full strength and power. We choose the time and place (for the battle). We still manage our affairs in an accurate manner," he said.
Anti-Americanism made in US
By Nicola Nasser
07/10/06 "Middle East Times" -- -- Following a trend of voting at the United Nations, the US-led Western diplomacy twice recently used two UN forums to protect the military atrocities of the Israeli occupying power, in a 50-year-old pattern that has pre-empted peace, security and development in the whole Middle East region, with tragic and devastating effects on the Arab world in particular.
The US-led Western diplomacy in the worst cases used to veto or threaten to veto draft resolutions presented by Arab, Islamic, Non-aligned or formerly Soviet-oriented nations. Otherwise this diplomacy used to abstain or absent its ambassadors from voting sessions.
Normally and mostly such resolutions deal with the territorial expansionist military adventures or the military atrocities of the Israeli occupying power, "the" strategic ally of the US in the Middle East.
Justifying their opposition, the US-led Western diplomats always claimed the draft resolutions were "not balanced." This trend and pattern of voting discredits not only the international body, but also the US-led Western diplomacy's self-appointed role of a peace maker in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
This week the US led Western diplomacy against an Arab draft resolution at the UN Security Council in New York and an Islamic draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.
On July 6 the newly constituted 47-member HRC in a special session in Geneva adopted a resolution, presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), to immediately dispatch a fact-finding mission to the region to investigate the Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip.
The resolution called also for an immediate end to the Israeli military operations, asked Israel to abide by the provisions of international human rights laws, called for a negotiated solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle-East, criticized Israel for the arrest of Palestinian government ministers, other officials and civilians, and authorized the HRC to immediately dispatch a fact-finding mission to the region.
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in an ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip, which was launched on June 27, reoccupied the northern Gaza Strip and parts of the east and south, including the airport, bombed the power, water, road and government infrastructure to rubble, plunged the Mediterranean coast into a humanitarian crisis and darkness, paralyzed the executive, legislative and local government, with a lot of bloodletting.
Special UN Investigator, John Dugard, presented a report to the HRC in which he accused Israel of collective punishment. The HRC resolution is non-binding.
However, the US-led Western opposition has stripped it from any real weight to make it potentially applicable, thus giving Israel the diplomatic green light to carry on with its military onslaught against the Palestinian people.
The United States opposed the resolution, which was passed by a 29-11 vote. Canada, Japan and nine European countries voted against it. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Itzhak Levanon, said the "resolution isn't even-handed. It's not equitable and it's not balanced."
The US envoy Warren Tichenor, although his country is not a member of the council, delivered a statement during the debate, which called on the HRC to act "in an even-handed, fair and equitable way."
Similarly Terry Cormier, Canada's representative on the HRC, justified his country's vote against the resolution because it did not provide a balanced perspective. "This draft resolution focuses almost entirely on Israel while ignoring that party's legitimate security concerns," he said.
Japan also called the resolution "one-sided and not constructive." Five members abstained from the vote, including Britain, France and Germany.
Pakistan's ambassador, Masood Khan, speaking on behalf of the OIC, expressed his dismay. He said he could not understand how any country could vote against the resolution in the face of the Israeli escalation and violation of human rights in the territory.
"The crisis, Mr. President, is serious," he said. "A provocation does not justify disproportionate use of force against civilians and non-combatants in contravention of the Geneva Conventions."
Also on Thursday, the US and France, two permanent members of the 15-member Security Council, foiled a similar resolution presented by Arab states, represented by Qatar, to the UN Security Council demanding Israel "immediately cease its aggression against the Palestinian civilian population" and release of the democratically-elected Palestinian cabinet ministers and legislators.
Both countries, who have veto power over any resolution, said the resolution was "not balanced" and would not be voted on any time soon. It is the same old obsolete Western rhetoric justifying the old unbalanced US-led diplomacy.
For more than half a century the US, which led the West after World War II, has voted against and vetoed dozens of UN Security Council resolutions, which otherwise could have solved the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine a long time ago and spared the instable and poor region five major wars, and billions of dollars squandered on wars.
Instead the US vetoes have pre-empted peace, motivated the Israeli expansionist military adventures, prolonged the Israeli occupation of Arab land, undermined Arab peace initiatives, embarrassed Arab friends of the US and the West, placed Arab states that had peace treaties with Israel in a difficult position vis-à-vis their peoples, exacerbated the regional insecurity and instability, and created an incubator-environment for terrorism.
Moreover, this failing diplomacy has had tragic and devastating effects on the peoples of the region, derailed regional development, and tarnished the image of the United States and its Western allies. It is anti-Americanism made in the United States.
Nicola Nasser is a veteran journalist in Kuwait, Jordan and Palestine and the editor of the English Website of the Palestine Media Center (PMC). Acknowledgement to Media Monitors Network (MMN).
Bush's Faith and the Middle East Aflame
The Force Is Not with Them
The Middle East Aflame and the Bush Administration Adrift
By Tom Engelhardt
So, as the world spins on a dime, where exactly are we?
As a man who is no fan of fundamentalists of any sort, let me offer a proposition that might make some modest sense of our reeling planet. Consider the possibility that the most fundamental belief, perhaps in all of history, but specifically in these last catastrophic years, seems to be in the efficacy of force -- and the more of it the merrier. That deep belief in force above all else is perhaps the monotheism of monotheisms, a faith remarkably accepting of adherents of any other imaginable faith – or of no other faith at all. Like many fundamentalist faiths, it is also resistant to drawing any reasonable lessons from actual experience on this planet.
The Bush administration came to power as a fundamentalist regime; and here I'm not referring to the Christian fundamentalist faith of our President. After all, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and our Vice President seem not to be Christian fundamentalists any more than were Paul Wolfowitz or Douglas Feith. Bush's top officials may not have agreed among themselves on whether End Time would arrive, or even on the domestic social issues of most concern to the Christian religious right in this country, but they were all linked by a singular belief in the efficacy of force.
In fact, they believed themselves uniquely in possession of an ability to project force in ways no other power on the planet or in history ever could. While hardly elevating the actual military leadership of the country (whom they were eager to sideline), they raised the all-volunteer American military itself onto a pedestal and worshipped it as the highest tech, most shock-and-awesome institution around. They were dazzled by the fact that it was armed with the smartest, most planet-spanning, most destructive set of weapons imaginable, and backed by an unparalleled military-industrial complex as well as a "defense" budget that would knock anyone's socks off (and their communications systems down). It was enough to dazzle the administration's top officials with dreams of global domination; to fill them with a vision of a planet-wide Pax Americana; to send them off to the moon (which, by the way, was certainly militarizable).
Force, then, was their idol and they bowed down before it. When it came to the loosing of that force (and the forces at their command), they were nothing short of fervent utopians and blind believers. They were convinced that with such force (and forces), they could reshape the world in just about any way they wanted to fit their visionary desires.
And then, of course, came 9/11, the "Pearl Harbor" of this century. Suddenly, they had a divine wind at their back, a terrified populace before them ready to be led, and everything they believed in seemed just so… well, possible. It was, in faith-based terms, a godsend. Not surprisingly, they promptly began to prepare to act in the stead of an imperially angry god and to bring the world -- particularly its energy heartlands -- to heel.