Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
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Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"

October 18, 2001


MID-EAST REALITIES © - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/18: The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare! To get just a little idea of past historical "promises" here's another great article by Robert Fisk writing in The Independent -- and we've quickly embellished his rather short list with a quick one of our own...without even beginning to exhaust all the major historical deceptions and all the false, broken, and for the most part forgotten promises of the past:

Promises list from The Independent article that follows: 1915 - T E Lawrence promises Arab independence in return for the support of leaders such as Sherif Husseyn 1917 - In a letter from Arthur Balfour to Lionel Rothschild, Britain promises a Jewish homeland in Palestine 1944 - President Roosevelt assures King Ibn Saud that the US will not allow the Palestinians to be dispossessed 1979-90 - Presidents Carter and Reagan promise to help to rebuild Afghanistan if the mujahedin expel the Soviet invaders 1991 - George Bush promises an 'oasis of peace' in the Middle East in return for Arab support in the Gulf war 2001 - Tony Blair assures Yasser Arafat of Britain's commitment to a 'viable Palestinian state', including Jerusalem

More Promises added by MER: 1918 - Promise of "Arab self-determination and independence" shatters "Paris Peace Conference" 1939 - British and Ben-Gurion promise the Palestinian Arabs there is no intention of setting up a "separate" "Jewish State" 1947 - U.N. Promises Palestinian Arabs there own independent State if they accept "partition" 1978 - President Carter promises total Israeli "settlement freeze" as key part of new Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel 1979 - Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Minister of State of Egypt, promises in interview a Palestinian State by next year 1991 - Arabs promised if they go to Madrid Conference U.S. will insist on compliance with all U.N. Security Council resolutions 1993 - Arafat promises his people true peace and justice - Oslo, Washington, Cairo. 1993-1999 - Arafat promises ad infinitum a Palestininan State, with absolute assurances it will come about no later than the end of 1999.

As for what's going on at the moment, nearly three weeks ago Shimon Peres, in an unprecedented step, publicly warned that top officials in Israel's army were planning to assassinate Yasser Arafat and end the "Palestinian Authority" once and for all (see MER article 1 October). Today a top spokesman for Yasser Arafat made a similar public warning crying out for the U.S. to prevent it. More, much more, to come -- stay tuned!


Colin Powell tells Pakistan's General Musharraf that he will help solve the problem of Kashmir. Tony Blair offers Yasser Arafat the vision of a Palestinian state. But should we take them at their word?

by Robert Fisk

[The Independent, UK, 17 October 2001]: Tea on the lawn. Perhaps only in the old British Empire do they make black tea and milk in the same scalding pot, poured with lashings of sugar into fragile cups. The bougainvillea blasted crimson and purple down the brick wall beside me while big, aggressive black birds pursued each other over the cut grass of my tiny Peshawar hotel. At the end of my little road lies the tiny British cemetery wherein gravestones mark the assassination of the 19th century Raj's good men from Surrey and Yorkshire, murdered by what were called ghazis, the Afghan fundamentalists of their age who were often accompanied into battle - and I quote Captain Mannering of the Second Afghan war - "by religious men called talibs".

In those days, we made promises. We promised Afghan governments our support if they kept out the Russians. We promised our Indian Empire wealth, communications and education in return for its loyalty. Little has changed. Yesterday - all day long into the sweaty evening - fighter-bombers pulsed through the yellow sky above my little lawn, grey supersonic streaks that rose like hawks from Peshawar's mighty runway and headed west towards the mountains of Afghanistan. Their jet engines must have vibrated among the English bones in the cemetery at the end of the road, as Hardy's Channel firing once disturbed Parson Thirdly's last mortal remains. And, on the great black television in my bedroom, the broken, veined screen proved that Imperial history does indeed repeat itself.

General Colin Powell stood on the right hand of General Pervez Musharraf after promising a serious look at the problems of Kashmir and Pashtu representation in a future Afghan government. The US Secretary of State and the general whom we must now call the President of Pakistan spent much of their time chatting above the overnight artillery bombardment by that other old Empire relic, the Indian army. General Musharraf wanted a "short" campaign against Afghanistan, General Powell a promise of continued Pakistani support in the US's "war against terror". Musharraf wanted a solution to the problem of Kashmir. Powell, promising that the United States was now a close friend of Pakistan, headed off to India to oblige.

Vain promises have ever been a part of our conflict. In the 1914-18 war - another struggle against "evil", we should remember - it was the British who made the promises. To the Jews of the world, especially to Russian Jews, we promised our support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. To the Arabs, Lawrence of Arabia promised independence. There's a wonderful moment in the film of the same name when Peter O'Toole, clad in an Arab gown and looking not unlike Osama bin Laden, asks General Allenby (Jack Hawkins) if he can promise Sherif Husseyn independence in return for Arab support in destroying the Turkish army. For just a brief, devastating moment, Hawkins hesitates; then his face becomes all smiling benevolence: "Of course!" he says. Did I not see that very same smile on Tony Blair's face as he clutched Arafat's hand in both of his before leading him through the door of 10 Downing Street this week?

In the end, we imposed an Anglo-French military occupation on the Arabs who had helped us and, three decades later gave the Jews only half of Palestine. "Promises", as the Palestinian academic Walid Khalidi once pointed out, "are meant to be kept." But not the kind you make in wartime.

By the Second World War, we were promising the Lebanese independence from the French if they turned against their Vichy masters. Then the French broke their promise and tried to stay on until driven out in ignominy in 1946. Two years earlier, President Roosevelt - anxious to secure Saudi oil rights from the British as the war came to an end - promised the Saudi monarchy that he would not allow the Palestinians to be dispossessed.

By 1990, after the invasion of Kuwait, we wanted the Arab and Muslim world on our side against Iraq. President Bush Senior promised a "New World Order" in which a nuclear-free - indeed arms-free - Middle East would live in an oasis of peace. Once the Iraqis were driven out, however, we called a short-lived "Middle-East" summit in Madrid and then sold more missiles, tanks and jet fighters to the Arabs and Israelis than in the preceding 30 years. Israel's nuclear power was never mentioned.

And here we go again. Scarcely three days before Mr Powell acquired his sudden interest in the problems of Kashmir, Yasser Arafat, the discredited old man of Gaza - "our bin Laden", as ex-General Ariel Sharon indecently called him - was invited to Downing Street where Tony Blair, hitherto a cautious supporter of Palestinian independence, declared the need for a "viable Palestinian state", including Jerusalem - "viable" being a gloss for a less chopped-up version of the Bantustan originally proposed for Mr Arafat. Mr Blair, of course, had no need to fear American wrath since President Bush Jnr had already discovered that even before 11 September - or so he told us - he had a "vision" of a Palestinian state that accepted the existence of Israel. Mr Arafat - speaking English at length for the first time in years - instantly supported the air bombardment of Afghanistan. Poor old Afghans. They were not on hand to remind the world that the same Mr Arafat had once enthusiastically supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Why do we always play politics on the hoof, making quick-fix promises to vulnerable allies of convenience after years of accepting, even creating, the injustices of the Middle East and South-west Asia? How soon before we decide - and not before time - to lift sanctions against Iraq, and allow tens of thousands of Iraqi children to live instead of die? Or promise (in return for the overthrow of Sadam) to withdraw our forces from the Arabian peninsula? After all - say this not too loudly - if we promised and fulfilled all that, every one of Osama bin Laden's demands will have been met.

It's intriguing to read the full text of what bin Laden demanded in his post-World Trade Center attack video tape. He said in Arabic, in a section largely excised in English translations, that "our [Muslim] nation has undergone more than 80 years of this humiliation..." and referred to "when the sword reached America after 80 years". Bin Laden may be cruel, wicked, ruthless or evil personified, but he is very intelligent. I think he was referring specifically to the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, written by the victorious allied powers, which broke the Ottoman Empire and did away - after 600 years of sultanates and caliphates - with the last dream of Arab unity. As the American Professor James Robbins has shrewdly spotted, bin Laden's lieutenant, Ayman Zawahri - shouting into the video recorder from his Afghan cave 11 days ago - stated that the al-Quaida movement "will not tolerate a recurrence of the Andalusia tragedy in Palestine". Andalusia? Yes, the debacle of Andalusia marked the end of Muslim rule in Spain in 1492.

We may sprinkle quick-fix promises around. The people of the Middle East have longer memories. Back in the mid-1990s, I used to visit the bookshops of Algiers. Out in the triangle of death around Bentalha, hundreds of innocents were having their throats slit by an Islamist group - possibly also by government forces - many of whose members had fought in Afghanistan against the Russians. In the shops I would look for books on Islam. Muslim culture, Islamic history, Koranic thought. They were all there. And on the very next shelves - the same applied, I found, in Cairo bookshops - would invariably be text books on nuclear science, chemical engineering, aeronautics and biological research.

The aeronautical texts have, of course, a fearful new resonance today. So have the books on biological research. But the reason for their concurrence, I suspected, lay in the history of Arab humiliation. The Arabs were among the first scientists at the start of the second millennium, while the Crusaders - another of bin Laden's fixations - were riding in technological ignorance into the Muslim world. So while in the past few decades, our popular conception of the Arabs vaguely embraced an oil-rich, venal and largely backward people, awaiting our annual handouts and their virgins in heaven, many of them were asking pertinent questions about their past and future, about religion and science, about - so I suspect - how God and technology might be part of the same universe.

No such long-term thought or historical questions for us. We just went on supporting our Muslim dictators around the world - especially in the Middle East - in return for their friendship and our vain promises to rectify historical injustice.

We allowed our dictators to snuff out their socialist and communist parties; we left their population little place to exercise their political opposition except through religion. We went in for bestialization- Messrs Khomeini, Abu Nidal, Gaddafi, Arafat, Saddam and bin Laden - rather than historical questioning. And we made more promises. Presidents Carter and Reagan, I recall, made promises to the Afghan mujahedin. Fight the Russians and we will help you. There would then be assistance in Afghanistan's economic recovery. A re-building of the country, even (this from the innocent Mr Carter) "democracy" - not a concept to be sure that we would now be promising to the Pakistanis, Palestinians, Uzbeks or Saudis. Of course, once the Russians were gone in 1989, there was no economic assistance. But last year, there was President Clinton, loud once more in America's promises of economic help for Pakistan, asking for a rejection of bin Laden; yet his only sense of perspective was to tell the Pakistani people that their history was - wait for it - "as long as the river Indus".

The problem, I fear, is that without any sense of history, we do not understand injustice. We only compound that injustice, after years of indolence, when we want to bribe our would-be allies with promises of immense historical importance - a resolution to Palestine, Kashmir, an arms-free Middle East, Arab independence, an economic Nirvana - because we are at war - tell them what they want to hear, promise them what they want - anything, so long as we can get our armadas into the air in our latest "war against evil".

So there was General Powell yesterday promising to deal with Kashmir while General Musharraf pleaded for a short war and while the jets went sweeping off towards Afghanistan from the Peshawar airbase.

Comment on these article(s)

October 2001


Bio and Nuclear Threats Escalate As Purposeful Leaks Proliferate to Mass Media
(October 26, 2001)
The timing of newsstories like this in the major Western media should be suspect now more than ever. For more than ever in fact governments and intelligence agencies are using the mass media by leaking things at times of convenience and more importantly with their own twists and turns.

"Stop Israel!" Pleads Israeli Professor
(October 26, 2001)
One Israeli, not invited by the naive and misguided American Jewish "liberals" to the USA, speaks up from Israel with tremendous courage and conviction. Her name is Tanya Reinhart and she deserves to be taken very seriously -- though far too many don't even know about her.

"Palestinian Statehood" - Another Grotesque Deception Unfolds
(October 25, 2001)
The political smokescreens are lifting a bit as the pressures build to go beyond mere words, yet at the same time a purposeful distorting haze is taking over. Bottom line: the kind of "Palestinian State" Yasser Arafat has maneuvered his people toward and is being cornered into implementing is a grotesque distortion of their aspirations and of what use to be meant by the term "Palestinian State."

"A Pen Bought And Sold" - A Saudi Poem Revisited - MER FlashBack
(October 21, 2001)
Change comes in the Middle East, as elsewhere, in complex ways. There is the regular daily news of course; and in the region especially it is inextricably intertwined with an ever-more-sophisticated and propagandistic journalistic establishment.

(October 24, 2001)
Both of the Georges are oh so full of themselves cocky -- just the personality type so many American's truly love. One is (to the amazement of many who wonder how in the world the U.S. chooses such persons to lead it) the President of the United States.

Massacres and Devastation Escalate Further In Palestine
(October 24, 2001)
The Palestinians are essentially defenseless with their backs up against the wall, the firing wall. Their "leadership" has been so corrupted and infiltrated that the Arafat regime has hardly any credibility with its own, not to mention anyone else.

Torture Now Coming to USA?
(October 22, 2001)
Adopting the tactics (as well as the goals) of the Israelis, and the methods long taught by the CIA in Latin America as well as the Middle East, the brave new world post 11 September is changing the face of the American homeland in ways nearly all Americans would have seriously resisted just a few long weeks ago.

Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
(October 21, 2001)
As for Afghanistan, the American CIA worked behind the scenes to bring on the Soviet invasion of 1979, then engaged the Soviet Empire in a way that brought about the near-total devastation of Afghanistan and a huge uncounted death toll.

It's "New Imperialism" says leading British MP
(October 21, 2001)
Much pressure is building at the United Nations to not open itself to still more charges of being complicitous in "genocide", not to mention to do something to stop being seen as "an extension of the American State Department" (the actual private words of a senior U.N. official).

"Comply! Resistance Is Futile!"
(October 20, 2001)
British MP (Member of Parliament) George Galloway calls it the "new imperialism" (his article coming later today). On the whole the Anglo-British press is working up quite a frenzy (with notable exceptions like The Guardian and The Independent in the UK, sometimes The Nation in the U.S.).

The "Arafat Era" Collapsing or About To Be Reborn?
(October 20, 2001)
Yasser Arafat is losing both his grip on power (extended to him by the Israelis and the Americans for the past decade since the Gulf War) and his credibility (with his own people) at the same time.

The Coming Arab Crash
(October 19, 2001)
The west's most important friends in the Arab Middle East - Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah of Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and the PLO's Yasser Arafat - are probably the world's most vulnerable political quartet.

Saudi Amb Bandar Badly Fails, Saudi Royals in Paralysis, US Relations in Doubt
(October 19, 2001)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 20+ year strategy has now substantially failed. Years ago, very much behind-the-scenes of course, the very controversial and in some circles much despised Saudi Ambassador in Washington began a relationship with the some of the most conservative and militant circles in Washington, very much including those associated with the powerful Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
(October 18, 2001)
The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare!

"New Era" Says Sharon Reacting In Character to "Gandhi" Assassination
(October 17, 2001)
He had called the Palestinians "lice" and "vermin" and "cancer", and he had urged their "transfer" or "extermination". Just Monday he has tendered his resignation as Minister of Tourism, insisting that Ariel Sharon was being too moderate and too compromising.

(October 17, 2001)
As for the British, what's going on in both Palestine and Kashmir, the two most likely potential nuclear flashpoints in our world today, can be traced back directly to what the British did in these areas when they were the "Empire"

(October 17, 2001)
For some time now Palestinians have been warning that because of Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders, "crossing the red line" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would respond.

Red Cross Bombed in Kabul Before Presidential Red Cross Visit in Washington
(October 16, 2001)
You gotta love the chutzpa of the Americans. Today the President went a few blocks from the White House to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross -- a little photo op designed to further enlist "the children of America" in his recently announced effort to help the children of Afghanistan. But just as President Bush was getting ready to do his Red Cross pictures reports came in from Afghanistan that the major Red Cross center in Kabul, complete with large Red Cross emblem on its roof, was destroyed by American bombs.

Saudi/U.S. "Meltdown"? And Neutralizing Al Jazeera With A Firm Embrace
(October 16, 2001)
While American and British officials rush to make one TV appearance after another with continual reassurances everything is going "as planned", that's not quite the reality of the situation as this article in today's Guardian makes quite evident.

What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Lt. Col Robert M. Bowman (ret)
(October 15, 2001)
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world."

Pentagon Far More Confused and Uncertain Than Americans Realize
(October 15, 2001)
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.

Al-Qaeda Weekend Statement
(October 15, 2001)
This isn't really about "secret messages". Anyone with a $300 satellite dish can watch the statements in full, in Arabic, on al Jazeera; and the text is widely available on the Internet, in this case from London and the BBC!

Hundreds Dead in Nigeria
(October 14, 2001)
Hundreds of people have been killed in religious clashes after anti-U.S. protests turned violent, sources have told CNN. The demonstrations against the U.S.-led missile strikes on Afghanistan began peacefully on Friday but spiralled into a killing spree during Saturday, CNN's Lagos bureau chief Jeff Koinange said.

akistan's Benazir Opens Campaign in Washington as Pakistan Trembles Anarchy
(October 14, 2001)
Benazir Bhutto came to Washington this week to open her campaign for a third term as Prime Minister of the world's second largest, and only nuclear armed, Muslim State -- her first two terms she was overthrown, political and financial corruption was rampant, and her arranged husband remains in a Karachi prison.

Iraq Likely To Be Next "Phase"
(October 14, 2001)
A powerful coalition of "hawkish" government officials, lobbyists (especially those connected with the Israelis and the arms corporations), conservative press publications and columnists, many of the national Jewish organizations, as well as millions of Christian fundamentalists associated with Pat Robertson and his daily TV "700 Club" program, is mobilized to make sure that "America's new war" does not end with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Royals Bugged, Embarrassed, Unstable
(October 13, 2001)
The following information is about to come out in THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE on Monday and is being leaked in Washington this weekend to stir up interest and try to get publicity for the magazine and author on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow.

Attacks and Demonstrations Escalating in Arab and Muslim Countries
(October 13, 2001)
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in various cities in the Middle East to protest the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Many more thronged to mosques for Friday prayers throughout the region and heard anti-American sermons.

Western Commando Forces Getting Ready
(October 13, 2001)
This article in The Telegraph today is a good outline of what now seems likely to be immediately ahead in Afghanistan, pushed forward by weather considerations as well as by current expectations that American-sponsored key governments in Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as the Arafat Regime, will all be able to weather the political storms with much expanded and mostly covert continual help from the western governments and intelligence services.

"War of the Worlds" by Mark Bruzonsky
(October 11, 2001)
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.

Arafat Begs Israelis To Save Him
(October 10, 2001)
It's a most complicated political dance than ever at this historical crossroads. But bottom line Yasser Arafat and his regime have now, even more than before, thrown their future to the Israelis and the now omnipresent CIA...

Uri Avneri - Fronting for Arafat and for a Castrated "Palestinian State"
(October 10, 2001)
The Israeli writer and activist Uri Avneri is "on tour" in the USA on his way to Washington. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a few naive or on- the-take "peace groups" -- Jewish and otherwise -- have invited him to speak.

After Afghanistan, U.S. has Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine in its Sights
(October 10, 2001)
In this case there should be no one saying down the road that they didn't know what was being planned. The Americans have said publicly and in many different ways right from the start of this "new war" that it wasn't going to end with Osama bin Laden, with the Taliban government, or with Afghanistan.

The "Palestinian State" Charade
(October 9, 2001)
Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past..

Anthrax Terrorism Now Likely
(October 9, 2001)
Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers lining up for medical tests.

Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
(October 9, 2001)
Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

Bush versus bin Laden - Syria Elected to Security Council
(October 8, 2001)
It's all quite amazing really, President George W. Bush versus Osama bin Laden. On the one hand you have the most powerful man in the world commanding the full might of not only the world's only superpower but a whole entourage of Western European allies, the new Russia, and to a considerable extent at least behind-the-scenes many Arab and Muslim "client regimes".

Arafat's Army Opens Fire On Its Own - More Anthrax in Florida?
(October 8, 2001)
The Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself Monday from Osama bin Laden while its police forces opened fire on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

FBI Knocked...He's Not Home But You Can Find Him at the White House
(October 8, 2001)
Now the world will become much more confusing and dangerous, and the opponents of the American Empire will obviously be forced even deeper underground -- both literally and figuratively -- becoming even more insular and isolated among themselves leading to who knows what kind of future blowback.

US Journalist Warns: "Do not try to change the government in Afghanistan!"
(October 7, 2001)
Late friday evening one of the leading American journalists who is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs was asked a question on CNN to which she immediately briefly answered...and that was that...no more was asked or answered.

"Our Friends are Killers, Crooks and Torturers"
(October 7, 2001)
Surely the British Prime Minister should know better than to try to simplify such a complex world we live in to that understandable by a third-grader. If not we have a little weekend reading Mr. Blair should be doing, starting in one of his own newspapers which we surely hope, especially now, he can find a few moments to read on a regular basis, The Independent.

History Corrected - U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
(October 6, 2001)
The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies -- most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

(October 6, 2001)
"Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)?"

(October 5, 2001)
The government in Afghanistan, popularly known as The Taliban, has finally taken what could be a significant step. Just hours ago through its official representative in Pakistan the Afghan government has publicly offered to turn Osama bin Laden over...not to the United States, but to another Islamic country.

(October 5, 2001)
"The women in the audience -- academics, union members, mental health workers and advocates for female inmates, embraced her anti-American rhetoric, repeatedly interrupting her with cheers and standing ovations."

(October 5, 2001)
Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

(October 3, 2001)
The United States and Britain yesterday called off military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan at the last minute. Washington officials say today that a severe attack of last-minute cold feet by some key Arab members of the coalition caused President Bush to postpone the operation.

(October 3, 2001)
Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.

(October 3, 2001)
The American Secretary of Defense is rushing to the Middle East, goal #1 to try one more time to "convince" the Saudis that Prince Sultan Airbase and its super-modern regional control center -- just completed in fact during the summer at a cost of many billions -- is needed for the new war.

(October 2, 2001)
"Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war without constraint either of time or geography and potentially engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia... The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based."

(October 2, 2001)
Anyone with an ear tuned to Washington's politicians, lobbyists, and opinion molders can hear it quite loudly and clearly at this point. After taking down Osama bin Laden's al Queda network (said to be in some 50+ countries), after changing the government in Afghanistan, the American-led crusade (now more politely known by Colin Powell's term "campaign") will attempt to march on through the Middle East, next stop Baghdad.

(October 2, 2001)
It took them who intially talked of "crusade" nearly three weeks to figure out that all the "coalition building" wasn't going nearly as well as they keep saying in public and that doing something about all the Israeli oppression and "terrorism" against the essentially imprisoned Palestinian population would be a good idea in the post 11 September world and before the bombs start falling on Muslims here and there.

(October 1, 2001)
The situation is now so tense in Israel in dealing with the "Palestinian Authority" -- which it should be remembered the Israelis themselves created just a few years ago -- that Shimon Peres is getting more and more desperate.

(October 1, 2001)
The Palestinian opposition is usually very weak and confused. Had that not been the case for some time now Yasser Arafat would never have been able to do the things he has done for so long now, especially since the Gulf War; nor would Arafat have have been able to retain power these past few traumatic years, however weakened himself at this point.

(October 1, 2001)
Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it.

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