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January 5, 2002

In the official Katmandu summit photograph, the leaders of India and Pakistan were as far apart as they could possibly be. But General President Musharraf played the theatrical game mentioned in the article that follows order to touch flesh with India's Hindu Prime Minister Vajpayee, getting plenty of hostile stares in the process it seems.

If President Musharraf and if Chairman Arafat do as they are ordered, their regimes are both useful and the Americans will try to keep them in power if they can. True, the situation in Pakistan and the stature of Musharraf are very different from that of Arafat in occupied Palestine. True also that whereas Musharraf attempts to conduct himself with a fitting public dignity Arafat long ago reduced himself, on the public stage at least, to a kind of political clown mouthing repetitious inanitities and caring little for credibility. His latest antics, "I will for sure go to Bethlehem even if I have to walk" -- followed 24-hours later with nothing except his 100th+ promise about a "Palestinian State in 2002" (a promise he seems to make as surely as the New Year dawns) -- were just more of the same craziness we've come to expect from the man the Palestinian people are so tragically saddled with.

Musharraf is busy arresting those his Army and intelligence services have heretofore encouraged and financed. Pakistan is being threatened with destruction and it is not likely his sole remaining ally, China, will be able to prevent that should the combination of India, the U.S., and Israel decide their time has come to deal with the "Muslim bomb" and "Islamic militantcy". As for the situation in Kashmir, the brutal subjugation by the Indians there is likely to continue, even be heightened. Sooner or later the serious injustices done in Kashmir will have to be rectified, and a historical price will have to be paid; but at the moment the Muslim world is in a pathetic state of impotency and division and thus Pakistan faces tremendous challenges with little real support.

As for Arafat, he and his VIP-crowd of international jet-setting Palestinians have so terribly and corruptly "led" the Palestinian people only to further misery and sacrifice; squandering huge amounts of money, time, and international support for which they can never be forgiven. His is the legacy not of "Mr Palestine" but more of the famed American Indian Chief Geronimo, who finally met his end in a White Man's prison cell after being forced to surrender to the U.S. Army with still more lies about what would result. Sad thing about this comparison, Geronimo conducted himself with far more dignity, and immeasurely less corruption and repression, than does Arafat.

By Neelesh Misra

KATMANDU, Nepal - Associated Press - 5 January 2002: Pakistan's president shook hands with India's leader Saturday and called for "a journey of peace" by the rival nations, whose armies are on alert. India's prime minister responded by pressing his demand that Pakistan crack down on militants based on its soil.

"I extend a hand of genuine and sincere friendship to Prime Minister Vajpayee," Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said in a speech at a South Asian summit meeting in Nepal. "Let us together commence a journey of peace, harmony and progress in South Asia."

Stepping down from the podium, Musharraf walked over and offered his hand to Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee, who appeared surprised but stood up and shook it with a faint smile -- the first handshake between the leaders of the nuclear-armed neighbors during the summit.

Later, however, Vajpayee walked right by Musharraf, looking straight ahead as he slowly passed him and left the stage.

Musharraf's call for peace came with tensions high between India and Pakistan following a deadly Dec. 13 suicide attack on the Indian Parliament. India accused two Pakistan-based militant groups and alleged they had support from Pakistan's intelligence service -- a charge Islamabad denies.

Since the attack, which killed 14 people including the five assailants, India and Pakistan have amassed thousands of troops along their 1,100-mile border, cut off airspace rights, slashed their embassy staffs and severed air, train and bus service.

The leaders have not held talks since a June summit that ended in acrimony. There were no indications they would meet separately during the Nepal summit of seven South Asian nations; Vajpayee met earlier with the other five leaders, but not with Musharraf.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, visiting India, expressed solidarity with its outrage over terrorist attacks and echoed its calls for Pakistan to neutralize militants. He said the dispute between India and Pakistan over the Himalayan province of Kashmir can only be solved through dialogue.

In his own speech at the Nepal summit, Vajpayee responded coolly to Musharraf's gesture, saying he had offered friendship to Pakistan in the past but was answered with deadly violence by militant groups India says Pakistan supports.

"I am glad that Gen. Musharraf extended a hand of friendship to me. I have shaken his hand in your presence," Vajpayee told the delegates.

"Now, President Musharraf must follow the gesture by not permitting any activity in Pakistan or any territory in its control today which enables terrorists to perpetuate mindless violence in India," he said.

In an indication of the bitter differences that divide the two nations, Musharraf said the global campaign against terrorism must maintain a distinction between "legitimate resistances and freedom struggles on the one hand, and acts of terrorism on the other."

Musharraf has used the term "freedom fighters" to describe the militants who stage attacks in India's portion of divided Kashmir, the only mostly Muslim province in Hindu-majority India. Vajpayee calls them "terrorists."

Vajpayee called on Pakistan to abide by a recent U.N. resolution that prohibits any active or passive support of terrorist groups, and he dismissed Musharraf's contention that governments need to address economic and social reasons for the despair that leads to violence.

"Terrorism uses different religious, territorial, economic and ethnic justifications in different countries," Vajpayee said.

Blair, speaking in Bangalore on Saturday, drew on the language he used to condemn the Sept. 11 attacks to denounce the Parliament attack and a deadly Oct. 1 raid on the Kashmir legislature. "Today, as well as our business and trade links, we are joining together in the fight against terrorism. I want to express our total solidarity with you in the face of recent terrorist outrages in India," Blair said.

Addressing the dispute over Kashmir -- the flashpoint of two wars between India and Muslim Pakistan since it was divided between them after independence from Britain in 1947 -- Blair said, "Only politics, not terror, can solve issues like this."

"And the starting point of any dialogue must be the total and absolute rejection of actions such as those of 1 October and 13 December," he said.

Other governments are trying to get Musharraf and Vajpayee to hold discussions to ease tension. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he may send an envoy next week to "encourage them to talk to one another," and Blair is to meet with Vajpayee on Sunday and Musharraf on Monday.

Pressured by both India and the United States, Musharraf has taken steps against militant groups, but India has said it would not hold direct talks or ease its military and diplomatic pressure unless Pakistan does more.

Pakistani security agents announced Friday they had detained more than 130 Islamic militants, including leaders of the groups India blames for the Parliament attack, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

"We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," Musharraf said in his speech at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Pakistan-based militants have been fighting in Kashmir for 12 years, but the Pakistani government's support for the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks has drawn attention to the groups on its own soil.


JERUSALEM - Associated Press - 5 January 2002: Israel renewed its ultimatum to Yasser Arafat on Saturday: arrest the assassins of an Israeli Cabinet minister or remain barred from traveling.

The standoff took on new importance with the approach of Orthodox Christmas celebrations in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem on Sunday.

"Arafat will not leave Ramallah until these people have been arrested," Gideon Saar, the Israeli Cabinet secretary, told Israel Radio on Saturday.

Eleven members of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, will be part of a delegation accompanying Arafat to Bethlehem for Orthodox Christmas, the news agency Interfax reported quoted a Palestinian envoy in Moscow as saying.

Since Bethlehem was transferred to Palestinian control in 1995, Arafat, a Muslim, has attended both Western and Orthodox Christmas celebrations every year to underscore Palestinian unity.

However, Israel barred him from Bethlehem on Dec. 24, despite worldwide criticism, and said it would do so again unless he arrested the leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO faction that claimed responsibility for the October assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.

"Arafat has still not arrested the commanders of the PFLP, who are in Ramallah, a short distance from his headquarters," Saar said.

Saar said Israel's security forces were being given instructions to prevent Arafat from leaving Ramallah, should he try to defy the travel ban.

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January 2002


Standing Ovation at U Chicago for MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky Keynote Address. Full text at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/uchicago.htm
(January 31, 2002)
Standing Ovation at University of Chicago for MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky Keynote Address. Full text at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/uchicago.htm

University of Chicago Speech by MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky
(January 31, 2002)
Available at:

Arab Client Regimes Shaking
(January 30, 2002)
The first thing they do is cover your eyes. They make you strip to make sure you're not carrying anything. They replace your clothes with uniforms that are not clothes at all. They chain you by hand and foot. They drag you away and leave you on your own. They interrogate you. They say you are going to die if you won't talk. They feed you - you're not much good to them if you starve to death.

Torture and the Smile of Policeman Agadi
(January 30, 2002)
A few years ago Dr. Eyad Sarraj startled many when he published an article explaining "Why We Are All Suicide Bombers Now". Dr. Sarraj, Ph.D. from Harvard in psychology and a very cultured and secular individual, is Palestinian and lives in Gaza.

Black Voices For Peace - The Good and the Bad
(January 29, 2002)
Black Voices for Peace in Washington put on a good show last Monday, Martin Luther King's Birthday. For Blacks it was a well put-together and nicely produced program that went on for some 5 hours in a local downtown heart-of-D.C. church.

Arabs Threaten to Threaten; Israelis Act
(January 28, 2002)
The confused, bewildered, impotent, and divided Arab "leaders" -- mostly of course of the "client regimes" -- will be meeting in Beirut in March desperately trying even harder than usual to mask all of these realities.

Pakistan on Brink of Backlash, Chaos, War
(January 28, 2002)
India is likely to strike sooner or later, doing so on behalf of and in coordination with both Israel and the U.S. regardless of what those parties say in public. Whether India will wait for General Musharraf to loose control -- at that could come at any time -- is uncertain to everyone, probably including those in charge in New Delhi.

One War Criminal To Another
(January 27, 2002)
Fearing the possible public explosure of secrets known to very few, it appears one war criminal decided to do in another this week in Lebanon. The cycle of violence begetting violence, revenge leading to still more revenge, has not been broken in the Midldle East.

Zinni Embraces "Daddy Bear" Sharon Condemns "Mafia Godfather" Arafat
(January 27, 2002)
Americans and Israelis are essentially frolicking in bed together, all the more so in the aftermath of 11 September, all the while whispering under the covers about how they have truly screwed everyone else, most especially the gullible, weak, and confused Arabs from Arafat to Mubarak to Abdullah, et. al.

More Bloodshed Now; Possible Armagedon In The Future
(January 27, 2002)
At the moment Israel is Goliath in the Middle East; and American is Hercules in the world. But it will not always be this way; and the seeds of potential cataclysm, indeed of Armagadon, are in fact now growing like weed

U.S. Warns, Squeezes Arafat, Saudis
(January 26, 2002)
By threatening to desert the Arafat Regime the Americans are sending a much larger message to the rulers in the Middle East and especially at this moment to the Saudi Regime. The message: If you dare defy us, if you don't do what you are there to do, if you think you can get along without us support you; well think again.

Arafat Deserted; Region Boiling
(January 25, 2002)
The Arab "leaders" having deserted Yasser Arafat, as well as the Palestinian people. The terrible weakness and divisions of what is known as "the Arab world" are more visible than ever now.

Arafat Again In Exile? Oh No!
(January 24, 2002)
OH NO! Just the thought of Arafat going back into exile, continuing to hold to all the power and money and imagery, and traveling the world again with his sensely slogans, babbling ways, near zero credibility, and terrible record of corruption and ineptitude, is enough to make long-time supporters of the Palestinian struggle for true self-determination and real independence cringe.

Washington Gives Israelis the Wink and the Nod - Plus of course the Means
(January 24, 2002)
While the U.S. and Israeli military, and the CIA and Mossad, forge ever closer ties in the new crusade to remake the entire Middle East in the opening years of the 21st century, just as the Brits and the French did in the opening years of the last century, the Israelis also continue their assassination campaign not only of Palestinians but also of former friends and allies.

(January 23, 2002)
"Your silence and inaction can no longer be justified by any excuse: Shimon, you are a partner in crime... You have imprisoned an entire people for over a year with a degree of cruelty unprecedented in the history of the Israeli occupation. Your government is trampling three million people..."

(January 23, 2002)
"'We are turning ourselves into the kind of deceitful, ruthless people whom bin Laden imagines us to be" "Minus the torture, the United States is now doing what most Arab regimes have been doing for decades: arresting their brutal "Islamist" enemies, holding them incommunicado, chained and hooded, while preparing unfair trials."

British Support for Israel and Sharon
(January 23, 2002)
Take the Middle East. When Blair welcomed Yasser Arafat to Downing Street following 11 September, it was widely reported that Britain was backing justice for the Palestinians. Editorialists drew a favourable comparison with the bellicose Bush administration.

(January 22, 2002)
From down under these two articles from the Sydney Morning Herald today, a newspaper with unusually thoughtful converage of world affairs. In Saudi Arabia there is a trembling now and a rush to try to distance themselves form the Americans one way or another.

Thousands of Al Qaeda and Pakistanis may have "escaped" Afghanistan; Bin Laden possibly among them
(January 21, 2002)
Kashmir remains the flashpoint. "The situation is bloody explosive," a senior Pakistani diplomat says, suggesting that Musharraf has not been given enough credit by the Indian government for the "sweeping changes" he's brought to Pakistan.

Thousands demand Arafat's release
(January 20, 2002)
Thousands of Palestinians marched through the Gaza Strip on Sunday protesting at the Israeli blockade of Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has said Mr Arafat is now effectively a prisoner of Israel.

(January 20, 2002571570)
What Israel (with continuing U.S. and European help) has done to the Palestinian People "is the largest, most carefully planned and longest ethnic cleansing operation in modern history. The population of 530 towns and villages have been expelled in 1948, removing 85 per cent of the Palestinians in the land that became Israel. Those who did not suffer this fate in the remaining part of Palestine are now in the grip of the most brutal, longest and only occupation in the world."

America grabs for more power and domination, risks future revolution and explosion
(January 16, 2002)
Just as it did in the Middle East in years past, the U.S. is now positioning regimes and its military and economic tentacles to take in the riches of central Asia. That's really what these struggles are really all about in the end, power and wealth. The daily headlines and the various slogans and clashes actually serve to mask and obscure this far deeper and far more important reality.

Hezbollah and Lebanon Next U.S./Israeli Targets
(January 15, 2002566)
The Americans, and Israelis, are out of control now. The rather laughable "Arab League" is in fact scheduled to meet in Beirut in March. They may find themselves facing the wrath and revenge of the Americans who are determined to make the world safe for themselves and the Israelis, and unsafe for all who dare oppose the Empire.

Christian Americans Want Crusade - Was/Is Osama Right?
(January 13, 2002)
George W. Bush let it out of the bag less than a week after 911 when he publicly discussed the new "crusade" upon which American was now engaged. They shut him up public anyway. And as for all that American help to the Afghani people... The reality is millions are on the verge of starvation and the country can be lickened to a "slaughterhouse". Someone should ask the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Iraqis...etc. about American humanitarian assistance.

Arab nations leaving Palestinians to face Israel alone
(January 12, 2002)
"The Arab world is unlikely to remain backward and divided forever," says one of the quoted commentators. True enough. But while it does, and while it is saddled with the inept and corrupt "client regimes" who prey on their own people and miserably squander the resources, the culture, and the history, of this once vital region, the whole Middle East is a seething cauldron of still growing hatreds and grievances whose eruptions in the 21st century now well begun are likely to be far greater than all those of the bloody 20th century now past.

Toward a World at War - Syria Fears, Indians Prepare
(January 10, 2002)
While the Syrians, Iraqis and others prepare for the coming American strikes; and while the Indians and Pakistanis prepare for a possible cataclysmic clash; the Israelis are preparing to further manipulate American policies and also preparing to strike out on their own against all who oppose their brutal military subjugation of the Palestinians -- probably to do so when other even bigger fires elsewhere have much of the world's attention.

US Military Heads For Pakistan, Reorganizes to Remain in Region, Prepare the Way for Global American Companies
(January 9, 2002)
The U.S. military is preparing to go much more publicly into Pakistan, and to establish a long-term presence in the region. The American corporations and banks will soon follow. For in the end its really all about great wealth and power on a global scale.

Attack Syria Next Insists Former NATO Commander and White House Chief of Staff
(January 8, 2002)
Target Syria even before Iraq says former NATO Commander and White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig. American is on the loose, on the rampage, more and more dangerous all the time it seems.

Saudi royal family 'in complete panic' during recent riots
(January 6, 2002)

(January 5, 2002)
Both Kashmir and Palestine are bleeding badly. And in the new world of Pax America and the "War on Terrorism" the Israelis are intent on keeping the Palestinians essentially imprisoned on Bantustans while the Indians see this as their moment to undermine the liberation struggle in Kashmir.

The New "New World Order" - Israel and India Gleefully Follow America's Lead
(January 4, 2002)
Both India and Israel are now seizing the moment to enforce their own regional dictate, a la the Americans. Everything is reduced to "they are terrorists". The "you are either with us or against us" mantra has been gleefully seized upon by those who rule in Delhi and Jerusalem. The courageous fighters in Kashmir, along with those in Palestine, are ever so simplistically and erroneous reduced to mini-caricatures of Osama bin Laden. Decades of U.N. resolutions demanding Israeli and Indian recognition of basic Palestinian and Kashmiri rights are cast to the wind. Any semblance of historical awareness -- not to mention real justice, freedom, and democracy -- is not only forgotten but even those who raise the issues and remind the world of the complex historical context, not to mention those who try to help with tangible and financial assistance, now run the risk of being branded "supporters of terrorism"

CIA, Israel, and Arafat force Palestinian newspaper to close
(January 3, 2002544)
"If you're not with us, you're against us." The CIA, the Mossad, the Shinbet, and the military -- these are the groups now in charge. And that of course is what happens when a regime like that of Yasser Arafat's puts its fate, and indeed its very survival, in the hands of the intelligence agencies and under the table financial and political deals that would never be possible if they were known.

Both India and Kashmiri Fighters Issue New Threats
(January 2, 2002)
Threat and Counter-threat in the Sub-continent while Pakistan is essentially an occupied country at this point. General President Musharraff has allowed U.S. forces into the country, the CIA is building up its presence, and tensions throughout Pakistan are growing. There are rumored "contingency" plans to either destroy or grab Pakistan's nuclear weapons should Musharraf's tenuous grip on power in coordination with the U.S. fail.

Israel and U.S. Get Ready To Finally Topple Iraqi Regime
(January 2, 2002540)
It's the CIA, Mossad, and the military that are in charge now; preparing to enforce a Pax Americana Israelica throughout the Middle East region.

The Terribly Bloody Year In Kashmir
(January 2, 2002)
The Kashmir crisis is at the heart of the clash which may or may not yet erupt into nuclear confrontation on the sub-continent. For additional information about the Kashmir crisis use the new search capabilities and check the MER archives.

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