Arabs Threaten to Threaten; Israelis Act
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Arabs Threaten to Threaten; Israelis Act

"It will be an Arab message, particularly a Saudi one, that U.S. interests and relations with the Arab states will be in danger if Washington did not try to end Israel's terrorist policy in the region."



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. Meanwhile, it was the Israelis who in all likelihood struck last week with a huge car bomb less than 2 miles from the Lebanese Presidential Palace killing the man who had just indicated he was going to testify about Ariel Sharon's war criminal past in Belgium in March. It was a double-warning, one for the Arab leaders as well as those who might think of speaking up, or acting up.

So the Arab "leaders" are threatening to threaten. Problem is, after such decades of being twisted and co-opted by the Americans, and by the Israelis, there's not much credibility here, not even with themselves not to mention anyone else. Hence only serious actions, not more garbled words, are going to convince the big and powerful players otherwise.

RIYADH, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Arab states plan to send a strongly worded message to the United States that its interests in the Arab world are at risk if it does not stop Israeli attacks on Palestinians, a Saudi newspaper reported on Monday.

The Arabic-language al-Watan quoted what it described as a high-ranking Jordanian source as saying that King Abdullah, now visiting Saudi Arabia, will carry the message to U.S. President George W. Bush when he visits Washington this week.

"It will be an Arab message, particularly a Saudi one, that U.S. interests and relations with the Arab states will be in danger if Washington did not try to end Israel's terrorist policy in the region," the paper quoted the Jordanian source as saying.

It said that in their talks in Riyadh, the Jordanian and Saudi leaders agreed on the need to exert joint efforts to "end the suffering of the Palestinian people and lift a siege imposed by Israel on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat."

King Abdullah, who arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday for a two-day visit, is scheduled to meet President Bush on Friday. He was chairman of the last Arab summit, held in Amman last year.

Arafat has been confined by Israeli tanks to his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah since December, following a series of suicide attacks inside Israel.

The Bush administration has been taking an increasingly tough line against Arafat in recent days, drawing praise from Israel and a call for U.S. sanctions against the Palestinian leadership.

Washington has suspended a ceasefire mission to the Middle East by its envoy Anthony Zinni. The retired Marine Corps general ended his second trip to the region two weeks ago.

Bush has said he was "very disappointed" with Arafat for not doing enough to rein in militants behind the attacks on Israel.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan al-Muasher said on Sunday that King Abdullah plans to explain to Bush "the danger of talking about suspending the peace process or contacts with the Palestinian Authority."

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally of the United States, has repeatedly urged Bush to push Israel to help end 16 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

BRUSSELS, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The European Union will pledge continued support for Yasser Arafat on Monday despite the United States' increased criticism of the beleaguered leader and his Palestinian Authority, diplomats said.

As the 15 EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels discussed the escalating violence in the Middle East, Sweden openly criticised the U.S. stance towards Arafat and said it risked exacerbating regional tensions.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was expected to speak up on behalf of Arafat but also to urge the Palestinian leader to do more to rein in Arab militants, the diplomats said. "Mr Solana will tell the ministers that we need more, not less, Palestinian Authority at this time," said one. "The alternative to the Palestinian Authority is Palestinian anarchy," the diplomat added.

Over the weekend, U.S. President George W. Bush said he was disappointed with Arafat's efforts to date in trying to halt the violence, sparking fears in Europe that Washington has all but given up on the Palestinian leader.

"I think it is very dangerous if the United States is supportive of the Israeli government and of the confrontation (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon has tried to use in the latest weeks instead of supporting peace talks," Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh told reporters on arrival in Brussels.

"The only way to go forward is to continue the peace talks, and if we deny Arafat and deny the Palestinian Authority we just increase the tensions in the region," Lindh said. "I think that is extremely worrying," she added.

European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten echoed her concern, though he did not cite the United States by name. "We can't just wish away either side in this (Middle East peace process)," he said in televised remarks.

"There is no alternative to the Mitchell plan," he added, referring to proposals by an international panel led by ex-U.S. Senator George Mitchell last year for a ceasefire to be followed by confidence-building measures and renewed peace talks.

French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine called for continuing EU engagement in Middle East peacemaking, telling his colleagues: "This is no time to give up."

The ministers were expected to issue a statement cataloguing the financial damage caused by Israel to projects in the Palestinian Authority funded by the European Union.

"The Union considers that there is absolutely no link between the struggle against terrorism and the destruction of projects financed by European taxpayers to improve the life of the Palestinians," one diplomat said.

However, diplomats said the statement was likely to fall short of France's demand for financial compensation for the reprisal damage, estimated by the European Commission at 17.3 million euros ($15.34 million).


By Robin Lustig*

[The Guardian, London, 28 January]: Within the next few weeks, if Ariel Sharon has his way, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will leave his besieged compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah on a one-way ticket to nowhere. Mr Arafat is under virtual house arrest. His compound is ringed by Israeli tanks and he hasn't been allowed out since before Christmas. The Sharon dream is that sometime soon, Mr Arafat will decide he can't take it any more, and head off into exile.

After another suicide bombing in Jerusalem yesterday, and with the Americans now piling on the pressure as relentlessly as the Israelis, Yasser Arafat's world is shrinking around him. According to Israeli officials, Mr Sharon is determined that Arafat must go. What the Israeli prime minister is waiting for is a telephone call, perhaps from a third party intermediary - France, maybe, or one of the EU envoys - to float an idea. How would Mr Sharon react, the caller might ask, if Mr Arafat were to seek to leave Ramallah for medical treatment? In Paris, perhaps, where his wife Suha now lives, or Kuwait or Egypt? And Mr Sharon will say yes, on one condition. Mr Arafat won't be coming back.

This, said a well-placed Israeli official the other day, is the OK Corral. Two old men are facing each other down. It's personal, and it goes back a long way. Only one of them can emerge a winner. And Mr Sharon is determined that it will be him. It's 20 years since he first had Mr Arafat in his sights, in Beirut at the start of Israel's disastrous Lebanese engagement. He forced the Palestinian leader into exile - to Tunis, on that occasion - and he intends to do so again.

To Mr Sharon, the Oslo peace process, under which Yasser Arafat was allowed to leave Tunis, set up his headquarters in the West Bank and Gaza and take control of towns like Ramallah, was a terrible mistake. No peace is possible as long as Mr Arafat is around. That's why he must go.

And if he does go, what then? The Sharon plan, as outlined to me this week, is based on the conviction that there are plenty of Palestinian officials who would be prepared to do a deal on Israeli terms. Israel's continuing behind-the-scenes contacts with Palestinian leaders, using, among others, Sharon's own son as an envoy, have led him to believe that senior Palestinian negotiators also see Mr Arafat as an obstacle in the way of an agreement and an end to the violence which has killed more than 1,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians, in the past 15 months.

We have no way of knowing if this is simply wishful Israeli thinking or if it is based on a genuine assessment of privately expressed Palestinian sentiments. But the fact that these ideas are now being floated indicates that Israel believes it may be about to win an important victory and finally see the back of a man who to many, in government and among voters, has never been more than an untrustworthy terrorist.

But why should Yasser Arafat, a man who has devoted his entire life to fighting for a Palestinian state, throw in the towel now? The Israelis seem to believe that as an elderly man in indifferent health, he may no longer have the stomach to go on fighting. They believe he is psychologically unable to do a deal, that he has been wheeling and dealing for so long that he can do nothing else. They refuse to accept that he may be holding out because until now - even at Camp David in 2000, when Ehud Barak offered him more than had ever been offered before - he has not been able to negotiate a deal that would be acceptable to the Palestinian people.

But suppose Ariel Sharon's dream is no more than that. Israel has a Plan B, and even a Plan C. Plan B is what the Israelis call "separation" - at its crudest, this means building a fence to separate Israel from the West Bank and Gaza. The problem is that Israeli settlements, dotted all over the Palestinian territories, will need to be fenced off as well, as will their access routes. That means thousands of miles of fences, and thousands of armed guards to patrol them.

Plan C looks even less attractive: reoccupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Tear up the Oslo accords and go back to pre-1993, with Israeli conscripts patrolling every Palestinian town and city. Some Israeli security chiefs are reported to believe they could quickly arrest all known Palestinian activists, lock them up and put an end to the shootings and suicide bombings. Israeli voters are unlikely to be keen, however, as the reason they backed Oslo was that it got their sons and daughters out of Gaza, and they will not want to see Israel re-emerge as a full-scale occupying power.

So Plan A remains the favourite, with Yasser Arafat heading off into the sunset, drummed out of town by the biggest, baddest cowboy. The Americans, say the Israelis, are looking the other way, their attention is elsewhere. They seem to have little or no interest in dealing with Yasser Arafat again. For Ariel Sharon, therefore, now is the time to say a final goodbye to the man he's been battling for more than two decades.

* Robin Lustig presents The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4

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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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