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19 April 2006

News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know

Global storm warning

Hurricane force geopolitical winds are in the
forecast for the rest of the year -- and beyond.

Israel's permanent borders are now quite clear. Some smaller Jewish
settlements in the West Bank are to be resettled, not in Israel, but by
enlarging the larger settlements, now all protected by the 420-mile,
$2.2 billion ditch-cum-wall. East Jerusalem is off the negotiating table;
entirely cut off from the West Bank, it can never be a Palestinian capital,
administrative or otherwise. Israel is also carving out a security
zone along the Jordan River border with Jordan. Down this road, even
moderate Palestinians say this would reduce them to "Bantustans"
on the West Bank.

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
Published April 17, 2006

Afghanistan is "on life support" with woefully inadequate funding to make a dent on the world's largest crop of opium poppies, insufficient troops to counter a resurgent Taliban, and a potential for disaster. So spoke the Council on Foreign Relations.

Time and again, official spokespeople have claimed the Taliban was in its last throes, much the way the Iraqi insurgency was inaccurately described as terminal. NATO is doubling its 10,000-strong force by November. But Taliban's spring offensive has already killed 14 U.S. soldiers. And coalition forces responded with 2,500-strong Operation Mountain Lion in Kunar Province, whose mountain peaks soar to 15,000 feet. Heavy air support was supplied by B-52 bombers, F-15 fighter-bombers, A-10 Thunderbolts and British GR-7 Harriers. Taliban was anything but a spent force. Suicide bombings are now commonplace in widely scattered parts of Afghanistan.

Far removed from the Pakistani border, in the northern Afghan provinces, NATO-led forces uncovered huge Taliban arms caches -- e.g., 15,000 anti-personnel mines, 10,000 anti-tank mines, and 80 tons of TNT, all "Soviet"-made. The fact some 2 million pounds of supplies were air-dropped last year to U.S. troops chasing Taliban guerrillas up and down mountains indicates (1) a gradual increase of infiltration from Pakistan's tribal areas and (2) the new Afghan army is not ready to take over. In fact, the Afghan military are still an estimated four years away from being able to fight on their own. Meanwhile, donor fatigue borders on donor exhaustion.

In nearby Kyrgyzstan, mafia chief Rysbek Akmatbayev, who is linked to Afghanistan's multibillion-dollar heroin trade, and is protected by top government officials, sauntered into parliament with 79 percent of the votes on April 9. His close connections with the judiciary paid off handsomely; he was acquitted on triple homicide charges in January. Next, in one of the new democracies nurtured by the U.S., Mr. Akmatbayev is expected to become chairman of the parliamentary committee on security, rule of law and information policy.

A law enforcement delegation from Tajikistan now touring the U.S. under State Department auspices made clear to this writer that the Bush administration cannot expect democracy to take root in tribal societies that lived under Soviet rule for 70 years. Nor should the U.S. assume, they added, the communist legacy was all bad. As if to prove the point, Russia and Tajikistan are expanding their security cooperation by conducting an antiterrorist exercise on the border with Afghanistan.

While Russian tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, gunships and fighter-bombers strutted their stuff, three Tajik border guards were wounded in a firefight with Afghan drug dealers on the Tajik-Afghan border. The nexus between transnational terrorism and transnational crime is increasingly evident on all Afghan borders -- Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Iran.

The U.S. democratic crusade has lost its head of steam from the "Stans" to the Middle East. With gold at $600 an ounce and oil at almost $70 a barrel, fears of worse to come in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and on the Israeli-Palestinian front are now widespread. Iran says it has crossed one of President Bush's red lines and started to enrich uranium -- clinging to the peaceful research canard. And the Bush administration juggles military options as it runs out of self-imposed limitations on its diplomatic options. America's European allies believe this is a propitious time to send a prominent personality on a secret mission to Iran to explore with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme religious leader, the outlines of a geopolitical modus vivendi. For Mr. Bush, this is heresy; there can be no compromise with the "axis of evil."

A prominent, U.S.-educated Gulf personality, who keeps a home in Washington, confided, not for attribution, "those Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, that have benefited from U.S. protection now fear that same protection endangers their regimes." In Kuwait, he said, the government is "deeply concerned" that when the U.S. pulls out of Iraq it will leave a residual, standby force in Kuwait that will then become the target of a terrorist campaign.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, in the same vein, has been multiplying the kingdom's relations with the world's new giants -- India and China. His travels are designed to show Saudis the country no longer depends on U.S. protection. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak maneuvers to pre-empt the fundamentalist, anti-American Muslim Brotherhood's recent election gains by moving up the timetable for his son Gamal to replace him.

The perennial Israeli-Palestinian crisis is now heading into Intifada III. Israel severed security ties to the Palestinian government, which Hamas called a "declaration of war." Israeli artillery barrages and air strikes against Palestinian "Qassam" rocket squads operating from populated areas of the Gaza Strip quickly became routine.

More than 1,000 Israeli artillery shells and 16 air strikes were the response to 32 rockets. Innocent civilians, like an 8-year-old Palestinian girl, are getting killed -- on both sides. Hamas -- a militant group for the Arab world and a terrorist group for Israel and the U.S. -- has now taken over the reins of government. But its leaders are flat broke. And 78,000 armed Palestinian security personnel and 62,000 civilian government employees are without paychecks to feed their families. And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warns he is not ruling out a ground assault into Gaza: "done it before and can do it again."

Israel says the solution is relatively simple. Hamas must recognize Israel, abandon any idea of eradicating the Jewish state, and then a two-state solution might become possible. Unfortunately, a "viable, contiguous" Palestinian state, as pledged by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush, has been pre-empted by the "creation of new facts" on the ground.

Israel's permanent borders are now quite clear. Some smaller Jewish settlements in the West Bank are to be resettled, not in Israel, but by enlarging the larger settlements, now all protected by the 420-mile, $2.2 billion ditch-cum-wall. East Jerusalem is off the negotiating table; entirely cut off from the West Bank, it can never be a Palestinian capital, administrative or otherwise.

Israel is also carving out a security zone along the Jordan River border with Jordan. Down this road, even moderate Palestinians say this would reduce them to "Bantustans" on the West Bank, the black settlements once envisaged by apartheid South Africa. Hamas, meanwhile, is seeking funds from Iran and Venezuela. Other Arab governments are pledging but so far not giving. Demonstrations are planned in Arab and other Muslim capitals to pressure governments to give Hamas the wherewithal for survival.

Hurricane force geopolitical winds are in the forecast for the rest of the year -- and beyond.

* Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.


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April 2006


IRAN Crisis and Military Preparations Escalating
(April 29, 2006)
The 'Revolt of the Generals' out-front target Rumsfeld wasn't really payback for the past, it was and is growing apprehension about the future. Bush 'The Decider' is much more boxed in than he has ever been, the Americans far weaker geostrategically and geopolitically than they are willing to admit (not only to others but to themselves). Impending defeat in the mid-term election and a possible serious impeachment attempt are looming large now in everyone's calculations. This is the context in which the war clock is ticking closer to midnight than in a long time and more ominously than since the face-offs between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that almost destroyed the world.

'The Israel Lobby' Paper Keeps On Ticking
(April 28, 2006)
It's hard to remember any 'academic paper' that has unleashed such a firestore of interest, applause, and vilification. The two highly respected academic authors no doubt knew they were walking on eggshells and about to hit sensitive political/social nerves, but it's doubtful they realized how abusive, slanderous, and sustained the mudslinging would become. Originally commissioned by The Atlantic Monthly, which now has taken an oath of silence and apparently gotten the Professors to agree it seems, the article didn't find a major publisher in the States where it is most relevant and timely. It ended up in a late March issue of The London Review of Books, but in the age of the Internet it quickly got extraordinary circulation far beyond. Robert Fisk takes it from there in his insightful article published today:

Chomsky - American on the road to being a 'Failed State'
(April 26, 2006)
In his new book Professor Noam Chomsky examines how the United States is beginning to resemble a failed state that cannot protect its citizens from violence and has a government that regards itself as beyond the reach of domestic or international law. In the book, Chomsky presents a series of solutions to help rescue the nation from turning into a failed state.

Apocalypse Then....and Now
(April 23, 2006)
Since writing this article nine years ago Edward Said has himself passed away, taking from us all one of the most eloquent and passionate voices of truly expert and courageous thought and analysis. Said was partially compromised and straight-jacketed by his associations with the major Arab regimes, which at the time of this article he was relying on for publication of his regular column. Even so Said's penetrating commentaries and often biting insights were among the best of his day and provide considerable insight now upon reflection many year and many terrible events later.

Bush/Cheney - Worst Ever?
(April 23, 2006)
"George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace." So declares ROLLING STONE magazine in a major cover story just out.

Fortress America on the Tigris
(April 22, 2006)
Fortress America in the 'Green Zone' and huge 'permanent' military bases around the country are the realities on the ground in America's Iraq no matter what the rhetoric. This article was published by the Associated Press earlier this month focusing on the world's largest super-Embassy-CIA-Occupation complex now emerging alon the Tigris.

Bush: Worst President in History?
(April 19, 2006)
"George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace." So declares ROLLING STONE magazine in a major cover story that hits the streets this Friday.

Get Ready For International Political/War Hurricanes
(April 19, 2006)
Hurricane force geopolitical winds are in the forecast for the rest of the year -- and beyond.

Corrupt Bought-And-Paid-For Washington
(April 18, 2006)
Modern-day Rome, Washington, D.C., has become a kind of political cesspool corrupting so many elected officials through the legalized loop-holes the big corporations, lobbyists, and power-brokers have themselves created. Former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers has long been, since his White House days, one of the great American champions explaining how bad things have become and crusading for serious reforms. No single thing would in fact change the nature of Washington and the policies that emerge from Washington than "Getting Money Out of Politics", the theme of this recent Moyer's article that has not received nearly enough attention.

US and Israel - Bring Down or Take Down IRAN
(April 12, 2006)
Israel’s...three Dolphin-class nuclear submarines already on standby in the Straits of Hormuz had been brought to one level below launch to fire their guided missiles into predetermined Iranian rocket sites. The air force was at “take-off readiness” to launch air strikes. The Sholdag unit, modelled on the SAS, was ready to launch an aerial assault on the prime nuclear target of Natanz where the Taepodong-1 rockets were being assembled.

Neocons Take Pentagon To War With Internet and Media
(April 11, 2006)
This article was published a few days ago in the SUNDAY HERALD in Scotland. It reports on a very important and new aspect of the American NEOCON agenda now being implemented by the Pentagon with its whopping budget and capabilities. The CIA and other U.S. departments are thought to be involved though stealth tactics make it difficult to penetrate to the core of what is really happening. Bottom line: This is INFORMATION WARFARE and deception not only against the perceived enemies of the Americans but against their own citizens and allies as well.

TARGET IRAN - Washington Readies
(April 9, 2006)
'TARGET IRAN' is something MER has been reporting and emphasizing and warning about for some time now. The powerful combination of Israeli Lobby, largely Jewish Neocons, and Christian Evangelicals continues to work its will through the Bush/Cheney administration in 'New World Order' Washington. From the start Afghanistan and Iraq were never the end-goals -- that has always been U.S. imperial domination of the critical Middle East region in tandem with Israel. And as much as the Europeans often pretend to protest the underlying reality is their own involvment, complicity, and often under-the-table acquiescence if not outright support for the American/Israeli determination to control the region on behalf of the judeo-Christian 'civilized' Western world. These three telling and insightful articles appear today in the British media about 'Target Iran'

IRAN as 'October Surprise' 2006?
(April 8, 2006)
Thus a pre-emptive war on Iran, while a political triumph for the president this fall, could, like the invasion of Iraq, prove a long-term disaster.

Israel's Vast Arms and U.S. Policies Fuel Iranian Crisis
(April 6, 2006)
The Americans and the Europeans helped arm Israel over the years, so much so in fact that Israel today is far stronger militarily than all the Arab countries combined. And this is the geo-political military context for the crisis with Iran and for all the war quite public war threats from all sides.

TARGET IRAN - More Threats, Counterthreats, and Preparations
(April 4, 2006)
In recent days article after article and interview after interview have underscored the very real danger that the U.S. and Israel are in fact, not just in threat, preparing to attack Iran and attempt to destroy Iranian weapons capabilities. Also in recent days the Iranians have very publicly 'tested' and announced new weapons that if actually developed and deployed could be used to greatly harm the U.S., Israel, and allies as well as possibly cripple the world economy through blocking the Straits of Hormuz...all with unforetold but sure to be historic consequences.

Articles about publication of 'The Israel Lobby' and Professor Stephen Walt the principle author
(April 3, 2006)

Iran Attack Preparations
(April 2, 2006)
"It is believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is 'inevitable'..." ------------ With Washington politics in slow-motion meltdown, the Iraq war bordering on historic catastrophe, and an impeachment attempt possibly looming, preparations for attacking Iran are very real. A few days ago a quarter-page ad on the Op Ed Page of the New York Times loudly warned this is what is coming. Furthermore both Washington and Israel may actually be attempting to provoke Iran and supporters, or at least prepare the public climate to blame them for anything that may happen, in order to create the excuse and momentum to unleash the wider war long sought by the Neocons, the fundamentalist Evangelicals, and the hardline Israeli Lobby.

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