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MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 14 July: It was on 1 and 2 June that MER published the articles below predicting the 'Mega-Crisis' that has now come to pass. Blame not Israel as much as the superpower US. Bottom Line: It is the Jewish Neocon and Christian Evangelical stranglehold on the Bush/Cheney government, in tandem with the powerful Israeli lobby, where responsibility should be focused. Near-total U.S. isolation in the world resulted in another US veto in the Security Council yesterday on behalf of Israel. More U.S./Israeli aggression and denial could yet plundge the world into another more major world war as events now threaten to spiral out of control. Below just as published by MER on 1 and 2 June:


PAST POLICIES LEAD TO THE BAD PRESENT

PRESENT POLICIES ARE LEADING TO A WORSE FUTURE

MEGA-CRISIS LOOMS

MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 1 June: David Hirst, author of the classic THE GUN AND THE OLIVE BRANCH, is among a handful of senior Anglo-American journalists who know the Middle East extraordinarily well. Hirst has been reporting from the region for literally a lifetime. And whenever he puts his words on paper he does so in an extraordinarily authentic and insightful way. Hirst's fingering of the Israelis as substantially responsible for what has happened is on target even as American news organizations continue to fear reporting this critical part of the overall story.


Bush administration is playing dangerous games in Middle East

Iraq, Palestine, Iran - the plans for 'regime change' by the pro-Israeli US neocons is threatening a mega-crisis in the region that will be felt around the world

By David Hirst
THE GUARDIAN , LONDON
Wednesday, May 31, 2006,Page 9

Patients with chronic kidney disease dying for lack of their routine dialysis, 165,000 employees of the Palestine Authority unpaid for two- and-a-half months, women selling their jewelry for fuel or food ... the "humanitarian crisis" of the West Bank and Gaza is not a Darfur. And what most shocks Arabs and Muslims is that it stems from a conscious political decision by the world's only superpower.

First, they say, you give us Iraq, now on the brink of civil war. Then this: the starving of a whole people.

The psychological and strategic linkage between Iraq and Palestine is far from new. But its latest, most intense phase began with the US invasion of Iraq -- conceived by the [George W.] Bush administration's pro-Israeli neoconservatives as the first great step in their region-wide scheme for "regime change" and "democratization," whose consummation was to be an Arab-Israeli settlement.

Indeed -- as professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue in their now celebrated study, The Israel Lobby -- there very likely wouldn't have been an invasion at all but for Israel and, above all, its partisans inside the US.

But it had always been crystal clear that the more authentic any democracy Arabs or Palestinians did come to enjoy, US-inspired or not, the more their conception of a settlement would collide with the US-Israeli one. The point was swiftly proved, in the wake of Hamas's assumption of power, when Bush declared: "We support democracy, but that doesn't mean we have to support governments elected as a result of democracy."

And his administration set about engineering Palestinian "regime change" in reverse.

Its strategy found more or less willing accomplices -- Europeans, Arab governments, the Palestinians themselves. But it was always going to be a perilous one; the more vigorously it was pursued in the face of the opposition that it was bound to encounter, the more likely it was to make of Palestine a crucible of trouble for its own people, the region and the world -- very much like the one that other quasi-colonial Western intervention had already made of Iraq.

The idea was to get the Palestinians, through collective punishment, to repudiate the very people they had just elected. Some do blame Hamas. But most of those blame the US much more. If anything, sanctions have had the opposite effect from that intended, encouraging people to rally round the new government. Buoyed by its own popularity, on top of its electoral legitimacy, Hamas won't easily relinquish power -- "not without a war," said Iyyad Sarraj, a Gaza psychologist.

Even if the US did succeed in bringing it down, it would, like the overthrow of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, be a catastrophic kind of success -- plunging Palestine, too, into the chaos and internecine strife that is the antithesis of the modern, democratic, pro-Western Middle East order it is trying to build.

It is clear that, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bombshell proposal for a referendum on the nature of a final peace raising the political stakes and with skirmishes in Gaza raising the military ones, war between Hamas and Fatah is eminently possible. It is far from clear that the US' "side" could win.

"If Fatah couldn't fight Hamas while it was still in power," said General Ilan Paz, the former head of Israel's "civil administration" in the territories, "how could it gain control with Hamas in power and itself disintegrated?"

Furthermore, chaos in the territories would open the way to militants, jihadists and suicide bombers from the rest of the world, just as it did in Iraq. Iran, the non-Arab country that is now the main state patron of Arab radicalism, was quicker than any Arab government to offer money to the new Hamas regime. An intrinsic part of its wider strategic and nuclear ambitions, Palestine now ranks among its top foreign-policy priorities.

Abbas says that Hezbollah and al-Qaeda are already active in Gaza. From where, if not from such outsiders, have come the long-range Katyusha missiles that have begun to target southern Israel from Gaza? And if Hamas were driven from office, it would go underground again, resuming, with a vengeance, the "resistance" it has suspended.

As for the Arabs, they would be at least as subject to the fallout from Palestine as they are from Iraq's. Their discredited regimes hardly know what to fear more: the example of a Hamas democratically installed or undemocratically ousted. The first would encourage the ascension of their own Islamists. The civil war liable to result from the second would arouse even more dangerous passions among them. Broadly speaking, Hamas has Arab, especially Islamist, public opinion on its side, and the more the regimes defer to the US in its anti-Hamas campaign, the greater discredit they will fall into.

For Rami Khouri, a leading Beirut columnist, the Palestine cause risks being transformed from a "national" into a "civilizational" one, with "potentially dangerous linkages between events in Palestine-Israel and the rest of the Middle East."

"Hundreds of thousands of young people will feel duped and betrayed," Khouri said.

"The wellspring of support for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood-style democratic engagement will slowly dry up in favor of more intense armed struggle. They will stop wasting time trying to redress grievances through peaceful, democratic politics or diplomacy ... Bringing down the Hamas-led Palestinian government will bring further radicalization, resistance and terrorism across the region," he said.

Well aware of this resonance, the Palestinian finance minister, Omar Abdul Razeq, warned: "The entire region will catch fire if the Palestinian people are pushed to a situation where they have nothing to lose."

Suddenly this month the Bush administration seemed to grasp something of the perils it is courting. And those US-engineered privations of Gaza were too scandalous to ignore. At a meeting of the Quartet (the EU, the US, the UN and Russia), it offered US$10 million in emergency medical aid. The largesse was paltry and grudging, but at least it seemed to indicate that Washington had given up hope of bringing about immediate "regime change" via economic ruin.

Gideon Levy, a pro-Palestinian Israeli commentator, was even moved to say: "Hamas is winning."

Hardly. For the only substantive way in which it could be said to be doing that would be if the US started drawing the right conclusions from this spectacularly unwelcome result of Arab democratization -- the most important of which is that, were it not for US policies, Hamas would never have won the elections.

But that would require a fundamental, revolutionary change of heart. In the opinion of Walt and Mearsheimer, the extraordinary US attachment to Israel, that moral and strategic "burden" stemming from the "unmatched power" of the lobby, makes it impossible any time soon.

So the fear must now be that, long before such a thing could happen, the Middle East's "dangerous linkages" will assert themselves even more dangerously than before, that those two ongoing crises -- Palestine and Iraq, which the attachment did so much to engender -- will be joined, and fused into a single mega-crisis, by a third: when, on its protege's behalf, the Bush administration goes to war against Iran.

----------------------------


AMERICA'S DOUBLE DEALING WITH THE
PALESTINIANS AND THE MIDDLE EAST

MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 2 June: American chicanery in the Middle East is hardly new -- just ask the Iranians, Lebanese, Syrians, Algerians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, and the list goes on. But when it comes to the Palestinians American and British double-dealing has been going on for so long now that in a sense many have gotten use to it or simply resigned to their fate.

But of course others have chosen different more challenging responses as over the years this American chicanery has unleashed poisons and hatreds that provide the backdrop to and many of the causes for today's 'Clash of Civilizations.'

What the U.S. has done in the past in the Middle East, nearly always in tandem with the Israelis of course for quite some time, is considerably responsible for the current explosive situation in the region. What the U.S., Israel, and the UK are doing now may well in the end result in the "mega-crisis" predicted in the important recent article by David Hirst which MER featured earlier this week.

US seeks parallel Palestinian government, says former MI6 officer

London, June 1, IRNA

The US is effectively seeking to undermine the Palestinian government by trying to return Fatah to power to negotiate final status issues on a partial state, according to former British MI6 intelligence officer Alastair Crooke.

"The US aims to create a shadow government centred around the president and his Fatah party as a counterpoint to a financially starved Hamas-led government which will, US officials hope, prove ineffective and wither," Crooke said.

To this end, he said, the US is seeking to build a militia of 3,500 men around the office of Mahmoud Abbas, to enlarge his staff and to channel as much of the expenditure and work of the government as possible through the presidency.

"They would like to see Fatah return to power, albeit led by someone like the westernised Salaam Fayad, a former Palestinian finance minister and World Bank official," the former adviser to the EU said in an article for Prospect magazine.

Crooke specialized in conflict zones while working 30 years for MI6 before he was exposed by the Israelis after negotiating previous ceasefires with the Palestinians.

His latest warning comes amid US attempts with the Zionist regime to topple the new Hamas-led government by using financial pressure to effectively starve the Palestinians into submission.

But "almost no one believes that putting Palestinians on a 'diet' will make them more moderate or help to restart a political process with Israel," the former British agent said.

He said it also seems that "Israelis are not convinced that Abbas, whom they regard as weak, can deliver on any agreement."

"The pressure is designed to give the new government no option but to accede to three US and EU demands: recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence, and acceptance of all earlier agreements dating back to the Oslo accords," Crooke said.

But he added that some very senior US officials are "not interested so much in Hamas's transformation to non-violence as in the failure and collapse of the Hamas-led government."
With regard to the EU support for the boycott of funds, Crooke said that most official "doubt the policy will work," but that they feel "trapped" into adopting such a position by the "paralysis caused by European divisions over Iraq."

He suggested that the EU should instead heed the words of former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, who recently criticized the Zionist regime for insisting that Hamas first recognize Israel as a precondition for any discussions.

"Halevy argued rather that Israel should recognise Hamas first.

He predicted that in doing so, 'we will be seeing things we have not seen before' - an apparent allusion to talks between Israel and Hamas," Crooke said.








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Source: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2006/6/1435.htm