Posted by Joshua on Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Iran on Friday threatened to “cut off Israel’s feet” if the latter attacks Syria, AFP reported.
During a visit to Damascus, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said: “We will stand alongside Syria against any [Israeli] threat … If those who have violated Palestinian land want to try anything we will cut off their feet,” he said.
Rahimi called Syria a “strong country that is ready to confront any threat” and said Iran “will back Syria with all its means and strength.”
The Obama administration Thursday warned Iran and Syria that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable, and they should understand the consequences of threats to the Jewish state.
Clinton warns Iran, Syria on threats to Israel
The Obama administration warns Iran and Syria that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable and that they should understand the consequences of threats to the Jewish state…
“These threats to Israel’s security are real, they are growing, and they must be addressed,” she said in the speech to the American Jewish Committee. The speech was the administration’s latest effort to reassure Israel that its ties to the United States remain strong despite tensions that flared last month.
Clinton told the group that Israel is “confronting some of the toughest challenges in her history,” particularly from Iran, Syria and groups they support like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and reaffirmed U.S. determination to get them to change course.
“Transferring weapons to these terrorists, especially longer-range missiles, would pose a serious threat to the security of Israel,” she said….
“We are concerned about the broader issue of the nature of Syrian support to Hezbollah involving a range of missiles, including that one,” Crowley said. He added that U.S. intelligence was looking at “multiple systems” from “multiple sources,” including Syria, that Hezbollah may have.
Getting Syria to stop, he said, is one of the administration’s prime goals in returning an ambassador to Damascus.
“We warn the United States not to adopt false Israeli allegations and we say what destabilizes the security of the region is in fact beefing up Israel with all the latest U.S. weaponry and abetting Israeli allegations at our expense.”
“The situation is serious, dangerous,” Kouchner told Europe 1 radio. “There is a stockpile of weapons, short-range, medium-range and perhaps even long-range missiles and we are concerned.” “We are asking the Syrians to guarantee the security of that border,” Kouchner said. “I am not saying that it’s a sieve because a certain number of facts have not been established. “But this is dangerous and reinforces extremism,” he added.
Palestinian Roads: Cementing Statehood, or Israeli Annexation?
By Nadia Hijab & Jesse Rosenfeld New evidence indicates that the PA’s ambitious road-building program–heavily funded by the United States and Europe–is being used by Israel to facilitate settlement expansion.
April 30, 2010, The Nation
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has staked his political credibility on securing a Palestinian state by 2011 in the entire West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, a program enthusiastically embraced by the international community. Ambitious PA plans include roads and other infrastructure across the West Bank, with funds provided by the United States, Europe and other donors.
Fayyad has argued that development will make the reality of a Palestinian state impossible to ignore. However, many of the new roads facilitate Israeli settlement expansion and pave the way for the seizure of main West Bank highways for exclusive Israeli use.
For decades Israel has carried out its own infrastructure projects in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. These include a segregated road network that, together with the separation wall Israel began building in 2002, divides Palestinian areas from each other while bringing the settlements–all of which are illegal under international law–closer to Israel.
Now, armed with information from United Nations sources and their own research, Palestinian nongovernmental organizations are raising the alarm. Their evidence spotlights the extent to which PA road-building is facilitating the Israeli goal of annexing vast areas of the West Bank–making a viable Palestinian state impossible. ….
The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners
John J. Mearsheimer on P U L S E
My talk is about the future relationship between Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Of course, I am not just talking about the fate of those lands; I am also talking about the future of the people who live there. I am talking about the future of the Jews and the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, as well as the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories.
The story I will tell is straightforward. Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream…….
Playing peace to target Iran
Graham Usher in Al-Ahram
Every time the US president tries painstakingly to build a coalition against Iran up pops Israel, writes Graham Usher in New York
Obama needs Palestine merely to pursue his scheme to isolate Iran, says Khaled Amayreh cynically in occupied Jerusalem
Desperate to achieve progress of any kind on the Israeli- Palestinian track, the Obama administration is pressuring, even bullying the weak and vulnerable Palestinian Authority (PA) to agree, at least in principle, to an Israeli proposal that would see the creation of a Palestinian “state” on some 60 per cent of the West Bank.
However, such an entity as proposed by the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in recent talks with US officials, would be devoid of any semblance of sovereignty and conspicuously lacking control of its borders, which would be temporary in any case and tightly controlled by Israel…
One PA official present at the Al-Quds University conference described Mitchell’s talks with PA officials in Ramallah as “a tedious repetition of the same old platitudes about the beauty of peace and need to restart talks.”
“The Americans, unable or reluctant to pressure Israel, are trying to pressure us, given the fact that we are the weaker party. They think that the key to isolate Iran in the current standoff with the West lies in far-reaching Palestinian concessions to Israel on cardinal issues such as Jerusalem and the refugees. And I want to tell you something. Even if all Arab states say yes for such concessions, we, the mother of the child, will say a clarion no because this is our land, our future.”
The official, who demanded that his name not be mentioned, said the bulk of the PA leadership was fully aware of “Netanyahu’s tricks, deception, mendacity and stalling tactics”.
“Netanyahu wants to gain more time to create more irreversible facts in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, and the Americans have come to think that we are merely obsessed with the symbol of statehood, even at the expense of losing Jerusalem and one third of the West Bank, in addition to the right of return for the refugees. Well, all I can tell you is that they are dreaming if they think that we will succumb to their designs and wishful thinking.”
Needless to say, the Palestinian official’s scepticism is more than justified. Netanyahu, while telling Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he is willing to conduct “frank and honest discussion” over all core issues, has been telling settlers, leaders and his own coalition partners that there is no way Israel would leave any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians and that settlements west and east of the Annexation Wall would continue to grow irrespective of the peace process with the Palestinians.
Israeli hawks say that Jerusalem is theirs because of a long, romantic national history there. Too bad it’s made up….
By Juan Cole in Salon.com
The French spy, the CIA, and the Syrian reactor
By Jeff Stein, April 29 (Washington Post blog)
September, 2007: CIA officials peered at the “overhead” — satellite photos.
The pictures were crystal clear: A clandestine Syrian nuclear facility, bombed by Israeli jets, lay in ruins on the edge of the desert, 90 miles south of Damascus.
Most important, the photos showed that the core of the reactor, built with secret North Korean help, had been totally destroyed.
But at CIA headquarters, Deputy Director Stephen R. Kappes was chafing — at what he didn’t have, according to two former intelligence officials, recounting the tale only on condition of anonymity because the incident remains sensitive.
Recently returned from a self-imposed, two-year exile, the career spy wanted somebody to eyeball that wreckage — get in close, point a camera at it, maybe even take a radiation reading.
Days had passed, however, and the CIA, with an estimated budget of $10 billion in 2009, had not been able to get a spy out there.
It wasn’t that close-in photos would be crucial: It was a point of pride. This is what first-class intelligence services do. They dispatch spies to watch and hear things that their fabulous technology might have missed.
And Kappes, who had quit the agency in 2004 rather than take instruction from the staff of Bush’s CIA Director Porter Goss, wanted to show what the spies under his direction could do. Alas, somebody else was about to beat him to it.
How galling it must have been for the CIA: It was the French.
According to the former officials, the French military attaché in Damascus simply took it upon himself to drive out to the reactor on his own and take pictures.
One of the former officials said that the attaché, whose name could not be learned, drove out to the desert site, near the village of At Tibnah, trailing a virtual caravan of Syrian “minders,” domestic security agents assigned to follow him around.
When he pulled up to the reactor site, according to this source, the attaché jerked his thumb over his shoulder and told the bewildered guards, “They’re with me.”
Apparently that bought him enough time to snap some pictures.
But the second former official said “there was no sign of security personnel being present” at the site.
The attaché “drove there and took the photos from his vehicle,” said the former official. “A few had the steering wheel and dashboard prominently featured.
“He was never out of the vehicle, and he never got into the wreckage itself. But he was damn close, and it was a really ballsy move,” the source added.
A little while later, the French presented the photos to the CIA.
Iraq a Catalyst for Rapprochement?
By Marwan Kabalan in Qantara
From mid-2007, Syria and the United States, notwithstanding the hostile rhetoric, started to explore common interests regarding Iraq. On this particular matter, they could increase their cooperation and stop their deteriorating relationship, says Marwan Kabalan…
DAMASCUS — Iraq’s banned Baath party, booted out of power in the 2003 US-led invasion, held its first public meeting in the Syrian capital on Thursday.
“We have launched negotiations to reunite the party,” Ghazwan Qubaissi, the number two in a wing led by Mohammed Yunes al-Ahmad, a former governor of Mosul under now executed dictator and Baath chief Saddam Hussein, told AFP.
“There is no difference between Baath party members here and those there (inside Iraq) … All are contributing to the liberation of the country,” he said at a meeting in a Damascus cultural centre attended by 300-500 people.
He was referring to a wing led by Ezzat Ibrahim al-Duri, Saddam’s number two and the highest-ranking party official still at large, seven years after the invasion which split the Baath into Duri- and Ahmad-led factions….
Several senior Iraqi Baath officials fled after Saddam’s ouster to neighbouring Syria, which itself is ruled by a rival wing of the Baath party, an Arab nationalist movement…. Qubaissi at the meeting also hit out at Iraq’s new leaders who had “strayed from national reconciliation because they are in the process of sidelining all Baathists and nationalists.”
Iraq’s Justice and Accountability Committee barred about 500 candidates from the country March 7 general election on account of their alleged links to the Baath party….
“… Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has refused to confirm or deny Israeli allegations his group has obtained long-range Scud missiles from Syria. Nasrallah, in an interview with Kuwait’s al-Rai television broadcast on Thursday, said the claims were an attempt to “intimidate” the armed Lebanese political organization, but he did not see a repeat of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war on the horizon.
“I cannot say that it is close. Myself and brothers in Hezbollah see that all this intimidation does not hide behind it a war. On the contrary, if there was silence and quietness, then everyone must be vigilant,” he said. “But when you see all this American and Israeli noise, this means they want to use this noise to achieve political, psychological and certain security advantages without resorting to the step of war.
“Today it’s Scuds, yesterday other kinds of rockets … the aim is one, and that is to intimidate Lebanon, to intimidate Syria and to put pressure on Lebanon, Syria, the resistance movement and the Lebanese and Syrian people,” Nasrallah said. “Regardless of whether Syria gave Hezbollah this type of rockets … of course Syria denied, and Hezbollah as usual does not comment.”