Madrid Peace Conference Upstaged by Bush’s Call for More War

A Madrid Peace Conference, bringing together "unofficial" representatives of most Middle Eastern countries has been assembled over the last two days. Coverage of this "second track" effort to gin up momentum for dialogue has not been promising. The two Syrian unofficial representatives were Daoud Riyadi, who was deeply involved in past Israeli-Syrian negotiations, and Bushra Kanafani, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry. None of the regime heavy-weights were there. I had dinner with Imad Mustapha at his residence in Washington the day before yesterday and asked him whether he thought the Madrid exercise would lead to much. He knit his brows and hesitated, looking for the proper diplomatic turn of phrase to let me know that the Syrian government was not expecting much from the meeting. None of the major countries sent high level representatives. Moreover, President Bush's address on the troop surge and new Iraq policy completely upstaging Madrid. The president's message was more war not less, taking the wind out of whatever hopes one might have held out for Madrid. Here is the coverage of the Madrid Conference:

National Public Radio had a downbeat report on the Syrian representation. The Syria part goes as follows:

In the lobby of a fancy hotel in Madrid, Arabs and Israelis who took part in the talks 15 years ago greeted each other warmly, with smiles and laughs and even hugs and kisses.

Their personal relationships have survived, even flourished, despite the flaring hatreds between their peoples.

But two Syrians sitting at a table in the corner wanted nothing of the camaraderie. One was Syrian President Bashar Assad's legal adviser, Riad Daoudi. The other, Bushra Kanafani, is a foreign ministry spokeswoman.

"We are not here to hug the Israelis," Kanafani said. "Thanking them for the occupation of my own territories? Why should I do that?"

Syria demands return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 war.

None of the participants here — including two former Israeli intelligence chiefs — are officially representing their governments.

Still, Kanafani said Syria wants to renew peace talks.

"When the Israeli government decides that looking for peace is the best policy for Israel and the region, then we are going to welcome that and sit again together to talk peace," he said.

The Israeli government hasn't shown much interest in talking to Damascus after last summer's war against Syrian-backed Hezbollah. Some analysts wonder whether Assad is trying to distract attention from his government's alleged involvement in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

UPI addsBut while the 1991 event was sponsored by the Spanish government and involved all governments, the current conference is being staged by private peace foundations and none of the major players in the region have sent senior representatives.

At the opening session, there were repeated calls for an end to violence on all sides and for a greater involvement from the United Nations and the European Union but there were few concrete proposals.

The two-day conference opened with messages of support from former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other leaders involved in past efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Click here to find out more!

"The convening of this conference 15 years later could not be more timely," wrote ex-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III in a message read to delegates. He said the current Madrid meeting "offers an opportunity to assist the possibility of moving forward toward Arab-Israeli conflict resolution."

Clinton's message stressed the new meeting showed that there was still hope for the future.

Later delegates broke away for closed-door meetings on bilateral issues such as Israel's relations with the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria. They were to a have closed door plenary session later in the day before attending an audience with King Juan Carlos at the Pardo Palace on Madrid's outskirts.

Spain sees the event as part of its efforts to restart what it sees as a seriously ailing peace process.

Haaretz: Syria diplomat: No preconditions to negotiations with Israel

JPost: Syria diplomat: No preconditions to negotiations with Israel

General articles on Syrian-Israeli Dialogue

US needs help of Syria and Iran, analysts in Middle East say: San Francisco Chronicle: An excellent article quoting a number of Syrian and Iraqi analysts on the Syrian-Iraqi relationship. A frew Iranians as well.
On the road to Damascus: By Elie Podeh
In an article in Haaretz ("Markers on the road to Damascus," Dec. 29, 2006), Itamar Rabinovich states that the Israeli government has two political options – progress along the Syrian track or progress along the Palestinian one – and that a discreet clarification with Syria would enable it to decide which option is preferable. In my view, progress along the Syrian track is in any case preferable to progress along the Palestinian one at this time, for several reasons.

First, the way things look today, the prospects for solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are not promising. The Palestinian political scene is in crisis. The Hamas government cannot control Palestinian society because of its struggle with Fatah, which is challenging its authority. The dispute between Hamas and Fatah is not just political; it is also ideological, touching on fundamental issues such as recognition of Israel and the willingness to negotiate openly with it. As long as Hamas – which represents at least 40 percent of the Palestinian electorate – refuses to negotiate with Israel, the chances of Israel conducting serious talks with the Palestinians are slim. Although Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is trying his best to convey a willingness to enter into a dialogue with Israel, apparently his ability to control and influence Palestinian society and politics is limited. Thus, it must be concluded that any political initiatives regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict might fail because of internal rivalries and rifts within the Palestinian camp – irrespective of the Israeli government's readiness to make concessions.

The second reason for preferring the Syrian track is the fact that a peace treaty with Damascus would help Israel deal more effectively with the heart of the problem: the conflict with the Palestinians. A treaty with Syria, which would likely lead to a major breakthrough in Israeli-Lebanese relations, would close the circle of Israel's conflict with its neighbors and help improve its relations with Arab states, in the outer circle. If that happens, the Palestinians would be isolated and, naturally, weaker, vis-a-vis Israel.

The third reason for preferring the Syrian track is that it would affect, directly or indirectly, Syria's relations with Iran and Hezbollah. Since Syria is a major player in the axis of radical states in the region, its removal or increased distance from it would necessarily weaken the axis. Some experts estimate that talks with Syria would not necessarily distance it from Iran or Hezbollah; however, practically speaking, it seems reasonable to assume that Syria's participation in diplomatic talks with Israel, European countries and perhaps even the United States would affect its relationship with Iran and Hezbollah.

The fourth reason for preferring the Syrian track is that a political solution vis-a-vis Syria appears less complicated than a political solution in the Palestinian track. Most of the components of a peace settlement were discussed in secret talks in the 1990s and only a few issues (the final boundaries of the Israeli withdrawal, the Sea of Galilee issue and the early-warning installations) have not yet been worked out. However, they can be solved with some creative thinking. A solution in the Palestinian track is more complex because of the refugee question, the Jerusalem problem and the need to contend with a tough ideological core of settlers.

To what extent is Syria prepared to dialogue with Israel? The signals Damascus is sending out apparently indicate a willingness to initiate dialogue. The motive behind this readiness might not be the "right one" – that is, a willingness to recognize Israel – and may rather be the need to deal with various challenges in the regional and international spheres. Nevertheless, the reasons that would bring Syria to the negotiating table are of interest to historians, not to decision-makers. The late Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, launched his peace initiative not because he recognized Zionist claims, but rather because of his domestic political and economic difficulties.

Like the talks with the Palestinians in the previous decade, the negotiations with Syria could collapse. However, if the Israeli government embarks on this dialogue with sufficient determination, and on the assumption that there really is a partner on the other side, the prospects of success exceed the risk.

The writer heads the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Comments (63)


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51. 3antar said:

well, Dameem, you’ve just hit on something that’s been on my mind for a while now. And i would appreciate it if Joshua and others in this blog could shed some light on it if they feel like it.
Does the american opinion or vote make any difference?
if it does, then does it mean that most of american public who voted for G W Bush, strictly the second time, prove that most of them are 1- blood thirsty and agree with the foreign policy. or 2- stupid, in denial, and easily swayed by the media. Many American citizens who were voting against Bush were mind boggled and crushed when they found out that Bush was back in for a second term. As if to them, its clear now that he should have been replaced for obviously being the wrong guy for the job.
From the little exposure i’ve had to the American electoral system and the way it operates, what i could make out at the time was that its structured in a way that peoples votes dont directly or necessarily reflect the result of the election. its possible to win the election without the majority vote. In time, this was confirmed to me by amricans i have met. they gave different reasons for it but thats not important here. funnily enough, some of those very people that confirmed to me the previous point told me that then voted Bush in the last election. now should someone in my position take a disapproving stand on such decision ? or let it pass as their vote probably wouldnt have made any difference anyway?

BTW, yust saw “Good Night and Good Luck” last night. thought it was so relevant for today.

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January 14th, 2007, 10:55 am

 

52. 3antar said:

البيت الأبيض ينفي وجود خطط لشن حرب على إيران أو سوري

http://www.thisissyria.net/2007/01/12/syriatoday/04.html

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January 14th, 2007, 11:09 am

 

53. Dubai Jazz said:

67% of the American people are against troops surge in Iraq.
One caricature sarcastically highlighted Bush’s new Iraq strategy:

Surge troops by 20,000 —-> claim that new plan requires two years —-> leave office —-> blame it on successor.

Dr. Landis, I found Thomas Friedman’s stance on dialogue with Syria changing a bit. He used to be a fan of the opening of such dialogue, but in his recent articles in NY. Times he sounded a bit resentful of the fact that Bush’s arm is being twisted toward taking some serious diplomatic initiatives. I can’t but recall how Friedman has supported the war on Iraq.
Are we facing an impasse here? Is the next American war in the ME inevitable? The whole picture looks hairy…

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January 14th, 2007, 12:24 pm

 

54. RoxieAmerica said:

Actually the entire Middle East is a tinderbox waiting for a spark. Unless all forms of extremism are denounced it is simply a question of time before the fire begins to spread.

Of course, Israel may save the whole Middle East. If Israel does indeed use tactical nuclear weapons to end the Iranian nuclear program, the entire world will unite to disarm Israel. It is one thing to have such weapons, it is another to actually use those weapons. It would be a project that would unify the entire Middle East.

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January 14th, 2007, 1:15 pm

 

55. Alex said:

Aussamaa

Again I agree with your “simple math”, but as Robert Fisk wrote, leaders of strong nations do make simple math mistakes. President Bush made a huge mistake already (The Iraq war). My personality analysis of the man tells me that he will be stuck with one remedy for his initial mistake .. keep escalating his commitment.

the extra marine presence in the waters of teh area are either intended for backup in case Israel decided to deliver a one day strike at Iranian targets, or are there for the bluffing scenario, or the president wants to keep getting closer to annoying Iran with actions like the one his troops did at the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq this week… hoping that IRan will make a big mistake and retaliate by hitting and killing American soldiers .. then he can get the American people, enough congressmen, and journalists to support his retaliation against Iran … he probably would love to do it. HOw do you think he feels when he has to listen to the Iranian president’s irritating statements?

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January 14th, 2007, 6:31 pm

 

56. Ford Prefect said:

3antar and Dameem,
I have been a DNC voter and volunteer for 20 years. I have voted in local and national elections consistently and found it to be rewarding more often than not. Is the voting public stupid or is it misguided? These two questions were addressed by many experts, but, in general, I feel that voters are knowledgeable and do make a difference. Noam Chomsky, for example, calls certain actions of governments a way to a “manufactured consent”. Mention 9/11, terrorism, and Saddam in the same sentence repeatedly and often in the wake of a national calamity and you get yourself a manufactured consenting public. The American public and its representative, to be accurate, did want to take revenge and felt that Afghanistan was not enough and was too easy. I am not condoning this feeling, but I know it was there – the general consensus in the US was let’s “clean up” the rats’ nest of the Middle East and let’s get it over. After all, they consensus claimed, how can peace be established with people like Saddam in power – even if he signed a peace treaty with Israel? Why Iraq is a question for another discussion, but the fatal attraction of Iraq cannot be ignored: A country sitting on the second largest known oil reserve (113B barrels – Saudi Arabia has twice as much!), a nice tyrant for a target, on the border of the Iranian enemy, and of course has the potential of threatening Israel and the “moderate” Arab regimes. Further, the country is so weak; it can barely stand on its own, let alone gives the invading forces any meaningful resistances. Even Kuwait could have easily invaded Iraq.

The moral divine guidance is not to be ignored either. Evangelical Christians truly believed that Iraqis needed spiritual guidance and were helpless in an Islamic tyranny. After the fall of Baghdad, along with many of suppliers, contractors, and fortune hunters came the evangelists complete with bibles in hand and millions of donated money. Evangelists reported back to their churches in the US mass conversion to Christianity in the Shia slums and the south of Iraq.

The marriage of the neocons (Wolfowitz, Libby, Pearl, etc.), the ultra aggressive Nationalists (Cheney, Rumsfeld), and the Christian Right (Reed, Robertson, etc.) was made in heaven. The events of 9/11 managed to coalesce otherwise converging objectives into a homogeneous collection of “must do acts of leading and changing the World.”

But America is blessed with a self-correcting voting public. The November elections proved the impossible – to the utter shock of many on the inside and the outside of the government. While it is hard for me to say, it is true: the Democrats did not win as much as the right wing of the hijacked GOP lost. And lose big they did. Even the right-wing, anti gay marriage Christians were disenchanted with the Iraq war, the series of scandals and corruption events, and of course the runaway spending of the government. Hence, the agenda-less Democrats win. I am a believer that policies have reached the fringes of extremism and now the pendulum is swinging back to the center – at least in the US.

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January 14th, 2007, 6:45 pm

 

57. Gibran said:

Experts draw scenarios for US strikes against Iranian Nukes:

دبي- حيان نيوف

إذا كانت إيران في المرحلة الأخيرة لإنتاج القنبلة النووية كما زعمت مؤخرا صحيفة “لوس أنجليس تايمز” الأمريكية، فهل استعدادات الولايات المتحدة في مياه الخليج هي الأخيرة قبل شن ضربة على منشآت إيران النووية؟.

وبالرغم من إعلان الولايات المتحدة عن قرب دخول حاملة طائرات أمريكية جديدة لمياه الخليج، لزمت الحكومة الإيرانية الصمت ، وهذا ما فسره مراقبون بأنها لا تأخذ التهديدات الأمريكية على محمل الجد، رغم تحذيرات خبراء وباحثين إيرانيين من ضربة أمريكية باتت وشيكة على المنشآت النووية في بلادهم.

وفي خطوة عسكرية بارزة ، نقلت أنظار الخبراء حول العالم نحو إيران، أعلنت الولايات المتحدة أنها تنوي تعزيز وجودها الجوي والبحري في منطفة الخليج من خلال إرسال حاملة الطائرات “يو اس اس جون سي. ستينيس” لتنضم الى حاملة الطائرات “يو اس اس دوايت دي. ايزنهاور”، كما سينشر في المنطقة فوجا من الدفاع الجوي مجهز بصواريخ مضادة للصواريخ من طراز باتريوت، وستكون المرة الأولى التي تنشر فيها واشنطن مجموعتين (جو-بحر) في المنطقةمنذ غزو العراق.

وكانت حاملة الطائرات ايزنهاور قد وصلت الى داخل مياه الخليج العربي في 11 ديسمبر/كانون الاول الماضي وعلى متنها 6500 بحار وجندي مصحوبة بعدد من المدمرات والغواصات الهجومية.

ضربة استباقية

وعلى الضفة الأخرى للخليج، لزمت إيران الصمت في إشارة إلى أن النظام الإيراني “لا يهتم ولا يكترث تجاه ما تقوم به واشنطن في مياه الخليج لا بل تعتقد إيران أن واشنطن فشلت في العراق ولذلك خططت لزيادة العدد في العراق ، وستكون مضطرة في النهاية للجلوس على مائدة المفاوضات معها “، كما يقول الخبير والباحث الإيراني د. ما شاء الله شمس الواعظين .

لكن رؤية الخبراء في مراكز الأبحاث الإيرانية تختلف عن الرؤية الرسمية. يقول الباحث شمس الواعظين، مستشار مركز الشرق الأوسط للدراسات الاستراتيجية بطهران، لـ”العربية.نت”: مراكز الدراسات والنخب السياسية الإيرانية ترى في هذا النشاط الأمريكي، وتحديدا نشر صواريخ مضادة للصواريخ أي نظام باتريوت في المنطقة، مؤشرا لعمل ما ستقوم به واشنطن ضد إيران فما يتعلق بملفها النووي أي توجيه ضربات استباقية لها وأخذ المبادرة المسبقة من أي رد فعل إيراني ضد القواعد العسكرية في دول الخليج.

ويعتقد الخبراء والباحثون الإيرانيون- بحسب شمس الواعظين- أن واشنطن ستشن عمليات محدودة من حيث ضرب المنشآت النووية وسترد إيران عليها مع استبعاد الحرب الشاملة كما حصل في العراق.

ويوضح: ستكون حربا تكتيكية، وترد إيران على مصادر النيران أو القواعد التي تشن العمليات ، وربما نقلت الولايات المتحدة حاملاتها لمياه الخليج لأنها لم تنجح بإقناع الدول الخليجية باستخدام أراضيها لشن هجمات ضد طهران فالعلاقات الإيرانية الخليجية وخاصة في الجانب الأمني جيدة.

معرفة نووية ؟

ويكشف شمس الواعظين أن طهران باتت تملك “المعرفة النووية وهذا أهم شئ من المنظور الاستراتيجي بالنسبة لها”، ويضيف:” وبصرف النظر على صعوبة ضربة المنشآت نظرا لانتشارها في مناطق مختلفة، فإنه في حال ضربت هذه المنشآت سوف يتم بناء منشآت أخرى سرا طالما المعرفة النووية الموجودة”.

يذكر أن صحيفة “لوس انجليس تايمز” أجرت تحقيقا على مدى ثلاثة اشهر، اعتمادا على تقارير سرية وتصريحات مسؤولين دوليين وخبراء مستقلين ومنفيين ايرانيين ومصادر استخباراتية في اوروبا والشرق الاوسط، “كشف عن أدلة قوية على ان مشروع ايران النووي التجاري يخفي وراءه خطة تهدف الى جعل ايران القوة النووية المقبلة في العالم”، بحسب الشرق الأوسط اللندنية.

ومن هذه الأدلة ” يشير تقرير سري اعدته الحكومة الفرنسية في مايو (آيار) الماضي الى ان ايران اصبحت على نحو مفاجئ قاب قوسين او ادنى من الحصول على يورانيوم مخصب او بلوتونيوم لاستخدامه في انتاج قنبلة نووية”.

وبخصوص ضرب المنشآت الإيرانية، قالت الصحيفة : التخلص من البنية التحتية النووية لإيران سيكون عملية صعبة بسبب توزيع المنشآت النووية على مواقع متعددة في البلاد فيما لا تزال منشآت نووية اخرى صغيرة خاضعة لاجراءات سرية صارمة، فضلا عن ان هناك منشأة نووية واحدة على الاقل شيدت على اساس تصميم يقاوم الضربات الجوية التقليدية.

ويلفت الباحث الإيراني شمس الواعظين إلى أن واشنطن عندما تصل إلى طريق مسدود في مكان ما فإنها تقدم على نقل الصراع إلى مكان آخر “كما فعلت مع أفغانستان عندما لم تنحل الأمور كما تشاء هناك نقلت الصراع إلى العراق، وهي الآن تنقل الصراع من العراق إلى إيران”.

ويتفق كل من شمس الواعظين والخبير السياسي الآخر حسن هاشميان على أن إيران سوف تستعد لكل الاحتمالات رغم أن الموقف الرسمي لا يزال يعتبر التحركات الأمريكية للضغط على طهران فقط. ويتوقع هاشميان أن تجري طهران مناوارات عسكرية في مياه الخليج ردا على نشر حاملات الطائرات الأمريكية.

حاملات نووية

وفيما يتعلق بحاملات الطائرات الأمريكية في مياه الخليج، كان الصحافي ميسم الأنباري، من مجلة آراء حول الخليج الصادرة عن مركز الخليج للأبحاث، على متن حاملة الطائرات إيزنهاور، وزوّد “العربية.نت” بمعلومات مثيرة.

وقال الأنباري لـ”العربية.نت”: دخلت معها بحر العرب والخليج ورست قرب البحرين لأن الأسطول الخامس هناك. لقد سمحوا لنا برؤية الاسلحة التقليدية ولم يسمحوا لما برؤية الأسلحة النووية ولا مفاعلها الذي تسير عليه. ولكن أخبرنا جندي أمريكي أن توجد أسلحة نووية على متن حاملة الطائرات.

ونقل الأنباري عن الأدميرال ألين جي مايرز، قائد الحاملة والسفن التابعة لها، قوله “الهدف من وجودنا في الخليج العربي هو إسناد قوات التحالف في العراق ومراقبة أمن المياه لمنع أي عمليات إرهابية أو من يخرق القوانين الدولية وجعل المياه آمنة للتجارة لما لذلك من أهمية على الاقتصاد العالمي”، نافياً أن يكون وجودهم متعلقاً بالدرجة الأساسية بالأزمة مع إيران حول ملفها النووي”.

وعند السؤال عن قدرة الحاملة والسفن التابعة لها على التصدي لأي هجوم صاروخي إيراني عليها خاصة بما يعرف بصواريخ تعمل كـ (توربيدو) التي ادعى الإيرانيون بأنه لا يمكن رصدها، نفى مايرز علمه بوجود هكذا صواريخ لدى إيران، كما أكد على قدرة الحاملة على الرد السريع والتصدي لأي هجوم إيراني مفترض.

وأما الكابتن دان كلويد، قبطان السفينة، فقال إن” مهامنا بالإضافة إلى حماية أمن المياه والعمليات ضد أي خطر إرهابي في المياه، القيام بإسناد قوات التحالف في كل من العراق وأفغانستان حيث كانت المهام في بحر العرب باتجاه أفغانستان فيما انتقلت إلى العراق مع دخول حاملة الطائرات الخليج العربي”.

أيزنهاور .. جيش عائم

وتعتبر دوايت دي آيزنهاور ثالث حاملة طائرات تعمل بالطاقة النووية ودخلت عقب غزو العراق الكويت في العام 1990 كأول حاملة طائرات تقوم بعمليات مستمرة في البحر الأحمر، ودخلت أيزنهاور الخليج العربي في 26 سبتمبر 1991 لدعم قوات التحالف في عملية (عاصفة الصحراء) ضد الجيش العراقي لتعود بعدها إلى مرفأ السفن التابع للبحرية الأمريكية في نورفولك لإجراء عمليات صيانة وتعديلات ومن ثم العودة إلى الأسطول في نوفمبر 1993. وعادت مؤخرا إلى مياه الخليج.

ويوجد على متنها حوالي 5 آلاف شخص بين ضابط طيار وبحري وبحار، وتتميز بأن 70 في المائة من طاقمها العامل بأعمار بين 18 إلى 22 عاماً.

ومن الطائرات التي تحملها: أف 18 من طراز هورنيت و سوبر هورنيت، طائرتان إي (2 سي هوك آي) ومهمتها الإنذار المبكر والقيادة والسيطرة للقوة الضاربة لمجموعة حاملة الطائرات،طائرتان (إي أي براولر) لتوفير الحماية للطائرات المقاتلة،. وتحتوي على مستشفى بخمسين سريراً.

وبحسب ميسم الأنباري فإن هذه الحاملة يمكنها إطلاق بين دقيقة وأخرى طائرة وتستقبل كل نصف دقيقة طائرة.

وأما الحاملة “يو اس اس جون سي. ستينيس” فتعمل بالدفع النووي وتتألف من 8 إلى 9 مقاتلات من نوع :هورنت، برولر،فايكينغ،سيهوك، هوكاي. وهذه الطائرات يمكن أن تدمر طائرات مقاتلة أخرة إضافة إلى السفن والأهداف الأرضية. وتعمل حاملة الطائرات على مفاعلين نويين ( الدفع النووي) وهو ما يزيد من طاقتها وسرعتها التي تصل إلى 56 كم في الساعة.

ولديها أسلحة دفاعية مثل صاروخ “ريم 7 سي سبارو” للمسافات القصيرة وأنظمة “رام” لإطلاق صاروخ أرض جو ونظام فلانكس المضادر لصواريخ كروز وأنظمة الكترونية أخرى. وتحمل سبع سفن حربية وغواصتين.

ويمكن للطائرات التي على متنها مثل “اف 18 هورنيت” و”اف 14 تومكات” الطيران لمسافات اطول قبل القاء القنابل. وعلى متنها مستشفى بمخزون المضادات الحيوية، بما في ذلك “سيبرو”، ومضادات السموم، تحسبا لأي هجوم يستخدم فيه الانثراكس (الجمرة الخبيثة) او غاز الاعصاب.

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January 14th, 2007, 6:59 pm

 

58. Ford Prefect said:

Alex,
I’d have to agree with 3ntaar’s simple but rational math again: we are not having a war or an attack on any one anytime soon. The adventurism of the Administration has ebbed and ended and Bush is just looking for a way out. I will stick to my previous theory that the “surge” events are covering more intense and secret “way-out” negotiations. Ironically, the interests of Iran and the US are converging nicely in Iraq: they both want an end to the unpredictable events in Iraq soon. Iran already won in Iraq and an increasingly instable Iraq is counter productive if not a direct threat to their windfall win. So in a sense I see both parties looking for the Exit sign. Would Iranian leaders give concessions regarding their nuclear ambitions? Sure they would provided they get in return a flexible civilian nuclear program and an end to the sanctions, in return for providing for a stable Iraq. Practically speaking, there is little the US can do now to keep Iran from pursuing a civilian nuclear program.

The advice that has been widely circulating since the ISG Report came out is now being implemented. Bush has already expended all the capital he earned after 9/11 and he is now pursuing the Vietnam-era mantra: If you can’t win, just don’t loose and pass the problem over to your successor.

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January 14th, 2007, 7:08 pm

 

59. Akbar Palace said:

RoxieAmerica said:

“If Israel does indeed use tactical nuclear weapons to end the Iranian nuclear program, the entire world will unite to disarm Israel.”

What is more likely is the UN will do it with American pressure. Remember Saddam?

In that case, what will the “entire world” do?

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January 14th, 2007, 7:45 pm

 

60. Alex said:

FP,

I respect your opinion (and Aussamaa’s) as the more probable outcome at this point. But I still think that the start of an armed conflict based on miscalculations and/or foolish pride is always a possibility … just look at every country that decided to get into a conflict that they eventually lost … they always start with a combination of:

1) we’re stronger and bigger than our enemy.
2) we are on the side of good … our enemy is evil.
3) we have no other option … we are forced to do it because of the actions of the enemy.

History is full of these, no?

Let’s ask Joshua what he thinks.

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January 14th, 2007, 9:06 pm

 

61. Akbar Palace said:

Craig –

Welcome to the forum of “The Absurd”!

As 3ANTAR said, “Syria and Iran don’t want to kill you”.

And if you believe that BS, I’ll tell you another story.

The Arab terrorist apologists on this forum want you to believe that Syria, Iran and their terrorist puppets don’t want to harm anyone except those pesky Joos. Then, while they’re telling you this, they bomb your cities.

So while our terrorist sympathizer editor, Professor Josh tells you about “Bush’s Call for More War”, we wonder why Professor Josh isn’t discussing Syria’s main ally:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “We Will Soon Experience A World Without The United States And Zionism.” AHMADINEJAD: “Undoubtedly, I say that this slogan and goal is achievable, and with the support and power of God, we will soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism and will breathe in the brilliant time of Islamic sovereignty over today’s world.” (Iran’s President Warns Muslims Of ‘Conspiracies Of World Imperialism,’ Available At: http://www.sharifnews.com, Accessed 10/26/05)”

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060905-7.html

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January 15th, 2007, 2:50 am

 

62. ugarit said:

Craig:

Welcome to this forum where you will have the opportunity to acquire facts that are quite rare in the American mean-stream-press. Discard most of what you have “learned” in the US because most of it is propaganda in support of US and Israeli aggression.

Ignore Akbar Palace. He won’t teach you much since his vocabulary consists only of some undefined concept called “terrorism”.

We all hope that you will learn something here.

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January 15th, 2007, 3:33 am

 

63. Dameem said:

Ford Prefect said: (January 14th, 2007, 6:45 pm

“how can peace be established with people like Saddam in power – even if he signed a peace treaty with Israel?”
and
“The moral divine guidance is not to be ignored either. Evangelical Christians truly believed that Iraqis needed spiritual guidance and were helpless in an Islamic tyranny.”

I’m not farsighted enough to answer those questions, but I think according to the current situation, both statements might be considered false and unrealistic.

BTW, Just saw “The Illusionist” and thought it was relevant for today. Why, well, because In both situations you get the feeling “what the hell is happening in this world”
(A young boys perspective)

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January 15th, 2007, 7:44 am

 

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