Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
What is happening to the US?
Arab News, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading papers which has been in circulation for 35 years, published this surprising opinion piece in favor of Lebanon’s new government. It recommends scuttling the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Washington’s brainchild. By arguing that Rafiq Hariri would not support or continence “further bloodshed in his name,” it recommends a halt to further demonization of the Lebanese party, Hizbullah and using Lebanon as a battleground for regional influence.
It demonstrates significant disagreement within the Kingdom over the wisdom of marching behind America’s drumbeat.
Lebanon should reject Hariri tribunal
By LINDA HEARD | ARAB NEWS
Published: Jan 18, 2011
“… Disunity is Lebanon’s greatest Achilles heel, which is now being exacerbated by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is bent on opening-up old wounds with the potential to thrust the country into civil war.
There is no doubt that Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was a great man, who worked hard to rebuild his nation and bring his people together. His reconstruction of Downtown Beirut is a testament to that. His killing in 2005 was a terrible crime ..but allowing a foreign court to regurgitate that tragedy six years with potentially devastating consequences serves no purpose at all for Lebanon’s stability and economic future.
It does, however, benefit the US and Israel which are ready to cheer on the demonization of their enemy Hezbollah, which is the only entity blocking those powers from total domination over Israel’s tiny neighbor and giving them pause for thought to pursue their ambitions to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites.
Lebanon’s so-called unity government wasn’t perfect but it was largely workable. It fell apart when outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri (now caretaker prime minister) visited the US President Barack Obama. He subsequently confirmed his support for the tribunal’s findings and upcoming indictments against members of Hezbollah….
While it’s understandable that Saad Hariri is keen to bring his father’s murderers to justice, but he should not do so at the expense of peace. Whatever a foreign court comes up with will not bring his father back but may lead to further bloodshed in his name….
Hezbollah Ally Mikati to Head New Lebanon Government
January 25, 2011, Businessweek
By Massoud A. Derhally
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) — Lebanese President Michel Suleiman asked Najib Mikati, candidate of the Hezbollah movement and its allies, to form a government as supporters of rival parties took to the streets in protest. Mikati won the backing today of 68 lawmakers to 60 for caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri after Suleiman canvassed their views in two days of talks.
….The U.S. “should be realistic and pragmatic” about Hezbollah’s role in a new government, said Rami G. Khouri…..
“Ultimately the question is: Will Mikati be able to bridge the differences between Saudi Arabia and Syria, the two traditional power brokers in the country?” said Josh Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. “If there is no agreement between Syria and Saudi Arabia then there will be more trouble in Lebanon.”
Mikati is worth $2.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Michael Young, “Lebanon’s False Choice Between Stability and Justice” (via Elliott Abrams)
…..Hezbollah, egged on by Tehran, will fight to ensure that any new Lebanese government distances itself from the special tribunal. But if the tribunal can prove its accusations, Hezbollah may be caught in a vise. If the party resorts to intimidation to stifle dissent and condemnation after the accusations come out, it could plant the seeds of its own destruction. Browbeating its domestic partners will only further isolate Hezbollah and rally other Lebanese communities against it. A Hezbollah leader lording over Lebanon will represent an invitation for an attack by Israel, which might see an opening to cripple the party if it is isolated. And this time, the Israelis have repeatedly warned that a war would be far worse than in 2006 and Shiite suffering much greater. Even among Shiites, patience with a militant organization that offers only perpetual conflict may wear thin, especially at a time when the community yearns for stability to consolidate its newfound political and economic standing in Lebanon….
“Unlike Tunisia, Egypt is a major U.S. ally. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the Obama administration’s “assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” she showed once again how out of touch she is with popular anger at Mubarak. She also alerted Egyptians that Washington was as concerned about the protests and the potential “Egypt effect” as Mubarak must be.
..the administration has worked with pro-democracy groups to advocate for freer media and assembly. It has pushed for outside monitors to scrutinize elections in Jordan and Egypt. And it has encouraged social networks like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about pro-democracy movements — the very networks that helped spread word of demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt. “In giving us guidance as we develop our policies in the region, the president was adamant that we take stock of the brittleness and hidden risks of the status quo,” said Samantha Power, a senior director at the National Security Council who handles human rights issues.
- “We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.”
- Nothing on Egypt
- Nothing on Palestine/Israel
- Iran: “Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before.”
- The parliamentary vote was 68 for Mikati; Hariri got 60. A clear win. Hariri mobs are now taking it out against the media. They attacked, shot at and destroyed cars for Al-Jazeera, NBN and OTV.
- This time, HA got what it wants democratically and Hariri is inciting violence. Last week Hariri said that he would not take this to the streets because that’s what “thugs and people who are against democracy” do? Let’s see how the media will spin this one. The US is also showing its democratic colors and threatening to pushing all Lebanese if their parliament votes for a Opposition led government.
- Listening to some of the speeches made in Tripoli today to incite the mobs in that city and their reactions! Scary stuff. Saudis did a great job there through Hariri. More qaida-esque groups will emerge from that city.
- “Miqati’s willingness to go against Hariri and the latter’s outrage that he’s loosing the PM seat has a lot to do with the fact that they are business rivals. On the wider context, hariri is Saudi’s businessman in Beirut while Miqati is closely linked to Rami and other tycoons in Syria.”
- “outrage in lebanon as a terrorist organization takes control of its government” …This is the CBS news opening line at the evening news tonight
- Solidere shares (Hariri’s company) up 4.5% on the Miqati news. Egyptian stocks down 6.25% today
The Guardian’s story on how they got the Palestine docs:
Expelling Israel’s Arab population?
Israeli negotiators, including Tzipi Livni, proposed “swapping” some of Israel’s Arab villages into a Palestinian state.
The Right of Return
Erekat’s people offered returning 10 thousands Palestinian refugees each year for 10 years. Olmert responded with a agreeing to the return of a thousand refugees for 5 years, while Rice said we can send them to Argentina or Chille instead. Livni told Arakat that the 10k is Olmert’s personal opinion and that her position is no refugees period.
All documents are available here: http://www.ajtransparency.com/ar/search_arabic
If the latest batch of leaked cables demonstrate anything, it is that Israel over the last ten years has been intransigent and deaf to generous offers of peace and territorial compromise. Is it become the new Front for Steadfast Resistance?
The ruling coalition in the Israeli Knesset expected to appoint Michael Ben-Ari, the first outspoken follower of Meir Kahane to be elected to the Knesset since the Kach Party was banned in 1988, to head the investigation into the funding of “leftist NGOs” and human rights groups.
MI6 ‘Drew Up Plan to Crush Hamas’
2011-01-25 – Telegraph
Jan. 25 (Telegraph) — British intelligence advised the Palestinian Authority to crush Hamas and other violent groups in the West Bank by detaining some of their leading figures, leaked documents have shown. In an effort to restore peace during the Second Palestinian Intifada against Israel, MI6 drew up a strategy in 2004 to help Yasser Arafat’s security forces neutralise “rejectionists” opposed to a Middle East peace deal….
MSNBC: Report: Syria among worst for rights abuses
NEW YORK — Syria’s authorities were among the worse violators of human rights last year, jailing lawyers, torturing opponents and using violence to repress ethnic Kurds, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. The rights organization’s annual report …