Will Iranian Warships Through Suez Canal Change Balance of Power?

Will Iranian War Ships Traveling through the Suez Canal Provoke War or Peace?

Qifa Nabki Art

Recent news that Iran will send two warships through the Suez canal to dock in Syria has set off alarm bells for Israel and the US. Defense Minister Ehud Barak walked back comments by Foreign Minister Lieberman that Israel would possibly consider a military strike against the ships.

From the moment the Egyptian people began to move against Mubarak, Iran looked for a way to capitalize on the fall of Israel’s primary Arab partner. Warships through the Suez canal would demonstrate how the balance of power was tilting in the region. There is nothing illegal about sending warships through the Suez canal. Lots of countries do it.

Iranian officials have insisted the request is in line with international regulations. They said the two vessels are headed to Syria for training. On Thursday, the two Iranian naval vessels submitted a request to transit the Suez Canal, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said.

Ahmed al-Manakhly, a senior Suez Canal official, told AP that international agreements regulate the traffic through the canal. He said that only in the case of war with Egypt may vessels be denied transit through the waterway. Al-Manakhly noted that Iran and Egypt are not at war, and said the final decision on whether to grant the vessels’ passage lies with the Defense Ministry.

Iranian warships have not been able to pass through Egypt’s Suez Canal since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian state TV reported Saturday.

“This is awkward — at a minimum,” said David Schenker, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It’s destabilizing. It raises tension, particularly in this time of transition in Egypt,” Schenker said. “This is typical of Syrian-Iranian opportunism.”

Why does this change things? One obvious reason is that Iranian warships could carry weapons to Syria, Lebanon or even Hizbullah.

Israel has been successful in blocking Syria from upgrading its military capability. The US and Europe stop merchant ships headed for Syria that may carry weapons from Iran or North Korea. How can they do this? They claim it is legal within the framework of the UN embargo on Iran meant to block its nuclear program. According to the US, ships traveling from Iran can be stopped and searched for arms.

For several months in 2009, Cyprus held the Russian-owned, Cypriot-flagged Monchegorsk off the southern port of Limassol. The U.S. and other European members of the council said the shipment violated Security Council resolutions and was, according to Haaretz, “traveling to Syria from Iran with weapons destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia or the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.” U.S. and U.K. envoys said the weapons shipment violated the UN arms embargo on Iran. Iran said it did not.

Syria’s ambassador to the UN at the time argued that:

“Raising the issue of this shipment is part of an orchestrated campaign to exert pressure on us to get political concessions,” Ja’afari said in the interview. “We are saying that the Security Council has had all kinds of indications of Israeli violations of international law and has never held them accountable. It is a double standard. … Ja’Afari said Syria and other Arab nations have the right to obtain weapons to defend against “Israeli invasions and aggressions.” ”

If Iran were able to send war ships to Syria, Britain and the US would have to think twice before stopping them; although, they could be easily sunk by Israeli planes.

The US guarantees Israel’s QME or Qualitative Military Edge.  In 2008, this longstanding policy was written into law and has since become the cornerstone of the U.S.-Israeli security relationship. It is defined as a guarantee to ensure:

“Israel’s ability to counter and defeat any military threat from any state, coalition of states, or non-state actors, while itself sustaining minimal casualties or damage.”

By guaranteeing Israel’s military hegemony in the region, the US has opened the way for Israel to expand its borders over the land it conquered in 1967, rather than trade it for peace. That is why Israel ‘deeply appreciates’ the U.S. veto on UN resolution condemning settlements of yesterday. As America’s ambassador to the UN, Susan E. Rice, said after her veto of the UN resolution:

“The United States has not characterized settlement activity as illegal since, 1980. And – but what we do believe firmly and have reiterated forcefully, including today, is that continued settlement activity is not legitimate.”

Realists argue that only by bringing the balance of power in the region back into equilibrium will peace be encouraged. This logic suggests that if Iran is able upgrade Syrian and Palestinian arms, peace may become more likely. Only by creating a balance of power in the region will Israel compromise rather than expand.

[End analysis]

Egypt is no longer committed to an alliance with Israel against Iran – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News – Aluf Benn

A year and a half ago, an Israel Navy submarine crossed the Suez Canal on its way from Haifa to the Red Sea, where it conducted an exercise, and back. The unusual voyage reflected the growing strategic cooperation between Israel and Egypt, which aimed a menacing message at Iran. The submarine’s crossing of the waterway demonstrated how quickly Israel could deploy its deterrent near Iran’s shores, with the tacit support of Egypt.

Once more, the canal is being used to deliver a message of deterrence – but this time the direction is reversed. Egypt is allowing Iranian warships to cross the canal, on their way to Syrian ports. Israel was publicly critical of the passage – arguing that it is a provocative move – but Egypt ignored the pressures and granted the Iranian navy permission to pass, symbolizing the change to the regional balance of power following the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt is signaling that it is no longer committed to its strategic alliance with Israel against Iran, and that Cairo is now willing to do business with Tehran. This is precisely what Turkey has done in recent years under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Since the uprising against Mubarak, the cold peace between Egypt and Israel has cooled even further. The delivery of natural gas to Israel, which was cut off after a terrorist attack on a station in northern Sinai, has still not been resumed.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi returned to Cairo after decades in exile and addressed a million strong crowd in Tahrir Square on Friday, calling for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the upcoming victory against Israel. In the past, the sheikh had expressed support for suicide attacks against Israelis and two years ago described the Holocaust as “God’s punishment of the Jews.”

The appearance of the Islamist firebrand in the square has returned hatred for Israel to the center of the public debate over Egypt’s future. Until now, the argument was that the revolution concerned domestic matters, not Egypt’s relations with the United States or Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood has also been trying to send messages of moderation to the West, but this is hardly comforting.

There is growing concern in Israel that Egypt will become a hostile front, adding to the feeling of international isolation which has only intensified since Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister. The recent vote at the UN Security Council over the Palestinian resolution to label the settlements as illegal only increased this sense of isolation. With 14 states supporting this measure, Israel needed an American veto to foil it.

The Palestinians may have lost that vote, but the issue demonstrated which side in the conflict enjoys widespread international recognition.

Bolstered with Congressional support, Netanyahu forced U.S. President Barack Obama into the veto – which he had avoided using to date. The Americans argued that internationalization of the conflict cannot replace direct negotiations, and that forced decisions will only result in parties taking up more extreme positions.

It is not yet clear what Obama will try to get from Netanyahu in return: a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories, or acceptance of an American peace plan. The U.S. president will argue that Washington needs to bolster its credibility in the Arab world and that Israel must contribute its lot to ensure that the new regimes in the area are friendly.

‘Clinton threatened to cancel aid to PA’ – Israel News, Ynetnews – In order to stop the PA from proposing the UN resolution declaring settlements illegal.

From Matt Duss

In terms of Israel’s security, the Wall Street Journal reported that “U.S. military aid to Israel increased markedly” in 2010, an effort that stems from policy directives the White House gave the Pentagon early in Obama’s presidency to “deepen and expand the quantity and intensity of cooperation to the fullest extent.” Speaking at the Brookings Institution in July, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro described in detail how the Obama administration is “preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge through an unprecedented increase in U.S. security assistance, stepped up security consultations, support for Israel’s new Iron Dome defensive system, and other initiatives.” President Obama raised the amount of U.S. military aid to Israel, making it the single largest expense in the 2010 foreign aid budget. He also authorized $205 million to enable Israel to complete the Iron Dome. Obama has significantly increased the level of strategic dialogue and the depth of intelligence coordination between the U.S. and Israel, particularly regarding Iran, a key Israeli security concern. According to one Israeli official, that coordination is now “even better than under President Bush.”

Since then, we’ve learned that, thanks to that intense coordination, outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan was able to report that Iran’s nuclear program had been set back several years.

As former Congressman Robert Wexler stated on a panel at Herzliya, the U.S. “has bent over backwards, during President Bush and even more so under President Obama, in attempts to secure Israeli security interests”:

When the Turkish government uninvited Israel to a joint military exercise campaign, what did Obama do? He withdrew the United States from the exercise, then what did he do? He brought the largest presence of US military personnel, they showed up to your [Israeli] ports, and we stayed for weeks, and then what did we do? We developed a coordinated anti-missile strategy with one purpose: to protect the Israeli people.

We have offered security package after security package after security package… We continue to engage on security issues and are not acknowledged for doing so.

Syria to EU: tackle Israel, not Egypt for Middle East peace
ANDREW RETTMAN, 17.02.2011

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The EU should take firm action against Israeli settlement-building and human rights abuses instead of playing politics in Egypt if it wants to calm tension in the Middle East, Syria’s ambassador to the Union has said.

Speaking to EU observer in Brussels on Wednesday (16 February), Mohamad Ayman Soussan said the main danger of conflict in the region comes from the Arab-Israeli problem not the revolution in Egypt or Tunisia.

“Our European friends have a responsibility here, because Europe is the principal economic partner of Israel. They have all the means at their disposal to make Israel reconsider its position vis-a-vis international law. Europe must assume this responsibility if it ever intends to take its rightful place in the international order,” he explained.

“Where in Europe do you see such a level of brutality against demonstrators? Where do you see roads that can be used only by one kind of people? Israel practices apartheid and the EU assists this everyday through its ongoing relations.”

Wikileaks: Origin: Embassy Manama
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
SUBJECT: LEBANON TRIBUNAL: BAHRAIN SUPPORTIVE; NO FINANCIAL COMMITMENT

1. (C) Pol/Econ Chief met with MFA Undersecretary Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa on February 7 to review the Secretary’s note verbale and talking points A-G (reftel). SIPDIS Al-Khalifa expressed strong support for the tribunal and Bahrain’s commitment to working cooperatively to promote peace and stability in Lebanon, but said that limited resources meant that the GOB would likely not be able to contribute financially. Al-Khalifa said that the GOB would continue its public and private support of PM Siniora’s government, and agreed that obstacles to the presidential election must be removed. He added that it would be “absolutely unacceptable” for Hizballah to enter the government. Al-Khalifa said that “the time has come to talk publicly about Syria’s uncooperative stance,” and that he believed the Arab states would send a strong message to Syria at the Damascus Summit. He hinted that King Hamad would no attend..”

Comments (78)


1. MONTAGNARD said:

It feels like ages since the Arab Summit in Damascus few years ago. Those arrogant Kings, Emirs, and Presidents that were snubbing Syria and its hosting the summit, while kissing the US administration’s back, are now looking for a life line to survive their populations outrage, while the US administration has turned its back on them.
President Obama has cast his first veto against the UN Security Council resolution yesterday, while the other 14 UNSC members unanimously voted for the resolution. That veto has clearly shown the hypocrisy in the US policy dealing with the Palestinians when it comes to hold Israel accountable to International Law. What a clear black and white picture. The whole world on the right side and Israel and its subordinate the US on the wrong side.

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February 19th, 2011, 2:30 pm

 

2. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Will Iranian Warships Through Suez Canal Change Balance of Power?
No, the ships can be easily sunken with low-tech grade weapons if necessary. A single Fighter plane can do it. This tactics of excreting dominance in a region through Sea crafts is obsolete. The benefit is more toward transport logistics. It will not add to the strategic position of Syria, because during war time, or conflict of sort, voyages will come under attack.

In the event of a full scale war, Syria already maintains sufficiently all sort of missile delivered retaliatory weapons. But it can only be used in full scale conflict. What Syria lacks is tactical deterrent, and weapons that can offer strategic advantage in small, limited theater conflict. They have Hezbollah for that, but not a Syrian version. Should Syria develop this capability with appropriate weaponry, then no U.S. commitment to Israel will do, no matter how high tech the quality of aid is, because improved Syria combined with current Hezbollah capabilities will over run North Israel in a day or two. Three days they will be in Tel Aviv. Even Israel tactical weapons will not have effect on the advancing forces if they are scattered in Guerilla style formation over wider front area. So Israeli as usual, will resort into attacking cities and civilians and risk non-conventional weapon retaliatory strikes from Syria. Welcome to Armageddon. Israeli is not ready for this, they struggled for 2000 years to own a State and they will not forfeit it over non extensile threat. The risk is that Zionist crazies in Washington, having so much influence on Israelis, may in the heat of conflict, convince or submit fabricated evidence that the war is extensile to Israel.

Knowing this, Israeli are pressuring for years, in desperation, the U.S. into a dead end strategy of pacifying Syria and hoping to use the STL to arm twist Assad on Iran/Hezbollah and Israeli Peace, in the same way they did to Sudan’s Bashir, giving him the option of ceding Golan or renting it and keeping his cash or risk losing it under an STL related U.N. Sanctions when Syria fail to hand over any indicted official, or wanted for presence at the Court. They still holding that indictment and Bashar is smart enough to leads them on for as long as it takes, keeping that indictment on hold practically for years, perhaps forcing many of the court judges to resign in protes and the whole thing collapses, or the charade become exposed for what it is, a scam to force Assad hand, no more, once he settle, the indictment is watered down to dead persons and closes down.

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February 19th, 2011, 4:20 pm

 
 

4. Ziad said:

Today in Tahrir Square:

Egypt Supports Wisconsin. One World one Pain

http://twitpic.com/419nfm

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February 20th, 2011, 12:08 am

 

5. AIG said:

Shami,

Both Iraq and Iran were enemies of Israel. Our interest was that the war would end without any clear winner or loser so that neither side would grow stronger.

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February 20th, 2011, 12:25 am

 

6. AIG said:

Any weapons Iran would want to send Syria it could have sent by air or around the Cape. The Suez Canal is not essential at all for getting weapons from Iran to Syria. The two ships passing the Suez Canal are just symbolic.

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February 20th, 2011, 12:30 am

 

7. majedkhaldoon said:

Libya is revolting, against a dictator,Kadafi,he responded by killing people,in Libya, does he think he can control it?, He doesnot learn the lesson from BinAli,and Mubarak ,he will get himself killed,and it will not take 18 days.
If the dictators in the Arab world do not understand that when people get very angry,things go only one way,they will not calm down till they win.
God help the libyan people.

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February 20th, 2011, 12:50 am

 

8. Shai said:

Change of Balance of Power?

No doubt, Iranian warships in Syrian ports changes the balance. Not by much, not physically, but perceptually it does. And in today’s Middle East, perception is often far more dangerous than reality.

As we see in Iran’s case, it is far less important whether Iran actually has the ability to “destroy Israel” (with 1 or 2, or 5 bombs), as it is that Iran is perceived as having this ability (or even intention).

So this latest naval move by Tehran will undoubtedly make trigger-happy Israeli leaders even more trigger-happy, and thus bring the already unstable state in the region to an even-higher state of instability. It is not clear what Iran’s motives are at this point in time, but if it is interested in regional confrontation, it is taking steps that further this possibility.

On the other hand, destabilizing moves can also bring about stabilizing moves to counter them. It is not inconceivable that the Netanyahu Government (or at least Netanyahu) will look more seriously into any peaceful initiative that comes across his path, more than he did before.

When you start losing your friends, you look carefully at the ones you still have left (Mahmoud Abbas), and the ones that are willing to talk to you (Assad?) Israel is undoubtedly losing its influence in the region, and internal pressure will soon grow to do everything possible to reverse this phenomenon.

The U.S. will soon be forced to adopt a more open approach to opposition groups throughout the region than it did over the past century. Just as the Rulers of the region are beginning to realize the power of the masses, so will the Obama Administration. And, eventually, so will Israel.

If Israel is smart, this is the time to dispatch all its diplomats throughout the planet, to meet and talk with Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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February 20th, 2011, 2:45 am

 

9. Off the Wall said:

Arab Revolutions, beware of false friends

We were all told of Clinton’s pathetic speech recently on internet freedom. Well, during her speech, her “regime” turned into another ben-Ali’s and Mubarak regime, as the 71 years old Ray McGovern, a 27 years CIA veteran and a leading member of Veterans for peace was roughed up, bruised and bloodied by Police thugs. Watch this and see her smug face as if nothing is happening. (@ :36)

Ray McGovern Assaulted

All what Ray did was to stand with his back to Clinton wearing a T-shirt of Veteran for peace, which is exactly what the April 6 heroes did on the Courneisch in Alexandria, Egypt. And yet, the police found that threatening. Worse are the cowards in the audience, most of whom are journalists, who sat silent never even noticing the irony of the barbaric treatment Ray was subjected to. Those building a police state in the US have no right to preach about any thing. I am afraid that the US is showing all the signs of turning into a third world country.
Any protestation from the AIPAC controlled US government or from the neocon Clinton about using rough tactics with the demonstrator rings hollow. The security forces of Mubarak, Ben Ali, Qaddafi, Khalifa, and Saleh, are all US-Euro trained and equipped. Furthermore, Police brutality in the US is nothing new despite of the sweet talk and the apparent politeness of some officers. When the status quo is threatened, you will see similar levels of brutality as we are now seeing in Libya.
It is thought provoking that the Syrian security, definitely not US trained, have managed to deal with a very volatile situation much better than the well trained DC police. This response can also be attributed to their surprise and shock at the level of courage they have encountered as evidenced by the man who blew off at the Mukhabarat agent calling him ya 3ars. I am concerned, however, that according to the Syrian press, the three cops are now being punished in the so-called, room of correction. Even with their violations of the civil rights of the young man, they still should have their own civil rights unmolested. No one is seeking revenge, and all are seeking the rule of law. I would argue that the rough demeaning language they have used with the citizen only reflect their own mistreatment at the hands of their superiors and this was rather evident in Egypt according to many stories we now hear. If you want your officers to treat the citizens well, you have to stop the mistreatment at every army camp and every police training center. This is easy to internalize, simply close your eyes and imagine a captain talking to the underpaid policeman or to the conscript soldier:
يا خرى يا حمار يا عرص بكسر راسك وبلعن امك على ابوك إذا سمعتك عم بتهين ا لمواطن
At this stage, Tunisia and Egypt have pushed human and civil rights issues to the forefront of political debate in the Arab region. Arab Ministers of Interior, and their enabling intellectuals and/or palace imams can no longer use the pathetic “Specific Cultural and Religious” argument to suspend the human dignity of their nations. There is no specificity anymore, human dignity is UNIVERSAL.
Arab police forces and Armies, most of which were re-established and trained between the 30s and 60s of the past century by abusive racist colonial officers, must now learn to overcome the house slave mentality. That requires a major shift of paradigm from being instruments to protect the regimes to instruments of protecting the state. This was most evident in Tunisia, and to a lesser extent in Egypt, where clear rifts between regime instruments (governing party, security apparatus, and goons) and state instruments (Armies) were rather evident.
In the meantime, no one is in real hurry. The events of the last two months have only demonstrated the eventual victory of the people. Cosmetic management of discontent, and meaningless populists bribes to the people, will only result in delaying the inevitable, and based on what we now see in Bahrain and Libya, such delay is shrinking exponentially. Only two types will probably survive in the next couple of years, the excessively brutal and the brave and genuine. The former will only intensify the next round and I have nothing to tell them. The latter, must show how genuine they are by providing their nations with true road maps, start by abandoning any emergency laws in their countries, and demonstrate both actionable time line along with metrics, not only promises of x years duration and continuation of you will see it when it comes double talk. In essence, they must tell their nations of their vision of the future and be ready to negotiate that vision with the widest possible and real strata of their societies.

I must, however, apologize for my pontification. It is those on the streets, in the shops, hospitals, schools, universities, and offices, factories, and fields in every Arab countries who will have the final say. It is an eventuality, not a probability. And anyone thinking otherwise, including myself, would be a ……

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February 20th, 2011, 5:20 am

 

10. Off the Wall said:

Shai
Funny, Israeli warships crossing the canal are stabilizing, but Iranian warships are destabilizing?

I think you are being too optimistic about the US’s capacity for independent decision in the near-term when it comes to Israel. As I have argued countless times, those at the decision making juncture and their aids in the media do not really care about the Israelis or the Arabs, all they care about is enforcing an unsustainable situation and a mythical vision of Israel, they are no different from those who want to enforce a mythical vision of Khilafa. What i expect is more blunders and increased tension.

I believe that the real existential challenge to Israel is materializing in front of our eyes. And this challenge has nothing to do with the shape of parliaments and which party (Islamic or otherwise) gets the majority in Egypt and Tunisia (hopefully few more before the end of 2011). The threat has more to do with Isreal’s demonstrable failure to fulfill its colonialist role as a forward base of Europe and the US. I could not interpret the hyperventilation in Herzelia in any other way. Whether Israeli citizens believe that this is their role is not the issue here. To the master races, Israel is failing to pacify the natives and it is turning into a huge depot of useless hi-tech weapons (good for military industrial complexes), while the west still has to send their own forces, get their own sons and daughters killed (bad for public relationship), most of the times to protect Israel along with their own interests. Worst, the natives are seeming less threatening, and much more sophisticated than the Pro-Israeli propagandists have succeeded in painting them to be.

So far, the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have acted very smartly way. This is perhaps less indicative of their new tools or the youth of their leaders, and more indicative of the fact that they do, for the first time, represent the real aspirations of their people and not the pre-packaged (socialist and/or religious) doctrines of bygone eras. The collective wisdom of the street seems to recognize how serious these aspiration are and act with the care and thoughtfulness paralleled only by determination. If, and it is more likely than not, the west recognizes that true democracies in the Arab world pose no threats to their legitimate interests, then the main causes and the unique role of Israel as a colonialist project would be obliterated. Look at it positively, it may be liberating to Israel as some keen Israelis have observed.

Despite of a tremendous and rather embarrassing Islamophobic and racist rhetoric from various Israeli Officials and so-called intellectuals, and their enablers in Tal-Abib, DC, and elsewhere, and despite of all the attempt at minimize the exposure of the western public to the events in Egypt, the public impression in the west seems to be shock and awe. The image of the mouth-frothing “Airab” has been obliterated by people of all ages in Tahrir square, the only crazies were shown to be those goons hired by Israel’s biggest friend in the region, who sent camels and mules into the midst of peaceful demonstrators with the advocates of the “only democracy” in the region such as professor torture, equivocating.

I know it hurts, and I am sure that this is not what the average Israeli think of themselves. A realignment of perception is at work, and it would be very hard to stop. A question begs itself, having failed as a colonialist forward base, would Israeli citizens now strive to make their country more than a criminal real-estate enterprise for the religious nuts and free themselves from the Settlers and their friends in the US and Europe. From what i see, I am not so sure Israelis are ready for a constitutional liberal democracy. I am waiting for mass condemnation in Israel of the US recent veto. When that happens, i will recognize that they are ready for democracy.

AP, do not bother asking any of your silly questions for I will not answer them.

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February 20th, 2011, 6:14 am

 

11. Off the Wall said:

Arab Revolutions, beware of false friends

We were all told of Clinton’s pathetic speech recently on internet freedom. Well, during her speech, her “regime” turned into another ben-Ali’s and Mubarak regime, as the 71 years old Ray McGovern, a 27 years CIA veteran and a leading member of Veterans for peace was roughed up, bruised and bloodied by Police thugs. Watch this and see her smug face as if nothing is happening. ( :36)

All what Ray did was to stand with his back to Clinton wearing a T-shirt of Veteran for peace, which is exactly what the April 6 heroes did on the Courneisch in Alexandria, Egypt. And yet, the police found that threatening. Worse are the cowards in the audience, most of whom are journalists, who sat silent never even noticing the irony of the barbaric treatment Ray was subjected to. Those building a police state in the US have no right to preach about any thing. I am afraid that the US is showing all the signs of turning into a third world country.

Any protestation from the AIPAC controlled US government or from the neocon Clinton about using rough tactics with the demonstrator rings hollow. The security forces of Mubarak, Ben Ali, Qaddafi, Khalifa, and Saleh, are all US-Euro trained and equipped.

Furthermore, Police brutality in the US is nothing new despite of the sweet talk and the apparent politeness of some officers. When the status quo is threatened, you will see similar levels of brutality as we are now seeing in Libya.

It is thought provoking that the Syrian security, definitely not US trained, have managed to deal with a very volatile situation much better than the well trained DC police. This response can also be attributed to their surprise and shock at the level of courage they have encountered as evidenced by the man who blew off at the Mukhabarat agent calling him ya 3ars. I am concerned, however, that according to the Syrian press, the three cops are now being punished in the so-called, room of correction. Even with their violations of the civil rights of the young man, they still should have their own civil rights unmolested. No one is seeking revenge, and all are seeking the rule of law. I would argue that the rough demeaning language they have used with the citizen only reflect their own mistreatment at the hands of their superiors and this was rather evident in Egypt according to many stories we now hear. If you want your officers to treat the citizens well, you have to stop the mistreatment at every army camp and every police training center. This is easy to internalize, simply close your eyes and imagine a captain talking to the underpaid policeman or to the conscript soldier:

يا خرى يا حمار يا عرص بكسر راسك وبلعن امك على ابوك إذا سمعتك عم بتهين ا لمواطن

At this stage, Tunisia and Egypt have pushed human and civil rights issues to the forefront of political debate in the Arab region. Arab Ministers of Interior, and their enabling intellectuals and/or palace imams can no longer use the pathetic “Specific Cultural and Religious” argument to suspend the human dignity of their nations. There is no specificity anymore, human dignity is UNIVERSAL.
Arab police forces and Armies, most of which were re-established and trained between the 30s and 60s of the past century by abusive racist colonial officers, must now learn to overcome the house slave mentality. That requires a major shift of paradigm from being instruments to protect the regimes to instruments of protecting the state. This was most evident in Tunisia, and to a lesser extent in Egypt, where clear rifts between regime instruments (governing party, security apparatus, and goons) and state instruments (Armies) were rather evident.

In the meantime, no one is in real hurry. The events of the last two months have only demonstrated the eventual victory of the people. Cosmetic management of discontent, and meaningless populists bribes to the people, will only result in delaying the inevitable, and based on what we now see in Bahrain and Libya, such delay is shrinking exponentially. Only two types will probably survive in the next couple of years, the excessively brutal and the brave and genuine. The former will only intensify the next round and I have nothing to tell them. The latter, must show how genuine they are by providing their nations with true road maps, start by abandoning any emergency laws in their countries, and demonstrate both actionable time line along with metrics, not only promises of x years duration and continuation of you will see it when it comes double talk. In essence, they must tell their nations of their vision of the future and be ready to negotiate that vision with the widest possible and real strata of their societies.

I must, however, apologize for my pontification. It is those on the streets, in the shops, hospitals, schools, universities, and offices, factories, and fields in every Arab country who will have the final say. It is an eventuality, not a probability. And anyone thinking otherwise, including myself, would be a ……

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February 20th, 2011, 6:30 am

 

12. Norman said:

Shai,

The passing of these Iranian ships will only increase the paranoia that the Israeli have and give them another chance for more weapons from the US,

some Israeli might use that to push forward for peace with the vision that they need to be able to live in the neighborhood others will use it to start a war, In today’s Israel there are more in the second camp .

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February 20th, 2011, 7:14 am

 

13. Off the Wall said:

US-Israel trained police forces in Kurdistan Iraq are no better than Kaddafi’s goons. Already 100 victims so far, live ammunitions are used against demonstrators, and Suleimania is getting out of hand.

While the neocons agenda lies in tatters, the future of the Mulla’s in Iran is more questionable than ever.

A common denominator of all three is the accusation by whatever regime (the two ruling tribal parties in Kurdistan, the Mullas in Iran, and those deranged green monsters in Libya) that “outside forces and enemies of stability” are at work.

Two months ago, Libya was a “rehabilitated” country and Kurdistan was a “Liberated” one.

Makes you wonder……

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February 20th, 2011, 9:01 am

 

14. AIG said:

Off the Wall,

Take a deep breath and put the colonialism rhetoric aside. What is happening in the Arab world is good for the Arabs and good for Israel and good for the West. Yes, the transition period could be messy. Israelis are not afraid of real democracy in the Arab world. They are afraid of islamists taking over. Exactly why many Syrians posting on this blog are reluctant to accelerate reforms in Syria. But as you rightly point out. The result is in the hands of the Arab people. There is nothing Israel or the US or the West can do about it.

I (and many other Israelis) are delighted to see what is happening. As I have been arguing for years, true long term stability in the middle east will only come from democratic regimes. Yes, some of the democratic experiments will fail and islamist regimes will emerge. But these will only be stepping stones to true democracies in the future.

No democratic Arab regime is going to sign a peace treaty with Israel in the short or medium term. However, no regime accountable to its people is going to want to go to war at the expense of its economy and the welfare of its people. Do you think a really democratic Syrian regime would prefer hosting Hamas to reducing American sanctions and attracting more foreign capital? As for islamist regimes, yes they will cause Israel headaches, but will make also the countries they rule very very weak.

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February 20th, 2011, 11:02 am

 

15. majedkhaldoon said:

Abdulfattah Younis,may have revolted against Kadafi

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February 20th, 2011, 11:14 am

 

16. Norman said:

Majid,
Who is younis,

AIG , as long as the army will protect the democracy and push people out when they lose, The worry is that the Islamist election will be the last free election,

No Comment on this one ,

أكثر من 34 % من الشباب السوري يفكر بالهجرة.. واهم المشكلات التي يعانون منها عدم كفاية دخل الأسرة الاخبار المحلية
شارك

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February 20th, 2011, 11:36 am

 

17. why-discuss said:

“Pro-Democracy” Movements Breaking Out All Over? Don’t Kid Yourselves!
By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse

Do you still believe that the demonstrations in the Islamic and Arab world have anything to do with “democracy”, or that the United States actually supports movements toward self-determination and democratic reforms in the region?

If you do, you must also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. But if you don’t, are you a pragmatist who believes in doing whatever is required to maintain America’s advantaged position in the global affairs, regardless of who might have to be stepped on to achieve that? And if you are a good Christian idealist with the proverbial American sense of justice and fair play, who believes in the principles of the Golden Rule, are you willing to jeopardize the standards of living you have been accustomed to and regard as your birthright by having your government limit itself to doing unto others only as you would have them do unto yours?

How could we refer to the recent upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt or, for that matter, the 2009 post elections demonstrations in Tehran, as “pro-democracy” movements when we cannot even define what this deceptively alluringly sound-bite really means? What do we or the news media and our official Administration pronouncements refer to when labeling the demonstrations in Tahrir Square as “pro democracy”?…..

http://www.payvand.com/news/11/feb/1149.html

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February 20th, 2011, 12:49 pm

 

18. Off the Wall said:

AIG
I am talking about perception. No sane person believes that Israeli citizens wake up in the morning saying to themselves, ok another day to work for the west … But you can not deny that protecting the west’s legitimate and illegitimate interests are part and parcel of Motivation and support for israel’s founding. It has changed, but inability to deliver in terms of maintaing the security of friendly regimes has affected the responses of many in the IDF and security apparatus in Israel. It may be an overcompensation for failing to protect a friend, but it was there, in words, and in body language. There is a panic beyond fearing islamists.

Do you really think a democratic Egypt, or Hijaz will tolerate sanctions on a democratic Syria?

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February 20th, 2011, 1:42 pm

 

19. Frank al Irlandi said:

Chaps

we all seem to have overlooked the quite superb Dolphin Class submarines that Germanzy has sold to the chaps in Tel Aviv.

It remains to be seen wheter the Iranian ships will be able to assert the rights of peaceful passage and freedom of navigation on the high seas.

A couple of torpedos in a thousand feet of water and no survivors might be a scanario running through somebody´s mind.

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February 20th, 2011, 2:12 pm

 

20. SimoHurtta said:

No doubt, Iranian warships in Syrian ports changes the balance. Not by much, not physically, but perceptually it does. And in today’s Middle East, perception is often far more dangerous than reality.

Come-on. Does anybody in Israel even want to know of what kind of naval ships are in question?

The ships are a light patrol frigate Alvand, built in 1968 and a support vessel (cargo ship) Kharg. Not in anyway a serious military threat to Israel or to anybody else.

The ships were just before docked in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2011/02/iranian-warships-port-in-saudi-arabia.html
That is even a bigger news than this Suez canal passing, remembering the Israeli/US propaganda how desperately Sunni Arab countries want Israel (=USA) to attack Iran.

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February 20th, 2011, 3:30 pm

 

21. AIG said:

OTW,

You are really over simplifying things. Britain was against the founding of Israel. The US never sold Israel weapons till after 1967 and it was Eisenhower who kicked Israel out of the Sinai in 1956. The French sold weapons to Israel until 1967 when they started an embargo and became pro-Arab. The Soviet Union supported the founding of Israel because it believed that the left leaning founders of Israel would make Israel part of the Soviet sphere. When that didn’t happen, they switched positions. Israel is not a tool of the West. It is aligned with the West just like Belgium and Denmark and Singapore. And since the long term interest of the West is democracy in the Arab world, I really do not understand your position.

As for panic in Israel beyond fearing Islamists, how did you get that impression? There is absolutely no panic in Israel. Just check an the Israeli Stock Exchange or the Israel ETF EIS. And there is no panic in the defense sector either. Why should there be? The Egyptian Army based on US weapons and without spare parts will fall apart in a few short years and in any case the Israeli army can easily defeat the Egyptian one.

Even if most Egyptians turn out to be against sanctions on Syria, what exactly can they do about it? Stop trading with the US? The question you should ask yourself is whether a democratic Egypt will tolerate a non-democratic Syria and what Syria will do about Qardawi clones preaching freely against the Syrian regime from Egypt.

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February 20th, 2011, 3:33 pm

 

22. Almin said:

It’s a new day in Syria….they arrested the policemen involved.

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February 20th, 2011, 3:53 pm

 

23. SimoHurtta said:

Even if most Egyptians turn out to be against sanctions on Syria, what exactly can they do about it? Stop trading with the US? The question you should ask yourself is whether a democratic Egypt will tolerate a non-democratic Syria and what Syria will do about Qardawi clones preaching freely against the Syrian regime from Egypt.

Do you AIG even know how much is the trade between USA and Egypt. USA exports to Egypt goods worth 3,4 billion Euro and imports worth 1 billion. So ending trade with USA hurts more US economy and trade balance. Egypt with its big population and vital sea route, Suez canal, is a country like Turkey. Far to important for USA to begin some risky games remote controlled from Tel Aviv. If USA looses its already much weaker foothold in Egypt it will loose Saudi Arabia and what is then any more left?

Now the trade between Egypt and Syria is 0.8 billion Euro. Egypt exports to Syria for 0.6 billion Euro. So it would be stupid for Egypt to end this trade. For comparison the trade between Egypt and Israel is 86 million Euro. Ending that totally will not hurt neither the Egyptian or Israeli economies.

The example of the fast growing trade between Turkey and Iran shows that Muslim countries are finding ways of bypassing US administrated (and Israeli commanded) trade blockades and sanctions. On the financial and technological sectors USA and the West are not any more the only option. Egypt can also find other options. China and Arab countries can provide fast a solution. Faster than you in Israel believe.

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February 20th, 2011, 4:21 pm

 

24. Ziadsoury said:

An Egyptian friend sent me this link. It is a must watch. It is in Arabic.
You may not believe your eyes and ears as you witness these astounding tales of:
· Looting Egypt’s Pharaonic treasures;
· Muzzling the voices that seek to protect what’s ours; and
· Rewriting history to “validate” the Nile-to-Euphrates Zionist vision!!

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February 20th, 2011, 4:30 pm

 

25. Ghat Albird said:

SIMOHURTTA

AIG’s comments reflecta adherence to the judgment of early Zionist leaders and Chaim Weizmann in particular that basically consider “The Arabs will be our problem for a long time…They’re ten to one, but don’t we Jews have ten times their intelligence?”

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February 20th, 2011, 4:40 pm

 

26. Off the WALL said:

AIG

If democracy is in the long term interest of the west, then the west has been acting for 60 years now against its own interests. It has been propping up dictatorships and thugs throughout the region and helping them suppress any attempt to create democracy. During the cold war, it was the west, aided by Israel, who prevented the emergence of democratic movements throughout the region. Their complicity in preventing an alternative model is well documented and known. Even today, it took the west very long time to decide what to do about their man in Egypt. This argument even if theoretically sound stands null in reality. May be to you the west is consistent, but from where every Arab stands, the west allows no second in duplicity and double standards.

While you measure panic in dollars and defense attitude, I measure it by the reactions of Israel firsters in the US and by the reactions of the high political echelon in Israel and their mouthpieces. One measure is the hyperventilation about Islamists.

The most important characteristics of what is happening is that the people have finally decided to ignore the west’s double standards and to plot their own destiny.

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February 20th, 2011, 5:05 pm

 

27. AIG said:

Sim,

There is nothing Egypt can do to stop US sanctions on Syria. Egypt has zero leverage over the US.

If Western technology were so easy to replace, Syria would not be suffering from the US sanctions.

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February 20th, 2011, 5:13 pm

 

28. brian said:

You mean : Israel and its servant the US..
the US is only worried cause the zionist lobby has its very many well funded representatives in congress raising the alarm.

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February 20th, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

29. AIG said:

OTW,

Take Egypt for example. Eisenhower “made” Nasser through the 1956 war in which Nasser emerged because of Eisenhower as the leader of the Arab world. Was that a pro-democratic or anti-democratic move? The US wowed Nasser’s Egypt but to no avail. He decided to side with the Soviets. Sadat approached the US and Israel saying he would like to switch to the US orbit of influence and make peace with Israel. From an American point of view, should Carter have said no to him because he was a dictator? If the US would have said no, would that have hastened democracy in Egypt? All very difficult questions to answer correctly even with hindsight.

In Syria is the US policy pro or anti democracy? It is certainly against the Syrian regime and would love to see democracy. So again, you are over simplifying US actions and goals. The US needs to balance stability with its ideology which is democracy. It often gets things wrong because the world is very complicated. You call that “double standards”, but it is really just making decisions in a murky and very complicated environment. We agree that the US cannot stop people power, and that was lacking until now in the Arab world. Until now, they are not against the West, but for a better life for themselves. One cannot but respect and support that and the bravery that Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans etc. have shown in the face of cruel regimes.

As for panic in Israel, you are basing your conclusion on anecdotal evidence and cherry picking. The Israel political spectrum is very diverse and you can always find two politicians or analysts that contradict each other. The changes in the middle east are excellent for Israel but much more importantly they are excellent for the Arab people.

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February 20th, 2011, 5:37 pm

 

30. SimoHurtta said:

AIG’s comments reflecta adherence to the judgment of early Zionist leaders and Chaim Weizmann in particular that basically consider “The Arabs will be our problem for a long time…They’re ten to one, but don’t we Jews have ten times their intelligence?”

Well we Finns have an old “saying” that as a soldier one Finn is worth ten Russians. The problem is and has always been that there are 30 – 40 times more Russians than there are Finns. :)

Israeli Jews must really be clever if they will easily defeat as AIG claims the Egyptian army (450,000 men, 480,000 reserve, 240 F-16, 1000 M1 Abrams etc). Especially if a democratic Egypt some times in future joins forces with Turkey. I suppose that the regional domination period of Israel is beginning to be over. Turkey and Egypt will most probably not allow Israel in future play the first violin in the area and the west has no other option than be satisfied with that.

It is amusing how Israelis are afraid of Muslim extremism, but nobody there is worried about Jewish extremism when the present foreign minister Lieberman has a couple of times suggested bombing Aswan damn and he suggested that when the countries were “friends”. Has anybody in Israel even thought about how many innocent victims would that “moderate secular” suggestion cost. 10 million, 20 million or 30 million?

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February 20th, 2011, 5:48 pm

 

31. SimoHurtta said:

Sim,

There is nothing Egypt can do to stop US sanctions on Syria. Egypt has zero leverage over the US.

If Western technology were so easy to replace, Syria would not be suffering from the US sanctions.

Ahaa Egypt has zero leverage over the USA. That is interesting. Well then USA doesn’t mind if Chinese or Russians after a couple of years have a military base near Suez canal. Come-on AIG Egypt and Turkey are the real winners cards in the geopolitical card game. Having Israel in ones hand is unfortunately not a winning card.

The Arab / Muslim side has the markets, population, raw materials, capital. What has Israel to offer which would make it more important for the West? I can’t understand what that could be.

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February 20th, 2011, 6:06 pm

 

32. Friend in America said:

Too much is made of the Iranian warship passing through the canal. Give attention when the ship docks in a Syrian port. If weapons are offloaded, the Israelis will take it out and will have the Security Council resolution to suppport its action. If there are no weapons, this is just a grandstand show. Opportunistic? Yes, as Joshua wrote. But nothing more than that.

Suppose any off-loaded weapons are for Syrian military forces only and Syria promises not to trans-ship to Hizbollah. Then things become awkward. If Syria would make a disclosure now, the issue will remain in the hands of the diplomats (and the Security Council) until it is forgotten. I can see no advantage to Syria for participating in this matter if Iranian ship is making a delivery of weapons, other than the thrill of engaging in another international adventure. Testing the will of the Egyptian military will only suffocate a possibility that Egypt finds the 40 year old balance of power no longer necessary.

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February 20th, 2011, 6:16 pm

 

33. AIG said:

Sim,

The Russians or Chinese if they wanted could use Tartous as much as they want. It is near enough the Suez Canal if your intent is to close the canal. By the way, the Egyptians already tried the Russian route and didn’t like it very much. Egyptians have zero leverage over the US.

The West will have access to Arab and Turkish markets because the Arabs and Turks need access to Western markets. What you do not understand is that the West will have good relations with both the Arabs and Israel at the same time. There is no problem with that. In fact China, India and Russia have excellent relations with Israel and the Arab world. Why do any of the major powers have to choose sides?

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February 20th, 2011, 6:26 pm

 

34. Shami said:

Ghadafi regime is near to be finished.

Who will be next ?

AIG,the democratization of the arab world can not be good thing for the extremist zionists.
How could Israel maintain such arrogance in front of 350 millions free arabs ?

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February 20th, 2011, 7:33 pm

 

35. Shami said:

zionist extremists sorry

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February 20th, 2011, 7:47 pm

 

36. majedkhaldoon said:

Kadafi stood by the the palastinians, and against US and he had loyal generals,he depended on, yet he is in deep trouble with this Libyan revolution,so this theory did not work,
He is going away because he is a dictator, head of corruption , and he too stole huge amount of money, just like the rest.

I listened to Kadafi son, other than he showed Stupidity,just like his father, he was threatening,played the fear card, and the islamization card,both failed in Egypt.
The people are tired of dictatorship, they want freedom,and nothing will stop these revolutions,Dictators can not lead reform ,revolution is necessary.

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February 20th, 2011, 9:10 pm

 

37. Akbar Palace said:

AIG,the democratization of the arab world can not be good thing for the extremist zionists.

Shami,

Who are the “non-extremist” zionists, and how are they different than the “extremist zionists”?

Shami, answer me this: If Zionists are so “extreme”, why is it of all the Arabs literally DYING for change around the Middle East, Israeli Arabs are not, especially when demonstrating is perfectly LEGAL in Israel.

Democracy is without a doubt good for Israel and the US., because suddenly, Arab governments will be held accountable for their actions. Until now Arab despot could “F” their people at will. Hopefully, for the ME and the world, this will no longer be the case.

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February 20th, 2011, 9:14 pm

 

38. Norman said:

Decentralization in governing, and fair distribution of wealth depending on the population concentration, Syria has to move to fulfil that, It is essential in Syria for people to vote where they live not where they come from .

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February 20th, 2011, 9:19 pm

 

39. Akbar Palace said:

Oy Veh, Why Did it Take This Long?

A Tribute to that brave Arab leader from Libya who has, hands down, done the most for Arab presidential fashion and women’s role in “personal security” (as well as bombing commercial airliners)…

http://easycomeseasygoes.blogspot.com/2010/08/muammar-gaddafi-and-his-200-sexy-and.html

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February 20th, 2011, 9:29 pm

 

40. Norman said:

He could not find men that are willing to die for him.

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February 20th, 2011, 9:37 pm

 

41. Nafdik said:

Akbar,

Extremist zionists are those who are ready to gamble the future of the israeli people for the sake of more land for israel.

The fact that arab dictators have treated their people like their personal property is not a license for israel to forget the human rights of its people. In the same way that human rights record of nigeria was not a license for aperthied in south africa.

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February 20th, 2011, 9:44 pm

 

42. Akbar Palace said:

Nafdik Needs to Visit Israel to see the Truth NewZ

Extremist zionists are those who are ready to gamble the future of the israeli people for the sake of more land for israel.

Nafdik,

If that’s the case, who were the “extremist Zionists” before June 1967?

Your logic is flawed. Here’s a further explaination.

http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/47254

The fact that arab dictators have treated their people like their personal property is not a license for israel to forget the human rights of its people.

Agreed. Two wrongs never make a right. Further, no country in the world, for that matter, is a Utopia. Israel’s human rights are the best in the Middle East, but there is certainly room for improvement.

The fact that Israeli-Arabs are not demonstrating for better “human rights”, makes me feel you have no clue about Israel. You can throw words around like “Apartheid”, but they don’t resemble reality.

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February 20th, 2011, 9:59 pm

 

43. Ziadsoury said:

This a great clip. All should watch it except for Ghat.

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February 20th, 2011, 10:03 pm

 

44. majedkhaldoon said:

A.P.
You said democracy in the Arab world is good to Israel, then you should support the revolutions in Egypt and Libya,why were you supportive of Mubarak, who was a dictator, Democratic regimes in Arab world would listen to their people, who support Hamas, and HA and the resistance,and would like to unite and have one big Arabic country.
The US is saying that Gadhafi is in full control in Libya,What we see is the opposit, one get the feeling that US is supportive of Gadhafi, To USA a new goverment in Libya may not help the Egyptian army generals who are friendly to USA,it could lead to more democracy in Egypt,may be to unity Egypt Libya and Tunis

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February 20th, 2011, 11:34 pm

 

45. Shai said:

Ziadsoury,

Thanks for the “Great Clip”. Would it would be difficult producing a similar one on what the Arab World and its leaders had to say about Israel since 1948?

I don’t think it serves us well to be reminded of the hatred we have for one another. God forbid we should have false hopes.

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February 21st, 2011, 12:48 am

 

46. Badr said:

It is getting darker by the day

We all have that dream for Syria. But there is no switch to turn the light ON instantaneously. Let us hope for considerable progress within a 5-10 year period.

Alex,

I am afraid that the Syrian people will one day pull the plug on the regime and its head, if the ruling class’s inherent aversion of delegating control, keeps it from allowing the switch of genuine reforms to be turned on.

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February 21st, 2011, 4:50 am

 

47. Shai said:

What is amazing to see now throughout the region, is that “the people” suddenly realize that they’ve had the power all along. That even ruthless dictators cannot determine the fate of their nation forever. That the rule-by-the-sword has been a myth.

But this “realization” still does not indicate an acceptance or an understanding of the core values of a democracy. Because different factions rally together to depose a particular ruler, does not mean they’ll accept the decision of the majority tomorrow morning, should it differ from their own agenda.

The coming months will be very exciting, and very testing, for our region. Will rulers that fear potential uprising in their own nations find creative ways for rallying their people behind them – such as going to war? Will they try to accomplish political gains faster, by changing their strategic outlooks?

Or is there truly no way back, and the recent events have merely accelerated the countdown to the removal of all authoritarian regimes in the region?

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February 21st, 2011, 6:22 am

 

48. Akbar Palace said:

majedkhaldoon said:

You said democracy in the Arab world is good to Israel, then you should support the revolutions in Egypt and Libya,why were you supportive of Mubarak, who was a dictator, Democratic regimes in Arab world would listen to their people, who support Hamas, and HA and the resistance,and would like to unite and have one big Arabic country.

Majed,

I don’t know how you got the impression that I was against democracy. I have always been for it. I support the right of the people to demonstrate and seek their rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights demands that people have a SAY in their government.

Up to about a month ago, most people had given up on this possibility. Gadaffi has been president for nearly 40 years, Mubarak 30 years, the Assads another 30 or 40 years. Governments dealing with these countries have little power to change who leads all these countries. Saddam led Iraq for 35 years, except he threatened the region enough for an outside power to do something.

In the end, only the people of these respectives states can determine who will govern them. If they do nothing, than they get whoever grabs power.

The US is saying that Gadhafi is in full control in Libya,What we see is the opposit, one get the feeling that US is supportive of Gadhafi, To USA a new goverment in Libya may not help the Egyptian army generals who are friendly to USA,it could lead to more democracy in Egypt,may be to unity Egypt Libya and Tunis

The US and other countries dealing with the Middle East have not been straight-forward in their response to the demonstrations. They should just support whatever the people choose in a free election (which is not the sole indicator of a democracy). There has to be term limits. Kings and Presidents-for-Life should be a thing of the past.

The Egyptian military is a stabilizing force, but they should be led by the people, not the other way around. And, BTW, if the Egyptian people really believe that the peace treaty with Israel is bad for them, even when they got the Sinai back from the “Zionist Extremists”, they should “vote” for war like they do in most democracies. Personally, I don’t think they would do it.

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February 21st, 2011, 6:53 am

 

49. Akbar Palace said:

“A World without Zionism”, Part II

What’s this? The Iranians don’t seem too happy with their government and the little anti-semite who “leads” them.

What a shame…

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/21/irans-forces-battle-protests-nationwide/#

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February 21st, 2011, 7:06 am

 

50. majedkhaldoon said:

Akpar;
You wrote, they should “vote” for war like they do in most democracies.
You are back to your deceiving style.
The Arab do not want war, they want fairness and just peace treaty,Just means they do not loose rights, just means they do not loose dignity, just means equality,just is hard for you to comprehend.

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February 21st, 2011, 7:53 am

 

51. Akbar Palace said:

Majed,

I believe you, and I hope you are right. I’m not sure why you think I am “deceiving”. What the Arabs want, is what everyone in the world wants. People are people, and everyone should be free to say what they want, believe in what they want, elect who they want and generally do what they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. It is not hard for me to comprehend. I wish the Arab people all the best.

If a nation has to go to war, like the US has done in the past, the people (and their representatives) should be able to have a say in the matter. If the war goes wrong, the people should be able to punish the government who led them to war.

GWB, for example, was re-elected AFTER the war in Iraq was initiated.

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February 21st, 2011, 8:06 am

 

52. Ghat Albird said:

ZIADSOURY

Reminding people with selective amnesia is always a positive act.

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February 21st, 2011, 10:32 am

 

53. M hussain said:

The increases in the funds provided to Israel are not an indication of the deepening relationship between Israel and US rather it is an reflection of the changing international arms market. The quantities military edge that Israel currently enjoys over its neighbours will be harder to maintain in the future as the United States will not be the only source of advance weapons. In the near future Chinese weapons and those domestically developed from a plethora of different countries will be as good as the American weapons. Its no surprise that the cost is increasing.

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February 21st, 2011, 10:39 am

 

54. Akbar Palace said:

Qaddafi flees Libya?

ME dictators are probably a little nervous these days…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1358972/Libya-protests-Gaddafi-flees-Tripoli-parliament-building-set-alight.html

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February 21st, 2011, 11:00 am

 

55. majedkhaldoon said:

إختراق برج المراقبة اللبناني – السوري ج1 -

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February 21st, 2011, 11:30 am

 

56. MONTAGNARD said:

Shai
In #44 above you mention “false hopes”.
Indeed your hopes are “false hopes”. You have come a long way as an Israeli to hope for coexistence with the Palestinians as equals whether in one state or two states.
First, you are the exception to the rule as an Israeli.
Second, wishing and talking about coexistence when the situation on the ground is so far away from any “true hopes” of actual coexistence, is an exercise in wishful thinking.
Third, what is to be done about a history of 64 years of oppression? and prior to that a century in planning for the crimes committed against Palestine and the Palestinians and other neighboring Arabs?
As you can see around you in the ME, time is running out for the oppressors, criminals, thugs and the enemies of the people.
That “great clip” is reality, true history and the real problem at hand.
My suggestion is the hatred and racism shown in the clip, is the real problem and unless you deal with it, it is bound to be dealt with eventually, and not on your terms.

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February 21st, 2011, 1:19 pm

 

57. Shai said:

Montagnard,

I always prefer to engage more in wishful thinking, than in “realistic observation”. Not that I think of myself as a pioneer in anything, but it is clear to me that non-dreamers also don’t make it very far, nor leave any meaningful mark behind them. If there’s even a chance to build a new future in our region, it is probably going to be a task for those with foresight, who can see 20 or 30 years down the line, already now.

We do not have the time to slowly fix the problems described in that “great clip”. The future belongs to our children’s generation, and it is them that we must raise correctly, differently. It is useless trying to convince 50 and 60 year olds that the Palestinians are a people, that they deserve to live on their land no less than we think we do, that we have and had no right to kick them out. It is the younger generation (from my age downward) that have to be reeducated.

Things will change dramatically when we have peace in the region. Even our recent ex-COGS (Gabi Ashkenazi) said today in his farewell to the Knesset, that Israel must make peace with the Palestinians and with Syria. And we know what must be done in order to reach this peace. By giving up on occupied land to the 1967 borders, Israel will demonstrate a beginning of an understanding that we are but a part of this region, and not a “special part”. We will, hopefully, begin to coexist as equals, not as rulers.

If all that is considered “wishful thinking”, I don’t have a problem with it.

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February 21st, 2011, 2:06 pm

 

58. majedkhaldoon said:

Every time a woman get involved in politics, she is accused of being promiscuous,and she commited sins,by her political foes,this is to destroy the woman ,done by her political enemies,they rarely say that about a man opposing them politicaly,accusing a woman is a lot easier and serve her political enemies more and fast,it is an evil wicked way, who ever resort to it is an evil person.
I am talking about Tal Mallouhi, who is accused by Bushra Kanafani of being commited sin,Is Bushra is a saint? has she had not done anything herself,that is bad? Does she has no daughters,sisters? where are the four wittnesses that is required by religion to swear that this is true!Bushra Kanafani has commited major sin in doing that

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February 21st, 2011, 2:12 pm

 

59. Ghat Albird said:

#55. MONTAGNARD.

An excellent synopsis of the realities. For individuals with selective amnesia it needs to be repeatedly repeated.

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February 21st, 2011, 2:32 pm

 

60. Shai said:

Ghat,

When you speak of “selective amnesia”, are you also including some of these?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrj5yGnAwnc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQERHieZHcg&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPfYCLNJyBU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is8M9O4hI7w&feature=related

I don’t see us moving forward with further demonstrations of our hatred for each other. Do you?

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February 21st, 2011, 3:29 pm

 

61. Shami said:

Majed,i fear for her,that they are using this as pretext in order to kill her and then they would say that she comitted suicide ,this is typical behavior of asad regime,peak of perfidy and treachery.

We must always be careful of the use of anti-imperialism-zionism factor exploited as cover for political killing.

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February 21st, 2011, 4:25 pm

 

62. Jonny said:

Video: Boy tortured by Syrian police

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February 21st, 2011, 5:15 pm

 

63. Ghat Albird said:

SHAI.

A cursory review of past events is you must admit an indicattion of Arab hospitality. i leave to you to determine how and when the world’s oldest Sefer Torah came to be on the island of Djerba.

On 18 July 1290 every professing Jew in England was ordered out of the Realm, for ever, by King Edward I. Between sixteen and seventeen thousand Jews had to flee, and none dared return until four hundred years later

The Edict of Expulsion of 1290

The ancient El Ghriba Synagogue, (Arabic: معبد الغريبة‎), also known as the Djerba Synagogue, is located on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It is situated in the Jewish village of Hara Seghira, (currently known as Er-Riadh), several kilometres southwest of Houmt Souk, the capital of Djerba. It currently houses the world’s oldest Sefer Torah.[

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February 21st, 2011, 7:16 pm

 

64. Shai said:

GHAT,

If what you’re suggesting is that Muslims have treated Jews better than Christians have, I agree. But Israel was created so that Jews would not have to depend on anyone’s level of hospitality. I hope, one day, many Jews will go back to Arab countries that were their home. I also hope, that there they will be treated as equals, in the true (democratic) sense of the word. As we are reminded nowadays, even Muslims aren’t treated as equals in certain Arab states (Bahrain for instance).

But I still don’t think recalling what certain Jewish leaders had to say about the Palestinian People helps. Few Arabs need these reminders. It’s the other voices that have to be amplified. It’s the clips of “wishful thinker” Israelis marching every single week of the year with Palestinians in the village of Bil’in that you have to put up for us to see, and call “great clip”.

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February 22nd, 2011, 1:13 am

 

65. why-discuss said:

Shai

Note that for many arabs, Israel acts the same way as their local dictators but towards its neigbours (spies, plotting, grabbing lands, deprivation of liberty, arrogance, exploitation etc..) and it is supported by USA, known to have always supported the dictators that serves them well.
For many arabs the equation is (Israel=Mobarak=Kaddafi)*USA
I guess they hope to change that too

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February 22nd, 2011, 3:16 am

 

66. Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

I understand what you’re saying. And I agree with you that Israel now has a far greater challenge – to convince the PEOPLE of the region, each in their respective country, that it truly wants to live here as an equal, not as a ruler or an oppressor.

But this is a challenge that also Arab States themselves have. Do you think the average Lebanese suspects Israel more than Iran, KSA, or Syria? Even the average Palestinian is becoming more aware of outside influence by various self-interested parties, who conveniently “forget” their promises whenever the heat rises above a certain temperature.

Hypocrisy and abuse are exercised not only by Israel, but quite likely by every nation in the region. We all must undergo transformation.

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February 22nd, 2011, 6:56 am

 

67. Akbar Palace said:

Convincing Liberals that Israel isn’t the Problem

convince the PEOPLE of the region, each in their respective country, that it truly wants to live here as an equal, not as a ruler or an oppressor

Shai,

Israel can not “convince the people” of the middle east of anything as long as the Arab media is government owned.

Israel has no territorial ambitions outside of the West Bank, and is willing to negotiate peace treaties with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.

In “order to live here as an equal”, Israelis would have to move backward to the founding of the state. I prefer the Arabs move to Israel’s level: freedom, democracy, education and a government that promotes economic development; not terrorism.

It is now time for the Arab people to take the reigns and build what their leaders prevented them from doing.

The Shai’s of the World still have it Wrong

For example, here’s an article by a leftist, Jewish liberal: Joel Klein. He titles his article:

“How the U.S. Should Support Middle East Reform”

And the conclusion is to pressure Israel.

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,2048150,00.html

It’s time for Leftists and Liberals to grow up, just like the Arab people.

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February 22nd, 2011, 7:15 am

 

68. Shai said:

I agree, Leftists and Liberals must grow up. They must reach the level of understanding of the Middle East shown by the likes of George W. Bush (“don’t misunderestimate me”), Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of the gang.

What a beautiful Democracy has GWB achieved for Iraq, and for Afghanistan. By the way, just out of curiosity, since by your own admission certain Arab regimes have not been promoting freedom and democracy (and in some cases promoted “terrorism”), why is it you supported the Bush Administration’s close relationships with these regimes?

Do you doubt Bush knew about how “free” the Egyptian or Saudi people were under their rulers? Your tax money went to fund Mubarak and the King’s regimes. I guess that’s not the kind of “growing up” you’d have Republicans do, right? :-)

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February 22nd, 2011, 9:50 am

 

69. Akbar Palace said:

Shai,

That’s right. The days of despots like Saddam Hussein and little Mahmouds is over. Aren’t you happy? I am.

Despots who threaten regions will continue to be isolated. Thank G-d the US is around to deal with Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. Thank G-d the US is leading the effort to isolate the madmen who run Iran and the regimes that support them.

Despots who stunt the growth of their people will eventually be toppled by their own people.

If the liberals and leftists were perpetually in office, Saddam and Taliban would still be in power.

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February 22nd, 2011, 10:04 am

 

70. Shai said:

“If the liberals and leftists were perpetually in office, Saddam and Taliban would still be in power.”

And so would another million Iraqis. Who aren’t around to “thank” George W. Bush. Given Iraq’s current state-of-democracy, I think it was worth it. Don’t you?

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February 22nd, 2011, 10:42 am

 

71. GHat Albird said:

SHAI said : Israel was created so that Jews would not have to depend on anyone’s level of hospitality. I hope, one day, many Jews will go back to Arab countries that were their homes. I agree wholeheartedly.

Trust you have the same hope for the thousands of Palestenians that have lived in makr – shift camps in Lebanon for over 6o years. And that the hatred that inspired Bibi in the 1990s to implore the US to invade Iraq where millions of men, women and children have neen killed needs redress.

For the reason to invade Iraq was part of a report of a Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000, for Bibi Nethanyahu. Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle was the “Study Group Leader”, but the final report included ideas from James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Robert Loewenberg, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.

The plan proposed new policies:

1. Rather than pursuing a “comprehensive peace” with the entire Arab world, Israel should work to “contain, destabilize, and roll-back” those entities that are threats.

2. Changing the nature of relations with the Palestinians, specifically reserving the right of “hot pursuit” anywhere within Palestinian territory as well as attempting to promote alternatives to Arafat’s leadership.

In regards to SYRIA an effective approach, and one with which Americans can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon,

That Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan comprehensive peace and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction programs, and rejecting land for peace deals on the Golan Heights.

That Israel can shape its strategic environment, by focusing on removing Saddam Hussein from power in IRAQ.— an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. If you all need further and specific partculats about the Clean Break check Wikipedia.

Could it be that Israel too needs its day of RAGE?

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February 22nd, 2011, 11:30 am

 

72. Shami said:

When the arab people taste freedom ,religious extremism vanish.
It’s very spontaneous and this time not a show staged by political regimes or parties.

http://www.nowlebanon.com/ContentPictures/egyptian-muslim-christian-4-022211040050.jpg

http://dc-cdn.virtacore.com/2011/01/a1bae5c0512a457bbd6ae462cf4b799a.jpg

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld//files/2011/02/cr_mega_422_tahrir-unity.jpg

http://anilnetto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/2011-02-06-MuslimsChristiansTahrirSq.jpg
I’m sure , the Syrian people will do the same when they will take back their stolen rights.

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February 22nd, 2011, 12:13 pm

 

73. Shami said:

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidANA20110222T131029ZSWZ73/Syrian%20communist%20dissident%20on%20hunger%20strike%3A%20NGOs

Syrian communist dissident on hunger strike: NGOs

DAMASCUS, Feb 22, 2011 (AFP) – A former member of Syria’s communist opposition who was jailed a year ago has launched a hunger strike to protest over the conditions of her imprisonment, rights groups said on Tuesday.

Tuhama Maaruf, 47, had began the hunger strike five days ago in Adra prison, just outside the capital Damascus, the eight non-governmental groups said in a joint statement.

She was calling for “an end to the inhumane practices to which she is subjected” and requesting her “transfer from Adra prison to a prison for women,” they said.

Signatories of the statement included the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights.

The group expressed its “complete solidarity” with the detainee and appealed for the authorities to take “all measures necessary to guarantee and enforce the respect of human rights.”

Maaruf was jailed in 1992 for one year and then freed pending trial.

She was arrested in the northern city of Aleppo on February 6 last year before being transfered to the prison to complete a six-year sentence of hard labour.

The sentence was originally handed down in 1995, for “membership in a secret organisation (the banned communist party) that seeks to modify the economic and social character of the state.”

Maaruf, a dentist, is married and a mother of two.

rm/dsg/dv

© Copyright AFP 2011.

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February 22nd, 2011, 12:25 pm

 

74. Shai said:

GHAT,

You know my hope for a UME one day, I won’t repeat it. It includes Jews, Palestinians, Kurds, every minority and majority in the region.

As for the Clean Break, I find it interesting that you stress the Jewish influence much more than the non-Jews (particularly the President and his staff) who made the ultimate decisions.

Btw, if you consider that we’re still enemies, is it that far-fetched what Netanyahu did or didn’t do? I’m not suggesting it was the right thing to do, certainly if there was influence to go to war and to kill people. But the fact that an Israeli opposition leader (he wasn’t PM at the time) went to DC to influence all the fanatic advisers to push Bush towards War, rather than Peace, isn’t really surprising.

I don’t think Bibi could have done this under a different U.S. President. And I don’t remember other Israeli leaders since or before that have had so much influence in DC.

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February 22nd, 2011, 2:58 pm

 

75. MONTAGNARD said:

Shai
You talk about your vision of the UME like if it were around the corner, when in reality it is a far fetched vision, with nothing on the ground to support its implementation.
Going back to the clip posted by ZIADSOURY @#42 and the clips you posted @#59. The fundamental difference is that in Ziad’s clip, the statements were made by past and current leaders and the founders of Israel. These leaders were and are in a position to set and implement policies of the state of Israel and its conduct vis a vis the Palestinians and the Arabs. When such a fanatic, racist, bigoted, intolerant, supremacist, criminal attitude and beliefs, as shown in the clip, are at the center of power of the Israeli circle of decision makers, and during a time when they have the upper hand due to their military advantage, no just peace can be expected (even with my full appreciation of your wishful thinking and dreaming).
On the other hand your clips show Muslim Imams giving sermons (pep talks) to their limited audiences. They are not rulers of countries or decision makers affecting war and peace and the lives of the Palestinians under occupation.
The Palestinians and Arabs have no alternative but to keep on fighting for their rights, with any means available to them and to acquire more means, in order to force upon Israel and its supporters a just and equitable peace.

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February 22nd, 2011, 4:58 pm

 

76. Shai said:

Montagnard,

I unfortunately agree with you. The clips were meant to demonstrate that it’s not only the Israeli side that worries the Arabs, it’s also the Arab side that worries Israelis. I don’t think most people consider rationally what you said, because an Imam, to most here in Israel, probably far better represents the Arab Street, than his dictator leader does.

Look at the glass the other way around, and you can see why many Israelis don’t believe the Arabs will ever accept us in the region. Unfortunately, we’re also doing our share to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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February 22nd, 2011, 5:04 pm

 

77. majedkhaldoon said:

ALGERIA
Algerian cabinet approves lifting of state of emergency
Would Syria do the same?

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February 22nd, 2011, 9:50 pm

 

78. majedkhaldoon said:

US and europe stand in regard to Libya,imply a plan,while the most reasonable thing is that the egyptian army moves west and control Libya,to put an end to the problem in Libya,now that Gadhafi is behaving arrogant and aggressive,what against this move is that Egypt has no leader, there is a true vaccum in the Arab world,also US and europe do not want Arab to unite,so their plan is to wait till things get ugly, and more bloodshed is spilled,then Nato will find it necessary to take over Libya to save the lives of Libyans,this way they have a justification for their action,while the Arab world will stay quiet,then they will control the oil,and split the Arab world

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February 23rd, 2011, 12:58 am

 

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