Israel Pays High Price for Attack on Turkish Flotilla with Aid for Gaza - Syria Comment

Israel Pays High Price for Attack on Turkish Flotilla with Aid for Gaza

Israel has, in effect, arrested all of the flotilla members. This means that Israel is free to spin to the news media with little correction from the other side. All the same the damage for Israel is mounting.

  • The Greek government has decided to discontinue the joint military exercise currently under way and to postpone the visit to Athens of the Head of the Israeli Air Force General Staff, which was to take place tomorrow.
  • The Turks have withdrawn their ambassador and their Foreign Minister says that relations are irreparable.
  • Netanyahu had to cancel his Washington visit that was to be a photo opportunity and “kiss and make up” session.
  • Israel’s actions were the subject of an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting. It is incumbent on Washington to thwart Israel’s international isolation and to veto anti-Israel resolutions.
  • Obama will try to distance the US from Israel in due course. What choice does he have? Israel is increasingly a millstone around America’s neck.
  • Toni Karon in Time magazine points out that the Chinese exacted a high price for joining the US in sanctioning Iran. “The Chinese government won undertakings from Washington to exempt Chinese companies from any U.S. unilateral sanctions that punish third-country business partners with the Islamic Republic.” Negotiations will now become harder and more costly for the US as the world largely sees the US effort to punish Iran to be driven by Israeli concerns. Iran hardly threatens the US.

See Jonathan Cook: 3 Facts You Need to Know About the Israeli Attack on Peace Activists on the Gaza Flotilla and analysis by Issandr El Amrani, How Israel sets the TV agenda

El Amrana writes:

“For a couple of hours this morning AJE was going from one Israeli official or commentator for another, the IDF has scheduled several press conferences, as did the Prime Minister’s office and the Foreign Ministry. They controlled the news cycle by having their message dominate the airwaves in those early hours, the TV stations — starved for content since there was a communications blackout from the flotilla ships and Israel’s military censor was no doubt squashing other aspects of the story — were running the Israeli viewpoint non-stop.”

Israel’s latest brutal blunder By Stephen M. Walt

This latest act of misguided belligerence poses a broader threat to U.S. national interests. Because the United States provides Israel with so much material aid and diplomatic protection, and because American politicians from the president on down repeatedly refer to the “unbreakable bonds” between the United States and Israel, people all over the world naturally associate us with most, if not all, of Israel’s actions. Thus, Israel doesn’t just tarnish its own image when it does something outlandish like this; it makes the United States look bad, too. This incident will harm our relations with other Middle Eastern countries, lend additional credence to jihadi narratives about the “Zionist-Crusader alliance,” and complicate efforts to deal with Iran. It will also cost us some moral standing with other friends around the world, especially if we downplay it. This is just more evidence, as if we needed any, that the special relationship with Israel has become a net liability.

In short, unless the Obama administration demonstrates just how angry and appalled it is by this foolish act, and unless the U.S. reaction has some real teeth in it, other states will rightly see Washington as irretrievably weak and hypocritical. And Obama’s Cairo speech — which was entitled “A New Beginning” — will be guaranteed a prominent place in the Hall of Fame of Empty Rhetoric.

How might the United States respond?………

Israel’s official Explanation

DEPUTY FM AYALON: Good morning, everyone. I want to report this morning that the armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization was a premeditated and outrageous provocation. The organizers are well-known for their ties to Global Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons that were prepared in advance and used against our forces. The organizers’ intent was violent, their method was violent,…… The maritime blockade on Gaza is very legal and justified by the terror that Hamas is applying in Gaza. …… Thank you very much.

Issandr El Amrani has done some digging on the charge that Israel began to spread around several days before its bloody attack on the flotilla that IHH is linked to al-Qaida. Apparently most of the allegations about the IHH stem from an article written by a certain Evan Kohlmann, a self-proclaimed terrorism expert, back in the 1990s. Issandr notes that the IHH is legally recognized in many countries, works with other NGOs, and has consultative status with the UN.

UN: “Members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday urged Israel to lift its economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, in an emergency session to discuss the deadly Israel Navy raid on a convoy of international activists sailing to the coastal territory.

Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco said in his briefing to the UN’s most powerful body that Monday’s bloodshed would have been avoided if repeated calls on Israel to end the “counterproductive and unacceptable” blockade of Gaza had been heeded…

Adam Shapiro, cofondateur du Mouvement de solidarité internationale, qui a participé à l’opération navale, revient sur l’assaut israélien.

Q – Comment s’est déroulé l’assaut israélien contre la flottille ?

R – Selon nos informations, Israël a lancé l’assaut autour de trois heures du matin, heure locale. Un millier de soldats ont été déployés, ainsi que des navires de guerre, des hélicoptères et des avions. L’assaut a d’abord été lancé contre le bateau turc de passagers (Mavi Marmara, NDLR) qui comptait quelque 600 personnes à son bord. Les soldats y ont été lâchés à partir d’un hélicoptère. Selon nos informations, les soldats ont commencé à ouvrir le feu dès qu’il ont touché le pont.

Ya-t-il eu des avertissements ?

Le seul avertissement lancé par les autorités israéliennes était de faire demi-tour.

Le général Ashkenazi a déclaré que des activistes étaient armés.

Les bateaux ont été méticuleusement inspectés avant de quitter leur port de départ. Ils ont obtenu le feu vert pour partir, donc aucune arme n’avait été trouvée à bord. D’après nos informations, certains passagers, après que les Israéliens ont ouvert le feu, ont tenté de se défendre avec des bâtons et des barres de fer. Maintenant, je n’étais pas personnellement sur le bateau, je ne peux rien confirmer à 100 %. Mais les vidéos ne montrent aucun militant armé. Et Israël n’a avancé aucune preuve que les militants étaient armés. Et c’est à Israël d’apporter une telle preuve si elle existe.

Vous attendiez-vous à une réaction israélienne d’une telle violence ?

Nous sommes des activistes expérimentés, nous n’en sommes pas à notre première mission sur mer ou sur terre. Nous savions que les Israéliens allaient tout faire pour nous arrêter. Nous savions que des armes mortelles pourraient être utilisées par les Israéliens. Mais cela nous semblait peu probable. Les autorités israéliennes avaient déclaré que les commandos d’élite seraient envoyés sur cette opération. Si les soldats qui ont participé à l’assaut sont effectivement des commandos d’élite, alors on ne peut que conclure que l’ordre de tirer leur a été donné, car ce type de soldat ne cafouille pas.

Avant l’assaut, Israël avait dénoncé la mission comme étant un acte de provocation et mis en doute son caractère légal.

La flottille a été arrêtée dans les eaux internationales. Nous étions encore loin des eaux israéliennes ou de Gaza. Et nous avions eu l’autorisation de naviguer de la part des ports de départ. Quand les Israéliens nous ont arrêtés, nous étions dans la légalité. Par ailleurs, Israël part de l’hypothèse que son blocus de Gaza est légal pour dire que notre mission ne l’est pas. Or les Nations unies, la Croix-Rouge et beaucoup d’autres organisations ont dit que le blocus de Gaza est illégal car ce blocus est une punition collective, ce qui est illégal selon le droit international.

De nombreuses voix se sont élevées, au sein de la communauté internationale, pour fermement condamner l’assaut israélien. Que pensez-vous de ces réactions ?

De cette tragédie, nous espérons que naîtra un début de prise de conscience de la part de la communauté internationale sur la réalité du Moyen-Orient, en ce sens qu’Israël se présente toujours comme la victime alors qu’il est l’agresseur. Aujourd’hui, le potentiel existe pour une intifada globale visant à soutenir les droits des Palestiniens et à condamner l’occupation brutale israélienne.

State Dept Statement by Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC – May 31, 2010

The United States deeply regrets the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident today aboard the Gaza-bound ships. We are working to ascertain the facts, and expect that the Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation.

The United States remains deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza. We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority,….

Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion
By George Friedman for Stratfor

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.
A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario

In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.
The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded…..

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza

The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project….

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel

It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.
Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel…..

Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen. …

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

Comments (169)


Badr said:

Amir & AP,

What is your defense of the Israeli government not allowing building materials to enter Gaza?

June 1st, 2010, 2:22 am


Enlightened said:

Josh: “In doing so Israel ran into its own fist”

I beg to differ, the current Israeli government “would cut off its own nose to spite its face”

This incident might be what we call a “paradigm shift”, the world wide call for activists would be to organize a fleet, ten times as large then a hundred.

The mood here in Australia, is quite palpable, one of our female journalists was shot in the leg, and on top of the passports fiasco some parliamentarians and senators have requested that the government haul in the Israeli ambassador for answers.

Some how I cant see in the world of public opinion, the Israeli government is going to get away with this quite easily. The usual claims that they were armed, shot at etc wont wash.

Akbar and his mates will have their hands busy in the next few weeks!

June 1st, 2010, 4:52 am


majedkhaldoun said:

The US position has a price,Neteyahoo has to pay

June 1st, 2010, 8:15 am


Joshua said:

Enlightened, Good to hear from you. The Australian news may be hard on Israeli handling of the event, but here in the US, the coverage has been largely absent or about “competing narratives” and who the real victim is.

Fox News had an Israeli spokesperson explaining how brutal and dangerous were the “so called” activists.

When I turned on the news last night at 11:00 p.m. not one other station was covering the problem. Coverage was all about the Gulf oil spill. Even National Public Radio this morning is soft peddling it.

June 1st, 2010, 9:08 am


almasri said:

Kuwait breaks moderate arabs taboo. Government approves parliament request to withdraw from arab peace initiative.

June 1st, 2010, 9:13 am


Jihad said:

Mr. Majed Khaldoum, can you tell us what the price is? Even Khaled Machaal was so impressed by the White Man’s camera on “Charlie Rose” that he made the yet again one of his stupidest statements. For free. The US won’t pay any price as well as the colonial settler state called “Israel” that a former French ambassador described as “this shitty state” which now has a permanent representative in Abu Dhabi and renewed relations with Qatar. Is anyone really expecting the White Man in Washington, Barack Obama, to exact any price on this shitty state? What’s funny is this statement: “Obama will try to distance the US from Israel in due course. What choice does he have? Israel is increasingly a millstone around America’s neck”. Oh yes, that’s why Obama sent a letter a few days back saying that the US will guarantee the shitty state strategic superiority in the region.

June 1st, 2010, 9:18 am


qunfuz said:

As a passionate anti-Zionist, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Netanyahu administration and the overwhelming majority of the Jewish-Israeli people for their contribution to the cause. I would particularly like to thank these people in occupied Tel Abib: Really quite brilliant. A thousand delegations of pro-Palestinian activists to Ankara could not have done what you have done.

June 1st, 2010, 9:36 am


Averroes said:

Qunfuz, and others,

I have heard expressions of tamed happiness at the mess that Israel has put itself into. I cannot support that. The lives of those brave activists were infinitely more important than the exposure of the true face of Israel. Israel has many many stooges in the press that can mute and suffocate any story including this one. The PR stage is an important stage, but to me, the loss of the lives of those brave activists cannot be called “good” under any circumstances.

I read AP’s comment about the one positive outcome of this being that we will see no more aid convoys. What an arrogant, reckless, and totally insensitive to loss of life comment to make. It is a mentality of a monster, and that is what Israel is being exposed to be.

In face of their increasing madness, our choice must be to stick to our values and our rights and maintain a cool head.

June 1st, 2010, 10:49 am


qunfuz said:

Averroes – I think you have read my comment quite wrongly if you think it was meant to express happiness at the murder of the humanitarian activists in international waters.

June 1st, 2010, 11:00 am


Averroes said:


I have no doubt that we’re on the same side. I just wanted to comment on the choice of expressions used, and to make a general statement.

June 1st, 2010, 11:09 am


norman said:

Look at this , will make for the other media ,

June 1st, 2010, 11:31 am


qunfuz said:

but you also have to examine the style and context in which expressions are used, Averoes, and to take on board the concept of irony.

June 1st, 2010, 12:10 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I wonder what will happen if thousands of palastinian refugee leave the countries they are in, and get in a ship and go to haifa

June 1st, 2010, 12:37 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Bursting Jonathan Cook’s Bubble

The legal case for the blockade as well as the boarding of ships:

What is your defense of the Israeli government not allowing building materials to enter Gaza?


Here is the GOI defense:

I would particularly like to thank these people in occupied Tel Abib


And I would also like to thank you for showing that the “occupation” and the holy “green line” is just an excuse.

June 1st, 2010, 1:08 pm


jad said:

AP, you are a coward and ignorant human being I never ever thought that people like you do even exist between human. Your comments are a reflection of who you are an evil soul.

June 1st, 2010, 1:21 pm


jad said:

Robert Fisk: Western leaders are too cowardly to help save lives

Has Israel lost it? Can the Gaza War of 2008-09 (1,300 dead) and the Lebanon War of 2006 (1,006 dead) and all the other wars and now yesterday’s killings mean that the world will no longer accept Israel’s rule?

Don’t hold your breath.

You only have to read the gutless White House statement – that the Obama administration was “working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy”. Not a single word of condemnation. And that’s it. Nine dead. Just another statistic to add to the Middle East’s toll.

But it’s not.

In 1948, our politicians – the Americans and the British – staged an airlift into Berlin. A starving population (our enemies only three years before) were surrounded by a brutal army, the Russians, who had erected a fence around the city. The Berlin airlift was one of the great moments in the Cold War. Our soldiers and our airmen risked and gave their lives for these starving Germans.

Incredible, isn’t it? In those days, our politicians took decisions; our leaders took decisions to save lives. Messrs Attlee and Truman knew that Berlin was important in moral and human as well as political terms.

And today? It was people – ordinary people, Europeans, Americans, Holocaust survivors – yes, for heaven’s sake, survivors of the Nazis – who took the decision to go to Gaza because their politicians and their statesmen had failed them.

Where were our politicians yesterday? Well, we had the ridiculous Ban Ki-moon, the White House’s pathetic statement, and dear Mr Blair’s expression of “deep regret and shock at the tragic loss of life”. Where was Mr Cameron? Where was Mr Clegg?

Back in 1948, they would have ignored the Palestinians, of course. It is, after all, a terrible irony that the Berlin airlift coincided with the destruction of Arab Palestine.

But it is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events. Our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives. Why is this? Why didn’t we hear courageous words from Messrs Cameron and Clegg yesterday?

For it is a fact, is it not, that had Europeans (and yes, the Turks are Europeans, are they not?) been gunned down by any other Middle Eastern army (which the Israeli army is, is it not?) there would have been waves of outrage.

And what does this say about Israel? Isn’t Turkey a close ally of Israel? Is this what the Turks can expect? Now Israel’s only ally in the Muslim world is saying this is a massacre – and Israel doesn’t seem to care.

But then Israel didn’t care when London and Canberra expelled Israeli diplomats after British and Australian passports were forged and then provided to the assassins of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. It didn’t care when it announced new Jewish settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem while Joe Biden, the Vice-President of its erstwhile ally, the United States, was in town. Why should Israel care now?
How did we get to this point? Maybe because we all grew used to seeing the Israelis kill Arabs, maybe the Israelis grew used to killing Arabs. Now they kill Turks. Or Europeans. Something has changed in the Middle East these past 24 hours – and the Israelis (given their extraordinarily stupid political response to the slaughter) don’t seem to have grasped what has happened. The world is tired of these outrages. Only the politicians are silent.

Diplomatic storms

*Goldstone report, November 2009
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 with the declared aim of halting rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the three-week conflict along with 13 Israelis. The South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s report into the conflict found both Israel and the Hamas movement that controls the Strip guilty of war crimes, but focused more on Israel. Israel refused to co-operate with Goldstone and described his report as distorted and biased.

* The al-Mabhouh assassination, January-May 2010
Britain and Australia expelled Israeli diplomats after concluding that Israel had forged British and Australian passports used by assassins to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed or denied a role in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room in January. Britain said such misuse of British passports was “intolerable”. Australia said it was not the behaviour of “a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship”.

*Settlements row, March 2010
Israel announces plans, during visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden, to build 1,600 homes for Jews in an area of the West Bank annexed by Israel. The announcement triggers unusually harsh criticism from the United States. Washington said it damaged its efforts to revive the Middle East peace process. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the project was an insult. Netanyahu said he was blindsided by planning bureaucrats and apologised to Biden. Today’s meeting with Barack Obama at the White House, called off by Mr Netanyahu so he could return home to deal with the flotilla crisis, was supposed to be another part of the fence-mending between the two allies.

*Nuclear secrecy, May 2010
Israel, widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, has faced renewed calls to sign a global treaty barring the spread of atomic weapons. Signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last week called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction throughout the Middle East. The declaration was adopted by all 189 parties to the NPT, including the US. It urged Israel to sign the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under UN safeguards.–to-help-save-lives-1987989.html

June 1st, 2010, 1:23 pm


Akbar Palace said:

9 Dead “Peace Activitsts” vs. Saddam’s Mass Graves, the Hypocrisy Continues

And that’s it. Nine dead. Just another statistic to add to the Middle East’s toll.


Are you just concerned about statistics related to Israeli actions or are you also concerned about statistics related to Arab actions?

June 1st, 2010, 1:39 pm


jad said:

For evil people like you it’s just a matter of ‘numbers’ not ‘souls’ I wonder if the person who died that you want to call a ‘number’ was your kid your brother, your mother, your father, your wife, your sister or your self, what the reaction will be for that lost ‘number’?

June 1st, 2010, 1:52 pm


norman said:

Jad ,
you are missing the point !,
They just have to have the same religion that he has and the will be worth all the people of Gaza ,

June 1st, 2010, 2:09 pm


why-discuss said:

I wonder how bad Turkey-Israel relationship is? Is Gaza being used by the Erdogan party to weaken further the turkish military?

Amy Teibel, AFP reports

“There were signs, however, that the long-term strategic partnership between Israel and its most important Muslim ally would endure: Turkey canceled three joint land and sea exercises, but appeared to be otherwise maintaining deep military ties that include the planned delivery of $183 million in Israeli drones this summer.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke to his Turkish counterpart as well as their chief of staff Monday, and they agreed that the raid wouldn’t affect weapons deals, defense officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive military ties.

June 1st, 2010, 2:27 pm


Ford Prefect said:


The criminal and racist thugs of Israel and their heartless supporters abroad always try to divert attentions away from their heinous crimes against humanity by invoking similar crimes by similar thugs.

Hmmmm, but I thought that the Western thugs of the likes of AIPAC and Daniel Sewage Pipes stood on higher moral grounds, didn’t they? Wasn’t God who directed them, through his faxed messages to parasites like Pat Roberston, that what they do in killing Arabs is actually the work of the Jad,

So only when it’s convenient, they invoke other crimes.

So here I go:

Attention Israel’s warmongers and its cronies and parasites everywhere: YOU ARE THE MOST DESPICABLE, SICK, AND IMMORAL THUGS OF THE LOWEST KIND. And you are right there, in same filthy swamp, as the worst murderers in history.

June 1st, 2010, 2:36 pm


jad said:

Dear Norman,
He is one bad and evil person who reflect only himself and nobody else, I don’t even know what religion he is because simply I don’t care.
Our religion is not a reflection of who we truly are or who we might become, I’m only asking for people to use their brains and to notice that what just happened is a crime against every human on this strange planet, it’s a coward an aggressive action that shouldn’t happen at all, those people who died are good people and I don’t give a damn of what someone like AP or his evil army will call it or try to say to hide their hideous crime.
It’s an ugly crime and every politician trying to hide behind his political dreams is an accomplice in it.

R. Fisk:
“How did we get to this point? Maybe because we all grew used to seeing the Israelis kill Arabs, maybe the Israelis grew used to killing Arabs. Now they kill Turks. Or Europeans. Something has changed in the Middle East these past 24 hours – and the Israelis (given their extraordinarily stupid political response to the slaughter) don’t seem to have grasped what has happened. The world is tired of these outrages. Only the politicians are silent.”

June 1st, 2010, 2:39 pm


BigB said:

As an American who supports this administration, I have to say that I am very upset about the handeling of the Arab/Israeli and Palestinian conflict. I thought for sure that in the Spring of 2009 the Obama administration had the wherewithall to finally pressure an Israeli administration, that needed to be pressed (a la 1996), to accept certain Arab terms and conditions. I am going to be watching the Obama administration closely on this recent Gaza matter because the balance is begining to tip away from Israel and towards the Arab cause. The Arab cause is begining to bring in other, militarily robust parties (i.e. Turkey). The U.S., who has always been on the side of the Israeli’s – rightfully so – needs to come to the realization that Israel has not always been there for the U.S., if not at all. I am begining to think that Asad was right in his calculations to not engage Israel because their recent actions show that with the U.S. on their side they can run roughshod across the Levant. It is practical for Syria to abandon its use of proxy forces to keep pressure on Israel, especially with TUrkey in the mix, now. As Walt said in his piece, this action by Israel was a boneheaded move. The U.S. should see it that way and respond in kind by taking a stand, telling AIPAC to take a hike for the time being, and pressure the Israeli government by way of military sanctions. However, I think, much like in 1998, the Israeli public is not going to put up with Netanyahu’s actions. If the opposition in the Kneset is strong enough, it might be time for a vote of no confidence.

June 1st, 2010, 2:43 pm


why-discuss said:


You can be proud of the fiasco of your special forces. If it wasn’t for the dozens of innocent dead, this whole operation would look more like a macabre and childish clownery.
Of course, these activist were “trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, or Iran or Syria”, and the IDF naively did not know that: Another fiasco for your intelligence services.
Of course they were equipped with “lethal weapons”, but for once your special forces were not in tank or in the air to avoid confrontations as they did during the Lebanon war. So many of your special forces just jumped overboard to save their skin. A real proof of courage you should be proud of.
Well next time, your defence minister should just tell the activists that they are ‘misbehaving’. That’s all. Or maybe your IDF should get some training in Afghanistan, it will be more useful for the next confrontation with the next peaceful activists.

and please stop replying to a question by a question.

June 1st, 2010, 2:48 pm


Alex said:

Yesterday “Amir in Tel Aviv” reacted to the news of his IDF’s murders by explaining to us how the Israeli people are much more civilized and human than us Arab animals who celebrate death. He said:

“Today (believe it or don’t) I didn’t see or witnessed any gloating in the streets of Tel-Aviv. On the contrary. I did see gloomy faces and worried people.”

Thanks to Qunfuz (and Ghat Albird by email) I will embed this video here again.

Israelis celebrating attack on Turkish Aid Ship – in front of the Turkish Embassy,… in Amir’s Tel Aviv

June 1st, 2010, 3:16 pm


Alex said:


June 1st, 2010, 3:39 pm


Alex said:

Finkelstein asked a very important question: Is Israel acting like a Lunatic State (its declared mad dog policy behind its attacks on Lebanon then Gaza), or did it become an out of control, lunatic state.

As Israel routinely threatens to attack both Lebanon and Iran … can a veritable (and not merely acting) lunatic state like Israel be trusted with its 200+ nuclear weapons and with more advanced American military technology?

June 1st, 2010, 3:51 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

AP said
9 Dead “Peace Activitsts” vs. Saddam’s Mass Graves, the Hypocrisy
this is what I call deceiving,you are deceiver.

What Israel did proved what I always say,ISRAEL IS BEHIND MOST EVIL THINGS IN THE ME.
The freedom ship massacre,falsifying passports to kill al Mabhoh, sending submarines to the gulf with nuclear heads ,this is only to mention few recent things.

Erdogan speech stating position,not issueing decisions yet,I am sure Turkey will make Israel accountable,and get even with the leaders of the zionist entity,Friday will come.

June 1st, 2010, 3:53 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

This all event should teach the Arabs a lesson.
When ever the Arabs use the language of force they fail and lose.
In those rare cases, that they resort to peaceful means (or means that are perceived as peaceful), they have a chance to succeed.

The South African Apartheid was abolished, not with the blacks there launching Jihad against the whites, or by threatening the existence of the white community, but by peaceful activity, and with a promise to assure the security and the rights of all the South African communities.

No wonder Mr. Mahmud Abbas stated a week ago, that the 2nd intifatha was the biggest Arab mistake ever. I humbly have to agree.
When the Arabs start to talk real peace to us (instead of a talk of ‘The Jews of Khaybar’), it will make our lives more “difficult”.

Alex, I don’t see this demonstration in front the Turkish embassy as “gloating” the deaths of the flotilla passengers. this is a contra to the Turks storming the Israeli embassy, and a message to the Turks to stay out of it.

June 1st, 2010, 3:59 pm


jad said:

Here we go, one of those lunatic citizen (aita) from the lunatic state.
What is the moral of this BS the lunatic citizen is rumbling about? Anybody can translate?

June 1st, 2010, 4:15 pm


Husam said:


1- You keep getting hot-headed when you read AP’s comments; Long ago, I got it in my head that s/he is a paid parrot blogger. Try not to waste too much time thinking you are dealing with a human. He is a conditioned – loss case.

2- Nothing Israel does is without the explicit consent of Washington; that is the way things work. We all get carried away and view US/Israel as two entities forgetting the reality of who owns and runs the CFR and Congress.

3- The UN is nothing more than a circus put in place to make belief that there is somewhere to go and get some kind of justice. Not a single resolution against Israel has been enforced. So, we need to ask ourselves, why? Until the “owners” of such fake organisation are changed, the status quo will remain.

4- You can send a million flotillas, just like the millions who demonstrated against the Iraq Invasion, nothing will come of it. And, sadly, life goes on.

5- Turkey’s 180 Million Drone deal: If I were Israel, I would install a faulty code in its delivery and application system that can be remotely triggered to either become useless or fall from the sky. I think all of Israeli made component are already built that way with a last resort option: implosion.

6- The only way for Arabs forward is by strategic unification and power consolidation. It will take courage, time and heroes.

June 1st, 2010, 4:17 pm


why-discuss said:


It is a good sign that you now compare Israel to South africa, you are implictly admitting that Israel has become an apartheid state.

The difference though is that Israel is using the holocaust western guilt and the powerful jewish lobby and money to become immune of all its illegal acts, under the pretext of protecting a jewish safe haven created by colonial powers, that has become a fortress of hate and deceptions.
Peaceful demonstrations are received with guns.. do you suggest that more flotillas should come peacefully? until when?
Once Israel’s arogance will erode, then it will be able to talk sense, now it is hysteria and delusions that prevails as we have seen on the anti-turkish video demonstration.

June 1st, 2010, 4:40 pm


Alex said:

31. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Alex, I don’t see this demonstration in front the Turkish embassy as “gloating” the deaths of the flotilla passengers. this is a contra to the Turks storming the Israeli embassy, and a message to the Turks to stay out of it.


You are so right. In fact … this is just like when Palestinian demonstrators danced in the streets in 1991 when Saddam launched missiles at Israel during the Kuwait war … They were in fact celebrating what they hoped at the time would be a step towards a fair and just solution to the Middle East conflict that will bring peace and prosperity to everyone.

Lucky you … How nice it is to live in denial

June 1st, 2010, 4:51 pm


Alex said:

I agree with Malley … we need to recognize the failure of Israel, Egypt and the United States as they insisted on advocating their failed “West bank first” policy.

“The policy toward Gaza is in need of thorough re-examination.”

Flotilla Attack the Deadly Symptom of a Failed Policy
Brussels/Washington/Jerusalem | 31 May 2010

The International Crisis Group condemns Israel’s assault on a flotilla of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza, which resulted in a tragic loss of life.

At the same time, the incident is an indictment of a much broader policy toward Gaza for which Israel does not bear sole responsibility.

For years, many in the international community have been complicit in a policy that aimed at isolating Gaza in the hope of weakening Hamas. This policy is morally appalling and politically self-defeating. It has harmed the people of Gaza without loosening Hamas’s control. Yet it has persisted regardless of evident failure.

“The flotilla assault is but a symptom of an approach that has been implicitly endorsed by many”, says Robert Malley, Director of Crisis Group’s Middle East Program. “It is yet another stark illustration of the belated need for a comprehensive change in policy toward Gaza.”

International condemnation and calls for an inquiry will come easily, but many who will issue them must acknowledge their own role in the deplorable treatment of Gaza that formed the backdrop to today’s events. The policy of isolating Gaza, seeking to turn its population against Hamas, and endorsing a “West Bank first” approach was not an exclusively Israeli one. To focus on this recent tragedy alone is to miss the much wider and more important political lessons.

The policy toward Gaza is in need of thorough re-examination. The US, EU and Quartet as a whole have been calling for relaxing the siege on Gaza. That is welcome, but opening the humanitarian tap is not an appropriate answer to a policy whose fundamental premise is morally callous and politically counter-productive. Instead, Gaza should be open to normal commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring.

“Today, we have witnessed the sad outgrowth of a failed and dangerous policy”, says Louise Arbour, Crisis Group President. “One hopes it can provide an opportunity for a long-overdue course correction.”

June 1st, 2010, 5:02 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Be sure that with this kind of a talk, and this kind of a usage of words (“colonial”), the Israeli “arrogance” is guarantied for the next 62 years.

BTW Alex,

In one of the previous threads, you called me and Akbar “right wing”.
I don’t know about Akbar, probably a Republican, but I never in my life voted for Likud (or to the right of it), and I have no intention to start to do so. If speaking about denial, including me with the ‘right’, is a kind of denial too. In fact, economically and socially speaking, I’m far left, and foreign-affairs speaking, I’m center left. Most of Israeli Jews (I would say 70% of them) are situated to the right of me. The Arabs should ask themselves how did we all reach this point, and not blame all on Israel alone.

June 1st, 2010, 5:29 pm


almasri said:

“I agree with Malley … we need to recognize the failure of Israel, Egypt and the United States as they insisted on advocating their failed “West bank first” policy.”

To a certain extent, I agree with Alex @36. The mood in Egypt is shifting towards challenging this same failed policy, there is a realization that Mubarak is becoming out of touch. Except for some public demonstrations yesterday, most of the opposition gatherings are taking place in the courtyards of mosques where security forces maintain distance, and some of these courtyards can accomodate tens of thousands. But that means very few media outlets get to report on these gatherings – most likely western media will never hear about them. There are three main demands made by the protesters: expelling the Israeli ambassador, opening the Gaza borders and suspending what are essentially Egyptian subsidized gas exports to the entity at prices well below market. Today, Mubarak gave in to one of the demands by opening the border (for the time being). Of course, it is a calculated move to absorb some of the pressure. People know that, even though they may say otherwise.

But the fact that opposition is squeezed into mosques reminds us of pre-Khomeini Iran. If the sequel will follow that path then most likely an MB version of Iran will emerge in Egypt and soon replicated in Jordan. Given the fact that the US is still insisting on its planned withdrawal from Iraq, so far with no government, most likely pro-Iranian government will emerge. All of a sudden the arc is completed with Syria surrounded by fundamentalists (if we use western terminologies). The present Turkish government, if it is still in power, or even another government, would probably welcome the change and would manipulate it to ride the wave into a new world order hoping to become its leader. The MB’s of Jordan and Egypt, even though are carefully watched by the authorities are the most organized and have representatives in parliament and sometimes even in government albeit without much real executive authority. I would imagine in this case that the ball would soon be back in Syria’s court.

What would in your opinion be the effects of such possible outcomes on Syria and particularly the government? Will the government of Syria accommodate the MB’s given that Syria’s government supports MB Hamas?

June 1st, 2010, 6:24 pm


almasri said:

Hersh: US, Israel support PKK
Mon, 29 Oct 2007 02:38:48 GMT
PKK Kurdish rebel group and its sister organization, PEJAK, have been receiving support from the US and Israel, an American journalist claims.

“In the past months, Israel and the United States have been working together in support of PKK and its Iranian offshoot PEJAK, I was told by a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning, Seymour Hersh.

In an interview with Turkish gazette, Zaman, the leading American investigative journalist also revealed that the White House has lost control over PKK which has gone rogue.

Earlier, the renowned American journalist accused Washington and the Zionist regime of providing PKK and PEJAK with ‘training and equipment’ in a secret ploy to destabilize the region.

Commenting on PEJAK, Hersh asserted that Washington considers it as “part of an effort to explore alternative means of applying pressure on Iran.”

The Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK) has been behind a string of deadly attacks on security forces in northwestern Iran. PEJAK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

June 1st, 2010, 6:51 pm


Akbar Palace said:

New Definitions for “Innocent”

You can be proud of the fiasco of your special forces.


I think there were probably better ways to handle the situation. When the next boat comes, I would imagine the IDF will employ better means.

If it wasn’t for the dozens of innocent dead, this whole operation would look more like a macabre and childish clownery.


You recently brought up the subject of “DENIAL”, and then provided 15 examples of how you perceive “Israeli denial”. I really don’t have the time or patience to respond to that list except to point out YOUR denial above.

First of all, there were not “dozens of innocent dead”. There wasn’t even one dozen.

Secondly, they were far from innocent. They disregarded warnings against running the blockade, they beat several soldiers to a pulp (4 in serious condition), and threw several off the deck.

The soldiers had every right to respond with lethal force.

Of course, these activist were “trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, or Iran or Syria”, and the IDF naively did not know that: Another fiasco for your intelligence services.

Whatever they were, they were not “peace activists”. Apparetly, they were thugs intent on breaking a legal blockade of a government at war with the State of Israel.

Of course they were equipped with “lethal weapons”, but for once your special forces were not in tank or in the air to avoid confrontations as they did during the Lebanon war.

A steel wrench or pole is most certainly a “lethal weapon”, as witnessed by the dozen or so wounded soldiers. In fact, a fist could be a lethal weapon.

So many of your special forces just jumped overboard to save their skin.


That would be your 3rd example of being in denial. The video I saw showed the arab thugs grouped together throwing the soldier off.

A real proof of courage you should be proud of.

I agree.

Well next time, your defence minister should just tell the activists that they are ‘misbehaving’.

I think perhaps the best thing to do is to disable the prop or just scuttle the ship entirely per maritime law:


Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

That’s all.

Are you sure?

Or maybe your IDF should get some training in Afghanistan, it will be more useful for the next confrontation with the next peaceful activists.

If the IDF got training in Afghanistan, I would have to surmise that a lot more innocent civilians would be dead.

and please stop replying to a question by a question.

I’ll post whatever I deem necessary at the luxury of the owners here.


Yashar Koach!

June 1st, 2010, 7:59 pm


why-discuss said:


You are not surprised that you seem to know better than the IDF what should have been done. Is your ministry of defence an amateur?

Illegal occupation of a boat in international waters is called piracy. Receiving pirates coming down from a helicoper with wooden stick is the least unarmed travelers can do. If they had lethal weapons, I believe there would have been more dead among the specially trained marines.
Who’d talking about illegality. You left Gaza, you have nothing to do in blocking them. If your millions dollars defense system offered by the US does not protect you, I guess you are smart enough to find something else, aren’t you? you have these advanced universities and research centers you are so proud of , why cant they find a solution? The other alternative is to re-occupy Gaza and jail all Hamas. Make up your mind!
Yes, you are free to answer wih another question, I am getting used to it.

June 1st, 2010, 8:33 pm


norman said:

I do not know about you all , but i see no chance of peace with Israel as it is , Abba Eb an once said that the question is not if Israel is going to survive but what kind of Israel is going to , that was probably one of his last interviews on CNN , I am sure his family is relieved that he is not here to see what kind of country Israel came to be ,

The great leaders of Israel are long gone , for the detriment of Israel , The future is dim , May God help all the people of the Mideast ,

June 1st, 2010, 9:07 pm


Enlightened said:

More boats are on their way!

The Australian PM has come out and roundly condemned the violence and the circumstances surrounding it, this is ground breaking given that Australia has been a staunch ally of Israel, and has requested that the siege of Gaza be lifted.

If only the US government were more honest and transparent in their handling of the matter!

June 1st, 2010, 10:11 pm


almasri said:

It is worthwhile looking at the history of the commander of these pirates who was in charge in order to understand the event,

I am not suggesting that they should use him as a scapegoat to wash out the eposide, which they most likely will. But it would probably give you an insight into the type of so-called ‘elite’ units they brag about.

June 1st, 2010, 10:55 pm


almasri said:

These two analyses (in Arabic) present a unique and very logical perspective of the possible actual motives behind the attacks. The analysts are very thoughtful and do not rely on any wishful thinking which has been the prevalent mode recently. You may have to copy and paste the seocond link into your browser and it works,ساطع نور الدين

June 1st, 2010, 11:29 pm


Averroes said:

45. Almasri,

Thank you for this post. I think the writers are right, and that it was not a miscalculation on the side of the Israelis.

Israel has practically “killed” the possibility of a Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria, and put Turkey on the spot … “your move” it signaled to Turkey. We can also conclude that the Israelis might be expecting a pat on the back from some US circles, because the Israeli action is a proxy reaction to Turkey’s involvement in the Iran Nuclear deal along with Brazil, which the US did not like too much.

However, the actions will be particularly sobering to the Turkish-Iranian-Syrian forming alliance, and will only lead to solidify the growing understanding that the nations of the regions should determine their own affairs. The relatively new doctrine of self sufficiency and self reliance in these countries will only grow bolder and more entrenched, as a result of this latest incident.

Not too far in the future Egypt, and then Arabia will join in this pact. Have no doubt about it, it’s going to happen.

If anyone thinks they can scare down the Turks, they’ve got a few things to learn.

June 1st, 2010, 11:56 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Erdogan will probably visit Syria and Saudia Arabia in the next few weeks

June 2nd, 2010, 12:44 am


observr said:

Not surprising. These…”people” are well known to be cowardice and inclined to commit mega blunders. What happened exposed this entity (not like it needs more exposure) to what it really is.

Ships which left an EU country, Cyprus, with medical and foodstuff supplies for the Real-life (not the fiction and Hollywood produce) concentration camp, aka Gaza, are attacked in open international waters; it’s classic text book piracy- utterly inexcusable.

This despicable behavior didn’t only expose their vile attitude, but also exposed others in Europe and especially the US regime; it was an embarrassment even for those who bark pride about their servile behavior to such entity.

June 2nd, 2010, 8:25 am


Akbar Palace said:

Norman knows Abba Eban’s Family

I am sure his family is relieved that he is not here to see what kind of country Israel came to be


Perhaps Abba Eban’s family is relieved that the State of Israel has not become anything like Syria. An Arab-Israeli MK participated WITH the “peace activists” without any fear of retribution. That’s what I call freedom.

June 2nd, 2010, 8:59 am


norman said:

Hey AP ,
I really appreciate it if you don’t out me like this , whom i know is not of any body’s business ,

June 2nd, 2010, 9:25 am


Akbar Palace said:


You can write whatever you want. And I’ll do the same.

This website isn’t Syria-controlled territory.

June 2nd, 2010, 9:48 am


almasri said:

Erdogan speech to Turkish parliament June 1 is found in Arabic at this link,

As Averroes said scaring the Turks is not in the cards. “Don’t test our patience”, Erdogan said recently.

June 2nd, 2010, 11:07 am


Shami said:

The future is black for the Zionist entity ,the Jewish people should be more humble and to re examine this belief that Israel is eternal inside one or two billions Muslims,this is against rationality and logic.
Our societies are weak,ignorant and underdeveloped today but there will be a revival for sure.
But what i don’t understand is how those Israelis who vote for centrist and leftist parties still believe in the ability of the Jews to survive against the logic of history and hostile geopolitical long term reality.They should make a Memri tv like means mocking the Israeli non sense that is pushing them towards suicide.

June 2nd, 2010, 11:31 am


norman said:

Al Masri ,
The question is , would Turkey Embarrass Egypt and KSA into doing more to force a settlement , Turkey does not call for the destruction of Israel ,

June 2nd, 2010, 11:39 am


Akbar Palace said:

The Days of the Zionist Entity are Numbered NewZ

The future is black for the Zionist entity…

I’ve been hearing these comments for the past 40 years.

June 2nd, 2010, 12:10 pm


almasri said:


Your hypothesis @53 is valid IF a settlement is actually possible. The way I see it is that events are unfolding in such a way as to prove that the party that Turkey is not seeking to destroy, as you correctly pointed out, is not interested in a settlement. The time will come when everyone and perhaps even Turkey will have to openly call spade a spade, whatever that may mean. To any sane person that truth is evident right now. I do not believe, either way, Turkey is seeking to embarrass anybody, even though Turkey’s actions are exposing Arab regimes to more public pressure which this time may end up galvanizing the masses into concrete action after the very long night of slumber.

FYI, and as a side note, things are not as harmonious as you happen to think between Cairo and Riyadh and particularly because of Riyadh’s urgent desire to patch things up between Cairo and Damascus. This desire was more or less spurned by Cairo by insisting on conditions to be agreed upon by Damascus in order to receive Bashar in Cairo in a visit that was rumoured about not long ago. The conditions basically parrot America and puppet’s (or you may prefer to look at it the other way around, israel and puppet) conditions on Syria, and rightly so Bashar declined the invitation.

June 2nd, 2010, 12:50 pm


Shami said:

Yes AP and you would probably hear it till your own death but it’s not a matter of days,years and decades.As much happy Zionist you were,you are aware that Israel existence is precarious.
Why ?because you haven’t the ability to endure a single defeat and consequences ,if not ,it means that your are invincible which is not possible thing.

Or do you believe that the supremacy of Israel is eternal ?

Look AP ,an abnormality in history is never sustainable.

June 2nd, 2010, 12:57 pm


norman said:

Thanks Al Masri , That was informative ,

June 2nd, 2010, 1:28 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


You know what we say:

If the Arabs laid down their arms, there will be no war.
If Israel laid down it’s arms, there will be no Israel.

Referring to what you said in #52, may be it’s about time that this conflict becomes a Muslim-Jewish issue, instead of Arab-Israeli. Let’s be honest, it was always Muslim-Jewish(-Christian) issue, from the beginning of the conflict.
I welcome the involvement of Turkey Iran, and even the more distant countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan.
perhaps a religious solution is needed at this point, where politics failed.

June 2nd, 2010, 1:39 pm


Shai said:

A first for famous Likud hawk (ex Defense Minister) Moshe Arens – consideration of a One-State solution!


Thank you for what you said earlier…

June 2nd, 2010, 2:00 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

another humanitarian ship heading to Gaza,will be there saturday

June 2nd, 2010, 2:34 pm


almasri said:

You’re right Majed. Actually, Turkey is even considering sending a naval escort this time according to this story,

June 2nd, 2010, 3:32 pm


Shami said:

Amir,it was the mistake of these non religious and atheist zionist pioneers that have used religious jewish texts as pretext for the colonization of Palestine.

Now we agree that the logic induced by this action ,doesnt allow to lay down the weapons ,but the question is ,can they be always victorious in the coming wars?and what would happen if the israeli army is defeated ?

Is this Israeli arrogance based on rationality and realism or it’s a behavior like that of these damned people in the bible who have followed their bad instincts?

June 2nd, 2010, 3:55 pm


Shami said:

Amir ,btw ,when i say the end of Israel that doesnt mean the end of the jewish presence in Palestine .
And for me ,the Palestinian cause is not top priority for now ,my top priority is to see the Arab societies evolving towards democracy ,civism, education…as long as we are under such regimes ,salvation is not on the agenda.

June 2nd, 2010, 4:07 pm


almasri said:

Saudi business people tell American delegation from congress making business with america is becoming a liability. Planned business meeting doesn’t proceed as agendas were widely divergent – americans want to talk strictly business. saudis find that hard to accept.

And by the way, Iran decided to invest in Euro by converting all its dollar and gold holdings into the european currency.

June 2nd, 2010, 4:23 pm


why-discuss said:

It is Israel’s tragedy that too many of its people now believe permanent war is better than peace

By Max Hastings
Last updated at 7:37 AM on 2nd June 2010

Seldom in recent times has Israel faced condemnation on the scale which has followed its commando attack on the humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza, in the midst of the Mediterranean.

Whoever started the violence, the Israelis did all the killing.

Here was the latest manifestation of the ruthlessness towards the Palestinians which has long characterised Israeli policy, but is today brutally explicit under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has dismissed President Obama’s demands that Israel should halt Jewish settlement-building on the occupied West Bank of Jordan.

Thanks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, many Israelis believe that permanent war is preferable to peace

He has sustained a blockade of Gaza, officially intended to prevent the import of weapons but in reality designed to drive its inhabitants to renounce the extremist government of Hamas.

Netanyahu believes the Arab world understands only the language of power and exercise of force. He and his supporters are determined to build the Israel they want – where desirable, on Palestinian land.

It is Israel’s tragedy that many of its people have decided that permanent war is preferable to peace on terms their enemies might accept, which would include evacuation of the occupied territories and east Jerusalem.

Most Israelis are simply not frightened enough to feel the need to make big concessions. Their country has become a success story.

The security wall created to divide them from the West Bankers is keeping out suicide bombers. Only a handful of civilians have lately died at the hands of terrorists, while hundreds of Palestinians have perished in Gaza during Israel’s punitive assaults.

The Israeli economy has weathered the global recession better than almost any other. The country is rich.

I have always thought Netanyahu would frustrate the Obama administration’s efforts to force Israeli concessions. Most Americans, and much of Congress, are instinctively hostile to the Muslim world and sympathetic to Israel, their enemies’ enemy.

The Palestinian leadership is a shambles – corrupt, incompetent and often irrational.

As long as Hamas, which won a democratic mandate in Gaza, denies Israel’s right to exist, Israeli politicians can turn up their hands and shrug: ‘But who could negotiate with violent fanatics?’

In this regard, Iran’s president, with his demented denunciations of the Jewish state, is the best friend the Israeli Right-wing could want. Whatever the honourable ambitions of President Obama to deliver justice to the Palestinians, he is stymied by Muslim unreason.
Leftist groups burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel protest in Beirut, Lebanon. The flotilla raid has been met with widespread condemnation

Leftist groups burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel protest in Beirut, Lebanon. The flotilla raid has been met with widespread condemnation

Yet many of us believe Israel’s big mistake, even on its own terms , is to keep the Palestinians in impoverished subjection.

The only hope of inducing them to behave reasonably – as today they do not – is to rescue them from despair. If they had something to lose, they would be far less likely to support violence.

It is hard to describe the misery and emptiness of their lives. The only industries among almost four million people are terrorism and the promotion of grievances.

If you are having a gloomy day and wonder what hell is like, imagine Gaza, seven by 27 miles of human misery, breezeblock shanties, skinny donkeys and supine people.

The sterility of a life in which there is no work, no money, nowhere to go defies imagination.

More from Max Hastings…

* MAX HASTINGS: Why I fear the lights will go out in Britain 21/05/10
* MAX HASTINGS: This coalition is a pantomime horse that’s doomed to fail… but it’s the only horse in town 11/05/10
* MAX HASTINGS: This secret decree allowing travellers to build on green belt land is an insult to the law-abiding 06/05/10
* MAX HASTINGS: Ostrich election has turned out even worse than I feared 28/04/10
* MAX HASTINGS: I can’t text and adore dusty old books, but when I was given an electronic reader I was hooked 26/04/10
* MAX HASTINGS: Pandemic of panic… The great volcanic shutdown was the price we pay for a society that overreacts to any risk 21/04/10
* MAX HASTINGS: Neither political party will tell the truth. And voters are burying their heads in the sand 07/04/10
* MAX HASTINGS: Classroom anarchy, killers in school uniform and how a generation is being betrayed 29/03/10

When I last visited Gaza City, I stood in the barren apartment of a woman named Majah Ayas while she showed me a hole in the window blind, through which an Israeli bullet had killed her two-year-old son Amir.

In this sort of war, I said, these terrible accidents happen. ‘ Don’ t look for excuses,’ she said fiercely. ‘My cousin, too, was killed by the Israelis. He was 27, walking along the street when an Israeli sniper saw him. In this prison we inhabit, the walls are always closing in on us.’

Her brother-in-law, Ibrahim Ayad, is an English teacher whose designer stubble, contempt for reason and angry, glittering eyes add up to the sort of Arab whom Westerners recoil from.

I said that many British people sympathise with the plight of the Palestinians.

‘Sympathy?’ he cried scornfully. ‘You want us to believe there is sympathy for us in Britain – the nation which created Israel!’

I asked whether he approved of suicide bombing. ‘I think yes,’ he said. ‘This is the only way we have. We have only our bodies and we are happy to use our bodies. We’d like death, we’d love death for the sake of our country!’

He shouted hysterically: ‘We’d just like to live like any other people in the world. Think of my nephew Amir, who was killed here in his mother’s bedroom! Do the Israelis think he was carrying guns?’

Grievances like these are piled high upon each other in Gaza and the West Bank. Every Palestinian family has its own horror story. There is no beauty, no meaningful culture, little human happiness.

When Israelis begin to discuss the Palestinians, they might be speaking of wild beasts. I remember meeting Esther Armon, the elderly widow of an Israeli ambassador.

She is a charming, jolly soul who runs a little art gallery in a pretty hilltop town in the north of the country. You would be delighted to have her as your grandmother.

She reminisced about fighting the British, who ran Palestine before 1948: ‘It seemed a pleasure to fight against you rather than the Arabs – your people were human.’

She talked about Muslim ambitions to colonise Europe, and then about the Palestinians: ‘You can’t make an accommodation with fanatics.’

Yet Esther Armon’s views are pretty moderate compared with those of the Russian immigrants who now constitute a formidable political block in Israel. Most support Netanyahu. They, like the extreme religious parties, believe that concessions represent weakness and folly. Most, I suspect, will applaud the commando attack on the aid convoy.

To be fair, Israel’s liberals argue that withdrawal from the West Bank is essential to the long-term future of the state.
Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza before the deadly raid, which struck a heavy blow at Israel’s moral standing

Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza before the deadly raid, which struck a heavy blow at Israel’s moral standing

They fear the consequences of reliance upon military superiority for their survival. Sooner or later, they say, maybe decades from now, if there is no peace deal, the Muslims may be able to challenge Israel’s guns.

But most Israelis reject retreat, above all from Jerusalem. They say: ‘The Arabs will not give us peace whatever we do, so we might as well keep what we have.’

Every day, every year, cranes and bulldozers labour on Palestinian land, creating facts: countless housing estates occupied by settlers. They do not believe that Barack Obama, the United Nations or the ‘world opinion’ which they despise will ever summon the will to take the settlements away from them.

They could be right. The Israelis’ implacable determination may enable them to defy their country’s critics and hold the Palestinians at bay. But the price, if they go on like this, will be to make Israel a pariah state.

Israelis have achieved something remarkable on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. They have created a vibrant and dynamic society in what was a barren wilderness 62 years ago when the state was born.

Their tragedy is that they have done this at the cost of inflicting a historic injustice on the dispossessed Palestinians.

This week’s bloody drama at sea struck a heavy blow at Israel’s moral standing. With luck – and in the strongest interests of Israel – it will bring down the discredited Netanyahu government.

Even better, it might cause Israelis to think again about where they are going. They cannot forever rely on brute force to impose their will.

When I last rented a car in Jerusalem, on Avis’s map there was no trace of any border between the Israeli state and the occupied territories. There was only Israel, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Such a vision represents a towering insult to the Palestinian people, and a tragic self-delusion for themselves.

It is time for change, in the interests of all those who inhabit this tormented region.

June 2nd, 2010, 4:57 pm


Akbar Palace said:

My Mommy tried to Bust the Gaza Blockade from these Zionist Pigs…

and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt!

June 2nd, 2010, 11:16 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Both Firefox and Chrome prevent access to SC.. “reported as attack site”.

June 3rd, 2010, 2:23 am


trustquest said:

White House shifts its policy on Palestinian area, reports say

Long live human rights defenders, they can achieve results. No need for big mouth and big talkers leaders who opress the human rights in their countries. It is about time

June 3rd, 2010, 6:01 am


Akbar Palace said:



Apparently, with the video coming out, Americans aren’t buying the IHH version of the events surrounding the Turkish “peace mission” through the Israeli naval blockade.

I think this publicity stunt is backfiring.

Sean Hannity was quite pro-Israel on my ride home from work yesterday evening. He was responding to a “right wing”, self-professed libertarian who was highly critical of Israel. He cornered the caller and concluded he was an “anti-semite” after the caller blamed Israel for “creating Hamas”.

I think AIG said it best on the QN’s, non-censored website when he said:

Your words are “Kumbaya garbage” because it is actions that count. Lebanon treats its Palestinians like shit. What have you done about it…? You spout a lot of words that are meaningless because your actions contradict them. You blame Israel but do nothing to fix your own house.

Another Lebanese participant there (“V”) added to this:

It’s pathetic and absurd how some commentators demand accountability from Israeli actions while they come from societies and governments that are champions of brutality and human rights violations. That’s just plain hypocrisy. What kinda “Freedom Flotilla or Peace Activists” these are who are heard shouting “Khaybar Khaybar ya Yahood Jayshoo Muhamad sawfa ya3ood”?

Israel should go “ketermaya” on your asses

June 3rd, 2010, 7:15 am


norman said:


So much for democracy and free speech in Israel !,

June 3rd, 2010, 8:18 am


norman said:

News National

Flotilla attack will force Israel to reconsider policy, Friedman says

George Friedman
Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (STRATFOR) CEO George Friedman, while evaluating Israel’s brutal attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine dead and dozens injured, has said Israel will be forced to reconsider its policies.

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Friedman claimed in İstanbul on Wednesday that American power in the region is fading and that there is a growing duty in Turkey to get involved as a problem solver in the Middle East. “There was a strong, incredible Turkish protest against what happened in the Mediterranean, and I think Israel will be forced to reconsider its policies,” Friedman said at a panel discussion organized by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Friedman said Turkey is the only power in the region capable of filling the vacuum left by major powers. “The US will withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. The EU will collapse and does not have an interest or power in the Balkans; Russians pulled back from the Caucasus; Egypt and Greece are weak in the eastern Mediterranean. These weaknesses have created a 360 degree circle, a vast vacuum into which Turkey is not willingly going but being drawn into,” Friedman noted.

Another analysis offered by Friedman suggests that in addition to the conventional definition of power as “soft” or “hard,” there is also a combination of military and economic power, which he terms “deep power.” Claiming that the EU has economic but not military power and Russia military but not economic power, he said only Turkey and the US possess deep power. There is a decline in American power in the region, the STRATFOR CEO said, adding that this is a “historic moment for Turkey.” People in Turkey think being a superpower is a “good” thing, Friedman said, adding, however, that people do not express their gratitude if you solve any problem but always direct blame your way in the event of failure.

Asked why the US does not support policies that seek to push Israel to pursue less strict policies vis-a-vis Arabs, Friedman said it is not correct to expect everything from the US. “If Turkey thinks there is a problem in Palestine, go and fix it!” he said. Friedman also said Turkey is a very balanced military and economic power. “Second, the state has good and effective control over its military and economic power. Third, this power is distributed among the population.”

Speaking on Iran’s nuclear row, Friedman said the US did not reject the Tehran nuclear fuel swap deal but that it said it needed to study it further. “In American diplomacy, if you say I need to study it further, it expresses massive enthusiasm. There is a profound mistrust between Iran and the US; there is a long history of confrontation. The mediator should be trusted by both sides. This excludes the EU and Russia. This is Turkey,” he said. He also added that the Tehran swap deal was orchestrated by Turkey alone and that Brazil’s role was minimal.

He also added that Turkey is developing a strategy with respect to the region and further exploring relations with Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina while also stressing the significant role of Egypt. Friedman noted that Turkey is very much interested in a stable Iraq because the destabilization of Iraq means the destabilization of its Kurdish region. “This might also create some problems in Syria under certain circumstances,” he said.

03 June 2010, Thursday

June 3rd, 2010, 2:47 pm


trustquest said:

Tens of thousands of people take part in the funeral service for the victims of Human Rights Activists killed in the Israelis raid on Gaza bound aid ship in Faith Mosque in Istanbul.

June 3rd, 2010, 6:22 pm


almasri said:

In this analysis, the author is being very creative in inventing words in order to mask a relationship that has been experiencing what he admits to be a fundamental shift for quite sometime. He also argues, regardless of who rules in Ankara, Turkish strategic interests are no longer aligned with the US, but rather with the recently talked about here on SC as the Northern Alliance less Russia,

June 3rd, 2010, 6:43 pm


almasri said:

The following excerpt from a Washington Post story proves that the US knew about the Israeli piracy well in advance.

”The Obama administration said Wednesday that it had warned Israel’s government repeatedly to use “caution and restraint” with the half-dozen aid boats bound for Gaza before Israeli commandos raided the flotilla this week in the operation that killed nine people.
“We communicated with Israel through multiple channels many times regarding the flotilla,” P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement issued in response to a question from The Washington Post. “We emphasized caution and restraint given the anticipated presence of civilians, including American citizens.”
The acknowledgment shed new light on the administration’s contact with the Israeli government before the Monday morning raid, which has inflamed international opinion against Israel and complicated President Obama’s efforts to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world. White House officials said Wednesday that there is a growing consensus within the administration that U.S. and Israeli policy toward Gaza must change, even as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flatly rejected calls for his country to lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory.”

The full story can be found at this link,

Old news for WP, but nevertheless factual. The two Arab analysts in comment 45 seem to be right on beating WP by two days without input from P.J. Crowley.

June 3rd, 2010, 8:09 pm


Husam said:

June 3rd, 2010, Congressman on the floor declares:

Hamas was created by Israel, much like Bin Landin was created by the US to piss off the Soviets.

Watch 2 minutes video:

June 3rd, 2010, 10:22 pm


almasri said:

I came across a piece by Stephen M. Walt. He calls it defending the indefensible: a how-to guide in which he offers 21 handy talking-points when you need to apply the white-wash. I believe this guide will be of great use here on SC. In particular, it will allow efficient and painless communication among commentators even if they belong to the most diverse groups you can imagine. For example, those from the Z group would simply invoke one or more of these 21 talking-points as the comment to make in response to a discussion or article made by other commentators without having to make an ‘elaborate’ and often repetitive and circular ‘arguments’. I can assure you that all what the Z commentators would want to say will fall under one or perhaps two or three of these 21 talking-points. This will allow the other side to immediately understand with the least pain. Here are Stephen Walt 21 talking-points:

” Defending the indefensible: a how-to guide
Posted By Stephen M. Walt Wednesday, June 2, 2010 – 2:55 PM

Powerful states often do bad things. When they do, government officials and sympathizers inevitably try to defend their conduct, even when those actions are clearly wrong or obviously counterproductive. This is called being an “apologist,” although people who do this rarely apologize for much of anything.
Some readers out there may aspire to careers in foreign policy, and you may be called upon to perform these duties as part of your professional obligations. Moreover, all of us need to be able to spot the rhetorical ploys that governments use to justify their own misconduct. To help students prepare for future acts of diplomatic casuistry, and to raise public consciousness about these tactics, I offer as a public service this handy 21-step guide: “How to Defend the Indefensible and Get Away With It.” The connection to recent events is obvious, but such practices are commonplace in many countries and widely practiced by non-state actors as well.
Here are my 21 handy talking-points when you need to apply the white-wash:
1. We didn’t do it! (Denials usually don’t work, but it’s worth a try).
2. We know you think we did it but we aren’t admitting anything.
3. Actually, maybe we did do something but not what we are accused of doing.
4. Ok, we did it but it wasn’t that bad (“waterboarding isn’t really torture, you know”).
5. Well, maybe it was pretty bad but it was justified or necessary. (We only torture terrorists, or suspected terrorists, or people who might know a terrorist…”)
6. What we did was really quite restrained, when you consider how powerful we really are. I mean, we could have done something even worse.
7. Besides, what we did was technically legal under some interpretations of international law (or at least as our lawyers interpret the law as it applies to us.)
8. Don’t forget: the other side is much worse. In fact, they’re evil. Really.
9. Plus, they started it.
10. And remember: We are the good guys. We are not morally equivalent to the bad guys no matter what we did. Only morally obtuse, misguided critics could fail to see this fundamental distinction between Them and Us.
11. The results may have been imperfect, but our intentions were noble. (Invading Iraq may have resulted in tens of thousands of dead and wounded and millions of refugees, but we meant well.)
12. We have to do things like this to maintain our credibility. You don’t want to encourage those bad guys, do you?
13. Especially because the only language the other side understands is force.
14. In fact, it was imperative to teach them a lesson. For the Nth time.
15. If we hadn’t done this to them they would undoubtedly have done something even worse to us. Well, maybe not. But who could take that chance?
16. In fact, no responsible government could have acted otherwise in the face of such provocation.
17. Plus, we had no choice. What we did may have been awful, but all other policy options had failed and/or nothing else would have worked.
18. It’s a tough world out there and Serious People understand that sometimes you have to do these things. Only ignorant idealists, terrorist sympathizers, craven appeasers and/or treasonous liberals would question our actions.
19. In fact, whatever we did will be worth it eventually, and someday the rest of the world will thank us.
20. We are the victims of a double-standard. Other states do the same things (or worse) and nobody complains about them. What we did was therefore permissible.
21. And if you keep criticizing us, we’ll get really upset and then we might do something really crazy. You don’t want that, do you?
Repeat as necessary. “

June 3rd, 2010, 11:12 pm


Akbar Palace said:

A good response to Stephen Walt:

Believe it or not, Israel has the right to defend herself.

June 4th, 2010, 9:27 am


Akbar Palace said:

A picture of one of the “peace activists” getting ready for:

1.) non-violent confrontation
2.) martyrdom
3.) the shuk
4.) his application for US citizenship

June 4th, 2010, 10:49 am


almasri said:

Egyptian intellectuals are asking some taboo questions!!!

June 4th, 2010, 1:16 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“We Con The World”

June 4th, 2010, 6:19 pm


why-discuss said:


Trade flourishes as Syria befriends old foe Turkey

ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) – Turkish delicacies are unashamedly on display in Syria’s culinary capital. Aleppo merchants are switching to imports from Turkey, and buses ferry shoppers to an upscale mall across the border.

A warming of once-chilly Turkish-Syrian ties has unleashed a one-way trade boom. A trade deal activated two years ago has cut tariffs and reduced smuggling. Visa requirements were abolished.

Turkey’s popularity in Syria soared after an Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships in which nine Turks were killed on May 31.

“Turkey now has a stake in the Palestinian cause, and Syria stands to gain,” a diplomat said. “It will be more difficult for Israel to launch any military action against Syria.”

The furor over the flotilla interception has also deflected attention from Israeli and U.S. pressure on Damascus over its alleged arms supplies to the Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group.

Syrians have traditionally looked askance at their powerful northern neighbor, which ruled them during the Ottoman Empire, but many are now seeing secular Muslim Turkey, a NATO member with an Islamist-leaning government, in a new light.

“It’s time to shed the stigma we have had about Turkey. They’re no longer Ottoman, but a development model for the Arab East,” said Abdelqader al-Deiri, a Syrian businessman who now buys restaurant equipment from Turkey instead of Europe.

“Transport costs are lower, but Turkish goods do not compete on price alone. They make high quality,” added Deiri, who often vacations in Turkey. His eight-year-old son is learning Turkish.

“We have to admit that the Turks make better sweets than us. The pistachios and butter are better, so is the workmanship,” he said, munching on a baklava slice from Gaziantep.

Viewing Syria as a gateway to the Middle East, Turkey has moved in recent years to solve old disputes with Arab governments while becoming more critical toward Israel.

Ankara mediated indirect Syria-Israel peace talks that were broken off when Israel attacked the Gaza Strip in 2008.

“Syria is an important country as a growing market, a promising economic partner, plus it has an important place in regional issues,” Turkish ambassador Omer Onhon told Reuters. “So it’s only natural that our relations have improved.”

Yet the two countries, on opposing sides in the Cold War, came to the brink of conflict in 1998 over Syrian support for the PKK, a separatist Turkish Kurd guerrilla group. Work on demining the 800 km (500 mile) border began only two years ago.

Syria previously complained that Turkish upstream dams had worsened its water shortage. It long upheld a territorial claim against Turkey, which was awarded the province of Alexandretta (Iskenderun) by France in 1939 when Syria was under French rule.

Syrian maps still show the border province as part of Syria, but the government has indicated that a solution is possible.

Under Western pressure, Turkey has expanded the rights of its Kurdish minority in recent years, although clashes with the PKK continue. Syria has kept its own one million Kurds on a tight rein, denying citizenship to a substantial number of them.

The easing of Syrian-Turkish trade restrictions, however, is helping revive Aleppo, which has a big Kurdish population.

The once-cosmopolitan entrepot had been a prime casualty of the decades of border tensions that cut the city off from its natural hinterland in what is modern-day Turkey.

Turkish businessmen fill Aleppo hotels, eager to sell consumer goods to Syrians starved of them under the country’s previous socialist-style economic policies.

Joint ventures, mostly in jeans and textiles, with Turkish companies make up half of the $650 million investments at the nearby Sheikh Najar industrial zone, according to official data, but overall Turkish investment in Syria remains miniscule.

“Syria is a truly virgin market for us,” said Bilge Pakis, an engineer at Turkish waterpark specialist Polin, which operates in 70 countries.


Syrian presidential aide Hassan Turkmani said ties with Turkey had helped Damascus overcome Western attempts to isolate it, but acknowledged the challenges in befriending a powerhouse with an economy 10 times as big as Syria’s.

Turkish exports to Syria, ranging from construction material to white goods and electronics, rose to $1.4 billion in 2009 from $1.1 billion the previous year. Syrian exports in return, mostly of oil, almost halved to $328 million in the same period.

“Syria has the potential and if we can learn from the Turkish experience and adopt the technology we can become competitive,” Turkmani said.

The burgeoning relationship with Turkey may also have encouraged Syria to snub an economic deal with the European Union that could have forced the government, controlled by the Baath Party since 1963, to discuss its treatment of political prisoners and reforms to the legal system.

Syria cited interference in internal affairs and potential economic damage as reasons for refusing to sign the deal last year. But not everyone sees this as a good thing.

“What we would have lost to the European Union we are now losing to Turkey,” one Syrian businessman said.

Last year the two countries signed 50 protocols ranging from energy to transport, which will consolidate Turkey’s push. Turkish officials, keen to see Syria ease container truck congestion at the border, say progress has been slow.

“Trade has been to our advantage. But more Turkish investments will come and Syrian labor is starting to go to Turkey,” one of the officials said.

Syrian businessman Fahed Tfenkji said Syrian companies could not rely only on lower labor costs to attract Turkish partners.

“A Turkish company comes and is pleased with the operation for the first six months,” he said. “But unfortunately the Syrian partner often cannot sustain the quality.”

(Additional reporting and editing by Alistair Lyon)

June 4th, 2010, 6:41 pm


almasri said:

أردوغان: لن ندير ظهرنا للقدس

رجب طيب أردوغان قال إن قدر غزة ليس منفصلا عن قدر أنقرة (الفرنسية-أرشيف)

قال رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان إنه أبلغ الولايات المتحدة بأنه لا يقبل تصنيف حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس) على أنها منظمة إرهابية.

وأضاف أن حماس حركة مقاومة تقاتل للدفاع عن أرضها، وأن الكثير من أعضائها معتقلون في السجون الإسرائيلية مع أنهم فازوا في انتخابات ديمقراطية وحرموا من حقهم في الحكم.

قدر مشترك
وقال أردوغان إن الهجوم الإسرائيلي على أسطول الحرية فجر الاثنين الماضي في المياه الدولية بالبحر الأبيض المتوسط “يظهر حالة الارتياب والصدمة” التي تمر بها الحكومة الإسرائيلية.

وأكد في كلمة أمام حشد ممن شيعوا في مدينة قونيا شهداء أتراكا ممن سقطوا في الهجوم الإسرائيلي، أنه “إذا أدار العالم ظهره لفلسطين فإن تركيا لن تدير ظهرها للقدس والشعب الفلسطيني أبدا”.

واعتبر أن “قدر الشعب الفلسطيني ليس منفصلا عن قدر تركيا، وقدر غزة ليس منفصلا عن قدر أنقرة”، وقال إن رام الله ونابلس ورفح وخان يونس وبيت لحم وجنين “كلها مدن ليست منفصلة عن قونيا”.

وقال “إذا صمت العالم فنحن لن نصمت، وإذا غض العالم الطرف عن تلك المذبحة فنحن لن نغض الطرف، وإذا بقي العالم متفرجا على حمام الدم فإننا لن نظل مكتوفي الأيدي ونترك ذلك الدم يجري، لأن ذلك لا يليق بالشعب التركي والأمة التركية”.

الأتراك شيعوا شهداء الهجوم الإسرائيلي
على أسطول الحرية (الفرنسية)
تقليص العلاقات
ويأتي خطاب أردوغان بعدما أعلنت تركيا في وقت سابق أنها قد تقلص علاقتها مع إسرائيل إلى الحد الأدنى، وأنها تعمل حاليا على تقييم الاتفاقات المبرمة معها، حيث قال بولنت أرنك نائب رئيس الوزراء التركي لتلفزيون “أن.تي.في” إن أنقرة ستقلص علاقتها العسكرية والاقتصادية مع إسرائيل.

ويوجد تعاون عسكري وفي الصناعات العسكرية بين البلدين, وهو ما يمثل القوة الدافعة وراء التحالف التركي الإسرائيلي الذي بدأ عام 1996 مع توقيع اتفاق تعاون عسكري.

وتعد الشركات الإسرائيلية من بين الحاصلين الرئيسيين على المناقصات لتزويد الجيش التركي باحتياجاته. ويوجد مشروع حاليا بين البلدين بقيمة 183 مليون دولار يشمل تصنيع عشر طائرات بدون طيار وما يتصل بها من معدات المراقبة للجيش التركي.

وبعد الهجوم، قال وزير الدفاع التركي وجدي غونول إن الأزمة لن تعرقل إنجاز المشروع.

وكان الرئيس التركي عبد الله غل قال في حديث تلفزيوني الأربعاء إن العلاقات بين الدولتين “لن تعود إلى سابق عهدها”، مضيفا أن “إسرائيل ارتكبت واحدا من أكبر الأخطاء في تاريخها”.

June 4th, 2010, 7:45 pm


Husam said:

Why Discuss said (reporting):

“but overall Turkish investment in Syria remains miniscule.”

Rule #1: Any large foriegn investor or company from any corner of the world would need securities and garantees that contracts in Syria would be honored and the rule of law applies across the board. Without that, “the billions” won’t flow.

June 4th, 2010, 8:25 pm


why-discuss said:


I agree, there is a danger for the syrian industries…

Yet, it may stimulate the Syrians who have been living in a close circle with a bureaucracy inherited from the socialist period to wake up and give an impetus to the areas where they can be competitive.
The Iranians also could be huge importers of syrian goods. Just seeing the thousands of iranian tourists grabbing all they can from Hamidieh bazaar indicates that Syria may benefit from Iran to buy their goods and from Turkey to learn modern management and become competitive. Iraq is already an importer and once Iraq stabilizes, Syria could be a favorite trade partner. The question is how fast can the industrial infrastructures change and how much the governemnt would help the smart syrian merchants in achieving their goal.

June 4th, 2010, 8:55 pm


ziad said:

Picked this from drudge report. That is why she was so hated by the whole Bush admin.

June 4th, 2010, 10:07 pm


norman said:

Husam , WD ,

Syria needs few things ,
1_ contract Law
2_ Property right law
3_ stable conversion of the Syrian pound to the Dollar or the euro to protect the value of investments
4_ flat tax of about 15% on individuals collected as estimated tax every 3 months for the self employed and certified by a public accountant ,
5_ tax break first 5 years to corporations and tax break for 10 years if a corporation employs more than a 100 employees ,
6_ give priority to investment from Expat who want to invest in Syria and give preferential treatment to Syrian originated investments with tax breaks and easy financing ,
7_ property tax after first home ,
8_ Estate Tax and tax on wealth being transferred from parents to children ,
9_ Simplify the procedures that are needed to start a business and make it clear that making money is not evil as long as you play by the rules and you pay your fair share of taxes ,
10_ Sale tax of about 3% that is used in each county for the police and fire and school system ,

June 4th, 2010, 11:06 pm


norman said:

Shai, Yossi , AP , Amir ,
this one for you ,,0,7364243.story
Genes set Jews apart, study finds
Those of European descent are more closely related with one another than with their fellow countrymen, say researchers who were primarily studying genetic diseases.
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times

6:21 PM PDT, June 3, 2010


Jews of European descent living on opposite sides of the globe are more closely related to one another than they are to their fellow countrymen, according to the largest study ever conducted of what it means genetically to be Jewish. Ashkenazis, the primary group descended from European Jews, are all as closely related as fourth or fifth cousins would be, the study found.

“Jews really are different from their non-Jewish neighbors,” said Dr. Harry Ostrer, a geneticist at the New York University Langone Medical Center, coauthor of the study appearing Thursday in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

They are not different enough to be considered a separate race, as some experts have argued, he added, but definitely are a “distinct population” — the result, presumably, of cultural separation down through thousands of years.

The study, which was conducted primarily to further medical knowledge of genetic diseases, rejected a highly controversial idea that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars in Eastern Europe who converted to Judaism — an idea that has recently been used in an attempt to discredit the idea that Jews belong in Israel because it is their historic homeland.

The study shows that there is “clearly a shared genetic common ancestry among geographically diverse populations consistent with oral tradition and culture …and that traces back to the Middle East,” said geneticist Sarah A. Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study. “Jews have assimilated to some extent, but they clearly retain their common ancestry.”

Said Joe Berkofsky, a spokesman for the Jewish Federations of North America: “This finding in a way underscores what Jewish Federations believe and act upon through our central mission, which is to care for and protect Jews around the world, no matter where they are.”

Although the study sheds light on Jewish history — providing new information about the separation between North African and European Jews 2,500 years ago and the near extinction of European Jews in the Middle Ages — its major goal is to identify genes for many diseases that are more common in Jewish groups, such as breast cancer, Gaucher’s disease and Tay-Sachs.

The higher incidence of those diseases among “Abraham’s children” will allow scientists to more readily find genes that causes the illnesses and then extend that knowledge to the general population, said geneticist Gil Atzmon of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, coauthor of the paper.

The study examined 237 Jewish individuals from seven regions of the world, comparing them with 418 non-Jewish people from the same regions. Each of the Jewish subjects had all four grandparents from the same population.

The researchers studied about 160,000 sites across the entire genome, providing a great deal more information about the population than has ever been available.

Previous studies had found similar results by looking at smaller populations and considering only blood groups, mitochondrial DNA (a type of DNA passed down by mothers) or Y chromosomes (passed down by fathers).

The Jewish people, according to archaeologists, originated in Babylon and Persia between the 4th and 6th centuries BC. The modern-day Jews most closely related to that original population are those in Iran, Iraq and Syria, whose closest non-Jewish relatives are the Druze, Bedouins and Palestinians, the study found.

Sometime in that period, the Middle Eastern and European Jews diverged and the European branch began actively proselytizing for converts.

At the height of the Roman Empire, about 10% of the empire’s population was Jewish, although the bulk of them were converts. Some Khazars were also incorporated during this period.

“That explains why so many European and Syrian Jews have blue eyes and blond hair,” Ostrer says. It also explains another of the team’s findings — that the population most closely related genetically to European Jews are Italians.

The data also show what the researchers call a “bottleneck” in the Jewish population during the Middle Ages. The population of European Jews shrunk below 50,000 during that period because of disease, prejudice, anti-Semitic edicts and the Crusades, Atzmon said.

Afterward, however, an easing of restrictions led to what is known as the “demographic miracle,” in which the Jewish population rose twice as fast as that of other Europeans, reaching more than 5 million by the 19th century.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

June 4th, 2010, 11:27 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Norman,

The LA Times looks like a serious newspaper, but the article you linked to, doesn’t appear to be as serious. I think that sampling 237 Jews, isn’t enough to draw global conclusions. And there are more mistakes in this article.
Like: “…the separation between North African and European Jews 2,500 years ago and the near extinction of European Jews in the Middle Ages”. Those two claims simply aren’t factual.
Or: “…Some Khazars were also incorporated during this (Roman) period”. Some 700 years separate between the Roman period and the allegedly conversion of the Khazarian kingdom to Judaism.

If you’re interested, look at this more comprehensive study.

June 5th, 2010, 2:31 am


Akbar Palace said:

To Err is Human, to Forgive is Devine

Helen Thomas with her “guard down” (despite the Zionist-controlled press):

Her subsequent apology:

June 5th, 2010, 8:37 am


norman said:

AP ,
When was the last time an Israeli apologized for anything they did to the Palestinians ,

June 5th, 2010, 9:45 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Al Masri
This shows that Israel is criminal entity.and whoever defends it is criminal too,like A.P. and the ilks
Erdogan is a hero in the Arab world,he surpassed Nasrallah in popularity.The Arab world is looking for a leader,he might be the one we are looking for.
Turkey must start getting Nuclear weapons,Turkey and the Arab world can be a ballancing power.

June 5th, 2010, 11:44 am


husam said:

Norman, WD:

Rule #2: Contain Corruption. Norman, while I agree with you on most of your points, I don’t agree with collecting taxes without a massive clean up and a system of accountability. Otherwise, all you will do is transfer wealth from the poor to cerain already rich individuals.

I am for taxes outlined except for #4 and #10. The revenues from all other taxation should be sufficient to run a perfect society in Syria. Take for example the U.S. whose laws clearly stated that taxation was enacted ONLY for corporations and not for individuals!!! Something the IRS doesn’t want you to know. If it wasn’t for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan… and if it wasn’t for the hoarding of money by the elite and wall street, you would have a perfect self sustaining society.

June 5th, 2010, 12:27 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“…The Arab world is looking for a leader, he (Erdogan) might be the one we are looking for”.
I can only wish you’re right. Mr. Erdogan is a responsible and a peaceful person, like no Arab will ever be.


Nicholas Blanford on the 3rd Lebanon war, the military prospective; in 7 parts; part 1 here

June 5th, 2010, 12:43 pm


alamsri said:

You may well be right Majed @94. It is becoming clearer by the day that zionists only understand the language of force. In my opinion, which I said already, they are not in a position to understand and act on such concepts as war and peace. One has to distinguish between criminal bands and real nations. Arabs are a nation and so are Turks, Iranians, Greeks, French etc… But you cannot call zionists a nation.

June 5th, 2010, 2:04 pm


ziad said:

Turkey is going to break the Gaza siege wide open. Erdogan himself might sail to Gaza. I can not wait to see the expressions on the war criminals (Israeli elected officials) faces.

June 5th, 2010, 2:23 pm


why-discuss said:

Al masri, Shai

The Israeli soldiers are not used to be face to face with an opponent. In all previous wars, they were in planes, helicopters, bombing blindly, destroying and avoiding to find themselves in front of a resistant.
Here, they just went bazzurk, total hysteria and panick because they found that they had to face resistants in real with wooden stick when they came down in the middle of the night from the Blackhawk helicopters!
Is this hysteria the result of fear? And this was trained IDF special unit…
Anyway if they were expecting a “pacific” reaction as they claim it, why the hell did they come in a noisy Blackhawk helicopter in the middle of the night? Did they want to create a paralyzing awe?
This was a very bad and childish psychology but we have seen that in the 2006 lebanon war already.
I think the IDF does not have any intelligent leadership and it is making deadly blunders after blunders. Is it a symptom of the paranoia and hysteria which is creeping in the Israeli society after successive badly inspired political leaders have brought this country to a corner?

June 5th, 2010, 3:55 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Ziad #98
How about if president Jimmy Carter decided to go on one of those ships.

June 5th, 2010, 4:18 pm


almasri said:

Thanks for the post @99 WD. That was very thoughtful. But you also forgot to mention the most important and telling behaviour in this piracy operation. The first thing the ‘elite’ pirates did was to jam communication equipment on board the ships. That is a very clear indication of their intentions of creating a blood bath on board and keeping the world in the dark as they go about committing their crime. Of course, later on they can go on fabricating whatever story they think is suitable for a cover up – A clear stealthy criminal behaviour which they may have elitely learnt and practiced during the Sabra massacres in the 80s that we seem to have forgotten about.

On a different subject, yesterday was the anniversary of Obama’s speech in Cairo, in which he made his promises that were full of deceit,

It is amazing what he delivered just on this occasion of his sweet talk: An international crime committed against Muslims in the full daylight and with full complicity from his administration. Can any sane person believe him after this? The wisest at the time of the speech were the Iranians who correctly observed that he is a wolf wearing silk gloves. It only took one year to prove them right!!
We (Arabs, Muslims) must deeply reflect on the fact that every US president, without exception, since John Quince Adams (i.e. 1820 era) is always a staunch Zionist and an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim.

June 5th, 2010, 4:20 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Amir said
like no Arab will ever be.
This is a racist comment

June 5th, 2010, 5:05 pm


ziad said:


That will be even better. Maybe they both can be on the same flotilla but on different ships. Remember, he was the first big name to predict this in his book. They declared him as anti Semite so, in their mind, have justification to denigrate him even more.

Look at this article by Mr Levy

Netanyahu was right
All the prime minister’s predictions have come true. He always said the whole world was against us – now he is right.
By Gideon Levy
The time has come to take off our hats to the prime minister. Benjamin Netanyahu’s predictions have proved accurate, and his prophecies are coming true right before our eyes. Now we can proudly declare that our government is led by a man of vision, a statesman who has foretold the future. Even his greatest critics can’t deny it; the facts speak for themselves.
Netanyahu said the whole world is against us. Wasn’t he right? He also said we live under an existential threat. Isn’t it beginning to look like that? Give it another minute and Turkey will be at war with us too. Netanyahu said there’s no chance of reaching an agreement with the Arabs. Wasn’t that spot on? Our prime minister, who saw danger lurking in every alleyway and enemies waiting around every corner, who has always taught that there is no hope, who has drummed into us that we shall forever live by the sword (just as his father the historian taught him ), knew what he was talking about.
We haven’t had anyone like him since David Ben-Gurion. He’s a genuine prophet whose every prediction comes true, one after the other – someone who can really be proud of his accomplishments. Enough mockery, enough ridicule. For Netanyahu is not only a prophet; his leadership has swept up the entire country. There is no longer anyone who can stop him from realizing his vision, and soon the pundits will be writing that Netanyahu was right.
This country now has a blind captain in the cockpit, flying his blindfolded passengers with exemplary precision toward the destination he envisioned. If there had still been any object of his scaremongering that had not yet been attained before this week, along came the outrageous seizure of the flotilla, and that goal too was in the bag.
If anyone was still entertaining a glimmer of hope that our pilot wasn’t totally blind, that he had some special sight-enhancing gadget, along came his declaration that the blockade of Gaza would continue. Let the world and wisdom and Gaza all go to hell, and incidentally Israel too – and dash that glimmer of hope as well. After the saws and knives seized on the Marmara have been publicly exhibited, we will be able to convince ourselves once and for all that there is indeed a danger lurking in every alley, an Al-Qaida operative on every ship, weapons on every deck – and even that the Marmara was an existential threat, no less, just as our leader had foreseen.
Of course, no one will demand to see the guns that the activists are alleged to have fired, or the video footage in which Israeli soldiers are seen firing, or the confiscated photographs taken by journalists. For us, the pictures of the severe beatings that the IDF Spokesman’s Office has released are enough.
Some 7 billion human beings (less about 5 million Israeli Jews ) are wrong. They haven’t got a leader like Netanyahu, and that’s why they go on thinking that seizing passenger ships in international waters is an act of piracy, no different from the deeds committed by the pirates of Somalia. They think (wrongly of course ) that Israel has no right to stop a fleet of boats; that the victims are the people of Gaza and the bleeding passengers, not the naval commandos who raided the ship and were beaten; and that the aggressors were the troops who were dropped onto the ship from a helicopter, killing nine civilians with live fire and wounding dozens.
The world is wrong and Netanyahu, with us in tow, is right. We will not lift the blockade. For four years it has yielded not an ounce of benefit, just damage, but what does that matter? Giddyup! Let’s fulfill Netanyahu’s vision. We’ll become an even more despised country and won’t have a single friend left in the world, not even the United States. True, it was Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, who began this terrible landslide with Operation Cast Lead, after which the world became intolerant of all violent behavior by Israel, but Netanyahu is following in his path.
Despite it all, his vision has not yet been realized in full. He gave rise to one hope: an “economic peace” that would bring prosperity to Palestinians and Israelis. But as yet there has been no greater saboteur of Israeli exports than Netanyahu, and soon everything produced here will have to be sold no further afield than Petah Tikva. Even prophets are entitled to err on occasion, but he had better not give rise to any more hopes.
About half of Israelis want a commission of inquiry, according to a poll published yesterday. It can be assumed that this is only because our soldiers were beaten and humiliated. Why, what else is there to investigate? After all, we have a prophet-statesman whose predictions are coming true, one after the other, and the redeemer is (not ) coming to Zion.

June 5th, 2010, 5:11 pm


ziad said:


I hate to correct you but I have to. The crime was not against Muslims. It was a crime against humanity but Muslims suffered the most casualty.

June 5th, 2010, 5:16 pm


almasri said:

“like no Arab will ever be.
This is a racist comment”

Majed @102,

No Majed, this is not a racist comment!!! This is a clear admission of a criminal who after commiting the crime knows full well that he or she will never get forgiven by the victim of his or her crime.

ZIAD @104

I stand corrected. Thanks. However, I did say international crime – not as accurate as your description, but we’re on the same page.

June 5th, 2010, 5:22 pm


trustquest said:

Helen Thomas Rails At White House Over Stance On Israeli “Flotilla Massacre”
Thomas, clearly fuming, gave Gibbs a bit of a lesson in Loaded Questions 101:

“The initial reaction to the flotilla massacre, deliberate massacre, an international crime, was pitiful. What do you mean you regret something that should be so strongly condemned, and if any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms? What is this ironclad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts every aid and abet… the boycott?”

Don’t you wish there is freedom of press to replace those impotence Arab leaders and give the public the tools to participate so they can embarrass the international media like this lady?

June 5th, 2010, 8:52 pm


norman said:


Original Content at

June 5, 2010

The Pariah State of Israel Must be Ostracized and Isolated

By michael payne

Enough is enough; the state of Israel has now proven to the world that it is incapable of living peacefully with its neighbors and it now must pay the price for its continuing aggressive actions. The only truly effective way for the world to deal with this pariah state: it must be ostracized and isolated through world boycotts and sanctions.

Yes, Israel has done it once again, another brutal attack. This time it illegally entered international waters and attacked a humanitarian fleet of ships, flying the flags of Ireland, Turkey and Greece heading toward Gaza, loaded with tons of badly needed materials and supplies. According to reports, Israeli commandos boarded the ships and then all hell broke loose; ten or more activists were killed and many others wounded. Hundreds of activists were then captured and imprisoned in Israel.

Israel has truly become a pariah state; definition: A pariah state is one whose conduct is considered to be inconsistent with international norms of behavior. This term is closely related to the term rogue state. The nation of Israel today very much resembles the nation of South Africa during its period of “apartheid,” an official policy of racial segregation that South Africa practiced between 1948 and 1994.

That system of apartheid brutally repressed non-white citizens by curtailing their rights, causing a great deal of violence and unrest that continued unabated until a comprehensive trade embargo by nations of the world ended it. South Africans used military force and intimidation to deny the rights of non-whites and Israel is doing the very same thing in even more violent and repressive actions against Hamas and the people of Gaza.

Israel also bears a very close resemblance to North Korea, another pariah state which is armed to the teeth, one that also has a nuclear arsenal; always ready to strike out at any nation, specifically South Korea. Neither of these paranoid nations is able to peacefully exist with its neighbors. Israel has only one friend in the world, the U.S., while North Korea has only China as a friend.

Israel is proving that it does not want to be a part of the world community of nations and, therefore, by its continuous aggressive military actions, it must be ostracized and isolated. The world community must initiate comprehensive boycotts and a system of sanctions to punish Israel for continuing aggressive, bloody military actions against its Middle East neighbors. These boycotts and sanctions must include severe curtailments of exports to and imports from Israel. Diplomatic representatives from Israel must be expelled from nations and those nations should recall their diplomats.

Israel’s athletes and sports teams should be barred from competing in other nations; exchanges of musicians and other types of art and cultural activities also should be either sharply reduced or, preferably, stopped. No more weapons or military equipment should be exported to Israel by any nation, including the U.S.

Israel acts as if it is above any international laws; it can do whatever it desires. If anyone dares to question or criticize Israel, they are immediately branded as anti-Semite. Its leaders are always right, they never do any wrong, everyone is against them, everyone else is wrong and is always the aggressor. The list past and current aggressors include: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Hezbollah, Palestine and Hamas, and Syria; and now the latest threat to Israel is Iran. This government has taken the art of lying and misinformation to new heights, into new dimensions.

The constant confrontations, the never-ending aggressive military actions, the threats and saber rattling never, ever stop. No one can do anything right in the eyes of the Israelis. The entire world is sick and tired and worn out watching and listening to this government as it lashes out against anyone who it even thinks might pose some kind of a threat. If anyone thinks that they completely trust the U.S. then they better think again, for Israel has been caught spying against America more than once.

So, it’s high time that the world says “enough is enough”, Israel must be dealt with by using the most effective methods for this kind of unique situation, namely, boycotts and sanctions. The UN should take the lead in this movement through censure and sanctions but you can bet that, regardless of the facts of this crime in international waters, the U.S. will try to block or veto any attempt to bring any such actions against Israel.

It’s time for an end to the scenario in which Israel is the tail that wags the dog, i.e., America. No matter what Israel does, no matter how heinous or inhuman their actions have been, the U.S. president, the Congress, the mainstream media and far too many misinformed Americans cover up for it, forgive its illegal actions and look the other way.

The world and, especially, America needs to confront Israel and make it crystal clear that it cannot continue to be the ever present spark that could set off a Middle East inferno. President Obama needs to also make it clear to the Israeli’s that if they continue their agenda of military aggression then they will forfeit any more U.S. aid.

That’s what he, as an American president, should do but let’s sees what he actually does. Will he continue to let Bibby Netanyahu bully him into silent submission? Or can he somehow summon up the courage and conviction to demand an end to the heinous actions being taken? It is going to be really interesting to see how President Obama can get out of this one. When Israel brutally attacked Gaza during the winter of 2008-2009, he looked the other way; if he does so once again in the face of the facts that have come to light then he will prove that he lacks the will to do the right thing and he will become the modern day version of Neville Chamberlain, the famed appeaser in the events leading to World War II.

Israel has now completely worn out its welcome in the world and it is time for the UN and the nations of the world to take charge; not with military action as has been demonstrated by Israel but with strong, worldwide boycotts and sanctions. Israel needs to feels the anger and outrage of the world by suffering massive, on-going economic stress. Remember, South Africa was once a pariah state that continued to commit despicable acts until the nations of the world put an end to its irresponsible, unconscionable behavior.

Author’s Bio: Michael Payne concentrates his writings on domestic social and political matters,American foreign policy and climate change. His articles have appeared on Online Journal, Information Clearing House, Peak Oil, Google News and many others.


June 6th, 2010, 12:08 am


almasri said:

This eyewitness account of communication jamming on board the ships just before boarding by the pirates is the clearest and most neutral proof of the premeditated mass murder by the so-called ‘elite’ Destruction Force as someone (Ziad) called it on this forum not long ago. What were these thugs expecting from the sailors? To send out a May Day Beacon? Ask for urgent military reinforcements and aerial support? Why is Turkey still insisting on UN investigation? The proof of premeditated mass murder is right here.

”No word from ship’s Aussies
Freedom Flotilla News
SYDNEY – AN AUSTRALIAN journalist and a photographer on a vessel which was part of a flotilla seeking to break a blockade on the Gaza Strip have not made contact since deadly clashes with Israeli forces.
The Sydney Morning Herald has not heard from writer Paul McGeough or photographer Kate Geraghty since Israeli forces stormed the aid ships on Monday, leaving at least 10 pro-Palestinian activists dead.
A spokesman for publisher Fairfax said that the pair were on assignment covering the convoy and had been moving from boat to boat but were understood to be on the MV Samoud. ‘We last had contact with Paul around lunchtime today,’ the spokesman said. ‘He said they (Israeli forces) were beginning to jam communications and we haven’t been able to communicate with them since.’
Australia’s foreign ministry said it was aware the Australians were with the the flotilla. ‘We are seeking to confirm their safety and precise whereabouts,’ the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement. ‘There is no indication, at this stage, that any Australians have been injured.’ In some of Mr McGeogh’s last reports before communications were cut off, he wrote about how a series of lights beyond the flotilla were visible.
‘Were they non-military sea traffic, or was the Israeli navy on top of us?’ he wrote in a despatch published on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website. ‘Kate Geraghty uses her biggest lens to capture an image of what we can’t really see. Blown up, it is too grainy to publish, but at the same time, clearly, it is a navy vessel.’ He said that at 4.20 am those on board realised all communications were jammed.
‘4.22 – we see two zodiacs moving in, pressing through. Two more zodiacs. Now there are five of them astern of us,’ he wrote. ‘There’s white wakes on black water. Search lights on one of the cargo ships and from the Turkish ferry are picking up the zodiacs now.’ — AFP
Source: The Straits TImes”

And they still have the audacity to show us videos of sailors wielding kitchen knives and sticks? Have we not seen the Sabra and Shatila three-day massacre blackouts 28 years ago?

June 6th, 2010, 1:15 am


Badr said:

Witnesses cast doubt on Israel’s convoy raid account

June 6th, 2010, 4:43 am


norman said: (Jun-06-2010 00:52)

Is Israel Planning Act of Desperation ?
Gordon Duff
It still holds two stolen nukes for possible port attack.

(CINCINNATI, Ohio) – Whenever the gang that has seized power in Israel wants to move forward their agenda-their plan to use American lives to dominate not only the Middle East but Central Asia-they reach into their bag of tricks.

Sometimes it’s a simple story: “rockets from Gaza” or another phony Bin Laden audio tape. However, too often, as we have learned time and time again, something very bad happens at just the right time.

Some imaginary terrorist group with no planning ability, no logistics, and no influence or history of being able to move men or material shows up in New York, Detroit, London, Dubai, Madrid or Mumbai.

The signature is always the same: help through airports, high quality documents and timed perfectly to advance the Israeli agenda. This time, with two stolen nuclear weapons in play, bombs built by South Africa and Israel available for detonation in a shipping container at any American or European port, we wonder, “Would Israel really go this far?”

The stolen nukes are part of the original ten weapons, Uranium-235 based, built by Israel in South Africa. The first one was tested on September 22, 1979 in the Indian Ocean and discovered by an array of sensors and satellites. The Israeli lobby in the US suppressed an American reaction and kept the story out of the press.

However, as the story of these nuclear weapons is now established fact and subject of a recent speech by President Obama, denial is a waste of time. But what President Obama wasn’t told when he thanked South Africa for destroying these weapons is that three of them “went missing.”

While six weapons were shipped to the US and destroyed, three were in British hands but were hijacked, we were told initially, by Saddam Hussein and later Syria. This was the real reason for the invasion of Iraq. This was a useful story that killed off a rival of Israel’s-a useful lie that also killed 5,000 Americans.

Israel also told us Syria had them but we didn’t buy it. Then, Israel convinced the US that these bombs might show up in Gaza and be smuggled through tunnels into Israel. America agreed to support turning Gaza into a prison camp with us building the wall around it, using the Army Corps of Engineers.

This is another lie. The bombs have been in Israel all along, for the past 18 years-except for one that mysteriously exploded in North Korea.

Israel has been trying to hang that one on Pakistan. They are also setting the stage for nuclear terrorism by spreading continual stories about terrorists having access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

It isn’t to get America to go in and seize it. Pakistan has a one million-man army, highly trained and well equipped. Not only are terrorists not going to get Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the United States isn’t up to the task either. Pakistan has never lost nuclear material but America has-several times. But that is another story.

Some time ago, Israel began preparing the US for a nuclear weapon to be detonated in a shipping container. Through Israeli assets in the US, starting with Senators Schumer, Waxman, Lieberman and McCain, to the mainstream media, to Chertoff, to the storytellers of Hollywood, the story has been planted in the minds of every American.

“America can’t protect her ports.”

“A ‘loose nuke’ can be used at any time.”

“Billions need to be spent on Israeli technology to protect America.”

“A weapon is ready to be unleashed at any time…”

The continual stories, the daily fabrications that Israeli security forces feed America’s intelligence network are never seen by most Americans. First, we are told Saddam has them. Then, Israel says Syria has them. Then, Israel tells us Syria sent them to Lebanon. Then, we are told they are in Iran. Then, we are told Hezbollah has them and is trying to smuggle them into Israel from Lebanon. Then, Israel tells us that they are on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on a Turkish ship, loaded by “Islamic extremists.”

There is one way to really secure the world from nuclear blackmail. The world must demand that Israel give up her nuclear weapons. The world must demand regime change in Israel. Not since the end of WWII has any government represented as severe a danger to world peace as the current extremist regime that has hijacked power in Israel, turning it into a military dictatorship.

When things were going well for Israel, with America “eating out of her hand,” the only terror attacks we had were the joke in Times Square and the Detroit “crotch bomber”-all dripping with the Mossad signature. Now, with the free people of the world descending on Israel like avenging angels, it is time to worry.

Israel, arms merchant to the world, with billions of dollars of weapons sales, has a long history of working with weapons of mass destruction. Along with the nuclear plants in South Africa and the bomb facility at Dimona, poisons, diseases and toxic gasses of every kind were developed for years. The Israeli-South African “axis of evil” churned out filth of every kind, sold to the highest bidder. The South African Truth Commission has made the records public for any to see-but nobody is looking. Having that kind of power in the hands of sociopaths can have dire consequences-acts of murder and piracy, unanswered questions about why the Mossad was in place filming 9/11, or where the missing nuclear weapons are.


Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon’s published articles at this link:

He is an outspoken advocate for veterans and his powerful words have brought about change. Gordon is a lifelong PTSD sufferer from his war experiences and he is empathetic to the plight of today’s veterans also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to feature Gordon’s timely and critical reports on, a news organization staffed by a number of veterans, particularly former U.S. Marines.

You can send Gordon Duff an email at this address:

Is Israel Planning Act of Desperation ?

June 6th, 2010, 1:33 pm


Husam said:

In days when America’s imperialist governments woes its citizens and other countries to send the best military equipment and soldiers to invade other countries based on bleak and tainted zionist intelligence reports of WMD killing 5000 Soldiers and 1 Million Iraqis, the flotilla massacre is just another pimple.

In days when 9/11 & 7/7 are marketed, sold, and bought to the world at large as terrorism with thousands of experts and witnesses showing irrefutable facts of an inside job (btw, 7 of 19 hjackers are alive and well according to the BBC), the flortila massacre looks like a flying mosquito.

In days when we are told the Western definition of democracy must be imposed in a “NEW WORLD ORDER”, the flotilla massacre is just another bump down a road of one world government.

In days when Abu Gharib torturing of fellow humans becomes the norm with thumbs up, and gets white washed, the flotilla massacre is just another incident.

In days when the world (including Arab leaders) watch wide-eyed and are unable to do an iota to the Guantanamo experiment and secret prison camps all over, the flotilla massacre is just another piece of news.

In days when Bill Gates blames global warming on 7 billion humans and declares vaccinations to be his favourite tool of population control to an audience of goats, the flotilla massacre is just the world less 9 people.

Every newspaper and news channel in the west has repleced the “act of piracy” and labelled the flotilla massacre as “an act of self defence by Israel”.

In days like today, what else should one expect?

June 6th, 2010, 3:05 pm


Husam said:

Ah one more thing:

1 million + visitors to this Youtube Video, turned the massacre into hollywood burp, watch these racist Jewish singers sing “we are the world”, unbelieveable:

June 6th, 2010, 3:23 pm


almasri said:

Thanks Norman for your excellent post a@110 showing that there are indeed sane people in this world who can call a spade a spade and prove it with enough evidence.

I would like to go back to your question in 54 where you were proposing Turkey may be seeking to embarrass KSA and Egypt. In addition to what has been said already, if it comes to that, it is not difficult to do. I am not sure if you are aware of this particular history which happened at the dawn of Islam and it carries remarkable resemblance to the Gaza blockade and recent attempt to break it.

This is well known to the average Muslim and the shameful behaviour of some Arab regimes can be easily compared to the Quraishi behaviour that imposed a similar failed blockade, which incidentally lasted for more than two years.

On the other hand, the speed with which Erdogan has captured Arab hears is remarkable and comparable only to some legendary figures who achieved similar feats. I can assure you Obama has a steep hill to overcome to achieve even a small fraction of this achievement.

His name in Turkish literally means the prodigal child. His life story proves that he indeed lived up to that reputation since childhood. More than a fairy tale was actually his meeting with his wife which happened in her dreams six months before the actually met, as if pre-ordained. She immediately recognized him at the moment they first saw each other. His father was a simple labourer and his education was earned through his own efforts and he knows no other language but Turkish. His grandfather was an Imam and was killed in 1916 in a war against Russia.

Did anyone notice that the same YouTube video was posted in this forum twice (please see comments 82 and 112) and under two different monikors? The first one, we know is idiotic and showing unashamed glee and approval. On the other hand, the second repetitive posting is showing a seeming lamentation with a possible intention to instil resignation and hopelessness!!! What do you say to that ZIAD?

With regards to latest developments, Turkey is asking for an apology which it asked for through the US otherwise there will be no relations between Turkey and Israel, not just a downgrade. Israel is furious particularly because the request came through the US and not directly. It will not apologize and claims Turkey is seeking an excuse to cut off relations.

Once again thanks Norman for showing us that hopelessness is not in the cards.

June 6th, 2010, 4:11 pm


norman said:

Do you think that Turkey is moving to be the defender of Islam taking KSA place and competing with Iran , The rise of Turkey is showing Iran’s shortcoming , the question is will the rise of Turkey makes the attack on Iran by the West less inciting to emotions in the Arab world , It is shame that the Arabs , with all their oil need a foreigner to defend Islam and the Arabs ,

June 6th, 2010, 4:28 pm


almasri said:


You are asking a very tricky question. I do not think we can exhaust this topic and give it its proper due on this forum. But I can make the following observations,

1- The Arabs through their own ignorance believe they have been made the subject of the greatest of all deceptions which happened at the turn of the twentieth century – I am referring to Sherif Hussein, Lawrence, McMahon, Balfour, colonialism and eventual implantation of zionist enclave which the Arabs continually refer to it as another Crusade outpost.

2- It has been remarked on SC under a different posting that the Arab glorious history, or if you want to call it the period when they enjoyed their place under the sun, has come to an end some 700 to 800 years ago. I can only differ with this observation by saying that the political leadership of Arab civilization as manifested itself in Islam has been transferred to non-Arabs who were just as faithful to it as the original Arabs who brought it to the world. Islam does not distinguish between Arab, Kurd, Persian, Turkish or any other nationality in this regard. The Arabs honorable position in this empire was maintained intact until the Young Turks appeared on the scene.

3- Khomeini made the claim that the Arabs led Islam, the Kurds led Islam, the Turks led Islam and it is now the Persians (or the Iranians) turn to do so.

4- The current Turkish leadership is simply recognizing a political vacuum and a geopolitical situation which it can only ignore at the cost of Turkey’s own peril. Please keep in mind that Turkey in as much as it led Islam for 700 years, it is also the inheritor of the Byzantine legacy which ruled over much of the east for quite sometime before that.

5- At the turn of the twentieth century, the Arabs did not represent much of what you can call a world power – I take exception Morocco and perhaps Egypt. I would call these medium size world powers of the time. Morocco is even more so having not experienced colonialism as Egypt did.

6- At the Paris peace conference after WWI, the Arab delegation (led by the Sherif’s son) realized the follies of their actions (this is a very controversial topic). They made a prediction at the time and in front of the assembly that the new world order will only last a 100 year or so.

7- I am not going to venture into folk beliefs which at times could be very informative. However, I draw you attention to the fact that the original Arab kafiyyah was white in color with no checkers. The checkered kafiyyah came into fashion just at that time (i.e. after WWI). It was checkered black and white to signify a state of semi mourning due to the turn of events. It was meant to become fully white again when those events are reversed or their effects annulled. We’re still waiting.

8- Folk beliefs usually have religious undertones supporting them and that brings the discussion into a different level which we do not want to venture into.

With regards to your other questions, the Arabs realize Iran as a regional power with common history that goes back millennia in time. An attack on Iran will incite emotions among the Arabs no matter what Turkey’s standing is in the region. The Gulf and much of KSA would become subject to destabilization in the case of an attack.
The Arabs never truly owned this oil. Iraq which was first to nationalize was eventually brought back under colonialism by the same powers (or previous wanabee power with the help of its offshoot) who ruled it before nationalization. King Faysal was assassinated when he asserted such rights. The revenues from this oil are mostly recycled back into the USA with no real benefits to the population of the oil producing nations.

June 6th, 2010, 5:57 pm


norman said:

Al masri,

Thank you , that was fascinating and makes it clear that the problem as i always believed is not Islam and it’s teaching in staying backward in the Arab world but the people who claim to know Islam , as we can see how advanced Turkey and Indonesia are ,

June 6th, 2010, 8:01 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Middle East “Do as I say, not as I do” NewZ

Interestingly, I learned today that Turkey has a “blockade” against Armenia for the past 15 years…

June 6th, 2010, 8:38 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Norman said
Do you think that Turkey is moving to be the defender of Islam taking KSA place and competing with Iran ,
I dont think that KSA is defendant of Islam,nor I think Erdogan is defendant of Islam.
The leaders of KSA did not follow Islam,they are famous for gambling,drinking,they are kings , they are not elected by people

June 6th, 2010, 9:41 pm


norman said:

Isn’t the king of KSA the Khadem Al haramin Al sharefen , Good leader does not have to be elected , The khalifs in early Islam were not elected but were good to their people ,

June 6th, 2010, 10:16 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Norman,the rashidoon Khalifas were elected,Yazid the son of Maouweya Al Amawi violated Islam and changed Khilafah to kingdom,The king of Saudia Arabia claim they ate Haramain(holy places) protector just like the king of Morraco is claiming he is protecror of Quds, they both are liers

June 7th, 2010, 12:13 am


majedkhaldoun said:

I need to correct I wrie Ate ,I should write are

BTW,the number of deads at Freedom flotella are 19,not nine as Israel lied

June 7th, 2010, 12:28 am


Akbar Palace said:

“High Prices” even in this bad Economy.

Israel Pays High Price for Attack on Turkish Flotilla with Aid for Gaza

Professor Josh,

What “price” did Israel pay? Did any Israelis get killed?

As far as PR, I think the whole thing back-fired.

Most people (especially those that aren’t Arabist), recognize it wasn’t a humanitarian mission. Moreover, Turkey again is telling Israel not to behave like Turks. Very hypocritical indeed.

I think Helen Thomas paid a higher price than Israel. Now that she will have more time, perhaps we can get to her post her views on your website? I know she would be a great addition here;)


The Telegraph and Reuters said it was 9 killed also. I guess they lied too. BTW – please post a link showing the names of the deceased and the real number of 19 dead.

June 7th, 2010, 2:44 pm


qunfuz said:

When AP says “Most people (especially those that aren’t Arabist), recognize it wasn’t a humanitarian mission” he demonstrates the enormous disconnect between Israeli perceptions and reality. I’m here in Israel’s friend the UK, where people who always thought I was a bit strange for my anti-Zionism say they see what I mean now, where there is (another) perceptible shift in the media, and where our new Tory government – packed with Conservative Friends of Israel – is calling for the siege of Gaza to be lifted. The Israeli disconnect is of course very useful indeed for the Palestinian cause.

June 7th, 2010, 6:21 pm


Akbar Palace said:

When AP says “Most people (especially those that aren’t Arabist), recognize it wasn’t a humanitarian mission” he demonstrates the enormous disconnect between Israeli perceptions and reality.


Obviously, the “humanitarian mission” did not change the perception of those that were already anti-Israel or already pro-Israel. I think it may have had an impact on a small percentage of people who are actually neutral on the issue. Which may be about 3 people worldwide;)

I’m here in Israel’s friend the UK…

Oh, the you mean the country that refuses to sell or buy arms from Israel or the country that prohibits Israeli scholars from particpating at university functions?

… where people who always thought I was a bit strange for my anti-Zionism…

Maybe you weren’t hanging with the right crowd. Try the local mosque, pub, university faculty, or bank headquarters.

… say they see what I mean now, where there is (another) perceptible shift in the media, and where our new Tory government – packed with Conservative Friends of Israel – is calling for the siege of Gaza to be lifted.

I know what you mean, our ZOG are “Friends of Israel” also.

Of course, we have our own “Red Ken’s, Martin Linton’s and Sir Gerald Kaufman’s too.

The Israeli disconnect is of course very useful indeed for the Palestinian cause.

Yes, the “Palestinian Cause” has reached new lofty heights due to the successful “humanitarian flotilla” and the huge “Israel disconnect”. Palestine will be freed very soon. It’s a slam dunk.

June 7th, 2010, 9:23 pm


Akbar Palace said:

2 Questions that No One Wants Answered.

Qunfuz, WD, et al,

Here’s a cartoon that addresses the “peace flotilla”. Notice, it also seems to address the issue of “denial”, where each side of the conflict accuses the other side of the same.

PS – I don’t think Michael Ramirez is Jewish…

June 8th, 2010, 7:30 am


Badr said:

It seems to me that the US and Egypt will find some arrangement to ease life for the ordinary Palestinian living in Gaza. I don’t expect anything more dramatic for the immediate future.

June 8th, 2010, 9:58 am


almasri said:

No Russian gas will go through Turkey in the Blue Stream II pipeline to Israel, Putin says. Russian gas will flow only to Syria and Lebanon.

June 8th, 2010, 11:22 am


why-discuss said:


Whatever you believe about the flotilla, it is clear and would be clearer if an investigation is done properly than your military and political leaders’ capabilities to face efficiently and responsibly any out of line situation has reached a worrying level. Using bad psychology, bad planning, blind violence and hysteria are signs of a degradation in the IDF leadership and troop morals. I wonder how safe you feel with the kind of military and political leaders you have now in case Israel has to face an all out-war probably soon in the region?
Don’t you think it is time to have a regime change.. in Israel?

June 8th, 2010, 11:25 am


Akbar Palace said:

Freedom to Kill Jews in no longer a Right

Using bad psychology, bad planning, blind violence and hysteria are signs of a degradation in the IDF leadership and troop morals.


No amount of “bad psychology, bad planning … and hysteria” are reasons to crack the IDF over the head with poles, throw them to lower decks, or thrust knives into their bodies. Especially from “humanitarian” “peace activists”.

This direct threat to their lives warranted the use of lethal weapons. I don’t care what the Turkish Poobah and his anti-semitic Iranian friend Ahmad say.

The reponsibility lies with the individuals who disregarded the blockade and especially, with those who beat the soldiers.

I wonder how safe you feel with the kind of military and political leaders you have now in case Israel has to face an all out-war probably soon in the region?

This question is asked a lot on this forum and the answer is always the same: Israelis and concerned Jews like myself feel extremely safe in the region. There are THOUSANDS of muslims and Arabs that are getting killed by fellow Arabs and muslims every year; I think they have much more to worry about.

Don’t you think it is time to have a regime change.. in Israel?

No. But inevitably, it is up to the Israeli voters, just like in Syria.

The Zionist-Occupied news media has been caught altering photo images. Surprised? I’m not…

June 8th, 2010, 12:52 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

AP said
Freedom to Kill Jews in no longer a Right
You big DECEIVER It is Israel who did the killing the murders?.there was no arms on the freedom is Israel who has the freedom to kill Muslems.Here Israel killed Turkish.Israel will pay for this murders even with idiots twisting facts and trying to defend the heinous crime,Israel has no morality.

June 8th, 2010, 4:23 pm


why-discuss said:


If you feel safe , that’s good. If I was an israeli, I would’nt and I would feel uncomfortable. The growing feeling of isolation, the vehement antagonism of ‘old friends” like Turkey and the international criticism on your blockade of the Gaza ghetto would make me feel that I am lead by leaders who lost the track and do not know where they are going. But maybe you got used to corrupted leaders and to erratic actions …

As for the US and the UN, now that Obama is showing he is tough with Iran with these new sanctions(whose significance shows at least some kind of unity) that Clinton claims are the toughest, Israel must get ready to have a tough Obama concerning breaking international laws and ignoring UN resolutions.
I hope you have your horde of lawyers and lobbyists ready for action. A hot summer is coming

June 8th, 2010, 5:20 pm


almasri said:

“Israel must get ready to have a tough Obama concerning breaking international laws and ignoring UN resolutions.”

You can not be serious saying that, WD. No one can.

June 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm


Akbar Palace said:

WD states:

If I was an israeli, I would’nt and I would feel uncomfortable.


That’s the strangest comment I’ve ever read. As an American Jew, I would never even contemplate telling Lebanese, Syrians, Iranians or anybody how to feel. How weird can you get?

The growing feeling of isolation, the vehement antagonism of ‘old friends” like Turkey and the international criticism on your blockade of the Gaza ghetto would make me feel that I am lead by leaders who lost the track and do not know where they are going. But maybe you got used to corrupted leaders and to erratic actions …

The Israelis I know don’t feel isolated. Their too busy making money, working with Israeli-Arabs, taking care of their kids, and enjoying their life. My suggestion would be to stick with speaking for yourself, or elect an Israeli to speak for you.

As for the US and the UN, now that Obama is showing he is tough with Iran with these new sanctions(whose significance shows at least some kind of unity) that Clinton claims are the toughest, Israel must get ready to have a tough Obama concerning breaking international laws and ignoring UN resolutions.

That Obama is a real “tough guy”. The Iranians are quaking in their shoes. The US is the least of Israel’s concerns.

I hope you have your horde of lawyers and lobbyists ready for action. A hot summer is coming.

Sounds good. I hope Iran and Turkey send some more “humanitarian aide” to break the Gaza blockade. I want to see how serious they are about helping the poor Palestinians.

June 8th, 2010, 6:00 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The oil leak in the gulf is too large to comprehend Bp dug 14000 feet thru the rocks starting 5000 feet under the surface of the water so the pressure is too BP will not be able to stop the leake.other than BP loosing one million barrel a day.they have to stop the leak and clean the ocean.their asset was 236 billion at the end of 2009. now their asset is 100 billion.the company will go bancrupt by the end of this summer, who will clean the mess after that.the US goverment will have to do will create a crisis between US and it will create economic crisis in England.England will pull out of Afganistan.many deposits in british banks will worth nothing.
this is not the time to attack Iran.

June 8th, 2010, 6:49 pm


Nafdik said:


You said:

Yes, the “Palestinian Cause” has reached new lofty heights due to the successful “humanitarian flotilla” and the huge “Israel disconnect”. Palestine will be freed very soon. It’s a slam dunk.

I agree with your cynicism, the plight of the Palestinian is not improving with the arrival of Hamas and the further globalization of the conflict.

However, what both sides have to realize is that the situation is not a race. If the Palestinians are down it does not mean that the Israelis are up and vice versa.

The Lebanese can explain what I mean as for years they tried to push each other down and brought other players into the equation. At the end there was no winners and losers, only losers.

Israelis and Palestinians are destined to live with each other so the well being of one should be an advantage to the other.

Given that the Israelis are the winners at this stage, it should be to their advantage to keep the status quo. However since the status quo is unacceptable to the Palestinians to the extent that they are ready to die to change, it is in Israel advantage to compromise enough, to have a settlement.

Delay is creating unnecessary risk to Israeli well being, and will make future settlement more costly to Israel:

– US is losing power
– Israeli lobby in the US is losing power within the US
– Pro-Israeli sentiment is waning in Europe and to a lesser extent the US
– Pro-Israeli sentiment is waning within the Jewish community outside Israel
– Turkey and Iran are becoming active participants
– Military advances are making defense much more costly than offence
– Islamic solidarity is becoming a dominant force in Muslim countries

All of these factors do not mean that the Palestenians will win the conflict but that Israel will have a harder time reaching a settlement as time passes.

In the event you favor life without settlement indefinitely then you are exposing Israel to even greater risk.

To simplify: you have been winning all night, now you are starting to make mistakes, cash in your chips while you are on top.

June 8th, 2010, 6:59 pm


why-discuss said:


Yes, “enjoy making money and enjoy your life” when the people you are keeping imprisonned are not allowed to move and don’t have basic human rights and their kids have no future because they are punished of opposing your illegal occupation of their land. It is exactly what Israel has become: a selfish Club Med without any sense of responsibility and morality. Go on, kill, oppress and enjoy making money!

As for Obama and the americans , they’ll glad to know that they are not important to Israel except for the billions they give you to help you enjoy more… That’s what I call gratitude…

That is making wonder which religion you are? Are you monotheists or still adoring the golden calf ?

June 8th, 2010, 7:20 pm


almasri said:

Ahmedinejjad declares there will be no further negotiations over Iran nukes. That could be an early indication of Iran pulling out of NPT – or defacto pullout.

It is about time.

June 8th, 2010, 7:25 pm


Nafdik said:


You said:

“It is shame that the Arabs , with all their oil need a foreigner to defend Islam and the Arabs”

There is a very simple reason to the fact that the Arabs have been unable to pose a credible threat to any of their enemies in particular Israel: dictatorship

The Arabs are simply impotent as they have no control over their destiny.

Notice the 4 credible threats to Israel: Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran, Turkey.

They are all the product of the people’s choice and not of royal families or army generals.

As Turkey became more democratic it became more of a threat.
Hamas is the 1st democratically elected government in Palestine.
Iran has until recently held highly flawed but serious elections.
Hizbullah is probably the only serious force in Lebanon that is not family based.

Of course the irony of the situation is that dictatorship apologists point to the conflict with Israel as a reason to keep a strong-man in power, while all evidence shows that democracies are better at both war and peace.

June 8th, 2010, 7:28 pm


almasri said:


You need to qualify what you said in your 138.

Democracy is fought in the Arab world in collusion between local strong men and former colonial powers. Look at Algeria and Egypt.

When Hamas legally won elections, it too got ostracised by local dictators and with support from former and current colonialists.

Colonialists will accept any flawed election results as long as Islamists are not the winners. This rule applies only to Arab countries.

Hence, the oil was never owned by the Arabs, and the Arabs were never the defenders of Islam in modern times.

June 8th, 2010, 7:48 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Do you want the Islamists to be the winners ?

June 8th, 2010, 8:45 pm


Nafdik said:


I have a different perspective:

– Colonialists do not really care if the government is Islamist or not as long as it is bringing advantage to them. The US was allied with Islamists including Bin Laden while they were useful in its war against the soviet union. I agree that todays favorite boogyman is an Islamic republic but in the 50s it was the marxist revolution.

– I find no evidence that foreign intervention is the major factor behind Arab dictatorships, rather it is related to our culture. Only in the Arab world do we have well meaning humanists who rejoice in being subjugated to brutal dictatorships and who use the most intricate mental gymnastics to defend those who rob them of the most basic freedoms.

June 8th, 2010, 8:48 pm


almasri said:


Bin Laden had a different agenda that coincided with the US agenda for a while. When those agendas diverted he became a villain. He was not a strong man in the sense that he ruled over a people and a country even though that could have been his ultimate objective. Likewise, Saddam (even though non-Islamist) had a common agneda with the US only for a while and again became a villain afterwards; and incidentally he was used by the US and colonialists to fight off an Islamist government.

The evidence of colonialists being an important factor in promoting Arab dictatorship is all over the place. The Algerian revolution was fought by Islamists and Ben Bella himself was an Islamist. After the revolution they were ostracized with the help of the French and once again in the 90s also with the help of the French and perhaps the Israelis and the Americans. Nasser himself was an Islamist until he came to power. Do not forget his initial agenda coincided with the US. We know later on he turned against the Islamist and fought them. There is no need to mention the obvious security arrangements between the US and the Gulf states as these never counted as far as major ME politics and issues except for a little while during the 70s and only because of newly acquired fat pockets.


When you look around you and you find that all the countries in the region that made themselves relevant happen to be ruled by Islamists that are democratically elected, it becomes very imperative for an average Arabs to ask why it is so.

June 8th, 2010, 9:11 pm


Nafdik said:


I think you are trying to generalize too fast.

You are assuming that Islamist => colonial opposition
and that Islamist => success

Here is how I see the situation:

Dictator => will sell his mother to get power => colonial collaboration

Democracy => Success

Democracy + ME + 2000+ => Islamist

So while I agree that Democratic Islamist governments are the most successful I attribute their success to democracy and not to their ideology.

The evidence I have is that the same pattern can be seen all over the world both in Muslim and non-Muslim societies.

It is the will of the people in the ME to choose Islamist governments at this stage in their history and this will should be respected. These governments are succeeding because they are bound by the electorate and not because they follow a certain ideology.

My point is that attributing success to the Islamists is confusing the symptoms with the root causes.

It is exactly like attributing terrorism to Islamic ideology, only the opposite 😉

June 8th, 2010, 10:23 pm


almasri said:


I am not generalizing. I attributed success to Islamists governments that are DEMOCRATICALLY elected. The point is like catch 22. If you hold free election by some sort of magic wand anywhere in the Arab world, Islamists are bound to win. You too seem to have implied this conclusion in your third step. Incidentally, terrorism is the byproduct of the constant attempts to stifle Islamic movements whether by colonialists or by strongmen.

“So while I agree that Democratic Islamist governments are the most successful I attribute their success to democracy and not to their ideology.”

Democracy cannot be born out of void and you cannot import it or transplant it from one society to another. For the Arab society which is largely Islamic, Democracy has to be built upon existing cultural frameworks. That is the most important factor favoring Islamists to be successful. We tried nationalism, socialism, communism, left and right. They produced failures and by the way they were all imported ideologies.

Incidentally, Turkey tried secularism for 70 years. It didn’t help either. Turkey had to reconcile with its culture and history for it to become successful.

June 8th, 2010, 10:45 pm


norman said:

Nafdik ,

I think the problem in the Arab leaders and their stand is not dictatorship , as we can see china without democracy can stand to the US and force it to do certain things in regard to Taiwan , i think the problem is simpler , it is just treason Arab leaders except for Syria and Lebanon and Hamas have sold out and accepted defeat surrender for the return of staying in power , it reminds me with the last Abbasid’s khalifa who wondered while Janke Khan at the doors of Baghdad if the will let him keep Baghdad for the return of a surrender , it was not enough ,

you might say that Syria does not have democracy in Western understanding , I say that is true but Syria’s stands reflect most Syrians stand on Palestine and Arab rights ,

Unfortunately Syria does not have enough military or economic power to change the behavior of the western nations , and the countries that have at least economic power have leaders that are bought and paid for ,

June 8th, 2010, 10:45 pm


norman said:

Nafdik, Al Masri ,

The big challenge for democratically elected Islamic government and what minorities fear is imposing their way of life on others and not transferring power peacefully when they are rejected by the voters and that is something will happen , the question is , will there be anybody to protect the democratic system ,

June 8th, 2010, 10:55 pm


almasri said:


You made two excellent comments in 145 and 146.

In 145 you gave a good example of a success that is not dependent on democracy. Hence a government in tune with the cultural framework of the population can produce success. However, treason cannot be overlooked in a democratic system as you seem to attribute the failure of some Arab regimes to treason.

Turkey’s secularism was protected by the army. We’ll see what happens to its democracy down the road. It looks like democratic governments, and even the Islamists, are more inclined to protect minorities and their rights as Turkey has proven under the Islamists. They still have some issues, but they are certainly a big improvement compared to previous governments. We will also see what happens to transferring power when and if the AKP loses elections. I think they will peacefully honor the voters will.

June 8th, 2010, 11:08 pm


norman said:

Al Masri,

I see Turkey as a secular country with religious Muslims leading , there is nothing wrong with that as usually religious people fear God and avoid corruption Hezbollah ,Hamas and Turkey are not popular between Christian Syrians because they are Muslim countries or organizations , they are popular because of their stand on Palestine and Arab rights , i see that the only thing Christians in Syria fear from Islamic organization is second class status which they can not accept as most of them are Arab nationalist and believe in one Arab nation , they have affinity to other Arabs without looking at religious association ,and will not accept anything less than full citizen status ,

June 8th, 2010, 11:29 pm


Nafdik said:


You bring up treason and china.

As for treason, assuming your analysis is true, and some leaders have resorted to treason, while others have not. The question is what can we do about it. In a dictatorship you just shut up and watch as your country is being driven by the whims of the big-man. So when Saddam was building schools we clap and when he is leading your children to death in idiotic conflicts against Iran and Kuwait well you clap as well.

So the question is not if X is a khayen and Y is a batal, the question is how can you have a system that ensures that you can have the best leaders possible and that they act in accordance with your interests.

As for China, there are 2 points:

– You have to measure a system on the long term and not on the short term. Chinese communist dictatorship has caused a lot of pain and suffering in china, which more than eclipses the recent successes. It is of course an illustration of my previous point when they had a crazy leader he did crazy things and when they had a good one they started improving but they were simply playing roulette with every new leader.

– China and the soviet union developed a form of minimal democracy within the party. So when Stalin and Mao died they did not “elect” their children. Unfortunately our dictators have better family values and have plagued us with dictatorship-from-the-grave soon to be turned into ruling dynasties when it is not already the case.

June 8th, 2010, 11:38 pm


almasri said:


Again 148 is an excellent comment. We all know that Arab Christians were pioneers in promoting Arab nationalism for the exact reasons that you spelled out and they’re very valid reasons. They are challenges for the future as we also know nationalism is facing a crisis.

I believe this will be the most important issue to resolve in the Arab world before it can move forward and catch up with its neighbors. Turkey had the advantage of being more homogenous (at least religiously). Its people also had a good sense of the meaning of citizenship and allegiance. It also had the advantage of being a previous world power that was never colonized. Some Arab countries (not all of them) still don’t have a clue what these mean aside from allegiance to one’s clan. That’s why we have kingdoms and sheikdoms, I suppose.

Iran also had some but not all of Turkey’s advantages.

It may well turn out to be that the old arrangement under nationalism may have no future in the Arab world. We need new ideas.

June 8th, 2010, 11:51 pm


Nafdik said:


I totally agree with your comment:

“It may well turn out to be that the old arrangement under nationalism may have no future in the Arab world. We need new ideas.”

When we got our independence we looked to the Western world as the model. They had nationalism, so we decided we should have one too. Or even better let’s have three:

– Syrian
– Greater Syrian
– Arab

As well as Muslim oumma nationalism.

Of course then we have to forge a state based on a flimsy national identity. For example the Syrian Arab nationalism excludes the Kurds.

The reality is that historically we had a tapestry-like national identity, by this I mean is that we have a myriad of identities all weaved together so that identities ethnic, tribal and religious distributed throughout the land.

This tapestry is the result of the tolerent culture of the ME where many tribes have learned to live together while maintaining a strong identity. As opposed to Europe where conformance to the majority was the rule linguistically, religiously and culturally.

There is no section that can be clearly Arab, Kurdish, Sunni, etc. But in the same city you had the identities intermingled.

This makes a typical 1st past the post democracy highly divisive as it does not reflect the true make-up of the nation. If we have 60% shia and 40% sunni we might get a Shia representative win all the districts.

I think a solution is to allow for sectarian parties and to have truly proportional representation.

There is nothing wrong with sectarianism as long as the interests of all are represented and an honest dialog is engaged.

Hopefully over time policy based parties will emerge and they will draw members from multiple ethnicities and religions, but there is no need to force this prematurely upon the people.

So to be clear I am not suggesting to enshrine sectarianism in the state as is the case in Lebanon, rather to allow the people to align themselves in any shape they feel best represents their interests, and to create a democracy that is modeled on the ME multi-tribal cities.

June 9th, 2010, 1:47 am


almasri said:


How different is sectarianism from the ‘millet’ system of 100 years ago? Such system required a regional power to administer as Turkey was entrusted with it under the Ottomans. Christians and non-Christians enjoyed wide privileges under this system. But were minorities treated as full citizens under the system?

Europe had to resort to violent means sometime in its path to enforce conformance and eliminate tribalism. Even now Europe feels threatened by new forms of divisiveness precisely because of its own Democracy. That is probably the post democracy you’ve implied in your comment.

June 9th, 2010, 7:15 am


Nafdik said:


A proportional democracy is in fact modeled on the millet system of the Ottoman empire. Which itself is modeled on the multi-tribe cities of the region.

The idea behind such a system is to have a state without having necessarily a nation. It is indeed post-nationalist as you describe.

It differs from the millet system in the following way: while the millet system attributed an individual to a millet that is based on his ethnicity or religion, the new system will attribute him to a party of his choice. Those who still want to have the bishop or the clan chief be their representative can vote for him, but when they feel that a non-sectarian party is more in their interest they will switch their vote.

Of course this is very similar to western democracy with the difference that geography is removed from the equation, this allows for minorities that are spread through the country in very small number to collect their votes and get a representative that defends their interests.

June 9th, 2010, 8:49 am


almasri said:


A state without a nation is not something that you can easily create or even maintain. That is why the millet system needed a regional power for administration and also as a cohesive force. We can see that happening in Iraq right now and which may well disintegrate once the American army is out.
There are several problems with this state wirhout nation concept. Where will the allegiance of its people lie? Will different groups seek protections or assisstance from other powers to advance their goals at the expense of others within the State? Could such State have an army that will act in its defense? What about the possibilities of having civil wars every few decades?

June 9th, 2010, 10:53 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Between 1954-1958 we had democrtay in Syria.the Islamists did not hold power,there are five reasons
Economy and demand for socialism
push for nationalism
Forein interventions
Nationalism won because of their connection with military officers,who were against democracy

June 9th, 2010, 12:29 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Israel said it will ease the siege on Gaza,IF the world will not demend international investigations.
Its a ploy.Its admition of GUILT

June 9th, 2010, 7:41 pm


Nafdik said:


Your concerns are valid, and it is very hard to create a successful state when a number of nations share the land as we saw in Northern Ireland and ex-Yugoslavia.

However this is where we are, we have been placed within these borders through the forces of history.

Our attempts to redraw the borders through unions have failed. Our attempts to create a true nation inside our borders have proven very difficult. As you point out Iraq is a good example.

What I suggest is to embrace our diversity and look at it as a source of strength.

By facing our true nature, rather than hiding it under the rug we will have better chances to succeed.

Yes, it is hard to build a loyal army when there is no ‘nation’ story to back it up but it has been done successfully in the past. Look for example at the British army at the height of the empire.

In our case we will replace the ‘protector’ from being the King or the Sultan to be a the constitution that we can all respect since it respects all of us.

Of course the next question is how do we get to that state of affairs given the current polarization in our society.

I think the solution lies with the Islamist parties.

They are clearly the most powerfully opposition force to our dictators. At the same time, as Norman pointed out, they face resistance from many sources as they create a fear of a loss of personal freedoms in those who do not agree with their principles.

What I suggest is a national accord between the Islamists and the other opposition groups that lays out a framework where a democracy is protected by all the forces.

If the Islamists can convince the rest of the population that they adhere to a vision of a strong democracy and that they are ready to leave power when they lose elections, there will be a possibility of peaceful transition to democracy led by Islamist groups as they are the leading opposition force.

June 9th, 2010, 10:56 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

And now, for something completely different. Musical break.

Stanbuli, who feeds the Arabs with Sish-Kabab

Stanbuli, the hero who shook the criminal entity

And some sectarian love within the IDF


June 10th, 2010, 8:22 am


Badr said:

If I may add to my comment no. 126:

And Israel could relax its blockade of Gaza a little bit.

June 10th, 2010, 3:31 pm


henry said:

Thought you guys might enjoy this review of Lee Smith’s book on Arab politics, “The Strong Horse.”

Middle East / Just the way it is
Is the fight against trans-national Islamist terror a distraction that prevents the West from the real struggle against an Iran proceeding from strength to strength?
By Jonathan Spyer

The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, by Lee Smith. Doubleday, 256 pages, $26

“The Strong Horse” chronicles both an intellectual journey and a physical one. The physical journey was that taken by the author, journalist Lee Smith, a New Yorker who set off for the Middle East after the 9/11 terror attacks on a quest to find an explanation for the carnage that had struck his hometown. This quest took the author to Egypt, the Gulf, Syria, Israel and (most centrally ) Lebanon, as he sought to delve into the dynamics of regional political culture. He studied Arabic in Cairo and made his living by writing for a variety of publications.

The intellectual journey, which unfolded parallel to the physical one, traced the author’s arc of discovery and disillusionment. He passed through initial engagement with the region’s familiar shibboleths, such as the claim of the centrality of the Palestinian problem to the region’s malaise and the contention that Western views of the Middle East must inevitably be tainted by the dread “orientalism.” Smith found his way to a subsequent full-throated embrace of Arab “liberals” and the region’s democratization project. And yet, by the end of his sojourn in 2006, the author saw the extinguishing of his early optimism regarding the likelihood of imminent regional democratization. He concluded his journey and his book with the sense that, as he expresses it, contrary to appearances, the Middle East political system was not “broken.” Rather, it was “functioning just as it always had, for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.”

The central dynamic of that system, Smith finds, is what he calls the “strong horse” principle – for which the book is named. The phrase comes from Osama bin Laden, who, after the 9/11 attacks, remarked that when people “see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” Smith understands this as representing a situation in which “political violence … is the normal state of affairs,” as rival groups battle for dominance. He refers to Islamic philosopher Ibn Khaldun’s concept of “Asabiyyah” – that is, the notion of history as an endless, pitiless process in which dominant groups, as they grow soft and tired, are swept away by younger, hungrier, more determined replacements.

Smith’s work acquires added complexity and depth from the sense of tragedy that underlies it. Here is an American traveler who came to the Middle East infused with his country’s optimism and belief in change and possibility. The cause of Arab liberals and oppositionists was a natural fit for him. Despite the murderous attack that spurred his journey, Smith’s attitude was one of curiosity and empathy rather than anger or desire for retribution. (Full disclosure: I met Lee Smith in Jerusalem in 2006, when he arrived in Israel having left his temporary home in Beirut because of the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War. When reading his book, I discovered that he mentions me in his acknowledgements, undeservedly I think, as among his “teachers” regarding the region. )

Had Smith simply concluded from his travels that the region’s inhabitants are a cruel strain of people who must be contained, his book might be of limited interest. But Smith’s journey is more complex than that. He discovered in the Middle East much to nourish his hope, his engagement and his affection. Yet he also concluded that in the Arabic-speaking world, at least for the foreseeable future, the individuals and the forces that he likes and admires are almost certain to continue to be on the losing side. The “strong horse” principle he identifies will ensure this. The analyst in him dictates this conclusion, even if the traveler and the American refuse to accept it entirely.

Cedar Revolution

Smith notes, for example, that Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution, which followed the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005, ultimately foundered despite its initial successes because neither the Lebanese democracy activists nor their U.S. backers were prepared to meet Syrian violence with counter-violence. As he puts it: “Without deadly American reprisals for the Syrian regime’s violence, Lebanese democracy was vulnerable. A hundred and thirty thousand American troops stationed close to Syria’s border had helped embolden the Cedar Revolution. But without their help, the Lebanese were without a strong horse of their own, and left alone to face one of the most ruthless regimes in the region.”

Smith’s journey was varied, and his book includes a number of portraits of people and places that exemplify the ideas he discusses. During his first stop, in Egypt, he memorably made the acquaintance of a philosophy student in love with German Idealism (who tells him that “philosophy is my fundamentalism” ), the film star Omar Sharif (who jokingly asks Smith if an “orientalist fantasy” has brought him there ), novelist Naguib Mahfouz, and an alluring female Salafi (Sunni extremist ) teacher of Arabic. He draws a poignant portrait of a vanished liberal Cairo, depicting evenings spent with aging members of the city’s liberal elite. But he also seeks to engage with the nationalist and Islamist ideas that buried that elite. This engagement leads him to his first important conclusion: “Repressive violence and terror are two aspects of a political culture that has no mechanism for either sharing power or transmitting political authority … except through inheritance, coup or conquest … And so in the end, there are only two laws of Arab politics: the first is to seize power, after which political legitimacy is granted provided that the second law is observed – to maintain power.”

It is in Lebanon that the main drama of the book is played out – in terms of both its ideas and the events with which it is concerned. Smith found inspiration in the Cedar Revolution, which ended the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and in the short-lived optimism it engendered. He presents the country as the arena in which two differing ideas of the Middle East are clashing. On the one hand are the author’s friends and comrades – the Cedar Revolution activists of the pro-Western March 14 movement, with their commitment to democracy. On the other are Syria and Hezbollah, representatives of the pro-Iranian “resistance bloc” in the region.

The failure of the pro-Western movement to hold on to its gains in the face of Hezbollah and Syrian terror provided a central lesson for Smith, who came to see that in the Middle East, as elsewhere, rights exist only insofar as they can be held on to. The movement’s inability to mount an effective defense of its attempts to bring democracy and normalization to the country, in the face of the assaults from the pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian counter-reaction, offers a prime example in recent years of the failure of Arab liberalism to learn the effective practice of politics in the Middle East.

Smith left Beirut in the midst of the 2006 war, as Israeli ordnance was falling on south Beirut. He concludes that while the refusal of Arab liberals to meet force with force is “consistent, and in its way admirable,” it means that they are bound to find themselves at the mercy of “whatever strong horse was in power.”

This harsh reality digested, Smith’s task then became identifying the precise nature, strengths and weaknesses of the strong horse that is challenging the Western-led order in the region. It was this order, after all, in which Smith’s Lebanese friends had placed their trust in their attempt to build democracy in their country. And it was this order that let them down.

A central element of this book is its attempt to return the focus of debate on the region to the conflict between states. This is of particular importance to Smith, who depicts the United States as spending its energies on a fight against a chimera – trans-national Islamist terror – while in the real world, an alliance led by a would-be “strong horse” – Iran – makes gain after gain.

Smith overstates his case when he seems to dismiss too easily the truly grassroots and non-state nature of Islamist movements across the region. The ability of the Iranian regime to tap into genuinely held Islamist convictions across the region is one of its major assets. Hezbollah, Hamas, the Mahdi Army in Iraq – these are not merely creatures of the regimes that support them. Rather, they accurately represent the sentiments of large masses of individuals in their respective countries. This is precisely what makes them so dangerous.

But with this caution, Smith’s central point – that the Iran-led “resistance bloc” is the would-be regional “strong horse,” whose ambitions constitute the central challenge to the Mideast order and any hopes of building freer societies in the region – is well-taken and pertinent.

America blinded

The Middle East that emerges from “The Strong Horse” is a Hobbesian world, operating according to the harsh laws that have governed relations between states and peoples in much of the world for most of history. The author does not seek to attribute to the Arabs, or Muslims, some unique propensity for extremism and violence. Rather, he suggests that the more fortunate history of Americans has enabled them to remain blind to the dynamics of power in less lucky parts of the world. This, he suggests, is likely to produce faulty policy. His central point is thus that if progress is to be made, the rules and mechanisms governing political behavior must be understood and worked with. In this regard, he has praise for Israel, which he sees as another regional “strong horse” (though he is dismayed at the “incompetent” performance of the Olmert government in prosecuting the 2006 war ).

“The Strong Horse” is ultimately a story of lost illusions. Yet disillusionment has not led the author to abandon engagement with the region. Rather, he seeks to understand the mechanisms by which power is attained and held in the Middle East, so that the United States and the West may succeed in guarding the space in the region within which civil society and free intellectual exploration may eventually develop and grow.

Today, the challenge of what Smith calls the “resistance bloc” is growing in intensity, and its adherents are holding and expanding their position – in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. The discussion of how to identify the means to stop and reverse this process has never been more pertinent. “The Strong Horse” makes a valuable and cogent contribution to the debate.

Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.

June 11th, 2010, 2:16 am


almasri said:

Thank you Henry for letting us know through your friend Jonathan that the resistance bloc in the ME is growing in intensity. It is very reassuring for us to confirm this truth through a ‘neutral’, ’empathic’ and a ‘non-vengeful’ New Yorker Who is also taught by a zionist.
That makes us feel even more self righteous.

June 11th, 2010, 11:02 am


why-discuss said:


Saudi who should have been the leaders of sunni moslems, have been weakened by the Ossama ben laden’s saudi taliban, by their fear of Shia Iran influence, by the habits and love of luxury and by the paralyzing effect of the extremist wahhabi sect on their human rights abuses.
Because of that they are under the ‘protection’ of the USA who could turn against them any time. They lived in that fear, so they accept just anything shamelessly.
They and another US “protected” country, Egypt were treated as half man by Bashar al Asaad and unfortunately this is what they have become.
Turkey has taken the lead of sunni moslems and that shift, in view of Erdogan positions vs Iran is very beneficial to Moslems in the region in general as it makes moderate sunnis less suspicious of Iran’s proselytic intentions.
Overall the demise of KSA as a political/religious leader in the region is a excellent thing.
It probably makes Israel and the US less comfortable as they have to deal with a more coherent and strong block and cannot count on Turkey anymore for attacking or threatening Iran.
A new positive development for the region.

June 12th, 2010, 11:26 pm


Husam said:


I agree, Turkey, is a new play and can be positive for the region. Genuine or not, time will tell.

June 13th, 2010, 6:35 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Another article challenging Professor Josh’s assertion that:

“Israel Pays High Price for Attack on Turkish Flotilla with Aid for Gaza”

I say: “really”?

Lawmakers Threaten Turkey with Reprisals Over Israel

June 16th, 2010, 7:04 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“Israel Pays High Price”? – Part Deux

Not as far as these gentlemen are concerned:

June 17th, 2010, 4:29 pm


jad said:

The zios are still crying about their video being taken down…. they tried so hard to ‘con the world’ and it backfired as are all of their efforts to discredit the Humanitarian Flotillas that have been heading to Gaza.
They have been crying that their video was not an infringement of Copyright Law as it was a parody. Now, the same group, Latma, is literally daring YouTube with another ‘parody’, just as vile as the one that was removed.
There ARE legal ways to upload a video on YouTube…. BUT we all know by now that zionism operates by its own set of rules…. most of which are illegal.
Warner Bros. holds the Copyright on the music used in ‘We Con The World’…. please note, anyone (Warner) submitting a DMCA takedown can only do so LEGALLY or they get in trouble!
Likewise, anyone doing a counter notification better damn well be willing to stand by their “parody”!
Latma has attorneys telling them it was parody. Why didn’t those friggin attorneys do the LEGAL thing and file a counter notification?!!!!!!!
Why???? Because it didn’t go against THEIR set of rules.
In the new ‘Parody’ we have President Obama singing to the tune of ‘Where Do I Begin’ (from Love Story), again a song that is protected by Copyright.
So, the new game is now called Dare….. hopefully they will lose this one as well……
Here is the new ‘comedy masterpiece’ from psycho untouchable Caroline Glick…. it’s in Hebrew with English subtitles….. the song starts at 2:25, but the whole video is worth a view.

June 18th, 2010, 12:00 am


Akbar Palace said:

Double Standard NewZ

I see Turkey is allowed to defend herself. 120 dead…

June 18th, 2010, 7:32 am


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