More WikiLeaks – Kerry: “Israel should return Golan”

Now We Know. America Really Doesn’t Care about Injustice in the Middle East.
by Robert Fisk
November 30, 2010 by The Independent/UK

Vast amounts of diplomatic literature prove that the mainstay of Washington’s Middle East policy is alignment with Israel, that its principal aim is to encourage the Arabs to join the American-Israeli alliance against Iran, that the compass point of US policy over years and years is the need to tame/bully/crush/oppress/ ultimately destroy the power of Iran. ….

One of the most interesting reflections – dutifully ignored by most of the pro-Wikileaks papers yesterday – came in a cable on a meeting between a US Senate delegation and President Bashar Assad of Syria earlier this year. America, Assad told his guests, possessed “a huge information apparatus” but lacked the ability to analyse this information successfully. “While we lack your intelligence abilities,” he says in rather sinister fashion, “we succeed in fighting extremists because we have better analysts … in the US you like to shoot [terrorists]. Suffocating their networks is far more effective.” Iran, he concluded, was the most important country in the region, followed by Turkey and – number three – Syria itself. Poor old Israel didn’t get a look in. ….

Wikileaks: Kerry said Israel should return Golan to Syria

US Senator John Kerry said he believed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu needs to compromise and work the return of the Golan Heights to Syria into a formula for peace. Kerry made the statement to the Amir of Qatar in a February meeting between the two, according to a US State Department cable leaked on the Wikileaks website on Sunday.

Kerry’s assertion came in response to the Amir’s belief that peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be attempted only after Syria-Israel peace was achieved, and that the Golan Heights was of the utmost importance in attaining that peace.

Kerry added that he believes Syrian President Bashar Assad wants change, but that he must compromise and act like more of a statesman in order to attain it.

The senator added that he believed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not strong enough to make necessary compromises with Israel that can lead to peace.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told Qatari leaders that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem as part of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and that he was “shocked” by what he saw on a visit to Gaza.

The emir told Kerry to focus on Syria as the path toward resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Kerry agreed with the emir that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a man who wants change but pointed out that his arming of Hezbollah and interference in Lebanese politics were unhelpful. Kerry said that Assad “needs to make a bolder move and take risks” for peace, and that he should be “more statesman-like.” Kerry also agreed with the emir that the Golan Heights should be given back to Syria at some point.

“The Chairman added that Netanyahu also needs to compromise and work the return of the Golan Heights into a formula for peace,” the diplomatic cable reported.

The Sad Loss of National Dignity
By RAMI G. KHOURI | I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor
December 1, 2010

….It is bad enough that a host of Arab countries have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on “security” systems that in the end saw them asking others to make preemptive attacks against neighboring Iran, a country that should have been a partner, friend and even ally.

It is worse that the Arab leaders who looked to the United States and Israel to protect them by attacking Iran asked for this course of action quietly, surreptitiously, without standing up for their positions in public.

But it is far, far worse that all of this should have taken place in a context in which the Arab leaders in question seem to have had zero conclusive proof — zero — that Iran was planning to produce nuclear weapons. Indeed, their policies instead may prompt Iran to consider this option. A collective Arab policy of covert appeals for American and Israeli foreigners to carry out aggression against a (Muslim) neighbor without evidence of that neighbor’s culpability — affirming that one’s own immense, nearly immeasurable, Arab national wealth spent for security in the end is not able to provide that security — is a sad testament to the poor quality of leadership in the national security realm, to say the least…..

Mubarak on benevolent dictatorship for Iraq:

Guardian (GB): US embassy cables: Syrian shows ‘ignorance’ over Prince Charles

6. (S) Sharaa’s behavior in Kuwait, Muasher said, simply underscores Syria’s “stark ignorance” of the U.S. and the rest of the outside world. Bashar al-Asad had told King Abdullah on his recent visit to Damascus that he was not worried about who would win the U.S. presidential elections, since even a Democrat could choose to keep on the senior civilian officials in the current administration. Similarly, Sharaa had told the Jordanians accompanying the King a tabloid-like story that showed how out of touch with reality he is: Sharaa told the group that British Prince Charles would soon be implicated in a Scottish judicial investigation into Princess Diana’s death, and was consequently planning a trip to Iraq and Iran “to seek the support of the Muslim world.” “They just don’t get it,” Muasher lamented…..

FT [Reg]: Arab paranoia unlikely to go down well in Iran

The cables also suggest Arab leaders expect nothing will stop Iran from achieving its presumed goal of developing nuclear weapons. One report of a US conversation with King Abdullah earlier this year says he has concluded that Saudi Arabia needed to develop its own strategy to counter Iranian influence, including rebuilding relations with Syria, Tehran’s main ally in the Arab world, and developing closer links with Russia, China and India to heighten the diplomatic pressure on Iran from non-traditional partners.”

“.. US Representative Peter King, a Republican from New York and the incoming chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, has requested the administration of US President Barack Obama to “determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization,”

First Round of Voting Ousts Islamists From Egypt’s Parliament
Published: November 30, 2010

CAIRO — As the results of Egypt’s parliamentary elections trickled in Tuesday, no one was surprised that the governing party of President Hosni Mubarak won a huge victory. Nor were they surprised that the candidates of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s only sizable opposition, took a beating.

On Monday, in front of a news syndicate in Cairo, demonstrators protested what they called vote rigging and fraud in Egypt’s parliamentary elections.

What did surprise some was the Brotherhood’s share of seats in the new Parliament: zero. The Brotherhood, an Islamist movement with 88 seats in the current body and a vast following among Egypt’s 83 million people, was reduced to political nonexistence, at least for the first round of voting. The handful of other opposition parties won only a sprinkling of seats.

“At least get creative in how you rig the elections,” said Hisham Kassem, a newspaper publisher and human rights advocate. “I was expecting a few more seats for the opposition.”

He added: “Nothing can stun me now.”

The numbers could change: 26 Brotherhood candidates will be in runoffs set for Sunday. But the Brotherhood and other opposition groups seemed to view the early results as a sign that the governing National Democratic Party, intent on tightening its grip ahead of next year’s presidential elections, was orchestrating a near monopoly in Parliament’s 518-member lower house…..

The Washington Times – Turkey

Mr. Davutoglu also denied a second report, published recently by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, which quoted him saying that “Israel will not be able to remain an independent country” and calling for a joint Israeli-Palestinian state.

“I don’t know why the Israeli press is doing this always,” he said. “I am a young person … my memory is quite good. I didn’t make such a speech anywhere.”

The Turkish foreign minister met Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton amid the furor over WikiLeaks’ release of over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.

Some of the documents contain dire assessments of Turkey’s foreign policy course, which – under Mr. Davutoglu’s “zero problems with neighbors” doctrine – has included warming ties with Syria and Iran.

In the cables, Ankara-based diplomats call Mr. Davutoglu “extremely dangerous” and say evidence supports the “thesis that [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan simply hates Israel.”

A physicist involved in Iran’s nuclear program was killed in a bombing in Tehran and another scientist was injured in a second blast, authorities said. Majid Shahriari died early today as he was heading to his
teaching job at Shahid Beheshti University, state-run news agencies including Mehr reported. Fereydoun Abasi, a physicist at the same university, was injured along with his wife, Mehr said. The bombs were attached to their cars by magnets, the 30 billion gdp number is in constant real dollars.

Dardari is reporting Syria’s GDP of $30.4 billion in current dollars. If this is right, inflation is 100%,” Ehsani writes. “This is a real shocker to me. Dardari has been telling us that the GDP is $55-60 billion,” he adds.

Syria’s Gross Domestic Product Rises in 2009, Al Watan Reports
By Zahraa Alkhalisi – 2010-11-29. Nov. 29 (Bloomberg)

Syria’s gross domestic product for 2009 rose to 1.42 trillion Syrian pounds ($30.4 billion) from 1.34 trillion pounds the previous year, Al Watan said, citing preliminary information from the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Government Plans to Raise Energy Prices to Market Level by 2015
The Syrian Government is debating the option of increasing the retail price of energy supplies, including electricity and gas oil, and taking them to market levels by 2015, according to the local press. Read

Damascus Bourse to Allow Shares to Fall By as Much as 5% a Day
By Zahra Hankir,2010-11-23Nov. 23 (Bloomberg)

The Damascus Securities Exchange will allow shares to fall by as much as five percent a day, raising the limit from two percent, the Syrian Commission on Financial Markets and Securities said on its website. The decision was implemented as of today, the market regulator said.

Syrian Stock Market Posts Strongest Weekly Decline since Set-Up : The Damascus Securities Exchange fell again this week, with the market’s main index declining by some 2.5 percent.

Poor Decision Making Weakens Trust in Stock Market
(Syria Report)
The authority regulating the Syrian securities market took a controversial decision last week only to reverse it a day later amid strong opposition from stakeholders.

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