The death throes of the Mubarak regime in Egypt signal a new level of crisis for a U.S. Middle East strategy that has shown itself over and over again in recent years to be based on nothing more than the illusion of power. The incipient loss of the U.S. client regime in Egypt is an obvious moment for a fundamental adjustment in that strategy.
But those moments have been coming with increasing regularity in recent years, and the U.S. national security bureaucracy has shown itself to be remarkably resistant to giving it up. The troubled history of that strategy suggests that it is an expression of some powerful political forces at work in this society, as former NSC official Gary Sick hinted in a commentary on the crisis.
Ever since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979, every U.S. administration has operated on the assumption that the United States, with Israel and Egypt as key client states, occupies a power position in the Middle East that allows it to pursue an aggressive strategy of unrelenting pressure on all those “rogue” regimes and parties in the region which have resisted dominance by the U.S.-Israeli tandem: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq was only the most extreme expression of that broader strategic concept. It assumed that the United States and Israel could establish a pro-Western regime in Iraq as the base from which it would press for the elimination of resistance from any of their remaining adversaries in the region.
But since that more aggressive version of the strategy was launched, the illusory nature of the regional dominance strategy has been laid bare in one country after another.
- The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq merely empowered Shi’a forces to form a regime whose geostrategic interests are far closer to Iran than to the United States.
- The U.S.-encouraged Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 only strengthened the position of Hezbollah as the largest, most popular and most disciplined political-military force in the country, leading ultimately the Hezbollah-backed government now being formed.
- Israeli and U.S. threats to attack Iran, Hezbollah and Syria since 2006 brought an even more massive influx of rockets and missiles into Lebanon and Syria which now appears to deter Israeli aggressiveness toward its adversaries for the first time.
- U.S.-Israeli efforts to create a client Palestinian entity and crush Hamas through the siege of Gaza has backfired, strengthening the Hamas claim to be the only viable Palestinian entity.
- The U.S. insistence on demonstrating the effectiveness of its military power in Afghanistan has only revealed the inability of the U.S. military to master the Afghan insurgency.
And now the Mubarak regime is in its final days. As one talking head after another has pointed out in recent days, it has been the linchpin of the U.S. strategy. The main function of the U.S. client state relationship with Egypt was to allow Israel to avoid coming to terms with Palestinian demands.
The costs of the illusory quest for dominance in the Middle East have been incalculable. By continuing to support Israeli extremist refusal to seek a peaceful settlement, trying to prop up Arab authoritarian regimes that are friendly with Israel and seeking to project military power in the region through both airbases in the Gulf States and a semi-permanent bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the strategy has assiduously built up long-term antagonism toward the United States and pushed many throughout the Islamic world to sympathize with Al Qaeda-style jihadism. It has also fed Sunni-Shi’a tensions in the region and created a crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.
Although this is clearly the time to scrap that Middle East strategy, the nature of U.S. national security policy-making poses formidable obstacles to such an adjustment Bureaucrats and bureaucracies always want to hold on to policies and programs that have given them power and prestige, even if those policies and programs have been costly failures. Above all, in fact, they want to avoid having to admit the failure and the costs involved. So they go on defending and pursuing strategies long after the costs and failure have become clear.
An historical parallel to the present strategy in the Middle East is the Cold War strategy in East Asia, including the policy of surrounding, isolating and pressuring the Communist Chinese regime. As documented in my own history of the U.S. path to war in Vietnam, Perils of Dominance, the national security bureaucracy was so committed to that strategy that it resisted any alternative to war in South Vietnam in 1964-65, because it believed the loss of South Vietnam would mean the end of Cold War strategy, with its military alliances, client regimes and network of military bases surrounding China. It was only during the Nixon administration that the White House wrested control of national security policy from the bureaucracy sufficiently to scrap that Cold War strategy in East Asia and reach an historic accommodation with China.
The present strategic crisis can only be resolved by a similar political decision to reach another historical accommodation – this time with the “resistance bloc” in the Middle East. Despite the demonization of Iran and the rest of the “resistance bloc”, their interests on the primary issue of al Qaeda-like global terrorism have long been more aligned with the objective security interests of the United States than those of some regimes with which the United States has been allied (e.g., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan).
Scrapping the failed strategy in favor of an historic accommodation in the region would:
- reduce the Sunni-Shi’a geopolitical tensions in the region by supporting a new Iran-Egypt relationship;
- force Israel to reconsider its refusal to enter into real negotiations on a Palestinian settlement;
- reduce the level of antagonism toward the United States in the Islamic world and
- create a new opportunity for agreement between the United States and Iran that could resolve the nuclear issue.
It will be far more difficult, however, for the United States to make this strategic adjustment than it was for Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to secretly set in motion their accommodation with China. Unconditional support for Israel, the search for client states and determination to project military power into the Middle East, which are central to the failed strategy, have long reflected the interests of the two most powerful domestic U.S. political power blocs bearing on national security policy: the pro-Israel bloc and the militarist bloc. Whereas Nixon and Kissinger were not immobilized by fealty to any such power bloc, both the pro-Israel and militarist power blocs now dominate both parties in the White House as well as in Congress.
One looks in vain for a political force in this country that is free to press for fundamental change in Middle East strategy. And without a push for such a change from outside, we face the distinct possibility of a national security bureaucracy and White House continuing to deny the strategy’s utter failure and disastrous consequences.
The ruling National Democratic Party’s policies secretariat has reportedly received a confidential memorandum from a member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs detailing Israeli designs to gain access to the waters of the Nile River in exchange for completing construction of the Gongli Canal project in southern Sudan.
It is estimated that, when complete, the Gongli Canal project would increase Sudan’s and Egypt’s annual share of Nile water by between 10 billion and 15 billion cubic meters. According to the memorandum, Israel plans to ask for half of these amounts, for which it is prepared to pay US$0.1 per cubic meter.
The memorandum also states that Israel has exploited the ongoing disagreements between the upstream and downstream riparian states in hopes of securing cheap access to Nile water.
The memorandum concluded by recommending that the government import coffee and meat from the upstream states of the Nile Basin to ease the latter’s disappointment over Egypt’s current policy of importing these products from other countries.
Vietnam rarely makes the news these days, but there was a recent item about a journalist who died after being doused in his sleep with a chemical, then set on fire. The BBC implied that he may have been retaliated against for reporting on official misconduct.
Investigating corruption and abuse of power, Hoang Hung made plenty of enemies in high places. His best known article is about how officials in Long An, after receiving bribes from developers, kicked hundreds of farmers off their lands to make way for golf courses. After his death, a colleague quoted Hoang Hung, “We’re soldiers on the media battlefield. We must dare to speak the truth, dare to fight for social justice in spite of harassment from many quarters.” Fifty years old at his death, Hoang Hung was too young to participate in the Vietnam War. His father, however, was a Vietcong who died in battle.
The Vietnamese Communists won the war so they could eventually open the country to Capitalist sweat shops and golf courses. No wonder Hoang Hung was pissed. To make room for a rich man’s game, hundreds of Vietnamese became landless. Though Vietnam is smaller than California, it has more than twice the population. The deltas and coastline are packed with people. There, even a lawn is an alien concept, and as popular as soccer is, there are few grass fields. Vietnamese grow rice and vegetables, not grass. The last thing Vietnam needs is golf courses, but of course they aren’t built for the locals.
According to George Carlin, America doesn’t need these vast, high maintenance fields either. From a 1992 skit, “It is time to reclaim the golf courses from the wealthy and turn them over to the homeless […] Think of how big a golf course is. The ball is that fucking big! What do these pinheaded pricks need with all that land? There are over 17,000 golf courses in America. They average over 150 acres apiece. That’s 3 million plus acres, 4,820 square miles. You could build two Rhode Islands and a Delaware for the homeless on the land currently being wasted on this meaningless, mindless, arrogant, elitist, racist […] and a boring game.”
In any case, whoever killed Hoang Hung was a pro. The assassin knew that he tended to work late and often slept in his second floor home office. Waiting until the lights were out, the killer managed to climb onto the balcony without being detected just after midnight. He then entered the darkened room where his target was sound asleep inside the mosquito netting. After the attack, there were photos published in the Vietnamese press of the scorched bed and the near-naked victim lying in the hospital, where he suffered for ten days before dying. Make no mistake about this: Hoang Hung was killed as a warning to other journalists. Make too much noise and you will be roasted alive like this man.
In the 60’s, South Vietnamese monks immolated themselves to protest against the government. Their action was effective because it was a horrendous spectacle. It was visual. At the same time, South Vietnam’s best novelist, Nhat Linh, also committed suicide in protest, but he did it by ingesting poison in private. Whereas the image of a burning monk has become iconic, Nhat Linh’s death caused no international ripple whatsoever. It wasn’t visual. There is nothing to show.
Everywhere now, not least America, writers are becoming more invisible by the day, in any case. With so much mass media all the time, it would not matter if an American writer became a living torch in Times Square. They’d just hose his ashes into the gutter and point the camera at the naked cowboy. The Vietnamese Communists have also figured out that serious writers are mostly irrelevant in this cultural climate. They used to lock up poets—one, Nguyen Chi Thien, was imprisoned for a total of twenty-seven years—but now they pretty much leave poets alone. Though many are still blocked from publishing, poets are no longer jailed. To imprison a poet is to shine a spotlight on him. No one pays attention to poets anyway, no matter what they write. From the perspective of tyranny, it would be foolish to flesh out this nothingness.
Journalists, however, are a different story. They can still reach the masses. America has solved this problem by consolidating her media outlets. With countless newspapers and TV stations, there seems to be many voices speaking, but nearly all are manipulated by the same puppet master. As everyone sits in the dark, the spotlight is fixed on a tiny ring where there’s much flailing over next to nothing. Should anyone still manage to get out of line, however, America can always snuff him out, just like the Vietnamese did. Invading Iraq, we bombed the office of Al Jazeera and shelled the Palestine Hotel, killing three journalists. We also arrested Al Jazeerra’s al Sami al-Hajj and kept him in Guantanamo for six years without charge. In 2005, an American tank shot at a car carrying Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, injuring her and killing intel agent, Nicola Calipari.
On the American fringe, independent voices are free to write as they please, but even the best among them can only appear in little read webzines. Many write almost exclusively on their own blogs. Needless to say, they have almost no impact on the general public. In too late late capitalism, those who seek to tell the truth don’t need to be burnt. They are already being drown out by nonsense.
“Our Leaders are Negotiating the Terms of Our Imprisonment”
With the 18-year-long Middle East peace process finally pronounced dead, is the Palestinian Authority finished too?
That is the question being asked by Palestinians in the wake of a week of damaging revelations that Palestinian negotiators secretly made major concessions to Israel in talks on Jerusalem, refugees and borders.
The PA — the Palestinians’ government-in-the-making, led by Mahmoud Abbas — was already in crisis before the disclosure of official Palestinian documents by Al Jazeera television last week.
Now, said George Giacaman, the head of the Ramallah-based research centre Muwatin, which advocates greater Palestinian democracy, the PA’s “back is to the wall”.
The question of the PA’s survival, and the future direction of Palestinian politics, has gained added urgency as the wider Middle East is rocked by unrest, from Tunisia to Yemen.
Mahdi Abdul Hadi, the director of the Jerusalem think-tank Passia, said the Palestinians were “at a crossroads”. Although the streets had remained largely quiet until now, he said it was only a matter of time before Palestinians started to make clear their revulsion at their leadership.
“It is now much clearer to Palestinians that they are living in a prison and that the PA leaders are there only to negotiate the terms of our imprisonment,” he said.
He, like many other Palestinian analysts, declared the negotiations for a two-state solution over.
That sentiment appears to be shared by a majority of Palestinians. A survey in December, before the leak of 1,600 official documents, by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research showed that 71 per cent of Palestinians believed they would not have a state within five years. The percentage is likely to have risen sharply.
In a sign of the mounting panic in Ramallah, Palestinian leaders frantically launched a rearguard action last week. Initially, they claimed the documents were fabricated, and suggested that Al Jazeera was siding with Mr Abbas’s political rivals, the Islamic party Hamas, to bring down the PA.
But several officials have confirmed the papers’ authenticity, and the PA has redirected its main attention to discovering who was behind the leak.
Mr Abdul Hadi said Palestinians would increasingly draw the conclusion that their intended future was living in “one binational state under an apartheid regime” administered by Israel.
“At the moment Abbas has his followers out on the streets but the Palestinian people are awakening to the reality of their situation,” he said.
Samir Awad, a politics professor at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, agreed that Israel was imposing a de facto one-state solution. “The fight for national independence is over and, if it is to survive, the PA must quickly reinvent its role. Palestinians are now in for the long haul: a struggle for their civil and political rights in a single state,” he said.
Asad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University in Israel and an expert on Palestinian politics, warned, however, that, as the PA faltered, Israel and the US would intensify their efforts to strengthen the authority’s security forces and its repressive role.
With politics stifled inside the occupied territories, said Mr Ghanem, it was crucial that outside Palestinian leaders step in to redefine the Palestinian national movement, including Palestinians such as himself who live inside Israel and groups in the diaspora.
Mr Giacaman said the PA had long ago outlived its official purpose.
It was created by the Oslo accords as a temporary administration in the transition to Palestinian statehood, proposed as a five-year period during which Israel was supposed to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza in stages.
Since the Camp David negotiations ended in deadlock in 2000, the PA has clung to power, with limited control over less than 40 per cent of the West Bank as Israel has continued to build settlements in the area under its rule.
Mr Abbas has threatened on several occasions to dissolve the PA, most recently in December, when he warned: “I cannot accept to remain the president of an authority that doesn’t exist.”
But Mr Giacaman said such threats were hollow, designed to put pressure on Israel to return to negotiations out of fear that it would otherwise have to take on the heavy financial burden of direct military reoccupation.
The PA, however, was in much deeper trouble after the leaking of the documents, Mr Giacaman said. “Without a peace process, it needs to justify its continuing existence.”
The most likely immediate focus, he said, was intensifying international action through the United Nations, by pushing for a resolution at the Security Council against the settlements.
He also thought the PA would consider changing its position and actively championing the Goldstone Report, the findings of a UN commission that suggest Israel committed war crimes during its attack on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
One of the leaked papers revealed that Mr Abbas had agreed under US pressure to shelve the report rather than take it to the UN General Assembly.
“The problem for the PA is that it needs to generate diplomatic crises to get the international community to intervene. But this will put it in confrontation with Israel and the United States. Israel can always threaten to cut the $60 million taxes it transfers every month to the PA,” Mr Giacaman said.
The PA’s threat to unilaterally declare statehood and then seek recognition at the UN, he added, would not change the reality on the ground. “Even if most countries recognise the state, it will still be a state under occupation,” Mr Giacaman said.
In the meantime, the diplomatic vacuum was likely to be filled by Israel. It could promote a plan similar to the one being advanced by Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right foreign minister, to recognise a Palestinian state in temporary borders. Or it could continue its separation policies, withdrawing from more of the West Bank and encouraging the Palestinians to take over what was left behind.
Mr Awad said the collapse of the PA held out many dangers for the Palestinians. One was the possibility of a convulsive civil war between the Fatah party of Mr Abbas and Hamas. Another, he said, was the “Aghanistanisation” of the occupied territories, as tribal warlords took limited control of the territorial enclaves Israel was not interested in.
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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
Israeli special forces raided homes in Silwan today at dawn, including that of banished al-Bustan Popular Committee member Adnan Ghaith, and attempted to arrest his son.
When police attempted to arrest Adnan Ghaith’s 11 year old son, Oudai Ghaith, the family refused to hand over the child. Police finally left the home on the condition that Oudai present himself at the police station at 10 a.m this morning.
Adnan Ghaith, Silwan secretary-general of Fatah and al-Bustan Popular Committee member, is currently serving his 4-month exile sentence in Ramallah, banned from entering the Jerusalem region during this time.
Israeli authorities invoked a military law dating from the British mandate period to enable the banishment.
Eyewitnesses reported that soldiers executing the raids were carrying tools used for breaking doors. Police also stopped residents in the streets in the outskirts of the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood and checked their ID cards. Troops were also sighted throughout Baten al-Hawa and Ein Silwan areas.
Palestinian human rights defender and activist Ameer Makhoul was sentenced to nine years in jail on Sunday, 30 January on charges of spying and contact with a foreign agent.
Makhoul, who serves as General Director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and Chairman of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms, was arrested on 6 May 2010, by the Israeli General Security Service and police. His original charge also included aiding the enemy (Hezbollah) in time of war, which in Israel includes a penalty of life in prison.
Makhoul signed a plea bargain with the Israeli authorities on 27 October 2010, according to which he would be given a reduced sentence on reduced charges.
“My husband is being punished severely today for supporting social and political justice. He has been wronged and by his sentencing they are trying to scare the Arabic population in Israel,” said Makhoul’s wife Janan in court Sunday.
His brother, former Knesset Member Issam Makhoul, told Israel’s Ynet News: “This is not about harming State security. They are trying to hurt his freedom of expression. This is political persecution against a man who has contributed so much and didn’t try to harm the State. He acted according to the law.”
When Israeli General Security Service and police raided Ameer Makhoul’s home in Haifa at 6am on 6 May, and arrested him, he was taken to an Israeli security facility and kept from meeting with a lawyer or speaking with his family for nearly two weeks. During this time he confessed to the accusations. It is strongly believed that the confession was coerced.
Dr. Hatem Kanaane, chairperson of the Popular Committee in Defense and Solidarity with Ameer Makhoul said “A difficult decision was reached by Ameer, his family, attorneys and the solidarity committee to accept the reality of this place and conclude a plea bargain for Ameer.”
Dr. Kananne further added that, “After 16 hours of sleep deprivation and being tied to a chair in a manner that constitutes torture, Ameer told them he would sign whatever false charges they want. He was broken.”
Although the Israeli authorities confiscated numerous computers and documents belonging to Ameer, the Ittijah organization and Ameer’s family, in addition to listening to over 30,000 conversations of Ameer in the previous two years, the Israeli authorities found no evidence against Ameer apart from his own statement.
Orna Kohn from Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and one of Makhoul’s lawyers, said that “Israeli law defines very broadly the so-called security offenses, which criminalizes behavior or action that no one would expect to see included in a clause of the Criminal Code. The result is that it is very easy for the general attorney to convince a court that a person is guilty. “
When a Palestinian is accused of endangering the state of Israel it is next to impossible to escape any time of prison time, even if there is little to no evidence to support the claim. Ameer now joins the thousands of other Palestinian prisoners, currently serving sentences in Israeli prisons from crimes they never committed. His family, friends and the community he served so faithfully will be anxiously waiting for his release.
Prior to his sentencing Makhoul spoke out saying: “Any sentence will be considered in my eyes to be cruel and vindictive against the Arab population and its legitimate battle here and across the world. The court must prove whether they are a courthouse or the Shin Bet, a place of justice or the backyard of the Shin Bet. I’ve admitted to the charges as part of a forced reality, and I intend to continue my legitimate work for the Palestinian population in Israel.”
As people across Egypt continued resisting and rising against the brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak it is quite clear they will not stop until he goes.
Quite clear to everyone, that is, apart from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is so out of touch with what is happening on the ground you have to wonder who on earth is advising her.
She appears to have no idea of the burning resentment and hatred held towards America among the ordinary men and women of Egypt. More than 100 have paid the blood price, so far, for standing up to the US-backed tyrant Mubarak and two thousand others are injured.
It has been lost on no one that the empty shell casings from live ammunition and gas cannisters, which litter Tahrir Square and other streets across Egypt, were provided by the United States of America.
The “Made in the USA” empty shell casings tell their own story not just of the innocents they have killed, but of their origins and of America’s deadly legacy of unwelcome foreign interference in the region.
The Egyptian people have been fed propaganda for 30 years, their evening news on state TV is sanitized and censored and many have been afraid to speak out freely under the US-backed dictatorship of Mubarak.
But do not for one minute think the Egyptian people are stupid – sadly the US has once again completely misread and underestimated an entire population.
These demonstrations are as much a protest against US meddling in their affairs as they are against the Mubarak regime.
Despite all of this Clinton showed not one ounce of compassion or humility when she made her latest blundering speech.
With the sensitivity of a bull in a china shop, she called for an orderly transition but only after heaping praise on the Mubarak government which has “made and kept peace with Israel, avoiding violence, turmoil and death in the region”.
She told ABC News:”Democracy, human rights and economic reform are in the best interests of the Egyptian people.” These are the same people her own government ignored as they continued to fund and back Mubarak with billions of US taxpayers’ dollars over the decades.
The BBC’s North America editor Mark Mardell says Clinton’s comments are a sign that the Obama administration is edging towards accepting, if not openly endorsing, an end to Mubarak’s rule. The truth is, Mark, the Egyptian people do not want any more US interference – they do not want any more American weapons being used against them. America has no interest in the people of Egypt. Its only concern is for the man-made-pariah state next door – Israel.
Clinton has been so out of step since this whole turmoil began to erupt. Both she and Obama remained completely silent for four whole weeks as scores of Tunisians died in that uprising and it was only when their man, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali took flight that they condemned his brutality.
When Egypt threatened to kick off, Clinton said assuredly that the country was “stable”. That was a week ago and as she is beginning to learn, a week is a long time in politics. She says she wants democracy – but what sort of democracy Hillary? The sort that sees another tyrant take power? Or are you really going to let the people decide?
And by the way, the people are beginning to rise and resist right across the Maghreb, throughout the Middle East and Asia. US foreign policy has turned America into the most hated country in the world and if Washington really told Americans the truth, I know the millions upon millions of decent US citizens would be horrified by what is being done in their name.
But the truth is the American people are kept well away from the truth and are among the least informed people in the world today.
Few Americans have any idea that this and the previous Bush administrations do not want democracy in the region. In fact, they have collectively punished the people of Gaza for exercising their democratic right by voting for a Hamas-dominated government.
This has not been lost on the Egyptian people Hillary who, by the way, have a great love for Palestine, a place in their heart, for Gaza, and an even deeper hatred and mistrust for the brutal Zionist state, which really does threaten peace and stability in the region.
As I write this F16 fighter jets and attack helicopters, made in America, are flying overhead in Cairo to try to intimidate the Egyptian people. Too late – there isn’t an army in the world that can beat this peoples’ army. Their fear has gone.
Your ill-informed advisers won’t tell you this, Hillary, but I hate to see an empowered female make such a prat of herself, so here’s a piece of advice. The time has come when you really must step back and take a vow of silence. Every time you open your mouth you are looking and sounding even more stupid than the female presenter on Egyptian state TV who assures us all is at peace with the world and the streets of Egypt are empty and calm.
It’s been thrilling to watch Egyptian mass demonstrations roll back the ossified Mubarak regime, especially as events in Tunisia suggest a knock-on effect that has rattled the Arab world. But this drama can’t be read as the Arab world’s “Berlin moment,” as some have enthused. Yes, serious reforms are in the offing, especially regarding more genuine elections. But limited prospects for reforms are just as clearly indicated.
Reading anodyne language from the US and Europe warning the power elite in Egypt not to use too much force against demonstrators while not mentioning Mubarak at all, we must assume that ousting Mubarak is “viewed with favour” by the West. This should be signal. The US, UK and the rest of Europe are not so much steering events as surfing a wave of popular mobilisation, which they have encouraged for some time, as the only way finally to dislodge Mubarak and his crony core. The happy (naive) interpretation is a confluence of Western and Egyptian interests and values regarding democracy and good governance, coupled with disgust in old dictators clinging to kleptocratic power. But since when has US foreign policy encouraged democracy for the benefit of ordinary people? In fact, this Western imprimatur signals some hard realist western interests—and some ominous undercurrents.
Western motives in ousting Mubarak are obvious. The old man has outworn his usefulness to the US in being unable to contain burning social dissatisfaction in Egypt, raising risks that Egypt might escape the grip of US foreign policy through the ascent of the Muslim Brotherhood. The US and Israel don’t want Egypt—in older days the leader of the Arab world and now a vital Israeli ally—going the way of Lebanon, where genuine democracy has allowed Hizbullah to control a parliamentary majority. It would be a disaster for Israeli if two of its borders fell into political hands less sanguine about starving the population of Gaza, ensuring the continuing division of Palestinian politics, training the security forces of the Palestinian Authority to repress Hamas, confining the ‘peace process’ to empty formulas, and demonising Iran.
Hard if fragmented evidence of Western involvement is obvious, too. Many close observers are recalling a Wikileaks record that the US Embassy has been in contact with Egyptian activists for some years about getting rid of Mubarak, granting one key activist top-level access with US government authorities, technical advice regarding mass communication and other encouragement, and helping protect his anonymity. We can also recall Hillary Clinton’s recent tour of the Arab world, in which she made a series of speeches bizarrely endorsing the dramatic reform of US-allied Arab governments. Clinton sees the entire Middle East through an Israeli lens: if she calls for change, her concern is that Egypt and other Arab states be enabled to do their bit to sustain Israel’s ‘security’ more effectively. So US diplomatic graffiti is clear: the US wants to secure its withering power base in the Middle East against rising political dissent and therefore wants rotten old stick Mubarak out of the way to restore Egypt’s old leadership role. The same US graffiti is designed to be read by other wobbling Arab allies, like Yemen: toe the line or face the same.
It takes little imagination to fill in the rest. In coming years, we’ll likely get a Wikileaks glimpse into the backroom conversation, held in the second or third day of the Egyptian insurrection, in which European, US and Israeli allies read Mubarak a literal riot act (pointing out the window) instructing him against all his druthers to appoint securocrat Omar Suleiman as deputy president. Suleiman is the ideal successor for US interests and has clearly been hand-picked now to take the reins. He’s immaculately polite (recall the Western appeal of Karzai) and ‘comfortable in the halls of power’, as al-Jazeera has noted. He’s a core high operator in Israeli/US foreign policy, including the ‘war on terror’ (supervising US-requested renditions, etc.), and a good personal buddy of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, with whom he once male-bonded in surviving a shared assassination attempt. He’s a proven ally in the deceitful manipulation of the Palestinian Authority: e.g., leading the phoney “unity” talks while supervising Egyptian assistance to the US in training PA armed forces to repress Hamas in the West Bank and ensuring the brutal sealing of Gaza.
Best of all, Suleiman is an intelligence chief, welded firmly within the US-Israeli intelligence nexus that props up the Fatah-led PA, assists with the mess in Afghanistan, tortures or assassinates the more dangerous opponents to US and Israeli interests, and orchestrates the subversion of Syria and Iran. Such a figure, Washington must hope, can recreate an effective US-Israeli-Egyptian power bloc in a Middle East now drifting away from US moorings as Turkey, Lebanon and even Iraq progressively defect from Western-preferred policies.
So, yes, the old fossil Mubarak has been cut loose and a ‘new Egypt’ (as presidential candidate Mohamed el-Baradei calls it) will soon be announced. The orange or purple or green or lavender or puce revolution will be applauded, the people will rejoice and more meaningful elections will be held. But Suleiman and his technocratic allies are already pre-positioned to ensure that the new Egypt precludes any access to real political influence by factions that, in the US view, are ominously closer to Hizbullah in their regional outlook. The whole point of the current drama is indeed to defuse the legitimate mass popular discontent that feeds the appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood—just as Hamas appealed to the disenchanted Palestinian electorate and Hizbullah has appealed to the disenchanted Lebanese electorate, the majority of whom otherwise don’t favour Islamic parties but were driven to support them through terminal political frustration.
This new Egypt will definitely improve some conditions for some Egyptians over coming years: especially by creating jobs for the masses of educated unemployed men, who are now driving the street demonstrations. But reforms in Egypt will focus on technocratic economic solutions: emphasizing standard liberal capitalist measures regarding government and financial transparency, reduced corruption to encourage business growth, an end to routine police torture practices, etc., etc. The security state will otherwise stay in place—and the conditions for a highly unequal society will not fundamentally change. Egypt will stay firmly in the fold of US/Israeli security interests and global economic norms. It will just play that role more adeptly than before.
Alas, the truly mass democratic character of this revolution actually favours this outcome. The demonstrators are calling, in principled fashion, not for any specific leadership but for genuine elections. It’s not impossible that more robust democracy will ultimately escape US control, as they did in Lebanon. But the hundreds of thousands now demonstrating in Egyptian cities lack the top-level access to prevent Suleiman’s security/technocrat network, with its foreign imprimatur, from ensuring that the ‘democratic’ transition generates simply a more efficient and stable version of the client-state role that Egypt has been playing for decades. Such a state cannot really alter the conditions that now impoverish and marginalise whole segments of Egyptian society. Some of the street activists recognise this, of course. Whether they can meaningfully alter the grand Western design for which their principled passion is now being co-opted is entirely unclear.
Virginia Tilley is a professor of political science living in Cape Town, South Africa, hailing from email@example.com.
Fuad Ben Eliezer (Labour) does not understand what happened, and on all the radio stations he lays out his embarrassment: What happened to his friend Hosni Mubarak? Why didn’t he order the military to shoot the masses and thus end the “riots”, in his words?
In light of his acquaintance/friendship with the Egyptian dictator, in recent days Ben Eliezer has become a senior analyst on Egyptian affairs, only that this time he admits, in uncharacteristic modesty, that he simply does not understand: a few hundred more dead and everything would return back to normal.
The truth is that not only Ben Eliezer didn’t predict anything and understands nothing: all of the Israeli “analysts for Arab affairs” and “Middle East experts” – all of them graduates of Israel’s military intelligence or the Mosad – are forced to admit their ignorance. Yet again we were surprised, just like every time we are surprised: surprised by the crossing of Suez Canal in 1973, surprised by the Palestinian-Lebanese resistance in 1982, by the steadfastness of the Hizbullah in 2006, from the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections and so on.
In his words, Ben Eliezer reflects the Israeli media, which immediately chose a side: together with the forces of order, against the popular movement, even if, as in Tunisia, it involves the entire people. The Arab masses are always the enemy and the regimes – partners. The fact that these are authoritarian regimes, murderous and corrupted is perceived not as a downside, but as testimony to their welcome ability to control their populations. In simple words: while the Arab masses are a horde, a flock of inflamed savages, their leaders are guarantors of order, even if at times Israel is forced to go to war against them.
Another surprise, and this time for the political and intellectual elites of the entire world, and not only for Ben Eliezer and “our commentators”: popular masses, from Morocco to Iraq, from France to Bolivia, did not read Fukuyama’s End of History and if they did, they refused to get off the stage of history: when they are stepped on, pushed to starvation or humiliated – sooner or later they rise up and remove the corrupt and arrogant dictators. Although it may be delayed, the revolution will eventually break out. To break out, not necessarily win, and it’s not inconceivable that Mubarak will listen to the advice of the Israeli press and of General Ben Eliezer and order the military to suppress the uprising with blood.
It is already possible to guess the headline of the next stage of the press and expert commentators’ propaganda campaign: Al Qaeda. The dictatorship of Ben Ali and Mubarak is justified as they stop militant Islam and behind the popular demonstrations stands no less than Bin Laden. Zvi Barel (Haaretz, 30 January) is one of the few commentators who refutes the contention concerning the centrality of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian uprising. He emphasizes that its slogan isn’t Allah Akhbar but “down with the dictator, down with corruption”. Also in Tunisia the Islamic Al Nahda party didn’t play a role in the uprising, if only because it has yet to recover from the cruel oppression of Ben Ali and his gangs.
Neither Al Qaeda nor the Muslim Brotherhood are behind the angry mass in Cairo, Rafah and Suez, but thirty years of authoritarian rule, oppression, poverty. As long as the Israeli commentators and politicians fail to understand this, they will continue to be surprised every time the masses (an “archaic” word long ago erased from their lexicons) take destiny in their own hands.
Translated to English by the Alternative Information Center (AIC).
The controversy over the firing of a Brooklyn College adjunct professor allegedly for his solidarity with the Palestinian cause continues. The college’s assertion that the teaching appointment of Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a doctoral student entering his fourth semester of studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, was canceled a week before classes start because of his “lack of qualifications” doesn’t add up.
The dispute over Petersen-Overton’s course began after the class syllabus was circulated to prospective students. On January 12, a student worried about Petersen-Overton’s political affiliations emailed the department with the accusation that Petersen-Overton is an “active partisan of Palestinian in Gaza.” Bruce Kesler, who appears to have taken up the hobby of monitoring Brooklyn College’s assigned reading material and now teaching appointments, was quick to follow with a blog post condemning the hiring.
When the department requested that complaints be deferred until after the class had started, and after students could point to actual evidence of Petersen-Overton’s supposed “bias,” the unidentified student—who was interviewed on WPIX New York with her face blurred—contacted Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Hikind is a supporter of illegal settlements in the West Bank and an advocate for the ethnic profiling of Arabs and Muslims. Hikind also played an influential role in the smear campaign that led to the removal of Debbie Almontaser from her position as the founding principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy, New York City’s first Arab-English dual language school—a decision which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission later deemed unfair discrimination.
Hikind called CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, and wrote a letter to Brooklyn College President Karen Gould in which he claims that Petersen-Overton’s “personal biases should not be allowed to pollute the academic realm,” citing a paper Petersen-Overton is in the process of completing, Inventing the Martyr: Martyrdom as a Palestinian National Signifier. In his letter, Hikind takes quotes out of context to back up his assertion that the paper “endeavors to justify and condone Palestinian suicide bombings as means of ‘struggle’ and ‘sacrifice.’” Hikind either deliberately misconstrues the essay, has not read it, or does not understand it. Like most academic essays, Petersen-Overton’s cites research, not personal opinion, and is about how Palestinian national identity manifests politically— clearly not a “romanticization” of suicide bombers.
In a phone interview, Petersen-Overton recounted that, “within 24 hours of Hikind’s statement, I was fired,” adding that Hisseine Faradj, an adjunct professor who taught the same course before, is also a doctoral student.
Hikind said in a phone interview that he is “thrilled” that Brooklyn College decided to cancel Petersen-Overton’s appointment. “Matthew Goldstein said to me on Tuesday that he was calling a meeting and they were going to look at everything this guy has ever written,” the assemblyman said. “The reading material on the syllabus “are written by Palestinian historians or Israeli revisionist historians, and basically blame Israel for everything.”
But according to Brooklyn College’s Media Relations Manager, Ernesto Mora, “Mr. Petersen-Overton was not fired because he had not been hired. This was an internal matter and the CUNY Chancellor had nothing to do with the provost’s decision, regardless of what Hikind’s releases argue.” However, Petersen-Overton says that he signed a contract with Brooklyn College on Monday. Mora also claims Hikind’s statements to the New York Daily News contains factual errors, and that no meeting occurred between the Provost William A. Tramontano and the Chancellor, adding that Hikind announced the decision that Petersen-Overton’s appointment had been canceled before the college did.
The administration’s and Hikind’s narrative contradict both each other, Petersen-Overton’s own account, other faculty members, and that of Janet Elise Johnston, an Associate Professor in the Political Science department and a member of the Appointments Committee. Johnston says she was not present during the meetings on Petersen-Overton’s position, but claims that “the argument that it’s about qualifications doesn’t stand up to the evidence; we have other adjunct professors who teach for the Masters Program, but don’t have PhDs … he was not officially appointed by he had been asked to teach. He is qualified.” While Johnston cannot comment on the accusations that political motives propelled the decision to dismiss Petersen-Overton from his position, she maintains that “in reality CUNY and Brooklyn College are under funded, and under resourced, and have been so for decades,” which further explains the frequent appointments of doctoral students from CUNY programs.
Currently, opposition to Peterson-Overton’s politically motivated termination is mounting. The Political Science department released a statement denouncing the decision: “His decision [the Provost’s] to reject our appointment undermines academic freedom and departmental governance.” The watchdog group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sent a letter to the President Karen Gould calling for the reinstatement of Petersen-Overton as adjunct professor. “As you know, BC is a public institution and thus is both legally and morally bound by the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of expression and Academic freedom, ” the letter reads.
Dr. Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, a union representing CUNY faculty and profession staff, released a statement condemning the decision as a politically motivated violation of academic freedom. And in an email circulated on a CUNY Hunter list serve, John Wallach, a Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center, writes, “All of us who have taught him [Petersen-Overton] at the Graduate Center have written letters to the Provost, yesterday if not today, in addition to signing the petition. Uniformly, we find this action an abominable assault on academic freedom that must be reversed—immediately and without qualification.” The CUNY Graduate Center student newspaper, The Advocate, is also circulating a petition that has already received over 1,300 signatures, in addition to hosting a live blog which follows the case’s developments. Brooklyn College’s Political Science department will also be holding an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the current situation.
Despite the circumstances, Petersen-Overton remains surprisingly level. “To complain about Hikind and others is a waste of time. I am mainly concerned that the college administration caved so easily. I tried to amend my syllabus as recommended, but they never gave me the opportunity.”
Zoe Zenowich is a Senior in the Scholars Program at Brooklyn College, where she is the managing editor of the Excelsior, a student newspaper.
The Torture Career of Egypt’s New Vice President: Omar Suleiman and the Rendition to Torture Program
In response to the mass protests of recent days, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appointed his first Vice President in his over 30 years rule, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.
When Suleiman was first announced, Aljazeera commentators were describing him as a “distinguished” and “respected ” man. It turns out, however, that he is distinguished for, among other things, his central role in Egyptian torture and in the US rendition to torture program. Further, he is “respected” by US officials for his cooperation with their torture plans, among other initiatives.
Katherine Hawkins, an expert on the US’s rendition to torture program, in an email, has sent some critical texts where Suleiman pops up. Thus, Jane Mayer, in The Dark Side, pointed to Suleiman’s role in the rendition program:
Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both governments….The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top Agency officials. [Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as “very bright, very realistic,” adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to “some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way” (pp. 113).
Stephen Grey, in Ghost Plane, his investigative work on the rendition program also points to Suleiman as central in the rendition program:
To negotiate these assurances [that the Egyptians wouldn't "torture" the prisoner delivered for torture] the CIA dealt principally in Egypt through Omar Suleiman, the chief of the Egyptian general intelligence service (EGIS) since 1993. It was he who arranged the meetings with the Egyptian interior ministry…. Suleiman, who understood English well, was an urbane and sophisticated man. Others told me that for years Suleiman was America’s chief interlocutor with the Egyptian regime — the main channel to President Hosni Mubarak himself, even on matters far removed from intelligence and security.
Suleiman wasn’t just the go-to bureaucrat for when the Americans wanted to arrange a little torture. This “urbane and sophisticated man” apparently enjoyed a little rough stuff himself.
Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, tortured by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomats watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention. As related by Richard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir:
Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman…. Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.
That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:
To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib -” and he did, with a vicious karate kick.
After Suleiman’s men extracted Habib’s confession, he was transferred back to US custody, where he eventually was imprisoned at Guantanamo. His “confession” was then used as evidence in his Guantanamo trial.
The Washington Post‘s intelligence correspondent Jeff Stein reported some additional details regarding Suleiman and his important role in the old Egypt the demonstrators are trying to leave behind:
“Suleiman is seen by some analysts as a possible successor to the president,” the Voice of American said Friday. “He earned international respect for his role as a mediator in Middle East affairs and for curbing Islamic extremism.”
An editorialist at Pakistan’s “International News” predicted Thursday that “Suleiman will probably scupper his boss’s plans [to install his son], even if the aspiring intelligence guru himself is as young as 75.”
Suleiman graduated from Egypt’s prestigious Military Academy but also received training in the Soviet Union. Under his guidance, Egyptian intelligence has worked hand-in-glove with the CIA’s counterterrorism programs, most notably in the 2003 rendition from Italy of an al-Qaeda suspect known as Abu Omar.
In an observation that may turn out to be ironic, the magazine wrote, “More than from any other single factor, Suleiman’s influence stems from his unswerving loyalty to Mubarak.”
If Suleiman succeeds Mubarak and retains power, we will likely be treated to plaudits for his distinguished credentials from government officials and US pundits. We should remember that what they really mean is his ability to brutalize and torture. As Stephen Grey puts it:
But in secret, men like Omar Suleiman, the country’s most powerful spy and secret politician, did our work, the sort of work that Western countries have no appetite to do ourselves.
If Suleiman receives praise in the US, it will be because our leaders know that he’s the sort of leader who can be counted on to do what it takes to restore order and ensure that Egypt remains friendly to US interests. [Is Soldz afraid to name Israel?]
Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology.
Mention Richard Falk and you think of an honourable man who cares deeply about injustice, particularly the trampled rights of Palestinians under the evil jackboot.
Mention Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, and what comes to mind?
The BBC reported in December 2008: “During her stint in the Clinton White House, she was described as ‘brilliant’ but also ‘authoritarian’ and ‘brash’. According to the New York Times, she acknowledges ‘a certain impatience at times’.”
She is also said to be “unwilling to consider opinions that differ from her own”.
Ambassador Rice has just demanded that Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, step down from his UN position. “In my view, Mr Falk’s latest commentary [an entry in his blog about the media and 9/11] is so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position on behalf of the UN.”
Falk’s crime was saying that the US administration’s reluctance to address the awkward gaps and contradictions identified by several scholars in the official explanations of 9/11, only fuels suspicions of a conspiracy. And he suggested that “what may be more distressing than the apparent cover up is the eerie silence of the mainstream media, unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an Al-Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials”.
Fair comment, you might think. And carefully worded to cause no offence.
Enter the American Jewish Committee
But Reuters reported that UN Watch, an advocacy group affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, had written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon similarly demanding that he “strongly condemn Mr Falk’s offensive remarks – and … immediately remove him from his post”.
The report added that UN Watch had targeted Falk in the past and frequently criticized the Human Rights Council for berating Israel while ignoring rights violations by developing countries.
The American Jewish Committee also called on the UN to immediately dismiss Falk for publicly endorsing “the slander of conspiracy theorists”. Executive Director David Harris said:
We agree wholeheartedly with the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice, who stated that Mr Falk’s comments are ‘despicable and offensive’ and, like her, urge the UN to remove him from his position. Falk has long been a conspiracy-ridden and harmful figure who surely does not serve the best interests of the UN.
UN Watch claims to have won “global condemnation” of Falk. Its website trumpets: “After UN Watch exposes noxious remarks, UN official Richard Falk [is] roundly condemned by UN chief, US Gov’t, and media worldwide.”
“Noxious” – that’s Rice’s word. Could they be sharing the same scriptwriter?
UN Watch diligently sets down who said what:
Thursday, 20 January: UN Watch takes action and files complaint with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, demanding he condemn Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s permanent investigator on “Israel’s violations of the principles of international law”, for his latest remarks suggesting that the US government – and not Al-Qaeda terrorists – destroyed the World Trade Centre. The protest came as part of UN Watch’s three-year campaign to expose and combat Falk’s denial and justification of Hamas and Al-Qaeda terrorism, and his material support for 9/11 conspiracy theorists. At the daily UN press briefing, when Matthew Lee of Inner City Press asks for a response, the secretary-general’s spokesman says they don’t comment on independent experts.
Friday, 21 January: The New York Daily News picks up the story and publishes editorial: “When will the lunacy reach such heights that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon realizes his so-called Human Rights Council is wrecking what little reputation the world body has left?… Ignore those jetliners crashing into the towers, is Falk’s advice. Who are you going to believe, your own eyes or him and his friends? Ban should ring down the curtain on this grotesque buffoonery. He should force out Falk forthwith…”
Monday, 24 January: The United Nations sends letter to UN Watch with unprecedented condemnation of a UN Human Rights Council official: “The secretary-general condemns [Falk's] remarks. He has repeatedly stated his view that any such suggestion is preposterous — and an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack”. UN Watch immediately releases the letter to the public, and calls for the UN to fire Falk.
Tuesday, 25 January: US Ambassador Susan Rice condemns Falk and echoes UN Watch’s call for him to be fired: “Mr Falk’s comments are despicable and deeply offensive, and I condemn them in the strongest terms… The United States is deeply committed to the cause of human rights and believes that cause will be better advanced without Mr Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create.” Ambassador Eileen C. Donahoe, the US envoy to the Human Rights Council, also speaks out.
On the same day, in a Geneva address to the member and observer states of the Human Rights Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeats his condemnation of Falk: “Recently, there was a special rapporteur who suggested there was an ‘apparent cover-up’ in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. I want to tell you, clearly and directly. I condemn this sort of inflammatory rhetoric. It is preposterous – an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”
SUCCESS: UN Watch’s campaign led to the unprecedented international condemnation of Richard Falk, who exploits his UN position to justify and deny Hamas and Al-Qaeda terrorism. It sparked dozens of news stories worldwide, as shown in the sample below. All of this succeeded in finally puncturing Falk’s undeserved halo as a “human rights expert”. For the first time ever, the UN itself had condemned Falk, and in the strongest terms. As a result, Falk’s credibility in the international arena is now at zero.
What’s remarkable is how twitchy these people get at the slightest possibility that someone will lift the lid on 9/11, their hysterical protests serving only to deepen already serious suspicions.
Incidentally UN Watch’s founder, chairman and executive director are all Jewish, the latter having worked at Israel’s Supreme Court.
Ambassador Susan Rice “handmaiden to the Zionist cause”
Let’s go back to 14 July last year and remarks made by Ambassador Rice during a reception for Israeli ambassadors Gabriela Shalev and Daniel Carmon held by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Rice said:
Today, I mostly want to talk about my very dear friend, Ambassador Gabriela Shalev. She’s truly one of my favorite people…
Gabi and I had the opportunity to work closely together on a series of important issues, from dealing with the deeply flawed Goldstone Report to seeing through the passage by the Security Council of the toughest sanctions resolution to date against Iran. She has been a lioness in defence of Israel’s security and its legitimacy — working tirelessly to ensure that Israel has the same rights and enjoys the same responsibilities as any other UN member state.
We will continue to work together to seek a lasting and comprehensive peace that meets Israel’s security needs and creates a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. We will continue to strengthen Israel’s qualitative military advantage so that Israel can always defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats. And, as the president pledged, we will continue US efforts to combat all international attempts to challenge the legitimacy of Israel — including and especially at the United Nations.
Having revealed herself as another handmaiden to the Zionist cause, Rice’s attack on Falk for breaking the ridiculous taboo and questioning the US administration’s refusal to hold a proper independent inquiry into 9/11 only raises questions about her own suitability for an important position at the UN.
Meanwhile, there are millions of us out here who are right behind Richard Falk because he stands for justice. We are not amused by growing indications that the official story of 9/11 doesn’t add up. Nor are we too pleased by the realization that it was used to prod our own governments into sacrificing troops and treasure to a couple of unlawful, unwinnable wars that have caused mega-deaths and endless suffering to innocent civilians, trashed our good name abroad and made us vulnerable to reprisals at home – just to advance the crazed ambitions of the US-Israeli axis.
In short, if there’s the slightest doubt we want to know the truth.