Via My Catbird Seat

– 01. Aug, 2010 By Dr. Alan Sabrosky*

The sanctions imposed recently against Iran by the United Nations, and later separately by the US Congress, have one thing in common. Both were driven by the US at the instigation of Israel.

But they are also, I believe, generally misunderstood. Sanctions are normally intended to alter the behavior of the country being sanctioned — to punish it for what it is doing, to keep it from continuing practices or policies others find objectionable, or both.

And overtly, that is the function of these sanctions. But that is not their actual purpose.

Now, I do not know whether Iran’s government has a hidden military agenda to its nuclear program. Given Israel’s own nuclear capabilities, and the very different fates of Iraq (which had no nuclear weapons) and North Korea (which did), any sensible country anywhere on Israel’s enemies list — which is by extension today America’s target list — would acquire a deliverable nuclear capability by any means whatsoever as soon as possible.

But the reality is to see sanctions against Iran in the same light as inspections for the non-existent WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq in 2002-2003. In those days, the US and its close partners kept insisting that Iraq had WMDs when none of the inspectors on the ground, including the US representatives, found or believed it had.

Yet the claims persisted, and the purpose was to condition the US public for a war that need never have happened, except for Israel and its partisans in the US. And they succeeded. Americans generally believed the false claims, generally supported the war against Iraq, and whatever disenchantment occurred took place only because the war and the subsequent occupation did not proceed as smoothly as its architects had intended.

This is the pattern being repeated against Iran. The real purpose of sanctions is not to affect the policies of the Iranian government, because nothing it does will affect the sanctions. It is to prepare the US public for an attack against Iran, almost certainly in conjunction with Israel, to destroy Israel’s last remaining competitor in the region and to provide a cover for Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, into Jordan and the Sinai respectively.

So it would be unwise either to disregard sanctions or to try to accommodate them. The only sensible response, I believe, for Iran and its friends is to put in place something that the US would not dare to attack. That inevitably means something with or from China or India, especially the former, no matter what the cost — because anything expended to preclude a US-Israeli strike would be far cheaper than enduring that strike and its aftermath, even if the region then exploded in America’s face. Watching an enemy suffer is fine, but not at that price.

*Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Arrested for revealing the "legitimate laws" permitting killing non-Jew

Israeli religious and government leaders condemn arrest of rabbi who authored book permitting killing of non-Jews

YNET – Dozens of rabbis, National Religious figures sign condemnation of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira’s arrest over book.

Rabbi Aviner tells Ynet:
I am opposed to book, but religious laws governing killing non-Jews outlined in it are legitimate, must be dealt with halachically’

The Religious Zionist movement has issued a blanket condemnation of the arrest of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira over the book he authored. Dozens of rabbis, Knesset members, and National Religious public figures have signed a petition against the rabbi’s arrest, claiming that he expressed “a halachic opinion.”

The petition also came out against the manner in which he was arrested – in the middle of the night by dozens of policemen.

Beit El Rabbi Shlomo Aviner told Ynet on Monday that the book “Torat Hamelech” is a “halachic-academic work, a pedagogical work,” and, therefore, there is no justification to send its author to prison.

According to Aviner, the “‘religious laws governing the killing of a non-Jew’ outlined in the book are a legitimate stance and must be addressed via clarification of halachic sources and nothing else.”

‘Treated like worst of criminals’

Despite this, Rabbi Aviner said that he is against the book’s publication. “I do not think it is correct to write various halachas on killing a non-Jew, just a Swede should not write about killing a Norwegian,” he said. “It is clear that it is forbidden to kill non-Jews for naught, and it is clear that in a time of war, it is permissible to defend yourself against anyone shooting at you, even if he is a ‘good’ person.”

Even head of the Tzohar organization, Rabbi David Stav, known as one o the moderate forces within Religious Zionism, condemned Shapira’s arrest: “Regardless of the level of halachic legitimacy of his opinions, it is unreasonable and illogical that a rabbi in Israel be treated like the worst of criminals. For some reason, they are treating him in a way they would not dare treat public officials or even Palestinians.”

Rabbi Stav said that he would expect the security forces to contact Shapira and summon him to the police station honorably, and not treat him as someone who is likely to escape and evade investigation.

“Nothing new happened yesterday or today,” he mentioned. “Apparently, it was simply a desire to mock and humiliate him.”

In principle, the Tzohar chairman believes the State has the right to arrest rabbis over their halachic positions if they believe there is significant concern that they may be acted on or could realistically encourage breaking the law so as to prevent “chaos.”

“A distinction must be made between making a theoretical statement and a model for an operative plan of action,” he said. “For this matter, even if it is halachically permissible to kill Arabs, it is the State’s right to arrest whoever says this,” he said.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The Hariri Tribunal Conspiracy

My Catbird Seat

– 31. Jul, 2010
By Sami Moubayed

Saudi King Abdullah’s landmark visit to Syria on Thursday, his second since assuming the throne in 2005, mirrors Arab diplomacy at its finest hour.
The king is worried – just like his Syrian host President Bashar al-Assad – about two critical files in the Arab world: Iraq and Lebanon.
In Iraq, political rivalries have prevented creation of a cabinet for five months, signaling a political vacuum and security disaster in the weeks to come that would be very troubling for Syria and Saudi Arabia, two of Iraq’s main neighbors.
The situation in Lebanon is even more dangerous and if allowed to explode could shake the Middle East beyond repair. Earlier this summer, the deputy Israeli chief of staff, Gaby Ashkenazi said that an earthquake was in store for Lebanon later this year, when the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) names Hezbollah figures in connection with the 2005 murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah, furious with the accusation, cried foul play, claiming that the entire investigation is flawed because it has relied on false witnesses (who were never arrested or questioned for their motives) and because it never considered Israel as a possible suspect in the Hariri affair.

Last week, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah came out accusing the tribunal of being “an Israeli project” that aimed at targeting the Lebanese resistance. What Israel failed to achieve through war in 2006, he added, it will try to attain through the STL.

The international community, with strong Israeli encouragement, tried to break Hezbollah through United Nations Security Council resolution 1559, in 2004. That clearly did not work and nor did the war of 2006, which promised – and failed – to annihilate Hezbollah.
Today, four years down the road, Hezbollah is stronger than ever and, even by testimony of Israeli military strategists, seems have been left almost unscratched by the war of 2006. The war rumored to take place this summer is no guaranteed success for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and it cannot shoulder another defeat at the hands of the Lebanese guerrillas.

It seems only logical that Israel would try to nail the Lebanese group through the Hariri affair, hoping that this would shatter the current alliance between Hezbollah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the second son of Rafik, along with creating havoc between Lebanese Sunnis and Shi’ites.

The handwriting has been on the wall for nearly four years now, first surfacing in a French publication in 2006 then vibrating throughout upper echelons of power in Beirut. However, it has never been so bluntly debated in public and the media.

After an article in Le Figaro blamed Hezbollah for the Hariri murder, another report in a Kuwaiti daily was published in March 2009, followed by a very controversial report in Der Spiegel in May 2009. Der Spiegel, while refraining from naming a single source, said that a “special force” from Hezbollah had “planned and executed the diabolical attack” under orders from a certain Hajj Samil (no last name), who it described as Hezbollah’s second-in-command and head of a special operational unit.

Le Monde repeated the accusation in February 2010, followed by Ashkenazi last June. Hezbollah says that it can never take the tribunal seriously so long if Ashkenazi knew of its verdicts beforehand. This would only confirm what Nasrallah has been saying all along: that the international investigation is a vehicle aimed at tarnishing Hezbollah’s image and trying to finish what was started in 2004 and 2006 by resolution 1559 and the 33-day war respectively.

It seems a steady case is being prepared against Hezbollah by its opponents, both at home and in the international community. It started in November 2009 when a German ship was apprehended by the Israelis, who claimed that it was carrying Iranian arms to Hezbollah.

Then came the April 2010 affair when Israel said that Hezbollah had received long-range Scud missiles from Syria. Now comes the STL which will say that Hezbollah officials were responsible for Hariri’s murder.

Hezbollah claims that ultimately Israel is trying to create a situation where Lebanon erupts into chaos and becomes hostile territory for the group. If it is accused of killing Hariri, the premier would be forced to distance himself from Hezbollah, who are crucial pillars of his coalition cabinet. Perhaps – if Israel gets its way – he would need to revoke a cabinet pledge to “protect and embrace” the arms of Hezbollah.

Ultimately, many in Hezbollah fear that someone will resume political assassinations in Lebanon so as to blame them and set the stage for a thundering declaration of their guilt in the Hariri assassination.

If the predictions turn out to be correct, and such an indictment is released later in 2010, several options would be on the table. One is for the UN to place Lebanon under Chapter Seven, which gives the Security Council the right to take military action to maintain security. The UN could claim that the 23 Hezbollah figures earmarked for accusation are a threat to international peace.

If this happens, Hezbollah will certainly refuse the verdicts and so will the Lebanese state, perhaps prompting the international community to wage war on Lebanon. Another option would be for the Lebanese government to try talking Nasrallah into a trade-off; meaning the figures named would be accused of acting at their own will and not as members of Hezbollah.

Nasrallah has repeatedly said that such trade-off is absolutely not on the table, refusing to even discuss the option that his party had been infiltrated by undisciplined warriors. A third option – and this is where Syrian and Saudi Arabian diplomacy can come into play – would be for Saad Hariri to come to his senses and repeat what Nasrallah has said – that the STL is an Israeli project that needs to be drowned at any cost.

In his capacity as both son of the slain prime minister and the current premier of Lebanon, Hariri could deprive the STL from any legitimacy.

Both Syria and Saudi Arabia refuse to see Lebanon slip into chaos. The Saudis have too much at stake in Lebanon, politically, emotionally, financially and morally, to see their ally crash so abruptly. Saad simply cannot hold on to his post without full Hezbollah support and in order to maintain it, he needs to take sides against the STL and put his full weight behind Hezbollah.

If this means turning his back on the STL and anti-Hezbollah allies like the Lebanese Forces council president, Samir Geagea, then this is a price the premier would be – should be – willing to pay to keep Lebanon safe and united. The Syrians made it clear to Saad during his last visit to Damascus that Hezbollah is a red line that cannot be crossed.
They will never tolerate any international meddling with the arms, reputation, or future of Hezbollah. According to media reports, the Saudi king and Syrian president will head to Beirut on Friday to hammer out a solution to the boiling crisis in Lebanese politics. Only these two Arab heavyweights can talk Saad Hariri into a u-turn on the STL.

Sami Moubayed is Historian, political commentator and editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Syria. This article appeared in Asia Times on July 30, 2010 entitled, “Hezbollah sees plot behind Hariri Tribunal.’’

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Middle East History Buff Hague whitewashes Israel’s Villainy on the High Seas


Intifada Palestine

30. Jul, 2010

By Stuart Littlewood

Thousands of Palestinian Muslims and Christians are denied the entry to their holiest sites in Jerusalem

“We have to be steeped in the Middle East, way back to historical matters. Because you can’t understand it without the history.”

My MP, a Foreign Office minister in the shiny new coalition government, has written to me saying he believes the Foreign Secretary was “extremely fair, tough and statesmanlike” in his reaction to Israel’s murderous assault on the vessel Mavi Marmara and the rest of the Free Gaza flotilla.

So I re-read William Hague’s statement to the House of Commons on 2 June, and it struck me as something the Israeli government spin doctor Mark Regev might have penned.
Here are some extracts:

  • “Our clear advice to British nationals is not to travel to Gaza.

Just what Israel wants to hear. This “advice” serves to legitimize Israel’s illegal sea blockade and use of lethal force against unarmed British citizens and other nationals peacefully going about their lawfully business in international waters.

  • “We deeply deplore the loss of life…”

There must be stinging consequences for this latest barbaric act. The word “deplore” is for the spineless, do-nothing handwringers.

  • “Their welfare [meaning the British nationals on board] is our top priority.”

Mr Hague must have been alerted to advance warnings that Israel would go to any lengths, including violence, to stop the mercy ships but he took no precautionary action. Where is the mighty Royal Navy when not cruising the Caribbean or sunning itself in the Gulf? When consular access was then denied to some of the 37 Britishers abducted and jailed by Israel the Foreign Office meekly accepted the insult.

  • “…those individuals who are allegedly involved in violence against Israeli servicemen during the boarding”

Mr Hague doesn’t seem to grasp that the violence was committed by Israeli storm-troopers dropping from helicopters with guns blazing under cover of darkness.

  • “Restrictions on Gaza should be lifted – a view confirmed in United Nations security council resolution 1860.”

Resolution 1860 goes much further and calls for the sustained reopening of crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access, which provides for
Ø the reduction of obstacles to movement within the West Bank
Ø bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza
Ø the building of a new seaport in Gaza
Ø re-opening of the airport in Gaza

Nearly eight months ago the European Council repeated the EU’s call for “an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza” and for “full implementation of The Agreement on Movement and Access”.

What is the point of mouthing this stuff again and again and not backing it up with ACTION?

  • Hamas now has near total control of the economy”.

Perhaps our Treasury people should take lessons from them…

  • “We will, therefore, continue to press the Israeli government to lift the closure of Gaza, and plan early discussions… about what more can be done to ensure an unfettered flow of aid.”

The Foreign Office is exceedingly well practised at pressing and urging. However, “unfettered flow” is not going to happen without a naval escort and/or sanctions. If Mr Hague hasn’t learned this he hasn’t been paying attention.

  • The House should not forget the role played by Hamas in this conflict. They continue to pursue an ideology of violence and directly to undermine prospects for peace in the region.”
Mr Hague must take everyone for fools. Hamas won the 2006 elections fair and square and has been subjected to a relentless blockade, armed incursions, air strikes, sanctions, assassinations, an attempted putsch and a devastating 22-day blitzkrieg. Continually accusing Hamas of undermining prospects for peace is the ultimate absurdity.
  • “Violence has continued in recent days, with rocket fire from militants in Gaza and Israeli military incursions and air strikes in response.”

On the question of who provokes and who responds Mr Hague should consider how Israel violated the cease-fire to pave the way to the Gaza war of December 2008 and still carries out air-strikes on a daily basis.

  • “We call on Hamas to make immediate and concrete steps towards the quartet principles – unconditionally to release Gilad Shalit.”
Something like 11,000 Palestinian civilians are held (and believed tortured) in Israeli jails, many without charge. Why isn’t Mr Hague calling for their release? Shalit is a tank gunner captured in 2006. In the three years following Israel’s troop withdrawal to Gaza’s perimeter in 2005 some 1,250 Gazans, including 222 children, were killed by tank gunners and other Israeli military personnel while 11 Israelis were killed by Palestinian rocket fire.
  • “The only long-term and sustainable solution to the conflict which produced these tragic events is a two-state solution.
Politicians like Hague have stood back and allowed Israel to seize so much key Palestinian territory and establish so many ‘facts on the ground’ that the chances of a viable Palestinian state are vanishing fast.
  • “The proximity talks that are currently underway are more important than ever.”
Is he serious? How credible are ‘talks’ when one party has a gun to the other’s head and continues to steal its land, colonize its territory and murder its citizens? What honest broker would be party to such a farce?
William Hague is our top international representative. He has the power to heavily influence whether Britain makes war or peace, whether we make friends or enemies, and whether our soldiers live or needlessly die. Yet he seems to have trouble interpreting intelligence. One can see how the poor chap got his knickers in a fearful twist over Iraq and voted enthusiastically to get us mired in that shameful war… And did anyone hear him speak out against the folly of invading Afghanistan when it was his duty, as a leading Opposition figure at the time, to hold our lunatic Labour government to account?
Now he rattles his sabre at Iran and wants to turn Britain into a safe haven for Israel’s war criminals.

All things considered the guy is a big worry.

Prime minister David Cameron was a little nearer the mark when he called the blockaded Gaza Strip a “prison camp”. That brought loud squawks from the usual suspects. Plain speaking earns him a cheer but Cameron, like Hague, is an avid admirer of Israel and calls himself a Zionist.
He too only talked of “humanitarian access”, failing to acknowledge that Gazans are not allowed to export anything and therefore cannot make a living.

He has nothing to say about the 3,500 licensed fishermen who are shot up by Israeli patrol boats whenever they put to sea. Or Gaza’s students who are blocked from studying at their West Bank universities.

Or all the Christians and their Muslim brothers and sisters who are prevented from worshipping at their holy places in Jerusalem.
Or even Gaza’s marine gas field, which Israel has its greedy eyes on and Palestinians can’t go near.

Mr Hague, according to the Jewish Chronicle, told David Cameron as soon as he became Conservative party leader in 2005 that a deep understanding of the Middle East would be crucial to his claims to be taken seriously as a statesman. “We have to be steeped in the Middle East, way back to historical matters. Because you can’t understand it without the history. That’s been one of the failings sometimes with the Western governments.”

Yes, but when is the history lesson, and the story of the West’s betrayal, going to sink in?

Finally, Viva Palestina has just sent this message: “Despite the recent claims by Israel that they have ‘eased’ the siege on Gaza, vital medical supplies and equipment are still prohibited from entering the besieged region.

In June, the World Health Organization reported that Israel blocked the delivery of essential medical equipment, including a CT scanner, defibrillators and monitors.

“In addition, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Israel confiscated seven oxygen machines, donated by a Norwegian development agency, and refused to allow delivery of x-ray machines, claiming they could be used for military purposes.”

Consequently, says the message, there is a critical shortage of vital medicines and essential life saving equipment, and other supplies are expected to run out very soon.

What does it take for Cameron, Hague and Britain’s limp-wristed Foreign Office to run out of patience and forcibly smash this cruel blockade?
Stuart Littlewood
30 July 2010
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Gilad Atzmon: Islamophobia in Britain: The Products, The Names and The Faces

By Gilad Atzmon

Islamophobia has made it to the market place. In the open and shamelessly offers hundreds of anti Muslim and anti Arab products: T-shirts, caps babysuits etc’.

Yet, make no mistake, Cafepress is not an ordinary xenophobic retailer driven by some crude ‘universal’ bigotry. As much as the site offers very many pro Jewish, pro Israeli, pro war , anti Arab and anti Muslim commodities, it doesn’t offer a single anti Jewish, anti Semitic, anti Black, anti Polish or anti Immigrant commodity. This is indeed very good news.

Yet, the manifold of anti Muslim and pro Jewish products is staggering, especially in the context of the absence of any other hate driven products.
I guess that it is more than likely that the ‘pro Jewish’, ‘pro war’ and ‘anti Muslim’ products appeal to more or less the same crowd. I guess that you know who they may be.
And yet, I am slightly puzzled I may admit, I ask myself where in Britain one can hang around with a T-shirt carrying an image of the Koran being stepped upon?
Where in Britain one can go around with a T-Shirt calling to ‘bomb Iran’?

When I immigrated to Britain fifteen years ago it was a very tolerant place. The university I landed in was submerged in ‘post-colonial discourse’. Students and professors spent hours mourning Britain’s crimes of the past. To a certain extent, Britain is still a very tolerant place. The British public is still very open. Moreover, being a white foreigner here is a very pleasant experience.

Yet, looking at Cafepress’ anti Muslim collection, I assume that being Muslim, Arab or Asian in Britain must be a complicated experience, at least for some.
As it happens the Zio-centric ideological amalgam of moral interventionism, pro war, anti Muslim feelings and Israeli lobbying have planted some disastrous seeds of bigotry in British culture.
I think that it is our humanist duty to identify the proponent of pro war, pro Jewish and anti Muslim ideologies within our discourse. In order to do so, I will let some of our leading British Zionist and Neocons model Cafepress’ latest designs
Look for instance at the Jewish Chronicle writer Nick Cohen, a man who advocated the war in Iraq, a pro war moral interventionist, a man who supported the criminal IDF operation Cast Lead, but more than anything, Cohen doesn’t really like Islam.
He can do well with Cafepress’s latest designs.
Jack Straw supported the war in Iraq.
He told the Chilcot Inquiry that “he could have stopped the invasion, had he wanted to.” Seemingly, he didn’t want to. More than 1.5 million Iraqis died.
Straw also doesn’t like Muslim women wearing veils.
Cafepress supports Straw’s line of thinking with a new line of anti veil products.
By the way, Jack Straw is not a Jew, he is just partially Jewish.
Cafepress, made a shirt for half Jews, just to make sure these ‘half-breeds’ do not drift away and start ‘hate themselves’.
David Miliband was listed by an Israeli propaganda site as an Israeli Hasbara (propaganda) author.
He was trying to amend British Universal jurisdiction just to help Israeli war criminals visiting this kingdom.
Do not worry, The Conservative Friend of Israel seem to have succeeded where Miliband failed. Just a few days before Israel launched its lethal genocidal Operation Cast Lead, Milband visited Sderot and suggested to Israel that “above all”, Israel should “seek to protect its own citizens.”
David Miliband is also a moral interventionist.
He would kill in the name of democracy.
Thank God he is not in the Government.

David Aaronovitch is a Jewish Chronicle writer, a defiant fighter against anti Semitism and yet a very enthusiastic opponent of Islam.
As you may guess he was an advocate for the Iraq war. He also thinks that we better do something with Iran before it is ‘too late’.
The list of pro war, pro Israeli and anti Muslim supporters is pretty long. I think that we better identify them all.
Now when we can fit them into T-shirts and babysuits we better move fast before the stock runs out.

To read more about Cafepress. Follow Nahida the exiled Palestinian on

Shielding Hezbollah … (from within &without)

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

Assad on top yet again …
Excluded from the Beirut ‘Protect-the-Resistance Arab festivities’: Geagea’ and Gemayel

Posted by G, Z, or B at 6:10 AM

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

In Case You Missed it!

%d bloggers like this: