De Borchgrave: "Assad appears to be emerging as the winner & Iran will have kept intact its direct link to Hezbollah & Gaza"

Via FLC

“… Today, the magic is long gone. After two wars on the credit card — $1 trillion for Iraq and $500 billion and still counting for Afghanistan — America’s credit is maxed out. But the borrowing continues at a dizzying pace to pay for global policy commitments we can no longer afford. 

If Obama is re-elected to a second term, he will most probably find a way to avoid running up the war bill in Afghanistan for the current commitment of two more years through the end of 2014. And if Mitt Romney becomes the 45th president, it is hard to see him prolonging the agony of the longest war in U.S. history that involves 48 other nations — 37 with troops — that would like to end it ASAP.
How long can the United States put up with green-on-blue killings by Afghan troops turning their guns on their American advisers who supplied them with weapons, ammo and pay? Not much longer.
 

Newsweek quotes one Afghan officer who says he understands why “our men are shooting U.S. and NATO soldiers.” 

“I have been personally hurt by the way American forces behave toward my soldiers, our villagers, our religion and culture. Too many of them are racist, arrogant and simply don’t respect us,” he said. 

U.S. soldiers are watching their backs against Afghan soldiers for fear of insider attacks. Once cordial relations and visits to each other’s quarters have stopped. Some Afghan soldiers are Taliban guerrillas ordered to false-flag volunteer to kill U.S. advisers. 

Anthony Cordesman, a leading strategic thinker at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes: “This is a political war where the political impact of combat, politics, governance and economics are far more important than tactical success in directly defeating the enemy. At this level, the insurgents still seem to have significant momentum and are certainly not being decisively defeated.” 

Current plans, says Cordesman, “ignore the fundamental realities shaping the war,” which are: 

— Pakistan is not a real ally and will not become one.
— The United States cannot fully defeat al-Qaida or the threat of Islamist extremist terrorism in Afghanistan.
— There is little prospect of a meaningful, stable and negotiated settlement with the Taliban and Haqqani network.
— The United States, its allies, and (Afghan forces) cannot establish security across Afghanistan or even in all of the “critical” districts by the end of 2014 or at any predictable point thereafter.
— Development of the Afghan security forces now focuses on rushing toward unobtainable numbers of forces, without regard to effectiveness and without clear plans to address funding and self-sustainment.
— Transition alone will not convert Afghanistan into a developed, functional democracy with effective governance, civil rights and rule of law.
— Economic growth and development are more illusory than real and sustaining them through transition will require serious, well-planned outside aid rather than the vacuous goals and pledges of the Tokyo Conference…. … …
 

Nothing is less certain in the light of more urgent strategic priorities.
The U.S. Naval Update Map for Aug. 29 shows two Carrier Strike Groups – the USS Enterprise and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower — and the Amphibious Ready Group USS Iwo Jima , all deployed in the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility, which has headquarters in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. Operations in Afghanistan are a minor part of this deployment.
A third Carrier Strike Group, the USS John C. Stennis, is underway in the Pacific “for a surge to U.S. 5th Fleet AOR deployment.”
 

This formidable display of air and sea power is there to deter Iran’s retaliatory capabilities in the Persian Gulf if Israel decides to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. 

These U.S. defense decisions were taken before an almost $500 billion defense cut kicks in over the next 10 years.
This could double to $1 trillion unless Democrats and Republicans can agree before sequestration kicks in at year’s end.
 

Meanwhile, Iran managed to convene the 120-nation non-aligned group in Tehran, with some 50 heads of state and government in attendance, including Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, the first such visit in three decades.
At the same time, Iran’s close ally Bashar Assad in Syria appears to be emerging as the winner in a civil war that has killed some 25,000 in 19 months, roughly the same amount his father, the late Hafez Assad, killed in less than a week in Hama in February 1982.
 

If Assad Jr.’s Alawite regime prevails, Iran will have kept intact its direct link with its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, and from Lebanon south to its other proxy in Gaza. An Israeli attack on Iran would automatically trigger retaliatory capabilities throughout the region…”

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‘Jeffrey Feltman in Khamenei’s Court!’

My,..my! A Truly ‘non-aligned’ summit: ‘Jeffrey Feltman in Khamenei’s Court!’

‘UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs,

Feltman met, Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, Jalili & Larijani.
“… former American diplomat Jim Dobbins told Al-Monitor that Feltman likely would have given the US government at least a courtesy ‘heads up’ about his trip, even if he would not take guidance from them. The meeting “is interesting,” Dobbins, now at the Rand Corporation, said.
And another former senior US official who asked not to be named acknowledged she was “shocked” to learn of the meeting, mostly because the Obama administration had publicly pressed Ban to forgo the trip. Feltman, who served as ambassador to Lebanon during the 2006 war, is thought to be fairly hardline on Iran…”

‘The Norwegian Zionist, Terje Roed Larsen was there too’

 

Israeli agent pays visit to Ayatullah Khameini

The former US ambassador in Lebanon and most senior diplomat at the US State Department, Zionist Jew Jeffrey Feltman, accompanied United Nation secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, to meet Iran’s Supreme Leader. Currently, Jeffrey Feltman is Ki-moon’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs. See Feltman sitting between Ki-Moon and Salehi facing Ayatullah Khameini, and several other photos of NAM participants, here.
 
Feltman is known for his anti-Hizbullah-Syria-Iran obsession. The current US ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, a former State Department staffer under Jeffrey Feltman was confided by Feltman once, saying:

I have got these SOBs just where we want them Maura! Watch the 1000 slow cuts as we shred Hizbullah – who do they think they’re? And we will do it by using HR-1757 and this time we are going all the way. I told Israel to stay out of Lebanon because the IDF cannot defeat Hizbullah plus the whole region will burn“.

In March 2012 – at a reception at the US Capitol’s Cannon Office Building, Jeffrey Feltman, appearing before a gathering of the right-wing pro-Israel-Saudi ‘Lebanese American Organization’ was undiplomatically aggressive. In fact Feltman unloaded vitriol on Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and anyone who even looked like they might support resistance to US-Israel Middle East hegemony. He instructed Lebanese voters, in no uncertain terms, what he expected of them:

The Lebanese people must join together to tell Hezbollah and its allies that the Lebanese state will no longer be hijacked for an Iranian-Syrian agenda“.

The Obama administration and the Jewish lobby officials are trying to downplay Feltman’s visit which makes him the first known anti-Iran Zionist Jew diplomat being allowed to be in the audience of of the Rehbar. The Jewish spokesperson for the State Department, Victoria Nuland, says Feltman was there as part of its new position at the United Nations. Israel-Firster Dennis Ross, former senior adviser to Obama on the Middle East affairs, who currently works for Israel lobby AIPAC affiliated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), also says Feltman is not representing the US policy toward the Islamic Republic anymore. Jim Dobbins, former US ambassador who currently heads ME policy department at the RAND Corp. claims that Feltman did not consult US government on his trip to Iran.
 
Benjamin Netanyahu U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Mayflower Hotel on the eve of Mideast peace talks August 31, 2010 in Washington, DC. The United States is hosting leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Jordan in hopes of starting a new round of direct peace talks.It’s hard to believe that while both Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton pressed Ban Ki-moon to cancel his visit to attend the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran – Jeffrey Feltman would have refused to obey them.

Feltman, with full blessings from both Washington and Tel Aviv, decided to visit Iran to meet anti-regime groups and use his visit in support of his future Zionist propaganda lies against Iranian government.
 
Iran’s Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Khamenie did not hide his contempt for the United Nations in his opening address at NAM.

The UN Security Council has an illogical, unjust and completely undemocratic structure and mechanism. This is a flagrant form of dictatorship, which is antiquated and obsolete and whose exoiry date has passed. It is through abusing this improper mechanism that America and its accomplices have managed to disguise their bullying as noble concept and impose it on the world,said the Rehbar.

Ban Ki-moon, sitting next to the news President of NAM, Dr. Ahmadinejad, at the opening ceremony of the summit – proved once again that he is a poodle of American imperialism. Instead of joining the 120-member NAM support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, a nuclear free Middle East and lifting of unlawful sanctions against Iran – Ki-moon asked Iran to ‘come clean on its nuclear ambitions’.
 
In reality, both Ki-moon and Egyptian president Dr. Morsi attended the NAM summit as ‘double agents’.
 

As American ambassador in Beirut, Jeffrey Feltman. shielded Israeli Mossad in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 by blaming it on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a friend of Hariri family. When his allegation could not stand on Zionist legs – he switched the blame on to Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah. A 2010 poll conducted among 18,132 Arab participants by pro-Zionist Al-Jazeera – 78% of participants claimed that Israel was behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

 
Feltman was also the driving force behind the establishment of UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). It’s president Antonio Cassesse was called a ‘great friend of Israel by no other than Professor George Fletcher (Columbia Law school) at Herzliya conference in Israel.
 
 

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Brotherhood Democracy: "One man, one vote, one time!"

FLC

The Islamist cause prospers in Egypt, not so much in Syria.   

 

In Egypt Air Marshal Shafik, Mursi’s principal opponent in the late election is placed on a “watch list” at the ports of departure from Ehypt. This is obviously a prelude to prosecution.  

A suitable charge will be found. Shafik nearly won. That can’t happen again according to the Islamist playbook. “One man, one vote, one time” is their formula.  

The Islamist dominated parliament and constitution drafting committee will put religious freedom to a vote as well as provisions to allow the parliament and president to imprison minister who displease them.   

Proress” is being made in Egypt and the US applauds it.

In Syria even the Washington Post admits that the Islamist rebels are losing. Wherever they try to hold ground, they lose. they shoud read something like “People’s War, People’s Army” by Giap. Nevertheless, Syrian government forces are still described in the Post as “pro-regime” forces 

In Turkey the MB related Erdogan pushes for an attack on the Syrian Air Force. What is left of the Turkish General Staff resists this 


All in all, this is a mixed “bag” for the neo-Wilsonians in the Obama Administration. What will he do to “up the ante” if he is re-elected? What will the neocon tool Romney do if he wins?“Is a puzzlement.” pl

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Syria: New US Middle East Project?

Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover after Syrian forces fired a mortar in the al-Amreeyeh neighborhood of Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo, 30 August 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Youssef Boudlal)
 
Published Friday, August 31, 2012
 
In March 2011, peaceful protests broke out in Syria in response to the regime’s torture of high school students who sprayed anti-Assad graffiti on walls. At this point, aided by coverage of the cause by “trusty” media outlets, many of us were ready to believe that the wave of the Arab Spring had now reached Syria. We rode this wave and sided with the Syrian people in their revolution, uniting under the common cause that the ruthless dictator, President Bashar al-Assad, had to go.
Seventeen months on, the Syrian revolution has turned sour, and media outlets have also become complicit in distorting the truth and are lacking in objectivity. The only universal truth is that thousands of lives have been lost unnecessarily, and that this figure continues to climb every day. What started off as a peaceful people’s uprising for democracy quickly morphed into an armed rebel movement versus the regime, as Assad’s forces used violent measures to quash the protests. Oddly enough, the “democratic” Western world cheered the armed opposition on as clashes between rebel groups and government forces escalated into bloody, full-scale battles between the Free Syrian Army and regime forces.
To justify their place on the bandwagon of revolution, countries such as the US have spouted well-known cliches that they are there to secure democracy and freedom for the Syrian people. However, after our experiences with “Operation Iraqi Freedom” we know all too well that America whips out its democracy card to conceal its vested interest of securing control of oil reserves. For aren’t countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar just as, if not more, autocratic than Assad’s regime? A frequently asked question is why the US doesn’t act as the harbinger of democracy for the Gulf states?
So it seems once again, that despite the US administration’s cries of democracy and lamentations for dying Syrian civilians and human rights violations, people in the oil-rich Middle East still feature as disposable pawns in this US administration-manipulated plot for greater regional control.
The Greater Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative, drawn up shortly after the war in Iraq, is just such a project which demonstrates to what extent the US call for democracy is suspect. Known initially as the Greater Middle Eastern Initiative, the project viewed the promotion of democracy and socio-economic development in the Middle East as one of the main ways of combating the “terrorism” threat posed by Arab countries after 9/11. However, let’s not forget that it was actually adapted from the 1975 Helsinki pact – intended to promote greater freedom and human rights in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.
 
This readiness to assess the Middle East – a region with different cultural values, economic and political systems to the Soviet Union in Cold War terms, is revelatory of the US administration’s genuine lack of planning and shallow understanding of the region. US insincerity was also exposed when they failed to consult the 22 countries that were involved in the Initiative. Much to their outrage, the plan was leaked to the media and prompted a torrent of angry critique, with Egyptian chief editor of the Arab Human Development Report, Nader Fergany referring to the “the arrogant mentality of the current (Bush) US administration in respect to the rest of the world” in an article published in al-Hayat in February 2004.
As a result of the general Arab furor on not being consulted and left in the dark about plans for their own countries, the Bush administration hastily renamed the project the Greater Middle East “Partnership” Initiative – in order to justify that it was a two-way project – and set about persuading disgruntled Arab states of the Initiative’s benefits by recruiting Turkey as their side-kick and proxy.
As a country which promoted the idea of “conservative democracy” under the umbrella of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey appealed to Western countries through its image as a democratic reformer and to Arab countries through its sustaining of a traditional Islamic identity.
 
A perfect choice for the US administration which didn’t want to be seen as barging into the Middle East alone, considering the environment of heightened anti-American sentiment after Iraq. Why not pep-talk Turkey into thinking that it could be a global power and get it to do the dirty work?
In any case, Turkey’s leading role, on behalf of the US in the Initiative, is running into a series of obstacles. Turkey’s “zero problems” foreign policy, as orchestrated by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, was based on the idea that the country would sustain peaceful and stable relations with its neighbors. Ironically, Turkey’s ties with Israel have been frozen ever since the Gaza flotilla raid in May 2010, and Turkey’s political and military support for the Syrian opposition has broken diplomatic relations with both Damascus and Tehran. Before the Syrian unrest, trade relations between Syria and Turkey peaked at over $3 billion, but has since dwindled.
Turkey’s pro-rebel support and refusal to help free 48 Iranians captured by rebels in Damascus has also drawn heavy criticism from Iran, which backs Assad’s regime. Earlier this month saw diplomatic relations hit rock-bottom when Iran suspended visa privileges for Turkish citizens. Added to worsening ties with its neighbors, Turkey now faces the growing threat of Kurdish rebels. The emerging independence of Syrian Kurds has meant that Turkey now faces a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) threat that stretches its Iraqi and Syrian frontiers. As it stands, Turkey’s role as regional mediator in the Initiative has not attained its hubristic goals of Ottoman revival and global power.
For the moment, Syria’s civil war shows little sign of waning. With once glorified rebels also shown to be guilty of committing human rights atrocities, calls for a general rethink have surfaced. Are we ready to believe that freedom and democracy for the Syrian people can be built on the foundations of extreme violence? Or is a continuation of the violence in the form of a sectarian showdown in the forecast, when and if Assad goes?
The fact that Assad has been able to cling onto power for the last 17 months may indicate that he actually has considerable domestic support, or that certain opposition figures have withdrawn their support for the violent means used by rebels to secure democracy.
 
It could also mean that the rebels are not receiving as much weaponry and monetary support as they would like. In any case, the FSA is not all that it seems.
 
It lacks a strong central nerve center and is divided ideological and ethnically.
 
Experienced Libyan fighters who helped topple Gaddafi along with Bosnians, Chechens and the odd Turk, Jordanian and Egyptian, according to a local doctor in Antakya, have also joined the ranks of the FSA and undermined the distinctly Syrian nature of the uprising. What’s more, the presence of al-Qaeda and jihadist rebel units among the FSA have ironically confronted the US with a terrorist threat problem that they were supposedly trying to clear by meddling with Syria in the first place.
A revolution is better achieved by the people of a given country who want change. They should be the key players who call the shots and decide what’s best for their country. But throughout this 17-month long conflict, the increasingly prominent role played by Western nations and their allies have changed the face of the Syrian peoples’ revolution into that of a Western-led revolt. The US and their allies conveniently sidestepped the UN Security Council stalemate by fueling the armed opposition with logistics, training and weaponry.
President Obama’s recent announcement – now backed by Britain – that Syria’s chemical and biological weapons constitute a “red-line,” which would invite military intervention if used against rebels, implies that it is wishful to think the US will keep out of Syrian affairs. Curiously, Obama’s speech echoes President Bush’s reference of past years to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s non-existing WMDs, which he used as a pretext to invade Iraq.
Even if the Syrian opposition wishes to determine the fate of their own revolution, it may be the case that their struggle is caught in a wider geo-political dispute between the US and its allies on one front, and Russia, China and Iran on the other. While the FSA’s military council calls for a unified Syria post-Assad, the conflicting desires amidst the fragmented units within the group, along with the lack of agreement at the heart of their political wing – the Syrian National Council – have undermined the unity of the Syrian Revolution. Such lack of unity and political infighting has added to the increasingly sectarian hue of the civil war and led to indications that Syria may divide into a mini-states if Assad goes.
But a divided and weakened Syria plays into the US advantage by leaving the path to Iran clear, and strengthens Israeli security in the region by destroying the “axis of resistance” embodied by Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
Aside from their humanitarian concerns, Russia, China and Iran are all too aware of the downsides of a fragmented Syria. With Syria weakened, and a new pro-US government reinstated in Syria, Russia and China will lose their ties with a country that opened up their access to Mediterranean maritime trade routes.
American and Israeli desires will also converge and focus on dismantling the regime in Iran.
 
Aware of these dangers, Syria’s backers continue to thwart the idea of outside interventions, and state clearly that Syria’s fate must be decided by her own people.
Ultimately, when the last scene unfolds in Syria and Assad is disposed of, the question of whether or not people think the revolution has been achieved will be of little importance for the US administration. Washington will have achieved its goal of dismembering and weakening Syria, in the process providing greater regional positioning for its local ally Israel.
But long after every US ally has claimed a share of the spoils, the memory of the bloodshed and thousands of lives lost unnecessarily will remain with the Syrian people.
Emiko Jozuka is a Japanese freelance multimedia journalist currently based in Antakya.
 

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Can NAM Solve the Syrian Crisis?

Can NAM Solve the Syrian Crisis? asked Vijay Prashad

The author claimes that “NATO’s war in Libya and the Syrian crisis has afforded the US an opportunity to re-enter the Arab world as a major political player. “

In realty the US and Nato attempts, after the fall of the Soviet union, to be the sole politacal player in the Arab world and middle east faced fiece resistance in Afhganistan Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

Therefore, it is more presicise to say:

A combination of the cowboy Wars defeats led by the US and NATO (since the Bush administration), and the failure of the Arab stooges and the financial crisis (since 2007) alongside the economic rise of China and India has, however, given a boost to the aspiration of the NAM.

 Moreover the Author clamied that “The Arab Spring of 2011 offered further proof of the new confidence of the people of the ‘South’. Regimes that had given themselves over to pro-Western economic policies and opened their prisons to become the “black sites” of the War on Terror fell like ninepins. If the US had lost Latin America, it was now feared that it would lose the Arab world as well.”

Again, it is more precise to say:

“The Arab Spring of 2011 Resistance Axis offered further proof of the new confidence of the people of the ‘South’ and Arab word, threatning the regimes that had given themselves over to pro-Western economic policies and opened their prisons to become the “black sites” of the War on Terror.

Syria never given itself to pro-western economical policies, and Libya was attacked for trying give-up the pro-western economical policies. Moreover the South America states, and real progressive activists were under attack for standing against the Cowboy WARS on Libya and Syria (Prashad, the author, was against the war on Libya).

The US had lost Latin America, fearing it would lose the Arab world as well, pulled all its cards, the NGO’s the International American Brotherhood highjack the popular movements, and install new puppet regimes in Tunis, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and at the same time Launched its Global War to destroy Syria, the corner stone of the resistance axis, and turn Syria into a corner stone in the ANTI-RESISTANCE AXIS, to destroy Hezbollah before checking the Iranian King.

The Marxist Author claimed that “Europe, the US and Russia have played central roles in fueling the crisis, but they are not going to be able to be part of the solution.”, without telling US why would Russia fuel the Syrian crisis?  He ignored that the war on Syria is also a Proxy War against Russia, Iran and China,

Therefore, “Egypt’s proposal should be supported as it builds on regionalism and takes seriously the fact that absent the assent of these regional actors, no pressure can be put on the parties in Syria to stand down.  The regional actors need to take the reins. The Contact Group would be strengthened by an endorsement from the NAM, and it would further embolden Brahimi to make serious inroads into the deadlock between the Syrian government and the opposition. Absent regional pressure, backed by NAM, the blood-letting will continue in Syria – to the detriment of all the people of West Asia.”

In fact because “Turkey has reached the point where it has discovered that its own domestic problems (namely the Kurdish question)” therefore, Muris the America‘s other Brother Jumped to continue the Turkish mission of balkanization of Syria. His short stay in Tehran, and his Speech at NAM confirmed that Brotherhood’s Egypt is the real problem and can’t be a part of any solution.

With France and Britain warning “the United Nations that the envoys were unlikely to reach an agreement on buffer zones in Syria.” and with even Romney saying: ‘NO to a Syria no-fly zone’
they know that with flooding Syria with arms those arms maybe used for undesired purposes in unexpected places!’

I always said that Usrael would be glad to see Assad removed by Islamists, ans would be glad to see them killed if they fail, so, I wonder what Mursi can do for his Amecrican brothers in Syria?
Nothing, more than saving the faces of Qataris, Saudis and the Turks, most likely, opportunist Mursi the son of opportunist brotherhood realizing that the battle on Syria is almost over, is trying to reserve a chair on the Syrian reconciliation table, ignoring that where there is no place on that table for traitors as Assad made it clear in his interview by Al-Dunia channel.

Egyptian tanks are seen being carried on the back of trucks
on the Egyptian side of the border city of Rafah on August 29, 2012.
The Egyptian military said that 11 “terrorists” have been killed in its
campaign against Islamist militants in the Sinai peninsula. (Photo: AFP / STR)

The ongoing battle in Syria shall decide the future of Syria. As Assad saidwe are moving forward and the situation is practically better but resolution hasn’t been achieved and this takes time.”   
 

Meanwhile, Lieberman is not satisfied with Mursi’s performance in Sinai (Cleaning Sinia from Islamists threatening Israel, and destroying Gaza tunnels to cut the the supplied of Islamic Jihad and other resistance factions). Having, started withdrawing his forces from Sinia, Lieberman is waiting to see President Mursi visit Jerusalem.

I don’t think stupid Mursi, is so stupid to do what Mubarak never dared to do.

Published Thursday, August 30, 2012
 
The 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit opened on Sunday in Iran, with two-thirds of the world’s governments gathering in the Iranian capital. The NAM, since the 1980s, has been notably adrift. The debt crisis of the 1980s and the emergence of US primacy after the fall of the USSR at the end of the decade created a major crisis in the Global South. As the states of the South became to seek new alignments with the North out of economic needs or political ambitions, the agenda of the NAM fell by the wayside.

A combination of the cowboy wars led by the US and NATO (since the Bush administration) and the financial crisis (since 2007) alongside the economic rise of China and India has, however, given a boost to the aspiration of the NAM.

The assertions of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the 2012 Delhi Declaration and the solidarity of the South at UNCTAD XIII in Doha in April of this year underlined the emergence of this new confidence.

The South’s mood has been further enlivened over the past five years by the emergence of popular movements that oppose neoliberalism and imperialism. Their first stand was in Latin America, where the social and political movements were able to translate their popularity into the electoral domain. Most of the governments south of the Rio Grande River now oppose US primacy. In 2010, these Latin American states created the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States to undercut the formerly US-dominated Organization of American States.
The Arab Spring of 2011 offered further proof of the new confidence of the people of the ‘South’. Regimes that had given themselves over to pro-Western economic policies and opened their prisons to become the “black sites” of the War on Terror fell like ninepins. If the US had lost Latin America, it was now feared that it would lose the Arab world as well.

The Syrian Conundrum

NATO’s war in Libya and the Syrian crisis has afforded the US an opportunity to re-enter the Arab world as a major political player. This is what makes the Syrian crisis so central to the work of the NAM – apart, of course, from the more humane objective, which is to end the violence against the Syrian people. A cynical set of geopolitical calculations has made each side to this conflict take maximum positions, which rendered Kofi Annan’s mission to Damascus impossible.

It is essential to create the political context for Lakhdar Brahimi, Annan’s successor, to be able to move an agenda.

One small part of the process to create the policy space for Brahimi has been proposed by Egypt – the Contact Group. The group will include all the major regional players: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The NAM meeting was to be the setting to increase confidence for the Contact Group. If the NAM gives its endorsement to this Contact Group, it might be able to create a regional roadmap, allowing Brahimi and the UN to try and find a procedure to end the violence in Syria.

Saudi Arabia will be represented by Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah, the son of King Abdullah. He is a popular prince who is the acting Deputy Foreign Minister. The entire top brass of Iran will be in attendance. To have Iran and Saudi Arabia in the same process is both startling and a sign of hope. Trapped by its own regional alignments, Iran has yoked itself firmly to the Assad regime. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have thrown in their lot with the rebellion, as has Turkey but with less fanfare. Such “unity” was not available at the Arab League summit in March that was held in Baghdad. The Saudis and the Qataris refused to send their top leadership because of their serious difference of opinion with both Syria and Iraq. Qatar sent minor bureaucrats and the Saudis sent their Arab League ambassador, Ahmed Qatan. No princes graced the occasion.
The government of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had refused to stop Iranian aircraft from going through their airspace to Syria, and Baghdad was not willing to join in the isolation of Syria. The ground has shifted since March, and now the regional powers seem willing to see if cooperation is possible in order to bring stability to Syria and the region.

Turkey has, unfortunately, refused to come to the NAM meeting. It is not a NAM member, but it has been invited to attend as an observer. There is a precedent for this, since Australia will be in Tehran as the West’s listening post and has threatened to walk out if anything it deems inappropriate is said.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will not attend, and neither will the top leaders of his party in the government. Davutoglu, an academic, has developed a foreign policy that Hurriyet’s editor Yusuf Kanli called “no friends in the neighborhood” strategy.

Turkey has put its hand in the fire of the Syrian cauldron, and no longer knows how to extricate itself. It was one matter to be moved by the violence of the Assad regime, but another to make itself a party to the conflict. Contradictions of geopolitics abound. During the high-point of the Arab Spring, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put Turkey forward as an example for the new Middle East. Now Turkey has reached the point where it has discovered that its own domestic problems (namely the Kurdish question) might erupt if Turkey presses ahead with the balkanization of Syria.

Egypt’s proposal should be supported as it it builds on regionalism and takes seriously the fact that absent the assent of these regional actors, no pressure can be put on the parties in Syria to stand down. Europe, the US and Russia have played central roles in fueling the crisis, but they are not going to be able to be part of the solution. The regional actors need to take the reins. The Contact Group would be strengthened by an endorsement from the NAM, and it would further embolden Brahimi to make serious inroads into the deadlock between the Syrian government and the opposition. Absent regional pressure, backed by NAM, the blood-letting will continue in Syria – to the detriment of all the people of West Asia.

Vijay Prashad is the author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012 and Turkish edition, Yordam Kitap, 2012).

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.
 

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Independent nations must move toward New World Order: Jean Bricmont

by Kourosh Ziabari
Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Prof. Jean Bricmont is a renowned Belgian public intellectual, theoretical physicist, philosopher of science and a professor at the Université catholique de Louvain. A progressive author, he has cooperated with the leading American thinker Noam Chomsky on a variety of anti-war causes.

In 2007, he wrote an article in French discussing the possibility of a US invasion of Iran. One of his famous books is “Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science” which he has co-written with Alan Sokal. In this book, they talk about a number of issues, including the allegedly incompetent and pretentious usage of scientific concepts by a small group of influential philosophers and intellectuals.

Bricmont’s articles have appeared on Counterpunch, Monthly Review, Voltairenet, Z Magazine, Global Research and other print and online publications.

He has proposed the theory of humanitarian imperialism and is strongly opposed to the U.S. military expeditions around the world and its unilateral attitude toward the independent nations. Bricmont believes that the Non-Aligned Movement countries can move toward establishing a new world order based on the communal interests of the member states.

What follows is the full text of my interview with Prof. Jean Bricmont to whom I’ve talked about a number of issues including the Western powers’ hypocrisy on the human rights issue, America’s wars and military expeditions around the world, the concept of “humanitarian intervention” and Israel’s war threats against Iran.

Dear Jean; in your article, “The Case for a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy,” you write of the justifications the imperial powers come up with in order to rationalize their military expeditions around the world. Isn’t a hawkish foreign policy an advantage for the politicians in the Western world, particularly the United States, to attract the vote and supporting of the public? Will the American people elect a pacifist President who openly vows to put an end to all the U.S. wars and refrain from waging new wars?

I am not sure that it attracts the votes. In Europe, certainly not. The most hawkish politicians, Blair and Sarkozy were not popular for a long time because of their foreign policy. In Germany the public is systematically in favor of a peaceful foreign policy. As the American pacifist A. J. Muste remarked, the problem in all wars lies with the victor – they think violence pays. The defeated, like Germany, and to some extent the rest of Europe, know that war is not so rosy.

However, I think that, except in times of crisis, like the Vietnam or the Algerian wars, when they turned badly for the U.S. or France, most people are not very interested in foreign policy, which is understandable, given their material problems and given the fact that it looks like being out of reach of ordinary people.

On the other hand, every U.S. presidential candidate has to make patriotic statements, “we are the best”, “a light at the top of the hill”, a “defender of democracy and human rights” and so on. That, of course, is true in all systems of power, the only thing that varies are the “values” to which one refers (being a good Christian or Muslim or defending socialism, etc.).

And, it is true that, in order to get the votes, one must get the support of the press and of big money. That introduces an enormous bias in favor of militarism and of support for Israel.

The imperial powers, as you have indicated in your writings, wage wars, kill innocent people and plunder the natural resources of weaker countries under the pretext of bringing democracy to them. So, who should take care of the principles of international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty? Attacking other countries at will and killing defenseless civilians recklessly is a flagrant parade of lawlessness. Is it possible to bring these powers to their senses and hold them accountable over what they do?

I think the evolution of the world goes in that direction; respect for the principles of international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty. As I said before, the European populations are rather peaceful, both inside Europe and with respect to the rest of the world, at least, compared to the past. Some of their leaders are not peaceful and there is a strong pressure from an apparently strange alliance in favor of war between human rights interventionists and neo-conservatives who are influential in the media and in the intelligentsia, but they are not the only voices and they are rather unpopular with the general public.

As for the U.S., they are in a deep crisis, not only economically, but also diplomatically. They have lost control of Asia long ago, are losing Latin America and, now, the Middle East. Africa is turning more and more towards China.

So, the world is becoming multipolar, whether one likes it or not. I see at least two dangers: that the decline of the U.S. will produce some crazy reaction, leading to war, or that the collapse of the American empire creates chaos, a bit like the collapse of the Roman Empire did. It is the responsibility of the Non-Aligned Movement and the BRICS countries to insure an orderly transition towards a really new world order.

What seems hypocritical in the Western powers’ attitude toward the concept of human rights is that they ceaselessly condemn the violation of human rights in the countries with which they are at odds, but intentionally remain silent about the same violations in the countries which are allied with them. For instance, you surely know that how the political prisoners are mistreated and tortured in Saudi Arabia, Washington’s number one ally among the Arab countries. So, why don’t they protest and condemn these violations?

Do you know any power that is not hypocritical? It seems to me that this is the way power functions in all places and at all times.

For example, in 1815, at the fall of Napoleon, the Tsar of Russia, the Austrian Emperor and the King of Prussia came together in what they called their Holy Alliance, claiming to base their rules of conduct “on the sublime truths contained in the eternal religion of Christ our Savior,” as well as on the principles “of their holy religion, precepts of justice, charity and peace,” and vowed to behave toward their subjects “as a father toward his children.” During the Boer war, the British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, declared that it was “a war for democracy” and that “we seek neither gold mines nor territory”. Bertrand Russell, citing these remarks, commented that “cynical foreigners” couldn’t help noticing that “we nevertheless obtained both the mines and the territory”.

At the height of the Vietnam War, the American historian Arthur Schlesinger described U.S. policy there as part of “our overall program of international good will”. At the end of that war, a liberal commentator wrote in the New York Times that: “For a quarter of a century, the United States have tried to do good, to encourage political freedom and promote social justice in the Third World”.

In that sense, things have not changed. People sometimes think that, because our system is more democratic, things must have changed. But that assumes that the public is well informed, which it is not true because of the many biases in the media, and that it is actively involved in the formation of foreign policy, which is also not true, except in times of crisis. The formation of foreign policy is a very elitist and undemocratic affair.

Attacking or invading other countries under the pretext of humanitarian intervention may be legalized and permissible with the unanimity of the Security Council permanent members. If they all vote in favor a military strike, then it will happen. But, don’t you think that the very fact that only 5 world countries can make decisions for 193 members of the United Nations while this considerable majority don’t have any say in the international developments is an insult to all of these nations and their right of self-determination?

Of course. You don’t need unanimity actually, except for the permanent members. But now that China and Russia seem to have taken an autonomous position with respect to the West, it is not clear that new wars will be legal. I am not happy with the current arrangements at the Security Council, but I still think that the UN is, on the whole, a good thing; its Charter provides a defense, in principle, against intervention and a framework for international order and its existence provides a forum where different countries can meet, which is better than nothing.

Of course, reforming the UN is a tricky business, since it cannot be done without the consent of the permanent members of the Security Council, who are not likely to be very enthusiastic at the prospect of relinquishing part of their power. What will matter in the end will be the evolution of the relationship of forces in the world, and that is not going in the direction of those who think that they now control it.

Let’s talk about some contemporary issues. In your articles, you have talked of the war in Congo. It was very shocking to me that the Second Congo War was the deadliest conflict in the African history with some 5 million innocent people dead, but the U.S. mainstream media put a lid on it because one of the belligerents, the Rwandan army, was a close ally of Washington. What’s your take on that?

Well, I am not an expert on that part of the world. But I notice that the Rwandan tragedy of 1994 is often used as an argument for foreign intervention, which, it is claimed, would have stopped the killings, while the tragedy in Congo should be taken as an argument against foreign intervention and for respect of international law, since it was to a large extent due to the intervention of Rwandan and Ugandan troops in Congo.

Of course, the fact that the latter argument is never made shows, once more, how the discourse about humanitarian intervention is biased in favor of the powers that be, who want to attribute to themselves the right to intervene, whenever it suits them.

Just a few days ago, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemned Iranian leaders for their supposedly “inflammatory and hateful” remarks on Israel. However, I never remember him condemning the Israeli officials for their frequent repeating of dangerous war threats against Iran. What’s the reason behind this hypocrisy?

As you know, the hypocrisy with respect to Israel in the West reaches staggering proportions and Ban Ki-moon, although he is UN Secretary General, is very much on “pro-Western” positions. While I myself have doubts about the wisdom of the Iranian rhetoric about Israel, I think that the threats of military actions against Iran by Israel are far worse and should be considered illegal under international law. I also think that the unilateral sanctions against Iran, taken by the U.S. and its allies, largely to please Israel, are shameful. And, although the people who claim to be anti-racist in the West never denounce these policies, I think they are deeply racist, because they are accepted only because so-called civilized countries, Israel and its allies, exert this threat and those sanctions against an “uncivilized” one, Iran.This will be remembered in the future in the same way that slavery is remembered now.

There are people like you who oppose the U.S. militarism, its imposture and hypocrisy in dealing with the human rights and its attempts to devour the oil-rich Middle East, but unfortunately I should say, you’re in the minority. It’s the Israeli-administered Congress and hawkish think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations and National Endowment for Democracy that run the United States, not the anti-war, pro-peace progressive thinkers and writers like you. How much influence do the progressive thinkers and leftist media have over the policies which are taken in the United States?

Well, I think one has to make a difference between support for Israel and the desire to “devour” oil. The two policies are not the same and are, in fact, contradictory. As, I think, Mearsheimer and Walt have shown, the pro-Israel policies of the U.S. are to a large extent driven by the pro-Israel lobby and do not correspond to or help their economic or geo-strategic interests. For example, as far as I know, there would be no problem for our oil companies to drill in Iran, if it weren’t for the sanctions imposed on that country; but the latter are linked to the hostility to Iran from Israel, not from any desire to control oil.

The second remark is that the anti-war people are not necessarily on the left. True, there is a big part of the Right that has become neo-conservative, but there is also a big part of the Left that is influenced by the ideology of humanitarian intervention. However, there is also a libertarian Right, Ron Paul for example, that is staunchly anti-war, and there are some remnants of a pacifist or anti-imperialist Left. Note that this has always been the case: the pro and anti-imperialist position, even back in the days of colonialism, do not coincide with the Left-Right divide, if the latter is understood in socio-economic terms or in “moral” terms (about gay marriage for example).

Next, it is true that we have very little influence, but that is partly because we are divided, between an anti-war Left and anti-war Right. I believe that a majority of the population is opposed to these endless and costly wars, mostly, in Europe, because of the lesson they drew from WWII, or from their defeat in the colonial wars, and, in the U.S., because of war fatigue after Afghanistan and Iraq.

What we do not have is a consistent anti-war movement; to build the latter one would have to focus on war itself and unite both sides of the opposition (Right and Left). But if movements can be built around other “single issues,” like abortion or gay marriage, that put aside all socio-economic problems and class issues, why not?

Although such a movement does not exist now, its prospects are not totally hopeless: if the economic crisis deepens, and if the worldwide opposition to U.S. policies increases, citizens of all political stripes might gather to try to build alternatives.

What’s your viewpoint regarding the U.S. and its allies’ war of sanctions, embargoes, nuclear assassinations and psychological operation against Iran? Iran is practically under a multilateral attack by the United States, Israel and their submissive European cronies. Is there any way for Iran to get out of the dilemma and resist the pressures? How much do you know Iran? Have you heard of its culture and civilization, which the mainstream media never talk about?

I do not know much about Iran, but I do not think I need to know very much about that country although I would certainly like to know more, in order to oppose the policies you mention. I was also opposed to Western interventions in former Yugoslavia or in Libya.

Some people think there are good and bad interventions. But the main issue for me is: who intervenes? It is never really the “citizens” or the “civil society” of the West, or even the European countries on their own, meaning without U.S. support, it is always the U.S. military, mostly its Air Force.

Now, one may of course defend the idea that international law should be disregarded and that the defense of human rights should be left to the U.S. Air Force. But many people who support “good” interventions do not say that. They usually argue that “we” must do something to “save the victims” in a particular situation. What this viewpoint forgets is that the “we” who is supposed to intervene is not the people who actually speak, but the U.S. military.

Therefore, support for any intervention only strengthens the arbitrary power of the U.S., which, of course, uses it as it seems fit, and not, in general, according to the wishes of those who support “good” interventions.

And finally, would you please give us an insight of how the corporate media serve the interests of the imperial powers? How do they work? Is it morally justifiable to use media propaganda to achieve political and colonial goals?

The connection between “corporate media” and war propaganda is complicated, as is the relationship between capitalism and war. Most people on the Left think that capitalism needs war or leads to it. But the truth, in my view, is far more nuanced. American capitalists make fortunes in China and Vietnam now that there is peace between the U.S. and East Asia; for American workers, it is a different matter, of course.

There is no reason whatsoever for oil or other Western companies not to do business with Iran, and, if there was peace in the region, capitalists would descend upon it like vultures in order to exploit a cheap and relatively qualified labor force.

This is not to say that capitalists are nice, nor that they cannot be individually pro-war, but only that war, in general, is not in their interests and they are not necessarily the main force pushing for war.

People are driven to war by conflicting ideologies, especially when they take a fanatical form – for example, when you believe that a certain piece of land was given to you by God, or that your country has a special mission, like exporting human rights and democracy, preferably by cruise missiles and drones.

It is both sad and ironical that an idea that is largely secular and liberal, the one of human rights, has now been turned into one of the main means to whip up war hysteria in the West. But that is our present situation and a most urgent and important task is to change it.

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Israeli court legitimizes murder

by Stephen Lendman

My Photo
Cindy and Craig CorrieCindy and Craig Corrie hoped for better. So did sister Sarah. The world knows Israel murdered their daughter, Rachel, in cold blood. On August 28, Israeli justice ruled otherwise.

It’s unsurprising in a nation contemptuous of rule of law principles, democratic values, and life itself. More on the court ruling below.

Israel is a rogue terror state. It’s an out-of-control blight on humanity. It’s a regional menace. Racism and persecution are institutionalized. It’s unfit to live in for most Jews. For Arabs and supporters of equal rights and justice, it’s dangerous.

On March 16, 2003, an Israeli bulldozer soldier/driver murdered Rachel Corrie in cold blood.

Courageously she tried to stop a lawless Rafah refugee camp home demolition. Eye witnesses said she climbed atop a giant militarized Caterpillar tractor, spoke to the driver, climbed down, knelt 10 – 20 meters in front in clear view, and blocked its path with her body.

Activists screamed for it to stop. The operator ignored them. He deliberately crushed Rachel to death. To be sure, he ran over her twice.

He murdered her in cold blood. Israel’s government and military supported him. They still do.
They believe Arab lives and well-being don’t matter. They target activists who support them. They’re considered enemies of the state.

Opposition isn’t tolerated. Murder is official policy to eliminate it. Rachel’s death bears stark witness to institutionalized lawlessness.

Legitimizing it reveals corrupt Israeli justice. Punishment follows Jewish killings. Arab ones or supporters are whitewashed. Orders from the top mandate it. Investigations when they’re held are shams. Israel’s said:

“The state believes that it was proved that the activity of the IDF force is within the framework of ‘war activity.”

“In addition, the state proved that the deceased willfully endangered herself and, sadly, her contributory fault stood at 100%.”

In 2005, Rachel’s family sued: “The estate of Rachel Aliene Corrie v. State of Israel, Ministry of Defense.”

They waited over nine years for justice. The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice (RCFPJ) supports it. Its mission and guiding principles state:
The Foundation continues what Rachel began. It reflects “her vision, spirit, and creative energy….” It supports “build(ing) understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities.”

The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, at first reported nothing. Belated coverage appeared. Online AM editions excluded it. The Washington Post ran an AP piece. Front page headlines omitted it.

AP said “(a)n Israeli court on Monday rejected a lawsuit brought against the military by the parents of a U.S. activist crushed to death by an army bulldozer during a 2003 demonstration, ruling the army was not at fault for her death.”

Rachel was in plain sight. Her bright orange vest and bullhorn made her easy to spot. The soldier-operator lied. He knew she protected a Palestinian home with her body. He claimed he didn’t see her.
Israel called Rachel’s death accidental. A sham investigation report said:

“Rachael Corrie was not run over by an engineering vehicle but rather was struck by a hard object, most probably a slab or concrete which was moved or slid down while the mound of earth which she was standing behind was moved.”

She and others with her were accused of “illegal, irresponsible and dangerous” behavior.
Cindy and Craig sued for justice. Israeli district court judge Oded Gershon contemptuously justified murder. “I reject the suit,” he said. “There is no justification to demand the state pay any damages.”
He claimed Rachel “put herself in a dangerous situation.” He called her death “an accident she brought upon herself.” Blame the victim is Israeli policy.

He said the IDF conducted a proper investigation. It whitewashed Rachel’s death. It absolved cold blooded murder. So did judge Gershon. He rejected her family’s symbolic suit for $1 in damages plus legal expenses.

Family lawyer Hussein Abu Hussein called the verdict “blam(ing) the victim.” His full statement was as follows:

“While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life.”

“In this regard, the verdict blames the victim based on distorted facts and it could have been written directly by the state attorneys.”

“We knew from the beginning that we had an uphill battle to get truthful answers and justice, but we are convinced that this verdict distorts the strong evidence presented in court, and contradicts fundamental principles of international law with regard to protection of human rights defenders.”
“In denying justice in Rachel Corrie’s killing, this verdict speaks to the systemic failure to hold the Israeli military accountable for continuing violations of basic human rights.”

“We would like to thank everyone who supported the family and the legal team; including activists, NGOs, legal observers, US embassy officials, interpreters, reporters who covered the trial, and we look forward to talking to you at the press conference.”

Addressing reporters, Hussein called the ruling “a black day for activists of human rights and people who believe in values of dignity.”

Cindy and Craig will appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court. They’ll continue speaking publicly about Rachel, they said. They won’t let her death be in vain. They criticized Israel’s failure to properly investigate.

“A civil lawsuit is not a substitute for a legal investigation, which we never had,” said Cindy. “The diplomatic process between the United States and Israel failed us. Rachel’s killing could have been and should have been avoided.”

“We’re deeply troubled by what we heard today,” she added. “From the beginning, it was clear to us that there was….a well-heeled system to protect the Israeli military, the soldiers who conduct actions….to provide them with impunity at the cost of all the civilians who are impacted by what they do.”

Israel “worked extremely hard so that the truth behind what happened to my daughter is not exposed.”
“I believe this is a bad day not only for our family, but….for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law, and also for the country of Israel.”

According to Human Rights Watch representative Bill Van Esveld:

“The idea that there can be no fault for killing civilians in a combat operation contradicts Israel’s international legal obligations to spare civilians from harm during armed conflict and to credibly investigate and punish violations by its force.”

“Military investigators repeatedly failed to take statements from witnesses, to follow up with the witness’s lawyer and to re-interview witnesses to clarify discrepancies.”

In March 2010, multiple oral testimony sessions began. In July 2011, they concluded. They produced over 2,000 pages of court transcripts. Witnesses were flown in. Israeli ones appeared behind screens to conceal their identities. Criminals and supporters sought anonymity.

Cindy and Craig drained their savings. They spent about $200,000 on travel, legal costs, translation services, and other expenses. Their struggle for justice continues.

Sarah Corrie Simpson met with representatives in over 200 congressional offices. She said:

“I hope someday (the bulldozer operator) will have the courage to sit down in front of me and tell me what he saw and what he feels.”

Before the verdict, Craig said:

“You don’t really close a wound like this, but it certainly is a big milestone.”

For days ahead of the ruling, he carried a photo of the then six-year old Palestinian girl whose home Rachel tried to protect. “I think this (picture) in some ways is more hopeful,” he said. “She deserves a future that we all want for our children.”

AP said their case was “the first civil lawsuit of a foreigner harmed by Israel’s military to conclude in a full civilian trial.” Others were settled out of court.

Rachel was an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer. It’s a nonviolent, direct-action Palestinian movement against occupation and injustice.

Its members used their bodies as human shields to stop home demolitions. During the second Intifada (2000 – 2004), over 1,700 Rafah homes were bulldozed. Around 17,000 Palestinians were left homeless.

Many others throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem lost their homes. Doing so violates Fourth Geneva’s Article 147. It prohibits targeting civilian property.

Rachel justifiably tried to prevent it. Fourth Geneva’s Article 10 supports humanitarian workers. Occupying powers are obligated to protect them. Moreover, Article 54 prohibits targeting civilians.
Rachel was a committed anti-war activist before coming to Gaza in 2002. She arranged peace events in Washington state.

She died in Rafah in southern Gaza. She and other ISM protesters used their bodies to stop other home demolitions. Extremist members of Netanyahu’s coalition government called judge Gershon’s ruling “vindication after vilification.”

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi denounced the decision, saying:

“Despite the testimonies of eyewitnesses, the audio-visual evidence and the overwhelming proof that Rachel was deliberately murdered, the Israeli court insists on victimizing her again in her tragic death.”

“This proves that once again the occupation has distorted the legal and judicial systems in Israel and that the lack of accountability for its violence and violations has generated a culture of hate and impunity.”

“We must make sure that Rachel Corrie’s death is not a senseless incident. It must be stressed that Israel’s habit of blaming the victim and exonerating the criminal is not applied to Palestinian victims, but has also it has extended its reach to international solidarity activists and victims of Israeli violence.”
“The U.S. government has been noticeably absent and its silence is deafening. In their lack of engagement and human empathy, both the legislative and executive branches are complicit in compounding the crime.”

“The Palestinians as a whole will continue to love Rachel and cherish her memory. Her sacrifice will always be a source of hope and a tribute to genuine humanity.”

Ahead of judge Gershon’s ruling, ISM announced it’s scheduled August 28 date, at 9:00AM, in Haifa District Court. Rachel died at age 23. A glorious human being was lost. A militarized Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer crushed her to death.

In its summer newsletter, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice highlighted the scheduled ruling date. Proceedings began seven and a half years earlier. August 28 was painfully long in coming.
On arrival it left nothing resolved. Rachel’s family members called on others “to show support for this lengthy effort and to seize this moment to challenge the home demolitions (she) opposed….”
In Israel, impunity triumphs over accountability, fairness and justice. Institutionalized lawlessness assures it.

The issue remains as urgent as when Rachel died. On August 29, a live 9:30PM EDT conference call with family members discussed the court ruling. Visits the Foundation site for details and perhaps an audio transcript.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. Supporting progressive causes and organizations, he began writing in summer 2005 on a broad range of issues. Topics regularly addressed include war and peace; social, economic and political equity; and justice for long-suffering peoples globally – notably, victims of America’s imperial wars, Occupied Palestinians and Haitians. In early 2007, he began hosting his own radio program. Currently he hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. 


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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

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