Al-Assad: Geneva 2 might Not Be Held, Hamas Betrayed Us, KSA The State of Tribes

Published Monday, October 14, 2013
Damascus – It is remarkable how much Russia occupies the strategy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He seems very reassured by the Russian role, but stresses that the Russians are not defending Syria as much as they are ultimately defending themselves.

During a recent meeting with visitors at the presidential palace, including Al-Akhbar, Assad recalls a meeting he held in 2005 with President Vladimir Putin. At the time, the Syrian president told his host that he felt the Cold War still existed. Putin agreed, but tackled the question from a different angle: “True, it is a war,” he said, “but it is a cultural war between the East and the West.” This is a conviction that the Syrian president shares.

Assad believes that Syria’s security and stability can be protected by politics over weaponry. He reckons that international equilibrium is the best guarantee, citing the three Russian-Chinese vetoes during the Syrian crisis as proof.

The Syrian president does not regret giving up chemical weapons. He maintains that their capacity for deterrence has expired for three reasons:

First, Syria’s missile arsenal has made huge strides, so deterrence can now be established from the first moments of the war. This, he said, eliminated the need for chemical weapons, which can only be used as a last resort if the enemy deploys nuclear weapons.

Second, Assad continues, huge progress has been made in the past two decades in countering the military effectiveness of chemical weapons, meaning, their effect is largely psychological.

For example, the Syrian president went on to say, whenever there is a spike in tension, we see Israel distributing gas masks to its scared citizens, but when the weapons are used, their effects can be treated with relative ease. The proof, Assad purports, lies with the five Syrian soldiers who, hurt in an opposition attack using chemical weapons, were treated with shots and quickly returned to the battlefield.

Consequently, Assad says that Syria suspended production of chemical weapons in 1997, replacing them with conventional weapons, which he believes are the decisive element in the battlefield. Assad explains that he built the armament structure of his army based on missiles, saying, “It is enough to lay down fire on Israel’s airports to paralyze it,” since, as is known, Israel’s strength lies with its air force.

Third, chemical weapons are obsolete because the war is now internal.

No doubt, there was a moral and political loss in handing over the chemical weapons, according to Assad. In 2003, Damascus proposed ridding the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction. Syrian chemical weapons were a bargaining chip whose price was the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal. But today, the price has changed. It was agreed that the Syrian chemical weapons would be handed over in return for sparing the country a Western military strike.

Even the manufacture of conventional weapons, which was aimed at countering Israel, is now aimed at internal enemies, which can be counted as another loss, Assad says. Regarding the Nobel Peace Prize awarded recently to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Assad quips, “The prize should have been mine.”

Goodbye, Geneva

Assad does not believe that Geneva II will be held, even if scheduled for November. Perhaps the proposed peace conference will be held only to appease Russia, which is seeking to ward off the specter of war.

Assad says that Syria has no qualms attending, and that its only demand is clear and based on two principles: elections and ending support for terrorists. “Whenever we kill 1,000 terrorists, 2,000 more terrorists enter the country,” Assad says.

The West’s problem, according to the Syrian president, is that the faction it supports is fragmented and has no control on the ground. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is almost done for, he says. Its fighters have either abandoned it to join Islamic groups, or have joined the government and are now fighting in the ranks of the Syrian army. Nothing is left of the forces supported by the West and the Gulf except terrorists, who have no place in Geneva II, Assad adds.

The problem, from Assad’s point of view, lies with the other side, specifically the West. Those that the West can bring to the conference, he says, have no control on the ground, and as for those who have control on the ground, the West has no influence over them. He recalls that Lakhdar Brahimi came to him one time, carrying an American assessment stating that there were 2,000 militant groups fighting in Syria. When the Syrian president asked him what his own estimate was, Brahimi said 1,200. So, Assad asks: Who can control all these groups and guarantee they would implement any political agreement?

Foreigners Are Better Than the Arabs


Assad is bitter. “Not one Arab official has contacted us with a plan for mediation or for an Arab solution,” he says. The Arabs, he says, were always only an echo of their Western “masters,” if not worse.

The Syrian president adds that the West, despite all its flaws, “Always dealt with us more honorably than some Arabs.” Kofi Annan was honest and resigned, he remarks, while his Arab aides were not.

Assad stresses that this issue will be dealt with after the crisis. He does not want to handle it emotionally like Muammar Gaddafi did when he pivoted to Africa. Assad is adamant about Syria’s Arab identity, but does not see this as something necessarily linked to the Arab League. The framework of this identity, in practice and in form, shall be determined later, according to the president.

Progress on the Field


Assad seems reassured by the progress of military operations. He says the war follows a hit-and-run pattern, where his army regains control of some territories while losing others, and so on. However, Assad adds, if we consider the general course things have been taking, we would find that the Syrian army is clearly advancing.

In the same vein, the Syrian president highlights two particular problems: Daraa and the Jordanian front on the one hand, and the north, on the other hand. In the first, Assad says that fighters and weapons continue to flow from Jordan, regardless of whether this was being staged by the Jordanian regime or Gulf countries. As for the second, specifically in Aleppo near the border with Turkey, Turkish support has kept the front hot. “But the Turks have a problem now, after al-Qaeda seized the crossing,” Assad says, adding that there are no intractable problems in the rest of the regions.

Assad denies categorically the reports circulated a few days ago, holding that Abbas Zaki, member of Fatah’s central committee, had brought him a message from the new emir of Qatar. Interestingly, beyond the reporter’s question about this issue, Assad did not mention Qatar again in the interview. Khaled Meshaal and his team in Doha figured more in our conversation with the Syrian president, in fact.

Hamas’ ‘Betrayal’

Mishaal Raised the FSA Flag by Mistake. Thus Claimed Mosa Abu Marzouk in an interview With al-Mayadin to aired tonight
By Mistake!!!!!

The conversation moves to Hamas when the president is asked about the reports regarding Meshaal’s visit to Tehran, and whether Damascus, specifically the presidential palace, would be his next stop. But Assad is keen on clarifying everything in this regard, ending all equivocation.

First, Assad says that the Muslim (American) Brotherhood, for 80 years, has been known for its opportunism and betrayal, but stresses that Damascus did not treat Hamas in the beginning as being part of the international Islamist organization. “The Europeans would come to us and ask what Hamas was doing here, and we would say that it was a resistance movement,” the Syrian president says, adding that only that capacity made Syria welcome and sponsor Hamas.

Assad says, “When the crisis began, [Hamas officials] claimed that they gave us advice. This is a lie. Who are they to give Syria advice? Then they said that we asked for their help, which is also not true. What business do they have in internal Syrian affairs?”

Later, the president of the World Federation of Muslim Scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, made his insulting statements about Syria. Assad says, “Yes, we demanded that they take a stance. A while later, they came and said that they spoke with Qaradawi. We said that those who want to take a political stance should do so publicly. What value does a stance have if taken in closed rooms?”

Estrangement between Hamas and the Syrian regime ensued. Assad holds that Hamas ultimately decided to abandon resistance and to fully merge with the Muslim Brotherhood. He adds, “This was not the first time they had betrayed us. It happened before in 2007 and 2009. Their history is one of treachery and betrayal.” Assad then wished “someone would persuade them to return to being a resistance movement,” but says that he doubts this will happen. “Hamas has sided against Syria from day one. They have made their choice,” he adds.

Oddly, Walid Jumblatt and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns suddenly slip into the conversation, when Assad is asked whether he would receive Meshaal. “Don’t rule out seeing Jumblatt here,” he jokes.

Assad then recalls how Burns came to visit him before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Burns presented Assad with a list of demands to facilitate the military operations against Iran, including allowing US warplanes to cross Syrian airspace, telling him that no one would notice. Assad’s answer was simple: “You are a government with no principles, and you pursue your foreign policy on commercial bases. Give us a deal, and we will see if it is in our interests and we will show it to the Syrian people.”

Assad is clearly still wounded by Hamas’ actions. But he keeps the door open to all possibilities if Syria’s interests require making certain rapprochements. In the end, he says, politics is about both principles and interests.

Iraq: Relations Are Very Good

“[Iraq’s] stance has been very good from the beginning,” he says. Assad stresses that he’s not only talking about Baghdad, but also Iraqi Kurdistan. Though Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari expressed some extreme positions, Assad says, Iraq’s stance remains “very good.”

Meanwhile, Damascus has been closely monitoring the situation in Egypt. Assad asserts, “Egypt is the fortress of the Arabs,” saying that relations with Egypt are today better than they were, even under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Under Mubarak, Assad continues, “We considered the Egyptian Foreign Ministry the equivalent of the U.S. Department of State.” But interestingly, Assad said that relations with Egypt were never severed, even under deposed president Mohamed Mursi, revealing that the military and intelligence channels remained open with Egypt the entire time.

Saudi, the Tribal State

In the meantime, hostility and estrangement with Saudi Arabia continues. At the end of the day, Assad remarks, Saudi Arabia is nothing more than “a state of tribes and individuals.”
“Personal relations determine [policy], and when one person falls out with us, all of Saudi Arabia falls out with us,” he adds.

“The Saudis have been hostile to Syria for the past 20 to 30 years to begin with. What changed was the relationship with their master. When their master’s relationship with us is good, they are good with us. When their masters fall out with us, they become hostile to us. There is always the personal factor in Saudi policies,” he says.

With respect to Turkey, according to Assad, the problem is confined to the person of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish people, Assad maintains, are opposed to Erdogan’s policies. Even President Abdullah Gul has started to publicly express his opposition to the policies of his prime minister, Assad purports, saying that Gul thinks that if Erdogan wants to gamble with himself, he should at least not gamble his entire political party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The Secular State

Under no circumstances will Syria follow the Lebanese or Iraqi model, Assad proclaims. Syria is and will remain a secular state because this is the only suitable formula for cohesion in the country, which enjoys religious, sectarian, and ethnic pluralism, Assad says.

He asserts there should be no politicization of religion in Syria because this would simply be a recipe for disintegration.

Religion, he went on to say, has its spiritual and humanitarian functions, praising the vital role played by patriotic clerics in maintaining the unity of the Syrian fabric and combatting takfiri ideas, especially the late Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, who was killed while doing this duty.

Economy: Some Self-Criticism

Assad speaks about the pressures currently faced by the Syrian economy. He says that the cycle of production, distribution, and trade had come to a halt, and though it has started spinning in the past two months, it has remained slow. The embargo and terrorism, he adds, have exhausted the Syrian economy and damaged the Syrians’ living standards.

He then stresses that his country did not – and will not – abandon the public sector, in addition to the private and hybrid sectors. Assad says that the reform package, dubbed a “social-market economy,” did not prove to always be balanced, saying that Syria rushed into policies tipped toward privatization, while the public sector was not developed.

Moreover, he says, the Syrian government focused on large investments when the Syrian economy should’ve focused on small- and medium-sized enterprises. Assad adds, “Our primary concern – now – is to preserve and develop the agricultural sector. In the end, more than 60 percent of the people are farmers, and perhaps more than 80 percent are farmers and workers.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Al-Assad: Geneva 2 might Not Be Held, Hamas Betrayed Us, KSA The State of Tribes

الأسد: حماس غدرتنا مراراً… ولكن

 

الطريق إلى قصر الشعب أكثر قرباً مما يتوقعه البعض. المسافة إليه من المصنع تمر كلمح البصر. لا إجراءات أمنية استثنائية. الرئيس بشار الأسد أمام المدخل يستقبل زواره ببسمته المعهودة. لا محرمات في النقاش. بضع نكات يتمنى عدم تسريبها، مرفقة بضحكات تصدح في تلك الغرفة الواسعة. روسيا، الكيميائي، «حماس»، السعودية، مصر، الأردن، تركيا، العراق، الوضع الميداني… كلها حاضرة، والخلاصة واحدة: نحن مرتاحون

إيلي شلهوب

دمشق | لافت حجم المساحة التي تحتلها روسيا في استراتيجية الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد. يبدو كثير الاطمئنان إليها. هو يؤكد أن الروس، بما يفعلونه، لا يدافعون لا عن سوريا ولا عن شعبها ولا عن نظامها ولا عن رئيسها. هم يدافعون عن أنفسهم. يستذكر لقاءً سبق أن عقده عام ٢٠٠٥ مع الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين. وقتها بادر الرئيس السوري مضيفه بالتعبير عن احساسه بأن الحرب الباردة لا تزال تدور رحاها. وافقه بوتين، عارضا المسألة من زاوية مختلفة، قال سيد الكرملين «إنها حرب صحيح، لكنها حرب حضارية بين الشرق والغرب». قناعة أخرى يظهر أنها تتحكم في عقل الرئيس السوري. يرى أن أمن سوريا واستقرارها تحميهما السياسة، أكثر من الترسانة العسكرية. يعتقد بأن التوازن الدولي هو الضمانة الأمثل. ثلاثة فيتوهات روسية صينية خلال عمر الأزمة السورية خير دليل. حتى الترسانة الكيميائية لا يأسف عليها. يراها سلاحا ردعيا فات زمانه لثلاثة اسباب: أولاً، تطوير قوة الردع الصاروخية السورية، الممكن استخدامها منذ اللحظة الأولى للحرب، أنهى ضرورة الكيميائي، الذي لا يستخدم إلا كرصاصة أخيرة، عندما يستخدم العدو ترسانته النووية. ثانيا، جرى تقدم كبير في العقدين الماضيين في طرق استيعاب ومعالجة آثار السلاح الكيميائي. فعاليته العسكرية لم تعد ذات جدوى فعلية؛ السلاح الكيميائي له أثر معنوي، إذ إننا نرى أنه كلما ازداد التوتر توزع اسرائيل الاقنعة الواقية على مواطنيها الخائفين، لكن عندما تستخدم تلك الأسلحة، يمكن علاج آثارها بسهولة. هي حكاية داء ودواء. والدليل خمسة جنود سوريين أصيبوا بهجمة كيميائية للمعارضة عولجوا بحقن وعادوا الى ساحة المعركة بعد يومين. من هنا، يقول الاسد، إن سوريا أوقفت تصنيع الاسلحة الكيميائية في ١٩٩٧ واستعاضت عنها بالاسلحة التقليدية التي يراها العامل الحاسم في الميدان. يوضح أنه أقام البنية التسليحية لجيشه على الصواريخ. «تكفي السيطرة بالنار على مطارات إسرائيل لتشلها». معروف أن قوة اسرائيل بسلاحها الجوي. أما ثالثاً، فلأن الحرب الآن داخلية.
لا شك في أن هناك خسارة معنوية وسياسية في تسليم الكيميائي السوري، يقول الأسد. في عام ٢٠٠٣ طرحت دمشق اخلاء الشرق الأوسط من أسلحة الدمار الشامل. كان الكيميائي السوري ورقة تفاوضية ثمنه النووي الإسرائيلي. اليوم تغير الثمن. جرى الاتفاق على تسليمه في مقابل تجنيب سوريا العدوان. حتى التصنيع العسكري التقليدي، الذي كان موجها ضد إسرائيل، بات موجها لعدو الداخل، وفي هذا خسارة أيضا. وعن فوز منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية بجائز نوبل للسلام، علّق الأسد ممازحاً: «هذه الجائزة كان يجب أن تكون لي».

وداعاً جنيف

لا يعتقد الاسد بان مؤتمر جنيف ٢ سيعقد، وإن حددوا له موعدا في تشرين الثاني. ربما يحصل فقط تلبية لرغبة روسيا التي تسعى من خلاله الى ابعاد شبح الحرب. يقول انه لا مشكلة لدى سوريا بالحضور. مطلبها واضح ويقوم على مبدئين: صندوقة الاقتراع ووقف دعم الإرهابيين. الأول للموافقة على اي اتفاق يجري التوصل اليه ولاختيار اي رئيس مقبل للبلاد. والثاني لوقف الحرب. «كلما قتلنا الف ارهابي، دخل البلاد ألفان».
مشكلة الغرب في أن الجماعة التي يدعمونها للمفاوضات مفككة، وليس لها سيطرة على الارض. «الحر» بات في حكم المنتهي. عناصره تركوه إما للانضمام إلى الجماعات الإسلامية، أو إلى الدولة، حيث عاد بعضهم وهو يقاتل الآن في صفوف الجيش السوري. لم يبق من القوى التي دعمها الغرب والخليج سوى الارهابيين، هؤلاء لا مكان لهم في جنيف 2.
المشكلة، من وجهة نظر الأسد، لدى الطرف الآخر، الغربي تحديداً. يقول إن من يستطيع الغرب اشراكه في المؤتمر لا سيطرة له على الارض، ومن لديه سيطرة على الارض لا إمرة للغرب عليه. يستذكر أنه ذات مرة جاءه الاخضر الابراهيمي حاملا اليه تقديرا اميركيا بوجود الفي مجموعة مسلحة. سأله الرئيس السوري عن تقديره هو، فاجاب ١٢٠٠ مجموعة. من يستطيع التحكم فيها وضمان تنفيذها لاي اتفاق سياسي.

الأجانب أفضل من العرب

غصة تبدو واضحة في حلق الأسد. «لم يتصل أي مسؤول عربي بنا حاملا وساطة أو مشروع حل عربي». كانوا دوما صدى لـ«سيدهم» الغربي، بل أكثر من ذلك. يقول إن الغرب، بكل مساوئه، «كان في التعامل معنا أشرف من بعض العرب». كوفي أنان كان شريفا واستقال، غيره من معاونيه العرب لم يفعل ذلك. ملف أصر على أنه مؤجل البحث فيه الى ما بعد الازمة. لا يريد أن يتعامل معه بانفعال على طريقة معمر القذافي عندما توجه الى أفريقيا. يصر على الانتماء العربي لسوريا، لكنه لا يرى هذا الامر مرتبطا بالضرورة بجامعة الدول العربية. إطار هذا الانتماء من الناحية العملية وشكله وطريقة التعبير عنه يحدد في ما بعد.

تقدم ميداني

بدا مطمئنا إلى مسار العمليات العسكرية في الميدان. الحرب كر وفر. مرة نستعيد منطقة ومرة نخسر أخرى، لكن إذا ما أخذ بالاعتبار المسار العام للأمور، نجد أن الجيش السوري يتقدم على نحو واضح. مشكلتان تحدث عنهما بالتحديد. درعا والجبهة الأردنية من جهة، حيث قال إن المقاتلين والأسلحة لا يزالون يتدفقون من هناك. لا همّ إن كان عبر النظام الأردني أو عبر الخليجيين. إنها جبهة تنزف مقاتلين. وجبهة الشمال. حلب بالتحديد، القريبة من الحدود التركية. الدعم التركي يبقيها مفتوحة. «الآن يعاني الأتراك مشكلة بعدما سيطر تنظيم القاعدة على المعبر». أما باقي المناطق، فلا مشكلة فيها.
ونفى الاسد على نحو قاطع ما نشر قبل أيام عن أن عضو اللجنة المركزية في حركة فتح، عباس زكي، حمل معه رسالة من أمير قطر الجديد الى الاسد. غريب أن اسم قطر لم يحضر إلا من باب سؤال عن الخبر الصحافي المذكور. كان خالد مشعل المقيم وفريقه في الدوحة أكثر حضورا في حديث الرئيس السوري.

«غدر» حماس

حضرت حركة حماس من باب التساؤلات التي أثارتها تسريبات عن زيارة مشعل الى طهران، وإمكان أن تكون دمشق، وقصر الشعب تحديداً، محطته التالية. كان الأسد حريصا على وضع النقاط على الحروف. بدأ حديثه بالتأكيد على أن جماعة الإخوان المسلمين، ومنذ ثمانين عاما، لم تُعرف الا بالتقلب والمصلحية والغدر، قبل أن يضيف إن دمشق لم تعامل «حماس» منذ البداية على أنها جزء من هذه الجماعة. «كان الأوروبيون يأتون الينا ويسألون عما تفعله حماس هنا، كنا نقول لهم إنها حركة مقاومة». وحدها تلك الصفة التي أكسبت «حماس احتضان سوريا ودعمها ورعايتها لها».
«عندما بدأت الأزمة، قالوا (مسؤولو حماس) إنهم وجهوا الينا نصائح. هذا كذب. من هم ليوجهوا نصائح إلى سوريا؟ ثم قالوا إننا طلبنا مساعدتهم، وهذا غير صحيح. فما علاقتهم في الشأن الداخلي السوري». جاء ذاك اليوم الذي اعلن فيه رئيس الاتحاد العالمي لعلماء المسلمين يوسف القرضاوي تصريحاته المسيئة. «نعم طالبناهم باتخاذ موقف». بعد فترة جاؤوا يقولون إنهم ذهبوا الى القرضاوي وتحدثوا معه. قلنا إن من يريد أن يتخذ موقفا سياسيا يتخذه علنا. ما قيمة الموقف الذي يؤخذ في غرف مغلفة. فكان ما كان من قطيعة. قررت «حماس» في النهاية أن تتخلى عن المقاومة وتكون جزءاً من حركة الاخوان المسلمين. «لم تكن هذه المرة الأولى التي يغدرون فيها بنا. حصل ذلك قبلا في ٢٠٠٧ و٢٠٠٩». تاريخ من الغدر والخيانة، قبل أن يتمنى «لو يستطيع أحد ما اقناعهم بأن يعودوا حركة مقاومة مجدداً، لكنني أشك» في ذلك. حماس انحازت ضد سوريا منذ اليوم الاول، لقد اخذوا خيارا.
غريب كيف حضر وليد جنبلاط وويليام بيرنز فجأة عند السؤال عن امكانية أن يستقبل مشعل. «لا تستبعد أن ترى جنبلاط هنا»، مزحة أرفقت بقهقهة. مع اثارة الموضوع مجددا، استذكر يوم جاءه وليام بيرنز قبل غزو العراق عام ٢٠٠٣. وقتها، قدم بيرنز مجموعة من الطلبات تحت عنوان تسهيلات لضرب العراق، بينها على سبيل المثال السماح للطائرات المغيرة بعبور الأجواء السورية. لم يكن أحد من الناس العاديين ليلحظ ذلك. كان جواب الاسد بسيطا. «أنتم دولة بلا مبادئ، تقيمون سياستكم الخارجية على قواعد تجارية، قدموا إلينا صفقة وسنبحث ان كانت في مصلحتنا ونعرضها على الشعب السوري». مقاربة اختلف حولها المفسرون، وإن بدا واضحا أن قلب الأسد لا يزال مثخنا بالجراح التي تسببت بها «حماس»، مع إبقاء الباب مفتوحا، إذا فرضت المصلحة اختراقات معينة. في النهاية السياسة قناعات… ومصالح.

العراق: جيد جداً

كان لافتا مستوى الرضى والتقدير الذي يكنه الأسد للعراق. «موقفه جيد جداً منذ البداية». الأكثر اثارة للانتباه أنه كان حريصا على التأكيد أنه لا يتحدث فقط عن بغداد، بل عن الأكراد. عن كردستان العراق. رغم أن وزير الخارجية، هوشيار زيباري، المحسوب على هذا المكون الكردي، جنح بضع مرات في بعض المواقف، لكن موقف العراق «جيد جداً».
وما يجري في مصر متابع بدقة في دمشق، على أعلى المستوى. الأسد يؤكد أن «مصر هي حصن العرب»، وأن العلاقة معها اليوم أفضل مما كانت عليه حتى أيام الرئيس السابق حسني مبارك. في عهد الرئيس المخلوع «كنا ننظر إلى وزارة الخارجية المصرية على أنها وزارة الخارجية الأميركية»، بل كان الأسد حريصا على التأكيد أن العلاقة مع مصر لم تنقطع حتى أيام الرئيس المعزول محمد مرسي. القنوات الاستخبارية والعسكرية بقيت مفتوحة طوال الوقت. الآن العلاقات مع مصر أفضل من العهدين الفائتين.

دولة القبائل

الحال مع السعودية لا تزال على حالها من القطيعة والعداء. في النهاية، السعودية ليست إلا «دولة قبائل وأشخاص. العلاقات الفردية هي المقررة. عندما يختلف أحد هؤلاء معنا تصبح السعودية كلها مختلفة معنا». «أصلا السعوديون ناصبوا سوريا العداء طوال الـ20، 30 سنة الماضية، ما تغير هو العلاقة مع سيدهم. عندما تكون علاقة سيدهم معنا جيدة، يكونون هم جيدين. وعندما يختلف أسيادهم معنا، يظهرون عداءهم لنا»، لكن هناك دائما الطابع الشخصي في السياسة السعودية.
والمشكلة في تركيا، من وجهة نظر الأسد، تنحصر في شخص رجب طيب أردوغان. الشعب التركي ضد سياسته في سوريا. آخر استطلاع رأي أظهر أن أكثريته الساحقة ضد المشاركة في أي عدوان علينا. حتى الرئيس عبد الله غول بدأ يعبر علنا عن معارضته لسياسة رئيس وزرائه. رأى غول أنه اذا كان اردوغان يريد أن يضيّع نفسه، فلا داعي إلى أن يضيع الحزب معه (في اشارة الى العدالة والتنمية).
يظهر من خلال حديث الأسد كم هو كبير الدور السلبي الذي أداه وزير الخارجية محمد داوود أوغلو. كانت القنوات العسكرية بين سوريا وتركيا مفتوحة طوال الوقت، إلى أن قرر أوغلو أن يضعها بإمرة وزارة الخارجية، فتوقفت، ثم أطاحوا قيادة الجيش وكان ما كان.

الدولة المدنية

لن تتبع سوريا نسخة لبنانية او عراقية تحت أي ظرف. سوريا كانت وستبقى دولة قومية علمانية مدنية لان هذه هي الصيغة الوحيدة الملائمة لتماسك سوريا التي تتمتع بالتعددية الدينية والطائفية والعرقية. الدين بالنسبة إليه هو المظلة التي تتفيأ فيها كل القطاعات، من سياسة واقتصاد وثقافة وغيرها، لكن لا تسييس للدين في سوريا لانها ببساطة وصفة لتفكيكها. للدين دوره الروحي والانساني، وللمؤسسات الدينية دورها الدعوي. وأشاد الرئيس هنا بالدور الوطني الكبير الذي يؤديه رجال الدين الوطنيون في الحفاظ على وحدة النسيج السوري ومكافحة الافكار التكفيرية، وذكر بالتخصيص الدكتور محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي الذي استشهد في هذه الطريق.

 


الاقتصاد: نقد ذاتي

يلاحظ الرئيس بشار الأسد حجم الضغوط التي يواجهها الاقتصاد السوري الآن. عجلة الانتاج والتوزيع والتجارة جامدة، وهي وإن بدأت بالدوران في الشهرين الأخيرين إلا أنها لا تزال بطيئة. الحصار والارهاب ارهقا الاقتصاد السوري، وأضرا بمستوى معيشة المواطنين. هذا محور من محاور الحرب على سوريا، لا يقل ضراوة عن الحرب الفعلية.
يؤكد أن بلاده لم تتخلَّ ـــ ولن تتخلى ـــ عن القطاع العام، إلى جانب القطاعين الخاص والمشترك. هذه هي التركيبة التي وضعنا لها عنوان اقتصاد السوق الاجتماعي لم تكن متوازنة دائما، فنحن تسرعنا أكثر مما يجب في سياسات واجراءات تنحو نحو الخصخصة والقطاع الخاص، ولم نحقق تطوير القطاع العام الذي تراجعت كفاءته، كذلك ركّزنا في الفترة السابقة للازمة على الاستثمارات الكبيرة بينما ما يحتاجه الاقتصاد السوري لزيادة النمو وخلق فرص العمل وتوزيع مكاسب النمو هو التركيز على المؤسسات الصغيرة والمتوسطة. اهتمامنا الأول ـ الآن ـ الحفاظ على القطاع الزراعي وتطويره، ففي النهاية أكثر من 60 في المئة من الشعب فلاحون، وربما أكثر من 80 فلاحون وعمال.

الاخبار

16 yr old Malala explains the facts of life to Obama “drones are ‘fueling terrorism'”

Source

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago, in the Oval Office, Oct. 11, 2013.

PETE SOUZA — Official White House photo

            President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met in the Oval Office Friday with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakastani girl who was shot in the head on her school bus by Taliban gunmen for criticizing their rule, including banning education for girls.

The White House says the first couple invited Malala — the youngest ever nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize — to the White House “to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan.”

In a statement, the White House says the United States “joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala’s courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams.”

In a statement released after the meeting, Malala said she was honored to meet with Obama, but that she told him she’s worried about the effect of U.S. drone strikes. (The White House statement didn’t mention that part.)

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” she said in the statement. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

Malala was in Washington to address the World Bank.

The White House noted that Obama had said in a proclamation marking today as the International Day of the Girl, that “across the globe there are girls who will one day lead nations, if only we afford them the chance to choose their own destinies.”

The meeting was not on the president’s schedule and there was no advance notice, nor any press coverage.

Press Secretary Jay Carney had earlier said Malala’s “courage and efforts are remarkable, and the president absolutely honors them,” after ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked him whether the Nobel committee “blew it” by giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, rather than Malala.

Carney said the award “reinforces the international community’s commitment to the international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. “One of the President’s highest priorities is to prevent the proliferation or use of weapons of mass destruction,” Carney said. “And this award honors those who make it their life’s work to advance this vital goal.”

Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter, Malia, meet with Malala Yousafzi, the young Pakastani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban last October

Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize



By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 03, 2013

The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation Among Nations of the World (IASUCANW) nominated him for the 2014 award.

On October 11, this year’s winner will be announced. Annual nominations must be postmarked by February 1.

Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov collaborated. They’ve addressed regional conflicts responsibly. They’ve gone all out for peace in Syria.

They want things resolved diplomatically. They want all sides on board to do so.
They continue doing it against long odds. Both men deserve recognition for their efforts. They persist tirelessly.

They do it knowing Obama wants regime change. War is his bottom line option to achieve it. Preventing it will be a monumental achievement. So will resolving Syria’s conflict peacefully.
On October 1, IASUCANW President Georgiy Trapeznikov said “the letter was sent to the Nobel Committee September 16 and it was received September 20.”

“Vladimir Putin has proved his adherence to the cause of peace.”
“We know very well what peacemaking role our president played in conflict regions, especially Beslan and South Ossetia.”

He’s very much involved in resolving Syria’s conflict peacefully.
Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Pekov said:

“The primary criterion for the president is satisfaction from a job well done.” He seeks no special recognition or awards.

State Duma MP Iosif Kobzon said Putin deserves next year’s prize. He’s polar opposite Obama.
“Barack Obama is the man who has initiated and approved the United States’ aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Kobzon.

“Now he is preparing for an invasion into Syria. He bears this title nevertheless.”
“Our president, who tries to stop the bloodshed and who tries to help the conflict situation with political dialogue, is in my view more worthy of this high title.”

Nobel Committee members deplore peace. They represent wealth, power and privilege.
They believe war is peace. It shows in their annual selections.

Past winners included Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, FW de Klerk, Al Gore, Kofi Annan, and four US warrior presidents.

Announcing Obama award, Committee members said:

It reflects his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

He’s “work(ed) for a world without nuclear weapons.”

He “created a new climate in international politics.”

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

Since day one in office, Obama waged war on humanity. He continues doing it.

He wants Syria ravaged and destroyed. He plans war on Iran. He has other targets in mind.

He doesn’t have a peace bone in his body. He thrives on violence. He presides over a homeland police state apparatus.

He spurns core rule of law principles. He considers them quaint and out-of-date. They’re obstacles to achieving global dominance.

His agenda is belligerent. It’s interventionist. It deplores peace. It prioritizes conflict and instability. He wants unipolar world control.

Putin is polar opposite. He supports peace and stability. He calls nation-state sovereignty inviolable.
He champions multi-polar world cooperation. He deserves recognition for his efforts to achieve it.
All-Russian Education Fund president Sergey Komkov supports Putin’s nomination. He addressed Nobel Committee members by letter, saying:

Putin “appl(ies) maximum effort for maintaining peace, not only on the territory of his own country, but he also actively supports the peaceful settlement of all conflicts on the planet.”

On October 1, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed support for Putin’s nomination, saying:

“If there is someone who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize at this historic moment, it is the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was able to stop the war that threatened the Syrians.”

Venezuelan National Assembly President Diosadado Cabello Rondon plans visiting Moscow.
He’ll give Putin a congratulatory letter. He’ll do so for “the role he is playing in establishing a new world of peace.”

Former Reagan administration Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Kathleen Troia McFarland endorsed Putin’s nomination, saying:
“The world knows that Vladimir Putin is the one who really deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.” She praised his “give peace a chance” efforts.

Chicago Tribune editors said his proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons “validates the great power status of Russia and might even win Vladimir Putin a Nobel Peace Prize.”

A “We the People” petition wants Obama to give Putin his 2009 award, stating:

“Whereas Mr. Obama made a sincere commitment to starting a war with Syria, engaging our military in unwanted conflict, and doing so without the support of his people, we resolve that Mr. Obama should deliver the Nobel Peace prize given to him in 2009 to a man of Peace, the President of Russia, Mr. Putin.”
“Whereas Mr. Putin enabled the United States to avoid an unwanted and unwarranted military action, he has brought us to the ‘brink’ of peace.”

Other global initiatives want Obama’s award rescinded. RootsAction headlined “Revoke Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize,” saying:

“After receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama has made perpetual war look more perpetual than ever.”
“Today, there are more US troops in Afghanistan than when Obama took office.”
“His increasing intervention in Syria promises the loss of even more than the nearly 100,000 lives already needlessly sacrificed.”
“His intervention in Libya cost thousands of lives while destabilizing the entire region.”
“His presidency has widened the use of drones and other instruments of remote killing without limit to almost any place on the globe.”
“Please sign this petition to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.” Access it at RootsAction.org.

On October 1, The New York Times headlined “Citing Efforts to Prevent Attack on Syria, Group Nominates Putin for Peace Prize.”

Putin bashing is longstanding Times policy. It continues irresponsibly. The Times lied saying:

“He is credited with commanding a war to crush separatism in Chechnya, approving a full-scale attack on Georgia over a minor border dispute, and complaining when NATO led an air war in Libya to stop Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from killing thousands of Libyans.”
“And he is still selling weapons to the murderous government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.”

Fact check

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin waged two wars on Chechnya. He waged another against ordinary Russian citizens.

Shock therapy produced economic genocide. Around 80% of farmers went bankrupt. About 70,000 state factories closed.

An unemployment epidemic followed. A permanent underclass was created. Half or more of Russians became impoverished.

Crime, suicides, mortality, alcoholism, drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS soared to intolerable levels.
Essential needs were ignored. Human and civil rights were spurned. The New York Times called Yeltsin “a towering figure of his time.”

He became widely despised. His approval rating sunk to low single digits. On December 31, 1999, his tenure ended disgracefully. He announced it, saying:

“I want to beg forgiveness for your dreams that never came true. And also I would like to beg forgiveness not to have justified your hopes.”

Putin was Yeltsin’s prime minister. He became acting president. He remained so until Russians formally elected him to lead on March 26.

According to former Nezavisimaia Gazeta editor-in-chief Vitalii Tret’iakov:

“(F)or the greater part of his presidency, Yeltsin slept, drank, was ill, relaxed, didn’t show his face before the people and simply did nothing.”
“Despised by the majority of (Russians, he’ll) go down in history as the first president of Russia, having corrupted (the country) to the breaking point, not by his virtues and or by his defects, but rather by his dullness, primitiveness, and unbridled power lust of a hooligan.”

Western governments, The NYT, and other mainstream media hailed his democratic change.
They ignored his “free market” gangsterism. Another generation may be needed to recover from the human wreckage he caused.

Obama bears full responsibility for lawless aggression on Libya. Doing so destroyed Africa’s most developed country.

Daily charnel house violence, instability, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and human misery replaced it. Don’t expect The Times to explain.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is a despotic US-installed stooge.

On August 7, 2008, he lawlessly attacked South Ossetia. He did so with Bush administration backing.
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin acted responsibly. They did so to protect thousands of Russian citizens at risk.

Times editors, commentators and writers misreported on what happened. They didn’t surprise. They backed lawless aggression. They opposed responsible self-defense. They did so disgracefully.
They’re doing it again now. They criticize Putin’s efforts to prevent full-scale war on Syria.
He vetoed three US-led Security Council resolutions to do it. The Times lied saying he “block(ed) international action that could have stemmed the violence in Syria and prevented the deaths of more than 100,000 civilians.”

Syria is Obama’s war. He bears full responsibility for mass killing and destruction. The Times didn’t explain.

More Putin bashing followed, saying:

“Mr. Putin would not be the first formerly war-waging leader to win the Peace Prize.”

True enough about many others. Obama stands out notably. Putin responsibly deplores war. He seeks peace.

The Times again failed to explain. Irresponsible reporting substituted. It’s longstanding Times policy. Its “news fit to print” isn’t fit to read.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Striking Russia through Syria

Putin says nyet to Obama
by Ariadna Theokopoulos on September 9, 2013                    

We’re witnessing the last grotesque convulsions of a dying empire. As it threatens humanity with annihilation, it’s also nauseating the still sane among us with an unending farce, as in the hypocrite Kerry declaring, “this is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter,” but John, you lying cynic, the world has been asked to be a mute audience to American mass murder for how long now? But Johnny wants more, much more.

Feigning outrage, the former anti-war darling and Democratic Presidential candidate was talking about the Syria chemical attack, which was likely the work of America itself, through its crazed terrorists, though Washington is trying hard to convince incredulous listeners that Assad somehow did this just so the US of A could have the excuse to destroy him, along with thousands of innocent Syrians. Putin called this explanation nonsense, and even branded Kerry a liar, and the UN has even concluded that an earlier chemical attack, also blamed on Assad, was committed by the American-backed “rebels.”

As in so many other wars, the US must save civilians by killing or maiming them, as well as poisoning their environments for centuries. Though the US routinely targets civilian infrastructures such as electrical stations and water treatment plants, and uses war means that murder long after the last bullet is fired, as in cluster bombs and depleted uranium, for example, it is now acting livid over Assad’s alleged use of sarin.

But in his ketchup-bleeding heart, Kerry knows full well that America’s aggression against Syria is not over sarin but natural gas. First of, Syria’s biggest supporter, Russia, is the world’s leading exporter of this stuff, and supplies Europe with nearly 40% of its needs, so that’s a lot of leverage, Watson. If overly irked by America’s puppets in NATO, Russia can retaliate by turning off the gas, as has been done several times already.

To wiggle out of this dependence, another source of natural gas was needed, and Qatar proposed a pipeline to Europe by way of Syria, except Assad would not acquiesce. Russia is Assad’s main protector, after all, and Russian navy ships have docked in the Syrian port of Tartus since 1971. Rebuffed, the US, France, England, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others decided to back terrorists to unseat Assad. Aiming to destroy Syria, this charming group calls itself the Friends of Syria, naturally. A long time enemy of Syria, Israel also supports this hostility, though its escalation might just wipe a good chunk of this pariah state off the map.

Syria has agreed to a pipeline originating from Iran, however. A much less significant source of natural gas than Qatar, Iran will hardly dent Russia’s profits, and since it’s also a Russian ally, the gas flow to Europe will still be controlled by Moscow. So Russia has Europe by the balls, so to speak, especially in winter, when enough people freeze to death as is. Many countries are entirely dependent on Russian natural gas, while France only imports a manageable 14%, and the UK, none, so they can afford to kiss Uncle Sam’s withered ass a bit harder, though the Brits, interestingly this time, have opted out of the current madness.

A war on Syria, then, is an attack on Russia itself, and that’s why Russian warships are patrolling the Mediterranean. Countering the American menace, Russia will certainly be no silent spectator, and to show support for Russia and Syria, a Chinese warship has also shown up, with more coming. Though Washington talks of a “warning shot across the bow” or “tailored strike,” a quickie hit and run that won’t distract too much from the exhilarating start of football season, World War III might just erupt, for we haven’t been this close to universal calamity in half a century.

Two weeks ago, only 9% of Americans favored a military strike against Syria, but now, with such an onslaught of propaganda, up to 42% support it, but this figure might be exaggerated since it is reported by NBC News, a subsidiary of war profiteering General Electric.

Voices of dissent have surfaced even in the mainstream media, however, for wiser heads can’t help but realize that a war against Syria and Russia will bring much grief and terror to us all, including those busy watching a missed tackle or punt return. The New York Times even showed on its front page a photo of Syrian “rebels” about to execute kneeling, shirtless prisoners, with their heads close to the ground. Much more damning images exist, and the Times has surely known about them, but it is choosing to feature this now, as if to put the kibosh on Obama and his war mongers. CNN televised war nut McCain being challenged by outraged citizens at a town meeting, though it did allow the old POW to have the last word in a live interview.

As America oscillates over its death wish, Obama himself is blinking, and we can only hope that Barack will just go on unleashing unnatural, gaseous nonsense, and not Tomahawk missiles towards Damascus. It’s hard to believe, but this man has turned out to be more preposterous than Bush, so if the trend holds, our next President will be a Mummer, some Lucha Libre guy or, why not, a real rodeo clown. In any case, it was quite a spectacle to see Obama fly to Russia to become Putin’s court jester, for he delivered one joke after another, most of them unintended.

En route to Saint Petersburg, Obama stopped in Sweden, and there, promised that he would bug Putin about Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who died in Soviet custody in 1945. The Nobel Peace laureate never wastes a chance to appear humanitarian and noble, and the Swedes had also done him a favor by prosecuting Assange over that CIA-staged threesome, but the real reason Obama dug up this man, one suspects, was to draw a parallel between Wallenberg’s protection of Jews in World War II with himself trying to “save” Syrians today. Brilliant! He’s evoking this famous saver of Jews to mass murder more Arabs. In the process, though, he will trigger the deaths of countless others, maybe even you.

Peace Prize for those who declared war on my country

by Kourosh Ziabari
Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Nobel Prize is the most prestigious honor which one may be awarded in his lifetime. The legacy of Alfred Nobel is so matchless and incomparable that more than one century after the first Nobel Prize was awarded, it is still the most exalted and esteemed prize that can be conferred to people who work for the promotion and advancement of sciences and global peace.

Many people live their entire life with the dream of winning a Nobel Prize, without revealing this sealed aspiration to anyone. Chemists, physicists, medics, economists, authors, poets and activists who invest their whole life on a groundbreaking achievement which rightfully and truly deserves a Nobel Prize may witness the swift and unstoppable passage of years, without being ever recognized for their striking breakthroughs and accomplishments, either by the Nobel Foundation or the universities, organizations and groups which award important prizes.

Nobody can doubt that Nobel Prize is an insignificant reality or may diminish in importance and value with time. Every year, weeks before the announcement of the Nobel Prize laureates in physiology or medicine, chemistry, physics, literature, peace and economics, mass media, authors, university professors and ordinary people begin to make speculations about who may be given the prize and have their name recorded in the brilliant history of the Nobel Prize.

Upon writing his will in 1895, Alfred Nobel thought that it must be suitable to entrust the responsibility of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a Norwegian committee, because Norway did not have the same militaristic traditions as Sweden, and “at the end of the nineteenth century the Norwegian Storting (legislative assembly) had become closely involved in the Inter-Parliamentary Union and its efforts to resolve conflicts through mediation and arbitration,” as written by the Norwegian Nobel Committee website.

Alfred Nobel had realized the need for supporting and sponsoring global efforts aimed at fostering peace and tranquility around the world, and for this reason, he demanded that a group of five Norwegian lawmakers should decide about the destiny of the Nobel Peace Prize each year.

It’s not far from reality to claim that the criteria for the endowment of Nobel Peace Prize as stipulated by the Norwegian Nobel Committee have been usually politically motivated, and this is something which is not in line with the essence of Alfred Nobel’s will. Of course there are people in the history of Nobel Peace Prize who were awarded the prize righteously for their sincere efforts to promote peace, encourage dialogue among the nations and reduce or abolish the standing armies. But, let’s just be fair. Was the European Union really worthy of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize?

I really don’t know if this union has really contributed to fraternity and integrity between its 27 members throughout the past decades, but what I have personally witnessed in the past year is that this union has aggressively declared an all-out, bloodless war on Iran, affecting millions of innocent civilians in my country who can’t understand for what crime they are being targeted and punished in such a belligerent and unfair manner.

The European Union began to impose an inclusive oil embargo against Iran since July 1 as a result of direct pressure and lobbying by the United States and in an effort aimed at paralyzing Iran’s nuclear program which they claim is not aimed at civilian purposes, and finally breaking the back of Iran’s economy and pressuring it into making political concessions.

As a result of these sanctions, the value of Iran’s currency, rial, has dropped to its lowest level against dollar in three decades, the country has been hit by a staggering and overwhelming hyperinflation which according to Prof. Steve H. Hanke has been increasing the price of goods and commodities by 70% every month since the sanctions began to take effect and the country’s export of oil has decreased 600,000 to 800,000 barrels each day which means a 50% reduction in sales. Moreover, several international insurance companies, airliners and shipping lines have ceased their cooperation with Iran as a result of the economic crisis which has encompassed the country.

As a result of the oil embargo and other financial restrictions imposed on my country by the EU, the Iranian families are unable to fund their students abroad and consequently, a large group of Iranian students studying in foreign universities are returning en masse. Sensitive medicine and pharmaceutical products which were previously imported from the foreign countries cannot find their way to Iran’s markets anymore and thousands of patients badly in need of medicines for such diseases as thalassemia, hepatitis, diabetes, different types of cancer, heart diseases and psychiatric disorders are facing serious problems with finding their medicines.

Are the leaders of the European Union recognizing that their sanctions are taking a heavy toll on the innocent, ordinary Iranian citizens and shattering the ambitions and aspirations of thousands of youths who cannot realize their dreams due to the financial problems which have tumbled on their lives?

Are the leaders of the European Union who now carry the grandiose accolade of the world’s most important prize for promoting peace recognizing that the purchasing power of the middle-class and working families has experienced an unimaginable free-fall in the recent months and that their lives is on the verge of blowing apart?

Waging wars does not take place simply by means of bombarding cities or dropping nuclear bombs on other nations. What the European Union has been doing with Iran is the unmistakable representation of an all-out war in which the ordinary citizens are the silent victims.

Alfred Nobel writes in his will, my capital should be “invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”

Was destroying the economy of Iran and ruining the lives of thousands of innocent civilians the magnum opus for which the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

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

Prince of Gaza hailed Qatari donation of 25000 tons of fuel to Gaza,

Haneyya calls on Egypt to restrain Israeli targeting of Palestinian prisoners

[ 02/04/2012 – 05:53 PM ]


GAZA, (PIC)– Palestinian premier in Gaza Ismail Haneyya has called on Egypt, in its capacity as the patron of the prisoners’ exchange deal between Hamas and Israel, to pressure Israel into abiding by articles of the deal.
Haneyya, during a visit to liberated prisoner Hana’a Shalabi in Shifa hospital in Gaza on Monday, said that Israel had violated articles of the agreement that banned re-arrest of freed captives in this deal.
He described the deportation of Shalabi to Gaza as a war crime and a violation of human rights, adding that his government would ask Arab and international courts to put an end to such policy.
The premier, shifting to another issue, said that the fuel crisis in Gaza would be resolved within days, pointing to the presence of his deputy in Cairo for that matter.
He hailed in this respect the Qatari donation of 25000 tons of fuel to Gaza, adding that it would suffice the Strip for two months.

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

You Are Not Forgotten

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My Palestinian sister, my Palestinian brother;
I write this letter today and I see your face in front of me, the face of Palestine.

I see your smile; that of a poppy being kissed by the sun. I hear your whisper; that of an olive trees being hugged by the wind. I address this letter to you, for I know your name and you know mine: Palestinian.

2010 was declared the year of the Palestinian prisoners/detainees. Throughout the year, some local newspapers here in occupied Palestine published daily reports about you, your detention, your heroism, published interviews with your families, your loved ones telling of your detention, of the painful visits, of the Israeli oppression and harassment, and telling of how much you are loved, how much you are missed.

A photo accompanied every report; a smiling young man with wavy dark hair that is probably grey now with the years and the suffering behind bars, a beautiful young woman whose once bright eyes probably have turned pale today with pain and sadness, a laughing father sitting amongst his children, wife, parents and siblings before being kidnapped from their midst by Israeli occupation soldiers, a happy mother surrounded by her children before she was separated from them by Israeli jailors, a little boy standing proudly near his new bicycle that is now stacked somewhere full of dust waiting for its owner to come home.

Every morning I rush to check the page with your stories in one of the local newspapers. I pass my fingers over your pictures as I read how much you love Msakhan, how you tried to return the little bird to its nest and fell off the olive tree, how you impressed everyone with your dakbeh during your brother’s wedding, how you love writing poetry, how you dreamt of a free Palestine. And then I would wish I was able to free you, bring you back to your loved ones, bring you back to your poetry, to your dabkeh group, to your olive tree, and I would wish I could hug you, each and every one of you, and remove some of your pain away and tell you that you are never forgotten, that your pain is not yours alone, it is ours, all of us, because we are all one: we are Palestinians.

And like the tens of thousands of fellow Palestinians, I joined the campaign of the ministry of detainees, the “write a letter” campaign, to tell you are not forgotten. I took a look at the list of names published by the ministry of detainees. And although the lists were incomplete, I wished I could write 7000 letters, a letter to each and every one of you. I knew it was impossible, mainly because I was unable to find the 7000 names. I decided to choose a name from every part of Palestine; one of you from Jerusalem, one from Nablus, one from Im Il-Fahim, Bethlehem, Gaza, Yafa, Jenin. I looked at the list of Jerusalem prisoners and I read the names. I came across prisoners from my family, I came across prisoners from the old city, from Ras Il Amoud, Silwan, Abu Dees, Il-Izariyyeh, Sawahreh, At-Tur, At-Thuri, Il-Isawiyyeh, Wadi Il-Joz, Shu’fat, Beit Hanina, Il-Ram, Il-Sheikh Jarrah. I came across men, women, children, elderly and sick detainees and I couldn’t decide. Each and every name has a face; each and every name has a story; each and every name has a family, has parents, brothers, sisters and maybe a wife and children. Each and every one of you is entitled to a letter, each and every one of you must be told you are not forgotten.

I looked at the other lists, read the sentences: 30 years, 40 years, 60 years, 99 years, 999 years! And I thought of the pain of being separated from the ones you love, being robbed of your freedom, of your life; indescribable. I looked at the names of the isolated detainees and I read: isolated since 2008, since 2006, since 2003 and since 2001! And I thought: to live in a tiny cell, isolated from the whole world, even from fellow prisoners, for 9 years! What cruelty! What inhumanity! I could not choose any random name, for you all are my brothers and sisters. I decided to write to everyone on the lists. I wrote and wrote, crossed over and wrote again, crossed over, wrote again and so it went. I wanted my letter to reach you and not be cut short by the Israeli censor. And eventually, after I don’t know how many attempts, I wrote a short message, one to tell you that you are not forgotten. I sent many, don’t know anymore how many. Then I stopped.

I stopped because I thought of how unfair it was of the ministry to publish only a few names. Everyone joining the campaign would be writing these very same names. I imagined you all sitting in your cells and only a couple of you receiving dozens of letters because some names were published, while the rest of you wondering why you no one remembered you. I thought of all the Palestinian detainees, of all of you, all of you locked up behind Israeli bars, all those among you who spent more time in Israeli jails than with your families, all those among you who try to remember your mothers gentle touch while being tortured by Israeli jailors, all those among you who try to recall your father’s kind words while being interrogated by Israeli terrorists. I thought of the children, the women and the elderly, I thought of all the Jordanian, Syrian and other Arab prisoners among you who love Palestine and love freedom, and who sacrificed their freedom for Palestine. I thought of every human being locked up in the dungeons of Zion and thought how insignificant a letter is compared to your sacrifices. What would you tell a prisoner who is spending his 33th year in Israeli dungeons? What would you tell a mother whose children are growing up away from her? What would you tell a cancer patient screaming from pain every night while we go to work, eat and sleep and maybe, because there is a campaign, we write a letter?

I remember the time when I often wrote letters to my uncles. Like you, they were locked up behind Israeli bars and their only crime was their love of Palestine and their yearning for freedom. Writing to them felt like a national duty; something I had to do. I wrote letter after letter after letter, and only got a few back in reply to the ones I sent. I knew there is Israeli censorship, and that all letters are read and controlled, parts might be crossed out or even whole letters withheld if they contained one word that might not appeal to the inspecting Israeli soldier. I knew that my letters would reach my uncles days, maybe weeks, maybe even months after I had sent them. I knew that my uncles were not able to reply to every single letter I sent and thus I cherished the few I got from them, no matter how little they contained. I wanted so much to tell them how much I am proud of them, of Palestine and of the resistance, of the people demonstrating everywhere against occupation and oppression. But I knew if I wrote these things, the letters won’t reach them and the most important thing to me was that the letters arrive to my uncles, that they know they are not one second forgotten, that they are not alone suffering in the jail, that we are suffering with them, missing them, thinking of them every minute of the day. I did my best to make the letter as personal as possible and at the same time, out of fear of the Israeli censor and never being allowed to write again, I tried to make the letter as impersonal as possible. I wrote of insignificant things; I wrote of school and of the weather.

I wrote of the weather, of the blue sky over Palestine, and hoped they would remember how we used to watch the clouds and laugh at the figures we imagined in them. I didn’t dare mention the clouds of tear gas that were strangling us day and night. I wrote of the olive trees, the apple trees, the fig trees and the vineyards and hoped they would see the playgrounds of childhood. I didn’t dare mention the destroyed fields, the uprooted trees and the olive trees that were stolen and replanted at the entrance of settlements as decoration. I wrote of the hills and the poppies and hoped they would see the Palestinian spring and remember our flower-search adventures. I didn’t dare mention the alien settler houses that are popping on every hill and murdering the flowers. I wrote of school, of classes, homework and exams, how tiresome it all was. I didn’t dare mention schools that were bombed and school children that were hunted down by Israeli snipers. I wrote of housework, of dusting and washing the dishes and how boring it all was. I didn’t dare mention playing with my friends because I feared reminding them of their childhood friends who were killed by Israeli soldiers. And although I knew that my uncles in their imprisonment knew exactly what was going on outside their prison cells, knew of the ongoing oppression, I kept telling writing to them that we were all fine, that everything was fine. I didn’t dare mention my little cousin who wakes ups crying at night after nightmares about Israeli soldiers beating her mother. I didn’t dare mention that the Israeli soldiers beat my grandmother several times with their rifles and clubs, how they often raided the house and left destruction behind them, how they shot and injured my friend, how they demolished our neighbours’ house, how they kill, how they destroy, how they oppress and oppress. I didn’t dare mention so much, because I wanted my uncles to know that despite all the Zionist terror we are steadfast, that despite the Zionist efforts to kill us and kill our souls we are alive and our hearts are beating and our souls are thriving, stronger than ever, yearning for freedom, full of hope, that despite all we are unbreakable.

And today, dear brothers and sisters, writing to you, I don’t dare mention how your sacrifices are used to promote “others”. I don’t dare mention how some who claim to represent us use your suffering as a bargaining chip, use your cause as a playing card, remember you when it pleases them and serves their interests and ignore you when they get the orders to do so. I don’t dare mention how they are selling out your and our rights, how they are cashing in on your and our suffering. I don’t dare mention how your homes are raided, your families detained and tortured not only by the Israeli occupier but also by those who coordinate with the occupier, who negotiate with the occupier and who claim to represent us. I don’t dare mention how you, all of you comrades, are no longer seen as one, as the children of Palestine, as heroes, but are categorized according to the wills and terms of the occupiers, of those who “pay”, of some of who claim “solidarity” with you and us. I don’t dare mention how they will only support your cause and your fight for freedom when you and your fight for freedom apply to their categorization. I don’t dare mention how they set up blogs, write one petition after the other, beg this and that international figure to demand the release of the “chosen ones” amongst you because they are categorized as “peace activists”, because they are categorized as “non-violent activists”, as if you were the “war activists” or the “violent ones”, as if you were the ones to be forgotten, the ones who don’t count. I don’t dare mention how your mothers cry in secret and how your fathers shake their head in sadness when they see calls for the release of some, while many of you remain no more than a number to add to the end of their petitions. They forget or choose to forget that resistance is legitimate, that the occupation is illegitimate. They forget or choose to forget that occupied people have the right to fight their oppressors, to defend their families and their homes with whatever means they choose or see fit. They choose to ignore that real solidarity knows no boundaries, no limits and no classification, that if the Palestinians choose armed resistance it is their choice and if they choose peaceful resistance it is their choice, and that if they choose both, it is and will always be the choice of the Palestinian people and no one, NO ONE, has the right to dictate to the Palestinians steadfast in occupied Palestine what they have to do and what choices to make and what categorizations to follow.

I don’t dare mention so much, but I will tell you that even if some abandon you and forget your suffering, we haven’t and never will. They talk of you in conferences, in their speeches, reduce you and your cause and your suffering to a mere number, tossed here and there, but to us you all have names, have faces, have a story to tell. They talk of understanding your suffering, of knowing it. No, don’t listen to them, for they know not what imprisonment is, they know not what oppression is, they who coordinate with the occupier. Don’t listen to them when they tell you they feel your suffering or when they tell you they are as imprisoned as you are, they who live in villas next to refugee camps, those who ride Mercedes that come extra with a driver, those who dine and wine in luxury restaurants and hotels in Tel Aviv. They know not what it means to hunger for freedom, because they sold their own freedom and want to sell ours. They don’t know what it means to remain steadfast in a dark cell, dream of the blue sky over Jerusalem, the sun shining over Al-Jalil, the fresh breeze over Akka, because they deleted these from their memory as well as from their maps. Don’t listen to them, for they seek captivity while you seek freedom.

Dear Palestinian sister, dear Palestinian brother,

Every morning and every evening, and the time that is in between, my grandmother used to wonder what her children were doing. 3, 4 and often 5 of my uncles would be imprisoned at the same time. With every meal, my grandmother would wonder what they were eating, if they were eating. On feast days she knew little happiness. She never had a moment’s rest while even one of them was in a Zionist jail. I think of her and think of your mothers, your fathers, brothers, sisters, partners and children. I don’t have the words of the mother who hasn’t hugged her child for over 20 years. I don’t have the words of a father who lies dying and hopes for a final smile from his detained child. I don’t have the words of a child who yearns for the parent, and in several cases both parents, who have been locked up away since many countless nights. But I know what it feels like to be locked up, to be humiliated by Israeli jailors, to be interrogated by Zionist criminals, to count the minutes, the seconds, and I know how it feels to hunger for the face of someone you love, to watch them through barbed wires and not be able to touch them, to want to cry at the injustice but keep a smile plastered to your face. I wish I could write a letter to every single one of you, I wish I could hug every one of you, I wish I could tell you how much we love you. The campaign is over, but you are not forgotten. Many of us know what it means to be imprisoned and how it feels. We feel with every one of you, we feel your suffering and pain, we hear your thoughts and cries, we touch your tears and heart beats. We feel you and think of you when we go sleep in our comfortable beds while you sleep on rotten mattresses in cold cells. We write about you in our blogs, while you hunger for a book to read. We sing about you and your heroism while you hunger for the voice of your parents, siblings and children, while you hunger for the singing of the birds in the early morning, for the music of the fields on a rainy day. The world might forget you, those who claim to represent us might forget you, they might ignore you, but we won’t and as long as you are not free, we won’t be free and no matter what they claim, because your captivity is our captivity, your freedom is our freedom. Your steadfastness makes us strong, keeps us strong. We won’t tire, we will fight for the freedom of each and every one of you: you are all one, you are all heroes; the heroes fighting for justice; the heroes of Palestine.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israel: Occupation or Apartheid?

Via Intifada Voice

Jamal Dajani

VP of International News, Series Producer of Mosaic News, Link TV
Posted: February 5, 2010 10:01 AM
The dreaded “A-Word” has once again made its way into Israeli media, not by a leftist “self-hating Jew”, but by a prominent Israeli politician, the Minister of Defense, who is a decorated soldier and a former prime minister as well. “A” is for Apartheid.
An awful word that evokes awful memories, presumably left behind in the annals of history in places such as Soweto and Cape Town. A word that has invited rage, insults, and attacks against a former US president who received a Nobel Peace Prize.
This past Tuesday, however, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that if Israel does not achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians, it will have to become a binational state or be an undemocratic apartheid one if it remains as it is.
“The simple truth is, if there is one state” including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, “it will have to be either binational or undemocratic. … if this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state,” Barak said at the Herzliya Conference north of Tel Aviv.
Though rarely used by Israeli leaders in connection to the Palestinians, the term “apartheid” is becoming more common to describe the current reality on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
More than two years ago, on the anniversary of the 1947 UN partition plan that would have divided British mandate Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned of this same scenario. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Ehud Olmert said Israel was “finished” if it forced the Palestinians into a struggle for equal rights.
If the two-state solution collapsed, he said, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished”.

But veteran Israeli journalist David Michaelis believes that a South African-style apartheid system has already emerged due to Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories.

“What Ehud Barak intended to do is to send a stark warning that Israel is heading towards a binational situation; however, we are already in a binational situation, and an apartheid system that’s working very well for the Israeli military and government.”

Five years ago David Michaelis and I jointly interviewed Palestinians and Israelis about the prospect of a binational state. Most Palestinians we spoke to then were thinking of independence and most Israelis were thinking of separation. At the time, the Israeli government was frantically building the Separation Wall, and only a handful of Israelis entertained the idea of binational coexistence. One such person we interviewed who predicted what Ehud Barak is currently cautioning of was Meron Benvenisti, a former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem.

Benvenisti has recently published an elaborate article in Ha’aretz chronicling how Israel became a de facto binational regime.

“The attempt to mark the settlements, and the settlers, as the major impediment to peace is a convenient alibi, obfuscating the involvement of the entire Israeli body politic in maintaining and expanding the regime of coercion and discrimination in the occupied territories, and benefiting from it,” he argued.

According to him, the violent events of the (second) intifada brought the Jewish-Israeli public to a crossroads in relation to their neighbors-enemies. Benvenisti argues that Israeli-Jews turned their backs on the Palestinians, erasing them from their consciousness and imprisoning them behind impenetrable walls, and became willing to congregate in a ghetto and pray that the Mediterranean might dry up or a bridge be built to connect them with Europe.

This mentality is manifested in two, recently constructed, architectural monuments whose symbolism transcends their functional value: The gigantic Separation Wall and the colossal Ben Gurion air terminal. The former is meant to hide the Palestinians and erase them from Israeli consciousness and the latter serves as an escape gateway.

David Michaelis concurs and believes that most Israelis prefer to live in denial and avoid the subject of apartheid.

“The peace process is a misnomer, and the word occupation is misleading because it’s really about systematic control.”

How long can Israelis live in this denial and pretend that apartheid-like conditions do not exist?
Well you’ve heard the expression, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…”

February 6, 2010 Posted by Elias |
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

‘Peace Prize’ President Submits Largest War Budget Ever Obama Seeks Record $708 Billion in Defense Budget

Obomba: Not enough Nukes

Via South Lebanon

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Monday asked Congress to approve a record $708 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2011, including a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon’s base budget and $159 billion to fund U.S. military missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The White House budget request also included $33 billion in additional funding for fiscal 2010 to pay for increasing military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq. That comes on top of $129.6 billion already provided for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30.

The Pentagon’s base budget request of $549 billion is up $18 billion from $531 billion in fiscal 2010, and will pay for continued reforms of defense acquisitions, development of a ballistic missile defense system and care of wounded soldiers.

The budget also calls for cancellation of several major weapons programs, including Boeing Co’s C-17 transport plane, saving $2.5 billion, and a second engine for the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet, saving $465 million in fiscal 2011 and more than $1 billion longer-term. The White House tried to kill both programs last year, but lawmakers revived them during the budget process.

The second engine is being developed by General Electric Co and Britain’s Rolls-Royce as an alternate to the main engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

The proposed budget also kills plans for development of a new Navy cruiser, scraps plans to replace the Navy’s EP-3 intelligence aircraft and halts work on a missile early-warning satellite, opting instead to upgrade the Space Based Infrared System satellite already being developed by Lockheed.

The budget proposal also calls for a delay in replacing two new Navy command and control shops until after 2015, a move the White House said would save $3.8 billion across the Pentagon’s five-year defense plan. The Navy had planned to buy one command ship in 2012, and a second one in 2014.

Procurement of a new amphibious vehicle being built by General Dynamics Corp for the Marine Corps would be delayed by one year, saving $50 million in fiscal 2011 and cutting risk by allowing more time for testing.

The Pentagon also said it would further reduce its use of high-risk contracts in areas that related to time, material and labor hours by 17 percent through the end of 2011.

The budget underscored the administration’s commitment to a “robust defense against emerging missile threats,” saying it would pay for use of increasingly capable sea- and land-based missile interceptors and a range of sensors in Europe.

The Pentagon’s budget continues to fund new weapons already under development, including the F-35 fighter, a new ballistic missile submarine, a new family of ground vehicles and the P-8 surveillance aircraft built by Boeing.

It will also pay for more unmanned planes, helicopters, electronic warfare capabilities and cybersecurity measures.

Overall, the budget includes $112.8 billion for weapons procurement, up from $104.8 billion in fiscal 2010, and $76 billion for research and development, down from $80 billion.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Lisa Von AhnSource

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 10:33 AM 0 comments

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

THE PRINCE OF PEACE NEVER WON THE NOBEL PRIZE

Link

BUT….. Barack Obama did! Where is the logic?

Just ask anyone in:
Afghanistan
Iran
Iraq
Pakistan
Palestine
Guantanamo
any US Federal Prison
any US hospital
if he is worthy of such an honour.

When we say “Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack ran so all our children could fly…..”

Do we mean that our children should be piloting bomber jets? Somehow, I don’t think that is what was meant….

(Image is the February illustration in the 2010 Peace Calendar)

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Let us honour HIM by living His dream of Peace on earth to all men of goodwill.

Let us honour Him by letting our leaders know we are still waiting for the promised CHANGE.

Rosa had a dream. Martin had a dream. Barack has turned America’s dream into a nightmare!

FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU…..

From all of us here at DesertPeace, our Associates, our Friends, our Extended Family…..
All the best wishes for this Holiday Season… be it Eid Al-Adha, Chanukah, Christmas or Kwanza….

May 2010 usher in a new era of Peace and Justice throughout the world we live in…
An end to ALL hostilities!

Image by David Baldinger


Only YOU can help CHANGE the following situation…..


 Uprooted Palestinian

Oslo & the empire

Link

Posted on December 23, 2009 by realistic bird
Workers World Editorial, PTT

It was an historic moment: a Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that was an apology for an imperialist war of occupation. More than that, it preemptively laid out the justification for U.S. imperialist wars.

Even without hearing the speech, you could measure it by the reactions it evoked. Reactionaries Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, who have otherwise attacked everything President Barack Obama does and says, applauded and praised the speech, as did much of the U.S.-based corporate media. Others more skeptical of U.S. military adventures were either surprised or appalled. One common commentary in the media was that “Obama sounded like Bush,” or at least “like a better educated Bush.”

The Oslo speech provides an opportunity to step back from individuals and look at the forces that drive U.S. imperialism. The same political and repressive mechanisms remain in play whatever party has its hands on the reins and whatever president is in the White House.

The George W. Bush years tended to obscure this reality. Bush himself was always so arrogant, always so obviously a product of a lifetime of unearned privilege and always so crass and enthusiastic in his promotion of Washington’s narrow interests that anyone not looking closely might miss the fact that he and his policies had the full support of the great majority of the U.S. ruling class — until his wars started to crumble.

Vice President Dick Cheney so epitomized the evil figure behind the throne that you might ignore his central role in the capitalist establishment. The rest of the Bush gang, what were called the “neo-cons,” used whatever managerial or intellectual talents they had to plan aggressive wars and transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. They always made sure to put some in their own pockets — with an obvious attitude that they were entitled to their privileges.

Many saw the problem with the U.S. role as rooted in Bush and Company, or the Republican right, or the Republican Party, and missed the central role of the imperialist system that engendered this particular set of war criminals.

But now there is a Democratic Party administration, and a large Democratic Party majority in Congress. The president is a much more sympathetic figure. He makes intelligent speeches that show a broader world perspective. Yet the Oslo speech dissolves the differences.

U.S. foreign policy, U.S. aggressive war policy, as explained in Oslo, remains the same: the U.S. will invade where it wants to. To Washington, the opponents of the U.S. are “evil,” while U.S. interests are “good.” In Washington’s ideological model, the Taliban and whatever al-Qaida forces remain in Afghanistan — 100 according to U.S. intelligence — take the place of Saddam Hussein and “weapons of mass destruction.” A slightly new set of lies will be used to justify war in Afghanistan, war on Pakistan, and whatever other war is seen as useful to U.S. banks and industry or strategic position.

Behind this policy is the crisis of capitalism worldwide, the U.S. drive to continually expand its access to raw materials, especially energy resources, its access to markets and new areas of investment, the competition with imperialist rivals in Europe and Japan, the growing contradictions and anticipated conflicts with Russia and China. These make U.S. military aggression almost inevitable.

The Pentagon designed Washington’s policy for Iraq and now for Afghanistan. Driven by that same impulse to expand — while the capitalist economy is contracting — the ruling class here has reached a consensus behind that aggressive strategy. Regarding the Afghanistan escalation and the Oslo speech, this is apparent from the broad support from the corporate media, including not only the militarist hacks at Fox News but the capitalist mainstream semi-official media like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

The Democratic Party goes along with this — whatever the tactical misgivings of Vice President Joe Biden or the opposition of a senator or two. And whether the president is enthusiastic, neutral or reluctant hardly seems to matter. The Oslo speech shows that he accepts the role of the U.S. president — chief executive for U.S. imperialism — and will argue its case.

No matter how dangerous the war, how high the suffering of the occupied population or the sacrifices of U.S. workers and youth, neither the generals, the class they serve nor the two capitalist political parties will accept defeat and withdrawal. That is, unless there is a resistance army fighting them blow for blow in the occupied country and a powerful workers’ movement challenging them at home.

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 Uprooted Palestinian

Winning prize for peace while advocating war

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Sayed Dhansay, The Electronic Intifada, 11 December 2009

Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize only days after announcing an increase in troops in the ongoing US-led war in Afghanistan. (Pete Souza/White House Photo)

United States President Barack Obama has just accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo. His nomination had been controversial, not least because he is continuing and escalating two illegal wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also because it was awarded to him at the beginning of his term, before he has proven a genuine willingness to promote peace.

Though his eloquent and moving speech in Cairo last June spoke of “peace,” “mutual respect” and “new beginnings” with the Arab and Muslim world, his administration’s foreign policy has thus far proven otherwise. The glaring contradiction between his words and actions are nowhere else more obvious than in his dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In his acceptance speech yesterday, President Obama quoted former US President John F. Kennedy’s advice on attaining peace: “Let us focus on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.”

As a first step toward achieving that evolution, Obama advised that “all nations — strong and weak alike — must adhere to standards that govern the use of force.” Those standards — international humanitarian law — were however not applied by Obama to Israel in its devastating attack on the Gaza Strip last winter.

Though the UN-commissioned Goldstone report accused Israeli forces of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza, Obama’s representatives at the UN Human Rights Council voted against a resolution that adopted the report’s findings. In addition, his government attempted to discredit the report by claiming that it was biased against Israel and flawed from the outset. This is hard to believe considering that its author is a jurist of international acclaim, not to mention a Jew with strong ties to Israel.

Obama also advocated that “Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure.” Yet when it comes to Israeli intransigence, Obama appears unwilling to demand the same level of accountability or exert any pressure at all.

Israel has flouted international law with impunity for 42 years with its settler-colonial project in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem. Israel’s illegal wall continues to annex Palestinian land, while home demolitions in East Jerusalem occur now almost on a weekly basis. Here, Obama has not “exacted a real price.” Instead he has rewarded Israel with billions of dollars of continued military assistance, and caved in to pressure by backtracking on his original policy that a comprehensive settlement freeze be a prerequisite for resumed peace negotiations.

Though US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell hailed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ten-month freeze as an “unprecedented step to achieving peace,” facts on the ground showed otherwise. Netanyahu declared openly that settlement construction would resume at full pace after the elapse of the ten-month period.

This week, the Israeli Peace Now movement reported that construction in West Bank settlements currently outweighs that within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Journalist Gideon Levy hit the nail on the head when he described this freeze as “just another scene in Israel’s masquerade” in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Obama also warned those who violate international law by “brutalizing their own people.” He said that there must be consequences for genocide in Darfur, systematic rape in Congo or repression in Burma. He failed however to mention the brutalization of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the slow genocide in Gaza or the repression in the occupied West Bank.

A recent report by Israel’s Interior Ministry revealed that 4,577 Palestinians were stripped of their right to live in East Jerusalem in 2008, an all time record in 42 years of occupation. Residency revocation in Jerusalem last year was 21 times higher than the average over the last 40 years. Israel treats native Palestinians in East Jerusalem as if they were foreign residents whose presence can be revoked at will, even though these Palestinians did not come to Israel. Rather, Israel came and imposed itself on them with its internationally unrecognized annexation and occupation of the city from 1967 until present.

An Amnesty International study published in October accused Israel of denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water. While Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank have lush gardens and sparkling swimming pools, some 180,000 Palestinians have no access to running water. The report states that Israelis use up to four times more water than Palestinians, while the settler population alone uses more water than the entire West Bank Palestinian population of about 2.5 million.

Though his presidency terminated in January of this year, Mahmoud Abbas and his collaborationist Palestinian Authority (PA) continue to be propped up by the Obama administration. Obama preaches the value of democracy, yet his government fails to recognize the democratically-elected Hamas government. Instead, the US continues to endorse Israel’s siege on Gaza which has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe of such proportion that some Gazans have even resorted to faking cancer in the hope of escaping the isolated coastal territory.

President Obama also stated in his speech that “I believe peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please, choose their own leaders or assemble without fear.” Perhaps he should have then taken the opportunity to mention the systematic repression of any outward opposition to the PA or Israel by PA security forces. Then again, if he did so, he would be forced to acknowledge that these very police are trained in their art by none other than US General Keith Dayton and funded by US taxpayers.

While he champions the right to freedom of worship, Obama avoids the fact that his “loyal and true friend,” Israel, routinely denies Palestinians the right to freely access the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. He criticizes Burma for its religious repression, but is silent on the continuous incursions into one of the world’s holiest sites for Muslims by the Israeli army and extremist settlers.

Obama claimed as a centerpiece of his foreign policy the need to “prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to seek a world without them.” He reminded his audience that it was incumbent on all of them to ensure that Iran and North Korea do not “game the system.”

While his administration is leading the efforts to increase sanctions against Iran, we hear no mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, even though it has demonstrated time and again its brazen willingness to use grossly indiscriminate, deliberate and massive firepower on civilian targets, as witnessed in the 2006 Lebanon war and during last winter’s assault on Gaza.

The most disturbing aspect of President Obama’s speech however was its unabashed justification of war. The leader of the liberal, democratic free world was accepting the world’s most coveted peace prize. And the overarching theme of his address was that it was impossible to eradicate violent conflict. Obama’s colleagues in the Knesset may well have been pleased to hear this.

“There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified,” Obama said. This fatalistic attitude lends itself more to a Rumsfeld-Cheney “bombing for freedom” ideology than that of someone accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Furthermore, it sends a very dangerous signal to the Israeli government who know that they have America’s protection in institutions tasked with upholding international law. It provides no impetus for Israel to end its occupation, lift its draconian siege of Gaza or embrace the only viable option that it has left — peaceful transition that will protect the rights of Palestinians and Israelis within the framework of a secular, bi-national, democratic state.

In fact, it only further emboldens Israel to accelerate its process of ethic cleansing and colonization, and use military force to achieve these ends. Indeed, many Zionists believe that it is after all morally justifiable to use violence to rid “Greater Israel” of anyone who is not Jewish. The comments of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi that the Israeli military’s “next round of hostilities will be even more intense” is quite revealing in this regard.

What is surprising, is that President Obama seems to realize the folly of his very own “just war” doctrine. Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., he states that “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem. It merely creates new and more complicated ones.”

If any modern conflict has proven this to be incredibly accurate, it is that of the Israelis and Palestinians. No amount of arrest raids, land confiscation, home demolitions or massacres can bring about peace. These do not solve the social problems of dispossession, statelessness and disenfranchisement. Nor do they quell the desire for freedom and self-determination. Indeed, they only serve to create new and more complicated problems.

By Obama advocating war as an acceptable foreign policy, he is only serving to create new, more complicated problems in the Middle East. Instead of promoting the dead two-state solution with a moribund puppet regime, he should acknowledge the fundamental root cause of this conflict — that of the dispossession of a people from their native homeland. Without this, there will be no practical, attainable peace.

Sayed Dhansay is a South African human rights activist and independent freelance writer. He volunteered for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2006 and is an organizer of the South African delegation for the Gaza Freedom March. He blogs at http://sayeddhansay.wordpress.com

Mr. President, War Is Not Peace


11/12/2009 Norman Solomon – CommonDreams.org

December 10,2009


Eloquence in Oslo cannot change the realities of war.
As President Obama neared the close of his Nobel address, he called for “the continued expansion of our moral imagination.” Yet his speech was tightly circumscribed by the policies that his oratory labored to justify.


Lofty rationales easily tell us that warfare is striving for the noble goal of peace. But the rationales scarcely intersect with actual war. The oratory sugarcoats the poisons, helping to kill hope in the name of it.


A few months ago, when I visited an Afghan office for women’s empowerment, staffers took me to a pilot project in one of Kabul’s poorest neighborhoods. There, women were learning small-scale business skills while also gaining personal strength and mutual support.


Two-dozen women, who ranged in age from early 20s to late 50s, talked with enthusiasm about the workshops. They were desperate to change their lives. When it was time to leave, I had a question: What should I tell people in the United States, if they ask what Afghan women want most of all?


After several women spoke, the translator summed up. “They all said that the first priority is peace.”


In Afghanistan, after 30 years under the murderous twin shadows of poverty and war, the only lifeline is peace.


From President Obama, we hear that peace is the ultimate goal. But “peace” is a fixture on a strategic horizon that keeps moving as the military keeps marching.


Just a couple of days before Obama stepped to the podium in Oslo, the general running the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan spoke to a congressional committee in Washington about the president’s recent pledge to begin withdrawal of U.S. troops in July 2011. “I don’t believe that is a deadline at all,” Stanley McChrystal said.


War is not peace. It never has been. It never will be.


Actual policy always, in the real world, profoundly trumps even the best rhetoric. And so, for instance, when President Obama’s Nobel speech proclaimed that “America cannot act alone” and called for “standards that govern the use of force,” the ringing declaration clashed with the announcement last month that he will not sign the international Mine Ban Treaty.


As Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams pointed out, “Obama’s position on land mines calls into question his expressed views on multilateralism, respect for international humanitarian law and disarmament. How can he, with total credibility, lead the world to nuclear disarmament when his own country won’t give up even land mines?”


At the outset of his speech in Oslo, the president spoke of his “acute sense of the cost of armed conflict.” Well, there’s acute and then there’s acute. I think of the people I met and saw in Kabul who are missing limbs, and the countless more whose lives have been shattered by war.


In the name of pragmatism, Obama spoke of “the world as it is” and threw a cloak of justification over the grisly escalation in Afghanistan by insisting that “war is sometimes necessary” — but generalities do nothing to mitigate the horrors of war being endured by others.


President Obama accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize while delivering — to the world as it is — a pro-war speech. The context instantly turned the speech’s insights into flackery for more war.


Norman Solomon is co-chair of the national Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of America. He is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For more information, go to: http://www.normansolomon.com/

Accepting Nobel, Obama Says War Sometimes Justified

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Posted by realistic bird under Caricature, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , |


{Iraq-Afghanistan giving NO-bel} by Jalal Al Rifa’i-Al Dustour newspaper-Jordan

10/12/2009 US President Barack Obama accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, acknowledging the controversy over the choice of a wartime president and saying he reserved the right to take action to protect the United States.

Obama said during his acceptance speech that use of force was sometimes justified, but a resilient peace can be achieved if the world imposes limits and conditions on violent forces.

He said that violence was especially justified when used on humanitarian grounds, adding that in the case of Al-Qaida, negotiations would not cause them to lay down their arms.

He called for tough action against countries that broke international laws, such as sanctions that “exact a real price.” Iran and North Korea, which are in nuclear stand-offs with the West, could not be allowed to “game the system,” he said, referring to tactics employed by both countries in the past to draw out negotiations.
Obama also said unity within the international community against what he called “evil” forces was the only way to create a future with an alternative to violence, but said he did not see wars ending in our lifetimes. “I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to change behavior – for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something,” he said.
As he opened his address, Obama acknowledged the criticism that his accolades were undeserved. “I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility,” he said. “It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations – that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.”

“I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I,” he said.

Obama said during that he did not “bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war.” “What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago,” he said. “And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace.”

While expressing belief in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s statement that “Violence never brings permanent peace,” Obama also said that he had to face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.”

“For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world,” he said. “A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al-Qaida’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.”

Hours before he was set to receive the prize, Obama said that he hoped to achieve his goal of advancing U.S. interests and peace around the world. “If I am successful in those tasks, then hopefully some of the criticism will subside, but that is not really my concern. If I am not successful, than all the praise and awards in the world will not disguise that.”

Addressing criticism that the award was premature, Obama told reporters after landing in Oslo that he does not doubt there are others who may be more deserving of the honor.

“I have no doubt that there are others that may be more deserving. My task here is to continue on the path that I believe is not only important for America but important for lasting peace in the world,” Obama said in response to a journalist’s question on how he planned to use the accolade to advance his goals.

Obama said he wanted to continue working on issues that are important for the U.S. and for building lasting peace and security in the world, such as halting the spread of nuclear weapons, addressing climate change and stabilizing Afghanistan.

Obama arrived in Oslo on Thursday morning and met Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the Norwegian royal family before receiving his medal.

Obama’s Presidency: A One Term Show?

Obama’s Presidency: A One Term Show?

By Dr. Ludwig Watzal

On December 10, 2009, President Barack Hussein Obama will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm. The award was premature, and for Obama it will be a heavy burden. That is why it would have classy to turn it down.

Obama delivered many elegant speeches that gave rise to high expectations. But all his nice talk led to nothing. The discrepancy between his words and his deeds caused frustrations around the globe. In terms of foreign policy, his presidency has thus far remained empty rhetoric. After his speeches in Ankara and Cairo, the Muslim world expected some concrete results and a change of policy in the Middle East and Central Asia. So far, the results are elusive. The U. S. is still fighting its illegal war in Iraq and the so-called “war on terror” in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan the situation is catastrophic, and in Iraq the conditions are horrible. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are in control of 80 percent oft the country, and Iraq has been totally devasted by the “coalition of the willing”. All the talk about the success of the surge in Iraq is just spin. There are attacks by the Iraqis every day, and the control of the Iraqi government does not reach beyond the so-called green zone. In fact, both countries are run by American puppets. Without Western occupying forces both governments would be overthrown within weeks, and the indigenous peoples would settle their differences their own way, like many opposition leaders in Iraq have said.

In addition to this mess, the U. S. does everything to destabilize Pakistan by attacking alleged terrorists and civilians within Pakistan by drones, remotely controlled from military installations in Nevada. Iran is under permanent military threat by Israel. The fear that Israel might pre-emptively attack Iran creates pressure on Obama to allow an attack on the Islamic Republic. But the American President is still reluctant; he tries to buy time. Neoconservatives and “Israel-firsters” are calling for “crippling sanctions” against Iran, but they prefer a military attack as soon as possible. What the U.S. and other Western countries apparently fail to understand, is their need to stop their colonial, arrogant and presumptuous attitude towards that country. The Islamic Republic wants to be treated respectfully as an equal member of the international community. In his book “black skin, white masks” Frantz Fanon described with great lucidity the need of people in the “Third World” to be treated as equals. The first thing a “black” man should say is “no”. (Fanon uses the term “black” for all non-white people.) “No to degrading treatment. No to exploitation of man. No to the butchery of what is most human in man: freedom. No to those who attempt to define him.” Obama should be able to understand what Fanon meant. Even if he wanted to change the course of events he can´t do it. He is a “prisoner” of the American system.

George W. Bush´s “vision” of a “Greater Middle East” through military force has led the U. S. into a quagmire which at the end can bring down the American Empire. The Bush Jr. presidency was the worst the United States had ever had. Bush’s conclusions of 9/11 were bug-ridden because his administration was driven by a simplistic ideology: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Bush erred when he declared that the Muslim people hated America for its values and their way of living. They do not hate the US, but they hate the occupation of their countries, may it be in Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine. Maybe Obama should read Frantz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth” in which he describes the social psychology engendered by colonialism. For his predecessor such a book would be too difficult to digest. After almost nine years of war in Afghanistan there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Obama should get rid of this ominous legacy at once. This requires four steps:

Firstly, the Obama administration must work off the eight Bush years and put him, Dick Cheney, and most of their cronies in the dock, because they have led the U. S. into two disasterous neocolonial wars on the basis of bogus evidence. They are responsible for the death of over 6,000 American service men and women and of tens of thousends seriously injured, maimed and traumatized soldiers. Not to speak of the millions of Iraqis who lost their lives and whoses existence were ruined.

Secondly, Obama should not allocate 30,000 or more troops to Afghanistan, but rather formulate an exit strategy for this country and Iraq. Sending more troops to Afghanistan, to a country whose so-called President just forged the last election, would be irresponsible. Why should Western soldiers die for such a government which lacks legitimacy and is corrupt to the bone? To claim that the West is defending its freedom on the Hindu Kush is unconvincing: There must be other reasons for its presence in that region. All the talk about building democracy, freedom of speech, fighting the drug warlords and securing women´s rights is spurious. The real reasons are geopolitical. Western involvement in the region is inspired by old imperialistic goals, including the geopolitical control of Central Asia, goals that disregard the rights and wishes of the people of these countrries.

Thirdly, the West views the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan as terrorism. Mark Juergensmeyer in his book “Global Rebellion. Religous Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda” quotes religious people who attribute to religion the strong resistance of indigenous people to foreign occupation. “Islam is under attack”, says a mullah in Bagdad. George W. Bush has claimed that the U.S. does not fight “Islam” but the people of Iraq and Afghanistan view it differently. Besides “that Islam is under attack”, they also resist a secular regime for their countries. Such a justification of leading figures in both countries should cause the West and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) to reconsider their nation-building strategy.

Fourthly, the Obama administration should get tougher on Israel regarding the end of the occupation. The Jewish state has been systematically violating human rights and international law with the approval of the United States since it occupied Palestinian territory in the Six-Day War of June 1967. The mess the various Israeli governments have created in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the misery they inflicted on the real owners of the land did not elicit U.S. censure. Contrary to all so-called Western values, Israel goes every once in a while on a rampage in the OPT, as it did in 2001 when Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) not only destroyed the complete infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority but also demolished all the ministries, including their equipment. The latest attack – on the Gaza Strip – happend just before Obama took office. It lasted from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009. It pitted the fourth strongest army in the world against a helpless population and killed more than 1,400 people, most of them women and children; Israel lost 14 soldiers, four of them by friendly fire. The reports by human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the U.N. Goldstone Report, document the horrific onslaught by the Israeli military. For the State of Israel, Yassir Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas were and continue to be “obstacles to peace”. The real obstacle to peace is, in fact, Israel’s 42-year-old occupation. It has to be terminated, and the source of Palestinian resistance will vanish. As long as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians remains unresoved, U.S. policy in the Near and Middle East will get nowhere.

Obama understood from the outset that the “settlements” in the OPT were the main obstacle to peace. Thus he started out, by calling forcefully for a total freeze of Israel`s colonial and illegal settlement projects in the OPT. But the Israeli government was not impressed. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu gave Obama the cold shoulder. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, praised at her last visit to the region Netanyahu´s offer of a limited settlement growth before beginning negotiations as “unprecedented”. In fact, Netanyahu’s so-called “restraint package” was so minimalist that it kept his coalition partners happy. From Israel, Clinton flew to Marrakesh where she met with Arab foreign ministers who criticized her statement as “taking sides with Israel”. Morocco was the final stop of a charm offensive which Clinton launched across the Muslim world, starting in Pakistan. When Netanyahu announced his cabinet´s decision as a “far-reaching and painful step (…) to suspend new construction in Judea and Samaria” – the names used by the Right and the nationalists for the occupied West Bank – Secretary of State Clinton reacted immediately with a statement formulating the goal of the negotiations: The establishment of an “independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines”. This could have been called a revolutionary statement because never before had a US government used such a language, when Netanyahu´s intention would not have been too timid. His “peace”-offer aimed not at the Palestinians but rather at the Obama administration.

Obama promised an American change. “Yes, we can”, was his slogan on the base of which he was elected. So far, he has disappointed everybody. Instead of getting tough on his predecessor and his cronies, he has followed their disastrous path in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. He even went further than Bush by permitting regular attacks on Pakistan and entertaining threats of attacks on Iran. He is under enormous pressure from the Neocons, the “Israel-firsters”, Christian fundamentalists and the Israeli government which threatens to attack Iran itself if the Americans won´t do it.

So far, his foreign policy is a disappointment for the progressives around the world and hardly any different from his predecessor´s. If Obama does not watch out and make a U-turn in his approach towards these countries, the American Empire may topple: Either its soldiers will be worn down morally, or the financial burden will be too heavy to bear any longer. To transport a gallon of gasoline to Afghanistan costs 400 U.S. Dollars. Not to speak of the billions of US-dollars which are wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps, at the end of his first term Obama will either share the fate of Jimmy Carter or he will end up disenchanted, like Lyndon B. Johnson.

– Dr. Ludwig Watzal lives as a journalist and publizist in Bonn, Germany. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: lwatzal@aol.com.

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 10:00 PM

A Nobel Prize For Evo Morales

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By Fidel Castro

Countercurrents.org

If Obama was awarded the Nobel for winning the elections in a racist society despite his being African American, Evo deserves it for winning them in his country despite his being a native and his having delivered on his promises.

For the first time, in both countries a member of their respective ethnic groups has won the presidency.

I had said several times that Obama is a smart and cultivated man in a social and political system he believes in. He wishes to bring healthcare to nearly 50 million Americans, to rescue the economy from its profound crisis and to improve the US image which has deteriorated as a result of genocidal wars and torture. He neither conceives nor wishes to change his country’s political and economic system; nor could he do it.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three American presidents, one former president and one candidate to the presidency.

The first one was Theodore Roosevelt elected in 1901. He was one of the Rough Riders who landed in Cuba with his riders but with no horses in the wake of the US intervention in 1898 aimed at preventing the independence of our homeland.

The second was Thomas Woodrow Wilson who dragged the United States to the first war for the distribution of the world. The extremely severe conditions he imposed on a vanquished Germany, through the Versailles Treaty, set the foundations for the emergence of fascism and the breakout of World War II.

The third has been Barack Obama.

Carter was the ex-president who received the Nobel Prize a few years after leaving office. He was certainly one of the few presidents of that country who would not order the murder of an adversary, as others did. He returned the Panama Canal, opened the US Interests Section in Havana and prevented large budget deficits as well as the squandering of money to the benefit of the military-industrial complex, as Reagan did.

The candidate was Al Gore –when he already was vicepresident. He was the best informed American politician on the dreadful consequences of climate change. As a candidate to the presidency, he was the victim of an electoral fraud and stripped of his victory by W. Bush.

The views have been deeply divided with regards to the choice for this award. Many people question ethical concepts or perceive obvious contradictions in the unexpected decision.

They would have rather seen the Prize given for an accomplished task. The Nobel Peace Prize has not always been presented to people deserving that distinction. On occasions it has been received by resentful and arrogant persons, or even worse. Upon hearing the news, Lech Walesa scornfully said: “Who, Obama? It’s too soon. He has not had time to do anything.”

In our press and in CubaDebate, honest revolutionary comrades have expressed their criticism. One of them wrote: “The same week in which Obama was granted the Nobel Peace Prize, the US Senate passed the largest military budget in its history: 626 billion dollars.” Another journalist commented during the TV News: “What has Obama done to deserve that award?” And still another asked: “And what about the Afghan war and the increased number of bombings?” These views are based on reality.

In Rome, film maker Michael Moore made a scathing comment: “Congratulations, President Obama, for the Nobel Peace Prize; now, please, earn it.”

I am sure that Obama agrees with Moore’s phrase. He is clever enough to understand the circumstances around this case. He knows he has not earned that award yet. That day in the morning he said that he was under the impression that he did not deserve to be in the company of so many inspiring personalities who have been honored with that prize.

It is said that the celebrated committee that assigns the Nobel Peace Prize is made up of five persons who are all members of the Swedish Parliament. A spokesman said it was a unanimous vote. One wonders whether or not the prizewinner was consulted and if such a decision can be made without giving him previous notice.

The moral judgment would be different depending on whether or not he had previous knowledge of the Prize’s allocation. The same could be said of those who decided to present it to him.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile creating the Nobel Transparency Prize.

Bolivia is a country with large oil and gas depots as well as the largest known reserves of lithium, a mineral currently in great demand for the storage and use of energy.

Before his sixth birthday, Evo Morales, a very poor native peasant, walked through The Andes with his father tending the llama of his native community. He walked with them for 15 days to the market where they were sold in order to purchase food for the community. In response to a question I asked him about that peculiar experience Evo told me that “he took shelter under the one-thousand stars hotel,” a beautiful way of describing the clear skies on the mountains where telescopes are sometimes placed.

In those difficult days of his childhood, the only alternative of the peasants in his community was to cut sugarcane in the Argentinean province of Jujuy, where part of the Aymara community went to work during the harvesting season.

Not far from La Higuera, where after being wounded and disarmed Che [Guevara] was murdered on October 9, 1967, Evo –who had been born on the 26th of that same month in the year 1959—was not yet 8 years old. He learned how to read and write in Spanish in a small public school he had to walk to, which was located 3.2 miles away from the one-room shack he shared with his parents and siblings.

During his hazardous childhood, Evo would go wherever there was a teacher. It was from his race that he learned three ethical principles: don’t lie, don’t steal and don’t be weak.

At the age of 13, his father allowed him to move to San Pedro de Oruro to study his senior high school. One of his biographers has related that he did better in Geography, History and Philosophy than in Physics and Mathematics. The most important thing is that, in order to pay for school, Evo woke up a two in the morning to work as a baker, a construction worker or any other physical job. He attended school in the afternoon. His classmates admired him and helped him. From his early childhood he learned how to play wind instruments and even was a trumpet player in a prestigious band in Oruro.

As a teenager he organized and was the captain of his community’s soccer team.

But, access to the University was beyond reach for a poor Aymara native.

After completing his senior high school, he did military service and then returned to his community on the mountain tops. Later, poverty and natural disasters forced the family to migrate to the subtropical area known as El Chapare, where they managed to have a plot of ground. His father passed away in 1983, when he was 23 years old. He worked hard on the ground but he was a born fighter; he organized the workers and created trade unions thus filling up a space unattended by the government.

The conditions for a social revolution in Bolivia had been maturing in the past 50 years. The revolution broke out in that country with Victor Paz Estensoro’s Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR, by its Spanish acronym) on April 9, 1952, that is, before the start of our armed struggle. The revolutionary miners defeated the repressive forces and the MNR seized power.

The revolutionary objectives in Bolivia were not attained and in 1956, according to some well-informed people, the process started to decline. On January 1st, 1959, the Revolution triumphed in Cuba, and three years later, in January 1962, our homeland was expelled from the OAS. Bolivia abstained from voting. Later, every other government, except Mexico’s, severed relations with Cuba.

The divisions in the international revolutionary movement had an impact on Bolivia. Time would have to pass with over 40 years of blockade on Cuba; neoliberalism and its devastating consequences; the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the ALBA; and above all, Evo and his MAS in Bolivia.

It would be hard to try summing up his rich history in a few pages.

I shall only say that Evo has prevailed over the wicked and slanderous imperialist campaigns, its coups and interference in the internal affairs of that country and defended Bolivia’s sovereignty and the right of its thousand-year-old people to have their traditions respected. “Coca is not cocaine,” he blurted out to the largest marihuana producer and drug consumer in the world, whose market has sustained the organized crime that is taking thousands of lives in Mexico every year. Two of the countries where the Yankee troops and their military bases are stationed are the largest drug producers on the planet.

The deadly trap of drug-trafficking has failed to catch Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, revolutionary countries members of ALBA like Cuba which are aware of what they can and should do to bring healthcare, education and wellbeing to their peoples. They do not need foreign troops to combat drug-trafficking.

Bolivia is fostering a wonderful program under the leadership of an Aymara president with the support of his people.

Illiteracy was eradicated in less than three years: 824,101 Bolivian learned how to read and write; 24,699 did so also in Aymara and 13,599 in Quechua. Bolivia is the third country free of illiteracy, following Cuba and Venezuela.

It provides free healthcare to millions of people who had never had it before. It is one of the seven countries in the world with the largest reduction of infant mortality rate in the last five years and with a real possibility to meet the Millennium Goals before the year 2015, with a similar accomplishment regarding maternal deaths. It has conducted eye surgery on 454,161 persons, 75,974 of them Brazilians, Argentineans, Peruvians and Paraguayans.

Bolivia has set forth an ambitious social program: every child attending school from first to eighth grade is receiving an annual grant to pay for the school material. This benefits nearly two million students.

More than 700,000 persons over 60 years of age are receiving a bonus equivalent to some 342 dollars annually.

Every pregnant woman and child under two years of age is receiving an additional benefit of approximately 257 dollars.

Bolivia, one of the three poorest nations in the hemisphere, has brought under state control the country’s most important energy and mineral resources while respecting and compensating every single affected interest. It is advancing carefully because it does not want to take a step backward. Its hard currency reserves have been growing, and now they are no less than three times higher than they were at the beginning of Evo’s mandate. It is one of the countries making a better use of external cooperation and it is a strong advocate of the environment.

In a very short time, Bolivia has been able to establish the Biometric Electoral Register and approximately 4.7 million voters have registered, that is, nearly a million more than in the last electoral roll that in January 2009 included 3.8 million.

There will be elections on December 6. Surely, the people’s support for their President will increase. Nothing has stopped his growing prestige and popularity.

Why is he not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

I understand his great disadvantage: he is not the President of the United States of America.

Fidel Castro Ruz

Posted by VINEYARDSAKER: at 6:19 AM

War Is Peace, Ignorance Is Strength

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By John Pilger

New Statesman

Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, is planning another war to add to his impressive record. In Afghanistan, his agents routinely extinguish wedding parties, farmers and construction workers with weapons such as the innovative Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of your lungs. According to the UN, 338,000 Afghan infants are dying under the Obama-led alliance, which permits only $29 per head annually to be spent on medical care.

Within weeks of his inauguration, Obama started a new war in Pakistan, causing more than a million people to flee their homes. In threatening Iran – which his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she was prepared to “obliterate” – Obama lied that the Iranians were covering up a “secret nuclear facility”, knowing that it had already been reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority. In colluding with the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, he bribed the Palestinian Authority to suppress a UN judgment that Israel had committed crimes against humanity in its assault on Gaza – crimes made possible with US weapons whose shipment Obama secretly approved before his inauguration.

The old dog whistle test

At home, the man of peace has approved a military budget exceeding that of any year since the end of the Second World War while presiding over a new kind of domestic repression. During the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, hosted by Obama, militarised police attacked peaceful protesters with something called the Long-Range Acoustic Device, not seen before on US streets. Mounted in the turret of a small tank, it blasted a piercing noise as tear gas and pepper gas were fired indiscriminately. It is part of a new arsenal of “crowd-control munitions” supplied by military contractors such as Raytheon. In Obama’s Pentagon-controlled “national security state”, the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, which he promised to close, remains open, and “rendition”, secret assassinations and torture continue.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winner’s latest war is largely secret. On 15 July, Washington finalised a deal with Colombia that gives the US seven giant military bases. “The idea,” reported the Associated Press, “is to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations . . . nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 [military transport] without refuelling”, which “helps achieve the regional engagement strategy”.

Translated, this means Obama is planning a “rollback” of the independence and democracy that the people of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador andParaguay have achieved against the odds, along with a historic regional co-operation that rejects the notion of a US “sphere of influence”. The Colombian regime, which backs death squads and has the continent’s worst human rights record, has received US military support second in scale only to Israel. Britain provides military training. Guided by US military satellites, Colombian paramilitaries now infiltrate Venezuela with the goal of overthrowing the democratic government of Hugo Chávez, which George W Bush failed to do in 2002.

Obama’s war on peace and democracy in Latin America follows a style he has demonstrated since the coup against the democratic president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in June. Zelaya had increased the minimum wage, granted subsidies to small farmers, cut back interest rates and reduced poverty. He planned to break a US pharmaceutical monopoly and manufacture cheap generic drugs. Although Obama has called for Zelaya’s reinstatement, he refuses to condemn the coup-makers and to recall the US ambassador or the US troops who train the Honduran forces determined to crush a popular resistance. Zelaya has been repeatedly refused a meeting with Obama, who has approved an IMF loan of $164m to the illegal regime. The message is clear and familiar: thugs can act with impunity on behalf of the US.

Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls “leadership” throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee’s decision is the kind of cloying reverse racism that has beatified the man for no reason other than he is a member of a minority and attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills. This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded. “When Obama walks into a room,” gushed George Clooney, “you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.”

Extreme and dangerous

The great voice of black liberation Frantz Fanon understood this. In The Wretched of the Earth, he described the “intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged”. Because political debate has become so debased in our media monoculture – Blair or Brown; Brown or Cameron – race, gender and class can be used as seductive tools of propaganda and diversion. In Obama’s case, what matters, as Fanon pointed out in an earlier era, is not the intermediary’s “historic” elevation, but the class he serves. After all, Bush’s inner circle was probably the most multiracial in presidential history. There was Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, all dutifully serving an extreme and dangerous power.

Britain has seen its own Obama-like mysticism. The day after Blair was elected in 1997, the Observer predicted that he would create “new worldwide rules on human rights” while the Guardian rejoiced at the “breathless pace [as] the floodgates of change burst open”. When Obama was elected last November, Denis MacShane MP, a devotee of Blair’s bloodbaths, unwittingly warned us: “I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997.”

© New Statesman 1913 – 2009

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 11:09 PM

FISK: Obama, man of peace? No, just a Nobel prize of a mistake

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– October 15, 2009

Document3 copy

by Robert Fisk – %20http://www.independ%20ent.co.uk/%20%20%20opinion/commenta%20tors/fisk/%20robert-fisk-%20obama-%20man-of-peace-%20no-just-a-%20nobel-prize-%20of-a-mistake-%201800928.html”>The UK Sunday Independent – 11 October 2009

His Middle East policy is collapsing. The Israelis have taunted him by ignoring his demand for an end to settlement-building and by continuing to build their colonies on Arab land. His special envoy is bluntly told by the Israelis that an Arab-Israel peace will take “many years”. Now he wants the Palestinians to talk peace to Israel without conditions. He put pressure on the Palestinian leader to throw away the opportunity of international scrutiny of UN Judge Goldstone’s damning indictment of Israeli war crimes in Gaza while his Assistant Secretary of State said that the Goldstone report was “seriously flawed”. After breaking his pre-election promise to call the 1915 Armenian massacres by Ottoman Turkey a genocide, he has urged the Armenians to sign a treaty with Turkey, again “without pre-conditions” . His army is still facing an insurgency in Iraq. He cannot decide how to win “his” war in Afghanistan. I shall not mention Iran. Read More…

The Prize and the Shoe….or the shoe-prize

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https://i2.wp.com/www.abbeville.com/images-catalog/thumb/9780789209283.interior06.jpg

A traitor´s peace-message
into a deaf-ear .

George got a shoe
which he earned and he deserved.

Barrack got a Prize
which he did not earn , yet
nor does he deserve it , so far.

If the Prize were the shoe ?
then George , got what he earned !!.

As for the Nobel Prize for Peace ,
it all depends how do you define Peace ??
is it when :
you conquer your enemy ?
when you eliminate it ?
when you dismantle it ?
when
you make it retreat definitively ?
or
when you crush it ??
often
Peace comes after a total-victory !!

So
which Peace does the Nobel Prize
recommend or reward in advance,
for Barrack Obama

and
on whose account ??
================

Raja Chemayel

Posted by Тлакскала at 10:17 PM

Obama Awarded the Nobel Prize for Making War With Muslims

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Posted by realistic bird under Caricature, Politics Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

{Nobel peace prize with Obama and peace with Netanyahu} by Jalal Al Rifai-Al Dustour newspaper-Jordan

{Nobel peace prize with Obama and peace with Netanyahu} by Jalal Al Rifa’i-Al Dustour newspaper-Jordan

By Abid Mustafa, source

On October 9 2009, US President Barack Obama was awarded Nobel Peace Prize for astounding services in the name of world peace. In its statement, the Nobel Committee said he had “created a new climate in international politics. …

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.” It continued, “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.” Usually awards are conferred upon people when they have accomplished something tangible and not for mere pledges to achieve meaningful results. In Obama’s case he has neither achieved peace nor has he undertaken efforts to establish the foundations for world peace. On the contrary, he is a warmonger and a crusader who is spearheading America’s war against Islam and the Muslim world.

No sooner had Obama received the prize for peace he convened his war council to discuss how best to wage war in Afghanistan. “The president had a robust conversation about the security and political challenges in Afghanistan and the options for building a strategic approach going forward,” an administration official told AFP. One of the measures Obama will endorse is to increase the number of US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. This will be on top of the huge number of private security contractors that already work for the Pentagon and are responsible for much of the mayhem and the slaughter of innocent Afghan civilians.

Obama’s war council is also deliberating options to expand America’s war in Pakistan. American officials are openly debating whether to launch missile attacks on Quetta– Baluchistan’s largest city. If the nod is given this will mark a new phase in America’s war against Pakistan and means that fortification of the US embassy in Islamabad–one of the largest in the Muslim world– will be used as the nerve centre to plan and orchestrate the killing of Muslims.

Additionally, America has mandated two private US security firms Blackwater and InterRisk to hound and terrorize Pakistanis.

In Iraq, Obama’s so called draw down policy masks a similar sinister plan that relies heavily on private security contractors to strengthen America’s military presence in the country and to compensate for the withdrawal of US troops. The private security contractors operate with complete impunity, spilling Muslim blood and humiliating ordinary Iraqis.

According to new statistics released by the Pentagon this year, there has been a 23% increase in the number of private security contractors working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009. The figure for the same period in Afghanistan is a 29% increase. Overall, contractors (armed and unarmed) now make up approximately 50% of the “total force in Centcom AOR [Area of Responsibility].” This means there are a 242,657 contractors working on these two US wars under the leadership of commander in chief Barack Obama. This exceeds the present number of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan which amounts to 132,610 and 68,197 respectively.

Under Obama’s watch the civil war in Somalia is mushrooming at an alarming rate. The war is fuelled by Washington through the supply of US arms and weapons to the beleaguered US puppet government of Sharif Ahmed. Last month, Obama gave the signal to his military to directly intervene in Somalia and conduct air strikes against militants–very much reminiscent of America’s invasion of Somalia in 1993.

Against Iran, Obama is not advocating peace, but urging crippling sanctions that will surely hurt ordinary Iranians and incubate resentment against America for decades to come. Likewise Obama’s continued support for autocratic rulers of the Muslim world has convinced many Muslims that Obama is no different to his predecessor George Bush.

However, nowhere is Obama’s failure to deliver peace more pronounced than Palestine. As a prelude to his inauguration, Obama displayed resolute determination not to condemn Israeli savagery in Gaza. In fact, Obama’s refusal to censure Israel over war crimes has ushered in a new standard that pays pittance to the value of Muslim life, blood and honour. In office, Obama’s indifference to the Jewish state’s intransigence to halt settlements has shot down all efforts to commence pseudo peace talks.

Clearly then, Obama’s peace endeavors equate to making pieces of Muslim countries through war and bloodshed. The political climate Obama has presided over is one of intimidation and tyranny. The values Obama espouses are based on deceit and injustice. By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama, the Nobel committee has avowed that waging war against Muslims and Islam under the guise of peace is a noble action. Obama may have captured the hearts of the Nobel committee, but amongst Muslims and much of the world, Obama epitomizes an imperialistic empire that is an enemy of humanity and world peace.

– Abid Mustafa is a political commentator who specializes in Muslim affairs.

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