MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Thursday, January 29, 2004
In Palestine - Chaos and Bombs
All of us who wish for peace in the Middle East must begin by facing reality. The truth is unpleasant, and depressing, but it is the truth, and we cannot escape it. The suicide bombing that took place this morning in Jerusalem, committed by a PNA policeman who was one of those we all count on to carry out the roadmap, is another episode in the assisted collective suicide of the Palestinian people, and the unraveling of the Palestine Authority. [more]
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Bangladesh journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury charged with sedition
(For further information about this case, and for information on how to contact officials and rights organizations, please see earlier log entries. )
Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Criticism of Israel: A perplexing guide
Today (Tuesday) has been set aside in Europe for comemorating the Holocaust and discussing anti-Semitism. It is a fitting opportunity to consider the phenomenon of anti-Semitism and the recent controversy it has generated.
Thre have been numerous discussions of the "new anti-Semitism" and its relation to anti-Zionism. The discussions are usually self-serving. They attempt to define anti-Semitism so as to serve whatever point of view the authors may have, and arrive at their predetermined conclusions. [more]
Friday, January 23, 2004
Benny Morris changes his mind (again)
In the last episode of the exciting saga of Benny Morris, he was for expelling the Arabs from Israel. At least that is what we all understood. Those who specialize in demonizing Israel had a field day with Morris's comments in his recent interview in Ha'aretz newspaper. However, we cannot blame them, because that is what virtually everyone understood him to say.
Who'll tell George about Iraq?
Just how badly broken is the process by which the U.S. government filters information on the situation in Iraq? One indication is the increasing frequency with which America's intelligence professionals on the scene seem to be turning to the news media to ensure that their views circulate fully in official Washington -- that is, to ensure that their views actually reach the White House.
by Analyst @ 07:16 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Because it is showily evident
Because it is showily evident:
* That a measure of 3,1415 has a showy geometrical dimension, the head ribbon of the daughter of a professor of mathematics shall only be allowed if the width of that symbolic clothing is limited to 3,1414 or equals a minimum of 3,1416,
* That the golden section is a showy symbolic measurement system for the freemasons, public school shall prevent its children from entering its classrooms when this showy ratio is measured in their outerware or appears openly impressed through those.
Friends of France,
Those are proposals that I let you make available to a minister who seems to me inclined to carry out in a showy way his philosophy to the absurd if I believe the article of Liberation below. (*)
by Editor @ 09:37 PM CST [Link]
Israeli security barrier: back to the drawing boards?
A "minor design flaw" has been found in the controversial Israeli security barrier.
The Israeli security fence, intended to keep Palestinian terrorists out of Israel, will cost an estimated 1.9 Billion dollars. It was designed by top security experts and incorporates the latest in security technology to form an air-tight barrier against would-be suicide bombers. [more]
Israeli Scandal: Son of the Godfather and Sopranos returns
[Jerusalem, January 21] A scandal that has been brewing for several months under the seat of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has inevitably boiled over. Likud kingmaker and consiglieri David Appel has been indicted for giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Ariel Sharon, to Gilad Sharon, his son, and to deputy PM Ehud Ohlmert during his campaign for Mayor of Jerusalem, in return for their help in promoting real estate deal deals. Appel told Sharon that his son would make a great deal of money through the deal, and hired him as a consultant at an inflated salary, though he knew that Gilad Sharon was totally unqualified for the job.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Conditions for victory in Iraq, continued: political vs. military
Earlier this month, I offered a "downpayment" on an assessment of what victory for the U.S. in Iraq requires. I had hoped to point out the fundamentally political nature of the challenge now facing the United States, and then move on to its military aspects. But as the comments of some readers make clear, more remains to be said about politics, and why the political aspects of the effort outweigh the military aspects, or ought to outweigh them.
by Analyst @ 08:17 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Negotiating the Israeli security fence
In an article which is otherwise critical, from a right-wing security-oriented perspective, of the Geneva Accord's security arrangements, IDF Maj-Gen (res) Yaakov Amidror, who commanded Israel's National Defense College and headed the research and assessment division of Israeli military intelligence, makes a statement which endorses the Israeli Jewish left's belief in the need for negotiating an agreement with the Palestinians over the route of the fence.
by doniremba @ 12:26 PM CST [Link]
Friday, January 16, 2004
Israeli officials compete for extremism accolades
Today's headlines in the Middle East screamed that Israel is targeting Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of the Hamas for assassination, following the suicide attack engineered by Hamas and the Fatah Al-Aqsah brigades at the Erez Checkpoint.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Benny Morris and the Palestinian transfer bogeyman
What is behind the talk about transfer of Palestinians?
The specter of "transfer" - mass expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, is haunting public debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In reality, transfer in any form is advocated only by the tiny Moledeth party headed by Benny Elon, and by the fanatic followers of Rabbi Kahanah. Moledeth advocates "voluntary" transfer without explaining how the unwilling Palestinians would be induced to "volunarily" leave. The Kahana-ites are willing to use force. Together, these groups might represent 5% of the Israeli electorate. The Israeli government has never announced any policy of transfer, and few Palestinians have left the West Bank and Gaza strip, even during the worst days of the violence and Israeli repressive measures it elicited. So why is everyone talking about transfer of Palestinians as though it is a fact and an integral part of Zionist ideology?
Monday, January 12, 2004
The New Israeli Political Map
The demonstration of the Israeli right, on Sunday evening, should tell us quite a bit about current Israeli political reality. Rabin square, where hundreds of thousands used to flock to peace rallies, was filled with over 100,000 demonstrators of the Israeli right. The target of the demonstrators, however, was not Yasser Arafat, nor the 'Oslo Traitors' or Shimon Peres. The villain of the piece was that well known pinko-leftist self-hating Jew Arab-lover, Ariel Sharon. [more]
Thursday, January 8, 2004
Happy New Year from Dakka Jail - Salah Choudhoury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhoury, jailed Bangladesh journalist, writes from jail to wish us all a happy new year. Salah was jailed November 29 and, after several remands, charged with a passport violation for trying to travel to Israel. Salah was trying to promote recognition of Israel by Bangladesh, in line with a US initiative with the Bangladesh government. At his latest remand hearing, the state claimed it was preparing charges of sedition and anti-religious activities against Salah. These charges, based on his outspoken campaign against relgious intolerance and extremism, could bring very long prison terms.
Wednesday, January 7, 2004
Text - Ariel Sharon: Speech at the Likud Meeting
Below is the complete text of Israeli PM Ariel Sharon's address to the Likud Central Committee Meeting as provided by the Likud spokesperson.
Osama Bin Laden's latest Message
The following is the translated text of the latest Osama Bin Laden speech with announcer comments interspersed, as aired on Al Jazirah television on January 4, 2004 on the "Today's Harvest" program. CIA and other sources believe the message to be authentic. The tape was aired in segments, with interpolated announcer comments. The part aired by Al-Jazirah is apparently only a portion of the tape. [more]
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Death of a Road Map
Ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halevy has finally said what has long been obvious - the quartet Roadmap for peace is all but dead. Actually, Ariel Sharon said the same thing yesterday in his speech to the Likud party convention, though it may have sounded as though he was saying the opposite.
What are the conditions for victory in Iraq?
Last week, I pointed out that Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld has a very odd way of looking at progress in the war in Iraq. I promised you a non-Rumsfeldian assessment of what victory requires. Here is a downpayment, with a little help from another writer.
by Analyst @ 07:25 AM CST [Link]
Monday, January 5, 2004
Playing defense: Iraq as a factor in US politics
The intersection between politics and national security is sufficiently well trodden that hopefully I can explain myself with a couple of quick allusions. Possibly somebody out there still buys the old saw that goes, "Politics stops at the water's edge," but if it ever has, contemporaries failed to document it. Probably more people subscribe to the conspiracism of Wag The Dog.
I'm somewhere in between. I doubt that George W. Bush had reelection uppermost in his mind when he decided to take out Saddam. But being on a war footing during an election certainly seems to favor an incumbent, so long as public support for the war effort remains reasonably intact.
But will it remain intact? What will Iraq mean for the presidential election this November? And how should that affect how Americans think about Iraq?
by Analyst @ 09:29 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, January 4, 2004
Bam - Seismic earthquake, Political aftershocks
It is difficult to comprehend a tragedy the size of the earthquake in Bam. Over 30,000, perhaps 50,000 are dead. Compare this to the 3,000 dead of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the USA, and you get some idea. The tragedy is amplified by the fact that emergency services in Iran are not nearly as well developed as they are in the West. Ambulances, emergency care units and hospitals are in short supply. Organizing emergency shelters for the tens of thousands of homeless and hungry people is going to take time.
Why Arik will ignore Bashar
There is little doubt that Bashar Assad, President of Syria, is serious about his offer to negotiate peace with Israel. This is the current assessment of Israeli military intelligence. There is also little doubt that Israel will not respond to his offer. Peace would mean giving up the Golan heights, and Ariel Sharon is not about to give up the Golan heights.
Friday, January 2, 2004
Was winning in Iraq an afterthought?
Or, Why Dick Cheney was right the first time.
It's not often mentioned anymore, but it's worth returning once more to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's October 2003 memo, briskly leaked to the press within days of its delivery to key subordinates. Rumsfeld poses a series of important questions, starting with "Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror?" His memo then swiftly descends into a conceptual muddle, symptomatic of the larger and continuing inability of the national security apparatus to think in coherent strategic and political terms.
by Analyst @ 10:47 AM CST [Link]
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