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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tripartite autism and how to break out of it

The abortive summit that was held on February 19 between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was not a surprise. Coming against the ominous background of the Palestinian Unity Agreement it had little prospect. The result was not even a hot air summit, but rather a semi-public tiff. Reportedly, Abbas and Olmert told each other off and had to be calmed down by Condoleezza Rice, like errant children. The question many are asking is, "why was this summit held at all?" It only served to display the futility of current policies on all sides, as well as the lack of political horizon.


by Moderator @ 03:00 PM CST [Link]

Monday, February 19, 2007

Plain talk about Iraq

Daily bombings underline the spectacular failure of the current offensive against Iraq, and indeed of US policy in Iraq. Over 60 people were killed on Sunday in bombing attacks in Baghdad. Today there were bombings in Ramadi, in Baghdad and elsewhere - 15 dead here, 11 dead there, mourners of previous attacks gunned down in new attacks. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish when the reports are discussing different incidents, and when they are discussing the same ones. In fact, sometimes it is hard to tell when incidents occurred. For many, many months, the news has been the same: on the one hand, promises of a new US offensive, promises of Iraqi readiness to fight terrorism, and on the other hand, ambushes, bombs and more bombs, booby trapped cars, suicide bombers, roadside devices, mortar attacks. [more]

by Moderator @ 01:55 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lebanon and Hezbollah: at long last, it is time to wake up

In its lead editorial, the Beirut Daily Star naively notes, At long last, Nasrallah needs to spell out his bottom line

by Moderator @ 01:14 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Palestinian unity: Ominous signs

The Palestinian unity deal reached in Mecca is VERY IMPORTANT. That much is clear. It is certainly better for Palestinians, at least temporarily, to be united, then it is to fight each other. In the longer term, however, unity is not necessarily good. As the fog begins to lift on the Palestinian unity deal, what is revealed is increasingly less pleasant.


by Moderator @ 10:36 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Hamas-Fatah Unity Talks

The unity talks that began today in Mecca must succeed, as all sides have vowed. They are held in the holy city of Mecca, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has put his prestige on the line for the success of the negotiations. On the other hand, as Danny Rubinstein points out in Haaretz, there is little chance that they can succeed. [more]

by Moderator @ 04:34 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Devil's Dictionary of Israeli-Palestinian Peace

As part of our ongoing services to readers, complementing articles like The Middle East in one easy lesson", we offer the Devil's Dictionary of Israeli-Palestinian Peace. The original Devil's dictionary was a compilation of often too accurate definitions by critique Ambrose Bierce that exposed hypocrisy in the use and abuse of language. Nowhere is language bent out of shape as it is in diplomacy and political propaganda, and nowhere is the phenomenon as prevalent as it is in reports of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (see What's in a Word? for a detailed discussion.) In the hands of the spinners, suicide bombings become "non-violent action," genocidal programs are transmuted to "legitimate rights," settlement expansion becomes "self-defense."

The list is below. Many of the terms apply equally to both sides, though we are sure that partisans will insist that they only apply to "the other side." [more]

by Moderator @ 04:59 PM CST [Link]

Friday, February 2, 2007

US Intelligence discovery:'Iraq at Risk of Further Strife'

Not since Polish cryptographers broke the code of the Enigma encoding machine of the German Abwehr, has there been such a breakthrough in intelligence. A Washington Post headline carries these ominous words:

"Iraq at Risk of Further Strife, Intelligence Report Warns"

"You don't say." For Americans, this is apparently a major breakthrough. [more]

by Moderator @ 08:02 PM CST [Link]


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