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Friday, March 26, 2004

How close was Libya to the bomb? Did the U.S. exaggerate?

Many of the readers of the IAEA's Feb. 20, 2004 report on Libya's nuclear program came away with the impression that it wasn't exactly on a path to great achievements when Col. Moammar Qafadi decided to trade it in for a measure of international statesmanship. (This was my own view.) But on March 15, during a press conference at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham seems to have sent a very different message, saying that Libya had handed over thousands of completed centrifuges of an advanced design, the so-called P-2 or L-2. This would be a very considerable stockpile.

Now it's not so clear that the official story holds up. This pattern is becoming a little too familiar.


by Analyst @ 07:36 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Foreign intervention in Palestine will not happen

Ralph Seliger, Executive Editor of Israel Horizons, has proposed that the United States should have sent troops to the West Bank and Gaza strip to keep the peace and rebuild Palestine, instead of invading Iraq, as part of the war on terror. I will not discuss the questionable idea that the war on terror could have been fought by the USA in Israel, but the idea of sending foreign troops to the West Bank and Gaza deserves comment.


by Moderator @ 05:16 PM CST [Link]

A backward glance at the Iraq war - Israel/Palestine first

I began this piece as many thousands participated in international protests for the first year anniversary of the Iraq war. I remember feeling some disdain, if not revulsion, at the massive anti-war demonstrations of last year, before hostilities commenced. Didn't they understand, I reasoned, that these enormous expressions of opposition to United States and other efforts to rein in Saddam Hussein were acts of support for his totalitarian tyranny? One of the things that upset me most, is that in marching against the war before the United Nations Security Council vote, the anti-war protestors opposed any international effort to forcibly end a heinous regime in the name of "peace."


by RSeliger @ 01:40 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The Middle East martyrdom game: Ze'evi, Yassin, Arafat..- converting bad leaders into dead saints

As everyone knows, the Middle East suffers from bad leadership. We have number of aging, corrupt and undemocratic leaders who represent extremist ideas. Until now, these gentleman have proven to be insuperable obstacles to peace, democracy, progress and improvements of the well-being of the populace. However, Middle East innovation and ingenuity have now come up with a solution. Any fanatic, illogical, corrupt or bloodthirsty leader can be instantly converted into a revered saint and martyr by assassination.


by Moderator @ 03:54 PM CST [Link]

Kurdish agony - the forgotten massacre of Qamishlo

In a dark corner of the Middle East, perhaps 100 or more Kurds have been murdered by the Syrian government. The massacres took place beginning on March 13, 2004, in Qamishlo (Kamisla) and other towns. There were no statements of concern by the White House or EU leaders and the UN did not meet over this issue. In fact, nobody seems to care at all. In 1987 Saddam Hussein massacred about 5,000 Kurds using gas warfare against the town of Halabja. Then, as now, the world was almost totally indifferent. Perhaps in 15 years, people will ask why nobody spoke out about Qamishlo, just as now they are asking why nobody spoke out against the massacres carried out by Saddam Hussein. There are no hardly any irate editorials about the Kurdish massacre, because it is not expedient and nobody cares. Perhaps the Kurds will be ignored and allowed to die quietly unless they send suicide bombers to explode themselves in New York, attracting the attention of the Nation and the Independent. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:25 AM CST [Link]

Monday, March 22, 2004

Ahmed Yassin Background - a celebrity scrapbook

Since everyone is probably interested in news and background about Hamas and the assassination of Ahmed Yassin, I have compiled a scrapbook of information from various sources below, including materials available at MidEastWeb and elsewhere.

The Hamas Charter is here.

A description of Palestinian groups including the Hamas is here.

Additional texts are below. MidEastWeb for Coexistence is not responsible for the accuracy and editorial content of the items below. [more]

by Moderator @ 08:21 PM CST [Link]

Death of a terrorist and the stupidity of the Israeli left

Can you think of a dumber thing for an Israeli Zionist political group to do than to protest the assassination of a Palestinian terrorist? I can't. But that is exactly what the Peace Now movement is doing.

All of us who want peace in the Middle East are dismayed by the collapse of the Israeli left, owing to a number of factors. The most important factor is no doubt the outbreak of violence in September 2000, which stabbed the Israeli "peace camp" in the heart. but the Israeli left has excacerbated the damage. Apparently, those who are running the show live in a different country, and are sensitive only to their own reading of reality. If the "Al-Aqsa Intifada" stabbed the peace movement in the heart, the leaders of the Israeli peace movement have been busy making sure the knife stays in. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:09 PM CST [Link]

Killing Ahmed Yassin: What is the point?

The assassination of Ahmed Yassin by the IDF should certainly come as no surprise. Everyone understood that the days of Ahmed Yassin were numbered, since the Israeli government announced repeatedly that it was targeting Hamas leaders in Gaza. It is important to understand why Yassin was killed, because if we understand that, we understand a mechanism that underlies much of the history of the Jewish-Arab conflict. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:32 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 18, 2004

What unilateral disengagement plan?

It is hard to know if we are for or against Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, since nobody seems to know what it is, but most Israelis are convinced that getting out of Gaza has to be good for all concerned.

Ariel Sharon's announced unilateral disengagement "plan" has thrown confusion into both Israeli and Palestinain political camps. It is certainly a positive development for peace when a former arch-advocate of Greater Israel and 'establishing facts on the ground' suddenly reverses course, talks about the evils of occupation, and announces plans to withdraw and dismantle settlements. [more]

by Moderator @ 05:46 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Spain: Why terror toppled the government

Foreign threats usually cause people to unite around the government. Dvora Treisman, who lives in Spain explains why the terrorist attack there had a different result.

Hi Friends,

A few people have asked me about things here in Spain following the terrorist attack and the elections. If the topic interests you, below is my take on it.

The March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid has caused shock and a profound grief throughout Spain. Interestingly, it has caused no hysteria, but it has changed the political scene.
If you have lived in Spain for any amount of time, when you hear mention of a bomb somewhere within the country, you automatically think of ETA, the Basque separatist and terrorist group that is often in the headlines for a bomb threat, an assassination, or an arrest. On some level, people in Spain live under constant threat.


by DvoraTreisman @ 01:41 AM CST [Link]

Monday, March 15, 2004

Report: Washington May Outsource Regime Change

[Washington DC, April 1] Washington insiders report that the Pentagon is considering outsourcing
regime change operations, bowing to pressure to reduce spending and achieve results.

Consultants point out that the recent effort that culminated in overthrow of the conservative Spanish government, cost a tiny fraction of US expenditures in Afghanistan and Iraq, and will maximize ROI for those who have a stake in getting the US out of Iraq. [more]

by Moderator @ 10:05 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Ashdod: Yet another suicide bombing poisons hopes for peace

Really and truly, I was going to write today about new hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian authority announced that the different factions had reached agreement about governing Gaza after the proposed Israeli pullout. Palestinian and Israeli representatives met to plan the agenda of the first meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. For the the first time in many months, things were looking up. [more]

by Moderator @ 07:00 PM CST [Link]

Iran's nuclear straddle starts coming undone

A reversal of roles marks a new phase in the struggle over Iran's nuclear program. Until lately, the U.S. seemed eager for a showdown at the UN Security Council that would have ended International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections in Iran. Iran's government evaded this pressure by pledging its unstinting cooperation, all the better to keep the inspections going as long as possible.

But this week, during a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, the U.S. softened its stance, circulating a draft IAEA resolution that said, in effect, let's just keep the inspections going for the time being. At the same time, Iran began lobbying for a "closing of the file," but in vain.


by Analyst @ 09:44 AM CST [Link]

Friday, March 12, 2004

Nathan Yonathan: A poet of peace has died

Nathan Yonathan, Israel's uncrowned poet laureate of peace, died on Friday at the age of 81. Those of our readers who are not Israelis, and not interested in literature, will forgive me for indulging my grief. A friend has died, a friend and a great man, and I would be remiss in my duty if I did not pay homage to his memory in my modest and surely inadequate way. [more]

by Moderator @ 11:38 PM CST [Link]

Spain - The 9-11 of Al-Andalus

The horror of Islamist terror struck once again today, March 11, 2004. This time the attacks took place in the heart of Europe, killing over 190 people and injuring over a thousand, as blasts of TNT hit the Madrid subway. For several hours it was not clear who had perpetrated the outrage. The Spanish government tried to place blame on the ETA separatists. The horror, however, had the signature marks of Al-Qaeda. Late in the day, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newpaper received a message announcing that the explosions were the work of Al-Qaeda. [more]

by Moderator @ 12:54 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Islam, Islamism and Democracy

Lee Smith has written a very thoughtful essay on the problematic nature of any democracy that might emerge in Iraq. The problem, according to him, lies in the fact that Islamism is not compatible with democracy, or at least it is not compatible with democracy as as you and I understand the term, and, says Smith, it is probable that Islamists will take over Iraq if there are democratic elections. [more]

by Moderator @ 08:05 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sit-down Protest in Damascus

Fifteen hundred Syrian intellectuals from the opposition elements signed a petition asking president Bashar Al Asad to cancel the emergency laws that were promulgated in 1963 when the Al Baath party seized power in Syria after a military coup. They also demanded the release of political prisoners and permission to create political parties and freedom of expression. [more]

by SyrianObserver @ 08:22 PM CST [Link]

Monday, March 8, 2004

New Iraqi constitution - paper or reality? (includes summary of provisions)

The long awaited interim Iraqi constitution was signed today, certainly a positive step on the way to Iraqi independence and democracy. You can read the English language version here. The Arabic is given here. You can find a detailed commentary on it here and a summary is given below.


by Moderator @ 07:14 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, March 6, 2004

Lucky Citizens

Our plight in the Arab countries is that we, as citizens, do not know our rights as human beings and our rights in criticizing our leaders. That is why we consider everything that the state gives us to be a generous gift.

Consider the following: Try to play SimCity4, a computer game in which you build cities starting from scratch, and then you distribute the services.

You may be astonished to find that if you misjudged the situation as a mayor you will be faced by riots from the population in the area you are building, and that you are responsible for the consequences.


by abdulrahman @ 04:44 PM CST [Link]

Is the Palestinian Authority self destructing?

The Palestinian Authority (or Palestine National Authority - PNA) was created as a temporary "representative" governing body as a result of the Oslo Interim peace agreements. It had two major missions: to create a forerunner of a Palestinian state and to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel. Essentially, the PNA was a different name for the PLO, and most of its functionaries are PLO operatives who came with Arafat from Tunis.

Even before 2000, the PNA was not doing very well. Auto theft and counterfeit CDs were staples of the new Palestinian economy, the Palestinian Parliament met rarely, the economy and the ability of the PNA to maintain law and order was questionable. Arguably, when the PNA elected to begin violence in September 2000 rather than to continue negotiating, they had made a decision to self-destruct.

by Moderator @ 03:27 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, March 4, 2004

The real Iraq intelligence scandal

It amazes me that everyone is concerned about who to blame for the WMD intelligence scandal, but nobody is talking about the important intelligence scandal in Iraq. The WMD intelligence scandal is done and gone. Iraq apparently had no WMD. It is somewhat pointless to debate whether or not the US should have invaded Iraq given that they had no WMD, because we cannot play the tape of history back. However, while everyone is arguing about who knew what, and who suppressed what, and how anyone could be so stupid, nobody is discussing the real problem. [more]

by Moderator @ 02:32 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Did Iran launch a crash nuclear weapon program?

Among the many unanswered questions caught up in the swirl of deception that surrounds Iran's nuclear program, one mystery has taken on a particularly ominous cast. Whatever happened at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, a clandestine nuclear site in the guise of (according to some news reports) a watch factory, has begun to look like the realization of the worst fears of the nonproliferation community.

Was Kalaye a crash program intended to create fissile material for a nuclear explosive device as quickly as possible? If so, did it succeed? Or did the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) interrupt it?

The following is an attempt to interpret the available evidence. I cannot call it authoritative. It's long, but it should reward reading. Be patient.


by Analyst @ 04:49 AM CST [Link]

Mayhem and martyrdom in Iraq

Watching video from Baghdad and Karbala today, I found myself unsure whether an individual was bloody from the Ashura rites, or from the mortar and suicide bomber attacks that have killed nearly 150 people, or perhaps more. Then the bodies appeared on the screen.

What is behind this horror?


by Analyst @ 02:29 AM CST [Link]

Monday, March 1, 2004

The little shahids that (almost) could

As unbelievable as it seems, the Israeli Army apprehended two fourteen year old Palestinian children recruited for a suicide mission. [more]

by Moderator @ 02:08 PM CST [Link]


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