Middle East

Israel Urged To Attack Iran Nuke Plant
Middle East

A report submitted to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls for the Jewish state to plan pre-emptive strikes against Iran's nuclear plant and nuclear second-strike capability as a deterrent against its hostile neighbors in the Middle East. The report, "Israel's Strategic Future," says Israel must prevent its enemies from developing weapons of mass destruction through strikes against vital facilities.

Former US diplomats criticise Bush over Middle East
Middle East

"About 50 former US diplomats have followed the lead of British counterparts by putting their concerns about Middle East policy to US president George Bush...In their letter the retired US diplomats reportedly blast Washington's support for Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon ...'Your unabashed support of Sharon's extra judicial assassinations, Israel's Berlin-Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in occupied territories and now your endorsement of Sharon's unilateral plans are costing our country its credibility, prestige and friends.' "

World Leaders, Including Kofi Annan, Condemn Bush-Sharon Scheme
Middle East

Right when Bush most desperately needed to be mending fences with world leaders, especially the UN, to help the embattled US troops in Iraq, he makes a move calculated to further alienate the world. The act: throwing his support to Ariel Sharon's Gaza plan, which excludes the Palestinians from an agreement which would see Israel retain large swaths of the West Bank as part of any Middle East peace accord. Worse, in a 180-degree turn from his own alleged "vision" for the Middle East, Bush also implicitly rejected the "right of return" to Israel of Palestinians. To top it off, Sharon is expected to be indicted for fraud! The only justification Bush can have is an attempt to rake in Jewish voters and dollars in November. Once again, his own interests come before that of the US and the rest of the world.

Nixon Planned Seizure of Arab Oilfields in 1973
Middle East

In 1973, Richard Nixon had a simple solution to OPEC's oil embargo: to seize OPEC's oilfields. "The declassified British memorandum said the United States considered launching airborne troops to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, but only as a 'last resort.'... Nixon's defense secretary, James R. Schlesinger, delivered the warning to Lord Cromer, the British ambassador in Washington... Schlesinger told him the United States was unwilling to abide threats by 'underdeveloped, underpopulated' countries... As outlined in the memorandum, military action would be relatively straightforward: two brigades were estimated to be needed to seize the Saudi oil fields and one each for Kuwait and Abu Dhabi." In 1973, it was all about oil. In 2003, it was still all about oil.

Tom DeLay Wears the White House Pants
Middle East

Earlier this week, Bush indicated he would consider the Geneva Accord peace plan for the Middle East - a plan that most everyday Israelis and Palestinians favor. Then, the day after the rabid Christian Zionist Tom DeLay released his denunciation of the scheme, Bush suddenly reasserted that the Roadmap to Nowhere is the way to go. This removes any doubt who wears the White House pants - namely, the House of Reps snake oil salesman! "Bush gave his blessing to Mr Powell's talks with the Geneva accord authors," reports the Independent. "However, the two men were refused meetings with Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice." In other words, the "blessing" was a complete sham. "The Geneva Accord calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the dismantling of most Jewish settlements, going beyond the roadmap."

U.S. Military Will Leave Saudi Arabia This Year -- Isn't This What Bin Laden Wanted?
Middle East

PentaPost reports: "Having removed the government of Saddam Hussein from Iraq, the U.S. military will end operations in Saudi Arabia later this year, freeing the kingdom of a major political problem caused by the visible presence of U.S. forces in the land of Islam's two holiest shrines, defense officials announced today. Shutting down U.S. flights from Prince Sultan air base and moving the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center from here to nearby Qatar mark the beginning of what Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has described as a major realignment of U.S. military forces, not only in the Persian Gulf, but also in Europe and the Far East. Meeting this morning with service members here inside a giant aircraft hangar, Rumsfeld said he is attempting 'to refashion and rebalance those arrangements so that we're organized for the future.'"

Freedom for Kuwaitis? ROTFL!
Middle East

WashPost writes, "Although [Kuwait] is smaller, richer and far less complex than neighboring Iraq, 'the new Kuwait' promised by the emir, Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah, on his return 12 years ago has turned out to be a lot like the old Kuwait. Instead of moving toward more participatory government, as the United States urged, Kuwait's post-liberation history is one of limited change. The country remains a tightly controlled hereditary emirate with a 75-year-old ruler whose family wields unquestioned power. Women cannot vote or go to college with men. Political parties are not allowed. While hopes may have been boosted by earnest rhetoric out of Washington in 1991, the United States never publicly urged this key Persian Gulf ally to adopt reforms. The emir never made specific promises beyond his pledge to restore the National Assembly and consider the vote for women. The question of sharing the ruling family's power or changing the hereditary system apparently was not seriously considered."

Iraq War Hawks Plan to Reshape Entire Mideast
Middle East

Boston Globe reports, "As the Bush administration debates going to war against Iraq, its most hawkish members are pushing a sweeping vision for the Middle East that sees the overthrow of Saddam Hussein of Iraq as merely a first step in the region's transformation. The argument for reshaping the political landscape in the Mideast has been pushed for years by some Washington think tanks and in hawkish circles. It is now being considered as a possible US policy with the ascent of key hard-liners in the administration - from Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith in the Pentagon to John Hannah and Lewis Libby on the vice president's staff and John Bolton in the State Department... Iraq, the hawks argue, is just the first piece of the puzzle. After an ouster of Hussein, they say, the US will have more leverage to act against Syria and Iran, will be in a better position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will be able to rely less on Saudi oil." We demand Congressional hearings!

What Do You REALLY Know About Islam? Enough to Fight a W-ar Over?
Middle East

Professor Gary Leupp of Tufts University wrote: "People with power and influence in the U.S. have been saying some very stupid things about Islam and about Muslims since September 11. Some of it is rooted in conscious malice, and ethnic prejudice that spills over into religious bigotry. But some is rooted in sheer historical and geographical ignorance. This is a country, after all, in which only a small minority of high school students can readily locate Afghanistan on the map, or are aware that Iranians and Pakistanis are not Arabs. As an educator, in Asian Studies, at a fairly elite university, I am painfully aware of this ignorance. But I realize it serves a purpose. It is highly useful to a power structure that banks on knee-jerk popular support whenever it embarks on a new military venture, at some far-off venue, on false pretexts immediately discernable to the better educated, but lost on the general public. The generally malleable mainstream press takes care of the rest."

Richard Perle and the Chickenhawk Right Push for War against Saudi Arabia
Middle East

"A briefing given last month to a top Pentagon advisory board described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the US, and recommended that U.S. officials give it an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the US. 'The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader,' stated the explosive briefing [on July 10]... 'Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies,' said the briefing prepared by Laurent Murawiec, a Rand Corp. analyst [who described] Saudi Arabia as 'the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent' in the Middle East... The chairman of the board is former Pentagon official Richard N. Perle, one of the most prominent advocates in Washington of just such an invasion." The board includes Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, and Henry Kissinger - the only member who challenged Perle.

BushCheney Fail to Support Peaceful Alternative to Fundamentalist Violence
Middle East

Thomas Friedman reports from Sri Lanka: "Watching the pathetic, mealy-mouthed response of President [sic] Bush and his State Department to Egypt's decision to sentence the leading Egyptian democracy advocate to seven years in prison leaves one wondering whether the whole Bush foreign policy team isn't just a big bunch of phonies. Shame on all of them...Mr. Ibrahim's 'crime' was that his institute at the American University in Cairo was helping to teach Egyptians how to register to vote, how to fill out a ballot and how to monitor elections...I am struck by how many Sri Lankans, who are as pro-American as they come, have made some version of this observation to me: America as an idea, as a source of optimism and as a beacon of liberty is critical to the world — but you Americans seem to have forgotten that since 9/11. You've stopped talking about who you are, and are only talking now about who you're going to invade, oust or sanction."

While Bush Plans Conquest of Iraq, Saudi Arabia Could Fall to Al Qaeda
Middle East

The Observer reports, "Saudi Arabia is teetering on the brink of collapse, fuelling [British] Foreign Office fears of an extremist takeover of one of the West's key allies in the war on terror. Anti-government demonstrations have swept the desert kingdom in the past months in protest at the pro-American stance of the de facto ruler, Prince Abdullah. At the same time, Whitehall officials are concerned that Abdullah could face a palace coup from elements within the royal family sympathetic to al-Qaeda. Saudi sources said the Pentagon had recently sponsored a secret conference to look at options if the royal family fell. Demonstrations across the kingdom broke out in March, triggered by a fire in a girls' school in which 14 pupils died after the religious police stopped them escaping. Unrest in the east of the country rapidly escalated into nationwide protests against the royal family that were brutally suppressed by the police."

'Poppy of Arabia' Pushes Shrub Back into the Saudi Royal Family
Middle East

Maureen Dowd writes in the New York Times, Poppy Bush "swats away talk about what he dismissively calls 'this dynasty stuff' or 'this legacy crud.' But the Texas meeting of the two royal families, the House of Saud and the House of Bush, as Newsweek called it, showed the cat's cradle entwining 41 and 43, two presidents perplexed and bedeviled by the same tumultuous region. The second President Bush neglected the Middle East for 15 months. Then the Middle East visited him in September, and he became firm in his antiterrorist resolve. Then he started vacillating — a muddled, nerve-racking period during which he still seemed to be struggling to occupy the full space of his presidency. Finally, Poppy of Arabia swept across the Texas prairie to help out."

Yet another Long-Time U.S. Ally Alienated by Bush Administration: Egypt
Middle East

"After more than 20 years of standing alongside American presidents in building peace in the region, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is feeling undermined by Washington, upstaged by Saudi Arabia and vulnerable before an angry Arab population, officials [in Cairo] say. That anger spilled into the streets here today as riot police officers were forced to fire tear gas and water cannons at large numbers of protesters trying to reach the Israeli Embassy. Forced back, the crowd vandalized a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet instead. The feeling is growing here that President Bush's support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is creating an explosive situation. 'In a way, Sharon is leading the United States into a psychological confrontation with the Arab world at the moment in time when the United States is considering a military attack on Iraq,' said Abdel Raouf el-Reedy, a close Mubarak friend and former Egyptian ambassador to Washington." So reports the NY Times.

American Public May Soon Pay for Bush's Failure as Leader as Angry Arab Nations Threaten to Use Oil as Weapon against West
Middle East

When they jokingly call Bush the "Global Wreckingball," it's an understatement. He has isolated the U.S. politically from the rest of the world, slaughtered thousands of Afghans in the name of oil without ever catching a glimpse of his alleged objective Bin Laden, and cheered Sharon on in mindless warfare that threatens to destroy Israel. Now it looks like blowback time - and it will be the American public that pays for Bush's failure as a leader. Iran, one of the countries Bush has condemned as "evil," is leading a call to Muslim nations to withhold oil from the west until Bush comes to his senses and demands a halt to the bloodshed in the Middle East. This harkens back to the Arab oil embargo of the 1970's, which devastated the US economy.

Bush Fiddles While the Middle East Burns
Middle East

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupts into full-scale war, anti-American protests are heating up in several Arab countries, and critics are taking Bush to task for failing to stop the violence. If Bush spent a little less time planning an attack on Iraq and a little more time brokering peace, perhaps the region wouldn't be in the mess it's in now! Even former Reagan administration official Geoffrey Kemp, who ran Mideast policy at the National Security Council, is criticizing Bush on his inaction. "The supreme irony is that the greatest power the world has ever known has proven incapable of managing a regional crisis. A 2-year-old could have seen this crisis coming. And the idea that it could be brushed under the carpet as the administration focused on either Afghanistan or Iraq reflects either appalling arrogance or ignorance." How about both - Bush officials are both arrogant AND ignorant!