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Friday, June 1, 2007

I Put before you Life and Death

Choose your Covenant:


The Offer of Life or Death



Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"



No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.



See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.



But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.



This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


Allah requires much blood
Blood is spiritual currency This IS a holy war The enemy understands that aspect very clearly We do not ~ TOSOZ





Covenant of death

OR


Covenant of Life........















Whores of the Mahdi Army

Behold!

Global dhimming continues unabated as America and Israel continue to enact the suicidal dictates of the craven ISG Baker/Hamilton Kevorkian Plan:


MAY 23 2007 ~

"Internally, the plan is for US forces to help isolate takfirists (fundamentalist Salafi jihadi s), peel off Sunnis from the insurgency, contain hardcore elements of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, and halt Iranian and trans-Syrian infiltration of troops and materiel." If all else failed, the US might seek an arrangement with Mr Sadr, if only to secure an orderly transition, the official claimed. "Cutting a deal with the Mahdi army is [vice-president] Dick Cheney's deep fallback option."



May 26, 2007 ~

Mahdi army vows revenge on British troops after Basra leader is killed, Moqtada al-Sadr appears again after four months



Ahmadinejad preparing Iran for Imam Mahdi




May 29th, 2007 ~

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr makes bid for greater role in US-occupied Iraq

[SNIP]

Draped in a white burial shroud to symbolise his willingness to face death, Sadr began Friday’s speech with a chant: “No to the devil, no to America, no to the occupation, no to Israel”. He repeated his movement’s demand for a timetable for the withdrawal of US and other foreign forces. The Maliki government, he declared, “is not authorised to extend the mandate of the foreign forces in Iraq after a million people demonstrated to protest that presence and 144 [out of 275] lawmakers signed to demand the withdrawal of these forces”.

[SNIP]




LAST NIGHT MAY 31, 2007:

U.S. trying to open a dialogue with al-Sadr, commander says


BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military is seeking talks with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr directly and through the government of Iraq, according to a top American general. A Sadr aide confirmed that U.S. officials had approached the anti-American cleric's supporters but said that Sadr would never begin a dialogue with what they describe as "occupation forces."


"He has a grass-roots movement that he's always going to have; we have to recognize that," Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq, told McClatchy Newspapers in an interview this week. "We're trying to talk to him. We want to talk to him." In a video conference from Baghdad on Thursday, Odierno also said the U.S. was reaching out to Sunni Muslims as well as Shiite armed factions such as Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. "We are talking about cease-fires, and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces," he said Thursday.


At the same time, however, U.S. and British forces have stepped up operations against the Mahdi Army in the sprawling Shiite slum of Sadr City in Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra. Odierno told McClatchy that he wasn't sure whether Sadr's resurfacing in the Shiite holy city of Kufa last week was a good or bad thing for American forces in Iraq. While the cleric was away, his organization became more fractionalized, and part of the reason for his return, Odierno said, was "the consolidation of his powers." This could mean cleaning up rogue elements of the Mahdi Army, he said. "I'm mixed; I'm not sure yet," Odierno said referring to the effect of Sadr's return on security. "I'll take a wait-and-see attitude."


Sadr, who was widely rumored to be hiding in neighboring Iran for months, appeared at Friday prayers in Kufa last week spouting anti-American rhetoric and calling on his followers to work with Sunnis against a U.S. "occupation." Sadr largely inherited his constituency from the millions of impoverished Shiites in Iraq who are loyal to his father, the popular Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, whom Saddam Hussein's regime assassinated. While Muqtada al-Sadr's religious standing is shaky, his family name draws deep loyalty. Shiites credit his militia with protecting them from Sunni insurgents who target Shiite neighborhoods. But the Mahdi Army also is blamed for kidnapping and killing Sunni men.


An Iraqi judge has issued a warrant for the cleric's arrest in connection with the killing of Shiite leader Abdul Majid al-Khoei in April 2003. Salah al-Obaidi, a senior Sadr aide, acknowledged that the U.S. has approached the cleric's supporters multiple times about talks with Sadr. He said the requests had been rebuffed. "This will be a betrayal for the country," Obaidi said. "Any cooperation with the occupier is forbidden." If the Iranian-backed Sadr, who's cast himself as a national resistance figure, began talking with the U.S. he'd risk losing support in the Iraqi street. During his absence he issued statements with fiery anti-American rhetoric while calling on followers not to attack. He called for a demonstration in Najaf in April against the American presence in Iraq, and legislators from his movement are circulating a bill in parliament to set a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal.


Sadr's supporters have "no problem" if members of the U.S. Congress were to meet with Sadrists in parliament, Obaidi said. "We respect the American people. We have no problem with them. We know not all of them accept the occupation." The U.S. military has begun to draw distinctions between Sadr and what it calls "rogue" Mahdi Army members. It most often links the men whom it detains and kills to Iran through their weapon of choice: explosively formed projectiles, which are armor-piercing bombs that the American military claims come from Iran.


Separating Sadr from the Mahdi Army commanders whom the American military is targeting could set the stage for U.S.-Sadr talks. In his Pentagon video conference, Odierno said September could be too early for U.S. leaders to fully judge the success of the troop buildup, despite growing political pressure for a definitive assessment. "Right now if you asked me, I would tell you I'll probably need a little bit more time to do a true assessment," Odierno said.


MAHDI ARMY PR VIDEO





Al-Mahdi Army / Active Religious Seminary / Al-Sadr's Group




Understanding Muqtada al-Sadr

by Nimrod Raphaeli
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2004

When U.S. forces rolled through Iraq in March and April 2003, most Shi‘ites greeted them as liberators. But, the demise of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq unleashed an array of forces that had been dormant or suppressed for more than three decades. From almost total political marginalization, the Iraqi Shi‘ites found themselves at the center of political power. While some political parties such as Da'wa and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq participated in the U.S.-sponsored political process, it was not long before U.S. forces became aware of a new force among the Shi‘ites.

Muqtada al-Sadr, a young cleric from a prominent family, almost immediately launched a fierce campaign of resistance, first against competing clerics and then against the coalition forces. "Continue the resistance," Muqtada told his supporters in a May 21, 2004 sermon. "Do not use my death or arrest as an excuse not to finish what you have started."[1] Muqtada's statement underlines the lasting threat he now poses to Iraq's internal stability and to Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's interim government. A large body of young, poor Shi‘ites have found voice in Muqtada's violent populist movement. In Muqtada they have found a leader who trumpets their rage.

Understanding Muqtada's roots, ideology, and his backers is key to understanding Muqtada's goals for Iraq as he continues to command his forces into political and military confrontation.

[SNIP] [LINK]


Cinema Babbazee re-run:
Whores of the Mahdi Army





Thursday, May 31, 2007

UPDATES for: The Butchers, the Baker and the Dread Malaise Maker, pushing Jews into the sea...

UPDATES:

STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BAKER PLAN:

12/6/06
Baker report: Israel must withdraw from Golan


5/31/07:

Olmert: Israel Willing to Give up Golan for Peace with Syria

By Amihai Zippor

(IHC News, 31 May 2007)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert acknowledged he is willing to give up the entire Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, for a peace deal.

However, the price Israel will pay will depend on the level of relations Syria is willing to provide.

"The price is clear. There may be a debate on the payment terms, discounts etc. but the main question is what Israel would receive in return. Will it receive peace like [the one it has] with Egypt, peace like Britain and France have, or a deception: Give us the Golan, and all you'll get is an alliance between Syria and Iran and Hamas headquarters in Damascus," the Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Olmert as saying on Thursday, 31 May 2007.

"My duty as Prime Minister is to examine [the negotiations option] even if intelligence evaluations say it's a deception and even when Western and other leaders warn me," he was reported to have said in recent closed meetings on the issue.

Since last summer, Syrian President Bashar Assad has threatened Israel that if it did not restart peace talks on withdrawing from the Golan, Syria would begin an armed campaign to retake it.

Senior government officials in Jerusalem have been wary of restarting talks with Syria, as it continues to harbor Palestinian terrorist groups and maintains a close alliance with Iran.

The US position is said to be similar to Israel’s.

However, in a recent interview, US Secretary of State Condoleezza denied the Bush Administration was restraining Israel from exploring a deal with Assad.

"My understanding is that it's the view of the Israelis and certainly our view that the Syrians are engaged in behavior right now that is destabilizing to the region. But it's not a view that there shouldn't be such a track,” she said.

Rice added, “When it's ready, it should be,” hinting Israel will pay a price for peace with its northern neighbor.


U.S. envoy to PA slams Israel for refusing to ease PA conditions.


Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the top American security envoy to the Palestinian Authority, has criticized Israel for its failure to help define a "security horizon" for the Palestinians and its refusal to ease conditions in the Palestinian Authority.

In his reports to Washington, Dayton says forces loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have improved their performance in recent battles with Hamas.

Dayton told the United States Congress and Department that the security force loyal to Abbas was demonstrating satisfactory progress and that he detected signs that Hamas was weakening. Among other things, Abbas loyalists had blocked a Hamas offensive despite a high number of fatalities in their ranks, and closed two tunnels used for smuggling arms from Egypt, Dayton said.





Psalm 83

KEEP NOT silence, O God; hold not Your peace or be still, O God.

For, behold, Your enemies are in tumult, and those who hate You have raised their heads.

They lay crafty schemes against Your people and consult together against Your hidden and precious ones.


They have said, Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be in remembrance no more.


For they have consulted together with one accord and one heart; against You they make a covenant-- The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, the Philistines, with the inhabitants of Tyre. Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot [the Ammonites and the Moabites] and have been an arm to them.

Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!


Do to them as [You did to] the Midianites, as to Sisera and Jabin at the brook of Kishon, Who perished at Endor, who became like manure for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, yes, all their princes as Zebah and Zalmunna, Who say, Let us take possession for ourselves of the pastures of God.


O my God, make them like whirling dust, like stubble or chaff before the wind!
As fire consumes the forest, and as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, So pursue and afflict them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your tornado or hurricane. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek, inquire for, and insistently require Your name, O Lord. Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; yes, let them be put to shame and perish, That they may know that You, Whose name alone is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

SELAH




UPDATES II: 6/1/07

Dead Sea, Jordan, 20 May 2007 – Israel will respond “as soon as possible” to the Arab peace initiative which was reaffirmed by the Arab League at their summit in Riyadh earlier this year, Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres told participants at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East. “This is the position of the government of Israel. We are ready to make a counter-proposal. And, we are ready to sit down with whomever you want – the Saudis, the Arab League – and we shall try to air out the differences between us.” The World Economic Forum on the Middle East has brought together more than 1,200 business, government and civil society leaders from 56 countries to the Dead Sea. The meeting closes today.

On the podium with Peres, Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said: “We will wait to see if they put something serious on the table.” The Arab proposal calls for Israel to withdraw from all disputed territories, to recognize ”an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” and to agree to a “just solution” for the Palestinian refugees. In exchange, 22 Arab countries would recognize the state of Israel and normalize relations with the country. “Arab countries have adopted a unanimous and collective initiative offering the hand of peace to Israel,” said Moussa. “We have received no counter-offer, just gestures. But we consider this year as crucial. We want to reach a conclusion when the window of opportunity is open.”

Peres and Moussa also discussed the fighting in the Gaza Strip among Palestinians that has led to Israeli military action. “It was bound to happen,” Moussa said. “The embargo [by Israel] and starvation have led to that.” Observed Peres: “There was a unity government but not a united policy. They don’t act in concert.” Also on the panel, Saeb Erekat, Chief Negotiator for the Palestinian National Authority, argued that the factional strife in Gaza should not obscure what is at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. “The real issue is that you have an occupation that has been there for 40 years.”

Erekat told participants that conditions in the Palestinian Territories have deteriorated. Without funds withheld by Israel, the government is unable to pay teachers and healthcare workers. He expressed concern that the situation was undermining public support for moderate Palestinians. “You are destroying us; you are destroying our social fabric,” Erekat declared. “Get rid of the occupation if you don’t want to see Al Qaeda and extremism.” He called on Israel to accept the Arab peace initiative. “If we leave things in this region to conflict and war, and try to resolve issues through guns, then this region is doomed, and we will go through the 21st century in darkness.”

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.

World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2007

Putting Diversity to Work
Dead Sea, 18-20 May 2007




The Butchers, the Baker and the Dread Malaise Maker, pushing Jews into the sea...


I want to take you back in time to November and December of 2006 before I arrange some stories from today below them. Keep in mind too my other posts over the last four weeks concerning the ISG, Baker, Iran, Israel, and the World Bank...
~ TOSOZ

November/December 2006

James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy


WHAT WE ARE THINKING:

FROM CONFLICT MANAGEMENT TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Edward P. Djerejian


Edward P. Djerejian is the founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. He has served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Ambassador to Syria, and Ambassador to Israel

The recent fighting in the Levant presents a fundamental challenge for U.S. policy toward the Middle East -- but also an opportunity to move from conflict management to conflict resolution. The United States should seize this moment to transform the cease-fire in the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict into a step toward a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement. Doing so would facilitate the marginalization of the forces of Islamic radicalism and enhance the prospects for regional security and political, economic, and social progress.

The Hezbollah-Israeli confrontation has further proved what should already have been painfully clear to all: there is no viable military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Even with its military superiority, Israel cannot achieve security by force alone or by unilateral withdrawal from occupied territories. Nor can Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and similar groups destroy Israel. Peace can come only from negotiated agreements that bind both sides.

Hezbollah may have ignited the spark that set off this latest confrontation, but it is not the root cause. The fighting was the combined result of the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict and the struggle between the forces of moderation and those of extremism within the Muslim world -- two issues that are linked by the radicals' exploitation of the Arab-Israeli conflict for their own political ends. U.S. policy in the region should thus focus both on trying to promote a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute and on helping Muslim moderates by facilitating political and economic reform across the Middle East.

THE NORTHERN FRONT

The crisis on the Israeli-Lebanese border this summer erupted in an already tense environment. On June 25, Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier, which reignited fighting on the Israeli-Palestinian front. When Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12, it precipitated a strong Israeli military reaction, which, by his own admission, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had not anticipated.

The Hezbollah-Israeli war lasted 34 days, with major Israeli incursions into Lebanon and the firing of some 4,000 Hezbollah rockets. The fighting resulted in major casualties (approximately 855 Lebanese and 159 Israelis killed), as well as large displacements of people on both sides of the border. Lebanon sustained economic and infrastructure damage estimated at $3.9 billion, and the toll on Israel has been figured as running into the hundreds of millions.

When the hostilities began, the international community called for an immediate cease-fire, but the Bush administration held off, calling for a "sustainable" cease-fire instead. The Bush administration left the strong impression that it was giving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government time to inflict serious damage on Hezbollah's infrastructure and personnel. Meanwhile, the administration and Israel clearly identified Iran and Syria as the main state supporters of Hezbollah's actions, and the danger of a wider regional conflict was not dismissed.

Eventually, the international community stepped in to stabilize southern Lebanon and prevent the crisis from escalating further. The parameters for international action had been set by UN Security Council Resolution 1559, passed in 2004, which called for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the disarmament of Hezbollah. Resolution 1701, passed on August 11 of this year, refers to the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the presence of a UN force, and the commitment of the government of Lebanon to extend its authority over its territory; it also takes note of proposals regarding the Shebaa Farms area. In other words, it provides the necessary framework to support the Lebanese government's development and the implementation of Beirut's plan to regain sovereign control over the whole country.

Still, an outside stabilization program is urgently required to help this happen. Such a program would need to include an agreement on a lasting and comprehensive cease-fire, the return of both Israeli and Arab hostages and prisoners, and an international support package involving economic, humanitarian, and security assistance for Lebanon. It would also need to contain realistic plans for deploying the Lebanese army to the south of the country, disarming Hezbollah, and preventing illicit arms shipments to Lebanon. And it would need to include a solution to the disagreements over the control and sovereignty of Shebaa Farms. The successful implementation of such a stabilization program would not just help resolve current tensions; it could also provide the basis for moving forward on negotiations for an Israeli-Lebanese peace agreement in the context of a comprehensive settlement.

Syria, meanwhile, poses both a danger and an opportunity. The Assad regime could undermine security arrangements in southern Lebanon, hinder progress in Iraq, and continue to support Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and radicals in Hamas. But it could also play a constructive role in the region -- a possibility that has yet to be fully explored. The Bush administration's engagement with the Syrians from 2003 to 2005 left both sides frustrated. Washington felt that Damascus offered too little too late, and Damascus felt that Washington constantly increased its demands and refused to be satisfied. Nevertheless, ever since the 1991 Madrid peace conference, Damascus has looked to Washington as the key interlocutor between itself and Israel in negotiations over the return of the Golan Heights. The extensive talks that took place during the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton may not have resulted in a final agreement, but they came very close, hashing out the major issues of land, peace, security, and water
.

The main problems on Israel's northern front now are Hezbollah and the inability of the government of Lebanon to exert authority throughout the entire country. Since Syria facilitates Hezbollah's access to arms and money, any sustainable solution in southern Lebanon would require Syria to be on board. Given Syria's historically special relationship with Lebanon, Damascus would not countenance a separate deal between Beirut and Jerusalem, and so the Israeli-Lebanese and the Israeli-Syrian negotiating tracks will have to proceed in parallel.

If Syria is Hezbollah's facilitator, Iran is its key ideological, political, and financial patron. Hezbollah is a grass-roots Lebanese Shiite political party and militia. Nasrallah and the party decide and manage local political, social, and cultural issues on their own, including tactical decisions on paramilitary operations against Israel. But the group recognizes the absolute political and religious authority of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on doctrinal and strategic issues. Any sustainable agreement with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, therefore, would also have to involve Iran.

Dealing with Iran is problematic. Nevertheless, Washington and Tehran have engaged each other on Afghanistan (constructively), Iraq (less so), and the nuclear issue (as part of an international process). And although Iran sees it as being in its interest to have the United States suffer in Iraq, it does not want U.S. policy there to fail and the country to slip into full-scale civil war or territorial disintegration. Iran's population is just over half Persian, but almost a quarter of the population is Azerbaijani and a small part is Kurdish or Arab, making communal unrest a constant worry. Accordingly, the United States should consider dealing more directly with Iran on specific areas of interest, disavowing regime change as a specific goal and focusing on long-term policies to encourage and support political and economic liberalization and indigenous reform efforts there.

THE PALESTINIAN FRONT

On the Israeli-Palestinian front, finally, it is critical to support and reengage Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the focal points of negotiations and move from managing the current fighting toward true conflict resolution.

Shortly before Hezbollah kidnapped the Israeli soldiers and triggered the recent fighting on the Israeli-Lebanese border, the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue had reached the beginning of a way out of that crisis. An understanding was being brokered by Egypt whereby the Palestinians would commit to the safe release of the kidnapped Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit, Qassam rocket attacks would stop, and a cease-fire would be declared and maintained. There were reliable reports that the Israelis were also prepared to release Palestinian prisoners to Abbas in return for the cease-fire.

The formation of a national unity government between Fatah and Hamas, which as of this writing seems possible, could be a step toward integrating Hamas into a more responsible government. The external wing of Hamas, led by Khaled Meshal in Damascus, has demonstrated a more militant and radical bent, while Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who is from Hamas, and his colleagues inside the territories are struggling with the requirements of governing and have to consider difficult political compromises. U.S. policy should be sensitive to these political dynamics and encourage Hamas to move in a more moderate direction.

The Quartet -- the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations -- has laid out the requirements that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, give up terrorism, and respect all signed agreements. Hamas is basically being asked to do what other Arab governments have already done -- namely, accept all applicable UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative issued at the Arab League summit in Beirut in 1992, which called for recognizing Israel in exchange for a comprehensive peace settlement. To move forward on the Palestinian track, the Quartet should now promote a clearly delineated multistaged approach toward resolving the political, security, and economic issues.

The political framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace is reiterated in the road map and its call for a two-state solution; the task now is to detail the unilateral and coordinated steps all sides must take before negotiations on a final peace settlement. Regarding security, the challenge is to help stabilize the Palestinian territories, reform and reorganize the Palestinian security services, disarm and integrate individual armed groups into the new security force structure, and establish central control by the PA over the use of force. In both the Palestinian and the Lebanese contexts, the success of disarmament and integration will ultimately be the product of political agreements.

And on the economic front, the international community must help promote reforms and avoid a humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian territories, particularly Gaza, by focusing on four key issues: the payment of monthly salaries to the PA's civil and police employees; the financing of health, education, and social programs for the population at large; covering the running costs of essential public institutions and municipal services; and the financing of infrastructure projects. Israel should also be encouraged, with all due consideration for its legitimate security needs, to increase the number of Palestinian workers inside its economy and facilitate the movement of goods across its borders.

ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH

The extremists in the Muslim world today define the conflict with Israel as an existential one, using terms similar to those prevalent in the region half a century ago. The moderates accept the possibility of a political settlement based on the principle of land for peace; for them, in other words, the issue is about Israel's borders, not about its existence. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 (adopted in 1967 and 1973, respectively) embody this latter approach, and the United States should resume its traditional role of pressing for their implementation.

After the Yom Kippur War, in 1973, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger led the effort to obtain the disengagement agreements between Israel, Syria, and Egypt. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter brought Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat together to sign the peace treaty between their two countries. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker led the effort to bring Israel and all of its immediate Arab neighbors together for the first time in direct negotiations in Madrid. President Clinton presided over the signing of the Oslo accords on the White House lawn in 1993, witnessed the signing of the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, and made a major effort toward the end of his term in office that, while it did not lead to a signed agreement, defined the contours of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. This track record proves that with strong presidential leadership, the United States can be an effective interlocutor between the Arabs and the Israelis.

President George W. Bush should therefore reiterate the vision of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement that he presented in June 2002, including his explicit call for a two-state solution involving a Palestinian state living in peace and security next to the state of Israel, and make it clear that he will work toward that end with the international community for the remainder of his presidency. This could give the parties in the region the political space they need to make the tough decisions and compromises for a negotiated peace. This thorough approach to peace, which would bring all the Arab and Israeli parties together to address the issues on the Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian fronts in a parallel manner, could be modeled after the Madrid peace conference of 1991.

All of the key issues in the Middle East -- the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for regionwide political and economic reforms, extremism, and terrorism -- are inextricably linked. Nothing short of a comprehensive strategy can solve the problems, marginalize the radicals, and promote the values and interests of the United States and the parties in the region. Washington has waged war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The question now is whether it can muster the political will to wage peace as well.




On December 21, 2006:

The kept creatures of the Arab world
Posted By Melanie Phillips



Various writers have been drawing attention to the Arab — and particularly, Saudi — connections to Jimmy Carter and James Baker III.


Rachel Ehrenfeld sets out Jimmy Carter’s links HERE


while on FrontPageMag.com Jacob Laskin writes:

Especially lucrative have been Carter’s ties to Saudi Arabia. Before his death in 2005, King Fahd was a longtime contributor to the Carter Center and on more than one occasion contributed million-dollar donations. In 1993 alone, the king presented Carter with a gift of $7.6 million. And the king was not the only Saudi royal to commit funds to Carter’s cause. As of 2005, the king’s high-living nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, has donated at least $5 million to the Carter Center.

Meanwhile the Saudi Fund for Development, the kingdom’s leading loan organization, turns up repeatedly on the center’s list of supporters. Carter has also found moneyed allies in the Bin Laden family, and in 2000 he secured a promise from ten of Osama bin Laden’s brothers for a $1 million contribution to his center. To be sure, there is no evidence that the Bin Ladens maintain any contact with their terrorist relation. But applying Carter’s own standard, his extensive contacts with the Saudi elite must make his views on the Middle East suspect.


Meanwhile at The American Thinker, Ed Lasky reports on Baker’s Saudi contacts:

Baker became involved in the legendary Washington, D.C. based Carlyle Group: an investment group heavily-funded by Saudi Arabian investors. Not only is he the senior counselor of the Carlyle Group; he also has an estimated $180 million dollar stake in the firm. His interests are clearly aligned with those of the Saudis. He established the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. No information is listed on the Institute’s website about major donors, but the Institute’s impressive building bespeaks lavish funding.


The Saudis are known to favor think tanks established by former government officials with generous support, possibly because they may prove useful to them in the future, or to reward them for past service to the Kingdom, and offer an example to others still charged with serving American national interests. Baker’s Houston-based law firm, Baker and Botts, has offices in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and in the Persian Gulf nation of Dubai. Baker and Botts defended, among others, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia who was sued by the families of the World Trade Center victims for alleged complicity in the attacks. Baker has had quite a lucrative career after his government career. … Baker is a Machiavellian maneuverer, an artful street fighter and one of the foremost practitioners of stealthy power plays in Washington.


He constructed a façade of a supposedly neutral bi-partisan working group of ‘experts’ that would formulate policies. Behind the façade, the wizard worked his wonders. He seeded the key working groups with many members who had long histories of anti-Israel activism, have records of making statements that in some cases border on anti-Semitism, and are beneficiaries of Arab oil money.


With such connections making them the kept creatures of the Arab world, it is therefore no surprise that they are intent on smoothing the path to Israel’s destruction. What is startling, however, and unforgiveable, is that with few exceptions the media has not drawn attention to this information which wholly negates their claim to be taken seriously on these matters, and instead has presented them as dispassionate and well-intentioned observers. Can you imagine what the media response would have been if the ISG or a former US President who made recommendations about the Middle East had spent years trousering cash from Jewish or Israeli interests? Quite.


ON DECEMBER 6, 2006:

Baker panel's mention of Palestinian "right of return" raises eyebrows


A reference to Palestinians' "right of return" in the report issued by the high-level Iraq Study Group broke a diplomatic taboo which sparked immediate concern in Israel and surprise among Middle East policy experts.


The reference was buried deep inside a 160-page report that urged US President George W. Bush to renew efforts to revive Israel-Palestinian peace talks as part of a region-wide bid to end the chaos in Iraq. "This report is worrisome for Israel particularly because, for the first time, it mentions the question of the 'right of return' for the Palestinian refugees of 1948," said a senior Israeli official, who was reacting to the US policy report on condition he not be identified.


A Middle East analyst who was involved in the Iraq Study Group discussions but did not participate in drafting the report expressed surprise when the reference was pointed out to him by a reporter. "It's hard to know whether that language got in there because of carelessness -- I know there were many revisions up to the very last minute -- or whether it was a deliberate attempt to fuse something to the Bush rhetoric which wasn't there before," the analyst said.


The 1993 Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians calls for a resolution of the issue of Israeli and Palestinian "refugees" as part of a final status agreement that would include the creation of a Palestinian state. But they do not use the term "right of return", which is a long-standing Palestinian demand -- rejected by Israel -- that Palestinians who fled or were driven out of what was to become the Jewish state in 1948, as well as their descendants, be allowed to return home.


Bush, in a 2002 speech in the White House Rose Garden, became the first US president to formally back the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, but he also did not mention a right of Palestinian 'return'. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group's co-chairman is former secretary of state James Baker, who as the top diplomat for Bush's father in the early 1990s clashed with Israel over its handling of the Palestinian issue.


Among his group's 79 recommendations for a policy shift on Iraq, number 17 concerned five points it said should be included in a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The final point in the list was: "Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush's two-state solution, which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return and the end of conflict." "'Right of return' is not in Oslo I or Oslo II, it's not in the Bush Rose Garden speech, it's not even in UN 181, the original partition resolution -- it's part of the Palestinian discourse," said the US analyst.



TODAY:


5/31/07

David Frankfurter wrote:

Blood Money

Finally, a way has been found to relieve Palestinian financial isolation and suffering. New arrangements, authorized by the US, have been found to pay Palestinian Authority salaries. Money is to be deposited with the PLO and channeled via "moderate" Palestinian leaders, represented by Fatah party leader President Mahmoud Abbas and the independent Finance Minister, Salam Fayyad.


The mechanism is designed to avoid funding terrorism or dreaded "extremists" (represented by the Hamas government) who reject a two-State solution.

Reuters reports that the US initiative is already bearing fruit, with over $80 million in international aid from Arab countries and Europe starting to flow. In fact, "Fayyad was expected to receive enough money through the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) account to pay government workers, including members of the security forces, at least half of their normal monthly wages later this week."

So let's do a double check. I invite you to read the following extracts from the Palestinian National Charter – the official PLO doctrine. Decide for yourself if this seems to be a "moderate" organisation which accepts a two state solution and rejects violence and terrorism.

Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 7 : … [the Palestinian] must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready to sacrifice his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland and bring about its liberation.

Article 9 : Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it….

Article 10 : Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution…

Article 20: …Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history…

Article 21 : The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine…

Article 22 : Zionism is…racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement, and geographical base for world imperialism…

Article 30 : Fighters and carriers of arms in the war of liberation are the nucleus of the popular army which will be the protective force for the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.

And Article 3 of the General Principles (Chapter I) of the Constitution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (which is annexed to and regulates the Charter):

"…the armed Palestinian struggle shall be supported, and every possible effort shall be made to ensure that it continues and escalates…"


Moderate? Reject violence and terror? Accept a two state solution?

But the real test is not the theory of charters and of principles. The real test is practical. Who are the salary earners who benefit? Where does the money go?

The Funding for Peace Coalition has been issuing reports for years documenting the diversion of international aid to corruption and violence by the Palestinian Authority lead by the PLO – and especially by Fatah leaders such as Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat. Despite denials by European politicians and bureaucrats, Fatah's terrorist "military wing" the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade were prime beneficiaries.

Have things changed? Who are the "government workers, including members of the security forces" who will benefit from this new funding mechanism? A little snippet of news from the Israeli Ha'aretz paper lets us in on the secret. Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades founder Khaled Shwish was arrested by the IDF two days ago, for murdering 8 Israeli civilians and injuring tens of others. This terrorist murderer is one of the many "government workers" with military rank that would be getting salary payments from the international aid channeled through "moderate" Fatah and the PLO.

Once again, the international community has found a way to fund terror and murder Jews.




Quartet urges Israel to show restraint

THE JERUSALEM POST May. 31, 2007

Israel must exercise restraint during its military operations in order to avoid civilian casualties, the Quartet said during a meeting centered around the situation in the Middle East in Berlin on Wednesday.

In a press statement released early Thursday morning, the Quartet condemned continued Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, but warned that the country must not react in a way that would harm civilians or cause "damage to civilian infrastructure."

The Quartet raised concerns over the incarceration of Palestinian Authority (PA)government officials and called for them to be released by Israel. Several Hamas members of parliament were jailed by Israel after Kassam rocket attacks escalated last week and resulted in the death of an Israeli woman.

Furthermore, the resumption of transfers of tax funds by Israel on behalf of the PA, read the statement, would have a significant impact on the Palestinian economy. It recommended Israel transfer money via the Temporary International Mechanism, the European emergency aid which bypasses the PA government.

The Quartet expressed concern over the deterioration of a cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah members in the Gaza Strip and called for an immediate stop to factional fighting.

The Quartet also called for an immediate release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit.


LINK TO: Britain's largest labor union threatens to boycott



LINK TO: Al-Ahram Commentary: Time to cut Israel off



LINK TO: U.N.: UN's BAN VOWS TO BOOST COOPERATION WITH ISLAMIC CONFERENCE 5/16/07




LINK TO: WEASEL ZIPPERS / U.N.EXPERT WANTS US TO RECOGNIZE HAMAS




HOW TO RECOGNIZE HAMAS:









Do not forsake me, oh my darling......


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The Men Who Sold the World





BY: Kenneth R. Timmerman


If anyone still believes in the utility of talking to the Tehran regime, they should read the revealing comments made to the press by the Iranian and the U.S. ambassadors to Baghdad, just minutes after concluding what were billed as “historic” talks between the two governments on Monday.
While the talks had “proceeded positively,” U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told reporters that he had emphasized to the Iranians the need for concrete action on the ground. "I laid out before the Iranians a number of our direct, specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq, their support for militias that are fighting both the Iraqi security forces and coalition forces," Crocker said. "The fact (is) that a lot of the explosives and ammunitions that are used by these groups are coming in from Iran ... Such activities ... need to cease and ... we would be looking for results," he added.


Across the city, Iran’s ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi just thumbed his nose. “We don’t take the American accusations seriously,” he said. It was the United States which bore “sore responsibility” for the violence in Iraq, he opined, noting that Iraq’s infrastructure had been “demolished by the American invaders.”
If the U.S. was really serious about helping Iraq, he suggested that we take up Iran ’s offer to train and equip Iraqi security forces. (That way, the Iranians won’t have to steal Iraqi police uniforms any longer when they want to kill us).


In Tehran, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, crossed the tees and dotted the eyes.
“We are hopeful that Washington’s realistic approach to the current issues in Iraq – by confessing its failed policy in Iraq and the region and by showing a determination in changing the policy – guarantees success of the talks and possible future talks,” he said.


So there you have it. If the United States wishes to have further talks with the Iranian regime, we must first admit 1) that our policies were wrong, and 2) that they have failed. Once that’s over with, hey – whatever you like!


I don’t know how deaf you have to be not to hear the message. Lee Hamilton, are you listening?
As the Democrat half of the Baker-Hamilton commission that promoted talks with Tehran last fall, Lee Hamilton now finds himself in the embarrassing situation of seeing the fruits of the policy he promoted so arduously. Just talk to Tehran, he said. All they want is a little respect. They want a secure, integral Iraq, just as we do, he claimed.


We have lots of things in common. Lots!
I give Mr. Hamilton credit for drinking his own Kool-Aid. As director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a center-left think tank in Washington, he thought the Iranians were so eager for talks that he agreed to send the head of his center’s Iran programs to his native land, despite all the flap over the Iraq Study Group report. And so Haleh Esfandiareh, a former Communist (Tudeh) Party militant, who has long advocated “dialogue” between the U.S. and Iran, went to Tehran early this year, ostensibly to see her ailing mother.


When she tried to leave, regime thugs intercepted her taxi, “stole” her passport, and forced her to request a replacement travel document from the authorities. That led to her arrest, and recent “indictment” in Iran on charges of espionage.
(For the record, I place the word “indictment” in quotation marks because the so-called “rule of law” in Iran is an arbitrary system that obeys the whims and orders of the ruling elite, not any objective legal standard created with the consent of the governed). Now, just to be clear about what’s going on. Haleh Esfandiareh has absolutely zero to do with any purported U.S. government program to promote a “velvet revolution” in Iran, as intelligence minister Hossein Mohseni-Ejei has claimed. Would that it were so!


On the contrary. She and many other left-wing Iran “experts” in Washington have been promoting closer ties between Tehran and Washington, not confrontation.
So it’s more than ironic that the regime should arrest her. Seriously, if there were justice in this world, they would have picked up me or Michael Ledeen, or any number of Iranians who are working hard to organize women’s groups and student groups and labor organizations inside Iran, to stand up for their rights. The Tehran regime continues to dangle “talk of talks” to buy more time to finish their nuclear weapons development, and are taking U.S. hostages to use as bargaining chips. Meanwhile, they have expanded their terrorist networks inside Iraq , and are supplying Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs), money and conventional weapons to both Sunni and Shiite insurgent groups. (And finally, the U.S. military is being allowed by the Pentagon to say this in public).



My sources in Iran tell me that the regime plans to dramatically scale up the terrorist attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces this summer, and is contemplating ordering Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army to launch terrorist attacks in Kuwait, the first time that Sadr will have used his fighters outside of Iraq.
So should we continue to talk to Tehran? Well, okay – but only if our diplomats can do so without buying every over-priced carpet they are offered. (Ambassador Ryan Crocker is someone who has got his priorities straight. After all, he knows a few things about Iranian terrorism, having received his baptism by fire on April 18, 1983 in Beirut, when Hezbollah operative Imad Mugniyeh blew up the U.S. embassy. That’s where I first met Crocker, who was still brushing dust off his clothes and his hair from the explosion). Iran’s goal is clear.



They seek to defeat us in Iraq, and to prevent Iraq from emerging as an strong, independent, federal state. Further down the road, they seek to drive the United States from the Persian Gulf, smash Israel, and ultimately destroy us..
To achieve these ends, they are furiously developing nuclear weapons. Even the IAEA has recognized Iran ’s nuclear weapons ambitions, although IAEA Secretary General Mohammed ElBaradei now says that we should give up trying to prevent them from going nuclear. He said that Iran’s recent progress in uranium enrichment should convince us that Iran’s nuclear program has become a fait accompli, and that efforts to make Iran pay a price for defying UN Security Council resolutions aimed at stopping their nuclear program have been “overtaken by events.”



That was too much even for the Washington Post, who chided ElBaradei this past Sunday for his response to Iran’s “aggressive and illegal behavior.”
“[W]e can only marvel at the nerve of Mr. ElBaradei, an unelected international civil servant whose mission is to implement the decisions of the Security Council -- and who proposes to destroy the council's authority by having it simply drop binding resolutions,” the Post editorial board wrote. The Washington Post and many of the cooler heads in the foreign policy establishment now believe “there is no better alternative than returning to the United Nations Security Council” for further sanctions on Iran. While that may be necessary, a mere “ratcheting up” of sanctions will not be sufficient to keep Tehran’s murderers from striking again. I mentioned some of the stronger steps the UN could take, should the U.S. press hard enough, in this space recently.



But there is a better alternative, and it’s staring us right in the face. And that’s helping the growing pro-democracy movement inside Iran.
Even as the Europeans continue to meet with Iranian government emissary Ali Larijani over their nuclear program later this week, it’s important to remember that economic leverage, however severe, will not deter this regime from building the bomb. “While the United States and the West are right to focus on terrorism and the regime’s nuclear programs, if they ignore the pro-democracy movement and human rights, they won’t get the results they want,” says Dr. Hossein Bagherzadeh, a spokesman for Solidarity Iran, a new Iranian coordinating council that aims to connect opposition groups in exile with activists working inside Iran.



The choice between appeasement and war is as bad as ever. But unlike the Washington Post, which believes that sanctions alone provide the alternative, I believe we have a better option.
Solidarity Iran will be holding its third conference in two weeks time in Paris , when it plans to announce a plan of action that represents the first serious step toward forming a united Iranian opposition coalition in twenty-eight years. Stay tuned next week for more.





Iran-US May 28th negotiation, translation of video that follows:

Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Ghomi said Iran's concerns were brought up in a transparent way in the trilateral meeting in Baghdad between Iran, US and Iraq.


Speaking in a press conference after the meeting, Kazemi Ghomi said, "We made clear the role of occupiers in Iraq and reminded them their mistakes in running the affairs in Iraq." "We also told the Americans explicitly that the problems of Iraqi people will increase if the US continues its occupation of Iraq." "Our main reason for taking part in the negotiation was supporting the government of Prime Minister al-Maliki in Iraq and we are ready to offer any kind of assistance to Iraq Government to increase its ability in running the country," Ambassador Kazemi said.


Iranian ambassador described his meeting with his US counterpart as a success and said there were plans for future meetings. "Generally there was a positive (outcome) from this round of negotiations... (they) were an important first step between the two sides,' he told reporters.
'The Iraqi government said it will invite the two sides to resume negotiations and we received this proposal positively.'


Kazemi Qomi added, however, that he would have to consult with Tehran first, and one of his assistants said that no date had been set for the follow-up meeting. 'If it is possible, it will happen,' the assistant said.


Qomi said he told US ambassador Ryan Crocker about the importance of Iraqi forces assuming control of security in the country, and said that they needed to be provided with the necessary equipment to achieve this.


'During this negotiation,' he added, 'there was a proposal to form a security commission backed by the Iraqi government to help it defend the country.'


On the accusations raised by the US delegation about Iran's intervention in Iraq, the ambassador said,"This is not the first time that Americans raise that accusation and we gave appropriate responses to them in the meeting."


He said the three sides agreed on helping the government of Iraq that it can restore national sovereignty.


Stressing that the lack of security was the most serious problem in Iraq, the participants underlined the necessity of helping the legitimate government of Iraq to achieve the ability for establishing security in the country.


Kazemi said Monday's talks were the first step of a process and the Iraqi government has proposed the resumption of them in near future which should be examined in Tehran.
On the issue of Iranian diplomats captured in Iraq by US forces, Kazemi said that issue was not raised in the talks because "we believe the Iraqi government is responsible for it and should take the required steps in this regard."


On the terrorist group of MKO, Kazemi said based on the decisions taken by the government of Iraq, the members of the group must leave Iraq and Baghdad is determined to implement its decisions.







IRAN: 14,635 ARRESTED IN MORALISATION CAMPAIGN

Tehran, 29 May (AKI) - In the four weeks since a highly publicised government moralisation campaign kicked off, 14,635 people were temporarily detained under strict new Islamic dress code laws punishing offenders with arrest. Another 67,000 people were reprimanded by police, according to a tally kept by the local Rooz daily based on police statements. Only in airports and train stations some 1,115 people, mostly women, were arrested while 17,135 were not allowed to board planes or trains as they were not dressed properly.


VIDEO: Women: Life in Iran