Sunday, December 28, 2008

Zionism shaken but not yet stirred

Here's is an interesting article by Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University, that shakes the very foundations of Zionism.

Thanks to fellow Syrian blogger Abu Kareem (Levantine Dreamhouse) for drawing attention to it. The article appeared in the English edition of Le Monde diplomatique in September this year.

Zionist nationalist myth of enforced exile

Israel deliberately forgets its history

An Israeli historian suggests the diaspora was the consequence, not of the expulsion of the Hebrews from Palestine, but of proselytising across north Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East

By Schlomo Sand

Every Israeli knows that he or she is the direct and exclusive descendant of a Jewish people which has existed since it received the Torah (1) in Sinai. According to this myth, the Jews escaped from Egypt and settled in the Promised Land, where they built the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon, which subsequently split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They experienced two exiles: after the destruction of the first temple, in the 6th century BC, and of the second temple, in 70 AD.

Two thousand years of wandering brought the Jews to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland and deep into Russia. But.. Read more >>

21st Century Jewish Nazism

Here we go again. Israel's leaders compete among each other in annihilating the greatest number of caged, starved and strangled Gazans, just to make a cheap political point.

Having bombed 270 people out of existence and maimed 700 others in one day, Livni can now claim to be as macho as Netanyahu and any of the other Israeli chieftains.

What is it with Israel's psychopathic leaders and Zionist day-dreamers? They never tire of crowing about the Pogroms and Holocaust, yet if they hold up a mirror against their own faces they will see Swastikas etched deep into their foreheads.

Postscript at 31 December 2008: The death toll has reached over 400, of whom a quarter are women and children. The total injured is over 2000 and the Gazan hospital and emergency services are nearing collapse.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Iraq then Georgia; Israeli grand plans backfire again

The Role Of Israel In The Georgian War
By Brian Harring

Georgia became a huge source of income, and military advantage, for the Israeli government and Israeli arms dealers.. Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago, following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became weapons hustlers.

They contacted Israeli defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets, mostly American grants, and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons.

The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation. "We are now in a fight against the great Russia," he said, "and our hope is to receive assistance from the White House, because Georgia cannot survive on its own. "

Kezerashvili's door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel. Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the pro-Israeli defense minister's personal involvement.

The Jerusalem Post on August 12, 2008 reported: "Georgian Prime Minister Vladimer (Lado) Gurgenidze(Jewish) made a special call to Israel Tuesday morning to receive a blessing from one of the Haredi community's most important rabbis and spiritual leaders, Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman." The Prime Minister of Georgia, principally a nation of Orthodox Christians called Rabbi Steinman saying 'I've heard he is a holy man. I want him to pray for us and our state.'

Among the Israelis who took advantage of the opportunity and began doing business in Georgia were former Minister Roni Milo and his brother Shlomo, former director-general of the Military Industries, Brigadier-General (Res.) Gal Hirsch and Major-General (Res.) Yisrael Ziv.

Roni Milo conducted business in Georgia for Elbit Systems and the Military Industries, and with his help Israel's defense industries managed to sell to Georgia remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs), automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rockets.

The Ministry of Defense of Israel had supplied the Georgian government their Hermes 450 UAV spy drones, made by Elbit Maarahot Systems Ltd, for use, under the strict control of Israeli intelligence units, to conduct intelligence-gathering flights over southern Russia and, most especially into a Iran, targeted for Israeli Air Force attacks in the near future.

Two airfields in southern Georgia had been earmarked for the use of Israeli military aircraft, intended to launch an attack on identified targets relating to Iranian atomic energy projects. This attack was approved by President Bush in an undertaking with the government of Israel signed in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2006.

The thrust of this top secret agreement was that the Israeli government would have "free and unfettered use" of unspecified Georgian airfields, under American control, onto which they could ferry fighter-bombers which then could fly south, over Turkish territory (and with clandestine Turkish permission) to strike at Tehran. The distance from Georgia to Tehran is obviously far less than from Tel Aviv.

No one expected that these attacks would completely destroy Iranian military or scientific targets, but there would be the element of complete surprise coupled with serious property damage which might well interdict future Iranian atomic development and certainly serve as a serious warning to Iran not to threaten Israel again. Using Georgian bases, with the consent and full assistance of, the United States, would make such an attack much more feasible that attempting to fly from Israeli bases with overflights that might have serious regional diplomatic consequences.

Now, thanks to the irrational actions of the thoroughly unstable Georgian president, all of these schemes have collapsed and it is now believed that the Russian special forces have captured, intact, a number of the Israeli drones and, far more important, their radio controlling equipment.

In the main, Israeli military and intelligence units stationed in Georgia were mostly composed of Israel Defense Force reservists working for Global CST, owned by Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, and Defense Shield, owned by Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch. "The Israelis should be proud of themselves for the Israeli training and education received by the Georgian soldiers," Georgian Minister Temur Yakobashvili.

By this manner, Israel could claim that it had a very small number of IDF people in Georgia "mainly connected with our Embassy in Tiblisi." The Russians, however, were not fooled by this and their own intelligence had pinpointed Israeli surveillance bases and when they went after the Georgians who invaded South Ossetia, units of the Russian air force bombed the Israeli bases in central Georgia and in the area of the capital, Tbilisi. They also severely damaged the runways and service areas of the two Georgian airbases designed to launch Israeli sir force units in a sudden attack on Iran.

Israel is currently a part of the Anglo-American military axis, which cooperates with the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Israel is a partner in the Baku-Tblisi- Ceyhan pipeline which brings oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean. More than 20 percent of Israeli oil is imported from Azerbaijan, of which a large share transits through the BTC pipeline. Controlled by British Petroleum, the BTC pipeline has dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Caucusus:

"[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the region's countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)

While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel oil to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards Israel, via Georgia. In this regard, an Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has also been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel's main pipeline system, to the Red Sea.

The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea oil are far-reaching

What has been planned, is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline, from Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon.

The Isreali unmanned surveillance drones

The unmanned Israeli clandestine surveillance drones are a favorite of intelligence agencies world-wide. Their most popular drone is the Hermes 450 drone aircraft.

The Hermes 450 is a large, capable 450 kg spy drone manufactured by Elbit Systems of Israel. Able to stay airborne for a maximum of 20 hours, it has a 10.5 metre wingspan and is 6.1 metres long. It can carry a variety of different surveillance packages, including the CoMPASS (Compact Multi-Purpose Advanced Stabilised System), which is a combined laser marker and infrared scanner.

Elbit also offers Hermes with the AN/ZPQ-1 TESAR (Tactical Endurance Synthetic Aperture Radar) from Northrop Grumman of the US, a ground-sweeping radar which can detect objects as small as one foot in size and pick out those which are moving from those which aren't. Radars of this type are essential for full bad weather capability, and help a lot with scanning large areas of terrain. Electro-optical scanners such as CoMPASS tend to offer a "drink-straw" view of only small areas in detail. The TESAR is the same radar used in the hugely successful "Predator" drone, in service for several years now with the US forces.

The U.S. Army has a drone trainng school located at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, an intelligence center located 10 miles from the Mexican border and the home of massive telephonic intelligence intercept units, aimed at Central and South America. At present there are 225 soldiers, reservists, and National Guardsmen training at this school. And on the faculty are three Israeli specialists. This unit is not destined for the middle east or even Pakistan; it has been set up to conduct surveillance of northern Mexico. There are two reasons for wanting to watch our southern neighbor. The first is to watch for great treks of illegal aliens but the second, and most important, is to conduct reconnaissance of territory over which American military units might be traversing in any punitive actions that could very, very well be triggered by the growing political instability in Mexico, caused by a growing struggle between the central government and the very powerful Mexican-based drug lords, who are wreaking havoc in that very corrupt country.

If a highly irate CIA employee, complaining of "excessive Israeli influence" in his agency, had not passed on files of information to the Russians late last year in Miami, in all probability, we would be reading about a stunning Israeli attack on Tehran. Now, the Iranian anti-aircraft missile batteries, supplied and manned by Russian "technicians," have the probable coordinates of such an Israeli surprise attack, from the north, which would give the defenses of Tehran a vital heads-up.

This is a tale of US expansion not Russian aggression

War in the Caucasus is as much the product of an American imperial drive as local conflicts. It's likely to be a taste of things to come

Saudi man in his 50s marries an 8-year old

....and says he has done nothing illegal!

First Published: August 25, 2008

RIYADH: A Saudi court will next month hear a plea for divorce from an eight-year-old girl married off by her father to a man in his fifties, the Arabic-language daily Al-Watan reported on Sunday.

It said the girl's mother had filed the divorce case with the court at Unayzah 220 kilometres north of Riyadh, and cited lawyer Abdullah Jtili as saying the father had arranged the marriage without telling the girl.

"She doesn't know yet that she has been married," added Jtili of the girl who is about to begin her fourth year at primary school.

Al-Watan said relatives of the girl had told a Saudi rights group of her plight and urged it to intervene to have the marriage annulled.

But the daily also reported that the husband had refused to renounce the marriage, saying that he had not done anything illegal.

Arranged marriages involving pre-adolescents are occasionally reported in the Arabian Peninsula, including in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom where the strict conservative Wahabi version of Sunni Islam holds sway and polygamy is common.

In Yemen in April, another girl aged eight was granted a divorce after her unemployed father forced her to marry a man of 28. –AFP

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Peace Talks Charade

I wish the propects for peace between Syria and Israel were real.

As history teaches us, lasting peace can only be achieved with long-term confidence building measures and a more equal balance of power.

Israel, with American backing, still has the upper hand militarily but feels more insecure than ever before. Israel fears not so much Iranian nuclear missiles (which America would presumably shield it from) but the proliferation of nuclear technology in the Arab world in response to the growing Iranian threat.

So what are Israel's motives in talking to Syria? Prising Syria away from Iran, even if it were possible, might slowdown Iranian encroachment on Israel's northern borders but would not eliminate the Iranian threat altogether or ensure non proliferation of WMD in the Middle East. So that cannot be the main motive. Restraining Hizballah and Hamas while building Israel's capacity to fight guerilla wars is one possible reason. Diverting the attention of the Israeli public away from Olmert's problems is another. The Israeli public is extremely sceptical and fearful of cedng any territory. It simply does not trust the Syrian government and can see that it can no longer deliver on Hizballah or Hamas. The two beasts have outgrown their old master and now take their orders directly from Tehran. Olmert cannot possibly deliver a peace treaty.

Syria's motives are clear; the nation wants the whole of the Golan back and the government is internationally isolated and in deep trouble economically. The Syrians do not trust Israel because of its apalling treatment of the Palestinians, its illegal settlements and indirect fanning of the fires of fundamentalist Islam (to secure the tacit sympathy and protection of the Christian world) and because Syrians have been programmed to hate rather than engage with Zionists.

Syrian public opinion would not stop Bashar Assad signing a peace treaty but his regime thrives on oppression in the name of security. The regime would not be able to survive if peace broke out because it would lose its raison d'etre. Assad knows any peace talks between his unrepresentative regime and Israel will be protracted and almost certainly humiliating, so he cannot be serious about peace either.

Yet, it is better to talk than fight and let the Israeli and Syrian public get used to the idea of regular contact, albeit on false pretences :)

It will be pure theatre and quite amuzing to see the same play again, this time with a touch of amateur dramatics.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

200:1 is the ratio - who cares?

When I wrote my previous post ("A thousand little eyes for an eye") I was looking for statistics on the number of Palestinians in Gaza who have died or been injured as a result of Israeli attacks since 2000.

Israel has always justified these attacks on the basis that its settelements were coming under fire without provocation and that it had to carry out targetted assasinations of "terrorist leaders". The total number of Israeli casualties in the last 7 years has amounted to 20 dead and 583 injured (
Israeli source).

I have now found statistics for Palestinian deaths in all occupied territories. They come from a reliable Israeli human rights organisation,
B'Tselem. Data for the Gaza Strip alone is not available but we can safely assume that the vast majority of deaths relate to Gaza. The table below shows how vicious, vindictive and fatal Israeli arttacks have been against the defenceless population of the Gaza strip since 2000. The shocking figures do not even take into account the number injured and maimed over that long period which must run into tens of thousands (why is no one keeping an accurate record of these when the Iraelis record momentary distress from a loud bang as a casualty?).

As per the table, Israel has killed nearly 4,440 people in the last 7 years, of whom 867 were children. As stated above, we aleady know from Israeli sources that only 20 Israelis have died as a result of shelling and rocket fire from Gaza. The number of Israeli deaths in all other areas therefore total 1,010. So, the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths - excluding Gaza - is roughly 4:1. For Gaza the ratio looks more like 200:1. Enough said!

Click on image to enlarge

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A thousand little eyes for an eye

Failed Qasam missiles

The Qassam missiles that Hamas uses to fire at southern Israel are pathetic little toys. They have a maximum range of 9 kilometers and hardly ever hit their targets.

Since 2001, according to Israeli sources, these missile have caused just 10 Israeli deaths and 433 (probably mainly minor) injuries. Mortar shells, which have a range of 3 kilometers, have caused a similar number of deaths and 150 wounded. Two of the dead and 70 of the injured were army personnel.

I would hate to think how many Palestinians have died or lost their eyes and limbs in Gaza over that 7 year period; how many families have been blown apart in their homes or lost their livelihoods; how much of the infrastructure has been obliterated with F-16 laser-guided missiles and Apache helicopter cluster bombs. I wish someone would publish the statistics and bet you the ratio would be at least 1000:1.

UNRWA reports that, in just 5 months in 2006, the Israeli army killed 382 and severely injured 1,229 people in Gaza, the vast majority of whom civilians. The UNRWA appeal for help for the imprisoned 1.4 million Palestinians paints an extremely distressing picture of the suffocating conditions in the Gaza strip. It is worth reading, if only to put things into perspective.

Hamas fires missiles at southern Israel because the Israelis who have entrapped a whole nation by sealing the Strip's borders, sea shores and skies are a sly and vindictive bunch. Like a bully in a school playground, they punch, pinch, strangle, stab and slap the other kids, when the world is looking away, then moan with excruciating pain when the poor kids try to wriggle out of their grip or hit back.

Moses, or whoever, thought eye for an eye would keep humanity in check. These sub-humans in army uniform with chips on their shoulders will not be satisfied until they have gouged out a thousand Palestinian children's eyes for an Israeli one, before dinner.

I don't care what God Hamas worships, the world should not keep quiet while trigger- happy Israeli army and intelligence bandits, their pockets stuffed with American dollars, commit genocide and torment a defenceless people for years on end.

If you are an Israeli hothead, please don't give us any BS about having left Gaza voluntarily. You left the tent because you could not stand the stench. Now you are urinating all over it from the outside. Don't complain when a smelly, one-eyed and one-legged Palestinian kid emerges from the tent and lops a little Qassam at you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Beware of Syrians bearing gifts

A belated Happy New Year to everyone and my apologies for the long absence (not that I harbour any delusions of grandure on the blogosphere).

I have missed so much of the region's news and good writings on my favourite Syrian and non-Syrian blogs in the last five months.

Having neglected my own blog over that period, it is interesting to see that only one insult, two commercial adverts and one genuine "where are you?" message have been left in the comments section for my return. That really sums it up. Blogging is all about registering a presence in cyberspace, self indulgence and massaging each other's egos. And why not?

I am still recharging my batteries and not in a fighting mood, so I will not hurl insults at the Syrian regime or curse the Americans, Zionists, Fundamentalist Christians and Islamofascists. Not yet anyway. Right now I just hope 2008 will bring sanity to our region.

I am in fact in a generous mood. So, as a New Year's present to all my Palestinian and Israeli friends I have posted an extremely rare (in fact the only known) film of Jerusalem in 1917, never seen by the public until last year.

Would you like to see what Jerusalem was like in the aftermath of the 1st World War? British troops entering the City and people and animals going about their business? Evidence of how, until 1917, Jewish, Muslim and Christian families had lived together in complete harmony?

Would you like to see Lord Balfour in person promising a chunk of Palestine to the first wave of Jewish immigrants?

....I thought you would!

Here you are, download this absolutely amazing historical archive/documentary clip with a choice of two formats:

Full resolution high quality PC version: File size 224 megabytes, 15 minutes in duration, AVI(DivX) format. Unzip the file then use a fairly recent version of Microsoft Media Player to view.

Lower resolution version , for iPod, PDA or mobile phone: File size 83 megabytes, 15 minutes in duration. Format MP4. Unzip the file then copy it to your portable device.

New link to video here:

Watch the clip and say thank you, Philip I, for letting me see history in the making.

Having watched with your own eyes what actually happened in Palestine in 1917, perhaps some of you will stop pretending that it didn't happen or believing your political leaders' and grandmother's fairy tales about what happened.

God bless your soul Albert Kahn!