Sunday, March 23, 2008

The annals of American assassinations and imperial arrogance....

The annals of American assassinations and imperial arrogance....

Five years later, the pre-emptive war celebratory fireworks have turned to dust. For months now Iraq has been an invisible American war. It's seldom on TV. It does not "sell". Thus, it does not exist. US Vice President Dick Cheney, one of its key architects, has just been to a whirlwind Baghdad tour. He said he sensed "phenomenal changes" since his last whirlwind tour 10 months ago. He praised security progress as melo -"dramatic".... thanks to the Mubarbarians of the PNAC and the White House's Murder Inc. !

The "dramatic" progress was celebrated in style by a Sunni Arab female suicide bomber who managed to detonate her payload under her black abaya near the ultra-protected Imam Hussein shrine in holy Karbala, killing at least 42 Shiites and wounding 73....

Cheney did not see the real Baghdad, drowning in sewage, desperate for water and plunged in the dark - lacking 3,000 megawatts of electricity (it may take as many as 10 years before the city gets power 24 hours a day; so much for "reconstruction"). As no US official was suicidal enough to take Cheney, for instance, to a real life suicide bomber-targeted vegetable market in Sadr City - or to Imam Hussein's shrine in Karbala for that matter - these "phenomenal changes" warrant examination.

Cheney seems not to be very fond of the humongous Pentagon study based on more than 600,000 Iraqi documents which proved that there was no link whatsoever between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. In a curiously sedate propaganda effort, the report will not be posted online and will not be e-mailed by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia; any reporter who wants it will have to ask it to be sent via CD in the mail. That's quite a "phenomenal change" with regard to the George W Bush administration's hyped 2002 build up towards war...

History keeps repeating itself in tragedy upon tragedy, for Lebanon's ordinary citizens,since the 1840s/60s onwards....

It's interesting that when Israel "withdrew" from Lebanon under Barak in 2000, it claimed (and this claim is now being repeated by itself and its fellow-travelers') to be doing so in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 425....
The interesting thing is that the resolution in question, of which Israel had suddenly discovered the validity, had been passed 22 years earlier!! and the
UN resolution 520, has been in place for even more, and the "international
chorus of stooges" has not said one word about it for so long....?
Subterfuge and lies are the means by which Israel, and Syria justify their crimes on Lebanese soil in Tandem...., and they both can always find useful idiots to parrot the same foul rubbish. 35 M $ a day from the unwitting US taxpayer doesn't just buy an awful lot of weapons, but also an awful lot of propaganda and stooges willing to transmit it.....from USCFL , all the way down to the March 14th stooges .
But readers, analysts, civilian & conscript alike know -Bach's Gemayel's game was over in 82...with a sordid extension until 88...which wrecked Havoc upon Lebanon and ALL Lebanese...and amounted to a pile of rubble...courtesy of a selfish and crooked man, Amine Gemayel. Hariri's game is over now in 05. So is Arafart' 03. They amounted to a little over 26 billion Euros in physically customable assets...and they will be no more in time...but the "Sunni" Mafia house refuses to accept that fact...and will take time to reflect, ponder and wise up to the "painful truths".... the truth of the evil alliance of the white house Murder Inc.!....let loose by the new alliance of evils of CIA/MOSSAD on January 24th 2002, with Assef Shawkat at the Helm....ever since !
Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon in summer 06, were drawn up at least four years before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted in his testimony...
His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked in 07, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March....on instructions from Dick Cheney and his evil empire of the Wyoming Club...
When Lebanon began its Independence/democracy/freedom from the French Mandate things were poor too, but great men were still to be Lebanon...
The current Israeli regime is shitting on and abusing the memory of their "forebears". The constant invoking of the memory of the Holocaust to justify Israeli aggression is despicable, 2 soldiers get kidnapped and 1420 civilians die. The ratio again ?...Hence, a counterbalance to Israeli aggressive tendencies must be found in the region, albeit a new MAD doctrine should be in Place soonest...

History repeats itself as tragedy, over and over since 1948....

And so it goes. The USA keeps blaming Syria Iran, and Hezbollah, which is predictable. Alas, also predictably, the European Union has failed and will continue to fail to express even the mildest criticism of Israel for its monumentally disproportionate response to the perfectly legitimate capture by uniformed combatants of soldiers engaging in upholding illegal policies. Israel's fearsome butchery and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon since straight-facedly described by the Americans as "self-defense".?

European Union fails and will continue to fail to express even the mildest criticism of Israel ....

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's historic speech to the Israeli
Knesset on 18 March 2008 has been almost universally applauded, and
has been described by Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Central
Council of German Jews, as having "opened a new chapter in the
relationship between Israel and Germany."

Given the huge influence of Germany within the European Union, it is
imperative to subject Merkel's speech to a close reading and to
question the assumptions implicit both in the speech itself and in the
German media response to it.

Having expressed Germans' "shame" for the Holocaust, she goes on to
point out that "while we are speaking here, thousands of people are
living in fear and terror of Hamas's rocket-attacks and terrorism."
Her clumsy choice of words seems to emphasize the failure to mention
the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are living in daily fear
and terror of Israeli incursions, home demolitions, assassinations,
air-strikes, arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and torture.

However, in fairness, she does in fact mention the Palestinians:
"Terror attacks ... bring no solutions to the conflict that
overshadows the region and the daily lives of people in Israel and the
lives of people in the areas of Palestinian self-rule."....and not one word
in her speech about the dramatic events surrounding Lebanon for many
decades ..., and yet they pretend to "care" and are all over our
southern plains, international waters and in our skies daily...., in order
to "protect Israel". ?

So it is in fact not Israel's colonization, wall-construction, and
violent militarism that are overshadowing the lives of Palestinians,
but the actions of Hamas. Note that these Palestinians don't live in
"occupied" or even "disputed" territories, but in "areas of self-rule"
(autonomiegebieten), which sounds much more innocuous. This term,
which was in universal use in the early days of the Oslo process, is
now only used by the Germans as it conceals the uncomfortable fact
that the Palestinians live under a cruel EU-backed occupation.
"Germany firmly supports the vision of two states in peace and within
secure borders, for the Jewish people in Israel and the Palestinians
in Palestine," Merkel said. Regrettably she never misses an
opportunity to proffer a thumping cliché, and her proneness to
"visions" is uncomfortably reminiscent of the current US president.
Her wording here seems to endorse ethnic nationalism and perhaps even
ethnic cleansing, since she implies that Israel's Palestinian citizens
should find a home within the hypothetical "Palestinian state."
Finally, marveling at the wonderful relationship between Germany and
Israel and speculating about the future of the Middle East, Merkel
quotes David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister: "Whoever
doesn't believe in miracles is no realist."

One wonders whether Merkel is aware that there was nothing innocent
about Ben-Gurion's choice of words here. He was echoing Chaim
Weizmann, Israel's first president, for whom the ethnic cleansing of
Palestinians was "a miraculous clearing of the land: the miraculous
simplification of Israel's task." While a miracle is an act of God,
unrelated to human agency, the "exodus" of Palestinians was the result
of a deliberate military campaign. Ben-Gurion's belief in miracles
amounted to the shrewd certainty that Israel would again and again be
able to pull off similar stunts while putting the blame on God, as
long as it had powerful backing such as that which Germany is abjectly
proud to provide.

Chancellor Merkel's speech, in short, is a compendium of banalities,
lies, omissions, threats, and sycophantic bunkum. Yet it earned her a
standing ovation in the Knesset, and its reception in Germany has been
little short of ecstatic. Here, for example, is Thorsten Schmitz in
the respected Sueddeutsche Zeitung: "Israel wouldn't exist without the
Germans. The state of the Jews is the answer to the Holocaust ...
Every further year that Israel exists is ... metaphorically speaking a
victory over Hitler ... Angela Merkel did not wish to take her place
in the line of well-wishers [on Israel's 60th birthday], but wished to
lead it." Once again, we find the poisonous blend of historical
half-truth -- the move towards establishing a Jewish state in
Palestine began decades before the Holocaust, although the latter
undoubtedly hastened its establishment -- with silence about the
crimes attendant upon the foundation of that state, its maintenance
and its inexorable expansion.

Of course from a German perspective Merkel's speech had one great
virtue: it was simultaneously so penitential and so uncritical of
Israel that its enthusiastic reception by the Knesset can henceforth
make Germans -- or at least German politicians and their stooges in
the media -- feel good about themselves, as a child feels who has just
been absolved of his/her sins by a friendly if stern priest and hasn't
had to perform an unduly painful penance.

However, a penance is being paid for Germany's past crimes, and it is
being paid by the Palestinians to whose plight Merkel is so
indifferent. There is a name for someone who bears another person's
sins: a scapegoat. And there is one European state that has a dark
history of scapegoating a Semitic people for its own failings:
Germany. For this reason, those who believe that Germany's policy
towards Israel in some way redeems it are seriously deceiving
themselves. By scapegoating the victims of its former victims, Germany
is compounding its past crimes.

If the Holocaust has imposed a historical obligation upon Germany,
then it is in large measure towards the Jewish people. Germany,
however, has chosen to interpret this obligation as entailing
unconditional support for the State of Israel, a state that did not
exist at the time of the Holocaust, thus implicitly or explicitly
affirming that state's disputed claim to represent Jewish people
everywhere. Germany thereby cuts the ground from under all Jews
throughout the world -- including within Israel -- who bravely
dissociate themselves from the crimes of the Jewish state. Since
ultimately it is such people who have the greatest chance of
influencing Israeli political life for the better, Germany is in fact
acting as an obstacle to positive change within Israel.

Germany will not have come to terms with its past until it sheds its
need for scapegoats, and until it abandons its unconditional support
for the Israeli rogue state. Such support entails unconditional
participation in the dispossession and politic-suicide of the Lebanese
and Palestinian peoples, hardly a stance consistent with Germany's
professed desire to shrive itself....
In turn, because the Lebanese and Palestinians are proud and
stubborn peoples who will "not go gentle into that good night" of
national and cultural oblivion, the violence and bloodshed will
continue on all sides (I don't write "both sides", because the war
against the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples has ramifications
beyond Israel and Palestine)...
The Israeli politicians and German journalists who laud Chancellor
Angela Merkel to the skies, are unwittingly celebrating an enemy of
peace and justice, and are playing their part in delaying the advent
of a just peace to the Middle East....

British agency Oxford Research Business has recently updated its estimate of "additional deaths" caused by the war to 1.3 million Iraqis - not including the top killing fields, the provinces of al-Anbar (Sunni) and Karbala (Shiite). At least 4 million Iraqis have been internally displaced or become refugees, mostly in overburdened Syria and Jordan, now desperately running out of money and resources. As for any Sunni or Shiite proud of his historical memory, the US occupation has been regarded as more devastating than the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. Talk about a historical "phenomenal change"...

Baghdad - following the strategy of counterinsurgency ace General David Petraeus - has been reduced to a rotten, amorphous, bloody and dangerous stockpile of blast-wall ghettos controlled by local warlords and militias. This "strategy" is being financed by US taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars a month...

Lebanon: Hopes of Peace from Lords of War...

BEIRUT, Lebanon - The pages of Lebanon's history are drenched in blood... And, more than 30 years after the start of the 1975 foreign wars on Lebanese soil..., Lebanese factions have learned nothing from the past and are still pitted against each other, in a confrontation with a recurring foreign dimension of the PNAC's Kissingerian sectarian dimension amidst a volatile regional context of the new evil alliance of the killers of CIA2/MOSSAD.

Faces have aged, but the protagonists are still the same. Can Lebanon's 'lords of war' avoid the pitfalls of violence and strike a new peace?

Samir Geagea, Walid Joumblat, Nabih Berri, Michel Aoun , Amine Gemayel, Johnny Abdo, and the Hariri Clan of KSA, are among the many political figures that rose from the rubble of the Lebanese foreign wars on Lebanese soil. Whether they directly or indirectly took part in combat, freely or involuntarily, they lived to be used again, by the same protagonists of the old wars...who have pulled off the shelves of CIA, MOSSAD, etc. the same old cacophonies for a new attempt at reshaping the future of contemporary Lebanon...., as they see it for the PNAC to succeed ?.

The conflicts, which lasted from 1975 to 2002, was the scene of many grisly battles and bloody crimes. Although casualty figures are disputed, according to a study by Aida Kanafani-Zahar, a researcher at the French CNRS -- Groupe de Sociologie des Religions et de la Laïcité (Group for Sociology, Religion and Secularism) -- the death toll during the war amounted to 150,000, with 350,000 injured.

The conflict saw many gory massacres, which fuelled sectarian sentiments. "Lebanon witnessed a series of fights among brothers, with communities rivaling one another for power," says Emile Khoweuri, a journalist with the Arabic daily KSA Nahar, who has closely monitored Lebanese politics for more than 30 years. "Many massacres were often fuelled by outside grisly forces of IDF, Sayyaret Metkals, CIA, etc., and popular outbursts or in reprisal for spiraling waves of terror." He says all participants made mistakes.

Many were killed during the 'War of the Mountains' between the Druze and Christian communities in 1982 and 1983. Some 13 Druze were killed in the villages of Kfarmata, Obey and Benay, according Kanafani-Zahar, while around 500 Christians were killed in same areas, and their homes , churches burnt down, and the bells stolen and kept in Jumblatt's mansion until this very day...

This was about the same time when 850 Palestinian men, women and children were systematically gunned down at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps at the hands of the grisly forces of IDF, Sayyaret Metkals, under Sharon's watchful and feisty criminal eyes....

Mr. Elie Hobeika, has been mentioned by the Israelis, for his alleged role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982 and for allegations that the atrocities were committed in collusion with Israeli military authorities occupying west Beirut in September of 1982. "The 760 civilians were murdered by a combination of IDF Sayyeret Metkals, SLA militias of SAAD Haddad, brought on the scene by IAF C130 Hercules to BIA, and some LF militias]. Before his assassination Mr. Hobeika called a press conference. "I am in possession of evidence of my innocence concerning Sabra and Shatila. And I have evidence of what actually happened at Sabra and Shatila which will throw a completely new light on the Kahan commission report."

Subsequently, conflict erupted in Beirut between the Druze Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and Amal -- a Shia movement headed by Nabih Berri, the current Speaker of the House -- leading to many civilian casualties, although exact figures are unavailable. Amal also carried out a long, violent campaign against Palestinian refugees in what was dubbed the 'War of the Camps'....

The Tripartite Agreement

(For the full text of the agreement see Toksoz 1986, 82-83; see also Sirhal 1990, 131-148.)1985/86: " وعــــد ".
Most of the points agreed upon in these talks found their way into the Taif Agreement of 1989 (Salem 1992a).

The lines of divide became increasingly blurred as internecine wars ignited within communities. Amal and Hezbollah (the emerging Shia militia) clashed in Iqlilm al-Tofah in 1988. The two factions also battled it out along the outskirts of Beirut for control of the capital, which forced Syrian military intervention.

The Christians also had their fraternal wars. The 'War of Cancellation,' or Ilghaa, pitted General Michel Aoun -- who was at the time head of the Lebanese army and is currently leader of the Free Patriotic movement (FPM) -- against the convicted war criminal Samir Geagea, head of the remnants of the criminal sections of the northern buffoons of the so-called LF.

Over the next few years as support for the Lebanese Forces declined, and in 1984, Samir Geagea, Karim Pakradouni, and Elie Hobeika forced the resignation of the then commander of the Lebanese Forces, Fuad Abu Nadir. Fouad Abu Nadir was considered too close to Amine Gemayel (he was Gemayel's nephew). Amine, unlike his brother Bachir was disliked by all the LF leaders. Elie Hobeika was named head of the LF after Abou Nader's removal.

On January 15, 1986, Oliver North led a coup, from the American Embassy in Beirut that removed Elie Hobeika from Lebanese Forces command, mainly due to Hobeika signing the Tripartite Accord(For the full text of the agreement see Toksoz 1986, 82-83; see also Sirhal 1990, 131-148.) with Nabih Berri and Walid Jumblat in full coordination with all forces in Lebanon, active politically, including the Maronite Patriarch. Hobeika was besieged in his Qarantina headquarters by Geagea's men (Elias el Murr was trapped with Hobeika in the same building) and was evacuated by Michel Aoun after strong American pressures. He and his supporters fled to Paris. They returned to Lebanon as a pro-Laic LF faction and were stationed in Zahle. In 1990 Hobeika supported the parliamentary faction against Syria in the war initiated by Michel Aoun.

After the civil war ended in 1990 Hobeika became Minister for the Displaced. In October 1992 he was appointed Minister for Social Affairs and the Handicapped. He was reassigned to the Ministry of Electricity and Water in 1996, a period which saw massive power projects in Baddawi and Zahrani, Zouk And Baalbeck, and massive electrical grid installation and distribution throughout Lebanon, including the outlying areas still in turmoil with Israeli Forces in the south, hence the progress was too slow compared to the massive increase in the Megawatts needed, since little electricity projects were accomplished over 18 years of civil unrest, mainly because of the Israeli operation Grapes of Wrath. In 1998, General Emile Lahoud became president of Lebanon and appointed Selim Hoss Prime Minister.In 2000 Hobeika lost his parliament seat, due to Syrian active interference in the Polls against Hobeika . In June 2001, Chebli Mallat, a left-wing Maronite lawyer, filed a case against Ariel Sharon in Belgium under a law that permitted to sue foreigners for crimes against humanity.Just before his death, Elie Hobeika publicly declared his intention to testify against Ariel Sharon about his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre in a Belgian court's trial for crimes against humanity. A Belgian senator, Josy Dubie, was quoted as saying that Hobeika had told him several days before his death that he had "revelations" to disclose about the massacres and felt "threatened". When Dubie had asked him why he did not reveal all the facts he knew immediately, Hobeika is reported to have said: "I am saving them for the trial".

Hilal Khashan, head of the political studies department at the American University of Beirut, believes that the erosion of Christian power taking place today can be partly attributed to the conflict between American CIA agent amine gemayel and his stupid acceptance of annulling by force the "Tripartite Agreement" in 1986... Hence the decline started ever since, and today it is the talk of the town in all Lebanese homes, businesses and the Diaspora at large, as the main culprit and the main source of all ills for Lebanon's revival....

"The Maronites in Lebanon went from playing a prominent role to a secondary one.... This explains the reasons behind their present day alliances, made in the dark rooms of the evil alliance of CIA/MOSSAD and the PNAC Killers....

ominous-looking Captain Hook...

Charles Krane, vice president of the Krane Company, had
organized the Westinghouse Company in Russia, was a member of
the Root mission to Russia, and had made no fewer than twenty-
three visits to Russia between 1890 and 1930. Richard Crane, his
son, was confidential assistant to then Secretary of State
Robert Lansing. According to the former ambassador to Germany
William Dodd, Crane "did much to bring on the Kerensky
revolution which gave way to Communism....

The Trotsky party was removed from the S.S. Kristianiafjord
under official instructions received by cablegram of March 29,
1917, London, presumably originating in the Admiralty with the
naval control officer, Halifax. The cablegram reported that the
Trotsky party was on the "Christianiafjord" (sic) and should be
"taken off and retained pending instructions." The reason given
to the naval control officer at Halifax was that "these are
Russian Socialists leaving for purposes of starting revolution
against present Russian government for which Trotsky is reported
to have 10,000 dollars subscribed by Socialists and Germans."

And so Steffens' comments in his diary about conversations
aboard the S.S. Kristianiafjord are highly pertinent:" . . . all
agree that the revolution is in its first phase only, that it
must grow. Krane and Russian radicals on the ship think we shall
be in Petrograd for the re-revolution....?
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Tinker Bell is dancing in
the air above Epcot. Her flight, though, is not by virtue of
Disney pixie dust.... -- instead, the fairy is dangling from a
crane's cable, spinning a slow waltz above a wooden pirate ship
piloted by an ominous-looking Captain Hook...

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and co-author Linda Bilmes, in their book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, estimate that by 2017, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion. Republican presidential contender John McCain wants this to last indefinitely as millions of Americans finally realize this avalanche of funds could instead provide them with better public schools, better health insurance and better projects to repair crumbling US infrastructure.

Petraeus' "surge" is gone - replaced by a "pause", defined by the general to the Army Times as "sensible" and "prudent". Recently resigned Admiral William Fallon, the CENTCOM commander, was dead set against Petraeus' "pause". He wanted to start drawing down troops - immediately. The Bush administration evicted him.

Up to the US presidential election, for political reasons, many would be led to believe nothing moves on the US front. At least nothing visible. Because in Kuwait, the Pentagon is busy building, in virtual secret, a mammoth permanent command structure to project "full spectrum dominance" not only in Iraq but all over the arc from the Middle East to Southwest Asia. Lieutenant General James J Lovelace minced no words to the Middle East edition of Stars and Stripes. It will be a "permanent presence" - of course compounded with all those extra permanent bases in Qatar, Bahrain the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Be it under pro-withdrawal Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, or pro-"surge" McCain, the "war" in and on Iraq will go on - supported from Kuwait and the Gulf petro-monarchies.

It's alright Ma, I'm only dyin' ...

Baghdad is not only the 21st century heart of darkness. It is Fear Central - a desert sand nightmare frozen in fear, a direct consequence of the soggy mix of Petraeus' "surge" profiting from the uneasy Shiite Mahdi Army truce and the proliferation of the 80,000-strong anti-al-Qaeda movement dominated by Sunnis, Sahwa (Awakening).

As middle class Shiite professionals tell Asia Times Online, rape and pillage and widespread killing is down (65 Iraqis killed daily in August 2007, 26 killed daily in February 2008) because most neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed. Baghdad is only "safer" - as the current official mantra in Washington goes - if compared to horrific post-February 2006 after the bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra, during the battle of Baghdad, when as many as 3,000 people were being killed every single month.

The inept Nuri al-Maliki government in Baghdad knows little of what's really going on - as it drags on in imperial seclusion behind the Green Zone, defended by valiant mercenaries from Georgia, Peru and Uganda. If Maliki and his entourage decide to go for an armored convoy stroll in formerly bustling al-Mansur neighborhood, for instance, the area has to be extensively searched as if this was a US presidential visit.

No matter what Washington decides or spins, it won't alter two major facts on the ground. Of all the major overlapping wars in Iraq, the Sunni Arab resistance has for all practical purposes stalemated the US occupation to the edge of defeat. And on a sectarian level, the Shiites have defeated the Sunnis as a whole - as they now control, allied with the Kurds, the government, Parliament, the army (13 divisions, half of them militias aligned with Iran) and the police.

The anti-al-Qaeda Sahwa, which the Americans dubbed "Concerned Local Citizens" and then "Sons of Iraq", are the same old Sunni Arab guerrillas, many of them former Saddam army officers who former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld described as "remnants of the old regime" who were killing Americans before they decided to rake some cash ($300 a month, an excellent salary in 70% unemployment Iraq) and do their own version of a "pause".

After all, they could not fight the US Army, al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government at the same time and believe they would win it. They are, of course, anti-majority Shiite Iraqi government (although the American public relations machine would never let this cat out of the bag). They're still one more militia in a cornucopia of militias - the US Army itself being nothing more than a heavily armed militia.

In a sense, the old imperial divide and rule tactic has worked - as Sunnis and Shiites are more deadly polarized against each other than against the occupiers. But at the same time they all unite on the key issue: occupation out. The answer as to why no Iraqi militia organizes a Tet-style anti-American onslaught is political positioning.

Everyone's got militias - the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Mahdi Army, the Badr Organization, the Sahwa. Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army's objective is to conquer political power in the next legislative elections. The Kurdish Peshmerga worry about defending Kirkuk after a referendum that could see it incorporated into the Kurdish north. Badr does not want to lose the government power it already enjoys; Hadi al-Amri, the dreaded leader of Badr, says he will respect the truce with the Mahdi Army. And Sahwa is just waiting to pounce against the Shiites. In this lethal cobweb, the Americans are just marginal, puzzled onlookers.

Stuck inside of Baghdad...

This country is no more. This is an ex-country. It has gone to meet its maker (the Sumerians, presumably). The "surge" is a public relations-created illusion - as ghostly as those abandoned, burned out Iraqi tanks littering Baghdad's empty, dirty boulevards in April 2003; after all there was no war to speak of, the Iraqi army having preferred to flee.

The Turkish army, for its part, has just proved its point; Ankara can invade Iraqi Kurdistan any time it sees fit - as if it was Gaza. And this is nothing compared to what may happen after the endlessly postponed Kirkuk referendum, when Iraqi Kurds will finally have full control over their oil wealth and rekindle their independentist dreams. If East Timor and Kosovo can do it, why not us?

Muqtada has - literally - vanished, after lamenting an Iraq "characterized by social turmoil". He disappeared just like the 12th Imam, Imam Mahdi - and that's a really huge thing for pious Iraqi Shiites, not to mention a masterful political ploy. Muqtada has transferred to the US Marines the task of carrying a pogrom of the Mahdi Army. He's aiming at the polls - he wants the Sadrists to take over the Shiite provincial governments in the south in the next election. Sooner or later "anti-American" occult Muqtada will be the lord of what remains of Iraq - and there's nothing Washington can do about it.

As an internal US issue, neither Clinton nor Obama has provided any concrete evidence they want to totally scrap the US "mission" in Iraq - or at least roll back the worldwide empire of military bases still heavily supported by Cheney and an array of corporate/industrial-military interests.

As a global issue, millions of Iraqis lost their homes, their jobs, their families, their dreams and in countless cases their own lives because of a pre-emptive war (or "successful endeavor") built on lies. Shocked, awed and utterly destroyed, their ancestral land beheaded like a stray dog, Iraqis deserve at least the world's respect in their hour of darkness.....
Democracy presupposes civic equality,the equality of all citizens in the eyes of the law. Elie's main goal in politics can be summarized as: The preferred government must possess the capacity of representing different Lebanese factions and enjoy unwavering moral values and a modern administrative effectiveness. Only such a government is capable of taking the steps needed to rebuild the Lebanese political system and regain the balance in the republic. Elie is an Unforgettable LEADER.