Of course, I have my own list in mind, but funnily enough I have a similar one here compiled from a recent 22-county poll conducted by GlobeScan (an international opinion research consultancy) and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland – Program on International Policy Attitudes.
The last-month visit of the Speaker Nabih Berri to Cyprus to discuss the bilateral oil and gas issues showed how slow we are in responding to urgent national matters, how slack we are in forming our national foreign policies, and of course how careless we are in preserving and exploiting our national recourses.
When I read How Israel Could Remove Assad Diplomatically and Bring Peace to Syria, I thought it’s kind of science fiction. I thought Bruce Riedel, [another] veteran former CIA officer and senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, to be going the extra non-reasonable and non-needed mile. He was basically proposing to offer the Golan Heights back to Bashar Al-Assad as the carrot, in return for Assad moving on, and allowing a democratic post-Assad Syria to start and flourish, away from the influence of Iran and Hezbollah.
Follow @TheZakoJeffrey White, the former American veteran senior intelligence officer and the current defense fellow at The Washington Institute, wrote yesterday about the importance of the indirect intervention in Syria in his point of view. He wrote a couple of month ago as well on the subject, assessing the different options available for intervention available, concluding that something must be done.
This a how-CIA-infiltrate-a-country-101 American course, undertaken in Pakistan and mentioned by the White House correspondent at National Journal Marc Ambinder, and former paratrooper with U.S. Army Special Operations Command D.B. Grady in their new book The Command: Deep Inside the President’s Secret Army. Via The Atlantic:
A Lebanese leader or senior political official will most likely need a Syrian blessing to get elected to office. But imagine if PM Najib Mikati for example producing a public video bragging on the praise he could fish from the Syrian officials, just to gain ‘public vote’.
Barack Obama did just that if not worse. He’s supposed to be the leader of the most powerful nation in history, and the free world, but Obama did act as a 3rd grade politician in a banana republic. His presidential campaign produced the ‘unbreakable bond’ video which must be one of the most embarrassing thing for America as nation.
So in UNESCO now, Palestine is IN, United States is OUT. That’s the situation after the U.S. stopped the funding for the organisation, as a protest reaction to the vote on the admittance of Palestine as a new member. It’s not only unconvincing, but could be one of the most shameful decisions Uncle Sam has ever made.
You can check how countries voted on the decision here, but you MUST watch the below video when a brave journalist interrogated the State Department Spokeswoman; I really felt-ish for Victoria Nuland at some point. This decision shows how the American pro-Israel policies are based on a weak alibi.
Being so classy and not speaking often publicly on general issues is a main attribute of the top leadership in the Syrian Baathist regime. They rarely allow themselves to be faced and challenged by the media. The regime tends to convey its messages via different proxies and mouthpieces who are regime-linked. These pawns could meet foreign officials or media to express the official line, funnily enough in an unofficial capacity.
Take for the example the Syrian uprising which is 7 month old now. Not a single Syrian official showed up in any TV show since the ‘troubles’ started in Syria; nothing like an interior minister, sub-minister or even a spokesman. The task is usually done by ‘analysts’, ‘academics’ or ‘strategists’ who are actually fiercer than the regime itself in expressing the official line. A lot of these names became infamous now as they have been hosted almost full-time on satellite channels like AlArabiya and AlJazeera. Dr. Taleb Ibrahim is surely one of the infamous ones. Of the few instances the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem spoke to the media for example, they were in press conference type meetings rather than debate talk show types. Still, he managed to wipe out new countries when he spoke.
The below quotation is from an interview with the former US President Bill Clinton on ‘This Week’ show on ABC, by Christiane Amanpour aired today. Clinton was answering a question on the upcoming bid for a Palestinian State in the UN by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and whether the Congress will remove the funding for the PA. Amazing how ‘relaxed’ can a president be when they leave office, although he hasn’t actually left office as his wife still maintain the post of Secretary of State:
“No, I don’t think that — I hope that won’t happen unless the administration asks for that. I think that everybody knows the U.S. Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world. They don’t have to demonstrate that. And I believe that that’s clear.
So everyone knows that the United States is not going allow Israel’s security to be threatened. I believe, therefore, that the secretary of state and the national security team should determine what happens on the aid front, I don’t think Congress ought to take an option away from the administration in trying to work through this.
All analysts and people who oppose the American policy in the Arab world (most of them support the ‘resistance camp’ but not all of them), blame this policy for almost all the Middle East problems. These people see the hatred to America as a reaction, and not an action. In their opinion, America is not fair, and responsible for Israel’s brutality and aggressiveness against the Palestinians.
Whether you agree with that or not, it’s worth pointing to a prominent American voice raising these concerns now, which is pretty unusual for the Americans to hear; It’s the congressman and the Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul. He is affiliated with the Tea Party, but may not represent the mainstream party. He is the same guy who wants to cut all foreign aides (as per the Tea Party on spending rhetoric) and including aids to Israel.
Israel’s war in July 2006 against Hezbollah and Lebanon has proven to be complete failure from strategic point of view to both Israel and the US. Although the war was initiated by Hezbollah through capturing two Israeli soldiers, but it became known later that the war was ready-made beforehand by Israel (like the 1982 full invasion to Lebanon which was provoked by an attack 2000 miles away on Israel’s ambassador to London!). Basically, Israel has not achieved its goal to destroy Hezbollah in the 2006 war (or even return its two captured soldiers!).
The 2006 war increased Hezbollah’s popularity within the Arab masses (although not necessarily within the in-house Lebanese), against their dictators public stances. The war allowed the Party of God to rearm and become stronger (as per various public speeches for its Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah)
Many of the US diplomacy documents leaked by Wikileaks on Lebanon and Syria were based on the US ambassador/charge d’affaires describing an event or reporting the stances of different politicians, but few involved the authors’ personal and direct comments, and opinions about the subject leaders. Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt and others were among these leaders in Lebanon. But this time, there is specific American cable leaked by Wikileaks, that fully assesses the Syrian foreign policy, and gives very brutally blunt opinion about the Syrian President Bashar Assad and his team(s). I think this cable is ‘gem’ from a research point of view! it clearly details the American view of the Syrian hollow diplomacy. This assessment is an outcome of the working relationship for decades, between Syrian regime and the United States of America
The cable is written by the US charge d’affaires in Damascus at the time Maura Connelly, who became later (and still) the American Ambassador in Lebanon. She wrote that President Bashar Assad is different from his father, former President Hafez Assad. Meetings with the father had wealth of detail and historical perspective, but seems it is not the case with the son. The cable describes Bashar as ‘neither as shrewd nor as long-winded as his father but he, too, prefers to engage diplomatically on a level of abstraction that seems designed to frustrate any direct challenge to Syria’s behaviour and, by extension, his judgment’.
If the House is America’s, and the foreign country is Israel, then this is a likely event, especially if the trip is funded by a pro-Israel lobby.
The recently discovered oil and gas in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean will not only change the balance sheets of the involved countries, but also the balance of powers towards the side of the US – via Israel:
…And this is what an article in The Globe and Mail suggests:
But one day – count on it – Israel will match Canada in oil exports to the U.S. and thus free its long-time friend from needing to deal with tyrants.
We, in Lebanon, are still yet to confirm the legal internal framework for the whole process, and more likely to have a disputed area with Israel. The Turkish part of Cyprus has threatened today Greek Cyprus that it is entitled to block any sea deal with neighbouring countries (although this was Turkey’s position in 2008 according to Wikileaks).
…that capitalism has been defeated and the need for global change is vital.
Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and provides you with milk.
Nazism: You have two cows. The government shoots you and takes the cows.
Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Do you remember the above? I remember it very well; it was a famous political sarcasm that was widely circulated in 1990s (at my time) about the different political systems. It’s has an older origin though. Believe it or not, these jokes affected my political ‘evolutionist’ thinking then.
There are a lot of the news about Wikileaks, and a lot of Wikileaks! This is to the extent that US diplomacy leaked cables were bigger than any one entity to deal with. Wikileaks is releasing the classified documents in bits, to allow the material to be analyzed, published and absorbed by the media and the public. So the timing of publications will be ‘planned’. You can say that they can be political too, theoretically.
We all know the clear US foreign policy in supporting Israel. This policy was reconfirmed with the two major recent speeches for President Barack Obama (on Arab Spring and before an AIPAC event); But I must say I was bemused when I saw the extensive exaggerated applause the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received this week, Continue reading
BBC Radio 4 said this morning that they got hold of a confidential report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which states that Syria likely had a nuclear reactor in the facility that was bombed ‘allegedly’ by Israel four years ago.
This must be a significant piece of news, Continue reading
With all the Nakba Day fairness and justness, it was intriguing to see the Palestinians protesting today on the Lebanese and Syrian borders with Israel. In commemoration of 15 May 1948, the day the Palestinians were forced to leave their land and became refugees, protests were organised today in Maroun El Ras on Lebanese-Israeli borders in South Lebanon, and in Ain El Tini on the Syrian-Israeli border on the occupied Golan Heights borders (Syrian side).
Mohamad Bouazizi! – a straight forward answer.
Ok, on a more serious note, what’s pushing all these masses to be on the streets? Since the start of the so called ‘Arab Spring’ less than 5 months ago, all analysts have been looking to study the involvement of the Islamic movements (or other ideologies).
This interest spiked after Osama Bin Laden’s death last week, with majority looking to assess its impact on the uprisings (I can even tell from the search engines hits on my previous first Bin Laden post!)
Moreover, many political parties claimed their fatherhood to the freedom demanding protests. Al-Qaeda claimed that the uprisings were the fruits of their struggle against America and the Arab regimes.
The Americans (likely to be Republicans) said that the uprisings were the results of what George W. Bush started in his Iraq invasion in 2003!