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The Arab Fall

Yemen
The fault line that caused the political earthquake that erupted in the Middle East last winter and changed the chemicals in the environment continues to spread wider and wider into the months, and perhaps a new year – threatening to call the hopeful journalistic moniker, “the Arab Spring” a misnomer!

So what’s going down in the neighborhood?
Ali Abdullah Saleh, wicked ruler of Yemen says he won’t step down and submit to a Coup d’etat that would come in the form of a democratic restructuring of that country should his opponents be permitted to compete in the next election.

Saleh is specifically referring to the dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected earlier in the year to the favor of anti-government demonstrators, as well as the stalwart tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. Ali Abdullah Saleh recently returned to Yemen from Saudi Arabia on September 23, where he was receiving treatment for injuries he received in a June 3 rocket attack on the presidential palace.

The 69-year-old has consistently refused to sign a power transfer deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council; a deal that would see him hand over power to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in return for immunity from prosecution.

Lebanon
In another part of the world, Najib Mikati is the prime-minister of Lebanon, where the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah commands all military authority. Lebanon says that an Israeli reconnaissance plane penetrated Lebanese airspace and thereby violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The Lebanese military reported last Saturday that the Israeli aircraft entered Lebanese airspace from the southern border at 10:05 a.m. (0705 GMT) on Friday and flew over several areas of the country. Afterwards, the plane left the country at 3:15 p.m. (1215 GMT). UNIFIL, the United Nations-appointed peacekeeper in the region condemn such flyovers.

Lebanon’s leader, Mikati, has supported the President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath regime in Syria from the get-go. In an interview with the Daily Beast he said:

Are you worried that the unrest in Syria will spill over into Lebanon?

No … What I’m trying to do is create a kind of wall between what’s happening in Syria and any implication here on the Lebanese side … I’m trying to say, “Please, this is an internal Syrian issue. Let us take care of our own agenda; take care of our own problems.”

You’ve had business ties with Assad in the past. Are you still in touch with him? Do you talk?

Yes, we were friends. Unfortunately, now he’s so busy. [I haven’t had] the chance to see him or even talk to him. Some Syrian opposition groups have criticized you for supporting Assad.
That’s politics. Some analysts predict that Hizbullah will attempt a military takeover of Lebanon if the Assad regime falls. This is a very hypothetical issue.

Your critics have called you “Hizbullah’s candidate.” Your reaction?

In the beginning, they put this label of Hizbullah [on me]. But … we’re taking our decisions independently.

You don’t take Hizbullah’s interests into account?

We listen to everybody.

When the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued indictments in the assassination of Hariri, you said you would follow up. But in early August, the prosecutor general said no suspects have been found or arrested. What is the government doing?

The relevant authorities have been looking for the various people on a daily basis. And they already submitted a detailed report about their findings. I believe it’s now up to the court to decide if what we did is right and what we have to do next.

Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently said that even if it took 300 years, nobody from Hezbullah would be arrested. Did that undermine the work of your government?

It’s his point of view. We have complete freedom of speech … He has the right to say whatever he wants.

Libya
In other news, Libyan Jews are now returning home after a 44-year exile imposed by General Muammar al-Qadaffi. He had expelled the rest of Libya’s 38,000 Jews two years after the 1967 war broke out between Israel and a conglomerate of Arab nations. The Jews went to America, Italy, Israel; all over.

Libyan End Game

NATO says that it will continue operations in Libya after General Qadaffi’s compound in Tripoli was invaded by some 500 well-trained rebels based in the western Nafusa Mountain range. The general’s whereabouts are still unknown but it seems impossible he could leave Libya. The red, black and green flag of the rebellion is flying in Tripoli and the reign of Muamar Qadaffi is clearly coming to an end.

At checkpoints inside the city, rebels placed the ubiquitous canvas portraits of the dictator on the ground for drivers to run over. Loyalist forces, however, are continuing to hit back, Seif al-Islam, the general’s son visited a hotel where foreign journalists were staying. A vicious gunfire ensued and as of Tuesday afternoon continued.

The International Organization for Migration, meanwhile, said that a rescue mission to pluck 300 foreign nationals from the Libyan capital has been delayed by fighting. The Geneva-based group says an IOM-chartered ship will remain off the coast of Tripoli “until security conditions have improved and the safety of staff and migrants can be guaranteed.”

Carol E. Lee of the Wall Street Journal wrote on her blog:

“President Obama spoke with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday about events in Libya, the White House said. The two leaders “welcomed the progress” being made by the opposition and agreed that Gadhafi, along with remaining members of his government, need to “reliquish power once and for all,” according to a White House statement on the call.
“At the same time, they agreed to continue to work with allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya and to support a peaceful transition to democracy,” the statement said. “President Sarkozy joined the president in urging the Transitional National Council to continue demonstrating its leadership by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya.”

Obama has no plans to make any public statements Tuesday on Libya, a White House official said. He was briefed on Libya on Tuesday morning by his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, and he will be updated throughout the day “as needed,” the official said.”

And here’s another one from the ol’ Wall Street Journal.

Charles Levinson and Margaret Coker wrote:

Forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi battled through Tripoli’s densely populated neighborhoods, attacking and defending patches of territory across the sprawling, and seemingly divided, capital.
Specific districts of Tripoli have become notorious for their antiregime protests during the six months of Libya’s civil war, while other neighborhoods have remained forcibly allied with the leader—loyal men and families who owe their careers, tribal ties and social positions to Col. Gadhafi. These divisions have erupted in increasingly bloody street fighting this week, threatening a vacuum of power and a Balk.

Palestinian Permission

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers opened a thoroughfare in Nablus for the first time in nine years. On Monday, Palestinian liaisons of the Israeli army presided over the opening of the road that stretches from Nablus to the Palestinian village of An-Naqura. The governor of Nablus has made re-paving the road a priority in hopes that it will be fully functional as soon as possible.

The road being shut down in 2002 forced villagers to take long detours, and even prevented many villagers from accessing their fields so that they can go to work. With the road open, villagers in the north should have direct access to Nablus and to their livelihoods in the fields.

During the Second Intifada, the IDF closed many roads and built many checkpoints, a number of which, despite a lull in violence, are still in place. However, with terrorism such as what happened to the Fogel family a few months ago, it is no wonder the IDF opts to closely patrol roads throughout the area.

In other news, the Palestinian general consul in Alexandria Jamaal Al-Jamal said Tuesday upwards of 2,000 Palestinians have returned to live in the Gaza Strip from Libya, yes, Libya. More than 34,000 Palestinian families live in Libya, numbering in the ball park of 160,000 persons. Some who are trying to flee the war zone have visas which permit them to return to their jobs in Libya.

President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered PA authorities to facilitate the return of more Palestinians in Libya. Palestinian embassies in Tripoli, Alexandria and Cairo are coordinating with each other assisting their return.

In Alexandria, the Palestinian consulate has appointed a team to coordinate the arrival of passengers at the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is even offering health care and meals to assist Palestinians in Libya fleeing from the war there.

Al-Jamal says that he is grateful for the assistance of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations before thanking the Egyptian authorities for helping to facilitate the return of Gazan Palestinians.

Gerneral Qadaffi and his Gigantic MegloPhone

Mr. Qadaffi the megalomaniacal trickster of old Libya is threatening Europe. European “homes, offices, families,” that is, unless old NATO ceases airstrikes on his regime – airstrikes that have also inadvertently claimed the lives of civilians of the rebellion.

His life sought by the International Criminal Court, Mr. Qadaffi, delivered the warning in an audio message played to thousands of supporters gathered in central Green Square of Tripoli.

Impressively, Señor Qadaffi can still pack the crowds into the square for a reassuring show of solidarity with the Machavellian tyrant.

The Libyan lord said:

“These people (the Libyans) are able to one day take this battle … to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which would become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes…We can decide to treat you in a similar way…If we decide to, we are able to move to Europe like locusts, like bees. We advise you to retreat before you are dealt a disaster.”

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Qadaffi, his son Seif al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi for crimes against humanity.

On Friday during his Green Square rant Qadaffi said Libyans who fled to neighboring Tunisia are “working as maids for the Tunisians…What brought you to this stage? The traitors…”

He urged supporters to “march on the western mountains” clearing the region of weapons the French government delivered to the rebels there several days ago.

Did Obama Violate the Constitution With Libya Bombing?

A group of bipartisan lawmakers filed a federal lawsuit against President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, requesting a court to bar the administration from using U.S. funds for military action in Libya.

LibyaThe lead plaintiffs, Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio, and Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina filed the lawsuit at U.S. District Court in Washington Wednesday afternoon, as the White House prepared to deliver an address to Congress.

Along with Kucinich and Jones, the plaintiffs are Democratic Representatives, Michael Capuano of Massachusetts and John Conyers of Michigan; and Republicans Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Dan Burton of Indiana, Howard Coble of North Carolina, John Duncan of Tennessee, Tim Johnson of Illinois, and Ron Paul of Texas.

Jones told National Journal:

“For too long, the Constitution has been put on the back shelf for so long when it comes to the issue of war…I’m sure the drafters of the Constitution would be with us. For too long the Congress has stood in the stands and not been on the field when it comes to the issue of the war.”

In the 36-page lawsuit, the lawmakers claim the president violated the law by going to war in Libya sans any declaration of war from Congress as required by the War Powers Resolution. They also contend the administration is violating the North Atlantic Treaty, which “allows only for military actions in defense of a member state” and requires that any U.S. involvement in a NATO action occur only in “accordance with [the] respective constitutional processes” of the United States.

On Choosing the Right Battles (in the face of a syrias situation)

by Scott Krane

Today we are living in the Islamic Democracy Revolution, the Arab Spring; an unmistakable contrapuntal song of freedom. A tune that started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, two countries that “did good” in their respective democracy-fueled coup d’états. Sudan heard the cry but to no apparent avail, as did Yemen, Bahrain and Iran (and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cites the last twenty-four months in Tehran as the exposition of the movement), as did poor little Lebanon, which continues to be strangled and poisoned by the Hezbollah, that venomous snake.

A critical assessment of the Middle East leads us to analyze the recent history of Syria and the recent history of Libya.

In the latter country, Muammar el-Qhadaffi thought he had the world duped. The financier of worldwide guerilla groups, he is single-handedly responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 innocents. And he funded Black September, the Palestinian group that murdered eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. However, the world – that is the West and Africa – was under the verisimilar impression he had reformed his evil ways; or at least, did not pose a threat to the West. (Does he?)

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to call a “no-fly zone,” and bomb that country is crazy; more so considering America’s budget deficit and the cost of such military operations, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and counting. Certainly there are countless other humanitarian nightmares happening around the world that America, were they the world’s humanitarian vigilantes, would cite and quell.

So, as I read in a recent editorial in Haaretz:

“The West’s intervention in Libya may undermine future civil revolts.”

And if we fear Libya acquiring nuclear weapons, then for goodness sakes what is taking so long to do something about Iran.

Recent events in Syria, as they pertain to the Jewish State, are the exact opposite. With President Bashar al-Assad at the helm, Syria has spent more than $3 billion on weapons in three years. As we well know, they have done all they can in the way of assassinations to squash democracy in Lebanon – they have done with their geographic advantage what Iran, who has in that state a terrorist proxy, cannot. According to Haaretz, Syria has received $1 billion from Iran to purchase rockets, surface-to-surface missiles, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft systems.

David Schenker of The New Republic wrote:

“During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Syria’s Assad regime was helping insurgents to cross the border and kill Americans. In response to the Syrian provocation, the Bush administration considered a broad range of policy options. But one family of options always remained off the table: regime change or any combination of pressures that might destabilize Damascus.”

document by Syrian government to assassinate members of the rebellionFurthermore, recent WikiLeaks documents indicate that:

“Syria placed long-range missiles equipped with chemical warheads on high alert after an attack on a Syrian nuclear plant in 2007.”

Mossad obtained information about the nuclear plant, built for Syria by North Korea, from a laptop stolen from a senior Syrian official. Israel launched the stealth attack that took out the Syrian reactor. Though, first they asked the U.S. to carry-out the strike, however, then-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, refused.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a cheap equivocator, who in the last month murdered 100s of his own people in attempt to put the lid on protests. While he told his people to expect constitutional amendments, sweeping reforms and the ditching of despised state emergency laws that give to the government carte blanche to arrest citizens, sans charges, no such reforms have actually happened.

Meanwhile, Michael Isikoff of MSNBC wrote:

“A document drafted by senior Syrian intelligence officials (pictured above) details a plan to infiltrate the ranks of anti-regime protesters, arrest and assassinate their leaders, and link anti-regime demonstrations to the work of Zionist and other outside agitators.”

The reason that Israel may want to get involved in ousting Assad makes the U.S. invasion of Libya, (where French and NATO forces were already eyeing, where al-Qaeda, America’s other enemy is on the side of the rebellion), look well, silly.

Syria has been a direct threat to the Jewish State forever and in the last weeks, more so than ever.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said:

“Syria is an Iranian acquisition, and it is clear that Iran is concerned that this investment will go down the drain…Therefore, Iran has shown more involvement [in Syria] than in other Arab countries.”

According to intercepted communications among Iranian officials:

Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people“.

If the time has come to sing democracy in the Middle East, let’s make sure military invasions are worth our while. Let’s not forget Syria is among the most noteworthy bankrollers of Hamas. Why not nip this nightmare in the bud? So America is in Libya, fighting alongside al-Qaeda, their back seemingly turned to Iran. The reality is Syria needs Israel’s help. And, let’s face it, Israel needs theirs.

Barbara Streisand DUCK SAUCE and state of affairs

It’s almost the weekend. Actually for Israelis this is the last day of the week. So what did we have this week?
Libya is up in flames, Egypt is under new management, New Zealand had a huge earthquake, we seem to be getting some “love” in the south with the Beer Sheva rocket last night…

Have a little duck sauce and a good weekend…

Libya Falls Into It

LibyaOn Tuesday, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi promised “To fight to the last drop of blood” as clashes intensified between loyalists and rebels in Tripoli. The latter claimed they consolidated their clutch over a chain of cities across half of the country’s 1,000 mile Mediterranean coast. The fiercest fighting happened in Tripoli. Qaddafi-loyal forces drove through the streets shooting at will from the backs of pickup trucks.

As a result, 62 were confirmed dead in the capitol, and 500 people killed elsewhere, mostly in the eastern city of Benghazi, the geographic flashpoint for the uprising.

LibyaThe Colonel appeared twice on state television, speaking from his Tripoli residence on the grounds of an army barracks. In his address, he said all who challenge the government “deserved to die.” He blamed the situation on “foreign hands,” brainwashing, people distributing pills, and the naivety of youngsters to imitate the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Speaking in third-person, his rhetoric showed delusions of grandeur:

“Muammar Qaddafi is history, resistance, liberty, glory, revolution…”

Similar situations have swept across the Middle East in recent weeks, toppling autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and challenging those in Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere.

Born in 1942, Muammar el-Gaddafi has been in power in Libya for forty years. He funded Black September, the terrorist organization who murdered the eleven Israeli athletes during the Munich Summer Olympics in1972.

According to the New York Times he is:

“The financier of an eclectic array of guerrilla groups around the globe, he was responsible, according to Western intelligence, for many of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the mid-80s, including the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270.”

A tricky politician, though, the New York Times says:

“In an about-face to the West, Colonel Gaddafi has re-established diplomatic and economic ties throughout Europe. He has also changed with regard to Israel. The man who once called for pushing the ”Zionists” into the sea advocates the forming of one nation where Jews and Palestinians would live together in peace.”

Colonel Gaddafi founded a pan-African confederation modeled by the European Union. On February 2, 2009, he was named chairman of the African Union. However, in August 2009, the Colonel drew criticism from the American government with his exultant reaction to the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi from prison, the one man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Mr. Megrahi was given a hero’s welcome upon arriving in Libya, and Gaddafi thanked Scottish and British officials for releasing him. The Britons looked dumb to the West.

Leaving Libya In A Hurry – Gaddafi Entourage Fleeing on Video

They are definitely hauling ass, and the truck models seem right – possibly the great escape video of Gaddafi and his entourage leaving Libya…

Libya’s War on Zionism

A WikiLeaks cable revealed that Libyan authorities adopted “repugnant anti-Semitic tactics” against the Marks & Spencer store in Tripoli, in an effort to have the store closed and drive the British company out of the country.

The leaked memos, sent from the US Embassy in Tripoli, show that the anti-Semitic campaign became so violent that American officials were warned by Libyan government insiders that at least one high-ranking businessman, the Marks & Spencer franchiser, could be involved in a “fatal car accident”.

Marks & SpencerA source from the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry told an American contact that M&S was:

“well-known among Libyans and other Arab and Muslim peoples for its strong support of Israeli occupation of Palestine and the huge funds it provides for killing of Palestinians and constructing of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine…The very mentioning of Marks and Spencer is considered by Libyans as an insult to their national feelings and an attack on their national feelings the source clarified.”

The US Embassy warned Washington back in 2008 that attacks on the British retailer by Libyan officials “at the highest levels” risked causing irretrievable damage to bilateral ties with the UK.

The British Guardian quoted the memos, describing:

“The ongoing drama surrounding efforts by the UK government and investors to keep open the Marks & Spencer retail store in Tripoli, and a campaign by some Libyan government officials to close it.”

Not long after the store was launched, it was subjected to what the cable described as “persistent anti-Semitic rhetoric” by the Libyan government.

The store was closed temporarily by Libyan authorities at least twice, and employees were repeatedly taken in for questioning and put under “close scrutiny” by security officials who, the ambassador warned, were used as a “strongarm adjunct in this political play”.

Libya: ‘We do not allow occupiers into our country’

By Rafael D. Frankel, Jerusalem Post
Musaid, Libya

“Israel does not exist as a country, it is Palestine, and we do not allow occupiers into our country,” was the explanation a special representative of the Libyan government gave the nine-person group of a peace mission for barring their entrance into the country Wednesday morning.

The group, which includes three Israelis, was camped out in the no-man’s land between Egypt and Libya after failing to gain entrance to the latter country late Tuesday night.

Libya: We do not allow occupiers into our country
Members of the group trek on camels in the Eastern Sahara desert of Egypt. Photo: AP

Latif Yahia, the Iraqi participant who was once a double for the son of Saddam Hussein, Uday, and who functioned as the group’s spokesman at the border, was unsuccessful in his effort to persuade the Libyan official to allow them entry.

Read the rest of the article here.

Breaking the Ice is an international non-profit organization, established by individuals and business professionals from around the world who believe in building peace at the grassroots level. Its mission is to inspire people to transform conflicts from enmity into trust and mutual respect.

Amongst its sponsors are King Abdullah of Jordan, Shimon Peres, Hillary Clinton and the Dalai Lama. Breaking the Ice was founded by Heskel Nathaniel, 44, an Israeli businessman living in Germany, who decided to make peace his mission after he survived leukemia.

The current group consists of 10 people – Israelis, Palestinians and Iraqis – who have been traveling by camel, jeep and foot across the Sahara desert to promote peace. The idea of the mission is to put the participants into a survival situation that forces them to depend upon and trust one another. They are carrying an olive tree from Jerusalem that they want to plant in Libya, the last stop on their journey, as a gesture of peace.

Now it seems that Colonel Khadaffi is not going to allow them to complete their journey.

Read more about the fascinating backgrounds of the participants – all of whom have suffered terribly as a direct result of conflicts in the Middle East, here.

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