Category Archives: Politics

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De riñas entre fronteras

Por si les falataba poco a los soldados de UNIFIL en el sur de Líbano con la crisis de los misiles sirios, los rumores de una guerra entre Hezbolá e Israel y los avisos con explosivos sin detonadores en un coche de un trabajador civil de la base Miguel de Cervantes…ahora les toca lidiar con las riñas entre pastores libaneses y soldados israelies y recuperar a 185 rehenes que marchan sobre cuatro patas y berrean.

Israel Kidnaps Lebanese Goats!

Israeli moves to arrest Lebanese shepherds have now taken a new turn after army units crossed the Israeli pullout line in the south and “kidnapped” 185 goats in the area of al-Shahel on the outskirts of the town of Shebaa.
A Lebanese army communiqué said Wednesday the Israeli soldiers took the goats to the occupied Palestinian territories.

However, after contacts between the army command and U.N. peacekeepers stationed in the south, Israel returned the goats to Lebanon.

Israel usually detains Lebanese shepherds in the border area of Ghajar claiming they have crossed the Blue Line separating the two countries.

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¿Violación de fronteras o no?

El incidente en la frontera Israelo-Libanesa está sirviendo a más de uno para provocar un encontronazo largamente debatido y esperado por algunos. Si bien habitualmente los soldados israelíes se pasean entre los escasos metros de nomand’s land que separan las verjas fronterizas entre Líbano e Israel para realizar pequeñas reparaciones en la verja, de cámaras y demás sistemas de vigilancia, ésta vez parece que se han adentrado algo más en territorio Libanés.

De cualquier manera e imagino que por precaución, en los últimos dos días se han desplazado durante la noche varios camiones con soldados libaneses y un par de tanques del ejercito libanés hacia el sur.

Aquí queda el debate y el texto de Lebanon Wire con su inminente guerra (http://www.lebanonwire.com/1004MLN/10041601TGR.asp) …

Fears that war between Israel and Hizbollah is ‘imminent’

King Abdullah of Jordan has warned the US that there were fears in Lebanon that a war between Israel and Hizbollah was “imminent” amid high tensions in the region.

By Alex Spillius in Washington, Richard Spencer and Adrian Blomfield, Telegraph

The king, in Washington for President Barack Obama’s nuclear summit, gave his warning after Israel claimed that Syria had handed over Scud missiles in its armoury to the Lebanon-based Hizbollah.

His comments, which were made to private meeting of the US Congressional Friends of Jordan caucus were said to be “sobering”. 

Pope Benedict XVI visits Jordan mosque in effort to heal Vatican’s rift with IslamSyria yesterday denied the allegation that it has provided Hizbollah with long-range Scud missiles, which would allowing them to target Israel’s cities. The country’s foreign ministry said the claims would be used as a pretext by Israel to raise tension prior to a possible attack on Hizbollah.

“For some time now, Israel has been running a campaign claiming that Syria has been supplying Hizbollah with Scud missiles in Lebanon ,” a foreign ministry statement released yesterday said.

” Syria strongly denies these allegations which are an attempt by Israel to raise tensions in the region.”

However, the statement did not appear to rule out an alternative possibility being raised by defence sources, that Damascus has allowed Hizbollah control of or access to Scud missiles still currently in Syria .

Similar sources say that Syria has trained Hizbollah operatives on advanced anti-aircraft batteries, possibly a more useful tool since Hizbollah – and the Lebanese army – fears the overwhelming air superiority enjoyed by Israeli jets.

The Obama administration voiced alarm, though one source said it was still not certain whether the transfer had yet physically taken place.

“We are obviously increasingly concerned about the sophisticated weaponry that is allegedly being transferred,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman. “We have expressed our concerns to those governments and believe that steps should be taken to reduce any risk and any danger.”

Allegations of the Scud transfer have continued to cause unease at a time when many other political issues in the Middle East are at an impasse.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said that the alleged transfer would alter the strategic balance of power between Hizbollah and Israel, which fought a short but bloody war in 2006.

An aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said that the pace of Hizbollah’s re-armament and Syria’s role in it was causing growing alarm in the Jewish state.

“We are very conscious of the build-up of Hizbollah’s military machine,” the aide said. “We have unfortunately seen new types and greater quality of missiles. The Syrian role in passing those weapons to Hizbollah is ongoing and is dangerous.”

Al-Rai, the Kuwaiti newspaper which first raised the allegations, said a Hizbollah source had confirmed it had access to Scuds but that they were old and unusable. The source said the issue was being blown out of proportion by Israel in order to create a media frenzy.

The newspaper did, however, link the claims to Hizbollah’s threat that if Lebanese infrastructure, such as Beirut Airport , came under attack in the event of conflict, Israel would be hit in turn, including towns at the edge of the range of Hizbollah’s known missile arsenal.

What is undisputed is that all sides are raising the stakes in the absence of negotiations between Israel and either Palestinian factions or Syria .

The Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, has balanced overtures to Washington with reassurances that his alliances with both Hizbollah and Iran remain strong.

He held a high-profile meeting in Damascus with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in February.

Officials in Syria have warned that it would join in any war involving Israel , Lebanon and Hizbollah.

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Dr. Norman Finkelstein at the University of Waterloo

Dr. Norman Finkelstein at the University of Waterloo

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The last war?

I have the impression that many in Lebanon are certain about the inevitable last war. For some it is even the necessary last war. Thus making the war of the wars that will solve the awkward current status of not defeated and not victor of Hezbollah and Tsahal armies.

Who will throw the first stone? Who will light the spark? Do we even need a provocation to make a war ? To justify what?

Anyway, I do not believe in the total destruction neither of Hezbollah neither of Israel. Both were created in the rage of defending their land and both will be constantly replaced by other men and women willing to defend the most than honorable believe that one should defend its land. Will a same goal bring both to total destruction? I doubt.

As for the war to come, I also do not believe in the war of the wars. Not if is not nuclear.

N.S

Here f Nicholas Noe’s piece in Asia Times:

Hezbollah: Craving war, not wanting it

By Nicholas Noe

BEIRUT – Almost five years after the George W Bush administration was handed a potentially game-changing opportunity to peacefully declaw the militant Shi’ite movement Hezbollah, Washington is finally waking up to the grim reality of its ill-conceived “Cedar Revolution” policy in Lebanon: the prospect of a renewed war involving a sophisticated actor whose hybrid military power has only grown exponentially.

Setting aside, for the moment, the contentious argument over who is indeed responsible for these developments – which, it should be noted, quickly followed the forced exit of Syrian troops in April 2005 – the truly pressing issue for concerned policymakers and citizens alike is that both opposing axes, but especially the “resistance axis” of Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas, now seem to believe that the next war can and should be the last one between Israel and its enemies.

Unfortunately, this ideological certainty only helps to further grease the wheels of conflict – since the perception is that there will (finally) be no more “winning by not losing” or “winning, but the loser as “we know him’ remains” – while virtually guaranteeing that, should war come to pass, the costs will be truly awful for all those touched by it.

Keep reading at: Hezbollah: Craving war, not wanting it

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¡Que vienen los moros! Parte II

Europa anet el fenómeno del integrismo

LUNES 14 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2009 22:26

El 9/11 marcó el punto de inflexión en las relaciones con los países del Oriente Medio. Ese mismo Occidente, transcurridos mas de ocho años continúa sabiendo muy poco del yihadismo militante. A menudo se aprecia confusión entre Islam, arabismo e islamismo y es notoria la ausencia de elementos de juicio para conceptuar con objetividad cuál es realmente el contexto en el que se desarrolla y proyecta el integrismo.

Una característica significativa del Islam es la no separación entre política y religión. Concretamente, el Islam es un modo de vida, una organización política. En tanto que el islamismo es una fuerza ideológica-militar. Esto explica su exitosa expansión por Oriente Medio, Norte de África, Sur de Asia y Europa Occidental y, aunque nació en el mundo árabe y el árabe es su lengua común, el 68% de los 1.400 millones de personas que profesan el Islam no son étnicamente árabes. Por tanto, uno de los errores más frecuentes es creer que ambos términos (árabe y musulmán) son sinónimos. Por caso, Indonesia es un país islámico de los más importantes en el mundo musulmán y no está situado en Oriente Medio ni sus ciudadanos son étnicamente árabes. Tal confusión, desconocimiento y prejuicios, entre otros, han contribuido al difícil reconocimiento del fenómeno del integrismo radical.

Entender la cosmovisión del integrismo no es complicado para quien lo quiera ver despojado de las gafas de la miopía ideológica. Los fundamentalistas opinan que los sistemas políticos han fracasado y no han sabido responder a los retos del siglo XX. Esas agrupaciones, como la que encabezan los Talibanes en Afganistán, tienen como meta volver a las fuentes primigenias del Islam: el Corán, la sunna (tradiciones de Mahoma) y la sharia (ley islámica), a la vez que promueven el rescate de los valores propios e intrínsecos de la religión, la restauración del Estado Islámico y el rechazo a toda innovación. En virtud de lo anterior, su lucha es tanto contra Occidente como contra los regímenes laicos de los propios países árabes a los que consideran apostatas.

La comprensión por parte de funcionarios de la UE en relación al tema de la democratización del mundo árabe, al igual que lo referido a la expansión de la yihad militante y el avance de la ideología integrista en Occidente no solo es acotada sino que es incompleta. Muy poca dirigencia europea tiene en claro que si no fuera Irak, Gaza o Afganistán, sería Somalia, Argelia, Chechenia, Londres, Paris, Madrid o Frankfurt. Se ignora que “el integrismo no es una reacción determinada ante un punto de controversia”, por el contrario, “es una fuerza de combate ideológico-militar con una visión del mundo a la que aplican sus estrategias fundadas en la teocracia que sostienen a partir de una severa y perjudicial distorsión de las creencias religiosas”. El hecho de que Estados Unidos haya ido a Irak y Afganistán en la era del ex presidente George Bush e incluso la decisión del actual presidente Barak Obama de enviar 30 mil soldados adicionales allí y si ello ha sido o no acertado es otra discusión. Ni Irak ni Afganistán crearon yihadismo, todo lo contrario, los yihadistas son la prolongación de la guerra en Irak donde el mundo pudo apreciar sus tácticas y operaciones, y más aún, pudo conocer que existían.

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Joe Biden’s visit to Israel…Not a good timing…

Well, apparently Joe Biden didn’t chose teh right moment to visit  Israel or lets put it in the other side, Israeñ government chose a good moment to make a statement by pursuing the worldwide condemned jewish colonies construction in palestinian soil. Or at least in what is left. BUt following Haaretz’s quotes, relationship are not in a good term. Hard to be an “hyperpuissance”.

Here some reactions :

Israel Crosses the Line.. But with US Support in asharq alawsat

15/03/2010

By Bilal Hassen

The superpower and Israel’s protector, that is, the United States has proclaimed that it cannot play a basic and prominent role in the self-delegated negotiations between the Arabs and Israel and between the Palestinians and Israel. This superpower and protector of Israel came forward and bravely proposed to the world that it wants to broker successful negotiations whose first condition would be that Israel stop building more settlements. The protected Israel refused and the protector superpower gave in.

At this point, the superpower announced that it is ready to oversee indirect negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel that are not based on any conditions or point of reference. Once again and on the same day that the attempt to start indirect negotiations would begin, the protected state announced that it is building new settlements. The protector superpower did not object or protest and the negotiations are now at risk. It is also possible to wonder whether they will ever start. This state of affairs sounds extremely boring to the reader. No one believes that Israel can reject what the United States wishes, and no one believes that the United States cannot impose on Israel’s government a simple political decision such as starting indirect and perhaps binding negotiations. No one believes that indirect negotiations, if they ever start, will have a new practical result. It has become widely known that Israel does not want to discuss the Palestinian issue in the first place. It does not want to discuss the right of return of the Palestinians and does not want to discuss a full Israeli withdrawal from lands occupied in 1967. Israel does not want to dismantle the settlements and does not want to approve the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. On the other hand, it has become widely known that Israel wants half the West Bank and the waters of the West Bank. It wants the skies of the West Bank, the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip, and it wants a military deployment along the Jordan River. This is all Israel wants and the United States knows that this is what Israel wants. Nevertheless, it comes to the region with all its prestige to tell us that it will broker indirect negotiations. It promises us that such negotiations will end within two years and it wants us to believe this big American lie.

…..

Punishing America in Dar Al Hayat

Sun, 14 March 2010

Elias Harfoush

It would not have been possible to imagine worse for the US’s credibility in the region than what befell it during Joe Biden’s visit this week; a comment made by Aaron Miller, a prominent member of the US team negotiating with the Israelis under the administration of Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. And because Miller is aware of the balance of power in the American-Israeli relationship, he described it as “dancing with a bear”, where the problem becomes, as he says, that if you start dancing with it, it no longer becomes possible to let it dance alone!

This is what happened with the US Vice President in Israel. Indeed, dancing with “the Israeli bear” (perhaps describing it as a wolf would be more accurate) led to the insult to which was subjected the second highest-ranking man in the United States, an insult which he had to swallow before heading to the dinner table alongside that very bear, then publicly praising the strong relations between Israel and the United States, and declaring complete consideration of the US for Israel’s security, being “Israel’s best friend in the world”.

Israel envoy: U.S. ties at their lowest ebb in 35 years, in Haaretz

Last update – 20:23 15/03/2010
Israel envoy: U.S. ties at their lowest ebb in 35 years
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has told the country’s diplomats there that U.S.-Israeli relations face their worst crisis in 35 years, despite attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to project a sense of “business as usual.”

Oren was speaking to the Israeli consuls general in a conference call on Saturday night.

Netanyahu consulted Sunday with the forum of seven senior cabinet ministers over a list of demands that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made in a telephone conversation Friday.

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Clinton harshly criticized the announcement last week of plans to expand the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in East Jerusalem while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel.

Haaretz has learned that Clinton’s list includes at least four steps the United States expects Netanyahu to carry out to restore confidence in bilateral relations and permit the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

1. Investigate the process that led to the announcement of the Ramat Shlomo construction plans in the middle of Biden’s visit. The Americans seek an official response from Israel on whether this was a bureaucratic mistake or a deliberate act carried out for political reasons. Already on Saturday night, Netanyahu announced the convening of a committee to look into the issue.

2. Reverse the decision by the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee to approve construction of 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo.

3. Make a substantial gesture toward the Palestinians enabling the renewal of peace talks. The Americans suggested that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners be released, that the Israel Defense Forces withdraw from additional areas of the West Bank and transfer them to Palestinian control, that the siege of the Gaza Strip be eased and further roadblocks in the West Bank be removed.

4. Issue an official declaration that the talks with the Palestinians, even indirect talks, will deal with all the conflict’s core issues – borders, refugees, Jerusalem, security arrangements, water and settlements.

Two advisers of the prime minister, Yitzhak Molcho and Ron Dermer, held marathon talks Sunday with senior White House officials in Washington and U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell and his staff to try to calm the situation. Mitchell will return to Israel Tuesday and expects to hear if Netanyahu intends to take the proposed steps.

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