Archive for April, 2008

READ LEVITICUS CHAPTER 26, Verse 19, 20

April 28, 2008

Gerald FlurryEditor in Chief

Israel’s “Will to Withdraw”

April 28, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com

The willpower of the Jews in Israel has been broken.

Gerald Flurry

What is happening in Israel today?

For the past 15 years, the Jewish nation has tried to negotiate peace with the Palestinians. The process has been an abysmal failure.

The basic assumption behind the process is that the best way to secure long-term peace is to withdraw. For example, three years ago Israel pulled its troops out of Lebanon, which were stationed there to prevent assaults on Israelis from the terrorist group Hezbollah. The problem is, Hezbollah didn’t stop its attacks. It simply moved its assault right up to the Israeli border, which resulted in the Second Lebanon War in summer 2006.

That withdrawal paved the way for war!

Despite that stark failure, it emerged last week that Israel’s present government is prepared to withdraw from the Golan Heights, an incredibly strategic piece of mountainous territory adjacent to Syria and Lebanon. Last Thursday, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Syrian President Bashar Assad [had] confirmed reports in the Arab media to the effect that Israel had agreed to relinquish the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria.”

Rather than deny the rumors of a withdrawal, the response of the Olmert government confirmed that a peace agreement—which would include Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights—between Israel and Syria might be imminent. Although some Israeli leaders correctly perceive the plan to be another Arab ambush, Prime Minister Olmert and others blindly push forward in the belief that ceding the Golan will secure peace with the Syrians.

By flagrantly rejecting Israel’s failed history with withdrawals, the Olmert administration makes war inevitable!

Meanwhile, as the Jews continue in their flawed strategy of withdrawal, the American president is pressuring Israel to allow the creation of a Palestinian state by the end of the year. Many Israelis agree this is the solution.

Some of the Jews do see where the problem lies. Here is what Shmuel Schnitzer wrote in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, Sept. 14, 1994: “For the first time in 2,000 years, we are preparing to deny our historical rights, both the divine promise and in terms of referring to the land by the name of its people, ‘The Land of Israel’—a land which belongs to the children of Israel, from then and to eternity.”

The Jews are only one tribe of Israel. Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

Schnitzer continued, “Suddenly, we are gripped by a will to withdraw. A delight in withdrawing, euphoria in cutting ourselves off from it. Pulling out of Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) will be a holiday. We shall say: ‘Goodbye, not au revoir’” (emphasis mine throughout).

Israel today is making the same mistake ancient Israel made. And unless the Jews repent, they are going to have the same tragic end!

The problem is that God has broken their will, or the pride of their awesome power, because of their sins (Leviticus 26:19). And the problem is only going to get worse until they repent! Mr. Schnitzer continued:

First we referred to parts of the homeland as “territories.” That’s a term which evinces no love, no link. “Territories” are not ours. We never dreamt of territories, nor prayed to return to them. We didn’t nurture them with the blood of our young men. We didn’t hear in them the calls of our prophets and we didn’t bury our forefathers in the “territories.” We didn’t fight over the “territories” with the Canaanites and the Egyptians, the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans, the British and the Arabs. We didn’t read of them in the Book of books, nor yearn constantly for them.

We are a generation that is betraying its forefathers, their faith and their sacrifice. We are now engaged in tearing out the heart of the land from ourselves, undercutting everything which we nurtured.

An entirely new Jewish people is being created before our very eyes. A nation which doesn’t belong to its land, which doesn’t continue the past, which will inherit nothing and is promised nothing. The Bible is no longer our calling card. It’s a mere historical curiosity.

God clearly gave the Jews their land. But the “peacemakers” don’t like to refer to it as a gift from God, because they have no faith in God.

So we see a “new Jewish people” unwilling to fight as in the past. Now they have a broken will.

A U.S. intelligence document several years ago stated that the Arabs now believe the Jews have lost their will to fight. Few reports could signal a greater danger! The Arabs will exploit this weakness. You can be certain of that.

Mr. Schnitzer also wrote,

Suddenly, paths of peace are more important than the paths down which we traveled for 2,000 years, more important than our prayers and our faith.

I ask myself what kind of Jewish people will this be with no attachment to its land, without all the places of the book of Joshua, the wonderful vistas there, without the intensity of the prophetic vision, without the heritage of our fighters who spilt their blood for the country which was promised them and their descendants?

This is the will of the majority, and we are told that in a democracy the majority’s will is that which counts.

But let us not forget on the eve of our holiest day (the Day of Atonement) that while a majority can rule, it hasn’t a monopoly on truth and on good sense. A majority can make a tragic mistake, create a golden calf and dance about it.

The Jewish people are now looking to the will of the majority, not the great God who gave them their own land.

Request our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy to understand what God says will happen to Israel. Events show that peace pacts are more important to the Jews than faith in God. That is a sure recipe for disaster!

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TREASON IN AMERICA

April 25, 2008

PREMEDITATED MERGER

Poll results: SPP plans are ‘treason’

97 percent oppose North American Community without congressional approval

Posted: April 25, 2008
12:10 am Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A new poll by the American Policy Center has revealed that the lack of widespread opposition to the agenda of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, announced in 2005 by President Bush and his counterparts from Mexico and Canada, is because more than half of the American residents polled hadn’t heard of it.

But when they did, their voices were clear, with overwhelming majorities opposing the concept, plans and ideas.

The poll was done by the APC, a grassroots activist group in Washington that asked a series of questions about the SPP, the Trans Texas Corridor transportation project and other issues.

“While President Bush and his counterparts in Mexico and Canada continue to deny that the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) is the beginning of a North American Union, Americans around the nation are expressing their growing opposition to the scheme,” the center said in introducing its poll results.

The poll of one million American households revealed that 58 percent of the households contacted had not heard of the SPP.

“It is important to note that APC did not select households that might represent specific ideological positions,” the group said. “The chosen households represented neither conservative nor liberal positions. Instead the recipients were a wide [variety] of Americans who live in the direct path of the proposed Trans Texas/NAFTA Corridor, from Texas to Minnesota.”

The center said the first question was whether the residents had heard of the SPP, and 58 percent said they had not.

But the rest of the results were lopsided. The center said 95 percent of those responding opposed the concept that “private corporations should have the power to enforce trade policy that may adversely affect our national sovereignty and independence.”

That related to the public-private partnerships being established across the U.S., from foreign corporations running highways and airports in Illinois to Spanish investors building a new transportation corridor across Texas.

“Chapter 11 of the NAFTA Agreement states that disputes over NAFTA-related issues will be heard in NAFTA courts superseding U.S. local, state and federal courts….” the third question noted, and 91 percent of the respondents indicated that would threaten U.S. sovereignty.

A total of 87 percent said they did not believe it would enhance U.S. security by expanding the nation’s security perimeter to include Canada and Mexico, and 95 percent opposed a Mexico truck program instituted by federal administrators.

That program set up by the Bush administration allows Mexican trucks directly on U.S. highways, even though the 2008 omnibus spending bill “was clearly written and designed to put the brakes on the current pilot program,” according to sponsor Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

A total of 92 percent said they opposed a common North American currency such as the “amero.”

“Though denied by the Bush Administration, there has been much discussion in economic and academic circles about the creation of a North American currency much like the euro,” the center, which has compiled an information sheet about the plans, said. “In October 2007 during an appearance on the Larry King Show on CNN, former Mexican President Vicente Fox answered in the affirmative when King asked him about the creation of a united currency.”

Ninety-five percent said public hearings and debate should be held before the plans move further forward.

“To date, there has been no congressional legislation, no congressional hearings and no congressional oversight concerning the establishment or operation of the SPP,” the center said. “No federal money has been officially allocated by Congress. No official authority has been provided for the creation of the SPP.”

The opposition figure was even higher – 97 percent – when surveyors asked: “Should the Bush administration be allowed to move forward with its plans to create a “North American Community’ without congressional approval?

A still-high 88 percent opposed the suggestion that the “United States should be ‘harmonized’ or merged into a union with Mexico or Canada,” the survey said.

“Finally, responders were asked to provide their own comments and thoughts on the SPP. The word most often used was ‘treason.’ Another said, ‘I want no part of the social health care of Canada and I do not want to incorporate Mexico’s turmoil and poverty into our United States,” the center said.

“Yet,” said Tom DeWeese, president of the APC, “as the Texas Department of Transportation signs an agreement with the Spanish company Cintra containing no-compete clauses and guaranteed returns; as the Kansas City council loans $2.5 million to build the inland truck port called KC Smart Port; as the 20 SPP working groups continue to write policy; as the Mexican trucks roll over our borders; as high level meetings go on – the Bush administration dares to deny that ANYTHING is happening. Why? The responses to APC’s survey show why. When Americans understand the truth, they say NO in resounding numbers.”

The government’s original statement announcing the “partnership” said it would “increase the security, prosperity, and quality of life of our citizens. This work will be based on the principle that our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary, and will reflect our shared belief in freedom, economic opportunity, and strong democratic values and institutions.”

But the SPP organization itself has taken the unusual step for a government agency of posting on its website a multi-page “debunking” of “myths.”

For example, the document says the SPP is not even an agreement, but is a “dialogue,” and it “does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency.”

Further, it says the SPP updates and consults with members of Congress, although there is no mention of a congressional authorization or oversight.

It does affirm that the SPP is a White House-driven initiative but denies having a “secret plan” to build a NAFTA superhighway. Critics say it’s just called the Trans-Texas Corridor.

NEW YORK CITY POLICE

April 24, 2008

Machine-Gun-Toting Officers To Patrol NYC Subway

MP5 Submachine Guns, Bomb Sniffing Dogs Part Of New “Torch Team” Anti-Terror Efforts

Reporting
Magee Hickey

NEW YORK (CBS) ― More protection against terrorists is coming to a subway station near you. Starting Thursday, special bomb teams – “Torch Teams” – will be toting submachine guns and bringing bomb-sniffing dogs onto the platforms and into the trains. CBS 2 was out first thing Thursday morning on the lookout for these significant security measure improvements.

It’s a first for mass transit in the United States. NYPD officers, armed with rifles, submachine guns, body armor and bomb sniffing dogs will begin patrolling the city’s subway system thanks to a 50 percent increase in a homeland security grant.

The city’s massive subway system has long been considered a potential terror target; six officers and a dog will constitute a team, patrolling all platforms and trains in 12-hour shifts. The “Torch Teams” will be toting MP5 submachine guns that are used by Navy seals and FBI hostage-rescue teams. The teams are being paid for by $151 million from the Feds.

Similarly equipped NYPD units, known as “Hercules Teams,” have patrolled Wall Street, the Empire State building and other aboveground city landmarks for years as a response to the World Trade Center attacks.

A police official likened the “Torch Teams” to “Hercules Teams” with metro cards. In this age of heightened security, commuters and keen canines will share the underground world of mass transit.

“HILLARY” by WND

April 21, 2008

WND Exclusive ELECTION 2008

Dick Morris: Has Hillary gone ballistic?

Senator offers to protect Saudis, others with nuclear weapons

Posted: April 21, 2008
12:01 am Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON – Overlooked in ABC’s Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia was a new defense doctrine offered by Hillary Clinton that would have the U.S. defend Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates with nuclear weapons, political consultant and pundit Dick Morris points out today.

“Hillary’s commitment to use nuclear weapons to defend Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait, which she made in the ABC Philadelphia debate went largely unnoticed,” Morris told WND. “(George) Stephanopoulos, who asked the question, was too focused on Obama’s wearing or not wearing a flag pin in his lapel.”

Here’s what Clinton said: “We should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States. But I would do the same with other countries in the region … . You can’t go to the Saudis or the Kuwaities or UAE and others who have a legitimate concern about Iran and say, well, don’t acquire these weapons to defend yourself unless you’re also willing to say we will provide a deterrent backup.”

Morris, who worked as a political consultant for Bill Clinton, suggests the sweeping new defense doctrine offered up by Hillary Clinton is “perhaps influenced by her husband’s $15 million paycheck from Dubai or the $10 million the Saudi monarchy gave to his library.”

In a column today in the New York Post, Morris asks: “Has Hillary gone ballistic? This bizarre new foreign policy stance went right over the pro-Clinton head of ABC’s debate moderator, George Stephanopolous, who was too busy checking his list of pro-Hillary questions to recognize the import of Clinton’s answer. But the fact is that no American president has ever made so sweeping a commitment in the region. Hillary certainly appears willing to break new ground.”

He concludes by saying: “If there is one real warmonger in this race, it is Hillary Clinton, who is now willing to risk our cities to save some of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East.”

“PENTAGON”

April 19, 2008

Pentagon institute calls Iraq war ‘a major debacle’ with outcome ‘in doubt’

By Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott | McClatchy Newspapers

* Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2008

WASHINGTON — The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute.

The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush’s projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.

The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.

It was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center.

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.

At the time the report was written last fall, more than 4,000 U.S. and foreign troops, more than 7,500 Iraqi security forces and as many as 82,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed and tens of thousands of others wounded, while the cost of the war since March 2003 was estimated at $450 billion.

“No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans’ benefits or the total impact on service personnel and materiel,” wrote Collins, who was involved in planning post-invasion humanitarian operations.

The report said that the United States has suffered serious political costs, with its standing in the world seriously diminished. Moreover, operations in Iraq have diverted “manpower, materiel and the attention of decision-makers” from “all other efforts in the war on terror” and severely strained the U.S. armed forces.

“Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there (in Iraq) were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East,” the report continued.

The addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq last year to halt the country’s descent into all-out civil war has improved security, but not enough to ensure that the country emerges as a stable democracy at peace with its neighbors, the report said.

“Despite impressive progress in security, the outcome of the war is in doubt,” said the report. “Strong majorities of both Iraqis and Americans favor some sort of U.S. withdrawal. Intelligence analysts, however, remind us that the only thing worse than an Iraq with an American army may be an Iraq after a rapid withdrawal of that army.”

“For many analysts (including this one), Iraq remains a ‘must win,’ but for many others, despite obvious progress under General David Petraeus and the surge, it now looks like a ‘can’t win.'”

The report lays much of the blame for what went wrong in Iraq after the initial U.S. victory at the feet of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. It says that in November 2001, before the war in Afghanistan was over, President Bush asked Rumsfeld “to begin planning in secret for potential military operations against Iraq.”

Rumsfeld, who was closely allied with Vice President Dick Cheney, bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the report says, and became “the direct supervisor of the combatant commanders.”

” … the aggressive, hands-on Rumsfeld,” it continues, “cajoled and pushed his way toward a small force and a lightning fast operation.” Later, he shut down the military’s computerized deployment system, “questioning, delaying or deleting units on the numerous deployment orders that came across his desk.”

In part because “long, costly, manpower-intensive post-combat operations were anathema to Rumsfeld,” the report says, the U.S. was unprepared to fight what Collins calls “War B,” the battle against insurgents and sectarian violence that began in mid-2003, shortly after “War A,” the fight against Saddam Hussein’s forces, ended.

Compounding the problem was a series of faulty assumptions made by Bush’s top aides, among them an expectation fed by Iraqi exiles that Iraqis would be grateful to America for liberating them from Saddam’s dictatorship. The administration also expected that “Iraq without Saddam could manage and fund its own reconstruction.”

The report also singles out the Bush administration’s national security apparatus and implicitly President Bush and both of his national security advisers, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, saying that “senior national security officials exhibited in many instances an imperious attitude, exerting power and pressure where diplomacy and bargaining might have had a better effect.”

Collins ends his report by quoting Winston Churchill, who said: “Let us learn our lessons. Never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. … Always remember, however sure you are that you can easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think that he also had a chance.”

ON THE WEB

Read the report by the National Defense University.
McClatchy Newspapers 2008

WAR IN “IRAQ”

April 18, 2008

Former senior Rumsfeld aide delivers scathing indictment

A 48-page report written by a former aide to Donald Rumsfeld and issued by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute has called the Iraq war a “major debacle” whose outcome is “in doubt.”

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” the report’s opening line reads. “As of fall 2007, this conflict has cost the United States over 3,800 dead and over 28,000 wounded. Allied casualties accounted for another 300 dead.”

Published by the National Defense Institute’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center, the report does not reflect the official views of the Pentagon or the Defense Department. But it delivers a scathing indictment from the key educational arm of the US Armed Forces.

The report was written by Joseph Collins, a retired colonel and former senior adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. It’s importance cannot be understated, because it is based in part on interviews on former senior defense and intelligence officials who spoke candidly and played roles in preparations for war.

“Despite impressive progress in security, the outcome of the war is in doubt,” Collins writes. “Strong majorities of both Iraqis and Americans favor some sort of U.S. withdrawal. Intelligence analysts, however, remind us that the only thing worse than an Iraq with an American army may be an Iraq after a rapid withdrawal of that army.”

You can view the original report in PDF here.

The report released Thursday was barely mentioned by newspapers or media outlets, according to a search at this writing in Google News. It received the heaviest treatment by Jonathan Landay and John Walcott of McClatchy Newspapers.

Collins writes:

Iraqi civilian deaths—mostly at the hands of other Iraqis—may number as high as 82,000. Over 7,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have also been killed. Fifteen percent of the Iraqi population has become refugees or displaced persons. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the United States now spends over $10 billion per month on the war, and that the total, direct U.S. costs from March 2003 to July 2007 have exceeded $450 billion, all of which has been covered by deficit spending.1 No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans’ benefits or the total impact on Service personnel and materiel.
The war’s political impact also has been great. Globally, U.S. standing among friends and allies has fallen.2 Our status as a moral leader has been damaged by the war, the subsequent occupation of a Muslim nation, and various issues concerning the treatment of detainees. At the same time, operations in Iraq have had a negative impact on all other efforts in the war on terror, which must bow to the priority of Iraq when it comes to manpower, materiel, and the attention of decisionmakers. Our Armed Forces— especially the Army and Marine Corps—have been severely strained by the war in Iraq. Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.

Excerpts

Additional excerpts, as highlighted by Landay and Walcott:

* Operations in Iraq have diverted “manpower, materiel and the attention of decision-makers” from “all other efforts in the war on terror” and severely strained the U.S. armed forces. “Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there (in Iraq) were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.”
* “Despite impressive progress in security, the outcome of the war is in doubt. Strong majorities of both Iraqis and Americans favor some sort of U.S. withdrawal. Intelligence analysts, however, remind us that the only thing worse than an Iraq with an American army may be an Iraq after a rapid withdrawal of that army.”
* “For many analysts (including this one), Iraq remains a ‘must win,’ but for many others, despite obvious progress under General David Petraeus and the surge, it now looks like a ‘can’t win.'”
* ” … the aggressive, hands-on Rumsfeld cajoled and pushed his way toward a small force and a lightning fast operation.” Later, he shut down the military’s computerized deployment system, “questioning, delaying or deleting units on the numerous deployment orders that came across his desk.”
* In part because “long, costly, manpower-intensive post-combat operations were anathema to Rumsfeld,” the report says, the U.S. was unprepared to fight what Collins calls “War B,” the battle against insurgents and sectarian violence that began in mid-2003, shortly after “War A,” the fight against Saddam Hussein’s forces, ended.
* The report also singles out the Bush administration’s national security apparatus and implicitly President Bush and both of his national security advisers, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, saying that “senior national security officials exhibited in many instances an imperious attitude, exerting power and pressure where diplomacy and bargaining might have had a better effect.”
* The report ends by quoting Winston Churchill: “Let us learn our lessons. Never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. … Always remember, however sure you are that you can easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think that he also had a chance.”

Correction: Because of an editing error, the first version of this article stated the incorrect numbers of US servicemembers wounded in Iraq. The correct figure is 28,000.

GETTING READY TO ATTACK IRAN

April 17, 2008

Iran should be “Set Up for an Attack”

Thursday, 17 April 2008, 12:21 pm
Column: Global Research

Iran should be “Set Up for an Attack”

The Agenda Behind The Anti-Sadr Agenda
by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
GlobalResearch.ca

When Gen. David Petraeus along with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker gave their testimony to the Senate on April 9, they did nothing more than to confirm in spades what had been being mooted and duly leaked by the Washington-based press: that the Bush-Cheney Administration had officially endorsed the line that Iran should be set up for attack, on grounds that it–and not any indigenous resistance–were responsible for the mounting death toll among American troops in Iraq

While claiming security had improved, Petraeus said the violence involving the Mahdi Army of Moqtadar al Sadr “highlighted the destructive role Iran has played in funding, training, arming and directing the so-called ‘special groups'” which, he added, “pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.” (See Washington Post, April 9, 2008). Petraeus even granted that Syria had cut the alleged flow of fighters into Iraq, only to stress by con trast, that “Iran has fuelled the violence in a particularly damaging way, through its lethal support to the special groups.” Finally, Petraeus specified that the “special groups” were run by Iran’s Qods force, the Revolutionary Guards recently placed in the category of terrorists..

There was nothing new about the line: Dick Cheney had dispatched Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner last year to Iraq, with the task of finding a smoking gun, or, better, a couple of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with “made in Iran” stamped on them. What was new in the testimony of the top U.S. military and diplomatic officials in the war zone, were the categorical statements, uttered with an air of certainty usually backed up by courtroom evidence, that Iran was the culprit, and the implicit conclusion that Iran must be the target of U.S. aggression. In order to make sure that (as Nixon would have said), the point be perfectly clear, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was trotted out to tell an enthusiastic Fox News reporter on April 13, that indeed Iran was the casus belli; Iran is “training Iraqis in Iran who come into Iraq and attack our forces, Iraqi forces, Iraqi civilians.” And, therefore, Hadley went on, “We will go after their surrogate operations in Iraq that are killing our forces, killing Iraqi forces.” (www.foxnews.com). Although Defense Secretary Robert Gates was saying almost simultaneously that he thought “the chances of us stumbling into a confrontation with Iran are very low,” he, too, repeated the mantra that the Iranians were sending weapons into the south of Iraq, etc. etc. President George W. Bush could not be left out of the dramatic build-up, and blessed Petraeus’s testimony with an order for a halt in the troop reductions.

Pat Buchanon performed an important service in immediately blowing the whistle on this fraud, and his piece, “General Petraeus Points to War with Iran,” has fortunately received wide coverage. (www.buchanonorg, 11.04.2008, globalresearch.ca, 12.04.2008) One would hope that Seymous Hersh would come forth with further ammunition in the fight to prevent an all-too-likely attack against Iran. They are at it again, they are serious, and must be stopped.

The Anti-Shi’ite Surge

But, if war is indeed on the agenda, as Global Research has documented over months, one question to be raised, is: how does the recent “surge” in military actions against the Moqtadar al-Sadr forces, in Basra, Baghdad and numerous other Iraqi cities, fold into the current military-political gameplan? The massive joint U.S.-Iraqi operations at the end of March, against the Mahdi Army, were, militarily speaking, a fiasco. The news reported by AFP on April 14 that the Iraqi government has sacked 1,300 Iraqi troops for not having performed as expected (i.e., for having deserted or joined the enemy) is a not-so-eloquent acknowledgement of this embarrassing fact. And, as has been generally acknowledged by now, it was only due to the diplomatic intervention of Iranian authorities, that the conflict was ended, leading to the decision of al-Sadr to cease hostilities.

Now, however, that ill-conceived offensive has been relaunched in the wake of the performances by the Petraeus-Crocker-Hadley trio, and with a vengeance. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told CNN on April 7, that the offensive against al-Mahdi would continue “until a decisive victory is achieved .. a victory that will not allow these people to attack the Green Zone or other areas.” To signal the renewed thrust, Riyad al-Nuri, the director of al Sadr’s Najaf office, and his brother-in-law, was brutally murdered in the holy city on April 11. Joint U.S.-Iraqi military incursions have continued in Sadr City. Where will this lead? To victory? If so, how does one define victory? If the joint U.S.-Iraqi military operations physically eliminate al-Sadr’s forces, it will only be as a result of the deployment of massive brute force as has not yet been used. In this tragic case, the political effect would likely not be the decimation of that political force, but its enhancement. It should not be forgotten that Moqtadar al-Sadr himself comes from a family of martyrs.

One consideration in the minds of the U.S. strategists of the anti-Sadr war, is that they must wipe his organization off the Iraqi political map well before elections take place next October, elections in which his followers could make significant gains, expanding their current 30-seat presence in parliament to a considerable power. The Al-Sadr phenomenon in Iraq is, in this sense, not so different from the Hamas phenomenon in Palestine; both are militant (and military) formations fighting against foreign occupation, while also providing crucial social services to their people, be it schools, clinics, hospitals or the like. It is in this light that one must read the decision by the Iraqi cabinet on April 14 to exclude militias from that vote, i.e. to exclude any political parties that have armed militias. Clearly, this is aimed at al-Sadr. If one were to ask: What about the Badr Brigade, which is the militia of the Shi’ite party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), le d by Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim? one might get the answer: that is no longer to be considered a separate militia, but works as part of the Iraqi military forces.

Intra-Shi’ite Conflict Targets Iran

But there is more to the story. The usual assumption made by U.S. military and political leaders, and shared by too many press outlets, is that the conflict inside Iraq should now be reduced to a fight among rival Shi’ite factions: that the ISCI and al-Sadr group are competing for control over Basra, an oil-rich and strategically situated province; that al-Maliki, whose own Shi’ite party Al Dawa, depends on the support of al-Hakim’s faction to survive; that, in sum, the name of the game is intra-Shi’ite conflict.(1)

Yes, the political rivalries among the three main Shi’ite factions in Iraq do exist. To be sure, neither al-Maliki nor al-Hakim would welcome the emergence of a majority force in parliament led by the al-Sadr group. But this is not the salient feature of the situation. Rather, as was shown in the recent, short-lived halt to the operations against al-Sadr, it was Iran which was decisive. The most important factor to be considered, in understanding the current crisis, at least from the inside, is this: Iran has excellent relations with {all three} major Shi’ite factions in Iraq, despite their internal differences. The ISCI, it will be remembered, was given hospitality in Iran, during its years-long exile under the Saddam Hussein regime. Moqtadar al-Sadr enjoys support from Iran. And the greatest foreign support that the al-Maliki government has, is from Tehran.

So, who can be expected to gain from exacerbating the intra-Shi’ite conflict? Most obviously, the U.S. as the occupying power. As qualified Iranian sources have stressed to this author, Iran’s power lies in its ability to promote and mediate cooperation among all these factions, as dramatically demonstrated in its mediating the end to the first anti-Sadr offensive at the end of March. The occupying power is seen as intent on utilizing intra-Shi’ite conflict to damage each of these factions, and to hurt Iran.

One generally ignored, but important factor noted by the same Iranian sources, is the factionalized situation {within} the al-Sadr movement. Moqtadar al-Sadr is seen by these sources as a fervently committed fighter, who, however, views the situation from a somewhat narrowly defined local standpoint: he wants to style himself as the leader of the Shia in Iraq, indeed as the national leader–even more national than al-Maliki. His ambitions, according to some, go beyond this; he sees himself as a future leader of the Muslims overall. At the same time, there is a faction within the al-Sadr movement, considered a “sub-group,” which is controlled by outside forces, in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and also the U.S. This sub-group is seen as responsible for provocative actions designed to destabilize Iraq, and therefore welcoming any U.S.-Iraqi joint offensive against al-Sadr. The main reason for this, is that the foreign sponsors of this sub-group, whether Saudi or Emirate or America n, are intent on weakening, discrediting and ultimately replacing al-Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq, while at the same time undermining the role of al-Hakim. A slaughter against al Sadr’s forces could doom the al-Maliki government. To put it simply: these outside influences, who are thinking strategically, are hoping to pit al-Sadr against both al-Hakim and al-Maliki; the al-Sadr forces, who are thinking on a more limited, local level, see themselves as competitors to the other two groupings, for future political leadership in Iraq, and miss the point about the broader strategic picture.

In short, the U.S.’s enthusiastic order to al-Maliki to launch his anti-al-Sadr purge, is actually a ploy to discredit and destroy al-Maliki himself, and prepare for permanent occupation. Vice President Dick Cheney has made no secret of the fact that he would like to replace al-Maliki, whom he has always accused of being too close to the Iranians, with one of his own, like Iyad Allawi, and that might be what is in the offing. Another benefit to discrediting al-Maliki is that the Cheney-Bush crew can further argue that, since al-Maliki and. co. have proven unable to deal with the al-Sadr threat alone, U.S. occupying forces should remain for a longer priod of time, if not for the one-hundred years that John McCain is fantasizing about.

Enter Condi Rice

To complete the picture, a couple of other developments should be mentioned. First, Condi Rice’s trip to the region. She follows in the footsteps of Cheney, who toured the region to whip up Arab support for, or at least acquiescence to, a military assault on Iran. This had been Cheney’s aim during his late 2006 visit, and now he has returned with the same agenda. Rice, then as now, will be following the same script. She will be meeting with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus Egypt and Jordan, the famous “GCC + 2” that she and Cheney have been forging as a Sunni bloc against Iran. Her message will be: prepare for the repercussions of a new assault on Iran. In parallel, the Israelis have been working overtime to heat up tensions in the region, not only against Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, but also Iran. While National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer threatened to “detsroy the Iranian nation,” if it attacked Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Arab conference attendees in Qatar that their real enemy was not Israel, but Iran.

At the same time, an ominous event occurred on April 12 in Shiraz, when an explosion rocked a mosque during prayers, killing 12 and wounding more than 200. Although initial Iranian reports ruled out sabotage, the causes of the blast were not immediately identified, and, according to latest press reports, Iranian authorities are still “uncertain” about the affair. If, in the end, it turns out to have been a terror attack, the most likely suspects would be found among the Mujahedeen e Qalk (MKO/MEK) terrorist organization that still enjoys U.S. refuge in Iraq, and the Kurdish terrorists in the PKK-allied Pejak. The PKK also enjoys the protection of the U.S. occupying forces in northern Iraq. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Pejak (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) warned on April 13, that it would “carry out bombings against Iranian forces” inside the country. Perhaps this is what President Bush has in mind, when he makes his periodic appeals to the “Iranian people” to rise up ag ainst their government.

NOTE

1. See Robert Dreyfuss, in “The Lessons of Basra,” aljazeera.com, April 3, and also Ramzy Baroud, in “Basra battles: Barely half the story,” aljazeera.com, April 13.

*************

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F.D.I.C.

April 16, 2008

How Safe is My FDIC-Insured Bank Account?

Personal_Finance / Credit Crisis 2008 Apr 14, 2008 – 01:22 PM

By: Dr_Martenson

Personal_Finance

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleYour bank account may not be as safe as you think (or hope). Taking a deeper look at the legal details and the financial depth of the FDIC reveals several troubling details that call into question how the FDIC would fare during a true banking crisis.

The US is coming out of a period of unusually low banking stress and failures. Since it is typical human behavior to let one’s guard down during tranquil periods, we might legitimately ask if this has happened with respect to the FDIC.

Before we address that though, we probably should understand bit more about the FDIC. There’s a fair bit of both good and bad information about the FDIC floating around out on the internet, so I thought we could stick to the facts. In this article I even go straight into the language of the 1933 FDIC act itself so that you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth spending any of your precious concern on this matter.

What is the FDIC?

Let’s begin with a snippet from Wikipedia on the FDIC :

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation created by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. The vast number of bank failures in the Great Depression spurred the United States Congress into creating an institution which would guarantee deposits held by commercial banks, inspired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF). The FDIC provides deposit insurance which currently guarantees checking and savings deposits in member banks up to $100,000 per depositor.

Accounts at different banks are insured separately. One person could keep $100,000 in accounts at two separate banks and be insured for a total of $200,000. Also, accounts in different ownerships (such as beneficial ownership, trusts, and joint accounts) can be considered separately for the $100,000 insurance limit. The Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act raised the amount of insurance for an Individual Retirement Account to $250,000.

The two most common methods employed by FDIC in cases of insolvency or illiquidity are the:

• Payoff Method , in which insured deposits are paid by the FDIC, which attempts to recover its payments by liquidating the receivership estate of the failed bank.

• Purchase and Assumption Method , in which all deposits (liabilities) are assumed by an open bank, which also purchases some or all of the failed bank’s loans (assets).

In short, if your bank gets in trouble, the FDIC will ride in and either pay off your account (up to $100k), or sell your bank off to another bank which will then assume the usual duties of your bank. Under normal circumstances, a bank failure should not impact you in the least. But these are not normal times. We might reasonably ask how the FDIC would respond during a major banking crisis. After all, this is our money we’re talking about. Faith and hope are great at weddings and sporting events, but they should not form the basis of our strategy for handling our finances.

How many bank failures could the FDIC handle at once?

When we take a look at the financials of the FDIC (Figure 1) we see that the level of insurance (in circles below) is not terribly high either, when viewed as an aggregate amount (in blue) or on a percentage basis (in red).

Figure 1.

The 1.22% Reserve Ratio means that for every dollar in your bank account, the FDIC has 1.22 cents “in reserve” ready to cover your potential losses. This has proved to be an ample amount during the period of stability we’ve recently had, but it doesn’t seem particularly significant, considering the recent headlines about banking losses (Spring of 2008).

Consider, for a moment, the collapse of Bear Stearns. In order to assume that bank, JP Morgan asked for, and received, a special waiver from the Federal Reserve to keep $400 billion of suspect of Bear Stearn’s assets off the books of JPM (page 4 of the linked document). While JPM may have been padding the books a little bit here, due to the uncertainty of how bad the wreckage might turn out to be, $400 billion dwarfs the $52 billion reserves of the FDIC.

If one medium-large bank collapse could wipe out the FDIC by a factor of nearly 8, what do you suppose would happen if there were multiple, simultaneous bank failures? At this point, my guess would be that Congress would be sorely tempted to borrow additional funds to remedy the situation, but I worry that hardship and losses might result while the laws were amended and sufficient funding avenues identified. So how many bank failures could the FDIC endure? The data suggests slightly fewer than one big one.

I thought the FDIC has full faith and credit backing by the US treasury?

Actually, no, it does not. The language in Section 14 of the FDIC Act is clear and unambiguous (emphasis mine):

(a) BORROWING FROM TREASURY.– The Corporation is authorized to borrow from the Treasury, and the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to loan to the Corporation on such terms as may be fixed by the Corporation and the Secretary, such funds as in the judgment of the Board of Directors of the Corporation are from time to time required for insurance purposes, not exceeding in the aggregate $30,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury: Provided, That the rate of interest to be charged in connection with any loan made pursuant to this subsection shall not be less than an amount determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, taking into consideration current market yields on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States of comparable maturities.

Now that’s pretty interesting. First, that any additional money from the federal government is not a guarantee, but rather a loan, which will only be made subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. Further, that the loan is to be made at “current market yields.” What do you suppose would happen to US Treasury yields during a true emergency? I can imagine a few scenarios where they might skyrocket, and this would serve to compound the difficulty of keeping the FDIC fund solvent.

How long does the FDIC have to repay me if things go bad?

Here things get murky. We turn to Section 11 of the act and find this (emphasis mine):

(f) PAYMENT OF INSURED DEPOSITS.– (1) IN GENERAL.–In case of the liquidation of, or other closing or winding up of the affairs of, any insured depository institution, payment of the insured deposits in such institution shall be made by the Corporation as soon as possible , subject to the provisions of subsection (g), either by cash or by making available to each depositor a transferred deposit in a new insured depository institution in the same community or in another insured depository institution in an amount equal to the insured deposit of such depositor.

That only says “as soon as possible” and sets absolutely no time limit or maximum. Taken to the extreme, it might be impossible for the FDIC to ever make depositors whole again, and this is one of dozens of such “outs” that exist in the document. Remember, this act was written in 1933 when money was gold, times were uncertain, and government lawyers were exceedingly careful to avoid locking the government into any possible financial black holes.

And the FDIC Act is very clear to spell out that the only insurance funds available to depositors are those that exist within the fund itself:

(f)(1)(A) all payments made pursuant to this section on account of a closed Bank Insurance Fund member shall be made only from the Bank Insurance Fund

So, if the fund runs dry, there isn’t another possible source of funds that can be legally tapped without changing this wording. And that would take – wait for it – an act of Congress.

Surely Congress would appropriate the necessary funds to keep the FDIC solvent?

Here your guess is as good as mine. I would personally expect the US Congress to do everything in its power to the keep the FDIC well funded, especially during an emergency. I would not fault their desire here. But I can also think of a few scenarios or circumstances under which their ability could be taken away. For example:

1. If the banking crisis came at the same time as an interest rate spike and general funding emergency

2. If we were at war with Iran and things were not going well

3. If China suddenly started dumping their Treasury holdings in the opening gambit of an economic war

These would all be times under which I could easily imagine either a lethargic or inadequate response from Congress on the matter.

At my website (free registration req., see The Martenson Report) I offer a few common-sense suggestions of protective actions you might take to insulate your potential losses from a failure of the FDIC system to adequately reinstate your account losses should your bank be among the unlucky ones during this next down cycle.

By Dr. Chris Martenson
http://chrismartenson.com/

TROUBLE WITH AK-47 AMMO

April 15, 2008

Why AK-47 Ammo Sucks So Much

by James Dunnigan
April 11, 2008
Discussion Board on this DLS topic

One unspoken reason for Iraqi and Afghan troops switching from AK-47s to M-16s, is problems with ammunition quality. AK-47 (7.62mm) ammo has long had quality issues, at least to a greater degree than M-16 5.56mm stuff. As new Iraqi and Afghan security forces were recruited, trained and sent into action, there was a huge increase in demand for AK-47 ammo. This led to a lot of older stuff coming onto the market. In many nations that use the AK-47, including China, not a lot of ammo is used.

Put simply, the troops don’t get a lot of practice firing their weapons. But large stocks of ammo are stockpiled in case there is a war. With the increased demand from Iraq and Afghanistan, many nations with these stockpiles saw an opportunity to unload their older (often 40 years or more) stuff. This elderly ammunition was not only suffering from the usual aging problems of old ammo (the chemicals in the propellants breaks down and makes the bullets move a lot slower, and less effectively), but often showed the effects of poor storage (corrosion). All that, plus the ease with which one can bribe Iraqi or Afghan supply officials to accept the bad stuff, led to many Iraqi and Afghan troops going into battle with defective ammo.

These problems largely go away with M-16 ammo, which is made to higher standards in the first place, and rarely lies around for a long time (M-16 users let their troops practice more often). There is some crap 5.56mm ammo out there, but to a much lesser degree than is the case with the AK-47 stuff.
……………………………………………………………………………………

Petraeus points to war with Iran

Posted: April 10, 2008
8:27 pm Eastern

© 2008

The neocons may yet get their war on Iran.

Ever since President Nouri al-Maliki ordered the attacks in Basra on the Mahdi Army, Gen. David Petraeus has been laying the predicate for U.S. air strikes on Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.

Iran, Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee, has “fueled the recent violence in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support of the special groups.”

These “special groups” are “funded, trained, armed and directed by Iran’s Quds Force with help from Lebanese Hezbollah. It was these groups that launched Iranian rockets and mortar rounds at Iraq’s seat of government (the Green Zone) … causing loss of innocent life and fear in the capital.”

Is the Iranian government aware of this – and behind it?

“President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders” promised to end their “support for the special groups,” said the general, but the “nefarious activities of the Quds force have continued.”

Are Iranians then murdering Americans, asked Joe Lieberman:

“Is it fair to say that the Iranian-backed special groups in Iraq are responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians?”

“It certainly is. … That is correct,” said Petraeus.

The following day, Petraeus told the House Armed Services Committee, “Unchecked, the ‘special groups’ pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.”

Translation: The United States is now fighting the proxies of Iran for the future of Iraq.

The general’s testimony is forcing Bush’s hand, for consider the question it logically raises: If the Quds Force and Hezbollah, both designated as terrorist organizations, are arming, training and directing “special groups” to “murder” Americans, and rocket and mortar the Green Zone to kill our diplomats, and they now represent the No. 1 threat to a free Iraq, why has Bush failed to neutralize these base camps of terror and aggression?

Hence, be not surprised if President Bush appears before the TV cameras, one day soon, to declare:

“My commanding general in Iraq, David Petraeus, has told me that Iran, with the knowledge of President Ahmadinejad, has become a privileged sanctuary for two terrorist organizations – Hezbollah and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – to train, arm and direct terrorist attacks on U.S. and coalition forces, despite repeated promises to halt this murderous practice.

“I have therefore directed U.S. air and naval forces to begin air strikes on these base camps of terror. Our attacks will continue until the Iranian attacks cease.”

Because of the failures of a Democratic Congress elected to end the war, Bush can now make a compelling case that he would be acting fully within his authority as commander in chief.

In early 2007, Nancy Pelosi pulled down a resolution that would have denied Bush the authority to attack Iran without congressional approval. In September, both Houses passed the Kyl-Lieberman resolution designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

Courtesy of Congress, Bush thus has a blank check for war on Iran. And the signs are growing that he intends to fill it in and cash it.

Israel has been hurling invective at Iran and conducting security drills to prepare its population for rocket barrages worse than those Hezbollah delivered in the Lebanon War.

Adm. William “Fox” Fallon, the Central Command head who opposed war with Iran, has been removed. Hamas and Hezbollah have been stocking up on Qassam and Katyusha rockets.

Vice President Cheney has lately toured Arab capitals.

And President Ahmadinejad just made international headlines by declaring that Tehran will begin installing 6,000 advanced centrifuges to accelerate Iran’s enrichment of uranium.

This is Bush’s last chance to strike and, when Iran responds, to effect its nuclear castration. Are Bush and Cheney likely to pass up this last chance to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and effect the election of John McCain? For any attack on Iran’s “terrorist bases” would rally the GOP and drive a wedge between Obama and Hillary.

Indeed, Sen. Clinton, who voted to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, could hardly denounce Bush for ordering air strikes on the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, when Petraeus testified, in her presence, that it is behind the serial murder of U.S. soldiers.

The Iranians may sense what is afoot. For Tehran helped broker the truce in the Maliki-Sadr clash in Basra, and has called for a halt to the mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone.

With a friendly regime in Baghdad that rolled out the red carpet for Ahmadinejad, Iran has nothing to gain by war. Already, it is the big winner from the U.S. wars that took down Tehran’s Taliban enemies, decimated its al-Qaida enemies and destroyed its Sunni enemies, Saddam and his Baath Party.

No, it is not Iran that wants a war with the United States. It is the United States that has reasons to want a short, sharp war with Iran.
……………………………………………………………………………………
Middle East
Apr 15, 2008


Ehud Olmert on the Damascus road

By Spengler

The only practical way to defeat irregular forces embedded in a civilian population is to destroy the states that back them. That is why America overthrew Saddam Hussein, and also why Israel is considering a pre-emptive war on Syria on the model of 1967.

After Israel began military exercises on the Syrian border last week, the prospect arose of war with Damascus. In fact, for Israel to strike at Syria today would require the strategic equivalent of a conversion experience for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as it were, a conversion on the road to Damascus.

A week before the 1967 war, no one could have predicted if then-prime minister Levi Eshkol would stake the existence of the Jewish state on the fortunes of Israeli arms. In retrospect, it

seems clear that Israel had no other choice. The existential choice today is no less real, but far less clear in Israeli minds.

For example, the May issue of the The Atlantic Monthly asks on its front cover, “Is Israel Finished?” Among friends and sympathizers of the Jewish state, the prospect of its liquidation now is debated openly. The 2006 attack on Lebanon revealed an enervated Israel, unwilling to act decisively, and Israel may not be able to summon the fighting spirit that sustained it through previous crises.

Olmert desperately wants a Palestinian state on the West Bank, Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg reports, to separate the growing Palestinian Arab population and keep the integrity of the Jewish state. But the Palestinians never will form such a state at the price of recognizing the permanent presence of a Jewish state. The radical Islamists of Hamas control Gaza and would make short work of Mahmoud Abbas’ regime on the West Bank, except for the presence of the Israel Defense Force.

Olmert’s popularity in Israel is lower than President George W Bush’s in the United States. In August 2006, Olmert promised to destroy Hezbollah, after the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah kidnapped Israel soldiers. Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, many of them through the windows of private apartments in southern Lebanon. To keep his promise, Olmert would have needed to expel a million people, raze their villages and use incendiaries to destroy the network of tunnels built underneath them with the help of Iranian military engineers. This was not in the cards.

Israel is now caught between an undefeated and rearmed Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in Gaza, a non-state living on international aid, with a non-army firing missiles at southern Israel from civilian neighborhoods. Without razing the Gazan neighborhoods near its border and expelling the population, Israel cannot suppress the rocket attacks, which now are an annoyance but will become a serious threat as Hamas acquires longer-range weapons. Hamas, in effect, is daring the Israelis to inflict harm on the civilians who screen its rocket teams.

It is messy to suppress irregular forces by reducing the ambient population and impossible for Israel to do so in the present international environment. Guerilla movements, however, require arms, money and intelligence from sympathetic states. Hamas and Hezbollah would represent no threat to Israel without the backing of Syria and Iran. Military and political logic requires Israel to attack their sponsors, rather than their militants embedded among civilians. Iran is hard to reach, but Syria is a sitting duck.

Israel’s problem with Hamas and Hezbollah is not much different from America’s problem with al-Qaeda after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. Without weapons, training, intelligence and passports from sympathizers in Arab states, terrorists could not pose a threat to the United States. It was not necessarily the case that Saddam, for example, conspired to commit acts of terrorism against the US. In no sense are most of the Middle Eastern regimes states in the Western sense of the term. Anwar Sadat famously said that Egypt was the only state in the Middle East, calling the others “tribes with flags”. They are more like hotels that rent rooms to a varied clientele, including some who abet terrorism.

After September 11, the United States did not know precisely what elements of which governments sponsored terrorism, although it knew that Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran hosted certain terrorist groups. It did not have the leisure (and perhaps not even the capacity) to infiltrate these groups gradually; it was simpler and more expedient to take down one of the regimes as a horrible example to the rest.

Washington chose to make an example of Iraq rather than some other state for two reasons. First, the existence of United Nations resolutions condemning Iraq’s efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction provided a quasi-legal basis for the attack. It really did not matter whether Saddam actually had such weapons, because he acted as if he did, and the Security Council had condemned him for it on 17 prior occasions.

Second, Washington falsely believed it could create a stable and functioning regime in Iraq that could serve as its partner in the region. Although an attack on Syria or Iran might have made more sense if the sole objective were to discourage terrorism, nation-building was not imaginable in either country.

The original motive for the Iraq invasion, which I supported, has been lost in the shambles of the American nation-building charade, which I ridiculed from the outset. Washington’s supposed hardliners cringed and cowered before the strategic choice before them: without taking down one of the regimes, Washington could not suppress state support for terrorism.

But it was illusory to believe that the US was capable of creating a stable to regime to replace it. To prevail in the regime meant an unending series of small interventions and unending chaos in the region, with hideous humanitarian consequences. Cardinal Richelieu had the stomach to pursue such a policy towards the German empire during the Thirty Years’ War of 1618-1648, but not Bush. Yet a Richelovian policy towards the Middle East, horrible as it would be, is the inevitable consequence of American interventionism.

America faces humiliation in consequence of its irresolve, but its survival is not at stake; in parallel circumstances, Israel faces eventual extinction. As Goldberg portrays Israel’s anguished debate in the Atlantic, the country is divided between hawks like Olmert, who needs a deal with Abbas for a West Bank Palestinian state, and a peace faction that demands unilateral withdrawal from West Bank settlements. Somewhere on another planet are the religious settlers who are sure that God will sustain them in the entirety of Biblical Israel.

Olmert’s ostensibly aggressive policy during the 2006 Lebanon War was a timid man’s idea of ferocity. Israeli bombers raised a lot of dust but did little damage to Hezbollah’s entrenchments. The limited commitment of Israeli ground forces showed the flag, took a few casualties, and accomplished little.

Rather than bomb the puppies of war in South Lebanon, military logic required a crushing blow aimed at the puppies’ master in Damascus: destruction of the Syrian air and tank forces on the ground followed by an armored incursion. Washington would have objected, no doubt, just as it objected to Israel’s pre-emptive attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967. Nothing wins, however, like winning.

From a military vantage point, the military risk to an attack on Syria today is negligible compared to the risks Eshkol assumed in 1967. The psychological barriers, though, are vastly greater. Israel’s cabinet four decades ago included men and women who grew up with continuous danger, had already fought two wars, and expected to fight more. Olmert is a lawyer, not a soldier, and he presides over a society that is sick of war and longs to enjoy Israel’s exceptional prosperity and amenities of life.

To attack Syria at this juncture would be an admission that peace will be out of reach for the conceivable future. Despite his unpopularity, Olmert remains in office because the majority of Israelis see no alternative to his objective, namely a Palestinian state on the West Bank. A nasty sort of sobriety prevailed in Israel in 1967. That has given way to a delusion. Ariel Sharon in 2002 reportedly spoke of a 100 years of war with the Arabs, a prospect that today’s Israelis find too horrible to contemplate.

Nonetheless, a century of war is just what Israel shall have, whether it wants to or not, unless it decides to abandon the Third Jewish Commonwealth – and that option is on the table.

Whether Israel will attack Syria is beyond prediction; to do so would require an existential leap on the part of the body politic. Syria, to be sure, takes the threat seriously enough. Writing in Asia Times Online on April 10 (War and peace, Israeli style) Syrian analyst Sami Moubayed said:

The Israelis insist they are not seeking war with the Syrians, even as Israel began its biggest military maneuver in its history since 1948. This was on the border with Syria, which has been calm since the June war of 1967 … President Shimon Peres insisted this was not a prelude to war with Syria, telling the Syrians not to worry. Israeli Radio, however, told citizens the scenario being practiced was for how things would look like on the fourth day of an “imaginary” war with Hezbollah on one front, and the Syrians on the other … Adding spice to the show were the words of General Dan Harel, the deputy chief of staff of the IDF, who said, “Anyone who tries to harm Israel must remember that it is the strongest country in the region, and retaliation will be powerful – and painful.” If all of the above is not a prelude for war, then what is?

No matter what Israel offers, the Palestinian Arabs as well as Israel’s neighbors cannot accept a permanent Jewish state. Sadat was right: Egypt is the only state in the region, and it could make peace with Israel as a matter of state interest. How long the Egyptian state will last is another matter. But the secular nationalism that created the modern Egyptian state half a century ago is a dead letter. Islamic governments cannot accept the return of the Jews to Zion according to Biblical prophecy, for this would question the Koran’s claim to be a final revelation to supplant the Judeo-Christian scriptures.

The Arabs are a failing people, I have argued in earlier studies (see Crisis of faith in the Muslim world Asia Times Online, October 31 and November 5, 2005). It is not only the triumph of globalized Western culture over traditional society that threatens them, but the ascendancy of Asia. Last week’s food riots in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East bring the point home. Arabs are hungry because Chinese are rich enough to eat meat, and buy vast quantities of grain to feed to pigs and chickens. If the rise in Asian protein consumption portends a permanently higher plateau of food prices, the consequences are dire for populations living on state subsidies, from Morocco to Algeria to Cairo to Gaza. A people that have no hope also have nothing to lose.

G-D will Destroy us for this action

April 10, 2008

O Jerusalem! America drafts plan to cut in 2
Allows Palestinian security control, asks Israel to forfeit Temple Mount

Posted: April 09, 2008
11:30 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – The United States, which has been mediating negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority here, has proposed a plan to divide Jerusalem, WND has learned.

The plan, divided into separate phases, among other things calls for Israel eventually to forfeit parts of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

According to the first stage of the U.S. plan, which was obtained by WND, Israel would give the PA some municipal and security sovereignty over key Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

The PA would be allowed to open some official institutions in Jerusalem, could elect a mayor for the Palestinian side of the city and would deploy police forces to maintain law and order.

The initial stage also calls for the PA to operate Jerusalem municipal institutions, such as offices to oversee trash collection and maintenance of roads.

After five years, if both sides keep their certain commitments called for in a larger principal agreement, according to the U.S. plan the PA would be given full sovereignty over the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and also over sections of the Temple Mount. The plan doesn’t specify which parts of the Temple Mount would be forfeited to the Palestinians.

After the five year period, the PA could deploy official security forces in Jerusalem separate from a police force and could also open major governmental institutions, such as a president’s office, and offices for the finance and foreign ministries.

The U.S. plan leaves Israel and the PA to negotiate which Jerusalem neighborhoods would become Palestinian. According to diplomatic sources familiar with the plan, while specific neighborhoods were not officially listed, American officials recommended sections of Jerusalem’s Old City as well as certain largely Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Jabal mukabar, Beit Hanina, Shoafat, Abu Dis and Abu Tur become part of the Palestinian side.

As WND reported previously, many of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including all of Shoafat, a large Arab section, were constructed illegally on property owned by the Jewish National Fund, a Jewish nonprofit that purchases property using Jewish donors funds for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement.

According to diplomatic sources, the plan is being discussed by Israel and the PA but has not yet been accepted.

The sources said the plan was delivered earlier this month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her trip to the region to push Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November’s U.S.-backed Annapolis summit, which aimed to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year.

Since Annapolis, negotiating teams including Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia have been meeting weekly while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA President Mahmoud Abbas have been meeting biweekly.

The U.S. is “very deeply involved” in all aspects of the negotiations, according to a top diplomatic source.

To demonstrate the level of U.S. involvement, the source pointed to recent U.S. supervision of Israeli commitments to dismantle about 50 West Bank anti-terror roadblocks and to bulldoze what are called illegal outposts, or West Bank Jewish communities constructed without government permits.

“The U.S. oversaw the removal of each and every roadblock, making sure the roadblocks were actually removed,” said the source.

“Also, even though Israel prepared a report of all illegal outposts and handed it to the Americans, U.S. officials have been doing their own very specific independent investigating to find each and every illegal outpost and then oversee their dismantlement,” the source said.

Olmert’s government has hinted a number of times it will divide Jerusalem.

In December, Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the country “must” give up sections of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state, even conceding the Palestinians can rename Jerusalem “to whatever they want.”

“We must come today and say, friends, the Jewish neighborhoods, including Har Homa, will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and the Arab neighborhoods will be the Palestinian capital, which they will call Jerusalem or whatever they want,” said Ramon during an interview.

Positions held by Ramon, a ranking member of Olmert’s Kadima party, are largely considered to be reflective of Israeli government policy.

Olmert himself recently questioned whether it was “really necessary” to retain Arab-majority eastern sections of Jerusalem.

Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital; the area has large Arab neighborhoods, a significant Jewish population and sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

About 231,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods, and many reside in illegally constructed complexes. The city has an estimated total population of 724,000.