Tuesday, March 13, 2012

446 Arab/Iran revolts orchestrated by Washington? partly Yes, partly No

Arab/Iran revolts orchestrated by Washington? partly Yes, partly No

Jeff Blankfort cautions on "conspiracy" theories on the causes of revolt in the Arab/Islamic world (item 1).

Yet Soros and Hillary have egged on the demonstrators in Iran , which erupted after the fall of Mubarak (items 18 & 19). So one might suspect a hand in Libya too (item 2). These are anti-Zionist regimes.

Kerry Bolton reminds that US "Nonprofits" have been actively promoting "Democracy" in Egypt (item 15).

Howevert, the uprising in Bahrain would not have been instigated by NED or US "Nonprofits". This is because democracy there would likely install a Shiite government, which would align with Iran's Shiite regime. As a result, the US 5th Fleet would need a new home.

So, there's a mix of forces and motives in these revolutions. Soros set up his International Crisis Group to anticipate such disturbances and guide them to acceptable outcomes. That does not mean that he, NED or the "Nonprofits" are the only actors, or that they always get their way.

Item 13 shows that the Jewish Lobby is divided over the changes. Likud types catisgate ElBaradei.

Although ElBaradei is on the board of Soros' ICG, he performed well when head of the IAEA. Faced with the campaign over Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, he drew attention to Israel's own nuclear arsenal. So, he may well be a good leader for Egypt, despite the Soros connection.

(1) Arab revolts orchestrated by Washington? Engdahl wrong; Petras is right
(2) Libya defiant as hundreds of protesters feared dead
(3) US 5th Fleet might have to leave Bahrain, if Shiite regime takes power
(4) Bahrain's Sunni Royal family rules over a Shiite majority
(5) Iranian warships sailing through Suez poses prickly decision for Egypt
(6) Egypt allows Iranian warships to use Suez Canal
(7) Netanyahu warns of an Iranian-style regime in Egypt, led by Islamic extremists
(8) Danger of Muslim Brotherhood gaining power in Egypt
(9) Egypt's  Muslim Brotherhood is the Sunni equivalent of Iranian clerics - Eric Walberg
(10) Gaza scholars ask Egypt to end siege
(11) Would new Egyptian gov't scrap 1979 peace treaty? Egyptians want end to Gaza blockade, but not war with Israel
(12) Will US end annual $2b. aid to Egypt (part of 1979 peace deal)? - Alison Weir
(13) Jewish Lobby divided over new Egyptian regime; some brand ElBaradei a stooge of Iran
(14) US-based Israeli company sold internet "kill-switch" technology to Egypt
(15) NED & US Nonprofit Foundations promoting "Democracy" in Egypt - Kerry Bolton
(16) IRI Board Member urges support for Democracy in Egypt
(17) Iran protests revive with the fall of Mubarak
(18) Hillary hails 'courage' of Iranian protestors
(19) Soros: Iran regime will not survive a year
(20) Obama flunks again: vetoes UNSC resolution on Settlements

(1) Arab revolts orchestrated by Washington? Engdahl wrong; Petras is right

From: Jeffrey Blankfort <jblankfort@earthlink.net> Date: 15.02.2011 01:09 PM
Subject: Re: Arab revolts orchestrated by Washington? Engdahl cf Petras & Hart

> http://www.rense.com/general92/crea.htm

Engdahl is a nutcase, a former follower of Lyndon Larouche whose followers believed that the Queen of England was running the international drug trade. The last piece of nonsense he put out was that Wikileaks was a CIA operation. Because Global Research still publishes his nonsense and similar flights of fancy I pay it no attention.  Petras is correct. After Obama had called for immediate change, "now," he said, he had to change his tune after Netanyahu gave Mubarak his seal of approval, something none of the media commented on. The protest was not in itself spontaneous and had apparently been long planned by youth groups that did take elements of Gene Sharpe's teachings to Serbian youth (see NY Times today), but when forced to fight when attacked by Mubarak's police thugs, they did, with the help of the youth of the Muslim Brotherhood. The new technology has transformed the way the world will change from now on and neither Washington nor Tel Aviv are apparently up to handling it since both are the big losers here.

(2) Libya defiant as hundreds of protesters feared dead

• Witnesses describe 'massacres' as Libyan troops shoot unarmed demonstrators in Benghazi
• Tension eases in Bahrain but unrest continues in Iran, Yemen, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait and Algeria

Ian Black, Middle East editor

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 20 February 2011 20.14 GMT

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/20/libya-defiant-protesters-feared-dead

Libya is defying growing international condemnation of a bloody crackdown that saw troops and mercenaries firing at unarmed demonstrators as the death toll rose to more than 200.

The most violent scenes so far of the wave of protests sweeping the Arab world were seen in its most repressive country as Muammar Gaddafi appeared to be relying on brute force to crush what began last week as peaceful protests but may now threaten his 41-year rule.

Tensions eased in the Gulf state of Bahrain after troops withdrew from a square in central Manama occupied by Shia protesters. Thousands of security personnel were deployed in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to forestall an opposition rally. Elsewhere in the region unrest hit Yemen, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait and Algeria.

But the eyes of the world were on Benghazi and elsewhere in eastern Libya where shocked witnesses talked of "massacres" and described corpses shot in the head, chest or neck piling up in hospitals running short of blood and medicines.

Estimates of the total number of fatalities over six days of unprecedented unrest ranged from 173 to 285. Some opposition sources gave figures as high as 500.

Gaddafi's sons, Khamis and Saadi, and intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi were reportedly commanding efforts to crush the protests in Benghazi, the country's second city, where buildings were ransacked and troops and police forced to retreat to a compound to pick off demonstrators with sniper and artillery fire.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, the Saudi newspaper, quoted sources close to the Gaddafi family as saying they would "die on Libyan soil" rather than give up power like the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia.

Facts were hard to pin down in the face of a news blackout that included jamming of the signal of the al-Jazeera satellite TV network and interference with telephone and internet connections. But there were multiple claims of the army firing into crowds and the targeting of mourners at the funerals of those killed on Saturday. The Libya al-Yawm news website quoted one local doctor as saying that 285 people had died in Benghazi alone.

"Now people are dying we've got nothing else to live for," a student blogger told the Guardian. "What needs to happen now is for the killing to to stop. But that won't happen until he [Gaddafi] is out. We just want to be able to live like human beings. Nothing will happen until protests really kick off in Tripoli, the capital. It's like a pressure cooker. People are boiling up inside. I'm not even afraid any more. Once I wouldn't have spoken at all by phone. Now I don't care." ...

(3) US 5th Fleet might have to leave Bahrain, if Shiite regime takes power

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/0219/US-faces-difficult-situation-in-Bahrain-home-to-US-Fifth-Fleet

US faces difficult situation in Bahrain, home to US Fifth Fleet

The US has important strategic interests in Bahrain, including the US Navy's Fifth Fleet – patrolling oil shipping lanes, keeping an eye on Iran, and involved with the war in Afghanistan. But US officials also worry about Bahrain's violent response to pro-democracy demonstrators.

By Brad Knickerbocker, Staff Writer / February 19, 2011

As it was during the early days of the mass antigovernment uprising in Egypt, the United States finds itself in a tricky position regarding Bahrain.

Just two months ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pronounced herself “very impressed by the progress that Bahrain is making on all fronts – economically, politically, socially.”

“There seems to be a strong broadly-held commitment to democracy,” she said at a town hall meeting in Manama, Bahrain’s capital and largest city.

That was before pro-democracy demonstrators filled the streets and government forces responded with deadly force, killing at least four people and sending dozens to hospitals. (Thousands of protesters demanding political and social reforms gathered again Saturday, although security forces let them do so without reacting.)

For years, the US has considered Bahrain an important ally in the region. As with Egypt, the US has sold advanced military equipment to the kingdom – including fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, and battle tanks (some of which were used to confront demonstrators). Last year, the US provided around $20 million in military aid to Bahrain.

Perhaps more critical, Bahrain also is the homeport for the US Fifth Fleet.

From there, US warships and contingents of US Marines can keep an eye on – and, if necessary, rattle sabers – close to oil shipping lanes, Iran, and the increasing activity of pirates. (It was reported Saturday that an ocean-going sailboat with four Americans aboard had been hijacked by pirates.)

With about 30 ships (including two aircraft carriers) the Fifth Fleet patrols the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the east coast of Africa.

In a post 9/11 world, the US fleet plays a role similar to the US Navy’s outpost in Subic Bay in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. It’s a critical staging area for combat (or in this case, the possibility of combat) in an area perceived to be crucial to US interests. But instead of toppling dominoes in Southeast Asia, it’s a major regional supplier of oil and the threat of Islamic terrorism.

Bahrain has provided basing and overflight clearances for US aircraft engaged in Afghanistan, and it has helped cut off money supplies to suspected Islamic terrorists. More than 4,000 US service personnel live and move about freely there.

"Could we find some other place to put a fleet headquarters? Probably we could," Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Wall Street Journal. "But if Bahrain becomes unstable, if it comes under Iranian influence … [that] threatens the entire structure of world oil markets."

For now, US officials are responding to the demonstrations and violence in Bahrain much as they initially did in Egypt.

Secretary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have called their counterparts in Bahrain. President Obama called Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.

“People have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.”

(4) Bahrain's Sunni Royal family rules over a Shiite majority

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/bahrain/8335947/Middle-East-protests-People-power-triumphs-in-Bahrain.html

People power triumphs in Bahrain

Jubilant crowds in Bahrain celebrate after police retreat from symbolic centre of anti-government protests.

By Adrian Blomfield, Manama  8:29PM GMT 19 Feb 2011

With a population of just 1.3 million people, Bahrain is not much bigger than the Isle of Wight. But its diminutive size is belied by its strategic location in the Gulf, close to both Saudi Arabia and Iran. ...

On Saturday, in a sudden reversal, army and police drew back again, allowing Khalil and more than 10,000 others to return, convinced that they had won an important victory.  ...

It is unclear why the Sunni Royal family changed tack. A telephone call from President Barack Obama to King Hamad may have played a role, as the United States - initially unwilling to criticise an important ally that serves as a bulwark against Iran and the base for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet - called for restraint. ...

Bahrain has been regarded in the West as a "progressive" Gulf state - at least by the standard of its neighbours. King Hamad, who succeeded his father in 1999, was educated at an independent school in Cambridge before going on to Sandhurst. Crown Prince Salman read history and philosophy at Cambridge.

Both men were seen as reformers, allowing parliament to sit once more in 2002 for the first time in over two decades - albeit in a largely toothless role - and extending suffrage to women.

But with their island kingdom sitting astride the Arab world's Sunni-Shia divide, neither seemed willing to give the Shia majority genuine political representation.

For the West's benefit, the king's ministers also played up fears that the Shia opposition is tacitly backed by their co-religionists in Iran, which claimed sovereignty over Bahrain until 1970. Such accusations are fiercely contested by the opposition.

(5) Iranian warships sailing through Suez poses prickly decision for Egypt

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/02/17/egypt.iran.warships/

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) -- Iran has submitted an official request for two of its warships to sail through the Suez Canal, an Egyptian official told CNN Thursday, in a move that puts Egypt's new military regime in a prickly position with Israel.

The post-Hosni Mubarak caretaker government must decide whether to give a green light to the Iranian warships, believed to be the first that would sail through the Suez since the Islamic republic's 1979 revolution.

The Egyptian official told CNN that permission will likely be granted. But Egypt might find itself in muddy water over the Suez.

The canal is an internal body of water and as such, Egypt has sovereignty over it. But Egypt also is bound by the 1976 Camp David Accords, which guaranteed the right of free passage by ships belonging to Israel and all other nations on the basis of the Constantinople Convention of 1888. Before that, Egypt did not allow Israeli ships to sail through the canal.

Last week, Egypt's military government said it would honor all its international treaties. That would include Camp David.

Now it finds itself in the position of allowing ships belonging to the sworn enemy of their peace treaty partner to sail through.

"This is awkward -- at a minimum," said David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Schenker said the Iranian want a frigate -- the Alvand -- and a military supply ship -- the Kharg -- to cross into the Mediterranean. Both are armed with missiles, he said. Their passage would create more uncertainty in the region.

"It's destabilizing. It raises tension, particularly in this time of transition in Egypt," Schenker said. "This is typical of Syrian-Iranian opportunism."

Schenker predicted the Egyptians will let the Iranians through. Former President Hosni Mubarak might have done otherwise, given Hezbollah's calls a while back for his ouster. But "There is not a war between Iran and Egypt," he said.

Some maritime analysts privately said Washington could pressure Egypt's new military caretaker government to say no to the Iran. Washington agreed to a $13 billion, 10-year military aid package to Egypt in 2007.

Egypt's decision, the analysts, could serve as a barometer for the direction the military caretakers intend to take the Arab world's most populous nation.

"It does raise an unwelcome political issue that has to be resolved," said Cmdr. James Kraska of the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island. ...

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the two Iranian military vessels had been expected to sail Wednesday night through the Suez on their way to Syria.

"This is a provocation that proves that the self-confidence and insolence of the Iranians is growing from day to day," he said Wednesday. "This happens after the Iranian president's visit to south Lebanon and his aggressive declarations there towards Israel."

Liberman did not mention Egypt by name but said Israel's allies should pay close attention to the situation.

"We expect the international community to act speedily with determination against the Iranian provocations, designed to deteriorate the situation in the area, and put the Iranians in their place," he said. ...

Reports of the Iranian passage also sent jitters through the global market and oil prices spiked for a time on Wednesday.

The Suez Canal serves as a key waterway for international trade, allowing ships to navigate between Europe and Asia without having to go all the way around the vast African continent. Millions of barrels of oil move through the Suez every day on the way to both Europe and North America.

(6) Egypt allows Iranian warships to use Suez Canal
From: Sami Joseph <sajoseph2005@yahoo.com> Date: 19.02.2011 03:43 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12493614

18 February 2011

Egypt allows Iranian warships 'can use Suez Canal'

The Egyptian authorities have agreed to allow two Iranian warships to transit through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea, state media report.

Iran's request stated the vessels would have no military equipment, nuclear materials or chemicals on board, the defence ministry is quoted as saying.

Iranian officials say the warships are headed to Syria for training.

Israel's foreign minister has expressed concern about them using the Suez Canal, calling it a "provocation".

There has been no comment from Israel since Egypt gave its approval.

It is believed to be the first time since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iranian warships have attempted to pass through the Suez Canal.

'Training mission'

The ships involved are the frigate Alvand and a supply vessel, the Kharg. They are currently in the Red Sea, at the canal's southern end.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported in January that Iranian navy cadets were going on a year-long training mission through Suez and into the Mediterranean, according to the Reuters news agency.

Analysts say the request for transit would have presented a headache for the military council that has ruled Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down last week. Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and has since had frosty ties with Tehran.

However, a Suez Canal official said Egypt could only have denied transit through the strategic waterway in case of war.

Israeli considers Iran an existential threat because of its controversial nuclear programme, development of ballistic missiles, support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups, and promises to destroy Israel.

Earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "To my regret, the international community is not showing readiness to deal with the recurring Iranian provocations. The international community must understand that Israel cannot forever ignore these provocations."

In other news, Egypt announced earlier on Friday that it would reopen the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian state TV reported that the border was being re-opened to allow stranded Palestinians to cross. The announcement did not say if goods would be allowed to be taken through.

(7) Netanyahu warns of an Iranian-style regime in Egypt, led by Islamic extremists

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3126360.htm?section=justin

Netanyahu fears Islamist takeover in Egypt

By foreign affairs editor Peter Cave

Posted February 1, 2011 07:44:00

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of the dangers of an Iranian-style regime led by Islamic extremists taking over in Egypt.

Mr Netanyahu was speaking at a joint news conference in Jerusalem with visiting German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Netanyahu said he was being briefed on developments in Egypt every 30 minutes.

He said in a time of chaos an organised Islamic group could take over as had happened in Iran and other places.

He said it was not extremists who had provoked instability in Tunisia or Egypt, but there was a fear they could exploit the political vacuum left behind.

Mr Netanyahu has ordered his ministers not to make any remarks on what is happening in Egypt, which is Israel's closest regional ally, saying that Israel's aim was focused on maintaining stability and security in the region.

(8) Danger of Muslim Brotherhood gaining power in Egypt

From: Max11 <Max11@mailstar.net> Date: 15.02.2011 05:53 AM
Subject: Egyptian Pastor Speaks Out on Muslim Brotherhood

While people like Engdahl are suggesting that Washington is pushing the democratic movement of the color revolutions - as a continuation of the flower revolution in Eastern Europe - according to pastor Soliman, it looks like that the result would be the destruction of the secular Muslim governments who are pro Western.

Egyptian Pastor Speaks Out on Muslim Brotherhood

Jennifer LeClaire

Thursday, 03 February 2011

http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/30144-egyptian-pastor-speaks-out-o n-muslim-brotherhood

An Egyptian-born Christian whose father remains in the Middle East is speaking boldly about the situation in his homeland.

Shaddy Soliman, pastor of Every Nation Church in Lake Mary , Fla. and co-author of Islam and Terrorism, is sounding the alarm about what he sees as an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to ultimately destroy Israel. Hassan al-Banna, a pan-Islamist who opposed the secular tendencies in Islamic nations, formed The Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. It was he who birthed the credo, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Charisma magazine caught up with Soliman in this exclusive one-on-one interview to discuss his take on the crisis in Egypt , why the U.S. shouldn’t push democracy there, and what the Bible has to say about this historic event in the making.

Charisma: Is there more to what’s going on in Egypt than what we see on the surface?

Shaddy: Yes. The Western mindset says, “This is the people. They have no jobs and the economy is bad there. They have nothing to eat. They are starving. They are in a very bad economic shape. They’ve been oppressed by this dictator for 30 years. They have the right to freedom.”

This is what may appear on the surface. But this is not an organic movement of oppressed people that are ready to take their rightful place on the road to democracy. This is absolutely not the truth at all. This is well-organized and well-planned in all these countries by the Muslim Brotherhood. This is not a new group. The group has been established since 1928.

Charisma: Why don’t you agree with democracy for Egypt ?

Shaddy: History is the best reference to what’s taking place. In 1979, the same thing exactly happened with Iran . Iran was America ’s greatest ally in the Middle East . [President Jimmy] Carter went over there to toast the New Year with the Shah of Iran, yet the Shah was there as a dictator for a long time, oppressing some of his people and putting some in prison. It’s the same story as Hosni Mubarak.

Carter said, “We need to hear the voice of the people. We need democracy in this country. We have to have free and clean elections. We want to hear the people’s voice.” What happened? The Shah went in exile. Ayatollah Khomeini took over. Within one month, Khomeini slaughtered over 2,000 people who stood for democracy and the movement of democracy in their country.

Charisma: Can democracy work in an Islamic state?

Shaddy: In Iran , it turned out to be a disaster. George Bush committed the same mistake with the Palestinians. He wanted free elections. Who won that election? Hamas. So what are you going to do now? Support Mahmoud Abbas because he’s our ally. He’s our good guy and we’re going to support his organization, Fatah, even though they lost the election. So we split the Palestinians into two groups and they’re still fighting.   ...

(9) Egypt's  Muslim Brotherhood is the Sunni equivalent of Iranian clerics - Eric Walberg

From: efgh1951 <efgh1951@yahoo.com> Date: 17.02.2011 04:53 AM

US-Egypt: `Why?'

Eric Walberg reflects on the reasons for the very different reactions to Egypt's revolution among North Americans

February 17th, 2011

http://ericwalberg.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=308:us-egypt-why

Western media always welcomes the overthrow of a dictator -- great headline news -- but this instance was greeted with less than euphoria by Western -- especially American -- leaders, who tried to soft-peddle it much as did official Egyptian media till the leader fled the palace. Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak was a generously paid ally for the US in its Middle East policy of protecting Israel, and the hesitancy of the Western -- especially US -- governments in supporting fully what should have been a poster-child of much-touted US ideals was both frustrating and highly instructive. ...

Iranian leaders note the eerie coincidence with their own revolution of 11 February 1979 overthrowing the shah (1941-79). A national holiday, more than half the population of Iran was out on the streets celebrating along with Egyptians when Mubarak finally resigned last Friday evening. US commentators prefer to compare the revolution to the overthrow of Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos (1965-87) and Indonesian president Suharto (1968-98). They even suggest it could lead to another Iranian revolution.

Despite the many differences, Iran and Indonesia are the closest parallels: an anti-colonial revolt against a repressive pseudo-Muslim autocrat whose corruption and nepotism undid him. Those revolts triumphed when the army and police gave up supporting the US-backed leader, much as Egypt's security apparatus did. The long repressed Muslim Brotherhood is the Sunni equivalent of the Iranian clerics. Even if the US can steer Egypt into the secular Indonesian model, it will still have to come to terms with the fact that Indonesia does not recognise Israel, that any future Egyptian government will almost surely renegotiate the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

It seems that Egypt's suffering and oppression are something alien to Western experience. But this is far from the truth. As the fervour spread like wildfire during the first few weeks, I recalled how the leftist community in Toronto is just as self-righteous and eager for change, how neoliberalism has left Canadian society with yawning income disparities not much different than those of Egypt. The most obvious difference being that the general standard of living in Canada is higher and the middle class (still) more numerous. But the very idea of such a spectacular event as happened here to address issues of social justice is impossible to imagine there or in the US.

It struck me that the most stark and instructive parallel is not with Indonesia or Iran, but between pre-revolution Egypt and the current US, which, like Egypt, has reached the end of the same gruelling 30-year neoliberal road that Egypt did under Mubarak's reign, jettisoning any pretense of a just society. The coincidences abound: both the US and Egypt began their ill-fated journeys in that very 1981, with the ascendancy of US president Ronald Reagan and the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar El-Sadat, though El-Sadat had actually pre-empted Reaganomics with his infitah, dismantling of much of Egypt's socialism.

Each US presidency since then has either embraced or been pressured by the exigencies of capitalism and electoral democracy to enact greater and great tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, meanwhile cutting social services and increasing spending on so-called defence. Each "new" government has regularly flouted the consensus of the electorate on all major issues, from the environment, social services, jobs, to weapons production, invasions, drug laws and the Cubas and Irans which in defiance dare to flout the empire.

Income disparity is arguably the strongest impulse to revolt. As measured by the Gini coefficient (0 is perfect equality) Egypt stands in a far better light at .34 than the US .45 (Canada is .32). ...

(10) Gaza scholars ask Egypt to end siege

From: Sami Joseph <sajoseph2005@yahoo.com> Date: 16.02.2011 04:21 PM

Ma'an news

February 14, 2011

http://www.uruknet.de/?p=74993

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A group of well respected religious scholars in Gaza City congratulated the Egyptian people on "ending the tyranny and injustice" of the nation's former president, and called on the new leadership to continue the trend by opening the Rafah crossing.

Calling themselves the Palestinian Scholars Association, the group issued a statement on Sunday, two days after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced his stepping down from power.

"The scholars of Palestine have followed closely the developments of the Egyptian revolution," the statement said, adding that the group believed the new Egyptian cabinet and the military council could make "serious changes for the better," and said they hoped that one of the changes would be to the policy of closure at the Rafah crossing.

Closed in 2006 after the Palestinian Authority was ousted from power, the crossing remained sealed for two years, after which it was opened for four days every four months to allow students, patients and international passport holders in and out of the coastal enclave. In June, the crossing was opened permanently, but travelers still had to have officials permission to leave the Strip.

The closure of Rafah followed only a few months after Israel began imposing restrictions at its crossing points with Gaza, in the wake of the capture of an Israeli soldier by resistance factions.

Closures and openings at Rafah have been seen to be coordinated with Israel, and accusations against the Mubarak regime for collaboration have frequently been launched.

With a new leadership barely in Place, the association of scholars urged a quick reconsideration of the crossings closure policy.

(11) Would new Egyptian gov't scrap 1979 peace treaty? Egyptians want end to Gaza blockade, but not war with Israel

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: 17.02.2011 01:28 PM

New Truths For Those With Eyes To See

16 February 2011

by Lawrence Davidson Department of History West Chester Univ, PA.

http://www.opinion-maker.org/2011/02/new-truths-for-those-with-eyes-to-see/

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently came to Israel and Jordan to assure these two "partners" of the steadfast nature of U.S. loyalty. An aide to Mullen put it this way, "at this critical time in the Middle East [Admiral Mullen] wants to reassure our...partners...that the military relationship we have enjoyed with them remains strong." ...

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports that the Israelis are particularly worried that any new Egyptian regime will scrap the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries. Yet, as much as some of the leaders of the protest movement in Egypt would like to do this, there is almost no chance of it happening. No sane Egyptian wants another war with Israel and the present survival of the Egyptian army depends mainly on U.S. subsidies. If Obama vetoed the Egyptian army turning its American guns on its own people, he will hardly approve of their shooting those same guns at the Israelis. Ex-IDF Chief Gabi Ashkenazi had it right when he said that "peace is a strategic asset" for Egypt. However, public pressure may very well lead to the normalizing of the Gaza border and collapse or at least weakening of Israel’s criminal blockade of 1.6 million Palestinians. That will make the Israelis testy enough, raising to a greater volume their lament about terrorists getting weapons along with enough food to raise the Gazan calorie consumption above the malnutrition level. ...


(12) Will US end annual $2b. aid to Egypt (part of 1979 peace deal)? - Alison Weir

Egypt, the US and the Israel Lobby

By ALISON WEIR

http://counterpunch.org/weir02042011.html

Minimally explored in all the coverage of the momentous Egyptian uprising taking place over the last 10 days are the Israeli connections.

A central and critical reality is that it is US tax money that has propped up Hosni Mubarak’s despotic regime over the past 30 years, and that this money has flowed, from the beginning, largely on behalf of Israel.

Israel is generally a significant factor in events in the Middle East, and to understand ongoing happenings it is important to understand the historic and current Israeli connections.

The violent creation, perpetuation, and expansion of a state based on ethnic expulsion of the majority inhabitants has been central to Middle East dynamics ever since Israel was created by European and American Zionists in 1948 as a self-identified “Jewish State.”

Israeli leaders and outside observers realized from the very beginning that the only way to maintain such a violently imposed, ethnically based nation-state was through military dominance of the region. For Israel to achieve this military dominance required two things:

(1) The creation of a military more powerful than all the others in the region combined. Israel has achieved this through a uniquely massive influx of US tax dollars and technology, occasionally purloined but largely procured through the machinations of its lobby. (Among other things, Israel has several hundred nuclear weapons, a fact almost never mentioned by American media or the American government.)

(2) The prevention of any other nation in the region from becoming a threat. Israel has attained this goal through several strategies: divide and conquer techniques, direct invasions and attacks (or pushing the U.S. to carry out attacks), and the propping up of despots who would openly or tacitly agree (sometimes in return for similarly large influxes of American tax money) not to support the rights of those oppressed and ethnically cleansed by Israel.

For the past 30-plus years, Egypt has been among those despotic regimes supported by the U.S. and Israel in return for turning its back on Palestinians.

The Egypt-Israeli peace treaty of 1979 has occasionally been mentioned in news reports on the current uprising. That treaty was an arrangement in which the Egyptian leader of the time, Anwar Sadat, stopped opposing Israel’s previous ethnic cleansing of close to a million indigenous Palestinian Muslims and Christians (at least 750,000 in 1947-49 and an additional 200,000 in 1967). This removed the most populous and politically significant country from the Arab front opposing Israel’s illegal actions and led the way for other nations to “normalize” relations with the abnormal situation in Palestine.

In return, Israel gave back to Egypt the Sinai, Egyptian land it had illegally annexed in its 1967 war of aggression. (Egypt had almost managed to re-conquer this land and more in 1973, but the most massive airlift in American history, engineered by Henry Kissinger under pressure from the Israeli lobby, was sent to Israel, preventing this outcome.)

Also in return, the United States agreed to give Egypt more US tax money than any other nation, with the exception of Israel. Since 1979, Egypt has received an annual average of close to $2 billion in economic and political aid /a/ from American taxpayers (most of whom have known nothing about this use of our money). /3/ The arrangement has allowed Mubarak to stay in power for decades despite periodic attempts by Egyptians to free themselves from his ruthless rule.

At the same time, it’s important to note that the U.S., as broker of the peace treaty, gave Israel even greater rewards: guaranteeing Israel's oil supplies for the next fifteen years; assuring Israel of American support in the event of violations; committing to be 'responsive' to Israel's military and economic requirements; and promising a variety of major transfers of technology and aid, including $3 billion to relocate two Israeli air bases out of the Sinai, where, as journalist Donald Neff noted, they had no right to be in the first place.

In fact, the American financial arrangement with Israel, which had begun years before Egypt’s, has been far cozier than Egypt’s: Israel gets considerably more money from the US, even though its population is one-tenth of Egypt’s; there is little U.S. oversight of how it uses that money; and, unlike Egypt, which receives its allotment monthly, Israel receives its handout in a lump sum at the very beginning of the fiscal year (which means that Americans then pay interest for the rest of the year on money that the government has already given away, while Israel makes interest on it).

In the cases of both Israel and Egypt, the Israel lobby’s role in procuring this U.S. tax money has been central. While this fact is largely missing from US media reports and many liberal/left analyses, it is frequently referred to in Israeli and Jewish media. For example, a current Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) report states: “The question of whether to stake a claim in the protests against 30 years of President Hosni Mubarak’s autocracy is a key one for the pro-Israel lobby and pro-Israel lawmakers because of the role they have played in making Egypt one of the greatest beneficiaries of U.S. aid.”

As conditions change in Egypt, U.S. lawmakers known for their allegiance to Israel are evaluating what to do about U.S aid.  ...

Alison Weir is President of the Council for the National Interest and Executive Director of If Americans Knew. She can be reached at contact@ifamericansknew.org.

(13) Jewish Lobby divided over new Egyptian regime; some brand ElBaradei a stooge of Iran

Dilemma of pro-Israel groups: To talk Egypt or not

by Ron Kampeas
JTA

February 1, 2011

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/01/2742799/pro-israel-groups-dilemma-to-talk-egypt-or-not

WASHINGTON — As Egypt convulses, pro-Israel groups and U.S. Congress members are seized by the ancient maternal dilemma: If you have nothing nice to say, should you say anything at all?

The question of whether to stake a claim in the protests against 30 years of President Hosni Mubarak’s autocracy is a key one for the pro-Israel lobby and pro-Israel lawmakers because of the role they have played in making Egypt one of the greatest beneficiaries of U.S. aid.

And in the same way that the outcome in Egypt continues to idle in the gear of? “anyone’s guess,” there is little consensus in the byways of pro-Israel Washington over how to treat the nation and its nascent revolution.

The competing claims were evident in the divergent, and at times contrasting, calls issuing from figures known for their closeness to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the trendsetter in the pro-Israel community. In general, reactions to the unrest in Egypt crossed political lines, with some liberal and conservative commentators pressing the Obama administration to help topple the regime, and others stressing the need for stability.

Some AIPAC-related called for assistance to Egypt to be contingent on whether the emerging government remained committed to cooperation with Israel. Others were emphatic in omitting Israel as a consideration, saying it was not the place of Israel or its friends to intervene in what appears to be an organic shucking-off of a dictator.

Josh Block, AIPAC’s former spokesman who is still close to the lobby, said the commitment of whatever government emerges to peace with Israel should be a critical element in considering whether to continue the $1.5 billion Egypt receives in aid, much of it in defense assistance.

“Given what’s taking place, it’s appropriate for the U.S. government to be reviewing U.S. aid to Egypt,” said Block, now a senior fellow at the centrist Progressive Policy Institute and principal at the consulting firm Davis-Block. “No matter what happens, clearly one of the top criteria Congress is likely to use is Egypt’s approach to its peace treaty obligations with Israel.”

That seemed to be the tack adopted by U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the foreign operations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. She framed her statement in the context of the 1979 Camp David peace accords with Israel, which is the basis for Egypt’s status as one of the top recipients of U.S. aid.

“Ever since the historic Camp David peace accords more than 30 years ago, Egypt and the United States have been partners in seeking a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she said. “It is in the interest of the United States and regional stability that this period of turmoil and uncertainty be resolved peacefully and that Egypt remain a strong ally.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, took that posture further, saying in a statement that U.S. assistance should be contingent on an election that allows only parties that recognize Egypt’s “peace agreement with the Jewish State of Israel.”

Such cautions are fueled by fears of the role the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood might play in a new Egypt. Other pro-Israel lawmakers notably omitted reference to the peace with Israel in their statements.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Middle East subcommittee, called for a suspension of assistance to Egypt until Mubarak left — and then its renewal once a transitional government was in place, whatever its makeup.

“I believe the United States must suspend its assistance to Egypt until this transition is under way,” said the statement from Ackerman, who is Jewish and a pro-Israel stalwart.

In an interview, Ackerman said the omission of an Israel reference was deliberate.

“I understand the angst and anxiety that exists in Israel, but we’re not going to pick the next leader of Egypt,” he said.

Instead, Ackerman said, the United States should use what he said was a closing window of opportunity, and side pronouncedly with the people and against Mubarak.

“If we sign the people of Egypt up as lobbyists, they will do the right thing,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who is also Jewish and the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs committee and the author of last year’s sweeping Iran sanctions law, also kept Israel out of his statement. Unlike Ackerman, however, he said assistance should continue as a means of stabilizing the Egyptian military.

“So long as the Egyptian military plays a constructive role in bringing about a democratic transition, the United States should also remain committed to our ongoing assistance programs for Egypt, both military and civilian,” he said.

Betting on the military was perhaps the only certainty in the current chaos, said David Schenker, an Egypt expert at the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank. The Egyptian army is popular among Egyptians and, unlike the hated police, has taken steps during the uprising not to alienate the street.

“The arbitrator of this may be the military,” Schenker said. “It doesn’t want to cede power to a civilian power that’s Islamist. The army has entrenched interests with this regime and likes very much its relations with the U.S. military.”

Egypt’s potential collapse triggered an intense “who’s to blame” debate in Washington over which party or group had done more to prop up Mubarak’s regime. One emerging theme was that more should have been done to use aid as leverage to nudge Mubarak toward democratization.

Pro-Israel congressional insiders said there had always been talk throughout the years of shifting funds from defense aid to democratization assistance, at times from unlikely bedfellows: Ros-Lehtinen and the Zionist Organization of America had backed such a shift, but so had the former Appropriations chairman, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), a frequent Israel critic.

Such initiatives were abandoned, the insiders said, both in Congress and in the Bush White House after Hamas won elections in the Gaza Strip.

In a hearing on Egypt assistance in May 2006, just after the Hamas victory, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), the lawmaker who is perhaps closest to Israel, made this aside: “I am wondering if I need a change in the way I think about the Middle East and about democratizing nations that are no more ready for democracy than the man on the moon.”

The remark made headlines in Egypt.

Now some pro-Israel voices are saying that not pushing for democracy has disastrous consequences — including critics of the regime. For example, the ZOA, which has frequently accused the Egyptian government of undermining peace and pressed for a reduction in U.S. military aid, now is calling for the Obama administration to do everything it can to keep the regime in place, with Mubarak or one of his associates in charge.

Obama “should be showing some loyalty to a regime with which we have had good relations for 30 years,” ZOA President Mort Klein said. “If we have elections in the near future, you’re going to have a result like in Gaza. Of course I want democracy, but I don’t want democracy when the results support Islamic takeover.”

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the Yeshiva World News that the United States should have been working more proactively to ensure an orderly transition to democracy.

“This is something that we knew was coming — we should have been working at it all along,” Hoenlein said, adding that the Bush administration had paid lip service to the notion of building democratic institutions and the Obama administration not even that.

Hoenlein warned against the emergence in Egypt of possible transition leader Mohammed ElBaradei, saying he covered up Iran’s true nuclear weaponization capacities while he directed the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

“He is a stooge of Iran, and I don’t use the term lightly,” Hoenlein said. “He fronted for them, he distorted the reports.”

ElBaradei, who directed the IAEA from 1997 to 2009, returned to Egypt following his third term. Soon he was touted as a possible challenger to Mubarak’s autocractic reign and has emerged during the protests as a consensus figure.

During his term as IAEA chief, ElBaradei said Iran was further away from a nuclear weapon than many in the West claimed and castigated Western powers, including Israel, for suggesting that a military option against Iran was increasingly possible. He made it clear in those statements that his posture stemmed from the U.S. failure to heed warnings from him and other weapons experts that Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons capacity.

ElBaradei also has been cool to Israel, however, and has infuriated Israel’s military establishment by saying that Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal undercuts efforts to keep Iran and other countries from going nuclear.

In an interview with The Washington Post just before he retired, he said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not want to get rid of Israel, but to replace it with a non-Jewish state — two concepts Israelis and pro-Israel groups see as synonymous.

Hoenlein was not alone. Reporters were bombarded this week by e-mail from pro-Israel groups with ElBaradei quotes that appeared hostile to the United States. In some cases, however, the quotes were taken out of context and questionably sourced.

Keith Weissman, a former AIPAC lobbyist and analyst who witnessed the Iranian Revolution unfold and who has lived in Egypt, said the warnings about ElBaradei were overheated.

“From what I see in Cairo there is no evidence he is on an Iranian agenda,” he said.

Weissman said the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood in the opposition alliance ElBaradei is leading should not be a cause for concern.

“In a post-Mubarak Egypt, you’d want the Brotherhood close,” he said.

In any case, meddling is counterproductive, said Lara Friedman, the legislative director for Americans for Peace Now, writing in an op-ed for JTA.

“Denying the reality of change in Egypt does not help Israel; it only guarantees that Israel’s future relationship with Egypt will be more difficult,” she said.

(14) US-based Israeli company sold internet "kill-switch" technology to Egypt

From: Kenneth Rasmusson <rasken@kulturservern.se> Date: 16.02.2011 01:25 AM

by Laura Flanders The Nation 3 Feb 2011

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/223046-US-based-Israeli-company-sold-internet-kill-switch-technology-to-Egypt

(15) NED & US Nonprofit Foundations promoting "Democracy" in Egypt - Kerry Bolton
From: Kerry Bolton <vindex@clear.net.nz> Date: 14.02.2011 09:02 PM
Subject: peoples revolts

The Globalist Web of Subversion
Dr K R Bolton
Foreign Policy Journal
February 7, 2011
http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/02/07/the-globalist-web-of-subversion/
...
International Republican Institute (IRI)

The IRI is a neocon version of the Comintern. ... The creation of IRI was supposedly inspired by the words of President Ronald Reagan, who in 1982 called for a “crusade for freedom” throughout the world, stating before the British Parliament that America’s version of democracy, and one might add its concomitant versions of culture  and economics, is “the inalienable and universal right of all human beings.” Like Communism, it provides ideological justification for interference in the life sovereign nations, including ultimately the use of force as per Serbia and Iraq.

IRI states that Reagan provided the ideological impetus for the formation in 1983 of the National Endowment for Democracy (which helps fund IRI) to “support democrats worldwide.” This led to a network of fronts: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Center for International Private Enterprise, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity. ...

The “Mission” of the IRI includes development of “political parties [and] civic institutions.” ...

The IRI “civil initiatives” are the same as those of Soros, NED and others, and since the aims are the same, all these networks work in tandem. ...

IRI has a special division focusing on using women in politics, called the “Women’s Democracy Network,” which works in 65 countries. ...

Another prime focus is youth, who are providing the vanguard for the “color revolutions” throughout the world. The example provided is Afghanistan, where IRI set up the “Afghan Youth National and Social Organization (AYNSO).  ...

IRI has been sponsoring “activists” from Egypt since 2005. The present “spontaneous revolt” has presumably been at least six years in the making, with a “robust training program… exchange visits for Egyptian activists to see firsthand working models of political participation and the role of civil society in elections.” In 2010 IRI “launched an online Democracy University web portal to make training materials and other information available to a wide audience within the Egyptian activist community.” The Egyptian Government, like some governments in the former Soviet states in regard to the Soros operations, saw the subversive nature of IRI and others and, “in 2006, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that IRI and similar U.S. democracy organizations [to] halt program activity within Egypt pending official registration (which remains pending).” IRI simply used the expedient of “training programs for Egyptians outside the country.”

As in other states, IRI et al has created the opposition, training candidates in political techniques, “designing and implementing effective communications strategies, utilizing new media and public opinion research and training women candidates,” giving advice on how political parties can improve structures, write platforms to dupe the masses and raise funds.

Ex-Reagan ambassador Richard S Williamson, an IRI Board Member, writing in the Neocon magazine, The American, published online by the American Enterprise Institute, urged US support for the revolt against Mubarak, and condemned the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes. With typical “spin,” Williamson has also sought to portray this as a “spontaneous revolt” by the young, never mind that IRI is more open about its role in training, funding and organizing this “spontaneity” over the course of six years:

These protesters were something new. Young and sophisticated with social networking media, they were able to communicate and organize. They were not driven by a leading personality. There was no ideology. It was a body with no head, driven by pent-up rage. Their numbers grew.

In a 2006 statement NED’s President Carl Gershman, a veteran Trotskyite,  had already laid down strategies for Egypt, referring to Pres. Bush’s address on the 20th anniversary of NED, when Bush stated that “democracy” must sweep over the Arab world as it had over the Soviet bloc, and called for a “forward policy of freedom in the Middle East.” While Gershman stated at the time that such a strategy seemed to have stalled it should not be “consigned to the dustbin of history.” (Note the use of the famous, albeit poorly translated, term coined by Leon Trotsky?). Gershman called for a long-term strategy, engaging “activists” who could be induced to become “future leaders of centrist political parties.” Of particular interest is Gershman’s call to incorporate “Islamists” into the mainstream political process, where they could be rendered harmless, calling this “Muslim Democracy.” 

IRI also operates in the Gulf states, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, West Bank and Gaza. Comment on their programs in all these states would be superfluous, as they follow the same pattern. 

In the Asian region, Burma or Myanmar might be of special interest because of the abortive “Saffron Revolution” in 2007. IRI sates it has been building the opposition since 1992.  ...

Other fronts fomenting the “world capitalist revolution,” many stemming from NED, and most if not all aligned with the IRI, include the following:

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) ...
Center for International Private Enterprise ...
American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS) ...
World Movement for Democracy (WMD) ...
Freedom House ...

(16) IRI Board Member urges support for Democracy in Egypt

February 1, 2011

Freedom’s March: Egypt at the Tipping Point
The American
By Ambassador Richard S. Williamson

http://www.iri.org/news-events-press-center/news/iri-board-member-urges-support-democracy-egypt

The march of freedom is not always simple, straight, or steady. But its cadence is the constant heartbeat of the repressed seeking their inalienable rights to dignity and liberty. Today, that drumbeat picks up momentum in the Middle East, among the last regions of the world that have resisted the modern tide of freedom.

From Tunisia, the tremors are now felt in Egypt, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region. There will be a transition in Cairo. Exactly when and how is as yet undetermined, but change will come. The United States finds itself running fast, trying to catch up to the parade leaving it behind.

Tunisian Spark

On December 17, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid to protest police confiscating his vegetable cart. Local demonstrations followed. Bouazizi died of burns on January 4. His funeral provided momentum for protests against unemployment, corruption, and repression to spread to other parts of the country. Ten days later, after demonstrations and clashes, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia. Tunisia now has a caretaker coalition government whose members change as it seeks a political equilibrium.

Tunisia’s cultural life dates to prehistoric times. The Phoenicians arrived over 3,000 years ago and the great city-state of Carthage was a major Mediterranean power. Nonetheless, it was an unlikely place for a spark that is bringing change to the region. With the Sahara to the south and more mountainous areas to the north, the coastal country of Tunisia has only 10 million people. It has not played a central role in Arab political affairs. But the Jasmine Revolution of Tunisia, in which an authoritarian ruler of 23 years was cast aside, opened the Arab imagination to what was possible and freed many from fear.

Egypt Unrest

Today, Egypt is the epicenter of this turmoil unleashed in Sidi Bouzid. With its heritage, culture, 80 million people, and mighty military, Egypt has been the center of the Arab world. For 30 years, the United States has had a close relationship with the Egyptian military, been close to President Hosni Mubarak, and depended upon Egypt as a fulcrum of stability in the region. Egypt was also an important sponsor of the Middle East peace process. The United States should not throw that away lightly, but America also must be realistic and sensible about our relationship and the tide of events in Egypt.

Sixty percent of Egyptians are less than 30 years old. Unemployment is astronomical, while the elite in the Mubarak government have lived lavish lifestyles. Corruption has long permeated all levels of society. The rule of law is compromised. Elections are shams. The government has been unresponsive to legitimate popular grievances. And the police, known for brutality and torture, have been seen as an arm of Mubarak’s repression. The injustices have gone unaddressed and have festered. Sparked by Tunisia, last week the people spilled into the streets.

By the end of the day police were in retreat, their stations ransacked. Mubarak’s National Democratic Party headquarters was set on fire.

These protesters were something new. Young and sophisticated with social networking media, they were able to communicate and organize. They were not driven by a leading personality. There was no ideology. It was a body with no head, driven by pent-up rage. Their numbers grew. One young demonstrator said to a television reporter, “They stole our jobs. They stole our dignity. They stole our future. No more. Mubarak must go.” ...

As demonstrators are forced to continue their quest for reforms, they are beginning to take on an anti-American flavor absent in the opening days of this crisis.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading voice of the Egyptian opposition and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said America was a “lamb” on the crisis in Egypt. He told CNN after President Obama had spoken that U.S. “policies are a failure. You are lagging behind. As a friend of the United States, I tell you that you are losing influence.” ...

America does not have the luxury of dealing only with governments that share our commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Sometimes we must work closely with authoritarian regimes for our own advantage. ...

Richard S. Williamson is a principal at Salisbury Strategies and a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He has served as an ambassador and U.S. representative in several capacities to the United Nations, as an assistant secretary of State, and as assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs in the White House for President Ronald Reagan.

(17) Iran protests revive with the fall of Mubarak

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/14/iran-protests-reinvigorated-activists

Iran protests see reinvigorated activists take to the streets in thousands

Riot police and basiji militia use teargas on protesters, with reports that one demonstrator was killed in clashes

Saeed Kamali Dehghan

guardian.co.uk, Monday 14 February 2011 20.51 GMT

Thousands of defiant protesters in Iran's capital have clashed with security officials as they marched in a banned rally. One person was reported killed, with dozens injured and many more arrested.

Supporters of the Green movement appeared in scattered groups in various locations in central Tehran and other big cities in what was seen as the Iranian opposition's first attempt in more than a year to hold street protests against the government.

The riot police and government-sponsored plainclothes basiji militia used teargas, wielded batons and opened fire to disperse protesters who chanted "death to the dictator", a reference to both Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Witnesses told the Guardian that despite a heavy security presence, small groups of people succeeded in gathering in main squares leading to Azadi ("freedom") Square – a chosen focal point.

HRANA, a human rights website, reported that one protester was killed and three injured when riot police opened fire at protesters near Tohid Square in Tehran. The website also said that at least 250 protesters have been arrested. Opposition websites also reported significant gatherings in the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Rasht, Mashhad and Kermanshah.

An Iranian student who participated in a protest in Enghelab Square in Tehran, who asked not to be identified, said: "What I saw in the streets today was very promising. It showed that the green movement is quite alive in spite of all crackdowns and arrests and people are still striving for freedom."

Last week, opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi issued a call for renewed protests in solidarity with demonstrators in Egypt and Tunisia. The government, in response, arrested dozens of activists and journalists.

Opposition websites also reported that Iranian authorities blocked access to the houses of Mousavi and Karroubi.

Mousavi's official website, Kaleme.org, which was shut down for most of the day, said that phone communications of the leaders of the Green movement had been cut off and their houses were surrounded by security officials who prevented them from joining the protesters. ...

(18) Hillary hails 'courage' of Iranian protestors

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/8325105/Iran-Hillary-Clinton-hails-courage-of-protests.html

Iran: Hillary Clinton hails 'courage' of protests

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, hailed the "courage" and "aspirations" of anti-government protests in Iran, calling on Tehran to follow Egypt's example.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent  8:54AM GMT 15 Feb 2011

Mrs Clinton called on Iran to "open up" its political system, saying the crowds "deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt."

The chief US diplomat, who on Tuesday is due to deliver a speech on internet freedoms, is expected to allude to developments in Iran as well as Egypt.

"History has shown us that repression often sows the seeds for revolution down the road," she is expected to say.

"Those who clamp down on Internet freedom may be able to hold back the full impact of their people's yearnings for a while, but not forever."  ...

(19) Soros: Iran regime will not survive a year

From: Dr. Arash Irandoost <goyzanbila@yahoo.com> Date: 20.02.2011 09:42 PM From: Amir <amir_jani2002@yahoo.de>

Interview with Fareed Zacharia

GPS - CNN Feb 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3kOp3iRAhU

(20) Obama flunks again: vetoes UNSC resolution on Settlements

From: ReporterNotebook <RePorterNoteBook@Gmail.com> Date: 19.02.2011 08:44 PM
Subject: The US, for the nth time, vetoes UN resolution that would have importuned Israel.
From: Manuel Sotil <msotil@gmail.com>

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12512732

19 February 2011 Last updated at 04:44 GMT

Israeli settlements: US vetoes UNSC resolution

The US has vetoed an Arab resolution at the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as an obstacle to peace.

All 14 other members of the Security Council backed the resolution, which had been endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

It was the first veto exercised by the Obama administration which had promised better relations with the Muslim world.

A Palestinian official said the talks process would now be "re-assessed".

Washington was under pressure from Israel and Congress, which has a strong pro-Israel lobby, to use its veto.

The Obama administration's decision risks angering Arab peoples at a time of mass street protests in the Middle East, the BBC's Barbara Plett reports from the UN.

It had placed enormous pressure on the Palestinians to withdraw the resolution and accept alternatives, but these were ultimately rejected. ...

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