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  • #16
    We are in ever troubling times, the new Middle East is the least of our problems but one should focus more upon the current battle between the US, Russia and China with Europe looming in the shadows waiting to pounce.

    The worry is that both the USA and Russia have played their cards but China is biding its time and they sure do have a powerful hand to play.

    The USA is attempting to use Russia so as to do to China what it once did to Russia but it doesnt realise that the Chinese are far more intelligent than both the Yanks and Russians. The great shame in this all is that the Chess board of this whole battle is the Middle east and the likes of Iran, Iraq and Saudi are its pawns.
    Last edited by ElHenni; 2 August 2006, 22:43.

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    • #17
      hehe, pardon the flood of emotions

      tab3an i don't mean like they have the world in their hands, cuz no one controls the world. What i meant is that they have the most control.
      Last edited by Guest 123; 9 August 2006, 20:18.

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      • #18
        It's just a small tail wagging a dumb old dog ya Bent Bladi - and roles can and do change with time

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        • #19
          Walid Jumblatt, leader of the most powerful clan in Lebanon’s Druze community, said on Tuesday the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas had dealt a fatal blow to Lebanese hopes of a strong independent state, free of Iranian and Syrian influence.

          Speaking from his family’s palatial 18th century redoubt high in the Shouf mountains above Beirut, Mr Jumblatt said the Shia Hizbollah movement already sensed victory.

          He accused the movement of working to an Iranian and Syrian timetable when it kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 12, triggering a devastating Israeli retaliation. In the process Hizbollah had “stolen the hopes” of young Lebanese whose protests last year helped force Syria to withdraw its troops after 22 years in Lebanon.

          But he said that like many Lebanese he had to support the Shia movement in its resistance against “brutal Israeli aggression”. They were “a well entrenched guerrilla army, not afraid to die, plus they are fighting Vietcong style”, he said. Israel’s widening offensive would only cause more destruction and weaken further the Lebanese state.

          “After the 12 July, Lebanon is now unfortunately being entrenched solidly into the Syrian-Iranian axis,” he said. “The hopes of a stable, prosperous Lebanon where we could attract investments is over for now. It is a fatal blow for confidence.”

          Mr Jumblatt has shrewdly navigated the ups and downs of Lebanon’s treacherous politics, gaining influence beyond the weight of his Druze community, a breakaway sect from Shia Islam that makes up around 10 per cent of the population.

          As a militia leader during Lebanon’s civil war he accommodated Syria’s expansionary aims. But last year he emerged as one of the Syrian regime’s fiercest opponents in an alliance of groups that came together following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and led a coalition government following elections.

          At that time, Mr Jumblatt held out hope that a new wave of democratic activism was sweeping the Arab world.

          But on Tuesday he offered a bleak and outspoken assessment of the prospects for Lebanon.

          He said among Syrian-backed politicians there was already talk of forming an emergency government to replace Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s coalition. He said he feared that an “organised mob” might be used to force the government’s resignation.

          Iranian calls for a ceasefire, and the development of a common Lebanese position on outstanding issues behind the conflict with Israel were disingenuous. There “was no Lebanese consensus”, he said.

          There was also little prospect that Hizbollah, having emerged as a champion in the Arab and Muslim world, would be willing now to incorporate its armed wing under the Lebanese state apparatus – the issue at the centre of international diplomatic efforts to end the conflict with Israel.

          “We will be just a weak state next to a very strong militia. Our government will be like the government of Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) next to Hamas or maybe worse like the government of [Nouri al] Maliki in Iraq.”

          “All American policy in the Middle East is at stake,” he continued, “because their failure in Palestine, their failure in Iraq and now this failure in Lebanon will lead to a new Arab world where the so called radical Arabs will profit.

          “This is the new Middle East. Not the new Middle East of Ms [US secretary of state Condoleezza] Rice. Darkness everywhere.”

          Fighting ‘has sunk hope of a free Lebanon’

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Al-khiyal
            It's just a small tail wagging a dumb old dog ya Bent Bladi - and roles can and do change with time
            sigh.......

            one can only hope... and pray for peace

            here's a song to cheer us up (kinda)

            La Titnahad- Kathem Al Saher
            Last edited by Bent_Bladi; 8 August 2006, 13:50.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Al-khiyal
              Walid Jumblatt, leader of the most powerful clan in Lebanon’s Druze community, said on Tuesday the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas had dealt a fatal blow to Lebanese hopes of a strong independent state, free of Iranian and Syrian influence.

              Speaking from his family’s palatial 18th century redoubt high in the Shouf mountains above Beirut, Mr Jumblatt said the Shia Hizbollah movement already sensed victory.

              He accused the movement of working to an Iranian and Syrian timetable when it kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 12, triggering a devastating Israeli retaliation. In the process Hizbollah had “stolen the hopes” of young Lebanese whose protests last year helped force Syria to withdraw its troops after 22 years in Lebanon.

              But he said that like many Lebanese he had to support the Shia movement in its resistance against “brutal Israeli aggression”. They were “a well entrenched guerrilla army, not afraid to die, plus they are fighting Vietcong style”, he said. Israel’s widening offensive would only cause more destruction and weaken further the Lebanese state.

              “After the 12 July, Lebanon is now unfortunately being entrenched solidly into the Syrian-Iranian axis,” he said. “The hopes of a stable, prosperous Lebanon where we could attract investments is over for now. It is a fatal blow for confidence.”

              Mr Jumblatt has shrewdly navigated the ups and downs of Lebanon’s treacherous politics, gaining influence beyond the weight of his Druze community, a breakaway sect from Shia Islam that makes up around 10 per cent of the population.

              As a militia leader during Lebanon’s civil war he accommodated Syria’s expansionary aims. But last year he emerged as one of the Syrian regime’s fiercest opponents in an alliance of groups that came together following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and led a coalition government following elections.

              At that time, Mr Jumblatt held out hope that a new wave of democratic activism was sweeping the Arab world.

              But on Tuesday he offered a bleak and outspoken assessment of the prospects for Lebanon.

              He said among Syrian-backed politicians there was already talk of forming an emergency government to replace Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s coalition. He said he feared that an “organised mob” might be used to force the government’s resignation.

              Iranian calls for a ceasefire, and the development of a common Lebanese position on outstanding issues behind the conflict with Israel were disingenuous. There “was no Lebanese consensus”, he said.

              There was also little prospect that Hizbollah, having emerged as a champion in the Arab and Muslim world, would be willing now to incorporate its armed wing under the Lebanese state apparatus – the issue at the centre of international diplomatic efforts to end the conflict with Israel.

              “We will be just a weak state next to a very strong militia. Our government will be like the government of Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) next to Hamas or maybe worse like the government of [Nouri al] Maliki in Iraq.”

              “All American policy in the Middle East is at stake,” he continued, “because their failure in Palestine, their failure in Iraq and now this failure in Lebanon will lead to a new Arab world where the so called radical Arabs will profit.

              “This is the new Middle East. Not the new Middle East of Ms [US secretary of state Condoleezza] Rice. Darkness everywhere.”

              Fighting ‘has sunk hope of a free Lebanon’

              No suprise seeing as he has been brokering secret deals with the Israeli Government for years, let me guess in the new Lebanon he will be the US man.

              Its a played out track but regretfully a still popular and successeful one.

              Comment


              • #22
                Israel has many options, they could align with Europe and join the EU which many Israelis have pointed towards however many have rubbished that. What they also have in their favour is that a third of the population have US nationality and another third have a European nationality so they will never suffer.

                Comment


                • #23
                  DAMASCUS - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday Hezbollah’s “victory” in the recent war with Israel had destroyed US plans to reshape the Middle East.

                  German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described Assad’s speech as a “negative contribution” and cancelled a trip to Syria planned for later in the day.

                  Assad also aimed sharp criticism at Israel and said peace in the Middle East would remain elusive for the foreseeable future.

                  “Their ’New Middle East’, based on subjugation and humiliation, and denial of rights and identity, has turned into an illusion,” Assad said in reference to Washington’s goal of helping to shape what it calls a new, democratic Middle East.

                  “It is evident that after six years of this (US) administration that there is no peace and there will be none in the foreseeable future,” he told the Syrian Journalists Union in his first public comments since the Israel-Hezbollah war.

                  Assad, 40, who is shaped by his late father’s lifetime of struggle against Israel, said the Jewish state must return Arab land it has occupied since 1967, or face more insecurity.

                  “The Israeli leadership ... is in front of an historic crossroads. Either it moves toward peace and gives back rights or face constant instability until an (Arab) generation comes and puts an end to the issue”.

                  Syria, a key Hezbollah ally, wants the Lebanon war to lead to a comprehensive peace settlement that addresses what Damascus regards as the root of instability - Israeli occupation of Arab land, including the Syrian Golan Heights.

                  Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said a resumption of talks with Syria was still possible.

                  “Every war creates an opportunity for a new political process. and I am sure that our enemies understand today they cannot defeat us by force,” he said.

                  “We must hold a dialogue with Lebanon, and we should create the conditions for dialogue also with Syria.”

                  Diplomats in Damascus, however, say the United States, Israel’s chief ally, and France show no sign of engaging Syria in their diplomatic moves in the region.

                  Steinmeier said Assad’s speech was a “negative contribution that is not in any way justified in view of the current challenges and opportunities in the Middle East.”

                  “Syria can gain back the confidence of the international community it has lost with positive and constructive action - and on that basis pursue its legitimate interests,” he said. ”The speech today ... goes in the opposite direction.”

                  Negotiations between Syria and Israel over the Golan, a 1750 sq-km (676 square mile) mountainous plateau overlooking Damascus, broke down in 2000.

                  “Israel has been trying for decades to gain acceptance in the region. What Israel should know is that every generation has more hatred toward it than the generation before,” Assad said.

                  “Hatred is not a good word. We do not hate and we do not encourage hatred. But Israel did not leave room in our region except for hatred.”

                  Hezbollah’s actions would make Israel think twice before pursuing “terrorist policies” in the region, he said.

                  “Israel was defeated in its war on Lebanon. It was defeated on day one of its aggression,” he said...

                  Syria’s Assad blasts U.S. plans for Middle East

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    There are two mistakes to contemporary United States foreign policy in the Middle East. The first was to take a hands-off approach to the outbreak of violence; the second is to think that the roots of the problems are linked to the existence of Hezbollah and Hamas rather than the political issues that motivate these groups.

                    It is clear that captive Israeli soldiers precipitated the current month-long crisis. It is equally clear to most of the world that the level of death and destruction visited on Gaza and Lebanon goes beyond the immediate objective of freeing the captive soldiers. To many, the disproportionate levels of violence are hurting, not helping Israel and the United States.

                    Initially refusing the opportunity to use its influence to halt the fighting, the United States brought upon itself the consequence of appearing to be complicit in the violence perpetrated by Israel. To many Muslims, the bombs Israel rained on Lebanon and Gaza have "made in America" labels, as do the F-18 fighters that launch them.

                    By refusing to pressure Israel to use restraint, the United States was seen to be sanctioning the use of our weapons to indiscriminately kill hundreds of civilians. To make the analogy clear, the United States and Israel charge that the missiles landing on Israeli cities have been made in Iran and/or supplied by Syria. From this, they draw the inference that Iran and Syria are complicit in the bombing of Israel.

                    To those on the opposite side of the conflict, the picture must look much like the United States is complicit in the destruction of Lebanon and Gaza, and the killing of hundreds of civilians. That is a foreign policy mistake of the first order. The implications go well beyond the current crisis.

                    The second mistake may be more egregious than the first, at least in the long term. To think that the roots of the crisis we see today are grounded solely in the actions of two militant opposition groups is both wrong and shortsighted, for two reasons.

                    First, the capturing of the Israeli soldiers are hardly the first violent actions among Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah. If one were to ask a person in Gaza or southern Lebanon about recent attacks or kidnappings by Israel, the list would be long, and would involve actions that preceded the kidnappings of the soldiers.

                    That the problem might be related to the existence of an armed and militant opposition group rather than the underlying political issues presupposes that the group exists for the sole function of engaging in violence. That flies in the face of evidence. The problem remains the occupation of the Palestinian territories, the Shebba farms and the unwillingness of Israel to negotiate an agreement that is fair and provides for a level of sovereignty commensurate with independence.

                    At the core, occupied and abused people will resist their occupation and subjugation. Who among those who support Israel's right to use disproportionate force would trade places with a Palestinian living in Gaza or welcome the opportunity to live in one of the refugee camps in Lebanon?

                    It doesn't take a long stretch of history to understand how strongly people will resist occupation. From the British perspective, George Washington and the American rebels were terrorists, as was Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

                    A system of black Bantustans was not going to keep the majority population in South Africa at bay, and those who championed "constructive engagement" were fooling themselves to think that containing black discontent would make the problem of apartheid go away, any more than suppressing Hamas or Hezbollah makes the problems associated with the Israeli occupation go away. The only policy that will address these recurring crises will be a full and fair settlement of the Israeli occupation to the pre-1967 borders.

                    U.S. continues policy mistakes in Middle East

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      New phase in Mid-East power struggle

                      In the aftermath of the Lebanon war, there is euphoria in parts of the Arab world that a blow has been dealt not just to Israel but also to US hopes of reshaping the region.

                      This was forcefully expressed by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in a speech on Tuesday in which he claimed that the "victory" of Hezbollah had wider implications.

                      "Their 'New Middle East', based on subjugation and humiliation, and denial of rights and identity, has turned into an illusion," he said.

                      In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also a Hezbollah supporter, echoed President Assad when he said that the United States was "interested in turning the Middle East into its property and not a free Middle East".

                      "What the nations of the area want is a free Middle East and that is the difference," he said.


                      The ceasefire sparked celebration in Tehran

                      A declaration of victory was made by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who said it had succeeded where "big Arab armies were defeated".


                      This contrasts with the position taken by US President George W Bush who said: "Hezbollah started the crisis and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis. There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon."

                      And State Department spokesman Sean McCormack dismissed President Assad's speech as "bluster".

                      "I think the Syrian government finds itself much more isolated right now than either one month ago or three years ago," he said.

                      Short-term gain

                      So with the fighting now ended, or at least suspended, the lines are being drawn for the next phase of the wider political struggle in the Middle East.

                      The results will probably be seen first, one way or another, in Lebanon.

                      It is possible that the central government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora could be strengthened if the plan to extend its authority to the Israeli border by means of the Lebanese army and an international peacekeeping force is properly implemented.

                      In the short term at least Hezbollah is likely to gain support.

                      It has stood up to Israel and Israel has not achieved its stated aims of destroying Hezbollah and getting its two captured soldiers freed.

                      But if the process goes as planned in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah's days as the dominant armed force there will be ended. It might gain as a political and social force but it might lose as a military one.

                      That would mark a significant moment in the wider struggle.

                      Embattled minority

                      There are fears, however, that the war will set back hopes for greater democratic progress in the region.

                      "I was staggered when Condi Rice suggested that this could produce some brave new world in the Middle East," said Rosemary Hollis of the Chatham House think tank in London.


                      President Bush said Hezbollah had suffered a defeat

                      "Haven't they noticed that since Iraq started to go wrong, it has all gone wrong? Democratic progress died in Falluja. To me it is extraordinary to suggest that the region could be turned around.

                      "Both Bush and Blair think that the democratic, secular middle classes can lead the way but the answer from those people is: 'Have you no idea? By smashing your way into Iraq and now by unleashing Israel in Lebanon you think you can achieve this?'

                      "They feel embattled, a minority, and they are losing ground to extremists. Not that Assad has anything to crow about. He is not home and dry," she said.

                      Shia suspicions

                      On the other hand, Israeli commentator Mark Heller of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies reckons there is an underlying factor of an antipathy felt towards Hezbollah and Iran by many Arab governments which makes this unlike previous Arab/Israeli conflicts.

                      "Unlike Hamas, Hezbollah represents a Shia constituency and has longstanding and intimate ties with Iran," he said.

                      "Indeed, Hezbollah in Lebanon was originally created as a mirror of Hezbollah in Iran.

                      "Its leaders have personal ties with the Iranian leadership and its military force has been supplied by Iran and trained and supported by an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

                      "This link feeds Arab suspicions of Shia/Iranian power that have been growing for some time."

                      If that reading is correct, then any adverse impact of this crisis on democratic progress in the Arab world might be minimised.

                      Karameh lesson

                      It is as well to remember that in the Middle East euphoria often does not last long. The enduring lessons of this conflict will only become clear over time.

                      The history of the region is full of moments of elation and despair which appear to point one way but which in fact point in another.

                      In 1968, there was a famous battle in the town of Karameh on the Jordanian side of the River Jordan. Palestinian guerrillas fought a raiding force of Israeli soldiers and proclaimed a great victory that is celebrated to this day.

                      King Hussein of Jordan declared shortly afterwards: "We are all fedayeen." But two years later, he came to regard the Palestinians as a state within a state, a threat that had to be dealt with. He turned on them with his Bedouin army, crushed them and forced them to flee.

                      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/4798017.stm

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Saad Eddin Ibrahim:

                        President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may be quite right about a new Middle East being born. In fact, their policies in support of the actions of their closest regional ally, Israel, have helped midwife the newborn. But it will not be exactly the baby they have longed for. For one thing, it will be neither secular nor friendly to the United States. For another, it is going to be a rough birth.

                        What is happening in the broader Middle East and North Africa can be seen as a boomerang effect that has been playing out slowly since the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. In the immediate aftermath of those attacks, there was worldwide sympathy for the United States and support for its declared "war on terrorism," including the invasion of Afghanistan. Then the cynical exploitation of this universal goodwill by so-called neoconservatives to advance hegemonic designs was confirmed by the war in Iraq. The Bush administration's dishonest statements about "weapons of mass destruction" diminished whatever credibility the United States might have had as liberator, while disastrous mismanagement of Iraqi affairs after the invasion led to the squandering of a conventional military victory. The country slid into bloody sectarian violence, while official Washington stonewalled and refused to admit mistakes. No wonder the world has progressively turned against America.

                        Against this declining moral standing, President Bush made something of a comeback in the first year of his second term. He shifted his foreign policy rhetoric from a "war on terrorism" to a war of ideas and a struggle for liberty and democracy. Through much of 2005 it looked as if the Middle East might finally have its long-overdue spring of freedom. Lebanon forged a Cedar Revolution, triggered by the assassination of its popular former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri. Egypt held its first multi-candidate presidential election in 50 years. So did Palestine and Iraq, despite harsh conditions of occupation. Qatar and Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf continued their steady evolution into constitutional monarchies. Even Saudi Arabia held its first municipal elections.

                        But there was more. Hamas mobilized candidates and popular campaigns to win a plurality in Palestinian legislative elections and form a new government. Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt achieved similar electoral successes. And with these developments, a sudden chill fell over Washington and other Western capitals.

                        Instead of welcoming these particular elected officials into the newly emerging democratic fold, Washington began a cold war on Muslim democrats. Even the tepid pressure on autocratic allies of the United States to democratize in 2005 had all but disappeared by 2006. In fact, tottering Arab autocrats felt they had a new lease on life with the West conveniently cowed by an emerging Islamist political force.

                        Now the cold war on Islamists has escalated into a shooting war, first against Hamas in Gaza and then against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel is perceived in the region, rightly or wrongly, to be an agent acting on behalf of U.S. interests. Some will admit that there was provocation for Israel to strike at Hamas and Hezbollah following the abduction of three soldiers and attacks on military and civilian targets. But destroying Lebanon with an overkill approach born of a desire for vengeance cannot be morally tolerated or politically justified - and it will not work.

                        On July 30 Arab, Muslim and world outrage reached an unprecedented level with the Israeli bombing of a residential building in the Lebanese village of Qana, which killed dozens and wounded hundreds of civilians, most of them children. A similar massacre in Qana in 1996, which Arabs remember painfully well, proved to be the political undoing of then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres. It is too early to predict whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will survive Qana II and the recent war. But Hezbollah will survive, just as it has already outlasted five Israeli prime ministers and three American presidents.

                        Born in the thick of an earlier Israeli invasion, in 1982, Hezbollah is at once a resistance movement against foreign occupation, a social service provider for the needy of the rural south and the slum-dwellers of Beirut, and a model actor in Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics. Despite access to millions of dollars in resources from within and from regional allies Syria and Iran, its three successive leaders have projected an image of clean governance and a pious personal lifestyle.

                        In more than four weeks of fighting against the strongest military machine in the region, Hezbollah held its own and won the admiration of millions of Arabs and Muslims. People in the region have compared its steadfastness with the swift defeat of three large Arab armies in the Six-Day War of 1967. Hasan Nasrallah, its current leader, spoke several times to a wide regional audience through his own al-Manar network as well as the more popular al-Jazeera. Nasrallah has become a household name in my own country, Egypt.

                        According to the preliminary results of a recent public opinion survey of 1,700 Egyptians by the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center, Hezbollah's action garnered 75 percent approval, and Nasrallah led a list of 30 regional public figures ranked by perceived importance. He appears on 82 percent of responses, followed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (73 percent), Khaled Meshal of Hamas (60 percent), Osama bin Laden (52 percent) and Mohammed Mahdi Akef of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (45 percent).

                        The pattern here is clear, and it is Islamic. And among the few secular public figures who made it into the top 10 are Palestinian Marwan Barghouti (31 percent) and Egypt's Ayman Nour (29 percent), both of whom are prisoners of conscience in Israeli and Egyptian jails, respectively.

                        None of the current heads of Arab states made the list of the 10 most popular public figures. While subject to future fluctuations, these Egyptian findings suggest the direction in which the region is moving. The Arab people do not respect the ruling regimes, perceiving them to be autocratic, corrupt and inept. They are, at best, ambivalent about the fanatical Islamists of the bin Laden variety. More mainstream Islamists with broad support, developed civic dispositions and services to provide are the most likely actors in building a new Middle East. In fact, they are already doing so through the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, the similarly named PJD in Morocco, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine and, yes, Hezbollah in Lebanon.

                        These groups, parties and movements are not inimical to democracy. They have accepted electoral systems and practiced electoral politics, probably too well for Washington's taste. Whether we like it or not, these are the facts. The rest of the Western world must come to grips with the new reality, even if the U.S. president and his secretary of state continue to reject the new offspring of their own policies.

                        The 'New Middle East' Bush is resisting

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