Saturday 21st of May 2022

false note .....

War 'n' bog

From the BBC
How predictions for Iraq came true

By John Simpson
BBC World Affairs Editor

It was a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq, three years ago. I was interviewing the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, in the ballroom of a big hotel in Cairo.

Shrewd, amusing, bulky in his superb white robes, he described to me all the disasters he was certain would follow the invasion.

The US and British troops would be bogged down in Iraq for years. There would be civil war between Sunnis and Shias. The real beneficiary would be the government in Iran.

"And what do the Americans say when you tell them this," I asked? "They don't even listen," he said.

Read more at the BBC

Next: War in the key of C...

WASHINGTON — Two weeks ago on Sunday, Condoleezza Rice got up at 4 a.m. so she could fit in her daily exercise regimen — weights and the treadmill — and still have time to prepare for interviews on three morning news programs. Just a few hours later, on "Meet the Press," Tim Russert confronted her with recent reports that shortly after the invasion of Iraq, the Russians had given intelligence on American troop movements to the Iraqis. Even on the normally sympathetic "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace asked her why Americans should not be outraged that United States troops continue to fight and die while Iraqi politicians haggle over jobs.

Toward the end of the program, questions about her future plans predictably arose. Just as predictably, she stated that despite urgings from highly placed Republicans, thank you, no, she would not pursue the presidency.

For most people, let alone a secretary of state grappling with an increasingly unpopular war, this would have been enough exertion for the traditional day of rest.

But late that afternoon, Ms. Rice was back home in her comfortable apartment in the Watergate complex for one of her frequent sessions of chamber music with four friends, lawyers by profession and dedicated amateur string players...

Ms. Rice is an accomplished pianist. At 15 she performed Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, her prize for winning a student competition.

Read more at the New York Times

Presidential folly

From the BBC

Iran 'nuclear option' criticised

Critics of the Bush administration are angry at reports the US is considering using nuclear weapons in any pre-emptive attack on Iran.
The White House dismissed reports of preparations to use tactical nuclear weapons on well-protected Iranian nuclear facilities as "ill-informed".
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Sunday that talks of a nuclear strike was "completely nuts".
The claims surfaced in an article in the US magazine The New Yorker.
'Nuclear option'

The article, by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, makes three claims.

The first is that US clandestine activities inside Iran have been increased, and the second is that planning for a possible air attack has been intensified.

The third claim is that one option still on the table is the use of tactical nuclear weapons to ensure the destruction of well-protected Iranian nuclear facilities.

Read more at the BBC

Why talk with El Bonsaio?

From the New York Times

Iranian Leader Sees No Need for Talks With U.S.

Published: April 24, 2006
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad brushed off the prospect of economic sanctions being imposed on his country over its nuclear activities, which he said Iran would continue to pursue in a peaceful program for its power plants. He also said today that there was no need for talks with the United States over Iraq now that a permanent government had been formed there.

Speaking at a rare news briefing with Iranian and foreign reporters in Tehran that was broadcast live with simultaneous translation, Mr. Ahmedinejad said that it would be a "mistake" for other countries to introduce sanctions on Iran, adding that its nuclear activities were "transparent" and "peaceful."

"If they place limitations on us it will be more damaging to them than to us," Mr. Ahmedinejad said. "Our economic foundations are strong. We have built this country ourselves. We have the necessary means to defend ourselves.

read more at the New york Times

exposing the double standard …..

‘Jordan’s King Abdullah said
Monday that Israel should disarm its nuclear weapons in the wake of
international pressure on Iran to end its uranium enrichment program.

The Jordanian monarch urged the
international community to pressure Israel to close down its nuclear
facilities, in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais.

He justified the remarks by saying his nation wants to see a nuclear-free
Middle East. “If there is peace, Israel will not need nuclear weapons,” he
said. “If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, the Arab-Israeli
conflict will also be resolved.”

The United Nations decided in
February to issue a verdict statement that the Middle East should be a
“nuclear weapons-free region” in its general statement policy on nuclear

The decision was reluctantly
supported by the United States as a concession to Egypt, who insisted on
inserting the clause.

Jordanian King To Israel:
Give Up Your Nukes

More Rice diet

From the BBC
Clashes in Athens as Rice visits

Athens police have fired teargas during a clash with anti-war demonstrators protesting against a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Some protesters hurled petrol bombs, sticks and stones in return.
Ms Rice is meeting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis as part of a five-day trip to Europe that also includes Turkey and Bulgaria.
Thousands of protesters are said to have gathered in Athens. Some 5,000 riot police have been deployed.
Television pictures showed protesters throwing petrol bombs and using sticks as riot police advanced, the air thick with tear gas.
The protesters were trying to reach the buildings where Condoleezza Rice is meeting Mr Karamanlis and her Greek counterpart, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, but many retreated under the police pressure, reports said.
Many held banners reading "Rice go home".
read more at the BBC
This reminds Gus of part of his teens in parts of Europe where "US Go Home" graffiti were plastered everywhere around... Drunken US soldiers used to be picked up by the military police every night from bars and lines of artillery weapons and tanks lined railway lines for kilometres...

La Rice's explanation for the behavior of the US administration is in line with 12 year old psychology... I hope the world can see the patronising... But then the average voters age anywhere in the world is 14... That's the high psychological target audience for most media...

Passing the song sheet to the UN

From the ABC

UN has to act on Iran: Rice
United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United Nations Security Council "has to act" over Iran's failure to allay global concerns about its nuclear plans.

Speaking as Iran ruled out suspending internationally condemned nuclear activities on the eve of a crunch UN deadline, Dr Rice says the stand-off calls into question the global body's credibility.

"The United States believes ... that in order to be credible, the Security Council, of course, has to act," Dr Rice said.

"I sincerely hope that the Security Council is prepared to take some action."

She says it is "highly unlikely that Iran will accede to the demands of the international community".

Dr Rice's call is echoed by France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who urges the Security Council to send a "rapid and firm" signal to Iran.

The UN deadline for the Islamic republic to freeze uranium enrichment work falls today

read more at the ABC

Gus is puzzled to see how one can send a "rapid and firm" signal that does something more than signalling something that has been signalled before... Bombing the place is not an option... What about really reading the report of the IAEA in earnest... really read it to understand there is no intention of making bombs and no possibility of making bombs, thus that the Iranian intention is to make energy... Should we signal that and make a deal that make sure they stay within these guidelines that are their own?

Israel, India and Pakistan with nukes are far more dangerous than Iran with what they have or intend to have...

playing up and down the keyboard...

From the BBC

"Syria is trying to get back into Lebanon, it looks like to me," Mr Bush said.

"And there is suspicion that the instability created by the Hezbollah attacks will cause some in Lebanon to invite Syria back in."

He reiterated his stance that Israel had a right to defend itself, but said Israel had been asked to be "mindful" of the new Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

"It's very important that this government in Lebanon succeed and survive," he said.

The BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington says the US strategy is becoming clearer - to turn international attention and anger away from Israel's actions, and to focus on those of Hezbollah and Syria instead.

But he adds that some will question the evidence of blatant Syrian interference in Lebanon. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is preparing to travel to the region, but comments from an Israeli ambassador that she would travel on Friday have been played down.

Ms Rice said she was ready to take the trip when it would be "helpful and necessary".

read more at the BBC
Gus speak:
see cartoon at the head of this line of blogs...

"It's very important that this government in Lebanon succeed and survive," Bush said. Well, it was doing fine until Israel started to bomb the shit out of Lebanon, didn't it? For a few years now, Lebanon had rebuilt a prosperous tourism industry... Well it's shit now, isn't it? And nothing to do with a border skirmish that could and should have been solved without firing another shot... But oh no... It will take at least ten years from the time of peace before Lebanon can start again on an even footing... Well, I would not be surprised if at the next election, Hizbollah wins government, like Hamas in Palestine. People are prepared to face shit if they maintain their beliefs. Bombs can only harden the resolve. If Syria is behind Hizbollah, the US are behind Israel. Israel would not be doing what it's doing without the nod from the US administration...

Cease fire now. Please...

Bomb away!

From the New York Times

U.S. Appears to Be Waiting to Act on Israeli Airstrikes
Published: July 19, 2006
WASHINGTON, July 18 — The outlines of an American-Israeli consensus began to emerge on Tuesday in which Israel would continue to bombard Lebanon for about another week to degrade the capabilities of the Hezbollah militia, officials of the two countries said.

Then, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would go to the region and seek to establish a buffer zone in southern Lebanon and perhaps an international force to monitor Lebanon’s borders to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining more rockets with which to bombard Israel.

American officials signalled that Ms. Rice was waiting at least a few more days before wading into the conflict, in part to give Israel more time to weaken Hezbollah forces.

The strategy carries risk, partly because it remains unclear just how long the rest of the world, particularly America’s Arab allies, will continue to stay silent as the toll on Lebanese civilians rises.

On Tuesday, the seventh day of the face-off, Israeli warplanes battered more targets in Lebanon, killing 30 people, including 11 members of the Lebanese Army, when bombs hit their barracks east of Beirut. Four of the dead were officers, and 30 more soldiers were wounded.

In southern Lebanon, nine members of a single family were killed and four wounded in an Israeli airstrike on their house in the village of Aitaroun, near the Israeli border.

Some 500,000 Lebanese have fled their homes to escape the violence, the United Nations estimated.

Gus: Buffer Zone? In a week or more? Something can snap bad while awaiting that long...

Cease fire now!

The Force rules

From Bush's faith and the Middle East aflame:

... Out of the last Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon came the fundamentalist extremism of both Hezbollah and Ariel Sharon. Who knows what will come from this round of the same - certainly, nothing good as long as force is the only ruling deity in our world.  ...

And, from How Washington speaks to Muslims:

... He [Hady Amr] says there has to be a long-hard look by western governments over who they really talk to.

"After 9/11 there was this refrain in America that we needed to reach out to 'moderate Muslims' because they would be our allies against extremism. I think this is wrong," says Hady Amr.

"You cannot of course go start a casual dialogue with people who use violence. But I think that [western governments] need to go into the most conservative communities they can stomach if they are going to find ways of building bridges.

"You have to get these people to understand who we are and what we stand for. Giving $100m to your friends does not necessarily help because they are your friends already.

"What are our fundamental western values? Pluralism and dialogue. Anyone who has worked in politics knows that the quickest way to alienate people is to not invite them to dinner. ..." ...

To dialogue, then.

Jon Faine, ABC radio's Melbourne front man, is hosting a live on-air discussion between parties with something to contribute to solving the current "hostilities". Another radio man, Richard Stubbs, put it like this: if there are Jews and Arabs living alongside each other in suburban Melbourne, can they say what they do to keep peaceful relationships?

Chook raffle

From the ABC

PM calls Canada as ship double-booked
The Prime Minister, John Howard, has called his Canadian counterpart to discuss the disarray surrounding Australia's plans to evacuate its citizens by sea from Lebanon.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has confirmed that the evacuation of Australians from Lebanon by sea has been delayed because a Turkish ship was double-booked.

Did Canada win that ship in a chook raffle and we lost...? Did our Grocer organise the chook raffle? Ah? Yes that would make sense... Like everything else our prime monster is involved with, he presents reasonable arguments to take your heart away with crocodile tears, etc.

While he sides with Israel to inflict more pain to the Lebanese people because of a third party's daring small attack, he should intervene and ask Israel to stop bombing NOW because you know what?... That bombing might weaken Hizbollah's force for a little while but it will sure strengthen its resolve... will that not be a stupid ephemeral victory?

Meanwhile Lebanon bleeds. Cease fire now! A week's grace? What silly idea is that? Bush's? yeah... that figures...

Pass the buck

From The Independent

Blair blames Syria and Iran for stoking tension
By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
Published: 19 July 2006
Tony Blair has increased the pressure on Syria and Iran by blaming the two countries for stoking the crisis in the Middle East and accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to attack British forces in Iraq.

Mr Blair named Damascus and Tehran as major backers of Hizbollah and suggested that Iran had supplied weapons for attacks on Israel and insurgent attacks on UK troops in Basra. No 10 said weaponry fired at Israel had been assessed as coming from the same source.

The comments came just hours after Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, spoke of a link between the Lebanese crisis and Iraq in a BBC radio interview.

read more at The Independent...


Gus: And the weaponry used by Israel is sponsored by....

clowner .....

The Editor,

Sydney Morning Herald.                                                    July 20, 2006.

Only a clowner like Downer would try & excuse the federal government’s botched ferry rescue of Australians trapped in Lebanon, by claiming that the plan wouldn’t have worked anyway (‘Exodus descends into farce as rescue ferry fails to appear’, Herald, July 20).

Whilst the Howard government has shamelessly strutted its stuff in Afghanistan, Iraq & East Timor, its failure to publicly condemn Israel for refusing to allow the safe evacuation of civilians from the scene of the latest middle-east carnage highlights either its real lack of foreign policy clout or a callous disregard of its fundamental duty to secure & protect the lives of Australian citizens.


This one tanked, John, so I don't see why yours should get through. :))

Letters editor, The Australian
It's been a busy morning, thanks to Bill Leak's contentious cartoon of Alexander Downer's predicament(19/7).
At first, it looks like a slap at DFAT for offering a second-rate escape plan for Australians trapped in Lebanon.
But, no, perhaps it's recognition that Mr Downer is a true renaissance man, beneath the thin political veneer. He's caught in a profound dilemma, and his best attempts to help humanity are frustrated by the means made available by his masters.
Hang on, though. Why has the situation in the Levant blown up? Why is there a toll-free highway from Tehran to Beirut? Could the Bush-led invasion of Iraq have thrown petrol on the embers? Do the messianic visionaries in Washington really intend to reclaim the Holy Land? And what part did Australia's Wheat Board have in prolonging the conflict in Iraq?
Come to think of it, how would I feel if I lived in Haifa, and one of the incoming rockets from Hezbollah had a return address in an Australian suburb?
I am sorry for the plight for innocent children, and for your anguish, Mr Downer, but who does pay the ferryman?


On re-reading, though, I can see why ...

Over in a week? Not likely. 


Teach your children well

A recnt article in the SMH was accompanied by a photo of young Israeli girls writing messages on bombs before they were to be dropped on Lebanon. That's the way to do it, train them young that innocent lives don't matter. Former US Secratary of State Albright was once heard to say that the deaths of thousands of children in Iraq was a good thing because they wouldn't grow up to be terrorists. Looks like to me that Mr. Clowner and his cronies are thinking along the same lines, let the Australian Muslims die in Lebanon, saves ASIO the trouble of seeking them out here.




You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. ~~ Marian Wright Edelman