>Here’s something that has been widely unreported by the mainstream media – Israel and Syria are in peace talks.
Whether anything comes from the talks, which are being held in Turkey, is the big question. Syria wants the Golan Heights back, which it lost in the 1967 war, and Israel doesn’t want to give the territory away, as it provides Syria and its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, greater ability to attack Israel.
Iran is not pleased with the talks.
Think about that for a bit.
Why would any nation oppose peace talks between two nations?
Does Code Pink support the talks I wonder rhetorically?
Iran has promised Hamas new rockets and more funds, an expression of the Islamic Republic’s displeasure with recent news of renewed Israeli-Syrian peace talks, the London-based newspaper, Asharq Alawsat reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who held a press conference in Teheran with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Saturday, expressed his concern over statements issued simultaneously by Jerusalem, Damascus and Ankara last Wednesday in which a renewal of talks between Syria and Israel under Turkish mediation was declared.
Mashaal reportedly told his Iranian hosts that despite commitments he was given by Damascus that peace with Israel would not come at the expense of Syria’s ties with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, he was still aware of the fact that Syria would have to make some concessions.
He emphasized that he understood that Syria could not sign a peace agreement with Israel, exchange ambassadors, end the state of war and make the Golan Heights demilitarized and at the same time continue to allow Iran to use its territory to transfer weapons to Hizbullah, train Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists and help in the financing of those groups.
An Iranian source told the paper that in light of Mashaal’s fears, Iranian regime officials promised the head of Hamas’s political bureau that Iran would continue supporting Hamas financially, materially and morally, even if Syria would turn its back on the organization for the sake of an agreement with Israel.
According to the source, the Iranians had even elaborated what that support would be: Newer, upgraded rockets and an increase in the budget allotted to Hamas to $150 million in the second half of 2008.
A source in the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Mashaal was promised that Iran would supply every support his organization might need, be it weapons, finance, or military training.
Iran’s defense minister also expressed confidence on Sunday that negotiations would not hamper the strong alliance between Teheran and Damascus, the Iranian FARS news agency reported.
Labeling Syria a strategic ally of Iran, Defense Minister Mustafa Mohammed Nejad called on “Islamic states to strengthen their relations in order to defend themselves against the dangers which threaten the region.”
I wonder whether Syria is looking to regain some semblance of respectability after being kicked out of Lebanon (though Hezbollah is gaining in strength there now) and suffering the embarrassment of Israel knocking out its North Korean built nuclear plant.
Certainly, Israel would not be negotiating with Syria “without preconditions”, as those on the left seem so willing to do in the West.
I also wonder what Lee Bollinger and his crew of appeasers at Columbia University think of their Persian Poster Child opposing peace.
>The recent declassification of documents relating to the British Mandate in Palestine for the period 1920 to 1948 provides a new ability to understand what was going on in the region and the origins of today’s ongoing Israel-Arab conflict.
Efraim Karsh is head of Mediterranean Studies at King’s College, University of London, and the author most recently of Islamic Imperialism: A History. His article demonstrating what really happened in 1948 – as has always been the correct reading of the matter before revisionist historians like Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe arrived on the scene – is mandatory reading for those who want to understand why there are a million ‘Palestinians’ in Gaza and the West Bank. Ilan Pappe is a communist whose accuracy has been shown to be shoddy even by left wingers like Benny Morris. I wonder whether Morris will revise his position in light of the newly available information?
Sixty years after its establishment by an internationally recognized act of self-determination, Israel remains the only state in the world that is subjected to a constant outpouring of the most outlandish conspiracy theories and blood libels; whose policies and actions are obsessively condemned by the international community; and whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged not only by its Arab enemies but by segments of advanced opinion in the West.
During the past decade or so, the actual elimination of the Jewish state has become a cause célèbre among many of these educated Westerners. The “one-state solution,” as it is called, is a euphemistic formula proposing the replacement of Israel by a state, theoretically comprising the whole of historic Palestine, in which Jews will be reduced to the status of a permanent minority. Only this, it is said, can expiate the “original sin” of Israel’s founding, an act built (in the words of one critic) “on the ruins of Arab Palestine” and achieved through the deliberate and aggressive dispossession of its native population.
This claim of premeditated dispossession and the consequent creation of the longstanding Palestinian “refugee problem” forms, indeed, the central plank in the bill of particulars pressed by Israel’s alleged victims and their Western supporters. It is a charge that has hardly gone undisputed. As early as the mid-1950’s, the eminent American historian J.C. Hurewitz undertook a systematic refutation, and his findings were abundantly confirmed by later generations of scholars and writers. Even Benny Morris, the most influential of Israel’s revisionist “new historians,” and one who went out of his way to establish the case for Israel’s “original sin,” grudgingly stipulated that there was no “design” to displace the Palestinian Arabs.
The recent declassification of millions of documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920-1948) and Israel’s early days, documents untapped by earlier generations of writers and ignored or distorted by the “new historians,” paint a much more definitive picture of the historical record. They reveal that the claim of dispossession is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth. What follows is based on fresh research into these documents, which contain many facts and data hitherto unreported.
Read the whole thing.
>How’s this for having more front than city hall?
Mohamed AlBaradei, head of the comically ineffective International Atomic Energy Agency aka the United Nations Agency Helping To Ensure Rogue Nations Get Nuclear Weapons, has criticised the US and Israel for not giving them information (that they could then pass on to Syria) that their nuclear development facility had been rumbled.
VIENNA, Austria – The head of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency angrily criticized Israel on Friday for bombing an alleged Syrian nuclear facility, and chastised the U.S. for withholding information on the site.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei also was not provided information about the site until Thursday, the same day U.S. officials briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about evidence including dozens of photographs taken from ground level and footage of the interior of the building gathered by spy satellites after the Israeli strike seven months ago.
ElBaradei was briefed by telephone by John Rood, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control.
I made a joke about it earlier on but it seems remarkable that the IAEA would be kept in the dark by the United States and Israel. What motivation could both nations have for doing so other than to ensure Syria didn’t find out ahead of the Israeli bombing? The IAEA, ElBaradei and the UN itself have been shown to be useless and feckless. Not that there’s anything new in that.
“The Director General deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the Agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the Agency’s responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts,” ElBaradei’s office said.
Additionally, “the Director General views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime,” it said.
ElBaradei did not criticize North Korea or Syria in his statement.
That is truly unbelievable. It reinforces ElBaradei’s real personal agenda to do as much damage as possible to US interests, which has been on display throughout his career.
The IAEA’s mission includes trying to keep nuclear proliferation in check, and it depends on member states for information in trying to carry out that task. It is currently probing allegations Iran tried to make nuclear weapons using not only its own research but intelligence provided by the U.S. and other members of the 35-nation IAEA board.
How can the IAEA board function when it has 35 nations involved? And how’s it going on its mission to try and keep nuclear proliferation in check?
Intelligence committee members also expressed anger Thursday over the seven-month time lapse before their committee was briefed.
Top U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters in Washington Thursday said they had high confidence in the judgement that North Korea had aided Syria with its nuclear program and the intention was to produce plutonium. But they claimed only low confidence for the conclusion that it was meant for weapons development, in part because there was no reprocessing facility at the site — something that would be needed to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel for use in a bomb.
The Syrian reactor was within weeks or months of being functional when Israeli jets destroyed it, a top U.S. official told The Associated Press in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The official said the facility was mostly completed but still had needed significant testing before it could have been declared operational.
US intelligence agencies have little credibility on the issue of declaring that a nation has the capability of developing nuclear weapons, as Iraq has shown, but if the Israelis think it is then I’m rather inclined to go with their view given the consequences of Syria having a nuclear weapon are rather dire for them.
Repeating its previous stance, Syria, in a statement issued Thursday denied the allegations.
Now there’s a huge shock!
How is the stable world going to ensure that the unstable world doesn’t become nuclear armed if the IAEA is not only useless but so politically aligned with interests in the Middle East?