Syria, in support of the Revolution.

Sami Jamil Jadallah
Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

The United States never was on the side of the people of the Middle East and is the only party standing between the Palestinians and their freedom and liberation and always stood the side of criminal dictatorship as they imprisoned, tortured, suppressed freedom and democracy and looted the country.

I too, like so many of my friends on this site, Arab nationalists and all those in support of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, leery and untrusting of the United States and the West involvement and calls for military intervention in the Syrian Spring. Israel and the Zionist agenda always stand out as the only reason and beneficiary of any action the US takes in the Middle East, and Syria is no exception. However we all should tell Bashar his time ran out and he and his Ba’athist regime should go.
Continue reading

The Price of Fear, the Price of Dictatorship.

Sami Jamil Jadallah
Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

I grew up when there were curfews that lasted for days, when listening to the wrong radio station could land you in jail, and when “security/mokhabarat” could haul you to jail for no reason at all. I remember when I would see “darak” police on horses raiding villages and breaking into homes to mix rice, oil, lentil and flour on the middle of the floor. Continue reading

Gaddafi, the inevitable bloody end.

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

With the exception of Tony Blair, the modern day Lord Balfour who had “special” business and political relations with Gaddafi, every one in Libya and the Arab world is quite happy with the news of the end of Mouamar Gaddafi and his regime. It is only fitting for a bloody dictator and a regime to meet a bloody end. No one should shed tears. Contrary to his claim to die fighting, Gaddafi was pulled from a sewer pipe like a rat.

Like so many bloody kelpto-criminal dictatorships, Gaddafi was and for a time the darling of the West specially after abandoning his weapons of mass destruction program. The US George Bush dispatching Condi Rice to engage him and Hilary Clinton as recent as this January treated his son Moutasim as royalties warmly shaking hands with the towering Moutasim.

While the US did not sponsor Mouamar Gaddafi in certain periods of his regime, it did engage him and according to certain reports facilitated his coming to power and with the exception of Fiedel Castro the US engaged if not sponsored every dictator and dictatorships in Latin and Central America, in the Middle East, in East Europe, certainly in the Far East.

The US more than any other country in the world should take the blame for the millions who died and suffered under military dictatorship that not only killed and tortured its citizens but looted the country as well.

We all need to remember the likes of the late Shah of Iran who was brought back to power by coupe organized by the CIA with a planned budget of $1,000,000 with $100,000 distributed in cash to the streets and the remaining $900,000 was handed over by Kermit Roosevelt to Ardashire Zahedi as part of Operation Ajax.

The Shah who ruled his country with an iron fist relying on the CIA, Mossad and his torturous SAVAK also looted the country and allowed his close circle of generals and advisors to loot tens billions of dollars allowing them to live the good life in Switzerland, in West Europe, certainly in the US and around Washington DC.

While the people lived in dire poverty in the country side, the Shah was able to spend $100 millions on his coronation ceremony in 1967 in the city of Persepolis as King of Kings with heads of states, diplomats, movie starts counted among the guests with caviar, chefs and Baccarat crystals flown from France dinning on Limoges porcelain china.

We all should remember the end of the man, politicians and socialists adorned him as “emperor of emperors”, dejected pegging for a country to give him asylum and a place to die.

Nicolae Ceausescu was anther dictator much beloved and admired by American presidents who received him in White House, simply because who took an independent line from Moscow when it came to the Middle East and his relationship with Israel not withstanding his bloody and ruthless dictatorship and his looting of the country making every Romanian poor with the exception of his immediate family and his close circle of friends. I will never forget that night in a Geneva hotel when I saw his execution on December 25th, 1989.

General Suharto of Indonesia and General Ferdinand Marcos were among the many dictators the US not only supported but sponsored delivering weapons and riot fighting equipments allowing these two to loot their country blind and run authoritarian bloody regimes with wide spread corruptions, all in the name of supporting anti-Communist regimes.

In Latin and Central the US and over the last century have supported and given aid and comfort to a dozen of civilian and military dictatorship key among them the likes of Anatasio Somoza Garcia and his family, Fulencio Batista of Cuba, General Noriega of Panama, and of course General Augusto Pinochet who ruled Chile with an iron fist for 17 years, murdering in cold blood mover 3,000 and torturing hundreds of thousands.

In Central America, the US the could not find one military dictator it did not like. The US sponsored, trained and funded the many military rulers and dictators that ruled Central America where some 500,000 people died or killed as a direct result of these military dictatorship and the wars they waged against their people and the resulting civil wars.

In Africa the story was no different, American presidents disgraced the White House with receptions offered to killers and murderers the likes of Samuel Doe of Liberia, who upon taking control in a bloody coupe tied more than 17 members of Liberian cabinet to palm trees and shot them.

Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire was another favored dictator favored in Washington, Paris, London and Brussels. Mubuto Sese Seko took over Zaire in a CIA sponsored coupe on 14 September 1960 and ran Zaire to the ground while looting its wealth. Western governments were only too happy to support such criminal dictators as long as they claim to fight Communism.

In the Middle East the story was no different. It is well known fact that the CIA not only provided safe house for Saddam when he was injured and fled the attempted assassination attempt on General Abdul-Kareem Qassem and later in 1968 sponsored his return to Iraq to become the VP of Iraq.

During the 8 years war with Iran, the US under the Reagan administration gave Saddam Hussein over $40 Billions in aid in his fight against Iran and forced the neighboring Arab Gulf countries to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to Saddam, money and resources that could have done wonder in the development of the Arab world from Morocco to Yemen to Syria to Bahrain.

Until the evening of his invasion of Kuwait, Saddam was America and Europe favorite Arab dictators knowing well he ran a bloody criminal authoritarian regime were more than one million persons were killed or murdered and were for the first time chemical weapons were used against civilians targets, Iraqi Kurds killing 5,000 instantly and injuring 10,000. Donald Rumselfed was to deliver Ronald Reagan congratulations to the Iraqi dictator.

The United States played a key and critical role in perpetuating Saddam Hussein dictatorship providing it with money, economic and military aids and of course providing legal and international cover and immunity for its crimes. Thanks to a freedom loving American administration millions of people died during and after Saddam in Iraq, and in Iran and over $1.5 Trillions of Arab wealth simply disappeared and evaporated if not looted by the merchants of death.

Hosni Mubarak and Bin Ali were the darling of the United States the model of modern Arab rulers and police states where dictators rule with iron fists making sure the country and the West id free of “Islamists” and rewarding these two regimes for their openness and special relationship with Israel.

No doubt the US which contracted countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other North Africa countries as “torture contractor” was only too happy to seek these rulers and dictators and their families not only loot the country clean but imprisoned, killed and tortures tens of thousands of citizens.

Kelpto-dictarotship touted by the World Bank and the IMF as model emerging economies were millions lived below poverty lines and with millions unemployed. International donors, financial instructions never looked beyond the “cooked” financial and economic books presented by the leadership of these countries and never bothered to leave their 5 stars hotels and see the utter misery the majority of people lived in.

With Mouamar Gaddafi meeting the bloody end he deserve the Arab Spring must continue and succeed in countries and against dictatorship
In Syria, in Yemen perhaps with these dictators meeting the same bloody end. Those who rule by the sword will die by the sword. Grieved, oppressed, tortures and dramatized people should not have mercy on those who rules them.

In closing I want to address this question to President Obama and the leaders of the West, why is it OK for the Libyans, the Syrians and the Yemenis, the Egyptians and the Tunisians to rise up against oppression and dictatorship and in the case of Libya to use force with support from NATO while denying the Palestinians the right to have a seat at the UN to seek freedom and independence from the Jewish Occupation, not by use of arms but by getting a UNSC resolution to demand the immediate end of the Jewish Occupation that lasted more than Gaddafi 42 years of bloody rule? An explanation is needed.

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and is the founder and director of Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Center www.palestineagency.com and founder and owner of several business in technology and services. Sami also runs an online website (Jefferson Corner). His articles are also featured on PalestineNote and Veterans Today.

Articles on RamallahOnline by Sami Jamil Jadallah

Born in the Palestinian city of El-Bireh ( presently under Israeli Military Occupation, Armed Jewish thugs and settlers). Immigrated to the US in 62. After graduating from high school in Gary, Indiana was drafted into the US Army ( 66-68) received the Leadership Award from the US 6th Army NCO Academy in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Five of us brothers where in US military service about the same time. Graduated from Indiana University with BA-72, Master of Public Affairs-74 and Juris Doctor-77, and in senior year at IU,was elected Chairman of the Indiana Student Association.

Interview with Dr. Franklin Lamb

Kourosh Ziabari

Israel will not collapse peacefully but it will dissolve: Dr. Franklin Lamb
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director of the Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of “The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon” and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book.
Lamb has been a Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon. He earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics.
As a Middle East expert and commentator, Dr. Lamb has appeared on Press TV, Al-Manar and several other media outlets. His articles and analyses have been published by Counter Punch, Veterans Today, Intifada Palestine, Electronic Intifada, Opinion Maker, Dissident Voice, Daily Star and Al Ahram.
Dr. Lamb generously accepted my interview requested and joined me to discuss the recent developments in the Middle East including the Libya civil war, Bahrain massacre and Egypt’s revolution.
What follows is the complete text of my interview with Dr. Franklin Lamb, political commentator, university professor and Middle East expert.

Kourosh Ziabari: Frequent and unstoppable revolutions are taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. Popular movements of the Muslim nations of Tunisia and Egypt brought to an end the longstanding tyranny of Zine El Abedine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Sooner or later, the same destiny awaits the dictators of Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia who were all once the stalwart allies of the United States and its European cronies. What’s your estimation of the recent developments in the region and how do you forecast the future of chained revolutions of the Middle East?

Franklin Lamb: I believe the uprisings will continue during this historic Islamic and Arab Awakening and will not cease until those who are sacrificing their blood in these countries—and some you did not mention-achieve their common goals of dignity, human rights, and much more control over their lives and their country’s natural resources. This truly historic regional uprising will, in my view, also contribute critically to the liberation of Palestine and the end of the 19th Century Zionist colonial project. Resent reactions by Israeli leaders and some in Washington make plain that the Muslim and Arab world will not allow their regimes to continue to undermine the Palestinian cause by accepting Western aid and various American bribes to collaborate with the Zionist occupation in their midst. Eventually the current uprising will replace perhaps as many as ten regimes and to its great credit, will count the implementation of UN Resolution 194 and the full and long overdue return of the Palestinian Refugees to their homeland.

KZ: The Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is relentlessly massacring his own people and has remained defiant in the face of growing international pressure and anger at his atrocious and inhumane actions. The international community has so far failed to tackle the Gaddafi problem and Libya is already engulfed in a civil war. The NATO forces are opening fires on the unarmed civilians and nobody has made any decision to capture Gaddafi and hold him accountable for the crimes he has committed. What’s your analysis of the situation in Libya? Given the immense investment of the American and European companies in the oil sector of Libya, can we foresee a future in which Gaddafi is removed from power and tried for his criminal policies?

FL: I agree that what is going on in Libya is a civil war and that the so-called “Obama Doctrine” has become farcical with respect to Libya. NATO should stop its bombing which has killed many of those they were tasked to protect and the international community must insist on a ceasefire and sending humanitarian aid. Enforcing a ceasefire would be a legitimate international role but taking sides in a civil war has only very rarely led to the desired outcome and violates Art. 2 (7) of the UN Charter which prohibits unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of Member States.

Yes, the West will insist on a replacement for Gaddafi and one who is more reliable that he has been recently with respect to the three American hegemonistic requirements or pillars. These include the demand that the next leader must continue to supply the West with cheap oil, and unlike Gaddafi recently, the new regime must insure internal stability and not become an embarrassment for its partners. Also the US will demand that Libya’s new government must not confront Israel seriously and it must be friendly toward US military projects and bases.

KZ: What’s your viewpoint regarding the reaction of international community in general, and the United Nations in particular, to the developments in Libya? The UNSC authorized the use of a no-fly zone over Libya in its resolution 1973 and imposed some sanctions on the Gaddafi regime in the resolution 1970. Are these measures adequate to draw to an end the atrocities which are taking place in Libya? Overall, do you agree with a military option with regards to the Libyan question?

FL: No the military option, while “legal” in the sense that it was passed by the UN Security Council was not legitimate nor are they effective in terms of achieving the claimed objective of UNSC Resolution 1973. Other measures such UN sponsored dialogue and enforcement of a ceasefire were available and should have been employed. Daily the military option is being shown to be ineffective and is in fact deepening the tragedy. It is not too late for the UN to revise its resolution and insist on a ceasefire and dialogue among the factions and making use of the good offices of the Arab League and African Union. On 4/18/11, one month after UNSCR 1973 was adopted, UN Secretary-General Key Ban Moon called for an immediate UN enforced ceasefire. This should be implemented without further delay.

KZ: As you may admit, Bahrain has one of the blackest human rights records in the Persian Gulf region and its longstanding tradition of suppressing the Shiite majority is almost known to everyone. The Bahraini officials have accused Iran of interfering in their internal affairs and turned a blind eye to the wave of protests which is encompassing the whole country. What’s your idea about the situation in Bahrain? Will the oppressed Shiite majority of Bahrain gain enough power to claim their rights and prosper in their uprising against the dictatorial regime?

FL: I think the people of Bahrain will absolutely succeed in their legitimate quest for dignity and freedom. It is apparent that the majority population in Bahrain is determined to succeed and the international community is, albeit too slowly, supporting their struggle. A recent University of Maryland poll shows that nearly 70% of the American public is supporting the Middle Eastern uprisings even if it means weakening Israel.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration hypocrisy toward the unarmed civilians being killed in Bahrain is flagrant and runs deeply counter to American values.

Speaking on 4/13/11 at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, a gathering sponsored by Qatar and the Brookings Institution, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured the World that “America’s core interests and values have not changed, including our commitment to promote human rights equally in every country.”

Clinton’s remarks prompted some groans from the audience, and one Georgetown University student impolitely blurted out “Tell that to the people of Bahrain and prove it lady!”

What the exasperated student, and others in the audience apparently found outrageous was Clinton’s comment that, “We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to American values doesn’t make sense in such a diverse region at such a fluid time” as she hailed Bahrain for what she called a “decades-long friendship which we expect to continue long into the future.” Referring to the government crackdown, she added that “violence is not and cannot be the answer.”

Clinton explained that the Obama administration will neither recall its ambassador to Manama nor threaten sanctions — a striking disparity that is fueling ­anti-U.S. sentiment among Bahraini opposition groups. The Obama Doctrine words are all about freedom and democracy and change, but in Bahrain, the reality is that the Obama Doctrine amounts to a protection for the dictatorship.

By contrast, Obama has repeatedly justified military attacks in Libya, saying: “Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested. These acts are against core American values.” But while the same human rights abuses noted by Obama are happening in Bahrain, the Obama Doctrine is not on the Presidents teleprompter.

It appears that core American values aren’t so important when the regime being reformed houses the Fifth Fleet and has Saudi neighbors, themselves afraid of potential protests, according to the Wall Street Journal. What the rude Georgetown student at Clinton’s speech this week understood, is that as Joe Stork, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch noted a couple of days ago concerning yet another brutal Khalifa government killing of unarmed civilians, “Four detainee deaths in nine days is a crime, not a coincidence. The government tells families of detainees nothing about their whereabouts or well-being while they are alive, or about the circumstances of their deaths. “Emergency laws should not be used as a cover for brutality,” Stork reminded the Obama administration that torture and killing of the peaceful protesters in Bahrain at the hands of both the Bahraini armed forces and the additional forces provided by Saudi Arabia are not supported by the American public.

Obama administration officials, like most of the US media, have been playing a game of criminal silence about the situation in Bahrain. Political institutions have been trying to stoke the fire of Shiite-Sunni sectarianism instead of trying to resolve the real issues – the barbaric actions and unfair political and economic policies of the ruling family in Bahrain, a state of forceful repression.

KZ: What will be the impacts of Egyptian revolution on the future of Israel-Egypt relations? It’s quite evident that the Zionist regime is immensely afraid of the establishment of an Islamic government led by a democratically-elected president in Egypt. They have clearly voiced their concern over the developments taking place in Cairo and are desperately trying to preserve the heritage of the Camp David Accords which they achieved painstakingly in 1987. Will a new Egyptian government threaten the interests of the Israeli regime in the Middle East? Will the United State intervene to preclude the destruction of relations between Israel and Egypt?

FL: Yes, I think both processes will occur. During the Tahrir Square uprising we heard much about the need for dignity of the Egyptian people and dignity for Arabs and Muslims. What captured the world’s attention were the demands for jobs, democracy, freedom from fear of arbitrary arrest, torture and detention by the myriad security services and much more control of the economy by the Egyptian people.

Now were are hearing more about fundamental issues, such as the Camp David Accords, which have been festering among Egyptians and most Arabs for three decades. This treaty with Israel was nothing more than the Western bought Egyptian leadership accepting an American bribe in the amount of more than three billion USD per year to concede Palestine to the Zionists and abdicate Egypt’s historic role.

The intense humiliation, not just inflicted on Egyptians, Arabs and Muslims everywhere, but felt by fair minded people around the World who value human rights and support the liberation of Palestine, was endured by never accepted.

History is in the process of correction the injustice caused by the 19th Century Zionist colonial enterprise and I believe the Egyptian people will eventually abrogate Camp David which in its essence is a Western imposed Capitulation Treaty we used to see two centuries ago in Asia, and of course in China as well as in Africa. Camp David will not stand and nor will the giveaway of Egyptian natural gas, or the siege of Gaza from the Egyptian side.

The United States and her allies and certainty Israel will use all their resources to prevent the scrapping of Camp David. But the fact of the matter is that there is a new Middle East rising and they are her people not hegemonic foreign powers who will decide its future.

KZ: Can we foresee the formation of a new Middle East in which the intolerable presence of the Zionist regime is eliminated? Do the Arab world uprisings imply the isolation of Israel and increase the chances of its being dissolved? Reports associated with the CIA imply that Israel cannot survive for longer than 20 years. Do you agree with this prediction?

FL: Absolutely I do. The 19th Century Zionist colonial enterprise was grafted onto Palestine under a series of truly bizarre coincidences that could never be sustained. Of course the Zionist movement was well funded and well-armed and the colonial powers, particularly Britain was in no position to fulfill even their League of Nations mandate. Their occupation was co-opted by Zionist forces while at the same time the exhausted post-World War II international community was simply not interested in being an honest broker in the struggle between the indigenous Palestinian population and the arriving foreign European colonists.

Both the CIA and the politicians in Israel see the historical handwriting on the wall. Israel will not collapse peacefully but it will dissolve. Hopefully the colonists who came from Europe and America will return whence they came or will agree to live as equals with the native population of Palestinians in a democratic, secular state governed by one person one vote and without discrimination based on any religion.

Another process we are witnessing is the increasingly universal rejection of the illegitimate State in Palestine by the Western, including the American, public who are becoming more educated about what really happened during the 1948 Nakba and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Previously many blindly accepted the continuous recitation by the international Zionist Hasbara distributors that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people with a land.” Not many people believe this anymore as the growing BDS and other human rights campaigns aimed at delegitimizing Israel are illustrating.

Six decades of serial crimes by Israel has educated the World that establishing an apartheid State on stolen Arab land was an historic and moral mistake and in not sustainable. Sooner perhaps rather than later the CIA predictions will likely come to pass.

KZ: What’s your idea about the destiny of the revolutions in the Middle East? What are the implications of this wave of uprisings for the United States and its European allies? Iranian authorities say that the Middle East revolutions are modeled on Iran’s 1979 revolution. Do you agree with them?

FL: To comment of the last part of your question first, I would not go as far as to say that the 1979 Iranian Revolution provided an exact template for what is occurring now, 32 years later. But I strongly believe that the Iranian revolution is a fundamental cause of the 2011 uprisings. Firstly, we often hear some argue that the current rebellions are all about bread and butter issues and are not motivated by religion. I don’t agree. While the issues expressed on the streets have been largely those we discussed above, I think a fundamental factor that initiated what we are witnessing is Islam. Islam is all about justice and sacrifice for the commonweal of the community, the Ummah. Islam is about the dignity of the individual. I believe that Islam provided the inspiration and the strength of the populations involved in each of these historic uprisings to preserve in the fact of brutal repression and to develop a resistance culture to preserve until victory.

Consider how each Friday the prayers in the Mosques and Husaynieh’s [religious buildings constructed for the congregation of worshippers] in the region provided the opportunity to gather, to mutually inspire, to rededicate, to plan and to support the rebellions. Every Friday became a day of renewed resistance to oppression. From my point of view this is what Islam is all about; dignity of the individual, the quest for justice in the face of oppression, individual freedom and resistance to injustice and oppression until victory. Without the power of Islam I do not think these rebellions would have ignited as we have witnessed them, nor would they be succeeding as they are.

I think it is very difficult to exaggerate the positive consequences for scores of million of freedom seeking people in the region resulting from the great Islamic and Arab Awakening of 2011.

While those who are freeing themselves from dictators correctly realize that counter-revolutions have begun to hijack their rebellions ad turn back their achievements, so much work and perseverance in required, the region will never return to the hegemonic repression of the past 100 years.

The United States, in large measure due to its installment of dictators, now finally being toppled by their repressed peoples, its theft and exploitation of natural resources in the region, and its wars against the civilian populations in the region, is being expelled along with its allies.

It remains to be seen if in the future in the United States can reengage with Iran and the new order in the Middle East. If it does it will have to be on the basis of mutual respect and fair dealing with each of t`he countries in the region.

 

 

Kourosh Ziabari
Kourosh Ziabari

 

 

Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist, and regular contributor to RamallahOnline.com. More articles by Kourosh Ziabari can be found here.

Egypt: A Virtual Smoking Gun?

Maidhc Ó Cathail

Maidhc Ó Cathail, 6 March 2011

On January 12, 2009, US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James K. Glassman joined a group of Egyptian political bloggers from the Virtual Newsroom of the American University in Cairo. Is this the “virtual” smoking gun that indicates American collusion in the subsequent ouster of Hosni Mubarak?

Less than two months earlier, Glassman and Jared Cohen from Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff had given an on-the-record briefing on the State Department’s alliance with ten partners in the private sector—including Facebook, Google, MTV, AT&T, Howcast, Access 360 Media—to form the Alliance for Youth Movements (AYM). During that briefing, Glassman singled out Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement for special mention, saying that some of its members would be in attendance at the inaugural AYM youth summit in New York from December 3-5. Asked about “the risk of unleashing something here that is going to come back to bite you, especially with our allies,” Glassman replied: “We are very supportive of pro-democracy groups around the world. And sometimes, that puts us at odds with certain governments.”

When pressed by the questioner, Glassman explained: “Now, we have to work with those governments. And let me also just say, there’s a difference on an operational level between public—what we do in public diplomacy and what is often done in official diplomacy. We are communicating and engaging at the level of the public, not at the level of officials. So you know, it certainly is possible that some of these governments will not be all that happy that—at what we’re doing, but that’s what we do in public diplomacy.”

After Jared Cohen pointed out that the organizations that are coming together online form “a new kind of civil society organization” that eventually leads to a “transformation,” Glassman acknowledged that the US government has “been engaging with such civil society organizations in places like Egypt for a long time.”

As Al Jazeera revealed in a behind the scenes look at Egypt’s non-violent coup, the State Department-backed April 6 Youth Movement did indeed play a crucial role in that “transformation,” through organizing and directing the protests that toppled America’s erstwhile ally Mubarak. The April 6 leaders also received training from the Belgrade-based Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), which works closely with the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). The ICNC was founded and funded entirely by Peter Ackerman, the multi-millionaire junk bond “teflon guy,” who chaired Freedom House between 2005 and 2009. Freedom House is funded in part by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US government-sponsored neoconservative-led regime change specialists.

On April 19, 2010, Ackerman attended an event entitled “Cyber-Dissidents and Political Change” sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute, which Glassman has headed since September 3, 2009. “Inspired by President and Mrs. Bush’s unwavering commitment to freedom for all people,” its website states, “the Bush Institute works to embolden dissidents and freedom advocates, creating a powerful network for moral support and education.” Among the cyber-dissidents in attendance at its Dallas event were Rodrigo Diamanti from Venezuela; Arash Kamangir, from Iran; Oleg Kozlovsky, from Russia; Ernesto Hernández Busto, from Cuba (who lives in Barcelona); Isaac Mao, from China; and Ahed Alhendi, from Syria. Clearly, some people are seen as more deserving of Mr. and Mrs. Bush’s freedom advocacy than others.

In 2007, Glassman became chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a US government agency that provides propaganda to overseas audiences via the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti). Norman J. Pattiz, the “founding father” of Radio Sawa, which is increasingly popular in Egypt, sits on BBG’s board. Pattiz is also on the national board of the Israel Policy Forum, which is “committed to a strong and enduring U.S.-Israel relationship and to advancing the shared interests of the United States and the State of Israel.” Its Israeli Advisory Council is comprised of prominent figures from Israel’s military and intelligence establishment, mostly notably David Kimche, who was once described as “Israel’s leading spy and would-be Mossad chief.” According to a Washington Report profile, “The ‘man with the suitcase,’ as Kimche became known by colleagues in Israel, would appear in an African country a day or two before a major coup, and leave a week later after the new regime was firmly in control, often with the aid of Israeli security teams.”

Prior to his involvement with “democracy promotion,” Glassman was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative propaganda mill that pushed the concept of a “global war on terror” primarily to advance the national interest of Israel. While there, he founded The American, a magazine of ideas for business leaders, and was its editor-in-chief from 2005 to 2007. Evidently, Glassman’s neocon paymasters were not put off by his unenviable financial track record. In his 1999 book, Dow 36,000, written shortly before the dot-com bubble burst, he predicted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would rise to 36,000 within a few years. Commenting on the “hysteria” that fueled the deregulation-induced financial crisis nine years later, Ralph Nader singled out Glassman’s bestseller, joking that he would send it back to Glassman with one of the zeros missing.

Let’s hope that the Egyptian activists who put their faith in Glassman’s “public diplomacy” haven’t a similar rude awakening in store.

Maidhc Ó Cathail

Maidhc Ó Cathail

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer living in Japan. Maidhc Ó Cathail writes extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East. In addition to writing a monthly column for a popular Irish language magazine, his work has been published in Antiwar.com, Arab News, Foreign Policy Journal, Forward Magazine, Information Clearing House, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Khaleej Times, Middle East Monitor, Pakistan Observer, Palestine Chronicle, RamallahOnline, Tehran Times, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and many more. He is a regular contributor to RamallahOnline.com.

To read more of his writing, go to Maidhc Ó Cathail: Writing and Analysis.

What is Winning? The Next Phase for the Revolutionary Uprisings

Hosni Mubarak facing the Tunisia domino effect (Carlos Latuff)

Hosni Mubarak facing the Tunisia domino effect (Carlos Latuff)

Hosni Mubarak facing the Tunisia domino effect (Carlos Latuff)

Richard Falk, 24 Feb 2011

Early in the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings it seemed that winning was understood by the massed demonstrators to mean getting rid of the hated leader, of Ben Ali in the Tunisian case, and Mubarak in the Egyptian. But as the process deepened it make clear that more was being demanded and expected, and that this had to do with restoring the material and spiritual dignity of life in all its aspects.

Without any assurance as to what ‘winning’ means in the setting of the extraordinary revolutionary uprisings that are continuing to rock the established order throughout the Arab world, it is likely to mean different things in the various countries currently in turmoil. But at the very least winning has so far meant challenging by determined and incredibly brave nonviolence the oppressive established order. This victory over long reigns of fear-induced pacification is itself a great transformative moment in 21st century history no matter what happens in the months ahead.

As Chandra Muzaffar, the widely respected Malaysian scholar who  religion and justice, compelling argues, the replacement of the old order by electoral democracy, while impressive as an accomplishment given the dictatorial rule of the past in these countries, will not be nearly enough to vindicate the sacrifices of the protestors. It is significantly better than those worst case scenarios that insist that the future will bring dismal varieties of ‘Mubarakism without Mubarak,’ which would change the faces and names of the rulers but leave the oppressive and exploitative regimes essentially in tact. This would definitely be a pyrrhic victory, given the hopes and demands that motivated the courageous political challenges embodied in withstanding without weapons the clubs, rubber bullets, live ammunition, and overall brutality, as well as the uncertainty as to what the soldiers in the streets would do when the order to open fire at the demonstrators came from the beleaguered old guard.

What is needed beyond constitutional democracy is the substantive realization of good and equitable governance: this includes, above all, people-oriented economic policies, an end to corruption, and the protection of human rights, including especially economic and social rights.  Such an indispensable agenda recognizes that the primary motivation of many of the demonstrators was related to their totally alienating entrapment in a jobless future combined with the daily struggle to obtain the bare necessities of a tolerable life.

 

There is present here both questions of domestic political will and governmental capability to redirect the productive resources and distributive policies of the society. How much political space is available to alter the impositions of neoliberal globalization that was responsible for reinforcing, if not inducing, the grossly inequitable and corrupting impact of the world economy on the structuring of domestic privilege and deprivation? Not far in the background is an extended global recession that may be deepened in coming months due to alarming increases in commodity prices, especially food. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization the world Food Price Index reached a record high in December 2010, a level exceeded by another 3% rise in January of this year. Lester Brown, a leading expert on world food and environment, wrote a few days ago that “[t]he world is now one poor harvest away from chaos in world grain markets.” [International Herald Tribune, Feb 23, 2011]

 

With political turmoil threatening world energy supplies, oil prices are also surging, allegedly further endangering the uneven and fragile economic recovery in the United States and Europe. Global warming adds a further troubling feature to this deteriorating situation, with droughts, floods, fires, and storms making it difficult to maintain crop yields, much increase food production to meet increasing demands of the world’s growing population.

 

These impinging realities will greatly complicate the already formidable difficulties facing new leaders throughout the Arab world seeking with a sense of urgency to create job opportunities and affordable supplies of food for their citizenries. This challenge is intensified by the widely shared high expectations of improved living circumstances. If the autocratic prior regime was held responsible for mass impoverishment of the many and the scandalously excessive enrichment of the few, is it not reasonable to suppose that the more democratic successor governments should establish without much delay greatly improved living conditions? And further, how could it be claimed that the heroic uprising was worthwhile if the quality of life of ordinary citizens, previously struggling to avert the torments of impoverishment, does not start improving dramatically almost immediately? An understandably impatient public may not give their new leaders the time that need, given these conditions, to make adjustments that will begin to satisfy these long denied hopes and needs. Perhaps, the public will be patient if there are clear signs that the leaders are trying their hardest and even if actual progress is slow, there is some evidence that the material conditions of the populace are, at least, on an ascending slope.

 

Even if the public is patient beyond reason, and understands better than can be prudently expected, the difficulties of achieving economic justice during a period of transition to a new framework of governance, there may be still little or no capacity to fulfill public expectations due to the impact of these worsening global conditions.  It is quite possible that if the worst food/energy scenarios unfold, famines and food riots could occur, casting dark shadows of despair across memories of these historic victories that made the initial phases of each national uprising such a glowing testament to the human spirit, which seemed miraculously undaunted by decades of oppression and abuse.

 

It needs also to be kept in mind that often the slogans of the demonstrators highlighted a thirst for freedom and rights. Even though there is little experience of democratic practice throughout the region, there will likely be a serious attempt by new governing institutions to distinguish their practices from those of their hated forebears, and allow for the exercise of all forms of oppositional activity, including freedom of expression, assembly, and party formation. Unlike the problems associated with creating jobs and providing for material needs, the establishment of the atmosphere of a free society is within the physical capacities of a new leadership if the political will exists to assume the unfamiliar risks associated with democratic practices. We must wait and see how each new leadership handles these normative challenges of transition. It remains to be seen as to whether the difficulties of transition are intensified by counterrevolutionary efforts to maintain or restore the old deforming structures and privileges. These efforts are likely to be aided and abetted by a range of covert collaborative undertakings joining external actors with those internal forces threatened by impending political change.

 

And if this overview was not discouraging enough, there is one further consideration. As soon as the unifying force of getting rid of the old leadership is eroded, if not altogether lost, fissures within the oppositions are certain to emerge. There will be fundamental differences as between radical and liberal approaches to transition, and especially whether to respect the property rights and social hierarchies associated with the old regime, or to seek directly to correct the injustices and irregularities of the past. Some critics of the Mandela approach to reconciliation and transition in South Africa believe that his acceptance of the social and economic dimensions of the repudiated apartheid structure have resulted in a widely felt sense of revolutionary disappointment, if not betrayal, in South Africa.

 

There will also be tactical and strategic differences about how to deal with the world economy, especially with respect to creating stability and attractive conditions for foreign investment. It is here that tensions emerge as between safeguarding labor rights and making investors feel that their operations will remain profitable in the new political environment.

 

This recitation of difficulties is not meant to detract attention from or to in any way diminish the glorious achievements of the revolutionary uprisings, but to point to the unfinished business that must be addressed if revolutionary aspirations are going to be able to avoid disillusionment. So often revolutionary gains are blunted or even lost shortly after the old oppressors have been dragged from the stage of history. If ever there exists the need for vigilance it at these times when the old order is dying and the new order is struggling to be born. As Gramsci warned long ago this period of inbetweeness is vulnerable to a wide range of predatory tendencies. It is a time when unscrupulous elements can repress anew even while waving a revolutionary banner and shouting slogans about defending the revolution against its enemies. And a difficulty here is that the enemies may well be real as well as darkly imagined. How many revolutions in the past have been lost due to the machinations of their supposed guardians?

 

Let us fervently hope that the mysteries of the digital age will somehow summon the creative energy to manage the transition to sustainable and substantive democracy as brilliantly as it earlier staged the revolutionary uprisings.

Richard Falk

Richard Falk

 

Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Visit his blog at https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/ for more articles. This article was posted with permission from the author.

 

New Truths For Those With Eyes To See

Dr. Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson, 16 Feb 2011

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.” “Enjoy” is actually a strange word to use here. The Israelis regularly violate U.S. law by using American weapons against Palestinian civilians and have on occasion sold American military equipment and information to less than friendly third parties. The Jordanians are significant to Washington only to the extent that they keep Israel’s eastern border quiet while the Zionists ravage the West Bank. So, what’s to enjoy?

Just before his February 14th meeting with the Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mullen noted that “the connection and relationship with the Israeli Defense Forces goes back decades.” The implication here is that this history makes the relationship a strong and lasting one. That probably did not reassure the Israelis very much, for they are were shocked at how readily Washington dropped its support for Hosni Mubarak after a “connection and relationship” that went back thirty years. Actually, that reversal on the part of Washington is a fine and sobering lesson for the rulers in Jerusalem. Nothing lasts forever. The odds are good that in, say the next three decades, U.S. readiness to drop support of Zionist apartheid might be politically feasible, maybe even probable.

Nonetheless, Peres hid the anxiety that reportedly pervades the Israeli elites, and told Mullen, “for us, the US is the best friend we have….The greatness of the U.S. is that you draw strength from giving and not from taking.” What a odd but also revealing thing to say! The truth is that with just a few exceptions, such as the reactionary government temporarily in power in Canada, the U.S. is just about the only devoted friend Israel has. On the other hand, Peres hit the nail on the head about the U.S. giving rather than taking. Washington gives modern, developed, high tech Israel more “foreign aid” that any other country. We give Israel billions in aid even as our own people’s needs go unfulfilled and our debt grows ever greater. And, as Peres points out, we get almost nothing from them. If the truth be known, Israel as a “strategic asset” is greatly overblown. The greatest thing Israel has ever given to the U.S. is an added incentive for al-Qaeda’s September11th attacks.

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.

Regardless of Admiral Mullen’s reassurances, realistic leaders with smart advisers work on the premise that things inevitably change and you need to prepare for reasonable contingencies. If Israel’s leaders want to know what their reasonable contingencies might be, they should consult the prognostications of one of their own moderates, Daniel Levy of the New America Foundation. In a 13 February 2011 piece he tells the Israelis that they can expect: the eventual end of the closure of Gaza, the tamping down of Egyptian belligerency toward Iran, and no more Egyptian support of that long running farce known as the “peace process.” Nor will Egypt be turning a blind eye to Israel’s illegal colonization process on the West Bank. While Egypt won’t express any of this in saber rattling way, its diplomats around the world and at the UN will soon adjust their voice to a wholly new tune.

The sad thing is that Israel has almost no capacity to positively adjust to any of these changes much less meet them half way for the sake of real peace. They do not have the eyes to see the new truths in front of them because Israeli foreign policy does not reference foreign reality. Rather it is an expression of domestic pressures and ambitions, and those have long been shaped by a driving sense of manifest destiny that has countenanced the theft and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land. By the way the same situation exists in Washington. American foreign policy only rarely references foreign reality. Perhaps President Obama’s instruction to the Egyptian generals not to kill their own people with American weapons was one of those rare moments. However, Admiral Mullen’s quick trip to Israel was a sure sign that business had returned to normal and the U.S. was back to shaping its foreign policy to the demands of its powerful domestic Zionist lobby.

Each of us perceives the world from our own “domestic” perspective. Yet success is most often a function of how close our actions coincide with the reality outside of us, in that complex world, both natural and human, over which we have no assured control. To act successfully in the world we must be able to get perceive beyond the domestic blinkers and come to know the foreign reality that surrounds us. You might have noticed that Hosni Mubarak could not do this. Some day the Israeli elites, bound as they are to their myopic ideology, might share his fate.

Dr. Lawrence Davidson

Dr. Lawrence Davidson

Dr. Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University. He is the author of numerous books, including Islamic Fundamentalism and America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood.

The author is a regular contributor to RamallahOnline.com.More articles can be found on RamallahOnline.com, Logos Journal, and Dr. Davidson also maintains an online blog, you can find it at http://www.tothepointanalyses.com