Category: Middle East Written by Kurnia MH and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Den Haag, 23 Jumadil Akhir 1435/23 April 2014 (MINA) – The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said, Wednesday, Syria has removed 86.5 percent of its total chemical weapons stockpile.
OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said on Tuesday that a new chemical consignment was delivered to the Syrian port of Latakia. Press TV reported as quoted by Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
Tuesday’s batch, according to The Hague-based organization, brought to 17 the total number of Syria’s chemical consignments that have been shipped out of the country so far.
“This latest consignment is encouraging,” Uzumcu said in a statement, adding, “We hope that the remaining two or three consignments are delivered quickly to permit destruction operations to get underway in time to meet the midyear deadline for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons.”
Syria has vowed that all of its chemical weapons would be eliminated by June 30.
On September 14, 2013, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal under which Syria would have its chemical weapons eliminated and the US would in return not carry out planned strikes on the Arab country.
The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on August 21, 2013.
Damascus vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. (T/P012/P04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 17:33
Category: Palestine Written by Rina A and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Gaza, 23 Jumadil Akhir 1435/23 April 1435 (MINA) - After being hampered by Israeli soldiers block in the Erez border, Fatah party as well as other parties delegation finally entered the Gaza Strip on Tuesday afternoon for reconciliation meetings.
Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)’s correspondent in Gaza reported that a delegation led by Azam Al-Ahmad and Mustafa Barghouti arrived in the Gaza Strip at 7 pm Gaza local time greeted by Palestinian officials, such as the Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad and the Hamas government spokesman, Taher Nunu.
In a press conference upon his arrival at Erez, Azam al-Ahmad said that the delegation arrival this time is not for dialogue but to implement what has been agreed at previous meetings.
"I insist we should immediately resolve this split and together we carry out what was agreed by all Palestinian factions without exception and prominent figures independent state," said Azam.
He continued as saying, "We want a sovereign state of Palestine as a whole with Al-Quds as its capital, the Palestinians can not be broken apart by any power.”
Azam asserted, the reconciliation visit not on behalf of one faction, but delegates who formed the Palestinian government on March 31 meeting.
"I saw there's seriousness and sincere intentions of both sides, it makes me optimistic that the internal Palestinian unity could be achieved" he added.
Furthermore Azam said it opposed any form of ongoing Judaization Projects on the old city Al-Quds (Yerusalem) and Islamic holy site Al-Aqsa mosque by Israel, and called for more action so that it could get out of the difficulties that have been caused by the occupation forces.
"We are one country, one nation, and none of the power in this world able to cut this sacred bond," said Azam.
After the press conference, the delegation immediately visited the residence of Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp, Gaza City.(L/KJ/P03/P04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:33
Category: Opinion Written by Barry Grossman and edited by Syarif Hidayat
“Towards an Understanding of US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Oil factor.” (Part 3 of 3)
by Barry Grossman*
President Obama’s 3rd proposition is a reformulation of the Carter Doctrine written by President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski as a marginal refinement of Truman’s Soviet policy triggered by the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Carter Doctrine declared that:
“An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, extended the policy in October 1981 with what is sometimes called the "Reagan Corollary to the Carter Doctrine", which proclaimed that the United States would intervene to protect Saudi Arabia, whose security was threatened after the Iran–Iraq War's outbreak. Thus, while the Carter Doctrine warned away outside forces from the region, the Reagan Corollary pledged to secure internal stability. According to diplomat Howard Teicher: "with the enunciation of the Reagan Corollary, the policy ground work was laid for Operation Desert Storm."
Oil is much too strategic to be left in the hand of the Arabs
As the iconic Gomer Pyle often liked to say, “surprise, surprise, surprise;” Brzezinski who was instrumental in America’s decision to embrace Osama bin Laden when it was tactically useful to do so in the early 80’s, is also an advisor to President Obama. The formulation of Obama’s 3rd proposition now abandons any all concern with the now defunct Soviet Union or even with “outside force” and restates that part of the Carter Doctrine concerned with securing US interests in Middle East oil & gas in much the same spirit Nixon’s National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is reputed to have expressed the matter when he said:
"Oil is much too important a commodity to be left in the hand of the Arabs".
“Surprise, surprise, surprise;” like Brzezinski, Kissinger has also recently come out of the shadows to stamp his imprimatur on US foreign policy in the Middle East. On the other hand, long before as George W. Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney became one of the main architects of the 2003 Iraq Invasion and long after he had joined Donald Rumsfeld’s staff in the Nixon administration, back in1990 as George H. Bush’s Secretary of Defence, Cheney also said:
"Whoever controls the flow of Persian Gulf oil has a stranglehold not only on our economy but also on the other countries of the world as well."
There is now a clear symmetry in the US positions on securing the “free flow of [other peoples’] oil and in propping up and securing compliant governments in that as formulated by Obama, neither is in any way necessarily concerned with whether any perceived threat to US interests is external, unlawful or illegitimate.
Regarding the way US concerns for its core interests tends to play out, the observations of Robert Fisk, writing for “The Independent” about the belligerent 2003 US military strike on Iraq War come to mind:
"The sheer violence of it, the howl of air raid sirens and the air-cutting fall of the missiles carried its own political message; not just to President Saddam but to the rest of the world. We are the superpower, those explosions said last night. This is how we do business."
Apparently Obama is no less concerned with showing the world that the US is the dominant super power although he apparently prefers that, in pursuing its NWO aims, that the US influence, cajole, threaten and destabilise noncompliant governments by any available means other than an open declaration of war. To Obama, all such tactics apparently fall within what he considers to be the “political process.” I suppose that is some kind of marginal “change we can believe in” even if it falls very far short of what we are entitled to.
The War on Terror:
Obama’s the 4th proposition restates the US commitment to waging a perpetual “War on Terror.” The US political/security apparatus, took the opportunity created by 9-11 to elevate the so-called “War on Terror” to the apex of its both its domestic and foreign policy pyramids. The opportunistic structural changes wrought on the strength of this disingenuous “War on Terror” through successive administrations make it clear that “policy” has come to rule the roost in America’s vast and all powerful security apparatus at the expense of the “Rule of Law” which the US had long professed to embrace as a corner stone in its system of governance. The US has made it very clear that there is no room for legal niceties in this post 9-11 world when dealing with anyone perceived as a threat to “The American Way.”
If we analyse the various policy statements and underlying Congressional Enactments related to the issue, it can hardly be contested that the concept of terrorism which was already expanded under President Clinton with the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995, has now been defined by lois scélérates laws so broadly as to potentially encompass any act, statement or political position which can be perceived as a threat to the political status quo. [see, for example: Executive Order 13224, signed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 23, 2001; 66 Fed. Reg. 49,079 (Sept. 23, 2001); The 2001 PATRIOT Act) (amended March 2006); Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-296]
(18 U.S. Code § 2331 – Definitions. As used in this chapter—
(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;
The United States Patriot Act, merely states:
“For crimes to be defined as terrorist acts the government must show that they were calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion or to retaliate against government conduct.)
FBI clandestine CoIntel Program
The underlying political philosophy is of course eerily similar to that implicit in the FBI’s long running, clandestine CoIntel Program (acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) which was used to sabotage and criminalize the very political dissent, often by state sanctioned criminal means, which the current political establishment likes to hold up as an example of what is presented as America’s abiding concern with freedom and human rights. Bearing in mind the long history of criminalising dissent in America, it is not surprising that in the US, terrorism has been largely reframed from not only being a domestic crime but, more importantly, to selectively being considered an International act of war which, real or imagined, justifies any unilateral US military response against those who are deemed to have somehow been behind any terrorist act.
The calculated post 9-11 expansion of the term terrorism to potentially embrace any domestic or foreign threat to the US establishment’s preferred New World Order occurred as the US conception of National Security also went through a similar equally calculated expansion. Of course neither tactic had anything to do with the relatively minor issue of global terrorism. In that regard, when compared to than the 1 or 2 who US civilians who sadly are from time to time victims of terrorism which is not itself associated with US created war zones, orders of magnitude more Americans die each year by falling out of bed (around 450 Americans each year), by having vending machines fall on them (13 Americans a year), lightening strikes (roughly 93 Americans a year), dog bites (roughly 34 Americans each year), bee stings (about 50 Americans each year) texting while driving (6,000 Americans each year) and by strangling themselves while masturbating (approximately 500 Americans each year).
Apparently, on average 6 Americans are accidentally killed each year by a ball or bat while playing or watching baseball. Should the US government use this statistical anomaly to restructure the entire social, political and legal framework in order to eliminate this marginal risk faced by the 43% of Americans who according to surveys enjoy baseball? (Rahul Mahajan, Indian author: "It is very difficult to explain to an Iraqi that a man fighting from his own town with a Kalashnikov or RPG launcher is a 'coward' and a 'war criminal' (because, apparently, he should go out into the desert and wait to be annihilated from the sky) but that someone dropping 2000-pound bombs on residential areas or shooting at ambulances because they may have guns in them (even though they usually don't) is a hero and is following the laws of war.")
Not a single American civilian killed by Muslims
While the 2011 National Counterterrorism Center report claimed that 17 Americans were killed by terrorism in 2011 and 15 in 2010, NCTC reports typically fail to emphasize that US civilians killed by terrorism outside of the US overwhelmingly met their fate in US created war zones and that the only two incidents between 2005 and 2011 which resulted in Americans being killed in the US involved military personnel rather than civilians. The hidden reality is that, between 2005 and 2011, not a single civilian was killed in the U.S. by Muslim terrorists. Terrorism hardly represents a legitimate concern for waging perpetual wars and running roughshod over civil liberties, the sovereignty of other nations and the very “rule-of-law” which the US has long purported to subscribe to as a corner stone of its system of governance.
Rather than being genuinely concerned with terrorism, the irrational redefinition of “terrorism” and “national security” was clearly an opportunistic tactic used to help steer the course through the end game in America’s decades long endeavour to impose a global order which subordinates both domestic and foreign social, political and economic issues to US interests which are seen as advanced primarily through the global machinations of nominally US and, to a lesser extent, European based corporate conglomerates. Meanwhile, since 2011, the US has been anything but coy about supporting groups and individuals considered by the US security establishment to be terrorists in order to advance US geopolitical tactics in the region. Even the apathetic US public has increasingly come to believe that the main threat from terrorism in the world today comes from the US military/security establishment itself and the shady elements it contracts from time to time to literally execute operations which, for legal and political reasons, it cannot carry out itself.
By equating corporate profits with National Security and political dissent with terrorism, the US political apparatus has stepped the world “through the looking glass” and dropped any pretence of being primarily concerned about its US constituents or legitimacy and crated a false pretext for using military force against other nations virtually at will.
The absurdity of American politics
Returning to President Obama’s UN speech, his 4th proposition should be understood as a declaration that, without any overriding concern for the laws or sovereignty of other nations, the US will, at its own absolute discretion, continue to use agitation, bribery, intimidation, threats, military force and, yes, even terrorism, to target any person, group or network considered by the US security apparatus to be hostile to the global political, social and economic order championed by the United States. In a nutshell, Obama’s open ended threat has very little all to do with what most people understand terrorism and national security to mean.
Non-proliferation, Armaments and Maintaining US Military Supremacy:
Obama’s 5th tenet is a self-serving declaration of the longstanding US position which manifests elements of all four columns that hold up the structure of US foreign policy, while giving strength to the 5th column of Zionism. An almost identical expression of this tenet can be found in George W. Bush’s infamous “Axis of Terror” speech, in which the current false pretence of Syrian chemical weapons and the contrived threat of non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons were foreshadowed by Bush with identical allegations against Iraq that have long since been exposed as disingenuous and categorically false.
That such a statement from Obama was politically compulsory highlights the absurdity of American politics. The statement was of course addressed directly at Iran and clearly intended to demonstrate Obama’s strength in dealing with the “straw man” threat constructed by hawkish and Zionist elements within the US political apparatus which have long been manoeuvring to draw the US into a full scale pre-emptive war against Iran with contrived pretences.
The contrived nature of the US position is highlighted by several incontestable facts:
1.Unlike Israel, Iran has long been a signatory in good standing to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That treat not only guarantees Iran’s right to develop nuclear technology for non-military uses (e.g. power and medical application) but also entitles Iran to insist that other signatory countries share their nuclear technology with Iran in order to facilitate the achievement of its non-military nuclear aspirations. Of course, it is axiomatic that a country which advances a non-military nuclear program will, at the same time, advance its potential capacity to use nuclear technology for military purposes and there is always the possibility that at some point, a political decision will be made to take the country into a military nuclear program. But the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is concerned with facts, not possibilities, and the compliance regime signatory countries submit to largely insure that any attempt by a country to “break out” from the stricture of its system will be quickly detected. Despite increasing politicalization of the International Atomic Energy Commission with members like Director-General Yukiya Amano and Geoffrey R. Pyatt (who is now very active in interfering in the affairs of other nations as US Ambassador to Ukraine) have demonstrated their willingness to make dubious statements calculated to support the long standing anti-Iran agenda being advanced by hawks and Zionist elements both within and from outside the US, the hard facts cannot be disputed though they are rarely stated. Since at least 2007, the consensus of opinion among the 16 US Intelligence Agencies even as even as recently restated by James R. Clapper Jr., and echoed by, among others, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, David H. Petraeus, Leon E. Panetta, is that:
a.In 2003 Iran abandoned any military nuclear program which it was then reputed to have. In the now declassified words of Clapper, “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.”
b.There is no hard evidence that Iran is building a nuclear bomb and the political decision making apparatus in Iran has not decided to pursue any such program. Even Israeli sources concur– as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Defense Minister Ehud Barak indicated recently that Iran has NOT decided to build a nuclear bomb.
c.If Iran decided to “break out” it would take at the very least 3 years to build a deliverable nuclear bomb and any attempts to do so would certainly be detected before a bomb was built.
Of course there is a great deal of improper pressure from both Zionist and Hawkish elements to vilify Iran and rally the US to military action which, in turn, has seen a not so subtle shift in emphasis by mainstream the US media from accusing Iran of actually “building nukes” to instead accusing it of aiming to achieve “a capacity to build nukes.”
This spin, of course, ignores the fact that there is no evidence to support even these modest allegations, and any latent capability to build nukes is an incidental consequence of Iran exercising its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology. As one pundit has commented, the media’s rhetorical shift from accusing Iran of “building” nukes to seeking a “capacity to build” them is reminiscent of Bush’s sleight of hand when he went from talking about Iraq’s supposed WMD “stockpiles” to its WMD “programs” – after it turned out there were no WMD stockpiles.
The Israeli weapons of mass destruction
2.Israel has long been one of the world’s major nuclear powers. It achieved and has maintained it nuclear super power status by thumbing its nose at every international convention which deals with the issue of nuclear proliferation. It has for decades controlled a dispersed arsenal reputed to comprise some 250 nuclear and neutron war heads mounted on advanced delivery systems, many of which are said to be targeted at every major European capital as part of its Samson Option. In addition, Israel has a well developed arsenal of chemical weapons, some of which it has used against civilians in the region. Unlike Iran, Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and therefore in terms of this important issue, a rogue state. Nevertheless, the US position on Israel’s nuclear capacity has, since the Nixon administration, essentially been that if Israel does not admit having what the world knows it to have, the US will presume that which it knows to be false, viz, and that Israel is in compliance with the International System.
3.India, Pakistan and Korea have long had a nuclear capacity and advanced delivery systems yet despite being arguably more inherently unstable than Iran has ever been, none of them has ever demonstrated any inclination to use this capacity. The idea that any country which develops a nuclear capability will necessarily become more of a threat it was without them is not borne out by history or by logic. The reality in fact seems to be quite different in that countries which may before developing a nuclear capacity have been quite bellicose in criticising their perceived enemies, once developing this ultimate destructive capacity, suddenly find themselves in a position where in the increased relatively security afforded by their nuclear capability, they suddenly have to confront the reality that they are in a position to make good on their rhetorical threats and therefore almost invariably end up toning down their threats.
Iran is not threat to Israel
Even if Iran was both willing and able to create atomic weapons, which at this point it is not, it would hardly represent the doomsday scenario war advocates suggest. The likelihood of Iran actually using such weapons is very slim. “Nothing about the history of nuclear weapons suggests any likelihood of a nuclear Iran using such weapons for anything but a deterrent” and “[n]othing about the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East suggests that another pre-emptive war in that region would be anything other than an unmitigated catastrophe.” As numerous top Israeli officials have noted, the Iranian leadership — even if it did have nuclear weapons — would hardly represent an existential threat to the Jewish state.
Of course the real cause for concern is not that Iran might actually use a nuclear weapon should it decide to make and eventually build one but rather that should Iran get a nuclear bomb, US client state of Egypt will develop its own nuclear weapon, and the US client state of Saudi Arabia will purchase one from the US client state of Pakistan. Even Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, director of political-military affairs at the Israeli Defense Ministry, has issued public statement about this. According to him, “The Arabs will not tolerate the Persians having the bomb. From the moment the Iranians get the bomb, the Egyptians have the resources, capability and knowhow to achieve nuclear capabilities, and the Saudis will run to buy the bomb from the Pakistanis with a ‘member’s discount,’” Turning his villainous sights to Syria, Gilad said there was “no military threat to the north. The Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah allow the Assad regime to survive with artificial life-support. There is no Syrian state, but there is a regime. And there’s a difficult humanitarian problem. I’d like to officially declare Syria dead, but the date of the funeral is not yet known.”
The hard facts are that apart from some lunatic perma-hawks driving the Israeli-AIPAC-CFR hard-line and who are ranting that Iran could produce a warhead with 6 to 14 weeks, the accepted view is that the very best/worst case scenario Iran could engineer should it elect to do so, is the capacity to produce a very modest yield warhead in 1 to 1.5 years. But practically speaking, should Iran decide to start a nuclear weapons program (which it has not), it is in fact several years away from being able produce a bomb, let alone a delivery system. Meanwhile Israel has more than 220 deliverable nukes with zero transparency, accountability or international compliance. (T/BG/E01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
*Barry Grossman received his B.Comm. from the University of Calgary in 1984 and an LLB from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987. After working as a litigator at a major commercial law firm in Toronto, he was recruited to teach at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Law in Australia. He later worked for several years as a commercial litigation consultant to the national firm of Freehill, Hollingdale & Page before later taking up a full time lectureship at Monash University’s Faculty of Law. Mr. Grossman has written extensively on various legal subjects and is a frequent commentator on political affairs. He is often interviewed by Press TV and Sahar TV.He has resided in Indonesia since 1999 and spent long periods of time in several countries, including Germany, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia and Thailand. Mr. Grossman is a Muslim.
This article was written for the Indonesian based international news service, Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as requested by MINA Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Syarif Hidayat. The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MINA.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:17
Category: Palestine Written by Rana Abu Abdurrahman and Edited by Syarif Hidayat
Cairo, 23 Jumadil Akhir 1435/23 April 2014 (MINA) - Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Nabil al-Arabi said Tuesday the UN Secretary Council adopts double standards when handling resolutions involving Israel.
Al-Arabi referred to the US’ veto on resolutions obliging Israel to withdraw from the Arab lands occupied since 1967, WAFA, Palestinian News & Info Agency quoted by Mi’rj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
He said the Arab countries decided to “change the way of dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; to work on ending the conflict instead of just managing it through managing the current negotiations slated to end on April 29.
He added talks are underway to examine extending the negotiations based on clear grounds to be set by the Palestinian leadership, which “will very soon take serious decisions in this regard.”
Al-Arabi made these comments in response to Arab parliamentarians’ questions on the latest political developments of the Palestinian cause and the human rights situations in the Arab World during the first hearing session of the Arab Parliament at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.
According to Kuwait News Agency, speaker of the Arab parliament Ahmad Al-Jarwan stressed that, 'the Arab Parliament will not stop supporting or exerting efforts to find a just and comprehensive solution to ]the Palestinian cause[.'
Assessing Israel's current policies towards the Palestinians, he said its recent practices were 'illegal' and 'an aggression on the Palestinian people and territories, particularly on Muslim and Christian holy sites in the occupied East Jerusalem.'
These acts violate relevant UN resolutions and international laws, he said, urging the international community to take action.
He also expressed solidarity with Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails, calling on global human rights organizations 'to do their best to defend them.'(T/P02/E01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 05:05