Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seven Questions: The World According to Hamas

"He's been called a terrorist, an extremist, and the mastermind behind the recent chaos in Gaza. The state of Israel has even tried to assassinate him. But Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, insists he is a moderate man in search of peace for the Palestinian people."

FP: Should the American people, who remember what Hamas did in the 1990s with suicide bombers and who read reports about the Qassam rockets, be scared of Hamas?

KM: Hamas is a moderate movement. It is not religiously dogmatic. We are Muslims because we are from a Muslim environment, just as you and others are from a Christian environment. We accept religious pluralism and, likewise, political pluralism. And we have open relations with Christians. And third, the martyrdom operations are part of the response to the Israeli massacres. So why do the people in America, or the West, or the world in general, criticize what is being done by Hamas, or the Palestinian people, but they do not criticize Israel’s behavior? Israel is extremely heavily armed and the strongest state in the region, while we are isolated. Our rockets are extremely primitive, while Israel has American rockets, Apache [helicopter gunships], and laser-guided missiles. more

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Elevator Prayer in Cairo

I've ridden in many, many Chicago and New York elevators where this would have been very useful... and I LOVE!

Waving Goodbye to Hegemony - NYTimes

By PARAG KHANNA - Turn on the TV today, and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s 1999. Democrats and Republicans are bickering about where and how to intervene, whether to do it alone or with allies and what kind of world America should lead. Democrats believe they can hit a reset button, and Republicans believe muscular moralism is the way to go. It’s as if the first decade of the 21st century didn’t happen — and almost as if history itself doesn’t happen. But the distribution of power in the world has fundamentally altered over the two presidential terms of George W. Bush, both because of his policies and, more significant, despite them. Maybe the best way to understand how quickly history happens is to look just a bit ahead. more

Friday, January 11, 2008

Politics, not military force helps US in Al Anbar

Political missteps by Islamists and buckets of cash staunched US bleeding in western Iraq Maj General John F. Kelly, incoming commander of MNF in Iraq tells NPR.
Adding insult to expense and injury, those trigger -happy boys of Blackwater gassed US troops.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

tehran times : Columbia professors plan to visit Iran to apologize to Ahmadinejad

NEW YORK (MNA) – An academic delegation of Columbia University professors and deans of faculties plans to visit Tehran to officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The delegation plans to express regret for the insulting remarks Columbia University President Lee Bollinger directed at Ahmadinejad on September 24 in his introductory speech, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in New York reported.

Since the incident, the deans and professors from the faculties of history, anthropology, Middle Eastern studies, philosophy and Islamic studies have criticized Bollinger’s behavior toward Ahmadinejad. more

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2003 Memo Says Iranian Leaders Backed Talks -

The Swiss ambassador to Iran informed U.S. officials in 2003 that an Iranian proposal for comprehensive talks with the United States had been reviewed and approved by Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; then-President Mohammad Khatami; and then-Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, according to a copy of the cover letter to the Iranian document.

"I got the clear impression that there is a strong will of the regime to tackle the problem with the U.S. now and to try it with this initiative," Tim Guldimann, the ambassador, wrote in a cover letter that was faxed to the State Department on May 4, 2003. Guldimann attached a one-page Iranian document labeled "Roadmap" that listed U.S. and Iranian aims for potential negotiations, putting on the table such issues as an end to Iran's support for anti-Israeli militants, action against terrorist groups on Iranian soil and acceptance of Israel's right to exist. more

"Book Reveals Details of Iran’s Diplomatic Outreach to Israel -"

A soon to be released book details previously unknown backroom contacts between Iran and Israel in 2003, when Tehran was pushing the Bush administration into entering comprehensive diplomatic negotiations. more

Saudi King Condemns "Illegal" Occupation of Iraq - New York Times

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq is “illegal,” and he warned that unless Arab governments settle their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’s politics. more

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Israel Lobby

The amazing thing about the book is that it made me much more sympathetic to George Bush! This vid is not as shocking as the book but in its own way just as important. For one thing, it's an example of what we never see in the US, a serious, thoughtful examination of the workings of the Lobby. Vive la France!