Monday, 30 December 2013
Thursday, 26 December 2013
By: Kanwal Abidi
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dedicated a large part of his speech on Dec.18 at the Likud Party convention to the Iranian nuclear program. He behaved in an alien way, dismayed by the Iran deal - as if “no agreement” had been signed between the world powers and Iran. He carried same old threatening tone with the bottom line that “Israel will not accept a nuclear bomb.”
The Likud activists present at the party convention did not welcome the Netanyahu’s speech about Iran and termed it as an anachronistic speech, lacking in vision, and most of all, detached from the international reality
In Washington, the decision to turn a new chapter in relations with Iran, for the first time in decade has, begun to repair operational, bureaucratic and ideological constraints that have defined US policies in the region. Consequently, there is more room for critical thinking by the Washington policymaking bureaucracy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lack of insight towards Obama’s efforts on Natanz and Itamar – could result him to troubles in the months ahead.
The mere significance of the fact that “world powers are giving diplomacy a chance”, but only in Netanyahu’s world the diplomacy time clock been frozen.
During an October visit to Rome, Netanyahu acknowledged that “the solution of the Iranian issue may have a decisive influence on the Palestinian issue — for bad and for good.” Obama has left no doubt that the train on Iran has left the station, apparently without Netanyahu aboard.
Keeping Israel happy on the grounds, President Obama, therefore, stated in a recent address on 8 Dec in Washington that “the United States’ military cooperation with Israel has never been stronger. Our intelligence cooperation with Israel has never been stronger. Our support of Israel’s security has never been stronger."
PM Netanyahu responded to the flattery words of Obama not with zest and fervor, but exhibited serious cause of concerns over Natanz – the Iranian nuclear fuel enrichment site and Itamar – one of the Israeli settlements in the west bank.
There are widespread fears fewer in number but more virulent, of the relationship between Natanz and Itamar, that is, the connection between Iran’s relations with the West and Israel-Palestine peace. Upon this issue, John Kerry remarks leaves no doubt that the Obama administration considers these two threats to regional security to be conceptually connected.
In both Natanz and Itamar, US is adopting the standard of increasing mutual security through agreement — not through war, or by force, or continuing occupation — and enabling a US-led diplomacy to create a stable framework for peace that will in each case increase Israel's security. Netanyahu sees only the looming dangers of this holistic connection and the challenges it presents to the world.
President Obama in his year - end news conference, from the White House, on 20 Dec, Friday, spoke on various issues of Obamacare, health laws and diplomacy pursued with the Iran. Obama categorically stated few facts and came out forceful in his speech that “America has nothing to fear from Iran.”
“We lose nothing under this negotiation deal” stated Obama and further added “if negotiations would fail – Iran knows very well, they can come under high economic pressure.” He assured the American nation that we can do it in “one day” any day to burden Iran, once again by the sanctions. American political analysts’ state that in Obama’s speech was a hidden message for Netanyahu that he does not need to worry about Iran anymore - as he has everything under the table set to
At the end, he wished his nation and the world a “happy new Year” with a concrete and a definite message of “diplomacy as an end unto itself.” But, on the other hand, PM Netanyahu has serious reservations for Iran and US diplomacy game and has left the message that “Deal is a Christmas present” for @Iran.
Political Analyst & Journalist / President Mishal Welfare Trust / Peace Activist
Monday, 23 December 2013
U.S. will seek triggers to reimpose sanctions on Iran: Rice
Shared article from CNN Political Blog
BY ROS KRASNY
HONOLULU Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:33pm EST
(Reuters) - The United States and its allies will have ways to reimpose sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic is caught making bombs after striking a deal to freeze its nuclear program, national security adviser Susan Rice said on Sunday.
In an interview on the CBS news program "60 Minutes," Rice rejected the idea that, once relaxed, the economic sanctions on Tehran would be hard to reinstate.
Any United Nations Security Council resolution that enshrines a final nuclear deal withIran - not the interim six-month deal signed in Geneva in November - could have triggers to automatically reimpose sanctions on Iran if they violate the deal, she said.
"We will not construct a deal or accept a deal in which we cannot verify exactly what they are doing," Rice said. "And if they're caught, we will ensure that the pressure is reimposed on them."
A mechanism for such "automatic triggers" has not been finalized, Rice said. Any deal beyond the current arrangement is still months away.
"We haven't designed that resolution yet. But this is something that's quite doable," Rice said. The United States does not want Iran to be "in a position to race towards a bomb undetected."
Rice said it was still unclear if Iran was hurting enough from existing sanctions on its oil exports and other industries to give up its nuclear ambitions in a "verifiable way."
"We don't know. But the other half of the answer is we have every interest in testing that proposition," she said.
Under November's interim agreement, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited relief from sanctions.
The Obama administration has clashed with Congress over the sanctions issue; many lawmakers want to impose tougher sanctions on Iran.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Jan Paschal)
Saturday, 21 December 2013
BDS Campaign: Permanent Address for Palestinian Solidarity
Edited By: KANWAL ABIDI *Political Analyst & Journalist
Editor’s Note for the Readers:
Waters is a supporter of the BDS campaign opposing Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
When a non-violent campaign—empowered by thousands of committed civil society activists from South Africa to Sweden and most countries in between—leads a moral campaign to isolate and hold into account an Apartheid country like Israel, all that the supporters of the latter can do is spread lies and misinformation. There can be no other strategy, unless of course, Israel’s friends get their own moment of moral awakening and join the BDS flood that has already broken many barriers and liberated many minds from the grip of Israeli hasbara.
According to their logic, and that of the likes of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, writing in the New York Observer on Dec 12, legendary musician and human rights champion Roger Waters is an ‘anti-Semite’. In fact, according to the writer, he is an ‘anti-Semite’ of the worst type. “I’ve read some heavy-duty attacks on Israel and Jews in my time, but they pale beside the anti-Semitic diatribe recently offered by Roger Waters, co-founder and former front man of the legendary British rock band Pink Floyd.”
Of course, Waters is as far away from racism as Boteach is far away from truly representing the Jewish people or Judaism. But what has earned Waters such a title, which is often bestowed without much hesitation at anyone who dares to challenge Israel’s criminal policies, military occupation, and insistence on violating over 70 United Nations resolutions, is that Waters is a strong critic of Israel. In a recent interview with CounterPunch, Waters stated the obvious, describing Israel as a ‘racist Apartheid regime’, decrying its ‘ethnic cleaning’ of Palestinians, and yes, refusing to perform in a country that he saw as an equivalent to the “Vichy government in occupied France.”
Boteach is particularly daring to go after Waters, a person adored by millions, and not only because of his legendary music, but also of his well-known courageous and moral stances. But once again, the panic felt in pro-Israeli circles is understandable. What Israeli officials describe as the de-legitimization of Israel is reaching a point where it is about to reach a critical mass. It is what Palestinian Gaza-based BDS activist Dr. Haidar Eid referred to in a recent interview as Palestine’s South Africa moment.
In an article in the Israeli daily Haaretz published on Dec 12, Barak Ravid introduced his piece with a dramatic but truthful statement: “Western activists and diplomats are gunning for Israel’s settlements in the Palestinian territories, and if peace talks fail, the rain of boycotts and sanctions could turn into a flood.” Entitled “Swell of boycotts driving Israel into international isolation,” Ravid’s article establishes a concrete argument of why the boycott movement is growing in a way unprecedented in the history of Israel.
I am writing these words from Spain, the last stop on a European speaking tour that has taken me to four European countries: France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The purpose of my tour was to promote the recently published French edition of my last two books, the second being: My Father Was a Freedom Fighter, Gaza’s Untold Story (Resistant en Palestine, une histoire vrai de Gaza). But at the heart of all my talks was the promotion of what I call ‘redefining our relationship to the struggle in Palestine,’ based first and foremost on ‘moral divestment’ from Israel. Only then, can we change our role from spectators and sympathizers to active participants as human rights defenders. The main address of such activities can be summed up in the initials: BDS.
What I learned throughout my tour, well attended and also covered in French media, was even to surprise me. The BDS debate is at such an advanced stage and it has indeed surpassed my expectations. In my last European tour of 2010, many of us were attempting to push the boundaries of the debate facing much resistance, even from groups and movements that were viewed as progressive. The situation has now changed in such an obvious away that on occasions I was compelled by the audience to discuss the most effective BDS strategies, as opposed to defending the very virtue of the tactic.
And within the two weeks of my travels, there was a flood of news of western governments, companies and academic institutions either joining the boycott or deliberating the possibility of doing so. The Romanian government, for example, is refusing to allow its labors to work in illegal Jewish settlements. A few years ago, this kind of news was simply unheard of.
But what changed? In some respects, nothing, and that is the crux of the argument. The Israeli occupation is more entrenched than ever; the illegal settlements are increasing and expanding; and the so-called peace process remains a charade maintained mostly for political self-serving reasons—a cover for the colonial policies of Israel, and a condition for continued US-western financial and political backing of the Palestinian Authority, and so on. But other factors are changing as well. BDS activists have found a common strategy and are formulating a unifying narrative that is finally liberating the Palestinian discourse from the ills of factionalism, empty slogans and limiting ideology. The new platform is both decisive in its morality and objectives, yet flexible in its ability to encompass limitless groups, religions and nationalities.
Indeed, there is no room for racism or hate speech in BDS platforms. What is equally as important is that there can also be no space for gatekeepers who are too sensitive about Israel’s racially-motivated sensibilities, or those ever-willing to manipulate history in such a clever way as to prevent a pro-active strategy in being advanced. The ship has sailed through all of this, and the boycott is vastly becoming the new and permanent address of the international solidarity with the collective resistance and struggle of the Palestinian people.
Of course, when Roger Waters took the stances that he did, he knew well of the likes of Boteach who would immediately denounce him as ‘anti-Semite.’ The fact is, however, the number of ‘Roger Waters’ out there is quickly growing, and the power of their moral argument is widely spreading. Israeli smear tactics are not only ineffective but also self-defeating.
Special Thanks to: Ramzy Baroud
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
C.I.A. to Share Its Report on Interrogations
Senator Mark Udall, center, disclosed the existence of the internal C.I.A. report on Tuesday.
Editors" Note: By Kanwal !
After watching the debate in the Senate Session of Pakistan - and comparing it with the Senate Session of US, I feel, we are still living in the stone age where Paki Parliamentarians are indulging in pointing to each other. Aye Aye Sir - is heard and not any conclusive material can be elicited out which I can proudly post here.. look "Yes, In Pakistan our Senators are working for the people, of the people NOT by the Senators.
18th Dec - Senate of Pakistan session, Aitzaz Ahsan did not speak till he was given the right of LIVE coverage at PTV - only because Ishaq Dar got it while delivering his policy statement.
In general, Senators not even discuss any thing which may benefit common man or any constructive work on ANY sub committees) IBA and LUMS grads may run our government better than Paki Senators.
US have "Senate Intelligence Committee" to question the work of anyone and not spare CIA too, if Pakistan can develop a "system of committees" which work "for the people, of the people, by the people", we would have "efficient delivery system".
Though, there are several task force and sub committess - but the crux is, citizens of Pakistan wants solutions not debate words typed in the documents to be preserved in the "Senate Archive."
Though, there are several task force and sub committess - but the crux is, citizens of Pakistan wants solutions not debate words typed in the documents to be preserved in the "Senate Archive."
How about taking "Raza Bazaar" incident on 10th Mohram to discuss in Pakistan Senate Session and to demande a probe into the incident from Intelligence committe - only if there is one with people of caliber, not Senators of Bollywood Drama!
*** Information obtained from Washington Senate Correspndent: The US Senate report, totaling more than 6,000 pages, was completed last December but has yet to be declassified. According to people who have read the study, it is unsparing in its criticism of the now-defunct interrogation program and presents a chronicle of C.I.A. officials’ repeatedly misleading the White House, Congress and the public about the value of brutal methods that, in the end, produced little valuable intelligence.WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the C.I.A. for an internal study done by the agency that lawmakers believe is broadly critical of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program but was withheld from congressional oversight committees.
The committee’s request comes in the midst of a yearlong battle with the C.I.A. over the release of the panel’s own exhaustive report about the program, one of the most controversial policies of the post-Sept. 11 era.
Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, disclosed the existence of the internal C.I.A. report during an Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday. He said he believed it was begun several years ago and “is consistent with the Intelligence’s Committee’s report” although it “conflicts with the official C.I.A. response to the committee’s report.”
“If this is true,” Mr. Udall said during a hearing on the nomination of Caroline D. Krass to be the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, “this raises fundamental questions about why a review the C.I.A. conducted internally years ago — and never provided to the committee — is so different from the C.I.A.’s formal response to the committee study.”
The agency responded to the committee report with a vigorous 122-page rebuttal that challenged both the Senate report’s specific facts and its overarching conclusions. John O. Brennan, one of Mr. Obama’s closest advisers before taking over the C.I.A. this year — and who denounced the interrogation program during his confirmation hearing — delivered the agency’s response to the Intelligence Committee himself.
It is unclear what the agency specifically concluded in its internal review.
Mr. Udall, whose public criticisms of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone data has raised his profile in Congress and won him praise from privacy advocates, said he would not support Ms. Krass’s nomination until the C.I.A. provided more information to the committee about the interrogation program.
Ms. Krass did not respond directly to Mr. Udall’s statements about the internal C.I.A. review. Dean Boyd, an agency spokesman, said the agency was “aware of the committee’s request and will respond appropriately.”
Mr. Boyd said that the C.I.A. agreed with a number of the conclusions of the voluminous Senate investigative report, but found “significant errors in the study.”
“C.I.A. and committee staff have had extensive dialogue on this issue, and the agency is prepared to work with the committee to determine the best way forward on potential declassification,” he said.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is the Intelligence Committee’s chairwoman, said recently that her committee would soon vote to adopt the report’s executive summary and conclusion, which would then be subject to a formal declassification process before it was publicly released.
Republican members of the committee, angry about what they see as a biased and shoddy investigation by their Democratic colleagues, are planning to make public a rebuttal of their own.
The Senate report, which took years to complete and cost more than $40 million to produce, began as an attempt to document what was perhaps the most divisive of the Bush administration’s responses to the Sept. 11 attacks. But it has since become enmeshed in the complex politics of the Obama administration.
President Obama ended the detention program as one of his first acts in the Oval Office, and has repeatedly denounced the C.I.A.’s interrogation methods under the program. During a speech in May, he said that the United States had “compromised our basic values by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”
And yet Mr. Obama has repeatedly resisted demands by human rights groups to seek prosecutions for the lawyers who approved the interrogation methods or the people who carried them out, and the White House has been mostly silent during the debate over the past year about declassifying the Senate report.
For all his criticisms of the counterterrorism excesses during the Bush administration, Mr. Obama has put the C.I.A. at the center of his strategy to kill militant suspects in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.
Human rights groups have tried to pressure the White House to intervene to get the Senate report declassified.
“Whether it’s stalling or concealing, the C.I.A. is trying to avoid reckoning with its past abuse,” said Naureen Shah of Amnesty International USA. “And that’s what makes declassifying the Senate’s report so crucial right now.”
Ms. Krass is a career government lawyer who works at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the arm of the department that advises the White House on the legality of domestic and foreign policies.
The office was particularly controversial during the Bush administration, when lawyers there wrote lengthy memos approving C.I.A. interrogation methods like waterboarding and sleep deprivation, as well as signing off on the expansion of surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Under Mr. Obama, the office has approved other controversial practices, including the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric living in Yemen who was an American. Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011 by a C.I.A. drone strike, launched from a secret base in Saudi Arabia.
Much of Tuesday’s hearing was consumed by a debate about whether the White House should be forced to share Justice Department legal memos.
Under polite but persistent questioning by members of both parties, Ms. Krass repeatedly said that while the two congressional intelligence committees need to “fully understand” the legal basis for C.I.A. activities, they were not entitled to see the Justice Department memos that provide the legal blueprint for secret programs.
The opinions “represent pre-decisional, confidential legal advice that has been provided,” she said, adding that the confidentiality of the legal advice was necessary to allow a “full and frank discussion amongst clients and policy makers and their lawyers within the executive branch.”
Senator Feinstein appeared unmoved. “Unless we know the administration’s basis for sanctioning a program, it is very hard to oversee it,” she said.
Still, it is expected that the committee will vote to approve Ms. Krass.
NY Times Correspondent