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Obama: Bush redux

U.S. grants support Iranian “dissidents”

Caption: the product of U.S-funded “dissidents’ ” “peaceful protests”?

Caption: has this “dissident” received U.S government funding?


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to “promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran,” according to documents on the agency’s website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30.

U.S. efforts to support Iranian opposition groups have been criticized in recent years as veiled attempts to promote “regime change,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American advocacy group. The grants enable Iran’s rulers to paint opponents as tools of the United States, he said.

Although the Obama administration has not sought to continue the Iran-specific grants in its 2010 budget, it wants a $15 million boost for the Near Eastern Regional Democracy Initiative, which has similar aims but does not specify the nations involved. Some of that money will be targeted at Iran, said David Carle, a spokesman for the appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign affairs.

“Part of it is to expand access to information and communications through the Internet for Iranians,” Carle said in an e-mail.

President Obama said this week the United States “is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs,” rejecting charges of meddling that were renewed Thursday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Asked how the democracy promotion initiatives square with the president’s statement, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “Let’s be clear: The United States does not fund any movement, faction or political party in Iran. We support … universal principles of human rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law.”

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, “Respecting Iran’s sovereignty does not mean our silence on issues of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to peacefully protest.”

The Bush program “was a horrible idea,” Parsi said. “It made human rights activists and non-governmental organizations targets.”

Not so, said David Denehy, the former Republican political consultant and State Department official who used to oversee the spending. “To say that we were the cause of repression in Iran is laughable … Our programs sent a message to the people of Iran that we supported their requests for personal freedom,” he said.

The State Department and USAID decline to name Iran-related grant recipients for security reasons.

After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a major expansion of the program in 2006 — Congress eventually approved $66 million — the Iranian government arrested activists and closed down their organizations. Several Iranian dissidents, including former political prisoner Akbar Ganji, denounced the U.S. funding as counterproductive.

Some in Congress are happy the program is continuing.

“As the Iranian regime cracks down on its people, I strongly believe that we should be prepared to extend our hand in help and support to any Iranian civil society group that reaches out for it,” Sen. Joseph Lieberman, wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY.

Most of the money likely hasn’t reached Iran but went instead to Washington-based groups, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert who reviewed applications for the democracy program before leaving the State Department for the Brookings Institution. The United States lacks the insight to influence Iran’s internal politics, she said.

“We have such limited penetration of Iranian politics,” she said. “We are so poorly positioned to add any value.”


zionist expertise on Middle Eastern affairs

No wonder the Palestinian Reconciliation Conference in Cairo ended in failure. Even the lure of billions of dollars in aid has not brought Fatah Sunnis in Judea and Samaria, i.e., the West Bank, any closer to Shiite supporters of Hamas in Gaza. These are two parallel lines that cannot meet, and this division will persist.

Mort Zuckerman in The Huffington Post, April 14, 2009

2 zionist puppets having some puppet-talk

“Spreading Shi’ite thought”: 49 arrested in Egypt

Two pictures and 1 article. Enough said.

“Sunni” Mubarak with his master, the mass-murderer Olmert

Gaza children cooked by zionazis and their slave MubarakSUNNI Palestinian children in Gaza

مصر تتهم نصر الله رسميا بالتخطيط لعمليات عدائية بأراضيها

اتهمت مصر رسميا حسن نصر الله زعيم حزب الله اللبناني بالتخطيط لعمليات عدائية داخل أراضيها.ا

وقال النائب العام المصري المستشار عبد المجيد محمود في بيان رسمي إن نصر الله “كلف مسؤول وحدة عمليات دول الطوق بالحزب بالإعداد لتنفيذ عمليات عدائية بالأراضي المصرية”.ا

وكانت السلطات المصرية قد اعتقلت في شهر نوفمبر تشرين الثاني الماضي 49 شخصا بتهمة “نشر الفكر الشيعي في مصر”.ا

ولم تعلن السلطات المصرية عن هذه الاعتقالات رسميا إلا اليوم الأربعاء.ا

وشملت الاتهامات التي وجهتها النيابة العامة المصرية لزعيم حزب الله” تحريض الشعب والقوات المسلحة المصريين على الخروج على النظام العام”.ا

وأضاف البيان المصري أن” ضبط المتهمين حال دون تنفيذ ذلك المخطط”.ا

انتقادات لسلطات التحقيق

من ناحيته، قال المحامي المصري منتصر الزيات إن أجهزة أمن الدولة في مصر ظلت تحقق مع المتهمين منذ اعتقالهم دون السماح للمحامين بالاتصال بهم.ا

وأضاف الزيات في مقابلة مع بي بي سي “لست أفهم هذا الستار الكثيف من السرية الذي تفرضه سلطات التحقيق في القضية”.ا

وأكد الزيات أن من بين المعتقلين لبناني واحد،متهم بأنه زعيم التنظيم، وسبعة فلسطينيين. وأكد أن بقية المعتقلين مصريون.ا

وكشف المحامي المصري ان أسرة الشاب اللبناني وبعض الأسر الفلسطينية وكلته رسميا للدفاع عن المعتقلين.ا

غير أن الزيات انتقد بشدة سلطات التحقيق قائلا إنها” تمنعنا من حضور التحقيقات مع الموكلين رغم أننا أخطرناها رسميا بأننا نحمل توكيلات رسمية للدفاع عنهم”.ا

وأعلنت إذاعة إسرائيل أن من بين المعتقلين الفلسطينيين أشخاصا يحملون الجنسية الإسرائيلية.ا

ولم يصدر أى موقف رسمي عن حزب الله اللبناني بشأن هذه القضية.ا

ويذكر أن الزيات أعلن أن التوكيل القانوني الذي تلقاه للدفاع عن الشاب اللبناني سامي هاني شهاب موثق من كل السلطات المختصة في لبنان.ا

وفي تصريحات لبي بي سي قال حسن ،شقيق سامي، إن شقيقه اعتقل يوم التاسع عشر من شهر نوفمبر/ تشرين الثاني الماضي في شقته المؤجرة بالقاهرة.ا

وقال إن رجال أمن الدولة في مصر صادروا جهاز الكمبيوتر وأقراص مدمجة كانت مع شقيقه.ا

وأضاف” لم نتمكن من الاتصال بشقيقي منذ اعتقل”.ا

ونفى حسن أن يكون شقيقه ضالعا في أية انشطة لنشر الفكر الشيعي في مصر. ووصفه بأن رجل بسيط متدين وليس رجل دين مهتم بنشر الفكر الشيعي.ا

وقال:” شقيقي لم يكن في القاهرة لممارسة أية أعمال ضد النظام أو تخالف القانون في مصر”.ا

“كذب وافتراء”

وكانت صحيفة “المصري اليوم” نقلت عن مصادر بأجهزة الأمن المصرية قولها إن النيابة المصرية وجهت للمعتقلين تهم الترويج للفكر الشيعي ومحاولة إنشاء مقرات لحزب الله في مصر وتجنيد شباب للإنضمام للحزب.ا

ووصف حسن هذه التهم بأنها” كذب وافتراء”. وأكد صلات شقيقه بما وصفها بالمقاومة في فلسطين.ا

وقال” إذا كانت التهمة هي دعم المقاومة الفلسطينية فهذا وسام شرف على صدر الأسرة”.ا

في الوقت نفسه، قال حسن إن شقيقه الثاني ووالدته طلبا تأشيرة لزيارة مصر لمحاولة مقابلة سامي. غير أن السفارة المصرية أبلغت الأسرة، كما قال حسن ، بأنه” ليست هناك موافقة أمنية على منح التأشيرة”.ا

كما لم يصدر أي بيان رسمي من وزارة الداخلية أو أي جهة مصرية بشأن الاعتقالات.ا

وكانت “المصري اليوم” قد نقلت عما وصفتها بمصادر أجهزة الأمن المصرية قولها إنها جمعت عقود شراء عدد من المنازل على الحدود المصرية مع مدينة رفح الفلسطينية لاستغلالها في تهريب السلاح إلى حركة حماس في غزة.ا

وعلمت بي بي سي إن من بين المقبوض عليهم شاب يدعى إيهاب السيد موسي ،34 عاما. وهو صاحب محل تجاري في مدينة نوبيع بسيناء.ا

وفي تصريحات لبي بي سي قال السيد موسي، والد إيهاب، إنه لم يتمكن من الاتصال بابنه سوى مرة واحدة.ا

وقال إنه بعد ساعات من اعتقاله في نويبع “اتصل بي هاتفيا وأبلغني أنه مقبوض عليه لسؤاله عن شخص آخر كان يعمل في متجره”.ا

ونفى الأب أن يكون لابنه أية صلة بالاتهامات الموجهة إليه.ا


West rewards ‘israel’ for murdering 1000 civilians, Hezbollah responds

حزب الله يدين قرار الأمم المتحدة بترؤس الكيان الصهيوني للجنة السكان والتنمية

يدين حزب الله قرار الأمم المتحدة بترؤس الكيان الصهيوني للجنة السكان والتنمية في الأمم المتحدة, ويرى فيه تواطؤا مع كيان إجرامي خارج على القانون تأسس على قتل السكان وتدمير ممتلكاتهم وبيوتهم وخنق أية إمكانية لنموهم وازدهارهم فضلا عن أن يحيوا حياة حرة وكريمة.
إن حزب الله إذ يستنكر الدعم الأوروبي لهذا القرار فانه يعتبره محاولة للتعمية وتبرئة إسرائيل من جرائمها المستمرة ويتساءل ماذا يريد ما يسمى بالعالم الحر والمتحضر مثالا ابلغ مما تفعله آلة القتل الإسرائيلية من تدمير وقتل وتشريد وحصار في قطاع غزة. ليتوقف عن الاستهانة بحقوق الإنسان التي طالما أتحفنا بالدفاع عنها. هل هذه هي التنمية وتنظيم الإسكان التي يريدها العالم الغربي؟ انها وصمة عار في جبين الإنسانية.
يدعو حزب الله الدول العربية والإسلامية والدول الصديقة كافة إلى عدم الاكتفاء بالاحتجاج والمبادرة إلى عمل حازم لمقاطعة هذه اللجنة وإسقاط رئاسة إسرائيل لها.ا

Hezbollah condemns the UN decision to assign the zionist entity as the head of the population and development committee

Hezbollah condemns the UN decision to assign the zionist entity as the head of the population and development committee and sees in it complicity with a murderours outlaw entity established by the killing of populations and the destruction of their properties and houses and the choking off of any possibility for their growth and development as well as of a free and dignified life.

Hezbollah condemns European support for this decision and considers it an attempt at obscuring, and at acquitting ‘israel’ of its continuing crimes; and wonders, what better example does the so-called free and civilized world want in order to stop disregarding human rights which it always claimed it defended, than what the ‘israeli’ killing machine does in the Gaza Strip: destruction, murder, displacement, and siege? Is this the development and organization of housing that the western world wants? It is an affront to humanity.

Hezbollah calls on Arab and Islamic countries and all friendly states not to be satisfied merely with protesting, but to initiate decisive action to boycott this committee and shoot down ‘israel’s’ chairmanship thereof.

Pentagon studies Hezbollah after zionist defeat in July 2006

Short ’06 Lebanon War Stokes Pentagon Debate
Leaders Divided on Whether to Focus On Conventional or Irregular Combat

By Greg Jaffe
Washington Post
Monday, April 6, 2009; A01

A war that ended three years ago and involved not a single U.S. soldier has become the subject of an increasingly heated debate inside the Pentagon, one that could alter how the U.S. military fights in the future.

When Israel and Hezbollah battled for more than a month in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the result was widely seen as a disaster for the Israeli military. Soon after the fighting ended, some military officers began to warn that the short, bloody and relatively conventional battle foreshadowed how future enemies of the United States might fight.

Since then, the Defense Department has dispatched as many as a dozen teams to interview Israeli officers who fought against Hezbollah. The Army and Marine Corps have sponsored a series of multimillion-dollar war games to test how U.S. forces might fare against a similar foe. “I’ve organized five major games in the last two years, and all of them have focused on Hezbollah,” said Frank Hoffman, a research fellow at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico.

A big reason that the 34-day war is drawing such fevered attention is that it highlights a rift among military leaders: Some want to change the U.S. military so that it is better prepared for wars like the ones it is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others worry that such a shift would leave the United States vulnerable to a more conventional foe.

“The Lebanon war has become a bellwether,” said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has advised Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command. “If you are opposed to transforming the military to fight low-intensity wars, it is your bloody sheet. It’s discussed in almost coded communication to indicate which side of the argument you are on.”

U.S. military experts were stunned by the destruction that Hezbollah forces, using sophisticated antitank guided missiles, were able to wreak on Israeli armor columns. Unlike the guerrilla forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, who employed mostly hit-and-run tactics, the Hezbollah fighters held their ground against Israeli forces in battles that stretched as long as 12 hours. They were able to eavesdrop on Israeli communications and even struck an Israeli ship with a cruise missile.

“From 2000 to 2006 Hezbollah embraced a new doctrine, transforming itself from a predominantly guerrilla force into a quasi-conventional fighting force,” a study by the Army’s Combat Studies Institute concluded last year. Another Pentagon report warned that Hezbollah forces were “extremely well trained, especially in the uses of antitank weapons and rockets” and added: “They well understood the vulnerabilities of Israeli armor.”

Many top Army officials refer to the short battle almost as a morality play that illustrates the price of focusing too much on counterinsurgency wars at the expense of conventional combat. These officers note that, before the Lebanon war, Israeli forces had been heavily involved in occupation duty in the Palestinian territories.

“The real takeaway is that you have to find the time to train for major combat operations, even if you are fighting counterinsurgency wars,” said one senior military analyst who studied the Lebanon war for the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Currently, the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have prevented Army units from conducting such training.

Army generals have also latched on to the Lebanon war to build support for multibillion-dollar weapons programs that are largely irrelevant to low-intensity wars such as those fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 30-page internal Army briefing, prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior Pentagon civilians, recently sought to highlight how the $159 billion Future Combat Systems, a network of ground vehicles and sensors, could have been used to dispatch Hezbollah’s forces quickly and with few American casualties.

“Hezbollah relies on low visibility and prepared defenses,” one slide in the briefing reads. “FCS counters with sensors and robotics to maneuver out of contact.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to stake out a firm position in this debate as soon as today, when he announces the 2010 defense budget. That document is expected to cut or sharply curtail weapons systems designed for conventional wars, and to bolster intelligence and surveillance programs designed to help track down shadowy insurgents.

“This budget moves the needle closer to irregular warfare and counterinsurgency,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “It is not an abandonment of the need to prepare for conventional conflicts. But even moving that needle is a revolutionary thing in this building.”

The changes reflect the growing prominence of the military’s counterinsurgency camp — the most prominent member of which is Petraeus — in the Pentagon. President Obama, whose strategy in Afghanistan is focused on protecting the local population and denying the Islamist radicals a safe haven, has largely backed this group.

The question facing defense leaders is whether they can afford to build a force that can prevail in a counterinsurgency fight, where the focus is on protecting the civilian population and building indigenous army and police forces, as well as a more conventional battle.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army’s top officer in the Pentagon, has said it is essential that the military be able to do both simultaneously. New Army doctrine, meanwhile, calls for a “full spectrum” service that is as good at rebuilding countries as it is at destroying opposing armies.

But other experts remain skeptical. “The idea that you can do it all is just wrong,” said Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations. Soldiers, who are home for as little as 12 months between deployments, do not have enough time to prepare adequately for both types of wars, he said.

Biddle and other counterinsurgency advocates argue that the military should focus on winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and only then worry about what the next war will look like.

Some in this camp say that the threat posed by Hezbollah is being inflated by officers who are determined to return the Army to a more familiar past, built around preparing for conventional warfare.

Another question is whether the U.S. military is taking the proper lessons from the Israel-Hezbollah war. Its studies have focused almost exclusively on the battle in southern Lebanon and ignored Hezbollah’s ongoing role in Lebanese society as a political party and humanitarian aid group. After the battle, Hezbollah forces moved in quickly with aid and reconstruction assistance.

“Even if the Israelis had done better operationally, I don’t think they would have been victorious in the long run,” said Andrew Exum, a former Army officer who has studied the battle from southern Lebanon. “For the Israelis, the war lasted for 34 days. We tend to forget that for Hezbollah, it is infinite.”


Cluster bombs

Middle East and North Africa: US Cuts Cluster Bomb Supply

US Export Ban Should Spur Countries to Sign Treaty Banning the Weapon

(New York) – A new US law permanently banning nearly all cluster bomb exports by the United States will end a long period of transfers of the weapon to Israel and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Human Rights Watch said today. The measure should spur the countries in the region as well as the US to join the international treaty prohibiting cluster munitions, Human Rights Watch said.

The US export ban was included in an omnibus budget bill (HR 1105) that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 11, 2009. Under the law, the US can only export cluster munitions that leave behind less than 1 percent of their submunitions as duds. These duds act like landmines on the ground, exploding when touched by unwitting civilians. The legislation also requires the receiving country to agree that cluster munitions “will not be used where civilians are known to be present.” Only a tiny fraction of the cluster munitions in the US arsenal meet the 1-percent standard.

“US-supplied cluster munitions have caused great harm to civilians in Lebanon, Iraq, Western Sahara and elsewhere in the region,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “These countries should consider the export ban a first step toward ridding the region of this unreliable and inaccurate weapon that claims civilian lives and limbs for years following its use.”

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions, and provides strict deadlines for clearance of affected areas and destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions. A total of 95 countries have signed the convention, including Lebanon and Tunisia from the Middle East and North Africa.

The United States has transferred cluster munitions to at least eight countries in the region, including Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Israel has been a major recipient of US cluster munitions and used the weapons extensively in its 2006 armed conflict in Lebanon (http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/02/16/flooding-south-lebanon ).

The US export ban was first enacted in a budget bill in December 2007, but that law mandated it for only one year.

“The permanent US export ban will prevent the potential transfer of millions of cluster submunitions to Israel and other states in the region,” said Whitson. “But unless governments in the region join the international treaty banning the use as well as transfer of cluster munitions, the threat will remain.”

In December 2008, the Obama transition team said that the president-elect would “carefully review” the new treaty and “work closely [with] our friends and allies to ensure that the United States is doing everything feasible to promote protection of civilians.”

US policy on cluster munitions was last articulated in a three-page policy directive issued by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in July 2008. The directive described cluster munitions as “legitimate weapons with clear military utility” and said that the US will continue to use cluster munitions and, after 2018, will use only munitions with a tested failure rate of less than 1 percent.

Human Rights Watch co-chairs the Cluster Munition Coalition, which it helped found in November 2003. Human Rights Watch and others stepped up pressure for an international treaty to deal with cluster munitions after Israel’s massive use of these weapons in southern Lebanon in July and August 2006. These weapons left large swaths of Lebanon contaminated by the deadly, unexploded submunitions.

Cluster munitions can be fired by artillery and rocket systems or dropped by aircraft, and typically explode in the air and send dozens, even hundreds, of tiny submunitions or bomblets over an area the size of a football field. Cluster munitions cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians, so their humanitarian impact can be extreme when they are used in or near populated areas. Cluster submunitions often fail to explode on initial impact, leaving the duds that act like landmines and pose danger to civilians.