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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.

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This is what zionist failure and defeat look like: part of Reuters headline: Israel’s toilet-paper rules for Gaza

If this is what zionist “victory” and “achievements” look like, I don’t know what their defeat would look like…. Read on to get a sense of how close the liquidation of the terrorist neo-nazi state of ‘israel’ is to becoming a reality.

U.S. queries Israel’s toilet-paper rules for Gaza

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States is protesting to Israel over seemingly random restrictions on deliveries to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip of harmless goods such as soap and toilet paper, diplomats said Wednesday.

Diplomats fear day-to-day crisis management on Gaza was diverting the United States and other Western governments from bigger issues like the goal of restarting peace negotiations for a Palestinian state.

In one case, Israel blocked for weeks a World Food Program (WFP) shipment of chickpeas, used to make the Palestinian food staple hummus, the U.N. food agency said.

“We’re certainly asking the Israelis questions about this,” a U.S. official said of the restrictions on what is allowed into Gaza.

A Western official said: “The Americans and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are raising their concerns… We’re protesting.”

Israel says it has opened Gaza’s border crossings to larger amounts of food and medicine since a January military offensive that killed about 1,300 Palestinians, destroyed 5,000 homes and left large swathes of the coastal enclave in ruins.

But U.S. and Western officials complain the limited list of humanitarian goods that Israel allows into Gaza changes almost daily, creating major logistical problems for aid groups and donor governments which are unable to plan ahead.

Protests have been made to Israel via diplomatic channels, and have increased since last week’s visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. and Western officials said.

“It is totally surreal,” one European diplomat said of Israeli decision-making. “One day we had 600 kg (1,300 pounds) of pasta at the Kerem Shalom crossing but they said, ‘Today, pasta can’t go in’.”

Another Western diplomat said: “It’s ever-changing. One week jam is okay and the next week it’s not.”

In addition to soap and toilet paper, the officials cited restrictions that come and go on imports of certain types of cheeses, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Israeli defense official Peter Lerner said in response: “I’m not aware of any problems with toilet paper, toothpaste, dairy products … and other food stuffs. Basic necessities are being met and are going in on a daily basis.”

TRANSITIONAL STALL?

Diplomats said the current political transition in Israel was part of the problem, with many decisions on access to Gaza and demolitions in Arab East Jerusalem of Palestinian homes being taken by relatively low level bureaucrats that are slow to change and hard to influence.

The Jewish state held a parliamentary election on Feb 10 but rightist prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is still in the process of forming a coalition government.

In addition to pushing for expanded humanitarian access to Gaza, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has protested the East Jerusalem demolition plans.

The European Union have also protested to Israel about access to Gaza and its actions in Jerusalem.

In a letter of response, obtained by Reuters, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was cooperating with international organizations and would keep Gaza’s border crossings open to humanitarian assistance “for exclusively civilian needs.”

Israel has long banned military equipment and most commercial goods from entering Gaza, and those restrictions may hinder a multibillion-dollar reconstruction plan backed by Western and Arab governments.

Chas Freeman on the zionist lobby

“The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.

I have never lobbied any branch of our government for any cause, foreign or domestic. I am my own man, no one else’s, and with my return to private life, I will once again – to my pleasure – serve no master other than myself. I will continue to speak out as I choose on issues of concern to me and other Americans.”

At last, a courageous American: Chas Freeman slams parasitical zionazi control of the U.S.

Except that only those who have resigned their posts or withdrawn their candidacy are ever allowed or dare to speak the truth about the zionazi tentacles that stretch deep into every aspect of American foreign (and domestic) policy-making. But, at least there are still a few independent and brave minds left in america that dare speak out against zionazi agitation, agitation being one of the many tactics utilized by the zionazis in their quest to maintain their domination of the U.S and the whole world.

U.S. official slams Israel ‘lobby’ after withdrawing from post

Ha’aretz

Charles (Chas) Freeman, who was slated to be picked as the new chairman of the National Intelligence Council, slammed the Israel ‘Lobby’ Wednesday after withdrawing his candidacy for the post the previous day.

“I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government,” Freeman said in a statement to Foreign Policy.

Freeman’s withdrawal was announced in Washington by Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence. Since news of Freeman’s nomination, Jewish organizations have leveled criticism at the pick due to his history of opposition to Israel’s policies in the Palestinian territories.

He added that, “The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues.”

Some lawmakers protested about remarks he made in the past on Israeli “oppression” of Palestinians, and about China.

Freeman’s withdrawal came just hours after Blair defended him in Congress as a man of “strong views, of an inventive mind and the analytical point of view.”

“I think I can do a better job if I’m getting strong analytical viewpoints to sort out and pass on to you and to the president than if I am getting pre-cooked pablum judgments that don’t really challenge,” Blair told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier on Tuesday.

The intelligence council that Freeman had been picked to head prepares the formal assessments by U.S. intelligence agencies of major issues such as Iran’s nuclear capability.

The council also produced a controversial, and inaccurate, prewar assessment in 2002 that Iraq was continuing its weapons of mass destruction programs. Former President George W. Bush’s main justification for the U.S.-led war he launched in 2003 was the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The National Intelligence Council position does not require Senate confirmation.

But Freeman’s past remarks on Israel and a comment seen as condoning China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown, have stirred controversy. He is quoted as saying in 2007 that “The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending,” and “American identification with Israel has become total.”

Freeman’s professional ties had also come under scrutiny from critics. He had served on the board of the China National Offshore Oil Co. and as president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank funded at least in part by Saudi Arabia.

Freeman is a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and assistant secretary of defense for international security. He was also a senior U.S. diplomat in China in the 1980s.

The zionazi conspiracy against Sudan

So ICC issued an arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir  for alleged war crimes for which no proof has been provided, while zionazi war criminals and terrorists, whose crimes in Lebanon and Palestine have been thoroughly documented, go around freely and are even warmly welcomed in western capitals or visited in occupied Palestine by zionists’ slaves, the Americans (and westerners in general). How surprising. This blatant hypocrisy is enough to show that the zionazis rule the world and spin things however they want, and then mock those who speak the truth about their reach, by accusing them of being “conspiracy theorists.” Well, if this is a conspiracy theory, I don’t know what truth would look like:

Sudanese rebel leader meets with Israeli spies

The Associated Press   February 16, 2009

JERUSALEM: A powerful Sudanese rebel leader met secretly with top Israeli espionage officials in Israel earlier this month, Israeli defense officials said Monday.

The officials would not disclose the substance of the talks between Abdulwahid Elnur of the Sudan Liberation Movement and officials from Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Israel claims weapons have reached Gaza Strip militants via Sudan and that Palestinian militants operate there.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of a security conference Elnur attended, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was confidential. The Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

Last year, Elnur’s group opened an office in Israel, which granted temporary residency status to 600 Sudanese who fled the massacres in their country’s vast western Darfur region.

“We must forge new alliances, no longer based upon race or religion, but upon shared values of freedom and democracy. This is why we opened a representative office in Israel,” he said at the time.

Elnur has said in the past that he favors establishing ties with Israel and opening an Israeli Embassy in Khartoum.

Sudan considers Israel an enemy state and has no diplomatic relations with it. Elnur could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Elnur fled to France in 2007 and has lived in exile since.

The SLM was founded in 1992, three years after President Omar al-Bashir took power in a military coup, and took up arms in 2003, the year the war in Darfur began. Today it is the largest rebel group, though it has fractured into splinter movements.

The U.N. estimates 300,000 people have died in Darfur, directly from attacks or indirectly through starvation, and 2.5 million more have been driven from their homes.

The International Criminal Court, based in The Netherlands, is expected to decide soon whether to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in connection with atrocities in Darfur.

Sudan’s government denies the war crimes and genocide accusations and has dismissed the court as a conspiracy against Sudan. It also says the U.N. death toll estimates are grossly inflated.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/02/16/news/ML-Israel-Sudanese-Rebel.php

Darfur rebel leader visited Israel

Ha’aretz 16/02/2009

The leader of one of the rebel groups in Sudan’s Darfur region recently visited Israel to discuss with a senior Israeli official the situation in Sudan.

Abdel Wahid al-Nur is the head of the Sudan Liberation Movement. While in Israel, he met with the senior official and discussed with him the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

Al-Nur came to Israel earlier this month at his own initiative, to attend the annual Herzliya Conference. He came with a group of European Jews, most of them French, who have been active on behalf of the Darfur refugees. He did not speak at any of the sessions, but did observe several.

At the conference, he was introduced to the senior official, and the two arranged a meeting, which took place a few days later.

The Defense Ministry responded, “In the interests of national security, various and sundry meetings are held. We are not in the habit of giving responses after each of these meetings.”

The Sudan Liberation Movement was founded in 1992. It is a secular group that opposes the Islamist regime of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and its official stated goal is to turn Sudan into a democracy that grants equal rights to all its citizens. However, it also has a military wing that has been fighting government forces in Darfur since 2001.

Close ties

Al-Nur fled to France in 2007 and has not been back to Sudan since then. He has won support from international human rights organizations and is considered very close to French Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.

In the past, he has spoken in favor of establishing diplomatic ties between Sudan and Israel, and a year ago, he even announced that his movement was opening an office in Tel Aviv, staffed by Sudanese refugees who found asylum in Israel after fleeing the massacres committed by Bashir’s forces in Darfur.

However, this was his first visit here.

Israel currently has more than 600 Darfur refugees, and Ehud Olmert’s government decided to grant them all asylum and work permits. This decision was made in part because Bashir’s government announced that any Sudanese refugee who set foot in Israel would be considered a “Mossad agent” and would therefore be sentenced to death should he or she ever return to Sudan.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1064417.html

Wiam Wahab: Saudi Arabia has brought calamities upon Lebanon

Wiam Wahab, the head of the Tayyar al-Tawhid al-Lubnani (Lebanese Unification Movement), released a statement in response to the Mufti of the Lebanese Republic Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Qabbani, who had defended Saudi Arabia and its role in Lebanon earlier. Below is the text of the statement:

We were not surprised that the Mufti Muhammad Rashid Qabbani volunteered to defend the policies of the Saudi regime, this regime that has brought calamities upon Lebanon and the region due to its American commitments. But we would like to pose the following questions to him:

First: Did his eminence read the text of the latest American-Saudi treaties that render the Holy places in Mecca and Medina areas of American control that cannot be entered without permission from the CIA, or is the Mufti busy reading the notebooks of instigating sedition in Lebanon?

Second: Can the Mufti tell us about the role that the Kingdom played in destroying Iraq and killing 1 million Muslims and Iraqis after it facilitated the Americans’ task without a shaking conscience and without batting an eye?

Third: Can the Mufti tell us what role his (sic) Kingdom played in putting an end to the killing in Palestine and the starvation and siege of the people of Gaza (who are Sunni Muslims)?

Fourth: Can the Mufti clarify for us why his Kingdom is buying tens of billions of dollars worth of American weapons, and against whom it wants to use them, while tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims are hungry all over the world?

26 years in zionist dungeons: kidnapped Iranian diplomats and the imminent prisoner exchange

The 4 Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped by ‘Israeli’-allied Lebanese Forces (headed by war criminal Samir Geagea who was welcomed in the White House not long ago) and handed over to ‘Israel’, are still alive despite being kept in zionist dungeons, tortured, and abused for the past 26 years. The question is: will they be coming home with all the Lebanese prisoners and Martyrs, and the large number of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners and Martyrs?

في الرابع من تموز المقبل تصادف ذكرى مرور 26 سنة على اختطاف الدبلوماسيين الايرانيين وهم، القائم بالأعمال محسن الموسوي، والملحق العسكري أحمد متوسليان، ومصور كاظم إخوان، وسائق السفارة تقي رستكار مقدم.
وتعتقد إيران أنهم ما زالوا أحياﺀ وأن ميليشيا القوات اللبنانية سلمتهم إلى” إسرائيل”.ا

وفي ذلك التاريخ من العام 1982 كان الجيش “الاسرائيلي” قد وصل الى مشارف بيروت، لذا اختلطت الروايات حول مصير الدبلوماسيين حيث اشار احد مرافقي الوزير السابق ايلي حبيقة المعروف بـ “كوبرا”، انهم قتلوا في مركز قيادة الامن في القوات في الكرنتينا في اليوم الثاني من اختطافهم، في الوقت الذي اكد بعض الشهود في شهادات موثقة، بحسب دبلوماسي ايراني في بيروت انهم كانوا احياﺀ في الكرنتينا في منتصف تموز من ذلك العام.ا

المعطيات المتوفرة لدى الايرانيين وانطلاقا من شهادات ووثائق لبنانية ومن داخل السجون “الاسرائيلية” ان الدبلوماسيين نقلوا الى داخل “اسرائيل” في ذلك العام وكل الشهادات التي قدمت لم تتوصل الى انهم قتلوا وان هناك ما يثبت ذلك، بما فيها الرواية التي تشير الى ان رفاتهم رميت بعد مدة في منطقة نائية في جبل لبنان.
الدبلوماسي الايراني في بيروت اكد ان اسرائيل لم تعلق على كل ما ورد في شان هذه القضية، فلم تنف ما تقدم من اتهامات بانها لا تزال تحتجزهم ولم تؤكدها كذلك، وهذا الموقف “الاسرائيلي” يزيد من قناعة الحكومة الايرانية بان “اسرائيل” معنية بهذا الملف.ا

يعتقد بعض المتابعين لما كان يجري في تلك المرحلة ان هذا الاختطاف كان احد اسباب حصول عمليات خطف لدبلوماسيين اجانب في بيروت، ويروي ان الطريقة التي تم فيها خطف الايرانيين اثناﺀ عودتهم عن طريق سورية الى بيروت عبر الحدود الشمالية، تمت رغم ان انتقالهم كان بحماية جهاز امن السفارات التابع لقوى الامن الداخلي، الذي لم يستطع حمايتهم.ا

وتشير المعلومات التي رشحت عن المفاوضات الجارية بين حزب الله و”اسرائيل” عبر الوسيط الالماني، الى ان الحزب قد وضع شرطا من ضمن شروط اتمام الصفقة، ان يتم تقديم معلومات تشير الى مصير الدبلوماسيين الاربعة، في مقابل الاصرار “الاسرائيلي” على ان يقدم حزب الله تقريرا يكشف مصير مساعد الطيار الاسرائيلي رون اراد الذي اسر في العام 1986 من قبل حركة امل، وما لبث بعد مدة ان فقد بعد انتقاله الى قبضة جهات قريبة من الايرانيين. وينفي المصدر الايراني ان تكون الحكومة الايرانية قد طلبت ادراج قضية دبلوماسييها في المفاوضات الجارية بين “اسرائيل” وحزب الله.ا

لكن ايران التي دأبت في السنوات الاخيرة على طرح هذا الملف بقوة في اكثر من منبر دولي مختص في حقوق الانسان، تولي دبلوماسيتها في بيروت اهتماما متزايدا برصد كل التفاصيل المرتبطة بعملية الخطف، كما باتت صور هؤلاﺀ الدبلوماسيين حاضرة في مختلف النشاطات التي تقوم بها الدبلوماسية الايرانية في بيروت، ويدرج هذا الملف في الاهتمامات الرئيسة لوزارة الخارجية الايرانية، وينفي الدبلوماسي نفسه الذي زار الاسير المحرر نسيم نسر في بلدته البازورية قبل ايام ان يكون الاخير قد قدم معلومات اضافية على هذا الصعيد.ا

في هذا السياق تستعد السفارة الايرانية في بيروت لاحياﺀ هذه الذكرى في الرابع من تموز المقبل، باحتفال يقام بالتعاون مع نقابة الصحافة اللبنانية، بمشاركة عائلات هؤلاﺀ الدبلوماسيين وهو احتفال قد يكون الاخير قبل انكشاف مصير هؤلاﺀ الدبلوماسيين، ويعتقد ان خلال هذا الحفل سيكون جزﺀ كبير من خبايا هذا الملف قد انكشف وقد يغلق هذا الملف. وربما قد يفتح على ملفات جديدة، هذا ما تقرره الوقائع في الايام القليلة المقبلة مع تنفيذ صفقة التبادل بين حزب الله و”اسرائيل”.ا