Assault on Gaza: Day of grief and defiance

By Donald Macintyre in Jabalya, northern Gaza
Monday, 3 March 2008

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, rejected international calls yesterday to end the “excessive” and “disproportionate” military operation in Gaza which has claimed the lives of 101 Palestinians – including many children and other civilians –since Wednesday.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called on Israel to halt the air and ground attacks which on Saturday alone claimed the lives of at least 54 Palestinians in the most lethal single day of violence since the beginning of the second intifada more than seven years ago. The Slovenian EU presidency – while condemning the rocket attacks from Gaza which Israel says it is trying to stop – condemned the “recent disproportionate use of force by the Israel Defence Forces against the Palestinian population of Gaza, noted the death of “innocent children” and said that such acts of “collective punishment” were against international law.

But as the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, announced that he was breaking off US-brokered negotiations with Israel as long as its “aggression” continued, Mr Olmert told the weekly meeting of the Israeli Cabinet: “Israel has no intention of stopping the fight against the terrorist organisations even for a minute.” He declared: “With all due respect … no one has the right to preach morality to Israel for employing its elementary right of self-defence.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Israel’s most important ally in the Muslim world, also decried the “disproportionate force” used in attacks which were killing “children and civilians” and complained that Israel was rejecting a “diplomatic” solution to the conflict.

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Causes and Consequences of Our Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Causes and Consequences of Our Foreign Policy in the Middle East

What It Means for Americans

By Karen Kwiatkowski

The following is the text of a speech given at Virginia Tech on February 12, 2008.

02/28/08  — — -I want to thank the Libertarians at Virginia Tech, the Political Science Club and the Institute for Humane Studies for the kind invitation to speak to you tonight.

I want to talk about the “Causes and Consequences of our Foreign Policy in the Middle East and What it Means for Americans.” The original title of this speech was “Causes and Consequences of our Foreign Policy in the Middle East and What it Means for Libertarians.” But I interchanged Americans for Libertarians. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy in Berlin, 1963, in times like these, when the American dream seems overwhelmed by what has become known as the American empire, perhaps we are all libertarians.

Let me start first with the consequences of our foreign policy in the Middle East, circa 2008.

  • We are nearly five years past the moment where George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.”
  • 400,000 to 1.2 million Iraqis are dead by our decisions and actions. Over two million are internally displaced, and over two million Iraqis have fled the country.
  • 5,000 Americans are dead (soldiers and contractors) as a result, 30–50,000 physically injured, and over 100,000 mentally disturbed, receiving or awaiting treatment.
  • Army and Marines are morally and physically bankrupt – and burdened by executive pressure for more forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan and trouble in Iran.
  • A trillion dollars has been spent, another trillion to be spent before we are finished – and if McCain has his way, we will never be finished, and we will bleed ourselves for the duration of the 21st century.
  • Beyond Iraq, we have Secretary of Defense Bob Gates alternately screaming in an empty room and crying in despair because NATO won’t pick up the slack of propping up our preferred government in Kabul.
  • The one republic with nuclear weapons and a means to deploy them is led by an unstable dictator, threatened by his own subordinates, at odds with his very powerful and well-funded intelligence arm, and disliked by the majority of his citizens. And in case you were wondering, I am talking about Perez Musharraf.
  • Jordan, once reliable and trustworthy, is feeling the heat of over two million unemployed and impoverished Iraqis swelling their refugee camps.
  • Syria – who helped us with torture and renditions after 9-11 – has been both accused and attacked by her neighbor, our other nuclear-armed friend in the region.
  • Lebanon suffered a silly war in the summer of 2006 – a war that was considered an embarrassing defeat for Israel, and a war that Washington, D.C. collaborated on and quietly cheered.
  • Our steadfast friends, the House of Saud, don’t understand us anymore.
  • We publicly threaten Iran for all kinds of reasons, even though Tehran is signatory to and compliant with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and even as we happily work with all kinds of Iranian-backed interests in southern Iraq.
  • Four key undersea communication cables get cut in a week, isolating and seriously degrading much of the banking and communication traffic for our friends in the region, including in Dubai, which just bailed out some of our banks and credit card companies. Instead of decrying bad cable construction, and offering to send our own teams to help repair these cables in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, our government has said nothing. The entire region thinks we did it, either to send a message, test a military strategy, or to funnel information into a channel our vast intelligence bureaucracy can monitor.
  • The price of oil, adjusted for inflation, is not yet at the level of the 1979 oil crisis. But it is within 10% of that. Given the drastic increase in global demand for oil today, relative to that in 1979, our foreign policy in the Middle East might be said to be harmful, but not disastrous. But you must consider two things – the amount of oil the United States imports from the Middle East is around 10–15% of all the oil we import – but interfering with the free market in this region costs the American taxpayer billions and billions every year in maintaining a large overseas military presence, military and economic aid to major and minor allies in the region, the costs of periodic off-the-book interventions, like Iraq, and the costs involved with protecting your countrymen from people who hate you enough to want to kill you and topple your tall buildings.

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Israeli missiles silence baby’s laughter in Gaza

Sami Abu Salem writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 28 February 2008

Nasser al-Bor’i holds the body of his six-month-old son, Mohammed, outside the morgue at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

The innocent laughter of six-month-old baby Mohammed al-Bor’i stopped forever on Wednesday night when shrapnel from an Israeli missile and rubble struck the infant in the head, minutes after he enjoyed his last meal.

“The baby sucked milk, he was playing with his mother; I was reading a book when a rocket hit the Ministry of Interior,” said Nasser al-Bor’i, the baby’s father.

With the first missile, the electricity was cut and darkness filled the ill-fated house. Stones and pieces of the asbestos ceiling fell onto the head of the laughing child. The explosions continued as two other missiles hit the building.

“I looked for my baby in the darkness between the rubble; I did not know where he was. When he cried once I followed the direction of his voice,” Nasser al-Bor’i said. “My hands touched my baby who was breathing hard; I felt warm liquid on my two hands and realized that he was wounded.”

Al-Bor’i carried his son to the nearby Shifa Hospital as the blood streamed from his tiny head. In the hospital, al-Bor’i became hysterical when he realized that his only child had been killed.

Tears poured from al-Bor’i’s eyes when he saw Mohammed’s shoes. “After five years of treatment for sterility, [my wife and] I had a baby. I can’t imagine that I lost him in a second.”

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Turkey Says It Has Sent Ground Troops Into Iraq

The US is not protecting their most reliable ally in Iraq. More quagmire and mayhem to come.

SAMSUN, Turkey – Turkey’s military said it had sent ground troops into northern Iraq Thursday night in an operation aimed at weakening Kurdish militants there, the first confirmed ground incursion since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

The Turkish General Staff announced the action on its website on Friday. It gave no details of how many troops went or how long they would stay, and said only that they would return once goals had been achieved. Private NTV television reported 10,000 troops were involved and said they had pushed about six miles into Iraqi territory.

A Turkish analyst, commenting on NTV, said the attack appeared aimed at dealing the Kurdish militants, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a surprise blow before the snow melts and the guerillas make their traditional spring advance into Turkey to attack Turkish troops. The analyst said the operation would likely last between three and four days.

It was not clear what, if any, role the United States played in the incursion, which set one of its closest allies in a troubled region, Turkey, a NATO member that shares borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria, against another, Iraqi Kurds, the most important American partners in the Iraq war.

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Taliban defeat will take years: US general

And here was me thinking we beat the buggers in the first month of occupation.

MAIDAN SHAHR, Afghanistan (AFP) – It will take “a few years” to defeat the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, the top US general in the country said Tuesday, reiterating US support for the fight.

Major General David Rodriguez, head of the US-led coalition force, said the US military would stay in the country “as long as they are needed.”

“We definitely think it will take a few years for the Afghan people and the Afghan leaders supported by the coalition forces to defeat them,” he said in a response to a question from a journalist.

An insurgency led by the Taliban, who were in government between 1996 and 2001, has been growing in the past two years with a spike in suicide attacks and roadside bombings.

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Ambulances in Gaza unable to run due to fuel shortage

Gaza – Ma’an – Ambulances in the Gaza Strip ran out of fuel on Monday due to the reduction of fuel shipment from Israel to Gaza. The ambulance and emergency service in the Palestinian Health Ministry organized a ‘sit-in’ for the ambulance drivers in protest against the Israeli decision to further reduce fuel deliveries.

Muawiya Hassanain, director of ambulance and emergency service, appealed to the international Quartet and the World Health organization (WHO), as well as the United States, the UN, UNICEF and the Red Cross – asking them to end the siege of the Gaza Strip and to secure resumption of fuel delivery.

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Rule by fear or rule by law?

“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”

- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of “an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

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Another Killing Spree in Mesopotamia: “Pacifying” Mosul

 “When I hear anyone talk of Culture, I reach for my revolver.” Hermann Goering (1893-1946.)

In the Orwellian world of the United States military, when a killing spree in Mesopotamia is embarked upon, it is called an “Iraq Pacification Operation’”. There have been hundreds of these (I abandoned counting at three hundred and eighty, with numerous more to go.)

Each ‘pacification’ has a name which brings a glimpse into a very strange mindset: “Operation Devil Thrust”, “Operation Terminator”, “Operation Scorpion Sting”, “Operation Sidewinder”, “Operation Roaring Tiger”, “Operation All American Tiger”, “Operation Panther Squeeze”, “Operation Warhorse Whirlwind”, “Operation Resolute Sword”, “Operation Wolverine Feast”, “Operation Arrowhead Ripper”, “Operations ‘Geronimo Strike’, ‘Rat Trap’ and ‘Grizzly Forced Entry’”. And from a porn show near you: Operations “Squeeze Play”, “Triple Play”, “Therapist” and “Tombstone Thrust”. ( http://www.globalsecurity.org )

Seemingly there are even “insurgent” cows, if “Operation Cowpens” lived up to its name. Al Cow-aeda, maybe?

Perhaps the oddest is: ‘”Operation Suicide Kings”. Suicide bombers of course, were unheard of in Iraq until the invasion. The title is no doubt a coincidence in macho “bring ‘em on”, bragging. None however are titles which conjure up the joyously liberated, reveling gratefully, savoring their freedom and democracy.

Having “pacified” Iraqis in to the grave, from Abu Ghraib to Falluja, from Ramadi to Tel Afar, with numerous other murderous stop offs across the land of Abraham, the crusading Christian soldiers are moving onwards to “cleanse” Mosul. That it was the puppet “Prime Minister”, Nuri Al Maliki who used the expression is as inconsequential as he is – his orders come from the pacifiers and their masters in Washington.

In words and deeds, happenings in Iraq are chillingly redolent of Nazi Germany. Neighborhoods walled in and “cleansed” of Sunnis, others of Shias, Christians and Iraq’s richness of minorities … people who have lived together and inter-married since time immemorial. The distinctions were imposed with the incoming tanks and troops – divide and rule writ large. In Falluja, Goebbel’s ghost walks tall. The residents even have their own identifying arm patch to prove it. And it has certainly been cleansed, in uncountable thousands – exactly how many unknown, since in the words of General Tommy Franks it is not “productive” to count Iraqi deaths.

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Top US Lawyer And UNICEF Data Reveal Afghan Genocide

By Dr Gideon Polya08 February, 2008
Countercurrents.org

The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 with the ostensible excuse of the Afghan Government’s “protection” of the asserted Al Qaeda culprits of the 9/11 atrocity that killed 3,000 people. In the light of as many as 6.6 million post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan as of February 2008 (see below), it is important to consider the major problems with this Bush-ite and neo-Bush-ite version of events as summarized below:

1. The US has a long history of “questionable” excuses for war e.g. the explosion of the Maine (the Spanish-American War), the sinking of the US arms-carrying Lusitania (entry into World War 1), the Pearl Harbor attack with now recognized US foreknowledge (entry into World War 2), North Koreans provoked into invading their own country (the Korean War), the fictitious Gulf of Tonkin incident (the Vietnam War; recently similarly but unsuccessfully attempted in the Persian Gulf as an “excuse” to attack Iran) and the extraordinary 1,000 post-9/11 lies told by Bush Administration figures, most notoriously about non-existent Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (the Iraq War; post-invasion excess deaths now about 1.5-2 million).

2. The US supported and funded Al Qaeda and the Taliban from the late 1970s to the early 1990s associated with its anti-Soviet policies (see William Blum’s “Rogue State”).

3. Oil- and hegemony-related plans for the invasion of Afghanistan were all ready to go before 9/11.

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CIA shrugged off no-war reports

A key Iraqi nuclear scientist says he believed by telling the truth about Iraq’s weapons, he was helping to stave off the invasion.Saad Tawfiq, a key figure in Saddam Hussein’s clandestine nuclear weapons program, said when he watched Colin Powell waving a vial of white powder and telling the UNSC on February 5, 2003, a story about Iraqi germ labs, he realized he had risked his life and those of his loved ones for nothing.

“When I saw Colin Powell I started crying. Immediately. I knew I had tried and lost,” Tawfiq told AFP this week in the Jordanian capital Amman.
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War pimp alert: PM vows ‘relentless’ war on terror in wake of Dimona attack

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged Monday that Israel will not relent in its struggle against terrorism, after a suicide bombing in the southern town of Dimona earlier in the day. The United States issued a statement Tuesday condemning the attack and urging the Palestinian Authority to do more to counter terrorism.

Addressing the Knesset, Olmert said that Israel is facing a constant war in the southern part of the country, referring to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel believes the suicide bombers infiltrated into Israel from Egypt after crossing from Gaza into Egypt.

Referring to the attack in Dimona, Olmert said, “It was a very harsh incident that only points again to the complexity that we deal with daily. I have said more than once in the past few weeks that a constant war is being conducted in the south of the country, a war of terror against us and our war against terror, this war will continue, terrorism will be hit. We will not relent.”

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Looking Up

On the 11th of January we reported that according to a Dutch newspaper the US air force was systematically carpet bombing areas of Iraq. I send this to ICH and the Raw story who did not pick up on it. Today Tom Engelhardt published and article on the same but so far it has been the only other outlet I have seen this news. Also a recent survey showed that more than a million Iraqis had died as a result of the war. Recalculated for the US population that would equal approcimatly 12 million people if a war had caused the same percentage of casualties in the US.
I’m sure they would have thought that was Genocide.

It also means that 400 Iraqis died for every one of the casualties in the attacks on 9/11 and were not even counting the Afghanistani death toll.

Recalculated again for the same event to have happened in the US this would mean that 9000 people would have died per death as the result of an attack on a country they had nothing to do with.

When are the American population going to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable?

By Tom Engelhardt

A January 21st Los Angeles Times Iraq piece by Ned Parker and Saif Rasheed led with an inter-tribal suicide bombing at a gathering in Fallujah in which members of the pro-American Anbar Awakening Council were killed. (“Asked why one member of his Albu Issa tribe would kill another, Aftan compared it to school shootings that happen in the United States.”) Twenty-six paragraphs later, the story ended this way:

“The U.S. military also said in a statement that it had dropped 19,000 pounds of explosives on the farmland of Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. The strikes targeted buried bombs and weapons caches.”In the last 10 days, the military has dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of explosives on the area, which has been a gateway for Sunni militants into Baghdad.”

And here’s paragraph 22 of a 34-paragraph January 22nd story by Stephen Farrell of the New York Times:

“The threat from buried bombs was well known before the [Arab Jabour] operation. To help clear the ground, the military had dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of bombs to destroy weapons caches and I.E.D.’s.”

Farrell led his piece with news that an American soldier had died in Arab Jabour from an IED that blew up “an MRAP, the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle that the American military is counting on to reduce casualties from roadside bombs in Iraq.”

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NATO Genocide in Afghanistan

By Ali Khan

30/01/08 “ICH” — — Ali Khan argues that the internationally recognized crime of genocide applies to the intentional killings that NATO troops commit on a weekly basis in the poor villages and mute mountains of Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban.

Sloganeers, propagandists and politicians often use the word “genocide” in ways that the law does not permit. But rarely is the crime of genocide invoked when Western militaries murder Muslim groups. This essay argues that the internationally recognized crime of genocide applies to the intentional killings that NATO troops commit on a weekly basis in the poor villages and mute mountains of Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban, a puritanical Islamic group. NATO combat troops bombard and kill people in Taliban enclaves and meeting places. They also murder defenseless Afghan civilians. The dehumanized label of “Taliban” is used to cloak the nameless victims of NATO operations. Some political opposition to this practice is building in NATO countries, such as Canada, where calls are heard to withdraw troops from Afghanistan or divert them to non-combat tasks.

Dehumanization

In almost all NATO nations, the Taliban have been completely dehumanized — a historically-tested signal that perpetrators of the crime of genocide carry unmitigated intentions to eradicate the dehumanized group. Politicians, the armed forces, the media, and even the general public associate in the West the Taliban with irrational fanatics, intolerant fundamentalists, brutal assassins, beheaders of women, bearded extremists, and terrorists. This luminescent negativity paves the way for aggression, military operations, and genocide. Promoting the predatory doctrine of collective self-defense, killing the Taliban is celebrated as a legal virtue. To leave the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, says NATO, is to leave a haven for terrorism.

A similar dehumanization took place in the 16th and 17th centuries when NATO precursors occupied the Americas to purloin land and resources. The killings of native inhabitants were extensive and heartless. Thomas Jefferson, the noble author of the Declaration of Independence, labeled Indians as “merciless savages.” President Andrew Jackson pontificated: “What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms.” Promoting the predatory doctrine of discovery, the United States Supreme Court later ratified the pilgrims’ crimes, holding that “discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title (to land). ([T]he Indians were fierce savages…To leave them in possession of their country was to leave the country a wilderness.”

The predators have not changed their stripes a bit. They come, they demonize, they obliterate. They do all this in the name of superior civilization.

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Afghanistan — the next disaster

By Saul Landau Read Spanish Version
After six plus years, the war in Afghanistan drags on. The media occasionally cites casualties, but if it doesn’t involve National Football League veteran Pat Tillman’s execution by his own comrades, Afghanistan gets sparse attention. A few stories feature the growing number of Afghan and Iraq War vets on American streets. But the aspiring candidates ignore such “blowback.” Instead, they demonstrate verbal aggression, a characteristic thought necessary for victory. “We’ve got to get the job done there [Afghanistan],” Barack Obama asserted without specifying what the “job” is. (AP, Aug 14, 2007)
Obama called for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and sending them to “the right battlefield,” Afghanistan and Pakistan. To pressure Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to act against terrorist training camps, Obama would use military force — if he became President — against those “terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans.” (Bloomberg, Aug 1, 2007)
In mid January, Bush dispatched 3,200 additional marines to Afghanistan. Curiously, the uncurious media didn’t ask why U.S. and NATO forces continue to fight there. Nation Building? With little or no budget for reconstructing the country?

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Unimaginable Intentional Human Suffering

By Peter Chamberlin

27/01/08 “ICH” — – Perhaps one day we shall know the truth about being, and being alive on planet earth, whether life on every living planet is as messed-up as it is here. Earth’s problems must be unique, as they are of man’s own creation, man-made disasters caused by ambitious men who are allowed to rise to the top, where they dominate us for self-gain. We allow our leaders to take the positions of power that they desire, instead of actually choosing who shall lead us. Humans tend to submit to those who claim authority, since it is easier to believe in symbols of power, than it is to personally submit to the tedium of the reasoning process. As a people, we tend to follow the natural order of things along the path of least resistance. By taking the easy way out, we give our blessing to the law of the jungle.

It is natural for societies to become dominated by powerful elites, who gain control of the inner workings of government and commerce, in order to bend them both to their will. “Meritocracy” and other forms of “social Darwinism,” describe the belief that “success” by this definition justifies the survival of the fittest capitalism (globalism) that has decimated the world. The brutal belief system widely promoted as “neoconservatism” is behind the fascist agenda that emerged from the bowels of corporate-owned “think tanks.” These elitist thinkers believe that it is necessary for our government to “cull” the “useless eaters” from the face of the earth, through forced population reduction and perpetual war. They are the true radicals, possessed by “extremist belief systems.” Their plans for us are the end program of a centuries-old class war between the elitist self-proclaimed neo-aristocrats, who would be masters of mankind and the rest of the human race. The neocons are nothing new, just the latest, most-concentrated form of this egotistical brand of pure evil.

If the elitist “one-worlders” were correct about being the “natural leaders” of the world, dedicated to saving the most noble of mankind from the excesses of the dirty masses, then their cold-blooded plans might be justified by the results, by anyone who survived them. The plan is to kill-off a significant portion of the earth’s “dead weight,” keep another segment as a labor force and extend their own lives through genetic and eugenic research. They are not being all that secretive about this research, only about where it all is meant to lead us. If the idea of rich men carrying-out a plot to kill-off billions of poor people isn’t enough to motivate the masses into torch-carrying mobs, I can’t imagine what would be enough.

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The Lessons of Violence

Posted on Jan 21, 2008
Hamas mourners
AP photo / Khalil Hamra
Palestinians mourn over the body of Hussam Zahar, 24, son of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, during his funeral in Gaza City. Hussam Zahar was killed Jan. 15 in an Israeli strike on Gaza.

By Chris Hedges

The Gaza Strip is rapidly becoming one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. Israel has cordoned off the entire area, home to some 1.4 million Palestinians, blocking commercial goods, food, fuel and even humanitarian aid. At least 36 people have been killed in Israeli strikes since Tuesday and many more wounded. Hamas, which took control of Gaza in June, has launched about 200 rockets into southern Israel in the same period in retaliation, injuring more than 10 people. Israel announced the draconian closure and collective punishment Thursday in order to halt the rocket attacks, begun on Tuesday, when 18 Palestinians, including the son of a Hamas leader, were killed by Israeli forces.

This is not another typical spat between Israelis and Palestinians. This is the final, collective strangulation of the Palestinians in Gaza. The decision to block shipments of food by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency means that two-thirds of the Palestinians who rely on relief aid will no longer be able to eat when U.N. stockpiles in Gaza run out. Reports from inside Gaza speak of gasoline stations out of fuel, hospitals that lack basic medicine and a shortage of clean water. Whole neighborhoods were plunged into darkness when Israel cut off its supply of fuel to Gaza’s only power plant. The level of malnutrition in Gaza is now equal to that in the poorest sub-Saharan nations.

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Never against! European collusion in Israel’s slow genocide

Omar Barghouti, The Electronic Intifada, 21 January 2008

The lives of premature babies being cared for at Gaza’s hospitals are threatened if incubators can’t be powered. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

The European Union, Israel’s largest trade partner in the world, is watching by as Israel tightens its barbaric siege on Gaza, collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, condemning them to devastation, and visiting imminent death upon hundreds of kidney dialysis and heart patients, prematurely born babies, and all others dependent on electric power for their very survival.

By freezing fuel and electric power supplies to Gaza, Israel, the occupying power, is essentially guaranteeing that “clean” water — only by name, as Gaza’s water is perhaps the most polluted in the whole region, after decades of Israeli theft and abuse — will not be pumped out and properly distributed to homes and institutions; hospitals will not be able to function adequately, leading to the eventual death of many, particularly the most vulnerable; whatever factories that are still working despite the siege will now be forced to close, pushing the already extremely high unemployment rate even higher; sewage treatment will come to a halt, further polluting Gaza’s precious little water supply; academic institutions and schools will not be able to provide their usual services; and the lives of all civilians will be severely disrupted, if not irreversibly damaged. And Europe is apathetically watching.

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Is the US airforce commiting Genocide?

The USAToday rapports this evening that the US air force has “taken the fight to the enemy. IN the biggest air raids since the war began the dropped 40.000 pounds of bombs on “al Qaeda” targets.

The operation, called “Phantom Phoenix,” is the third in a series of recent Iraq-wide offensives against al-Qaeda. That makes the past six months the heaviest uptick in offensive operations since the 2004 battles in Fallujah and the Shiite shrine city of Najaf.

A military statement said two B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighters dropped the bombs on 40 targets in Arab Jabour in 10 strikes.

Conway said 35 al-Qaeda militants were killed and 25 houses and 13 vehicles were destroyed.

This seems a meagre harvest of enemy deaths against the huge amount of bombs dropped in one of only series of raids in the last 6 months. The series is reported to be the biggest since the attacks on Falluja.

A Dutch news paper het Parool paints an entirely different picture.

According to the news paper quoting the Council of Ulema’s a council of influential Sunni spiritual leaders, the US air force committed horrific crimes. According to the council they “flattened” entire neighbourhoods around the city of Arab Jabour  south of Bagdad.
The counsil spoke of many deaths. In the first 10 minutes alone 38 bombs fell on Arab Anjour. The article also states that it was more than 20.000 kg of bombs.

According to the council there were no al Qaeda basis in the region and the inhabitants were mainly farmers.

According to the same article Alayne Conway the commander overseeing the attacks it was the biggest carpet bombing operation since the beginning of the war and it preceded an ground attack covering the same area. 

Palestinians return to ruined Lebanese camp

Inside Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, Lebanon

Fighting between Islamist militants and the Lebanese army has left this Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon in ruins. These photos were taken inside the camp in October.

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Turkey bombs suspected Kurdish rebels

SIRNAK, Turkey – Turkish warplanes bombed positions of suspected Kurdish rebels Wednesday, and the prime minister said preparations for parliamentary approval of a military mission against separatist fighters in Iraq were under way.A cross-border operation could hurt Turkey’s relationship with the United States, which opposes Turkish intervention in northern Iraq, a region that has escaped the violence afflicting much of the rest of the country.

U.S. officials are already preoccupied with efforts to stabilize areas of Iraq outside the predominantly Kurdish northern region.

Turkey and the United States are NATO allies, but ties have also been tense over a U.S. congressional bill that would label the mass killings of Armenians by Turks around the time of World War I as genocide. President Bush strongly urged Congress to reject the bill, saying it would do “great harm” to U.S.-Turkish relations.

Turkish troops blocked rebel escape routes into Iraq while F-16 and F-14 warplanes and Cobra helicopters dropped bombs on possible hideouts, Dogan news agency reported. The military had dispatched tanks to the region to support the operation against the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in response to more than a week of deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Turkish authorities also detained 20 suspected Kurdish rebels at a border crossing with Iraq, the office for the governor of Sirnak said in a statement.

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