Archive for the ‘Hezbollah’ Category

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Says Wars Unlikely As World Watches Obama’s First Steps

November 18, 2008

The probability of a war between Israel and its enemies over the next year is low, military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Monday.

By The Associated Press
Jerusalem Post

 

Above: Military Intelligence Chief Maj. -Gen. Amos Yadlin.

Speaking Monday at Tel Aviv University, he said the world is waiting to see how the financial crisis plays out, and how the new US administration deals with the threat from Iran. He said Iran is Israel’s main threat, calling it “the regime with radical ideology and radical weapons.”

Yadlin surmised that Syria might make peace with Israel, but only if Israel gives in to all Syria’s demands, though even then, Syria would not cut ties with terror groups.

On the Israelן-Palestinian conflict, Yadlin said that Israel could deal with two entities, working toward peace with Fatah in the West Bank while confronting Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.

Last month, Yadlin told the cabinet that if Israel’s indirect talks with Syria were aimed at testing whether it might be possible to pull Damascus out of Iran and Hizbullah’s orbits, then so far the test had failed.

Despite the talks, not only has Damascus not lessened its cooperation with Hizbullah, it has actually stepped up its relationship with the organization.

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite
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Bush’s successor faces Mideast conflicts

October 19, 2008

By Joshua Mitnick
The Washington Times

TEL AVIV | The next U.S. president will inherit two live tracks of Arab-Israeli negotiations and may find himself weighing in on internal Palestinian politics as well.

Though experts believe that the global financial crisis will knock the Arab-Israeli conflict down on the new administration’s priority list, both U.S. candidates have promised to continue the elusive search for Middle East peace.

A deadline set by the Bush administration for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord by the end of this year is widely considered to be unachievable. The next president will decide whether to extend the negotiating framework inaugurated by President Bush last year, try something new or put the process on the back burner.

While there has been a lull in Israeli-Palestinian fighting, political conditions for an accord are far from ideal. The Israeli government is in transition, while the Palestinian Authority remains weak and at odds with a breakaway Hamas-led regime in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, there has been only modest progress on confidence-building measures such as relaxing Israeli military restrictions and boosting the Palestinian economy.

Will the new U.S. president choose to invest precious political capital on a diplomatic long shot?

Ignoring the problem risks giving a moral victory to Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian allies, who will point to expanding Israeli settlements and the Israeli separation barrier as evidence that a Palestinian state in the West Bank is an illusion.

“Time is kind of running out. Things are getting worse. We’ve got to do something about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Steven Cook, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. On the other hand, he said, “Why would he [the next president] want to get involved with something so hopeless?”

Neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain has specified how they would reinvigorate the peace process. Instead, the candidates have offered differing views of the regional consequences of not resolving the conflict which hint at the priority each might place on pushing forward negotiations.

Mr. Obama has spoken more emphatically about the urgency of a resolution, describing the status quo as “unsustainable.” Echoing the views of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Obama…

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct
/19/bushs-successor-faces-tough-choices-in-mideast/

Taking cue from Hezbollah, Hamas honing fighting force

April 21, 2008

By Joshua Mitnick
The Washington Times
April 21, 2008

TEL AVIV — Israeli analysts say a series of strikes against Israeli outposts on the border with the Gaza Strip indicates Hamas has improved its fighting capability, aspiring to repeat Hezbollah’s successes in Lebanon.
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Palestinian militants have launched five attacks on or near Israeli-run border crossings into Gaza in less than two weeks. Thirteen soldiers were injured Saturday in a car bombing at the Kerem Shalom crossing, a few days after three soldiers were killed in an ambush on the Palestinian side of the border near the Nahal Oz crossing.

Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Abdelrahman, ...
Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Abdelrahman, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday, during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip April 20, 2008. Israeli air strikes killed five Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, hours after militants from the Islamist group drove bomb-laden vehicles into an Israeli border crossing.REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA)

“We’ve never seen anything like this attack since the disengagement” from Gaza in 2005, said Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant after the Saturday attack. “Its purpose was mass killing and the kidnapping of soldiers.” The attacks on the Israeli crossing terminals along the fence, say observers, are designed to draw attention to Israel economic blockade around the Gaza Strip, which has been all but sealed by Israel.
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Israeli officials claim that by targeting crossing terminals, which transmit humanitarian and basic supplies, Hamas is cynically worsening the hardship of the blighted economy of 1.4 million people.
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However, observers in Gaza say residents generally support the attacks.
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Hezbollah is seen as the Arab world’s one fighting force that has succeeded against Israel’s army where national militaries have failed, having forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and fought Israel to a draw in the 2006 war in Lebanon.
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Hamas, which Israel says has sent military officers to Hezbollah-patron Iran for training, has increased its fighting force and organized it into regional brigades with disciplined soldiers.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080421/FOREIGN/675664175/1001

France Adds Nuclear Sub and Vows to Cut Warheads

March 22, 2008
The New York Times
March 22, 2008
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PARIS — Dedicating France’s fourth nuclear-armed submarine, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday defended his country’s arsenal as vital to deter a range of new threats, including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran with intercontinental missiles.
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“The security of Europe is at stake,” he said, conflating the Continent’s interests with those of France.“Countries in Asia and the Middle East are rapidly developing ballistic capacities,” he said. “I am thinking in particular of Iran,” which is “increasing the range of its missiles while serious suspicions weigh on its nuclear program.”

Mr. Sarkozy, stung by defeats in local elections in some large French cities, stuck to traditional presidential themes of national security and defense. His sudden divorce and remarriage, and his tendency to flit from one scheme to another, have made him seem slightly unserious, contributing to his party’s losses.

His mood on Friday was somber, as he inaugurated a new generation of nuclear submarine of the “Triomphant” class, this one named Le Terrible, which could be best translated as The Fearsome. It will be equipped with a new, nuclear-tipped missile, the M-51, whose range is secret but is understood, according to Le Monde, to be some 4,970 miles, able to reach Asia.

Clearly trying to balance nuclear modernization with gestures toward a European population more interested in eliminating nuclear weapons than improving them, Mr. Sarkozy said France would continue to reduce the number of warheads on airplanes, bringing its total nuclear force to fewer than 300 warheads, half the number during the cold war.

The actual number of warheads France possesses is secret. This year, the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks nuclear arsenals, said France had 348 warheads — 288 on submarines, 50 on air-launched cruise missiles and 10 bombs.

Mr. Sarkozy also called for all nuclear powers to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as France had done, and he proposed talks on a treaty banning nuclear-armed short- and medium-range ground-to-ground missiles, a category that includes Scud-type missiles, and an idea likely to go nowhere in a world of Hezbollah, Hamas and the like. He also called for an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and a treaty banning its production, similar to an American proposal of 2006.

Mr. Sarkozy has been criticized, especially by Germany, for leaping ahead without consultation with European allies on major initiatives, like the “Mediterranean Union,” a looser grouping than the European Union and modified after Berlin’s protests. On Friday, he offered a “dialogue” on the role of French nuclear weapons in Europe’s collective defense.

“Regarding Europe, it is a fact that France’s nuclear forces by their very existence are a key element in its security,” he said. “Let’s together draw the logical conclusions: I propose to begin, with those of our European partners who wish to, an open dialogue on the role of deterrence and its contribution to our common security.”

Britain also has nuclear weapons, the main reason that Britain and France remain permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Neither country has been willing to cede its seat to the European Union. The United States provides most of Europe’s nuclear deterrence through NATO and its doctrine of collective defense.

At the same time, Mr. Sarkozy described the French “force de frappe” as a weapon of self-defense. He was vaguer about France’s national interests than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who made a similar speech in January 2006, in which he appeared to broaden the list.

Then, Mr. Chirac delivered an unexpected and controversial warning to “rogue” states sponsoring terrorism by threatening to use nuclear weapons against any state that supported attacks on his country or considered using unconventional weapons.

“The leaders of states who use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part,” Mr. Chirac said. “This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.”

Mr. Sarkozy, an aide told Le Monde, wanted to “return to the ‘fundamentals’ ” of deterrence.

As Israelis Pull Out of Gaza, Hamas Celebrates Its Rocketry

March 4, 2008

By TAGHREED EL-KHODARY and ISABEL KERSHNER
The New York Times
March 4, 2008

GAZA — As Israel withdrew its forces from the northern Gaza Strip on Monday after a two-day assault on Hamas militants, and as Palestinians emerged from their houses to inspect the damage, Hamas leaders seemed to be following the playbook of their Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, in its 2006 war with Israel.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said that like Hezbollah, Hamas had “gone from the stone to the rocket.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/world/middleeast/04mideast.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Hezbollah: Signs of a Sophisticated Intelligence Apparatus

December 16, 2007

By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
Stars and Stripes

On Dec. 4, Samar Spinelli, a U.S. Marine captain, pleaded guilty in U.S. district court in Detroit to conspiring to commit citizenship and passport fraud. By pleading guilty, Spinelli admitted to having conspired with her former roommate, Nada Nadim Prouty, to fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship. Prouty, a former FBI agent and CIA case officer, pleaded guilty in the same court in November to accessing a federal computer system to obtain information about the Lebanese-based militant group Hezbollah and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, among other charges. Spinelli’s other former roommate, Elfat El Aouar — Prouty’s sister — is serving an 18-month prison sentence for tax evasion. All three women were born in Lebanon.

The evidence, allegations and related cases suggest that Hezbollah has established a sophisticated intelligence apparatus that reaches into the United States. Moreover, it is possible — though certainly not proven — that Spinelli and Prouty used their positions in government agencies to provide Hezbollah with sensitive information. If these women were indeed Hezbollah plants, the magnitude of the information they provided to Hezbollah and Iran could be similar in importance to the information Robert Hanssen provided to the Soviets and Russians — and the damage could prove to be just as great.

The Web

Although the network of interpersonal relations and sham marriages muddle the story, the evidence appears as follows:

One of the three former roommates, El Aouar, is married to fugitive Talal Chahine, an alleged Hezbollah financial operative who is believed to be hiding in Lebanon. Chahine was charged in 2006 in the Eastern District of Michigan with tax evasion in connection with a scheme to conceal more than $20 million in cash received by a chain of restaurants he owns and routing those funds to “persons in Lebanon.” In October 2007, Chahine, along with a senior Immigrations and Customs Enforcement official in Detroit and several other people, was charged in a bribery and extortion conspiracy in which federal immigration benefits allegedly were awarded to illegal aliens in exchange for money that also apparently ended up in Hezbollah’s coffers.

According to court documents, Spinelli, whose maiden name was Khalil Nabbouh, entered the United States from Lebanon on a student visa in 1989. After her arrival, she lived in Taylor, Mich., with sisters Elfat El Aouar and Nada Nadim El Aouar (who would later become Nada Prouty). The El Aouar sisters also had entered the United States on student visas, and had failed to return to Lebanon once their studies ended.

On April 13, 1990, Spinelli entered into a fraudulent marriage with Jean Paul Deladurantaye in order to remain in the United States and obtain U.S. citizenship. On Aug. 9, 1990, Spinelli then facilitated Prouty’s fraudulent marriage to Chris Deladurantaye, the brother of Spinelli’s sham husband.

Spinelli enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1990 and, after receiving her citizenship, divorced Deladurantaye and married a fellow Marine, Capt. Gary Spinelli, in 1995. Commissioned as a Marine officer in 1997, Spinelli rose to the rank of captain and was awarded several decorations. She reportedly was serving her second tour of duty in Iraq when she was called back to face the fraud charges.

Meanwhile, Prouty worked as a waitress at one of Chahine’s restaurants as she earned a bachelor’s degree from Detroit Business College. After gaining her U.S. citizenship in 1994, she moved to Pennsylvania to pursue an MBA at Bloomsburg University. While at Bloomsburg, she met and married Andrew Alley, who had served as a Marine during Operation Desert Storm. In 1997, the FBI hired Prouty as an agent and assigned her to the FBI’s Washington field office, where she worked on an extraterritorial squad investigating crimes against U.S. persons overseas — terrorism cases. As part of her duties, she investigated the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 2002 assassination of American diplomat Laurence Foley, in Amman, Jordan. In 2000, Prouty divorced Alley and later married Foreign Service officer Gordon Prouty, who had served at U.S. embassies in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Cairo, Egypt.

Knowing Nada Prouty from her work as an FBI agent working terrorism cases, the CIA hired her in 2003, and she became an agency case officer. She reportedly was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and participated in a number of interrogations of high-value suspects, including captured al Qaeda members. When the CIA learned of Prouty’s immigration fraud in December 2005, the agency reportedly moved her to a less sensitive language-training post.

Elfat El Aouar also was involved in a sham marriage in 1990 and, like her sister, went on to earn an MBA. She became the financial manager of the La Shish restaurants and married La Shish owner Chahine in 2000. She was convicted on tax evasion charges and sentenced in May 2007. A third sister, Rula Nadim El Aouar, also has been charged with immigration fraud as a result of her 1992 sham marriage to a man who worked as a dishwasher at a La Shish restaurant. It was the investigation into the activities of Chahine and El Aouar that eventually led authorities to Prouty and Spinelli.

The Potential Blowback

Although there is no evidence at this point that Prouty and Spinelli worked on behalf of Hezbollah, we cannot ignore the fact that the U.S. government has produced evidence that Prouty’s sister and Chahine attended an August 2002 Hezbollah fundraiser in Lebanon — during which Chahine was seated in a position of honor at the right hand of Hezbollah’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Muhammed Hussein Fadlallah.

Additionally, Prouty did admit in her guilty plea that in September 2000 she used the FBI’s computerized Automated Case System (ACS) without authorization to look up her own name, her sister’s name and that of Chahine. Prouty also admitted that in June 2003 she accessed the ACS to obtain information relating to an FBI national security investigation into Hezbollah — though she had not been officially assigned to work any Hezbollah cases.

It is important to note, however, that the FBI did, and still does, employ relatively few native Arabic speakers, and even fewer special agents who speak the language. The bureau is a hierarchical organization with a very agent-oriented culture, meaning agents are regarded far more highly than are analysts, technicians or translators. Agents trust other agents and will often discuss matters among themselves that they will not discuss with outsiders or translators. They also will seek assistance from fellow agents who have rare skills, such as native Arabic ability. So, although Prouty was assigned to a squad with an extraterritorial focus, she undoubtedly was given access to many cases that she was not officially assigned to work, gaining insight into the bureau’s domestic counterintelligence capabilities in relation to Arabic-speaking terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

The timing of Prouty’s transfer to the CIA is also interesting in that it came on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. A case officer who spoke native Arabic would have been indispensable in an environment such as Iraq, especially at a time when there were many high-value suspects to interrogate and sources to interview. Such an employee undoubtedly would be given insight into almost everything happening in the CIA’s station and would have ready access to a great deal of information.

This is the kind of information that would be of utmost importance to Iran. Tehran, considering the invasion as a potential threat to its own interests — believed the U.S. operations in Iraq required close monitoring. Following the invasion, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad became one of the most significant in the world — especially from the Iranian perspective. While the Iranians undoubtedly planted their loyalists in the local guard force and the embassy’s local support staff, those people would not have had nearly the same access as a cleared American officer.

So, if Prouty were working on behalf of Hezbollah and its Iranian masters, she would have been able to gather a significant amount of information regarding the FBI’s domestic counterterrorism capabilities and programs, as well as information pertaining to investigations it was running against Hezbollah. More importantly, she would have had an insider’s view of how the FBI conducts such operations, which would allow her to determine how a group such as Hezbollah could use gaps in that capability and coverage to avoid detection. If Prouty was used to translate Arabic conversations from telephone taps or other listening devices, she could have learned the targets of such devices and the locations where the device were planted. Furthermore, if she were asked to interview Arabic-speaking sources, she would have little trouble identifying them.

As a CIA case officer, Prouty would also be able to provide Hezbollah and Iran with a detailed look at CIA training and intelligence tradecraft, in addition to a wide variety of information pertaining to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as well as the CIA station and its sources of intelligence there. Just the classified cable traffic she would be privy to would be a treasure trove to a hostile intelligence agency, especially the operational reports that might be useful in identifying sources. Even though sources are identified by codes rather than their real names, the characterization of the source, the information provided and the timeframe in which the source provided the information can be very useful to a counterintelligence service. Such revelations can, and do, lead to the deaths of sources.

In the past, it was thought that only nation states such as Russia or Israel had the potential to send agents into another country to infiltrate their most sensitive government agencies. In this case, it could turn out that a militant group (perhaps with a little help from its Iranian mentors) was able to accomplish this feat. In this case, the agents might not only have penetrated those agencies, but maneuvered themselves into positions and locations of critical importance to Hezbollah and the Iranians. It would be quite a coup for Hezbollah to pull off such a feat while the United States and Iran were in the midst of a covert intelligence war.

Flaws in the System

These cases highlight the gaps in U.S. immigration policy and demonstrates the ways in which individuals — and militant organizations — can exploit those vulnerabilities to enter or remain in the United States fraudulently.

Furthermore, the cases demonstrate that the FBI, CIA and Marine Corps all failed to detect this web of sham marriages when they conducted background investigations on the women in question, especially since the marriages were within the seven-year investigative window required for Prouty’s FBI clearance and Spinelli’s enlistment in the Marine Corps. A full field background investigation should have been able to determine the nature of the sham marriages, given that the women never lived with their purported husbands.

The problem, however, is that background investigations often are seen as mundane tasks, and thus are not given high priority — especially when there are so many other “real” cases to investigate. Furthermore, the work is most often done by contract investigators whose bureaucratic bosses emphasize speed over substance, meaning important leads can be ignored because of a case deadline. The contractors who do dig deeply sometimes are accused of trying to milk the system and acquire more points (the basis upon which contract investigators are paid.)

Of course, in cases involving Lebanese citizens (and many other Middle Easterners) it is extremely difficult to investigate their lives prior to their arrival in the United States. Even verifying the identity of such a person is difficult, not to mention that it would be relatively easy for a Lebanese Shi’i to claim to be a Maronite or a Druze. Furthermore, even if the person is who he or she claims to be — and has entered the United States with good intentions — the powerful militias back home, such as Hezbollah, still could force that person to provide them with information by threatening his or her relatives in the home country.

After Prouty’s arrest, an FBI spokesman noted that she passed a polygraph test before being hired (she undoubtedly also passed one before being hired by the CIA, as it is standard agency procedure). However, the U.S. government has long known that the results of polygraph tests administered to Middle Easterners, Muslims in particular, can be seriously flawed. The reason, frankly, is that for a host of cultural and religious reasons, lying does not stress Middle Easterners and Muslims as much as it does Western Christians. This allows them to defeat polygraph tests. For a system that depends so heavily upon polygraphs — especially when the system is working hard to recruit people with Arabic and Farsi language skills — this is a serious vulnerability.

The fact that Prouty and Spinelli were intelligent female candidates with desired language skills further allowed them to exploit the flaws in the system. Spinelli, who served two deployments to Iraq, would have found herself in a very good position to collect intelligence regarding military deployments, capabilities and intentions, as well as sensitive details regarding the Iraqi military. A female Marine officer in a war zone would also be able to gather a boatload of information from social contacts in Iraq. As for Prouty, a female Arabic speaker with an MBA, there is almost no way the FBI would have passed on the opportunity to hire such a perfect candidate.

Whether the two women exploited their positions for personal advancement or for Hezbollah might never be fully revealed — though the many coincidences in these cases and the Hezbollah connections certainly are intriguing.

Condi Rice: Failure is a New Experience

November 4, 2007

By Fred Kaplan
The Washington Post
November 4, 2007

As Condoleezza Rice jets around the world, she must sometimes wonder where she’s going. Over her three years as secretary of state, she has squandered great opportunities by putting faith and loyalty above her old worldview. The problem isn’t just that she has swerved from the realism that propelled her to prominence; it’s that the result has been a shambles.
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U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attends a joint press conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, not seen, in Jerusalem Sunday Nov. 4, 2007.
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Rice isn’t used to failure, and most Americans aren’t used to thinking of her as one. In Beltway wisdom, she’s the star of President Bush‘s second-term team, someone who has employed smarts, sense and style to try to steer a wiser course in the world. But if she is now veering back to realism, it’s after too long a detour into post-9/11 messianism. Rice remains one of the architects of a fantasy foreign policy, and her record as secretary of state gives little hope that she’ll be able to reverse that verdict in the administration’s final months.

The case against Condi starts with her dismal tenure as national security adviser in Bush’s first term — perhaps the worst in the office’s history.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201650.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Related:

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

Areas of Strife: Burma and Israel

October 9, 2007

Personal viewpoints on international order from Burma and Israel: Areas of Strife.

There seem to be so many areas of strife in the world sometime that understanding all the issues, cultures, policies, religions and peoples involved takes some doing.We thought we might open a dialogue in order to help foster additional and better understanding.

Recently we were fortunate enough to meet three Burmese refugees/freedom fighters/exiles. Burma is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia.

These Burmese refugees opened the meeting by saying, “We are from Burma, not Myanmar.” They were definitely loath to even speak the word Myanmar — the officially recognized United Nations name of the military junta that has subjected the people of Burma to a loss of human rights and freedoms for years.

Blood soaked sandals are shown on a street following a shooting by soldiers during a protest in downtown Rangoon on Thursday.
Photographers inside Burma are managing to
get out images indicating human rights abuses.

The U.S. and U.K. never recognized the name “Myanmar.”

Russia and China support the junta in Burma with aid, trade and arms. This puts the vast but little know Southeast Asian nation squarely on the chessboard of international strategic relations.

The Burmese refugees wanted people in the West to know that the military junta, like all brutal and repressive regimes, directed a total news and media blackout.

Currently there are peaceful marches to change the situation in Rangoon toward freedom and human rights.

Hundreds of red robed Buddhist monks are in the fore.

Despite the blackout, there is still a trickle of photos and stories getting through from Burma. The refugees told us, “The people in Rangoon are making the most out of cell phones to take pictures and the internet and email  and satellite communications to distribute them.”

The photos we’ve seen of Buddhist monks and average people standing face to face to the junta’s military forces are striking testimonials to the power of freedom.

We also spoke today to an Israeli with vast experience on the textures of the situation in the Middle East. His name, Faraj, means “Good Time after Bad Time” or “Redemption.”

During the war between Hezbollah and Israel, Faraj witnessed children killed by the rockets fired into civilian areas by Hezbollah.

Faraj thought that Hezbollah achieved some success against Israel because Hezbollah is more of a terror organization or insurgency and not a nation. He said that Syria, Lebanon or another nation would be “flattened by Israel” in an existential struggle.

Despite American views of the Middle East that simply groups people as Arabs or Jews: Faraj is an example of a more realistic picture. Raised a Catholic in Israel, he also speaks Arabic and studied the Koran.

“Many areas are more mixed or difficult to understand that Americans sometime know. Iraq is an example of this,” he told us today.

“We look forward to the United States becoming more engaged in dialogue.  But do not expect many concessions from Israel.  We want all people to live in peace and harmony but we will not sell our children,” Faraj said.

I asked him about the U.N. and he said: “The U.N. is a joke.  It always votes against Israel.”

By John E. Carey

Related:

http://www.nowpublic.com/politics/burma-stories-are-coming-out-american-news-man-shot

Burmese exiles laud bravery of protesters
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-09-27-burmaexiles_N.htm

Israelis wary of new talks

From Newt Gingrich: Don’t Legislate Defeat; Work Toward Victory

September 7, 2007

September 7, 2007

Dear Friend,

Next Monday, I will give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) marking six years since 9/11 and outlining the larger war we should have been waging in order to defeat our terrorist enemies on a worldwide basis.

My speech at AEI is designed to make the case for a larger and more productive dialogue about what we need to accomplish in the Real War we’re engaged in — not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in dealing with our enemies on a larger strategic scale, including Iran, Syria, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the worldwide forces of terrorism that want to destroy our civilization and eliminate our freedoms.
The reason I am speaking out is simple: We need a war-winning option, and today we do not have such an option.

Read it all at:
http://extendedremarks.blogspot.com/

Related:
Newt Gingrich For President

Excellent Gingrich Speech, National Press Club, Aug. 7, 2007

Report blames Israel for Lebanon war civilian deaths

September 6, 2007

By Dan Williams 

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Indiscriminate Israeli shelling caused most of the Lebanese civilian deaths in last year’s war, the Human Rights Watch organization said on Thursday.

The findings, in a new report by the New York-based group, challenged Israel‘s argument that Hezbollah guerrillas were to blame for fighting within Lebanese towns and villages during the 34-day conflict in July and August 2006.

Read it all at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070906/wl_nm/
israel_lebanon_civilians_dc;_ylt=
AlqICQNlYn2oLs77PNQE7c2s0NUE