Thu, 17 Jan 2008 14:04:24
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar
Hamas leader has said that Israel's latest crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were a gift from George W. Bush's Middle East tour.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, whose son Husam was killed in the latest Israeli aggression, said Bush had "encouraged the Israelis to kill our people."
"What is going on in Gaza today is shameful for all of those who cooperate with Bush, the criminal, and with the Zionists," Zahar said.
"I am talking about all the kings, presidents and ministers," he added, criticizing Arab leaders who have warmly welcomed the American president during his tour of the region.
He said the Zionist regime is proud of killing 2000 Palestinians in 2007.
Zahar said Israel's plots against Palestinians have failed. It is trying to cover its failures by killing Palestinians and demolishing their homes and farms, he added.
During the Zionists' incursion into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, 20 Palestinians were killed and 50 others were wounded. Mahmoud al-Zahar's son was among the martyrs.
Analysts believe that Bush's visit to the region gave the Zionists a green light to launch large-scale offensives in the Gaza strip.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Thu, 17 Jan 2008 14:04:24
Sunday, January 27, 2008
February 14 prominent figure MP Walid Jumblat accused Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah of preparing for a new war with Israel similar to the destructive 2006 confrontation and said he believed Syria will engineer the kidnapping and assassination of foreigners.
"You were successful in mobilizing (supporters) for Ashoura, and this is normal. But what are you preparing?" Jumblat asked Sayyed Nasrallah during an interview on Thursday with Al-Arabiya satellite news channel. "Are you preparing a new war? When you speak of body parts, is a new war coming?" asked Jumblat.
In last week's Ashoura commemoration, Sayyed Nasrallah said that Hezbollah possesses the body parts of several Israeli soldiers killed during the 2006 war against Lebanon and abandoned by their comrades.
It is not the first time that Hezbollah announces the possession of bodies or body parts of Israeli soldiers to exchange them for Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons. According to analysts, Jumblat's speech was irrelevant as the endeavor to release a number of Lebanese detainees whom the successive Lebanese governments have either ignored or failed to set free through diplomatic channels, is more humane than bellicose.
Jumblat repeated the same Syria and Iran symphony saying that he did not rule out the possibility that Syria will engineer the abduction and killing of foreigners, a practice that was widespread during the 1975-1990 civil war, particularly by his Progressive Socialist Party. "With the Syrian, and possibly Iranian, terrorism ... we might go back to this diabolical cycle," Jumblat said.
the so-called peace efforts by Olmert and Bush have been nothing but a propaganda campaign in stepping up pressure on the Palestinians
The fall of the Iranophobia ministry
Thu, 24 Jan 2008 21:36:23
By Maryam Shirsoleiman, Press TV, Tehran
On January 16, 2008, Israeli outspoken strategic affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned and his hardline Yisrael Beiteinu Party left prime minister Ehud Olmert's coalition government.
The move dealt another blow to the fragile coalition that the party joined in October 2006.
Lieberman's resignation is believed to come in protest at renewed Israeli-Palestinian so-called peace negotiations.
"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, this morning (Wednesday), 16 January 2008, accepted Minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation from the Government. The Prime Minister thanked him for his service in the Government and for his considerable contributions to a series of Government security and social measures.
Prime Minister Olmert made it clear that there is no alternative to conducting serious diplomatic negotiations in order to reach peace. This is the order of the day and is dictated by national responsibility. The Government has also set the full assurance of Israel's security as a clear condition for the implementation of any future agreement. The Prime Minister is determined to continue the diplomatic negotiations out of recognition that they contain the only real chance to assure the peace and security of Israel's citizens," a statement by Olmert's office said.
At the time when Ehud Olmert was elected as Israeli prime minister, he reinstated Meir Dagan as the Mossad Chief and the director of Israeli strategic planning against Iran's nuclear activities.
Lieberman had insisted that he be put in charge of Iran affairs as a precondition for joining Olmert's government. Then Olmert was forced to sign a coalition agreement with him in October 2006. Under the agreement Lieberman became the deputy prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, a new position with a focus on what Tel Aviv calls the threat posed by Iran.
Lieberman's party, Yisrael Beiteinu, received 11 seats (out of 120) in the March 2006 Knesset elections.
Lieberman is famous for his anti-Arab racist remarks. He has an unbridled tongue as some believe him to be a very dangerous and sophisticated politician who has won his support through racism.
The hawk has also been quoted as saying 'Israeli Arabs should pack their bags and go to hell'. In May 2006, he called for the execution of Arab politicians who had contacts with the Islamic Hamas movement.
The Israeli prime minister established the strategic affairs ministry while the it is the only Middle Eastern government to possess nuclear arms.
Although it is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has so far refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accept inspections of its atomic facilities.
This is while some states consider Israeli nukes a threat to the peace and security of the region and the entire world.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had affirmed in August 1974, more than three decades ago, that Israel had nuclear bombs.
Iran insists that it is in pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology, aimed at medical and agricultural applications as well as meeting the country's growing need for electricity; it has dismissed US and Israeli allegations that it has a secret program to develop nuclear weapons.
Tehran has been reiterating that the West's propaganda about its nuclear dossier was nothing but a move to politicize the case.
In a sign of goodwill, the country last year entered talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency to resolve the alleged outstanding ambiguities in its nuclear program.
Despite a report by US spy agencies last fall and an IAEA report confirming that Iran is not running a clandestine nuclear program, Washington and Tel Aviv still accuse Tehran of running a nuclear arms program.
Lieberman was appointed minister of strategic affairs and deputy prime minister in charge of dealing with the Iranian issue, which the Zionist regime is portraying as its main strategic threat.
The hawkish politician argues that Olmert made a mistake by directing his government's efforts to the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of stopping Iran.
Lieberman's resignation will undermine the already embattled premier ahead of the January 30 release of the Winograd Committee's final report on the failures of Israel's 33-day war against Lebanon. The report is expected to be highly critical of Olmert.
The strategic affairs ministry which was created for Lieberman's desire is very likely to be dissolved.
On the other hand, the so-called peace efforts by Olmert and US President George W. Bush have been nothing but a propaganda campaign as Tel Aviv is stepping up pressure on the Palestinians.
Just after Bush ended his Middle East tour, the regime launched large-scale offensives on the Gaza Strip, killing Palestinian civilians, including women and children.
The Zionist regime also tightened its blockade of the territory and closed all crossings to even UN humanitarian supplies allegedly to stop Palestinians 'from firing homemade rockets into southern Israel'.
Despite their blatant policies of collective punishment, the US maintains that it is Israel's 'legitimate right' to defend itself.
It is not a secret that Bush's visit to the Middle East was aimed at demonizing Iran and has nothing to do with the peace process.
Establishing a ministry by nuclear Israel to deal with 'the Iranian threat' along with Bush's efforts could only be interpreted as a scenario to create a wave of 'Iranophobia' in the region.
Iran has never invaded any country in its modern history and it has friendly ties with its neighbors even if certain countries adopted hostile policies toward it.
Keeping in mind these facts, how could the US and Israeli moves against Iran be interpreted? Only vain attempts to distract public opinion from Israeli crimes that are committed on a daily basis and the threat it itself poses to the entire Middle East.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
By Andrew Gray Fri Jan 11, 6:02 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A tense encounter betweenships and Iranian boats in the Gulf shows poses a threat and the United States is ready to counter it, the top officer said on Friday.
"There's no doubt in my mind that shots would have been fired, had the situation demanded it," said Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of theJoint Chiefs of Staff.
"The incident ought to remind us all just how real is the threat posed by Iran and just how ready we are to meet that threat if it comes to it," Mullen told reporters.
"We will defend ourselves and our ships, and we will do so with deadly force if need be," he said at the.
According to the United States, five Iranian speedboats maneuvered aggressively close to three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday and the U.S. ships received a radio transmission threatening an explosion.
On Friday, the Pentagon released what it said was full, unedited video of the encounter, lasting around 36 minutes.
The United States has formally complained about the incident. Iranian officials have dismissed U.S. objections, saying the encounter was normal and the Iranian boats were merely trying to identify the U.S. vessels.
The incident was another sign of tension between the United States and Iran, at odds over a range of issues including Tehran's nuclear program and its alleged role in Iraq.
A Navy spokeswoman said U.S. and Iranian vessels had been involved in two other incidents in the Strait of Hormuz in the past month.
On December 19, the USS Whidbey Island fired warning shots to deter a small Iranian craft and on December 22, three small Iranian craft that had been shadowing the USS Carr turned away after blasts of the American ship's whistle, the spokeswoman said.
The Strait of Hormuz is the most prominent potential "choke point" for crude oil flows, handling 17 million barrels per day, or two-fifths of globally traded oil.
CLOSE TO OPENING FIRE
U.S. officials have said U.S. sailors were close to opening fire in Sunday's encounter before the Iranian boats moved away. They have said they believe the boats came from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.
"I'd much rather prevent a war than fight one. We'd all prefer Iran to take a more productive, positive role in the region. And I support the use of economic and diplomatic measures to help bring that about," Mullen said.
"But our own military restraint in dealing with that problem should in turn never be confused for a lack of capability."
Some U.S. commentators have suggested the U.S. sailors should have opened fire and their restraint will be interpreted by Iran as a sign of weakness. But Mullen, a former head of the, said the crews' actions had been "exactly right."
The United States and Iran had already issued video footage to support their conflicting accounts of the incident.
The United States also has released the recording of a message it says was received by the U.S. ships. "You will explode after ... minutes," a heavily accented voice on the recording says.
U.S. officials initially said the audio was believed to have come from one of the Iranian boats but they have since said they are not certain of its exact origin.
"I can't shed any light as far as the radio transmission is concerned," Mullen said. "If you're out there on the bridge, it's hard to tell where (radio transmissions are) coming from."
(Reporting by Andrew Gray; Editing by Eric Walsh)
Pentagon backtracks on Iran threat
Published: Jan. 11, 2008 at 5:11 PM
The two-sentence message, on a channel used by ships and other radio operators in the area, was in accented English. Iranians and speakers of Farsi told The Washington Post that the accent did not sound Iranian.
"I am coming to you," the voice said. "You will explode in a few minutes."
The message was heard as five Iranian small speedboats operated by the Revolutionary Guard were behaving in what U.S. officials say was a provocative manner. But the Pentagon now says that the two events may have been unconnected.
"It could have been a threat aimed at some other nation or a myriad of other things," Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, a Navy spokesman, said Thursday.
The Pentagon released a 4-minute videotape of the incident on Tuesday that included the radio message. Iran released a rival version on Thursday that suggests the boat crews were simply trying to identify the ships.
|IRGC: US Navy audio, video fake |
Presstv : Wed, 09 Jan 2008 11:51:52
A member of the Navy Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) told Press TV on Wednesday that the footage released by the US Navy had been compiled using file pictures and the audio had been fabricated.
Earlier Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said the incident was a normal identification request by the Iranian side.
Hosseini explained that exchanging messages to identify ships in the Persian Gulf is routine.
Washington earlier claimed that IRGC speedboats harassed three US Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday.
The US Navy later released footage purportedly showing Iranian boats menacing US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sheikh Kasem: Lebanon Presidential Void is US Decision
04/01/2008 Hezbollah deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Kassem unveiled a decision by Washington to keep Fouad Saniora as "Prime Minister." Sheikh Kassem's words came as Lebanon is witnessing strained political wrangling and rows between the loyalty and opposition blocs over the guaranteeing one third of ministers in a national unity government. "We know exactly why you (loyalty) don't want the guaranteeing third. Two months ago, and I have to reveal this, one of the main figures in the country held a meeting with Feltman (US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman) and the dialogue was related to us by a third party. Feltman said that he had told the February 14 bloc that they only have two choices; either to elect a president with the half-plus-one formula or to let Saniora's government continue ruling. When asked about seeking a way to bring MP Saad Hariri on top of the government, Feltman said that we (Washington) prefer Saniora over Hariri to top the government; however we cannot accomplish this through normal procedures. It is best that Saniora's government keeps ruling even if this goes on until parliamentary elections (2009)." Sheikh Kassem challenged the February 14 bloc to go for early elections if this dialogue never took place.
The deputy Secretary General denounced Saniora's comments on Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah's TV interview on Wednesday.
Saniora accused Hezbollah of aiming at changing the political system and torpedoing the Taef agreement. "Nasrallah doesn't mind prolonging the presidential void to reach his purpose," Saniora said in a statement. Sheikh Kassem described Saniora's long statement as one written by someone who seeks prominence and strives for a certain value. "Those who seek prominence and strive for a certain value usually intrude upon 'heavyweights'. But the context of Saniora's statement was incompetent," his eminence said.
He added: "Saniora said that Hezbollah wants to impose veto power on the government. Who said that the guaranteeing third is Hezbollah? It is Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the Change and Reform bloc (of MP General Michel Aoun). Therefore, there are many parties in this country who have the right to rule and participate." Sheikh Kassem criticized Saniora and his ruling bloc for setting other democracies as example for the way to rule the country. "Who said that we have a minority-majority democracy in Lebanon? Our regime is sectarian with a consensus democracy. If you want to have a minority-majority regime, then let us apply this democracy on everything. You can't threaten us with this because you cannot tolerate such democracy," the deputy Secretary General said.
Sheikh Kassem insisted that the opposition wants a solution to the ongoing crisis, "but they (loyalty) don't."
He lashed out at Saniora and his government for failing to make accomplishments in Lebanon, at least during the past year. "When Saniora or someone from his ministerial bloc says: 'we are not responsible for the lack of security, deterioration of economics and social and political instability; we also cannot take legal action for many considerations,' then what is this government doing? The most unsuccessful government yet is Saniora's government. And then you (Saniora's bloc) talk about public debt. People know that the public debt has reached 45 billion dollars, but why? Isn't it because of the financial policy of Fouad Saniora which he practiced in past governments?" Sheikh Kassem asked.
"Saniora brags that during the past year, he realized 4910 resolutions, but this means 4910 violations of the constitution," he added.
'Fall of Saniora Poses Strategic Danger on Israel'
04/01/2008 Since the rise of the head of the unconstitutional government Fouad Saniora to power, the Israeli overt and covert support to him has not yet ceased. Reviewing a series of Israeli positions makes it crystal cleat that Tel Aviv reckons Saniora's fall would pose a strategic danger on Israel. Yoram Binur, Israeli specialist in Arab affairs told Israeli Channel 2 that "for Israel, the success of demonstrations to topple Saniora is not only a tactical danger but a fundamentally strategic one as well."
After Israel's 2006 aggression against Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed craving for meeting Saniora. Olmert had announced on November 7, 2006 that mediation between him and Saniora is underway to fix a meeting for them.
"I hope things would happen in Lebanon, and I can say that two great leaders are working upon my request to pave the way for personal meeting between me and Saniora," Olmert said.
Moreover, Olmert told the German Newspaper Der Spiegel on December 14, 2006 that he had tried to remove any force that endangers Saniora, adding that nothing would strengthen Saniora more than weakening Hezbollah. For his part, then vice PM Shemon Perez told the 'Kol al-Arab' weakly newspaper, that he had met with Lebanese officials without disclosing their identities, and that Israel is concerned that Saniora's government doesn’t fall.
Meanwhile, former military intelligence chief, Aharon Zeevi, praised Saniora's government saying that "from what we are reading we have no doubt that Saniora's government is considered a Jewish government and the steps that we are taking to support Saniora overtly are in fact hurting him."
Some Israeli parties even demanded the government stops IAF overflights over Lebanon "because they can weaken Saniora on the one hand and give Hezbollah more legitimacy," according to Yediot Aharonot. Perhaps the clearest evidence of Israeli support to Saniora and his ruling bloc is the Winograd Report. Parts of the "Partial Winograd Report" have been removed because they include names of the Lebanese figures from the February 14 bloc who had played a major role in starting the Second Lebanon War, according to Israeli media.