Saturday, January 13, 2007

Understanding American "Policy" in Central Asia

This article appeared in the April 9, 1999 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

A Lexicon of 'Brzezinski-isms'
Brzezinski testifies against himself

by Scott Thompson

In last week's Feature, Lyndon LaRouche warned that, if the insane geopolitical doctrines of Carter National Security Adviser Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski are imposed on an increasingly weakened President William Clinton, the consequences will be the greatest global conflagration in modern times. Brzezinski, who counts among his leading political offspring Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the self-described "Xena Warrior Princess" of the Clinton administration's Principals Committee, has done the world a favor, by putting pen to paper and spelling out his zany geopolitical views in a booklength diatribe, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books, 1997). To save our readers the agony of a full reading of Brzezinski's incompetent ravings, we provide a lexicon of the ideas presented in his chessboard fantasy.

A goofy Anglo-American imperial model

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and emergence of a prostrate Russia, what Brzezinski calls "The Black Hole," he starts his discourse on "Superpower Politics" by stating that the United States, as the sole surviving superpower in the post-Cold War world, has a window of opportunity of some 10-20 years to assert its control over all of Eurasia. "Ever since the continents started interacting politically," writes Brzezinski, "some 500 years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power. . . .

"The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as the key arbiter of European power relations, but also as the world's paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemispheric power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power. Eurasia, however, retains its geopolitical importance."

"For America" after the Cold War, Brzezinski adds, "the chief prize is Eurasia."

Looking for a model in the first part of his book for the sort of "hegemony" that the United States currently projects over Eurasia, Brzezinski eschews Pax Romana and Rule Britannia for a goofy model: "To find a somewhat closer analogy to today's definition of a global power, we must turn to the remarkable phenomenon of the Mongol Empire. Its emergence was achieved through an intense struggle with major and well-organized opponents. Among those defeated were the kingdoms of Poland and Hungary, the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, several Russian and Rus' principalities, the Caliphate of Baghdad, and later, even the Sung dynasty of China."

Making love to a corpse

While Brzezinski's book has probably sold more copies in Russia, where the elites are trying to figure out U.S. strategy, it is worth recalling that Brzezinski is in reality a British asset, trained by William Yandell Elliott, a Nashville Agrarian and Cecil Rhodes "Roundtable" tout who also trained Brzezinski's sibling rival, self-confessed British agent Sir Henry Kissinger (KCMG). Unlike Kissinger, who was given a knighthood usually reserved for leading members of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Brzezinski has been more covert in his Anglophilism. In The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski goes out of his way to camouflage the current British role as the "back-seat driver" behind the worst policies of those such as Vice President Al Gore, Jr. and Secretary of State "Madmeddling" Albright.

In The Grand Chessboard, which always speaks of U.S. "geopolitical" interests, Brzezinski dismisses as irrelevant the ongoing manipulation by an Anglo-American cabal, in which the British "Venetian Party" is the dominant intellectual force shaping the issues that confront traditional American institutions. According to Brzezinski, Britain today occupies a special place as a U.S. ally, but it is a "retired" geostrategic player:

"In contrast, Britain is not a geostrategic player. It has fewer major options. It entertains no ambitious vision of Europe's future, and its relative decline has also reduced its capacity to play the traditional role of European balancer. Its ambivalence regarding European unification and its attachment to a waning special relationship with America, have made Great Britain increasingly irrelevant insofar as the major choices confronting Europe's future are concerned. London has largely dealt itself out of the European game. . . .

"Great Britain, to be sure, still remains important to America. It continues to wield some degree of global influence through the Commonwealth, but it is neither a restless major power, nor is it motivated by an ambitious vision. It is America's key supporter, a very loyal ally, a vital military base, and a close partner in critically important intelligence activities. Its friendship needs to be nourished, but its policies do not call for sustained attention. It is a retired geostrategic player, resting on its splendid laurels, largely disengaged from the great European adventure in which France and Germany are the principal actors."

According to Brzezinski, Britain is above reproach in terms of the dangerously "geopolitical" doctrines that "Americans" like himself have been peddling increasingly of late, being content to maintain what it can of the "special relationship" with the United States and play with its Commonwealth--the euphemism for the British Empire today.

In the footsteps of Adolf Hitler

When discussing the history of geopolitics, Brzezinski lets his guard down. What he calls geopolitics is a variant upon the Mackinder/Hitlerian quackery that, in the hands of the Prince of Wales--later King Edward VII--underlay World War I. Ultimately, this doctrine was conduited, through Anglophile circles such as the "Wagner Kreis" (i.e., Houston Stewart Chamberlain and the Wagner Circle) and the mystic Thule Society, of which German geopolitician Karl Haushofer had been a member, into the pages of Hitler's Mein Kampf, as a prelude to World War II.

At the start of the section "Geopolitics and Geostrategy," Brzezinski observes: "Napoleon once said that to know a nation's geography was to know its foreign policy."

Elsewhere in this section, he remarks: "Until recently, the leading analysts of geopolitics have debated whether land power was more significant than sea power and what specific region of Eurasia is vital to gain control over the entire continent. One of the most prominent, Harold Mackinder, pioneered the discussion early this century with his successive concepts of the Eurasian `pivot area' (which was said to include all of Siberia and much of Central Asia) and, later, of the Central-East European `heartland' as the vital springboards for the attainment of continental domination. He popularized his heartland concept by the famous dictum:

"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

"Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;

"Who rules the World-Island commands the world.

"Geopolitics was also invoked by some leading German political geographers to justify their country's `Drang nach Osten' ["Drive to the East"], notably by Karl Haushofer adapting Mackinder's concept to Germany's strategic needs. Its much-vulgarized echo could also be heard in Adolf Hitler's emphasis on the German people's need for `Lebensraum' " ["living space"].

One suspects that Brzezinski is even more aware than he lets on of how Mackinder's geopolitics permeated various British channels, to Karl Haushofer, and thence to the marcher-lord Hitler.

It is therefore little short of astounding that Brzezinski offers to present a post-modern version of the Mackinder/Haushofer geopolitical doctrine, since it places him historically in the footsteps of Hitler's geostrategic doctrine.

Clearly, Brzezinski's hatred of Russia is much more motivated by his being a British asset, than by his background as heir to the lesser Polish nobility, that suffered so deeply from these "geopolitical theories."

The `Survivors' Club'

Brzezinski glosses through Russian foreign policy thinking, from the "Westernizers' " design for a strategic partnership with the United States, to building alliances with the "Near Abroad," to a semi-mystical doctrine known as "Eurasianism," laughing up his sleeve at the failure of these doctrines.

However, Brzezinski is crystal clear throughout his book that China and Russia, especially, must not be allowed to combine forces, thereby becoming a global power sufficiently strong to expel the United States from its post-Cold War "prize" of Eurasia. The alliance of China, Russia, and India that is coming into being based on Lyndon LaRouche's "Grand Design" for Eurasian integration through massive infrastructure projects such as the Eurasian Land-Bridge, what the Chinese refer to as the "New Silk Road," is, for Brzezinski, the number-one danger. This demonstrates that he does not represent traditional "American System," republican economic thought, because an equivalent of the Land-Bridge conception had originally been proposed by Henry Carey in his role as chief economist to President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was assassinated by a British conspiracy, once Britain's efforts to divide and conquer the United States with the fratricidal Civil War had failed.

Writes Brzezinski: "In early 1996, President [Boris] Yeltsin replaced his Western-oriented foreign minister [Andrei] Kozyrev, with the more experienced but also orthodox former Communist international specialist Yevgeni Primakov, whose long-standing interest has been Iran and China. Some Russian commentators speculated that Primakov's orientation might precipitate an effort to forge a new `anti-hegemonic' coalition, formed around the three powers with the greatest geopolitical stake in reducing America's primacy in Eurasia. Some of Primakov's initial travel and comments reinforced that impression. Moreover, the existing Sino-Iranian connection in weapons trade, as well as the Russian inclination to cooperate in Iran's efforts to increase its access to nuclear energy seemed to provide a perfect fit for closer political dialogue and eventual alliance. The result could, at least theoretically, bring together the world's most militant Islamic power, and the world's most populated and powerful Asian power, thereby creating a potential coalition. . . .

"Moreover, China would be the senior partner in any serious Russian effort to jell such an `anti-hegemonic' coalition. Being more populous, more industrious, more innovative, more dynamic, and harboring some potential territorial designs on Russia, China would inevitably consign Russia to the status of a junior partner, while at the same time lacking the means (and probably any real desire) to help Russia overcome its backwardness. Russia would thus become a buffer between an expanding Europe and an expansionist China."

Elsewhere in his book, Brzezinski repeats this warning that China must not be allowed to become a global power in league with Russia: "A geostrategic issue of crucial importance is posed by China's emergence as a major power. The most appealing outcome would be to co-opt a democratizing and free-marketing China into a larger Asian regional framework of cooperation. But suppose China does not democratize but continues to grow in economic and military power? A `Greater China' may be emerging whatever the desires and calculations of its neighbors, and any effort to prevent that from happening could entail an intensifying conflict with China. Such a conflict could strain American-Japanese relations--for it is far from certain that Japan would want to follow America's lead in containing China--and could therefore have potentially revolutionary consequences for Tokyo's definition of Japan's regional role, perhaps even resulting in the termination of the American presence in the Far East. . . .

"Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an `anti-hegemonic' coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower. Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of U.S. geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously."

Thus, Brzezinski defines the emerging "Survivors' Club" as the single most dangerous "geopolitical" force which those who desire to dominate Eurasia might encounter. Once again, Brzezinski allies himself with the British "Club of the Isles," that emerged out of two world wars, that were instigated by a treasonous Anglo-American Tory plot--e.g., financing Hitler's imposition upon a prostrate Germany by E.H. Harriman, Sir George Bush's father, Prescott Bush, and Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England--in order to halt precisely such integration of Eurasia around true global economic development as the Land-Bridge conception.

NATO expansion, and China

Despite Russia's justifiable objections, Brzezinski repeatedly stresses that the expansion of NATO as a defensive alliance after the Cold War, to include the former glacis of the Soviet Union, is of the utmost importance. Eventually, he argues, starting from "the Democratic Bridgehead" of Europe, NATO ought to expand, via Poland, and thence Ukraine, to the very border of a much reduced Russia. Here is one example of this proposal:

"Ultimately at stake in this effort is America's long-range role in Europe. A new Europe is still taking shape, and if that new Europe is to remain geopolitically a part of the `Euro-Atlantic' space, the expansion of NATO is essential. Indeed, a comprehensive U.S. policy for Eurasia as a whole will not be possible if the effort to widen NATO, having been launched by the United States, stalls and falters. That failure would discredit American leadership; it would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe; it would demoralize the Central Europeans; and it could reignite currently dormant or dying Russian geopolitical aspirations for Central Europe. For the West, this would be a self-inflicted wound that would mortally damage the prospects for a truly European pillar in any eventual Eurasian security architecture; and for America, it would thus be not only a regional defeat but a global defeat as well."

Thus, to gain a "bridgehead" up to the border of Russia, Brzezinski is prepared to pursue NATO expansion and out-of-area deployments, whatever the potential danger, especially in light of his other containment policies toward Russia, of pushing the globe in the direction of World War III.

In a section on "The Far Eastern Anchor," Brzezinski insists that China, with which President Clinton has proclaimed a "constructive strategic partnership," must not be allowed to emerge as a "global power," but must be contained as a "regional power." Because, he lies, ultimately the Chinese wish to seek revenge against the United States: "China's principal objection to America relates less to what America actually does than to what America currently is and where it is. America is seen by China as the world's hegemon, whose very presence in the region, based on its dominant position in Japan, works to contain China's influence."

Brzezinski suggests that access to energy and food is China's Achilles' heel, that can be used as a weapon to prevent China from becoming a truly "global power."

Cecil Rhodes-style grab of Central Asian oil

Brzezinski devotes an entire chapter to a modern-day version of a Cecil Rhodes-style raw materials grab of the large oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. According to Brzezinski, these petroleum-based resources must be under sufficient Anglo-American control, so that they can be denied to Russia and China in particular:

"In Europe, the word `Balkans' conjures up images of ethnic conflicts and great-power regional rivalries. Eurasia, too, has its `Balkans,' but the Eurasian Balkans are much larger, more populated, even more religiously and ethnically heterogeneous. They are located within the central zone of global instability . . . and that embraces portions of southeastern Europe, Central Asia and parts of South Asia, the Persian Gulf area, and the Middle East.

"The Eurasian Balkans form the inner core of that large oblong . . . and they differ from its outer zone in one particularly significant way: they are a power vacuum. . . .

"The Eurasian Balkans . . . are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions of at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely, Russia, Turkey, and Iran with China also signaling an increasing interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold. . . .

"The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating massive pressures of the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy, and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin, are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea."

Noting that Central Asia not only represents at present a "power vacuum," but also that each of those countries "suffers from serious internal difficulties," Brzezinski, who must know that the British are the principal "stakeholders" on these riches through their dominance within the oil multinationals, maps out how to deny any access to this raw materials fortune by Russia, especially.

Enlarging the `Arc of Crisis'

In the second chapter, entitled "The Eurasian Chessboard," Brzezinski puts forward a vision of a "global-zone of percolating violence," that can be skillfully manipulated to stop Eurasian integration. This plan is larger in scope than his earlier "Arc of Crisis" doctrine, that had been based on a plan of British agent Bernard Lewis, according to which he gave U.S. support to the Afghansi to create a "Vietnam War" crisis for the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

According to a map of this region in The Grand Chessboard, this zone of "percolating violence" includes all of Central Asia, extending westward to include Turkey, northward to include southern Russia, and eastward to touch upon the western borders of China. It includes the entire Middle East, where Brzezinski claims it is imperative for the United States to retain control, especially in the critical Persian Gulf. And, the zone extends eastward to include Afghanistan and Pakistan, up to the latter's border with India.

Consonant with the British imperial "Great Game," Brzezinski argues that skillful manipulation of this "global-zone of percolating violence" can be used to halt Russia from becoming an imperial power once again: "To what extent should Russia be helped economically--which inevitably strengthens Russia politically and militarily. . . ?" writes Brzezinski. "Can Russia be both powerful and a democracy at the same time? . . . If it becomes powerful again, . . . will it not seek to regain its lost imperial domain, and can it then be both an empire and a democracy? . . .

"Internal Russian recovery is essential to Russia's democratization and eventual Europeanization. But any recovery of its imperial potential would be inimical to both these objectives."

Hence, by manipulating this "global-zone of percolating violence," which happens to be a raw-materials-wealthy region, Brzezinski proposes to further contain and weaken Russia.

It is clear, based on reading The Grand Chessboard "geopolitical" lunacy from the perspective of Lyndon LaRouche's Eurasian Land-Bridge for the integration of the United States in strategic partnership with Franklin Roosevelt's World War II allies--i.e., China and Russia--that anyone in policymaking circles insane enough to lend credence to Brzezinski's nonsense has endorsed a fast track toward World War III. As LaRouche made clear in his Feature on "Mad Brzezinski's Chessboard," every time the Anglo-American Tory traitors have faced a depression collapse, they have sought to protect their global dominance by starting a war. The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski is a blueprint for how to start such a war, which would plunge the majority of mankind (perhaps leaving only the Chinese component of the Survivors' Club relatively unscathed) into a New Dark Age for generations to come.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CIA gets the go-ahead to take on Hizbollah

By Toby Harnden, US Editor

01/10/07 "
The Telegraph" -- -- The Central Intelligence Agency has been authorised to take covert action against Hizbollah as part of a secret plan by President George W. Bush to help the Lebanese government prevent the spread of Iranian influence. Senators and congressmen have been briefed on the classified "non-lethal presidential finding" that allows the CIA to provide financial and logistical support to the prime minister, Fouad Siniora.

The finding was signed by Mr Bush before Christmas after discussions between his aides and Saudi Arabian officials. Details of its existence, known only to a small circle of White House officials, intelligence officials and members of Congress, have been passed to The Daily Telegraph.

It authorises the CIA and other US intelligence agencies to fund anti-Hizbollah groups in Lebanon and pay for activists who support the Siniora government. The secrecy of the finding means that US involvement in the activities is officially deniable.

The Bush administration hopes Mr Siniora's government, severely weakened after its war with Israel last year, will become a bulwark against the growing power of the Shia sect of Islam, championed by Iran and Syria, since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Mr Bush's move is at the centre of a fresh drive by America, supported by the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt as well as Israel, to stop Iranian hegemony in the Middle East emerging from the collapse of Iraq.

The finding, drawn up at the White House by National Security Council (NSC) officials, is a sign of Mr Bush's growing alarm at the threat posed by Iran, which has infiltrated the Iraqi government and is training Shia insurgents as well as supplying them with roadside bombs.

A former US government official said: "Siniora's under siege there and we are always looking for ways to help allies. As Richard Armitage [a former deputy US secretary of state] said, Hizbollah is the A-team of terrorism and certainly Iran and Syria have not let up in their support of the group."

Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, the former Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington, is understood to have been closely involved in the decision to prop up Mr Siniora's administration and the Israeli government, which views Iran as its chief enemy, has also been supportive.

"There's a feeling both in Jerusalem and in Riyadh that the anti-Sunni tilt in the region has gone too far," said an intelligence source. "By removing Saddam, we've shifted things in favour of the Shia and this is a counter-balancing exercise.

Prince Bandar, now King Abdullah's national security adviser, made several trips to Washington and held meetings with Elliot Abrams, the senior Middle East official on the NSC.

Prince Turki al-Faisal resigned abruptly as ambassador to Washington last month. Intelligence sources said that a principal reason for this was his belief he had been undermined by Prince Bandar, who had not told him of the Lebanon plan or even that he was visiting Washington.

As a quid pro quo to the Sunni Arab states, Mr Bush and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, have agreed to work harder to re-start negotiations about a peace deal with the Palestinians.

According to the Swoop website (, which contains briefings on diplomatic and intelligence matters: "US officials point to the Israeli release of some tax monies owed to the Palestinian Authority as the first fruits of this approach.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former clandestine CIA officer, said that such a finding would involve "various steps and types of non-military activity" agreed to by the Lebanese. "It takes two to tango. You're only those things that the Lebanese themselves would want you to do," he said.

Bush administration officials have spoken of their desire to promote "mainstream" Arab states and have even spoken of the existence of a "Sunni crescent" in the Middle East. But there is tension between this policy and the support for Nouri al-Maliki's Shia-led government in Iraq, which has links to Shia death squads and Iran.

"The administration is reaping its own whirlwind after Iraq," said the intelligence source. "For 50 years the US preferred stability over legitimacy in the Middle East and now it's got neither. It's a situation replete with ironies."

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Solution More for Israel

Federalism: A Solution More for Israel than for Iraq

Nicola Nasser
Tuesday, 09 January 2007

Revealing both the double standards of U.S. policies and the propaganda-oriented Israeli advocacy of “minority rights” in the Arab world, the U.S.-allied Iraqi Kurdish and sectarian leaders reacted angrily to James Baker-Lee Hamilton report because it recommended what they perceived as a possible American retract from federalism in Iraq and the Israeli Jews condemned as a catastrophic declaration of war an Israeli Arabs’ “future visions” because those visions could lead to a “federal” Israel.

Israel is still not “Jewish” neither in the demographic nor in the religious sense and the “Jewishness” of the state is still a strategic Zionist goal; hence the Israeli mainstream calls for the “transfer” of “non-Jews” and the Israeli official policies that boil down to nothing less than being ethnic cleansing practices. Jimmy Carter’s Palestine Peace Not Apartheid was only the latest reminder of this existential problem that threatens both the very existence of the indigenous Arabs in Israel as well as the Zionist dream of Jews to lead an independent Jewish life.

Israeli Jews have to choose between Apartheid and a democratic state. A federal Israel could solve both an Israeli internal ethnic problem and as well be the right just, lasting and comprehensive approach to solving the Arab and Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would spare the region more wars and violence; the ingredients of success are much more authentic than the U.S., Israeli and Iranian-backed separatist and sectarian calls for federalism in Iraq. This approach would allow for the return of Palestinian refugees without “throwing the Jews to the sea” and would allow the Jews to lead an independent life without condemning Palestinians to an eternal exile in Diaspora.

Of course the expected Israeli-U.S. rejection of this approach rules it out as unrealistic politics, but the rejection would in no way make the arguments for it less authentic. The promotion of federalism in Iraq is increasingly developing into a double-edged weapon against its U.S. and Israeli advocates and could also turn against its Iranian supporters, whose multi-ethnic country of Persians, Arabs, Kurds, Balushis, etc. will certainly not abandon its Islamic unity for a western-style pluralistic federal alternative.

According to the last updated CIA World Factbook online, Iraqi Kurds represent between 15%-20% of the population and the “non-Jews (mostly Arabs)” represent 23.6% of all Israelis. While the Kurds share with the Arab majority of Iraq the same religion, culture, historical heritage, wide-spread inter-ethnic marriages and have never had an independent state of their own, the Israeli Arabs are all either Muslims or Christians, with a distinctive oriental Arab and Muslim culture and no common historical heritage whatsoever with their Jewish compatriots, who by the sword, dispossessed and displaced the Arab majority to create their “Jewish” state and who are to this day ruling out the emergence of a Palestinian – Arab state on only a portion of their ancestral land.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and Israel have incessantly incited and supported a separate Kurdish entity in northern Iraq and since the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 imposed as a fait accompli a “constitutional” federal system that would honour that support and as well address a similar Iranian-supported sectarian “separation” in the south, but could not yet be translated into a reality on the ground.

However neither Washington nor Tel Aviv would even ponder the possibility of a potential similar solution for the second class citizenship of the larger Arab minority of more than 1.2 million in Israel, which has a much better case for a federal arrangement with the Israeli central government. Instead the colonialist settlement of Arab land, the “transfer” and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Arabs were the components of the official Israeli Jewish solution, which had and have its strategist representatives in Israel’s successive governments, with Washington either turning closed eyes or only verbally and shyly protesting.

The contradictory U.S. policies between Iraq and Israel would potentially lead to the failure of its plan for an un-viable federal Iraq and to the failure of the viable “vision” of a federal Israel and would certainly lead to a repetition of American and Iranian betrayals of Iraqi Kurds, whose national aspirations were always opportunistically used by Washington and Tehran against the central government in Baghdad whenever this government is out of step with their regional strategies.

Iraqi Kurdistan enjoys now a de facto independence, protected by the U.S. occupation, but regional factors prevent declaring it officially and Kurdish U.S.-allied leaders are smoke-screening their separatism by claiming a federal link to Baghdad, only to buy time until the regional rejection could be overcome or outmanoeuvred.

In September last year prominent pro-Iran Shiite leader of the “Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq,” a U.S.-financed and Iranian-trained militia, who was hosted later in the year by President George W. Bush in Washington, Abdel Aziz Al Hakim, used the celebration of the birth of the Al-Mahdi, a 9th century Shiite imam, to renew his call for an autonomous Shiite region in central and southern Iraq. “Federalism will lead to stability and security in Iraq,” Hakim told worshippers during Friday prayers in Karbala, adding: “Look at the example of federalism in Kurdistan, it is evidence of the success of this system.”

“If federalism cannot be assured, Iraq will not remain one state,” warned Iraqi U.S.-allied Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, adding: “We will not make any compromises.” Would Israel and Iran tolerate a similar de facto independence for Israeli Arabs or Iranian Kurds? How would Israel and Iran react were their respective Arab and Kurdish minorities to mobilize a 75,000-man Peshmerga-style militia of their own? Would they continue to support “the bad example” of the Iraqi Kurds?

More importantly, what would the U.S., the strategic ally of both Israel and the Iraqi “federalists,” say and how would it react? Of course Washington would react on a case by case basis, which would produce contradictory policies that would reject federalism in Israel but support it in Iran. And if President George W. Bush is to adopt the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report Washington would also retract from supporting the Iraqi “federalists.” This is another stark example of Washington’s double standards policy in the Middle East as well as of the absurdity of both U.S. and Israeli verbal propaganda advocacy of minority rights.

U.S. betrayal of Iraqi “federalists” is now highly probable, but the U.S. betrayal of Israeli Arabs is a 60-year old official policy. Kurdish as well as Arab-Palestinian betting on U.S. and Israeli tactical promises could in no time prove tragically counterproductive because occupying powers could not be but in solidarity and foreign occupation could not last forever. Kurds in particular, whether in Iraq or elsewhere and in spite of a lot of their legitimate grievances, could not be winners by exchanging a proven historical alliance with the regional Arab majority for temporary and unproven possible alignment with other minorities whose disloyalty to their historical coexistence with Arabs is still in doubt, despite the Israeli and U.S. incitement.

Last December Israeli Jews and Iraqi “federalists” were united in angry reaction, but ironically in contradictory stances vis-à-vis federalism: Barzani and Hakim were joined by the head of the system that is developing under the U.S. occupation, Jalal Talbani, in pledging they were “in no way abiding” by the Baker-Hamilton “unrealistic and inappropriate” recommendations “imposed on us,” which are “contrary to the principles of federalism and the constitution that forms the basis upon which the new Iraq is built,” “contradict U.S. assurances,” represent “interference in the country's internal affairs” and strengthen “the central government.” They warned the recommendations threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity, in a thinly veiled threat to secede.

The Israeli Jews’ furiously blasted a 27-page “Future Vision” of their Arab-Palestinian compatriots, which clearly envisage a federal Israel, thus undermining in an outburst of fury the “Israeli example” on which all their propaganda was based to incite the ethnic, religious and sectarian minorities coexisting peacefully for thousands of years among their Arab neighbours.

“This week, the leaders of the Arab minority in Israel declared war in their own way on the Jewish national state in the Land of Israel,” wrote Avraham Tal in Haaretz on Dec. 11. Why? Because “even if Israel one day arrives at an understanding with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and all of the Arab states about taking the demand for the right of return off the agenda, the demands of Israeli Arab citizens for a right of return for descendants of the uprooted to their forefathers' villages and their other nationalistic demands will ensure that the flames of the conflict are not extinguished,” Tal wrote.

Tal was right: Here lies the hard core of the conflict and the key to peace as well, namely the fact that a just and lasting peace is based on the Palestinian Right of Return, a fact that has almost drowned in the “brainwashing” rhetoric of the futile “peace processes;” a Palestinian state on a 20 percent portion of the Palestinian ancestral homeland is part, and not all, of the solution.

Tal did not represent only the mainstream Israeli Jewish reaction, but more importantly the leftists and liberals who have traditionally but unsuccessfully struggled for 60 years for “equality for Arabs,” whose “visions” now reflect their despair as well as their conviction that a “state-for-all-citizens solution” has proved a dead end. Israel’s official policy has created a “national minority” out of them after they hoped in vain for too long for an equal status with their Jewish compatriots.

In a “Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,” published by the Higher Follow Up Committee of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel last month, they only “envisaged” some of the demands of the Iraqi Kurds, which Israel supports and which the Iraqi Kurds already enjoy: They demanded collective rights for the Arab national minority to secure individual equality, a veto power on decisions of national import (on “transfer” for example), equality in immigration rights by annulment of the Jewish Law of Return or the legislation of a Law of Return for Arabs, separate representation at international institutions, representing Arabs in the Israeli flag and national anthem, and envisaged the creation of a national network of institutions to develop their national identity as a central strategy in their struggle for collective rights.

The Israeli Jews have to reconsider; so the Iraqi Kurds, whose current leaders have explicitly or implicitly identified with the Israeli propaganda about the Arab majority’s “oppression” of the minority Jews and Kurds in the region, a view that is still promoted by a “selected” article by Ariel Natan Pasko, dated March 17, 2004, which is still posted on the official Web site of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government:

“As the discussion of "democratization" of the Middle East continues, an important point that must be made time and time again, is the importance in building structures that liberate the minorities of the region from oppression … Contrary to the propaganda that the region is Arab/Muslim, these minorities are remnants of the indigenous peoples, before the great Arab imperialist wars of the 7th century, and "Islamicization process" that followed” and “have all resisted "Arabization" for over 1,000 years,” Pasko wrote, adding: “Only Israel, the Jewish State, has fully liberated itself - in the political sense - from this Arab/Muslim oppression.”

This twisted rewriting of history to serve the purposes of foreign invaders of the Arab land has caused wars and tragedies and still could cause more of the same. Reconsideration by Kurds and Israelis in particular of this tragic path could prove a turning point in the regional history. However, given the status quo, more bloodletting is in the offing before the two peoples come to their senses to make their leaders change course.

*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A bigot called Bibi

Rattling the Cage: A bigot called Bibi

Larry Derfner


By rights, Binyamin Netanyahu, who every poll says is by far the most popular politician in Israel, should be ranked with Jean Le Pen, Jorge Haider and the rest of the Western world's racist demagogues.

But he won't be, because anti-Arab racism in Israel is either supported or strategically ignored by the mainstream of the Jewish world, and pretty much taken for granted by the gentile world.

What Netanyahu said Tuesday night was not new for him; he was reported to have made the same appeal to the same sort of audience - haredi political leaders - a couple of years ago as finance minister.

Then, as now, he was apologizing for the way his child welfare cuts had hurt large haredi families, while at the same time asking the haredim to look at the bright sides of that policy.

"Two positive things happened," he told a conference of haredi government officials in Nir Etzion this week. "Members of the haredi public seriously joined the workforce. And on the national level, the unexpected result was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate." (Quoted in Ynet, Yediot Aharonot's Web site. The speech was also reported in Haaretz.)

The once-and-possibly-future prime minister of Israel says publicly that he's sorry his welfare cuts made life harder for Jewish families who are "blessed," as he put it, with many children, but isn't it "positive" that these cuts resulted in fewer Arab children being born? Then Netanyahu went on to suggest a national remedy for the victims of his economic policies - but for Jewish victims only, not Arab victims.

"I don't think that the Jewish Agency should refrain from helping part of the Jewish public in the state," he said, "and it is possible that additional non-governmental bodies could have done so."

IMAGINE IF any gentile government official in the world cited the lowering of the Jewish birthrate in his country as an accomplishment, then recommended that his country's founding institution raise money to help poor gentile families, but not poor Jewish families. How would the Jewish world, starting with Israel, characterize such an individual? What sort of pressure would the Jewish world apply to get him or her fired, blackballed and, if possible, indicted?

Yet everyone knows the speech in Nir Etzion will not hurt Netanyahu at all - even though, again, this is not the first time he's said this, and even though the statements are perfectly in line with his standing as Israel's number one fear-monger on the Israeli Arab "demographic threat." (On second thought, Netanyahu is probably only number two - Avigdor Lieberman, his former right-hand man and alter ego, is number one. When it comes to the subject of Israeli Arabs, it's hard to tell where Netanyahu ends and Lieberman begins.)

The worst that will happen to Netanyahu from this is that maybe another liberal commentator or two will denounce him, and there will be a press release from some civil rights organization. Maybe not even that. If, on the other hand, we're really, really lucky, the attorney-general might have a word to say. (FYI, even if there was a chance of it happening, I wouldn't want to see Netanyahu indicted. If every Israeli who made racist remarks in public had to stand trial, the courts would collapse under the load.)

The only political parties that might censure Netanyahu are the left-wing parties, and nobody cares about them; in fact, a bad word from Meretz can only help the Likud leader in the polls.

The Anti-Defamation League won't say anything, and neither will the other Diaspora Jewish organizations. Bibi is just too big, too popular, too important, too much a symbol of Israel for the Diaspora Jewish establishment to say a word against him, let alone accuse him of being a shameless bigot.

Two positive things happened: Members of the haredi public seriously joined the workforce. And on the national level, the unexpected result was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.

That's the Israeli people's overwhelming choice for prime minister talking. I hope The New York Times, CNN and every other major news medium in the world picks up this story and doesn't let it go until Israel and Diaspora Jewry are shamed into dumping this guy once and for all.

On second thought, exposure as an anti-Arab racist by the international media could cause Netanyahu some problems overseas, but at home, it would only increase his appeal.