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Articles Archives - January 2012
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Confronting Iran: Warmongering in the Middle East
Richard Falk, Al Jazeera.com 1/25/2012
      The last time Iran attacked a neighbour was over 200 years ago, so what is the problem with the country going nuclear?
     Santa Barbara, CA - The public discussion in the West addressing Iran's nuclear programme has mainly relied on threat diplomacy, articulated most clearly by Israeli officials, but enjoying the strong direct and indirect backing of Washington and leading Gulf states. Israel has also been engaging in low intensity warfare against Iran for several years, apparently supported by the United States, that has been inflicting violent deaths on civilians and disrupting political order in Iran.
     Many members of the UN Security Council, along with the membership of the European Union, support escalating sanctions against Iran, and have not demurred when Tel Aviv and Washington talk menacingly about leaving all options on the table, which is "diplospeak" for their readiness to launch a military attack. At last, some signs of sanity are beginning to emerge to slow the march over the cliff. For instance, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, commented harshly on this militarist approach: "I have no doubt that it would pour fuel on a fire which is already smoldering, the hidden smoldering fire of Sunni-Shia confrontation, and beyond that [it would cause] a chain reaction. I don't know where it would stop." And a few days ago even the normally hawkish Israeli Minister of Defence, Ehud Barak, evidently fearful of encouraging international panic and perhaps worrying about a preemptive response by Tehran, declared that any decision to launch a military attack by Israel is "very far off", words that can be read in a variety of ways, mostly not reassuring.
     It is not only an American insistence, despite purporting from time to time to prefer a diplomatic solution, that only threats and force are relevant to resolve this long incubating political dispute with Iran, but more tellingly, it is the underlying stubborn refusal by Washington for more than three decades to normalise relations with Iran....
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US, Israel Agree: Iran Not Building Nukes
Ray McGovern, Antiwar.com 1/26/2012
      Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”
     And if you’ve been reading The New York Times or following the rest of the Fawning Corporate Media, you’d likely assume that everyone who matters agrees that the answer to the question is yes, although the FCM adds the caveat that Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. The line is included with an almost perceptible wink and an “oh, yeah.”
     However, a consensus seems to be emerging among the intelligence and military agencies of the United States — and Israel — that Iran has NOT made a decision to build a nuclear weapon. In recent days, that judgment has been expressed by high-profile figures in the defense establishments of the two countries — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
     You might think that you would have heard more about that, wouldn’t you? The United States and Israel agree that Iran is NOT building a nuclear bomb. However, this joint assessment that Iran has NOT decided to build a nuclear bomb apparently represented too big a change in the accepted narrative for the Times and the rest of the FCM to process.
     Yet, on Jan. 18, the day before U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey arrived for talks in Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Barak gave an interview to Israeli army radio in which he addressed with striking candor how he assesses Iran’s nuclear program. It was not the normal pabulum.
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The puzzling matter of Israeli liberals
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 1/19/2012
      Regardless of who may rule Israel, little change ever occurs in the country’s foreign policy. Winning parties remain obsessed with demographics and retaining absolute military dominance. They also remain unfailingly focused on their quest to initiate racist laws against non-Jewish residents of the state, and continue to hone the art of speaking of peace, while actually maintaining a permanent state of war.
     Every few years the media becomes captivated by Israeli democracy. Commentators speak of right, left, center, and anything in between. Despite Israeli elections still being a year and a half away, media pundits are already discussing possible outcomes of the vote against the peace process, economic reforms, social equality, and so on.
     In a recent article, Israeli columnist Uri Avnery decried the fact that the main opposition to the right-wing parties -- "the Likud, the Lieberman party and various ultra-nationalist, pro-settlement and religious factions" -- is no other than the center-left Kadima. The party, led by the "incompetent" Tzipi Livni, is allegedly in "shambles." Moreover, left parties, such as Labor and Meretz, are not expected to pose a real threat to the right party conglomerate, despite their temporary rise in the polls.
     As genuine as he is, Avnery is once again presenting the false hope of a savior emerging to save Israel from itself. Avnery envisions Israel being rescued from its "neo-fascists" and returned to the over-romanticized scenario of old, when early Zionists supposedly dreamed of an Israel governed by universal ethics, true democracy, peace and social equality . "I fervently hope that a different kind of new political force will emerge – a center-left party with a clear and inclusive message: social reform, narrowing the gap between rich and poor, the two-state solution, peace with the Palestinians and the end of the occupation."
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California professor under attack for opposing "study in Israel" scheme
Electronic Intifada: 25 Jan 2012 - Nora Barrows-Friedman Berkeley 25 January 2012 The well-funded Israel lobby continues to wage attacks against university faculty, staff and students who engage in Palestine solidarity activism. One professor talks about why he refuses to be silent despite the threats against him, and why he thinks the tide is turning.more

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