Tom Lantos, a key member of the so-called “Democratic Party” has put a hold on US aid to Lebanon until Lebanon submits to Israel’s demands.
“The international community must use all our available means to stiffen Lebanon’s spine and to convince the government of Lebanon to have the new UNIFIL troops on the Syrian border in adequate numbers,” said Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee.
Lantos said he was putting a legislative hold on Bush’s proposal to provide $230 million in aid for Lebanon in the aftermath of the 34-day war between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas.
As the top Democrat on the International Relations Committee, Lantos has the power to hold up legislation.
“It is very much my hope that I will be able to lift the hold when the reasons will no longer be present,” he said at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, where he met Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni after talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Unfortunately, on the Israel-Arab conflict, the Democrats are even worse than the Bush administration, which takes some doing.
August 28th, 2006
My article Psychologists, Guantanamo and Torture: A Profession Struggles to Save Its Soul has been translated into Spanish by Germán Leyens as Psicólogos, Guantánamo y la tortura. It seems to be making the rounds across Latin America asI’ve heard from it (indirectly) from colleagues in at least three different Latin American countries. I guess citizens there, with their not so distant memories of state torture and its health professional enablers, are more concerned than Americans with their noble vision of their country as one that can do no wrong.
August 28th, 2006
Juan Cole has posted Achcar’s latest analysis, from the Epilogue to Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, by Noam Chomsky & Gilbert Achcar, edited with a Preface by Stephen R. Shalom [to be published by Paradigm Publishers September 15, 2006, Hardcover $22.95. To order the book at a 15% individual customer discount please click here.]
A few excerpts [but make sure to read the whole analysis]:
In the past six months, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated in a truly frightening manner, proceeding inexorably toward the actualization of the worst-case scenario — the worst for Iraq, that is, which is not necessarily the worst for Washington, as I shall explain.
Iraq has not yet reached a state of full-fledged civil war. Indeed, what I characterized a year ago as a “low-intensity civil war”  had not ceased increasing in intensity throughout 2005 and early 2006, even before the sudden and most serious flare-up provoked by the Samarra attack. Nevertheless, drawing on my own Lebanese experience, I would say that there are two elements that at this moment still stand between the present situation in Iraq and a full-scale civil war. The first is the persistence of a unified Iraqi government and the existence of still-unified Iraqi armed forces: In Lebanon, it was the split-up of the government in early 1976 and the disintegration of the Lebanese army that signaled the shift to a full-fledged civil war. The second element is the existence of foreign armed forces playing the role of deterrent and arbiter, like the role that the Syrian army used to play — but only intermittently — in Lebanon from 1976 onward.
To say this is to point to what I hinted at already, namely that the slide of Iraq toward the worst-case scenario for its population does not necessarily represent the worst-case scenario for Washington. Actually, most of what has happened in recent months in Iraq, except for the publicity surrounding U.S. troops’ criminal behavior, has suited Washington’s designs. The sharp increase in sectarian tensions as well as the defeat of Muqtada al-Sadr’s project played blatantly into Washington’s hands. Along with many others, I have warned for quite a long time that, when all is said and done, Washington’s only trump card in Iraq is going to be the sectarian and ethnic divisions among Iraqis, which the Bush administration is exploiting in the most cynical way according to the most classical of all imperial recipes: “Divide and rule.” This is what Washington’s proconsuls in Baghdad, from L. Paul Bremer to Khalilzad, have tried their best to put in place and take advantage of.
Seen in this light, the present flare-up in sectarian tensions is a godsend for Washington, to the point that many Iraqis suspect that U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies stand behind the worst sectarian attacks. Note how the occupation seems now “legitimized” by the fact that many Arab Sunnis in mixed areas, who feel threatened, request the presence of foreign troops to guarantee their safety as they have no confidence in Iraqi armed forces.  What a paradox, when you think of the fact that Arab Sunnis were and are still the main constituency of the anti-occupation armed insurgency — though surely not the only one: There has been a growing pattern of anti-occupation armed actions in southern Iraq that is hardly reported, if at all, in the Western media, or even in the Arab media for that matter.
ow, if U.S. forces in Iraq are to be compared to a firefighting force, the truth of the matter is that they are led by highly dangerous arsonists!
There is no way out of this burning circle but one: Only by announcing immediately the total and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops can a decisive step be taken toward putting out the fire.
Read the rest.
August 28th, 2006