Found 3 separate decent editorials today which I’ll share with you here. The first is from the Daily Star of Lebanon, which writes about the agreement that the Bush administration is trying to finalize with Iraq. It’s actually a treaty, but Bush and Maliki don’t want to call it that since approval from Congress would be needed in both countries. The agreement seeks to build the permanent presence of the US military in Iraq and would allow the US to attack any of Iraq’s neighbors from Iraq at any time. The US would continue to be above Iraqi law in Iraq and prosecution for crimes against Iraqi citizens would not happen.
It’s a bad deal for Iraq and the US. Sistani has spoken out against it and if he issued a fatwa against it you’d see some serious opposition.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is under no illusions about his compatriots’ views on an agreement that would grant the Americans indefinite basing rights, make their soldiers (and their mercenaries) virtually immune to both Iraqi and international law, drain the country’s most lucrative export resource at discount prices, and possibly embroil Iraq in yet another US-led war, this time against Iran. It will not be easy for Maliki to resist the pressure being applied on him: His government is fragile, his armed forces are in the fledgling stage, and his country is still battling an insurgency. He needs help to get out of this quandary, and the Americans know it – especially since it was their actions that put him there.
Over the weekend we found out just how difficult it would be for Maliki to disagree with the US on this pact. We are apparently holding Iraq’s money hostage! As Cockburn of the Independant writes:
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq’s money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.
US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday.
The threat by the American side underlines the personal commitment of President George Bush to pushing the new pact through by 31 July. Although it is in reality a treaty between Iraq and the US, Mr Bush is describing it as an alliance so he does not have to submit it for approval to the US Senate.
Iraqi critics of the agreement say that it means Iraq will be a client state in which the US will keep more than 50 military bases. American forces will be able to carry out arrests of Iraqi citizens and conduct military campaigns without consultation with the Iraqi government. American soldiers and contractors will enjoy legal immunity.
Cockburn also notes:
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the immensely influential Shia cleric, could prevent the pact by issuing a fatwa against it but has so far failed to do so.
The Grand Ayatollah met Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), which is the main supporter of the Iraqi government, earlier this week and did not condemn the agreement or call for a referendum. He said, according to Mr Hakim, that it must guarantee Iraqi national sovereignty, be transparent, command a national consensus and be approved by the Iraqi parliament.
Another of the editorials found was one from the Pakistan Daily which spoke of the validity of the Iranian position regarding Israel:
Iran, despite all the disinformation to the contrary, is not really against peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. However, Iran, mainly because of moral considerations, can’t accept the perpetuation of Palestinian suffering and dispossession through the creation of a deformed and truncated Palestinian “state” on less than 20% of the Palestinian homeland while allowing the apartheid Israeli regime to keep the rest of the spoils of theft. In other words, Iran says that ethnic cleansing must never be allowed to triumph.
Well, isn’t that compatible with the views of most men and women of honesty and conscience all over the globe?
Good point. The author then goes on to say:
Indeed, one exaggerates very little by saying that the United States of America is subservient to Israel and that American politicians, including members of Congress and the Senate as well as presidential candidates are more answerable to the Jewish lobby, especially AIPAC, than they are to their own American constituents.
The recent speech by the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during AIPAC’s convention last week is very telling. It proves once again that the international Zionist cartel, of which AIPAC constitutes the American chapter, tightly controls the American political discourse and that any American politician who dares speak his or her mind about Israel’s slow-motion genocide of Palestinians or more recently about America’s relations with the Muslim world, will be committing political suicide.
So, how can an essentially third world country like Iran possibly pose a real threat to nuclear Israel that is backed by the only superpower in the world, its guardian-ally, the United States?
As you know, this is what I’ve been lamenting lately, the utterly disgusting obeisance the US government pays to AIPAC. Makes me ashamed to be an American. The author then makes good points about the whole nuclear controversy:
Besides, Iran has a natural right to harness nuclear technology, even for military purposes. Indeed, if Israel had the right to possess and stockpile hundreds of nuclear warheads, that are being trained at Muslim cities such as Cairo, Istanbul, Tehran and Damascus and probably Mecca and Medina as well, why on earth would Muslim states such as Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia not have such a right?
After all, are Jewish nuclear bombs kosher? Are they altruistic? Are they innocuous?
I am not and will never be a fan of nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction. And I think the invention of these ugly tools of mass extinction represented the lowest point in human morality if only because these weapons are capable of annihilating the human race.
Having said that, however, I believe that a situation where certain states are allowed to possess the nuclear technology (and nuclear weapons) while others are not, is inherently unjust and unacceptable.
Is this not reasonable? The author then raises the possibility of Israel using its nuclear weapons:
Don’t tell me I am exaggerating. A state that dropped 3 million cluster bomblets on Lebanon two years ago is capable of carrying out the unthinkable, especially in light of the fact that the main capitals of Europe and North America are more or less Israeli-occupied territories.
The last piece is in Truthdig where Christ Hedges writes about the possibility of the US/Israel attacking Iran. He points out that Obama has given his rubber stamp to a war against Iran with his “everything” statement to AIPAC:
“As president I will use all elements of American power to pressure Iran,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything.”
He also points out that John Conyers has mustered up so courage to challenge the administration with impeachment should it attack Iran:
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, in a letter to President Bush on May 8, threatened to open impeachment proceedings if Bush attacked Iran. The letter is a signal that planning for strikes on Iran is under way and pronounced.
“Our concerns in this area have been heightened by more recent events,” Conyers wrote. “The resignation in mid-March of Admiral William J. ‘Fox’ Fallon from the head of U.S. Central Command, which was reportedly linked to a magazine article that portrayed him as the only person who might stop your Administration from waging preemptive war against Iran, has renewed widespread concerns that your Administration is unilaterally planning for military action against that country. This is despite the fact that the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003, a stark reversal of previous Administration assessments.”
Good for you Conyers. Read the rest of this good piece here: