Just Foreign Policy News, August 4, 2006

August 5, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
August 4, 2006

In this issue:
1) Malaysia: OIC demands UN impose cease-fire in Lebanon
2) Majority of Voting Congressional Progressive Caucus Members now support Immediate Cease-Fire in Lebanon
3) Israel Extends Strikes North of Beirut
4) The Overview: Israel Renews Attack on Southern Lebanon
5) 100,000 March Against U.S. and Israel in Baghdad
6) Freeing Prisoners Key Goal in Fight Against Israel
7) Hezbollah’s Prominence Has Many Sunnis Worried
8) Bridge Bombing Paralyses Lebanon Aid Pipeline
9) Op-Ed Contributor: Ground to a Halt
10) Israeli Soldier Incarcerated for Refusing to Fight
11) Au Revoir, Freedom Fries
12) The Sound of One Domino Falling
13) The Military: U.S. General Says Iraq Could Slide Into a Civil War
14) Intelligence: Senator Faults Bid to Classify Report on Iraq
15) Hezbollah Chief’s Statement Clarifies Strategy
16) Protesters Attack Iran’s British Embassy
17) Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes
18) U.S. to Supply Food with One Hand, Arms with Other
19) Officers Allegedly Pushed ‘Kill Counts’
20) US Auditor Lists Failures in Rebuilding of Iraq

Contents:
1) Malaysia: OIC demands UN impose cease-fire in Lebanon
BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political
August 4, 2006 Friday
Leaders of 18 Muslim nations yesterday demanded the UN Security Council call for an immediate stop to Israeli military aggression in Lebanon, failing which they want all Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member states to push for the convening of the meeting of the General Assembly under “Uniting for Peace.” The leaders also want the peacekeeping operations in the Middle East to be led by Muslim forces. In a declaration on Lebanon issued at the end of the meeting of the OIC Executive Committee they strongly condemned the Israeli attacks. “We demand that the UN Security Council fulfils its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security without any further delay by deciding on and enforcing an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire”, said the declaration issued at the end of the meeting initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also OIC chairman. Besides Malaysia, other countries attending were Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. They also supported the Lebanese government’s seven-point plan for the immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, which included an undertaking to release the Lebanese and Israeli prisoners and detainees through the International Community of Red Crescent (ICRC), the withdrawal of the Israeli army behind the Blue Line, and the return of the displaced to their villages.

Just Foreign Policy did another 3 radio interviews on the Uniting for Peace call today; one of them, with Stephen Zunes on KGNU Boulder, is on the web:

http://kgnu.net/audio/Connections_2006-08-04.mp3.

Our petition in support of the call for a General Assembly meeting on Lebanon under “Uniting for Peace” is here: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/justforeignpolicy.org/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=325.

2) Majority of Voting Congressional Progressive Caucus Members now support Immediate Cease-Fire in Lebanon
39 Members of Congress have publicly come out in support of an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon by cosponsoring resolutions introduced by Representative Kucinich and Representative Jackson-Lee. Of these 39, 30 are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a majority of the 59 voting members of the caucus. (Reps. Holmes-Norton of DC, Bordallo of Guam, and Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands have not yet cosponsored either resolution.) To ask your Representative to co-sponsor these resolutions, you can use this link:

http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/justforeignpolicy.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=4697

3) Israel Extends Strikes North of Beirut
John Kifner
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04cnd-mideast.html

Israel unleashed airstrikes across Lebanon Friday, severing the last major road link to the outside world and killing more than 30 people. The bombs destroyed four bridges along the main north-south highway in what had been the largely untouched Christian heartland north of Beirut and far from Hezbollah territory. With the road from Beirut to Damascus already cut at several points, this was the only practical way to bring in relief and other supplies from Syria, tightening the sense of siege here. At the steep gorge here cut by the Fidar River, dozens of Maronite Catholic residents gathered to stare in stunned silence at a 200-yard stretch of four-lane highway blasted into rubble. “Where are the Katushas of the Hezbollah here?” asked Joseph Abihana.

4) The Overview: Israel Renews Attack on Southern Lebanon
Richard A. Oppel Jr. And Steven Erlanger
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04mideast.html

The Lebanese militia Hezbollah killed 12 Israelis — 8 civilians and 4 soldiers — on Thursday, making it Israel’s deadliest day in more than three weeks of conflict. As Israeli troops tried to create a narrow buffer zone inside Lebanon and bombed southern Beirut, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, warned that he would send his long-range missiles into Tel Aviv if the airstrikes continued. But he also offered to halt Hezbollah’s missile barrage into Israel if it stopped bombing Lebanon. The Israeli defense minister, Amir Peretz, told the army to begin preparing to push to the Litani River, some 15 miles north of the border, a move that could mean a further call-up of military reservists. That would expand the security zone Israel is trying to create. But it is not clear whether he will receive government approval to do so.

5) 100,000 March Against U.S. and Israel in Baghdad
Damien Cave And Kirk Semple
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04cnd-iraq.html

More than 100,000 followers of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched today to show support for Hezbollah, denouncing Israel and the United States for the violence in Lebanon. The protesters filled 20 blocks of a wide boulevard and dozens of side streets in the Shiite-dominated Sadr City section of the capital. Waving Lebanese flags and posters of Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, the protesters chanted, “No, no, no, Israel, no, no, no, America,’’ challenged Americans to fight them in their neighborhoods, and called on Hezbollah to strike at Tel Aviv. The fighting in Lebanon has caused a rift between the United States and the Shiite parties that lead Iraq’s new government, which feel a strong solidarity with Hezbollah.

6) Freeing Prisoners Key Goal in Fight Against Israel
Craig S. Smith
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04prisoners.html

When Hezbollah guerrillas sneaked into Israel last month, killing and capturing Israeli soldiers and setting off the current crisis, their goal was to trade them for a Lebanese man held by Israel. The prisoner, Samir Kuntar, was part of a cell that in 1979 raided an apartment building in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, killing several members of the Haran family. After Hezbollah made off with two Israeli soldiers in the raid last month, Israel vowed that it would not negotiate for their release. But the question of prisoners held by Israel — nearly all of them Palestinians — is the subtext of this crisis and is likely to figure in its resolution. It is an issue that animates Hezbollah and the Palestinians as much as anything else in their fight with Israel. The prisoners now number about 9,700, about 100 of them women. About 300 are younger than 18, including two girls and a boy of 14, being held in juvenile detention facilities for acts against Israel. The Israelis say many of them are terrorists, and some clearly are. But the Palestinians say that others are wrongfully accused and that many have never committed a violent act.

7) Hezbollah’s Prominence Has Many Sunnis Worried
Neil MacFarquhar
New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04muslims.html

August 4, 2006
A Damascus University professor recoils at the destruction he across the border, but deeper down he worries that any Hezbollah triumph will come at the expense of his own Sunni branch of Islam. “Since the Americans invaded Iraq we have all become aware of the danger from the Shiites,” said the professor. “Ordinary people only think of Hezbollah as fighting against Israeli aggression. But the educated classes think that if Hezbollah controls the region, then the Sunnis will be abused.” Intensifying Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq in the last couple of years has already raised sectarian awareness across the Middle East in ways not experienced since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. The fighting in Lebanon promises to further increase Sunnis’ unease.

8) Bridge Bombing Paralyses Lebanon Aid Pipeline
Michael Winfrey
Reuters
Friday, August 4, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0804-08.htm

Israel’s bombing of key bridges in northern Lebanon and strikes at a Hizbollah stronghold in south Beirut paralysed United Nations aid convoys on Friday, but other aid continued to arrive by air and sea. Air strikes against four bridges on the main coastal highway linking Beirut to Syria stalled an eight-truck convoy carrying 150 tonnes of relief and cut what the UN called its “umbilical cord” for aid supplies. “The whole road is gone,” said Astrid van Genderen Stort, senior information officer for the UNHCR refugee agency. “It’s really a major setback because we used this highway to move staff and supplies into the country.”

9) Op-Ed Contributor: Ground to a Halt
Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, author of “Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.”
New York Times
August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/opinion/03pape.html

Israel has finally conceded that air power alone will not defeat Hezbollah. Over the coming weeks, it will learn that ground power won’t work either. The problem is not that the Israelis misunderstand the nature of the enemy. Hezbollah is principally neither a political party nor an Islamist militia, but a broad movement that evolved in reaction to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. As more and more Lebanese came to resent Israel’s occupation, Hezbollah expanded into an umbrella organization that tacitly coordinated the resistance operations of a loose collection of groups with a variety of religious and secular aims. In terms of structure and hierarchy, it is less comparable to a religious cult like the Taliban than to the multidimensional American civil-rights movement of the 1960’s.

10) Israeli Soldier Incarcerated for Refusing to Fight
Aaron Glantz
OneWorld.net
Friday, August 4, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0804-03.htm

Israeli authorities have sentenced an army officer to 28 days in a military prison for refusing to serve in the Israeli campaign in Lebanon. Reserve Captain Amir Paster is the first Israeli soldier to be punished for refusing to serve in the current conflict and has received harsh criticism from the Israeli military for setting what it termed a bad example for his troops. According to the soldier support group Yesh Gvul (“There Is a Limit”), Paster refused to serve on the grounds that Israeli operations were harming civilians, declaring at his trial “taking part in this war runs contrary to the values upon which he was brought up.” Supporters say Paster’s act was courageous given that the vast majority of Jewish Israelis support the war.

11) Au Revoir, Freedom Fries
Editorial, New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/opinion/04fri4.html

When Congress renamed the French fries sold in its cafeterias “freedom fries” before the Iraq war, Bob Ney, whose position as House Administration Committee chairman put him in charge of the cafeterias, said the change registered “the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France.” In the real world, it mainly allowed people to register their strong displeasure at how juvenile Congress was being.
In the last few weeks, Congress has quietly changed the name back. “Freedom fries,” like the “mission accomplished” banner that President Bush stood in front of a few months later, is now a stale relic of a naïve time, when the war’s supporters were convinced that Iraqis would be free right after they finished greeting their liberators with rose petals.

12) The Sound of One Domino Falling
Editorial
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/opinion/04fri1.html

It’s been obvious for years that Donald Rumsfeld is in denial of reality, but the defense secretary now also seems stuck in a time warp. You could practically hear the dominoes falling as he told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday that it was dangerous for Americans to even talk about how to end the war in Iraq. “If we left Iraq prematurely,” he said, “the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they’d order us and all those who don’t share their militant ideology to leave what they call the occupied Muslim lands from Spain to the Philippines.” And finally, he intoned, America will be forced “to make a stand nearer home.” No one in charge of American foreign affairs has talked like that in decades. After Vietnam, of course, the communist empire did not swarm all over Asia as predicted; it tottered and collapsed. And the new “enemy” that Mr. Rumsfeld is worried about is not a worldwide conspiracy but a collection of disparate political and religious groups, now united mainly by American action in Iraq.

13) The Military: U.S. General Says Iraq Could Slide Into a Civil War
Thom Shanker
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04rumsfeld.html

The commander of American forces in the Middle East bluntly warned a Senate committee on Thursday that sectarian violence in Iraq  had grown so severe that the nation could slide toward civil war. The commander, Gen. John Abizaid, also acknowledged that since the security situation remained so unstable, significant reductions in American forces were unlikely before the end of this year. Asked by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan whether Iraq risked falling into civil war, General Abizaid replied, “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”

14) Intelligence: Senator Faults Bid to Classify Report on Iraq
Mark Mazzetti
New York Times
August 4, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/world/middleeast/04intel.html

The Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee lashed out at the White House on Thursday, criticizing attempts by the Bush administration to keep secret parts of a report on the role Iraqi exiles played in building the case for war against Iraq. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas chastised the White House for efforts to classify most of the part that examines intelligence provided to the Bush administration by the Iraqi National Congress.

15) Hezbollah Threatens Tel Aviv
Chief’s Statement Clarifies Strategy
Edward Cody
Washington Post
Friday, August 4, 2006; Page A13

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080301435.html

The leader of Hezbollah, Hasan Nasrallah, threatened Thursday night to fire rockets at Tel Aviv if Israel expands its bombing attacks against Beirut. Nasrallah declared that Hezbollah’s missile attacks on Israel are calibrated in response to Israeli air attacks on Lebanon. While warning of attacks on Israel’s most populous city, he also said that if Israeli airstrikes cease, so will the rocket launchings such as those that killed eight more Israeli civilians Thursday.

16) Protesters Attack Iran’s British Embassy
Associated Press
August 4, 2006
Filed at 11:57 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Iran.html

About 100 demonstrators threw stones and firebombs at the British Embassy in Tehran on Friday, damaging the building but not harming anyone as they accused Britain and the United States of being accomplices in Israel’s fight against Hezbollah. Demonstrators also smashed some of the building’s windows as they called for its closure and the expulsion of the British ambassador. A British Foreign Office spokesman said nobody was harmed. ”Protesters were throwing bricks and at least one petrol bomb but everyone’s OK,” he said. ”There was just some damage to perimeter of the embassy.”

17) Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes
Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
Thursday, August 3, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0803-02.htm

In systematically failing to distinguish between Hezbollah fighters and civilian population in its military campaign in Lebanon, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have committed war crimes, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch Wednesday. The 50-page report, “Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,” detailed nearly two dozen cases of IDF attacks in which a total of 153 civilians, including 63 children, were killed in homes or motor vehicles. In none of the cases did HRW researchers find evidence that there was a significant enough military objective to justify the attack, given the risks to civilian lives, while, in many cases, there was no identifiable military target. In still other cases cited in the report, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians. “By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets,” according to the report.

18) U.S. to Supply Food with One Hand, Arms with Other
Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service
Thursday, August 3, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0803-01.htm

As Israel’s bombing of Lebanon continues, the US says it stands ready to provide food, medicine and humanitarian assistance to the thousands of internally displaced Lebanese caught in the crossfire. But Washington has also decided to accelerate the supply of lethal weapons to Israel — ”perhaps intended to kill the very Lebanese the US is planning to feed and shelter,” says one Arab diplomat at the United Nations. ”It is U.S. hypocrisy at its worst,” he told IPS, speaking on condition of anonymity, because his country receives millions of dollars in U.S. economic aid. Irene Khan, secretary-general of Amnesty International, was equally critical. ”It is ridiculous to talk about providing humanitarian aid on the one hand, and to provide arms on the other,” she says. ”It is imperative that all governments stop the supply of arms and weapons to both sides immediately.”

19) Officers Allegedly Pushed ‘Kill Counts’
Investigators believe the leaders of a unit accused in Iraq detainee deaths fueled a climate of hate.
Borzou Daragahi and Julian E. Barnes
Los Angeles Times
Thursday, August 3, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0803-07.htm

Military prosecutors and investigators probing the killing of three Iraqi detainees by U.S. troops in May believe the unit’s commanders created an atmosphere of excessive violence by encouraging “kill counts” and possibly issuing an illegal order to shoot Iraqi men. At a military hearing Wednesday on the killing of the detainees near Samarra, witnesses painted a picture of a brigade that operated under loose rules allowing wanton killing and tolerating violent, anti-Arab racism. Some military officials believe that the shooting of the three detainees and the killing of 24 civilians in November in Haditha reveal failures in the military chain of command, in one case to establish proper rules of engagement and in the other to vigorously investigate incidents after the fact. “The bigger thing here is the failure of the chain of command,” said a Defense Department official familiar with the investigations.

20) US Auditor Lists Failures in Rebuilding of Iraq
Farah Stockman
Boston Globe
Thursday, August 3, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0803-06.htm

The top auditor of the US reconstruction effort in Iraq yesterday detailed a series of failures, including a $218.5 million emergency radio network that doesn’t work, a hospital that is turning out to be twice as expensive as planned, an oil pipeline that is spewing lakes of crude oil onto the ground, and a prison that was meant to hold 4,400 inmates but can house only about 800. Stuart Bowen Jr. , the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, cited multiple causes for the failures at a Senate hearing yesterday, among them the growth of the Iraqi insurgency, poor planning by the US government, and corruption in the Iraqi government. But he also took aim at the “cost-plus” contracts given to American construction firms, which guaranteed profits on top of the cost of the project, even with huge overruns.

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming U.S. foreign policy so that it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

Just Foreign Policy News, August 3, 2006

August 3, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News

August 3, 2006

 

In this issue:

1) Just Foreign Policy does more radio on “Uniting for Peace”

2) Iran, Other Islamic States May Call for UN Meeting

3) New Poll Shows Lieberman Losing Ground

4) Israel Restarts Beirut Strikes; Blair Says U.N. Near Deal

5) Civilians Lose as Fighters Slip Into Fog of War

6) News Analysis: Israel’s Long-Term Battle

7) Kafr Kila: To Many in a Town Under Attack, Militiamen Are Defenders

8) The Fighting: Israeli Jets, Helicopters and Ground Forces Attack Baalbek, Hezbollah Hub in Bekaa Valley

9) Israeli Warplanes Pound Beirut’s Suburbs

10) Among the Militiamen, Patience and Talk of Victory

11)  7 Palestinians Killed in Gaza

12) World Opinion Roundup: The Qana Conspiracy Theory

13) Future of Orthodox Jewish Vote Has Implications for GOP

14) Detainees: G.I.’s Say Officers Ordered Killing of Young Iraqi Men

15) In Iraq, It’s Hard to Trust Anyone in Uniform

16) A Grim Prognosis for Iraq

17) Lebanon could overshadow Iran’s study of nuclear deal

18) Iran warns of $200 oil if US pursues sanctions

19) Iran' s President Voices New Optimism

20) Mexico Leftist Threatens More Protests

 

Contents:

1) Just Foreign Policy does more radio on “Uniting for Peace”

Radio journalists continue to express interest in the idea that the UN General Assembly could act to bring about a cease-fire in Lebanon, given the failure of the Security Council to do so, under Resolution 377 (see also the next item on the Organization of Islamic Conference calling for UN General Assembly action.) Just Foreign Policy was interviewed by the BBC this morning, and will be on KGNU Boulder tomorrow 10:30-11:30 Eastern, 8:30-9:30 Mountain, webcast at www.kgnu.org. The Just Foreign Policy petition in support of UN General Assembly action is at http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/justforeignpolicy.org/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=325. The list of signatories is growing.

  

2) Iran, Other Islamic States May Call for UN Meeting

Angus Whitley

Bloomberg

Last Updated: August 3, 2006 07:51 EDT

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aUPZZwugopYo&refer=europe#

Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and 15 other states said they will call for a meeting of the UN General Assembly to achieve a cease-fire in the Middle East should the UN Security Council fail to end hostilities immediately. The UN Security Council should enforce an “unconditional” cease-fire without delay, the Organization of Islamic Conference said today in a statement after meeting in Malaysia. The group said OIC countries should cooperate with UN members to support a General Assembly meeting in the absence of instant measures to end the fighting. “We strongly condemn the relentless Israeli aggression against Lebanon,” the group said. “We express our concern at the inability of the UN Security Council to take the necessary actions for a cease-fire.” The OIC meeting, convened by Malaysia, is the largest gathering of Muslim nations since war broke out in Lebanon last month.

 

3) New Poll Shows Lieberman Losing Ground

Associated Press

August 3, 2006

Filed at 8:45 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Connecticut-Senate.html

Businessman Ned Lamont opened a double-digit lead over veteran Sen. Joe Lieberman less than a week before Connecticut’s Democratic primary, according to a poll released Thursday. Lamont had support from 54 percent of likely Democratic voters in the Quinnipiac University poll, while Lieberman, now in his third term, had support from 41 percent of voters. The sampling error margin was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

A similar survey July 20 showed Lamont with a slight advantage for the first time in the campaign. ”Senator Lieberman’s campaign bus seems to be stuck in reverse,” poll director Douglas Schwartz said. ”Despite visits from former President Bill Clinton and other big-name Democrats, Lieberman has not been able to stem the tide to Lamont.” ”Although we realize the only vote that counts is Aug. 8, we hope this energizes our base,” said Liz Dupont-Diehl, a spokeswoman for the Lamont campaign.

 

4) Israel Restarts Beirut Strikes; Blair Says U.N. Near Deal

John Kifner And John O’Neil

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03cnd-mideast.html

British Prime Minister Blair said that the UN Security Council would likely agree within the next two days on a cease-fire plan that would be followed by negotiations for a longer-term settlement. The two-step approach marks a sharp change from the position held previously by Blair and President Bush, who have resisted halting the fighting until a plan for a “sustainable” peace could be adopted. Blair acknowledged that the new approach reflects the “very real danger” that continued civilian deaths and destruction in Lebanon could end up making Hezbollah and other extremist groups more popular. Blair said that the negotiations that would follow a cease-fire would be based on both Israel’s need for security from Hezbollah attacks and on the seven-point plan put forward by Lebanon’s Prime Minister, which calls for a prisoner exchange and an Israeli withdrawal from disputed territory along the border.

 

The Israeli Defense Forces announced that an investigation into the bombing at Qana said the raid was based on mistaken information “that the building was not inhabited by civilians and was being used as a hiding place for terrorists.” Dan Halutz, the chief of staff, said that policies on the choosing of targets would be reviewed. Much of southern Lebanon was a landscape of destruction on Wednesday, with smoke rising from shelled villages.

 

The Maronite Catholic patriarch convened a meeting this week of religious leaders of other communities, Shiite and Sunni Muslims and several varieties of Christians, resulting in a statement of solidarity and photographs in Wednesday’s newspapers. Their joint statement, condemning the Israeli “aggression,” hailed “the resistance, mainly led by Hezbollah, which represents one of the sections of society.” [Editor’s note: A recent poll in Lebanon, cited by Jefferson Morley in item 12, suggests that four out of five Lebanese Christians support Hizbollah’s “resistance against the Israeli aggression.”: http://www.beirutcenter.info/default.asp?contentid=692&MenuID=46.%5D

 

5) Civilians Lose as Fighters Slip Into Fog of War

Sabrina Tavernise

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03civilian.html

A convoy of Lebanese villagers was fleeing north shortly after the war began. They had heard Israeli soldiers telling them to evacuate. Suddenly, a rocket struck a pickup truck full of people. Twenty-one people were killed, more than half of them children. Israel said it believed the convoy was transporting rockets. The convoy had not notified Israel that it was going to make the trip. Those who survived said in interviews that they were simply following Israeli orders to flee the south as best they could. The case was one of those noted in a report released on Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. It said the killings formed a pattern so extensive that it seemed to indicate that the Israelis were deliberately shooting civilians. It went so far as to accuse Israel of war crimes. “In many of these strikes there is no military objective anywhere in the vicinity,” said Peter Bouckaert, who conducted the study. “Day after day we are documenting these strikes where they clearly hit civilian targets.”

 

6) News Analysis: Israel’s Long-Term Battle

Steven Erlanger

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03israel.html

Israel is fighting now to win the battle of perceptions. Prime Minister Olmert wants to ensure that when a cease-fire is finally arranged, Israel is seen as having won a decisive victory over Hezbollah. It is important for him politically. Israel wants to recover from an image of an unimpressive military venture against a tough, small, but well-trained group of fighters. Israel also wants to send a message to the Palestinians, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, that attacks on Israel will be met with overwhelming force. Giora Eiland, Israel’s national security adviser under Sharon, predicts a solution in the next week or so that is “far from Israel’s original intent.” He sees a political package negotiated at the UN that includes an exchange of Lebanese prisoners, with Israel regaining its two soldiers; a security zone in southern Lebanon under the control of a multinational force; an Israeli promise not to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty; and “a general understanding or commitment by the Lebanese government to be responsible for Hezbollah’s behavior.”

 

7) Kafr Kila: To Many in a Town Under Attack, Militiamen Are Defenders

Jad Mouawad

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03village.html

For the past week, Israel’s army has thrown everything at Kafr Kila. It has bombed it, unleashed tank fire against it, lobbed phosphorus shells into it. Many residents have fled the destruction, but so far the defenders, local fighters with Hezbollah and allied factions, have held on.  Villagers are overwhelmingly supportive of the group and of allied organizations like Amal. Kafr Kila has been without power or water since the Israeli attack began nearly three weeks ago. Food and medicine are running short for residents who have remained.

 

8) Israeli Jets, Helicopters and Ground Forces Attack Baalbek, Hezbollah Hub in Bekaa Valley

Hassan M. Fattah

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03baalbek.html

In peacetime, Baalbek is best known for its Roman ruins and its summer festivals. But in war, it is a prime target, a strategic center for Hezbollah in the Bekaa Valley. Seven people, including two children, were killed when Israeli planes bombed a house in Jamaliye, a few miles outside Baalbek. In the house were about 50 members of an extended family who had fled the house when the jets were flying over. After the family returned, a rocket landed in the garden, one relative said.

 

9) Israeli Warplanes Pound Southern Beirut

Hezbollah Sprays Rockets, Killing 5 Israelis

Jonathan Finer, Edward Cody and Debbi Wilgoren

Washington Post

Thursday, August 3, 2006; 10:42 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300305.html

Israeli warplanes pounded the southern suburbs of Beirut Thursday for the first time in eight days, and a barrage of Hezbollah rockets fired across the border killed at least five people in northern Israel. Hezbollah fighters and Israeli ground troops were engaged in fierce ground battles in Lebanese border towns and villages that left two Israeli soldiers dead and two others injured. Israeli jets also bombed roads and bridges in the northern part of Lebanon, in an apparent effort to cut off potential resupply routes from Syria.

Lebanese prime minister Fuad Siniora said the death toll in his country has risen above 900 in the three weeks since hostilities broke out after a Hezbollah raid into Israel. More than 3,000 have been wounded, Siniora said. He said a third of the total casualties have been children under 12.

 

10) Among Militia’s Patient Loyalists, Confidence and Belief in Victory

Anthony Shadid

Washington Post

Thursday, August 3, 2006; A01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/02/AR2006080201584.html

Three weeks into its war with Israel, Hezbollah has retained its presence in southern Lebanon, often the sole authority in devastated towns along the Israeli border. The militia is elusive, with few logistics, little hierarchy and less visibility. Even residents often say they don’t know how the militiamen operate or are organized. Communication is by walkie-talkie, always in code, and sometimes messages are delivered by motorcycle.

 

11)  Seven Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raid in Rafah

Molly Moore

Washington Post

Thursday, August 3, 2006; 7:24 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300293.html

Israeli military forces killed seven Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, during a midnight attack on the outskirts of Rafah. At least two of those killed were identified as members of the militant group Islamic Jihad, according to a report issued by the organization. Palestinian witnesses in the area reported that the Israeli military fired tank rounds and fired rockets from an unmanned drone patrolling overhead. They said Israeli forces enter the area nightly in search of Palestinian fighters.

 

12) World Opinion Roundup: The Qana Conspiracy Theory

Jefferson Morley

Washington Post

August 2, 2006; 10:30 AM ET

http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/worldopinionroundup/

An alternative view of the Qana attack is emerging in blogs — that the incident was actually staged by Hezbollah. The Qana conspiracy theory not only underscores how the Internet can misinform, it also reveals a popular demand for online content that attempts to explain away news reports that Israel (and by proxy, its closest ally and arms supplier, the United States) was responsible for the deaths of dozens of women and children in a Hezbollah stronghold. At a time when American and Israeli public opinion of the war diverge radically from the world opinion elsewhere, the emergence of a right-wing equivalent of the Sept. 11 conspiracy theories is worth noting. EU Referendum claimed that a Lebanese rescue worker seen in many photos from Qana was a “Hezbollah official.” I e-mailed co-author of the site, Richard North, to ask for his evidence. “All I have to go on is gut instinct,” North replied. I appreciate his candor. It confirms that he has no evidence to support the central claim of his blog posts. North says he is just trying to “raise questions,” which is certainly a legitimate goal. My question is: What is it about the photos from Qana that made Israel’s supporters prefer fantasy to fact?

 

13) Future of Orthodox Jewish Vote Has Implications for GOP

Small but Growing Group Receptive to Republican Ideas

Jim VandeHei

Washington Post

Thursday, August 3, 2006; Page A06

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/02/AR2006080201692.html

Republicans are hoping a strong defense of Israel translates into greater support among Jewish voters this fall, but the biggest political benefits are likely to come long after the 2006 campaign concludes, according to political and demographic experts studying Jewish voting trends. The Jewish group proving most receptive to Republican overtures over the past decade is among the smallest: Orthodox Jews. Right now, they account for roughly 10 percent of the estimated 5.3 million Jews in the United States, hardly enough to tip most elections. This is likely to change significantly in the years ahead because Orthodox Jews are the fastest-growing segment of the Jewish population, raising the possibility that one of the most reliable Democratic voting blocs will be increasingly in play in future elections, according to surveys of Jewish voting and religious and social habits.

 

14) G.I.’s Say Officers Ordered Killing of Young Iraqi Men

Paul von Zielbauer

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03abuse.html

Four American soldiers from an Army combat unit that killed three Iraqis in a raid in May testified Wednesday that they had received orders from superior officers to kill all the military-age men they encountered. The soldiers gave their accounts at a military hearing to determine if four colleagues should face courts-martial on charges that they carried out a plan to murder the three Iraqis. Their testimony gave credence to statements from two defendants that an officer had told their platoon to “kill all military-age males” in the assault. That officer, Col. Michael Steele, has declined to testify, an unusual decision for a commander. “We are now talking about the possibility of command responsibility, not just unlawful orders and simple murder,” said Gary D. Solis, a former military judge and prosecutor who teaches the law of war at Georgetown University. Colonel Steele, who led the 1993 mission in Somalia later made famous in the film “Black Hawk Down,” has a reputation for aggressive measures. In Iraq, as a commander involved in harrowing assaults against insurgents, he inspired the use of “kill boards” to track how many Iraqis each soldier had killed over time.

 

15) In Iraq, It’s Hard to Trust Anyone in Uniform

Damien Cave

New York Times

August 3, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/world/middleeast/03uniforms.html

The camouflaged Iraqi commandos who kidnapped 20 people from a pair of central Baghdad offices this week used Interior Ministry vehicles and left little trace of their true identities. Were they legitimate officers? Members of a Shiite or Sunni death squad? Or criminals in counterfeit uniforms bought at the market? Majid Hamid, a Sunni human rights worker whose brother was kidnapped and killed by men in uniform four months ago, said he doubted that the answer would ever be known. Now, he said, the authorities normally trusted to investigate may be responsible for the crime. “Whenever I see uniforms now, I figure they must be militias,” Mr. Hamid said in a recent interview. “I immediately try to avoid them. If I have my gun, I know I need to be ready to use it.”

 

16) ‘Low Intensity Civil War’ Likely in Iraq, Ambassador Says

Mary Jordan and Fred Barbash

Washington Post

Thursday, August 3, 2006; 7:10 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300277.html

Britain’s outgoing ambassador to Iraq has advised his government that the country is more likely headed to “low intensity civil war” and sectarian partition than to a stable democracy, the BBC reported Wednesday. The network said it obtained a diplomatic dispatch from William Patey to Prime Minister Blair and top members of Blair’s cabinet.

Patey wrote that “the prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy. Even the lowered expectation of President Bush for Iraq — a government that can sustain itself, defend itself and govern itself and is an ally in the war on terror — must remain in doubt.” Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has reversed a decision to skip a public hearing on Capitol Hill and said he will testify Thursday at a session on the Iraq war. The move came after pressure from Senate Democrats who urged him to come before the Senate Armed Services Committee to answer questions about the administration’s Iraq policies.

 

17) Lebanon could overshadow Iran’s study of nuclear deal

Clarence Fernandez

Reuters

Thursday, August 3, 2006; 9:47 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300576.html

Iran said on Thursday it was still weighing an international package of incentives to suspend its nuclear programme but conflict in Lebanon had diverted its attention. On Monday, the U.N. Security Council demanded that Iran suspend its nuclear activities by August 31 or face the threat of sanctions, although Iran responded by insisting on its right to produce nuclear fuel. “We have said we are open to negotiations, and in the shadow of negotiations it is possible to settle any dispute,” President Ahmadinejad said.”And even now some sort of dialogue is going on, but the crimes committed by the Zionist regime have overshadowed all our considerations,” he said in a reference to Israel’s campaign in Lebanon.

 

18) Iran warns of $200 oil if US pursues sanctions

Reuters

Thursday, August 3, 2006; 10:59 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300577.html

Global oil prices could hit $200 per barrel if the United States pursues international sanctions against Iran, an Iranian official said on Thursday, although analysts passed the comment off as saber rattling. Markets appeared to shrug off the comment, with U.S. crude oil falling $1.01 to $74.80 on signs that Tropical Storm Chris would not become a hurricane. Tension over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which has rattled oil markets in recent weeks, has been overshadowed by the bloody conflict in Lebanon.

 

19) Iran’s President Voices New Optimism

Associated Press

August 3, 2006

Filed at 10:21 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Iran-Nuclear.html

Iran’s president expressed optimism Thursday that the dispute over his country’s nuclear program can be resolved through talks, despite mounting impatience with his rejection of U.N. Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment. Underlining the international concern, one of Iran’s leading trade partners, Russia, issued a statement Thursday telling the Tehran regime it must respect the council’s Aug. 31 deadline to stop enrichment.

 

20) Mexico Leftist Threatens More Protests

Reuters

August 3, 2006

Filed at 0:41 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mexico-election.html

Lopez Obrador, heading protests to pressure Mexico’s electoral court into ordering a full recount of votes in the July 2 presidential election, threatened on Wednesday to turn the screws even tighter despite anger over demonstrations that have crippled Mexico City.

Thousands of Lopez Obrador’s supporters have seized the capital’s vast Zocalo square and main Reforma boulevard, causing three days of traffic chaos and drawing fire from the government. “Mexico City belongs to everyone. All those who live here deserve to have their rights respected,” said Ruben Aguilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox.

The protests have been peaceful, but are angering residents and alienating some former Lopez Obrador supporters. Lopez Obrador has apologized for the disruption, but insisted it was a small price to pay. The former Mexico City mayor said he would decide whether to step up the campaign of civil disobedience after a court decision over a recount, which he expected within days. “It causes annoyance, anger, we know that, but there is no other choice … we have to make democracy count in our country,” he said. 

——–

Robert Naiman

Just Foreign Policy

www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy News, August 1, 2006

August 1, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
August 1, 2006

In this issue:
1) Just Foreign Policy joins Brecher/Smith call for UN General Assembly Action on Immediate Cease-Fire
2) Doggett, Velazquez, Clay Join Kucinich Resolution for Immediate Cease-Fire
3) Cease-Fire Diplomacy in Lebanon – NYT editorial
4) Israel Expands Offensive to Drive Back Hezbollah
5) To Stay or to Go Isn’t an Easy Choice for Many in Villages
6) Lebanese Race to Save Lives, but Find Death
7) Lebanese Premier Faces Impossible Job
8) U.N. Aid Convoys to Lebanon Delayed
9) For Lebanese, Calm Moment to Flee Ruins
10) Stop the Band-Aid Treatment – Carter op-ed
11) ‘There is no ceasefire. There will not be any ceasefire’
12) ‘No Hezbollah Rockets Fired from Qana’
13) Republican Senator Criticizes US Policy on Middle East
14) Republican Realists Call for Major Course Change
15) Bush Baggage Could Cost Lieberman Primary
16) Mideast Conflict a Setback for Iran Reform Movement
17) Democratic Leaders Ask Bush to Redeploy Troops in Iraq
18) Iran’s Leader Rejects U.N. Resolution
19) U.N. Gives Iran Deadline to End Nuclear Work
20) Lopez Obrador Backers Slow Mexico City

Contents:
1) Just Foreign Policy joins Brecher/Smith call for UN General Assembly Action on Immediate Cease-Fire
With the UN Security Council failing to take action to bring about a ceasefire in Lebanon, Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith call on the UN General Assembly to take action under Resolution 377, “Uniting for Peace,” to bring about an immediate unconditional cease-fire. (http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0727-27.htm) A similar call in the run-up to the Iraq war generated significant international pressure on the United States. Just Foreign Policy is circulating a petition in support of this demand: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/issues/lebanon.html.

2) Doggett, Velazquez, Clay Join Kucinich Resolution for Immediate Cease-Fire
Rep Lloyd Doggett [TX-25], Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12], and Rep Wm. Lacy Clay [MO-1] have joined on as co-sponsors to the Kucinich resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 33, of whom 27 are members of the Progressive Caucus. The current list of Progressive Caucus members who have not yet agreed to co-sponsor the Kucinich resolution is at http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/issues/prog_cauc_noceasefire.xls. A form for contacting Members of Congress is at http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/justforeignpolicy.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=4697.

3) Cease-Fire Diplomacy in Lebanon
Editorial
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/opinion/01tue1.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

It took the worldwide uproar over the Qana casualties to finally jolt the Bush administration into asking for something it should have sought many days earlier. Washington’s instant turnabout and Israel’s instant response has left the damaging impression that had America expressed similar concerns sooner, these and many other innocent Lebanese lives might have been saved. Israel is already rolling out plans for an expanded ground offensive, which Washington has done nothing to discourage. Before that happens, the temporary lull in Israeli attacks needs to be broadened into a full cease-fire and extended indefinitely while the United Nations Security Council works to create an international armed force to secure Lebanon’s border.

4) Israel Expands Offensive to Drive Back Hezbollah
Craig S. Smith And Steven Erlanger
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/world/middleeast/01cnd-mideast.html

Israel sharply stepped up its ground campaign in southern Lebanon after the Israeli cabinet decided to expand its operations, aiming to push Hezbollah back from the border before a cease-fire is declared and a multinational force is deployed there. Israeli troops may push northward to the Litani River, some 15 miles from the Israeli border. Several thousand soldiers have been engaged in the operation, fighting house-to-house battles with hundreds of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanese towns and villages close to the border. The country’s most influential columnist, Nahum Barnea, writing in Yediot Aharonot, raised questions about Israeli tactics and leadership. Mr. Barnea wrote about the government’s decision to allow the army to attack civilian houses if Hezbollah rockets and war matériel were stored inside and the population was warned in advance to leave. He said Israel had to respond to Hezbollah’s attack with military action, but added, “The question is how and at what cost.” He criticized Defense Minister Peretz for describing “proudly how he relieved the army of restrictions on harming civilian population that lives alongside Hezbollah operatives.”

5) To Stay or to Go Isn’t an Easy Choice for Many in Villages
Jad Mouawad
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/world/middleeast/01lebanon.html

Israeli artillery pounded this small border village on Monday, covering the hills with smoke, as the remaining residents tried to decide whether an Israeli promise to pause its air war would allow them to leave. Despite the promise, Israel’s air force fired one missile around midday on a ridge east of the town, sending a huge mushroom of smoke and dust high into the sky. Another two airstrikes were heard within the next hour.

6) Lebanese Race to Save Lives, but Find Death
Reuters
August 1, 2006
Filed at 9:54 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-lebanon-redcross.html

Rescue workers often can do nothing to help when they arrive at the aftermath of Israeli attacks, such as that on Qana, in southern Lebanon. The victims are either killed instantly or buried under rubble. The Lebanese government says dozens of bodies have yet to be recovered after such attacks, some of them in cars hit by Israeli missiles. The government has so far put the war’s death toll at 750 including unrecovered bodies. “Often, they are dead. But there are wounded people,” said Hussein Hudruj, a Lebanese Red Cross volunteer. “In one village, we found people alive under rubble after four days. They were wounded. We took them and now, thank God, they are okay,” he said.

7) Lebanese Premier Faces Impossible Job
Associated Press
August 1, 2006
Filed at 5:03 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Lebanese-Premier.html

Faced with the worst Israeli military onslaught in more than two decades, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora has a nearly impossible job. The Western-backed leader is trying to keep good relations with Washington. He must keep Hezbollah politicians in his Cabinet to keep his fractured government from falling apart. After the conflict began three weeks ago, Saniora proposed ideas that included deploying an international force in the south. But his stance hardened after an Israeli strike in the southern town of Qana that killed at least 56 people, more than half of them children. He canceled a visit by Secretary of State Rice and praised Hezbollah leader Nasrallah for his ”sacrifices,” even hinting that retaliation may be justified. Siding with Hezbollah while Lebanon is under siege ensures the survival of Saniora’s government, at least in the short term, as he strives to end the conflict. The guerrillas are popular with many Lebanese for their role in pushing Israel to end its 18-year occupation from a self-declared security zone in southern Lebanon in 2000.

8) U.N. Aid Convoys to Lebanon Delayed
Associated Press
August 1, 2006
Filed at 7:26 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Aid.html

Two U.N. aid convoys destined for southern Lebanon were halted Tuesday after failing to receive necessary security clearance from Israeli military forces and Hezbollah, according to a spokeswoman for the World Food Program. The U.N. requires that Hezbollah and the Israeli army be notified of the route and timeframe for each convoy, and that the two sides acknowledge the information. At least a dozen trucks with aid from WFP and other U.N. agencies were stuck in Beirut as a result.

9) For Lebanese, Calm Moment to Flee Ruins
Sabrina Tavernise
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/world/middleeast/01scene.html

Across southern Lebanon on Monday, people took advantage of the relative calm to move, seeking safety farther north. They piled onto tractors, packed into cars, crowded children into open trunks, and even walked, lugging belongings on their backs. They traveled despite Israeli shelling along the border that popped and boomed. Those who could were getting out of the town, though many who were elderly, infirm or lacking the means remained stuck. The Israelis said they agreed to stop airstrikes for 48 hours, except in cases of an imminent threat or to support ground troops, to let people in southern Lebanon evacuate. But in Bint Jbail, leaving the town required climbing mountains of rubble, something that was physically impossible for most of the people who had been stranded.

10) Stop the Band-Aid Treatment
We Need Policies for a Real, Lasting Middle East Peace
Jimmy Carter
Washington Post
Tuesday, August 1, 2006; A17

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/31/AR2006073100923.html

It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking the devastating response. The result instead has been that broad Arab and worldwide support has been rallied for these groups, while condemnation of both Israel and the United States has intensified. Israel belatedly announced, but did not carry out, a two-day cessation in bombing Lebanon. The urgent need in Lebanon is that Israeli attacks stop, the nation’s regular military forces control the southern region, Hezbollah cease as a separate fighting force, and future attacks against Israel be prevented. Israel should withdraw from all Lebanese territory, including Shebaa Farms, and release the Lebanese prisoners. The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel’s official pre-1967 borders must be honored. A major impediment to progress is Washington’s strange policy that dialogue on controversial issues will be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and will be withheld from those who reject U.S. assertions.

11) ‘There is no ceasefire. There will not be any ceasefire’
Israeli PM Olmert issues grim warning as US blocks moves for immediate cessation of hostilities
Ewen MacAskill, Simon Tisdall and Clancy Chassay
Guardian / UK
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0801-09.htm

An international drive for a ceasefire in Lebanon halted yesterday amid sharp differences at the UN security council, Israel’s rejection of any truce in the near future and a Hizbullah warning that it would oppose the deployment of a non UN-force. Amid outrage after Qana and complaints the UN was doing nothing, the US secretary of state said she was convinced a sustainable ceasefire could be achieved at the security council this week. But Israel signalled dissent hours after she left Jerusalem. Its prime minister shrugged off international pressure: “The fighting continues. There is no ceasefire and there will not be any ceasefire in the coming days.” Israel, backed by the US, is insisting that the multinational force be put in place before it halts its operations. France and other countries which could contribute to a proposed 20,000-strong force are determined that a ceasefire and the framework for a political agreement between Israel and Lebanon must precede deployment. A senior official from one of the countries that may make up the force said: “We are quite adamant. You have to have an immediate ceasefire and then you need a political agreement, and only then can this encompass an international force. The purpose of the force is to help the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people. It is not to fight Hizbullah.”

12) ‘No Hezbollah Rockets Fired from Qana’
Dahr Jamail
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Inter Press Service

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0801-02.htm

Red Cross workers and residents of Qana, where Israeli bombing killed at least 60 civilians, told IPS that no Hezbollah rockets were launched from the city before the Israeli air strike. The Israeli military has said it bombed the building in which several people had taken shelter, more than half of them children, because the Army had faced rocket fire from Qana. The Israeli military has said that Hezbollah was therefore responsible for the deaths. Lebanese Red Cross workers in the nearby coastal city of Tyre told IPS that there was no basis for Israeli claims that Hezbollah had launched rockets from Qana. “We found no evidence of Hezbollah fighters in Qana,” a 28-year-old medic for the Red Cross said. “When we rescue people or recover bodies from villages, we usually see rocket launchers or Hezbollah fighters if they are there, but in Qana I can say that the village was 100 percent clear of either of those.” Another Red Cross worker told IPS that “we can tell when Hezbollah has been firing rockets from certain areas, because all of the people run away, on foot if they have to.”

13) Republican Senator Criticizes US Policy on Middle East
Deborah Tate
Voice of America News
01 August 2006

http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-08-01-voa2.cfm

Senator Chuck Hagel, a key Senate Republican and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is calling on the Bush administration to work for an immediate cease-fire in the conflict between Israeli forces and the Lebanese-based Hezbollah militants. In a speech in the Senate Monday, Hagel urged the Bush administration to do something it has so far refused: engage Syria and Iran, the main sponsors of Hezbollah. Hagel said military action alone will not destroy Hezbollah, and that the pursuit of tactical military victories at the expense of the core strategic objective of Arab-Israeli peace is a hollow victory. He urged the United States to reengage Middle East and international partners to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hagel also said, “America is bogged down in Iraq, and this is limiting our diplomatic and military options. The longer American remains in Iraq in its current capacity, the deeper the damage to our force structure.”

14) Republican Realists Call for Major Course Change
Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0801-01.htm

Some of the Republican Party’s most venerable foreign policy strategists are calling urgently for a major course change in U.S. policy in the Middle East. In Sunday’s Washington Post, Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to presidents Ford and Bush Senior, explicitly rejected the administration’s contention that the “root cause” of the current crisis was Hezbollah and its attacks on Israel. In a Post column Monday, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger renewed his appeal for Washington to negotiate directly with Iran over its nuclear program. Richard Armitage, a senior Pentagon official under Bush’s father and deputy secretary of state in Bush’s first term, also decried Washington’s refusal to directly engage another key Hezbollah backer, Syria, during the current crisis in an interview with NPR last week. Armitage also criticised Israel’s campaign for relying too heavily on air power. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, was scornful in a Washington Post interview of the administration’s mantra that the current crisis offers an “opportunity” to reach a permanent solution to southern Lebanon. “An opportunity? Lord, spare me. I don’t laugh a lot. That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time. If this is an opportunity, what’s Iraq? A once-in-a-lifetime chance?” he asked.

15) Bush Baggage Could Cost Lieberman Primary
Connecticut Democrats fume at his centrism and unbending support for the war. A poll shows the senator’s rival surging. The vote is next week.
Ronald Brownstein
Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0801-05.htm

Both camps say the result will likely turn on which side can best motivate its supporters to turn out for a contest in the dog days of summer. The contest is open only to Democrats, but independents have until Monday to register with the party to vote in the primary. Lieberman was one of only six Democratic senators to oppose a party-backed resolution in June urging Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq later this year. Lamont said he would have voted for that resolution as well as a separate measure, which only a dozen Democrats backed, that called on Bush to withdraw all the troops by next summer. Laura Spitz, a graphic designer who is backing Lamont, said Lieberman “enables Republicans to have this veneer of bipartisanship because he is their token Democrat.” The New York Times raised similar arguments in endorsing Lamont in an editorial Sunday. Lamont is pounding the message that elected officials around the country will view next week’s primary results as a referendum on whether Americans want to change direction in Iraq. That prospect is clearly weighing on many Connecticut Democrats. One voter wrote, “If our little primary is being viewed as a referendum on the war in Iraq, then I am voting for Ned Lamont.”

16) Mideast Conflict a Setback for Iran Reform Movement
Michael Slackman
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/world/middleeast/01iran.html

The Israeli onslaught in Lebanon and Hezbollah’s daily victories in the regional public relations war over the conflict threaten to claim a victim in Iran: whatever hope remained of resurrecting the political reform movement. Even as Iran’s officials assess the military setbacks of Hezbollah, they have grown more emboldened by the gathering support in the Islamic world for the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia on the front line with Israel. They have grown more emboldened by what they see as a validation of their confrontational approach to foreign policy — and in their efforts to silence political opposition at home.
That is the view of some opposition figures, analysts and former officials who say they find themselves in the awkward position of opposing Israel and sympathizing with the Lebanese people, yet fear what might happen should Hezbollah prevail.

17) Democratic Leaders Ask Bush to Redeploy Troops in Iraq
Adam Nagourney
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/washington/01pullout.html

Leading Congressional Democrats called on President Bush to begin a phased redeployment of troops by the end of this year, a unified statement signaling they have concluded that the war could hurt Republicans in the midterm elections. The letter called on American forces in Iraq to make a transition to a “more limited mission” dealing with counterterrorism and training and logistical support of Iraq security forces. “In the interests of American national security, our troops, and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained,” said the letter released Monday, signed by a dozen Democratic leaders, including Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader. The fact that most of the Democratic leadership unified around a position and presented it so forcefully strongly suggests that the politics surrounding the war are changing.

18) Iran’s Leader Rejects U.N. Resolution
Associated Press
August 1, 2006
Filed at 12:59 p.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Iran-Nuclear.html

President Ahmadinejad on Tuesday rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution that would give his nation until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment. Instead, Ahmadinejad insisted Tehran would pursue its nuclear program. “Throughout Iran, there is one slogan: ‘The Iranian nation considers the peaceful use of nuclear fuel production technology its right,”’ Ahmadinejad said. The Security Council passed a resolution Monday calling for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment by the end of August or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions. Ahmadinejad said Iran will not give in to threats from the United Nations.  Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the resolution’s text was watered down from earlier drafts that would have made the threat of political and economic sanctions immediate. The resolution now requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions. Iran has said it would formally respond Aug. 22 to the incentives package, but a top Iranian lawmaker said Tuesday the Security Council resolution has effectively made the offer ”null and void.”

19) U.N. Gives Iran Deadline to End Nuclear Work
Warren Hoge
New York Times
August 1, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/world/middleeast/01nuke.html

The Security Council passed a resolution on Monday demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing work by the end of August or face the possibility of sanctions. The resolution is the first move by the Council on the Iranian nuclear program that is legally binding and carries the threat of sanctions. The vote was 14 to 1, with Qatar, the Arab representative on the Council, dissenting. Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador, said that the Security Council was acting illegally and that the vote had no international credibility. “Iran’s peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility,” he said after the vote. He mocked the ambassadors for not acting forcefully in the current war in Lebanon, saying: “You be the judge of how much credibility this leaves for the Security Council. Millions of people around the world have already passed their judgment.” The resolution calls for “full and sustained suspension” of nuclear activities, including research and development, by Aug. 31, to be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring group. It also calls upon all countries to prevent the shipment to Iran of any materials that could be used in its enrichment-related activities or ballistic-missile programs. Nassir Al-Nassar, the Qatari ambassador, said he voted no out of concern for the stability of the region while war continued in Lebanon. “We do not agree with the resolution at a time when our region is in flames,” he said.

At the urging of Democrats, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has put off a vote until September on whether to keep John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, committee aides said Monday. Democrats want to use that time to press the White House for documents they had sought last year during the dispute over Bolton’s nomination as the envoy.

20) Lopez Obrador Backers Slow Mexico City
Associated Press
August 1, 2006
Filed at 12:44 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mexico-Elections.html

Supporters of Mexico’s leftist presidential candidate brought rush-hour traffic to a crawl Monday, causing the stock market to drop and forcing office workers dressed in business suits and high heels to hike for miles to work. At night, tens of thousands descended on the city’s central plaza for a speech by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. ”The public should understand that if there isn’t democracy … there won’t be any justice, or political stability, or peacefulness,” Lopez Obrador said. Mexican stocks closed 0.8 percent lower, in part because the protests made investors nervous. Sunday’s protests were on a scale that has not been seen in recent Mexican history.

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming U.S. foreign policy so that if reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

Just Foreign Policy News, July 31, 2006

July 31, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
July 31, 2006

In this issue:
Lebanon/Israel
1) Israel Says No Halt to Strikes in Support of Ground Forces
2) Rice Says Mideast Cease-Fire Is Within Reach
3) From Carnage in Lebanon, a Concession
4) A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers
5) U.N. Deplores Civilian Deaths, but Cease-Fire Call Is Blocked
6) As News Spreads of Deaths in South, Anger Boils Over Into Demonstrations in Beirut
7) Child Victims Incite Anger in Lebanon and Beyond
8) Israeli Refugees Seek Friends and Families
9) Israel Is Powerful, Yes. But Not So Invincible.
10) You’re all targets, Israel tells Lebanese in South
11) The “hiding among civilians” myth
12) Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah Talks With Former US Diplomats on Israel
13) Irish refused bombs sent to Prestwick airport
14) The Future of Israel is at Stake – Michael Warschawski
15) Days of darkness – Gideon Levy
16) In the Gunsight: Syria! or: A Nice Little War – Uri Avnery
17) Protest? Not now – Lily Galili
18) Cabinet in open revolt over Blair’s Israel policy
19) Casualties of War: Lebanon’s Trees, Air and Sea
20) This Is the Time for a U.S.-Led Comprehensive Settlement – Scowcroft
Iran
21) UN Council set to demand Iran suspend nuclear work
22) Iran to Re – Evaluate Nuke Incentive Package
23) Iran’s Jews Caught Again in No Man’s Land
24) Iran Hangs in Suspense as War Offers New Strength, and Sudden Weakness
25) U.N. Moves Toward Vote on Iran’s Atom Program
26) Tehran faces UN nuclear deadline
Iraq
27) Audit Finds U.S. Hid Actual Cost of Iraq Projects
28) Iraqi Official Warns Against Coup Attempt
29) A Senate Race in Connecticut
30) Violence in Iraq Is Creating Chaos in Bank System
Mexico
31) Mexico Leftists Try to Shut Capital in Vote Battle

Summary:
29) A Senate Race in Connecticut
A New York Times editorial yesterday endorsed Ned Lamont in his challenge against Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman’s embrace of the Bush Administration’s assault on civil liberties was the main factor cited in the decision.

Lebanon/Israel
1) Israel Says No Halt to Strikes in Support of Ground Forces
Secretary of State Rice said today that she believes a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah can be reached this week, after persuading Israel to suspend its air campaign for 48 hours in the face of an outcry over the air raid on Qana on Sunday that left dozens of Lebanese civilians dead.  Israeli warplanes did conduct air strikes this morning, but army officials said they were in support of ground forces and so not covered by the 48-hour halt. Israel’s defense minister Peretz made it clear today that Israel intends to continue its ground operations against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon. “We must not agree to a ceasefire that would be implemented immediately,” he said.

3) From Carnage in Lebanon, a Concession
Taken aback by the carnage from the Israeli bombing of Qana, Lebanon, Secretary of State Rice wrung the first significant concession from Israel late Sunday in its war against the Hezbollah militia: an immediate 48-hour suspension of aerial strikes. Notable about the suspension was that Rice’s deputy announced it, not the Israelis. The American decision to break the news on what was essentially an Israeli tactical change reflected the increased concern in the Bush administration about the rising civilian death toll in Lebanon and the havoc it is wreaking with America’s already shaky relations with the Arab world. The United States is still not calling for an immediate cease-fire. By refusing to call for an immediate cease-fire, even in the face of the Qana bombing, Rice was teetering on the edge of a public relations disaster. The Israeli prime minister released a statement saying he told Rice that Israel needed 10 to 14 more days to complete its war aims.

4) A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers
The Israeli government apologized for the airstrike Sunday. It said that residents had been warned to leave and should have already been gone. But leaving southern Lebanon now is dangerous. The two extended families staying in the house that the Israeli missile struck had discussed leaving several times. But they were poor and the families were big and many of their members weak, with a 95-year-old, two relatives in wheelchairs and dozens of children. A taxi north, around $1,000, was unaffordable. And then there was the risk of the road itself. Dozens, including 21 refugees in the back of a pickup truck on July 15, have been killed by Israeli strikes while trying to evacuate. Missiles hit two Red Cross ambulances last weekend, wounding six people and punching a circle in the center of the cross on one’s roof. A rocket hit the ambulance convoy that responded in Qana on Sunday.

5) U.N. Deplores Civilian Deaths, but Cease-Fire Call Is Blocked
The Security Council issued a statement Sunday evening expressing “extreme shock and distress” at the killing of Lebanese civilians in the bombing of Qana after daylong negotiations in which the United States succeeded in blocking a call from Secretary General Kofi Annan for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

6) As News Spreads of Deaths in South, Anger Boils Over Into Demonstrations in Beirut
Beirut erupted into enraged demonstrations and rioting on Sunday at the news that Israeli bombs had cut short so many lives in Qana. As the televised images of children’s bodies were replayed on news stations, dozens of young men crashed into the sleek United Nations building early Sunday, lashing out at an accessible symbol of international inaction. The men broke windows and ransacked some floors of the building, burning an American flag and raising a Hezbollah flag in its place. The U.S. “wants to build a ‘new Middle East’ on the rubble of our homes and our children,” said Ali Mustapha, who fled his home in the south with his family last week, bitterly echoing the words of Secretary of State Rice during her visit to Beirut.

7) Child Victims Incite Anger in Lebanon and Beyond
The images of the dead children in southern Lebanon played across the television screens on Sunday over and over again — small and caked in dirt and as lifeless as rag dolls as rescuers hauled them from the wreckage of several residential buildings pulverized hours earlier by the Israeli Air Force. The images were broadcast on all of the Arab-language satellite channels, but it was the most popular station, Al Jazeera, that made the starkest point. For several hours after rescuers reached Qana, Lebanon, the station took its anchors off the air and just continuously played images of the little bodies there. “This is the new Middle East,” one report from the shattered town began, making a sarcastic reference to a phrase Secretary of State Rice uttered last week when visiting Beirut and rejecting calls for an immediate cease-fire. American weapons caused the deaths, the report said. Village men were seen weeping over the children as they were laid out under blankets in front of damaged buildings.  Arab public opinion, already holding that Americans do not care about Arab lives, given the dozens killed daily in Iraq, will undoubtedly sour even more on the United States. “There is a feeling right now that this war is not really an Israeli war against Hezbollah, but an American war to get rid of Hezbollah,” said Hussein Amin, chair of the journalism department at the American University in Cairo.

8) Israeli Refugees Seek Friends and Families
Israeli officials have estimated the number of displaced northern Israelis at 300,000 since the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah began. Rockets have been falling over Israel’s northern towns and cities, sometimes more than 100 a day, many hitting places that had never before been within Hezbollah’s range. It has created a new kind of war for this generation of Israelis, one in which their homes are on the front line.The Arazi family finally had enough when a Hezbollah rocket crashed within a few yards of their home last week. The family of five loaded the car with a cooler full of food, a duffel bag stuffed with clothes and sheets, a guitar and their 11-year-old Dalmatian, Dali, and headed south to find safety. “I’m not used to living like this,” said Merav Arazi. “We are used to a normal life. We work, we come home.” Scattered across the center and southern reaches of Israel, some displaced northerners are camping out on the beaches of Elat after being turned away by overbooked hotels.

9) Israel Is Powerful, Yes. But Not So Invincible.
As the bloodbath in Lebanon spilled past its second week — with at least 400 Lebanese dead and many more presumed buried in rubble; some 800,000 refugees, nearly a quarter of the population, on the run; and the fragile nation’s infrastructure shattered — there was no easy way out for either Israel or Hezbollah, the combatants locked in what each saw as a deadly existential struggle. The very clear winner, for the moment at least, was Hezbollah and its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. (Unless, of course, Israel succeeds in its efforts to assassinate him.) As the only Arab leader seen to have defeated the Israelis — on the basis of their withdrawal in 2000 from an 18-year occupation — he already enjoyed wide respect. Now, with Hezbollah standing firm and inflicting casualties, he has become a folk hero across the Muslim world, apparently uniting Sunnis and Shiites. The standoff stunned Israel. Central to the embattled nation’s sense of survivability is the idea of its invincibility. Its intelligence knows everything, the mythology goes, and no army dare stand against it. In truth, Israel has, in part, been lucky in its enemies, mostly Arab regimes with armies suitable mainly for keeping their own populace in check.

10) You’re all targets, Israel tells Lebanese in South
Everyone remaining in southern Lebanon will be regarded as a terrorist, Israel’s justice minister said Thursday as the military prepared to employ “huge firepower” from the air in its campaign to crush Hizbollah. Haim Ramon issued the warning as the Israeli government decided against expanding ground operations after the death of nine soldiers in fighting on Wednesday. “What we should do in southern Lebanon is employ huge firepower before a ground force goes in,” Ramon said at a security cabinet meeting. “Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and is connected to Hizbollah. Our great advantage vis-a-vis Hizbollah is our firepower, not in face-to-face combat.” Ramon’s comments suggested that civilian casualties in Lebanon, which stand at about 600 after 16 days of bombardment, could rise yet higher. The country’s biggest-selling paper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said the army had raised the threshold of response to Katyusha rockets. “In other words: a village from which rockets are fired at Israel will simply be destroyed by fire,” it said. “This decision should have been made and executed after the first Katyusha. But better late than never.”

11) The “hiding among civilians” myth
Israel claims it’s justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn’t trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible, Mitch Prothero wrote Friday in Salon. Israeli planes high above civilian areas send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths on “terrorists” who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection. But this claim is almost always false. Hezbollah fighters avoid civilians. They know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators — as so many Palestinian militants have been. The analysts talking on cable news about Hezbollah “hiding within the civilian population” clearly have spent little time if any in the south Lebanon war zone and don’t know what they’re talking about. Hezbollah doesn’t trust the civilian population and has worked very hard to evacuate as much of it as possible from the battlefield. And this is why they fight so well — with no one to spy on them, they have lots of chances to take the IDF by surprise.

12) Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah Talks With Former US Diplomats on Israel
Several former former US diplomats sat down with the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon earlier this year. On Friday Democracy Now played excerpts of the interview, and spoke to former US Ambassador Edward Peck, who took part in the meeting. During the meeting, Nasrallah discussed Hezbollah’s strategy to free Lebanese prisoners being held in Israel. Nasrallah said, “The only possible strategy is for you to have Israeli prisoners, soldiers…and then you negotiate with the Israelis in order to have your prisoners released…You have two options, either to have these prisoners or detainees remain in Israeli prisons or to capture Israeli soldiers.”

13) Irish refused bombs sent to Prestwick airport
Bombs destined to be used by Israel are being flown via Scotland only because the Irish government refused to allow them to land on its soil, the New Scotsman reported Sunday. Ireland turned down a US request for planes carrying “bunker busters” to refuel at Shannon airport. As a result, cargo planes carrying the bombs, which the Israeli army is using in Lebanon, are being flown via Prestwick airport. The use of Prestwick triggered a furious diplomatic row last week after it emerged that the US had broken aviation rules by failing to notify Britain about the flights. Prestwick is negotiating to allow planeloads of US military personnel on their way to Iraq to stop there. A source said it was bidding to take flights away from Shannon, currently used as a stopover for the bulk of the 900 American soldiers who travel from the US to the Middle East every day. The American airlines which transport the troops through Shannon are understood to be reviewing their use of the airport, following protests in Ireland which have resulted in some of the planes being vandalised. One Irish official said that the bombs would never have been allowed on Irish soil. “There is absolutely no way that we would allow munitions or weapons to be shipped through Shannon to a location where there is an actual war going on…we allow the US to transport troops to Shannon, but sending bombs to Israel is another matter and completely out of the question for us.” Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond said: “It is highly significant that Shannon put its foot down and drew back from allowing the transport of bunker busters, which could become the tinder to escalate dramatically the Middle East conflict…It is absolutely appalling that we should allow Prestwick to become a stopover to death and destruction.” A demonstration was planned for Sunday at Prestwick by anti-war campaigners.

14) The Future of Israel is at Stake
Michael Warschawski (Alternative Information Center)
“We must reduce to dust the villages of the south … I don’t understand why there is still electricity there.” With these words, Israeli Minister of Justice Haim Ramon summarized his suggestions for the military offensive in Lebanon, notes Michael Warschawski of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem. As for the Israeli military high command, the plan is to occupy a portion of South Lebanon after destroying all the villages. While more and more voices among the Israeli public are challenging, if not the legitimacy, at least the scope of the present military operation, the US administration is demanding that Israel not surrender to the pressures of those who are working for a cease-fire: Secretary of State Rice “is the leading figure of the strategy aimed at changing the situation in Lebanon” and not Olmert or Peretz, wrote military analyst Ze’ev Schiff in Ha’aretz.  By its unlimited brutality the State of Israel is demonstrating to the peoples of the region that it is a foreign and hostile body in the Middle East. The hatred generated by the bombardment of Beirut is immense throughout the Muslim world. It will be extremely difficult to eradicate this anger after the clouds of battle dissipate and the dead are buried. Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are the most dangerous and irresponsible leaders Israel has ever had.

15) Days of darkness
Israel is sinking into a strident, nationalistic atmosphere, writes Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz. The insensitivity and blindness is intensifying, with tones of jingoism, ruthlessness and vengeance. Those in Israel who want to know what Tyre looks like now have to turn to foreign channels. Haim Ramon “doesn’t understand” why there is still electricity in Baalbek; Eli Yishai proposes turning south Lebanon into a “sandbox”; Yoav Limor, a Channel 1 military correspondent, proposes an exhibition of Hezbollah corpses and the next day to conduct a parade of prisoners in their underwear, “to strengthen the home front’s morale.” It’s not difficult to guess what we would think about an Arab TV station whose commentators would say something like that, but another few casualties or failures by the IDF, and Limor’s proposal will be implemented. Is there any better sign of how we have lost our senses and our humanity? Maariv, which has turned into the Fox News of Israel, fills its pages with chauvinist slogans reminiscent of particularly inferior propaganda machines, while a TV commentator calls for the bombing of a TV station. Lebanon, which has never fought Israel and has 40 daily newspapers, 42 colleges and universities and hundreds of different banks, is being destroyed by our planes and cannon and nobody is taking into account the amount of hatred we are sowing. In international public opinion, Israel has been turned into a monster, and that still hasn’t been calculated into the debit column of this war. Israel is badly stained, a moral stain that can’t be easily and quickly removed. And only we don’t want to see it.

16) In the Gunsight: Syria! or: A Nice Little War
Uri Avnery, writing for Gush Shalom, says Israel has become like a compulsive gambler, who continues to play in order to win his losses back. He continues to lose and continues to gamble, until he has lost everything. The leaders that start a war and get stuck in the mud are compelled to fight their way ever deeper into the mud. That is what happened this week, following the battle of Bint-Jbeil, which the Arabs have already started to call proudly Nasrallahgrad. All over Israel the cry goes up: Get into it! Quicker! Further! Deeper! A day after the bloody battle, the cabinet decided on a massive mobilization of the reserves. What for? The ministers do not know. As has been said before: it is much easier to start a war than to finish one. Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz did not think about that when they decided in haste, without serious debate, without examining other options, without calculating the risks, to attack Hizbullah. They did not even think about the lack of shelters in the Northern towns, the far-reaching economic and social implications. The aims change daily. These changing aims are not realistic. The Lebanese army cannot and will not fight Hizbullah. The new “security zone” will be exposed to guerilla attacks and the international force will not enter the area without the agreement of Hizbullah. And this guerilla force, Hizbullah, the Israeli army cannot vanquish. There is an alternative: declare victory and get out.

17) Protest? Not now
Most in Peace Now have decided for now not to become involved in any protests, with an emphasis, they say, on “for now” reports Lily Galila in Haaretz. However, cracks are already appearing under the surface. Moriah Shlomot, former secretary general of Peace Now, participated in a demonstration organized by Gush Shalom and the Arab parties. It was not an easy decision for her; her family still lives in the north. “The question I ask myself now is whether the decision to launch such a grandiose campaign really protects the people living in the north. And I have to say that it does not…Half a million Lebanese refugees and 400 dead so far won’t make Lebanon more friendly to Israel. As a mental health professional, I am very concerned by the matter of proportionality. There is a clear difference between a parent who punishes and a parent who abuses. With the extreme response in Lebanon, we have become abusers perpetuating a cycle of injustice.”

18) Cabinet in open revolt over Blair’s Israel policy
British Prime Minister Tony Blair was facing a full-scale cabinet rebellion Saturday night over the Middle East crisis after his former Foreign Secretary warned that Israel’s actions risked destabilising all of Lebanon, the Guardian reported Sunday.

19) Casualties of War: Lebanon’s Trees, Air and Sea
Environmentalists are warning of widespread and lasting damage in Lebanon, the New York Times reported Saturday. Spilled and burning oil, along with forest fires, toxic waste flows and growing garbage heaps have gone from nuisances to threats to people and wildlife. Many of Lebanon’s once pristine beaches and much of its coastline have been coated with a thick sludge that threatens marine life. A large oil spill and fire caused by Israeli bombing have sent an oil slick traveling up the coast of Lebanon to Syria, threatening to become the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history.

20) Beyond Lebanon: This Is the Time for a U.S.-Led Comprehensive Settlement
Hezbollah is not the source of the problem; it is a derivative of the cause, which is the tragic conflict over Palestine that began in 1948, wrote Brent Scowcroft yesterday in the Washington Post. Now we have an opportunity to achieve a comprehensive resolution of the entire 58-year-old tragedy. Only the United States can lead the effort required. The outlines of a comprehensive settlement have been apparent since Clinton’s efforts collapsed in 2000. The major elements would include a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with minor rectifications agreed upon between Palestine and Israel; Palestinians giving up the right of return and Israel removing its settlements in the West Bank, with rectifications mutually agreed; those displaced on both sides would receive compensation from the international community; full normal relations of Arab countries with Israel based on withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967;  a Palestinian government along the lines of the agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah prisoners; Deployment, as part of a cease-fire, of a robust international force in southern Lebanon;  Deployment of another international force to facilitate and supervise traffic to and from Gaza and the West Bank; Designation of Jerusalem as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine, with appropriate international guarantees of freedom of movement and civic life in the city.

Iran
21) UN Council set to demand Iran suspend nuclear work
The U.N. Security Council was poised on Monday to adopt a resolution demanding Iran suspend its nuclear activities by the end of August or face the threat of sanctions. The council has scheduled a vote on the document that demands Iran “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development.” If Tehran does not comply by August 31, the council would consider adopting “appropriate measures” under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which pertains to economic sanctions, says the draft. The resolution is the first on Iran with legally binding demands and a threat to consider sanctions. Russia and China are reluctant to impose sanctions; Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, told reporters Friday the sanctions provision meant the council would have “a discussion” only on punitive measures. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters that “if Iran fails to comply with this mandatory obligation, we will move to sanctions in the Security Council.”

22) Iran to Re – Evaluate Nuke Incentive Package
Iran’s president said Sunday fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon has forced Iran to re-evaluate a Western nuclear incentives package, but his country still plans to respond to the offer next month. Earlier in the day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry warned that Tehran would abandon the package if the U.N. Security Council approves a resolution against it on Monday.

23) Iran’s Jews Caught Again in No Man’s Land
In January, the leader of Iran’s Jewish community issued a rare challenge to authorities after President Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a ”myth,” an AP story notes. He said Ahmadinejad was questioning ”one of the most obvious and saddening incidents in human history.” Last week, Jews in Shiraz held a pro-Hezbollah rally that was covered by state television. The Web site of the Tehran Jewish Community includes statements opposing Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip and praising uranium enrichment by Iranian scientists. Iranian Jews face no restrictions on religious practices, but must follow Islamic codes such as head scarves for women in public. The same rules apply to Christian and Zoroastrian communities. Iran’s Persian ancestors figure prominently in Jewish lore and tradition, such as the story of Persia’s King Cyrus allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem from Babylon nearly 2,600 years ago. The shrine of Esther and Mordechai is in the western city of Hamedan. The Book of Esther tells how she was raised by the royal adviser Mordechai and became a Persian queen. She saves fellow Jews from slaughter by persuading King Xerxes to call off a plan to attack the community on a date that would be decided by lot, or ”pur.” The change of heart is marked each year by the festival of Purim. On the Net – Tehran Jewish Community: http://www.iranjewish.com

24) Iran Hangs in Suspense as War Offers New Strength, and Sudden Weakness
A New York Times story yesterday supports the view that many Iranian officials are less than enthusiastic about the conflict in Lebanon. Officials believe the war has harmed Hezbollah’s strength as a military deterrent for Iran on the Israeli border. Foreign policy experts and former government officials said that Iran had come to view Israel’s attack on Lebanon as a proxy offensive. They now view the war as the new front line in the conflict with Washington. “They are worried that what’s happened in Lebanon to Hezbollah is the United States’ revenge against Iran,” said a former government official. In building up Hezbollah, ideological motivation fused with a practical desire to put a force on Israel’s northern border. No matter how this conflict is resolved, Iranian officials already see their strategic military strength diminished. In the past, Iran believed that Israel might pause before attacking it because they would assume Hezbollah would assault the northern border. If Hezbollah emerges weaker, or restrained militarily because of domestic politics, Iran feels it may be more vulnerable. The article says “the accepted wisdom” in Iran here is that the Israeli assault was pre-planned, and that the capture of the two soldiers was simply its excuse. The BBC has also reported this. It is striking that these reports from Iran don’t mention that this view has been documented in Western press accounts, such as the San Francisco Chronicle article which described the planning for the war as having been going on for more than a year.

Iraq
27) Audit Finds U.S. Hid Actual Cost of Iraq Projects
USAID, the State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq, used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, said a federal audit Friday. The agency hid construction overruns by listing them as overhead or administrative costs, according to the audit, written by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office that reports to Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.

28) Iraqi Official Warns Against Coup Attempt
A Shiite Muslim political leader said Friday that rumors were circulating of an impending coup attempt against the government of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki and warned that “we will not allow it.” Hadi al-Amiri, a member of parliament from Iraq’s most powerful political party, said in a speech in the holy city of Najaf that “some tongues” were talking about toppling Maliki’s Shiite-led government and replacing it with a “national salvation government, which we call a military coup government.” He did not detail the allegation.

30) Violence in Iraq Is Creating Chaos in Bank System
Most private banks in Baghdad try to avoid using armored vans, because they draw too much attention, and instead toss sacks of cash into ordinary cars for furtive dashes through the streets. However the cash goes out, it risks being lost in the wash of robbery, kidnapping and intrigue that now plagues the system. Praised by the United States as a success story as recently as a few months ago, that system has quickly become a wild landscape of clandestine cash runs, huge hauls by robbers dressed as police officers and soldiers, kidnappings of bank executives with ransoms as high as $6 million, American allegations of tie-ins with insurgent financiers, and legitimate customers turned away when they go to pick up their savings and flee the country.

Mexico
31) Mexico Leftists Try to Shut Capital in Vote Battle
Thousands of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s supporters seized control of the Zocalo square in Mexico City Sunday night as well as a long stretch of Reforma boulevard in the capital’s main business district in their push for a vote-by-vote recount of the presidential election. As police looked on, protesters set up tents and tarpaulin covers in the middle of the boulevard and said they would block it to all traffic on Monday. “They wanted to steal the elections from us but we are not giving in,” said Magdalena Salazar, a middle-aged woman who danced with her daughter in the Zocalo as a salsa band called ”Minimum Wage” played into the early hours of Monday. “If they don’t pay attention to us, we’ll shut the city down,” she said. Lopez Obrador called on his followers to seize downtown Mexico City at the end of a massive protest rally on Sunday afternoon. Local police could in theory break up the protests but it is unlikely as the city and its police force are run by Lopez Obrador’s Party of the Democratic Revolution. Polls show that while slightly more than half the country thinks Calderon won cleanly, more than a third believe there was fraud and about half want a recount just to be sure.

Articles:
Lebanon/Israel
1) Israel Says No Halt to Strikes in Support of Ground Forces
Steven Erlanger And Hassan M. Fattah
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31cnd-mideast.html

2) Rice Says Mideast Cease-Fire Is Within Reach
Helene Cooper
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31cnd-rice.html

3) From Carnage in Lebanon, a Concession
Helene Cooper
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31diplo.html

4) A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers
Sabrina Tavernise
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31scene.html

5) U.N. Deplores Civilian Deaths, but Cease-Fire Call Is Blocked
Warren Hoge
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31nations.html

6) As News Spreads of Deaths in South, Anger Boils Over Into Demonstrations in Beirut
Hassan M. Fattah
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31beirut.html

7) Child Victims Incite Anger in Lebanon and Beyond
Neil MacFarquhar
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31arab.html

8) Israeli Refugees Seek Friends and Families
Dina Kraft
New York Times
July 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31displaced.html

9) Israel Is Powerful, Yes. But Not So Invincible.
John Kifner
New York Times
July 30, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/weekinreview/30kifner.html

10) You’re all targets, Israel tells Lebanese in South
Harry de Quetteville
Telegraph (UK)
Filed: 28/07/2006

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/28/wmid28.xml

11) The “hiding among civilians” myth
Israel claims it’s justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn’t trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.
Mitch Prothero
Jul. 28, 2006

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/07/28/hezbollah/index_np.html

12) Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah Talks With Former US Diplomats on Israel, Prisoners and Hezbollah’s Founding
Democracy Now
Friday, July 28th, 2006

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/28/1440244

13) Irish refused bombs sent to Prestwick airport
Eddie Barnes And Murdo Macleod
New Scotsman
Sun 30 Jul 2006

http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1104532006

14) The Future of Israel is at Stake
Michael Warschawski
Alternative Information Center
Sunday, 30 July 2006

http://alternativenews.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=472&Itemid=1

15) Days of darkness
Gideon Levy
Haaretz
Sun, 30 Jul 2006

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/744061.html

16) In the Gunsight: Syria! or: A Nice Little War
Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom
29-7-06

17) Protest? Not now
Lily Galili
Haaretz
Last update – 09:00 30/07/2006

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/744074.html

18) Cabinet in open revolt over Blair’s Israel policy
Gaby Hinsliff, Ned Temko and Peter Beaumont
Guardian (UK)
Sunday July 30, 2006

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1833538,00.html

19) Casualties of War: Lebanon’s Trees, Air and Sea
Hassan M. Fattah
New York Times
July 29, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/29/world/middleeast/29environment.html

20) Beyond Lebanon
This Is the Time for a U.S.-Led Comprehensive Settlement
Brent Scowcroft
Washington Post
Sunday, July 30, 2006; B07

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/28/AR2006072801571.html

Iran
21) UN Council set to demand Iran suspend nuclear work
Evelyn Leopold
Reuters
Monday, July 31, 2006; 12:27 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/31/AR20060731=

00010.html

22) Iran to Re – Evaluate Nuke Incentive Package
Associated Press
July 31, 2006
Filed at 12:07 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Iran-Nuclear.html

23) Iran’s Jews Caught Again in No Man’s Land
Associated Press
July 30, 2006
Filed at 1:30 p.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Irans-Jews.html

24) Iran Hangs in Suspense as War Offers New Strength, and Sudden Weakness
Michael Slackman
New York Times
July 30, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/world/middleeast/30iran.html

25) U.N. Moves Toward Vote on Iran’s Atom Program
Warren Hoge
New York Times
July 29, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/29/world/middleeast/29nations.html

26) Tehran faces UN nuclear deadline
BBC NEWS
Published: 2006/07/29 05:41:17 GMT

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5226180.stm

Iraq
27) Audit Finds U.S. Hid Actual Cost of Iraq Projects
James Glanz
New York Times
July 30, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/world/middleeast/30reconstruct.html

28) Iraqi Official Warns Against Coup Attempt
Shiite Cites Rumors, Promises a Fight
Joshua Partlow and Saad Sarhan
Washington Post
Saturday, July 29, 2006; A13

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/28/AR2006072801746.html

29) A Senate Race in Connecticut
Editorial
New York Times
July 30, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/opinion/30sun1.html

30) Violence in Iraq Is Creating Chaos in Bank System
James Glanz
New York Times
July 29, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/29/world/middleeast/29banks.html

Mexico
31) Mexico Leftists Try to Shut Capital in Vote Battle
Reuters
July 31, 2006
Filed at 4:07 a.m. ET

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mexico-election.html

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming U.S. foreign policy so that if reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

Just Foreign Policy News, July 28, 2006

July 31, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
July 28, 2006

In this issue:
1) Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah
2) Mideast Fight Enters 17th Day as Rice Vows to Return
3) Bush Sees a Chance for Change to Sweep Mideast
4) Israel Approves Call-Up, but Sets No Deployment
5) Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees
6) Israeli Attacks Kill Up to 12 in Lebanon
7) Series of Woes Mar Iraq Project Hailed as Model
8) Europe May Be Drawn Into Mideast Conflict
9) Hizbollah Fires Long – Range Rocket Into Israel
10) In Israel’s Sights, Lebanon Truckers Face Death
11) Blair to Press Bush for UN Resolution on Lebanon
12) Iran: Hezbollah Got No Military Support
13) Rice on the Defensive After Rome Summit
14) Key UN Members Said to Reach Informal Deal on Iran
15) China Links US Mideast Stance to Iran Measure
16) Bolton’s U.N. Post Sparks Partisan Debate
17) Is Iran Behind the War in Lebanon?
18) On Israel, We Must Never Be Silent
19) Down the Memory Hole

Summary:
At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments like Saudi Arabia criticized Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the US and Israel took as a green light to continue the fight, the New York Times notes. Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements. The Saudis and Jordan are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington. An outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and poetry readings have showered praise on Hezbollah while attacking the US and Secretary of State Rice for trumpeting American plans for a “new Middle East” that they say has led only to violence and repression. American officials say that while the Arab leaders need to take a harder line publicly for domestic political reasons, what matters more is what they tell the US in private, which the Americans still see as a wink and a nod.

In a multinational conference on the Middle East crisis in Rome on Wednesday, Rice had successfully argued for language in a joint communique calling for a “sustainable” cease-fire including political elements, rather than an immediate one, a stance that had the effect of buying time for Israel to pursue its military campaign against Hezbollah. Israeli officials said later that in fact, the declaration gave Israel the world’s permission to continue strikes in Lebanon against Hezbollah targets. But a State Department spokesman said that such an interpretation of the Rome declaration was “outrageous,” and that the United States was working for a durable end to the conflict.

President Bush said today that Secretary of State Rice would be dispatched to the Middle East on Saturday with a plan for a multinational force that would help Lebanon’s army take over from Hezbollah in the southern part of the country. Bush spoke this afternoon at a press conference with Prime Minister Blair of Britain. Both leaders called for the need to impose United Nations resolution 1559, which calls for disarming Hezbollah and deploying the Lebanese Army to the border. Blair said the plan includes bringing forward a United Nations meeting to Monday about an international stabilization force that will allow Lebanon’s government to deploy its own army in the south.

A United Nations official said there would be an investigation into why four UN observers were killed on Tuesday despite repeated warnings that the firing was coming too close to the observation post. “Why did they go on firing?” said the deputy secretary general at the United Nations, Mark Malloch Brown, on CNN. At the United Nations on Thursday, the Security Council adopted a statement that expressed shock and distress at the killings of the observers but avoided the direct criticism of Israel and its motives that had been in earlier drafts. The statement underlined “the importance of insuring that U.N. personnel are not the object of attack,” but it turned aside Mr. Annan’s request that the United Nations be permitted to join in the Israeli investigation of the incident.

China on Thursday warned the United States that its opposition to a statement condemning a deadly attack on a U.N. post in Lebanon could jeopardize U.N. negotiations on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The United States was blocking a U.N. Security Council statement on Israel’s attack on the outpost in southern Lebanon, despite what council diplomats called many compromises by Beijing. “This is a serious matter,” China’s U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters. “It is an attack on the U.N. peacekeepers.” Wang said nearly every delegation in the council was frustrated over the U.S. position. “Definitely this frustration will have its negative impact,” Wang said. “I believe it will affect it negatively.”

The Israeli government on Thursday approved call-ups for as many as 30,000 reserve troops, suggesting that it may be gearing up for a protracted battle. The security cabinet nonetheless ruled out a major military escalation for now, opting to maintain a focus on wide-ranging airstrikes and limited ground incursions along the border.

At least 10 people were reported killed today in villages near the coastal town of Tyre in southern Lebanon, where Israeli airstrikes were most intense. Israeli jets also hit several buildings near the town of Nabatiyeh, killing three people and wounding nine, according to Lebanese security officials cited by the Associated Press.

Hospitals in Lebanon have received the bodies of more than 400 people killed in the fighting, and the country’s health minister, Muhammad Khalifeh, said an estimated 150 to 200 bodies were still under the rubble. “We have not been able to pull them out because the areas they died in are still under fire,” Mr. Khalifeh told Reuters.

The Israeli military said it has killed more than 200 Hezbollah militants since the fighting began with a cross-border raid on July 12. Hezbollah has given only occasional figures, putting the number at around 30.

Hezbollah maintained its rocket fire on northern Israel today. About 50 rockets hit northern Israel as of the afternoon, though only a few minor injuries were reported.
Fifty-two Israelis have been killed in fighting so far, including 19 civilians who died in rocket attacks.

Food and other aid continued to trickle into Lebanon. While supplies are beginning to arrive, some foreign truck drivers have refused to travel to areas being bombed. At the Arida border crossing with Syria in northern Lebanon, Turkish trucks bringing food stopped to transfer their supplies to Lebanese-owned trucks in a laborious process that took more than an hour a truck.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, told Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy on Thursday that he believed a solution could soon be reached in the case involving the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militants on June 25. However, Palestinian factions said they were not aware of an imminent deal. In Gaza, where 23 Palestinians were killed Wednesday, Israeli troops and Palestinian militants again clashed along the eastern edge of Gaza City on Thursday, but on a smaller scale. Still, four Palestinians were killed, including an elderly woman, Palestinian medical workers said. Nearly 150 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its offensive a month ago to retrieve its captured soldier and halt Palestinian rocket fire. The death toll includes a large number of militants and civilians, according to Palestinian monitoring groups.

In a sworn statement, Sgt. Lemuel Lemus said he had witnessed a deliberate plot by his fellow soldiers to kill three handcuffed Iraqi prisoners and a cover-up in which one soldier cut another to bolster their story, the New York Times reports. The squad leader threatened to kill anyone who talked. As with similar cases being investigated in Iraq, Sergeant Lemus’s narrative has raised questions about the rules under which American troops operate and the possible culpability of commanders. Four soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder in the case. Lawyers for two of them, who dispute Sergeant Lemus’s account, say the soldiers were given an order by a decorated colonel on the day in question to “kill all military-age men” they encountered. The colonel, Michael Steele, led the 1993 mission in Somalia made famous by the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

U.S. allies pressed Washington to speed efforts to secure a cease-fire in the Lebanon crisis, AP reports. In France, President Jacques Chirac said his country will press for the rapid adoption of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon, his office said.

The United States is dropping Bechtel, the American construction giant, from a project to build a high-tech children’s hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Basra after the project fell nearly a year behind schedule and exceeded its expected cost by as much as 150 percent, the New York Times reports. Called the Basra Children’s Hospital, the project has been consistently championed by the first lady and Secretary of State Rice, and was designed to house sophisticated equipment for treating childhood cancer. Now it becomes the latest in a series of American taxpayer-financed health projects in Iraq to face overruns, delays and cancellations. David Snider, a spokesman for the United States Agency for International Development, the State Department agency in charge of the project, said that technically, Bechtel’s contract was not being terminated because the contract did not actually require the company to complete the hospital. “They are under a ‘term contract,’ which means their job is over when their money ends,” Mr. Snider said. So despite not finishing the hospital, he said, “they did complete the contract.”

Europe may be drawn into a big role in the proposed multinational force for south Lebanon, AP reports. But with troops already stretched from Afghanistan to Congo, Europeans are hardly clamoring for another Mideast entanglement. Along with the promise of a stronger European military profile, any involvement in the fight between Israel and Hezbollah militants holds the danger of a blow to the continent’s credibility. The former colonial powers of Europe have a troubled history in the region.

Trucks, vans and cars have been a daily target for the Israeli military in its war with Hizbollah, killing dozens on the roads and hindering delivery of food supplies to villages in need of replenishment, Reuters reports. Israel says it hits vehicles carrying Hizbollah weapons. Many drivers have stopped working. An aid agency offered one driver $1,000 to take food to the southern city of Tyre, which has been heavily pounded in the war which began on July 12. He refused despite the financial hardship caused by losing his source of income. “I said no way. I’m not taking the truck out. A colleague did that and they incinerated his truck and killed him.” The United Nations has said targeting of commercial trucks, together with destruction of roads and bridges, has seriously hampered relief operations for 750,000 displaced people.

Iran’s foreign ministry on Friday denied allegations that Tehran has provided military support to Hezbollah in its fight against Israel, a day after President Bush sharply criticized Iran’s role in the bloody fighting. ”Our support has been spiritual. If we had military support, we would announce it. … We don’t have any hidden business,” ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

For the past year, Secretary of State Rice has worked assiduously to resurrect the importance of traditional diplomacy and building consensus among world leaders after America’s go-it-alone approach to Iraq, the New York Times reports. She has managed to hold together a fragile coalition of countries seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program by offering to end America’s three-decade-long refusal to talk to Tehran if it suspends its uranium-enrichment program. But in the space of one hour in Rome on Wednesday, the public rewards of that hard work — the view around the world that the United States may now be more willing to play nice with others — may have been undone. Once again, it seemed, the United States had reverted to its my-way-or-the-highway approach, and Rice was on the defensive. Reports of the Rome meeting uniformly painted her as isolated in one corner, refusing to yield to impassioned calls for an immediate cease-fire to end mounting civilian casualties in Lebanon.

Key U.N. Security Council members agreed informally on Thursday on a resolution demanding Iran suspend nuclear enrichment and reprocessing work and threatening to consider sanctions if it refuses, Reuters reported. The draft text must first be approved by governments of the five Security Council members with veto power as well as Germany. But on Thursday, two diplomats close to the negotiations told Reuters there was “provisional agreement” among the six. If true, a vote could be scheduled for Monday after the full Security Council receives the draft.

The Bush administration and GOP leaders on Thursday renewed their push for Senate approval of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador. Democrats maintained he is too brash and ineffective to be confirmed. The sharp division all but guaranteed that lawmakers were headed toward another partisan showdown in the full Senate, although Democrats would not say whether their opposition would amount to a filibuster, as it did last year.

An issue brief by Trita Parsi and Gareth Porter for the National Iranian American Council casts doubts on the claims by neoconservatives in Washington that Iran was behind the Hezbollah capture two Israeli soldiers that provided the trigger for Israel’s assault on Lebanon. They argue that the new escalation will likely damage Iran’s interests by degrading Hezbollah’s military capabilities and by increasing the threat from the United States.

Responding to the contoversy around his criticism of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, New York Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini writes that there are a growing number of people in the Jewish community who are willing to speak up, out of love for Israel, about the occupation. Tasini notes that his father fought in the Israeli war of independence and that several of his close relatives have been killed in Israel’s wars or in terror attacks. He reaffirms his support for a two-state solution and reiterates his concern that Israel has engaged in torture and war crimes. A friend of Israel, he writes, would understand that employing collective punishment against people in Lebanon only embitters a population, possibly for generations, and that even a short-term military victory will be empty if it leaves behind a shattered country.

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting takes the Washington Post, New York Times and
Los Angeles Times to task for editorializing that Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon were solely responsible for sparking violence, and that the Israeli military response was predictable and unavoidable. FAIR notes that this overlooks key events, such as the kidnapping of two Palestinians in Gaza by the IDF the day before the Hamas raid, or the assassination of a Palestinian leader in Lebanon in May, attributed by Lebanese authories to Israel. These incidents went largely unreported in the U.S. FAIR notes that with the exception of the San Fransisco Chronicle, which reported on July 21 that Israel’s campaign in Lebanon has been planned for more than a year, the U.S. media have largely promoted the view that the conflict started on July 12.

Articles:
1) Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah
Neil MacFarquhar
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28arabs.html

2) Mideast Fight Enters 17th Day as Rice Vows to Return
Greg Myre And Christine Hauser
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/28cnd-mideast.html

3) Bush Sees a Chance for Change to Sweep Mideast
Christine Hauser
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28cnd-mideast.html

4) Israel Approves Call-Up, but Sets No Deployment
Greg Myre
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28mideast.html

5) Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees
Robert F. Worth
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28abuse.html

6) Israeli Attacks Kill Up to 12 in Lebanon
Associated Press
July 28, 2006
Filed at 1:49 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Lebanon-Israel.html

7) Series of Woes Mar Iraq Project Hailed as Model
James Glanz
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28basra.html

8) Europe May Be Drawn Into Mideast Conflict
Associated Press
July 27, 2006
Filed at 4:45 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Drawing-in-Europe-LH1.html

9) Hizbollah Fires Long – Range Rocket Into Israel
Reuters
July 28, 2006
Filed at 12:32 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-rockets.html

10) In Israel’s Sights, Lebanon Truckers Face Death
Reuters
July 28, 2006
Filed at 8:45 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-lebanon-truckers.html

11) Blair to Press Bush for UN Resolution on Lebanon
Reuters
July 28, 2006
Filed at 5:52 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-britain-usa.html

12) Iran: Hezbollah Got No Military Support
Associated Press
July 28, 2006
Filed at 7:00 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Iran.html

13) Rice on the Defensive After Rome Summit
Helene Cooper
New York Times
July 28, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/29ricecnd.html

14) Key UN Members Said to Reach Informal Deal on Iran
Reuters
July 27, 2006
Filed at 6:50 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-nuclear-iran-un.html

15) China Links US Mideast Stance to Iran Measure
Reuters
July 27, 2006
Filed at 2:35 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-un-council.html

16) Bolton’s U.N. Post Sparks Partisan Debate
Associated Press
July 28, 2006
Filed at 8:26 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-UN-Ambassador.html

17) Is Iran Behind the War in Lebanon?
Dr. Trita Parsi and Dr. Gareth Porter
National Iranian American Council website
July 24, 2006
http://www.niacouncil.org/pressreleases/press399.asp

18) On Israel, We Must Never Be Silent
Jonathan Tasini
Thursday, July 27, 2006
CommonDreams.org
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0727-22.htm

19) Down the Memory Hole
Israeli contribution to conflict is forgotten by leading papers
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
July 28, 2006
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2928

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming U.S. foreign policy so that if reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

Just Foreign Policy News, July 27, 2006

July 27, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
July 27, 2006

In this issue:
1) Americans Showing Isolationist Streak, Poll Finds
2) Israel Debates Strategy Shift After Truce Talks Fail
3) Deadly Conflict Brings Out Harder Israeli Edge
4) UN Hits Impasse on Text Criticizing Israeli Attack
5) Israel Pounds South Lebanon
6) Belgian Couple to Accuse Israel of War Crimes
7) MidEast Diplomacy Shifts to Asia as Rice Arrives
8) Rice Defends U.S. Position on Cease – Fire
9) Report: U.N. Observers’ Calls Unheeded
10) Analysts: Lebanon Conflict Could Widen
11) Israel Mulls Broadening Lebanon Offensive
12) Australian: Peacekeepers to Leave Lebanon
13) U.N. Says It Protested to Israel for 6 Hours During Attack That Killed 4 Observers in Lebanon
14) Democratic Opponent of Clinton Criticizes Actions of Israel
15) Deadliest Day for Israel in Lebanon
16) Hezbollah Proves a Formidable Foe
17) 24 Killed As Israel Moves Into N. Gaza
18) Beckett protest at weapons flight
19) ‘Waiting to Get Blown Up’
Some Troops in Baghdad Express Frustration With the War and Their Mission
20) Recount the Votes — and Be Patient
21) Q & A: The 15th Day

Summary:
Americans are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the state of affairs in the Middle East, with majorities doubtful there will ever be peace between Israel and its neighbors, or that American troops will be able to leave Iraq anytime soon, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. A majority said the war between Israel and Hezbollah will lead to a wider war. And while almost half of those polled approved of President Bush’s handling of the crisis, a majority said they preferred the United States leave it to others to resolve. A majority of respondents, 56 percent, said they supported a timetable for a reduction in United States forces in Iraq. More than half of that group said they supported a withdrawal even if it meant Iraq would fall into the hands of insurgents. By a wide margin Americans did not believe the United States should take the lead in solving international conflicts.

Israel’s security cabinet today decided against expanding its ground offensive in Lebanon. Before the meeting, Israeli officials said they regarded the failure of an international conference to reach agreement on a cease-fire plan as clearing the way for further assaults on Hezbollah. “We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world,’’ Justice Minister Ramon said, “to continue this operation, this war, until Hezbollah won’t be located in Lebanon and until it is disarmed.” Mr. Ramon also raised the possibility of an expanded air assault, saying “all those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah.’’

Arab governments and newspapers expressed disappointment at the outcome of the Rome conference. Egypt’s foreign minister said the meeting had “failed to meet Arab demands” for a cease-fire, AFP reported. The Saudi daily Okaz criticized the “major powers” for delaying a cease-fire by insisting on “conditions that will allow the aggression to continue,” according to Reuters.

The lack of action prompted Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of Lebanon to lash out with a cry of despair. “Is the value of human life less in Lebanon than that of citizens elsewhere?” he asked. “Are we children of a lesser god? Is an Israeli teardrop worth more than a drop of Lebanese blood?” Accusing Israel of “barbaric destruction,” he vowed to seek justice, announcing that Lebanon would begin legal proceedings for war reparations.

European and Arab governments, Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, and Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, pushed hard for an immediate cessation of hostilities or even a truce on humanitarian grounds. But these proposals were blocked by the U.S. Secretary of State.  Rice’s position effectively gives Israel more time to continue its strikes. She has said she does not want to dictate to Israel how it should handle its affairs.

Israeli air assaults continued today, Reuters reported. It quoted Lebanese security officials who said that Israeli warplanes struck a convoy carrying food and medical supplies from Syria, killing two truck drivers. Agence France-Presse said that nine people were killed in new air strikes, including a gendarme and a Nigerian domestic worker hit by an Israeli missile while riding his motorbike near the southern city of Tyre.

Hezbollah on Thursday kept up its sustained fire on northern Israel, with 130 rockets hitting the region, wounding more than 10 Israelis.

The death toll has been at least 433 in Lebanon and 51 in Israel, according to Reuters.

Israel continued to shell Gaza. A mother and her two young daughters died when an artillery shell hit their home, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. A third young girl was also killed, and dozens of Palestinians were wounded.

Israel’s talk of breaking Hezbollah’s back has given way to more limited goals as Israeli ground troops have bogged down just a few miles into the country. The latest talk is of creating a buffer zone just two kilometers wide, which Israel said it could police from its side of the border. Olmert suggested that Israel would try to keep order from its side of the border with artillery and airstrikes. Likud member Yuval Steinitz, a member of the Knesset’s committee on defense and foreign affairs described the government’s plan as half-baked. “If we want to achieve something with this operation, then we need to conduct massive ground operations and clear out all of southern Lebanon,” he said.

The U.N. Security Council failed to agree on a statement late on Wednesday condemning a deadly Israeli attack on a U.N. observer post in Lebanon after the US blocked language critical of Israel, Reuters reports. Washington demanded the deletion of language condemning “any deliberate attack against U.N. personnel.” China’s U.N. ambassador called for a strong statement of condemnation after an Israeli air attack destroyed the U.N. post in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, killing peacekeepers. Asked whether the U.S. position might affect China’s attitude toward American efforts for a resolution on Iran’s nuclear program, he indicated there might be some spillover. “I think that all members will reflect, on what lessons, if there are any, (can be) learned from this episode,” he said.

An ICRC report said one of its delegates who had visited Blida, near the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, had found about 700 people, including 300 children, sheltering in a mosque.
Villagers were running short of water, food and medicine, displaced people were sheltering in schools and patients were stranded in hospitals. “As people were afraid to go out, fearing bombardments, dead bodies had not been removed from the streets and others were still buried in rubble,” the ICRC said.

A Belgian couple of Lebanese origin is filing a complaint accusing Israeli leaders of war crimes over the bombing of Lebanon, a Belgian newspaper reported. The complaint will be made under Belgium’s universal jurisdiction law which allows Belgian judges to prosecute human rights violations regardless of where they are committed. The couple were in Lebanon with their three children when Israel began bombarding targets in Lebanon. The attacks destroyed the family’s Beirut apartment and forced them to flee the country. The couple’s complaint names Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Peretz and military chief Lieutenant-General Halutz. More complaints are expected soon, the newspaper said.

Asian countries at the ASEAN meetings in Malaysia expressed concerns about Mideast violence. Iran has been pushing for an emergency session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to discuss the Lebanon crisis and sources have said it could be held as early as next week.

U.N. observers in Lebanon telephoned the Israeli military 10 times in six hours to ask it to stop shelling near their position before an attack killed four observers, U.N. officials said Wednesday. The U.N. observation post near Khiam came under close Israeli fire 21 times Tuesday — including 12 hits within 100 yards and five direct hits from 1:20 p.m. until the peacekeepers’ post was destroyed at 7:30 p.m. U.N. officials said Hezbollah militants had been operating in the area of the post near the eastern end of the border with Israel, a routine tactic to prevent Israel from attacking them. Officials in the outpost called the Israeli army 10 times during those six hours, and each time an army official promised to have the bombing stopped, according to a preliminary U.N. report on the incident. Once it became clear those pleas were being ignored, the force’s commander sought the involvement of top officials in New York. Top officials, including Deputy Secretary-General Malloch Brown, made several calls to Israel’s U.N. mission ”reiterating these protests and calling for an abatement of the shelling,” according to a UN official. U.N. officials said the observation position was well marked.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the reaction of UN officials Tuesday was understandable. “I can sympathize very strongly with the people in the Secretariat who were trying for hours to prevent the tragic consequences of the shelling, and I can easily understand their feelings when they realized that the people they were trying to help for a very long time, for hours, were killed,” Mr. Churkin said. He added, “One would expect to see more respect for peacekeepers if one wants to rely on them in the future.”

The Security Council this week is considering the renewal of the mandate of Unifil, which ends next Monday. France, president of the council this month, has suggested a one-month extension to give time for planning an expanded new force.

Australia has decided to withdraw its 12 peacekeeping troops from southern Lebanon because of the danger there, the defense minister said Thursday.

The Lebanon conflict could widen and worsen the longer it goes on, U.S. congressional analysts warn in an analysis of the crisis. Open war between Israel and Syria will grow more likely, and Lebanon’s old civil-war rivalries might re-ignite, the Congressional Research Service writes. Oil prices could spike, and the U.S. will have to guard against new terror threats, says the report ”Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah: The Current Conflict.” The crisis ”increases the possibility that the United States, after shunning Syria for several years, may have to deal with Damascus at some point in an effort to contain escalating violence,” the report says. The report is online at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33566.pdf

Veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery mocks the Israeli governments war aims in an intervew published on Gush Shalom’s website. “On the 15th day of the war, Hizbullah is functioning and fighting. That by itself will go down in the annals of the Arab peoples as a shining victory… Hizbullah can be ‘moved’ only if the whole Shiite population is moved – an ethnic cleansing that (I hope) no one is thinking about. After the war the population will return to their towns and villages, and Hizbullah will continue to flourish.”

The British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, has protested to the US about its use of a Scottish airport to transport bombs to Israel, according to the BBC. Beckett said it seemed the US was not following the right procedures over arms flights. Opposition parties have reacted angrily to a report in the Daily Telegraph that two cargo planes filled with laser-guided bombs landed at Prestwick Airport en-route to Israel from the US. The Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party called for the UK government to respond. According to BBC 2’s Newsnight programme, the US has lodged requests to bring two more planes through the UK carrying bombs and missiles for Israel in the next two weeks. Liberal Democrat leader Campbell said: “If these reports are true, it is particularly provocative for the United States to have acted in this way. It can only reinforce the belief of many that Britain is taken for granted in the so-called special relationship. Who knows how many of these munitions may be used to cause the kind of damage to Lebanon which the prime minister of that country described in Rome as cutting his country to pieces.” SNP defence spokesman Robertson urged ministers to intervene to prevent Scottish involvement in the conflict. “The UK government must get behind the UN call for a ceasefire by both Hezbollah and Israel, rather than using Scotland as a staging post for supplying weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “The London Labour government must end UK involvement in this process now. This issue once again highlights the need for an end to the hypocrisy shown by the Liberal Democrats, who have again called for an investigation at Westminster but importantly, where their minister is responsible for transport at Holyrood, they are doing nothing to stop these flights.”

As President Bush plans to deploy more troops in Baghdad, morale among U.S. troops is low, the Washington Post reports. U.S. soldiers who have been patrolling the capital for months describe a deadly and infuriating mission in which the enemy is elusive and success hard to find.

Jonathan Tasini, the antiwar candidate mounting a Democratic primary challenge against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, said this week that Israel had “committed many acts of brutality and violations of human rights and torture,” the New York Times reported yesterday. Mr. Tasini made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with a political blog, the Room 8, according to an audiotape posted Monday on the Web site, www.r8ny.com. His comments drew swift criticism from the Clinton campaign. “It’s outrageous, offensive and beyond the pale,” said a Clinton spokesman. In an interview late Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Tasini acknowledged that he had touched a “third rail of New York politics.” But he said that his comments were being misconstrued and insisted that he never claimed that Israel was a “terrorist state.” At the same time, he refused to back away from his criticism of Israeli policy. “I have been critical of Israeli conduct in the occupied territories — Gaza and the West Bank — and in the current conflict, in the same way that I have been absolutely critical of Hezbollah,” he said.

With a margin of 200,000 votes separating the candidates, and allegations of serious irregularities, Mexico is still waiting for its new president, Jorge de los Santos, an adviser to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, writes in the Washington Post. The good news for Mexico is that, as in the United States, there are courts that will bring closure to the election. The Federal Electoral Tribunal in Mexico will decide on the validity of any allegations or irregularities. This court is the single institution with the authority to announce the winner of the election. It has experience with high-profile elections and difficult decisions and has even overturned the elections in two Mexican states. It will be up to the court to officially declare the winner. A full recount of the votes, and transparent legal proceedings, would be good for Mexico. It would strengthen Mexico’s democracy; it would make government more effective; it will bring legitimacy to the winner. López Obrador has said that if he loses the recount, he will accept the results, though under protest, and will call off any demonstrations. Mexicans still have a month and a half before they know the outcome of their election. Mexico has in its electoral process enough time for legal challenges.

Articles:
1) Americans Showing Isolationist Streak, Poll Finds
Jim Rutenberg And Megan C. Thee
New York Times
July 27, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/washington/27poll.html

2) Israel Debates Strategy Shift After Truce Talks Fail
Greg Myre And John O’neil
New York Times
July 27, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/world/europe/27cnd-mideast.html

3) Deadly Conflict Brings Out Harder Israeli Edge
Reuters
July 27, 2006
Filed at 7:49 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-israelis.html

4) UN Hits Impasse on Text Criticizing Israeli Attack
Reuters
July 26, 2006
Filed at 11:34 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-un-council.html

5) Israel Pounds South Lebanon
Reuters
July 27, 2006
Filed at 8:34 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-mideast.html

6) Belgian Couple to Accuse Israel of War Crimes
Reuters
July 27, 2006
Filed at 4:55 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-mideast-lebanon-belgium.html

7) MidEast Diplomacy Shifts to Asia as Rice Arrives
Reuters
July 27, 2006
Filed at 8:13 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-asean.html

8) Rice Defends U.S. Position on Cease – Fire
Associated Press
July 27, 2006
Filed at 8:26 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Rice.html

9) Report: U.N. Observers’ Calls Unheeded
Associated Press
July 27, 2006
Filed at 1:37 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-UN-Observers.html

10) Analysts: Lebanon Conflict Could Widen
Associated Press
July 27, 2006
Filed at 4:48 a.m. ET

11) Israel Mulls Broadening Lebanon Offensive
Associated Press
July 27, 2006
Filed at 7:36 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Israel.html

12) Australian: Peacekeepers to Leave Lebanon
Associated Press
July 27, 2006
Filed at 1:05 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Australia.html

13) U.N. Says It Protested to Israel for 6 Hours During Attack That Killed 4 Observers in Lebanon
Warren Hoge
New York Times
July 27, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/world/middleeast/27nations.html

14) Democratic Opponent of Clinton Criticizes Actions of Israel
Raymond Hernandez
New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/nyregion/26tasini.html

15) Deadliest Day for Israel in Lebanon
Jonathan Finer and Edward Cody
Washington Post
Thursday, July 27, 2006; A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072600806.html

16) Hezbollah Proves a Formidable Foe
Entrenched Guerrilla Force Exposes Limits of Israel’s Modern Army
Scott Wilson and Edward Cody
Washington Post
Thursday, July 27, 2006; Page A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072601714.html

17) 24 Killed As Israel Moves Into N. Gaza
Deadliest Day in Strip Since ’05 Withdrawal
John Ward Anderson
Washington Post
Thursday, July 27, 2006; A16
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072600575.html

18) Beckett protest at weapons flight
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has protested to the US about its use of a Scottish airport to transport bombs to Israel.
BBC NEWS
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/5218036.stm

19) ‘Waiting to Get Blown Up’
Some Troops in Baghdad Express Frustration With the War and Their Mission
Joshua Partlow
Washington Post
Thursday, July 27, 2006; A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072601666.html

20) Recount the Votes — and Be Patient
Jorge de los Santos
Washington Post
Thursday, July 27, 2006; A25
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072601494.html

21) Q & A: The 15th Day
Uri Avnery 
Gush Shalom
July 26, 2006
http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1153941800

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy News, July 26, 2006

July 27, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
July 26, 2006

In this issue:
1) Diplomats Back Troops, but Not Cease-fire, for Mideast
2) As Many as 14 Israeli Troops Killed in Lebanon
3) UN Deaths Put Pressure on Rome Talks for Ceasefire
4) Accusations fly after U.N. observers killed
5) U.N.: Observers made many calls before strike
6) Mideast talks fail to reach cease-fire agreement
7) Putin and Ahmadinejad Discuss Mideast Crises
8) Hizbollah Bombards Northern Israel, Dozens Wounded
9) U.S., Allies Divided Over Cease – Fire Terms
10) Prodi: Italy Will Join Mideast Force
11) Israel Seeks 1.2 – Mile – Wide ‘Security Zone’
12) Greek Police, Anti – War Protesters Clash
13) Hezbollah: Israeli Onslaught a Surprise
14) Ahmadinejad Calls for Lebanon Cease – Fire
15) Why Syria Has Much to Lose if Hezbollah Is Finally Halted
16) Israel Finding a Difficult Foe in Hezbollah
17) Iraqi PM Says Fate of Iraq Is Tied to U.S.
18) UN negotiators close to deal on Iran nuclear draft
19) Nations Closer on Iran Resolution Deal
20) Iranian Dissident Akbar Ganji: Dangers of a US Invasion of Iran
21) Syria, Iran lack full Hizbollah control: US official

Summary:
American, European and Arab diplomats called today for an international force to be deployed in along the border between Lebanon and Israel and for a regional peace conference including Syria and Iran. But they stopped short of calling for an immediate cease-fire, the New York Times reports. The foreign ministers issued a joint statement calling for “urgent efforts’’ toward a cease-fire. Most of the countries attending the conference made clear that they favored an immediate halt.  But Secretary of State Rice said that the US continues to oppose trying to arrange a cease-fire before the conditions have been created for a “sustainable’’ peace.  Lebanon’s prime minister repeated his call for an immediate end to the fighting. He also said that as part of any negotiations, he would press several conditions: that Israel withdraw from the Shebaa Farms territory it continues to occupy, that it release Lebanese prisoners, and that it turn over a map showing the locations of land mines it placed in southern Lebanon. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have been critical of Hezbollah while calling for an immediate cease-fire. In the run-up to the meeting, the United States and Britain stood virtually alone in opposing an immediate cease-fire.

On Tuesday,  four unarmed United Nations observers were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit their observation post near the Israeli border. After learning of the deaths on Tuesday night, Mr. Annan denounced the “apparently deliberate targeting” of the post. Asked about that remark today, he said that the post was “long established and clearly marked,” and that the shelling had begun in the early morning and continued into the evening despite numerous warnings from UN commanders to the Israeli army. He called for a joint investigation by the UN and Israel. Israel’s prime minister called Annan today to apologize for what Israel says was an accident. In the past two weeks, there have been several dozen incidents of firing close to U.N. peacekeepers and observers, including direct hits on nine positions, some of them repeatedly. As a result of these attacks, 12 U.N. personnel have been killed or injured, U.N. officials said.

The U.N. observers killed when an Israeli bomb hit their bunker in Lebanon Tuesday called an Israeli military liaison about 10 times in the six hours before they died to warn that aerial attacks were getting close to their position, CNN reports. After each call, the Israeli officer promised to have the bombing stopped, an officer at the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) base in Noqoura said. Finally, an Israeli bomb exploded directly on the U.N. post near Khiyam, killing four U.N. observers.

Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah’s political arm, told Associated Press that Hezbollah was surprised by the force of Israel’s reaction to its capture of two Israeli soldiers. He said Hezbollah had expected “the usual, limited” response such as commando raids or limited attacks on Hezbollah strongholds. Komati said his group had anticipated negotiations to swap the Israeli soldiers for three Lebanese held in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it has in past prisoner exchanges. He said the group would not give up its weapons because of Israeli occupation of Lebanese land, the ”threat of Israeli aggression” and the Lebanese held in Israeli jails.

Israel wants to establish a 2 kilometer-wide strip in south Lebanon that will be free of Hezbollah guerrillas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday, giving the dimensions of a new ”security zone” for the first time.  ”We want a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) space from the border in which it will not be possible to fire rockets toward soldiers and civilians’ houses and in which there will not be contact with military border patrols,” Olmert was quoted as telling the committee. Israeli soldiers patrolled a ”security zone” during Israel’s 18-year occupation of south Lebanon, but Olmert indicated the new buffer zone would be different. ”We do not have any intention of returning to the security zone but want to create an area where there will be no Hezbollah,” he was quoted as saying.

More than 125 rockets fired by Hizbollah guerrillas slammed into the city of Haifa and other parts of northern Israel on Wednesday, wounding dozens of people, security sources and medics said. The fresh salvoes from Lebanon came as the United Nations chief aid official, Jan Egeland, was visiting the city. “I’ve come here like I have visited Lebanon and I visited Gaza to see for myself how indiscriminately the civilian population is suffering, how rockets are hitting homes, families,’ he told reporters. “This is totally condemnable. I have condemned it when I was in Lebanon, when I was in Hizbollah heartland. It has to stop.”

Israel pressed ahead with its nearly month-old offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza. At least 13 Palestinians, including a young girl, were killed in airstrikes and artillery bombardment that also wounded more than three dozen.

Italian Premier Romano Prodi said Wednesday he will commit troops to a military force for Lebanon if it has a U.N. mandate. Prodi’s statement about committing troops came a day after Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member, said it would consider playing a major role in a peacekeeping force in Lebanon if there was a strong U.N. mandate.

Greek protesters toppled a statue of President Truman and clashed with police during demonstrations Tuesday against the fighting in Lebanon. Demonstrators gathered earlier outside the U.S. Embassy and used a power saw and ropes to bring down the Truman statue. AP reported that “It wasn’t immediately clear why the protesters focused on the Truman statue” but noted that it had been targeted in the past. Truman implemented a U.S. intervention in Greece after the Second World War that resulted in a repressive military dictatorship.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad called for a cease-fire in Lebanon and criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East on Wednesday, saying Washington wants to ”recarve the map” of the region with Israel’s help. Ahmadinejad’s nation is a major backer of Hezbollah and a sworn enemy of Israel, but he denied that Tehran provides military support to the militant group. In addition to a cease-fire, Ahmadinejad called for talks on the Lebanon crisis without conditions.

Syrian officials and analysts said the nature of the longstanding relationship between Damascus and the militia appeared to be shifting, with Syrian leverage rapidly diminishing, the New York Times reports. For the decades when Syrian soldiers were deployed in Lebanon, Damascus kept firm control over the pipeline of arms to Hezbollah and could generate or suppress its activities with little trouble. Now, analysts argue, even if asked, Syria may have trouble tamping out the flames. One Western ambassador said “There may be a new strategic situation in the making because Israel does not have the overwhelming strategic superiority that it thought it had.” The basis of that new equation is Hezbollah’s continued ability to land rockets deep inside Israel despite two weeks of punishing assaults, with plenty of indications suggesting it can fire for weeks, if not months. Ironically, by forcing Syria to withdraw its military from Lebanon last year, the United States and its allies diluted the significant direct leverage Syria might have had over Hezbollah. Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were all taken aback by the ferocity of Israel’s response to the capture of two soldiers; the seizure seemed to fall within the unspoken rules of limited engagements. Similar operations had prompted prisoner exchanges in the past, the current demand by Hezbollah for ending the fighting.

A week ago, Israeli officials said their military had knocked out up to half of Hezbollah’s rocket launchers and suggested that another week or two would finish the job of incapacitating the Lebanese militia, the New York Times reports. That talk has largely stopped. Hezbollah is still launching 100 rockets a day at Israel, nearly as many as it did at the start of the war. Soldiers return from forays into Lebanon saying the network of bunkers and tunnels is more sophisticated than expected. And Iranian-made long-range missiles apparently capable of hitting Tel Aviv remain in the Hezbollah arsenal.

Addressing a joint meeting of Congress, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today asserted that Iraq has become an essential partner to the United States in its fight against terrorism, the Washington Post reports. Maliki said the U.S.-led military force in Iraq should be withdrawn “only when Iraq’s forces are fully capable.” His speech was interrupted by a protester wearing a pink T-shirt that read “Troops Home Now.” “Iraqis want the troops to leave. Bring them home now,” the protester shouted before being ushered out of the House chamber. Maliki did not address his recent criticism of Israel’s military operation against Lebanon. Yesterday, some House and Senate Democrats said Maliki should not be allowed to address Congress because of his comments critical of Israel. Maliki criticized U.S.-led reconstruction efforts in Iraq, telling the members of Congress: “Much of the budget you had allocated for Iraq’s reconstruction ended up paying for security firms and foreign companies, whose operating costs were vast. Instead, there needs to be a greater reliance on Iraqis and Iraqi companies, with foreign aid and assistance to help us rebuild Iraq.”

Key members of the U.N. Security Council were close yesterday to agreement on a draft resolution demanding Iran suspend all nuclear enrichment and reprocessing work and threatening to consider sanctions if it refuses, Reuters and AP reported. Negotiations on the resolution have dragged on for 10 days. The draft is expected to demand Iran suspend all uranium enrichment-related and plutonium reprocessing activities as well as the construction of a heavy-water reactor. It says that if Iran does not comply with the resolution the council would consider measures under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which relates to economic and diplomatic sanctions, but excludes military force. The date set for compliance is still open but is expected to be at the end of August.

Iranian investigative journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji was interviewed on Democracy Now yesterday. Ganji strongly opposed any U.S. military attack on Iran. Such an attack will not bring democracy, it will only devastate Iran, he said.

Syria can do far more to rein in Hizbollah, such as stopping arms flows into Lebanon, but is not capable of putting the militia “out of business,” a top U.S. counterterrorism official said on Tuesday. President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week that the key to ending the current Middle East crisis was to “get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit.” But Henry Crumpton, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, said even Iran — which he said had more influence than Syria — did not have full control over the Islamist guerrillas.

Articles:
1) Diplomats Back Troops, but Not Cease-fire, for Mideast
Helene Cooper And John O’Neil
New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26cnd-mideast.html

2) As Many as 14 Israeli Troops Killed in Lebanon
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 11:08 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Lebanon-Israel.html

3) UN Deaths Put Pressure on Rome Talks for Ceasefire
Reuters
July 26, 2006
Filed at 0:33 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast.html?_r=1&oref=login

4) Accusations fly after U.N. observers killed
Annan slams ‘apparently deliberate’ strike by Israel
CNN
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Posted: 0757 GMT
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/26/mideast.main.0330/index.html

5) U.N.: Observers made many calls before strike
Annan, China condemn attack that killed 4
CNN.com  
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Posted: 1223 GMT 
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/26/mideast.observers/index.html

6) Mideast talks fail to reach cease-fire agreement
CNN 
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/26/mideast.romeconf/index.html

7) Putin and Ahmadinejad Discuss Mideast Crises
Reuters
July 26, 2006
Filed at 2:33 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-iran-russia.html

8) Hizbollah Bombards Northern Israel, Dozens Wounded
By REUTERS
July 26, 2006
Filed at 9:56 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-haifa.html

9) U.S., Allies Divided Over Cease – Fire Terms
ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 26, 2006
Filed at 10:23 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Rice.html

10) Prodi: Italy Will Join Mideast Force
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:41 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Prodi-Interview.html

11) Israel Seeks 1.2 – Mile – Wide ‘Security Zone’
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 8:08 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Olmert.html

12) Greek Police, Anti – War Protesters Clash
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:33 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Greece-Protest.html

13) Hezbollah: Israeli Onslaught a Surprise
Associated Press
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Hezbollah.html
July 26, 2006
Filed at 1:05 a.m. ET

14) Ahmadinejad Calls for Lebanon Cease – Fire
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:11 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Iran.html

15) Why Syria Has Much to Lose if Hezbollah Is Finally Halted
Neil MacFarquhar
New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26syria.html

16) Israel Finding a Difficult Foe in Hezbollah
Steven Erlanger And Thom Shanker
The New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26strategy.html

17) Iraqi PM Says Fate of Iraq Is Tied to U.S.
Bill Brubaker
Washington Post
Wednesday, July 26, 2006; 1:30 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072600230.html

18) UN negotiators close to deal on Iran nuclear draft
Evelyn Leopold
Reuters
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; 8:33 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072501299.html

19) Nations Closer on Iran Resolution Deal
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:29 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-UN-Iran-Nuclear.html

20) Iranian Dissident Akbar Ganji: Dangers of a US Invasion of Iran
Democracy Now
July 25, 2006
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/25/1443204

21) Syria, Iran lack full Hizbollah control: US official
Caroline Drees
Reuters
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; 12:15 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072500664.html

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy News, July 26, 2006

July 27, 2006

Just Foreign Policy News
July 26, 2006

In this issue:
1) Diplomats Back Troops, but Not Cease-fire, for Mideast
2) As Many as 14 Israeli Troops Killed in Lebanon
3) UN Deaths Put Pressure on Rome Talks for Ceasefire
4) Accusations fly after U.N. observers killed
5) U.N.: Observers made many calls before strike
6) Mideast talks fail to reach cease-fire agreement
7) Putin and Ahmadinejad Discuss Mideast Crises
8) Hizbollah Bombards Northern Israel, Dozens Wounded
9) U.S., Allies Divided Over Cease – Fire Terms
10) Prodi: Italy Will Join Mideast Force
11) Israel Seeks 1.2 – Mile – Wide ‘Security Zone’
12) Greek Police, Anti – War Protesters Clash
13) Hezbollah: Israeli Onslaught a Surprise
14) Ahmadinejad Calls for Lebanon Cease – Fire
15) Why Syria Has Much to Lose if Hezbollah Is Finally Halted
16) Israel Finding a Difficult Foe in Hezbollah
17) Iraqi PM Says Fate of Iraq Is Tied to U.S.
18) UN negotiators close to deal on Iran nuclear draft
19) Nations Closer on Iran Resolution Deal
20) Iranian Dissident Akbar Ganji: Dangers of a US Invasion of Iran
21) Syria, Iran lack full Hizbollah control: US official

Summary:
American, European and Arab diplomats called today for an international force to be deployed in along the border between Lebanon and Israel and for a regional peace conference including Syria and Iran. But they stopped short of calling for an immediate cease-fire, the New York Times reports. The foreign ministers issued a joint statement calling for “urgent efforts’’ toward a cease-fire. Most of the countries attending the conference made clear that they favored an immediate halt.  But Secretary of State Rice said that the US continues to oppose trying to arrange a cease-fire before the conditions have been created for a “sustainable’’ peace.  Lebanon’s prime minister repeated his call for an immediate end to the fighting. He also said that as part of any negotiations, he would press several conditions: that Israel withdraw from the Shebaa Farms territory it continues to occupy, that it release Lebanese prisoners, and that it turn over a map showing the locations of land mines it placed in southern Lebanon. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have been critical of Hezbollah while calling for an immediate cease-fire. In the run-up to the meeting, the United States and Britain stood virtually alone in opposing an immediate cease-fire.

On Tuesday,  four unarmed United Nations observers were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit their observation post near the Israeli border. After learning of the deaths on Tuesday night, Mr. Annan denounced the “apparently deliberate targeting” of the post. Asked about that remark today, he said that the post was “long established and clearly marked,” and that the shelling had begun in the early morning and continued into the evening despite numerous warnings from UN commanders to the Israeli army. He called for a joint investigation by the UN and Israel. Israel’s prime minister called Annan today to apologize for what Israel says was an accident. In the past two weeks, there have been several dozen incidents of firing close to U.N. peacekeepers and observers, including direct hits on nine positions, some of them repeatedly. As a result of these attacks, 12 U.N. personnel have been killed or injured, U.N. officials said.

The U.N. observers killed when an Israeli bomb hit their bunker in Lebanon Tuesday called an Israeli military liaison about 10 times in the six hours before they died to warn that aerial attacks were getting close to their position, CNN reports. After each call, the Israeli officer promised to have the bombing stopped, an officer at the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) base in Noqoura said. Finally, an Israeli bomb exploded directly on the U.N. post near Khiyam, killing four U.N. observers.

Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah’s political arm, told Associated Press that Hezbollah was surprised by the force of Israel’s reaction to its capture of two Israeli soldiers. He said Hezbollah had expected “the usual, limited” response such as commando raids or limited attacks on Hezbollah strongholds. Komati said his group had anticipated negotiations to swap the Israeli soldiers for three Lebanese held in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it has in past prisoner exchanges. He said the group would not give up its weapons because of Israeli occupation of Lebanese land, the ”threat of Israeli aggression” and the Lebanese held in Israeli jails.

Israel wants to establish a 2 kilometer-wide strip in south Lebanon that will be free of Hezbollah guerrillas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday, giving the dimensions of a new ”security zone” for the first time.  ”We want a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) space from the border in which it will not be possible to fire rockets toward soldiers and civilians’ houses and in which there will not be contact with military border patrols,” Olmert was quoted as telling the committee. Israeli soldiers patrolled a ”security zone” during Israel’s 18-year occupation of south Lebanon, but Olmert indicated the new buffer zone would be different. ”We do not have any intention of returning to the security zone but want to create an area where there will be no Hezbollah,” he was quoted as saying.

More than 125 rockets fired by Hizbollah guerrillas slammed into the city of Haifa and other parts of northern Israel on Wednesday, wounding dozens of people, security sources and medics said. The fresh salvoes from Lebanon came as the United Nations chief aid official, Jan Egeland, was visiting the city. “I’ve come here like I have visited Lebanon and I visited Gaza to see for myself how indiscriminately the civilian population is suffering, how rockets are hitting homes, families,’ he told reporters. “This is totally condemnable. I have condemned it when I was in Lebanon, when I was in Hizbollah heartland. It has to stop.”

Israel pressed ahead with its nearly month-old offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza. At least 13 Palestinians, including a young girl, were killed in airstrikes and artillery bombardment that also wounded more than three dozen.

Italian Premier Romano Prodi said Wednesday he will commit troops to a military force for Lebanon if it has a U.N. mandate. Prodi’s statement about committing troops came a day after Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member, said it would consider playing a major role in a peacekeeping force in Lebanon if there was a strong U.N. mandate.

Greek protesters toppled a statue of President Truman and clashed with police during demonstrations Tuesday against the fighting in Lebanon. Demonstrators gathered earlier outside the U.S. Embassy and used a power saw and ropes to bring down the Truman statue. AP reported that “It wasn’t immediately clear why the protesters focused on the Truman statue” but noted that it had been targeted in the past. Truman implemented a U.S. intervention in Greece after the Second World War that resulted in a repressive military dictatorship.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad called for a cease-fire in Lebanon and criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East on Wednesday, saying Washington wants to ”recarve the map” of the region with Israel’s help. Ahmadinejad’s nation is a major backer of Hezbollah and a sworn enemy of Israel, but he denied that Tehran provides military support to the militant group. In addition to a cease-fire, Ahmadinejad called for talks on the Lebanon crisis without conditions.

Syrian officials and analysts said the nature of the longstanding relationship between Damascus and the militia appeared to be shifting, with Syrian leverage rapidly diminishing, the New York Times reports. For the decades when Syrian soldiers were deployed in Lebanon, Damascus kept firm control over the pipeline of arms to Hezbollah and could generate or suppress its activities with little trouble. Now, analysts argue, even if asked, Syria may have trouble tamping out the flames. One Western ambassador said “There may be a new strategic situation in the making because Israel does not have the overwhelming strategic superiority that it thought it had.” The basis of that new equation is Hezbollah’s continued ability to land rockets deep inside Israel despite two weeks of punishing assaults, with plenty of indications suggesting it can fire for weeks, if not months. Ironically, by forcing Syria to withdraw its military from Lebanon last year, the United States and its allies diluted the significant direct leverage Syria might have had over Hezbollah. Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were all taken aback by the ferocity of Israel’s response to the capture of two soldiers; the seizure seemed to fall within the unspoken rules of limited engagements. Similar operations had prompted prisoner exchanges in the past, the current demand by Hezbollah for ending the fighting.

A week ago, Israeli officials said their military had knocked out up to half of Hezbollah’s rocket launchers and suggested that another week or two would finish the job of incapacitating the Lebanese militia, the New York Times reports. That talk has largely stopped. Hezbollah is still launching 100 rockets a day at Israel, nearly as many as it did at the start of the war. Soldiers return from forays into Lebanon saying the network of bunkers and tunnels is more sophisticated than expected. And Iranian-made long-range missiles apparently capable of hitting Tel Aviv remain in the Hezbollah arsenal.

Addressing a joint meeting of Congress, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today asserted that Iraq has become an essential partner to the United States in its fight against terrorism, the Washington Post reports. Maliki said the U.S.-led military force in Iraq should be withdrawn “only when Iraq’s forces are fully capable.” His speech was interrupted by a protester wearing a pink T-shirt that read “Troops Home Now.” “Iraqis want the troops to leave. Bring them home now,” the protester shouted before being ushered out of the House chamber. Maliki did not address his recent criticism of Israel’s military operation against Lebanon. Yesterday, some House and Senate Democrats said Maliki should not be allowed to address Congress because of his comments critical of Israel. Maliki criticized U.S.-led reconstruction efforts in Iraq, telling the members of Congress: “Much of the budget you had allocated for Iraq’s reconstruction ended up paying for security firms and foreign companies, whose operating costs were vast. Instead, there needs to be a greater reliance on Iraqis and Iraqi companies, with foreign aid and assistance to help us rebuild Iraq.”

Key members of the U.N. Security Council were close yesterday to agreement on a draft resolution demanding Iran suspend all nuclear enrichment and reprocessing work and threatening to consider sanctions if it refuses, Reuters and AP reported. Negotiations on the resolution have dragged on for 10 days. The draft is expected to demand Iran suspend all uranium enrichment-related and plutonium reprocessing activities as well as the construction of a heavy-water reactor. It says that if Iran does not comply with the resolution the council would consider measures under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which relates to economic and diplomatic sanctions, but excludes military force. The date set for compliance is still open but is expected to be at the end of August.

Iranian investigative journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji was interviewed on Democracy Now yesterday. Ganji strongly opposed any U.S. military attack on Iran. Such an attack will not bring democracy, it will only devastate Iran, he said.

Syria can do far more to rein in Hizbollah, such as stopping arms flows into Lebanon, but is not capable of putting the militia “out of business,” a top U.S. counterterrorism official said on Tuesday. President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week that the key to ending the current Middle East crisis was to “get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit.” But Henry Crumpton, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, said even Iran — which he said had more influence than Syria — did not have full control over the Islamist guerrillas.

Articles:
1) Diplomats Back Troops, but Not Cease-fire, for Mideast
Helene Cooper And John O’Neil
New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26cnd-mideast.html

2) As Many as 14 Israeli Troops Killed in Lebanon
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 11:08 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Lebanon-Israel.html

3) UN Deaths Put Pressure on Rome Talks for Ceasefire
Reuters
July 26, 2006
Filed at 0:33 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast.html?_r=1&oref=login

4) Accusations fly after U.N. observers killed
Annan slams ‘apparently deliberate’ strike by Israel
CNN
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Posted: 0757 GMT
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/26/mideast.main.0330/index.html

5) U.N.: Observers made many calls before strike
Annan, China condemn attack that killed 4
CNN.com  
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Posted: 1223 GMT 
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/26/mideast.observers/index.html

6) Mideast talks fail to reach cease-fire agreement
CNN 
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/26/mideast.romeconf/index.html

7) Putin and Ahmadinejad Discuss Mideast Crises
Reuters
July 26, 2006
Filed at 2:33 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-iran-russia.html

8) Hizbollah Bombards Northern Israel, Dozens Wounded
By REUTERS
July 26, 2006
Filed at 9:56 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-mideast-haifa.html

9) U.S., Allies Divided Over Cease – Fire Terms
ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 26, 2006
Filed at 10:23 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Rice.html

10) Prodi: Italy Will Join Mideast Force
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:41 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Prodi-Interview.html

11) Israel Seeks 1.2 – Mile – Wide ‘Security Zone’
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 8:08 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Olmert.html

12) Greek Police, Anti – War Protesters Clash
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:33 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Greece-Protest.html

13) Hezbollah: Israeli Onslaught a Surprise
Associated Press
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Hezbollah.html
July 26, 2006
Filed at 1:05 a.m. ET

14) Ahmadinejad Calls for Lebanon Cease – Fire
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:11 p.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Mideast-Fighting-Iran.html

15) Why Syria Has Much to Lose if Hezbollah Is Finally Halted
Neil MacFarquhar
New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26syria.html

16) Israel Finding a Difficult Foe in Hezbollah
Steven Erlanger And Thom Shanker
The New York Times
July 26, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26strategy.html

17) Iraqi PM Says Fate of Iraq Is Tied to U.S.
Bill Brubaker
Washington Post
Wednesday, July 26, 2006; 1:30 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/26/AR2006072600230.html

18) UN negotiators close to deal on Iran nuclear draft
Evelyn Leopold
Reuters
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; 8:33 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072501299.html

19) Nations Closer on Iran Resolution Deal
Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Filed at 12:29 a.m. ET
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-UN-Iran-Nuclear.html

20) Iranian Dissident Akbar Ganji: Dangers of a US Invasion of Iran
Democracy Now
July 25, 2006
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/25/1443204

21) Syria, Iran lack full Hizbollah control: US official
Caroline Drees
Reuters
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; 12:15 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072500664.html

——–
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
www.justforeignpolicy.org


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