. Al-Hurra TV 23 Jan 08 Mr Issam Alchalabi Dr Walid Khadduri and PM Wail Abdullateef The Oil and Gas Law was discussed (in Arabic) in a recent session of "ساعة حرة" on Al-Hurra TV channel on January 23rd 2008.
It is worth watching, 53 minutes.
http://www.alhurra.com/archiveAr.aspx Scroll down to "ساعة حرة" In Archived Video, click on 23/01/2008 before it disappears. "As a minority group in Iraq, the Kurds have enjoyed disproportionate influence in the country’s politics since the ouster of Saddam Hussain in 2003. But now their leverage appears to be declining as tensions rise with Iraqi Arabs, raising the specter of another fissure alongside the sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shiites. .... With their political acumen, close ties to the Americans and technical competence at running government agencies, the Kurds cemented a position of enormous strength. This allowed them to all but dictate terms in Iraq’s Constitution that gave them considerable regional autonomy and some significant rights in oil development. But now the Kurds are pursuing policies that are antagonizing the other factions. The Kurds’ efforts to seize control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and to gain a more advantageous division of national revenues are uniting most Sunnis and many Shiites with Mr. Maliki’s government in opposition to the Kurdish demands. .... In a signal of its displeasure, Parliament has refused to approve a new budget because it awards the Kurds 17 percent of the total revenues, which many representatives say is more than their share based on population. Because Iraq has not had a census in decades, it is impossible to know the true size of the Kurdish population. Some Kurdish leaders say it could be 23 percent; some Arabs say it is 13 percent. .... Perhaps most grating for Iraqi Arabs, the Kurds have refused to back down on the oil exploration contracts they have signed with foreign companies. Arabs view the central government as the only entity empowered to approve contracts, albeit in consultation with the regions where the oil is located. ... For now, however, the budget has yet to be approved, the oil law and revenue sharing laws are in limbo, and there is a new and visible fault line on the Iraqi political scene. " Kurds’ Power Wanes as Arab Anger RisesFebruary 1, 2008
CBS Falisifies Iraq War History: There’s a cynical old saying that the victors write the history. CBS’s “60 Minutes” demonstrated how that process works on Jan. 27 in airing Scott Pelley’s interview with the FBI agent who de-briefed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Slander, Murder and Sixty Minutes: The Establishment Consensus on Iraq: "60 Minutes" is the closest thing left in our fragmented media culture to the kind of powerful sway once held by Life Magazine and Time Magazine in establishing the parameters of conventional wisdom. The show featured an interview with FBI agent George Piro, who had interrogated Saddam Hussein after his capture. The interview was conducted by "journalist" Scott Pelley, who pounded again and again on this question: "Why did Saddam choose war with the United States?"
The sheer moral depravity of that question is almost beyond comprehension. As the historical record shows, the war was launched at the direct order of George W. Bush. (I saw it on television myself; Pelley might look it up in the CBS archives.) Earlier, Bush had ordered the UN inspectors to leave Iraq; then he ordered a "decapitation attack" (as Bush officials themselves called it) – a bomb strike on a residential neighborhood where Saddam Hussein was thought to be staying. He wasn't, of course, but the innocent people who were torn to shreds by the attempted decapitation were soon forgotten after Bush's next order: the massive "shock and awe" bombardment that was meant to terrorize the Iraqi people into submission, followed by the full-scale ground invasion itself. Bush chose war.
Or rather, he chose to escalate a war that had been going on for years, through sanctions that enriched Saddam and selected Western firms but killed at least – at least – half a million Iraqi children; through CIA-sponsored terrorist attacks against Iraqi citizens; and through the constant bombing of Iraq, which in the months before the ground attack had secretly surged to an all-out air assault to "prepare the battlespace" for the coming invasion. And yet Pelley – who we must assume is not four years old, but was actually an adult during the period in question, even a "journalist," presumably able to read and to comprehend moving images and human speech on television – can go on national television in 2008 and ask why Saddam Hussein chose to make war on the United States.
Feds Oppose Release of Cheney Testimony in Colorado Suit: Secret Service agents and aides to Vice President Cheney who gave statements for a Colorado lawsuit have asked a judge not to release videos of their testimony, saying they might wind up on YouTube or "Comedy Central." (Bring it on!!! We're desperately in need of a laugh.)
The predictably devastating results of helicopters "bombarding" an urban neighborhood in a major Iraqi city, if reported at all, will be treated as just the normal "collateral damage" of war as we know it. In our world, what was once the barbarism of air war, its genuine horror, has been transformed into humdrum ordinariness (if, of course, you don't happen to be an Iraqi or an Afghan on the receiving end), the stuff of largely ignored Air Force news releases. It is as unremarkable (and as American) as apple pie, and nothing worth writing home to mom and the kids about.
An Excess of Civility: The President gave his State of the Union address. It was a model affair, magnificent in the practiced art of decorum fitting an advanced nation. A set play in one act. The stage empty of meaning and mystery. A refined audience confident of its indispensability, and nothing more.
The audience was filled with proud Americans, too fine and proper to react to assaults on reason, on conscience. On a single matter alone, Iraq, there was ample reason to disturb this too peaceful place.
“The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened. Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw tens of thousands of American forces flowing into their country.” (On the recent “surge” of American forces into Iraq)
These words were uttered by Bush with a marked degree of solemnity. Nobody laughed, even if they got the joke.
GEORGE HABASH ~~ HISTORY’S MOST MISUNDERSTOOD ‘TERRORIST’: A witness to the ethnic cleansing of his home town in 1948, he was transformed for ever by a determination to serve his people, and the lesson for Palestinians is essential. The flourishing of several political parties in the national arena remains not only the guarantor of democracy, but also the proven engine for achieving independence, as long as parties are driven by principle and not simply by desire for power. Just before his death, Habash was told how young Palestinians from a different political party had audaciously destroyed the walls of Gaza, setting free its people. Habash smiled and said: “You see, the day will come when these borders will fall and Arab unity will be achieved.” Lucretius celebrated these unforgettable “vitai lampada”, the torch-bearers who bring hope in each generation, “like runners passing on the lamp of life”.
Between 1941 and 1943, starvation, disease, as well as deportations to concentration camps and extermination camps befell the Jews. Consequently, the ghetto population dropped from 450,000 to 70,000 Jews. In parallel, the Gaza Strip, with its almost two million inhabitants, has been surrounded by a wall and a new Nazi guard. Power was cut; food and drugs were withheld from the needy and the sick. I pause here to say that on the eve of my trip from London to Davos, and prior to the population influx into Egypt, I was having dinner with friends of mine when I received a mobile phone call from a man who said the minister of health wanted to talk to me.
Even though the connection was bad, I soon realized that I was speaking to the Palestinian Minister of Health in Gaza Strip. I do not know him in person; we never had any contact earlier. The minister told me the Gazans were dying slowly and in pain with no one to offer them help. Every time electricity is cut all of a sudden, he complained, a child, a pregnant woman or an old man dies in the hospital, as their frail bodies fail to endure the shock. ...
‘Divide and rule’ in the Mideast: Certainly keeping Palestinians divided is in Israel’s interests because it can shore up international good will with gestures toward the creation of a Palestinian state and, at the same time, bemoan the fact it doesn’t have a credible peace partner. There also remains the possibility that Israel is following another agenda: the creation of a non-threatening mini Palestinian entity on the West Bank with Gaza left to fend for itself or turned over to Egypt.
There will be no light at the end of the tunnel for either the Lebanese or the Palestinians unless they can free themselves from foreign interference and bury their differences. Ideally, they need leaders in the mold of Nelson Mandela able to inspire all factions and persuade them to adopt a policy of forgiveness and reconciliation. If not, the crack between the secular progressives and the religious ideologues will widen until it becomes an eternally impassable chasm.
Four Thoughts on Wednesday's Republican Debate [ . . . ] 4. Ron Paul: My favorite moment of the night? When Paul tsk-tsked Romney and McCain for sniping over Iraq strategy--an area where their positions are largely indistinguishable. "I find it rather silly, because they're arguing technicalities of a policy they both agree with," he said. "They agreed with going in; they agreed for staying, agreed for staying how many years? And these are technicalities. We should be debating foreign policy."
Lieberman (zionist Jew) is pushing for Bush nominee James Glassman (zionist Jew) to be appointed assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy. This is the top position in the U.S. State Dept. for dispensing propaganda.
Glassman says “al Qaeda” is doing a better job than the Bush regime in winning friends over the Internet. "Our enemies are eating our lunch in terms of getting the word out in digital technology.”
Glassman said the United States must overturn a misconception in the Muslim world that the USA and Israel are a military threat, and want to weaken and divide the Muslim world. (emphasis added ! ! ! )
The danse macabre of US-style democracy: ... Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, sent this reply to a viewer who had protested the prevalence of propaganda as the basis of news: "It is simply a fact that Bush has tried to export democracy [to Iraq] and that this has been troublesome."
And her source for this "fact"? Quotations from Bush and Blair saying it is a fact.
We urgently appeal to the leaders of the world nations, especially the great powers, to stop supporting the Zionist regime. Many nations believe that supporting Zionism shows friendship to the Jewish People. This is incorrect! True friendship to the Jewish People can be demonstrated by saving all the peoples of the Middle East, including Jews, from the bloodthirsty machinations of the dangerous State of “Israel” and by dismantling the Zionist regime entirely.
A stunningly useful presentation - Finkelstein rocks the LSE: ... The basic thesis was: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is, despite common perceptions, actually remarkably simple, and most of the “controversy” it generates is in fact contrived precisely in order to disguise this fact.
The committee decided not to examine in depth individual complaints about violations of international law committed by Israel in the course of the war, which included claims about the selection of illegitimate targets, the use of cluster bombs, the disproportionate harming of civilians and infrastructure in Lebanon and the use of civilians as "human shields." Instead, the committee made do with general conclusions, in part because, "We did not find it appropriate to deal with issues that are part of a political and propaganda war against the state."
The organization said that the report failed to investigate a crucial aspect of the war — the government policies and military strategies that failed to discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hizbullah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets.
“This was yet another missed opportunity to address the policies and decisions behind the grave violations of international humanitarian law — including war crimes — committed by Israeli forces,” said Malcolm Smart, Middle East and North Africa Program director.
“The indiscriminate killings of many Lebanese civilians not involved in the hostilities and the deliberate and wanton destruction of civilian properties and infrastructure on a massive scale were given no more than token consideration by the commission,” said Smart.