Israel’s Gurkha Regiment and Iran

Israel’s fifth column in the United States has long used the American military as what Juan Cole memorably called Israel’s ‘Gurkha Regiment’. They used the September 11 attacks as an opportunity to push the United States into a disastrous war against Israel’s regional enemies. The war was planned and executed in Washington, but its inspiration came from Tel Aviv. David Ben Gurion’s periphery doctrine had by the early 1980s evolved into Likud’s elaborate plan for dominating the region. It was developed and articulated by veteran Israeli diplomat Oded Yinon in the World Zionist Organization’s inhouse publication Kivunim. Ariel Sharon’s abortive attempt to implement the plan backfired after its invasion of Lebanon turned into a political and military fiasco. Israel soon realized the limits of its power when fighting a popular resistance as opposed to the ill-equipped and poorly led Arab armies which it had handily defeated. Meanwhile Yinon’s ideas were picked up and adapted by David Wurmser, the principal author of the infamous ‘Clean Break‘ and its lesser known, but more important follow up, ‘Coping with Crumbling States‘. (In a clear breach of the 1798 Logan Act, Wurmser, Feith and Perle also advised Israeli leaders on ways to undercut US foreign policy.) They were given their fullest expression in Wurmser’s 1999 book Tyranny’s Ally published by AEI and endorsed by Richard Perle et al.

At a time when Israel and the Likudnik neoconservatives were divided as to which regional rival needed confronting first — Iran or Iraq — Wurmser came up with a conceptual breakthrough which would neutralize both with a single stroke. In the place of the US strategy of ‘dual containment’ (developed by Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk), Wurmser proposed a strategy of ‘dual rollback’. By invading Iraq, encouraging sectarian segregation, and empowering the Shia, the United States could eliminate Iraq as a major threat while at the same time exploiting the Iraq-Iranian doctrinal schism over Khomeini’s concept of wilayat-e-faqih to rollback the Iranian revolution. Iraq and its present Grand Ayatullah command higher authority among Shias, he noted, and unlike the Iranian clergy, they don’t subscribe to wilayat-e-faqih. An assertive Iraqi Shia populace would therefore displace Iran as a center of the Shia world, its example would also spur the Saudi Shia to agitate against the central government.

So it was that in 2002 the neoconservatives leveraged their privileged access to Cheney and Rumsfeld to defeat the sceptics in the foreign policy establishment, the military joint chiefs of staff, and the intelligence agencies. They waged a war that has destroyed over a million Iraqi lives, dispalced nearly 5 million, and impoverished the world by burning up nearly six trillion dollars (half of those costs will be born by the US alone).But if you thought these agents of a foreign power would be laying low lest they draw more attention to themselves, you’d be disappointed. Deja vu: the neoconservatives now want the United States to wage another war for Israel. The cast is familiar, so is the script. The only question is how long the audience will put up with the charade. The US military has repeatedly put its foot down: it doesn’t want to fight another war for Israel. US businesses are even more sceptical. Even Obama is not listening. But the danger, as Zbigniew Brzezinski had warned, is that Israel could stage an event to force American hand and embroil it in a war that it does not want. So, where are the antiwar voices, and when will they call the Israel lobby on its treacherous machinations?

The following article by investigative journalist Gareth Porter is a must read. (Also see my 2007 article on the campaign against Iran)

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BREAKING: Israeli eyewitness account of settler criminal acts

Amanda Klonsky has informed PULSE that Yonatan Shapira has sent the following account of events unfolding at the Kirresh family home in the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem. Settlers from the fanatical group Ateret Cohanim have taken over the home of a Palestinian family of more than 50 people. The Settlers are being protected by Israeli police, who guard the door while the Kirresh family sits outside in the street with no protection.

It is close to midnight and I am standing outside on a narrow street in the Muslim Quarter, very close to Herod’s Gate. We are standing in front of a very big house on As-Sadyya Street. The Kirresh family has lived in this house for seventy-four years. Close to fifty people live in the apartments inside this two or three story house.

Last night the Kirresh family went to a cousin’s wedding in East Jerusalem. They came back from the wedding and found out that Settlers from Ateret Cohanim had come with the police and taken over their house. About thirty young male Settlers are in the house, and it is completely occupied by them, except for one apartment that is still being held by the one family member who just didn’t go to the wedding. That family member is still inside the house, in his room! The Settlers are in the other rooms– it’s a big house, maybe two or three floors, and they are just walking around inside, sitting around and singing, as if all these Palestinian people were not outside looking at them.

The whole atmosphere is like theater- it’s a beautiful street, the houses are built of stone, it’s so old and majestic. And the police are guarding the door, making sure that the Settlers can continue to stay in the house. Standing close to the door, I overheard the conversation between a police officer and Settler inside the house. I heard the police officer saying to one of the Settlers, ‘We are on your side, we are here to protect you.’

Aside from the Kirresh family, a few members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and Israeli BDS activists joined in standing witness outside the house. People are sitting on chairs, leaning on the walls out in the street.  A child is sleeping under a blanket here next to me, and there are women and babies. They are all waiting for a court decision. Basically, the Settlers came and literally stole the house, and now the place is being guarded by the police so the residents of the house cannot go in.

On Friday morning, we intend to return with many more activists, to support the Kirresh family in regaining their home.

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Ethnic cleansing in the Negev

As previously flagged, you can now witness the vile Israeli act of ethnic cleansing of the village of Al Araqib, a Bedouin village of 300 that predates the zionist entity. Despite the fact that their case was still pending in court, 1500 menacing Israeli police arrived at 4:30 in the morning with bulldozers, water canons and tear gas to destroy the village’s 40 dwellings, gardens and olive groves on July 27th. Though Bedouins are technically Israeli citizens, thousands are deemed to live in unrecognised villages so the zionist entity gets out of being legally responsible for their welfare. And, as Ben White points out, on the same day an entire Bedouin village was destroyed, the following story appeared in Ha’aretz: “the government will be providing housing assistance for army officers who move to the Negev desert region, as army bases relocate from central Israel. Assistance will take the form of a two-year rent subsidy or a discount on buying land to build a home.” Neve Gordon’s account is over the fold.

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DAM: between bombs and beats

by Ben Schiller

We are living in Palestine. Our history, our culture, our everything is Palestinian. — Mahmoud Jreri of DAM

Photo: Marilyn Donahue

“I see myself as a fisherman,” says Suhell Nafar, a member of DAM, the leading Palestinian hip-hop group. “Today, I fished a few fish who didn’t know anything and now know a little thing. Maybe now when they see the TV news, they will think differently about it. Maybe they will go on the Internet and learn about it.”

Suhell was speaking at last weekend’s WOMAD music festival, minutes after DAM had given a passionate performance in front of a big crowd. “There were thousands of people at the concert screaming ‘Free Palestine’. Most of them have never heard about Palestine, and now they know something.”

Hip-hop has been one of the Palestinians’ most effective communication vehicles in recent years. While conventional messages are often drowned out, groups like DAM have been able to reach several new audiences at home and abroad, including the young. The group is not only popular among Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza, but also in their native Israel, where they have a following among some Jewish-Israelis. Since forming in 1999, they’ve toured several times in Europe and the US, appeared in the Sundance-nominated film Slingshot Hip-Hop, and received exposure in US and European media, including on CNN and in Time.

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Palestine Reading – FiveBooks Interview

Five Books is a website which asks writers, academics and othersuch to list recommended books on a given topic. The Five Books Israel-Palestine week features interviews with interesting figures like Steve Walt. And me. Here’s a video interview of me making several of my favourite points:

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Julian Assange press conference on Afghan war logs

Vodpod videos no longer available.

On 27 July 2010, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks spoke at the Frontline Club about the impact of the documents that were released in partnership with The Guardian, the New York Times and German paper Der Spiegel which chronicle in minute detail US military operations between 2004 and late 2009. He also gave a practical demonstration of how journalists and citizens can make use of the vast amount of data available online.

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Israel destroys a whole Negev Bedouin village


Audio of Interview with Dr. Yeela Ranaan live at the scene of the demolished village:

This alert is from JVP’s Only Democracy? blog (h/t Alfred G.)

Alert: Thousands of police evacuating and demolishing the village of El-Araqib in the Negev

Thousands of police are in the village of el-Araqib right now – beginning a mass evacuation, demolition, and erasure of this historical Bedouin village. if you have access to the media, please send them to this village as soon as possible! the village of el-Araqib is between Rahat and Beer Sheva, and in a location that the Goldberg commission deemed outside of the areas allowed for the Negev Arabs… an area designated only for Jews… the JNF (Jewish National Fund) is planting a forest on this village lands – to make sure that the Bedouin cannot live on their village lands or use them for agriculture. the villagers turned to the israeli courts, as the JNF were planting this forest at the bequest of the Israeli government, but against Israeli law… the people of el-Araqib won the court battle… but this morning it seems that the Government of Israel has started a war — of the Government against its own citizens. for more information:

Dr. Yeela Raanan, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RCUV). +972 54 7487005

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The Saga of Abdul Halim

We recently posted the introduction to photojournalist William Parry’s new book Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine, as well as a selection of images. Below please find one final excerpt from the book, detailing the struggle of a Palestinian man named Abdul Halim whose home in Nazlit Issa in the northwestern West Bank was commandeered as a base for the Israeli army while his territorial holdings were truncated by the West Bank Wall. Following the excerpt are 9 images of Abdul Halim, his home and village, and the Wall.

All photographs by William Parry.

(Click here to view an interview with Parry on Rattansi & Ridley.)


If you were Abdul Halim, with a wife and children dependent on you, what would you do? You’re building a large, new home for the family – your sons are nearing that age when they will marry and they will share the house and start their own families. As the house nears completion, Israeli soldiers recognise its strategic position and decide they’ll position themselves on the rooftop – and there they set up base. The commander, his soldiers and their guns say: ‘We’re going to use your rooftop whether you like it or not.’ They station themselves there for 18 months and completion of the house is postponed as it’s now effectively a military structure, replete with bullet-proof glass. Things then get even worse: the house abuts the Green Line and you receive notice that the building you have nearly completed is going to be demolished to make way for the Wall. However, the Israeli military intervenes, telling the Israeli Civil Administration folk: ‘Don’t demolish it, we’re using it.’ Civil Administration agrees to freeze the demolition order – and it remains frozen to this day.

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The Wikileaks Afghanistan War Logs

In one of the biggest leaks in US military history, 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the war in Afghanistan obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel. The files reveal hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops, ‘friendly fire’ deaths and shadowy special forces, painting, as the Guardian puts it, “a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan”.

Over the fold: Julian Assange on the war logs and war log links.

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