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Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

BURUNDI: VP’s resignation eases political deadlock

The resignation of First Deputy President Martin Nduwimana should help break a crippling political impasse and expedite peace talks in Burundi, according to an opposition leader. Nduwimana resigned on 7 November, saying he wanted to give the country’s institutions a chance to resume work. “I handed my resignation to the head of state who accepted it,” Nduwimana said. “I don’t want to be an obstacle to peace.” Burundi is struggling to recover from the devastation of a civil war that broke out (...) read

date of on-line publication : 16 November 2007

Alternative Information Center (AIC)

Israel launches a new peace initiative

Muhamad Dahlan’s failed military takeover in June put an end to seven years of Israeli unilateralism in the region. This resulted in the creation of two Palestinian governments, one headed by Hamas and one by Fatah, both claiming legitimacy, and an agreement from the Fatah militias in the West Bank to disarm. With this as the present context, the peace process was back on the local and international agendas. At the moment, there are two propositions on the peace negotiations table. The Arab (...) read

date of on-line publication : 30 July 2007


The Livni-Rice Plan: Towards a Just Peace or Apartheid

> International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC

For years I have been one of the doomsayers, arguing that the two-state solution is dead and that apartheid has become the only realistic political outcome of the Israel-Palestine conflict- at least until a full-blown anti-apartheid struggle arises that fundamentally changes the equation. I based my assessment on several seemingly incontrovertible realities. Over the past 40 years, Israel has laid a thick and irreversible Matrix of Control over the Occupied Territories, including some 300 (...) read

date of on-line publication : 9 May 2007

Human rights in Syria : Pelosi’s silence

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Damascus this week caused quite a stir. Before she even landed in Syria, the White House was calling her decision a « really bad idea ». Pelosi’s spokesman was quick to defend the visit by saying that the speaker intended to use her trip « to discuss a wide range of security issues affecting the United States and the Middle East ». No one doubts that security is essential in the region. But Pelosi appears to have committed the same mistake as other (...) read

date of on-line publication : 6 April 2007

Conference on non-violent popular joint struggle in Bil’in - April 18-20th, 2007

You are invited to participate in the Second Annual Conference in Bil’in, Palestine 18 - 20 April 2007 February 2007 marks the second anniversary of the weekly non-violent protests in opposition to the « work-site of shame » for the Apartheid Wall that has annexed almost 60% of the land of Bil’in village in the West Bank. Bil’in has become a symbol both of the theft of land across Palestine and of the power of non-violent grassroots movements in building local and international resistance to (...) read

date of on-line publication : 3 April 2007

KHATIB Ghassan

Middle East crises : inextricable from each other

> Bitterlemons international, December 14, 2006, Edition 46, Volume 4

The double standard that has resulted from the US compromising international legality because of its relations with Israel is a major cause of the regional hostility toward America. To understand the different conflicts in the Middle East, it is important to understand their growing interrelation. This interrelation is growing to an extent that it is becoming nearly impossible to understand one conflict in isolation. Similarly, solving one requires dealing with the others. More and more (...) read

date of on-line publication : 20 December 2006

NASSAR Ibrahim

Palestinian National Unity Government : does it bring solutions?

> Alternatives International, october 2006, number 6 (...)

Following its unexpected victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections, Hamas found itself facing major political, social and economic obligations. The initial post-election-shock caused many to be thrown off balance, leading to a reaction that was not carefully considered.
This has resulted in confusion, unrealistic expectations and illusions, and has produced political paralysis and chaos. Its end result has been a social and political crisis, bringing the Palestinian situation to the brink of explosion.
Amazed with its electoral success, Hamas raised its expectations, believing it was given an absolute mandate to make political, social and historic reforms on the Palestinian scene. Moreover, Hamas believed the success guaranteed it complete control over the Palestinian agenda and the legitimacy to override anything that contradicted its own vision. This conviction was reflected in Hamas’ position towards the PLO and its insistence that the PLO should be reshuffled to match the electoral outcomes in the West Bank and Gaza.
Hamas did not realize that its victory was not an absolute mandate, but instead reflected the frustration and desperation of the Palestinian people as well as their search for solutions. Therefore, whether it recognizes it or not, Hamas’ legitimacy following its victory is based on its ability to manage its political, economic and social obligations. A failure to meet these obligations would delegitimize their continued rule.
The existing circumstances require the ability to maneuver, to overcome difficulties and tensions, and to avoid an all-out confrontation.Disregard for the complicated Palestinian and international dynamics, and the challenges of the struggle in Palestine, is akin to leaping into an abyss of ideological rhetoric over substance-in the end there are political, social and economic questions that must be dealt with.
Hamas needed the experience of the past months to transcend the euphoria of its electoral success and to admit that it is not able to face the obligations of the Palestinian situation alone. It reached the conclusion that a national unity government would guarantee a way out of the crisis. Moreover, it has now been able to discern that it must lower its expectations, allow interaction with other political forces and enter into compromises.
To read the article and the issue (pdf), click here  read

date of on-line publication : 14 November 2006

CRAY Charlie

The 10 Most Brazen War Profiteers (...)

The history of American war profiteering is rife with egregious examples of incompetence, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, bribery and misconduct. As war historian Stuart Brandes has suggested, each new war is infected with new forms of war profiteering. Iraq is no exception. From criminal mismanagement of Iraq’s oil revenues to armed private security contractors operating with virtual impunity, this war has created opportunities for an appalling amount of corruption. What follows is a list of some of the worst Iraq war profiteers who have bilked American taxpayers and undermined the military’s mission.
In early 2005 CIA officials told the Washington Post that at least 50 percent of its estimated $40 billion budget for that year would go to private contractors, an astonishing figure that suggests that concerns raised about outsourcing intelligence have barely registered at the policymaking levels.
In 2004 the Orlando Sentinel reported on a case that illustrates what can go wrong: Titan employee Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, an Egyptian translator, was arrested for possessing classified information from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Critics say that the abuses at Abu Ghraib are another example of how the lines can get blurred when contractors are involved in intelligence work. CACI provided a total of 36 interrogators in Iraq, including up to 10 at Abu Ghraib at any one time, according to the company. Although neither CACI, Titan or their employees have yet been charged with a crime, a leaked Army investigation implicated CACI employee Stephen Stefanowicz in the abuse of prisoners.  read

date of on-line publication : 25 September 2006


The future of Israel at stake (...)

The following article was written 30 July at 6.00 a.m., an hour before the announcement of the tragic news of the Qana massacre on Israeli radio. Unfortunately, the massacre was already visible in the content of my writing even before hearing the terrible news:
“In these wars, lives of civilians are not only of very limited value, like in any other war, but considered as a legitimate target, guilty of supporting terrorism, actively or passively, a terrorism which is, in fact, part of their very culture. In ten years, we witnessed a gradual evolution of the dominant discourse: from terrorist groups, to terrorist states, to terrorist peoples...”
Nothing is missing from the original text except a deep feeling of failure, an immense rage and a renewed commitment to take to the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to denounce Israeli barbarism, from within the belly of the beast.  read

date of on-line publication : 1 August 2006

Questions and Answers on Hostilities Between Israel and Hezbollah

> Human Rights Watch (...)

On July 12, Hezbollah launched an attack on Israeli positions on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two. In response, Israel launched air and artillery attacks against targets throughout Lebanon, including Beirut’s international airport, bridges and highways, and Hezbollah offices. It also instituted an air, sea, and land blockade. According to media reports at the time of writing, Israeli attacks have killed at least 110 civilians and wounded more than 235 in Lebanon. Hezbollah forces have launched more than 800 rockets across the border into northern Israel, as far south as Tiberias (35km/22 miles south of the border), killing 12 civilians and injuring more than 100. The following questions and answers set out some of the legal rules governing the various actions taken by Israel and Hezbollah to date in this recent conflict. Human Rights Watch sets out these rules before it has been able to conduct extensive on-the-ground investigation. The purpose is to provide analytic guidance for those who are examining the fighting as well as for the parties to the conflict and those with the capacity to influence them.
This Q & A addresses only the rules of international humanitarian law, known as jus in bello, which govern the way each party to the armed conflict must conduct itself in the course of the hostilities. It does not address whether Hezbollah was justified in attacking Israel, whether Israel was justified in attacking Lebanon for the conduct of Hezbollah, or other matters concerning the legitimacy of resorting to war. In accordance with its institutional mandate, Human Rights Watch maintains a position of strict neutrality on these issues of jus ad bellum because we find it the best way to promote our primary goal of encouraging both sides in the course of the conflict to respect international humanitarian law.  read

date of on-line publication : 17 July 2006

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