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28 avril 2009 2 28 /04 /avril /2009 12:21

What Israel's Arab neighbors grasp that the Obama administration won't

By Caroline B. Glick

NOT Photoshop-ped. Taken at Palestinian Authority, Ramallah, July 23, 2008
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is a strange situation when Egypt and Jordan feel it necessary to defend Israel against American criticism. But this is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that Arab support for Israel's bid to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on its agreeing to support the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state. In her words, "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts." As far as Clinton is concerned, the two, "go hand-in-hand."

But just around the time that Clinton was making this statement, Jordan's King Abdullah II was telling The Washington Post that he is satisfied with the Netanyahu government's position on the Palestinians. In his words, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has "sent a message that he's committed to peace with the Arabs. All the words I heard were the right words."

As for Egypt, in spite of the media's hysteria that Egypt won't deal with the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration's warning that Israel can only expect Egypt to support its position that Iran must be denied nuclear weapons if it gives Jerusalem to the PLO, last week's visit by Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman clearly demonstrated that Egypt wishes to work with the government on a whole host of issues. Coming as it did on the heels of Egypt's revelation that Iranian-controlled Hizbullah agents were arrested for planning strategic attacks against it, Suleiman's visit was a clear sign that Egypt is as keen as Israel to neutralize Iranian power in the region by preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

And Egypt and Jordan are not alone in supporting Israel's commitment to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. American and other Western sources who have visited the Persian Gulf in recent months report that leaders of the Gulf states from Bahrain - which Iran refers to as its 14th province - to Saudi Arabia to Kuwait and, of course, to Iraq - are praying for Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities and only complain that it has waited so long to attack them.

As one American who recently met with Persian Gulf leaders explained last week, "As far as the Gulf leaders are concerned, Israel cannot attack Iran fast enough. They understand what the stakes are."

UNFORTUNATELY, THE nature of those stakes has clearly eluded the Obama administration. As the Arabs line up behind Israel, the Obama administration is operating under the delusion that the Iranians will be convinced to give up their nuclear program if Israel destroys its communities in Judea and Samaria.

According to reports published last week in Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz, President Barack Obama's in-house post-Zionist, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, told an American Jewish leader that for Israel to receive the administration's support for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it must not only say that it supports establishing a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza, it must begin expelling its citizens from their homes and communities in Judea and Samaria to prove its good faith.

With just months separating Iran from either joining the nuclear club or from being barred entry to the clubhouse, the Obama administration's apparent obsession with Judea and Samaria tells us that unlike Israel and the Arab world, its Middle East policies are based on a willful denial of reality.

The cold hard facts are that the Middle East will be a very different place if Iran becomes a nuclear power. Today American policy-makers and other opponents of using military force to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons compare the current situation to what the region could look like in the aftermath of an Israeli campaign against Iran's nuclear installations. They warn that Hizbullah and Hamas may launch massive retaliatory missile attacks against Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other states, and that US military personnel and installations in the region will likely be similarly attacked by Iranian and Syrian proxies.

Indeed, proponents and opponents of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations alike warn that Iran's deployment of terror proxies from Beirut to Bolivia, from Managua to Marseilles, and from Gaza to Giza means that things could get very ugly worldwide in the aftermath of an Israeli attack.

But all of that ugliness, all of that instability and death will look like a walk in the park compared to how the region - and indeed how the world - will look if Iran becomes a nuclear power. This is something that the Arabs understand. And this is why they support and pray for an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations.

IF IRAN acquires nuclear weapons, the Obama administration can throw its hopes for Middle East peace out the window. Today, even without nuclear weapons, Iran is the major force behind the continued Palestinian war against Israel. Iran exerts complete control over Hamas and Islamic Jihad and partial control over Fatah.

In and of itself, Iran's current control over Palestinian terror groups suffices to expose the Obama administration's plan to force Israel to destroy its communities in Judea and Samaria as misguided in the extreme. With Iran calling the shots for the Palestinians, it is clear that any land Israel vacates will fall under Iranian control. That is, every concession the US forces Israel to make will redound directly to Iran's benefit. This is why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's claim that it will be impossible to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians without first neutralizing Iran rings so true.

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the situation will become even more destructive. A nuclear-armed Iran means that any chance of marginalizing these Iranian-controlled forces in Palestinian society will disappear. For Israel, the best case scenario in the age of a nuclear-armed mullocracy would involve continuous war with Iranian proxies - sort of expanded versions of the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead - in which it has little option for victory because the terror armies would fight under Iran's nuclear umbrella.

Regionally, a nuclear-armed Iran would in short order compel both Egypt and Jordan to abrogate their peace treaties with Israel. The exposure of the Iranian sabotage ring in Egypt last week makes clear that Iran seeks to either overthrow or dominate the Arab world with its nuclear arsenal. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, roundups of Iranian agents like the one in Egypt will be inconceivable. Iranian agents will be given free reign both regionally and worldwide.

For Israel, the abrogation of its peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan would raise the danger of regional war to an all-time high. Goaded by Iran, and operating with Iran's US- and Turkish-armed Lebanese proxy and Teheran's Syrian slave, Egypt and Jordan may well be made to decide that the time has come to invade Israel again.

These scenarios, of course, are likely because they compare favorably to the worst case scenarios in which a nuclear-armed Iran decides to simply detonate its nuclear bombs over Israel, either in the form of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or in the form of a direct nuclear strike. An EMP attack would not immediately kill anyone, but would destroy the country's electricity grid and permanently paralyze its military and civilian infrastructures, rendering the population defenseless not merely from its neighbors, but from disease and starvation. If successful, a direct nuclear strike would likely kill between 50,000 and several million Israelis, depending on how many warheads reached their targets.

GLOBALLY OF COURSE, a nuclear-armed Iran would be well positioned to take over the world's oil markets. With Saudi Arabia's main oil installations located in the predominantly Shi'ite eastern provinces, it would be able to credibly threaten to destroy Saudi oil installations and so assert control over them. With Iran's strategic alliance with Venezuela, once it controls Saudi oil fields, it hard to see how it would not become the undisputed ruler of the oil economy.

Certainly Europe would put up no resistance. Today, with much of Europe already within range of Iran's ballistic missiles, with Iranian-controlled terror cells fanned out throughout the continent and with Europe dependent on Persian Gulf oil, there is little doubt of the direction its foreign policy would take in the event that Iran becomes a nuclear power. Obviously any thought of economic sanctions would disappear as European energy giants lined up to develop Iranian gas fields, and European banks clamored to finance the projects.

Finally, there is America. With Israel either barely surviving or destroyed, with the Arab world and Europe bowing before the mullahs, with much of Central and South America fully integrated into the Iranian axis, America would arguably find itself at greater risk of economic destruction and catastrophic attack than at any time in its history since the War of 1812. An EMP attack that could potentially send the US back to the pre-industrial age would become a real possibility. An Iranian controlled oil economy, financed by euros, would threaten to displace the dollar and the US economy as the backbone of the global economy. The US's military options - particularly given Obama's stated intention to all but end US missile defense programs and scrap much of its already aging nuclear arsenal - would be more apparent than real.

Yet what Clinton's statements before Congress, Emmanuel's statements to that American Jewish leader and Obama's unremitting pandering to Teheran and its Syrian and Turkish allies all make clear is that none of these reasonable scenarios has made a dent in the administration's thinking. As far as the Obama White House is concerned, Iran will be talked out of its plans for regional and global domination the minute that Israel agrees to give its land to the Palestinians. The fact that no evidence exists that could possibly support this assertion is irrelevant.

On Sunday, Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland claimed that Obama will not publish his administration's policy on Iran until after he meets with Netanyahu at the White House on May 18. It will be during that meeting, Hoagland wrote, that Obama will seek to convince Netanyahu that there is no reason to attack Iran.

The fact that Obama could even raise such an argument, when by Israel's calculations Iran will either become a nuclear power or be denied nuclear weapons within the next 180 days, shows that his arguments are based on a denial of the danger a nuclear Iran poses to Israel and to global security as a whole.

It is true that you can't help but get a funny feeling when you see the Arabs defending Israel from American criticism. But with the Obama administration's Middle East policy firmly grounded in La La Land, what choice do they have? They understand that today all that stands between them and enslavement to the mullahs is the Israel Air Force and Binyamin Netanyahu's courage.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Comment by clicking here.

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27 avril 2009 1 27 /04 /avril /2009 21:32
Tony Blair speech to Chicago Council on Global Affairs


It is almost ten years to the day that I stood in this city and gave an address at the height of the Kosovo crisis. In that speech, I set out what I described as a doctrine of international community that sought to justify intervention, including if necessary military intervention, not only when a nation's interests are directly engaged; but also where there exists a humanitarian crisis or gross oppression of a civilian population.

It was a speech that argued strongly for an active and engaged foreign policy, not a reactive or isolationist one: better to intervene than to leave well alone. Be bold, adventurous even in what we can achieve.

Many, at the time, described the speech as hopelessly idealistic; dangerous even. And, probably, in the light of events since then, some would feel vindicated. As for me, I am older, better educated by the events that shaped my premiership, but I still believe that those who oppress and brutalise their citizens are better put out of power than kept in it.

However, it is undeniable that in the years that have passed, circumstances have changed radically. When I was here in 1999, Kosovo was the issue of the day, the ethnic cleansing of a civilian population, Muslims as it happened, by the Milosevic regime in Serbia. Subsequently, I authorised military action, by British forces in Sierra Leone, where a group of gangsters - portrayed in the film 'Blood Diamond' - were trying to overthrow a democratically elected Government. The gangsters were stopped, the Government saved and in late 2007, the people of Sierra Leone changed ruling party by the ballot box, and without bloodshed.

But then came Afghanistan and afterwards Iraq. Up to 11th September 2001, the military interventions, undertaken with such a humanitarian purpose, had been relatively self-contained, short in duration and plainly successful. Even after then, the removal of the Taliban Government occurred in three months. And though, of course, the reasons for that intervention were obviously justifiable by reference to a traditional view of national interest, since the Afghan regime had allowed Al Qaida to operate training camps; the nature of the regime - its cruelty, its suppression of women, its use of the drug trade - hugely contributed to the public support for its removal.

When Saddam was ousted in 2003, even those who disagreed with the conflict could see and abhor the way he and his henchmen behaved in their barbaric treatment of their people.

However, as time has passed, so has the familiar certainty that our power would always triumph, that if the will was there, the means of intervention would be efficacious. Iraq, though measurably improved from two years ago, remains fragile; Afghanistan is proving to be a battle needing to be re-waged. Sustaining public support through so many years has proved difficult in respect of Iraq and even in respect of Afghanistan.

So: should we now revert to a more traditional foreign policy, less bold, more cautious; less idealistic, more pragmatic, more willing to tolerate the intolerable because of fear of the unpredictable consequences that intervention can bring?

My argument is that the case for the doctrine I advocated ten years ago, remains as strong now as it was then; and that what has really changed is the context in which the doctrine has to be applied. The struggle in which we are joined today is profound in its danger; requires engagement of a different and more comprehensive kind; and can only be won by the long haul. The context therefore is much tougher. But the principle is the same.

The struggle faced by the world, including the majority of Muslims, is posed by an extreme and misguided form of Islam. Our job is simple: it is to support and partner those Muslims who believe deeply in Islam but also who believe in peaceful co-existence, in taking on and defeating the extremists who don't. But it can't be done without our active and wholehearted participation.

It is one struggle with many dimensions and varied arenas. There is a link between the murders in Mumbai, the terror attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempts to destabilise countries like Yemen, and the training camps of insurgents in Somalia.

It is not one movement. There is no defined command and control. But there is a shared ideology. There are many links criss-crossing the map of Jihadist extremism. And there are elements in the leadership of a major country, namely Iran, that can support and succour its practitioners.

Engaging with Iran is entirely sensible. I fully agree with the Obama Administration in doing so. The Iranian Government should not be able to claim that we have refused the opportunity for constructive dialogue; and the stature and importance of such an ancient and extraordinary civilisation means that as a nation, Iran should command respect and be accorded its proper place in the world's affairs. I hope this engagement succeeds.

The purpose of such engagement should, however, be clear. It is to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability; but it is more than that, it is to put a stop to the Iranian regime's policy of de-stabilisation and support of terrorism. The purpose of the engagement, as the President and Secretary of State have rightly emphasised, is not to mix the messages; but to make them indisputably clear.

Unfortunately, though, it would be rash to believe that resolving our differences with Iran's current regime, would resolve this struggle. It would, of course, be a major advance, some might argue a definitive one. But, in truth, the roots of this extremism go deep and far broader than those initiated by the Tehran revolution of 1979.

Examine, for a moment, where things stand. The future of Pakistan is critical, but uncertain. Were it to go badly wrong, the consequences would be drastic. In Lebanon, there is calm but no one doubts now the political and military might of Hezbollah. In Palestine, whatever criticism can be made of Israel, the fact remains that terrorist attacks are still aimed directly at innocent civilians who live in what is undeniably the state of Israel; and such attacks hugely impair the chance of peace on the basis of two states. And there is continuing terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These examples are well known. But how many know that in the Mindanao insurgency in the Philippines, over 150,000 have died; in Algeria, tens of thousands have perished ; and as we speak, across a wide part of the northern half of Africa, previously good relations between Muslims and Christians have been sundered, and communities set against each other.

Of course, each arena of conflict has its own particular characteristics, its own origins in political or territorial disputes, its own claims and counter-claims of injustice. Of course the solution in each case will be in many respects different. But it is time to wrench ourselves out of a state of denial. There is one major factor in common. In each conflict there are those deeply engaged in it, who argue that they are fighting in the true name of Islam.

And here is the crucial point. This didn't start on 11th September 2001, or shortly before it. The roots aren't near the surface. It was in the 1970s that Pakistan's leadership decided to re-define itself through religious conviction. The storming of the Holy Mosque in Mecca took place years ago. Al Qaida began in earnest in the 1980s. In many Arab and Muslim nations, there was more tolerance and less religiosity in the 1960s, than today. The doctrinal roots of this growing movement can be traced even further back to the period in the late 19th and early 20th century where modernising and moderate clerics and thinkers were slowly but surely pushed aside by the hard-line dogma of those, whose cultural and theological credentials were often dubious, but whose appeal lay in the simplicity of the message : Islam, they say, lost its way; the reason was its departure from the true faith as stated immutably in the 7th century ; and the answer is to return to it and in doing so, vanquish Islam's foes, in the West and most especially within the ruling parties of the Islamic world itself.

The tragedy of this is that the authentic basis of Islam, as laid down in the Qur'an, is progressive, humanitarian, sees knowledge and scientific advance as a duty, which is why for centuries Islam was the fount of so much invention and innovation. Fundamental Islam is actually the opposite of what the extremists preach.

But, in recent times, as the West and nations such as China developed and opened up under the impulse of a steady, post Second World War globalisation, so these extreme elements have presented themselves in reaction to it, railing against the modern world, its evils, its decadence, its hedonistic secularism.

In terrorism, they have found a powerful, hideous and, in one sense, very modern weapon. It kills the innocent; but it does much more than that. It creates chaos in a world which increasingly works through confidence and stability.

And they have succeeded in one other sphere. They have successfully inculcated a sense of victimhood in the Islamic world, that stretches far beyond the extremes. So powerful has this become that it has severely warped the debate even in many parts of the non-Islamic world, where frequently commentators, while naturally condemning the terrorism, nevertheless imply that, to an extent, the West's foreign policy has helped 'cause' it.

President Obama's reaching out to the Muslim world at the start of a new American administration, is welcome, smart, and can play a big part in defeating the threat we face. It disarms those who want to say we made these enemies, that if we had been less confrontational they would have been different. It pulls potential moderates away from extremism.

But it will expose, too, the delusion of believing that there is any alternative to waging this struggle to its conclusion. The ideology we are fighting is not based on justice. That is a cause we can understand. And world-wide these groups are adept, certainly, at using causes that indeed are about justice, like Palestine. Their cause, at its core, however, is not about the pursuit of values that we can relate to; but in pursuit of values that directly contradict our way of life. They don't believe in democracy, equality or freedom. They will espouse, tactically, any of these values if necessary. But at heart what they want is a society and state run on their view of Islam. They are not pluralists. They are the antithesis of pluralism. And they don't think that only their own community or state should be like that. They think the world should be governed like that.

In other words, there may well be groups, or even Governments, that can be treated with, and with whom we can reach an accommodation. Negotiation and persuasion can work and should be our first resort. If they do, that's great, which is why if Hamas were to accept the principle of a peaceful two state solution, they could be part of the process agreeing it. But the ideology, as a movement within Islam, has to be defeated. It is incompatible not with 'the West' but with any society of open and tolerant people and that in particular means the many open and tolerant Muslims.

The difference, now, in the nature of any intervention, however is this. Back in April 1999, I thought that removal of a despotic regime was almost sufficient in itself to create the conditions for progress. But this battle cannot so easily be won. Because it is based on an ideology and because its roots are deep, so our strategy for victory has to be broader, more comprehensive but also more sharply defined. It is important to recognise that it is not going to be won except over a prolonged period. In this sense, it is more akin to fighting revolutionary Communism than a discrete campaign such as the one which changed the Balkans a decade ago.

So I understand completely the fatigue with an interventionist foreign policy - especially when it involves military action that takes its toll on the nation's psyche, when we see those who grieve for the fallen in battle. The struggle seems so vast, so complex, so full of layers and intersections that daunt us, that they make us unsure where we start, how we proceed and where and how on earth we end.

'Look there are people in this world who are crazy,' a friend said to me the other day, 'leave them to be crazy.' Except the problem is that they won't leave us in the comfort of our lives. That's not the way the world works today. The Holy Land, that from Tel Aviv to the River Jordan, could fit within a small US state, is many, many thousands of miles from here. But, whether there is peace there or not, will affect our peace.

So: How to win? In summary, I would identify six elements to a successful strategy.

First, we have to understand we have not caused this phenomenon but what we do now can help beat it. You can debate, in respect of Iraq or Afghanistan, whether by removing the dictatorships, we provided the terrain for terrorist organisations to work in ; or the alternative view, which is that by fighting them there, we damage their capacity world-wide by focusing the battle. Whichever view is taken, there is no conceivable justification for the ghastly and wicked use of terror to kill and maim innocent people, the bulk of whom are of course Muslims. And there are ample alternatives to violence in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the democratic process; in Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere, in diplomacy and peaceful political change. Terror is the enemy of progress. The responsibility for terrorism lies with the terrorist and no-one else.

This has to be proclaimed vigorously by us; but also upheld and shouted from the rooftops from within Islam itself.

Secondly, there is some good news. Ultimately, this battle can only be won within Islam itself and the fact is, across Islam today, we have allies. The most powerful are the ordinary people themselves. Yes, the voice of extremists may be louder. They are better organised. But they don't represent true Islam or true Muslims. We need to support these allies. We need to work with them to allow their voice to be heard and their authenticity to be established. In this regard, we should acknowledge that the world of Islam is not just the Middle East and its surrounds, but includes large parts of Asia, including Indonesia the largest predominantly Muslim country in the world.

Third, in supporting them, we have to escape the false choice between the use of hard or soft power. Only a combination of the two will work. One of the most damaging aspects of the politics of the past ten years has been the posing of the policy challenge as between a so-called 'neo-conservative' right who were held to promulgate a purely military solution; and a so-called 'liberal' left that preferred diplomacy. Most sensible people know that here - as, in fact, in many areas of twenty first century politics - such labels are unhelpful, counter-productive and distort the challenge. We have to fight where we are being fought against. We have to persuade where the battle is for hearts and minds.

Fourth, in the use of hard power, we have to understand one very simple thing: where we are called upon to fight, we have to do it. If we are defeated anywhere, we are at risk of being defeated everywhere. Fortunately, you can be incredibly proud of your Armed Forces here in the US, as we, the British, can be of ours. They have been in the frontline of this battle for eight long years now. They are still on it. They are brave and committed people, fighting the good fight in a cause that is right and they deserve and need our wholehearted commitment in return.

Fifth, in the deployment of soft power, we need to be likewise resolute and encompass all dimensions of the struggle. We have to be partners and helpers to the process of change and modernisation within Islam. We cannot do it. But we can support the doing of it by others. There is a perfectly intelligent view that 'imposing' democracy on Iraq and, to an extent, Afghanistan, was a mistake. It's not a view I share, obviously; but I fully respect it. However, I do not accept at all the view that democracy is unattainable or unaccepted in the Islamic world. On the contrary, eventually it is only by the embrace of greater democracy - albeit by evolution - that this battle will be won. It will be hard to accomplish. But it is the most dangerous thing imaginable, to force people to choose between an undemocratic elite with the right idea and a popular movement with the wrong one. Many of those drawn to the simplistic notion that 'Islam is the answer' are attracted because of the failure of countries to change, where change is urgently needed ; and in doing so, end up agitating for the wrong change, because we are not helping sensible change to occur.

So a soft power strategy should go broad and also go deep. This extremism has many political characteristics. But it is also cloaked in religion. You can't ignore that fact. So part of defeating it lies also in religion, lies in a consistent and clear critique of its religious error by religious leaders within Islam; and in the burgeoning initiative for dialogue, understanding and action between the different faiths of the world, of which my foundation, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, is a part. The more we reach out across the world of faith, the more common space the Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic faiths can inhabit, then the extremists and reactionaries within all faiths can be challenged.

And it needs to be organised. It needs to be at the centre of policy, properly resourced, properly serviced. It needs to go down into the education systems, ours as well as theirs, into collaboration between institutions of learning, into arts and culture. Foreign policy needs to be completely re-shaped around such a strategy.

And, of course, though I know I sound like the proverbial broken record on this, the Israel-Palestine question must be resolved. No-one should suggest this dispute has caused the extremism; but its resolution would immeasurably help its defeat. It isn't a side issue; it isn't a diversion. And it is resolvable. If we understand how much it matters, we will find the will and the way to do it. But it must be done.

Finally, we are required to do something that it seems rather odd to have to say. We have to re-discover some confidence and conviction in who we are, how far we've come and what we believe in. By the way, I think this even about the economic crisis. It is severe. It's going to be really, really hard. But we will get through it and not by abandoning the market or open economic system but by learning our lessons and adjusting the system in a way that makes it better. But on any basis, this system has delivered amazing leaps forward in prosperity for our citizens and we shouldn't, amongst the gloom, forget it.

The same is true for the security threat we face. We are standing up for what is right. The body of ideas that has given us this liberty, to speak and think as we wish, that allows us to vote in and vote out our rulers, that provides a rule of law on which we can rely, and a political space infinitely more transparent than anything that went before ; that body isn't decaying. It is in the prime of life. It is the future. And though the extremists that confront us have their new adherents, we have ours too, nations democratic for the first time, people tasting freedom and liking it.

And that is why we should not revert to the foreign policy of years gone by, of the world weary, the supposedly sensible practitioners of caution and expediency, who think they see the world for what it is, without the illusions of the idealist who sees what it could be.

We should remember what such expediency led us to, what such caution produced. Here is where I remain adamantly in the same spot, metaphorically as well as actually, of ten years ago, that evening in this city. The statesmanship that went before regarded politics as a Bismarck or Machiavelli regarded it. It's all a power play; a matter, not of right or wrong, but of who's on our side, and our side defined by our interests, not our values. The notion of humanitarian intervention was the meddling of the unwise, untutored and inexperienced.

But was it practical to let Pakistan develop as it did in the last thirty years, without asking what effect the madrassas would have on a generation educated in them? Or wise to employ the Taliban to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan? Or to ask Saddam to halt Iran? Was it really experienced statesmanship that let thousands upon thousands die in Bosnia before we intervened or turned our face from the genocide of Rwanda?

Or to form alliances with any regime, however bad, because they solve 'today' without asking whether they will imperil 'tomorrow'? This isn't statesmanship. It is just politics practiced for the most comfort and the least disturbance in the present moment.

I never thought such politics very sensible or practical. I think it even less so now. We live in the era of interdependence; the idea that if we let a problem fester, it will be contained within its boundaries no longer applies. That is why leaving Africa to the ravages of famine, conflict and disease is not just immoral but immature in its political understanding. Their problems will become ours.

And this struggle we face now cannot be defeated by staying out; but by sticking in, abiding by our values not retreating from them.

It is a cause that must be defeated by a better cause. That cause is one of open, tolerant, outward-looking societies in which people respect diversity and difference in which peaceful co-existence can flourish. It is a cause that has to be fought for; with hearts and minds as well as arms, of course. But fought for, nonetheless with the courage to see it through and the confidence that the cause is just, right and the only way the future of our world can work.


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27 avril 2009 1 27 /04 /avril /2009 21:17
Published April 2009


Vol. 8, No. 28    22 April 2009

The Russian Handicap to U.S. Iran Policy

Ariel Cohen

  • There are voices in the Obama Administration who believe that the Kremlin is able and willing to exert pressure on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, perceived geopolitical and economic benefits in the unstable Persian Gulf, in which American influence is on the wane, outweigh Russia's concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. The Kremlin sees Iran not as a threat but as a partner or an ad-hoc ally to challenge U.S. influence.
  • Today, both Russia and Iran favor a strategy of "multipolarity," both in the Middle East and worldwide. This strategy seeks to dilute American power, revise current international financial institutions, and weaken or neuter NATO and the OSCE, while forging a counterbalance to the Euro-Atlantic alliance.
  • Russian technological aid is evident throughout the Iranian missile and space programs. Russian scientists and expertise have played a direct and indirect role in these programs for years. According to some reports, Russian specialists are helping to develop the longer-range Shahab-5, and Russia has exported missile production facilities to Iran.
  • Moscow has signed a contract to sell advanced long-range S-300 air-defense systems to Iran. Once Iran has air defenses to repel Israeli or American air strikes and nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles, it will possess the capacity to destroy Israel (an openly stated goal of the regime) and strike targets throughout the Middle East, in Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. Beyond that, if and when an ICBM capability is achieved, Tehran will be able to threaten the U.S. homeland directly.
  • Given the substantial Russian interests and ambitions, any grand bargain would almost certainly require an excessively high price paid by the United States to the detriment of its friends and allies. Russia simply does not view the situation through the same lens as the U.S.


President Barack Obama hopes that Russia and Europe would assist U.S. efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program. However, having spent a week in Berlin in Spring 2009 talking to German officials,1 and having followed closely Russia's policy on Iran since the mid-1990s, including meetings with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev and other officials, it looks like Europe's and Russia's interests on Iran diverge too much from those of the U.S. to provide either meaningful carrots or weighty enough sticks. For example, a senior German Foreign Ministry official expressed a "hope" that Iran will not weaponize, while proposing weakening and narrowing the existing sanctions regime against Tehran, and warning not to bring the Iranian people closer to the leadership of the Islamic Republic.2

At this point, Obama Administration officials, Russian diplomats, and European policymakers and analysts suggest that Moscow's geopolitical and economic interests, German fear of confrontation - even through imposition of a robust sanctions regime, and American emphasis on multilateral diplomacy will fail to stop the Iranian drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

The Iranians are not sitting on their hands. Nor do they need a stockpile of highly enriched uranium for peaceful purposes. On March 1, 2009, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said Iran had stockpiled enough fissile material to build a nuclear bomb. This is the first such definitive commentary from a senior Pentagon official. A week later, Israel's military intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, told the Israeli Cabinet that Iran had crossed the technological threshold to producing a nuclear weapon. It may not be long, it seems, until Iran has the bomb.3 If it does, Russia will have a lot to account for, and so will the authors of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which denied that Iran is seeking to weaponize its nuclear program.

A nuclear-armed Iran would be a game changer and threat to the region, as Iran will likely utilize its nuclear arsenal to bully neighbors, deter other nuclear powers, and provide diplomatic cover for its terrorist proxies, such as Hamas and Hizbullah. Tehran is likely to foster its hegemony in the Persian Gulf and trigger a regional nuclear arms race, not to mention the existential threat to Israel, which should be an unacceptable outcome to U.S. interests, Europe, and countries in the region. But is it?


Russia to the Rescue? Not So Fast

In order to prevent this outcome, there are voices in the Obama Administration and in Europe, including in the expert community, who believe that the Kremlin is able and willing to exert pressure on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, as the high-level bipartisan commission jointly organized by the Nixon Center and Harvard University's Belfer Center and chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel recently suggested.4 The report calls for, among other things, making Russia a "partner in dealing with Iran." This may be a case of wishful thinking, as a close examination of Russia's relationship with Iran will reveal Moscow's interests and agenda, as well as expose its unhelpful and enabling behavior towards the Islamic Republic.

Some in Washington have interpreted recent Russian statements as signs that the Kremlin may be more willing to cooperate on Iran than in the past. According to President of the Nixon Center Dimitry Simes, in a recent closed-door meeting at the Kremlin, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev purportedly expressed "concern" and "alarm" in "very graphic language" over Iran's satellite launch. He stated that this launch represents how "far-reaching Iran's nuclear ambitions are."5 This statement may have been aimed in enticing the Obama Administration to offer concessions to the Kremlin in exchange for promises of Russia's engagement on Iran. Yet only a few days later, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov publicly stated, "We still believe that at this point in time there are no signs that this [Iranian nuclear - A.C.] program has switched to a military purpose."6 This public statement is in accordance with previous Russian leaders' public statements and assessments of Iran's nuclear and "civilian" space programs as peaceful.7

Russia is playing a sophisticated game of Star Trek's multidimensional chess. It combines a realpolitik recognition of Moscow's relative weakness vis-à-vis Washington with a desire to push America out of its desired zone of military and political predominance - the Persian Gulf. In the era of expensive oil, more tension at and around the planet's "gas station" drives up energy prices - a boon to energy export revenue-dependent Russia. And an arms race in the Gulf may benefit Russia's weapons exports. After all, Moscow sold weapons to both sides during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Perceived geopolitical and economic benefits in the unstable Persian Gulf, in which American influence is on the wane, outweigh Russia's concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. Why?


The Primakov Doctrine Revisited

Russia has excellent Iranian human intelligence sources which go back to the Soviet era. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani attended Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, and hundreds of Iranian engineers and scientists studied in Russian military, security, and engineering schools. Russian scientists work in the Iranian space and nuclear programs. Russia is fully aware - and profits from - the Iranian push to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons.

Yet past Russian actions, such as delaying and temporarily withholding delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran, postponing the transfer of sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft batteries to Iran, and providing limited support for weak sanctions regimes indicate that Russia is trying to have its cake and eat it too. It demonstrates responsiveness to the U.S. and, occasionally, even to Israeli pressures and entreaties, while inexorably enabling Iran to get its wishes. The analytical challenge in assessing Russia's willingness to cooperate with the West is to interpret Russia's actions versus its rhetoric and to place both in the context of Russia's perceived interests and its strong and multifaceted relationship with Iran.

Russia's ambitions in Iran go back to the czarist and Soviet eras, when in the eighteenth century the South Caucasus and the Caspian littoral - until then under Persian hegemony - came under the sway of St. Petersburg. The Soviets occupied northern Iran during World War II. Later, Russian intelligence predicted the victory of the Khomeini Revolution long before Washington realized the scope of the geopolitical disaster it faced after the abandonment of its ailing ally, the Shah. Moscow sold weapons to both Baghdad (its principal client) and to Tehran. Today, Russia's commercial interests in Iran span from billions in arms sales and the transfer of nuclear and space technology to lucrative oil and gas contracts for state-controlled Russian companies. These ties, and the potential of bilateral trade, are greater than its economic links with Israel.

The Kremlin sees Iran not as a threat but as a partner or an ad-hoc ally to challenge U.S. influence.8 It also sees Iran as a key platform to expand its regional and international influence. While the Iranian agenda is clearly separate from that of Russia, the Kremlin uses Iran as a geopolitical battering ram against the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf region and the Middle East. Therefore, Russian support for Iran's nuclear program and arms sales are not only economic and export issues, but reflect a geopolitical agenda which is at least twenty years old.

These efforts are part of a strategy aimed at creating a "multi-polar world," which came about as a reaction to the perceived decline of Soviet stature in the waning years of the Cold War, and was called by this author "the Primakov Doctrine." Named after Foreign Minister Evgeny Primakov, this doctrine was a response to the emergence of independent states in Eastern Europe and Eurasia and the enlargement of NATO. In early 1997, Primakov and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, issued a joint statement calling the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf "totally unacceptable."9

Today, both Russia and Iran favor a strategy of "multipolarity," both in the Middle East and worldwide. This strategy seeks to dilute American power, revise current international financial institutions which comprise the post-Bretton Woods world order, shift away from the dollar as a reserve currency, and weaken or neuter NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, while forging a counterbalance to the Euro-Atlantic alliance, with Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbullah, while hoping to attract China, India, and other states to this anti-U.S. coalition.10

Vladimir Putin has pursued his own version of this doctrine since his ascendancy. Signaling the importance of Iran, one of the first things Putin did when he came to power was to abrogate the secret 1999 Gore-Chernomyrdin Agreement. This accord was set to cut off Russia's arms supply to Iran after the then-current contracts were fulfilled.11 While Putin also hosted Iranian presidents in Moscow and visited Iran himself, these high level ties have not resulted in cancellation of the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programs.


Russia's Contribution to Iran's "Civilian" Space Program

On February 5, 2008, J. Michael McConnell, then Director of National Intelligence, presented his Annual Threat Assessment to the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence. The assessment stated that Iran is developing and deploying longer-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. However, the report failed to mention the involvement of Russia in this development.

Iran maintains that the test launches for its satellite program are of a civilian nature. However, Iran's space program is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards - the most trusted militarized security component of the regime, not unlike the Nazi SS and Stalin's NKVD.12 It is worth remembering that the Soviet secret services were in charge of its nuclear program under the leadership of Lavrentii Beria, Stalin's much-feared security chief. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an alumnus of the Revolutionary Guards, is publicly and visibly involved with the space launch program. The development of successful space programs has historically occurred in tandem with ICBM programs, and satellite-launch capability is quite similar to intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities.13

Russian technological aid is evident throughout the Iranian missile and space programs. Russian scientists and expertise have played a direct and indirect role in these programs for years. For instance, Iran's first satellite was built and launched in Russia. On February 5, 2008, Iran launched a ballistic missile described as a "space launch vehicle," or SLV. The rocket, called the Explorer-1, was launched from a new and secret space center in northern Iran. It is probable that this new missile was none other than the Shahab 4, which is likely based on technology transferred by Russia.14 This is likely the single-stage Soviet SS-4 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was deployed in Cuba during the Missile Crisis of 1962. Russia also used to have a space-launch version.

According to some reports, Russian specialists are helping to develop the longer-range Shahab-5, and Russia has exported missile production facilities and technical documents, as well as fuel, to Iran.15 Iran and North Korea are cooperating in developing missile technology, and Russia may be facilitating technology transfers between the two; for example, the Shahab-5 is based on the Taepodong-2 first developed by North Korea and now being employed by Iran with Russian help.16 The launch of the new North Korean space vehicle on April 4, 2009, should be a reason to examine how that model may further boost Iranian ballistic missile capabilities.


Iran's Race to Space

In March 2009, Iran launched its first indigenously produced satellite into orbit ahead of schedule using an Iranian-built rocket, the Safir-2 ("Ambassador"). The Safir-2 rocket is a two-stage rocket that, if reconfigured as a ballistic missile with a light warhead, could have a range of roughly 1,500 miles. This is sufficient to reach most parts of the greater Middle East. Iran has even more powerful rockets in its inventory such as the Shahab-3. The critical insight from this demonstration is that the launch of the Safir-2 represents a milestone for Iran in its quest to deliver larger payloads to longer distances.17 If a country can launch a missile that can place a satellite payload into orbit, then it may develop the ability to hit a target anywhere on Earth, given adequate warhead and command, control, and communications capabilities.

Another reason why Russia is so eager to assist Iran may have to do with Moscow's clearly-articulated assessment that the U.S. and NATO are a threat. This was an explanation for Moscow's opposition to the U.S. missile defense deployment in Europe.

If Iran achieves nuclear/ballistic missile capacity, it could further intimidate NATO countries currently hosting important U.S. bases in Europe. А refusal by NATO allies to provide aid to the United States in a future conflict could fracture the alliance's cohesion, an outcome that Moscow would welcome. Thus, Russia may be using Iran as an important chess piece - not only to threaten U.S. interests in the Gulf, but eventually to undermine the Trans-Atlantic alliance.

Finally, Tehran's development of longer-range ballistic missiles with the capacity to reach most of Europe might also deter NATO countries from allowing U.S. forces to use bases on their territory in a contingency to assist Israel, not unlike the Yom Kippur War scenario when only the Netherlands and Portugal allowed U.S. military cargo ships refueling on their territory, while the rest of Europe was intimidated by the threats of the Arab oil embargo.


Russia's Support for Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

Iran is also continuing with efforts to develop its uranium enrichment capability, ostensibly for civilian purposes but with the potential for making nuclear weapons. The light-water reactor and Bushehr nuclear power plant initiated by the German firm Siemens in the 1970s but completed by Russia are an essential part of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, which has received Russia's support since 1992. Russia provided the technical expertise, nuclear fuel, equipment, parts, and other components for this reactor.18

Russia and Iran completed the Bushehr plant on February 25, 2009, when the reactor was tested successfully. The actual launch of Bushehr will likely take place in Fall 2009. Russia and Iran have recently agreed to sign a ten-year nuclear fuel contract and to operate the reactor with the help of Russian experts.19 If operated "off the books," however, the complex will be capable of producing enough nuclear material for thirty atomic bombs a year.20

Iran currently returns spent uranium fuel to Russia, but it is feverishly developing its own uranium enrichment capability; this would give it the ability to process reactor fuel into weapons-grade material.21 This capability poses an acute danger to global non-proliferation efforts and to President Obama's stated priority to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The question is whether Russia shares these laudable goals.


Russia's Security Blanket over Iran

Russia is involved in providing Iran with a key component to enable it to achieve and deploy an offensive strategic capability and posture, making its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal invulnerable to outside attack. In March 2009, Russian state news agencies confirmed that Moscow signed a contract as early as 2007 to sell advanced long-range S-300 air-defense systems to Iran, and "the contract itself...is being gradually executed."22

The sale of the ostensibly defensive S-300 to Iran would be a game changer in the Middle East. This system, coupled with the Russian-made TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile system already deployed there, would offer Iran a shield against potential air strikes aimed at its nuclear program.23

Once Iran has air defenses to repel Israeli or American air strikes and nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles - and sources indicate that this may occur sooner rather than later - it will possess the capacity to destroy Israel (an openly stated goal of the regime) and strike targets throughout the Middle East, in Europe, and the Indian subcontinent.24 Beyond that, if and when an ICBM capability is achieved, Tehran will be able to threaten the U.S. homeland directly. The choice then will become starkly resembling the early Cold War: deter or pre-empt.

Russia pretends that it can manage these developments and that it can play a vital role in brokering an agreement. If it does, then Moscow, which helped create the problem, can then negotiate the solution. This is evident by the Russian statement which followed the revelation that Moscow had signed the 2007 contract with Iran to sell the S-300. An anonymous official claimed that "the further implementation of the contract depends in large part on the developing international situation and the decision of the country's leaders."25 In February 2009, when the U.S. Manas air force base was evicted from Kyrgyzstan after Russian pressure, Moscow then offered a re-supply route through its territory, enhancing its own sway over Central Asia and possibly pocketing some of the transit fees and payments for refueling and other services.26


Russian Bears Bearing Gifts

The Obama Administration should use extreme caution in negotiating Russian cooperation on Iran. Moscow's interests in Iran are commercial and geopolitical in nature, and until now mostly militated against substantial cooperation or any potential "grand bargain." This so-called bargain would involve the U.S. delaying or canceling plans for European-based U.S. missile defense and barring NATO's doors to Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia is demanding scaling back U.S. relations with Russia's "near-abroad" countries and overlooking its abysmal rule-of-law situation and its security services' human rights excesses - in exchange for Russian cooperation on preventing Iran from going nuclear. With the realpolitik school, including such octogenarians as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former President George H.W. Bush's National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and their acolytes, ascending in Washington, this looks like a plausible bargain - if Moscow delivers. And herein lies the rub.

In addition to nuclear and arms sales, the Kremlin has major plans with Tehran in the energy sector. The Kremlin is in the process of creating an OPEC-style gas cartel with Iran and other leading gas producers, to be headquartered in Moscow. By launching this cartel, Moscow hopes to enhance its energy superpower status.27 In addition to nuclear sales, Russia is also engaged in oil and gas "swap" deals with Iran that are accruing Russia influence in Tehran, in the Caspian Basin and the Persian Gulf.28 Moscow and Iran also are planning a massive energy and transportation corridor to connect the Indian Ocean, the Caspian, and Europe. The chances of Russia risking this ambitious agenda will depend on what the Obama Administration offers in exchange - and whether Moscow can pocket the concessions and continue its multi-faceted relationship with Tehran.



This is not the time for naïveté. Given the substantial Russian interests and ambitions, any grand bargain would almost certainly require an excessively high price paid by the United States to the detriment of its friends and allies.29 Russia simply does not view the situation through the same lens as the U.S. Moreover, Russia considers Iran as a partner and a de-facto ally in its plans to regain international influence. Russia has yet another powerful incentive not to ally itself with the Obama Administration's Iran policy and "deliver" Tehran: Iran's ascendancy in the Gulf and subsequent friction with the Sunni Arab world serves to boost oil prices and, thus, Moscow's balance sheet.

Russia blocked a set of UNSC sanctions against Iran after the Russia-Georgia war and has provided limited support to previous sanction rounds. Unless this changes, the United Nations as an international organization (including the Security Council), and a robust sanctions regime as a tool, are not going to work as an option for dealing with Iran because Russian (and possibly Chinese) intransigence and European caution are likely to block any such efforts.

The Iranian challenge to the Obama foreign policy agenda also underscores the need for an effective missile defense strategy for the Middle East and Europe, which will be vulnerable to Iranian ballistic missiles. The potential consequences of a nuclear strike on Europe or Israel justify having the insurance provided by a missile defense system.30 Beyond that, the U.S., Europe, and Israel need to consider military options if diplomacy, including sanctions, fails. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton said that "all options are on the table." They should not be swept under it.

To conclude, with Russia providing support for Iranian ambitions diplomatically, technologically, and militarily (to defend their missile and nuclear programs from attack), and the "grand bargain" price likely being too high, the U.S. is left with a difficult problem.

*     *     *



1. The author wants to thank the American Council on Germany, its President William Drozdiak and Vice President Stephen Sokol, for the invitation to the Spring 2009 Berlin Study Tour.

2. German Foreign Ministry briefing, April 2009.

3. Ariel Cohen, "Iran Now on the Brink of Making the Bomb," United Press International, March 20, 2009,


4. The Right Direction for U.S. Policy Towards Russia, March 2009, ttp://www.nixoncenter.org/RussiaReport09.pdf

5. Phillip P. Pan and Karen De Young, "Russia Signaling Interest in Deal on Iran, Analysts Say," Washington Post, March 17, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/17/AR2009031703033.html

6. "No Sign Iranian Nuclear Programme Has Military Intent: Russia," AFP, March 20, 2009, http://www.spacewar.com/2006/090320094343.v7054d9x.html

7. Stephen Blank, "Russia and Iran's Missiles," World Politics Review, February 9, 2009, http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articlePrint.aspx?ID=3269

8. Ibid.

9. Ariel Cohen and James Phillips, "Russia's Dangerous Missile Game in Iran," Heritage Foundation Executive Memorandum, November 13, 1997, http://www.heritage.org/Research/RussiaandEurasia/EM503.cfm

10. Ariel Cohen, "How the Obama Administration Should Engage Russia," Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on "Prospects for Engagement with Russia," March 19, 2009, http://www.heritage.org/research/russiaandeurasia/tst031909a.cfm

11. Mark N. Katz, "Russian-Iranian Relations in the Putin Era," Demokratizatsiya, Winter 2002, http://mars.gmu.edu:8080/dspace/bitstream/1920/ 3046/4/Russian-Iranian%20Relations%20in%20the%20Putin%20Era.pdf

12. Ariel Cohen, "Why Are the Revolutionary Guards Running Iran's ICBM program?" United Press International, September 30, 2008, http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2008/09/30/ Why_are_the_Revolutionary_Guards_running_Irans_ICBM_program/UPI-18751222786545

13. Martin Sieff, "North Korea's Satellite Claim Means ICBM Threat Is Real at Last," United Press International, February 24, 2009, http://www.upi.com/news/issueoftheday/2009/02/24/ North_Koreas_satellite_claim_means_ICBM_threat_is_real_at_last/UPI-13811235497413/print

14. Ariel Cohen, "Iran's Satellite Booster Likely to Have ICBM Capability," United Press International, September 29, 2008, http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2008/09/29/ Irans_satellite_booster_likely_to_have_ICBM_capability/UPI-95421222701978

15. Ariel Cohen, "The Real World: Iran's Space Rocket Launch," Middle East Times, February 9, 2008, http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/020808c.cfm

16. Ibid.

17. James Phillips and Baker Spring, "Iran's Satellite Launch Underscores Growing Military Threat," February 4, 2009, Heritage Foundation, Webmemo No. 2270, http://www.heritage.org/research/middleeast/wm2270.cfm

18. "Bushehr," Globalsecurity.org, October 10, 2008, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/bushehr.htm (March 16, 2009)

19. "Russia, Iran to Sign 10-Year Nuclear Fuel Supply Contract," RIA Novosti, February 25, 2009, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090225/120304285.html

20. "Bushehr," Globalsecurity.org, October 10, 2008, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/bushehr.htm

21. Ariel Cohen, "The Real World: Iran- N. Korea with Oil?", Middle East Times, April 11, 2008,


22. "Report: Russia Confirms Missile Contract," Associated Press, March 18, 2009,


23. Ariel Cohen, "Can the U.S. F-35 Fighter Destroy Russia's S-300 Systems?" United Press International, January 20, 2009, http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2009/01/20/ Can_the_US_F-35_fighter_destroy_Russias_S-300_systems/UPI-39001232464740

24. Mark Lavie, "Israel Believes Iran Can Build Nuclear Weapons," Associated Press, March 8, 2009, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_israel_iran;_ylt =AnvVKNHaGc4YRgg5EL3xpgLZn414; "Iran Leader's Comments Attacked," BBC News, October 27, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4378948.stm

25. "Russia Has Not Delivered S-300 Missile Systems to Iran - Source," Novosti, March 18, 2009, http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090318/ 120623475.html (April 1, 2009).

26. Ariel Cohen, "How the Obama Administration Should Engage Russia."

27. Ariel Cohen, "Gas OPEC: A Stealthy Cartel Emerges," Heritage Foundation WebMemo, April 12, 2007,


28. "Russia, Iran Signed Hydrocarbon Memorandum Allowing for Swap Operations," Itar-Tass, March 15, 2009, http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html? NewsID=13680390&PageNum=0; "Iran: Is Tehran Using Russia as Insurance Against Tougher Sanctions?" Eurasia Insight, March 17, 2009, http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/eav031709b.shtml

29. Ariel Cohen, "How the Obama Administration Should Engage Russia."

30. Stephen Blank, "Russia Challenges the Obama Administration," Strategic Studies Institute, December 2008,

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub900.pdf; Ariel Cohen, "The Real World: Between Iran and Poland," Middle East Times, July 12, 2008, http://ww.heritage.org/press/commentary/ed071208a.cfm


*     *     *

Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, at the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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22 avril 2009 3 22 /04 /avril /2009 07:40
Plainte contre Israël pour crimes de guerre


mardi 21 avril 2009, 17:17

Des avocats norvégiens ont annoncé qu’ils allaient déposer plainte contre de hauts responsables israéliens, y compris l’ex-Premier ministre Ehud Olmert, pour « crimes de guerre » et « violations graves des droits de l’Homme » lors de la guerre à Gaza.
Plainte contre Israël pour crimes de guerre


Des avocats norvégiens ont annoncé mardi qu’ils allaient déposer plainte contre de hauts responsables israéliens, y compris l’ex-Premier ministre Ehud Olmert, pour « crimes de guerre » et « violations graves des droits de l’Homme » lors de la guerre à Gaza.

La plainte sera déposée mercredi auprès du Procureur général norvégien. Elle exige l’arrestation et l’extradition de M. Olmert, de l’ex-ministre des Affaires étrangères Tzipi Livni, du ministre de la Défense Ehud Barak et de sept officiers supérieurs de l’armée israélienne.

Elle « concerne l’attaque israélienne sur la bande de Gaza dans la période du 27 décembre 2008 au 25 janvier 2009 », ont indiqué six avocats dans un communiqué.

La démarche s’appuie sur les articles du Code pénal norvégien portant sur les crimes de guerre et autres violations graves des droits de l’Homme selon les normes internationales.

Selon le communiqué, les crimes reprochés sont « une très vaste attaque terroriste ciblant principalement les résidents de Gaza », les « meurtres de civils » et « autres actes inhumains ayant causé d’énormes souffrances », la « vaste destruction de propriétés privées et publiques ».

Sont aussi citées des « attaques visant des hôpitaux, des centres de santé, des ambulances et autres moyens de transport » et « une utilisation illégale d’armes de guerre contre des zones peuplées de civils » avec le recours à « du phosphore blanc, des armes contenant du DIME (Ndlr : Dense Inert Metal Explosive, produisant une explosion très puissante sur un rayon limité) et des obus à fléchettes ».

Toujours selon le communiqué, les plaignants sont des « victimes de l’agression et (…) des individus basés en Norvège qui ont le droit de poursuivre les auteurs, parce qu’ils ont perdu soit des parents soit des biens ».

« Il s’agit de trois personnes d’origine palestinienne installées en Norvège et de 20 familles qui ont perdu des proches ou des biens dans l’offensive », a déclaré à l’AFP un des avocats, Kjell Brygfjeld. Il a précisé que les juristes travaillaient à titre gracieux.

Egalement interrogé par l’AFP sur les chances que la démarche aboutisse, un autre avocat, Harald Stabell, a déclaré : « s’il l’on ne fait rien, il y a plus de chances pour qu’une telle offensive se reproduise ».

N’ayant pas encore pris connaissance de la démarche, l’ambassade d’Israël à Oslo n’était pas en mesure de réagir immédiatement.

Lancée pour tenter de mettre fin aux tirs de roquettes depuis la bande de Gaza, contrôlée par les islamistes du Hamas, l’offensive israélienne avait fait plus de 1.300 morts côté palestinien.

(D’après AFP)

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19 avril 2009 7 19 /04 /avril /2009 02:23
Kurdistan's Troubled Democracy

by Scott Carpenter and Michael Rubin
Washington Post
April 18, 2009


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Shortly after taking office, President Obama congratulated Iraqis on successful provincial elections. "Millions of Iraqi citizens from every ethnic and religious group went peacefully to the polls across the country to choose new provincial councils," he declared on Jan. 31. But this was not quite the case. In the three provinces that comprise Iraqi Kurdistan, the regional parliament postponed the vote until May 19. Only recently have plans been made to hold the elections.

In Iraq, elections are critical. They improve security by legitimizing power relationships while allowing people to vent frustration. In the Jan. 31 provincial elections, Iraqis chose for the most part to "throw the bums out," selecting candidates who they thought would abandon narrow sectarian objectives and best address their problems at the local level. The question now is whether a similar degree of freedom will exist in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraqi Kurdish officials have long touted their region as democratic. In January, regional President Massoud Barzani declared, "The culture of democracy has to be promoted and deeply rooted." His son Masrour, head of the region's intelligence service, wrote that Kurdistan's "commitment to democracy and tolerance made us natural U.S. allies." The Web site of the region's investment arm describes Iraqi Kurdistan as "a place that has practiced democracy for over a decade."

And before Saddam Hussein was ousted, Iraqi Kurdistan was certainly more democratic than the rest of Iraq. But this is no longer the case.

Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, refuse to compete in open elections, choosing instead to divide power equally. While more benign than Hussein's Baath Party, Kurdish authorities have adopted the Baathist model, requiring party membership to guarantee university slots, qualify for the best jobs or win lucrative contracts. Independent candidates report intimidation and threats.

In the past four years, there have been three competitive elections in Iraq, more than Syria, Egypt or Saudi Arabia have managed in the past four decades. With each election, Iraq's democracy has solidified. In January 2005, voters selected parties from a nationwide list. Such a system undercut representative democracy by divorcing politicians from local concerns and making them dependent on party bosses to whom they had to pledge fealty. The system evolved by the next round of voting, in December 2005: While still based on proportional representation rather than individual constituencies (as in the United States), candidates ran by province, forcing them to be more responsive to constituents. The provincial elections this year heralded more reform: Iraqis could choose individual candidates from lists or even choose independent candidates; they did not have to vote a party slate. And while in the 2005 elections the parties coalesced along ethnic and confessional lines, in January, Shiite parties ran independently of each other, allowing voters rather than party bosses the ultimate say in their representation.

In contrast to the rest of Iraq, Kurdish parties have already cemented alliances and power-sharing agreements. Voters in Iraqi Kurdistan will not have the benefit of real competition or open lists. Nor will they be able to choose among individuals.

In a region where corruption and party abuse of power have become dominant issues, this undercuts accountability. Furthermore, the Kurdish parliament -- dominated by the parties of Barzani and Talabani -- has forbidden independent monitoring, which contributed so much to the success of the elections in the rest of Iraq.

After five brutal years, the rest of Iraq is developing real electoral politics that is helping to defuse conflict, create accountability and foster stability. It is possible that, in time, other institutions of the democratic system, including a free parliament and media, will strengthen as a result. This would be a welcome development not only in Iraq but in the rest of the Middle East.

Once, Iraqi Kurdistan touted itself as a model for the rest of Iraq. Now, the Obama administration should do everything it can to ensure that it is not left behind. Absent reform in that critical region, the rest of Iraq may become the model for it.

Scott Carpenter is the Keston Family Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Michael Rubin is editor of the Middle East Quarterly and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Related Topics: Kurds

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14 avril 2009 2 14 /04 /avril /2009 21:16

Israël/Inde :
2009-04-14 16:55:00


L’Inde va lancer un satellite d’espionnage de manufacture israélienne la semaine prochaine. Une information relayée par la presse indienne cette semaine.

Ce lancement est une nouvelle phase dans l’alliance entre les Industries aérospatiales israélienne et New Dehli.
Ce satellite d’imagerie radar peur prendre des photos de la terre de jour comme de nuit par n’importe quelles conditions météo. Il devrait servir à l’Inde pour protéger ses frontières.
Depuis les attentats meurtriers de Bombay l’an passé, l’Inde cherche constamment à contrôler ses frontières.
Le satellite peut envoyer des images à une station au sol à travers une couverture nuageuse ou de nuit en utilisant la technologie radar.
Le satellite, un modèle PSLV C12 de télédétection, pèse 300 kilos. La date du lancement, à partir de Sriharikota, initialement prévue pour le début du mois, a été repoussée au 20 avril.
En Janvier 2008, les Industries aérospatiales israéliennes ont utilisé une fusée indienne pour lancer un satellite d’imagerie israélien. L’opération avait impressionné les Indiens qui ont voulu contracter une alliance dans ce domaine.
De son côté, l’industrie de la défense indienne développe son propre satellite, d’un poids légèrement supérieur, puisqu’il devrait peser plus d’une tonne.
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12 avril 2009 7 12 /04 /avril /2009 23:57
La presse égyptienne s’en prend à Nasrallah

Avec le correspondant au Caire de RFI, Alexandre Buccianti

dimanche 12 avril 2009

Le chef du Hezbollah libanais, Hassan Nasrallah, a réussi le tour de force de se mettre à dos à la fois Israël et L’Egypte. Tout a commencé avec l’annonce mercredi de l’arrestation en Egypte de 49 personnes liées au Hezbollah et soupçonnées de planifier des attentats dans ce pays.

Vendredi, le chef du Hezbollah a reconnu que l’un des hommes arrêtés faisait partie de son mouvement. Ce dimanche, la presse égyptienne se déchaine. Elle exige un procès contre le « criminel » Nasrallah. Un quotidien pro-gouvernemental va même jusqu’à le traiter de « singe ».

Le gouvernement égyptien veut profiter de l’embarras dans lequel se trouve le Hezbollah libanais pour le décrédibiliser auprès d’une population qui l’avait admiré en 2006 pour sa résistance face à Israël considérée comme une « victoire ».

En s’attaquant à Hassan Nasrallah c’est tout le courant radical arabe qui est visé. Le chef du Hezbollah a d’ailleurs souligné le soutien que lui apportaient à lui et à la résistance à Israël en général la Syrie et l’Iran. Un Iran qui reste mal perçu dans un monde arabe qui continue à y voir l’ennemi ancestral persan.

Les accusations de complot contre le Hezbollah permettent aussi au régime du président Moubarak de s’en prendre à ses sympathisants égyptiens. Le guide suprême de la confrérie des frères musulmans, principale force d’opposition égyptienne, est accusé par un avocat de complicité avec une organisation étrangère cherchant à porter atteinte à l’Egypte. Vient enfin la dénonciation religieuse puisque le Hezbollah est accusé de vouloir répandre le chiisme dans une Egypte sunnite.

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11 avril 2009 6 11 /04 /avril /2009 22:58

UN Watch Blasts Sudan on 'Racist Murder', Iran on Persecuting Gays

YouTube video of debate now available: click here (3 mins.)

Summary of Recent Debate at U.N. Human Rights Council
on Durban Review Conference and Racism

UNHRC 10 Session, March 2009

Libya: "We are proud of chairing the preparatory working group. The scourge of racism and xenophobia had not been eliminated yet. Some were turning a blind eye to the worst kind of crimes that affected innocent women and children...  People of the world are eagerly awaiting the results of the Durban Review Conference. We call on all countries to show a sense of responsibility on constructively drafting an outcome document…"

Iran: "We welcome the ongoing process of the Durban Review Conference… The world today witnesses racism, defamation of religions, religious intolerance, racial profiling and the intellectual legitimisation of racism. This form of racism was disseminated in large proportion in the media, including the Internet. The failures in the struggle against racism, inter alia, the contemporary forms of racism had led to persisting manifestations of racism and intolerance including racial and religious profiling and the rise in Islamophobic incidents in the world. Iran had contributed $40,000 to the Durban Review Conference for facilitating the realization of a better participative conference by all stakeholders."

Kuwait: "Kuwait will allocate $100,000, and agrees that efforts needed to be stepped up in order to achieve the objectives and to ensure the success of the final document."

Cuba for Non-Aligned Movement: "The effective implementation of the Durban agreements was not only essential in the fight against racism; it was also a debt owed to millions of victims of these abominable practices through history."

China: "The Durban Review Conference provided the international community with an opportunity for the future, to promote human rights, eliminate differences, promote solidarity, encourage effective participation, and take effective measures against racism."

Syria: "The Durban Declaration was a landmark in the struggle against racism.. That was why Syria was convinced of the need for everyone to pull together for the follow-up. Foreign occupation seriously increased the risk of racism, said the report of the High Commissioner. As to racial profiling in the media, Syria supported the legitimate position of the Arab countries..."

Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference: "The Organization of the Islamic Conference attaches the highest importance to the subject of racism... The outcome of the Durban Review Conference must provide a comprehensive protection mechanism to all victims, including those who had suffered the war on terror in terms of racio-religious profiling and its concomitant incitement to racial or religious discrimination, hatred and violence. The Organization of the Islamic Conference welcomed the successful holding of the second session of the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards." [Ed. note: This Algerian-chaired U.N. committee is seeking to rewrite international human rights law by definining any criticism of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, and is endorsed by Art. 30 of the current Durban II draft; see UN Watch speech below.]


The Myths of Durban II
Testimony by Hillel Neuer

Thank you, Mr. President.

Racism is evil. How can we truly fight it?

For starters, by clearing up three myths about next month’s conference.

Myth Number One: that the new draft removes all pernicious provisions.

The truth is that many were removed—thanks only to the credible threat of an E.U. walk-out—but red lines continue to be breached:

  • Articles 10, 30 and 132 encourage the Islamic states’ campaign to ban any criticism of religion.
  • Articles 60 to 62 demonize the West, addressing only its sins of slavery, yet saying nothing of the massive Arab trade in African slaves, thereby politicizing that which should never be politicized.
  • Article 1 breaches President Obama’s red line by reaffirming what his government called the quote, “flawed 2001 Durban Declaration”, a text that stigmatized Israel with false accusations.

Myth Number Two: that going to the conference means dialogue.

In truth, we’ve been negotiating non-stop since August 2007. Going to the conference means endorsing a particular text, and risks legitimizing the greatest perpetrators of racism.

Ironically, many who now claim to support dialogue, are Mideast states belonging to the Arab Boycott Office in Damascus, or radical left campaigners who call for equally bigoted boycotts in the West.

Myth Number Three: that Durban 2 will help millions of victims.

But can anyone name a single victim of racism who was helped by the 2001 conference and countless follow-up committees?

Did Durban help a single victim of Sudan’s racist campaign of mass killing, rape and displacement against millions in Darfur?

Did it help the women of Saudi Arabia subjected to systematic discrimination?

Did it help gays executed by Iran, even as President Ahmadinejad says there are no gays in Iran?

Did it help the 2 million black African migrants in Libya, who, as we read in last week’s International Herald Tribune, say they are treated like slaves and animals?

To truly fight racism, we need to hold perpetrators to account. Tragically, Durban 2 does the opposite.

Thank you, Mr. President.

* * *

Click here for New York Times video documenting racist treatment of 2 million black African migrants by Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, chair of Durban II conference planning committee.

To link to this briefing: http://www.unwatch.org/cms.asp?id=730172&campaign_id=63111


To support the unique and vital work of UN Watch
with a U.S. tax-deductible donation, please contribute here.

tel: (41-22) 734-1472 fax: (41-22) 734-1613
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10 avril 2009 5 10 /04 /avril /2009 18:46
La Turquie fait-elle encore partie de l'O.T.A.N ? par Daniel Pipes
Imprimer    Envoyer à un ami 

Philadelphia Bulletin (6 avril 2009)

Texte original anglais: "
Does Turkey Still Belong in NATO?"


Adaptation française: François de Champvert

Juste au moment de son soixantième anniversaire, l'Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord se trouve confrontée à un problème totalement nouveau – celui de la présence de l'islam radical, incarné ici par la République de Turquie, à l'intérieur de ses propres rangs.

Ankara a adhéré à l'OTAN en 1951 et, peu après, les forces turques ont combattu vaillamment aux côtés des alliés en Corée. Les Turcs ont résisté à l'Union soviétique pendant des décennies. Après les Etats-Unis, la Turquie est le second pays à avoir le plus grand nombre de troupes dans l'alliance.

Avec la fin de la Guerre Froide, la mission de l'OTAN a changé et certains ont vu l'islamisme comme le nouvel ennemi stratégique.

Déjà en 1995, le secrétaire général de l'OTAN, Willy Claes, avait comparé l'islamisme à l'ennemi historique, en disant : « Le fondamentalisme est au moins aussi dangereux que le communisme ». Avec la fin de la Guerre Froide, avait-il ajouté, « le militantisme islamique a surgi comme peut-être la plus sérieuse menace pour l'alliance de l'OTAN et pour la sécurité occidentale ».

Effectivement, l'OTAN a d'abord invoqué l'article 5 de sa charte constitutive, appelant à « une autodéfense collective » pour entrer en guerre contre les Talibans en Afghanistan, en 2001, en riposte aux attaques du 11 septembre, lancées à partir de ce pays.

Plus récemment, l'ancien premier ministre espagnol, José Maria Aznar, a soutenu que « le terrorisme islamiste était une nouvelle menace commune qui mettait l'existence même des membres de l'OTAN en danger », et il préconisait que l'alliance concentre son attention sur le combat contre « le jihadisme islamique et la prolifération des armes de destruction massive ». Aznar demandait de « mettre la guerre contre le jihadisme islamique au centre de la stratégie des alliés ».

Claes et Aznar ont raison, mais leur vision des choses est maintenant compromise parce que les islamistes se sont introduits dans l'alliance des 28 Etats, comme cela a été illustré, de façon spectaculaire, ces derniers jours.

Comme le mandat du Secrétaire général, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, arrivait à son terme en juillet, tout le monde a été d'accord pour désigner le Premier ministre danois, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 56 ans, comme son successeur. Mais Fogh Rasmussen était en fonction au début de 2006 quand la crise des caricatures [de Mahomet] avait éclaté, et il avait soutenu que, comme Premier ministre, il n'avait aucune autorité pour dire à un journal privé ce qu'il ne pouvait pas publier. Cette attitude lui avait valu beaucoup de critiques de la part des musulmans, y compris du Premier ministre de Turquie, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui avait fait savoir à Fogh Rasmussen, à l'époque, que « les libertés avaient des limites et que ce qui est sacré devait être respecté ».

Quand Fogh Rasmussen s'était présenté pour le poste de l'OTAN, Erdogan avait continué à lui garder rancune, disant que son gouvernement considérait « de façon négative » la candidature de Fogh Rasmussen, parce que, expliquait Erdogan, « j'avais demandé une réunion des dirigeants musulmans dans son pays pour expliquer ce qui se passait et il s'était abstenu de faire quoi que ce soit. Alors, comment peut-on attendre de lui qu'il contribue à la paix ? ».

Finalement, Fogh Rasmussen a été choisi entant que candidat du consensus, mais à quel prix ! Le Danois n'a remporté le poste qu'après s'être engagé dans d'intenses négociations avec le président turc Abdullah Gül, sous l'égide de Barack Obama. Fogh Rasmussen a promis de nommer au moins deux Turcs à des postes de haut niveau et de répondre publiquement aux inquiétudes des musulmans à propos de la réaction qu'il avait eue face aux caricatures de Mahomet. De façon plus générale, Erdogan a annoncé : Obama « nous a donné des garanties » concernant ces réserves turques au sujet de Fogh Rasmussen.

Les obstacles que Fogh Rasmussen a dû franchir pour gagner le soutien d'Ankara sont faciles à deviner à partir de ces remarques serviles embarrassées, à la façon d'un « dhimmi » [*protégé juif ou chrétien, traité de façon humiliante par les musulmans] pour parvenir à obtenir sa nomination : « En tant que Secrétaire général de l'OTAN j'élaborerai un programme très précis de sensibilisation au monde musulman pour garantir la coopération et intensifier le dialogue avec le monde musulman. Je considère la Turquie comme un allié très important et un partenaire stratégique avec qui je vais coopérer, faisant tous nos efforts pour assurer de la meilleure façon cette coopération avec le monde musulman. »

Il semble que nous assistions à l'émergence non pas d'un OTAN énergique au modèle Claes-Aznar, menant la lutte contre l'islam radical, mais à l'émergence d'une institution incapable d'agir – entravée de l'intérieur, dans l’impossibilité de s'opposer à la principale menace stratégique, de crainte d'offenser un Etat-membre.

L'islamisme n'est pas le seul problème qu'a l'OTAN avec la Turquie. Dans ce qui se profile comme une Guerre Froide au Moyen-Orient - avec Téhéran à la tête d'une faction, et Riyad menant une autre faction, Ankara a été, à plusieurs reprises, du côté du premier, accueillant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, défendant le programme nucléaire de l'Iran, développant le champ de pétrole iranien, transférant des armes iraniennes au Hezbollah, soutenant ouvertement le Hamas, condamnant férocement Israël et retournant l'opinion publique turque contre les Etats-Unis.

Notant ces changements, la journaliste Caroline Glick exhorte Washington à « lancer l'idée d’exclure la Turquie de l'OTAN ». L'administration Obama n'est pas disposée à le faire. Mais avant qu'Ankara ne rende l'OTAN inefficace, les observateurs objectifs devraient réfléchir soigneusement à cet appel.

Daniel Pipes


© Philadelphia Bulletin


Mis en ligne le 10 avril 2009, par M. Macina, sur le site upjf.org
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7 avril 2009 2 07 /04 /avril /2009 14:17

Qui peut lui faire encore confiance quand il affirme qu'il est chrétien ; quand on voit cette photo que les télés ont zapée .

Marc A.





Obama :"les musulmans sont nos amis et nos partenaires contre l’injustice"

le 6 avril 2009 


Après l’inquiétant signe de soumission que fut la courbette du Président des Etats-Unis lors du G20 pour embrasser la main du monarque saoudien Abdullah, l’islamophilie de Barack Obama se confirme. Hier, il s’est clairement fait l’avocat du monde islamique devant l’Union Européenne tout en poussant l’adhésion de la Turquie dans l’Europe. 

Barack Obama a profité de son premier sommet réunissant l’Union Européenne et les États-Unis, à la veille de sa visite en Turquie, pour encourager les dirigeants européens à adopter ce pays musulman et le rattacher à l’Europe. Toutefois, M. Sarkozy, un opposant de longue date à la pleine adhésion de la Turquie, a rejeté fermement la demande d’Obama en des termes qui pourraient ternir la relance des relations franco-américaines.

M. Obama, a déclaré :  ”Les États-Unis et l’Europe doivent considérer les musulmans comme nos amis, nos voisins et nos partenaires dans la lutte contre l’injustice, l’intolérance et la violence.”

“Aller de l’avant vers l’adhésion de la Turquie dans l’UE serait un signal fort de votre engagement dans ce sens et permettrait d’ancrer fermement la Turquie à l’Europe.” a t-il dit.

Recueilli sur Bivouac-ID








SA/ El Melancho

Pourquoi Barack Hussein Obama, président de la plus grande démocratie laïque du monde, s’incline-t-il comme un serviteur devant Abdallah II, roi-théocrate d’Arabie  ?

La scène a été filmée par toutes les télévisions, et diffusée dans le monde entier. Mais personne n’a voulu s’y attarder. Surtout pas en Occident. Cela se passe à Londres, le 2 avril, pendant le G20. Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement se saluent, se congratulent et s’embrassent. Barack Obama, le président américain, salue ses pairs avec sa bonne grâce habituelle. Mais quand il arrive devant le roi Abdallah II d’Arabie Saoudite, il ne se contente pas d’une poignée de main. Il s’incline profondément. Comme un sujet. Comme un vassal.

Quand Obama s’incline comme un esclave devant un souverain esclavagiste...

A moins qu’il ne soit pas celui qu’il prétend être. A moins que son middle name, son nom médian, Hussein, ne soit la clé de sa personnalité. Et qu’il ne  faille voir en lui un musulman secret, contraint de feindre pour un temps une adhésion au christianisme. Un marrane, si vous voulez. Ou plus exactement, selon la terminogie hispanique qui fait foi en la matière, un melanchon.

Michel Gurfinkiel (extraits) pour michelgurfinkiel.com le 05 avril 2009

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  • : Le blog de Gad
  • : Lessakele : déjouer les pièges de l'actualité Lessakele, verbe hébraïque qui signifie "déjouer" est un blog de commentaire libre d'une actualité disparate, visant à taquiner l'indépendance et l'esprit critique du lecteur et à lui prêter quelques clés de décrytage personnalisées.
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Magie de la langue hébraïque

A tous nos chers lecteurs.


Ne vous est-il jamais venu à l'esprit d'en savoir un peu plus sur le titre de ce blog ?

Puisque nous nous sommes aujourd'hui habillés de bleu, il conviendrait de rentrer plus a fond dans l'explication du mot lessakel.

En fait Lessakel n'est que la façon française de dire le mot léhasskil.

L'hébreu est une langue qui fonctionne en déclinant des racines.

Racines, bilitères, trilitères et quadrilitères.

La majorité d'entre elle sont trilitères.

Aussi Si Gad a souhaité appeler son site Lessakel, c'est parce qu'il souhaitait rendre hommage à l'intelligence.

Celle qui nous est demandée chaque jour.

La racine de l'intelligence est sé'hel שכל qui signifie l'intelligence pure.

De cette racine découlent plusieurs mots

Sé'hel > intelligence, esprit, raison, bon sens, prudence, mais aussi croiser

Léhasskil > Etre intelligent, cultivé, déjouer les pièges

Sé'hli > intelligent, mental, spirituel

Léhistakel > agir prudemment, être retenu et raisonnable, chercher à comprendre

Si'hloute > appréhension et compréhension

Haskala >  Instruction, culture, éducation

Lessa'hlen > rationaliser, intellectualiser

Heschkel > moralité

Si'htanout > rationalisme

Si'hloul > Amélioration, perfectionnement


Gageons que ce site puisse nous apporter quelques lumières.

Aschkel pour Lessakel.



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