|Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 08:24 pm: ||
Rice's mission moves to Jerusalem
Lebanon says Rice's comments 'not encouraging'
Monday, July 24, 2006; Posted: 9:32 p.m. EDT (01:32 GMT)
Condoleezza Rice says she spoke to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora about the humanitarian situation in Lebanon.
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No letup in fighting (1:06)
Diplomats scramble for solutions (2:10)
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Gallery: Diplomatic push
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• TIME.com: Rice in translation
• Behind the Scenes: War children
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Manage Alerts | What Is This? JERUSALEM (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to Beirut and then to Jerusalem Monday in an attempt to carve a lasting solution to the crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives and gutted Lebanon's infrastructure.
In an unannounced visit, she stopped first in Lebanon's capital, where she met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Nabih Berri, Lebanon's parliament speaker, who has close ties with Hezbollah and Syria.
"I am obviously here because we are deeply concerned about the Lebanese people and what they are enduring," Rice said in Beirut. "We are talking about the humanitarian situation, and we are also talking about a durable way to end the violence.
"President Bush wanted this to be my first stop -- here in Lebanon -- to express our desire to urgently find conditions in which we can end the violence and make life better for the Lebanese people."
After the closed-door meeting, a source in Berri's office told CNN that Berri considered Rice's comments "not encouraging" because of her insistence on a simultaneous implementation of conditions.
By that, the source said, Berri meant Rice had wanted any cease-fire agreements, deployment of international troops, disarming of Hezbollah militia, return of displaced Lebanese and plans for reconstruction to occur at the same time.
Berri considered such a course impractical and believed that a cease-fire should come first, the source said. Only afterward should the Lebanese government discuss other issues, such as the two Israeli soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah on July 12 sparked the crisis.
In addition, Berri was surprised Rice did not mention either the Israeli soldiers or the possibility of a prisoner swap between Israel and Hezbollah, the source said.
A senior U.S. State Department official in Washington said no detailed plans yet exist.
Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Nayla Muawwad said the discussion wound up serving more to inform Rice than for her to inform the other participants.
As Rice met with Siniora, dozens of demonstrators outside his office building protested U.S. support for the military action.
"4 Million Lebanese Hostages," said one poster. Another blared: "Massacre." Yet another: "1,000 Injured -- American Tax Dollars at Work."
Rice is now in Israel, where she is to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. She was also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday, "There is no conflict between Israel and the people of Lebanon. But Israel has no higher responsibility than to defend its citizens."
Livni called for the release of the abducted Israeli soldiers and for Lebanon to exercise sovereignty over its territory by carrying out U.N. Resolution 1559, which calls for the disarmament of militias.
She also called on the international community "to assist the Lebanese government in confronting the Hezbollah."
Meanwhile, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrillas traded more attacks with Israeli forces Monday. (Watch how Israeli forces plan to expand Lebanon operations -- 1:40)
Cease-fire not expected immediately
U.S. officials told CNN's John King privately not to expect a cease-fire to come out of Rice's mission. Last week, Rice called Hezbollah the source of the problem in Lebanon and said a cease-fire "will be a false promise if it returns us to the status quo."
She did not plan to meet with Hezbollah or with Syrian leaders during her trip.
Although Syria is thought to hold much influence with Hezbollah, the Bush administration has argued that direct talks with Syria would be pointless.
Rice was planning to head to Rome, Italy, later this week to meet with Arab leaders and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. On the agenda will be the possibility of a multinational force for southern Lebanon.
U.N. appeals for Lebanese aid
Meanwhile, the U.N.'s relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, launched an appeal for $150 million to help an estimated 800,000 Lebanese displaced by the conflict.
Within hours, the United States announced it had pledged $30 million to the fund.
Beginning Tuesday, the U.S. military said, it would assist with the shipping of humanitarian supplies to the Port of Beirut for distribution by non-governmental organizations.
But Egeland said Monday his team does not have safe access to those trapped in the south of Lebanon and that the bombing had rendered many roads impassable.
In an interview with CNN from Beirut, he appealed for a cease-fire. "Too many civilians are suffering, both in northern Israel and here in Lebanon," he said.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that he feared a "major humanitarian disaster" if the conflict did not end soon.
Blair: It's a 'catastrophe'
In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair said officials "have been working very hard to put in place a plan that would allow ... the immediate cessation of hostilities."
"Of course, we all want to see this on both sides. It's important that it happen. It's important that it happen because what is occurring at the present time in Lebanon is a catastrophe. It is damaging that country and its fragile democracy. But it is also important that we deal with the reasons that this conflict has come about."
CNN's Anthony Mills, Schams Elwazer, Paul Courson and Dana Bash contributed to this report.
|Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 05:47 am: ||
Rice's Fantasy Ride
Rami G. Khouri
July 24, 2006
Rami G. Khouri is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune.
American officials are very good at vernacular descriptions, but lousy at history and political reality in the Middle East. As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sets off Sunday on her short trip to a Middle East that is increasingly engulfed in violent confrontations and political turmoil, she has described the massive destruction, dislocation and human suffering in Lebanon as an inevitable part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East."
From my perspective here in Beirut, watching American-supplied Israeli jets smash this country to smithereens, what she describes as "birth pangs" look much more like a wicked hangover from a decades-old American orgy of diplomatic intoxication with the enticements of pro-Israeli politics.
We shall find out in the coming years if indeed a new Middle East is being born, or—as I suspect—we are witnessing the initial dying gasps of the Western-made political order that has defined this region and focused primarily on Israeli national dictates for most of the past half a century. The way to a truly new and stable Middle East is to apply policies that deliver equal rights to all concerned, not to favor Israel as having greater rights than Arabs.
Rice declared that Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire, saying: "This is a different Middle East. It's a new Middle East. It's hard. We're going through a very violent time."
Behind the American position to support Israel's massive attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and Hezbollah positions is a sense—widely reported from Washington in recent days—that the Bush-Rice team wants to use this conflict to achieve short-term tactical aims and long-term strategic goals that serve the interests of America, Israel and their few allies in the region.
Short term, the United States would like Israel to wipe out Hezbollah, allow the Lebanese government to send its troops to the south of the country, ensure the safety of northern Israel, cut Syria's influence down to size and apply greater pressure on Hezbollah-supporter Iran. The United States opposes a ceasefire, therefore, because, Rice says, "A ceasefire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo."
This diplomatic position to support Israel's attacks on Lebanon, coupled with rushing sophisticated precision bombs to Israel from the U.S. arsenal, indicates that Washington seriously aims to fundamentally redraw the political and ideological map of the Middle East in the longer term. If this means yet another Arab land goes up in flames and war, so be it, Washington seems to be saying.
So we now have three Arab countries where American policies and arms have played a major role in promoting chaos, disintegration, mass death and suffering: Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. You can watch them burn—live on your television sets.
Ironically, these were the three countries that Bush-Rice & Co. have held up as models and pioneers of the American policy to promote freedom and democracy as antidotes to Arab despotism and terrorism.
Washington's desire to change the face of the Arab world requires removing the last vestiges of anti-American defiance and anti-Israel resistance. The problem for Bush-Rice is that such sentiments probably are held by a majority of Arab people. Most of them flock to Islamist parties and resistance groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted Shiite groups in the Iraqi government.
Syria and Iran are the most problematic governments for Washington in this respect. So there is further irony and much incoherence in the latest American official desire for Arab governments to pressure Syria to reduce its support for Hezbollah and other groups who defy the United States and Israel. The numbing fact that Bush-Rice fail to acknowledge—perhaps understandably, given the alcoholic's tendency to evade reality—is that Washington now can only speak to a few Arab governments (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere) who are in almost no position to affect anyone other than their immediate families and many guards.
Washington is engaged almost exclusively with Arab governments whose influence with Syria is virtually nonexistent, whose credibility with Arab public opinion is zero, whose own legitimacy at home is increasingly challenged and whose pro-U.S. policies tend to promote the growth of those militant Islamist movements that now lead the battle against American and Israeli policies. Is Rice traveling to a new Middle East, or to a diplomatic Disneyland of her own imagination?
If Rice pursues contacts in the coming five days that increase Washington's bias towards Israel, tighten its links with isolated, increasingly impotent Arab governments and further alienate the masses of Arab public opinion, she will exacerbate the very problem she claims she wants to fix: the spread of violence and terror, practiced simultaneously by the armies of states like the United States, Israel, and police state governments in the Middle East who live by violence as a rule, and by non-state actors like Hezbollah and others like it.
If only someone gave Condoleezza Rice a modern history book of the Middle East for her long flight from Washington to Palestine-Israel Sunday night, so that she can cut through the haze of her long political drunken stupor and finally see clearly where the problems of this region emanate from, where the solutions come from and how her country can become a constructive rather than a destructive force.
|Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 12:51 pm: ||
from the rat patrol
|Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 03:31 pm: ||
|Posted on Saturday, July 29, 2006 - 09:20 am: ||
War crimes will not bring peace, security and justice to Palestinians, Israelis or to Jews anywhere.
(San Francisco, July 17) – Members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), one of the nation’s largest grassroots Jewish peace groups, are organizing public actions in major cities across the country to help bring an end to the current conflict. Many of us have friends and family in Gaza, Lebanon and Israel.
JVP believes that all parties in this horrifying escalation of violence must be held accountable to international law. However, Israel’s refusal to negotiate and its decision to act with overwhelming force—using weapons supplied by the United States-- have escalated this situation to war. Far from bringing peace, Israel’s actions only empower extremists.
First in Gaza and now in Lebanon, Israel has responded to attacks on military targets by targeting civilian, not military infrastructure. As a result, Gaza –where 64 elected members of Parliament were arrested by the IDF and where Palestinians now lack proper access to electricity, water, fuel, hospital care and essential foodstuffs--is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. Lebanon is being devastated. Now Israeli citizens have become targets.
|Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 11:16 pm: ||
" all parties in this horrifying escalation of violence must be held accountable to international law"......has any one Muslim country considered doing war under international laws?....I think not!! The PC police is now involved? Investigate Hezbollah if you want an investigation.
|Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 11:50 pm: ||
How about investigating this:
|Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 11:51 pm: ||
|Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 11:52 pm: ||
Sleep well, Bubby.
|Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2006 - 12:06 am: ||
Darn, I don't have any pictures of dead people I can send you.I'll bet you have an album of these.
I could go on the web and send you pics of dead Israeli's,but I wont do that. Keep tooting your horn, I'm sure your batteries are charged.Sleep well Ergantry,the Army is watching over you.
|Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2006 - 12:21 am: ||
More than a third of the thousand or so Lebanese civilians killed by Israel were children. Pray for them before you sleep.