Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Koffi Annan: "The troops are not going in there to disarm," August 25, 2006.

Koffi Annan at a press conference in Brussels, Aug 25 06:

As to your question on disarmament, let me be clear that resolution 1559 asks for the disarmament of all militia, national and non-national, and this was reaffirmed in resolution 1701. The understanding was that it would be the Lebanese who would disarm. I think it is also generally accepted that the disarmament of Hezbollah cannot be done by force. It has to be a political agreement between the Lebanese; there has to be a Lebanese consensus and an agreement among them to disarm. In fact, before the war, this issue was part of a national dialogue going on in Lebanon; I
hope they will return to it in earnest. Obviously, if at some stage they need advice or some help from the international community and they were to approach us, we would consider it, but the troops are not going in there to disarm. Let us be clear on that.


As to the second part of your question, this is an international effort and a UN mission, and when we seek peacekeepers, we try to get governments with well trained troops, preferably troops who have had peacekeeping experience. The countries you listed -- Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia -- have good peacekeeping experience. Obviously we are sensitive to the concern, raised by Israel, but we have to understand that in today's world, where there is lots of competition for troops, when you look at the deployments around the world, from over 150,000 in Iraq to thousands in Afghanistan, the UN itself has 80,000-90,000 deployed and we are looking for 15,000 – 13,000 more to go to southern Lebanon. We are looking at a new
operation in East-Timor, Timor Leste?You need to work and engage with these governments to get the troops. You don't have a pool of armed soldiers, troops that you can choose and pick, and these countries do have good experience.

As I also indicated, I am in touch also with Turkey and I hope they would also make a decision to join. What has to be done is to have an international force that is confident, that is capable and robust and deployed in a manner that our presence does not introduce any tensions among the protagonists. You can deploy forces in a way that they do not create tensions between themselves and the Israelis or do it in a way that there will be no contact between some of the forces that you refer to and
the Israelis, but they are competent and able peacekeepers and that is just what we need. So we will take the best peacekeepers where we can find them, and you must have noticed what a struggle it has been to put together the force.

Seymour Hersh:

The Bush Administration ... was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security
concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preĆ«mptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.


According to a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments, Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings. “It’s not that the Israelis had a trap that Hezbollah walked into,” he said, “but there was a strong feeling in the White House that sooner or later the Israelis were going to do it.”

The Middle East expert said that the Administration had several reasons for supporting the Israeli bombing campaign. Within the State Department, it was seen as a way to strengthen the Lebanese government so that it could assert its authority over the south of the country, much of which is controlled by Hezbollah. He went on, “The White House was more focussed on stripping Hezbollah of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel. Bush wanted both. Bush was going after Iran, as part of the Axis of Evil, and its nuclear sites, and he was interested in going after Hezbollah as part of his
interest in democratization, with Lebanon as one of the crown jewels of
Middle East democracy.”

[the color revolutions]

NATO pilots accused of killing 13 Afghan children, civilians

Karzai orders probe of killings by US forces

Taliban distance themselves from suicide attacks against civilians

Israel resigned to armed Hezbollah presence

Israel urges some Muslim countries to send troops

Beirut rejects deployment of UN troops on border with Syria

63 percent of Israelis want Olmert gone

Israel names coordinator of possible Iran war

Russia blocks sanctions against Iran

Is Iran really running militias in Iraq?

Republican report hypes Iran 'threat'

Zunes: How Washington goaded Israel into war

Krishna Guha, "Bernanke calls for fairer globalisation," Financial Times, August 25, 2006.

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Friday called on global policymakers to do more to ensure the benefits of globalisation are widely spread within their countries.

[Calling on policymakers to see that the benefits are "widely shared" is called redistribution--a fundamentally social concept--although Bernanke appears to avoid the taboo word. He also avoids saying anything at all about the stalemate in Doha round negotiations. Note that "govenment policy also plays a 'critical role,'" by providing the political underpinnings for integration. Why should it? Who benefits from 'greater productivity and output overall'?" Surely, it must be obvious by now that the answer is not "everyone." -jlt]
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