Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

George Bernard Shaw Quotation Day

  • Independence? That's middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.
  • A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
  • Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.
  • Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Lai on the Euphrates

One of the many My-Lai -like massacres perpetrated by US troops rises to court martial (reported here by Nur al-Cubicle):
Haditha. One US Marine and fifteen civilians were killed by a roadside bomb targeting their convoy. Eight rebels were killed in a clash that followed the bombing.

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times both reported in yesterday’s editions that a criminal investigation, opened by the Marine Corps on 14 February into the death of 24 civilians, including 7 women and three children, in Haditha, 250 km north of Baghdad on 19 November 2005, was an act of murder.

Company Kilo of the Third Marine Battalion set off a roadside bomb at the entrance to the town in Anbar Province in the early hours of the morning. A military communiqué at the time announced the death of Miguel Terrazas, 20, who was the driver of the destroyed vehicle, as well as 15 civilians. It was also reported that US military then paid out $2,500 per death and a few hundred dollars to each wounded individual.

However, witnesses recount that the Marine company went on a blind house-to-house rampage, summarily executing innocents as they slept.

In April, the Marine batallion commander and two company commanders were relieved of duty by General Richard Natonski, Division Commander. They will be court-martialed on the charges of "murder, negligent homicide and filing false reports".

However, look what happened elsewhere on the same day!:
A family was decimated - five dead and three wounded - by shots fired from a US military base east of Baquba at a minibus carrying mourners to a funeral travelling along the Balad-Baquba highway.

Diyala hospital personnel and local police report that around 8:00 am, a minibus carrying eight members of the al-Sawamra family and the driver were driving past a US guardpost at the entrance to a US military base when the guards opened fire on their bus, killing two men and three children less than 5 years-old and wounding two women and a teenaged boy.

Commandant Steven Warren issued [the standard ass-covering excuse for murder, which we've heard time and time again]:
The vehicle was going too fast and warning shots were fired before a machine gun was put into action. As soon as we realized that they were civilans, we sent in a medical time.
[From La Repubblica]

Only the tip of the iceberg.

Bush's Greater Middle East Initiative: A victim of reality

Le Monde's Gilles Paris removes the mask from Bush's fantasy-based Greater Middle East Initiative. If Bush's silence on the brutal treatment by Egyptian authorities of democracy activists is profoundly disturbing, his acquiescence to Israeli uniltarialism, which relies on the removal of any semblence of a negotiating partner, whether secular or Islamist, is the epitome of cynicism.

Betting on the defeat of Hamas, by Gilles Paris
LE MONDE | 02.05.06 | 13:36 . Updated on 24.05.06 | 17:12

The Palestinians are paying a heavy price for the outcome of their 25 January elections. The victory of Islamic Resistance (Hamas) was accompanied by the drying up of Palestine's meager financial resources provided by Israel and most of the international community. This has rendered the running of their institutions impossible. After five years of scarcity, the effects of the embargo have been felt nearly immediately by the Palestinian population, particularly in the domain of healthcare. This situation is to endure. The assistance allowed by the Quartet –the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations– on 9 May will be merely relative; only the most hard-pressed will receive assistance. The goal of Israel, supported by the United States, is clear: To do anything at all to bring about the defeat of the Islamists.

The positions defended by Hamas seem to argue in favor of Western intransigence. How does one support a government unable to denounce attacks targeting civilians, especially when they are Israelis? How does one cooperate with a movement whose founding charter declares the totality of ancient Palestine to under Islamic mandate, where the least concession constitutes a sin and a crime? The demands of the Quartet appear to be legitimate.

Renunciation of violence, the recognition of Israel and the acceptance of treaties concluded in the past seem reasonable conditions to Europeans and Americans who are supporters of a negotiated settlement of the conflict, based on a two-state solution. Except that these preconditions, established as non-negotiable rather than policy objectives on 30 January, 5 days after the Hamas victory, lend themselves to the perpetuation of this dangerous impasse.

This is not an unpredictable consequence. Although Hamas has benefited from the rejection of Fatah, the nationalist movement founded by Yassir Arafat but identified with a Palestinian Authority viewed as corrupt and inefficient, it also derives its strength from the long and deep-seated tradition of religion and charitable institutions within that society.

At the end of the day, the analyses made by Hamas of the Palestinian-Israeli power balance appear to have been borne out by the facts. Among the Palestinians populace, no one doubts that the Israeli evacuation from Gaza is the product of determined harrying, mainly from Islamist armed groups, which on this occasion constituted proof of its superiority to negotiation.

Inasmuch as this may be true, the radicalism of Hamas can be questioned. There is a contest between two theories. The first, which relies on a strict interpretation of the Hamas Charter, protrays the Islamist movement, created in 1987, as fundamentalist and almost jihadist. The second, focusing on overtures from some Islamists leaders --most recently from those imprisoned in Israel--, sees Hamas as an organization that is capable of pragmatism.

The first theory leaves eradication as the only recourse. But this is an objective that is completely illusory because the movement is deeply implanted within Palestinian society. On the other hand, the second theory allows the scenario of progressive conversion of the Islamists to a two-state solution, for which the first step would be the adoption in one form or another of the 2002 Arab League initiative that provides for total normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state demarked by the borders of 1967.

If this suggests a political gamble, it would not be the first for the Palestinian side. Hamas is following a course embarked upon twenty years ago by PLO, led by the chief of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, the only Palestinian spokesman recognized by the international community.


By participating in the 25 January elections, Hamas, despite what is said, acknowledged the Oslo Accords, which led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority. More disciplined than Fatah, which has unable to acquire control over all its troops for ages, Hamas has observed a truce in armed operations for more than a year. This has been a major factor in the significant reduction of anti-Israeli attacks.

But Hamas has received practically nothing in return for these two decisions, taken after lengthy internal consultations, which constitute both its strength and its weakness. Although Hamas has always required time before arriving at a position, more and faster decision-making is being required of it. Destabilized by outside pressures and facing an emergency caused by both the Israeli and international boycotts, Hamas has stiffened over these last few weeks. Within its core, pragmatic actors yearning for notoriety and international recognition who had argued for the truce and for participation in elections are losing more and more ground to radical elements.

The boycotts conveniently pave the way to Israeli unilateralism, despite the reservations of the international community, which has completely swallowed the fantasy of its peace plan: The Road Map. Israeli Prime Minister Ehout Olmert has issued a six-month ultimatum to the Palestinians, prior to drawing the borders that Israeli desires on the West Bank. It is very unlikely that Hamas will have recovered by the end of this period from the current crisis that has stirred rivalry between Hamas and Fatah, which not only runs a near monopoly on the security services but a portion of its membership has never accepted the verdict of the ballot box.

The Israelis are not alone in profiting from an Islamist defeat in the short term. The Egyptian and Jordanian authorities, under pressure from the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Hamas is rooted, certainly do not hope that the case of Palestine –the first regional changeover resulting from a pluralist election–, succeeds in setting a precedent. Moreover, Jordan has just accused Hamas of planning a terrorist campaign targeting its territory –an gross accusation that radically departs from the pattern of behavior demonstrated by Palestinian Islamists over the last two decades.

But it is sure that options for elections and democracy would suffer long-term damage through the defeat of Hamas, and the clash between East and West would be accentuated. There is always time to isolate the Palestinian Islamists if they show themselves to be incapable of accepting reality. But do Europe and the United States seriously have an interest in getting rid of Hamas in such a hurry?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Feel Good Friday

Thank you, Mr. Embleton!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Our militarized border with Mexico

Bush throws a bone to the racist reactionary xenophobes. Mexico is Public Enemy No. 1.

From Yahoo News: "Bush, in a speech to the nation Monday, will propose using the troops as a stopgap measure while the Border Patrol builds up its resources to more effectively secure the 2,000-mile line between the U.S. and Mexico, said two White House officials speaking on a condition of anonymity before the president is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. EDT...Bush also will mention the need for immigrants to learn English and assimilate into American culture if they are to become citizens."

Apparently, Fox is supposed to feel good 'cause the troops are not real military.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's First Communist President

Heh. Silvio Berlusconi is crapping in his pantalone!

Portrait [portions translated from Wiki ITALY]

Giorgio Napolitano was born in Naples on June 29, 1925 and was elected Italy’s eleventh President on May 10, 2006. In the past, he served as Speaker of the Assembly in the XI Congress, replacing Oscar Luigi Scalafaro, who had been voted President, and Interior Minister in the Prodi government.

In 1942, at the age of 17, Napolitano founded an antifascist, communist group, which participated in several Resistance actions against the Nazis. In 1945, he joined the Italian Communist Party, becoming local Secretary for Naples and Caserta. Two years later, he earned a law degree from the University of Naples with a thesis in economic policy. Before devoting his life to politics, Napolitano briefly contemplated acting as a profession and notably played the leading role in William Butler Yeats' Journey to Cardiff.

Elected to the National Assembly 1953 from the Naples district (Napolitano has been regularly returned to office for over 50 years), he became head of the Southern Commission of the Italian Communist Party Central Committee, to which he was admitted during the VIII Congress in 1956. In that year, between October and November, he supported the Soviet repression of the Hungarian workers' uprising, which the Italian Communist Party (PCI) had condemned as counterrevolutionary. In his autobiography of his public life, From the PCI to European Socialism, he writes of his terrible soul-searching in coming to this decision, which he attributes to his conception of the role of the Communist Party as “inseparable from the destiny of the Socialist camp led by the Soviet Union" which stood in opposition to Capitalism.

Promoted to the PCI’s national leadership team during the 10th Party Congress, Napolitano was responsible for economic policy from 1976 to 1979. From 1986 to 1989, he was Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and International Relations.

An adherent of the reforming and social-democratic faction within the party (as leader of the so-called Proponents of Betterment), he became Foreign Minister in the PCI's shadow cabinet, then resigned the position at the Rimini Congress to form the DS (Democratic Leftists).

Serving several times as PCI party whip, he was elected to the European Parliament in 1992 and as Speaker of the House, replacing Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. During his years as shadow Foreign Minister, he implemented a policy of “full and loyal” support of the United States and NATO.

On September 23, 2005, he was named Senator for Life, by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Feed Donald Rumsfeld to the Dogs (1977)

In 1977, Playboy Penthouse illustrator Ron Embleton got it right. His Oh Wicked Wanda character J. Hoover Grup disposes of Donald Rumself on the pages of Playboy Penthouse in 1977.

Sigh, Ron is no longer with us. He'd have a field day with Jeff Gannon and the pootas and poker GOP crowd at the Watergate.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Insanity of Military Action Against Iran

Reuters, via Le Monde.

As Bush charges into war, the American public is adrift without an sanguine analysis or the facts. Jean-François Bayart obliges in Le Monde. (Sorry, but I wasn't fast enough to post a direct link. The article is now in the archives for which payment is required. If you happen to subscribe to Le Monde on-line, you can query the article).

Dissuading Iran, by Jean-François Bayart
LE MONDE | 02.05.06 | 13:36 . Updated on 02.05.06 | 17:12

Europe is caught in the trap of a trick question to which it believes it has an answer: How to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? Day after day, the voice of reason is fading. We are constructing a crisis whose consequences are incalculable, without having the slightest idea of how to manage it.

The Iranian nuclear program dates back to 1974. It included a military dimension, but no one mentioned it because it was meant to counter the USSR. Iran was an ally of Israel, whom Washington permitted to acquire the bomb. France and Germany cooperated with Tehran without worrying themselves over its purpose. Imam Khomeini abandoned this program but Iranian leaders restarted it in the mid-1980’s to put their territory, threatened by invasion from Iraq, off limits. The US air strikes on Baghdad in 1991 strengthened their decision by the demonstration of the vulnerability of their country.

Today, the single uncertainty is to know if Iran seeks to develop the capacity to fabricate nuclear weapons by remaining just under the “threshold”, as Japan has done. Or whether it intends to produce the bomb, like India and Japan. Or whether it intends to acquire the bomb secretly, as Israel has done. In any case, Western “hawks” perceive the threat of Islamic revolution for which Israel would be the first target. It is very unlikely. Iran has abandoned the myth of Islamic Revolution in all Muslim countries in order to promote its state interests. The idea that it would risk total destruction to defend an Arab cause is just crazy.

The Islamic Republic wishes to defend its national territory by applying the reasoning behind the French doctrine of dissuasion. It wishes to affirm its standing as a power in a nuclear weaponized region. However, the argument put forward by the regime that it wants this technology to reduce its dependence for energy on petroleum cannot be dismissed out of hand. The reserves of the country are not inexhaustible; pollution in its cities is a major problem; and, the Iranian elite believe that it is natural to acquire expertise in one of the aspects of modernity.

The panic felt by Western “hawks” also originates in the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of the Republic whom they blame for the hardening of Iran's nuclear policy. In reality, nuclear policy is decided collegially within the High Council of National Security of which Ahmadinejad is a member along with a core of directors who, since the 1980s, have been (or were formerly) in charge of the nuclear program. The decision to restart uranium enrichment testifies to the frustration of Tehran of having received nothing tangible, either from Europe or the United States, after two years of negotiations –with the exception of simple promises of civilian nuclear cooperation should they renounce the ambition. The return to the starting gate occurred before the arrival of President Ahmadinejad in power and was publicly ordered by his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami.

The antagonism between an Iran determined to acquire the atomic bomb and Western powers bent on denying them this right in virtue of the NTP, to which it is a signatory, appears to be ineluctable. It is certain that Iran is legally bound to its 1968 engagement. But politically the argument has its limits now that India and Pakistan enjoy a sort of special bonus awarded to non-signatories to the NPT and are courted by the United States and France in the area of nuclear cooperation. The West was the first to undermine the international treaty on which it insists.

Even if Tehran has hidden a number of facts from the AIEA, Western “hawks” find themselves in a tarnished position to denounce it: their own lies on Iraq’s weapons and the consequences of the military action carried out in 2003 undermine the legitimacy of their call to a new pre-emptive war. Moreover, their bellicose posture evokes unease after the United States and France encouraged Iraqi aggression against Iran in 1980. Finally, it is paradoxical to forbid a country to acquire atomic weapons to guaranty its security while simultaneously refusing to sell it conventional arms.

The only coherent position of the West is a visceral distrust of the Islamic Republic. However, Iranian opinion supports the nuclear program after having been the victim of two centuries of foreign interference and aggression. This is also the opinion held by the Iranian émigré community, frequent critics of the Islamic Republic. The underestimation of national sentiment and the regime's legitimacy is more worrisome than the “hard line” adopted by its leaders. To imagine that the Iranians are going to be cowed by financial sanctions, an embargo on gasoline (which, lacking sufficient facilities, it imports) or bombings and that the population would welcome these things to see the destruction of hated institutions is pure folly.

Is the West sure of support? Russia, China, and Japan unwilling to support any escalation. Brazil does not wish to mortgage away its nuclear future. The position of Egypt and the Republic of South African is ambiguous. It is true that Iran is not certain of its potential allies and that it has been unpleasantly surprised by the position taken by India and South Korea.

But beyond the possible recourse to terrorism as self-defense against the West as it did the 1980s, it has the means for retaliation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Its slightest action in the Straits of Hormuz would have an immediate effect on an already nervous world market and would destabilize Western economies while simultaneously raising its revenue.

What levers does the West possess to force Iran into submission? The regime has a solid reputation of getting around sanctions. Its dependence on the importation of gasoline should not be exaggerated: an appreciable portion of this fuel is illegally re-exported to neighboring states. As to a military option, nothing guarantees its success, and it will be devastating for the West itself. Especially if the United States resorts to tactical atomic weapons. One can see the absurdity in ending up with the first use of the atomic bomb since 1945 in the name of enforcing a non-proliferation treaty which was unable to prevent Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea from clearing the barrier and whose signatories are penalized while the free riders of the international system go unpunished.

It is a better thing if Iran does not get the bomb: for the future of the NTP, the stability of the region and for the prosperity of the Iranians, who have better goals to fund. But if Iran does acquire the bomb, the worst is far from certain. Why should Iran be a greater danger than India under the nationalist party, BJP? Setting off a new major international crisis has no comparative advantage from a security standpoint: it would be like striking a fire now in the hope of finding a stove -- uncertain to exist-- later.

Jean-François Bayart
Article published in the 3 May 2005 edition.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Duneraker : The spiral of catastrophe set in motion by George W. Bush

Ian Fleming's Moonraker (film, 1979):

James Bond: Your dream, whatever sort of nightmare it is, hasn't a chance, Drax.
Hugo Drax: You think not? [laughs] We shall see.

Bush’s failure in the Middle East, by Thierry de Montbrial
Published in Le Monde, 04 May 2006

(See a previous editorial by Montbrial on the political outlook in the Middle East translated here in February 2005.)

With the approach of Congressional elections at the halfway point of his second and last mandate, the outlook for George W. Bush’s policies in the Middle East —currently the most important region for international policy— appears nothing short of calamitous. Iraq is on the edge of civil war. The elections of 15 December 2005 have promoted devastating sectarian divisions and the task before the new Prime Minister is overwhelming. The economy of the country is a disaster. Infrastructures have deteriorated since the occupation. Only half the population has access to running water.

The radicalization of Arab countries is underway. In Egypt, there are now 88 Islamists in Parliament. In the Palestinian territories, the democratic elections of 25 January resulted in a landslide for Hamas. The Syrian régime, under massive international pressure, seems have the upper hand: it is attempting to reduce the opposition to silence while opening up more space to the Islamists and their values.

Parallel to these developments, tension between the United States and Iran is at a maximum. Everything suggests that Iran is so sure of itself that it does not hesitate to ratchet up its provocations. From strictly a legal standpoint, it is not entirely without justification. The Islamic Republic has certainly failed to honor its commitments by not declaring its uranium enrichment activities and heavy water production, noticed in 2002, to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It remains nevertheless obvious to the non-nuclear nations who are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP) that the international cooperation stipulated by the treaty for the development of peaceful applications for the atom is a dead letter, as well as the compensation promised to them in exchange for renouncing nuclear weapons.

From a policy standpoint, Iran believes that it enjoys a position of strength for three reasons. First, the population supports the régime in this contest. Second, the leaders of Russia and China will oppose any excessive action by the United States. Last, if despite everything the United States undertakes military action, Tehran has the means to make it pay dearly (in Iraq, Palestine, in the petroleum markets, etc.) The Iranians are no doubt interested the accelerated development nuclear weapons (in any case, it will not happen tomorrow) but for now they think they can get closer without excessive risk. From their point of view, their cause is justified because Pakistan and, unofficially, Israel are members of the Nuclear Club.

Against this backdrop, the 28 March elections in Israle revealed the fragmentation of its society and the priority of economic and social questions in the minds of the electorate. No one continues to believe in the benefit of negotiations with the Palestinians. They have latched on to Ariel Sharon’s separation policy, carried forward by Ehoud Olmert. After their unilateral retreat from Gaza, some isolated Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria were evacuated. The borders of a Palestinian state resembling “leopard spots” will be decided by the Israelis alone.

And who could possibly believe that such a process will lead to peace? The Bush Administration has consistently backed Israel’s unilateralism. It insists on more democracy but, at the risk of chaos, refuses to give Hamas the time, and perhaps even the chance, to temper its intransigence and to define a strategy toward Israel. As a general rule, Washington is opposed to any form of dialog with Islamists, even moderate figures. But sooner or later such dialog will come to be inevitable. Even though it may now be opportune to send out feelers to Iran for limited talks on Iraq, and despite the failure of US intervention in that country, Washington lets it be understod that it prefers the sound of marching boots.

It is impossible to discern a strategy. Certainly the United States is now more prudent in its relations with Saudi Arabia. This old ally, accused of every imaginable transgression in the aftermath of 9-11, has regained its position as privileged partner because King Abdallah has astutely maneuvered both within and without the Kingdom. Furthermore, from what is heard from the highest-ranking officials of the Kingdom, US officials are not only listening to Saudi analyses, but are asking for advice.

Without a fundamental realignment of US policies, the overall situation in the Middle East will continue to deteriorate. In a document made accessible to the public on the website of Harvard University, two respected American academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, have radically questioned US policy towards Israel. They wrote that for the first time in its history, the United States has sidelined its own interests and those of most of its allies for the benefit of another state. One can only hope that their research will become the subject of a large national debate.

It is a fact that a more balanced posture by the United States could change the cards on the table. The process outlined by the “Road Map”, condemned by Israeli-American unilateralism, could resume and offer a chance for peace. In the same spirit --instead of clinging to the illusory objective of overthrowing the regime of the Mullahs--, Washington could maneuver towards negotiations with Tehran, starting with issues of common interest, such as Iraq, thereby setting up a new and positive dynamic. The US was able to begin a relationship with China in 1972 by using Ping-Pong Diplomacy. A similar approach was recommended in 2004 by a group of experts headed by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert M. Gates within the framework of Council on Foreign Relations of New York.

For the immediate future and despite the difficulties in which the draft treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe has been mired since the "no" vote in the French referendum, the European Union cannot let down its guard on Middle East issues and give in to the temptation to align itself with the United States. Only an exhaustive and balanced approach can break the diabolical spiral of catastrophe to which only our own stupidity would condemn us.

US Ambassador John Gunther Dean on Israel

Profoundly disturbed by US policies in the Middle East, former US Ambassador John Gunther Dean has published a certain number of views that he would like to make known. This was published in Beirut's L'Orient-Le Jour today.

The Palestinian issue is the most overwhelming, complex and dangerous issue facing American foreign policy for several reasons. It is also the most difficult problem to resolve because it is profoundly enmeshed with culpability, emotion and trepidation to the point of detachment from all rational thought. Americans, whether government officials or plain citizens, feel free to criticize the United States, Great Britain or France without fear of being accused of bias against to the people of those countries. But non-Jews are afraid of accusations of anti-Semitism, even if they limit their criticism of Israel to the intransigent policies of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The US attitude is not only damaging to us Americans but it fails to serve Israel or Jews in general. Israel is not nor has it ever been a charity case for the international community. It is a rich and powerful nation. (…)

Like any other states, Israel and America have national interests which do not always coincide. So that citizens of both nations may get together and evaluate this bilateral relationship, their interests must be defined in a rational manner so that they may decide on what they are prepared to do to defend them. This is assuredly how the Israelis view their relationship with the United States. When Israel sees a conflict between its objectives and ours, it naturally opts for its own. But America has rarely acted in this way.

At the governmental level, kid gloves are used on issues which have severely altered US interests. For example, the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon profoundly damaged relations between the United States and the rest of the Middle East; Israeli policies toward the Palestinians have frozen the peace process and assuredly fed terrorism directed against the United States.

We have closed our eyes to events which would have provoked military action if they had been perpetrated by other persons in other places. The two most salient illustrations are the 1954 burning of a library in Alexandria belonging to the US government by Israeli agents in an attempt to alter US-Egyptian relations; the second is the 1967 attempt by the Israeli Navy and Air Force to sink a US vessel. This attack cost the lives of 37 US sailors and wounded another 75. If any other nation had launched such an attack, there would have been immediate military retaliation.

Despite its fiscal problems, the United States has become a horn of plenty to Israel. It has granted aid or loans, with no expectation of repayment, to Israel for a total of $100 billion. We have established privileged trading agreements with Israel. We have subsidized the Israeli defense industry even while Israel evaded US policy by selling arms where Washington wished to put an end such trade, such as China. Conscious of the risk of being labeled anti-Semites, US experts on the Middle East do not dare to make the results of their studies public.

The Israelis act in a manner that is far more egotistical and security-obsessed than the Americans. While the Americans shyed away criticizing the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the well-known Israeli academic, Avi Shlaim, painted a stark portrait of Israeli occupation prior to the unilateral pullout (…).

Aware that they possess a blank check from the Americans, Israel pays little attention to the attempts by Washington to create conditions favorable to its policies in the Middle East.

But this does not mean that the Israelis are to blame. It is the Americans who are at fault. Israelis merely act rationally to defend their interests. It is the Americans who act irrationally. A certain number of Israelis share this opinion and believe that US weakness benefits above all Isreal's extreme Right. And in the end, it will be Israeli interests and Israeli democracy which will bear the consequences.