The Forgotten Victims: Iraqi Palestinians

While all Iraqis are suffering as a result of this totally unnecessary war, Iraqis of Palestinian descent are perhaps worse off than most of their countrymen. Jo Wilding gives a brief first-hand account of what their lives are like now:

She lives in a tent with UNHCR stamped on the roof in the grounds of the old Haifa Palestinian Sports Club, among twelve thousand homeless families. “I was born in Iraq and brought up here, married here and had my children here, but my father was Palestinian so I am Palestinian. I have no nationality, no identification, no right to own property.”

After the war the landlord came to the house and threatened to douse it in petrol and burn it if they didn’t leave. Her four sons live there with her but her two daughters have been squeezed into a relative’s house. “There are so many young men here. I am too afraid for them here. But they had to stop going to school because of the situation. It is not safe.”

For a time they were supported by the UN and aid agencies, she said, but there has been no constant assistance for some months now. Half of the aid is taken anyway by the people inside. She and her friend gestured towards the buildings and offices of the club. “They sell it outside the camp. But Dr Qusay owns the club and if he did not let us live here we would be on the streets.”
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Fighting on the Frontier: Pakistan-Afghanistan

Victoria Schofield, a specialist on South Asia, is the author of “Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia.” In this commentary for the Daily Star (Lebanon), she discusses the tense and dangerous border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan and how it has been affected by the continued fighting there.

That the Pakistani Army’s raid last week into South Waziristan met with local resistance should not have come as a surprise. Ever since Pakistan became an independent country, the mountainous region bordering Afghanistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas has been a law unto itself. Occupied by numerous different tribes, or khels, the inhabitants of this region have never officially been incorporated into the constitutional framework of Pakistan. And although Pakistan controls the main roads to the Afghan frontier, most famously the Khyber Pass which leads to Torkham on the border and onward to Jalalabad and Kabul, the areas lying in between are neither governed by Pakistan, nor do they come under its legal jurisdiction.

This anomalous relationship arises from the days of the British occupation of the northwest frontier in the early 20th century. Whereas British troops were able to establish control over “settled areas” in the plains, they found that the cost was too high to exert their authority over the mountainous tribal regions…

The Pakistani government may well be justified in launching offensives into tribal territory in pursuit of terrorists. But its actions also have the potential of alienating those who, though not involved in terrorist acts, are developing a new resentment against the federal authorities. After the raid, Afridi stated that the government had “sold the freedom of tribal people” to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he pointed out that the government was forcing tribesmen to rebel.

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Mayonnaise of Mass Destruction

A Halliburton whistleblower gets fired for trying to spare American soldiers from food poisoning. Don’t read this just before eating.

“On July, 17, 2003, Heather Yarbrough flew to Kuwait to start a new job: monitoring the quality and safety of food served to soldiers on U.S. military bases in Iraq. Her employer was the Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) Government Services division of Halliburton, the Texas-based oil company formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney that has contracts with the U.S. government to support military personnel in the field and to help with Iraq reconstruction.

“Yarbrough, 33, felt upbeat and excited. She had trained hard for a position like this, one that required expertise in food and science. She was banking on the high salary — $1,500 a week — to pay off her student loans. And unlike many of her fellow students at Humboldt State University, she supported the Bush Administration and its war on terrorism.”

You probably already sense what’s coming, and I know what you’re thinking: Why does Heather Yarbrough hate America? Continue reading “Mayonnaise of Mass Destruction”

Fighting the Israeli-Palestinian War on the Dirt Roads of Alabama

From the Sunday Montgomery [Ala.] Advertiser:

Davis Tops List for Perk Trips

Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, accepted trips from special interests that cost nearly $13,000. Davis flew to Israel, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pittsburgh. Davis’ weeklong trip to Israel in August was valued at nearly $6,000. It was paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is associated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful lobbying organization.

Davis represents district 7, which included my hometown prior to the last redistricting. The 7th is an exercise in racial gerrymandering, an effort to create a slam-dunk for an African-American/Democratic candidate. It’s extremely poor and almost completely rural, save for a slice of inner-city Birmingham. And I guarantee you that Israel is the last thing on its voters’ minds. I’ll bet that 99% of voters in the 7th, regardless of race or income, could not locate Israel on a map.

And yet… the Israel lobby bought the 7th’s congressman. From 2002:

Artur Davis may want to thank New York for his stunning win over five-term Rep. Earl Hilliard in a mostly poor Alabama congressional district that has little in common with the Big Apple.

Davis, a 34-year-old attorney trounced by Hillard two years ago, financed his campaign with a flood of donations from out of state – especially from New York, where Davis received money linked to his pro-Israel stance.

Of the $306,482 Davis received in individual donations, nearly $189,000 came from New York state – $134,000 of that from New York City, according to FECInfo, a Web site that tracks political money. …

On the other side, Hilliard received support from Arab-Americans, who liked his call for a balanced U.S. policy toward the Mideast.

Jim Zogby, president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, said Hilliard received many donations from Arab-Americans in response to a column he wrote discussing the way Jews were backing Davis.

A pro-Palestinian group posted a Web site backing Hilliard, and Arab-Americans were among Hilliard’s campaign workers.

Another cost of empire: the importation of conflicts from all around the world.

Think I Was Too Harsh in Monday’s Column?

Speaking of the “capture” theory, Daniel McCarthy sends in this item from the print version of National Review, Jan. 26 issue:

Former Marine Corps general Anthony C. Zinni is a critic of the Iraq war.
Saddam Hussein “was contained,” Zinni told the Washington Post in a recent
interview. “He had a deteriorated military. He wasn’t a threat to the
region.” That is a view – a wrong one. But Zinni, who thinks it both right
and obvious, must then explain why the Bush administration does not espouse
it. “The more I saw, the more I thought that this was the product of the
neocons who didn’t understand the region . . . Somehow, the neocons captured
the president. They captured the vice president.” But George W. Bush
identified Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, as a dangerous rogue state
when he was campaigning for office in 1999 (then he thought their missile
programs would be threats). So why does Zinni think Bush was “captured”?
Could it be because Bush and Cheney are Chr******s, while neocons are J**s?
Is Zinni d**b, or worse?