Thursday, March 23, 2006


Daily Star Syria's about-face on Khaddam has the air of political expediency For the ruling regime in Damascus, the line between friend and foe seems to be drawn in shifting sands. On Wednesday, former Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam, who was one of the longest-serving and most trusted officials in the ruling Baath Party, was summoned along with 24 of his family members to appear in court. Earlier press reports have said that Khaddam will be tried on charges of high treason.
SYRIA: Domestic opposition gaining strength, but still facing ... IRIN news, Bayanouni’s signature brought Syria's secular Arab nationalist opposition together with the two forces – Kurds and Islamists – seen as the main opponents
Syria summons Khaddam By Agence France Presse
Syria has summoned former Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam, branded a traitor by Damascus and currently living in exile in France, to appear in court. Khaddam and 24 other family members including his wife Najat Marqabi and their three sons and daughter were called to appear in court in his hometown.
MERIA Putin's Foreign Policy toward Syria by Mark N. Katz
From dialogue to epilogue in Beirut By Michael Young
By now it must be increasingly apparent what the balance sheet is for Lebanon's national dialogue. It must also be plain that the dialogue has only been "national" in the sense that those sitting around the table are Lebanese.
Where Even Grisly News Can Offer a Kind of Comfort New York Times, Last April, shortly before Syria withdrew its soldiers from Lebanon under international pressure, the women pitched a tent in Jibran Khalil Jibran Park near
Lebanon's leaders resume national dialogue

Washington Institute The Shape of Israel’s Election Race
CFR Elections (3/22): Israeli politics expert David Makovsky tells's Bernard Gwertzman next week's vote will likely bring a coalition goverment to power led by the centrist Kadima Party.
Israel Goes to the Polls The leaders of Israel’s Likud and Labor parties would have served their interests better by campaigning as potentially influential coalition partners in a Kadima-led government than by running to win on their own
BBC Stealing the show Israel's new Kadima party is topping the political box office
Israel May Be Next al-Qaida Battleground...
COMMENT AND ANALYSIS: A stricken leader sets the tone in Israel's 'post-modern poll' Israelis vote next week in what has been dubbed their first post-modern election. The heated left-right divisions that defined Israel’s politics for its first 50 years have given way to a pragmatic if muscular centrism that leaves the main parties battling for the middle ground
Sharon's heir plays invisibilty card On the brink of becoming Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert has adopted the strategy of disappearing from the election campaign.
P.L.O. Rejects Proposed Platform of Hamas, Now Set to Take Power
PLO-Hamas differences surface
Hamas calls on MPs to approve Cabinet, despite PLO objections Compiled by Daily Star
Hamas said on Wednesday the Parliament would meet on Saturday to vote on its new Cabinet despite the Palestine Liberation Organization's rejection of its governing agenda. Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert kept up the pressure on Hamas, saying Israel is in a rush to separate from the Palestinians and will take unilateral steps.
Israel's Election Shows Kadima's 'Unilateral' Appeal Washington Post, Americans may be surprised to learn that Peretz, a trade union leader, has been running on a platform that says poverty is a problem in Israel. Is it?
Olmert: Israel won't wait years for Hamas Boston Globe, Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaks during a Kadima party meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem Wednesday
Prospect Instead of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, both sides just want to contain it.

Washington Post A Trap and an Opportunity in Iran How Best to Manage The Talks With Iran By Jim Hoagland Ask administration hard-liners about Iran's sudden acceptance of the U.S. offer to talk about stability in Iraq and you hear this reaction: It's a booby trap. They're right. It's also an opportunity.
The Times Leaked Letter in Full: UK Diplomat Outlines Iran Strategy
Iran: Reading Between the Lines of Khamenei's Blessing Stratfor
Russia's Iran Policy: Global and Regional Objectives, Political and Economic Interests German Institute for International and Security Affairs
American Conservative Iran: Mission Improbable by Scott McConnell
Daily Star Iraq should be used to widen American-Iranian talks By David Ignatius, "Great Satan seeks Axis-ette of Evil. Object: Short-term companionship, relief of stress, 'exit strategy.' If first date works out, a longer-term relationship may be possible. GS is a muscular guy, regular churchgoer, tough talker but sentimental weakness for democracy, who needs a partner with a yen for cleaning up the neighborhood.
MERIA Patterns of Discontent: Will History Repeat In Iran? by Patrick Clawson and Michael Rubin

UPI Commentary: Strategic Conundrum By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE Chased out of one Iraqi town after another, the insurgents would wait for U.S. and Iraqi troops to depart and then slowly infiltrate back.
Los Angeles Times Depends on what you mean by "civil war"
By Max Boot Iraq's bad now, but it'll get much worse if the U.S. draws too soon.
Iraq's only way out By Shlomo Avineri
Der Spiegel INTERVIEW WITH EX- NEOCON FRANCIS FUKUYAMA"A Model Democracy Is not Emerging in Iraq"
BBC Bush calls for Iraqi government US President Bush urges Iraqi leaders to form a government of national unity, to end months of uncertainty.
Iraq's Oil Crisis - Robert Novak
RFE/RL Iraq Sectarian Violence Highlights Power Of Militias Some Iraqi leaders are saying the biggest security threat now is not the insurgency but the possibility of civil war, which is focusing new attention on the many sectarian-based militias in Iraq, some of which appear to be waging revenge attacks on rival groups
Ex-Iraqi Official Unveiled as Spy
Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's last foreign minister, Naji Sabri, was a paid spy for French intelligence, which later turned him over to the CIA to supply information about Iraq and its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs more than six months before the war began in March 2003
News Between the Lines By Dan Froomkin
Why Iraq Is Still Worth the Effort By Fareed Zakaria

1 comment:

sevenpointman said...

The plan I am sending you has been approved by many prominent thinkers and
activists in the field. Which includes: Benjamin Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor
at the Nuremburg Trials, Tom Hayden, Matthew Rothschild, Anthony Arnove, Danny Schecter,
Tony Benn- Former Member of the British parliament ,Reggie Rivers,
Robert Jenkins, Andrew Bard Schmookler and others.
I formulated this plan in September 2004, based on a comprehensive
study of the issues. For my plan to be successful it must be implemented
with all seven points beginning to happen within a very short period of
I have run up against a wall of doubt about my plan due to it's
rational nature ,and due to it's adherence to placing the blame on the
invaders, and then trying to formulate a process of extrication which would
put all entities in this conflict face to face, to begin to finally solve
the dilemmas that exist.
If you read my plan you will see that it is guided by a reasonable
and practical compromise that could end this war and alleviate the
internecine civil violence that is confronting Iraq at this juncture in it's
I am making a plea for my plan to be put into action on a wide-scale.
I need you to circulate it and use all the persuasion you have to bring it
to the attention of those in power.
Just reading my plan and sending off an e-mail to me that you received
it will not be enough.

This war must end-we who oppose it can do this by using my plan.
We must fight the power and end the killing.

If you would like to view some comments and criticism about my plan
I direct you to my blog: sevenpointman

Thank you my dear friend,

Howard Roberts

A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces
must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be
applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to
representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These
representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The
individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire,
witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually
signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the
foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within
sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the
effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will
protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military
and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in
the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in
increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar
and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary
land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops
will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated
in the theater, if the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly
formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international
ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a
majority, deem it necessary.

G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they
arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six
month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the
designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above
mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to
the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with
the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making
null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul
Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries
will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both
Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity
and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board
together, in local elections.

4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that
Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18
autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international
experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the
creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a
voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the
names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives.
When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be
allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five
individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a
National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international
observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up
of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US
and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the
temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative
duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the
representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months
from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose
their cabinet, after the election.

5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the
principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is
able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace
period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any
structural adjustments.

6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for
its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty
years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as
investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who
are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National
representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this
Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to
choose freely their own lawyers.