Meanwhile, Cheney goes to Saudia

Whilst the intrigue of Litvinenko’s poisoning ti-tillates and frightens the British public, the Great Game continues quietly and malevolently elsewhere.

Note that if the Litvinenko affair is an attempt to discredit Putin and to restrict Russia’s power on both negotiations on supply of energy to Europe and sanctions on Iran, this would be an ideal time for Cheney to attempt his coup de grace. Cheney does have connections with Scaramella via the Environmental Crime Prevention Program (ECPP) cum black ops front Washington-based organisation which Scaramella heads.

Ugly it is, but quite credible considering the criminal machinations emanating in the past few years from the Cheney clique. Machiavelli has nothing on Cheney. Divide and conquer and perpetuate eternal war to bolster the only industry keeping the United Stupids afloat financially – armaments.

From : http://www.omidyar.net/group/community-general/news/445/703/

“A well-placed and highly reliable source has provided the following account of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Nov. 25, 2006 visit to Saudi Arabia. The report coincides with other evidence of a scheme to induce the United States to self-destruct. While the source may have missed some elements of the picture emerging from the Cheney visit, the essential details appear to be accurate.

1. The essential message delivered to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah by Vice President Cheney was that there is no basis for dialogue with Iran. The U.S. position in the region has been weakened, and therefore a new security architecture must be established, particularly in the Persian Gulf, to contain and counter Iran’s growing influence. Already, NATO has been in dialogue with Qatar and Kuwait, in pursuit of closer, upgraded cooperation. Cheney proposed to establish a new regional balance of power, through a Sunni Arab alliance with Israel, to confront the Iranian threat. Cheney argued that to negotiate with Iran at this time would be tantamount to surrender. A new military organization will be built, involving the Gulf Cooperation Council states, Egypt, and Jordan. NATO and the United States will be closely involved, and Israel will be a de facto participant. These moves led by Cheney obviously aim to preempt adoption by the Bush Administration of any recommendations from the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, to initiate diplomatic talks with Iran.

2. Cheney took the lead in proposing this new security architecture. There is, at this point, a consensus inside the Bush Administration to pursue this policy. When President Bush arrives later this week in Amman, Jordan, to meet with Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki, he may also hold secret talks with several senior Syrian officials. In that meeting, President Bush will bluntly offer Syria the opportunity to break its ties to Iran and join in the emerging Sunni Arab bloc.

3. The approach to Syria coincides with a major effort, within Lebanon, to force Michel Aoun to break his alliance with Hezbollah, in the wake of the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. Over the weekend, there was a meeting of leading Maronites, sponsored by Patriarch Sfeir, aimed at tightening the pressure on Aoun to break with Hezbollah, and join a Sunni Arab, Christian, Druze coalition to counter Hezbollah’s power. Were the Syrians to accept the Bush offer (highly unlikely), they would be expected to pressure Hezbollah to disarm, as a condition for negotiations to get the Golan Heights back from Israel.

4. Condi Rice’s planned meeting with Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert is aimed at kick-starting the Israeli-Palestinian talks. But the key to the Israeli policy will be to complete the construction of the wall, and to build similar walls of separation along the border with Lebanon. The argument is that both Hamas and Hezbollah represent extensions of Iran’s influence into the areas bordering on Israel, and they must be contained. The “peace” offer being put on the table will center on these walls of separation.

5. Iran is already aware of these Cheney-led initiatives. While Arab governments will assume that Iran will react and respond to the attempt to create this Sunni Arab-U.S.-Israel security architecture to confront Iran by playing for sectarian conflict in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere, sources caution that Iran is taking a more sophisticated view. Recurring statements by President Ahmadinejad are calculated to instigate an Israeli attack on Iran’s purported nuclear weapons sites. Iran anticipates some kind of attack on these sites–either by the United States or Israel. Iran would prefer an Israeli attack for several reasons. First, the U.S. has far more significant military capabilities to strike Iran than Israel does. Second, any Israeli attack on a Muslim country would trigger a revolt on the Arab streets. Iran carefully studied the response of the population throughout the Persian Gulf and Arab world to the Israeli attacks on Lebanon this summer. They anticipate massive Arab support, across the sectarian Shi’ite-Sunni divide, for Iran, in the event of an Israeli strike.”

Israel’s water theft

Mohammad Ghamlush, “the engineer heading the Wazzani river pumping systems, told Agence France Presse the Israeli army sabotaged the water pumps on the river last week and installed a pipe to pump hundreds of cubic meters to Israel.”

He said the Israeli army has installed two water pumps to transport water from the Wazzani river through two pipes, which run toward villages in Israel.

Ghamlush said the Israelis were pumping every day between 200 and 300 cubic meters of water from the Wazzani to Ghajar and to Israeli villages.

As for water stolen from the West Bank, there’s plenty of evidence for that. It is illegal under international law to retain land captured by warfare. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Shebaa Farms and Golan Heights is illegal whilst resisting the Israeli occupation is legal.

Of course, Israel doesn’t give two hoots about international law.

“However, soon afterward, the Israelis launched an unrelated attack on a West Bank Jordanian village, killing 53 people which came to be known as the Kibya massacre. As a result of the ensuing furor, on October 18, 1953, the Eisenhower administration made public its cutoff of aid to Israel. Eleven days later, under the pressure from the U.S. Zionist lobby and a pledge by Israel to suspend work on the diversion project, U.S. aid was resumed. (Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, by Stephen Green, William Morrow and Co., N.Y. 1984. “The 1953 Aid Cutoff: A Parable for Our Times,” pp. 76- 93.)

Israeli work on diverting the water of the Jordan River was only temporarily suspended — perhaps for as long as two years. By 1960, however, the diversion project — which came to be known as the National Water Carrier — was complete and in fact was the target of the PLO’s first (and unsuccessful) attack in 1964.

Jordan and Syria strongly protested Israel’s unilateral appropriation of their water because Israel’s diversion made local agricultural activity impossible.

Before the Israeli diversion, the U.S. plan apportioned 33% of Jordan River water for Israel’s use. As Stephen Green points out, the significance of this figure is that only 23% of the flow of the Jordan River originates in Israel. The Israelis, however, wanted more than 33%. Today, Israel takes virtually all of the Jordan River flow leaving only brackish, unusable water for the Syrians and Jordanians. Moreover, Israel’s diversion of the Jordan River water to the Mediterranean littoral and to the Negev, defies an important principle of international law regarding water use; namely that water should not be diverted from its catchment basin.”

“When Israel conquered the Golan Heights, they captured the headwaters of the Jordan and thus secured for themselves the greatest part of the flow of the Jordan River. Israel captured the final portion of the Jordan River flow in their 1982 invasion of Lebanon when they included as part of their self-declared “security zone” the Hasbani and Wazzani Rivers which arise in Lebanon and flow into the Jordan.”

“West Bank water not only makes up 30% of the water in Tel Aviv households but also is critical to preserving the pressure balance which keeps the salt water of the Mediterranean from invading the coastal aquifers.

Israel has permitted no new drilling of agricultural wells for water for the Palestinians in the territories and has permitted fewer than a dozen for domestic use. Moreover, the Israelis charge the Palestinians fees that are three times higher than they charge Israelis for water for domestic use (with even higher relative charges in Gaza).

As Sharif Elmusa points out: “[I]n terms of relative GNP per capita, Palestinians pay a minimum of fifteen times more than Israeli consumers — a phenomenal difference for water systems managed by the same company.” (“Dividing the Common Palestinian-Israeli Waters: An International Water Law Approach” in Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring 1993, No. 87, p. 63. See also note 11, p. 74.) ”

Here’s more history of Israel’s theft of water from the Jordan and the disastrous consequences.

“The main flow of the Jordan River has now been all but totally preempted by Israel’s diversions. All the headwaters’ flow is now collected by Israel and pumped out of the Jordan Basin, across the mountains, for use in irrigation or municipal water along the Mediterranean littoral of Israel.

The planning for diverting the Jordan River water by the Israelis started as early as the 1940s, but the very idea of capturing it is even more ancient. Much of the design of the civil works for capturing the Jordan River was completed in the 1950s, and they succeeded in diverting the entire volume of sweet water from the Upper Jordan by the late 1960s, when construction of the National Water Carrier system was completed. Pumps lift Jordan River water out of Lake Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee, and convey it across the watershed. The diverted flow is then pumped to Israeli consumers on the Mediterranean coast and down into the northern Negev.”

“To make things even more difficult, there is another source of extra-boundary water that Israel diverts for its own use, albeit less obviously. The amount of water that Israel take from the underground of the West Bank is almost as important as the water diverted from the Upper Jordan Valley. This could surprise as the West Bank appears to be quite dry much of the year. In fact it receives more rain than the coastal plain, mostly in wintertime. As the soil is extremely porous much goes into the ground and thus into the aquifers underneath which is now pumped by the Israelis. This subsurface flow of water is a major contributor to Israel’s water balance, representing with its 400 mcm/y of water just over 20% of total Israeli consumption. This explains why Palestinians have not been allowed to dig new wells since 1967 and why their water consumption was constantly restricted by the occupier: the hegemony over the West Bank is critical for Israel’s water supply.”

The Wazzani River is in Lebanon.

Not Israel. Israel may think it owns all the water in the region, but it doesn’t.

“Withdrawing from some villages, the Israeli forces redeployed to other areas leaving behind them a trail of destruction, such as in Labbouneh, whose trees and horticulture have been totally destroyed by bulldozers. In addition, convoys of Israeli trucks are transporting Lebanese agricultural soil over the border to Israeli settlements and Israeli soldiers are building a water duct to carry water from the Wazzani river to Israel. The deployment of Lebanese and UNIFIL forces is being hampered by Israel’s refusal to hand over the maps indicating the land mines they planted prior to their withdrawal in 2000 and the cluster bombs they dropped on Lebanese sites during the last three days of the recent war. Moreover, reports about Israeli commando operations shifting the border away from the Blue Line into Lebanese territory have prompted the Lebanese government to file a complaint with the United Nations under the new regulations set up by Resolution 1701 which is supposed to safeguard Lebanon against violations of its territory.”

And more:

There are no bilateral water agreements between Lebanon and Israel, but both states are bound by the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, which has NOT been formally ratified. It must be noted that even this convention does NOT give Israel the right to actually draw water from within Lebanese territory. It merely puts a loose restriction on Lebanon in its usage of international watercourses that have downflow across the boundary. The Convention merely says that the state from which the watercourse flows should make sure to use the water source on its territory in a reasonable manner. This does NOT mean that Israel has the right to extend pipes across its boundary and pump water into Israel!!! Such a thing would fall under a bilateral agreement, which does NOT exist between Lebanon and Israel. Water diversion from the territory of one country by a foreign country is illegal under international law.

In fact, Israel’s occupation of Al-Ghajar and theft of water is merely a measure of revenge at a Lebanese project that dates a few years back, in which the Wazzani waters were to be put into use as part of a project to provide water to south Lebanese villages with no water access (a perfectly legitimate, legal project), and over which Israel was throwing a tantrum. It also explains why Israel has been pressuring Lebanon for the past 3 decades to initiate economic ties with it. This would basically mean the beginning of bilateral agreements, of which water is deemed to be an inseparable part. Direct access to these water sources would ensure that Israel would cover at least 40% of its water needs, not taking into account the Litani.

Between 1982 and 2000 Israel was pumping water OUT of Lebanon. Actually there is a very interesting study on this, I think done by the Lebanese ministry of energy & water, in the form of a booklet, but I think it’s only available in Arabic (a colleague once showed it to me, but I have not been able to get my hands on it). Throughout the occupation, the government in Beirut was prevented from having access to the water in the occupied south, while Israel pumped millions of cubic meters of water into Israel. From 1978 (Operation Litani) onwards, Israel stopped publishing full water and cultivation figures. Instead, only loose estimates were made available. As a counter-proposal to the Johnston plan for an agreement on the allocation of water sources to Arab countries and Israel, Israel proposed the diversion of the waters of the Litani (which does not feed any of the water sources inside Israel). Of course, the Johnston proposal was in itself inherently racist, and though its aspirations were high on resolving water conflict in the M.E as a precedent to political settlement, it nevertheless was a big failure not merely technically but also theoretically, in that it did not look at the core sources of the conflict (dispossession and colonization), but rather focused entirely on arriving to an artificial solution (settling the Palestinians in the Sinai desert). If you can, you should check out an article by John K. Cooley titled ‘The War over Water’, in the journal Foreign Policy, No. 54. (Spring, 1984), pp. 3-26.

For example, the article points out that when they captured the dam and lake at Qirawn in June 1982 the Israelis immediately seized all the hydrographic charts and technical documents relating to the Litani and its installations. The Israelis were openly augmenting the flow of the Hasbani across the frontier into Israel by laying surface pipes to catch the run-off and other waters from the mountains and nearby springs. Moreover, a watchful American military observer claims to have seen Israelis burying pipes deep in a hillside near Marjâuyn [Marjaâayoun] after the Israeli incursion of 1978, indicating that the Israelis might be secretly siphoning water underground from the Marj Plain in southern Lebanon into Israel, without affecting the measured flow of the Litani. Such a diversion would trap the extensive underground aquifer, which is fed by seepage from both the Litani and the Hasbani rivers and by underground streams from the Mount Hermon region. [S]eismic soundings and surveys had been conducted at a spot on the Litani gorges called Deir Mimas – soundings that Lebanese Litani River Authority officials were certain had been undertaken to find the optimum place for the inlet of a diversion tunnel to be dug about three miles into Israel (p. 22-23).

Another interesting read is an article titled ‘Israel’s Water Policies’, by Uri Davis, Antonia E. L. Maks, and John Richardson, which appeared in the Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2. (Winter, 1980), pp. 3-31.”

And yet more:

According to a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Israel was using water from the Lebanese Litani River, by means of an 11 mile tunnel it had drilled, as well as from Lebanons Wazzani springs (source: UPI). Note that no journalists can get to the area to confirm information about the siphoning of water and, indeed, such claims are contested (Aaron Wolf, in a U.N. publication, says there’s no way Israel would dream of stealing from the Litani).

But even whilst President Clinton and the Israeli government refused to negotiate over the right of return for Palestinian refugees, Israel imported over 100,000 Jews into the occupied West Bank. Those 100,000 use around the same amount of water that one million Palestinians do (something to do with swimming pools, say partisan analysts). As the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs says:

“Israel’s water economy is on the brink of a crisis.”

Related Links

“No Peace Without Water” – The Role of Hydropolitics in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Who dun it? Gemayel’s assassination

Great article by Jonathan Cook:

Key allies such as Britain’s Tony Blair are pushing strongly for engagement with Syria, both to further isolate Iran — the possible target of either a US or Israeli strike against its presumed ambitions for nuclear weapons — and to clear the path to negotiations with the Palestinians.

Gemayel’s death, and Syria’s blame for it, strengthens the case of the neoconservatives in Washington — Israel’s allies in the Administration — whose star had begun to wane. They can now argue convincingly that Syria is unreformed and unreformable. Such an outcome helps to avert the danger, from Israel’s point of view, that White House doves might win the argument for befriending Syria.

For all these reasons, we should be wary of assuming that Syria is the party behind Gemayel’s death — or the only regional actor meddling in Lebanon.

COMMENTS FROM THE OLD HC BLOG:

Fringe:

http://blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=1392

Bolton Busy Framing Syria for Gemayel Assassination
Published on Saturday, November 25, 2006.

Source: Kurt Nimmo

“John Bolton, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said recent probes into political killings in Lebanon suggested Syrian involvement. He told the BBC that if Syria was deemed to have been involved, the implications were serious.”

It does not matter there is a complete paucity of evidence indicating Syrian involvement. Moreover, it does not matter that Syrian complicity in the murder of Pierre Gemayel makes no sense. Syria figures prominently on the target list. And besides, if not for the meddlesome James Baker, Pierre might still be alive. Baker and crew want Syria involved in talks regarding the future of Iraq—a bleak future, thanks to the United States—an effort the neocons will stop at any cost.

“A few weeks ago the White House took the unprecedented step of saying that Syria and Iran, acting through Hezbollah, were on the verge of staging a coup d’etat against the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and I have to say that this assassination of Pierre Gemayel might well be the first shot in that coup,” thus Syria is “not just a supporter of terrorism but is a state actor in a terrorist fashion,” said Bolton. “I think the United States has to take that into account when it decides whether and to what extent to deal with a country like that.”

Of course, we understand perfectly well the way the neocons want to “deal with” Syria. Last summer, as Israel bogged down in Lebanon, fought to a standstill by Hezbollah, it was reported that Bush wanted the Israelis to attack Syria, but the Israelis “balked at the scheme,” according to Robert Parry of Consortium News. “One Israeli source said Bush’s interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered ‘nuts’ by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has generally shared Bush’s hard-line strategy against Islamic militants.”

Sure it was nuts. After all, it is the job of the United States to attack Israel’s enemies, not the other way around.

“We are continuing with our message that we are not interested in fighting with Syria,” a high-raking IDF officer in the Northern Command told the Jerusalem Post at the time. “The officer said he believed Damascus had been receiving the clear message Israel had been sending its way that it did not want to fight Syria,” even though IDF “officials told the Post … that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.”

In other words, it would be up to the United States to attack Syria.

Neocons “believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled military power to promote its values around the world,” reported the Christian Science Monitor. In other words, the United States should harbor no guilt or moral compunction over slaughtering thousands of innocents, most notably and recently over 600,000 in Iraq alone.

One such neocon is Michael Ledeen, who wrote in July that the “great opportunity” of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon “is to bring down Assad along with destroying Hezbollah,” never mind that Israel was incapable of doing the latter, let alone the former. “There are many Syrians who are ready to act, but the first step toward the removal of Assad is for the president and the secretary of state to call for regime change in Syria.” No doubt Ledeen believes this would be a “cakewalk” similar to the one in Iraq. He envisions Syrians tossing rose petals and corollas of love and appreciation. Of course, instead, the Syrians, even though they dislike the dictator Assad, would fight with the same nationalist determination demonstrated by the Iraqis. Egghead neocons, comfortably ensconced in their think tank offices, seem incapable of understanding such things.

According to the BBC, “the US is in a diplomatic quandary” over the Gemayel assassination. “It seems increasingly likely that a key advisory panel on future strategy in Iraq will suggest bringing in Syria to create a long-term solution to the violence,” even though “the assassination of Mr. Gemayel has made that all the more difficult,” obviously to the delight of the Israelis and neocons who dread any such diplomatic overtures parlayed in the direction of Syria.

“Mr. Bolton says Hezbollah is posing a direct challenge to the successful re-emergence of democracy in Lebanon, and is supported by Syria and Iran,” reports ABC News. Of course, the Bushian version of “democracy” for Lebanon envisions maintenance of the status quo—that is to say the Shi’ites, represented by Hezbollah, are to be locked out of any meaningful participation in the government. “The powerful guerrilla group is threatening to bring down the government with mass protests unless it and its allies get more power,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “Shiites, the largest and poorest of the four groups, are disdained by the elite, and until recently, were virtually disenfranchised by the Lebanese political apparatus,” notes Eric Laursen.

Fouad Siniora demonstrated this contempt for the Shia when he attempted to jerry-rig the political process. “Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has tried to alleviate the crisis [over the international tribunal dealing with the Rafik al-Hariri assassination] by proposing the formation of a 30-member national unity government. The plan was an attempt to strike a balance of power by not awarding the opposition sufficient seats to wield a veto” against the Siniora faction, according to Forbes. In response to this maneuvering, five Shia ministers resigned and Hezbollah expressed its dissatisfaction in the street.

“Hizbullah and its ally, the Free Patriotic Movement have been demanding a bigger say in Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s Cabinet, dominated by members of the March 14 Forces,” reports the Daily Star. “The anti-Syrian coalition [represented by the March 14 Forces] accuses Syria and its allies in Lebanon, namely Hizbullah, of being behind the series of killings and attacks that have plagued the country since the February 2005 killing of Hariri,” and these events, according to Bolton and the neocons, represent nothing less than a coup d’état, orchestrated by Syria.

Finally, according to the neocon “research” organization, the Middle East Research Institute, famous for mistranslating the speeches of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, citing the anti-Syrian Lebanese daily newspaper al-Nahar, the assassination of Pierre Gemayel was carried out by the “Fighters for the Unity of al-Sham [Greater Syria] and its Liberty.” Sounding oddly like “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” the alleged communiqué made obligatory references to Allah and promised retribution against “those who unceasingly spouted their venom against Syria and against the Resistance,” that is to say Hezbollah. “We crossed out this agent [Pierre Gemayel] from the list of our targets, and sooner or later we will pay the rest of the agents their due.”

Naturally, prior to the assassination of Pierre Gemayel, nobody heard of this shadowy terrorist group, and a Google search returns precisely four results, all connected to the assassination.

Obviously, the Mossad and the Pentagon, the latter through P2OG operations, are as busy in Lebanon as they are in Iraq.