Monday, April 30, 2012

French Presidential Elections; 2012

French Presidential Elections; 2012 ( & 2007)


From media reports it appears that the current French President Nikolas Sarcozy who came 2nd in the first round of the elections last Sunday , will lose the elections to the Socialist leader Francois Hollande .The former IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn who was outed by a sex scandal in New York , the news happily disseminated reportedly at Sarcozy's behest was the left's natural and best candidate candidate .( A sexual peccadillo which caught a promising Indian politician lawyer with literally his pants down very recently led to his resignation.) But India and France are not too squeamish about such indiscretions , as we know .During my tenure in Paris in mid 1970s , President  Giscard Estaing would drive alone his small car for rendezvous , leaving behind the telephone no in a sealed envelope with his chef du cabinet, to be opened only in case of an emergency , which did arise when terrorists had taken diplomats hostage French embassy in Holland ! There was some delay in getting orders from the Presidency )


Majority of French presidents and prime ministers are graduates of the École Nationale d'Administration like our LBSNAA ( India's training Institute for top civil servants ) Like many other nations India should have two rounds of elections so that a winner has at least 50% and one vote .This will make our democracy representative ( Samajwadi Party in the largest Indian state of Uttar Pradesh UP got majority with 28% of votes only cast on the basis of flawed first past the post winner electoral system) or we could have first and second preference votes .But in our country of great ancient traditions , we will do no such thing .


At the end is my article on the election of Sarcozy 5 years ago , for background info .



 Gwynne dyer

"My true adversary does not have a name, a face or a party," said Francois Hollande, who is all set to become France's next president. "He never puts forth his candidacy, but nevertheless he governs. My true adversary is the world of finance." No other leader of a major power would dare say this. If Hollande, who will be France's first Socialist president in 17 years, simply defies "the markets", they will punish him and France severely. It remains to be seen how he plays his hand.


Hollande still has one hurdle to cross before he is officially the president-elect, but he beat the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the first round of voting. The polls predict he will trounce Sarkozy by a 14-16 per cent margin in the run-off vote on May 6. So it will be President Hollande who recently said that "if the markets are worried (by my policies), I will tell them here and now that I will leave them with no space to act." Tough words, but does "no space to act" actually mean anything? The markets don't think so, which is why they did not go into a meltdown when Hollande's election became certain.


Hollande is certainly tougher than the "Mr Normal" he claims to be. His calm, modest manner is in striking contrast to the hyperactivity, bad temper and sheer bling of Sarkozy. But Hollande graduated from France's most respected post-graduate school for high flyers, the École Nationale d'Administration, and he has been in politics for more than 30 years. For over a decade he was the leader of the famously fractious Socialist Party, and was nicknamed "Meccano-builder" for his ability to bridge ideological disputes. And he has not promised French voters the moon.


What Hollande has actually promised is slightly less austerity. He will balance the French budget by 2017 instead of 2016. For symbolism's sake, he will introduce a new 75 per cent income tax band for people who earn more than a million euros, but he understands that bringing the budget deficit under control must be accomplished mainly by cutting costs, not by raising taxes.


Another plan

The markets will not have it any other way, and they have France in a corner. The country will have to borrow almost a fifth of its gross domestic product this year, and the same again next year, to cover the interests on its debt and deficit. The bigger part of that sum must be borrowed from foreign lenders, so Hollande cannot afford to frighten them by radically changing the austerity policy he inherits from Sarkozy. He says what he must to get elected, but in office Mr Normal is likely to conduct business as usual — or, at least, that is what the markets think. It may be too simplistic a view.


Hollande does not agree with the current European orthodoxy because it has put the Eurozone into an economic death-spiral. Germany's huge and healthy economy gives it the whip-hand in the Eurozone. Berlin insists on savage austerity measures by European Union member governments to bring their budgets back into balance, but if the austerity is so extreme that it kills growth, the budgets can never be balanced. Hollande argues that growth must be stimulated by easier credit even while budgets are in deficit.


Many European leaders agree with this view, as do outside observers like the economist, Paul Krugman, who recently said that Europe would "commit suicide" if it did not add reflationary policies to strict budget discipline. Hollande cannot start printing money right away because of the Euro, but he is certainly going to argue for "quantitative easing", or reflation. Without openly defying Berlin, Hollande may become a rallying point for many Europeans who believe that the Eurozone will never solve its crisis without growth in other countries besides Germany. "Change in France will allow Europe to shift direction," he says. He may be right.

Subject: French Presidential Election'2007


Neo-liberal Shadow over France - Au Barricades! 



by K. Gajendra Singh


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Peut'etre , pas cette fois! 

Nicolas Sarkozy (Sarko ), the 52 years old right wing driven pugnacious son from a broken Hungarian immigrant family, won comfortably the hotly contested French Presidential contest on 6 May, with a high 85% voter turnout by garnering 53% votes. Sarko represents UMP (Union pour un mouvement populaire). He is neo-liberal, authoritarian, pro-American and pro-Israeli. Except for Socialist Francois Mittereand's 14 years reign, France has been ruled by right wing forces since 1958 when Charles de Gaulle ushered in the new Republican regime.


Socialist Segolene (Sego) Royal, Sarko's opponent, leader of the Left, Dakar (Senegal) born pied noire, 53 years old daughter of a military Colonel managed 47% votes. She is the first French woman to arrive this far in French politics and needs watching. She is cool, suave, attractive and sharp. The election ends an era of 1970s vintage leaders with the outgoing President Jacque Chirac, 74 years old, who took over in 1995 from an ailing dinosaur 78 year old Socialist Mitterrand in his second 7 year term.


Fear played an important role in the elections which Sarko exploited taking much of the elderly frightened vote with his get tough policy on immigration, crime and violence and attracted others by promised Anglo-Saxon style economic reforms. Sego's warning of the violence in case of a Sarko win helped him instead, but viola violence erupted all over France the day after Sarko's Champagne flowing victory celebrations. 

With passions aroused in the wake of a brutal polarizing campaign, France and the world now await in the lull before the incoming storm, with Sarko gone away to unwind with his estranged wife in tow to sail the calm Mediterranean waters and think through his plans and politics. But his use of a rich man's super luxury yacht, after claiming to be the President of the poor half as well, was much criticized. But first to the Assembly elections next month to see which way the French camel will sit. The real battles will commence in autumn when the French return from their sacred vacations.

US President George Bush, who won the 2004 poll, masterminded by Karl Rove, the master manipulator of fear of fear, could barely wait for the closing of the polls to congratulate Sarko and to welcome him to the neo-Liberal world, from which poodle British PM Tony Blair is making an involuntary exit by end June, mercifully; Angela Merke , who just about managed to become German Chancellor in a grand coalition and others. Europe would be the ground for the coming struggles between the Left and the Right, which the Left is winning in Latin America. 

A White House spokesman while admitting differences with the outgoing Chirac regime gloated that "there are certainly real opportunities to work together on a broad range of issues." The two Presidents will meet next month at a G8 summit in Germany. In his victory speech, Sarko proclaimed that: "France will always be by the US's side... You can count on our friendship." 

The Wall Street Journal welcomed Sarko's win as "the promise of closer trans-Atlantic links". Charles Kupchan, at the Council on Foreign Relations, stated that Sarko was more willing to work with the US "than any president since De Gaulle. But Jeremy Shapiro of the Washington think-tank the Brookings Institution pointed out that the French people were still highly wary of America. 

Governments around the world congratulated Sarkozy, even Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, who urged him to desist from making further statements against Turkey's entry into the European Union. In US occupied Iraq President Jalal Talabani, hoped for France's greater co-operation in the 'struggle against terrorism.' France led by its suave and articulate Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, along with German Foreign Minister Fischer had fiercely opposed US led illegal invasion of Iraq. 

Of course Paris has already blotted its book with the Turks by legislating the Armenian Genocide, but in western legal books there is little mention of Genocide of the Red Indians, or the obnoxious slavery of the Black Africans, pauperization and deaths of tens of millions in famines during the British colonial rule in India, genocides in Australia, Congo and other places in Africa and for that matter death of a million Algerians out of a 11 million population during the war of independence. There is of course the Holocaust but why it happened? What about the genocide at the same time of the Gypsies, mostly of South Asian extraction, but it does not interest the followers of the ideology of Shylocks, who rule the roost in US and most of the Europe, mostly by blackmail. 

An admirer of Blair's New Labour ideology, Sarko has promised to "communicate" more aka 'spin' with the French people, and which they are wary of. But he must win a parliamentary majority next month first and sell the idea of change to push through his economic and other reforms like tax cuts, loosening the 35-hour week, limit strike action and reduce state bureaucracy. However, even the British visitors to France admit with envy that health and transport services are much superior in France. The state of medical coverage for poor Americans is deplorable. In USA, five media corporate conglomerate control and manufacture news for the masses. France is relatively freer even with government control. Would the French want to be like the Anglo-Saxons?

Many feel that not only the Left but the Socialists are split, with heavy booted socialists sticking to old style opposition to even good principles and total rejection of capitalism. Sego has tough task ahead of her and she has to first unite a split left. Less than 10% of the French labour force is unionized. 

France could possibly become the testing ground in Europe for pro people policies versus rampant exploitation by Robber Barons in the new avatar of consumerist messiahs. The battle has already tilted in peoples' favour in Latin America led by Cuba's Hugo Chavez and new leaders under the resolute and inspiring example of stability of Castro government for its people, in spite of American attempts to get him assassinated and economically squeeze out Cuba. USA's economic embargo against Havana is a resounding failure of the free competition so proclaimed by US led western corporate interests and media. They work for monopolistic controls only. 

Commented Le Monde diplomatique

"If the right and far right win in the upcoming parliamentary elections, they will try to put in place a policy of social destruction: a single work contract; restrictions on the right to strike; abolition of labour laws, death duties and wealth tax; further dismantling of public services, social security and pensions; cuts in health benefits and civil service recruitment; a crackdown on immigrants; revival of a neo-liberal Europe that supports US policies etc. The left will need to summon all its strength to resist this unprecedented onslaught and present some prospect of change."

End of dinosaurs' Era


The French did not elect presidents but emperors for 7 years, the term now reduced to 5 years after 2002. Le President has so much of power that in a developing country he would be accused of being a dictator by the Western media.


The era of Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Francois Mitterrand and Jacque Chirac began in 1974, following the sudden death of Gaullist President Georges Pompidou, who had let in US Trojan horse UK into the European Economic Community News of his demise was allegedly suppressed for a day or so in order that the wealthy with suitcases full of ill gotten French Francs could go over and stack them across in Swiss banks. In case! Giscard, 48 years old and Finance Minister did not belong to the Gaullist formation but a young, brash and hard driven Gaullist, the Minister for Agriculture named Jacque Chirac teamed up with Giscard who became the right wing's candidate after the second round, over loser Chaban Delmas, a colourful Gaullist maverick. 

Giscard was elected President very narrowly over Francois Mitterrand. Compared to stodgy Gaullists and even Mitterrand, Giscard a modern man just about got the better of Mitterrand at the end of the final TV debate by firing accusations that he was a man of the past, and then the program ended abruptly. That helped Giscard, apart from the fact that Gaullist bailiffs coerced voters for Giscard in far flung overseas territories. Giscard entered the President's Elyse Palace by just 200,000 more votes. Giscard won 50.7% of the vote in the second of two rounds against Mitterrand's 49.3%. The narrowest of the victory ever.


The evening the polls indicated a Giscard victory, he came out and spoke to foreign journalists in his quaint and droll English (in which he was taking lessons) much to the horror and dismay of French establishment, this departure from the Langue du Civilization et Culture. Soon many in the younger generation took to taking English lessons for trade and travel.


Giscard was only 48 years in 1974 and was once an Inspecteur de Finance, the highest rank in French civil service coming out of prestigious Eecole Natioanale d'Administration (ENA), some what like the very top entrants to the diplomatic service from the Indian civil service lists in 1950s and 60s. Jacque Chirac was barely 41 years. Mitterrand at 57 was described an old man by Giscard.

In politics and business there are no permanent friends or enemies. Apart from the scandal of gift of diamonds, allegedly received from self styled Emperor Bokassa of Central African Empire, the main reason for Giscard's defeat in 1981 was Chirac's lack of support because of his own eyes on the Elysee palace Giscard's failed policies were to be blamed equally.


Of course Chirac himself would have liked his son like aristocratic and now Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to succeed him, but like what Chirac himself did to old Gaullist heavy weights in 1974, Sarko did to him by defying the President and taking over his party UMD thus nipping even Chirac ambition for another five-year term. Chirac was elected with a massive margin in 2002 when Le pen, extreme right wing leader came second in the first round over candidates of the left and toute France joined to keep out this Ku Klux Klan like figure taking over in Paris.

Chirac might now face investigations in some corruption charges which were held in abeyance because of the Presidential immunity. Many French political leaders have been investigated and even jailed for corruption. It rarely happens in USA where the outgoing President pardons, a prominent example being pardon of President Richard Nixon by nominated President Gerald Ford and others like Bill Clinton making a profitable enterprise of pardons as allegedly reported. George Bush's list would run in to pages of lawbreakers and criminals.


Unlike earlier heads of state with French establishment bourgeoisie credentials, Sego with name Royal leads the leftist block while Sarcozy is and has proletarian origin and name. While Sego the socialist is a graduate of the elite ENA, Sarco studied law and joined politics early as Chirac's protégé in wealthy Paris quartiere of Neuilly. Sarco is twice married while Sego has 4 children from Socialist François Hollande to whom she is not married but whom she elbowed out from the Presidential race.


Hypocrite Anglo Saxons and blasé French


Unlike the hypocrite Anglo-Saxons, who proclaim purity of their leadership clean like a whistle, when many a time it is not so, the French are quite blasé about it.

During Giscard's Presidency, media publications like 'Canarde encahine' regularly published his adventures arousing much mirth, even showing him once in a small car driven by himself for a rendezvous. He once reportedly disappeared leaving behind a telephone number with his ADC to call him only in case of real emergency. It was not very easy for the ADC to disturb the President's siesta when the French embassy in Holland was taken over by terrorists.


Giscard's followers are no different. Mitterrand had an almost open liaison with his young mistress Anne Pingeot, a daughter of a friend, while his wife Dannielle occupied herself with more pressing matters like situation of the Kurds in Turkey. Mitterrand's mistress and natural daughter Mazarine even attended his funeral with Dannielle with her two sons.


A tall and elegant man Giscard surprisingly had doubts about his attractiveness in an autobiography written after retirement. It is said in Paris that once you become the Prime Minister or the President not many society ladies would decline the advances. Few said no to Turkish hero Kemal Ataturk either, who a busy man allegedly remarked that availability was the quality he admired most in a beautiful woman. Perhaps after losing the Presidential authority, Giscard was left without the aphrodisiac of power.


On Peccadilloes by US politicians when President Clinton was being impeached for sexual indiscretions in the Oval room, it became clear that some of his opponents accusing or trying him were no better. But the Americans keep on the charade. The British carry on with their secretaries and whosoever and when found out resign like John Profumo and others.


Did not someone once say that 'power was the ultimate aphrodisiac' .Doctor Henry Kissinger, who else, but he used it in the killing fields of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, unnecessarily. He also advises the current Bush administration that the only exit policy in Iraq is Victory.  As it was in Vietnam! How people like him and others including Gen Pinochet, Gen Ariel Sharon and many in the current US administration escape the arm of Law and Justice.


If extra testosterone meant bombings in Vietnam, it is so in Iraq now. The man who coined the phrase 'Shock and Awe"for initial destructive attack on Baghdad, is in the list of Washington Madam Deborah Jeanne Palfrey making the rounds and includes many of who and who in power. The story reveals deep hypocrisy, showing how powerful men talk publicly of their 'family values' and then have escorts visit them in hotel rooms. 'Only for massage' they claim.  As Rob Capriccioso, editor of Big Head DC, a Washington news and gossip website, says: 'Tawdry sex is everywhere in Washington.'


Even during Clinton's time when he was embroiled in Monica Lewinsky affair, he bombed Iraq to divert attention. Of course the US and UK leadership by implementing the sanctions against Iraq after 1991 war are responsible for half a million deaths of Iraqi children over which two UNICEF program Chiefs resigned in disgust. Sooner or later the crimes would catch up. That is the eternal Dharma of cause and effect.


This US chicanery seeps into state affairs. The head of the outgoing US Congress Committee on environment while talking about connection between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change made a categorical declaration that there was none. Many US lawmakers and senior officials have affiliations with corporate bodies and interests and return after their tenures. You can hear Corporate News Networks like CNN hammering how China and India (with population of 2.5 billion ) are harming the environment while USA (with population of 300 million contributes 25% of pollution) wastes as much energy as the total consumption of the second largest economy, Japan, as disclosed by a British environment minister.


Lobbyists spend US$ Six Billion repeat US $ Six Billion on lobbying mostly with the US law makers. And then there is the purse of the corporates with control over media. So much for freedom of media and democracy and of the legislators' integrity in USA. The corruption and other scandals which keep cropping up in spite of media control is only a tip of the tip of the nauseating and ugly iceberg of the state of sleaze.


Worse, a US Congress Sub-Committee head to protect minors and others was forced to resign when found carrying with the US Congress trainee pageboys, which seems to reoccur quite regularly among the doddering lawmakers, somewhat like among the senior Athenian debauches.

Lessons from French Electoral System for India


Soon after independence in 1947, the lawyer-led Brahmin-dominated Indian National Congress party, with electoral support from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (dalits, former untouchables whom Mahatma Gandhi named Harijans - children of God) and post-partition defensive Muslims, ruled India, with the Brahmins monopolizing the levers of power. Soon the number of Brahmins, a small percentage, occupying senior government posts doubled.


From the mid-1960s, at the ideological economic level, the new Congress elite was opposed by maharajas, big industrialists, traders, landlords and free marketers through the Swantantra Party, and at the social level this elite was challenged by Jats, Yadavs, Ahirs and Kurmis, that is, petty landlords and cultivators who had benefited the most from the post-independence abolition of zamindari (tax collection on land).


Now Mayawati, a 51 year old leader of Dalits has turned the tables on Brahmins and other castes. Under her mentor late Kanshi Ram, she first welded Dalits, very backward castes and Muslims together. In the just concluded elections she gave one third seats to Brahmins, who form a sizable percentage in the key north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) with a population of over 170 million. Her policy of using the Brahmanical electoral arithmetic brought stunning success. After years UP will have a single party majority government. If she governs well she could play an important role in New Delhi as well. But she should rein her ambitions as the wily Brahmins have only bought protection from the Yadav goons of the ousted regime. Delhi is another matter.


What she has done can be made easier by bringing India's electoral system closer to the French one, which is also employed in many EU nations and elsewhere.


The post- independent Congress party leadership was dominated by lawyers; many had studied and trained in UK. They had an Anglo-Saxon view on life, fair play, equality and justice, on which basis they demanded independence. They then adopted basically the British parliamentary system, to show the erstwhile British masters that they were their rightful successors. These honorable framers of the Indian constitution, with little experience except of the British system, that too without a written constitution, which evolved over centuries in this landlocked island, agreed on with the first across the line as the winner. This may be all right if they are only two parties as they evolved in UK, but even there it is under severe strains.


However, the Indian polity frozen during the British Raj got slowly unfrozen, following competitive party politics, the grass root political leadership started throwing up different kind of leadership. This leadership is not steeped in Anglo-Saxon morality. Its thinking is based on oral traditions, not on an ideal Raja (ruler) following the Raj Dharma, but the traditions of degenerate last days of the Mughal polity which made the Raja or Nawab's word the law; at the village level, the arbitrary Daroga (policeman), the revenue or irrigation inspector.


If in the second and final round the successful candidate has to obtain more than 50% of the votes, the candidates may represent interests of their castes or left or right, but to be elected and to be re-elected they must take into account the aspirations and expectations of at least half the electorate.

Now in many Indian states caste leaders with 20 to 25% population, with votes of another caste or religious group of around 10% can continue to rule election after election. This completely subverts the will of the people. The political leader has to worry only about 25% of the population which gets most of the loaves of office and benefits.


The dethroned UP government of Mulayam Singh Yadav was based on his community vote and Muslims with financial underpinning from corporate houses and Bollywood film glamour. So was the government of Bihar's Chief Minister Lalu Parsad Yadav, on Yadav caste and Muslim votes who lost power 3 years ago after mal-administering for 15 long years.


Democracy does not come cheap (other wise why not have Gallup Polls only). So India should have two rounds of voting as practiced in many countries. France being one example. In the second round only the two top winners should contest. To begin with India could experiment with transferable votes, so that to succeed a candidate must win over 50% of first and second preference votes. The current electoral system has become tool of manipulation by 'professional politicians' which dilutes the purpose of holding elections to obtain electorates best choice. 

K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He was counselor at the Indian Embassy in Paris in 1973-75 .He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.




Saturday, April 28, 2012

China’s Land Bridge to Europe via Turkey

China's Land Bridge to Europe via Turkey
US led economically bankrupt West is further expanding and strengthening its military tentacles and presence in East and South East Asia and Africa, and from Libya, south wards after having been caught in quagmires and militarily defeated on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, like the Romans and Byzantines were near Antioch and Lake Van by the Sasanians and Seljuk Turks respectively in history.
At the same time China with its economic clout of trillions of US dollars of reserves is slowly buying up resources around the world and spreading its economic and strategic tentacles, including in rail transport sector in a big way, having built highways ,roads for trade and laid a maze of gas and oil pipelines across Asia to transport energy to China .
After signing a contract for a project report , Beijing could build and provide the railway infrastructure  for transporting Israel's gas reserves (liquefied ) discovered in eastern Mediterranean  to its port Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba, leading to the Red Sea .Read ;
China is now proposing a massive rail project; build a rail corridor connecting Europe to China via Turkey and via container ferry service across the Caspian Sea.
Alas India (but its investment down grading by S&P, while the grading of US and West Europe remains AAA is mischievous and absurd) remains mired in scandals and shows little growth in industry, while the fat corporates and its poodle media calls for further reforms, which in India without an honest regulatory system, in the absence of concept of conflict of interest and judicial system reduced to litigation (SCJ Singhvi) would mean continued looting and robbing of public resources. The masses remain hapless as throughout history. Even the Egyptians have risen and have been fighting injustice and sacrificing lives since more than a year .The Indian corrupt political class has out waited agitations led by Anna Hazare and Baba Ram Deo. There is little sign of an Ombudsman Act being passed
Below is an excellent article on China's land bridge to Europe via Turkey by William F. Engdahl, a renowned social scientist and analyst on international affairs, specially relating to economics and energy?
Ambassador (Retd) K.Gajendra Singh 28 April, 2012.Mayur Vihar Delhi
China's Land Bridge to Turkey creates new Eurasian Geopolitical Potentials
By F. William Engdahl*                                                                                                                       28 April 2012
The prospect of an unparalleled Eurasian economic boom lasting into the next Century and beyond is at hand. The first steps binding the vast economic space are being constructed with a number of little-publicized rail links connecting China, Russia, Kazakhstan and parts of Western Europe. It is becoming clear to more people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia including China and Russia that their natural tendency to build these markets faces only one major obstacle: NATO and the US Pentagon's Full Spectrum Dominance obsession.  Rail infrastructure is a major key to building vast new economic markets across Eurasia.
China and Turkey are in discussions to build a new high-speed railway link across Turkey. If completed it would be the country's largest railway project ever, even including the pre-World War I Berlin-Baghdad Railway link. The project was perhaps the most important agenda item, far more so than Syria during talks in Beijing between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Chinese leadership in early April. The proposed rail link would run from Kars on the easternmost border with Armenia, through the Turkish interior on to Istanbul where it would connect to the Marmaray rail tunnel now under construction that runs under the Bosphorus strait. Then it would continue to Edirne near the border to Greece and Bulgaria in the European Union. It will cost an estimated $35 billion. The realization of the Turkish link would complete a Chinese Trans-Eurasian Rail Bridge project that would bring freight from China to Spain and England.[i]
The Kars-Edirne line would reduce travel time across Turkey by two-thirds from 36 hours down to 12. Under an agreement signed between China and Turkey in October 2010, China has agreed to extend loans of $30 billion for the planned rail network.[ii] In addition a Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway connecting Azerbaijan's capital of Baku to Kars is under construction, which greatly increases the strategic importance of the Edirne-Kars line. For China it would put a critical new link in its railway infrastructure across Eurasia to markets in Europe and beyond.
(Map: Yunus Emre Hatunoğlu)
Erdogan's visit to Beijing was significant for other reasons. It was the first such high level trip of a Turkish Prime Minister to China since 1985. The fact that Erdogan was also granted a high-level meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the man slated to be next Chinese President, and was granted an extraordinary visit to China's oil-rich Xinjiang Province also shows the high priority China is placing on its relations with Turkey, a key emerging strategic force in the Middle East.
Xinjiang is a highly sensitive part of China as it hosts some 9 million ethnic Uyghurs who share a Turkic heritage with Turkey as well as nominal adherence to the Turkish Sunni branch of Islam. In July 2009 the US government, acting through the National Endowment for Democracy, the regime-change NGO it finances, backed a major Uyghur uprising in which many Han Chinese shop owners were killed or injured. Washington in turn blamed the riots on Beijing as part of a strategy of escalating pressure on China. [iii]During Uyghur riots in Xinjiang in 2009, Erdogan accused Beijing of "genocide" and attacked the Chinese on human rights, a dicey issue for Turkey given their Kurd ethnic problems. Clearly economic priorities from both sides have now changed the political calculus.
Building the world's greatest market
Contrary to the dogma of Milton Friedman and his monetarist followers, markets are never "free." They are always manmade. The essential element to building new markets is building infrastructure, and for the vast landmass of Eurasia railroad linkages, ideally high-speed rail links, are essential to those new markets and the fastest way to economic prosperity for all concerned. For the economically depressed countries of the European Union, joining in the infrastructure linkages with the growing economies of Eurasia offers a real way out of the present crisis.
With the end of the Cold War in 1990 the vast under-developed land space of Eurasia became open again. This space contains some forty percent of total land in the world, much of it prime unspoiled agriculture land; it contains three-fourth of the entire world population, an asset of incalculable worth. It consists of some eighty eight of the world's countries and three-fourths of known world energy resources as well as every mineral known needed for industrialization. North America as an economic potential, rich as she is, pales by comparison.
The Turkish-China railway discussion is but one part of a vast Chinese strategy to weave a network of inland rail connections across the Eurasian Continent. The aim is to literally create the world's greatest new economic space and in turn a huge new market for not just China but all Eurasian countries, the Middle East and Western Europe. Direct rail service is faster and cheaper than either ships or trucks, and much cheaper than airplanes. For manufactured Chinese or other Eurasian products the rail land bridge links are creating vast new economic trading activity all along the rail line.
Two factors have made this prospect realizable for the first time since the Second World War. First the collapse of the Soviet Union has opened up the land space of Eurasia in entirely new ways as has the opening of China to Russia and its Eurasian neighbors, overcoming decades of mistrust. This is being met by the eastward expansion of the European Union to the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.
The demand for faster rail transport over the vast Eurasian distances is clear. China's container port activity and that of its European and North American destinations is reaching a saturation point as volumes of container traffic explode at double-digit rates. Singapore recently displaced Rotterdam as the world's largest port in volume terms. The growth rate for container port throughput in China in 2006, before outbreak of the world financial crisis was some 25% annually. In 2007 Chinese ports accounted for some 28 per cent of world container port throughput. [iv] However there is another aspect to the Chinese and, to an extent, the Russian land bridge strategies. By moving trade flows over land, it is more secure in the face of escalating military tensions between the nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, especially China and Russia, and NATO. Sea transport must flow through highly vulnerable narrow passageways or chokepoints such as the Malaysian Straits of Malacca.
The Turkish Kars-Edirne railway would form an integral part of an entire web of Chinese-initiated rail corridors across the Eurasian landmass. Following the example of how rail infrastructure transformed the economic space of Europe and later of America during the late 19th Century, the Chinese government, which today stands as the world's most efficient railroad constructor, has quietly been extending its rail links into Central Asia and beyond for several years. They have proceeded in segments; one reason the vast ambition of their grand rail infrastructure has drawn so little attention to date in the West outside the shipping industry.
China builds Second Eurasian Land Bridge
By 2011 China had completed a Second Eurasian Land Bridge running from China's port of Lianyungang on the East China Sea through to Kazakhstan's Druzhba and on to Central Asia, West Asia and Europe to various European destinations and finally to Rotterdam Port of Holland on the Atlantic coast.
The Second Eurasian Land Bridge is a new railway connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic that was completed by China to Druzhba in Kazakhstan. This newest Eurasia land bridge extends west in China through six provinces--Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang autonomous region, which neighbors respectively with Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Hubei Province, Sichuan Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia. That covers about 360,000 square kilometers, some 37% of the total land space of China. About 400 million people live in the areas, which accounts for 30% of the total population of the country. Outside of China, the land bridge covers over 40 countries and regions in both Asia and Europe, and is particularly important for the countries in Central and West Asia that don't have sea outlets.
In 2011 China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan announced plans to build a new high-speed railway link within Kazakhstan, linking the cities of Astana and Almaty, to be ready in 2015.  The Astana-Almaty line, with a total length of 1050 kilometers, employing China's advanced rail-building technology, will allow high-speed trains to run at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour.
DB Schenker Rail Automotive is now transporting auto parts from Leipzig to Shenyang in northeastern China for BMW. Trains loaded with parts and components depart from DB Schenker's Leipzig trans-shipment terminal in a three-week, 11,000 km journey to BMW's Shenyang plant in the Liaoning province, where components are used in the assembly of BMW vehicles. Beginning in late November 2011, trains bound for Shenyang departed Leipzig once each day. "With a transit time of 23 days, the direct trains are twice as fast as maritime transport, followed by over-the-road transport to the Chinese hinterland," says Dr. Karl-Friedrich Rausch, member of the management board for DB Mobility Logistics' Transportation and Logistics division. The route reaches China via Poland, Belarus, and Russia. Containers have to be transferred by crane to different gauges twice—first to Russian broad gauge at the Poland-Belarus border, and then back to standard gauge at the Russia-China border in Manzhouli.[v]
In May 2011 a daily direct rail freight service was launched between the Port of Antwerp, Europe's second-largest port, and Chongqing, the industrial hub in China's southwest. That greatly speeded rail freight transport across Eurasia to Europe. Compared to the 36 days for maritime transport from east China's ports to west Europe, the Antwerp-Chongqing Rail Freight service now takes 20 to 25 days, and the aim is to cut that to 15 to 20 days. Westbound cargo includes automotive and technological goods, eastbound shipments are mostly chemicals. The project was a major priority for the Antwerp Port and the Belgian government in cooperation with China and other partners. The service is run by Swiss inter-modal logistics provider Hupac, their Russian partner Russkaya Troyka and Eurasia Good Transport over a distance of more than 10,000km, starting from Port of Antwerp through to Germany and Poland, and further to Ukraine, Russia and Mongolia before reaching Chongqing in China.[vi]
The Second Eurasian Land Bridge runs 10,900 kilometers in length, with some 4100 kilometers of that in China. Within China the line runs parallel to one of the ancient routes of the Silk Road. The rail line continues across China into Druzhba where it links with the broader gauge rail lines of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the largest inland country in the world. As Chinese rail and highways have expanded west, trade between Kazakhstan and China has been booming. From January to October 2008, goods passing through the Khorgos port between the two nations reached 880,000 tons - over 250% growth compared with the same period a year before. Trade between China and Kazakhstan is expected to grow 3 to 5 fold by 2013. As of 2008, only about 1% of the goods shipped from Asia to Europe were delivered by overland routes, meaning the room for expansion is considerable.[vii]
From Kazakhstan the lines go on via Russia and Belarus over Poland to the markets of the European Union.
Another line goes to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia's largest city of some two millions. Another line goes west to Turkmenistan's capital Asgabat and to the border of Iran.[viii]  With some additional investment, these links, now tied to the vast expanse and markets of China could open new economic possibilities in much-neglected regions of Central Asia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) could provide a well-suited vehicle for coordination of a broad Eurasian rail infrastructure coordination to maximize these initial rail links. The members of the SCO, formed in 2001, include China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikstan, Uzbekistan with Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan as Observer Status countries.
Russia's Land Bridge
Russia is well positioned to benefit greatly from such an SCO strategy. The First Eurasian Land Bridge runs through Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway, first completed in 1916 to unify the Russian Empire. The Trans-Siberian remains the longest single rail line in the world at 9,297 kilometers, a tribute to the vision of Russian Sergei Witte in the 1890s. The Trans-Siberian Railway, also called the Northern East-West Corridor, runs from the Russian Far East Port of Vladivostok and links in Europe to the Port of Rotterdam some 13,000 kilometers. At present it is the less attractive for Pacific-to-Atlantic freight because of maintenance problems and maximum speeds of 55 km.
There are attempts to better use the Trans-Siberian Land Bridge. In January 2008 a long distance Eurasian rail freight service, the "Beijing-Hamburg Container Express" was successfully tested by the German railway Deutsche Bahn. It completed the 10,000 km (6,200 miles) journey in 15 days to link the Chinese capital to the German port city, going through Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Belarus and Poland. By ship to the same markets takes double the time or some 30 days.  This route, which began commercial service in 2010, incorporates a section of the existing Trans-Siberian Railway, a rail link using a broader gauge than either Chinese or European trains, meaning two offloads and reloads onto other trains at the China-Mongolia border and again at the Belarus-Poland border.
Were the Trans-Siberian railway passage across Russian Eurasian space to be modernized and upgraded to accommodate high-speed freight traffic, it would add a significant new economic dimension to the economic development of Russia's interior regions. The Trans-Siberian is double-tracked and electrified. The need is minimally to improve some segments to insure a better integration of all the elements to make it a more attractive option for Eurasian freight to the west.
There are strong indications the new Putin presidency will turn more of its attention to Eurasia. Modernization of the First Eurasian Land Bridge would be a logical way to accomplish much of that development by literally creating new markets and new economic activity. With the bond markets of the United States and Europe flooded with toxic waste and state bankruptcy fears, issuance of Russian state bonds for modernization or even a new parallel high-speed rail Land Bridge linking to the certainty of growing freight traffic across Eurasia would have little difficulty finding eager investors. 
Russia is currently in discussion with China and Chinese rail constructors who are bidding on construction of a planned $20 billion of new high-speed Russian rail track to be completed before the 2018 Russian hosting of the Soccer World Cup. China's experience in building some 12,000 km of high speed rail in record time is a major asset for China's bid. Significantly, Russia plans to raise $10 billion of the cost by issuing new railroad bonds.[ix]
A Third Eurasian Land Bridge?
In 2009 at the Fifth Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional (PPRD) Cooperation and Development Forum, a government-sponsored event, the Yunnan provincial government announced its intention to accelerate construction of needed infrastructure to build a third Eurasian continental land bridge that will link south China to Rotterdam via Turkey over land. This is part of what Erdogan and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao discussed in Beijing this April. The network of inland roads for the land bridge within Yunnan province will be completed by 2015, said Yunnan governor Qin Guangrong. The project starts from coastal ports in Guangdong, with the Port of Shenzhen being the most important. It will ultimately go all the way through Kunming to Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Iran, entering Europe from Turkey.[x]
The route would cut some 6,000-km from the sea journey between the Pearl River Delta and Rotterdam and allow production from China's eastern manufacturing centers to reach Asia, Africa and Europe. The proposal is for completing a series of missing rail and modern highway links totaling some 1,000 Km, not that inconceivable. In neighboring Myanmar a mere 300 km of railways and highways are lacking in order to link the railways in Yunnan with the highway network of Myanmar and South Asia. It will help China pave the way for building a land channel to the Indian Ocean.
The third Eurasian Land Bridge will cross 20 countries in Asia and Europe and have a total length of about 15,000 kilometers, which is 3,000 to 6,000 kilometers shorter than the sea route entering at the Indian Ocean from the southeast coast via the Malacca Straits. The total annual trade volume of the region's the route passes through was nearly US$300 billion in 2009. Ultimately the plan is for a branch line that would also start in Turkey, cross Syria and Palestine, and end in Egypt, facilitating transportation from China to Africa. Clearly the Pentagon's AFRICOM and the US-backed Arab Spring unrest directly impacts that extension, though for how long at this point is unclear. [xi]
The geopolitical dimension
Not every major international player is pleased about the growing linkages binding the economies of Eurasia with Western Europe and Africa. In his now famous 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives", former Presidential adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski noted,
"In brief, for the United States, Eurasian geo-strategy involves the purposeful management of geo-strategically dynamic states…To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geo-strategy are to prevent collusion and to
Maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." [xii]
The "barbarians" that Brzezinski refers to are China and Russia and all in between. The Brzezinski term "imperial geo-strategy" refers to US strategic foreign policy. The "vassals" he identifies in the book as countries like Germany, Japan and other NATO "allies" of the US. That Brzezinski geopolitical notion remains US foreign policy today. [xiii]
The prospect of an unparalleled Eurasian economic boom lasting into the next Century and beyond is at hand. The first sinews of binding the vast economic space have been put in place or are being constructed with these rail links. It is becoming clear to more people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia including China and Russia that their natural tendency to build these markets faces only one major obstacle: NATO and the US Pentagon's Full Spectrum Dominance obsession.  In the period prior to World War I it was the decision in Berlin to build a rail land link to and through the Turkish Ottoman Empire from Berlin to Baghdad that was the catalyst for British strategists to incite the events that plunged Europe into the most destructive war in history to that date. This time we have a chance to avoid a similar fate with the Eurasian development. More and more the economically stressed economies of the EU are beginning to look east and less to their west across the Atlantic for Europe's economic future.
*F. William Engdahl is author of several books on contemporary geopolitics including A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. He is available via his website at

[i] Sunday's  Zaman, Turkey, China mull $35 bln joint high-speed railway project, Istanbul, April 14, 2012, accessed in
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] F. William Engdahl, Washington is Playing a Deeper Game with China, Global Research, July 11, 2009, accessed in
[iv] UNCTAD, Port and multimodal transport developments,2008,  accessed in
[v] Joseph O'Reilly, BMW Rides Orient Express to China, Global Logistics, October 2011, accessed in
[vi] Aubrey Chang, Antwerp-Chongqing Direct Rail Freight Link Launched, May 12, 2011, accessed in
[vii] CNTV, Eurasian land bridge, March 12, 2011, accessed in
[viii] Shigeru Otsuka, Central Asia's Rail Network and the Eurasian Land Bridge, Japan Railway & Transport Review 28, September 2001, pp. 42-49.
[ix] CNTV, Russian rail official: Chinese bidder competitive, November 21,2011, accessed in
[x] Xinhua, Yunnan accelerates construction of third Eurasia land bridge, 2009, accessed in
[xi] Li Yingqing and Guo Anfei, Third land link to Europe envisioned, China Daily, July 2, 2009, accessed in
[xii] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, 1997, Basic Books, p. 40. See F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Wiesbaden, 2011, edition.engdahl, for details of the role of the German Baghdad rail link in World War I.
[xiii] Zbigniew Brzezinski, op. cit. p.40. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rice's "New ME Birth pangs" Deliver "Daughter of the Mountain"

Rice's "New ME Birth pangs" Deliver "Daughter of the Mountain"
By K Gajendra Singh  July 31, 2006

"To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace." – Tacitus

Before 26th July, when Shi'i Hizbullah fighters, defending Bint Jubail (daughter of the mountain in Arabic) a few miles inside in South Lebanon , smashed back an Israeli elite troops assault, there was a parade of pictures. Western leaders in playful mood at G-8 summit, with US President George Bush and by now his universally described poodle the British Prime Minister, preening that Israel , the US policeman in the Middle East, would hammer out the Hizbollah and teach a lesson to Syria too. Although , some concern became public when Bush wondered to Blair if some one could influence Damascus when the mike was unwittingly left on.

In Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz, the first non- military officers to occupy these posts in recent times, swaggered around confidently claiming that given a couple of weeks, the mighty Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) would show the Americans and the world that what Washington could not achieve in Iraq, Tel Aviv would do in Lebanon.
But it was a humiliating reversal for Tel Aviv – perhaps a tipping point against Israel's brutal bullying in the region.

Shaikh Hassan Nassrullah ( means victory of God) , the charismatic leader of Hizbollah, whom Israel tried to obliterate by dropping a 25 ton bunker bursting bomb on a mosque site and his freedom fighters have exposed Israel's Achilles heel in close fighting and now stand atop Bint Jubail in popularity still rippling around the world , specially among Muslims , of all denominations , humiliated and killed daily in Palestine , Iraq and Afghanistan by US led West and its allies
"The longest day "

One Israeli newspaper called Wednesday battle of Israeli denouement 'the longest day'. Although IDF has withdrawn from Bint Jubail , orders for a large stand-by mobilisation of reserves suggests another major battle might still come. Probably sooner rather than later with a lot more bloodshed - 'Before any international agreement, Israel must sound the last chord, launching a massive air and ground offensive that will end this mortifying war, not with a whimper but with a thunderous roar,' urged the influential Haaretz columnist Yoel Marcus.
Israel's thunderous roar –Kill more civilians

Soon the IDF showed its thunderous roar , when it bombarded a 4 storey building housing refugees in the south Lebanon village of Qana , killing over 50 persons , mostly children and women. So even Lebanon's pro-West Premier Fouad Senioria asked Condi Rice not to come to Lebanon on Sunday , 30 July ,forcing her to call off her trip from Tel Aviv. He said: "There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now." Rice had little on offer.

Hizbullah threatened to retaliate, saying that "this horrific massacre [at Qana] will not go without a response". France , UK , Egypt , Jordan and Iran among others have condemned the attacks .

Israel spoke persons said that Israel only targets Hizbollah 'terrorists ' using US supplied precision-guided bombs . USA uses similar bombs in Iraq too .It is the same horror movie again. World focus on civilian deaths and destruction in Lebanon - roughly 10 times the number suffered by Israel - has damaged Israel's case abroad, despite the unwavering support of the US.

Two years ago an angry Turkish Premier Erdogan had asked the Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yousef Paritzky: "What is the difference between terrorists who kill Israeli civilians and Israel, which also kills civilians [ in Gaza]?"

China's Peoples Daily had commented earlier ,"The US does not want a ceasefire, it wants Israel to take advantage of this 'golden opportunity' and wipe out its opponents. This is why the US has not attempted to stop Israel; rather, they have added fuel to the fire. An article on the front page of Saturday's New York Times stated the US is "hastily sending precision-guided bombs to Israel"
"However, the US takes a great risk by adopting this strategy. The country may forfeit its standing as a just and fair mediator for the region. A noted columnist for the Washington Post pointed out that the US has never bound itself so tightly to Israel before. While it acts on Israel's behalf, it is hard for the White House to win the trust of Arabian countries and the Muslim world.

" Furthermore, the US accuses Syria and Iran of providing weapons to Hezbullah, while the US itself provides a large amount of munitions to Israel. This will fan anti-American sentiment among the Arabic and Muslim public. A New York Times article on July 22nd pointed out that US' policy in the Middle East is doing nothing but creating more fundamentalists, extremists and anti-US activists, therefore aiding Osama Bin Laden in his recruitment efforts."
"Rice has had to cancel her original plan to stop in Saudi Arabia , Egypt and Jordan because no sensible Arabian government will invite trouble at a time when Israel looks set to begin a ruthless fight with Lebanon while the US looks on."

As for Israeli propaganda that Hizbullah hides among civilians , who according to its minister are a fair game , BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson said that Hizbullah stores its rockets in densely populated areas, with the willing agreement of those who look after them, but they usually (though not always) fire them from open areas away from towns and villages. Having traveled round southern Lebanon many times, he has no doubt that Hezbollah has a great deal of support in these areas.

Arab and Muslim reaction ;
There is an unprecedented swell of public support for Hizbullah that cuts across sectarian lines. According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.
A Saudi government statement had decried the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Islamist groups as "uncalculated adventures," slamming Hizbullah for "unexpected, inappropriate, and irresponsible acts." Egypt's president and Jordan's king jointly criticized Hizbullah, lamenting that the region had been "dragged along by an adventurism that does not serve the interests of Arab affairs." Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt blamed Iran outright. But after 26 July ,Nassrullah's detractors beat a hasty retreat , even refusing to host US Secretary of State , Condi Rice .Her isolation at the meeting on Lebanon then held in Rome proved what an expert Robert Drefuss called her- a know nothing on the Middle East .

"The numbing fact that Bush-Rice fail to acknowledge - perhaps understandably, given the alcoholic's tendency to evade reality - is that Washington now can only speak to a few Arab governments (in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere) who are in almost no position to impact on anyone other than their immediate families and many guards.

"Washington is engaged almost exclusively with Arab governments whose influence with Syria is virtually nonexistent, whose credibility with Arab public opinion is zero, whose own legitimacy at home is increasingly challenged, and whose pro-US policies tend to promote the growth of those militant Islamist movements that now lead the battle against American and Israeli policies. Is Rice traveling to a new Middle East, or to a diplomatic Disneyland of her own imagination? "

" Someone should give Rice a modern history book of the Middle East, so that she can cut through the haze of her long political drunken stupor, and finally see more clearly from where the problems of this region emanate, where the solutions come from, and how her country can become a constructive rather than a destructive force." wrote Rami Khouri, a Christian , in his Crie de Coeur "A new Middle East, or Rice's fantasy ride?" in Beirut's pro-West Daily Star.

Al Qaeda joins the Jihad against Christian –Zionist crusade;
To make it a full fledged Crusade ( so uttered by George Bush after 911) vs Jihad , in a video tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera TV ,Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri ,weighed in with a worldwide call for Muslims to rise up in holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza, until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq" , warning that Al-Qaeda would not stand "idly by, humiliated", as Israeli "shells burn our brothers".

He added that "every participant will pay the price"--" all the world as a battlefield [was] open in front of us". "The shells and rockets ripping apart Muslim bodies in Gaza and Lebanon are not only Israeli [weapons], but are supplied by all the countries of the crusader coalition. Therefore, every participant in the crime will pay the price."

Few Americans would remember that Osama bin Laden cited the 9/11 attacks as payback for Israel's 1982 bombardment and siege of Beirut that killed up to 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians and left the city shattered.

Western and its corporate media keep repeating Iranian aid of US $100 to Hizbullah including rockets and missiles , but F-16 , Apache gun ships , tanks and other heavy arms , with key British components, are supplied by USA with the total aid amounting to over US$ 100 billion to Israel , since it was forcible embedded in the middle east to expatiate for centuries long European Christian maltreatment of Jews and sins culminating in the holocaust .The former victims have become the victimizers of Palestinians and commit daily terrors .Even polls in Europe give top spots to Israel and USA , countries which endanger world peace.

Normally Sunni fanatic Al Qaeda has always treated Shi'is like non-believers , which explains the wars between the two Islamic sects almost since the beginning of Islam , now the cause of ongoing civil war in Iraq ignited by USA and UK , perpetual Shi'i-Sunni conflict in Pakistan , time to time massacres of Alevis in Turkey and in Afghanistan ie between Sunni Pushtuns and Shi'i Tajiks , Hazaras and others.

Unlike an almost open US led Christian crusade with Jews against Islam now , in the early second millennium Crusades , both Jews (beginning with Europe ) and Muslims were the victims and butchered , but orthodox Christians in Asia and East Europe always end up at the wrong end of the stick , as they would now .The Crusaders attacks against orthodox Byzantine Constantinople ( now Istanbul ) weakened it and was soon run over by Turkish hordes from the East .

According to US correspondents accompanying Ms Rice on her first visit to the region, she proposed the intervention of a Nato-led force ( but without US troops ,Germans too have declined) along the Lebanese-Israeli border for between 60 and 90 days to assure that a ceasefire exists, the deployment of an enlarged Nato force throughout Lebanon to disarm Hizbullah and then the retrain the Lebanese army before its own deployment to the border. Some fantasy ! Have seen this movie before , in Iraq. After the apparent deliberate killing of 4 UN soldiers inside Lebanon border , how many countries would offer troops .

Wrote Robert Fisk ," Does Ms Rice think the Hizbollah want to be disarmed? By Nato? Wasn't there a Nato force in Beirut which fled Lebanon after a group close to the Hizbollah bombed the US Marine base at Beirut airport in 1983, killing 241 US servicemen and dozens more French troops a few seconds later? Does anyone believe that Shia Muslim forces will not do the same again to any Nato "intervention" force? Berlin has said it would not provide troops. The Americans are talking about Indonesian ,Egyptian and Turkish troops in southern Lebanon; Sunni Muslims in Shi'i territory!

Bush Blair Washington Summit !
Faced with somewhat penetrating questions, for a change ,from normally a supine and subservient press corps after the White House meeting on 28th July, Bush and Blair, in contrast to the swagger of Western Christian conquerors on the eve of US led illegal invasion of Iraq on March 16 ,2003 on the Portuguese island of Azores in the Atlantic, ( Premiers of Spain and host Portugal have been voted out for pro-US policies) gave a pathetic performance .Sticking together 'on course ' offering more of the same ,Bush meandered into the Mantra of 911 , taught by his mentor Karl Rove .Blair ,with his colonial mentality and jugglery of words , which have brought his country closer to the abyss of Londonistan , had nothing new to say . Afraid of Muslim backlash at home, Blair's party is in revolt led by his former Foreign Minister Jack Straw.

In Seattle, a Pak origin American attacked Jewish Centre killing one and injuring many , while in Istanbul , Turks beat up a Brit taking him to be an Israeli .
Bush and Blair had the chance to call for the fighting to end without preconditions, but both batted away in favour of what they paint the bigger picture. This is a "chance for broader change in the region", Bush said. The world needed "a framework that allows us to stabilise the situation for the medium and longer-term," Blair chimed in.

"They called for a UN-backed force to intervene in southern Lebanon, but without some stability on the ground - and with no indication whatsoever of what countries might supply troops - it would be rash to think blue helmets will arrive to put a lid on the violence any time soon."

In the meanwhile the Israeli war machine continues to destroy Lebanon civilian infrastructure and killing civilians .The US now believes significant damage has been inflicted on Hizbollah and that prolonging the war would enhance Hizbollah's standing in the Islamic world more than it would hurt its capacity to fight.

According to Lebanon's health minister about 600 civilians have died in Israeli attacks in the past 16 days. Some 51 Israelis including 18 civilians have been killed since the conflict began. Israel claims it killed 26 Hizbollah fighters near Bint J'beil, meanwhile Hizbollah launched a new rocket, the Khaibar-1, at the northern Israeli town of Afula, in its deepest strike yet.

Media coverage;
"This is Olmert's war, largely about the new Israeli prime minister establishing his political credibility, needing to demonstrate he is as tough as Ariel Sharon. He may have miscalculated. Britain should not be party to Olmert's folly " said a Guardian comment on 27 July.
Watching US-supplied Israeli jets smash his nation Lebanon to smithereens , Rami Khouri questioned US leaders historical background of the Middle East and said that Condi Rice's vernacular description of violent confrontations and political turmoil, with the massive destruction, dislocation and human suffering in Lebanon as an inevitable part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East" looked " much more like a wicked hangover from a decades-old American orgy of diplomatic intoxication with the enticements of pro-Israeli politics. " The new Middle Easy is being born, are " the initial dying gasps of the Western-made political order that has defined this region and focused primarily on Israeli national dictates for most of the past half-century. The way to a truly new and stable Middle East is to apply policies that deliver equal rights to all concerned, not to favor Israel as having greater rights than Arabs.

"Rice declared that Israel should ignore calls for a cease-fire, saying: "This is a different Middle East. It's a new Middle East. It's hard, We're going through a very violent time." Behind the American position to support Israel's massive attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and Hizbullah positions is a sense - widely reported from Washington in recent days - that the Bush-Rice team wants to use this conflict to achieve short-term tactical aims and long-term strategic goals that serve the interests of America, Israel and their few allies in the region
" So we now have three Arab countries where American policies and arms have played a major role in promoting chaos, disintegration and mass death and suffering: Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. You can watch them burn, live on your television sets. ', which ironically, Bush-Rice & Co. have held up as models and pioneers of the American policy to promote freedom and democracy as antidotes to Arab despotism and terrorism " the last vestiges of anti-American defiance and anti-Israel resistance --probably comprise a majority of Arab people. Most of them flock to Islamist parties and resistance groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted Shiite groups in the Iraqi government."

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi said the United States delayed the Rome conference on in the belief that two weeks of military operations was enough to destroy Hizbullah paving the way for implementing the Resolution 1559, to disarm Hizbullah and to deploy international troops on the Lebanese-Israeli frontiers. The failure of the Rome meeting, it argued, "means the war will continue for more weeks, expecting it to expand towards other regional countries like Syria and Iran. "But the past two weeks of hostilities, the paper insisted, showed that Hizbollah managed to minimize its losses and results are starting to favor the organization, -- the longer 'the Israeli aggression, the more advantages for the resistance.'

Al Anwar commented that all parties see the confrontation as defining the future of the region in terms of a new Middle East for Washington and a plan for deterrence by the resistance.
Jonathan Cook a writer and journalist based at Nazareth commented " If anyone doubted the racism of our Western media, here it was proudly on display. The BBC apparently considers their Beirut reporter's first duty to find out what meals HMS Gloucester's chef will be preparing for the evacuees. Lebanese and Palestinian civilians die unnoticed by the Western media (though not by the Arab channels) while we learn of onboard sleeping arrangements on the ship bound for Cyprus. "

Corporate News networks like CNN were worse , even good old Larry King Live , perhaps the best of the lot , letting pro Israeli views go on and on by so called 'experts ' hired by CNN and not questioning them . Others are as bad on corporate media channels .They never call any of the thousands of ME experts from US universities , says some one like Prof Juan Cole of Michigan , who has a lively blog updated daily. Larry says that after thousands of interviews , he has only just begun .He is quite right , he has a long way to go in conveying a sense of fairness , honesty and integrity to non-Americans.

The author had begun his diplomatic career as an assistant press attaché in early 1960s at Cairo , and spent a good part of his time with the media, of 35 years , half as Head of Indian Missions . And has witnessed the decline and fall of the Western media ( now called communications ) , with five corporate giants now controlling 90% of 'communications 'in USA .

Beginnings of the Crisis;
The causes belli was provided by Hizbullah on 12 July ,when in an early morning raid against an Israeli army border post it captured two Israeli soldiers and demanded in exchange Lebanese and Hizbullah prisoner in Israeli jails , some since decades. Nothing unusual in that. The two sides have a history of exchanging soldiers . dead or alive. The Israelis do so in Occupied territories.

In the raid Hizbullah also killed three Israeli soldiers, while five Israelis were lightly injured. When Israelis sent a tank into Lebanon in pursuit it ran over a landmine, exploded ,killing four soldiers inside. Another soldier died in further clashes inside Lebanon when his unit tried to retrieve the bodies.

Rather than open diplomatic channels to start the process of getting its soldiers back, Israel launched bombing raids deep into Lebanese territory the same day. Next day Israel expanded its aerial rampage across the south and into Beirut, where the airports, roads, bridges, and power stations were pummelled. Nassrullah held off from serious retaliation for a day and a half, limiting his strikes to the well protected northern borders areas, Late on June 13 he turned his guns on Haifa, but a small volley of rockets caused no injuries and looked more like a warning than an escalation. It was another three days of constant Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, destroying the country and injuring countless civilians -- before Nassrullah hit Haifa again, including a shell that killed eight workers in a railway depot.

The UN Security council's failure from June 25 onwards to even express concern about events in Gaza is one possible reason why Hizbullah took the action it did on July 12, apart from doubtlessly other motives. But it appeared determined to stand up for the Palestinians when the international community was evidently unwilling or unable to do so.

UN's subsequent record in checking Israeli barbarity is even less edifying. US has reduced UN to impotence by repeatedly disrupting collective attempts to achieve an immediate halt to the violence. Faced with US obstruction, efforts by the French under its council presidency to gather support for a ceasefire resolution made scant progress.

The Israeli leadership did not learn from the American disaster in Iraq and what Ehud Barak, former Israeli premier had told US Vice President Dick Cheney, as reported by Seymour Hersh. Does Tel Aviv have a Plan B against Hizbollah as it accused US of not having in Iraq .

Bint Jubail battle ;
Claiming to "control" southern Lebanese town of Bint Jubail, a stronghold of Hizbullah , the Israelis arrogantly walked into a trap to beard the lion in his den. The moment they reached the deserted marketplace, they were ambushed from three sides, their soldiers falling to the ground under sustained rifle fire. The remaining Israeli troops - surrounded by the "terrorists" they were supposed to liquidate - desperately appealed for help, but an Israeli Merkava tank and other vehicles sent to help them were also attacked and set on fire. Up to 17 Israeli soldiers might have died in this disastrous operation, wrote Robert Fisk [During their occupation of Lebanon in 1983 , in just one suicide attack more than 50 Israeli soldiers were killed]

" When Israel sent in its elite Golani Infantry Brigade to secure the town before dawn on Wednesday, hundreds of soldiers were quickly pinned down by a Hizbullah ambush. Eight soldiers were killed almost immediately, and it took until early afternoon to move the dead and wounded two miles under heavy fire to a safe spot where they were picked up by helicopter and flown to a hospital in Haifa," said an Israeli paper.

According to Israeli officials, 8 Israeli soldiers were killed and 22 wounded in a fierce battle, as troops fought with Hizbullah guerrillas for control of Bint Jubeil , while Hizboulah's chief spokesman Hussein Rahhal claimed "13 Israelis have been burned alive in their tanks on our land."

"It was a tough day," said Major General Udi Adam, who heads Israel's Northern Command .Failure at Bint Jubail exposed Israeli difficulties to drive out Hizbollah from the hills and valleys of southern Lebanon, and why Israeli goals have so quickly changed from fully dismantling Hizbollah to securing a narrow strip, less than two miles long, north of Israel's border.
It is now public knowledge as military correspondents proudly reported that the Israeli army was exercising for this war in all its details for several years , with a large war game rehearsal only last week , while both the politicians and the generals declared that "we shall never again get into the Lebanon quagmire.

Reactions in Israel ;
Scoffed Uri Avnery , a Jewish writer and journalist ;" Ehud Olmert presents himself as the heir to Churchill ("blood, sweat and tears") which is quite pathetic enough. But then Amir Peretz puffs up his chest and shoots threats in all directions, and that's even more pathetic, if that's possible. He resembles nothing so much as a fly standing on the ear of an ox and proclaiming: "we are ploughing!"

Having for decades injured, maimed , killed and assassinated unarmed or ill armed Palestinians , mostly civilians from US supplied F-16s, Apache helicopters with the latest technological weapons , Israel was taken aback by the Hezbollah counterattack .
Israel's Haaretz commented that contrary to what the critics said ," the IDF is not fighting a small guerrilla organization. It is dealing with a trained, skilled, well-organized, highly motivated infantry that is equipped with the cream of the crop of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia and China, and which is very familiar with the territory on which it is fighting. In such a showdown, even when you have tanks and fighter planes, the going is very slow, and, sadly, you must also pay a heavy price in terms of casualties. "

There are troubling questions about Israel's exit strategy and what will constitute a victory. Ze'ev Schiff, the most respected military analyst in Israel commented: "Israel is far from a decisive victory and its main objectives have not been achieved." He made clear what was at stake. "Hizbullah and what it symbolises must be destroyed at any price," he wrote in Ha'aretz newspaper. "If Hizbollah does not experience defeat in this war, it will spell the end of Israeli deterrence against its enemies."

Another minister, Eli Yishai of the Shas party, said that after warnings had been given, "we must not enter villages where Hezbollah terrorists are hiding before we have turned them into sand boxes". Haim Ramon, the Justice Minister said that "Only Hezbollah gunmen remain,[ in Bint J'beil]. According to BBC Radio Ramon said that in order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hizbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops moved in. He added that Israel had given the civilians of southern Lebanon ample time to quit the area and therefore anyone still remaining there could be considered a Hezbollah supporter.

"All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah," Ramon said on Israeli Army radio. Ramon also wants further attacks on infrastructure, including electricity supplies. He had infuriated the EU by claiming that the Rome meeting on Wednesday, which failed to produce a unified call for an immediate ceasefire, had given Israel the green light to continue destruction. This was later contradicted.

Exaggerated Expectations; Nahum Barnea, the country's leading political commentator, warned that the public had exaggerated expectations of what might emerge from this crisis. "Israel is like the guy who promised to jump off the big top at the circus but freezes the moment he gets up there. 'Why isn't he jumping?' the spectators ask. 'No question of jumping,' the guy replies. 'The only question is how I can get down'."

The Israeli government faced a barrage of criticism over its handling of the war in Lebanon, with questions being asked about the decision to attack Hizbollah, mounting military losses, military strategy and tactics, continuing missile strikes and disquiet about Lebanese civilian casualties.

Experts say Israel's much-vaunted intelligence services underestimated Hizbollah's capabilities. The air force came under scrutiny after losing three Apache helicopters and an F16 jet, with one helicopter presumed downed by friendly fire. Five soldiers have been killed by friendly fire.

Wall-to-wall TV and radio talk shows have wheeled out reserve or former officers highlighting the shortcomings of those running the show, bringing defensive responses from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) general staff, sneers at "armchair warriors" and accusations of disloyalty in wartime.

"Commentators have questioned whether key decisions were thought through in the context of an overall strategy: these include the swift response to the July 12 attack, the bombing of Beirut international airport despite warnings that this would trigger retaliation against Haifa, and the destruction of Hizbollah HQ in southern Beirut. They say [ now] the government's response has been to shift its goals and lower public expectations.

The original objective of "breaking Hizbullah" has been watered down to "weakening Hizbullah". Olmert's sudden agreement to the deployment of a multinational force on the border reflects reluctant recognition that Israel cannot itself disarm the Lebanese militia and needs a foreign buffer.

"Even before we know who will win this campaign we can state with certainty that Israel has suffered a terrible propaganda defeat in Lebanon and the Arab world," wrote the Ma'ariv columnist Jacky Hugi. "One country cannot destroy another without explaining to the neighbour the logic behind its actions. From being our silent allies the Lebanese have become the victims of our blind pounding."

Observed an Israeli commentator "No one can predict when the reversal will come, when all the experts will begin competing for first place in revealing the failures of the war: mistaken strategy, political dilettantism and shooting from the hip; the weakness disguised as courageous determination; the illusions, arrogance and boasting;

Very soon everything will return to what it was before -- apart from those who sacrificed their lives and those who were killed in the shillings and bombings. And the major loser will be the people of Israel who, by an unmeasured reaction to a provocation, established their position as a foreign element in the region, as the neighborhood bully, the object of impotent hatred."
But Moshe Arens, a hawkish former Likud defence minister, issued a stark warning that Hizbullah and its leader, Sheikh Nasrallah, could emerge from the conflict without being beaten. "This will be a disaster for Israel," he told the Ha'aretz newspaper. "Nasrallah will be seen as someone who fired thousands of Katyushas at Israeli communities for weeks and came out unscathed."

That is perhaps one of the reasons that how ever inaccurate ,in defiance Nasrallah has kept firing rockets at the port of Haifa ,Israel's third largest city and tourist centre , forcing Israelis to in to shelters and to inspire his followers and Muslims all around the world that the boot can be on the other foot . After what US has done in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11 and Israel since its creation, if US faced a calamity , it would arouse little sympathy in the Muslim world and even elsewhere.

Since two centuries the Anglo-Saxons and Europeans have gone around bombarding and killing people in Asia , Middle East and Africa .The litany of their crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity by direct killing and causing famines is too long .After the 1857 uprising by Muslims and Hindus under Moghul Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar against British colonial occupation , the British loot , rampage and atrocities were horrendous .These policies have been continued all over the world .How dare the colonized and the oppressed dare raise their head !No wonder Sheikh Nasrallah has become the toast of the down trodden among Muslims and others all around the world

UN observers killed
Washington even blocked a council statement condemning Israel's bombing of a UN monitoring post in south Lebanon that killed four observers. Neither China, which lost an observer, nor Russia, which has demanded a "central role" for the UN in the crisis, were able to move Washington to condemn Israel.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was "shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by IDF of a U.N. Observer post in southern Lebanon." "This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked U.N. post at Khiam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Olmert that U.N. positions would be spared Israeli fire." In Rome he repeated that the post was under attack since morning and the fatal attack took place in spite of constant pleas to Israeli authorities
In Jerusalem, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev expressed regret over the deaths. But , Olmert, first dismissed the charge. "It's inconceivable for the UN to define an error as an apparently deliberate action," he said. The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, said: "I think there is an understanding that unfortunately during a war these things can happen." Later Olmert , in face of universal uproar apologized .

Protected by US veto in UNSC, Israel has shown scant respect for the organization or its Resolutions to vacate its aggression of Arab territories occupied after the 1967 war.
To begin with Dan Gillerman ,Israel's ambassador to the UN even ruled out a major UN involvement in any potential international force in Lebanon, saying more professional and better-trained troops were needed for such a volatile situation. He also said Israel would not allow the United Nations to join in an investigation of the Israeli air strike which killed 4 UN observers . "Israel has never agreed to a joint investigation, and I don't think that if anything happened in this country, or in Britain or in Italy or in France, the government of that country would agree to a joint investigation," Gillerman said. Why then a UN investigation into the murder of late Premier Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon. Louise Arbour of the UN High Commission on Human Rights

UN human rights chief Louise Arbour said that the military operations being carried out in Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories could be considered war crimes. The obligation to protect civilians during hostilities is entrenched in international law, "which defines war crimes and crimes against humanity," Arbour said in a statement. "The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control," she added. '

Myth of Air Power ;
Writing in the Washington Post , Philip H. Gordon of the Brookings Institution said,'' Military historians have a name for the logic behind Israel's military campaign in Lebanon. It's called the "strategic bombing fallacy." Almost since the dawn of the age of military air power, strategists have been tempted by the prospect that the bombing of "strategic" targets such as infrastructure and transportation hubs could inflict such pain on a population that it would turn against its leaders and get them to surrender or compromise. .The United States itself discovered during World War II and Vietnam, to cite just two examples – that strategic bombing has almost never worked. Far from bringing about the intended softening of the opposition, bombing tends to rally people behind their own leaders and cause them to dig in against outsiders who, whatever the justification, are destroying their homeland.

"Given the long odds against Israeli or U.S. bombing campaigns actually producing the desired effects, a more focused and sustained strategy of proportional retaliation, increased support for the Lebanese government, international pressure on Iran and incentives for Syria to end its support for Hezbollah would seem a better approach than another wild throw of the dice.''

During the 1999 US led 78-day Nato bombing campaign against Milosevic's Serbia also wild claims were made in Brussels about the damage caused by its air campaign , but the strategic military damage was minimal.

A study by Earl H.Tilford Jr for the US Army War College debunked the claims on the performance of high-tech weapons like the B-2 bombers .By 19 May, after 56 days Nato claimed to have destroyed 31 percent of all Serb heavy forces in Kosovo, including 11 battalion or brigade command posts; 312 tanks, heavy artillery pieces, and armored vehicles; and 244 other pieces of military equipment. Further reports stated that air strikes had destroyed 75 percent of the fixed surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in Yugoslavia and 12 percent of its mobile SAMs. But a US News and World Report article stated that there was evidence of only 26 destroyed tanks and self-propelled artillery vehicles. Instead of 210 destroyed armored personnel carriers, only 12 actually were counted. And, rather than the 449 mortars and towed artillery pieces originally tallied as having been killed by air, only eight were in evidence.
Israeli failure at Bint J'beil also illustrates fondness of US and Israeli war lords' greater reliance on high-tech , with its air force getting more of defence appropriations diminishing the forces capability to fight on the ground , as can be seen in Iraq too. It were the Northern Alliance which helped US enter Kabul and Afghanistan.

Conclusions ;
From now on, Hizbullah does not have to win. It merely has to survive as a potent force - and it appears to be doing just that. Meanwhile the political damage done to Israel through miscalculation, overreaction and targeting errors is incalculable.

"A defeat for Israel and a victory for Hizbullah would have terrifying consequences for the Middle East, which would probably begin with regime change on a wide scale (but not the kind Washington looks for) and could end with the very battle for survival that Israel has always claimed that its use of military force was designed to avoid.

" Alongside Israel's failure sits the failure of strategy of Blair and perhaps Bush. The most positive construction that can be put on this is that they hoped Israel would weaken first Hizbullah and then Iran and Syria, and thus create the context for a wider Middle Eastern settlement, incorporating Palestine and easing our problems in Iraq. Israel's failure so far to achieve its war aims means that this strategy too is in danger of being frustrated.

An expert said that the world should get very nervous when the US feels frustrated and Israel faces defeat. This is when miscalculations of even greater magnitude become even more possible. There are powerful voices among the Neo-con Christian right - now very influential in Washington - that the US policy aim should be to use Israel's excesses to draw in Iran and Syria, so that the US could "take them down" as a prelude to reshaping the Middle East for democracy. If it were adopted it would be bound to lead to a widening conflagration that would embrace the fragile tinderboxes of central Asia and goodness knows where beyond. Rice's aim should be to persuade Israel with a promise to install the Lebanese army, backed by an international force, in southern Lebanon to stop Hizbollah rocket attacks and to tempt Hizbullah with the return of the disputed Sheba'a Farms area. Hizbollah will not have to disarm immediately.

The US now believes significant damage has been inflicted on Hizbollah and that prolonging the war would enhance the Shia group's standing in the Islamic world more than it would hurt its capacity to fight.

Nadim Shehadi, a Middle East expert at Chatham House, said it was possible Bush would turn to Syria as a way out of the crisis but only because all the other choices facing the US and Israelis were even worse. "It would be capitulation, maybe you could call it capitulation light, but capitulation all the same. It would be the end of the American regional agenda," he said. And Syria would never entirely pull the plug on Hizbullah. Nor would it break with Iran. "The idea that it would do so is naive. The only reason Syria is not under attack now is because of its alliance with Iran."

Syria also has ballistic missiles with chemical and biological warheads. Syria's relations warmed up with Russia again after President Bashar's visit to Moscow early last year , with Russia writing off many billions dollars of Cold War days debt and replenishment of its arms including short range missiles .Moscow will not let down Damascus .In the wake of ill conceived Neocon policies in Middle East , in spite of historical enmity , Syria has made up with Turkey , and despite Washington's displeasure , Ankara has also made up with Moscow and Tehran .Caught up in its quagmire in Iraq and now the Israeli denouement in Bint J'beil , USA at odds with Turkey ,is now trying to entice Ankara in its ME objectives, but the price demanded might be too high .

"The US alliance with Israel has been a fact of international life for decades, but seldom has Washington acted so blatantly in support of the country and with such disregard for the rest of the international community. By blocking diplomatic action, the US has alienated the Arab world even further. And Britain, shamefully, has been a party to this. Washington and London argue that there is no point in calling for an immediate ceasefire because it would only be a temporary solution and what is needed is a sustainable ceasefire. This is an unusual approach to conflict. It is normal to press for a ceasefire and then try to work out peace terms. To demand a workable peace plan for the Israel-Lebanon first is the stuff of dreams. Israel and Lebanon have now been in conflict since 1982: there is no easy solution on offer.

"US has to end its policy of blocking diplomacy in order to allow Israel time to deal with Hizbollah militarily - an option that Israel may be finding less attractive anyway in the face of stiff Hizbollah resistance. Ms Rice needs to push for an immediate ceasefire and that can only be achieved by persuading not just Israel but Hizbollah and its two backers in the region, Iran and Syria. Such is the poverty of US diplomacy in the region, made worse under the Bush administration, that Washington has no diplomatic links with Iran and only limited ones with Syria. There is nothing to stop her flying to Damascus to open negotiations with Syria's president, Bashar Assad, no matter how distasteful that might be to her.

Edward Luttwak in the neo-conservative Wall Street Journal argued that Damascus should be invited back into Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah, even if that meant "recognition of Syrian suzerainty" over its smaller neighbor. It might be "tremendously embarrassing" to the Bush administration to agree to such a price, but there is little alternative, he noted. A second article in the right-wing National Review by contributing editor James Robbins on Monday, too, argued for a rapprochement with Damascus as part of a "new international alignment in the Middle East" of Sunni-led states against Iran. Ralph Peters, a staunch pro-Israel columnist and military expert with the neo-conservative New York Post noted that "Israel is losing this war, Israeli miscalculations have left Hizbollah alive and kicking." But he with Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, want a major Israeli ground invasion to clear out Hizbollah infrastructure and militants from southern Lebanon.

In an article in titled "Rice's fallacy ," Gareth Evans and Robert Malley concluded;
" Washington and Tel Aviv must confront the reality that this war cannot be won militarily, even stretching to the limit and beyond the constraints imposed by international humanitarian law. The only way out is diplomatic and political. It begins with an immediate cessation of hostilities, followed by a prisoner exchange and, under appropriate conditions, the dispatch of an international force to South Lebanon. Given Lebanon's history and its fragile political-sectarian balance, any such force must be contemplated with extreme caution. It has to be agreed to by all parties—Hezbollah included—authorized by the U.N. Security Council, and be a confidence builder, not an enforcer. Understandable as the desire of Israel and the United States may be to have a force with full disarmament powers, if it is viewed as threatening Hezbollah or taking sides in the confessional battles it could plunge the country into a new round of civil strife.

" A serious effort to safeguard Israel's security without jeopardizing regional or Lebanese stability is possible, but only if the United States is prepared to engage in vigorous, continuous, and comprehensive diplomacy. Immediately after a cease-fire has been secured, the United States and its European and Arab partners should focus on ending the conditions that produced this deadly conflagration—the real root causes. This would include intensifying the intra-Lebanese dialogue concerning Hezbollah, as well as the country's political system and national defense; addressing pending Israeli-Lebanese issues; engaging Syria and Iran in a broad discussion of regional matters; and reinvigorating the long-dormant Arab-Israeli peace process.

At an evening dinner at the Association of South East Asian Nation's Regional Forum in Malaysia attended by Ms Rice, she an accomplished musician who studied the piano at college, played Brahms sonata which she called "a prayer for peace". She ought to have played Mozart's 'Requiem ' for the civilians dead and dying in Lebanon and Israel and in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in 1992-96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the 1990-91 Gulf war), Romania and Senegal . He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies, in Bucharest .