Jun 30, 2010

Arab Attempts for the Development of Collective Scientific Research

Water scarcity and global weather changes in the Arab world are posing major problems for the Middle East region. The U.N. classified eighteen of the 22 Arab states as water poverty stricken countries. Furthermore, 60% of the service water flowing into Arab countries starts its beyond national borders. In addition, the Middle East and North African region experiences global weather changes and more droughts with longer duration. Also, the Arab countries have had population growth that increases the demand for fresh water. A recent meeting of Arab universities’ union, which includes 400 academic institutions, was held at Cairo University (June 24, 2010). The objective of the gathering was to develop strategies to meet the challenges facing the Arab world. The emphasis placed on the proposed strategy is to develop a collective and joint scientific research during the next five years that will benefit the whole Arab world. The focus of the research will be the management of water resources in the Arab world and its research development will be located at the science research center at Cairo University. The research will be supervised by a council that represents the four regions of the Arab world (the Arabian peninsula, al-Mashrig al-Arabi, al-Magrib al-Arabi, and the central region). Also, a new academic and scientific program will be created that will focus on environmental studies that will lead to an M.A. and a Ph.D. in this field.

Another area that was also the focus of discussion was renewable energy resources and how to maximize benefit from the wind and the sun. Research will be conducted in all Arab countries to enable them to generate energy and at the same time protect the environment.

Emphasis was also placed on people’s health and in particular, the spread of cancer in the Arab world. It was proposed that patient records be created and that they be coordinated with treatments and survival rates, as well as scientific research.

The participants recommended that a copy of the conclusion of the meeting be sent to the director of the Arab League to be officially adopted by Arab states.

One of the basic ingredients for the success of such recommendations is the availability of financial resources to support scientific research. For example, the Egyptian government allocated ½ of one percent of its budget to scientific research. I am of the opinion that the majority of Arab governments don’t put too much emphasis on scientific research or on the quality of education at both the upper and lower levels. In previous posts I have discussed the quality of education in some Arab states. No country ever made rapid progress without first allocating a big budget to education and research. In order for the Arab world to catch up with the rest of the world, they have to at least triple their education and research budget for at least two decades to create meaningful scientific research and produce a new generation w

Jun 26, 2010

Israel Un-Interestedness in the Peace Process

During the past year, President Obama has been trying to start peace discussions between Israelis and Palestinians with the hope that it will lead to a solution of the conflict. Two high-ranking American officials, Vice President Joe Biden and ex-Senator George Mitchell, have travelled to Israel to assure the Israelis of US support and encourage them to start peace dialogues. Each time, Israeli politicians maneuvered in calculated ways to announce a political plan that dampened the importance of the visit and embarrassed the American visitors. The following reflects examples of Israel's political behavior:

1) The expelling of Palestinians from their homes in the neighborhood of Shaick Jarah in Jerusalem. Homes were demolished to build apartments for the Jewish settlers.
2) The announcement of building 1600 housing units in East Jerusalem for Jewish settlers.
3) The demolition of more than 20 Palestinian homes in Silwan, which is supposed to be the future capital site for Palestine. This site will be converted into a public archaeological site. It is located near al-Aksa mosque,beyond the Jerusalem Wall.
4) The Israeli government announcing the demolition of 88 structures in Silwan that are to be replaced by a proposed park and a new Jewish residential neighborhood.
5) The Israeli government withdrawing the personal identity of four Palestinians who are residents of Jerusalem and were elected to the Palestinian Parliament four years ago. The four are to be deported from Jerusalem.

All such acts did not occur accidentally, but were part of a calculated strategy to discourage President Obama's plan to bring peace into the Middle East region.

The demolitions of Palestinian homes and ethnic cleansing have been part of the Israeli Zionist strategy since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. The Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion ordered the demolition of more than 500 Palestinian villages in Israel after a terrorist campaign that led people to flee their homes. This policy was done so that no refugees would return. This is an act of ethnic cleansing, which has been going on for more than 60 years. A topic dealt with by Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian, in his book: Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians.

In previous posts I have stated that at the end, when Israel has annexed all the land they want, they will have no choice but to incorporate the people of the West Bank and Gaza into the state of Israel. It is interesting to read an article written in the Economist (June 19,2010) where the speakers of the Israeli parliament, Mr. Reuven Rivlin was quoted as arguing “for a greater Israel that would embrace the whole of Palestine, with the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza given full citizenship in Israel." He continued to say that the "Israeli Arab are our only bridge to peaceful coexistence and we are failing to maintain it.”

In the same article, another known scholar, Professor Mordechal Kremnitzer, the President of the Israeli Democracy Institute, a think tank, said "for two generations, we have denied the people across the green line their democratic rights…. That must impact our society's democratic ethos. Those who are ashamed find rationalizations: ‘We have no choice,’ they say. Or they cite 'security considerations' or explain the ‘uniqueness’ of our conflict with the Arabs. But many others are not even ashamed..."

There are more Israeli authors and scholars who have written about Israeli’s suppression and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. Meanwhile Israeli politicians constantly practice a method of semantic terrorism by using terms such as ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘Holocaust,’ to intimidate and silence those who oppose their policy in the occupied land. This Zionist method of deception is reaching a dead end.

Jun 23, 2010

Intricacy of U.S./Turkey/Israel relations

The troubles in Turkish-Israeli relations continue to escalate due to the attack on the Turkish ship at the end of May 2010. The attack led to the killing of nine unarmed Turkish activists who were part of a “mercy mission”.

At the U.N. the Turkish government demanded an international investigation of the Israeli military attack. Also, Turkey demanded an apology for the attack on a Turkish ship.

Israel has ignored Turkey’s demands. Instead, they have established their own investigative committee and no soldiers will be called to testify. Israel has appointed two outside observers who will have no authority to interfere in the investigation. Furthermore, there will be no apology from Israel. Turkey has said that it will not accept this type of investigation. Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Israel as a result of the Israeli dismissal of its demands.

In the meantime, Israeli supporters began to mobilize members of the American Congress to stand up and support Israel. Members of the House and the Senate have warned Turkey and stated that Turkey’s relationship with the U.S. will be damaged if Turkey continues to maintain its hostile and aggressive attacks against Israel. Some members even went further by threatening Turkey that it will pay an even higher price if it continues to have a close and friendly relationship with Iran.

Furthermore, in a press conference, members from both political parties criticized Turkey, who is a member of NATO, for supporting the International Free Flotilla that was trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Some members went even further by criticizing Turkey for not supporting the Security Council resolution to impose more restrictions on Iran. They have said that Turkey’s “no” vote in the Security Council is a disgraceful act. In addition, 126 members of Congress have signed a letter addressed to President Obama calling on him to oppose any international condemnation of Israel.

On the other hand, the Jewish J.Street Organization has opposed what these members of Congress stand for and asked that the American government work to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict. These honest and objective members of the Jewish community are pushing for a just peace in the Middle East. Those members of the American Congress who are acting like a rubber stamp for AIPAC are not serving the American national interest.

A Jewish Boat to Gaza

The International Free Flotilla campaign to break the Gaza siege that was attacked by Israeli forces created outrage worldwide. The free humanitarian mission led more and more people to continue the freedom movement since the Israelis have refused to lift the Gaza siege completely.

An international Jewish organization working for justice in Palestine is sponsoring a Jewish boat that will sail to Gaza this summer.

American Jews for a Just Peace issued a press release on June 16, 2010. Naomi Klein, a member of the advisory board of the Free Gaza Movement stated at a demonstration in Toronto on May 31, 2010, "The movement to break the blockade of Gaza is "unstoppable and unsinkable". AJJP joins the "Judische Stimme" (Jewish Voices for a Just Peace in the Near East and Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK)) in sending the boat as a call to the leaders of the world to help Israel find her way to reason, to a sense of humanity and a life without fear. The AJJP continued to state that the principle of the mission is:
1) To protest against and challenge the blockade of Gaza
2) To protest against Israel's continuing occupation and settlement of Palestinian land
3) To make clear that the current policies of Israel are not representative of all Jews and that there are thousands of us who wish to say "not in our name"
4) The current policies toward Gaza are counterproductive
5) The aid that we will carry on the boat is medical equipment and toys for children
6) We, above all, should have a deep understanding of and rejection of the oppression of others

For more detailed information go to www.ajjp.org/jewishboat. These Jewish organizations should be saluted for carrying the true Jewish torch, "Let there be light". They have the courage to stand up to the advocates of Zionism, who use Judaism as a shield to hide their Fascist ideology.

Jun 20, 2010

Reasons behind Israeli Siege of Gaza

Since the Israeli attack on the International Flotilla that outraged the world population, Israel has been called upon to lift the siege on Gaza that began in 2007. The Gaza siege is still going on despite the repeated U.N. demands that it should be lifted completely, not partially as Israel recently declared. The siege is in violation of international law and human rights. It is a collective punishment of 1.5 million people. The International Red Cross just issued an appeal for the lifting of the Gaza siege to minimize the physical, social and economic difficulties that people in Gaza have experienced on a daily basis for the last three years.

So far, Israel has refused to lift the siege completely, but promised to let some essential goods enter the Gaza Strip, such as food, cement and iron for construction. More than 35,000 Palestinians have been living in tents since the December 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza that destroyed thousands of homes. From the beginning, the siege of Gaza was planned to weaken the authority of Hamas, who won the free election in 2007. Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are the ones who supported the siege with the blessing of the U.S. government during the Bush administration. However, each of the three has their own agenda and objective behind their support of the Gaza siege. The Israelis claim that Hamas permits the firing of missiles at its own communities and that it poses a threat to Israelis citizens. If the causalities caused by the primitive type of missiles from Gaza are compared to the number of deaths caused by Israeli air and land bombardments, the former is not even one percent of the latter. The Gaza invasion of December 2008 alone caused the deaths of more than 1400 people, according to the U.N. Goldstone report. The report even accused Israel of war crimes. From the beginning, the Israeli government did not want Hamas to be part of any peace negotiation. They are hardliners and insist that Israel goes back to the 1967 borders. The Israelis are supportive of Mr. Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, who is ready to compromise regardless of the consequences on the Palestinians. Mr. Abbas was and still is supportive of the Gaza siege because it weakened the authority of Hamas. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that, while meeting with President Obama, Mr. Abbas stated that he is against the lifting of the Gaza siege. These remarks were quoted in the American press as well as in almasry-alyoum, (6/15/2010). Mr. Abbas views Hamas as his enemy number one. If the siege is lifted, this will increase the popularity of Hamas among the Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general.
The Egyptian government was supportive of the Gaza siege because it viewed the political success of Hamas as having a positive impact on their supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They pose as the biggest organized political threat to the government of President Mubarak, and they have a deep-rooted support among the Egyptian public.The participation of the Egyptian government in the siege contributed to its decreasing influence in the Arab world.

The U.S. role in this conflict is very clear. Whatever Israel demands, the U.S. will implement. Israel classified Hamas as a terrorist organization because they resist the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Despite the fact that Hamas never carried an attack against the U.S. the American government classified them as terrorists.
The negative impact of the Israeli attack on the International Freedom Flotilla, that was trying to break the Gaza siege, has backfired. This situation has even led some Israeli political figures, such as the Israeli Minister of Transportation, to call on the Prime Minister of Israel to lift the siege because it did not produce any positive results, and it put Israel in a very negative position worldwide.

The Egyptian government was left with no choice but to respond to world criticism and open its border to and from Gaza. Furthermore, it has been reported that the U.S. government has halted funding of the steel wall that Egypt began to build underground to stop Hamas from digging tunnels to smuggle goods from Egypt into Gaza.

Israel’s political and tactical strategy is to delay any attempt of peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. Israeli Zionists think that time is on their side and they feel at the present that President Obama’s plan for peace has been put on the backburner. In the meantime, they will continue to expand at the expense of the Palestinians to implement their Zionist ideology. Meanwhile, the Palestinian population continues to grow, and in the end the Israeli government will have no choice but to absorb the Palestinians with the lands that they have annexed.

Jun 19, 2010

The Jordanian Nuclear Reactor

Jordan has been classified by the U.N. as among the 5 most water poverty stricken countries in the world. This situation increased drastically when Israel diverted more than 90% of the Jordan River water into Israel: “Might is right”. In addition, Jordan has been experiencing longer duration of droughts as a result of the global weather changes. There are also the problems of population growth in a country where 90% of the land is barren desert. Furthermore, Jordan relies totally on the imports of oil from both Iraq and Saudi Arabia for the production of its energy.

This critical situation led the Jordanian government to develop a new strategy that will help it meet the challenges it’s facing. The Jordanian government has adopted the nuclear strategy to generate its needed energy. An agreement has been signed with South Korea to build a nuclear reactor. The project began where a canal will be constructed to flow water from the Red Sea for desalination to meet the population needs for drinking water. The canals will also flow water into the Dead Sea. It has been reported that the level of water in the Dead Sea has been falling as a result of nearly no water flow from the Jordan River to the Dead Sea.

Furthermore, the Jordanian government has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and publicly announced that the nuclear reactor project w ill be a joint public and private project. This will provide the transparency needed so that the enriched uranium will be used for peaceful objectives. Fortunately for Jordan, a rich deposit of raw uranium was discovered in Jordan in 2007 that will facilitate its use for the nuclear reactor under construction. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty permits Jordan to enrich its uranium for peaceful purposes.

Nevertheless, the Israeli government and the U.S. began to put obstacles in the way of the Jordanian nuclear project. First, Israel began its contact with the South Korean and French governments to try to stop the participation in the proposed construction of the Jordanian nuclear reactor. The Israelis’ efforts were unsuccessful. Moreover, the Zionist state adopted a policy more than five decades ago to prevent any state in the Middle East region from becoming a nuclear power. The present tug of war between Israel and Iran reflects this issue. During the past few decades Israel went to extremes by letting their secret service agents “The Mossad” assasinate Arab nuclear scientists. In addition, Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and the suspected nuclear site in Syria in 2007. The Israeli attempt to sabotage the Jordanian nuclear project is part of the Israeli strategy to prevent any Arab state from obtaining nuclear technology. The irony of the Israeli political strategy is the fact that Jordan has signed a peace treaty with the Zionist state, but this is not enough for Israeli politicians whose aim is military control of the region.

Since the Israeli attempts have failed, they turned to the U.S. government to do the dirty job for them. It has been reported in the international press (for example, the Wall Street Journal and aljazeeranet.nets) that the U.S. government has sent a team of experts to convince Jordanian government officials that in order for the U.S. companies to provide needed equipment for the nuclear reactor and the technological assistance needed, Jordan is advised to import the enriched uranium instead of enriching it in Jordan.

According to public news, the Jordanian government will not accept the American offer, since they have a large deposit of raw uranium in their country. Furthermore, from an economic point of view, the Jordanian government needs to create new jobs for the tens of thousands who are unemployed, including college graduates. Also, Jordan is under a heavy foreign debt that exceeds 8 billion dollars. The state only has 6.5 million people. The future potential of the nuclear reactor being built might also lead to the construction of more reactors, which will put Jordan in a good position to export electrical power to its neighbors such as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

The Jordanian government should completely ignore the U.S.’s request and should look somewhere else to purchase what it needs

The Nile River – A Dumping Ground for Garbage

On June 12, 2010, a friend of mine called me and made some cynical remarks about my remarks on the Nile River in previous posts. He said, “Turn your computer on and read almasry-alyoum newspaper” (6/12/2010).

I complied and could not believe what I saw in the picture and what was written. The title of the article was “The Destruction of the Nile in Minia by Dumping 250,000 Tons of Garbage”. The picture was of big trucks emptying loads of garbage within a few feet from the water.

Local people living in villages across the Nile in Minia told the reporter Terreza Kamal that despite the presence of a factory that processes garbage in the area, it has been bypassed and the garbage was piled like a mountain instead. The reporter revealed that the garbage was removed from the West Bank of the Nile to the East Bank by an order from the governor of Minia to clean the area and covert the space into a public park and playground. It seems to me that the governor of Minia does not have the ability to see beyond his nose. Removing a huge pile of garbage from one side of the Nile to the other side is nothing but an act of stupidity. According to a report, the villagers have lost more than 40 feddan (acres) of good agricultural land along the bank of the Nile River, and in addition there is the terrible smell of the decaying garbage, which has caused some people to get sick. Furthermore, the garbage has blocked the road to go to Minia city. The villagers on the East Bank of the Nile asked why the garbage was not removed into the desert a few miles away. Government officials responded that the reason why that site was chosen is because it is a swamp land and needs to be filled so in the future it can be turned into a tourist attraction. In addition, approval of the site was given by the “Nile River Protection Commission”.

If the commission and/or those in charge have approved the site along the Nile River as a place to dump garbage, then these officials are unqualified to be in such positions. Just one simple fact among many is that the toxic effect of the garbage will fin d its way into the Nile River water. Those who made such a decision should be penalized with the severest punishment possible. After all, the Nile is the lifeline of Egypt and needs to be protected, regardless

Jun 18, 2010

The Israeli Internal Investigation Committee

The Israeli Prime Minister B. Netanyahu just announced the formation of an internal committee to investigate the attack against the free flotilla that led to the killing of nine Turkish citizens. According to the released news, two outsiders will be asked to sit on the committee as observers and have no voting power. Furthermore, no Israeli soldiers will be called upon to be investigated or to testify against other soldiers in front of the committee. The formation of such a committee by the Israeli government is nothing but a white wash with the purpose of pacifying the public worldwide that was outraged by the Israeli’s savage attack of the free flotilla, which was a mercy mission.

The United Nations condemned the attack and called for the creation of an international commission to investigate the attack. Of course, the Israeli government refused to participate in the proposed investigation and opted to do it themselves so they can cover their own dirt. The Israelis must have learned a lesson from the Goldstone Report, which accused the Israelis of war crimes committed against the Palestinians during their invasion of Gaza in December 2008. The tragic thing about the whole affair is that the U.S. government was supportive of a U.N. inquiry but they have caved in as a result of Zionist Jewish groups and the influence of AIPAC over the American Congress and the White House.

The U.S. government has been supportive of Israeli policy regardless of its actions and the consequences on national and international levels. This has lead the Israeli government to ignore international law and put itself above the law. Its actions always backfire against the U.S. and the innocent American citizens are the ones who end up paying the price, physically and financially.

Jun 16, 2010

Turkey and the Arab States

The third Turkish-Arab Economic Forum was held in Istanbul (6/10/2010) and included 21 Arab states’ representatives. In the opening session, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Israeli attack on the International Flotilla, which lead to the killing of nine Turkish citizens. He said. “Are we going to remain silent over the murder of nine people? We can’t turn a blind eye to this banditry in international waters, this can’t continue as it is.” Also, Amr Moussa, the Chief Director of the Arab League, accused Israel of continued atrocity and assault in violation of human rights and international law and praised Turkey for challenging Israeli on its raids of the mercy mission (www.thedaillystar.com 6/11/2010).

The objective of the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum was to promote and expand trades and investments between Turkey and the Arab states. Negotiations between Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon have been going on for three years with the objective of creating a free trade and travel zone among citizens of these states.

The overall trades between Turkey and the other 22 Arab states has more than doubled over the past five years to reach $30 billion per year. One of the main factors behind Turkey’s new efforts to establish economic trade with its Arab neighbors is attributed to the decision of the European Common Market members, who have been putting obstacles in the way of admitting Turkey as a member. Turkey is still pushing for membership, but so far there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Pope Benedict the XVI pointed out publicly that Turkey is a Muslim country and Europe is Christian and that things should be kept this way. Such remarks reflect contradictions, since Turkey is a member of NATO.

Nevertheless, the Turkish prime minister is a very clever strategist. He views the Arab world with more than 350 million people as a potential market for Turkish products. AT the same time, the Arab oil producing countries with surplus financial funds might turn to a Muslim Turkey as a potential place for their investments.

At the end of the meeting, Turkey and 21 Arab states’ representatives issued a joint statement expressing grave concern and condemnation for the “Israeli aggression” on the aid ship. The statement said that Turkey and the Arab states would work together until Israel is held accountable and the siege on the Gaza Strip is lifted.

Jun 9, 2010

The Israeli Military Arrogance

The Haaretz Israel newspaper published an article under the title, “The Israeli Prime Minister B. Netanyahu Beating The Drums of War” (May 23, 2010). The prime minister warned the Israeli population that they should be prepared for war that might start at any time. He of course referred to his usual enemies: Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He emphasized Iran in particular because of its nuclear program, which the world is trying to stop. He also pointed out that Israel began to take serious military steps to prevent Iran from having its nuclear program because of its threat to Israel.

Since it developed its nuclear arsenal during the later part of the 1950s, Israel began its future military strategy to prevent any country in the Middle East from developing a nuclear bomb. Some of the tactics used by the Israeli Mossad include the assassination of Arab and Iranian nuclear scientists in the United States and in Europe, the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and the bombing of the suspected nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007.

The basic reason behind Israeli military aggression is plainly clear and that is to keep Israel as the only military power in the Middle East region. Israel is the 5th military power in the world and even if Iran ends up with their own bomb, they cannot use it. On the other hand, it will neutralize Israeli nuclear power and at the same time it will discourage Israel from attempts at intimidating other countries in the region. An illustration of this point in recent news is that Israel sent three nuclear submarines close to the Iranian shore to reflex its military muscles.

General John Abizaid, the retired army general who headed central command in the Middle East for four years (03-07) said that he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them. He continued to say, “There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran. We lived with nuclear Soviet Union, w e have lived with a nuclear China and we are living with other nuclear powers as well.” He further noted that military action to pre-empt Iran’s nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course (www.truthout.org/article-abizaid 6/3/10).

Prime Minister Netanyahu has already rejected President Obama’s proposal for a nonproliferation of nuclear arms conference in 2012 that will focus on the issue of turning the Middle East into a region free of all weapons of mass destruction.

I doubt that the Israelis will go along with such a proposal and therefore Iran should proceed with its program. The Arab nations should wake up to Israeli’s threat and develop their own military strategy.

The Iraqi Water Scarcity

Recently, Iraqi officials expressed their concern about Syrian plans to divert some of the water from the Tigress River for a new agricultural development project. If this project is implemented, it will have an impact on the Iraqi water share of the river. The Tigress River starts in Turkey and flows into Syria, Iraq and the Gulf.

The flow of water of the Tigress has decreased due to the construction of dams in Turkey and also due to the drought that has contributed to the dry weather of the past few years. Iraq began to experience more droughts and less water flow in both the Euphrates and Tigress Rivers since the 1970s.

Furthermore, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the destruction of its infrastructure by American bombs have led to the deterioration of the quality of water, including drinking water. Water, which is not recycled from public sewers, tends to find its way into rivers and underground water reserves. This contaminated water has been a major cause of child illness and death. The U.N. (UNICEF) pointed out in a report that 70% of child illness in Iraq is attributed to polluted water. During the past 3 years, the International Red Cross has been involved in helping Iraq with various water purification projects. Furthermore, the Iraqi government has been trying to repair what the war destroyed to bring the quality of water to an acceptable standard (al jazeera.net. 5/27/2010).

The problems of water shortages in the Arab world were noted in several previous posts. Nearly 65% of the flowing water in the Arab world starts beyond its boundaries. Furthermore, the recent conflict between Egypt and Sudan with the Nile River basin countries regarding water sharing created major concerns, especially for the Egyptians who depend on the Nile for 95% of their water needs.

This situation and others led the Water Research and Study Commission of the Arab League to meet (May 24-25, 2010) to discuss and develop a strategy regarding water sharing of rivers that flow through international boundaries (al jazeera.net 5/27/2010).

Furthermore, Arab scientists and water experts have warned that the Arab world is facing the increasing challenges of the availability of water due to climate changes and population growth. The experts recommended the creation of a water strategy for the Arab world in order to meet the coming water challenges.

Jun 7, 2010

Israeli Influence Over U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy

The Israeli military attack of the Free International Flotilla - a "mercy mission" to break the Israeli Gaza siege - brought condemnation of Israel worldwide. A CNN poll revealed that 54% of the respondents were in favor of Israeli condemnation. However, as usual, the American representative at the U.N. tried to shield Israel from the harsh condemnation submitted by Turkey. During a closed-door meeting that lasted nearly ten hours, the U.S. representative succeeded in watering down the Turkish proposal that was also backed by all the Arab states. The resolution called for the implementation of the U.N. resolution 1860, which calls for Israel to lift its siege on Gaza. Israel, as usual and with the help of the U.S. government, has ignored the resolution. The other four permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, France, Russia and China - expressed their regrets about the Israeli military attack. Based on the U.S. policy of shielding the Israelis from other members in the Security Council, I will not be surprised if the U.S. representative threatened to use its veto power if Turkey refused to modify its resolution. It has used its veto power more than 75 times and more than any other members.

In the meantime, the Human Rights Organization of the U.N. in Geneva passed a new resolution condemning the Israeli attack and also called for the appointment of a U.N. commission to investigate the Israeli raids. The U.S., Italy and Holland voted against the resolution. The U.S. went against the international trend that condemns the Israeli attack. The main reason behind the U.S. support of Israel is attributed to the strong influence of "AIPAC", the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee over the American Congress.

A year ago, when President Obama delivered his speech at Cairo University, he promised Arabs and the Muslim world that the U.S. will establish a new American foreign policy based on respect and cooperation with the Arab and Islamic world. He further stressed that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will be settled on the basis of two states, an Israeli and a Palestinian one. Unfortunately, President Obama met resistance from the Israeli government regarding his peace proposal and no progress has been made. In the mean time, the Israeli government mobilized its supporters in the U.S. through AIPAC and other Zionist Jewish organizations by pressuring the American Congress to oppose President Obama's policy toward Israel. The American Congress, as usual, expressed their support of Israel in a letter signed by 334 out of 435 members in the House and a similar letter was signed by 75 members out of 100 in the Senate. Furthermore, President Obama met with 33 Jewish members of Congress behind closed doors to assure them of the U.S. support of Israel.

Israeli influence on the American Congress and politicians have been mentioned quite frequently over the years. Congressman Paul Findly wrote an interesting book, "They Dare to Speak Out" in which he thoroughly explained the influence of AIPAC as the most powerful lobby in Washington D.C. Later on, Congressman Findly was defeated by AIPAC through financial contributions to his Republican opponent. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois and others who opposed Israel met the same fate. Few high ranking members of congress and high government officials, such as the late Senator William Fulbright, Adlia Stevenson,Paul Mclosky,and George Ball warned against AIPAC and other Zionist Jewish organizations influence over American foreign policy in the Middle East. The basic concern is the fact that the Israeli national interest supercedes American national interest.

Former Senator Fritz Holling (D. of S. Carolina) cited publicly the influence of AIPAC as the most important pro-Israeli lobby group in Washington in determining U.S. policy in the Middle East. He said one couldn’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gave. Furthermore, he stated that no president takes office, whether Republican or Democrat, that all of a sudden AIPAC will tell him exactly what the policy is and senators and members of congress out to sign the letters. (Charleston Daily Courier, 5/6/2004).

In an article titled, "Washington Asks: What To Do About Israel" (NYT 6/4/2010), Helen Cooper points out that, "A list of recent moves by the Netanyahu government that potentially threatens American interests has grown steadily, many foreign experts argue".

She further noted an article written by Anthony Cordesman, a well-known think tank military strategist, who wrote, "Israel is a strategic liability." Mr. Cordesman noted that, "Recent Israeli government, particularly the one lead by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have ignored the national security concerns of its biggest benefactor the United States, and instead have taken steps that damage American interest abroad and its unnecessarely actions makes Israel a strategic liability." In previous posts, I have been saying that the Israeli government has been biting the hand that feeds it. The influence of AIPAC and other Jewish organizations on American foreign policy is no longer a secret affairs.

Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda issued a public warning in the late 1980s asking the U.S. to stop supporting Israel and play an even handed role in its Middle East foreign policy, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He warned that if the U.S. continued its support of Israel, al-Qaeda would then declare war against the U.S.

The U.S. government dismissed the warning and continued to conduct its policy as usual. This lead bin Laden and his terrorist group to declare war against the U.S. by bombing American embassies in Africa and later on, his 9/11 terrorist attack in the U.S. that led to the killing of more than four thousand innocent Americans. The killing of innocent people does not solve any problems and only makes matters worse. The al-Qaeda terrorist activities helped to created a negative image of Islam. It is regrettable that every religion has its share of ignorant religious fanatics. Some Jewish Zionist organizations have done their own share of terrorist activities against the Palestinians.

Looking at the positive side of religion, the vast majority of Muslims are not supportive of bin Laden's terrorist activities. Neither are all Jews supportive of Zionist violent activities. In the last few years, two Jewish organizations, J. Street and Jewish Voices for Peace, began to question Zionist support for Israel. They began to advocate that Israel is here to stay but also that the Palestinians are here to reckon with their legitimate rights to have their own state.

Let me conclude by saying that as long as the Israeli Palestinian conflict is not settled, terrorist acts will continue to threaten the U.S.'s national interest and security. The total American support has cost trillions dollars of taxpayers'money in addition of the death of many innocent Americans.

Jun 3, 2010

Egypt and the Nile River Basin Countries

Since May 14th, 2010, when five of the Nile River basin countries signed a new agreement rejected the 1928 and1959 Nile River Water sharing treaties with Sudan and Egypt, the mass media has created an almost panicked situation. Both Sudan and Egypt have already rejected the agreement relying on international law for support of their right to sharing the Nile River. At the same time, during the visit of Kenya’s Prime Minister to Egypt (5/24/2010-5/25/2010), he tried to assure Egyptian high officials that Egypt’s Nile water share will not be threatened by the new agreement.

In previous posts, I have emphasized the fact that the Nile River is Egypt’s lifeline. The Nile River provides Egypt with 95% of its water needs. However, the Egyptian government has been negligent of its responsibility to create a new policy of water consumption for the country as a whole.

Recent reports revealed that 57% of the Nile River water is wasted in many ways. For example, agriculture is consuming 80% of the Nile River water. The traditional irrigation methods that have been used by the Egyptian farmers for thousands of years, must stop and be replaced by new methods of irrigation. Also crops that require more water should be replaced by another crop that requires less water. Second, water recycling must be utilized all over Egypt as it will provide an additional 5 billion cu. met. of water that the country needs.

Third, the Nile River and canals in Egypt have been misused by the public. I have seen people throwing their garbage in the water due to the lack of garbage collection systems that is due to government failure to provide such services.

Fourth, I would venture to say that the Egyptian public in general is under the illusion that there is plenty of water for their ruse. Water use is abused at homes and outside where car washing by doorkeepers is common in many neighborhoods. In many cases the water hose is kept on and the water is kept running because they are not paying for water use.

Fifth, it has been reported that the underground water network is leaking and plenty of water is wasted. Some of these water pipes need to be replaced and this is the government’s’ responsibility.

Sixth, it seems to me that the best way to create public awareness about water use is to increase the prices of water use.

There are other ways and means of conserving water in Egypt. A recent report was published (www.almasry-alyoum 5/24/10), “The second part of the national report about the global weather changes and their impact on the flow of the Nile River Water” that reveals that the Nile River water flow will decrease by 50% by the year 2020 and 90% by the year 2095. The report was prepared by 35 Egyptian scientists in various areas of specialty who developed 10 scenarios about what will happen to the Nile River flow and rainfall as a result of global weather changes. The report should be read by those who can read and understand the critical water situation in the near future on Egyptian society.

Furthermore, the Nile River basin countries are among the most impoverished in Africa. Some of the projects that are being built, such as dams to generate electrical power in Ethiopia, are justified. In addition, agricultural development projects to feed their increasing population is legitimate. Egypt should extend its technical help to help the Nile River basin countries to progress. Such policy is the best approach to assure Egypt its fair share of the Nile River water.

Jun 2, 2010

Improper Use of Egypt’s Public Pension Funds

During the past few days (May 24-27), newspapers and TV stations were revealing how the Egyptian government used 435 billion Egyptian pounds from the public pension fund. Dr. Mervat Talawi, an ex-minister of pension and social welfare was the one who stated on aljazeera.net and Dream TV station (5/26/2010 – 5/27/2010) that the Egyptian government withdrew 435 billion pounds from the public pension funds to cover its budget deficit and support the Egyptian Borsa “stock market”. This was done in violation of Egyptian law. She pointed out that there are around 23 million Egyptian workers who are contributing to the fund. At the same time, 8.5 million people are in retirement and depend on their monthly pension check. Nearly 2 million retirees get the minimum payment that is 50 Egyptian pounds per month (equal to $10).

She further noted that in 1991, Dr. Atef Sidqi( previous prime minister) , tried to shift 200 billion pounds from the public pension fund to be invested abroad. The Egyptian law clearly prevented Egyptian public pension funds from being invested outside Egypt. At the present, the minister of the treasury Dr. Yousef B. Ghali is pushing for a new law to control the public pension funds and permit the government to use it.

Dr. Hassan Naff’ah ( professor at Cairo University) called the proposed law a “government piracy to steal Egyptian workers pension funds.” (almasry-aloum.com 5/27/10). Dr. Ghali, who was educated in the United States, is trying to imitate President R. Reagan, who with the help of the American congress in the early 1980s, passed a law to lump the Social Security Tax Fund with the Federal Tax Fund in order to cover up the budget deficit. The Social Security Tax Fund was supposed to be saved to pay the future retirees, especially when the labor force will decrease and at the same time the number of retirees will increase. President R. Reagan’s act was a big mistake. Experts began to predict recently that the Social Security pension funds will be depleted during the next 20-30 years. It seems to me that the Minister of Treasury, R. Ghali, is trying to follow the same policy and the proposed law should be stopped. The public pension funds belong to the workers who need the financial help when they retire.

The big tragedy of the Egyptian society is the fact that the economic strategy of the government during the last 30 years has been drifting in all directions to benefit only a small circle of governmental officials and their close circle of corrupt friends. The Egyptian government should return the money that was taken from the public pension funds and should reject the proposed law by the minister of treasury.