In de vele besprekingen over Syrische burgeroorlog wordt Saoedi-Arabië regelmatig aangehaald als hoofdverdachte in de zaak van het ontstaan van Islamitische Staat (IS). Onterecht, zo vindt Jorn Vennekens. Het Saoedisch buitenlands beleid is complex en wordt als een gemakkelijke zondebok gebruikt.
In september 2014 was Saoedi-Arabië één van de eerste landen die zich bij de Verenigde Staten aansloten in de strijd tegen de zelfverklaarde Islamitische Staat. Veroordelingen door de koning en de religieuze leiders moesten aantonen dat de Saoedi’s zich duidelijk distantieerden van deze groep. IS verkondigde immers zich op te maken voor de verovering van het Saoedische Land van de Twee Heilige Moskeeën, ofwel Mekka en Medina. Een direct dreigement, dat niet zonder antwoord kon blijven. Desondanks werden de Saoedi’s steeds vaker beticht van medeplichtigheid aan het ontstaan van IS. Na de aanslagen in Parijs lijkt het land eens te meer een ideale zondebok.
Foto: Flickr.com / Stephen Coles
The CIA, the Ouster of Mosaddeq, and the Restoration of the Shah
Back in 2009, during his heavily promoted Cairo speech on American relations with the Muslim world, U.S. President Barack Obama noted, in passing, that “in the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.” Obama was referring to the 1953 coup that toppled Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and consolidated the rule of the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Obama would go on to remind his audience that Iran had also committed its share of misdeeds against Americans. But he clearly intended his allusion to Washington’s role in the coup as a concession -- a public acknowledgment that the United States shared some of the blame for its long-simmering conflict with the Islamic Republic.
2. Amir Taheri (NY Post) accuses Hezbollah of ethnic cleansing in areas of Syria vital for an Alawite mini-state:
Since September, Assad’s forces have been trying to expel those Sunnis, replacing them with Nusairiyah and Lebanese Shiite settlers. Hezbollah is giving a helping hand to that sinister scheme and paying the price.
Once the Sunni Muslim villages have been ethnically cleansed, Hezbollah would next have to move on villages such as Marmarita, Zeydal and Firuzah that are populated by Christians, as well as ethnic Turcoman villages opposed to Assad, notably Al-Samalil, Aqrab and Talaf.
Part I: The 2009 Gaza War
Table of Contents
The 2009 Gaza War: Timeline
The Iranian-Saudi/Shi'ite-Sunni Rivalry in the Wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution
The Escalation of the Conflict During Ahmadinejad's Presidency
Iran Extends Its Influence Into the Arab World
The Emergence of the Iran-Syria-Qatar-Hizbullah Axis
The 2009 Gaza War Deepens the Schism Between the Two Camps
After The War - The Schism Between the Two Camps is An Acknowledged Fact
The Saudi Camp: Iran Is Responsible for the Rift in the Arab World
"The Trojan Horse" - Qatar's Role in Consolidating the Iranian Axis
Two Camps, Two Contrasting Approaches to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
The recent Gaza war was portrayed by the international media as a local military conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, this war, like the 2006 war in Lebanon and various other military and political events in the last three decades in the Middle East have a common denominator - namely, all stem from the conflict between revolutionary Iran and the Saudi Kingdom and the respective camps of each. This conflict is key to understanding the Middle East in the 21st century.
This Saudi-Iranian conflict, whose various aspects - geostrategic, religious, ethnic, and economic - have been affecting the Middle East for the past 30 years, began with the Islamic Revolution in Iran, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Since then, there have been lulls (especially during the era of former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami), but the conflict flared up again after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power. The conflict has now escalated into an actual cold war, and is reflected in the emergence of two distinct blocs in the Middle East: the Iranian axis (comprising Iran, Syria, Qatar, Hizbullah and Hamas) and the Saudi-Egyptian camp, with which most of the other Arab countries are identified.
This schism, and cold war, will have a major impact on the local, regional, and international level, severely restricting options for diplomatic activity, to resolve the intra-Palestinian rift, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the problem of a nuclear Iran.
|January 29, 2009
Lebanese Author Farid Salman: 'Obama Was Brought To Power By the Jews... Before They Establish the Semitic Middle East, They Want to Tear America to Shreds... Obama Will Be the Cause...'
Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese author Farid Salman, which aired on OTV on November 25, 2008.
TO VIEW THIS CLIP AND OTHERS, YOU MUST LOG IN/REGISTER FOR MEMRI TV, AT http://subscriptions.memri.org/content/en/member_registr_tv.htm. REGISTRATION IS FREE OF CHARGE.
To view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1991.htm.
|January 20, 2009
Syrian Opposition TV Accuses Syrian Regime of 'Shi'izing' Syria, Says 'Iranian Influence in Syria Has Gone Beyond' Cultural, Military, and Economic Relations
Following are excerpts from programs on opposition TV, in which the Syrian regime is accused of "Shi'izing" the country. The programs aired on the Syrian opposition channel Al-Zanoubiya TV, broadcasting from Europe, on December 15-16, 2008.
To view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1956.htm.
"Iran is Involved in the Very Heart of the [Syrian] Regime"
Nachdem Olmert gestern eine einseitige Waffenruhe für den Gazastreifen angekündigt hat, fliegen heute sämtliche EU-Leitkühe und Leithammel nach Israel. Einer will den anderen ausstechen. Die Flugzeugmotoren laufen! Seit Tschechien den EU-Vorsitz innehat, wird dieses Land übergangen, und die anderen, allen voran Monsieur Kurzschluß aus Paris und die deutschen Weltherrscher Merkel und Steinmeier, befinden sich in einem Wettlauf, den Titel als Friedensfürst zu erringen. Dafür soll Israel nun die Übergänge zu Gaza öffnen, damit wieder möglichst viele Flüchtlinge nach Europa hereingelassen werden können - die bisherigen reichen nicht! Schon alleine die medizinische Behandlung muß klarerweise in europäischen Krankenhäusern durchgeführt werden, denn in Gaza mangelt es an allem. Wenn die Patienten dann gesund sind, bleiben sie gleich da und ziehen ein paar Verwandte nach! Und gleichzeitig bietet die EU neue 1,6 Milliarden Dollar an für den Wiederaufbau Gazas (Quelle Debka)! Der Teufel soll Brüssel holen! Man kann nur ein ganz klein wenig hoffen, daß angesichts der Finanzkrise die Leute sich in Europa aufregen und den Parteien Bescheid stoßen! Europawahl ist ja auch noch dieses Jahr!
|January 15, 2009
Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi Responds to MEMRI: "Yes, I Am An Antisemite"; If Not for the Arab Rulers, "We Would Devour [The Jews] With Our Teeth"; "We Are Your Enemies… Until The Day Jesus… Descends, Fighting You And Calling To Join Islam"
Recently, MEMRI TV released a clip of a speech by Sheikh Safwat Higazi that aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV on December 31,2008,in which he said: "Being killed... is what we desire and hope for. It is martyrdom, by Allah... I wish I could stand among the youth of the Al-Qassam Brigades, passing them one of their missiles, wiping from their faces the dust of a missile that was launched, or crying 'Allah Akbar' along with them... Dispatch those sons of apes and pigs to the Hellfire, on the wings of the Qassam rockets... Jihad is our path... The [Jews]... deserve to be killed. They deserve to die. Destroy... everything over there" (to view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1972.htm ).
MEMRI is today releasing a new and exclusive viral video, titled "Hamas: In Their Own Voices." TO VIEW THIS VIDEO VISIT, http://www.memritv.org/video.html.
The video, a compilation of MEMRI TV clips that aired prior to the current Gaza crisis, includes statements by Hamas leaders calling for the annihilation of Israel and of all Jews, for death to America, and for the Islamic conquest of the world.
Featured are Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, Hamas MPs Mushir Al-Masri and Fathi Hamad, Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, Palestinian Legislative Council acting speaker Sheikh Ahmad Bahr, and Hamas clerics Wael Al-Zarad and Muhsen Abu 'Ita.
Viewers will also witness Hamas military training for adults and children, anti-American speeches at rallies including burning of the American flag and calls of support for "The Afghan Mujahidin", Hamas Al-Aqsa TV children's shows, and more.
Add the Video to Your Social Networking Pages
You can view and download the video here . Email it, put it on your social networking pages, and share it with others.
In August and September 2008, a series of meetings and mutual visits took place among the Syrian, Iranian, and Turkish heads of state. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad visited Turkey and Iran in the first week of August, and a few days later, on August 14, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan then visited Damascus in early September.
In reference to these visits, it was reported in the Arab press that Syria was attempting to form a strategic bloc with Iran and Turkey, and to establish a trilateral consultation and coordination mechanism with them. The Syrian press stated that the three countries held similar positions on many regional issues, including the Iranian nuclear dossier, the geographical unity of Iraq, and the intra-Palestinian conflict, and that they would be able to shape the future of the region according to their interests.
On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the 1973 war between Arab countries and Israel and the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Sudanese daily
Al-Intibaha published a column by 'Othman Fuad 'Othman arguing that the Arabs have a distorted perception of these events. 'Othman wrote that the 1973 war is perceived as an Arab victory when in fact it ended in defeat, whereas 9/11 is perceived as a defeat for the Muslim nation, when in reality these "blessed attacks" were a "great victory" for the Muslims. 'Othman added that the distorted view of 9/11 is the result of psychological warfare waged against the Arabs by the "Zionist-Crusaders."
Following are excerpts from his article: 
The 1973 October War Was a Defeat, Not a Victory
By Olivier Guitta
I just wrote an article for the Middle East Times looking at the possibility of a Syrian invasion of Lebanon.
You can read the full article here.
Here is an excerpt:
President-elect Obama should be careful in his dealings with the Syrian regime. In fact, quite possibly, Assad might be pondering if he could get away with reoccupying Lebanon.
The whole strategy of finding excuses to re-invade Lebanon is little by little being put in place. The most ominous signs were the deployment of 10,000 Syrian special forces on the northern border followed by the recent deployment of additional troops on the eastern border. Syria explained that it was to prevent Sunni Salafists terrorists from entering Syrian territory.
One of the fascinating and disheartening issues around those who advocate an on-going dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood is the failure to look at the record of what the Brotherhood is and what it stands for.
The latest example is the reaction of several important Muslim Brotherhood groups to the International Criminal Court’s decision to indict Sudanese president Omar Bashir on charges of genocide. It is easy to forget that Sudan justifies its actions on the basis of being an Islamic nation, and many of its current and past leaders, particularly Hassan al Turabi, are senior members of the Brotherhood.
According to the Daily Muslim Brotherhood Global Report (subscription required), the International Union for Muslim Scholars, led by senior Brotherhood theologian Yousef Qaradawi, as well as several other organizations, have condemned the ICC indictment. The reasons are interesting, and predictable.
On May 22, 2008, the reformist Arab website www.elaph.com posted a comprehensive interview with Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef.  In the interview, 'Akef discussed the Egyptian domestic scene, and presented the Brotherhood's position on democracy and on the status of the Copts and women in Egypt. He expressed support for the resistance in Iraq and Palestine, and for the activities of Al-Qaeda. 
'Akef's statements evoked harsh criticism among clerics and politicians both inside and outside Egypt, who perceived them as praise for bin Laden and his terrorist activities.  Faced with such critical reactions, 'Akef attempted to qualify his position with respect to bin Laden, explaining that bin Laden's ideology was based on violence and that the Muslim Brotherhood movement opposed all violence, except when directed against occupation. He also denied any connection between his movement and Al-Qaeda, which he called "a figment of Americans' imagination." 
In the 1970s, particularly during the oil embargo of 1973, the oil market was almost single-handedly dominated by then-Saudi Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani. "For more than two decades," writes Pamela Sherrid, "Ahmed Zaki Al-Yamani's commands boosted or battered personal pockets books and national economies around the world."  Today, when Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi talks, the market yawns, and when his king announces in an international conference that Saudi Arabia will increase crude production, the price of oil goes up.
Overview of Oil Pricing and Supply
The price of crude oil has skyrocketed in recent months, inching toward $150 a barrel, with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries president Chekib Khelil warning that the price could rise to $150-$170 a barrel in the summer. Opinions vary on the reason for the mounting price. Producers argue that supply and demand are in equilibrium and the chaotic oil market is a result of high-powered speculators who seek to make a quick profit by generating artificially high demand and hence higher prices. The rapid depreciation of the U.S. dollar against other major currencies is another reason for higher oil prices. By contrast, oil companies maintain that the failure of supply to match rising demand is the reason for the high prices. Oil companies have long complained that resource nationalism is preventing them from exploring new oil fields in oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and elsewhere.
"Iran is the only country that does not interfere in Lebanon." Mahmoud Ahamdinejad 
Ahmadinejad's absurd statement coincided ironically with the publication in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat of an extensive interview with Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, who has recently completed a total of 14 years as Iran's ambassador to Syria. By his own admission, Akhtari was the most senior Iranian liaison official with Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and the architect of the special relationship between Iran and Syria. Akhtari was also the founder in Damascus of the Palestinian-Iranian Friendship Society.
Jun 5, 07:20
Is Wael Julaidan, founder of al Qaeda and one of only two Saudis ever designated as terrorist financiers by the Saudi regime and supposedly out of circulation, back in the public spotlight? It would seem so.
According to the English language Saudi paper, the the Arab News Julaidan was a featured speaker at a recent conference hosted by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). The article was first noted and commented on by the Global MB Report (registration required).
There are no other known leaders of Julaidan’s stature that my most knowledgeable sources say share that name, or would be noted with such prominence, so the likelihood that it is the same Julaidan that is designated by the UN, the US and Saudi Arabia, is very high.
Following the 2006 Lebanon war, and during the standoff of the Lebanese government and the March 14 forces versus Hizbullah and the Amal forces, Hizbullah has engaged in wide-ranging efforts to rearm, reorganize, and rebuild towards confrontation on two fronts - against Israel and against the March 14 and government forces.
Two elements of Hizbullah's preparations have been uncovered in the past few weeks: Hizbullah's independent communications network,  and a surveillance network at Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport, set up by airport security chief Wafiq Shuqer, who is in the service of Hizbullah (see footnotes for MEMRI’s reports on these issues going back to 2007). 
Pro-Western Siniora government and Iran-Syria-backed Hizballah forces exchanged fire in the streets of Beirut Wednesday, May 7. DEBKAfile’s sources report both have ordered a general call-up of their adherents.
Hizballah fighters clad in national army and police uniforms are infiltrating government party strongholds in the capital to seize control. In the north and the western Beqaa Valley region of Kharoub, government forces are mobilizing. First units have been sighted heading for Beirut.
During the day, Hizballah blocked the roads leading to the airport and vowed to keep it under siege until the Siniora government goes back on the decision announced Tuesday, May 6, to shut down the private telecommunications network Iran installed for the group and reinstate the pro-Hizballah airport director Gen. Wafiq Shuqeir. To pile up anti-government pressure, Hizballah called labor unions out on strike.
Liberal Kuwaiti Sh'ite activist Dr. Ibtihal Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khatib, an academic, has received numerous death threats for her criticism of Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah over the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, and for calling for a commission of inquiry like Israel's Winograd Commission to examine his activities in that war. 
The following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Al-Khatib, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on March 14, 2008:
To view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1720.htm.
"When An Infrastructure Worth Billions Is Destroyed, When You Have Thousands Of Casualties... How Can This Be Considered In Any Way A Victory?"
Updated: March 3, 2008
- What is Iran’s involvement in Iraq?
- Are there signs of intensified Iranian interference in Iraq?
- What are Iran’s motivations in Iraq?
- Is Iran’s involvement in Iraq impeding U.S. progress there?
- Are Iranians abetting the Iraqi insurgency?
- How have U.S. forces counteracted Iranian influence in Iraq?
- How solid is the U.S. evidence on Iran’s involvement in Iraq?
- Is Iraq in danger of becoming a puppet state of Iran?
In the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi columnist Hussein Shubakshi discussed the phenomenon of Christian emigration from Arab countries. He criticized the fact that this trend was being ignored, and warned of its serious and far-reaching ramifications for Arab society as a whole.
The following are excerpts from Shubakshi’s article: 
"[Jewish Emigration from Arab Countries] Helped Invalidate the Claim that Religious Moderation, Coexistence, and 'Acceptance of the Other' [Prevailed in Arab Countries]"
By OLIVIER GUITTA
The The outpouring of emotion and rage following the brutal assassination of towering Lebanese figure Rafik Hariri on Feb. 14, 2005, triggered the hopeful Lebanese Cedar Revolution. The anti-Syrian movement behind it, the March 14 forces, succeeded in forcing tens of thousands of Syrian troops to leave Lebanon.
But that did not mean Syria was totally out of Lebanon. In fact, right after the Syrian withdrawal, the very well informed Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah reported that, according to sources close to the Lebanese Ministry of Interior, tens of thousands of Syrians were naturalized, and among them were 5,000 Syrian intelligence personnel. And as of today, Syria is still very much in charge of Lebanon. What is the international community doing about this?
Not much, to say the least.
In an interview with Reuters, PrincePrince TurkiTurki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the US and UK, again touted the 2002 Saudi peace initiative requiring full Israeli withdrawal from “occupied Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land” in return for “full normalization of relations.” But Turki added a refinement: If Israel signed a comprehensive peace, “one can imagine the integration of Israel into the Arab geographical entity.” He went on to say: "We will start thinking of Israelis as Arab Jews rather than simply as Israelis."
DEBKAfile’s political sources note that this influential Saudi, a former intelligence chief and brother of foreign minister Saudi al Faisal, is keeping up the relentless Arab assault on the Zionist ideal of a sovereign Jewish state in its ancestral homeland.
Furthering his vision of an Arabized Israel, the Saudi prince holds out the promise of: "Exchange visits by people of both Israel and the rest of the Arab countries would take place."
The interview took place at a conference in Kronberg on the Middle East and Europe staged by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank.
By: Y. Yehoshua, I. Rapoport, Y. Mansharof, A. Savyon and Y. Carmon*
For the past two years, the Gulf states have been part of a Sunni bloc established by Saudi Arabia to counter Iran's aspirations for regional hegemony. During this period, Saudi Arabia made efforts to distance Iran from "Arab affairs," while the Gulf states were already in political conflict with Iran over the issue of the three islands (Greater and Lesser Tunb, and Abu Moussa) that Iran had forcefully seized from the UAE in 1971, and following recent statements by senior Iranian leaders threatening Bahrain's sovereignty.  Some in Saudi Arabia even called on the Gulf states to form a military alliance against Iran.  This Gulf policy vis-à-vis Iran was in line with U.S. efforts to isolate it in both the regional and the international arenas.
In a report that aired December 21, 2007, Al-Arabiya TV examined how life in U.S. prisons in Iraq is largely controlled by Al-Qaeda members. According to the report, "some of these prisons have turned into factories for converting innocent people into extremists." One former inmate stated, "When you enter prison, either you become one of them, or else they kill you."
Following are excerpts from testimonies by former inmates on conditions in the prisons.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1650.htm .
"Some of These Prisons Have Turned into Factories for Converting Innocent People into Extremists"
The current political crisis in Lebanon, which began following the August 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war, is now coming to a head. Two of the country's biggest camps - the March 14 Forces, which constitute the majority in the Lebanese parliament, and the Lebanese opposition headed by Hizbullah - have failed to reach agreement over who will be the country's next president and over the makeup of the next government. These two issues will affect the direction the country will take, whether towards the axis of Syria-Iran-Hizbullah, or towards the moderate Arab camp. If no president is chosen by December 31, 2007, the Lebanese parliament will adjourn for three months, leaving the presidential office vacant for a significant period of time - thus increasing the chances of armed violence in the country.
Saudi king Abdullah has invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be the first Islamic Republic president to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, which begins on Dec. 18. It will be their second public appearance together in two weeks. Their first was at the GCC summit in Doha, where they arrived hand in hand. DEBKAfile and DEBKA-Net-Weekly have closely tracked the unfolding of the Saudi-brokered Washington-Tehran dialogue, moving on now to the evolution of Riyadh’s own epic rapprochement with Tehran.
This development signals Saudi recognition of Iran and its president as regional powers and King Abdullah’s willingness to share his Middle East leadership role with an Iranian partner. The rug is implicitly pulled from under the international campaign to punish Iran severely for its nuclear activities, while Tehran’s ally Syria and surrogates, Hizballah, Hamas and Jihad Islami, gain new standing.
Moscow has also announced a timetable for finishing Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr complete with fuel, confirming DEBKAfile’s report of Dec. 4.
By Andrew Cochran
MEMRI has released a transcript of an interview with Shehada Jawhar, formerly the Al-Qaeda terrorist in charge of training in Iraq, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 7, 2007. It is a bloodcurdling look into the mind of a shameless, evil murderer, and every American should read it. For me, two of the key points in the transcript deal with the role of Syria in assisting and promoting terrorism, including an attempt by official Syrian intelligence agents to support Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before U.S. forces killed him. U.S. government officials who (inexplicably) hang onto the dream of drawing Syria into a "grand bargain" for Mideast peace should keep these segments in mind. His statements appear credible in light of his obvious pride in his success in killing Americans and those Iraqis working for peace.
first revealed on Dec. 7 that a Washington-Tehran understanding is in the making, brokered by Saudi Arabia. According to Washington and intelligence sources, the first steps of the dialogue were made possible by the US National Intelligence Estimate of Dec. 3 affirming that Iran’s nuclear weapons program had been put on hold in 2003. This public statement effectively took the US military option off the table, as stipulated by Riyadh and Tehran
By Olivier Guitta
Hezbollah's grip over Lebanon is increasing by the day. And the West does not seem ready to stop this freight train any longer.
The Croissant just reported the following two stories (full versions available to subscribers) that prove how Hezbollah is planning its "coup": Did Hezbollah arrest UNIFIL’s commander, a few weeks ago? Iran provides armored cars to Hezbollah.
I just wrote a piece for the Middle East Times on Hezbollah's tactics to seize power .
Here is a short excerpt:
While Lebanon is without a president for now, it looks like a favorite is quickly emerging: Lebanon army chief and Damascus ally General Michel Sleiman. If he were to be elected, the winner would not only be Syria, but more importantly Hezbollah.
By Evan Kohlmann
Almost since the beginning of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq in late 2003, there has been an ongoing public debate about the significance and origins of foreign-born jihadists who have traveled to Iraq intent upon joining Al-Qaida and killing Americans and Muslim "apostates". Despite a veritable avalanche of evidence suggesting that these foreign fighters have had a disproportionate role in destabilizing Iraq and that a large cross-section (if not outright majority) of these fighters are coming from Saudi Arabia, a host of journalists and experts have wasted no effort in downplaying their impact. Regular readers of the Counterterrorism Blog will recall Jonathan Finer's article in the Washington Post, similar pieces published in the Christian Science Monitor, and a litany of commentary from Tony Cordesman (based almost entirely upon facts spoon-fed to him by Saudi intelligence and paid Saudi lobbyists).
By Olivier Guitta
While the story about the September Israeli bombing on a Syrian nuclear facility has been off the radar for a few weeks, the implications of what really took place are going to reverberate for a long time.
For more on this, The Croissant (available to subscribers) ran several stories on this issue.
Interestingly, while North Korea has been mentioned many times, the role of Iran has not been scrutinized.
I just wrote a piece for the Middle East Times on that topic.
Here is an excerpt:
Israel has been providing intelligence and satellite images to the U.S. about a secret Syrian nuclear program for several months, according to media reports. Discussions between Israel and the United States took place last summer regarding a possible strike. But when Israel found the matter so pressing that when they realized the U.S. was not ready to act, on September 6 they attacked a Syrian nuclear site. Hence the question: what is Syria really up to or more to the point what is Iran up to?
Under this compromise, DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources disclose, the Fouad Siniora government would be replaced and Hizballah’s militia legitimized. If the negotiators in Tehran Monday - Iranian foreign minister Manuchehr Mottaki, Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem and French special emissary Jean-Claude Cousseran – strike a bargain, the cliffhanger over Lebanon’s presidential election will end in the nick of time. Michel Khouri, former governor of the central bank of Lebanon, will be unanimously elected by the Lebanese parliament Wednesday, Nov. 21.
Our sources add that the national consensus behind the presidential candidate would also entail the election of a new national unity cabinet, including Hizballah. Another condition is the acceptance of Hizballah’s armed militia, in contradiction of UN Security Council resolutions which required it to be disbanded.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that a deal for ending the Lebanese presidential crisis on these terms, if it is finalized, would strengthen Syria’s hand in Lebanon and its roles as a central Middle East player and a dominant party at the forthcoming peace conference in Annapolis. For the first time, an active state sponsor of terrorists – from Hizballah to Hamas – would be awarded a front seat at a peace process shaped by the Bush administration.
By Victor Comras
A major debate is ranging in European capitals on how best to deal with the growing prospect of confrontation with Iran over its ongoing nuclear weapons development program. Last month French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on their EU colleagues to impose new EU sanctions against Iran. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also warned that dire consequences could result if Iran were permitted to continue unimpeded on its presence course. G7 Ministers meeting in Washington also praised new warnings issued by the 34 nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Iranian banks posed serious international money laundering and terrorism financing risks. The United States had hoped that against this background EU countries would follow-suit after the US targeted new sanctions measures against Iran’s largest banks, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and IRGC controlled companies. But, this has not happened. Rather, the EU council has put on hold any new measures pending further developments and further reports from EU negotiator Javier Solana and IAEA director Mohamed El Baradei.
November 12th, 2007
President of the Saudi-funded Muslim World League (aka RABITA), Dr. Abdullah Abdulmohsin Al-Turki, is throwing a party in Mecca right now where world’s leading Imams and Islamic intellectuals have gathered to discuss the coming clash of civilizations that, in all likelihood, they seek to instigate.
A noticeable presence at this conference is the Chief Bosnian Muslim Imam Mustafa Ceric. Mustafa Ceric recently dispatched another extremist Imam Sulejman Bugari to the US in order to radicalize the American Bosnian Muslim flock. Ceric also traveled to Washington before going to Saudi Arabia. I Washington, Ceric approved of the hired congressional help that will help push resolutions that seeks to place Bosnian Serb Christians under Islamic domination.
By Andrew Cochran
An editorial early in October by Tariq Alhomayed, Editor-in-Chief of the influential Asharq Al-Awsat, probably voiced the opinion of many leaders in the Arab world: "In preparation for the American withdrawal from Iraq, activity is in full swing to fill the imminent vacuum in Baghdad. The Iranians are not the only ones who are preparing for this; the Syrians are also getting ready... America will leave the region and we will find ourselves opening a new chapter that is no better than where we are today. After the devouring of Iraq and Lebanon at the hands of Iran and Syria, the Gulf region will be under the siege of the Islamic revolution and under pressure from Syrian meddling." These statements and the full editorial weren't anti-American, just straight predictions based on an assumption among Arab leaders that the inevitable American withdrawal from Iraq is the precursor to a broader retreat from the region.
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Editor: After U.S. Withdrawal, Gulf Will Be 'Under the Siege of the Islamic Revolution and Under the Pressure of Syrian Meddling'
In an editorial titled "[The] American Withdrawal and the Second Stage," published October 9, 2007 in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, editor Tariq Alhomayed warned of what might happen after the U.S. withdraws its forces from Iraq. He argued that Iraq would be taken over by Iran and Syria, which are seeking to dominate the Middle East, and that the result would be the spread of extremism and violence throughout the region.
The following are excerpts from the article, as it appeared in the English edition of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. 
"In preparation for the American withdrawal from Iraq, activity is in full swing to fill the imminent vacuum in Baghdad.
"The Iranians are not the only ones who are preparing for this; the Syrians are also getting ready. A recent report in TheNew York Times details Syria’s intentions towards Baghdad.