Kurdistan, Israel, and Peace

May 10, 2008 § 2 Comments

(Picture of Prime Minister of Kurdistan Nechirvan Barzani)

The question of peace with Israel hovers over every state in the Middle East (even those who have made peace). Egypt did it, Jordan did it — are they better off now? Syria refuses, Iran refuses — what price have they paid

Now, the question is: In Iraq’s near/distant future, will they do it?

As representatives of a semi-autonomous region of Iraq, Kurdistan and its leaders normally have opinions that differ from their Iraqi federal counterparts. Israel might be one of those issues. In an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat, Prime Minister of Kurdistan Nechirvan Barzani said that Kurdistan will deal with Israel just as they deal with all other countries, but at the same time, he does not plan on normalizing relations with the country. He also denies that Israeli companies are operating in Kurdistan under pseudonyms.

Tashweesh

May 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

Tashweesh = Static (like on a phone line)

I listened to about half of Nasrallah’s speech from today (it’s very long) and here are my rough notes. The media has not captured the gist of Nasrallah’s speech and have taken provocative statements out of context, i.e, what did Nasrallah really mean when he said that removing Hezbullah’s telephone lines was tantamount to a declaration of war? I have outlined some of his major points at the beginning:

  • Hezbullah’s telephone lines are not part of an effort to usurp the Lebanese government. They have been in place since 2000 and the government has been aware of them. These telephone lines are not for general or international use, they are only intended for usage among Hezbullah’s leadership. Every army relies on communication and since Hezbullah does not have the man-power of technology of the United States, this is how the leadership maintains contact.
  • Taking down these telephone lines is tantamount to an act of war because without this form of communication, Hezbullah’s leadership is vulnerable to assassinations and are left without protection.

Lebanon has entered a new era. The leaders in power must realize that the decisions made at the last sitting of Parliament have begun a new era, just as when Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated – it is a Lebanon not like before.

Nasrallah then discusses (for a very long time) the nature of the telephone lines and how communications are essential to any armed force. He says that all armies, even ancient armies, have had different ways to communicate and this communication was a necessity. He then talks about the technology behind the lines and says that during times of conflict, enemy armies target telephone lines and create static, preventing communication.

He says that when telephone lines are exposed, it is easier for the enemy to target them. Also, he says that the Resistance does not have the large troops or technology that the United States or Israel has.

He goes on to dispel all notions about the nature of the telephone lines. He says they are used for communication among Hezbullah’s leadership and nothing more. This process of facilitating communications is absolutely essential for the Resistance – as seen in the July War and in other victories of the Resistance.

All of you know that these telephone lines have been in place before the year 2000 and after – these telephone lines are nothing new. Hezbullah has met with the government several times and explained that this network won’t extend to the mountains, Kasrwan, the north, or the Chouf mountains – we don’t need it to. This line goes from Dahiyya (southern Beirut) to the south of Lebanon. This network is specifically for the leadership of Hezbullah and not for general use, in fact, it doesn’t have the capacity for general use. It’s also not for international use. He goes into extensive detail on how Hezbullah and the government had worked out a deal to keep the telephone lines up, and how they even showed the lines to the government.

He then talks about how the government is not under the control of PM Fouad Siniora (al-mskeen, poor guy), but it’s under the control of Walid Junblatt – who takes orders from Condoleezza Rice.

After that, he mentions the French Socialist who was taking photos in Dahiyeh and was “kidnapped” by Hezbullah. He laughs at this and says that he was brought there by the Lebanese Socialist Party (of which Junblatt is the head). He said that security is taken very seriously, and even moreso with leaders and members of Hezbullah.

Now, the new decision is saying that Hezbullah telephone lines are not legal and that they are a threat to the state. He says that this decision is equal to declaring war and starting a war. This is a war launched by the government of Junblatt — on behalf of America and Israel — on the weapons of the Resistance. He says that this decision reveals the true nature of this political faction. Furthermore, this decision is the part of an effort to strip the Resistance’s leaders of protection, of infrastructure and lay them bare to assassinations.

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