Friday, July 28, 2006

Will U.S. Christians Listen to Christian Bishop in Jerusalem?

Will U.S. Christians Listen to This Christian Bishop in Jerusalem?

A Christian Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem calls out to Christians around the world:

....Write every elected official you know. Write to your news media. Speak to your congregation, friends, and colleagues about injustice and the threat of global war. If Syria, Iran, the United States, Great Britain, China and others enter into this war - the consequence is incalculable. Participate in rallies and forums. Find ways that you and your churches can participate in humanitarian relief efforts for the region. Contact us and
let us know if you stand with us. I urge you not to be like a disciple watching from afar.

2 Corinthians 6.11:

“We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians, our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return - I speak as to children - open wide your hearts also.”

In, with, and through Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem

Hat tip to Juan Cole

Will Turkey Be the Next Problem for America's Interests in Iraq?

Will Turkey Be the Next Problem for America's Interests in Iraq?

Less becomes morally clear as Bush and Blair stall on declaring an immediate cease fire in Lebanon. In a press conference today, it seemed to me that perhaps Tony Blair was forseeing the destruction of the entire Middle East if Bush were left to be Israel's sole (blind) supporter and therefore elected to stand by his side in order to bring a modicum of sanity to the discussion. The problem was, he failed to convince me. A trip to the United Nations to press for action on Resolution 1559 will mean weeks or perhaps even months of more death and destruction in Lebanon at the hands of an unbridled Israel. The offer to build new homes for those who have been spared death by the bombings in Lebanon rings hollow when bombs are still falling. One look at Iraq will tell you how well Bush's vision has progressed there. It's not working out. I'm convinced that neither leader, Blair or Bush, is on the right course, and to hear Blair's mea culpa about his own errors in pre 9-11 leadership must have made former President Bill Clinton shiver with pain and disappointment.

Bush keeps saying he wants to get to the root causes of the problem in the Middle East, but he falls short of realistically or honestly discussing them. As long as he remains on a fundamentalist foreign policy course where you don't talk to the people you see as your enemies - because they are inferior, "evil" or "hateful", you will always have a one-sided solution that will serve no justice for the cause of human rights. Hearts and minds are what have always needed to be won, and Bush is breaking hearts and blowing minds every day with a policy that leaves no room for political solutions - only endless war.

I'm afraid we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg, but the war we began and handled woefully wrong in Iraq, now combined with increased anger at the U.S. for its blind support of Israel and with increased instability between Israel and Lebanon, is sure to spread both outward and inward and break that country into pieces.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul last week summoned the US and Iraqi ambassadors to warn them that Ankara would act in self-defence if effective measures were not taken to end the presence in northern Iraq of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). Turkey opposes the Kurdish demand for quasi-independence and their claim to the city of Kirkuk (in Iraq) and its oilfields. Turkey believes that Iraq's territorial integrity needs to be protected; that Iraq's natural riches belong to all the people of Iraq; that supremacy of ethnic and religious groups over each other should be prevented; and that the disputed city of Kirkuk should be given a special status.

What's happening in Lebanon is having an effect an the Turkish street, and U.S. economic interests could be negatively affected by Turkish instability and war in northern Iraq.

The support given by the US administration for Israel’s massive assault on Lebanon – and the understanding shown by the rest of the G8 – have compounded Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s difficulty in containing domestic pressure to disregard US and EU warnings against a cross-border operation to root out PKK bases in northern Iraq.

Even before the weekend attacks, Erdogan had difficulty in making himself heard in his home town of Rize (on the Black Sea) where a large crowd shouted abuse at the United States and Israel.

Accused of indecision by the opposition and pressed by his own supporters, Erdogan has to respond to the demand for national self-assertion, in spite of the misgivings expressed privately by some of his ministers.

Turkish patrols cross the Iraqi border frequently in pursuit of the PKK and they also have observation posts in Iraqi Kurdistan. If this Middle Eastern war continues to burn with no hope for moral, realistic, or hopeful leadership from the West, how long do you suppose it will be before an all-out war breaks out with Turkey as an aggressor in northern Iraq?

Fu'ad Husayn, an adviser to the Kurdish autonomous region's President Mas'ud Barzani, doesn't appear to have been kept "in the loop." If he knew about any recent trilateral meetings held between the United States, Iraq, and Turkey (about Kurdish interests without the Kurds' participation), he isn't admitting it (the bold lettering below is my emphasis):

Husayn: Baghdad is the capital of Iraq and we [Kurds] are also in Baghdad. Baghdad is not far away from us. I think it would be good if any kind of conflict or misunderstanding would be solved through negotiations around a table. We will support negotiations, we will support any talks.

But of course, we must be informed about the talks and the agenda must not be against the Kurds. We are part of this country; we are part of the Iraqi system. If there is any negotiation in Baghdad about the intervention...the Kurds must be there, and the Kurds must be informed about it.

RFE/RL: But as of now, Kurdish officials are not taking part in these talks?

Husayn: I can't comment on that because I don't have that information. But I didn't hear that a meeting is going on in Baghdad.

RFE/RL: This was reported widely in the Turkish press. There are also unconfirmed reports in the Turkish press this week that the United States has agreed to take action by bombing the Qandil Mountain range.

Husayn: I don't think this information is correct.

RFE/RL: So, you're not worried that the United States would take unilateral steps against the PKK without consulting the Kurds.

Husayn: No, I think one must be realistic if one knows the area...and the relationship between the U.S. and the Kurdish authorities here. I think the information which has been published in the Turkish press is not right.

Turkey Wanted for Lead An International Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon

If there is to be an international peace force in Lebanon, the Lebanese people say they want Turkey to lead it, and Turkey has listed its own conditions for being a part of that force.

Turkey may win some political points from Washington D.C., since they will be dependent upon Turkey's assistance with the crisis in Southern Lebanon.
Ali H. Aslan:

I don’t think that the Bush-Erdogan telephone traffic was focused primarily on the PKK. The Israel-Lebanon crisis must have been the top priority. However, Turkey’s opening its arms to American citizens evacuated from Lebanon when Cyprus’s maximum capacity was filled must have reminded once again those at the top of the Bush administration of the value of Turkey’s friendship in this troubled geographical region. Even if the importance of our relationship has been written down in the “shared (strategic) vision” document, practical benefits become obvious in such dark days
Will a Kirkuk that belongs to all of Iraq come as part of their reward?


Mark Mejia Article on Sibel Edmonds Raises Controversial Questions

In a story only loosely related,Mark Adams asks you to carefully consider this article by Mark Mejia.

Mr. Adams asks: Why is Osama bin Laden still breathing? And he replies to his own question, Ladies and Gentlemen, we may have found a clue.
Turkey's secular establishment, including the Turkish military and intelligence services (MIT), as well as political parties associated with former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, appear to have been more connected to the Turkish mafia than the Turkish Islamic Parties that Washington abhors. Furthermore, it appears from reading into some of Edmonds' statements that the Turkish mafia was partnered with Osama Bin Laden's al Qaeda network in the drug trade - meaning Turkey's secular establishment was more connected to al Qaeda - pre/9-11 - than were the Islamists in Turkey.(My emphasis - Mark)
This is quite a thought-provoking read - I recommend it, but I do hope you'll use your critical thinking skills to take what is currently conjecture - unproven to date - and not use the information to jump to any immediate conclusions. I find it compelling, in light of these thoughts from Mr. Mejia and Mr. Adams, to know that there us such an increase in passion among the right wing to victimize whistleblowers (when you would think, by nature, for truth, and the "American way", that they would support quite the opposite. Are they afraid of what we might find out?