Dennis the Menace? The Vegas debate, missing in…Vegas By Megan Garber

Ms. Garber makes a very good point about the debate being on cable TV, thus limiting the number of viewers to those who pay for cable. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

By Megan Garber
Columbia Journalism Review
Wed 16 Jan 2008 09:20 AM

It was a triumph of the First Amendment. Or of Corporate Media. Or, perhaps, of both. Regardless, yesterday’s pre-debate legal-battle-in-a-bottle between Dennis Kucinich and NBC Universal was worthy of a John Grisham novel: lower courts finding for the little guy, higher courts reversing that in favor of the big guy, emergency hearings with the Nevada State Supreme Court, an eleventh-hour flight from Cleveland to Vegas, three hours of nail-biting waiting—with a final decision not coming in until less than an hour before the nationally-televised MSNBC debate was scheduled to begin. Yep, a respectable Courtroom Drama if ever there was one: during all the craziness, you half expected to see a dress-uniformed Tom Cruise leap in front of the cameras, announcing to all, “I want the TRUTH!” (Alas, no such luck.) And, as if the above weren’t enough, drama-wise, in the middle of it all was a feisty, tea bag-totin’ vegan wanting and waiting to Have His Say.

What excitement! What a story!

continued…

h/t: Dennis 4 President

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Las Vegas Sun: You Won’t See This on TV (link)

Breaking the Sound Barrier: Kucinich Answers Debate Questions (videos)

Kucinich: NO SACRIFICE

Harry Reid Attacks Dennis Kucinich on Radio Show

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Las Vegas Sun: You Won’t See This on TV (video)

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Jan. 20, 2008 Added video.

noizhead

After an initial invitation, followed by an exclusion, a lawsuit and an appeal, MSNBC successfully barred Dennis Kucinich from the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. By Matt Toplikar
(Las Vegas Sun new media intern Jenna Kohler contributed to this report.)

h/t: After Downing Street

***

By Matt Toplikar
Las Vegas Sun
Wed, Jan 16, 2008

Video link

h/t: Dennis 4 President

see

Dennis the Menace? The Vegas debate, missing in…Vegas By Megan Garber

Breaking the Sound Barrier: Kucinich Answers Debate Questions (videos)

Kucinich: NO SACRIFICE

Harry Reid Attacks Dennis Kucinich on Radio Show Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Opium fields spread across Iraq as farmers try to make ends meet By Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent
17 January 2008

The cultivation of opium poppies whose product is turned into heroin is spreading rapidly across Iraq as farmers find they can no longer make a living through growing traditional crops.

Afghan with experience in planting poppies have been helping farmers switch to producing opium in fertile parts of Diyala province, once famous for its oranges and pomegranates, north- east of Baghdad.

At a heavily guarded farm near the town of Buhriz, south of the provincial capital Baquba, poppies are grown between the orange trees in order to hide them, according to a local source.

continued…

h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Kucinich: Economic Stimulus Package Needs To Focus On States And Localities That Need Help The Most

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Jan 17 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) released the following statement concerning the economic stimulus package being proposed to jumpstart the economy:

“We have to provide relief to American families. It is this Congress’ responsibility to offer support for middle class families and strengthen our economy,” Kucinich said.

“The subprime lending-induced housing market collapse coupled with the slowdown in the economy will mean big losses in property tax and sales tax revenue. Infrastructure is often the first cost to be abandoned.

“When considering an economic package that will help us avoid a recession, Congress should consider taking up the Kucinich/LaTourette Infrastructure Bill.”

On August 3, 2007, Kucinich and Congressman Steve LaTourette (R-OH), introduced a bipartisan infrastructure bill to improve critical infrastructure in Ohio and nationwide.

The bill would create the Federal Bank for Infrastructure Modernization (FBIM). The bank, as an extension of the Federal Financing bank under the Treasury Department, would establish zero interest mortgage loans for states and local governments to use to fund specific projects. The loans would bear a small fee of one-quarter of one percent of the loan principle to cover the administrative costs of the FBIM. The bill would not require Congress to appropriate any funds and would effectively double the amount of financing that is available to states and localities for infrastructure investment.

“This bill is not just an infrastructure improvements bill but a jobs bill as well,” stated Kucinich. “The Cleveland-area, and big and small cities across the country need this common-sense bill.”

“Our infrastructure needs are many and dollars are scarce,” LaTourette said. “This bill will help communities do big-ticket projects for wastewater and water plants, roads and bridges.”

“It is vital that this economic stimulus package help aging infrastructure and focus on the states and localities hardest hit,” Kucinich concluded.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Kucinich: NO SACRIFICE

Bush announces “stimulus” plan as recession fears grip Washington

Bush speech on the U.S. Economy Jan.18, 2008

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

On the ground in NH: Recount Update by Bev Harris + video (updated)

Updated: Jan. 28, 2008 added video

Dandelion Salad

by Bev Harris
http://www.opednews.com
January 18, 2008 at 08:46:33

Writing this last night, I was quite tired. I will post photos – the slits are not “through the box” in the sense that they are in the middle of the cardboard. They deliver the ballots in a variety of cardboard boxes. The lid of the cardboard box is taped and has various seals on it, some old, from using the box before, some new. The slits cut through any tape or seals. They don’t cut into the cardboard itself, and I’m going to edit the post above to clarify that.

Continue reading

“A Surge of More Lies” written by Congressman Robert Wexler

Dandelion Salad

By Congressman Robert Wexler
Consortium News
January 16, 2008

Editor’s Note: It has become an article of faith in Official Washington that George W. Bush’s Iraq War “surge” has been a resounding success. The Washington Post’s editorial board and the New York Times’ new columnist William Kristol have baited Democrats to accept this judgment about the President’s courage and wisdom.

Given this emerging consensus, we are publishing a dissenting view from Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Florida:

A new troubling myth has taken hold in Washington and it is critical that the record is set straight.

According to the mainstream media, Republicans, and unfortunately even some Democrats, the President’s surge in Iraq has been a resounding success. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

This assertion is disingenuous, factually incorrect, and negatively impacts America’s national security.

The surge had a clear and defined objective – to create stability and security – enabling the Iraqi government to enact lasting political solutions and foster genuine reconciliation and cooperation between Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds.

This has not happened.

There has been negligible political progress in Iraq, and we are no closer to solving the complex problems – including a power-sharing government, oil revenue agreement and new constitution – than we were before the Administration upped the ante and sent 30,000 more troops to Iraq.

Too many Democrats in Congress are again surrendering to General Petraeus and have failed to challenge the Bush Administration’s claims that the surge has been successful. In fact — it is just the opposite.

The reduction in violence in Iraq has exposed the continuing failure of Iraqi officials to solve their substantial political rifts. By President Bush’s own stated goal of political progress, the surge has failed.

Of course raising troop levels has increased security – a strategy the Bush administration ignored when presented by General Shinseki before the war in Iraq began – but the fundamental internal Iraqi problems remain and the factors that were accelerating the civil war in 2007 have simply been put on hold.

The military progress is a testament to the patience and dedication of our brave troops – even in the face of 15-month-long deployments followed by insufficient Veteran’s health services when they return home.

They have performed brilliantly – despite the insult of having President Bush recently veto a military spending bill that enhanced funding and benefits, and increased care.

Despite the efforts of American soldiers, the surge alone cannot bring about the political solutions needed to end centuries of sectarian divide.

As it stands, little on the ground supports the assertion that Iraqis are ready to stand up and govern themselves. Too few Iraqi troops are trained, equipped and combat ready, and they cannot yet provide adequate security.

Loyalty is also an issue in the Iraqi army as al-Queda and Sunni insurgents infliltrate their defense forces. The consequences turned deadly just recently when an Iraqi soldier purposely killed two U.S. troops.

On the streets of Baghdad and Mosul, the Sunni and Shia factions have paused their fighting, awaiting guarantees and protections that have not yet been delivered.

As Iraqi refugees return, there is no mechanism to help them rebuild their lives, nor recover their now-occupied homes. Neighborhoods once mixed are now segregated.

In Northern Iraq, Kurdish terrorists conducting nefarious operations across the border into Turkey have compelled our NATO ally to strike at bases, inflaming tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.

The surge is working? We suffered more U.S. casualties in 2007 than in any other year of the war. We can’t afford any more of this type of success.

How can we create the situation that is most likely to deliver political progress in Iraq? Not by continuing the surge and occupation.

Our best chance (there is no guarantee) is by putting real pressure on the Iraqi government to force action. Telling the national and local Iraqi leaders that we are withdrawing our troops can help accomplish this goal.

Today, the majority Iraqi Shia government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little incentive to act when American troops remain in the country to provide security and stability.

Based on the Administration’s plan, John McCain’s proposal of a 100-year U.S. occupation could be a reality!

The Democratic Congress must act aggressively to first cut off funding for the surge and then the entire war. Many of my colleagues avoided a showdown with the administration because they mistakenly believed such a fight would endanger the safety of the troops.

In fact, we must accept that every soldier killed or injured in the coming months should have already been home. Every billion dollars of war appropriations we spend from here on should have been spent on genuine priorities here at home such as children’s heath care.

Enough is enough: While the Administration over-commits American forces in Iraq, we see al-Qaeda regrouping and Osama bin Laden still at large. We remain seriously bogged down in Afghanistan, and are witnessing a crisis in Pakistan that has left a nuclear country on the brink of a meltdown.

America’s resources and attention are desperately needed elsewhere and our soldiers must no longer be needlessly sacrificed as we wait for Iraqis to stand up.

The surge has failed.

If my colleagues gullibly accept the moving rationale for the surge, just as so many have for the war itself, we will have failed as well.

Robert Wexler is a six-term Democratic congressman representing the 19th District of Florida. His Web site is http://www.wexlerforcongress.com.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Randi Rhodes: Wexler: Impeach Cheney interview

America’s “Divide and Rule” Strategies in the Middle East by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The Myths behind Iraq’s Civil War by Jennifer

The War in Iraq – 1,760 Days & Counting By Robert Higgs

Guantanamo as a Symbol by Ramzy Baroud

Dandelion Salad

by Ramzy Baroud
Global Research, January 18, 2008

11 January marked the sixth year anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo detention camp. Mere months after the start of the 2001 United States invasion of Afghanistan, a large cargo plane landed in a US military base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, bringing in a group of hunchbacked, orange-clad, blindfolded, “terrorist” suspects, apparently representing the worst of the worst. They included children and aged men, charity workers, journalists and people who were sold to the US military in exchange for a large bounty.

The debate over this notorious prison has ever since been marred by easy reductionism. The fact is that Guantanamo is neither a warranted compound holding “bad people” — as explained by the ever straightforward President Bush — nor is it a dark spot in the otherwise luminous US record for respecting human rights, rules of war and international treaties. If anything, Guantanamo is a mere extension of a long list of untold violations practiced by the Bush administration, which condenses the camp to being a symbol of widespread policy predicated on nonchalantly undermining international law.

The prison is arguably one of the worst mockeries of international law, which was itself drafted partly by American legal experts. Past US administrations may not have been devoted followers of the Geneva Conventions, but neither have they ever discarded international treaties as openly and as arrogantly as the current one. Former attorney-general Alberto Gonzales, a personal friend of President Bush, mastered this art in a way that allowed his bosses to adorn their gratuitous actions with the air of legitimacy. Guantanamo was his ultimate masterpiece.

Hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners have subsequently been released, some to the custody of their respective governments. Roughly 275 remain in the camp. Out of a total of about 1,000 only 10 have been charged.

The prisoners at Guantanamo are “among the most dangerous, best trained vicious killers on the face of the earth,” according to former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld. If that was the case, why wasn’t Rumsfeld prepared to try them in a court of law? After all his self-assured judgment shows that he possessed more evidence than needed by any court to convict and throw them into jail. But, of course, the subject of evidence or lack thereof was irrelevant.

Neither habeas corpus, due process, nor any set of laws, national or international, mattered much to an administration that prided itself on its ability to transcend all of that. Of course, such disregard was justified on the basis of national interests and a whole set of tired pretences. Time, however, showed that Guantanamo, and the overriding militancy it symbolized, has probably done more damage to US national interest than any other event in US history.

In the early years, prisoners at Guantanamo were held in open air cages, with nothing but a mat and a bucket for a toilet. Anthony D Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in Salon.com, “We now know that only a small percentage of the many hundreds of men and boys who have been held at Guantanamo were captured on a battlefield fighting against Americans; far more were sold into captivity by tribal warlords for substantial bounties.” Romero cites comments made by a former Guantanamo commander for several years, Brigadier General Jay Hood. The commander told the Wall Street Journal, “Sometimes, we just didn’t get the right folks.”

Moreover, both former secretary of state Colin Powell and current Secretary Condoleezza Rice called for the shutting down of Guantanamo, along with various international bodies and numerous rights groups in the US and abroad. But the Bush administration still persists in maintaining Guantanamo. The chances are if the Guantanamo prisoners were of any value in Operation Enduring Freedom and in the so-called global war on terror, whatever information some of them might have possessed has already been extracted, violently or otherwise. Moreover, if overwhelming evidence against them was indeed at hand, the Bush administration would have tried them long ago. Neither scenario is convincing.

Leigh Sales, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald made the dubious assessment that the “the problem is what to do with the prisoners [if the detention camp is shutdown]. If they are moved to American jails, they will have to be charged and tried under US law. Evidence gathered through coercive interrogations will not be admissible in regular courts and so Bush would risk watching the likes of Mohamed and Hambali walk free.” Such commentary, emulated by others, suggests that the underlying reason behind the preservation of Guantanamo is, more or less, national interests.

However, Guantanamo is staying in business, for the exact same reason that the Iraq war rages on, and for similar reasons to why the Bush administration’s failing global policy persists. Shutting down Guantanamo would be an admission of defeat, a declaration of failure, which is something that the patrons of the empire cannot afford, at least not now.

September 11 was an opportune moment to turn a new doctrine into reality, as outlined by the Project for the New American Century, a desperate attempt to sustain an empire that is facing challenges. The tactics, utilized almost immediately after the terrorist attacks, pointed at a foreign and military policy style designed to free itself from accountability to anyone, including the American people, the United Nations and international law. Guantanamo is a grotesque representation of that tactic — and the failure of that tactic.

Indeed, Guantanamo is a dark spot in US history and shall go down in world history as a symbol of injustice and oppression. And it will continue to be a jarring reminder of the inhumanity, the torture, and the extreme violence associated with the Bush administration’s so- called war on terror.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).

Ramzy Baroud is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Ramzy Baroud

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Ramzy Baroud, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7833

Italian judge seeks trial of 140 over Operation Condor repression by Bill Van Auken

Dandelion Salad

by Bill Van Auken
Global Research, January 18, 2008
wsws.org – 2008-01-15

An Italian judge has issued orders for the preventive arrest pending deportation of at least 140 former officials of military dictatorships that ruled seven Latin American countries between the 1960s and 1980s. They are charged with responsibility for the deaths of 25 Italian citizens, who were among the tens of thousands of opponents of these regimes murdered, tortured and illegally imprisoned under a US-backed campaign of repression known as Operation Condor.

Continue reading

America’s “Divide and Rule” Strategies in the Middle East by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, January 17, 2008

The Presidential Tour of George W. Bush to the Middle East: A New Cold War?

In 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech in Missouri that helped set the rhetorical stance for the rivalry between the two camps or poles respectively formed by the Soviet Union and the United States after the Second World War.

Starting in 2006, the Middle East has been depicted in a similar way by the White House and 10 Downing Street. In the end, history will decide and give its verdict on the miniature version of the Cold War now unfolding in the Middle East.

It is no secret that the 2008 presidential tour of George W. Bush Jr. to the Middle East is more about rallying hostility and antagonism against Iran and those forces resisting Washington’s political and socio-economic curriculum for the Middle East. The U.S. President’s tour is part of an exhorted effort to replace Israel with a vilified Iran as a looming threat to the Arab World. This undertaking which is part of America’s Project for a “New Middle East” was initiated after Israel’s war against Lebanon in July of 2006.

Balkanization and the Muslim Divide: Shiite Muslims versus Sunni Muslims

In relationship to the preparations for creating the “New Middle East” there have been attempts, with partial success, to deliberately create divisions within the populations of the Middle East and Central Asia through ethno-cultural, religious, sectarian, national, and political differentiations.

Aside from fuelling ethnic tensions, such as those between Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, a sectarian divide is being deliberately cultivated within the ranks of the people of the Middle East which consider themselves Muslims. This divide is being fostered between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

These divisions have been fuelled by the U.S., British, and Israeli intelligence apparatus. The intelligence agencies of Arab regimes within the Anglo-American orbit have also been involved in the construction of these divisions. This divide is also being cultivated with the help of various groups and leaders in these respective communities.

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the rulers of the Arab League were aware that the U.S. and Britain intended to redraw the borders of the Middle East. It was openly mentioned at the summit of Arab rulers being held in Egypt prior to the Anglo-American invasion.

The interests of many of the corrupt Arab elites, the self-proclaimed cream of the crop within the Arab World, and autocratic Arab authorities have historically convened and adhered to Anglo-American and Franco-German political and socio-economic interests.

The House of Saud, the Hariri clan of Lebanon, and the absolute rulers established throughout the Arab World all share common financial and economic links with the Project for the “New Middle East.” They have a vested interest in the promotion of the economic and political model that the U.S. wishes to entrench in the Middle East.

The “Shia Crescent” and the Phantom Iranian Conquest of the Middle East

To create hostility within the Muslim populations of the Middle East, Iran is being portrayed as the vanguard of Shia or Shiite expansionism in the region, vis-à-vis the so-called “Shia Crescent,” and Saudi Arabia portrayed as the champion of the Sunni Muslims.

The truth of the matter is that Iran does not represent all the Shiite Muslims nor does Saudi Arabia represent all the Sunni Muslims; these efforts are part of the politicizing of faith for U.S. foreign policy goals and for misleading public opinion throughout the region.

This animosity between peoples of Muslim faith and the populations of the Middle East has been created to justify animosity against Iran and those perceived to be in the same camp as Iran, such as Syria and Hezbollah.

Arab leaders also have an easier time controlling their populations when they are fighting amongst each other and diluted through divisions. Sectarian and ethnic division also create confusion within the various populations, distracts them from their problems at home, and projects their animosity towards their leaders on others. Fear or anger towards the “Other” or the “Outsider” has always been a form of manipulating large groups and whole segments of societies.

With the peoples of the region divided against each other, their resources can be controlled and they themselves governed and further manipulated with greater ease. This has been part of the objective of British and American foreign policy all along. In this effort, local rulers and foreign forces have been partners.

“The Coalition of the Moderate” in the Mid-East and the manipulation of the Arabs

“We [Israel] must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the U.S. to strike Iran.”

-Brigadier-General Oded Tira, Israeli Military

“Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.” The historical context of this statement is very significant. This admission was made during the First World War in the Middle East when the British were fighting against the Ottoman Turks with the help of the Ottoman’s rebellious Arab subjects. The Arab’s help was insured through false promises and London’s deception. What was being revealed by this interlocutor of British policy was British forces should not do most the active fighting in the Middle East and let the Arabs fight Britain’s war against the Turks.

Revealing the author, these were the words of a man who has been inscribed into the pages of history as a legendary figure and as a hero to the Arabs. In reality he was an agent of British imperialism that misled the Arabs with the help of of corrupt local leaders. His name was Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence or, as most people know him, “Lawrence of Arabia.”

The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence
(August 20, 1917) is where these words can be found for all to scrutinize. Thus started the road down to the modern entanglement of the Arab masses to colonial masters and handpicked Western vassals.

Some may argue that the British were helping the Arabs gain autonomy, but history shows this to be an absolute lie. London was furthering its own interests and it had been a geo-strategic objective of theirs to divide the Ottoman Empire up regardless of the fact that that there was a war with the Ottomans and the Central Powers.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement reveals this as does the creation of British and French mandates in the place of what were supposed to be independent Arab nations. It should also be noted that all the major problems in the Middle East are rooted in this period from the Armenian Genocide, the Kurdish Question, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, to the issue of Cyprus and the territorial disputes of the Persian Gulf and the Levant.

The Arab elites are being marshaled into formation yet again to do the dirty work of foreign powers. Once again, Arab leaders are also accessories to the agenda of foreigners in the Middle East against their own people.

Links between the U.A.E. Speeches of Messrs Bush and Blair: Dividing the Mid-East into Camps

The “us and them” mentality is being lodged into the mindset of Middle Easterners in regards to themselves. The ancient region is being divided into two camps by the White House and its partners.

After the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in July 2006, Condoleezza Rice the U.S. Secretary of State and others such as Tony Blair started this venture by categorized the Middle East into two groupings. Those in the Middle East that fell into the Anglo-American camp and colluded with Israel were described as “moderates” and “reformers” and as part of what became called the “Coalition of the Moderate.” It is also around this time that the Pentagon announced its plans to arm Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Arab regimes allied to the U.S. and Britain.

Those in the Middle East who either opposed foreign intervention and hegemony in the region, either because of their own agenda or because of the right for self-determination, were labeled “extremists” and “rejectionists.” [1] These anti-hegemonic forces in the Middle East were categorized as members of the “other camp” even though in some cases they had no links aside from fighting foreign tutelage. This latter camp includes the Iraqi Resistance, Hamas, and Iran, amongst others.

There is an obvious theme in the underlying rhetoric of the December 2006 and January 2008 Middle East policy speeches of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. Both were presented in the U.A.E. and held almost exactly a year apart. Both speeches depict a bloc of radicals in the Middle East led by Iran and both speeches attempt to divide the Middle East into two opposing blocs.

It was soon after the disastrous 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon that Tony Blair, in line with Condoleezza Rice, subtly called for “an alliance of moderation in the region and outside of it to defeat the extremists.” [2] While in Dubai the former British prime minister called Iran a “strategic challenge,” which according to Paul Reynolds, an international affairs correspondent, was a replacement for the words “strategic threat” from his original speech read in California. He also replaced the words “trying to acquire a nuclear weapon” with “trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.” [3] This obvious change in word selection was because the people of the countries living next to Iran know better and would not have taken Tony Blair’s speech seriously.

This was simply the beginning of the public revelation of the alliance system that already informally subsisted in the Middle East. Tony Blair’s U.A.E. speech was another stage in the media phase of the war effort that includes the preparation of the general public for confrontation in the Middle East. It was also part of the attempt to turn the conflict into one of ideas and an ideological one like the Cold War.

The U.A.E. and Israel as models for the “New Middle East”

By the start of 2008, the White House and its allies have ceased their insincere chatter about democratization in the Middle East, except in the case of Iran where it is mentioned ad nauseam. This sidesteps the reality that Iran holds democratic elections and that Iran is a far less inhibited state than any of America’s Arab sponsored regimes. Democracy has never been a goal for the U.S. in the Middle East, especially in regards to its own set of autocratic and dictatorial allies.

The White House is promoting two models on two different levels in the Middle East as a part of its regional project. One is the latent model of Israel as a homogenous nation. The second model, which is openly promoted, is the Khaliji (Gulf) model or that of the Arab Sheikhdoms that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Persian Gulf littoral. The Khaliji model applies in particular to the U.A.E. and one of its seven emirates, Dubai, as its embodiment. Israel is the socio-political model for the Middle East, whereas Dubai is the socio-economic model for the Middle East. Both models also bare staggering social ramifications.

The Israeli model, which is being moved forward is not based on any democratic values, quite the opposite. It is predicated on ethnocentrism and discrimination. The Middle East is being reconfigured in Israel’s image as a region with homogenous states and this is evident in Iraq and a reason for the tensions being fanned by foreign influence in the multi-confessional Lebanese Republic. Just as Israel is considered the “Jewish State” the Project for the “New Middle East” wants to establish a whole series of single-identity states in the ancient region.

The socio-economic model of Dubai and the GCC is based on a vertical mosaic, in the tradition of John A. Porter’s The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada, where ethnicity, heredity, and origins play a role in individual status and its system in itself is a reconstruction of the caste system of India.

Dubai is a place that is rabid with the exploitation of foreign workers and nationals and is infamous for the institutionalization of gross inequities and immorality. Local laws are made to only benefit the privileged and powerful, while the poor are suppressed. Money laundering and prostitution are also far spread in Dubai and the U.A.E. is a modern Sodom and Gomorrah.

Israel, NATO, and the Arab Regimes: A Nexus against Resistance

The House of Saud and Saudi Arabia have emerged as the main force in configuring a public embracement between Israel and the Arab World under the auspices of the 2002 Arab Initiative. [4] This Saudi-proposed initiative is deeply tied to the Project for a “New Middle East” and allows Israel to integrate its economy with that of the Arab World and allows for the creation of an alliance between Israel and the Arab regimes against any forces in the Middle East resisting America, its allies, and more importantly their political and socio-economic model.

Despite King Abdullah’s speech in Riyadh during the March 2007 Arab League Summit, Saudi Arabia has officially opposed any end to the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq under the pretext that the Iraqi Shiites and the Iranians will kill the Iraqi Sunnis.

A representative of the Saudi Monarchy, quoting Prince Turki Al-Faisal, informed the U.S. press that, “Since America came into [meaning invaded] Iraq uninvited, it should not leave [end the Anglo-American occupation] uninvited,” and rhetorically added that “If it [the U.S.] does [withdraw its troops from Iraq], one of the first consequences will be a massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shia militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.” [5]

Israel has always considered the leaders of Jordan as important assets and allies to pacify the Arabs. On April 18, 2007 King Abdullah II of Jordan reconfirmed this publicly known Israeli secret. King Abdullah II told a visiting Israeli delegation that Jordan and Israel were allies, emphasizing that he not only spoke for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan but for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Arab Sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf. [6]

The Jordanian King narrated to Dalia Itzik, Acting Israeli President, Tzachi Hanegbi, the Chairman of the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, and other Israeli officials that “we [Arab rulers and Israel] are in the same boat; we have the same problem [the forces of resistance in the region]. We have the same enemies [Syria, Iran, the Palestinians, and Lebanon].” [7]

It is worth noting that the Saudi government and the Arab leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and the Arab Sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf were fully involved, covertly and/or overtly, in the 1991 Gulf War and in the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. These rulers also played major roles in the Iraq-Iran War and the economic warfare against Iraq which prodded Iraq into invading Kuwait for economic relief after its bitter war with Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan are all firmly in the Anglo-American camp. They are part of the extended international military network controlled by the United States. They are already members of the coalition that has been formed against Iran, Syria, and those forces that have allied themselves with Tehran and Damascus. [8] To varying degrees these Arab states are also allied with Israel and NATO. All of these Arab governments that are labeled as “pro-Western” or “pro-American” also have bilateral military and security ties and agreements with the United States or Britain and NATO. However, it is not certain that these states will stay by the side of Washington, D.C. and London.

Turning the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf into NATO Lakes

NATO is expanding, but not only in Europe and the former Soviet Union. There have been longstanding plans to turn the Mediterranean into a permanent “NATO lake” and an arena closely linked to the European Union. The Russian naval build-up in the Eastern Mediterranean and off the Syrian coast is a move to challenge this process.

Several Arab regimes have had agreements and military arrangements with NATO through NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue (established in 1995) for over a decade. Amongst them are Egypt and Jordan. These are the Arab nations that border the Mediterranean or are in close proximity to it. While on the other hand, the Arab Sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf have lately entered into arrangements with NATO. For example, Kuwait recently signed security agreements with NATO and effectively opening the door for NATO entrance into the Persian Gulf.

The GCC agreements underway with NATO are effectively an extension of the Mediterranean Dialogue and NATO expansion eastwards. The shift to create a Gulf common market similar to the E.U. and a Mediterranean Union are also linked to NATO expansion and the project to permanently compel the Washington Consensus on the Middle East and the Arab World

The expansion of a mandate for NATO in the Persian Gulf has been in motion for years and has followed behind NATO’s objectives in the Mediterranean Sea. NATO influence in the Persian Gulf effectively allows the area to fall under the joint management of Franco-German and Anglo-American interests. It is no coincidence that Nicholas Sarkozy started his presidential tour of the Middle East in the same window of time as the U.S. President nor is it a twist of fate that France and the U.A.E. signed an agreement on January 15, 2008 allowing France to establish a permanent military base in U.A.E. territory on the shores of the Persian Gulf. [9]

The Real Divisions in the Middle East: Indigenous Forces versus Foreign Clients

In Palestine, during past demonstrations in 2006, the press reported that small groups of Fatah supporters chanted “Shia, Shia, Shia” in mockery of Hamas because of its political links to Tehran, because Iran is a predominately Shiite Muslim country.[10] This was a dismal sign of the growing animosity that has been inseminated in the Middle East. Yet, it also reflects that the divisions in the Middle East, such as the Shiite-Sunni divide, are manufactured and artificially engineered.

Hamas, like Syria, is Sunni Muslim in identity and it is allied with Iran, which is predominately Shiite Muslim. This alliance clearly demonstrates that the real divisions in the Middle East are not based on religious or ethnic affinity or differences. Similarly, in Lebanon the forces of resistance are Muslim, Christian, and Druze and not just Hezbollah or Lebanon’s Shiite Muslims as is often described in the Western media.

In reality, the regional differences in the Middle East are between the independent and indigenous forces, regardless of religion, politics, and/or ethnicity, in the region and the client forces and governments in the region that serve Anglo-American and Franco-German foreign policy and economic interests.

The Resistance Bloc

“As Lord Chatham said, when he was speaking on the British presence in North America, he said ‘if I was an American, as I am an Englishman, as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms.’”

-General Sir Michael Rose, British Army

To generalize, the independent and indigenous forces of the Middle East are:

.1. Most of the various Palestinian fractions. This included the Palestinian Authority under Hamas before the Mecca Accord and the truce that was reached with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah;

.2. The Lebanese Resistance and National Opposition in Lebanon, which is a combination of Muslims, Druze, and Christians;

.3. The Iraqi Resistance, which is a genuine series of diverse peoples’ movements that reflects the will of the Iraqi people(s);

.4. Syria;

.5. Iran, which is both a rival and the centre of the organized political and state-levels of resistance.

People-based Resistance and State-based Resistance

The forces of resistance in the Middle East and neighbouring Afghanistan can be classified as being either a peoples’ resistance or being a state-level force of resistance. However, there is a third and hybrid category.

Iraq and Afghanistan both purely represent peoples’ resistance movements. Iran and Syria, for whatever rationale (good and bad), represent cases of state-level centres of resistance to the U.S., NATO, and Israel. Sudan also falls into this category.

The forces of resistance in Palestine and Lebanon fall in between these two categories as a mixture of state-level and people-based resistance. In close proximity to the Middle East in the Horn of Africa, Somalia is a debatable case, but is also an authentic centre of resistance against foreign control that is linked to the struggle to reconfigure the Middle East.

The forces of resistance in Lebanon and Palestine are also distinctive in that they are also locked in internal or domestic struggles between client and co-opted forces serving the Anglo-American, Franco-German, and Israeli agenda in the Middle East.

The involvement of a whole nation’s assets is obviously one of the major differences between the state-level centres of resistance, such as Iran, and the peoples’ movements of resistance that is disenfranchised from governing, such as in Iraq. However, wherever there is a greater amount of foreign military subjugation the forces of resistance are stronger and spring from the support of the local populaces. The heavy casualties that the U.S., Britain, and NATO are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan are because of the will of the peoples’ and their resistance.

Struggles across the Mid-East: The “Coalition of the Moderate” versus the Resistance Bloc

The existing divisions between the independent and indigenous forces of the Middle East and those aligned within the Anglo-American orbit are represented by the following:

.1. The struggle between Hamas and its allies with Israel, Fatah, and their allies in the Palestinian Territories;

.2. The ongoing struggle between the Iraqi Resistance, which is essentially the Iraqi people, with the U.S. and Coalition forces over the occupation of Iraq;

.3. The political face-off between the Lebanese National Opposition (the majority in Lebanon) and the Lebanese governing parties (the minority in Lebanon);

.4. The clash over Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq taking place between Syria and both NATO powers and their Arab clients;

.5. And finally the many bitter regional and international rows between Iran and the United States, which includes the Iranian nuclear energy program and Iraq.

The Bush Tour: War Drums, Resistance, and the “New Middle East”

“One cause of instability is the extremists supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran is today the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It sends hundreds of millions of dollars to extremists around the world — while its own people face repression and economic hardship at home. It undermines Lebanese hopes for peace by arming and aiding the terrorist group Hezbollah. It subverts the hopes for peace in other parts of the region by funding terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad. It sends arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shia militants in Iraq. It seeks to intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric. And finally, it defies the United Nations and destabilizes the region by refusing to be open and transparent about its nuclear programs and ambitions. Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the Gulf — and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.”

-George W. Bush Jr., 43rd President of the United States (Speech in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, January 13, 2008)

It is no secret that the main purpose of the U.S. presidential tour of the Middle East was to raise opposition against Iran and anyone resisting the “New Middle East.” Almost immediately, Syria claimed that the presidential Middle Eastern tour of George W. Bush Jr. was mostly made to try and further isolate Syria and orchestrate a future war scenario against Iran. [11]

The U.S. President’s tour of the Middle East came at a time when the U.S. Navy made false claims about threats being made by Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats in the Persian Gulf.

After the U.S. Navy withdrew its allegations the U.S. President stated that if any thing negative should happen to U.S. warships in the region it would be Tehran that would be held responsible.

At the same time there was a bombing in Beirut that was directed against the American embassy. The bombing in Beirut could have been staged, just as the U.S. Navy’s claims were fictitious, to justify the U.S. President’s position against Iran and the Resistance Bloc. In addition, reports were released from Israel about an Iranian-made rocket being fired from the Gaza Strip by the Palestinians during the U.S. President’s tour of the Middle East.

In 2007, the Syrian President while in Deir ez-Zor, on the eve of an important conference on Iraq in Sharm el-Sheikh in which Condoleeza Rice publicly initiated contact with the foreign ministers of Syria and Iran, warned his countrymen that “Syria, the Arab region and the Middle East are going through a dangerous period. Destructive colonial projects are seeking to divide and reshape our region creating a new Sykes-Picot [Agreement].” [12]

Abdel Al-Bari Atouani, a noted Palestinian figure and the editor-in-chief of the Al-Qods Al-Arabi in London, warned in a televised interview with ANB TV in early-February, 2007 that the U.S. is exploiting the Arab countries through their governments as the firewood to wage a war against Iran and its allies in the Middle East.

The Jerusalem Post, in sequence with the U.S. President’s arrival in Saudi Arabia from the U.A.E., released statements from an unnamed senior Palestinian official from the West Bank claiming that “Syria and Iran have stepped up their efforts to overthrow Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his ruling Fatah party.” [13] The claims were compiled by Khaled Abu Toameh and also brought to light the political gathering of a large array of Palestinian political parties (referred to by Abu Toameh as “radical groups”) that will be hosted by the Syrians in Damascus.

Not surprisingly, Khaled Abu Toameh’s article failed to point out that the Palestinian government running the West Bank is illegitimate and follows the orders of Mahmoud Abbas instead of a popularly elected Palestinian prime minister. The Palestinians gathering in Damascus will study ways to make the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) more inclusive and representative of mainstream Palestinian desires instead of the edicts of Mahmoud Abbas and a few other individuals that run portions of the West Bank as personal fiefdoms with Israel and the White House as their overlords.

In Lebanon, a newspaper affiliated with the Hariri family and its political allies also started to toe the American-led campaign line to demonize Iran. An-Nahar, the newspaper once edited by the slain Lebanese parliamentarian Gebran Tueni, stated in an opinion piece by Ali Hamade that the Arab League must pressure Tehran for a settlement in Lebanon and it is in Iran that the path lies to a Lebanese settlement or towards confrontation “if developments [in the Middle East] headed towards a confrontation with the Iranian imperial agenda for the Arab East.”

The Oval Office, the Establishment, and Anglo-American Foreign Policy in the Middle East

U.S. and British foreign policies are more about the objectives of the Anglo-American establishment than the distinctiveness of the individuals that hold the office of American president and British prime minister. This reality has been confirmed in the course of the election campaign by the potential successors of George W. Bush Jr., Democrats and Republicans alike.

Aside from a few individuals who represent the true aspirations of the American people, the majority of presidential contenders in the U.S. are talking about a virtual continuation of the military policies of the Bush Jr. Administration.

John McCain has talked about attacking Lebanon and Syria. [14]

Hilary Clinton wants a permanent occupation of Iraq or a “post-occupation phase” as U.S. officials decadently call it and she has threatened Iran.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has made it clear he intends to mirror the Bush Jr. Administration and that he does not intent to recognize a Palestinian state and that he would use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear Iran.

The era of wars will not be over with the departure of George W. Bush Jr. and Vice-President Cheney from the White House.

The problem is deeper and more complicated than the persona of one man and his cabinet. George W. Bush Jr. is only a figurehead in the mechanisms of a larger machine; he represents the establishment but he alone or his cabinet do not steer the helm of U.S. foreign policy.

Important Questions: The Nature of Cooperation and Rivalry between America, Iran, and Syria

Our reality is a far more complicated one. Once upon a time, before coming to power, Hamas used to collaborate with Israel against Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.

The Christian Science Monitor made a good point in an article by Marc Lynch: “‘Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos,’ Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned Gulf dignitaries in Bahrain last month [December, 2007]. But in reality, everywhere you turn, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia to Egypt, you now see Iranian leaders shattering longstanding taboos by meeting cordially with their Arab counterparts.” [15]

In fact the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was invited to the important GCC Summit in the Qatari capital, Doha, which discussed the economic integration of the Persian Gulf and GCC-Iranian cooperation. Iran, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia also were making public shows of drawing closer even before the gathering in Doha, which included military and economic agreements between Oman and Iran.

Cairo and Tehran have also publicly opened the door for the full normalization of diplomatic relations. What develops in Egyptian-Iranian relations is yet to be seen. Iran is also making further economic and commercial inroads into both Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran and Syria are also linking their energy infrastructure with Iraq and also taking steps that undeniable assist the U.S. in Anglo-American occupied Iraq.

The nomination of General Michel Sulaiman as the next Lebanese president has also been called a concession to Syria for its cooperation with the U.S. in Iraq and even for its attendance at the Annapolis Summit.

However, if this is so then there are unanswered questions not only about Syrian-American cooperation, but about the meeting between David Welch, the U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and General Sulaiman before the fighting between Fatal Al-Islam and the Lebanese Army erupted in 2007.

It is clear that there is an agenda to redraw the borders of the Middle East in order to institute lasting economic policies that benefit Anglo-American and Franco-German interests, along with their Israeli bulldog in the Middle East.

The Syrians and the Iranians are well aware of the plans to divide their home region and to play the peoples of the Middle East against one another. Tehran and Damascus too have been guilty of playing the same game for their own interests, but what America and its allies envision is a far broader partition and reconfiguration of the Middle East, which also places Syria and Iran in the sights of this historic struggle.

The question here is: are these efforts to divide the Middle East (into “moderates” and “radicals”) part of a policy of containment, a war strategy, or something far more sinister?

The intentions of people-based resistance movements like those of the Iraqi Resistance are simple and mostly clear, but state-based resistance — if it can really be called that — is often ambivalent in its intent.

Are Iran and Syria genuinely resisting the “New Middle East” which in the end serves the Washington Consensus? The ongoing economic reforms including the privatization programs in both Iran and Syria suggest that these countries are not totally opposed to the dominant neo-liberal agenda, which characterises Washington’s expansionary policies. [16]

It is no sin to question motives, especially when circumstances call for it, but it is a sin and a crime to mislead the masses. As developments in the Middle East unfold, the political stance of Iran and Syria will become clearer.


NOTES

[1] Jonathan Beale, Rice seeks Mid-East support on Iraq, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), January 13, 2007.

[2] Paul Reynolds, Blair and the ‘strategic challenge’ of Iran, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), December 20, 2007.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Uzi Mahnaimi, Saudis lead Israel peace bid, The Times (U.K.), December 3, 2006.

[5] Simon Tisdall, Iran v Saudis in battle of Beirut, The Guardian (U.K.), December 5, 2006.

[6] Shahar Ilan, Jordan’s Abdullah tells Israel: We share same enemies, Haaretz, April 19, 2007.

The remarks were immediately denied by the Jordanian King once they were circulated by the Israeli press. These denials are parallel to the denials of the House of Saud about its diplomatic meetings and negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel which were divulged as true after the initial denials.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Anatole Kaletsky, An unholy alliance threatening catastrophe, The Times (U.K.), January 4, 2007.

[9] Laurent Pirot, France Signs UAE Military Base Agreement, Associated Press, January 12, 2008; Emmanuel Jarry, France, UAE sign military, nuclear agreement, Reuters, January 15, 2008; Paul Reynolds, French make serious move into Gulf, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), January 15, 2008.

[10] Fatah, Hamas clash in Gaza after Abbas calls early elections, Associated Press, December 16, 2006.

[11] Damascus slams Arab leaders for allowing Bush’s ‘criticism of Syria,’ Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)/ German Press Agency, January 14, 2008.

[12] Mazen and Thawra, President al-Assad says Arab Region passes through new juncture, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), April 30, 2007.

[13] Khaled Abu Toameh, Syria, Iran trying to overthrow Abbas, The Jerusalem Post, January 15, 2008.

[14] Shani Rosenfelder, McCain: Disarm Hizbullah, tackle Assad, The Jerusalem Post, August 9, 2007.

[15] Marc Lynch, Why U.S. strategy on Iran is crumbling: Gulf states no longer want to isolate Iran, Christian Science Monitor, January 4, 2008.

[16] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, The Sino-Russian Alliance: Challenging America’s Ambitions in Eurasia, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), August 26, 2007; Julian Barnes-Dacey, Even with sanctions, Syrians embrace KFC and Gap, Christian Science Monitor, January 11, 2008.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya


The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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© Copyright Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7816

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