Capitulation to terrorism

Capitulation to terrorism

by Joseph Farah, WND

[..] Has it occurred to anyone that even linking Iraq with Palestine makes no sense whatsoever?

Does anyone truly believe that the establishment of a Palestinian state would persuade Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons?

Does anyone truly believe that the establishment of a Palestinian state would persuade Syria to cease its support of international terrorists?

Does anyone truly believe that the establishment of a Palestinian state would persuade Iran and Syria to stop promoting the toppling of the elected government of Iraq?

Does anyone truly believe that the establishment of a Palestinian state would persuade Hezbollah, supported by both Iran and Syria, to stop its own insurgency in Lebanon?

It’s difficult for me even to ask such ridiculous rhetorical questions. But I do so to illustrate just how evil is this document produced by the Baker Commission.

But, again, what should we expect from James Baker? This lying, deceiving report reflects the evil genius of the man behind it.

The terrorists in the Middle East understand this report for what it is – victory for them. Will Americans recognize it in time?

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Al Jazeera Editor Whines: “We Always Lose to Israel”

Al Jazeera Editor Whines: “We Always Lose to Israel”

Here’s an interview with Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh, demonstrating why this mouthpiece for the global jihad should never be allowed to spread its propaganda in the United States. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the irrational, obsessive hatred of Jews that drives the Arab-Muslim victimhood mentality.

Who is responsible for the situation?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important reasons why these crises and problems continue to simmer. The day when Israel was founded created the basis for our problems. The West should finally come to understand this. Everything would be much calmer if the Palestinians were given their rights.

Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?

I think so.

Can you please explain to me what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with these problems?

The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.

In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?

Exactly. It’s because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West’s problem is that it does not understand this.

Wrong, Ahmed. The West does understand. In this part of the world, blaming all your problems on a super-powerful fantasy opponent is called “mental illness.”

UPDATE at 12/9/06 8:37:53 am:

If we allow Al Jazeera into our homes in the US, this is the kind of “viewpoint” they’ll be promulgating:

Mr. Sheikh, as the Editor in Chief of Al-Jazeera, you are one of the most important opinion-makers in the Arab world. What do you call suicide bombers?

For what is happening in Palestine, we never use the expression “suicide bombing.”

What do you call it then?

In English, I would describe it as “bombings.”

And in Arabic?

Literally translated, we would speak of “commando attacks.” In our culture, it is precisely not suicide.

But instead a praiseworthy act?

When the country is occupied and the people are being killed by the enemy, everyone must take action, even if he sacrifices himself in so doing.

Even if in so doing he kills innocent civilians?

That is not a Palestinian problem, but a problem of the Israelis.

The Baker Scam..How Jewish people must answer

The Baker Scam..How Jewish people must answer

By Felix Quigley

A recent article on the Baker Report makes me jot down some concrete issues which the Jewish people and their supporters must now address…It includes an old debt which the Irish owe to the Jewish nation.

Let us take the IMRA statement put forward by a contributor to Israpundit (Baker wants to sacrifice Israel by Arlene Kushner)

IMRA
“The White House has been examining a proposal by James Baker to launch a Middle East peace effort without Israel.

“The peace effort would begin with a U.S.-organized conference, dubbed Madrid-2, and contain such U.S. adversaries as Iran and Syria. Officials said Madrid-2 would be promoted as a forum to discuss Iraq’s future, but actually focus on Arab demands for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war. They said Israel would not be invited to the conference.

“‘As Baker sees this, the conference would provide a unique opportunity for the United States to strike a deal without Jewish pressure,’ an official said. ‘This has become the most hottest proposal examined by the foreign policy people over the last month.’

“Officials said Mr. Baker’s proposal, reflected in the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, has been supported by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte…

“Officials said the Baker proposal to exclude Israel from a Middle East peace conference garnered support in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 25. They said Mr. Cheney spent most of his meetings listening to Saudi warnings that Israel, rather than Iran, is the leading cause of instability in the Middle East…

“Under the Baker proposal, the Bush administration would arrange a Middle East conference that would discuss the future of Iraq and other Middle East issues. Officials said the conference would seek to win Arab support on Iraq in exchange for a U.S. pledge to renew efforts to press Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Golan Heights.

“‘Baker sees his plan as containing something for everybody, except perhaps the Israelis,’ the official said. ‘The Syrians would get back the Golan, the Iranians would get U.S. recognition and the Saudis would regain their influence, particularly with the Palestinians.’”

We can certainly say with absolute certainty that the above represents the end of the road for the “special” relationship between the US and Israel. I personally rejoice at that because it was always based on a total fraud.

A Madrid 2, what exactly is this which is proposed by the US elite in the form of Baker and Hamilton? It is a place at which the worst Fascists on the planet, including the Mullahs of Iran and the Baathists of Syria, and the Palestinian Arab descendents of Hajj Amin el Husseini, come together along with the US and the EU led by Britain, in order to undo the agreements and promises made in 1922 and in 1947 to establish a Jewish state in historic Palestine.

All pundits may not agree . Some may still hang on to their hopeless and damning illusions. But it is, it is the end of the line. From now on Israel has got to adopt a policy of absolute independence and even if the fiercest attacks are launched it must stand with its head held high as a proud and an independent nation.

As one contributor on Israpundit (the wonderful Keelie) pointed out everything is out in the open, Jews can now see what the US and the Brits are really all about. And they can now begin to see the truth about what happened to that other tiny land of the Serbs just 15 years ago.

So we are going to have a unity between the two peoples who are the most oppressed and the most lied about in history. That is right and fitting because Hajj Amin el Husseini and Himmler did not distinguish in the slightest detail between Jews and Serbs in the Holocaust of the Balkans.

What do I mean “did not distinguish”. I mean that the Croatian and Bosnian Islamist Fascists killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, and a lesser number of Jews, in the Balkans in ways that surpassed the barbarity of the Nazis of Germany. In fact it set the stage for the Nazi slaughter.

That is really what the proposals for Madrid 2 mean.

The wonderful article by Arlene has something of this in it. We live now at an absolutely historical conjuncture of events. When Herzl founded the movement back in the 1890s he became more and more aware that the motive and driving force for the struggle for the Jewish Homeland (Zionism) was coming from the most oppressed, and the poorest of dirt poor Jews, living in the Ghettoes of Eastern Europe.

Herzl was a middle class professional. But he was not afraid of this plebeian movement because he was a true Jewish patriot. More and more he embraced this. It was a tragedy that Herzl died young just after the crucial Sixth Congress of 1903. When he died the movement was taken forward by a new layer of leaders under Weizmann and though they were good honest people they tended more and more to turn away from that mass movement and to rely on international governmental support. This was both positive and negative, but the negative has tended to predominate as the years have passed by, and is expressed most of all in the reactionary unity of American Jews with the American elites.

This Baker proposal has slammed the steel doors on all of that. From now on the Jewish people must treat the US and EU elites as their total enemy and must take their case ONLY to the American ordinary people. At the same time in Israel far more attention has to be paid to all aspects of the mass movement, including their fears of the Arab Fifth Column in their midst and their social and increasingly poverty-ridden conditions of living.

However Arlene despite her wonderful article still has got illusions in Bush.

The real truth is that Bush is the No 1 enemy of the Jewish people. Bush immediately after the 9-11 barbarity referred to Islam as the Religion of Peace. Blair travels around with a copy of the Koran in his suitcase and he reads it! Both are lethal enemies of Israel. The man who Bush chose specially for Iraq, the most important American in Iraq, is a real enemy of Jews and a real friend to the Islamists. That is Kalmay Khalizad and his (and Bush’s) hands are all over this Baker report.

Of course as Arlene points out there are individuals in Congress etc who may be friends of Israel. But this is so because they were elected by the mass movement of Americans who have remained loyal to the principles of the American Revolution in their support of this tiny race of people – the Jews.

Arlene misses the main point which she would have already learned if she had not ignored the Yugoslavian experience. Contrary to Arlene, the US and EU elites are not fools. They have looked closely at the world situation and have reached definite conclusions, which are intelligent conclusions from where they stand as a ruling elite.

    • First of all their position towards Islam and Islamofascism is contradictory and that is to put it at its kindest. These Fascists have been prepared to strike against US and EU interests as was seen in the many attacks in the US and in Europe. This is part of the global campaign to push Sharia which threatens all democratic rights. But the other side to this is that the US and EU are prepared to use this very same Islamofascism in a number of ways. One of these is that this form of religious Fascism is a perfect weapon for disciplining the 1.4 BILLION of poor Muslims in the world and to turn them, or at least sections of them, into a lethal force to attack progressive causes. (We saw this in Yugoslavia and we see it in the so-called Palestinians) And another is to break down democratic rights not just in Muslim lands but also at home.• A by-product of this is the complete destruction of the “Left” where in England as a prime example the so-called Left and “Trotskyist” SWP is lining up in Respect with George Galloway and the Islamofascists. Hence the Left is effectively, at the most important conjuncture in history, destroyed.

    • Then there is the position of the Left on the twin issues of 1. Bosnia and 2. the Palestinians. Both the Bosnian Islamofascists of Izetbegovic and the Arab Palestinians under whatever leaders, whether it be Fatah or Hamas, are part of the Arab Islamist movement. In both these cases, Yugoslavia and the Palestinians the NeoLeft argued that these Islamist movements were not part of Jihad. That they were special. That the Islamists of Bosnia and the KLA of Kosovo were part of a national liberation movement. And that the Palestinian Arab movement is based on issues like “Refugees” etc (a hoax from which those people have suffered as well as Jews). All of this has led to the complete emasculation of the Left. I do not have to tell you that following the Russian revolution of 1917 this is something that the US and EU elites have sought and now still seek.

    • Where this is going is seen most clearly in Britain where the English ordinary people are so turned off by this politically correct “Left” in the Town Halls and in Government, a la Livingstone, that they even seek some answer in the National Front, a complete reversal of what they fought for in the Hitler war.

And so the most extreme form of this betrayal is carried out by a so-called “Trotskyist” movement called the SWP in England, who are supporting Islamofascism, and who are mirrored in America by The Nation and by the accomodation between the notorious opportunist Ramsay Clark and the ANSWER grouping.

The situation in Israel is now most critical.

For many years we in the west have seen the only voices coming from Israel in the form of reactionary “Peace” messengers, such as Ilan Pappe. These are out and out Jew haters, complete enemies of Israel and they are paraded around the highways and byways of countries like Ireland spouting their form of Jew hatred, which always sounds authentic because it comes from a “Jew”.

But the Lebanon War effectively put an end to all of that. Why is that? For the simple reason the the mass movement of the Israelis had had enough of these cowardly Palestinian and Hezbullah Arabs and moved totally (I mean 100 per cent) behind the wonderful and revolutionary men and women of the IDF. I repeat that movement of the Israeli masses spelled the death knell of the Israeli “Peace” traitors. Yes indeed they are traitors, and always have been, because that is what a traitor does when your country comes under attack. A traitor talks about peace and so emasculates your fighting power and decisive defensive edge.

Yes it is about Judaism today and it has always been about Israel as a Jewish state.

The best fighting forces, the most daring, those who are prepared to take the most risks for their country have shown to be from the settlements which are based on Judaism. Why is this!

Read carefully the stirrings in the Israeli body politic over the past few days. The movement to challenge Olmert on his planned selling out of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights is all coming from within the body of Judaism. Why is this! Because for the very simple reason that Jews did not create anti-Semitism and a big part of Israel is a refuge against anti-Semitism.

So I say that the spark for the new Israeli Revolution will emerge out of the young men and women who are in the tradition of Judaism.

But here we must be very, very careful. The Judaic tradition in Israel has now got to take its movement forward in the most progressive way.

We need essentially a revolutionary party which will base all of its work on the wonderful Israeli mass movement. The central aims of this movement must be to force Olmert and his government to give a commitment not to sell out Judea and Samaria, not to betray by giving the Golan Heights to the reactionary Baathists of Syria, to take back Gaza without delay, to expel from Israel whatever their religion or race who are campaigning against the existence of Israel, and above all to strike against Iran with everything and without any delay in order to put a stopper on the Mullah Nuclear Bomb.

But even all of that is not enough! Such is the gigantic nature of the task which Jews face! The mass movement of ordinary American people and the ordinary people of Europe and elsewhere must also be reached with the truth and an uncompromising statement of Israeli and Jewish independence and their regard for the true religious rights of ordinary people.

In this regard every Jewish person and every Jewish supporter in the Diaspora is now being asked to step up to the mark. A strategy of theory and practice must be immediately hammered out. This has got implications for every Jewish organization and for every Jewish (or just Jewish sympathetic) blog that exists.

To sum up some of these thoughts:

    • There needs to be a turn to the mass movement in Israel and especially to those religious youth we saw mobilizing at the time of the Gaza betrayal• We need to organize urgently a discussion of all the forces who oppose Baker

    • We need to pool all resources and somehow mount a major campaign to reach the American mass movement.

Our demands and areas of interest will centre around:

    • Destroy the Iranian Mullah Nuclear Bomb• No Jihadist Palestinian state

    • Respect Israeli and Jewish independence

    • Consequently force Baker and Hamilton to appear before Congress to answer their betrayal of Israel to Islamofascists and Baathists

    • A special appeal to the American trade unions to raise the issue of the repression of trade unionists in Iran

    • A special appeal to all true socialists to insist that their movements break from their collaboration with Islamofascism. They cannot remain socialists and be linked to Fascism.

    • Finally I would appeal to Americans of Irish descent. It is now time to repay a debt to the Jewish people. The most prominent Jewish family in Irish history were the Briscoes and they fought for Irish national liberation against the British. Irish people in America and Ireland must oppose this present Jihadist Palestinian state and support the survival of the Jewish cause.

Israel Prepares to Fight Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran

Israel Prepares to Fight Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran

Early Warning: Israel is preparing for war against its implacable, Iranian-backed, Islamist foes, Hamas and Hezbollah, and their secular ally, Syria.

Preparations are also underway for possible preemptive strikes against Iran itself in order to end its nuclear weapons program.

Israeli military commanders and intelligence analysts are increasingly convinced that Iran is masterminding a plan for a multifront assault on the Jewish state, which could commence early next year.

A sense of deadly encirclement grows stronger by the day in Israel, following its failure to defeat Hezbollah in the summer war and deepening ties between Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Shiite non-Arab Iran. Formidable military buildups by the Sunni Palestinian movement, which now boasts a 10,000-man army in Gaza, and Shiite Lebanese Hezbollah, which is steadily receiving Iranian arms through Syria, are considered clear indications of a coming conflict. Both groups are expected to hide behind civilian human shields and to use civilian homes and apartment buildings, and mosques, schools, and hospitals as operational bases and to increase the chances of civilian casualties for purposes of stimulating support and sympathy abroad.

Amid attempts to seize control of war-torn Lebanon, Iran’s proxy is likely to trigger hostilities by firing antiaircraft missiles–under United Nations cover–at overflying Israeli military planes. Hostilities could escalate quickly and sharply once the shooting starts.

There is a growing consensus in Israel that the international community is ignoring the seriousness of the Iranian threat–to Israel and the West. The report by the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by a notoriously anti-Israel former United States Secretary of State, James Baker, reinforces the impression. The bipartisan, Congressionally funded panel recommended direct talks with Iran and Syria to defuse the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict and stabilize the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq. This is codespeak, say Israelis, for appeasing Iran and Syria by ramming a comprehensive land-for-peace pact down Israel’s throat. Israelis fear appeasement of Iran will lead not to peace, but, at best, to the piece-by-piece dismantling of their country, and, at worst, to falling victim to a surprise attack resulting in a catastrophic defeat.

We agree with the Israeli assessment. In fact, Western denial of the Iranian threat dates to the months preceding the overthrow of the pro-US Shah, when the Carter administration dumped America’s ally and old friend in a craven attempt to curry favor with his emboldened enemy, an Islamist-Left alliance led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Weeks before the January 1979 revolution, this reporter repeatedly predicted–on the front page of an influential American weekly publication–that the Ayatollah would establish a terribly repressive and fanatically anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel regime resembling a kind of clerical fascism.

Which, unfortunately, is exactly what happened.

But the nuclear issue–Iran’s development of nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian energy research–raises the Islamist threat to a new and terrifying level. Whereas the mullahocracy has from its inception used the Palestinian issue as a rallying flag and tool for spreading Iranian influence in the region, it now regards the liberation of Palestine–meaning, the annihilation of Israel–as a strategic objective. This is why the regime’s embrace of neo-Nazi Holocaust denial is so significant: Iran is preparing the ground, ideologically and philosophically, for Israel’s extinction.

Not to say that Iran necessarily intends to fire nuclear-tipped missiles at Tel Aviv. Tehran’s plot to wipe Israel off the map, in the words of Iranian monster-in-chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could involve coordinated Hamas and Hezbollah assaults, augmented by Syrian conventional and chemical attacks and conventional long-range Iranian missile strikes. Use of nuclear weapons could be deemed too risky by Iran, inviting sure-fire retaliatory strikes from the Jewish state, which is assumed to have 200 or more nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them accurately to distant targets.

While direct Iranian nuclear attacks against Israel cannot be ruled out, it is quite possible that Tehran’s present nuclear program is aimed (a) at executing an indirect nuclear attack against the Jewish state, perhaps by using Palestinian terrorists to detonate a small nuclear device or so-called radioactive dirty bomb in the heart of the country’s main population center, and/or (b) at intimidating and neutralizing Europe through the threat of nuclear war. The French understand this threat; hence, the unusually blunt warnings by French leaders that they will not hesitate to use their nuclear weapons if France is hit by a mega-terror strike.

The Iranians may even be instigating a new round of fighting in the Middle East in order to buy time for further nuclear development, as their standoff with the West is approaching the sanctions stage (though China and Russia will almost certainly prevent the imposition of truly tough sanctions involving possible use of force under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter).

Iran wants nuclear weapons for another reason: to deter the US from attacking and to drive the “Great Satan” out of the region for once and all. Iranian foreign policy is imperialist to the core in that it aims to alter the international status quo and permanently change the power relations among nations.

Iran could also be preparing for possible covert nuclear strikes against the US, as we have noted in the past, using cleverly concealed, nuclear-armed missiles atop seemingly civilian, foreign-flagged cargo ships. The US has no practical defense against an attack of this kind, which could be simultaneously launched against its coastal cities.

James Baker’s Double Life

James Baker’s Double Life

by NAOMI KLEIN

[from the November 1, 2004 issue]

When President Bush appointed former Secretary of State James Baker III as his envoy on Iraq’s debt on December 5, 2003, he called Baker’s job “a noble mission.” At the time, there was widespread concern about whether Baker’s extensive business dealings in the Middle East would compromise that mission, which is to meet with heads of state and persuade them to forgive the debts owed to them by Iraq. Of particular concern was his relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake.

Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker’s loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy–an unpaid position–has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker’s influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever.

The secret deal involves a complex transaction to transfer ownership of as much as $57 billion in unpaid Iraqi debts. The debts, now owed to the government of Kuwait, would be assigned to a foundation created and controlled by a consortium in which the key players are the Carlyle Group, the Albright Group (headed by another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright) and several other well-connected firms. Under the deal, the government of Kuwait would also give the consortium $2 billion up front to invest in a private equity fund devised by the consortium, with half of it going to Carlyle.

The Nation has obtained a copy of the confidential sixty-five-page “Proposal to Assist the Government of Kuwait in Protecting and Realizing Claims Against Iraq,” sent in January from the consortium to Kuwait’s foreign ministry, as well as letters back and forth between the two parties. In a letter dated August 6, 2004, the consortium informed Kuwait’s foreign ministry that the country’s unpaid debts from Iraq “are in imminent jeopardy.” World opinion is turning in favor of debt forgiveness, another letter warned, as evidenced by “President Bush’s appointment…of former Secretary of State James Baker as his envoy to negotiate Iraqi debt relief.” The consortium’s proposal spells out the threat: Not only is Kuwait unlikely to see any of its $30 billion from Iraq in sovereign debt, but the $27 billion in war reparations that Iraq owes to Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion “may well be a casualty of this U.S. [debt relief] effort.”

In the face of this threat, the consortium offers its services. Its roster of former high-level US and European politicians have “personal rapport with the stakeholders in the anticipated negotiations” and are able to “reach key decision-makers in the United Nations and in key capitals,” the proposal states. If Kuwait agrees to transfer the debts to the consortium’s foundation, the consortium will use these personal connections to persuade world leaders that Iraq must “maximize” its debt payments to Kuwait, which would be able to collect the money after ten to fifteen years. And the more the consortium gets Iraq to pay during that period, the more Kuwait collects, with the consortium taking a 5 percent commission or more.

The goal of maximizing Iraq’s debt payments directly contradicts the US foreign policy aim of drastically reducing Iraq’s debt burden. According to Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University and a leading expert on government ethics and regulations, this means that Baker is in a “classic conflict of interest. Baker is on two sides of this transaction: He is supposed to be representing the interests of the United States, but he is also a senior counselor at Carlyle, and Carlyle wants to get paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq.” After examining the documents, Clark called them “extraordinary.” She said, “Carlyle and the other companies are exploiting Baker’s current position to try to land a deal with Kuwait that would undermine the interests of the US government.”

The Nation also showed the documents to Jerome Levinson, an international lawyer and expert on political and corporate corruption at American University. He called it “one of the greatest cons of all time. The consortium is saying to the Kuwaiti government, ‘Through us, you have the only chance to realize a substantial part of the debt. Why? Because of who we are and who we know.’ It’s influence peddling of the crassest kind.”

In the confidential documents, the consortium appears acutely aware of the sensitivity of Baker’s position as Carlyle partner and debt envoy. Immediately after listing the powerful players associated with Carlyle–including former President George H.W. Bush, former British prime minister John Major and Baker himself–the document states: “The extent to which these individuals can play an instrumental role in fashioning strategies is now more limited…due to the recent appointment of Secretary Baker as the President’s envoy on international debt, and the need to avoid an apparent conflict of interest.” [Emphasis in original.] Yet it goes on to state that this will soon change: “We believe that with Secretary Baker’s retirement from his temporary position [as debt envoy], that Carlyle and those leading individuals associated with Carlyle will then once again be free to play a more decisive role…”

Chris Ullman, vice president and spokesperson for Carlyle, said that “neither the Carlyle Group nor James Baker wrote, edited or authorized this proposal to the Kuwait government.” But he acknowledged that Carlyle knew a proposal was being made to the government of Kuwait and that Carlyle stood to land a $1 billion investment. “We were aware of that. But we played no role in procuring that investment.”

Asked if Carlyle was “willing to take the billion but not to try to get it,” Ullman answered, “Correct.”

Iraq is the most heavily indebted country in the world, owing roughly $200 billion in sovereign debts and in reparations from Saddam’s wars. If Iraq were forced to pay even a quarter of these claims, its debt would still be more than double its annual GDP, severely undermining its capacity to pay for reconstruction or to address the humanitarian needs of its war-ravaged citizens. “This debt endangers Iraq’s long-term prospects for political health and economic prosperity,” President Bush said when he appointed Baker last December.

But critics expressed grave concern about whether Baker was an appropriate choice for such a crucial job. For instance, one of Iraq’s largest creditors is the government of Saudi Arabia. The Carlyle Group does extensive business with the Saudi royal family, as does Baker’s law firm, Baker Botts (which is currently defending them in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by the families of September 11 victims). The New York Times determined that the potential conflicts of interest were so great that on December 12 it published an editorial calling on Baker to resign his posts at the Carlyle Group and Baker Botts to preserve the integrity of the envoy position.

“Mr. Baker is far too tangled in a matrix of lucrative private business relationships that leave him looking like a potentially interested party in any debt-restructuring formula,” stated the editorial. It concluded that it wasn’t enough for Baker to “forgo earnings from clients with obvious connections to Iraqi debts…. To perform honorably in his new public job, Mr. Baker must give up these two private ones.”

The White House brushed off calls for Baker to choose between representing the President and representing Carlyle investors. “I don’t read those editorials,” President Bush said when asked by a reporter about the Times piece. Bush assured reporters that “Jim Baker is a man of high integrity…. We’re fortunate he decided to take time out of what is an active life…to step forward and serve America.” Carlyle was equally adamant: Chris Ullman assured a Knight-Ridder reporter that Baker’s post “will have no impact on Carlyle whatsoever.”

In fact, several months earlier, on July 16, 2003, Carlyle had attended a high-level London meeting with Kuwaiti officials about the deal. According to the document, the Kuwaitis asked Carlyle and the other consortium members to “prepare a detailed financial proposal for the protection and monetization” of reparation debts from Iraq. But at the time Baker was appointed envoy, the consortium had not yet submitted its proposed plans to Kuwait. That means that the Carlyle Group could have pulled out of the consortium, citing the potential conflicts of interest. Instead, Carlyle stayed on, and the consortium proceeded to use Baker’s powerful new position to aggressively pitch a deal that positioned the consortium as the Kuwaiti government’s chief lobbyist on Iraq’s debts and that gave Carlyle a clear stake in the fate of Iraq’s debts.

However, several changes were made in the way the consortium presented itself. The documents state, “Prior to [Baker’s] appointment [former US Secretary of Defense Frank] Carlucci had played a convening and guiding role on behalf of Carlyle.” But after the appointment, according to Carlyle’s Chris Ullman, the firm’s role was scaled back. “When James Baker was named special envoy…Carlyle explicitly restricted its role to only investing assets on behalf of Kuwait.” Shahameen Sheikh, chairman and CEO of International Strategy Group, a company created by the consortium to manage this deal, said that Carlyle told her that “they are not a lobbying firm.” Days before Baker’s appointment, the consortium reached out to another high-profile Washington firm, the Albright Group, which eventually signed on as the leading political strategists and lobbyists for the consortium.

Moreover, Ullman said that Carlyle put “controls in place” that would insure that Baker “would play no role in nor benefit from” the proposed $1 billion investment–an amount that would constitute nearly 10 percent of Carlyle’s total equity investments.

But it’s not clear that Carlyle has been straightforward about its dealings so far. The day before Baker’s appointment was announced, John Harris, managing director and chief financial officer of Carlyle, submitted a signed statement to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. “Carlyle does not have any investment in Iraqi public or private debt,” he wrote. He didn’t mention that Carlyle had for months been in negotiations with Kuwait to help secure its unpaid war debts from Iraq. Asked if the White House had been informed of the Carlyle Group’s dealings with Kuwait at any point, Ullman replied, “I’ll get back to you on that.” He did not.

According to Kathleen Clark, it is unclear whether Baker is complying with the criminal statute and administrative regulations that prohibit government officials from participating in government business in which they have a financial interest-including matters that affect an outside company that employs the official. Clark notes, “even if Baker is somehow being screened from profiting from this deal, Carlyle is using Baker’s government position to benefit themselves.” She says it’s time for Carlyle and the White House to come clean. “There’s a tremendous need for transparency here.” The White House and James Baker’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Baker occupies a complicated place in the consortium’s January proposal–he is both problem and solution, stick and carrot. In the documents, Baker’s name comes up repeatedly, usually in tones of high alarm. “Mr. Baker’s new role and the likely emergence of what will be understood as a new round of global negotiations over Iraqi debt–casts all of these issues in a new light and gives them a new, perhaps even intense, sense of urgency,” states a letter signed by Madeleine Albright; David Huebner, chairman of the Coudert Brothers law firm (another consortium member); and Shahameen Sheikh.

But after establishing Baker’s envoy job as the embodiment of the threat that Kuwait will lose its reparations payments, the proposal goes on at length about the powerful individuals connected to the consortium who will “have the ability to gain access to the highest levels of the United States Government and other Security Council governments for a hearing of Kuwait’s views.” According to Levinson, “What they are proposing is to completely undercut Baker’s mission–and they are using their connection with Baker to do it.”

On January 21, 2004, James Baker’s dual lives converged. That morning Baker flew to Kuwait as George Bush’s debt envoy. He met with Kuwait’s prime minister, its foreign minister and several other top officials with the stated goal of asking them to forgive Iraq’s debts in the name of regional peace and prosperity.

Baker’s colleagues in the consortium chose that very same day to hand-deliver their proposal to Foreign Minister Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah–the same man Baker was meeting. The proposal “takes into account the new dynamics that have developed in the region,” states the cover letter, signed by Albright, Huebner and Sheikh–dynamics that include “Secretary Baker’s negotiations” on debt relief. If Kuwait accepts the consortium’s offer, they explain, “we will distinguish Kuwait’s claims–legally and morally–from the sovereign debt for which the United States is now seeking forgiveness.”

Was it a coincidence that the consortium submitted its proposal on the same day Baker was in Kuwait? And which James Baker were Kuwait’s leaders supposed to take more seriously–the presidential envoy calling for debt forgiveness or the businessman named in the proposal as a potential ally in their quest for debt payment?

Ahamed al-Fahad, under secretary to the prime minister of Kuwait, told The Nation, “I have seen it [the proposal] and I am fully aware of the situation.” But when asked about Baker’s dual role in Kuwait, he said, “It’s hard to comment on that issue, especially now. I hope you fully understand.”

Shahameen Sheikh, the consortium head who made the delivery, says the timing was a coincidence. “It had nothing to do with Mr. Baker’s visit…. I was in the region so I thought I would stop over on the way to Europe and deliver the proposal.”

We do know this: After meeting with Baker on January 21, Kuwait’s foreign minister told reporters that Baker had shown “understanding of Kuwait’s position on war reparations,” confirming that the subject did come up. He also said that while sovereign debt might be forgiven, reparations would not, because “there is an international decision from the UN.”

Three days later, when Baker was back in Washington giving a speech, he made this distinction for the first time. “My job is to deal with Iraqi debt to sovereign creditors, not with war reparations,” he said. He also echoed the exact line of the Kuwaiti government: that reparations are outside his purview because they are “under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Security Council and subject to resolutions it has passed.”

This was a curious statement: Why would such a large portion of Iraq’s debts be off the table? It also seemed to contradict other things Baker said in the same speech. He said that “any reduction [in Iraq’s debt] must be substantial, or a vast majority of the total debt.” That is impossible without addressing reparations, which by some measures account for more than half of Iraq’s foreign debts. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the center-right think tank hosting Baker’s speech, has said it is “unwise” to make any debt relief plan “that does not include reparations.”

Baker’s statement on reparations also placed him at odds with several other members of the Bush Administration, including former chief envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer. “I think there needs to be a very serious look at this whole reparations issue,” Bremer said in September 2003. He compared the Iraq situation to that of Germany after World War I, when the 1921 Reparations Commission forced the Weimar Republic to pay $33 billion. The massive reparations “contributed directly to the morass of unrest, instability and despair which led to Adolf Hitler’s election,” Bremer warned.

Yet Iraq continues to make regular reparations payments for Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. In the eighteen months since the US invasion, Iraq has paid out a staggering $1.8 billion in reparations–substantially more than the battered country’s 2004 health and education budgets combined, and more than the United States has so far managed to spend in Iraq on reconstruction.

Most of the payments have gone to Kuwait, a country that is about to post its sixth consecutive budget surplus, where citizens have an average purchasing power of $19,000 a year. Iraqis, by contrast, are living on an average of just over $2 a day, with most of the population dependent on food rations for basic nutrition. Yet reparations payments continue, with Iraq scheduled to make another $200 million payout in late October.

This arrangement dates back to the end of the first Gulf War. As a condition of the cease-fire, Saddam Hussein agreed to pay for all losses incurred as a result of his invasion and seven-month occupation of Kuwait. Payments started flowing in 1994 and sped up in 1996, with the start of the UN’s oil-for-food program. According to UN Security Council Resolution 986, which created the program, Iraq could begin to export oil as long as the revenue was spent on food and medicine imports, and as long as 30 percent of Iraq’s oil revenues went to the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), the Geneva-based quasi-tribunal in charge of Gulf War reparations.

Some of the claims that have been awarded by the UNCC are huge: the cost of cleaning up Kuwait’s and Saudi Arabia’s coastlines from oil spills and fires, or the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s controversial award for $15.9 billion in lost oil revenues. So far, the UNCC has paid out $18.6 billion in war reparations and has awarded an additional $30 billion that has not been paid because of Iraq’s shortage of funds. There are still $98 billion worth of claims before the UNCC that have yet to be assessed, so these numbers could rise steeply. That’s why there are no accurate estimates of how much Iraq owes in war reparations–the figure ranges from $50 billion to $130 billion.

But the fate of these debts is now highly uncertain. On May 22, 2003–two months after the United States invaded Iraq–the Security Council decided to cut the percentage of Iraqi oil revenues going to war reparations to 5 percent. This past May, an Iraqi delegation went to the UN to ask for the percentage to be reduced even further, to accommodate Iraq’s own reconstruction needs. There is growing sympathy for this position. Justin Alexander of the debt relief group Jubilee Iraq says that many of the claims before the UNCC are inflated and that “even for genuine claims, this is Saddam’s responsibility, not the Iraqi people’s, who themselves suffered far more than anyone.”

This is where the Carlyle/Albright consortium comes in. The premise of its proposal is that Iraq’s unpaid debts to Kuwait are not just a financial problem but a political and public relations problem as well. Global public opinion is no longer what it was when Kuwait was promised full reparations. Now the world is focused on reconstructing Iraq and forgiving its debts. If Kuwait is going to get its reparations awards, the cover letter argues, it will need to recast them not as a burden on Iraq but “as a key element in working toward regional stability and reconciliation.”

Several parties involved in the consortium emphasized that the proposal concerned only reparations debts. Albright Group spokesperson Jamie Smith said, “We were asked to join a proposal to secure justice for victims of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait and ensure that compensation to Kuwaiti victims–which was endorsed by the US government and the United Nations–be used to promote reconciliation, environmental improvements and investment in Kuwait, Iraq and the region.”

In fact, the proposal does not restrict itself to reparations debt. The consortium also asks the government of Kuwait to give the consortium control over $30 billion in defaulted sovereign debts to be used as political leverage to secure reparations claims. Furthermore, most experts on debt restructuring agree that Iraq’s debts must be looked at as a whole: There is little point forgiving Iraq’s sovereign debts if the country is still going to be saddled with an unmanageable reparations burden. This understanding is reflected in the documents, which repeatedly state that Kuwait’s reparations payments are endangered by the moves to forgive Iraq’s debts.

To avert this threat to Kuwait, the consortium proposes a three-pronged strategy of aggressive backroom lobbying, clever public relations and creative investing and financing. “Any solution for payment of the Unpaid Awards…must be politically sellable as reinforcing stability and growth in the Gulf and in Iraq. This Proposal provides the strategy, the architecture, and the talent to achieve this goal,” the document states.

Lobbying: Since the UNCC exists entirely at the discretion of the Security Council, which can vote to reduce, suspend or eliminate reparations at any time, the part of the proposal dealing with power-brokering is straightforward: It suggests a full-on lobbying offensive directed at Security Council members, using Albright’s connections, but also other “eminent” people associated with the consortium like former US Senator Gary Hart and former US ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick. “We will first seek to preserve the five percent of the revenues from Iraqi oil allocated as funding for payment of the UNCC awards,” the proposal says. To achieve this, the consortium will make “discreet contacts at top levels in key capitals of Security Council member states and with influential representatives,” and “interventions with United Nations senior staff to shape presentations to the Security Council.” The proposal further notes that “Germany and Romania may be pivotal, and The Albright Group has very close ties to each.”

Public Relations: The consortium also has a detailed plan to address the perception that reparations are “diverting resources from rebuilding Iraq to a more wealthy neighbor.” First, Kuwait must assign its unpaid debts from Iraq to a private foundation controlled by the consortium. The foundation will manage an investment fund that will invest a portion of reparations payments from Iraq to Kuwait back into Iraq. As examples of the types of investments the foundation would make, Albright, Huebner and Sheikh suggest in their letter that the reparations funds could be used to buy Iraq’s state-owned companies. “In the near future, 40 state-owned Iraqi enterprises in a range of sectors will be available for leasing and management contracts,” they write. By demonstrating that Kuwait is investing part of its reparations proceeds back into Iraq’s economy, the consortium-run foundation “establishes a humanitarian rationale for the United States and other countries to continue their support” for the reparations. The consortium appears to see privatization–a highly controversial proposal in Iraq–as part of a humanitarian mission.

The proposal also suggests more direct public relations strategies. It calls for Kuwait to dedicate $1 billion of the reparations awards it has already been paid by the UNCC to a Kuwait Environmental Restoration Fund, which the consortium would create. The purpose of this fund would be to remind the world of “the gravity of the environmental legacy facing Kuwait” and to “position Kuwait as the region’s environmental leader.” The fund would be headed by Carol Browner, former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and a principal in the Albright Group.

Investment/Financing: The proposal predicts that on their own, lobbying and PR will not be sufficient to secure the amounts that the Kuwaiti government hopes to receive in reparations. For the consortium to “maximize the value of Kuwait’s compensation,” Kuwait will have to part with even more of the reparations payments it has received. In addition to the $1 billion for the environmental fund, the proposal calls for another $2 billion of Kuwaiti money to be invested in a Middle East Private Equity Fund. Of that $2 billion, “$1 billion would be invested, by way of special agreement, in The Carlyle Group equity funds” for a period of at least twelve to fifteen years. At the end of that period Kuwait will get the return on these investments, as well as whatever the consortium has been able to negotiate in reparations payments.

For the consortium, it is an excellent deal: Its members get to manage a $2 billion investment portfolio, collecting healthy management fees as well as a percentage of interest. They also will be paid a “retainer” and 5 percent of any debts the consortium gets repaid, and “a negotiated percentage of the value returned to Kuwait exceeding” the pre-arranged amount.

Other consortium members sharing in these benefits include Fidelity Investments; BNP Paribas, a European bank embroiled in the oil-for-food scandal; Gaffney, Cline & Associates, an energy company specializing in oil and gas privatization; Nexgen Financial Solutions, a financial engineering firm partly owned by the government of France; and Emerging Markets Partnership, an AIG affiliate headed by a former senior vice president of the World Bank, Moeen Qureshi.

In addition to the financial windfall, the arrangement would give this group of private companies tremendous power. Whoever holds Iraq’s debt has the ability to influence policy in Iraq at a moment of extreme political uncertainty. Yet for the government of Kuwait the proposed deal is fraught with risk. It’s true that the fate of its Iraqi reparations looks grim. The consortium estimated that if Kuwait tried to sell those debts on the market, its $27 billion would be worth only $1.5 billion. But the consortium is asking Kuwait to risk $3 billion of reparations money it has already received in the hope that it can be used to leverage some of the rest. However, as Jerome Levinson points out, “There are absolutely no guarantees of even that.”

It is clear that the consortium is extremely eager to seal a deal with Kuwait. Consortium CEO Shahameen Sheikh writes of making five trips to Kuwait in four months; Albright met with Kuwait’s foreign minister about the issue on April 2, 2004; and the Albright Group’s Carol Browner is reported to have “personally delivered a copy” of the proposal to his hotel when he was in Washington. Yet Kuwait appears reluctant: It took four months to reply to the proposal and then it would only say, in a letter dated August 10, that the proposal “will be taken into deep consideration and is currently being studied by the appropriate authorities.” According to Ahamed al-Fahad, “The issue is now in the hands of the under secretary of foreign affairs,” who was unavailable for comment. But Salem Abdullah al Jaber al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States, said, “As far as my information is concerned, my government is not considering such proposals.”

Even if the deal falls through, the fact that the Carlyle Group and the Albright Group have been engaged in these negotiations may already have damaged debt relief efforts, hurting both Iraqi and US interests. Levinson points out that the Bush Administration has made commitments that Iraq’s oil revenues will be spent on reconstruction. Yet the failure to deal with the reparations issue means that “part of those resources instead are being diverted to Kuwait. Who pays for this? It’s the people of Iraq who continue to make reparations payments, and it’s US taxpayers, who are asked to foot the bill for reconstruction, because Iraq’s money is going to debt payments.”

Levinson says this is all the more remarkable because of who is involved. “Here you have two former Secretaries of State seemingly proposing to use their contacts and inside information to undercut the official US government policy.” Washington University’s Kathleen Clark says the proposal “lays bare how former high-level government employees use their access in order to reap financial benefits that appear to be enormous.”

A case can certainly be made that James Baker and Madeleine Albright have had more direct influence over Iraq’s debts and reparations payments than any politicians outside Iraq, with the possible exception of the forty-first and forty-third Presidents of the United States.

As Secretary of State, Baker played a role in running up Iraq’s foreign debts in the first place, personally intervening in 1989 to secure a $1 billion US loan to Saddam Hussein in export credits. He was also a key architect of the first Gulf War, as well as of the cease-fire that required Saddam to pay such sweeping reparations. In his 1995 memoirs, The Politics of Diplomacy, Baker wrote that after seeing the oil-well fires in Kuwait he cabled President George H.W. Bush and said, “Iraq should pay for it.” Now, through the consortium, Carlyle could end up controlling $1 billion of those payments.

The role of the Albright Group raises similar questions. As Secretary of State and Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright participated personally in drafting UN Resolution 986, which created the oil-for-food program, diverting 30 percent of Iraq’s revenue from oil sales to war reparations. “It’s a great day for the United States because we were the authors of Resolution 986,” she said on The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer on May 20, 1996. Now, as a private citizen, Albright is a leading member of a consortium that is exploiting her connections to try to profit from the very reparations she helped secure. Albright also enforced the brutal sanctions campaign against Iraq, one of the effects of which was the hobbling of Iraq’s state companies. Now, she is part of a plan to use Iraq’s reparations payments to buy the very firms that her sanctions program helped to debilitate.

But it is Baker’s envoy post that raises the most serious questions for the White House, especially because a Special Presidential Envoy is the President’s personal representative, meeting with heads of state in the President’s stead and reporting back directly to the President. If a President’s envoy has a conflict of interest, it reflects directly on the highest office. Clark says, “There is absolutely a conflict of interest. Baker is aligned with two parties–the US government and Carlyle–that are not aligned with each other.”

As envoy, Baker’s job is to do his best to clear away Iraq’s debts, lessening the burden on Iraqis and on US taxpayers. Yet as a businessman, he is an equity partner in a company that is part of a deal that would achieve the opposite result. If Baker the envoy succeeds, Baker’s business partners stand to fail–and vice versa.

Have these conflicts influenced Baker’s performance as envoy? Has he pushed as hard as he could have for debt forgiveness? We know that Iraq’s steep war reparations to Kuwait have largely escaped public scrutiny–if Baker has steered the Bush Administration away from the reparations issue, for whom was he working at the time? The White House? Or Carlyle? Clark says questions like these are precisely why conflict-of-interest regulations exist. “We have reason to doubt that Baker is doing everything he could be doing on behalf of the United States because he has an interest in another side of the transaction.”

This issue is all the more pressing because the file that President Bush handed to Baker is in disarray–ten months on, there is significantly less goodwill toward forgiving Iraq’s debt than when Baker arrived. When President Bush appointed him, he praised Baker’s “vast economic, political and diplomatic experience.” And at first, Baker seemed to be making fast progress: After top-level meetings, France, Russia and Germany appeared open to canceling a large proportion of debt owed to them by Iraq, and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait seemed ready to follow.

But now, the negotiations are not only stalled, they seem to be going backward. Kuwait, for its part, has hardened its position. “Debts remain debts,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah said recently. And it has intensified its demands for Gulf War reparations, joining with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Syria to claim an additional $82 billion from Iraq in environmental damages.

And the Europeans? At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on September 15, Senator Joseph Biden Jr. asked Ronald Schlicher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq, about the status of the international negotiations.

“Has a single nation in the G8…formally said or requested of their parliaments to forgive Iraqi debt?” Biden asked.

“Not yet. No sir,” Schlicher replied.

Not only has Baker failed to deliver any firm commitments for debt forgiveness; at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund on October 2, it emerged that France had done an end run around Washington and was pushing a debt-relief deal of its own. French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he had lined up Russia, Germany and Italy behind a plan to cancel only 50 percent of Iraq’s debts–a far cry from the 90-95 percent cancellation Washington had been demanding. Yet Baker was nowhere to be found.

Busy negotiating the rules of the presidential debates, Baker has been MIA on the debt issue. Since he returned from his trip to the Middle East in January, the President’s envoy has issued only two public statements on Iraq’s debt, and he has been completely silent on the topic for the past six months–despite having publicly committed to getting the debt issue sewn up by the end of the year.

While this is bad news for Iraqis and for US taxpayers, it could be good news for Carlyle. A swift resolution to Iraq’s debt crisis works against its financial interest: The longer the negotiations drag on, the more time the consortium has to convince the reluctant Kuwaiti government to sign on the dotted line. But if Iraq’s debt is successfully wiped out, any proposed deal is off the table.

Baker’s position as envoy has certainly been useful to his colleagues in the consortium. Whether Baker has helped solve Iraq’s debt crisis is far less clear.

More on James Baker’s Split Loyalties…

I found an interesting and damning tidbit about James Baker (the murderer of 2918 heroic Americans in Iraq) in the November 1, 2004 issue of The Nation:

Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker’s loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy–an unpaid position–has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker’s influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever.

The secret deal involves a complex transaction to transfer ownership of as much as $57 billion in unpaid Iraqi debts. The debts, now owed to the government of Kuwait, would be assigned to a foundation created and controlled by a consortium in which the key players are the Carlyle Group, the Albright Group (headed by another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright) and several other well-connected firms. Under the deal, the government of Kuwait would also give the consortium $2 billion up front to invest in a private equity fund devised by the consortium, with half of it going to Carlyle.

At a time when James Baker was supposed to help reduce Iraq’s debt to various countries around the world, not only did he ignore his mandate in favor of a client (obviously, for Mr. Baker, a corporate client must rate far above the country’s interests!) but as the above article further says:

The Nation has obtained a copy of the confidential sixty-five-page “Proposal to Assist the Government of Kuwait in Protecting and Realizing Claims Against Iraq,” sent in January from the consortium to Kuwait’s foreign ministry, as well as letters back and forth between the two parties. In a letter dated August 6, 2004, the consortium informed Kuwait’s foreign ministry that the country’s unpaid debts from Iraq “are in imminent jeopardy.” World opinion is turning in favor of debt forgiveness, another letter warned, as evidenced by “President Bush’s appointment…of former Secretary of State James Baker as his envoy to negotiate Iraqi debt relief.” The consortium’s proposal spells out the threat: Not only is Kuwait unlikely to see any of its $30 billion from Iraq in sovereign debt, but the $27 billion in war reparations that Iraq owes to Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion “may well be a casualty of this U.S. [debt relief] effort.”

In the face of this threat, the consortium offers its services. Its roster of former high-level US and European politicians have “personal rapport with the stakeholders in the anticipated negotiations” and are able to “reach key decision-makers in the United Nations and in key capitals,” the proposal states. If Kuwait agrees to transfer the debts to the consortium’s foundation, the consortium will use these personal connections to persuade world leaders that Iraq must “maximize” its debt payments to Kuwait, which would be able to collect the money after ten to fifteen years. And the more the consortium gets Iraq to pay during that period, the more Kuwait collects, with the consortium taking a 5 percent commission or more.

The goal of maximizing Iraq’s debt payments directly contradicts the US foreign policy aim of drastically reducing Iraq’s debt burden. According to Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University and a leading expert on government ethics and regulations, this means that Baker is in a “classic conflict of interest. Baker is on two sides of this transaction: He is supposed to be representing the interests of the United States, but he is also a senior counselor at Carlyle, and Carlyle wants to get paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq.” After examining the documents, Clark called them “extraordinary.” She said, “Carlyle and the other companies are exploiting Baker’s current position to try to land a deal with Kuwait that would undermine the interests of the US government.” 

Baker’s Realpolitik policies as Secretary of State brought about a whole slew of disasters on America. The current war in Iraq is the direct result of his saving Sadddam Hussein’s neck, twice, but the man has the gall to use his position as an American envoy for personal profit and to the detriment of the mission he was entrusted. Folks, as Professor Kathleen Clark said in the partagraph above said, Baker is in a “classic conflict of interest. Baker is on two sides of this transaction: He is supposed to be representing the interests of the United States, but he is also a senior counselor at Carlyle, and Carlyle wants to get paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq.” After examining the documents, Clark called them “extraordinary.” She said, “Carlyle and the other companies are exploiting Baker’s current position to try to land a deal with Kuwait that would undermine the interests of the US government.

Were such actions taken by an officer of any other corporation, he or she would have been prosecuted, found guilty and locked up for a long term… and rightfully so! Mr. Baker, however, not only was not prosecuted he actually rose to higher positions of influence and now produced a report which not only reflects morally and politically bankrupt ideas which can benefit only his clientele. To have such an individual in a position to influence American policy (actually, if one reads the report, the ISG members arrogantly think they are dictating policy) around the world, is a dangerous farce! It speaks volumes of Baker’s corrupt reach tentacles and their into the deepest levels of government.

Who actually is gaining from this report and who is rejoicing at its release? Dr. Walid Phares, writing in the Counterterrorism Blog makes some very interesting and sobering observations:

Without any doubt, the Iraq Study Group report will become the center of a major debate on US foreign policy and the War on Terror. It contains significant components of possible successes but also recipe for disasters. It is important that the counter Terrorism community begins its review of the report and share its views with the public. Following is a summary published by Mideast Newswire summarizing some of my comments on US and Arab radios and media today.

IRAQIZATION IS RIGHT BUT SURRENDERING TO FASCIST REGIMES IS WRONG

Washington DC, December 6, 2006. Mideast Newswire

In his first analysis of the the Iraq Study Group recommendations, Mideast expert Walid Phares told three media outlets in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, that “the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations resemble a salad bowl. The document contains some rational suggestions that should have been adopted by the Bush Administration years ago, and also some suicidal ideas that were tested decades ago and failed miserably.” Phares, a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC and author of Foreign Affairs best seller Future Jihad, was interviewed by Al Muharer al Arabi, Radio Free Iraq, and the Jack Ricardi radio show in the US. “These are only the first reactions to a comprehensive document; there will be a thorough analysis of the report from both American and Middle Eastern perspectives.”

Phares told Al Muharer al Arabi that the global recommendation “to engage Iran and Syria’s regimes positively and constructively means that they were mistreated before. My first question to the authors of the report is this: how was the United States mistreating these regimes in the past? Was asking Ahmedinejad to stop making a nuclear bomb and asking Assad of Syria to withdraw from Lebanon following a UN resolution signs of bad treatment? Were these demands wrong in their essence? Do they give Iran and Syria the right to feel victimized? If one perceives US action in this way, then all what Washington has to do is to release pressure on the Mullah to build their weapons and ask Assad to send his Army back to Lebanon.” Phares added, “the public in America and the people in the region are not as naive as they were before 9/11. They will ask the hard questions when the time comes. The so-called engagement recommendation is a relic from the past and sounds like a suicidal idea. For surrendering to fascist regimes – regimes that are rejected by their own people – is utterly wrong.” However on the Iraq restructuring suggestions, Phares told Radio Iraq and other radio shows that “the idea of the Iraqization process is a right one and has always received a consensus among Iraqis and Americans. General Abizaid and many others have voiced these suggestions in the past in the US and in Iraq.” But Phares concluded by asking “how can we press for empowering the Iraqis on the ground on the one hand while surrendering their fate to Iran and Syria through diplomatic means on the other? That sounds like a recipe for chaos to me.”

In a previous interview with Radio Free Iraq few days before the release of the report, Dr Phares said: “many ideas and suggestions are on the table, but one matter should be clear: there shouldn’t be a return of dictatorship to Iraq and a return of Syrian occupation in Lebanon. On the other hand, inserting US forces within Iraqi forces should have been the initial plan.

Do you think we can get Baker, the murderer of American soldiers in Iraq, the de facto accomplice of terrorists and fascists regime, to explain to us how he dares engage Iran and Syria’s regimes positively and constructively. As Dr. Phares says, it means that they were mistreated before. My first question to the authors of the report is this: how was the United States mistreating these regimes in the past? Was asking Ahmedinejad to stop making a nuclear bomb and asking Assad of Syria to withdraw from Lebanon following a UN resolution signs of bad treatment? Were these demands wrong in their essence? Do they give Iran and Syria the right to feel victimized? If one perceives US action in this way, then all what Washington has to do is to release pressure on the Mullah to build their weapons and ask Assad to send his Army back to Lebanon. Phares added, “the public in America and the people in the region are not as naive as they were before 9/11. They will ask the hard questions when the time comes. The so-called engagement recommendation is a relic from the past and sounds like a suicidal idea. For surrendering to fascist regimes – regimes that are rejected by their own people – is utterly wrong.

There is however a much bigger catalog of questions… The first set of questions has been asked repeatedly by various bloggers and columnists in the MSM and it is this: How does Israel, hundreds of miles away from Iraq, bear any responsibility for the conflict there and why? How will Baker’s proposed de facto dismantling of Israel and the raising of Hamas to a legitimate entity, bring peace to Iraq and what benefits will another terrorist led government in the Middle East produce for US interests?

The next set of questions, one that nobody asked yet is more serious, its possible answers more dangerous to America. Here they come… The UN has approved and the legitimate democratically elected Lebanese government under PM Saniora has ratified an international Tribunal to try Syria’s Baby Assad and his accompliices. To make a deal with Syria, Assad must be spared the Tribunal, could it be that Baker is so intent on hiding his own guilt or a client’s that he must, at any cost, squelch Assad’s trial? Could Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri have stood on the way of some of James Baker’s business deals? Could Mr. Baker be trying to spare himself a devastating revelation?

You think that is farfetched, that I must be hallucinating? You think, gentle reader, that my questions are out of line? Then look at Mr. Baker’s career, the lawyer for Saudi Arabia, the US envoy more intent in lining his own pockets than in carrrying out his duties, the Secretary of State that saved Saddam Hussein and as as result of his actions is directly responsible for the current Iraq war. He is the one who through his Realpolitik is directly to blame for the death of Cindy Sheehan’ son and thousands of others. Ms. Sheehan should ask Mr. Baker to explain why her son had to die in Iraq, but she won’t (of course!) since it won’t produce as many photo ops as going after the President. Awaken America! James Baker, the man with hands full of blood, the unscrupulous profiteer with pockets full of silver, must be exposed and prosecuted as a war criminal, as a murderer and as a traitor!!!

Chaim

The Day the West Stood Still

   from  Dearborn Underground

 http://dearbornunderground.blogspot.com/ 

  

The Day the West Stood Still

Now Britain’s Labour Party leader Tony Blair gets the credit for being the first world leader to say multiculturalism is a bad idea. And Earth wasn’t even incinerated by Gort! (But just to keep on the safe side, ever since the speech all BBC announcers have been muttering “Klaatu barada nikto” on the quarter-hour).

Blair gave his speech with the express purpose of addressing multiculturalism’s limits, directed straight at Britain’s stubborn non-integrated Muslims. The part that will have everyone most upset is the very end, where he says:

“Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain, Britain. So conform to it; or don’t come here. We don’t want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed.”

Whoa. So tolerance doesn’t require subsidizing hate-mongers who want to destroy their host country, and never miss an opportunity to disrespect the majority culture? Our heads can’t take it in.

We’re also gratified to hear the PM insisting on freedom to speak openly on the subject of Islam, an area in which the UK is much freer than we are here in the USA. Mr. Blair said it should be possible that all call can express their differences within the civility of “shared boundaries.”

“Partly we achieve it by talking openly about the problem. The very act of exploring its nature, debating and discussing it doesn’t just get people thinking about the type of Britain we want for today’s world; but it also eases the anxiety. It dispels any notion that it is forbidden territory. Failure to talk about it is not politically correct; it’s just stupid.”

He also made it clear that there wasn’t going to be any tolerance of the Muslim community’s efforts to replace UK law in Islamic areas with Sharia. “Nobody can legitimately ask to stand outside the law of the nation. There is thus no question of the UK allowing the introduction of religious law in the UK.”