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Thread: The Middle East Map for Palestine

  1. #91

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    Seems most the vacuation of americans is far less of a story in the US than the evacuation of the 2000+ swedes is in Sweden. The media is trying to stir up a political crisis over that here, they're even reporting on how people are upset about the cargoship used on the first run. Excuse you, did you want to get out of the warzone asap or not? "Israel strikes militant Stronghold in Beirut" forgive me for being jaded, but they actually target those? since so far over 90% of casulities are civilians I find that hard to believe. The problem I (& much of the rest of the world) has with this war against lebanon is that it isn't a war on hezbollah. If Israel was doing that, you'd be hard pressed to find mainstream ciritzism in Europe (and possibly even in Lebanon). Hezbollah and Hamas are fair game (since the point of their existance is killing Israelis), but Lebanon isn't - get the difference?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Freedom costs money!

    You don't expect them to do anythnig for such a small group of undeclared voters for free, now do you?
    Here's an idea: forbid the goverment from keeping tabs on who intends to vote what / it's citizens individual political beliefs... ('cept fringe extremists). sry, that was totally off-topic.

  2. #92
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    You really do not know me to well, do ya Swede....


  3. #93

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    Seein as how only hang here when I'm at work, no I ... hey! was þat sarcasm?

  4. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swede
    The problem I (& much of the rest of the world) has with this war against lebanon is that it isn't a war on hezbollah. If Israel was doing that, you'd be hard pressed to find mainstream ciritzism in Europe (and possibly even in Lebanon). Hezbollah and Hamas are fair game (since the point of their existance is killing Israelis), but Lebanon isn't - get the difference?
    Hezbollah holds 25 of the 128 seat Lebanese Parliament, and controls at least two government ministries.

    Syria withdrew from Lebanon per UN resolution 1559, but Hezbollah was never disarmed. The Bush administration wanted democracy in the Middle East, and this is the result.

  5. #95
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Hezbollah holds 25 of the 128 seat Lebanese Parliament, and controls at least two government ministries.

    Syria withdrew from Lebanon per UN resolution 1559, but Hezbollah was never disarmed. The Bush administration wanted democracy in the Middle East, and this is the result.
    Elected dictators?

    How incredibly oxymoronic.

  6. #96
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    It happens ^^ all over the world.

    Hezbollah has most of the rest of the Lebanese elected officials cowering in fear -- and with good reason:

    Lebanon says it doesn't control Hezbollah

    AP / Yahoo
    July 13, 2006

    ... Hezbollah is seen by Lebanon's 1.2 million Shiite Muslims, the largest single community among Lebanon's diverse 4 million people, as the fruition of a long and painful journey to empowerment, emerging from the fringes of a society long dominated by Christians and Sunni Muslims to become a power to be reckoned with in the last 30 years.

    With the name Hezbollah, or party of God, almost synonymous now with Lebanese Shiites, any attempt to disarm the organization or undermine its leverage in the Shiite-dominated south and east of Lebanon could firmly place Lebanon on the road to a second civil war, with the Shiites sure to feel that others are seeking to send them back to the political wilderness.

    Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press / Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc.

  7. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Elected dictators?

    How incredibly oxymoronic.
    Let's see... don't we have one of those right here in this country?

  8. #98
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    Let's see... don't we have one of those right here in this country?
    Nope.

    No "tator".....

  9. #99
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Not so smart when it comes to the Middle East

    CNN
    By Lou Dobbs
    July 19, 2006

    NEW YORK (CNN) -- We Americans like to think we're a pretty smart people, even when evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. And nowhere is that evidence more overwhelming than in the Middle East. History in the Middle East is everything, and we Americans seem to learn nothing from it.

    President Harry Truman took about 20 minutes to recognize the state of Israel when it declared independence in 1948. Since then, more than 58 years of war, terrorism and blood-letting have led to the events of the past week.

    Even now, as Katyusha rockets rain down on northern Israel and Israeli fighter jets blast Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, we simultaneously decry radical Islamist terrorism and Israel's lack of restraint in defending itself.

    And the U.S. government, which wants no part of a cease-fire until Israel is given every opportunity to rescue its kidnapped soldiers and destroy as many Hezbollah and Hezbollah armaments as possible, urges caution in the interest of preserving a nascent and fragile democratic government in Lebanon. Could we be more conflicted?

    While the United States provides about $2.5 billion in military and economic aid to Israel each year, U.S. aid to Lebanon amounts to no more than $40 million. This despite the fact that the per capita GDP of Israel is among the highest in the world at $24,600, nearly four times as high as Lebanon's GDP per capita of $6,200.

    Lebanon's lack of wealth is matched by the Palestinians -- three out of every four Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet the vast majority of our giving in the region flows to Israel. This kind of geopolitical inconsistency and shortsightedness has contributed to the Arab-Israeli conflict that the Western world seems content to allow to perpetuate endlessly.

    After a week of escalating violence, around two dozen Israelis and roughly 200 Lebanese have died. That has been sufficient bloodshed for United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to join in the call for an international security force, ignoring the fact that a U.N. force is already in Southern Lebanon, having failed to secure the border against Hezbollah's incursions and attacks and the murder and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

    As our airwaves fill with images and sounds of exploding Hezbollah rockets and Israeli bombs, this seven-day conflict has completely displaced from our view another war in which 10 Americans and more than 300 Iraqis have died during the same week. And it is a conflict now of more than three years duration that has claimed almost 15,000 lives so far this year alone.

    An estimated 50,000 Iraqis and more than 2,500 American troops have been killed since the insurgency began in March of 2003, which by some estimates is more than the number of dead on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past 58 years of wars and intifadas.

    Yet we have seen no rescue ships moving up the Euphrates for Iraqis who are dying in their streets, markets and mosques each day. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has not leaped to Baghdad as he did Beirut.
    And there are no meetings of the Arab League, and no U.S. diplomacy with Egypt, Syria and Jordan directed at ending the Iraqi conflict.

    In the Middle East, where is our sense of proportion? Where is our sense of perspective? Where is our sense of decency? And, finally, just how smart are we?

    © 2006 Cable News Network LP

  10. #100
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Palestine and gay rights
    Is it racist to say that the Palestinian Authority is light-years behind Israel in terms of LGBT equality? And why is the highest-profile international gay rights organization boycotting WorldPride in Jerusalem in August?
    The ADVOCATE
    By James Kirchick
    July 11, 2006

    When I began reading The Advocate’s May 23 interview with the lesbian Palestinian activist Rauda Morcos, I was expecting to hear a nuanced take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Certainly a Palestinian woman (and Israeli citizen) would be able to recount the suffering of her people under Israeli occupation, but would also appreciate the marked difference in treatment that gays experience in Israel in comparison with the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

    Unfortunately, Morcos appears to be a woman so blinded by her ethnic nationalism that she is unable to appreciate the advantages of Israel’s liberal society.

    In her Advocate interview Morcos recalls her response to a woman who said that Palestinians are “backward” when it comes to gay rights. Morcos replied, “What is backward? Backward to whom? Are we comparing the Middle East, the Arab community, to the Western world? This is not a fair comparison.”

    Why is the comparison not a fair one, she says? “Because you’re comparing our scale to your scale without really taking into consideration if we have our own scale.” This sort of culturally relativistic posturing—talk of “our own scale” in regards to basic human rights that all people deserve, regardless of where they live—is a tool used by individuals like Marcos to take advantage of the guilt complexes of Western liberals. The argument allows her to escape the otherwise obvious point that Israel is light-years ahead of the Palestinians when it comes to gay rights.

    To say that the Arab world is behind the West in terms of gay and women’s rights is not racist; it is simply the truth.

    Morcos’s cognitive failure is immediate from the first sentence of the article, which describes her as a “Palestinian citizen of Israel.” She, along with 20% of Israeli citizens (who, unlike most Arabs in the world, can vote), is not Jewish but Arab. It is the freedom that Israel grants not just to gays but to all of its minority citizens--especially Arab Muslims and Christians--that allows Morcos to so heedlessly denigrate the free society that she inhabits. If Morcos lived under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority and tried to be the outspoken gay rights advocate that she is in Israel, she could well have ended up with a bullet in her head a very long time ago.

    The abusive treatment of gays by the Palestinian Authority--which does not differ much from the abusive treatment of gays in most other Arab and Muslim societies--is conclusively documented. Take just one story—in the May 2003 issue of Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide by Charity Crouse (who is described in the story as a “Jewish lesbian anti-occupation activist”). Tarek, a young Palestinian gay man suspected of homosexuality, was sentenced to a “reeducation” camp run by Muslim clerics under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction. He said that for a period of two months he was “subjected to beatings with belts, clubs, and was forced to sit on bottles which were inserted into my rectum. I was hanged by the hands, I was deprived of sleep, and when I finally did sleep, my limbs were tied to the floor.”



    Tarek was lucky—he wasn’t executed. Stories like Tarek’s are not unusual, and help explain why a gay Palestinian underground—unfortunately, composed mostly of prostitution and other illicit activity—thrives in Israel, where so many gay Palestinians have fled. By contrast, Tel Aviv has a flourishing gay culture and Jerusalem will host the 2006 WorldPride festival in August.

    Morcos’s anti-Israel politics extend beyond her attempts to distort the relative human rights records of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In October 2004 she attended the notoriously anti-Semitic Palestinian Solidarity Movement Conference—sponsored by organizations alleged to be sympathetic to terrorists—which was held that year at Duke University. At the conference the call for Israel’s violent destruction was repeatedly invoked; at a panel discussion Morcos herself declared, “I would vote for a revolution. When is our revolution going to happen?” as if the second intifada, launched in September 2000, had not caused enough suffering on both sides.

    At the Duke conference Morcos called upon the international gay community to “boycott” the WorldPride festival. No wonder, then, that the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission honored her with its human rights award in May. IGLHRC, ostensibly founded to protect the rights of gays around the world, has also decided to sit out from the event, in a disgraceful move reminiscent of the decades-long Arab boycott of Israel. IGLHRC’s supposed commitment to human rights, however, has not stopped it from sending representatives to conferences held in such bastions of liberty as China and Cuba.

    Contrary to what Morcos might have us believe, gays around the world should be hoping that a future Palestinian state looks more like Israel, and not the other way around.

    James Kirchick, who has written for The Advocate, has been a reporter for the New York Daily News, The New York Sun, and the congressional weekly The Hill.

    Advocate.com © 2006 LPI Media Inc

  11. #101
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Why is the comparison not a fair one, she says? “Because you’re comparing our scale to your scale without really taking into consideration if we have our own scale.”


    That must have been one big scale they hit him with.

  12. #102

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    The Middle East is not exactly gay-friendly.


  13. #103
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    ^Clearly, it's at least as heavily (if not more) influenced by religion as by economic development.

  14. #104
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Israel set war plan more than a year ago

    Strategy was put in motion as Hezbollah began increasing its military strength


    Smoke billows in the town of Khiam, in southern Lebanon, during a raided by Israeli jets.


    SF CHRONICLE
    Matthew Kalman, Chronicle Foreign Service
    Friday, July 21, 2006

    (07-21) 04:00 PDT Jerusalem -- Israel's military response by air, land and sea to what it considered a provocation last week by Hezbollah militants is unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago.

    In the years since Israel ended its military occupation of southern Lebanon, it watched warily as Hezbollah built up its military presence in the region. When Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers last week, the Israeli military was ready to react almost instantly.

    "Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board."

    More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

    In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign: The first week concentrated on destroying Hezbollah's heavier long-range missiles, bombing its command-and-control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries. In the second week, the focus shifted to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores. In the third week, ground forces in large numbers would be introduced, but only in order to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions as the campaign unfolded. There was no plan, according to this scenario, to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.


    Israeli soldiers advance towards the Israel-Lebanon border.

    Israeli officials say their pinpoint commando raids should not be confused with a ground invasion. Nor, they say, do they herald another occupation of southern Lebanon, which Israel maintained from 1982 to 2000 -- in order, it said, to thwart Hezbollah attacks on Israel. Planners anticipated the likelihood of civilian deaths on both sides. Israel says Hezbollah intentionally bases some of its operations in residential areas. And Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has bragged publicly that the group's arsenal included rockets capable of bombing Haifa, as occurred last week.

    Like all plans, the one now unfolding also has been shaped by changing circumstances, said Eran Lerman, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence who is now director of the Jerusalem office of the American Jewish Committee.

    "There are two radical views of how to deal with this challenge, a serious professional debate within the military community over which way to go," said Lerman. "One is the air power school of thought, the other is the land-borne option. They create different dynamics and different timetables. The crucial factor is that the air force concept is very methodical and almost by definition is slower to get results. A ground invasion that sweeps Hezbollah in front of you is quicker, but at a much higher cost in human life and requiring the creation of a presence on the ground."

    The advance scenario is now in its second week, and its success or failure is still unfolding. Whether Israel's aerial strikes will be enough to achieve the threefold aim of the campaign -- to remove the Hezbollah military threat; to evict Hezbollah from the border area, allowing the deployment of Lebanese government troops; and to ensure the safe return of the two Israeli soldiers abducted last week -- remains an open question. Israelis are opposed to the thought of reoccupying Lebanon.

    "I have the feeling that the end is not clear here. I have no idea how this movie is going to end," said Daniel Ben-Simon, a military analyst for the daily Haaretz newspaper.

    Thursday's clashes in southern Lebanon occurred near an outpost abandoned more than six years ago by the retreating Israeli army. The place was identified using satellite photographs of a Hezbollah bunker, but only from the ground was Israel able to discover that it served as the entrance to a previously unknown underground network of caves and bunkers stuffed with missiles aimed at northern Israel, said Israeli army spokesman Miri Regev.

    "We knew about the network, but it was fully revealed (Wednesday) by the ground operation of our forces," said Regev. "This is one of the purposes of the pinpoint ground operations -- to locate and try to destroy the terrorist infrastructure from where they can fire at Israeli citizens."

    Israeli military officials say as much as 50 percent of Hezbollah's missile capability has been destroyed, mainly by aerial attacks on targets identified from intelligence reports. But missiles continue to be fired at towns and cities across northern Israel.

    "We were not surprised that the firing has continued," said Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "Hezbollah separated its leadership command-and-control system from its field organization. It created a network of tiny cells in each village that had no operational mission except to wait for the moment when they should activate the Katyusha rocket launchers hidden in local houses, using coordinates programmed long ago to hit Nahariya or Kiryat Shemona, or the kibbutzim and villages."

    "From the start of this operation, we have also been active on the ground across the width of Lebanon," said Brig. Gen. Ron Friedman, head of Northern Command headquarters. "These missions are designed to support our current actions. Unfortunately, one of the many missions which we have carried out in recent days met with slightly fiercer resistance."

    Israel didn't need sophisticated intelligence to discover the huge buildup of Iranian weapons supplies to Hezbollah by way of Syria, because Hezbollah's patrons boasted about it openly in the pages of the Arabic press. As recently as June 16, less than four weeks before the Hezbollah border raid that sparked the current crisis, the Syrian defense minister publicly announced the extension of existing agreements allowing the passage of trucks shipping Iranian weapons into Lebanon.

    But to destroy them, Israel needed to map the location of each missile.

    "We need a lot of patience," said Hanegbi. "The (Israeli Defense Forces) action at the moment is incapable of finding the very last Katyusha, or the last rocket launcher primed for use hidden inside a house in some village."

    Moshe Marzuk, a former head of the Lebanon desk for Israeli Military Intelligence who now is a researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, said Israel had learned from past conflicts in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza -- as well as the recent U.S. experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq -- that a traditional military campaign would be countereffective.

    "A big invasion is not suitable here," said Marzuk. "We are not fighting an army, but guerrillas. It would be a mistake to enter and expose ourselves to fighters who will hide, fire off a missile and run away. If we are to be on the ground at all, we need to use commandos and special forces."


    Lebanese citizens inspect a bridge that was destroyed in Rayak, in the Bekaa Valley.



    Since fighting started
    -- Israeli air strikes on Lebanon have hit more than 1,255 targets, including 200 rocket-launching sites.

    -- Hezbollah launched more than 900 rockets and missiles into northern Israel.

    -- At least 317 Lebanese have been killed, including 20 soldiers and three Hezbollah guerrillas. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora says 1,100 have been wounded; the police put the number at 657.

    -- 31 Israelis have been killed, among them 16 soldiers, according to Israeli authorities. At least nine soldiers and 344 civilians have been wounded.

    -- Foreign deaths include eight Canadians, two Kuwaiti nationals, one Iraqi, one Sri Lankan and one Jordanian.

    ©2006 San Francisco Chronicle

  15. #105
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Where do Hezbollah / Hamas get their Funding? A recent report on the South American Connection ...

    U.S. inroads raise alarm

    The Washington Times
    By Kenneth Rapoza
    October 25, 2005
    SAO PAULO, Brazil

    An 18-month-old military agreement between Paraguay and the United States is viewed with skepticism in Brazil, but analysts say concerns are overblown.

    The Paraguayan Congress endorsed the accord four months ago.

    Influential newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia generally have denounced the agreement as intrusive Washington politics...

    Arab influence

    Since the early stages of its war on terrorism, the Bush administration has said the Triple Frontier region near Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, generates funds for Hamas and Hezbollah, though ties to terrorist activities remain unsubstantiated.



    Documents found during U.S. military operations in Afghanistan reportedly included photographs of Paraguay and letters received from Arabs living in Ciudad del Este, a city of 150,000 people, of whom 10 percent are Arabs, Paraguayan officials said.

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, interviewed on TV Cultura in Sao Paulo on Oct. 3, warned Brazilian viewers of the U.S. military presence in South America. Mr. Chavez suspects the Bush administration is using its war on terrorism as a cover to counter populist political movements in South America.

    Opponents of the U.S.-Paraguayan accord do not trust official claims by both sides that the United States does not plan to take over an airstrip it built in 1982 in the Chaco region in northern Paraguay.

    Paraguay's Foreign Ministry told the Brazilian government in writing on July 7 that "the national government did not sign any accords with the U.S. government for establishing an American military base."

    The air base, located in Mariscal Estigarribia, is large enough to handle B-52 bombers and C-5 Galaxy cargo planes, but is being used only as a runway for small planes owned by local farmers.

    Mariscal is 434 miles from the Triple Frontier and 186 miles from the Brazilian border. The surrounding area is mostly forest.

    Skeptics point out that the United States and Ecuador said the same thing about a supposed military base in November 1999, only to sign a 10-year agreement with the U.S. Air Force soon after.

    "There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. at least wants that base in Mariscal because they believe there are Arab terrorists in Paraguay," said Walder Goes, a political consultant with close ties to politicians in Brasilia.

    "I'lI bet there's a U.S. base there in a few years. That said, Brazil has a lot of influence in Paraguay. They can play hardball if they want," he said.

    Critics also caution that if terrorists are in the Triple Frontier, the presence of a U.S. base in Mariscal could attract violence.

    Still, the U.S. base in Ecuador has not led to an increase in terrorist activity or rumors of terrorism there.

    "We've been told that this is just training and humanitarian health missions," said Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. "There is no reason to believe that there is something related to terrorism going on."

    Of the 13 military exercises at the base in Mariscal, only two involved medical training.

    U.S. military training

    U.S. Special Forces units are to arrive in Paraguay next year for educational courses and counterterrorism training, including Operation Commando Force 6 scheduled for July through September.

    The Paraguayan government said other South American nations will be invited to participate, but the Brazilian Defense Ministry said Brazil has not been included.

    "No matter how you slice it, this treaty is viewed with a lot of concern by the government," said Francisco Heitor da Rosa, a military psychologist at Assiz Gurgacz College in Cascavel, Parana, 93 miles east of Ciudad del Este. "The accord has been viewed by politicians as if it was some kind of threat to our sovereignty. But that is far from a consensus opinion."

    Luiz Moniz Bandeira, a Brazilian-U.S. foreign affairs analyst who has written several books on Washington-Brasilia military relations, said he doubts leftist rhetoric that the Bush administration would try to destabilize South America using the war on terrorism as a fig leaf and Paraguay as its base station.

    "That would generate more tension, upheavals and terrorist activity against U.S. troops and corporations," he said. "That said, I wouldn't dismiss the hypothesis that U.S. agents plant stories in the media about Arab terrorists in the Triple Frontier to provoke terrorism and justify their military presence."

    Defense analyst Fernando Sampaio counters: "This business that the U.S. is here to create disharmony is pure Hollywood.

    "The United States lacks the conditions to successfully overthrow governments in South America," he said, alluding to suspicions that a Washington-backed coup briefly removed Mr. Chavez as president of Venezuela in April 2002.

    "South American countries don't need the United States to make them fall apart. They fall apart by themselves" said Mr. Sampaio, who works at the Superior College of Geopolitical Strategy in Porto Allegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul state.

    Red flags raised

    With its Paraguayan accord, the United States moves closer to the Triple Frontier.

    The Washington-Asuncion relationship has been building since Nicanor Duarte Frutos was elected president in August 2003. Mr. Frutos met with Mr. Bush in Washington that year, becoming the first Paraguayan president invited into the Oval Office, according to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington.

    Mr. Duarte's vice president, Luis Castiglioni, met in June with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. Mr. Rumsfeld traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, in mid-August.

    Brasilia insiders agree that Mr. Bush and Mr. Lula da Silva have a cordial relationship, but see little trust and reciprocity further down the hierarchy.

    Brasilia has turned down Washington's hawkish requests to rally nations in the Organization of American States against Mr. Chavez, and Mr. da Silva has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Bush's Iraq war.

    When politicians add Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Noriega to the Triple Frontier and throw in 15,000 Arabs in Ciudad del Este, it inevitably raises red flags.

    The Triple Frontier was thrust into the spotlight in October 2002, when Jeffrey Goldberg wrote "In the Party of God" for the New Yorker magazine("Party of God": Part 1, Part 2) . In the story, he defined the region as, "the center of Middle Eastern terrorism in South America" and "a community under the influence of extreme Islamic beliefs."

    Mr. Goldberg said Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda were training in the area and perhaps financing terrorism.

    The State Department's "Patterns of Terrorism" reports for the past two years have found no evidence of terrorist funding or activity from Paraguay.

    An International Monetary Fund report by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering said the region was awash in cash smuggling but not terrorist financing. The IMF did say, however, that Brazil needs to "quickly implement" more comprehensive counterterrorist financing measures.

    Policy control

    Brazil appears to be taking counterterrorism policy seriously. Legislation in the works aims to keep Brazil in line with U.N. Security Council counterterrorism norms established after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

    Brazil hasn't had a central counterterrorism unit since the 1964-85 dictatorship years. The country wants to control its policies against terrorism before it is forced to follow the policies of other countries, defense analysts say.

    Although al Qaeda is never mentioned outside of international news, Hamas and Hezbollah appeared in Brazilian news reports this summer. On June 7, Parana state police arrested a Palestinian, Saiel Bashar al Atary, 43, on charges of credit card fraud and drug trafficking in Foz do Iguacu, across the river from Ciudad del Este.

    Police are investigating whether he sent money to Hamas. People who know Mr. al Atary say he has no connection to the group. This tends to be as far as terrorist investigations go in the Triple Frontier.

    When U.S. soldiers arrived in Paraguay in July, the Asuncion-based newspaper ABC Color, citing "intelligence sources," reported that $20 million a year leaves the Triple Frontier to fund Hezbollah. The article said some of the money is hidden in Brazilian banks.

    "We have to intensify our defense and security relationships," Mr. Amorim told government news agency Agencia Brasil on Sept 17. It's the best way to dispense with the doubts that arise from public opinion, even when there are no doubts in the government."

    The last Arab terrorist attack in South America occurred at the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1994.

    Between 1961 and 2003, 1.2 percent of worldwide terrorist activity took place in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile combined, the U.S. State Department reports. Over the same period, those five countries experienced less than 8 percent of total terrorist activity in Latin America.

    Copyright © 2006 News World Communications

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