H. E. Frances Guy – Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Lebanon

Audio Lecture given at AUB titled “More fraternity than friction: The role of values and policies in relations between the United Kingdom and the Arab and Islamic world.” I think we can all agree theres lots of friction and no fraternity from the UK Government. Actions speak louder than words and while activists in the UK halted the shipment of bombs through Scotland to Israel, the UK Government was extremely supportive of Israel’s July War.  Guy perhaps hits the nail on the head when she says that the UK involvement in Iraq was based on self interest: maintaining a favourable relationship with the United States.  With that in mind it seems a little naive to say that the UK has no interest in Palestine other than in promoting peace.  The UK has the same interest in Palestine as Iraq of supporting the US position, not to mention UK arms deals with Israel and the importance of supporting Israel to political party funding (both parties have an active “Friends of Israel” group to compete for this).

More fraternity than friction: The role of values and policies in relations between the United Kingdom and the Arab and Islamic world.

Advertisements

Europe’s Problem with Ariel Sharon

[Great article on Europe and Israel]

by Suzanne Gershowitz and Emanuele Ottolenghi
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2005

The death of Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat together with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s commitment to withdraw from the Gaza Strip may have injected new momentum into Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy, but European attitudes toward Israel continue to deteriorate. This antagonism has many causes—anti-Americanism, media antipathy toward the Jewish state, a perception that Israel is an outgrowth of colonialism, and anti-Semitism. An almost irrational hatred of Sharon, though, has catalyzed many of them, channeling anti-Zionism to new levels. The European obsession with Sharon increasingly makes its involvement in Arab-Israeli diplomacy more a hindrance than a help.

Continue reading

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)


Whose Mission is it fulfilling?

lebanon-flag.gifFranklin Lamb
UN Headquarters
Naquora, Lebanon
peoplesgeography.com

Ever since one of this student’s favorite Professors, Dr. Ruth Widmeyer, an accomplished and rare beauty still, who was the first woman to receive a PhD in Soviet Studies from Harvard nearly a half century ago, announced to our Political Science class at Portland State University that our class would be representing France at the Model United Nations Session in San Diego, Lamb was smitten: both with Professor Widmeyer and with the United Nations.

Continue reading

A history of Europe, Arabs and Islam

This is an episode of a TV course titled : “The Western Tradition”, presented by Professor “Eugen Weber” at UCLA (usa) (University of California at Los Angeles):

“While religious disputation has became the Byzantine Empire’s favorite sport – more so than chariot racing – a powerful force did burst onto the world stage. It was called : ISLAM.”

Robert Fisk: Beirut to Bosnia (documentary film)

I can’t recommend this series more highly. When I saw Fisk speak about his new book in Glasgow (2005) he used clips from it very effectively. While viewing horrible crimes committed against Muslims in the 90’s he asks (paraphrasing) “What have the Muslims got in store for us? Watchout!”

Why have so many Muslims come to hate the West? In this controversial three-part series filmed in Lebanon, Gaza, Israel, Egypt, and Bosnia, Robert Fisk—award-winning Middle East and Balkans correspondent for the London Independent—reports on Muslim unrest as ideology, religion, history, and geography come into conflict. Contains strong imagery. A Discovery Channel Production. 3-part series, 52 minutes each.
The Martyr’s Smile 

Continue reading

Know your enemy – Frances FM Kouchner

Kouchner, a former French minister of humanitarian affairs, last went to Lebanon in an official capacity during the civil war.

“You know how much I feel personally attached to Lebanon,” he said.

French FM pledges support for Lebanon government | Ya Libnan | Lebanon News Live from Beirut

So what makes Kouchner so much more appealing to Israel?

Kouchner, who was born to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother, is close to right-wing Jewish MP Pierre Lellouche, who advises Sarkozy on international issues. And Kouchner received an honorary degree from Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba at the height of the second intifada…

Kouchner at the diplomatic helm, coupled with the new American-style National Security Adviser Jean-David Levitte – former French ambassador to Washington – Sarkozy is making good on his pledge of support to his American friends.

Kouchner and Levitte broke ranks with the French government in 2003, refusing to oppose the invasion of Iraq. Kouchner published an article in Le Monde arguing the positives in toppling Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile in Israel, some have already registered their satisfaction:

Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu has said that with the coming to power of his friend Sarkozy, he expects French Middle East policy “will no longer be characterized by reflective anti-Israelism.”

For the full article see the Fanonites site –

Bernard Kouchner: Israel Got Lucky « The Fanonite

World leaders condemn Lebanon fighting, warn of human crisis

PARIS : UN chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday led global condemnation of a resurgence in fighting in Lebanon which has killed at least 55 people in two days and fuelled fears of a fresh humanitarian crisis.

Ban’s spokeswoman Michele Montas said the the UN secretary general was “gravely concerned about the fighting in the last two days between Fatah el-Islam gunmen and the Lebanese army” and also “strongly condemns yesterday’s terrorist bombing in Beirut.”

Lebanese troops pounded Islamist militiamen in a Palestinian refugee camp on Monday, the second day of the bloodiest internal fighting since the 1975-90 civil war.

At least 55 people have died over the past two days in fierce gun battles between the Lebanese army and militants from the shadowy Sunni group Fatah al-Islam, accused of links to Al-Qaeda and Syrian intelligence services.

“The actions of Fatah al-Islam are an attack on Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty,” Montas said, adding that Ban “welcomes the united stand taken by Palestinian factions in Lebanon denouncing these attacks on the Lebanese army.”

Saudi Arabia, one of Lebanon’s principal financial backers, made an appeal to maintain “the sovereignty and stability of Lebanon and support all that is likely to consolidate its security.”

The German presidency of the European Union said Berlin viewed the fighting with very great concern, and “condemns the attack on the Lebanese security forces in the strongest terms.”

Spain expressed “grave concern” over the bloodletting and underlined its “solid backing to the Lebanese government in dealing with the situation,” according to a foreign ministry statement.

Britain backed the Lebanese military offensive in northern Lebanon in a statement by Foreign Office junior minister Kim Howells.

“The existence of extremists sympathetic to Al-Qaeda in the camp is a threat to Lebanon and the broader region and the vast majority of Palestinians in that camp and others oppose them,” he said.

London also condemned Sunday’s bombing in east Beirut that killed one person and injured many others.

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora on Sunday to assure him of France’s solidarity, his office said.

During his call, Kouchner stressed the importance Paris gave to “the independence, sovereignty and stability of Lebanon” and the need to “investigate the situation, especially in Tripoli.”

Richard Cook, director of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), said the fighting in and around Nahr al-Bared camp was a “developing humanitarian crisis.”

However, Syria on Monday said the current turmoil was a bid to prod the UN Security Council into setting up the international tribunal to try suspects in the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari also denied any ties between Damascus and the Islamist extremists currently battling the Lebanese army.

“Every time there is a meeting in the Security Council to deal with the Lebanese crisis, one or two days before the Council meets, there is some kind of trouble, either assassinations, or explosions or attempts to assassinate somebody,” he said.

“This is not a coincidence…Some people are trying to influence the Security Council and to make pressure on the Council so they can go ahead with the adoption of the draft resolution on the tribunal,” he said.

Lebanon has been in turmoil since the mandate of Damascus-backed President Emile Lahoud was extended for three years in 2004 under a Syrian-inspired constitutional amendment.

The country has remained split between pro- and anti-Syrian camps.

Source

more on Bernard Kouchner: Israel got Lucky