Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri–Living Proof That America Lost the War In Iraq

Top Saddam deputy appears in new video, lashes out at Iraqi government

The man in the video was introduced as Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime, who is considered still at large. (AFP)

The man in the video was introduced as Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime, who is considered still at large. (AFP)
Alarabiya.net English

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BAGHDAD

A video posted online Saturday purports to show Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime still at large, lashing out against Iraq’s Shiite-led government.

It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the video or determine when it was made.

The man in the video, posted on a website linked to Saddam’s now-outlawed Baath party, was introduced as al-Douri and bore a striking physical resemblance to the former Saddam deputy. He noted that nine years had passed since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, suggesting the video was made recently.

Wearing an olive military uniform and eyeglasses, he criticized Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and what he said was meddling by neighboring Shiite powerhouse Iran.

“Everyone can hear the sounds of danger echoing daily and threatening this country,” he said during the hour-long address, adding that al-Maliki’s Dawa Party “has announced Iraq as the Shiite capital, and called on all Arab leaders to surrender to this reality.”

Al-Douri has been reported dead or captured more than once in the past. He has not been seen in public since the U.S.-led invasion, though audio tapes purporting to be from him have been released. His whereabouts are not known.

Al-Douri is believed to have played a key role in financing Sunni insurgents seeking to undermine Iraq’s post-Saddam government. He was the “king of clubs” in the deck of playing cards issued by the U.S. to help troops identify the most-wanted members of Saddam’s regime.

Ali al-Moussawi, a media adviser for al-Maliki, said the tape is meant to “boost the morale of the terrorists.”

“Al-Douri wants to spread terrorism and sectarian violence under the pretext of resistance,” he said. “This will not affect the work of the government or the political process.”

Al-Moussawi said al-Douri is still a wanted man, but that he doubts that al-Douri is still in Iraq because his need for extensive medical care in a well-equipped clinic would make it impossible to hide.

Also Saturday, a bomb hidden in a plastic bag blew up on a minibus, killing two passengers and wounding nine in Baghdad’s commercial heart of Karrada, according to police and hospital officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Deadly attacks have declined in Iraq in recent weeks, but dozens are still killed every month. March saw the lowest monthly toll for violent deaths since the 2003 U.S.-invasion.

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What must be said–(“Was gesagt werden muss”)

What must be said

By Günter Grass

P U L S E–“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one”

Why have I kept silent, silent for too long
over what is openly played out
in war games at the end of which we
the survivors are at best footnotes.

It’s that claim of a right to first strike
against those who under a loudmouth’s thumb
are pushed into organized cheering—
a strike to snuff out the Iranian people
on suspicion that under his influence
an atom bomb’s being built.

But why do I forbid myself
to name that other land in which
for years—although kept secret—
a usable nuclear capability has grown
beyond all control, because
no scrutiny is allowed.

The universal silence around this fact,
under which my own silence lay,
I feel now as a heavy lie,
a strong constraint, which to dismiss
courts forceful punishment:
the verdict of “Antisemitism” is well known.

But now, when my own country,
guilty of primal and unequalled crimes
for which time and again it must be tasked—
once again, in pure commerce,
though with quick lips we declare it
reparations, wants to send
Israel yet another submarine—
one whose speciality is to deliver
warheads capable of ending all life
where the existence of even one
nuclear weapon remains unproven,
but where suspicion serves for proof—
now I say what must be said.

But why was I silent for so long?
Because I thought my origin,
marked with an ineradicable stain,
forbade mention of this fact
as definite truth about Israel, a country
to which I am and will remain attached.

Why is it only now I say,
in old age, with my last drop of ink,
that Israel’s nuclear power endangers
an already fragile world peace?
Because what by tomorrow might be
too late, must be spoken now,
and because we—as Germans, already
burdened enough—could become
enablers of a crime, foreseeable and therefore
not to be eradicated
with any of the usual excuses.

And admittedly: I’m silent no more
because I’ve had it with the West’s hypocrisy
—and one can hope that many others too
may free themselves from silence,
challenge the instigator of known danger
to abstain from violence,
and at the same time demand
a permanent and unrestrained control
of Israel’s atomic power
and Iranian nuclear plants
by an international authority
accepted by both governments.

Only thus can one give help
to Israelis and Palestinians—still more,
all the peoples, neighbour-enemies
living in this region occupied by madness
—and finally, to ourselves as well.

“Was gesagt werden muss” published in Süddeutschen Zeitung (4 April 2012)

translation by Michael Keefer and Nica Mintz of Günter Grass’s “Was gesagt werden muss”

Outcry as Gunter Grass poem strongly criticises Israel

Outcry as Gunter Grass poem strongly criticises Israel

    LUKE HARDING
    HARRIET SHERWOOD
Guenter Grass
AP

Poets’ broadside springs from Germany’s guilty conscience, says Tel Aviv

During his long literary career, Gunter Grass has been many things. Author, playwright, sculptor and, unquestionably, Germany’s most famous living writer. There is the 1999 Nobel Prize and Mr. Grass’s broader post-war role as the country’s moral conscience — albeit a claim badly undermined in 2006 when it emerged that the teenage Mr. Grass had served in the Waffen SS. But at the ripe old age of 84, Mr. Grass has triggered a furious row with a poem criticising Israel.

Entitled What Must Be Said and published in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, the lyric warns of a looming Israeli aggression against Iran. It argues that Germany should no longer deliver nuclear submarines to Israel that might carry “all-destroying warheads”.

‘MY SILENCE’

Mr. Grass also takes aim at Germany’s reluctance to offend Israel — reproaching himself for “my silence” on the subject, and acknowledging that he will inevitably face accusations of anti-semitism.

He muses: “Why do I only speak out now/Aged and with my last drop of ink:/Israel’s nuclear power is endangering/Our already fragile world peace?” He supplies his own apocalyptic answer: it must be said because “tomorrow might be too late”.

Mr. Grass also calls for “unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear facility and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity”. Ultimately, he suggests, this would help everybody in this “delusional” region, including the Germans — or “us”, as he puts it.

Hardly surprising, then, that Mr. Grass’s controversial late lyric has provoked indignation. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, led the attack, asserting: “Gunter Grass’s shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran … says little about Israel and much about Mr. Grass.” Mr. Netanyahu described Iran as “a regime that denied the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel”. He added: “It is Iran, not Israel, that is a threat to the peace and security of the world.” Mr. Netanyahu’s attack then became more personal: “For six decades, Mr. Grass hid the fact that he had been a member of the Waffen SS.

“So for him to cast the one and only Jewish state as the greatest threat to world peace and to oppose giving Israel the means to defend itself is perhaps not surprising.” The Israeli embassy in Berlin took the format of Mr. Grass’s poem and flung it back at him: “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder.” It concluded that Mr. Grass’s broadside sprung from Germany’s guilty conscience — “part of the German people’s efforts to come to terms with the past”.

GERMAN RESPONSE

German politicians from both Left and Right have traditionally been supportive of Israel, for obvious historical reasons. Several have criticised Mr. Grass, describing his work as “abominable”, “irritating” and “over the top”. Bild, a paper better known for its topless models, complained of “confused poesie”. And writing in Die Welt, the Jewish writer Henryk Border dubbed Mr. Grass “the prototype of the educated anti-semite”. He added that Mr. Grass was “completely nuts”.

All this forced Mr. Grass to offer his own pained reply. In an interview with North German Radio, the author complained on Friday that the tone of the criticism “didn’t just concentrate on the contents of the poem” but amounted to a scurrilous campaign to say that his reputation “had been damaged for all time”.

Some commentators, however, offered a more convincing critique: that Mr. Grass wasn’t anti-semitic, but simply didn’t know what he was talking about. True, the Nobel Prize winner describes Iran’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a “bigmouth”, or “Maulheld”. But otherwise, critics say, he offers a less than convincing analysis of the situation in the Middle East — failing to acknowledge, for example, Iran’s regular threats to wipe Israel out. Instead Mr. Grass raises the unlikely spectre of Israel “annihilating” the Iranian people — using a German verb, ausloschen, which comes dangerously close to evoking the Holocaust.

“The poem is more interesting to Grassologists than to strategic analysts,” the Israeli historian Tom Segev, who has interviewed Mr. Grass, told the Guardian. Mr. Segev called the lyric “rather pathetic”.

He said it was “idiotic” to describe the writer as an anti-semite, but said Mr. Grass would be better served expending his last ink on a different creative project. “He’s a great writer. He’s 84. I hope he uses his last drops to write a good book.” He added that the writer appeared to have “some inner psychological need to be accused wrongly”.

‘A LETTER TO THE EDITOR’

The most interesting commentary came from the Suddeutsche Zeiting, which published the poem — German title Was gesagt werden muss — in a supplement. Mr. Grass had been writing poems since 1955 but his late ones weren’t really poems at all, Thomas Steinfeld observed, and instead resembled pleas, complaints, or angry letters to the Editor. Of one lugubrious chunk he writes witheringly: “The only lyrical things here are the arbitary line breaks.” Interestingly, Mr. Steinfeld suggests that the award of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999 may have contributed to Mr. Grass’s political intervention. The prize transformed Mr. Grass from a national figure — “Germany’s preceptor” — to an unashamedly global one — “a custodian of world politics”. He argues that Mr. Grass is the only winner who feels the urge to comment on global affairs. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has not become a literary—political representative of South America, he notes, nor has JM Coetzee become the voice of South Africa, or Derek Walcott that of the Caribbean. Nor has Mr. Grass, it might be added, written a poem on Greece, a crisis nearer to Germany’s doorstep and wallet.

Mr. Grass last attracted this much attention back in 2006, when he revealed in his autobiography, Peeling the Onion, that he had briefly served as a 17-year-old in the Waffen SS at the end of the Second World War. The admission in itself wasn’t remarkable: many other teenagers of his generation were forced to join the SS as the war entered its chaotic final phase. What irritated was the fact that Mr. Grass had taken so long to admit this — an inexplicable delay for someone who blamed others for their Nazi pasts and was seen to personify national atonement and self-criticism.

For some, this detail means that Mr. Grass forfeited the right to comment on the Jewish state. Ephraim Zuroff, director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre, described him as “totally compromised” and added: “The tin drum he is banging is not the one of moral conscience but of deep-seated prejudice against the Jewish people.” This is one view.

In fact Mr. Grass’s critical opinions on Israel have surfaced before. In an interview with Spiegel Online in 2001, he described the “appropriation” of Palestinian territory by Israeli settlers as a “criminal activity”, adding: “That not only needs to be stopped — it also needs to be reversed.”

MORAL OBLIGATION

It is certainly true that Germany’s relationship with Israel is a problematic one, with the Holocaust taught in schools and the issue of historical guilt never far beneath the surface.

According to Constanze Stelzenmuller, senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, it is hardly surprising that Germany has a moral obligation to the state of Israel, given the country’s past. “The German government has been very clear about this,” she said. Berlin has already supplied it with three Dolphin submarines, with two more being built, and a sixth in the pipeline.

But, Ms. Stelzenmuller says, Berlin has not been inhibited from criticising Israel, especially on the issue of Israeli settlements, last mentioned by Germany’s Defence Minister two weeks ago. Of Mr. Grass, she said: “There’s always been an anti-Zionist tendency in the European Left, including in the German left. It isn’t pretty. Many modern thinkers on the centre-Left deplore this.”

Amid the criticism, a few voices came forward to defend Mr. Grass — the author, after all, of The Tin Drum, the great German novel of the Second World War and the rise of Nazism. “It’s got to be possible to speak openly without being denounced as an enemy of Israel,” said Klaus Staeck, the president of the Berlin academy of art. He called the “reflexive condemnation” of Mr. Grass as an anti-semite inappropriate, and insisted that Mr. Grass was merely expressing his concern about developments in the Middle East. “A lot of people share this worry,” Mr. Staeck added.

IRAN HAPPY

Predictably, Iran warmly welcomed Mr. Grass’s poem. Press TV, Iran’s state-owned English-language satellite channel, hailed it as a literary sensation. “Never before in Germany’s post-war history has a prominent intellectual attacked Israel in such a courageous way,” it said.

“Metaphorically speaking, the poet has launched a deadly lyrical strike against Israel.” The Press TV report also observed: “Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and it has never allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2012

Saudi Show Trial “Prosecutes” 50 Alleged “Al-CIA-da” Suspects Out of Entire “Islamist” Network

[The source of the international “Islamist” network conducts an occasional publicity trial, such as the 50 men in this case, to convince the world that they are actually against Islamist terrorism.  After the trials are over, who knows what will happen to these alleged terrorists.   Like the highlighted figure of  5,080 terror suspects, who are either about to be tried, or already have been tried, we cannot know whether the Saudis are really applying the same Taliban-like standards (which they call “justice”) to fighting Wahabbi-inspired terrorism as they do to fighting “witchcraft” and and women’s liberation.  

If we are really locked in a “global terror war,” then Saudi Arabia is surely the source of that terror.  Can they really buy-off the West forever, in order to avoid reaping what they have sown?] 

Saudi Opens Trial of 50 Qaida Suspects

by Naharnet
W460

The trial opened in Saudi Arabia on Saturday of 50 al-Qaida suspects accused of carrying out and plotting attacks in the kingdom, including U.S. and British interests, state news agency SPA reported.

It said 47 Saudis, a Syrian and a Yemeni national went on trial in the specialized criminal court in Riyadh.

They are accused of “joining a terror cell in the country belonging to al-Qaida terrorist network, plotting … to blow up” residential compounds and a public building, and killing an American citizen.

They also face charges of plotting to “blow up the U.S. and British embassies in Riyadh, planning to assassinate a top Saudi state official and top security officers, as well as opening fire on security forces,” SPA reported.

The defendants, five of whom appeared in court on Saturday, allegedly possessed weapons and smuggled heavy arms from Iraq into the kingdom “to serve the terrorist network,” it added.

In June last year, 85 suspects facing similar charges also went on trial in a special Saudi security court.

In April 2011, a judicial source said 5,080 terror suspects either faced trial or had already been tried before the special court which has come in for criticism from lawyers.

Saudi Arabia was the target of a wave of deadly attacks by al-Qaida between 2003 and 2006, prompting authorities to launch a crackdown on the local branch of the jihadist network.

Al-Qaida remains active in neighboring Yemen, where the Saudi and Yemeni franchises of al-Qaida has joined forces under the banner of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

It is classified by the United States as the most active branch of the global terror network.