Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Reconstruction, Oil War, Columbia Letters, Bnel Menashe, 2 Neo Cons

1) Reconstruction Article:

2) US appears to have fought war for oil and lost it:

By Ian Rutledge
Published: April 11 2005 03:00

>From Dr Ian Rutledge.

Sir, Your recent report that oil prices have reached
an all-time nominal high and that Goldman Sachs has
suggested the possibility of a "super spike" in prices
to as high as $105 per barrel ("Crude at all-time high
despite Opec's efforts", April 5) should be of no
surprise to anyone who has studied the informed
opinions of US energy experts in the period leading up
to the invasion of Iraq. Nor, for that matter, to
anyone who has seen my own observations on future
world oil prices in my recent book Addicted to Oil.

In a crucial report to President George W. Bush by the
US Council on Foreign Relations in April 2001, the
president was warned that: "As the 21st century opens,
the energy sector is in a critical condition. A crisis
could erupt at any time . . . Theworld is currently
close to utilising all of its available global oil
production capacity, raising the chances of an oil
supply crisis with more substantial consequences than
seen in three decades."

With US oil consumption in 2001 at an all-time high
(19.7m b/d), import penetration at 53 per cent, and
dependence on Arabian Gulf oil also at an all-time
record (14.1 per cent of total US domestic and foreign
supplies), the council stated that it was absolutely
imperative that "political factors do not block the
development of new oil fields in the Gulf" and that
"the Department of State, together with the National
Security Council" should "develop a strategic plan to
encourage reopening to foreign investment in the
important states of the Middle East".

But while the council argued that "there is no
question that this investment is vitally important to
US interests" it also acknowledged that "there is
strong opposition to any such opening among key
segments of the Saudi and Kuwaiti populations".

However, there was an alternative. In the words of ESA
Inc (Boston), the US's leading energy security
analysts: "One of the best things for our supply
security would be liberate Iraq"; words echoed by
William Kristol, the Republican party ideologist, in
testimony to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East
on May 22 2002 that as far as oil was concerned, "Iraq
is more important than Saudi Arabia".

So when, according to the former head of ExxonMobil's
Gulf operations, "Iraqi exiles approached us saying,
you can have our oil if we can get back in there", the
Bush administration decided to use its overwhelming
military might to create a pliant - and dependable -
oil protectorate in the Middle East and achieve that
essential "opening" of the Gulf oilfields.

But in the words of another US oil company executive,
"it all turned out a lot more complicated than anyone
had expected". Instead of the anticipated
post-invasion rapid expansion of Iraqi production (an
expectation of an additional 2m b/d entering the world
market by now), the continuing violence of the
insurgency has prevented Iraqi exports from even
recovering to pre-invasion levels.

In short, the US appears to have fought a war for oil
in the Middle East, and lost it. The consequences of
that defeat are now plain for all to see.

Ian Rutledge, Chesterfield S40 4TR

3) Bnei Menashe:

Bnei Menashe are Descendants of Ancient Israelites
By Yair Sheleg

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar decided on Wednesday to
recognize the members of India's Bnei Menashe
community as descendants of the ancient Israelites.
Amar also decided to dispatch a team of rabbinical
judges to India to convert the community members to
Orthodox Jews. Such a conversion will enable their
immigration to Israel under the Law of Return, without
requiring the Interior Ministry's authorization.

The International Fellowship of Christians & Jews
(IFCJ), a group that raises money among evangelical
Christians for Jewish causes, has undertaken
to finance the process of converting the Bnei Menashe
community and bringing them to Israel.

The Bnei Menashe community consists of close to 7,000
members of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribe, which lives in
northeast India near the border of Myanmar (formally
Burma). For generations they kept Jewish traditions,
claiming to be descended from the tribe of Menashe,
one of the ten lost Israeli tribes that were exiled by
the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C.E. and have
since disappeared.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the tribe's
members converted to Christianity, but about 30 years
ago, some of the community began moving back to
Judaism and set themselves apart from the rest of the

A number of researchers who visited the group over the
years got the impression that their traditions are
authentically Israelite in origin. Two genetic studies
carried out over the past year have attempted to
examine the issue. The studies compared DNA samples
taken from several hundred members of the Kuki tribe
to a DNA Jewish profile and to a general
Middle Eastern profile.

A study performed by scientists in Kolkata concludes
that while the masculine side of the genetic profile
has no affiliation to the nation of Israel, the
feminine side has a certain family relationship to the
genetic profile of Middle Eastern people. The
difference between the masculine and feminine sides
may be explained by the marriage of one of the mothers
of the tribe, who came from the Middle East, to a
local native.

A second genetic study is still being conducted by the
Technion in Haifa.

About 12 years ago, the Interior Ministry allocated an
annual quota of 100 immigrants from the Bnei Menashe
tribe. So far some 800 of them have immigrated and
undergone conversion in Israel. The majority of them
live in settlements in the territories, including 250
people in Gaza's Gush Katif.

4) NYT Columbia Letters to the Editor:

The Clash of Ideas at Columbia (7 Letters)

Published: April 11, 2005

To the Editor:

Re "Intimidation at Columbia" (editorial, April 7):

The essence of a university lies in not sanctioning
professors or students for the content of their ideas
- even when some find them offensive. Universities
permit radical ideas because they demand rigorous
proof before accepting ideas as facts.

Columbia does not operate in the way you describe.
Individual departments do not have the "power to
appoint and promote faculty," and therefore cannot
have that power "wrested away" from them. The tenure
review process is carefully designed to exclude a
candidate's department from wielding any power over
the final tenure decisions.

A close reading of the faculty committee's report
would suggest that assertions against Joseph Massad, a
professor in the Middle Eastern studies department,
have not been proved and that sharp disagreement
exists among students about whether the incidents in
question even took place.

Akeel Bilgrami
Jonathan R. Cole
Jon Elster
New York, April 7, 2005
The writers are, respectively, a professor of
philosophy; a professor of the university and a former
provost; and a professor of social sciences at
Columbia University.

To the Editor:

"Intimidation at Columbia" conflates two different
issues under the rubric of intimidation: charges that
certain faculty members have behaved in an
unprofessional manner toward students, and the ideas
of those teaching Middle Eastern studies at Columbia.

Professors who do not treat students properly should
be reprimanded. But for a student to encounter
unfamiliar or even unpleasant ideas does not
constitute intimidation.

Exposure to new ideas is the essence of education.
Your call for the university to investigate "the
quality and fairness of teaching" and "complaints
about politicized courses" because students do not
like the professors' ideas opens a Pandora's box that
can never be closed.

Would you favor an investigation of every class on
campus that deals with a controversial issue - for
instance, whether I give enough class time to the
pro-slavery argument, or whether economists present
globalization in too flattering a light?

The autonomy of professors in designing and teaching
their classes is the foundation of academic freedom.

Eric Foner
New York, April 7, 2005
The writer is a professor of history at Columbia

To the Editor:

Your April 7 editorial about Columbia University
doesn't address the real issue of the controversy: the
threat to the integrity of the university by the
intervention of organized outside agitators who are
disrupting classes and programs for ideological
purposes. These agitators pose a threat far more
serious than anything Prof. Joseph Massad may or may
not have done.

If university administrators and concerned citizens
allow this behavior to continue, then the qualities
that make American universities great - free inquiry
and academic freedom - will be sacrificed to achieve
an illusory calm.

Joan W. Scott
Princeton, N.J., April 7, 2005
The writer is chairwoman of the committee on academic
freedom and tenure, American Association of University

To the Editor:

While many of us at Columbia feel that the
unsophisticated polemic scholarship and classroom
behavior of several pro-Palestinian professors are
deeply troubling, I question your assertion that "most
student complaints were not really about

As students, we cannot rightly expect that we will
agree with every argument made by each professor we
take classes from, but we should feel safe enough to
critically evaluate our professors' arguments without
fear of retribution (psychological or otherwise).

Indeed, the shame of the committee's report lies not
in what the report didn't find, but in what it did:
somewhere along the way, Columbia started looking out
for itself and stopped looking out for its students.

Alexander Rolfe
New York, April 7, 2005
The writer is managing editor of Columbia Political

To the Editor:

Yes, the Columbia committee investigating charges of
professorial intimidation decided that there was no
evidence of anti-Semitism in any of the incidents it

But this committee, many of whose members have
expressed anti-Israel views, has a different notion of
anti-Semitism than many Jews do, on campus or off.

The Israel bashing surrounding the alleged incidents
of intimidation is not the benign exercise of academic
freedom whereby Israeli policies are criticized as
part of instructive discussions about different
political or social systems. Rather, Israel's very
legitimacy to exist is denied. Its leadership and its
army are reviled.

Should not these strident attacks make Jews
uncomfortable? Railing against the very concept of
Jewish statehood and Jewish self-defense is correctly
seen as anti-Semitism.

Leonard M. Druyan
New York, April 7, 2005
The writer is a senior research scientist, Center for
Climate Systems Research, Columbia University.

To the Editor:

All people are biased. There is nothing wrong with
faculty members at Columbia University having a
pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli policy bias, so long as
they don't intimidate or punish students with opposing

The reality is that many professionals in this
country, from corporate executives to politicians,
bear an anti-Palestinian, pro-Israeli bias. We should
welcome those with pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli
policy bias as a counterbalance adding to the
marketplace of free ideas.

Andrew M. Alul
Chicago, April 7, 2005

To the Editor:

As you observe, the ad hoc faculty committee
investigating alleged intimidation of students had a
limited charge. Its charge was investigative, to
assess the credibility of certain claims. Its charge
was not judicial.

No one was "judged clearly guilty" of anything.
Moreover, the report also concluded that at least one
faculty member was unceasingly harassed and
threatened, mostly by people not enrolled in his
classes, many of whom were not members of the

As an American, a Jew, a scholar and a teacher, I find
graver danger in such activities than in anything that
has been documented concerning any Columbia faculty

Jonathan Arac
Pittsburgh, April 7, 2005
The writer is a professor of English and comparative
literature at Columbia University.

5) Two Neo-Cons:

"[Zalmay] Khalilzad’s story – from aid to Paul
Wolfowitz in the 1980s, to neocon theorist in the
1990s, to top official under George W. Bush – is the
story of the rise of a group of imperialist
strategists, with a sordid history drenched in blood,
determined to solidify, deepen and extend U.S. global
dominance by any means necessary.
Khalilzad’s nomination (he must now be confirmed by
the Senate) highlights both the centrality of Iraq to
that agenda, and the U.S. imperialists determination
to press forward with their global plans, despite
enormous difficulties in Iraq and the potential for
even greater upheaval in the future. For them, their
system’s place in the world and its long-term survival
are at stake.
Khalilzad is considered a protégée of Wolfowitz and
Vice President Dick Cheney. He was born in
Afghanistan, emigrated to the U.S., educated at the
University of Chicago (a hotbed of Straussian theory).
In 1984 he began working in the State Department
during the Reagan administration under now Deputy
Defense Secretary and notorious war hawk Wolfowitz.
During this period, he helped organize the arming of
Afghan fighters – including Osama bin Laden – who were
waging war against the Soviet Union, then the U.S.’s
main imperialist rival, which had invaded Afghanistan
in 1979.
In 1995, Khalilzad spelled all this out in his brief
for U.S. global hegemony – From Containment to Global
Leadership. His book stressed that the U.S. faced both
opportunities – and new dangers – following the Soviet
collapse and that it had to act decisively to solidify
and extend its empire – all over the world."
What Khalilzad's Nomination Reveals About U.S. Plans
For Iraq -- And The World April 07, 2005

"Abdel Mahdi is an economist and a politician who
currently serves as the finance minister of Iraq and
also served on the Iraqi Governing Council. He was the
leader of the United Iraqi Alliance ticket, the Shiite
Party pegged to be the prime minister of Iraq. Then
through the negotiations that happened after January
30, he, as you said, has become one of the vice
presidents and part of the Presidency Council. He can
be considered the Bush administration's economic man
on the ground in Iraq. After Paul Bremer, who was the
head of the Coalition Provisional Authority of the US
Government of occupied Iraq, left, Abdel Mahdi
essentially took over to implement the economic
transformations that Paul Bremer had set into place in
his 100 Bremer orders which fundamentally restructured
the Iraqi economy. Mahdi essentially implemented those
ideas and moved them forward. He has taken two trips
to DC. He took two trips prior to the January 30th
elections, one in October and one in December. Both
times he met, or at least one of the two visits, with
both President Bush and Vice President Cheney. And he
announced, in a press conference while in DC,
negotiations on a new oil law for Iraq that he said
would be very good for US Oil companies that would
look at privatization of the oil. And he also talked
about all of the economic reforms that he had put into
place to fundamentally shift Iraq from a state
controlled economy to an economy completely open to
foreign investment, free trade, and the like. He
wasn't elected president, and won't be prime minister,
however remaining in a key leadership post makes it
very likely at a minimum that he will continue to
work, try to work to push all of those economic
reforms. Just to also be clear, he is in the position
to keep doing that for one simple reason which is that
the Bremer orders, those economic changes, stay in
effect unless they are specifically overturned by the
new national assembly, meaning they did continue. They
continue on unless they're specifically overturned.
And Mahdi will be in a position to see those move
forward. He is definitely somebody who is very much
supported by the Bush administration, and has
continually expressed his commitment to US
corporations. (added emphasis)
Washington's Trojan Horse in the New Iraqi Government:
Vice President Abdel Mahdi April 07, 2005

Two years of .............................. and
Counting Down

Imad Khadduri

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