News Release

New Bombings and Military Aid * Iraq * Israel * Indonesia

DAVID MacMICHAEL
A former analyst for the CIA, MacMichael said today: “Whether the Iraq insurgency is made up of disparate elements or is controlled or coordinated by some central group, the insurgents have as an important part of their strategy the attacking of those Iraqis they see as cooperating with the U.S. occupying forces or the puppet provisional government. This is a usual tactic of any resistance movement. Certainly, the provisional government’s police and national guardsmen, lacking the armored vehicles and tanks and body armor of the U.S. and coalition troops, are far easier targets, and the insurgents are inflicting enormous casualties on them with little loss to themselves. Their hope is to destroy the morale both of the guard and police and of the general population.”

MacMichael continued: “This, plus continued sabotage of the fuel delivery and electrical systems, the insurgents believe, will produce popular demand for the foreign occupying forces to leave as the only way to have peace. The downside for the insurgents is that a majority of the population may see them as the greater evil and cooperate even more with the occupiers. Either way, the probability that Iraq will spiral further downward into civil war due to the inability of the U.S. to fulfill the duty of an occupying power to maintain law and order, with ever increasing misery for the people of Iraq, is great and growing.”

STEVE NIVA
Professor of International and Middle East Studies at Evergreen State College, Niva said today: “Israeli government efforts to blame Syria for the criminal suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis last Friday night are a transparent attempt to deflect attention from Israel’s unwillingness to take meaningful steps towards a political settlement with Palestinians following the widely publicized February 8 Sharm al-Sheikh cease-fire agreement. Israel’s refusal to release a significant number of Palestinian prisoners, along with its recent unilateral and aggressive policies of settlement expansion and wall construction in the West Bank, have emboldened opponents of the cease-fire who claim that Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is getting nothing in return for his policies. In a videotape released by Islamic Jihad on Saturday, the bomber himself made it clear that this attack was directed at the process that the Palestinian government is engaged in with the U.S. and Israel. No cease-fire can hold unless it is seen as a genuine step toward ending Israel’s occupation and as leading to the creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. By contrast, Israel’s unilateral actions on the ground send a message to the Palestinians that the occupation is not going to end. It is hard to envision what more Abbas, with his limited resources and shaky support, can do to please Israel and the U.S. A political horizon which includes significant movement toward ending, not perpetuating or consolidating, Israel’s occupation is the only thing that can help Abbas control militant groups and undermine their ‘justifications’ for terrorist attacks against Israel. While the U.S. is right to insist that Abbas arrest those responsible for the bombing, it must also insist that Israel cease its provocative efforts to create illegal ‘facts on the ground’ in the West Bank and immediately withdraw from Palestinian areas taken over since September, 2000, as a prelude to further negotiations under the Roadmap process leading to a viable Palestinian state.”
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ALISON WEIR
Executive director of If Americans Knew, a group focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Weir said today: “At least three of those killed in Friday night’s suicide bombing were members of an Israeli combat unit. This unit had apparently taken part in numerous brutal invasions into civilian Palestinian neighborhoods. Every life lost needs to be grieved, but crucial facts need to be on the table….”
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JOHN M. MILLER
Today, a spokesperson for the East Timor Action Network — a group which advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East Timor and Indonesia — condemned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s weekend announcement of a decision to resume full International Military Education and Training (IMET) for the Indonesian government. The State Department on Saturday announced that Secretary Rice had “determined that Indonesia has satisfied legislative conditions for restarting” IMET. ETAN spokesperson Miller said today: “The release of full IMET for Indonesia is a setback for justice, human rights and democratic reform. We urge the administration to reconsider its decision and call on Congress to put in place tighter and broader restrictions on all military assistance to Indonesia. The Indonesian military’s many victims throughout the country and East Timor will recognize this policy shift as a betrayal of their quests for justice and accountability. While the amount of money may be small, its symbolic value is enormous. The Indonesian military (TNI) will view the restoration of IMET as an endorsement of business as usual. For the TNI, business as usual means brutal human rights violations and continued impunity for crimes against humanity.”

Miller noted that “in the 1990s Paul Wolfowitz, a former ambassador to Indonesia who is now Deputy Secretary of Defense and the main architect of the Bush administration’s push to step up military engagement with Indonesia (and leading alleged proponent of democracy), argued before Congress that Indonesia’s extremely limited prosecutions of some low-level soldiers for the Santa Cruz massacre represented an achievement in accountability for human rights violations. Wolfowitz recently said that Indonesia has entered a ‘new era.'”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167