Middle East

Ahmedinejad at al-Quds day rallyThe discrepancy between Western media on the Middle East and the reality is astounding. Egypt's Mubarak is a good guy and reliable ally until, presto, he is a bad guy, corrupt, a tyrant, yesterday's goods. This extreme myopia in the interests of empire is the case across the board. So it should come as no surprise, that 'Axis of Evil' Iran, supposedly just itching to build atomic bombs and terrorize one and all, has good relations -- getting better all the time -- not only its neighbours Afghanistan (reconstruction aid plus a new rail link from Herat to the Persian Gulf) and Pakistan (the gas Peace Pipeline), but its not-so-friendly rivals Saudi Arabia and now Egypt.

This month there are two conferences -- OIC and NAM -- where Iran's increasingly prominence internationally is on display. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting last week in Mecca saw Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad sitting next to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abulaziz, and frank discussion about Syria, with Iran making the decision to expel Syria look foolish and pointless. Surely the Syrian leadership should have been invited to make its case first; as it stands, the expulsion is a violation of the OIC charter. “By suspending Syria’s membership, this does not mean you are moving towards resolving an issue. By this, you are erasing the issue,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. And making things worse, he could have added.

Arab Spring, Muslim Brotherhood summer

The Taliban began their spring campaign as a British lord put a price on Bush's scalp, notes Eric Walberg

Kabul was cast into chaos Sunday as the Taliban began their spring offensive with attacks on US, British, German and Russian embassies, NATO headquarters, Camp Eggers, a hotel, President Karzai’s palace compound and parliament. “These are coordinated attacks that went just as we planned,” Taliban spokesman Qari Talha told The Daily Beast. “This is only the start of what’s in store this year and next for the Americans and Karzai.”

Easter celebrates suffering and compassion. Alhamdulillah, these human traits were on display on Easter Sunday at European airports and in the Holy Land, reports Eric Walberg

Ben Gurion Airport was thrown into chaos for the third annual Flytilla on Sunday. As starry-eyed tourists arrived to visit the Holy sites and beady-eyed new Israelis arrived to kick more Palestinians off their land in the name of the Jewish State, thousands of Westerners with a sense of conscience presented their air tickets to suspicious officials in Europe and -- if they were lucky -- their passports in Tel Aviv, and held their breath.

Palestinian Land Day and Israel Apartheid Week activities around the world gave Israel and its Western backers something to think about in recent weeks, reports Eric Walberg

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html