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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Did Condi Rice commit a felony?

David Bedein sent me an article he wrote for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, which asks whether US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice committed a felony by providing arms to the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, an organization that the United States classifies as a terrorist organization:
Thursday, as a side show to the meetings between President Bush and the Iraqi leadership, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with and endorsed the leadership of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, despite the fact that Abbas continues to lead the Al Aksa Brigades as its commander, while the Al Aksa brigades is still listed by the U.S. Secretary of State's office as an active terrorist organization.

The Rice-Abbas meeting came at a time when the Al Aksa Brigades took credit for firing missiles into the Western Negev region of Israel, after a cease fire had been declared by Abbas and by Israeli Prome Minister Ehud Olmert.

The Bulletin asked the US State Department if Rice would ask Abbas to instruct his security forces to try and stop the rocket attacks and whether Abbas would disarm Al Aksa Brigades. The answer: "No Comment."

Despite the assumption that Abbas is too weak to disband the Al Aksa Brigades, Abbas maintains direct control over at least 45,000 members of a dozen or so security forces in the Gaza Strip. This is in addition to thousands of gunmen and activists belonging to the Fatah, which Abbas also chairs.

Kaled Abu Toumah, a Palestinian journalist writing in the Jerusalem Post, this week posed the question as to why Abbas will simply not order thousands of his policemen to halt the Al Aksa Brigades. Abu Touma notes that Abbas hasn't made the slightest effort to stop the smuggling of tons of explosives from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

Meanwile, Abbas' message to Rice on Thursday was that if he only had more weapons, policemen and money, he'd move against the terrorists. This was the same excuse that his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, used to give whenever he was asked why he was not doing anything to stop suicide bombings against Israel.

As Abu Toumah observed, "Judging from his actions over the past year, it is clear that Abbas is not interested at all in a confrontation with Hamas or any of the radical groups in the Gaza Strip. His strategy is based on the notion that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. He has never ordered his security chiefs to go after the rocket squads. Abbas' claim that he is lacking in weapons and money is ridiculous given the facts on the ground."

Rice, eager to bring down the Hamas government, also offered on Thursday to continue to arm Abbas and his Fatah party with 6,000 rifles. Although confronted with concrete evidence that the Fatah continues to carry out terror attacks in coordination with the Hamas, Rice's position, once again, was to arm the Fatah. The Bulletin reported on Oct. 13 that Rice intended to arm the Fatah. Now that promise has come to fruition. Therefore, the U.S. government must now cope with a phenomenon that the State Department illegally arms an organization which, as stated above, is on the list of terrorist organizations that the USA is sworn to destroy.

It will now be for the U.S. Department of Justice and for the appropriate U.S. Congressional committees to determine the felonious implications as to whether charges should be brought against Rice for arming a terrorist organization.


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