Saturday, May 20, 2006

US fumes as Iraq backs Israel boycott

The US-backed Iraqi government sent an official representative to this week's meeting of the Arab League Boycott Office in Damascus, The Jerusalem Post has learned, prompting criticism from members of Congress and the Bush administration.

Liaison officers from 14 countries met for four days this week to discuss ways of intensifying the Arab embargo against Israel. Among those taking part were delegates from several ostensible US allies, such as Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

Tom Casey, a spokesman for the US State Department, told the Post that Washington was unhappy with Baghdad's action.


I'm sure that the State Department and Mr Bush are a bit more than "unhappy" with this Iraqi move. Another heckuva job, brought to you by BushCo who are apparently as dumb as they look.

The Gulf Arab state of Bahrain, which will shortly begin to enjoy special trade benefits under a deal signed with Washington, appears to have pulled one over on the Bush Administration.

The US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which is set to go into effect on July 1, was conditioned on a Bahraini promise to shut down its Israel Boycott Office and remove all restrictions on trade with the Jewish state. Bahrain pledged to comply with the US demand, and the agreement was then ratified by Congress and by US President George W. Bush.

But, there is ample evidence to demonstrate that Bahrain plans to continue with its anti-Israel embargo, despite its pledge to Washington.

According to an article in the May 10 Bahrain Tribune, the country’s Foreign Minister said the boycott will remain in force. Speaking before Bahrain’s Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said, “the relations would be normal with Israel when the Arab League orders the Arab countries to end the boycott, and until then the Kingdom was sticking to the boycott.”

Britain’s largest union for college teachers is reportedly set to vote later this month on an Israel boycott.

"Yes, of course the boycott is still in place and is still enforced," Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office for the Boycott of Israel, confirmed in a telephone interview. "If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel, and you wanted to import it to Dubai (United Arab Emirates), it would be a problem," he said.


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