Israel is set on a collision course with the European Union and could turn into a pariah state, like South Africa during the apartheid years, if the Mideast conflict is not resolved, Israel's Foreign Ministry warns in a confidential 10-year forecast.
The document, put together by the ministry's Center for Political Research, says the EU is pushing to become a major global player in the next decade, and as a result, the United States, Israel's main ally, could lose international influence. The forecast, written for internal consumption, was obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The analysts wrote that if the EU, a 25-nation alliance, overcomes internal divisions and speaks in one voice, its global influence would grow considerably, and be more in line with its powerful economy.
A more influential Europe would likely demand greater Israeli compliance with international conventions and could try to limit Israel's freedom of action in its conflict with the Palestinians, the 25-page document said. Israel might also have to pay a price for growing competition between the European Union and the United States.
Israel-EU relations have long been shaky, and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has repeatedly warned that Israel has to work to strengthen ties with Europe. However, Israel accuses the Europeans of pro-Palestinian bias and complains of a growing wave of anti-Semitism in parts of Europe.
EU officials in Brussels said that while the EU and Israel have sound relations in trade and scientific research, they have definite differences over Mideast peacemaking.
They also said the alliance is seeking more of a say. "Regarding the Middle East peace process and our relations with Israel and the Palestinians, there is no doubt that the role of the EU has increased," said Christina Gallach, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
"We have had difficult moments (with Israel) when we responded to things like the West Bank wall and now what is happening in Gaza," Gallach said, referring to Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank and a major military offensive in Gaza.
Britain's Liberal Democrat Party is trying to secure the influential Muslim vote by offering prominent Muslims the chance to run for parliamentary seats, sources have told Aljazeera.net.
The move is being seen as an attempt to capitalise on the Muslim community’s disenchantment with the ruling Labour government over its role in the US-led war on terror.
Liberal Democrat president Simon Hughes has met with Muslim groups in a bid to court the community’s vote, which could unseat cabinet big-hitters such as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Home Secretary David Blunkett.
Although Britain’s Muslim vote cannot make or break governments, it is thought that it could be the deciding factor in up to 20 inner city seats at parliamentary elections.
At the moment, Labour holds 406 seats in the House of Commons, the opposition Conservatives 163 seats, and the Liberal Democrats 55 seats.
There are currently only two Muslim MPs in the British parliament, although there should be about 20 if demographic statistics are taken into account.
Family dog Loki experienced the best day of his life for the 400th straight day Monday, the black Labrador retriever reported. "I got to go outside! I got to sniff the bush!" Loki said, wagging excitedly. "I saw a squirrel and I barked at it and it ran up the tree! Then I came back inside, and the smoky-smelling tall man let me have a little piece of bacon and then I drank from the toilet!" Loki will experience the best day of his life once again tomorrow, when he digs a hole, chews on a slipper, and almost catches his tail.Dog Experiences Best Day of his Life for 400th Consecutive Day
A top Iranian dissident living in Paris says up to 800 clerics and theology students from Iran are in the process of infiltrating cities in neighboring Iraq in time for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins Friday.
Ayatollah Jalal Ganje'i, a prominent critic of the Iranian regime, said in an interview with The Washington Times that the influx is part of continuing efforts by Tehran's power brokers to exploit the crisis in Iraq in order to set up a sister fundamentalist Islamic republic.
The religious leaders, dispatched by the Islamic Propaganda Organization, plan to use the holy month to propagate militant Islamic views, he said, with the goal of strengthening Iraqi political groups whose philosophy and aims coincide with those of Iran's theocratic regime.
The cleric said the religious leaders will take their message into Kut, Nasariyah, Amarra, Najaf, Basra and Baghdad, joining a massive network of other Iranian agents already in Iraq, many in armed underground cells.
"I expect the violence to increase, and this will also set the stage for further meddling in upcoming Iraqi elections," said Ayatollah Ganje'i, who is affiliated with the National Council of Resistance, a State Department-designated terrorist group.
The result of the American election in less than three weeks could have huge consequences for the whole world. Yet those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it. Until now, that is.
In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence's pledge to show “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind", we have come up with a unique way for non-Americans to express your views on the policies and candidates in this election to some of the people best placed to decide its outcome. It's not quite a vote, but it's a chance to influence how a very important vote will be cast. Or, at the very least, make a new penpal.
It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page you will be sent a name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio from the most recent publicly available voters roll. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 167 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.
Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House. It may even persuade someone to use their vote at all.