Deterring those who are already dead
In this paper from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
, Laurent Murawiec of the Hudson Institute explains why political moves like sanctions won't work against Iran:
Deterrence works because one is able credibly to threaten the center of gravity of the enemy: the threat of inflicting unacceptable losses upon him, whether in a bar brawl or in nuclear escalation. The calculus deterrence relies upon is: is it worth it? Is the Price/Earning Ratio of the contemplated action so hugely negative that it would wipe out the capital? Deterrence works if the price to be paid by the party to be deterred hugely exceeds his expected earnings. But deterrence only works if the enemy is able and willing to enter the same calculus. If the enemy plays by other rules and calculates by other means, he will not be deterred. There was nothing the Philistines could have done to deter Samson. If the calculus is: I exchange my worthless earthly life against the triumph of Allah on earth, and an eternity of bliss for me, if the enemy wishes to be dead, if to him the Apocalypse is desirable, he will not be deterred.
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the Mayor of Tehran, he insistently proposed that the main thoroughfares of Tehran should be widened so that, he explained, on the day of his reappearance, the Hidden Imam, Mohamed ibn Hassan, who went into the great occultation in 941 AD could tread spacious avenues. More recently, he told the Indian Foreign Minister that “in two years, everything will be settled,” which the visiting dignitary at first mistook to mean that Iran expected to possess nuclear weapons in two years; he was later bemused to learn what Ahmadinejad had meant, to wit, that the Mahdi would appear in two years, at which points all worldly problems would disappear.
This attitude, truly, is not new, nor should it surprise us: religious notions and their estranged cousins, ideological representations, determine not only their believers’ beliefs but also their believers’ actions. Reality, as it were, is invaded by belief, and belief in turn shapes the believer’s reality. The difference between the religious and the ideologically religious is this: the religious believer accepts that reality is a given, whereas the fanatic gambles everything on a pseudo-reality of what ought to be. The religious believer accepts reality and works at improving it, the fanatic rejects reality, refuses to pass any compromise with it and tries to destroy it and replace it with his fantasy.
Contemporary jihad is not a matter of politics at all (of ‘occupation, of ‘grievances,’of colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism and Zionism), but a matter of Gnostic faith. Consequently, attempts at dealing with the problem politically will not even touch it. Aspirin is good, and so is penicillin, but they are of little avail to counter maladies of the mind. I am emphatically not saying here that the jihadis are “crazy.” I am saying that they are possessed of a disease of the mind, and the disease is the political religion of modern Gnosticism in its Islamic version.
Let us flash back in time, if you will, to Sept. 28, 1971, in Cairo. The prime minister of Jordan Wasfi al-Tell, who had been threatened by the Palestinian movement in retaliation for the so-called Black September of 1970, walks into the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel. “Five shots, fired at point-blank range, hit [him]… He staggered… he fell dying among the shards of glass on the marble floor. As he lay dying, one of his killers bent over and lapped the blood that poured from his wounds.” The multiplicity of similar incidents tells us that they are neither some ‘collateral damage’ nor incidental occurrences. They do not belong in the sphere of traditional politics, they are instead located in an ‘elsewhere’ of geopolitics.
Soldiers kill. Terrorists kill. Modern Jihadis lap the blood.
Now you understand the root of car swarms. Read it all
Hamas Enforcer's Temper Tantrum
As you read this Al-AP interview
with Jamal Abu Samhadana, keep this in mind: this is a representative of the 'people' to whom the World wants to grant a
reichlet. I can only ask why?
Jamal Abu Samhadana, a 43-year-old explosives expert, is a key target for Israel and moves stealthily, switching cars and hideouts, despite his promotion to security chief by the Hamas-led government.Read it all
In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Abu Samhadana called the U.S. and Israeli-led boycott of the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority "cheap extortion" and said it will only serve "to make our people more attached to the government."
"The American government and people will pay a dear price for this aggressive and criminal policy against the Arab and Muslim people," he said....
Still, he saved his harshest words for the U.S. and President Bush.
"We are happy when any American soldier is killed anywhere in the world, because the American Army is an aggressor against all the people in the world, particularly the Arab and Muslim worlds," he said. "The American people are known to be peaceful, so they are asked to move to bring down this terrorist government in Washington, so that the American people are safe from any attacks or retaliation."
Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem Now!
, Daniel Freedman argues that President Bush should stop using the 'national security waiver' as has been done by himself and Bill Clinton before him every six months for the last eleven years and move the US embassy to Jerusalem:
The excuses given for the use of the waiver, courtesy of the Arabists at the State department, are that moving the embassy will destabilize peace negotiations and anger the other Arab states. Today those excuses are weaker than ever. It’s hard to imagine how negotiations could be destabilized further. There are none. The Palestinian Arabs are now represented by terrorists committed to Israel’s destruction. What’s the worst that could happen if the embassy is moved? Hamas will reiterate for the hundred and first time that they want to wipe out the Jewish state? And what will those Arab states—the likes of Saudi Arabia and Syria—do? Will they still refuse to recognize Israel? More importantly why should other states, and undemocratic states at that, determine where America places its embassy in one of its closest allies? Israel is the only country in the world where the American president blocks the placing of America’s embassy in the nation’s capital.Read the whole thing
Moreover, not moving the embassy is actually a barrier to peace. Not moving the embassy leaves the Palestinians Arabs with the hope that one day, as Hamas promises, Jerusalem will be theirs. But this is a false hope. The status of Jerusalem is non-negotiable to the Jewish people. King David's oath, "If I forget thee, O'Jerusalem, let my right hand turn lame," recited by Jews to this day, was made 700 years before the advent of Christianity and 1,200 years before Islam. But not only was Jerusalem the center of the ancient Jewish state, it’s also the center of the modern state: The parliament, the Supreme Court, and the central bank are all there. Leaving the Palestinian Arabs with any hope that one day they’ll be given Jerusalem is leaving them with a false dream. But by not moving the embassy, the American government is signaling that the dream isn’t so false. If the Jews are denied sovereignty over their capital city, even by their closest ally, it’s sending the message that everything is still to play for. And so while Hamas’s agenda seems extreme to most, the Palestinian Arab people see America legitimizing part of Hamas’s agenda—one reason for their electoral success.
Hot night at the Security Council
There was almost a rumble last night at the UN Security Council as a routine debate on terrorism degenerated into a round of insults between the Syrian and Iranian ambassadors to the UN, and Israeli ambassador Danny Gillerman.
The meeting was aimed at assessing the progress and work of the Security Council's three anti-terror committees, the Committees on Nuclear non-proliferation, Counter-terrorism, Al-Qaida and Taliban.
According to a UN Security Council News release
DAN GILLERMAN ( Israel) said that terrorism was World War Three. No country was immune from international terrorism. It lurked in dark corners and struck with a blow of destruction, death, indiscrimination, and chaos. Terrorists had executed horrific attacks in Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Terror had struck in Jordan, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Yemen. It had devastated Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Great Britain, Philippines, Spain and the United States. It continued to strike brutally, ruthlessly, and daily in Israel. Many, many more States were targeted, and yet foreigners, targeted in terrorist attacks, represented an even wider circle of victims. They were Australians. They were Dutch. They were from each and every corner of the globe. They were just unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. “We are all linked. We are all in this together.”
He said that the world was no longer divided between rich and poor, and North and South. It was divided between those who joined in that fight and those who did not. It was divided between those who spread evil and those who did good; between those who incited violence and those who preached tolerance. Those who stood idly and did not fight that plague were, in effect, joining in collaboration with it. Unfortunately, even in this Council, there were members who, despite being victims of terror themselves, did not always show the courage and determination to condemn terrorism strongly and unequivocally. He had called the Council to arms and sounded a wake-up call three months ago. Yet, progress had been too slow and too little. “We must join together and win this war. We must mobilize in a unified, concerted effort.”
There could never be any justification for terror, no matter the motive -- period, he said. He, therefore, supported the statement in the 2005 World Summit Outcome strongly condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as that constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The work of the Council’s counter-terrorism Committees was a welcome part of the international fight. Hopefully, their efforts would lead to a significant reduction of global terror. The people of Israel, unfortunately, had an intimate awareness of the need to fight international terrorism. The “axis of terror” represented an unholy alliance of Iran, the greatest State sponsor of terrorism and the largest threat to international peace and security; Syria, which hosted the headquarters of terrorist organizations that had decided to wreak havoc in the streets of Israel; and murdered as many individuals as possible; and the terror organizations themselves.
He said that a dark cloud was looming over the Middle East. Iran, Syria, and the terrorist organizations they financed, harboured, nurtured, and supported, did not discriminate between their victims, targeting innocents wherever they were. It was a sad reality that the Palestinians who went to the polls seeking a better life and an end to corruption found themselves in the grip of a terrorist organization that was turning their dreams into nightmares. Unfortunately, there were still elements that believed that terrorism was a tool to fulfil political aims. To that suggestion, the international community should respond with a resounding “no!”. That fanatic outlook was anathema to the principles of peace and human dignity, and all that the United Nations stood for. The “axis of terror” was alive and active. Leaders of Hamas met regularly with, and had been offered financial assistance by, the President of Iran -- the very same President who called for the annihilation of a United Nations Member State, denied the Holocaust, and was attempting to develop the nuclear capabilities to perpetrate the next holocaust. As a result of the active collaboration between Iran, Syria, and “their terrorist cronies”, thousands of innocent people had died and many more lives had been changed forever as a result of wounds sustained from terror attacks. More than 24,500 terrorist attacks had been perpetrated against the Israeli people during the current period. The terrorism threat was real and pressing, and the Israeli people felt it every day, in every community.
AHMAD ALHARIR ( Syria) stressed his condemnation of international terrorism, including State terrorism. Syria had been a victim of horrific acts of terrorism, and had been one of the first to warn of that looming danger. It had called for national and international strategies to combat terrorism, and it had shared its experience in that regard with many countries of the world, helping to save the lives of many and breaking up several global terror cells. Syria was implementing its commitments in terms of the Consolidated List. The relevant authorities had included the names on the list in Syria’s electronic entry control systems at its borders, in addition to distribution in hard copy. He appreciated the great efforts being made by the 1267 Committee to implement its mandate. Despite those endeavours, however, the Council had yet to take seriously the reference made in the September Summit outcome for the need for fairness in the process of listing and delisting, and amending the Consolidated List. In addition, there were numerous gaps in identifying the names on the list; many were similar, and the spelling was not standardized around the world.
He said that the time had come for a comprehensive review and update of the list, in order to eliminate all doubt about the information that contained. Syria noted the efforts being made by the CTED in dealing with the backlog of State reports and called for further efforts to reduce that. His country would soon present its fifth report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee, including its latest legislative developments aimed at combating terrorism and terrorist financing. The reporting burden faced by States, including his own, should also be addressed. Meanwhile, the work of the 1540 Committee was in no way a substitute for other disarmament mechanisms. He had presented his report under the resolution and had responded to requests made by the Committee for clarification. Syria was committed to cooperating with the various Council bodies on terrorism and was continuing its various efforts to update its national legislation. He, meanwhile, called on the Committees, while implementing their mandates, to avoid duplication and streamline the reporting requirements. He called on the Council, when dealing with global terrorism, to avoid intervening in matters that fell strictly under the Assembly’s jurisdiction.
The Arab region had suffered from terrorism, in general, and State terrorism, in particular, by Israel, which continued to occupy Arab lands and was perpetuating a never-ending practice of killing, property destruction, and construction of the separation wall, he said. Member States of the Council should avoid double standards when combating terrorism. Their efforts in that regard must be based on strict, legal criteria, and not on any “flimsy political” considerations. Israel was duty-bound to cease its “cheap blackmail” against the United Nations. It was well aware that the international community knew of the terrorist activities it had perpetrated in the region. Israeli gangs had also assassinated many international personalities, including some sent by the United Nations to investigate the situation in the region in the past. [This is unbelieveable! CiJ]
He said that everyone was aware that the source of terrorism in the region was the continued Israeli occupation of Arab lands, confiscation of that land, as well as continued Israeli aggression against Arabs and the denial of their fundamental rights. [Arabs have more rights in Israel than they do in Syria! CiJ] The representative of Israel had insisted on implementation of only a few Security Council resolutions, while it had failed to mention Israel’s huge nuclear arsenal. Perhaps he should read the United Nations Charter, which had been drafted to save generations from the scourge of war and foreign occupation. Perhaps those who were ignorant of such facts could not read, and perhaps they should not be here at the United Nations. Israeli terrorism was known; it was known to all. Israel could fool some of the people some of the time, but it could not fool all of the people all of the time.
MANSOUR SADEGHI ( Iran) said that, as a victim of terrorism, his country had always strongly condemned it in all its forms and manifestations. Iran had demonstrated its strong conviction in fighting terrorism by all means, including through the arrest of one of the greatest numbers of Al-Qaida members apprehended by any single State and handing them over to the authorities in their respective countries. In that context, Iran had intensified control over and security on its borders with a view to preventing entry into, or transit through, its territory by terrorists.
He said that, while the decisive stage in the war against terrorism was one of capturing hearts and minds, the abuse of that fight by some demagogues, in order to spread hatred and bigotry among various cultures and religions, and their efforts to demonize and define certain religions and cultures by unfair and unfounded attribution of terrorism, might prove to be no less serious than terrorism itself. In its endeavours to fight terrorism, the United Nations should also consider proper mechanisms to rescue the much-abused term “terrorism” from those countries that unfairly and baselessly used it as a pejorative term for any other country that dissented from their policies.
Emphasizing the need to recognize the application of double standards in dealing with terrorism and terrorist groups was yet another important matter of grave concern, which seriously undermined the international community’s collective campaign against terrorism. In the past 25 years, Iran had been the subject of different acts of terrorism by various terrorist groups. A particular reference should be made to a terrorist group that had long been stationed in Iraq and which planned, financed and supervised terrorist operations in Iran, resulting in the killing of many civilians and officials, as well as damaging private and government property. That terrorist group had long been supported and sheltered by the regime of Saddam Hussein and, ironically, continued to enjoy the protection of occupying forces in Iraq today. During that period, it had staged more than 612 terrorist operations in Iran or against Iranian interests outside the country, including hijackings, abductions, bombings and indiscriminate terrorist attacks against civilians.
Referring to the allegations raised by Israel’s representative, he said that ever since its inception, that country had been suffering from a lack of legitimacy. It was, therefore, not surprising that the representative of such a regime, ruled constantly by the perpetrators of various crimes against humanity and war crimes, would make such baseless and fabricated propaganda as a remedy for its own illegitimacy. It had been an open secret that the Israeli regime had continuously and purposely violated many international laws and norms, let alone dozens of United Nations resolutions about which the response of that irresponsible regime had been complete defiance.
In that context, a particular reference could be made to the mischievous Israeli policy on nuclear issues, which was a showcase of its concealment and unabated pursuit of a nuclear arsenal during the past decade, he said. [The funny thing is that Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal dates to the 1960's. But keep in mind here who has been threatening whom. CiJ] Indisputably, that ill-intentioned policy had been threatening the peace and security of the volatile Middle East region and beyond for years. In fact, Israeli’s missile capability, coupled with its wicked behaviour, presented a real threat not only to regional peace and security, but also to the whole world. The only obstacle to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was Israel’s non-adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its continued clandestine operation of nuclear facilities with the help and technological assistance of a certain State. [Gee, I wonder who that could be. CiJ]
Here's where the 'fun' starts:
Statements in Right of Reply The representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Syrian and Iranian delegates were not supposed to speak during today’s meeting. However, he thanked them for their “lectures” on international terrorism from “two of the world’s greatest experts”.
The representative of Syria said in response that by saying that he and the Iranian delegate were not supposed to have addressed the Council, he had shown his complete arrogance because they had spoken under Rule 37, which was clear to all. As for expertise in terrorism, everyone knows that Israel was the expert and that the country had been established on the very basis of terrorism.
The representative of Iran added that, while his initial statement had not been a response to Israel’s delegate, the second one was. The Israeli representative had uttered “a big lie” because the Security Council Secretariat had received Iran’s request to make a statement on Friday.
Just another day at the office....
Palestinian Civil War Watch - Shots Fired at 'Palestinian Stock Exchange'
I have no idea what is traded on the 'Palestinian Stock Exchange' (rat poison? nails? bolts? TNT?), but there is a 'Palestinian Stock Exchange' in Shchem, and according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
shots were fired at the stock exchange this past Friday by "unknown gunmen."
The attack caused material damage to the exchange. Sources from the stock exchange indicated that the attack was motivated by losses incurred by some individuals, due to the decline in stocks of some companies.
Now how come that doesn't happen in New York or Tel Aviv?
What will they do with the oil?
Israel Radio reports that Iran announced today that it is going to build two more 1000 mw nuclear reactors, with tenders to be issued within two months.
Iran's Bushehr plant, which is nearing completion, and which is being built by the Russians on the Persian Gulf, is the only 1000 MW plant Iran currently has. Its parliament has approved plans to produce at least 20,000 MW from nuclear power by 2020. Iran's nuclear chiefs believe that using 54,000 centrifuges, they would be able to produce enough enriched uranium to provide fuel for a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant.
But according to the Jerusalem Post, Iran's current small-scale enrichment used only 164 centrifuges, which spin uranium gas to increase its proportion of the isotope needed for the nuclear fission at the heart of a nuclear reactor or a bomb.
Iranian Deputy Nuclear Chief Mohammad Saeedi said Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to install 3,000 centrifuges at its facility in the central town of Natanz by late 2006, and then expand to 54,000 centrifuges. He did not say when the expansion would take place.
"We will expand uranium enrichment to industrial scale at Natanz," Deputy Nuclear Chief Mohammad Saeedi told state-run television.
Hey Big Satan, Congratulations!
Congratulations America - the 'Palestinians' have apparently figured out that you are not going to bow to the Ummah's dictates. 'Palestinian Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh today accused the United States of 'standing against Islam.' Maybe that will convince the non-moonbat American population that this is a war of religions as much as anything else.
Haniyeh told the Iranian news agency IRNA
that Washington makes every endeavor towards the failure of the Hamas-led democratic government of Palestine and that the US administration has stood against Islam and the Muslims and is under the influence of the 'Zionist lobby'.
"The Palestinian nation and the Islamic Ummah are not enemies of the American people. They do not accept hegemony of the US and oppression," Haniyeh said.
Asked about probable escalation of civil war in Palestine, Haniyeh said that fighting between Palestinians is the red line for all and there is no place for such an event in Palestine.
"Palestinians are a nation who have made many sacrifices in resistance to the occupying forces and all share the commitment to safeguard national security. People have joined hands with institutes of Palestinian self-rule.
"All the nation know that there is a common enemy who are the occupying forces against whom we should stand," Haniyeh said.
Four Kassams fired st Sderot - direct hit on Jewish home
Four Kassam rockets were fired by Palestinian terrorists from Northern Gaza at the Negev city of Sderot just before 6:00 this morning. One rocket hit an apartment building near Comrade Peretz's home, sending two residents of the apartment building to the hospital in shock. A second rocket hit a home send shrapnel flying at a gas canister which (fortunately - very fortunately) did not explode. A third caused damage in nearby Kibbutz Or Ha'Ner, while a fourth landed in an open area. Islamic Jihad took credit.The IDF responded by shelling against "areas in northern Gaza from where the Kassams were launched." In plain English, that means that they bombed a bunch of empty fields again.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal asserted that "Our luck is that the Palestinians don't know how to aim precisely. The solution to the Kassams is not occasional military activity, but rather "either decimating the area from which the launches take place, or controlling the area."
Moyal stated that "only war, face-to-face" will solve the problem, not security rooms or government funding. Would we need a war if we hadn't 'withdrawn' from Gaza? What did we gain by expelling all the Jews from Gaza and fleeing?
Citing the United States activity in Afghanistan, as well as French and British precedents, Moyal insisted that "No sane country would stand for its sovereignty being violated ten times a day, while it strikes against open areas." True. No sane country would give territory away to terrorists either. But we all know that Israel is not a sane country. We are a country afflicted by guilt over our existence. Our morality is misplaced. As the Rabbis tell us, one who has mercy for the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful. That describes the actions of our governments over the last thirteen years, and especially over the last six years, to a tee.
The Jerusalem Post reports that a Southern Command senior officer said Wednesday that "new technology would soon be introduced to the IDF which will allow for a quicker and more accurate response against Kasssam rocket launching cells." In other words, we're going to hit the right spots in those open fields from now on, when what's needed is a Dresden-type bombing of places like Beit Lahiya, from which Kassams are constantly fired. That's what any normal country would do.
HaAretz reports that the Israel Defense Forces planned to step up ground operations by special forces in the northern Gaza Strip. In other words, we're going to send our soldiers to risk their lives to make sure that only the terrorists get killed, and not the 'civilian' population
among whom they hide that shields them and approves of their actions, in violation of the Geneva Convention. And then we will be accused of a civilian massacre anyway, as we were in Jenin in 2002.
YNet has video from Sderot. YNet also interviewed the homeowner whose gas tank was hit:
“Luckily the rocket struck the concrete part of the roof, which slowed it down a bit,” Sderot homeowner Moti Ashkenazi said.
Ashkenazi, who was alone in his house during the attack, added that “I heard a blast and flew off the bed; part of the ceiling landed on me. A big miracle took place here because shrapnel from the rocket hit the gas tanks inside the house. I am still trying to fathom what happened to us this morning.
If I sound a bit disgusted, I am. I'm tired of the Kassams falling daily and empathize with those of our brethren who live in constant fear of a direct hit. I'm disgusted at the weak 'leaders' we elected. I'm disgusted at our misplaced 'humaneness' towards the 'Palestinians.' At some point, morality dictates that you defend yourself and don't wait for the other side to kill you. The Talmud says that if someone comes to kill you, you should rise up and kill him first. Unfortunately, our 'leaders' have long since abandoned God and His Torah, including the Talmud. We are all suffering the consequences.
Ahmadinejad: Send The Jews Back
The Captain's Quarters
has a summary and review of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's interview with the German Der Spiegel
. It's not pretty.
The interview reveals Ahmadinejad as a man obsessed with Jews, and one intent on provoking German resentment over its post-war humiliation to split the West on Israel:Read the whole thing
Ahmadinejad: Look here, my views are quite clear. We are saying that if the Holocaust occurred, then Europe must draw the consequences and that it is not Palestine that should pay the price for it. If it did not occur, then the Jews have to go back to where they came from. I believe that the German people today are also prisoners of the Holocaust. Sixty million people died in the Second World War. World War II was a gigantic crime. We condemn it all. We are against bloodshed, regardless of whether a crime was committed against a Muslim or against a Christian or a Jew. But the question is: Why among these 60 million victims are only the Jews the center of attention?...
Der Speigel notes in a separate piece that Ahmadinejad's remarks will give new energy to the anti-Semitic neo-Nazi groups currently on the fringe of German politics.
The prospects did not improve when DS changed the topic, with some resistance from Ahmadinejad, to nuclear weapons. When DS asked the Iranian president bluntly whether Iran desired nuclear weapons, he changed the subject:
SPIEGEL: The key question is: Do you want nuclear weapons for your country?
Ahmadinejad: Allow me to encourage a discussion on the following question: How long do you think the world can be governed by the rhetoric of a handful of Western powers? Whenever they hold something against someone, they start spreading propaganda and lies, defamation and blackmail. How much longer can that go on?
SPIEGEL: We're here to find out the truth. The head of state of a neighboring country, for example, told SPIEGEL: "They are very keen on building the bomb." Is that true?
Ahmadinejad: You see, we conduct our discussions with you and the European governments on an entirely different, higher level. In our view, the legal system whereby a handful of countries force their will on the rest of the world is discriminatory and unstable. One-hundred and thirty-nine countries, including us, are members of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) in Vienna. Both the statutes of IAEA and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as all security agreements grant the member countries the right to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. That is the legitimate legal right of any people. Beyond this, however, IAEA was also established to promote the disarmament of those powers that already possessed nuclear weapons. And now look at what's happening today: Iran has had an excellent cooperation with IAEA. We have had more than 2,000 inspections of our plants, and the inspectors have obtained more than 1,000 pages of documentation from us. Their cameras are installed in our nuclear centers. IAEA has emphasized in all its reports that there are no indications of any irregularities in Iran. That is one side of this matter.
In fewer words, Ahmadinejad refuses to answer the question. One would think that he would take the opportunity to categorically deny his pursuit of nuclear weapons. Instead, he tries to launch into a debate on global politics and the tyranny of the Western democracies. The only topic he truly embraces with DS is Holocaust denial and the removal of Jews in Israel to Europe, towards which he manipulates the DS interviewer in the last third of the piece.
Ahmadinjad is obsessed with Israel and the Jews. Der Speigel does us a service in demonstrating this, and people had better start taking it seriously. He means to prepare the world for some kind of action against them, and this attempt at a charm offensive in Germany was no accident.
Iraq Poised to Become Main Iranian Ally
is reporting that Iraq is ready to become Iran's main ally.
But Iran and Iraq share a Shiite Muslim majority and deep cultural and historic ties, and Tehran's influence over its neighbor is growing. Iran will likely try to use Iraq as a battleground if the United States punishes Tehran economically or militarily, analysts say.
Many key positions in the Iraqi government now are occupied by men who took refuge in Iran to avoid oppression by the Saddam's former Sunni Muslim-dominated Baathist regime.
Iraq's powerful militias, meanwhile, have strong ties to Iran and have deeply infiltrated Iraqi security forces. They can be expected to side with Iran if the West should attack, said Paul Ingram of the British American Security Information Council.
Read the whole thing.
UN faults Lebanon for rocket attack that set off border clash
This has to be a first.Beirut's Daily Star
is reporting that the United Nations is faulting Lebanon for starting yesterday's rocket battle
between Hezbullah and the IDF.
"It is the responsibility of the Lebanese authorities to respect the (UN-demarcated) Blue Line and prevent any attacks across this blue line," Milos Strugar, the senior advisor to the UN commander of the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon, said on Monday.
Strugar said the situation in the South following a UN-brokered cease-fire Sunday evening was "quiet in general, but also fragile and cautious."
He added: "We are working with everyone to prevent escalation and confrontation in the area and to maintain calm."...
Meanwhile, asked who was behind Sunday's initial rocket attack, Hizbullah's representative in the South, Sheikh Naim Qaouk, told LBCI that the government is responsible for monitoring any security breach in Lebanon.
"Hizbullah is not an alternative to the government," he said. "Knowing who launched those rockets is not our responsibility.
It is the responsibility of the Lebanese security, which has to conduct investigations. Hizbullah's weapons and mission is to stand in the face of Israeli threats."
The Star also has Hezbullah's response to the story I ran yesterday about their long-range rocket capabilities:
A Hizbullah official told The Daily Star that the "resistance will neither confirm not deny" the report.
"Let their own fear kill them. We will not comfort them," he added.
I would take that as a confirmation.
Hiram Bingham IV
Cousin Toby in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York
, sent me an email all about Hiram Bingham, IV.
Part of Toby's email gave me some details about Hiram Bingham:
Sometime ago, then Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a posthumous award for "constructive dissent" to Hiram (or Harry) Bingham IV.
For over fifty years, the State Department resisted any attempt to honor Bingham. For them, he was an insubordinate member of the US diplomatic service, a dangerous maverick who was eventually demoted. Now, after his death, he has been officially recognized as a hero.
Bingham came from an illustrious family. His father (on whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based) was the archeologist who unearthed the Inca City of Machu Picchu, Peru in 1911.
I quickly found Hiram Bingham IV's web site
and discovered that a postage stamp was issued in his memory in the US this year. There are more details about him there:
Hiram Bingham IV, of Salem, Connecticut (who is the son of Hiram Bingham III, the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in Peru in 1911) died in 1988 at age 84. When he was the US vice consul in Marseilles, France from 1939 to 1941, he boldly defied State Department policy by writing visas for those fleeing the Holocaust, by hiding refugees in his diplomatic residence who were most wanted by Hitler, and by coordinating daring escapes to other countries from Southern France. Harry helped rescue renowned painter Marc Chagall, whose 'Glass Windows' are shown in this website (see DIRECTORY links below), anti-Nazi author Leon Feuchtwanger, Nobel Prize physicist Otto Meyerhoff, and ordinary refugees. This webpage attests to wide support for the HBIV stamp from distinguished citizens, newspapers, lawmakers, museums, national organizations, and ordinary Americans. Harry's story is continually retold by the History Channel (see "History Under Cover - Diplomats for the Damned"), and by a world-traveling "Visas for Life" exhibit, which features several WWII "righteous diplomats" and has been exhibited by the UNITED NATIONS at both New York and Geneva. Museums around the world have sponsored the exhibit. Not surprisingly, the stamp proposal has received broad BIPARTISAN SUPPORT in the Congress ("from Senator Kennedy to [then] Senator John Ashcroft"). On June 27, 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Harry's actions and presented a posthumous "constructive dissent" award to Harry's children at an American Foreign Service Officers Association awards ceremony at the State Department Headquarters. This was a welcome FIRST TIME official U.S. recognition of Harry's life-saving activity, 62 years after his defiance of department policy.
Accordingly, the courageous stand taken by this UNITED STATES PUBLIC SERVANT during the nightmare of the Holocaust, who is now an international hero, justifies a commemorative stamp. Thank you for visiting this Hiram Bingham IV website (see ROUND-UP OF SELECTED QUOTES, followed by DIRECTORY links, below).
Robert Kim Bingham, Esq., website administrator & stamp-drive coordinator
In 1941, Bingham was transferred from Marseilles to Buenos Aires, where he kept an eye on the movements of Nazi war criminals.
There are lots of pictures and historical documents about Mr. Bingham and his activities on the web site. It's worth checking out
Spy agency warns'homegrown' extremists on the rise in Canada
When I lived in the US, you could travel between the US and Canada with any form of ID - you didn't need a passport. I trust it's still that way. In fact, occasionally when we drove from New York to Montreal (a ride I took several times during my college career), the border guards would just wave us right through. I really hope that's not the way it is anymore. If I lived in the US today, and even living here in Israel with many friends and family in the US, I'm really nervous about what's going on in Canada. Have a look at this
About 90 per cent of immigration applicants from Pakistan and Afghanistan -- hotbeds for Islamic fundamentalism and countries central in the fight against terrorism -- haven't been adequately screened for security concerns over the past five years, Canada's spy agency said Monday.
The No. 2 man at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) said his organization simply doesn't have the resources necessary to do all the security checks it would like.
Jack Hooper, deputy director of operations for the service, told a Senate national security committee about 20,000 immigrants have come from the Afghanistan/Pakistan region to Canada since 2001. [That's 20,000 potential Islamic terrorists. CiJ]
"We're in a position to vet one-tenth of those," he said. "That may be inadequate." [This guy is the master of understatement. CiJ]
Asked if that meant CSIS wasn't completely satisfied about 90 per cent of the immigrants coming into the country from that region, Hooper responded "that's correct."
Read the whole thing.
Suspected collaborators executed by Palestinians
What a civilized people! Give them a
The Jerusalem Post
are both reporting this evening that masked members of the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, the armed wing of
Abu Mazen's Fatah organization, publicly murdered a man and a woman tonight who were suspected of having
'collaborated with' Israel.
The man was shot dead in the main street of a refugee camp, with a large crowd looking on. The woman was later shot to death by her relatives in the courtyard of the West Bank's largest hospital. Yes, folks, this was an 'honor killing' too.
The Brigades accused Jafal Abu Tzrur, 24, of having informed the IDF where to find three of its members. The three were killed by IDF troops during a raid on the Balata refugee camp near Nablus earlier this year.This is from the Jerusalem Post's report:
Al Aqsa gunmen interrogated Abu Tzrur, claimed he confessed and then dragged him into Balata's main street. As a large crowd looked on, the gunmen threw Abu Tzrur to the ground, witnesses said. When he tried to get up, the gunmen killed him with several shots, the witnesses said.
The movement said it also killed Odad Abu Mustafa, 27, a Nablus woman. Abu Mustafa was married to one of the Al Aqsa men slain by Israel, and was reportedly having an affair with Abu Tzrur.
Abu Mustafa, a mother of four, was shot by gunmen and male relatives on grounds that she shamed her clan. More than 15 people took part in the execution, witnesses said. It took place in the courtyard of Raffidiyeh Hospital, the West Bank's largest.
The mob originally planned to kill her in the street but were swayed by a man who pleaded with them not to carry out the killing in the view of little children. [How humane! CiJ] She was then taken into the courtyard of the hospital, said Yousef Mahmoud, 18, who witnessed the killing.
"One of the gunmen said 'where is her brother?' and when he stepped forward they said to him 'you know what you need to do,"' he said. "The brother took out a gun and shot her in the head with one bullet."
Mahmoud said the brother then emptied the entire clip into the body of his sister, while the surrounding gunmen fired into the air. He said that the woman remained silent throughout and did not resist her captors.
Neighbors of the woman said she had four children; two boys and two girls, ranging in age from 11 to three and a half.
What a society....UPDATE 9:15 PM
YNet adds that al-Aqsa's 'interrogation' 'revealed' that the woman wanted her husband killed so she could have open relationship with her lover.
'Amona' 2 in the making?
The government handed out demolition orders today for eighteen buildings in Havat Ma'on , an 'illegal outpost' south of Mt. Hebron.
Havat Ma'on is one of twenty-four 'illegal outposts' that Ariel Sharon promised George Bush he would dismantle. It is not, however, one of the six 'illegal outposts' named in the
Peace Piece by Piece Now petition
that is currently before the High Court of Justice. According to the Jerusalem Post, those six are Ramat Gilad-Givat Hadegel, Givat Assaf, Ma'aleh Rehavam, Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh (Apirion Hill) and Mitzpe Yitzhar (Givat Yitzhar).
The government is trying to reach an agreement with the revenant leadership to dismantle these twenty-four outposts, all of which were sat up from March 2001 (when Ariel Sharon took office) onwards, and to leave another eighty-one outposts that the government calls 'illegal' in place until Olmert's
convergence consolidation realignment surrender and expulsion plan is implemented. While the revenants are interested in talking, they are not interested in the 'compromise.'
Jews have been expelled from Havat Ma'on once before, in 1999. I would be shocked if they are expelled from there again peacefully.
If there hadn't been a surrender, there wouldn't have been a Hezbullah attack
Over at YNet
, someone named Ofer Shelah has declared himself a 'military expert,' and says that Israel won Sunday's battle with Hezbullah
because it withdrew from Southern Lebanon six years ago, a withdrawal that all of the army brass opposed at the time, particularly because it was made by fleeing in the middle of the night:
But what do you know, Israel's withdrawal to the international border allowed the army to respond strongly when attacked. Syria's occupation of Lebanon lost its legitimacy.
From the international border, it turns out Israel has much greater justification for using force to defend itself, and for demanding the Lebanese government take responsibility for the goings-on in that country.
The fact that Israel was defending itself against a couple of Katyusha's and not the "more than 12,000 that Hezbullah has arrayed against us in Southern Lebanon is only because, for the time being, Hezbullah has decided not to push the envelope. But it is definitely clear that we are in a reactive and not a proactive mode in Lebanon. To say that we won the battle because the surrender allowed the army to respond strongly when attacked is absurd. If we hadn't surrendered, there would not have been a battle. And if we had fought without restraint in Southern Lebanon, there never would have been any calls for surrender.
But Shelah gets worse. He goes on to apply his own 'lesson' to other places from which he wants Israel to flee or from which Israel has fled:
And secondly, abandoning the idea of security zones, of pushing borders away from settlements at a cost of unstable and immoral territorial occupations, allows for the increased, more effective use of force.Obviously Shelah is referring here to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. You can tell he doesn't live in the South. Otherwise he would never have dared make the argument that since the Gaza surrender and expulsion, Israel has used 'increased' force 'more effectively.' The very idea is divorced from reality.
Shelah is leftist thinking at its best. Israel cannot afford to ignore reality in favor of such thinking.
A country named "Israel"
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said today that the United States was 'too tied down' in Iraq and Afghanistan to deal with Iran's nuclear threat and that there is no country named Israel. According to HaAretz and al-Reuters, Motaki made his comments at a ministerial meeting of the Nonaligned Movement held in the city of Putrajaya, Malaysia. The group appears set to support Iran's 'right' to develop nuclear technology for 'peaceful purposes'.
In a bid to avert the crisis over the issue, the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany are in the process of formulating a package of 'rewards' to give Iran if it gives up uranium enrichment, or punish it with sanctions if it does not.
Mottaki reiterated that for Iran to accept the package, the international community must fulfill two prerequisites: recognition of Iran's 'essential right' to have nuclear technology for 'peaceful purposes', and the strengthening of the NPT, which I assume means going after Israel's alleged nuclear capability.
"Under such circumstances we are in a position to cooperate. Otherwise if they ignore the right of Iran to have nuclear technology, how can we accept?"
IDF ground troops in Gaza
This morning, I said on both this blog
and on LGF
, that as far as I was concerned, the most significant point of last night's helicopter attack
on the Kassam launchers is that IDF ground troops are back in Gaza. I now have more details of that presence.
In fact, at least seven terrorists were killed last night in Gaza and Samaria. But let's stick to Gaza for the moment. The Jerusalem Post
is reporting that IDF Special Forces (read: ground) killed four Islamic Jihad operatives on their way to fire Kassam rockets at Israeli targets last night. According to the Post:
The military force laid ambush ... Monday night for terrorists in the northern Gaza village of Beit Lahyia. Backed up by IAF helicopter fire, the ground troops opened fire at a terror cell they spotted on its way to launch Kassams and killed four while wounding an additional eight.
Palestinian security officials said the IDF Special Forces were joined at one point by a naval diving unit [it's not clear to me what that's about. CiJ] and that the fierce fighting lasted about five hours, ending just before dawn.
The troops entered about 3 kilometers into Gaza, marking a major change in the way the army has operated since its withdrawal from the area this past summer. Until now, the IDF has combated Kassam rocket fire from outside Gaza utilizing artillery fire and air strikes. Before Monday's ground raid, soldiers had only entered a few meters into Gaza, searching for mines along the border fence, but avoiding operations deep inside the Palestinian-controlled territory.
Until now.... Here's where it gets dicey. If I'm reading Arutz Sheva correctly, the operation was suggested by unnamed IDF generals and approved by Comrade Peretz (the Defense Minister whose highest army rank was Captain) without the approval of Chief of Staff Dan Halutz:
The operation was approved by Defense Minister Amir Peretz. His underling, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, has said publicly of late that he rejects the need for ground operations against the Kassam launchers. He even mentioned the efforts he is investing in attempting to convince defense figures to "get down from the tree" and stop pushing for a ground operation in Gaza.
HaAretz notes that the soldiers set up the ambush mentioned above in the "evacuated coastal settlement of Dugit." YNet
Monday night's operation does not necessarily point to a close ground operation, but the combination of fighters from special combat units inside the Strip constitutes a new high in the IDF's operations against terrorists.
Up to now, the army only passed a few dozens of meters into the Palestinian territory with the aim of "opening a route" in incidents in which the army suspected explosive devices were placed along the border fence. This was conducted mainly in the past weeks following Hamas' rise to power.
Monday night's operation was not another passive defensive move, but rather an active move, in which a special military forces entered the Palestinian territories in order to hit Qassam launching groups.
YNet also carries a 'Palestinian' accusation that an IAF helicopter
targeted 'Palestinian' rescue workers after last night's operation. Army officials dismissed the claims, saying that at no time did forces open fire at rescue workers.
Abbas Names Wanted Murderer as Head of Force 17
'Moderate' 'Palestinian President'
Abu Mazen has named Mahmoud Damra as the head of the elite Force 17 which is Abu Mazen's personal police force.
According to Arutz Sheva
Damra is a senior Fatah terrorist who led shooting and roadside bomb attacks against Israelis, including the killing of IDF soldiers near Neve Tzuf in 2000 and of an Israeli citizen near Tapuach, in Samaria, the following year. He served under Yasser Arafat in order to escape Israeli arrest.
Some of you may recall that just last week the Olmert-Peretz government agreed to transfer weapons to Force 17
Our 'friends' the Saudis still boycott Israel
Saudi Arabia was admitted to the World Trade Organization on condition that they would drop their boycott of Israel. Guess what? Surprise, surprise, surprise
! They were admitted to the WTO and they're still boycotting Israel. In fact, the Jerusalem Post says, they're quite open about it:
"If a product is made in Israel, then it is a problem. It is not allowed here," Muhammad al-Matrafi, a spokesman for the Director's Office of the King Khalid Airport in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, said by phone on Monday.
"That is the law here in Saudi Arabia, and we do not allow those kinds of things into the kingdom," he said, adding, "If there is any mention of Israel on the container or on the product, then it can not enter Saudi Arabia."
A Saudi customs official at the Persian Gulf port of Ras Tanurah was equally adamant that no Israeli-made goods would be permitted to enter the country.
"There is still a ban on Israeli products, and anything declared as coming from Israel will not be allowed," said the customs official, who gave his name only as Capt. Hosni. "Some people may try to say that a product was made elsewhere, but if there is anything which shows it was made in Israel, then it is a problem," he said.
Another Saudi customs official at the Al Durah land crossing on the Saudi-Jordanian border reaffirmed that the ban on Israeli-made goods remains in place. Asked by phone if products made in Israel could be brought into the desert kingdom, he angrily replied, "No, no, no. Absolutely not," before hanging up.
Last week, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in written responses to questions raised by members of the US Senate Finance Committee that Saudi Arabia was no longer honoring the boycott:
"We have raised this issue directly with senior Saudi officials on several occasions, both in Riyadh and in Washington....
"In all cases, we have received assurances that Saudi Arabia fully understands and remains committed to its WTO obligations, including the WTO obligation to treat all WTO members according to WTO rules," Schwab said.
…If Israel believes Saudi Arabia is boycotting its goods and services, it could bring a case against Riyadh at the WTO and "the United States could support such a case," Schwab said.
If Saudi Arabia boycotts U.S. companies doing business with Israel, U.S. trade officials will immediately raise the issue with Riyadh and could file a case at the WTO, she said.
A report issued by the Saudi Samba Financial Group entitled "Saudi Arabia and the WTO" notes the following (the link is to a summary - the full report is here):
To become a member, Saudi Arabia made major commitments to reduce tariffs, open services sectors of the economy to greater foreign participation, and to implement all WTO rules upon membership without recourse to transition periods. This means that when Saudi Arabia became a member, it was committed immediately to an intellectual property rights environment, a foreign investment environment, transparency in trade issues, legal recourse for trade partners, and elimination of technical barriers to trade, all in compliance with WTO requirements.
Equally important, however, is what the WTO agreement does not do. It does not require the importation of religiously banned products such as pork and alcohol, change Saudi Arabia’s trade stance toward Israel, address human rights issues, require changes to Saudization policies, weaken Saudi product standards or food safety standards, require the Kingdom to charge higher domestic prices for energy and petrochemical feedstocks, or leave Saudi Arabia exposed without recourse to dumping of inferior foreign products on the market—all concerns that we have heard expressed over the years of Saudi-WTO negotiations.
In other words, the Saudis are in the WTO and the boycott continues.
Car Swarm Watch - 4 Palestinians killed in Gaza airstrike
The IAF got four more late last night, and wounded six more on top of that.
The Jerusalem Post
reports that the IAF fired a missile from a helicopter at a group of Palestinian terrorists who were preparing to launch rockets at Israel from Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, and who opened fire on Israeli troops. Four terrorists were killed and six were wounded.But there's more to this one: the Post reports that this was a result of a joint operation between the IAF and IDF special forces, entering deep into the Gaza Strip for the first time since the disengagement from the Gaza Strip last summer.
Islamic Jihad has acknowledged that the terrorists belonged to it, and claims that two of the wounded are 'journalists' (al-Reuters stringers?) and an 'ambulance driver' (and we all know how the 'Palestinians' have used ambulances in the past).
Keeping Kosher in Saddam's Palace
(who it turns out is someone with whom I was in touch many times several years ago) carries the story of Lieutenant Junior Grade Laurie Zimmet
United States Navy, an observant Jewish woman serving in Iraq. Hat tip: Soccer Dad
Please don't misunderstand me. I am honored to serve our country, proud to wear the cloth of our nation, and mine is an exciting job. Once again, as in 2003, I am assigned to an Intelligence unit -- a unit that goes after truly evil people. I do feel like I'm doing good for God, especially since these same people we go after not only harbor a disdain for America and all she holds dear, but not surprisingly, they abhor Israel as well, and most especially the Jews.
I should feel good about that, right? And how about this: I'm able to serve in this war while keeping kosher, and as a side assignment working as an unofficial lay leader to Jews here at my FOB -- Forward Operating Base. I even organized a giant menorah lighting ceremony in Saddam's Palace and made 100% kosher latkes for everyone at the ceremony. Many Jews here are still stunned that we pulled that off.
Still think I should feel good? I would too if I were reading this about someone else. But I'm not. It's me, not someone I've never met that I've labeled "hero" in my mind.
The truth is that I always wanted...
Read the whole thing
The folly of Israeli disengagement
There's an important article on OpinionJournal.com
today by former CIA director R. James Woolsey.
The approach Israel is preparing to take in the West Bank was tried in Gaza and has failed utterly. The Israeli withdrawal of last year has produced the worst set of results imaginable: a heavy presence by al Qaeda, Hezbollah and even some Iranian Revolutionary Guard units; street fighting between Hamas and Fatah, and now Hamas assassination attempts against Fatah's intelligence chief and Jordan's ambassador; rocket and mortar attacks against nearby towns inside Israel; and a perceived vindication for Hamas, which took credit for the withdrawal. This latter almost certainly contributed substantially to Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections.Read the whole thing
The world now needs to figure out how to keep Palestinians from starving without giving funds to a Hamas government in Gaza resolutely focused on destroying Israel. Before his massive stroke last year, Ariel Sharon repeatedly said he would not replay the Gaza retreat in the West Bank. With good reason: Creating a West Bank that looks like today's Gaza would be many times the nightmare. How would one deal with continuing launches of rockets and mortars from the West Bank into virtually all of Israel? (Israel's Arrow missile defense will probably work against Iranian medium-range ballistic missiles but not against the much shorter-range Katyushas.) A security barrier does no good against such bombardment. The experience in Gaza, further, has shown the difficulty of defending against such attacks after the IDF boots on the ground have departed. Effective, prompt retaliation from the air is hard to imagine if the mortar rounds and Katyushas are being launched, as they will be, from schools, hospitals and mosques.
Israel is not the only pro-Western country that would be threatened. How does moderate Jordan, with its Palestinian majority, survive if bordered by a West Bank terrorist state? Israeli concessions will also make the U.S. look weak, because it will be inferred that we have urged them, and will suggest that we are reverting to earlier behavior patterns--fleeing Lebanon in 1983, acquiescing in Saddam's destruction of the Kurdish and Shiite rebels in 1991, fleeing Somalia in 1993, etc.
Three major Israeli efforts at accommodation in the last 13 years have not worked. Oslo and the 1993 handshake in the Rose Garden between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat produced only Arafat's rejection in 2000 of Ehud Barak's extremely generous settlement offer and the beginning of the second intifada. The Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 has enhanced Hezbollah's prestige and control there; and the withdrawal from Gaza has unleashed madness. These three accommodations have been based on the premise that only Israeli concessions can displace Palestinian despair. But it seems increasingly clear that the Palestinian cause is fueled by hatred and contempt.
Israeli concessions indeed enhance Palestinian hope, but not of a reasonable two-state solution--rather a hope that they will actually be able to destroy Israel. The Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas axis is quite explicit about a genocidal objective. When they speak of "ending Israeli occupation" they mean of Tel Aviv. Under these circumstances it is time to recognize that, sadly, the Israeli-Palestinian issue will likely not be the first matter settled in the decades-long war that radical Islam has declared on the U.S., Israel, the West and moderate Muslims. It will more likely be one of the last.
Oprah Discovers the Holocaust; Debbie Disses Jordan
Those of you who have been reading my missives since the days when I was doing "The Matzav" as an email list may recall that I really like Debbie Schlussel. Some of you may even know that I used to run marathons and, as you might expect, we all got a good laugh when Oprah Winphrey started trying to run them (lest you think I was one of those people who crawl to the finish, my best one was 3:24:22 in New York).
Debbie has an article in FrontPageMagazine.com
in which she take Oprah to task for her "vapid" tour of Auschwitz. But then she gets down to the real meat: Oprah is a big fan of Jordanian Queen Rania, and has an agenda of promoting Jordan and Islam. Some of what Debbie says about Jordan may surprise you. It surprised me - I would have attributed many of Jordan's "firsts" to Saudi Arabia or the 'Palestinian Authority:'
The alleged premise of the show was, "The World's Youngest Queen," Queen Rania of Jordan (she's Palestinian). But that was the ruse to present viewers with features on several carefully selected Jordanian women whose message was: "Life in Jordan is just like yours." The women spoke perfect English with nary an accent. Just like us. They had careers and ordered Domino's Pizza. Just like us. And they and their husbands who love them are watching their weight. Just like us.Read the whole thing
Oprah gushed so much over Queen Rania and her beauty, it was hard to remember she is from the Islamic Middle East. And that was the point. Oprah has been working overtime to promote Jordan and Islam. This is Rania's second Oprah appearance in five years, with the first on an "Islam 101" episode just after 9/11.
But here's the real Jordan you didn't--and will never--see on Oprah:
A 2005 Pew Research Center survey of 17,000 people found that Jordan the most anti-Semitic country in the world. Not just 95 percent of its people have unfavorable views of Jews. It is 100 percent. A full 41 percent of them don't like Christians either.
Queen Rania's largely Palestinian country (a demographic not mentioned on Oprah) didn't just beat the world in hatred for the Jews. Jordan leads in support for homicide bombings AND confidence in Osama Bin Laden "to do the right thing."
A whopping 88 percent of Jordanians support suicide bombings. That's up from 2002, when "only" 65 percent of Jordanians supported this "method" of dealing with perceived problems. Then, there's Bin Laden. Some 80 percent of Jordanians have "confidence in Osama Bin Laden to do the right thing regarding world affairs." And 57 percent of Jordanians said "violence against civilians in defense of Islam is justified."
Just like us?
Rania told Oprah that while Jordanians don't like U.S. policies, "they love America and Americans." Really? Pew Research says the country is the most anti-American in the world, with 79 percent viewing the U.S. unfavorably. Rania claimed women in her country are different and will end Mid-East violence. Pew Research found Jordanian women held the same hateful viewpoints as men.
. How much foreign aid does the US give Jordan every year?
An Israeli Soldier's Story
Unfortunately, these kinds of stories are rare in the Israeli press (although there was one last week in the Post, surprisingly written by one of their most leftist columnists
). This came from FrontPageMagazine.com
His nickname is Itchy, which some people may guess he received after leaving home in Cleveland, Ohio to join the Israel Defense Forces, the IDF, and developed a proverbial "itchy trigger finger," but it has actually been his nickname all his life, and his IDF service exemplifies the professionalism he and his fellow soldiers exhibit.Read the whole thing
What makes Itchy different from most other Israeli soldiers is that while most orthodox Jews who join the IDF come from a Zionist religious family, typified by men wearing a knitted Kippah, the traditional Jewish man's head-covering, Itchy’s family wears black hats, symbolizing a more devout religious life, thus not the typical family whose kids join the army. "I wanted to do it since I was a kid," he said. "The opportunity struck at a certain time, so I grabbed it. I was in the yeshiva in Waterbury, Connecticut, when my brother-in-law mentioned an IDF religious unit to me. I decided I was old enough to do it and I was ready to join. I did not give it much thought. I made the decision to join and that was it."
Itchy joined Nachal Chareidie, a rigorously religious battalion. "This is the unit I wanted to be in because it’s an uncompromising religious unit. I had the chance to grow and practice religion too." Just because they take extra time to pray and study the Talmud does not make them a lesser unit in the eyes of other soldiers. In fact, it’s the opposite.
"One day I was on a jeep patrol, checking things out, and we decided to stop to pick up lunch at one of the check points where our unit was set up. There were about 30 Palestinian cars in line at the check point when we left to go back to our base for a shift change. Suddenly, over the radio we heard there was a terrorist attack at the checkpoint we just left. After 5 minutes, the commander announced on the radio that the incident was cleared." As it turned out, an officer at the check point noticed a Palestinian man wearing a big coat on a hot day and a larger than usual stomach. The man looked "overall suspicious", Itchy explained.
The officer on-scene screamed "Stop!" to the man in the suspicious jacket. Upon hearing this, all the soldiers went into heightened alert. The Palestinian tried to explain the wire hanging out from his shirt was from a TV remote control, which only made the Israeli soldiers more suspicious, to say the least. A command was given. The IDF soldiers pointed their guns at the suspicious Palestinian man. The officer said, "If you move one inch, we will blast you down." The man was ordered to back up away from the check point and away from everyone. From a safe distance, he was ordered to remove his coat, which revealed a fully loaded suicide bomb vest. He was then ordered to strip down to his underwear, just in case there was a second bomb. The would-be suicide bomber was taken into custody, and everyone was safe.
Itchy had been at the checkpoint just moments before, where IDF soldiers check cars and ID’s with the utmost respect for Palestinians, even when they know any one of them may be wearing a suicide belt.
Gazans reap what Arafat sowed
There's a pretty decent background piece in today's Los Angeles Times
that tries to explain what the feuds among the different warring factions in Gaza are about.
When rival Palestinian forces face off in the Gaza Strip, as they have been doing in an escalating conflict that has left nearly a dozen fighters dead and scores injured this month, they are acting in accordance with a script of sorts — one written by none other than the late Yasser Arafat.
The Palestinian security apparatus, created a dozen years ago and now more than 70,000 fighters strong, was specifically designed as an array of competing militias, ensuring that no single commander would grow powerful enough to challenge Arafat. The Islamist group Hamas, though not part of the official Palestinian forces at that time, figured into the longtime leader's power equation as well.
Now, after Arafat's death and Hamas' rise to political power, chieftains aligned with the defeated Fatah faction, which Arafat once led, are scrambling to retain influence and control of their own bands of armed followers, even while taking on the fighters of Hamas.
"More and more, Gaza is ruled by warlords," said Eyad Sarraj, who heads a human rights group in the seaside territory where gunmen, in or out of uniform, can be seen on almost every street corner. "We are turning into a kind of Somalia. And this is Arafat's legacy."
The Palestinian security forces, which at one point had nearly a dozen different branches, were a product of the Oslo interim peace accords of the early 1990s, envisioned as a way to provide jobs and perhaps impose a degree of discipline on tens of thousands of armed Fatah followers.
When the intifada broke out in the autumn of 2000, however, the line between Palestinian security forces and militant groups became blurry. Many gunmen collected a government salary even while they actively took part in attacks on Israel. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militia asserting loyalty to Fatah, has hundreds of former or current members of the security forces in its ranks, according to Israeli intelligence.
Even if there is reconciliation among Palestinian factions at an official level, on-the-ground feuds could still perpetuate themselves. Gunmen in Gaza generally affiliate with commanders and foot soldiers from their own clans. Thus, avenging a killing or abduction becomes a matter of family honor, which is of paramount importance in a highly traditional society such as Gaza's.
I wish all of the families much luck, so long as they stay out of Israel.Read it all
US Considering Financial Sanctions on Iran
Over the past couple of days, I've been thinking a lot: if the US can squeeze the 'Palestinian Authority' by saying that banks who complete transactions for them will be charged under US law for aiding a terrorist group, why can't it do the same thing to Iran? I'm not the only one thinking that way.
According to today's Washington Post
, the US is pressing the Europeans and the Japanese to impose financial sanctions on the Iranians if (as appears likely) it cannot get Iran to drop its nuclear program.
According to the Post, the economic measures were developed by a Treasury Department task force that reports directly to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and go far beyond the diplomatic pressure exerted by the Bush administration to date.
The economic measures would curtail the financial freedom of every Iranian official, individual and entity the Bush administration considers connected to nuclear enrichment efforts, terrorism, government corruption, suppression of religious or democratic freedom, and violence in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. It would restrict the Tehran government's access to foreign currency and global markets, shut its overseas accounts and freeze its assets that are held in Europe and Asia.
The costs of this ambitious program would mostly not fall on the US. The US has imposed financial sanctions on Iran unilaterally for nearly thirty years. The problem is that the sanctions could not hurt Tehran without having a significant economic impact for some of Washington's friends. That calculation has made the plan difficult to sell, especially in capitals such as Rome and Tokyo, which import significant quantities of Iranian oil.
The Post continues:
U.S. intelligence agencies have spent months trolling through the personal accounts of Iranian leaders in foreign banks, analyzing Iranian financial systems and transactions and assessing how the government does its banking. They have calculated the amount of foreign investment at stake and even which charities have connections to the Tehran government.
Decades of stand-alone U.S. sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Cuba have failed to bring down those countries' leaders or modify their behavior. But U.S. officials believe that if other Western allies join in a sanctions pact, it could magnify pressure on Iran in much the same way that some Bush administration officials believe U.N. sanctions helped persuade Libya to give up its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
With Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on board, collective sanctions would "isolate the Iranian regime" and see it "shunned by the international financial community," according to one internal Bush administration memo.
Under the plan, the major allies involved would freeze Iranian government accounts and financial assets in their countries, much as the United States did after Iranian students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Iranian officials who appear on lists being drawn up by U.S. officials would be prevented from opening accounts, trading on foreign markets or obtaining credit.
U.S. officials said in interviews that it is their hope the allies will carry out the punitive measures if Iran refuses a package of incentives the Europeans are preparing to offer in coming weeks.
So far, potential partners have not jumped at the plan, raised again last week in London by senior diplomats from Washington and European capitals. European officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity attributed their reluctance to a reliance on Iranian oil, domestic legal constraints and the fear of being dragged toward another conflict in the Middle East.
In an effort to minimize financial risks, the plan does not include oil or trade embargoes. But, according to a Treasury Department assessment, it could jolt world oil prices nonetheless if Iran responds by limiting exports. The internal assessment also predicts additional economic repercussions for Western allies, such as trade loss, and adverse effects for the Iranian people as their government is squeezed out of global markets and foreign banks stop taking their business.
But the impact on U.S. allies could be steep as well. A Treasury Department memo recently predicted that Britain, which does not import Iranian oil, faces a low level of financial risk if it agrees to implement the sanctions plan. Germany, which imports 1 percent of its oil from Iran, and France, which gets 6 percent, are deemed at medium financial risk, whereas Italy and Japan would be taking the largest risks. The assessment is considered internally "an initial -- first blush -- estimate based on each country's overall volume of exports to Iran, dependence on Iranian oil and degree of investment in Iran oil projects," according to the Treasury memo.
Japan exports nearly $1.3 billion worth of goods to Iran, has nearly $2 billion worth of oil projects there and gets about 12 percent of its oil from the country, which is approximately equivalent to what the United States buys from Saudi Arabia. Italy buys 9 percent of its oil from Iran, and has $3.2 billion in oil investments in the country and $2.7 billion worth of exports to Iran.
Read the whole thing.
Reuters employee suspended for threatening blogger
Fellow blogger Charles Johnson
is in the news here in Israel. Charles received a death threat
from a Reuters employee in the UK a few days ago, and it's now being reported on YNet
. For those who haven't been there yet (go, go!) YNet describes Charles' Little Green Footballs as "a popular site which often backs Israel and highlights jihadist terrorist activities." That's an understatement! I'm not going to tell you anything else about this except to follow the links and read them all!
Four Hamas members to be barred from Jerusalem
Four senior Hamas members, including a 'Palestinian Authority minister,' who are 'East Jerusalem' residents have been given thirty days to quit all PA institutions or have their 'East Jerusalem' residency status revoked.Letters detailing the ultimatum were sent by Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On to Minister of Jerusalem Affairs in the Hamas-led PA cabinet Khaled Abu Arafa and three PLC members: Mahmoud Abu-Tir, Mohammad Tutah and Ahmad Adun.
If their 'East Jerusalem' residency status is revoked, the four would be considered illegal aliens and would not be allowed to stay in 'East Jerusalem.' They would also no longer be able to receive National Insurance Institute payments (the equivalent of social security in the US, but here you get a monthly subsidy for every child under the age of 16 through National Insurance) and would be barred from even entering the city.
Israel says that under the Oslo accords, the Palestinians are not allowed to conduct political activity in Jerusalem.
"They can't have it both ways," a senior Israeli official said. "If they are part of a government that doesn't renounce terrorism, recognize Israel or accept previous agreements, there will be a price to pay."
He admitted that this would not bring Hamas to its knees, but said "it could make life for them more difficult, and it will show them that there are personal consequences for their actions."
Israel to participate in first full NATO exercise
Both the Jerusalem Post
are reporting that Israel is going to participate in its first full NATO exercise next month.
The exercise, which is called "Cooperation Mako," will take place in the Black Sea and will involve several Israeli missile boats.
Over the past several months, and with the Iranian threat looming, there has been speculation about Israel joining NATO, but the Israeli government has tried to play down that speculation out of its desire to maintain its independence in matters of national self-defense.
According to HaAretz:
Alon Ben-David, Israel analyst for Jane's Defence Weekly, said Cooperation Mako aimed mainly to improve NATO security missions in the Mediterranean and that Israel was especially interested in combined air force exercises.The Post adds this interesting piece of information, which has nothing to do with the exercise (as far as I can tell anyway):
"Given Israel's strategic reality, it is crucial to be part of a defensive coalition," Ben-David said.
Several months ago, Israel received a delegation of NATO officers who accompanied an AWAC early warning surveillance plane which they brought to demonstrate to the Israel Air Force.
Head of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force Gen. Axel Tuttelman said the AWAC plane, which contained unique surveillance capabilities, was brought to Israel as part of a larger effort to enhance security cooperation between NATO and Israel in the war on global terrorism.
While the United States and Israel have yet to decide if they would launch a military offensive against Iran, Tuttelman told The Jerusalem Post that if NATO was involved his forces would be the first to be called up.
"We would be the first to be called up if the NATO Council decided we should be," he said during a tour of the AWAC plane parked in an IAF base in the center of the country. NATO's early warning force, Tuttelman said, was involved in NATO's most recent large military offensive in Kosovo.
Like Father Like Daughter
According to the Jerusalem Post
, the daughter of 'Palestinian Prime Minister' Ismael Haniyeh was caught today trying to sneak into the maximum security Eshel prison under an assumed name to visit a security prisoner who is not a member of her immediate family.
The security forces are investigating why Haniyeh's daughter was entering under an assumed name and why she was visiting this specific unnamed prisoner.
Israel Threatened to Bomb Beirut Yesterday
After Hezbullah's Katyusha rocket fire
yesterday and Israel's response against Hezbullah bases in Southern Lebanon
, a cease fire was quickly established. YNet
is now reporting based on a report in London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat and Lebanese newspaper al-Nahar that part of the reason that the cease fire happened so quickly (yesterday) was that Israel threatened to bomb Beirut if the Katyusha's continued to fall:
The ceasefire followed unequivocal threats by Israel and determined diplomatic action by the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.Read the whole thing
London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat said that in an attempt to prevent the crisis, Siniora turned to the United Nations' representative in Lebanon, Gier Pederson, and the American and French ambassadors, as well as to Hizbullah leadership.
After various attempts, including efforts by Lebanese intelligence, which held discussions with the Hizbullah leadership, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Islamic Jihad , failed, Saad Hariri, son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri [who was assassinated by the Syrians CiJ], intervened directly. Hariri today heads the anti-Syrian camp. He spoke with the Hizbullah leadership a number of times, we well as with European and international sources.
These talks succeeded in the end in finding an agreement that a ceasefire between the sides would begin at 5:17 p.m. exactly. It was also said that the ceasefire was only made possible after a direct intervention by the UN Security Council and the US Secretary of State. Lebanese newspaper al-Nahar said that after Israel threatened to bomb Beirut if the Katyusha rockets continued, Rice directly intervened through the American embassy in Lebanon.
Britain's NATFHE union votes to boycott Israel
Britain's 69,000 member National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) has voted to boycott Israel over what its members called "apartheid" policies toward 'Palestinians', saying that union members will refuse to cooperate with Israeli academics who do not "disassociate themselves from such policies."
The teachers were meeting at their annual convention in Blackpool (what an appropriate name!) in Northern England. Two parts of the motion passed with a show of hands while a third went to a vote. Under the boycott, union members also will not submit articles to Israeli research papers.
Another British faculty union, The British Association of University Teachers, voted last year to boycott Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities, charging them with complicity in Israel's "suppression of the Palestinians." The association's council reversed the decision after objections by leading scholars and academic organizations.
NATFHE and the AUT are due to merge next month and any decisions made by the unions prior to the merger - including the NAFTHE vote in favor of boycotting Israeli academics - will be automatically nullified by the merger.
In other words, as disgraceful as this vote is, for the time being it is apparently symbolic and meaningless.