Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to 'protect' Bush visit to RamallahWhen Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert announced three weeks ago that President Bush was going to visit Israel and the 'Palestinian Authority' in January, I asked whether Bush would lay a wreath at Yasser Arafat's mausoleum (pictured, top left). I asked the question a bit facetiously - I didn't really believe that President Bush would actually go to Ramallah and it certainly never occurred to me that he would allow a group of terrorists to protect him. I guess I underestimated the dhimmitude of the current American administration.
WorldNetDaily is reporting that not only is Bush planning to visit Ramallah, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the 'armed wing' of 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President
According to Israeli security officials coordinating deployments of forces with the PA for Bush's Ramallah visit, members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's declared military wing, have been called upon by the PA to participate in the protection of Bush's convoy and in securing the parameter during the meeting with Abbas.What moron thought of this stunt? The only thing I can recall a President doing that was nearly as stupid was Richard Nixon's ride through Egypt standing in an open car in June 1974 and then waded into the crowd in Cairo with phlebitis in his leg (described in Woodward and Bernstein's The Final Days on page 218). Nixon had an excuse - he was six weeks from being forced to resign because of Watergate.
The Brigades is listed as a terror organization by the U.S. State Department. The group took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror organization for every suicide bombing in Israel between 2005 and 2006, and is responsible for thousands of shootings and rocket firings. Statistically, the Al Aqsa Brigades perpetuated more terrorism from the West Bank than Hamas, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.
Many Brigades members, including the group's chiefs, serve openly in Fatah's Force 17 presidential guard units and the Palestinian Preventative Security Services; thousands of Force 17 and Preventative officers are slated to secure Ramallah during Bush's visit there.
A chief of the Al Aqsa Brigades in Ramallah who also serves as a senior officer in Force 17 confirmed to WND he has been tapped to participate in Bush's security. The chief, who spoke on condition his name be withheld, said he is slated to patrol the road outside Abbas' compound during the Palestinian leader's meeting with Bush.
The Israeli Defense Forces will protect the main West Bank highway Bush's convoy will use to approach Ramallah. Security for Bush will be largely turned over to the Palestinians once he enters Ramallah, although security plans are being heavily coordinated with the U.S.
According to Israeli security officials, over 6,000 Fatah forces will be deployed in three rings in central Ramallah to secure the area during Bush's brief stay, including Palestinian security officers who also serve in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
About 40 Ramallah-based Brigades leaders, including the Brigades chief scheduled to participate in Bush's security, were granted amnesty by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in June as a gesture to Abbas, but many Brigades members, including the Ramallah-based leadership, are accused of violating the agreement by failing to disarm and by carrying out a spate of terror attacks.
I'm still wondering whether Bush will lay a wreath for Arafat. Anyone want to take bets?