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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, August 13, 2008


By Michael Ramirez




By John Hinderaker

One of the most striking features of the crisis in Georgia has been the role played by John McCain. While President Bush was enjoying the Olympics and Barack Obama was on vacation in Hawaii, McCain became the leading international spokesman on behalf of Georgia. While Obama initially parroted the Russian line, so that he was soon required to flip-flop--what a surprise!--McCain saw the crisis from the beginning as a clear case of Russian aggression, and understood the strategic implications of that aggression.

Today, in a speech in York, Pennsylvania, McCain continued his role as the strongest advocate for Georgian independence. His remarks were so cogent and so eloquent that I will quote them almost in full:

Georgia itself, my friends, has a long and remarkable history. It was a fourth-century convert to Christianity, one of the first nations on Earth to convert to Christianity -- if you go to Georgia, as I have several times, you'll see churches that go back to the fourth- and fifth-century -- and it's been a part of the grand sweep that comprises Western civilization. But because of their location, their history hasn't been easy. Through the centuries, they have seen invasions and attacks from Mongols, Russians, Turks and Persians. And through it all, they maintain their language, their cultural identity, and their national pride. And as you know, they were part of the Soviet Union and were able to achieve their independence when the Soviet Union disintegrated. And they're facing terrible trials today, but they'll get through this, too.

And, my friends, and I'll talk about this more in a minute -- but they're at a strategic crossroads. There's a pipeline, an oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, which brings oil from the Caspian to points west and traverses Georgia -- that's the very pipeline that the Russians tried to bomb. And I don't have to tell you about the price of oil and disruption of oil supplies.

In this country -- it's that little country, a country whose territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty NATO countries reaffirmed at their summit in April -- terrible violence has occurred. Now let me just remind you exactly what has taken place here.

On Friday, Russian tanks and troops moved through the Roki Tunnel, across an internationally-recognized border, and into the Georgian province of South Ossetia. Two years ago, I traveled to South Ossetia, my friends, and we went through this barricade, and as soon as we got into this place, which the Russians are maintaining hundreds and now thousands of troops, there's this huge billboard and it said, 'Vladimir Putin, Our President.' Have no doubt about Russian ambitions in this area.

The Russian government stated it was acting only to protect Ossetians, and yet, on Saturday, its bombing campaign encompassed the whole of Georgia. Hundreds of innocent civilians have been wounded and killed -- possibly thousands. Military bases, apartment buildings, and other infrastructure all came under Russian fire. And the Russian Black Sea Fleet began concentrating off of the Georgian coast.

Before the weekend ended, Russian troops drove the Georgians out of South Ossetia and stepped up their offensive in the region of Abkhazia -- Abkhazia is another area that the Russians have controlled in violation of Georgian territorial integrity. And Georgia asked for a ceasefire, and Russia responded by bombing the Tbilisi Airport.

Yesterday, Russian troops advanced on one city after another. Gori, Senaki, Poti, and other cities were attacked. In 2006, I visited Senaki and reviewed the Georgian troops who had served with honor beside American soldiers in Iraq -- 2,000 of them served beside American soldiers in Iraq, and we're proud of that.

President Medvedev stated that he has halted the offensive, but reports indicate that Russian military forces have continued attacks in some areas and the situation remains fluid and dangerous. Foreign Minister Flavor announced that Russia seeks regime change in Georgia, and that it's democratically-elected president 'better go.'

In the face of this threat, the leaders of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Latvia -- you know there's a common thread there amongst them, they all suffered under Soviet domination -- they've all announced that they'll travel to the region, and the French president is in Moscow in an attempt to help resolve the crisis. They understand that it's a responsibility of the leading nations of the world to ensure that history continues to record reform and make progress toward respecting the values and security of all free people.

This is the situation in Georgia as we meet here this morning. The impact of Russian actions goes beyond their threat to a democratic Georgia. Russia has used violence against Georgia to send a signal to any country that chooses to associate with the West and aspire to our shared political and economic values.

My friends, we learned at great cost the price of allowing aggression against free nations to go unchecked. With our allies, we must stand in united purpose to persuade the Russian government to withdraw its troops from Georgia. There must be an independent, international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions. And we should ensure that humanitarian aid can be airlifted to Georgia's capital, and stand ready to help our Georgian partners put their country back together. And we must make clear to Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability, and piece of that world.

My friends, today the killing goes on and aggression goes on. Yet, I know from speaking this morning to the President of Georgia, Misha Saakashvili, who I've known for many years, that he knows that the thoughts and the prayers and support of the American people are with that brave little nation as they struggle today for their freedom and independence. And he wanted me to say thank you to you, to give you his heartfelt thanks for the support of the American people for this tiny little democracy far away from the United States of America. And I told him that I know I speak for every American when I say to him, today, we are all Georgians.

You can watch McCain's speech here.

Georgia's President, Mikheil Saakashvili, addressed a rally in Tbilisi today. He, too, talked about his conversation with McCain earlier in the day:

Today, John McCain said that Americans are supporting Georgia. McCain said, we are Georgians today, everybody are Georgians today.

It has been an extraordinary moment, in which John McCain has seemed almost more the leader of the free world than the President. You can be sure that in November, Saakashvili and Vladimir Putin will be following our election results with equal attention.


By Scott Johnson

On Sunday the Guardian reported that Barack Obama's Hollywood buddy George Clooney is planning a film that will provide a sympathetic portrayal of Salim Hamdan and Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, Hamdan's military lawyer. Hamdan was of course Osama bin Laden's driver. It's a relief that Hollywood has finally found an American officer connected to the war whom it can lionize.

As Andrew Malcolm observes, Clooney is one of Obama's most prominent Hollywood supporters. Ed Morrissey notes the CNN report that on the second day of the Republican Convention, Obama is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser in Geneva, Switzerland to be hosted by George Clooney. Clooney will host a $1,000 a plate reception for Obama followed by a $10,000 a plate reception to be hosted by Charles Adams.

Should the McCain campaign take a leaf from the Mark Penn playbook that ABC News has already attributed to it? Ed suggests:

Maybe during the convention, the Republicans can dedicate a large-screen monitor at the Xcel Center to keep track of Obama’s second European jaunt of the campaign. They could call it, “Where In The World Is Barack Obama?” The show could track him through the summer houses of the rich and famous Americans who can afford to own villas overseas, and put dollar signs up on a map wherever he stops off for some foie gras.
Ed can be forgiven for playing with fire here. He made this suggestion last week and therefore did not have the benefit of the advice from ABC News that such hardball politics are akin to racism.  Tuesday, August 12, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

A number of reports have the Russians halting their military advance in Georgia, supposedly to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict in the Caucasus.  However, the Russians have something very different in mind.  Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov refused to negotiate with Georgia’s elected government, saying publicly that Mikheil Saakashvili “has to go”, while President Dmitri Medvedev ordered his troops to “crush” any remaining Georgian resistance.

If that sounds like peace, it’s the peace of the graveyard:

Medvedev ordered the military to quell any signs of Georgian resistance.

“If there are any emerging hotbeds of resistance or any aggressive actions, you should take steps to destroy them,” he told his defense minister at a Kremlin meeting.

Russia’s foreign minister, meanwhile, said that Georgia’s president must leave office and Georgian troops should stay out of the pro-Russian South Ossetia region for good.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow won’t talk to President Mikhail Saakashvili and Saakashvili “better go.”

The game plan has been revealed, for those who still hadn’t realized Russia’s larger plan. Putin doesn’t want Western-friendly governments in the former Soviet republics; he wants puppet governments answerable to Moscow.  He supported the separatists in the Caucasus in order to deliberately provoke a incident he could exploit to depose the freely-elected government in Tbilisi and impose Russian rule through a proxy government imposed by force.

The demand for Saakashvili to resign should offend every free nation on Earth.  Saakashvili represents Georgia, not the newly-birthed Russian Empire, and Moscow has no right to demand that a freely-elected president resign under force of arms.  Free nations should also look toward Ukraine and recognize the next victim on Putin’s list.

For those who call this a peace, it is no such thing.  The Russians have their boot on Georgia’s throat, and have only paused to get a surrender.  (via Mark ImpomeniTuesday, August 12, 2008




By Richard Fernandez

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an end to military operations against Georgia, according to the BBC. Russian securities rebounded on the financial markets at news of Medvedev’s order.

“I’ve decided to finish the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace. The safety of our peacekeeping forces and civilian population has been restored. The aggressor has been punished, having sustained considerable losses. Its armed forces have been disorganised,” he added.

But the Russian foreign minister has called on Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to step down, while simultaneously denying that Moscow seeks to overthrow Saakashvili. The markets liked the Russian move. Bloomberg reported that the ruble strengthened and the stockmarket climbed when Medvedev ordered the halt. “Russian shares slumped to a 22-month low and the ruble fell the most in more than three years on Aug. 8 as the country sent tanks, troops and warplanes into Georgia in what it said was a response to an offensive on South Ossetia.”

Although the immediate crisis appears to have passed Russian fires are still able to cover the key transportation links running east to west across the country. Emerging details suggest the announcement that the operation has been stopped is not quite equivalent to a cessation of hostilities. The Guardian reports that fighting is still going on around Gori, despite the Russian announcement of a halt. And on top of the demand that the Georgian President be deposed, there is now the additional demand that the Georgian Army be partially “demilitarized”.

The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, who had ordered an end to the fighting, said a full settlement of the conflict could only be reached if Georgian troops returned to their initial positions, were “partly demilitarised”, and there was “a binding agreement on the non-use of force”.

What exactly “returned to their initial positions” means in this context is unclear. And what happens if Georgia doesn’t reach a “full settlement” is also unclear. The country remains at the point of the gun. But if the fighting has truly stopped what will follow is a battle for perception. Russia will claim that it “won”; the Georgians may claim that they “prevailed”; and the United States may say that it’s threat to confront Russia gave Moscow pause.

Nicolas Sarkozy will meet the Russian leadership in an attempt to get them to sign onto a peace proposal which has been pre-agreed to by Georgia. The Times Online does not expect a clean stoppage in hostilities. It writes, “Violence is unlikely to end immediately. There has been no order to Russian troops in Georgia to withdraw, and its soldiers have been told to remain on the alert to defend themselves and quell any signs of Georgian resistance. Russia is insisting that Georgia must pull its troops from the breakaway regions, withdraw its soldiers from a buffer zone around their borders, and pledge not to use force again to solve the conflict. It has indicated that it feels Mr Saakashvili, whom it accuses of war crimes, should resign, and that it is disinclined to negotiate directly with him. ”

Saakashvili, however, has declined to play the loser. Speaking before flag-waving crowds the Georgian President announced that his country, in consultation with Parliament, had decided to leave the Commonwealth of Independent States and had urged the Ukraine to do the same. CNN quoted him as saying, “we are giving final adios to the Soviet Union.”

AFP is now reporting the Russians ceasefire doesn’t really mean that all operations of war would be suspended. Critically, reconnaissance is not going to stop. Whether this means that forces will still be probing forward remains to be seen.

A senior Russian military commander said the halt in the Russian advance into Georgia did not mean all operations would end.”If we have received the order to ceasefire, this does not mean that we have stopped all actions, including reconnaissance,” General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said. … Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday ordered a halt to the military offensive against Georgia saying it had been punished but could be hit again. …

At the United Nations, Russia’s ambassador rejected a Western blueprint before the UN Security Council to end the fighting, based on the French plan. “I cannot see us accepting this French draft,” said the ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. The plan — already accepted by the Georgian leader — calls for an immediate truce, respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity and a return to the status quo that prevailed before fighting erupted in South Ossetia. Churkin objected because the draft resolution did not refer to “Georgian aggression and to the atrocities we have seen.”

All cats are gray in the dark
All cats are gray in the dark
The next few days will show whether the ceasefire will hold and whether the damage to international relations can be undone. If Moscow has truly ended the operation, it has done as well as it could, sending the signal that it is to be feared but stopping short of any irrevocable step; reaping benefits while avoiding the ultimate cost. The Georgians have stared into the abyss, and can feel as relieved as a man who has heard the dry click of a 9 mm pressed against the back of his head can feel. But many in the United States, and possibly Western Europe, may never see Putin’s Russia the same way again. It will not be a wholly unsympathetic view, any more than those who remembered the Treaty of Versailles could be unsympathetic to 1920s Germany. But it will be one tinged with foreboding. The names of the Polish Corridor, the Anchluss and the Sudetenland have not yet been wholly lost to history.  Tuesday, August 12, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

Senator Jim DeMint and Representative Jeb Hensarling have launched a new website, Energy Freedom Day. It counts down the minutes — seconds, actually — until present moratoria on drilling in the OCS and in shale formations expire. Both men appear in their video announcement of the new site:

DeMint writes at his blog:

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

It is our hope that Democrats and Republicans will stand together to support American Energy Freedom Day on October 1, 2008. On this day, the current prohibitions on oil and gas exploration off the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and in the oil-shale fields of the West will expire, giving Americans the freedom to access their own energy and providing them with relief from sky-high prices at the pump.

We strongly encourage you to allow the expiration of these prohibitions on American energy exploration and production, as scheduled under current law, and we will actively oppose any attempt to extend them. Now is not the time to deny Americans access to their own energy supply.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you to ensure a victory for the American people on American Energy Freedom Day.

You can add your name to this petition at Energy Freedom Day. Keep track of how long we have until America’s energy resources are freed from an arbitrary obstruction that sends hundreds of billions of dollars overseas and puts us at the mercy of foreign producers.  Tuesday, August 12, 2008




By Larry Wright




By Charles Johnson

Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid exhibits that noxious mix of misogyny and Islamic supremacism for which our friends the Saudis are infamous, in a sick rant about women’s “private parts” being exposed in the Olympics.

Of course, to Neanderthals like this an ankle is a private part.

(Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)

Click picture to play video. Requires Windows Media Player; Mac users should install Flip4Mac.

Following are excerpts from an interview withSaudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid, which aired on Al-Majd TV on August 10, 2008.

Muhammad Al-Munajid: how come modern sports – especially women’s sports – involve the exposure of private parts? It is well known that the Olympics – both in the past and the upcoming games... the world’s worst display of women’s clothing is the women’s Olympics. No exposure of women’s private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier than Olympic games that include women’s sports.

Interviewer: And in a scandalous manner...

Muhammad Al-Munajid: Yes. It is an enormous Satanic issue.


One of these criminals compared a soccer team that made it to the top in Asia and traveled to Spain to the conquest of Andalusia! Allah be praised! The conquest of lands, the bringing of monotheism to these lands, where the name of Allah is uttered, where Islamic learning and scholars emerge, and where the banners of Islam are raised high – all these you compare to people chasing an inflated piece of leather?!


Many people nowadays watch sports rather than participate in them.

Interviewer: And this is a problem...

Muhammad Al-Munajid: If only they would run or move their bodies a little... All they do is sit and watch the sports channels. Some fathers come to me and ask if it is permitted to hook up just to the sports channels. It is for the kids, they say. There is pressure. Football leads to temptation. It is not an innocent sport. Take boxing, for example, or some types of so-called free[style] wrestling, which involve hitting the face, breaking bones, inflicting injuries and pain. They involve obvious bodily harm. The Prophet Muhammad said: If you beat someone, avoid the face. The Islamic juridprudence authority banned boxing, because it involves beating in the face, which can lead to blindness, brain damage, broken bones, and even death. The beater is not held responsible, because they both consented to this, and the spectators are happy. When someone is beaten in the face and is knocked down, they jump for joy.


Wrestling involves the exposure of women’s private parts. Even the promotion of the competitions is done by scantily-clad women. It is done at the beginning of the match, in the middle, and at the end, or so I hear... the matches are promoted by half-naked women.


The sport of yoga was originally a Hindu game used for divine worship. For them, practicing yoga is a means of divine worship. Whoever practices yoga today is emulating their form of worship.


Beijing or not... I call it Bikini, anyway... because they are likely to display women in the worst possible way in these “Bikini” Olympic games.


What women wear in the Olympic games are among the worst clothes possible. The inventions of Satan, with regard to the exposure of the body in gymnastics, in swimming, in whatever, in tennis... Women have never got naked for sports like they do in the Olympics. It is aired to billions of people worldwide. The problem is not just with the spectators who are present. The whole thing is aired on TV...

Interviewer: And maybe the men’s clothing is more modest than the women’s...

Muhammad Al-Munajid: There’s no “maybe” about it. It is definite.  Tuesday, August 12, 2008




Hezbollah Brigades' logo is nearly identical to that of Lebanese Hezbollah.

Coalition forces, likely the special operations hunter-killer teams of Task Force 88, have captured nine Hezbollah Brigades operatives during three raids in the Adhamiyah district in Baghdad over the past 24 hours.

The first intelligence-driven raid netted a Hezbollah Brigades cell leader who operated in Basrah. "According to information from suspects already in custody, he is believed to be involved in smuggling weapons and fighters across the Iraq-Iran border," Multinational Forces Iraq reported in a press release. Three other suspected Hezbollah Brigades associates were captured.

The second raid resulted in the capture of Hezbollah Brigades operative behind improvised rocket-assisted mortar (IRAM) attacks in Baghdad. Coalition forces "found weapons, as well as electronics equipment believed to be used in the manufacture of IRAMs" and also detained three other men.

A "propaganda expert" and other member of the Hezbollah Brigades were captured during the third raid. "The man admitted to designing websites for [Hezbollah Brigades] in order for the group to publicize their IRAM attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces."

This is the third Hezbollah Brigades propaganda specialist captured in the past month. On July 31, Coalition forces detained a cell member who was responsible for videotaping attacks on US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad. On July 21, Coalition forces captured a member of a Hezbollah Brigades propaganda cell who was responsible for uploading attack videos to the Internet in New Baghdad.

The Hezbollah Brigades, or the Kata'ib Hezbollah, has been active for more than a year and has increased its profile by conducting attacks against US and Iraqi forces using the deadly explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, and improvised rocket-assisted mortars, which have been described as flying improvised explosive devices. The Hezbollah Brigades has posted videos of these attacks on the Internet.

Multinational Forces Iraq said the group receives support from Iran and is an “offshoot of Iranian-trained Special Groups," Sergeant Susan James, a Public Affairs NCO for Multinational Forces Iraq told The Long War Journal in July. The US military has referred to the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the Special Groups. The Hezbollah Brigades is described as "a separate and independent organization from Special Groups,” said James.

“We believe that Hezbollah Brigades does receive support from Iran,” James said. “That support likely includes funding, training, logistics, and material.” Iran's Qods Force funds, trains, arms, and supports Mahdi Army operatives to facilitate attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces. "They are also believed to receive guidance or direction from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps - Qods Force," Multinational Forces Iraq stated in the latest press release on the capture of nine Hezbollah Brigades operatives in Baghdad.

The logo used by the Hezbollah Brigades is nearly an exact match of the one used by Lebanese Hezbollah, which is directly supported by Iran. The logo shows an arm extended vertically, with the fist grasping an AK-47 assault rifle. US forces captured Ali Mussa Daqduq inside Iraq in early 2007. Daqduq is a senior Hezbollah commander who was tasked with setting up the Mahdi Army Special Groups along the same lines as the Lebanese terror group.

For more information on improvised rocket-assisted mortars, see: Mahdi Army uses “flying IEDs” in BaghdadTuesday, August 12, 2008


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