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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 24, 2008


By Charles Johnson

Jimmy Carter was instrumental in putting Robert Mugabe in power, and now he and Kofi Annan have been barred from entering ZimbabweSaturday, November 22, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

Zimbabwe has refused entry to Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan for a humanitarian mission intended on estimating the amount of intervention needed to stave off a famine in the breadbasket of Africa.  Along with human-rights activist Graca Machel, the so-called “Elders” assembled by Nelson Mandela failed in their opening mission to solve world hunger and “foster peace”:

Zimbabwe has refused to let Kofi Annan and two eminent colleagues visit the impoverished African country for a humanitarian mission, the three said Saturday.

The former U.N. secretary-general, ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and rights advocate Graca Machel had planned to assess the country’s needs. They are members of The Elders group, formed by former South African President Nelson Mandela to foster peace and tackle world conflicts.

Zimbabweans are suffering from disease and hunger while political crisis over a power-sharing government occupies its politicians. A current cholera outbreak has killed nearly 300 people in Zimbabwe, the United Nations said.

But the three were told Friday night by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating the political crisis, that efforts to secure travel visas for the a two-day trip had failed.

There is no small amount of irony in this snub.  Robert Mugabe began his tyranny with the assistance of the Carter administration, as James Kirchick reported at the Weekly Standard last year.  Without Carter, Mugabe would likely have been just another terrorist thug chased around in the wilderness for a while until murdered by his own people.

Kofi Annan provides a different kind of irony.  The last humanitarian mission Annan led was the Oil-for-Food program at the UN.  That led to the worst corruption in history, with everyone getting paid off while enriching Saddam Hussein beyond the dreams of avarice.  The only people to suffer in that arrangement were the Iraqis that were supposed to get fed through direct aid, bypassing Iraqi sanctions.

Only Nelson Mandela would have thought to send these two on a mission to Harare.  Not even Mugabe wants to see these two frauds.  Saturday, November 22, 2008




By Robert Arial

Political Cartoons by Robert Arial




By Ed Morrissey

Do the editors of the New York Times’ opinion pages ever exercise editorial control over their content?  I missed Gail Collins’ ignorant and obtuse entry yesterday while traveling, but it’s worth highlighting for its sheer stupidity.  She wants George Bush to resign now so that Barack Obama can start running the country before the inauguration:

Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning.

Seriously. We have an economy that’s crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.

Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn’t impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.

As a bonus, the Pelosi presidency would put a woman in the White House this year after all. On the downside, a few right-wing talk-show hosts might succumb to apoplexy. That would, of course, be terrible, but I’m afraid we might have to take the risk in the name of a greater good.

The problem we have is not a vacuum at the top, but an overactive executive throwing money away like there’s no tomorrow — and which has actually intimated that to excuse their actions.  They’ve spent more money in a few short weeks than any time in American history.  At the same time, Bush has negotiated a status-of-forces agreement with Iraq and worked with the G20 to coordinate other economic policies.  He’s not taking two months off, although Congress might take most of December as a vacation.

Beyond her ignorance of the President’s schedule, Collins shows a remarkable ignorance of the Constitution and of American government.  Let’s focus first on the practical implications of her suggestion.  The sudden resignation of the duly elected executive would bring government to a standstill.  Obama hasn’t had enough time to transition between the Bush administration to his team, and Pelosi hasn’t even thought about it.  What happens in the meantime?  Congress hasn’t even received the nominations of the political appointees from Obama.  The new White House staff hasn’t even been chosen.

And Pelosi will suddenly be able to run the executive branch?  Uh, sure.  Collins bases this on the fact that she has two X chromosomes and nothing else.  In fact, while celebrating the idea of making a woman temporary President, she then says that Pelosi will simply do what another man will order her to do.  That little bit of irony somehow escapes Collins, along with common sense and procedural issues.

More importantly, no one voted for Pelosi to be president. The succession act Collins references exists to ensure continuity in case of disaster, not on the whim of a constipated New York Times columnist whose need for instant gratification apparently outweighs the rest of her cerebral processes.

We have representative government with legal processes in place to protect against instability and abuse.  Bush has the responsibility to fulfill the rest of his term and to assist Obama in transitioning smoothly between the two administrations in order to ensure the stability of the US government.  Our constitutional form of government is strong enough to allow for this kind of transition, which it has for 220 years.

Obama will be President on January 20, 2009, and not before.  If Gail Collins can’t wait for that date, then perhaps the New York Times should send her on an extended leave of absence so that she doesn’t further embarrass herself or her paper in the next two months.


By Ed Morrissey

All of Barack Obama’s policy statements come with an expiration date, Jim Geraghty often said, and now the Left may experience the same frustration as the Right did during the campaign.  The latest example comes today, with the expiration delivered by David Axelrod.  Those Bush tax cuts Obama wanted repealed?  Not so fast:

President-elect Barack Obama may consider delaying an election promise - to roll back tax cuts on high-income Americans - as part of his economic recovery strategy, a senior aide and an adviser said on Sunday.

David Axelrod, one of Obama’s closest confidants chosen to be a senior White House adviser, was asked if the tax cut could be ended later than Obama called for during the campaign. “Considerations will be made,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Considerations, eh?  I suppose the meltdown on Wall Street had a lot to do with those “considerations”.  The near-unanimous chorus from economists about the dangers of raising taxes in the middle of a recession may have produced those “considerations” as well.

Now that Obama has to actually govern his way out of a global financial collapse, he’s realizing that he needs all the capital he can get to invest back into economic growth. And that’s not a bad thing.  Sunday, November 23, 2008





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

US forces have stepped up operations against the Iranian-backed Shia terror groups operating in Baghdad after a relative lull in November. Fourteen operatives from the League of the Righteous and the Hezbollah Brigades were captured in Baghdad during raids today.

Coalition forces - likely the hunter-killer teams from Task Force 88 - captured eight members of the League of the Righteous (Asaib Ahl al Haq) during two operations in Baghdad's Adhamiyah and New Baghdad districts early Sunday morning. Six Hezbollah Brigades operatives were captured during two operations inside Adhamiyah.

Raids targeting the two Iranian-backed terror groups have been infrequent during the month of November. Only two other Hezbollah Brigades fighters were captured during a Nov. 11 operation in Baghdad. Twenty-eight Hezbollah Brigades operatives were captured during multiple raids in October.

The League of the Righteous is splinter groups that broke away from Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army after Sadr announced he would disband the Mahdi Army and form a small, secretive military arm to fight Coalition forces in June. Sadr's moves caused shockwaves in the Mahdi Army, as some of the militia's leaders wished to continue the fight against US forces in Baghdad and in southern and central Iraq.

The League of the Righteous receives funding, training, weapons, and direction from Iran's Qods Force, the country's secretive special operations group that backs terror groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah. The League of the Righteous conducts attacks with the deadly, armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, as well as the more conventional roads bombs.

The size of the League of the Righteous is unknown, but hundreds of members of the group were killed, captured, or fled to Iran during the Iraqi government offensive against the Mahdi Army from March to July of this year, according to the US military.

Sadr is looking to pull the rank and file of the League back into the fold of the Sadr's political movement. In a recent message issued by Sadr where he rejected the US-Iraqi security agreement, he said he "extends his hand to the mujahideen in the so-called Asaib but not their leaderships who have been distracted by politics and mortal life from the [two late] Sadrs and the interests of Iraq and Iraqis."

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.

The terror group is an offshoot of Iranian-trained Special Groups, the US military said last summer. Hezbollah Brigades receives funding, training, logistics, guidance, and material support from Iran's Qods Force.

Suspected Qods Force officer released

Iraqi and US forces have detained several Qods Forces officers operating in southern and central Iraq over the past month. Iraqi and US forces have killed one Qods Force operative and captured 11 since mid-October.

On Nov. 18, US forces detained a suspected Qods Force commander as he attempted to leave Iraq via Baghdad International Airport. The US military said the Qods officer used a construction company as a front for his activates.

The Iranian, whose name is Nader Qorbani, was released on the request of the Iraqi government. "We called them and asked them to release him and we can confirm that the arrest was unlawful," Deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi told Reuters. "He's working here on a contract and he's been working here for some time."

The US military did not comment on the detention, and referred inquiries to the Iraqi government. "Coalition Forces have long recognized Iraq's sovereignty in making decisions concerning their own legal affairs," a US military spokesman told the news agency.

Background on Iran's backing of the Shia terror groups

Flash Presentation on the Ramazan Corps and the Iranian Ratlines into Iraq. Click the map to view. A Flash Player is required to view, click to download.

Qods Force has supported various Shia militias and terror groups inside Iraq, including the Mahdi Army, helping to build them along the same lines as Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran denies the charges, but captive Shia terrorists admit to being recruited by Iranian agents and then transported into Iran for training.

Iran established the Ramazan Corps immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to direct operations inside Iraq. The US military says Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have helped establish, fund, train, and arm, and have provided operational support for Shia terror groups such as the Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous. The US military refers to these groups as well as the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the "Special Groups." These groups train in camps inside Iran.

US and Iraqi forces have captured several high-level Qods Force officers inside Iraq since late 2006. Among those captured are Mahmud Farhadi, one of the three Iranian regional commanders in the Ramazan Corps; Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative; Qais Qazali, the leader of the Qazali Network; and Azhar al Dulaimi, one of Qazali's senior tactical commanders. The US has imposed sanctions on Major General Ahmad Foruzandeh, the former Qods Force commander, and Abdul Reza Shahlai, a deputy commander in Iran's Qods Force, for backing Shia terror groups inside Iraq.

US military officers believe Iran is ramping up its operations inside Iraq after its surrogates suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Iraqi military during the spring and summer of 2008. Iraqi troops went on the offensive against the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed terror groups in Baghdad and central and southern Iraq. More than 2,000 Mahdi Army members were killed and thousands more were wounded. The operation forced Muqtada al Sadr to agree to a cease-fire and disband the Mahdi Army.  Sunday, November 23, 2008

For more information on Iran’s involvement in supporting Shia terror groups in Iraq, see:

Iranian Qods Force Agents Detained in Irbil Raid
Jan. 14, 2007
The Karbala attack and the IRGC
Jan. 26, 2007
Iran, Hezbollah train Iraqi Shia "Secret Cells"
July 2, 2007
Surging in Wasit Province
Sept. 18, 2007
Captured Iranian Qods Force officer a regional commander in Iraq
Oct. 3, 2007
Iran's Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq
Dec. 5, 2007
Sadr forms new unit to attack US forces
June 13, 2008
Sadrist movement withdraws from political process
June 15, 2008
Mahdi Army decimated during recent fighting
June 26, 2008
Iraqi forces detain Sadrist leaders, uncover Special Groups headquarters in Amarah
July 2, 2008
Iraqi forces detain Sadrist leaders, uncover Special Groups headquarters in Amarah
July 2, 2008
Iran continues to train Shia terror groups for attacks in Iraq
Aug. 15, 2008
New Special Groups splinter emerges on Iraqi scene
Aug. 20, 2008
Iraqi troops find EFP factory in Sadr City
Oct. 30, 2008




By Richard Fernandez

Although Ludendorff warned that “by naming Hitler as Reichschancellor, we have delivered up our holy Fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time” it was not apparent at the time how extremist the new leader would be. It is largely forgotten that there were only two Nazis in HItler’s first cabinet,  Wilhelm Frick, minister of the interior and Herman Goering, who was initially a minister without portfolio.  The Nazification of the state apparatus took several years and was largely facilitated by the unstable condition of German politics.  The emergence of totalitarianism took place under the pretext of meeting emergencies as successive crises had to be met and things had to be “regulated”. Stability and prosperity are inherently inimical to totalitarianism because a functioning status quo makes people reluctant to take chances with unusual political figures.

But if the CIA’s long range forecast for the next decade is accurate the world is about to enter a period of transition in characterized by changing politics, an energy crisis and shifts in international power. The NIC 2025 Project predicts the world will be in for a wild ride. Some of its key predictions are:

  • The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.
  • The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future.
  • Unprecedented economic growth, coupled with 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources—particularly energy, food, and water—raising the specter of scarcities emerging as demand outstrips supply.
  • The potential for conflict will increase owing partly to political turbulence in parts of the greater Middle East.

What is missing from this forecast is a real sense of the internal challenges the West will face as it finds itself facing a future which its institutions are fully unprepared to meet. Westhawk notes the curious resignation that seems to suffuse the forecast.

Mr. Fingar explains how rapid demographic aging will stagger Europe, Japan, and China; how global warming will cripple Chinese agriculture; and how conflicts over mineral and energy resources will tax India, China, and other developing economies. Yet his conclusion is that the U.S. will lose its relative power as a consequence. It is true that it does the U.S. no good when its overseas customers have economic and social problems. But the most severe first-order effects of these problems (if they arise) will be felt outside of North America.

But the greater omission is to imagine that no power or combination of powers will not act to turn the crisis into an opportunity to establish totalitarian rule. If history teaches anything it is that disturbances throw up demagogues. We may not be able to prevent their emergence but the least we can do is anticipate that they will come.  Sunday, November 23, 2008




By Dana Summers

Political Cartoons by Dana Summers




By Charles Johnson

Coming soon to the London ExCeL Centre, a special event hosted by Sri Lankan terrorists The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: Suicide Bombers Day.

Despite the proscription of the group in the United Kingdom , the Tamil language radio station, International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) said in its broadcasts that the event would take place at the London ExCeL Centre, November 27 from 10a.m.

London’s PR newswire said, “The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or LTTE, are a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK under the 2000 Terrorism Act. Membership of the LTTE, fundraising for the group and encouraging support for them are all prohibited in the UK. For the LTTE and its supporters, the 27th November is ‘suicide bombers day’. Past suicide missions are openly venerated and Prabhakaran, the chief of the LTTE, addresses crowds in many countries via video link-up to raise money and international support for the group.”

The PR newswire added, “Holding a public pro-terrorist event in the UK is illegal under both the Terrorism Act 2000 (for supporting a proscribed organisation) and the 2006 Act (for glorification of terrorism).” Expecting fundraising also aligned to the event the newswire said, “40 percent of LTTE funding comes from UK sources. Despite this, the government’s position towards the LTTE and its supporters lacks consistency. The ExCeL Centre drew 3,000 supporters in 2007, and 8,000 the year before when LTTE supporters from around Europe gathered at a leisure centre in Harrow. The ‘suicide bombers day’ 2007 was filmed by the Metropolitan Police, but it was not investigated further.

Also see:
Wikipedia: Liberation Tigers of Tamil EelamSunday, November 23, 2008


By Charles Johnson

In a slice of rancid Syrian antisemitism that aired on October 10, 2008, economist Muhammad Sharif Mazloum calmly explains that the Jews are responsible for the economic crisis. And the Zionist lobby killed JFK, to protect the shekel. (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)

Click picture to play video. Requires Windows Media Player; Mac users should install Flip4MacSaturday, November 22, 2008





Obama taped a video message for the European Olympic Committees XXXVII General Assembly, making a direct plea for Chicago to win the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

You can watch the video here, and read the press release from Obama's transition team:

WASHINGTON – Today, President-Elect Barack Obama delivered a taped video message to the European Olympic Committees (EOC) XXXVII General Assembly meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on behalf of the Chicago 2016 bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

President-Elect Obama has been a longtime supporter of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games. During today's EOC General Assembly meeting, the Chicago 2016 delegation presented their vision for the 2016 Olympic Games and gained feedback on Chicago's bid to host the Games.

In the video message, President-Elect Obama said, “In the coming years, my administration will bring a fresh perspective on America's role and responsibilities around the world. But if we are to truly meet our shared challenges, we must all work together. By uniting the world in a peaceful celebration of human achievement, the Olympic Games reminds us that this is possible.

“The United States would be honored to have the opportunity to host the Games and serve the Olympic Movement,” President-Elect Obama continued. “As President-Elect, I see the Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity for our nation to reach out, welcome the world to our shores, and strengthen our friendships across the globe.”

ABC News's Tapper reported on the video this morning.  November 21, 2008


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