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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Today the UN Security Council sprang into inaction. In fact, the United Nations is now officially “stymied.”

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council failed to reach an accord on Tuesday on how to respond to Iran’s nuclear programs even as President George W. Bush warned Tehran could blackmail the world if it had the bomb.

Russia, backed by China, wants to delete large sections of a Franco-British draft statement the Security Council has been studying for nearly two weeks as a first reaction to Iran’s nuclear research, which the West believes is a cover for bomb making.

Russia is concerned about how deeply the 15-member Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, should get involved in the Iranian crisis.

Until now it has been handled by the 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog in Vienna, and negotiators Germany, Britain and France.


It’s a week old, but this little story of French dhimmitude has not been reported anywhere else (to my knowledge): French politicians subsidize Islamist Groups. (Hat tip: Doss.)

After Nord-Eclair, France-Echos and Caroline Fourest, the weekly newspaper Marianne reveals one of the biggest scandals of modern France: in Roubaix and in the French department of Nord [near the Belgian Border], environmentalist and socialist elected representatives subsidized conferences and radio programmes for Islamists such as Hassan Iquioussen and Tariq Ramadan.

The Marianne delivery of March 11, 2006 contains a four-page article on that affair, exposed by Messaoud Bouras for years but strangely overshadowed by the media.

You heard it right: today, in France, French elected representatives have, in their pitiful run for votes, made subsidies available for declared enemies of the French Republic through associations, radio stations or “school support” groups.

The beneficiaries of those generous gifts are people as despicable as Hassan Iquioussen, the anti-Jew preacher from UIOF [Union des organisations islamiques de France - Union of Muslim Associations in France], Tariq Ramadan, the takia-expert who wants to impose Sharia to French Muslims, the notorious “Indigènes de la République” association [“Natives of the Republic”, “Natives” meaning here former colonized people, i.e. mainly of African or Arab descent] and their call for racist Jihad against people of French descent, or “school support” groups that form real Koranic Madrassas.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006




1938 Alert from Zaman.com, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Iran provided the organization with $1.8 million in aid last month to conduct attacks on Israel. The minister told the daily, Yediot Ahronot that this was the biggest donation in recent times made by Iran to Islamic Jihad.


How can Blair hope to engage in a battle of ideas when he is so obviously and hopelessly unarmed?

"'We' is not the West. 'We' are as much Muslim as Christian or Jew or Hindu. 'We' are those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others, to democracy, liberty and human rights administered by secular courts." So says Blair.

But Tony, it is not Christians or Jews or Hindus who are objecting today to religious tolerance, openness to others, democracy, or to liberty and human rights administered by secular courts. It is only Muslims who have mounted a violent movement, found today around the globe, to combat these ideas. It is only Muslims who can and do find in their central religious texts rejections of these ideas.

As long as Tony Blair refuses to acknowledge these facts and their implications, he continues to put Britain and "the West" at unnecessary risk.

From Reuters:

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday will call for a global, interventionist approach to confront terrorism head on and win a battle over values and ideas.

"This is not a clash between civilizations, it is a clash about civilization," Blair will say in a speech this afternoon, according to extracts released by his official spokesman.

"'We' is not the West. 'We' are as much Muslim as Christian or Jew or Hindu. 'We' are those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others, to democracy, liberty and human rights administered by secular courts," he will say.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006




Today the “moderate” Islamic government of Malaysia issued a sinister warning to non-Muslims.

MALAYSIA’S de facto law minister has threatened to jail or fine non-Muslims who insult Islam, amid concern over recent articles perceived as attacking the religion.

Mohamad Nazri Abdul Aziz said the country’s sedition act could be used on non-Muslims who make comments construed as belittling Islam. “We will not think twice about using this law against anybody who incites,” Mohamad Nazri, a minister in the prime minister’s department, was quoted as saying in the Star newspaper today.

The minister said he was concerned over recent articles written about Islam by non-Muslims, and warned there was a limit to what could be said in the Muslim-majority country.

“I want to remind non-Muslims to refrain from making statements on something they do not understand,” he said.

“We do not want to take away your rights BUT religion is an important matter, especially to the Muslims.”

The minister’s comments come amid heated debates over Islamic family legislation passed by Parliament last year, which critics say will help Muslim men to take multiple wives and claim property after divorce.


Those poor oppressed Palestinians were caught today trying to bring a suicide bomb belt into Israel to commit mass murder: Highway drama: Terror attack foiled.

Major attack foiled: Security forces recovered a 5-kilogram (11 pounds) explosive belt in a vehicle on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway Tuesday, bringing to an end a hot pursuit aimed at thwarting a terror attack.
The heightened terror alert prompted boosted activity by security forces, who proceeded to set up roadblocks in Jerusalem and on the highway connecting the capital to Tel Aviv. Eyewitnesses at the site reported widespread panic in the area where the vehicle was stopped.
“I found myself in a huge traffic jam. I thought it was an accident,” eyewitness Gadi Alfasi told Ynet. “Suddenly I saw five to six police officers with drawn handguns storming a vehicle, and the terrorists coming out with their hands up.”
Police said they believe the explosive device was intended for a central Israel target. The GMC vehicle stopped by forces contained 10 Palestinians, who were taken in for questioning by authorities. The vehicle in question was stopped following a pursuit involving a police chopper.
The terror plot is believed to be the work of an Islamic Jihad cell.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Conventional wisdom asserts that Iran’s nuclear facilities are so dispersed throughout the country and have such well-hardened defenses that it would be very difficult to take them out quickly. But a former senior CIA operative has told The Jerusalem Post that the United States could put a stop to Iran’s Manhattan Project in two days.

Gary Berntsen, the former senior CIA operative who led the search for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in late 2001, believes the United States has the ability to easily destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. He said the US could use bunker-buster bombs and other weapons to carry out the operation.

“We can dig those things out. We can destroy them,” he told The Jerusalem Post in an interview.

“We can take care of it in a couple of days with air strikes and they wouldn’t be able to stop us,” he added. “It wouldn’t be difficult to plan. They’d be some dangers but I think the United States can do it.” Berntsen, who left the CIA in June last year after more than 20 years of service, believes it will be difficult to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear program.

“I know the Iranians. I’ve worked against the Iranians for years. They are determined to get this no matter what, and they will lie and cheat and do whatever they have to do to get themselves a weapon,” he said.

Berntsen ruled out covert action because of the scale of Iran’s nuclear program.
“This is a huge system of facilities they have. This is not going to be a small sort of engagement. We are probably going to have to destroy 30 facilities in 30 locations. Or at least 15,” he said.  Monday, March 20 , 2006




The European Union has transferred sixty-four million euros to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority after briefly withholding the funds because of Hamas' refusal to accept agreements in place that recognize Israel's right to exist. They gave the money with a warning that the next time it might stop if Hamas doesn't change, a warning that failed to impress Hamas at all:

The European Union has handed over 64m euros (£44m) in aid to help the poorest Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

But it said that future aid depended on the incoming Hamas government showing a commitment to work for peace, saying the group was "at a crossroads".

The EU is due to give another 60m euros to cover official salaries and energy expenses for the Palestinian Authority.

EU commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner underscored the EU's rock-solid stance that they would cut off Hamas ... eventually ... sometime ... just watch us. She actually said that the payment gives Hamas room for positive change but it should be clear that the EU would not "go soft on our principles". Really? Exactly what principles would that be? They can't include the cessation of funds for terrorist organizations, because the EU recognizes Hamas as exactly that.

Hamas was less than impressed. Their spokesman acknowledged that the PA faced economic disaster due to the Hamas policies, but that "we will not go begging to the United States and Europe because we will not be blackmailed over our political positions." In other words, Hamas expects the world to give them money while Hamas gives nothing in return. Apparently they've analyzed the EU very accurately in this regard.

The BBC manages to make itself look silly in this dispatch as well. After noting that Hamas has carried out "dozens" of suicide-bomb terrorist attacks against Israel, the Beeb says that the US and the EU have "branded" Hamas as terrorists. Well, no kidding. I'm not sure why the BBC can't just say that Hamas is a terrorist organization, especially since they take credit for terrorist attacks, but I suppose they wouldn't be the BBC if they did. (They might be an actual news organization, but that wouldn't be the BBC.)

The funniest/most tragic part of this story is how the EU plans on ensuring the money does not get used for terrorism. They will give the money to the UN for distribution. Perhaps the EU might want to revisit that cesspool of corruption and oppression that the UN ran in the Oil-For-Food program before they start allowing the same idiots to funnel money to the Palestinian Authority. That money will go right into Hamas' pockets and we will read story after story about the suffering of the poor Palestinians, thanks to the "exclusion" of Hamas from the cash.

I know history repeats itself, but the EU apparently wants to run it on an endless loop.  Monday, March 20 , 2006





From FoxNews: Gore not an '08 presidential candidate... for now.

Former Vice President Al Gore said Monday he's not planning to run for president in 2008 but hasn't ruled out a future in politics.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing," Gore told an audience at Middle Tennessee State University, where he gave a lecture on global warming, one in a series.

"I'm not planning to be a candidate again. I haven't reached a stage in my life where I'm willing to say I will never consider something like this," he said. "But I'm not saying that to be coy; I'm just saying that to be honest -- that I haven't reached that point."  Tuesday, March 21, 2006




A few days ago, the AP's Jennifer Loven wrote a strange "news" report on George Bush's supposed predilection for strawmen in his speeches. Loven wrote that the usage of the rhetorical device 'some say' indicates a dishonest approach to argument and debate:

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.

Of course, this argument is ludicrous. Often in debates, politicians do not want to get specific about the origin of an argument -- and in the examples Loven cites, the arguments have been made by so many people that one could take an entire day trying to recount the specific citations.

If these are strawmen, then apparently the practice isn't limited to Bush. A few of Loven's colleagues use them as well, as evident in the President's press conference this morning:

Q Good morning, sir. Mindful of the frustrations that many Americans are expressing to you, do you believe you need to make any adjustments in how you run the White House? Many of your senior staffers have been with you from the beginning. There are some in Washington who say ...

Q Some say they are tired and even tone-deaf, even within your party who say that maybe you need some changes. Would you benefit from any changes to your staff? ...

Q You said you listen to members of Congress, and there have been growing calls from some of those members for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ...

My, those strawmen sure do get around, don't they? Can we look forward to Loven's next exposé to focus on the dishonest rhetoric and demagoguic attitudes of her brethren in the Exempt Media? I would love to read that analysis.

Speaking of the presser, I didn't get much of a chance to listen to it except for a few excerpts. I think Bush did a fine job in a forum he dislikes. He remained firm while sounding (especially on paper) coherent and relaxed with a hostile press, especially the doddering fool, Helen Thomas. I especially liked her allegation that Iraq never did anything to this country, forgetting that Saddam tried to assassinate George H. W. Bush when he visited Kuwait after his presidency, an act that resulted in Bill Clinton ordering a missile assault on Iraqi intelligence assets in Baghdad. Saddam's security forces repeatedly fixed anti-aircraft missiles on our pilots while they enforced and patrolled the no-fly zone, and the first attack on the World Trade Center involved a man who got a Kuwaiti identity during Saddam's occupation of his neighbor.

Bush hit the target when he talked about the difference between a September 10th point of view and a September 12th point of view:

Our foreign policy up to now was to kind of tolerate what appeared to be calm. And underneath the surface was this swelling sense of anxiety and resentment, out of which came this totalitarian movement that is willing to spread its propaganda through death and destruction, to spread its philosophy. Now, some in this country don't -- I can understand -- don't view the enemy that way. I guess they kind of view it as an isolated group of people that occasionally kill. I just don't see it that way. I see them bound by a philosophy with plans and tactics to impose their will on other countries.

The enemy has said that it's just a matter of time before the United States loses its nerve and withdraws from Iraq. That's what they have said. And their objective for driving us out of Iraq is to have a place from which to launch their campaign to overthrow modern governments -- moderate governments -- in the Middle East, as well as to continue attacking places like the United States. Now, maybe some discount those words as kind of meaningless propaganda. I don't, Jim. I take them really seriously. And I think everybody in government should take them seriously and respond accordingly. And so it's -- I've got to continue to speak as clearly as I possibly can about the consequences of success and the consequences of failure, and why I believe we can succeed.

But he made his best point when the issue of the NSA surveillance program arose:

I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.

I did notice that, at one point in time, they didn't think the Patriot Act ought to be reauthorized -- "they" being at least the Minority Leader in the Senate. He openly said, as I understand -- I don't want to misquote him -- something along the lines that, "We killed the Patriot Act." And if that's what the party believes, they ought to go around the country saying we shouldn't give the people on the front line of protecting us the tools necessary to do so.

Many of us have vented our frustration at the lack of direct communication from this White House on the war, the economy, and other issues. This started to change towards the end of last year, but in January the effort seemed to stop. George Bush needs to hold conferences like this more often; he always manages to outperform expectations when he does, and the American people like his direct manner when interacting spontaneously with the press and with audiences for his speeches.

He needs to continue this effort, and not just to make himself more popular. The war effort hangs on his ability to keep the American electorate from panicking and withdrawing their support. Speaking about the issues of the war and his plans for victory is as necessary for that effort as the Humvees he's sending to Iraq for the new Iraqi Army. Without a much more energetic effort of the kind we saw today, Bush will lose this war by default.


The Palestinians enjoyed the benificence of Saddam Hussein during the regime's long and brutal rule over the Iraqi people. Perhaps singular among Arab tyrants, Saddam gave the Palestinians privileges denied to Iraqis while funneling money to the suicide bombers that continually attacked Israel during the intifadas. In turn, the Palestinians gave Saddam's Iraq their unquestioning support, publicly siding with him when his tanks overran Kuwait and brutalized that nation for months, and celebrating the 9/11 attacks in street demonstrations of ululating joy -- until a frightened and embarrassed Yasser Arafat told them to shut the hell up.

Their special treatment caused plenty of resentment among Iraqis during Saddam's regime, and now that Saddam has been removed from power, the Palestinians feel a lot less welcome in the new Iraq:

More than 100 Palestinians fleeing violence in Baghdad and seeking refuge in Jordan have been denied entry by Jordanian border officials for not having proper entry permits, the spokesman for the Jordanian government said Monday.

The Palestinians have remained at the border in the hope of crossing, but the Jordanian government has closed it pending a resolution of the matter, the spokesman, Nasser Judeh, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Amman.

In recent weeks, as the country has experienced a surge in sectarian violence, Palestinians have been increasingly singled out by Shiite militias, because they were Sunni Arabs and because they had enjoyed certain privileges under Saddam Hussein. Many Palestinians were members of the Baath Party, and Mr. Hussein granted them free schooling and free housing, among other favors.

Residents of Baladiyat, a Baghdad neighborhood in which Palestinians are concentrated, say that in recent weeks, dozens of people have been kidnapped and many have turned up dead. The residents have accused Shiite militias in the killings.

This shows that the nature of the violence in Iraq has turned into a type of gang warfare similar to that seen on smaller scales in American urban centers, more so in the 80s and early 90s when drug money and turf wars turned cities into shooting galleries. These Palestinians weren't just honored guests or innocent bystanders during Saddam's reign, but actual participants in the oppression. They belonged to the Ba'ath party and benefitted greatly from that membership. Their continued presence raises legitimate questions about their activities on behalf of the Ba'athist insurgents, and assuming -- as this article does -- that they are just innocent refugees requires a significant leap of faith.

Nor is it any surprise that Jordan wants them to stay out of their country. Jordan provided an example for other Arab nations as to why they should never allow the Palestinian refugees to enter someone else's country. No sooner had King Hussein allowed them inside his borders did Yasser Arafat and the PLO begin undermining his authority and working to foment a coup. Hussein finally booted the Palestinians out of Jordan. They wound up in Lebanon and turned the southern end of the country into a war zone when they began using it for attacks on Israel.

The Palestinians have been cursed with the worst leadership imaginable, but the fault is theirs. If they wonder why they are no longer welcome in Iraq, they should recall their enthusiasm for one of the twentieth century's more brutal tyrants and their assistance in keeping him in power. Their choices have led them once again to someone else's border, begging for relief, and their history will keep anyone with an ounce of sense from letting them inside.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The Scotsman reports on a key piece of evidence that ties Saddam Hussein directly to the disgusting genocide of Kurds in Halabja almost twenty years ago. Memos from his personal secretary to military leaders make clear that Saddam wanted to use chemical weapons on Kurdish positions in 1987:

SADDAM Hussein ordered plans to be drawn up for a chemical weapons attack on Kurdish guerrilla bases in northern Iraq in 1987, according to a letter signed by his personal secretary. ...

The planned attack appears to have been part of the 1987-88 campaign that left more than 180,000 Kurds dead and demolished hundreds of Kurdish villages in northern Iraq. In the most notorious incident, the town of Halabja was bombed with mustard and nerve gas in 1988, killing 5,000 residents.

In the papers released by the US, a report from Iraq's military intelligence details the bases of Kurdish rebels, led by Ibrahim Barzani, and Iranian troops.

Saddam's secretary replies, saying, "The leader Mr President has ordered that your department study with experts a surprise attack with special ammunition in the areas of Barzani's gangs and the [former Iranian leader Ayatollah] Khomeini Guards."

"Special ammunition" is the phrase used throughout Saddam's regime for chemical weapons. Later documents mention specifically the nerve agent sarin and mustard gas.

One wonders how Saddam would respond to this. Regarding Dujail, he has claimed that the processes used to massacre the residents of the small town as a reprisal for an assassination attempt were legal under Iraqi law, a claim that has done little to slow his prosecution. For Halabja, observers widely predicted that his defense would claim ignorance of the attack until after it had already taken place -- a sort of reverse Nazi defense of "I didn't give the orders". This new evidence clearly shows that he gave those orders before, and probably on many other occasions, against the Iranians during their eight-year war as well as against his own people.

It's fashionable these days to claim that the Iraqis were better off under Saddam than after his liberation, given the civilian death toll from the fight against the insurgents. Some claim that over 100,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion, although the methodology for those calculations has been highly suspect. In two years, Saddam killed over 180,000 Kurds just for being Kurds, and destroyed their homes, forcing them to live in the hills to survive -- and that doesn't count the hundreds of thousands of Marsh Arabs, Shi'a, and even Sunnis who died either in droves in reprisals for suspected disloyalty or individually as Saddam and his henchmen desired. This letter reminds us that Iraqis and the world have all benefitted from the removal of this sick, twisted dictator.  Monday, March 20 , 2006




Sunni-Shi'ite Jihad Update from AP, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Police in the Afghan capital defused two bombs Tuesday near a Shiite shrine where tens of thousands of people had gathered for a religious festival, the country's anti-terrorism chief said.

The bombs were discovered hidden near the Sakhi shrine, the second most important Shiite place of worship in Afghanistan, Gen. Abdul Manan Farahi told The Associated Press.

Police defused the bombs and removed them, he said. The festival carried on without interruption as police patrolled the area on horses, in cars and on foot.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children gathered at the shrine before dawn to celebrate Nowruz, an ancient Persian festival marking the first day of spring.

Though predominantly a Shiite festival, Nowruz also marks the new year in Afghanistan and is celebrated by Sunnis.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006




Is London’s mayor Ken Livingstone suffering from a form of Jewish Tourette’s Syndrome? Despite the fact that he is in the middle of appealing against his suspension by the Standards Board for an offensive remark made to a Jewish reporter, he couldn’t restrain himself from doing it again today in another extraordinary outburst. At a press conference on the Stratford city redevelopment project in London’s East End, which has been having a few problems, he said of a pair of Jewish property developers involved in the project, David and Simon Reuben:

If they’re not happy here perhaps they could go back to Iran and try it under the Ayatollahs

a remark which he repeated – with slight variations in the wording between the two comments -- when asked to explain himself. As it happens, the Reuben brothers were born in Bombay to Iraqi parents of Jewish descent and have lived in the UK for almost four decades. Had they actually been Iranian, the remark would have been the equivalent to saying to a pair of black property developers: ‘Go back where you came from’ – the defining verbal tic of a racist. Since they are not Iranian, the remark is the equivalent of saying to a pair of Jamaican property developers: ‘Go back to Africa’ – a possibly even more offensive variant on this tic. In any event, suggesting that two Jews should either shut up or push off to a regime which regards them as targets for genocide is simply an expression of a quite visceral prejudice.

There are two possible reasons for this behaviour. The first is that, when presented with Jews doing something that irritates him, Livingstone cannot stop himself from an instinctively and obsessively prejudiced reaction. The second is that he is cynically milking for political advantage the dismaying public support he received over the Standards Board’s ruling. That support derived in part from the view that Livingstone’s remarks to the reporter – comparing him to a ‘war criminal’ and then, upon learning that he was a Jew, to a ‘concentration camp guard’, were no more than Ken being a bit tired and emotional and, well, Ken just being Ken and that altogether far too big a deal was being made of the whole thing, particularly since an unelected quango had had the temerity to suspend the London voters' hero. Livingstone manipulated all this brilliantly, managing to imply that accusations of anti-Jewish prejudice were a Zionist conspiracy (even though the issue of Israel had had absolutely nothing to do with it) and posing as a martyr for democracy. Any prejudice was all coming from the other direction.

With today’s non-alcoholic outburst, however, that defence falls away. One anti-Jewish remark may (to some people) be an accident, but two suggests a pathology. The reaction to this incident will be interesting to observe. Let’s see who stands up for decency here. The London Assembly’s Conservative group is commendably jumping up and down. In a press release, Assembly member Brian Coleman said:

This is the latest antisemitic remark by Livingstone. He clearly has a major problem with the Jewish business community. To suggest that these men should go to Iran is shocking, outrageous and grossly offensive to the entire Jewish community.

That community itself, however, may now be cautious in its response. In Britain, Jewish leaders are neurotically averse to putting their heads above the parapet for fear of making the prejudice against Jews even worse – a stance which they feel was all too horribly vindicated by the backlash against the complaint made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews (and the Commission for Racial Equality and many others, by the way) over the concentration camp guard episode. It would not be surprising, therefore, if the Board were reacting to today’s developments with unalloyed horror – not just at Livingstone’s remarks, but at the prospect of having to raise once again the issue that now dare not speak its name in multicultural Britain.

For there is no doubt that anti-Jewish hatred is now the forbidden prejudice – forbidden, that is, to be complained about. There are many reasons for this, including – ironically – a revolt by the public in general against the tendentious or false accusations of offensiveness which are now routinely deployed by minority groups as weapons against majority values (through intimidating people with accusations of Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia) as in the recent uproar over the Danish cartoons. This has led to an impatience with any minority group complaining about prejudice, even where the complaint is well-founded. People have had it up to here with the delicate sensibilities of minorities, period. So the Jews, who really are victims of true, unprovoked, irrational prejudice based on a visceral and ancient hatred, are being similarly dismissed in the same backlash.

But there’s more, much more to this. Jewish victimhood is simply being systematically expunged from the British narrative. Why? Many reasons; but one of the deepest is that it’s payback time for the guilt that Christian Europe has been made to feel for the way Jews have been treated at its hands – and Israel is their get-out-of-jail-free card. Which is why we can expect Livingstone to claim that the protests against today’s remarks are all a Zionist/Mossad plot. Press the Israel button and silence the British Jews. Which is why the timid, servile, supine boobies who pass for the leaders of the Jewish community should grit their teeth and name this thing for what it is. If they are muted or silenced, the intimidation will have worked and the peddlers of prejudice will have won.

We can never eradicate the oldest hatred. The only question is whether the Jews of Britain choose to deal with it on their knees, or by standing upright and fighting it like a free people. It’s a no-brainer.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006




Sweden’s foreign minister Laila Freivald resigned today, after accusations that she acted unconstitutionally by shutting down a web site that published the dreaded cartoons of blasphemy. (Hat tip: Sugiero.)

Laila Freivald resigned as Sweden’s foreign minister on Tuesday with immediate effect, after accusations that she acted unconstitutionally by closing a far-right web site that published controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Freivald also was sharply criticized last year for the Swedish government’s bungled response to the Asian tsunami, which claimed the lives of around 500 Swedes on holiday. Prime Minister Goran Persson said Freivald’s departure was her own decision.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006


More than 6,000 women are facing charges under Pakistan’s “Hudud” laws for the crime of being raped: Thousands of Pakistani women face charges under Islamic laws.

Islamabad: Nearly 80 percent of the more than 6,000 women and girls on trial in Pakistan are facing charges under the controversial “Hudood” Islamic laws that mainly deal with crimes of adultery and rape, said a human rights report published on Monday.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report also noted an increase in the killings of women in the name of honour, Daily Times reported. Most such killings targetted women and girls who contracted marriages against family’s will.  Monday, March 20 , 2006





From Reuters: Ahmadinejad: Iran will stick to nuclear plans.

Iran will stand by its right to obtain nuclear technology and anyone spreading propaganda against its atomic program will come to regret it, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday.

"No one can take away our nuclear technology. The Iranian nation has obtained it and will preserve it. Some are against the Iranian nation's development," he said in a televised address to mark the start of the Iranian year on March 21.

He spoke as senior foreign affairs officials from the five veto-holding U.N. Security Council powers and Germany were to meet to try to break the impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The Council has been unable for nearly two weeks to issue a statement telling Iran to halt uranium enrichment efforts which the West believes are a cover for bomb making. Iran says its nuclear program is simply for generating electricity.

Ahmadinejad said Iran would resist efforts to undermine its nuclear program just as it pursued the nationalization of its oil industry last century against the wishes of Western powers

To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click hereMonday, March 20 , 2006




Protests have continued to a third day in Belarus despite the bragging of Aleksander Lukashenko that he had defeated reformers in the crooked elections that saw him garner 83% of the vote:

Hundreds of protesters defied Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko for a third day on Tuesday, massing in the capital to protest over his re-election, denounced as flawed by Washington and independent observers.

In a protest unprecedented for the tightly-controlled, ex-Soviet state, opposition demonstrators continued an overnight vigil and camped in driving snow on a Minsk central square to back a call for a re-run of a vote they say was rigged.

Lukashenko, 12 years in power and criticized by the opposition and in the West for authoritarian Soviet-style rule, swept back into office on Monday with an official tally of 82.6 percent.

Nearest rival Alexander Milinkevich, with six percent, called the poll fraudulent, a view shared widely in the West, though the result was never in doubt given Lukashenko's control over much of public life and media.

Last week, Belarus threatened protestors with death for political "terrorism". Now they can't scare them off the streets, and the security forces seem unable to shut down the calls for new and proper elections. Keep watching, because either Belarus is heading for another velvet revolution in the footsteps of Ukraine and Georgia, or it's heading for a Tiananmen Square disaster. Given Lukashenko's location at the eastern end of Europe, and given the problems the Russians already have, I'm betting on the former. I predicted that this would occur within months; it looks more like weeks now, and maybe sooner than that.

Publius has his ear to the ground, as always.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006







Independent Iraqi operation in the Haditha Triad, U.S. operation in Ramadi and an update on Swarmer & north-central Iraq.

By Bill Roggio

The fight against the insurgency is increasingly focused in the provinces of Saladhadin, Baghdad and the eastern portion of Anbar province. Some of the recent operations have been executed by Iraqi troops alone, some by joint U.S. and Iraqi troops, and some by U.S. troops alone.

In Anbar province, two recent counterinsurgency operations were conducted in the Haditha Triad region and Ramadi. As part of Operation Raging Bull, the Iraqi Army's 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Division "conducted a day-long, fully independent counterinsurgency operation in the towns of Albu Hayatt and Khaffajiah to disrupt insurgent activity and to search for weapons caches." The operation was conceived, planned and executed by the Iraqi Army, with the only assistance being provided by U.S. forces being the Military Transition Team, which consists of officers and enlisted Marines embedded with the Iraqi unit to provide advice and logistical assistance. This is the third fully independent operation conducted by the Iraqi Army in Anbar province, with Moonlight on the Syrian border at the end of December, and Final Strike at the end of January in the Jazerra region north of Ramadi.

In Ramadi, the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 506th Regimental Combat Team, part of the 2/28 Brigade Combat Team (Pennsylvania Army National Guard) launched Operation Normandy in the Julayba area, and according to the 2-BCT "Insurgents in the Julayba area are linked to the Al Qaida in Iraq (AQIZ) cell in the Al Anbar Province." Three insurgents were killed, seventeen were arrested and weapons, equipment to manufacture IEDs were discovered. There is a brigade and headquarters of Iraqi Army, along with several separate Iraqi Army battalions, and an armored company, but none of these units appear to be involved in the operation. The Wolf Brigade Police commandos [now called the Freedom Brigade] recently departed Ramadi. [note: the disposition of Iraqi forces has been corrected]

The bulk of the heavy lifting is being done in Baghdad and north-central Iraq. Iraqi police claim to have arrested the (unnamed) leader of Jamaat Al-Tawhid w'al-Jihad (Unity and Jihad Group), which is Zarqawi's origninal terrorist group and predecessor to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Several of Al-Tawhid w'al-Jihad's leaders have been killed in the past in northern Iraq, including Abu Azzam al-Iraqi and Suleiman Khalid Darwish. The Interior Ministry also reports it has recently arrested 21 members of the insurgency throughout Iraq. The Iraqi Army detained thirteen more insurgents after receiving a tip from a "known al-Qaeda member who had turned himself in to authorities."

North of Samarra, Operation Swarmer continues for its fifth day. A total of sixteen caches have been uncovered and over 60 suspected insurgents have been detained, with about half of them being released. Pamela Hess provides an update from Samarra and background on the insurgency in the troubled city, and states "the attack on the Golden Mosque has tipped public sympathy in the favor of Iraqi government forces." Swarmer "was meant to go after reports of terrorist training camps in the outlying areas." Bill Putnam is embedded with the 101st for Swarmer and provides more pictures of the operation.

In Kirkuk and Hawijah "two battalions of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, detained 46 suspected insurgents during numerous cordon and search missions" over the course of a week. Among those captured were four insurgents who were in the process of planting roadside bombs. In Tal Afar, a local resident provided a tip to the Iraqi Army that lead to the discovery of a large weapons cache. And near Mosul, "Sixteen insurgents were detained in a raid conducted by 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Soldiers" and the Iraqi Army discovered and destroyed a weapons cache was discovered.

But the insurgency has not remained silent, and has pulled off a highly successful operation of its own. Seventeen Iraqi police were killed and seven wounded in Muqdadiyah after an insurgent assault on an Iraqi police station, and two more police were killed in a roadside bomb when they attempted to reinforce the beleaguered police station. Over thirty prisoners were freed from the prison during the attack, including "the son of a Rasheed Taam, a Baathist official in the western city of Ramadi... the father is a fugitive sought by both American and Iraqi authorities." This assault was likely carried out by the Baathist elements of the insurgency, and Muqdadiyah is a known Baathist stronghold.  Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The meaning of civil war, and political and military developments in Iraq.

By Bill Roggio

With the advent of the three year ‘anniversary’ of the liberation of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the common headline has switched from an indomitable insurgency to impending civil war, if not an existing civil war. Richard Hernandez looks at the issue in detail, and postulates “the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency without abandoning the characterization of Iraq is an American fiasco.” We believe there is merit to this argument.

While the term ‘civil war’ is thrown around with little thought of the meaning it communicates, there has been little effort to define exactly what a civil war is. The definition supplied by Wikipedia highlights the reasons for some of the confusion in the usage of the term, as there are two schools of thought on this subject, and the definition is quite vague:

A civil war is a war in which parties within the same country or empire struggle for national control of state power. As in any war, the conflict may be over other matters such as religion, ethnicity, or distribution of wealth. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not). In simple terms, a Civil War is a war in which a country fights another part of itself.

The United States Committee for a Free Lebanon provides the Complete List of Terrorist and Insurgency Groups Worldwide. Based on this list, and the latter definition from Wikipedia (prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not)), Spain, France, Greece, the United States, India and a host of nations throughout the world are in a ‘civil war’. India alone has twenty-nine insurgent groups, many of which are actively carrying out violent campaigns within its borders. Yet there is little talk of civil war in India. The violence in India takes thousands of lives each year, yet is characterized as sectarian, insurgency or terrorism related.

We argue the definition of civil war is far too broad, as armed conflict within a state is not the sole indicator of civil war. Key indicators of a civil war would include the breakdown of the political process and an unwillingness of the opposing parties to negotiate, the factionalization of the military and security institutions, and open warfare between the various parties. It is for these reasons we provided the indicators of a civil war in Iraq after the destruction of the dome of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.

So far, we have seen little indications of these signs coming to pass. Yes, the political process is slow and painful, and counterproductive to quelling the violence, but there is progress. Yes, there is an insurgency in Iraq, but it is being fought by the Iraqi government alongside with the Coalition forces. Yes, there is sectarian violence, but this violence is not sanctioned by the government of Iraq, or the political or religious leaders. Yes, there are armed militias and rogue elements within the security services, but the majority of the Iraqi politicians recognize the threat they pose and are working to diminish the power of militias.

The Iraqi Security Forces continue to take on more of the security responsibility. And in an encouraging sign of political progress, the Iraqi politicians have agreed on the creation of a Security Council designed to “give each of the country's main political factions a voice in making security and economic policies for a new government...” and is “expected to set policies governing the army and police, the counter-insurgency campaign in Sunni Muslim Arab areas and the disarmament of Shiite Muslim militias accused of sectarian killings.”

Also, there is talk that SCIRI may break with the United Iraqi Alliance and join with Kurdish, secular Shiite and Sunni parties to nominate Abdel Mahdi as prime minister. This would override the UIA’s appointment of Jaafari, and reduce the influence of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Madhi Army militia is thought to be behind much of the Shiite-led sectarian violence. While this has not been confirmed, it certainly demonstrates the various parties are willing to discuss options, despite political or sectarian differences.

The threat of a civil war in Iraq is quite real, particularly if the political process breaks down. Iraq may be a step or two from a civil war, but it is not there yet.  Monday, March 20 , 2006




The US has its own problems with the deadly virus of Jew-hatred, particularly on campus. A particularly ripe example of the ‘global Zionist conspiracy’ libel has now surfaced in a 83-page screed by two professors -- Stephen Walt, the academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, no less, and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago -- and published across 14 pages in the London Review of Books (of course). 14 pages! 83 pages! My, those LRB editors and progressive intellectuals at Harvard and Chicago sure have a striking sense of priorities (who said ‘pathological obsession’ at the back there? Must be another member of the conspiracy). Among many other canards, the article claims that the only reason the US supports Israel is the American ‘Israel lobby’; that supporting Israel is not in America’s own interests; that the ‘Israel lobby’ has thus persuaded the US to act against the interests of America in supporting Israel; that this manipulation is unique in America’s history; that this lobby was also critical in persuading the US to go to war in Iraq; and that America’s alliance with Israel brought about 9/11.

Well, I suppose it makes a change from the ‘wicked oil industry lobby’ that George Clooney, Michael Moore et al tell us has hijacked American foreign policy. Doubtless the ‘Israel lobby’ is behind the oil weapon too, and the fact that Israel is its victim is just further proof of the diabolical manipulative powers of AIPAC.

You have to laugh, though, when the authors try to wrap themselves in the mantle of heroic fighters against the attempt by the ‘Israel lobby’ to stifle them:

Anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over U.S. Middle East policy...stands a good chance of getting labeled an antisemite.

Actually, they stand instead an excellent chance of being published in the London Review of Books, one of the most prestigious publications of the British and English-speaking intelligentsia. Anyone who offers the alternative view doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of writing for it at all -- and not a much brighter prospect of getting it published anywhere else, either. But open the Guardian or Independent any day of the week, and these 'stifled' claims of the Israel /Jewish/neocon global conspiracy/world evil pour from their pages in an unstoppable torrent of bile.

Needless to say, reaction to this work of malevolent charlatanry has been voluminous and devastating. Powerline has produced a useful compendium of references which expose the mendacity, ignorance and prejudice of the article:

Among the excellent commentary it has generated on the Internet is a column by Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky at the American Thinker, a statement by Alex Safian at CAMERA, a post by Martin Kramer at Sandstorm, and a personal correction (scroll to bottom) by Daniel Pipes. Among the legion of individuals assigned to the ‘Israel lobby’ by Mearsheimer and Walt are Bernard Lewis, Bill Bennett, George Will, Alan Dershowitz, and Clinton Mideast advisors Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross, and Aaron Miller. In today's New York Sun, Meghan Clyne quotes Dennis Ross: ‘Also critical of the paper's academic quality was one of the figures mentioned in it as part of the "lobby," President Clinton's special Middle East envoy, Dennis Ross, who said the authors displayed "a woeful lack of knowledge on the subject." "The part I've read I find remarkable for its lack of seriousness," Mr. Ross told the Sun yesterday. "It is basically a series of assertions. They quote only those people who basically have this point of view and don't take a serious look at anything in a more profound way. It is masquerading as scholarship."'

The fundamental misrepresentations and distortions in this LRB paper are quite astonishing. Take this claim, for example, that Israeli citizenship

is based on the principle of blood kinship.

This is totally untrue. Arabs and other non-Jews are Israeli citizens. As Alan Dershowitz has observed, the authors have confused Israel's law of return with its criteria for citizenship. According to the New York Sun:

Mr. Walt said on this citizenship point last night that he wanted to check into it.

He wants to check into it? The academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government has published an ‘academic’ work of 83 pages which delegitimises and demonises a country and all those who support it -- and he now wants to ‘check into’ the, ahem, veracity of his own incendiary claim?

But why should Mearsheimer and Walt bother about little details like the truth when, as the New York Sun also reported, they can bask in the warm admiration of white supremacists and Islamist fanatics:

A paper recently co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government about the allegedly far-reaching influence of an ‘Israel lobby’ is winning praise from white supremacist David Duke. The Palestine Liberation Organization mission to Washington is distributing the paper, which also is being hailed by a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization. Duke, a former Louisiana state legislator and one-time Ku Klux Klan leader, called the paper ‘a great step forward,’ but he said he was ‘surprised’ that the Kennedy School would publish the report.‘I have read about the report and read one summary already, and I am surprised how excellent it is,’ he said in an e-mail. ‘It is quite satisfying to see a body in the premier American University essentially come out and validate every major point I have been making since even before the war even started.’ Mr. Walt said last night, ‘I have always found Mr. Duke's views reprehensible, and I am sorry he sees this article as consistent with his view of the world.’

Tsk! Such ingratitude! Doubtless Duke will now take out a subscription to the LRB.

The big question, however, is how such individuals who break every rule in the scholarly lexicon can be employed as professors -- and even an academic dean -- at Harvard and Chicago. One reason is suggested in the devastating evisceration of these two authors at The American Thinker:

The authors resent Jewish citizens who contribute to universities, Jewish critics of the media, Jewish supporters of think tanks, and, finally it seems, Jewish people in government. However, they seem to have no concern for or even acknowledge the magnitude of foreign (Arab) donations, given by dictators who steal their own people’s wealth to support hate and terror around the world, raining money down on think tanks, colleges, and media outlets in America. On the latter issue, the same Saudi Prince who gave $20 million to Harvard bragged of his recent 5% purchase of News Corporation stock giving him the power to influence news reporting. This is a worrisome development, for he also owned a 30% stake in an Arab TV network, ART TV, that spews forth anti-Semitism and anti-Western agitprop. Foreign money, as long as it is anti-Israel, is worth its weight in gold (or oil). Jewish Americans who support universities are somehow tainted in their worldview...

The Iraq war is a source of much of the Israel-loathing which is just beneath the surface in the Walt/Mearsheimer article. The authors promote the theory that America went to war with Iraq in 2003 because of Israel, and in particular, at the direction of Israel’s Likud Party and Ariel Sharon and their flacks in the American neoconservative movement. There were certainly Jews who supported the war with Iraq, though as even the authors admit, Jewish Americans disproportionately opposed the war, with a far higher percentage opposed to the war than among the general population. So much, one would think, for the proposition that the Jews drove America to war. But the professors want us to ignore the general disapproval of the war by American Jews, for what is important are the powerful neoconservative voices, who pushed Bush and Cheney to war. To believe this theory, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice and Colin Powell were mere pushovers and puppets for the likes of Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby.

Characterizing this as suggesting the cart is pulling the horse is too kind to the authors’ theory. In fact, people such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle have always been consistent in their views opposing tyranny. They worked to bring down Communism, acted to save Bosnian Muslims and Iraqi Shiites from genocide, tried to stabilize Somalia and protect its citizens from the depredations of warlords, and have acted to stop the genocide in the Sudan. These actions are not particularly pro-Israel, as much as they are anti-dictatorship and pro-human rights.

The nations that directly benefited from the downfall of Saddam were Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq itself, since all these nations and peoples suffered from the sadism of Saddam. If Israel also benefited (a big 'if'), it certainly was not a prime beneficiary. Perhaps, these experts should be more aware of a basic statistical principle: correlation does not prove causation. Israel may have been aided by Iraq’s liberation, but it does not prove – except in the delusional world of the authors – that tiny Israel (or a tiny minority of American Jews) caused the war to happen.

This LRB travesty is not a one-off. It is but the latest example of a poisonous pathology which has gripped the intelligentsia of the west, centred around a visceral loathing of America, Israel, the neocons and the Jews. Indeed, neo-conservatism seems to have induced a kind of madness, a total eclipse of reason among its political opponents; it is not surprising, therefore, that those within the intelligentsia who have developed such an obsessive loathing of the neo-cons have ended up in bed with white supremacists and clerical fascists.

Our campuses, which should be spreading enlightenment, knowledge and the power of reason are instead spreading hatred, lies and the toxins of murderous prejudice. The intelligentsia have become the fifth columnists of the west, an engine of war that is being deployed by the enemies of life and liberty to sow terminal confusion, self-loathing and de-moralisation that -- with every day that passes -- are progressively sapping the ability of the free world to defend itself. It is not enough for this LRB article to be denounced and for the reputations of these two authors to be deservedly trashed at the bar of international opinion. The university world has got to take a long hard look at itself and start the trek back to proper scholarship, truth and integrity. It has to realise that it is not a disinterested bystander at the current struggle between freedom and genocidal clerical fascism. It is instead an active player -- and on the wrong side. It has to start cleansing its own academic Augean stables, and fast.   Tuesday, March 21, 2006



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