Salum was critically wounded when a Katyusha rocket hit his family's home on Caesarea Street in the mostly Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas. Salum suffered serious burns all over his body. The doctors fought for his life from the moment he arrived at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, and he had been kept in the hospital's intensive care unit since.Munira, Salum's sister was by his bedside since the incident. "There were weeks when we felt that his condition may be improving and he was beginning to recover. My mother and I thought that he was coming back to us and we even made sure to modify the house in order to cater to his needs, removing staircases and enabling wheelchair access, but over the last week his condition worsened and we slowly felt that we were losing him," she said.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Posted by News Service at 1:32 AM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
By Gareth Porter*
WASHINGTON, Aug 28 (IPS) - Israeli officials warned the George W. Bush administration that an invasion of Iraq would be destabilising to the region and urged the United States to instead target Iran as the primary enemy, according to former administration official Lawrence Wilkerson.
Wilkerson, then a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff and later chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, recalled in an interview with IPS that the Israelis reacted immediately to indications that the Bush administration was thinking of war against Iraq. After the Israeli government picked up the first signs of that intention, Wilkerson says, "The Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy -- Iran is the enemy."
Wilkerson describes the Israeli message to the Bush administration in early 2002 as being, "If you are going to destabilise the balance of power, do it against the main enemy."
The warning against an invasion of Iraq was "pervasive" in Israeli communications with the administration, Wilkerson recalls. It was conveyed to the administration by a wide range of Israeli sources, including political figures, intelligence and private citizens.
Wilkerson notes that the main point of their communications was not that the United States should immediately attack Iran, but that "it should not be distracted by Iraq and Saddam Hussein" from a focus on the threat from Iran.
The Israeli advice against using military force against Iraq was apparently triggered by reports reaching Israeli officials in December 2001 that the Bush administration was beginning serious planning for an attack on Iraq. Journalist Bob Woodward revealed in "Plan of Attack" that on Dec. 1, 2001, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld had ordered the Central Command chief Gen. Tommy Franks to come up with the first formal briefing on a new war plan for Iraq on Dec. 4. That started a period of intense discussions of war planning between Rumsfeld and Franks.
Soon after Israeli officials got wind of that planning, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked for a meeting with Bush primarily to discuss U.S. intentions to invade Iraq. In the weeks preceding Sharon's meeting with Bush on Feb. 7, 2002, a procession of Israeli officials conveyed the message to the Bush administration that Iran represented a greater threat, according to a Washington Post report on the eve of the meeting.
Israeli Defence Minister Fouad Ben-Eliezer, who was visiting Washington with Sharon, revealed the essence of the strategic differences between Tel Aviv and Washington over military force. He was quoted by the Post as saying, "Today, everybody is busy with Iraq. Iraq is a problem...But you should understand, if you ask me, today Iran is more dangerous than Iraq."
Sharon, who died of a stroke in early 2006, never revealed publicly what he said to Bush in the Feb. 7 meeting. But Yossi Alpher, a former adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, wrote in an article in the Forward last January that Sharon advised Bush not to occupy Iraq, according to a knowledgeable source. Alpher wrote that Sharon also assured Bush that Israel would not "push one way or another" regarding his plan to take down Saddam Hussein.
Alpher noted that Washington did not want public support by Israel and in fact requested that Israel refrain from openly supporting the invasion in order to avoid an automatic negative reaction from Iraq's Arab neighbours.
After that meeting, the Sharon government generally remained silent on the issue of an invasion of Iraq. A notable exception, however, was a statement on Aug. 16, 2002 by Ranaan Gissin, an aide to Sharon. Ranaan declared, "Any postponement of an attack on Iraq at this stage will serve no purpose. It will only give [Hussein] more of an opportunity to accelerate his programme of weapons of mass destruction."
As late as October 2002, however, there were still signs of continuing Israeli grumbling about the Bush administration's obsession with taking over Iraq. Both the Israeli Defence Forces' chief of staff and its chief of military intelligence made public statements that month implicitly dismissing the Bush administration's position that Saddam Hussein's alleged quest for nuclear weapons made him the main threat. Both officials suggested that Israel's military advantage over Iraq had continued to increase over the decade since the Gulf War as Iraq had grown weaker.
The Israeli chief of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Farkash, said Iraq had not deployed any missiles that could strike Israel directly and challenged the Bush administration's argument that Iraq could obtain nuclear weapons within a relatively short time. He gave an interview to Israeli television in which he said army intelligence had concluded that Iraq could not have nuclear weapons in less than four years. He insisted that Iran was as much of a nuclear threat as Iraq.
Israeli strategists generally believed that taking down the Hussein regime could further upset an Iran-Iraq power balance that had already tilted in favour of Iran after the U.S. defeat of Hussein's army in the 1991 Gulf War. By 1996, however, neoconservatives with ties to the Likud Party were beginning to argue for a more aggressive joint U.S.-Israeli strategy aimed at a "rollback" of all of Israel's enemies in the region, including Iran, but beginning by taking down Hussein and putting a pro-Israeli regime in power there.
That was the thrust of the 1996 report of a task force led by Richard Perle for the right-wing Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies and aimed at the Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
But most strategists in the Israeli government and the Likud Party -- including Sharon himself -- did not share that viewpoint. Despite agreement between neoconservatives and Israeli officials on many issues, the dominant Israeli strategic judgment on the issue of invading Iraq diverged from that of U.S. neoconservatives because of differing political-military interests.
Israel was more concerned with the relative military threat posed by Iran and Iraq, whereas neoconservatives in the Bush administration were focused on regime change in Iraq as a low-cost way of leveraging more ambitious changes in the region. From the neoconservative perspective, the very military weakness of Hussein's Iraq made it the logical target for the use of U.S. military power.
*Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. His latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in June 2005.
Posted by News Service at 1:28 PM
"The political power of the occupiers (of Iraq) is being destroyed rapidly and very soon we will be witnessing a great power vacuum in the region," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.
"We, with the help of regional friends and the Iraqi nation, are ready to fill this void." Saudi Arabia was one of the countries Iran was ready to work with, he said.
The U.S. military accuses the Islamic Republic of arming and training militias behind some of the violence in Iraq. Iran rejects the charge and blames the presence of U.S. forces, numbering about 162,000, for the violence.
In a two-hour news conference, Ahmadinejad also rejected reports Iran had slowed nuclear work, which the West fears is aimed at making atom bombs, and said it would respond if Washington branded its Revolutionary Guards a terrorist force.
Iran, which like Iraq is majority Shi'ite Muslim, has often called on fellow Gulf states to reach a regional security pact. But Gulf Arab states, most of which are predominantly Sunnis, are suspicious of Tehran's intentions in Iraq and the region.
With Shi'ite Muslims now in power in Baghdad, ties have strengthened between Iran and Iraq since 2003, when U.S.-led forces toppled Iraq's Sunni president, Saddam Hussein, who had waged an eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.
The region did not need countries from "thousands of kilometers away" to provide security, Ahmadinejad said, and U.S. and other forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had run out of solutions.
...Ahmadinejad dismissed reports it was not making such fast nuclear progress. "These (reports) are not true," he said.
"I want to officially announce to you that from our viewpoint the issue of Iran's nuclear case has been closed. Today Iran is a nuclear Iran, meaning that it has the complete cycle for fuel production."
Posted by News Service at 12:09 PM
Monday, August 27, 2007
A government spokesman, Gholamhossein Elham, announced the resignation of the bank's governor, Ebrahim Sheibani, after weeks of rumors that he had resigned over his differences with Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Mr. Elham said a former economy minister, Tahmaseb Mazaheri, would succeed Mr. Sheibani, the Iranian Students News Agency reported.
The resignation came after the departures this month of the minister of oil, Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, and the minister of industry, Alireza Tahmasebi.
Mr. Sheibani had reportedly opposed Mr. Ahmadinejad's unexpected intervention to lower interest rates to 12 percent from 15 and 17 percent.
Economists were shocked after the president dissolved the Money and Credit Council, a monetary policy-making body, this month.
Mr. Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005 on a mandate to distribute the country's oil wealth among its poor. Economists had warned that his policy of importing goods to lower prices, and of distributing the oil windfall instead of investing in development projects, would increase inflation.
Posted by News Service at 3:45 AM
By Vernon Silver
Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- On Dec. 23, 2006, the United Nations Security Council slapped economic sanctions on Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group for its role in weapons proliferation as Iran's maker of liquid-fueled ballistic missiles.
Known as SHIG, the Iranian firm produces the Shahab III rocket, which has a range of at least 800 miles, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. That radius puts downtown Tel Aviv, Saudi Arabia's oil fields and India's financial center, Mumbai, within reach.
Three days after the Security Council ordered a freeze on SHIG's assets to help block Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the maker of the country's longest-range missile was ready to go shopping in Europe.
Posted by News Service at 1:28 AM
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Roaming the CiF jungle, I have stumbled on an interesting page - one that shows the frequency of main subjects broached on that Guardian forum. It is not clear what period of time is represented, but in any case the statistics are amazing (yes, I know - lies, damn lies and statistics...). Take a look (click to enlarge):
United States seems to lead the list as the most popular subject with 776 articles. Well, you may say, it is only natural that the most powerful nation on Earth would be of the highest interest to The Guardian in its choice of topics. Even if we are talking about a British newspaper.
And you will be dead wrong, as I have been - after the first glance. While Israel looks quite high on the charts, trailing Iraq (the third horse in the race) by 49 points, the charts do not do it full "justice".
After the second glance, I have decided to mark by green the subjects directly or indirectly related to Israel. Then I have applied some conservative percentages to those bearing a question mark (e.g. 10% of all Iran-related articles will carry some Israel-related tunes, 60% of all terror-related etc...). I have left out on purpose several subjects that are definitely carrying some Israel-related pieces, again - to be on a conservative side.
The result - roughly 1300 points - is rather staggering.
I don't want to go into further analysis of the statistics, just compare the above number with that of China (137) Britain (130 - it is supposed to be a British newspaper, FFS!), Russia(106).
No matter how the results are turned around, looked upon and dissected, the picture shows a dark and unhealthy obsession. If you take into account that the majority (I would say, more than 90%) of the articles are bashing Israel for this or other, real or imaginary, offense, deservedly or not... well, I don't have to spell it, do I?
Or do I?
Cross-posted on SimplyJews.
KIBBUTZ YASUR, Israel — For much of Israel's existence, the kibbutz embodied its highest ideals: collective labor, love of the land and a no-frills egalitarianism.
Complete article: Changing Lifestyles in the Kibbutz
Now, in a surprising third act, the kibbutzim are again thriving. Only in 2007 they are less about pure socialism than a kind of suburbanized version of it.
Posted by News Service at 7:32 PM
The Crimes of Jews
Pottling and Kettling
July 30, 2007
I get a steady rivulet of strange mail telling how horrible Jews are. Apparently there is no crime of which they are not guilty. I find myself wondering: How do they find the time to be so evil? Are they on amphetamines or something?
A curious odiousness runs through it. I don't care whether you like Jews, but these birds need their heads examined. Anyway, here's me on the horribleness of Jews.
They can't compete with Christians.
The history of Christianity has been one of murder, torture, and Stalinism, of witless intolerance of things not intolerable and an utter refusal to mind its own business. Look at the record. Look at almost any part of the record. The question is how to choose.
During the witch hunts of 1450-1700, god knows how many tens of thousands of women were tortured savagely and then burned alive, for the sin of having a wart. This demonstration of God's love and Christian charity was perpetrated not just by Christians, but by the church.
Jews can't play in this league. They are outclassed.
Then there was the Inquisition, run by that infamous Jew Thomasberger Torquemadastein. (For recent graduates of American universities, there wasn't really a Jew by that name.) For centuries countless people screamed for days as their shoulders were torn from their sockets, before they were burned alive, in Jesus' name, amen. This too was a church operation, supported by such as their Most Christian Majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella.
I'm making a list of thousands of Christians tortured to death by Jews. Wait. I'm thinking….
Much of this churchly barbarism has had Jews as its target. Christians were always trying either to kill Jews or to convert them. Why they thought it was any of their business what Jews believed, or Cathars, or Moslems, I do not know. If you didn't agree with them, they would burn you. Just like Jesus said to do.
If a king decided to go on a Crusade, which is to say an explicitly Christian war, he started by robbing the local Jews to pay for it. (Christians allowed Jews to work only as bankers and moneylenders, and then complained that they were bankers and moneylenders. The logic scintillates.) The army, typically a mob of illiterate louts, massacred Jews along the way and, if they took Jerusalem, they burned the synagogue with the Jews in it. Jesus loves me, this I know….
The sordid tale of Christian compassion continued through the Reformation and beyond. In 1692 the unpleasantly Christian people of Salem, Massachusetts killed 21 (if memory serves) people for being witches. The victims weren't Jews, probably because the good people of Salem couldn't find any. In the American South, the Christian churches of the time upheld slavery as God's will, and these were preachers who saw what slavery really was. We have since romanticized it as happy nigras pluckin' de banjo and grinning a lot. In fact it was godawful. Check the Spanish Christianization of South America.
Certainly as late as 1882 the Catholic Church was saying that the killing of Christian children by Jews at Easter was "a common practice" and that for the sacrifice to be effective the child had to die "under torment." (Giuseppe Oreglia de San Stefano, SJ, quoted in Hitler's Pope, by John Cornwall, page 42 in the Spanish edition. If Pius XII wasn't an ally of Hitler, he sure simulated it well.) This is sick, evil stuff, and it runs through Christianity like marbling in steak.
By comparison, Jews are pikers. You might as well compare a shoplifter to the Boston Strangler.
Then there's Israel. I don't like what the Jews are doing in Israel, and neither do a lot of Israelis, but it is amusing to compare the crimes of Israel with those of, say, the US. America has caused the death of far more people in Iraq than Israel has killed Palestinians, and with far less excuse.
Note the double standard. When Israel kills kids in bombing attacks, it is a crime, but when the US regularly does the same thing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, it's just collateral damage, necessary to bring democracy to people who didn't ask for it, and anyway it didn't happen, and besides it was an isolated incident, meaning one that was detected, and of course the dead were all terrorists, toddlers and all. Throw in the carnage in Vietnam, another American war started on lies, and the rise of Pol Pot, directly attributable to the war next door, and Israel looks like a pretty wet squib, crimewise.
Judge both countries by the same measure, say I.
Few do. Countries are built on bullshit. Part of Israel's bullshit is that the Palestinians left in 1948 because they wanted to, Jews being highly moral and incapable of atrocities or ethnic cleansing. Part of America's bullshit is essentially identical: Americans are highly principled people and do not commit the atrocities that, for example, they documentably commit daily in Iraq. You might ask the Indians about ethnic cleansing. I note that Israel's Arab citizens are better treated than American blacks were in 1950.
I'm always willing to believe the worst of people, and it's certainly the way to bet, but Jews do not have the solid credentials of savagery that Christianity does. I guess they just lack spirit.
Yet still I get the strange mail. I have wondered why the weird hostility to Jews. It is weird. I loathe a lot of people, and constantly try to add to the list, but I'm not obsessive about it. People who worry about Jews are obsessive. It eats them up. They see Jews peeking from everywhere. When the New York Times, a Jewish paper, supported Bush's war on Iraq, as did almost the whole country, it was on orders from Jerusalem. When the Times turned editorially against the war, as had almost the whole country, it was to Stab Our Boys in the Back. You know, the leftwing anti-American Jew media. Everything whatever is controlled by Jews, with malign purpose. Why?
Charles Murray, who isn't, is the coauthor of The Bell Curve. Writing in Commentary, a Jewish magazine, he notes the following:
In IQ the average American Jew is at the 75th percentile. Six times as many Jews as others have an IQ of better than 140. .The imbalance increases for still higher IQ's. In 1954, on an IQ test given to all kids in the public schools of New York, of those scoring above 170, 24 of 28 were Jews. This is neither new nor debatable. Those who study such things, most of whom are not Jewish, have known it for decades.
Writes Murray, "In the first half of the 20th century, despite pervasive and continuing social discrimination against Jews throughout the Western world, despite the retraction of legal rights, and despite the Holocaust, Jews won 14 percent of Nobel Prizes in literature, chemistry, physics, and medicine/physiology. In the second half of the 20th century, when Nobel Prizes began to be awarded to people from all over the world, that figure rose to 29 percent. So far, in the 21st century, it has been 32 percent. Jews constitute about two-tenths of one percent of the world's population. You do the math." Uh…yeah.
If you say on the web that Jews are smart, you get furious mail saying no they aren't, no they aren't, no...they...are NOT, in a rising scream. This leaves the writers in the interesting position of saying that Jews control publishing, television, the press, retail, wholesale, Hollywood, Wall Street, international banking, the research institutions, the schools, and the universities. But they aren't very smart. (I forgot planetary motion. They control planetary motion.) (And watermelon futures. Never forget watermelon futures)
In my experience of Jews, which is considerable, they aren't just bright but, worse, they respect intelligence and scholarship, in anybody. If you speak three languages or play a good game of chess or made high scores on your GREs, they are likely to say, "Geez, that's really good." With Jews, being a nerd doesn't carry the opprobrium it does elsewhere. Maybe nerds dress funny, but they're smart. Jewish women are unmistakeably attracted to smart men. (They seem to prefer smart Gentiles to smart Jewish men, but that's another matter.)
This sets the stage for trouble. The United States is a profoundly anti-intellectual country, and Jews are a profoundly intellectual people. They tend to look like space aliens to much of the country. In America, (or Mexico, for that matter) smart is tolerated, barely. If a Gentile kid pops high on his SATs or grabs a Merit scholarship, he can still be socially accepted as long as he shows that he didn't really mean it. Any bright kid runs into this. Jews don't see things this way.
And of course Jews are usually urban. Take people who are bright, culturally inclined towards things intellectual, who live in cities and have a cosmopolitan outlook, and you get people who are fluently conversant with books, the arts, politics, other countries, and such like. They regard this fluency as very much a good thing. So do I. What exactly is the problem?
Being smart, they rise, especially in a brain-intensive civilization, and then seem to control things, and to an extent do, and the rest resent them. (Hitler detested Jews as a genetically inferior people who dominated German intellectual life.) It is easy to hate what you feel inferior to. This is why people who disliked the Russians hated the French, why people who merely dislike blacks hate Jews. It was impossible to feel inferior to Russians, who wore bad suits. Just as in the band-saw shriek of feminists, "We are too equal," there is audible a fear that maybe they aren't, in the anti-Semites insistence, "They did it by conspiring," there is a worry that maybe they didn't.
Posted by News Service at 7:40 AM
Pakistan is indeed a key ally in the fight against terror. It is also a nuclear power. What if the shaky Musharraf regime falls to radicals? Pakistani ministers are already saying that Jews are behind 9/11 and making disparaging remarks about the United States.
August 26, 2007 No. 28
Radical Islamism in Pakistan
Since July 11, when the Pakistani Army took over the Red Mosque in Islamabad and released the hostages being held there, the violent confrontation between the regime and radical Islamists has only escalated. That confrontation, which claimed many lives in the 1980s, revived after September 11 due to enhanced cooperation between the Pakistani government and the United States. It now undermines the foundations of the political system in the country, at a moment when the regime seems particularly vulnerable. For several months, Pakistan has been shaken by a revitalized al-Qaeda movement operating in the northwestern tribal areas and, simultaneously, by growing liberal opposition to President Pervaiz Musharraf following his attempt to sack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his refusal to comply with the constitution and resign as army Chief of Staff.
Immediately after the attack on the Twin Towers, the United States asked Musharraf for support it in its war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Notwithstanding his reservations, Musharraf felt obliged to comply, and since 2002, the Pakistani Army has been operating, with varying degrees of commitment and effectiveness, against Islamist groups in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area. From the American perspective, Pakistan was a natural and important ally in the war in Afghanistan. It is one of the largest Muslim countries (about 165 million people), mostly Sunni with a Shi'ite minority. The regime, though defined constitutionally as Muslim, is fairly moderate, and the army plays a major role in it.
Pakistan's enlistment in the struggle against Islamist terrorist is of paramount importance. First of all, Pakistan borders on al-Qaeda refuges and constitutes a geographical barrier between Iran and Afghanistan, on the one hand, and India, on the other; the latter is itself struggling against militant Islamist groups in Kashmir. Secondly, given Pakistan's demonstrated nuclear capabilities, any takeover of the regime by radical Islamists would be an extremely grave matter. Given Pakistan's history of proliferating nuclear technologies and the ambitions of some Arab states to acquire nuclear capabilities, such a development could accelerate the nuclearization of the Middle East. Thirdly, the endemic political instability elsewhere in Central Asia, coupled with the relatively moderate regime in Pakistan and the long history of cooperation with the United States, mean that Pakistan is the only Muslim country in the region on which Washington can count.
From Musharraf's perspective, cooperation with the United States also provides some benefits. First of all, it enhances the international legitimacy of his regime, which had been burdened by a negative image since he seized power in 1999. Moreover, by lining up with the Americans against extremist Islamic terrorism, he can ease the confrontational relationship with India, which had deteriorated very badly following the 1998 nuclear tests by the two sides and the Pakistani attack on the Kargil region soon afterward.
At the same time, the alliance with the United States also poses some serious problems. While the regime has no ideological commitment to Islamism, almost all of the population is Muslim in fact, Pakistan was explicitly founded as a Muslim state and the country is tightly bound to the Muslim world. It adheres to Muslim political positions (to the extent that they exist), such as the refusal to maintain ties with Israel, and it takes an active part in Arab and Islamic organizations. Moreover, its economy is dependent on trade with, remittances from and investment by Muslim states (especially in the Persian Gulf). Consequently, its alignment with the United States against the Taliban provoked serious internal disagreements.
The totality of these circumstances and constraints explains the current developments in Pakistan. Musharraf is exposed to domestic pressures by both Islamist movements and liberal elements. The former are stepping up their confrontation with the army, and al-Qaeda elements are apparently consolidating their stronghold in the tribal areas of the northwest; the latter are outraged at Musharraf's actions against the Supreme Court and his defiance of the constitution. Musharraf is also being subjected to significant pressure by the United States, which is unhappy with the anti-democratic measures apparently taken to bolster his declining position (e.g., nationalization of the electronic media) and charges that his regime does too little to seek out al-Qaeda leaders hiding out in the areas bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistan poses a dilemma for the United States, which wants to support an ally in the war on terror while encouraging the emergence of a stable democracy. In a state in which the army has taken power several times and whose current ruler came to power in a military coup, there can be no certainty that the same thing will not happen again if the situation continues to deteriorate. Moreover, some analyses suggest that Islamist tendencies in army ranks have grown stronger in recent years and that the restraint in fighting al-Qaeda in the tribal areas stems from the army's dissatisfaction with a proactive policy imposed on Pakistan by the United States. In other words, the ability of the United States to secure Pakistani alignment with American policy depends on the existence of a regime that can impose its authority on the army.
Notwithstanding the challenges, several things suggest that this might continue to be the case. First of all, the Pakistani army is immeasurably larger and more powerful than the Islamist movements. Secondly, Islamist extremism -- a common threat to Pakistan, China and India strengthens the interest of the latter two in supporting a semi-secular regime in Pakistan and damps down the ferocity of the Indo-Pakistani conflict. Thirdly, Musharraf is apparently making some progress on forging a coalition with the moderate opposition parties and he is reported to be negotiating with Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and now one of the liberal opposition leaders, on power sharing arrangements in advance of the forthcoming elections.
Pakistan's importance in the struggle against Islamist extremism is hard to exaggerate. The overthrow of the current regime by Islamist forces could give extremists access to nuclear weapons and seriously impair America's ability to combat al-Qaeda. For Israel, the implications could include the accelerated seepage of nuclear technology to hostile regimes and movements and upgraded capabilities for al-Qaeda and other extremist organizations. Preventing that depends on the ability of a moderate Pakistani regime to impose its authority on extremist elements, both in the army and in the broader society.
Posted by News Service at 6:38 AM
August 25, 2007
By SALIM MANSUR
There comes a point at which diminishing returns on most issues begin to go negative.
Such a point in denouncing Islamist terrorism and equally the Muslim majority's silence against this menace was reached sometime ago.
As Islamist terrorism, however despicable, became mundane occurrence in the daily news cycle, the deafening silence of Muslims -- except for lonely voices of feeble opposition -- has given credence to growing numbers of non-Muslims that Islam is as much a religion of peace as the Klanmen's politics is an expression of multiculturalism.
But there is another side to this abject reality. The Muslim majority's silence is greatly compounded by the appeasement mentality in the West of the mainstream liberal-left media, politicians trolling for ethnic votes and bureaucrats running public institutions.
An evidence of this comes from Scotland. Theodore Dalrymple, a retired physician and prolific writer, in New York's City Journal reports:
"In an effort to ensure that no Muslim doctors ever again try to bomb Glasgow Airport, bureaucrats at Glasgow's public hospitals have decreed that henceforth no staff may eat lunch at their desks or in their offices during the holy month of Ramadan, so that fasting Muslims shall not be offended by the sight or smell of their food. Vending machines will also disappear from the premises during that period."
It is as if more diversity training for public officials, more accommodation of demands made by fundamentalist Muslims, greater willingness to self-flagellate for sins long past of western colonialism, more policing of what might be politically incorrect speech and writing about Islamists or Saudi Arabia's official cult (Wahhabism) of bigotry masquerading as a world religion, will somehow mysteriously translate into taming suicide-bombers and their masters to reciprocate kindly to the liberal-left sensibilities of people in the West.
Dalrymple observes stories such as the one from Scotland tell us something about how civilizations commit suicide -- they "collapse not because the barbarians are so strong, but because they themselves are so morally enfeebled."
What do barbarians do? Kill indiscriminately as in the recent Aug. 14 massacre in northern Iraq reported by the New York Post with the headline "Savages Kill 175 in Iraq Bombings."
Four trucks were exploded west of Mosul -- Iraq's third largest city in the Kurdish north -- in an area predominantly inhabited by Yazidis, a people practising pre-Islamic faith. The toll of dead and wounded among this poor dwindling minority living at the edge of the Iraqi society far exceeds the numbers first reported.
This savagery is the work of al-Qaida associates preparing more predictable bombings ahead of the mid-September report in Washington to be given by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
BOMBINGS AND OPINION
There is now a pattern in al-Qaida bombings arranged to influence American public opinion during key moments in public policy debates and general elections.
But the liberal-left media, such as the New York Times, remains fixated with faulting the Bush administration for the savagery of Islamists while providing oxygen to apologists of terror spinning their endless refrain of "root cause" being oil and Israel for violence originating in the Middle East.
How morally enfeebled, as Dalrymple opines, is the West? Imagine the uproar denouncing any suggestion that the mainstream liberal-left media, in appearance at least, is treasonously on side with the newest enemies of freedom and democracy.
Salim Mansur is Senior Fellow at the Canadian Coalition for Democracies
Posted by News Service at 1:37 AM