Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Guess who is trying to assassinate the head of the Arab League?

Cairo Sources: Assassination Attempt Against Arab League Sec'y Moussa Thwarted

Diplomatic sources in Cairo have stated that an assassination attempt against Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa was thwarted, near the Lebanon-Syria border on the night of January 19.

The sources said that as Moussa returned from Damascus to Lebanon, Lebanese security forces became suspicious about a car parked on the road near the border and blew it up from a distance before the secretary's convoy reached it.

It was not reported whether it was a car bomb.

Source: Al-Masri Al-Yawm, Egypt, January 22, 2008

Posted at: 2008-01-23

Israel-EU confence on racism in Jerusalem

Israel-EU seminar on racisim meets in Jerusalem
The Foreign Ministry is this week hosting a seminar between Israel and the European Union on combating racism and anti-Semitism. The gathering is a follow up to the first seminar in 2007 that was held in Brussels. The participants include high level officials from several European education ministries.

The seminar's agenda includes roundtable discussions on education, legislation against racism, ways to deal with hate in the media and Internet as well as visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

23.01.2008 13:50


Monday, January 21, 2008

Good news: Martyrdom comes to UK

Memri tells us about this campaign. It is not happening in Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia or anywhere else in the Middle East. It is happening in dear old blighty: a "Martyrdom is pious" campaign. Expect more "saints" in the London underground.
Ami Isseroff

'Martyrdom Is Pious' Campaign In England and Scotland

Birmingham, U.K.: As part of its Ashra [campaign during first 10 days of the holy month of Muharram] on the subject of 'Martyrdom Is Pious' organized in different towns of England and Scotland, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat has highlighted the works and sacrifices for the sake of Islam by the martyrs of Islam, and expressed gratitude to them.

In Edinburgh, Qazi Abdus Salaam Khurshid said that martyrdom is one pious activity that the Prophet himself longed for.

In Glasgow, Maulana Habibur Rahman said that the second Caliph [Umar] wished: O Allah, offer me martyrdom in your path. This prayer proves that martyrdom is pious, not a tragedy or difficulty.

In Dundee, Qari Noorul Islam said that martyrdom is a great honor.

In Manchester, Maulana Muhammad Iqbal Rangoni said that those who offer sacrifice of lives in the path of truth are lucky.

In Rochdale, Abdul Majeed Anwar lauded the greatness... of Islam's martyrs.

In Ashton-under-Lyne, Maulana Syed Abdul Kareem Shah said that the greatness of a martyr is also mentioned in the Koran.

In Oldham, Qari Abdur Rasheed said the [followers of] Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat worldwide believes that the Prophet's Companions and Members of his Household are two eyes of Islam and love of them is real faith. Maulana Amjad Hussein, Maulana Shamsur Rahman, [and] Mufti Hilal Mahmood also saluted the greatness of Islam's martyrs.

In Huddersfield, Maulana Muhammad Akram and Jameel Ahmad said that the taste of death by martyrdom is something that is not available in any other thing in the world.

In Wakefield, Maulana Islam Ali Shah and Mufti Tariq Shah said that the second Caliph Hazrat Umar and Imam Hazrat Hussain, by sacrificing life during Muharram, taught killing-dying for Islam's sake to their followers, to be borne till the Day of Judgment.

In Bradford, Maulana Muhammad Ibrahim said that the importance of Yaum-e-Ashura [10th day of Muharram] was prevalent before the incident of Karbala [in which the Prophet's grandson Imam Hussein and his followers died for faith.]

Maulana Abdul Hadi, Maulana Azizul Haq in Burnley, Maulana Asad Mian, Maulana Abdur Rasheed Rabbani in Dewsbury, Maulana Musa Qasmi in Bolton, Maulana Imdadullah Qasmi, Maulana Imdadul Hasan Nomani, Qari Tasawwurul Haq, Maulana Shamsul Haq Mushtaq, Maulana Muhammad Farooq, Maulana Muhammad Qasim, Maulana Ziaul Hasan Tyeb, Maulana Jamal Badshah, Maulana Mohammad Zaman, Maulana Adil Khan and others shed light on the subject of 'Martyrdom Is Pious' in Birmingham.

Whereas in Walsall, Maulana Muhammad Salman, Maulana Muhammad Aslam Zahid, Mufti Muhammad Aslam; Qari Abdur Rasheed Rahmani in Crowley, Qari Muhammad Ilyas in Bristol, Qari Ghulam Nabi in Cardiff, Maulana Imran in Swindon, Qari Muhammad Tyeb Abbasi in Southall, Allama Razaul Haq Siakhwi in Nottingham, Qari Ismail and Qari Minhaj in Sheffield, and Mufti Muhammad Abdullah in Gloucester informed the people about the martyrs of Islam [Imam Hussein and his followers].

Source: Roznama Jang, London, January 18, 2008

Posted at: 2008-01-21

Arab liberal: Iranian Hegemony is upon us

Arab states are all afraid of Iran, and yet at the same time they are all intent on sabotaging any international effort to change the course of events in Iran or deter Iran.
Editor of Liberal Arab Website Aafaq:
On January 9, 2008, the editor of the Arab liberal website Aafaq, Omran Salman, published an article analyzing recent developments in the Middle East through the prism of the U.S.-Iran conflict and arguing that Iranian hegemony over the region was becoming a reality.
The following are excerpts:
"The Lebanon War… Announced the Birth of a New Era in the Region"
"On Wednesday [January 9, 2007] George Bush begins his eight-day trip to the [Middle East] region… The most important heading for this trip is that of confronting Iranian influence, allaying the fears of allied countries that arose from recent developments in America's [position] on Iran, and emphasizing Washington's commitment to stand by their side.
"However, anyone knowledgeable about affairs in the region knows that this is a desperate bid to change the course of [recent] events and developments, by a president who only has a few months left in office. He thus appears isolated and weak on the domestic front, while his [prospective] successors vie over which of them is the most capable of washing their hands of his policies. For this reason, neither friends nor enemies are expected to take this trip seriously.
"Following is an analysis of the situation in the region on the eve of Bush's trip:
"The Lebanon war in the summer of 2006, in which the Hizbullah organization remained steadfast in the face of the Israeli military machine, was not just another Arab-Israeli war. It announced the birth of a new era in the region – one of whose characteristics is, on the one hand, the powerful prominence of the alliance between Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas, [Islamic] Jihad, and other Islamist organizations; and on the other hand, the clear retreat of America's role in the region.
"For the first time in decades, the U.S. appears incapable of influencing events in the Middle East, and it is no longer capable of punishing or rewarding any state, as it always used to do. At the same time, Iran and its allies appeared to be preparing to take the initiative, both in the Gulf region and in the Middle East on the whole. Thus we entered the era of Iranian hegemony in the Middle East."
Iran, Qatar, and the Gulf Cooperation Council
"Since the Lebanon war, Iran and its ally Syria have increased their regional strength and influence, and have been able to make new gains, whether in the Gulf, Lebanon, Iraq, or Egypt.
"In the Gulf, Iranian President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad attended, for the first time, the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which took place December 3-4, 2007 in Doha. The importance of his attendance does not derive solely from Iran's breaking the Gulf states' traditional political barrier [against] Iran. More importantly, the GCC itself was founded in 1981 with the fundamental goal of standing up to the danger presented by Iran to the states of the region…
"In his speech to the GCC summit, Ahmadinejad proposed the establishment of an economic cooperation bloc, and proposed also that a joint security agreement with the GCC states be drawn up. He said: 'It appears that a new page has been turned in relations among the states of the Persian Gulf… Iran's policy is clear, and it is to encourage broad cooperation among all of the states, and especially with the friendly neighboring states'…
"After the meeting, Ahmadinejad told reporters: 'Times have changed, and the days of threats have come to an end… Iran has chosen its path, and from its point of view the nuclear issue is closed.'
"It is a paradox that it was Qatar – a major ally of the U.S. in the Gulf region and the site of the largest stockpiles of American weapons – that invited the Iranian president to attend the summit, and played the role of sponsoring the new Iranian influence in the region.
"Qatar's efforts can be interpreted as an attempt to assure a place for itself in the new regional equations. This is why the Qatari government thwarted U.S. attempts – particularly those of Defense Secretary Robert Gates – to isolate Tehran and to convince the Gulf states of the danger of rapprochement with Iran."
More Arab Leaders Are Going the Way of Michel Aoun
"Qatar's stance on this [issue] is like sembles the stance of Lt.-Gen. 'Aoun in Lebanon, who early on preferred to ride the train of Hizbullah and the Iran-Syria axis because he believed that the American train had broken down, or gotten derailed, or lost its way on the twists and turns of the Middle East.
"What deserves attention is that Saudi King 'Abdallah bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, in turn, already hastened to send an official invitation to Ahmadinejad to perform the hajj and thus become the first Iranian president to perform the hajj while still in office, though this is his third visit to Riyadh since becoming president.
"It doesn't take much to see that all this is a result of the uneasiness felt by the Gulf regimes friendly to the U.S. at Iran's increasing power and the U.S.'s retreating power.
"It appears that Iran's policy in the Gulf, which aims to remove the GCC states from American patronage – or at least to have them remain neutral in the event of confrontation with the West – has begun to bear fruit. More than one Gulf state – Qatar and Kuwait, for example – have made known their rejection of any military action against Iran.
"In order to achieve this goal, Tehran has pursued a dual discourse. On the one hand, it has tried to allay the Gulf states' fears of Iranian expansionism by sending soothing messages that its military arsenal is not aimed at these countries. At the same time, it has offered economic cooperation with the Gulf states, including providing some of them with natural gas."
"The U.S. Has Been Unable to… Rein In Syrian Policy or Punish Syria for What it is Doing" in Lebanon and Iraq
"[Regarding] Syria: The Bush administration has persistently accused Syria of interfering in Iraqi affairs by allowing armed followers of Al-Qaeda and the Ba'th party to infiltrate Iraq and kill American and Iraqi government forces.
"The administration has presented sufficient proof of this interference, but nonetheless the U.S. has been unable to employ its power and influence to rein in Syrian policy or to punish Syria for what it is doing.
"Likewise, there is much evidence of Syria's continued interference in Lebanese affairs, whether through its allies there, like Hizbullah, Amal, and the Free Patriotic Movement… or through the more than 10 assassinations that have taken place in this country since 2005. Nonetheless, the arm of justice has not reached any Syrian official, and no [judicial] accusations have been brought against Syria.
"[In fact,] the opposite [has occurred,] and Syrian influence in Lebanon has grown stronger, as Syrian Vice President Farouq Al-Shar' stated… on December 11, 2007: 'The situation of Syria's allies in Lebanon is stronger and better than at any time in the past – including the time when Syrian [military] forces were present in Lebanon.' He emphasized that 'the American-Israeli project in the region has failed to achieve its goals, after Israel's defeat last year in Lebanon and America's failure in Iraq… And we Arabs have a great goal – that of shouldering the responsibility for the future of this region.'
"At the same time, those Lebanese opposed to a Syrian presence have become frustrated… with the American role, especially after voices were raised in Washington demanding cooperation and dialogue with [Syrian] President Bashar Al-Assad's government – voices that found their practical expression in the invitation to the Syrian government to attend the Annapolis Middle East peace conference.
"This is clearly revealed in the tone of truce that has begun to spread in the discourse of the prominent leaders of the government coalition that is defying Syria. In statements to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir on November 21, 2007, [Lebanese] Druze leader Walid Jumblatt called on Lebanese politicians to make concessions in order to arrive at a resolution of the presidential crisis that has come to threaten Lebanon with a slide into the furnace of anarchy and violence. He told the paper: 'As far as I am concerned, there is no impediment to leaving the international [i.e. the U.N.] resolutions to national dialogue directly after the carrying out of the presidential elections… We don't want to implement international resolutions over the corpses of the Lebanese.'"
Iranian Attempts to Draw Egypt Out of the "Coalition of 'Moderates'"
"[Regarding] Egypt: In a countermeasure to the efforts of the U.S., which is trying in vain to remove Syria from the Iranian orbit, several months ago Tehran launched a serious attempt to remove Egypt from the coalition of 'moderates' that President Bush had worked hard to form with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, and Jordan.
"On Monday, December 24, 2007, Ali Larijani, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] in Iran's Supreme National Security Council and Iran's former [chief] nuclear negotiator, made an important trip to Cairo. Although Egyptian sources said that this was a private family visit, the meetings Larijani held indicate that they were designed with the goal of renewing relations between the two countries, which have been frozen since 1980.
"On this trip, Larijani met with [Egyptian] Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit, Egyptian Intelligence director Gen. Omar Suleiman, Arab League Secretary-General 'Amr Moussa, and Sheikh Al-Azhar Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi. Likewise, he visited cultural and academic centers in the country, where he met with a number of university professors, scientists, and high-ranking officials.
"During his meeting with Larijani, 'Amr Moussa urged the Arabs to begin consulting and cooperating with Iran, emphasizing that expanding the relations between the two sides is something that is 'necessary and efficacious.'
"Likewise, Moussa spoke strongly about the importance of Arab-Iranian cooperation in order to deal with the sensitive situation in the region…
"As for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, it emphasized that Egypt and Iran would be conducting talks at the ministerial level, with the aim of fully reinstating diplomatic relations…
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad already said last May that Tehran is ready for a full renewal of its relations with Egypt, and that it would open its embassy in Cairo the very same day that the Egyptian government gave its consent [to this]."
U.S. Policy Failures – Including the NIE – Paved the Way for Iran
"These developments came amidst the complete collapse of U.S. policy towards Iran. This collapse began with the failure of the double-containment policy implemented during the '90s vis-à-vis the Iranian and the Iraqi regimes, and continued with the entrusting of the Iranian nuclear dossier to the European troika (Germany, France, and England). This collapse became complete with the famous report published by the American intelligence agencies last November, that gave a nuclear certificate of innocence to the Iranians when it concluded that the Tehran regime had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
"It is no surprise that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the report a resounding victory for his regime, and began to act with the mentality of a victor. Today he is demanding that the U.S. recognize him as a [major] force in the region.
"American policy committed two major errors in the past period in dealing with Tehran. The first is that it gave the impression that Iran is just a country that is making trouble for the U.S. The reality is that Iran is not just a regular rogue state, like Syria for instance. It is, rather, a country that is competing with the U.S. for influence over the Gulf region and in the Middle East. It has been striving for a long time to inherit America's role [in the region].
"At every point of contact with American policy, there is a powerful and active Iranian presence, whether in Iraq, the Gulf, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, or Central Asia.
"The second error was the exaggerated focus on Iran's nuclear program, and its depiction as the only thing obstructing U.S.-Iran relations, and, more generally, relations between the West and Iran.
"The reality is that nuclear weapons are just a means or a tool (among a large group of means and tools) for ensuring Iranian influence and hegemony in the region, with the goal itself being the influence and the hegemony. While nuclear weapons may be the most important of these Iranian tools, Tehran is capable of attaining its goals through conventional means (support for militias, spreading ideology, conventional military power, etc.)"
American Policy is Inconsistent on the Question of Who is a Friend and Who is an Enemy
"[Another factor] that makes the picture even more confused and confounding for the U.S.'s allies is the lack of dividing lines between enmity and friendship…
"The reason for this is that in the American view, its enemies, like its friends, are in a perpetual stage of transition. There was a time when Iran was part of the axis of evil and Syria was the greatest obstacle to stability in Iraq. But today no one is sure any longer whether these assessments are still in effect, and no one knows where [these countries] have ended up on the enmity-friendship spectrum.
"American officials find nothing wrong with meeting and talking with representatives of the Iranian and Syrian regimes when necessary – but at another stage, they demand that the world strengthen sanctions against them. One of the indications of anarchy and drift in American foreign policy in the region is that it has changed under the pressure of the rapid pace of events, and has adopted hasty and contradictory policies…"
This is a Strategic Struggle That Will Determine Whether the New Middle East Will Be Iranian – and the Iranians are Advancing
"The struggle whose features we have seen and continue to see in Iraq, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and other parts of the Middle East, is likely to continue, and perhaps also to broaden. This is not a tactical struggle, but a strategic one, and it will determine whether a new Middle East will be Iranian, or whether it will be [a place] where the U.S.'s word will be strongest.
"Despite the fact that we are [only] at the beginning of this struggle, which can be expected to produce great and profound transformation, what is clear so far is that the Iranians and their allies are advancing, while American influence in the region is being eaten away. The earth is moving under the feet of the U.S.'s allies – first and foremost, Saudi Arabia – while the fate of the smaller allies, the Gulf states (with the exception of Qatar and Oman), is left to be carried away by the wind.
"Perhaps in a future stage they will be obliged to submit and to perform the duties of obedience and loyalty… to the new master in the Gulf." 
1, January 9, 2007.
 Source: MEMRI

Europeans investing in Iranian rights violations

Iran is attracting a good deal of European investment, despite its flouting of UN resolutions and its abysmal human rights record.
Students claim that another dissident died of beatings in an Iranian jail. Presumably, that will double the French, German and Italian investment in Iran, while China wand the others will quadruple their investments.
Best beatings money can buy.
Ami Isseroff
Iran Attracts USD 11 b in Foreign Investment in 10 Months - Official

Over the past 10 months, foreign companies have expressed interest in investing in the construction of two refineries and a steel company.
Foreign investment is on the rise in Iran as a result of incentives and new laws for the protection of investments, the director of the Foreign Investment Department of the Ministry of Finance and Financial Affairs said on Monday.
Since March 2007, $11 billion has been invested in telecommunications, steel, petrochemicals, agriculture, and small-scale industries by foreign financiers, mostly from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, Germany, France, and Italy, Ahmad Jamali told ISNA.

Over the past 10 months, foreign companies have expressed interest in investing in the construction of two refineries and a steel company, the official said.

The Iranian government liberalized investment regulations in the early part of the decade, but since then foreign investors have only focused on a few sectors of the economy, namely the oil and gas sectors, the vehicle manufacturing industry, copper mining, petrochemicals, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals.

Iran attracted $24.3 billion of foreign investment from March 1993 to March 2007 and foreign transactions with Iran amounted to $150 billion between 2000 and 2007.
Jan 21 , 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Participants in Islamist Forums Discuss Proposal for Terrorist Attack in Paris

On January 4, 2008, the Islamist forum Al-Ekhlas ( ), hosted by NOC4Hosts Inc. in Florida, USA), posted a message by a participant calling himself Al-Murabit Al-Muwahhid ("The Monotheistic Jihad Fighter"), discussing the possible benefit of a terrorist attack in Paris. The writer speculated that such an attack would bring about the collapse of the French economy, and serve as a warning to other European countries "which are collaborating in the war against the Muslim countries." He added that the attack would also break the "security siege" on the Muslim population of France, and would enable the establishment of terrorist cells that would operate in the capitals of neighboring European countries. After providing a list of possible targets - major sites and tourist attractions in Paris - the writer elaborated on the possible results of the attack and how they would benefit the global jihad campaign.

The posting evoked numerous responses, mostly practical suggestions regarding the type of attack, possible targets, etc.

The following are excerpts from Al-Murabit Al-Muwahhid's posting and from some of the responses.

Number of ministers call for assassination of Hezbollah chief

Deranged religion and politics.........
A number of cabinet ministers on Sunday called for the assassination of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a day after the Lebanon-based Islamist group announced it was holding the remains of Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War.

"Nasrallah is a cruel and crazy man," said Minister Yitzhak Cohen (Shas), during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. "I don't understand why he is still breathing. We should have liquidated him a long time ago. I recommend the cabinet assassinate the man.

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) echoed the sentiment, saying, "Nasrallah is a person who has crossed all lines of inhumanity. We don't need to negotiate with him, we need to destroy him."


Complete article: Number of ministers call for assassination of Hezbollah chief


Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim called Nasrallah a "sewer rat," adding, "we must make sure he does not see the light of day."