Friday, March 27, 2009

MEMRI TV - Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Sermon on Qatar TV: The Arabs Must Obtain, But Not Use, Weapons of Mass Destruction- Nuclear, Chemical, And Biological - "In Order to Strike Terror In The Hearts of Our Enemies"

March 26, 2009 No. 2298

Following are excerpts from a sermon by Sunni Islamic scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Qatar TV on February 20, 2009.

To view this MEMRI TV clip, visit

To view more clips of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, visit

"The Prophet Muhammad Wanted Peace That is Based on Strength"

Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: "The Prophet Muhammad wanted peace that is based on strength. He does not want the peace of the weak, the peace of those who disappoint, the peace of those who surrender - like the peace Israel wants to impose on us and the Palestinians. That is not peace. That is what Allah meant when he said: 'And do not falter and cry for peace when you have the upper hand, for Allah is with you, and will not refrain from [rewarding] you for your actions.'

"Peace that is based on delusion and submission is not peace. The Prophet Muhammad wanted peace that is based on strength."

The Koran Says 'Prepare Against Them What Force and Steeds of War You Can, to Strike Terror in the Hearts of the Enemies"

"Therefore, the Koran referred to this, saying: 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and of your own enemies, and others besides them, whom you do not know, but Allah knows.' 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can.'"

"If We Had Nuclear Weapons, They Would Be Afraid to Attack Us"

"A few days ago, a Muslim asked me if we were allowed to possess WMDs - nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. I said to him: 'Yes, we must possess such weapons, but not use them.' We must possess such weapons in order to strike terror in our enemies - 'Strike terror in the hearts of the enemies,' and frighten them. If we had nuclear weapons, they would be afraid to attack us, as was the case between the Soviet Union and the Americans, and between India and Pakistan. This is armed peace.

"We must acquire [military] strength. 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and of your own enemies.' The 'steeds of war' of our times are tanks, armored vehicles, and submarines. These are the steeds of our times. It is not enough to equip ourselves with horses in order to confront tanks. Horses can only be used for certain things.

"Each generation must prepare its own devices with which to strike terror in the enemies of Allah. We do not want to attack anybody, but to strike fear in our enemies, so that they will not attack us."

Washington TImes: Hezbollah working with Mexican drug smugglers

Hezbollah in America - but this is not a particularly new story. It is ignored, because it is alarming and inconvenient.
Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.
The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America's tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.
Hezbollah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels," said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
"They work together," said Mr. Braun. "They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.
"They'll leverage those relationships to their benefit, to smuggle contraband and humans into the U.S.; in fact, they already are [smuggling]."
His comments were confirmed by six U.S. officials, including law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism specialists. They spoke on the condition that they not be named because of the sensitivity of the topic.
While Hezbollah appears to view the U.S. primarily as a source of cash - and there have been no confirmed Hezbollah attacks within the U.S. - the group's growing ties with Mexican drug cartels are particularly worrisome at a time when a war against and among Mexican narco-traffickers has killed 7,000 people in the past year and is destabilizing Mexico along the U.S. border.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Mexico on Thursday to discuss U.S. aid. Other U.S. Cabinet officials and President Obama are slated to visit in the coming weeks.
Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. Since its inception after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, it has grown into a major political, military and social welfare organization serving Lebanon's large Shi'ite Muslim community.
In 2006, it fought a 34-day war against Israel, which remains its primary adversary. To finance its operations, it relies in part on funding from a large Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim diaspora that stretches from the Middle East to Africa and Latin America. Some of the funding comes from criminal enterprises.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of Hezbollah moving terrorists across the Mexico border to carry out attacks in the United States, Hezbollah members and supporters have entered the country this way.
Last year, Salim Boughader Mucharrafille was sentenced to 60 years in prison by Mexican authorities on charges of organized crime and immigrant smuggling. Mucharrafille, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, owned a cafe in the city of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego. He was arrested in 2002 for smuggling 200 people, said to include Hezbollah supporters, into the U.S.
In 2001, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani crossed the border from Mexico in a car and traveled to Dearborn, Mich. Kourani was later charged with and convicted of providing "material support and resources ... to Hezbollah," according to a 2003 indictment.
A U.S. official with knowledge of U.S. law enforcement operations in Latin America said, "we noted the same trends as Mr. Braun" and that Hezbollah has used Mexican transit routes to smuggle contraband and people into the U.S.
Two U.S. law enforcement officers, familiar with counterterrorism operations in the U.S. and Latin America, said that "it was no surprise" that Hezbollah members have entered the U.S. border through drug cartel transit routes.
"The Mexican cartels have no loyalty to anyone," one of the officials told The Washington Times. "They will willingly or unknowingly aid other nefarious groups into the U.S. through the routes they control. It has already happened. That's why the border is such a serious national security issue."
One U.S. counterterrorism official said that while "there's reason to believe that [Hezbollah members] have looked at the southern border to enter the U.S. ... to date their success has been extremely limited."
However, another U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed that the U.S. is watching closely the links between Hezbollah and drug cartels and said it is "not a good picture."
A senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of ongoing operations in Latin America, warned that al Qaeda also could use trafficking routes to infiltrate operatives into the U.S.
"If I have the money to do it - I want to get somebody across the border - that's a way to do it," the defense official said. "Especially foot soldiers. Somebody who's willing to come and blow themselves up. That's sort of hard to do that kind of recruiting, training and development in Kansas City."
Adm. James G. Stavridis, commander of U.S. Southern Command and the nominee to head NATO troops as Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, testified before the House Armed Services Committee last week that the nexus between illicit drug trafficking - "including routes, profits, and corruptive influence" and "Islamic radical terrorism" is a growing threat to the U.S.
He noted that in August, "U.S. Southern Command supported a Drug Enforcement Administration operation, in coordination with host countries, which targeted a Hezbollah-connected drug trafficking organization in the Tri-Border Area."
In October, another interagency operation led to the arrests of several dozen people in Colombia associated with a Hezbollah-connected drug trafficking and a money-laundering ring. Hezbollah uses these operations to generate millions of dollars to finance Hezbollah operations in Lebanon and other areas of the world, he said.
"Identifying, monitoring and dismantling the financial, logistical, and communication linkages between illicit trafficking groups and terrorist sponsors are critical to not only ensuring early indications and warnings of potential terrorist attacks directed at the United States and our partners, but also in generating a global appreciation and acceptance of this tremendous threat to security," he said.
Mr. Braun, who spent 33 years with the DEA and still works with the organization as a consultant, said that members of the elite Quds, or Jerusalem, force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards also are showing up in Latin America.
"Quite frankly, I'm not opposed to the belief that they could be commanding and controlling Hezbollah's criminal enterprises from there," Mr. Braun said.
The DEA thinks that 60 percent of terrorist organizations have some ties with the illegal narcotics trade, said agency spokesman Garrison Courtney.
South American drug cartels were forced into developing stronger alliances with Mexican syndicates when the U.S. closed off access from the Caribbean 15 years ago, Mr. Braun said.
Mexico's transit routes now account for more than 90 percent of the cocaine entering the U.S., he said. The emphasis on Mexico intensified after the Sept. 11 attacks, when beefed-up U.S. security measures greatly reduced access to the U.S. by air and water, he said.
The shift put Mexico's drug cartels in the lead and helped them amass billions of dollars and an estimated 100,000 foot soldiers, according to U.S. defense officials.
Hezbollah shifted its trade routes along with the drug cartels, using Lebanese Shi'ite expatriates to negotiate contracts with Mexican crime bosses, Mr. Braun said.
The World Trade Bridge between Nuevo Laredo and its sister city, Laredo, as well as Interstate 35 and Highways 59, 359 and 83, are like veins feeding the Mexican syndicates, running from southern Texas to cities across the U.S. and as far north as Canada, U.S. officials say. In addition, access routes from El Paso, Texas, to San Diego are also high-value entry points.
Ben Conery contributed to this report.

Reports: Israel struck at least twice in Sudan

Sudan and Egypt are claiming that the convoys carried "immigrants" rather than arms:

A new Egyptian newspaper, Al-Shurooq, was the first to report Tuesday on Saleem saying two convoys trying to cross into Egypt were bombed by American jets. It said there were suspicions that the convoys carried weapons for Gaza.

According to Saleem, the first strike hit 16 vehicles carrying 200 people from various African countries being smuggled across the border. It also carried some "light weapons" such as Kalashnikovs for protection, he said.

In the second attack on February 11, he said 18 vehicles were hit and they were only carrying immigrants, not weapons. He claimed several hundred people were killed in each bombing and said the first strike was about a week before the February 11 attack, but did not give a date.

A week before the February 11 attack would not correspond to the January attack of course. Were there three attacks? A Maariv report (Hebrew) claims that Sudanese officials confirmed that the convoy carried weapons.

EU, UNRWA, USA aid to Palestinians: Where is the money going?

This article confuses UNRWA funding with EU and American and Arab funding, but it makes important points. A Belgian newspaper has proposed stopping the aid as a way of punishing Israel - Israel would then have to pay to support the Palestinian territories. The problem with the punishment is that if Israel administers the territories as it did before 1994, they will be mostly self-supporting, and there would be no need for the subsidies, which go to Swiss bank accounts, training of "militants" and arms purchases.
In the past three years, billions of dollars have poured into the PA and UNRWA
In recent years, billions of dollars have poured into Gaza from hundreds of countries and international organizations. How much of that money has actually reached Palestinian civilians, effectively improving their quality of life and economy, has yet to be completely determined thanks to vague audits and on-line information.
Only recently, with a relatively silent international press, have there been questions from top political leaders, primarily from US, about the way in which the donor money will be transferred into Gaza.
At an Egyptian donor's conference organized by Norway and Egypt in early March, more than 75 international donors and organizations met to announce their financial support of the reconstruction in Gaza. Over $5.2 billion were pledged at the conference, surprising the Palestinian Authority who originally called for $2.8 billion needed to build-up Gaza.
In light of the US pledge of $900 million, the second largest following Saudi Arabia's $1 billion at the conference, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stated that no US funds earmarked for Gaza would end up in the "wrong hands."
By wrong hands, Clinton meant Hamas, the militant Islamist Palestinian party in complete control of the Gaza Strip. Over $300 million dollars of the US pledge money will be going to Gaza reconstruction, while the rest of the $600 million has been earmarked to Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas.
However, there is another set of "wrong hands" in this scenario through which the transfer of funds may very well pass through, hands that are not considered a neutral player in the Arab-Israeli conflict. US State department spokesman, Gordon Duguid stated that Gaza support would be provided through USAID, in coordination with UN agencies that will most likely include UNRWA.
UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, established in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees, has shown dangerous partiality to Hamas terrorists.
In 2004, former UNRWA commissioner-General Peter Hansen revealed to the Canadian Broadcasting Company that UNRWA may very well employ Hamas members. "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as crime," Hansen infamously stated. He further added, that "We do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another."
UNRWA has employed several high profile terrorists which include top Islamic Jihad rocket maker, Awad Al-Qiq who was killed in an Israeli air strike last May 2008. Al-Qiq was the headmaster and science instructor at an UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza. Another terrorist, Hamas's interior minister and head of the Executive Force, Said Siyam, was a teacher for over two decades in UNRWA schools.
Fox News recently reported that UNRWA does not ask its employees whether they are members of, or affiliated with, a terrorist organization such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad. UNRWA also offers no formal screening to ensure that its employees are not affiliated with terrorist organizations.
During Operation Cast Lead, UNRWA officials accused Israel of firing into an UNRWA school, killing dozens of Palestinian civilians seeking refuge. Israel maintained that Palestinian rocket launchers locate next to the school had fired mortars on IDF soldiers, which prompted the army's response. Later, UN official Maxwell Gaylord, reversed the UN's stance stating that the shelling and fatalities had actually taken place outside of the school. But the media damage to Israel had already been done.
Jonathan Halevi, a former IDF intelligence officer who specializes in Palestinian terrorist organizations, recently told Fox News that he estimates that 60 percent of homicide bombers are educated in UNRWA schools. Past UNRWA textbooks blatantly deny the Jewish connection to Israel and are filled with anti-Semitic remarks.
In any case, the United States remains UNRWA's largest sponsor, providing the organization with over 75% of its initial budget according to UNRWA's former senior legal advisor, James Lindsay. Lindsay, who served as an attorney for the US Justice Department for two decades asserts in his publication for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy which came out on January 29 that UNRWA is providing services to those who are actually not in need of them.
Almost the 2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan have Jordanian citizenship and are fully eligible for government services, but are continuing to receive UNRWA assistance as the agency regards them as refugees, according to Lindsay's report.
Michael Danby, a longstanding legislator in the Australian Parliament has also accused UNRWA of being "notoriously corrupt. " Since 2007, Australia has provided $30 million in funding for the Palestinians through the UNRWA agency, which Danby accused of diverting funds to "arms purchase, terrorist operations, and anti-Israel incitement as well as into the pockets of the PA leadership."
"It is a betrayal of that generosity [by Australians] for this money to be wasted, stolen, or misspent on rockets, guns, and terrorism," Danby said one month ago to the Australian Federal Parliament on February 26.
Other countries actively fundraising for Gaza include France, who hosted a Paris donors conference for Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas in December 2007. The conference raised over 7.4 billion dollars in Palestinian aid (for a three year period: 2008-2010) from over 90 countries and international organizations that attended. During 2008, over 3 billion dollars pledged at the conference were distributed through the PA.
But that's not all. By mid-January 2009, TV stations across the Arab world collected over half a billion dollars in a telethon for Gaza, according to Johan Eriksson, a spokesperson for the U.N.
As the Gaza Strip soon teems with money, world donors and leaders must ask the following question: Who will monitor the transfer of these funds and account that they are indeed effectively used for Gaza reconstruction and not for restoring the Hamas terrorist infrastructure?

Subversion: The real Iranian threat

This very important article points out that Iranian subversion is just as important -- or more important -- than the Iranian nuclear project. It is less dramatic. However it Hezbollah and the Al Quds brigades are facts and their operations are real, whereas the Iranian nuclear weapon is, after all, hypothetical, and its use is only a nightmare, not a reality. The nuclear capability would most likely be used only to provide an umbrella for bigger and better subversion.   

By William Wunderle and Gabriel Lajeunesse

As the new American administration completes its review of strategy vis-a-vis Iran, policymakers would be advised not to fixate on a nuclear threat that all agree is one to five years away from realization. President Barack Obama's recent attempt to reach out to Iran is part of a correct push for engagement; yet if Iran does not change its behavior, robust action will be needed. This should include significant and simultaneous actions to address the other Iranian threat that could drag the world into regional conflagration in the Middle East at any moment - what we call "Iranian malign influence."

Nowhere is the threat of strategic miscalculation spurred by Iranian-sponsored terror as great as it is in the Levant - in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egyptian Sinai, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The Al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps provides hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah each year, along with arms, including medium-range rockets and surface-to-air missiles. These transfers violate UN Security Council Resolution 1747, which prohibited Iran from transporting arms or related material, in light of Iranian proliferation concerns. Iran transports this lethal aid overland through neighboring countries, such as Turkey, or by sea, as seen in the recent case of the Cypriot-flagged ship the Monchegorsk.

Iranian aid allowed Hezbollah to carry out rocket attacks on Israel that provoked armed conflict in 2006. It also strengthened Hezbollah's position at home, facilitating the organization's "coup" in Beirut last May, when Hezbollah gunmen gained power after taking to Beirut's streets following a showdown with the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. With elections set for Lebanon this June, the country is a powder keg waiting to explode under the weight of Iranian pressure and manipulation.

Similarly, Hamas leaders have attributed their improving rocket technology and general military prowess to training by the Al-Quds Force. Iran's incitement in Gaza led to catastrophic results earlier this year, as Israeli forces conducted operations in the Strip intended to destroy the sanctuary of Hamas rocket-launching teams.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's adventurism puts hopes of regional stability at risk. Information extracted from captured terrorist leaders, Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, Iranian Al-Quds Force officers, and analysis of arms caches reveal a pattern of Iranian proxy warfare under way against the U.S. in both countries. Iranian support has also fueled sectarian violence in Iraq.

The Al-Quds Force has provided lethal support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shi'ite militants in Iraq, in the form of weapons, training, funding and direction. For example, it is now known that such Hezbollah operatives as Ali Mussa Daqduq were dispatched to Iraq to assist the Al-Quds Force develop terror cells there, modeled on those of the Lebanese group. In addition to Iran's support to the Taliban, information declassified in the recent January 16 U.S. Treasury financial designations of Al-Qaida leaders reveals that Iran has had a clandestine relationship with Al-Qaida dating back to the 1990s, and that it continues to harbor prominent members of that organization.

Iran's malign interference in regional affairs is not limited to the Levant, Iraq and Afghanistan, but has extended at various times to support for terrorists and militants involved in destabilizing Turkey, Azerbaijan, Sudan and the Gulf states. This capacity for asymmetric warfare breeds an exaggerated confidence among Iranian leaders, who believe that the days of a renewed Persian empire are imminent.

Yet Iran is not inviolable. In fact, its reliance on human intelligence and covert operations is a critical vulnerability that is susceptible to direct and indirect influence. To exploit this vulnerability, however, the international community - and Middle East leaders in particular - must acknowledge the threat posed by Iranian agents, dedicate the proper resources to the problem, and then work together to identify and neutralize Al-Quds Forces and operations. While the governments of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Morocco have been ratcheting up pressure on Iranian networks, far more multilateral cooperation and intelligence sharing is needed. Regional law-enforcement and intelligence officers, for example, must pay careful attention to Al-Quds Force officers working out of Iranian diplomatic establishments, commercial entities and other establishments that provide non-official cover. Front companies can be identified and closed, finances seized, diplomats declared personae non gratae, and officers in non-official cover positions arrested or detained.

The international community must be diligent, and work with regional leaders to press Iran to renounce its interventionist methods, and to neutralize Al-Quds Force and its proxies. Without increased international pressure, Iran will continue to provide support to terrorists, revolutionaries and insurgents, and will use violence and the threat of violence as a means of bullying its neighbors.

Iran's current course needs serious correction. This effort cannot wait and must occur in concert with the effort to deal with Iran's nuclear aspirations. Members of the international community must work together to stand up to Iranian malign influence and aggression before Iran drags the world into additional conflict in the Middle East.

William Wunderle and Gabriel Lajeunesse are visiting associates at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The truth about Gaza is beginning to come out

The truth about Gaza is beginning to come out, but the damage is already done. The Palestinian fabrications were used unquestioningly by human rights groups and the UN. What this report does not say is that some of the "children" listed in Palestinian reports are really adult Hamas terrorists according to the IDF. It also doesn't say that the Hamas "police" have the hobbies of throwing Fatah rivals off roofs and assisting in "resistance." .   

Israel's Gaza toll far lower than Palestinian tally

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel says far more armed fighters and far fewer Palestinian civilians were killed during its 22-day offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in January than reported in widely-used Palestinian figures.

In the first Israeli death tally to appear in an official publication since the Dec 26-Jan 18 war, it said a total of 1,166 Palestinians were killed, not 1,417 as reported by Palestinian human rights activists.

The figures were contained in a briefing paper issued by the public affairs department of the Israeli embassy in London on Wednesday (http://london/mfa/gov/il).

It says 295 civilians lost their lives -- about a third of the figure of 926 reported by Gaza's Palestinian Center for Human Rights (, which published a full list of names earlier this month.

The document said at least 709 of the dead in Gaza were armed militants, not 236 as reported by the Palestinians.

The Palestinian group said "255 police and 236 fighters" died in Israeli bombing and shelling -- a total of 491.

Israel has made clear it regards police under the control of the Islamist Hamas ruler of Gaza as the equivalent of armed fighters.

The Israeli paper said the "degree of involvement" in the armed conflict of a further 162 killed in its offensive was "still under investigation."

It did not say how the figures were obtained.

The central aim of the embassy briefing paper was to reject charges of war crimes by Israeli forces in Gaza from human rights groups.

It said there was so far no adequate ethical code of war "to regulate the war on terror" in which "amoral" adversaries flouted the rules of war and used human shields with total indifference to human suffering.

All Western armies currently face the same dilemma, it said.

(Writing by Douglas Hamilton; editing by Philippa Fletcher)


Report: IAF strike in Sudan hit Gaza-bound weapons convoy

The news was broken by CBS.

Somebody attacked the convoy in Sudan, but it is not so clear that Israel did it: Thus far, public international efforts to curb arms deliveries to the genocidal Hamas, with the exception of our courageous friends in Cyprus, have been somewhat anemic. A European agreement calls for searching ships, but only if the ships agree to be searched. Here is the report
The Israel Air Force carried out an attack last January against a convoy of trucks in Sudan carrying arms for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to the American network CBS.
The strike "killed Sudanese, Eritreans and Ethiopians, and injured others," Saleem added. [Here comes an HRW report blaming Israel for attacking civilians, right?]
CBS News national security correspondent David Martin broke the story. He says that Israeli intelligence learned of plans to move weapons through Sudan, north toward Egypt and then via the Sinai into the Gaza Strip.
According to Martin, Israel and the U.S. had signed an agreement for closer international efforts to block smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip.
During the final days of the Israeli offensive against Hamas, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her American counterpart Condoleezza Rice signed a security-intelligence memorandum on intensifying cooperation in a joint effort to block the smuggling of arms from Iran to Hamas via Sudan.
The Sudanese news site said the attack took place "in a desert area northwest of Port Sudan city, near Mount al-Sha'anun."
According to, the airstrike was an "embarrassment" to Sudan's government, and it discussed the matter with Egypt's government "to gather more information to formulate a response."
On the basis of the report from Sudan, American reporters sought confirmation from U.S. administration officials, which led them to the conclusion that the air strike did take place but that the U.S. Air Force was not involved and that the aircraft were Israeli.
CBS correspondent Dan Raviv said that "if Israeli airplanes carried out the attack in Sudan, it would suggest that there is a shadow against Hamas and its weapons sources that is wider than the Israeli or U.S. government has revealed."
In the original Sudanese report, an unidentified Egyptian official was quoted as saying that the planes that carried out the attack were based out of many countries in the region, and some observers guessed that he meant Djibouti, but there is no such confirmation.
Meanwhile, Israel defense sources refused to comment on the report of an air strike in Sudan or on the role that Israel may have played in that attack.
Defense sources have reiterated on a number of occasions that Iran embarked on an intensive effort to supply Hamas with weapons and ammunition during Operation Cast Lead.
The Israeli security sources said that an international network has been set in place in which smugglers move arms caches from Iran through the Persian Gulf to Yemen, on to Sudan and then to Egypt and Sinai where they are brought into the Gaza Strip through tunnels.
Israeli intelligence has warned that the deliveries include anti-tank missiles, small arms, and military grade high explosives, as well as missiles.
Meanwhile, in May, an international conference is scheduled to take place in Ottawa, the third of its kind since the end of Operation Cast Lead, which will discuss how to prevent arms smuggling from Iran to the Gaza Strip.
In addition to host Canada, Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the U.S. and Israel will also take part.
Immediately after the conference a "war game" is scheduled to take place in Washington, with the participation of security officials and diplomats from the countries involved. The "war game" will practice a scenario of foiling arms smuggling from Iran to the Gaza Strip.
The most recent conference took place in London a week ago and the countries cooperating in blocking the arms smuggling from Iran formulated a joint plan of operations. The plan includes the signing of a series of bilateral agreements with countries situated along the path of the smugglers, as well as countries whose commercial fleets carry cargo from Iran elsewhere.

Australian Imam stages DIY hate crime

Imam commits hate crime against himself
Tuesday, 24th March 2009
Melanie Phillips
The Australian reports:
Australia's most controversial sheik, Taj Din al-Hilali, has been caught on videotape kicking in a door at his own mosque before calling police to report an act of vandalism.The head imam at the Lakemba mosque, who caused outrage in 2006 by comparing scantily clad women to uncovered meat, was shown on a CCTV security tape kicking open the door just minutes before reporting the incident. The Nine Network's A Current Affair last night broadcast the videotape from March 9, showing the incident, which Sheik Hilali initially denied. 'There is a trick in this camera. There is a trick in this film,' he told ACA.

...The footage shows four young men locking the door behind them at 10.28pm. Nine minutes later, Sheik Hilali checks the lock and pushes on the top of the door, bending it on its hinges. After checking the corridor, he disappears from view before rushing towards it and kicking it open at 10.46pm. It is understood the name of the suspected culprit was put forward to NSW police, but it is not known if he was interviewed by the authorities.
One trusts he received condign punishment for Islamophobia.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lebanon Controversy over Starbucks boycott

Shultz is definitely a "Zionist" since he has a Zionist name, right? And it says Starbucks supports Zionism right there in Ziopedia. And Ziopedia wouldn't lie, right? Just like the Protocols of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a real document, just as it says in Ziopedia, right? Jew Zionist Shultz is suspected of the Zionist crime of supporting a hospital charity. He denies it, but surely the inquisitors can get him to confess!
The truth and the rumors behind the targeting of the lattes
Maya Khourchid, NOW Staff , March 25, 2009
Starbucks has become a worldwide cause célèbre for protestors who object to its globalised ubiquity. But in Lebanon Starbucks has been the focus of protests for other reasons entirely. The coffee chain has, especially since the conflict in Gaza, been singled out by anti-Israeli activists for protests which have seen gruesome posters waved, Stars of David taped to the windows and sometimes the café itself shut for the day.  The Starbucks in Beirut's Hamra district, near several universities, has been targeted often, most recently last week.
So, do the protestors have a point? Of all the international companies in Lebanon, Starbucks has come in for the most flak recently. Do the protestors have a legitimate grievance with a company that gives money to a country with which Lebanon is at war? Or are they picking on an easy target, already unpopular with left-leaning, anti-globalisation types? Answering this question reveals Zionist links to the company's founder, a grey area between the the company and its CEO and many unverified rumors.
What exactly is the protestors' problem with Starbucks? "It is the funds that they send to the Zionist state," says Bahaa Al Kayyali, a 21 year-old political science student at AUB involved with the grassroots Lebanese Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel. "And the support of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)," he goes on, adding that, "most of the people who protest outside Starbucks believe it gives money to the Israeli state, and IDF, for sure."
However, Starbucks denies this, outright. Its 'Facts about Starbucks in the Middle East' section on its website denies providing financial support to the Israeli government and the IDF, although support to Israeli charities is not specifically denied.
But there are protestors who, even if they do not accuse the company of funding Israel directly, have a grievance with the company through its director. "Our boycott is in general, not only to Starbucks, in general to the companies we find out are in a direct or indirect way supporting the state of Israel…Starbucks itself because the director and co-owner Howard Schultz [is] a known Zionist and open speaker in support of the state of Israel" says Arabi Al-Andari, a member of the Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth, who have protested Starbucks recently, since 1997.
Howard Schultz, the Jewish 55-year-old founder and CEO, of Starbucks has been called a Zionist by protest groups and boycott campaigns in Lebanon and globally. As with many ideological battles, the internet has been a breeding ground for debate and accusations on both sides. It can be difficult to tell justifiable grievance from fabrication.
A fake letter that first appeared on anti-Israeli website Ziopedia in July 2006, in which Schultz thanks Starbucks customers without whom he "wouldn't be able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist attacks and keep reminding every Jew in America, to defend Israel at any cost," is often quoted. In the first month the letter went up, it was read by over 100,000 people on the Ziopedia site alone. 
But the letter was widely misunderstood; it had been written as a satirical piece by Ziopedia editor Andrew Winkler. "However all the statements I made in that letter about donations, sponsorships, political views etc. – are based on factual Howard Schultz actions and quotes as a half hour of 'Googling' will easily confirm to anyone interested," said a note added later by Winkler.
But although Googling turns up many reasons to boycott the company, few are verifiable.  The Innovative Minds website's 'Boycott Israel Campaign' asserts that Starbucks sponsored the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem's annual 'Bowl 4 Israel' fundraiser in 2002 and 2003. But the Committee maintains no 'Bowl 4 Israel' events were held in those years.... 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lawfare: Abuse of international law as a weapon

Warfare through Misuse of International Law

Elizabeth Samson

BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 73, March 23, 2009

Defining "Lawfare"

There is a new kind of warfare being waged across the globe. The antagonists in the struggle are employing the weapon of their adversaries – the rule of law – in a strategy called "Lawfare" which involves the misuse of the law to achieve objectives that cannot be achieved militarily. Lawfare can be undertaken by any group of actors of any nationality or religion, but presently Lawfare is being pursued largely by Islamic ideologues, their supporters, and their financiers who sympathize with the actions of Islamic militants.

Lawfare is exponentially effective because one lawsuit can silence thousands who have neither the time nor the financial resources to challenge well-funded terror financiers or the vast machine of the international judicial system. The potential for a "chilling effect" on both speech and conduct are limitless and the consequence can have a devastating effect on public safety and international security.

Categories of Lawfare

There are three primary categories of Lawfare. The first category is the initiation of lawsuits before courts in the international system. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) serve complementary but different purposes. The ICJ, established in 1945, resolves disputes between states and renders advisory opinions on legal issues submitted by international organs, agencies, and the UN General Assembly. As the ICJ solves disputes in cases that states bring before it, there is rarely a question about whether the court has jurisdiction in those matters.  In contrast, the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court established the ICC as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.  UN member states had to decide whether to submit to its jurisdiction and allow their citizens to be prosecuted.

The United States and Israel had an intuitive understanding that this presented a potential for abuse in the absence of a system of checks and balances. They rejected participating in the ICC because they feared that hostile nations would initiate politically motivated lawsuits against their soldiers or political leaders and that the impartiality of the court would be compromised. The ICC is only permitted to try nations that are party to the Rome Statute, unless the United Nations Security Council permits otherwise by vote.  For now, the United States and Israel are safe from prosecution by the ICC, but it is not an absolute certainty.

In the second category, the misuse of legal terminology to manipulate international institutions and the public is an underhanded mode of Lawfare because it relies on the relative inexperience of laypeople to advance ideas.  United Nations resolutions, for example, are used to gain sympathy for the cause of Lawfare combatants and to intimidate their opposition.  However, just as ICJ Advisory Opinions are non-binding, UN Resolutions also do not have the force of law and are simply an expression of sentiment and are often precursors to the establishment of authoritative international law by way of a UN Convention.  This gives reason to worry, particularly with respect to a resolution that will be at the top of the agenda of the upcoming anti-racism conference in Geneva this April, familiarly known as Durban II.

Every year since 1999, at the request and direction of the 57-state Organization of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations has passed a resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions. The resolution has two major intrinsic flaws and is merely a political attempt by the OIC to stifle free speech and criticism of Islam.  The first flaw is that it singles out Islam as a victim and makes no mention of any other religion. The second flaw is that "defamation of religions" is a legal impossibility.

Defamation involves the publication of a false statement about a person, business, group or government, all of which are tangible entities. A religion cannot be defamed because it is only a set of beliefs and, therefore, cannot sue in its own name. Even if, hypothetically, a defamation case were brought, the falsehood of a statement about a religion can never be established, because religious beliefs are subjectively determined. Furthermore, it is not possible for a judge to render a decision on a matter the very nature of which is inconclusive. By supporting this resolution, the OIC is taking advantage of the public's general lack of knowledge about defamation, which does not include a religion as a protected category.

The third and arguably most threatening category of Lawfare relates to the prosecution of foreign nationals in domestic courts for military and civilian action. With respect to military cases, there is the recent example of the prosecution of Israeli officials by a Spanish Court at the instigation of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, an NGO based in Gaza City. The organization requested that two Israeli officials, National Infrastructure Minister and former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and former IAF and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity for their involvement in the assassination of a Hamas operative in 2002. Invoking the controversial international legal principle of "universal jurisdiction," the Justice of the Spanish Court granted the Palestinian petition.

As distinguished from the criminal jurisdiction of an international tribunal which is exercised by an international organization such as the ICC or the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia, universal jurisdiction is exercised by states who feel that it is within their moral obligation to mankind to prosecute individuals who allegedly committed crimes outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of any relation of the person with that state. The claim is premised on the notion that each state has the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Henry Kissinger denounced universal jurisdiction as a breach of state sovereignty and said it creates the risk of universal tyranny by judges.  Despite his objections and by others in the international community, universal jurisdiction persists as evidenced by the prosecution in the Spanish Court.

Prosecutions like the one in Spain pose two dangers. They undermine international sympathy for the plight of the Israeli people, as well as other global citizens, in dealing with terrorism.  But even more significantly, a defeat creates a dangerous precedent for future losses because the standard it sets can be incorporated into mainstream international law by way of customary international law – which is comprised of state practice – the repetition of similar acts by other states over time, and opinio juris – the sense of obligation of all states to act in the same manner.  This would have disastrous consequences for any state in carrying out military actions and would essentially imprison the defendants in their home countries out of concern for being arrested once they step beyond their own borders. This is exemplified in the case of the attempted arrest of Israeli Major General Doron Almog at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom in September 2005, over accusations by Palestinian groups that he ordered the destruction of more than 50 homes in Gaza in 2002.

In cases against civilian (as opposed to military) personnel, Lawfare in both Western and non-Western domestic courts has also been attempted by Islamic groups with the goal of suppressing the free speech of their critics. To combat anti-Islamic rhetoric in the West, Islamic organizations and individuals have stepped up a legal campaign to silence criticism of Islam through attempts at civil litigation and criminal prosecution of private citizens.

A growing phenomenon called "libel tourism" has gained international notoriety as one of the most broadly threatening means of Lawfare.  Libel tourism is a form of international forum shopping whereby plaintiffs bring defamation lawsuits in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. The United Kingdom, infamously known as the "libel capital of the Western world," has been home to nearly all the libel tourism cases in recent years. What makes British courts so appealing is that libel plaintiffs need not prove the guilt of the accused, but rather the accused must prove their own innocence – the exact opposite of the system in the United States – and often at great cost to themselves and over lengthy periods of time.  In the process, the defendants are also barred from reporting about the subject matter of the ongoing litigation, which often takes years.

In a libel tourism case, free speech is shut down, posing a threat to international security when writers can no longer report about suspicious activity or the sources of terror financing. One of the plaintiffs on the libel circuit is a Saudi citizen named Sheikh Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz who has initiated roughly 40 libel cases in British courts. Two of his cases stand out which exemplify the problem of libel tourism. The first involves the publication of a book called "Alms for Jihad" in which Mahfouz is accused of funding Al-Qaeda. Cambridge University Press, the publisher, removed the book from circulation and destroyed existing copies in order to end the lawsuit that Mahfouz brought against them.

The second is the case of Rachel Ehrenfeld who Mahfouz sued over allegations that he funded terrorist groups in her book entitled "Funding Evil."  As distinguished from the first case which related to a British publication, Ehrenfeld's book was neither published nor distributed in the UK, but the court granted jurisdiction because Mahfouz was able to buy 20 copies of "Funding Evil" on and ship them to England.  Ehrenfeld lost her case in the British Court and was ruled in contempt of court for not submitting to the judgment, putting herself at risk of arrest if she travels to Britain.  However, she appealed to the federal and state courts in New York to protect her from Mahfouz enforcing the judgment in the US, arguing the injustice of being prosecuted under a harsher standard than American law allowed.

In early January 2008, the New York State Assembly introduced the "Libel Terrorism Protection Act" to ensure that foreign judgments that are at odds with American law and public policy will not be enforceable in New York. The Act, signed by the Governor of New York on 30 April 2008, served as the prototype for federal legislation entitled the "Freedom of Speech Protection Act" now under review by the US Congress.  Despite the American attempts to protect its citizens at home, they cannot change British laws. Therefore, libel tourism remains a threat to free speech and consequently to international security.

With regard to domestic criminal prosecutions, Jordan charged 12 Europeans in 2008 with blasphemy, demeaning Islam and Muslim feelings, and slandering and insulting the prophet Muhammad in violation of the Jordanian Penal Code. Eleven of the defendants were Danish journalists involved in publishing a cartoon of Muhammad, and the twelfth was the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders.  Jordan requested that Interpol apprehend the defendants and bring them to trial. The case is pending, but the effect of such prosecutions, if recognized in the West, are self-evident. Countries that do not respect free speech, and whose laws are informed by their religious beliefs, oftentimes antithetical to the values that promote free expression, will be encouraged to follow Jordan's example.  Essentially no one will be safe from being sued abroad in a domestic court.


We cannot ignore Lawfare tactics or downgrade them as benign methods simply because they do not cause physical injury. Lawfare is a serious assault on the ability of free nations and their citizens to exercise their legal rights under both international and domestic law and to live, speak, travel and defend themselves.

Lawfare has developed to combat the terrorists' most enigmatic enemy.  They are not fighting an occupier or challenging a military incursion – they are fighting the forces of freedom, they are fighting the voice of reason, and they are attacking those who have the liberty to speak and act openly. And the weapon that the enemy is using was created by our own hands – that is the rule of law, a weapon designed to subdue dictators and tyrants is now being misused to empower the very same, and being manipulated to subvert real justice and indisputable truth. That is not the purpose the law is designed to serve.

Elizabeth Samson is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute. She is an attorney specializing in international law and constitutional law. This paper is based on her lecture at the BESA Center on February 25, 2009.

Karin and the ostrich policy

The ostrich policy

Alexander Maistrovoy
The West doesn't struggle with the threat of Islamic fanaticism, they pretend that this danger does not exist  at all.
 Have you ever read a story that combines love lyrics, Orwell's plots and Kafka's nightmares? If not, you should read the book of Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist, living in Germany (before moving to Germany he taught at Kuwait University). It is not a novel, and the events are not set in medieval Europe. Dr. Sami Alrabaa's book Karin In Saudi Arabia is a research. It is based on real event! s which took place  in Saudi Arabia. The West consider this state to be friendly and moderate.
"Karin" is a real story of a German woman, who lived in Saudi Arabia for a while and fell in love with a Saudi. Later, this love turned into a devastating nightmare. The Saudi "Morality Police", notorious for their bestial brutality, raped Karin and threw her in prison. Her crime was, she was driven alone downtown by a taxi-driver. Her German-Saudi baby son was taken away and she was deported to Cyprus without passport and money.
This story is not an exception to the rules. It is a rule. Dr. Sami Alrabaa gave many examples of this kind. Muna, a young Moroccan woman was luckier. She managed to smuggle herself and baby after one-night marriage with Sultan, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
Mimi and Najat were brutally stoned to death. Najat, a deaf-dumb was caught by the "Morality Police", suspected of being a prostitute. In reality she was waiting for her brother to pick her up in front of shop window.
The Morality Police Chief quickly passed sentence on Najat. He wrote, among other things: "Najat was working as a prostitute and was caught in the very act of picking up a client. We advise that she be stoned to death..." Two muttawas (Morality Police) delivered the document to Prince Salman, the governor of Riyadh. He jotted down a verdict to match the suggestion, then signed it. Najat was to be publicly stoned to death the following Friday.
Mimi, a house-maid from the Philippines, was denounced by the wife of Karin's lover. She was picked up by the "Morality Police" and also stoned to death. These storieshappen very often, and people are defenseless towards them. There are no courts in Saudi Arabia, and the princes there possess absolute power.
Nisrin, a Bangladeshi woman, who married a Saudi, was deported and the marriage was annulled. Before that she was raped by one of those "Morality Police". A Saudi who belongs to an important tribe, cannot just marry anyone.
Mohammed, a Syrian truck-driver had both hands amputated for allegedly stealing the truck he was driving. In March, 2002, the Saudi Morality Police prevented school girls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing the correct Islamic dress. As a result 15 girls were burned alive." My stories are a pattern that happen day in day out.
All of it happens before our eyes: tortures, mockery, ridiculous medieval prejudices based on patriarchal clan customs. The absurdity turned into a dogma. On March 9, 2009, in Saudi Arabia a 75-year-old woman was sentenced to 40 lashes, 4 months in jail and deportation  … The basis for such a ruthless sentence was her dialogue with two men who had brought her a loaf of bread. One of organizers of this "orgy" was her husband's nephew. He too was sentenced to lashes and a prison term.
Laws of Saudi Arabia strictly forbid women to appear in public with men who are not their close relatives. Law also forbids them to drive, play musical instruments, dance and watch some films. The 75-year-old woman has broken it.
The issue has become a pathology.  In Saudi Arabia a new prohibition has come into force. Any sale of cats and dogs, as well as walking  them in parks and streets is banned. The Islamic religious police think that walking pets makes their owners more attractive to the opposite sex. According to the law pets of violators will be confiscated.
Clericals of Saudi Arabia consider pets as a result of "noxious Western influence", as well as  fast food, shorts, jeans and pop music.
People in the West close their eyes to these monstrous phenomena calling them «infringement of human rights». This is absurd! It is something like to use
such term to describe witch hunt in medieval Europe, both bloody slander and public executions of animals accused of cooperation with the Devil. But human rights watchers and liberals should understand: one can break only existing laws or norms. The concept of "human rights" simply does not exist in the Arab World, so it is impossible to break them .
We speak about religious dogmas which set human life and human respect at nought. And, Dr. Sami Alrabaa maintains, the problem is not in "bad Islam" or "good Islam". It is in Islam itself.
«When you study Islam; the Quran and Shari'a, and live in Saudi Arabia for a while, you find out that the Saudis are in fact applying the Islamic law. "The woman who commits adultery must be stoned to death."(Quran, 36:18). "And (as for) the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off their hands as a punishment for what they have earned, an exemplary punishment from Allah; and Allah is Mighty, Wise." (Quran 5:38). For more details, check out and "Understanding Muhammad" by Ali Sina», - he wrote.
Violence and suppression penetrates all Muslim society from top to bottom. The book also shows that not only the Saudi regime and its religious fanatic establishment are oppressive, but also other groups in society: Saudi men oppress and ill-treat women, and Saudi men and women oppress abuse foreigners.
Can democracy and liberal values be compatible with the Islamic dogmatism, rooted in patriarchal pagan traditions? To reconcile Islam with our days is even more difficult, than to find common language with Ivan the Terrible, Torkvemadah or Medieval Flagellants, scourging themselves in public.
«When I delivered the manuscript of this book to friends outside of Saudi Arabia, asking them to read it over, their response was uniform: they shook their heads in disbelief. Nobody in the civilized world seemed able to fathom the extent of the arbitrariness and atrocities to which victims in Saudi Arabia are subjected. To them, it was incredible. Some remarked that I was telling stories about the actions of monsters from another planet», - author wrote.
The last issue is the main problem. The West not only does not try to resist the threat of medieval fanaticism proceeding from the Islamic world, but also pretends that this threat does not exist. An ostrich hides his head in sand, hoping to escape the danger of death.  Alas, it does not help him.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is the Middle East Ready for Democracy?

It seems to me that there is some confusion here between promoting democracy, which is a good thing, and promoting anti-democratic extremists. Agreed that open elections are probably a really bad idea in Egypt at the moment and in some other places such as Syria. If they held elections in medieval France, they would've voted to murder the Jews and burn the Witches. But the real question is whether or not the US should pursue policies that help make the countries of the Middle East ready for democracy.   Rubin asks:
But why should the United States pursue a policy that we have every reason to believe will be catastrophic: namely, pushing for a situation in which radical Islamists are more likely to take over.
The US should not push for such a policy. But US failure to pressure the Shah to institute reforms resulted in disaster in Iran, and US failure to insist on transparency and good government in the Fatah resulted in another failure and helped bring the Hamas  to power. Since they took over the government by force, it is probable they would have done so eventually even without the ill-fated elections. Talking to Hamas  and Hezbollah will not promote democracy or help the people of the Middle East, but not requiring minmal democratic reforms in places like Egypt and Afghanistan is helping to bring extremists to power. The latter policies result from too much "realism:" :" We can work with this guy. He is our SOB."
Ami Isseroff
By Barry Rubin
  Democracy is a great idea; open elections are ideally the best way to choose governments; dialogue with everyone is wonderful in theory. But in the Middle East, unfortunately, as a policy this would be a disaster.

It is not Western policy but local conditions which are going to determine whether there will be democracy in the Arabic-speaking world. In my book, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), I analyze both the debate and the existing groups. The assessment must be pessimistic.

Would we like to see liberal democracy and moderation prevail with rising living standards and more freedom? Of course, but the real question is what effect certain policies would have.
The Western debate gets stranger and stranger. Among the policymaking classes, there's a prevailing view that the Bush administration was a disaster. The rather misleading description for those who advocated a US policy of promoting democracy and overthrowing dictators — "neo-conservative" — has become among such people a curse word implying stupid and evil.

Why, then, does the debate seem to be between those who now run most Western governments and want to engage with the worst, most dangerous extremists and those who want to promote democracy by opening up the political process to the... worst, most dangerous extremists?
WHATEVER BECAME of good old-fashioned realism, the breakfast of champions in diplomacy for centuries? Realism, a term that has been hijacked lately far more than Islam, means to base a policy on the actually existing situation rather than one's wish-list, building alliances on the basis of common interests. It does not mean embracing your worst enemies while kicking those with common interests in the groin. Nor does it mean acting like the nerdy kid groveling in the hope that it will make the popular guys like him. And it also doesn't mean ignoring adversaries' ideologies and goals.

Is it really so hard to understand that US policy should be based on working closely with Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon (moderates, not Iranian-Syrian agents), Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf emirates? Is it really so hard to understand that US policy should also be based on combating Iran, Syria, Sudan, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhoods, as well as al-Qaida?

We saw what happened in Iran after experts predicted in 1978 that anything would be better than the shah and that moderates would inevitably prevail.

We saw what happened with the Palestinian elections, for while Fatah was no prize, Hamas is far worse and eager for bloodshed. We are about to see what will happen with Lebanese elections which are nominally democratic but influenced by Iranian-Syrian money and intimidation, as a government emerges likely to lead Lebanon into the Iranian bloc.

In Turkey, the several-times-elected AK regime, although still presented internationally as a model moderate Muslim government, is engaged in systematically Islamizing institutions and taking the country down a road leading closer to Teheran than to Washington.
I DO NOT LIKE saying this because I know many courageous liberal dissidents and would like them to win. US and Western policy should always press for their rights, against their imprisonment.

But why should the United States pursue a policy that we have every reason to believe will be catastrophic: namely, pushing for a situation in which radical Islamists are more likely to take over.

Examples have been given of people who might be expected to be liberal preferring to back Islamist parties. But Egypt is virtually the only place this seems to be happening. Elsewhere, people who might be expected to be liberal are supporting the existing regimes out of fear of Islamists. I think that Egypt is a misleading case for that reason. And in Egypt, the leading "liberal" group has now been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and spouts a very radical anti-American line.

Do we really want to contribute to subverting the Egyptian regime, with all its faults, and making the Brotherhood more powerful? The reaction is arrogance on the part of the radicals and despair among the moderates. The liberals conclude, you hear this all the time in Turkey, that America wants the Islamists to win.

I don't prefer this situation. I don't like it. But in a world where Islamists seek to overthrow nationalists, in which an Iranian-Syrian led alliance is trying to gain hegemony in much of the region, I feel that Western policy needs to back the regimes against the revolutionaries.

There are some ethnic or religious communities which have an interest in supporting a moderate democratic approach. At present, this includes Iraqi Kurds and Shi'ites; Lebanese Sunni Arabs, Christians and Druse; and the Berbers of the Maghreb. These are, however, special cases.

There are also very systematic campaigns to fool well-intentioned, gullible Westerners. These are often carried out by having moderate statements in English directed to a foreign audience and revolutionary extremist ones in Arabic directed at one's own society. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has created a very nicely done English-language Web site that would make it seem the organization is something between the Democratic Party and the March of Dimes.

If the West engages with Hamas, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhoods, while working to create a situation in which these groups can compete for power more effectively, the results will be disastrous both for the West and for the Arabs who become victims of the resulting Islamist regimes. No argument, no matter how sincerely heartfelt or superficially clever, alters that fact. That is a tragedy, but in policy terms it is also a necessity to deal with the reality of Middle East polities and societies.

Iran targets the US

Iran targets the US

Mar. 22, 2009
yoram ettinger , THE JERUSALEM POST

The prevention of a nuclear Iran constitutes a top US national security priority. It sheds light on a special aspect of US-Israel relationship: defiance of mutual threats.

Iran pursues nuclear capabilities to advance strategic goals, which are led by the super-goal: hegemony over the Persian Gulf and its natural resources. Those who undermine the super-goal are considered super-enemies, targeted by super-capabilities. Hence, Teheran would use its nuclear power/threat, first and foremost, to force the US and NATO out of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. It would then turn it against Iraq - its arch rival since the seventh century - and against Saudi Arabia, which is considered an apostate regime. All Gulf states are perceived by Iran as a key prize, required in order to control the flow and the price of oil and to bankroll its megalomaniac regional and global aspirations (e.g. leading Islam's drive to dominate the globe).

The Jewish state constitutes a non-Gulf basin target for Iran, not a primary target. Moreover, Israel is expected to retaliate in a traumatic manner, which would paralyze much of Iran's military and civilian infrastructure. Therefore, Iran would not sacrifice its super-goal (forcing the US out of the Gulf and subjugating the Gulf states) on the altar of a secondary-goal (obliterating the Jewish state).

FOR THE US AND ISRAEL, the preferred option against Iran is preemption rather than retaliation. Recent precedents suggest that the two countries benefit from leveraging each other's unique experience, as well as from bold unilateral military action against rogue threats.

In September 2007, the IAF destroyed a Syrian-North Korean nuclear plant, extending the US's strategic arm. It provided the US with vital information on Russian air defense systems, which are also employed by Iran. It bolstered the US posture of deterrence and refuted the claim that US-Israel relations have been shaped by political expediency.

In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor, providing the US with a conventional option in 1991 and 2003, preventing a mega-billion dollar, mega-casualty nuclear war. In 1970, while the US was bogged down in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Israel forced the rollback of a pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan. It prevented a pro-Soviet "domino effect" into the Persian Gulf, which would have shattered US economy.

In 2009, Israel shares with the US its battle-tested experience in combating Palestinian and Hizbullah terrorism, which are the role model of anti-US Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. US GIs benefit from Israel's battle tactics against car bombs, improvised explosive devices and homicide bombing. An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have spared the need to dispatch US troops to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE and NATO commander Alexander Haig refers to the Jewish state as the largest cost-effective, combat-experienced US aircraft carrier that does not require US personnel, cannot be sunk and is located in a most critical region for US national security interests.

While the US has been Israel's indispensable ally, Israel's battle experience has been integrated into the US defense industry. For example, the F-16 includes more than 600 Israeli modifications, sparing the US a mega-billion dollar and a multi-year research and development budget. A litany of state-of-the-art US military systems have been upgraded in a similar manner, enhancing US national and homeland security and expanding US employment and exports.

Iran's nuclear threat is a symptom of endemic Middle East violent unpredictability and Muslim hostility toward Western democracies. It calls for an upgraded US-Israel win-win relationship, which requires a strong Israel as a national security producer. A weak Israel, pushed into a nine-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, pressured to concede the mountain ridges of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, relying on foreign troops and guarantees, would become a national security consumer. It would be a burden rather than an asset to the US in a bad neighborhood, which is crucial for vital US interests.

Iran would benefit from an ineffective Israel. However, the US would have to deploy to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean real aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of US servicemen, costing scores of billions of dollars annually, denied the benefits of Israel - the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US sailor.

The writer is chairman of special projects at the Ariel Center for Policy Research.


Unpleasant truths about the peace process

This two part analysis really hurts, as truth often does. It should not be an occasion for gloating by right wing Zionists, but an occasion for thought. Granted that the peace process is all process and no peace, what other options are there? Is it up to Israel or to  the US to say "OK guys, let's get serious?" And if we say it, or the US says it, will it do any good? Can the Palestinians say in return, likewise, "Let's get serious?"
Failure of Israeli-Palestinian talks due in large part to Western dishonesty

Moshe Elad
Published:  03.21.09, 16:24 / Israel Opinion
Part 1 of analysis
As a new government prepares to take office in Israel, and on the verge of a new Western campaign for realizing the notion of a "two-state solution," it would be proper to look into the adoption of new negotiations patterns that may be able to end the dead-end.

In their current format, the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been fully exhausted, mostly as result of the absence of frankness and openness, as well as the unsuccessful attempts to circumvent the truth behind the difficulties. For example, there are several misguided terms that must be removed from the peace process lexicon.

Enjoying the 'process' too much
The first one is the statement that "the most important thing is that we're talking." For years, the United States and international Quartet have viewed the "peace process" as an achievement in and of itself while pressing to continue with it.
 There are quite a few people on both sides who truly fell in love with this futile "process." No doubt, it serves to neutralize pressures on the West on the part of Arab states while curbing pressures within "moderate" Arab states on the part of pro-Islamic elements.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians enjoy their attachment to the "process" in the form of monetary rewards, prisoner releases, and the various concessions offered on occasion. Israel is forced into a futile and pointless "process" in its current format, and it mostly finds itself on the side that gives and pays.
Israel should enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, but only after several pre-conditions are met, one of them being that the "process" is not the essence.

No negotiation without representation
The second statement that raises question marks over the honesty and frankness of the negotiators is that "Mahmoud Abbas represents the Palestinian people."
 Indeed, he represents the Palestinians just as much as the Persian Shah represented the Iranians in the wake of the Khomeini revolution. The Shah was indeed convenient for the West, but the Iranian people held different views.
Again, the West is looking for the convenient option, while we, as its submissive slaves, accept the "moderate suit-wearing leader" as the ultimate dialogue partner.
 Why does the West believe that Israel can trust a Palestinian leader who does not at all control his own people and who does not at all represent them? After all, signing an agreement with him would be problematic to begin with. Why not put Abbas' level of control to the test, and only after that view him as a legitimate dialogue partner?

Being honest about issues
The third statement borders on a failure to tell the truth: "The sides are discussing the issue of the right of return." Come on. The Palestinians never compromised on their major demand to bring back the refugees to the Land of Israel, including the areas within the "Green Line."
 By doing so, they have neutralized any possibility of a genuine peace process and prevented any chance of ending the conflict and reaching a historic compromise.
Any attempt to elicit a message of compromise or flexibility from the Palestinians on the subject is always undertaken on Israel's initiative, and the Palestinian side always denies it quickly.
Those deeply familiar with the status of and part played by the "right of return" within the Palestinian heritage realizes that no Palestinian human being would dare make any concessions on the matter, so why be deceptive and make false statements?
Therefore, the West, which fears that the "process" will end right at its outset, guided both sides to postpone discussions on the issue of the "right of return" to the end, and meanwhile both sides can amuse themselves in dealing with easier matters such as Jerusalem, the future of the settlements, and the borders…however, on those issues too, no substantive agreement has been reached thus far.
Europe, US urging Israel to embark on failed moves as part of 'peace process'
Moshe Elad
Published:  03.22.09, 11:19 / Israel Opinion
Part 2 of analysis
Recently, we have been hearing a demand to "bring Hamas into the political framework." Unsurprisingly, we were told that Hamas is about to comply with Fatah's request to join a Palestinian national unity government.

If President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the international Quartet indeed desire a real peace process, they must refresh the framework of the negotiations so that the notion of "talks not at any price" would be no less important that falling in love with a futile process. Presenting conditions for talks would point to seriousness and practicality.
For that reason, when it comes to the main hardcore issue, the "right of return," discussions on the subject must be undertaken at the start of the process, even before Israel makes the first concession. The West must remove the "return mask" from the Palestinians' face and force them to compromise on this issue (something that has not happened to this day) as a pre-condition for any further moves.

Western representatives should also look into the implications of signing a future agreement with Abbas, as the West may be greatly embarrassed to discover that Abbas may leave to a safe house in exile hours after signing a peace treaty.

The West must also be honest with itself in respect to Hamas' genuine intentions. The Palestinians taught us that not everyone who is interested in peace is able to also take the responsibility of implementing it. Meanwhile, Europe showed us how to postpone the addition of backward and unprepared states to the European Union, yet it forces us to accept such state as a partner for peace dialogue.
Elsewhere, the United States, which has failed in "taming Iraq" as result of a patronizing and anachronistic approach, is urging us to move quickly in order to fail similarly. And all of this is taking place under the guise of the "peace process."

Colonel (res.) Moshe Elad served as the head of the security coordination mechanism with the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accord period. Today he is a lecturer at the Western Galilee Academic College

Iran Has Started a Middle East Nuclear Arms Race

Iran did not start the Middle East arms race, but they certainly have started a nuclear arms race. The complacency of the US in the face of this development is amazing. The fact that Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons, may become a Taliban state, is equally (or more?) frightening. Nobody seems to be very worried.
Iran Has Started a Mideast Arms Race
States throughout the region are looking to establish nuclear programs.

In the capitals of Western nations, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man regarded as the father of the Pakistani atom bomb, is regarded as a maverick with a criminal past. In addition to his well-documented role in developing a nuclear device for Pakistan, he helped Iran and North Korea with their nuclear programs.
But since his release from house arrest a month ago, Mr. Khan has entertained a string of official visitors from across the Middle East. All come with messages of sympathy; and some governments in that region are looking to him for the knowledge and advice they need to fast track their own illicit nuclear projects.
Make no mistake: The Middle East may be on the verge of a nuclear arms race triggered by the inability of the West to stop Iran's quest for a bomb. Since Tehran's nuclear ambitions hit the headlines five years ago, 25 countries -- 10 of them in the greater Middle East -- have announced plans to build nuclear power plants for the first time.
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and Oman) set up a nuclear exploratory commission in 2007 to prepare a "strategic report" for submission to the alliance's summit later this year. But Saudi Arabia is not waiting for the report. It opened negotiations with the U.S. in 2008 to obtain "a nuclear capacity," ostensibly for "peaceful purposes."
Egypt also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement, with France, last year. Egyptian leaders make no secret of the fact that the decision to invest in a costly nuclear industry was prompted by fears of Iran. "A nuclear armed Iran with hegemonic ambitions is the greatest threat to Arab nations today," President Hosni Mubarak told the Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.
Last November, France concluded a similar nuclear cooperation accord with the UAE, promising to offer these oil-rich lands "a complete nuclear industry." According to the foreign ministry in Paris, the French are building a military base close to Abu Dhabi ostensibly to protect the nuclear installations against "hostile action," including the possibility of "sensitive material" being stolen by terrorist groups or smuggled to Iran.
The UAE, to be sure, has signed a cooperation agreement with the U.S. forswearing the right to enrich uranium or produce plutonium in exchange for American nuclear technology and fuel. The problem is that the UAE's commercial hub, the sheikhdom of Dubai, has been the nerve center of illicit trade with Iran for decades, according to Western and Arab intelligence. Through Dubai, stolen U.S. technology and spent fuel needed for producing raw material for nuclear weapons could be smuggled to Iran.
Qatar, the smallest GCC member by population, is also toying with the idea of creating a nuclear capability. According to the Qatari media, it is shopping around in the U.S., France, Germany and China.
Newly liberated Iraq has not been spared by the new nuclear fever. Recall the history. With help from France, Iraq developed a nuclear capacity in the late 1970s to counterbalance its demographic inferiority vis-à-vis Iran. In 1980, Israel destroyed Osirak, the French-built nuclear center close to Baghdad, but Saddam Hussein restored part of that capacity between 1988 and 1991. What he rebuilt was dismantled by the United Nations' inspectors between 1992 and 2003. But with Saddam dead and buried, some Iraqis are calling for a revival of the nation's nuclear program as a means of deterring "bullying and blackmail from the mullahs in Tehran," as parliamentarian Saleh al-Mutlaq has put it.
"A single tactical nuclear attack on Basra and Baghdad could wipe out a third of our population," a senior Iraqi official told me, on condition of anonymity. Since almost 90% of Iraqis live within 90 miles of the Iranian border, the "fear is felt in every town and village," he says.
Tehran, meanwhile, is playing an active part in proliferation. So far, Syria and Sudan have shown interest in its nuclear technology, setting up joint scientific committees with Iran, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Iranian media reports say Tehran is also setting up joint programs with a number of anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America, notably Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, bringing proliferation to America's backyard.
According to official reports in Tehran, in 2006 and 2007 the Islamic Republic also initialed agreements with China to build 20 nuclear-power stations in Iran. The first of these stations is already under construction at Dar-Khuwayn, in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan close to the Iraqi border.
There is no doubt that the current nuclear race in the Middle East is largely prompted by the fear of a revolutionary Iran using an arsenal as a means of establishing hegemony in the region. Iran's rivals for regional leadership, especially Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are aware of the propaganda appeal of the Islamic Republic's claim of being " the first Muslim superpower" capable of defying the West and rivaling it in scientific and technological fields. In that context, Tehran's development of long-range missiles and the Muslim world's first space satellite are considered political coups.
Mohamed al Quwaihis, a member of Saudi Arabia's appointed parliament, the Shura Council, warns of Iran's growing influence. Addressing the Shura Council earlier this month, he described Iranian interferences in Arab affairs as "overt," and claimed that Iran is "endeavoring to seduce the Gulf States, and recruit some of the citizens of these countries to work for its interests."
The Shura devoted a recent session to "the Iranian threat," insisting that unless Tehran abandoned its nuclear program, Saudi Arabia should lead the Arabs in developing their own "nuclear response." The debate came just days after the foreign ministry in Riyadh issued a report identifying the Islamic Republic's nuclear program as the "principal security threat to Arab nations."
A four-nation Arab summit held in the Saudi capital on March 11 endorsed that analysis, giving the green light for a pan-Arab quest for "a complete nuclear industry." Such a project would draw support from Pakistan, whose nuclear industry was built with Arab money. Mr. Khan and his colleagues have an opportunity to repay that debt by helping Arabs step on a ladder that could lead them to the coveted "threshold" to becoming nuclear powers in a few years' time.
Earlier this month, Mohamed ElBaradei, the retiring head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has become a blunt instrument in preventing a nuclear arms race. Meanwhile, the U.S., France, Russia and China are competing for nuclear contracts without developing safeguards to ensure that projects which start as peaceful undertakings are not used as cover for clandestine military activities.
The Obama administration should take the growing threat of nuclear proliferation seriously. It should try to provide leadership in forging a united response by the major powers to what could become the world's No. 1 security concern within the next few years.
Mr. Taheri's new book, "The Persian Night: Iran Under The Khomeinist Revolution," is published by Encounter Books.