Saturday, July 7, 2007

A worse solution for Iraq

Academic geniuses have come up with a worse solution to Iraq, to show that it is possible. A tripartite monstronsity. Why not propose a more obvious solution? A minority ruled Iraq that is ruled by the Kurds, just as the Allawites rule Syria. The Kurds are loyal to the US and opposed to Islamist extremism.
Alternatively, if Turkey doesn't like this plan, and it won't, give Turkey the responsibility for making order in Iraq.
No plan at all can work unless the US or someone confronts the Iranian and Syrian influence in Iraq. A federation will surely splinter into an Iranian controlled south, a Syrian controlled middle, and a Kurdish state - de facto if not de jure.
Ami Isseroff
Academics Recommend Shift in Iraq Policy
Johns Hopkins, Brookings Academics Propose a Partition of Iraq Into 3 Main Regions

The Associated Press
Two scholars hoping to draw the attention of Bush administration policymakers are proposing a partition plan for Iraq that would divide the country into three main regions.
Edward P. Joseph of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, acknowledged that their plan faces an uphill struggle. "I think the odds against this are not as good as 50-50," O'Hanlon said at a news conference Thursday.

Withdrawing U.S. troops, O'Hanlon said, remains "a very bad option" that most likely would lead to all-out civil war.

The three main spheres proposed in their plan would be Shiite, Sunni and Kurdistan. The Kurds already control Kurdistan.

Joseph and O'Hanlon are circulating their suggestions within the Bush administration, with their timing geared to an expected top-level administration policy review in September.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Boycotts will not achieve any goal

A surprising amount of common sense from the Middle East editor of the Guardian. Posted at
--Wendy in Washington

Boycotts will not achieve the goal
Ian Black

In the bad old days, the boycott that mattered in the Middle East was the Arab boycott of Israel. No longer. Peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, the Oslo accords with the PLO and world trade rules have left it a shadow of its former self: at a conference in Damascus last year, Arab League officials lamented that it was close to collapse.

Now the boycott is being given a new lease--and new forms--of life, not by Arab governments but by non-state actors from Canada and Norway to South Africa and Ireland. It has been tried in France and Italy. But these days it is Britain that is in the vanguard and at the heart of furious controversy.

Unison, the UK's largest trade union, is backing a total boycott--economic, cultural, academic and sporting--of Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories. University academics (the UCU) and journalists (NUJ) are considering or launching their own campaigns, generating high-octane debate and counter- campaigns by the Israeli government and supporters.

Opposition to the war in Iraq and mounting sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians are common to most European countries. So why does Britain seem to be a special case? Its past role in the region is one answer. So is the triumph of English as the language of globalization. Attitudes toward anti-Semitism may be another, though boycott campaigners hotly deny being anti-Semites. Steven and Hilary Rose (themselves Jews), who pioneered the academic boycott in 2002, call it "grotesquely hyperbolic" to compare measures against Israel with the Nazi boycott of Jewish shops. "If the supporters of the Israeli government cannot distinguish between being opposed to Israeli state policy and being anti-Semitic, it is scarcely surprising that real anti-Semites conflate the two," they argue.

Still, counter their critics, sensitivity to perceptions of anti-Semitism may be weaker in Britain than in continental Europe. (The UK, unlike Germany, France and Austria, does not outlaw Holocaust denial.) Yet a recent poll of British opinion formers for a pro-Israeli group showed that while 38 percent believed boycotters were anti-Semitic, 62 percent did not.

This suggests that even opponents accept at face value the campaigns' goal of ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories: their objections are on grounds of fairness and effectiveness (punishing one group for the actions of their government, reinforcing a siege mentality, strengthening the right); and selectivity/exceptionalism (why the exclusive focus on Israel and no boycott of Sudan, China, Iran or Zimbabwe?).

Conventional wisdom has it that boycott campaigns in the UK are driven by a "politicidal" alliance of far-left and Muslim organizations. In fact, the main proponents are academics and trade unionists linked to groups such as the veteran and well-organized Palestine Solidarity Campaign and newer ones such as Jews for the Boycotting of Israeli Goods and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine.

Another significant factor is the success in Britain of the campaign against apartheid where boycotts, sanctions and disinvestment played a major role. "Universities are to Israel what the Springboks were to South Africa: the symbol of their national identity," in the words of one UCU activist. Much hinges on whether a distinction is made between Israel in its pre-1967 borders and the territories--the nub of the argument between a two-state and a one-state solution to the conflict. If it is, it is logical to boycott the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel or to target the produce of settlements beyond the "green line".

Opposition to the Iraq war and dislike for Tony Blair's subservient relationship with George Bush have merged with the "root causes" view that more must be done to achieve a just solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both for its own sake and to defuse Muslim resentment over perceived double standards. This is a debate in which "it's western foreign policy, stupid" is posited against the claim that "Muslims hate our values and freedoms."

Yet perceptions of Israel were changing long before the pivotal moment of the 9/11 attacks: the route from David to Goliath after 1967 is a familiar one, through the 1982 war in Lebanon, the first intifada and the narrative shift by Israel's "revisionist" historians. Daphna Baram traced this process in her study of the Guardian's coverage of Israel, succinctly entitled "Disenchantment". Disenchantment for some is demonization and de-legitimization for others. The debate over Israel's "security barrier"/"apartheid wall" and this year's 40th anniversary of the 1967 war have been galvanizing factors too.

Beyond the specifics of the Israel/Palestine conflict, the boycott phenomenon reflects a shift to political activism by citizens who see themselves as members of global civil society struggling to achieve what powerful governments and multinational corporations cannot or will not do. Environmental and anti- globalization campaigns are fueled by the same impulses.

And so the boycott/backlash debate rages on. The NUJ decision is being challenged by some of the union's own members, myself included: my view is that the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state alongside Israel is an existential (and increasingly urgent) need for both peoples but that blanket boycotts will not help achieve that goal. And leaving politics aside, what am I as a journalist to say to the Israeli (or Sudanese, Chinese, Iranian or Zimbabwean) I want to interview but who replies: "I won't talk to you if your union is boycotting my country"?- Published 5/7/2007 ©

Ian Black is the Middle East editor of the Guardian.

Fanaticism and ignorance: Muslims against Muslims

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 6 — The government's siege of a radical mosque in the center of Islamabad continued for a fourth day after the remaining cleric's offer to surrender was rejected. Nineteen have died in the clashes so far, according to interior ministry figures.

Abdur Rashid Ghazi, the leader of the rebellion, demanded that he not be prosecuted and be allowed to stay in the compound with his sick mother for a few days. But government officials remained adamant that he had to surrender without negotiation.

Pakistan Rejects Militant's Surrender

Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru




Lieberman - Iran's War in Iraq

IF it is true, why is the US anxious to engage Iran, rather than confronting it?

Iran's Proxy War

Wall Street Journal
July 6, 2007

Earlier this week, the U.S. military made public new and disturbing information about the proxy war that Iran is waging against American soldiers and our allies in Iraq.

According to Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, the Iranian government has been using the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah to train and organize Iraqi extremists, who are responsible in turn for the murder of American service members.

Gen. Bergner also revealed that the Quds Force -- a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps whose mission is to finance, arm and equip foreign Islamist terrorist movements -- has taken groups of up to 60 Iraqi insurgents at a time and brought them to three camps near Tehran, where they have received instruction in the use of mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices and other deadly tools of guerrilla warfare that they use against our troops. Iran has also funded its Iraqi proxies generously, to the tune of $3 million a month.

Four months enjoying Palestinian hospitality

It is likely that Alan Johnston will soon send the following report to the BBC:


Four months enjoying Palestinian hospitality


The Palestinians, in spite of their suffering under the oppressive Zionist occupation, have not lost their characteristic charm and courtesy. Four months ago they invited me to enjoy their wonderful hospitality. They were so insistent and used such convincing arguments that I could not refuse to accompany them. During four months they gave me house and board, and did not charge me one cent, (how different from the exorbitant prices charged by the Israeli hotels!).

The food that I was given was so good and healthy that I lost around 30 pounds, something I could never achieve when I tried to diet in the past.

I wasn't bored one single moment. They would kiddingly accuse me of being an Israeli spy, and I, amused, would deny it. I almost died laughing!

We also spoke about theology. They explained their religion with such devotion and conviction that I am now considering converting to Islam. So that I would never forget such an important moment in my life, they wish to make a video and show it in all the TV stations of the world and also in Internet.

They were always very considerate. In order to insure that I would enjoy a refreshing rest, they had the fine gesture of shutting off all my contacts with the outside world.

The BBC executives showed their gratitude for all the kindness that my hosts showed me by donating an appreciable sum to the "Pro suicide martyrs of Hamas" fund.

After four unforgettable months, it was very sad for me to say good by to my Palestinian friends. Today, in my new address, a suite in a hotel in Tel Aviv, I remember them and miss them very much, because from now on I will interview them only by phone.


David Mandel

Savyon, Israel

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Tofu Theory of the Conflict

The article below makes some good points. But it could also be that we see only the greater conflicts because that's the way we see everything during certain times. We're fighting violent Islamists now, so we'll see the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in that light. If we were still fighting the Cold War, we'd note that Iran and Syria were Soviet-backed and are stirring up trouble against the US proxy.

It both helps and hinders to see the conflict as part of a larger global struggle. It helps in that it explains why the conflict is so intractable. But it hinders us by allowing us to shrug off the important steps needed to solve this particular conflict, regardless of what happens elsewhere. --Wendy in Washington

Toward a tofu theory of our conflict

Einat Wilf, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 2, 2007


For generations, numerous do-gooders, some of them the best and brightest minds of the century, have dedicated themselves to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Operating out of a combination of boundless optimism and vanity they believed that with charm and skill they would succeed where previously those of no less stature had failed.

But "top-down analysis" demonstrates that there are severe limits to what could be done.

Such analysis is a useful tool for those who harbor illusions of endless possibility. It forces a discipline of thinking that crystallizes the limits of the possible.

[snippet] ....[m]ost analysts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict engage in bottom-up analysis. They examine the minute details of the interactions between the sides to the conflict, looking into who said what to whom, who made which gesture and who started which skirmish.

It is almost mind-boggling to discover that even the most high-level foreign policy meetings engage in detailed discussions of the security arrangements at a border crossing, the size of a specific barrier and whether a certain mound of dirt deserves to be labeled a road-block. The endless attention to detail stems from an implicit assumption that resolution of the conflict is a matter of will and that if only this or that leader had taken this or that action, things would be different.

THERE IS vanity in these assumptions. As much as we like to believe that we are masters of our fate, there are limits to what we can do; and in the case of the current conflict, severe limits.

Over the decades the conflict, like tofu, has assumed the flavor of its environment. Rather than shaping its surroundings, it has taken on the character of whichever global conflicts were raging at the time.

In the early stages, the conflict took on the flavor of colonialism. Whether it was Herzl appealing to the kaiser and the sultan and their colonial aspirations to grant the Jewish people a homeland in their empires, or Chaim Weizmann wresting the Balfour Declaration from the newly instated British colonial power, the early stages of the conflict, as well as the Middle East's map, were shaped by the colonial powers.

The struggle of the Arabs and Palestinians against the Zionists was, in their minds, that of the colonized against their colonizers.

WHEN WORLD WAR II and the Suez war brought the colonial era to an end in the Middle East, the conflict took on the flavor of the Cold War. The same Jews and the same Arabs were now engaged in a conflict of a different nature, serving as one of the many fronts of the Cold War, engaged in repeated tests of Soviet and American weapons and doctrines, and sometimes even goaded to wage war.

With the end of the Cold War and for a brief shining moment, the conflict assumed the flavor of global openness and resolution. The 1990s were a time of Pax Americana, a new wave of democracy, a sense that morality is a force in foreign affairs, and a global mood of reconciliation and rationality. For that decade, and for that decade only, peace with the Palestinians might have been possible. During that decade, when the global opportunity from the top-down opened up, the details mattered greatly.

IN RECENT years the conflict has assumed the flavor of the global existential struggle, which some call the clash of civilizations, and others, such as Bernard Lewis, see as the third wave of attack of Islam against Christianity. It is a battle between belief-systems which, by its very nature, is not amenable to resolution. It is a conflict in which the triumph of one way of life is viewed as necessarily coming at the expense of the destruction of the opposing way of life.

In this global environment, the Israeli-Palestinian and even broader conflict has assumed an existential nature, in which resolution through compromise might no longer be possible. The likely disappearance of the Palestinian national struggle is but a local manifestation of the global transformation from national struggles to existential ones.

SO WHY is the tofu of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so amenable to environmental flavors? Going beyond old favorites such as the historical value of the region as the center for three of the world's main religions, the conflict is irresistibly big enough to serve as fertile ground for global powers and movements to test new weapons, doctrines and ideas, but small enough to contain the damage to "manageable suffering," all of this while offering center stage in terms of global attention.

A victory in the conflict offers a high pay-off for success at a relatively low price. It is easier and more tempting for radical Islam to take over Gaza than it is to bring down the regime in Saudi Arabia. To the world, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a game in which winning is a source of satisfaction and losing carries only limited risk.

The conflict is not "the" cause of global conflicts. It is but one of the stages where they are played out. Efforts at resolving the conflict that are disconnected from a top-down understanding of the limits of the possible are wrong and misdirected.

Rather than thinking that resolving the conflict would bring peace to the world, it is far more likely that the conflict would move toward resolution only when the world itself is moving in the same direction.

The writer, a doctoral candidate in political science at Cambridge University, is author of My Israel, Our Generation.

Full text at:

Why won't Britain face facts about terror?

Nobody can know more about the inside thinking of Muslim terror groups in Britain and the mind of a terrorist than Hassan Butt. He explains why British response to terror, often ascribing it to British foreign policy, is way off base and helps terrorists. He should know, he was one.

It is long past time to stop ignoring people like Hassan Butt, who wrote I was a fanatic...I know their thinking

Butt is not an Islamophobic Zionist neocon warmonger. He is a Muslim, and a former Jihadist fanatic, who explains where Jihadism differs from Islam and why British attitudes are helping them:

Formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion: they are considered to be one and the same.

For centuries, the reasoning of Islamic jurists has set down rules of interaction between Dar ul-Islam (the Land of Islam) and Dar ul-Kufr (the Land of Unbelief) to cover almost every matter of trade, peace and war.

But what radicals and extremists do is to take this two steps further. Their first step has been to argue that, since there is no pure Islamic state, the whole world must be Dar ul-Kufr (The Land of Unbelief).

Step two: since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they have declared war upon the whole world.

Along with many of my former peers, I was taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief.

In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.

More here: British politicians are helping Muslim terror explains former Jihadist Hassan Butt

Solana: What happened in Gaza cannot be seen separately from what happened in Lebanon

In Some common sense from Javier Solana, Michael Young of the Daily Star (Beirut) points out that Javier Solana is saying what everyone else seems to be afraid to admit:
Solana's most revealing statement pointed a finger at Iran and Syria, when he unmistakably suggested that the "forces we don't know" could have been run out of Tehran and Damascus: "Somebody I know well - Ali Larijani - has said 'we are supporting Hamas'... All this is connected. It didn't happen by accident or miracle, it was probably planned ... It would be difficult to understand without seeing other important regional players behind it," he added, referring to "other forces" in Iran and Syria.
But the Spanish government is cooperating with Hezbollah in investigating the events in Lebanon. The UN, as well as the Spanish government, is living in a fantasy world where Syria are the good guys it seems:
In their discussion of Lebanon, Ban told Assad that Syria had "an important role" to play to end Lebanese divisions. The secretary general also called on Syria to support the Hariri tribunal, which had not yet been established under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Assad responded: "In Lebanon, divisions and confessionalism have been deeply anchored for more than 300 years. Lebanese society is very fragile. [The country's] most peaceful years were when Syrian forces were present. From 1976 to 2005 Lebanon was stable, whereas now there is great instability."
The Syrian president then issued what Ban could plainly see was a threat: "[This instability] will worsen if the special [Hariri] tribunal is established. Particularly if it is established under Chapter VII. This might easily cause a conflict that would degenerate into civil war, provoking divisions between Sunnis and Shiites from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea ... This would have serious consequences beyond Lebanon."
In classic Mafia style, Assad is saying "Accidents can happen, to you or your family. You need protection - from us." Young gives Ban too much credit. It seems he would not know a threat if he sees one. He does not want to know.
Ami Isseroff
Cross posted:

Cross posted: Israel News Middle East Analysis

Ami Isseroff

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Bizarre British reaction to London bombings: Two stellar commentaries

Here are two thoughtful comments on the somewhat bizarre British reaction to the London bombings (and one might add, the same reaction to the previous underground bombings):

The strategy of consensual dissimulation  Melaine Phillips wrote:

... The capacity of the human mind to delude itself never ceases to amaze. How can such educated individuals be killers? people exclaim. Have such people really learned nothing from history? Have they forgotten the Nazis, forgotten Dr Mengele, forgotten that the genocide of the Jews was carried out by people who delighted in Goethe and Mozart? Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden's number two, is a paediatrician. Yet he is responsible for the deliberate mass murder of thousands of people.

On BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning (0755 approx), the reformed Islamist extremist Hassan Butt patiently spelled out to presenter Jim Naughtie that Islamist terrorists carry out their acts of mass murder as an expression of religious faith and fervour. They do it, he said, `for the pleasure of God'. Far from being acts of despair, these terrible atrocities are acts of religious exultation.

If we don't understand, even now, that what we are facing is a religious war, a jihad against the unbeliever and backsliding Muslims across the world, we cannot possibly hope to defend ourselves against it. Yet while former Islamist extremists such as Hassan Butt and Ed Husain are urgently telling us the truth, Gordon Brown's new administration ...has decided to deny the religious element of this jihad altogether, to redefine Islamic terrorism as mere criminality and to ban all terms that call this horror by its proper name. From the Daily Express today, we learn:

Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word `Muslim' in ¬connection with the ¬terrorism crisis. The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase `war on ¬terror' is to be dropped...`There is clearly a need to strike a consensual tone in relation to all communities across the UK,' the spokesman said. `It is important that the country remains united.'

For `consensual', read bowdlerised, censored and dissimulatory; and for `united', read defeated. This is a disastrous beginning to Brown's premiership. The terrorism we face is a jihad carried out in the name of Islam, mandated by the principal religious authorities in the world of Islam and drawing on theological concepts in Islam. That doesn't mean all Muslims go along with it; many do not, and many are indeed its victims. But to deny that it is a war which draws its authority from Islamic precepts is to deny the truth. That is why it is not enough for British Muslims to condemn these acts of terror...

And from Christopher Hitchens, who explains that the terrorists (oops - there's the T word) want to kill women:

Why on earth do people keep saying, "There but for the grace of God …"? If matters had been very slightly different over the past weekend, the streets of London and the airport check-in area in Glasgow, Scotland, would have been strewn with charred body parts. And this would have been, according to the would-be perpetrators, because of the grace of God. Whatever our own private theology or theodicy, we might at least agree to take this vile belief seriously.

Instead, almost every other conceivable explanation was canvassed. The June 30 New York Times report managed to quote three people, one of whom attributed the aborted atrocity in London to Tony Blair's foreign policy; one of whom (a New Zealand diplomat, at that) felt "surprisingly all right about it"; and one of whom, described as "a Briton of Indian descent," was worried that "if I walk up that road, they're going to suspect me." The "they" there was clearly the British authorities, rather than the Muslim gangsters who have declared open season on all Hindus as well as all Jews, Christians, secularists, and other kuffar or infidel filth.

On the following day, July 1, the same newspaper informed us that Britain contained a "disenfranchised South Asian population." How this was true was never explained. There are several Muslim parliamentarians in both houses, often allowed to make the most absurdly inflammatory and euphemistic statements where acts of criminal violence are concerned, as well as several districts in which the Islamic vote keeps candidates of all parties uneasily aware of what may and may not be said. True, the Muslim extremist groups boycott elections and denounce democracy itself as profane, but this does not really count as disenfranchisement.

Only at the tail end of the coverage was it admitted that a car bomb might have been parked outside a club in Piccadilly because it was "ladies night" and that this explosion might have been designed to lure people into to the street, the better to be burned and shredded by the succeeding explosion from the second car-borne cargo of gasoline and nails. Since we have known since 2004 that a near-identical attack on a club called the Ministry of Sound was proposed in just these terms, on the grounds that dead "slags" or "sluts" would be regretted by nobody, a certain amount of trouble might have been saved by assuming the obvious. The murderers did not just want body parts in general but female body parts in particular.

Never fret, in the end Britain will settle on the obvious explanation - it is not the fault of Muslims or Arabs. It is the fault of the Jews. Of course it is not a religious issue, you see.

Ami Isseroff

"The Saudi Plan Is Dead":

Wonder what happened to the Saudi Plan? It is dead (or sleeping).
"The Saudi Plan Is Dead": Senior Saudi Officials Admit to Israel that the Initiative Is No Longer Relevant
Uri Yablonka Ma'ariv-Hebrew 4 July 2007
(Summary by Daily Alert - July 4, 2007
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Israel's hope to reach an understanding on a political settlement together with the countries of the Arab League has run aground. Senior political officials in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan announced in closed meetings with senior Israelis that the "Saudi Initiative," which Prime Minister Olmert sees as a basis for an agreement, is presently dead, and that as long as the chaos continues within the Palestinian Authority, there is no point in pursuing this avenue. These clarifications were received by senior Israeli political and defense officials.

An internal document from the Foreign Ministry of July 2 says that Saudi Arabia has significantly changed its policy toward Israel and the PA. "Saudi reluctance to express clear support for Abbas and his new government reflects Saudi opposition to Abbas' policy to isolate Hamas," the document says. It further notes that the Saudis are very disappointed by the rapid failure of the Mecca Agreement brokered between Hamas and Fatah earlier this year. The document states that Israel should stop using the term "the Saudi Initiative."
Hat tip - IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Again, the UN selling out to terror? Cowards?

DEBKAfile Exclusive: UN Spanish peacekeepers cut covert protection deal with Hizballah behind backs of UN secretary and UNIFIL commander

DEBKAfile reveals a clandestine approach to Hizballah commanders in Beirut made by officers of the Spanish UN contingent. It was made after the loss of six members in a terrorist attack last Sunday, June 24. The Spanish peacekeepers offered Hizballah intelligence and military collaboration in return for protection and agreed to set up a hot line for their exchanges.

Monday, July 2, Israeli marks the first anniversary of the Second Lebanon War in which 114 Israeli soldiers and 43 civilians lost their lives and two servicemen were abducted as a result of Hizballah attacks from Lebanon.

That war ended in August, 2006, when Israel and Hizballah accepted a ceasefire under UN Security Council resolution 1701. It was secured by a newly-expanded UN force in S. Lebanon, which was mandated to distance Hizballah from the Israeli border and monitor the region to prevent the Shiite militia from returning, re-arming and redeploying rockets.

Complete article

Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Hamas Gaza Coup blamed on Israel, US

According to a MEMRI Special Dispatch The Gaza Coup Is the Result of an American-Israeli Plot.
That figures. In the Middle East, everything is blamed on the Jews, Israel or George Bush. That includes the 9-11 attacks, the London subway attacks, the corruption of the Fateh, the rise of the Hamas, AIDS, aging, malaria and the Hamsin winds.
For example:
Ali Akbar Velayati, a member of Iran's Foreign Relations Steering Council and international affairs advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with the conservative Iranian daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami: "Israel and America are behind the conflicts [in Gaza]. They wanted the Palestinians to be preoccupied with their own [problems], instead of with the struggle against Israel.
And here's another sample:
Syrian columnist Muhammad Khayr Al-Jamali wrote in the Syrian government daily
Al-Thawra that the civil war in Palestine is part of a Zionist-American plot
aimed at generating "creative chaos" and preparing the region for the
implementation of the New Middle East plan:

"The political disputes in Palestine and Iraq, which have almost become civil
wars, and the [political tensions] in Lebanon which are likewise exploited in
order to push it into the same situation, should not be regarded as separate
and unrelated developments. All these events result from a plot against the
Arab region, aimed at destabilizing it and igniting civil wars [motivated by]
political, sectarian and national [conflicts].
By the beard of the Prophet, these men must speak the truth, for are not the Jews at fault for everything in the world?
It is even stranger however, that the same or similar views are advanced by supposedly sane Americans, and even by some Israeli Jews.
Can't people give credit where it is due? The Hamas worked hard for this democratic win. They threw people off the roofs of buildings after shooting them in the kneecaps, they diced up people into steaks and shipped them to their families, they shot people in front of their families. They planned it for a long time and smuggled in arms through those tunnels, despite the fact that everyone insists that Israel is "choking" Gaza.
If Israel had not choked Gaza, what would Hamas have done then?
Ami Isseroff

Liberals for Islamism?

In  The Islamist's War Against Liberalism, Lee Smith takes up the cudgels of liberalism against Ian Buruma, and defends Paul Berman, who argued, against Buruma and others that:
When journalists and intellectuals glide over the illiberal ideas of illiberal ideologues like Ramadan and attack liberal activists like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, then something has changed.

Buruma attacked Bernard Kouchner, France's new foreign minister. The attack is based on Kouchner's Iraq war stance, and predictably, Buruma managed to connect it to the fact that Kouchner had Jewish ancestors. Of course, that explains everything.  Smith observes:

Kouchner, whose late father was Jewish, has consistently polled as the most popular political figure in France because his countrymen believe that he represents something important about the nation to the rest of the world, not because he is a Jewish intellectual. With the significant exception of Tariq Ramadan and his followers, Europe thinks of Kouchner not as a Jewish intellectual, but rather as a figure driven by humanitarian principles and universal values.

Buruma does not understand why some people might be concerned about European appeasement:

So why the high alarm about European appeasement, especially among the neoconservatives? Why the easy equation of Islamism with Nazism?

Well, one reason might be tied to the explosions taking place in Great Britain, and the fresh bomb plots that are being uncovered daily on the one hand, and on the other hand, the total unwillingness of most governments to move decisively against Islamist incitement, beyond jailing the actual perpetrators if they are caught. Another reason might be the acquiescence of too many in the genocidal program of the Hamas, and their support for "engagement" with Iran and the Hamas.

But Smith asks a different, perfectly logical question:


What does this have to do with Bernard Kouchner? Is Buruma trying to make an easy equation between a French socialist famous for his humanitarian work and American policymakers, military strategists and journalists affiliated with the Republican party? Kouchner has offered to mediate a dialogue between all parties in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, hardly a gesture that would bring him within the embrace of the neoconservatives, who understand the Party of God as part of a dangerous Iranian axis. So what is the connection between Kouchner and the neocons?


Buruma states, in answer to his own question:

Israel is often mentioned as a reason. But Israel can mean different things to different people. To certain Evangelical Christians, it is the holy site of the Second Coming of the Messiah. To many Jews, it is the one state that will always offer refuge. To neoconservative ideologues, it is the democratic oasis in a desert of tyrannies.


This is very strange. Things are exploding in British airports, tall buildings are crumpled up by suicide bombing airliners in New York, the British underground explodes, Iraq insurgents blow up US troops and worshippers in mosques, yet the only reason that Buruma can find for alarm might have to do with Israel! As Smith points out:


It seems that in Buruma's worldview even Christians are motivated primarily by self-interest. To most Christians, whether they have apocalypse on their mind or not, Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, as described in both testaments of the Christian Bible, and attested to in historical documents and the archeological record. To many Jews it is not a "refuge," but a Jewish state where Jewish people have the right to determine their own fate, as a nation and as individuals. And while we are listing what Israel means to different people, it is worth noting that to some Muslims, including the president of Iran, the General Secretary of Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, it is a curse that must be wiped off the face of the earth.

Defending Israel against its Islamic enemies may indeed be a factor in the existential alarmism that underlies the present "war on terror." A nuclear-armed Iran would certainly make Israel feel more vulnerable. But it is probably overstated as an explanation. Kouchner did not advocate Western intervention in Bosnia or Kosovo because of Israel. If concern for Israel played a part in Paul Wolfowitz's advocacy of war in Iraq, it was probably a minor one. Both men were motivated by common concerns for human rights and democracy, as well as perhaps by geopolitical considerations.

If defending Israel was a factor, there is nothing odd about upholding the right of a UN member state to exist when its many enemies have threatened it with extinction. On a similar principle, Great Britain entered WW2. But if concern for Israel was a "minor one," if it was indeed a factor at all, why does Buruma raise the issue to begin with? And how did Paul Wolfowitz get dragged into this? What is the connection between him and Kouchner?

Read the rest of it at The Islamist's War Against Liberalism

And perhaps after all, when we eliminate the Jews and Israel and the Kouchners and the Wolfowitzes as the cause of dissatisfaction with Islamism, we must also remember that liberalism itself is threatened, and liberal values are threatened by Islamism. The offer of Knighthood for Salman Rushdie has been roundly condemned by Muslims, and might, presumably result in the same kind of rioting that followed the publication of cartoons showing Muhamad, because we are told, Rushdie, like the cartoons, "insulted the Prophet (PBUH)."  The end result of such agitation is that de facto, Islamist tyranny is being gradually exported to Europe, and European media, academics and governments will find their freedom of thought and action as severely curtailed as if the Hamas had taken over Britain, and not just Gaza, and the Mullahs of Iran and their agents had taken over Europe, and not just Iran and South Lebanon. This prospect doesn't seem to worry Buruma.

Ami Isseroff

Cross posted: Israel News Middle East Analysis

UCC insists it still supports terror and will continue to be unfair to Israel

It seems that elements in the United Church of Christ (perhaps it is not so united) are trying to disown their own resolution. Earlier, we reported that United Church of Christ (UCC) Reverses anti-Israel resolution. But now, a spokesman for the UCC is trying to have us believe that a part of the resolution is not part of the resolution, and that in fact, it is perfectly satisfied with Palestinian internecine violence, incitement and terrorism, and insists on maintianing its former policy of unfair, uninformed one-sided condemnation of Israel:
This is part of what they are trying to disown:
WHEREAS, many children and young people are not being educated for peace but are being exposed to hatred and intolerance in textbooks and the media; and
WHEREAS, the 26th General Synod of the United Church of Christ continues to affirm the right of the peoples of both Israel and Palestine to live in peace, side by side in two secure and economically viable states; and

WHEREAS, the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed two resolutions focusing on the actions of Israel, entitled "Tear Down the Wall" and "Concerning the Use of Economic Leverage in Promoting Peace in the Middle East," and has yet to fully address other forces contributing to the ongoing violence, oppression and suffering in the region; and

WHEREAS, many children and young people are not being educated for peace but are being exposed to hatred and intolerance in textbooks and the media; and

WHEREAS, in recent months violence has dramatically escalated between the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, especially in the Gaza Strip, in spite of the fact that Israel disengaged from Gaza in September 2005; and

WHEREAS the potential for Palestinian civil war has never before been so real, and if it comes to pass would be disastrous for everyone in the region; and

WHEREAS, the escalating violence between Fatah and Hamas now calls us to consider whether we may have overlooked many aspects of an extraordinarily complicated situation and extraordinarily complicated relationships in the region; and

WHEREAS, we reaffirm our call to act as peacemakers in this war-torn yet holy land;

Gee whizz! Support for peace and condemnation of terrorism and  hate. Making informed judgements rather than basing them on race hatred and political expediency! Horror of horrors! What would Jesus say about that? Real heresy no doubt. No wonder the UCC is anxious to disown it. Wouldn't anyone be ashamed of a statement like that? According to the  press release of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East.
"In his statement, which appears on the UCC website, Rev. Thomas asserts that the 'be it resolved' clauses are the only binding parts of the resolution and thus suggests that by invoking the 'whereas' section, Fair Witness is somehow misleading the public," says Dexter Van Zile, UCC layperson and member of Fair Witness's Executive Committee.
On the other hand, it would appear that UCC's resolutions themselves are entirely in keeping with the "be it resolved" clauses, which are quoted hereunder:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the 26th General Synod of the United Church of Christ recognizes the need for ongoing balanced study, commentary and critique related to the conflict in the region;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the 26th General Synod condemns all media programs, publications, advertising campaigns, textbooks and groups that perpetuate violence instead of promoting peace; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the 26th General Synod directs the Executive Council to establish a Task Force to engage in ongoing and balanced study of the causes, history and context of the conflict, including appropriate responses to the situation that may or may not lead to further support of economic leverage and removal of the security barrier. The Task Force is to report to the 27th General Synod in 2009 for any necessary further action, and also to report to all settings of the Church so that they, too, may have a deeper understanding of the situation.
The background part of the resolution states:
The 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed two resolutions in 2005 concerning the ongoing violence in the Middle East ("Tear Down the Wall" and "Concerning the Use of Economic Leverage in Promoting Peace in the Middle East"). We continue to be committed to assisting the Palestinian and Israeli people in finding a just two-state solution that will ensure a secure, peaceful and productive future. Because the "Tear Down the Wall" resolution focused solely on the actions of Israel, we also have a responsibility to more fully understand and name the ways other nations and forces have contributed to the situation...
Clearly someone at UCC thought the earlier resolutions were unjust. Thomas for his part, is firm in his belief that the resolutions do not in any way alter the unfair anti-Israel resoutions of the 2005 UCC Synod, as explained in this article: Thomas: Synod policy on Israel-Palestine 'remains today what it was before. Thomas protests that the UCC is firm in its support of terrorism, has no interest in understanding the conflict in a balanced way, and will continue to overlook incitement and terror and promulgate anti-Israel policies. It would seem that he claims that the UCC does not "also have a responsibility to more fully understand and name the ways other nations and forces have contributed to the situation."
After the Presbyterian Church USA reversed its anti-Israel policies, an attempt was made, with unclear success, to nullify the earlier resolutions and some elements in PC-USA continued to encourage and support friends of the Hezbollah (see Presbyterian Church USA Doesn't Recognize Israel ). The same process is taking place in UCC it seems.
But the promoters of fairness and fighters against terror and promoters of other heresies are sticking by their guns. See: Fair Witness Reaffirms Its Statement Regarding UCC General Synod's Resolution
from Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East. This sort of heresy is dangerous. It could lead to subversive ideas such as "love they neighbor as thyself" and talk of motes and beams and other such. In the good old days, they knew what to do with heretics.
Undoubtedly, Thomas is one of those people who protests so loudly against "Christian Zionism" as a dangerous movement. Some tenets of Christian Zionism may indeed be dangerous, but aren't racism, prejudice and one sidedness and tacit support for terror equally dangerous? Who was the fellow who said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged?" The Rev. Thomas probably  never heard of him.
Ami Isseroff

New road to Jerusalem City of David opened

The headline reads "New road to the Western Wall opened" but the road only gets as far as the City of David.
The article states:
A new road leading to the Western Wall aimed at easing traffic congestion in Jerusalem's Old City was inaugurated on Monday...
The last stretch of the new road, leading from the Arab village of Silwan up to the Dung Gate, is expected to be completed in a couple of years, with today's new road connecting to the old existing road alongside the City of David across from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
It is a bit of exaggeration, to cover up the fact that the Jerusalem temple mount bridge plan was cancelled owing to religious hysteria.
The Jerusalem post article cited above reminds us of the popularity of the Western Wall as a tourist attraction and indirectly, tells us about the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. The Western Wall was once though to be a remnant of the temple. In actuality, it is probably a retaining wall built by Herod to shore up the landfill he used to enlarge the mountain when he renovated the second temple.
This article about Hezekiah's tunnel tells a bit about the geography of the Gihon and Silwan area and their real significance in Jewish history. , and also
Ami Isseroff  

Jerusalem temple mount bridge plan cancelled owing to religious hysteria

In case you were wondering what happened to the Israeli plans to build a "Mughrabi gate" bridge: they were scrapped. Read about it here: Israel scraps Mughrabi Gate bridge planThe original plan did not take into account the flurry of religious hysteria that would inevitably accompany any move by any Jew regarding the temple mount, including sneezing near it, and would lead to a Jihad. The protests of benighted and hate mongering fanatics were backed by the UN:
A UNESCO report on the dig concluded that the excavation is not damaging the holy site but called on Israel to stop the dig nonetheless to allow for international observation of the work.
Even though an investigation commission found that Israel had not disturbed the mosques in any way or committed any damage, Israel was nonetheless forced to cease and desist. In contrast, the Muslim Waqf has been busy bulldozing priceless artifacts of the first temple period beneath the Al-Aqsa mosque, and weakening the foundations of the mosque for about ten years. Alarming cracks have developed in the Temple Mount thanks to these actitivites. The mount is apparently really an artificial mound, that was raised by Herod in order to enlarge the original "mount" which was too small to accommodate his ambitious building plans. The ancient land fill project is now being undermined, quite literally. When the whole structure collapses, bringing down the Al-Aqsa mosque, the event will undoubtedly be blamed on "the Jews."
The religious hysteria stirred up against the construction was primarily the work of Sheikh Raedh Salah, head of the northern branch of the Israel Islamic Association, whose speeches filled with anti-Semitic invective and false charges were aimed at inciting violent insurrection.
By the way, nobody knows if the first temple is really underneath the mosques, or if, as some suggest, the original site was on a different mountain.
Ami Isseroff

*Barely veiled menace*

*Barely veiled menace*
Once a radical Muslim, *Ed Husain* was shocked by the racism, sexual
perversion and extremism he encountered while working in Saudi Arabia


DURING our first two months in Jeddah, my wife Faye and I relished our
new and luxurious lifestyle: a shiny jeep, two swimming pools, domestic
help, and a tax-free salary. The luxury of living in a modern city with
a developed infrastructure cocooned me from the frightful reality of
life in Saudi Arabia.

My goatee beard and good Arabic ensured that I could pass for an Arab.
But looking like a young Saudi was not enough: I had to act Saudi, be
Saudi. And here I failed.

My first clash with Saudi culture came when, being driven around in a
bulletproof jeep, I saw African women in black abayas tending to the
rubbish bins outside restaurants, residences and other busy places.

"Why are there so many black cleaners on the streets?" I asked the
driver. The driver laughed. "They're not cleaners. They are scavengers;
women who collect cardboard from all across Jeddah and then sell it.
They also collect bottles, drink cans, bags."

"You don't find it objectionable that poor immigrant women work in such
undignified and unhygienic conditions on the streets?"

"Believe me, there are worse jobs women can do."

Though it grieves me to admit it, the driver was right. In Saudi Arabia
women indeed did do worse jobs. Many of the African women lived in an
area of Jeddah known as Karantina, a slum full of poverty, prostitution
and disease.

A visit to Karantina, a perversion of the term "quarantine" , was one of
the worst of my life. Thousands of people who had been living in Saudi
Arabia for decades, but without passports, had been deemed "illegal" by
the Government and, quite literally, abandoned under a flyover.

A non-Saudi black student I had met at the British Council, where I
taught English, accompanied me. "Last week a woman gave birth here," he
said, pointing to a ramshackle cardboard shanty. Disturbed, I now
realised that the materials I had seen those women carrying were not
always for sale but for shelter.

I had never expected to see such naked poverty in Saudi Arabia. At that
moment it dawned on me that Britain, my home, had given refuge to
thousands of black Africans from Somalia and Sudan: I had seen them in
their droves in Whitechapel. They prayed, had their own mosques, were
free and were given government housing.

Many Muslims enjoyed a better lifestyle in non-Muslim Britain than they
did in Muslim Saudi Arabia. At that moment I longed to be home again.
All my talk of ummah (a global Muslim nation) seemed so juvenile now. It
was only in the comfort of Britain that Islamists could come out with
such radical utopian slogans as one government, one ever expanding
country, for one Muslim nation. The racist reality of the Arab psyche
would never accept black and white people as equal.

Racism was an integral part of Saudi society. My students often used the
word "nigger" to describe black people. Even dark-skinned Arabs were
considered inferior to their lighter-skinned cousins. I was living in
the world's most avowedly Muslim country, yet I found it anything but. I
was appalled by the imposition of (fundamentalist) Wahhabism in the
public realm, something I had implicitly sought when an Islamist.

Part of this local culture consisted of public institutions being
segregated and women banned from driving on the grounds that it would
give rise to "licentiousness". I was repeatedly astounded at the stares
Faye got from Saudi men and I from Saudi women.

Faye was not immodest in her dress. Out of respect for local custom, she
wore the long black abaya and covered her hair in a black scarf. In all
the years I had known my wife, never had I seen her appear so dull. Yet
on two occasions she was accosted by passing Saudi youths from their
cars. On another occasion a man pulled up beside our car and offered her
his phone number. In supermarkets I only had to be away from Faye for
five minutes and Saudi men would hiss or whisper obscenities as they
walked past. When Faye discussed her experiences with local women at the
British Council they said: "Welcome to Saudi Arabia."

After a month in Jeddah I heard from an Asian taxi driver about a
Filipino worker who had brought his new bride to live with him in
Jeddah. After visiting the Balad shopping district the couple caught a
taxi home. Some way through their journey the Saudi driver complained
that the car was not working properly and perhaps the man could help
push it. The passenger obliged. Within seconds the Saudi driver had sped
off with the man's wife in his car and, months later, there was still no
clue as to her whereabouts. We had heard stories of the abduction of
women from taxis by sex-deprived Saudi youths.

Why had the veil and segregation not prevented such behaviour? My Saudi
acquaintances, many of them university graduates, argued strongly that,
on the contrary, it was the veil and other social norms that were
responsible for such widespread sexual frustration among Saudi youth.

At work the British Council introduced free internet access for
educational purposes. Within days the students had downloaded the most
obscene pornography from sites banned in Saudi Arabia, but easily
accessed via the British Council's satellite connection. Segregation of
the sexes, made worse by the veil, had spawned a culture of pent-up
sexual frustration that expressed itself in the unhealthiest ways.

Using Bluetooth technology on mobile phones, strangers sent pornographic
clips to one another. Many of the clips were recordings of homosexual
acts between Saudis and many featured young Saudis in orgies in Lebanon
and Egypt. The obsession with sex in Saudi Arabia had reached worrying
levels: rape and abuse of both sexes occurred frequently, some cases
even reaching the usually censored national press.

The problems of Saudi Arabia were not limited to racism and sexual
frustration. In contemporary Wahhabism there are two broad factions. One
is publicly supportive of the House of Saud, and will endorse any policy
decision reached by the Saudi government and provide scriptural
justification for it. The second believes that the House of Saud should
be forcibly removed and the Wahhabi clerics take charge. Osama bin Laden
and al-Qa'ida are from the second school.

In Mecca, Medina and Jeddah I met young men with angry faces from
Europe, students at various Wahhabi seminaries. They reminded me of my
extremist days.

They were candid in discussing their frustrations with Saudi Arabia. The
country was not sufficiently Islamic; it had strayed from the teachings
of Wahhabism. They were firmly on the side of the monarchy and the
clerics who supported it. Soon they were to return to the West, well
versed in Arabic, fully indoctrinated by Wahhabism, to become imams in
British mosques.

By the summer of 2005 Faye and I had only eight weeks left in Saudi
Arabia before we would return home to London.

Thursday, July 7, was the beginning of the Saudi weekend. On television
that morning we watched the developing story of a power cut on the
London Underground. As the cameras focused on King's Cross, Edgware
Road, Aldgate and Russell Square, I looked on with a mixture of interest
and homesickness. Soon the power-cut story turned into shell-shocked
reportage of a series of terrorist bombings.

My initial suspicion was that the perpetrators were Saudis. My
experience of them, their virulence towards my non-Muslim friends, their
hate-filled textbooks, made me think that bin Laden's Saudi soldiers had
now targeted my home town. It never crossed my mind that the rhetoric of
jihad introduced to Britain by Hizb ut-Tahrir (The Liberation Party
committed to establishing an Islamic state) could have anything to do
with such horror.

My sister avoided the suicide attack on Aldgate station by four minutes.
Faye and I were glued to the television for hours. Watching fellow
Londoners come out of Tube stations injured and mortified, but facing
the world with a defiant sense of dignity, made me feel proud to be

In my class the following Sunday, the beginning of the Saudi working
week, were nearly 60 Saudis. Only one mentioned the London bombings.
"Was your family harmed?" he asked.

"My sister missed an explosion by four minutes but otherwise they're all
fine, thank you."

The student, before a full class, sighed and said: "There are no
benefits in terrorism. Why do people kill innocents?"

Two others quickly gave him his answer in Arabic: "There are benefits.
They will feel how we feel."

I was livid. "Excuse me?" I said. "Who will know how it feels?"

"We don't mean you, teacher," said one. "We are talking about people in
England. You are here. They need to know how Iraqis and Palestinians feel."

"The British people have been bombed by the IRA for years," I retorted.
"Londoners were bombed by Hitler during the Blitz. The largest
demonstrations against the war in Iraq were in London. People in Britain
don't need to be taught what it feels like to be bombed."

Several students nodded in agreement. The argumentative ones became
quiet. Were they convinced by what I had said? It was difficult to tell.

Two weeks after the terrorist attacks in London another Saudi student
raised his hand and asked: "Teacher, how can I go to London?"

"Much depends on your reason for going to Britain. Do you want to study
or just be a tourist?"

"Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in
London, again. I want make jihad!"

"What?" I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: "Me
too! Me too!"

Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of
them were thinking. I was incandescent. In protest I walked out of the
classroom to a chorus of jeering and catcalls.

My time in Saudi Arabia bolstered my conviction that an austere form of
Islam (Wahhabism) married to a politicised Islam (Islamism) is wreaking
havoc in the world. This anger-ridden ideology, an ideology I once
advocated, is not only a threat to Islam and Muslims, but to the entire
civilised world.

I vowed, in my own limited way, to fight those who had hijacked my
faith, defamed my prophet and killed thousands of my own people: the
human race. I was encouraged when Tony Blair announced on August 5,
2005, plans to proscribe an array of Islamist organisations that
operated in Britain, foremost among them Hizb.

At the time I was impressed by Blair's resolve. The Hizb should have
been outlawed a decade ago and so spared many of us so much misery.
Sadly the legislation was shelved last year amid fears that a ban would
only add to the group's attraction, so it remains both legal and active
today. But it is not too late.

/Edited extract from The Islamist by Ed Husain, published by Penguin
Australia, $24.95. Copyright Ed Husain, 2007./

© The Australian

Monday, July 2, 2007

Alan Johnston's fate hinges on clan feud

These clan feuds are so barbaric, and now in Gaza they involve foreigners. "Hands off our foreigner." Unbelievable.
--Wendy in Washington

Kidnapped BBC man's fate hangs on clan feud
The arrest of two militants from Gaza's notorious Dogmosh clan, which abducted Alan Johnston 111 days ago, has put his life in greater danger

Mitchell Prothero, Gaza City
Sunday July 1, 2007


The arrest of two militants from the radical group holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston hostage has put the journalist's life in great danger, according to sources in Gaza and within the group itself. Johnston, who was kidnapped on 12 March, today endures his 111th day in captivity. On Monday a video of him wearing what seemed to be an explosives vest was released by his captors.
Late last night, members of Jaish al-Islam were due to meet to discuss his fate after two of their members were arrested earlier by Hamas security forces hoping to pressure the group - led by Mumtaz Dogmosh - into releasing the journalist.

The revelation came even as members of the Dogmosh family - a notorious clan supplying most of the members of 'The Army of Islam' - continued desperate efforts to convince the group not to kill the 45-year-old Scot. However, moderate insiders said the radicals were in charge and out of patience with Hamas, the British government, and the BBC.

'We have tried to keep them talking and delaying, but now I fear they will not listen. We will know tonight,' said one Dogmosh member with close ties to Jaish al-Islam and who has been working to end the crisis for months.

Hamas security forces snatched two members of Jaish al-Islam on their way from dawn prayers on Tuesday and held them at the former Fatah military intelligence HQ. According to a Jaish member, one of the arrested men was given a mobile phone to call his comrades as a start of negotiations to swap them for Johnston, but instead the man told them not to bargain for their freedom.

The militant who said he took that call said: 'The brother told me to refuse all talks with Hamas and to kill Alan if Hamas kills him. This has ended any chance of negotiations.'

Hamas police commander Abu Khalid said: 'There was an arrest two members of Jaish al-Islam to put pressure on the Dogmosh family. The response to this was that Mumtaz threatened all foreigners and journalists in Gaza.

'We have been patrolling the hotels and will protect any journalist who requests it. We need to keep Alan alive, so we wait, wait, wait. There is the need for patience, but the changes in the past two weeks show us patience could be finished. It could be days.'

Jaish al-Islam is one of a number of small but effective splinter groups that has worked with Hamas in the past, most notably as a partner in last year's kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But over the past year, it has moved away from Hamas in a series of political, religious and family disputes.

Jaish al-Islam has demanded the release of one of three prisoners: Abu Qatada, a radical Palestinian cleric held in the UK; Sajida Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death in Jordan for her participation in a 2005 suicide bomb hotel attack that killed scores of people; and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, linked to the late Abu Musab Zarqawi, who is also in Jordanian custody.

'Release one of these mujihadeen and Alan will be taken immediately to the Erez Crossing [into Israel]. If these demands are impossible, we are willing to discuss another settlement,' the Jaish al-Islam member told The Observer, before the arrests. 'But we have not been able to communicate without interference from our enemies in Gaza.'

Official sources involved in negotiations insist dialogue between the kidnappers and authorities goes forward and deny the claims of no direct contact.

Moderates in the Dogmosh family say that Jaish al-Islam, while always devoutly religious, has become more radicalised and closer to al-Qaeda in the past year with the arrival of veterans of wars in Chechnya and Iraq, and they fear their relative Mumtaz has fallen under the sway of al-Qaeda's brand of global jihad, rather than resisting Israeli operations and occupation. These new members have brought with them experience, both military and religious. It also explains demands for the release of Islamic militants not linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas has infuriated the group in refusing to conduct what the group considers honest negotiations. Two weeks ago, after Hamas routed Fatah in Gaza, the kidnappers offered a religious-based settlement. 'We suggested that Hamas send a group [of clerics] not linked to the politics of Hamas but only to the religion,' one Jaish member said this week.

[big snippet]

But even if a solution can be found, a Jaish al-Islam official says any violation of an agreement freeing Johnston will lead to more kidnappings and violence. 'If we free him and the promises are not kept, we will kidnap another foreigner and there will be no discussion. They will be slaughtered,' he explained.

Full text at:,,330116760-119093,00.html

Hamas's Mouse killed off violently on children's show

Hamas 'Mickey Mouse' killed off
A Palestinian TV station has killed off a controversial Mickey Mouse lookalike that critics said was spreading anti-US and anti-Israeli messages to children.
The Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa channel aired the last episode on Friday, showing the character, Farfur, being beaten to death by an "Israeli agent".

"Farfur was martyred defending his land," said the show's presenter Saraa.

Israeli critics had said the show was outrageous and some Palestinian ministers tried to get it shelved.

In the final broadcast an actor said to be an Israeli agent tries to buy the land of the squeaky-voiced Mickey Mouse lookalike.

Farfur brands the Israeli a "terrorist" and is beaten to death.

He was killed "by the killers of children", Saraa says.

Al-Aqsa television told the Associated Press news agency the show, Tomorrow's Pioneers, was making way for new programmes.


The channel had ignored demands from Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti for the show to be stopped.

Mr Barghouti said it "was wrong to use a programme directed at children to convey political messages".

In an earlier show, Farfur had said: "You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists.

"We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers."

The Israeli organisation, Palestinian Media Watch, said Farfur took "every opportunity to indoctrinate young viewers with teachings of Islamic supremacy".

Story from BBC NEWS:

Iran's Message: Brighter than a thousand suns

TEHRAN I found the general at the end of a winding road in the Alborz Mountains 150 miles north of Tehran. He was sitting placidly at a table laden with cherries, nectarines and other fruits. A stream flowed nearby. It was a pleasant and pastoral place to discuss an uncomfortable matter: the tension between Iran and the United States, and the looming possibility of war.
The general, Mohsen Rezai, is secretary of Iran's powerful Expediency Council...
Given Iran's complex, nearly impenetrable politics, it is difficult to say whether Rezai wanted to deliver a semi-official message, or was freelancing. But it seemed like the former, especially because the government also arranged rare interviews with other senior officials...
Rezai's intention was clear: No matter what question I asked, he somehow managed to bring the discussion back to Tehran's need to find its way out of its dangerous stalemate with Washington. President Bush "has started a cold war with Iran, and if it's not controlled, it could turn into a warm war," he said.
Rezai's intention was clear, but not to Michael Hirsh. Iran held Americans hostage in their embassy. Iran sent Hezbollah to murder US marines in Lebanon. Iranian leaders declare over and over, "Death to America." Iran is funding and aiding terror in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza. Iran is apparently building nuclear weapons. Then Rezai, with ironical macabre humor characteristic of Nazi and Soviet propaganda, declares that President Bush started a cold war with Iran. Of course the government arranged meetings for Mr. Hirsh. He was to be a "useful idiot" - a courier for a "Friedensrede" - a "Peace Talk" - a successful propaganda device invented by Herr Hitler.
The real message should be crystal clear to everyone by now, but Hirsh doesn't get it. Before long, it may be "brighter then a thousand suns." Then Hirsh might understand the message, but it will be too late.
Ami Isseroff

US has evidence Hezbollah is fighting in Iraq

The US Middle East "establishment" - the academic Middle East community, insists that Iran is guilty of no worngdoing in Iraq or elsewhere. "Stuff happens" according to them. Of course, "Stuff happens" only if someone makes sure it  will happen. Lots of people will try to ignore this BBC headline:   Hezbollah 'aiding Iraq militants'
because it doesn't fit their thesis. They will claim it is part of a Zionist conspiracy to get the US to attack Iran, and they will claim (and have claimed) that Iran does not control the Hezbollah.
It is hard to believe that most U.S. professors of Middle East - related subjects live in an alternate reality, but they do. Here's the story:

The US has accused Iran of using fighters from the Lebanese Shia Muslim movement Hezbollah to help Shia militants attack US forces in Iraq.

The information came from a top Hezbollah fighter recently captured in southern Iraq, an army spokesman said.

Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner said the suspect had been working for the Quds Force, an Iranian organisation linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Iran has always denied arming or funding attacks on US forces in Iraq.
Correspondents say these are some of the most direct accusations to date by the US military about how much the Iranian government knows about insurgency operations in Iraq.
Sophisticate attack
Gen Bergner said the US had learned of the existence of three camps near Tehran where Shia militants from Iraq were being trained, a few dozen at a time.
The general also said Hezbollah's Ali Moussa Dakdouk - who he said was captured in March - was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shia group.
Gen Bergner said the group - led by Qays al-Khazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Moqtada Sadr - carried out an attack against the provincial government building in Karbala in January.
"Our intelligence reveals that senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity," Gen Bergner said.
Mr Khazaali and his brother were captured with Mr Dakdouk, he said.
Gen Bergner said Mr Dakdouk had told his US interrogators that the Karbala attackers "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force".
Five Americans were killed in the Karbala assault, a bold and sophisticated operation in which up to a dozen gunmen posed as a US security team to gain access to the government compound.
Hezbollah officials said they would not comment until they had checked claims Mr Dakdouk was a member of their group.
Ami Isseroff  

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Christian Zionism

What is Christian Zionism ?
"Christian Zionism" has been the subject of much controversy. Opponents of  Christian support for Israel apparently invented this name. They claim that all Christian Zionists are dispensationalists and that the movement was originated by J.N. Darby. At the same time, they mayclaim, paradoxically, that any Christian who supports Israel is a Christian Zionist. Supposedly, all such people are extremist fanatics who believe in imminent rapture, and try to hasten the apocalyptic battle of Armageddon. Supposedly, they are also all seeking to convert the Jews, and they all oppose territorial concessions by Israel on theological grounds. The Reverend Stephen Sizer in particular, has been active in propagating these views. His motives are transparently political beneath a theological veneer, as are the motives of most such critics.
Though some Christian Zionists do hold the above views in various forms, that is far from a veridical picture of Christian Zionism and Christian support for Israel. Among the most active and visible Christian Zionists, many are not dispensationalists and do not believe in rapture or hastening the battle of Armageddon, nor do they seek to convert Jews.  Christian supporters of Israel include Christians of many Protestant denominations and beliefs, as well as some Catholics.
Historically, Christian support for restoration of Israel preceded J.N. Darby by over two hundred years. It originated in the doctrines of the Puritans, which were transmitted from England to the United States. Support for restoration of Israel became much more than an article of faith. Just as previously anti-Semitism had taken hold and become an integral part of European culture, so in the United States, support for restoration of Israel became embedded in American culture. Christian support for restoration of Israel has a long and impressive history in practical as well as political Zionism and theology, that began long before the arrival of dispensationalism in the United States. We have prepared an extensive resource that discusses the theological issues, the critiques and the history of Christian support for Israel at Christian Zionism .
We hope you will find this resource of use in understanding the nature of Christian Zionism, and we will appreciate constructive comments, links and support. The work, large as it is, is a work in progress.
Cross posted: Israel News  Midde East Analysis  

Palestinian Critique: Prostitution and corruption in the Palestinian authority

A Palestinian writer tells us of life in the PA ( source: PA goombas prostitute their  wives, control journalists.... Following are excerpts from the account of Kawther Salam:  
...Some readers may have asked themselves why I waited so long before deciding to write anything about these crimes. Simply said, I had working engagements with Palestinian newspapers I was instructed to never write or say anything critical about the PA, never to criticize the Palestinian patriarchal system and the discrimination of women in my writings. At the same time, I experienced many troubles due my journalistic work because I am a woman. I have put my life and my family in big danger many times due to this work. For example, my mother, aged over 80, received a "friendly visit" due to this article....

Under the PA, social progress in Palestine has been turned back over 50 years. There is no real difference between the PA and Mafia gangs. The uncounted military systems established under the corrupt PA and financed by funds from the EU and other international agencies are in reality criminals, thieves (among other things of Israeli cars, with full connivance of officials on both sides), murderers, sexual perverts and gangsters. The proliferation of "military" systems established under the PA, which cannot be considered as a State, does not exist in the biggest countries in the world. All this and more contributed to last years election, in which the PA was voted out of power. While the Hamas are troubling in their own way, they are widely seen as less corrupt and much less likely to sell us out to the occupation. This was enough for assorted imbeciles in western state chanceries to declare them "terrorists" and subject all Palestinians to a genocidal embargo and continued incursions against civilians by the Israeli army.

Today I spoke with somebody from my homeland. As always, I asked about the situation. This call brought me some horrible news about another crime perpetrated by people from the military organizations of the PA. I am sure that the Palestinian newspapers and the Arab Media will not dare to publish such a story. The story, which was related to me, is just one example of the horrible things, which these people are doing.

Mr. Audeh (first name withheld for fear of retribution) is an officer with the National Security Forces of the PA in Bethlehem. He was a well-known criminal before the PA employed him as an officer. This criminal married three times. He divorced the first wife, she was his cousin. The second wife has a child; he stole the gold from her dowry on the first day of their marriage, during even the marriage festivities. The third marriage was without the knowledge of his second wife, a simple woman from a village near Hebron.

This criminal "National Security" officer proceeded to force his third wife to engage in prostitution, to render sexual favors to his "friends". He would film her during these encounters and spread the film to the public, taking money for copies. The family of this third wife, the victim of his criminal activities, received a copy of one of these films showing this shameless behavior. Consequently, they slaughtered the daughter, cut her head, and portrayed themselves as heroes. They were very proud of what they did. There is no law that protects the victims in such a case. Such crimes are always "justified". They call it "honor killing".

There were hundreds of Palestinian women killed by their families during the Al-Aqsa Intifada and since the time PA had the power to establish the military system. The PA employees are directly responsible for causing the honor killings of women in Palestine. The PA employees customarily abuse women sexually, especially women who work in the same offices, or women who come to ask for public services at the PA offices.

The PA always protects their criminals. Persons belonging to the military should be sentenced if they violate the military and civilian laws, but this never happens. In cases when Palestinian woman are abused sexually, the headquarters of the Palestinian military does nothing. The National Security  officer from Bethlehem who forced his wife into prostitution and was thus the direct causant for her family killing her in order to clean the family honor, was not sentenced. He is currently in jail, but he still receives his full salary, which is financed by European countries. The PA will leave him free of any charges, as he has other relatives working with the PA, and these relative protect him from the consequences of his crime. The slaughtered wife who he forced to sell sexual favors to others should not be held responsible for what happened to her.

The second wife, who was left with a child and was betrayed by her husband, asked an Islamic Judge for a divorce on grounds that her husband had stolen her gold on the first day of her marriage, and also on grounds of his criminal behavior which caused the death for his third wife. However, she will not be free. While the Islamic law gives the husband the power of the divorce, there is no justice at the Islamic courts. The justice of Islam is just a rule written in the books, to which women seldom have access.

Under the PA, many military systems have been established; thousands of employees receive a salary at the end of the month, while in reality they do nothing more than posing the affluent class of Palestinian civil society. Here are the names of some of the military systems that were established under the PA:

The Presidential Forces Unit; The Presidential Security; The "Nobility Security"; The Intelligence Forces of the President;  Military Intelligence; Military Police Unit; 17 Forces Unit; Marine Forces; The Special Forces; The National Security forces; The Alternative Security System; The Emergency Forces; The Military Tax Unit; The Disturbance Forces; The Quick Reaction Forces; The Border Police; The Public Security Forces; The Palestinian-Israeli Military Coordinating Unit which is a spy unit working in DCO building together with Israeli army. The Israelis use these officers as spies, and when the oppose, they are dismissed. It is important to keep in mind that this proliferation of "military" and "security" units goes on while there is no real, sovereign government, or President, in Palestine. All functionaries from all branches of the "government", from the President down, must get permission from Israel for every move they make, if they want to move between different Palestinian cities, if they want to travel, if they want to say anything in public.

No to the US Presence in Palestine !

In addition, the US, Israel and the PA are coordinating with the Jordanian military to get the "Bader" Brigades into Palestine. Before that, the U.S sent us a military coordinator and representative, the corrupt war criminal General Keith Dayton. Before that, they sent us an "economic coordinator", Mr. James Wolfensohn. Most Palestinians do not welcome these American criminals coordinating the destruction of their homeland. They strongly condemn the acceptance the PA has given these "coordinators".

General Keith Dayton was involved in crimes against humanity in Iraq, where is responsible for the widespread use of torture against civilians in Abu Ghraib and other places, for jumpstarting the activities of an array of death squads, and for the constant flow of giant car bombs which are detonated among civilians and are invariably labeled as attentates from either the Shia or Sunni groups against each other. He is now training the PA military units how to fight against Hamas and the Palestinian civil society. He has gained experience in organizing death squads and genocide in Iraq. Because of these criminal skills he was sent to "coordinate activities" in  Palestine. He represents American tax dollars at work, paying for murder and crimes on a vast scale.

Since the establishment of the PA they have neglected building and organizing the civil society in Palestine. The PA neglects the creation of a functioning of justice system; they neglect the protection of human rights and the reconstruction of a system of civil laws. The Palestinian military systems are completely paralyzed and corrupt. Their main occupations (and duties) are to steal from and to make life impossible for Palestinian civilians. The work of the police officers is seen as a clear problem in the middle of the Palestinian cities. At the end of the month, they have to get their salary before the employees from the civilian organizations get their salaries. Worse of all, Palestinian security units, military and police alike, are never present to protect anybody from the incursions of the Israeli army and the crimes of the illegal jewish colonists. I remember not one instance when one of these jewish terrorists have been even warned for an acto of terrorism, for theft, for murder. The situation with the corruption of the "government" was the real reason behind the break-out of the second Intifada.
The Palestinian Police system is corrupt. Briberies have replaced the law. If someone wants to visit their relatives in jail, the wife of a prisoner is obliged to give sexual favors to police officers. Police officers lead gangs of drug pushers and thieves who steal cars from Israel. The former Police officer Gazi Al-Jabali was a very big corruptionist person. The Israeli military confiscated millions of his wealth, which they found in his house during a search by the military. These millions had been looted from poor Palestinians in Gaza. I wonder why we need these military systems...

The Composition of the PA military organizations

The Palestinian military organizations, paid by the European countries and other International funds, can be classified in these groups: The military groups that came ("returned") with Arafat, were brought from other Arab countries. These people are rabble recruited in other Arab countries and given some military training. They are lacking in intelligence, education or culture, and they integrate poorly into Palestinian society. They speak a different dialect of Arabic; some of them have other nationalities. These military groups often trained and served with the armies of other corrupt Arab dictatorships. They come to Palestine without their own families and they suffer of psychological problems because of that. These people often marry with Palestinian women in a second marriage, but most of these marriages end in divorce because of cultural differences or because of the psychological problems, which these men have to start with.

The career military officers who are from Palestine and loyal to Palestinians, who often have better education, are separated from there work or frozen in lower echelons as they considered a threat to the PA and the corrupt officers brought from outside. The same is valid for the civilian posts: the corrupt people, spies and criminals are given high positions, the honest people are left in low positions or pushed out by use of whatever pretexts.

The Palestinians who were jailed during the first Intifada or killed Israelis, were automatically engaged by the PA military and given officers rank. The Israelis had tortured most of these people during their stay in Israeli jails, they suffered different mental diseases as a consequence. Apart from that, the Israelis only released the people who agreed to spy for them.

All the criminals, the cars thieves, the unemployed, the illiterates were automatically engaged in the PA military and police. Mohammad Dahlan, who had been a small-time gangster in Gaza before the Israelis, Americans and Europeans discovered him as "somebody they could do business with", brought in many criminals to work under his command. He established death squads which have been involved in kidnappings and killings of civilians in Gaza. One recent murder attributed to Dahlan's death squads has been reported here and attributed to "unidentified gunmen".

Some of the PA officers were sent for training, but I know of no Palestinian officer who has attended a college military school. Some of them get some training by the USA, Britain, or in other Arab countries. Most of these officers do not speak a second language and have not finish school. To be an officer in the PA means to be a murderer, a criminal, or a relative of somebody who works in the PA.
Hamas is not a real alternative to the PA, but less corrupt.
 Cross posted: Israel News  Midde East Analysis