Friday, July 27, 2007

More news about Syrian power and water shortages

[Mewnews, July 27] Our correspondent in Syria has provided more details concerning the shortages of electricity, cooking gas and water in Syria. He notes that there are 3.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, straining resources. Owing to the drought, there is not enough water getting to the  Assad dam on the Furat (Euphrates) river to run the generator turbines. Additionally, electricity stations are in need of repair and nobody seems to care. Elecrticity is cut 7 hours a day. The Assi river (Orontes) which arises in Lebanon and provides water for Hims and Hama has run dry because of low winter rain and snow precipitation.

He notes that water is available only from 8 AM to 2 PM, and remarks "We have 2
automatic washing machines but the city water pressure became low, so we have problems."
Cooking gas bottle replacements have not been made for the last month.
He concludes: "Imagine my situation when there is no electricity and temperature is
over 30."

It is remarkable that nobody seems to have reported these shortages.
Ami Isseroff

* Murder and Rape of Iraq's Christians Now the Norm *


     * Murder and Rape of Iraq's
       Christians Now the Norm *

Koran-inspired attacks on infidels are the reason that
minorities are fleeing every Muslim-majority area of
the world, with only one exception--Israeli Jews.
Despite this, Western governments and even Christian
groups themselves are largely silent:

Iraq's outnumbered Christians and other religious
minority groups are targets of a terror campaign and
are facing a dire situation where killings and rapes
have become the norm, a panel of witnesses testified
yesterday on Capitol Hill.

In a hearing convened by the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom, Canon Andrew White,
vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, and
four other panelists unfolded tales of horrors
overtaking Christians, Yezidis (angel worshippers) and
Mandaeans, members of a pacifist faith that follows the
teachings of John the Baptist.

"The situation is more than desperate," said Mr. White,
who described how Christians in Baghdad have been told
to convert to Islam or be killed. Hundreds of those who
could not afford to flee the country are living in
churches without adequate food or water, he said.

"In the past month, 36 members of my own congregation
have been kidnapped," he said. "To date, only one has
been returned."

Michael Youash, director of the Iraq Sustainable
Democracy Project, called the situation "soft ethnic
cleansing." The "de-Christianization of Iraq" is not
far off, he predicted, saying that Washington has
refused to help Iraqi Christians, whose common faith
with many Americans has made them loathed by Muslim

"The State Department just dismisses this as part of an
overall conflict," he said. "But Christians are being
disproportionately targeted. The attacks are purely
vindictive and vicious. They are meant to give a

Iraq: Another day, another bomb

The news from Iraq is not good:
Blast Kills at Least 25 in Long-Secure Baghdad Neighborhood

BAGHDAD, July 26 -- A car bomb tore through a crowded market in central Baghdad on Thursday evening, killing at least 25 people and injuring 110, police said.
A cloud of black smoke rose over much of the city after the explosion, which set a three-story apartment building on fire. Police said many of the victims were women shopping for food or clothing.

The explosion was the latest in a string of car bombs in Karrada, a largely Shiite district long considered one of Baghdad's safest neighborhoods. More than 50 people have been killed in seven car bomb attacks in the neighborhood this month. There was no significant violence in Karrada in June, police records show.

Seven Iraqis were killed Thursday by a car bomb in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said. A
roadside bomb killed five Iraqi police officers between Hilla and Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad.
All in a day's work. There is absolutely no purpose served by making believe this is not happening, and hoping that nobody will notice.
Ami Isseroff

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Divesting from Iran and Sudan

A lot more work will be needed to get US  pension funds, and even Jewish organizations, to divest from Iran and Suda, according to a report in the Forward:  

Three states have passed legislation that should move their pension funds out of companies that do business with Iran, but legislation in most states has either failed or was not yet introduced. On the federal level, Congress is still far from making a decision on bills supporting divestment. Among the most notable slow movers, though, have been the Jewish communal organizations, which are struggling with the financial and technical difficulties of rearranging investment portfolios.

"Your money or your life," said the bandit.

"Take my life. I need my money for my old age," said Moe.

Ami Isseroff

Ahmadinejad Says Iran Won't Heed Calls for Halt to Atomic Work

July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Islamic Republic won't yield to demands to halt its uranium-enrichment program and that the U.S. and western allies should accept the country's right to pursue nuclear research.

Options for the atomic program aren't limited to a temporary halt, more United Nations Security Council sanctions or military confrontation, Ahmadinejad said in a television interview yesterday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

``The West has carried out whatever measures it could and will do the same in the future, but it has concluded that it cannot put Iran under pressure by imposing sanctions,'' IRNA cited Ahmadinejad, pronounced ah-ma-deeen-ah-ZHAD, as saying. ``Acceptance of Iran's legal rights is an inevitable end'' to the dispute, he added, IRNA reported.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Zionism: I'm from Brooklyn, you wanna make something of it?

As an ex Brooklynite (though non-native) and Zionist, I am often amused and annoyed by the racist stereotype image of Zionists as right-wing religious fanatics from Brooklyn, so I have written a bit about Zionists & Brooklyn as well as examining the definition of Zionism and the question of whether or not anti-Zionism is racism, and whether or not it matters. Two articles that examined that question of what Zionism is, and what Zionism is not focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, Zionism cannot define itself based only on what critics of Zionism say - there is more to Zionism then arguing about the occupation. Read about it at Zionists & Brooklyn.
Ami Isseroff

Increased Aliya (immigration) from France to Israel

The relatively small French Jewish community has contributed over 4,000 new immigrants to Israel in the past eighteen months. Six hundred of these French Jews are arriving in Israel today. Another 3,000 are expected to come by the end of the year. This is a far higher proportion than the 3,200  immigrants expected to arrive from the United States in 2007, as there are, on paper, over five million Jews in the United States, and only about half a million Jews in France. Like the American Jewish population, the population of French Jews has remained relatively constant, due to low birth rates and assimilation through intermarriage.
The Aliya flights were organized by the francophone aliya organization, Ami, along with the Jewish Agency. It seems that in each area, the Jewish Agency alone cannot do the job of recruiting aliya, and must have "helper" organizations such as Ami, Nativ and Nefesh beNefesh.
The French aliya is urban. The largest number of French olim, nearly 7,500 since 1989, live in Jerusalem, followed by Netanya with 4,900, Ashdod with 4,200 and Tel Aviv with 2,000.
As might be expected, the arrival of the immigrants was put in doubt by a general strike threat, but the immigrants arrived on schedule after the strike was postponed for 24 hours.
Ami Isseroff

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The World’s Stupidest Fatwas

No central authority controls doctrine in Islam, one of the world's great religions. The result? A proliferation of bizarre religious edicts against targets ranging from Salman Rushdie to polio vaccinations. FP collects some of the worst examples here.
Complete article: The World's Stupidest Fatwas
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Unpleasant Choices: Islamists vs. the Corrupt

Nowadays the West is facing a very unpleasant decision concerning support for Middle Eastern and Moslem regimes world wide.  The choice is whether to support a full democratic electoral process knowing radical Islamists will come to power or to back corrupt pro-Western secular rulers who at best allow for partially rigged elections but assure their own continued terms in office.  The most prominent example is Egypt where Hosni Mubarak won the recent contest and parliamentary vote but it is an open secret that the Moslem Brotherhood (despite certain gains) would have polled a much better outcome provided the elections had been totally honest.
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Haleh Esfandiari- "True Confessions" from Iran

If your mother was jailed by the Mullah's of Iran, you would be upset too. in My Mother's Interrogators Haleh Bakhash complains about the regime of the Mullahs. Don't wait until it is your mother, or you, in an Iranian jail. Bakhash writes:
It was obvious from the words she used that much of what my mother said was scripted. Some of the phrases that she and two other prisoners -- Tajbakhsh and a man arrested last year who has since been released -- are shown saying echo statements that Iran's Intelligence Ministry has issued to describe their cases. Her statements, to me, sounded wooden -- unnatural and coerced. But did she say anything incriminating? Certainly not.
What Iran's security authorities, in their infinite wisdom, are presenting to the world and to their domestic audience is a doctored "interview" in which dishonest cutting and splicing unconvincingly attempt to make the most ordinary statement appear to be part of a great "conspiracy," a harbinger of massive subversion.
What did you expect? Didn't we sit through the same movies in the 1930s with the Soviet trials of "left deviationists" and "right deviationists" and their "confessions"? In reality, everyone know what such regimes, with their forced confessions and staged trials are like. But most of the time we ignore it, because it is expedient not to think about it, not to contemplate the fate of victims of such regimes, and not to think about what we are not doing to stop them. Mexico thinks Iran is just fine, and concluded some nice economic deals with them. So does Mr. Chavez. Are you making money from Iran? Isn't everyone? Isn't it time to do something about it??
Ami Isseroff

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ahmadinejad meets leaders of Syria and Hezbollah

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday and pledged to strengthen the alliance between their countries, which are both under U.S.-led pressure.

Ahmadinejad also met Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah in the Syrian capital. The backing Syria and Iran give to the Lebanese Shi'ite movement is the lynchpin of their alliance.

A joint communique issued after Ahmadinejad met Assad said the two leaders were "comfortable with the fine way ties between Syria and Iran were going and careful to continue cooperation in all fields".
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Another canard bites the dust: Iran-Syria pact is probably fiction

According to Ha'aretz , Iran has denied a  reported accord with Syria on military and nuclear aid. The report, that had appeared in London  Asharq Al-Awsat, had expatiated on a billion dollars in aid that Syria was to get from Iran, in return for not holding peace talks with Israel. The aid would supposedly purchase a huge list of military supplies from Russia: 400 Russian tanks, 18 MIG-31 fighter jets, and more, which cost much more than a billion dollars. Experts had expressed skepticism. Now the report has been denied.
"Such reports are media propaganda for targeting the excellent ties between Iran and Syria," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said.
Minister of Strategic Threats Avigdor Lieberman reacted to the report by calling for the establishment of an emergency national unity government. Now he will need to find a different excuse.
Ami Isseroff