Saturday, March 8, 2008

Islamists leave Israel no choice

Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor | March 08, 2008

THE attack yesterday in Jerusalem on a Jewish religious school in which eight civilians died disclosed important political trends.

It showed once more the depths of the divisions within the Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinian Authority, under its President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack.

On the other hand, Hamas, the Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip, praised the attack and Gazan civilians danced in the streets with joy. And the Israeli public understood once more that there is no proximate chance of peace in their long-running dispute with the Palestinians.

George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice have their reasons for continuing to pretend that there might be a peace agreement this year, but if they really believe this, which is unlikely, they could do more harm than good to the region.

The Gazan reaction to the Jerusalem attack also illustrates why, probably later this year, it is almost inevitable that there will be a huge Israeli operation in Gaza. Many people will die. The suffering will be acute.

Yet it is almost as if this is exactly what Hamas wants. It is impossible otherwise to explain its actions.


The U.S. Congress in 1922 - Jewish Rights to the Land

Myths and Facts
Myths and Facts

The U.S. Congress in 1922
Attitude and views upon the Arab question in Palestine - Eretz-Israel

March 7, 2008 | Eli E. Hertz

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine—anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea:

"Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected." [italics in the original]

On September 21, 1922, the then President Warren G. Harding signed the joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Here is how members of congress expressed their support for the creation of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine - Eretz-Israel (Selective text read from the floor of the U.S. Congress by the Congressman from New York on June 30, 1922). All quotes included in this document are taken verbatim from the given source.




JUNE 30, 1922

(Rept. NO. 1172)

 I want to make at this time, Mr. Speaker and gentlemen of the House, my attitude and views upon the Arab question in Palestine very clear and emphatic. I am in favor of carrying out one of the three following policies, to be preferred in the order in which they are named:
  (1) That the Arabs shall be permitted to remain in Palestine under Jewish government and domination, and with their civil and religious rights guaranteed to them through the British mandate and under terms of the Balfour declaration.
  (2) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, they shall be required to sell their lands at a just valuation and retire into the Arab territory which has been assigned to them by the League of Nations in the general reconstruction of the countries of the east.
  (3) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, under conditions of right and justice, or to sell their lands at a just valuation and to retire into their own countries, they shall be driven from Palestine by force.

"Mr. Speaker, I wish to discuss briefly each of these alternatives in order. And first let me read the now celebrated Balfour declaration of date of November 2, 1917, during the progress of the Great War, and afterwards incorporated in the preamble of the British mandate authorized by the League of Nations. The Balfour declaration was in the following language:

His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country.

"If this is not a condensed and at the same time a complete bill of rights both for the Arabs of Palestine and for the Jews who intend to remain in their present homelands outside of Palestine, I have never read or seen one. It is conceded by the Arabs themselves that the present government of the country under the British mandate and through the Zionist organization as an administrative agency is infinitely better than the government of the Turks who were chased out of the country by Allenby, the British general. It is probably better than any that the Arabs could create and maintain for themselves.

"I respectfully submit that the Arabs in Palestine should be and would be happy and content under the present government of that country if it were not for Turkish and Arab agitators, who travel around over the land stirring up trouble by making false representations concerning the true character of the Zionist movement, and by preaching a kind of holy war against the immigrant Jews who arrive from day to day. The Arabs are well represented in the personnel of the present Palestine administration, which has recognized their language as one of the official languages of the country, and has given official standing to the Moslem religion.

"In the second place, if the Arabs do not wish to remain in Palestine under Jewish government and domination there is plenty of room outside in purely Arab surroundings. The British Government and her allies made overtures and gave pledges to the Arab people to furnish them lands and protect their freedom in consideration of Arab alliance with the Allies during the World War. That pledge has been kept. The Hedjaz kingdom was established in ancient Arabia, and Hussein, Grand Sheriff of Mecca, was made king and freed from all Turkish influence. The son of King Hussein, Prince Feisal, is now the head of the kingdom of Mesopotamia [Iraq], and Arab predominance in that country has been assured by the Allies to the Arab people.

"Mesopotamia is alone capable of absorbing 30,000,000 people, according to a report submitted to the British Government by the Great English engineer, Sir William Wilcocks. Arab rights are also fully recognized and protected by the French mandate over Syria. There are also several flourishing Arabic cultural and political colonies in Egypt. In short, the Arab-speaking populations of Asia and Africa number about 38,000,000 souls and occupy approximately 2,375,000 square miles, many times larger than the territory of Great Britain. In other words under the reconstruction of the map of the east, the Arabs have been given practical control of Greater Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and parts of Egypt, which gives them an average of 38 acres per person. If the Arabs are compelled to leave Palestine and turn it over entirely to the Jews, it is admitted that the Arab race would still be one of the wealthiest landowning races on the earth. Therefor e, I contend that if they will not consent to live peaceably with the Jews, they should be made to sell their lands and retire to places reserved for them somewhere in Arabia [Saudi], Syria, Mesopotamia, or Egypt, that suit them best, and where they can worship Allah, Mahomet [Muhammad], and the Koran to their heart's content. After all is said, the fact remains that the Arabs have more lands than they need, and the Jews have none. I am in favor of a readjustment under the Balfour declaration, without too great regard to nice distinctions in the matter of the question of self-determination. This thought brings me to my third proposal heretofore mentioned, that the Arabs should be driven out of Palestine by the British and Jews, or by somebody else, if they will not listen to the voice of reason and of justice.

"I shall probably be told that, regardless of the question of land and property rights, the Arabs have an interest in the holy places around Jerusalem. Admitting that their claims in this regard are just, there should be no trouble along this line. There is no reason to believe that Jews and Christians would deny them access to the holy places in the pilgrimages that they might desire to make from their Arab countries. But if the rights of the Jews to their ancient homeland are to be made dependent, as a final question, upon Moslem interests in the holy places around Jerusalem, I am willing and prepared to repudiate these rights entirely and to shut the Arabs out altogether."


Friday, March 7, 2008

Retreat from Iraq? Another view

Lee Kuan Yew cannot be suspected of Zionist sympathies. He explains the reasons why US presence in Iraq is vital, and retreat is not realistic.
The Cost Of Retreat In Iraq
By Lee Kuan Yew
Saturday, March 8, 2008; A15
SINGAPORE -- On Valentine's Day 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud on the USS Quincy at Egypt's Great Bitter Lake along the Suez Canal. Roosevelt was on his way home from Yalta, where he, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill had settled the contours of the post-World War II world.
The compact that Roosevelt and the king reached on the USS Quincy -- American friendship and support for secure access to oil -- was no less significant. It has been the foundation of stability in the Persian Gulf, a troubled but vital region, in the 63 years since.
The Quincy compact has survived three full Arab-Israeli wars and continuing low-intensity conflicts between Arabs and Israelis. Saudi Arabia has played a responsible and moderating role in OPEC and has contributed to stability in world oil prices and to global prosperity.
There is no viable alternative to fossil fuels in the immediate future. Thus the security and stability of the Gulf and its oil supplies are vital for the United States.
America has been fighting an insurgency in Iraq for five years. Taking out Saddam Hussein was the right decision. Mistakes were subsequently made, though, and the price has been high.
Iraq is a key issue in the U.S. presidential campaign. Whether to maintain the U.S. presence in Iraq is for Americans to decide. But the general assumption has been that the only question to be resolved is the timing and manner of the withdrawal of American forces.
The costs of leaving Iraq unstable would be high. Jihadists everywhere would be emboldened. I have met many Gulf leaders and know that their deep fear is that a precipitate U.S. withdrawal would gravely jeopardize their security.
A hurried withdrawal from Iraq would cause the leaders of many countries to conclude that the American people cannot tolerate the nearly 4,000 casualties they have suffered in Iraq and that in a protracted asymmetrical war the U.S. government will not have its people's support to bear the pain that is necessary to prevail. And this even after the surge of 30,000 additional troops under Gen. David Petraeus has resulted in an improved security situation.
Whatever candidates might say in the course of this presidential campaign, I cannot believe that any American president could afford to walk away from Iraq so lightly, damage American prestige and influence, and so undermine the credibility of American security guarantees.
An additional concern is that a hasty U.S. withdrawal would leave Iran to become more of a power in the Gulf.
Iran is Shiite, not Sunni. Shiites are the largest group in Iraq, too. The schism between Shiites and Sunnis goes back more than a millennium to the very earliest years of Islam. The divide between Arabs and Persians is even more ancient.
Every Gulf state has a significant Shiite minority but is ruled by Sunni leaders. A dominant Iran with no regional counterweight would shift the balance of power between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East, changing the internal and external politics of the region. To survive, Iran's neighbors would adjust their positions.
It also would become more difficult to work out a diplomatic compromise on the Iranian nuclear issue. Without a compromise, the issue will lead to a crisis at some point.
A few years ago, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's Iraq were a check on Iran. The Taliban is again gathering strength, and a Taliban victory in Afghanistan or Pakistan would reverberate throughout the Muslim world. It would influence the grand debate among Muslims on the future of Islam. A severely retrograde form of Islam would be seen to have defeated modernity twice: first the Soviet Union, then the United States. There would be profound consequences, especially in the campaign against terrorism.
Singapore supported the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and continues to do so. My country has deployed amphibious support ships in the Gulf as well as transport aircraft and refueling tankers to assist U.S. forces. We are also helping with reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. We have placed these symbolic chips on the table because we realize that the global stakes are extremely high.
The United States clearly cannot stay in Iraq alone. America needs a coalition. This will require a more multilateral approach, which in turn requires clarity and a close examination of the strategic stakes. The domestic American debate on Iraq affects world public opinion and thus the political viability and sustainability of any multinational coalition.
The writer, Singapore's minister mentor, was prime minister from 1959 to 1990.

Radical islamists and some number crunching

Radical islamists and some number crunching

Abe Greenwald takes apart the optimistic conclusions some people made out of the latest Gallup survey of Muslim's attitude towards the radical Islam. The survey concluded that:

About 93 percent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews.
Says Abe Greenwald:
Seven percent of 1.3 billion leaves us with . . . 91 million radical Islamists. And to think we were concerned! That piddling handful is nothing that can't be taken care of with a little dialogue, a few billion in American aid, and some proper education. I'm feeling audaciously hopeful.
Adding to this:
Dalia Mogahed, Esposito's co-author, says, "A billion Muslims should be the ones that we look to, to understand what they believe, rather than a vocal minority." How right she is. We need to find out from one billion rational human beings why they largely refuse to stand up for humanity and dignity instead of cowering in the face of fascist thugs. They're the only Westerners this study challenges.
Before the usual suspects jump in with the usual accusations of Islamophobia, let's look at the numbers.

I guess that our of the above mentioned 91 million "radicals" only about 10% or so will be ready to get actively involved with what is euphemistically called in the press "militancy", the others will definitely harbor, support and provide the necessary means. Which leaves us with "only" 9 million or so "activists". Not a piddling number, you will agree. It takes only one fanatic to blow apart a plane or a bus or...
Continued here.

Times Square Bombing: End the Cycle of Violence

A blast destroyed a Times Square Marine recruiting station, following nation wide agitation agains the marines led by anti-war militants. The Washington Post alleges that authorities are investigating rambling letters and photographs mailed to several members of Congress, referring to a military recruiting station that was bombed by a hooded person.
Washington Post and others would be well advised to show even handedness in reporting about the militants who performed this act of desparation, and to seek the causes of the violence, as they advise us to do in the Middle East, rather than encouraging continuation of the cycle of violence. This bombing is clearly do to the US occupation of Iraq, or Puerto Rico or somewhere or other. US authorities should show restraint and try to engage the freedom fighters in peace talks.
Ami Isseroff

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Growing tired of fanaticism: 'People are being killed for nothing'

We should never be fooled by the self-assured cries of "wave of the future" and the defeatism of those who insist that democratic civilization is doomed because we face a determined enemy. The propaganda about 1.5 billion Muslim fanatics is propaganda, not truth. Most Muslims are just folks like us, or like Germans or Russians. They may be caught up for a moment or a year in the enthusiasm of some revolutionary project, but in the end they want to live their normal lives and do the normal things that people do. Women don't want to be put in Harems, and sane young people do not want to blow themselves to kingdom come in droves.
In Iran, the Islamist revolution succeeded, capitalizing on disaffection with a bad regime. Now its victims are trapped. In Iraq, wiser policies have fought back, and are apparently turning the tide:
"Atheer, a 19-year-old from a poor, heavily Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, said: "The religion men are liars. Young people don't believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore."
A professor at Baghdad University's School of Law, who identified herself only as Bushra, said of her students: "They have changed their views about religion. They started to hate religious men. They make jokes about them because they feel disgusted by them."
"I used to love Osama bin Laden," proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad. The Sept. 11, 2001, strike at American supremacy was satisfying, and the deaths abstract.
Now, the student recites the familiar complaints: Her college has segregated the security checks; guards told her to stop wearing a revealing skirt; she covers her head for safety.
"Now I hate Islam," she said, sitting in her family's unadorned living room in central Baghdad. "Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing."
Given a chance, common sense prevails. Of course people are being killed for nothing. The demonization of Islam on the one hand, and the glorification of fanaticism on the other, are being foisted on us by ideologues and agitprops. Radical Islam is no more invincible, no more an inevitable wave of the future, than Communism or Nazism.
Khruschev told us "Your granchildren will live under communism." But Khruschev's grandchildren live under capitalism.
Eventually, if the democratic states and their allies persevere, the 'fashion' will pass. It will become obvious that not all Muslims are monsters who want to destroy the West, and that they aren't all fighitng a "holy war" to resist occupation either. The ideas of the ideological snake oil men, terrorist groupies, and neocons will be part of the detritus of intellectual history.
Ami Isseroff

March 4, 2008
Generation Faithful
Violence Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics
Correction Appended
New York Times
BAGHDAD — After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.
In two months of interviews with 40 young people in five Iraqi cities, a pattern of disenchantment emerged, in which young Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives.
"I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us," said Sara, a high school student in Basra. "Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don't deserve to be rulers."
Atheer, a 19-year-old from a poor, heavily Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, said: "The religion men are liars. Young people don't believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore."
The shift in Iraq runs counter to trends of rising religious practice among young people across much of the Middle East, where religion has replaced nationalism as a unifying ideology.
While religious extremists are admired by a number of young people in other parts of the Arab world, Iraq offers a test case of what could happen when extremist theories are applied. Fingers caught in the act of smoking were broken. Long hair was cut and force-fed to its wearer. In that laboratory, disillusionment with Islamic leaders took hold.
It is far from clear whether the shift means a wholesale turn away from religion. A tremendous piety still predominates in the private lives of young Iraqis, and religious leaders, despite the increased skepticism, still wield tremendous power. Measuring religious adherence, furthermore, is a tricky business in Iraq, where access to cities and towns far from Baghdad is limited.
But a shift seems to be registering, at least anecdotally, in the choices some young Iraqis are making.
Professors reported difficulty in recruiting graduate students for religion classes. Attendance at weekly prayers appears to be down, even in areas where the violence has largely subsided, according to worshipers and imams in Baghdad and Falluja. In two visits to the weekly prayer session in Baghdad of the followers of the militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr this fall, vastly smaller crowds attended than had in 2004 or 2005.
Such patterns, if lasting, could lead to a weakening of the political power of religious leaders in Iraq. In a nod to those changing tastes, political parties are dropping overt references to religion.
'You Cost Us This'
"In the beginning, they gave their eyes and minds to the clerics; they trusted them," said Abu Mahmoud, a moderate Sunni cleric in Baghdad, who now works deprogramming religious extremists in American detention. "It's painful to admit, but it's changed. People have lost too much. They say to the clerics and the parties: You cost us this."
"When they behead someone, they say 'Allahu akbar,' they read Koranic verse," said a moderate Shiite sheik from Baghdad, using the phrase for "God is great."
"The young people, they think that is Islam," he said. "So Islam is a failure, not only in the students' minds, but also in the community."
A professor at Baghdad University's School of Law, who identified herself only as Bushra, said of her students: "They have changed their views about religion. They started to hate religious men. They make jokes about them because they feel disgusted by them."
That was not always the case. Saddam Hussein encouraged religion in Iraqi society in his later years, building Sunni mosques and injecting more religion into the public school curriculum, but always made sure it served his authoritarian needs.
Shiites, considered to be an opposing political force and a threat to Mr. Hussein's power, were kept under close watch. Young Shiites who worshiped were seen as political subversives and risked attracting the attention of the police.
For that reason, the American liberation tasted sweetest to the Shiites, who for the first time were able to worship freely. They soon became a potent political force, as religious political leaders appealed to their shared and painful past and their respect for the Shiite religious hierarchy.
"After 2003, you couldn't put your foot into the husseiniya, it was so crowded with worshipers," said Sayeed Sabah, a Shiite religious leader from Baghdad, referring to a Shiite place of prayer.
Religion had moved abruptly into the Shiite public space, but often in ways that made educated, religious Iraqis uncomfortable. Militias were offering Koran courses. Titles came cheaply. In Mr. Mahmoud's neighborhood, a butcher with no knowledge of Islam became the leader of a mosque.
A moderate Shiite cleric, Sheik Qasim, recalled watching in amazement as a former student, who never earned more than mediocre marks, whizzed by stalled traffic in a long convoy of sport utility vehicles in central Baghdad. He had become a religious leader.
"I thought I would get out of the car, grab him and slap him!" said the sheik. "These people don't deserve their positions."
An official for the Ministry of Education in Baghdad, a secular Shiite, described the newfound faith like this: "It was like they wanted to put on a new, stylish outfit."
Religious Sunnis, for their part, also experienced a heady swell in mosque attendance, but soon became the hosts for groups of religious extremists, foreign and Iraqi, who were preparing to fight the United States.
Zane Mohammed, a gangly 19-year-old with an earnest face, watched with curiosity as the first Islamists in his Baghdad neighborhood came to barbershops, tea parlors and carpentry stores before taking over the mosques. They were neither uneducated nor poor, he said, though they focused on those who were.
Then, one morning while waiting for a bus to school, he watched a man walk up to a neighbor, a college professor whose sect Mr. Mohammed did not know, shoot the neighbor at point blank range three times, and walk back to his car as calmly "as if he was leaving a grocery store."
"Nobody is thinking," Mr. Mohammed said in an interview in October. "We use our minds just to know what to eat. This is something I am very sad about. We hear things and just believe them."
Weary of Bloodshed
By 2006, even those who had initially taken part in the violence were growing weary. Haidar, a grade-school dropout, was proud to tell his family he was following a Shiite cleric in a fight against American soldiers in the summer of 2004. Two years later, however, he found himself in the company of gangsters.
Young militia members were abusing drugs. Gift mopeds had become gift guns. In three years, Haidar saw five killings, mostly of Sunnis, including that of a Sunni cab driver shot for his car.
It was just as bad, if not worse, for young Sunnis. Rubbed raw by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown Sunni insurgent group that American intelligence says is led by foreigners, they found themselves stranded in neighborhoods that were governed by seventh-century rules. During an interview with a dozen Sunni teenage boys in a Baghdad detention facility on several sticky days in September, several of them expressed relief at being in jail, so they could wear shorts, a form of dress they would have been punished for in their neighborhoods.
Some Iraqis argue that the religious-based politics was much more about identity than faith. When Shiites voted for religious parties in large numbers in an election in 2005, it was more an effort to show their numbers, than a victory of the religious over the secular.
"It was a fight to prove our existence," said a young Shiite journalist from Sadr City. "We were embracing our existence, not religion."
The war dragged on, and young people from both the Shiite and Sunni sects became more broadly involved. Criminals had begun using teenagers and younger boys to carry out killings. The number of Iraqi juveniles in American detention was up more than sevenfold in November from April last year, and Iraq's main prison for youth, situated in Baghdad, has triple the prewar population.
Different Motivations
But while younger people were taking a more active role in the violence, their motivation was less likely than that of the adults to be religion-driven. Of the 900 juvenile detainees in American custody in November, fewer than 10 percent claimed to be fighting a holy war, according to the American military. About one-third of adults said they were.
A worker in the American detention system said that by her estimate, only about a third of the adult detainee population, which is overwhelmingly Sunni, prayed.
"As a group, they are not religious," said Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone, the head of detainee operations for the American military. "When we ask if they are doing it for jihad, the answer is no."
Muath, a slender, 19-year-old Sunni with distant eyes and hollow cheeks, is typical. He was selling cellphone credits and plastic flowers, struggling to keep his mother and five young siblings afloat, when an insurgent recruiter in western Baghdad, a man in his 30s who is a regular customer, offered him cash last spring to be part of an insurgent group whose motivations were a mix of money and sect.
Muath, the only wage earner in his family, agreed. Suddenly his family could afford to eat meat again, he said in an interview last September.
Indeed, at least part of the religious violence in Baghdad had money at its heart. An officer at the Kadhimiya detention center, where Muath was being held last fall, said recordings of beheadings fetched much higher prices than those of shooting executions in the CD markets, which explains why even nonreligious kidnappers will behead hostages.
"The terrorist loves the money," said Capt. Omar, a prison worker who did not want to be identified by his full name. "The money has big magic. I give him $10,000 to do small thing. You think he refuse?"
When Muath was arrested last year, the police found two hostages, Shiite brothers, in a safe house that Muath told them about. Photographs showed the men looking wide-eyed into the camera; dark welts covered their bodies.
Violent struggle against the United States was easy to romanticize at a distance.
"I used to love Osama bin Laden," proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad. The Sept. 11, 2001, strike at American supremacy was satisfying, and the deaths abstract.
Now, the student recites the familiar complaints: Her college has segregated the security checks; guards told her to stop wearing a revealing skirt; she covers her head for safety.
"Now I hate Islam," she said, sitting in her family's unadorned living room in central Baghdad. "Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing."
Worried Parents
Parents have taken new precautions to keep their children out of trouble. Abu Tahsin, a Shiite from northern Baghdad, said that when his extended family had built a Shiite mosque, they did not register it with the religious authorities, even though it would have brought privileges, because they did not want to become entangled with any of the main religious Shiite groups that control Baghdad.
In Falluja, a Sunni city west of Baghdad that had been overrun by Al Qaeda, Sheik Khalid al-Mahamedie, a moderate cleric, said fathers now came with their sons to mosques to meet the instructors of Koran courses. Families used to worry most about their daughters in adolescence, but now, the sheik said, they worry more about their sons.
"Before, parents warned their sons not to smoke or drink," said Mohammed Ali al-Jumaili, a Falluja father with a 20-year-old son. "Now all their energy is concentrated on not letting them be involved with terrorism."
Recruiters are relentless, and, as it turns out, clever, peddling things their young targets need. General Stone compares it to as a sales pitch a pimp gives to a prospective prostitute. American military officers at the American detention center said it was the Qaeda detainees who were best prepared for group sessions and asked the most questions.
A Qaeda recruiter approached Mr. Mohammed, the 19-year-old, on a college campus with the offer of English lessons. Though lessons had been a personal ambition of Mr. Mohammed's for months, once he knew what the man was after, he politely avoided him.
"When you talk with them, you find them very modern, very smart," said Mr. Mohammed, a non-religious Shiite, who recalled feigning disdain for his own sect to avoid suspicion.
The population they focused on, however, was poor and uneducated. About 60 percent of the American adult detainee population is illiterate, and is unable to even read the Koran that religious recruiters are preaching.
That leads to strange twists. One young detainee, a client of Abu Mahmoud, the moderate Sunni cleric, was convinced that he had to kill his parents when he was released, because they were married in an insufficiently Islamic way. General Stone is trying to rectify the problem by offering religion classes taught by moderates.
There is a new favorite game in the lively household of the young Baghdad journalist. When they see a man with a turban on television, they yell and crack jokes. In one joke, people are warned not to give their cellphone numbers to a religious man.
"If he knows the number, he'll steal the phone's credit," the journalist said. "The sheiks are making a society of nonbelievers."
Kareem Hilmi, Ahmad Fadam, and Qais Mizher contributed reporting, and three other Iraqi employees of The Times interviewed residents in Basra, Falluja, Baquba and Mosul
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: March 6, 2008
A front-page article on Tuesday about the religious disillusionment among young people in Iraq carried an incomplete list of reporting credits. In addition to three Iraqi reporters who contributed from Baghdad, where the article was written, Iraqi employees of The Times interviewed residents in Basra, Falluja, Baquba and Mosul.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Terrorizing Dissent

The industrial democracies have a fragile and always threatened tradition of free speech and free expression that is vital to democracy. It is now being effectively stifled by threats of Muslim violence. "You can only show films that do not offend us. You can only express opinions that do not offend us." It began with the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie, continued with the Danish cartoons of Muhamad, and has now reached the point of self-censorship.


The same people who insist that it must be possible to publish Mein Kampf or show the mendacious film, "Jenin, Jenin," because of the need for "free speech," are quashing opinions that may be offensive to Islam. They managed to keep the film "Obsession" out of major movie houses, and now they are working on suppressing another film entirely. We may not like these opinions. If we think they are wrong, we should expose them and discuss them, not shut them up.


This trend cannot be allowed to continue.

Ami Isseroff

Islam and Its Critics
March 5, 2008


The latest clash between the West and the Muslim world is taking place in the Netherlands, where a yet-to-be-released film critical of Islam has already stirred protests in Afghanistan and caused a world-wide outage of YouTube when Pakistan tried to block a brief clip. No one wants a repeat of the Danish cartoon controversy, but suppressing the film, as some in Holland and the Muslim world are urging, amounts to political blackmail.

The film is by Geert Wilders, an anti-immigration Member of the Dutch Parliament who has warned about a "tsunami of Islamization" in the Netherlands, home to nearly one million Muslims. Mr. Wilders has also called the Quran a "fascist" book and Islam a "retarded culture," and his 15-minute movie is likely to contain more such distasteful commentary. He says he will post it on the Web this month if he can't find anyone willing to broadcast it.

[Geert Wilders]

Much as Salman Rushdie received death threats over a book few of his would-be assassins had read, Mr. Wilders has received death threats over a film no one has seen. He has been living under police protection since filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered four years ago by a Muslim radical for making a movie critical of Islam's treatment of women. The Dutch antiterror coordinator has told him that he may have to go into hiding abroad once his film is released.

The Dutch government has been holding crisis meetings since November about a possible Islamic backlash to Mr. Wilders's film. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende warned last week that the Netherlands risks economic sanctions and attacks on its citizens and businesses at home and abroad if the film is released. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who is Dutch, said Sunday that he is worried about Dutch troops in Afghanistan.

Several Dutch business organizations have called on Mr. Wilders not to release the film, and some at The Hague also favor self-censorship. Dutch newspapers report that several Muslim countries are pressuring the Prime Minister to suppress the movie -- though how the leader of a democracy could accomplish that even if he wanted to is left unsaid.

In any case, Mr. Balkenende is already blaming Mr. Wilders for any possible violence. "When you see how the reactions have been at home and abroad, what the risks could be of this film, then there's one person who must answer for it and that is Mr. Wilders himself," he said last week. So much for the Dutch tradition of political tolerance.

The Netherlands is not the only European country facing an Islamic threat to civil liberties, and it would be nice to think the European Union would show some solidarity here. But, as during the Danish cartoon crisis, there's mostly silence from Brussels. An exception is a proposal last week by the EU's top justice official to provide security for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch parliamentarian threatened over her criticism of radical Islam, and other similarly threatened officials, presumably including Mr. Wilders.

Mr. Wilders says he has every right to broadcast his film, and he is correct. Freedom of speech is not without limits, but there is no indication that the movie crosses the line to illegal incitement. It's hard not to wonder whether those who want to silence Mr. Wilders would consider shouting "jihad" in a crowded mosque an incitement to violence.

In any case, banning a film no one has seen is hardly a way to defend liberty or explain Western values to those who are new to them. Muslim organizations have already filed complaints against Mr. Wilders for some of his previous statements. Fair enough. They are free to do so again over his film -- just as anyone, Muslim or not, is free to ignore it.

Kurd commander: Turkey may become like Iraq

Self determination and resistance are allowed to Palestinians, Iraqis and just about everyone else except Kurds.
PKK Military Wing Commander: Turkey May Become 'Exact Replica of Iraq'

In a January 31, 2008 interview with the reformist website, PKK military wing commander Dr. Bahoz Erdal warned about a possible escalation in PKK activity, which would include attacks on tourists in Turkey.

The following are excerpts from the interview: [1]

Until Now, the PKK Has Been Using Only 20% of Its Forces

Asked how the PKK would respond to continued Turkish attacks, Dr. Erdal replied that his movement was well prepared for such an eventuality, saying: "...The results will be no different from the results of previous attacks: We will counter these continued [attacks] with equal force. This means that the tension will mount and the clashes will intensify, and it is not inconceivable that the fighting will reach the centers of Turkey's cities. Continued attacks will not only cause economic, political, and social crises, but may adversely affect stability in Iraq, especially in southern Kurdistan [i.e. Iraqi Kurdistan]...

"We are not attacking anyone. We are not fighting without cause, but are defending our national values, and we show sensitivity - especially when it comes to civilians. We have never harmed civilians intentionally, and we will not do so in the future.

"However, if the Turkish state persists in its policy of denying [the rights of the Kurdish people], and continues its military attacks on us, the millions of Kurds living in Turkish cities will be provoked into responding harshly - as was the case in the aftermath of the recent aerial attacks [of December 15, 2007], when Kurdish youths torched government vehicles in Turkish cities.

"Incidents of this kind may proliferate, and eventually, this may lead to the outbreak of a popular uprising in all the Turkish and Kurdish cities that nobody will be able to suppress or control..."

In response to another question about the PKK's reaction to the attacks on it, Dr. Erdal added: "...We have been compelled to use our special forces and the fedayeen battalions in battle. So far, we have been using only about 20% of our forces. We might reassess our defense policy, and this will tip the scales, intensify the clashes, and broaden the scope of the fighting, causing Turkey to become an exact replica of Iraq. But we do not want to reach that point..."

Tourists Are Advised to Stay Out of Turkey

Regarding the potential danger to tourists in Turkey, Dr. Erdal said: "...So far, we have never directly targeted tourists, but now there is a war going on in Turkey. [The Turkish military deployed] more than 50 planes in a single attack [on the PKK], and hundreds of thousands of soldiers engage in daily searches [for PKK operatives]. [The army] also uses tanks, APCs, and cannon, and there are clashes everywhere. In other words, there is a war going on in Turkey, and it adversely affects all areas of life, including tourism.

"Turkey is not safe for tourists, and we advise them to stay away from it. Extremist Kurdish organizations like the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) have targeted tourists in the past, and continue to threaten them in Turkey [today]. We cannot predict what will happen in the future..."

Turkey and Iran Are Working Together to "Crush Kurdish Aspirations"

In response to a question about Iranian-Turkish cooperation against the PKK, Dr. Erdal stated that the two countries had a joint interest to "crush Kurdish aspirations."

As for the U.S. policy vis-à-vis the Kurdish problem, he said: "...[The U.S.] wants to go on playing the Kurdish card whenever it wants. It knows that our movement is the main obstacle [preventing it] from attaining its goals. Our movement... has its own independent approach and relies on its own forces. Its policy is to avoid relying on any side, and it refuses on principle to belong to any bloc.

"Know that the solution to all the region's problems - including the Kurdish problem - lies in freedom and in peaceful coexistence of all peoples in the region, without external intervention. Such intervention has only exacerbated the crises. America is troubled by the concept [of peaceful coexistence without external intervention], and therefore objects to the existence of an independent Kurdish force. This is the main reason it wants to [harm] us."

The PKK Wants to Resolve the Kurdish Problem through Negotiations

About past attempts at negotiations with the Turks, Dr. Erdal stated: "...Ever since the ceasefire expired, on June 1, 2004, we have tried to keep clashes [with the Turkish military] to a minimum. We have been careful not to intensify the clashes, in order to give the political negotiations a chance and in order to create a climate in which a peaceful resolution could be reached.

"Over the last four years, we twice initiated a unilateral ceasefire. We did not do so out of weakness, or because we were unable to face [the enemy], or because we had deteriorated as a military organization, as the Turks and others tried to claim. Not at all. Our [policy] was based on our historical responsibility not to drain [the strength of] our people.

"But the Turkish government did not heed our initiatives, and took advantage of the ceasefires to intensify its attacks and its military operations aimed at destroying us...

"We do not see our struggle as a strictly military struggle. Our cause is primarily a political one, and we believe that the real solution will [likewise] be political, and will be attained through peaceful negotiations..."

The PKK Is Committed to Kurdish-Arab Brotherhood

Dr. Erdal also referred to the relations between the Kurds and their Arab neighbors, saying: "...Some Arab intellectuals see the Kurdish problem from a narrow perspective based only on the situation in Iraq. This situation has given them a [false] impression and has prejudiced them against all Kurds.

"But not all of Kurdistan is in Iraq; most of the Kurds live in northern Kurdistan [i.e. in Turkey]. The PKK, which has been leading the just struggle of the Kurdish people for three decades, is a friend of the Arabs and is committed to Kurdish-Arab brotherhood and friendship. The Kurds and the Arabs are neighbors, and share a common history and destiny... Since its founding, our party has worked to cement this friendship, [to consolidate] our joint struggle, and to build strong bridges between the Kurdish and Arab peoples."

"The Simplistic and Over-General View that Sees the Kurds as 'Agents of America' Is Wrong"

"The Lebanese and the Palestinians are witness [to our solidarity with them]. The simplistic and over-general view that sees the Kurds as 'agents of America' is wrong. There is a group among the Arab intellectuals that has not yet relinquished Arab nationalism, and is still under its influence; they regard all non-Arabs as a threat to the Arabs and as imperialist agents...

"They [i.e. this group] must remember that any deepening of the rift between our peoples serves only our enemies."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Disproportionate in Gaza

Disproportionate in Gaza

It has started all over again. Israel fights back against Hamas aggression, and everybody cries 'disproportionate'. There's a body count, and it turns out that the Israelis have killed far more Palestinians than the Palestinians have killed Israelis. Apparently this means Israel has been disproportionate.

But war isn't about exact body counts. Most of the dead Palestinians have been Hamas fighters. If more soldiers on one side die than on the other, isn't that what is supposed to happen in war? As for the genuinely unfortunate Palestinian civilians who have been killed, won't anyone own up to the fact that their lives were put at risk by Hamas fighters hiding within the civilian population? That's illegal under international law, so let's be brutally honest and say that Hamas, not Israel, is guilty of war crimes here. Not so many Israelis get killed, because IDF troops are based away from civilian centres. And don't pretend Hamas are mere 'militants': when they fire rockets or send in suicide bombers, they target the civilian population. Another war crime.

Some sort of madness seems to grip people at a time like this. Israel pulls out of Gaza, apparently something the people of Gaza wanted. What does Hamas do? It takes control of Gaza by brute force, then it uses proxies to fire barrage after barrage of rockets into southern Israel. The pro-Palestinian brigade sneer that these 'home-made' rockets are of little consequence. I notice that none of these people have ever volunteered to live in Sderot (or Ashkelon) in order to drive that point home. If the Scots were firing similar rockets into Berwick, do you honestly believe the UK government would sit back for years and do almost nothing, as the Israeli government has done?

The real disproportion here lies with Hamas, Fatah, and their allies, in their complete refusal to abide by any of the norms of modern international law or the principles of the United Nations. Here's an early passage from the 1988 Hamas Charter:

'The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?

'This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement.'

The Day of Judgement? How on earth does that fit into the concept of the Westphalian state and the rule of international law? In 1948, when Israel was established by a majority vote of the UN, the Arabs simply defied that vote and sent armies against the new country with the intent of obliterating it. These countries wanted all the advantages that came from membership in the UN, but the moment that body voted democratically to create Israel, they turned their backs and have continued to turn their backs to the present day. Proportionate? Far from it.

The consequence for the Palestinians has been horrific. Instead of enjoying the state they were given in 1948, instead of cooperating with Israel to create mutual prosperity, they and their allies fought yet more wars, while they launched wave after wave of terrorism against the Jewish state. Some people call them resistance fighters, but that's an unforgivable response to such actions. There's nothing to resist, in that Israel is always willing to make peace the moment the violence against it stops. It has been saying so for 60 years and, to be honest, it's bloody obvious. Why would anyone prefer war. Some people don't believe that; but the Palestinians haven't once put it to the test. Why not? Because they think religious motives ('the Day of Judgement') are a valid excuse for killing innocent civilians in the 21st century?

When Israeli children are killed by rockets or suicide bombers, the people of Gaza and the West Bank hand out sweets to passers by and rejoice. When Palestinian children die in the course of an attack, no-one in Israel celebrates. When Palestinian children are wounded, they are taken to Israel and treated in Israeli hospitals. While rockets have been raining on Sderot, Israel has been providing Gaza with 90% of its electricity, with food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. What other country has shown so much compassion to an enemy plotting to destroy it? There is no proportion in any of these things, yet they build a very different picture to that given in the media, of Israel as a marauding tyrant, taking disproportionate revenge.

We all want a real future for an independent Palestine. But that will not come so long as Hamas struggle for the unrealizable and for the coming of Judgement Day.

Denis MacEoin

 Liberal Defense of Israel

Cross posted:

Lebanon: Aoun represents the axis of evil

MP. Michele Aoun Represent the Axis Of Evil, & not the Lebanese Christians
By: Elias Bejjani

March 03/08

On February the 2nd, 2008, the National Lebanese News Agency has reported the following: "An FPM (Free Patriotic Movement) student committee delegation from French St. Joseph's University in Beirut laid a wreath of flowers at the tomb of the martyr Imad Mughniyah in Ghobeiri (Beirut), in a salute to his sacrifices and accomplishments in regard the sovereignty and liberation of the nation, then they stood one minute in silence for his soul."

On January 30, 2008, news agency and Lebanese newspapers published the following statement that was made by Sheik Naim Kassem, Hezbollah's VP: "The Paper Memorandum of Understanding between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement is not an understanding on subjects, not one constrained by a specific time, rather it is a strategic understanding, steadfast as the mountains, and whoever approaches it we will shatter his head, and the understanding shall remain."

On February 28, 2008, in an interview with the Lebanese LBC TV, MP. Michele Aoun stated openly that Imad Mughniyah is a martyr and made his alleged martyrdom equal to that of Lebanon's assassinated late PM, Rafic Hariri. At the same time Aoun okayed what he termed Hezbollah's legitimate right to retaliate for Mughniyahi's killing. Although he had no legal or substantial proof to blame Israel for this killing that took place in the Syrian Capital Damascus, Aoun agreed with Hezbollah's anti-Israeli rhetoric and allegations. Meanwhile Aoun did not see any wrongdoing in Hezbollah's  resorting to its huge piled Iranian-Syrian weapons against the Lebanese themselves if they try, to in any way, disarm it. Aoun in the same interview used Hezbollah's weapons to threaten the Lebanese ruling majority when he said : "Those who are capable of igniting a civil war and winning it don't want to resort to that choice," Aoun added without giving any detailed explanations.
Based on the above sad, nauseating and disappointing Aoun overt stances, we send a thousand congratulations to the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM-Aounist Movement), and to MP. General Michele Aoun himself, its leader, the derailed deluded and day dreaming self acclaimed Lebanon's Napoleon, and sole representative for Lebanon's Christian rights. This camouflaging, Judastic, demagogic, ungrateful man who was strongly behind the well known Pro-Lebanese American Act: "Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003", that aimed to: Halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and hold Syria accountable for its role in the Middle East, and for other purposes.
Michele Aoun, who was tagged for 18 years as the champion of freedoms and the number one anti Syrian Lebanese Christian politician, has sadly changed his skin, abandoned all his promises to the Lebanese people, sold his country's independence cause for thirty pieces of silver, betrayed all his sovereignty platforms, turned his back to the USA, European and moderate Arab countries, as well as to other free world nations who supported Lebanon to restore its confiscated independence and force the Syrian occupation army to withdraw in 2005. Aoun actually has joined the Hezbollah-Syrian-Iranian Axis of Evil.
Why would a man with this patriotic magnitude take such a bizarre, treacherous and hazardous shift? Simply because his lust for power and longing for the presidential post has overcome his patriotic stances. His mean succumbing to a personal selfish agenda on the account of Lebanon's future is so disgraceful and so disappointing, but what is more disappointing and saddening is indeed the status of many of his supporters who have turned a blind eye to all his Axis of Evil transformation and despite all odd still stand behind him and defend his derailed and anti Lebanese-anti Christian stances.
Aoun actually had adopted Hezbollah's Godly strategies which have now become in materiel reality his own too. And as declared by Sheik Hassan Nasrallah following the assassination of Imad Mughniyah., this strategy calls for the elimination of Israel from existence, and for the declaring of an open global war against it and against all the arrogant whether American or mercenary Arabs and others as Nasrallah stated verbatim in his speech.
We Lebanese waited with anticipation to hear a reply and explanation from General Michele Aoun on the statements of his ally Sheik Kassem regarding their strategic understanding, and the reply came so clear-cut through the FPM students' laying of the wreath of flowers on Imad Mughniyah's tomb in "salute to his sacrifices and accomplishments in regard the sovereignty and liberation of the nation". The picture became  even more crystal clear in the Aoun's LBC interview.
So that Aoun and his FPM party share now and adopt Hezbollah's strategy, let us see what are the implications of such a shift, and what is actually Hezbollah's strategy?
In summary, Hezbollah's strategy that encompasses its long and short term declared objectives, includes the advocacy for death, suicide and martyrdom concept, erection of a Shiite Islamic state in Lebanon, a replica of the Iranian Mullas' Khomeini Republic, enforcement of the "Welaet Al Fakeah" Shiite religious doctrine and its way of life, elimination of the state of Israel, a global fight till a total victory over the American Satan and all the Western infidel countries is accomplished, etc

Based on the above facts and declared stances, We call on those well intending and patriotic Lebanese in Lebanon and Diaspora who blindly still support Aoun, either because they hate and despise other Lebanese leaders, or because of poor political information and lack of follow up for unfolding events, we call on them to wake up and get out of their self imposed darkness and start immediately reviewing thoroughly their naive Aoun loyalty.
They ought to ask themselves what in reality is common between their Aoun's FPM and the Hezbollah Iranian fundamentalist Militia. In fact there is nothing, but mere and antagonistic contradictions in every and each aspect. The only reason Aoun is cajoling and appeasing Hezbollah is his "delusion" and lust for the presidency post.

Our comrades must know that Aoun, because of his delusion and lust, has detached himself from reality and from the hopes and aspirations of his Lebanese Christian communities, negated all its deeply rooted culture, identity, national convictions and education. In this context of derailment he also declared a dirty war against his Maronite Patriarch and his Bkerke's national religious authority. The man is deluding himself that Hezbollah can secure the presidency post for him, while Hezbollah sees in him a Trojan horse no more no less.
We bring to the attention of our Lebanese people, the Christians in particular who voted for  Aoun in 2005, along with the sovereign and free crowd who still see in this lost man the image of the savior-leader, We bring to their attention that the mandate a people grants to a leader is legally a conditional trust linked to declared and well documented plans, principle, programs, promises, platforms and commitments. In this perspective, Aoun boasted during the last parliamentary elections (2005) that his party owned a complete platform totally different of all other groupings and parties, that people had to review it, and if convinced vote for him and for his candidates on its basis. And indeed, the FPM disseminated these thesis which included several titles covering critical national and sovereignty subjects, the South, Hezbollah's weapons, the economy and many other issues. The elections were conducted and the results gave Aoun 70 percent to 80 percent Christian votes throughout Lebanon.

Therefore the votes were cast in favor of a specific platform, and certainly not on the basis of personality nor personal liking. This mandate vote confidence was conditionally granted on adherence to the Lebanese cause, rights, freedoms,  the state's sovereignty and its right to impose its authority over all its land,  and restricting arms to its own legitimate armed forces, the ending of chaos, anarchy and the cantons, the militia weapons, and most importantly putting an end to the education of killing, suicide, and the godly wars. Wasn't this the general's own position for 16 years?
By joining the Hezbollah-Syrian-Iranian Axis of Evil and adopting their strategies of terrorism, Aoun has completely negated all his promises and made null and void all his platforms. Accordingly he does not any more represent those Lebanese citizens who voted for him, and specially the majority of the Lebanese Christian community members who adore peace, honor human rights and long for a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon.
How could we ignore the fact that Imad Mughniyah was involved in masterminding and executing many killings and crimes against the French and American forces in Lebanon, and in kidnapping at least four planes, in addition to the bombing and killing of hundreds of people all over the world. Since 1984 and with the assistance of the two Hamada brothers, Mughniyah was involved in the kidnapping of 50 French, American, British German and other western citizens. He was a stringent tool in the hands of the Iranian intelligence bodies. He did not act alone but through a network of Iranian Fanatics and fundamentalists, especially Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' military wing. He was well known by his extreme hostility to the West in general and to the United States in particular.
For the FPM members who are peace lovers and for one reason or another are still supporting Aoun either in Lebanon or the Diaspora, here below are the superb achievements of Imad Mughniyah, the acts that Aoun and his University students see as accomplishments in regard the sovereignty and liberation of the nation".

We call on these members to look thoroughly in the below list and take a stance. A transparent one: either with the Axis of Evil or against it, remembering what Jesus said (Luke 11,14)23. "whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters".
Crimes attributed directly or indirectly to Imad Mughniyah:
1-Islamic Jihad, a shadowy pro-Iranian group widely believed linked to Hezbollah, kidnapped dozens of Western hostages in Beirut in the mid 1980s at a time when Moughniyah was thought to be the group's commander. The group killed some of its captives and exchanged others for U.S. weapons to Iran in what was later known as the Iran-Contra scandal. Among the victims of Islamic Jihad was the CIA's Middle East station chief.
2- September 3, 1981:  Assassination of the French Ambassador Louis DeLamare in Beirut
3-April 1983: A van packed with explosives targeted the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans.

4-October 1983: Near simultaneous truck bombings against barracks of French and U.S. peacekeeping forces in Beirut, killing 241 American Marines and 58 French paratroopers.
5-March 1984: Kidnapping of Lt. Col. William F. Buckley, CIA station chief in Beirut, who was eventually killed in the beginning of a spate of kidnappings linked to Hezbollah.
6-1985: Mughniyah lost two of his own brothers in acts of terrorism that he exclusively masterminded. His brother "Jihad" was killed during the attempt of blowing up the headquarters of Mr. Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah in which 75 individuals were killed. Jihad was one of Fadlallah body guards.

7-March 1985: Kidnapping of the Associated Press chief Mideast correspondent Terry Anderson who was then held for more than six years.
8-1985:  Failed attempt to assassinate late Kuwait Prince, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and at the same time bombing of the American and French embassies in Kuwait resulting in the death and injury of tens of individuals
9-June 1985: The hijacking of the TWA Flight 847 heading from Athens to Rome, flying it back and forth between Beirut and Algeria. At Beirut's airport, the hijackers lead by
Mughniyah personally shoot U.S. Navy diver Robert Stetham, a passenger on the plane, and dumped his body on the runway. Most of the 150 passengers were freed during the three day hijacking; some were held for two weeks. The United States indicted Mughniyah for his role in the hijacking, and he was put on FBI's most wanted list with a $5 million bounty for information leading to his capture.
10-1988: Hijacking of a Kuwaiti passenger jet. Hijackers killed with cold blood  two Kuwaiti passengers before surrendering at the airport in Algeria. None of the hijackers was prosecuted.
11-March 1992: Bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires -Argentina, killing 29 people

12-March 1992:  A pickup truck packed with explosives smashed into the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 29 people.

13-July 1994: A van packed with explosives leveled a seven-story Jewish center in Buenos Aires-Argentine, killing 85 people. Argentina issued an arrest warrant for Mughniyah in 1999.

14-1996: A deadly explosions hit Al Kobar complex in Saudi Arabia killing 19 Americans
15-2002: Disguising and smuggling many key Al Qaeda leadership individuals out of  Afghanistan including Osama Ben Laden through the Pakistani borders
16- 2006: Kidnapping and killing Israeli soldiers through the Lebanese-Israeli borders that kicked off the Israeli-Hezbollah devastating war in 2006.
The whole world should know that the Lebanese Christian Communities are civilized and peace loving  people whose ancestors gave humanity the Alphabet, and whose country Lebanon is mentioned in the Holy Bible  more than 74 times.  In this context its our obligation to state loudly that MP. Michele Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement, the new allies of the Axis of Evil and who adopted its strategy does not by any way represent the hopes, aspirations, religious beliefs, culture, code of ethics, education, identity or national convictions of the majority of the Lebanese Christian communities in particular, or the Lebanese people in general.

Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gaza Linguistics, Who is threatening a Holocaust?

Gaza: Holocaust or The Hashoah?


There is no doubt that the recent Israeli escalation in Gaza is unwise. It will not end the Qassam rocket fire on Sderot or the Grad rocket fire on Ashkelon. It will not bring peace. It will not end the rule of the Hamas in Gaza. On the contrary, it might help to legitimize and entrench the Hamas.

Israel has a right to defend itself. It is not always wise to exercise your rights. It is never wise to carry out military operations that cannot achieve any political goal or provide any military advantage. The Israel government must know by now that the rules are different for Israel. According to the BBC the Lebanese army killed about 260 people in Nahar el Bared camp. Over 40 were civilians, while the rest were terrorists militants of the Fatah al-Islam Al-Qaeda group. But nobody batted an eyelash. Nobody said there was any Holocaust. In Gaza, about 40 terrorists militants were killed by Israel, and about 10 civilians in a day. It was immediately condemned as "disproportionate use of force" and "a Holocaust." Fifty dead Palestinians make a Holocaust, but as many dead Pakistanis or Iraqis rate 2 column inches on the third page, and nobody even remembers if six times as many Lebanese are killed. That's the way the world works.

A linguistic note is in order. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said the following last week:

"As the Qassam rocket fire [on Israeli civilians] intensifies and increases its range, the Palestinians will bring upon themselves a greater catastrophe because we will use all our might to defend ourselves."

. The phrase he used in Hebrew was

yamitu al atsmam shoah gdolah yoter.

Reuters news service mistranslated "shoah" as Holocaust, and trumpeted the "news" that Vilnai was threatening a "Holocaust." They published a correct version later on, but the story of the "Holocaust" threat has spread far and wide. The original was either a deliberate error or a very gross mistranslation. Those who are spreading it now are lying deliberately. I have check three authoritative dictionaries (Alcalay, Even Shushan, Shweika). The word "Shoah" in correct Hebrew does not mean genocide, or burnt offering or the massacre of European Jews by the Nazis. That is not one of the meanings listed. "Hashoah" - with a definite article, refers to "The Holocaust" - the massacre of European Jewry. It is not the same thing. I have also searched for "Yamitu Shoah" in Google. This is a sort of cliched phrase that means "will bring on disaster." It is used for ecological disasters, environmental disasters and so on. For those who read Hebrew - here are two examples here and here. The first discusses whether or not child subsidies will cause a "shoah" and the second discussed where or not computers will cause a "shoah." Moreover, in the context in which Vilnai said it, the meaning is unmistakable. Nobody sane, and no Israeli minister, would argue that the Holocaust or a holocaust had already taken place in Gaza. So what could it mean if he "threatened" a "greater holocaust?" The Holocaust, HaShoah, is understood as an absolute term in Israel - the annihilation of European Jewry. How could anyone threaten to make someone "more annihilated?"

Continued at Gaza: Holocaust or The Hashoah?