Saturday, December 30, 2006
It is hard to comprehend how the execution of a cruel dictator, personally responsible for the murder of more than one million Iraqis, Iranians, Kurds, and Shi'ites during his 24 years in power, came as such a shock to the high-minded souls of the world, especially those in the EU who called the hanging of Saddam Hussein a "barbaric act."
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Palestinians have violated [the November 26th cease-fire] on a near-daily basis, launching over 65 Kassam rockets. For a month, media coverage of these steady violations remained limited...
It was only when Israel announced it would allow pinpoint attacks against rocket launchers that the media sprung into action, running AP headlines and story leads holding Israel responsible for "threatening" the supposed cease-fire.
"Israel to Renew Attacks against Gaza Rocket Launchers, Puts Truce at Risk" blared a headline to an AP article in USA Today. The story becomes newsworthy only when Israel can be blamed for trying to protect its citizens.
According to Israeli intelligence, Hizballah is smuggling cash into the Gaza Strip and is paying several thousand dollars for each rocket attack on Israel, with the amount dependent on the number of Israelis killed or wounded.
Islamist Forces in Somali City Vanish -Jeffrey Gettleman
The Islamist forces who have controlled much of Somalia in recent months suddenly vanished from the streets of the capital, Mogadishu, residents said Wednesday night, just as thousands of rival troops massed 15 miles away.
In the past few days, Ethiopian-backed forces, with tacit approval from the United States, have unleashed tanks, helicopter gunships and jet fighters on the Islamists, decimating their military and paving the way for the internationally recognized transitional government of Somalia to assert control.
[New York Times]
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I grew up in the US during the 1970s, the one decade universally acknowledged to have truly sucked. In 1970s America we danced to disco music, wore leisure suits and watched the Brady Bunch. But if that wasn't torture enough, we had Jimmy Carter as our president.
I can still recall how depressing it was to watch his taciturn face on TV announcing one catastrophe after another, from the...Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to the capture of our hostages in Iran, to the tragically-botched rescue attempt to free them.
[W]ith the publication of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, his ignorant rant against Israel, many in the American Jewish community believe that Carter is not just a loser but an anti-Semite. I disagree.
Jimmy Carter is not so much anti-Semite as anti-intellectual, not so much a Jew-hater as a boor. The real explanation behind his limitless hostility to Israel is a total lack of any moral understanding.
He can't figure out what right is. He is, and always has been, a man of good intentions bereft of good judgment. He invariably finds himself defending tyrants and dictators...
Carter subscribes to what I call the Always Root for the Underdog school of morality. Rather than develop any real understanding of a conflict, immediately he sides with the [seemingly] weaker party, however wicked or immoral.
Before one runs around the world as a global do-gooder, one should first develop the ability to identify the good.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Mideast Rules to Live By - Thomas L. Friedman
The Israeli-Arab conflict is not just about borders. Israel's mere existence is a daily humiliation to Muslims, who can't understand how, if they have the superior religion, Israel can be so powerful.
(New York Times)
Indonesian Muslims rail against Israel
Mahmoud Abbas and the "Cease-Fire" - Editorial
In its effort to marginalize Palestinian rejectionists, the Bush administration is seeking to prop up PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, despite a considerable body of evidence that Abbas is not a serious partner for peace.
The cease-fire forestalled an Israeli invasion of Gaza to thwart [rocket fire, and] has permitted terrorists to continue smuggling arms from Egypt into Gaza.
Islamofascist forces are growing stronger and Israel's deterrent capability grows weaker.
How the West Could Lose -Daniel Pipes
After defeating fascists and communists, can the West now defeat the Islamists? Islamists might do better than the earlier totalitarians. They could even win. That's because, however strong the Western hardware, its software contains some potentially fatal bugs: pacifism, self-hatred, complacency.
Pacifism: Among the educated, the conviction has widely taken hold that "there is no military solution"... But this pragmatic pacifism overlooks the fact that modern history abounds with military solutions.
Self-hatred: Significant elements [in the West] believe their own governments to be repositories of evil, and see terrorism as just punishment for past sins.
Complacency: The absence of an impressive Islamist military machine imbues many Westerners, especially on the left, with a feeling of disdain. Box cutters and suicide belts make it difficult to perceive this enemy as a worthy opponent. With John Kerry, too many dismiss terrorism as a mere "nuisance."
Only after absorbing catastrophic human and property losses will left-leaning Westerners likely overcome this triple affliction and confront the true scope of the threat. The civilized world will likely then prevail, but belatedly and at a higher cost than need have been.
[New York Sun]
Monday, December 25, 2006
Privatizing the war of ideas -Caroline Glick
[T]his week's bloody battles between Fatah and Hamas terrorists in Gaza showed...that Abbas is anything but weak. When he wishes to confront Hamas, he is more than capable of doing so. The reason that peace has eluded us is not because Abbas is weak but because he doesn't want peace with Israel. He will battle Hamas to enhance his power but not to secure chances of peace with Israel. Far from the key to ending the Palestinian jihad against Israel, Abbas is part of the problem.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Life for Palestinian Christians has become increasingly difficult in Bethlehem - and many of them are leaving. The town's Christian population has dwindled from more than 85% in 1948 to 12% in 2006. There are reports of religious persecution in the form of murders, beatings, and land grabs.
The sense of a creeping Islamic fundamentalism is all around in Bethlehem. Samir Qumsieh, general manager of Nativity, the only Christian television station in Bethlehem, has had death threats and visits from armed men demanding his land.
"As Christians, we have no future here," he says. "We are melting away..."
Despite the failure of successive attempts at peacemaking, and despite the current lack of favorable conditions to renew peace efforts, there is a broad international consensus that bringing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a happy ending is both possible and urgent. Western leaders periodically produce their own peace plans, in the almost messianic belief that if they can bring peace to Zion, its light will radiate far and wide.
Peacemaking belongs to yesteryear...Until [Palestinians embrace reality] any policy that centers on Palestinian-Israeli peace in our times is delusional.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Palestinian unity was maintained as long as Israel's military ruled Gaza. Israel's disengagement from Gaza has led to a battle within the Palestinian leadership over the "prize" of representing the Palestinian people.
Israel's existential struggle with the Palestinian national movement will continue regardless of which Palestinian side overcomes the other.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
[I]f the Maccabees were alive today, they would likely be shocked.
The Temple Mount which they liberated and Israel recaptured almost forty years ago is still off limits to Jews. The Maccabean rekindling of the Menorah on the Temple Mount, if attempted today, would be an inciting act likely considered imperialistic aggression, a breach of International Law, an offense to human rights, and could potentially ignite a most intense intifada. Today, Jews are not allowed to set foot on the Temple Mount without being escorted by an appointed Muslim guard. The guard makes sure that the Jew only stands in a restricted location and makes sure that the Jew does not utter any potential prayer.
As many celebrate Chanukah, known as the holiday commemorating religious freedom, it is astonishing that the very geographic location of the...story is [now a] place of extreme religious intolerance.
Peretz blocks Haniyeh from returning to Gaza Strip
Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered the closure of the Rafah Crossing on Thursday afternoon in order to prevent Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh from returning to the Gaza Strip.
Defense officials said that Haniyeh was said to be carrying 35 million US dollars which were to be brought into the Gaza Strip to fund Hamas activities.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
If Israel Falls, the West Follows - Saul Singer
A radical Islamic front, led by Iran and including Hizballah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda, is making a bid to expand its brand of theocratic rule throughout the Muslim world, with the aim of dominating the West. If the U.S. retreats in the face of this challenge, militant Islamism will advance.
Israel may or may not be the first victim of this advance, but we will not be the last. As the 9/11 attacks illustrated, the Islamists have tired of pretending that Israel is their primary enemy. For an Iranian-dominated Muslim world, Israel is the hors d'oevre; America and Europe are the meal.
Monday, December 11, 2006
The possibility of a negotiated Arab-Israeli peace and widespread Arab progress is dead...
Consistent across decades has been the [Arab] search for the charismatic leader who can produce victory. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was [Egyptian president Gamal Abdel] Nasser; in the 1970s, Arafat and Syrian president Hafez al-Assad; in the 1980s and 1990s, it was Saddam Hussein, then Osama bin Laden, and, perhaps now, Ahmadinejad. All failed; all were defeated. The outcome, however, has not been to reject this spurious hope but rather simply to seek another candidate.
[Islamists] cite many precedents to argue that resistance will triumph over the United States. The Chinese "people's war" alongside the Cuban and Vietnamese "heroic guerrillas" live on in the Arab world as if in a time capsule. Many Arabs compare Nasrallah now—as they once did Arafat—to Che Guevera. Like the failed Latin American revolutionary leader, Nasrallah did not overthrow governments but was a boon to the T-shirt industry.
History is full of examples of high-spirited, ideologically-motivated states that simply could not overcome the odds of reality. The United States defeated Japan in World War II despite the ideological fervor of Japanese troops and their kamikaze pilots.
[Islamists] argue that the Arabs made no mistakes but simply did not struggle with sufficient fervor nor follow the proper ideology.
Imagination is never enough to produce military victories.
[Middle East Quarterly]
It must be hammered home to the Iranian people by means fair and foul that the distance from Tel Aviv to Teheran is exactly the same as that from Teheran to Tel Aviv, with all that that implies. Governments must be convinced of Israel's incalculable unpredictability if pushed too far...
Students disrupt Ahmadinejad's speech -AP
Iranian students staged a rare demonstration against President Ahmadinejad, lighting a firecracker and burning the head of state's photograph as he spoke, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
UPDATE: Pictures & Video of the protest at the following link: http://hotair.com/archives/2006/12/11/video-iranian-students-heckle-ahmadinejad/
Iran President Facing! Revival of Students' Ire - Nazila Fathi
The Iranian student movement is reawakening and may even be spearheading a widespread resistance against President Ahmadinejad. The students' complaints largely mirrored public frustrations over the president's crackdown on civil liberties, his blundering economic policies, and his harsh oratory against the West, which they fear will isolate the country.
(New York Times)
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The Iraq Muddle Group -Editorial
The Iraq Study Group's proposal to negotiate with Iran and Syria is a very old idea that isn't likely to go anywhere. The report argues that because both Iran and Syria have an "interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq," they will want to cooperate in some larger regional settlement.
Come again? Iran's leadership proclaims its satisfaction with the U.S. troubles in Iraq on an almost daily basis. They seem to believe their interest lies in bleeding the U.S. so much that no president will ever contemplate regime change anywhere else for a very long time.
(Wall Street Journal)
Kenneth W. Stein...a former executive director of the Carter Center, resigned as a fellow of the center on Tuesday, ending a 23-year association with the institution. Stein cited concerns with the accuracy and integrity of Carter's latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
Stein wrote to Carter: "Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book."
UPDATED: A wonderful VideoBite is available at the following link, showing Jay Leno confronting Carter:
UPDATED AGAIN: [1/12/07]: This time it appears that Carter Center Board members are ending their relationship with Carter and his work. He may be getting a lot of media attention, but his isolation is increasing. See these below for more information:
Fourteen Carter Center Advisors Resign Over Book - Ernie Suggs
Fourteen members of a Carter Center advisory board quit Thursday in protest of Jimmy Carter's latest book. In a letter to Carter, the members of the Board of Councilors wrote that the former president had "clearly abandoned your historic role of broker, in favor of becoming an advocate for one side."
And a link to the actual letter of resignation:
Thankx to David for this info!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
James Baker's Iraq Study Group thinks direct talks with Tehran and Damascus would be a fine idea.
[N]egotiating with Iran and Syria over the future of Iraq is about as promising a strategy as negotiating with Adolf Hitler over the future of Czechoslovakia.
How many times does the lesson have to be relearned? There is no appeasing the unappeasable. When democracies engage with fanatical tyrants, the world becomes not less dangerous but more so.
[Engagement] buys time and legitimacy for the totalitarians, while deepening their conviction that the West has no stomach for a fight.
The war against radical Islam...cannot be won so long as regimes like those in Tehran and Damascus remain in power. They are as much our enemies today as the Nazi Reich was our enemy in an earlier era. Imploring Assad and Ahmadinejad for help in Iraq can only intensify the whiff of American retreat that is already in the air. The word for that isn't realism. It's surrender.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
A group calling itself the Just Swords of Islam issued a warning to Palestinian women in Gaza over the weekend that they must wear the hijab or face being targeted by the group's members. The group also claimed responsibility for attacks on 12 Internet cafes over the past few days.
The group said its followers last week threw acid at the face of a young woman who was dressed "immodestly" in the center of Gaza City.
Palestinian Crime Up 50 Percent - Khaled Abu Toameh
The anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza has claimed the lives of 332 Palestinians since the beginning of 2006...27 Palestinian women were slain by relatives in "honor killings."
Friday, December 01, 2006
The Energy Wall - Thomas L. Friedman
I believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to the big "clash of civilizations" now under way between the Muslim world and the West what the Spanish Civil War was to World War II. It's Off Broadway to Broadway.
The Spanish Civil War was the theater where Great European powers tested out many weapons and tactics that were later deployed on a larger scale in World War II. Similarly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the small theater where many weapons and tactics get tested out first and then go global. So if you study the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Off Broadway, you can learn a lot about how the larger war now playing out on Broadway, in Iraq and Afghanistan, might proceed.
(New York Times)
Thursday, November 30, 2006
One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington is the Iraq Study Group's expected recommendation that the U.S. negotiate over Iraq's future with rogue regimes in Iran and Syria...
The Bush administration - like many of its predecessors - has tried time and again to resolve differences with Tehran and Damascus at the most senior levels. With both governments, the result has been a nearly unbroken series of diplomatic failures dating back to Jimmy Carter's presidency.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Olmert 'disappointed' by rocket fire
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Tuesday evening that "we are a little disappointed by the continuation of Kassam rocket fire at the South by the Palestinians."
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Israeli security forces uncovered an explosives lab in the West Bank city of Nablus Friday that contained teddy bears with wires hanging from them, slated to be used as explosive devices.
After billions spent and the sacrifice of almost 3,000 U.S. troops, it is right to ask whether democracy in Iraq was not a fool's dream.
It was not.
What went wrong? Iraq's transformation was undercut by naive faith, not in democracy but rather in diplomacy. Instead of securing Iraq's borders, the Bush administration accepted Syrian and Iranian pledges of non-interference.
Iraqis embraced democracy, but the wrong kind. U.N. experts sold the White House an election system based on party slates rather than on districts. Any system in which politicians are more accountable to party leaders than constituents, though, encourages ethnic nationalism and sectarian populism. Add militias to the mix, and the result is explosive.
Iraqis greeted U.S. troops as liberators, but the Bush administration fumbled the occupation. Blaming democracy does not address the cause of strife; rather, it absolves policymakers for poor decisions and implementation. Too much is at stake, not only for Iraq but also for U.S. national security, if policymakers learn the wrong lessons.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Last night Ehud Olmert joined the ranks of Israeli leaders who have achieved cease fire agreements with the Palestinians over the past decade. It is a club he should not be proud to have joined.
We have been through so many cease fires with the Palestinians that the term should certainly have humor value by now. You could just die laughing.
The primary reason that the Palestinians need a cease fire at this moment is that the IDF is preparing for a major operation in Gaza in the near future, and the terrorist organizations would like a bit more time to prepare for it.
The tragedy, of course, is that when the terrorists feel that they are prepared to engage the IDF the virtual cease fire will evaporate.
The utter failure of [Israeli] national leaders to engage in strategic thinking is striking. One can only presume that their struggle and maneuvering to keep their positions in the face of growing public criticism and internal political conflicts has left them bereft of the energy required to confront national crises in a coherent, focused fashion.
[Mideast: On Target]
Friday, November 24, 2006
Hamas has no plans to stop [bombing Sderot] voluntarily, and the international outrage machine won't ask it to. The Islamic terrorists are merely fulfilling a promise made this June: "We have decided to turn Sderot into a ghost town. We won't stop firing the rockets until they all leave."
We need to think carefully about the consequences of questioning the defensive reactions of a nation-state that is constantly bombarded by an enemy calling for its destruction, especially after it has withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza.
Would we as British citizens accept a single rocket on a British town?
Israel's willingness to compromise for peace has never been enough, because Israel alone cannot gain peace. The Palestinians and others in the region also have to want peace. Why not concentrate attention there, rather than on the one player in the region who has always been serious about peace?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Former IDF Chief of Staff: War on Terror is WWIII
Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, who was Israel Defense Forces chief of staff said that the West must wake up and understand it is fighting World War III against a movement of global jihadists. "We are under attack, we are in defense, they are on the offense so far," he said.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The peace-at-any-price brigade is back in business.
Everything that's happened since disengagement illuminates a great divide within Israel between the people who believed the Arabs when they declared that their aim was the destruction of Israel and those who claimed, in spite of three generations of hard evidence to the contrary, that the Arabs only wanted a slice of land in order to make peace - and that consequently Israel should give it to them.
What followed the abandonment of Gaza was of course a new and emphatic vindication of the the Right in the genuineness of the Arab threats. The Arabs reacted to the Gaza operation exactly as the Right had said they would.
As for the Left, its political creed was torn to pieces.
THE JERUSALEM POST
Former Secretary of State James Baker has been saying that, when it comes to diplomacy, you don't "restrict your conversations to your friends" - shorthand for the view that the U.S. should engage Syria and Iran...
But Tuesday's murder of Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel might remind even Mr. Baker and his Iraq Study Group what some of those non-friends are all about.
(Wall Street Journal)
Monday, November 20, 2006
Iran Despises Weakness - Henry Kissinger
So long as Iran views itself as a crusade rather than a nation, a common interest will not emerge from negotiations.
Calibrating the Centrifuge - Zvi Bar'el
Iran has [an] "advantage": a president who looks like a poet and sounds like a lunatic, whose words swell like a radioactive cloud.
His threatening rhetoric even makes one forget that he is not the one responsible for the nuclear development. Rather, it was his predecessors, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatami, presidents who were considered moderate in the West.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Judging a Book by Its Cover and Its Content - Abraham Foxman
[Jimmy Carter] unjustly encourages Israel-bashers around the world. The legitimizing factor of being able to quote a former president of the United States and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize cannot be overestimated. Secondly, this gives comfort to the extremists on the Palestinian side who are reinforced in their extremism by this kind of "analysis."
(New Jersey Jewish Standard)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Islamists Are Not Driven By Israel-Palestinian Problem - Daniel Finkelstein
Prime Minister Blair's thesis...that the Israel-Palestinian dispute is the core issue...is quite wrong.
[Blair] has accepted the idea that the behavior of Israel is the underlying grievance that drives Islamists... The truth is very different. The existence of so many dictatorships, kleptocracies, and violent thugs in the Middle East is what drives on the conflict, in Israel, as elsewhere. The Palestinian crisis...is an effect, an outcome, not a cause.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are training senior al-Qaeda operatives in Teheran to take over the organization when bin Laden is no longer leader. Bin Laden, 49, who is known to suffer from kidney problems that require regular dialysis, has not appeared on videotape for more than two years.
"This is an important power play by the Iranians and the prospect of al-Qaeda and Iran forging a close alliance is truly terrifying," said a senior Western intelligence official. "We are looking at a Doomsday scenario here where al-Qaeda finally fulfils its ultimate goal of acquiring weapons of mass destruction..."
Monday, November 13, 2006
Embrace Christian evangelical support -Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
How can a tiny nation, often hated wherever it resides, possibly survive? This has been the paramount question governing Jewish existence for two millennia.
Three solutions have traditionally been offered for the survival of the Jewish people:
*The religious solution - Jews survive only through adherence to their tradition.
*The Zionist solution - Jews can survive only with a country of their own.
*The miraculous solution - Jewish survival is a mystery, a supra-rational sign of God's providence.
For the first time in history there is a fourth and highly potent medium for Jewish survival: non-Jews.
That's right, the one group traditionally identified as the single greatest threat to our continuity is becoming one of the chief guarantors thereof. Specifically, believing Christians are taking it upon themselves to ensure the survival and prosperity of the Jewish people in general, and of Israel in particular.
[I]t is time others in the community overcame their skepticism of Christian support for Israel and accepted that while the two faith communities have substantial issues on which they will always disagree, on the most important issue, the survival of God's chosen people, we are in perfect harmony.
[THE JERUSALEM POST]
Ahmadinejad - Hostage Taker? -Daniel Pipes
Soon after his election as president of Iran...pictures of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerged showing him as a hostage-taker.
A new picture located by Kommersant re-opens this issue, providing new evidence that Ahmadinejad was not some backroom political type but in fact was a automatic gun-wielding hostage-taker.
[I]t brings back, especially for Americans over forty years old, the powerful and enduring humiliation of the 1979-1981 embassy takeover, with the likely consequence of hardening U.S. attitudes toward an Ahmadinejad-led government building nuclear weapons.
The machinery of international politics will likely find it too inconvenient for this unsavory history to be assimilated.
Friday, November 10, 2006
An Israeli process for producing energy from oil shale...will serve as a guide for other countries with oil shale deposits, according to the Hom Tov company, which presented its oil shale processing method...
It would cost about $17 to produce a barrel of synthetic oil at the Hom Tov facility.
The U.S. also has a giant reserve, mostly in Colorado.
I am not indifferent to the death of Palestinians. I am especially not indifferent [when] caused by Israeli fire. I do know who is indifferent to the death of Palestinians, and especially ecstatic if they are killed by Israeli fire.
Have pity on the Palestinians. But aim your criticism at those who think killing Jews is a solution to the Palestinian problem.
Stopping Palestinian Rockets - Anshel Pfeffer
In Gaza there is no job with a lower life-expectancy than a member of a rocket team.
The IDF [has] managed to make it virtually impossible for the Palestinians to take real aim.
Mubarak Warns Against Hanging Saddam - Nadia Abou El-Magd
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak came out strongly against hanging Saddam Hussein... Analysts suggested that no matter how much Arab leaders disliked Saddam's regime, they are worried about the precedent an execution would set. (AP/Washington Post)
In every full democracy, the legislative branch mostly enjoys power in domestic affairs, while the executive branch predominates in foreign policy. Congress has a distinctly secondary role in formulating America's role in the world. One vivid example of this: Congress has long tried to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but has never come close to succeeding.
Therefore, I expect the changes from this week's mid-term elections to have only minor impact on U.S. policy in the Middle East, including Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The Palestinian threat to increase attacks in the wake of the Beit Hanun shelling is as hollow as the statement by Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al that this [is] the end of the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. Pardon us, but what with all the attacks going on, we must have missed the cease-fire.
The calls for an end to the "occupation" as a prerequisite [for] a halt in terrorist attacks, make us wonder if Palestinian leaders are in touch with reality. Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in August 2005. [M]aybe the Palestinians are referring to the 'occupation' of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and other Israeli cities.
If so, we have a news flash for them: rockets, missiles and suicide attackers are not going to remove Israel.
[T]he world would do well to internalize the simple fact that the way to stop IDF fire on Gaza is this: stop the rocket fire into Israel. Aggression carries a price; they can stop paying it any time they like.
[Mideast: On Target]
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Israel's latest week long operation in Gaza will not succeed in curbing...Palestinian terror. The IDF's long-term success is very much dependent on Egyptian cooperation in halting the weapons smuggling...
[But] President Hosni Mubarak's government has absolutely no interest in curbing terrorism... The calculation is simple. Should the terrorists fail at arriving at the front lines in Gaza to do battle against the "Zionist enemy" they will simply turn around and report for duty to overthrow Mubarak's secular regime. The Gaza front is Egypt's pressure valve when confronting militant, totalitarian Islam. Shooting at the Jewish State takes pressure off Cairo.
Jerusalem prefers the low intensity conflict with the Palestinians - tunnels, Kassams and all, over the risk involved in closing down the entire Gaza terror operation and having it backfire into the Nile Delta. This is bad news for the residents of Sderot...those living in Kassam range are paying the price for avoiding further instability in Egypt...
[Mideast: On Target]
The two largest political parties, Fatah and Hamas and their associated militias, are too weak to constitute a strategic address for Israel, and the chaotic situation in the PA is likely to continue for some time. The remaining available strategy is simply to wait until the Palestinians put their house in order, which may take a long time.
Over a decade, territorial concessions on the part of Israel and generous international financial support have had no positive impact on Palestinian society, which has degenerated into chaos. Outside intervention has little chance of overcoming the political and social dynamics within the Palestinian entity.
US official: Israel won't bomb Iran -Tovah Lazaroff
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni...said that "control of the nuclear game was in the hands of the great powers."
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Dr. Tawfik Hamid...a medical doctor, author, and activist who once was a member of...a banned [Egyptian] terrorist organization [said]:
"Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They're slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can't you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want."
Monday, November 06, 2006
A year after [Israel voted] for the most left-wing leader in its history, Peretz is now a disgraced warlord and Labor is a willing coalition partner with Lieberman. Meretz is a fractious mini-party on the brink of extinction, and opinion polls show a significant rightward shift among the public, now at its least receptive to new peace proposals.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
A 12 minute, abridged version of the intense one hour documentary "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" has been made available by its producers.
OK, I know what you're thinking...and you're right...12 minutes is not exactly a "soundbite." But I could not resist posting this.
You can view it at either of the links below:
Saturday, November 04, 2006
A recent photo of University President Amy Gutman [right] at an official University of Pennsylvania Halloween Party. By her side is a Muslim engineering student who says he attended dressed as a "freedom martyr."
Faster than one could say gigabyte, [the photo] was picked up by Winfield Myers and re-posted on his Democracy-Project and Campus Watch Web sites.
"An obvious question: would Gutmann have posed with a guest - or even allowed him into her house - if he'd dressed as Adolf Hitler or a Nazi SS officer? A KKK member?" Myers asked in his blog posting.
"But in modern liberal circles, posing as a Palestinian suicide bomber (see his kefiya) is just fine. After all, he mainly tries to kill innocent Jews," Myers added.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
A focused, defiant, and determined Teheran contrasts with the muddled, feckless Russians, Arabs, Europeans and Americans. A half year ago, a concerted external effort could still have prompted effective pressure from within Iranian society to halt the nuclear program, but that possibility now appears defunct. As the powers have mumbled, shuffled and procrastinated, Iranians see their leadership effectively permitted to barrel ahead.
[T]he situation has become crude and binary: Either the US government deploys force to prevent Teheran from acquiring nukes, or Teheran acquires them.
This key decision - war or acquiescence - will take place in Washington, not in New York, Vienna or Teheran (or Tel Aviv). The critical moment will arrive when the president of the United States confronts the choice whether or not to permit the Islamic Republic of Iran to acquire the bomb. The timetable of the Iranian nuclear program being murky, that might be either George W. Bush or his successor.
It will be a remarkable moment. The US glories in the full flower of public opinion with regard to taxes, schools and property zoning. But when it comes to the fateful decision of going to war, the American apparatus of participation fades away, leaving the president on his own to make this difficult call...
Should he allow a malevolently mystical leadership to build a doomsday weapon that it might well deploy? Or should he take out Iran's nuclear infrastructure, despite the resulting economic, military and diplomatic costs.
Until the US president decides, everything amounts to a mere rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic, acts of futility and of little relevance.
Radical Islam is not going away. Like Nazism and communism, it is an ideology that produces the systemic murder of innocents. Like those earlier totalitarianisms, it will go on murdering until it is crushed. Like them, it is impervious to appeasement and contemptuous of weakness. The longer Americans sleep, the farther the jihad advances.
To the Editor:
Re “The Wrong Partner in Israel” (editorial, Oct. 25), about my party, Israel Beiteinu, which has been invited into the governing coalition:
Your editorial got it wrong.
The declared missions of Hamas and Hezbollah are ...to eradicate all Jews from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, and until they achieve that goal, they will not lay down their arms. The Middle East peace process has failed miserably, and trying to breathe new life into an already defunct process is not the way to go.
Israel needs a new direction. I suggest that we redefine our goals and focus on bringing security and stability to the Middle East instead of setting our sights on an unrealistic, unattainable fantasy.
After the terror attacks of 9/11, Madrid in 2004, London in 2005..., the world knows better. Thirteen years is long enough to determine that the peace process has failed.
Minister of Strategic Affairs
Jerusalem, Oct. 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
During a recent interview, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and I disagreed on the issue of a Palestinian state. I think the Palestinians want the state to obliterate Israel...
According to Rice, "The great majority of the [Palestinian] people just want a better life. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers." Then she added: "If human beings don't want a better future, don't want their children to grow up in peace and have opportunities, then none of this is going to work anyway."
[T]he State Department view over several administrations [is] self-delusional.
Facing Down Ahmadinejad - Amnon Rubinstein
Israel is not only tiny - a speck on the map - but is totally unprepared for such a destructive blow. It has no shelters suitable to withstand a nuclear bombardment, and has no alternative sites to which people can retreat while awaiting clean-up of contaminated areas.
(New York Sun)
Classical Anti-Semitism from Abbas' Media - Yaakov Lappin
The media is in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas. [Current] programming
ensure[s] the conflict will continue, and "wouldn't be happening if there was any intention of bringing about peace," Marcus added. "There is no indication of any change in the long-term policy."
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
JAMIE COLBY: 15% of Muslims have turned radical of 1 billion Muslims according to this. Of course, there are many, many wonderful people who are Muslim. Is that an accurate number?
EMERSON: You know, it is a good question. I don't think we have reliable numbers on that. I prefer to believe that the majority of Muslims are not tethered to a radical agenda, and yet when I see public relations polls showing that up to 50% of British Muslims support the July attacks of last year, or I see 30 or 40% of American Muslims not believing that radical Islamic militants carried out 9/11, I have questions about this. [T]here are two divides Jamie. One is the actual jihadists, and the other one is the cultural jihadists. They are not the ones carrying out the bombings; they are the ones supporting the bombings.
Friday, October 27, 2006
- Shirli Sitbon
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy declared last week he has changed his opinion on Israel's controversial separation barrier..."...[W]hen I realized terror attacks were reduced by 80 percent in the areas where the wall was erected, I understood..."
(European Jewish Press)
Thursday, October 26, 2006
[F]or the United States to pull entirely out of that country right now, as is being demanded by a growing chorus of critics, would be to snatch an unqualified disaster from the jaws of an enormous blunder.
A total withdrawal from Iraq would play into the hands of the jihadist terrorists. Al Qaeda’s most important short-term strategic goal is to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world. Such a jihadist state would be the ideal launching pad for future attacks on the West.
[New York Times]
Sheik Hilali said: “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?
“The uncovered meat is the problem.”
The sheik then said: “If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab [headcovering], no problem would have occurred.”
Should Israel invade Gaza? -Daniel Pipes
[T]wo schools of thought exist vis-a-vis Israel and the Palestinians: the majority opinion holds that Palestinians will accept Israel only when their political, economic, and other aspirations are satisfied.
The minority one - mine - holds that they will accept Israel only when their will to make war has been crushed. Existing anarchy has started this process but it will be more expeditiously achieved when Israelis themselves can administer the defeat.
[The Jerusalem Post]
Lessons of the War in Lebanon - Mark Helprin
The preeminent lesson is that Israel must create more of a margin of safety in its military operations. It has no alternative but to over-spend, over-prepare, over-fortify, over-stockpile, and over-train. History will see that the essence of this war is that it has served as an exchange of messages in the prelude to an Islamic nuclear confrontation with the West.
(Claremont Review of Books)
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Following Israel's full withdrawal in August 2005, Gaza is being consolidated into a terrorist fortress. In private, Egyptians admit that they condone and perhaps even participate in the arms smuggling to Gaza...
The war for Gaza is coming. Whoever stays out of it wins.
(Wall Street Journal)
Time for Realpolitik - Barry Rubin
The era of democracy promotion as the main theme of U.S. Middle East policy is over, for all practical purposes. Having found constructive forces in the region to be close to non-existent, America is back to the strategy of a more traditional realpolitik. The local political cultures and societies are too resistant; the dictatorships too strong and clever; extremists too able to take advantage of any openings offered, for example, by elections.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is incapable of organizing a bake sale, much less delivering on any serious diplomatic bargaining. Fatah is not going to stop terrorism, end incitement, or be more moderate. Fatah is far more comfortable competing with Hamas in bragging about how militant it is, how many martyrs it has produced and how intently it will carry on the struggle to total victory. The group is not about to prove its superiority to Hamas by building roads and producing better schools. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Will Survive, But What About Europe? - Gerald M. Steinberg
It's important to counter the misleading pessimism about Israel's future that grew out of images from Lebanon, and the conclusions that Israel met its match in the form of Hizballah fighters armed by Iran. Despite some operational errors (found in every military force) and the current leadership crisis, Israel ended the war with far fewer casualties than were expected, and with a more favorable strategic relationship with Hizballah.
Will there be an Israel in 2020? This question about survival should be pointed elsewhere - toward Europe. Will London, Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, etc. become satellites orbiting around a dominant Muslim empire?
The dominant Western response to Islamic terror is compromise, dialogue, apology, and calls for understanding. This form of political correctness won't work against the violence of mass terror and calls for global jihad. The question is whether the West will recognize the need for a more ferocious response in time for it to survive.
(Canadian Jewish News)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Hamid believes a reformation will lead to the more enlightened practice of Islam. The essential ingredients of reform, he says, are rejection of the principles that apostates must be killed, women can be subjugated and enslaved, Jews are subhuman, and Islam can be spread through violence.
Instead of walking on eggshells for fear of roiling the wasps' nest, he says both East and West would be better served by a vigorous critique of Islam.
See also an inspiring VideoBite of Arab-American hero Dr. Wafa Sultan:
"I asked a Palestinian I met: 'Let's assume that all the Jews of Israel were to convert to Islam, would you still fight them?' He said, 'no.' In that case, the land is not the problem."
Dr. Wafa Sultan
As coalition policy reaches a crisis, may I resurrect an idea I have been flogging since April 2003? It offers a way out of the current debate over staying the course (as President George W. Bush has long advocated) or withdrawing troops on a short timetable (as his critics demand).
My solution splits the difference, "Stay the course - but change the course." I suggest pulling coalition forces out of the inhabited areas of Iraq and redeploying them to the desert.
This way, the troops remain indefinitely in Iraq, but remote from the urban carnage. It permits the American-led troops to carry out essential tasks (protecting borders, keeping the oil and gas flowing, ensuring that no Saddam-like monster takes power) while ending their non-essential work (maintaining street-level order, guarding their own barracks).
[New York Sun]
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
The escalating violence raking Baghdad and other Iraqi cities is pushing that nation's leaders, neighboring Arab countries, and U.S. advisers to consider a dramatic change of direction in the conduct of the war. Leaks from a U.S. task force headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III are contributing to the widespread sense that the Bush administration is preparing for a "course correction" in the coming months.
The options cited most frequently in Washington include the partition of Iraq into three ethnic- or faith-based regions and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.
"Peace Process" Debacle - Editorial
The Bush administration's policy toward Israel and the Palestinians increasingly seems like a reprise of the Oslo "peace process" pushed by the Clinton administration, which ended in disaster...
Secretary of State Rice now seems bent on propping up a new generation of failed Palestinian leadership - specifically Mahmoud Abbas.
It is a disservice to the Palestinians to continue to pretend that failed, bankrupt leaders like Abbas are part of the solution to their plight. In reality, they are part of the problem.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
- Mike Oliveira
Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised..."Those who seek to destroy the Jews, who seek to destroy Israel, will...ultimately seek to destroy us all. It is why Canada's new government has reacted with speed and spoken with clarity on the recent events in the Middle East."
YouTube and the Cyber Jihad - Editorial
Civil-liberties advocates have constantly overlooked the very real danger of censorship enacted by private businesses fearful of Islamist rage.
France's Intifada - Arnaud de Borchgrave
Anti-Semitic incidents have proliferated in France in recent times, but the news seldom makes it across the Atlantic. The metropolitan Paris police tabulated 10 to 12 anti-Jewish incidents per day in the last 30 days throughout the country.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
It features slow motion special effects that make quite an impact. May it be seen throughout the Arab and Muslim world:
Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the newly appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, during an interview endorsed the phenomenon of suicide bombers as part of the Palestinian people's legitimate resistance.
How French TV Fudged the Death of Mohammed Al-Durah - Richard Landes
On September 30, 2000, images of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Durah and his father - cowering behind a barrel at Netzarim Junction in Gaza - circulated globally, along with a claim that they had been the targeted victims of Israeli fire.
The raw footage features a long succession of obviously faked injuries. One fellow grabbed his leg in agony, then, upon seeing that no one would come to carry him away, walked away without a limp. It was stunning.
Two documentaries...sparked a demonstration in Paris outside the France2 offices by citizens outraged to discover that so horrendous an image may well have been a fake.
Our Failure to Confront Radical Islam Is There for All to See - Denis MacShane
The struggle is not between religion and secularism, nor between the West and Islam, and still less between Bush-Blair and the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents. It is the ideologization of religion that needs confronting.
Jew-baiting behavior that would have had the Left outraged in the 1930s is now actively encouraged by an unholy alliance of the hard Left and Islamist fundamentalists...
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
[B]attling all-out for victory against conventional enemy forces has nearly disappeared, replaced by the more indirect challenge of guerrilla operations, insurgencies, intifadas, and terrorism.
Lopsided wars resemble police operations more than combat in earlier eras. As in crime-fighting, the side enjoying a vast superiority in power operates under a dense array of constraints, while the weaker party freely breaks any law and taboo in its ruthless pursuit of power.
New York Sun
Monday, October 16, 2006
Jihadism wages not only a religious war but a cultural one, aiming to redeem...the honor of an Islam whose glory has shamefully faded. It aims, further, to uphold a masculine honor code that the West's decadent, feminizing influence threatens to undermine.
[T]he prism of honor brings puzzling elements of the current conflict into sharper focus. Americans are baffled that Western appeals to freedom and prosperity get so little traction in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Nor can militant Islamists settle with the West. When the post-honor West says, "Come, now, give up this foolishness, join our club, be free and rich," they hear something more like, "Be our poodle, sit at our feet, enjoy the fruits of capitulation." Admonitions that bellicosity accomplishes nothing miss the point, which is that the very act of fighting ("resistance") redeems honor and therefore accomplishes what matters most.
(National Journal, 13Oct06)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
A credible threat of an international coalition prepared to use force will make the Iranian leadership pause and reconsider the risks. It may also lead to internal pressures inside Iran, where the general public might understand the risks of becoming targets of military attacks by an international force. The U.S. will still have to lead - there is no alternative on the horizon.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Negotiating in the Bazaar - Moshe Sharon
In the Mideastern bazaar, diplomacy agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed. In the bazaar, the most important rule is that if the vendor knows about your desire to purchase a certain merchandise, he will put its price up.
The merchandise in question is "peace," and the Arabs give the impression that they possess this merchandise - and inflate its price - when the truth is they have never had it. In the bazaar only the stupid buyer pays for something he has yet to see.
Israel should stop talking about "peace." From now on, Israel should make a decision to create a new state of affairs, one that will compel the Arab side to ask for peace - and pay for it in real terms. For, unlike the Arabs, Israel has this merchandise for sale. What will lead them to pay? If they conclude that Israel is so strong they cannot destroy it.
Here are Ten Rules for Negotiations in the Middle Eastern bazaar [see full article].
The writer, professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was previously the prime minister's adviser on Arab affairs to Menachem Begin.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
[C]entrists across Europe [are] angry at terror attacks in the name of religion on a continent that has largely abandoned it, and disturbed that any criticism of Islam or Muslim immigration provokes threats of violence. [O]rdinary people as well as politicians - are asking whether once unquestioned values of tolerance and multiculturalism should have limits.
(New York Times)
Intransigent Hamas: It's Easy to Call for a Middle East Peace. But What If Palestinian Leaders Don't Want It? - Editorial (Washington Post)
While stirring but thoughtless appeals for a Middle East peace settlement continue to ring out around the world, the foreign minister of Egypt, Ahmed Aboul Gheit - who has spent the past several months immersed in a failing effort to restore the broken connections between the Palestinian Authority and its international donors, as well as Israel - placed the blame exactly where it belongs: on the Palestinian political leadership.
It's easy enough for global leaders to issue flowery appeals for action on the Middle East or to imply that progress would be possible if only the United States used its leverage with Israel. The stubborn reality is that there can be no movement toward peace until a Palestinian leadership appears that is ready to accept a two-state solution.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
A minor issue at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has potentially major implications for the future of Islam in the United States. Starting about a decade ago, some Muslim taxi drivers serving the airport declared, that they would not transport passengers visibly carrying alcohol... Muslim taxi drivers asked the Metropolitan Airports Commission for permission to refuse passengers carrying liquor...
MAC proposed a pragmatic solution: drivers unwilling to carry alcohol could get a special color light on their car roofs, signaling their views on alcohol to taxi starters and customers alike. From the airport's point of view, this scheme offers a sensible and efficient mechanism to resolve a minor irritant, leaving no passenger insulted and no driver losing business.
[T]he proposed solution has massive and worrisome implications. Namely, the two-light plan intrudes the Shari'a, or Islamic law, with state sanction, into a mundane commercial transaction in Minnesota. A government authority thus sanctions a signal as to who does or does not follow Islamic law.
What of taxi drivers beyond those at MSP? Other Muslims in Minneapolis-St. Paul and across the country could well demand the same privilege. Bus conductors might follow suit.
Why stop with alcohol? Muslim taxi drivers in several countries already balk at allowing seeing-eye dogs in their cars. Future demands could include not transporting women with exposed arms or hair, homosexuals, and unmarried couples. For that matter, they could ban men wearing kippas...
It is precisely the innocuous nature of the two-light taxi solution that makes it so insidious - and why the Metropolitan Airports Commission should reconsider its wrong-headed decision. Readers who wish to make their views known to the MAC can write it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[New York Sun]
UPDATED: Good news!
No Islamic Law in Minnesota, for Now - by Daniel Pipes
For now, taxi drivers who refuse fares so as to avoid transporting alcohol will continue, as has been the case, to forfeit their place in the airport taxi queue and must return to the back of the line, in keeping with a MAC ordinance. But the Free Muslims Coalition correctly argues that this does not suffice. Cab drivers who discriminate against passengers with bottles of alcohol, it holds, "should be banned altogether from picking up passengers at the airport" and their hack permits should be cancelled.
Exactly. Islamists need to understand that the Constitution rules in the United States, not Shari'a, and Americans will vigorously ensure that it continues to do so.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a gadfly Bangladeshi journalist, is running for his life. Assuming he survives till Thursday, he will face charges of blasphemy, sedition, treason, and espionage in a Dhaka courtroom. His crime is to have tried to attend a writers' conference in Tel Aviv on how the media can foster world peace. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
(Wall Street Journal, 10Oct06)
Arab Leaders Sweat Iran, Sunnis Start to See Shiite State as Bigger Threat than Israel - Frida Ghitis
Some Middle East observers have come to see signs of a dramatic realignment in the region... At the root of the change is Sunni Arabs' fear of Shiite Iran.
Iran may just be starting to keep Arab leaders awake at night. As a result, Sunni regimes in the Arab world, according to some observers, are beginning to see Iran, not Israel, as the country to fear.
A Wake Up Call for Israel Too - Ron Ben-Yishai
In the wake of the nuclear test that North Korea conducted Monday, it is imperative that the West and Israel quickly sober up and stop deluding themselves... North Korea proved once again that diplomatic pressure, economic temptations, threats of military action, or sanctions could not stop fanatic regimes of totalitarian states from obtaining the bomb if they are determined.