Friday, December 08, 2006

Lacking any clue

For the relief of reading some rational analysis, and even a hopeful prediction that the Baker report may have less impact than imagined, see this, from an ANALYSIS in The Australian, 08dec06, by Greg Sheridan....

THE situation is so bad in Iraq that any new ideas from anywhere are welcome. It is very difficult to see, however, what the report of the Baker commission will achieve.

...Up to a couple of weeks ago the inside Washington consensus was that the Baker commission report would provide a sort of smokescreen of political cover that would allow Bush to make whatever adjustments he thought were necessary to his Iraq policy. That may still ultimately be the report's effect.

Some of its suggestions are reasonable enough. It is the administration's desire, as much as the Baker commission's, that US troops have less of a role in frontline security work in Iraq and that more of this be taken over by Iraqis themselves. The difficult question, which cannot really be answered by the Baker report - nor indeed by anybody else - is what the US should do if the Iraqis are incapable of providing their own security.

The Pentagon talks of three options: go big, go long or go home. Going big was an option in the months after the invasion - it's no longer an option. Nor is just going home. So the only realistic option is to dig in for a long haul in Iraq but with slowly reducing numbers, forcing the Iraqis themselves to take greater responsibility for their own security.

Some of the commission's big ideas seem a bit ropey. A regional peace conference would probably do no harm. It's hard to see it doing much good. The idea of getting Iran and Syria to provide a way out for the US seems extremely strange. What possible earthly motive would Damascus or Tehran have for helping Washington out of a mess in the Middle East? What would their price be? Syria presumably would want to re-establish its hegemony in Lebanon, snuffing out definitively the Cedar Revolution of democracy in that tragic state. Iran would want uncontested regional supremacy and no effective opposition to its nuclear weapons program. Are these prices worth paying? Is the cure here as bad as the disease?

Moreover, the heart of the problems in Iraq are not caused by foreigners. Iran and Syria exacerbate the problems in Iraq and getting them to stop would be helpful. But the real problem in Iraq is the Sunni-Shia conflict and growing conflicts between different Shia militias. These divisions will not be solved with a wink from Tehran or a nod from Damascus.

James Baker has awful form when it comes to Syria. Negotiating with Syria is always one of his big ideas and provides some of the most woeful passages in his memoirs. He made countless trips to Syria when he was secretary of state and achieved absolutely nothing.

His other big idea is to put the Israel-Palestine dispute at the centre of everything and try to solve that so that everything else comes good as a result. But the Israel-Palestine dispute has almost nothing to do with what's happening in Iraq. Truly, there are more things in the Middle East than Israel.

Baker was an unsuccessful cabinet official under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. Under Reagan he was a realist naysayer against the instincts of an idealistic president. Baker was wrong then. His big task under George Bush Sr, when he became White House chief of staff, was to win the 1992 election. Bush lost ignominiously to Clinton. Turning to Baker has not really been a surefire path to success for the Bush family in the past.

This curious report may have less effect than would seem likely today.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Granting a role to Iran and Syria at Israel’s expense

From DEBKAfile ,December 7, 2006, 9:28 AM (GMT+02:00) ...

Robert Gates’ reference to an Israeli nuclear weapon was synchronized with Baker’s exclusion of Israel from a Mid East conference. The Senate confirms Gates in defense by 95-2 vote

The pair is pursuing new policy line which sacrifices the traditional US-Israeli alliance for the sake of wooing Iran, Syria and Iraq’s neighbors for help in Iraq. During his senate hearings, Gates confirmed - and indirectly justified - Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon by declaring that Iran wants the power of deterrence against “the nuclear countries surrounding them – Pakistan in the east, Russia in the north, Israel in the west and the United States in the Persian Gulf.”

Israeli vice premier Shimon Peres said Israel, backed by the US, has for decades pursued a policy of nuclear ambiguity as a powerful deterrence “against enemies bent on its destruction, while threatening no other country itself.”

DEBKAfile: The designated US defense secretary did not consult – or even inform - Israel before a disclosure that violates a confidence long-held between the two governments.
Gates also said that “If Iran obtains nuclear weapons no one can promise it would not use them against Israel.”

He was then confirmed as defense secretary Wednesday by an overwhelming 95-2 Senate vote. The only two opposing votes were cast by two Bush allies, Sens. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Jim Bunning, R-Ky. They cited his criticism of the war and his view that the U.S. should engage Iran as part of a solution.

The Pentagon, which has warned against granting a role to Iran and Syria at Israel’s expense, has a new master, Robert Gates. He has already applied the broom to his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld’s senior aides.

Some Washington pundits accused the co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, James Baker, as forcing President George W. Bush to resort to dealing with the Iraqi Shiite-led government for the sake of an orderly US exit from Iraq. The price offered is acceptance that Iran could go nuclear within two years at Israel’s expense.

The group’s recommendation of a Madrid-2 peace conference for a Middle East peace would pander to the Arabs and their European backers by pushing for a full Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in the 1967 war. Israel and its supporters in the United States would have no say – “…a unique opportunity for the US to strike a deal without Jewish pressure,” as one Washington observer put it.

This sort of crude language has not been heard in Washington’s top circles since George Bush the elder was president and James Baker his secretary of state.

The new-old gang has also revived the threat of an imposed “peace.” It is barely veiled in the Baker-Hamilton report’s statement: “The US cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it embarks on a renewed and sustained commitment to a comprehensive peace plan on all fronts.”

The prime minister’s office in Jerusalem still clings to the now-meaningless statement that there is “no fear of a change in US policy towards Israel.” The statement released Thursday, Dec. 7, asserted that Ehud Olmert was assured during his Washington visit two weeks ago that “there was no linkage between the Iraq issue and Israel.”

Peace conference without Israel

From Ynet News, 7/12/06, by Yitzhak Benhorin [we told you so ....]...

Insight magazine reports recent American government proposal to hold peace conference without Israeli presence. Baker says goal is to 'reach agreement without Jewish pressure'

WASHINGTON - According to Thursday's issue of the conservative Washington Times' Insight magazine, the White House was looking into proposal by former Secretary of State James Baker to hold a Middle East peace conference without Israel .

According to the report, the United States government was going to consider the possibility of having a second Madrid Conference in which Arab states would participate, including Syria and Iran , but with without Israel being invited to participate.

As reported by the magazine, officials said the conference would be promoted as a forum to discuss Iraq's future, but actually focus on Arab demands for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war.

A source in the US government was quoted in the report as saying, "As Baker sees this, the conference would provide a unique opportunity for the US to strike a deal without Jewish pressure. This has become the hottest proposal examined by the foreign policy people over the last month."

Other sources in the government told the magazine that the proposal was supported by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Under Secretary of Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.

Renewed pressure on Israel Also, government sources were quoted as saying Baker's proposal to exclude Israel from a regional peace conference was receiving a lot of support due to Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Saudi Arabia last November, during which sources in the country made it clear that Israel, and not Iran, was the cause of instability in the Middle East.
A US government source claimed that Cheney's original goal of the trip – to enlist Saudi Arabia's support in Iraq - was never even discussed. In addition, the source said that instead, the Saudi's demanding an initiative to end Israel's attacks on Gaza and Cheney merely agreed.

Baker's current initiative was to have the US enlist the aid of Arab States in exchange for an American commitment to renew pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

According to the Associated Press, a high-level commission said Wednesday after nearly four years of war and the deaths of more than 2,900 U.S. troops, the situation was "grave and deteriorating", President Bush's policy in Iraq was "not working", and America's ability "to influence events within Iraq is diminishing".

Not the peace we expected

From Haaretz, 05/12/2006, by Yuval Steinitz [with commentary by Ely Karmon of the IDC, below the article]...

Egypt's behavior in Sinai and along the Philadelphi route, which enables the large-scale arming of terror organizations, requires a reexamination of Israeli policy. Many people have become convinced in recent months that Egypt intends to allow the Israelis and the Palestinians to bleed together.

These suspicions began to crop up among policymakers in Washington by 2000, after the failure of the Camp David summit and the outbreak of the second intifada. We should recall that at that same summit, then-prime minister Ehud Barak prepared a "strategic surprise": his proposal to divide Jerusalem, including the Old City, in order to stun Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat and motivate him to sign a peace agreement. Barak believed Arafat would find it difficult to resist the temptation of a historic achievement - a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem - and would sign to end the conflict. However, the voice of the opposition arose, and it wasn't coming from just the "resistance front." Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hastened to warn on television that Arafat did not have the power to decide on Jerusalem, because the Old City belonged to all Arabs and Muslims, and dividing it would constitute betrayal. Mubarak's intervention in these critical moments led to a rare public complaint by then-U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright about his "contribution" to the peace process.

To this we must add Egypt's strange behavior regarding the peace process between Israel and Jordan. The Egyptians complained for years about their isolation in the Arab world due to their peace agreement with Israel. That was also the explanation given for Mubarak's refusal to visit Israel and for the cold peace, which he promised would warm when more countries joined the circle. So what was Egypt's attitude to the political process with Jordan? It turns out Egypt was so eager to emerge from its isolation that it applied tremendous pressure on the late King Hussein to keep him from signing an agreement with Israel. Egypt did not even send proper representation to the signing ceremony in the Arava; Mubarak, who was invited, preferred to remain in Cairo.

The same pattern of behavior was also seen when Yitzhak Rabin sought to achieve full diplomatic relations with Qatar and Morocco. To Rabin's disappointment, Egypt managed to torpedo agreements with these countries at the last moment. Of course one can find ad hoc explanations for Egypt's behavior in each and every case, but looking at the complete picture, one sees an Egyptian strategy that is not in tandem with its declared policy of promoting regional peace.

Increased arms flow
What is Egypt's real attitude toward the Palestinian Authority and the terror organizations in the territories? Most of the weapons and ammunition that enter Gaza pass through Egyptian territory. It is a convention that any country that does not do everything in its power to prevent arms from being smuggled to terror organizations is considered a silent supporter of terror. Smuggling from Egypt is steadily increasing. The Shin Bet security services reports that every year, more than 20,000 rifles, millions of bullets, hundreds of RPG anti-tank missiles, tons of regulation explosive materials and additional equipment that could arm several infantry divisions pass through Egypt. For the sake of comparison, Jordan is much more determined in its anti-smuggling activity, and the results correspond to the effort. As opposed to the prevailing impression, in order to stop the smuggling, Egypt does not need to go to battle in the tunnels under the Philadelphi route. The reality is much easier to implement: It must deploy checkpoints on the few highways and dirt roads leading toward Rafah, and intercept the convoys of weapons and ammunitions. Egypt also should catch and jail the chief smugglers in El Arish and Cairo, thus breaking up the smuggling networks like the Jordanians did.

Backing Hamas
And, of course, there is the diplomatic sphere. When Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal and his friends are repeatedly invited to meetings with Egyptian ministers in Cairo, this constitutes a type of vital diplomatic backing for Hamas vis-a-vis not only Israel, but Fatah and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as well. The same was true about two years ago, when the Egyptians tried to achieve a hudna (cease-fire). They proposed that in exchange for a temporary cease-fire, a historic guarantee would be given not to disarm Hamas or bring it down by force.

The clandestine Egyptian protection of Hamas began during Arafat's time. In April 1996, before the elections between Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. president Bill Clinton pressured Arafat to fight terror. That was the only time Arafat ordered his interior minister Nasser Yousef to use force against Hamas activists in Gaza, which led to many arrests, a number of deaths and the closing of mosques. The Egyptians made sure to say two things on this issue: The first, which was meant for Clinton's ears, was that "Arafat must act to stop the terror attacks"; the second, which was meant for Arafat and Abbas, was, "The Palestinians must avoid a civil war."

This phenomenon is not restricted to Israel. Egypt's behavior does not deviate from prevailing regional norms: For years, Syria has been encouraging Hezbollah and other organizations to terrorize Lebanon, the Kurdish PKK to act against Turkey, and internal terror in Jordan and Iraq; likewise, Saddam Hussein's Iraq encouraged Sunni terror in Syria, Palestinian terror in Jordan and communist and Kurdish terror in Iran.

It would seem that the counter-argument of many commentators in the intelligence community and the media - that Egypt cannot support Hamas because it is afraid of Islamic terror at home - is groundless. History has shown that it is possible to repress the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt while meanwhile encouraging their brothers in Palestine, just as Saddam Hussein's Iraq cruelly persecuted its Kurds while arming those in Iran, and vice versa. Middle Eastern countries tend to believe (justly) that terror or subversion among their neighbors has no direct effect on their own territory.

Weakening Israel
So why does Egypt behave as it does? Apparently its policy toward Hamas has several goals. The first and clearest is exhausting and weakening Israel over the years. Egypt's failure to prevent the massive arming of the Palestinians over the past year is designed to facilitate the establishment of an arrangement in Gaza similar to that with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is designed to make things difficult for Israel in the case of a regional conflagration.

Another hoped-for result is the undoing of eastern Sinai's demilitarization. The Egyptians believe that intensified smuggling and the resulting deterioration will demonstrate the importance of Egyptian military control in eastern Sinai. The demands to change the peace agreements are based on this thinking. There already has been limited rearmament along the Philadelphi route.

Another topic that should be discussed is Egypt's military buildup. Egypt has no existential threats nor active border conflicts. Nevertheless, for years Egypt has been acquiring, thanks in part to American assistance, impressive conventional military superiority over the other Arab and African countries.

The usual intelligence and media explanations are that Egypt still feels threatened by Israel. That is surprising. It is clear that since Israel relinquished the entire Sinai Peninsula, including its rich oil fields, for the sake of peace and stability, it has no intention to fight for that same territory again. Nevertheless, Egypt, a poor country, continues to invest billions of dollars annually in building up its military might. Now, after 25 years, it has achieved a quantitative balance with Israel in some areas, and in other areas has even left Israel far behind. The Egyptian Air Force has roughly the same number of modern warplanes - most of them American F-16s - as the Israel Air Force, whereas Egypt has far more Western tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft batteries and warships than the Israel Defense Forces has.

Since the signing of the peace agreement, Egypt has received about $40 billion in U.S. military assistance. It's true Israel has received more, but as opposed to its southern neighbor, Israel cannot channel all its resources into fortifying itself against Egypt. It meanwhile had to fortify itself against Syria and Iraq, the Palestinians and Hezbollah in the north, and Palestinian terror in the heart of the country. Another worrisome development is related to military maneuvers. Since 1996, about three years after the Oslo process began, most of Egypt's military maneuvers have simulated war against Israel. For the first time during that period, the Egyptian army's annual exercise - the Bader combined forces exercise - received a subheading explicitly naming the opposing force as "a small nation to the country's northeast" (I have since then wondered whether Egypt has something against Lebanon).

Education and incitement
Finally, it is impossible not to mention the anti-Israel education and the harsh incitement in the media. About 30 years after Anwar Sadat visited Israel, Egyptian students are still learning that Israel is the source of evil in the region. Most textbook maps label the area east of Egypt not as "Israel" but as "Palestine." The Egyptian media also frequently denies Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. And of course there is anti-Semitic incitement as well.

About two years ago, at the conclusion of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, the presidents of the U.S. and Egypt held a press conference on the Sinai coast. Bush spoke about the obligation of Arab countries to end the incitement against Israel, the West and the Jewish people.

In the direct broadcasts Mubarak was seen nodding his head in agreement, but Egyptian citizens saw something else, because at the same time Egyptian national television was broadcasting another installment of a television series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which described the Jews as Satanic powers of darkness trying to destroy the world.

Twenty-five years ago we gave up Sinai for a peace agreement with Egypt. If Egypt has all along been making it difficult to expand the circle of peace with moderate Arab countries, if it ignores arms smuggling to terror organizations in Gaza, if it provides camouflaged diplomatic support to Hamas, if it educates the younger generation to hate Israel, and if it invests in a huge military buildup geared entirely to the possibility of a conflict with Israel, this is not the peace we expected.

Dr. Steinitz is a Likud MK and the chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

From Ely Karmon, IDC Herziliya, in a private email ....

Unfortunately, the picture presented by Dr. Steinitz is very disturbing and even worrying.

I would like to stress the Egyptian policy relating to Hamas. Steiniz mentions that "when Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal and his friends are repeatedly invited to meetings with Egyptian ministers in Cairo, this constitutes a type of vital diplomatic backing for Hamas vis-a-vis not only Israel, but Fatah and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as well. The same was true about two years ago, when the Egyptians tried to achieve a hudna (cease-fire). They proposed that in exchange for a temporary cease-fire, a historic guarantee would be given not to disarm Hamas or bring it down by force."

This Egyptian policy by the way was pursued also during the bloody days of the 1995 -1996 campaigns of suicide bombings by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, at the hight of the peace process.

The Egyptian mediation between the Fatah and Hamas leadership at that time led to what Hamas spokesman Ibrahim Ghoushe described in an interview in March 2001: “In 1995 a senior PA envoy came to meet Hamas leadership and asked it to stop armed operations so as not to affect the negotiations process and the expected results of restoring lands. We told him: We were not on a collision course with the Oslo march and we will not stand in your way but will focus our operations against the Zionist enemy. Hence you do your own work, if you think that Oslo would restore the lands, and let the resistance do its own.”

This "double-game" strategy produced inter alia the radicalization of the Israeli religious right which led to the assassination of prime minister Itzhak Rabin and in the end the fall of the Shimon Peres Labour government.

As Steiniz rightly remarks, the Egyptian governement represses the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt while meanwhile encouraging their brothers in Palestine.

Although Steiniz claims that the Egyptian regime can use this dual strategy without paying the internal price, I would argue that in the long run the Hamas example will lead to the radicalization of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and possibly the renewal of the terrorist activity on a large scale for the toppling of the Mubarak regime.

Best regards, Ely Karmon

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

US strategic shift?

From DEBKAfile December 5, 2006, 11:43 PM (GMT+02:00) [with emphasis added]....

...The designated defense secretary Robert Gates’ replied to the Senate committee’s at his confirmation hear Tuesday: “If Iran obtains nuclear weapons no one can promise it would not use them against Israel.”

... In all, he addressed three messages to Jerusalem
  1. There are no assurances that we will be able to prevent an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel.
  2. Iran’s nuclear arsenal will contain different types of weapons.
  3. On the nuclear issue, you are on your own; don’t count on us for a response.

These messages slap down the policy laid down by prime minister Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni which assigned responsibility for handling the Iranian nuclear threat to the international community and the US and absolved the Israeli government and armed forces.

Gates’ ... also conveyed to the Senate committee his belief that developments in Iraq over the next year or two will shape the entire Middle East and greatly influence global geopolitics for many years to come."

...The two statements on Iran and Iraq have broad implications for Israel’s strategic and military standing. What they add up to is a harsh reality: The United States, by failing to overcome the Sunni insurgency and al Qaeda in Iraq, and Israel, by similarly failing to subdue Hizballah in the Lebanon war, will have to pay the price of coming to terms with the nuclear weaponization of the Islamic Republic.

...Gates ... sounds as though he is leading up to a fresh White House conception of Persian Gulf strategy - namely that America’s security interests do not warrant any further involvement in the Gulf region. Since it does not depend on Arabian oil like China, Japan, India and other Far Eastern nations, why should the US saddle itself with the protection of the region’s oil resources and routes?

This shift in strategic emphasis, if confirmed, would have a profound influence – not only on Israel, but also on Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the oil emirates. But they, unlike Israel, are not caught unawares, having prepared themselves for the past year by opening up alternative sources of weapons and making massive transfers of assets to Asian markets.

Hezbollah War Crimes

From the American Jewish Congress website ... hiding behind “human shields,” Hezbollah and other terrorist groups have been placing civilians at risk and ...the blood of these civilians is on their hands if civilians are killed and injured in the ensuing conflict.

...The New York Times has published a just-declassified report from Israel, based on evidence seized in Lebanon and on video footage, showing Hezbollah’s consistent pattern of intentionally placing its fighters and weapons among civilians. Most shocking of all, the report shows that Hezbollah terrorists were well aware of the civilian casualties that would ensue and callously disregarded the consequences.

To read the full report, click here. (The link takes you to an overview page from which the lengthy report can be downloaded in several parts, including a succinct summary in the Introduction.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lebanese army increases forces in tense Beirut

From Ynet News, 5/12/06, by Reuters ....

Beruit: Several thousand soldiers deploy across town Monday, in wake of killing of pro-Syrian demonstrator and fears mass anti-government protests could turn into sectarian violence. Arab League head Moussa warns crisis could worsen

Lebanon's army deployed more soldiers in Beirut on Monday after the killing of a pro-Syrian Shiite Muslim demonstrator raised fears anti-government protests could turn into sectarian violence.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa warned the crisis could worsen and indicated he had discussed ideas for a solution with Lebanese officials during a 24-hour visit to Beirut.

Security sources said the military increased its forces in Sunni districts that Shiite protesters drive through to get to central Beirut where the Hizbullah-led opposition is holding a sit-in to try to topple the Western-backed government.

These districts saw clashes between residents and protesters on Sunday - from stone-throwing to fights with knives.

In the most serious incident, gunmen fired assault rifles at a group of protesters in a Sunni neighborhood, a stronghold for the anti-Syrian majority coalition, killing one man....

Another civil war on way
...Many politicians and observers have said the crisis could spill over into sectarian strife in a country that has gone through two civil wars in the last 50 years....

Financial crisis feared
...Many banks and businesses were closed on Monday in the downtown area, Lebanon's banking and commercial center. Business owners in the area have said a lengthy closure could devastate businesses and force employers to cut jobs.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The UN's Jew-Obsession threatens a second Holocaust

From American Thinker, November 27, 2006 by Michael I. Krauss and J. Peter Pham [exerpts only, with emphasis added - follow the link to this detailed and well-researched article]...

Every single day, hundreds of African tribesmen are killed in Darfur by militias acting with the blessing of Sudan's Arab Islamist government. Each day, Hamas bombs from Gaza deliberately target innocent Israeli civilians ..... Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, has ratcheted up its campaign of violence this week, assassinating a Maronite Christian cabinet minister in Lebanon in a blatant attempt to provoke a constitutional crisis. ... The life-span of Zimbabweans is 34 years, and 550,000 have died over the past three years due to deliberate policies of the Mugabe dictatorship.

All of these barbaric crimes are human and moral tragedies that call for international action, prioritization, even obsession. But that self-proclaimed source of international legitimacy, the United Nations is not obsessed or even particularly concerned with any of them. None of these abuses of human rights by authoritarian regimes or movements was the object of the General Assembly resolution "condemning the military assaults...which have caused loss of life and extensive destruction...of particular the killing of many... civilians, including children and women." For none of these violations of the right to life did the UN summon righteous indignation to "emphasize the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians" and demand "the immediate cessation of military incursions and all acts of violence, terror, provocation, incitement and destruction."

Rather, since November 7, the UN has been obsessed with one accident, committed in self-defense, by the world body's favorite pariah, the democratic State of Israel.

.... UN Commission on Human Rights Louise Arbour ... slammed Israel for "intolerable violations" of Palestinian human rights during a visit to Gaza's Beit Hanoun.

... the incredible rub, the impossible-to-explain-otherwise-than-as-anti-Semitism rub.....

The one Israeli missile that struck the Beit Hanoun apartment house was:
  1. launched in justifiable self-defense;
  2. reasonably produced and targeted; and
  3. absolutely not intended to kill civilians.

The daily Palestinian bombs, meanwhile, are

  1. acts of aggressive war;
  2. callously launched without any effort to aim them accurately at military targets ...; and
  3. in fact meant to kill and terrorize civilians.

This asymmetry is well understood by Palestinians. The Jabaliya Refugee Camp in Gaza was the scene of Palestinian celebrations earlier this week. Locals celebrated the victory of female "human shields" in thwarting an air strike against the home of murderous terrorist Wail Barud. Note the implications of this celebration: it demonstrates that Palestinians know that Israel does not seek to kill civilians wholesale. Palestinians do not believe their own propaganda about the Zionist thirst for blood -- otherwise they would not have been able to recruit those human shields. Human shields are worthless in the face of the heinous enemy Israel is supposed to be. If Israel placed "human shields" in front of Hamas, they would be mowed down.

In the face of this asymmetry, how does the international community react? Why, by blaming the Jews, as Ms. Arbour has done. For fourteen days, despite all the tragedies in the world, the UN has done virtually nothing but condemn Israel for its reasonable act of self-defense.

...Only a U.S. veto, wielded by Ambassador John Bolton, avoided a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel which would have been legally binding, opening the way to sanctions. Ambassador Bolton was furious at the blatant perfidy of the international body. His remarks are worth quoting at some length. "This type of resolution serves only to exacerbate tensions by serving the interests of elements hostile to Israel's inalienable and recognized right to exist," he noted. "This deepens suspicions about the United Nations that will lead many to conclude that the organization is incapable of playing a helpful role in the region."

"In a larger sense, the United Nations must confront a more significant question, that of its relevance and utility in confronting the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is a little more than a self-serving and a polemical attack against Israel or the United States," Bolton continued. "The problem of anti-Israel bias is not unique to the Human Rights Council. It is endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systematic problem that transcends the whole panoply of the UN organizations and agencies." [This is the man the Democrats want to eliminate as our UN ambassador - we think he should win the Nobel Peace Prize.]

Last week the laughable UN Human Rights Council held its third special session in less than six months focusing on Israel alone... In its entire existence the Human Rights Council has failed to pass one resolution on any country other than Israel, events taking place in Burma, North Korea Cuba, and the states mentioned to at the beginning of this essay notwithstanding. (See our article earlier this year on the Human Rights Council.)

....Mark Steyn muses on the blatant double standard of the international community in an essay in the Jerusalem Post:
"The Zionist Entity is for the moment permitted to remain in business but, like Aaron Lazarus, it's not entitled to the enforceable property rights of every other nation state. No other country - not Canada, not Slovenia, not Thailand - would be expected to forego the traditional rights of nations subjected to kidnappings of its citizens, random rocket attacks into residential areas, and other infringements of its sovereignty....
" ensuring that the ‘Palestinian question' is never resolved one is also ensuring that Israel's sovereignty is also never really settled.... The Jew is tolerated as a current leaseholder but, as in Anthony Hope's Ruritania, he can never truly own the land. Once again the Jews are rootless transients, though, in one of history's blacker jests, they're now bemoaned in the salons of London and Paris as an outrageous imposition of an alien European population on the Middle East.... With hindsight, even the artful invention of the hitherto unknown ethnicity of ‘Palestinian' can be seen as the need to demonstrate that where there is a Jew there is the Jew's victim. It's a very strange feeling to read 19th century novels and travelogues and recognize the old psychoses currently reemerging in even more preposterous forms. These are dark times for the world: we are on the brink of the nuclearization of ancient pathologies."

The threat of a second Holocaust grows more acute by the day. The mutation of the world's oldest hatred, in a West that stood by during the first Holocaust, cries out for immediate response. Who, apart from America, is willing to furnish one?

Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are adjunct fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Queensland Lecturer fears for tenure over terror stand

From The Australian, 04dec06, by Hedley Thomas [emphasis added]...

THREE months after accusing university lecturers of dishonestly skewing the study of terrorism to blame the West for carnage wreaked by suicidal fanatics, a senior Queensland academic believes he is the latest casualty of a campus purge.

Merv Bendle, an expert on militant religion and a senior lecturer at James Cook University, has been at the centre of a debate over how terrorism, its origins and outcomes are taught on campuses since he attacked fellow academics for what he saw as their anti-West bias.

In his writings, including several published in The Australian, Dr Bendle describes a crisis in history education and criticises academic elites for distorting teaching on fanaticism and avoiding "any facts that might disturb (their) comfort zone". He now suspects his outspoken views will lead to the loss of his position at the university he has worked for since the early 1990s.

A proposal, part of a restructure by Colin Ryan as head of the new School of Arts and Social Sciences, would lead to the scrapping of six of the seven subjects Dr Bendle teaches at the Townsville university. "Why strip me of my teaching load? I'm not toeing the right political line. I'm not anti-American and I'm not anti-West," he said. "The main reason for the antipathy against me is my stand on the teaching of history and my anti-terrorist stand.

"People should look at terrorists in the same way they look at pedophiles. How many lecturers do you see defending pedophiles? They don't. But they defend terrorism. I have an intense antipathy to the romanticisation of terrorism. I don't see anything romantic about blowing people to bits because of an ideology that a suicide bomber has become fanatical about."

Dr Bendle's concerns over his tenure were dismissed yesterday by the faculty's pro-vice chancellor, Janet Greeley...who is married to Dr Ryan...."I may or may not disagree with all of his positions but that has no influence on the subjects that he teaches." Professor Greeley, who said her husband managed the school at arm's length from her role as faculty head, said she hoped to persuade Dr Bendle that the proposal to take away about 85per cent of his teaching load was not a conspiracy.

But Dr Bendle said he was singled out for adopting a politically incorrect position at odds with the mainstream. He said he had been previously targeted by two colleagues in an "act of bastardry", leading to an investigation, which found insufficient evidence to support complaints that Dr Bendle or others in the sociology discipline at JCU had been bullying and intimidatory. "Townsville is a Labor Party city and the side of the university that I'm dealing with is radical Labor, far left. But I'm not going to go quietly," he said. "I'll scratch and fight the whole way. All I want to do is get back to teaching what I'm well qualified and good at teaching."

In a paper titled Don't Mention The Terror, Dr Bendle says academic contributions frequently have a political agenda. Academic forums are used to denounce the war on terror, the US, Israel, Australia and their leaders, while insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and is being unfairly targeted, he says.

In response, academics including Macquarie University's Goldie Osuri and Bobby Banerjee of the University of South Australia said in a published article: "Australian academe may be better served by Merv Bendle's silence on terrorism."

However, the University of Queensland's Carl Ungerer and David Martin Jones, who lecture in the School of Political Science and International Studies, said the "polysyllabic howl of outrage" from the academic lobby was predictable. They said Australian Research Council funding of social sciences was skewed "to maintain the fashionable line that, despite empirical evidence to the contrary in the form of attacks on Western civilian targets, it is all our fault ... In this Alice in Wonderland world of ... journals read only by participants in this mutually reinforcing discourse, the focus of study is not Islamist ideology and its propensity to violence, but our own long-repressed responsibility for the cause of Islamist rage," they said....