Saturday, January 13, 2007

The 800-Pound Guerrilla

From Cox & Forkum, January 11, 2007....

I'm not at all hopeful about Bush's "new" Iraq strategy. It did have a few long-overdue elements, such as an ultimatum for the Iraqi government to disarm militias and take control of security. And Iran and Syria finally appeared to be on Bush's military radar. This News Max article highlights those comments: Bush Targets Iran in Speech, Implies Military Action.
[Bush] singled out Iran, adding that she "is providing material support for attacks on American troops."

Bush made an implied military threat against [Iran and Syria]: "We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

That's fine as far as it goes, but it won't be enough. And not being enough, it will continue to drag out the war and put American troops at unnecessary risks.....Bush is attempting to cure the symptoms while ignoring the disease. As such, the weapons and terrorists will keep flowing across the border, and the chaos in Iraq, though it may rise and fall, will ultimately continue because Iran needs it to continue. How can we expect our troops to win a war in which we don't allow them to directly attack the enemy?

In World War II, we didn't stop with engaging enemy soldiers at the front lines; nor did we stop at disrupting their supply lines. We took the fight all the way to the weapons factories and the command centers from which the war emanated.
....Iran is fighting to defeat us in Iraq, and they have demonstrated time and again a determination to succeed. To top it all off, they are also seeking nuclear weapons. The only way to secure Iraq--and, more importantly, America--is to topple the Iranian regime. Tragically, nothing in Bush's new strategy indicates a plan to go as far as is needed.....

Friday, January 12, 2007

Commentary on the Bush Surge in Iraq

A selection of editorial comment from leading US journals, on the Bush Surge Strategy in Iraq.....

....From The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:02 a.m. EST....

Mission Baghdad "Clear, hold and build" will take at least this many troops.

....the key will be deploying enough forces to accomplish the task.

... Mr. Bush seems finally to have decided that the way to defeat the insurgency is to protect the population, especially in Baghdad.

....Iraqi leadership will also be important to the new strategy.... Mr. Maliki will have to show that Shiite criminals will be dealt with just as Sunni terrorists are. ....the best way to help Mr. Maliki accomplish these goals is not overt American pressure but consistent and overt American support. He will need it, because some compromises will alienate portions of his political base.

....political compromise won't happen without better security, or as the Petraeus Counterinsurgency Manual puts it, "security is essential to setting the stage for overall progress."

There's also the outside meddling by Iraq's neighbors, particularly Iran and Syria. This remains primarily an indigenous Iraqi conflict. But showing those countries that they will pay a price for helping to kill Americans is also necessary for counterinsurgency success.

With the new strategy, new forces and new generals President Bush is putting in place, we have a fighting chance to create a virtuous circle whereby better security leads to more anti-insurgent cooperation from the public--which in turn leads to still better security. If Congressional Democrats have better suggestions, we'd love to hear them. But the one "strategy" that simply isn't credible is the idea that anybody's interests would be served by a hasty U.S. exit from Iraq.

...From The Washington Post, Thursday, January 11, 2007....

The president raises the number of troops -- and the level of risk -- in Iraq.

PRESIDENT BUSH is right to recognize that U.S strategy in Iraq is not working and to seek a different policy. He is right to insist that the United States cannot afford to abandon the mission and to reject calls for an early withdrawal. But the new plan for the war Mr. Bush outlined last night is very risky.

.... Mr. Bush has chosen to increase the number of Army troops and Marines and to broaden their mission. U.S. forces will be asked to pacify Baghdad in conjunction with Iraqi army and police units. Two attempts last year to stop sectarian war in the capital failed; the president says this effort will be different because more U.S. and Iraqi troops will be involved and because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has promised to prevent "political and sectarian interference." If the plan proceeds, we hope U.S. forces succeed without heavy casualties. But even if they do, the victory will be temporary. U.S. forces cannot sustain the planned "surge" for long, and Baghdad will not be truly pacified until Iraqis can enforce the peace.

....Mr. Bush decided against the consensus strategy favored by the Iraq Study Group because he believed it would not prevent sectarian war from escalating. That may be right. But the president's policy poses a different danger: that Iraqi troops and Iraqi leaders won't deliver on the steps expected of them during what must be a relatively short time, even as American soldiers fight to secure Baghdad -- and, almost certainly, die in larger numbers than before. It also means launching a mission that -- until now, at least -- has not had the domestic support that should accompany the commitment of troops to battle.

If the United States is not to abandon Iraq to its enemies, the U.S. mission needs to be sustainable, in both military and political terms, over the years it may take Iraqis to stabilize their country. Mr. Bush is betting that a boost in U.S. troops and aid can accelerate that process. If he is wrong, a continued American presence in Iraq may become untenable. The president must do more to persuade the country that the sacrifice he is asking of American soldiers is necessary. And if Iraqis do not deliver on their own commitments in the coming weeks, he must reconsider his strategy -- and suspend the U.S. reinforcements.

....and from National Review Online, January 11, 2007 10:35 AM ...

Surge Ahead ... we applaud President Bush for committing the additional troops and resources to the war. At this late hour, the responsible options are almost down to supporting some version of the president’s surge or supporting withdrawal. Because we think the war is still winnable and share the president’s assessment of the dire strategic consequences of failure, we support the surge.

But we can’t be entirely confident it will work. Bush advanced two reasons for the failure of the prior Baghdad security plan: inadequate American and Iraqi force levels, and obstacles placed in the way of confronting Shia death squads by the Maliki government.The dearth of troops meant Baghdad neighborhoods were cleared of insurgents and terrorists, but not held afterwards, so the bad actors returned after we left.

... Bush said this time we will “have the force levels to hold the areas that have been cleared.” We hope that’s true. We also hope that Bush’s emphasis on having Iraqis take the lead is a diplomatic fiction, since the Iraqis obviously aren’t yet up to waging a challenging counterinsurgency campaign in the midst of a civil war.

As for Maliki, we wish we could be certain he will follow through on the commitments he has made to the administration. ..... His record thus far — as, basically, an ineffectual sectarian — doesn’t inspire much confidence.

It is a commonplace among opponents of the surge that there is not a solely military solution to the Iraq War. True. But unless the security situation is brought under control, Iraqi politics will continue to be radicalized. And President Bush cannot be accused of neglecting the non-military aspects of the war. His speech last night pledged not just more troops to the fight, but more embedded advisers, more training, more reconstruction aid, and more diplomacy in the region.

The last, thankfully, won’t be the kind of diplomacy pushed by the Iraq Study Group — talks with Syria and Iran. The fact is that our allies in the region are terrified that we will leave Iraq and that we will give away the store in negotiations with Iran, so they should be pleased with Bush’s speech. As for our enemies, Syria and Iran, they were put on notice. In an underappreciated passage at the speech, Bush vowed to “seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

It is one thing to have a healthy skepticism of the effect the president’s latest push will have, and another to oppose it without either offering any plausible alternative or pushing all-out for a withdrawal. That is the position of many Democrats and the odd Republican... They all pretend that conditions in Iraq can be improved with the U.S. maintaining or even reducing its current level of effort. That is wishful thinking. The surge is the only realistic hope for checking Iraq’s downward slide.

More important than Bush’s speech or any policy specifics is the big picture: ..... In forthrightly acknowledging the failures of his prior Iraq policy and working to change them, Bush has done the right and courageous thing. Now it is a matter of following through. We wish him well, as should all patriotic Americans.

The second Holocaust

Doron draws our attention to this op-ed piece from DIE WELT (in German), January 6, 2007, by Benny Morris ....

[The following is the original text in English provided by the author]

The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. ...

The second Holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or ten years' time, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the Bomb...orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa, and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel's anti-missile batteries and Home Guard units.

With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 8,000 square miles), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A million or more Israelis, in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem areas, will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.
Some of the dead will inevitably be Arab. 1.3 million of Israel's citizens are Arab and another 3.5 million additional Arabs live in the semi-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. ....It is doubtful whether such a mass killing of fellow Muslims will trouble Ahmedinejad and the mullahs. The Iranians don't especially like Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs, with whom they have intermittently warred for centuries. And they have an especial contempt for the (Sunni) Palestinians.... And surely, to be rid of the Jewish state, the Arabs should be willing to make some sacrifices.....

...To judge from Ahmedinejad' s continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against 'the Little Satan'. To judge from Ahmedinejad' s organisation of the Holocaust cartoons competition and the (current) Holocaust denial conference, the Iranian president's hatreds are deep (and, of course, shameless).

He is willing to gamble - the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim Middle East in exchange for Israel's destruction.....And, with his deep contempt for the weak-kneed West, he is unlikely to take seriously the threat of American nuclear retaliation.

....As with the first, the second Holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds, by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets. Different messages have gone out to different audiences - but all have (objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims the world over have been taught: 'The Zionists\the Jews are the embodiment of evil' and 'Israel must be destroyed.' And Westeners, more subtly, were instructed: 'Israel is a racist oppressor state' and 'Israel, in this age of multi-culturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous' . Generations of Muslims and at least a generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms.

The build-up to the second Holocaust (which, incidentally, in the end, will probably claim roughly the same number of lives as did the first) has seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate, selfish appetites - Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets; France, with Arab oil - and the United States driven by the debacle in Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its nuclear destiny and Israel and Iran, to face off alone.

..... And, as with the first Holocaust, the international community will do nothing. It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes - not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred. It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole of the Muslim world, deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And, of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial muderer bring back his victims?) So what would be the point?

Still, the second Holocaust will be different ....there will be no ...heart-rending scenes, of perpetrators and victims mired in blood (though, to judge from pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the physical effects of nuclear explosions can be fairly unpleasant).

But it will be a Holocaust nonetheless.

Another Academic Shuns Carter

From National Review Online, 10/1/07, by Carol Iannone ....

Melvin Konner, physician and professor at Emory University, declined an invitation to be part of a group advising President Carter and The Carter Center on Carter's recent book on the Mideast.

Konner notes especially that "President Carter has proved capable of distorting the truth about such meetings and consultations in public remarks following them. In particular, he mischaracterized the meeting he had with the executive committee of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix, saying he and they had positive interactions and prayed together, when in fact others present stated that the meeting was highly confrontational and that the prayer was merely a pro forma closing invocation."

Konner says also that "in television interviews I have seen over the past week, President Carter has revealed himself to be so rigid and inflexible in his views that he seems to me no longer capable of dialogue." ....

".... In addition, his repeated public insinuations that the Jews control the media and the Congress - well-worn anti-Semitic slurs that, especially coming from President Carter, present a clear and present danger to American Jews - are offensive to me beyond what I can politely say....."

"...I am now carefully rereading parts of this very puzzling and problematic book, having read it through once quickly. I am not going to point out again here all the mistakes and misrepresentations pointed out by others (to take just one example, his flat contradiction of the accounts by President Clinton and Dennis Ross of events at Camp David at which they were present and he was not)˜none of which he has answered—nor explain the grotesque distortion caused by his almost completely ignoring Jewish history between ancient times and 1947 (he devotes five lines on page 64 to that millennial tragic story and mentions the Holocaust twice; his "Historical Chronology" at the outset contains nothing˜nothing˜between 1939 and 1947).

"However, I will call your attention to a sentence on p. 213 that had not stood out for me the first time I read it: 'It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.' As someone who has lived his life as a professional reader and writer, I cannot find any way to read this sentence that does not condone the murder of Jews until such time as Israel unilaterally follows President Carter's prescription for peace. This sentence, simply put, makes President Carter an apologist for terrorists and places my children, along with all Jews everywhere, in greater danger..."

"...I will share this advice to you: If you want The Carter Center to survive and thrive independently in the future, you must take prompt and decisive steps to separate the Center from President Carter's now irrevocably tarnished legacy. ... If you do not do this, then President Carter's damage to his own effectiveness as a mediator, not to mention to his reputation and legacy will extend, far more tragically in my view, to The Carter Center and all its activities."

"Meanwhile, in my own private and modest public capacity as a university professor and writer, I will work very hard in the foreseeable future to help discredit President Carter's biased, intemperate and inflexible mischaracterizations of the reality of Israel, Palestine, terrorism, and the American Jewish community...."

Carter (the dog) has his day ...

At last ...from The Wall Street Journal [subscription needed] ...

ATLANTA — Fourteen members of an advisory board at the Carter Center resigned today, concluding they could “no longer in good conscience continue to serve” following publication of former President Jimmy Carter’s controversial book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

“It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy,” the board members wrote in a letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support. Therefore it is with sadness and regret that we hereby tender our resignation from the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center effective immediately.”

US Iraq raid draws Iranian anger

From the BBC, Thursday, 11 January 2007, 18:43 GMT ...

US forces have stormed a building in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six people said to be Iranians, prompting a diplomatic incident. Iranian and Iraqi officials said the building was an Iranian consulate and the detainees its employees.

....The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to local media. AFP news agency quoted Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman as saying he did not know the nationality of the six but said they were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces".

...However, Tehran said the attack violated all international conventions. It has summoned ambassadors from Switzerland, representing US interests, and Iraq. A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry described the raid as an attempt to sabotage Tehran's relations with Iraq.....

...A local TV station said Kurdish security forces had taken over the building after the Americans had left. Irbil lies in Iraq's Kurdish-controlled north, about 350km (220 miles) from the capital Baghdad. Reports say the Iranian consulate there was set up last year under an agreement with the Kurdish regional government to facilitate cross-border visits.

.....One Iranian news agency with a correspondent in Irbil says five US helicopters were used to land troops on the roof of the Iranian consulate. It reports that a number of vehicles cordoned off the streets around the building, while US soldiers warned the occupants in three different languages that they should surrender or be killed.

....Thursday's raid came as US President George W Bush unveiled his new strategy in Iraq, which included increasing troop numbers and a commitment to stop Iranian support for "our enemies in Iraq". BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the raid could signal a ratcheting-up of pressure on the Iranians, in line with the rhetorical thrust of his speech.....

Hilali ridicules Australia

From The Australian, January 12, 2007, by Richard Kerbaj ...

SHEIK Taj Din al-Hilali has ridiculed his adopted country on Egyptian television, dismissing the furore over his insults to women and defence of gang rapists while claiming Muslims had more right to live in Australia than the descendants of convicts.

The latest outburst by Australia's chief Muslim cleric came during an interview as he enjoyed what was meant to be a self-imposed exile in the Middle East to duck the national outrage he sparked late last year.

But rather than douse the controversy, which divided Muslim Australia and further strained relations with the broader community, the imam of Sydney's Lakemba Mosque has inflamed it.
"The Western people are the biggest liars and oppressors and especially the English race," the Mufti of Australia said in Arabic during the extensive interview in Eqypt, his birthplace. "The Anglo-Saxons who arrived in Australia arrived in shackles. We paid for passports from our own pockets. We have a right in Australia more than they have."

Having last year suggested victims should share the blame for being sexually assaulted, Sheik Hilali used the interview to blame the September 11 attacks on the US for influencing lengthy sentences given to Sydney's notorious Lebanese Muslim gang rapists.

....Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said that while some of Sheik Hilali's comments were controversial, the cleric deserved a chance to explain himself upon his return to Australia. ....Mr Trad said while he did not want to be seen defending the imam, Sheik Hilali's comments about convicts were in response to a provocative question by his interviewer....

Thursday, January 11, 2007


...and now, for a feel-good story from NewYorkPost, January 10, 2007, by RALPH PETERS ...

-- WE'LL get you. No matter how long it takes, we'll get you. That's the message our special-operations forces just sent to al Qaeda fugitives in Somalia - and everywhere else.

With AC-130 gunships pounding terrorist hide-outs and training sites in the badlands near the Kenyan border, we may have nailed senior al Qaeda figures involved in bombing our embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. At the very least, we killed some really bad hombres.

As always, terrorist propagandists will claim that only innocent civilians suffered, and media sympathizers will echo their nonsense. Fortunately, though, most pro-terrorist journalists and "human-rights advocates" are preoccupied just now with the awful mistreatment of poor, misunderstood Saddam Hussein.

And the devastation left behind by our gunships is only part of a very big U.S. win:
* Thanks to resolute military action by Ethiopia's government (quietly backed by Washington), the terror regime in Mogadishu crumbled overnight - collapsing the lie that extremist Islam is on the march to an inevitable victory.
* The speed of the Ethiopian advance cornered hundreds of hardcore Islamist fighters in a forlorn backwater, where they can be killed out of sight of their media defenders. And be killed they will.
* Islamist outrages and subversion inspired unprecedented cooperation between moderate Somalis, Ethiopians, Kenyans and Americans. For its part, the Kenyan government grew sick of Somalia exporting hatred, weapons and terror. Now Kenyan troops have sealed their border so al Qaeda's agents can't escape.
* Far from being a growing threat - as America-haters insist - al Qaeda's on the run. Confident that they had a new refuge in Somalia, international terrorists instead find themselves scrambling to escape justice.
* Our special-ops forces are getting their revenge: After Army Rangers and Delta Force troops won a hands-down victory in the streets of Mogadishu back in 1993, President Bill Clinton sold them out (as the Pelosi-Reid Democrats threaten to do to our soldiers in Iraq on a greater scale). Now they're killing al Qaeda fanatics and their local allies with the full support of a new Somali government.

Much remains unresolved in Somalia - it won't turn into a quiet garden spot any year soon. But no amount of rationalizations by anti-American voices can disguise the fact that this has been a huge defeat for radical Islam and its terrorist vanguard: They're homeless again.
Fanatical dreams of re-establishing - and extending - the Muslim caliphate on the African continent are suddenly in shambles (although our enemies, from al Qaeda to the Saudi royal family, won't give up just yet). Far from impressing the world with its strength, extremist Islam just revealed its inherent weakness again: Average Muslims don't like it and won't defend it.
Yes, there's plenty of anti-Ethiopian emotion in the streets of Mogadishu today - but that's not the same as pro-Islamist sentiment.

As for al Qaeda's media pals, they'll try to play down the scope of this defeat, lying that only a few foreign terrorists were in Somalia. But even apart from the number of fanatics now lying dead in mango swamps, snake-ridden forests and scrubland, the psychological blow to al Qaeda has been huge: Mired in Iraq and hunkered down in remote rat-holes in Pakistan, Terror International, Inc. has been robbed of its biggest success story since 9/11.

The Islamists lost their vital beach-head in the Horn of Africa. Even Sudan, for all its villainy, is wary of associating with al Qaeda today (Khartoum has enough problems). Of course, not all in the region is exactly as it seems on the surface. The do-it-in-the-dark boys - our military special-operations forces and CIA personnel - have been deeply involved in getting this one right. Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, the American regional headquarters in Djibouti, has been a consistently effective player, too, punching well above its weight. JTF-HOA is an economy-of-force operation that returns a huge strategic dividend on the taxpayer's investment.

We owe all of our engaged military and intelligence personnel - overt, covert and clandestine - a debt of thanks. But the thanks won't be public. As always, our special operators will fade back into the strategic mist. Some may have been on the ground in Somalia throughout this operation, helping out with intelligence and targeting, nudging key actions along and hunting specific terrorists. The use of AC-130 gunships - incredibly effective weapons - against massed terrorists may have been cued by cell-phone intercepts, but I wouldn't discount brave Americans on the ground directing those airstrikes.

That's speculation, of course. But I can guarantee two things to Post readers: First, Somalia and the world are better off with the Islamists on the run and living in terror themselves, and, second, our special operations forces - from all of the services - are greater heroes than the history books or Hollywood films will ever be able to capture.

Whack 'em again, guys.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Never Quit The Fight."

Iraq would 'collapse' if US steps back, warns Bush

From The Australian, January 11, 2007, by Mark Dodd ...

US President George W. Bush, poised to order more US troops to Iraq, warned today that reducing US efforts now would lead to the collapse of the Iraqi government and a longer, deadlier war.

“(To) step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government,” Bush said in excerpts of his speech released by the White House before he was to deliver it at 9:00 pm in Washington (12.00 AEST). “Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home,” he said.

Bush said today he will send 21,500 additional US forces to Iraq to break the cycle of violence and “hasten the day our troops begin coming home”. The decision will push the American presence in Iraq toward its highest level and put Bush on a collision course with the new Democratic Congress. ...

Mr Bush also bluntly warned the Iraqi government it risks “losing the support of the American people” if it fails to do more to quell violence. “I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended,” he said. “If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The prime minister understands this,” Mr Bush said. Iraq will take control of its own security in November under Mr Bush's plan to end the violence in the war-torn nation.

....Despite the troop increase, which will bring the total US deployment in the country to 150,000, Mr Bush did not ask John Howard to commit more Australian troops when he spoke to the Prime Minister early yesterday to brief him on his plans.

...Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile told Sydney radio that there had been no request from the US to increase Australia's troops. Mr Bush, who will outline his new Iraqi strategy in a televised address at 1pm (AEST) today, has faced escalating pressure over Iraq. Public opinion is turning against the war, which has taken 3000 US lives since the March 2003 US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

....Mr Bush's speech comes after he rebuffed two key recommendations from the Iraq Study Group led by former US secretary of state James Baker - pull out most US combat forces by 2008 and open direct talks with Syria and Iran.

On the eve of Mr Bush's televised address, Democratic senator Edward Kennedy tabled a bill that might deny the President the billions of dollars needed to send more troops to a war he described as "George Bush's Vietnam". Senator Kennedy said his bill would ensure "no additional troops can be sent or no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation" without the approval of Congress....Although the bill is unlikely to become law, it will serve as a rallying point for Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans who oppose any escalation in the war.....

Additional reporting: The Times, AFP

Local push for Islamic state

From The Age, January 9, 2007, by Barney Zwartz ....

AN ULTRA-radical Muslim group banned in many countries will promote support for an Islamic superstate in a seminar in Australia this month. Christian critics claim that the seminar, to be conducted by the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, will be a recruiting ground for extremists. Hizb ut-Tahrir believes that the caliphate — a part of the world under Muslim rule that, at its peak, ran from Spain to Iran and beyond — is about to be re-established.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and most Muslim countries in the Middle East because of alleged links to terrorism, including the bombers behind the 2005 London attacks.

It is not banned in Australia but is controversial because it opposes democracy and Muslim integration, has tried to recruit young Muslims and ran a lecture last year titled "Israel is an illegal state that Muslims will never accept". A promotional video for the January 27 Sydney conference on the internet site claims the world was "plunged into darkness" on March 3, 1924, the date when Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk ended the Ottoman caliphate. "The consequences were unimaginable: death, destruction, chaos, exploitation. After 80 years of the absence of the khilafate (caliphate) the Muslim world has awakened from its slumber, and the umma (the community of all the world's Muslims) is ready to resume its political destiny," the video says. "From the darkness will emerge a new light."

Some observers have expressed fears that the conference will be used to radicalise Muslims in Australia and recruit extremists. A spokesman for federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said group members would have to be careful about what they said at the conference and remember that Australia was a harmonious society.

Melbourne Anglican minister Mark Durie, author of a book comparing Islam and Christianity, said in a widely distributed email: "If we wake up in 10 years' time and wonder what went wrong, historians who are able to look back and analyse the rise of radical Islam in Australia will identify events such as this conference as part of the answer." Dr Durie said yesterday Hizb ut-Tahrir was a major world force for radical political Islam, with links to terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and had strategies for Australia. He said the purpose of the conference was to "inspire and mobilise Muslims to establish Islamic government in the medieval model of sharia law with no concession to other principles such as democracy or human rights". "They want to legitimise the caliphate as a political aspiration." ....

Somalian Front

From Cox & Forkum, 2/1/07 ...

Egypt: Not Such a Peace Partner

From January 10, 2007 By Joseph Puder ...

While the current hot topic in Israel is whether or not to respond to the alleged “peace overtures” from Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator, a serious existential threat to Israel is being ignored. Egypt’s strategy of weakening Israel has been systematically overlooked by Israel’s political elites, not however by Likud Knesset Member Dr. Yuval Steinitz.

Steinitz, former chairman of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Knesset, has been a consistent critic of Egypt’s military build up against Israel. In late December, Steinitz riled against Egypt’s attempts to question Israel’s sovereignty in Eilat and the Southern Negev region. Steinitz has demanded that the Israeli government decline to meet with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Jerusalem until he is ready to declare Egypt’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.

Recent reports of a special discussion in the Egyptian Parliament concerning Eilat and, Foreign Minister Gheit’s subsequent declaration that “Eilat is Palestinian territory,” is a direct attempt to undermine Israel’s sovereignty, according to Steinitz. He added, “Israel cannot be silent in the face of a Foreign Minister that cannot recognize Israeli sovereignty over Eilat - it is the same as not recognizing Israel sovereignty over Tel Aviv, Haifa, or Beersheba. It is unbelievable that after 25 years of peace, an Egyptian Foreign Minister would question Eilat’s status. If he had questioned our sovereignty over Nablus, it would have been one thing, but Eilat?”

Egypt’s strategy of eroding Israel’s sovereignty goes back to 1995 when Egypt’s President Mubarak secretly assembled experts to build a case for Egypt’s right to the Southern Negev. These subservient “experts” provided Mubarak with “proof “ that Egypt could demand large portions of Israel’s Negev. The Israeli Foreign and Security ministries knew about it and kept it to themselves, fearing a storm in Israel. Ultimately, President Clinton pressed Mubarak to drop the whole idea, and the matter received no publicity.

Steinitz is concerned that this attempt by Egypt to build territorial claims on the Southern Negev will serve as a pretext for an Egyptian military attack on Israel. He therefore insisted that Israel demand Gheit set the record straight regarding Eilat.

During Gheit’s visit to Israel in late December, he praised Israel’s restraint in the face of continued Kassam rockets raining on Israel. He excused the transfers of money from Egypt to Gaza by Hamas operatives. The ever-pliant Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, and Defense Minister Peretz, failed to raise the Eilat issue, or Egypt’s military build up and the Egyptian aid to Hamas in their meetings with Gheit. Prime Minister Olmert has eagerly accepted President Mubarak invitation to meet him next week in Cairo in spite of the fact that Mubarak has never accepted an invitation to visit Israel.

Steinitz has been vocal about Cairo’s aid to Hamas, and regards Egypt as Hamas’ most reliable long-term supporter. “They do it cleverly, while covertly supporting Hamas they appear openly as supporting the moderate Palestinians.” He accused Egypt of looking the other way and allowing 20,000 automatic rifles to be smuggled into Gaza, enough he said to arm four to five divisions every year. Egypt provides 99 percent of the weapons that reach Gaza. Steinitz further noted that, “While Jordan has the longest border with Israel, there has been no weapon smuggling from Jordan. Egypt on the other hand, is intent on arming the Palestinians to fight against Israel.”

In various international forums, and especially at the UN, Egypt, more than Iran or Syria is the lead attacker of Israel. Egypt’s educational programming is replete with anti-Semitism, which is being reinforced by television productions that screen variations of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Tsarist forgery more than 100 years old. Schoolchildren in Egypt are taught that the Jews are the source of all the evil in the world. Egyptian school maps substitute Palestine for Israel and little is taught about the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace or Camp David Peace Accords.
Secular-leftist Israeli politicians are more interested in maintaining the façade of peace than recognize the facts on the ground. The Israeli architects of the Oslo Accords protected their “peace” in spite of obvious breaches of the accord by Arafat’s incitement of the Palestinian masses to murder Israelis. The Palestinian schools taught and continue to teach hatred towards the Jewish State and its people, and still the Israeli leftists persisted in claiming that peace must be given a chance. Western Europeans found out after two bloody world wars, that teaching tolerance and outlawing hate propaganda are prerequisites for a real peace.

Egypt’s constant hate propaganda against Israel does not promote true reconciliation much less a permanent peace. American administrations are not blameless either. America has provided Egypt with over $70 billion in aid, including military. If America seeks a meaningful peace in the Middle East, it is time to hold regimes such as Mubarak’s in Egypt and Abu Mazen’s of the Palestinian Authority accountable. Peace requires more than a signature on a piece of paper - it is a state of mind and hinges on the values youngsters learn.

While Israel’s military planners are focused on Iran, Egyptian military exercises have Israel as its declared target. In the last five years Egyptian military units, including logistical support services and infrastructure, have been transferred to the Suez Canal area, on both the eastern Sinai and the western sides of the Sinai. They have transferred anti-aircraft units, aircraft, and missile batteries – an enormous expense - that the U.S. largely underwrites through our aid packages. Recognizing that Egypt does not face an external threat, there can only be one explanation for Egypt’s massive build up. It is time for Israelis and Americans to listen and react to Dr. Steinitz timely warnings.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ex-President for Sale

Doron draws our attention to this from, January 08, 2007 by Alan M. Dershowitz ....

It now turns out that Jimmy Carter--who is accusing the Jews of buying the silence of the media and politicians regarding criticism of Israel--has been bought and paid for by Arab money.

In his recent book tour to promote Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter has been peddling a particularly nasty bit of bigotry. The canard is that Jews own and control the media, and prevent newspapers and the broadcast media from presenting an objective assessment of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that Jews have bought and paid for every single member of Congress so as to prevent any of them from espousing a balanced position.

.... Carter then presents himself as the sole heroic figure in American public life who is free of financial constraints to discuss Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israelis.

Listen carefully to what Carter says about the media: the plight of the Palestinians is “not something that has been acknowledged or even discussed in this country... You never hear anything about what is happening to the Palestinians by the Israelis.” He claims to have personally “witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts.” He implies that the Jews impose these “severe restraints.” He then goes on to say that the only reason his book--which has been universally savaged by reviewers--is receiving such negative reviews is because they are all being written by “representatives of Jewish organizations” (demonstrably false!). So much for the media.

Now here is what he says about politicians:
“It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians. Very few would ever deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or even Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents.”

Each of these claims is demonstrably false, as I have shown in detail elsewhere. The plight of the Palestinians has been covered more extensively, per capita, than the plight of any other group in the world, certainly more than the Tibetans and the victims of genocides in Darfur and Rwanda. Moreover, Carter totally ignores the impact of Arab oil money and the influence of the Saudi lobby. In numerous instances where the Arab lobbies have been pitted against the Israeli lobby, the former has prevailed.

....At the bottom, Carter is saying that no objective journalist or politician could actually believe that America’s support for Israel is based on moral and strategic considerations and not on their own financial self-interest. Such a charge is so insulting to every honest legislator and journalist in this country that I am amazed that Carter has been let off the hook so easily. Only the self-righteous Jimmy Carter is capable of telling the truth, because only he is free of financial pressures that might influence his positions.

It now turns out that the shoe is precisely on the other foot. Recent disclosures prove that it is Carter who has been bought and paid for by anti-Israel Arab and Islamic money. Journalist Jacob Laksin has documented the tens of millions of dollars that the Carter Center has accepted from Saudi Arabian royalty and assorted other Middle Eastern sultans, who, in return, Carter dutifully praised as peaceful and tolerant (no matter how despotic the regime). And these are only the confirmed, public donations.

Carter has also accepted half a million dollars and an award from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, saying in 2001: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." This is the same Zayed, the long-time ruler of the United Arab Emirates, whose $2.5 million gift to the Harvard Divinity School was returned in 2004 due to Zayed's rampant Jew-hatred. Zayed's personal foundation, the Zayed Center, claims that it was Zionists, rather than Nazis, who “were the people who killed the Jews in Europe” during the Holocaust. It has held lectures on the blood libel and conspiracy theories about Jews and America perpetrating Sept. 11.

Another journalist, Rachel Ehrenfeld, in a thorough and devastating article on "Carter’s Arab Financiers," meticulously catalogues Carter’s ties to Arab moneymen, from a Saudi bailout of his peanut farm in 1976, to funding for Carter’s presidential library, to continued support for all manner of Carter’s post-presidential activities. For instance, it was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), founded in Pakistan and fronted by a Saudi billionaire, Gaith Pharaon, that helped Carter start up his beloved Carter Center. According to Ehrenfeld:
“BCCI's origins were primarily ideological. [Agha Hasan] Abedi wanted the bank to reflect the supra-national Muslim credo and ‘the best bridge to help the world of Islam, and the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists.’

As Ehrenfeld concluded: “[I]t seems that AIPAC's real fault was its failure to outdo the Saudi's purchases of the former president's loyalty. There has not been any nation in the world that has been more cooperative than Saudi Arabia," The New York Times quoted Mr. Carter June 1977, thus making the Saudis a major factor in U. S. foreign policy.”Evidently, the millions in Arab petrodollars feeding Mr. Carter's global endeavors, often in conflict with U.S. government policies, also ensure his loyalty.”

It is particularly disturbing that a former president who has accepted dirty blood-money from dictators, anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and supporters of terrorism should try to deflect attention from his own conflicts of interest by raising the oldest canard in the sordid history of anti-Semitism: namely, that Jews have dual loyalty and use their money improperly to influence the country they live in, in favor of the country to which they owe their real allegiance.

....As noted above, the most perverse aspect of Carter’s foray into bigotry is that as he pours this old wine into new bottles he is himself awash in Arab money. When a politician levels these kinds of cynical accusations against others, it would seem incumbent on him to show that his own hands are clean and his own pockets empty.

Accordingly I now call upon Carter to make full public disclosure of all of his and the Carter Center’s ties to Arab money. If he fails to do so, I challenge the media to probe deeply into his, his family’s, and his Center’s Arab ties so that the public can see precisely the sources and amounts of money he has received and judge whether it has corrupted the process of objective reportage and politics by Carter and others who have received such funds. Finally, I ask the appropriate government agencies to conduct an investigation into whether Carter should be required to register as a lobbyist for foreign interests.

Let’s stop invoking discredited ethnic stereotypes, look at the hard facts, and actually see who’s being bought and sold.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. His most recent book is Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways (Norton, 2006)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Doing nothing over Iran risks leaving Israel to act

From The Telegraph (UK) 08/01/2007 ...

By a series of stumbles and lurches, we have come closer to a nuclear conflagration than at any time since the bombing of Nagasaki. Although Israel has - thank Heaven - disavowed reports that it is planning a direct strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, there can be little doubt that Tel Aviv would authorise such attacks if the only other option were a nuclear Iran.

From an Israeli point of view, the ayatollahs are not a putative threat but a proven aggressor. They have armed terrorist proxies in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iraq, Lebanon and even Argentina, where a bombing at a Jewish community centre in 1994 killed 100 people.
Iran's Shahhab-3 missile has a range of 1,500 miles, but why worry about delivery mechanisms when you have paramilitaries? We have seen Teheran's readiness to equip Hizbollah with rockets.

Can we be confident that they would not, if they could, tip these devices with nuclear warheads?
It is now too late to prevent Iran from acquiring the know-how and materials it needs. Ten years were wasted in futile discussions with the EU, which believed that it could talk the mullahs out of their nuclear ambitions.

... if we do nothing, we encourage Israel to act, so bringing calamity on the region.

In between the present policy of passing milk-and-water UN resolutions and the nuclear option (for once the expression is apposite) is an escalating scale of pressure: targeted sanctions, asset seizures and, in extremis, the kind of armed siege that paralysed Saddam during the 1990s.

Above all, we should be sponsoring Iranian dissidents: students, secularists, monarchists, non-Persians. The mullahs have harried their neighbours ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
It is time to replace them with a regime that is capable of dealing with other states on the basis of territorial jurisdiction, human rights and international law.

Iran reformists slam government's nuclear policy

From Reuters, Sun Jan 7, 2007 12:37 PM GMT, by Alireza Ronaghi ...

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian reformist parliamentarians on Saturday blamed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government for failing to prevent United Nations sanctions.

....Reformist former President Mohammad Khatami suspended Iran's nuclear work for more than two years in an effort to build confidence and avoid confrontation with the West, but Ahmadinejad's government resumed uranium enrichment in February last year [after Khatami's term].

"The only way to pass the crisis is to build confidence...but a holding Holocaust conference and financing the Hamas government creates mistrust and tension," Noureddin Pirmoazzen, the spokesman of parliament's reformist faction, told Reuters.

...After two election landslides that brought Khatami to office in 1997 and 2001, Iran's reformers suffered a series on poll setbacks with voters disillusioned at their inability to carry out their policies due to conservative opposition. The culmination of the reformers' defeats came in 2005 when voters elected the hardline Ahmadinejad who promised to use Iran's large oil revenues to help the poor. But the reformers made a strong showing at local council elections in December, with many voters worried about Iran's increasing diplomatic isolation and economic problems.

Pirmoazzen said that two U.N. resolutions against Iran in the first 18 months of the government's term in office showed the foreign ministry was incapable of looking after Iran's national interests. "We hope to witness a return to the manner of Khatami's government and see the crisis is solved in the next 60 days, or else we will have no alternative but to impeach Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki," Pirmoazzen said. Any request to impeach a minister needs to be signed by at least 10 lawmakers. Pirmoazzen said that even without the support of majority conservative deputies, the 42-member reformist faction had enough votes to call an impeachment debate. But the impeachment motion would be unlikely to succeed.

In a separate bid, reformist lawmakers also want Ahmadinejad to come to parliament to answer questions on his government's domestic and foreign policies. But there was little chance of the motion succeeding as it would need 72 lawmakers to sign it. "Although some 150 lawmakers may have questions from Ahmadinejad, it does not mean that the same number of signatures can be collected to support the plan," Akbar Alami, the lawmaker who has launched the plan, told Reuters.

Alami declined to elaborate on what the questions he would like to ask the president, but said they included matters of foreign policy. "We have tried to bring up those questions in several ways but have received no convincing answers yet," Alami said, "We are waiting for appropriate timely conditions to bring up the questions," he said....

Muslim women's rights

From the Arab News [Saudi Arabia], Sunday, 7, January, 2007 ...

‘You Marry My Daughter and I’ll Marry Yours!’

RIYADH, 7 January 2007 — With the aim of strengthening business ties, two Riyadh business partners in their 70s have married their teenage daughters (17-19) to each other...

“A man has the right to marry. When it comes to marriage, there is no stopping point,” said Al-Dossary, a man in his 70s with silver hair, a gray beard and gray eyebrows. “We have followed Islamic principles in the way we conducted our marriages and we are both happy with our wives,” he added.

Al-Dossary married his teenage daughter to his business partner and in turn married his partner’s teenage daughter. His partner, Saif Al-Qahtani, said: “It is true that our arranged marriages are strange...the main purpose of marriage is to protect men and women and we have both achieved this through our marriages.”

...Al-Dossary added: “.... I proposed to several girls but all refused. One day I decided to ask Al-Qahtani to give me one of his daughters. He agreed immediately, but in return he asked me for my daughter. I was surprised because he already had three wives; however, I agreed since I had a young daughter who was of marriageable age.”

Al-Qahtani commented: “...When he asked for one of my daughters, I thought I couldn’t refuse him because of our friendship. I knew that if I did refuse his request, our business would be affected. I didn’t have any other choice. I agreed to give him my daughter and take his daughter in return. ....”

...When asked if they had consulted their daughters, Al-Qahtani said: “I did not ask my daughter. I don’t have to. I know what is beneficial for her. When I told her what I had planned, she was happy. If she hadn’t been, she would have told her mother.”

Al-Dossary said: “In bedouin culture, a girl does not have the right to express her opinion about marriage, especially if her father and brothers have decided on a particular man. In both our cases, we have been married for a long time and have had no problems with our wives. Although we are much older than our wives, the fact that we are together proves that we are right for each other.”

He added: “Saudi girls, especially bedouins, prefer to marry old men. This is what my third and fourth wives have both told me. They keep telling me they are glad that they did not marry young men.”

...Al-Qahtani ....“Some of my cousins have refused to accept the marriages, not because of the idea but because one of them wanted to marry my daughter. However, he couldn’t provide the dowry I asked for and, therefore, I didn’t give him my daughter. I have forgotten about him.”

When asked if they plan to use this strategy to marry again, Al-Qahtani said: “I cannot marry again as I already have four wives, but no one knows what will happen in the future. However, if I were to remarry, I would marry one of my cousins and would have no problem in offering one of my daughters in return.”

Al-Dossary said: “I am satisfied with my three wives but as Al-Qahtani said, no one knows the future. If I am to marry and the father of the girl or her brother asks me to give him one of my daughters, then I would agree. I would even agree if he asked for one of my granddaughters.”

...Sheikh Muhammad Al-Wahbi, a researcher in Islamic jurisprudence, said that there was no legal problem with such marriages as long as the women involved agreed. He warned that people must, however, be clear about their intentions. “It is abominable to turn a marriage into a business in which a woman is no more than an object or business commodity,” he said.

The war against the free world

From Melanie Phillips' Blog, January 5, 2007 [exerpts only - follow the link for the full article]...

... there are signs that Bush may have now accepted what has long been apparent – that he has been ill-served by his top brass in Iraq. The US commander–in-chief wants to win – but has realised that his generals merely want to manage a retreat. Now there’s been a shake-up. ....

The fight in Washington with the army top brass has not just been over whether more or fewer troops are needed in Iraq. It’s also been over a major difference in strategic perception. In order to win in Iraq, it is essential to defeat Iran. This is for the blindingly obvious reason that the principal instigator of the war in Iraq is… Iran. I have never understood how anyone could think that you can win a war by refusing to fight the aggressors and instead running around trying vainly to put out the fires they are starting. ...the coalition cannot secure Iraq without first defeating Iran.

It has also long been clear that Iraq is merely a front in wider regional — and indeed, global — war. Iran declared war on the west in 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini announced his intention of conquering the west for Islam. The response of the west has been to ignore the fact that war was thus declared upon it, as was demonstrated by attacks upon it ever since by Iran — along with the Sunni/Wahhabi Islamists, who were both its deadly theological rivals for regional hegemony and at the same time its allies in the war against the free world. Ahmadinejad is the true heir to Khomeini; and is it any wonder that he feels able to cock a snook at the west on the assumption that it is toothless and will not prevent him from acquiring nuclear weapons, when for more than two decades the west refused to defend itself against Iranian aggression – and even now, when Iran is fighting the west through proxies in Iraq, it is still flinching from taking the fight to the enemy?

The problem has been, however, that the American generals have been resistant to such a strategic analysis. They have refused both to extend the war in Iraq to Iran and to reconceive their tactics away from the use of conventional to unconventional forces. The argument that it is essential for the west to fight what is an unconventional war against it by unconventional means is made in this article by two security analysts, Fred Gedrich and Paul Vallely:

...the adversaries in this war do not carry arms openly, wear uniforms or insignias and abide by other laws and customs of wars specified in Geneva Conventions and protocols. They instil fear in military opponents and local populations through use of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, kidnappings and beheadings. And they disguise themselves as civilians and hide among civilian populations with weapons stored and discharged from mosques, schools, hospitals, marketplaces, private residences and public roads.

To prevail, the United States has to transition from a conventional to an unconventional war footing and make the enemy pay a heavy price for its despicable tactics. In Iraq and elsewhere, traditional troops, weapons and tactics are less useful than tools of influence, covert operations and intelligence brought to the battlefield by special operators working harmoniously with indigenous forces and local populations. The prime objective is to create a climate of fear within enemy ranks that breaks its will to continue the armed insurrection against the freely elected Iraqi government.

Special Operations Forces (Rangers, Seals, Delta Force and other special units) leaders and troops are uniquely qualified for this mission. .... Joint special operators (from all military branches) are also trained in local cultures and languages, making it easier for them to embed in local populations and Iraqi security forces and collect information which in turn may be used to ‘hunt and kill’ hostile forces. In addition, they can win ‘hearts and minds’ of local populations through civil affairs work and performance of psychological operations against enemies of the freely elected Iraqi Government.

In January 2003, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld designated the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as the lead military organization to prosecute the global war on terror but unfortunately that has not materialized. Although stellar Army commanding Gens. John Abizaid (retiring early next year) and George Casey continue to lead Middle East war operations and troops in Iraq respectively, they are products of the traditional warfare school. Moreover, nearly all of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are, too. It’s time to alter U.S. strategy by putting USSOCOM generals and admirals truly in command of the global war.

...American intelligence has been shown to be woefully — and lethally — useless. It has now been discovered that — surprise, surprise — Iran is far more involved in Iraq than had been thought.

...None of this is necessarily irreparable. Wars are often characterised by mistakes in analysis and strategy. This one can be won — provided the President now understands the strategic and operational errors that have been made, and puts them right. Putting more troops into Iraq will not be enough unless the Iranian regime is taken out. Clearly, this is not a great prospect. But it is a prospect which as time goes on will become even less palatable as it becomes ever more unavoidable. The longer it is left, the more difficult it will be. We are now in a world where the only calculation to be made is between rocks and hard places. There are no good options. The only sane course of action is the least worst option....

IDF: Terrorists always return to terror

From » Israel » Jan. 8, 2007 1:37, by YAAKOV KATZ ...

Palestinians released in prisoner exchanges "always returned to terrorism," a high-ranking officer in Central Command warned Sunday, ahead of a planned swap for kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank are "infected" with terrorist elements, he added.

The officer said there had been a major increase in Palestinian terrorist activity in the West Bank in 2006, and warned of an outbreak of a new intifada. He told reporters that three senior Islamic Jihad officials, who were released in the 2003 swap with Hizbullah for kidnapped businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three soldiers, were currently involved in the group's buildup in Nablus. The three - Muataz Halil, Hasin Garda'at and Muza'at Saba - were also helping to build up the terrorist infrastructure in the Hebron area, the officer said.
"This is what happens when terrorists are released in such deals," he said, "they immediately return to terrorist activity."

The officer said since the tahadiyeh (truce) went into effect in the West Bank following the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, the Palestinians had been strengthening themselves militarily in preparation for another round of violence. There were 593 shooting attacks in 2006, the officer said, adding that there were 400 roadside bombs in 2006, up from 149 in 2005. Despite an increase in the number of attacks, he said, 2006 was a successful year for the IDF in thwarting terrorist attacks and preventing terrorist infiltrations.

The officer said 187 suicide attacks had been thwarted over the past year, including one attempt Sunday morning when six Palestinians were arrested in Nablus with two explosives belts.
Palestinians in the West Bank carried out two attacks that killed 11 civilians in 2006. In 2005, 21 people were killed in five attacks; in 2004, 42 people were killed in seven attacks; in 2003, 137 people were killed in 18 attacks; and in 2002, 234 people were killed in 62 attacks, he said.
"We succeeded in lowering the level of terrorism inside Palestinian population centers," the officer said. "This was made possible by our continued presence and the nonstop operations that we carry out inside the cities, such as the one last Thursday in Ramallah."

In 2006, the officer said, the IDF arrested 4,110 terrorist suspects, compared to 3,062 in 2005 and 3,737 in 2004. The officer said the official PA security branches in the West Bank were infected with terrorists. "There is no such thing as an official Palestinian security branch that is not made up of terrorists," he said. "They find sanctuary in official Palestinian Authority facilities. This is a problem."

The officer said the IDF had information about the presence of RPG antitank missiles inside Nablus, Ramallah and Kalkilya. He said there had been several attempts to manufacture and fire Kassam rockets from the Jenin and Tulkarm areas, but they had been thwarted by the IDF.

Melanie Phillips: A modern Cassandra


....[Jewish] Immigration from Britain was up by 45 percent in 2006. ...when it's added to unknown numbers of young British Jews who reportedly are leaving for other shores, such as the US, a worrisome trend begins to emerge. Are the Jews of one of the most successful outposts of the Diaspora beginning to leave?

Melanie Phillips has never been an official spokeswoman, but ... she is currently one of the most outspoken voices in a community which traditionally has been very careful not to rock the boat. On a visit to Jerusalem this week, she expressed no surprise at the aliya statistics.
"...I'm not surprised by the fact that it's jumped, because Britain's Jews are beginning to think in an increasing number that there is no future for the new generation of Jews in Britain."

As a leading columnist for the Daily Mail, Phillips has been at the forefront of the anti-establishment campaign trying to convince Britons that their country is being threatened by a wave of radical Islamism that has found in London and other cities not only a physical safe haven, but also a convenient center for the dissemination of its ideas and a source of many eager new converts.

Her latest book Londonistan analyzes the rise of a new generation of Muslim youths, radicalized by fanatical preachers who found shelter in Britain thanks to a lax immigration policy and the blind eye of the authorities, a situation that led to the bombings of London's public transport in July 2005 by British-born suicide bombers. Phillips connects the loss of national and religious values in British society and the culture of moral relativity and political correctness with an environment which continues to allow the activity of these preachers and their followers, even after the bombings.

....PHILLIPS IDENTIFIES the radicalized and growing Muslim community as only one factor leading many British Jews to consider emigration. "It's also not entirely because of the perception that non-Muslim Britain has become very aggressive towards Israel" she says, "though these are very important contributory factors. In my view, a very significant driver is simply the increasing Jewish awareness among British Jewish youth. There's been a dramatic increase in my lifetime of the number of Jewish children being educated at Jewish schools, a very considerable rise in Jewish awareness and learning that is all for the good. And such young people increasingly feel in large numbers that there is no future for them, or to be more precise for their children, in Britain, that it's not possible to live the kind of fulfilled Jewish life that you can live in Israel...British public life has turned against's much more hostile than it was."

Phillips also identifies a growing divide between two parts of the community. "...those Jews who are most active in public life tend to be the kind of Jews who are typically at the forefront of demonizing Israel because they are left-wing." Those who openly identify themselves as Jews and defend Israel come up against a more modern, understated type of anti-Semitism - not one which puts Jews in immediate physical danger, but one which Phillips sees as no less disturbing.
"...there is a whole scale of social pressures which make people feel uneasy and uncomfortable. In certain professions, like journalism and academia, to be very publicly in favor of Israel ... can cost you your job."

There was always a degree of anti-Semitism among the British establishment, especially within the upper classes, but through much of the second half of the 20th century it was hidden and considered socially unacceptable. Phillips says that has changed over recent years.
"Then it was latent, now it is blatant, it's open. Twenty years ago, one would have never ever read in a mainstream newspaper or heard mainstream politicians talk openly about the Jewish conspiracy subverting the policies of the prime minister or the president of the US, now you do."
...IN THE FACE of this challenge, Phillips sees no organized response by the leadership of the Jewish community. "The leaders of the British Jewish community are servile," she says. "They never put their heads above the parapet; they believe in doing things behind the scenes and are very reluctant to jeopardize their standing in the British social circle. They have the standing of worms; in other words they have a social standing as long as they don't identify themselves with the Jewish people. That to me is disgusting, degrading and outright betrayal."

..." of the problems of the spinelessness of the British Jewish leadership is that the fight has not been had, that the lie has not been countered in public and that the Jewish community has allowed itself to be spineless. And if you're spineless, people kick you.

...DESPITE THE dire picture she paints of the situation in Britain, Phillips insists that she is an optimist who believes that Israel and the West can still win, though first they must realize that their battle is a joint one. "Saving British Jewry can't be done in isolation. It has to be a part of the defense of the free world. We have to say that Israel is not the cause of the free world's problems, Israel is actually the front line of the free world's defense and that its fight is the free world's fight. And that is one very important way of shifting the perception, because the impression that the Jews are responsible for the danger that Britain is in is to a large measure what fuels the animosity."

And here again, Phillips believes that Israeli politicians have much to answer for. "Israeli hasbara has failed strategically ever since the point that the Israeli Foreign Ministry felt that it didn't have to make the case any more. They've left the battleground open, they've allowed the enemy to colonize the battleground without the fight being had.

"I'm not saying for a moment that Israel should stop fighting the military fight, of course, but behind the military fight is a battleground of ideas. The Muslim Brotherhood has spent the last 50 years spending; billions of dollars of Saudi money have gone into guiding Europe to the ideas of Islam. They understand something that the West does not understand, that Israel has never acknowledged - that the way to fight the war of civilizations is first of all to command minds. It used to be a project to enlighten Britain and Europe and to bring truth into the public mind. The problem is that it has been stopped and the lies come instead.

"The Israelis are always on the defensive, responding to accusations. What they should be doing is making the case. They should be occupying the aggressive intellectual position, saying, 'Look world, these guys in the Islamic world are telling lies.'

"I'm an optimist. I don't believe that lies need only win, that it is inevitable. They'll only win if we allow them to, which at the moment is what we're doing."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Palestinian forces "negotiate" (by threats)

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Jan. 7, 2007, by Khaled Abu Toameh ....

Six Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip on Sunday threatened to assassinate "collaborators and traitors" in response to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's decision over the weekend to outlaw Hamas's "Executive Force." The groups warned Abbas and senior Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan against trying to implement the decision which, they claimed, was taken at the request of Israel and the US.

Dahlan, who according to Palestinian sources has been asked to head the PA security forces in the Gaza Strip, responded by issuing a threat to eliminate Hamas leaders.

One of the six groups that issued the threat belongs to Abbas's own Fatah party. The five others are: Izzadin Kassam, the Abu Rish Brigades, Sword of Islam, the Brigades of Unification and the Salah Eddin Brigades.

Abu Obaidah, a spokesman for the six groups, told reporters in Gaza City that Abbas's security forces were not carrying out their duties to restore law and order. It was a mistake to hold the Executive Force responsible for the anarchy, because it had existed long before the Hamas force was established, he added.

Obaidah said a "rebellious" group inside Fatah was trying to topple the Hamas-led government with the help of the US and Israel. He criticized Abbas for the move against the Hamas force, branding him the "President of the Oslo Accords."

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians braved torrential rain and the cold to participate in a rally marking the 42nd anniversary of the founding of Fatah. The rally, the largest of its kind since 1994, turned into a show of support for Abbas in his power struggle with Hamas.
Chanting "Long live Fatah" and "Death to the Hamas murderers," many of the demonstrators carried pictures of Yasser Arafat and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The main speaker at the rally, which was held at Yarmouk Stadium, was Dahlan who, along with other Fatah officials, used the platform to launch a scathing attack on Hamas. Condemning Hamas as a "bunch of murderers and gangsters," Dahlan said: "They are murderers. If they harm one of us, we will harm two of them. If the Hamas leaders think that they are immune, they are mistaken." ....

A minyan in the Senate and three more in the House

From » Jewish World » Jewish News » Jan. 7, 2007 2:54 Updated Jan. 7, 2007 18:15 By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER ....


...a historic high-point in Jewish representation. Altogether, 43 (8 percent) of the United States's 535 senators and representatives are Jewish, despite Jews comprising only some 2% of the American population.

The 110th Congress's 13 Jewish senators and 30 Jewish representatives comprise the greatest number to have ever have sat in one Congress, though there were more Jewish representatives (but fewer Jewish senators) in the early '90s, when Democrats last had control of the legislative branch.

...That translates into better committee appointments... The 110th Congress is not only distinguished by how many Jews holding office, but by how many key leadership positions they hold, particularly on committees important for Israel.

...Tom Lantos of California, a Holocaust survivor, became the House International Relations Committee chairman this week.

Doug Bloomfield, a former legislative director from AIPAC, also pointed to the significance of seniority in leadership appointments. As Jews have become more comfortable in identifying their religion and running for public office, they increasingly find themselves in more prominent positions by virtue of time. "This is a generation of Jewish members who are not sensitive about being Jewish," he said. "This new generation is much more assertive. They've also been here longer and have more authority."

"It's impressive," said William Daroff, director of the United Jewish Communities' Washington office. "To have a minyan in the Senate and three minyanim in the House...It is a real testament to the political strength of the Jewish community."