Friday, March 02, 2007

Do not appease hatred

From The Australian, 02 Mar 07, by Melanie Phillips, columnist with the London Daily Mail and author of "Londonistan" ...

LONDONISTAN is ... a state of mind that applies not just to Britain but throughout the West, where people refuse to face up to the reality of the jihad because they can't bring themselves to accept what must follow.

It's so much easier to take refuge in alternative explanations, particularly ones that blame themselves for their own victimisation. And just as they embrace their enemies, so they turn against their allies.

In Britain, the mainstream view is that Israel is the cause of the world's problems. People believe Israel is the cause of Islamic hatred of the West, global terror and world instability, and that the Jews are putting them directly at risk. They believe Israel's oppression of the Palestinians is the cause of Islamist rage; that the US was attacked on 9/11 only because it supported Israel; and that the only reason Britain is at risk from Islamist terror is because it supported the US in the Iraq war.

This rampant hatred of the US and Israel has come to dominate and distort political debate.....Everything that happens is seen through the prism of this perceived conspiracy by Americans and Jews recklessly to put the world at risk in pursuit of their own interests. .....

...There is a persistent refusal to accept that we are in the throes of a holy war waged on the Western world for more than 25 years ... all with one single coherent aim: to defeat Western civilisation, establish Islam as the dominant power in the world and restore the medieval caliphate.

We can see the outcome: in the daily violence in the French suburbs, sanitised by the French Government but described by French police as a permanent intifada; in the similar violence in Belgium; in the murder of Theo van Gogh in The Netherlands and the terrorisation of Dutch politicians who speak out; and in the global riots, kidnappings and murders after the re-publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

Yet little of this is reported and, when it is, it is generally presented as the fault of those being terrorised. Thus the French riots are blamed on French prejudice towards immigrants; the cartoon riots on media insensitivity towards Muslim feelings; and moves by the ultra-liberal Dutch or the Danes to ban the burka or restrict immigration as racism or xenophobia.

People have short memories. They think Islamist terrorism started with 9/11. But the jihad against us started back in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established his theocracy in Iran and declared his intention to wage war on the West and subjugate it to Islam. At the time, we weren't listening. But this ignited political Islamism across the world, gave rise to the rival Wahabi version in Saudi Arabia, ushered in a procession of terror attacks against Western interests throughout the 1980s and '90s, and exported Islamic theocratic rule as a global project.

At the same time, Britain and Europe experienced a mass influx of Muslims as the borders opened and the poor south migrated en masse to the north. The problem is that, unlike other immigrant groups, successive generations of Muslims have failed to integrate and instead try to colonise their host countries.

People are rightly concerned not to tar all Muslims with the brush of Islamist conquest. Indeed, many Muslims in Britain and across the world are deeply opposed to the jihad; Muslims are its most numerous victims. That's why I use the term Islamism, to distinguish those who believe in Islamic conquest from those who merely draw on Islam for spiritual sustenance.

But at same time, it is false to deny that Islamism is the dominant force in the Muslim and Arab world, false to deny that it is radicalising millions of Muslims in the West, and false to deny the huge inroads it has made into Western society through this pincer movement of terrorism and cultural pressure.

For instance, opinion polls suggest that 40 per cent to 60 per cent of British Muslims would like to live under sharia law in Britain; almost one-quarter say the 7/7 bombings in London can be justified because of the war on terror; and nearly half think 9/11 was a conspiracy between the US and Israel.

Why is Britain getting all this so grievously wrong? ....A liberal, tolerant society - which is what Britain once was - welcomes and respects minorities. But the deal since the Enlightenment invented tolerance has been that, while the state makes no demands on minorities practising their faith and culture in the private sphere, minorities make no demands that the state adopt their own practices. Minorities do their own thing, but where their values conflict with the bedrock values of majority culture - freedom of speech, monogamy, women's rights - they must give way.

Many Muslims do not accept this. And multiculturalism gives them the muscle to insist that their practices must become mainstream. That's why in Britain we have areas under the informal parallel jurisdiction of sharia law and growing pressure for it to become incorporated into mainstream British society. But precepts such as polygamy, the subordination of women or the death penalty for apostates or gays are totally inimical to Western society.

It is only if we act against the ideology that is spreading falsehood and hatred, and stop its advance under the umbrella of minority rights, that we have any chance of defending the free world. That means - while showing respect to Muslims who derive only spiritual sustenance from their faith - reasserting Western values and resisting any attempt to subvert them. It also means facing down in public the lies spread about the West.

Only if we stop deluding ourselves and take such action necessary for our survival will we stop sleepwalking to defeat.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

U.S. Sanctions With Teeth - use them

From Washington Post, Wednesday, February 28, 2007, Page A19, by David Ignatius:

Everybody knows that economic sanctions don't work. Just look at the decades of fruitless pressure on Cuba. But guess what? In the recent cases of North Korea and Iran, a new variety of U.S. Treasury sanctions is having a potent effect, suggesting that the conventional wisdom may be wrong...

....Authority for the new sanctions, as with so many other policy weapons, comes from the USA Patriot Act, which in Section 311 authorizes Treasury to designate foreign financial institutions that are of "primary money laundering concern." Once a foreign bank is so designated, it is effectively cut off from the U.S. financial system. It can't clear dollars; it can't have transactions with U.S. financial institutions; it can't have correspondent relationships with American banks.

The new measures work thanks to the hidden power of globalization: Because all the circuits of the global financial system are inter-wired, the U.S. quarantine effectively extends to all major banks around the world. As Levey observed in a recent speech, the impact of this little-noticed provision of the Patriot Act "has been more powerful than many thought possible."

Treasury applied the new tools to North Korea in September 2005, when it put a bank in Macao called Banco Delta Asia on the blacklist. There was no legal proceeding -- just a notice in the Federal Register summarizing the evidence: Banco Delta Asia had been providing illicit financial services to North Korean government agencies and front companies for more than 20 years, according to the Treasury notice. The little Macao bank had helped the North Koreans feed counterfeit $100 bills into circulation, had laundered money from drug deals and had financed cigarette smuggling. North Korea "pays a fee to Banco Delta Asia for financial access to the banking system with little oversight or control," Treasury alleged.

Wham! The international payments window shut almost instantly on Pyongyang's pet bank. Transactions with U.S. entities stopped, but the Treasury announcement also put other countries on notice to beware of Banco Delta Asia. The Macao banking authorities, realizing that they needed the oxygen of the international financial system to survive, took regulatory action on their own and froze the bank's roughly $24 million in North Korean assets. And around Asia, banks began looking for possible links to North Korean front companies -- and shutting them down.

A similar financial squeeze is being applied to Iran. Here again, the impact has come from the way private financial institutions have reacted to public pressure from Treasury. "As banks do their risk-reward analysis, they must now take into account the very serious risk of doing business in Iran, and what the risks would be if they were found to be part of a terrorist or proliferation transaction," says Kimmitt.

Treasury began squeezing Iran last September, when it accused Bank Saderat, one of the largest government-owned banks, of financing terrorism by funneling $50 million to Hezbollah and Hamas since 2001. The Treasury order cut the bank off from any access to the U.S financial system, direct or indirect. A similar ban was imposed in January on Bank Sepah, which Treasury alleged was a key intermediary for Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization, the agency that oversees the country's ballistic missile program.

Meanwhile, top Treasury officials began visiting with bankers and finance ministers around the world, warning them to be careful about their dealings with Iranian companies that might covertly be supporting terrorism or weapons proliferation. This whispering campaign was enough to convince most big foreign banks in Europe and Japan to back away from Iran.

The new sanctions are toxic because they effectively limit a country's access to the global ATM. In that sense, they impose -- at last -- a real price on countries such as North Korea and Iran that have blithely defied U.N. resolutions on proliferation. "What's the goal?" asks Levey. "To create an internal debate about whether these policies [of defiance] make sense. And that's happening in Iran. People with business sense realize that this conduct makes it hard to continue normal business relationships."

The writer co-hosts, with Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, PostGlobal, an online discussion of international issues at His e-mail address is

Maintain Perspective on Iran - don't bail them out

From US, 28/2/07 (appears in the March 5, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report), by Fouad Ajami ...

...Revolutions are full of cunning, and the Iranian Revolution, now almost three decades old, has been no exception-cunning and ferocity .... Shrewd players, these clerical leaders have found the cracks in the order of states around them. Brutal men.... Given room to maneuver by a substantial windfall of oil income, they have made their nation a player of consequence in its neighborhood.....

American power swept away two regimes that the Iranians dreaded-the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. .... Mixing bravado and bluff, and granting proxies in Palestine and Lebanon, the leaders of the Iranian theocracy appear to have succeeded in spreading the image of a mighty power able to have its way in the world.....

...Iran is a radical player in the world of states, to be sure, but we should not overstate its power. We should not fall for the Persian bluff. It is important that we do all we can to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions and to checkmate it in arenas that count, but we should always remember that this is a society swimming against the tide of history and confronting the limits of its capabilities.

There is an Iranian role in Iraq, but it should not be exaggerated. ...Iraqis are a tough breed, and the notion that they are eager to take their country into a Persian dominion is unconvincing. The Iranians dwell virtually alone in the House of Islam, separated by language and culture, marked by their Shiism.

Then there are the troubles that count-the disabilities at home. Iran's deranged president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came into power promising to put Iran's oil wealth "on the dinner table." But the Iranian economy is on the ropes. Hyperinflation, the drying up of international credit lines, and the astounding growth in energy consumption in Iran are bringing the country to the edge of crisis. The price of bread and meat and basic commodities has risen by as much as 25 percent. To tranquilize the realm, gasoline is subsidized well below its cost, and domestic consumption now accounts for a stunning 40 percent of Iran's oil production. Dire predictions now hold that the country will be unable to export much oil a decade from now.

The true believers will proclaim that revolutionary purity trumps all, but worldly needs and affairs ultimately prevail. A society that spends $20 billion a year to subsidize the price of energy, electricity, and gasoline will in the end have to contend with the wrath and disappointment of its people. There is swagger in Iran, and there is menace, for its rulers are without scruples. Terrorism, for them, is always an option. But theirs is a vulnerable and brittle society. There is no need to "engage" them and bail them out as they stumble. The regime should be harassed, contained, and held to account.

We may not have to wait two centuries to pronounce on the fate of this revolution. The swagger abroad and the rot at home: It is a trajectory we are all too familiar with by now.

US invites Iran and Syria to a “neighbors meeting”

From Ynet News, February 27, 2007, 10:30 PM (GMT+02:00)

In a sharp policy reversal, the US joins Iraq in a new initiative to invite Iran and Syria to a “neighbors meeting” in Baghdad next month

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday, Feb. 27: “We hope that all governments seize this opportunity to improve their relations with Iraq and to work for peace and stability in the region.” Until now, the Bush administration had resisted calls to include Iran and Syria in diplomatic efforts to stabilize Iraq.

In Baghdad, the Iraqi government announced the meeting would take place in mid-March with the participation of members of the Arab League and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Rice said it would be held at sub-ministerial level, to be followed perhaps in April by a full ministerial-level meeting of the same countries, plus G-8 Group members.

Border Guard officer kills 2 terrorists in a week

From Ynet, 1/3/07, by Efrat Weiss ...

'This is my country, I must protect it,' says M. who killed Jenin Jihad chief in Jenin operation

Chief superintendent M., a company commander in the Border Guard, on Wednesday morning killed the commander of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, Ashraf Sa'adi, who was responsible for launching several suicide attacks in 2005 and 2006.

The company was operating in the Jenin refugee camp. M. describes the morning's events for Ynet: "We received specific information about a vehicle. When we noticed it, we tried to capture the three terrorist inside.

"They escaped into one of the alleyways and started to shoot in our direction. We returned fire. I felt something hit me in my shoulder but continued fighting. I then saw someone run away from the vehicle. I shot and killed him. That was Ashraf Sa'adi." The other two gunmen, also wanted terrorists, were shot down by the company.

M. was lightly injured in his shoulder but refused to be evacuated for medical treatment. "I did not want to leave until it was over and everyone was out. I went to hospital when we were done," he explained.

This is the second recent successful operation for M. The same unit was responsible for last week's killing of Mahmoud abu Abid, who was responsible for sending the suicide bomber caught by police in Bat Yam .

M. shot the terrorist last week too. He is not trying to conceal his satisfaction: "This is a terrorist cell that will do anything to harm Israelis. I am pleased that I was the one who eliminated the cell."

When asked about his fears he said: "Yes, there is always some fear, but I try to keep a low profile. But if there is another operation tomorrow, my guys and I will be there, because we are doing the right thing."

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Plowshares beaten into swords in Gaza

FROM February 27, 2007, by Aaron Klein ...

Palestinians: 'Looting and burning' of Jewish holy sites 'was a great joy'

TEL AVIV – The ruins of two large synagogues in Gush Katif, the evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip, have been transformed into a military base used by Palestinian groups to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state, according to a senior terror leader in Gaza.

When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, it left in tact 20 synagogues of the Gush Katif Jewish communities following an Israeli Cabinet decision against demolishing the structures.
Immediately after the Israeli evacuation was completed, Palestinians mobs destroyed most of the Gaza synagogues, including two major synagogues in Neve Dekalim, the largest Gush Katif community. In front of international camera crews, the Palestinians ripped off aluminum window frames and metal ceiling fixtures from the Neve Dekalim synagogues, which were situation close to each other in the center of town. Militants flew the Palestinian and Hamas flags from the structures before mobs burned down the synagogues.

Speaking to WND from Gaza, Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organization, said the area where the synagogues once stood now is used to fire rockets at Israel. "We are proud to turn these ... into a military base and source of fire against the Zionists and the Zionist entity," Abu Abir said.

The Committees is a coalition of terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank responsible for launching hundreds of rockets from Gaza aimed at nearby Jewish towns. The group is accused of bombing a U.S. convoy in Gaza in 2003 in which three American government contractors were killed.

....The terrorist leader claimed the mob destruction of the synagogues was ...a spontaneous outburst of "happiness." ....."The looting and burning of the synagogues was a great joy. .... It was in an unplanned expression of happiness that these synagogues were destroyed." ...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Moderates must not become apologists for radical Islam

From The Age, February 26, 2007, by Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council ...

A proper multiculturalism upholds the core values of Australian society.
THE Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) cancelled our planned participation in the program of Israeli professor Raphael Israeli after his controversial remarks about Muslim immigration and communities. Characterising Muslim communities as a threat or danger per se is a sentiment we reject and with which we do not wish to be associated....

...It is true, however, that there is a serious problem in Australia and globally posed by an extremist totalitarian ideology generally known as Islamism. It asserts that all problems can be solved by the creation of a divinely sanctioned "caliphate", and that all means are justified in achieving this end. It also sets out to convince Muslims that Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims are inevitably and eternally hostile to all Muslims, and there is no alternative for Muslims except to join the Islamists in a ruthless struggle to the death against them.
Ideological affiliates of Islamism excel at spreading distorted claims about their critics, attempting to portray all criticisms of their ideology as racist attacks on all Muslims because this serves their political ends.

Sadly, even Australian moderates like Waleed Aly buy into elements of this radical program. Many of his claims (Opinion, 17/2) are examples of such distortions. ...We understand that Waleed Aly sought to defend his community's interests. But we would like to see him try harder to overcome "defensiveness" per se, and avoid the traps that radicals have set for the moderates by attempting to brand all critics of Islamist totalitarianism as anti-Muslim racists.

Aly also misrepresents other critics of Islamism. He criticises the distinguished British historian Sir Martin Gilbert, whose sin appears to have been calling for Europeans to be aware in their immigration program of the need to preserve "Europe's true values: vibrant democracy, humanitarian free thinking, and social fair dealing" from those Muslim immigrants who seek to subvert them. This is a legitimate issue, just as Australian multiculturalism has long sought to ensure all immigrants adhere to our society's "core values", such as rule of law, democracy and gender equality.

AIJAC believes that sentiments like Professor Israeli's play into the hands of the Islamists by helping them convince other Muslims that co-existence with non-Muslims is impossible. AIJAC also believes that a properly implemented policy of multiculturalism, which incorporates both rights and the responsibility to uphold the core values of Australian society, remains an important part of the strategy to counter all forms of political extremism.

Arrogance & megalomania

From the Arab Times (Kuwait), 24/2/07, by Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief ...

ARROGANCE and a craving for power are dominating the mind of political leadership in Iran. Usually regimes which are totalitarian fall prey to this kind of arrogance, but Iran although being totalitarian feels its reign is immaculately supported by religious ideology. Arrogance, hunger for power and boastfulness usually bring sad results. can one explain Iran’s challenge to the international community and its refusal to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions with regards to its nuclear program? How can we explain Iranian claims that it has control over its enemies or that a final say in the Gulf — in the words of (Iran’s spiritual leader) Khamenei — will come from Iran? How are we to understand the threats which have been issued by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent Iranian president, to the superpowers of the world in case of an attack on Iran?

All this muscle-flexing ... will only deceive the poor Iranians who are unaware that their country is a lot less powerful than what their leaders claim. ... The wise Iranians, who are unable to speak out their minds like the rest of the world, are fully aware of the fact that Iran’s diplomacy hugely depends on deceiving others that it is powerful although in actual fact it isn’t.

...It looks like Iran is pushing the region on the brink of disaster just like Saddam Hussein did earlier, but very soon Iran will face the truth ..... Iran’s arrogance has brought to the Gulf a crowd of military fleets which are capable of attacking vital and strategic targets inside Iran. Iran’s leadership is fully aware of the fact that it will not be able to stand this sort of attack even for a short time, but this leadership still insists on deceiving their people and themselves by its sick megalomania.

Strange Democrat Ways

From National Review Online, February 23, 2007 12:00 AM ,by Charles Krauthammer [emphasis added]...

The United States has fought many wars since 1941, but never again declared one. Abroad, no one declares war anymore either, perhaps because it has the anachronistic feel of an aristocratic challenge. Whatever the reason, today Congress doesn't declare war; it “authorizes” the “use of force.”

In October 2002, both houses of Congress did exactly that with open eyes and large majorities. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who had access to all the relevant information at the time, said, “I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks — and we should not minimize the risks — we must authorize the president to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat.”

Now, more than four years later, the Democrats want out of the resulting war. Most, such as Rep. John Murtha, want to do so for a simple reason: They think the war is lost. If you believe that, then getting out is the most reasonable and honorable and patriotic policy. Congress has the power to do that by cutting off the funds. But Democrats will not, because it is politically dangerous. Instead, they are seeking other ways, clever ways.

The House is pursuing a method, developed by Murtha and deemed “ingenious” by antiwar activist Tom Andrews of Win Without War, to impose a conditional cutoff of funds, ostensibly in the name of protecting the troops. Unless the troops are given the precise equipment, training and amount of rest Murtha stipulates — no funds. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Murtha is not disingenuous enough to have concealed the real motives for these ostensibly pro-readiness, pro-troops conditions. .

But think of what that entails. It leaves the existing 130,000 troops out there without the reinforcements and tactical flexibility that the com mander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, says he needs to win. He has chosen conditions he knows are impossible to meet — “We have analyzed this and we have come to the conclusion that it can’t be done'' — in order to make the continued prosecution of the war very difficult, if not impossible, for the commanders in the field.

Of course, the Democrats believe that the war cannot be won. But if that’s the case, they should order a withdrawal by cutting off the funds. They shouldn’t micromanage the war in a way that will make winning impossible. That not only endangers the troops remaining in the field, it makes the Democrats’ the-war-is-lost mantra a self-fulfilling prophecy. Murtha’s ruse is so transparent that even Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, who opposes the war, will not countenance it: “I think that sends the wrong message to our troops.”

Levin has a different idea — change the original October 2002 authorization. “We’ll be looking at modification of that authorization in order to limit the mission of American troops to a support mission instead of a combat mission,” says Levin. “That is very different from cutting off funds.”

While this idea is not as perverse as Murtha’s, it is totally illogical. There is something exceedingly strange about authorizing the use of force — except for combat. That is an oxymoron. Changing the language of authorization means — if it means anything — that Petraeus will have to surround himself with lawyers who will tell him, every time he wants to deploy a unit, whether he is ordering a legal “support” mission or an illegal “combat” mission.

If Levin wants to withdraw our forces from the civil war in the cities to more secure bases from which we can continue training and launching operations against al Qaeda, he should present that to the country as an alternative to (or fallback after) the administration's troop surge. But to force it on our commanders through legalisms is simply to undermine their ability to fight the war occurring on the ground today.

Slowly bleeding our forces by defunding what our commanders think they need to win (the House approach) or rewording the authorization of the use of force so that lawyers decide what operations are to be launched (the Senate approach) is no way to fight a war. It is no way to end a war. It is a way to complicate the war and make it inherently unwinnable — and to shirk the political responsibility for doing so.

Iran: Atomic program has no brake

From, POSTED: 11:37 a.m. EST, February 25, 2007 ....

[Cartoon from Cox & Forkum, 25/2/07.]

Story Highlights

• Ahmadinejad: "Move is like a train ... which has no brake, no reverse gear"

• U.S. official: "They don't need a reverse gear. They need a stop button"

• International powers to meet next week to discuss new resolution on Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Iran has no brake and no reverse gear in its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday, while a deputy foreign minister vowed Tehran was prepared for any eventuality, "even for war."The tough talk comes ahead of a meeting this week of officials from the U.N. Security Council plus Germany in London to consider possible further steps after limited sanctions were imposed on Tehran in December."

Iran has obtained the technology to produce nuclear fuel and Iran's move is like a train ... which has no brake and no reverse gear," Ahmadinejad said, ISNA news agency reported.

...They don't need a reverse gear. They need a stop button," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Fox News. She said her offer to meet Iran's foreign minister or other Iranian representatives still stood if Iran suspended enrichment.

The United States insists it wants a diplomatic solution to the row but has not ruled out military action if that fails.U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said on Saturday Iran's atomic ambitions must be curbed and said "all options" were on the table. Iran

..."We have prepared ourselves for any situation, even for war," Manouchehr Mohammadi, one of the foreign minister's deputies, was quoted by ISNA as saying....

.... An Australian newspaper said Cheney also endorsed comments by U.S. Republican Senator John McCain that the only thing worse than a military confrontation with Iran would be a nuclear-armed Iran.

The New Yorker magazine said a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush.The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months, according to an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official cited in the article by investigative reporter Seymour Hers. The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months, according to an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official cited in the article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.

In response to the report, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said: "The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran. To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading and mischievous."

To step up pressure on Tehran, Washington has imposed sanctions on two big Iranian banks and three firms, and has sent a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf.