Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blacklist Hezbollah terrorists!

From The Times (London), 24 Jan 3013, by José María Aznar and David Trimble*:

Officially blacklisting the group will diminish its ability to serve its sinister Iranian masters
Jihadi terrorism is still alive and, as events in Mali and Algeria show us, poses a direct threat to us. The turmoil in North Africa reminds us that jihadism has no boundaries and that when confronting terrorism it is always better to prevent it rather than deal with its consequences. The EU, however, sometimes refuses to face the reality of terrorism. One strong case in point is Hezbollah.
In July last year a bus full of Israeli tourists was blown to pieces by a young suicide bomber in Burgas, Bulgaria — five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed. All the evidence points to it being a plot conceived and executed by Hezbollah.
Yet despite this atrocity some European governments are not willing to declare Hezbollah a security threat and put it on the EU terrorist list. This refusal is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the group.
Hezbollah is not just a Lebanese militia group and political party. It is the long arm of Iran. From its conception by Tehran in 1982, it has been committed to the revolutionary goals of the international expansion of Shia Islam, as dreamt of by the Ayatollah Khomeini.
The fact that it holds seats in the Lebanese Parliament and posts in the Cabinet does not mean that its leaders see themselves as just another Lebanese faction — albeit one that murders its political opponents (a UN tribunal found that the assassination of Rafic Hariri, the Lebanese Prime Minister was a Hezbollah plot).
On the contrary Hezbollah has a global vision and reach. It has perpetrated attacks in places as distant as Argentina, Georgia, Israel, Thailand, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as Lebanon. It has been involved in illegal but very lucrative activities in Latin America and West Africa. For instance, it has run drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations in the jungle of Colombia under the control of the FARC. According to US officials Hezbollah is heavily involved in smuggling drugs into Europe.
Some argue that there is a difference between Hezbollah’s military wing, its political wing and its charitable activities. They are wrong — it is one single body and every part plays a role in the overall strategy. The leaders in charge of its hospitals and schools, the military leader and the political representatives all sit together under the secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah. His deputy, Naim Qassem, was quoted as recently as October, saying:

“We don’t have a military wing and a political wing. We don’t have the Party of Allah and the Party of Resistance. These differences do not exist and are rejected.”

Hezbollah is committed to violent revolution. It sees itself as being in total confrontation with our way of life. The idea that engaging Hezbollah through the Lebanese political process and institutions would moderate it has proved to be a dangerous illusion.
And today it is actively intervening in Syria on behalf of Bashar Assad; we will know soon about the atrocities conducted by its militants there.
There are some governments in Europe that argue that the time to put Hezbollah in the EU terrorist list has not yet arrived. But what more is needed to let us take such a decision? Official bodies, private research, parliamentary inquiries, one after another, have revealed the terrorist connections.
We understand the caution of nations that have citizens living in Lebanon or peacekeeping troops deployed there. But fear cannot be a substitute for moral clarity. ...Unifil II (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) was deployed in 2006 to disarm Hezbollah, not to become its hostage.
From what we know, Hezbollah has been able to rearm since the conflict there six years ago. According to Israeli intelligence, Hezbollah’s arsenal of 10,000 rockets was halved by the war; but today it has been expanded to five times the original figure despite the UN mission.
As Iran gets more nervous about the impact of sanctions, the possibility that Tehran may counter-attack through its terrorist proxies has to be considered more serious by the day. Daniel Benjamin, the US State Department counter-terrorism co-ordinator, stated in August: “We are increasingly concerned about Hezbollah’s activities on a number of fronts, including its stepped-up terrorist campaign around the world ... and we assess that Hezbollah could attack in Europe or elsewhere at any time with little or no warning.” Putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list will diminish its ability to serve the sinister purposes of the ayatollahs in Tehran.
Some European governments said after the attack in Bulgaria that considering whether or not to name Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation should wait until the official investigation reached its conclusion. Others argued in favour of designating just the so-called military wing as a terrorist body. We know from our own experience in Spain and Northern Ireland that terrorism cannot be defeated unless you tackle all the tentacles that serve the purposes of the terrorists, and that includes the political and financial front organisations. Make no mistake — terrorist groups use all the means at their disposal to survive, flourish and achieve their plans.
Hezbollah is already present and active on European soil; its illegal activities and networks cover the continent. It has shown that it is willing to strike in Europe. That is why European governments must move now to stigmatise Hezbollah and its activities, vision and goals.
Hezbollah is not the Party of God; it is the Party of Terror and we should treat it as such.

*José María Aznar was Prime Minister of Spain, 1996 to 2004; Lord Trimble was First Minister of Northern Ireland, 1998-2002 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coalition Possibilities in Israel

From an email, 23 Jan 2013, by Shmuel Rosner:

...after 99% percent of the count one has to take yet another look at the results:

I believe we may be justified in discerning five [blocs] now, rather than just two. The right – Likud and Habait Hayehudi; the religious – Shas and Yahadut Hatora; the center – Lapid, Livni, Mofaz (Kadima); the left – Labor and Meretz; and the so-called Arab parties (which are in some cases more 'Jewish and Arab' than simply Arab).

Why five? Because five blocs paint a clearer and more accurate picture of the way things are headed: the right, the religious and the center are potential Netanyahu coalition partners, the left and the Arab parties not as much (even though both Netanyahu and Lapid still entertain some hope regarding Labor).

At this point in time the two traditional blocs- right-religious and center-left- mean little. The center – or parts of it - is likely to join Netanyahu. The left isn’t likely to do that. But it gives one a sense of the number of voters rejecting the old Netanyahu coalition – voters that might be willing to tolerate the Prime Minister for four more years, if his coalition changes (and remember, this isn’t final, one mandate or two can still change).

Now you can go back to my post from last night and play thecoalition building game with the four options I presented. The Minimum coalition, the Maximum coalition, the Left-leaning coalition and the Plus Haredi coalition. Most likely, the real coalition will be some kind of mix between two options, or maybe even three.

Not 50, as I said last night, but rather 52 new members are likely to serve in the next Knesset – 52 out of 120. Almost half of the Knesset will have to go through on-the-job-training while the more experienced managers of the coalition will be running circles around them...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Iran must come clean

From CNN, 25 Jan 2013, by Joe Sterling. Jessica Yellin and Holly Yan:

Washington (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry, the president's nominee for secretary of state, put America's anxiety over Iran front and center during his confirmation hearing, saying the "questions surrounding Iran's nuclear program" must be resolved.
"The president has made it definitive," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday during what is expected to be an easy confirmation process.

"We will do what we must do to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and I repeat here today, our policy is not containment. It is prevention, and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance."

There are sanctions and they are working, he said, noting Iran's currency, the rial, has dropped, and other nations have been cooperating in reducing dependence on Iranian oil.
He said there is hope that progress can be made on the diplomatic front with Iran, which says its nuclear aspirations are solely peaceful. World powers believe Iran wants to build nuclear weapons.
"Iranians need to understand that there's no other agenda here," he said. "If their program is peaceful, they can prove it. And that's what we are seeking." ...

Hunting Nazi war criminals

From JPost, 26 Jan 2013, by Efraim Zuroff *:

I have never encountered a case of a Nazi who expressed regret or remorse and was willing to confess to his or her crimes.
Suspected Nazi war criminal Csatary
Suspected Nazi war criminal Csatary Photo: REUTERS
For the past eleven years, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has published an annual report on the efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice all over the world....[which] has fulfilled several important functions...
An... important result is to prove that it is still possible to bring the perpetrators of Holocaust crimes to justice. In that regard, the statistics in our latest report are illuminating.
During the period from April 1, 2011 until March 31, 2012, ten Nazi war criminals were convicted - nine in Italy and one in Germany - a figure five times higher than for the previous year. Since we began keeping statistics on this subject (from January 1, 2001 until March 31, 2012), there have been ninety-nine successful legal decisons against Nazi war criminals, and eighty-nine new indictments filed, six during the previous year. And although there was a decline in the number of new investigations initiated, the number of ongoing investigations as of April 1, 2012 was 1,138 in ten different countries, a figure which leaves room for guarded optimism that at least several addditional war criminals will be held accountable for their crimes in the coming years.
 All of the above clearly demonstrate that it is still possible to bring Nazi war criminals to justice and in fact, the moral and judicial basis to do so remain as convincing as ever and can basically be summarized as follows:
1. The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers. The fact that they have hereto eluded justice does not alter their criminal responsibility.
2. Old age should not afford protection for those who committed such heinous crimes. The fact that a person reaches the age of 85 or 90 does not turn a murderer into a Righteous Gentile.
3. The obligation of our generation to the victims is to make an honest effort to find their killers, who murdered innocent civilians just because they were categorized as "enemies of the Reich."
4. The continued effort to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice sends a powerful message to potential genocidists, that if you commit such terrible crimes, even decades later there will be those trying to find you and make you pay for your crimes. Unfortunately, far too many of those who committed the crimes of the Shoa escaped justice, which can only encourage and inspire today's neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.
5. The prosecution of Nazi war criminals, when conducted properly, are the best history lesson available and an important tool in the fight against Holocaust denial, distortion and revisionism.

And in conclusion, one last point. I am often asked whether in view of the many years which have passed since they committed their crimes as young men and women, the criminals are presently not sorry for what they did. That is, in theory, an interesting question and one which could be strengthened by the enormous amount of information currently available on the Holocaust.
Unfortunately, in my experience, I have never encountered a case of a Nazi who expressed regret or remorse and was willing to confess to his or her crimes. In that respect, these are the last people on earth to deserve any sympathy, since they had none for their innocent victims. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day [27 January], that is an important message that should be internalized all over the world.

*Dr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of its Israel Office, as well as the author of the Center's annual report on the worldwide investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals, which can be read at: His latest book Operation Last Chance; One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice (Palgrave/Macmillan) has been published in seven languages.