Monday, July 31, 2006
Neoconservatism: Douglas Murray
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 26, 2006
Murray: Thank you for having me.
FP: What motivated you to write this book?
Murray: Anger, mostly. Though a good deal of irritation too. Irritation at basic - as well as specific - errors which have gone unchallenged for too long.
In particular among my generation in the West, the understanding of war, peace, history and human behaviour now seems so fundamentally skewed and misguided that I felt I had to help sort some of this mess out. And I wanted to go back on the front foot - to direct attention onto those who have largely escaped the pummelling they deserve. So as well as being a philosophical and practical explanation of Neo-conservative action, this book is a fierce attack on our enemies without and within. It hits the ball back into the court of freedom's opponents - smoking a few of them out along the way.
FP: So what is Neo-conservatism? Who is a Neo-conservative?
Murray: Well the best description has always been Irving Kristol's - that a neocon is 'a liberal who has been mugged by reality'. But the truth is that plenty of present-day 'neocons' never were liberals, so there's now a technical problem in the description. And of course 'liberals' are no longer liberals.
Lots of people simply think neocons are the hardline section of the Republican party. Which isn't true. Neither Dick Cheney nor Donald Rumsfeld are neocons.
I say that neocons are people who see the world as it is, but act to make it as they would like it to be. This makes us different from traditional conservatives (who often distrust ideological drive) and present-day 'liberals' (who don't see the world as it is). Neocons look at the world through classically liberal eyes, but wear good glasses. A neocon is a realist with morals, or a moralist with good eyesight.
FP: So a Neo-con is much better at fighting political war than a Conservative right? Why do you think that Conservatives are so bad at political fighting?
Murray: No - I don't think neocons are necessarily better at fighting political wars. Our PR would certainly suggest not. But when it comes to actual wars, neocons have undoubtedly been better (though not necessarily any more successful) at explaining - for instance - Iraq, than have traditional conservatives, who rarely explained the manifold humanitarian as well as military reasons for toppling the Hussein dictatorship.
When it comes to culture wars, I do think neoconservatives have had better armoury behind them in recent years to back up their case. One might note the difference between the instinctive conservative and the instinctive and intellectually-based conservative. Faced with the moral and verbal acrobatics of the left, instinctive conservatism on its own is often outflanked by the left and becomes befuddled as a result.
But conservatives of all stripes have been pretty poor at arguing their corner in recent years. This has led to a general trend where the 'left' is regarded as the movement of 'progress' and the 'right' as a movement existing to (at best) only slow down the set pace. My book argues that it is conservatism which should set the pace.
FP: Are you a Neo-con? Name some prominent individuals that are Neo-cons and the qualities you think that make them such.
Murray: Of course! I wouldn't have written this book - with this title - if I wasn't one.
There are of course a number of writers who I would say are great examples of neoconservative thinking. From very different directions, Christopher Hitchens and Charles Krauthammer spring to mind. But again it's worth pointing out that whenever you get more than one neoconservative in a room they're as likely to disagree as agree with each other. It's not a doctrine or fraternity - simply a way of looking at the world which, in my opinion, is particularly relevant to the world in which we live.
FP: What are some myths about Neo-conservatism? Why do some charge it as being a "Jewish cabal"?
Murray: Well the myths are too many to mention, but I try to bust many of them in this book. The notion that neocons are a sinister power-cult at the top of the American government is of course conspiracist lunacy. As is the accusation that neocons are bent on world domination. Only in such a moronic age could the allegation that freeing a country from a dictator constitutes 'empire-building' be taken even half-seriously.
And as for the Jewish cabal. Well we all get this. I was asked again recently whether I was Jewish. I pointed out that my Scottish name didn't exactly suggest so, but was told it looked like 'one of those names a Jew has changed to make themselves look non-Jewish!' So you see, you can't win. And anti-Semitic slurs in time of war are of course sadly perennial.
But to answer the substance of the question - lots of first generation neocons were Jews, though just as many weren't. But it seems fairly obvious to me why a Jewish person might be particularly attracted to neoconservatism. Many Jewish people have a strong sense of what is right and wrong which is now lacking from vast swathes of the West. And of course Jewish people are more than usually likely to sympathise with the lot of people living under oppressive and genocidal regimes, and understand the need to address humanitarian crises before they reach their end-point.
FP: You argue that the West needs Neo-conservatism more than ever. Why?
Murray: Because the West is getting lost. Not just the Western way of life - which is increasingly becoming little more than a 'lifestyle choice'. But lost in the sense that it is forgetting what it believes in and therefore why it should even believe in itself. A combination of historical ignorance and moral posturing has led to what Ratzinger called the 'dictatorship of relativism'. In this situation moral clarity - which is one of the things neoconservatism provides - is desperately lacking. And I think this situation is dangerous. Dangerous because into this vacuum any of the worst creeds can stalk. Relativism's descent into nihilism is not the end of the problem. It is the beginning of it.
So we need to explain to people that it isn't enough to sit back when something bad happens to us and say 'well we once did x, y, or z.' Or to continually draw parity between democracies and tyrannies - or terrorists and free states. We have to persuade people that self-flagellation and ahistorical posturing are not expressions of intellectual and moral worth, but a substitute for them.
Neoconservatism - as explained in this book - provides a way out of the mental and moral inertia which now prevails and which allows people to think they are good human beings because they once went on a march to stop a tyrant's overthrow, or feel they 'understand' what drives a Palestinian terrorist to become a Jew-murderer.
FP: What perspective does/should Neo-conservatism have -- in general -- on the war breaking out in the Middle East right now and on the terror war in general?
Murray: Well I hope the war isn't 'breaking out', but rather coming to a close with a complete operational success for the IDF. The idea of this escalating from a war with a state-proxy into a war between Israel and one or more states is terrible. That said, if Iran and Syria continue to flaunt their sponsorship and support of terror then it becomes not just a duty, but a necessity, to deal with them. Whenever they get away with an attack or a snub, they are emboldened. At present they calculate that we do not have the stomach to enter another fight. Whether this is the case or not, we cannot allow this presumption to perpetuate. It is, as so often, our weakness which is a provocation.
I've just got back from the region, and while there I witnessed - and experienced - the rocket bombardment in Northern Israel, as well as the terror of the people of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where suicide bombers have been caught in recent days about to detonate.
We must emphasise that parity does not exist when there is a war between a democratic state and a terror organisation. This is something that large swathes of the media - and the UN - simply cannot understand. Such a conflict is not a 50/50 event. And the scales do not tip against Israel because Israel has suffered fewer casualties to date. You do not decide who is right by affecting a body-count. Germany lost more troops than Great Britain in the last World War, but it didn't make Germany right. Would those who talk so idiotically of disproportionate response against Hezbollah be happier if more Katyushas were making direct hits on Israeli citizens?
Any decent person must emphasise that this is a conflict between free people and terrorists - an army that does everything it can to limit civilian casualties and an organisation whose aim is to maximise civilian casualties. Between two such sides no equivalence can be made.
The battle will - and must - be over only when Hezbollah's weaponry of terror is entirely destroyed. Neither the US nor any other ally of Israel should demand a ceasefire at any date before the time of Israel's choosing. If they do demand it, Israel should ignore it. A ceasefire which returns us to the status-quo ante would be a temporary ceasefire which would make the sufferings of recent weeks and months not just pointless, but perpetual.
The conflict currently going on is a local version of the war in which we are all engaged. Trace back just one step, in Iraq, Lebanon, London or New York, and you get the same story, and the same ring-leaders. Israel's war is our war, and we should be proud that at least one of our allies is successfully fighting this war for us as well as for themselves. Victory for Israel against Hezbollah will be a victory for all free peoples, not least the people of Lebanon.
The Hezbollah are already holding one country - Lebanon - hostage. We cannot allow them to hold another country - Israel - hostage as well. A draw in this conflict will be a loss for Israel, and neither Israel, nor the West as a whole, can afford any losses in this global war against Islamist terror.
FP: Douglas Murray, thank you for joining us.
Murray: Thank you.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Iran's War in Lebanon
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 27, 2006
Haifa, Israel - Some have suggested that the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization in Lebanon is the beginning of World War III.
"This is more like the Spanish Civil War," says Daniel Seaman, an Israeli government spokesman. "What we are seeing is a series of conflicts that foreshadow a future world conflict, just as the Spanish Civil war prefigured the Second World War."
Seaman's analogy is worth exploring.
Just as Hitler used Franco as his proxy in Spain to test new military techniques and equipment on the battlefield, so Iran is using Hezbollah as its proxy to do the same.
Hezbollah is no longer a rag-tag guerilla group, but a veritable terrorist army. "They understand complex military tactics, and are pursuing combined military operations using ground forces, missiles, intelligence, and the media," Seaman said.
Over the past six years, following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon, Iran began supplying Hezbollah with massive quantities of long-range artillery rockets of a type never before used against Israel.
These Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets have a range of around 43 kilometers, and carry a 50 kilogram warhead packed with thousands of deadly ballbearings.
These are terrorist mass-kill weapons, designed to kill as many civilians as possible. No one standing within a 50 meter radius of one of these incoming rocket can survive, Israeli bomb experts say. The Fajr-3 was used with great success in a July 16 attack that killed eight railway workers at a repair depot in downtown Haifa.
"When they showed me the small pellets packed inside, I thought they were showing me a suicide bomber belt," Haifa mayor Yona Yahav told me. In fact, Iran modeled the design of the Fajr-3 warhead on the suicide bomber belts, with the clear aim of maximum its lethality.
Syria supplied similar rockets to Hezbollah, packed with ball-bearings. Hezbollah purchased smaller rockets from Communist China, after they had been similarly modified.
How many terrorist groups can boast an arsenal of over 10,000 long-range rockets? Only those with the backing of a sovereign state, Iran.
Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni explained Hezbollah's aims with stark clarity here yesterday.
"While Israel is targeting Hezbollah, and during this operation, unfortunately it can lead to loss of civilian life, Hezbollah is targeting our cities in order to hit, in order to target civilians and to target Israeli population centers. This is a crucial difference."
This is a strategy Iran is testing out for a future war. Iran is testing Israel, probing Israel's reaction, and testing the response of the international community.
Let's recall how this all began. On July 12, a Hezbollah commando broke through the security fence at the border and snuck into Israel. In an operation that lasted scarcely five minutes, they ambushed an Israeli army Humvee on patrol, killed three soldiers, kidnapped two others, and escaped back across the border.
Shortly afterwards, Hezbollah launched six long-range rockets into Israel, hitting Haifa, Israel's third largest city. It was the first time Haifa had been attacked in such a manner.
How would the Israelis respond? Would they launch a massive ground assault into Lebanon? That was what the Iranians were hoping, because they believed it would catalyze the Muslim world against Israel, and position Iran as the new champion of the Muslim "resistance."
When the Israelis didn't bite, the Iranians ordered Hezbollah to step up the rocket attacks against Israeli cities, towns and villages. On day two, they launched 133 rockets into northern Israel, 108 on day three, and 126 on day four.
In response, Israel launched air strikes deep into Lebanon, striking the airport, cutting resupply routes into Syria, and attempting to knock out command bunkers where they believed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was hiding. But none of this deterred Hezbollah, and for good reason: the Iranians had prepared them to fight a long war, dispersing their weaponry across Lebanon.
On July 15, Iranian advisors in charge of Hezbollah's more sophisticated weapons stunned the Israelis by launching two sophisticated C-802 anti-shipping missiles against an Israeli SAAR-5 boat cruising some 18 kilometers off the Lebanese coast.
One of the missiles was apparently deflected by Israeli counter-measures, and hit a Cambodian merchant vessel that was 60 km from the coast and 44 km down range from the Israeli ship, according to a technical analysis of the attack published by the Israel Resource News Agency on Tuesday. The second seriously damaged the Israeli corvette, the INS Ahi-Hanit.
What terrorist groups possess third-generation radar-guided anti-shipping missiles? The Chinese-built C-802s were first shipped to Iran in 1995, and at the time generated concern among U.S. naval commanders in the Persian Gulf because at the time the U.S. had no defense against them.
The Israelis had electronic countermeasures on board the Ahi-Hanit that could have deflected the missiles, the experts believe, but had turned them off for fear of friendly-fire incidents against Israeli fighters flying overhead.
More lessons learned for the Iranians.
And how did Israel respond to the rocket attacks?
Anyone who has been watching television over the past two weeks has probably heard the eerie wail of the air raid sirens that go off many times each day in Haifa and in smaller towns and settlements across northern Israel.
As many as 500,000 Israelis have fled the warzone. Most of Israel north of Haifa is deserted, while those remaining are living in underground shelters.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav estimated that the economic impact has been devastating - "in the billions of shekels" of lost business for Haifa alone. That's roughly $500 million.
Israeli officials believe the Iranians gave the go-ahead for the kidnapping and the rocket war. They point to the unannounced arrival in Damascus the night before Hezbollah launched its attacks by the head of Iran's National Security Council and Iran's intelligence minister.
For Dr. Michael Oren, author of a forthcoming book on the history of the U.S. relationship to the Middle East, the current conflict is just a stage in the war against Iran. "People need to realize this is not a bilateral conflict. It is part of the broad regional and international conflict between the West and Islamic fundamentalism championed by Iran," he told me.
Dr. Oren is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center for Strategic Studies in Jerusalem. He is also a major in the Israeli Defense Forces reserves. He was called up for active duty on July 21, but asked for a three day extension so he could finish his new book, Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East from 1776 to the Present.
He believes the stakes of Israel's effort to smash Hezbollah as an effective fighting force in Lebanon go way beyond the immediate impact on Israeli or Lebanese civilians.
"If we don't win in Lebanon, Iran will be well on the way to creating an arc of influence extending from the Indian border to the Mediterranean," he said.
Those are the stakes.
Iran launched this war to deflect attention from the G-8 summit in Saint Petersburg from its nuclear weapons program. But at the same time, it launched this war to try out new weapons and new tactics for future conflicts.
The next step, should the West fail to step up to the plate: how about long-range Shahab-3 missiles in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, aimed at Europe? And how do you think the Europeans would respond, seeing the devastating impact far smaller rockets fired into Israel have had on Israel's economy?
Can you imagine Parisians or Romans taking to the bomb-shelters? Sending their children to stay with relatives living overseas? Can you imagine them resisting Iran as Israel is doing?
Unchecked, Iran will continue its march toward nuclear power, and it will use terrorist proxies to conduct war against the West. In the future, those proxies will have nuclear weapons.
This is the "hurricane" Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised the world earlier this week in Tehran, in yet another "mein kampf" statement.
Now is the time to draw the line.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Another Unruly Iranian Girl Crane-Hoist-Hanged for Sex, by Mullahs
EXCLUSIVE: HANGED FROM A CRANE AGED 16
EXCLUSIVE JUSTICE IRAN STYLE: SICK GIRL EXECUTED BY JUDGE SHE DEFIED
By Susie Boniface
IT WAS exactly 6am and the start of another blisteringly hot summer day when 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi was dragged from her prison cell and taken to be executed.
Every step of the way the troubled teenager plagued by mental problems shouted "repentance, repentance" as the militiamen marched her to the town's Railway Square.
The Iranian judge who had sentenced Atefeh to death was left unmoved as he personally put the noose around her neck and signalled to the crane driver.
Kicking and screaming, Atefeh was left dangling for 45 minutes from the arm of the crane as the crowd sobbed and - under their breath - damned the mullahs.
Atefeh's crime? Offending public morality. She was found guilty of "acts incompatible with chastity" by having sex with an unmarried man, even though friends say Atefeh was in such a fragile mental state that she wasn't in a position to say no.
But Judge Haji Rezaii was determined she should hang, regardless of the rules of international law which say only adults over 18 can be executed, and that the courts have a duty to children and the mentally ill.
The brutal end to Atefeh's short life has shone a new light on Iran's Shariah law, where adultery, theft and rape all carry the same punishment - death. Officially around 100 people - some just children like Atefeh - are executed each year. But human rights groups say the true figure could be much higher in a country where only half of the women can read, only one in 10 have a job and two-thirds are beaten in their homes.
Life was never easy for Atefeh, who was brought up in the industrial town of Neka, 250 miles from Tehran and close to the Caspian Sea. Her mother died when she was a child and her father Ghasseem, a heroin addict, left her grandparents to bring her up. She suffered from bi-polar disorder, which led to severe mood swings from hyperactivity to depression. Worried parents told their children to stay away from her - something many regret now. "Perhaps we should have helped her instead," said Hamid. "I think the death of her mother had a devastating effect. Before that, she was a normal girl. Her mother was everything to her. After she died, there was no one to look after her."
Mina, a childhood friend, said Atefeh was abused by a close relative. "She never dared talk about it with an adult," said Mina. "If she had told her teacher they'd have called her a whore. Tell the police? They lock you up and rape you." Atefeh first appeared in court, accused of having sex with an unmarried man at 14. Over the next two years she was accused of the same crime with different men.
They denied it and were sentenced to the lash and then released. But Atefeh pleaded guilty and each time received 100 lashes and a prison term. Mina said: "Atefeh sometimes talked about what these 'moral' Islamic policemen did to her while she was in jail. She still had nightmares about that. Atefeh said her mood swings made it easy for men to take advantage of her, and that most of her lovers were in the security force."
Two of them were members of the anti-vice militia. They encouraged other men to sign statements saying Atefeh had engaged in vice, and even claimed she had AIDS.
It was when Atefeh appeared before Judge Rezaii for a fourth time that she lost her temper - and also her life. In a rage she tore off her hi jab - a headscarf - and told the judge she had been raped and it was his duty to punish her tormentors, not their victim.
Rezaii told her she would hang for her "sharp tongue" and that he would put the noose around her neck himself. It became a personal crusade as he travelled to Tehran and convinced the Supreme Court to uphold his verdict.
Two petitions by her friends, saying she was mentally unwell, were ignored. Her father produced her birth certificate proving she was 16. Yet the judges "decreed" she was 22.
Atefeh also wrote to the Supreme Court: "There are medical documents that prove I have a weak nerve and soul. In some minutes of the day and night I lose my sanity. In a society where an insane person can be serially raped it is no wonder that a person like me is the victim of such an ugly act."
The day before she died she wrote again, saying: "Repentance, repentance, repentance." In Iranian law anyone who shows remorse has an automatic stay of execution and a right to appeal, but she was ignored.
A local pharmacist watched Atefeh's execution on August 15, 2004. "She looked so young standing there," he said. "Rezaii must have felt a personal grudge against her. He put the rope around her neck himself. I looked around and everyone in the crowd was sobbing and damning the mullahs." The family's lawyer has now filed a suit of wrongful execution against the judge and is preparing a murder case. Her life is also the subject of a secretly filmed documentary, Execution of a Teenage Girl, which will be screened on BBC2 on Thursday.
One of Atefeh's teachers said the authorities wanted to make an example of her: "She wouldn't take injustice from anyone, but the mullahs equate these qualities in a girl to prostitution and evil. They wanted to give all the girls and women a lesson."
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "The killing of Atefeh is a catalogue of the most appalling human rights violations. The public hanging of a child, believed to be mentally incompetent, totally beggars belief. To hang a child flies in the face of all that is humane."
CRUELTY OF SHARIA LAW
PENALTIES imposed by Iran's religious mullahs include:
ADULTERY: Death by stoning.
UNMARRIED SEX: 100 lashes.
CONVERSION TO RELIGION OTHER THAN ISLAM: Death.
SODOMY: Death for adults, 74 lashes for consenting child.
LESBIANISM: 100 lashes, or on the fourth occasion death.
HOMOSEXUAL KISS: 60 lashes.
RUBBING ANOTHER MAN'S THIGHS OR BUTTOCKS: 99 lashes - on 4th occasion, death.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Rape Legal in the UK... if you are a Muslim!
By Andrew Norfolk
Between 2003 and 2005, 518 forced marriages were recorded in London, and in 2005 more than 140 in Bradford. Campaigners say those are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Most cases in Britain involve Muslim families, although the practice is not restricted to any particular religious or ethnic group. Most victims are aged between 16 and 20 and many suffer physical assault, death threats and false imprisonment, usually at the hands of close family members.
Suicide rates among young Asian women are more than three times the national average and about 12 women every year die as a result of so-called "honour killings".
Last September the Home Office launched a consultation paper on creating a specific criminal offence of forcing someone into wedlock. Although the proposal was welcomed by many victims' groups, some organisations complained that it would increase racial segregation. The Muslim Council of Britain gave a warning that such a law might become "another way to stigmatise our communities".
When Baroness Scotland, the Home Office Minister, announced the Government's reversal, she said that most of those consulted "felt that the disadvantages of creating new legislation would outweigh the advantages".
Mr Allen, who tackles honour-related violence and advises the Association of Chief Police Officers on the issue, told The Times: "There is a school of thought which suggests that a specific piece of legislation may have the impact of driving the practice further underground . . . For me the persuasive argument is about the message we send out. We have already received feedback from community groups suggesting that the decision not to make it a criminal offence means it must be all right.
"We need political and faith leaders from within these communities to stand up and utterly reject these practices."
Nazir Afzal, the Crown Prosecution Service director for London West, said that a new law would have helped campaigners in minority communities to stamp out forced marriage. "I have heard it said that a new criminal offence would be just another stick to beat the Muslim community with, but my belief is that we should be carrying our own stick," he said.
"More than 60 per cent of cases involve Muslim families, particularly Pakistani Muslim families, yet there is no faith foundation for it A forced marriage in Islam is no marriage at all. The community has a responsibility. I hear dialogue from victims but I don't hear a great deal from Muslim men."
Mr Afzal was closely involved in the case of Samaira Nazir, 25, who was murdered because her family disapproved of the man she wanted to marry. Her brother and cousin were jailed for life earlier this month for the killing.
Laura Richards, the Homicide Prevention Unit head, said that banning forced marriage "would have sent out a very powerful message that it is not to be tolerated or accepted".
Jasvinder Sanghera, of the Nirvana Asian Women's Project, which helps victims, said: "A new criminal offence would have given the victims the power to say to their family, 'You can't do this to me. It's against the law.' It's a chance missed and it's already doing damage. Political correctness is not an excuse for moral blindness."
Cases generally involve women aged between 15 and 24. One in four victims is under the age of 18
One in 17 victims is male.
Although 80 per cent of those responsible for coercing people into forced marriage are male, one in five is female. The vast majority are members of the same family as the victim
Of 109 so-called "honour killings" studied by the Homicide Prevention Unit, one in five was linked to forced marriage
The national domestic violence helpline is 0808-200-0247
In the midst of the Struggle against the terror-violence...
If only this message would be accepted the world over! (A big thanks to "anonymous" from Greece ?? for sending this.)
Thomas Sowell: Then and now
Those of us old enough to remember World War II face many painful reminders of how things have changed in Americans' behavior during a war. Back then, the president's defeated opponent in the 1940 election -- Wendell Wilkie -- not only supported the war, he became a personal envoy from President Roosevelt to Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
We were all in it together -- and we knew it. People who had been highly critical of American foreign policy before we were attacked at Pearl Harbor now fell silent and devoted themselves to winning the war.
What if the people, institutions, and attitudes of today were somehow taken back in time to World War II? What would have been the result? Would we have ended up winning or losing that war?
What about the great cry of the hour, a cease fire?
It so happens that World War II had the biggest cease fire in history. It was called "the phony war" because, although France was officially at war with Germany, the French did very little fighting for months, while the bulk of the German army was in Poland and France had overwhelming military superiority on the western front.
Famed correspondent William L. Shirer reported on the "unreal" western front, with soldiers "on both sides looking but not shooting." German soldiers bathed in the Rhine and waved to French soldiers on the other side, who waved back.
During this period Hitler offered to negotiate peace with France and England.
Kofi Anan would have loved it.
On November 19, 1939, Shirer's diary reported: "For almost two months now there has been no military action on land, sea, or in the air." On January 1, 1940, he wrote, "this phony kind of war cannot continue long." But it was now exactly four months since war was declared. How is that for a cease fire?
Did this de facto cease fire lead to peace? No. Like other cease fires, it helped the aggressor.
It gave Hitler time to move his divisions from the eastern front, after they had conquered Poland, to the western front, facing France.
Now that military superiority along the Rhine had shifted in favor of the German armies, the war suddenly went from being phony to being devastatingly real.
Hitler attacked and France collapsed in six weeks.
Kofi Anan would undoubtedly have called for a cease fire.
He could have pointed out that the American response to Germany was wholly "disproportionate" because the Germans had never landed troops in America or bombed American cities, and were certainly no real threat to the United States at that point.
Much of the Japanese navy was at the bottom of the ocean by this time and most of their planes had been shot down. Why not a negotiated settlement, in order to spare innocent civilian lives?
And what if we had listened to such talk?
No doubt Germany and Japan would have signed some kind of negotiated agreement in order to get the allied armies off their backs and get some breathing room.
Both Germany and Japan had programs to try to build nuclear bombs. One of the Nazis' last acts before surrendering was to send material by submarine to Japan to help advance their nuclear program.
Any peace we might have negotiated with Japan would have given the Japanese time to develop not only nuclear technology but also war planes whose plans had been gotten from Germany, which had the most advanced planes in the world at that time.
There is not the slightest doubt that Japan would not have had the slightest hesitation to drop nuclear bombs on American cities. And they would not have come back in later years to wring their hands at what they had done, as too many American have done at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
But we didn't cease firing until our enemies were defeated. Kofi Anan and today's "world opinion" would not have liked that.
Why Israel's Reaction is Right - Der Spiegel
By Matthias Küntzel
It has almost become a reflex on the Continent. In 2003, 59 percent of all Europeans pointed to Israel as the country presenting the greatest risk to world peace. On the third day of the current crisis, fully three quarters of all Germans polled were convinced that Israel was overreacting and using too much force in its response to Hezbollah. And since then, the images coming from the war zone have set the tenor: A cease-fire, most believe, should begin as soon as possible.
I disagree -- and have four reasons for doing so.
First, Israel is fighting a just war. Germany and the European Union should unequivocally back Israel.
This "holy hatred" comes with no conditions attached. It doesn't depend on whether one is Jewish or not -- the single measuring stick is whether one blindly obeys the Sharia and dedicates one's life to the Koran. And this "hate" wouldn't disappear were Israel to cease to exist -- the Islamist creed calls for the "World of Arrogance" to also submit to the Sharia, meaning this genocidal wave of hate should ultimately spread across the globe. In order to expedite this goal, the Iranian leadership indicated that thousands of suicide bombers would be sent out to targets across the world. The men and women of the Israeli military are currently fighting on the front lines against this apocalyptic program -- should we not at least consider offering our solidarity?
Second, Israel wants peace.
So far, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government has succeeded in coupling its military operation with transparent political goals. Every step can be justified. On the one hand, Israel recognizes Lebanon as a sovereign state, thus making it responsible for the Hezbollah attack on June 12 in which the group abducted two Israeli soldiers.
Hezbollah, on the other hand, is marching to a different drummer. Their motto is: "You love life, we love death." There is nothing, gushes Hezbollah's patron Ahmadinejad, "more beautiful, holier or more eternal than the death of a martyr." Thus, Hezbollah is not only happy to kill as many Jews as possible, it is not bothered by the deaths of Shiite Muslims as well and has thus strategically based many of their rockets directly in the middle of Shiite residential districts.
While Hezbollah, with their inaccurate missiles, tries to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible, Israel -- even if not always successful -- tries to limit the number of Lebanese civilian casualties.
Third, there is no alternative to Israel's current military operation.
Never before have the conditions been better for Israel to complete the mission of weakening Hezbollah. The longer the Israeli military can focus on the job at hand, the better the chances are that Lebanon can be freed from the influence of Hezbollah and that the conditions for a lasting peace in the region can be created.
With this in mind, the demand for an immediate cease-fire is the equivalent of a plea for saving Hezbollah. The group's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah would be able to come out of his hiding place and tell his fighters that, while they may have suffered some casualties, they successfully defended Hezbollah's existence and dignity. He would also be able to rely on Iran to finance the rebuilding of the destroyed Shiite areas and make the claim that Hezbollah was the most important representative of Arab interests. In the case of an immediate cease-fire, a continuation and intensification of the war would be guaranteed.
Fourth, Israel's military operation has already resulted in positive effects.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has likewise seen fit to distance himself from Hezbollah and the terrorism the group represents -- clearly the result of the weakening of an organization that has until now been able to keep the Lebanese government in line.
Last but not least, Hezbollah's patron Iran has only produced a feeble response. Whereas Ahmadinejad on July 12 pronounced the eve of Israel's destruction, the country's counterattack left him speechless for a full 48 hours. When he found his tongue again, he said merely that an Israeli attack against Syria would result in a fierce Iranian response. He said nothing about the ongoing attack against his close allies in Lebanon. Promptly, the bellicose language coming out of Tehran and Damascus was exposed as empty rhetoric: Neither of these two countries has sought to actively defend Hezbollah. Israel's offensive has thus managed to deflate Ahmadinejad's regional image.
Of course the political successes that can be seen today do not eliminate the possibility of nasty surprises tomorrow. Islamists are desperately denouncing the Arabian League's "treachery" and trying to mobilize radicals in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Whether they will be successful remains an open question. The Iranian leadership has likewise sought to strengthen the resolve of Hezbollah: "Well done Nasrallah," said Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, speaker of the Iranian parliament, on July 18. "Today we are seeing the liberation of Palestine. The war has just begun." It's difficult to predict Iran's reaction: Will they accept the defeat of their Islamist allies or will they escalate the conflict by sending suicide bombers to Lebanon and Europe?
The pacifist reaction that the Israeli defensive war has triggered in Germany and Europe is not well thought out and is disingenuous. It is also counter-productive. An immediate cease-fire would merely result in a worse conflict in the future. The consequences drawn from Adolf Hitler's World War II -- "Never again fascism! Never again war!" -- were intended to prevent an anti-Semitic war from ever again taking place. Today, that lesson has been forgotten. "Never again war against fascism" is all that remains.
Hezbollah Uses Mass-Kill Rockets
Kenneth R. Timmerman, NewsMax.com
NewsMax contributing editor and Middle East expert Kenneth R. Timmerman is in Israel covering the conflict there. He reports from Haifa.
HAIFA, Israel -- The rockets Hezbollah is raining down on Haifa and much of northern Israel are distinctly different from the Soviet-built katyushas of earlier wars, Israeli officials say.
Instead of standard military fragmentation warheads - deadly enough - Hezbollah's rockets are packed with thousands of tiny ball-bearings, which burst out from the warhead in every direction like so many bullets.
"This kind of rocket gives no one a chance," Haifa police chief, Commander Nir Meriash, told NewsMax today.
More than 1,200 rockets have hit northern Israel over the past thirteen days, killing 17 civilians and wounding another 410, according to the Israeli police.
At least 60 of the Hezbollah rockets have slammed into Haifa over the past two weeks. Most of them have been 220 mm Katyusha-type rockets, made in Syria. Each rocket carries 40,000 deadly ball bearings, packed into a warhead with 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of high explosives.
In addition, around a half-dozen of the larger FAJR-3 rockets have hit the Haifa area, including a deadly strike on July 16 that killed eight railway workers in a train maintenance depot.
The FAJR rockets, made in Iran, carry a 110 pound warhead. But what made the July 16 strike so deadly were the tiny ball bearings packed inside.
"Haifa has never been attacked like this," Meriash said. "These attacks are meant to kill civilians."
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Major Bias in News Reporting on Lebanon
Primarily Muslim Suffering Reported with little mention of how the war got started (by Muslim attacks, as usual), and a demonization of those who dare to fight back against the Muslims. But Muslim atrocities go largely unreported. For example, from just today:
Group: Gunmen have killed 682 in Somalia
By SALAD DUHUL, Associated Press Writer
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Gunmen have killed 682 civilians, including a foreign journalist, in executions over the past year in Somalia, a local rights group said Sunday.
The killings took place largely in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Some came during battles for control of the city, others were due to clan differences, a few were kidnappings and some were for unknown motives, according to the report by the Dr. Ismael Jumale Human Rights Center.
Those killings included the June slaying of Swedish journalist Martin Adler as he filmed a protest in Mogadishu. An unidentified gunman shot Adler in the back. ....
Hizballah sub-contracts Palestinian launch squads, uses Christian villages as human shields
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Palestinian Jihad Islami, Ahmed Jibril’s PFLP-General Command and Palestinian crime gangs based in S. Lebanon’s Burj Shimali east of Tyre are leading the rocket offensive against Nahariya and coastal Galilee. Early Wednesday, an Israeli air raid struck a village house in this sector east of Tyre, causing 10 deaths, according to Lebanese officials.
DEBKAfile further discloses that the rocket fire against the eastern town of Safed emanates from the Maronite Christian village of Rumeish, while the Galilee panhandle villages and the town of Kiryat Shemona are being attacked from the Christian villages of Marjayoun and Kleia in central-south Lebanon. One difficulty in halting Hizballah’s rocket barrage in the east has been Israel’s reluctance to attack Christian targets, except for pinpointing launch teams. Israeli negotiators are in contact with the village heads on terms for their evacuation so that Hizballah sites can be smashed.
Hizballah is using Lebanese Christians as human shields for its attacks and their towns and villages as supply centers to pump ordnance to the launch teams in forward positions. The Israeli air force therefore attacked Hizballah targets sheltering near the Maronite town of Zahleh Tuesday and is taking out every container truck heading west from the Beqaa Valley on the Syrian border. Eighteen such trucks were blown up Tuesday.
And... Coming Soon, to a Neighborhood Near You... the Sharia Cops, keeping women humble and chaste... and if a beating doesn't do it, the Talibans will simply shoot those who disagree. Sold like cattle into loveless rape-marriages, and herded about in the streets like goats. Old bearded sex-hating, women-hating men, dried-up and hardened desert character structures filled with rage, roaming the streets with clubs, knives and guns, stomping to bits every hint or gleam of life and love...
Thanks to www.thereligionofpeace.com for the pic.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
A History of Violence: How the Mass Media Has Distorted the Israel-Lebanon Conflict,
By Josh Gellers
[Note: Josh Gellers is a graduate student at Columbia University and a freelance writer. He received a BA in political science magna cum laude with a minor in geography and a certificate in international relations from the University of Florida. Valedictorian of his graduating class, Josh served as vice president of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Council and editor-in-chief of the UF International Review, the university's only political science publication and has interned in Washington with the Department of Commerce. Josh is a junior fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and has presented research on Latin America, popular culture, and American voting behavior at several state and international conferences. He can be reached at email@example.com]
Reading the comments made by readers of the Huffington Post always brings a smile to my face and, for better or worse, they usually seem to present a general, albeit limited, consensus on an issue. In terms of the comments made by avid HuffPo readers on both Bill Maher and Arianna Huffington’s articles regarding the Middle East’s most recent neighborhood spat between Israel and Lebanon, the consensus seems to be that people disagree with how Israel is conducting itself. Unfortunately, reading these responses has made this sardonic editorialist acutely aware of the horribly one-sided job that the mass media is doing of depicting the situation and its circumstances.
But before jumping into the attentive computer-savvy public’s wildly distorted view of the current crisis, it is essential to provide some background information. This month’s volatile exchange between Israel and Lebanon has historic roots dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, when Palestinian refugees sought to relocate in southern Lebanon. In 1968, Israel was invaded by Palestinians from Lebanon who also launched rockets into Israeli territories.
In 1975, a civil war erupted in Lebanon as a result of the struggle to achieve religiously proportionate representation in the government when four Christians leaving a church in Beirut were killed. Shortly after, twenty-seven Palestinians were killed in response. The two main factions in this dispute were Muslims, who hoped to have a larger say in government, and Christians, who controlled the Lebanese government. When it came time to choose sides (as is customary in Middle East conflicts) the Palestinian Liberation Organization supported its fellow Muslims and Israel supported the Christians, specifically the Maronites.
Eventually the Muslims became disenfranchised by the PLO, however, and the radical Islamist group led by Yassir Arafat seized control of southern Lebanon. The PLO conducted its own attack on Israel with reckless abandon until Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in 1978 after Fatah militants killed thirty-seven Israelis. The United Nations Security Council demanded Israel’s retreat from Lebanon. Israel withdrew from Lebanon later in 1978 but maintained a limited presence by establishing a security zone in the southern part of the country protected by the South Lebanon Army, supported militarily by Israel.
A cease-fire was enacted in 1981 but it was largely ineffectual due to the fact that the PLO could still attack Israel from Jordan and the West Bank leaving Israel with no way to respond without violating the agreement. Reaching the boiling point again, Israel finally decided to invade Lebanon. Another UN Security Council resolution on June 6, 1982 called for Israel’s swift withdrawal but the United States used its veto on the measure. On June 26, 1982 the UN Security Council attempted to put through yet another resolution demanding Israel’s withdrawal and it was met by another United States veto. The year 1982 also saw the creation of a Lebanese Islamic militia group called Hezbollah, based on the radical fundamentals of Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khomeini.
Progress was made in 1989 when the Taif Agreement was reached, ending the Lebanese civil war and creating more religious equality in the government. This landmark achievement was greeted by the assassination of Lebanon’s newly elected president in a car bombing and Lebanese military leader Michel Aoun’s dissolution of Parliament. Hezbollah continued to grow following the Taif Agreement, which called for the “disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.” To the chagrin of Israel and much of the world, the Lebanese government refused to comply with this aspect of the Taif Agreement, citing the group’s legitimacy as a resistance to Israel’s continued occupation. This is a major point of contention in this conflict.
In case anyone is in unaware of Hezbollah’s intentions, statements made by the group’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, should assuage any doubt. In a 1999 rally, Nasrallah told his audience of cheering supporters that “There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel” and “I promise Israel that it will see more suicide attacks, for we will write our history with blood.” During the rally, the air filled with chants such as “Death to Israel, death to America” and “Jerusalem is ours” while members of the crowd trampled flags of Israel and the United States. Not much ambiguity there.
In May 2000, Israel withdrew forces earlier than was required from Lebanon, an action certified by the United Nations and celebrated by the Lebanese. While Israel was busy complying with UN orders, Hezbollah was deemed the unofficial military force of southern Lebanon by the government and began instigating violence in the region known as Shebaa Farms, which militia members claim as Lebanese territory but in actuality is formerly Syrian land occupied by Israel. Hezbollah and the Lebanese government maintain that Shebaa Farms “should have been included in the Israeli withdrawal in 2000.” Since when is wishful thinking grounds for warfare?
In the years following the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, a dispute over natural resources heightened political tensions. The BBC News reported that in 2001, Lebanon began “pumping water from a tributary of the River Jordan to supply a southern border village despite opposition from Israel” and in 2002, Lebanon announced plans to divert water from the Wazzani River, which “provides 10% of [Israel’s] drinking water.” Israel responded by issuing threats regarding the unlawful diversion of the river.
In April 2002, Hezbollah guerillas shot rockets at Israeli soldiers stationed at posts in Shebaa Farms. The attack prompted Israel to retaliate with air raids and artillery fire on Hezbollah targets. In January of 2003, Hezbollah militant forces shot “anti-tank rockets and artillery rounds” at Israeli soldiers stationed in the disputed Shebaa Farms area. Israel came back with “artillery fire and air strikes.” One year later, Hezbollah launched an anti-tank missile at two Israeli soldiers operating a bulldozer that was “clearing mines on Israeli soil.” Hezbollah claimed that the bulldozer had encroached upon their land while “Israeli army radio said the bulldozer was on the Israeli side of the border.” Starting to notice a pattern? In 2004 the UN passed a resolution with language identical to the Taif Agreement, once again calling for the removal and disbanding of militia forces in Lebanon. As expected, the Lebanese government stood behind Hezbollah and refused to remove or disband the group.
The most recent military engagement conducted by Israel has occurred as a reaction to Hezbollah’s “Operation Truthful Promise,” an oath to reclaim Lebanese prisoners by capturing Israeli soldiers and forcing an exchange. How poetically scrupulous in intent. In the process of accomplishing this valiant mission, eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped. Enter the current state of affairs.
It appears as though most (dare I say all) of Israel’s military responses have come on the wings of a prior attack by Hezbollah. This tit-for-tat arrangement has perpetuated violence and destruction in the region and yet many in the blogosphere seem comfortably at home condemning only Israel for merely responding to unprovoked attacks based on what amounts to the Lebanese dissatisfaction with internationally sanctioned terms of a peace agreement. I call it being a sore loser. A sore loser is someone who is not content with an outcome, but then again when has the word “content” been synonymous with any action of any scale in the Arab world?
So where does Hezbollah currently stand? As of the 2005 Lebanese Parliamentary elections, Hezbollah holds twenty-three seats in government. To put Hezbollah’s presence in American terms, it would be kind of like giving the Italian mafia sixteen seats in the Senate and seventy seats in the House of Representatives. Hezbollah, the same militant force that represents Lebanon’s largest religious faction in government, has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada despite the fact that it never claims responsibility for any terrorist action. At least Al-Qaeda sends out video confessions. Hopefully, I have presented enough historical evidence to lay some lingering confusions to rest. Now onto a refutation of two of the most prevalent critiques of Israel during the most recent chapter of the Israel-Lebanon conflict.
One of the most popular claims being made is that Israel’s response to having eight of its soldiers killed and two soldiers kidnapped is disproportionate to the force utilized by Lebanon. Never before have I read so many people adhere to one of the main operating procedures of American law enforcement- proportionate response- almost to a fault. It’s funny how police are often slapped on the wrist for shooting someone on a split-second decision when it appears as though a subject fitting the description of a recent culprit appears to be brandishing a firearm, yet the Internet cyber-public thinks that Israel should adopt a Biblically-derived “eye for an eye” attitude towards other countries when in fact the media has yet to place the entire Israel-Lebanon conflict in a meaningful context.
What a terrifically flawed double standard! Based on what appears to be the e-public’s unified demand, the best course of action for Israel would be to bomb the northern territory of Lebanon, infiltrate the country, and kidnap two of its soldiers. Then both parties could merely exchange bodies as if the countries were playing secret Santa. Unlike its hostile surrounding countries,
Israel does not target civilians or places where there might be a lot of them. That is a doctrine explicitly used by the terrorist factions masquerading as governments of nearby Arab states.
While the mass media highlights the civilian death toll that has increased as the days have worn on, it curiously neglects to mention how civilian casualties are a sad byproduct of any kind of warfare and that unlike its seemingly ivory-soaked neighbors, the Israeli military has not adopted the strategy of bombing schools, places of worship, shopping centers, and restaurants. If Lebanon really wants to play fair, Israel should relinquish its casualty-minimizing, military installation-focused response and just go for the gut. At least then things would be proportionate. This leads aptly to the second popular assertion, namely that Israel is strategically targeting Lebanese civilians. This bold statement would be severely damaging to Israel’s cause (and in a haphazard, credulous way it actually has been) if it weren’t for the fact that this assumption is based on a critically impotent understanding of Hezbollah’s military tactics. It is well documented through photographic and cinematic footage that Hezbollah willingly employs the use of civilians as physical shields.
According to Human Rights Watch, “the use of human shields is a war crime” and “Israel must take the risk to civilians into account.” However, this leaves Israel open to a loophole in the discussion of civilian risk assessment. What if, just what if, Hezbollah hid their military installations among the Lebanese citizenry? Why, then anytime Israel wished to respond to an unprovoked attack, they would be guilty of killing innocent civilians!
For Hezbollah, using civilians as shields has two benefits. First, it helps to hide terrorist operations in unsuspecting areas such as neighborhoods. If these areas are located, Hezbollah must either bank on the idea that Israel will not use deadly force (if you believe this, then I am the Easter Bunny) or that when they do respond with deadly force, a civilian death toll will place Israel under intensely unflattering light, hopefully to the point of international scorn.
Second, the outcome of Israel’s military response is the spinning of the Arab world’s well-oiled propaganda wheel. Out of context, it becomes infinitely easier to paint Israel as the villain since it is willing to resort to the senseless slaughter of civilian lives. The terrorists of Hezbollah, on the other hand, truly have no sanctity for life when they are willing to put their own in harm’s way in order to engender hatred towards Israel. This is not to say that loss of civilian life is a positive thing under any circumstances. The point is not to argue that some civilians’ lives are more expendable than others, but rather that Hezbollah has no qualms with putting civilian lives at risk for the sake of turning people against their sworn enemy.
If nothing else, it is my sincerest hope that readers of this article will come to understand the complexities of the issue at hand instead of jumping to irrational, emotion-based conclusions inspired by headlines and talking heads. There is no reason why bloodshed must persist and the first step to ending this conflict begins with informing a public that already has prematurely formed strong opinions about who is right and who is wrong. For the sake of the future, I urge those HuffPo commentators sharing choice words about Israel to consider the merits of history and the truth before blindly adopting the stance of a sensationalistic, advertising dollar-driven mass media.
A new essay by the intrepid European observer Fjordman:
Bat Ye'or is the most informed contemporary scholar of the unique Islamic institution of dhimmitude, the repressive and humiliating apartheid system imposed upon those non-Muslims (i.e., dhimmis) subjugated by Jihad. Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the pre-eminent historian of Mughal India, wrote the following in 1920 regarding the impact of centuries of Jihad and dhimmitude on the indigenous Hindus of the Indian subcontinent:
"The conversion of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every form of dissent is the ideal of the Muslim State. If any infidel is suffered to exist in the community, it is as a necessary evil, and for a transitional period only. Political and social disabilities must be imposed on him, and bribes offered to him from the public funds, to hasten the day of his spiritual enlightenment and the addition of his name to the roll of true believers." "A non-Muslim therefore cannot be a citizen of the State; he is a member of a depressed class; his status is a modified form of slavery. He lives under a contract (zimma, or 'dhimma') with the State: for the life and property grudgingly spared to him by the commander of the faithful he must undergo political and social disabilities, and pay a commutation money. In short, his continued existence in the State after the conquest of his country by the Muslims is conditional upon his person and property made subservient to the cause of Islam."
Go to the original item and read the full article, well worth the time.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Two items below.
These events follow the Somali jihadis actually shooting to death several children who dared to watch a soccer-match on TV, their invading wedding parties and arresting musicians for daring to play anything except Cat Steven's songs (oops, I mean, anything except drums and vocals, which is what Sharia Law demands), and threatening to kill anyone who missed the five calls for daily groveling-in-the-dirt before the Mullah task-masters (oops, I mean, before Allah). This is how it is done: arrest and kill or "re-educate" all the softer people, who seek a bit of pleasure in their lives, demolish all former traditions and customs which had even a tiny bit of love or pleasure-seeking standing behind them, and then all you've got left is pure anger, frustration and hatred, which can easily be scapegoat-directed towards any "other" whom the Boss-Mullahs decree. J.D.
Somali Islamic Crackdown: 60 Arrested for Watching Movies
Islamic Militiamen Arrest About 60 People in Somalia for Watching Videos, Part of Several Raids
MOGADISHU, Somalia Jul 19, 2006 (AP)— Islamic militiamen who rule Somalia's capital arrested about 60 people for watching videos in several overnight raids in the capital, an Islamic court official and residents said Wednesday.
The roundup was the latest move by the militiamen to forcefully apply their strict interpretation of Islamic law, a practice that has stoked concerns that they want to remake Somalia after Afghanistan under the Taliban including offering a haven to terrorists.
Those arrested "will be rehabilitated and then we will release them after they are told the disadvantages of watching such films and what Islam says about watching such films," said Moalin Shire, an official of the Islamic court whose jurisdiction includes one video hall that was raided.
Militiamen armed with assault rifles raided five halls in the northern Sinay neighborhood late Tuesday and arrested women and men who had paid to watch videos, said Dahir Ali Wehliye, a resident in the area.
Another resident, Yusuf Ali, said he saw 20 militiamen in a pickup truck mounted with a machine gun raid one hall.
Since it wrested Mogadishu from a secular alliance of warlords last month, the Islamic militia has cracked down on purportedly non-Islamic activities, such as a World Cup screening and a wedding with live music. It also replaced its moderate main leader with Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, whom the U.S. has linked to al-Qaida. Aweys denies the allegations.
On July 4, Islamic militia fighters shot and killed two people who were watching a World Cup soccer broadcast in central Somalia. Two of the fighters were later arrested.
Before taking control of the Somali capital, some Islamic radicals had attacked drug dealers, raided bars and destroyed video halls that showed risque films. ("Risque films" in the Muslim world means, any film showing a woman's arms or legs or face.)
Here, "Zionism" is rapidly being re-defined to mean "anything which is fun or gives pleasure".
Iran TV urges boycott of 'Zionist' products
Wed. 19 Jul 2006
by Farhad Poulad
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran has launched a major campaign urging consumers to stop buying "Zionist" products, ranging from Coca-Cola and Pepsi soft drinks, to Calvin Klein clothing and Nestle food products.
"Pepsi stands for 'Pay Each Penny to Save Israel", viewers in the Islamic republic have been warned in an oft-repeated three-minute infomercial on state television, prompted by Israel's ongoing assault against the Palestinian territories and Lebanon.
"Zionists are the biggest shareholders in the soft drinks industry, and each year they make billions of dollars for their colonialist aims," consumers with a thirst for fizz have been told.
Coca-Cola is also not left unscathed by the new twist to the cola wars.
"This firm openly supports Israel and has even said that it is ready to allocate great deal of money to topple the Islamic republic," state television said.
Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have factories in Iran, although state television gave no indication over whether their operations would be affected.
A popular British high-street retailer, as well as a number of multinational firms, were also singled out for their links to the alleged international Jewish conspiracy to control the world.
"Marks and Spencer has very close relations with the Israeli regime and one its primary aims is to help the development of the Israeli economy," the infomercial claimed.
"Nestle is a Swiss food processing firm which in 2000 announced that it will invest millions of dollars in Israel to build a factory there," it added, while neglecting to mention that Nestle also has a factory in Iran.
The world's largest chip maker Intel was also branded as "one of Israel's biggest supporters".
"Its first overseas branch was set up in Haifa in 1974. In 2000 it employed more that 4,000 Israelis. Its top managers have said that they are going to invest 6.5 billion dollars in Israel," would-be Intel customers have been told.
"McDonalds, Timberland, Revlon, Garnier, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and L'Oreal are only some of the firms which belong to the Zionist regime," state television said, before taking a swipe at what it said were less vigilant Arab nations.
"Unfortunately most of the streets of Arab nations are filled with commercials which advertise Israeli products. For each purchase, the money is converted into bullets piercing the chests of the Lebanese and Palestinian kids," it fumed.
Iran's hardline Islamic leadership fiercely objects to the very existence of Israel, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map" or moved elsewhere on the planet.
The head of Iran's parliament, Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel, on Tuesday also branded Israel a "filthy tumor in the body of the Islamic world".
Tehran has also been accused of providing financial and military support to its fellow Shiites in Lebanon's Hezbollah as well as the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
But the regime continues to insists that it only gives "moral" support, and has in recent days decorated Tehran's streets with huge posters of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
"The Islamic republic of Iran has never interfered in Syrian and Lebanese internal affairs. Our support is only moral," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi repeated to the ISNA news agency Wednesday.
State television meanwhile announced Iran's Red Crescent was sending its first consignment of humanitarian aid to Lebanon -- a 60-tonne consignment of rice, sugar, beans, date, tents and sleeping bags. (... along with various assortments of RPGs, AKs, Katushas, etc....)
Correspondence Regarding Israel & Lebanon
My paragraph about Israel and Lebanon in a prior posting stimulated some correspondence, which I felt was worthy of reproducing. This is a couple of days old and perhaps outdated, given the rapid deterioration of events in Lebanon, but speaks to the issues of how the whole thing got started. Go to the original items for additional informative weblinks. J.D.
If someone had no access to any other news MEDIA and were only to learn what is happening in the world, by reading this paragraph in your blog:
"...And before the Hezbollah terrorists made a major attack in Northern Israel, launching rockets and killing many soliders in an additional unprovoked attack into Israel's territory..."
what do you think he would understand?
That one nice morning, the Hezbollah terrorists, having nothing better to do, decided to attack with Katusha rockets in the Israel territory and killed many Israeli soldiers.
Is that what really happened?
Because if he went to let's say to CNN he would read:
"July 2006: Hezbollah militants cross into Israel, kill three Israeli soldiers and kidnap two others in a bid to negotiate a prisoner exchange, a demand rebuffed by Israel. Another five Israeli soldiers are killed after the ambush. Israel responds with a naval blockade and by bombing hundreds of targets in Lebanon, including Beirut's airport and Hezbollah's headquarters in southern Beirut. Hezbollah responds with rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli cities. Fighting leaves dozens of Lebanese civilians dead and coincides with a two-week-old Israeli military campaign in Gaza in response to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants."
So, Hezbollah militants responded with rockets AFTER the Israel responded to their first attack with bombarding the whole Lebanon.
And what was going on before the"unprovoked" Hezbollah attack Mr.Demeo?
Perhaps another "disproportionate response by Israel" was going on in Gaza strip which Hezbollah itself claims it prompted them to attack Israel for solidarity to the Palestinian people?
Why this distortion of events Mr. Demeo? Again in CNN (which is far from anti-Israeli) we read today:
In six days of fighting, 165 people have been killed and 415 wounded in Lebanon, Lebanese internal security sources said.
Twenty-four Israelis have died in the conflict, including 12 soldiers , and more than 300 have been wounded, Israeli military sources said.
So who wants to kill everyone?
And why no comments about the "disproportionate response by Israel" Mr.DeMeo?
I know you have an agenda and your sympathies with Bush's. Neocons
and Israel but do you think that the readers of your blog are just plain stupid and eat what you feed them Mr. Demeo?
There is no "distortion" in my paragraph, though certainly more along the same lines could be added. Your "news" sources are simply inaccurate. The very first Hezbollah strike included missile firings, mortar strikes, RPGs, machine-gun attacks and apparently also roadside bombs (which took out an Israeli tank on the Israeli side of the border) all at the moment of the initial strike. Here's a couple of news reports from Israel on the day of the first attacks.
This morning, Hezbullah opened a second front in the north, firing Katyusha rockets and mortar shells into Israel. One shell scored a direct hit on a home in the town of Shtula, wounding four people, one moderately and three lightly. Residents of northern Israel have been told to go into their bomb shelters.
Both the Jerusalem Post and YNet are reporting that Hezbullah's Al-Manar television station claimed this morning that the organization has kidnapped two soldiers. The IDF is checking the report. According to YNet, Israel recently conveyed a harsh message to the Lebanese government through the Americans and other elements, following warnings on plans to "inflame" the northern border while Gaza is on fire. Israel blames the Syrians - for whom Hezbullah acts as a proxy - for the entire Gilad Shalit kidnapping, and it would not surprise me to see the IDF go after targets in Lebanon or Syria if this situation continues.
Update 11:08 AM
HaAretz is now carrying the kidnapping report.
Update 11:22 AM
The IDF is now confirming that two soldiers are missing and apparently kidnapped by Hezbullah.
The militants attacked two IDF armored Hummer jeeps patrolling along the border with gunfire and explosives, in the midst of massive shelling attacks on Israel's north. Three soldiers were killed in the attack and two were taken hostage.
More is found here, including discussion of prior kidnapping attempts by Hezbollah, which also were accompanied by mortar and rocket fire from across the border.
In total, eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped in that initial attack, which was characterized by "massive shelling" by Hizbollah from Lebanon into Israel. All of this happened before the Israelis started to significantly return fire. And as noted Israeli civilians in the area were once again subjected to attempted murder by terror rockets and mortars, which have continued on and off from Muslim parts of Lebanon and Syria since 1948.
As you note, the IDF struck back hard, and there were additional massive Hezbollah rocket-launches, Katushas which they had been amassing by exports from Iran through Syria over the previous years. But those were in addition to what was launched, along with mortar shells, at the time of the initial attack.
The northern border of Israel is fortified, so once the Hezbollah launched their attacks, it escalated from there. Hezbollah gambled that the Israelis would not respond so strongly. It was a bad bet. Or, perhaps in their own twisted way, they wanted a major war.... if so, they got their wish.
The estimates are, Hezbollah has around 12,000 missiles, short to intermediate range, stationed across southern Lebanon including in civilian areas and even within the compounds of private homes, and presumably that is what the IDF is going after -- though they have not willy-nilly attacked every such rocket-launcher stationed in civilian areas. They have been forced to restrain their forces specifically to NOT injure Lebanese civilians indiscriminately.
This recent incident of Hezbollah followed nearly 1000 other rocket-launches from Gaza by Hamas over the prior months, of the more primitive but lethal Qassams. These terror groups and their Iranian sponsors have openly boasted of plans to wipe Israel off the map, to kill all the Jews, and towards this end their openly-stated goal is to equip both Katushas and Qassams with WMD material.
So, yes, the Hamas and Hezbollah have been engaging in unprovoked attacks, based upon who is greasing their palms with money (Iran), and providing them with weapons (Iran and Syria).
CNN is not a reliable source when reporting on Middle East issues, or anything with political implications. Like the BBC, their field reporters are largely liberal-left with Arab sympathies -- or sometimes they are outright Jew-haters -- having been influenced by all the "revised" false history which today is common fodder for the liberal-left news sources. I wonder if this might underlay your own perspectives. Chomsky? Zinn? Said? Esposito? New York Times? BBC? CNN? CBS? Where does one get information on history of the Middle East? Or current events? "Lies of Omission" abound -- the worst kind of lie, as the "reporter" can then bend your mind around his predetermined conclusions.
Just recently CNN and BBC reporters go to every bomb crater in Lebanon and tell genuinely sad stories about the local people who have been affected, but little or nothing is said about the rocket emplacements which were targeted by the Israeli strikes, the Hezbollah leadership's offices and facilities, or the homes of the Hezbollah leaders who launched such attacks against the Israeli homes. Nor do they report on the the context, of a 60+ year war of Jewish extermination carried out by multiple Muslim nations, or the more incidental issue of thousands of Hezbollah rockets pounding Israeli homes, deliberately targeting their civilians with high-explosive schrapnel Katusah rocket-bombs designed for attacking massed troops on a battlefield. Using such weapons against civilians constitutes a war crime for certain, but don't expect CNN or BBC, or any left-biased news source to report things in such a clear manner. I cannot recall one time that the term "war crime" was applied to any of the Muslim terrorists, in their hundreds of suicide bombings and car-bombings of clearly civilian targets...but the liberal Western press will inappropriately use those words, or the suggestions of them, when describing American or Israeli actions in these wars which were triggered by Islamofascist aggression.
The Left news sources never reported clearly on the incredible fire-and-brimstone hate-sermons being vomited from every Mosque in the Middle East over decades, calling for the extermination of the Jews and atom-bombing of America, and they report only superficially about the massive Muslim street-demonstrations where "death to Israel", "death to America", and "kill the Jews" have been constant refrains. Even on the Danish cartoons, they took the side of the threatening Muslim mobs, and refused to publish those cartoons, scolding the cartoonists even when dirty images of other religion's icons, or open Jewish genocide advocacy, were being celebrated by them as "art". (ie, the "Piss Christ" incident, the "cow-shit Madonna" incident, and the various celebrations of Muslim suicide bombers which appeared in European art museums) How many, for example, saw the incredible footage recently reported on Fox News, but nowhere else to my knowledge, of the leftist-Muslim street "protests" in San Francisco where the crowds roared "We Support Hezbollah's Fight" and "We Support Hamas". This may as well be 1942, and they would scream "We Support the Whermacht's Struggle in Poland and France", or "We Support the Death Camps". If you compare the reporting from CNN, BBC, the NY Times and other liberal sources to conservative news sources such as Fox news, NY Post, Jerusalem Post, or the information from internet sources such as Frontpagemagazine.com, jihadwatch.org, thereligionofpeace.org, you will be stunned at the differences. The liberal sources willfully are committing lies of omission on these deadly serious issues, reporting the most overt lies and propaganda from Arab-Palestinian sources without the slghtest effort at fact-checking, suggesting an emotional alliance with the worst of the Muslim terror fanatics. The tone of voice of their reporters, the facial sneers and gestures, also often give away their biases quite clearly. One must consider, that a simple Jew-hatred, and pro-Stalinist, pro-Muslim ideology is the underlying cause for a willful misreporting of events (even though they would passionately deny it, but one must judge on behavior, not claims). How many know, for example, that Peter Jennings, the highly-respected liberal ABC journalist who recently died of cancer, once dated Hannan Ashawri of the PLO when he was posted to Lebanon, one of the most clever of Stalinist-Palestinian propagandists. Literally, they are in bed with each other.
And if you want to cite casualty figures in Lebanon, how about the vast number of Christians, Druzes and other non-Muslims murdered by the various Muslim forces occupying Lebanon over the last years. Lebanon was created around the same time as Israel as a Christian state, a refuge for Christians from Islamic fascism, just as Israel was the refuge for the Jewish populations of that region from Islam. Hizbollah and Syria have been systematically murdering Lebanese Christian people and leaders over many years, including recently a democracy-supporting anti-Syrian Prime Minister. Their military actions against the Lebanese claimed nearly a quarter-million lives in the Lebanon Jihad wars which have been misidentified as the "Lebanese Civil War" -- it was created by the mass influx of Muslim settlers and tribes into Lebanon which paralleled a similar influx of Muslims into "Palestine" since the late 1800s. Later, the military forces of Arafat's PLO, and from Syria, pushed to gain political power and military control over Lebanon, and they killed anyone and everyone who got in their way, forcing themselves into Lebanese territory and society and now also into the Lebanese Parlaiment as well, where they push, push, push to make Lebanon into a Muslim Sharia-Law state. If a Jewish "settler" even walks on territory once designated as the Jewish homeland by the League of Nations, but which the Muslims misidentify as "Muslim land" even though that land was mostly barren wasteland before the Jews got there, it creates an international scandal. And if that Jew is murdered, it is somehow considered "the legitimate right for self-determination of the Palestinian people". But hundreds of thousands of Muslims can migrate freely across international borders, push out the existing populations (or just kill them), as happened in Palestine, and in Lebanon, and today in Sudan and elsewhere, and the world is basically silent about it! In fact, what happens today in Darfur happend in smaller scale against Jews and Christians in Israel and Lebanon since many decades, a gigantic Muslim migration and take-over, with much bloodshed. Except that the Jews and Christians have been more successful in defending themselves than the miserable natives of Darfur, or in Southern Sudan. So if you are concerned about sparing the lives of the Lebanese people, so concerned about women and children being killed in Lebanon, or concerned about preserving their freedoms and democracy, you might do what many Lebanese are doing, which is to support the Israeli actions against the Hezbollah killers. You certainly would never want to live in a Muslim Sharia-Law state, so why not support all efforts to prevent this from happening in Lebanon, and in Gaza and the West Bank as well!
I don't believe you are stupid, but merely misinformed and manipulated, and perhaps too overflooded with "Bush hatred" to have the necessary capacity to examine the situation from other perspectives. In the last month we have seen Islamofascists take over in Somalia, shooting children who dared to watch soccer games on TV and attacking wedding parties where music was played, threatening to kill anyone who missed their daily prayers, with Islamic bombings on trains in India killing hundreds, and hundreds more blown up by Jihadis in Iraq and elsewhere -- something like 5400 separate Muslim terror incidents since 9-11-2001 alone (see http://www.thereligionofpeace.com), with specific new Islamic genocides murdering hundreds of thousands of people of every non-Muslim ethnic and religious background around the world. I hope you don't intend to blame all of that on "Bush", the "neo-cons", or the Israelis! At one time genuine liberals were the champions of freedom and democracy around the world, of human rights, women's rights and such, things which most conservatives also supported, and still support. Sadly, today the liberal organizations and news sources follow the leadership of the Stalinist Left and champion the causes of the worst of the Islamo-fascist infidel-murdering, woman-hating, sex-hating fanatic totalitarians, and rely upon false history from the likes of Chomsky, Zinn and Moore to justify their political alliances. It is a reprehensible situation, and those of us who have made a serious study of the issues, and of the authentic history, have an obligation to not be silent.
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