Friday, March 31, 2006

Palestinian terrorist dies in car bomb assasination; 3 killed and 20 injured in funeral shootout

Khalil Abu Yusuf al Quqa, commander of the PRC military wing, was killed Friday when his car exploded in Gaza City. The PRC accused Palestinian Authority `security' forces loyal to Fatah and Palestinian warlord Mohammed Dahlan of orchestrating the assassination, as there is still plenty of bad blood between the various factions since the election. Al Quqa was a commander of the Qassam missile campaign against Israeli villages and towns.

Dozens of gunmen gathered outside the hospital where Abu Quka's body was taken, crying, screaming and firing into the air.

A shootout at the terrorist's funeral killed three more people - a member of the Palestinian `security' services linked to Dahlan, a PRC `footsoldier' and a bystander - and wounded more than 20, raising the odds of a wider Hamas-Fatah clash.

Palestinian PM Haniyeh called for calm, saying that he would have interior minister Saeed Seyam conduct an immediate investigation into the assasination of al Quqa.

Adding to this was a lil' disagreement between Pal Chairman Abbas, who issued a pro-forma condemnation of the earlier Kuddiyima suicide bombing, and the Hamas spokesmen- who said it legitimate `resistance' to blow up a retired couple, a teenager and a 20 year old girl.

Apparently this is part of the ongoing turf war in Gaza between warlord Mohammed Dahlan, the former Prevent Security Service chief in Gaza and a Fatah lawmaker in the new Palestinian parliament and the new Hamas rulers and their associated terrorist militias.

PRC spokesman Abu Abir, an Abu Quka ally, said that gunmen loyal to Dahlan were caught spying out Abu Quka's home yesterday. Abu Abir promised "an open war" on Dahlan and several other top security commanders.

Abu Quka was a known Hamas supporter, and appears to have been targeted for his loyalties.

Dahlan, who's off traveling in the United Arab Emirates (yes, our loyal allies in the `war on terror',Mr. President) dismissed the PRC's allegations as "baseless ugly accusations."

The beast eats itself.

A look at terrorism's victims-The Kedumim attack and its aftermath

Too often, when we hear about Islamic terrorism, we forget that there are human beings who's lives were snuffed out in this war. Human beings who left grieving families and friends.Yesterday, in Kedumim Mr. and Mrs.Rafi and Helena Halevy (bottom ) and Reut Feldman (top, in front) were murdered in cold blood by an Islamic terrorist for one reason...they were Jews and they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A fourth victim was a Kedumim resident, 16-year-old Shaked Laskar. His funeral ceremony took place in the settlement on Friday afternoon. Z"l.

Watcher's Council

As I promised, links to some of the best meat and `taters in the blogosphere. Here are this week's winners:

For the council member post, Right Wing Nuthouse weighed in on the illegal immigration controversy with A SLAP IN THE FACE, a moving reminder that amnesty for those who broke the law is deeply insulting to those who have stood in line to become Americans. Read it, and remember it when you see the MSM doing human interest pieces on illegal immigrants.

In first place for the non-council piece was Open Letter To Reformist Muslims by Unwilling Self-Negation, a facinating piece addressed to the writer's fellow anti-jihadi Muslims. We need more Muslims with this kind of courage.

Tied for second in the council member posts catagory were Education Wonk's Walking Out On Their Futures? a commentary on Hispanic students ditching class for those `spontaneous' protests and your very own JoshuaPundit in his virgin outing as a council member for What Bush needs to do to come back as the other members decided to give the new guy a break!

Second place for non-council member posts was won by Winds of Change with Hummer Deathtraps Suck, an interesting read on the new military HumVees now in use.

You can see a complete list of votes here

Congratulations, one and all on some fine writing!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Palestinian homicide bombing kills 3

There was another homicide bombing attack on Israeli civilians a little bit ago in Kedumim, located west of Nablus.

Three Israelis were reported killed when a terrorist detonated explosives in a car around 9:45 P.M. IST next to the Kedumim gas station. title

A Fatah offshoot called Kateb al-Shahid Chamuda claimed responsibility and identified the bomber as Mahmoud Masharka, 24, from the Arab part of the city of Hebron.

Al-Manar TV in Lebanon broadcast a claim of responsibility from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, also a Fatah faction.

The three Israeli casualties had apparently picked up the suicide bomber, who was disguised as an observant Jew, as he was hitchhiking on the road. He then exploded in their car.

The Prime Ministers' Office blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack.

"The Palestinian Authority continues to do nothing to prevent terror against Israelis. There are currently scores of terrorist alerts concerning attacks against Israelis in the works," said David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office.

"The Palestinian Authority continues to be fertile ground for terrorist attacks, most notably because of the PA's aversion to taking any necessary steps to prevent terror," he added. noticed? Good. Now let's see what you do about these savages.

Hamas terrorist government upset over aid cutoff by US and Canada: How dare we!

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar

The American and Canadian governments both pulled the plug on any direct dealings with Hamas and cut off aid...and the Palestinians were displeased, to say the least. US diplomats, officials and contractors were instructed to break off all contacts with the 24 Hamas-appointed government ministers and officials even if they are not members of the terrorist group. The Canadian government was quick to follow the US lead.

Newly installed Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar went postal, ranting that the United States is biased toward Israel and is guilty of crimes against Muslims and Arabs.

"America is committing big crimes against the Arab and Islamic countries," Zahar told The Associated Press late Wednesday at his Gaza home. "This new decision will intensify the gap between the American people, American interests and the Middle East in general."

The United States and Israel have said they will not deal with the Hamas government unless it recognizes Israel's right to exist, renounces terrorism and respects all past commitments by the Palestinian Authority. Hamas' response has been to tell all concerned to go pound sand.

Zahar said Hamas would welcome aid from those wishing to help Palestinians overcome the Israeli occupation, "but if they are going to give this money to twist the neck of our national interests, we are not going to accept that."


Zahar also said his government would not cave in to international pressure to change its ways and had no plans to negotiate with or recognize Israel, or to give up `resistance' (read `violent terrorism aginst Israeli civilians').

Canada cut off aid to the Palestinians' new Hamas government shortly after it was sworn in Wednesday. Zahar had harsh words for them as well:

"Is the Canadian state willing to starve the Palestinian people while the Israelis are committing major crimes against Palestinian industry, Palestinian society, the Palestinian economy, occupying their land?" he said. "Is this is a moral principle according to which Israel should be blessed and supported by the Canadian government and people?"

Of course, the AP reporter didn't bother to ask Zahar just why the Palestinians were entitled to more aid from anybody, especially in view of the huge amount they've received already, more per capita than any other developing nation in history. Or about feeding those starving people from Arafat's hidden hoard..or say, cutting down Sufa Arafat to only $1 million in hush money per month..

Zahar was quick to say that Hamas would seek out new victims to con -er, sorry- new international alliances beyond its traditional Arab friends.(Especially since the Arabs are notorious for not following through on their aid pledges to the Palestinians).

"The new channels will be Africa, Asian countries, including China, and the South American continent, for assistance politically and also financially," he said.

Good luck with that.

Iran Rejects New U.N. Demands-no surprise there!

Iran vehemently rejected the UN Security council demand that it stop enriching uranium within 30 days and resume IAEA access to inspectors.

(Hmmm. Doesn't this seem like a replay of the same old story??)

Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki condemned "unjustified propaganda" about his country's nuclear program. And in Vienna, Iran's chief representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told The Associated Press that "it is impossible to go back to suspension."

"This enrichment matter is not reversible," Soltanieh said.

I didn't expect anything else from Iran, but Condi Rice surprises me, warning Iran that the non-binding resolution sends "a very strong signal to Iran that the international community is united."

Oh, please Madame Secretary.

Russia, China and the Muslim bloc in the UN are nowhere near being on board for any kind of meaningful consequences if Iran continues to tell the UN to go pound sand.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was very plain about that, saying that sanctions were not discussed as a last resort and that Moscow wouldn't support them in any event. saying "Russia on principle doesn't think sanctions can achieve a settlement, especially in the Middle East where there's so much going on," he said.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo said almost the exact same thing, calling for a "peaceful solution" and adding there was "too much turmoil" in the region.

Doesn't sound like the `international community' is united to me, Madame Secretary.

What Russia and China want, of course, is to go back to business as usual and for this to be referred back to the IAEA and Inspector Clouseau, aka IAEA head Mohamed El Baradei, which, unlike the Security Council has no power to level sanctions or other meaningful consequences.

El Baradi, remember, was supposed to be inspecting Iran's nukes for the last several years and somehow never managed to find anything until Iranian dissidents busted Iran's secret nuclear weapons program two years ago. He's at least more open these days about where his symphathies lie.

Today, at the Doha Debates Forum in Qatar, El Baradi said:

"Sanctions are a bad idea. We are not facing an imminent threat. We need to lower the pitch."

Hey, no great urgency, right Inspector Clouseau?

Jill Carroll freed in Iraq!!

US journalist Jill Carroll is free. She was released almost 12 weeks after being kidnapped at gunpoint on a Baghdad street.

The editor of the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor, for which Ms Carroll was working when she was abducted, said this afternoon there were no negotiations with the paper before her release, and he had no knowledge of any US military involvement.

I personally doubt that..knowing these people, I'm pretty sure she was ransomed but that they're keeping it quiet so that there's no stigma about `negotiating with terrroists'.

In any event, I'm glad she's home safe.

I'll be posting more details as they come out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Abdul Rahman update: he’s safe in Italy.

Thanks to Yaakov at the Dry Bones Blog

The UN agrees on an Iran statement

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council finally agreed on a statement Wednesday demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment.

The 15 members of the council are planning to meet later today to fine tune and approve the statement. The exact text hasn't yet been disclosed.

The statement is not legally binding, and will Inspector Clouseau-uhh- International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to report back in 30 days on Iran's compliance.

"We are very close today to taking the first major step in the Security Council to deal with Iran's nearly 20-year-old clandestine nuclear weapons program," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. "It sends an unmistakable message to Iran that its efforts to deny the obvious fact of what it's doing are not going to be sufficient."

U.S. officials have said the threat of military action must also remain on the table.

Russia and China, needless to say oppose sanctions...too much oil and money involved! They want any council statement to make it explicit that the IAEA, not the Security Council is in charge of dealing with Iran's compliaace.

Yep. That'll happen. All El Baradi has to do is shake his finger at the mullahs.

In Moscow today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated his mantra that Moscow would not support the use of force to solve the Iranian nuclear problem.

"As many of our European and Chinese colleagues have stated more than once, any ideas involving the use of force or pressure in resolving the issue are counterproductive and cannot be supported," Lavrov said.

Stay tuned...

The Watcher's Council

Here a new feature for fans of this site; Joshuapundit is pleased to announce that I was asked to join the roster of the Watcher's Council, which features some of the best meat and taters in the blogosphere. A list of these fine blogs is featured now above the links page.

One of the features of this group is that once per week, nominations occur for the favorite post of the week. And I'll be posting links to the winners, so that you can form your own short, must-see stuff!

Treading Water: The Israeli elections

Well, the results are in, and as I predicted, the most startling thing about it was the extent of the apathy among Israeli voters. Turnout was less than 65%, astounding for Israel.

Kadima ended up with only 28 seats, Labor with 20, and the Likud chrashed to 11 seats, with Shas taking 13 seats, Yisrael Beitenu taking 12 and the National Religious Party/National Union coalition taking 9 seats and the UTJ taking 6. Shas, Yisrael Beitenu and the religious parties , by the way, were part of Likud's center right coalition until Ariel Sharon decided that it was a good idea to evict Jews out of their homes in Gaza and the Northern Shomron.

This is far from a strong mandate for Ehud Olmert, who's own party said that a victory would have to consist of at least 34 seats.

The results of the election point out two obvious things; that there was a strong, visceral dislike by the Israeli electorate of the choices they were offered by the three major parties, and that the majority of the people of Israel no longer have any confidence in a lasting peace with the Palestinians, and their main desire is to finalize Israel's borders, retreat behind Israel's defensive barrier and have nothing more to do with them.

Another indicator of this is the strong 4th place showing of the new nationalist party Yisrael Beitenu and it's leader Avigdor Lieberman, now the predominant politician on the Right.

Unilateral disengagement is a fantasy, pleasant as it might be for people who have experienced the terrorism the Israelis have. For anyone who doubts that, the Palestinians themselves provided an answer yesterday by firing off the first Palestinian Katyusha rocket and Grad missiles from the Gaza Strip. Supplied by Iran via Russia, they were aimed at Israel’s key port, oil terminal and power station at Ashkelon. The Katyushas are in a different league than the clumsy Qassam missles launched at Israel every day from Gaza. And at some point, they won't miss.

Olmert is now going to have to build a coalition in order to form a government and his options aren't pleasant, in terms of dictating terms to potential coalition partners. He will have to give away more ministry portfolios than he wanted to. Labor, for instance, will want a large voice on the economy and social services, the Gil (senior citizen) Party will want increased entitlements and Olmert will have to entice at least one of the religious parties or Israel Beitenu as a partner..which could result in some major obstacles in giving away land in Judea and Samaria.

Or the Arab parties.

In any event the coalition will not be especially stable.

My personal prediction? A fractious coalition that will last at most, two years before the people of Israel realize that unilateral disengagement isn't a reality.

At that point, Israel's people will realize that they have a war for their very survival to win and respond accordingly.

And Kadima will be as much of a factor in that future election as Shinui was in this one.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Immigrant Song: the USA, abortion and the debate on illegal immigration

"On we sweep with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the western shore..."
-Led Zeppelin, `The Immigrant Song'

(Thanks to American Patrol Report for the graphic)

If there's one major issue that's certain to make people crazy in America it's the massive influx of illegal immigrants into the country, primarily from Mexico and Central America. Want to start a guaranteed screaming match? Pick your setting and either mention that `undocumented aliens' should receive full amnesty or that we have to enforce the laws, round `em all up and ship `em back across the border and watch the tension level go out of control.

What's missing from a lot of opinions expressed on this topic,of course is sanity, common sense and a sense of responsibility.

Talk to the average proponent of illegal alien rights and ask him if he likes the idea of his taxes doubling or tripling to take care of the cost of education, health care and other social services for illegal aliens; mention how the influx of cheap labor has served to lower wages for working people across the board, or talk about how illegal immigrants affect traffic gridlock, overcrowding in schools and the housing crunch and you usually get a shocked look and an `I never thought of it that way'. If you get a rational response at all.

Ask one of the round `em up and ship `em out crowd whether they're willing to pay double and triple for produce, restaurant meals, construction and carwashes, pay more for the gardener and the nanny and have more kids and less abortions and you get the same response.


Let's look at a few basic facts.

First, it's simply not true that illegal immigration is a net benefit to the USA, unless you're an employer looking to pay the lowest possible wages and zero benefits. The cost of illegal immigration to society is staggering, mostly paid by local government and far outweighs whatever social security or sales taxes are paid in. And a number of these people work off the books anyway and pay no taxes.

You also have to factor into the equation the $25 billion plus per year that is sent to Mexico and points south every year from America and siphoned out of our economy. Believe it or not, Mexico's second highest source of revenue after oil is remittances from expatriate Mexicans.

It's also not true that these are simply people `doing jobs Americans won't do.' There are plenty of highly unpleasant, smelly and hard labor-style government jobs that have a long waiting list to get hired - because they pay decent wages and benefits.

There's also this simple, but unpleasant fact; in a post 9/11 world, we simply can't afford to leave the back door open.

On the other side of the argument, criminalizing 11 million people, ignoring the part they play in our economy and attempting to eliminate them from American life or otherwise marginalize them is heartless, unrealistic, poor policy and ultimately doomed to failure.

And there's another tough nut to crack - illegal immigration is linked up with the abortion issue. Here's how that works:

The massive increase in abortions and the massive influx of illegal immigrants both started in the early `70's, when Roe V Wade became the law of the land. Since then, the USA has been averaging about a million abortions per year, overwhelmingly from consensual sexual relationships as a form of retroactive birth control. Do the math..that's over 33 million Americans who never grew up to work, pay taxes or pay into Social Security to help support the retirement of the very generation that killed most of them off - the Baby Boomers.

It couldn't have worked out better than if a diabolical insider with the Federal Government had planned it: let a group of people into the country illegally who will provide plenty of cheap labor and drive wages down. Business will love it. These folks'll also pay into the Social Security fund and help fund the retirement of all those Boomers, but most of them won't be able to utilize the system. And the cost of their medical care, schooling and other social welfare costs will be a problem for local governments..while the Federal Government looks the other way.

Never thought of it quite that way, did you?

And of course, nobody ever figured how high cost of all this was going to end up being...or foresaw 9/11 happening.

The key words to use in resolving this situation are Americanization and enforcement, so that the country as a whole can actually benefit from the presence of what is, for the most part exactly the sort of hard working, decent people America should encourage as immigrants. And that description fits 90% or more of the people we're talking about, who had the courage to leave a failed society and take the risk of starting somewhere new.

Here's a modest proposal to solve this problem once and for all.

The first issue that needs to be faced is enforcing our borders.

The Bush Administration and Congress need to do whatever it takes to enforce border security, even if it means militarizing the borders. In a post 9/11 world, anything less is simply unacceptable. If the US government can keep Cuban cigars out of America, it ought to be able to keep illegal aliens out of the USA..they're bigger and easier to spot than a box of cigars.

Second, we need to see realistic penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegals and laws prohibiting anyone without legal status in the US from sending a dime out of the country. The banks and Western Union will scream, since they make a fortune off it, but it needs to happen.There... I just pumped $25 billion or so into the US economy with one piece of simple legislation.

Third, we need to know who's here, and decide who gets to stay and who leaves. Give every illegal alien 45 days to go to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office and file an application, complete with their current address, fingerprints and employment information as the opening step on a path to legal status and citizenship. They would be given a special class of federal tax ID numbers and ID's that need to be stamped and renewed every 60 days to enable them to continue working while their background is checked and they undergo a health exam, with the requirement that they inform the ICE of any changes in residence or employment that occur.

Anyone NOT reporting to the ICE or not renewing his special federal tax ID number would be subject to criminal penalties followed by immediate questions asked. Likewise, anyone who fails background or commits a crime in the interim gets imprisoned or immediately deported, as the situation warrants.

The carrot always works better when combined with the stick.

Vetting these people is a big job and will take some time, true..but better late than never. And better than another blanket amnesty or a `guest worker' program that simply assumes people will leave when they're told to. And it makes more sense than the idea that people will voluntarily pay up to $2,000 in fines for the privilege of getting in line for a green card, Senators McCain and Kennedy. I wouldn't expect out-of-touch types in Washington D.C to understand this, but it's a lot cheaper than that for an illegal alien to take a walk down to MacArthur Park and simply purchase a counterfeit green card. Especially since, due to the arcane privacy rules, nobody checks that closely anyway.

And finally, we need to streamline and reform the arcane immigration laws we have on the encourage people who want to come here to do the right thing and use the system.

Next, we come to Americanization.

The problem here is that an entire subculture has been allowed to flourish that has everything to do with the further balkanizing and racially splitting American society and nothing to do with mainstreaming and integrating people...which of course is the sheer genius of how America has dealt with and assimilated the waves of immigration of the past.

There are a whole bunch of people with a vested interest in keeping this situation exactly the way it is. Either they want to exploit these people for their own political agendas or they merely want to ensure that Leaf Blower Guy, Senorita Nanny, Manuel Labor and their kids remain as a permanent,low paid underclass.

Language is a major starting point. English, like it or not,is the language of access into American life.

We need to make a major effort towards the immediate funding and expanding of free English immersion and ESL classes to anyone who wants them, coupled with a moratorium on bi-lingual education and one on ballots, driver license applications, and the like in half a dozen languages.

And I see no problem with encouraging able bodied, qualified young would-be immigrants to move to the head of the line to earn their citizenship by enlisting in our military.

To see how the language issue works, Israel is an excellent modern example.In Israel, new olim (immigrants) from dozens of countries and cultures are assimilated into Israeli society, taught Hebrew language skills and turned into Israelis by a system of government programs geared towards assimilating them onto Israeli life, including the use of ulpan courses..Hebrew language immersion that has worked successfully to mainstream immigrants from places as diverse as America, Brazil, Yemen and Ethiopia.

America used to be able to do that sort of thing quite well, until political correctness and cultural relativism came to be more important than a cohesive society that still was able to celebrate its diversity but acknowledged a common culture and language.

It's high time we got back to basics and common sense on something as basic as immigration. The majority of the 9 to 11 million people who are here without legal status are a major human resource and an asset, and it's high time we started treating them as more than the source of a cheap car wash.

Hamas government approved by Palestinian parliament

"The Koran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is our highest aspiration." - Hamas lawmaker Hamed Bitawi

The Palestinian parliament approved the Islamist group's cabinet and program on Tuesday, clearing the way for it to take control of the government two months after the Hamas landslide election victory.

Chanting "God is Greatest" after the 71-to-36 vote, Hamas lawmakers hugged and kissed Ismail Haniyeh, their prime minister-designate who vowed to not to abandon the fight against Israel. Yadda Yadda.

Haniyeh's speech today was, of course different than the one he gave yesterday to the western media in which he paid lip service to peace and dialogue. The earlier speech drew flak from his fellow Hamas lawmakers for not being hardline enough.

On Monday, Haniyeh was telling western journalists that his government was ready for talks with the "Quartet" of Middle East mediators on bringing a "just peace" to the region.

Check out the contrast today, in Arabic: "We were born from the womb of resistance, we will protect resistance and the arm of resistance will not be touched."

Addressing new Palestinian legislator Mariam Farahat, the homicide bomber mom who sent three of her six sons on Hamas homicide missions against Israeli civilians and who's a Palestinian celebrity for appearing in a Hamas video showing her 17-year-old how to attack Israelis and telling him not to return, Haniyeh said: "This the fruit of the sacrifices by martyrs, including your sons. You've got to be proud of this day."

Of course, Haniyeh has probably studied up on the Yasir Arafat correspondance course of How to say one thing in English to credible journalists and another to the hometown constituency in Arabic.

The new Hamas dominated cabinet is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas is committed by its charter to Israel's destruction, as you might know. It will be intereresting to see whether the EU, the UN and Bush administration continue to fund a terrorist state, especially through the back channels of the World Bank, UNRWA and `humanitarian NGOs'....or enact sanctions against those who do.

Welcome to the new Islamofacist state.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Happy Trails, Buckaroo

Country music legend Buck Owens passed away at his home in Bakersfield, California Saturday at the age of 76.

Owens changed the sound of country music and had over twenty number one records, starting with his first `Act Naturally' in 1963, which was covered by a certain mop-topped quartet from Liverpool.

After a mess o' hits, including "Together Again," "My Heart Skips a Beat" and "Love's Gonna Live Here," Owens got out of music for ten years before hitting the charts again with another Number One song in 1988, "Streets of Bakersfield," with Dwight Yoakam.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but Owens' health had been poor after undergoing throat surgery in 1993, and suffering from pneumonia which resulted in hospitalization in 1997.

Happy trails, Buckroo. RIP

Abdul Rahman update: The Afghan convert to Christianity is free,but in deadly danger

Abdul Rahman. the Afghan man who faced execution for converting from Islam to Christianity is scheduled to be released within days, but he is still under death threat.Herald Sun: Convert may go, but still hunted [28mar06]

The Afghan Supreme Court reportedly dropped the case because of "problems with the prosecutors' evidence"...and because several of Abdul Rahman's relative were willing to testify that he was `mentally unstable'...which gave the prosecution an out in a case which raised international condemnation and called the whole grand idea of Islamic democracy into question.

The court's decision has averted a major international dispute for President Hamid Karzai. But it does nothing to protect Rahman, once he's released.

Many Islamic clerics in Afhanistan and elsewhere have issued fatwas calling for his death for apostasy, and one even said he should be "torn to pieces".Muslim clerics, are also playing the violence card, warning that Abdul Rahman's release will cause widespread riots in Afghanistan and across the Muslim world.

And poor Abdul Rahman isn't even a cartoonist!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Israeli elections

Thanks and a hat tip to the one and only Yaakov Kirschen at the Dry Bones Blog !

In a country where politics can be a matter of life or death, the biggest surprise so far in the coming Israeli elections is the huge amount of voter apathy.

According to the latest polls, one-third of the 120 parliamentary seats were still undecided, and a turnout of as low as 60-65% could be possible...unheard of for Israel.

My take on this is that many Israelis have a real dislike of the choices they've been offered and don't think either Kadima’s acting prime minister Ehud Olmert or opposition leaders Binyamin Netanyahu (a former Likud prime minister) and Amir Peretz of Labor are up to the job.

A low turnout will affect the three major parties the most and will guarantee a fairly unstable coalition government at a time when national unity is badly needed.

Olmert is still the frontrunner, but dropping like a stone. His rather drab personality, his uncertainty in dealing with Israel's security issues, his connection with the fiasco of the Gaza disengagement and his brutal (there can be no other word for it) suppression of the Jewish community at Amona have combined to make Olmert increasingly unpopular.

This election at least in part will be a referendum not only on the Gaza withdrawal, but of the future withdrawals Olmert admits he has planned. And that is Olmert's single strength in this contest.

War weary Israelis still hope beyond all reason that they will somehow be able to wall off the Palestinians and that the majority of the Palestinians will be satisfied by anything less than the elimination of Israel. This is a fallacy, and has never worked historically whenever it's been tried, but it's hard not to see the appeal to people who have been under attack for so long and have seen their government fail to take the steps necessary to end the terrorist assault.

`Disengagement' is a fable..a pleasant fable and an appealing one,but still a fable.
When you are dealing with reasonable people in the context of a cohesive peace settlement, territory can indeed be a bargaining chip...but the Palestinians proved that the majority of them were far from reasonable a long time ago, and further concessions without any pretense of reciprocation are seen by the Palestinians exactly like the Gaza retreat was - as a victory.

I think many Israelis, deep down, understand that, but dislike the candidates from the major parties so intensely that not voting in itself becomes a protest any government ineptitude. Unfortunately, this is a bad time for it.

Of major interest will be how the other parties on the Israeli Right who inherently understand that `disengagement' is a fairytale will do. Watch Avigdor Lieberman of
Israel Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home)and the National Religious Party. If they get a large enough chunk of the electorate, they will have a substantial clout in what happens if either Kadima or Likud wins.

How our security agencies fumbled on Moussaoui

Debbie Schlussel has an illuminating post on the background behind the investigation of al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Go there!

US stages two raids on Iraqi Shiite locations controlled by al-Sadr's Mehdi militia

US forces staged two raids today on Iraqi Shiite locations – a Sadrist mosque in and another secret interior ministry prison.

20 members of Radical cleric Moqtada Sadr’s Mehdi militiamen were killed when they tried to stop US troops from entering the Mustafa mosque in East Baghdad to roust out terrorists.

In another part of Baghdad, American and Iraqi forces arrested 41 Interior Ministry officers after 17 foreign prisoners the Shiites were guarding in a secret bunker complex were found and released. They were being secretly held in conditions similar to the Interior Ministry secret prison discovered last November with 173 most Sunni inmates. The Shiites accuse their foreign prisoners of being Sunni al Qaeda fighters against Americans and Shiites...well, maybe they were.

Saturday, US ambassador Salmay Khalilzad said the Shiite sectarian militias like the Mehdi Army must be eliminated if Iraq is to have a unity government and avert civil war. Since that would leave the Shiites defenseless and since Moqtada Sadr and the Mehdi Army militia is now backed by Iran, their voluntary `elimination' is highly unlikely.

Oddly enough, Sadr could have been easily taken out after the invasion of Falujah..but somehow that didn't happen.

Sadr himself was just in Teheran, where he met with the head of the ruling Council of Guardians, Khomani. It's pretty obvious to me that Iran is setting up a bloc consisting of its proxys in Iraq like Sadr, Hezbollah in Labanon, Syria and its new friend, Hamas. And as Iran involves itself increasingly in Iraq, American and Israeli military options for striking Iran's nuclear installations correspondingly shrink.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Germany's intelligence chief: Israel and Europe are a single risk area for Islamist terrorism

The head of Germany's BND intelligence service, Ernst Uhrlau, made a rare public appearance today, and he had a few things to say.

According to Uhrlau, the success of Germany and other countries in hunting down terrorists has not significant reduced the threat "Islamic terrorism" poses to Europe and Israel. "In spite of numerous successful hunts for terrorists, the terrorist threat situation has eased only superficially. The bomb attacks in Madrid and London are clear evidence that Europe is no longer just a recruitment and financing area but has become a target of Islamic terrorism," Uhrlau told a conference on Islamic extremism.

"In the foreseable future international terrorism will remain one of the most serious threats to our society. More than ever before Israel and Europe as a single risk area are caught in the crosshairs of international terrorism," he said.

And unlike the foreign-born members of al Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, "the terrorists in Europe are homegrown and homemade."

Uhrlau also stated that the recent crisis sparked by a Danish newspaper's decision to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad showed there may be what he termed irreconcilable differences between Islamic and Western cultures.

"The recent controversy over Mohammad cartoons has raised the question of compatibility in principle between basic elements of Western and Muslim standards of culture. In this case, freedom of the press versus religious values.

"The fact is that such antagonism may emerge time and again in sensitive areas of identity on either side," he said. The cartoons provoked a violent storm of protests among Muslims that cost the lives of over 50 people and resulted in the destruction of millions of dollars worth of property.

Spike Lee...renaissance man

The one and only Debbie Schlussel has a superb story on the latest offerings of our old friend Spike Lee, a twin bill of an `action thriller' that shows whites and Jews as malevolent and ineffectual bumblers and Black detectives and agents as heroes who save the country and another cute offering called `C.S.A' that shows an alternative America where the South won the Civil War, Blacks and Latinos are slaves, and Jews are not citizens either but `tolerated'...because, of course, Jews ran the slave trade and CSA treasurer Judah P. Benjamin was instrumental in helping them bad ol' racists win.

It's definately a must read.Schlussel skewers Lee decisively and reminds us of some of his past racist remarks and film efforts.

Perhaps, in the end, Eddie Murphy had the best response to Lee: "Who cares what that cricket has to say?"

India's PM Singh offers peace treaty to Pakistan

In a major development, India's prime minister Manmohan Singh today offered a "treaty of peace, security and friendship" to Pakistan as a culmination to an ongoing peace process.PM offers Indo-Pak treaty

If successful, Singh's proposal would mark the end of over 50 years of hostility between the two countries, and a major triumph for world peace...if it works.

Singh said that it was "a mistake" for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to link the peaceful relations of the two countries with the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir issue , but also said that India was not afraid of discussing pragmatic, practical solutions to it.

"I have a vision that the peace-making process must ultimately culminate in our two countries entering into a treaty of peace, security and friendship to give meaning and substance to our quest for shared goals," Singh said. "I make this offer to the people of Pakistan on this historic occasion. I am sure the leadership of Pakistan will reciprocate."

The prime minister said, "The time has come to leave behind the animosities and misgivings of the past and to think the unthinkable."

Singh complimented Musharraf for taking "bold steps" to curb extremism but said, "More needs to be done in the interest of both India and Pakistan."

Your turn, Mr. Musharraf.

The real and the unreal: Abbas proposes `peace' talks and Olmert says `why bother ?'

Synagogue burns in Gaza

According to al-Reuters, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claims he proposed secret peace talks with Israel and thinks a deal could still be reached within a year.

But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert exercised a rare look at reality and referred to our ol' friend Abbas as a failed leader, with no prospects once Hamas takes over the government.

Olmert, in an interview with the YNETnews Web site, said he has had "friendly" relations with Abbas, but added: "I cannot base (Israel's) relations with the Palestinian Authority on the sympathy that I might have for a particular individual."

"He (Abbas) has failed in the biggest challenge which faced him from the very outset: to combat terror. As a result of the failure of his government, Hamas has risen," said Olmert.

(Well, not exactly, Mr. Prime Minister. Hamas got elected because of the Palestinian perception of Israel's weakness because of the lack of serious reprisals for terrorist attacks and especially because of the retreat from Gaza.)

Foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev questioned whether Abbas had the ability to deliver any agreement since Hamas will be leading the government.

"Real political power in the Palestinian Authority is no longer in the hands of Mr. Abbas and his colleagues, but has been transferred to Hamas," Regev said.

Well, exactly. And I have been saying there was no point in dealing with Abbas since the day he refused to take decisive action to prevent terrorist attacks on Israel.

After all, why make a deal with someone who can't deliver?

Hamas has refused to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and abide by the interim peace deals signed by the Palestinian Authority. Well and good.

At least Hamas is honest about its intentions towards Israel. And since Hamas has never, ever lied about its agenda, the landslide election of Hamas is a clear indication of the fact that the majority of Palestinians are much more interested in a victory in the War Against The Jews than they are in any kind of `peace talks' anyway.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A different kind of martyr

I haven't gotten into the story of Abdul Rahman, an apostate from Islam in Afghanistan and a convert to Christianity who faces a possible death sentence for his apostasy.

In that respect, Islam is a bit like the Mafia...once you're in, getting out can be hazardous to your health.

Baron Boddisy at Gates of Vienna has a superb post on Abdul Rahman here called "A different kind of Martyr" in which he examines the difference between an Islamic shaheed and a Christian martyr...and talks about the spectacle of an Islamic regime in Afghanistan, supported by US troops putting Abdul Rahman at risk of execution for being a Christian!

The Baron writes:

"An Islamic martyr – a shahid – is a follower of the prophet who dies fighting for Allah during jihad, and his goal is to enter Paradise while killing as many of the enemy as possible. In recent years martyrdom has increasingly been associated with the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent infidel (or apostate) civilians, even children.

But Christian martyrs are somewhat different. In the Christian tradition, a martyr faces death rather than renounce his faith, and dies without violent resistance, with his eyes turned towards God. To target anyone else during martyrdom, especially the innocent, would be specifically un-Christian.

At the dawn of Christianity innumerable believers were martyred at the hands of the Romans. Throughout the centuries since there have been many more dying at the hands of pagans, or during the internecine strife that has been all too common within Christianity. The latest examples occur in places like Nigeria, Sudan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, often at the hands of Muslims. The news doesn’t generally make it to the newspapers or TV, but there are Christians being martyred for their faith almost every day.

Abdul RahmanNow we come to Abdul Rahman, who has made it to the newspapers and TV. He is an apostate from Islam in Afghanistan, a convert to Christianity, and he faces a possible death sentence for his heinous act.".....

Read the rest here

Peace activist hostages freed by `occupiers' of Iraq

Norman Kember

Three western peace activists abducted in Iraq last November were freed by a multinational force which stormed the hideout west of Baghdad where the activists – two Canadians and a Briton - were held captive by terrorists. They were transferred to the British Embassy in the Green Zone.

The fourth hostage, an American named Tom Fox, was found in Baghdad two weeks ago, shot and tortured.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Norman Kember, 74, was in “reasonable” condition, while Canadians Harmeet Sooden and Jim Loney were treated in a hospital before they were transferred to the British Embassy.

One of life's little ironies is that these three people...who's group denounced the `illegal occupation of Iraq' were saved from certain death by the forces of those violent `occupiers' they worked so dilligently to demonize.

Nor has the group learned anything!

Speaking in Toronto, Doug Pritchard, co-director of the Christian Peacemakers Teams these men belonged to said : "We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq today.The occupation must end."

Not even a thank you to the brave men who risked their lived to save his comrades..including Canada's elite JTF-2 special forces, a first for Canadian involvement in Iraq.

Hopefully Jill Carroll will be next.

The beat goes on with Palestinian terrorism

Two Palestinian terrorists were shot dead this morning while trying to laya 30-kilogram bomb at the Gaza-Israel border fence near Kissufim.

A third one escaped. As usual, The Palestinians seem to be trying to to carry out a major terrorist attack prior to Israel’s general election March 27th.

Last night, the IDF caught the second would-be Palestinian homicide bomber intercepted in the two days. He was arrested with two accomplices.

A member of Fatah-Tanzim, he had orders to strike inside Israel in the next few days.

Lovely people...give them a state.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

President Bush seeks approval..and misses badly

President Bush has taken some uncharacteristic steps to attempt to shore up support for the war in Iraq and reverse his sagging approval ratings. Some of you may have seen my take on what Bush needs to do to come back.

Unfortunately, he appears to be going about it in the wrong way in my view. Rather than providing leadership by eliminating the hypocrisy of the administration's stance towards certain Sunni Arab autocracies like the Saudis or working on controlling America's borders, the President has attempted to finesse things with public relations.

The President has actually been engaging in press conferences, touring the country and even indulging in unscreened Q&A sessions. All well and good, on the face of it. But the following two exchanges illustrate why this isn't helping restore his credibility...and illustrates, to me, part of what has been wrong with Bush's presidency from day one.

The first one involved the president calling on AP reporter Helen Thomas in a press conference, something Bush hadn't done in quite some time and with good reason, considering her rudeness, harsh partisanship and generally insulting behavior towards him. Ms. Thomas, of course, started out by grossly insulting him asking `why did you really want to go to war'Press Conference of the President and harrumphing and interrupting him during his answer, to the point where President Bush had to say `excuse me' several times and attempt to finish.

Unfortunately, this illustrates a major fault of the administration..the constant attempts to be all things to all people and to waste valuable time and effort to try to please political enemies when no concilliation is possible.

A good example of this was the president's futile attempt to get a second resolution out of the UN before the invasion of Iraq, done at the urgent request of Britain's Tony Blair to mollify the massive protests among the anti-war faction in Blair's Labour Party in Britain and their political soulmates in America.

Bush had to know that given the Oil For Food scandal, this was a total waste of effort. But he persisted anyway, in an effort to appear well meaning and consensus minded. And that 15 month delay gave Saddam all the time he needed to make arrangements for the bloody guerilla war that persists to this day, to make arrangements with terrorists like Zarqawi who already had free range of the country and to hide or sell any WMDs Saddam had on hand.

Had the president rapidly deployed our forces with the authority already given to him by congress, things might be considerably different in Iraq today.

The president thought that by extending courtesy to Ms. Thomas, he would appear more `statesmanlike' and that his courtesy would be reciprocated. It wasn't, it won't be, and he merely came across as fumbling and fawning, having to talk over a mediocre hack journalist and make jokes about Gridiron Dinner routines.

When you try and please everyone, you usually end up pleasing no one.

A second example of how rattled the president has become was an exchange between him and a fellow citizen during one of those unstructured Q & A sessions in Ohio.

To paraphrase, the man essentially said "we were told that Saddam had WMD's, that he was trying to buy nuclear material, that he was financing the terrorists who were behind 9/11 and that he was a threat to us. All that stuff turned out to be false. What are you doing to get better intelligence?"

Did the president hit that one out of the park? Did he respectfully disagree with this man's contentions? Did he remind him that every major intel service in the world had reports on Saddam's attempt to buy nuclear materials, that Saddam had high level delegations in Niger and that the British Butler Commission had validated their reports on Saddam's attempts to buy nuclear materials? Did he mention Saddam's connections with al Qaeda terrorists like Imad Mugniyeh and Abu-Musab Zarqawi or go into the Able/Danger reports on Iraqi contacts with Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 hijackers? (Yes, I know why Bush wouldn't want to discuss Able/Danger..*sigh*)Mention the Sal Pak training grounds outside Baghdad with the 747 mockups? Did he even say something along the lines of the fact that he was the prsident and that it was his job to make this call based on what intel was at hand? Did he even throw in a zinger saying that better intel was what the NSA wiretaps were all about?

What he did was to let these contentions go unchallenged and go into a long, rambling answer about how John Negroponte and others were putting together a report!

The president merely appeared tired and dissembling. Whoever set up this little junket, in the words of Ricky Ricardo has got some `splainin' to do, babalu.

I'll say it one more time; instead of trying to PR the American public, Bush needs to level with them and start fighting the war he was elected to fight. Action is called for, and spin is decidedly unwelcome.

Deal with the people that are exporting jihad to America, secure our borders here at home and Iraq's borders in the war zone, and deal decisively with Iran instead of futilely grinding the wheels and wasting time at the UN as you did before, Mr. President.

Do the right thing. I guarantee you your approval ratings will take care of themselves.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

`Red Ken' Livingstone sticks his foot in it again

London Mayor Ken Livingstone seems to have a `thing' when it concerns Jews and just can't seem to keep a civil tongue in his head on that pesky subject.

He's already in deep barney and appealing a four day suspension by the London Town Council for abusing a Jewish journalist and likening him to a concentration camp guard.

Not content with that, his latest glitch arose during a March 21 press conference while discussing the 4 billion pound 'Olympic City' building project in London's East End. The mayor blamed developers David and Simon Rueben for having created a "poisonous state of relations" within the syndicate building the project and stated if the Ruebens were "not happy here perhaps they could go back to Iran and try it under the Ayatollahs."

Asked by reporters to clarify his remark, the mayor repeated his statement, saying the Reuben brothers, born in Bombay to Iraqi Jewish parents and British residents for the past 40 years, should "try their luck with the ayatollahs".Jerusalem Post


This latest remark brought cries of anti-Semitism from members of the London Assembly and outrage from Jewish leaders.

The mayor's "latest anti-Semitic remark" was "shocking, outrageous and grossly offensive to the entire Jewish community" the London Assembly's Conservative Group said in a press statement.

"The mayor is anti-Semitic and we know that in London" Brian Coleman, Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden (Conservative), told The Jerusalem Post. "This is the most extreme remark he has made" and suggested his remarks "adds fuel to the fire" and may lead to additional penalties from the civil service panel.

"This was an appalling thing" for the mayor to say, said Jon Benjamin, chief executive officer of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

"To say to first and second generation immigrants to Britain that they should 'go back to where they came from', that is the kind of language one would expect from one end of the political spectrum," Benjamin said. Livingstone's "picking on the race or religion or ethnic origin of someone in a dispute" he said was "not acceptable" civic discourse Benjamin argued.

Hmmm..I wonder if Red Ken would have ever suggested that a radical Islamist like Abu Hamza , Livingstone's old pal at the Finsbury Park Mosque should go `back where he came from'?

The Reuben brothers, to their credit, were quoted as saying that they did not see the mayor's remarks as anti-Semitic, and in a written statement disputed the mayor's contentions over their handling of the Olympic City project.

"The Reuben brothers remain completely committed to the Stratford City project in its entirety as well as the Olympic opportunity. They are working extremely hard to deliver the development for the long-term benefit of London and Londoners" they said.

Kudos to them for taking the high road..and after all, Ken Livingstone is already pretty well known for this sort of thing - what's one more insult or outburst?

UN deadlocked over Iran

The U.N. Security Council is completely deadlocked in trying to issue a statement on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Russia insisted on deleting major parts of the text, and everything is back to square one.

According to our ambasador John Bolton, any further meeting were delayed until later inthe week to give diplomats the chance to meet in small groups and enagage inthe usual wheeling and dealing.

"The impact on the negotiations which we are trying to do here was not as positive as we would have wished," British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said. "That is the basic problem."

Hmmm...I guess that's diplomat speak for major disagreements between the US, Britain and France and Russia and China.

Russia, supported by China, has been averse to ANY action by the Security Council, because the Councilcan impose sanctions. They prefer that this be dealt with by the IAEA...shorthand for doing nothing.

A statement requires agreement from all 15 Security Council members while a resolution needs nine votes in favour and no veto from any of the permanent members.. the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

Major terrorist strike averted in Tel Aviv

A Palestinian terrorist carrying a powerful explosive was caught Tuesday on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway

Intel regarding this led to a nationwide alert across Israel several highways beingays blocked for several hours to traffic.

The Shin Bet had intelligence of several vehicles carrying Palestinian suicide bombers from the northern Shomron(The West Bank) via Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv area. You may remember that the Northern Shomron was one of the areas Israel `disengaged' from atthe same time it `disengaged' from Gaza. Apparently, like Gaza, the Northern Shomron has become a staging ground for terrorist attacks on Israel.

One of the terrorist groups, consisting of 10 Palestinians was caught in a GMC truck carrying 10 Palestinians near Shalavim near Latrun on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Powerful explosives and automatic weapons found in the vehicle indicate that a classic Palestinian combined attack was planned...explosives first then an ambush of ambulance and emergency workers after they came to assist the injured. The terrorists decided that they weren't quite ready for the 72 virgins just yet and surrendered when surrounded by police and IDF commandos.

According to the Shin Bet over 70 active warnings of terrorist threats are ongoing, not to mention the barrages of Qassams hitting the Negev in Israel almost every day from Gaza.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Iraq, three years on

According to Lt. Gen Peter Chiarelli, the US second in command in Baghdad, the goal for US forces is to turn control of 75 percent of the country’s territory to Iraqi forces by the end of summer.

The US army has already pulled out of 25 percent of Iraq, so this means its withdrawal from another 50 percent over the next six months. Chiarelli was careful to characterize the land to be handed over as not necessarily areas where the insurgency is strongest.

US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it differently. In an article he wrote in the March 19 Washington Post, he said “…if we retreat now, there is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum – and the free world might not have the will to face them again.”

In other words, both seem to be saying in different ways that, three years after the US invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi army still cannot be trusted to handle the guerrilla war fought by Sunni insurgents without US backup.

Rumsfeld maintains that the “rationale for a free and democratic Iraq is as compelling today as it was three years ago,” and “the vast majority of the Iraqi people want the coalition to succeed” and a better future for themselves and their families.

The solution Rumsfeld suggests is the new Iraqi army.

The defense secretary says that some 100 Iraqi army battalions are “in the fight.” He says nothing about their fitness to stand up to the enemy on their own. Neither does he discuss the chances of their disintegrating once the American army is gone: Shiite units heading for the Shiite regions south and northeast of Baghdad, and Kurdish units joining the Persh Merga in the north.

The former prime minister, the pro-American Iyad Allawi, made headlines by stating “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is,” on Sunday, March 19. "If Iraq has not reached the “point of no return yet,”…we are moving towards this point. We are in a terrible civil conflict now.”

Allawi sees Iraq falling apart if the sectarian violence reaches the point of no return, “…sectarianism will spread through the region and even Europe and the United States would not be spared the violence that may occur as a result of sectarian problems in this region.”

Hmmm...I don't see it quite that way. If Iraq dissolves, I see it as a withdrawal into different spheres of influnce and territory, rather than a civil war for rulership..someting the Bush Administration might have forseen when trying to cobble together such a disparate country.

The 500 pound gorilla in the room, of course, is Iran’s clandestine penetration of Iraq and the well-trained guerrilla fighters Tehran continues to feed into the conflict, as well as contingents already prepared in country for suicide attacks against US forces. Both radical cleric al-Sadr and Shiek Nasrullah of Hezbollah were recently called to Teheran and met with the head of Iran's Supreme Council of Guardians, Khamanei on this very subject, a joint offense against the Americans and their Iraqi allies in Iraq and on Israel from the Hezbollah controlled South of Lebanon.

The Iranians, of course, as I reported have finally made use of a longstanding US offer to hold face to face talks on Iraq..and no doubt to offer a face saving deal to the Bush Administration to ease up on their terrorist activities in Iraq in exchange for reduced pressure on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Jimmy Carter soils himself in print

Ex-president Jimmy Carter has a unique reputation among many of his fellow citizens- not unlike that of crazy Uncle Jim who lives in your basement apartment and is kept out of public view at all costs.

One would hope that an ex-president with the kind of record of domestic and foreign policy failures Mr. Carter racked up during his four years in Washington would have the common decency to avoid commenting on the current world scene...especially when his errors in policy, especially on Iran and the Middle East are so obvious and impact so clearly on current events.

Not Jimmy Carter!

Recently, he authored a screed so full of outright lies and distortions and one sided bigotry that it needs commenting on. Anyone with the stomache to read this in its entirety can do so here

Let's start with his opening salvo:

" For more than a quarter of a century, Israeli policy has been in conflict with that of the US and the international community. Israel's occupation of Palestine has obstructed a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land - regardless of whether Palestinians had no formal government, one headed by Yasser Arafat, or one with Mahmoud Abbas as president and Hamas controlling the parliament and the cabinet."

Let's see... that brings us back to 1981. It ignores Israel's defeat of the Soviet Union and its proteges in the region, winning a significant victory for the West without the necessity of a single US soldier being committed. It also ignores Israel's contribution to US intel in the region, as often acclaimed by US security agencies and politicians across the board. And 1981..wasn't that the year Israel took out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor at Osirak, thus saving perhaps thousands of American lives in the subsequent Gulf War? Obviously, subsequent administrations, all of whom have considered Israel an important ally would disagree with Carter's contention.

And as for Israel `obstructing' a comprehensive peace agreement..isn't it Israel that has been consistently attacked, boycotted and demonized by its Arab neighbors since its inception? And wasn't it Israel that took a major(and demonstrably futile) risk for peace by allowing its sworn enemy Yasir Arafat to set up what proved to be a terrorist enclave on its borders as part of the Oslo Accords?

Most interesting about this opening paragraph is Carter's linkage of Arafat, Abbas and Hamas, which, considering the PLO and the Hamas charter's view on Israel and Jews tells us a lot about Carter's feelings about Israel and Jews in general.

Let's go on...

"...the universally adopted UN resolution 242 has mandated Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories. As part of the Quartet, including Russia, the UN and the EU, George Bush has endorsed a "road map" for peace. But Israel has officially rejected its basic premises."

First of all, Resolution 242 did NOT mandate Israel's withdrawal from ALL of the occupied territories. It mentioned withdrawal of `occupied territories'in exchange for a comprehensive peaceful settlement with no mention of a Palestinian State; and Israel subsequently withdrew from over 80% of the territories it conquered after the defensive war of 1967. The `peaceful settlement' part seems to be somewhat lacking.

Second, the basic premise of Oslo and the Road Map was `land for peace'. Israel has given substantial amounts of land to the Palestinians, even uprooting its own citizens. It is the Palestinians who have not complied with their part of the end to terrorism against Israel, recogniton of Israel's right to exist and an end to the anti-Semitic incitement and demonization of Jews and Israel in the Palestinian mosques, media and schools.

"With Israel's approval, the Carter Center has monitored all three Palestinian elections. They have all been honest and peaceful, with the results accepted by winners and losers."

Which elections are you talking about. Mr. Carter? The Stalin-like one where Arafat ran unopposed except for an 80 year old woman who told everybody to vote for Arafat? Or the most recent one that featured gun battles between Hamas and Fatah supporters, and had the Palestinian `security' forces voting in their barracks under the eyes of their officers?

"Israel has announced a policy of destabilising the new government... The elected officials will be denied travel permits, and every effort is being made to block funds to Palestinians. ...Hamas now wishes to consolidate its political gains, maintain domestic order and stability, and refrain from contacts with Israel. It will be a tragedy if it promotes or condones terrorism."

Guess what, Mr. Carter? Hamas official policy is to condone and promote terrorism against Israel, non-recognition of Israel and support of `resistance', its euphamism for terrorist activity. Are you that unconscious? Even as you wrote this drivel, several major terrorist attacks on Israel were foiled by the vigilance of Israeli security, and barrages of Qassam missles are launched out of Gaza every day. Even the Karni crossing in Gaza, designed for the Palestinian's benefit to allow access for goods and services had to be closed after several major terrorist assaults on the crossing occurred-assaults that killed Palestinians as well as Jews.

As for travel permits, a number of these `elected officials' are terrorists with innocent blood on their hands, including a number who were tried and imprisoned by Israel for murder, like Marwan Barghouti. Should Israel allow its avowed enemies freedom of movement? Would the US do that with al Qaeda? Yes, I know...we would if you were still in the White House.

"The pre-eminent obstacle to peace is Israel's colonisation of Palestine."

No, Mr. Carter. The pre-eminent obstacle to peace, as you put it, is the Arab refusal to live next to Jews in peace and equality.That's the central issue, and if it weren't, where the borders were wouldn't be important.

There are almost a million Arabs who live in Israel as citizens, with the right to vote and the full protection of law. Care to show me a similar community of Jews with those rights in the Arab world?

"Recently, Israeli leaders have decided on unilateral actions without involving either the US or the Palestinians... Especially troublesome is Israel's construction of huge concrete dividing walls in populated areas and high fences in rural areas. The wall is designed to surround a truncated Palestine completely...This will never be acceptable either to Palestinians or to the international community, and will inevitably precipitate increased tension within Palestine and stronger resentment from the Arab world against America, which will be held accountable for the plight of the Palestinians."

Wrong again, Mr. Carter. Israel's defensive barrier was not designed to `truncate Palestine' but to protect its people from terrorists and homicide bombers. One came before the other.I realize that the very existence of these nasty `colonists' in Israel is a problem for you, but you can hardly expect them to co-operate in their own deaths and dismemberment.

Suicide is...well, more of a Palestinian specialty, if you don't mind me pointing that out.

As for the last bit about resentment towards America, it's pretty obvious that our ex-president thinks that the hatred for America in parts of the Arab world would magically disappear if all those nasty Jews in Israel suddenly moved to another location. Guess what, Mr. Carter? If Israel magically ceased to exist, the Arabs would have to invent it, as a diversion from their own failed societies...and the Arab world's responsibility for the plight of those Palestinians you're so concerned about. Same with America, by the way, Strong, prosperous non-Islamic societies are a contradiction to the Islamist belief system.

And here's the biggest whopper of the bunch:

"There is little doubt that accommodation with Palestinians can bring full Arab recognition of Israel and its right to live in peace. Any rejectionist policies of Hamas or any terrorist group will be overcome by an Arab commitment to restrain further violence and to promote the wellbeing of the Palestinian people."

Gee, Mr. Carter..if that's true, then why have the Arab nations consistently supported terrorist violence against Israel, even when it resulted in worse conditions for the Palestinian people? Why do they continue to do so today? And that `accomodation' with the Palestinians you go on about is simply the Arab League's Beirut Plan, which calls for Israeli withdrawl to the indefensible borders that have led to 4 attempts by the Arab world to annihilate Israel, the division of Israel's capitol city Jerusalem without any access by Jews to their holiest sites, the mass release of terrorists in Israeli custody and the swamping of Israel with thousands of so-called hostile `refugees' exchange for which Israel receives a promise of undefined `relations'. At least for the short time it would exist.

An unfulfilled,utterly failed and bigoted politician might try to hide his innermost feelings behind a veneer of political correctness and outright falsehood.

But I have a friend who works in a rape crisis center, and through my conversations with her about her work I have a decent understanding of Jimmy Carter's attitude towards Israel. It's called blaming the victim.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Islam's Bloody Borders

Baron Bodissy of the sterling blog `Gates of Vienna' has put together some fascinating data relating the percentage of Muslims in the population of given areas with the incidence Islamic terrorism , as well as the terrorist incidents.Gates of Vienna: The Umma’s Involuted Border

He analyzes the data with his usual clarity, needless to say!

..."The nature of the “bloody border” is extremely clear in the maps. With the exceptions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the highest concentrations of terrorist
attacks occur along the edges of the Umma, where it meets the areas of lower Muslim population."

For a larger, interactive copy of the map, click here:The Bloody Borders Project

Irshad Manji: `How I learned to love the wall'

Muslim writer Irshad Manji is an absolute gem, for those who haven't experienced her. If Islam has a future, it's with Muslims like Irshad Manji. Here, she muses on Israel's defensive barrier and what it means:

... "I'd bet my last shekel that I'll continue to hear the phrase "Ariel Sharon's apartheid wall." It's a phrase spoken — make that spewed — on almost every university campus I visit in North America and Europe.

Among a new generation of Muslims, this is what Mr. Sharon will be known for long after he leaves office: unilaterally erecting a barrier, most of it a fence, some of it a wall, that cuts Arab villages in half, chokes the movement of ordinary Palestinians, cripples local economies and, ultimately, separates human beings.

The critics have a point — up to a point.

They're right that Palestinians are virtually wailing at "the wall." When I went to see its towering cement slabs in the West Bank town of Abu Dis last year, an Arab man approached me to unload his sadness. "It's no good," he said. "It's hard."

"Why do you think they built it?" I asked.

The man shook his head and repeated, "It's hard." After some silence, he added, "We are not two people. We are one."

"How do you explain that to suicide bombers?" I wondered aloud.

The man smiled. "No understand," he replied. "No English. Thank you. Goodbye."

Read the piece here

Hamas reveals new government in Gaza..all hardcore loyalists.

Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya

Hamas decided not to wait for Abbas but set up its new Islamist government in Gaza.

Given Hamas's decisive majority, it was able to build a cabinet without partnering with Fatah or any other factions-and without waiting for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s approval.

Here are the key ministries:

Ismail Haniya– prime minister; Mahmoud a-Zahar – foreign minister; Said Siyam from Gaza - interior minister with responsibility for Palestinian security services; Dr. onsOmar Abdel-Razeq from Salfit– finance ; Dr. Nasser a-Din Shaar from Nablus – education; Abdel Rahim Hanbali from Nablus – agriculture; Dr. Abu Aysha from Nablus - planning; Abdel Jawad from Salfit - minister for Palestinian prisoners; Naif Rajoub from Hebron (brother of Fatah leader Jabril Rajoub) - the key post of minister of holy foundations; and Faraj al Ghoul, from Gaza – justice.

The Ghoul clan are senior commanders of the Hamas military wing Ezz-e Din al-Qassem Brigades, who bear primary responsibility for numerous attacks on Israel.

All the ministerial posts are taken by hardline Hamas loyalists - 14 from the Gaza Strip and 10 from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Haniyeh said he would keep the door open for undecided parties represented in the Palestine Legislative Council (Parliament) to join the Hamas-led government...there are stll a few small ministries open. He said Hamas was still waiting for the final decision of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on joining the government.

According to one of my sources (an ex-member of the Palestinian Government)Hamas leaders first offered to present the list to Abu Mazen for approval provided he traveled to Gaza City.Abbas obviously had a few worries about his personal safety in the Hamas stronghold...he declined. The terrorist group then decided to bypass Abbas and convene parliament early next week to endorse the new administration.

According to the Palestinian `constitutionon',convening the legislature in supposed to be Abbas' job as president. But Hamas is not exactly worried about bypassing him...more proof that Abbas' days are numbered.

In another development, Hamas denied statements attributed to Haniyeh supposedly made during an interview with CBS on Friday in which he supposedly said he was prepared to sign a peace treaty with Israel at the White House.

"We regret that some in the Palestinian media quoted false reports in the American media," said Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. "Hamas won't change its position because it was elected by the Palestinians on the basis of continuing the resistance [against Israel]."

Another black eye foir the Big Eye at CBS, I suppose..or perhaps a marketing glitch by the new Hamas.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Danish Muslims want the UN to punish Denmark for the Mohammed cartoons

Patrick at Clarity & Resolve has the story about how Danish Muslims, not content with fabricating additional cartoons and causing mayhem throughout the Islamic world now seek formal punishment of their adoptive country through the UN Human Rights Commission!

Some of the wonderful respectors of human rights on the commission include:

* Egypt
* Indonesia
* Malaysia
* Mauritania
* Pakistan
* Qatar
* Saudi Arabia

How hypocritical can you get!!

Hamas member to attend EU summit

When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

When he's targeting Israelis.

As I predicted here, The EU is all set to begin business as usual with the Hamas government.

The EU, in spite of classifying Hamas as a terorist group has invited a 5 person Palestinian delegation to the EU's Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) whichn includes at least one member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the victorious Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform List.

One European source told the Jerusalem Post that EMPA was prepared to host Change and Reform List members so long as they were not self-declared Hamas members. But an official EMPA spokeswoman said the PLC had selected its own delegation, that it was hoped in Brussels that none of the delegates would prove to be Hamas members, but that it was "not clear" what EMPA would do if one or more turned out to be Hamas members or affiliated with Hamas.

In other words, don't ask, don't tell.

The EMPA is an official EU body. Set up in 2003, it brings together parliamentarians from the 25 EU nations and the EU's 10 Mediterranean partners: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, the PA, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

In a more overt sign of changing European attitudes to Hamas, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly decided Wednesday to invite a Hamas member of the PLC to its next session, in April in Strasbourg, France.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Iran offers direct talks with US..but only about Iraq

Iran said Thursday it was prepared to talk directly with the United States about Iraq, a major shift for a country that has long avoided contact with the "Great Satan." U.S.

This appears to be a gambit by Iran to offer the Bush Administration `assistance' in curbing the flow of terorrists and arms across its borders to Iraq in exchange for reduced American pressure on Teheran's nuclear weapons program.

The Bush administration agreed that it would talk with Iran - but only about Iraq, not nuclear issues.

The White House said the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, is already authorized to talk with Iran about Iraq.

"But this is a very narrow mandate dealing specifically with issues relating to Iraq," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, adding that it did not include U.S. concerns about Iran's nuclear program. "That's a separate issue."

The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, told reporters any talks between the United States and Iran would be limited to Iraqi issues. Larijani, who is also Iran's top nuclear negotiator, said Khalilzad had invited Iran for talks on Iraq.

"To resolve Iraqi issues, and to help the establishment of an independent and free government in Iraq, we agree to (talks with the United States)," Larijani told reporters after a closed meeting of parliament Thursday. He added that negotiators would be appointed for the talks, but declined to give further details.

His statement marked the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran had officially proposed dialogue with the United States.

I have a feeling that when Iran's nuclear program was referred to the U.N. Security Council last month, Russia and China let Iran know that if it wanted a face-saving solution, it had to talk to the US.

Also significant is that the proposal to hold direct talks on Iraq came a day after the senior Iraqi Shiite politician, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, called for Iran-U.S. talks.

"I demand the leadership in Iran to open a clear dialogue with America about Iraq," said al-Hakim, who has close ties with Iran. "It is in the interests of the Iraqi people that such dialogue is opened and reaches an understanding on various issues."

A deal may be in the making..or more likely, the appearance of a deal, sufficient to save both Iran and the Bush administration's faces and defer the game to another day.

That could ultimately end up being very dangerous.

US and Iraqi forces launch Operation Swarmer

U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a major offensive to root out terrorists hiding around Samarra.

Operation Swarmer began today with more than 1,500 U.S. and Iraqi troops, about 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft. Samarra is about 80 miles (125 kilometers) north of Baghdad on the Tigris River, and the site of the bombing of the Shia `Golden Mosque', which sparked sectarian violence throughout Iraq.

The assault is expected to continue for several days as a thorough search and clean out of the area progresses.

``This is an effort to try to strike a death blow against the insurgents and to limit the exposure of American troops to constant attacks,'' said Ted Galen Carpenter, a defense analyst at the Cato Institute, a policy research group in Washington.

(`insurgents', Ted?)

Weapons caches containing artillery shells, explosives, bomb making materials, and military uniforms were discovered during today's raid, according to the military's statement. Earlier this month, U.S. and Iraq troops found weapons and equipment caches west of Samarra.

Sunni-led terrorists have been able to carry out a number of attacks in Iraq by disguising themselves in stolen military uniforms.

This is all good. Even better would be firm action by the Bush Administration aimed towards securing the Syrian and Iranian borders with Iraq.

Iraq parliment's first session ends in discord

The first session of the new Iraqi parliament was only able to run for 30 minutes before it broke down in wrangling over electing a speaker.

Oddly enough, I think this may have cleared the way for the three main factions- the majority Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds- to create a power-sharing agreeement to form a national unity government, since all sides realize that the alternatives to this are not exactly attractive.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hamas runs kid's suicide website

Two Israeli organizations that monitor Palestinian media reported that Hamas is running a cartoon-style website glorifying shaheed (homicide bombers) geared towards children.

No joke.

According to Palestine Media Watch, the site encourages children to commit suicide in order to kill Israeli soldiers and civilians. Today the site had an item telling a short story about a young girl who knowingly leads Israeli soldiers to a bomb and dies with them. The story said that "Suad became a shahida (martyr) lying on the grass and smiling because she was a shahida for Palestine."

Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli organization which monitors and translates Palestinian Arabic language media, said that the site, along with and are official Hamas sites.

"A man by the name of Nizar Hussein who sits in Lebanon runs those site and he runs the children's Hamas Web site from the same server," said Marcus.

According to Dr. Reuven Ehrlich, a former army general who now directs an organization called the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Hussein works in the same office as leading Hamas official in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan.

"We know that they are working together," said Ehrlich. "I checked it out with my Israeli sources and they confirmed this."

Itamar Marcus added that has materials that could not be available to others unless they were connected officially with Hamas. "There is no other way in the world that they can get these films of suicide bombings on these Web sites."

The children's site, which is in Arabic, has a "Shahid of the Week" on its homepage.

Hamas denies it has an official site.

PMW believes that the reason Hamas does not have a declared official Web site is because it might be closed down for political reasons. Indeed, in an interview with UPI on October 10, Osama Hamdan said that Hamas did not have its own Internet site and that political pressure caused down its former site to be shut down three years ago.

You of course will notice that while Hamas denied that these are `official' sites, they didn't criticize or disavow content that teaches young children what a good thing it is to murder innocent Israeli civilians.

What we are dealing here, literally, is a death cult. And the sooner the cult's leaders are destroyed or imprisoned and the adherants subjected to severe deprogramming, the sooner the Israeli-Palestinian situation will resolve.

This is psychosis on a grand scale.