Sweden shaken as riots continue in immigrant suburbs
By Jennifer Collins, Jabeen Bhatti and Carolina Jemsby, Special for USA TODAY
May 25, 2013
Torching of cars and buildings have shocked Swedes unused to such mass violence.
STOCKHOLM — Days of rioting have left Sweden searching for answers, wondering what went wrong in a nation welcoming of foreigners and proud of its tradition of tolerance and social equality.
It has also spurred a debate about the underlying causes, with some Swedes blaming the perpetrators for failing to integrate and other residents of these suburbs complaining they have been forgotten by mainstream society.
The violence that erupted Sunday followed a police shooting of a 69-year-old man waving a machete as officers attempted to search his home in the largely immigrant enclave of Husby, a Stockholm suburb. The torching of cars and buildings, and attacks on police in multiple districts in the capital have shocked Swedes unused to such mass violence.
"This has shaken Sweden," said Peter Kadhammar, who covers immigration and integration issues for Swedish daily Aftonbladet. "Of course, everyone has been aware of the massive failures in the immigrant policies but this has shaken Sweden because the violence was so widespread."
Swedish newspapers report more than 100 cars have been set on fire since Sunday and dozens of buildings — including schools, stores and a police station — have also been torched.
The unrest in poor, immigrant suburbs is the latest to break out in Europe over the past decade following riots in Paris in 2005 and in London in 2011. Analysts say they have much in common.
"The groups that are involved are some of the most economically deprived groups within society," said Matthew Goodwin, associate professor at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.
"Whether it's the young black males in London who suffer from the highest unemployment rates of all sections of society or the young migrants on the outskirts of Paris who again are blighted by very high levels of unemployment and very low levels of formal education, a perceived sense of injustice marked the disturbances much in the same way that riots in Los Angeles or in London were sparked by police action," he said.
In Tensta, one of the Stockholm suburbs hit by rioting, the common complaint by young men gathered on the street was a lack of employment opportunities and activities for youth, along with police violence and racism, and a general feeling that no one cares.
"I don't think it's a good situation these days and it hasn't been good for several years," said Homa Badpa, a second-generation Swede of Iranian descent and spokesman for local organization Pantrarna. "Police are blaming groups like us for not saying 'stop.' But how can you say stop to the kids who protest? They are trying to make their voices heard and this is the only way to do this in Sweden right now."
Pantrarna is an organization working with community youth that took its name from the U.S. Black Panther Party, a group known for its militancy.
"It's bad and I'm not happy about it," Badpa added, referring to the riots. "But the prime minister is talking about this issue (of neglect) right now, and that only started after they burned the cars."
Some blame the violence on the Swedish government: Administrations in the past two decades have been slowly dismantling the cradle-to-grave welfare benefit system known as the "Swedish model." [and among the reasons necessary for cubing benefits has been the enormous expense of paying for Muslim immigrants, with their huge families, their (plural) wives who do not work but breed incessantly, the huge size of Muslim families, the men who reagrd work as undignified (the Arab contempt for manual labor, for example, became part of Islam), the larger medical expenses including the cost of those with congenital illnesses that are so much more common among Musilms because of the cousin-marriage that is considered so desirable -- "all in the family" is necessary in societies where there is so little trust, and so much aggression, because Islam itself is full of tales of aggression, conquest, subjugation], As a result, rising income inequality is hitting immigrant populations hard — unemployment is running at 16% among residents of foreign origin but only 7% for the general population.
While Stockholm is one of the world's richest cities, it is also segregated, locals say. In the suburbs engulfed in the rioting, most of the residents are of non-Swedish origin, mainly from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Somalia. [there are, of course, other iummigrants to Sweden, who do not riot.
"In segregated areas, many are disappointed about their future prospects," said Eva Andersson, co-author of a new study called "Segregation And Urban Unrest In Sweden," by the universities of Stockholm and Uppsala. "You don't perceive the society as supportive, rather the opposite."
Sweden has been traditionally welcoming of refugees and 15% of residents in the country are foreign-born, one of the highest ratios in Europe. But over the past two decades, Swedes have been increasingly worried about immigrants failing to integrate and the cost to the state in benefits. This concern has spurred the success of the anti-immigrant far right party, the Sweden Democrats, which won enough votes to enter parliament for the first time in 2010 and is polling in third place ahead of elections next year.
"Sweden is going through something of a transition," Goodwin said. "It has seen the rise of explicitly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim political movement. ... It is symptomatic of a view within a section of Swedish society not only concerned with immigration and the speed at which society is changing but also anxious at the unwillingness of mainstream parties to curb it or stop it altogether." [ah, one mention of Islam -- not of what Islam teaches, and the attitudes to which Islam naturally gives rise, and the atmospherics of Muslim communities, but only as part of the phrase "anti-Muslim political movement":]
Other Swedes blame local society.
"Sweden is not a racist country but until quite recently it was a farmer country where people just came into the cities from the woods … it is an inward-looking country in many ways," said Kadhammar. "It's extremely difficult to come from another country and get into the Swedish society."
"We (have become) an immigrant country de facto today … but our systems are perhaps not made for an immigrant society," he added. "And sometimes I think maybe we have to change our society, some laws, in an American way."
Meanwhile, some foreign-born residents of the riot-torn areas dismissed those excuses and expressed anger at the rioters.
"It's idiotic — they're ruining things for the people that live here," Husby resident Marianne Farede, 26, who was born in Lebanon told Swedish news website The Local. "We're the ones that suffer. It's our cars that are getting burned, it's our money."
"If I lived in my homeland, I wouldn't have it as good as I have it now," she added. "There aren't enough who do appreciate what they have — they want even more. You don't have to feel like a Swede to adjust to Swedish society."
Other residents expressed bewilderment at the situation.
"This is horrible that it's happening here in Rinkeby where it's been so quiet before," said Gloria Serda, a resident of Rinkeby, who watched cars burn earlier this week. "This is so wrong. It's stupid and we don't understand. Who is doing this? Teenagers?"
Cheko Pekgul, a native of Turkey who lives in the suburb of Tensta, just shook his head and said it is difficult for foreign-born parents to control their Swedish-born children — in some ways they have become too integrated.
"In Sweden today, the children of the immigrants are more integrated than their parents … but they tell their parents that according to Swedish law, they are allowed to do whatever they want," said Pekgul. "So the parents lose control over their children."
The Burmese are now trying to deal with the problem that most agitates Buddhists: the size of Muslim families, who in Burma as everywhere else outbreed -- and who are not unaware that through demographic shifts they are increasing Muslim power, Remember h Boumedienne in 1974 at the U.N. unembarrassedly predicting that "through the wombs of our women" the Muslims of the South would conquer Europe. And many similar remarks, by other less prominent Musilms, have been made -- and Muslims in Western Europe have not been shy about making that prediction, with satisfaction.
The Burmese look around the world, look at the history of formerly Buddhist lands, and become alarmed. They know not only about the Bamiyan Buddhas, but about the destruction, over a thousand years, of so many Buddhist stelae, statutes, temples and temple complexes. They know what happened to the Buddhism in Central Asia -- gone. They know what happened tothe Buddhists of the East Indies, whose monument, Borobudur, remains, but without the Buddhists. They know what happens today to Buddhists in southern Thailand, where Muslims kill monks, farmers, students. They know what happens -- unkonwn to the outside world -- to the Buddhists who remain, in the Chittagong Hills, and who are subject to steady Muslim persection and land seizures and murders. If the West is unaware of this, so what? Why should the Buddhists of Burma be unaware? And if they know how many provocative acts, how much aggression, by Muslims has led the Buddhists in parts of Burma to fight back, and do so without the casper-milquetoast methods of the West, so what? They are perfectly justified in so doing.
Now they could, if they wished, expel these Muslims back to Bangladesh, as constituting a threat to Burma as a refuge and home of the Buddhists. Instead, they are willing to try something else. If the Muslims limit their familiies, so that the Buddhists will not be as alarmed as they have been by the steady seemingly inexorable growht in the Muslim population (and the adherrents of the ideology of Islam will always be a threat to all non-Muslims) then just possibly the violence that has racked those Muslim-inhabited districts will subside. It's worth a try. But the alternative is not, as in the West, submission to the forces of Islam, and a rewriting of history, and a pretense that Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira do not say what they say.
In asking the Muslims to limit their families to two children, the Buddhists show they are aware that the Muslims have families three, four, five times as large as non-Muslims, wherever they may live. Think of Western Europe, too, where their birth--rates are three to four times as high as those of non-Muslims, and where those Muslim chiidren are supported by non-Muslim taxpayers, non-Muslim taxpayers who, in response to the effect of large numbers of Muslims in the schools, and elsewhere, now seek All over Asia, the non-Muslim population of Muslim-ruled state, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, steadily declines. In Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs at independence constituted 35% of the population and now are below 3%. In Bangladesh there has been a similar drop. But in India, the Muslim population, both absolutely, and as a percentage of the population, keeps rising. In Malaysia (formerly Malaya), at independence Muslims made up a little less than 50% of the population and now they are about 2/3, as the Chinese and Hindus are out-bred, and the Bumiputra system -- a disguised Jizyah -- makes it possible for Muslims to live off the more productive and enterprising non-Muslims. Everywhere it is the same.
But the Burmese are well ware of what happened to Buddhism - the steles, the temples, the statues destroyed all over Asia. Tthe only reason the Bamiyan Buddhas were still standing, until they were blown up, is that the local Muslims lacked the technmical wherewithal to blow them up (but Pakistani engineers and Saudi help, too, came to their rescue, so that those Bamiyan Buddhas have now been destroyed/ They are keenly aware that in the East Indies -- now Indonesia -- a vast Buddhist and Hindu land, the temple complex of Borodur may remain, but the Buddhists are hardly to be found, and the Hindus have been largely confined to the island of Bali. And all of that was achieved not through an invading army, but by slow degrees, beginning with Hadrami traders whio established entrepots in Java and Sumatra, and the missionary work required of all Muslims, too, led to the conversion, a few centuiries ago, of the rulers of Java and Sumatra, and from that, their people followed dutiful suit on the principle of Cuius regio, eius religio.
Everywhere that Muslims rule, non-Muslim populations drastically decline -- see Pakistan, see Bangladesh, see Malaysia. Everywwhere that non-Muslims have allowed in Musilm populations -- through war or through other means of conquest -- the Muslim percentage of the population goes steadily, and very rapidlly, up. There are no exceptions to this observable rule. The Buddhists of Burma are not going to allow it. Burma is now the world center, the preserve, the last main redoubt, of Buddhism. Why should they not do everything they can to prevent the encroachment of Muslims -- people who physically show that they are not Burmese but, in the maind, from the area of what is now Bangladesh. And even if those Muslims were natives, why should not the Buddhists, recognizing the aggression, the violence, and the nature of Islam, try to protect and preserve themselves?
lt this point, every non-Muslim in the entire West should feel a great sense of relief, and of envy, at this display by the Burmese Buddhists of a realistic refusal to follow the West, and its camerons-and-cleggs. at this minimal act of self-preservation? Why must the West ignore the most elementary measures of self-preservation? Demography is destiny. Already, all over the Western world,the large-scale presence of Muslims has led to a situation of much greater unpleasantness, expense, and physical insecurity, both for the indigenous non-Muslims (whose countries have effectively been invaded, without any resistance allowed) and for other, non-Muslim immigrants (Hindus, Sikhs, Chinese, Vietnamese, Latin Americans, black Christians from the Caribeean and sub-Saharan Africa).
Don't allow yourself to feel you must pretend to be ffended by what the Burmese are attempting. They are trying, at least, to prevent their own, their Buddhist country, from becoming steadily less Buddhist, by these Muslims who, with their origins outside of Burma, and hostile -- deeply and permanently hostile -- to Buddhism, its artifacts, its beliefs, its everything -- have portrayed themselves, even as they kill Buddhists and, in turn, are attacked (for the Burmese, and others in Asia, have not yet acquired the Western sickness of tolerating the intolerable behavior of Muslims, and of trying to find the answer to this behavior in such things as "poverty" or "a sense of alientaiton" (the alienation is permanent, and reflects what Islam itself teaches about non-Muslims).
The Muslims, the Rohyingya, in Burma have no interest in respecting Burmese culture, based on Buddhism -- the Buddhism that Muslims destroyed wherever they went -- look at what happened to the Buddhist and Hindu civilization of the vast territories now known as Indonesia. Borobudur still stands, but where are the Buddhists? Don't tut-tut. Applaud, and be envious at those who can so forthrightly take even such minimal measures of self-preservation. .
The two-child policy will be mandatory in Buthidaung and Maundaw provinces, Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Muslims in a province of Burma have been ordered not to have more than two children in an attempt by the government to stop Buddhist attacks on Muslims. [no--rather, to stop inter-communal violence, which begins with Muslim attacks on Buddhists]]
State officials said the two-child limit in the state of Rakhine would ease tensions between Buddhists and their Muslim Rohingya neighbours.
Local officials said the new measure was part of a policy that will also ban polygamyin two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations. The townships, Buthidaung and Maundaw, are about 95% Muslim.
The measure was enacted a week ago after a government-appointed commission investigating the violence issued proposals to ease tensions, which included family planning programs to stem population growth among minority Muslims, said Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing. The commission also recommended doubling the number of security forces in the volatile region.
"The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine (Buddhists)," Win Myaing said. "Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension."
Sectarian violence in Burma first flared nearly a year ago in Rakhine state between the region's Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya. Mobs of Buddhists armed with machetes razed thousands of Muslim homes, leaving hundreds of people dead and forcing 125,000 to flee, mostly Muslims.
Since the violence, religious unrest has developed into a campaign against the country's Muslim communities in other regions.
Containing the strife has posed a serious challenge to President Thein Sein's reformist government as it attempts to institute political and economic liberalisation after nearly half a century of harsh military rule. It has also tarnished the image of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticised for failing to speak out strongly in defence of the country's embattled Muslim community.
Win Myaing said authorities had not yet determined how the measures will be enforced, but the two-child policy will be mandatory in Buthidaung and Maundaw. The policy will not apply yet to other parts of Rakhine state, which have smaller Muslim populations.
"One factor that has fuelled tensions between the Rakhine public and [Rohingya] populations relates to the sense of insecurity among many Rakhines stemming from the rapid population growth of the [Rohingya], which they view as a serious threat," the government-appointed commission said in a report issued last month.
Predominantly Buddhist Burma does not include the Rohingya as one of its 135 recognised ethnicities. It considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship. Bangladesh says the Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for centuries and should be recognised as citizens. Muslims account for about 4% of Myanmar's roughly 60 million people.
Apart from the six assailants, four other people, including a Nepalese guard of the guest house, were killed in the attack, which lasted for hours.
Several expatriate officials of the International Organization for Migration were wounded in the attack, the United Nations said.
The Taliban used rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and assault rifles in the attack, which happened less than a mile from the interior ministry.
Hashmat Stanikzai, a police official, said the attackers used a car bomb at the start of the raid and that all of them wore burqas, the Islamic dress commonly used by women in Afghanistan.
“We had to pull out our family members from the area because of continued gun battles and at times successive explosions,” said Shah Maluk, a resident.
The Kabul attack was the first of its kind since Feburary, when the Taliban seized the main traffic police department for hours.
It led to the closure of several key roads and panic among its residents. But despite that life was going normal in another corner of the city where loud music and dancing went on in many of its expensive wedding halls.
ALP commander Toorjan in April 2013. Photo: David Axe
ZARI DISTRICT, Afghanistan — The sound of gunfire was the first sign that the Afghan cop’s loyalty was suspect.
It was February in Hadji Musa, a village in the poppy-growing Zari district of northern Kandahar province, traditionally one of the most violent regions in a violent country. 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 3-41 Infantry — part of the high-tech 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division — had received a tip from Toorjan, commander of the village local police unit, claiming that someone in Hadji Musa wanted to talk. Someone with direct knowledge of Taliban activities.
Beyond that, Toorjan had provided almost no information. All he could offer was an implied promise: Trust me.
And that’s exactly what the U.S. platoon did, marching into Hadji Musa behind the lean, mustachioed Toorjan. As the coalition patrol arrived just outside the mud-walled ALP station on the outskirts of the village, Taliban gunfire erupted from the beyond some rows of dormant grape vines.
It was 3rd Platoon’s first gunfight in Zari and, for many of the roughly 20 young soldiers, their very first time under fire. “We were like, what’s this?” recalls Spec. Joshua Cripps, a mouthy young marksman. The Americans reacted instinctively, diving for cover between the 8-foot-tall earthen berms that double as vine trestles. Afghan army troops returned fire, giving the Americans time to organize a direct assault on the attackers’ positions.
One Taliban fighter was wounded and the others fled. No one on the U.S. side got hurt.
Gunsmoke cleared, pulses slowed and the patrol continued. And that’s when Toorjan announced that, in fact, there was no informant — he’d been mistaken all along. Only later, after much more exposure to unusual police behavior, would the 3rd Platoon troopers reflect … and suspect that maybe Toorjan had set them up that day in Hadji Musa.
Over the course of a tense six months in Zari, 3rd Platoon and the rest of Bravo Company would encounter case after case of sketchy behavior by the ALP, possibly indicating that the local police — either willingly or through coercion — had switched sides and were now actively aiding the Taliban.
It’s a disturbing possibility with huge implications for the coalition. U.S. officers in Zari say tips from the local cops are supposed to be their main source of battlefield information. If the American-led NATO coalition can’t trust the local police, it can’t trust much of what it thinks it knows about Afghanistan — and its plans for the war-ravaged country’s future could be in big trouble.
Bravo Company in Zari in April 2013. Photo: David Axe
Inspired by the Sons of Iraq militias that had helped change the tide of the fighting in that country, the ALP program was launched in 2009 and represents at least the fifth time that the NATO alliance has tried to stand up local pro-government militia forces. Attempts one through four ended in failure when local policemen began extorting civilians for protection money, selling their weapons and ammo to insurgents and answering to local warlords whose interests did not always align with those of the alliance.
Four times stung, NATO was determined to handle the local police differently. The alliance weeded out the obviously disloyal cops, assigned U.S. Special Forces to advise those remaining and, as an accountability measure, asked the Afghan national police to handle the ALP’s meager pay. Still, the local cops’ motives and loyalty remain unclear.
Political ambivalence is as Afghan as the blazing sun, jagged mountain peaks and endless pastel fields of blooming poppies, the source of much of the world’s opium. Especially in the weakly governed border regions where decades of warfare have taken the greatest toll, Afghans are careful about openly backing one side or another. Instead, they balance between powers, sipping tea and smiling with the Americans while quietly making deals with the Taliban, just in case.
It’s a survival mechanism born of long, painful experience. “They don’t always have the same confidence in the future,” explains Thomas Casey, 3-41 Infantry’s bookish executive officer. The locally recruited ALP — Zari, with a nominal population of 81,000, has 600 local cops — embodies this ambivalence.
In Zari recently, one ALP commander showed up to a meeting with American forces sporting Taliban tattoos on his knuckles, signs of his past affiliation with the group. An ALP station in the district was found to be selling ammunition to the insurgents. Another was manufacturing IED components and turning them in to American troops, hoping for rewards of fuel and supplies.
ALP radio chatter, intercepted by U.S. forces, indicated that many of the local cops were unsure who would emerge more powerful following the American withdrawal — the Taliban or the Afghan government — and so were courting both sides. “They’re hedging,” says Capt. Dennis Halleran, the stocky, boisterous Bravo Company commander.
Capt. Dennis Halleran of Bravo Company at a security shura on April 9, 2013. Photo: David Axe
To be fair, some ALP have fought fiercely against the insurgents. In March, a small Taliban force opened fire on a combined ALP and national police squad guarding poppy eradication workers. The cops, both national and local, fought back, killing two Talibs at the cost of two wounded on their side. The ALP proudly brought the insurgents’ dead bodies to a U.S. base to verify their claims of combat victory.
But in at least one case, the Taliban appears to have used the pro-NATO cops’ initiative against them in order to undermine and influence their less aggressive fellow officers. In late March, a Zari-based local police officer named Toorialay, second-in-command of the ALP unit in Zenadon village, traveled all the way to neighboring Panjwai district to hunt down a Talib who had killed his brother, himself an ALP.
The traditional pashtunwali code of southern Afghanistan demands an eye for eye. But people who know Toorialay say he was motivated by more than revenge. “He hates the Taliban,” more than one person tells Danger Room.
Using the investigative skills drummed into him by the U.S. Special Forces who had trained him, Toorialay found his brother’s murderer before the district authorities did — and killed the Talib in revenge. That time the law was swifter than vengeance, and local authorities arrested Toorialay. Today he languishes in an Afghan prison.
U.S. troops in Zari say the kidnapping of Toorialay’s brother was part of a larger strategy. Toorialay had a reputation, rare among the militia-style ALP, of aggressively patrolling his corner of Zari district. The Americans say Toorialay’s leadership had helped keep the insurgents out of Zenadon.
Apparently fearful of directly attacking Toorialay, the Taliban had instead sought to remove the police officer from Zari by killing his brother and thus luring him to Panjwai. Granted, the insurgents apparently did not expect the rogue local cop to succeed in his revenge quest — and so quickly. Even so, the Taliban gambit was successful. It might have come at an unexpectedly high cost, but the village of Zenadon was now wide open to insurgent infiltration.
An Afghan Local Policeman in Zari in April 2013. Photo: David Axe
On one early spring patrol, Bravo Company’s 2nd Platoon discovered a small green cloth flag tied to a tree in Zenadon. Overhanging a gap in a badly damaged wall, the flag appeared to be a marker, perhaps meant to show where insurgents could sneak into the town.
The flag becomes a focus of a three-day follow-up mission in Zenadon beginning April 18. “Fighters are here, I have no doubt,” 1st Lt. Christopher Gackstatter, 2nd Platoon’s tall, baritone-voiced platoon leader, tells his soldiers as they gather on a gravel staging area inside Bravo Company’s walled outpost.
It bugs Gackstatter that the ALP seem not to be worried about the apparent Taliban rat lines running into their village. The Zenadon ALP unit, numbering around a dozen men and teenage boys, hasn’t been the same since Toorialay left the unit to avenge his murdered brother.
True, the local cops have turned in a number of IEDs they claim to have found in Zenadon. But Gackstatter isn’t convinced the cops aren’t also helping the insurgents. Passively, perhaps, by turning a blind eye to their rat lines. Or more actively. It’s possible the Zenadon ALP actually put the green flag there themselves. “We have a good working relationship with the ALP,” Gackstatter reminds his soldiers. “But don’t trust ‘em.”
2nd Platoon rolls into Zenadon in its Stryker vehicles and idles just outside the ALP station. Gackstatter and a security detail led by Sgt. Hun Park sit with the ALP in their surprisingly well-appointed compound. The cops have brand-new motorbikes, new walkie-talkies, a well-tended garden — a even a dove coop full of the cooing, bobbing birds. The American hand out sticks of fruit-flavored gum to the Afghans and accept hot, sweet green tea in return.
“We’ve pulled IEDs out of the ground that were new, so there are definitely Taliban here,” Gackstatter tells the cops. “Are they coming in at night?”
A middle-aged policeman named Radmadullah speaks for his fellow cops. “Everyone looks like a farmer, everyone acts like a farmer,” he says vaguely, implying there could be insurgents in the town while artfully dodging the lieutenant’s pointed question.
Gackstatter eyes Radmadullah. It occurs to the young lieutenant that he has never seen this particular cop before. And yet here the man sits, representing the entire ALP unit as though he were a longtime veteran of the force. Radmadullah really is a trained and certified local policeman — he has the identity card to prove it — but his background and relationship to Zenadon are unclear. And that makes Gackstatter nervous.
Teacups are drained. Gum is spit out. Half the Americans and several Afghans grab their weapons and head into the heart of Zenadon in a long snaking line. Park takes the lead while Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Barnes, the platoon sergeant, anchors the center of the patrol. Park, always with a wad of chewing tobacco bulging in his lower lip, navigates the mostly lifeless village until he finds that suspicious-looking green flag still suspended from its tree.
He’s about to ask one of the ALP about the banner when the Afghan leans in and tears down the flag, insisting it’s just garbage blown into the branches by the wind.
But it was tied there, Park thinks.
Park makes eye contact with Barnes, whose two decades in the Army have made him cranky and paranoid. Almost wordlessly, Barnes and Park agree to cut short the patrol.
Back between the Strykers, the two non-commissioned officers huddle with Gackstatter. “I don’t trust the ALP,” the barrel-chested Barnes tells his lieutenant. Park chimes in, describing the cop’s weird behavior around the flag.
Together, Barnes, Park and Gackstatter start piecing together the clues: An unknown policeman shows up out of the blue and more or less takes charge of the whole ALP outfit; the cops have new, expensive bikes and intercoms that they should not be able to afford on their meager salaries; and on top of all this, the ALP are going out of their way to keep the Americans from closely inspecting possible evidence of Taliban presence in Zenadon.
The three men glance over at the ALP station and notice something else new and worrying: For the first time in multiple visits, the cops have posted an armed guard on the station wall, overlooking the U.S. bivouac. Over the next few minutes, two more armed guards join the first. Now a full quarter of the Zenadon local police force has its weapons turned toward its American allies. The Americans can’t help thinking of the 50 coalition troops killed by their Afghan partners in so-called “insider attacks” in 2012 and 2013.
Gackstatter takes a quick survey of his NCOs: should they stay or go? “Go,” Barnes says. “Go,” Park adds. “Go,” the others say. They’re unanimous. End the planned three-day mission after just a couple of hours.
Gackstatter directs some of his soldiers to point their own weapons in the general direction of the ALP station — without being too obvious about it. The other Americans rush to pack up the Strykers. Gackstatter calls across to the ALP, asking for one of them to come outside for a quick word. The lieutenant lies, telling the delegate that 2nd Platoon has been called away on an urgent mission.
The cop clearly knows better. He seems almost desperate to ease the Americans’ fears, as though trying to restore the careful equilibrium the Zenadon ALP has struck between the Americans and the Taliban in the weeks since the insurgent-hating Toorialay left the unit. “We are friends,” the delegate insists, without explaining who his other friends might be.
Gackstatter shakes the Afghan’s hand and assures him 2nd Platoon will be back soon. Just how soon, the Afghan has no idea. For the following day, 2nd Platoon secretly returns to Zenadon, parking their Strykers beyond sight of the ALP station and tuning radio intercept gear, eavesdropping on the intercom frequencies in an attempt to overhear the cops’ conversations, and begin determining with whom their most important allies have been speaking … and to whom they’ve been answering.
Tthe inside story of the military elite who run the country and why they cannot make peace
The IDF certainly has great influence, but Israel remains anything but a military society. Tyler’s deeply flawed book is an act of thinly veiled enmity.
Patrick Tyler begins Fortress Israel with an alleged Israeli ‘hit’ against an Iranian nuclear scientist. In reality, the entire book is a ‘hit’, designed to discredit Israel. As with all skilful propagandists, Tyler begins with some truths, but moulds facts and context to suit his case.
Tyler’s thesis has four primary elements. First, that Israel’s defence establishment is reluctant to place its trust in the peace process. This, of course, is entirely appropriate.[and Freilich leaves out Hudaibiyya, the basis for all Muslim treaty-making -- "truce" not "peace" treaty-making -- with non-Muslims] The Arab states spent decades trying to destroy Israel, many still seek to do so and both the Palestinians and Syrians rejected historic peace proposals. Second, that the defence establishment exerts great influence over the decision-making process and that the civilian leadership is overly dependent on it for policy formulation. True, but this is partly immanent in Israel’s circumstances, the situation was created by the politicians, not power-hungry generals, and a broad recognition of the need to rectify the imbalance, shared by the IDF, has given rise to a number of reforms, including the establishment of the National Security Council.
Third, Tyler claims that he seeks to explain with ‘realism and fairness how the martial impulse in Israeli society and among its ruling elite has undermined opportunities for reconciliation, skewed politics toward an agenda of retribution and revenge and fomented deliberate acts of provocation designed to disrupt international diplomatic efforts… (and) to perpetuate a system of governance where national policy is dominated by the military’. The IDF certainly has great influence, but Israel remains anything but a military society. The IDF is fully subordinate to the civilians and Israel has launched a number of dramatic peace initiatives (e.g. Oslo, Barak at Camp David and his proposal to withdraw from virtually 100% of the Golan, Gaza disengagement, Olmert in 2008).
To fully demonstrate his selective and slanted argumentation would require a review many times longer than the book.
Fourth, that Israel ‘continues to respond to its founding configuration of threats as if its vulnerabilities had not changed’. Again, he identifies a problem, but fails to note that civilian commissions and IDF reviews have sought to update Israel’s strategy and that much progress has been made. Moreover, this problem is not unique to Israel; ask any student of Western strategy two decades after the Cold War.
The book is written with the craftsmanship of a former New York Times correspondent, a title that provided him with unusual access to senior Israeli officials, something they will undoubtedly regret upon reading it, and which is designed to lend legitimacy to what is otherwise an act of thinly veiled enmity. To fully demonstrate his selective and slanted argumentation would require a review many times longer than the book. The following are some examples.
Mischaracterisation. Ben-Gurion, Tyler alleges, opted for war in 1956 to ‘explode’ a US and British attempt ‘to impose a new peace in the Mideast that would require Israel to accept the return of Arab refugees and to give up part of the Negev so as to reconnect the Arab world’. Were this the case, Ben-Gurion would actually have been fully justified, but no mention is made of Egypt’s closure of the straits, nor of the ongoing terrorism. Moshe Dayan is said to have read the Bible obsessively ‘because for him it was a manual for war.’ Really? A manual for war? Ehud Barak, he avers, spoke Hebrew at home ‘like a patriarch … (and) looked at the world as a place where events, if planned and executed with discipline and courage, could change history … His friends called him Napoleon’. As a fluent Hebrew speaker, I have no idea how one speaks it as a patriarch and while Barak is a difficult character (easy-going people do not become Chiefs of Staff and Premiers), he deserves great credit for his dramatic efforts to reach breakthroughs with the Palestinians and Syrians. Avi Dichter, Shin Bet head during the intifada, when Israelis were being slaughtered almost daily, ‘was not interested in understanding the enemy, (he) was interested in defeating the enemy’. Yes, this is the role of security officials; understanding and empathy are best left to therapists.
Gross misstatement. Tyler asserts, absurdly, that Israel’s response to the 2002 ‘Seder massacre’, the most horrific terrorist attack during the intifada, ‘was an invasion the likes of which had not been seen even in the Six-Day War’. Israel’s response, retaking a few Palestinian towns in the West Bank, was a minor operation compared to the conquest of the entire West Bank, Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula during the Six Day War.
Lack of balance. Tyler vehemently criticises the defence establishment’s pre-Camp David assessment that Arafat would reject a deal and initiate violence unless Israel withdrew to the 1967 lines, divided Jerusalem and accepted a right of return. In reality, this assessment proved tragically prescient. He devotes virtually no attention to the historic proposals that Barak presented at Camp David and to the even more far-reaching ones he accepted under the Clinton Parameters, both of which Arafat rejected. To substantiate his criticism of Barak, he quotes a junior aide, Gadi Baltianski, who played no role in the negotiations, and Robert Malley, the most junior American involved, but not Clinton and the three leading American negotiators – Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller and Martin Indyk – who blamed Arafat for the failure.
There is disagreement regarding Arafat’s responsibility for the outbreak of the intifada, though there is no doubt that he manipulated it once it erupted. Tyler, however, makes the unsubstantiated assertion that ‘all later reconstructions confirmed’ that Arafat had not initiated it and even charges that the military chiefs’ harsh assessment of Arafat’s role was not supported by their own intelligence officials, only to contradict himself a few pages later by quoting the heads of military intelligence, Malka and Zeevi-Farkash, both of whom fully substantiated it. Tyler also charges that the defence chiefs adopted a ‘blatantly political and propagandist narrative’. His proof – again Baltianski and a mid-level intelligence officer whose assessment had been rejected.
Tyler devotes a lengthy discussion to the 2006 Lebanon war, the prosecution of which can certainly be criticised, and to the attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor, but only a few sentences to Olmert’s dramatic peace proposals in 2008. Forced to acknowledge their existence, he attributes them to malevolent intentions (Olmert’s legal difficulties), whereas Abbas’s dismal failure to respond warrants no criticism. He does not even mention Olmert’s 2006 election platform calling for unilateral withdrawal from 90 per cent of the West Bank.
Gross imbalance. Tyler devotes just one page to Sharon’s Gaza Disengagement Plan, all of it critical, and while one can debate the plan’s merits, it certainly was a dramatic move. Conversely, he devotes an entire section to the killing of Hamas leader Sheik Yassin, who remarkably turns out to have been ‘a profoundly nonviolent man for most of his life’ and who ‘evinced a strong pragmatic streak’, as manifested by his supposed willingness to reach a ceasefire (but not peace) with Israel, in exchange for a complete withdrawal, division of Jerusalem and a return of the refugees, i.e. the maximalist Palestinian position. His killing is described vividly (‘the flash and intense heat seared clothing and flesh’), as is the killing of Ayyash, the mastermind of endless Hamas attacks (‘the explosion killed Ayyash as swiftly and brutally as his bombs had killed more than 50 Israelis and wounded 340’). None of the heinous terrorist attacks for which they bore responsibility are described in such vivid terms and the attempted moral equivalence is repugnant.
Questionable use of sources and conclusions. Tyler states that Rabin ‘was said’ to have ordered the IDF to ‘break their bones’ during the first intifada, but notes that Rabin denied it. So did he say it or not, and if not, why quote it? The killing of Abu Jihad, the head of the PLO’s terrorist wing, is attributed to a desire to revive IDF and public morale and to Israeli martial impulses, not to the fact that he was an arch terrorist. He then claims that ‘a tall female Mossad agent’ filmed the killing – naturally an Israeli femme fatale, sexual innuendo always sells – and that the film ‘was almost certainly screened for Shamir, Rabin and the trusted inner circle’. No sources are given. Regarding a tragic 1996 incident, ‘he writes’ ‘Israeli artillery gunners targeted – mistakenly they said – a UN refugee centre at Kana and slaughtered 100 civilians’. There is no doubt that this was an accident and there was no need to mention it unless the objective was defamation: Anyone know of a military operation in which there have not been errant munitions? The entire operation is explained as a case of Premier Peres ‘simply not (being) strong enough and instead of showing any restraint, he launched the war reflexively – Fortress Israel reverting to type.’ The heinous terrorism that led to the operation is not mentioned and the only ‘reverting to type’ is Tyler’s.
Internal Contradictions. Contrary to Tyler’s argument, the defence establishment is commonly a force for moderation – as he unintentionally demonstrates himself. Tyler states that the IDF led the politicians into a heavy-handed suppression of the first intifada, but notes elsewhere that the chief of staff and head of military intelligence both argued that there was no viable military solution and that a political one was needed. So the IDF was actually fulfilling its duty to protect Israel’s citizens, while adopting a more moderate position than some political leaders.
Contrary to Tyler’s argument, the defence establishment is commonly a force for moderation.
Regarding the fully justified debate within the defence establishment during the First Gulf War about whether to respond to Saddam’s missile attacks, Tyler argues that ‘to (Defence Minister) Arens and the militarists in Shamir’s cabinet, nothing was as important as Israeli self-reliance. Israel had to defend itself or “deterrence” would collapse’. Yes, these were legitimate concerns and Arens’ wish to attack the SCUDs was eminently understandable. Tyler is forced to acknowledge, but greatly downplays, Chief of Staff Shomron’s highly unusual end run around Arens, going straight to Shamir to vehemently argue against an attack, and the fact that the premier adopted his position. So again, the IDF played a moderating role. Having been forced to give Shamir credit, Tyler alleges that the experience intensified his resistance to peace and the Madrid conference. In fact, the issues were unrelated.
According to Tyler, Rabin’s initial decision to keep the Oslo talks secret from the defence establishment reflected a fear that it might ‘smother the negotiations with security concerns’, but notes on the following page that ‘the reason for his secrecy was self-evident, for as soon as the news broke the opposition took aim at him with venomous attacks’. So it was not a nefarious, anti-peace military that explained Rabin’s behaviour, but politics. Tyler further alleges that the IDF opposed Oslo, but then states that ‘Rabin, wielding his authority, led the army into this new endeavour.’ Once again, it turns out that the politicians, not the IDF, were in charge.
The successful attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor, in Tyler’s words, ‘inspired an even bolder concept among the generals – war on Iran to destroy its evolving nuclear complex’. A few pages earlier, however, he states that the IDF had concluded that a strike on Iran was too large and risky for Israel.
False objectivity. Upon rare occasion Tyler acknowledges that some blame may lie with others. Thus, he allows that ‘Arafat may have been a flawed character’, but avers that he pushed for a political solution as long as he had an Israeli partner. ‘A flawed character’ may be the understatement of the century. Arafat had the blood of thousands on his hands, was a pathological liar and was hated by every Arab leader he ever met. As Clinton, Ross and the other senior Americans involved in the peace process in 2000 have attested, Arafat killed it.
In short, don’t waste your time on this book. I regret that I had to.
Charles D. Freilich is a former Israeli Deputy National Security Advisor. He is now Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and author of Zion’s Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy, Cornell, 2012.
So they did know about him, and how thick he was with known jihadists.
MI5 asked Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo if he wanted to work for them about six months before the killing, a childhood friend has said.
Abu Nusaybah told BBC Newsnight his friend - one of two men arrested after Drummer Lee Rigby's murder in south-east London on Wednesday - had rejected the approach from the security service.
The BBC could not obtain any confirmation from Whitehall sources.
Abu Nusaybah was arrested at the BBC after giving the interview.
The Met Police said a 31-year-old man had been arrested at 21:30 BST on Friday in relation to suspected terrorism offences and search warrants were being executed at two homes in east London.
In his Newsnight interview, Abu Nusaybah said he thought "a change" had taken place in his friend after his detention by security forces on a trip to Kenya last year.
Abu Nusaybah said Mr Adebolajo suggested he had been physically and sexually abused during an interrogation in a prison cell in the African country. (presumably this was during his, sadly failed, attempt to join al shaabab to fight in Somalia) After this, he became withdrawn "and less talkative - he wasn't his bubbly self", Abu Nusaybah added.
He said Mr Adebolajo also told him that, upon his return, he was "followed up by MI5" who were "knocking on his door". He was "basically being harassed", Abu Nusaybah said. He added: "His wording was, 'They are bugging me - they won't leave me alone.'
"He mentioned initially they wanted to ask him if he knew certain individuals. But after him saying that he didn't know these individuals, what he said was they asked him if he would be interested in working for them. He was explicit in that he refused to work for them but he did confirm he didn't know the individuals."
Four months after French troops cleared Islamist fighters from the desert towns of northern Mali, U.S., French and African governments see a worrying new trend: Many of the same militants are regrouping in neighboring countries.
One new trouble spot, say officials from the U.S., France and Niger, is an expanse in southwest Libya that is roughly 1,000 miles from Mali, beyond the reach of French warplanes and in area that before now drew little U.S. notice.
The militants' recent movements pose a growing danger to weak African states. Militants have launched a series of deadly terrorist attacks this past week, including one in a town in Niger where the U.S. plans to put a new drone base. The developments also spotlight the difficulty of combating al Qaeda in areas where governments don't have the forces to control their vast borders.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The wreckage of a suicide bomber's vehicle at an army base in Niger on Thursday, in a Niger TV video grab.
But the West's ability and willingness to respond is less clear-cut than ever. In a major policy speech Thursday, President Barack Obama raised the bar for U.S. lethal action against terrorist groups, saying the U.S. will strike only at those who pose an imminent threat to Americans, rather than at terrorists who threaten U.S. allies and interests.
"Some U.S. government officials clearly want to end the war on terrorism. But there is a big discrepancy between hope and evidence," said Seth Jones, an al Qaeda specialist with the Rand Corp. who advised the military in Afghanistan. "Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups have increased their presence in North Africa and the broader Middle East. Like it or not, terrorists get a vote too."
A top concern is Niger. At dawn Friday, French special forces there exchanged gunfire with several fundamentalists strapped with explosive belts, eventually killing them. The militants had taken over an army barracks in the remote trading town of Agadez, according to officials in France and Niger.
The clash followed twin suicide blasts Thursday that struck the same Agadez barracks as well as at a uranium mine 100 miles to the north operated by French nuclear engineering company Areva SA. The attacks left at least 19 soldiers and one civilian dead, Niger's government said.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar—the Algerian-born militant who claimed responsibility for a January attack against an Algerian gas plant that left at least 38 employees dead, including three Americans—also claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the French campaign in Mali, which it launched in January after Islamist militants took over much of the country's north, succeeded in preventing terrorists from controlling that area.
"Now, we must avoid similar risks from materializing in northern Niger and parts of Chad," he said Friday, after the latest attacks.
The militants' movements highlight what one senior European defense official called a "wake-up call" for the West: While Mali has stabilized, French and U.S. intelligence reports now show militants from Mali have been able to cross the region's porous borders and establish a tentative new base in southwest Libya.
"It's a concern that squeezing a balloon on one end will create a pocket of terrorists on the other," a senior U.S. official said of al Qaeda and its allies in that part of Africa.
The U.S. believes that the southwest corner of Libya is now attracting Islamist fighters from Ansar al Dine and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who fled from Mali. In Libya, these groups are blending with local militant groups, including members of Ansar al Sharia, which the U.S. implicated in the 2012 attacks on U.S. outposts in Benghazi, in eastern Libya.
A former U.S. official said militants have set up rudimentary training camps in southwest Libya from which they could plan further attacks in the region.
The senior U.S. official said it was premature to call this a new safe haven area. "It's more like a refuge area for extremists who don't want to be hit in Mali," the official said.
Libya's postrevolution government is in disarray and Western officials say it is unclear who, if anyone, is responsible for security. While Libyan forces have some presence in the country's main population centers, large desert areas are controlled by a patchwork of tribes. "You are talking about a zone where there is no real authority," a senior European defense official said.
Libyan officials say they have given French and U.S. forces permission to increase surveillance of the area. But French and U.S. officials said they haven't gotten the green light for all of the missions they seek.
In a recent series of meetings in Washington and London, French officials told their American and British counterparts that the threat "zone is evolving" as Mali militants have increasingly moved out of reach.
The spread of al Qaeda affiliates across largely ungovernable reaches of the Sahara—and their growing strength in the Syria conflict—highlights a possible mismatch between a threat whose boundaries are expanding and a U.S. administration that is narrowing its counterterrorism role, current and former U.S. and European officials say.
The Pentagon has expanded its presence in Africa and recently started flying unarmed drones out of Niger. But Pentagon officials say their plate is full with the war in Afghanistan and with permanent military deployments in the Middle East and Asia to counter threats from Iran and North Korea. Added to that is Syria's civil war, which threatens to engulf the Middle East in a regional conflict.
Pentagon officials say they don't have enough drones to meet existing commitments, let alone cover the Sahara, a region about the size of Europe but with only 4 million inhabitants. Counterterrorism campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen have shown how dense networks of drones and spies can be used to dismantle terrorist networks, but that isn't likely for the U.S. in Africa anytime soon.
In the last four months of fighting in Mali, the French government says its warplanes and commandos have killed an estimated 800 militants linked to al Qaeda and its allies, helping the West African country to recover control over its territory and setting the stage for free elections.
But many insurgents previously based in northern Mali have eluded the French-led military intervention by resettling elsewhere, French government officials say. One of the most elusive has been Mr. Belmokhtar.
In a statement to the Mauritanian newswire Agence Nouakchott d'Information, the one-eyed Islamist leader allegedly said Thursday's attacks were conducted by militants from across the Sahara.
In March, the government of Chad said its soldiers had shot dead Mr. Belmokhtar. French officials have said they had no evidence Mr. Belmokhtar was killed and said they were taking his alleged statement to ANI "seriously."
U.S. intelligence agencies believe Mr. Belmokhtar is alive but his location is unknown. Current and former officials said he was last traced to northern Mali but it is unclear if he has relocated to southwest Libya with the other fighters.
In December 2012, the Libyan Congress declared the southwest desert border region a closed military zone. The chief of staff, Yousef Mangoush, organized a more professional border guard unit to patrol there as well as a separate unit to guard critical infrastructure facilities like oil fields and barracks where foreign oil company employees work and live.
However, Libya's armed forces don't have the high-tech aerial equipment necessary to survey the miles of empty desert.
U.S. and French officials say that their efforts to monitor the Libyan desert have been slowed by the Libyan government's resistance to allowing outside access to the area.
European Union officials said the bloc was trying to speed up the start of a two-year training mission aimed at helping Libya control its borders.
Libyans have held several security meetings in recent months with their neighbors to discuss border problems, but they have been struggling domestically, in the wake of Moammar Gadhafi's overthrow, to reform and professionalize all of their security forces.
Yemen's main oil export pipeline sabotaged, crude flow halted
May 24, 2013
Unknown attackers have blown up Yemen’s main oil export pipeline in the central province of Ma’rib, halting the flow of crude oil, government and industry sources say.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the pipeline in Serwah was exploded by “subversive elements.”
The key pipeline, which carries oil to an export terminal on the Red Sea shore, had been pumping around 125,000 barrels per day (bpd), Reuters quoted an industry source as saying.
Oil revenues make up more than 70 percent of Yemen’s state budget. Oil and gas products also account for over 90 percent of Yemen's exports.
Insurgents and tribesmen have repeatedly attacked oil and gas pipelines in Yemen over the past two years in a bid to win concessions from the central government, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings in the impoverished country.
In December 2012, at least 17 people were killed after the Yemeni Army launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of sabotaging the pipeline.
Official figures show lost production due to pipeline attacks in the east cost the Yemeni government more than USD one billion in 2012, while oil exports fell by 4.5 percent.
Steve Amundsen, a colleague in The United West, who hails from Southern California, sent me an Investors Business Daily editorial, entitled, “Stop Importing Terrorists”. The byline was “restrict visas issued to hostile Muslim countries.” This came at the conclusion of a bizarre and ghastly week, with the slaughter in London of British Soldier Lee Rigby by two British home grown jihadis , one a second generation and the other a third generation of Nigerian Christian origin, who converted to Islam while at university. The other troubling event was the shooting death by FBI agents in Orlando, Florida of Chechen refugee, Ibrigrim Todashev. He attempted to stab one of the agents during an interrogation in his Florida apartment concerning a triple murder allegedly perpetrated by him and the late Tamerlan Tsardaev on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watchnoted a blog post how Todashev entered the US:
In 2008, the US government granted Todashev asylum, a protection granted to foreigners with a credible fear for their safety in their homelands because of religious, political, or other specific forms of persecution.
But Reutersreports that Todashev’s father is a government official in Grozny and has close ties to Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadryov.
Up on Capitol Hill in Washington, the US Senate Judiciary Committee was going through mark up of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform measure S.744 that will throw more money at the broken Refugee Resettlement Program run by our State Department. That potentially may let more refugee jihadi terrorists in. The only palliative amendment allowed was one offered by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) that would bar re-entry of Asylees and refugees who return to their country of origin for unauthorized visits.
In New York City this week, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman held a press conference. They announced the arrest of a ring of 16 Palestinians, 14 of whom were found illegally living here, engaged in a mega millions illegal enterprise. They were skimming illegal profits from more than $70 million in unpaid taxes on more than $55 million in cigarettes purchased in Virginia and North Carolina. It is estimated that over $14 million of those purloined profits may have been funneled to Hamas.
Yesterday, during a 1330AMWEBY Middle East Roundtable broadcast, listen to segment four, I asked Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center a question about how the NYPD was able to round up 16 Palestinians in New York and Maryland engaged in a cigarette smuggling scam.. She noted that the NYPD has engaged in profiling and monitoring of Muslim fundamentalists, despite objections that it was racist from groups like CAIR and even the DOJ and DHS.
She also disclosed the less well known connection that enabled the NYPD to do this; their liaison office in Tel Aviv with Shin bet, Israeli security. The proof of that valued connection was the foiling of several dozen terror plots in New York City and this week's bust of the Palestinian cigarette smuggling caper with the arrest of two legal kingpins living here and 14 other illegals.
The failure of the DHS, ICE and FBI to have found these Palestinian extremists beavering away in this illegal enterprise is evidence that our federal counterterrorism program doesn't protect us. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and his counterterrorism team appear to be among the only ones doing that 24/7. The LAPD out in Southern California wouldn't dare consider raising that possibility as Muslim advocacy groups like MPACT successfully killed a Muslim community policing program several years ago. The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety in Los Angeles at the time who ended that proposal was an MPACT member, Arif Alikhan, now Assistant Secretary for Policy at DHS in Washington. That is why many of us toss and turn wondering when the next refugee or home grown Jihadi terrorist will engage in a WMD attack taking the lives of innocent fellow citizens.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and his highly effective counterterrorism program need this broken Refugee Resettlement program fixed by the Senate Judiciary Committee to prevent more refugee jihadis from entering this country. Problem is the Senate Judiciary Committee has been lobbied by 11 voluntary agency (Volags) contractors seeking more refugee clients and fees for processing asylum applications for the likes of the late Ibrigrim Todashev and the Tsarnaev brothers. One of those Volags is the International Rescue Committee whose Boston office may have processed asylum papers for these Chechen terrorists who did us harm.
"The best way to prevent violent extremism is to work with the Muslim American community – which has consistently rejected terrorism – to identify signs of radicalization, and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence." Also sprach Obama yesterday.
"Remember: the Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was thrown out of his local mosque after lashing out at the imam for praising Martin Luther King in his Friday sermon" -- Mehdi Hasan in a Guardian article .
And this crazed idea has been echoed by Cameron and by Clegg, in the general despairing degringolade all over the Western world where, confronted with the millions of Muslims -- busily procreating, tirelessly proselytizing, limitlessly clever in presenting themselves as victims and as worthy of support in every possible Infidel way -- they simply don't know what to do, but above all want to keep pretending that somehow if they say Islam is peaceful and non-violent and, properly understood, not a threat to anyone, that Muslims themselves will ignore what is in the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, will forget what Muhammad was like, will drop their deep-seated belief that the world belongs to Allah, that all the world ultimately should be part of one Dar al-Islam, and that Musilms have a duty to participate, communally or in some circumstances individually, directly or indirectly, in the Jihad to remove all obstacles to the spread of Islam, until it everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere.
In the general rush to pretend that there is nothing troubling or frightening about the ideology of Islam, and that Muslims are almost to a man -- save for a handful of demented extreme extremists -- fine, wonderful, trustworthy -- we keep being told how Muslims are our first line of defense, for it is they who, we are led to believe, are eager to, ready and willing to, monitor other Muslims for the first signs of that crazy behavior, having nothing to do with Islam, that Muslims and Muslims alone exhibit.
It's all nonsense. There are paid informers, and some of them, not out of sympathy, are on the regular payroll -- and what a good living so many Muslims are making claiming to monitor other Muslims. Shouldn't we ask ourselves, by the way, why we only need informers to monitor what goes on among Muslims? In any case, there have been practically no examples of Muslims sua sponte reporting on any signs of "extremism." I know of only one case, where five Muslims left America to join the Taliban in Pakistan, and did not notify their parents, and the parents, alarmed that their sons might be killed, then went to the sinister group CAIR to tell them. And CAIR, which works day and night to keep Muslims from volunteering information to the FBI, and that campaigns for all Muslims to "know their legal rights" and to contact CAIR should the FBI come a-calling, was in a quandary. For having been informed by these Muslims, the CAIR people were not sure that the parents would not go to the government anyway, and furthermore, CAIR must worry now about a deliberate set-up by the FBI to test whether CAIR would indeed relay information. And in that case, in that single solitary case, CAIR did not prevent the parents from telling the FBI about their missing sons who had gone off to become martyrs in Pakistan, or possibly Afghanistan.
The other day Mehdi Hasan asserted, in a piece in The Guardian, that members of the Boston mosque had thrownTamerlan Tsarnaev "out of the mosque" after criticizing the local imam for praising Martin Luther King in his khutba (Friday sermon). That is false. Tsarnaev was never "thrown out of the mosque." He had, on two occasions, taken issue with what was said in passing at the mosque. He did this, first, when at Friday Prayers the imam of the local mosque (not in Boston but in Cambridge, on Prospect Street, a few blocks from Norfolk Street where Tsarnaev lived) apparently praised Martin Luther King. Tsarnaev was islamically correct in saying that praise was due only to Muslims, never to a non-Muslim. Apparently, Tsarnaev didn't realize that the mosque on Prospect Street likes to proselytize among the blacks who live nearby, and praise of Martin Luther King would be a way to their hearts and minds. The second outburst occurred when someone at the mosque suggested at Friday Prayers that it would be okay for Muslims to celebrate, or pretend or seem to celebrate, Thanksgiving, in order better to outwardly fit in, in a country where Muslims know they are 1% of the population, are not popular, and are being observed. America is not Western Europe. Indeed, in one of the Boston Globe articles about the mosque, someone -- possibly the imam -- said that Tsarnaev didn't understand the "American Islamic" version of Islam that was being offered. In other words, Tsarnaev, being by this time a True Believer, and knowing it is impermissible for Muslims to celebrate any Infidel holiday, or even to wish Infidels good wishes on their own holidays, was outraged -- and again, Tsarnaev was correct in his understanding of Islamic doctrine. What he failed to understand was the cunning of those who were willing, given the doctrrine of Darura or Necessity, (for example, a starving Muslim might be allowed to eat pork) the Muslims running the Cambridge mosque were willing, in very tiny insignificant ways, to make comprommises -- either because such compromises would be useful in proselytizing a particular community (as with praise of M. L. King) or in helping to misleadd unwary Infidels about the willingness or ability of Muslims to fit in, as by the seeming participation in Thanksgiving.
The imam at the mosque, and other members too, admitted that both incidents passed quickly, and, that Tsarnaev was never expelled from the mosque, as Mehdi Hasan claims above. And most importantly, no one at the mosque had informed the local police, or the FBI, or any other authorities, that Tsarnaev exhibited behavior that suggested he really did take Islam fully to heart and was not a compromiser in any respect (for Tsarnaev didn't realize that the imam was not giving up his Muslim principles, but merely cleverly adjusting them to the circumstances of American life, and what he had to do to proselytize, and to help members of the mosque seem outwardly to fit in) that he was someone to watch. The reason why the Muslims at the mosque had, this time, to tell the truth, the reason why they could not say that they had expelled him when they hadn't, the reason they did not dare to claim, as they no doubt would have liked to, that they "had reported Tsarnaev's outbursts to the authorities" is that they are now smart enough to know that the police and the FBI kept records, and that neither had any records of such reports or complaints. So they couldn't get away with what, no doubt, early on, some may have tried, cunningly, to suggest -- or did not contradict others who suggested that there had been this tremendous brouhaha in the mosque with Tsarnaev.. followed by his being expelled. There never was, and he never was.
But thjat doesn't stop Mehdi Hasan from lying, for he's a sly Defender of the Faith.
It's not the most disgusting part of his article. The most disgusting part of his article is, I think, this:
"Perversely, it was the non-Muslim Cub Scout leader who, in trying to save the soldier’s life, and standing up to his alleged attackers, was acting in accordance with Koranic principles"
"On a visit to Baalbek on Thursday, Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr, said the week's events had marked a groundshift in Syria's war. The deteriorating situation there, he said, "could become a sectarian civil war across the region. The prospect of it being a Shia, Sunni war across more than one country and this would be a huge tragedy."
What do you think?
Do you think the Iran-Iraq War, that kept both the Khomeini regime, in the bright dawn of its madness and agression, and Saddam Hussein's regime, busy with their mutual bloodletting for eight years, was "a huge tragedy" for the world's non-Muslims?
Do you think that watching the members of Jabhat Al-Nusra (including all those Muslims who come from Australia, from Germany and France and England, but who are sufficiently fanatical in their faith to have rushed to Syria to fight) engage in fighting with members of Hezbollah, fighting that is accompanied by mutual takfiring (declaring the enemy -- Sunni or Shi'a -- to be Infidels) in Qusayr isa "huge tragedy"?
Do you think the fact that Sunni Arabs in Iraq will never acquiesce in their new, inferior status, and Shi'a in Iraq will never surrender the power that they have acquired, that automatically transferred to them (they are at least three times as numerous as the Sunni Arabs in Iraq) once the regime of Saddam Hussein had been toppled, and that now the bombing of Sunnis by Shiites and of Shiites by Sunnis, and with the possibility of large-scale warfare between the two sects a distinct possibility, constitutes a "huge tragedy" for the world's non-Muslims?
If, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Pakistan, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Sunnis go on the offensive against Shi'a, enraged perhaps at the news of Shi'a victories, and of course massacres of Sunnis, in Qusayr, and that leads to disruption and bloodletting between Sunnis and Shi'a in these places -- and perhaps even between Sunnis and Shi'a in London, or Dearborn, or Berlin -- would that constitute, for the world's non-Muslims, a "huge tragedy"?
What's wrong with Bob Carr? And what's wrong with all the bob-carrs in the Western world? Perhaps, for a start, they fail to recognize, to adequately gauge, the world-wide threat of the adherents of Islam, and the inadqquacy, the want of preparation, the want of knowledge, the want of imagination, of those who presume, everywhere in the West, to instruct and protect us.
But not everyone is ill-prepared. Not everyone is ignorant. Not everyone is without ideas as to how to weaken the Camp of Islam. And those who are prepared will welcome the disarray, and the mounting hatred of Sunni for Shi'a, and of Shi'a for Sunni. . It may or may not be a "huge tragedy" for Muslims. For non-Muslims, it's just the ticket.
Fighting continued for a fifth straight day in the strategic Syrian city of Qusayr, as opposition forces fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad sought desperately to maintain their slipping grip in a battle that could dictate the direction of the war. As government tanks, artillery and warplanes pounded rebel positions throughout the city, fighters engaged in sniper attacks and small forays against government ground troops seeking to take terrain. Rebel fighters are calling it one of the worst ground battles of the war.
“In some areas the fight is within three-meters diameter, and you are able to hear them yelling and crying in the battlefield,” Abu al-Baraa, a field commander from the Jabhat al-Nusra in Qusayr, tells TIME by telephone from Tripoli, where he is recovering from wounds gained earlier in the week. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra is fighting under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army, a loose confederation of volunteers, jihadists and opportunists aligned against the regime. Al-Baraa says he is in constant contact with his men at the front. “Now the battle is centralized in the eastern side of Qusayr, and our mujahedin are teaching [the Syrian government forces] hard lessons which, God willing, they will never forget.” He says his brigade has more than 2,000 fighters willing to sacrifice their lives to prevent Qusayr from being taken back by regime forces. Assad’s supporters are equally ferocious in their desire to retake the city, which has been under rebel control for several months.
Qusayr, a city of 30,000, straddles a key transit corridor between the Syrian capital of Damascus and the coast. Victory in Qusayr allows the regime easy access to the Mediterranean port city of Tartus, where Russian tankers can supply both oil and weapons in case the Damascus airport is destroyed. Tartus is also the entryway to a coastal region dominated by Assad’s Alawite sect — an essential refuge for the President and his supporters should Damascus fall. “No doubt Qusayr is a strategic city for the Rafidah,” says al-Baraa, using a derogatory name for Alawites, meaning rejecters, or apostates. “It is the main city that will allow them to link their state together.”
For the rebels, Qusayr is an important logistics hub. Weapons and supplies can easily be smuggled over the porous Lebanese border, 10 km away, and fighters, like al-Baraa, use safe houses across the border for rest and recovery. Members of Hizballah, an Iranian-linked Shi‘ite militia based in Lebanon, have gone across the border in the opposite direction to help the regime, raising fears of a regional and sectarian conflagration. With more than 80,000 killed in a civil war that has gone on for more than two years, the fight for Qusayr is seen as a pivotal test by both sides. George Sabra, acting head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition based in Turkey, reiterated the importance of Qusayr in a statement calling for reinforcements of men and weapons on Wednesday, citing concerns about sectarian violence and “foreign invaders” from Hizballah and Iran. “Everyone who has weapons or ammunition should send them to Qusayr and Homs to strengthen its resistance. Every bullet sent to Qusayr and Homs will block the invasion that is trying to drag Syria back to the era of fear.”
In a war where journalists have limited access, the propaganda battle of Qusayr is equally vociferous. The government news agency SANA claims to have taken half the city, whereas a local government official from the district governor’s office told the Associated Press that 80% of Qusayr was in government hands. Rebel fighters in the western part of the city, where the fighting is most fierce, told TIME by Skype that the FSA has 60% of the city. “We still control the center of Qusayr and the west,” says activist Abu Islam, speaking from the FSA’s Qusayr media center. As proof, he pointed out that the media center was able to run on generator power and he could speak safely using the Internet. On Twitter, rebels, activists and government supporters traded taunts and crowed over successes. “So far we have the bodies of 50 pigs,” al-Baraa told TIME, using an extremely pejorative term for anyone of the Muslim faith. Then, using a play on words that twisted the meaning of Hizballah, or Party of God, into party of idol worshipers, he said “Hizb el-Lat already lost 70 fighters under the strikes of our mujahedin, and if they continue the number will be more than 700.” Others in Qusayr projected weary defiance. One doctor, filmed at a makeshift field hospital where he attended wounded civilians and rebel fighters, said that half the houses in the city had been destroyed, that scores had been injured and that there was a shortage of “everything.” Still, he declared: “We will not surrender, and Qusayr will not fall.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a meeting with the Friends of Syria group in Amman on Wednesday, admitted that the regime had “made some gains in the last few days but this has gone up and down like a seesaw.” Kerry told reporters that Assad was “miscalculating” if he thought the advances would be decisive. But hopeful predictions that the regime is on its last legs are just that — hopeful. For nearly a year observers have spoken of the government’s imminent collapse, only to be proved wrong again and again. As long as Syria has the support of Iran and Russia, it is unlikely to fall no matter how well armed the rebels.
Victory in Qusayr, for either side, will have long-term implications, not just for Syria but for the region. The U.S., Russia and the international community are preparing for a summit next month that hopes to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. By reasserting its military superiority in Qusayr, and by extension the west of the country, before the summit, the regime will be able to transform its military advances into a stronger negotiating position. For Russia this means keeping Tartus, its only warm-water port, in the hands of a close ally, even if the rest of the country falls to the rebels. For Iran, it means keeping a conduit open to its proxy, Hizballah. For that reason alone, Israel will keep a close eye on what happens next in Qusayr. “There are several thousands of Hizballah militia forces on the ground in Syria who are contributing to this violence, and we condemn that,” said Kerry at the Friends of Syria meeting, referring to Qusayr. If the regime can consolidate power from Damascus to the coast in a swath of territory that flanks northern Lebanon and Hizballah’s Lebanese heartland of the Bekaa Valley, the opportunity for weapons transfer from Iran to the sworn enemy of Israel via the Syrian capital will be even stronger. The Israelis have already targeted Syrian military positions three times under the suspicion that they were being used as transit points for weapons destined for Hizballah in Lebanon.
But the greatest risk of a regime success in Qusayr would most likely fall on its vulnerable neighbor, Lebanon. The conflict has already spilled into the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where Alawites and Sunni Muslims have fought pitched street battles, killing 14 since Sunday. Rebel commanders in Syria, and Sunni religious leaders in Lebanon, have hinted at sectarian revenge attacks against Shi‘ites and Alawites on both sides of the border should Qusayr fall, laying the groundwork for a regional sectarian conflict.
Opposition fighters in Qusayr take up position. [Trad Zehouri/Al-Shorfa]
Hizbullah fighters are leading the assault on the city, backed by Syrian regime forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah hospitals are packed with injured fighters.
While estimates vary, opposition sources put the number of confirmed Hizbullah deaths from fighting Sunday through Wednesday evening at more than 50 fighters.
Speaking from Qusayr, Hadi al-Abdullah, spokesman for the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Homs said the battle for Qusayr is a Hizbullah battle "par excellence" against the city's current population of about 40,000 people.
Out of necessity, most Qusayr residents have had to fight to defend their families and city, he said.
Al-Abdullah compiles reports on casualties and battlefront information for the General Committee. He previously operated from Homs city.
Hizbullah fighters constitute most of the commanders and combatants carrying out operations in Qusayr, he told Al-Shorfa. The Syrian army backs up Hizbullah fighters on the front lines of the battle with tanks.
"Hizbullah fighters are from the elite forces," al-Abdullah said. "We know their number is considerable, but we cannot estimate it."
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters have some presence on the outskirts of the city, he said.
Al-Abdullah put the number of confirmed deaths in Hizbullah's ranks from Sunday through Wednesday evening at 64, with 56 opposition fighters and civilians killed on Sunday alone.
Hizbullah fighters are using "sophisticated sniper rifles", he said.
In one ambush, "[opposition fighters] were able to capture a pickup truck loaded with weapons and advanced night vision goggles, an identity card bearing the party's emblem, in addition to Iranian-made shells bearing Farsi inscriptions", he said.
Hizbullah trajectory in Syria
Ten months ago, Hizbullah's involvement in the conflict was modest, al-Abdullah said. It occupied eight villages in Homs province: four Alawite villages the regime handed over to it without a shot being fired, and four Sunni villages where clashes took place between opposition and Hizbullah fighters.
Several months ago, Hizbullah tried to storm three other villages; al-Burhaniyah, Saqrajah and Abu Houri near Qusayr, he said.
Hizbullah's ranks in Syria previously "numbered in the dozens, and they were equipped with light weapons", al-Abdullah said.
"Then [Hizbullah] began to send in large numbers of heavily-armed [fighters], who occupied the village of Tal al-Qaresh, which overlooks Alawite-populated areas, and later seized control of villages west of al-Assi River and prepared to storm Qusayr," he said.
Free Syrian Army spokesman Luay al-Meqdad told Elaph news website that Hizbullah recently transferred more than 3,000 fighters to Syria, with 1,200 others currently preparing to enter the country from Hermel.
Hizbullah 'at forefront' of Qusayr battle
Mahmoud Shukr, a correspondent for Bekaa's Voice of Lebanon radio station who has followed the situation in Qusayr since the outbreak of fighting, told Al-Shorfa that daily funerals for Hizbullah fighters killed in Qusayr have been held in areas where the militia has a presence.
Convoys have been leaving Hizbullah hospitals in Beirut's southern suburbs and in the Bekaa region -- specifically Dar al-Hikma hospital in Baalbek, funded by an Iranian charity -- all week, he said.
When Qusayr fell to the opposition more than a year ago, al-Jousi border crossing remained under regime control, Shukr said.
The party continues to send convoys of fighters to Qusayr through the Bekaa, preceded by convoys of armed members to clear the way for them, he said.
"This was a secret to no one, because we used to see convoys of SUVs with darkly-tinted windows pass through the Bekaa towards Syria on a daily basis at the rate of four to seven cars per day," Shukr said.
Hizbullah has been at the forefront of the Qusayr battle, according to Shukr. Since Sunday afternoon, ambulances have been transporting dead and wounded fighters to Dar al-Amal, Dar al-Hikma, al-Rayan and al-Batoul hospitals in northern Bekaa, and al-Rasoul al-Aazam hospital in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman on Friday (May 24th) cautioned Hizbullah over its fighting alongside regime troops in neighbouring Syria.
The day before, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora criticised Hizbullah's growing involvement in the war in Syria, saying its actions could plunge Lebanon into a "dangerous quagmire", Lebanon's The Daily Star reported.
Siniora, head of the parliamentary Future bloc, also spoke by telephone with Shia politicians and religious leaders and urged them to intervene to put an end to Hizbullah's "dangerous involvement" in the conflict in Syria.
"What Hizbullah is doing is extremely dangerous and undermines all national principles and contradicts the Constitution, norms, laws, the Baabda Declaration, UN resolutions and the policy of disassociation upheld by Lebanon," Siniora said in a statement quoted by The Daily Star.
Acting chief of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, George Sabra, urged the United Nations Security Council "to convene an emergency meeting and go beyond expressing concern to action" regarding Qusayr.
"Our country's borders and sovereignty and the lives of its citizens are being violated. We call on the Security Council to take a position equal to the seriousness of this situation," AFP quoted Sabra as saying.
Just when you thought the religion of peace couldn't get any more wonderful, this comes in from the LATimes:
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban gunmen launched a coordinated attack on an international aid group’s guesthouse in an upscale Kabul neighborhood Friday, setting off a furious firefight that lasted several hours and renewing fears of the insurgents’ ability to strike virtually at will in the heart of the capital.
The late-afternoon attack took place in Kabul’s Shar-e-Naw district, home to numerous heavily fortified compounds housing international aid groups and Afghan governmental and security entities.
The assault began with a powerful car bomb detonated at the gates of the guesthouse used by workers for the International Organization for Migration, an inter-governmental group based in Geneva. Insurgents then raided the compound, throwing hand grenades and severely burning an Italian woman working for the organization, said IOM spokesman Chris Lom.
Three other people at the compound, all of them security guards, suffered minor injuries from the grenade blasts, Lom said. Mohammad Zahir, criminal investigations chief for the Kabul police, said one officer was killed and five others injured.
All of the attackers were wearing explosives-filled suicide vests, said police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai. Armed with automatic rifles and grenades, they battled with dozens of Afghan security personnel for several hours. Some of the attackers were shot and killed by police but at least two others holed up in the IOM guesthouse and continued to exchange gunfire with security forces, Stanakzai said.
Late Friday, Police Chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi said five of the assailants had been killed, but that fighting was continuing.
The Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, contending that they had laid siege to a U.S. military guesthouse. The Taliban often exaggerate the nature of their attacks.
Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commander of the U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan, condemned the attacks.
“The insurgents have repeatedly shown little regard for innocent civilians and the future of Afghanistan as demonstrated by attacks such as these,” Dunford said. “Their actions fly in the face of their claim that they are looking to avoid civilian casualties.”
The assault was the second major insurgent attack to strike the center of Kabul in eight days. A suicide bombing on May 16 targeting a U.S. convoy killed 15 people, including six Americans. Hezb-i-Islami, a Taliban-affiliated insurgent group, claimed responsibility for that attack.
Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League doesn't always do himself any favours. He needs to stay off the booze, at least in public. But watch him here (thanks to Gates of Vienna) at his most articulate. And compare and contrast the mealy mouthed appeasement of our so-called leaders Cameron and Clegg.
It is Ramadan. The Chinese government has mandated all restaurants remain open for business during fasting hours. Regulations stipulate that state workplaces provide free lunches for their employees, and non-Muslims wait to see if their Muslim co-workers will sit down to eat with them. Schools tell students under the age of 18 that they cannot go to the mosque and pray during the holy month, or indeed at any time. The state has proscribed the communal and private religious education of children to the extent that affinities to Islam are becoming diluted. Imams, all of whom have undergone political education classes, sermonize to the only people eligible to enter the mosque, that is, men aged over 18 not employed by the government. Every Koran in public use is state approved. Any outward expression of faith in workplaces, hospitals, and some private businesses, such as men wearing beards or women wearing headscarves, is forbidden. In short, the state controls the smallest details of individual expressions of religious belief and practice.
This is the stark picture of restrictions placed on the religious freedom of the Uyghur people, documented by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) in a new report titled Sacred Right Defiled. The Uyghur are a Turkic Muslim people whose homeland, in China’s far northwest, is known as either Xinjiang or East Turkestan, depending on your politics. The distinct Uyghur cultural identity is besieged through a variety of state policies that include the exclusion of the Uyghur language in educational institutions, the demolition of traditional Uyghur neighborhoods, and a steady migration of Han Chinese into predominately Uyghur towns and cities. Sacred Right Defiled details how the Chinese state has implemented an array of ever-restrictive regulations on religion, a cornerstone of Uyghur identity. As scholar Arienne Dwyer states, “For both urban and rural Uyghurs, ethnic identity is linked with religious and linguistic identity.”
In 2005, Religious Affairs Regulations took effect across the People’s Republic of China. The regulations were the most comprehensive attempt to date to define the permissible aspects of religious expression across the nation, and marked the culmination of numerous regional regulations covering religious sites, government employees and religious leaders implemented since the late 1980s, especially in Uyghur and Tibetan regions. At the time the national regulations came into force, according to Ma Pinyan of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, the Uyghur region already had more religious regulations than any other province, proving them to be a “powerful legal weapon” to control religion. Sensing the effectiveness of heavy regulation in managing religious affairs in ethnic minority areas, Chinese authorities moved to contain burgeoning religious groups countrywide through national measures.
In a hallmark of authoritarianism, the Chinese government is codifying its repression through the development of legal instruments. Since 2005, the policy with regard to religion has continued unabated on a national and regional level. More regulations, as well as revisions of existing regulations, have been passed in an attempt to further narrow the scope of religious expression. In the Uyghur region, this has resulted in further curbs on imams, religious publications, and undertaking the Hajj among many other controls. Ramadan in 2012 was widely viewed as one of the most restrictive in years. State work units assigned personnel to check that colleagues were not worshipping at mosques in accordance with the ban on mosque attendance for government employees. China often cites security concerns in implementing such limitations. As recently as April, Wang Zuo’an, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs said, “religion can become a lure for unrest and antagonism.” Many of the regulations targeting Uyghurs, especially those aimed to confine the religious beliefs and practices of Uyghur children, are not seen in other regions of China. Coupled with the absence of the Uyghur language in education, restrictions on the religious practice of Uyghur children weaken connections to ethnic identity and create disincentives for their use and practice in wider society.
The even darker side of China’s regulatory body to curb religious freedom is that many Uyghurs interviewed by UHRP described their confusion over what religious expressions were permitted under Chinese laws, as there were such a bewildering number of regulations passed. According to UHRP research, while officials continue to emphasize the need to make legislation clearer and more accessible, the latest Religious Affairs Regulations remain difficult to find on government websites. Confusion or innocent ignorance of religious regulations tended to make Uyghurs err on the side of caution rather than risk trouble with the authorities. Rightfully so, as UHRP documents, those Uyghurs who have been convicted of “illegal religious activities” face long terms in prison and even torture, as in the case of the Uyghur Christian, Alimjan Yimit.
China does have articles protecting religious freedom in the Constitution and the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law; however, urging China to respect them is only part of the picture. China implementation of harsh religious regulations against Uyghurs is one of many egregious violations of Uyghur human rights that also include abuses of political and economic rights. Yet it is through the Uyghurs’ faith in Islam that China is pressing hardest to validate an intensification of its repression on the Uyghur people. China’s recent attempt to equate a violent incident in Maralbeshi, near Kashgar, on April 23 with the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing illustrates how China is leveraging terrorism accusations to justify crackdowns on the Uyghur. In the murky case of Maralbeshi, where 21 people lost their lives in a clash between local police and alleged Uyghur terrorists, even the usually reticent U.S. State Department said China should “provide all Chinese citizens, including Uighurs, the due process protections to which they are entitled.” [Why? In China, does the writ of the U.S. Constitution ru? When did the American government start thinking that that the First and Fourteenth Amendments were universal in their application?]
While launching the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2013 Annual Report, USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett remarked on the importance of religious freedom to security. She concluded religious freedom encourages moderate factions to flourish and saves religious minorities from the dangers of marginalization. China’s future stability faces this challenge stemming from its current treatment of religious minorities within its borders. If China is to realize its potential as a global power, it must abide by its international standards; however, China also needs to appreciate the value of religious freedom to its own prosperity. [China needs lessons from no one in how to control --i.e., constrain -- the forces of Islam]
The Woolwich suspects were “hunting for soldiers” in the weeks leading up to the atrocity in which drummer Lee Rigby was killed, it was claimed today.
Neighbour Paul Ramsamy, 46, claimed the pair confronted him after apparently mistaking him for a squaddie because he was wearing combat trousers and boots.
The father of two said Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, had followed him in the street in Greenwich as he walked home.
He claimed: "They followed me for about 50 metres and approached me together. They looked very serious, like they meant business. They looked at my camouflage trousers and boots. I then thought they just wanted me to buzz them into the flat block but that was obviously not the case.
"When I saw what happened in Woolwich I recognised them and realised how lucky I have been. They must have been hunting for soldiers to attack when they followed me.
“I realise now what a a lucky escape I had. They were obviously looking for a soldier to attack in the time before they struck. They were whispering to each other when they walked away, it was very scary.
"They obviously saw I was not a soldier and let me go. They could have followed me into the lift and attacked me. I feel lucky to be alive."
The alleged incident took place two months ago and suggests the pair may have been plotting their attack for some time.
"This was not just an attack on Britain – and on our British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam – and of the Muslim communities who are give so much to our country.
'There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.
'We will defeat violent extremism by standing together, by backing our police and security services and above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism on which this violence feeds.
'Britain works with our international partners to make the world safe from terrorism. Terrorism that has taken more Muslim lives than any other religion.
'It is an utter perversion of the truth to pretend anything different. That is why there is absolutely no justification for these acts and the fault for them lies solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack."
-- David Cameron
Do you enjoy, do you find the slightest bit convincing, any of this? And what about the further statement that Cameron made, gushing with gratitude to Muslims for what he called all that they "give" to the United Kingdom, all the ways -- let's count the ways, shall we? -- that they make the United Kingdom a richer, more wonderful, more peaceful, more harmonious, place just by being here and making their wonderful contributions, which contributions are of course too numerous to mention.
But let's return to the main text posted above.
“There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act." This is completely false. There are more than one hundred Jihad verses, and many hundreds of ahadith, that support exactly such acts as these. The "poisonous narrative" is in the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira --- and how does David Cameron propose to modify, or interpret away, the "poisonous narrative" of the canonical texts of Islam? It can't be done.
“The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know: something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.”
No, they -- the two meat-cleavered butchers -- were not ":trying to divide us" -- with the implied corollary, according to Cameron's formulation, that we should not take a dim view of Muslims and Islam because if we were to do so, that would "only let the terrorists win." They want us, you see, the camerons of the world assure us, to take a dim view of Islam, to be suspicious of the ideology of Islam and of Muslims, and we mustn't do that for that would give those "terrorists" -- those "extremists" -- the very victory they so desire. This may remind some of Shimon Perest who, after every PLO attack, during and after the Oslo Accords, would mechanically repeat that "these were the enemies of peace" and that, therefore, Israel should make even more concessions so as to bring "peace" (in reality, a peace treaty, or rather, a hudna modelled on Hudaibiyya). It's hard to believe that Cameron is so ignorant and stupid, but I'm afraid he is.
The killers of Drummer Rigby had no need to "try to divide us."They were trying to punish, to inflict revenge, as they saw it, on the strange people, the enemy people, the non-Muslim English people, among whom they live and whom, for the moment, they must endure. There's no need to talk about preventing the "dividing of people." Islam divides the world in two, between Believers and non-Believers. Central to Islam is that distinction. And non-Muslims are not entitled to equal rights with Muslims, but rather are subject to a host of legal and financial disabilities..
That distinction, between Usand Them, Believers and Non-Believers, Muslims and Infidels. It's all over the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira. It's the very heart of the Sharia' -- the different treatment of Muslims and non-Muslims. It's how so many non-Muslim peoples, far more numerous than their Muslim conquerors, were converted to Islam, to escape from the many heavy social and economic and political disablities placed on them by Muslims. I don't expect Cameron to have read a lot about islam, but by this time, he and everyother leader in the Western world should know enough to refrain from such idiotric remarks, which merely invite ridicule, and certainly help to delegitimise his rule. And all over Western Europe, the rule of those who keep lying and lying about Islam is being deligitimised -- by those very lies. It's happening everywhere.
“Over the last few days London has shown itself at its best: an unbreakable city once again refusing to bow to hatred and violence. Of all the groups and faiths represented here today, I would like to pay special tribute to London's Muslim community.
“An unspeakable act has been conducted in their name. Yet while this has provoked feelings of frustration and anger - it flies in the face of the peace and love that Islam teaches - Muslim organisations, Mosques, Imams and community leaders have responded with a call for unity and calm. They have set an example for us all.”
--- Nick Clegg, at a "community" meeting held after the most recent Muslim murders
Nick Clegg, spoiled and stupid and callow, like so many of those now running the United Kingdom, had a fvoreign policy, you may remember. It was based on Clegg's deep and vicious hostility to israel (such hostility tends, unsurprisingly, to accompany a deep unconcern for the behavior and attitudes of Muslims all over the world). Or have you forgotten that about Nick Clegg? On the other hand, for Nick Clegg the adherents of Islam are wonderful people, and not deserving of any scrutiny or criticism.
Here he is, on the killing, mutilation, dismemberment, of a British soldier in the middle of the day, in the middle of London, by someone who tells us, who makes clear, that he was prompted to do this by the texts of Islam, and he even quotes directly from Sura 9, the Surat Al-Tauba.
What does Nick Clegg know or understand about the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira? Will no one attempt to cross-question him about his knowledge of these texts, and about how they are received by adherents of Islam? Will no one point out to him thew 1350-year history of violent Islamic conquest of many different lands, and many different peoples, and how the histories, the languages, the memories of those peoples were, wherever possible, simply erased, as were their art, their artifacts, their other monuments. Will no one ask him, callow hollow Nick Clegg, what he makes of the figure of Muhammad, the Model of Conduct and the Perfect Man? Is it possible that among those ruling now in the U.K. are people who are ignorant (of Islam), cowardly (terrified of offending Muslims lest those peaceful Muslims erupt in even more violent ways) and unimaginative (because they cannot begin to figure out all the ways that the Camp of Islam can be divided, demoralized, weakened, and all the ways that the hold of Islam on the minds of at least its non-Arab adherents can be weakened, and how, too, the Muslim presence in the U.K. and other threatened Western lands can be diminished,if a policy of relentless hostility and containment is instituted, one that would be supported by all sane people in the United Kingdom, if only they could be given intelligent direction and someone, or some people, were to come to power who, unlike Nick Clegg, had intelligence, knowledge, wit, and imagination.
Here he is, Nick Clegg, this limited man, who with such pronouncements as he makes in this Telegraph article, invites contempt and ridicule.