To paraphrase, the San Fernando Court in Cadiz recently dealt with the case of a Moroccan man aged 31, initials AED, who is a trader. He is known locally following an altercation with another trader last year which resulted in his shop buring down. AED is married to a Moroccan girl aged only 20 and they have a child aged 12 months.
Neighbours called the police when they heard the girl screaming. Her husband had beaten her when she tried to leave the house without the hijab. She had lesions to her face, a broken nose and bruising. I think the reference on Muslima media watch to 'bitten' is meant to be 'beaten'. The dozy bints there are more concerned that the newspapers have not reported other domestic violence cases not involving Muslims than that one of their number has suffered.
The wife was taken to hospital. The husband was found quite unconcerned inside their house with the child. He admitted beating the wife, he said his actions were not excessive, but that his wife bleeds easily.
At court he was sentenced to two years imprisonment but was released from custody for reasons to do with his previous record. Perhaps this is a Spanish equivalent of a suspended sentence? The wife and (I presume the child) are at a women's hostel and there is an order to prevent the husband approaching her.
The Lavoz Digital article ended with concern at the rising proportion, 36%, of foreign women among the statistic for women's violent deaths in Spain last year. They fear that immigrant women suffer particularly because of the language barrier and a culture that makes them isolated and highly dependent on their assailant.
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.
Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.
Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that has wound its way through federal courts since 2002. An appellate court, reversing an earlier decision, said in November that foreign nations were not immune to lawsuits under certain terrorism claims, clearing the way for parts of the Saudi case to be reheard in United States District Court in Manhattan...
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Two American soldiers were killed Thursday in a shooting by an Afghan soldier and a literacy teacher at a joint base in southern Afghanistan, officials said, the latest in a series of deaths as anti-Americanism rises following .
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Most Syrian rebels pulled out of the besieged Baba Amro district of Homs on Thursday after a 26-day siege by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, activists in contact with the fighters said.
They said a few fighters had remained behind in the shattered quarter to cover the "tactical withdrawal" of their comrades.
Syrian forces again shelled Baba Amro earlier in the day, despite world alarm at the plight of civilians trapped there.
Snow blanketed the city, slowing a ground assault begun on Wednesday, but also worsening the misery of residents short of food, fuel, power, water and telephone links, activists said.
Reports from the city could not be verified immediately due to tight government restrictions on media operations in Syria.
Assad is increasingly isolated in his struggle to crush an armed insurrection that now spearheads a year-long popular revolt against four decades of his family's iron-fisted rule.
But he still has some allies. Russia, China and Cuba voted against a resolution adopted overwhelmingly by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council which condemned Syria for violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.
"WHATEVER THE COST"
A Lebanese official close to Damascus said Assad's government was determined to regain control of Homs, Syria's third city, which straddles the main north-south highway.
"They want to take it, whatever happens, without restraint, whatever the cost," the official said, asking not to be named.
He said defeat for the rebels in Homs would leave the opposition without any major stronghold in Syria, easing the crisis for Assad, who remained confident he could survive.
The exile opposition Syrian National Council said it had formed a military bureau to oversee and organize armed anti-Assad groups under a unified leadership.
"The creation of the military bureau was agreed upon by all armed forces in Syria," SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun told a news conference in Paris. "We will be like a defense ministry."
The SNC has been criticized by some Syrians for not overtly backing the armed struggle led by the loosely organized Free Syrian Army, made up of army deserters and other insurgents.
There was no immediate comment from the rebel army.
With Assad's forces closing in on rebels in Homs, the SNC appealed for help late on Wednesday, urging the U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan, to go to Baba Amro "tonight."
Annan said in New York he expected to visit Syria soon and urged Assad to engage with efforts to end the turmoil.
Syria, which denied entry this week to U.N. humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos, adopted a guarded approach to Annan's role.
The state news agency SANA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad al-Maqdisi as saying the government was "waiting for a clarification from the U.N. on the nature of his mission."
The ministry also said it was ready to discuss a date for Amos to visit instead of the "inconvenient" one she had sought.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in Geneva he hoped Syria would let Amos in soon.
Russia, which along with China, has shielded Syria from U.N. Security Council action, is emerging as a pivotal player in diplomacy aimed at halting the bloodshed and relieving the humanitarian crisis facing civilians caught in conflict zones.
Moscow has invited Annan for talks on Syria and, according to Kuwaiti officials, will send Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to meet his Gulf Arab counterparts in Riyadh next week.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have led calls for the world to arm Syrian rebels following last month's Russian-Chinese veto of a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria.
Syria's Maqdisi told Lebanon's Hezbollah-run al-Manar television that the Saudis and Qataris were "singing from the same hymn sheet" as al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, who has urged Arabs and Muslims to support anti-Assad insurgents.
Kuwait's parliament, dominated by Sunni Islamists, said it had agreed to support the Free Syrian Army and urged the Kuwaiti government to cut relations with Syria.
While the Sunni Gulf monarchies have been alarmed by demands for democracy inspired by popular revolts across the Arab world, they have also long been at odds with Shi'ite Iran, their non-Arab rival on the other side of the Gulf, and with Tehran's Arab allies, Alawite-ruled Syria and the Shi'ites of Hezbollah.
The grievances of Syria's Sunni majority under Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, have struck a chord with both the public and wealthy rulers in the Gulf.
The United States and its allies are seeking a new Security Council resolution on Syria, which Western envoys said would focus on humanitarian problems to try to win Chinese and Russian support, but would also criticize Assad.
Wednesday's army ground assault on Baba Amro followed more than three weeks in which Assad's forces have bombarded rebel enclaves in Homs with rockets, shells and mortar rounds.
"Homs is cut off from the world," an activist statement said. "Martyrs are being buried in gardens and parks because the presence of army snipers prevents taking them to cemeteries."
It said hospitals were only treating pro-Assad militiamen, while makeshift medical centers had run out of medicine.
Western and Arab governments, which have already called on Assad to step down and end the bloodshed, expressed mounting concern for civilians struggling to survive in Homs.
"I am appalled by reports that the Assad regime is preparing a full-scale land assault on the people of Homs," Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said.
Britain has withdrawn all diplomatic staff from Syria and suspended services at its embassy in Damascus in response to worsening security in the country, a diplomat said on Thursday.
The United Nations says Assad's security forces have killed more than 7,500 civilians since the revolt began last March. Syria's government said in December that "armed terrorists" had killed more than 2,000 soldiers and police during the unrest.
A Half-Dozen Things To Wish For In And Around Syria
To wit, that:
1. The Alawites still control the military, and because they control the military, they will control the government no matter who is its titular head.
2. The Sunni rebels obtain sufficient arms to keep the Alawites constantly on edge, and to inflict damage on the Syrian military's tanks and helicopters and planes. To keep Western and Arab economic pressure on Syria so that its wellbeing will depend more and more on aid from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which will have to send billions of dollars in aid to prop up the Alawite regime.
3. The Alawites will no longer be able to count on Hezbollah, for unwavering support. Signs of Hezbollah's less-than-steadfast support should infuriate the Alawite regime which will not only cease to send military aid to Hezbollah, but ideally will prove less willing, or even unwilling, to help the Islamic Republic of Iran send military aid to Hezbollah. That, in turn, may lead to increased friction between Iran and Syria, with Syria doing the absolute minimum it must to keep Iranian economic aid flowing to it.
4. Iranians, aware of how much the support of their government for the Syrian regime is costing them, will become more and more furious. And they will demand that less be given to Syria -- and lumped with Syria, Hezbollah.
5. In Lebanon, local Sunnis, and Sunnis who have fled Alawtie suppression in Syria, will take out their fury, when they can, on those they know to be allies of Syria -- that is, Alawites in Lebanon and Hezbollah.
6. In Turkey, attempts by Syrian government propagandists to persuade Alevis, who constitute a large part of the population of Turkey, that their connection to Alawites is stronger thay they have heretofore believed, and that just as the Alevis resent the attacks by the more orthodox Sunni Muslims in Turkey, they have a stake in helping to prevent the downfall, and subsequent mass-murder (by triumphant Sunnis), of Alawites in Syria.
These are a half-dozen possibilities. And the ideal result, devoutly to be wished by people in the West, would be this;
A Syrian regime, still of, by and for the Alawites (with the Ba'ath Party serving as its camouflage, with Christians and Kurds and some Sunnis continuing to support the Alawite rule) and those they protect, but one that has its hands full trying to stay in power.
An Iranian regime that is weakened at home by resentment over the economic cost of its support for Syria (with less and less left over for Hezbollah). And resentment, and fury, in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf Sheikdoms, and ideally in Pakistan and Afghanistan and other Muslim lands with significant Shi'a minorities, over what cam be seen -- usefully for the West, if not quite accurately -- as Shi'a persecution of Sunnis in Syria.
Nothing that happens in Syria matters as much, to the West as ensuring that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. Those who argue that instead of attacking Iran, the West -- that is, America, Israel -- should fatally weaken Iran's ally Syria, and ensure the Sunni Arabs prevail, are not only putting the cart before the horse, but have the wrong cart in mind.
Iran doesn't have to be invaded, or conquered, or occupied -- not for years, not for months, not for one day. All that is required is an attack, not on Iran, not on the Islamic Republic of Iran, but on certain identifiable sites, where the nuclear project is taking place. A different thing. Shi'a in the Middle East, including those in Iran, need not be weakened in their conventional military power. It is in the West's interest to keep the Shi'a strong enough to put up a good fight against the Sunnis in Iraq, and -- if one agrees to consider the Alawites as Shi'a (rather than as observers of a syncretistic faith that includes veneration for Mary) -- in Syria too.
Pakistani militants say Chinese woman killed for revenge
Reuters - A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility on Thursday for the killing of a Chinese woman this week, saying it was in revenge for China's killing of Muslims in its troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang. The claim of responsibility is likely to alarm both the Pakistani government and China, which is a close of ally of Pakistan and has considerable investment in its south Asian neighbour.
The Chinese woman was shot on Tuesday in a market in the northwestern city of Peshawar along with a Pakistani man. Police at the time said they did not know the motive.
"Our comrades carried out the attack in Peshawar which killed the Chinese tourist," Mohammed Afridi, a spokesman for a faction of the Pakistani Taliban from the Darra Adam Khel area, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. "This was revenge for the Chinese government killing our Muslim brothers in their Xinjiang province."
Afridi said the militants were also demanding that China halt what he called its support for the Pakistani government's campaign against militants, and said attacks would go on against Chinese people as long as China maintained that support.
There have been several attacks on Chinese people in Pakistan over the past decade by Islamist militants and autonomy-seeking rebels in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.
While NATO Spends Hundreds Of Billions To Improve Lives Of Muslim Afghans, Islam Spreads Unchecked All Over Europe
From The Wall St. Journal
March 1, 2012
NATO Official Sees It Staying In Afghanistan After 2014
by Stephen Fidler
BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--The top-ranking civilian in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said he sees the alliance playing a key role in Afghanistan after 2014, when Afghan security forces are expected to have taken full control of all combat operations.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary-General, said in an interview Thursday that he expects a summit of NATO leaders in Chicago in May to decide to continue the alliance's mission of training Afghan troops after 2014. These trainers would need protection by NATO forces but it is possible NATO troops would have a broader mission, including a continuing combat role, in support of Afghan troops, if the government in Kabul wanted it.
"Any role from our side will be a supporting role," he said.
"I think it's a bit premature to definitely define what will be the exact mission post-2014 because it will very much depend on the security situation post-2015," he said.
A debate is under way among NATO nations about what the alliance's role in Afghanistan should be after 2014, and whether it is better handled by a "coalition of the willing" or by NATO.
"Whatever option we are thinking about, I think most allies and partners would have a preference for a NATO-led operation. This is also based on previous experience that NATO provides a tested and tried framework for command and control structures that are transparent, that are well suited to exercise political supervision," he said.
On a day when two NATO servicemen were killed by Afghan colleagues following the burning of Qurans at an American airfield last week, Mr. Rasmussen said the alliance would be faced with more such security challenges in coming months and years, but insisted the transition from foreign to Afghan control of security operations was working and on track.
Afghan security forces took part in 95% of all security operations in Afghanistan, and have taken the lead in about 40% of them. Afghans conduct 85% of all training activities themselves, he said.
"These are significant achievements that demonstrate the progress we have seen when it comes to capacity of the Afghan security forces. This is also why I feel confident that we can...complete the transition by 2014." By the end of next year, he said, transition to Afghan command would "probably" be under way everywhere in Afghanistan.
Mr. Rasmussen said that, before the Chicago summit, key decisions would be taken on how large the future Afghan security force should be, but it is premature to fix a figure now. The U.S. has circulated proposals to cut troop numbers to 230,000 from 352,000 this year, a proposal that the Afghan defense minister has said could lead to a catastrophe.
"What might be the long-term size will, of course, very much depend on the evolving security situation, the capability of the Afghan security forces and, at the end of the day, it's also a question about the bill and how to finance it," he said.
The alliance is also being pressed to decide on a new posture toward nuclear weapons, with such countries as Germany and Norway arguing there's an opportunity for the alliance to downplay the role of nuclear weapons and others, such as France, arguing strongly against.
Mr. Rasmussen said he did not expect major changes. He said it would be worth considering the goal of reducing NATO's tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, but only in tandem with Russia. "A precondition of that approach would be increased transparency" on the Russian side, he said.
He also said that he expected the Chicago summit to advance a number of multinational projects aimed at getting more out of squeezed defense budgets. About 20 concrete projects had been identified for cooperation, for example, in logistics, intelligence, reconnaissance and training. Bigger longer-term initiatives were also being developed for 2020 and beyond, including more air-to-air refueling capability, a lack of which was seen in last year's Libya mission, and also more drones.
For insight into the corruption of the modern academy, look no further than Heather MacDonald's extraordinary article on the recent controversy at Duke. Two Duke professors, Peter Arcidiacono and Ken Spenner, and a graduate student, Esteban Aucejo, produced a paper showing that African-American students at Duke disproportionately migrate from science and engineering majors to less challenging majors in the humanities. (Now that the Supreme Court has granted cert to the Fisher case, evidence that racial preferences in admissions harms even those who receive the preferential slots will likely be receiving much more attention.) The reaction was sadly predictable: outraged "activist" students rallied around identity politics; race-baiting faculty members displayed their indifference to the truth; and cowardly administrators seemed terrified of being labeled a racist. Also unsurprising was the fact that none of these critics challenged the accuracy of the data that the paper presented.
The campus crusade was led by two of the most extreme faculty members from the lacrosse case, Karla Holloway and Tim Tyson; that such figures could have any credibility left after being so wrong so often in their lacrosse case commentary speaks volumes about the low standards for truth on contemporary campuses. (The duo's continued elevated status also highlights Duke's strategy of refusing to critically self-examine the institution's mishandling of the lacrosse case.) But the low point in the affair came when several Duke academic administrators published an open letter in the campus newspaper, the Chronicle. After empty language about academic freedom, the letter lamented how the "conclusions of the research paper can be interpreted in ways that reinforce negative stereotypes." A Duke spokesperson refused to tell MacDonald exactly to which "negative stereotypes" the letter referred.
The list of signatories included Dean Lee Baker, one of three members of the Group of 88 (the faculty who took out an April 2006 newspaper ad to proclaim something "happened" to false accuser Crystal Mangum) to be promoted to a Duke deanship since the start of the lacrosse case. (A fourth Group of 88 member was elected chair of Duke's faculty senate.) But the letter's most surprising signatory was Duke provost Peter Lange.
During the lacrosse case, Lange was the only senior member of Duke president Richard Brodhead's administration to behave in a consistently honorable manner. He stood up to "potbanger" protesters who rallied outside his house. And he took action to bring to a halt the most egregious instances of faculty misconduct--in-class harassment of the lacrosse players; false claims that whole departments had endorse the Group of 88 ad, when no department had even voted on the matter--although he didn't punish any of the faculty wrongdoers. (Some things are simply not possible in the current academy.) And, it appears, Lange made a similar political calculation when he elected to sign onto the recent Chronicle letter.
Ironically, thanks to filings in the unindicted lacrosse players' lawsuits against Duke, the controversy over the research paper coincided with the first revelations of the administration's internal deliberations at the height of the lacrosse case. Perhaps most significant was an April 24, 2006 e-mail exchange between Brodhead, Lange, and a third senior administrator, Larry Moneta, discussing how the administration should frame its public response to events. The e-mails were penned a few days after Brodhead had traveled to the Durham Chamber of Commerce for his first public remarks after the arrests of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty; even if the students were innocent, the Duke president declared to rousing applause, "whatever they did was bad enough." What Seligmann and Finnerty had done was to attend a party they played no role in organizing and drink some beer.
In the e-mails, Brodhead implied that the movie Primal Fear represented a possible prism through which to view the lacrosse case. (In the film, Ed Norton plays a sociopath who commits a murder but fools his attorneys about his guilt.) But the e-mails' most striking aspect came in the limited range of options about the case that administrators were willing to consider. Two weeks before the e-mails, defense attorneys had announced that none of the DNA from Mangum's rape kit matched any lacrosse player. Given that Mangum had described a 30-minute gang rape in which her attackers didn't use condoms, the DNA results seemed to suggest that she wasn't telling the truth.
Yet none of the administrators appear to have considered, if only for the purposes of contingency planning, the possibility that a rape didn't occur. Brodhead noted that he was not "confident that the players are innocent though certainly a large number of them are of criminal charges." By this point, even Mike Nifong was conceding that "a large number" of the lacrosse players were innocent of criminal charges.
That Duke's upper administration seemed unable or unwilling to consider inconvenient evidence (by this point, the university's overheated response had been based on an unquestioned assumption that a crime occurred, and so the case's implosion threatened to blow back on Duke) helps explain how the university so badly botched its response to the case. And the administration's appeasement of the Arcidiacono et al. paper's critics suggests that this closed-mindedness remains firmly in place at Duke.
Andrew Breitbart: Conservative Social Media Pioneer-1969-2012
Andrew Breitbart: 1969 - 2012
Andrew Breitbart passed away suddenly at the age of 43 while walking near his home in Brentwood, California leaving behind his wife and four young children. He was a pioneer in creating effective social media from his work as an editor of the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and over the past several years on websites produced by Breitbart’s Big Journalism.com.
On Fox News this morning there was an interview with Jonah Goldberg who was a contemporary of Breitbart’s and had been one of the founders of National Review On-line. Watch the Fox News Goldberg interview with Bill Hemmer, here.
Andrew Breitbart, as Jonah Goldberg said in this emotional FoxNews interview, was a larger than life, fearless, happy warrior who delighted in tweaking the noses of his enemies and going after the big story on corruption in the liberal establishment and media. Goldberg said:
He was one of the most fearless people I ever knew. It’s hard news to take.
He truly loved the fight … One of his favorite pastimes was to retweet all of the hate that people threw at him because he considered it a badge of honor.
Both Goldberg and Breitbart were the same age, 43, and had been involved in the pursuit of conservative principles and causes. Breitbart’s family has suffered a devastating loss with his sudden passing. We mourn his loss as an "aux barricades" spokesperson and investigative journalist par excellence. Let us treasure his memory as a guidepost to follow by example. He will be sorely missed for his passion and commitment to just causes.
The Jewish Journal article on Breitbart’s sudden passing focused on his Jewish background and veiled criticism of his conservative journalist track record, to be expected from this megaphone for liberal Jewish interests.
The Jewish Journal article noted:
Breitbart, who once proudly called himself a “biased journalist,” worked at the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post before starting his own family of conservative web-based media outlets. He is best known for publishing the damning photographs in 2011 that forced Anthony Weiner, then a Democratic congressman from New York, to resign.
Breitbart was adopted as a child and raised as a Jew, and he enjoyed needling the Jewish community for what he saw as its liberal leanings. At a Republican Jewish Coalition event in June 2011, Breitbart gleefully regaled the audience with the story of his being kicked out of Hebrew school at University Synagogue as a child.
“That’s where the battle started with the liberal Jewish community,” he said.
[. . .]
An ally of the Tea Party, Breitbart’s passing was mourned in messages tweeted on Thursday morning by conservative politicians and media personalities from across the nation.
“Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America,” Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wrote. “He had great courage and creativity.”
Gingrich was also on hand at the Republican Jewish Coalition event where Breitbart spoke, and at the time, Breitbart called the former House speaker “a very smart man, a very wise man,” but added that he did not want to see Gingrich become the Republican nominee, preferring instead “someone from the Tea Party.” “I hope that he [Gingrich] becomes the top adviser to the future President of the United States,” Breitbart said.
Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum also tweeted in Breitbart’s memory.
Breitbart’s media creations included the website Big Peace, which focused on foreign policy and national security, and frequently addressed Israel-related affairs.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition event in 2011, Breitbart said journalistic objectivity, when covering Israel, was misplaced.
“You cannot be objective when it comes to right and wrong,” Breitbart said. “And Israel is in the right. So I’m a biased journalist, and I’m having a great time doing it.”
Just a few weeks ago Breitbart had attended the CPAC annual meetings in Washington, DC where he clashed with DC Occupiers outside the Marriott Woodman Park Convention Center. Watch this You Tube video of his exchange with the Occupiers and their responses. It was to be one of his last ‘aux barricade’ moments.
Less well publicized were his anti-Jihadist positions. Lisa Benson, a political consultant and stalwart of The United West, sent this note by email today about the episode at the 2012 CPAC and his comment at a conservative Jewish dinner at CPAC:
Andrew Breitbart, moments before meeting our small group for Shabbat dinner on Feb. 10th, was locked out of the hotel. The hotel with 10,000 attendees was on locked down. Gabby and I went to the Tower to meet the Young Jewish Conservatives for Shabbat. We walked into the small room, grabbed our prayer books and we welcomed the Shabbat with 45 others while Occupy protestors were chanting below our window. It was a surreal experience. Andrew was so outraged by their behavior that he yelled at them, "Behave yourselves, Behave Yourselves!" They called him an Anti-Gay bigot. Andrew was the least Anti-Gay human on the planet. The hotel opened the doors to let him in and he immediately joined us for Shabbat and reminded us what we are fighting for. Those protestors were paid by union hacks; some of them were given a script to chant, while others had no clue why they were protesting. That night, all of us in attendance for Shabbat knew we were part of something larger than us. We prayed and drank scotch (customary for Shabbat!) in celebrating our journey to restoring America.
A Shabbat that I won't soon forget. He said to me, "Lisa, you and I share many Anti-Jihad friends as it is a small Anti-Jihad world."
Breitbart had many admirers and many enemies, the latter of whom engaged in nasty schaden freude –like observations on his passing. To my mind Breitbart exemplified that expression taught me many years ago by a political operative,” You are more often known by the enemies you make than the friends you keep.”
The New York Times for March 1, 2012 carries a report on electioneering in the Islamic Republic of Iran -- "To Pump Up Vote, Iran Puts Down West" -- by Robert Worth.
It includes this:
"A vibrant election will give the enemy a strong punch in the mouth," Ayatollah Khamenei said Wednesday at a gathering in northwester Iran, according to the state-run Mehr News Agency.
Perhaps after all the returns are in, in the free and fair election, and the overwhelming victory of the Forces of Muslim Light is resoundingly affirmed, Ayatollah Khamenei will have the time to read this recent post at NER.
Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesA cinema in Ankara, Turkey, on Feb. 27. The film “Fetih 1453,” or “Conquest 1453,” has proven enormously popular with moviegoers in the country.
ISTANBUL — These days the answer to “they don’t make ’em like that anymore” is “Conquest 1453,” the new spear-and-molten-pitch swashbuckler movie that has Turkish viewers storming their local cinemas in record-breaking numbers. It tells the story of the Ottomans’ successful siege of Constantinople through the eyes of Sultan Mehmet II, with a neat subplot about a cross-dressing female cannon maker who made victory possible. [actually, the cannon-maker was a Hungarian Jewish convert to Islam; his neglected grave, in the overgrown cemetery of the Mevlevis -- Whirling Dervishes -- in Istanbul, repays a visit]/
“Conquest 1453” (or “Fetih 1453” in Turkish) is remarkable not just for its $17 million budget — which is enormous by Turkish standards — and for the size of the biceps on those thousands of extras. It’s also remarkable for the entirely unselfconscious way it celebrates war and conquest.
The film manages to combine blood and battle with a feel-good factor. We shed not a tear for the end of Byzantium. The Greeks lose the city after too many late nights spent with dancing girls. The Turks take it as a reward for their determination and faith. The film might have been pitched to the movie moguls as “Troy” meets “Starship Troopers” meets “Shakespeare in Love.”
My own explanation for the film’s runaway success is that conquering Istanbul is a powerful metaphor. There are those who want to re-enact that triumph again and again. I remember 1996, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the mayor of the city and he supported the Welfare Party, a more overtly Islamist party than the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) he heads today. The Welfare Party was about to take office, and that year May 29th, the day in 1453 when Constantinople’s walls were breached, was celebrated with huge pomp.
People dressed in costumes with crepe beards. Galley boats mounted on motorized trailers wended their way past Taksim Square, the center of Istanbul’s cosmopolitan entertainment district. A huge rally was held at the soccer stadium nearby. The soon-to-be Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan played the role of modern-day conqueror, arriving by helicopter to rapturous applause.
Today, the city government, which is run by Erdogan’s AK Party, has introduced another scheme to redevelop Taksim Square: it wants to reconstruct 19th-century barracks. What purpose the buildings would serve, no one actually knows. And the symbolism is confusing. If this government has been successful in anything, it’s in taming the political might of the military. Decorating the skyline with a homage to the army’s former glory might seem a sly sort of conquest.
This plan, like many of the city’s new development projects, has been rushed through without public consultation. Few images of it are available. The original barracks did have a mosque, but speculation is that most of the space, including much of the existing parkland, will be devoted to yet another shopping mall. If the new complex has a cinema, we can all watch “The Conquest of Istanbul, Part 2: The Battle for Taksim Square” on a wide screen.
Israel versus Nuclear Iran:â€�2012 will be a year of living dangerouslyâ€�.
Israeli F-16 i long distance fighter bomber
The New York Times, published an op-ed by former Israeli Military Intelligence chief, Amos Yadlin, “Israel’s Last Chance to Strike Iran”. Yadlin has the distinction of being one of the seven surviving pilots who flew on the successful June 1981 raid that destroyed the Osirak Reactor near Baghdad, which was part of the late Saddam Hussein’s WMD program. Ilan Ramon, who was the eighth pilot on the Osirak Raid and was Israel’s only Astronaut , lost his life in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1st, 2003.
In the Yadlin op-ed, he discusses what his fellow pilots went through to accomplish their objective that set back the Iraqi nuclear program permanently. The Yadlin New York Times op-ed has the authenticity of having been there and done it.
The occasion of the Yadlin Times op-ed has been mounting speculation about whether an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program is imminent. There are a veritable plethora of reports flooding the media about possible Israeli attack scenarios crippling Iran’s nuclear program. Those reports contain uninformed opinion on whether Israel could do it on its own in what conceivably is a complex daunting operation. An operation that is several orders of magnitude more complicated than the successful Osirak “raid on the sun”.
In recounting his experience in the Osirak raid, Yadlin notes the ingenuity exhibited in the 1981 operation which has become the hallmark of IAF operations like those exhibited in 2007 against the Syrian nuclear bomb factory and recent raids against Iranian supplied convoys in the Sudan. For the lay person, it is difficult to contemplate the complexity involved in hitting multiple targets at a distance of over 854 statute miles. Such an operation that might involve AWACS battle management aircraft and multiple sorties of IAF squadrons refueled mid-air. Perhaps, as indicated in our recent NER interview with Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, conventional aircraft might be supplemented by swarms of drones. As we have pointed in previous posts on this topic, Israel’s military has a number of alternative means at its disposal for achieving the same objective. However, this is all speculative and only the Israel military know what their plans are and they are chary about sharing them with their US counterparts. As Yadlin noted, when an Israeli Defense attaché met with Pentagon counterparts following the Osirak raid, the first question the later asked was “how did they do it?” Yadlin answers:
The United States military had assumed that the F-16 aircraft they had provided to Israel had neither the range nor the ordnance to attack Iraq successfully. The mistake then, as now, was to underestimate Israel’s military ingenuity.
We had simply maximized fuel efficiency and used experienced pilots, trained specifically for this mission. We ejected our external fuel tanks en route to Iraq and then attacked the reactor with pinpoint accuracy from so close and such a low altitude that our unguided bombs were as accurate and effective as precision-guided munitions.
Today, Israel sees the prospect of a nuclear Iran that calls for our annihilation as an existential threat. An Israeli strike against Iran would be a last resort, if all else failed to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. That moment of decision will occur when Iran is on the verge of shielding its nuclear facilities from a successful attack — what Israel’s leaders have called the “zone of immunity.”
What have been the discussions between the Pentagon and Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak? Has Iran entered the “zone of immunity” and reached the point where it could assemble nuclear devices, with or without testing? We doubt seriously whether the much anticipated AIPAC Washington Policy conference will reveal anything other than rhetoric about the threat to Israel of a nuclear Iran. There will be speeches by President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta, Prime Minister Netanyahu and by GOP contenders for Presidential nomination, Gov. Romney, former Senator Santorum and former House Speaker Gingrich. Netanyahu is to meet with Obama on Monday, March 5th.
Israeli public opinion polls indicate little backing for a unilateral assault on nuclear Iran. Yadlin notes:
Ensuring that Iran does not go nuclear is the best guarantee for long-term regional stability. A nonnuclear Iran would be infinitely easier to contain than an Iran with nuclear weapons.
President Obama has said America will “use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” Israel takes him at his word.
The conundrum of what will happen in the midst of a Presidential contest was best expressed in a comment on the Yadlin Times op-ed by Cliff May, President of the Washington, DC Foundations for Defense of Democracies:
One way or another, 2012 will be a year of living dangerously. There’s no alternative to that.