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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 11, 2012.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
What Should Constitute "An Intelligence Briefing" In 2012?

What do those around President Obama, what does President Obama himself, think constitutes a proper "intelligence briefing"?

Is it, when it comes to Islam, merely reports on the latest information about Al-Qaeda operatives killed in Yemen? Is it merely reports on whether or not the rebels in Syria are now likely to be manipulated and exploited by the Al Qaeda supporters in their midst?

Is it reports on the tens of thousands of missiles and rockets that Hezbollah possesses?

Is it reports on Iran's pell-mell dash to acquire the ability to manufacture, and quickly, whenever the mood comes upon its crazed (crazed in any normal Western sense of that word, though not in a sense that Twelver-Shi'as would understand)?

Is it reports on health of assorted waddling emirs in the Gulf sheiklets, or the health of assorted princelings, with knowing references to "the Sudairi clan," among the daggers-and-dishdashas princes and princelings of the Al-Saud, each with his familial sneer of cold command?

These are part of it.

But only part.

If you haven't taken the time to read, re-read, and thoroughly assimilate with the help of a guide, the texts -- Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, have not studied the figure of Muhammad, the Perfect Man who is to be emulated by devout Muslims, then you cannot understand the ideology of Islam and recognize how different it is from the other religions with which you are familiar, and how dangerous it is to non-Muslims, precisely to the extent that its adherents take the ideology to heart.

And then you would have to know something about the history of Islamic conquest of many different lands and peoples, and what happened, in those lands and to those non-Muslim peoples, under Muslim rule.

You would have to know a good deal about the history of Islamic lands over time, and how the wolrd of Islam is not only history-haunted, but the history that haunts it consists mostly of fabricated history, designed to protect Islam, and lay the blame for the many failures -- political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral, of societies suffused with Islam -- not on Islam itself, the true source, but rather on fictional schemes and plots hatched by non-Muslims.

Islam as it is lived by real people may, in many cases, modify the harshness of Islam itself. But now, with the failures of Islamic societies obvious to all, Muslims -- instead of daring to anallyze what is it about Islam that explains the failures of their societies -- have decided that the hated Infidels, and all their works and days, are to blame, and that the solution is more, not less Islam. Not everyone in the lands dominated by Islam and largely populated by Muslims, thinks this way. But many, or most, do, and the others are generally cowed into silence.

If Obama could play a few less games of pick-up, and those other pastimes he is reported to enjoy, and spend more time studying and reading about Islam -- and if, too, a few hundred people at the top of the greasy Washington pole could take the time to do the same -- it is likely we would all be safert, and have saved a good deal of money -- trillions possibly -- as well.

But if you. a jigh or the highest muckety-muck, have not done this work, you are likely to keep confusing the most plausible, presentable, outwardly Westernized, eager-to-please in oily fashion, representatives of Islam in the West whom you may have, out of wilful ignorance, decided to hire and rely on for insight into, understanding of, a guide to, Islam, then those intelligence briefins are fatally vitiated. They will not make sense. No connecting of the dots can be made.

If one does not understand the ideology of Islam, and its remarkable hold on the minds of its adherents, and understands how deeply suffused with hatred toward Infidels Islam, the ideology is, then how can one, how can even "the most sophisticated consumer of intelligence" in the world today understand the Camp of Islam and figure out how to exploit the fissures -- sectarian (Sunni hatred of  Shi'a), ethnic (Arab contempt for non-Arab Muslims, and non-Arab Muslim resentment of that contempt and mistreatment by Arabs), and economic (resentment among the poorer Muslims of the vast, unmerited, and unshared wealth -- doesn't the "world belong to Allah and the best of peoples"? -- that the Musilm members of OPEC have received, and keep receiving, while such miserable and overpopulated places as Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Jordan  and the "Palestinian" territories, while they have become dab hands at getting aid from endlessly generous and gullible Westerners, still would love to get their hands on some part of the nearly twenty trillion dollars that, since 1973 alone, the Muslim members of OPEC have, without lifting a finger, managed to take in in oil and gas revenues.

All of this, I'm afraid, is beyond "one of the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence" in the world today, and of his officious, and limited advisors.

It's not beyond you. It's not beyond me. We, of course, have the time. We're not big shots, rushing from meeting to meeting, nor are we people who receive, and do rely on, breathless bullet-ridden summaries of the latest "terrorist news."

That's the problem. At the top, they don't have the proper time to read and study, quietly, uninterruptedly. If they haven't acquired the right knowledge, and depth, before becoming big shots, once they are big shots, it's too late. For them, and for us.

Posted on 09/11/2012 11:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
This is an ‘Islamic’ republic: You can’t sit next to your wife! Welcome to Pakistan

Noman Ansari's blog in the Express Tribune

Just yesterday, a little after midnight on Sunday, my wife and I, coming back from a friend’s birthday party, decided to stop at Karachi’s newest McDonald’s restaurant at Defence Phase 1 for some Diet Coke.

After obtaining our order, we both decided to sit at the seating booth at the far end, located next to the TV. My wife sat on her seat, and rather than sit on the parallel seat across the table from her, I am sorry to say that I made a terrible mistake.

Yes… I sat next to my wife. (Gasp!)

I didn’t realise I was doing anything offensive. But clearly, I was offending someone.

Not a few minutes had passed when a McDonald’s employee came up to us and very politely asked us to move. Initially, I thought we were blocking other patrons from viewing the television, and quietly informed the missus that we were being asked to shift because we were obstructing the TV.

Confused, she moved to the booth adjacent, and as I tried to sit in beside her, the same McDonald’s employee told me that I wasn’t allowed to sit next to her, but rather, should sit on the chair opposite to her, across the table.

“Why can’t I sit next to her?”

I asked when I finally grasped the ridiculousness of the situation.

“Sir, this is a family restaurant. Couples sitting together is against the policy of McDonalds Pakistan, as it goes against the family atmosphere of the restaurant.”

“What? But we are married (not that it is any of your business).”

“I am sorry sir, but you can’t sit side by side.”

When the employee nervously told me that he was acting on orders from management, I decided to talk to the manager of the restaurant, who was sitting with his co-manager at the other end, having a McDonald’s meal.

When I went up to them, the managers introduced themselves as Hammad and Amir. When asked for an explanation, they told me in exact words that this was a policy from upper management because couples, even married ones, sitting with each other, were a negative impact on the Islamic family atmosphere of McDonalds.

From what I could size up of all three McDonalds employees involved in the situation, none of them carried the aura of extreme minded Muslims. While still very upset, having analysed the situation, I don’t entirely begrudge them. They were only following orders.

If anyone is at fault here, it is McDonalds Pakistan.

The fact is that we as a nation are becoming increasingly intolerant. These are dangerous steps we are taking, and it is the last thing I expected from such an established franchise, which should be ashamed of this stance.

I wouldn’t have expected this incident in Pakistan a decade ago, but our nation is being enveloped in the darkness of extremism very steadily. How far down this restrictive road is Pakistan going to go before the moderate Muslims of this nation stop living in fear and start standing up for their rights as free Muslims? How long must we walk on glass in order to avoid offending someone? The more we validate those who are not right, the more just will they feel.

I remember when I first came to Pakistan, while waiting in queue at the McDonalds branch at the Karachi airport, I saw a moody father viciously slap his young son a few times on the face for wanting a McDonalds toy. The incident which went on for a few minutes was disturbing to watch, but what was more disturbing was the indifference shown by the McDonalds employees, who continued to serve the man and his family quite merrily.

Clearly, physically abusing a member of your family in McDonalds is in line with ‘Islamic family atmosphere’, but sitting next to your wife, is not.

A month ago, I blogged about a woman who complained about not being allowed to pray at a Karachi restaurant, when her minor complaint snowballed into a scary online protest, powered by those willing to threaten violence in the name of religion. Very recently, a young Christian Pakistani girl, who is allegedly suffering from Down’s syndrome, was apparently framed in a blasphemy case designed to malign her and her minority community.

I don’t know what is happening to my country, but it is high time we had a ‘moderate Muslims’ movement in Pakistan. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again;

Continue to make your voices heard wherever you can, lest they be drowned out by the increasingly radical until it is too late.

Posted on 09/11/2012 2:53 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Mali Islamists chop hands, feet off five suspected robbers
(Reuters) - Islamist fighters in northern Mali cut the hands and feet off five suspected robbers in the northern city of Gao in what they said was the application of sharia or Islamic law, residents and a hospital official said on Monday.

Armed Islamist groups including the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) have controlled the northern two-thirds of the vast arid nation since April, when they hijacked a rebellion launched by ethnic Tuareg separatists.

MUJWA, which is allied to other al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups, has said it intends to impose sharia throughout Mali. It had already carried out corporal punishments in territory under its control, including public floggings of suspected adulterers. This is the first time it has carried out group amputations.

"I witnessed them cut off the hand and foot of the five young men that MUJWA has been holding for the past months for theft and armed robbery," a relative of one of the suspected thieves told Reuters by telephone.

Oumar Ould Hamaha, speaking on behalf of MUJWA, told Reuters by telephone that the sentence was carried out after an Islamic court found the men guilty on Monday morning. "According to the sharia, the men had to face double punishment for theft and highway robbery," Hamaha said. "The sentence for theft is to cut a hand, and the sentence for highway robbery is cutting the opposite leg,"

Soumaila Diamoye, a doctor at the hospital in Gao said medical staff had declined a request from the MUJWA to assist them with the amputations. "We told them that it was not our responsibility to attend to those kinds of things," Diamoye told Reuters. "Around 1400 GMT, they brought in four amputees each with two of their limbs, a right hand and left foot, cut off. The surgeon has taken steps to stop the bleeding," He said there was no fifth man brought into hospital.

Posted on 09/11/2012 4:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Standing firm, doing its duty

This is the lighthouse at Portland Bill in Dorset.

I know that there will be flowers laid at the 9/11 memorial in Grosvenor Square in London and elsewhere, and the people of New York and Washington will never forget. You may be wondering why I have posted a picture of a lighthouse.

Lighthouses stand at the edge, or even within dangerous waters. They may be automated now but they used to be manned by brave men who did their duty whatever the weather, discomfort and danger. Modern technology notwithstanding they still symbolise the devotion to duty of those NY firemen and police officers who rushed into those buildings not knowing what to expect next.

Photograph S Sto Helit July 2012

Posted on 09/11/2012 5:08 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
8:46:30 AM EDT 9/11 2001 Islamic Terrorism Strikes America

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11;  the “Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century”. On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists, well educated young men – Saudi,  Egyptian, and Yemeni nationals - hijacked four airliners (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 from Boston’s Logan airport, American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles airport and United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark Airport.  With captive passengers aboard, they flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. ). The Jihadi holocaust on 9/11 started  with the fiery crash  of  American Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46:30 that hurtled  into the building at more than 466 MPH between Floors 93 and 99. AT 9:03:02 Flight 175 crashed and exploded into  the south face of the South Tower between Floors  77 and 85. At 9:37:46 American Flight 77 crashed into the western face of the Pentagon at more than 530 MPH.   At 9:58:59 the South Tower of the World Trade Center shuddered and collapsed.  Brave actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard Flight 93 led to the first counter-attack within thirty minutes of the sky-jacking. The Flight 93 heroes overcame the Islamic terrorists diverting the aircraft from its ultimate target the Capital building in Washington, crashing into a field  at 10:03:11 at more than 585 MPH in Shanksville, Pennsylvania instead.  At 10:28:22, the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed into a heap of twisted metal and concrete sending up nuclear-like plumes of ash and dust into the lower Manhattan skyline I viewed from  mid-town Manhattan. All told 19 Jihadi hijackers and more than 2,977 innocent victims including the 246 air passengers on the four planes seized  were killed as a result of the murderous Jihad airborne  attacks in lower Manhattan, northern Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

In commemoration of 11th anniversary of 9/11, we solicited essays in response to a question: “Is the War Against Islamic Terrorism Over?  And if not, what remains to be done”.  What follows are the comments from four activists who responded: Fred Leder of Connecticut, Vikki Hahn of Nebraska , Lance Silver of New Jersey and Steve Amundsen of California.

Fred Leder

There is no such thing as a war on Islamic Terrorism.  The Western World is at war with Islamic Fundamentalists who have used terrorism, among other weapons, to invade and conquer western countries. This war is certainly not over. The entire tier of North African countries have fallen to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Their war with Israel is reaching a new pike. Israel’s treaty with Egypt will soon be abrogated and Israel will be hard pressed to defend its southern border. In Iran Fundamentalists have been in control since 1979 and are now on the verge of building a nuclear weapon, aimed squarely at Israel. Europe has been attacked by infiltration. The birthrate among Islamist and their overall demographics put them in position to control France, England and the low countries. No, my friend the war on Islamic Fundamentalism is far from over.

Vicki Hahn

The war against Islam is not even close to being over!  It has barely begun!  America needs to wake up to the actual threat of Islam. We need to understand that we are not fighting a religion, or terrorists, but rather a political ideology that controls the hearts and minds of over a billion people.  Until we realize the threat and identify it we cannot defend ourselves.   Islam has infiltrated the highest level of our government, our judicial system, our schools and universities, and all aspects of our lives.  They have told us over and over what their plans are but we have deaf ears.  We must educate Americans and then eliminate the threat.  We must shut down their funding and bogus non-profit organizations, close their mosques, enforce American laws, and monitor all Islam communication on our college campuses.  No, we have just begun the battle and I'm afraid that convincing Americans will be the most difficult part and if we fail at this, America will fail.

Lance Silver

What I learned from the murders of 3,000 innocents by Muslims on 9/11 in NYC is that that Judeo-Christianity and all Western cultures are the mortal enemies of Islam. The Islamic culture started the  "War of Civilizations" , aka Samuel  Huntington’s "Clash of Civilizations" with all non Islamic cultures 1,400 years ago.  We must identify why Islam is the enemy to the citizens of America. It's the Qur'an and systemic Islamic dogma and doctrine that compels the Muslims of the world including many Muslims within the USA to Da’wa and eventually Jihad and the imposition of Shariah upon America which is called Dhimmititude.

We must identify the enemy as per Stephen Coughlin, Esq. and his " To Our Great Detriment" and assess the real danger that Islam represents to our USA culture and Constitution.
This debate needs national coverage now. That's what I've learned from 9/11.

Steve Amundson

The war against Islamic terrorism is far from over.  Here in the United States we have not even identified who we are at war against.  The Obama administration tells us we are at war with Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.  That at best is only the tip of the iceberg.  Yes we killed Bin Laden, but he had thousands of followers.  And yes, we killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, the spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda.  Aha, the spiritual leader!  Did you know that Mohammed Atta, the ring leader of the 911 attacks referenced the Quran 24 times in his last communiqué to his group!  Yes the Quran makes Mein Kampf look like a love story.  Over the years there have been over 270 million humans killed in the name of Islam, and it continues to this day.  You can add Major Nidal Hassan’s murderous spree at Fort Hood to the list of killing in the name of Islam.  Our government, Law Enforcement and Elected Officials continue to enable these and other seditious acts to continue on U.S. soil.  The Muslim Brotherhood has made it quite clear what their goals are for the United States and the rest of the world.  Here in the U.S., they are waging their war with words, hijabs and mosques.  They demand and at many times receive concessions from employers to pray, special prayer rooms, the right to wear their hijabs and extra including time off from work to do the hajj.  You see this silent, cultural or stealth war is going on right in front of us and we are powerless to stop it.

The kinetic, violent and the stealth wars will continue until we appropriately identify the enemy.  The first step must be to vote out the Obama administration.  Then the appropriate policies can be instituted within our government, DOD, Law Enforcement and all other agencies.  For right now it is up to individual Americans to get out and educate the public and become active in pushing back those wanting to replace our liberties and freedoms with Islam.  Yes, we are at war and it is with Islam.

Posted on 09/11/2012 7:47 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Is The War Against Islamic Terrorism Over? Essays in Commemoration of 9/11

edited by Jerry Gordon (September 11, 2012)

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11;  the “Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century.” On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists, well educated young men – Saudi,  Egyptian, and Yemeni nationals - hijacked four airliners (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 from Boston’s Logan airport, American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles airport and United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark Airport). With captive passengers aboard, they flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.  more>>>

Posted on 09/11/2012 8:25 AM by NER
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Iraq, Betwixt And Between

From Reuters:

Sectarian fury, Syrian turmoil pressure Iraq's Maliki

Mon, Sep 10 2012

By Patrick Markey

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A fugitive vice president condemned to death and rallying opposition to Iraq's "sectarian" prime minister, fresh bloodshed in the streets and the entire Middle East divided by religion over the war across the border in Syria - Nuri al-Maliki has no easy task in holding his government, and his nation, together.

The Iraqi premier was denounced on Monday by Sunni Muslim Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi as a conspirator and oppressor, in league with fellow Shi'ites in Iran and driven by religious hatred to engineer the death sentence handed down on Hashemi on Sunday for murders committed by sectarian death squads.

The verdict against a mainstream leader of Iraq's once dominant Sunni minority was accompanied by bombings and attacks on Shi'ite targets that killed about 115, making it one of the bloodiest days since U.S. troops pulled out in December. Maliki's government was quick to blame Sunni insurgents.

Hashemi, speaking from exile in Turkey, called for "calm" but firm opposition to a premier whose efforts to stitch together an administration uniting Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds have looked distinctly ragged since an arrest warrant for the vice president was issued the very day after the Americans left.

"Yesterday Prime Minister Maliki and his ... judiciary concluded the final phase of the theatrical campaign against me using a kangaroo court," Hashemi told a news conference in Ankara. "My people, don't give Maliki and those who stand behind him the chance ... They want to make this a sectarian conflict.

"Oppose his conspiracies and provocation calmly."

Iraq's domestic troubles pitch the majority Shi'ites, long oppressed until U.S. forces deposed Saddam Hussein in 2003, against Saddam's fellow Sunni Arabs, as well as a substantial ethnic Kurdish minority. Tensions are particularly high over the distribution of Iraq's potentially massive oil wealth.

But the country of 32 million also straddles the region's ethnic and sectarian faultline across which the Sunni, Western-allied leaders of most other Arab states confront Shi'ite, non-Arab Iran and allies including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


For many Iraqi Sunni leaders, the Hashemi case was a clear example of political manipulation of the judiciary by a Shi'ite leader who they say controls the security forces by keeping a personal grip on the vital defense and interior ministries.

Since the fall of Saddam nine years ago and the rise of Shi'ite leaders in U.S.-sponsored elections, many Iraqi Sunnis feel they have been sidelined. Sunni politicians accuse Maliki of failing to fulfill U.S.-backed deals to share power, a charge Maliki's backers dismiss, pointing to Sunnis in key posts.

But Maliki has shown himself to be a tough adversary.

A former Arabic teacher who worked his way up the ranks of the Shi'ite Islamist Dawa party, he has proved adept at playing Iraq's political factions against one another, and maintaining a tricky balance in regional diplomacy.

After Hashemi fled the country earlier this year, Maliki survived a short-lived boycott of parliament and the cabinet by the Sunni-backed Iraqiya party, which ended up more fractured and eventually strengthened the Shi'ite leader's hand.

Iraq authorities quickly blamed Sunni insurgents seeking "sectarian pursuits and sedition" for Sunday's attacks that hit security forces and cafes and mosques in Shi'ite districts.

No group claimed responsibility, but though violence is far from the peak seen in 2006-07, Iraqi security forces are still battling a lethal mix of Sunni Islamist fighters, including a local al Qaeda wing and former members of Saddam's Baath party, all determined to undermine the Shi'ite-led government.


While weakened by years of fighting the U.S. forces, security analysts say al Qaeda's local wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, has begun to benefit from funds and morale as Sunni Islamists have been crossing into neighboring Syria to fight.

"The terrorists may be trying to exacerbate any inter-communal tensions," said John Drake, a security analyst with AKE Group consultancy. "It doesn't show that the terrorists are in league with Hashemi, but it is very likely that they are trying to capitalize on the sectarian sensitivity of his case."

The insurgents aim to capitalize on broader disaffection among Iraqis impatient with government failures to restore basic services, more than nine years after the U.S. invasion.

But a larger question mark over the country's longer-term stability may lie next door in Syria, where Islamists from its Sunni majority form a significant part of the forces trying to oust Assad, whose Alawite minority is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam and whose family has long been a key Arab ally of Iran.

Maliki is also close to Iran, which like Syria gave him refuge after he fled persecution under Saddam, and he has resisted calls from Sunni Arab leaders to take a harder line against Assad. But he rejects U.S. charges that he is allowing Iranian flights to ferry arms to Syria through Iraqi airspace.

Prime minister since 2006, Maliki has relied on Tehran's help to shore up domestic Shi'ite support behind him and Tehran and Damascus both backed his fragile new government after an inconclusive parliamentary election in 2010.

The emergence of Sunni Islamist power in Syria if Assad were to fall is a prospect that alarms both Iran and Iraq's Shi'ite leaders. But even if Assad's holds on in a stalemate, violence is already washing back from Syria into Iraq.

Baghdad officials say Sunni Islamist fighters are crossing into Syria from Iraqi territory. And Syrian rockets hit the Iraqi border town of al-Qaim this week, killing a young girl.

Along the border, in Iraqi provinces that are a stronghold for the Sunnis, many tribes share common ties and sympathies with their Syrian Sunni brethren over the frontier:

"It's a war between a government and the people," said one Iraqi in Qaim, Emad Hammoud. "We are with the people."

Posted on 09/11/2012 9:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Leo Rennert On How The NYT Wants Readers To Feel Sorry For Gazan Arabs

From The American Thinker:

September 11, 2012

NY Times ignores Gaza's millionaires, hypes poverty, blames Israel

Leo Rennert

According to reports in the Arab press, a thriving smuggling economy in Gaza has produced no fewer than 600 millionaires.  Hundreds of tunnels to Egypt have become bustling export and import conduits -- with the ruling Hamas elite siphoning off millions of dollars from transit taxes.  Beach-side hotels and a modern mall have become a testament to the territory's growing wealth -- especially since Israel lifted its blockade for most goods, except those that could be used by terrorists, with whom Gaza is copiously blessed.

Does this mean that the old picture of Gaza as a poverty-stricken hell hole has been completely erased?  Not quite.  There still are poor Palestinians in the territory, forgotten or exploited by their Hamas rulers.

But that's not quite how the New York Times depicts Gaza in a lengthy article by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren ('''Forgotten Neighborhood' Underscores the Poverty Of an Isolated Enclave" Sept. 10, page A8).

Rudoren starts with a heart-tugging picture of Gazans who live in homes that have no floors and sit, eat and sleep on the sand.  Parents have no money to buy their children school books and proper dress.  During Ramadan, families slaughtered a horse and used it for kebabs because they couldn't afford beef or lamb.

Having sketched a picture of utter misery as the template for her story,  Rumoren then switches gears  and concedes that her lead paragraphs may have been a bit too grim.  "There are certainly less-livable slums in Africa, South Asia or in Delhi, or Cairo," she writes.  So why not spotlight those places as examples of dire poverty instead of Gaza?

Readers don't have to wait long for the answer.  "Some see it as a sure sign that Israeli restrictions make the place a concrete prison," she hypothesizes.

Having  blamed Israel -- what else would you expect? -- she softens the blow a bit by acknowledging that Israel may not be entirely to blame.  Gaza living standards also may be  repressed by "corruption, mismanagement and infighting among Palestinian factions," she adds.  But make no mistake, Israel tops the list of likely suspects for Gaza's poverty.

In any case, Rudoren finally admits deep in her article that the ultra-poor picture she depicted at the beginning is "an extreme case."  So why lead with it?  Isn't that bound to leave an erroneous impression with readers who may not plow through her entire dispatch?

And further contradicting her lead -- and the headline -- Rudoren confesses that "much of the strip has seen a building boom since Israel eased its blockade two years ago, and the smuggling tunnels are thriving once again."

First, she blames Israel, and then she seems to take it back.  But not quite.  "Many in Gaza," she adds, "blame Israel, which captured the territory in 1967 and occupied it until a unilateral withdrawal in 2005, but still controls utilities and regularly strikes people and places it suspects are connected to terrorism." 

Which is rich in its euphemistic disguise of Gaza's various terror organizations that readily identify such "suspects" as their own members and claim responsibility for  firing rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel.

Rudoren's entire piece suffers from such reluctance to level with readers about Gaza's history down to the present.  There is no real context that Gaza was a much poorer place when it was ruled by Egypt before the Six-Day War in 1967 and that the territory subsequently prospered under Israeli control -- until the second intifada and the Hamas takeover.  There is no acknowledgment that, even as Israel faces constant rocket attacks, Gazans requiring complex medical procedures regularly are allowed into Israel where they receive high-quality hospital care.

And why pray tell devote more than half a page to Gaza without squarely noting that it has been and still is the launch site for thousands of rockets that terrorize a million residents in southern Israel?  Why not devote as much space to sympathize with Israelis under Gaza missile attacks?

Instead, Rudoren turns into a Hamas apologist by writing that "attempts at a cease-fire with Israel are constantly thwarted by rogue militant groups."  If this opaque sentence has any meaning at all, it is that Hamas gets a good grade and only Islamic Jihad and other terror groups are the bad guys.  And of course, Israel as well.

But for the New York Times,  sanitizing Hamas and slapping Israel go with the paper's anti-Zionist creed.

Posted on 09/11/2012 9:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Obama's Aides Say Obama "Among The Most Sophisticated Consumers Of Intelligence On The Planet"

From The Washington Post:


White House doesn’t dispute my report on skipped meetings

The Politico headline reporting on the Obama administration’s reaction to my column yesterday exposing the fact that President Obama has skipped more than half of his daily intelligence meetings since taking office reads “White House disputes report on intel briefs.” For its part, CNN reports that “The president's spokesman disputed a Washington Post item that suggested the commander-in-chief has not attended the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB)  "more than half the time." 

No, he didn’t.  In fact, no one in the Obama administration has “disputed” my report on the president’s record on attending his daily intelligence meeting.  No administration official has said that the numbers I reported are wrong or that the president does in fact attend his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis. 

What the administration did say is that, while I might be right, it doesn’t matterHere’s National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in Politico:

“The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet. He receives and reads his [Presidential Daily Brief] every day, and most days when he’s at the White House receives a briefing in person.”

Translation: Obama is so smart and so sophisticated that he does not need a briefer.  He does not need an expert to walk him through the intelligence, answer his questions or dive deeper into the findings presented.  Reading the PDB briefing every day, his people argue, is just as good as meeting in person every day with his intelligence officials to discuss issues. This is, quite simply, preposterous.

The White House also made the absurd argument that the president has plenty of other meetings at which intelligence is discussed. Administration officials told Politico:

The president also has frequent national security meetings beyond the daily briefing, and would also be briefed on the latest intelligence before meeting with a foreign leader, for example.

Well, yeah. So did President George W. Bush — but he still made time every day for his daily intelligence meeting. 

And finally, they argue, that it’s simply a matter of style:

“Marc basically wrote a story culled from our public schedule that shows how Marc’s old boss, President Bush, structured his day differently than President Obama,” Vietor wrote. “Not exactly breaking news to anyone who has covered this place for the last few years.”

On that score, they are absolutely right. Obama does “structure his day differently.” Bush structured his day to include his daily intelligence briefing on a daily basis. Obama structures his day to skip his daily intelligence meeting more than half the time so he can attend to other matters — which means, as I said in my column, he is “consciously placing other priorities ahead of national security.”  

So let’s be clear: The White House didn’t “dispute” my report at all — and by its failure to do so, it confirmed it.

Posted on 09/11/2012 11:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
That Cairo Speech, And The Understanding Of Islam By One Of "The Most Sophisticated Consumers Of Intelligence On The Planet"

Speech of President Barack Obama in Cairo two years ago:

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do - to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson - kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words - within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores - that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations - to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths - more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism - it is an important part of promoting peace.

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future - and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers - for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments - provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.

Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld - whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's Interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action - whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.

I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity - men and women - to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations - including my own - this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities - those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.

This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek - a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.

I know there are many - Muslim and non-Muslim - who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort - that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country - you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort - a sustained effort - to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.

Posted on 09/11/2012 11:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Netanyahu: "Those Who Refuse To Put Red Lines Before Iran Don’t Have A Moral Right To Place A Red Light Before Israel.�

From The New York Times:

Israeli Leader Sharpens Call on U.S. to Set Limits on Iran

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel harshly criticized the Obama administration on Tuesday over recent statements that the United States would not set deadlines or draw “red lines” for Iran over its disputed uranium enrichment activities, calling such comments a signal to the Iranians that they could build atomic bombs with impunity.

Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks laid bare the underlying tensions between the United States and Israel over how to deal with Iran, and they threatened to elevate the Iranian uranium enrichment program as a virulent campaign issue less than two months before the American presidential election.

Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks were among the strongest he has made over the Iranian enrichment activities, which the Israelis have repeatedly called part of a clandestine Iranian plan to build nuclear weapons despite Tehran’s denials. Mr. Netanyahu’s government, which considers Iran to be Israel’s most dangerous enemy, has threatened to bomb suspected Iranian enrichment sites.

He appeared to be reacting on Tuesday in particular to an assertion by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in an interview with Bloomberg Radio on Sunday in which Mrs. Clinton was asked if the administration would articulate explicit consequences for Iran’s refusal to halt its enrichment program, as the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly requested. Mrs. Clinton said “we’re not setting deadlines.”

On Monday, the State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, reiterated President Obama’s commitment not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and said “it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, red lines.”

Addressing reporters here in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu unequivocally rejected those comments and slapped back at the United States. Speaking in English, he said, “The world tells Israel: ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

In his remarks, made at a joint news conference with the visiting prime minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, Mr. Netanyahu also said: “Now if Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, toward obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs.”

He criticized the litany of economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and the European Union as ineffective in stopping the enrichment program. “The fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

Mr. Netanyahu has said that Israel and the United States were in talks on setting what he has called a “clear red line’ for when Iran’s nuclear program surpasses a threshold of tolerance that would be met with a military response. But Obama administration officials have been more circumspect about those talks, and Mrs. Clinton’s comments on Sunday appeared to contradict Mr. Netanyahu.

The Israelis first signaled their displeasure over the American comments on Monday. An Israeli government official, who was not authorized to respond publicly to Mrs. Clinton, said: “without a clear red line Iran will not cease its race toward a nuclear weapon. These statements will not stop Iran’s centrifuges from spinning. Unfortunately the opposite could be true.”

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, echoed those comments in an interview in Washington on Monday night, asserting that the Israeli leadership wanted Mr. Obama and the international community to set clear “red lines” for Iran. “We know that the Iranians see red,” Mr. Oren said. “We know they can discern the color red. We know that the redder the line, the lesser the chance that they will pass it.”

The Israeli government’s worries about Iran were further elevated last month when the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitor of the United Nations, reported that Iran had sharply increased its capacity to enrich uranium with centrifuges assembled at a subterranean site in the holy Iranian city of Qum. The site may be impervious to a bombing attack because it is so deep underground.

Israel has not publicly specified what its red lines should be, and there may not be one single view.

Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a research institute, and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said in an interview last week that “It is very important to draw a line about the quantities of enriched uranium and the levels of enrichment.”

In general, for Israel, the red line would be Iran achieving the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack. But Israeli officials have long said that the Israeli and American “clocks” tick at a different pace on Iran. The United States, for example, could wait longer to launch an attack and could have a deeper reach because of its superior military capabilities.

Israeli experts say that for Israel, all the previous red lines have been crossed already and that setting more lines might be meaningless, because international intelligence agencies may not know immediately if Iran has overstepped them.

Some Israeli analysts view Mr. Netanyahu’s demand for clear red lines more as a face-saving device to allow him to back down from his belligerent rhetoric, since he does not appear to have the support in Israel or abroad for a unilateral and uncoordinated attack on Iran.

The rhetoric, in turn, is seen by many experts here as a means of pressuring the international powers into taking action against Iran rather than as an indication of real Israeli intentions.

In another indication of the fraught diplomacy between Israel and the Obama administration in the heated period before the presidential election, Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, reported “a very sharp exchange” between Mr. Netanyahu and the American ambassador in Israel, Daniel B. Shapiro, during a meeting in Jerusalem on Aug. 24 in which Mr. Rogers participated.

Mr. Rogers told WJR, a Michigan radio station, that “It was very, very clear the Israelis had lost their patience with the administration” over its policy on Iran.
Posted on 09/11/2012 12:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
A Musical Interlude: Manhattan (Lee Wiley)
Listen here.
Posted on 09/11/2012 12:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Se Non E Vero, E Ben Trovato

Because, surely, they deserve each other.

One of today's headlines on the Internet:

O.J. And Khloe K. Are They Really Father And Daughter?

Posted on 09/11/2012 12:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Don't Meet With Morsi Until He Stops Talking Nonsense And Lies About 9/11

Getting Egypt's Morsi to Give Up His 9/11 'Truther' Talk

Satloff and Trager

Washington Post

September 11, 2012

President Obama should condition any meeting with the Egyptian leader on a clear and public renunciation of the Muslim Brotherhood's continued 9/11 revisionism.

Eleven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories about that day dominate Muslim public opinion. Although al-Qaeda routinely brags about its "achievement," huge majorities in major Muslim countries -- 75 percent of Egyptians, 73 percent of Turks -- still deny that Arabs carried out the attacks, as a Pew study reported in July 2011. This denial of history has policy relevance for the United States: Mass rejection of the facts of 9/11 undermines U.S. global counterterrorism efforts. Persuading Muslims to set the historical record straight is a precondition of any successful counterterror strategy.

President Obama rightly focused on this from his earliest days in office. In his 2009 Cairo address, the president denounced 9/11 revisionism in no uncertain terms. "I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11," he said. "But let us be clear: al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day...These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with."

This month's U.N. General Assembly meeting provides a critical test for the president's commitment to combat 9/11 revisionism. The star of the sessions is likely to be Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's new president. Obama reportedly plans to meet with Morsi, the popularly elected leader of the Arab world's most powerful and populous state. But Morsi, a longtime leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, embraces some of the most vile conspiracy theories about 9/11.

Morsi has not been shy about airing his odious views. In a May 2010 interview with Brookings Institution scholar Shadi Hamid, Morsi dismissed al-Qaeda's responsibility for the attacks. "When you come and tell me that the plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, you are insulting us," Hamid reported Morsi as saying. "How did the plane cut through the steel like this? Something must have happened from the inside. It's impossible." Similarly, in 2007, Morsi reportedly declared that the United States "has never presented any evidences on the identity of those who committed that incident." In 2008, he called for a "huge scientific conference" to analyze "what caused the attack against a massive structure like the two towers."

While Morsi has been silent about 9/11 since becoming president, the Brotherhood's emergence over the past year as Egypt's leading political force hasn't moderated its "truther" rhetoric. In a series of interviews in July, top Brotherhood leaders repeatedly denied al-Qaeda's responsibility for the attacks. Mustafa Ghoneimy, leader of the Brotherhood's Guidance Office, said "the Jews" had executed the attacks. "So many Jews worked in these two towers," he said. "And on that day, they were off." Meanwhile, Brotherhood secretary general Mahmoud Hussein pinned the attacks on "one of the intelligence services in America, or the Jews." Spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan speculated that "intelligence services" were behind the attacks, since "it is impossible for immature pilots to execute their ideas. It needs some professionalism to do it."

To be sure, Morsi is not the first Egyptian ruler to trade in bigoted conspiracy theories. Then-President Gamel Abdel Nasser, the leader of secular pan-Arabism, once told a German interviewer that "no person, not even the most simple one, takes seriously the lie of the six million Jews that were murdered." And the state television station of close U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak once aired during Ramadan a 41-part series based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the infamous conspiracy screed of a Jewish cabal to control the world.

The Muslim Brotherhood's 9/11 revisionism, however, coincides with the moment that Egypt's ruling Islamists are going, hat in hand, to world capitals and international financial institutions. Egypt's nearly bankrupt economy, decrepit institutions and declining domestic security situation have forced its leaders to seek help abroad. Yet the Brotherhood apparently believes that it can win support without adjusting its hateful rhetoric or ideology.

Now, Washington has a broad range of interests in Egypt and its hopeful transition from authoritarian to representative rule, ranging from security cooperation and regional peace to political pluralism and religious tolerance. The United States should be willing to extend economic and military aid to Egypt commensurate with the latter's needs[no, it shouldn't-- it has poured nearly 80 billion dollars into Egypt, and during that time Egypt's population has risen from 40 to 82 million. Morsi shut down the last, tiny synagogue in Egypt. He declared, in his first speech, that he wanted the Blind Sheikh freed from American prison. He has done nothing to reassure the Copts about Muslim depredations and attacks. But even if Morsi were not the primitive Muslim Brother he is, even were he, say, just as suave as the late King Hussein of Jordan, the Americans and other Westerners cannot and should not finance the colossal growth in population of wretched Muslim states, states whose wretchedness comes from Islam itself, states which have, in the absence of oil wealth, battened on money they extort -- as a new kind of Jizyah -- from the world's non-Muslims. It's crazy.]. and its willingness to partner in advance of common objectives. But our president should not, in the process, give his personal imprimatur to leaders who espouse repulsive, abhorrent views that undermine a vital U.S. national security interest.

To that end, Obama should condition any meeting with Morsi on the latter's clear and public renunciation of 9/11 revisionism. This position would present Morsi with a stark choice: He can either repudiate the hate-filled conspiracies that he has helped to sow and reap the benefits of Obama's embrace, or he can expose himself as an irresponsible ideologue with whom few members of the international community will want to deal. Failure to lay down a marker with Morsi before he comes to New York means Morsi may never have to make that choice.

Posted on 09/11/2012 1:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
How Wikipedia (French Version) Sanitized Its Entry On Khomeini


Le gentil Khomeiny raconté par Wikipédia

Créé le 22-03-2010

L'article de la version française de Wikipédia consacré à l'ayatollah Khomeiny fait 7 359 signes, un peu court pour une personnalité qui a joué un rôle majeur dans l'histoire de la fin du XXe siècle. A  titre de comparaison, la version anglaise de l'article comporte plus de 52 900 signes, 187 notes de bas de page, une bibliographie de 25 ouvrages (contre trois dans la version française). Elle est complétée par un deuxième article sur la pensée politique et l'héritage de Khomeiny, long de 32 249 signes, étayé par 92 notes de bas de page, quinze références bibliographiques, et treize renvois vers des sites spécialisés.

(c) Sipa

Cette extrême concision n'empêche cependant pas le texte d'être riche en clichés et en approximations. Collage hétéroclite de phrases sans cohérence, il juxtapose des  paragraphes déconnectés les uns des autres, facture d'autant plus ennuyeuse qu'elle suggère à force d'ellipse des liens de cause à effet fort sujets à caution. Le paragraphe sur l'exil de Khomeiny est à cet égard révélateur :

« L'arrestation de Khomeiny provoque des manifestations à Téhéran et à Qom. Elles sont réprimées dans le sang. 'Le responsable de ce massacre paiera de sa vie', promet-il. Vingt ans plus tard, en 1984, le général Oveyssi, le chef de la Savak (services de sécurité intérieure et de renseignement iraniens, NdlR) pendant les troubles, sera abattu en plein Paris. »

Voilà qui laisse clairement entendre que Khomeiny aurait commandité l'assassinat d'Oveyssi quarante ans plus tard. Mais aucune indication n'est fournie au lecteur sur les sources d'information de l'auteur (ou des auteurs) de l'article... Or, Gholam Ali Oveyssi, chef d'Etat major de l'armée de terre, n'a jamais été directeur de la Savak, poste occupé par Hassan Pakravan. En revanche, il était, au moment de son assassinat à Paris le 7 février 1984, un important opposant en exil - il dirigeait « l'armée contre-révolutionnaire royaliste ».

La rubrique « Wikigrill » de « Books »
Bien des articles de wikipédia ne résisteraient pas à un examen approfondi et pour cause : l’encyclopédie on line, qui compterait quelque trois millions de contributeurs dans le monde, n’accorde aucun privilège à ceux qui savent. Dès lors, la grande question demeure : les internautes puiseraient-ils désormais la « connaissance » dans l'Encyclopédie du non-savoir et du n'importe quoi ? Bien sur, les wikipédiens sont encadrés. Par des « adminis » (administrateurs), susceptibles d’interdire des articles, d’empêcher des corrections ou rétablir une ancienne version. Par un comité d’arbitrage, qui statue sur les controverses tandis que cinq robots anti vandalisme débordés sillonnent le site à la recherche d’obscénités ou de destruction massive de contenu. Insuffisant, probablement, quand on sait que la version anglaise compte plus de trois millions d’articles et la version française 900.000.
« Books », depuis sa création en novembre 2008, s'en va vérifier régulièrement une fiche Wikipédia et aligne paisiblement les perles dans une rubrique intitulée « Wikigrill », consultable sur Le contenu d’une page, souvent, est trop léger et inconsistant. Mais il y a pire : le propos peut être manipulé, et fort habilement, à des fins de propagande politiques ou commerciales. Ce mois-ci, voici la preuve par Khomeini que l’outil est défaillant.
Anne Crignon

Suivent des anecdotes absolument invérifiables. Sur le tempérament de Khomeiny : son caractère « solitaire », son « indépendance d'esprit », son goût pour les poèmes mystiques et la philosophie, « considérée comme contraire à la tradition islamique », ce qui constitue un contre-sens. Non seulement il existe une tradition philosophique en Islam, mais une branche de l'enseignement religieux dans le chiisme est consacrée à l'Irfan, une tradition gnostique. Plusieurs ayatollahs de Qom délivraient par ailleurs des cours de philosophie tirés des enseignements de Platon et d'Aristote. Il est cependant vrai que les séminaires traditionnels de Qom étaient hostiles à ce type d'enseignement.

Autre problème : le contexte social et politique de l'Iran contemporain de Khomeiny est laissé dans l'ombre. L'Ayatollah apparaît comme le pivot de la contestation des années 1960-70. Il est présenté comme l'adversaire incontournable du Shah dès 1963, et les premières manifestations contre le régime ne sont évoquées que comme signe de protestation contre son arrestation en juin 1963. S'il est incontestable que Khomeiny devient un opposant reconnu à cette époque, l'opposition iranienne ne s'est jamais réduite à sa personne, ni aux dignitaires religieux, qui n'en formaient que l'un des courants. Dans les années 1960, le mécontentement contre le régime s'exprimait dans plusieurs secteurs de la société (intellectuels, étudiants, ouvriers, commerçants du bazar), et l'opposition s'est structurée dans des mouvements politiques allant des libéraux aux communistes.

L'essentiel des informations concernant l'engagement politique de Khomeiny sont lacunaires ou erronées. Ni les conditions ni les détails de son entrée sur la scène politique ne sont clairement exposés. Adoptée en janvier 1963, la Révolution blanche, une série de réformes en six points dont l'objectif affiché était de moderniser l'Iran notamment à travers une réforme agraire et la modification du processus électoral, est présentée comme l'unique pomme de discorde entre le régime et l'ayatollah, sans que le contexte ne soit évoqué.

Dès l'automne 1962, Khomeiny s'était opposé au Shah, en dénonçant comme contraire aux principes de l'Islam et de la Constitution de 1907 un décret supprimant l'obligation faite aux élus provinciaux et locaux de prêter serment sur le Coran à leur entrée en fonction.

Mais les phrases de l'article Wikipédia sont on ne peut plus vagues : « Il est arrêté en 1963 pour avoir joué un rôle important dans les émeutes du 4 juin. Condamné à mort il est gracié par le shah d'Iran, qui conscient de son influence, le fait libérer rapidement en 1964 ». La lecture de ces lignes ne permet pas de comprendre en quoi a consisté le « rôle », de Khomeiny, dans quelles conditions il a été emprisonné puis libéré. Et le wikipédiste affirme à tort que Khomeini a été condamné à mort... Il n'a jamais été condamné, et n'a donc pas non plus pu être gracié.

Enfin, son exil est présenté comme une suite logique de l'arrestation du 4 juin. En fait, il a quitté l'Iran après une violente diatribe prononcée en novembre 1964, dans laquelle il dénonçait un décret accordant l'immunité juridique aux conseillers militaires américains et le vote d'un emprunt de 200 millions de dollars pour l'achat de matériel militaire, dispositions qu'il considérait comme une forme d'abandon de la souveraineté iranienne. Arrêté à son domicile le matin du 4 novembre, Khomeiny sera alors immédiatement conduit à l'aéroport et exilé en Turquie.

(c) Sipa

Les quinze années passées en exil sont évoquées en deux phrases. Dans l'avalanche d'approximations dont fourmille l'article, une saute particulièrement aux yeux. Enoncée de but en blanc à propos de l'arrivée de Khomeiny en France, elle n'est étayée par aucune référence : « Selon Alexandre de Marenches (chef du Service de documentation extérieure et de contre-espionnage, ancien nom de la DGSE), la France aurait suggéré au Shah qu'ils pourraient « organiser un accident mortel pour Khomeiny » ; le Shah refuse l'offre d'assassinat, arguant du fait que ceci en ferait un martyr. »

S'agissant du retour en Iran de Khomeiny et de la naissance de la République islamique, on peut lire cette phrase invraisemblable : « Les droits de l'homme acquis durant la période précédente régressent. » C'est un euphémisme que de dire que le régime du shah (« la période précédente ») était loin d'être un modèle de respect des droits de l'homme. L'absence de liberté politique, le manque de liberté d'expression, les exécutions sommaires et la torture exercée par la Savak étaient dénoncées tant par l'opposition iranienne à l'intérieur et à l'étranger, que par des organisations internationales. A titre d'exemple, Amnesty international et l'Association des juristes démocrates s'intéressent dès les années 1960 aux violations des droits de l'homme en Iran, organisent des missions d'observation et publient des rapports. En France, ces années sont marquées par une forte mobilisation en faveur des prisonniers politiques iraniens.

Enfin, le passage consacré à la fatwa prononcée par Khomeiny contre Salman Rushdie qualifie «les Versets sataniques » de référence à une « ancienne histoire folklorique ». Or, ces versets, identifiés dans le Coran, font bien partie de la tradition coranique. Ils ont d'ailleurs été commentés dès le VIIIe siècle par l'exégète Al Tabari, ainsi que par l'islamologue Maxime Rodinson dans son ouvrage consacré à Mahomet en 1961.

Posted on 09/11/2012 2:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Obama's Schedule "Will Not Permit" Him To Meet With Netanyahu

From Reuters:

U.S. rejects Netanyahu meeting request - Israel official

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The White House has rejected a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet President Barack Obama in the United States this month, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, after a row erupted between the allies over Iran's nuclear programme.

An Israeli official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Netanyahu's aides had asked for a meeting when he visits the United Nations this month, and "the White House has got back to us and said it appears a meeting is not possible. It said that the president's schedule will not permit that".

Netanyahu, who has met Obama on all his U.S. trips since 2009, has been pushing him to adopt a tougher line against Iran.

He argues that setting a clear boundary for Iran's uranium enrichment activities and imposing stronger economic sanctions could deter Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and mitigate the need for military action.

In comments that appeared to bring the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran closer, Netanyahu had earlier taken Washington to task for rebuffing his call to set a "red line" for Iran's nuclear programme, which has already prompted four rounds of U.N. sanctions.

"The world tells Israel 'wait, there's still time'. And I say, 'Wait for what? Wait until when?'" said Netanyahu, speaking in English.

"Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," he added, addressing a news conference with Bulgaria's prime minister.

The website of Israel's daily newspaper Haaretz called his words "an unprecedented verbal attack on the U.S. government".

Iran makes no secret of its hostility to Israel, widely assumed to be the region's only nuclear-armed power, but says its nuclear programme is purely peaceful.

Netanyahu's relations with Obama have been strained over Iran and other issues, such as Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

But he has never framed his differences with Obama - who has pledged he will "always have Israel's back" and is deep in a re-election campaign - in moral terms.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney has accused Obama of throwing Israel "under the bus".

Netanyahu's comments followed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on Monday that the United States would not set a deadline in further talks with Iran, and that there was still time for diplomacy to work.

Diplomats have also said six world powers - including the United States - are poised to voice "serious concern" about Iran's uranium enrichment programme and to urge it to open up access to nuclear sites.

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Washington would have little more than a year to act to stop Iran if it decided to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran has threatened to retaliate against Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf if it is attacked, and any such conflict could throw Obama's re-election bid off course.

Netanyahu did not mention Clinton by name but pointedly parroted her use of the word "deadline", saying:

"If Iran knows that there is no 'deadline', what will it do? Exactly what it's doing. It's continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs ...

"So far we can say with certainty that diplomacy and sanctions haven't worked. The sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy but they haven't stopped the Iranian nuclear programme. That's a fact. And the fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs."

Recent tougher Israeli rhetoric has stoked speculation that Israel might attack Iran before the U.S. election in November, believing that Obama would be forced to give it military help to avoid alienating pro-Israeli voters.

But over the past week, Netanyahu, in calling for a "red line", had appeared to be backing away from military action and preparing the ground for a possible meeting with Obama.

Opinion polls suggest that a majority of Israelis do not want their military to strike Iran without U.S. support.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak seemed to criticise Netanyahu's assault on the Jewish state's biggest ally.

"Despite the differences and importance of maintaining Israel's independence of action, we must remember the importance of partnership with the United States and try as much as possible not to hurt that," a statement from his office said.

Posted on 09/11/2012 2:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Screening of controversial Channel 4 documentary on history of Islam cancelled after presenter is threatened

From the Daily Mail

Channel 4 has been forced to cancel a screening of the controversial documentary Islam: The Untold Story, after the presenter was threatened with physical violence. Historian Tom Holland received abusive messages on Twitter and warnings he would come to harm because of the film, in which he suggests that Islam is a 'made-up' religion.

The programme has already been aired on Channel 4, sparking more than 1,200 complaints, but the broadcaster was planning a screening for 'opinion formers' at its London headquarters later this month. It had hoped to organise a debate around the screening but the whole event has had to be axed because of fears it would be targeted.

Critics have accused Holland of distorting the history of the religion in Islam: The Untold Story. His investigation into its origins claimed that there is little written contemporary evidence about the prophet Mohammed. He also suggests the Koran makes little or no reference to Islam’s holy city of Mecca, and argues there is no evidence for the general assertion that Islam began 'fully formed' in the 7th century.

Holland received abusive tweets questioning his views on the religion. Some posted physical threats to the Cambridge-educated historian via Twitter, while one called him a ‘fool’ for suggesting Islam is a ‘made-up religion’.  Ofcom – which received 150 of the complaints regarding the programme’s inaccuracy, alleged bias and offence to Muslims – said it was considering launching an investigation.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: 'Having taken security advice, we have reluctantly cancelled a planned screening of the programme Islam: The Untold Story. We remain extremely proud of the film which is still available to view on 4oD.'

Posted on 09/11/2012 3:06 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Egypt protesters tear down US embassy flag on 9/11

CAIRO; AFP — Thousands of Egyptian demonstrators tore down the Stars and Stripes at the US embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and replaced it with an Islamic flag on the annniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, an AFP photographer reported.

Nearly 3,000 demonstrators, most of them hardline Islamist supporters of the Salafist movement, gathered at the embassy in protest over a film deemed offensive to the Prophet Mohammed which was produced by expatriate members of Egypt's Christian minority resident in the United States.

A dozen men scaled the embassy walls and one of them tore down the US flag, replacing it with a black one inscribed with the Muslim profession of faith: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God." Demonstrators also daubed part of that slogan -- "There is no God but God" -- on the walls of the embassy compound.

Women wearing the niqab, the full-face veil worn by hardline Islamists, joined the rally chanting: "Sons of the Cross, anything but our beloved Mohammed."

Egyptian activist Wael Ghoneim wrote on his Facebook page that "attacking the US embassy on September 11 and raising flags linked to Al-Qaeda will not be understood by the American public as a protest over the film about the prophet. "Instead, it will be received as a celebration of the crime that took place on September 11," he said.

Posted on 09/11/2012 3:35 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Bruce Bawer On The Jagland Report, Designed To Transform Europe

World Community Takes On ‘Islamophobia’

Posted By Bruce Bawer On September 11, 2012 @ 12:20 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 17 Comments

Want to see just how far our lords and masters are willing to go in appeasing Islam?  Take a gander at a recent report entitled Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through EducationA joint product of the Council of Europe, UNESCO, and something called the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (otherwise known as OSCE/ODIHR), this document was put together in consultation with “education experts, teachers, civil society representatives and governmental officials” around the world.  I will call it, for short, the Jagland Report, after Thorbjørn Jagland, the ambitious Norwegian politician who, as head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, was chiefly responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama, and who, in his current capacity as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, is one of the report’s three signatories.  Given that he is a classic example of the slick, phony European technocrat par excellence – like Dominique Villepin in France and Zapatero in Spain – it is perfectly appropriate to affix his name to this slick, phony masterwork of bureaucrat-speak.

I have written previously about the Obin Report, a detailed study of French schools produced in 2004 by the French education ministry.  That report boldly identified Muslim students and their parents as causing crucial problems in France’s schools, problems that affected every aspect of education: Muslim students refused to read literary works that their religion considers salacious or blasphemous; they would not brook accounts of history that differed from what they had been told at the mosque; they demanded Muslim menus in cafeterias; and so on.  Among the report’s conclusions was that Muslim students tormented their Jewish classmates to such an extent that it was impossible for the latter to get an education in France.  The Obin Report, in short, made it plain that discrimination against Muslim students was not a major problem in French schools – but that discrimination by Muslim students is nothing short of a crisis.

The French report was a brave statement of the facts, set forth in clear, straightforward language.  (The report was so brave, in fact, that the government shelved it at first, only to release it officially after it had been leaked onto the Internet.)  The Jagland Report is both its stylistic and moral opposite.  Take, for example, the very first sentence of the foreword:

Promoting mutual understanding and respect for diversity, along with countering all forms of intolerance and discrimination, must today, more than ever, be absolute priorities for the international community, in order to maintain peace and stability at both the global and regional levels.

The entire report is written in this kind of prose.  Indeed the whole thing reads as if it were designed to be the quintessential example of everything George Orwell complained about in his landmark essay “Politics and the English Language.”  As Orwell pointed out, prose like this, consisting of long series of abstractions strung together in familiar ways, is generally perpetrated by people (or committees) who are setting forth a “party line”: “Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style.”  The problem with such prose, as Orwell stressed, is not just its lifelessness, however, but the insidious purpose that usually underlies this lifelessness – namely, a determination to avoid facing up to ugly realities.  (“The great enemy of clear language,” Orwell noted, “is insincerity.”)

Later in the foreword to the Jagland Report comes this sentence: “The attitudes and tensions that lead to inter-communal conflict are often deeply rooted in stereotypes and misconceptions, and one of the most pressing contemporary challenges is to promote knowledge about, and understanding of, different cultures. Educators play a fundamental role in meeting this challenge.”  Note the unspoken assumptions here: first, that tensions between Muslims and others in the West are, in large part, the result of “stereotypes and misconceptions” about Muslims; second, that if non-Muslims come to know about and understand Islam, the “conflict” will disappear.  This claim, which is repeated again and again in the Jagland Report, is, needless to say, contrary to the experience of many non-Muslims, who have discovered that the more they learn about Islam, the more deeply they are concerned about it.

Not surprisingly, the Jagland Report avoids mentioning the origins of the term “Islamophobia,” which was cooked up by the Muslim Brotherhood as a means of shutting down legitimate criticism of Islam.  In addition to using this term, the report also approves of the expression “anti-Muslim racism,” which, it says, “places the issue of intolerance against Muslims in the broader framework of racism and implies the racialization of a religious category. The term stresses the multi-dimensional aspect of intolerance against Muslims, which can be based on factors beyond religion.”  The purpose of this sheer gobbledygook, of course, is to legitimize the idea that criticism of Islam – a religion – can be considered racism.  Later on, in a reference to the danger of “driving racist views underground,” the report explicitly affirms that “Islamophobia” is a form of racism.  (At the same time, curiously, the report stresses the importance of communicating to students that Islam isn’t a skin color – that, in other words, Muslims come in all hues.)

One of the Jagland Report’s major emphases is on the need to recognize “the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others.”  What it avoids mentioning is that Islam itself, as stated unambiguously in the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, rejects the very concept of “universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  The Cairo document, issued in 1990 in response to the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, repeatedly makes it clear that if any supposed right or freedom is contrary to sharia, that right or freedom is illegitimate, period.  The Jagland Report dwells at some length on the question of rights, providing a list of “basic human rights principles relevant to preventing intolerance and discrimination against Muslims,” including “the equal dignity and rights of all human beings,” “non-discrimination, including on the basis of religion,” “equality of all before the law,” and “freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.”  It is interesting to note that every single one of these principles is utterly contrary to Islamic “principles.”  Indeed, there is no hint in the Jagland Report that much of what it describes as “Islamophobia” is, in fact, a matter of non-Muslims reacting to manifestations of Islam’s utter rejection of the concept of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Obin Report devoted considerable attention to the refusal of Muslim parents to allow their children to participate in various activities, such as school trips and swimming classes: they considered some of these activities to be a violation of girls’ “modesty” and rejected others simply because they didn’t want their kids getting too friendly with infidels.  The Jagland Report brings up this matter too, but approaches it from an entirely different angle: for example, if Muslim parents refuse to let their daughters take co-ed swimming classes with boys, the report makes it clear that the school, not the parents, should be regarded as intolerant because it has failed to “tailor” its swimming program to those parents’ demands.

The Jagland Report offers plenty of recommendations.  It counsels that “school policies and practices should be set up, in partnership with communities and parents, to prevent and counter discrimination against Muslim students.”  It recommends “textbook revision” to eliminate material that might give offense.  It instructs schools to “monitor” students’ expressions of “prejudice.”  It calls for the formation of “focus groups” in which students are encouraged to talk about the “climate of tolerance” in their school, these discussions being “moderate[d]” by “an experienced person, for example, someone from a nongovernmental organization dealing with discrimination and intolerance.”  The report, after serving up a pro forma acknowledgment of freedom of speech, goes on to maintain that certain forms of speech are simply not “appropriate or acceptable in a school classroom.”  So can it be ruled “inappropriate” simply to state the facts about Islam?  (By the end of the report, one gathers that the answer is yes.)

The report further calls for “portrayals of Islam and Muslims” to be “accurate, fair and respectful.”  But how can portrayals of certain aspects of Islam, such as the death penalty for apostates, be both accurate and “respectful”?  The report stresses the importance of discussing “issues where misunderstanding is especially acute, such as the role of women in Islamic societies.”  “Misunderstanding”?  Are we to understand that the message being sent to educators here is that the unpleasant facts about women’s second-class status under Islam are not to be acknowledged in the classroom, and that students who express concern about sexual equality in the Islam world are to be disabused of their “stereotypes and misconceptions” and, if they persists in their error, are to be regarded as intractable Islamophobes?  (In any case: do you notice that when you add up all these recommendations, the picture that results is reminiscent of nothing so much as a Maoist re-education camp?)

Although the Jagland Report pretends to be all for inclusion and integration, it gives its full support to Muslim demands for differential treatment.  It insists, for example, that schools bend to demands for such forms of “religious accommodation” as “prayer rooms, holiday issues and school or sports uniforms that accommodate the need for modesty.”  (Note, by the way, the report’s use of the word modesty: by using the word in this sense, it implicitly accepts the Islamic view that females who don’t wear hijab are immodestly dressed.)  The report also approves of schools granting “exemptions” to Muslims in regard to such things as “religious holidays, non-obligatory religious teaching, participation in class camps and excursions, and clothing restrictions.”

Finally, the report urges teachers to “provide information” to students “on Muslim artists, writers, politicians and scientists that disproves the negative stereotypes held about Muslims.”  Writers?  Salman Rushdie, anyone?  Are teachers allowed to mention the many artists and writers in today’s Muslim world who have been imprisoned, tortured, even executed for crossing the line?  Surely not.  No, let’s not look at the hard facts – let’s not try to figure out why the numbers of scientists, Nobel Prize winners, patents, translated books, decent universities, and so on in the Muslim world, relative to the rest of the planet, are all stunningly low.  Let’s not have an open, honest classroom discussion of the ways in which Islam stifles scientific inquiry and free literary and artistic expression alike.  Let’s just play pretend.

Reading through this mind-bogglingly Orwellian document, one finds oneself wondering continually: How can these people bring themselves to put their names to this disgraceful document?  Do they fully understand where they’re taking us with this sort of thing?  Do they not grasp that what they’ve produced here is a set of directives that has nothing whatsoever to do with combating intolerance but everything to do with adapting schools in the non-Muslim world to sharia norms?  Indeed, virtually all of the examples of supposed intolerance that the report offers up are not examples of intolerance but, rather, of a failure on the part of non-Muslims to shift quickly enough into submissive mode when Muslims come a-complaining.  The basic message of this “report” is that when it comes to Islam, the last thing non-Muslim educators should do is to educate – instead, they should replace the grim facts about Islam with pretty lies, and condemn truth-telling as Islamophobia while training students to be craven dhimmis.

In short, a mischievous, mendacious piece of work – yet another thing for the reprehensible Thorbjørn Jagland to be ashamed of, were he capable of shame.

Posted on 09/11/2012 5:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Sunnis And Shi'a In Iraq And Syria

From The Wall St. Journal:

Syria's War Animates Zealots in Iraq

AL-QAIM, Iraq—The Syrian war is fanning a sectarian backlash in neighboring Iraq, as rising violence attributed to al Qaeda on both sides of the border pushes the government in Baghdad closer to its counterpart in Damascus.

The tensions can be seen in and around Al-Qaim, a desert border town in Iraq's Anbar province, where U.S. forces led a campaign six years ago that mostly halted al Qaeda's sway.

Syrians arrived in August at a refugee camp in Al-Qaim before the Iraqi army shut the border as Baghdad grew concerned al Qaeda was gaining sway in the surrounding border region.

Hundreds of Syrians, some wounded, who have escaped the Syrian regime's aerial bombardments of the nearby Syrian town of Al-Bukamal are stuck at the border after being refused entry by Iraqi authorities, said Al-Qaim's mayor, Farhan Ftaikhan.

The Iraqi army, which is concerned al Qaeda fighters might use the refugee influx to cross into Iraq and turn places like Al-Qaim into havens, kept them out, a government spokesman said.

Among all of Syria's neighbors, Iraq has accepted the least number of Syrian refugees, taking in an estimated 16,000 out of a total of more than 234,000 as of Sept. 4, according to the United Nations. Most have gone to Iraq's northern self-ruled Kurdish region, where Baghdad has no control.

Last month, the Iraqi military sent reinforcements to the town of Al-Qaim and closed the border crossing after Baghdad briefly allowed a few thousand refugees in. The move created resentment among many of Anbar's Sunni Muslim residents, who accused the roughly 5,000-strong army unit, drawn mostly of Iraq's majority Shiite Muslim population, of religious bias and of trying to stop their Syrian relatives from seeking shelter from the violence of Syria's conflict.

"The Iraqi government wants to prop up the Syrian regime, and the motive is Iran and sectarian," said Amer al-Ani, a Sunni cleric in Al-Qaim. Shiites rule Iraq and Iran, and Syria's leadership draws heavily from the Shiite-linked Alawite sect.

The Iraqi military says it needs to fight extremists trying to gain influence in both Syria and in adjacent Sunni provinces in Iraq like Anbar. People who accuse Iraqi troops of sectarian bias want to "turn Anbar into a playground for terrorists," said Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of Iraq's ground troops. in an interview

Gen. Ghaidan, like many Iraqi officials, says the 18-month conflict in neighboring Syria has revitalized al Qaeda militants, who see the battle as part of a bigger struggle to unite Middle Eastern nations under a Sunni caliphate. An Iraqi border official said militants on both sides of the border are sharing resources, fighters and arms.

In a statement posted on a jihadist website Monday, the al Qaeda-linked group known as the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for bombings and assassinations the day before that killed nearly 100 people. The Iraqi government said Sunday the group was exploiting the sectarian divide in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called his government neutral in the Syrian conflict, tiptoeing around both the Sunni states backing the Syrian uprising—Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—and on the other side Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, Iran and Russia.

Iraqi officials have maintained support for a peaceful resolution but have accused Gulf countries of stoking the conflict. As the threat from al Qaeda appears to have grown recently, Mr. Maliki has closed ranks with Syria's regime, sharing intelligence and maintaining trade, financial and political ties, said Iraqi officials close to Mr. Maliki.

"If al Qaeda succeeds in toppling the regime in Syria, then the Shiite government in Iraq will be next," said Baqer Jabr al-Zubaidi, a former finance and interior minister, who is now a parliament member from Mr. Maliki's Shiite coalition, reflecting the thinking of most Iraqi Shiite leaders.

Mr. Zubaidi accuses Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which espouse a fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam and are currently leading the push against the Assad regime, of supporting al Qaeda militants. "Saudi Arabia is thinking seriously of forming a corridor that connects with Anbar, Mosul and Turkey to the north," he said. Both Gulf countries have dismissed the accusations.

The Islamic State of Iraq's new self-proclaimed leader announced in July a new offensive to topple Iraq's government. He urged a Sunni jihad against Shiites and their allies in Iraqi and Syria and appealed to the Sunni tribes to contribute funds and fighters.

Since then, the size, complexity and frequency of attacks against Shiite civilians and the Shiite-led government's pillars of power—including the army, police and judiciary—have risen sharply, Iraqi officials say. The strikes also target Sunni tribal figures in Anbar Province who al Qaeda views as collaborating with the Iraqi government and previously the U.S. military.

To be sure, al Qaeda is nowhere near its former strength in Anbar province when foreign fighters flocked in and allied themselves to Iraq's Sunni tribes and insurgents to fight U.S.-led troops after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and empowered the country's Shiite majority.

The militant group's bloody methods soon galvanized many in the tribe to join a U.S.-funded and backed anti-Qaeda campaign starting in 2006 that came to be known as the Sahwa, or the Awakening.

Baghdad has since then exploited tribal rivalries and used economic and political patronage to maintain a fragile control in Anbar and other mainly Sunni tribal areas.

But there are signs these arrangements are being tested, partly due to the escalating conflict in Syria.

"What's happening [in Syria] now is providing a phenomenal environment for al Qaeda to exploit in order to regain control," said Brig. Gen. Tariq al-Asal, who heads Iraq's border security at the Ministry of Interior, and who previously served as Anbar's police chief. Gen. al-Asal hails from one of the province's main Sunni tribes.

Last month, Mahdi al-Sumaidaie, a Sunni cleric and Anbar native, was gravely wounded and four of his bodyguards were killed when a bomb struck his convoy in Baghdad. Mr. Sumaidaie became a prominent advocate of Sunni-Shiite reconciliation after spending time in a U.S. military jail in Iraq after the 2003 invasion for ties to the Sunni insurgency at the time.

The rising violence "means networks are being re-established," said Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, a retired U.S. military commander who oversaw the expansion and training of Iraq's security forces in 2007-08 before joining the Washington-based military think tank the Institute for the Study of War.

Gen. Dubik said al Qaeda's support networks in places like Anbar were eroded by the Sahwa campaign but never died out because the Shiite-led central government failed to accommodate Sunnis in power structures and government positions to the extent needed to fully delegitimize the insurgency.

Posted on 09/11/2012 9:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
A Musical Interlude: Happy Days Are Here Again (Ben Selvin Orch.)
Listen here.
Posted on 09/11/2012 9:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Murderous Howling Mobs In Benghazi And Cairo

This attack on Western embassies, leading to their being damaged or destroyed, and with four Americans killed in Benghazi (including the ambassador, Christopher Stephens, who had done so much to garner support for the anti-Qaddafy rebels in Benghazi, and who no doubt thought that record would make it easier for him to deal with the mob  --- akin to the lion-tamer who thinks he knows his lions until the very moment they start to rend him limb from limb --  is the kind of thing that happens a lot, happens whenever a frenzied Muslim mob is whipped up -- and frenzied Muslim mobs are easy to whip up. They don't even need a demagogue; they do their own whipping.

I'lll remind you of  a few other examples on the theme of Embassies and Muslims (in both versions: battalions and single spies):

Most famously, back in Pushkin's time, when the dramatist Griboyedov was killed protecting Christian women who had fled to the Russian Legation, pursued by a howling Muslim mob.

In 1973, under the direct command of Yassir Arafat (his telephone messages have been recorded, but the Americans chose to keep them secret from the public so as to protect Arafat), Black September operatives killed the American Ambassador in Khartoum, Cleo Noel, and his Deputy, Mr. Moore, and a Belgian attache, Guy Eid.

In 1979, the American Ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, was kidnapped "by Islamic terrorists," and killed during an attempt to rescue him.

On November 4, 1979, the American Embassy in Teheran was seized, and all the Americans in it held hostage for 444 days.

Later that same month, November 1979, when one group of Muslims seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and could not be dislodged by Saudi forces, who ultimately (and secretly) had to call in hastily-islamised French troops to re-take the Mosque. Meanwhile, in distant Pakistan, Muslim mobs attacked the American Embassy and consulates, destroying them and killing some of the defenders.

Arab embassies in the West have, just like mosques,  been used to store false papers, money, explosives, guns, and people wanted by Western police for involvement in terrorism. Arab embassies have even been used as bases  from which to fire on Western police -- as happened to Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher, murdered by Libyan fire from the Libyan Embassy, right smack in the middle of London?

Now, although in Benghazi Qaddafy would still be ruling the roost were it not for the 5000 sorties carried out by NATO planes, with American participation indispensable to the effort, the Salafists whom Qaddafy dealt with summarily --and who had the most to gain from his disappearance -- are deliriously happy to attack the symbols, and not only the symbols, of America.

And in Egypt, which has been the recipient of more aid from the United States than from any other country -- certainly far more than from any of the fabulously rich Arab oil states -- nearly 80 billion dollars in the past three decades, frenzied Muslim mobs attacked the Embassy.

What should be the response? A shutting down of the diplomatic missions in both countries, for an indeterminate period. That will have one good effect: it will prevent any more visas being granted so that Libyans and Egyptians can come to our country (as tourists or "students" or students, but in the end, so many will want to stay , and we don't or shouldn't, want them in our midst).

And of course, no forgiveness of one bilion dollars of Egypt's debt. And no support for the requested, nearly $5 billion loan from the IMF that Morsi has requested for Egypt.

That's a start.

Here's the latest on the Benghazi and Cairo mobs: :

American killed, embassy attacked amid fury over 'anti-Islam' film

Libyan militiamen launched a deadly attack on a US consulate building in Benghazi this morning, just hours after thousands of Egyptian protesters attacked the US embassy in Cairo in anger over a film deemed to insult the Prophet Mohammed.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton confirmed a State Department officer had been killed after gunmen firing rocket-propelled grenades attacked the consulate, setting it on fire.

A spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee told the Reuters news agency that "a number" of Americans had been injured in the attack.

Reuters also reported that witnesses had seen looters ransacking the building and setting off homemade bombs, after security forces who had been trying to hold the gunmen at bay were forced to withdraw.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "We can confirm that our office in Benghazi, Libya has been attacked by a group of militants. We are working with the Libyans now to secure the compound. We condemn in strongest terms this attack on our diplomatic mission." [thatis'

The attack in Libya came after a Stars and Stripes which had been flying at half-mast to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks was torn to shreds by protesters who scaled the wall of the US embassy in Cairo.

Reports suggest both incidents were sparked by anger over a film which was produced by expatriate members of Egypt's Christian minority resident in the United States.

Reports said the Cairo protesters, numbering nearly 3,000 were mostly hardline Islamist supporters of the Salafist movement.

A dozen men scaled the embassy walls and one of them tore down the US flag, replacing it with a black one inscribed with the Muslim profession of faith: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God."

Demonstrators also daubed part of that slogan - "There is no God but God" - on the walls of the embassy compound.

"What I heard was that it was replaced with a ... plain, black flag, But I may not be correct in that," Ms Nuland said, adding that there had not been any reports of injuries. [that is the Al Qaeda flag, the flag of Islam. To call it a "plain, black flag" and not properly identify it, helps to delay the day of recognition]

"It sounds like, and I don't have full details, that this came up pretty quickly, [a] relatively modest group of people, but caught both us and the Egyptian security outside the embassy by surprise."

However, Ms Nuland dismissed the idea that feelings against the United States among Egyptians were hardening, especially after a visit by Ms Clinton in July was met by some demonstrations.

"I would urge you not to draw too many conclusions as we have also had some very positive developments in our relationship with Egypt," Ms Nuland said.

"Obviously one of the things about the new Egypt is that protest is possible. Obviously we all want to see peaceful protest which is not what happened outside the US mission, so we're trying to restore calm now.

"But I think the bigger picture is one of the United States supporting Egypt's democratic transition and the Egyptian government very much welcoming and working with us on the support that we have to offer."[soothing pablum]

Egyptian police intervened without resorting to force and persuaded the trespassers to come down.

Women wearing the niqab, the full-face veil worn by hardline Islamists, joined the rally chanting: "Sons of the Cross, anything but our beloved Mohammed."

Egyptian activist Wael Ghoneim wrote on his Facebook page that "attacking the US embassy on September 11 and raising flags linked to Al Qaeda will not be understood by the American public as a protest over the film about the prophet.

"Instead, it will be received as a celebration of the crime that took place on September 11," he said.[in other words, Wael Ghoneim, Obama's "Google guy" on whom such hopes were placed by the ill-informed,  is worried only about how the violent  plays, how it looks -- he does not denounce forthrightly the fanatical primitive protesters but worries about Egypt's image]

The attacks came as Americans marked the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people were killed when hijacked airliners slammed into the Pentagon and New York's World Trade Centre and another was brought down in Pennsylvania.

The US embassy in Cairo issued a statement condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

On Sunday, Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa denounced "the actions undertaken by some extremist Copts who made a film offensive to the prophet."

He said that the offence "affects millions of Muslims around the world" and that the making of such a film could not be justified on the basis of freedom of expression.

"The attack on religious sanctities does not fall under this freedom," he said. [Muslims live on a differentintellectual and moral  planet -- isn't that clear by now?]

Muslims consider depiction of the prophet sacrilegious.

Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli also condemned the film, saying it "contained insults against the prophet Mohammed" and "was denounced by Christians and Muslims" across the Arab world.

Mr Ben Helli said that "respecting sanctities and religious symbols is a basic principle acknowledged by the United Nations."

The Egyptian government stressed that every step would be taken to ensure the security of diplomatic missions.

The foreign ministry said it would take "all necessary security measures to protect all embassies, diplomatic missions and their staff."

Posted on 09/11/2012 9:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
No False Symmetry Is Too Idiotic Or Disgusting For TIME Magazine

This has just appeared:

image: Protesters chant slogans amid orange smoke outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 11, 2012.

Cairo’s U.S. Embassy Incident: Two Sets of Fundamentalisms Unleash Havoc

Two attacks on American diplomatic buildings in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya, illustrate the ugly bigotry of two sets of religious fundamentalists in different ends of the world

Read more:
Posted on 09/11/2012 10:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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