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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 Friday, 15, 2013.
Friday, 15 February 2013
The Anti-Alarmist Argument in Defense of Islam

Andrew Bostom has recently published a deferential yet hard hitting  article which challenges the eminent and revered Mideast scholar, Bernard Lewis, regarding the strange head fake Lewis and many Mideast scholars give on the virulent anti-Semitism and  virulence against Christians and infidels generally as found in the Koran and in the actions of Mideastern based Islamic leadership. There is an interesting comment to the article. Interesting because I think it is a succinct presentation of the “anti-alarmist” position taken by those who shrug off current Islamic violence and promised violence against Jews and Christians as being typical of the story of mankind’s inhumanity to mankind as aided and abetted in the guise of  religion generally.

Let me just post one current fact to set the stage for the discussion. Since the “liberation” of Iraq Christians have been hounded, persecuted, their daughters kidnapped, their churches destroyed until their numbers have been decimated. For a register of the continuing brutality against non-Muslims in the Ummah and its peripheries see Raymond Ibrahim’s site.

Here is a presentation of the post.

Take a look at our own Christian history. Take a look at Charlemagne. He was a great military conqueror, and channeled this talent into the service of the church. He took over most of Western Europe and a fair bit of the east, he used military force to compel all his subject peoples to become Christian. What about the Inquisition? Torturing Muslims just because they were Muslims.

The Spanish in the New World destroyed temples to make their churches. “Christian nations have warred on each other non-stop, enslaved, booted out Jews and Muslims. So has Islam. There’s been little to choose from in history.”

Not only have Christian nations warred against each other, Islamic nations have warred against one another. It is basically a story of culturally oppressing those they have militarily conquered and asserting their own cultural superiority and dominance.

“In what empire have the vanquished not been second class citizens? People do not war on each other or enslave one another because of ideology or religion. Rather they often use these as an excuse to simply war, rape and steal, when prevented from preying on their own.”

“The Ottomans militarily subjugated all areas of the Muslim world formerly dominated by Arab Islam they could. That was not a friendly act against their ostensibly fellow Muslims. Timurlane (sic), reportedly a devout Muslim, defeated Bayezid at the Battle of Ankara, Bayezid defeated a Christian coalition at the Battle of Nicopolis before that. It’s a half dozen of one and six of the other.”

“People do not war on each other or enslave one another because of ideology or religion. Rather they often use these as an excuse to simply war, rape and steal, when prevented from preying on their own.“

The implication is that what we are dealing with is really just a story of man’s inhumanity to man and religion is used to aid and abet and justify mankind’s lust for power and domination.

“Naturally the empire builders culturally oppress those they have militarily conquered and assert their own cultural superiority and dominance.”

“The Jews and Christians are in the bull’s-eye of parts of Islamic culture because they represent the formerly vanquished, and Islam itself is based on events that cannot be separated from military conquest. Of course laws which manage conquered populations will figure prominently in such a culture.”

The post goes on to claim that the alarmist position is also absurd because the Islamic world has neither the power not the ideological cache to pose any real threat to Western nations.

There are basically three components to this anti-alarmist line of “reasoning”.

(1) The you-too component, (2) it’s just basically man’s inhumanity to man under the cover of religion, (3)  historically there is nothing to choose between Islam and Christianity in terms of violence.

(1) It has always puzzled me why the “you-too”, “who are you to talk” has any force at all regarding the subject at issue. Regardless of who does the accusation, the action(s) in reference is reprehensible or not own its own terms. The accuser does not, mirabile dictu, somehow  change the action(s). Fine.  I’m no one to talk. But what I’m talking about? How does that register? The claim that current Islam persecution of religious minorities and recruiting children and adults into suicide bombing schools  to maim and butcher  infidels is reprehensible, stands or falls regardless of who makes such a claim.

(2) Even  if it is just man’s inhumanity to man under the cover of religion, it does not follow that such inhumanity is not to be condemned. Under the guise of religion or not, people who call themselves Muslims are to be condemned for their actions. Moreover, that religion is not itself the motivating factor, when leader after leader of the Muslim world from the ayatollahs to the political leaders claim to the contrary openly and repeatedly, makes the burden of proof on those that claim that religion is just a cover.

(3) Look at the history? Ok. Western cultures have evolved. Which takes us to the here and now. That Islam and its leaders are so far removed from the current presentation and actions of current world religions, from Christianity to Hinduism, is precisely the issue. There is no Muslim leader, political or religious, that claims that Muslims are free to pick and choose what parts of the Koran they choose to follow. Islam has not evolved. That is the issue.

There is, of course, consolation in the anti-alarmist, Numanesque position. The “Oh there is no difference between them and the rest of us” frame of mind implies that there is no need to get excited and apprehensive - much less get into a defensive us-vs.-them mode.  Relax, just give them time and consideration and they will come around.  Of course it is possible that accommodation will temper  Islamic leaders in their rhetoric and actions against non-Islamic nations, peoples and cultures. But until then why gloss over their obvious and continuing inexcusable horrors that are being perpetrated in the name of Islam?

Posted on 02/15/2013 7:34 AM by Richard Butrick
Friday, 15 February 2013
Let us pray for a black pope

James Dellingpole has fun with the the twisted knickers of the Guardianista sista on the subject of a black pope:

Gosh, won’t it be marvellous if the next pope turns out to be black? And I’m not saying this as a Catholic or one of those earnest Lefty types who yearns for an ethnic minority figure to be appointed to every position of authority. I’m just saying it as an amused bystander: really, I can hardly wait to see the cat among the pigeons, if someone like the current favourite – Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson – gets the job.

Turkson is Ghanaian and considerably darker of hue than the previous three African pontiffs (St Victor I, St Miltiades and St Gelasius), all of whom hailed from the north and probably weren’t really black at all. I’ve no doubt in the salons of Islington and the BBC canteens, they will all think this is a jolly good thing, much as they did when Barack Obama ushered in a golden new era of joy, healing, reconciliation and endless world peace.

I live in Islington. I must be moving in the wrong salons.

But I’m not sure that’s what they’re going to get. African churchmen – non-Western or non-white clergy, generally – tend to be considerably more robust and old school than your Reverend J C Flannel comedy Anglican vicar with his very real concerns about diversity and homosexual rights and the urgent threat of climate change. They’re so old-fashioned, in fact, that they even all still believe in God.

We’ve seen this in two of our most splendid Church of England bishops. Ugandan-born John Sentamu is strongly against gay marriage; and he has stuck up for English values against the perils of multiculturalism. Karachi-born Michael Nazir-Ali, formerly the Bishop of Rochester, has long been a brave and outspoken critic of Islamism – and was one of the first to warn of the Muslim “no-go” areas that have sprung up in many of our inner cities.

An African pope (most probably, the favourite Turkson; the other mooted candidate, Nigeria’s Cardinal Arinze, is now too old) would be unlikely to take any prisoners on either score. Cardinal Turkson has already declared his opposition to gay marriage. (And you’d be more likely to find a tiger in the Serengeti than an African clergyman who’d disagree with him.) As for his position on Islam, it’s hardly going to impress all those bien-pensant types who believe what the next pope really needs to do after Benedict XVI’s Regensburg lecture is reach out the hand of ecumenical friendship.

The reason for this is quite simply that African churchmen have seen the Islamist threat at its ugliest and most aggressive. In countries such as Nigeria, church congregations have been burnt alive by Islamist terrorist groups such as Boko Haram. This does not put them in the mood to turn the other cheek or deliver hand-wringing speeches in which they feel their rival religion’s pain.

All this, of course, is going to create no end of wailing and gnashing of teeth among the glib Catholic-bashers of the Left. For years, the Church has been an easy target: it is unrepentantly patriarchal; traditionalist; institutionally homophobic; hierarchical – all the things Guardianistas loathe. While a German was in charge, it was open season. Everything from the Pope’s unfortunate Hitler Youth past to the Church’s record on child abuse was fair game. Recently, it was even blamed for the fact that a gift shop near the Vatican sold items made of endangered ivory.

But how on earth are they going to keep it up if there’s a black African in charge?

Anti-Catholic prejudice might be acceptable – even encouraged – in Leftist circles. Racism, on the other hand, is the worst crime in the Lefty rule book – the equivalent to what Catholics would call a mortal sin. If there is a God and He’s as unapologetically Right-wing as I think he is, Cardinal Turkson will definitely get the job: it’s just too entertaining an opportunity to resist.

Turkson? There's a bitch of a name to conjure with. Sadly, the fun may Peter out (geddit?). Black Christians are liturgically white, and blacks who oppose Islam are the whitest of them all, as the picture below, of Ayaan Hirsi Ali digging snow, proves conclusively:

Posted on 02/15/2013 2:21 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 15 February 2013
A Musical Interlude: The Latest News (Trio Lescano)
Listen here.
Posted on 02/15/2013 3:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 February 2013
“I am the Emperor George Gallactica, destroyer of infidel solar systems�.

Damian Thompson is musing on several subjects in his blog tonight - the Pope, Blue Peter, George Galloway

What an extraordinary figure George Galloway cuts these days. On Thursday’s Question Time he was dressed like a cross between the Ayatollah Khomeini and Anne Robinson, with a Bond villain’s gleam in his eye which suggested that he only had to press a button to make 007 (the dashing Fraser Nelson) drop into a tank of piranhas. What goes through his head when he looks in the mirror, I wonder? Probably something like “I am the Emperor George Gallactica, destroyer of infidel solar systems”. Which is cool if you’re into that sort of thing, but must be hard to sustain if you’ve also appeared on television crawling around the floor in your dressing gown pretending to be a cat lapping up imaginary milk.

Posted on 02/15/2013 3:17 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 15 February 2013
The Game Of Doubles (Second Re-Posting)
The Game Of Doubles (Re-Posted) Bookmark and Share

by Hugh Fitzgerald (Aug. 2007)

Each person takes a sheet of paper and a No. 2 pencil or pen. He has ten minutes to write as many pairs of names as he can. These are the“doubles” which give the game its name. These names must somehow be linked in the mind of the person (hereinafter “the Compiler”) who writes them down. Some will be linked merely by some element or figure of sound, so that a certain similarity in the first names, or the last names, or the structure of the names, make one think, almost involuntarily, of the second once the first has been thought of.

Now the party’s gentil organisateur (hereinafter “The Host”) collects the lists. The Host will now read each list in the following manner. He will take one list, and read the entire contents, taking care to stop after every pair of linked names (hereinafter “the Doubles”). He will then, at each pause, ask each of the others, that is everyone present (hereinafter known as “the Participants”), except the Compiler of that particular list, to suggest reasons why the Compiler deemed this pair of names so linkable. Sometimes the link will be obvious. Sometimes it will be very obscure. Often there will be several reasons, some of them factual, some of them downright dreamy, some very obscure but making sense once they are made plain, why Name A and Name B form a legitimiate “double.” Ideally there will be all kinds of different reasons, taking into account many different kinds of considerations. The whole point and fun of the game consists in the imaginative and knowledgeable attempt by Participants  to figure out what it was that made not any Compiler, but this particular Compiler, pair these particular two names.

The more that each Participant has stored away in his brain, and can bring wittily to bear on the matter, the more likely it is that the reasons offered, even if they turn out not to be the right ones, or turn out to be only part of the answer, will amuse and instruct, provide profit and pleasure. At the end of the animated reading-cum-attempted explanation of each item on the first list, the Compiler of that list (who should be taking some notes on who offered what reason) will explain who was right, who wrong, and anything else he has to add by way of explanation as to why A made him think almost automatically of B. Then do the same with the second list, and so on.

A particularly desirable feature of this game are its non-obvious, potentially epithalamic properties. For it forces each Participant (each of whom is also required to be a Compiler) to demonstrate intelligence, knowledge, humor, and wit. Thus the game of Doubles is an ideal activity for all occasions. The usual occasion, when one is just hoping to make life more rather than less interesting for a few hours. And the unusual occasion (which is becoming more usual), when with all of society’s  little battalions permanently demobbed, one has to go out into the big world without a filtering intermediary, to find a suitable date or mate, and has so little time – which happens to be  money, as you know – to spare, and wants to find out quickly, if only to eliminate from the running, what the story is with Miss X or Mr. Y. Call it speed-dating with a library card.

Sound and sight correspondences generally will not be enough, though it is one of the main elements to start with before you get going. Rudolph Guiliani should not make you think of Salvatore Giuliano, nor Hillary Clinton make you think of Edmond Hillary, nor Romney the politician entitle you to pair him, without more, with Romney the painter.  General Boulanger does not make anyone think of Nadia Boulanger. (And don’t put beans up your nose.) But there will always be exceptions to that rule.  The main point is to offer pairs that will be seen, once the Compiler has explained, somehow very right, in some cases funnily and even inevitably right. And the whole effect will be in the reasons, subtle and obvious, offered about each of the names in each pair. Jokes are also allowed, so that some of the pairs may be entirely phony but also full of meaning. However, in this setting the joke “doubles” must be explained. No one should go home disgruntled or confused.

Each Participant should, in the ten minutes allotted (more time would seem, in such a convivial setting, intolerably interminable), come up with as many pairs of “doubles” as he can. By way of demonstration, I compiled my own list, which is appended below. I broke my own rule, because I found that even typing at top speed I couldn’t complete all the names that came to mind  in less than 30 minutes (by the old church clock), which was when I cut myself off, deeming that the absolute time limit I thought I should observe. Awareness of the likely audience of this website probably led me to skew the “doubles” in favor of the English and the academic, though I am not English and not academic. The list is offered merely as an example to those who like the idea of this game, but who at this point may find themselves in a group with others who are a bit reluctant to compile lists themselves, who want to try it only when they feel they have got the hang of it. In order to kick things off, this list is offered so that others may use whatever parts of it they wish, at their own cotter’s-Saturday-night gatherings, and try to explain to each other what that absent Compiler must surely have had in mind.

Here’s that list of “Doubles”:

Stephen Crane and Hart Crane

Sacha Guitry and Sacha Chorny

Tommy Lee Jones and Billy Bob Thornton

Bix Beiderbecke and Bunny Berigan

John Suckling and Richard Lovelace

Linda Lovelace and Linda Ronstadt

Ilf and Petrov

Bernard DeVoto and Wallace Stegner

Issy Bonn and Pinky Lee

Li Po and Po Li

Verlaine and Rimbaud

Tasso and Ariosto

Dosso Dossi and Betto Betti

Joan Littlewood and Joan Greenwood

Alain Delon and Johnny Hallyday

Billie Holiday and Judy Holiday

Toto and the King of Naples

Peregrine Worsthorne and P. J. Wodehouse

Alan Coren and Sheridan Morley

Don Marquis and Don Hebold

Marshal Pilsudski and Admiral Horthy

Pisemsky and Gontcharov

Thomas Wentworth Higginson and James Russell Lowell

Richard Burton and Robert Burton

Robert Burton and Thomas Browne

Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Casey

Alice Adams and Alice Munro

Rosa Luxemburg and Kurt Liebknecht

Gerard Philippe and Leslie Howard

Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch

Bing Crosby and Russ Colombo

Anna Karina and Anna Karenina

Nikolai  Trubetzkoy and Baudoin de Courtenay

Arnaldo Momigliano and Rita Levi-Montalcino

Edmond Jabès and Albert Memmi

Ernst Cassirer and Elias Canetti

Aby Warburg and Fritz Saxl

Josef Albers and Walter Gropius

Max Friedlaender and Erwin Panofsky

Leo Spitzer and Erich Auerbach

Salvador de Madariaga and Ortega y Gasset

Jakob Burckhardt and Jakob Bernays

Miguel Unamuno and Ortega y Gasset

Menendez Pidal and Menendez Pelayo

Damaso Alonso and Amerigo Castro

Silvia Ocampo and Victoria Ocampo

Flann O’Brien and Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty

Edwin O’Connor and Frank O’Connor

James Clarence Mangan and George Kennan

Virginia Lee Burton and Margaret Wise Brown

Quentin Crisp and Peter Quennell

Anjelica Huston and B. H. Traven

Doris Day and Dinah Shore

Winston Churchill and Winston Churchill

Boris Vian and Frank O’Sullivan

Frank O’Sullivan and Flann O’Brien

Roy Campbell and William Plomer

Rev’d Kilvert and Gilbert White

Cornelia Otis Skinner and B. S. Skinner

B. S. Skinner and Quentin Skinner

Quentin Reynolds and Lowell Thomas

Thomas Middleton and Thomas Rowley

Fanny Kemble and Fanny Burney

Edmund Kean and John MacReady

Andrey Platonov and Mikhail Bulgakov

Alain Chartier and Charles, Duc d’Orleans

Jacques Loeb and Jacques Cousteau

Max Planck and Max Perutz

Max Ascoli and Max Lerner

George Polya and Michael Polanyi

Seymour Papert and Seymour Cray

Seymour Glass and J. D. Salinger

J. D. Salinger and J. D. Watson

J. D. Watson and Francis Crick

Francis Quarles and Bernard Quaritch

“Chinese” Wilson and “Chinese” Gordon

Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner

A.J. Ayer and D.J. Enright

George Moore and George Moore

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Lessing and Schiller

Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor

Martin Landau and Lev Landau

Rod Steiger and Anatoly Shteiger

William Arrowsmith and Martin Arrowsmith

Dorothy Thompson and Dorothy Parker

W. V. Quine and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and George Saintsbury

Sidney Hillman  and David Dubinsky

Evariste Parny and Evariste Levi-Provencal

Alain and Alain Finkielkraut

Joshua Whatmough and John Wansbrough

H. D. Kraus and Karl Kraus

Kurt Weill and Kurt Godel

John Maynard Keynes and John Maynard Keyes

Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky

Tom and Jerry

Brian Vickers and Alistair Fowler

Radhakrishnan and Ramanujan

G. H. Hardy and Keir Hardie

Ernest Bevin and Aneurin Bevan

Hugh Gaitskill and Jo Grimond

Jean Jaurès and Jean Barois

André Gide and Roger Martin Du Gard

Ernest Dowson and Aubrey Beardsley

Wassily Leontieff and Abram Bergson

Leo Spitzer and Erich Auerbach

Enoch Powell and Lord Deming

Maurice Bowra and Gilbert Murray

Gilbert Murray and Oswyn Murray

Oswyn Murray and Jasper Griffin

Jasper Griffin and Peter Brown

Rita Mae Brown and bell hooks

Robin Lane Fox and Peter Green

Jo Stafford and Harriet Hilliard

Charles Perrault and Madame De Genlis

Felix Faure and Edgar Faure

Pierre Mendes-France and Catulle Mendes

Catulle Mendes and Oscar Milosz

Time and Newsweek

Fidelity and Vanguard

Hedge-Schools and Hedge-Funds

Our Mutual Friend and Our Mutual Fund

Neville Chamberlain and Houston Stewart Chamberlain

William Lyon Phelps and Chauncy Brewster Tinker

John Horne Tooke and John Hookham Frere

Alexandre Koyré and Alexandre Kojève

Marie Boroff and Max Beloff

Jean Seznec and Jean Starobinski

Lancelot Andrewes and Jeremy Taylor

Edward Teller and John von Neumann

Issur Danielovitch and Yul Brynner

Vladimir Dukelsky and Vernon Duke

Quentin Durward and Durward Kirby

Posted on 02/15/2013 5:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 February 2013
An Algerian With Swedish Citizenship Salutes Bashar On Syrian TV, Resents "Gulf Bedouin"

His main theme seems to be envy of the wrong Arabs -- the uncivilized Gulf Bedouin -- having the wealth, and not sharing it with the civilized members, possibly such as himself, of the Umma. And then there is the stuff about Syria being the most important, the last, of the "resistance" states.

Watch the performance here.

Posted on 02/15/2013 8:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 February 2013
"Crusader Women" Who Go To Tahrir Square Deserve What They Get
The  cleric, crazed by our standards, perfectly comprehensible to those many who observe his, can be seen here.
Posted on 02/15/2013 8:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 February 2013
Ziad Noujeim Dares To Criticize Societies Suffused With Islam

He does this without, of course, mentioning the word "Islam."

Watch here.

Posted on 02/15/2013 8:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 February 2013
A Caveat For The Generals, Or, Watch Your Goosestep

From The Wall Street Journal:

Feb. 15, 2013

As Iran Buries General, Syria Rebels Say He Was Killed in Israeli Strike

BEIRUT—A top commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, who was killed in Syria and buried in Iran on Friday, actually died in Israel's attack on a Syrian military compound in late January, according to a faction of Syrian rebels.

Iran reported Wednesday that Gen. Hassan Shateri—a senior commander of the Quds Force, an elite international unit of the Revolutionary Guard—was killed the previous day in Syria on his way from Damascus to Beirut.


Mourners at a ceremony for Quds commander Gen. Hassan Shateri, shown in poster, in Tehran on Thursday.

But a military council of Syrian rebels disputed that account Friday, saying Gen. Shateri had been killed on Jan. 30, when Israel attacked a convoy and military facility in Jamaraya, Syria, near the border with Lebanon. Gen. Shateri was there supervising a transfer of heavy weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant and political group, said Fahd al-Mesri, the Paris-based spokesman for the Joint Command, a council that links some secular-minded Syrian rebels.

The group's account couldn't be corroborated by other Syrian rebels. The newly organized Supreme Military Council—made up of senior Syrian defectors and backed by the West—has no information on the incident, said its chief of staff, Salim Idriss.

On Thursday, the public-relations department for the Revolutionary Guards, or IRGC, said agents and supporters of Israel had assassinated Gen. Shateri as he was traveling from Damascus to Beirut. That statement didn't say when he was killed or why he was traveling in Syria.

Israel, which has traditionally maintained silence when military strikes around the region have been attributed to it, indicated early this month that it had been behind the attack in Syria. On Friday, a representative for Israel's military declined to comment on whether Gen. Shateri was killed or targeted in the attack.

Regardless, any regional perception of Israel's involvement underscores how the country is increasingly seen as a player in Syria's uprising, one willing to take unilateral action if it perceives its interests and security are compromised.

Speaking early this month at a security conference in Germany, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Jan. 30 attack is "another proof that when we say something we mean it. We say that we don't think it should be allowable to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon to Hezbollah from Syria when [President Bashar al-] Assad falls."

Any Israeli role would be a double-edged sword for Syria's opposition. While these fighters would welcome foreign military intervention that outpowers the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, such assistance also places them at risk being labeled agents of Israel or the West.

Gen. Shateri, 58 years old and an engineer by profession, had been a member of the IRGC for nearly three decades and served in the Iran-Iraq war, according to Iranian media accounts and officials' speeches at his funeral.

As a commander of the Quds Forces—an eilte and highly secretive IRGC unit responsible for training proxy militia and safeguarding the Islamic Republic's interests abroad—he served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon in what Iran says were civilian roles focused on war reconstruction efforts. A picture of Mr. Shateri released by Iranian media shows him in Quds Force uniform along with other high-level commanders kissing the hand of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It is customary for Quds commanders who serve in civilian roles abroad to take on aliases, and in Lebanon, Mr. Shateri was known as Husam Khoshnevis.

According to Mr. al-Mesri, the Joint Command spokesman, Syrian rebels learned of Mr. Shateri's presence in Damascus and the circumstances of his death through their intelligence network. "He stayed in Damascus around a week and held meetings with very high-level military and security officials, both Syrians and Iranians," Mr. al-Masri said by telephone from Paris.

Further deepening the murky circumstances of Mr. Shateri's killing is that no Syrian rebel group or leader has claimed responsibility. Unusually, few apart from Mr. al-Mesri's group have commented.

Official funeral services on Thursday and Friday, held in Tehran and his hometownSemnan, were attended by the heads of Iran's armed forces and of the branches of the Revolutionary Guards, including the Quds Force, and representatives of Mr. Khamenei and the foreign minister, according to pictures and video published by Iranian media.

In funeral speeches, Mr. Shakeri was compared to Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyah, who was widely implicated in a series of terrorist attacks against Americans and Israelis in the 1980s and 1990s, including the bombing of the U.S. Embassy. He was killed in a Damascus car bombing in 2008. Israel was largely believed to have carried out the assassination but never addressed it publicly.

"Mr. Shateri was our very own Imad Mughniyah—he was nothing short of him and was highly regarded as a special person. Enough said that even in his absence we can't publicize his confidential services [to the regime]," said Alireza Panahian, Mr. Khamenei's representative at the funeral, according to media reports.

Iran has solidly backed President Assad and publicly acknowledged assisting Syria's regime in its battle with the insurgency.

On Thursday, Mehdi Taeb, the head of Iran's Ammar military base, which is focused on cyber war and soft war, said Syria is so strategic to the Islamic Republic that it is considered as Iran's 35th province, and that losing Syria would result in losing Tehran. Iran has been instrumental in helping Mr. Assad form neighborhood militias to battle the opposition, he said in comments widely reported by official Iranian media.

"This country [Syria] had an army, but it couldn't manage the war inside the cities. Therefore Iran suggested they form neighborhood Basij militias to control the cities," Mr. Taeb said, according to Iranian media.

Mr. Taeb added that Iran had helped train 60,000 Syrian Basij militiamen to take over the guerrilla fights from the army. Basij militia in Iran is a million-strong volunteer plain-clothes militia involved in brutal crackdowns of opposition protests.

Posted on 02/15/2013 8:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 15 February 2013
Canada To Be Emulated: "The Depravity Of Hezbollah Knows No Bounds"

From The National Post:

Feb. 15, 2013

‘The depravity of Hezbollah knows no bounds’: Blacklist Lebanese group, Canada tells the EU

A damaged bus is transported out of Burgas airport, Bulgaria, a day after a deadly suicide attack on a bus full of Israeli vacationers.
Impact Press Group / The Associated Press FilesA damaged bus is transported out of Burgas airport, Bulgaria, a day after a deadly suicide attack on a bus full of Israeli vacationers.

Following allegations that Hezbollah was behind a deadly bus bombing in Bulgaria, Canadian diplomats have been actively lobbying European Union countries to “send a strong message” by blacklisting the Lebanese group as a terrorist organization.

“We believe there is overwhelming evidence to suggest Hezbollah has been not just complicit, but actively carrying out terrorist attacks around the world in support of Iran,” a government official said Friday. “We hope that the European Union will follow Canada’s lead.”

While Canada outlawed Hezbollah in 2002, most European countries have not yet done so. But the EU is under renewed pressure to proscribe the Iranian-backed Islamist group after it was linked to last July’s bombing of a bus full of Israeli tourists visiting the Black Sea coast.

On Monday, European foreign ministers will meet for the first time since Bulgaria went public with the results of its investigation. At the meeting, Nikolay Mladenov, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, will brief them on the probe into the attack at Sarafovo Airport in Burgas.

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Interior told the National Post the investigation had determined that three terrorists entered the country on June 28, 2012. While the name and nationality of one remains unknown, the other two are citizens of Canada and Australian, the official said.

The bomb was detonated remotely as the unidentified terrorist was planting it on the bus, killing five tourists and their driver. The Canadian and Australian, who are alleged members of Hezbollah, later fled through Romania and are currently in Lebanon.

“The Burgas bombers were maintaining part of Hezbollah’s structures in Canada and Australia and had contacts with representatives of this organization,” Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the Bulgarian Interior Minister, told TV7. “Our hypothesis is that the two were fellow engineering students in Lebanon where they were planning the terror attack.”

Although the bomb carrier remains a mystery man, DNA testing has determined he is a relative of the Canadian, who became a citizen while living in Vancouver for four years. He returned to Lebanon at age 12 but continued to carry a Canadian passport.

Coming just weeks after Algeria said two Canadians were among the terrorists who had stormed the In Amenas gas plant, resulting in the deaths of three dozen workers, the allegation a Canadian was involved in the Bulgarian bombing have outraged many Canadians.

Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, said last week he was considering legislation that would revoke Canadian citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism. Under the proposal, engaging in terrorism would be considered a renunciation of citizenship.

Meanwhile, Canada has been cooperating with Bulgarian authorities on the bombing investigation and encouraging the European Union to crack down on Hezbollah, an arm of the Iranian regime, which provides most of its financing, training and weapons.

“We continue to urge the European Union and all partners who have not already done so to list Hezbollah as a terrorist entity and prosecute terrorist acts committed by this reckless and inhumane organization to the fullest possible extent,” said Rick Roth, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

“The depravity of Hezbollah knows no bounds, and Canada will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure that Hezbollah and its backers are held to account, and justice prevails.”

National Post

Posted on 02/15/2013 9:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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