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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, 16, 2012.
Friday, 16 November 2012
Anger at ‘politically correct’ sex gangs report

An Exclusive from The Sun

A REPORT on Britain’s child abuse epidemic will deny a problem with Pakistani men targeting white girls — for fear of being seen as racist.

England’s deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz is to publish the bombshell report next week saying kids are facing abuse in every town and city.

But, in an explosive move, she will not state there is a specific problem with Pakistani men grooming and abusing vulnerable white girls.

Instead, Ms Berelowitz will argue that young girls are abused by men from all ethnic backgrounds.

Police and social services have already been accused of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse by Pakistani gangs in Rochdale, Lancs, and Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

One Whitehall source said: “It’s important we don’t take a politically-correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here. Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic background. But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.”

Ms Berelowitz’s report is expected to paint a bleak picture of the scale of sex abuse across Britain.

Because to her type of politically correct woman with an agenda ALL men are rapists, ALL men potetial child abusers. ALL men must be demonised. 'White British' heterosexual men most of all.

Posted on 11/16/2012 2:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 16 November 2012
Sixth Circuit U.S. Court Of Appeals And Its Crazy Ruling

Supreme Court should reinstate voters' verdict on affirmative action

Editorial

November 16, 2012  |  

A divided 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals breathed new life into the controversy over affirmative action Thursday when it ruled that Michigan's 2006 enactment of a state constitutional amendment barring race or gender preferences in public hiring, contracting and college admissions violates the U.S. Constitution.

The 8-7 decision is an unwise extension of judicial power that foolishly and erroneously overrides the clear policy choice expressed by Michigan voters when they enacted Proposal 2 six years ago. And there's this irony, to boot: The court has effectively ruled that an amendment that tries to level the playing field for everyone through a ban on race-conscious policies is, itself, discriminatory.

The Free Press editorially opposed Proposal 2, and we continue to believe that it unwisely limited the prerogatives of state universities and other public institutions charged with remedying historical discrimination in education and employment.

But we have never challenged the Michigan electorate's authority to adopt such a policy. And we suspect that U.S. Supreme Court justices will be unpersuaded by Court of Appeals Judge R. Guy Cole Jr.'s contention that Michigan's enactment of Proposal 2 violates the federal Constitution.

In an argument dissenting judges dismissed as a stretch, Cole and seven of his colleagues contended that Proposal 2 violated the equal protection rights of minority students by forbidding university officials "to even consider using race as a factor in admissions decisions" -- something the U.S. Supreme Court allowed them to do, albeit in limited circumstances, in its landmark Grutter v. Bollinger ruling in 2003.

The 6th Circuit majority argued that Michigan's constitutional amendment banning affirmative action was analogous to one case in which Akron, Ohio, voters required a referendum on any legislation to prohibit racial discrimination in housing, and a second in which residents of Washington State adopted a law that effectively banned busing to achieve racial integration of Seattle public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down both initiatives on the grounds that each established unique procedural obstacles for minorities seeking to enact favorable legislation.

But we find more persuasive a dissenting opinion in which Judge Julia Smith Gibbons and five of her colleagues argued that repealing a preferential treatment of minority applicants is different than repealing a law that requires equal treatment of such applicants.

In addition, the 6th Circuit ruling gets itself twisted up in the idea of "reordering the political process." In the Akron case, voters specifically erected a higher hurdle for repeal of a ban on racial discrimination than existed in the first place. But Michigan's affirmative action ban was achieved by voters adhering to the established process for enacting significant changes in the law. That's an exploitation of the existing political process, not an attempt to reorder it.

Nine years ago, the same narrow Supreme Court majority that upheld the limited application of racial preferences in Grutter acknowledged that the expiration date was fast approaching beyond which all government affirmative action policies would be presumed unconstitutional. The Roberts Court could decide as early as this term that the time for permitting preferential treatment to remedy past discrimination has passed.

The 6th Circuit majority is thus swimming against the tide of both federal jurisprudence and the popular will of Michigan voters. It's an unreasonable intrusion that should, and we suspect will, be overturned.

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Feeding the crocodile

"There are unconfirmed reports that there has been friction between the Muslim opponents of Israel and the left-wing opponents of Israel."  From Esmerelda's post about jihadis and their non-Muslim enablers.

Bring it on. I hope nobody gets seriously hurt, but a minor bit of duffing up wouldn't come amiss.

No matter how much the lefties bend over backwards to take the Muslim side, they will always be infidels. Appeasement does not work.

Confusion to our enemies!

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:13 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 16 November 2012
Three High School Boys From Queens: Adis Medunjanin, Najibullah Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay

From USA TODAY:

NYC man to be sentenced in terror plot

 November 16. 2012 -

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking life behind bars for a New York City man convicted earlier this year of conspiring to form a three-man terror cell with two of his former high school classmates and spread death on the subways as suicide bombers — a foiled plot that authorities called one of the closest calls since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Adis Medunjanin, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen from Bosnia, was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, attempting to commit an act of terrorism and other terrorism charges. He is being sentenced Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn.

In court papers, prosecutors have argued for a life term for Medunjanin, saying he "committed a host of heinous crimes aimed at killing and maiming his fellow American citizens in order to alter and take revenge for American foreign policy."

At trial, defense attorneys admitted that Medunjanin wanted to fight for the Taliban, but they insisted he never agreed to spread death and destruction in the city where his family put down roots.

Medunjanin went overseas to fulfill a "romantic version of jihad. ... His plan and intent was to join the Taliban and stand up for what he believes in," defense attorney Robert Gottlieb said in his closing. "That was his purpose."

The trial ending in May was mostly notable because it featured the first-ever testimony from admitted homegrown terrorists about al-Qaida's determination to strike America on its home turf.

The former classmates at a Queens high school, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, testified that the three men sought terror training after falling under the influence of inflammatory recordings of U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that they downloaded and listened to on their iPods.

The government's case was built on the testimony of Zazi, Ahmedzay and two other men: a British would-be shoe bomber and a man originally from Long Island who gave al-Qaida pointers on how best to attack a Walmart store.

Zazi and Ahmedzay, who testified as part of plea deal, told jurors that the scheme unfolded after the trio traveled to Pakistan in 2008 to avenge the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

While receiving terror training at outposts in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan, al-Qaida operatives encouraged the American recruits to return home for a suicide-bombing mission intended to spread panic and cripple the economy. Among the targets considered were the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, the men testified.

In a later meeting in New York, the plotters decided to strap on bombs and blow themselves up at rush hour on Manhattan subway lines because the transit system is "the heart of everything in New York City," Zazi said.

Zazi told jurors how he learned to extract explosives ingredients from nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide and other products sold at beauty supply stores. When leaving Pakistan, he relocated to Colorado, where he perfected a homemade detonator in a hotel room and set out for New York City by car around the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The plot — financed in part by $50,000 in credit card charges — was abandoned after Zazi noticed that everywhere he drove in New York, a car followed.

"I think law enforcement is on us," he recalled telling Ahmedzay. Later, he said he told Medunjanin in a text message, "We are done."

Aside from Zazi and Ahmedzay, two other convicted terrorists were called as witnesses to give a rare glimpse into al-Qaida's training methods and the mindset of its leadership.

In a videotaped deposition made public for the first time, Saajid Badat recounted a clandestine meeting where Osama bin Laden explained the rationale behind the failed plot for Badat and Richard Reid to attack trans-Atlantic flights with bombs hidden in shoes.

Bin Laden "said the American economy is like a chain," the British man said. "If you break one — one link of the chain — the whole economy will be brought down. So after Sept. 11 attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down."

Bryant Neal Vinas, of Patchogue on Long Island, testified that he went to Pakistan in 2007 and later joined al-Qaida forces in an attack against American soldiers.

Vinas described how he suggested to others in al-Qaida in the summer of 2008 that they could plant explosives in suitcase aboard a Long Island Rail Road train or hide them inside a television that was being returned to a Walmart.

An attack on the popular retail outlet "would cause a very big economy hit," he said.

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Tax return

Doing the email rounds at the moment:

I just received my tax return for 2011 back from the Tax office. It puzzles me!!! They are questioning how many dependents I claimed. I guess it was because of my response to the question: ......

"LIST ALL DEPENDENTS?"
I replied: 5 million illegal immigrants; 3 million crack heads; 3 million unemployed people on benefits,
1 million people in prison and all the MP's in Parliament ."
Evidently, this was NOT an acceptable answer.
I KEEP ASKING MYSELF, WHO THE HELL DID I MISS OUT.......................??

Abu Qatada, Abu Qatada's lawyer Gareth Pierce and all the other Abus who abuse our largesse. At least the crack heads kill only themselves.

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:54 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 16 November 2012
TV cook Clarissa Dickson Wright causes outrage after condemning Muslim Leicester as a 'ghetto'

Clarissa Dickson Wright, the chef who reached fame as one half of the Two Fat Ladies, said visiting the city made her feel like a "complete outcast" as she condemned the area as a "ghetto".

The chef has dedicated one chapter of Clarissa's England: A Gamely Gallop Through the English Counties to each county, discussing the culinary, cultural and historical merits. On Leicestershire, she writes of the city's "ghetto" and describes coming off the ring road to escape a traffic jam and becoming lost.

She wrote: "I found myself in an area where all the men were wearing Islamic clothing and all the women were wearing burkas and walking slightly behind them. None of the men would talk to me when I tried to find out where I was and how to get out of there because I was an English female and they don't talk to females they don't know, while if the women could speak English they weren't about to show it by having a word with me. I have many good acquaintances and even some friends among the Muslim community, yet here I was, in the heart of a city in the middle of my own country, a complete outcast and pariah."

When contacted by local newspaper The Leicester Mercury, the chef, who lives in Edinburgh, said: "I'm surprised any of the people who might object could read what I wrote as it is written in English.

"When you get to 65, you will think back on this conversation and I think you might find yourself in my frame of mind. Visiting Leicester scared me and I am not scared easy. It frightened me because it was part of my country that I was born in and there are a lot of radical Muslim preachers in this country.

"I was in London when the July 7 bomb attacks happened and this to me was proof for those people who have been saying we're getting ghettoisation of Muslim areas.

"I have never believed that political correctness was a reason not to say what I have experienced."

Her full name is Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright. She speaks her mind on hunting, country pursuits and Tony Blair  whom she knew when they were both young barristers in Scotland. “He has psychopath eyes. You know those dead eyes that look at you and try to work out what you want to hear? I don’t recognise the young man that I knew. He was this rather wet, long-haired law student and barrister who nobody expected to succeed. One thought he would disappear without trace, or become a clerk at a London court”

I liked the Two Fat Ladies food and I liked their motorbike.

Posted on 11/16/2012 7:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 16 November 2012
Israel Poised on the Brink of war in Gaza: "Pray for all of Us"

                 

IAF Hits  terror rocket caches in Gaza                Car wreck of  Hamas Military Leader Ahmed Jabari

Source: AP                                                                   Source: AP

With the burial of three Israelis, two men and one woman in Kiryat Malachi and launch of   rockets from Gaza triggering wailing warning sirens in Tel Aviv, more than 3 million are within deadly range of the deadly  terror rockets supplied by Iran.  Iron Dome Batteries and pinpoint IAF air strikes and offshore naval bombardments can only do so much.  A fifth Iron Dome battery should be in place this weekend.  Targeted assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari and  similar threats to its political leaders have not deterred the rocket terrorists  in Gaza.  It is time for a definitive ground operation.  Zahal has mobilized reservists, the Armored Corps and elite brigades are in position to enter Gaza to finish the job left undone after Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.  Kol Hakavod to the courageous soldiers, airmen and sailors of the IDF.  May Ha Shem protect them as they are poised to vanquish Hamas and islamic Jihad so that all Israelis can live without fear of the red alerts giving them less than 15 seconds warning to seek shelter. 

The rocket terror war hit home to Tel Avivans yesterday. Witness this comment in an email sent by American Israeli, Jack De Lowe:


Today, as I do several times each week, I was at the offices of Ezra LeMarpeh in B’nai B’rak, a suburb of east of Tel Aviv with approximately 175,000 residents. Ezra LeMarpeh is best known as the organization that Rabbi Firer founded and provides medical referrals to tens of thousands of people every year. At about 18:30 (6:30 PM), the  civil defense (code red) sirens started to sound.  It meant rockets that had been launched from Gaza and were expected to reach Tel Aviv.  Although I have experienced missiles reaching even my home town of Raanana during the Iraqi Gulf War in early 1991, I have personally have never heard them in Tel Aviv.

Ezra LeMarpeh has a number of late afternoon and early evening programs for children  who now found themselves anxiously running to the shelters. Perhaps Tel Aviv and the rest of the country will now better understands what Sderot and the rest of southern Israel has been going through since Israel completely and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, over 7 years ago. Despite the unilateral and complete withdrawal from Gaza, Israel continues to be hit by missiles from the terrorists.  Those Israelis who live in the south have long complained that the government will not do what is necessary until Tel Aviv is also hit by missiles. Based upon the current efforts by the IDF, it seems that this theory is becoming a reality. We expect the IDF to launch a ground offensive and enter Gaza to stop the terrorist rockets. This time Israel needs to do everything necessary to stop all the terrorist groups in Gaza (including Hamas) from their murderous attacks on Israel.

The sons of several of our friends have been called up by their army reserve units for duty while schools are being closed and bomb shelters are being prepared. Helene and I have even cleared our own shelter in anticipation. Everyone is awaiting the IDF's retaliatory operation. Israel is under attack by Palestinian terrorists and there is no country in the world that would let its population endure the more than 800 rockets that we have taken in just this year from the terrorists in Gaza.

As I write you this message, the IDF continues to target the terrorists. Unlike the terrorist murderers, the IDF strives to minimize civilian casualties. Israel is a civilized and lawful country, but it must protect its own citizens. Israel thus has both a legal as well as moral right to use whatever methods necessary (including targeted killings against the  terrorist) who on the one hand specifically attack our civilian population and at the same time hide behind their own civilian population.

Please remember to pray for all of us,

Nidra Poller  American ex-pat writer in Paris wrote this 'prayer' that expresses the concerns of all Israelis and friends of Israel for what may occur shortly:


"I am by your side though far away . . .proud of Israel’s upright defense force, proud of your courage and resistance, and fearful at every moment for your safety. My thoughts are with those who will be called up to defend Israel and by extension defend the free world, I wish I could envelop each and every one of you with absolute protection. I think especially of my friends whose sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, will be on the front lines. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for what you are and what you do."


This article in Israel Hayom provides a definitive round up of the preparation for war in Gaza, while Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Kandil  endeavors  to secure another hudna for his Muslim Brothers in Hamas, Russia's Putin acusses Israel of being the "aggressor", and the UN Security Council dithers once again.  Iran's role in the Gaza terror rocket  war is clearly established as the supplier of long range Fajr-5  rockets buried in underground revetments in Gaza  capable of hitting targets in Tel Aviv and the Dan Gush.  In a National Post  op ed on "Why Israel Attacked Gaza" , Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies connected the dots between the Iranian supplied Fajr-5 rockets in Gaza and what compelled israel to attack the Munitions factory in the Sudan:

The most compelling factor, however, may have been escalating Israeli concerns over the ordnance Hamas was stockpiling. Israel reportedly hit several key weapons caches in Gaza yesterday, including some that included the deadly Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets, which have powerful payloads and ranges long enough to strike Israeli population centers.

Interestingly, last month the Israelis are believed to have carried out a raid on an Iranian weapons factory deep inside Sudan. Sensitive security sources indicated that “game-changing” rockets — the kind that could cause untold harm to Israel’s civilian population — were what prompted that daring attack into enemy territory.

The Gaza operation appears to be part two of that raid: A concerted effort to take out as many long-range rockets as possible, with the added benefit of eliminating those who procured them.


16,000 reservists called up; IDF chief prepares for Gaza ground assault

IDF continues firing on targets in Gaza as infantry and armored units gather near the border • On third day of operation, IDF hits dozens of Gaza targets from air and sea • "The prime minister's instructions are to hit them hard," says official.
 

Stay tuned for developments!

Posted on 11/16/2012 8:30 AM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 16 November 2012
An Equivalence Both Idiotic And Nauseating

Ignoring the clear ideology of Islam, ignoring the nearly unbelievable restraint shown by the Israeli government despite every conceivable provocation (what would the British government do if thousands of rockets had, over a year or two, rained down on its territory? what would the British government do if a group that had declared its permanent goal to be the destruction of the government of Great Britain, and the killing or permanent subjugation of its citizens?  What would any Western government do?}, one Matt Hill, in The Telegraph, delivers himself of vaporings that show how appasrently easy it is for some to ignore history, including that history of Islamic conquest and Islamic attitudes toward the Infidels -- and Israel is not only an Infidel nation-state, on land which, having once been conquered by Muslims, is highest on the To-Do List of Muslims whose list, by the way, for lands to be subject to Islamic domination do not stop there, but include the whole world).

Read, if you can stand it, this Matt Hill, explaining why Hamas and Netayahu, in his idiotic formulation, "need each other." Just the way, I presume, more or less the way that the Nazis and the Jews "needed each other."

Posted on 11/16/2012 9:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
A Musical Interlude: A Hundred Years From Today (Adrian Rollini Orch., voc. Chick Bullock)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/16/2012 10:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Shi'a Murderer Of American Officers In Iraq Freed "After The Election"

From The Washington Post:

Hezbollah militant wanted by US released from Iraqi custody and flown to Beirut, says lawyer

By Associated Press, November 16

BAGHDAD — A Hezbollah commander wanted by the United States has been released from Iraqi custody and returned to the Lebanese capital on Friday, his lawyer said. The move is likely to complicate the Obama administration’s efforts to prosecute the militant believed to have been the mastermind of an attack that killed five U.S. soldiers. ["complicate" means "makes it impossible"]

The release of Lebanese-born Ali Mussa Daqduq also underscored how little influence Washington holds over Baghdad’s government since American troops left the country last December.

U.S. forces held Daqduq for four years, accusing him of masterminding a 2007 raid on an American military base in the Iraqi holy Shiite city of Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. He was handed over to Iraqi authorities when American troops left Iraq.

Two Iraqi courts, including the country’s central criminal court in July, subsequently found Daqduq not guilty of the Karbala attack. However, he was held under house arrest in the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad.

Daqduq’s lawyer, Abdul-Mahdi al-Mitairi, said Iraqi authorities decided to free the Hezbollah militant once U.S. elections were over. It appeared Iraqi officials did not want to embarrass President Barack Obama during his reelection campaign.

“He was supposed to be released once the court found him not guilty but because of the U.S. presidential elections, he was kept under house arrest,” al-Mitairi said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

“If Daqduq remained longer (in custody in Iraq), I would have sued the government,” the lawyer added.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The Iraqi government spokesman said he had no comment.

Posted on 11/16/2012 10:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Salafi Sheikh Assir Enraged With Hezbollah

From AlAkhbar (English Edition):

Salafi Sheikh Livid Over Saida Ashura Posters

Lebanon's Salafist leader Ahmad al-Assir marches with supporters during the funeral of two of his supporters, who died during Sunday's fighting with supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah, in Saida, Lebanon 12 November 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Ali Hashisho)

By: Amal Khalil

 November 12, 2012

Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir is back at it, trying to instigate a Sunni-Shia confrontation, this time in his southern hometown of Saida. After a Friday sermon berating Hezbollah, he and his supporters went on the offensive on Sunday, leaving death and injury in their wake.

This past Friday, Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir of Saida gave a sermon titled “Our Peace and Their Aggression,” in which he gave Hezbollah 48 hours to remove its posters commemorating Ashura from the outskirts of Saida. The Shia party had placed the signs on the edges of the city as a marker of the death of the revered Imam Hussein.

“We are not mobilizing against the Shia sect,” Assir told his congregation in Saida’s Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque. “Our goal is to bring down the party of assassin.” He said that the “banners of Iran’s party...will be raised over my dead body.”

On Saturday, Assir’s supporters threatened to take to Saida’s streets to remove Hezbollah’s banners and launch a sit-in against the Shia party’s “complete domination of the city.” In particular, they demanded the removal of an Israeli armored personnel carrier that the Resistance had captured and placed it in one of the city’s main roundabouts.

The authorities, including Minister of Interior Marwan Charbel and a number of other local and security officials, contacted Assir in an attempt to calm him down. Hezbollah’s leadership was also contacted to convince them to take down their banners to help defuse the situation.

Meanwhile, the head of army intelligence in the South sent a message to Assir warning him that the security forces planned to deal firmly with any attempts to undermine the city’s stability. Hezbollah, for its part, heeded the advice to take down their signs from major intersections in Saida.

On Sunday morning, Assir seemed ready to calm things down, telling the press that he did not plan to make any moves as long as the banners had been taken down. By the afternoon, his tone changed completely; a call for the sheikh’s supporters to gather in the mosque appeared on Assir’s Facebook page.

The reason for this change of heart was news that Ashura banners were being hung on street poles in an area not far from the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque. Others believe that the real reason was to create a divergence for an incident involving Assir’s 15-year-old son, Omar, on the coastal highway.

Omar was apparently stopped at an Internal Security Forces (ISF) checkpoint for driving a car with tinted windows without the necessary paperwork from the interior ministry. The ISF also discovered that the driver was underaged and didn’t have a license, so they detained him and his vehicle.

Within minutes, the ISF checkpoint was mobbed by the sheikh and his supporters, demanding that Omar be released. After threatening the commanding officer, Assir succeeded in retrieving his son and left.

The army quickly deployed to the area where the Ashura banners were reportedly being hung, hoping to stave off any confrontations between the young men who had congregated in the area awaiting Assir’s arrival.

News soon came that the sheikh’s motorcade was instead headed toward Taameer, a poor and religiously mixed neighborhood that lies on the edge of the Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp. As the sound of gunfire rose from the area, few local officials were able to reach Taameer to prevent any confrontation.

Sheikh Zayd Daher, Hezbollah’s representative in Saida, was among the first to arrive at the scene. He tried to convince local residents to take down a poster hung quite some time ago that included an image of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, to which Assir’s supporters were objecting.

This is when a motorcade of seven cars, carrying Assir and his companions, arrived at the scene and immediately started firing in all directions. The first to fall was 14-year-old Ali Sharbini, an Egyptian national, who later died. When Daher tried to pick up the wounded child, he was shot twice, in the stomach and shoulder.

The response from some local residents was near immediate, as they started firing on Assir’s motorcade, killing two of his bodyguards.

Sunday’s events are nothing more than a dress rehearsal for a civil war, featuring sectarian incitement followed by armed attacks. New lines of confrontation were drawn as people fled their tense neighborhoods seeking shelter.

Later, Assir claimed in a statement that he and a group of supporters had gone to the Taameer area to peacefully remove a provocative banner placed there by Hezbollah. Upon arriving, the statement said, they were fired on with intent to kill. In order to open a safe passage for the sheikh, his companions were forced to fire back. It concluded by saying, “We were peaceful, but we fell into a trap.”

At the request of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Minister of Interior Charbel headed to Saida on Sunday evening to hold a meeting with regional security officials. In the meantime the army was deployed throughout the city to prevent any roads from being blocked and to maintain calm.

After his meeting, Charbel recommended that the government issue an order that Saida become a military zone. This would allow the army to set up checkpoints and deploy troops to impose order in the city. For their part, the two Shia parties – Amal and Hezbollah – called on their supporters to remain calm and avoid any provocation that may lead to further confrontations.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Posted on 11/16/2012 10:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Commoner or Gardiner

Nile Gardiner, on no account to be confused with Frank "Help-me-I'm-a-Muslim" "Talk-to--the-Queen" Gardner, is on the right side. Not the right side of history - just the right side. From The Telegraph:

As Hamas’ rockets rain down on Israel, even striking Tel Aviv and threatening Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s words ring true. This is a confrontation between the freest country in the Middle East, and brutal terrorists blinded with hatred who seek to advance their goals by murdering civilians and indiscriminate terror. The thugs of Hamas share the same goal as the Mullahs in Tehran, who provide the bombs, weapons and resources used to sustain a huge terrorist enterprise – i.e., the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.

Hamas’ Iranian-supplied missile stockpile in Gaza is now estimated to be 10,000 strong. For the Israelis, this is a war of survival in an intensely hostile region. They deserve the full support of the United States, Great Britain, and the Western world, which must stand shoulder to shoulder with a close friend and ally. As Hamas’ offensive illustrates, Israel is the front line of a global conflict between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny and barbarism.

This is not just Israel’s war, it is ours too. The threat Israel faces from the Jihadists is the same threat the West faces on the streets of London, Paris, Washington or Berlin. Al Qaeda, which has had significant ties in the past to Hamas, will be closely watching the outcome of Israel’s military campaign. An emphatic defeat for Hamas will be a huge blow not only to the Islamist dictatorship in Tehran, but to the followers of Bin Laden as well.

On Radio 4's Today programme, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks filled  the "Thought for the Day" slot, with some bland platitudes about something or other, only to be ambushed by a question about Gaza - a seemingly innocuous "What do you think about the situation?" He replied:  "Well, it's obviously coming from Iran ... what ... we're still on air? Well, I think that both sides should try to find a peaceful solution." Make of that what you will. I made of it that he has some inkling of the global nature of Jihad -- that the "Palestinian" question is not just a little local difficulty -- but that he is too cowardly to say so on air. Which makes him all the more culpable.

Posted on 11/16/2012 12:40 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 16 November 2012
"Palestine Is The Heart Of The Arab And Muslim World"

For those who do not only read, but understand, what Arab leaders say, the impossibility of a one-state, two-state, n-state "solution" to the Jihad against Israel becomes clear.

Today, for example, the Egyptian Prime Minister,Hesham  Kandil, went to Gaza, melodramatically clasped to his bosom a bloodied body or two -- with no hint of context, of the 12,000 rockets sent hurtling at Israeli civlians over the past 12 years -- and declared:

"Egypt will spare no effort ... to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce," Prime Minister Hesham Kandil said.

"Palestine is the heart of the Arab and Muslim world and the body is not healthy while the heart is sick," he added.

Posted on 11/16/2012 2:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Get the Wright answer to a Quick Quiz

Update: Esmerelda has already posted this story, with the added gem of what Clarissa Dickson Wright's full name is. See here. But do try my Quick Quiz at the end of this post.

From the Leicester Mercury, via Islamophobia Watch:

A celebrity chef has come under fire after making "hurtful" comments about the city's Muslim community. In her new book, Clarissa Dickson Wright describes a visit to Leicester "as one of the most frightening experiences of my life".

The 65-year-old dedicates a chapter of Clarissa's England: A Gamely Gallop Through the English Counties to each county in England, discussing their culinary, cultural and historical merits. On Leicestershire, she writes of the city's "ghetto".

She describes coming off the ring road to escape a traffic jam and becoming lost. "I found myself in an area where all the men were wearing Islamic clothing and all the women were wearing burkas and walking slightly behind them," she wrote. She said the men would not talk to her "because I was an English female and they don't talk to females they don't know".

She said: "Here I was, in the heart of a city in the middle of my own country, a complete outcast and pariah. If multiculturalism works, which I have always been rather dubious of, surely it must be multicultural and not monocultural. I can only hope that in generations to come there will be a merging of the cultures and not the exclusion zone that is the ghetto."

Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and a city imam, said: "How is she judging an entire community on her one-off rare time of getting lost in Leicester? I find it very hurtful to read because everybody is working so hard to create a peaceful and happy Leicester.

"It showed a complete lack of appreciation of the fact we are almost two million in this country, doing our bit for our country. When she says that she was in the centre of a city in the centre of her own country, I take objection. This is also my country and this is also my city.

"I would like to call on Leicester people to be even more welcoming and hospitable than we've been so far."

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "That is the sort of thing that makes me very angry – when someone breezes in from outside and paints a picture of Leicester that does not have any foundation in reality. It may help sell books but it is cheap."

Councillor Manjula Sood, chairman of Leicester Council of Faiths, urged readers to ignore her comments. "I don't believe a meeting with one person on one street should mean you can label a whole city," she said.

Both Coun Sood and Mr Mogra invited Ms Dickson Wright back to the city for an opportunity to change her opinions.

When contacted by the Mercury, the chef, who lives in Edinburgh, said: "I'm surprised any of the people who might object could read what I wrote as it is written in English. When you get to 65, you will think back on this conversation and I think you might find yourself in my frame of mind." She said she had a lot of Muslim friends but her experience of Leicester was "unpleasant".

"It scared me and I am not scared easy," she said. Asked why, she said: "Because it was part of my country that I was born in and there are a lot of radical Muslim preachers in this country.

"I was in London when the July 7 (2005 bomb attacks) happened and this to me was proof for those people who have been saying we're getting ghettoisation of Muslim areas. I have never believed that political correctness was a reason not to say what I have experienced."

She said she had "done a lot" for Leicestershire, campaigning for the protected geographical status of Melton pork pies and Stilton. In her book, Ms Dickson Wright praised Melton's food festival, saying "it was just everything that a good food festival should be". She also wrote about "charming" Market Harborough, and "pleasant" Oakham.

Quick Quiz:

  1. Who said "Am in Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?"
  2. Regarding the answer to Question 1, what didn't  he/she say that people attribute to him/her?
  3. Regarding the answer to Question 2, who did?
  4. How do you do a Leicester shuffle?
  5. What is Clarissa Dickson Wright's full name. Clue: it encompasses the first names of two NER writers.
Posted on 11/16/2012 2:44 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 16 November 2012
Martin Sherman On The Israeli Folly That Need Not Have Been

From The Jerusalem Post:

Into The Fray: Aargh!!!

11/15/2012

Despite the deadly display of hi-tech pyro-technics by the IDF, the depressing sense of déjà vu conveyed by the events unfolding in Gaza comprise a devastating indictment of Israel’s past and present political leadership.

IDF soldiers patrol near Gaza Photo: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Aargh: A word that proclaims sorrow, annoyance, anger, depression, hopelessness  – The Urban Dictionary.

Watching the morning newscasts and the spectacle of Israelis scuttling to shelter from incoming projectiles, launched by implacable enemies, from areas voluntarily ceded them by a democratically elected government, which reneged on an election pledge not to do so, it was difficult not to succumb to the urge to yell: Aargh!!! For the sorrow, anger and hopelessness was almost overwhelming.

But worse – much worse – was to come.

As I was writing these very lines, news came in of three Israelis killed by a rocket strike on Kiryat Malachi – in Hebrew, “The City of Angels,” founded in 1951 to replace a tent city housing (Jewish) refugees from Arab countries, and named in honor of the Los Angeles Jewish community, which helped to establish and develop it.

Predictable and predicted

Almost unbearably frustrating and infuriating is the fact that what is happing in Gaza now, what has happened repeatedly in the past, and will almost inevitably happen again – repeatedly – was entirely predictable, and widely predicted.

How then are we to avoid the deeply regrettable conclusion that anyone associated with the precipitation of the current situation in the South – whether he/she endorsed the policies that created it, or refrained from preventing it – have shown their judgment and political foresight to be so flawed that they are unfit to lead the nation.

It is difficult to conceive of any other sphere of activity in which such clear and catastrophic failure would be tolerated, and those responsible for it – either because of their actions in promoting it, or inaction in preventing it – would be allowed to continue to function in positions of leadership.

For more than two decades I have warned – time and time again – of the inevitable disaster, both military and diplomatic, that abandoning Gaza would wreak upon the country and its citizens
.

Allow me to reiterate some of what has already appeared, because the ongoing events underscore how tragically valid the warnings were then, and how intensely pertinent the prescriptions are today.

Not a matter of hindsight

Current recriminations against the decisions taken – and not taken – by successive Israeli administrations are not a matter of hindsight.

In an op-ed piece titled “Hamas next to Ashkelon” written on August 30, 1993 –just prior to the Oslo Accords and almost a decade before the disengagement – in the Hebrew daily Hadashot (a tabloid then put out by the Haaretz Group), I warned:
“The chances that the declining PLO will be able to honor any agreement over time, even if it wanted to, are low. It is obvious that in the intra-Palestinian struggle, it has no chance against the Islamic organizations, which reject any recognition of Israel, and certainly any agreement with it.

The groups are gaining in strength because of ongoing developments in the Arab world, irrespective of [any concessions made to the PLO].”


I cautioned: “The inevitable result of the [emerging Oslo] agreement will be that any territory ceded to the PLO in exchange for pledges to prevent terror and formal recognition of Israel, will be transferred to elements that do not intend to honor the agreement and, in fact, openly declare they will repudiate it... Accordingly, because of short-term considerations, the government of Israel is preparing the ground work for the establishment of forward bases for Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the approaches to Ashkelon.”

Fearful of the resulting political- diplomatic impasse Israel would find itself in, I posed the rhetorical question: “Will it be possible to conduct an operation similar to Operation Accountability [launched in the preceding July against Hezbollah in South Lebanon by the Rabin government, and displacing – intentionally – large populations northward, in the hope of pressuring the Lebanese government to reign in the terror organization] and cause thousands of civilians to flee?” “After all,” I pointed out, “Egypt is not Lebanon...

Disaster foretold

This was not the first warning I issued. A year previously (August 4, 1992) I published a Hebrew opinion piece, “The problems will only get worse,” in Davar, the then-official news organ of the Labor Party, in which I diagnosed the detrimental consequences a unilateral evacuation of Gaza would produce.

An English-language version of the article, “Why we can’t dump Gaza,” appeared in The Jerusalem Post on December 9, 1992.

In it, I cautioned: “... the inevitable implications of [unilateral] Israeli withdrawal can be ignored only at great peril to Israelis and Arabs alike... A unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will do nothing to ease the socio-economic plight of the local inhabitants, nor will it reduce the politico-security problems of Israel; rather it will likely exacerbate them further.”

I warned that much like nature, politics abhors a vacuum: “... in the ensuing vacuum [following the IDF pull-out], the most radical and violent elements in Gaza would undoubtedly seize power... all more moderate elements would be speedily eliminated either politically – or physically...”


And indeed they were.

Since a withdrawal would oblige Israel to seal the borders with Gaza, I expressed concern as to the consequences, both military and diplomatic: “The frustration and despair [of the local population] will manifest themselves in hostile action against Israel as the perceived cause of their privation; our southern settlements and towns will be the targets of frequent attacks, which will compel Israel to retaliate.

“But how and against whom? Without a military presence in the region, the IDF will not be able to identify and apprehend those responsible for firing.”

Thus, a Cast Lead/Pillar of Defense-type operation would become unavoidable. But, again I cautioned: “Air strikes or artillery shelling on civilian population centers would cause heavy casualties among the dense, destitute masses in whose midst the attackers conceal themselves.”

I raised the question: “How would world opinion react”? Richard Goldstone gave us the answer in 2009. Can we realistically expect anything much different in 2012?


Smuggling via the sea and Sinai

I drew attention to the specter of smuggling, noting that Israel “would have no control over smugglers wishing to enter from the west [via the sea] and from the south [Sinai].”

The massive movement of civilian merchandise and military hardware through the highly developed tunnel network in southern Gaza (well over a 1,000 tunnels by some recent estimates) dramatically validate the latter concern.

Moreover, despite some interceptions of weapon-laden vessels (e.g. Karine A in January 2002), the marine theater is still one of grave concern for Israel.

With Sinai now a lawless noman’s- land, illicit trafficking – via both maritime and land routes (or a combination) – are an ever-increasing menace.

Finally, I expressed fears as to the impact actions, which the IDF will be compelled to undertake, would have on relations with Cairo, warning that these measures “would significantly increase the chances of clashes with Egypt, seriously endangering the fragile peace...” [well, here one can differ with the author -- the "peace" with Egypt hardly matters, and reflects only the Egyptian desire to keep getting indispensable military aid from the Americans. If that aid is cut off, then the "peace" will be kept no matter what, because the Egyptian military will not have the wherewithal to go to war. That's a far better way, and the only certain way, to keep that soi-disant "peace."]


The Gaza-sourced cross-border terror attack in August 2011 and the ensuing lethal encounter near Eilat between IDF and Egyptians soldiers that precipitated a major diplomatic row, and this week’s recall of the Egyptian ambassador by Mohamed Morsi, underscore that this fear was well-founded, and may be the harbinger of more – and more serious – repercussions.

Indeed, as I write these lines, news reports are coming in of demonstrations in Cairo calling for the bombing of Tel Aviv, the termination of the “humiliating” Camp David agreements, and the “opening of the doors for jihad.”

Fortunately, this has not become an overwhelming pressure on the Egyptian regime. At least, not yet.

Sharon, the soothsayer?

But mine were not the only warnings issued at the time.

None other than Ariel Sharon expressed almost identical sentiments.

In an article published on June 12, 1992, in Ma’ariv, defiantly titled “We cannot flee terror,” he vehemently repudiated any notion of withdrawal from Gaza and castigated Yitzhak Rabin for doing so as minister of defense in 1970.

“Fortunately,” Sharon remarked, “we returned to the correct policy before the Gaza Strip exploded like a festering abscess, which could have poisoned the entire surroundings.”

And almost incredibly, in light of his later policies, he cautioned presciently: “If now we once more fall into the same mistake, the price will be much heavier than before – because now the terrorists and the means they have at their disposal are different and more dangerous than before.” And indeed they are!

Sharon continued his warning: “If we abandon Gaza, it will be taken over by the terror organizations.” And indeed it was! And he forecast: “Palestine Square [in Gaza City] will become a launching site for rockets aimed at... Ashkelon.”

And indeed it did! He asked, rhetorically, as did I, hinting at the inevitability of the kind of operations like the 2008 Cast Lead or the current Pillar of Defense: “And what will the IDF do then? Will it once again recapture Gaza? Shell and bomb the towns and refugee camps...?” Sharon concluded with an eminently sensible prescription, which he was to forsake so dramatically and inexplicably 13 years later: “We all aspire to a political settlement, but we will not reach it by way of surrender but only after crushing terrorism, and we can only eliminate terrorism if we control its bases, and fight its gangs there and destroy them.”

Rabin’s reassurances

But soon dementia seized the Israeli political system.

All caution was thrown to the wind. Baseless optimism and unfounded hopes triumphed over sober analysis and accumulated experience.

Thus, fresh from his Nobel Peace award ceremony, Yitzhak Rabin brusquely dismissed the possibilities of any of the dangers previously foreseen.

His contemptuous rejection in a July 24, 1995, radio interview has proved so erroneous it is almost too embarrassing to cite: With disdain he declared: “The nightmare stories of the Likud are well known. After all, they promised Katyusha rockets from Gaza as well. For a year, Gaza has been largely under the rule of the Palestinian Authority.

There has not been a single Katyusha rocket. Nor will there be any...”

Ten years later, Ariel Sharon – and the Likud – were swaying to a different tune. In a Knesset address on October 25, 2004, a “Rabinesque” Sharon made the no less embarrassingly erroneous prognosis:
“I am firmly convinced and truly believe that this disengagement... will be appreciated by those near and far, reduce animosity, break through boycotts and sieges, and advance us along the path of peace with the Palestinians and our other neighbors.”

The Knesset approved the disengagement plan by a substantial margin, 67-45. With the exception of minister-without- portfolio Uzi Landau, all Likud ministers –including Binyamin Netanyahu – supported it, despite being elected on a platform that urged voters to oppose an almost identical proposal put forward by Labor chairman Amram Mitzna, who was overwhelmingly defeated at the polls. Many of them would probably like to purge their absurd statement of support for the idea from the historical record.

Since that day of ignominy, when so many preferred their positions of privilege and power over their political principles, the South has lived in terror.

But for the grace of God

The ongoing saga in the Negev proves that Israel’s citizens cannot place their trust in their leaders. The very people who are now charged with confronting the perilous situation are largely responsible for creating it – with their eyes wide open.

It is even more frightening to realize that it is not due to any far-sighted wisdom on their part, but to the grace of God – or dumb luck – that al-Qaida affiliates are not deployed today on the Golan Heights, or that the Islamists are not in control of the highlands overlooking Israel’s urban sprawl on the Coastal Plain. Only foolish and fortuitous Arab intransigence has prevented the fate of Sderot from becoming the fate of the residents of Greater Tel Aviv and the Galilee.

After all, today’s leaders repeatedly have declared their willingness to cede these territories to the murderous Bashar Assad and to the unrepresentative Mahmoud Abbas – with no way to ensure that they too will not fall into the hands of radical successors.

The policy of yielding land to the Arabs in the hope of peace – or even non-belligerent stability – has failed miserably wherever it has been applied, albeit at different rates, in Gaza, Judea/Samaria, Lebanon and Sinai. Any territory transferred to them invariably becomes a base to attack Israel.

Any future policy initiatives based on this dangerous delusion are no longer acceptable.

Jews must no longer be made to cower in bomb shelters while their hate-filled enemies shower explosive projectiles down on them at will.

If the current leadership cannot address this issue adequately, one that can must be found.


Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.net) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
The Sunnis "Suffering Injustice And Humiliation" At Hands Of Hezbollah

From NowLebanon:

Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir is a polarizing figure in Sidon and the rest of Lebanon. (AFP photo)

Many who have met the bespectacled and certainly controversial sheikh of the Bilal Mosque in Sidon are taken back by his charisma. Ahmad al-Assir is frank and approachable, they say. “Assir is so forthcoming in all he tells you about himself,” wrote the Independent’s Robert Fisk back in July, “that it’s impossible not to have a sneaking respect for the guy.”

From relative anonymity outside Sidon at the cusp of 2011, Assir shot to prominence with virulent speeches that denounced Hezbollah and its weapons in the harshest terms, creating an aura of potency that many Sidon residents say has been missing from mainstream Sunni politics for many years.

Whether supporters or detractors, the majority of people interviewed by NOW believe that Qatar is supporting Assir financially. Whether accurate or not, the perception is important as it illustrates the belief that that Assir is part of a larger regional power struggle being played out in Lebanon.

Hajj Rashid, a pious follower of Assir and owner of the Amir Rashid restaurant, best sums up the view supporters have of the sheikh, presenting him as selfless and honorable. “The sheikh does not want any political gains. He doesn’t want to become an MP or minister,” Rashid said. “He considers that the Sunni sect is suffering from injustice and humiliation.” 

Samir Salaman, a middle-aged chef who identifies himself as a Future Movement supporter, also sympathizes with Assir’s strong rhetoric. “He defends the Sunnis,” Salaman said, adding that he agrees with Assir’s opposition to non-state actors like Hezbollah keeping arsenals. A young man named Fadi who was eating at Salaman’s restaurant said that Sunnis like himself still felt humiliated by the May events in 2008, when Hezbollah and its allies took over West Beirut in a matter of hours and found little resistance by Sunni fighters. Those events, coupled with Future Movement leader Saad Hariri’s absence from the country since early 2011 and a March 8-led government, have pushed people toward a strong figure like Assir, Fadi feels.

But for others, Assir’s actions are stirring the sectarian pot, which, in a country polarized by the war in Syria and shaken by the assassination of intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan last month, is already dangerously close to boiling point. They rebuke Assir for bringing trouble to Sidon and worry that Sunday’s bloody clashes in the Taameer Ain al-Hilweh neighborhood between several Hezbollah supporters and men affiliated with Assir is unlikely to be the last of its kind.

Sara, a cosmetics shopkeeper in the city’s souqs who asked for her real name not to be used, says sharply, “I hate him.” She is deeply concerned that Sidon will again bear witness to clashes that will widen the sectarian divide in the city.

Although the Lebanese economy as a whole has taken a sharp hit compared to last year, Sara holds Assir largely responsible for the reduction in business many shop owners in the souq have experienced in the past 12 months (sales in her shop have dropped by “at least half” compared with a similar period in 2011, she said).
 
Lebanon’s third-biggest city has in recent years attracted consumers from neighboring areas and the South as a whole, but increasing sectarian tensions are keeping many shoppers at bay. Sara maintains she still receives Shiite customers with whom she’s long maintained business relationships, but other shopkeepers in the vicinity, she says, do not have as many Shiite patrons as they used to.

“Once a sectarian issue is brought up inside, it is normal that people from the South will no longer come to Sidon,” laments a café owner in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Hara. “I used to see people of all categories and sects [in my café]. Now I just see one.”

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Brendan O'Neill On Antisemitic Steve Bell Of The Antisemitic Guardian

From The Telegraph:

l

Jews – still running the world, implies the Guardian

What is the message of this cartoon in the Guardian this morning? (See screen grab above.) That Jews are the puppet-masters of Western politicians? Do people still believe in that old, poisonous conspiracy theory?

Posted on 11/16/2012 4:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Pat Condell On The Guardian,

Listen to Pat Condell here.

Posted on 11/16/2012 5:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
A Musical Interlude: I'm An Unemployed Sweetheart (Lee Morse)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/16/2012 5:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Umar Mulinde Stands With Israel

Last week I attended a consultation held in Jerusalem about mainline churches in the United States and Europe and their attitudes toward Israel. The consultation, organized by the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel (ETRFI), was attended by pastors, lay people, activists and writers who are alarmed about the failure of their churches to speak up on behalf of Israel as it contends with Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

One of the people I met was an Evangelical pastor from Uganda by the name of Umar Mulinde. Umar is an odd name for a Christian pastor. “I was named after one of the great leaders of Islam,” he said.

This is no exaggeration. People who are familiar with Muslim history will recognize that he is named after the Muslim Caliph who established the Pact of Omar which required non-Muslims Jews and Christians to submit to second class-status under Muslim rule.

The Pact of Omar helped set the pattern for how non-Muslims are treated under in Muslim-majority countries today. It’s a hugely important document.

People who insist on advocating for their rights and equality engender great hostility from Islamists. This hostility contributes to ongoing violence against Israel in the 21st Century and violence against Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in what is now modern-day Turkey in the 20th Century.

This hostility helps explain why Israelis have been subject to repeated rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip for the past few days. The people who launch these attacks are trying to exercise a veto over Jewish sovereignty and freedom, and ultimately over the existence of the Jewish people altogether. What they are trying to do is to force non-Muslims into accepting the same status they endured under the Pact of Omar.

Back to Umar. At the age of 20, Umar, who had been prepared to be a Muslim cleric, converted from Islam to Christianity. His mother has converted to Christianity, but his brothers are a different story. He told me that some of his brothers – and he’s got more than 50 of them because his father was a prominent Imam with many wives – would be happy if he were killed. Apostacy from Islam, Mulinde reported, brings disgrace on the entire family that can only be expunged with the death of the convert.

Muslims in Uganda, who represent only 13 percent of the population, are agitating for Shariah law to be established in Uganda. Mulinde and his supporters worry that  such an action will result in the oppression of women and non-Muslims in Uganda, just as it has in Nigeria.

In his campaign to prevent the introduction of Sharia into Uganda, Pastor Umar helped organize a petition that received more than 36,000 signatures. Mulinde is also a potent supporter of Israel. He filled a stadium with 5,000 supporters of Israel a few years back.

These actions did not go unnoticed by the Islamists in Uganda. On Dec. 24, 2011, a group of radical Muslims threw acid on his face and back in an attempt to kill him. The attack left him alive, but horribly disfigured. Upon learning that he survived the attack, his attackers and their supporters sent letters to his church stating that they wish the attack had resulted in his death.

The acid attack was not the first attempt on Mulinde’s life that he’s miraculously survived. He’s been shot at and poisoned.

After the attack Umar and his wife and two youngest children – five-year-old twins – Joshua and Caleb – made their way to Jerusalem, where he has been undergoing treatment for the burns he had suffered in 2011. He’s been receiving treatment at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center located in Jerusalem for the past 10 months. He’s got more surgeries to go.

At one point during the conference, I interviewed him and the message he gave was a simple one. “When you defend Israel, you are defending your children.”

During our discussion, Umar made it perfectly clear that Israel is just one target of the Islamist attempt to spread Shariah law throughout the world.

The ideology that motivated the acid attack he endured on Christmas Eve in 2011 is the same used to justify suicide attacks against Israel during the Second Intifada and the rocket attacks that took place over the past few days. Christians in Uganda are starting to wake up to the fact that many in the West have failed to understand the threat presented by Islamic imperialism.

“What the West is denying they will realize when it has come upon them,” he said.

When I first saw Umar at the consultation in Jerusalem, I was horrified. He was wearing a bandage around his head that obscured everything but his ears and mouth, which were misshapen from the attack. There was a small hole that allowed him to speak through his mouth, which was also badly misshapen.

I didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to shake his hand. I wanted to stay away from him because I didn’t want to even know what caused him to be disfigured. Was it leprosy? Was it contagious?

After I started listening to him speak, I realized that I was the one who had leprosy, spiritual leprosy. The nerve endings of my soul had become indifferent to the suffering of another human being, whom I wanted to wall myself off from.

Sadly, this leprosy of indifference and fear is still present in the world today. We can see it play itself out in the indifference toward Israel’s plight on the part of so many Americans, even as Israeli children hide from rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. It is this attitude that contributes to the abandonment of Christians who are the targets of religious cleansing in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria.

We need leaders like Umar who can summon us from the crypt of our own indifference and give us to acknowledge a frightening truth: The ideology of Muslim supremacism represents the greatest threat to human rights and world peace in the world today. The totalitarian and authoritarian impulse that manifested itself as Nazism in the 20th century has found another ideological vehicle in the 21st – Islamism.

Ongoing attacks against Israel and the suffering of Christians in Muslim-majority countries throughout the world serve as testimony to the impact of this ideology.

Children in Sderot live in fear tonight because of this ideology.

Children in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan and Syria live in fear because of this authoritarian ideology.

But instead of confronting this ideology, mainline Protestant churches, prominent Roman Catholic institutions, and a growing segment of the Evangelical community assiduously work to downplay its existence and the threat it poses.

To make matters worse, they promote an obsession with Israel as it defends itself from Islamist attacks. Islamists attacks are decimating Christian populations in the Middle East, and prominent church leaders condemn Israel.

“We betray ourselves if we don’t stand with Israel,” Mulinde warns.

First published in the Algemeiner.

Posted on 11/16/2012 6:03 PM by Dexter Van Zile
Friday, 16 November 2012
Get Ready for a Coptic Christian Refugee Crisis
There is a refugee crisis taking place inside Egypt. This became apparent on October 5th, when Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi met with a group of Coptic Christians who had been driven from their homes by Muslim extremists in Rafah, a city located on Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip.

Morsi met with the families in El Arish, a town approximately 30 miles from Rafah in an attempt to reassure them that the threats and violence they endured before fleeing their homes would never happen to them again.

“What happened is an individual case which represents neither Egypt nor its children, Muslim or Christian,” he said. “It’s a crime for which the perpetrators must be held responsible.”

Morsi intimated to his Coptic audience that he would work to find new homes and livelihoods for them elsewhere in Egypt. This prompted an angry response from the Coptic families who complained that they had already established their lives in Rafah – the city where they had just been driven from and where Christians had been living for close to two millennia.

It’s interesting to note that Morsi did not meet with the Copts in Rafah itself, but in a town approximately 30 miles away.

The city of Rafah, from which weapons are being smuggled through tunnels into the Gaza Strip on a regular basis, has been effectively overrun by Jihadists who are even more extreme than the Muslim Brotherhood. If Morsi, Egypt’s president, can’t set foot in Rafah, there is simply no way he can help Coptic Christians to move back into the city.

The ethnic cleansing of Coptic Christians from Rafah is of great consequence. Rafah is the place where, according to tradition, Jesus Christ crossed into ancient Egypt soon after his birth to avoid his detection and murder by King Herod in Bethlehem in a story told in the Gospel of Matthew.

By acquiescing to the cleansing of Christians from Rafah – where one church (out of three in the city) has been recently destroyed – Morsi is cooperating with the Islamist project of separating Christianity from its historical and geographical roots in the Middle East.

And the fact remains that Copts have not just been driven from their homes in Rafah, they’ve been driven from homes in cities and towns throughout Egypt. President Morsi’s government also refused to allow the church to be re-built.

The ongoing war against Copts in their homeland is taking place on a judicial level as well. Egypt’s constitution is being rewritten by a committee dominated by Islamists. One member of the committee that is rewriting Egypt’s constitution, Yasser Borhamy, recently told his fellow Egyptians that they should not drive Chevrolet automobiles because they are decorated with a cross.

Borhamy, a physician as well as one of the top Salafist clerics in Egypt, issued a fatwa stating that Egyptian taxi drivers should not stop for Coptic Priests because they are most likely headed to church where they will commit a sin. He has also ruled that Copts and women cannot hold positions of authority in the Egyptian government. Dr. Borhamy further publicly stated that while he deeply hates Christians he is still capable of treating them justly.

With statements like this coming from a prominent member of the committee that is re-writing Egypt’s constitution, it’s clear that events like what we’ve seen in Rafah are going to become even more commonplace.

Eventually, the refugee crisis inside Egypt will spill over its borders and become an international problem.

How will Western leaders and intellectuals respond?

Michael Armanious (who co-authored this article) is a Coptic Christian who lives in the U.S. He edits a blog titled “The New Egypt.” Dexter Van Zile is the Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

First published in the Commentator.

Posted on 11/16/2012 6:39 PM by Dexter Van Zile
Friday, 16 November 2012
Nile Gardiner On The Medieval And The Modern

I'd rephrase it as an opposition not of the medieval and the modern, but -- more simply -- of Islam and All The Rest. Islam, the ideology of Islam, teaches its adherents to make war -- Jihad -- using all possible instruments, against all non-Muslims. From Indonesia and Burma and Malaysia to India to Iraq and Syria and Israel, to the countries of Western Europe, we can see how Muslims treat, or attempt to treat, non-Muslims, both within countries and across borders. That is the conflict. It has no end. But the Camp of Islam can be weakened, can be demoralized and divided. It's happening now. It will happen more in the future. Don't extend aid, don't allow Muslims to come to believe the West will always rescue it from its own follies and the failures directly attirbutable to Islam itself, don't allow Muslims to avoid the consquences of their fantastic demographic growth -- certainly not through aid, and not through permitting their excess population, much of it young, male, and skill-less, to move to Western Europe and go on the Western dole, all the while contributing to the physical insecurity and growing cultural incoherence of the most advanced countries.

But it's still good to see Nile Gardiner endorsing the positi9on that Netanyahu must be supported, not for Israel's sake but for the sake of all non-Muslims. That realization is what has muted what one might have expected to be disapproval of Israel's actions. Now many in the West understand Islam a bit better, even if they don't always speak aloud about it. And they not only approve, but take pleasure, in at least one Western power smashing the Muslim tormentors and would-be murderers.

From The Telegraph blog;

Benjamin Netanyahu talks of a battle ‘between the modern and the medieval.’ He is right, and the free world must stand with Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu: standing up for the free world

The Israeli prime minister’s speech before the United Nations in September is a must-read for anyone who cares about the defence of freedom in the Middle East, and the wider war against Islamist terrorism. Netanyahu laid out in stark terms what he views as an epic “battle being waged between the modern and the medieval,” between the forces of freedom and “the medieval forces of radical Islam.” As Netanyahu declared at the UN General Assembly:

The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred. The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.

These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East. Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens: men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.

Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this. They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.

Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe. But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn't submit to their unforgiving creed. They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict.
I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness.

As Hamas’ rockets rain down on Israel, even striking Tel Aviv and threatening Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s words ring true. This is a confrontation between the freest country in the Middle East, and brutal terrorists blinded with hatred who seek to advance their goals by murdering civilians and indiscriminate terror. The thugs of Hamas share the same goal as the Mullahs in Tehran, who provide the bombs, weapons and resources used to sustain a huge terrorist enterprise – i.e., the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.

Hamas’ Iranian-supplied missile stockpile in Gaza is now estimated to be 10,000 strong. For the Israelis, this is a war of survival in an intensely hostile region. They deserve the full support of the United States, Great Britain, and the Western world, which must stand shoulder to shoulder with a close friend and ally. As Hamas’ offensive illustrates, Israel is the front line of a global conflict between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny and barbarism.

This is not just Israel’s war, it is ours too. The threat Israel faces from the Jihadists is the same threat the West faces on the streets of London, Paris, Washington or Berlin. Al Qaeda, which has had significant ties in the past to Hamas, will be closely watching the outcome of Israel’s military campaign. An emphatic defeat for Hamas will be a huge blow not only to the Islamist dictatorship in Tehran, but to the followers of Bin Laden as well.

Posted on 11/16/2012 8:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Israelis Will Do What They Must To Defend Themselves, Whatever The Muslim Arabs Think

From The New York Times:

Nov. 16, 2012

As Battlefield Changes, Israel Takes Tougher Approach

TEL AVIV — With rockets landing on the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Friday and the Egyptian prime minister making a solidarity visit to Gaza, the accelerating conflict between Israel and Hamas — reminiscent in many ways of so many previous battles — has the makings of a new kind of Israeli-Palestinian face-off.

The combination of longer-range and far deadlier rockets in the hands of more radicalized Palestinians, the arrival in Gaza and Sinai from North Africa of other militants pressuring Hamas to fight more, and the growing tide of anti-Israel fury in a region where authoritarian rulers have been replaced by Islamists means that Israel is engaging in this conflict with a different set of challenges.

The Middle East of 2012 is not what it was in late 2008, the last time Israel mounted a military invasion to reduce the rocket threat from Gaza. Many analysts and diplomats outside Israel say the country today needs a different approach to Hamas and the Palestinians based more on acknowledging historic grievances and shifting alliances.

“As long as the crime of dispossession and refugeehood that was committed against the Palestinian people in 1947-48 is not redressed through a peaceful and just negotiation that satisfies the legitimate rights of both sides, we will continue to see enhancements in both the determination and the capabilities of Palestinian fighters — as has been the case since the 1930s, in fact,” wrote Rami G. Khouri, a professor at the American University of Beirut in an online column. “Only stupid or ideologically maniacal Zionists fail to come to terms with this fact.”

But the Israeli government and the vast majority of its people have drawn a very different conclusion. Their dangerous neighborhood is growing still more dangerous, they agree. That means not concessions, but being tougher in pursuit of deterrence, and abandoning illusions that a Jewish state will ever be broadly accepted here.

There is a theory, which I believe, that Hamas doesn’t want a peaceful solution and only wants to keep the conflict going forever until somehow in their dream they will have all of Israel,” Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former leader of the Israeli Air Force, said in a telephone briefing. “There is a good chance we will go into Gaza on the ground again.” [there is "a theory"? Has Eitan Ben Eliyahu remained unaware of the ideology of Islam? Has he had no time to reflect on what is to be found in Qur'an, Hadith, Sira? Even the former head of the Israeli Air Force has only a glimmer of recognition that there is no end to this war, this Jihad, and no "solution" save that of Deterrence, and the invoking, by Arab governments, of Darura (Necessity), to justify their reluctance to engage in all-out war? Why doesn't he know this? Why don't all Israelis know it? What's wrong with this picture?]

What is striking in listening to the Israelis discuss their predicament is how similar the debate sounds to so many previous ones, despite the changed geopolitical circumstances. In most minds here, the changes do not demand a new strategy, simply a redoubled old one.

The operative metaphor is often described as “cutting the grass,” meaning a task that must be performed regularly and has no end. There is no solution to security challenges, officials here say, only delays and deterrence. That is why the idea of one day attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, even though such an attack would set the nuclear program back only two years, is widely discussed as a reasonable option. That is why frequent raids in the West Bank and surveillance flights over Lebanon never stop.

And that is why this week’s operation in Gaza is widely viewed as having been inevitable, another painful but necessary maintenance operation that, officials here say, will doubtless not be the last.

There are also those who believe that the regional upheavals are improving Israel’s ability to carry out deterrence. One retired general who remains close to the military and who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that with Syria torn apart by civil war, Hezbollah in Lebanon discredited because of its support for the Syrian government, and Egypt so weakened economically, Israel should not worry about anything but protecting its civilians.

“Should we let our civilians be bombed because the Arab world is in trouble?” he asked.

So much was happening elsewhere in the region — the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions, the Syrian civil war, dramatic changes in Yemen and elections in Tunisia — that a few rockets a day that sent tens of thousands of Israeli civilians into bomb shelters drew little attention. But in the Israeli view, the necessity of a Gaza operation has been growing steadily throughout the Arab Spring turmoil.

In 2009, after the Israeli invasion pushed Hamas back and killed about 1,400 people in Gaza, 200 rockets hit Israel. The same was true in 2010. But last year the number rose to 600, and before this week the number this year was 700, according to the Israeli military. The problem went beyond rockets to mines planted near the border aimed at Israeli military jeeps and the digging of explosive-filled tunnels.

“In 2008 we managed to minimize rocket fire from Gaza significantly,” said Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman. “We started that year with 100 rockets a week and ended it with two a week. We were able to give people in our south two to three years. But the grass has grown and other things have as well. Different jihadist ideologies have found their way into Gaza, including quite a few terrorist organizations. More weapons have come in, including the Fajr-5, which is Iranian made and can hit Tel Aviv. That puts nearly our entire population in range. So we reached a point where we cannot act with restraint any longer.”

Gazans see events in a very different light. The problem, they say, comes from Israel: Israeli drones fill the Gazan skies, Israeli gunboats strafe their waters, Palestinian militants are shot at from the air, and the Gaza border areas are declared off limits by Israel with the risk of death from Israeli gunfire.

But there is little dissent in Israel about the Gaza policy. This week leaders of the leftist opposition praised the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, the Hamas military commander, on Wednesday. He is viewed here as the equivalent of Osama bin Laden. The operation could go on for many days before there is any real dissent.

The question here, nonetheless, is whether the changed regional circumstances will make it harder to “cut the grass” in Gaza this time and get out. A former top official who was actively involved in the last Gaza war and who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it looked to him as if Hamas would not back down as easily this time.

“They will not stop until enough Israelis are killed or injured to create a sense of equality or balance,” he said. “If a rocket falls in the middle of Tel Aviv, that will be a major success. But this government will go back at them hard. I don’t see this ending in the next day or two.”

Posted on 11/16/2012 9:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
Israeli Soldiers
See some Israeli soldiers here.
Posted on 11/16/2012 9:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 16 November 2012
The Islamo-Jihadist Axis Intent On Destroying Israel

From lefigaro.fr:

[it is incredible, and a good sign,  that even Georges Malbrunot, with his palpable want of sympathy for Israel in the past, apparently has begun to see things as they always have been]

Cette galaxie islamo-djihadiste qui menace Israël

Par Georges Malbrunot Mis à jour Réactions (3)

 Le Hamas, qui contrôle la bande de Gaza, est débordé par des ultras soutenus par l'Iran.

Plusieurs factions gazaouies sponsorisées par des pays musulmans rivalisent dans l'escalade militaire contre Israël.

• Le Hamas

Issu de la confrérie des Frères musulmans, le parti gère la bande de Gaza depuis qu'il en a ravi le contrôle par la force, en 2007, à l'Autorité palestinienne. Ces derniers mois, l'Iran lui a coupé son aide financière (500 millions de dollars versés chaque année) en riposte aux critiques des dirigeants du Hamas en exil à Damas, opposés à la répression des opposants menée par Bachar el-Assad. Pour boucler ses fins de mois, il doit désormais se retourner vers ses sponsors égyptien et surtout qatarien. Mais depuis la dernière opération israélienne à Gaza, en janvier 2009, sa branche militaire a largement renouvelé ses stocks. Grâce à l'Iran, la portée et la sophistication des missiles du Hamas se sont considérablement renforcées au point d'atteindre désormais Tel-Aviv. Outre des roquettes Katioucha, l'arsenal du Hamas compte des missiles Grad et Fajr, ainsi que la version irano-chinoise de la Katioucha (à plus longue portée). Pour se préparer à une guerre souterraine, comme celle que mena le Hezbollah à Tsahal en 2006 au Liban, ses unités combattantes ont été équipées d'un système de communication sophistiqué et leurs missiles d'un système de guidage fourni par l'Iran. Le Hamas dispose également de cadres formés aux engins explosifs improvisés, qui provoquent de lourds dégâts contre des convois militaires. Avant sa rupture avec Téhéran et Damas, le Hamas envoyait chaque année en formation des dizaines, voire des centaines, d'activistes en Syrie et en Iran. Ses combattants suivraient également des instructions au Soudan, pays que Tsahal visa à plusieurs reprises, ces dernières années. Fin 2011, les renseignements nigérians interceptèrent treize conteneurs d'armes iraniennes destinées au Hamas, camouflées en matériaux de construction. Les pièces détachées de missiles sont acheminées à Gaza via les tunnels de contrebande qui s'ouvrent sur le Sinaï égyptien.

• Le Djihad islamique

C'est lui qui a revendiqué le tir de missiles Fajr 5 de fabrication iranienne qui, pour la première fois jeudi, a atteint Tel-Aviv. Le Djihad est la formation palestinienne la plus proche de l'Iran, mais sa capacité de nuisance est beaucoup plus faible que celle du Hamas. Il n'a rompu ni avec l'Iran ni avec la Syrie. Sévèrement touché par les sanctions internationales, Téhéran lui a toutefois restreint son aide financière depuis 2009. Il n'a plus revendiqué d'attentat contre Israël depuis 2008, concentrant ses efforts sur des tirs de roquettes contre l'État hébreu. Ce qui contraignit le Hamas à agir contre lui, entraînant ces derniers mois une nette détérioration de leurs relations. Poussé par Téhéran et Damas, le Djihad compte profiter de la crise pour durcir sa posture face au Hamas, afin d'apparaître comme le fer de lance de la guerre contre «l'ennemi israélien».

• La mouvance djihadiste

Elle a prospéré après la lutte fratricide à laquelle se sont livrés le Hamas et l'Autorité palestinienne, après 2007. Une demi-douzaine de groupuscules (Armée de l'islam, Compagnons d'Allah) rassemble quelques centaines de membres. Ils recrutent à partir des déçus du Hamas, devenu gestionnaire de la bande de Gaza, et marginalement auprès d'étrangers qui y pénètrent, via les tunnels. Ces groupes se réclament d'al-Qaida, mais aucun d'entre eux n'a encore été adoubé par son chef, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Ils auraient acquis des roquettes parvenues à Gaza après les razzias effectuées dans les stocks de Kadhafi, l'an dernier, après sa chute. Ils reprochent au Hamas de les freiner dans leurs tirs contre Israël. L'Iran est accusé d'avoir profité du relâchement de la surveillance de l'armée égyptienne sur le Sinaï pour y aider des groupes djihadistes ayant des relais dans certains camps de réfugiés de la bande de Gaza.

LIRE AUSSI:

» «Le Hamas s'est soigneusement préparé»

» Gaza: «Une mèche allumée par les djihadistes»

» Israël élimine le chef militaire du Hamas

Posted on 11/16/2012 10:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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