These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 17, 2011.
Friday, 17 June 2011
Public debate tonight in Sydney Uni: Should Islam be promoted in Australia?
Things like this, and items published by my colleague Christina reinforce my high opinion of our Australian kith and kin. From Christian Today Australia
The last-minute withdrawal of MyPeace's Diaa Muhamed from a public debate planned for this week on Islam has seen another high-profile Islamic spokesperson, Ibrahim Saddiq Conlan, take up the challenge on the slightly modified subject: "Should Islam Be Promoted in Australia?"
The public debate at Sydney University's Footbridge Theatre is a response to a series of billboards being erected by the Islamic MyPeace group which declare such slogans as "JESUS - Prophet of Islam", "The QURAN - The final Testament" and "MUHAMMAD - Mercy To Mankind".
The team against Islam being promoted in Australia includes Mr Madden, lawyer Robert Balzola and the author of "Ideological Jihad" Mrs Vickie Jansen. The trio are disappointed at Diaa Muhamed and MyPeace backing out but feel confident that it will be a lively and much needed debate with Mr. Saddiq Conlan.
"Islamists like Diaa Muhamed and Mypeace who have the audacity to put up billboards that are so clearly offensive to many Australians should have the courage to stand up to open and honest debate about what they are trying to achieve. Mr Muhamed declares that his agenda is to build a bridge between Islam and Christianity, however by promoting the Quran and Muhammad, MyPeace is promoting concepts clearly contrary to the Australian constitution in that 64% of the Quran promotes discrimination, hatred, war and slaughter. We cannot sweep this issue under the carpet anymore and allow what has happened in England, France and Germany to happen here", says Mr Madden.
"It's very disappointing that Diaa Mohammed has withdrawn from this debate based on the wording of a flyer advertising it which associates 'evil' with sharia. This is the very reason this debate needs to be publicly addressed because we cannot agree on what is right or wrong, good or evil. This is a value laden question and Australians have a democratic right and responsibility to analyse sharia concepts which are being promoted, to decide for themselves if they are compatible with Australian values and liberal democracy", adds Mrs. Jansen.
Posted on 06/17/2011 2:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 17 June 2011
Four terror suspects arrested in Austria
From Xinhua and CBS
Austrian police have arrested four suspects allegedly involved in a terrorist organization in Afghanistan and responsible for attacks there, the authorities said Thursday. Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told the Austria Press Agency on Thursday that three men were arrested at Vienna airport on suspicion they were heading off to train at terrorism camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
A man suspected of having recruited the trio was also detained in a separate arrest in Vienna.
All four are suspected of involvement with the German Taliban Mujahideen.
The main suspect, aged 25, was accused of recruitment for training in terrorist camps in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, as well as looking for financial support for a terrorist organization. He was born in Austria and is a convert to Islam.
German authorities arrested a 21-year-old Austrian man in May on allegations of fundraising and recruiting for the organization. Austria is seeking his extradition.
Posted on 06/17/2011 2:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 17 June 2011
Fitzgerald: The Arabs, The Berbers & Africa
[re-posted from 2009, with a paragraph about the Alawites in bold]
It is no mystery as to why Christian missionaries might be having their greatest success in the Kabyle. In Algeria, that remains the Berber heartland. It is where the Berbers are concentrated, that is those who were not forcibly transformed, during the centuries of Arab rule (interrupted by 132 years of French rule) into "Arabs." (How many of those "Arabs" who now persecute the Berbers realize that they themselves are a generation, or two, or five removed from their clearly Berber origins?)
The cause of the Berbers is hardly known in this country. The writer Kateb Yacine, a Berber who refused to write in Arabic, but chose French, is celebrated in France, especially among Berbers -- but unknown in this country, and his anti-Arab rage is not likely to cause his books to be included in the syllabuses of courses on "Francophone" literature given that so many such courses are now taught by French-speaking Arabs.
What is that cause? In the first place, it is linguistic and cultural. In Algeria, where the French rightly saw the Berbers as superior to the Arabs -- one French general wrote a book about the "Europeanness" of the Berbers -- the Berbers were not discriminated against, but as soon as the French left, the forced arabisation of the Berbers started up at once, as if the French interregnum, with the wider possibilities that French education made possible to both Berbers and Arabs, had never existed. Older people in Algeria speak and use French; the younger ones are forgetting. And meanwhile, the Berbers were forbidden to use their own language, Tamazight, in their schools or in their institutions, and even, at times, they could be punished for using it among themselves, on the street. Berber culture was officially ignored.
About twenty years ago, news of agitation began to reach the outside world. There were riots in Tizi-Ouzou that were reported in France, but hardly anywhere else in the Western world. In America, of course, we had all been sufficiently subject to ARAMCO propaganda (performed as a "public service" by the big oil companies, as part of their propaganda payoff to the Saudis for allowing them to find, produce, and then pay exorbitantly for the oil that happens to lie under the malevolent sands of "Saudi" Arabia), to believe that there is something called "the Arab world" and in this "Arab world" there are no Copts, no Armenians, no Assyrians, no Chaldeans, no Turkmen, no Mandeans, no Maronites, and of course no Berbers, no Jews (no, there never were any Jews in North Africa or the Middle East -- they all came to Israel, you see, from Europe), for everyone in the Arab world was an "Arab."
The discovery or re-discovery of a Berber identity (and how many of those North African "Arabs" should begin to realize that they are Berbers?) is or could be an important weapon in unsettling the world of Islam, and perhaps causing the Maghreb to see itself, as it should not as "Arab" but as the victim of Arab imperialism.
For what is Islam if not a vehicle of Arab imperialism, and what are the Berbers, if not the victims of that Arab imperialism, an imperialism far more potent and long-lasting than the European kind, for it attempts to efface the historic identity of whole peoples?
And it makes perfect sense that Berbers in the Kabyle would, having felt along their pulses the Arab imperialism of which Islam is the vehicle, would be more open to the efforts of Christian missionaries, or more likely, are not so much responding to missionary activity, but to their own observations as to what Christianity is like, and what Islam has brought them.
In this respect, one should not underestimate the fact that Berbers now live in France, that they make up most of the membership of such groups as the "maghrebins laiques," and that they, not the Arabs whose ethnic identity is so bound up with Islam, are capable, in some cases, not of identifying with the Arabs, but more closely with the French. And those Berbers communicate with Berbers at home, or through the Internet. And sometimes they return, to Algeria and Morocco, to see their families, and bring with them their own observations on the relative merits of the Islamic world, a world suffused with Islam, and the non-Islamic world, the one they have experienced in France.
The more the non-Arab Muslims of the world, and 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arab, come to realize -- and it would not be hard to help them to realize, for they will not be able to deny the facts, having experienced so much of it themselves -- that Islam is a vehicle for that Arab supremacism, the more likely it is that at least some of them will fall away. And others, who may stick with a kind of "non-Arab" Islam (as if such were possible) will, in so doing, at least help to divide, and therefore to weaken, the Camp of Islam.
Ideally, one would wish this Total System, that has held so many hundreds of millions in thrall, and thwarted over so many centuries so much human potential (think of the art, think of the science, that might have resulted in the absence of the dead hand of Islam on so many people, prevented from so many forms of artistic expression, so many avenues for free and skeptical inquiry that are necessary for the enterprise of science, so much dull fanaticism, so much boredom, so much violence, in posse and in esse) will be seen, by Berbers, by Kurds, by people in the subcontinent (why should Muslims in India not "rediscover" their own history, their Hindu, or Buddhist, or other non-Muslim roots?), by those in Malaysia and the East Indies, with its rich pre-Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist past?
Meanwhile, start reading those Berber sites. And hope that the French state, instead of Sarkozy's folly of "integrating" its Muslims by government-supported mosques, will try to work on the Berbers, work to make them see the light, work to help them to achieve their own destiny, one different from, and superior to, that of the Arabs whose method of domination comes from, is supplied by, Islam, Islam, Islam.
We should help those in North Africa (and in France) who know, are well aware, of their Berber identity. And they will point out, in the ways that they think most effective, that many of those "Arabs" are in fact one or two or five generations away from being Berbers. DNA is coming to the rescue. There is a genetic marker that, in studies by French geneticists in Tunisia, shows that Berbers and Arabs can be easily distinguished. Some who proudly identify themselves as "Arabs" will resist. But others may listen. And as they recognize the violence, the "culture of death" of Islam, as in Algeria, perhaps those who wish to make a break from Islam, and recognize that such a break is hardest of all for Arabs, and that another identity needs to be accepted, invented, believed in, will manage to discover, and embrace, their Berber "roots."
It seems fanciful, just as it seems fanciful that Iranians, those who are not merely disgusted with the mullahs running things, but are coming to be disgusted with Islam -- that "gift of the Arabs" --- itself, may wish to rediscover Zoroastrianism. Not because of any particular wonderfulness in what Zoroastrianism has to offer, but simply because it offers another identity (see Bernard Lewis's excellent "The Multiple Identities of the Middle East"), in a part of the world, and among people, who believe that "everyone simply has to be something." And that "something" cannot be, as it is in the advanced West, a collection of ideas or ideals -- as an American might define himself as loyal to the American Constitution, and wishing to defend the political and legal institutions of this country, fortunately fashioned by an inimitable group of geniuses, and fortunately, not yet made complete hash even by those who embody the degradation of the democratic dogma.
Many Frenchmen wrote about the differences they perceived between Arabs and Berbers. French photographers routinely took pictures of Berbers in their Berber dress; the Arabs were much less willing. French military men wrote about the Berbers as "un peuple europeen."
Some Berbers came not to resist their definition as "Arabs" the way some Copts and Maronites have had a false "Arab identity" pushed on them, or have semi-accepted it, an "identity" constructed out of nothing more than the fact that they are speakers, "users," of Arabic, and may have Arabic names forced on them over time. Indeed, there are differences between Arabs who have become Christians (as a few did in the 19th and early 20th centuries) and those Arabic-using Christians -- Maronites, Copts, Assyrians, Chaldeans -- who are not Arabs, but some of whom have, in order to survive in an ever-threatening Muslim sea, had to find their role as "Arabs" or even, in the manner of the Christian Syrian Michel Aflaq (one of the founders of Ba'athism), hyper-Arabs, as promoters of an Arab identity, pan-Arabism, the whole works -- as an alternative to Islam (they were fooling themselves, because pan-Arabism for Muslim Arabs was never a real alternative to Islam, but merely a temporary goal, a subset, of the goal of a reunified Muslim world).
Not every ill that befell the non-Muslims in the Muslim world, or non-Arabs in the Muslim Arab world, can be attributed to colonial powers. There were French then, during the time of the "presence francaise" that brought schools, hospitals, modern agriculture, and other elements of modern civilization, to North Africa (in Morocco and Tunisia, over about half-a-century; in Algeria, over a 132-year period) who were quite capable of distinguishing Berbers from Arabs, and it was not their pressure that caused some Berbers to forget their own identity, any more than it was France as the guarantor of the Christians in Lebanon and Syria who caused some to make themselves hyper-Arabs. Aflaq founded the Ba'ath party with two associates not when the French seemed to be there to stay, but when it was clear that they would, in a few years, be leaving.
Aflaq's "Ba'athism" came to dominate only two countries, and for two similar reasons. The first was Syria, with a large Christian population, and with a powerful military caste, the Alawites, who were not regarded as orthodox Muslims, were indeed disliked by orthodox Muslims for the obvious elements of syncretism in their worship (go to an Alawite village and see the pictures of Mary everywhere), Alawites who had been miserable under the Turkish rule but under that of the French formed part of the Troupes speciales, and were trained to fight, and when the French left, the Alawites remained in the army, and the air force (Hafez al-Assad) and gradually took over, in the way that people or groups always take over in the Muslim Middle East -- through the application, or threat, of military force. In Syria Ba'athism disguises, is the facade, for the rule by the Alawites.
In Iraq, Ba'athism took a different turn. There, the Sunnis knew that they were numerically far inferior to the Shi'a, but they were put in control of modern Iraq, by the British, and never lost their grip.
The Hashemite king, Feisal a Sunni, was put in control of Iraq, and aided throughout the 1920s by British troops, and such British civilians as the celebrated Gertrude Bell, until finally, the expense of suppressing the tribes, and the obvious hopelessness of it all, caused the British to leave. It was Winston Churchill who described Mesopotamia (Iraq) as an "ungrateful volcano." And when the British left, the local Arabs solemnly promised not to harm the local Christians, and five months after the last British troops pulled out, Muslim Arabs killed up to 100,000 largely helpless Assyrians. (William Saroyan wrote a book about it).
Everywhere Muslims spreading Islam are careful to present it as the vehicle for whatever grievance the potential local converts may have. If it is black prisoners in the United States, then Islam is presented as the vehicle both of "social justice" (see how Muslim ruling classes everywhere seize the national wealth, see how the poor are treated in Muslim countries), and against "racism.” And the Infidels do little or nothing. Have you seen any campaigns of deliberate counter-Da’wa anywhere in the prisons or elsewhere? It would be easy to show, and to keep showing, perhaps by organizing the “Lost Boys” of the Sudan, that anti-black racism, of the purest and most virulent kind, is found among the Arabs. Anyone who has studied in an Arab country returns amazed at what is said, and not a few are shaken. Anyone who looks into the history of African slavery soon discovers that the Arab slave trade began earlier, and ended later, than that of the Europeans – or rather, ended formally later, but actually continues, in several countries, to this day. Why is this not screamed from every housetop? Why have the countries of the advanced world, that have poured $400 billion into aid to black Africa, not tried to halt the spread of the most retrograde force, a force which encourages the habit of mental submission, and which, in its inshallah-fatalism, is in fact fatal to economic development, not tried to stop the spread of Islam? If they have the wellbeing of black Africans at heart, they must begin to understand, and to share their understanding, that Islam has been, is, and always will be, a force that hinders, with that inshallah-fatalism and that habit of mental submission, any possibility of either economic or intellectual development.
The evidence is there. What sustained the Muslims for centuries, at a low level, was simply the accumulated intellectual capital of those peoples whom they conquered, and slowly leached of life, and of property as well. Now North Africa and the Middle East are virtually without the non-Muslims who once provided a certain supply of Jizyah, and what sustains the Arabs and Muslims are two things, and only two things; the new disguised Jizyah of Western foreign aid (which should be ended, and used to meet the new expenses of monitoring Muslim populations in the West), and the manna of oil wealth, entirely undeserved, and the only conceivable way that the Arabs and Muslims might acquire great wealth – through an accident of geology. Are the peoples of black Africa misled into thinking that they, too, somehow share in that wealth?
There was a very large and intelligent, because it focused on small-scale, doable projects, aid effort by Israel in black Africa. It was the most successful of all such foreign aid efforts. It was widespread. It was widely welcomed. But it came to an end, after the Six-Day War, under Arab pressure, and bribery – the same bribery that caused several dozen African states, under Arab command, to break diplomatic relations with Israel. Some of those African states no doubt thought that the Arabs would share just a little of that vast unearned wealth – if only to replace what Israel, a tiny country, had so remarkably provided. It was not to be. It will never be. The Arabs are trying in Africa to dominate the Continent. They are patient. They are methodical. In West Africa, where Islam is already dominant, as in uranium-rich Niger, they have transformed the easygoing, syncretistic practice of Islam to something much more akin to what can be seen in Saudi Arabia. And everywhere mosques are becoming subject to the strictures of those who pay for them, or pay the imams – and that usually means the Saudis. In some countries that once had a clear Christian majority, such as the Ivory Coast, the Christians are feeling besieged by Muslims who come in from the north, and the French government under Chirac supported not the local black Christians, and understood their fear, but rather attempted to appease the world’s Muslims.
In East Africa, when the black Africans rose up against their Arab masters in Zanzibar and Pemba some decades ago (the slave trade by the Arabs in East Africa had been centered there – indeed, the Sultan of Muscat and Oman had for a time ruled directly from Zanzibar), little was made of this in the West. No one discussed the long history of the Arab slave trade, with its practice of castrating black children when they were first caught, and then taking them by slave coffle or dhow to the slave markets of Islam, a trip which about 10% survived (see “The Hideous Trade” by Jan Hogedorn). And so the Arabs have continued their march southward. The Sudan had very few Arabs in the southern part one hundred years ago. But steadily they have taken territory, pushed back, killed, black Africans. 1.8 million non-Muslim blacks were killed, or deliberately starved to death, in the southern Sudan in the last two decades. Not content with that, not content with having seized complete control of the oil wealth that lies under the Christian and animist areas of the artificial state of Sudan, the Arabs are now trying to seize, by mass murder, the lands as well of the Muslim, but non-“Arab” blacks of Darfur. The campaign of mass rape, destruction of property, and killing of every man, woman and child they can get their hands on has been reported and reported, and reported. It has been reported without any understanding of Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism (the nicholas-kristofs of this world do not bother to figure out what is going on, what ideology prompts the Janjaweed and the Sudanese government that supports it, or the other Arab and Muslim governments that run interference for that Sudanese government), but are content with writing endless columns of easy anguish.
Egypt supports the Sudanese, while pretending not to, and so does the Arab League which welcomes the reduction, in the southern Sudan and from Darfur, of non-Arabs and non-Muslims to a state of hopelessness and surrender, where they continue to live at all. For Egypt and the Arabs have their eyes not merely on the Sudan, but on Ethiopia, the famous Christian kingdom, now rapidly becoming Islamized. Egypt has no intention of letting the Christian government of Ethiopia help its own people by, at long last, diverting some of the headwaters of the Nile for irrigation. The Egyptians think the Nile belongs, from its very source onward, to them and only to them. The water wars have been declared –but only by the Arab side.
Americans and other Infidel peoples should be supporting Ethiopian efforts to halt the spread of Islam, or of the purest kind of Islam, whether in Somalia or in Ethiopia itself, and to help Ethiopia remain a Christian kingdom that can help prevent the takeover of southern East Africa by Islam. Muslims owe their loyalty to the umma al-islamiyya, to fellow Muslims. It would make sense, in Africa, for the Americans not only to have handfuls of advisors and troops here and there, but to engage in propaganda. This propaganda, which happens to be the truth simply megaphoned to make a point, should describe in vivid detail the history of the Arab slave trade. It should explain to Africans that slavery is permanently sanctioned by both Qur’an and Sunnah, and can therefore never, within Islam, be banished. It should detail the continuing racism of the Arabs. And it should show how Islam stands in the way of economic and other kinds of development in two ways: in the encouragement of the habit of mental submission, central to Islam, and in the inshallah-fatalism that limits economic activity, and how Islam has relied on two kinds of manna: the Jizyah that is demanded from, or voluntarily supplied by, non-Muslims, and the oil wealth that has resulted from an accident of geology. And despite the ten trillion dollars that the Arab and Muslim states have received from oil revenues since 1973, not a single one has managed to create a real economy, not a single one has ceased to be hopelessly dependent on oil.
Islam, as it spreads, will merely guarantee that the countries and peoples of sub-Saharan Africa will be forced to endure the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of Muslim states and societies – failures whose source can be found in Islam itself.
Do we wish black Africa well, or ill? If we do wish to help the peoples of black Africa, preventing or halting the spread of Islam makes sense. And it makes sense for us to help the Berbers regain their history, their language and their culture, and it makes sense for us, in other ways, as well.
Posted on 06/17/2011 4:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Fitzgerald: What To Do About The Alawites
The Alawites who rule Syria constitute 12% of the population. Though they make up the officer corps, still -- there are those pesky non-Alawites among the men to worry about. When "real" Muslims massacred 82 Alawite miltary cadets at a graduation ceremony, as part of an anti-regime, anti-Alawite campaign, Hafez al-Assad surrounded Hama, an Ikhwan center, and told his troops to kill anyone who moved. Twenty thousand were killed.
Qualis pater, talis filius? Not quite. Bashir the son is a most myopic ophthalmologist. He may think that he is safe as long as he lets Sunnis use Syria as a point of entry into Iraq to fight the good fight (and any fight that directs Muslim interest and energies away from the Alawites of Syria, disguised as "Ba'athists," is a good fight), and simultaneously lets Syria be used the other way, as a place through which Iranian weaponry, money, and agents are delivered to Hizballah in Lebanon. In such a way do the Alawites hope, by giving at the office, to stay in power (and to keep those reliable Armenian drivers and other Christians whom they can trust).
But is this true? What if the Israelis inflict a severe defeat -- not merely severe, but one seen as humiliating, to the regime? Then the agitation would begin. Not agitation from the would-be Chalabis -- Ghadry et al, or the false "reformers" like Hafez al-Assad's former aide and Vice-President, the Sunni Muslim Kaddam, now working from the safety of his French pleasure-dome (bought with the loot his years in office permitted him to accumulate, which now allows him to pretend to be a "reformer" when what he really wants is to return to power, this time as Mr. Big). Every Alawite house has a picture of Mary. Every Alawite village is known. Do the Alawites want a bloodbath, or do they want to decide now to retreat into their own Syrian redoubt and no longer do Iran's bidding, or for that matter the bidding of Sunnis, deciding instead to preserve themselves and save their weaponry, for a war within Syria to preserve themselves from the real Muslims?
So far Bashir al-Assad's eagerness to assuage Muslims, both Sunni and Shi'a, outside Syria, appears to have worked. He is still in power. Alawite generals still strut about. But for how long, if their forces are damaged and humiliated by the Israelis? How long did Gamal Abdel Nasser last, after the Six-Day War?
In that vast Pentagon, is there anywhere an office devoted to tracking those potential sources of weakness and internecine warfare, in the camp of Jihad and Islam? For example, is there a special office designed to do nothing but figure out ways to use the peculiar vulnerability of the Alawites for American advantage? For those Alawites must prove to both Sunnis and to Shi'a that they are true Muslims despite their Mary-worship, despite the Syrian government closing on Christmas, despite the Good Friday processions that, incredibly for a supposedly "Muslim" country, actually take place publicly without incident (because the Alawite officers have the army in place to protect those Christian processions from the real Muslims, some of whom have resigned themselves to accepting these things). That office should be dedicated to obtaining not the "friendship" of the Alawites (for god's sake, put that idiotic goal out of your mind) but rather their cooperation, by threatening to encourage others -- Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- to use their propaganda machines to harp on this little matter of the Alawite despots who have murdered Sunnis, genuine Muslims, and continue to hold them in thrall. The Alawite rulers may think we would never do this, but that is only because they fail to realize that at this point, if the Alawites behave so as to promote the worst and most violent and most potent of Muslim armed groups, they should not expect their worship of Mary to get them off the hook.
Last year they lost Lebanon as a place to exploit financially. Now they have, in their insensate willingness to fulfill Iranian bidding and thereby to risk everything, have figuratively lost their heads. If they do not come to their senses, Americans, not with help from their "Sunni Arab allies" but rather from Sunni Arabs who have their own reason for cutting Syria's ties with Iran, should make sure that they will be in danger of turning that figurative loss into a literal one -- and not far in the future. Surely they know that. Surely they know what happened to those Alawite military cadets in Homs. Surely they know their local Muslims, and what is just beneath the surface, and what could so easily be made to come out, to the great chagrin of those Alawite officers who would suddenly lose control of their maddened men.
Why risk it? Why risk everything? Hizballah is in trouble. Iran is going to be in bigger trouble. Why should the Alawites of Syria risk all?
Posted on 06/17/2011 4:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
The Sivas Massacre
It is not too early -- be the first on your block -- to start to learn something about the Alevis in Turkey. (After all, it was just the day before yesterday that suddenly everyone who had been writing about the Middle East and Syria for years, in the popular press, and in the banana-strewn corridors of power in Washington -- all those who had never mentioned, never focussed on, never understood the significance, of the Alawites, suddenly discovered at least their name and a hazy notion of what they were, and then, with an air of great assurance, these people started referring knowingly to "the Alawites" as if they had understood their central importance to what happens in Syria all along.) The Alevis in Turkey are not quite the same as the Alawis in Syria, though they also have many things in common, including how they are regarded by the Sunnis. The Alevis, for example, do not possess, as the Alawis do, a cult. or worship, of Mary. But like the Alawis, the Alevis are certainly heterodox . The Alawis in Syria are not considered to be Muslims by the real (i.e., Sunni) Muslims, but as Infidels. The Alevis are not quite dismissed in the same way in Turkey. Still, they've been persecuted for many centuries, under the Ottomans, and continue to have, and will continue to have, problems with Sunni Turks. They are much less susceptible to arabization than Sunni Muslims, and their "Turkish" identity -- central to the replacement theology of Kemalism -- hardly had to be imposed, but came naturally to them.
In 1993, just to remind the Alevis, those kizilbashes, of what some Sunnis still thought of them, there was the Sivas Massacre.
At Wikipedia you can find out about Alevis here and here and here.
Here's a bit about the Sivas Massacre from Wikipedia:
Main article: Sivas massacre
On July 2, 1993, Alevis were celebrating the Pir Sultan Abdal Festival. Coming out of mosques after their Friday's prayer, a mob of roughly 20,000 Sunni fundamentalists surrounded the Madimak Hotel in downtown Sivas, chanting anti-Alevi and pro-sharia slogans. The events quickly escalated and the mob ultimately set the hotel on fire and pelted the building with stones. While the fire killed thirty seven Alevis, several members of the police, soldiers, and the fire-department did nothing to stop the fire, or save the victims. The events surrounding the massacre were captured by TV cameras and broadcast all over the nation and the world. Every year, during the anniversary of the massacre, various Alevi organizations call for the arrest of those responsible. 33 individuals were sentenced to death in 1997 for crimes related to the massacre, but they were never executed, in part because Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2002. The hotel is slated to be turned into a memorial museum to the event.
There was also a drive-by shooting of Alevis in Istanbul's Gazi neighborhood in 1995 which resulted in the death of some Alevis. Then when protests followed, police periodically opened fire on the demonstrators. When the protests were over, there were a total of fifteen Alevis killed. The result was a revival of Alevi identity, and debate over this identity which continues today.
Posted on 06/17/2011 4:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Libyan Rebels Refuse To Promise To Reimburse U.S. And NATO For Fighting Their War
From The Toronto World Tribune:
June 12, 2011 INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING
Lawmakers withdrawing support for Libya rebels over lack of cooperation
WASHINGTON — Congress is dismayed over the behavior of the rebel movement in Libya.
House and Senate members have been concerned over the refusal of Libyan rebels to cooperate with Congress. They said Congress has sought to win guarantees from the rebels that they would establish democracy and transform Libya into a strong ally of the United States.
"Being a senior member of [House] Foreign Affairs Committee and being the author of the resolution to support the uprising, it is disappointing that I'm withdrawing my support for the Libyan resistance movement," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said.
Also In This Edition
Rohrabacher, an early supporter of the revolt, cited the rebel refusal to issue a commitment to repay the United States for the military mission against the regime of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Rohrabacher, a leading Republican, was part of a delegation of six House members who met rebels in Libya earlier this month, Middle East Newsline reported.
Other House members expressed concern that the Libyan rebels were linked to Al Qaida. They said Al Qaida and other insurgency groups were buying surface-to-air missiles and other weapons captured by the rebels from Gadhafi arsenals.
At a news conference on June 9 in Qatar, Rohrabacher said he was expressing congressional unease over the Libyan rebel movement, which has received hundreds of millions of dollars from Arab allies. The House member from California said his request to the rebels was based on the assessment that the United States could no longer afford major military missions.
"The United States right now is going broke, we are spending one and half trillion dollars every year for the last three years more than what we are taking in," Rohrabacher said. "This means that we are on the edge of a major economic crisis now. And it's not right for us to borrow money from China or anywhere to give it to the people of Libya to help them when they want freedom."
Rohrabacher was the author of a resolution introduced in March that recognized the rebel Transitional National Council as the "legitimate representative of the Libyan people and nation." He said that Libya would become an extremely rich nation once Gadhafi was replaced.
"The compromise that I have been trying to work out is that the Libyan revolutionaries agree that once they win their freedom they would repay the U.S. for the expenses in helping them in their freedom," Rohrabacher said. "I think it's a reasonable request."
Congress has been told that NATO air strikes have significantly weakened the Gadhafi regime. But House and Senate members warned that the United States has failed to recruit an international coalition to stabilize a post-Gadhafi Libya.
"I think there are some signs that if we continue the pressure, if we stick with it, that ultimately Gadhafi will step down," CIA director Leon Panetta said.
Posted on 06/17/2011 4:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
A Musical Interlude: I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Ben Bernie Orch., voc. Scrappy Lambert)
Posted on 06/17/2011 5:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
What Dana Rohrabacher Actually Said, And How It Was Reported
In Iraq the other day, leading a delegation of Congressmen, Dana Rohrabacher made a statement with a mild suggestion that perhaps, some day, given how rich Iraq is -- he did not say, but everyone knows, that Iraq has the second-highest oil reserves in the world -- that it might consider repaying something to the United States. He didn't say how much; a sum certain would have been unwise. Nor did he point out that 4,500 Americans had been killed, and 35,000 so severely wounded that they would require lifetime care, to rescue Iraqis from a monstrous regime. He did not say that by early February 2004, Saddam Hussein and his sons and the major figures in his regime had all been killed or captured, and in the more than seven years since, the Americans have risked their lives and spent vast sums to turn Iraq into a prosperous, decently-run, semi-unified country, and have done everything they can to keep Sunnis from killing Shi'a, and Shi'a from killing Sunnis. And what's more, they have spent hundreds of billions of dollars -- tens of billions were simply diverted by corrupt Iraqis, and more was wasted by Iraqi contractors who were paid, though they performed no work, or substandard work -- on "reconstruction" projects everywhere in Iraq, schools and hospitals, roads and bridges, trepair of damaged oilfields, the works.
Here is how AP described Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's remarks:
"A U.S. congressman visiting Baghdad Friday suggested that Iraq pay back the United States for the money it has spent in the eight years since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003."
And here is how Reuters described it:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq said on Friday a visiting Congress delegation was "not welcome" in the country, citing reports its leader called on Baghdad to pay compensation to Washington for years of war since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Iraqi officials said Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher told reporters during a visit on Friday that Baghdad should repay billions of dollars Washington had spent on the Iraq war.
And there were many other similar reports, deliberately designed to convey the impression that Congressman Rohrabacher had asked Iraq "to pay us back" for the full cost of the war (which Joseph Stiglitz argues is three trillion dollars and which, perhaps, even those who can't go that far can certainly agree the true cost is at least two trillion dollars).
But Dana Rohrabacher said no such thing.
Here is exactly what he said:
“Once Iraq becomes a very rich and prosperous country…we would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars that we have spent here in the last eight years,” Rohrabacher told journalists at the US embassy in Baghdad.
“We were hoping that there would be a consideration of a payback because the United States right now is in close to a very serious economic crisis and we could certainly use some people to care about our situation as we have cared about theirs.”
Does that sound as if he has demanded anything, much less demanding that Iraq pay back the entire cost of the war, as Reuters, as AP, as the Huffington Post, as a thousand indignant American bloggers -- indignant! -- furious that anyone would dare to suggest that America had a right to think that Iraqis would want to pay back something, for all the United States had done in removing someone who had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and was fully prepared to kill hundreds of thousands more, and all it had done, with money and men and materiel, in order all these years to prevent Iraqis from killing each other and building up Iraq's infrastructure, its power plants, its roads, its airports, its everything, not to mention all the schools and hospitals built and equipped by the Americans.
Look at how the AP and Reuters and so many others mis-report so blatantly.
None of this surprises you any more.
You are used to it.
You expect it.
Posted on 06/17/2011 5:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Panem Et Circenses, Or Photo-Op Pandemonium
Actress [and deep student of world affairs] Angelina Jolie to visit refugees at Turkey’s border with Syria as UN envoy
ALTINOZU, Turkey — UN envoy Angelina Jolie is traveling to Turkey’s border with Syria, where she will meet some of the more than 9,600 refugees who have fled a bloody crackdown on Syrian anti-government protesters.
The Hollywood celebrity and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is expected to arrive in the Turkish province of Hatay on Friday afternoon.
Turkish authorities were hanging a 15 meter- (16 yard-) long banner near the entrance of the camp to welcome Jolie. The banner reads: “Goodness Angel of the World, Welcome.”
In April, Jolie traveled to Tunisia during its refugee crisis as thousands fled from its war-torn neighbor, Libya.
Posted on 06/17/2011 5:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Will The Maunder Minimum Lull The World Into Climactic Complacency?
From The Guardian:
June 16, 2011
Solar cycle may go into 'hibernation', scientists say
The next 11-year pattern when dark spots appear on the sun's surface may be delayed, say astronomers
Nasa image of the sun. Photograph: Nasa/EPA
The next solar cycle – the 11-year pattern when dark spots appear on the sun's surface – may be delayed or even go into "hibernation" for a while, according to US scientists.
But this does not mean a new ice age is coming, said astronomer Frank Hill of the US National Solar Observatory. "We have not predicted a 'little ice age'," Hill said, speaking from an astronomical meeting in New Mexico. "We have predicted something going on with the sun."
Hill and other scientists cited a missing jet stream, fading spots and slower activity near the sun's poles as signs that our nearest star is heading into a rest period.
"This is highly unusual and unexpected," he said. "But the fact that three completely different views of the sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation."
That hibernation would not begin now, as the current sunspot cycle, the 24th, has recently passed its minimum. Hill and his colleagues pondered a slowdown in sunspot activity in the 25th cycle, expected sometime around 2019.
They also wondered whether this possible slowdown, or even a long cessation of sunspot activity, indicates an upcoming return of the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year sunspot drought seen from 1645-1715.
They had no evidence as to whether this might be true, and said nothing about whether the Maunder Minimum was related to a long cold period in Europe and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere known as the little ice age.
How strong a connection is there between a little ice age and a Maunder Minimum? "Not as strong a connection as people would like to believe," Hill said. "The little ice age actually lasted for hundreds of years, of which the Maunder Minimum was only a small segment. My opinion is that there is only an anecdotal connection without a whole lot of scientific background behind it."
Some commentators have argued that the potentially cooling influence of a lower level of sunspot activity could cancel out the warming caused by human activities that generate climate-warming greenhouse gases. Hill disputed this. "In my opinion, it is a huge leap to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood," he said.
Across the sun's 11-year solar cycle, the total solar energy reaching Earth varies by less than 0.1%, and even across the period since the little ice age chill, solar output climbed no more than about 0.12%, according to the 2007 IPCC report. Subsequent estimates by Judith Lean of the Naval Research Laboratory and others have pegged the solar contribution to 20th-century warming at 10% or less.
Mike Lockwood, professor of space environment physics at the University of Reading, said: "Our research based on the behaviour of the sun over the past 9,000 years shows that there is indeed an 8% chance that we will return to Maunder Minimum conditions over the next 40 years. But there is no evidence at all that this will cause an ice age and, given the observed and predicted rise in greenhouse gases, we find it would do no more than slow global warming a little."
Prof Joanna Haigh, an atmospheric physicist at Imperial College London, said: "It would certainly be very risky to suggest that we rely on the sun's activity to compensate for global warming. In a future Grand Minimum the sun might perhaps again cool the planet by up to 1C. Greenhouse gases, on the other hand, are expected to raise global temperatures by between 1.5 and 4.5C by 2100.
"So even if the predictions are correct, the effect of climate change will outstrip the sun's ability to cool even in the coldest scenario; and in any case, the cooling effect is only ever temporary. When the sun's activity returns to normal, the greenhouse gases won't have gone away."
Posted on 06/17/2011 6:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Senator Kirk: Turkey Should Be Held Responsible For Flotilla
A United States Senator has issued a call for Turkey to be held responsible for the planned launching of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla organized by a group he calls a “terrorist organization.”
In a policy recommendation report authored by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois and obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News on Wednesday night, Kirk calls on the U.S. to adopt three measures to deal with the planned Gaza-bound flotilla, including labeling the flotilla organizers, the nongovernmental organization Ä°HH, a terrorist organization; offering U.S. naval support to Israel to block the flotilla; and expressing to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan that Turkey will be held accountable for the flotilla’s actions.
“The United States should ... make it clear to Turkish [Prime Minister] ErdoÄŸan that Turkey will be held accountable for any actions that support or enable the Ä°HH to launch its flotilla,” the report said.
“I don’t think that’s a fair assessment,” said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal, who reiterated the Turkish government’s position that the aid flotilla was being organized outside the scope of government policy by an international group of nongovernmental organizations with no known connections to terrorist organizations.
The U.S. should “immediately designate the Ä°HH as a terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224, which targets ‘terrorists, terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, technological, or material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, or acts of terrorism,’” according to the Kirk report, entitled “The Future of Israel’s Security and the U.S.-Israel Relationship.”
The report also included other policy recommendations based on the senator’s recent “intense fact-finding mission to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.”
A flotilla of ships stocked with aid for Gaza, which is currently under an Israeli naval blockade, was scheduled to leave from Turkey on May 31, the anniversary of a deadly attack last year by Israeli naval forces on the flotilla’s Mavi Marmara ship which killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American.
The departure of the Mavi Marmara has been postponed until later this month but Ä°HH representatives have told the Daily News that it may be postponed further with a decision due on Friday.
According to the Kirk report, last year’s flotilla “violently attempted to breach Israel’s coastal security.” In case the events of last year repeat themselves, Kirk suggests that the U.S. make its naval forces available to support Israel.
The U.S. should “make available all necessary special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy to effectively disable flotilla vessels before they can pose a threat to Israeli coastal security or put Israeli lives at risk,” the report said.
In advance of this year’s planned flotilla, 36 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to ErdoÄŸan last month, saying he had “unique opportunity to potentially save lives,” by discouraging the flotilla from leaving for Gaza. Earlier this month Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu suggested that “the aid flotilla should also wait to see what happens with the Rafah [Gaza-Egypt] border crossing being opened.”
Posted on 06/17/2011 6:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Al Qaeda Publishes Hit List
From the Investigative Project on Terrorism:
The FBI has issued a new warning about an al-Qaida-inspired plot to assassinate key government and private sector individuals with mail bombs.
The plot is only "aspirational," says a report reviewed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. But FBI officials have expressed concern about the actions of lone wolf attackers already in the United States.
The threats follow a June 3 video featuring American al-Qaida member Adam Gadahn "in which he encourages acts of individual jihad, members of several extremist Web forums posted names of companies and its leaders to target," the FBI warning said. That video appeared initially on the closed al-Qaida web forum Shumukh al-Islam.
The threat has since gone viral, appearing in major forums like Ansar al-Mujahideen and Somali terrorist site Al-Qimmah.
A translation of the text of the threat by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, taken from the original posting, provides more detail on the planned attacks.
"The Idea – Determine lists of the names of individual actors in the Zionist-Crusader war on our Ummah [nation], from the directors of companies, supporters of the war, and media organizations that support the false propaganda, and the instigating members of Congress," states Shumukh al-Islam participant Yaman Mukhadab. "[There will be] a focus only on the most hostile countries, America, Britain, and France."
The list of names includes President Obama, along with key generals, and senior intelligence officials, as well as private counterterrorism experts like IPT Executive Director Steven Emerson and Yigal Carmon of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Preacher John Hagee is identified for his outspoken support for Israel, and Coca-Cola is called "proud sponsors of the 2003 Iraq invasion."
The addresses of several branches of the RAND Corp., considered to be the "devil's workshop" by members of jihadi forum Ansar al-Mujahideen, also are listed. The RAND Corporation regularly figures into Islamist conspiracies about the West's War on Islam, because of its reports about strengthening moderate forms of Islam. "One should not underestimate the potential negative impact" of RAND's push for moderate Islam, notes American cleric Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, because the company is "known to have close readership among key American political and military leaders."
Although threats on prominent Americans may not be new, America's recent rash of strikes on al-Qaida figures has ratcheted up the terrorists' need for revenge.
"A previous video from Gadahn in March 2010 similarly called for small attacks in the United States, but failed to have any observable significant resonance within the online extremist community," the FBI report noted. "However, UBL's death may be creating a wider or more receptive audience for AQ core propaganda messages and be a catalyst for reactions from individuals inspired by the AQ message." The recent killings of prominent al-Qaida leader Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and the reported killing of Ilyas Kashmiri have also elicited calls for revenge.
Notably, the post calls for sending "booby-trapped parcels" to the residential addresses of dozens of government officials and private individuals.
Al-Qaida has already recommended the use of mail bombs against American targets in the past. "$4,200" was the title of November 2010 issue of al-Qaida's Inspire Magazine, highlighting how little it cost for the group to launch major attacks through the mail.
"If your opponent covers his right cheek, slap him on his left."
"Christianity's opposite creed" - Winston Churchill
"Since 9-11 the West has been stepping up defenses for its commercial aircrafts," the magazine notes. "But what about cargo planes?"
"After the operation of Brother Umar Farouk [the Christmas Day bomber] we have been experimenting with ways to bring down airplanes. We have researched the various security systems employed by airports," it adds about what it calls Operation Hemorrhage.
"We looked into X-Ray scanners, full body scanners, sniffing dogs and other aspects of security. The resulting bomb was a device that we were confident that, with the will of Allah, it would pass through the most stringent and up-to-date security equipment."
The magazine goes on to highlight the use of undetectable PETN explosives and al-Qaida's plan to carry out more strikes. While the bombs are focused mostly on downing airplanes, the group curses those who stop them from reaching their final targets in America.
The recent threat on jihadi forums could be the fulfillment of al-Qaida's plan to expand this form of attack. "Since the two [mail bomb] operations have succeeded, it is our plan to disseminate the idea to the mujahidin worldwide and to expand its deployment onto both Civilian aircraft in the West as well as Cargo aircraft," Inspire Magazine says.
Posted on 06/17/2011 6:24 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 17 June 2011
BBC reporter detained for membership of 'extreme Islamic group'
From The Telegraph thanks to Alan
A BBC reporter has been detained in Tajikistan for allegedly participating in a banned Islamic group and using his position to promote its extreme ideology. BBC radio correspondent Urunbay Usmonov, 50, was detained for membership in the illegal movement Hizb ut-Tahrir," Makhmadullo Asadulloyev, a spokesman for the interior ministry in the former Soviet republic, confirmed on Wednesday. Mr Usmonov "was engaged in extremist propaganda and campaigning for the movement on the internet," he added.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which promotes a rigorous and puritanical brand of Islam, is legal in the UK but banned in most countries in Central Asia. It seeks to establish a global Caliphate, but rejects the use of violence to achieve this end.
The BBC expressed "very great concern" at Mr Usmonov's arrest and demanded his immediate release. "Whilst Mr Usmonov has reported on the judicial trials and activities of the Hizb ut-Tahrir party in Tajikistan at the request of the BBC, the BBC has no reason to believe these allegations," it said in a statement.
Time and again members of our government promise to ban Hizb ut Tahrir but they never do. And as for the BBC. that days when the words "This is the BBC. . ." brought accurate news of hope and comfort to the world are long gone. Abolish the licence fee and start again.
Posted on 06/17/2011 7:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 17 June 2011
Possible Car Bomb Found Near Pentagon
Breaking on the Washington Post blog:
Roads around the Pentagon were shut down this morning after authorities took a “suspicious man” into custody overnight in Arlington Cemetery, said Sgt. David Schlosser, a spokesman for the U.S. Park Police.
The man was found in the cemetery after it closed and Schlosser said authorities decided it was “important” to locate his vehicle following an interview with him. Arlington County police found the car off of Washington Boulevard near the Pentagon early this morning, Schlosser said.
NBC News reported earlier a suspicious device had been found in the car, but Schlosser would not confirm that an explosive or other type of device had been found. An Arlington County bomb disposal unit is currently looking at the car, Schlosser said.
Posted on 06/17/2011 8:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 17 June 2011
Spinning Broken Records
Posted on 06/17/2011 8:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 17 June 2011
Caroline Glick On Halting Iran's Steady March Toward The Bomb
From The Jerusalem Post:
A do or die moment
June 17, 2011
Every day, major stories come out of the Middle East. And behind each of these stories are major developments that deserve of our attention and, more often than not, our intense concern. Just this week, major stories have come out of Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen and Pakistan that are all deeply disconcerting.
In Syria, dictator Bashar Assad's violent repression of the popular revolt against his tyrannical, minority regime has exposed the Syrian leader as a vicious murderer. While there is some room for hope that the Syrian people may successfully overthrow him, given the US's refusal to provide any tangible assistance to the regime opponents, it is hard to see how such a happy future could come about.
For his part, Assad is the beneficiary of a steady stream of support from the Iranian regime. The mullahs and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards will ensure that he never runs out of bullets to kill his people.
As to the Palestinian Authority, this week's Fatah-Hamas coalition negotiations in Cairo revealed the depth and breadth of Hamas's control over the unity government now being formed. Despite massive American pressure, Hamas successfully vetoed Fatah's bid to retain Salam Fayyad as prime minister in the unity government.
Moreover, in the face of significant international pressure, Hamas maintains its refusal to accept the so-called Quartet conditions of recognizing Israel, ending terrorism and agreeing to respect all previous agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel.
Given Hamas's maintenance of its annihilationist goals toward Israel and Fatah's inability to convince Hamas to accept its minimal demands, it is obvious that Hamas is the stronger force in the Palestinian unity government. It is also clear that this government will not under any circumstances agree to make peace with Israel.
AND YET, in the face of these realities, US President Barack Obama is intensifying his pressure on Israel to agree to the now-powerless Fatah's preconditions for negotiating. Indeed, he has adopted Fatah's preconditions as his own.
Obama is demanding that Israel agree to surrender its right to defensible borders by insisting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accept the pre-1967 boundaries - that is the 1949 armistice lines - as the starting point for future negotiations. Since Obama surely recognizes that a Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority will not accept Israeli control over anything from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley, he knows that he is requiring that Israel surrender its right to defensible borders before it even begins negotiating.
It is not surprising that the unity talks that crowned Hamas the king of Palestinian politics have taken place in post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite the rosy, post-Mubarak scenarios put forward during the revolution in January by American liberal and neo-conservative intellectuals, post- Mubarak Egypt is shaping up to be a dangerous, frightening place.
With the supposedly liberal Wafd Party merging with the Muslim Brotherhood this week, the Brotherhood took a significant step toward consolidating its rise to political leadership of the country in the elections scheduled for September.
The ruling military junta's decision to arrest Israeli-American Ilan Grapel on trumped-up espionage charges last week is just one more signal that post-Mubarak Egypt is turning its back on Egypt's peace with Israel.
And as The Washington Times reported last week, the US has been reduced to begging the Egyptian military authorities to re-arrest a number of top jihadist terrorists freed from Egyptian prisons in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak's ouster. Yet, not only have the terrorists not been re-jailed, some of them have formed new political parties and are slated to run in September's elections. Clearly, the US is also being betrayed by the new regime.
If the Muslim Brotherhood controls the next Egyptian government, Egypt will join Lebanon and Turkey as the newest member of the growing club of nations ruled by Islamic radicals. This week, Lebanon's Hezbollah-appointed Prime Minister Najib Mikati finally formed his Hezbollah- controlled government.
Hezbollah has now officially swallowed Lebanon. The regional and indeed global repercussions of the development are simply mind-boggling.
Then there is Turkey. This week, the Turks went to the polls and re-elected Prime Minister Recip Erdogan and his radical Islamic AKP party to lead the country for a third term. In his victory speech, Erdogan signaled his Islamist and neoimperialist ambitions by stating that former Ottoman empire-controlled cities from Sarajevo to Jerusalem, from Damascus to Beirut to Ramallah should all be cheering his victory. Turkish intellectuals like Sinan Ulgen, who heads the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, are arguing for a more independent Turkish role within NATO.
Both nuclear-armed Pakistan and Yemen are quickly approaching the day when they will be led by al Qaida or its affiliates. The forced departure of Yemini President Ali Abdullah Saleh two weeks ago after he was wounded in an attack on the Presidential Palace was seen as a major victory for al Qaida. Al Qaida forces continue to attack government installations in Aden and other cities throughout the country.
As for Pakistan, the US's assassination of Osama bin Laden last month exposed the dirty secret of Pakistani military collaboration with al Qaida for all to see. This week's arrest of five Pakistanis accused of acting as informants to the US in its bid to locate the al Qaida chief is further proof - if any was needed - that the $21 billion in military and economic assistance the US has showered on Pakistan since 2002 has bought it precious little in the way of strategic support or partnership from Islamabad. Recent reports indicate increased concern that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal may eventually fall under the control of al Qaida sympathizers.
AMAZINGLY, WHILE all of these developments are alarming, and while all of them have justifiably dominated much of the coverage of the Middle East in recent weeks and months, the fact is that all of them pale in comparison to what is happening in Iran. And this story is receiving only scant and generally superficial attention from the international media and the major governments of the Western world.
Monday, The Wall Street Journal editorialists summarized the major developments on this front. First, last week the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency released previously classified sections of its latest report on Iran. The report says that in the last six months, Tehran enriched 970 kilos of uranium to reactor-grade levels, bringing its publicly known stockpile of low enriched uranium to 4,105 kilos.
Iran also has enriched 56.7 kilos of uranium to the 20% level, from which it is a relatively simple matter to increase enrichment levels to the 90% needed to make a nuclear bomb.
Iran has also installed upgraded centrifuges in its until recently secret enrichment facility at Qom.
Rand Corporation scholar Gregory S. Jones wrote this month that Iran has reached nuclear breakout capacity. In his words, "Iran can now produce a weapons's worth (20 kilograms) of HEU [weapons-grade uranium] any time it wishes. With Iran's current number of operating centrifuges, the batch recycling process would take about two months."
Apparently owing to their certainty that Iran is an unstoppable nuclear power, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took their guard down in a recent issue of their in-house journal. The magazine published an article describing the day after Iran performs a nuclear test.
And the beat goes on. Yesterday, Iran successfully launched a second spy satellite into space.
The launch indicates that Iran is acquiring greater prowess in developing intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities. Such capabilities along with Iran's nuclear program and global ambitions constitute a clear and present danger to Europe and the US.
Iran's steady progress toward a nuclear arsenal was made all the more frightening in the face of the recent comments by retired Mossad director Meir Dagan. In a shocking breach of protocol and in apparent violation of the law, the man who until a few months ago stood at the helm of Israel's efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions attempted to take Israel's military option for striking Iran's nuclear installations off the table. In press interviews, Dagan stated that it would be disastrous for Israel to strike Iran's nuclear installations.
Dagan failed to note that it would be far more disastrous to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.
At this point, it is inarguable that the policy of sanctioning Iran favored by the US and Europe has failed to dampen Iran's commitment to developing nuclear weapons. It has also failed to significantly slow Iran's progress towards the atom bomb. Obviously, the only possible way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons at this late hour is to attack its nuclear installations.
For years, Israel's governments have taken a back seat to Washington on Iran. From Ariel Sharon to Ehud Olmert to Netanyahu, since Iran's nuclear program was first revealed in 2003, Israel has allowed itself to believe that the US could be trusted to take the greatest threat to Israel's survival off the table.
The belief that the US would lead a military strike against Iran was always based more on blind faith than fact. When, in 2003, George W.Bush decided to work through the UN Security Council on the issue. despite Russia's open assistance to Iran's nuclear and missile programs and China's growing addiction to Iranian natural gas, it was already apparent that the US was not serious about preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And when, in late 2007, the US's National Intelligence Assessment published the demonstrably false claim that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003, it became clear to anyone willing to see that the US had decided not to take any significant action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
This dire state of affairs was reinforced with the inauguration of Obama as US president in 2009.
Obama's sole policy for dealing with the nuclear weapons-seeking and openly genocidal Iranian regime is appeasement. And Obama doesn't seek to appease the mullahs in order to convince them to end their nuclear program.
For Obama, appeasement is an end in and of itself. This is why - even after Iran has spurned all his offers of appeasement and has been caught red-handed repeatedly aiding Iraqi and Afghan forces killing US servicemen, and despite Iran's swift progress toward a nuclear arsenal - Obama refuses to even state openly that he would use force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
What this means is that - as was the case in May 1967, when the combined Arab armies gathered with the express purpose of wiping the Jewish state off the map - today again, Israel is alone at its hour of greatest peril. All of the lesser threats now gathering from Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey will become insurmountable if Iran becomes a nuclear power.
As was the case in May 1967, Israel has arrived at a do-or-die moment. And we should all pray for the strength and courage of our leaders, our soldiers and our nation at this time.
Posted on 06/17/2011 11:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Yonathan Melaku, Naturalized Citizen and Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps
Okay, so his car parked near the Pentagon didn't have a bomb in it, but this story is still developing. ABC News:
A man who was carrying suspected bomb making materials and pro-al Qaeda literature was arrested in Arlington National Cemetery early this morning, triggering a bomb scare that snarled Washington's morning rush hour. The FBI, however, determined that the material in his backpack was harmless.
"There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert," said Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI.
The material in the suspect's backpack tested negative as a potential explosive, sources said.
Sources told ABC News earlier that the backpack contained what was believed to be ammonium nitrate and spent ammunition for an automatic weapon. The material was reportedly contained in four large ziplock type bags.
Sources also said there were pro-al Qaeda statements found in a notebook that contained mostly notes for a financial class. There was also was a page containing words "al qaeda," "Taliban rules," "mujahidin" and "defeated coalition forces."
The FBI believes the suspect acted alone, Heck said.
Two separate law enforcement sources told ABC News law enforcement identified the suspect as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va. U.S. Park Police said no charges have been filed against him yet.
Melaku is a naturalized citizen and lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, 4th engineer batallion out of the Baltimore, Md., New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said today.
"We are told he had a backpack with five pounds of something labeled ammonium nitrate but as of this juncture, has not passed the test that indicates explosive capacity," Kelly said. "It is too early to, I think, draw any conclusions but the investigation obviously is going foward with the federal authorities."
Sources say they haven't found any ties to a terrorist organization.
Police and the media congregated at Melaku's home in Fairfax County, Va. where two people were seen being questioned by authorities and FBI agents. The FBI and Fairfax police were seen huddling in groups and putting police tape to prevent people from entering the area, and two bomb squad vehicles were seen approaching the townhouse.
Melaku allegedly told police in Arlington that there were other "devices" in the area and also the location of his vehicle.
Police were investigating a vehicle, a red 2011 Nissan, that contained materials authorities were examining to determine if it was a bomb or other weapon. The material was reportedly neutralized, according to law enforcement spokesmen at the scene.
There are two main types of ammonium nitrate, agriculture and blaster's grade. Ammonium nitrate for agricultural use is widely available but is of a chemical composition that will not easily detonate. Blaster's grade ammonium nitrate is used widely in mining and blasting. It's sale is under license and carefully monitored.
The Pentagon and the surrounding areas were closed to traffic this morning, creating a commuting nightmare.
Park Police Sgt. David Scholsser said in a news conference the man was found at about 1:30 a.m. in the Arlington National Cemetery, located near the Pentagon. He was first caught by the Ft. Myers police but then ran into adjacent Arlington National Cemetery, where he was apprehended by the military. When questioned, Melaku was uncooperative but then took the police to his car.
Melaku was arrested last month for smashing windows and stealing valuables from 27 cars in Leesburg, Va. He was charged with four counts of grand larceny although the police did not find any discernible ideological motive...
Posted on 06/17/2011 11:42 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 17 June 2011
The Malevolently Unending Pressure By The Obama Administration On Israel
Obama administration officials are in Israel this week for more talks with Israel and the Palestinians. Their goal isn’t simply to try and get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bend to the president’s demand Israel accept the 1967 lines as the starting point for future negotiations, though that is certainly on the top of their agenda. It is to force Israel to make concessions that will somehow convince the Palestinians to abandon their effort to have the United Nations recognize an independent Palestinian state inside those same 1967 borders.
The Americans are pretending the purpose of the president’s controversial Middle East policy speech and the subsequent diplomatic hammering of Israel by Secretary of State Clinton and envoy Dennis Ross is to revive the long stalled peace talks with the Palestinians. But no one seriously believes the Palestinians are interested in negotiations. They have had several opportunities during the two and a half years of the Obama administration but have consistently refused.
Now the Palestinians have decided the Third World anti-Israel majority in the United Nations will eliminate the need for them to even go through the charade of negotiations. UN recognition will mean they can have their state without recognizing Israel’s legitimacy or agreeing to end the conflict. This is a recipe for more bloodshed and an end of American influence in the region. Which is why any U.S. administration, even one as unfriendly to Israel as that of Obama, must veto such a resolution. But the president, who pines for the love of the Arab world in vain, doesn’t want to do it. So he is putting all of his effort into making Israel bribe the Palestinians into dropping the UN initiative.
This is madness for a number of reasons.
First, there is no reason for the U.S. to fold when in all likelihood, the Palestinians will have to give up anyway. Their plan has no chance of success.
Second, any Israeli concessions at this point will not lead to real peace talks. Had PA leader Mahmoud Abbas been willing to accept a Palestinian state in peace alongside Israel in borders that largely resemble what Obama is demanding, he could have said yes to such an offer in 2008 when Ehud Olmert put it on the table. But he said no then just as his predecessor Yasir Arafat said no to previous Israeli offers in 2000 and 2001. Given that he is now part of a coalition with the Islamists of Hamas, there is literally no chance Abbas can make peace now–no matter what gifts he is handed by Obama.
Netanyahu and Israel’s supporters in the United States are being told the Jewish state must give in on the borders to help Obama in the UN. But whether Netanyahu caves or not, there will be no peace talks and no UN recognition of a Palestinian state. All that would be accomplished by an Israeli surrender would be giving up its only bargaining chips — territory — in exchange for nothing. Even worse, doing so now would be an implicit recognition of Hamas’ legitimacy, which would mark yet another departure by the Obama administration from the pro-Israel policies of its predecessors.
Posted on 06/17/2011 2:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Brendan O'Neill On Miserable Tom MacMaster
15 June 2011
Why so many hacks fell for the ‘gay girl in Syria’
Fake blogger Tom MacMaster is not the only person who has magicked up an identity by morally leeching off other people’s conflicts.
The revelation that the Gay Girl in Damascus is actually a stubbly bloke in Edinburgh has sent shockwaves through the media. ‘How could he have done this?’, journalists are demanding of Tom MacMaster, the American self-confessed nerd based in Scotland who for six months pretended to be a dissident dyke in Syria. ‘Doesn’t he know the damage he has done to gay people in the Middle East and to the reputation of political blogging?’
These are the wrong questions. Because the most striking thing about this blogging hoax is not its potential impact over there, but what it reveals about culture, politics and journalism over here. The thing that ought to cause jaws to drop and eyebrows to rise is not Mr MacMaster’s deceitfulness - he isn’t the first mundane man to masquerade as something sexier on the world wide web - but rather the ease with which he planted himself in the cultural consciousness. It is the manipulability of the modern media, their wide-eyed openness to unchecked foreign stories that seem to confirm their prejudices, which should really be in the spotlight.
In many ways, MacMaster has only done in a more extreme, unrestrained fashion what is now commonplace in the media: discovered himself, forged an identity for himself, through other people’s political struggles and their seemingly more exotic existences. In projecting himself into Syria, imagining that he was a lesbian called Amina Arraf clashing with the Assad regime, MacMaster has taken to its perversely logical conclusion the modern trend where journalists and activists try to give a bit of meaning to their lives by morally leeching off foreign upheaval. His creation of a ventriloquist’s dummy through which he could spout his supposedly ‘authentic’ political feelings mirrors the modern-day fashion for turning put-upon foreign peoples, especially Middle Eastern ones, into vehicles for the working-out of middle-class Westerners’ existential angst.
One of the most remarkable things about his blog was the speed with which it became a go-to place for liberal hacks, bloggers and tweeters who wanted to know ‘the truth’ about life in Syria. MacMaster started his hoax in February, yet by the time he had invented Amina’s arrest by Assad’s forces on 6 June – an invention that would lead to his hoax being exposed – everyone from the pouting princess of the human rights lobby, Bianca Jagger, to mainstream newspapers such as the Guardian was reporting Amina’s words and thoughts as fact. On 7 June, Esther Addley, the Guardian’s senior news reporter no less, reported - without the benefit of the word ‘allegedly’ or any quote marks - that ‘[Amina was] teargassed, arrested and detained with other protesters’ and had now been ‘snatched from a Damascus street by three armed men and bundled into a vehicle’. Thus did an American man’s ramblings, written in Scotland, make it into a serious newspaper’s coverage of repression in Syria.
The Guardian even republished a supposed photo of Amina, though it was actually a picture that MacMaster had nicked from Facebook, showing a London-based Croatian woman called Jelena Lecic who popped up on BBC2’s Newsnight to deny being Syrian, a lesbian or a blogger. Meanwhile, the online human rights lobby rallied to Amina’s cause. It set up Facebook pages called ‘Free Amina Arraf’, and designed posters calling for her release. Made to look like cool, 1970s, radical Arab propaganda, the posters quoted from one of the ‘poems’ that ‘Amina’ ‘wrote’ on ‘her’ website: ‘Borders mean nothing / When you have wings.’ Thus did an American man’s crap poetry, written in Scotland, become the rallying cry of an international campaign to free a lesbian in Syria.
The media’s current focus on the clever nature of the gay-girl hoax (‘it is an elaborate hoax’, says a track-covering Guardian), overlooks what is easily the most important dynamic in this story: not MacMaster’s alleged powers of persuasion, but the media’s susceptibility to delusion. However well-written or seemingly authentic MacMaster’s blog was – and as it happens, some Syrians have said it was unconvincing – the fact is that it was just a blog; just a self-started website with various bits of personal writing and nothing to suggest that any of it was accurate or authoritative. Those complaining about being duped, Scooby Doo-style, by the apparent master of disguise that is Tom MacMaster need to have a word with themselves: it was their openness to being duped, their embrace of the seemingly made-in-heaven ‘gay girl in Damascus’ narrative with its achingly right-on contrast between a morally sensitive LGBT gal and a male-dominated regime, which really blew this blog out of all proportion.
The reason they were drawn to it, the reason this made-up blog could become a source for serious journalists, is not hard to fathom. It is because it pressed their political buttons, it massaged their moralistic worldview. Indeed it seems to have been designed to conform to the modern liberal tendency to reduce all foreign conflicts to simplistic morality tales, in which profound political complexities are airbrushed away in favour of flagging up the victimisation of (ideally gay) individuals by faceless rulers. Unable, or unwilling, to get a handle on what is really happening in Syria, to analyse or account for the inspiring uprising and serious violence there, journalists and activists glimpsed in this blog the opportunity to promote a fairytale version of events instead, complete with a pretty Cinderella-style figure (only gay) and the ugliest Ugly Sisters you could ever imagine (only male). That serious journalists fell for MacMaster’s fiction speaks to a profound crisis of objectivity in the modern media, and a preference for simplistic moralism over the tough task of reporting.
Indeed, many contemporary journalists and activists share something important in common with MacMaster. No, not a penchant for telling outright lies, but certainly a desire to discover themselves, to give their run-of-the-mill lives a shot of political adrenalin, by creaming off the experiences of ‘exotic’ Arabs or Africans or Asians. ‘I was very involved in issues surrounding the Palestine and Iraq struggles’, said MacMaster in his apology. ‘Ever since my childhood I had felt connected to the cultures and peoples of the Middle East…. So I invented her. Amina came alive. I could hear her “voice”.’ MacMaster says he mashed his own personality, and his views on Palestine, with Amina’s: ‘Some of her details were mine.’
Here, in this seemingly weird, po-mo, borderline crazy playing about with identity, we can actually glimpse a very mainstream modern phenomenon: the construction of identity and discovery of the self through the theatre of foreign affairs. From those Western pro-Palestinian activists who don the keffiyeh in a PC version of blacking-up, to the journalists and celebs who carved out new, super-moral public personas through their campaigning against the evils in Darfur, to the multitude of hacks and human rights activists who turned the war in Bosnia into their war, describing it with undiluted narcissism as a political ‘acid test for our generation’, time and again influential people in the West have reduced conflicts and clashes ‘over there’ to personality playpens, in which they might discover a new edge and spark to their own lives and existences.
Eschewing that oh-so-outdated approach of analysing the dynamics behind war or political upheaval, journalists and activists have preferred instead to make it all about them. Pro-Palestinian types advertise their moral indefatigability by standing alongside their favourite brown-skinned victims and shouting slogans at Evil Israel, while many journalists imagine that their brave reporting in Bosnia (I say brave. I say reporting) made them modern-day Schindlers facing down modern-day Nazis. The cultivation of identity through the moral hijacking of other people’s wars and misfortunes is an activity that has been around for years now, and it is one which has seen the line between fact and fiction in foreign reporting become increasingly blurred. MacMaster has taken it all one step further by completely inventing an imaginary exotic person through which he might express his desire for political momentum. That is because in the blind world of the blogosphere, it is possible for the wall between fact and fiction to be smashed down completely.
The trend for transforming other people’s struggles into self-serving morality plays has led to an alarmingly casual attitude towards the distinction between truth and lies. MacMaster justifies his fake blog by saying that he was ‘trying to enlighten people’. The Guardian says his blog might have been a hoax but it nonetheless ‘[drew] attention to a nation’s woes’. This sounds a lot like the ‘Good Lie’ defence, the idea that, yes, some of the facts might be a bit dodgy (all of them, in MacMaster’s case) but at least we have touched upon some broader if impressionistic ‘truth’. Such moral mendaciousness also echoes the arguments made by those reporters who, in the name of boosting their claim to historic fame, have in recent years warped or exaggerated events on the ground in various warzones: ‘Okay, we might have toyed with the facts, but we got at some deeper truth.’ This is another important thing exposed by the gay-girl blog hoax: the fact that modern political culture has a very dysfunctional relationship with Truth.
Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked. Read his personal website here.
reprinted from: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10608/
Posted on 06/17/2011 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 17 June 2011
Ten Paragraphs About Libya
1) Seif al-Islam told the Corriere della Sera the other day that his father's regime, the regime that had ruled "since 1969" in Libya, was "dead." He means that his father's power is gone, that he will never again be able to impose the kind of despotism over the state that he once did. He will never again be "King of Africa," never again take part in Arab League meetings even if only to mock other Arab rulers (which is why they voted for that "No-Fly Zone" that might lead to his removal, not out of any desire to spread "democracy" as some in the West apparently believe).
2) The war in Libya was begun by Great Britain, France, and the United States, which then became a task for NATO (which still means, mostly, Great Britain, France, and the United States, with a lot of help from Danish and Norwegian pilots and planes) began because people lost their heads. Nicolas Sarkozy lost his head, and so did Alain Juppe, neither of whom can see things clearly when it comes to dealing with the Camp of Islam, and dividing and demoralizing that camp, and encouraging every fissiparous impulse, and never ever endorsing anything that the Arab League might want, for its own reasons, the Western powers to accomplish for it. And so did David Cameron, a sudden sentimentalist, and William Hague who, just like Alain Juppe, has never gotten the Middle East clear, as his longstanding failure to grasp the nature of the war against Israel, and like Juppe his palpable want of sympathy for that beleaguered Infidel state, make clear.
3) And they were joined by Barack Obama, who had no time to consult with Congress then, was uninterested in what members of Congress felt then, or apparently now, some 90 days since the beginning of hostilities, and is prepared to rely on a cockamamie interpretive loophole provided by the office of Harold Koh -- but was prepared to rely, was delighted to rely, on a statement by the Arab League -- not unanimous, since both Syria and Algeria abstained -- that it wanted to see a "No-Fly Zone" over Libya, and was perfectly happy to let Western states do its bidding. And Obama was also pleased that the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution -- that "international community" that Hillary Clinton keeps talking about, and that does not exist, in this case consisted of "all" the members of the Security Council except for Russia, China, Brazil, India, and Germany, states of course entirely inconsequential whose views and votes hardly matter.
4) Now three months of the bombing campaign have resulted in all sorts of civilian deaths that, supposedly, Western intervention was designed to prevent. More than 10,000 sorties have been flown by NATO pilots. The supposed help that would come from the Arabs amounts, as far as I can tell, to some easily-spared millions sent to Benghazi, and a flyover by one or two Qatari and Emirati planes (who was piloting them), accompanied by Western chaperone-pilots making sure no harm would come to those symbolic but militarily insignificant flights by Arab planes.
The results have been, for the West, as follows:
5) About 1.5 million barrels of oil from Libya have ceased to flow -- oil that is "sweet" and desirable, and that Italy, in particular, relied on. That has led to a rise in oil prices that any American driver will have felt. Overall, the removal of that oil has probably led to a rise that has given the Muslim members of OPEC many tens of billions more, and cost the non-Muslim members of the Western alliance many tens of billions more.
6) Tens of thousands of surface-to-air missiles are no longer under Qaddafy's iron control and are in danger, of being seized, by "rebels" of unclear sympathies and by all sorts of others, including non-Libyan Arabs, now much freer to operate and plot in eastern Libya.An alrmed American government has hired private Western companies with employees inside Libya to find and secure arms depots and then to search for missiles which have gone missing. Some of those missiles may already have left Libya. Most of the missiles remain in control of the Tripoli regime. Should theQaddafy regime collapse completely, those weapons will be harder to control in the chaos that will follow. Should power in western Libya instead be transferred from Qaddafy to his son Seif al-Islam, it would be easier to control such weapons.
7) No one in the Qaddafy family or his entourage can get Qaddafy to leave. But repeated offers to negotiate, to strike a deal, have been ignored by the Western powers. Why? Qaddafy cannot possibly last as ruler in Libya, so why not allow his family to ease him out of power, but allow him to remain somewhere in Libya -- guarded, and held prisoner at the same time, by Libyan troops. Let Seif al-Islam show what he can do in western Libya.
8) Aware that he is under constant Western observation, Seif al-Islam would not dare to try to retake eastern Libya. He would also be keenly aware of the need to do the West's bidding about guarding weapons depots; he might even be persuaded, in those negotiations, to allow direct monitoring of such missiles by the West. In return,he would have the right to rule. And he would be allowed to use his forces defensively, should the anti-government forces in eastern Libya tried to move into western Libya.
9) The new regime in western Libya would agree to help Italy and other Western countries prevent the smuggling of would-be immigrants from Libya to Italy and other countries of Western Europe, and would use the kind of force that the Western powers still feel unable to use, to stop such traffic.
10) The regime in eastern Libya -- whatever it turns out to be -- would be similarly monitored, and warned it would be judged by the West, its only hope, on whether or not it allows the West to monitor and guard weapons depots, to search for and recover missiles that are unaccounted-for, and how it participates in, or assists, in a Western blockade of boats used to bring Libyans and others (Tunisians, Egyptians, Algerians, sub-Saharan Africans of every kind) to the West, where it is apparently still too difficult for some governments simply to send them right back either to their countries of origin or to their point of departure.
Posted on 06/17/2011 8:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald