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

These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 23, 2012.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
'The Taliban want to kill me. But I am fighting for my daughters’ freedom’

From the Telegraph

Fawzia Koofi hopes to be Afghanistan’s first woman president. The Taliban are determined to stop her. The last time that the Taliban tried to murder Fawzia Koofi, she was in her car with her two young daughters. When the first bullet was fired, they were travelling from the eastern province of Jalalabad to the Afghan capital, Kabul, along a dangerous and narrow road wedged between two mountains and a river.

Koofi was the first female member of the new Afghanistan parliament elected in 2005. In 2014, she intends to stand in the presidential election. The Taliban would rather she didn’t. And so they shoot at her, her family and her entourage. She has watched as two members of her police escort were killed. She’s survived an assassination attempt in her office. Her vehicle has been forced off the road by men wearing the uniforms of the intelligence service, her driver dragged from the car and beaten. Every month she receives letters warning Fawzia her life is in danger.

Given the threat of death that hangs heavily over all of their lives, one has to ask why she continues in her quest to become president of Afghanistan, even if the answer – emancipation for women, and for the country as a whole – is obvious. “We all die anyway,” she says simply, and it is interesting that in many ways, she is as fatalistic as the suicide bombers she is on constant watch for. But then Koofi was supposed to die the day she was born. Koofi is as experienced in death as she is in life.

She was the 19th of her father’s 23 children, born to the second of his seven wives, her battle beginning as soon as she was conceived. In the village where her parents lived, baby girls were considered worthless, and so it was that Koofi’s mother spent the duration of her pregnancy praying for a boy. It could not have helped that she was exhausted, having already borne seven children, or sick with worry about being usurped because her husband had just taken his latest wife – a 14 year old – who had recently given birth to a son.

When Fawzia was delivered after a 30-hour labour, her mother was only semi-conscious, and refused to hold her. Fawzia was wrapped in a cloth and placed on the ground outside in the baking sun, where she was left until the next day. The family, hearing the newborn’s screams and seeing the burns to her face, expected her to die. But she didn’t. And when her mother was better she vowed to do her best by her daughter – though illiterate herself, she made sure that Fawzia was the first girl in the family to be allowed to go to school.

Fawzia, who has now written a memoir, remembers her father beating her mother. Yet she doesn’t feel any ill will towards him. As she points out, that was the norm in Afghanistan during the Seventies. In many parts of the country, it still is.

If anything, Fawzia’s father was her inspiration. Like Koofi today, he represented the province of Badakhshan in the Afghan parliament, serving under the Shahs, the communists, and the Mujahideen, who assassinated him when she was just three years old. In the many bloody battles that have been fought in Afghanistan, Koofi has also lost several of her brothers. Her husband was imprisoned by the Taliban for marrying her, a member of a political family perceived by them to be troublesome. He died of tuberculosis shortly afterwards, and Koofi says she has been married to politics ever since.

We meet in a hotel in London. She has come here to tell her story to the West – she feels that as long as President Hamid Karzai continues to attempt so-called reconciliation talks with the Taliban, it is an important story to tell. “I feel that the international community is not planning a peace process based on the realities on the ground in Afghanistan. It is based on the realities of their own countries, and what it will take to be re-elected. But with the Taliban involved there will never be peace. Already, the people that Obama and Cameron talk to [in the Afghan government] are in turn trying to bribe the Taliban with promises to curb the freedoms of women. Oh yes, there was stability under the Taliban, but it was a dead stability. There was no life. Nobody on the streets could breathe.”

Koofi still sees examples of horrific brutality, and she worries about the imminent withdrawal of British and American troops: look, she says, at what happened to her country after the withdrawal of the Soviets (the 23rd anniversary of which was marked just last week).

“A month ago, I met a girl who had been locked underground by her husband because she refused to go into prostitution. She was just 15, and had never even had a period. Her nails had been pulled out. There was no part of her skin that hadn’t been bruised or marked in some way. They fed her only every other day. In Afghanistan, these things still happen.”

And so she is not scared. “Life does become heavy for me,” she says. “There is a huge responsibility on my shoulders. But they [the Taliban] could get me anywhere. And I know that if they want to kill me, then it is only because I am a threat to them. That means I am succeeding.”

she wants the world to remember the following: “Women have not been involved in the country’s destruction. We do not have blood on our hands. We have been agents of peace, and if anyone tries not to include us in the process of peace, then it will not be easy for them.”

Like Captain Malalai Kakar of the Afhganistan police I expect they will get her in the end.

Posted on 02/23/2012 3:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Burned Qurans held extremist messages

From CBS: KABUL, Afghanistan - Muslim holy books that were burned in a pile of garbage at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan had been removed from a library at a nearby detention center because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions, a western military official said Tuesday.

The military official with knowledge of the incident said it appeared that the Qurans (Korans) and other Islamic readings were being used to fuel extremism, and that detainees at Parwan Detention Facility were writing on the documents to exchange extremist messages.

The burning stoked anti-foreign sentiment that already is on the rise after a decade of war in Afghanistan. It also fueled the arguments of Afghans who claim foreign troops are not respectful of their culture or Islamic religion. "Die, die, foreigners!" the demonstrators shouted

The demonstrations are into their third day.

KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban urged Afghans on Thursday to target foreign military bases and kill Westerners in retaliation for burnings of copies of the Koran at NATO's main base in the country as a third day of violent protests began.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered across the country, some chanting "Death to America!," Reuters witnesses and officials said. In eastern Kabul, hundreds of youths threw rocks at police, who fired shots into the air to try disperse the crowds.

"Our brave people must target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases," read an e-mailed Taliban statement released by the insurgency's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "They have to kill them (Westerners), beat them and capture them to give them a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy Koran again."

KABUL - The Interior Ministry on Wednesday said seven people were killed in clashes between Afghan security forces and protesters demonstrating against the burning of Muslim holy books at a NATO military base. Supporters of the Jamiat Talba-e-Arabia group chant slogans while burning a US flag during an anti-American rally in Karachi February 22, 2012, after the burning of copies of the Koran at NATO's main base in Afghanistan.

In Parwan, provincial police chief Akram Bigzad said about 2,000 protesters were demonstrating outside a district headquarters when some of them opened fire with weapons. "In the crowd there were rebels and Taliban who had weapons. They opened fire and fighting started. Four were killed and 10 were wounded. They are Talib," Bigzad said.

A protest in Logar province also turned violent after someone in a group of about 300 demonstrators opened fire on police. Police returned fire, killing one protester, said provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Roogh Lawanay. Two protesters and two police officers were also wounded, he added. He said the protesters had come from neighboring Wardak province, an insurgent hotbed.

According to the Daily Mail the The American Embassy in Afghanistan said its staff were in 'lockdown'.  U.S. An effigy of  President Barack Obama,daubed with the words 'black dog Obama' was paraded through the streets in front of raucous mobs before being burned in the street. 

Posted on 02/23/2012 3:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 February 2012
An Arab Analysis Which, While Wide Of The Mark, Is Also Revealing

From GulfNews:

Pan-Arabism used to divide and rule

Arab Spring has revealed that the regimes of Iraq, Libya and Syria were not only separatist, tribal and sectarian at heart, but also very self-destructive

  • By Faisal Al Qasim
  • February 22, 2012

Although Arab autocrats, particularly the so-called Pan-Arabists, have over the decades mouthed fervid nationalist slogans and called for unifying the Arab world into a single entity, in actual fact, they were very separatist rulers. While they raised nationalist slogans in the media, in reality they divided their countries into tribes, clans and sects so that they could control the people using the well-known colonialist ruse: divide and rule.

We were surprised to note that after the fall of Saddam Hussain's regime, the pan-Arabist rule that Saddam used to brag about day and night in his tightly controlled media was no more than a mirage, if not a huge lie. When the president's aides were chased by American forces, all of a sudden they switched their western suits for tribal costumes.

On television, many of us saw prominent figures of the fallen regime surrounded in their villages by tribesmen. Even Saddam himself took refuge in his tribe's stronghold when he fled Baghdad. He was captured in the town of Tikrit where his clan held sway over the decades.

It is no wonder that Iraq fell apart after the American invasion of the country because it functioned along tribal and sectarian lines under the Baath regime.

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, in turn, used to sing praises of Pan-Arabism for years on end. He also used to chide Arab rulers during Arab summits for failing to build the so-called Arab homeland, which was supposed to stretch from Mauritania to Damascus or from the ocean to the Gulf.

Second-rate tribesman

And funnily enough, when Gaddafi failed in his presumed mission to unify the Arab world, he headed for Africa in the hope of unifying the continent. Nobody, in actual fact, took him seriously, either in the Arab world or in Africa, as he was known to be nothing but a second-rate tribesman who was not even interested in unifying his clan, let alone his country or the outside world.

Similarly, the Syrian revolution seems to have exposed the Pan-Arabist slogans of the Bashar Al Assad regime as the country is now on the brink of a civil war between the regime's tribe and the majority of the Syrian people.

The Syrian leadership, which has never missed an opportunity to raise nationalist banners over the decades, now finds itself in the cold in the face of a popular intifada stretching from the city of Daraa in the south to the city of Idlib in the north.

Although the regime is strong militarily, at least till now, the country could easily fall apart if the Damascus leadership doesn't stop its military cleansing of the rebellious cities, particularly the city of Homs.

The blessed Arab revolutions have revealed that the so-called Pan-Arabist regimes of Iraq, Libya and Syria are not only separatist, tribal and sectarian at heart, but also very self-destructive.

A short time before his fall when Saddam began to feel that his regime was about to crumble, he said "we will not leave power until we destroy everything". And he did. He brought his country down to its knees by his foolish and diabolical policies. He was eventually executed for his efforts.

Sadly, had Saddam left power when he was pressed by his people, the Arabs and the West, Iraq would have been in much better shape today.

In a perennial hole

If a donkey falls into a hole once, it is most likely to avoid it the next time. In other words, it learns from its experiences. But Arab autocrats tend to fall into the same hole which their predecessors fell into — again and again.

Instead of learning from Saddam's case, Gaddafi repeated the same mistake. Like Saddam, he wanted to take revenge against his people while he was in power and after his ouster.

Had Gaddafi accepted the safe passage offers granted by the National Transitional Council, he would have been alive now, and Libya would have been in a much better position.

In other words, all the destruction and internal strife that has ensued in Libya are a result of Gaddafi's tomfoolery and bull-headedness. It is the way he responded to the Libyan revolution that has led to the hardships which the Libyan people face today.

Although Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has seen how Gaddafi was killed by his own people with the help of the outside world, he seems to be following the same path. He has impoverished the country with the war he is waging against his people, and he may even cause the country to descend into sectarian chaos if he keeps killing his kith and kin.

In a word, sectarianists, tribalists and brutish leaders have never ever managed to build nations, because they are naturally deviated individuals. They have never been satisfied with corrupting and impoverishing their countries while in power, they also wanted them to suffer ever so badly after their demise, which is sadly the case now in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Dr Faisal Al Qasim is a Syrian journalist based in Doha.
Posted on 02/23/2012 8:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Ali Ukla Ursan, Apologist For Terrorism, Antisemite, Conspiracy Crank, Gets The Pushkin Medal

From The New York Times:

February 23, 2012

Russian Cultural Honor For a Controversial Syrian

MOSCOW — Amid the escalating violence in Syria and a diplomatic outcry over Russia’s actions blocking intervention by the United Nations, President Dmitri A. Medvedev bestowed a prestigious cultural award on a Syrian writer and poet who has publicly applauded the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and expressed strong anti-Semitic views.

The writer, Ali Ukla Ursan, also known for close ties to Russia, was one of 11 foreign honorees to receive prestigious awards for their close ties to Russia at a ceremony last week at Mr. Medvedev’s presidential residence.

“I want to present each of you with Russian Federation state decorations, decorations awarded in recognition of your great services,” Mr. Medvedev said, according to a transcript posted on the president’s Web site. “Here today are people who have made a special and very valuable contribution to developing humanitarian relations and bring closer together everyone with an interest in Russia, its language, history and modern life.”

In accepting his prize, called the Pushkin Medal, Mr. Ursan, a former chairman and now adviser to the Syrian Writers Union, made pointedly political remarks. “I thank Russia for its wise policies,” he said, according to the transcript. “I thank this nation for its decisive and steady position against aggression, terrorism and attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of other states and people in the context of a unipolar world.”

Throughout the nearly yearlong popular uprising in Syria and a lethal government crackdown, Moscow has thrown President Bashar al-Assad a lifeline, providing weapons and diplomatic support to help keep his government afloat.

In honoring Mr. Ursan, the Russian president lauded a writer who has displayed a tolerance for terrorism — when aimed at the United States. On Sept. 25, 2001, Mr. Ursan described his reaction to the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings two weeks earlier. “My lungs filled with air, and I breathed in relief as I had never breathed before,” he wrote in Al Usbu Al Udabi a Damascus literary magazine.

A spokesman for Mr. Medvedev, Aleksei Pavlov, said the current political situation in Syria was not a factor in Mr. Ursan’s selection for the prize, which he said was apparently made several months ago. “He is a writer, not an arms seller,” Mr. Pavlov said. He added that Mr. Ursan “objectively” deserved the award, based on his work developing partnerships between Syrian and Soviet and later Russian writers, as well as his work on numerous translations of Arabic and Russian literature.

Mr. Ursan did not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment and could not be reached by telephone.

Under Russian law, the president is responsible for approving nominations for the state awards, which are submitted by the Foreign Ministry.

Word that Mr. Ursan had been honored by Mr. Medvedev drew quick criticism from a leading Jewish organization in Russia, and from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism around the world.

“Our center was shocked,” Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, wrote in a letter to Mr. Medvedev. “Ursan is an extreme opponent of peace, normalization or even contact between Syria and Israel or Israelis, having successfully contributed to sabotaging the 1999 peace talks between two countries. He is a conspiracy theorist and apologist for terrorism.”

Baruch Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, said a representative of Rabbi Berl Lazar, the chief Hasidic rabbi in Russia, would voice consternation over the award to the presidential administration at a meeting this week of Mr. Medvedev’s Committee of Multinational Relations. “We hope that it is not more than a stupid mistake,” Mr. Gorin said.

Mr. Ursan’s 2001 commentary was featured prominently in a report and documentary by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington group, on reaction in the Arab world to the 9/11 attacks.

“My soul was inundated by tremendous bitterness, revulsion, disgust towards the country that in the past half-century has racked up only a black history of oppression and support for the aggression and racism of the Nazi Zionists and for apartheid in South Africa,” Mr. Ursan wrote.

He wrote about feeling momentary compassion for the innocent people “under the ruins” but said that he was “overwhelmed” by anger toward the United States and that the attacks should force American officials to rethink their policies.

Mr. Ursan has frequently spoken out against Israel and Jews. In the same magazine in February 2000 [he could not have been an apologist for the 2001 attacks in an article in Feb. 2000, so something is not quite right here] , Mr. Ursan wrote: “The covetous, racist and hated Jew Shylock who cut the flesh from Antonio’s chest with the knife of hatred, invades you with his money, his modern airplanes, his missiles and his nuclear bombs.”

Valery N. Ganichev, the chairman of the Russian Writers Union, said Mr. Ursan was a well-regarded colleague who had visited Russia several times and also played host to delegations of Russian writers visiting Syria.

“Among other things, he was awarded for the constant creative and spiritual cooperation with the writers of Russia,” Mr. Ganichev said. “He visited our country many times. He knows Pushkin works very well.” [I'll bet]

Mr. Ganichev said he was unaware of Mr. Ursan’s anti-American and anti-Semitic writings and doubted that he would have praised the events of Sept. 11. But he quickly added: “Actually, this is his own business. We are grateful that he was interested in the Russian culture. Politics is a different matter.”

Posted on 02/23/2012 8:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Corrections

Thanks to Christina for finding this piece in Israel Today, which could be corrected in a jiffy using my special Infidel Friendly Find 'n' Replace Tool:

A mob of some 50 Palestinian Arab Muslims stoned a group of Christian tourists atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Sunday morning. Three of the Israeli police officers who acted to protect the Christian group were wounded by the stone-throwers.

Police arrested 11 Palestinians Arab Muslims, several of them minors, for their role in the attack.

The attack is believed to have been instigated by the former Muslim mufti of Jerusalem, Ekrama Sabri, who told Palestinian local Arab media over the weekend that Jewish groups were planning to break into the mosques that occupy the holy compound and desecrate them.

Sabri urged all local Muslims to protect the mosques from "the Israeli conspiracy against the city and its holy places."

Muslim religious figures regularly claim that Israel is plotting to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque to pave the way for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, which the Muslims now insist never previously existed.

Because of the constant threat of Muslim violence, and despite the fact that the Temple Mount is the most holy place on earth to Jews and many Christians, the dhimmi Israeli police comply with Muslim demands for harsh restrictions on non-Muslim visitors to the site. For instance, Jews and Christians are forbidden to carry Bibles atop the Temple Mount or to utter even silent prayers within its walls. Jews and Christians are regularly detained for violating these conditions.

In other violence, Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip Gazan Jihadists fired a Grad-type missile at the southern Israel city of Beersheva on Saturday. The projectile landed in an open area just outside Beersheva and did not cause any injuries or damage. Two more short-range rockets hit nearby Israeli towns.

Palestinian Local Arab Muslim forces fired at least two rockets at southern Israel - one at the coastal city of Ashkelon - on Friday, again causing no injuries or damage.

Israel's air force responded to the unprovoked missile attacks by launching aerial strikes against terrorist Jihadist installations in Gaza, including a missile production facility.

The Infidel Friendly Find 'n' Replace Tool is on sale at New English Review, together with our range of high quality jiffies in which to do things. Click here.

Posted on 02/23/2012 11:04 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 23 February 2012
European Court Of Human Rights Has Gone Crazy And Must Be Ignored

Court: Italy Must Compensate Somali, Eritrean Migrants

February 23rd, 2012

A European court says Italy must pay a group of African migrants more than $22,000 each for illegally returning them to Libya.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Italy violated the rights of 11 Somali and 13 Eritrean migrants who it intercepted in the Mediterranean in May 2009 and quickly handed over to Libyan authorities.

The court said Italian officials denied the migrants a chance to explain their circumstances and imposed what amounted to collective punishment. It said they also exposed the migrants to the risk of ill treatment in Libya and the risk of arbitrary return to their home countries.

The migrants had lodged a complaint with the court 20 days after being forced back to Libya.

At the time, Italy said the return was based on an agreement it made with Libya, designed to reduce illegal immigration.

Thousands of Africans board boats for Europe each year, trying to escape poverty, oppression or conflict in their home countries. [they flee the miseries of Muslim societies -- and bring Islam with them]

Posted on 02/23/2012 11:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Incorrigible

Just when you thought The Guardian couldn't sink any lower, it carries an article by a Dozy Bint called Randa Musa, whose owner -- sorry, husband -- Khadar Adan, was, according to The Australian:

... a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed violent group that has killed dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks. It is not known whether Mr Adnan participated in violent acts.

A YouTube video shows Mr Adnan praising suicide bombers and calling on Palestinians to carry out more violence at a rally in 2007. "Who among you will carry the next explosive belt? Who among you will fire the next bullets? Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?" he can be heard saying.

His wife's tearful plea is meant to make your heart bleed. Instead it had that effect upon my pen. I need to stock up on red ink, as well as more jiffies, next time I shop for stationery. (Do you keep stationery? No, I move around a lot towards the end.) I imagine there won't be a wet eye among our readers:

The name of my husband, Khadar Adnan, has now become known across the world. Four months ago he was unknown outside our homeland, Palestine. His hunger strike of 66 days has transformed him into a global figure and a shining symbol of my people's struggle.

Our life was turned upside down on 17 December 2011 when Israeli troops raided our home in Araba village, south of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. It was about 3am when they broke down the doors and stormed into our house. The havoc they wreaked will always remain etched on the minds of our two daughters, Ma'ali, aged four, and Baysan, one-and-a-half years old. I would not be surprised if even our unborn baby will also be affected. Such was the trauma that accompanied the Israeli raid.

Khadar has been an student activist for many years. He is no shadowy figure but an outspoken local leader against the Israeli occupation. He is well known to both the Israeli occupation authorities and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Both have detained him for various periods without charge.

This constant harassment has stood between Khadar and the completion of his master's degree in economics. Yet, we remain a normal couple, yearning for the much-needed stability and freedom to raise our children; to give them the happiness that is the entitlement of every child. With my own university degree, I have no doubt that as parents, we are well equipped to realise our ambitions. But life under Israel's military occupation has turned our dream into a nightmare.

Not for the first time, Khadar has used hunger strike, his powerful form of peaceful protest, to great effect. When the Palestinian Authority forces detained him in 2010 he went on a hunger strike for 12 consecutive days, forcing the Ramallah authority to release him.

Likewise, he staged several hunger strikes in the occupation's detention camps. The last of these was carried out in 2005, which lasted nine days in solitary confinement.

What drives my husband to pursue this dangerous and difficult form of resistance? I have no doubt it is the unjust nature of "administrative detention" and its notorious methods of torture and humiliation. From the moment he was bundled into their military vehicle in December, insults and veiled threats were thrown at him. They even tried to unhinge him psychologically by claiming I was unfaithful, a vicious calumny he dismissed with scorn.

I know my husband well; I love him, and will always remain faithful to him. He knows this and this is why he spurned the cheap talk of his tormentors.

Khadar was never motivated by personal hurt or inconvenience. He, like thousands of other young Palestinians, is determined to see an end to the occupation. He is driven by a higher logic: to expose to the world the plight of imprisoned Palestinians. Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have passed through Israeli jails – many of them in administrative detention – an average of one in four in the occupied territories.

Administrative detention is a nebulous and vindictive measure used by the occupation against our young men and women. It is one of the cruel legacies of the old British mandate in Palestine. Today, in the absence of any deterrent or condemnation from the international community, Israel uses it with increasing frequency against university students and lecturers, young professionals and even elected parliamentarians. Some 300 are being held. It is part of an immoral policy used to keep Palestinians in a state of perpetual poverty and underdevelopment.

When a military commander issues an order for administrative detention, no evidence is produced. No charges are brought against the victims, and the occupation has no obligation to give reasons for the detention. This is by no means a legal mechanism. It is simply an arbitrary draconian measure used to inflict psychological and physical harm on its victims. When they are fortunate enough to be brought before a judge, he can detain them for periods of six months that can be extended indefinitely. The prisoners problem is so prevalent today that Palestinians have had to create a special ministry for prisoners' affairs.

I know my husband is not selfish. This is why I supported him every step of the way. As with any devoted wife, I am duty bound to help him bear the burden of our oppressed people. Our relatives and extended family have supported us with equal fortitude. Indeed, I would not be telling a lie if I say that all Palestinians across the whole political spectrum and millions of freedom-loving people in the world have also stood with us.The occupation has decided, under pressure, to free my husband in April, but hundreds more will continue to languish in putrid cells under the same illegal, inhuman scheme. Khadar has, however, delivered his message: that this long night of tyranny and inhumanity will come to an end.

We are well aware that the Israelis may try to renege on this week's agreement – as they have done with the recent prisoner exchange deal – by re-arresting the freed prisoners. But for every occasion there will be a response, and I have no doubt my husband would not hesitate to resume his stoic struggle with even more strength and determination.

For me, the most difficult part of this ordeal has been the knowledge that at any time I could receive a phone call announcing that my husband is dead. But this is the price for our freedom. It is the indispensable sacrifice needed so that our children might enjoy a life of freedom and dignity.

To the free world, the millions who heard of Khadar and supported him by calling for his release, I extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Not black or white but red all over.

Posted on 02/23/2012 11:36 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 23 February 2012
BA baggage handler 'who was groomed to be a terrorist' claims he was sacked for being a Muslim

From The Daily Mail

A 'terrorist sympathiser' linked to a notorious airline bomb plot is claiming he was unfairly sacked as a British Airways baggage handler because of his religion. Counter terrorist police found an apparent plan to groom Shahzada Khan to place a package on a plane bound for America.

During an investigation into Rajib Karim, who was jailed for 30 years last March for plotting to place a bomb on an airplane heading to America, police discovered emails between Karim and Khan, as well as emails between Karim and hate-preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.

Cracking the heavily-encrypted emails, police suspected Karim and al-Awlaki were grooming Khan to help them smuggle a bomb onto an American-bound plane. There were also clips of 'martyrdom' and explosions interspersed with an image of a BA executive clubcard.

A PDF file was being downloaded when officers arrived at Khan's home in Slough, which described America as: 'The land of shame, crime, vile, filth and evil. Furthermore it is the most populous in whore house, homosexuality and lesbianism.'

Police also discovered Khan had given money to Karim, which they suspected was to help fund terrorist activities. A knife was also discovered in Khan's work locker, which he denied knowledge of, and photographs of planes were found on his mobile phone, although he said these were taken in his role as a health and safety representative.

Khan was arrested during the counter terror investigation but ultimately released without charge due to a lack of direct evidence, the tribunal was told. Khan admitted meeting Karim up to 10 times for dinner, as well as playing football and cricket with the terrorist. he also invited him into his own home.

Following the allegations, British Airways sacked Khan last December,.

But Khan has now launched legal action, saying he was unfairly dismissed for religious reasons. Sara Edwards, who was a baggage operations manager at Heathrow during Khan's employment, told the tribunal in Reading how she was 'very alarmed' when police handed over transcripts of messages sent between Karim and al-Awlaki.

She said: 'My key concern was that Mr Khan posed a security risk to BA due to his connections with terrorism. While there was no actual evidence of Khan being involved in any terrorist plots I considered it far too much of a risk to British Airways to keep him in the business.

'Any link to terrorism cannot be tolerated within an organisation which is a key target for terrorist groups.' 'In my mind Khan could have been an individual who was in an appropriate role which would allow him access to a plane to place a package on board.'

Miss Edwards described how police revealed to the company he had been unhelpful during days of interviews while under arrest during the counter terror investigation.

'Without a proper explanation from Mr Karim, it seemed to me that the anti-American documents and contents of the DVD were suggestive of him at the very least having sympathetic views with terrorist causes.'

Material handed over to the company by detectives also revealed Karim had Mr Khan’s number saved in his phone under the name 'shzd.'

The same four letters were used in emails with al-Awlaki to refer to the man they hoped would one day place a bomb on a plane bound for America. The communications were so heavily protected it took police months to break through layer after layer of encryption.

The tribunal heard how a British Airways employee had gone to police once the terror plot was rumbled and blamed Mr Khan for a previous incident, in 2007. A baggage pallet destined for Islamabad, in Pakistan, had been put on a flight to New York and police had been called in to investigate. However, neither the police nor British Airways could find any evidence Khan was involved.

The tribunal heard that Karim worked for the airline as an IT expert but needed a contact with an airside pass to place a package on a plane. Mr Khan had an airside pass, which was confiscated after his arrest and had not been returned by the time he was sacked. Mr Khan, in a subsequent sacking appeal hearing, which he lost, denied being the 'shzd' referred to in Karim's emails.

A statement from British Airways said: 'The safety and security of our customers, aircraft and employees is always our overriding priority and we will never compromise in this area. Following information from the Metropolitan Police and our own thorough investigation, we concluded that we could not continue to employ Mr Khan.

Posted on 02/23/2012 11:38 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 February 2012
A Musical Interlude: Please Don't Mention It (Al Bowlly, Anona Winn)
Listen here.
Posted on 02/23/2012 11:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Winning Modesty Of Meg Whitman

From an article in today's New York Times:

Hewlett-Packard reported Wednesday that net income fell sharply and warned of continued weakness, but its new chief executive expressed confidence in her ability to turn the company around.

Meg Whitman, the company’s new chief, said that she would succeed. “I’ve done this a number of times in my career,” Ms. Whitman said during a call with Wall Street analysts. “It’s what great business leaders do.”

Posted on 02/23/2012 11:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Infidel Effort In Afghanistan Is Wasteful And Hopeless

From Reuters:

Afghanistan demands NATO put Koran-burners on trial


Feb 23, 2012

Afghanistan wants NATO to put on public trial those who burned copies of the Koran at a NATO base, President Hamid Karzai's office said on Thursday, after a third day of bloody protests over the incident.

It said NATO had agreed to a trial, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

Karzai had earlier accused a U.S. officer of "ignorantly" burning copies of the Koran, in an incident that has deepened anti-Western sentiment in a country NATO is trying to stabilize before foreign combat troops leave by the end of 2014.

Demonstrations have drawn thousands of angry Afghans to the streets, chanting "Death to America!" amid violence that has killed 11 people including two U.S. service personnel.

"NATO officials, in response to a request for the trial and punishment of the perpetrators ... promised this crime will brought to court as soon as possible," Karzai's office said in a statement.

President Barack Obama sent a letter to Karzai apologizing for the burning of the Korans, after Afghan laborers found charred copies while collecting rubbish at the sprawling Bagram air base.

Obama told Karzai the incident was not intentional.

The letter, which the White House said was a follow-up to a phone call earlier this week between the two leaders to discuss a "long-term partnership" between Washington and Kabul, was delivered to Karzai by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Karzai's office said in a statement Obama had promised to investigate those involved in the incident.

Karzai said the American officer had acted "out of ignorance and with poor understanding" of the Koran's importance, a presidential statement said.


Posted on 02/23/2012 12:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Where Is That Greedy Smyler Craig Mortensen?

Remember "Three Cups of Tea"? It was Inspirational Uplift, and the Message was that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with Muslims in Afghanistan, because there was nothing wrong with Islam, and so if we only did our bit, just like disinterested noble Craig Mortensen (now reduced to counting his banknotes in some secret hideaway, so as to enjoy his loot but not to have to suffer any public embarrassment over what he did to get it), Afghanistan could be changed.

No, it can't. It's a violent and wretched place, with almost all of the population miserably primitive in thought, word, and deed, and kept primitive by their unshakeable devotion to Islam, which primitivizes all those who take it to heart. That is what Western leaders do not want to believe, because it would require them to admit that their efforts -- in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, or right at home, spending money in order to "integrate" permanently-unintegrable, and moderately-to-extremely menacing domestic populatioins of Muslims -- have been based on ignorance and a wilful refusal to learn what they have a duty to learn.

I put up more than a year ago a piece that illustrated the reception of "Three Cups of Tea" -- a book that did so much damage to the understanding of Afghanistan, at all levels, and not only among those earnest ladies (and a few gentlemen) who turned out for those library lectures where the topic was the library's chosen Book of the Month, that is Craig Mortensen's millions-making mendacity:

Monday, 18 April 2011

One of thousands of laudatory stories about Greg Mortensen, all of them essentially the same gush:

April 01, 2009

Man and Book Change the World:
The (Continuing) Story of Greg Mortenson

Three Cups of TeaWhen Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson addressed the thousand people attending the 20th annual Love of Literacy Luncheon in West PalmThe Levenger gang with Greg Mortensen, March 27, 2009 Beach last Friday, he had some bad news, some good news and (to me at least) some surprising news about literacy in Afghanistan. 

The bad news: The Taliban has bombed hundreds of schools, targeting especially those attended by girls.

The good news: In the year 2000, only about 800,000 children between the ages of 5 and 15 were in school in Afghanistan, and almost all of them were boys. Eight years later, in 2008, the figure was 7.2 million children in school, and 2 million of them were girls.

Why is the number of girls in school so important? Because, explained Mortenson, drawing on an African proverb, when you educate a boy, you educate an individual; when you educate a girl, you educate a community. The girls not only stay around to educate siblings and eventually their own children, but they often educate their mothers.

And it is a mother, says Mortenson,  who must grant permission for a son to go on Jihad.

The surprising news: Mortenson said in the schools his organization has helped build, they have retained an Afghanistan tradition where elders do story time two or three times a week. Apparently 90% of Afghan children listen to their elders pass on the traditions of their culture. This compares with only 10% of American children who do so.

Are we missing something here?

It takes a family…

American parents know how important it is to read to their children, and they often do so up to the time their children begin to read for themselves. But educators here say parents often stop too soon. Further, one of the downsides of the very mobile American society is that grandparents are often far from their grandchildren. Both miss out on story time using books or just the elders’ memories.

But continuing to read to children who can already read has continuing benefits.

When I reported on Mortenson before, I emphasized that his East Asia Institute ensures the community’s involvement in its school by insisting that the local communities provide free land, unskilled construction labor and ongoing support. This partnership model is similar to the successful Room-to-Read efforts and the model proven to work in this country by Andrew Carnegie a hundred years ago.

Mortenson takes heart in a recent survey that says 40% of American college students want to make a difference in the world—a figure higher now than in recent years. “The only way we can solve poverty is to touch, taste, smell and be with poverty ourselves,” he says. But there are so very many ways to make a difference—by being teachers, going into medicine, or working in many businesses.

A toast to the Tea

Mortenson had just come from a meeting at the Pentagon with General Petraeus. The general told him he had learned much from Three Cups of Tea and has made it mandatory reading for U.S. soldiers going to Afghanistan. This time it’s not only a military surge we’re engaging in, but a surge for education and infrastructure as well.

Three Cups of Tea has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 100 weeks or so. Read it and  you’ll see why. In one stroke, it shows how a person, and a book, can change our world.

Posted on 02/23/2012 12:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Stream Of Apologies Do Harm, Not Good


U.S. response to Koran burning could fan flames, analysts warn


February 23, 2012

As protests rage across Afghanistan for the third day in response to the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base, some are questioning whether the parade of apologies from the U.S. government may do more harm than good. 

The latest installment came Thursday, when the U.S. ambassador delivered an apology letter from President Obama to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. That follows apologies from Afghanistan commander Gen. John Allen, the White House, NATO's International Security Assistance Force and other Pentagon officials. 

The backlash began after Korans were burned with garbage at a military base in Afghanistan. Officials said they were removed from the detention center library because the detainees were using them to pass secret and what were described as "extremist" messages to one another. Afghans stepped in to rescue the books, though some were already burned. One official said it was a "breakdown in judgment, not a breakdown in our respect for Islam."  [no, of course not - you are right to make clear that all Americans respect Islam]

Meanwhile, nearly a dozen people have died in the aftermath, including two U.S. troops. And some analysts are criticizing the U.S. response. 

"It just feeds the sense of grievance," Nina Shea, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute, said of the "constant round of apologies." 

Shea, who sits on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, agreed with the U.S. decision to quickly apologize after the incident late Monday and order an investigation. 

But she noted that the subsequent apologies "don't seem to have any effect." 

Obama's letter on Thursday reportedly apologized for the "error" and assured Karzai that the U.S. government would take "appropriate steps" to make sure such an incident doesn't happen again, "to include holding accountable those responsible." [the Afghans have already called for a trial for "those responsible," and some Afghans are already looking forward to the imposition of the death sentence]

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, an Army Reserve officer who served in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2004, concurred that the burning was "patently stupid" -- not just because it's religiously insensitive but because the messages inside the Korans by detainees could have been used for intelligence purposes. 

"These are all threads. These things are threads that can be used to build that tapestry of an intelligence picture," Shaffer said. 

But Shaffer said for the U.S. government to repeatedly apologize for the incident is only helping the Taliban

"They will use that to again flame their own fire," he said. "The more they apologize, the more it's going to inflame them." 

At a time when the U.S. is trying to engage elements of the Taliban in peace talks, Shaffer said the apologies just strengthen the Taliban's negotiating position. 

Shaffer and Shea said the U.S. should be urging Taliban officials who want to play ball in the broader talks to call off the protests to the extent they can. 

Shea said the burning has been inevitably exploited for political purposes. She also said this incident should compel the U.S. to reconsider the decision to provide Korans at prisons in the first place -- since mistakes are bound to happen when Westerners handle them, with deadly results. 

"It's a very tricky business, providing Korans to prisoners of war," she said. "It becomes unmanageable." 

But Ahmad Majidyar, senior research associate with the American Enterprise Institute, said the U.S. is taking the right approach by stressing the sincerity of its remorse. And he suggested the protests are not as widespread as they're made out to be. [this well-placed apologist bears watching -- in the national security sense]

"Many other people, they accepted the apology by the Americans ... and they're just moving on with their lives," he said. 

The test, Majidyar said, will be Friday sermons. Fiery sermons, he warned, could lead to more violence -- he urged the United States to go beyond apologies and make sure it's reaching out to all corners of Afghan society to calm down the backlash and avoid that outcome. [take note of what Ahmad Majidyar, ensconced at the American Enterprise Institute,  prescribes]

The incident follows protests last April over a Florida pastor who wanted to burn the Koran. Afghans stormed a U.N. compound at the height of the clash, killing several employees. 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday said the president's latest response via the Karzai letter was entirely appropriate due to the sensitivities involved.

Posted on 02/23/2012 2:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
How The Globe, And Anthony Shadid, Decided -- Later On -- Whom To Blame


Former Globe foreign editor James Smith shared his memories about the late New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid who died last week from an asthma attack while in Syria. Specifically, Smith recalled the time at the end of March 2002 when Shadid was hit by a bullet in Ramallah during the second Palestinian Intifada:

Anthony was shot as he walked down the center of a deserted street, apparently hit by an Israeli bullet; he and Said were wearing flak vests with the letters "TV" taped on them to declare themselves journalists.

The implications were clear -- the perpetrators of the shooting were Israelis, and they deliberately targeted an identified journalist.

But, in fact, it was not at all obvious that Israel was responsible for the gunfire, and indeed, reports of the incident acknowledged that no one knew who was responsible for the fire. Globe reporter Charlie Radin, who spoke to Shadid in the hospital following the incident, was quite clear that Shadid had no idea who had fired the shot. According to Radin:

As [Shadid and Said Ghazali, a Palestinian journalist working with Globe reporters] walked toward a group of Israeli soldiers, they heard shots fired, and Shadid, a veteran foreign correspondent for the Associated Press who joined the Globe staff 15 months ago, was hit by a shot that threw him forward face down.

He was unable to say last night whether it was fired by Israeli or Palestinian forces.

Israeli sources attributed the fire to Palestinian snipers. But, unlike the first description recited in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Shadid's account written two weeks later showed less uncertainty that Israelis were responsible:

The only life in that patch of deserted Ramallah was the suspected Israeli soldier who I thought shot me. I thought he might be watching us as we fumbled around, scared and powerless.

The Israelis denied responsibility. An inquiry by the IDF found no evidence to support Shadid's suspicion that he was hit by Israeli fire. According to the IDF, there was no fire reported in that area at the time of the incident and while Israeli forces were stationed in the vicinity, Palestinian snipers had been shooting from nearby buildings overlooking the streets.

While the identity of the shooter was never established, it is only the passage of time that establishes Israel's guilt in the annals of journalism -- at the time of the incident Israel's guilt was uncertain; weeks later, Israel's guilt was suspected, and now, a decade later, Israel's guilt is apparent.


Comment from HF:

 Shadid was walking toward a group of Israeli soldiers. There were Palestinian snipers in the area. He was shot in the back, that is from behind. Doesn't it seem much more plausible that "Palestinian" snipers would have been shooting toward the Israeli soldiers in front of him, perhaps even hoping that the presence of two journalists -- indicated by the marking "TV" on their backs -- would have protected them from immediate Israeli return fire? Or better still, that the Israeli soldiers, in quickly returning fire, might -- wouldn't that have been wonderful for the "Palestinian" cause -- have shot Shadid and his companion?

There is no case recorded, none anywhere, where Israeli soldiers have fired on those who are clearly identified as journalists. None. There are many cases recorded, all over the place, of Arab threats against, and attacks, sometimes murderous, on, journalists. The "Palestinians" are, of course, merely one subset -- the adjective is geographic, not ethnic -- of the Arabs. 

Shad identified strongly with "the Arabs" (not the least of the fascinating aspects of Shadid was the way he failed to grasp his own reality -- as many Arab "liberals' do when they ignore the primitive masses among whom they live and what must inevitably be willed by those masses, once unchained). He failed, for example,  to understand his own family's history, and why those Maronites fled Lebanon, and ended up, illegal immigrants via Mexico (as he amusingly would tell audiences), in Oklahoma City. He also failed to study -- to sit by the lamplight -- the history of Islam, and the history of the Middle East. He would mention (he did at his last public appearance, at Porter Square Books) the "Sykes-Picot Agreement." That "agreement" was nothing more than the outline, never rising to another level, of a possible demaraction of influence, in the post-Ottoman Middle East, between British and French interests, but the Arabs have long been masters at misrepresenting, and greatly exagerrating, the significance of Sykes-Picot, just as they have done with the Feisal-MacMahon correspondence, and their misinterpretation feeds, falsely, their hypertrophied sense of grievance, whereby -- so they think -- Arab Muslims should have inherited the entire Middle East once the Ottomans had left. Jews, Christians (Maronites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Copts, etc.), and smaller groups (Yazidis, Mandeans) were not to have anything. Shadid apparently picked up this "Sykes-Picot" business, in trying to learn Middle Eastern history from Arab informants. He might better have read the dry dissection of both Sykes-Picot and the Feisal-MacMahon correspondence by reading that unrivalled historian of the Middle East in this very period -- the Baghdadi native Elie Kedourie.

Posted on 02/23/2012 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Obama Administration May Be "Forced" To Cut Aid To Egypt

From Bloomberg:

Egypt Military Fund Cutoff Weighed by U.S. Over Prosecution

February 23, 2012

By Tony Capaccio

The Obama administration may be compelled to block $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt if the Mideast nation prosecutes U.S. workers with non-governmental organizations, a State Department official said.

“We are looking at that very seriously,” Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said yesterday in an interview in Bloomberg’s Washington office. “No decisions have been made. Our hope is the NGO crisis is resolved. That’s the focus of our diplomacy.”

A criminal trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 26 for 43 workers, including a group of Americans, accused of illegally accepting payments from abroad. Among those charged are workers in Cairo for the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, organizations allied with the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties. Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is among them.

“We don’t think they should be put on trial,” Shapiro said. “We think they should be allowed to leave.”

Egypt’s 2020 dollar bonds fell, pushing the yield up the most in a week, after the interview. The yield on the nation’s 5.75 percent notes advanced four basis points, or 0.04 of a percentage point, to 7.28 percent at 3:26 p.m. in Cairo, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said cutting off the military aid would be a mistake while also urging his counterparts in Egypt’s ruling military to seek a halt to the prosecution.

General Dynamics, Lockheed

U.S. defense contractors such as General Dynamics Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. benefit from weapons sales to Egypt financed through the aid.

Egypt views the U.S. assistance as linked to its participation in the 1978 Camp David Accords with Israel.

U.S. representatives, including a delegation led by Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, have met with Egyptian officials to urge that a trial be averted. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr said on Feb. 21 that while the government has no influence on the judiciary, he hoped for a speedy resolution of the case.

Blocking aid to Egypt that is pending for fiscal 2012 “would be a significant decision,” Shapiro said. “The NGO issue has to be resolved. The status quo is unsustainable.”

M1A1 Tanks

A cutoff would interrupt funding of a 24-year-old agreement by General Dynamics with Egypt to produce M1A1 tanks jointly outside Cairo, according to Peter Keating, a spokesman for the Falls Church, Virginia-based company. Honeywell International Inc. and Allison Transmission Inc. are subcontractors.

Lockheed of Bethesda, Maryland, which also benefits from the funding, is manufacturing 20 F-16 fighters for Egypt with delivery scheduled later this year, according to Laura Sibert, a company spokeswoman.

“Certainly, U.S. companies would take a hit,” Shapiro said. “Our policy has to be consistent with our values and certain times we pay an economic price for that.”

Egypt has received about $1.3 billion annually since 1979 in Foreign Military Financing, which must be spent with U.S. companies. The aid is used for new weapons, upgrades to existing equipment and follow-on maintenance and support contracts.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service said in a January 2011 report that about 30 percent of the money is spent on new weapons.

Certification Required

Under legislation passed by Congress last year, the State Department must certify that Egypt’s government “is supporting the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections” and “implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion and due process of law.”

The financing “has served U.S. interests for a number of years, and Egypt remains an important partner,” Shapiro said. Still, “If we are not prepared to certify or waive the requirement, the aid cannot flow.”

No contracts dependent on the funding have been canceled yet, he said.

“Right now there is still enough in the pipeline that there’s been no cutoff in existing contracts,” he said. “At a certain time it would impact the ability to do those contracts.”

Posted on 02/23/2012 3:31 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Why Ending American Aid To Egypt Makes Sense Every Which Way

Egypt is one of the most anti-American countries in the world. In Egypt, at a moment's notice, America can be blamed for this or that -- for the corruption of Mubarak's ruling elite, for those who hated Mubarak, for the menace of the Muslim Brotherhood, for those who fear the Muslim Brotherhood, for the supposed foreign-backed "liberals" who-- never quite as "liberal" or as wonderful as their Western backers appear to think -- are disliked by both Egypt's military men and by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt, however, has been happy to be given, and taken as its due, vast amounts of American aid. Apparently someone had the bright idea -- was it Carter? Brzezinski? the people who think like Carter and Brzezinski? -- that for agreeing so generously to receive, from Israel, the entire Sinai (in three tranches), together with $16 billion dollars (in 1979 dollars) worth of improvements -- oilfields, roads, airfields, Sharm el-Sheikh itself, Egypt deserved an extra reward on top of that. Even though it was Israel that was giving up a vast territory, that it had won and kept in two wars -- the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War -- thrust upon it mainly by Egypt (though with Syria and, in the first instance, Jordan, also leaping in), a territory as important to it as, say, the Pacific Ocean is to the United States in keeping a potentially aggressive China at a safe distance -- and Egypt that was getting back something it had no right to expect, that is territory lost not once but twice in war (the Suez Campaign, the Six-Day War), and getting it back for the mere promise that it, Egypt, would encourage friendly relations between Egypt and Israel, between Egyptians and Israelis, through such modest measures -- about which the Israelis were so sweetly hopeful -- as book fairs and film festivals, and tourism, which by degrees, the Israelis thought, Egyptians could begin to see the Israelis not as they had been demonized in Egyptian life, in the Egyptian press and radio and television, but as they were, and that, by degrees, some kind of human understanding could lessen Egypt's implacable enmity. But it was not to be. Egypt did nothing to fulfill its solemn commitments under the Camp David Accords, and the American government, under successive administrations, never even tried to get Egypt to respect those commitments, preferring to note that "Egypt had made peace" and was "keeping the peace" -- but that was not a result of the treaty. Egypt "kept its peace" with Israel for the same reason that Syria, or Iraq, or Saudi Arabia, or Jordan did --  that is, fear of losing another war to Israel, and having Israel inflict such damage as would have made going to war unwise. And Egypt has much more of a reason than Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, to avoid such an outcome, for the Egyptian government lost the entire Sinai (which became "Egyptian" only in 1922, after the end of the Ottoman Empire, though some Westerners apparently are wrongly under the impression it was always part of Egypt -- but see the Diary of Col. Richard Meinertzhagen, with his map of the Sinai area, for more) not once but twice, and the Egyptians must fear that if they ever lose it again to Israel, Israel this time will never give it up, and no one will be able to make it. If Once Burned, Twice Shy, imagine the final word in  "Twice Burned, Thrice....).

American aid to Egypt should never have started. The American government, against the wishes of its citizens, has poured $70 billion into Egypt, which is not and never has been an "ally" as so many unthinkingly call it. That money has provided the sums on which the Egyptian ruling class, and especially its corrupt military, have fed, and which has bred resentment, and not affection for, but hostility towards, the United States, precisely for providing the wherewithal for the ruling class to grow rich (by Egyptian standards), and to lead lives on a completely different plane from that of other Egyptians.

And now there is an opportunity -- presented by Egypt itself -- to end that aid.

That aid should be seen as connected to the Camp David Accords, but not in the way everyone seems to think. The Camp David Accords were scrupulously observed by one side only -- the Israeli side. Israel gave up something -- the vast Sinai that meant so much to it as a military buffer zone. It had no duty to return the Sinai. By all the rules of warfare, and of postwar settlements, that have been reached in the civilizied West over the past two hundred years, Israel was perfectly entitled to hold onto the Sinai (see, for example, what happened to the Austrian Sudtirol, which Italy got to keep after World War I, and which is now the Alto Adige, despite being, when handed over, 98% ethnic Austrian, that is part of Deutschtum).

Because Egypt did not fulfill its solemn commitments to encourage friendly relations between Egyptians and Israelis, because it banned Israelis from taking part in film festivals and book fairs, because it openly discouraged Egyptians from visiting Israel as tourists, because Mubarak failed to visit Israel as he was obligated to in order to show that friendly relations indeed existed (coming only once, to Rabin's funeral), because the Egyptian government did nothing to stop, and everything to allow, the most horrifying and ancient of antisemitic canards -- both those whose source is Islam and those whose source is in the Nazis or other European antisemites of a still-older kind -- to be spread in the Egyptian press, and on the radio, and on television, because the official Egyptian channel even showed a television series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, it is long past time that the American government should stop rewarding Egypt for adhering to a treaty it has not, properly speaking, adhered to.

If the American public knew how Egypt had pocketed this money, and yet failed to observe the treaty in the particulars I have noted, if they knew, furthermore, just how anti-American the Egyptian public is, they would be enraged. And if there were those who had geopolitical sense, based on an understanding of the need to weaken the threat posed, individuallly and collectively, by Muslim states, states that can be considered part of the Camp of Islam, rather than to build up their military, somewhere in the corridors of power, the colossal waste -- which includes not only the American buildup, and training, and equipping, half-a-million Muslims in Iraq, and 300,00 Muslims in Afghanistan, but also in supplying military aid to Yemen (with more promised), and also this aid to Egypt that the Egyptians take as their due, for to them it is a kind of Jizyah, which the Muslims are owed, and if the American Infidels dare to talk about cutting it -- why, they simply can't be allowed even to think in such terms. Even the Muslim Brotherhood, for god's sake, just last week announced that it thought Egypt had a right to that American aid, and the Amerians had better not even think of cutting it.

As for "peace" between Egypt and Israel, that is kept not through giving Egypt tens of billions of dollars in military aid, which only strengthens its military, but in improving, constantly, Israel's military superiorirty. One way to do that is to give aid to Israel. And another way to do that, and one which costs nothing, and which will be a clear sign not only to Egypt but to other Muslim states, that the Jizyah days are over, is to cut that aid to Egypt. That will make the task of Israeli defense planners easier. They will have less to worry about, on their southern front, if the Egyptian mlitary budget is cut by one-third or more.

This is the perfect time to cut all aid to Egypt. It will put Egypt, put all the Arabs and Muslims on notice, that their attitude, their expectation that they can continue to get American -- or for that matter European -- aid, is wrong. It's over. Two trilliion dollars has been squandered in Iraq, and it is only now, that some people are finally understanding the full dimensions of that hideous waste. One trilliion dollars has been squanderred in hideous and ungrateful and primitve Afghanistan. And the same goes for all the other sums squandered, to make life better for Muslims whose wretchedness -- economic, political, social, intellectual, and moral -- is a result of Islam itself, and can only be ameliorated to the extent that Islam's hold on the minds of its adherents is weakened. And that cannot be done if Western aid, Infidel aid, is always available to rescue Muslims from the effects of Islam.

Now, while the perfect opportunity has been presented by the extraordinary behavior of the Egyptians themselves, in putting Americans and NGOs on trial, on trumped-up charges, because those in power in Egypt will pocket Infidel billiions, but won't ever change their spots, and certainly have no intention of otherwise listening to Infidels, The generosity we have shown is a diseased generosity. If you want to help Muslims, help to force them to confront the real source of their many miseries. And if you want to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel, the least intelligent way to do it is to supply the Egyptian military with billions of dollars. 

Posted on 02/23/2012 3:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
A Musical Interlude: So Tired (Adrian Schubert Orch., voc. Scrappy Lambert)
Listen here.
Posted on 02/23/2012 8:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Way It May Have To Be -- Mutatis Mutandis -- In The End, For Israel?
Posted on 02/23/2012 8:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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