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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 Saturday, 26, 2011.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Tom Friedman, Who Maintains Everything And Its Opposite

From the London Review of Books:

Thomas Friedman’s Confusions

In his most recent book, Thomas FriedmanNew York Times columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, presidential adviser – says of the Iraq War that he has ‘nothing but regret for the excessive price that America and Iraq have had to pay in lives and treasure’. The body count seems to be less cause for concern, however, than the fact that China, which has not been distracted from domestic infrastructure projects by pricey wars abroad, can now build a convention centre in approximately the same time it takes for the Washington Metro crew to repair two escalators in Friedman’s local subway station (the book is called That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back). Still, he’s come a long way since May 2003, when he said that the US military had to go ‘house to house from Basra to Baghdad’, wielding ‘a very big stick’ and instructing Iraqis to ‘Suck On This’.

This was necessary, Friedman explained, in order to burst the ‘terrorism bubble’ that had emerged in ‘that part of the world’ and posed a ‘fundamental threat to our open society’. Four months earlier he had said that the real threat to ‘open, Western, liberal societies today’ was not ‘the deterrables, like Saddam, but the undeterrables – the boys who did 9/11, who hate us more than they love life’. Iraq was nonetheless part of the ‘cement mixer that is churning out these undeterrables’, and in case anyone detected any inconsistencies in the argument that fighting a war against deterrables will deter people who cannot be deterred, Friedman later offered the broader assessment that ‘we hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could.’

There was also the question of oil. In January 2003, Friedman conceded that ‘any war we launch in Iraq will certainly be – in part – about oil’. By October 2003, he had decided that ‘US power is not being used in Iraq for oil’. A year later, Hummer drivers in the US were somehow still to blame for the deaths of their neighbours’ sons serving in Fallujah – unlike New York Times columnists who sold ‘democratising a fractious Iraq’ by force as ‘the most important task worth doing’.

As for ideology, in April 2003 Friedman said the Iraq war was ‘the war the neoconservatives wanted… the war the neoconservatives marketed’. In October 2003, he said it was a ‘radically liberal war’. In November 2003, he said he was ‘a liberal on every issue other than this war’.

You’d think that someone so committed to exporting democracy would have a solid handle on what democracy means. But in 2005, Friedman praised Tony Blair ‘as one of the most important British prime ministers ever’ for having ‘not only defied the overwhelming antiwar sentiment of his own party, but public opinion in Britain generally’. For the US, too, the Iraq war was a ‘war of an elite’ and ‘not a war that the masses demanded’. Meanwhile, ‘the problem with Saudi Arabia is not that it has too little democracy. It’s that it has too much.’

In April 2003 Friedman said that Arab journalists who talked about the US ‘occupation’ of Iraq were guilty of ‘Saddamism’. In August 2003 Friedman wrote: ‘This is an occupation.’

In 2007 he surmised that Iraqis ‘hate each other more than they love their own kids’. In 2009 he hoped that they’d learned from America’s ‘million acts of kindness’ and ‘profound example of how much people of different backgrounds can accomplish when they work together’.
In 2005 Friedman argued: ‘We have to have a proper election in Iraq so we can have a proper civil war there.’ Earlier this year, he wrote: ‘For all of the murderous efforts by al-Qaida to trigger a full-scale civil war in Iraq, it never happened.’ Never mind that in 2006 he said: ‘It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war.’

Posted on 11/26/2011 9:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Trinidad: Muslims 'uneasy' over plot against Kamla - Muslim academics among 12 arrested

From the Trinidad Express, Reuters Africa and the Trinidad Guardian

Twelve people are being held in police custody in connection with an alleged assassination attempt of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and three of her Cabinet Ministers — Attorney General Anand Ramlogan; Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal and Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma. The suspects were arrested at different times between Monday and yesterday by police and Defence Force officers.A 48-year-old man of Diego Martin, with links in Guyana, reportedly was arrested by officers of the Special Branch officers as his home on Wednesday night.

The man is said to have been a former member of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen and involved in the 1990 attempted coup. He also was found not guilty of a double murder which occurred at a popular nightspot in west Trinidad, several years ago. Two former soldiers, both dishonourably discharged from the Defence Force a few years ago, were arrested during police raids at their home on Tuesday night.

Two Muslim academics, of Princes Town, also were said to be arrested by police. The men are said to have studied in Saudi Arabia and spent time in the Middle East.

THE State is being called upon to identify which Islamic organisation is alleged to be involved in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and several senior government ministers.

General secretary of the Trinidad Muslim League (TML), Azid Ali, said yesterday his and other organisations are "uneasy" over the possibility that Muslims from a local group are behind the plan. I think they (the government) definitely have to clarify which particular group they have held members of and are questioning. This reflects badly on all of us Muslims. It not only tarnishes the image of those groups allegedly involved but on all Muslims."

Details of the planned assassination have been scarce since Persad-Bissessar announced on Thursday that security forces are on high alert since uncovering the plot.

On Wednesday, police arrested Selwyn 'Robocop' Alexis for his alleged connection to the plot, which security sources on Wednesday told the Express had targeted the PM, Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, National Security Minister, Brigadier John Sandy, Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan, several others ministers and several senior police officers.

Several people arrested in connection with the plot are said to be practicing Muslims and a senior government minister on Wednesday also said the plot had its source in an "extremist fringe group".

On Thursday, some Muslims in Central Trinidad complained of being "branded" in a negative fashion, in light of the alleged plot.

Ali said he was not familiar with the problems being experienced by some Central Muslims, though he understands searches have been conducted at mosques and Islamic centres not only in Central Trinidad but other parts of the country.

Other reports suggest that the alleged plot was organised by the Army, others think it was by organised criminals anxious to resume their activities. Others think that the allegations are exagerated and designed to enable the governemnt to continue with the restrictions (curfew and suchlike) under the current State of Emergency in Trinidad and Tobago, imposed in order to deal with criminal gangs whose activities had got out of hand.

Posted on 11/26/2011 4:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Maldives - Hundreds protest UN's 'anti-Islam' comments

From the New Zealand Herald and Haveeru News

Hundreds of Maldivians are protesting against the United Nations after an official called on this Muslim nation to end religious extremism and practices like punishing women by flogging.

About 300 people shouted slogans against UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay Friday night, a day after she concluded a visit to the Indian ocean archipelago. Addressing the country's Parliament, Pillay on Thursday called flogging of women found to have had sex outside marriage "inhuman and degrading." She also called on Maldivian authorities to remove the "discriminatory" constitutional provision that requires every citizen to be a Muslim.

Minister Naseem told Haveeru that the government would not open a basic Islamic principle such as flogging for public debate in the Maldives despite requests to do so. "What's there to discuss about flogging? There is nothing to debate about in a matter clearly stated in the religion of Islam. No one can argue with God," he said. "Our foreign ministry will not allow that to happen. . . The government will follow the recommendations given by the Islamic Ministry on religious issues. . .Maldives is a 100 percent Muslim country."

Posted on 11/26/2011 2:36 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 26 November 2011
A Musical Interlude: Let's Misbehave (Irving Aaronson And His Commanders)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/26/2011 9:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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