These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 3, 2012.
Saturday, 3 November 2012
Zakat, Charity Islamic Style
One of the Five Pillars of Islam is the practice of zakat. Zakat is an Arabic term best translated as charity. It is the annual obligatory 2.50% assessment of a Muslim's net worth to be given to mosques for charity. The Jewish and Christian pattern is the tithe. The tithe is 10% of your yearly income given to the synagogue or church. While Zakat on the surface appears to be a laudable practice, under the surface it has sinister implications.
There are eight categories of those who can according to the Hadiths receive zakat. And zakat is evenly divided among the eight categories. So this means that each class receives 12.5% of the total assessment. These are:
1. The Poor
2. Those Short of Money
3. Zakat Workers
4. Those Whose Hearts Are to Be Reconciled
5. Those Purchasing Their Freedom
6. Those in Debt
7. Those Fighting for Allah
8. Travellers Needing Money
But here's just one of the potential rubs. No charitable distributions are ever to go to non-Muslims! Here is a quotation from the Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Law, "If they are non-Muslims, they are not given Zakat." (h 8:14) Now do you understand why the oil rich Saudis did not give the first red cent to the impoverished nation of Haiti after the devastating earthquake over two and a half years ago? Go figure.
Islamic charity is a calculated tool to buy the loyalty of Muslims around the world. It inevitably comes with strings attached.
But it gets even uglier. Jihad is one of the eight classes of approved charity. It is the seventh approved cause of giving. "The seventh category are those who are fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations." To elaborate further, "They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing and expenses round trip, and the time they spend there, even if prolonged." (h 8:18). The operative term for Jihad is "Islamic military operations." Nary a word is spoken about Jihad as some program of self improving introspection. That concept of non-violent
Jihad is strictly spin for the gullible.
Do you know of any church or synagogue that gives 12.5% of its donations to make war on other religions? Yet Islam is the only one of the world's religions that has a formulated doctrine of religious warfare. But then again Islam always gets a pass from the media. Islam is a horrendous, immoral religion that is more about politics and conquest than it is about the worship of God.
In all likelihood, the 9/11 atrocities were financed by zakat or Islamic charity. Billions are raised for Jihad each and every year by Muslims. It therefore follows, in Islam it is charitable act to finance the murder of your fellow human beings simply because they belong to another religion. If you don't believe me, then consult the Reliance of the Traveller, section H. All of my supporting quotations come from Chapter H on Zakat. Remember this book is binding on all Muslims, not just the ones we have erroneously labeled as "radical Muslims."
How, in assessing the dangers that a society faces, does one avoid the Scylla of an undue alarm and the Charybdis of a paralytic complacency? Is intelligence, knowledge, character, temperament or luck more important in being able to distinguish what is important and lasting from what is trivial and fleeting? Is it more important to see the details or the gestalts, or (very difficult to achieve) some combination of the two? Why is it that those who are the most knowledgeable about a society are not always the best judges of its future?
A story is told by the British writer Christopher Booker in his account of the Moscow Olympics of 1980. A sports journalist of one of Britain’s less cerebral newspapers, than which no newspapers in the world are less cerebral, took one look around the Moscow airport on arrival, never having given the matter a moment’s thought before, and said something to the effect that ‘This system can’t last.’ This was not the opinion of almost all the learned Sovietologists of the day; but he had grasped in a matter of seconds a reality that they had not perceived in many years of close and devoted study.
Tiny details can, in my opinion, be very revealing of a society, as are those on a scan to a skilled radiologist. Here is one such, to which I referred recently in a public lecture. I had noticed on the website of the Guardian, Britain’s liberal newspaper, the self-description of a young woman, calling herself curlygirl24, who was looking for ‘soulmate’ (the name of the Guardian’s lonelyhearts service, though most readers of the paper would probably be horrified at the notion of a soul).
I have been told that I am a bit of a paradox: I seem to have the emotional fuzziness that comes with being a girl along with the capacity to drink copious amounts, still stand up and take the p*ss out of my friends and possibly random strangers.
I said in my lecture that it seemed to me remarkable, and not altogether reassuring, that an educated young woman, a financial journalist according to her own report, who was on the lookout for, presumably, an equally educated young man, a member of our society’s intellectual and social elite, should think that drinking to excess and then being impolite to complete strangers would be an attractive quality. What did this tell us about our society, of its cultural level? I left it at that.
There was a public reply to my lecture by a man (more a Guardian type than was I) to whom had been given in advance the text of my lecture; and he had conscientiously gone to the trouble of verifying that I had not made curlygirl24’s self-description up.
His comment upon what I said was that, though I had quoted accurately, the paragraph was not the whole of her self-description. She had, in fact, said many other things about herself, such as that she was interested in the theatre and music, and liked to run: for example she had just completed a half marathon, and as a runner himself, my interlocutor could assure me that it would not be possible to be a binge drinker and run half marathons. The appeal for a potential soulmate ended:
I have strong family values so I would respect seeing a similar quality in a partner. Generosity is a characteristic that I would want someone to have; jealousy or possessiveness is not.
Thus drinking to excess and insulting strangers was a small part of her self-description, and might not even have been true. There was therefore not much to conclude from it.
Now it was a matter of indisputable fact that her description of her drinking took up only a minority of her self-description, and neither I nor my interlocutor was in a position to say which part, if any, of that self-description was truthful. We could speculate endlessly without resolving the matter.
But I argued that my point was not affected by curlygirl24’s actual conduct; it would not be affected by it even if she was, in fact, a teetotaler and was lying about her consumption of alcohol. The point is that, in Britain, we had now reached a stage in which an educated young woman wanted to present herself as a drunk who was impolite to strangers, and thought this might be an attractive feature of her personality or character. She wanted, in appearance at the very least, to conform to the ‘culture’ (I use the word in the American anthropological sense) that is to be witnessed in every British town and city on Friday and Saturday nights. And that in itself would be a straw in the wind. Of course, whether it bothered you would depend on how you estimated the ‘culture’ in whose wind it was a straw.
My interlocutor argued that the binge drinking, if any, would be minor because of her half marathon running. He did not mention, as he might have done, that she was a sample of one, and in a society of many millions all human types are to be found. Moreover, there is nothing new under the sun. Even if curlygirl24 did drink to excess and then insult people at random, she would hardly be the first woman in the history of the world to have done so.
The first point, that she could at the most have spent only a small minority of in drunk and insulting mode, seems to me quite wrong or unrealistic. The social significance of what people do is not necessarily, indeed not often, proportional to the length of time they spend doing it. Even a serial killer does not spend much of his time killing; taken overall, he might even spend more time doing the washing up, but from society’s point of view that is not what is important about him. One could even imagine Adolf Hitler’s self-description for Soulmates: Vegetarian with sweet tooth, antisemite, into films and open-top Mercedes cars, dog-lover.
It is true that curlygirl24 was only one person, and that the importance that one invests in her self-presentation depended to a large extent upon one’s reading or pre-existing knowledge of the wider society in which it took place; but I would say (though I cannot prove) that someone who thought it without significance had a tin ear for reading a society, just as some people have a tin ear for music or poetry.
The faculty of judgment is difficult to reduce to any other. History is replete with learned fools, brilliant dupes and well-informed nincompoops. One must not despise information, but not must worship it either, as if wisdom will emerge from it of its own accord.
Timmerman Campaign Reveal Maryland Democrat Rep. Van Hollenâ€™s Relationship with Pro- Iran Lobby
Ken Timmerman (R) versus incumbent Chris Van Hollen (D)
Source: Washington Jewish Week
In the final days of a competitive Maryland 8th Congressional race between Republican challenger Ken Timmerman and incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) , there are revelations from court documents about Van Hollen’s relations with pro-Iranian Islamic Republic lobby group The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) led by Swedish-Iranian Trita Parsi.
NIAC, led by Trita Parsi – a Swedish-Iranian citizen who has lived in the United States for the past decade – sought Van Hollen’s help to stave off sanctions against the brutal dictatorship in Iran.
Timmerman’s further analysis of Van Hollen’s record reveals the latter’s public stance as a fair-weather friend of Israel when it suited his purposes while scuppering actual support for the Jewish State. The findings from these court documents and other evidence were released today by the Timmerman for Congress campaign and a summary published in a full page ad in the Washington Jewish Week.
The Timmerman Campaign release noted Van Hollen’s support of the Iranian Islamic Republic lobby groups’ aims:
The documents show that Van Hollen worked against tough new Iran sanctions in 2006-2008, at the same time he voted in favor of weaker sanctions that the lobbying group did not oppose.
As evidence of Van Hollen’s relationship with NIAC in opposing critical tough sanctions against the Islamic regime’s nuclear weapons program, documents reveal:
NIAC met with Rep. Van Hollen shortly after he took office and soon boasted of his support, an internal NIAC memo from April 2003 shows.
In an internal memo to the NIAC board in June 2006, released in the federal lawsuit, Trita Parsi boasted that Van Hollen was helping NIAC “largely behind the scenes” to change U.S. policy toward Iran from confrontation to “direct negotiations.”
In July 2007, Van Hollen agreed to sponsor a NIAC forum in Congress whose explicit goal was to defeat Congressional funding for “democracy-promotion” in Iran.
In 2008, Van Hollen wrote a constituent, “I have long supported direct negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, as proposed by Senator Barak Obama,”.
In a celebratory article entitled “NIAC Beats AIPAC,” NIAC boasted of Van Hollen’s support in defeating House Con. Res 362 - the very measure he had co-sponsored! – after NIAC organized a series of “constituents’ meetings” with Van Hollen staff in an effort to turn up the heat.
“In the end,” NIAC wrote, “the bill was never allowed to be brought up for a vote on the House floor, nor was it even considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, thanks to groups like NIAC working behind the scenes with members of Congress.”
More recently, Van Hollen has also refused to support legislation such as H.R. 3783 (“Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act”), despite overwhelming evidence that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has been setting up terrorist cells in the tri-border area in South America and building ballistic missile factories in Venezuela.
Timmerman’s assessment of Van Hollen’s record on Iran is:
As I have stated many times on the campaign trail, these appeasement policies of my opponent have been adopted by the Obama administration and are leading us directly to a war with Iran we do not need and can actually prevent..
In contrast to my opponent, I believe we must change our policy so that we support the people of Iran in their quest for freedom from a dictatorship that is openly threatening us and our ally, Israel.
Timmerman knows the conflict in the Middle East first hand from reporting from the front lines in Beirut during the First Lebanon War in 1982 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006 from a bunker he shared with now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Northern Israel during Hezbollah rocket attacks. During the First Lebanon war he was briefly imprisoned by the PLO-Fatah.
Timmerman was given the “Defender of Israel” award by a prominent pro-Israel group. He has been endorsed by three nationally prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg of “Rabbis for Romney” and Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein.
As regards the Van Hollen positions on Israel, Timmerman said:
Chris Van Hollen has shown he is a fair weather friend of Israel, who will vote for legislation when an overwhelming majority of the House favors it, but is AWOL when the going gets tough.
By contrast, I support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and helping the people of Iran to overthrow the clerical regime in Tehran.
Timmerman’s evidence of Van Hollen’s duplicity on support for Israel is reflected in the following:
Van Hollen wrote Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in late July 2006, demanding that the U.S. pressure Israel to end its “bombing campaign” against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Van Hollen’s support for J Street, a left-wing anti-Zionist group, in calling for the US to pressure Israel to make unilateral negotiating concessions to the Palestinians. When Timmerman challenged his opponent on this at a recent debate in Frederick, Van Hollen doubled down, calling J Street’s position a “sensible policy.”
Van Hollen’s support for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Van Hollen’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Van Hollen’s hypocritical votes against funding for the Iron Dome short range missile defense system, even after he voted in favor of authorizing the program.
Van Hollen’s refusal, after co-sponsoring the Koby Mandell Act in 2004, to join bi-partisan efforts this year to ensure that the Department of Justice carry out its requirement to bring terrorists who murdered U.S. citizens overseas to justice in the United States.
Timmerman was nominated for 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering investigations of Iran’s nuclear weapons development program. For more than 15 years, he has worked with the pro-freedom movement in Iran as president of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran.
The late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal said of Timmerman, "I have spent my life tracking down the murderers of yesterday; Mr. Timmerman is tracking down the murderers of tomorrow."
A former neo-Nazi who joined the Taliban and attacked an American base near the Afghan-Pakistan border has told a German court that he made a 'terrible mistake'.
The German man, who was only named as Thomas U, spoke of his regret over signing up for the German Taliban Mujahidin (DTM) and travelling with his wife to the war-torn Afgfhan-Pakistan border to become a terrorist, according to The Times.
His catalogue of complaints over his poorly thought-out decision included his fellow combatants' drug habits, a lack of hygiene, contracting hepititis A and his friends being horribly killed by Pakistani forces helicopters. His wife also missed creature comforts such as shopping at the supermarket and her mobile phone.
Thomas U, 27, is accused of being a member of the DTM from December 2009 until July 10 and taking part in an attack on an American base. He paid 5000 euros to travel to the Afghan-Pakistan border in 2009 and was trained in the use of firearms and explosives.
He even appeared in a Taliban propaganda video and boasted that the attack had 'disrupted the Christmas spirit' of the American base.
In a court statement he said: 'It was a terrible experience. I was shocked at the lack of hygiene, people were spitting and vomiting. My wife was very unhappy because traditionally women are treated badly.' After the couple escaped, he spoke of his relief at escaping the hellish conditions he had endured. 'Finally I could hold hands with my wife in public,' he said.
GEORGE Galloway has been accused of trying to ignite racial tension after declaring his Respect party would "target" black and Muslim voters during the Croydon North by-election.
The controversial MP picked out both groups as he announced black activist Lee Jasper, former policy adviser to Ken Livingstone, as the party's candidate.
"We are going to be targeting black voters, victims of discrimination and unfair and unjust treatment by the Met," he said. "Twenty-four per cent of the constituents are black. Black people disproportionately support us because they have been let down by the main parties. We will be targeting the 10,000 Muslim voters on the issues which matter greatly to them, most important of which is the ceaseless bombardment from the ruling class and the media to try and poison the British public against Muslims and Islam."
Mr Jasper told the Advertiser that Respect would focus on "institutional racism" against black and ethnic minority groups in Croydon.
In the video, entitled the Coming Battle For Croydon and posted on YouTube on Sunday, Mr Galloway said: "I don't think anyone watching this needs any lessons in how I have the ability to address a Muslim audience, do you? Trust me, I will be daily addressing the Muslim voters in Croydon and I will be asking them for their support. Our candidate will be particularly effective among black voters, although he has quite a reach among white voters too."
The Croydon North by-election, called after the death of Malcolm Wicks in September, is on November 29.
In Pakistan, Attack On Girls' School For "Blasphemy" Against Islam
From Deutsche Welle:
No end in sight to Pakistan's blasphemy laws
Pakistani activists say they have lost hope in the government to reform the Islamic country's controversial laws in the wake of an attack on a girls' school over alleged blasphemy.
A mob of more than 200 people set fire to a girls' school in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday on accusations that one of the teachers of the school distributed "blasphemous" material to her sixth grade students.
Pakistani police are trying to trace the teacher of the Farooqi High School who has apparently gone into hiding.
Police officer Azam Manhais told the media that the 76-year-old Asim Farooqi, owner of the school, had been arrested on blasphemy charges.
The police have filed a report against the owner of the school as well
At least one person was injured during the clash between the protesters and the police around the school. Pakistani authorities say they have filed a police report against “unknown assailants” for attacking the school.
According to the local media, the protesters mostly belonged to religious parties and Islamist groups, including the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The Pakistani police, however, did not confirm this.
According to the initial reports, Arfa Iftikhar, one of the teachers of the girls' school, had given an assignment to her sixth grade students about an essay on the Koran - the holy book of Islam - which allegedly carried derogatory remarks about the religion's prophet.
"Our school management and the owners have no link whatsoever with this dirty act," said an advertisementin Urdu, which the school management took out in two leading newspapers on Friday. "We appeal to the government and the police to take legal action against this teacher and investigate her real motive."
Blasphemy, or the insult of Prophet Mohammad, is a sensitive topic in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where 97 percent of its 180 million people are Muslims. Rights activist demand the reforms of the controversial blasphemy laws, which were introduced by the Islamic military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.
Activists say the laws have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes and personal vendettas.
Rimsha Masih is one of the many Christians in Pakistan who face religious discrimination
The controversial laws came under stark criticism in August when Rimsha Masih, a teenage Christian Pakistani girl, was accused of blasphemy and spent several weeks in jail. Masih, who lived in the Mehrabadi town near capital Islamabad, was accused of burning pages containing verses of the Koran. The police later found out that the cleric Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti from Masih's town had planted the pages.
The number of blasphemy cases in Pakistan has increased manifold in recent years. Pakistan's liberal sections are alarmed by the growing influence of right-wing Islamists in their country and blame the authorities for patronizing them. Rights organizations also point to the legal discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of the maltreatment of Pakistani minority groups.
“The anti-blasphemy laws should be abolished because they have nothing to do with Islam," Mohsin Sayeed, a Karachi-based journalist, told DW. "We have been demanding their repeal for a long time. This demand has sparked a fierce reaction from religious extremists."
Pakistani rights groups are alarmed by the growing influence of religious extremists
Hussain Naqi, a veteran human rights activist and official of Pakistan's independent Human Rights Commission (HRCP) in Lahore, told DW that blasphemy laws were mostly used against the majority Muslims.
"The so-called blasphemy cases are mostly about personal issues," Naqi said. "In Pakistan, it is very easy for people who want to settle scores with their enemies to accuse them of blasphemy. They know that there are immediate arrests in blasphemy cases, and sometimes people are killed on the spot."
Naqi criticized the provincial authorities for not taking precautionary measures to protect the school. "The authorities knew that there could be a backlash after the reports about the alleged blasphemy case came out on Wednesday, but they did not take any steps in advance to deal with it."
He added that it was the responsibility of the state authorities to make sure that the principal of the school was treated well because a person was innocent until proven guilty.
President Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government has recently come under sharp criticism from the country's rights organizations and the West for refusing to reform the blasphemy laws despite the assassinations of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister, and Salman Taseer, the former governor of the Punjab province. The two politicians were brutally murdered by Islamists in 2011 because they had dared to speak out against the controversial laws.
The UN has repeatedly slammed Zardari government's human rights record
Naqi said that he did not expect the incumbent PPP government to reform or repeal the laws. "The PPP is an opportunistic party. People vote them into power because they do not like the religious parties, but instead of confronting the Islamists, the PPP bows down to them," Naqi commented, adding that most people in Pakistan did not approve of religious extremism.
But Karachi-based journalist Mohsin Sayeed believed that what used to be a small section of society had now become mainstream.
"The days are gone when we said it was a small group of religious extremists, xenophobes, hatemongers and bigots who commit such crimes. Now the venom has spread to the whole of Pakistani society," said Sayeed, adding that those who condemned such "barbaric crimes" were now a minority in Pakistan.
Farooq Sulehria, a London-based activist and journalist, told DW that although “it is difficult to empirically assert," there was no doubt that there was more intolerance in Pakistani society than before.
“Most Muslim countries do not have blasphemy laws,” Naqi said, adding sarcastically that it seemed that only Pakistan had blasphemers and Pakistan was the only country in the entire Muslim world which seemed to be worried about it.
In October we briefly mentioned Reza Kahlili’s earlier report of a secret nuclear weapons lab built underneath an alleged medical research facility in Iran. In his latest expose in World Net Daily (WND), “Secret Iran Nuclear Plant Expanding”, We have both satellite imagery and interior photos confirming work on the site. These have been provided by sources in Iran who have clearances to enter nuclear weapons lab. Kahlili’s comment about possible achievement of nuclear triggers and detonators for warheads should raise concerns in both Washington and Jerusalem about “red lines” for Iran’s nuclear program.
Reference is made in this latest Kahlili report that the Islamic Republic may be on the verge of mounting nuclear warheads on liquid fueled Shahab-3 missiles and possibly on solid propellant Seijil-2 and BM-25 missiles. The former have a range of 2,000 kilometers, sufficient to reach targets in the Middle East especially Israel and southeastern Europe. The Sejil -2 has a range upwards of 2,600 kilometers and the BM-25, 3,500 kilometers covering virtually all of Europe. Israeli Missile Expert Uzi Landau indicated in 2011 interviews that Iran may have in excess of 300 Shahab-3 missiles. The solid fuel missiles are typically placed in underground silos around Tabriz that require minimal time for launch. Whether mounted with nuclear or non-nuclear warheads Iran’s missile threat to Europe and the Middle East could be worse than the Nazi V-2 rocket campaign against Britain during WWII. Given production of Iranian missiles in Venezuela this raises a possible threat to the Western Hemisphere and the US analogous to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. – see our NER article, The Iranian Missile Threat.
Kahlili’s report on the secret nuclear laboratory discloses the following:
Work surrounding Iran’s latest secret nuclear site continues unabated, new satellite images from DigitalGlobe show.
The site – Velayat 1 – which is in the province of Isfahan on the outskirts of the small city of Najafabad, was built for research and development and has a capacity of 800 centrifuges for uranium enrichment. It already has successfully tested a neutron detonator and implosion system for a nuclear bomb.
According to the source for the exclusive WND report, research at the site includes design of a nuclear warhead for the Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which is now almost complete. The source added that there is also a nuclear reactor at the site along with a separation plant as another path to acquire a nuclear bomb.
To avoid suspicion, the site was built below a medicine factory called Abu Reyhan. The facility beneath the factory has three levels, with two underground entrances away from the facility.
This is where the father of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, assisted by 10 other scientists, is working on Iran’s nuclear bomb program, within the SEPAND project (known by the IAEA as SPND) and under the AMAD (weapons program) to build atomic warheads.
The new images of the above-ground facility show that main buildings have been completed.
The confidential source for the Kahlili report on the secret facility notes:
According to a source who has been in the underground facility, military trucks covered with tarps for disguise have transferred equipment with “radiation warning” signs to the facility. An entrance on the side of the so-called medicine factory leads to the underground facility.
Another entrance to the underground facility, according to the source, is far to the north of the “medicine factory.” Large equipment has been observed being transferred through the entrance, which is almost a third of the actual size of the factory itself.
Kahlili notes the assessment of the imagery from Peter Fry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security:
These photos of the facility in Iran have all the earmarks of an elaborate attempt to conceal an underground complex of significant size and strategic purpose by hiding it under a legitimate factory, concealing the original excavations, and elaborate and costly landscaping to screen everything from public view.
Because an Iranian source of proven reliability claims this is a previously unknown nuclear facility, the allegation should be taken very seriously and regarded as credible. Iran has a long history of successfully concealing its nuclear weapons program and nuclear facilities. What we know about is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Iran’s nuclear weapons program may well be larger, more sophisticated and more advanced than is generally suspected.
Kahlili notes the Revolutionary Guard control of the secret facility and its purposes:
The site operates under the control of the Revolutionary Guards to expand research and development of nuclear, plutonium and atomic warheads. Its activities include:
•Enriching uranium to weapons grade.
•Testing a neutron detonator and implosion system (chemical explosive lens). As a result of research at this facility, a test was done at Iran’s Parchin military site several months ago. After the revelation of the high-explosives experiment activity, Iran started to clean up the site but continues to stonewall on the IAEA’s request to inspect the Parchin site.
•Designing and building a nuclear warhead to arm Iran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missile.
•Separating plutonium for a plutonium implosion-type fission bomb. Iran’s heavy-water reactor near the city of Arak is nearing completion and is capable of providing spent fuel that, once processed, could produce plutonium for nuclear bombs. The separation of plutonium from fuel is an easy process requiring dual-use off-the-shelf equipment that Iran has already purchased.
The source indicated that Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi’s atomic warhead project seeks to build three nuclear warheads in its initial phase. Tests of the implosion system and neutron generator, the source said, have been successful and the design of the nuclear warhead is nearly complete.
Reza Kahlili’s latest report indicates that the Iranian Islamic Republic is rushing forward with development of nuclear warheads at secret facilities beyond the monitoring of the IAEA. The Arak heavy water reactor should raise additional concern about Iran’s nuclear program having a two track means of developing nuclear devices via enriched uranium and plutonium via spent rods. This report also should raise the concerns in both Washington and Jerusalem about addressing Iran’s growing missile threat both internally and externally. We note Congressional concerns in H.R. 3783 (“Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act”), about production of missiles and building of possible launching facilities in Venezuela.
Palestinian leader ‘thrown under the bus’ by Obama, threatens to quit
By Adam Kredo
(Fayyad and Abbas, Wikimedia and AP)
The Palestinian Authority’s most notable advocate of reform threatened to quit in protest over his government’s continued failure to increase transparency and crack down on rampant corruption, according to multiple sources close to the PA.
Salam Fayyad, the PA’s prime minister, shocked observers when he arrived at the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) offices Wednesday to propose the formation of a new government that excludes him.
The unprecedented move has exposed the deepening fault lines between Fayyad and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a notoriously corrupt politician whose efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state outside of the peace process with Israel has brought his government to the verge of economic collapse.
Fayyad’s growing desire to quit his post also highlights a critical failure in the Obama administration’s Middle East policies, experts said.
“This administration has thrown [Fayyad] under the bus,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon. “He has zero support from this administration. They’ve pushed Fayyad into a corner and engage almost exclusively with Abbas.”
The Obama administration’s refusal to engage with Fayyad has only complicated recent problems on the ground, other sources said.
“The story is that” the United States consulate in East Jerusalem “has made a choice to work with Abbas and to freeze out Fayyad. That has led to the weakening of the Fayyad transparency program,” said one former Bush administration official who has been in contact with sources on the ground.
Fayyad has received almost no support from the U.S. during the past four years, the official said.
Fayyad has been long hailed as a fiscal reformer by international observers. Having scant political support, however, his efforts to legitimize the PA have led to backroom conflicts with Abbas and other senior Palestinian politicians who have long profited on the backs of their countrymen.
“The bottom line is he wants to quit,” said Schanzer. “He’s a frustrated guy. He’s at odds with Abbas [and] looking for a way out.”
Fayyad proposed Wednesday that members of Fatah, the PLO’s largest political faction, form the “backbone” of a new Palestinian government, sources said.
His proposal represents an effort to bring the PA and its governing coalition closer to democracy, insiders explained.
However, it is also a puzzling and unpredictable development.
Fatah was behind a series of anti-Fayyad protests that gripped the Palestinian territories in September. Protesters accused Fayyad of being responsible for an ongoing financial crisis that has prevented the PA from paying many government salaries.
Insiders view Fayyad’s proposal as a means for him to absolve himself of a political catastrophe that has spun out of control and prevented him from pursuing much-need reforms.
“At a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee a couple of days ago, he basically told them that they either fully support him and his government, or he will resign and they can form a government of their own—they can stop using him as a scapegoat and take political responsibility for decisions they support,” one Washington-based analyst with knowledge of the situation told the Free Beacon. “He himself has been silent about the whole thing.”
The PLO has not yet responded to Fayyad’s proposal, a sign that senior officials could be giving it serious consideration.
Abbas, however, is not likely to let Fayyad leave, others said.
The PA needs Fayyad because he gives the government an air of legitimacy that is attractive to international donors including the United States, which has provided the government with billions in aid.
“This was almost a cry for help,” explained FDD’s Schanzer. “This is not a guy with any real political allies in the PA or internationally. He’s been marginalized and the irony is that the PA needs him” for legitimacy.
Tensions between Abbas and Fayyad first came into public view in 2011 when Abbas spearheaded an effort to establish independent statehood via the United Nations.
Fayyad was against the U.N. campaign, which ended in failure and led Western governments to fiscally penalize the PA.
Abbas has pledged in recent months to renew his efforts at the U.N., which could result in further penalties and complicate Fayyad’s efforts to keep the government solvent.
“Fayyad has long said that the U.N. push is unwise,” said one former U.S. official with knowledge of the situation. “He is responsible for paying the bills and making the payroll, and he knows that the PLO push at the U.N. may result in a cut in U.S. and Israeli funds—and he also knows that no big Arab donor has stepped forward to fill the gap.”
Abbas and Fayyad were scheduled to discuss the matter privately late Wednesday, sources said.
“There have been ongoing conversations between him and Abbas,” said the Washington analyst with knowledge of the negotiations. “What is not clear to me are the exact terms of the conversation, specifically what Fayyad is asking in terms of support from Abbas and the factions.”
Fayyad is demanding “a cessation of the attacks” on his reputation, according to some on the inside.
However, “others say that he is asking for a reversal of some of the decisions that were at the root of the financial crisis,” explained the source.
Others speculated that Fayyad wants the ability to govern unimpeded.
“Fayyad believes that the corruption within the PA should be combatted and that there should be a bottom-up process of building the Palestinian state,” said one Arab affairs analyst who would only speak on background. “Not an empty declaration, but actually building institutions, holding elections, and avoiding a major financial crisis.”
One GOP foreign policy observer slammed the White House for its failure to back Fayyad.
“I don’t think the American people fully appreciate the significance of Barack Obama’s foreign policy failures, especially in the Middle East,” the source said. “The Qataris are walking hundreds of millions of dollars into Gaza to bolster Hamas, the glorified alderman from East Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas, is running around the U.N. looking for someone to believe the ward he controls deserves statehood, and the Fayyad is more marginalized inside the Palestinian Authority than ever.”
“From a strategic view,” the source added, “Israel’s security situation is worse today than it’s been in more than 25 years.”