These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 4, 2011.
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
In praise of Flanders, Right-wing intellectuals and Theodore Dalrymple
Daniel Hannan writes in The Telegraph about the Flemish city of Leuven which he visited recently. His reason for visiting was thus:-
I was in Leuven to watch Theodore Dalrymple receive the 2011 Freedom Prize from the free-market Flemish think-tank Libera! The presentation was made by Bart De Wever, the winner of the most recent Belgian election, and easily the most popular politician in the country. De Wever is an unashamedly clever politician, who mesmerised Belgians with his performances on the their equivalent of Mastermind. He talked brilliantly of Plato’s Republic, of Popper’s conception of the ideal society, and of how Dalrymple’s writings fit into the Western tradition. His spoken English was superior to that of many British politicians, and his delivery so unstuffy and enthusiastic that it was impossible not to warm to him.
Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. First, because we should remember our ancient league with Flanders, our first ally after Portugal. The day may come when the people of that wet, flat and exquisite corner of Europe opt for independence – something that the Euro-elites, hostile as they are to national self-determination, will do whatever they can to hinder. Britain should stand ready to play her traditional role as a friend and sponsor to her Flemish confederates.
Second, because it’s wonderful to see Theodore Dalrymple getting the recognition he deserves. His books sell massively in Flanders and the Netherlands. He is a well-known figure, too, in American conservative circles; but he hath no honour in his own country.
Why not? Largely because there is little space in British public life for Right-wing intellectuals. You can be a conservative commentator if you have a populist bent. There will always, I’m happy to say, be slots for the Kelvin MacKenzies, the Richard Littlejohns, the Jeremy Clarksons. But Theodore Dalrymple writes about Koestler’s essays and Ethiopian religious art and Nietzschean eternal recurrence (I have to say here that he is fascinating on many subjects but, being only human, wrong about the EDL) – subjects which, in Britain, are generally reserved for the reliably Left-of-Centre figures who appear on Start the Week and Newsnight Review. It is Theodore’s misfortune to occupy a place beyond the mental co-ordinates of most commissioning editors.
In Belgium, rather surprisingly, things are different. De Wever, at any rate, is an extraordinary example of how you can be Right-of-Centre, fiercely intellectual and still popular. I never thought I’d write these words in any context, but perhaps we can learn something from Belgian politics.
- An imam from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem vowed to take revenge over "the western dogs" for killing Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Sunday.
In a Youtube video uploaded by the imam he said: "The western dogs are rejoicing after killing one of our Islamic lions. From Al-Aqsa Mosque, where the future caliphate will originate with the help of God, we say to them – the dogs will not rejoice too much for killing the lions. The dogs will remain dogs and the lion, even if he is dead, will remain a lion."
The imam then verbally attacked US President Barack Obama saying: "You personally instructed to kill Muslims. You should know that soon you'll hang together with Bush Junior. We are a nation of billions, a good nation. We'll teach you about politics and military ways very soon, with god's help," he vowed.
Some two dozen Palestinians gathered in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to pay tribute to slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. About 25 people holding pictures and posters of bin Laden rallied outside a Gaza City university. The crowd included al-Qaeda sympathizers as well as students who said they opposed bin Laden's ideology, but were angry at the US for killing him and consider him a martyr.
Hamas police did not interfere in the demonstration.
NASHVILLE, TN (May 3, 2011)- The Tennessee Freedom Coalition will host its inaugural Signature Series event on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 7 pm at Cornerstone Church in Madison, Tennessee. International political leader Geert Wilders, who leads the third largest political party in the Netherlands, will be the featured speaker. Wilders has been outspoken in his warnings to Western Europe about the failures of socialism and the encroachment of Radical Islam. There will be a formal Press Conference with Mr. Wilders immediately following the event at Cornerstone.
At 7:00, Wilders will present “A Warning to America”, outlining the conclusions of his vast research and life experiences regarding radical Islam. In addition to his policy duties in the Netherlands, he travels the world delivering his message concerning the threats to Western Civilization posed by the “Islamisation” spreading throughout Europe. His controversial 2008 film about his views on Islam, Fitna, received international acclaim.
Because Nashville is WildersÊ¼ only United States appearance, the public is encouraged to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event. There is no cost for admission.
The Thursday evening event will also include a roundtable discussion with Wilders, Sam Solomon, and Bill Warner. Solomon is CEO of Faith for Muslims, a convert to Christianity and an expert on Islam and Sharia Law. Bill Warner is Director of the Center for the Political Study of Islam and founder of the Political Islam website (www.politicalislam.com) which seeks to educate people about the truth of what is contained in the Koran and other Islamic holy books. Nationally syndicated and Nashville-based talk radio host Steve Gill will emcee the roundtable discussion.
As a leader in the Party for Freedom (PPV) in the Netherlands, Wilders has been a key factor in the dramatic growth and increasing influence of the PPV in the past few years. His effort to restrict increasing Islamic immigration to the Netherlands has led to his prosecution for “incitement to hatred and discrimination” and a nine-month ban on entering the United Kingdom, since reversed. He has been the target of numerous assassination attempts due to his outspoken opposition. In addition, he advocates lower taxes, smaller government, restrictions on recreational drug use, and construction of nuclear power plants. In spite of this opposition, he has emerged as one of the most powerful political figures in the Netherlands.
The Tennessee Freedom CoalitionÊ¼s mission is to educate and inform citizens in the Volunteer State about public policy issues that are critical to the continuation of their freedoms and liberties. For more information, visit www.tnfreedomcoalition.org.
Cornerstone Church is not a sponsor of the event but has simply made its facilities available to the Tennessee Freedom Coalition. Earlier that day (Thursday, May 12), Wilders will be featured at an additional public event at the Williamson County Republican Party Headquarters, 104 East Main Street, Franklin, Tennessee. There will be availability to Credentialed Press Representatives. Lunch will be served courtesy of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 137, May 4, 2011
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The current uprising in Syria is challenging the regime which has held power in the country since the 1960s. While it is impossible not to feel both sympathy for the protesters and distress at the tactics employed by the government to keep its hold on power, it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture: The fall of the current regime would greatly increase the likelihood that Syria will precipitate a war against Israel. While similar arguments have been made about other recent uprisings in the Middle East, the ethnic composition of Syria and the history of the ruling regime there exacerbate this possibility.
It is generally believed that among the Arab regimes Syria is the most implacable enemy of Israel. This is a misperception. In fact, the Syrian regime is the only one which actually prefers – both practically and ideologically – that there be a Jewish state in the Middle East, both now and in the future.
Since the 1960s, Syria has been controlled by the Alawites, under the leadership of the Assad family. In order to understand the workings of the Syrian regime, therefore, it is necessary to better understand the Alawites – a highly distinctive non-Muslim sect with no theological or territorial objections to a Jewish state.
The Alawites’ religious beliefs suggest that they are pro-Jewish and anti-Sunni. They believe that two of God’s incarnations were Joshua Ben-Nun, the original Jewish conqueror of the Land of Israel, and the fourth Caliph, Ali, who was murdered by the Sunnis. They believe in reincarnation, regard the Pillars of Islam as purely symbolic, do not fast during Ramadan or make pilgrimage to Mecca, have no mosques or indeed any public worship, celebrate Christmas, Easter and Epiphany, and traditionally wear crosses like Christians. In all of these respects they differ not only from Sunnis but also from Shiites.
Persecuted as heretics by the dominant Muslims, the Alawites took refuge in the mountains of northwestern Syria, where they maintained a precarious autonomy. Following the establishment of the French Mandate after the First World War, the French set up an autonomous region for the Alawites in their homeland. The Alawites petitioned the French for an independent state, but their petitions were rejected and the territory was added to the Sunni-dominated state of Syria. The Alawites attempted to rebel against the Sunnis in 1946 and again in 1952, but they were put down. Undaunted, they established footholds in the officers’ corps of the Syrian army and the Ba’ath Party. They took advantage of the confusion following the collapse of the United Arab Republic to seize power in the 1960s, and they have controlled Syria ever since.
The Alawites are outnumbered in Syria by their traditional and theological enemies, the Sunnis, by a margin of 70 to 12 percent. Thus, in order to legitimize their rule among the Sunni majority, they must publicly project an image of championing Arabism by unrelentingly rejecting Israel and flirting with Israel's avowed enemies. Consequently, when the Arab states actually had some hope of defeating Israel militarily, before the Egyptian government entered into peace negotiations with Israel in the second half of the 1970s, the Alawites had to actually go to war with Israel in 1973 to 'keep up appearances'. However, for the last 30 years they have adopted a much safer strategy of demonstrative public rhetoric against Israel and any Arab regimes which have signed peace treaties with Israel, combined with broadly-publicized support for non-governmental Muslim groups that resist Israel.
Nonetheless, this is all just a show. Aside from the 1973 war, they have almost completely avoided any direct clashes with Israel. When confronted with a serious threat from their real enemies, the Sunnis, the Alawites have shown their true colors: In 1976, at the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War, when it looked as though the Palestinian-led coalition might take control of Lebanon, Syria’s army went into Lebanon to save the Maronite Christians from defeat. Also, in February 1982, in response to a series of terrorist attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian army invaded the city of Hama, the stronghold of the Brotherhood, killing roughly 30,000 people and cowing the Sunnis into submission.
The Alawites are a purely ancestral religious group and like other groups of this type – Jews, Maronites, Armenians and Druze – their basic loyalty is to their own particular group rather than any larger unit they may seem to be part of. Even if members of these groups happen to speak Arabic, they do not necessarily understand or publicly present themselves as being 'Arabs', doing so only when it seems to be politically expedient. Thus Arabic-speaking Jews, Maronites, and Armenians almost never present themselves as being 'Arabs', while Druze judiciously do this in Syria and Lebanon but not in Israel. Similarly, Alawites, overwhelmingly concentrated in Syria, naturally find it convenient and in fact indispensable to publicly claim to be Arabs, but this does not reflect their real loyalties.
Isolated by their idiosyncratic religion, the Alawites have, since the Iranian Revolution, turned to the most reliable allies they could find – the Shiites of Iran and Lebanon. These groups could be convinced that the Alawite religion was relatively similar to their own, and were also generally isolated and desperately in need of allies. The defiant attitude which these allies have shown toward Israel and the United States is of incalculable benefit, as well, to the image of the Syrian regime in the eyes of the Sunni masses in Syria. Nonetheless, it must be emphasized that the Alawites themselves are not theologically anti-Israel and have no interest in imperialistic religion.
A number of points emerge from this understanding of the Syrian Alawite regime. Israeli policymakers would be well-advised to take heed and plan their strategies accordingly:
(1) From Israel’s perspective, it is far better for the Alawites to maintain power in Syria than for a Sunni regime to take control there. The Alawites are currently governing and politically stifling a population of 14 million Arabic-speaking Levantine Muslims. These Muslims are particularly dangerous to Israel because they are of the same ethnicity as the Palestinians — this is not just a matter of modern pan-Arab ideology. If a Sunni regime were to rule Syria, any wide-scale Israeli-Palestinian clash, such as Operation Cast Lead, would likely trigger an emotional response, pulling Syria into an international war with Israel, regardless of the consequences. This represents a much more serious danger to Israel than the fall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, where popular attachment to the Palestinians is much more superficial.
(2) While an open alliance between Israel and the Alawite regime is impossible, it is possible for the leaders of the two countries to develop tacit understandings, whereby they would essentially coordinate actions to support their countries' common goal of combating Sunni hegemony and radicalism.
(3) Syria will not accept a peace treaty with Israel, no matter what the conditions are, because it would delegitimize the regime. The Sunni regimes of Egypt and Jordan, on the other hand, could accept such treaties because there is a well-established tradition within Sunni Islam of religious thinking being subordinate to the political decisions of its leaders. The Alawites do not have this luxury.
(4) It is currently impossible to remove Syria from its alliance with Iran and Hizballah. The Alawites cannot openly ally with Israel and they are not foolish enough to switch to a partnership with the Americans, who have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be unreliable allies.
(5) The stronger the Alawites are, relative to their Shiite allies, the more they will be able to dictate the terms of the alliance, which will inevitably have a moderating influence because they do not have the same apocalyptic worldview as the radical Shiites. For example, the situation in Lebanon from 1976 until 2005, when Syrian occupying forces were able to keep the situation there under control, was preferable from Israel’s standpoint to the current situation, as there are no longer internal checks on Hizballah. It is no accident, then, that war broke out between Hizballah and Israel in 2006, just one year after Syria ended its 29-year occupation of Lebanon.
(6) The Alawite regime is immeasurably strengthened on the Sunni street by Israeli and American accusations that it is part of the 'Axis of Evil', that it supports Hizballah and Hamas, etc. It is therefore in Israel’s interest to publicly make such accusations (whether or not they happen to be true).
John Myhill is a linguist at the University of Haifa. He is the author ofLanguage, Religion, and National Identity in Europe and the Middle East (John Benjamins, 2006).
A prayer session held in honour of Osama bin Laden descends into an anti-American protest in Multan, Pakistan. During the service, Hafiz Abdul Ghaffar, a local cleric, praised the deceased leader of the al-Qaeda network.
He preached: "He fought a jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan where he crushed communism. Then he fought against America that calls itself the only super power of the world. Osama's sacrifice is a milestone."
Pakistanis Depressed About Army's Failure To Detect "Foreign Attackers"
U.S. raid opens Pakistani military to rare domestic criticism
By Faisal Aziz
KARACHI (Reuters) - The special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden was a major intelligence coup for the United States but it has opened up its ally the Pakistani military to accusations of incompetence and domestic criticism of the usually respected force.
Pakistan's army has long been seen as the most effective institution in an unstable country where civilian leaders are seen as too inept and corrupt to handle any crisis.
Now political parties and ordinary Pakistanis are asking unusually tough questions about how the assault could have taken place in a garrison town without the knowledge of the army.
The United States wants to know if Pakistan -- recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. military aid -- knew that bin Laden was living comfortably in the city of Abbottabad not far from the capital.
For some Pakistanis, the burning, and embarrassing issue, is how the assault in a city beside a Pakistani military academy took place while the army was kept in the dark.
"Every Pakistani wants to know how come the borders of an independent and sovereign country were violated, an attack was carried out, people killed and then the foreign attackers fled safely, and our agencies remained unaware," said Altaf Hussain, of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a key government ally. [look at how the Americans are viewed as "foreign attackers" who "fled safely"-- clearly, Altaf Hussain wishes the Pakistani army had detected amd then attacked those "foreigners" who for half-a-century have been lavishing military aid, and economic aid of all kinds, on Pakistan]
Pakistan has welcomed bin Laden's death, but its foreign ministry expressed "deep concerns" about the raid, which it called an "unauthorized unilateral action".
The CIA said it kept Pakistan out of the loop because it feared bin Laden would be tipped off, highlighting the depth of mistrust between the two supposed allies.
"ARE WE SAFE?"
U.S. helicopters carrying the commandos used radar "blind spots" in the hilly terrain along the Afghan border to enter Pakistani airspace undetected in the early hours of Monday.
"There is not just confusion that prevails in Pakistan, but also a national depression at the loss of national dignity and self-esteem as well as sovereignty," cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, wrote in Britain's Independent newspaper.
The Pakistani media, as well as ordinary people, are not only decrying what they say is a breach of sovereignty, but are also worried about the safety of the country's nuclear weapons.
"The biggest question is where do we stand now? We had the belief that our defense was impenetrable, but look what has happened. Such a massive intrusion and it went undetected," said prominent television political anchor Kamran Khan.
"After such a lapse, what is the guarantee that our strategic assets and security installations are safe? There is anger all around, and this is a cause where anger should be built," he said.
Pakistan spends a huge chunk of its budget every year on defense, thanks to its old rivalry with neighbor India and the war against homegrown Taliban militants.
The military, though often criticized for its role in politics, is largely respected.
"We have been feeding the military for decades at the cost of our children's future, their education, everything," said Ibrahim Ali, a shopkeeper in a middle class neighborhood of the city of Karachi.[it is the American taxpayers who have been "feeding the military" of Pakistan for years, with tens of billions of dollars of aid]
"But look how capable they are. Tomorrow, the Indians will come and attack us and we will just say that they used technology and exploited the blind spots. It's ridiculous."
The French Decide To Invite Tunisia And Egypt To The G-8
France invites Tunisia, Egypt to participate in G8 summit
PARIS, May 3 (Xinhua) -- France has invited Tunisia and Egypt to participate in the next summit of the Group of Eight (G8), due at the end of May in the northern French city of Deauville, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday.
The minister made the announcement at a hearing at the National Assembly, saying the two countries have been invited by France, which holds the rotating presidency of the G8. This initiative is aimed to "support the democracy transition in the Arab world," Juppe told the French lawmakers.
The eight major industrialized countries of the group were expected to use the opportunity of the summit to bring forward " action plans" to help Tunisia and Egypt overcome economic difficulties, thus ultimately promoting democratic reform in the region, according to the minister. [Those "action plans" will inevitably include, be centered on, large amounts of Western aid, the further transfer of money from threatened non-Muslims to Muslims, as those Muslims multiply in numbers beyond belief, and have grown to expect the West -- and not fabulously rich fellow Muslims in the Gulf -- to save them, with more and yet more handouts that allow these countries to expand their populations and then put them on the Western dole, or to send that excess population -- as so-called "refugees" -- to the West, where they are a source of permanent unsettlement, expense, and insecurity.]
"If we let them (Egypt and Tunisia) get bogged down in economic difficulties, the political transition will be threatened," Juppe stressed.
Leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia will get together on May 26 and 27 in Deauville, a port city in northern France.
So now it is the responsibility of the economically-straitened Western world to offer still more aid to Arabs and Muslims -- the torrent of such aid apparently can never be made smaller, much less brought to a welcome and useful end -- without anyone suggesting that it is up to the fabulously rich Arabs of Qatar (Qatari population: 250,000), Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, etc. -- to share their wealth with fellow members of the Umma.
It makes no sense for the Western world, which has had to spend a trillion dollars in the last ten years on heightened security measures in Europe and North America, an expens made necessary by Muslim threats, and furthermore has been spending three trillion dollars (almost all of it American) in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and now tens of billions to make sure the Libyan rebels, hardly to be distinguished from those forces they are fighting, prevail.
And now we are told the Egyptians and Tunisians are to be rescued from the economic stasis that is a result of islam itself, with its inadequate institutions, and above all its widespread inshallah-fatalism, and its discouragement of free and skeptical inquiry and encouragement of the habit of mental submission which, has consequences as well for entrepreneurial activites, and thus for econokmic performance.
This is exactly the wrong strategy.
The best thing to do is to do nothing, to let Muslim states and societies suffer the consequences of Islam itself. It is essential to allow the many failures -- political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral -- of Muslim polities and peoples not to be hidden from view, not to be papered over and the day of recognition delayed, but to allow the degringolade to continue, and above all to do nothing to rescue Muslims from the consequences of Islam itself. We in the advanced non-Muslim world should speak openly, and often, about how Islam explains the political despotism, the violence and aggression, the primitive world-views marked by conspiracy theories and hysterical hate, tjhe economic paralysis (where would Muslim countries be without the manna of oil and gas, which manna they did nothing to deserve or earn, and for the resource-poor countries, the manna of tourist dollars, again which these Muslims who inherited the pyramids of Egypt and the Roman ruins and beaches of Tunisia, did nothing to deserve?)
Do nothing at all.
And for god's sake don't invite these people -- and give them the feeling they are important to the West, the West will - as so often in the past, save them from their own grotesque overpopulation and miseries (that overpopulation, by the way, is a result of Muslim belief that numbers are power, and that Muslims, by multiplying, can overwhelm the West, and the attiude of the 26,000 young Tunisian males who have arrived in Italy, and then spread out through Europe, in the few months since that great "Tunisian revolution," is one of entitlement, one that says: Who dares to keep us out of Europe? We have a perfect right to come, and it is outrageous for you Europeans to place obstacles in our path."
This invitation is based on a failure to think things through.
That failure is observable nearly everywhere in the chanceries, and in the media, of the West. It is the result of stupidity. It it the result of ignorance. It is the result of the mental fashions of the day, the Idols of the Age.
Such a gigantic, expensive, and dangerous failure must not be tolerated.
WARREN, Mich. — A Twin Cities man is accused of killing his 20-year-old stepdaughter in Michigan because she left home and wasn't following Islam, police said Tuesday.
Rahim Alfetlawi, 45, of Coon Rapids, was being held without bond Tuesday in the Macomb County Jail after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jessica Mokdad on Saturday at her grandmother's home in the Detroit suburb of Warren.
Alfetlawi was arraigned Monday, and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. He awaits a May 12 preliminary examination. Alfetlawi requested a court-appointed lawyer. A number listed for Alfetlawi in Coon Rapids wasn't in service.
Warren Police Detective Lt. Michael Torey said Alfetlawi went to police in neighboring Center Line to report the shooting. Torey said Alfetlawi told police the gun discharged accidentally when he pulled it out, but police believe he intentionally shot Mokdad in the head.
Torey said Mokdad had left her mother and stepfather to live with her father near Flint in Grand Blanc because she did not like their rules.
"He's a strict Muslim, she was more Americanized," Torey said.
Authorities say Alfetlawi told them he came to Michigan to find and confront Mokdad's father. Torey said Alfetlawi asked Mokdad about where her father was and an argument ensued.
From Zambian Watchdog, an independent news site owned and run by private Zambian journalists.
Muslim organizations operating in South Africa are preparing a cross-continent aid convoy to Hamas-run Gaza to coincide with the second IHH “Gaza Freedom 2” flotilla, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center says. Preparations for the convoy began earlier this year under the auspices of the Al Quds Foundation and Muslim Judicial Council. Both organizations have a long history of anti-Israeli activity and rhetoric.
The plan calls for the convoy to set out from Cape Town in late June 2011 and pass through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. The aid materials are ultimately destined for an Egyptian port, probably El-Arish, where they will be loaded onto boats headed for Gaza.
Analysts at the Meir Amit Center say the motive for the convoy is anything but aid for Gaza’s residents. Instead, they say, the organizer’s aim is to defame Israel, contribute to the campaign to isolate it, promote the “Palestinian cause” in Africa, and demonstrate support for Hamas.
Of particular note are the convoy’s point of origin, its timing, and its route taking it through Sudan.
Origin: A common rhetorical trick of anti-Israel activists is to equate Israel to apartheid South Africa. By launching the convoy from South Africa’s capitol of Cape Town organizers hope to brand Israel as an “apartheid state” in the media.
Timing: The convoy is supposed to leave Cape Town in late June and reach the Gaza Strip in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (August). If the timetable is kept the convoy will pass through Africa at the same time the “Freedom Fleet 2″ flotilla leaves Europe, thereby boosting media coverage.
Sudan: The convoy is supposed to pass through Sudan on its way to Egypt and, ultimately, Gaza. Analysts at the Meir Amit Center say it’s possible Sudanese terrorists may try to join the convoy, or that Hamas may seek to exploit it to smuggle weapons and/or operatives into the Gaza Strip, exploiting the network of Hamas’ supporters in Sudan.
I first heard the expression "targeted killing" in connection with Sheikh Yassin, killed by the Israelis. At the time of his execution, the “elderly” terrorist – sorry, spiritual leader - was ten years younger than Ariel Sharon, who mysteriously seemed to be in his prime. Surely, I thought at that time, "targeted killing" is more moral, in times of war, than reckless, random killing. I should have known, however, that it was Israel who was being targeted - singled out, no less - for criticism. And with Israel, "surely" doesn't come into it.
The execution of Osama Bin Laden was no less a targeted killing - an extra-judicial slaying of a mass murderer. Rightly, it has been applauded by Western leaders. But if it is right for the American military to do this, why not for the Israelis, especially as the latter faces an existential threat? Silly question.
The decision to target and kill Osama Bin Laden is being applauded by all decent people. Approval to capture or kill this mass-murdering terrorist leader was given by Presidents Obama and Bush. It was the right decision, both morally and legally.
Although Bin Laden wore no military uniform and held no official military rank, he was an appropriate military target. As the titular and spiritual head of Al Qaeda, he was the functional equivalent of a head of state or commander in chief of a terrorist army. From the beginning of recorded history, killing the king was the legitimate object of military action. The very phrase "check mate" means "the king is dead, "signifying the successful end of the battle.
Yet there are those who claim that all targeted killings are immoral and illegal. These critics characterize such actions as "extrajudicial executions" and demand that terrorist leaders and functionaries be treated as common criminals who must be arrested and brought to trial.
The operation that resulted in Bin Laden's death was a military action calculated to kill rather than to "arrest" him. It is possible, though highly unlikely, that he could have been captured alive and brought to trial. The decision to employ military personnel with guns, rather than a drone firing rockets, was probably made by generals rather than lawyers.
Had it been militarily preferable to fire a rocket, that option would almost certainly have been selected--as it was by the NATO forces that rocketed Ghadafy's compound. A rocket attack would have been a pure targeted killing with no possibility of live capture. The operation directed against Bin Laden may have been designed, in part, to have preserved the theoretical option of "arrest", though the likelihood of a live capture was virtually impossible under the circumstances. Indeed it is likely that Bin Laden's death was deemed preferential to his capture and trial, because the latter would have raised the probability that Al Qaeda would take hostages and try to exchange them for Bin Laden.
Indeed, a US national security official has confirmed to Reuters that "this was a kill operation" and there was no desire to capture Bin Laden alive. This was a targeted kill appropriate for a military combatant but not for an ordinary (or even extraordinary) criminal.
Nonetheless, our government felt it necessary to announce that Bin Laden was shot after he allegedly resisted thus suggesting he was not killed in cold blood. But it is clear that he would have been killed whether or not he resisted, since this was a kill operation from the outset and it is unlikely he was ever given the opportunity to surrender an opportunity not required under the laws of war.
Accordingly, those who have opposed the very concept of targeted killings should be railing against the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Among others, these critics include officials in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, the EU, Jordan, and the United Nations. Former British Foreign Secretary once said, "The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive." The French foreign ministry has declared "that extrajudicial executions contravene international law and are unacceptable." The Italian Foreign Minister has said, "Italy, like the whole of the European Union, has always condemned the practice of targeted assassinations." The Russians have asserted that "Russia has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of extrajudicial settling of scores and 'targeted killings.'" Javier Solana has noted that the "European Union has consistently condemned extrajudicial killings." The Jordanians have said, "Jordan has always denounced this policy of assassination and its position on this has always been clear." And Kofi Annan has declared "that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law."
Yet none of these nations, groups or individuals have criticized the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US. The reason is obvious. All the condemnations against targeted killing was directed at one country. Guess which one? Israel, of course.
Israel developed the concept of targeted killings and used it effectively against the "Osama Bin Laden's" of Hamas, who directed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, killing and wounding more Israelis, as a percentage of its population, than the number killed by Bin Laden. It was when Israel managed to kill the head of Hamas, that the international community, with the striking exception of the United States, decided that targeted killing was illegal and immoral.
But now that it has been used against an enemy of Britain, France, Italy and other European nations, the tune has changed. Suddenly targeted killing is not only legal and moral, it is praiseworthy (except, of course, to Hamas, which immediately condemned the US killing of Bin Laden).
Well the truth is that when used properly, targeted killing has always been deserving of approval--even when employed by Israel, a nation against which a double standard always seems to be applied.
Indeed, in Israel, the use of targeted killings has been closely regulated by its Supreme Court and permitted only against terrorists who are actively engaged in ongoing acts of terrorism. In the United States, on the other hand, the decisions to use this tactic is made by the President alone, without any form of judicial review. So let the world stop applying a double standard to Israel and let it start judging the merits and demerits of military tactics such as targeted killing. On balance, targeted killing, when used prudently against proper military targets, can be an effective, lawful, and moral tool in the war against terrorism.
I can't abide double standards. I've got them, but that's different.
'Victims of Libyan sex assault break down in court'.
'There have been emotional scenes in the Victorian County Court as sex assault victims of a Libyan student [sic: a LibyanMuslim student - CM] have spoken out against their attacker.
'Almahde Atagore, 27, has pleaded guilty to five charges of indecent assault, assault with intent to rape, and committing an indecent act with a child.
It isn't just Egyptian Muslim men who think they can do as they please with any non-Muslim woman or girl who happens to cross their path; it seems that Libyan Muslim men, too, feel a similar sense of total entitlement, and exhibit a similar absolute absence of self-control - CM.
'The Libyan student, whose case is being partly funded by the Libyan government (what government? - one would think that the flow of funds would have been somewhat interrupted, of late - CM) has admitted carrying out a string of attacks at Melbourne's Flinders Street Station (note: Flinders Street is not some halt on a branch line; it is one of the biggest and busiest and most public railway statiions in Melbourne, and the attacks , the reports on which I put up here last year, were brazenly perpetrated in broad daylight and in full view of security cameras - CM) and at a hotel in Mentone last year.
'The court heard Atagore told police he did not know his behaviour was against the law.
In Muslim Libya, presumably, grabbing, groping and raping non-Muslim women is perfectly acceptable; sharia does not forbid it, and whether the non-Muslim female is single or married, child or woman, makes no difference, she is there for the taking. But surely before this man came to Australia to 'study', somebody - whether from his own country, or from our own officialdom - must have told him that in Australia behaviour like this (which he began to indulge in practically as soon as he got off the plane) is illegal, and criminal, and will be punished. I can only assume he's attempting the 'mitigated by cultural factors' defence, i.e. 'poor little me didn't know it was wrong because it's A-OK to do it back where i come from'...- CM.
'Two of his victims (one was a very young teenager - CM) have broken down in court as prosecutors described their fear and withdrawal since the attacks took place.
'They also expressed their hope Atagore would never have the chance to violate women again.
'The hearing continues".
Try him. Sentence him - maximum allowable penalty. Jail him. Then, sentence served, deport him in disgrace, never to be re-admitted into Australia or, for that matter, into any other non-Muslim country. And perhaps our universities need to have a good long think about whether the money they receive in tuition fees from Muslim male 'students' from heavily-Islamic hell-holes such as Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or any other part of dar al Islam, is worth the fear, and suffering inflicted upon Australian non-Muslim girls and women by predatory thugs such as this Libyan Muslim 'student' Almahde Atagore (who is very far from being the only such foreign Muslim 'student' to have carried out brazen sexual assaults upon Australian girls and women).
Pakistan's Generals Worry That Americans May Be Able To Find Their Bombs
From Times Of India;
Pak Generals afraid US may now raid nukes
Josy Joseph, TNN | May 4, 2011
NEW DELHI: A vast majority of Pakistan's military leadership is unhappy about the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden and fears that America will conduct similar raids in the future to target the country's nuclear arsenal. [would that it were so, would that it could happen]
An assessment made by Indian agencies suggests that almost three-fourths of the Pakistani military brass is concerned about the way American helicopters crossed into Pakistani territory, carried out a surgical strike and left without informing either the Pakistani government or security establishment, Indian government sources said.
The finding, shared with leaders of the Indian government, is significant because of the deep ties Pakistan military has had with its American counterparts – a partnership forged in the Cold War and strengthened during the fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan which enabled Islamabad to extract generous assistance from the US.
"Only a minority (in the Pakistani military leadership) believes what the Americans have accomplished is admirable," a source said. According to this minority view, it was a necessary operation and US was well within its right to do it. "We know of such opinions, but over the coming days, this view could get further marginalized," the source said.
Across the board, the Pakistani military leadership is worried about the repercussions of the American operation.
Not A Moment To Lose In Iraq, assassinations are a nightly event
From The Washington Post:
In Iraq, assassinations are a nightly event
By Aaron C. Davis, May 3, 2011
BAGHDAD — The assassins strike quietly, often just after dark, as Iraq’s political and military leaders speed home surrounded by armed guards.
The dead in April alone included generals, police commanders, a deputy minister and the head of Iraq’s tax agency. The wounded included a member of parliament, a judge and the head of the national theater, survivors of attacks on their motorcades.
Among 50 targeted killings last month, most were carried out by gunmen using silenced weapons, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which oversees the country’s police forces.
Assassinations are not an entirely new feature of Iraq’s political landscape. But a stealthy string of killings that began last month has given them new prominence, shaking Iraqis’ confidence in their government’s ability to protect them and raising questions about the country’s security just months before the last U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw.
In recent days, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and members of parliament have felt compelled to address the killings repeatedly in public, vowing all-out efforts to stop them.
But the killings have continued with at least 14 more dead from gun attacks and targeted bombings, mostly against police officials, in the first three days of May. Late Tuesday, a car bomb killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 30 in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad.
Iraqi intelligence officials and U.S. military officers say the killings are being waged from both ends of Iraq’s religious and political spectrum, as part of renewed jockeying for power in advance of the American pullout.
According to Iraqi officials, Sunni extremists, including the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, who still consider Iraq’s elected government illegitimate, are behind most of the recent slayings. But they say Shiite Muslim militias, some with close ties to Iran, also appear to be conducting some of the killings to assert influence and settle scores.
Ali al-Dabbagh, Iraq’s chief government spokesman, said there was no evidence that Shiite militias are behind the assassinations. But he acknowledged that the sheer number of killings of high-placed government officials has become a serious problem. “This is a new way of terrorism here in Iraq,” Dabbagh said. “This is a big threat for the whole process, the whole government.”
Assassinations accounted for roughly 20 percent of about 251 violent deaths in Iraq last month. The death toll is orders of magnitude smaller than what Iraq endured during the height of the country’s sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, when more than 2,000 Iraqis died in violent attacks each month. Iraq’s overall homicide rate is now lower than in most American cities.
Calling the tactic “sick,” Ad Melkert, the United Nations special representative in Iraq, said he alerted the Security Council last year to the increasing frequency of assassinations. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, the senior U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said the country’s security forces recorded an average of 20 assassinations in recent months and just more than 30 in March. Buchanan said that was more than the United States would classify strictly as assassinations but called the trend “worthy of concern” even before April’s spike more than doubled the recent average.
The intensity of the recent assassinations has attracted lurid coverage in the Arabic-language media, with haunting details of the previous night’s attacks recounted each morning in television and newspaper reports across the country.
Iraqi intelligence officials say the killers include gunmen who have stalked Iraqi bureaucrats with semiautomatic weapons muzzled with silencers. Others have been masked men on motorbikes who slap magnetic “sticky bombs” on motorcades carrying political and military elite.
In response, some police officers said they have refused to drive their state-run pickup trucks, shunning any vehicles with Iraqi government markings as “caskets.” Iraq’s intelligence agencies have acquired scores of beat-up taxis for agents and high-ranking officials so they can disguise themselves on their way to and from work.
To cut off potential escape routes, security forces have erected new roadblocks and checkpoints in recent days, contributing to traffic gridlock.
“It’s a new, blind kind of insurgency,” said Ahmen Riyad, 25, a police officer who was directing traffic this week at an intersection adorned with makeshift memorials to three assassinated police officers, including two killed recently by gunmen using silencers.
In recent congressional testimony, State Department officials have described Iraq as “relatively stable” as the roughly 50,000 U.S. troops still in the country begin to prepare for departure.
A front group for al-Qaeda in Iraq recently asserted responsibility for most of the killings in recent months. In a posting on an extremist Web site, the Islamic State of Iraq listed the names of 62 government employees and security workers it said it had killed, including 22 assassinated with silenced weapons.
In an interview deep inside one of Iraq’s police compounds, Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, the domestic intelligence chief, said the government has information suggesting that remnants of the country’s Baathist regime might have returned to Iraq in recent months from Syria.
But he said Sunni insurgents are not the only force behind the recent killings. Kamal said Shiite extremist groups, most notably Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which has ties to Iran, seem to be behind some of the killings, targeting anyone perceived as against them, he said.
Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, an expert on Shiite extremist groups in Iraq and the deputy director of the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, said she thinks the increase in assassinations has less to do with Iraq’s neighbors attempting to compound turmoil in the Middle East than jockeying for superiority for when U.S. forces leave. “It’s a very uncertain time, and groups are trying to work now to influence in their favor.”
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — An explosion on Wednesday ripped through a Yemeni military vehicle in the south, killing five soldiers, while another four civilians died in the ensuing firefight.
The blast hit the vehicle close to a busy market selling qat, the mildly stimulating leaf that Yemenis addictively chew in a province known as a stronghold for the local branch of the al-Qaida militant group.
"We heard the sound of explosions and saw fire coming out of the car. The soldiers were lying on the ground," said eyewitness Ali Dahmash.
The panicked surviving soldiers began firing in the air, and were joined by soldiers rushing to the scene. Four civilians in the marketplace were killed by the gunfire, and more than 20 were wounded said Dahmash.
The explosion occurred in the southern Yemeni town of Zinjibar, in a province known as a stronghold for Muslim militants, including al-Qaida.
Yemen is home to one of the most active branches al-Qaida, but military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, said they weren't sure who the assailants were.
Extremists regularly attack soldiers in the lawless, impoverished country, which is also wracked by pro-democracy demonstrators calling for the ouster of their longtime authoritarian ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands gathered in Yemen's chief cities, as they have for the past months to reiterate their demands that Saleh step down after more than 30 years in power.
More than 140 people have died since the protests began nearly three months ago.
In the southern province of Aden, a general strike shuttered shops, closed schools and halted commercial transport, in the latest efforts to pressure Saleh to leave.
This week, Saleh spurned mediation efforts by the powerful neighboring bloc of Gulf countries that would have had him step down in return for political immunity.
Five Syrians In Italy Picked Up, Having Been Under Suspicion Since 2001
From Corriere della Sera, May 4, 2011:
Terrorismo, cinque siriani indagati
Uno era imam. Perquisita moschea
San Donà di Piave. Inchiesta sulle transazioni di denaro effettuate da alcuni indagati con banche mediorientali, tra cui una con la dicitura «spese militari»
VENEZIA - Sono cinque i cittadini siriani perquisiti dalla Digos veneziana in un’operazione legata a una possibile attività terroristica di matrice islamica. I cinque erano nel mirino della Digos fin dal 2001 quando giunti in Italia, in particolare a San Donà di Piave, avevano cominciato a inviare all’estero denaro sospetto sia per l’entità delle cifre che per la dicitura di almeno una transazione definita per «spese militari». A insospettire la polizia anche il fatto che venissero utilizzati istituti di credito stranieri ritenuti «non collaborativi nel contrasto al terrorismo internazionale». Le perquisizioni, secondo fonti degli investigatori, rientrano nell’attività di controllo dei soggetti e non è assolutamente legata alla cronaca di questi giorni divisa tra la morte di Osama Bin Laden e la visita del Papa a Venezia.
Nel corso delle perquisizioni, gli agenti hanno trovato materiale utile all’indagine tra cui alcuni documenti italiani contraffatti, come delle carte di identità, e dei timbri a secco. Probabilmente tutto materiale che avrebbe potuto essere utilizzato per regolarizzare loro connazionali immigrati clandestinamente in Italia. Oltre alle cinque persone sono state perquisite anche le rispettive abitazioni e la moschea di San Donà. La sede religiosa è stata controllata, seppur ritenuta estranea alla vicenda, perché uno degli indagati per qualche tempo ne è stato imam. L’indagine non è conclusa e accertamenti da parte della Digos sono in corso.
In December 1979, at the end of a meeting in which Pakistan decided to embark on a United States-backed, Saudi Arabia-funded secret war that could well have ended in its annihilation by the Soviet Union, the military dictator who ruled Pakistan offered his spymaster a Zen-like maxim. "The water in Afghanistan," Gen Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq told Lt Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman Khan, the director general of the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), "must boil at the right temperature."
Ever since 9/11, the ISI has been seeking to keep the jihad inside Afghanistan and Pakistan warm, nurturing allies it gave birth to in the years after that meeting, while also joining the West's war against terror – the source of billions of dollars in aid and military patronage.
But Osama bin Laden's killing may mark the point where the water boiled over – destroying Pakistan's relationship with the West, and setting off a chain of events no one can predict.
Irrespective of whether bin Laden was being sheltered by the ISI or merely succeeded in evading its ineffectual counter-terrorism efforts, the challenge for Western policymakers is stark: it has become clear the ISI isn't willing or able to act against jihadists operating from its soil. Even though it is unwise to underestimate the incompetence of south Asia's under-funded, ill-trained police and intelligence services, it is hard to imagine that Pakistan's spies did not investigate just who was building a $1 million fortified complex a few hundred yards from the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul – a potential target for Pakistani jihadists who have claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers. Bin Laden's neighbours have said the house was protected by closed-circuit cameras; that neighbours were never allowed in; that the rubbish was disposed of by burning – all of which ought to have attracted the attention of even the most indolent spies.
Last year, though, when CNN reported that bin Laden was probably living in Pakistan – the latest in a string of similar reports – Pakistan's foreign ministry insisted the claims were "baseless", and "put out to malign" the country. Back in 2009, Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, even claimed to have it on good authority that bin Laden was dead.
For years, US intelligence officials have complained that Pakistan has been playing a "double game": co-operating with some elements of Western counter-terrorism efforts, while stopping short of decisive action against the jihadist movement. History helps understand just why that game was played.
After Gen Zia-ul-Haq's mysterious death in 1988, Pakistan developed what Hussain Haqqani, now his country's ambassador to the United States, has called "military rule by other means". The scholar Hasan Askari Rizvi has shown that the new system revolved around the army's collegium of commanders, who emerged as the pre-eminent institution of state.
The ISI played a key role in this set-up. Since independence in 1948, Pakistan's covert services have had an unusually important role, faced as the country was with a conventionally superior adversary to its east. In 1947-48, tribal insurgents backed by Pakistani military officers came close to seizing all of Kashmir. Later, in 1965, a more structured version of the enterprise was attempted, using Pakistani military formations. Pakistani intelligence strategists hoped this campaign – which Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, described as an "informal war" – would open up religious and ethnic fissures, leading to the disintegration of their gargantuan adversary.
Pakistan also sought to undermine ethnic-Pashtun nationalism, which Afghanistan used to lay claim to its north-west. It cultivated Islamists exiled by Afghan Gen Muhammad Daoud Khan's secular-nationalist regime, and in July 1975, even financed an attempted coup against Daoud Khan by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the future Mujahideen leader.
Much of this doctrine was learnt in US military schools, where Pakistani officers studied the lessons of guerrilla warfare. But where America sought to prevent such wars, the scholar Stephen Cohen has pointed out, Pakistan studied these "in terms of launching a people's war against India".
Pakistan was thus ideally placed to aid the anti-communist jihad in Afghanistan, and the welter of groups it spawned to fight this campaign ended up becoming allies. In the wake of 9/11, though, it was forced to change course: the former president Musharraf has, in his memoirs, recalled being told that Pakistan would have to side with the United States, or risk being bombed back into the Stone Age.
So, what is it that Pakistan's army now wants? In 2008, when he took charge in what was a de facto coup by Pakistan's generals against their own commander-in-chief, Gen Pervez Kayani, the chief of army staff, was tasked with restoring the institution's political position, which in turn meant restoring order. His efforts brought Pakistan into conflict with America's geopolitical aims.
First, Gen Kayani sought to project influence in Afghanistan, hoping that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban calls itself, would act as an ally against jihadists operating against Pakistan. Figures like the Afghan jihadist leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, the ISI hoped, would temper the Pakistani jihadist coalition, called the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, in return for power. However, the Haqqani network was the most trenchant of the West's adversaries in Afghanistan, and the Tehreek-i-Taliban leader Muhammad Illyas Kashmiri, whom Pakistan fears confronting, is linked to al-Qaeda. Last year, the former Canadian diplomat Chris Alexander asserted that "without Pakistani military support, all signs are the Islamic Emirate's combat units would collapse".
Second, Gen Kayani took a hardline posture on Pakistan's traditional rival, India – a concession to domestic jihadists, who he hoped would again turn their attentions outwards. In 2008, America was reported to have confronted Pakistan's army with evidence that the ISI was involved in an attack on the Indian diplomatic mission in Kabul. Later that year, it is now known from the testimony of the Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley, the ISI facilitated the carnage in Mumbai, providing training and support for the perpetrators.
Key perpetrators of the operation, like its overall commander Sajid Mir and military architect Muhammad Muzammil Bhat, are still at large – and were not even named by Pakistani investigators before Mr Headley's revelations became public.
In recent years, though, the anti-India Lashkar-e-Taiba has also become a threat to the West. Experts like Steven Tankel have shown that its infrastructure has supported jihadist operations in Europe, Afghanistan and even Iraq. Its leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is wanted for his role in the Mumbai attack, told a prayer congregation in the city of Lahore on Monday that bin Laden "was a great person who awakened the Muslim world". Not surprisingly, the ISI has been blocking the CIA's efforts to stamp out the Lashkar – leading to the recent showdown over Raymond Davis, a US intelligence official held in Pakistan earlier this year.
Finally, Gen Kayani sought to heal the rupture between Pakistan's army and jihadist allies like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – one of the legacies of President Musharraf's last years in office.
Musharraf's decision to rein in the jihadists was a response to intense pressures from within the military. Lt Gen Moinuddin Haider, interior minister under Musharraf, was among a group of establishment figures who had
come to realise that Pakistan's patronage of jihadists, though tactically expedient, deterred investors and meant real costs to the country's economy. But while Musharraf cracked down on jihadists, notably by scaling back operations in Jammu and Kashmir, he failed to build an institutional consensus around these ideas – and, as his legitimacy eroded, he proved unable to make a decisive break with the past.
Bin Laden's likely successors – the Egyptian jihad veteran Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's poet-warrior Abu Yahya al-Libi and organisational genius Saif-al-Adel – are all in Pakistan. Gen Kayani has made clear that he has no intention of moving troops into North Waziristan, where Muhammad Illyas Kashmiri's camps are training jihadists to target the West, and have demonstrated no will to go after al-Qaeda elsewhere.
For decades, Western governments have sought, in essence, to bribe Pakistan into a strategic alliance. Gen Kayani has made clear that Pakistan sees things very differently: the West's war against terror, in his view, has mired his country in an existence-threatening crisis, which the army wants out of. That is a choice neither the West, nor Pakistan's citizens, the principal victims of the jihadists on its soil,
There are few good options from here: Pakistan and the West are entering a new and profoundly perilous stage in their relationship. Bin Laden's killing might be the end of one phase of the war on terror, but it is profoundly unlikely to be the beginning of peace.
'Gunmen opened fire on a group of villagers at a tea shop in Thailand's Muslim south on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding 15 others, police said, the latest attack amid an upsurge of violence in the restive region bordering Malaysia.
'Restive'. In other words: it has a large Muslim population, some of whom who feel locally strong enough to engage in Jihad. - CM.
'Four assailants dressed in camouflaged uniforms and riding in the back of a pick-up truck shot into the crowded tea shop in Bannang Sata, Yala province, before fleeing the scene. Police blamed the attack on separatist rebels.
That is, on those local Muslims who, being particularly committed to classical Muslim ideology which forbids non-Muslim rule over Muslims, cannot abide to be part of a broader, majority non-Muslim polity - CM.
"They dressed like soldiers and we suspect that it was in an attempt to blame the attack on the authorities and add to distrust and anxieties", Yala province governor Krisada Boonraj told Reuters.
'The violence has killed more than 4, 500 people, both Muslims and Buddhists (note that Reuters does not give a breakdown of the casualties - how many Muslims and how many Buddhists? - nor state what proportion of those killed were jihadists killed in battle with police and soldiers, as opposed to how many were unarmed Buddhist or Muslim civilians - women, children, elderly folks - ambushed and, sometimes, beheaded - CM) in the rubber-rich Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces bordering Malaysia since a decades-old separatist rebellion against the Buddhist-dominated Thai state resurfaced in January 2004.
'Buddhist-dominated'. Probably more correct to say 'majority-Buddhist', since in Thailand as a whole the Buddhists form an overwhelming majority of the population. - CM
'The number of attacks has increased in recent months in what security analysts say could be an effort by a shadowy insurgents movement (shadowy? - a simple google search reveals that there are persons, names, faces, and something like six different Islamic organisations involved in this Jihad in the south; why cannot Reuters at least name one or two? - CM) to counter government claims that its public relations and development campaigns were helping to contain the unrest.
Give it up, Thailand. Attempting to win Muslim hearts and minds in order to contain or quell 'unrest' (that is, in order to suppress or buy off the Jihad) - be it in southern Thailand, or the banlieues of Paris, or the Islamified suburbs of western Sydney and of East London and northern England, or in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq, or just about anywhere else that non-Muslims are trying to pacify either the Muslims within their gates, or the Muslims across the border - is perfectly futile. - CM.
'Local Muslims largely oppose the presence of tens of thousands of police, soldiers and state-armed Buddhist guards in the three southernmost provinces, a region that was part of an independent Muslim sultanate known as Patani until annexed by Thailand a century ago.
Reuters will never remind us that that same region, though ethnically distinct from Thailand, was by religion animist, Hindu and Buddhist for centuries, until its ruler or rulers converted to Islam in the 11th century. Nor will Reuters tell us that Patani, Yala and Narathiwat were only annexed by Thailand in the course of a defensive war against an unprovoked attack - in other words, a jihad - launched upon Thailand by the said Muslim sultanate in 1902. The local branch of the Ummah underestimated its Buddhist neighbours, and therefore lost the territory from which it had prosecuted its war; as has not infrequently happened to unsuccessful aggressors throughout history. - CM
'Rights groups and local people say many of the attacks upon the region's Muslim majority are extra-judicial killings carried out by troops or Buddhist vigilantes.
Suuure they are...I would like to know how many of those 'local people' and the members of those 'rights groups', are card-carrying Muslims. Muslims - past masters at conspiracy theory, plots and plans, and notable for internecine warfare - are only too quick to push off the blame for any wrongdoing Muslims inflict upon Muslims, onto the hated kuffar. We see this in Iraq and we see it in Afghanistan; all the killings are blamed on the Americans, on the non-Muslim 'occupiers', even when it is abundantly clear that the bulk of the killings are carried out by Muslims against other Muslims who for whatever reason are deemed to be hindering the Jihad or infringing against Sharia. The phenomenon called 'projection' is rampant among Muslims. CM.
'They dispute the official line that insurgents are killing Muslims working as informants for security forces.
'The government and military repeatedly dismiss these allegations as separatist propaganda'.
(Reuters informs us that this article, which between the lines appears to invite us to buy the Muslim and 'rights activists' line that the [Thai non-Muslim] troops or 'Buddhist vigilantes' - rather than Muslim jihadists - are largely responsible for such attacks as harm local Muslims, was reported by Surapan Boonthanom, written by Ambika Ahuja, and edited by Martin Petty and Sanjeev Miglani. Unfortunately I do not know enough to tell whether all the non-European names here on the byline are Muslim or non-Muslim.- CM).
There is a little more detail in a different report, by AFP, which appeared in 'asiaone'. In that one, we learn that two of the victims were a teenaged girl and a teenage boy. Not yet having been able to discover their names, I cannot say whether the tea-shop's customers were violating sharia by practising the public interaction of unrelated males and females. - CM.
'Yala, Thailand. Four Muslim villagers were shot dead by suspected militants (sic: Jihadists - CM) at a tea shop in Thailand's far south, which has been plagued by a seven-year insurgency (sic: Jihad - CM), police said Wednesday.
'Up to five attackers dressed in clothing similar to that of government troops arrived on a pick-up truck and opened fire at people sitting at the roadside tea shop in Bannang Sata district of Yala province on Tuesday evneing.
'The victims included a 16 year old girl and a 14 year old boy.
'Thirteen others were wounded, eight of them critically, police said.
'"The motive for the killings is under investigation, because I cannot question witnesses as they are practicing funeral rituals", said local police commander Colonel Suwat Wongpaiboon.
'More than 4,500 people, both Muslims and Buddhists, have died (sic: they didn't just 'die', they didn't just drop dead, they were deliberately killed and indeed many were unarmed civilians who were simply murdered by the jihadists, some of them beheaded or otherwise mutilated in the usual Muslim fashion - CM) in nearly daily attacks since shadowy insurgents (they are not 'shadowy', they have names and organisations and even flags - CM) launched an uprising in Thailand's southernmost region bordering Malaysia in early 2004.
'The attacks have become more brazen in recent months, with a string of car bombs, and attacks on military bases or outposts.'
One must assume that the Thai attempts at appeasement (which, I understand, even include proposals to permit the southern Muslims to practise more elements of sharia than they currently do) have - being interpreted, predictably, as signs of weakness - merely encouraged the Muslims to press their advantage. The other (unrelated to Islam) difficulties with which Thailand is struggling at the moment, such as its quarrel with Cambodia, are probably also encouraging the jihadists to step up their assault upon a state that they perceive as weakened and distracted; the original attack upon Thailand by the Muslim sultanate in 1902 was launched at a time when Thailand was seen as vulnerable, being then already at war with Burma/ Myanmar. - CM.
Tony Kushnerâ€™s Honorary Degree Denied by CUNY Thanks to Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld
Tony Kushner, Columbia Magazine
A hat tip to Dan Friedman in Manhattan. Friedman noted in an email the ‘crushing’ news that notorious Marxist and Pulitzer Prizewinning author, Tony Kushner had his honorary degree from John Jay College nixed by the CUNY Trustees. The instigator of this ‘revolting’ development’ was fellow Z Street board member, Jeffrey Weisenfeld, a CUNY Trustee. We wrote in an NER article, “A Pledge Against the Self Destruction of American Jews” about Wiesenfeld’s role in leading a group, JCC-Watch, opposing the West Side Manhattan Jewish Community Center’s sponsorship of a Palestinian film director’s appearance there. Bravo to Wiesenfeld. He exemplifies the adage that one person can make a difference.
Below is what Friedman wrote in his email:
Renowned playwright, screenwriter and Israel-basher, Tony “Angels in America” Kushner, was denied an honorary degree yesterday by the City University of New York. Apparently, it’s the first time in history the CUNY board has taken such action. The history of Tony’s Zionist leadership can be found here.
The story of Kushner’s rejection was all over the Jewish media today. But it may go mainstream tomorrow after the prolific Mr. Kushner released a prolix screed today objecting to the decision and defending his Zionist bona fides. Kushner’s protestation is attached as a pdf.
Kushner was profiled in an article, “A Sentimental Education” in the Spring edition of Columbia – the Alumni Magazine, with his Marxist ideology, on display. Kushner is a Columbia College grad. Although born in New York, he grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Kushner noted in the Columbia profile his seminal influences:
Dialectics is the heart of Marxism, and it’s also very much the heart of Brecht. I’ve said this before, but Brecht taught me about Shakespeare, Shakespeare taught me about Brecht, Marx taught me about Shakespeare, and Brecht taught me about Marx.
Kushner was clearly outraged by the decision of the CUNY Trustees taken on May 2nd, stoked by Weisenfeld’s four minute exposition of Kushner’s patent anti-Israel and anti-Zionism stands. He went to his keyboard and immediately composed a rebuttal letter, issued on May 3rd, sent to CUNY system President, Benno Schmidt, the Trustees, John Jay College President, Jeremy Travis and the Faculty. Kushner’s letter went off to the media, and quickly Jewish media took up the matter.
Apparently following the Weisenfield exposition, the CUNY board took a vote and as Kushner goes on to note in his letter how he was nixed out of his honorary degree. His jeremiad is loaded with his characteristic casuistry in defending his Jewish extremist associations, as an alleged ‘supporter of Israel’.
. . . eight members voted to approve all the honorary degree candidates, including me, and four voted to oppose the slate if my name remained on it. Lacking the requisite nine votes to approve the entire slate, the Board, in what sounds on the podcast like a scramble to dispense with the whole business, tabled my nomination, approved the other candidates, and adjourned. Not a word spoken in my defense.
[. . .] For all his posturing as a street-tough scrapper for causes he believes in, Mr. Wiesenfeld, like most bullies, prefers an unfair fight.
[. . .] Mr. Wiesenfeld declared to you that, rather than turn to “pro-Israel” websites, he’d gleaned his insights into my politics from the website of Norman Finkelstein.
[. . .] I believe that the historical record shows, incontrovertibly, that the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes as part of the creation of the State of Israel was ethnic cleansing, a conclusion I reached mainly by reading the work of Benny Morris, an acclaimed and conservative Israeli historian Israeli Historian whose political opinions are much more in accord with Mr. Wiesenfeld’s than with mine.
[. . .] I won’t enter into arguments about Israeli policy towards the Palestinian people since 1948 about the security fence, my grief, my terror, my moments of despair – regarding the ongoing horror in the middle east, the brunt of which has been born by the Palestinian people, but which has also cost Israelis dearly and which endangers their existence are shared by many Jews, in Israel, in the US and around the world.
[. . .] I am on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace, and have remained there even though I disagree with the organization about a number of issues, including the boycott. I remain affiliated because the men and women of the JVP are courageous, committed people who work very hard serving the interests of peace and justice and the Jewish people, and I’m honored by my association with them.
Kushner notes towards the end of his letter that he received 15 honorary degrees, including one from Brandeis University. Back in 2006, I wrote this about Kushner at the Brandeis commencement ceremony in an Israpundit blog post, Dhimmitude at Brandeis:
I watched a webcast of the Brandeis commencement in Waltham, Massachusetts. One of those chosen by the university’s trustees and selected by President Jehuda Reinharz for an honorary doctorate was Tony Kushner Pulitzer prize winning playwright of Angels in America, screenwriter of the film Munich and librettist for the Maurice Sendak designed English translation of the Czech Jewish children’s operetta “Brundibar.”
Kushner is an unreconstructed Stalinist, self loathing, anti-Zionist Jew. Wild exuberant cheers and applause erupted on my small screen from the audience of students, their families and guests at the mere mention of his name. A few Israel standards fluttering in the background were a faint call for recognition.
Kushner has found his comeuppance in this bruising episode with CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld –the epitome of what tough thoughtful Jews in positions of prominence should be doing to combat those Jews seeking Israel’s destruction. We wonder what Kushner’s reaction is to today’s tableau in Cairo of Israel’s enemies - the PLO and Hamas- forming an alliance, the latter designated as a terrorist organization by our government, whose aim is to have the space between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan made Judenrein?