These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 5, 2011.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
A Story Not To Be Found On Al-Jazeera: Why Should The Al-Thani Family Continue To Rule Qatar?
Report: Egypt, Yemen warn Turkey ally Qatar against interference
05 February 2011, Saturday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, Ä°STANBUL
Egyptian authorities have reportedly warned Qatar against interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, demanding that the Gulf country end “provocations” through its increasing diplomatic leverage and broadcast of events through the Al Jazeera TV station.
The Egyptian government has delivered the warning in a letter to Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday, citing a report by Palestinian news agency Ma’an. There was no information on the content of the letter, but the Egyptian complaints appeared to stem from broadcasts of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, which has provided 24-hour coverage to its viewers since the beginning of mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak last week.
Al Jazeera is distorting the events in Egypt, like it does in other places, an Egyptian official was quoted as saying by Ma’an. The news channel, which was told on Sunday to shut down its operations in Egypt, said earlier on Thursday that three of its journalists had been detained and that a fourth was missing. Al Jazeera also said on Monday that six of its English-language service journalists were freed in Egypt after being detained. Their equipment was confiscated and destroyed, the channel said.
Hyper-rich Qatar is again showing its outsized influence as patron of Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab broadcaster whose blanket TV coverage of the upheaval in Egypt and elsewhere is blamed by some critics for encouraging unrest and hailed by many others as a voice of Arab empowerment. Qatar has also recently emerged as a partner for Turkey, whose political influence in the Middle East has grown rapidly in recent years.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu was in Qatar on Thursday to discuss Egypt and other regional developments. DavutoÄŸlu, speaking to the Hürriyet daily en route to Doha for consultations with Qatari officials, said Al Jazeera is completely a “revolution.” “Societies have deciphered that there is a different world,” DavutoÄŸlu said, and praised the TV channel for its unceasing broadcast of events in the Middle East.
Qatar has also thrown its political weight in every direction across the region, giving Israel its first foothold in the Gulf, hosting one of the largest American air bases on the Arabian Peninsula and acting as peace broker in Lebanon and Sudan.
DavutoÄŸlu had talks with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani on regional developments. This is the second time in a month that Turkish and Qatari ministers have joined forces to help resolve regional conflicts.
Later in a joint news conference with his visiting Nigerian counterpart, Henry Odein Ajumogobia, DavutoÄŸlu reiterated that Turkey is frequently in consultation with Qatar and that they began an initiative with Qatari Prime Minister Al Thani after a trilateral meeting in Syria. “Within this framework I will make a visit to Qatar for consultations,” DavutoÄŸlu said.
In the Arab mind, perhaps nothing symbolizes Qatar more than Al Jazeera, which was founded by Qatar’s rulers in 1996. Modeled on CNN and other international news channels, it also broadcasts in English and claims to reach 220 million households in more than 100 countries, including Israel and parts of the US. But it has collided head-on with many Arab governments that are unaccustomed to a free media.
Qatar is seen by some as leaning toward the protest movements in the region, but it’s among the most autocratic Gulf states, with virtually all power in the hands of the ruling clan. Egypt, meanwhile, apparently began to bristle at Qatar’s expanding political reach as a possible rival to Cairo’s traditional role as the region’s chief troubleshooter.
Two years ago, Mubarak stayed away from an Arab League summit in Qatar’s capital, Doha, in what was widely seen as a personal snub to the emir. Then, Egypt and Saudi Arabia boycotted a Qatar-led Gaza aid conference because of the presence of Hamas’ political chief, Khaled Mashaal, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
After berating the idea that Islam should not be classified as a religion without reading my arguments and attacking Baron Bodissey for defending me, Lawrence Auster presents his solution: amend the First Amendment specifially to exclude Islam from religious protection and then add another constitutional amendment to outlaw the practice of Islam completely.
In America, we worship the right of religions, of all religions, to be free of government interference. Therefore we are unable to distinguish between a peaceful religion and a religion which commands its followers to subvert our government and murder us. We are mentally paralyzed by the First Amendment. Which is why, as I have argued, we cannot solve the Islam threat without a further constitutional amendment stating that the word "religion" in the First Amendment's commandment that "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]" does not mean Islam. A more direct approach would be a constitutional amendment that simply outlaws the practice of Islam in the United States.
Passing a constitutional amendment is extremely difficult as anyone who remembers the battle over the ERA will attest. Simply reclassifying Islam out of the religion category would remove its Constitutional protection and enable us to deal with it as the all-encompassing ideology it is without the necessity of outlawing its practice. My approach is also applicable accross national boundaries.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration needs to make a compelling case for investing billions more taxpayer dollars in Iraq as the nearly 8-year-old conflict recedes from the public's mind and the remaining 50,000 U.S. troops leave by year's end, top Senate Republicans and Democrats warned military and diplomatic officials on Thursday.
Amid fresh Republican promises to slash spending, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee cautioned U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of the U.S. military in Iraq, of the intense pressure to cut dollars for Iraq.
Under the November 2008 security agreement between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, all U.S. military forces will withdraw from Iraq at the end of December and the operation will shift to a civilian-led effort by the State Department. Persuading budget-conscious lawmakers to back foreign aid for Iraq, rather than military money, makes the task harder, said several committee members.
"Failure is not an option in Iraq and we must be prepared to bear the cost to ensure success, including the costs of our civilian operations and development programs, which will be substantial however this transition plays out," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the committee. "Congress cannot shortchange this mission now."
Since the March 2003 invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime, more than 4,300 Americans have died and the U.S. has spent some $750 billion on the war. Republicans now in charge in the House and tea party-backed newcomers are clamoring for deep spending cuts and have signaled that military dollars and foreign aid should be part of the calculation.
In a pre-emptive move, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed a $78 billion cut in future spending. And even before he makes his case for the Defense Department budget later this month, Gates met at the Pentagon early Thursday with several of the newest members of the Senate — Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republicans John Hoeven of North Dakota and Jerry Moran of Kansas.
Manchin said he is trying to get a sense of whether the U.S. investment matches the demands faced overseas.
"All the resources that we put into this, the restructuring that we're doing, trying to build an economy for them and we get no return on that," he said in an interview. "That's a hard thing for me and West Virginia to understand."
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said that as the Iraq mission shifts from the military to the State Department it will be difficult to persuade lawmakers to fund the operation.
Jeffrey estimated the cost would be around $5 billion for the effort in the next budget, down from around $75 billion the U.S. spent this year on the military effort. Still, it would amount to the single largest program in the State Department budget and would compete with demands from Afghanistan and other foreign aid.
"If we don't sustain this effort, then we have invested a lot of blood and lives and material in an effort that could be frustrated. That would be a tragedy," Reed said.
The volatility in the region also makes a concerted U.S. effort imperative, lawmakers said.
"We disregard Iraq at great peril," McCain said.
"Iraq will continue to need support in building its capabilities to meet internal and external threats for years to come after 2011," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the committee.
Austin said the United States is on track to withdraw its military forces by year's end. That would leave a diplomatic mission of about 17,000 people at 15 sites throughout the country, including three air hubs and three police training centers as well as consulates, embassy offices and Office of Security Cooperation sites.
Several Republicans, including McCain, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, expressed concern about leaving the civilian operation without U.S. military protection. Jeffrey and Austin indicated that the Iraqis have made progress in ensuring their own internal security but external defenses are lacking.
"Would it be wise, from an Iraqi-U.S. point of view, that that vacuum not be completely — that we not create a complete vacuum?" Graham pressed the officials.
Jeffrey and Austin were reluctant to speculate as the 2008 agreement has set the stage for U.S. withdrawal and the Iraqis have given no indication that they want Americans to remain.
"We are always happy to have U.S. military security," Jeffrey said.
The Americans Should Not Keep Throwing Money At Iraq Or Other Muslim Lands
Iraq has the second-largest oil reserves in the world. If the government of Iraq wishes Americans to stay, it can pay for them in their entirety. The American government has already spent two trillion dollars in its Iraq venture, to remove a dictator who had ruled for thirty years and whose family was prepared to rule for thirty more, and to keep the country together [but why?] and to "reconstruct" the country with American money. It made no sense, for the American effort was based on keeping Iraq unified, and what's more, to make it prosperous. Why? How did that advance the goal of weakening the Camp of Islam? Instead, once the decision had been made, and Iraq invaded, and Saddam Hussein captured, his sons killed, and the rest of the bigshots of his regime captured or killed, power had been transferred from Sunni Arabs to Shi'a Arabs, and that should have been allowed to work its magic. The Americans ought to have left seven years ago, in February 2005, after David Kay delivered his report on weapons of mass destruction (absence of). Seven years have been wasted, with lives, money, materiel, morale, and attention -- needed for many other things, including the resistible rise of China, economic malfeasance and consequent collapses, global climate disruption -- while the Western world keeps thinking it can somehow repair what's wrong with the Muslim lands without ever touching the touchy subject of Islam. It can't, and it ought to be withdrawinig its attention, or still worse its misguised because uncomprehending and thererfore sympathetic interest, from Muslim lands and Muslim peoples. Instead, those who have the great fortune not to have been born into Islam, with its mind-forged manacles, should grasp that they must protect themselves and their societies by reversing the large-scale Muslim presence in their own lands (by making those lands hostile to Islam, in dozens of ways, and by halting, as government policy, Muslim immigration, and making it difficult for the conduct of life according to Islam). There should be no further transfers of wealth -- other than the huge sums required, alas, to pay for oil -- from non-Muslims to Muslims. There should be no assured access for the rulers and elites of Muslim lands, to Western education for their children, or Western medicine for themselves. And all the ways in which Islam itself explains the failures, political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral, of Muslim states and societies and even individuals suffused with Islam, should become the supreme theme, discussed so naturally, and so openly, and so convincingly (for the case is convincing), that we in the advanced West will be overheard, and once we are overheard, it will be hard for Muslims with minds not to concede, if only to themselves, the truth of this observation.
We just can't go on with the Iraq folly, the Afghanistan folly, the Pakistan folly. Let these assorted non-Romes in their assorted non-Tibers melt. It's the only way.
British Officials: Zardari Corrupt And A Numbskull
So what else is new? The entire class of zamindars and fly-whisking terry-thomas moustachioed generals, with their spoiled children going to school, and sometimes remaining, in the advanced West, and meanwhile spreading the good word about Pakistan (and putting in a good word for Islam too) by telling their roommates (at prep schools, and universities all over America and Great Britain) that everything was fine in Pakistan, until bad old Zia ul-Haq came along, and Islam, the real, the true, Islam, has nothing to apologize for, is if understood in the right way, a magnificent way of life, and so on, consists of people who are equally corrupt, though perhaps not quite as obviously numbskullish as Zardari. Pinky Bhutto was more intelligent and more sympathetic, because she realized she was trapped in Islam, and had only those few years of freedom at Radcliffe, where her happiest memory was of being allowed to walk from Radcliffe to Harvard Square to pick up papers at Nini's Corner (or was it Sheldon Cohen's Out-of-Town News?).
Here's the story:
British officials described Zardari as numbskull: WikiLeaks
Feb 05 2011
London : In a damning assessment, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has been described by British officials as "highly corrupt" and a "numbskull".
The assessment of Zardari was made by officials and military leaders in the months after his election as president in September 2008, The Daily Telegraph reported citing documents leaked by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
Sir Jock Stirrup, then Chief of the Defence staff, told American diplomats that Pakistan was already in an "arguably worse" state a month after Zardari's election.
He said although Zardari had made "helpful political noises", he's clearly a numbskull.
His comments were echoed by high-ranking British officials who said Zardari had "not much sense of how to govern a country" and "no goals beyond hanging on to power".
A leaked record of the talks with US officials indicated that Sir Peter Ricketts, the permanent secretary to the Foreign Office and now David Cameron's national security adviser, said the British government "would like to believe in Zardari" but added: "I fear he talks and talks but not much happens."
Zardari took over as leader of the Pakistan People's Party after his wife former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007.
He was elected president after military government of Gen Pervez Musharraf collapsed.
In a cable sent to Washington from the US embassy in London in April 2008, diplomats disclosed that the British government "makes no attempt to hide from us its disdain for Zardari".
According to the cable: "Most in the government see Zardari as highly corrupt and lacking popular support simply having benefited from his wife's unfortunate demise."
Protesters waving placards calling for Islamic law to be imposed in Egypt have demonstrated outside the country's embassy in London.
For several days, a peaceful protest has seen hundreds of ex-patriots [sic -- for "expatriates," but what a funny mistake] and supporters of regime change mass outside the embassy in the centre of the capital.
Today, brandishing signs such as 'democracy will bring oppression' and 'Islam is the solution for Egypt', women in burkas were joined by men in traditional dress for a rally calling for sharia law to be imposed.
Rank: British police officers stand guard as protesters demonstrate for the rule by Islamic law in Egypt, outside the Egyptian Embassy in London
Demands: Black-clad women carry anti-democracy posters as part of the demonstration outside the Egyptian Embassy in London
Passion: Anti-Government protesters chant in the central London demonstration
Behind barricades, holding flags aloft, they faced a line of uniformed police in the quiet streets of central London, far from the chaos of Tahrir - Liberation - Square in Cairo.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: 'There are approximately 300 people there, all cooperative and good-natured.'
Instead of learning about Islam and leading the country in fighting it, Prime Minister David Cameron takes a half-hearted swipe a softer target: "state multiculturalism". He threatens - Mohammed would be quaking in his shoes - "not to engage with extremists". From the BBC:
He also signalled a tougher stance on groups promoting Islamist extremism.
The Muslim Council of Britain said its community was being seen as part of the problem rather than the solution.
Mr Cameron suggested there would be greater scrutiny of some Muslim groups which get public money but do little to tackle extremism.
Ministers should refuse to share platforms or engage with such groups, which should be denied access to public funds and barred from spreading their message in universities and prisons, he argued.
"Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism," the prime minister said.
"Let's properly judge these organisations: Do they believe in universal human rights - including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separatism?
"These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations," he added.
These are mere words, and feeble words at that. He is talking "tough" - as he perceives it - on Islam, because he's in Germany, just as he talked soft on Islam when he was in Turkey. But what kind of a threat is the withdrawal of public funds? Not funding one's enemies is a necessary but far from a sufficient condition of survival, let alone victory. Identifying the ememy would be a start. What do "these organisations", who don't believe in human rights, the rights of women and those of other faiths, have in common?
Bland and limp as his speech is, it has still offended the Muslim Council of Britain:
The Muslim Council of Britain's assistant secretary general, Dr Faisal Hanjra, said the government had failed to move the issue on.
He told Radio 4's Today programme: "It is disappointing. We were hoping that with a new government, with a new coalition that there'd be a change in emphasis in terms of counter-terrorism and dealing with the problem at hand.
"In terms of the approach to tackling terrorism though it doesn't seem to be particularly new.
"Again it just seems the Muslim community is very much in the spotlight, being treated as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution."
The "Muslim community" is part of the problem - indeed it is the whole problem, and will remain so until it gives up Islam.
Any readers who see in David Cameron's speech a glimmer of understanding of Islam will be disappointed as he goes on to say, predictably:
"We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing."
Tell that to Mohammed, the original Muslim "extremist". Or perhaps Mohammed misunderstood Islam, like so many of his followers.
What is the basis for Cameron's assertion that "Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing"? What are his credentials? What does he know?
The American reporters have been doing their litte Edward-R.-Murrows from excitable Tahrir Square.
Perhaps it's time for a few editors to provide their readers' more sober needs and to start doing their Edward-R.-Tuftes, by showing that whatever happens tomorrow -- if the obvious injustice of a rich and corrupt ruling class (a problem one sees everywhere, and usually far worse, all over the Muslim-dominated countries, where ruling families help themselves to whatever share they wish of the national wealth, and allow lickspittle courtiers, to spaniel-like lick up the leftovers) -- or the day after, Egypt will remain with too many people, too many young males, too little wealth (inshallah-fatalism, and the absence of necessary legal and political instutions, an absence -- discerning observers will have noted -- found wherever the presence of Islam is unconstrained).
Egypt depends on the following: Tourism, almost entirely from the non-Muslim world, revenues from users of the Suez Canal (built by non-Muslims), cotton (bought by non-Muslim manufacturers), some oil and gas (some of it bought by non-Muslim countries), and large amounts of economic and military aid, supplied entirely by Western countries.
In 1947 Egypt had 17 million people. In 1980, when Mubarak started out, it had 60 million. It now has more than 84 million people. Half are illiterate. More than half are under the age of 25. Que voulez-vous, monsieur?
There is no Great Age beginning anew in Egypt, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, Egypt will still be greatly overpopulated, poor, and with a ruling class, and people, who cannot properlly remedy their problems because their problems are based on Islam. Even those who try to halt the Ikhwan and those who chant, and do believe, that "Islam Is The Solution," cannot admit to themselves, as yet, the One Big Truth: Islam Is The Problem.
Among those Egyptians in Tahrir Square are many who have gone abroad, learned English in the West, and have, like some Egyptians who travelled to Europe in the mid-19th century, come back greatly impressed with ideas, or rather with words for concepts vaguely understood: "Freedom" and "Democracy." They do not ask themselves what it is about Islam, and the way it discourages free and skeptical inquiry, the way it encourages people to think of themselves as "slaves of Allah," and promotes the habit of mental submission, the way the legitimacy of a ruler depends on his being a Good Muslim, and not on his reflecting the will of the people, because it is un-Islammic for a ruler to express the will of the people; his duty is to express the will of Allah, as revealed to Muhammad and set down in the Qur'an. These are different things. Those who have travelled to, studied in, had some important connection, with the West, and who naively think that Western "freedom" and "democracy" can be transplanted, like a blue hydrangea from Amos Pettingell's White Flower Farm, are mistaken. They can't see straight, they can't question -- how could they, really, unless we in the West start openly telling them how and why Islam holds them back, so that they can no longer avoid the matter? -- the role and beneficent influence of Islam.
Egypt needs an incorruptible local verison of Ataturk. Mubarak was not that man, not even close.
But will he come along?
And how far up will that impossible population line rise? And will we in the West be expected either to support Egypt, and other Muslim lands, as their populations explode and ours remain steady (because in the West, knowing the true cost of raising a child, we hold back, we limit the size of our families) , or to continue to accept, as immigrants, their "excess" population?
Now, I did say we needed a llittle less Edward-R.-Murrow imitators, and a bit more emulation of Edward R. Tufte.
So, for the visual display of the population information about Egypt, see here.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Protests over crippling prices and corrupt leadership are sweeping much of the Islamic world, but here in Pakistan this week, the government blithely dismissed any threat to its longevity or to the country’s stability.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani insisted that Pakistan was not Egypt or Tunisia. “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional,” he said. The economy, while under pressure, is not in crisis.
But while Mr. Gilani appeared unruffled, diplomats, analysts and other Pakistani officials admitted to unease, and conceded that Pakistan contained many of the same ingredients for revolt found in the Middle East — and then some: an economy hollowed out by bad management and official corruption; rising Islamic religious fervor; and a poisonous resentment of the United States, Pakistan’s biggest financial supporter.
If no one expects Pakistan to be swept by revolution this week, the big question on many minds is how, and when, a critical mass of despair among this nation’s 180 million people and the unifying Islamist ideology might be converted into collective action.
Some diplomats and analysts compare the combustible mixture of religious ideology and economic frustration, overlaid with the distaste for America, to Iran in 1979. Only one thing is missing: a leader.
“What’s lacking is a person or institution to link the economic aspirations of the lower class with the psychological frustration of the committed Islamists,” a Western diplomat said this week. “Our assessment is: this is like Tehran, 1979.”
Mr. Gilani is right in that Pakistan held fairly free elections three years ago, when the democratically based Pakistan Peoples Party, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, won.
But the return to civilian government after a decade of military rule has meant little to the people because politicians have done nothing for voters, said Farrukh Saleem, a risk analyst and columnist in The News, a daily newspaper.
As it has been for all of Pakistan’s more than 60 years of history, Parliament today remains dominated by the families of a favored few, who use their perch to maintain a corrupt patronage system and to protect their own interests as Pakistan’s landed and industrial class. The government takes in little in taxes, and as a result provides little in the way of services to its people.
“Ninety-nine percent of Pakistanis are not affected by the state — it doesn’t deliver anything for them,” Mr. Saleem said. “People are looking for alternatives. So were the Iranians in 1979.”
There is little question that the images from Egypt and Tunisia are reverberating through Pakistani society, and encouraging workers to speak up and vent frustration in ways that were unusual even three months ago.
“There’s no electricity, no gas, no clean water,” said Ali Ahmad, a hotel worker in Lahore who is usually a model of discretion. “I think if things stay the same, people will come out and destroy everything.”
When a young banker in a prestigious job at a foreign bank was asked if Pakistan could go the way of Egypt, he replied, “I hope so.”
At the core of Pakistan’s problem are the wretched economic conditions of day-to-day life for most of the people whose lives are gouged by inflation, fuel shortages and scarcity of work. [and at the heart of that are Muslim countries with unchecked population growth, familes with six, eight, ten, fourteen children, and not a hint of population control]
They see the rich getting richer, including “the sons of rich, corrupt politicians and their compatriots openly buying Rolls-Royces with their black American Express cards,” said Jahangir Tareen, a reformist politician and successful agricultural businessman.
Food inflation totaled 64 percent in the last three years, according to Sakib Sherani, who resigned recently as the principal economic adviser at the Finance Ministry. The purchasing power of the average wage earner has declined by 20 percent since 2008, he said.
Families are taking children out of school because they cannot afford both fees and food. Others choose between medicine and dinner.
A middle-class customer in a pharmacy in Rawalpindi, the city where the powerful army has its headquarters, told the pharmacist last week to sell him only two pills of a course of 10 antibiotics because he did not have enough money for groceries.
The most popular fuel for home cooking, gas, has been severely rationed this winter. Gas supplies to power textile mills in Faisalabad were suspended this week, leaving about 400,000 workers without their daily wages, said Abdul Qayyum, a textile union official.
At the same time, joblessness has soared. The true unemployment rate was 34 percent, meaning 18 million people, mostly young, were officially seeking jobs in Pakistan, Mr. Sherani said.[well. then, the West should supply them all with jobs, or let them into our countries, in order to stave off trouble in Pakistan, shouldn't it?]
Many of these jobless young men are products of religious schools, known as madrasas, run by radical clerics who favor Islamist teachings and an anti-Western creed. For the last 15 years, according to a government estimate, two million young men have passed through them, many then scooped up by the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant groups.
The breadth of hard-line Islamist belief was exposed last month when an elite police guard shot a senior politician, Salman Taseer, for his opposition to the nation’s blasphemy laws.
The security guard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, has catapulted to the front row of contemporary Pakistani heroes and was hailed by lawyers, mainstream politicians and religious leaders. Rallies are being held on a weekly basis in his honor.
Well-to-do secular families who serve liquor in their big city homes nervously talk of their servants “doing a Qadri,” voicing a fear that the flotilla of help that is common among the privileged will turn on their patrons.
In a sign of the anxiety among politicians about the mood on the street, the government decided Monday not to raise gas prices as scheduled. In January, to stave off the collapse of its parliamentary majority, the government similarly canceled a 9 percent fuel increase.
In combination with the failure of members of Parliament to raise taxes on themselves, the steps have done little to heal Pakistan’s budget woes. In a briefing to the members, the finance minister, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, said the fiscal deficit would reach 8.5 percent of the gross domestic product by midyear, nearly double the target set by the International Monetary Fund.
But Pakistan has become the nuclear-armed version of “too big to fail.” It has been made easier for Mr. Zardari, Mr. Gilani and other politicians to balk at hard economic choices knowing that the I.M.F. and the United States — which is now providing about $2 billion a year in assistance — will continue to bail them out, analysts and diplomats say. [why isn't Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Qatar, fellow members of the Umma with colossal unearned wealth, "bailing them out" if anyone is to do so?]
“The West looks at Pakistan with increasing horror but continues to insist that this is called the pain of evolving democracy,” said Mr. Tareen, the politician and businessman.
But before democracy could take hold in Pakistan, the patronage system that passes for it will have totally plundered the country, he said.
Then, he said, the people, frustrated by the failure of representative democracy, will respond to the slogans calling for Islamic rule and the ouster of the United States. “Those forces will sweep into power,” Mr. Tareen said, “and it will be as much of a surprise to us, the ruling elite, as the elite guard’s murder of Salman Taseer last month.”
No need to know anything of Islam or of history. Bluff your way through that "Egypt carry-on" with a bit of help from The Spectator's Quentin Letts:
1. Tahrir Square. Base camp for bluffers. ‘EGYPT CRISIS’ flashes up on the 24-hour news network screens and the dollybird presenters narrow their eyelashes. Until a week ago, none of them had heard of Tahrir Square. Now they coat its name with artful significance. You need to do the same. Try applying a horse-cough noise to the ‘h’ of Tahrir. That always impresses them.
2. The Arab streets. In the first week it was enough to devise some spurious Egyptian motto such as ‘He who controls Tahrir Square, controls Cairo’ but with the story moving fast, this ploy needs upgrading. Ask your interlocutor, ‘Is there any news from Salah Salem?’ or ‘Do you think they can take El Mui’z Street?’ Truly ambitious bluffers may wish to give the latter its full name — ‘El Mui’z Li Din Allah’ — but this should not be attempted after the first bottle of Valpolicella.
3. The Egyptian army. Fertile ground for Cairo bores. Preliminary phrases to deploy may include ‘The key to all this is the army’, ‘The Pentagon will have been in close touch with the generals’, and ‘He went to Sandhurst, you know’. If others around the table are not quelled by these elementary forays, try referring to the army command as ‘Heliopolis’ or ‘Beni Suef’. If someone says, ‘Beni Suef, who’s he when he’s at home?’, do not rise to the bait. Beni Suef is a barracks, not a bloke.
4. Mohammed El-Baradei. Ah, now we’ve all heard of him. He and Hans Blix used to wander round Iraq with Geiger counters, looking sorry for themselves. The news crowd pounced on his name with frantic relief when they discovered he was leader of the opposition in Cairo. That’s him, look, holding the megaphone. Looks as though he could be Tom Bower’s brother. The astute bluffer will radiate ennui when El-Baradei’s name is mentioned. Try ‘He’s not the man he was’ or ‘He’ll have trouble holding the centre — they always do.’ There is no need to specify what you mean by ‘centre’. If anyone asks, rise from your place quickly, saying, ‘Any more of that delicious apple crumble, Lucy?’
5. Dates These work wonders, particularly when picked at random (your fellow guests will be too ashamed to admit they haven’t a clue what you are talking about). Say, ‘This isn’t 1989, it’s 1917,’ before adding after a pause, ‘Actually, it’s more like late November 1916, but we needn’t be pedantic.’
6. Moments. As with dates, bluff hard. Last week it was okay to say ‘This is a Shah of Iran moment’ but that has now been done. Select a name that will be vaguely familiar. Therefore, ‘This is a Kerensky moment, not a Batista moment.’ NB: Fulgencio Batista of Cuba, not the American bodybuilder Dave Batista.
7. The Muslim Brotherhood. Fashionable opinion says they are not radicals. Bluffers should express scepticism. Useful phrases include, ‘All I can say is “follow the money” ’ or ‘Have you read Melanie Phillips on this?’
8. The south. If your card-house of apparent expertise starts to wobble, follow the advice of Potter and mention ‘the south’, darkly. Some other guest at the dinner party claims to be better informed. He or she produces a seemingly clinching line about Egyptian politics. Play your ace. Shake your head dolefully, chuck a peanut in your mouth, and say with finality, ‘Yes, but not in the south.’
Washington has finally found out what $1.3 billion in annual military aid means to Hosni Mubarak’s tottering regime: It is a bribe to make the Egyptians do what is already in their self-interest. It seems that the American aid package (close to another billion is designated for economic assistance) gives U.S. policymakers less leverage on Egypt than they might have hoped, or else Hosni Mubarak would have taken President Obama’s message to stand down a little more seriously. Instead, he has taken Obama’s measure over the last two years and found him wanting.
In one sense, what is happening on the streets of Egyptian cities has little, if anything, to do with Barack Obama. However, it’s not hard to see how things might have gone differently had the administration held fast to the cardinal rule of Middle East politics: Reward your friends and punish your enemies. By failing to do so, the White House projected weakness in the region rather than the strength that is required to keep enemies on alert and allies in line.
The fact that Obama has lowered the U.S. profile in the Middle East has not only frightened friends and galvanized adversaries; it has created a vacuum in which every actor, friend and foe, feels free to ignore Washington’s wishes. Mubarak knew he could get away with crossing Obama because no one in the region has paid a price for going against the White Houseâ€‹—â€‹if, that is, the administration even saw fit to speak out.
It was the June 2009 uprising following the Iranian elections that first showed Obama’s mettle. While millions of Iranians took to the streets to demonstrate, the administration dithered for two weeks before taking a stand. That alone showed the sort of weakness and passivity that emboldens bad actors. But the rationale for the White House’s silence only made it worse.
Obama did not want to antagonize the Iranian government because he wanted to engage them over their nuclear program. Every regional allyâ€‹—â€‹from Jerusalem to Riyadhâ€‹—â€‹told him that this was a fool’s errand, but the president was not to be deterred, even as the Iranian rulers thumbed their nose at the American president and told him they did not want to negotiate.
The administration also wanted to engage Iran’s ally, Syria, even as Damascus was supporting foreign fighters making their way into Iraq to kill American troops and our Iraqi allies. Furthermore, the Assad regime continued to back both Hamas and Hezbollah, who had laid siege to American allies in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and Israel. Instead of bringing Damascus into the American column, Obama’s outreach pushed an ally, Saudi Arabia, into the Syrians’ arms.
Because the Saudis interpreted U.S. engagement with Syria and Iran as a retreat from Lebanon, they believed it was the better part of valor to court the Syrians, in hopes they might help attenuate Iran’s influence in Lebanon. Moreover, the House of Saud and Syria struck a deal over Iraq, where they would coordinate efforts to weaken, if not topple, an American ally, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. A series of massive car bombings in Baghdad did precisely that, and again the administration did nothing to protect its friends or punish its enemies.
Any Middle Eastern observer would be forced to conclude that if the American leader was not weak, he at least lacked a strategic compass. After all, here was a president who kept insisting on the centrality of an Arab-Israeli peace process that everyone else in the region understood was a nonstarter. It hardly helped matters when Obama publicly humiliated America’s closest ally in the region, Israelâ€‹—â€‹a piece of abuse that must have amused Mubarak even as it appalled him.
The Tunisian uprising may have given Egyptians the idea that they could bring down their own president-for-life, but events in Lebanon in January gave Mubarak a clear signal that the Americans, as the Ayatollah Khomeini had once put it, couldn’t do a thing. Hezbollah brought down the government of U.S. ally Saad Haririâ€‹—â€‹while he was meeting with Obama in Washington. Mubarak and his generals could safely assume that if the Americans weren’t going to stop Hezbollah, which had actually killed Americans, they were certainly not going to pose any threat to an Egyptian army equipped and trained by the United States.
No matter what Washington said, no matter how much Obama threatened, he wasn’t going to change the reality that Mubarak shaped by force. In the end, Washington wasn’t going to curtail their aid package, and even if they did, what good was it to Mubarak and the generals without an Egypt to rule? They were fighting for their lives while Obama had merely dispatched an envoy to relay a message.
It is true, there is no telling howGeorge W. Bush would have handled an uprising in Egypt, for the fact is that Mubarak has directed a violent counterrevolution that, if it succeeds, will stand as a textbook case of Arab regime crisis management. In his cunning and ruthlessness, the 82-year-old Egyptian ruler has shown us the true nature of the man who defeated Egypt’s Islamist insurgency in the ’80s and ’90s. Mubarak pushed back hard against the Bush administration’s human rights and democracy agenda, with too little reaction in Washington, so it is likely he would have outmaneuvered Bush as well during the recent uprising. And yet there may be a reason why—despite a generation of accumulated Egyptian grievances against Mubarak—it never came to this when Bush was in the White House.
Invading Iraq earned Bush at least four years during which Arab regimes, friendly and otherwise, were wary of the man who had American power at his disposal. Putting Saddam down like a mad dog convinced Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi to abandon his nuclear weapons program, and the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq may have been decisive in forcing Syrian troops out of Lebanon. Mubarak himself got his Islamists to plead with Washington that they’d had nothing to do with 9/11 and so Egyptians should be spared.
But now Egyptian blood is being shed in the streets of Cairo. The weakness of a superpower in a region where it has exercised hegemony for more than a half a century is dangerous to everyone.
The origin of modern humans is a fascinating field of study with new parts of the story being discovered all the time. No sooner has one got used to the emergence of fossils of modern humans at Zhirendong (Zhiren Cave) in south China and at Jebel Faya in the United Arab Emirates that are at least 100,000 years old than one has to adjust to a pushing back of that date by at least another two hundred thousand years or more and a switch of venue back into the Rift Valley but this time in the North in Israel. The following report is from Science Daily:
It has long been believed that modern humans emerged from the continent of Africa 200,000 years ago. Now Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago -- the earliest evidence for the existence of modern humans anywhere in the world.
The findings were discovered in the Qesem Cave, a pre-historic site located near Rosh Ha'ayin that was first excavated in 2000. Prof. Avi Gopher and Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology, who run the excavations, and Prof. Israel Hershkowitz of the university's Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and Sackler School of Medicine, together with an international team of scientists, performed a morphological analysis on eight human teeth found in the Qesem Cave.
This analysis, which included CT scans and X-rays, indicates that the size and shape of the teeth are very similar to those of modern humans. The teeth found in the Qesem Cave are very similar to other evidence of modern humans from Israel, dated to around 100,000 years ago, discovered in the Skhul Cave in the Carmel and Qafzeh Cave in the Lower Galilee near Nazareth. The results of the researchers' findings are being published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Reading the past:
QesemCaveis dated to a period between 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, and archaeologists working there believe that the findings indicate significant evolution in the behavior of ancient humans. This period of time was crucial in the history of humankind from cultural and biological perspectives. The teeth that are being studied indicate that these changes are apparently related to evolutionary changes taking place at that time.
Prof. Gopher and Dr. Barkai noted that the findings related to the culture of those who dwelled in the Qesem Cave -- including the systematic production of flint blades; the regular use of fire; evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of animal meat; mining raw materials to produce flint tools from subsurface sources -- reinforce the hypothesis that this was, in fact, innovative and pioneering behavior that may correspond with the appearance of modern humans.
An unprecedented discovery:
According to researchers, the discoveries made in the Qesem Cave may overturn the theory that modern humans originated on the continent of Africa. In recent years, archaeological evidence and human skeletons found in Spain and China also undermined this proposition, but the Qesem Cave findings because of their early age is an unprecedented discovery.
Excavations at Qesem Cave continue and the researchers hope to uncover additional finds that will enable them to confirm the findings published up to now and to enhance our understanding of the evolution of humankind -- especially the emergence of modern man.
I shall follow with great interest the future developments at Qesem Cave but just think – if Israel really was the birthplace of modern humans that fact alone could be used to drive Islamists mad!
Gideon Levy is mong the many self-deluding journalists i at Ha'aretz.
Here's a bit of mush or gush, from him today:
"That first trip, [to Egypt] in December 1977, with the first Israelis who ever visited Egypt, was certainly the most electrifying journalistic mission of my life; nothing will ever compare to it. Nothing can compare to the first visit to an Arab country after all those years of darkness; nothing will ever be like that misty morning at the Mena House hotel, when I opened the curtain in my room and my unbelieving eyes saw the pyramids looming in all their glory. Nothing will compare to the night when we stole out of the hotel, away from our security guards, and went to see the marvels of Cairo night life. Nothing will ever compare to the shattering of all the myths and the disinformation with which our brains had been washed, as we encountered Egypt and its inhabitants for ourselves."
What "myths" and what "disinformation" had Gideon Levy had had to endure when he lived in Israel, as part of the putative brainwashing ('with which our brains had been washed") he ascribes, presumably, to the state or the society of Israel.
I dare him to name one such "myth" or one such bit of "disinformation" that his trip to Egypt revealed to be untrue? Did someone tell him Egyptians had horns? Had Israeli children for breakfast? No, they did not.
'What sentimental and dangerous fools the gideon-levys of this world always turn out to be.
I kid you not and I promise you that I am not making this up: Malawi lawmakers will next week debate a law change to criminalise public farting. The following is from Sowetan Live (and can also be found at the Australian ABC News and the BBC News Africa):
“The government has a right to ensure public decency. We are entitled to introduce order in the country,” justice and constitutional affairs minister George Chaponda told independent radio station Capital Radio.
“Would you like to see people farting in public anywhere?”
Since the country embraced multi-party politics 16 years ago people had felt free to fart anywhere, said Chaponda.
“It was not there during the time of dictatorship because people were afraid of the consequences. Now because of multipartism or freedom, people would like to fart anywhere," he said.
Chaponda, a key figure in President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government, said that if Malawians cannot control their farting “they should go to the toilet instead of farting in public”.
“Nature can be controlled... it becomes a nuisance if people fart anywhere.”
A lawyer himself, Chaponda said that under the amended law farting will be considered a minor offence.
Chaponda’s Democratic Progressive Party will bank on its majority to pass the amendment to a law which was first introduced in 1929.
The amendment, which will make farting in public an offence, is not yet public and it will be presented to parliament for debate as part of a review by the state-sponsored Law Commission of the country’s penal code.
Nobody in Malawi has been arrested nor convicted for farting under the old law, as police did not enforce it.
The old law states: “Any person who voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour”.
The southern African state is a conservative society with punishable previous bans on long hair for men and trouser-wearing for women.
Stop laughing! Where are your manners? Don’t you know that it’s rude to mock the afflicted?
Caroline Glick: On What Unites Democrats And Autocrats In Arab Lands
Column One: Israel and Arab democracy
By CAROLINE B. GLICK 04/02/2011
Whether they are democrats or autocrats, we fully expect they will continue to hate us.
Over the past week, Israel has been criticized for being insufficiently supportive of democratic change in Egypt. While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been careful to praise the cause of democracy while warning against the dangers of an Islamic takeover of the most populous Arab state, many Israelis have not been so diplomatic.
To understand why, it is necessary to take a little tour of the Arab world.
In the midst of Tunisia’s revolution last month, the Jewish Agency mobilized to evacuate any members of the country’s Jewish community who wished to leave. Until the end of French colonial rule in 1956, Tunisia’s Jewish community numbered 100,000 members. But like for all Jewish communities in the Arab world, the advent of Arab nationalism in the mid-20th century forced the overwhelming majority of Tunisia’s Jews to leave the country. Today, with between 1,500 and 3,000 members, Tunisia’s tiny Jewish community is among the largest in the Arab world.
So far, six families have left for Israel. Many more may follow. Two weeks ago, Daniel Cohen from Tunis’s Jewish community told Haaretz, “If the situation continues as it is now, we will definitely have to leave or immigrate to Israel.”
Since then, Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda, has returned to Tunisia after 22 years living in exile in London. He was sentenced to life in prison in absentia on terrorism charges by the regime of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Then on Monday night, unidentified assailants set fire to a synagogue in the town of Ghabes and burned the Torah scrolls. In an interview with AFP, Trabelsi Perez, president of the Ghriba synagogue, said the crime was made all the more shocking by the fact that it occurred as police were stationed close by.
The day after the attack, Roger Bismuth, president of Tunisia’s Jewish community, disputed the view that the scorching of Torah scrolls had anything to do with anti-Semitism. The man responsible for representing Tunisia’s Jewish community before the evolving new regime told The Jerusalem Post that the attack was the fault of the Jews themselves, “because they left [the synagogue] open... This is not an attack on the Jewish community.”
The fear now gripping the Jews of Tunisia is not surprising. The same fear gripped the much smaller Iraqi Jewish community after the US and Britain toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. The Iraqi community was the oldest, and arguably the most successful, Jewish community in the Arab world until World War II. Its 150,000 members were leading businessmen and civil servants during the period of British rule.
Following the establishment of Israel, the Iraqi government revoked the citizenship of the country’s Jews, forced them to flee and stole their property down to their wedding rings. The expropriated property of Iraqi Jewry is valued today at more than $4 billion.
Only 7,000 Jews remained in Iraq after the mass aliya of 1951. By the time Saddam was toppled in 2003, only 32 Jews remained. They were mainly elderly, and impoverished. And owing to al-Qaida threats and government harassment, they were all forced to flee.
Shortly after they overthrew Saddam, US forces found the archives of the Jewish community submerged in a flooded basement of a secret police building in Baghdad. The archive was dried and frozen and sent to the US for preservation. Last year, despite the fact that Saddam’s secret police only had the archive because they stole it from the Jews, the Iraqi government demanded its return as a national treasure.
As embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began his counteroffensive against the anti-regime protesters, his mouthpieces began alleging that the protesters were incited by the Mossad.
For their part, the anti-regime protesters claim that Mubarak is an Israeli puppet. The protesters brandish placards with Mubarak’s image plastered with Stars of David. A photo of an effigy of newly appointed vice president, and intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman burned in Tahrir Square showed him portrayed as a Jew.
ON WEDNESDAY night, Channel 10’s Arab affairs commentator Zvi Yehezkeli ran a depressing report on the status of the graves of Jewish sages buried in the Muslim world. The report chronicled the travels of Rabbi Yisrael Gabbai, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who has taken upon himself to travel to save these important shrines. As Yehezkeli reported, last week Gabbai traveled to Iran and visited the graves of Purim heroes Queen Esther and Mordechai the Jew, and the prophets Daniel and Habbakuk.
He was moved to travel to Iran after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered Esther and Mordechai’s tomb destroyed. The Iranian media followed up Ahmadinejad’s edict with a campaign claiming that Esther and Mordechai were responsible for the murder of 170,000 Iranians.
Gabbai’s travels have brought him to Iran, Gaza, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and beyond. And throughout the Arab and Muslim world, like the dwindling Jewish communities, Jewish cemeteries are targets for anti-Semitic attacks. “We’re talking about thousands of cemeteries throughout the Arab world. It’s the same problem everywhere,” he said.
Israelis have been overwhelmingly outspoken in our criticism of Western support for the antiregime forces in Egypt due to our deep-seated concern that the current regime will be replaced by one dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Representing a minimum of 30 percent of Egyptians, the Muslim Brotherhood is the only well organized political force in the country outside the regime.
The Muslim Brothers’ organizational prowess and willingness to use violence to achieve their aims was likely demonstrated within hours of the start of the unrest. Shortly after the demonstrations began, operatives from the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood branch in Gaza – that is Hamas – knew to cross the border into Sinai. And last Thursday, a police station in Suez was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and firebombs.
Hamas has a long history of operations in Sinai.
It also has close ties with Beduin gangs in the area that were reportedly involved in attacking another police station in northern Sinai.
Western – and particularly American – willingness to pretend that the Muslim Brotherhood is anything other than a totalitarian movement has been greeted by disbelief and astonishment by Israelis from across the political spectrum.
It is the likelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood will rise to power, not an aversion to Arab democracy, that has caused Israel to fear the popular revolt against Mubarak’s regime. If the Muslim Brotherhood were not a factor in Egypt, then Israel would probably have simply been indifferent to events there, as it has been to the development of democracy in Iraq and to the popular revolt in Tunisia.
ISRAEL’S INDIFFERENCE to democratization of the Arab world has been a cause of consternation for some of its traditional supporters in conservative circles in the US and Europe. Israelis are accused of provincialism. As citizens of the only democracy in the Middle East, we are admonished for not supporting democracy among our neighbors.
The fact is that Israeli indifference to democratic currents in Arab societies is not due to provincialism.
Israelis are indifferent because we realize that whether under authoritarian rule or democracy, anti-Semitism is the unifying sentiment of the Arab world. Fractured along socioeconomic, tribal, religious, political, ethnic and other lines, the glue that binds Arab societies is hatred of Jews.
A Pew Research Center opinion survey of Arab attitudes towards Jews from June 2009 makes this clear. Ninety-five percent of Egyptians, 97% of Jordanians and Palestinians and 98% of Lebanese expressed unfavorable opinions of Jews. Threequarters of Turks, Pakistanis and Indonesians also expressed hostile views of Jews.
Throughout the Arab and Muslim world, genocidal anti-Semitic propaganda is all-pervasive. And as Prof. Robert Wistrich has written, “The ubiquity of the hate and prejudice exemplified by this hard-core anti-Semitism undoubtedly exceeds the demonization of earlier historical periods – whether the Christian Middle Ages, the Spanish Inquisition, the Dreyfus Affair in France, or the Judeophobia of Tsarist Russia. The only comparable example would be that of Nazi Germany in which we can also speak of an ‘eliminationist anti- Semitism’ of genocidal dimensions, which ultimately culminated in the Holocaust.”
That is why for most Israelis, the issue of how Arabs are governed is as irrelevant as the results of the 1852 US presidential elections were for American blacks. Since both parties excluded them, they were indifferent to who was in power.
What these numbers, and the anti-Semitic behavior of Arabs, show Israelis is that it makes no difference which regime rules where. As long as the Arab peoples hate Jews, there will be no peace between their countries and Israel. No one will be better for Israel than Mubarak. They can only be the same or worse.
This is why no one expected for the democratically elected Iraqi government to sign a peace treaty with Israel or even end Iraq’s official state of war with the Jewish state. Indeed, Iraq remains in an official state of war with Israel. And after independent lawmaker Mithal al-Alusi visited Israel in 2008, two of his sons were murdered. Alusi’s life remains under constant threat.
One of the more troubling aspects of the Western media coverage of the tumult in Egypt over the past two weeks has been the media’s move to airbrush out all evidence of the protesters’ anti- Semitism.
As John Rosenthal pointed out this week at The Weekly Standard, Germany’s Die Welt ran a frontpage photo that featured a poster of Mubarak with a Star of David across his forehead in the background. The photo caption made no mention of the anti-Semitic image. And its online edition did not run the picture.
And as author Bruce Bawer noted at the Pajamas Media website, Jeanne Moos of CNN scanned the protesters’ signs, noting how authentic and heartwarming their misspelled English messages were, yet failed to mention that one of the signs she showed portrayed Mubarak as a Jew.
Given the Western media’s obsessive coverage of the Arab-Israel conflict, at first blush it seems odd that they would ignore the prevalence of anti-Semitism among the presumably prodemocracy protesters. But on second thought, it isn’t that surprising.
If the media reported on the overwhelming Jew hatred in the Arab world generally and in Egypt specifically, it would ruin the narrative of the Arab conflict with Israel. That narrative explains the roots of the conflict as frustrated Arab-Palestinian nationalism. It steadfastly denies any more deeply seated antipathy of Jews that is projected onto the Jewish state. The fact that the one Jewish state stands alone against 23 Arab states and 57 Muslim states whose populations are united in their hatred of Jews necessarily requires a revision of the narrative. And so their hatred is ignored.
But Israelis don’t need CNN to tell us how our neighbors feel about us. We know already. And because we know, while we wish them the best of luck with their democracy movements, and would welcome the advent of a tolerant society in Egypt, we recognize that that tolerance will end when it comes to the Jews. And so whether they are democrats or autocrats, we fully expect they will continue to hate us.
“We don’t want these people coming to our town, but unfortunately, we have democracy, and that gives them the right to do so”.
That was a bespectacled woman councillor for Luton interviewed for BBC Look East yesterday about the EDL march and rally in Luton this afternoon. Thankfully, we still have democracy, and exercised our right of free speech, movement and association there today.
I travelled in company of March for England by train; thank you gentlemen for your company and comradeship. There had been problems at Luton railway station earlier in the morning but by the time we arrived the police had contained the counter demonstration and I never saw hide nor hair of anybody from either the Muslim Defence League or the UAF (Unite All Fascists).
We were mustered at the back of the station. The police had encouraged a voluntary ban on the sale of alcohol after noon and many shops had over reacted to the council's propaganda and not only closed, but boarded their shops. Thus the propretors of the snack bars and cafes of Midland Road missed a chance to feed thousands of good humoured EDL bacon sandwiches, cheese rolls and mugs of tea. The chap with the burger van had no such fears and did a good trade.
The march moved off under a comprehensive police escort. Spectators were visible on the roofs and balconies of buildings that we passed but no fire extinguishers were thrown. We made our way the relatively short distance into St George’s square, which is actually oval. St Georges Square is the open space of Luton town centre, bounded by the Town Hall, the shopping mall, the library and a leisure centre. The councillors were aghast that this civic space was given over to us. The UAF static counter protest was to be contained in an area near the university. I have no idea what they got up to or how many of them were present.
There were divisions from as far afield as Devon and the West Country, Newcastle, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Portsmouth, March for England and ENA, East Anglia as well as local divisions and neighbouring counties. There was a mix of ages, the Jewish Division, the Pakistani Christian Division and gay rainbow flags and hats.
I started with a poster saying Free Asia Bibi but lacking a third hand found I couldn’t wield a poster and the camera, and plumped for the camera.
Once in the square there were speakers and live music by Anglo Saxon. The speeches will be on you tube courtesy of EDL Media in due course, but I noted down bits that caught my immediate attention.
Tommy Robinson, a Lutonian born and bred. (Talking about the struggle we face) “I would rather stand with one black patriot than 100 racists”.
Kev Carroll on the attack on his house and threats generaaly.
“It is amazing how fast you find you can run when there is a man with a gun behind you. . . But there is to be no retaliation for the attack on my house. Violence only begats violence.
I want to thank the police who have been fantastic. The protection officers have been like gold, so good to my wife.” And he paid tribute to his “lovely wife, who stands here, with me”.
The mother of Emily Brady spoke against possibility of the man who left her 17 year old daughter to die in the blazing car he had just crashed being released from prison early on remission for good behaviour.
“He should have been imprisoned for life; there is no release date for me, ever”.
The Dresden Division were welcomed from Germany.
One the subject of the cost of the day’s policing which is mentioned in every news report the answer was given.
Over half a million pounds has been spent in Luton alone, in and around Mosques and Islamic community centres to stop Islamic radicalisation. Yet still extremists are connected with the town. The Swedish suicide bomber was ejected from his mosque for but was not reported to the police. The reason, according to the Imam? We do not inform on a fellow Muslim, and besides many hold his views, but do not express them with violence. Can we have that money back please.
Jean of the French Alliance Dit spoke, beginning “Dear Comrades of England. Here we have come from all over Europe, the conflicts of the past forgiven”.
He ended by mentioning a favourite English pop song from his youth – If the Kids are United by Sham 69.
“If the kids of Europe are united we will not be defeated”
The rally ended with our Friar Tuck (or Rabbi Tuckman, if you saw Robin Hood, Men in Tights) Rabbi Nachum Shifren, who was welcomed with enthusiastic applause.
He ended by quoting Sir Winston Churchill, which I filmed a little of, although I was to far back to focus on Rabbi Shifren as he spoke. I will put that up later. Thanks are due to the tall stranger who photographed the Rabbi for me, over the heads of the crowd.
At the end of the rally the organisors thanked the police for their efficient and effective policing and we were quickly escorted back to the station and the coach park with no time to linger or look round. I was told that coaches had been stopped on route, and that attendance would have been higher.
While on the train news reached us that the Muslim defence league, being unable to reach the EDL decided to beat up members of the UAF instead. When I got home my husband told me that according to the TV news the MDL/UAF counter protestors had made a surge towards St George’s Square but were stopped by the police. As I was unaware of this it shows that the Police were very effective.
The way Luton was pinned down to ensure a safe demonstration meant that there were few members of the public to hear the EDL message, but the important thing is that we were not cowed or intimidated.
As Kev Carroll said “This is how democracy works, because this is not a theocracy, but a democracy”
The Great Middle Eastern Democracy Show Hits a Bump
by Nidra Poller (February 2011)
Those who truly desire the liberation of the submissive subjects of the oummah will not be fooled by the Democracy Show playing in Tunisia, Egypt, and wherever else it can be produced. Tunisia was a pushover. Egypt may well turn out to be a strategic error that exposes the real game and the major schemers. If we are to transform their victory into defeat we must resist the seduction of the lethal narrative [http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/40822/sec_id/40822], avoid the errors of the piecemeal approach, and understand today’s events in the context of global jihad. more>>>
Or if you just want to read the intelligent ones, and not the goody-goody ones that applaud the monk for his trust and faith and willingness to sacrifice his life and so on, you can read a few of the comments I selected here:
michel14101Ce sont les musulmans qui doivent se marrer en lisant cet article...
Le 5/02/2011 à 18:15
jacques giyhhL'islam c'est ça la question , fin de la transmission....
Le 5/02/2011 à 22:31
jacques giyhhHeureusement que je ne suis plus crétin depuis l'âge de 12 ans, Dieu n'existe pas alors mourir pour ça , merci, j'ai autre chose à faire
SyaJe suis d'origine maghrébine, c'est vous dire que je les connais bien les musulmans. Et, croyez-moi, ils ne retranchent rien du coran, pas la moindre virgule...
Le 5/02/2011 à 20:46
doncamilloMais ou bubard, renvoyer dos à dos criminels et victime, certains faisaient cela déjà très bien dans les années 30 en France. Ce sont les mêmes qui ensuite instrumentalisèrent les conséquences qu'avaient eues cette guerre...."Les vrais chrétiens et les vrais musulmans partagent la même tolérance et le même amour."c'est très beau, et c'est la version obligatoire du politiquement correct. La réalité est fort différente. Le djihad et la charia, vous en faites quoi, une invention des islamistes ou un devoir de tout musulman ?
SyaInterview qui met mal à l'aise, je me sens partagée. D'un côté les magnifiques valeurs chrétiennes : bonté, tolérance, ouverture, refus de la haine, etc. De l'autre la dure réalité d'un milieu qui prêche exactement le contraire : l'anéantissement de celui qui a d'autres croyances, la culture de la haine, la vengeance, l'envie... Finalement, je suis tout de même heureuse que "Des dieux et des hommes" porte les valeurs chrétiennes, ce film est une sorte d'étendard face à tant de cruauté et d'abjection!
Le 5/02/2011 à 14:35
DjamelJe vais simplement citer quelques lignes d'un roman de science fiction au caractère prophétique que je lisais en 1950, de ce qui arrivera en France avec une guerre de religion inéluctable............ Du sang il y en aura,il en pleuvra même. Des chrétiens seront egorgés dans le Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre à Paris. Le parvis Notre-Dame sera jonché de crucifiés et des cris s'élèveront: voilà les fils de leur dieu. La Seine charriera sa couleur rouge de sang.........Les premières prophéties que l'on pouvait lire sont déjà réalisées ou sont en voie de réalisation.......
doncamilloIl y a aussi ce roman russe d' Elena Tchoudinova "La Mosquée Notre Dame de Paris" qui fait un tabac en Russie. Eh oui, la France devient célèbre avec une nouvelle réputation peu honorable....
Le 5/02/2011 à 16:20
Michel56Tous pareils les curés tout le monde il est beau tout le monde il est gentil .Ce n'est pas de la naïveté mais de l'endoctrinement depuis le plus jeune âge , ils me font tous pitié.
Le 5/02/2011 à 15:19
doncamilloC'est bien de citer l'ancien testament. Dites moi donc qui utilise cela et en fait des textes de loi ? Vous datez un peu et il vous faudrait étudier un peu l'histoire de l'Église et son évolution. Même chez les plus bornés des Evangélistes, des Mormons et autres, plus personne ne fait de cela un texte de loi, mais juste le témoignage d'une époque. La chose est fort différente pour le Coran dont les adoptes disent qu'il a été directement dicté par Dieu et qu'il est texte de loi. Il suffit de comparer les éléments essentiels : quelles furent les vies de Jésus et de Mahomet ?
Le 5/02/2011 à 16:33
vincent NGUYEN Respectsdu a son age et sa foi ; en revanche je trouve l'homme d'une naivete inquietante !
Le 5/02/2011 à 13:27
frankiznowLes moines en terre d'Islam ça c'est en général mal fini:Tibéhirine, Foucault...
Le 5/02/2011 à 13:11
x x 9Une naïveté terrifiante en effet... La charité chrétienne consiste-t-elle à inciter ses semblables à se mettre à la merci des assassins?Elle se rendrait alors complice de nombreux massacres. Tout le monde dit du bien de ce film, moi je ne l'ai pas vu et je me méfie, connaissant le politiquement et islamiquement correct ambient, je n'ai pas envie de subir des insultes à mon intelligence qui consisteraient à prétendre que l'islam est en réalité une religion de paix et autres sornettes dangereuses. Je n'ai pas vocation à être crucifié, ni décapité, alors le christianisme extrême n'est pas pour moi. Et puis, comme je connais très bien le coran, la sira et un certain nombre de hadiths, j'ai du mal avec le côté "ce n'est pas la religion". Les associateurs n'ont pas la cote dans les sourates.
Sya@x x 9 : Cette religion réserve un sort funeste aux mécréants. Le moine de Tibhirine nous explique que ces tueries ne sont pas le fait de l'islam mais d'extrémistes. Peut-il dire autre chose? Soutenir le contraire serait peut-être une façon de trahir les moines qui ont été exécutés. Ce moine nie la réalité, à savoir que le message religieux qui sous-tend ces actes est d'une grande violence et d'une grande barbarie. Ce déni est malheureusement très répandu dans les sociétés occidentales, aussi bien chez les religieux que chez les laïcs!
rebellioJ'admire l'homme. Mais, n'ayant pas de goût pour les martyres inutiles, je ne partage pas sa naiveté ...
Le 5/02/2011 à 12:30
OberlemA Hamidou Bensaada Daniel HAMM, de toutes façons, c'est un crime abominable quel qu'en soient les auteurs. C'est surement une armée (je n'ai pas écrit : l'armée....) de barbares qui a osé! tout comme bien d'autres atrocités, notamment un certain 05 juillet 1962 à Oran! Je sais c'est loin mais les familles n'ont surement pas oublié!
Le 5/02/2011 à 12:02
Marc Aurèle 1Comparez la vie de Jésus à celle de Mahomet, et vous allez comprendre l'étendue du problème. Un homme de paix mis à mort d'un côté, un conquérant sanguinaire de l'autre qui force à la conversion ; le royaume de l'esprit d'un côté, la vérité par le sabre de l'autre. Le message du christ, parce qu'il est une révolution véritable, a permis qu'advienne bien plus tard les démocraties et ses principes (Droits de l'homme laïcisés), le monde musulman restera confronté à l'emprunte de son modèle originel traversé par la passion de la soumission.
kidi Comment peut-on faire confiance aux Musulmans? On se fait rouler en permanence, c'est sûr?
Le 5/02/2011 à 11:31
doncamillo"Le musulman est reconnu dans ses relations et son comportement avec autrui." Nourredine vous écrivez cela pour tenter de vous en convaincre ? Visiblement les sondages récents indiquent qu'il serait plutôt reconnu comme un danger. Et la réalité dans les prisons françaises ne peut pas être attribuée au racisme des juges. Il me semble donc que vous vivez sous l'influence des islamistes pour travestir ainsi la réalité.
Le 5/02/2011 à 14:30
Christine001Et à force de se faire rouler, qu'adviendra-t-il ?
"se faire rouler" -- to be had, to be taken in, to be tricked .
Which means: And [when this monk, or by extension all of us in the West] having been taken in, repeatedly, what happens then?
It is not often remembered that the name of the Assassins - suicidal jihadist hitmen of the middle ages - comes from the same source as our word 'hashish'.
Today's Mohammedan murder-'martyrs' are often just as 'high' as their medieval predecessors. Those who carried out the mass-murderous jihad assault on Mumbai in November 2008 were flying as high as kites on a number of different drugs. And it seems that one of those who recently attacked the airport in Moscow was doped to the eyeballs.
'The suicide bomber who killed 36 and wounded more than 150 at Russia's busiest airport was heavily drugged, the head of the country's federal security service said.
"I would like to stress that one of the tests - a biological test - showed the suicide bomber's fragments contained a huge amount of highly powerful drugs and psychotropic substances", FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said, reporting to president Dmitry Medvedev the preliminary investigation results on last month's attack on Domodedovo airport.
"This demonstrates once again how bandits prepare this category [of people] for the execution of such grave crimes".
'Security officials have earlier said the bombing attack had been carried out by a 20 year old native from one of the North Caucasus republics.
'Mr Bortnikov told Mr Medvedev in televised remarks that the bomber had joined a militant gang last August, adding that officials had detained several people with the knowledge of the information on the attack and were now looking for the bomber's accomplices. "We believe we know who the organiser was", Mr Bortnikov said...
CAIR Warns Orange County DA: Capitulate or There Will be Violence
UCIrvine Muslim students protest Orange County DA Charges
Orange County, California District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced charges February 3rd against 11 Muslim students eight from UCIrvine, 3 from UC Riverside, who disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on the UCIrvine campus on February 8, 2010.
"This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI," District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a statement. "These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting. This is a clear violation of the law and failing to bring charges against this conduct would amount to a failure to uphold the Constitution."
Each defendant is charged with one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one misdemeanor count of the disturbance of a meeting, according to a news release from the District Attorney's Office. If convicted, each faces a sentence that could include probation with community service or fines or up to six months in jail.
They are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges March 11.
The defendants are: Mohamed Mohy-Eldeen Abdelgany, 23; Khalid Gahgat Akari, 19; Aslam Abbasi Akhtar, 23; Joseph Tamim Haider, 23; Taher Mutaz Herzallah, 21; Hakim Nasreddine Kebir, 20; Shaheen Waleed Nassar, 21; Mohammad Uns Qureashi, 19; Ali Mohammad Sayeed, 23; Osama Ahmen Shabaik, 22; and Asaad Mohamedidris Traina, 19.
While eight students charged are from UCI, Akari, Herzallah and Nassar were students at UC Riverside.
In our interview with Orange County, California Jewish Zionist activist, Dee Sterling in the January NER she noted what happened in the wake of the kerfuffle caused by the disruption of Amb. Oren’s presentation at UCIrvine:
Gordon: In the wake of the MSU students’ disruption of Ambassador Oren’s talk, several of them were arrested and the MSU Chapter was suspended by the University. How did the MSU evade the university suspension?
Sterling: The suspension of the MSU chapter was supposed to be for a year. It was actually taken down in December 2010. It effectively lasted less than six months. The MSU essentially circumvented the suspension by forming two new Muslim advocacy organizations on campus. Instead of the MSU we had an organization that took the name of their newspaper called Al Kalima. Under the aegis of Al Kalima and a parallel organization Students for Justice in Palestine they brought in the speakers they wanted. So there was no shutdown of Muslim hate speech on campus. They had the temerity to bring in Ben White a British "journalist," author of: Israeli apartheid, a beginner’s guide. So the MSU in its new guises simply kept on doing what it had done in the past with university permission and student activity funds. In essence, there was no break caused by the suspension over the Ambassador Oren affair. Things went on as before. We didn’t see any abatement in the MSU hate doctrine towards Jews and Israel.
Immediately following the handing down of conspiracy charges by the Orange County DA, protests were raised by CAIR and a coalition of leftist Jewish, Christian and human rights group in a letter published on the OCR website. Their defense for the 11 Muslim students was;
As District Attorney, it is within your discretion to determine society’s interests in seeking punishment of certain offenses. Over the years, there have been countless instances of non-violent protest activities during campus speeches, including at UCI, with no comparable criminal prosecution. By criminally prosecuting one set of protesters and not others, including the counter-protesters at the same event, who cursed, threatened and even assaulted the students, these indictments would be singular. Orange County citizens would understand from your office’s actions that minority or disfavored groups receive a disproportionate and selective application of the law, while the integrity of the office of the OCDA as well as the justice system would be profoundly undermined.
Most importantly, indicting these students would have a severe chilling effect on the exercise of free speech on campuses and elsewhere. Because the right to freely express oneself, particularly against government policies, is a cherished freedom protected by our Constitution, only in very narrow circumstances may these activities be subdued by state action.
Andy Whitehead of the blog Anti-CAIR had sent a link to the letter published in the OCR citing some disturbing language and asking for comments. He posted a comment to the defense coalition letter on the OCR website
I'm particularly interested in the threat contained in the second to last para; "At the same time, prosecuting these students may in fact lead to more disruptive and perhaps violent forms of political protests, since less non-violent and less disruptive protests would by this new
precedent carry nearly the same criminal exposure.
So, the ACLU, MPAC, and the MSA all signed on to CAIRs threat to react violently if the students are prosecuted?
This is the message of CAIR? Capitulation or violence? Is the OCDA investigating the wrong people? What about the signers of this open letter?
Americans are not so easily intimidated. Keep threatening us, it only makes us stronger.
Dee Sterling commented:
This is more than a "veiled" threat. Shocking that they threaten our legal institutions.
The CEO of [the Orange County Jewish] Federation was quick to say that, he did not request the DA to investigate--- he also said that the university had punished them enough.
The threat made, should force the university to counsel all students -- as to policy and procedure, and they should, limit hate and incitement on campus.
Free speech does not mean you threaten others, into behaving the way you want them to. Thereby trying to limit enforcement of criminal action.
This does not lead to safe, just society. It leads to oppression, and totalitarian state.
Unfortunately this is exactly how Islam plans to spread by using threats of violence --- we only have to look at Europe---- and the people who draw Mohammad. What other group would make a threat like this?
Kudos to Orange county DA Rackauckas for bringing charges against these MSU activists muzzling free speech. Andy Whitehead and Dee Sterling are correct that CAIR and its leftist human rights allies, Jewish and Christian, threaten basic Constitutional Rights of Free Speech using tactics equivalent to Hitler’s SA storm troopers from the 1930's. But then that’s why Hitler admired Islam, didn’t he? As to the UC Irvine Administration and the Orange County Jewish Federation leaders actions and comments, they abet intimidation through their moral cowardice.
'Russia's leading Islamist rebel (i.e. one of its biggest jihad gang bosses - CM) had warned to make 2011 "a year of blood and tears" in a chilling video message released two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 36 people at a Moscow airport.
'Doku Umarov, the leader of a deadly insurgency (it is fascinating to see just how many different ways our media outlets manage to avoid saying 'Jihad' - CM) against Russian control of the North Caucasus region, said rebel attacks in the country's heartland were meant as a wake-up call for ordinary Russians, who should urge their leaders to withdraw from the region.
Memo to Russian citizens: ignore him. Whether Russia rules the Caucasus or not, the Jihad against Russia will continue, for it is commanded by Surah 9: 29 of the Quran. - CM.
'The video marked Umarov's first known public statement since the late January attack - Moscow's second suicide bombing with heavy casualties in less than a year.
'Though he did not claim responsibility for the Domodedovo attack outright, Umarov made reference to a "special operation" and suicide bombings.
"God willing (i.e. Inshallah, 'if allah wills' - CM) we will make this a year of blood and tears for you", the fatigues-clad Umarov said in the address posted on the Kavkaz Centre website, a known rebel (sic: jihadist - CM) mouthpiece.
'He said attacks were a response to "lawlessness" unleashed on the region by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his "pack of dogs".
Note: when Muslims speak of 'lawlessness' what they tend to mean is a state of non-conformity to Sharia, the Islamic order.
Now, cue the claim of Muslim victimhood - CM.
'Rights activists have long criticised tactics in raids against militants (sic: jihadist terrorists - CM) in the North Caucasus - known by the authorities as special operations - for being overly brutal and targeting civilians as well as suspects.
Nota bene: when the Muslim jihadists attacked the Beslan school in North Ossetia, all the victims - Orthodox Christians - were civilians, and were treated with deliberate, calculated, diabolical cruelty. Again: the murder-'martyrs' who blew themselves up in the Moscow subway and at the Domodedovo airport, targeted civilians first and foremost, and behaved with extreme brutality. And let us also bear in mind that from the very beginning of the Empire of Islam, all Muslim mobs and Muslim armies have shown a decided preference for and indeed sadistic pleasure in violently abusing the defenceless - the elderly, pregnant women, children and infants - and that Muslims have always gone in for inflicting brutal collective punishment on non-Muslim minorities within their power.
And, finally, let us bear in mind that even if the Russians were to treat the Muslims of the Caucasus with all the scrupulous restraint and near-suicidal generosity with which the Israelis treat and have treated the Muslims in and around Israel, the jihad in all its brutality - perhaps with redoubled brutality, excited by the perceived 'weakness' of the target - would continue against Russian civilians and any and all representatives of the Russian non-Muslim political and social order, unabated. Israel's scrupulosity and charity toward captured Muslims, Muslim prisoners, and those deemed noncombatants, such as women and children, did nothing whatever to stem the onslaught of murder-'martyrs' who blew themselves up in buses and supermarkets and pizza restaurants. - CM
"You better come to your senses and think", Umarov said, urging Russians to pressure their leaders into letting the region go.
'He said the attacks would stop after Russia withdrew from the region".
He's lying. Whenever ground is ceded to the Ummah, and abandoned by the non-Muslims, that ground then becomes the springboard for renewed and redoubled raids into the territory of the non-Muslims next door; its acquisition, and the perceived submission of the non-Muslims to Muslim demands, serves only to whet the insatiable Muslim appetite and to encourage them to multiply their demands. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, Gaza became a fortress, an armed camp, a base from which attacks - armed raids, rocket firings - were launched with redoubled force against Israel. When Pakistan and Bangladesh were carved off from India and given to Muslims for their own, the Jihad against India did not stop; rather, it continues to this day. - CM.
'The Kremlin has repeatedly said that letting the Caucasus go and negotiating with "terrorists" is not an option.
Now if only Russia would wake up and realize that doing deals with other Islamic entities, such as Iran, is also not an option...- CM.