These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 7, 2012.
Monday, 7 May 2012
German police arrest 100 Salafist protesters
BERLIN (AP) — Clashes erupted in Germany when police tried to separate competing rallies by an ultraconservative Muslim group and a small far-right march, injuring 29 officers, authorities said Sunday. More than 100 Salafist protesters were briefly arrested.
The trouble in the western city of Bonn started late Saturday when hundreds of Muslims protested against the rally of about 30 supporters of the local far-right party Pro NRW, which has angered Muslims by showing unfavorable cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Strict Muslims oppose any depiction of their prophet.
About 110 Salafist protesters were arrested after they started attacking security forces with stones and bottles, police said. Two of the injured police officers were hospitalized with serious wounds after being stabbed.
A 25-year-old German protester of Turkish origin, who is suspected of having stabbed the two police officers, remained in custody and was investigated on suspicion of attempted homicide, police said. "This was an explosion of violence as we haven't witnessed in a long time," Bonn police chief Ursula Brohl-Sowa said at a news conference Sunday.
About 200 Salafists threw objects toward police after the far-right protesters showed the cartoon depicting Mohammed,
Germany's intelligence and security agencies are closely monitoring the Salafists' actions as the group is increasingly viewed as a threat to security, according to officials.
"Salafism is currently the most dynamic Islamist movement as well in Germany as internationally. Its fanatic followers represent a particular danger for Germany's security," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag. "The Salafists provide the ideological foundation for those who then turn violent,"
From the German edition of The Local
The “Pro NRW” party has said it intends to send activists to 25 mosques throughout the state in the run-up to the state election in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 13, staging protests in Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Wuppertal and Solingen.
Last week, a state court lifted a prior ban on the group using Mohammed caricatures in its election campaign, despite criticism that the images were purely being used for provocation.
The incident follows a similar protest on Tuesday, when 81 people were arrested in Solingen after violence broke out during a protest of Salafist Muslims against “Pro NRW.” The group had set up a stand showing cartoons of Mohammed outside a mosque.
And from Russia Today
One of the most radical Muslim confessions is on an aggressive campaign of preaching ultra-conservative Islam in Germany. Protected by the freedom of religion act, they spread a message that raises concerns within German society. The Salafist community in Germany organized a campaign with long-term goal to put no fewer than 25 million copies of the Koran into German homes. Over 300,000 copies have already been handed out from over 100 special booths across most parts of Germany.
It is not the matter of how the Koran is being distributed, but rather who is behind the distribution. The group behind the Koran distribution in Germany is the radical Salafist Muslim "True Religion" network led by Palestinian preacher Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, one of Germany’s most-influential Salafist leaders, who has already been charged in Cologne with inciting the public to commit illegal acts.
German Federal Office of Constitution protection has come to a conclusion that Salafist traditions do not comply with the German constitution as the Salafists deny democracy basic principles, human rights and gender equality. There are passages in the Koran about violence, especially against women, who are not protected by Sharia law as men are. Also, violence against the unfaithful is acceptable
Posted on 05/07/2012 3:55 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 7 May 2012
Algerian Lawyer For Murdering Mohammed Merah Encouraged By Sarkozy's Departure
From Agence France-Presse:
Merah: plainte contre le Raid à venir
L'avocate algérienne mandatée par la famille de Mohamed Merah, tueur de sept personnes à Toulouse et Montauban, a affirmé qu'elle allait déposer officiellement la plainte contre le Raid (unité d'élite de la police française) lundi prochain à Paris. Me Zahia Mokhtari a déclaré à l'AFP qu'elle était "prête à voyager en France jeudi ou samedi pour entamer la procédure de dépôt de plainte contre le Raid lundi prochain"
"La date du voyage sera fixée en fonction des disponibilités des confrères qui vont voyager avec moi", a ajouté Me Mokhtari. L'avocate a précisé qu'elle avait obtenu son visa cinq jours auparavant du consulat de France à Alger et qu'elle avait bénéficié "de facilités en tant qu'avocate". L'avocate a révélé que sa consoeur française Me Isabelle Coutant-Peyre va l'assister dans les procédures de dépôt de plainte en raison de sa connaissance des procédures de la justice française.
Isabelle Coutant-Peyre est l'avocate et l'épouse du vénézuélien Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, plus connu sous le nom de Carlos, emprisonné en France après avoir été condamné à la prison à vie pour le meurtre de deux policiers et d'un indicateur de police en 1975. "Le départ de Sarkozy de la présidence française et l'arrivée de François Hollande facilitera l'application de la justice", a ajouté l'avocate Algérienne. "Hollande a toujours dit qu'il veillerait à l'application de la justice et à aplanir les désaccords en suspens entre l'Algérie et la France", a affirmé Me Mokhtari.
L'avocate algérienne avait affirmé début avril détenir des preuves de "la liquidation" du tueur de Toulouse. Elle avait évoqué deux vidéos identiques de 20 minutes chacune, probablement filmées par Merah lui même, qui prouvent qu'il a été "liquidé" par le Raid.
Posted on 05/07/2012 8:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2012
Hoist By Their Own PÃ©tard
Dinosaurs farted their way to extinction, British scientists say
May 07, 2012
LONDON – Dinosaurs may have farted themselves to extinction, according to a new study from British scientists.
The researchers calculated that the prehistoric beasts pumped out more than 520 million tons (472 million tonnes) of methane a year -- enough to warm the planet and hasten their own eventual demise. Until now, an asteroid strike and volcanic activity around 65 million years ago had seemed the most likely cause of their extinction.
Giant plant-eating sauropods were fingered as the key culprits in the study, which appears in the latest edition of the journal Current Biology. An average argentinosaurus, weighing around 90 tons (82 tonnes) and measuring 140 feet (42m), chomped its way through half a ton (half a tonne) of ferns a day, producing clouds of methane as the food broke down in its gut.
Professor Graeme Ruxton from St. Andrews University in Scotland and co-researcher David Wilkinson, from Liverpool John Moores University, worked out just how much of the greenhouse gas the billions of dinosaurs would have generated during the Mesozoic era, starting 250 million years ago.
"A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate," Wilkinson said. "In fact, our calculations suggest these dinosaurs may have produced more methane than all the modern sources, natural and human, put together."
The dinosaur output of 520 million tons (472 million tonnes) is comparable to current natural and man-made emissions of the greenhouse gas, which scientists say is around 21 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat on Earth and causing climate change. Cows and other farm animals globally contribute up to 100 million tons (90 million tonnes) a year of methane.
Posted on 05/07/2012 9:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2012
A Musical Interlude: Poor Papa (Irving Aaronson Orch.)
Posted on 05/07/2012 9:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2012
Arrivistes Et Deux-Rivistes, Or, Seven Years Before The Mast(head)
Nicolas Sarkozy should have begun to hammer home the theme of the menace of Islam not belatedly, not in the last few months seemingly -- some say -- in order to win NF supporters, but from his very first weeks in office. He was too excitable, too taken with this and with that, to concentrate on whjat mattered most. His personal biography, his election night celebration at Fouquet's (really, not an extravagant one), all made him seem to be an arriviste. Now he, and the people of France -- those capable of being French, which does not include anyone who takes Islam to heart, and non-Muslim immigrants as well, will suffer for that excitability and diffusion and, sometimes, confusion.. Still, out of office, Sarkozy can now speak more freely and directly, offering a "respectable" version of what Marianne Le Pen says. That will be useful if he runs for office again, and if he doesn't.
Seven years before the mastheads proclaiming the victory of Hollande and the elevation of "tolerance" to one of the Four Cardinal French Virtues -- Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Tolerance For Islam -- I wrote about the Deux-Rivistes. Hollande strikes me as one of them, but one who will enable North Africa to move into, and make itself at home, in France. And with Qatari and other Gulf Arab money paying for all kinds of initiatives to make the French accept and even celebrate their new "diversity," which means Islam, and which dilutes the meaning, and menaces the future, of France, and makes life for the indigenous French far more unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous than it would otherwise be.
Between the arriviste and the deux-riviste, the arriviste was to be preferred. But he lost, lost because many followers of Marianne Le Pen followed her idiotic advice to abstain, and lost because too many Muslims have been given citizenship and the right to vote, and they all voted against Sarkozy.
Here it is:
The large-scale presence of Muslims in France, as in other countries of Western Europe, has resulted for Infidels in a world that is far less pleasant, far more expensive, and far more physically insecure than it would be without such a Muslim presence. There is no French non-Muslim who could deny the truth of this assertion. And there are very few who, if asked their real opinion, and if they could give it behind closed doors, would not devoutly wish that the clock could be turned back 40 years, so that large-scale Muslim migration into France had never been permitted.
Such large-scale migration began with the Harkis at the end of the Algerian War; these were the local Arabs and Berbers who had fought on the side of the French, and who were rescued from murderous retribution by being allowed to settle in France in the early 1960s. Then came the boom years, all over Europe. Everywhere Muslims were allowed in to work. In France, they came from North Africa -- the maghrebins. At first men came alone to work. Then, because of their antisocial -- their criminal -- behavior, Giscard d'Estaing accepted the argument that if only they had their families with them, they would quiet down. So families were allowed to join the men. But how many wives came, and how many children came, or were born in France itself, was not something that Giscard d'Estaing had thought much about.
For a while, the numbers were small, and the Islam that remained undeclared in the mental baggage was never completely unpacked. The first generation of immigrants consisted of those eager to leave the hell of the Muslim countries from which they came. They did not quite so easily create those all-Arab or all-Muslim communities, no-go for the Infidels, that required certain numbers, and more than numbers, the attitude to take on the Infidel authorities. When mosques and madrasas were built, often with money supplied by Arabs from abroad, when a whole network of Arabic-language radio and television stations were established, and are now supplemented by satellite television, this made it easier to create a self-contained Muslim environment, naturally hostile to the Infidels who, in the case of this circumambient incidental France, were the incidental French. Now millions of Muslims can be geographically in France, but not of France. And they do not want to be "of France" because France is currently run by Infidels. Its laws, its customs, its manners, are those of the Infidels. This is not right. This is contra naturam. The world ultimately belongs to Allah, and therefore to those, and those only, who accept the message of the Prophet. All others are usurpers, and eventually will be removed from power -- they are merely temporarily powerful, in Europe in what is still Dar al-Harb. It will not require military conquest from without: Da'wa and demographic conquest from within will eventually allow Islam to dominate, and Muslims to rule. It is only right, it is only just.
Nowadays, of course, there is no such need for such unskilled workers, inculcated with hostility toward the French authorities, toward the authority of the Infidel nation-state and toward its Infidel people. The aggression and hostility, the indifference to study, the belief that Infidels should support them (which is more rooted a belief than the mere desire, in any situation where benefits can be obtained, of some recipients to exploit whatever is there to be exploited). Inshallah-fatalism and sheer unwillingness to work (what Saudis, what Kuwaitis, what rich members of the Emirates put in more than 2 taxing hours a day?) explain the miserable performance of Arab and Muslim oil states, the states and peoples that have been the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in human history -- some $10 trillion since 1973 -- and yet have failed in every case to create modern economies (the Shopping Mall that is Dubai does not count), but instead rely on foreign wage-slaves for almost everything. And the same inshallah-fatalism and the same conviction that Infidels have a duty to support Muslims, and that what is infuriating is not Muslim "poverty" so much as is the failure of Muslims as yet to assume their rightful place, as Islam insists, as those who should dominate, should possess the power and wealth even of, or perhaps especially of, the countries still being run by Infidels. The integration of all others, including black but non-Muslim Africans and immigrants from the Caribbean, and once-impoverished Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants, undercuts the insistence that Muslim economic underperformance is the result of French indifference. It is hard to integrate people whose attitude is one of inculcated hostility, and a sneering theoretical superiority (as Muslims) to their Infidel surroundings that, of course, makes their fury at having to learn or mimic or yield to Infidel laws and manners and ways even more maddening. Why should Muslims, those who by right should be ruling, have to yield or adjust in any way to Infidels, wherever those Infidels may be? And even the most successful, most seemingly integrated, among the Muslim immigrants turn out, when one examines their views, to reflect attitudes that suggest that many or most of them continue to owe their allegiance to the umma al-islamiyya, the Community of Believers, and not to their fellow Infidel citizens. Surely the failure of Muslim states to create economies from the most fabulous unearned wealth in history tells us someting about inshallah-fatalism, lack of industry, lack of motivation.
Surely the failure of Muslims not only in France, but everywhere in Western Europe where the welfare state offers means of support, to perform even close to the level of all other immigrant groups, should suggest that the problem lies in Islam itself, its tenets, and the attitudes and atmospherics it naturally gives rise to. This is what Sarkozy and others, seen as comparatively resolute(and compared to that former Howard Johnson's soda jerk, Chirac, or the comical D. de V., who would not seem resolute?) are unable to see, unable even to discuss: what it is about Islam that explains the behavior, the performance, the attitudes of Muslims not only in France, but everwhere in the Bilad al-kufr, the Lands of the Infidels.
For 1350 years the Jizyah demanded of non-Muslims supported the Muslim state; slaves seized from various Infidel populations were also a source of labor, of wealth, of soldiers. Even today, if one looks closely, one can see under the surface of things a disguised "jizyah" -- that is, a payment forcibly extracted from the Infidels for the benefit of Muslims. In Malaysia, where the population is half-Muslim, it is the non-Muslim Chinese and Indians who are forced to share the fruits of their industry and entrepreneurial activity with the less successful Muslim Malays. This "Bumiputra" system, whereby Muslims must be brought into all non-Muslim enterprises, is one example of the disguised jizyah. So to are the many billions in foreign aid from Infidel countries that is lavished upon all those Araband Muslim states that happen not to possess oil wealth. No matter how hostile these recipients remain, or how even more hostile they become, they continue to receive such aid because the Infidel donors are terrified of what might happen if they cut off such aid. But they haven't thought it through. What, after all, would Egypt, that center of anti-Americanism and antisemitism, do to the United States that it is not already doing, if the $60 billion sent so far were not to be added to by the American taxpayers? What would or could the "Palestinian" Authority do? What could Pakistan, whose national hero is the sinister Dr. A. Q. Khan, do if the Americans ceased to supply them with debt relief, favorable trade treatment, and military equipment at concessionary prices?
In the countries conquered by Muslims, non-Muslims could live and even practice their religion so long as they fulfilled a number of onerous conditions, including payment of the Jizyah. If they ceased to pay, they lost all their rights, and became fair game. Something like that attitude appears to have affected the Infidel countries of Western Europe and North America, in their fear of cutting off all such aid to those who, as a matter of belief, must regard them with permanent hostility, and worse.
Today, in France, there is no attempt as yet to shut off all sources of future Muslim population growth, for fear of offending the North African states that may, as members of the Francophone nations, offer a little boost to French pride, but otherwise are an economic, diplomatic, and political drag, and ultimately menace, to France. Should from now on the French ever need outside workers again, they must never again go to the Maghreb for such workers. The real cost of the maghrebins, if properly internalized, is too high. Instead, should workers be needed, they can be imported from Eastern Europe or Russia, or China or the Philippines or Latin America. And with black African Christians, or Caribbean blacks, the French experience has been clear: people with the blackest skins, if not Muslim, are able to integrate into French society without difficulty, while the Arabs and Muslims, no matter how light their skin, are far more difficult to mold into loyal citizens of France. If workers are now readily aviailable from non-Muslim countries to meet any new needs, this will make it easier for the French government to now repatriate all those Muslims who have not yet attained citizenship. They have no moral or other claim to French citizenship. Their presence is, for those who see clearly, a present and a growing future threat to France and to its non-Muslim population. Why should that population be forced, for an abstraction, to endure a threat that can only grow? The real price of the Muslim immigrants in France -- the price paid in social peace, the price paid in monitoring their mosques, their madrasas, their movements, the price paid in supporting their deliberately gigantic families, the price paid in repairing or replacing what they destroy or torch to teach the "French a lesson" -- that price far outweights any imaginary advantage to France and French foreign policy in the Arab countries. The French still continue to pay the same market price for oil and gas that everyone else, even the United States, has to pay. But that, of course, is not something that those who have as individuals been the recipients of favors, of business contracts, of bribes, as "recyclers of petrodollars," wish the French public to know about.
The French do not in any way need the goodwill of any Arab or Muslim state. There is nothing that the Maghreb supplies that cnanot be supplied elsewhere, even if Tunisian dates are considered preferable to those from California. It is possible to diminish the air and boat traffic between one "rive" or bank of the Mediterranean and the other "rive" so that the vast illegal migration will be brought under control or stopped altogether, even as illegal immigrants, or all those deemed more likely to constitute a security threat are, as a first step, sent back to their countries of origin. And since France's economy is now static, the more money that is needed to insure the social peace of those whose inshallah-fatalism and attitude that not the world, but the world of Infidels -- the very people whom their belief-system teaches them to hate -- owes them a living, the more that will have to come from the pockets of those same deplorable Infidels. And the Muslim presence in the state schools is now cause for permanent disruption of ministerial curricula (we won't read Voltaire, or Racine; we won't study the Holocaust or French history), and of classroom and schoolyard discipline. And that, in turn, causes the same French taxpayers to remove their children from public schools, and have to endure the added expense of private schools. And that, in turn, will make the native French non-Muslims, who themselves may have had to endure the aggression and violence of Muslim classmates, will in their own life-plans factor in the new cost of raising children in France, which rises as the need for private schools rises. And that, in turn, may cause the French non-Muslim birth rate to plunge even more. And so the Muslim proportion of the population rises, not only because of the large Muslim families, but because the expense of those families on the state, and effect on French public schools, necessarily act to shrink further the non-Muslim proportion of the population.
The French, the well-connected and carefully schooled rulers, and the ruled, both for a long time remained carefully uninterested in what Islam teaches, or what arises naturally from the tenets of Islam, to form what might be called the attitudes and atmospherics of a Muslim community. And then there is the matter of personal gain, which has caused so many to forget other allegiances in the rush to recycle petrodollars for their own benefit and that of their friends, their circle, those like them. Chirac over many years has been the recipient of many favors from various Arab tycoons and tyrants, including the late Rafik Hariri, who brought him nice presents and remembered him in other ways, and the soon-to-be-late Saddam Hussein. Rumors of a Parisian version of the Kniphausen Hawk, a jewel-encrusted falcon, one of only two commissioned by some Arabs, made by some master craftsmen (perhaps Cartier knows something about this) with one of them delivered to a French contractor with extensive interests in the Middle East, and the other, it is said, to Jacques Chirac himself (this would have been about 25 years ago), might help explain Chirac's behavior. His rumored recreations must run into money. As for the preening poseur and poetaster Dominique de Villepin, to date the funniest part of his routine is when he reads a speech in Cairo or Damascus or somewhere else in an Arab country, and in attempting to make the appropriate allusion, somehow mixes up the great Persian poet Hafiz with the "Palestinian" propagandist Mahmoud Darwish, and then just for ecumenical fun, throws in Maimonides. He, D. de V., may see himself as a blend of Chateaubriand, Talleyrand, Malraux, and most likely St.-John Perse. Others will think of Sacha Guitry at his silliest. As for as these statesmen’s performance over the last few days -- one suspects Annette Funicello could have done better.
Even Nicolas Sarkozy, who by comparison with Chirac and D. de V., appears to be a giant in the earth, has not yet gone far enough in his own understanding of Islam. Neither he nor others in his camp understand as yet the immutability of the canonical Islamic texts (so that no "reformation" of Islam is possible), nor have they realized that Infidels have no way to detect the real "moderate" from the feigning one. They do not understand that even the "moderate" Muslim, precisely because of his outward affability and seeming reasonableness, may help promote the Jihad by confusing Infidels, or delaying their own thorough comprehension of the matter. They do not understand, finally, that any "moderate" can metamorphose at any time in the future, for any reason, into an "immoderate" Muslim -- or for that matter, have children or grandchildren who will, out of all sorts of impulses, reasons, or setbacks, revert to the real, full-bodied Islam that remains a permanent menace to world civilization.
Sarkozy continues to speak as if he still believes in government-funded mosques instead of mosques that get no government funding, and are not permitted to get Saudi or other outside funding, and that are strictly monitored and closed if found to contain false papers, explosives, and hate-Infidel propaganda, or to preach hatred of the Infidels. And what is Islam without the strict division of the world between Believer and Infidel, and the hostility, or even murderous hatred, the former must necessarily have for the latter?
And yet for all his ignorance one must be grateful for Sarkozy. He gave Tariq Ramadan a television thrashing, and he is the only one who may help to save France. He, and such writers and journalists as Anne-Marie Delcambre, and Jean-Louis Brugiere, and Alexandre del Valle, and Yvan Rioufol, and Bat Ye'or, and a handful of others.
There is no one currently in politics, save possibly for the unacceptable Le Pen and Megret, who dares to articulate the problem. Everyone is waiting. Who will do it? Who will admit that the French establishment, the French elites enjoying their lunches at Arpege, have done terrible things to France and to the people of France, in their immigration policy, in their Euro-Arab Dialogue, in their mad pursuit of an impossible identity of interest between "les deux rives" of the Mediterranean?
In the 1930s, in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. The French army at the time was the equal of the German army, and had it taken a stand, had it marched, things later might have been headed off, and the world had been different. But all sorts of things had happened. A particularly gifted French minister, who took Hitler's measure early, had been assassinated in 1934 when an attempt was made on the life of the Serbian king. The government of Leon Blum was under constant attack from the right; even the Assemblee Nationale had been attacked by cagoulards. Strong measures were not to be taken.
It is now time to wake up, and no army of occupation will march in to arouse citizens to their duty. The whole thing is different, insidious, slow, and there is always at the ready some slightly plausible explanation or justification that allows for temporizing -- until it is too late. During that other Occupation, the German one, the more obvious one, employees of the Musee de l'homme at Trocadero, many of them immigrants, proved themselves ready to die for France, instead of working to destroy it. There is a plaque to Boris Vilde and other Russian Jewish immigrants, morts pour la France, somewhere at Trocadero -- unless the Muslim rioters and vandals have torn it down. There are those who can become French, despite everything that is done to them, and those who cannot become French, despite everything that is done for them.
And now France itself appears to be slowly coming unhinged. Voila, deux-rivistes of the world. The riots, the arson and other attacks all over France are the world you have made. There it is, messieurs et mesdames, voila la France out of its depth, and in too deep. But who needs La Fontaine, or the pride of France, the dictee, as long as the oil flows, the petrodollars are recycled to the right swine, and everyone continues to bear burnt offerings -- cars, houses, schools, a civilization -- to the untouchable and implacable Idols of the Age, those Articles of Faith about tolerance, diversity, what is thinkable and what "unthinkable," which were only creations of fallible humans in the first place.
Posted on 05/07/2012 9:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2012
The Kurdish Globe:" An Inependent Kurdistan Is A Must"
The Kurdish Globe:
07 May 2012
Independence: A challenge that must be confronted
Kurdish President Massoud Barzani./ GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamed
By Azad Amin
There is some serious confusion amongst Kurdish intelligentsia and political parties in southern Kurdistan regarding the hotly discussed issue of Kurdish independence from Iraq.
Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani's last Newroz speech in which he accused Baghdad of dictatorial tendencies and spoke of Iraqi actors' lack of intention to implement the constitution to resolve pending issues between Arbil and Baghdad was a warning that the state of affairs can no longer be tolerated and he would turn to the people of Kurdistan to decide the next course of action. This was rightly interpreted as a referendum for independence. This critical speech elicited many comments and interpretations among Kurdish intelligentsia, columnists and political groups in southern Kurdistan.
The issue took a special turn when Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani, who is also the president of Iraq, interviewed with al-Jazeera where he refused the possibility of an independent Kurdistan and confirmed the unity with Iraq. Because there is a strategic agreement between the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, these two contradictory approaches toward the issue of independence and relations between Arbil and Baghdad led some to argue that differences between the two leaders may jeopardize the strategic unity; they think that the differences are due to regional alliances that each pursue.
The most interesting argument put forward was by Rebwar Karim Wali in an article published in Rudaw. Wali argued "the PUK isn't willing to turn its back on Maliki and Iran and join Turkey's front." He argued: "Barzani insists on solving the issue of Iraq's disputed areas and the subject of oil and gas with Baghdad, and knows that no step can be taken without Turkey. But Iran and its allies are standing firmly against this. I think that even if a Kurdish state is declared under Barzani and its survival is guaranteed, its borders will be only as far as Degalla." Degalla is a small town that once separated the two zones controlled by PUK and KDP following the truce between the two parties who engaged in internal war. Wali's blunt assumption signifies a rather staid confusion of mind of the Kurdish political elite to respond to the internal and regional developments that has been unfolding in a rapid motion.
Wali is not very correct to assume that Barzani cannot take any step regarding Kurdish indpendence. Such a Turkey-dependent idea has long been in circulation and mostly promoted by some Turkish liberal intellectuals who encourage closer relations between Ankara and Arbil. There is an implicit perception behind Wali's argument that for Barzani to go referendum for Kurdistan independence, he needs approval from Turkey. Such an approval would never occur--and to think otherwise if not illusionary is pure naivety.
It is imperative to distance the four occupied states" policies toward Kurdistan and the regional conflicts between them. There is an obvious hegemonic struggle over the Middle East between Iran and Turkey. This conflict appeared in its pure form over the Syrian crisis. Deep down, both Iran and Turkey compete for the upper hand in political and economic affairs in the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia. While Iran pursues its regional interests through the Shiite axis in the region with Russian and Chinese support, Turkey attempts to lead a Sunni belt to curb Iran's influence in the region. So far Turkey has unquestionable U.S. support in its regional policy.
With U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq and the growing influence of Iran, the political equation in the region has been altered, and with the advent of the Arab Spring, the regional and global power struggle over the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia has been further complicated.
The U.S. withdrawal indicated its failure in its grand policy over the region. Facing a daunting economic crisis at home, the U.S.--despite its superior military capacity and advanced military technology--cannot design the Middle East on its own or together with its main regional player that is Turkey. To face Iran's Shiite green belt with the support of Russia and China the U.S. has to collaborate with the EU at a global level as well as over the Middle East. The regime change in Libya was the first indication of such joint policy contrary to the U.S.-led operation in 2003 against Saddam Hussein. With the growing influence of the EU, mainly that of Germany and France, the role of Turkey in the future design of the Middle East thus inevitably has to be reduced. It is very unlikely that the EU would ascribe to any leading regional role to Turkey. Neither would Israel be happy to recognize Turkey as having an upper hand in regional affairs. The recent show between France and Turkey over the Armenian genocide issue was indicative of deep conflict between Turkey and the leading EU power. In short, the political crises between Turkey and France and between Turkey and Israel are mostly due to the regional hegemonic role that Turkey intends to play.
Despite these regional conflicts, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq have a common strategy to contain Kurdish nationalism within their respective political borders. From time to time they exploit the Kurdish issue against each other for their regional interests, but only to a certain degree.
The Kurdish national question is one of the most--if not the most--crucial questions of the Middle East. The solution of this question affects the four states of the region. Any grand design of the region has to deal with it. As regional and global hegemonic struggles over the Middle East intensify, the Kurds have to develop new strategic thinking to respond to the unfolding events and play their cards attentively and courageously. The Kurdish political elite must change their mindset of the Cold War era and expand their horizon.
The integrity of Iraq is no longer sustainable. Formation of a democratic, plural and federal Iraq was and is a waste of time as has been argued by the Globe for so many years. Kurdistan has no other alternatives but to go its own separate way. In such a historic move, the Kurds should not expect that either Turkey or the U.S. will give them the green light. As Peter Galbraith rightly argued: "The U.S. usually supports the status quo and probably will not support secession until after it takes place. The U.S. has no friend as good as the Kurds, so it will have no alternative but to accept Kurdistan's independence once it takes place." Turkey, on the other hand, will never support or recognize an independent Kurdistan.
The Kurdish political elite must understand that intensified regional and global hegemonic struggles over the Middle East leave only two options for the Kurds: either to pursue an independent Kurdistan or be satisfied with their existing oppressed status. The most crucial obstacle in the path to independence is Turkey, and Kurdish political leaders have no choice but to face this challenge if they opt for Kurdish statehood.
It is time for Kurdish intellectuals such as Wali to expand their vision into wider horizons and stop disseminating shallow perspectives onto the Kurdistan president's audacious policy regarding Kurdish independence. Declared ad independent Kurdistan borders, contrary to Wali, will not stop at Degalla despite the current political differences between the PUK and the KDP. If and once declared, an independent Kurdistan will be a process to be continued until it reaches its natural borders.
The Kurds cannot sit and wait for others to permit independence and present it to the Kurds. It must be fought for. The conditions of our today provide opportunity for the Kurds that this time around would not be fruitless. The colonial foundation blocks of the Middle East have been shattered, and in the process of the reconstruction of a new Middle East, an independent Kurdistan is a must. Whether Kurds seize the moment depends on them.
Posted on 05/07/2012 12:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2012
Revoking Citizenship In The Emirates
The Arab rulers routinely revoke the citizenship of people whom they regard as a threat to the stability and safety of their countries. Why can't the Western countries do the same?
Here is one example from The National (U.A.E.)L
Stay out of UAE's business, RAK Ruler says
People who "poke their noses into the UAE's internal affairs" should "mind their own business", the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi said authorities must not allow "malignant" persons to "harm a single inch of our country".
"We hear today … that there are some who are trying to tamper with the stability of the UAE. I would like to say to them: the people of the UAE don't need lessons from anyone. They are confident in themselves and in the solidarity that they share," he said.
Those who do not like the rules of the UAE "should leave for another place".
"Anyone who seeks to offer advice," Sheikh Saud said, "must respect the country and its soil and must not confuse humility with weakness.
"I address my words to those who wish to try to teach us lessons of which we are in no need."
Sheikh Saud was speaking to a small audience of diplomats, academics and Federal National Council members on the potentially harmful effects of social-media networking.
"Those who try to belittle the Emirates do not affect the prominent status that our country enjoys," he said.
"We will accept this neither from our brothers nor from any part of our country."
The UAE has been criticised by some rights groups over the case of seven Islamists who had their passports and citizenship revoked, and of other activists who used online social networking platforms to voice their opinions on politics and religion.
People have a right to voice their opinion, but need to choose the correct medium in which to do so, said Dr Abdulrahim Al Shahin, an FNC member from RAK who took part in yesterday's discussion with the Ruler.
During the meeting, he said, Sheikh Saud emphasised that the "relationship between the Ruler and the ruled in the UAE was one of the most distinguished in the world" as all nationals were welcome to voice their concerns and problems to the Government at all times, directly.
But forcing a point of view on the Government, he said, was not acceptable.
"The Ruler's doors are open to all Emiratis in the country, they can listen to all problems and can adopt them, doing whatever they can to help the Emirati and the country," he said.
"But national security is a red line. It is not acceptable to interfere in this, or for anyone from outside to do so, for that matter."
He said Sheikh Saud also emphasised that attacking the Government on social networks was not acceptable.
"If a person has a problem, they can easily present it to the Ruler, or the cabinet, or the FNC," he said. "All rulers have left their doors open and take all points of view."
Posted on 05/07/2012 12:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 7 May 2012
In Memoriam: Ken Livingstone
So farewell, then,
Stone dead, more like
© E. J. Throbb, aged 17¾
Posted on 05/07/2012 2:17 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 7 May 2012
Meet Jodi Rudoren, The New New York Times Correspondent In Israel
From The Rubin Report:
What is most impressive about Rudoren’s record so far is that there is no attempt to give the faintest appearance of balance. She probably doesn’t understand what that concept means. And she certainly knows that the editors and ombudsman won’t hold her accountable.
We in Israel have grown used to media prejudice and, given our low expectations, probably accept more of it without complaint than anyone else in the world.
Yet the following lead was the absolute last straw for me, in an article titled “Palestinians Go Hungry to Make Their Voices Heard“:
The newest heroes of the Palestinian cause are not burly young men hurling stones or wielding automatic weapons. They are gaunt adults, wrists in chains, starving themselves inside Israeli prisons.
This is not news coverage but revolutionary romanticism. And consider the implications:
– The article does not tell us that they are in prison for a reason. These are overwhelmingly people who have murdered or tried to murder civilians during a period, by the way, when their supposed governmental representative, the Palestinian Authority, was not at war with Israel.
– They were in fact “burly young men…wielding automatic weapons” when thrown into prison after trials. Most of them admit — indeed brag about — their crimes and make it clear that they would continue such deeds if released.
– Consequently, these people are not heroes to Palestinians, a macho society generally, because they are pitiful, gaunt, and starving but because they were heroes of an armed struggle defined in genocidal terms.
– The Palestinian Authority and Hamas hold these people as role models to young people so that they will be inspired to grow up to kill more Israelis.
– “Gaunt adults, wrists in chains” seems pulled from the nineteenth century novels of Victor Hugo.
– Remember, these are the people still in prison because of the bloodiness of their crimes after Israel has released hundreds of others in prisoner exchanges or amnesties designed to indicate good will and promote negotiations. They are still in jail not out of cruelty or even out of a sense of justice and self-defense, but because they generally are the most merciless in deliberately slaying those who are weak and helpless.
– The author’s goal is to make readers say, “Those horrible Israelis are so mean and repressive, mistreating those poor people! We must do something!” And it is to make Jewish readers say, “We must distance ourselves from this evil country (or government) that so betrays basic Jewish principles of mercy and justice.” The former call for pressuring Israel in order to hurt it; the latter urge pressuring Israel for its own good and talk about a crisis of Zionism in producing such a terrible system.
In other words, this is not a news article but a work of political propaganda that could have been produced by a Palestinian public relations firm or an American Jewish group that acts as a Palestinian public relations firm. The purpose of this article is not to report or explain what is happening but to elicit sympathy and support for — shall I say it? well, it happens to be true — terrorist murderers or would-be murderers who were foiled despite their best efforts.
Let me again add that there is nothing “liberal” or “conservative” about these facts. Nothing at all. Pretending otherwise is another propagandistic thought-control effort to get people to deny reality in the guise of opposing horrible right-wingers. It comes from the type of people who can ignore the persecution of Christians in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, the Gaza Strip, and other places in the Middle East while fabricating and highlighting claims that Israel is making Palestinian Christians flee.
Recently the Columbia Journalism Review, a publication I revered in my youth, published an article claiming that Israel had more journalists in prison per size of population than any other country in the world. This was totally false and the name of no actual journalist imprisoned was mentioned because there are none. Meanwhile, next door, the world has ignored the Palestinian Authority’s public campaign of suppressing and arresting journalists.
To its credit, after considerable criticism, the Columbia Journalism Review apologized for the article and criticized it. And do you know who wrote that cogent response? An editor who had experienced real repression of journalism in his home country, Iran.
At times we seem to be living in the updated version of Ignazio Silone’s remark, “The final conflict will be between the Communists and the ex-Communists.” All too often, we cannot depend on Western-trained intellectuals in positions of power who either buy into leftist ideology or tremble in fear of being called racists or Islamophobes. This highlights the importance of dissident Muslims and refugees from Middle Eastern tyrannies who have some immunity on those two points. Unfortunately, of course, they are outnumbered by the apologists and the conscious radicals sowing disinformation.
As for the Western world itself today, there seem to be two remaining groups: those who believe whatever they are fed in this manner and those who are so disgusted by such crimes against proper and honorable journalism that they respond by cancelling their subscriptions.
Posted on 05/07/2012 7:58 PM by Hugh [email protected]
Monday, 7 May 2012
That Complete Mess In Afghanistan
American tax dollars are helping to bankroll the Taliban
By Douglas Wissing
May 07, 2012
American taxpayers are encountering a drumbeat of bad news from Afghanistan: Insurgents are launching coordinated complex attacks and implanting record numbers of IEDs. Strained by more than a decade of war, US troops, are implicated in Koran-burning, desecration and renegade killings.
Today the news broke that United States officials, in a futile hope of quelling violence, have been party to a pernicious "catch-and-release" system that facilitated the secret release of high-level insurgent detainees, who are then free to strike at American forces again.
As American taxpayers try to process these indicators of a failing war, do they also know that their taxes are helping to bankroll the Taliban?
When I was embedded with American troops in insurgency-wracked eastern Afghanistan, soldiers began telling me that the U.S. government wastes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars each year on scandalously mismanaged aid and logistics contracts connected to the war. The soldiers told me there was a toxic system that links distracted American officials, private U.S. corporations, powerful Afghan insiders-and the Taliban. One way or another, everyone was in on the take.
We'd be convoying in Taliban country in giant armored vehicles, dodging IEDs and keeping watch for ambushes, and the soldiers would be cynically telling me, "We're funding both sides of this war." Describing this malign nexus of American careerists, Afghan kleptocrats and wily insurgents as akin to the Mafia, the infantry grunts would spit their Skol in empty water bottles and ruefully say, "We're funding our own enemy."
At first it seemed preposterous, but as I researched my book, "Funding the Enemy," I realized the soldiers were right.
The system is so routine, there are Taliban business offices in Kabul and Kandahar, where contractors take their U.S.-funded contracts to negotiate percentages with jihadist engineers.
Security firms commonly contract with Afghan insurgents to protect U.S.-funded development projects. The notoriously wasteful 64-mile-long Khost-Gardez road project is expected to cost taxpayers $176 million. Over $43 million went to a security firm, which then hired an insurgent leader who was on the U.S. JPEL "kill or capture" list. They paid the jihadi $160,000 a month to provide security against himself.
The Taliban skims of U.S. taxpayer money are pervasive; ubiquitous. A U.S. contracting officer told me that construction contracts for the wildly expensive Afghan National Army bases in southern Afghanistan only go to contractors with Taliban connections.
The insurgents get their cut on even the smallest, seemingly benign U.S.-funded development projects, such as villager-built check dams. The insurgents shake down the Afghan contractor, and then get another cut when the U.S. development team pays the villagers. U.S. taxpayers even paid for this week's coordinated attacks by the Haqqani network insurgents, who pay for most of their operations with money skimmed from U.S. road contracts.
Though the poisonous system has negated U.S. counterinsurgency efforts, American officials are commonly sanguine about U.S. taxpayers' money financing the Taliban.
Military officers and development officials quickly learn the "acceptable" amount of corruption; throw up their hands when asked about the money getting into the Taliban's pockets. They don't know what to do. A staffer on the powerful House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee blithely told me, "Money's fungible-when you add it into a system, you are offering a resource to the enemy. I don't know how you get it back. That's the price we're willing to pay."
After reports began appearing in the press in late 2009, the U.S. government finally initiated efforts to staunch the flow of American money to the Taliban. Officials concocted an alphabet soup of multi-agency cells, units and programs, including the Afghan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC), Combined Joint Task Force 2010 (CJTF 2010), and USAID's Accountable Assistance for Afghanistan (A3) program that the agency finally established in early 2011. None has had an appreciable impact on the deeply rooted system of careerism, corruption and payoffs in Afghanistan.
As the U.S. stumbles through its eleventh year of war, American soldiers are getting increasingly cynical about our failed counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan. They can see clearly that despite spending $2 billion a week, we aren't winning Afghan hearts and minds with our contradictory missions and self-defeating execution.
The jihadist insurgency has relentlessly grown through the decade of war. Last year, insurgents planted more than 16,000 IEDs in Afghanistan. We have shot ourselves in the foot, reloaded, and shot ourselves again.
Speaking on June 22, 2011, just seven weeks after Usama bin Laden's death, President Obama announced the withdrawal of thirty-three thousand U.S. troops. The number of U.S. government civilians assigned to Afghanistan started dropping. Afghanistan aid and development appropriations began drying up. Echoing a sentiment increasingly heard across the country, President Obama said in his address, "America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home."
But none of it is too soon for many. Afghans of all persuasions increasingly want foreign troops out of their country. U.S. polls show rapidly increasing support for accelerated troops withdrawal. Wearying of multiple deployments and flawed policies, many American soldiers are ready to come home. More than one soldier told me in Afghanistan, "The juice ain't worth the squeeze." American taxpayers surely agree with them.
Douglas Wissing is an independent journalist and author of "FUNDING THE ENEMY: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban" (Prometheus, 2012).
Posted on 05/07/2012 9:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald