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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 8, 2011.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Auto da fe in Paris: it’s no joke

The brand new—and deliberately unmarked-- offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in the 20th arrondissement of Paris were destroyed by arson hours before a special issue, renamed Charia Hebdo, hit the newsstands on November 2nd. All 75,000 copies were sold out by noon (a rerun went on sale two days later, bringing total sales to 200,000). One or more firebombs aimed precisely at the IT department wiped out the satirical magazine’s nerve center. Charlie Hebdo’s Facebook page had been bombarded with threats, insults, and koranic verses since it pre-released the front page with a caricature of guest editor Mohamed promising 100 lashes to anyone who doesn’t die laughing. As the offices went up in flames, the hacked website was plastered with a photo of Mecca packed with pilgrims, and the declaration, in English, “No god but Allah / Mohamed is the Messenger of Allah.”

This shocking attack on press freedom inspired a rush of near-unanimous solidarity in French society. Unambiguously labeling the act an “attentat,” meaning “terrorist attack,” Interior Minister Claude Guéant promised to find and severely punish the perpetrator(s). Various Muslim authorities condemned “all violence,” reiterated their disapproval of caricatures of Mohamed and other insults to Islam, and vowed to defend their religion as law-abiding citizens, in the courts.  

Editorial director Charb posed meekly in front of the smoking ruins of his offices, displaying the front page that provoked those devouring flames. Interviewed by Rue89 he said that real Muslims don’t burn newspapers. Elsewhere his colleague, Pelloux, opined: “As far as I know, there is no koranic law against laughter.”

Charlie Hebdo collaborators cannot declare often enough that they have nothing against Islam. In fact, Charia Hebdo was inspired by solidarity with kindred souls, the Facebook-Twitter generation whose Arab Springtime struggle for democracy is now jeopardized by Islamists determined to replace the dictatorship of strongmen with the tyranny of shari’a law. Forty percent of newly liberated Tunisians—including expatriates who voted in France-- chose Nhada!

The Hebdo staff’s dismay at the torching of their offices suggests they may have underestimated the dangers of sentencing shari’a to a thousand satirical lashes. Hassen Chalgoumi--the Franco-Tunisian imam mercilessly targeted by the extreme-extremist-Islamist Sheikh Yassin Brigade--warns Europe against the dangers of political Islam. “Why do the Americans rejoice in the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, why did France play into the hands of al-Qaeda in Libya…?”   French participation in the NATO operation in Libya was, surprisingly enough, approved by a broad bipartisan majority in France. The peace marches of 2003 are long forgotten. No voices were raised to deplore the use of force and insist on a political solution. Guttural cries of allahu akhbar (Allah is the greatest), summary executions, the destruction of Sirte, and the savage murder of Mouamar Gaddafi did not visibly disturb the peace of French society.

The term “Islamist” was coined to distinguish “radicals” from a “harmless” mainstream Islam that has every right to prosper in the bosom of our democratic societies. Then the aggregate term “moderate Islamists” was crafted to deny that Turkey is on a slippery backward slope. Quickly resigned to the inevitable domination of the Nhada party in Tunisia, commentators served up another dose of “moderate Islamists.” Now we have “extremist Islamists” throwing firebombs at a French weekly. And moderate Muslims promising to plead their anti-blasphemy case in court.

We saw the same configuration in 2006 when Charlie Hebdo reproduced the Mohamed cartoons published by Denmark’s Jyllands Posten that provoked mayhem and murder worldwide. The weekly was acquitted in a case brought against it by the Grande Mosquée de Paris and the UOIF (French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) but the judgment specified that the right to publish the “admittedly offensive” turban bomb image in the context of a worldwide controversy should not be construed as license to disregard religious sensitivies.

This time around, French media, including the newspaper of record, le Monde, have amply reproduced and displayed material from Charia Hebdo. Not so the BBC’s Paris correspondent Charles Chazan, who explicitly rolled up the front page to show the banner while hiding the offensive image.

A half dozen publications offered refuge to the homeless editorial staff. They chose the left wing daily Libération where they were welcomed with juvenile excitement and given free reign to do the front page and a double spread in the next day’s paper. This week’s issue of Charlie Hebdo, we are promised, will appear on schedule and, we expect, will respond forcefully to those who think they can silence the free press in France.

Last spring, anti-shari'a authors extensively cited in the Manifesto posted by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik were accused in some quarters of inspiring his hateful crime. Today, in virtue of solidarity with the endangered freedom-loving democrats of the Arab Spring countries, it is permissible to expose the dangers of shari’a without being labeled Islamophobe. And, says Charlie Hebdo, we can make fun of shari’a with all the vulgarity we exercise on any subject that tickles our minds. Perhaps. But it would be wise to go to those anti-shari’a authors and find out whether there is, in fact, a koranic law against laughter.

Because the day might come when newspaper offices in France will have to be protected by the police like Jewish day schools community centers, and synagogues.

 

Posted on 11/08/2011 5:08 AM by Nidra Poller
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Hassen Chalgoumi: The Naivete of Europeans And Americans Who Fail To Recognize Who Is In The Ascendancy In Egypt, In Libya, In Tunisia.

From France-Soir:

The "Imam of Drancy" -- known for being outspoken, and under constant threat by those who take their Islam straight up, and not on the rocks -- expresses his amazement that the West does not know what it has wrought in Egypt, in Libya, in allowing those who do take Islam straight up to increase their power and influence.

"Arrêtez de soutenir les islamistes!" scande l'Imam de Drancy

L'imam Hassen Chalghoumi, dont la Conférence représente 80 imams en France, condamne sans ambiguïté l'attaque des locaux de Charlie Hebdo, et il reproche à l'Occident d'être « naïf et trop complaisant vis-à-vis des islamistes ».

L'Imam de Drancy, Hassen Chalghoumi met en garde l'Occident sur les la situation actuelle dans les pays arabes
L'Imam de Drancy, Hassen Chalghoumi met en garde l'Occident sur les la situation actuelle dans les pays arabes SIPA/Baltel

Hassen Chalghoumi, Président de la Conférence des Imams de France et Imam de Drancy (région parisienne), n'est pas tendre avec les islamistes : « L'attaque contre les locaux de Charlie Hebdo est un acte très grave d'intolérance. Bien sûr, je suis je suis contre les caricatures du Prophète, je les condamne. Mais la réponse ne peut pas être la violence. La liberté d'expression implique le dialogue. Les fondamentalistes, eux, ne croient pas au dialogue, ils refusent la démocratie, et ils punissent tous ceux qui ne pensent pas comme eux ».

Interrogé par France-Soir, l'Imam de Drancy estime que l'attaque des locaux de Charlie Hebdo doit servir d'alerte : « Je dis aux Français, je dis à l'Europe et à l'Occident en général, mais je dis aussi aux journalistes : Réveillez-vous! Arrêtez de soutenir l'islam politique. Ne soyez pas naïfs, ces gens-là sont intolérants, ils menacent même des musulmans qu'ils jugent trop modérés ».

"Je connais le double langage des islamistes"

Hassen Chalghoumi s'inquiète de la « candeur » des Occidentaux, face aux succès des mouvements islamistes : « Ce qui se passe aujourd'hui dans le monde arabe est très grave. Quand le parti islamiste Ennahda accède au pouvoir en Tunisie, quand quarante pour cent des musulmans de France ont voté pour lui, je suis catastrophé. Je connais le double langage des islamistes, je suis musulman, je suis tunisien... Ces gens-là veulent instaurer la charia, et tout le monde se réjouit ».

Selon l'Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, « l'Europe doit se réveiller. Elle ne peut pas cautionner l'arrivée de partis islamistes dans les pays musulmans. Elle doit, au contraire, apporter son soutien aux seuls partis démocratiques ». L'imam franco-tunisien affirme que « les Révolutions en Tunisie, en Egypte et en Libye, qui au départ étaient nobles et démocratiques, sont en train d'être récupérées par les islamistes ».

Cet Imam, qui se présente comme « un homme de terrain confronté à la réalité », reproche aux politiques et aux médias occidentaux de « trop donner la parole aux islamistes, d'être trop complaisants avec les Frères musulmans » : « Les journalistes ne veulent pas voir les choses, dit-il. Mais cette attaque contre Charlie Hebdo montre qu'il y a des gens qui n'acceptent pas le point de vue des autres. Ils veulent imposer leurs lois même en France. Ce sont des fanatiques. Pour moi, tous les points de vue doivent s'exprimer, et la réponse n'est pas la violence, mais le dialogue ou le recours à la Justice ».

"Pourquoi la France a fait le jeu d'Al Qaïda en Libye ?"

L'Imam de Drancy ne comprend pas pourquoi « les Américains se sont réjouit de la victoire des Frères musulmans en Egypte, pourquoi la France a fait le jeu d'Al Qaïda en Libye, pourquoi plusieurs pays européens ont hébergé des leaders islamistes qui, aujourd'hui, rentrent dans leurs pays avec beaucoup d'argent, financés notamment par le Qatar, pour se s'approprier les Révolutions arabes ».

Selon lui, « il ne faut jamais soutenir un parti islamiste, car si les islamistes gagnent en Tunisie, en Libye et en Egypte, c'est tout le monde arabe qui va basculer, et on va le payer très cher  ».
Posted on 11/08/2011 8:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Firuz Kazemzadeh: On The Persecution And Murder Of Baha'is In The Islamic Republiic Of Iran

From The Wall Street Journal:

Iran's Outcast Religion

Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians have rights under the constitution. Not Bahais.

In some 40 years as a university professor, I have been privileged to teach students who went on to serve their people as senators, ambassadors, prominent scholars and even U.S. president. None of this would have been possible had I lived in my family's homeland of Iran. As a member of the Bahai faith, I would have been barred from teaching freely—and I might even have been imprisoned, as seven Bahai educators now are.

While many Iranian citizens are targets of repression by the current regime, the treatment of Bahais, the country's largest non-Muslim religious community, is a special case. Unlike Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, who have certain limited rights under the Islamic Constitution, Bahais were declared unprotected infidels immediately following the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Bahais have faced persecution in Iran since their religion was founded more than a century and a half ago, but it was never as systematic as in the last 30 years. Since the Islamic Revolution, more than 200 Bahai leaders have been put to death. The regime has outlawed Bahai institutions, confiscated their properties, desecrated their cemeteries, demolished their holy places. Bahais are subject to constant state-sanctioned pressure to recant their faith.

To stamp out that faith, Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei approved the so-called Golpaygani memorandum in 1991. Photo copies describing plans to slowly strangle Iran's Bahai community were made public by the United Nations in 1992. One measure was to deny Bahais entry to universities, thereby impoverishing them intellectually and economically.

Bahais had already begun educating their youth, founding what became known as the Bahai Institute for Higher Education in 1987. In Tehran and beyond, Bahai professors—unemployable elsewhere because of their membership in what the mullahs called "the deviant sect"—taught languages, biological sciences, civil engineering, literature and even music. Classes were held in private homes, labs were set up in garages, and the Internet eventually provided access to resources abroad.

kazemzadeh
Members of Baha'i demonstrate in Brazil against Iranian regime.
The institute avoided teaching about the Bahai faith or other religions, thus avoiding the possible accusation of proselytizing. It operated quietly but not secretly: No enterprise of such size—with thousands of students and hundreds of faculty—could be secret. No law prohibited instruction in languages, sciences, accounting and the like, so the institute didn't violate the letter or spirit of any law.

The institute's success frustrated the government. In spite of constant harassment, it achieved academic standards equal to or higher than those of state universities and was frequently recognized by foreign universities that admitted its students into masters and doctoral programs.

In 1996 and 1998, the regime raided homes where classes were held and confiscated equipment. In the second attack, agents of the Ministry of Information arrested 36 faculty and declared the institute closed. The regime demanded that the 36 sign a pledge not to cooperate with the institute. Not one complied.

The regime's latest assault began on May 22 with raids on 39 homes. Months later, widespread arrests and interrogations of faculty, staff and students continue.

This month, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced seven Bahai faculty members to a combined 30 years behind bars. Meanwhile, a senior lawyer of theirs, Abdolfattah Soltani, remains incarcerated under suspicious circumstances.

Such repression is extreme but not isolated—Iran's regime targets other minorities as well as women, intellectuals and others. This makes many Iranians feel solidarity with their Bahai fellow citizens.

In an eloquent open letter to the Bahai community in 2009, 243 academics, writers, artists and human rights activists proclaimed, "As Iranian human beings we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Bahais in the last century and a half in Iran." That year, demonstrators on the streets of Tehran shouted slogans supporting religious minorities, including Bahais. Even Grand Ayatollah Montazeri—once an enemy of the Bahais—issued a fatwa to the effect that Bahais have every right accorded to Iranian citizens.

The rights of Iran's Bahais cannot be separated from the human rights of the general population. That journalists, artists and activists languish in jails; that students are excluded from universities based on their religion; that seven Bahai leaders have been condemned to prison for 20 years and seven Bahai educators now face a similar fate; that all Bahais are virtual outlaws in their native land—it's all part of a single assault on human dignity. One hopes the rest of the world won't close its eyes.

Mr. Kazemzadeh is professor emeritus of history at Yale and a former commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Posted on 11/08/2011 8:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
A Musical Interlude: I've Got To Pass Your House (Don Bestor Orch., voc. Neil Buckley)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/08/2011 8:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The Inimitable Pat Condell On "The Great Palestinian Lie"

Watch, and listen, here.

Then send the link to everyone you know.

Yes, I know Mary put it up two days ago. It deserves to be put up again.

Posted on 11/08/2011 8:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
That Excitable And Frenetic Nicolas Sarkozy Calls Netanyahu A "Liar"

Sarkozy tells Obama Netanyahu is a "liar"

Reuters -

Nicolas Sarkozy is one of those people who thinks of himself as "pro-israel," as sentimentally in favor of Israel, and he thinks that, given the general atmosphere in France -- one created by Eric Rouleau et al. at Le Monde, and by many others at other papers, and on the French radio and television and among its diplomatic mandarins -- the Israelis should be grateful. They should be so grateful, in fact, that they should not mind when he presumes to tell them what they should or should not do in order to survive, for Israel is always, has always, and will always, be fighting to survive against a Jihad that has no end.

Sarkozy is quite hazy on the subject of Islam; he knows there's a problem, but he's not quite sure of the depth and breadth of that problem. 

Bush and those in the Bush Administration who believed that bringing a semblance of unity and prosperity to Iraq, and to Afghanistan (and by extension, to Pakistan), for the very idea that Islam, that the adherents of Islam, represented a permanent threat to Infidels everywhere, and that it made no sense to prevent the internecine rivalries and resentments and hatreds among various Muslims, whether divided by sect (Sunni and Shi'a) or by ethnicity (Arabs, always convinced that whatever the universalist claims of Islam, Islam in the end was their gift to the world, their possession, and they were uniquely qualified to be its guardians, and all non-Arabs, even if Muslim, were forever inferior to Arabs, and could be treated with contumely, or worse).

Sarkozy, and Cameron, have shown in their remarks about the "Arab Spring" that they, too, can't face up to, much less draw the only conclusion that makes sense about, Islam. Instead of pouring trillions, as the Americans have, into bringing "prosperity" and "unity," they have spent billions to promote "democracy" and "freedom" in LIbya, and have hailed the "arrival" of "democracy" and "freedom" in Egypt, and are doing what they can to bring out the collapse of the Alawites in Syria so that Sunni Arabs may rule, in yet another attaining of "democracy" and "freedom" in an Arab country, the only one where non-Muslims, or quasi-Muslims, control the military and thus are free from persecution. 

Netanyahu does not presume to tell Sarkozy what France can or cannot do. His only interest is in the survival of Israel. I don't know if he has "lied" to Sarkozy but it would be fine if he had, for he has to do whatever he has to do for the survival of israel. More likely, Sarkozy, who fails to realize just how much the West relies, even now, on Israel's military power - it is Israel that destroyed the nuclear reactor that the French had built, it is Israel that destroyed the nuclear facility that Syria had built with Iranian and North Korean aid, it is Israel that keeps the forces of Islam at bay in what, for Christians, remains the Holy Land (just think what Jerusalem, and that Holy Land, would look like if Israel's Jews did not control it, but Muslim Arabs -- and it is either going to be one or the other). Sarkozy doesn't appear to realize that between Italy and East Asia, the only certain military ally of the West is Israel.

He doesn't look good. He looks less and less good, this Sarkozy, and his louche foreign minister, Alain Juppe.

Some may have been tempted to apply that  old saying: "Sois-belle et tais-toi" to Carla Bruni, Sarkozy's practiced wife. For Sarkozy himself, the first part of the saying could of course never be used, but the second part -- "tais-toi" -- is, it is now clear, more apposite than ever.

Posted on 11/08/2011 9:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Wahhabi Jihadis in the Balkans Running Amok

Sarah Schlesinger of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom - see our  NER interview with its director, Nina Shea -  has an interesting piece on the NRO concerning  Bosnian Wahhabi Jihadis running amok in the Balkans. These are the small group of  native Bosnians,   who became Wahhabi adherents and Jihadis a legacy of Saudi influence during the Bosnia Conflict that allegedly ended wth the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995. A great deal of support was given to fundamentalist Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims by the Saudis, Al Qaeda and the Islamic Republic of Iran, during the conflict.  Perhaps these Wahhabists have been trained and equipped  by Al Qaeda and  the IRGC? That revelation could come in the wake of these latest attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo in late October. That is, if the Obama Admnisitration, the CIA  and Gen. Petreaus come clean.

Here is Schlesinger's NRO post:

Wahhabism: A Forgotten Legacy of the Bosnian War

November 7, 2011 4:33 P.M.

By Sarah Schlesinger

On October 28, 23-year-old Mevlid Jasarevic opened fire on the American embassy in Sarajevo , wounding one Bosnian police officer before he was stopped. Though Jasarevic’s lawyer claims he acted alone, the gunman has been identified as a member of the Wahhabi movement, the Islamic sect originating in and supported by Saudi Arabia , which preaches hostility towards people of other religions, including other Muslims. The incident draws attention to Bosnia ’s growing Wahhabi problem and underscores the problem of Muslim extremism in the Balkans, which threatens local governments as well as international interests.

Analysts such as Stephen Schwartz, Esad Hecimovic, Anes Alic, and Vlado Azinovic have warned of Wahhabi threats in the region for years. Numerous attacks, including the murder of a Catholic Croat policeman in 1996, have been linked to Wahhabis. Several Wahhabis were arrested in 2008and 2009 for plotting terror attacks on Christian sites and European Union Forces in Bosnia . In July 2010, a Wahhabi group was suspected in the bombing of a police station in Bugojno, killing one police officer and wounding several others.

Originally from the Muslim-majority city of Novi Pazar in the Sandzak region of Serbia , Jasarevicrecently spent time in Wahhabi communities in Vienna and Gornja Maoca, a settlement in a remote part of Bosnia that has been the site of repeated anti-terror raids. He was imprisoned for armed robbery in Vienna in 2005 and arrested in his hometown in 2010 after brandishing a knife at an appearance by the American ambassador to Serbia .

The Wahhabi movement has taken hold among a small but vocal portion of the Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) population — the group is estimated to include a mere 3,000 out of 1.4 million Muslims. They largely live in isolated villages that they govern according to strict Islamic law. Men wear long beards and distinctive short pants and women are fully veiled, in sharp contrast to the majority of Bosniaks, who are moderate in practice.

The movement’s presence in Bosnia dates to the 1992–1995 civil war in Yugoslavia , which ended with NATO intervention and the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. The conflict was complicated by the religio-ethnic divide among the three Bosnian parties involved: the Orthodox Christian Serbs, the Roman Catholic Croats, and the Muslims.

The largely defenseless Muslim community was unable to withstand the onslaught by well-armed Bosnian Serb militias. Their desperate situation drew an influx of Wahhabis, such as veteran mujahideen and Islamic aid agencies, including the al-Qaeda front the Benevolence International Foundation. Many of these remained in Bosnia , where they provided material support to the devastated Muslim community, but also influenced it ideologically with Wahhabism. Leading the way was Saudi Arabia , which raised more than $373 million for the “Bosnian jihad” in the 1990s. The mujahideen, charity staff, and foreign-educated Bosniaks provided the vanguard of a local Wahhabi movement.

Thanks to this foreign support, Wahhabis have been able to aggressively challenge Bosnia ’s mainstream Islamic community. Two figures led early efforts: Jusuf Barcic and Muhamad Porca, both Bosnian imams who had studied in Saudi Arabia on Saudi-funded scholarships. In early 2007, Barcic and his followers gained national attention by (unsuccessfully) attempting to claim a number of mosques for their movement in Tuzla and Sarajevo . When Barcic died in a car accident two months later, more than 3,000 people attended his funeral.

Barcic’s primary financial supporters, according to Bosnian authorities, had been Porca and Porca’s close friend Adnan Buzar, the Bosnian-born, Vienna-based son-in-law of Palestinian terrorist leader Abu Nidal. Reportedly, Porca has now been supplanted by Nedzad Balkan, a Vienna-based Wahhabi with openly violent views who gained power after his role in the Bugojno police station bombing.

Nusret Imamovic, one of Barcic’s followers, established the Wahhabi settlement at Gornja Maoca, intended as a model for similar communities he aims to establish throughout Bosnia . Gornja Maoca has become Bosnia ’s ground zero in the fight against Wahhabism. Bosnian authorities took action against the settlement in early 2010, briefly detaining Imamovic and six others and seizing weapons, cash, and videotapes. Bosnian authorities raided the village again following Jasarevic’s attack this month. Meanwhile, in Serbia ’s Sandzak region, authorities recently arrested 17 people for their connections to Jasarevic and have arrested dozens of suspected Wahhabis in past raids.

Wahhabis in Bosnia have succeeded in demonstrating that even in small numbers, they present a threat, especially as Nedzad Balkan’s followers allegedly now promote armed jihad. Bosnian authorities and the international community would be wise to closely monitor links between Wahhabis in Bosnia , Sandzak, and Vienna and larger militant networks. Without closer attention to this growing threat in the region, the October 28 attack undoubtedly will not be the last.

Sarah Schlesinger is a research fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

Posted on 11/08/2011 11:01 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
William Hague In LaLa Land

William Hague calls on Arab League to respond 'swiftly' to bloodshed

William Hague, the foreign secretary, has urged the Arab League to respond "swiftly and decisively" to Syria's failure to implement a plan aimed at ending eight months of bloodshed. [how could the Arab League respond "swiftly and decisively"? Invade Syria? And what then? Would Iran take the side of Syria against the Jordanians, Saudis, et al.? That would be wonderful, of course, but that outcome is the furthest thing from William Hague's mind. If only those Unintended Consequences could come about, it would make it all worth while.]

Syrian demonstrators with banner that reads, 'Liar. Rebels of  Alsnmin'
protesting against Syria's President Assad march on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha in Alsnmin. The banner refers to Assad and reads, 'Liar. Rebels of Alsnmin' Photo: REUTERS

Mr Hague also called on Syria to "lift the siege of Homs", the only major city to remain outside the regime's control, and to withdraw forces from the country's towns and cities in line with its agreement with the Arab League.

"It is deplorable that despite making a commitment to the Arab League to end the violence last week, the Syrian government has escalated the repression and many more people have died as a result," said Hague in a statement.

"I call on the Arab League to respond swiftly and decisively to the Syrian regime's failure to implement the agreement so far," he said. "The international community looks to these Arab nations to show decisive leadership to address this crisis in their midst."

Hague urged the regime to end the siege of Homs and "allow in international and relief efforts (and) to withdraw all Syrian forces from the towns and cities of Syria in accordance with its agreement with the Arab League." [don't be absurd]

Syria must also "implement all other aspects of the agreement in full," he said. ["Must"? "Must"? Says who? He doesn't understand how the Alawites -- and the Christians -- feel. He has no idea why they are so fearful, and therefore so willing to stick even with Assad. He can't figure out what must be going through the minds of the nearly one million Iraqi Christians who have sought refuge in Syria. He can't figure out any part of the Middle East, can't begin to understand it, because he can't figure out what Islam means, to Muslims and to non-Muslims who must live in their midst.]

Under the agreement struck between Syria and the pan-Arab bloc, President Bashar al-Assad must open talks with the opposition and withdraw tanks from the streets.

On Tuesday, opposition group the Syrian National Council urged the Arab League to stand strong against Assad's regime as the United Nations said its crackdown on dissent had left more than 3,500 people dead.

Posted on 11/08/2011 12:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Pro-gay threats irk National Muslim Council of Tanzania

From the Daily News of Tanzania

THE National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) has commended the Union and Zanzibar governments for opposing homosexuality and same sex marriages.

Speaking after Idd-El Hajj prayers at Masjid Al Faroug mosque in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam on Sunday, the Dar es Salaam Regional Sheikh, Alhaj Mussa Salumu, said the council fully supports the governments' position.

Sheikh Salumu's statement follows recent remarks by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, threatening to withhold aid to countries with anti-gay legislation.

Sheikh Salumu said: "We are ready to go hungry because of poverty, rather than receiving aid with embarrassing strings and dehumanising."

He said homosexuality is against the teachings of the Holy Koran.

Posted on 11/08/2011 3:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Nigeria on alert during Eid

From the Nigerian paper the Vangard

Nigeria went on high alert on Monday following US and British warnings of fresh attacks during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The US embassy said on Sunday the sect could next strike hotels and other targets in the capital Abuja during the Muslim holiday which marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia.

The British foreign office also warned of “a heightened threat of terrorist attacks during the Eid.”

In a statement, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu “strongly condemned the terrorist attacks” that shook Nigeria on Friday, describing them as “criminal… contrary to all human values and the noble Islamic values.” Ihsanoglu, chief of the world’s largest pan-Islamic body, urged all parties to “respect the spiritual and religious meaning of the blessed Eid al-Adha by means of avoiding violence.”

He is contrary to the school of thought that regards jihad against the infidel as the best way of celebrating anything.

Posted on 11/08/2011 3:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Al-Shabaab trying hard to hit back at Kenya

From The Daily Nation

Al-Shabaab launched two abortive attacks against Kenya’s security forces in towns along the border as they unsuccessfully sought to fight back.

A time bomb planted by the roadside exploded at around 10.30 a.m. on Saturday in Hagardera patrol base within Lagdera division of Garissa County but no one was injured. Police suspect it was aimed at a police vehicle that was to use that road but it exploded a few minutes before the vehicle reached there. The targeted officers were based at the camp within the Hagardera refugee camp, sources and residents told the Sunday Nation.

On Friday night, regular police and AP camps at Hulugho were also attacked. About 30 Al-Shabaab militants struck the camp, located at the Hagardera refugee camp at around 11pm. A fierce exchange, that lasted about 30 minutes, ensued but there were no casualties on the side of Kenya forces. The militants were eventually repulsed.

Also in the same area, again from the Daily Nation

Two people were killed (one of them a seven-year-old boy) and 5 seriously injured following a grenade attack on Garissa's Pentecostal Church, Northern Kenya on Saturday night. The grenade blasts occurred inside a house within the Garissa East Africa Pentecostal church compound.

According to Rev Ibrahim Makunyi, who was inside the compound during the explosion, two grenades were hurled into the house next to the church's main entry door. He said the first grenade did not explode but the second one resulted in a huge blast.  a third was found near the gate of a military camp in the town.

He said the attackers, who spoke in Kiswahili, were shouting: “Wacheni kunywa pombe! (Stop drinking alcohol).

One of the victims died instantly while the other passed on at Garissa provincial general hospital as doctors were attending to him.

Area MP Aden Duale asked the provincial security committee to investigate the incident that he termed as inhuman and cowardly. ‘’We should be concerned with what happens around us. The Al-Shabaab have recruited Kenyans and we should be accurate with the kind of information we are giving out,’’ he said.

Garissa Supkem chairman Abdullahi Salat also condemned the attack on the church saying it would sow seeds of discord among Muslims and Christians who live in harmony.

Posted on 11/08/2011 3:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Mark Anthony Signorelli's New Website

Signorelli fans click here.

Posted on 11/08/2011 12:31 PM by NER
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Kamrany Estimates Iraq War Cost At One Trillion, Stiglitz At Two -- But Who's Counting?

Estimating Iraq War Damages Sustained by the United States (2003-2011)

11/8/11

President Obama's recent announcement of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq was welcomed news. The Iraq war is the second longest American war in history after Afghanistan. The U.S. has been at this war for 102 months thus far; longer than the war time span of Vietnam, Korean, World War II, World War I and the Civil War.

The United States has sustained significant war damages in human lives and casualties as well as loss of wealth. We lost approximately 4000 lives of young men and women and sustained approximately 40,000 war injuries with varying degrees of disabilities. The long term effects will be pervasive for medical care treatment of injured veterans and loss of their earnings at market value. Of the $14+ trillion national debt of the United States, nearly one trillion dollars or 7.5%% was the direct and explicit cost of the Iraq war.

But wars have implicit costs as well, including the loss of parents by young children and loss of family members whose pains are carried for a life time. War damages are pervasive and multidimensional.

To capture the true economic cost of the war, the approach of opportunity cost or the foregone opportunities that were lost was undertaken into account such as the present value of the future stream of earning that a dead soldier would have earned in the market place during his/her remaining work life expectancy. Because of the young average age of the deceased (approximately 25 years), the loss of work-life expectancy was estimated at 45 years including 50+ years loss of life expectancy. The average loss of earnings based on the present value of future stream of earnings at market rate during work-life expectancy of a deceased soldier amounted to approximately $10 million. The market value of the average care cost of the disabled victims was estimated at half a million dollars. In the calculations the disabled victims were classified into three categories (high, average, and low). The implicit cost of the war is not estimated in this study.

At the cost of approximately one trillion dollars [or two trillion, if you accept Stiglitz's estimate] , 4,000 human lives and 40,000 disabled casualties, the U.S. succeeded to eliminate Saddam Hussein and bring about a regime change in the governmental structure of Iraq from Sunni to Shiite domination, but no weapons of mass destruction were found. What is the significance of that change to the U.S. national security interest? In fact, Saddam Hussein's government was anti-al Qaeda, anti-Iranian with a secular orientation. The regime change in Iraq has availed a unique opportunity for Iran to extend its hegemony over Iraq.

In addition to strategic drawbacks, the cost of care of disabled veterans and disability compensation will peak decades after the conflict is ended. And since the war was financed through borrowing, the cost of interest, repayment of principal, caring for disabled veterans and disability payments will continue to put pressure on the budget deficit.

A ripple effect of the Iraq invasion was the rise in oil prices from approximately $30/barrel in 2003 to $140/barrel in 2008, costing American consumers $4/gallon at the pump. The war debt has caused congressional gridlock and inability to effectively address the current economic impasse. Given the enormous cost sustained by the U.S. without significant strategic gains, former secretary of defense Robert Gates advised that the United Sates must abstain from these small but costly wars in the future.
-------------------------------
*Nake M. Kamrany is professor of economics at the University of Southern California and Director of program in law and economics. Michelle Taft is a research associate of the Economics Depart at USC and is associated with the Law School at the University of Washington. This article is an abstract of a larger study that was undertaken by the Department of economics at USC.

Posted on 11/08/2011 1:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
British border controls

Thanks to Alan for this, from the Daily Mail:

Posted on 11/08/2011 4:28 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Hindu doctors gunned down in Pakistan

From the Hindustan Times and the Express Tribune

Four Hindu doctors have been gunned down in Pakistan's southern Sindh province sparking fears and panic among the minority community. The doctors were gunned down on Monday at their clinic in Chak town. Dr Ramesh Kumar a former member of provincial assembly and chief patron of Pakistan Hindu Council confirmed that Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh, Dr Ajeet and Dr Satia Paul were killed by armed assailants while working in their clinic.

"This is not the first time such an incident has taken place where members of our community have been targeted. What is of concern is that the law enforcement agencies tend to support the criminals involved in such acts," Dr Kumar told PTI

A police official confirmed that the killings could have been the result of a dispute between some Hindus and the local Bhaya Baradari that took place two weeks back over a Hindu girl. 

 Following the final rites of three Hindus who were shot dead on Monday in Shikarpur district, upper Sindh, the Hindu community shut their business in protest and announced an indefinite strike till those responsible for the killing are brought to book. They also announced three days of mourning.

The final rites of the dead took place on Tuesday at the Sathu Bela temple near Sukkur. Members of Hindu community alleged that police had been patronising the criminals.

The Hindu community in Shikarpur had been in conflict with the Muslim Bhayo community over an alleged case of sexual assault. The Muslim community alleged that three members of the Hindu community had sexually assaulted a girl from their community a few weeks ago and the Muslim community wanted to exact revenge.

The three boys from the Hindu community were arrested after a police raid found them together with a hired dancing girl. Before a resolution could be reached, gunmen fired upon and killed a Hindu doctor and two businessmen, relatives to the arrested Hindu men.

Dr Pardeep, a relative of the victims, told The Express Tribune that people belonging to the Bhayo community used to extort the Hindu community passing around “chits” to the Hindu families in the Chak town with demands inscribed. While the extortion sum had been paid on numerous occasions, the community had stopped giving the sum for the past few months. “They would ask us to either pay the money or face consequences,” Dr Pradeep added. Classic jizya, in other words.

Posted on 11/08/2011 5:33 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
PA comes up one short for Statehood bid at UN Security Council

PA President Mahmoud Abbas at UN GA  Sep. 21, 2011

The Palestinian Authority (PA) may have become a full member of UNESCO in Paris on Halloween, but it appears that the UN Security Council (UNSC) is deadlocked over a vote to recognize statehood for the Palestinians.  For all of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ global travels lobbying for commitments from  UNSC members, it would appear he failed to get  the required nine to schedule a vote on Friday, November 11th.  He came close with  eight commitments, one short of the nine required to bring the PA statehood issue to a vote. 

That spares the Obama Administration from casting a veto and possibly isolating outreach to the Arab League members of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Arab League also failed to get Syria’s Assad to implement a peace plan with the aggrieved internal opposition.  The Homs region in Syria is being flattened with heavy causalities by the strongman’s security and military forces. This is reminiscent of his father Hafez’s Hama massacres in 1982, when 25,000 were killed. So much for Arab League comity and Obama’s failed ‘engagement’ of Syria’s Assad.

 The PA will have other opportunities to thumb its nose at the Obama Administration, should it choose to file for another 16 memberships in various UN agencies. Assuming that the OIC and their colleagues in the non-aligned movement vote the way  they did on admittance of the PA to UNESCO.  There could be further episodes in which the State Department is forced to publicly announce another in the series of withdrawals of US funding for UN agencyies.

Ha’aretz had this report on the alleged failure of the PA to garner the required nine votes for  statehood  at the UNSC, “UN Security Council panel fails to reach consensus on Palestinian bid says draft report.”

A draft report by a key UN Security Council committee, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, declared that members could not reach consensus on whether the Palestinians' UN statehood bid should be accepted.

"The committee was unable to make a unanimous recommendation to the Security Council," said the draft report of the council's committee on admitting new member states. It was circulated to all 15 Security Council members on Tuesday.

The four-page draft appears to confirm that the Palestinian move to join the world body as a full member, which Western envoys said was doomed from the outset due to a U.S. vow to veto it if it ever came to a vote in the council, is set to fail due to the council's irresolvable deadlock.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full UN membership for the state of Palestine on Sept. 23.

The Palestinians can still call for a vote in the Security Council, but diplomats say it is not clear whether they will do so given that Washington will likely not need to use its veto to block it.

The Palestinians would score a moral victory and force Washington to cast its veto if they are able to muster nine votes to support them in the council. A council resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass.

But UN diplomats say the Palestinians have so far secured only eight backers.

The draft report details how the council is divided into three groups -- those planning to support the Palestinian bid, those opposing it and those planning to abstain from any vote on it. It does not identify the countries.

The draft may be revised before it is formally presented to the Security Council on Friday, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Posted on 11/08/2011 7:55 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
A Musical Interlude: Ever Since Time Began (Annette Hanshaw)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/08/2011 8:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The Egyptian Military Continues To Receive Billions In American Aid -- Why?

From Asia News:

Army accused of Copts’ massacre threatens 34 Copts with trial


The detainees, who include teens under 16, are accused of attacking security forces during Coptic demonstration on 9 October. Spokesman for Egyptian Catholic Church calls the army’s move absurd because they will effectively judge their own actions. The military continues to deny responsibility for the 27 dead and more than 200 wounded.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – The same army that slaughtered 28 Christians on 9 October and is currently investigating itself has decided not to release 34 Copts held since the clashes, including teens under 16 and some who were wounded. Others have been held since 30 October. All are underfed and without proper medical care.

For Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, any trial would be absurd. “The military cannot court-martial civilians, especially since they are a party in the case.”

The clergyman hopes that with the elections on 26 November, the military will give up power and accept the voters’ verdict.

Some Muslims were also arrested following the deadly demonstrations. Laila Soueif, university professor and mother of activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, decided to go on a hunger strike this Sunday to protest her son's detention.

In a blogpost he smuggled out of prison on Thursday, El Fattah wrote that he got a proposition from his interrogators to be released provided he does not criticise Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawy, head of the military council.

"It was a small concession that I rejected. How can I face my family if I had accepted it," he wrote.

On 9 October, thousands of Copts demonstrated in front of the Maspero state TV building, demanding justice in the case of a church burning in Aswan Province (Upper Egypt).

At the rally, unknown gunmen began shooting soon after the start, causing the military to react. Some eyewitnesses said they saw soldiers deliberately fire on demonstrators and crush some with armed vehicles. The final toll included 27 people dead and more than 200 wounded.

The Egyptian Armed Forces continue to deny any responsibility for the incident, blaming extremist groups for infiltrating the demonstration. They also accuse protest leaders of inciting the crowd against security forces.

Posted on 11/08/2011 8:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Fervently-Muslim Afghan Army Soldier Shoots Three Aussie Soldiers; Aussie Command and Assorted 'Experts' Simply Cannot Understand Why

The updated and expanded version of the story I posted just now, with the mind-boggling cluelessness of Australian high command, analysts and experts embarrassingly on display.

Nobody, it seems, has seen fit to consult, for example, Bassam Tibi, or Majid Khadduri's 'War and Peace in the Law of Islam', or Joseph Schacht, or General K S Malik's "The Quranic Concept of War", nor Quran surahs 8 and 9, nor Patrick Sookhdeo's 'Global Jihad', nor Robert Spencer's "Onward Muslim Soldiers", nor even the dazzling clarity and brevity of Jacques Ellul's foreword on 'Jihad', provided for Bat Yeor's "The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam", which see here:

http://www.dhimmi.org/Foreword.html

or the excellent discussion in Patrick L Moore's "From Cold War to Guerra Fria" (1994), for which see here:

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/26087

No, they just can't understand why this Afghan soldier would do what he did.

From Sally Sara, reporting for Australia's ABC.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-09/soldiers-shot/3653744

'Afghan soldier shoots 3 diggers'

'Australian troops are hunting for a rogue Afghan soldier who shot and wounded three diggers just 10 days after three Australians were killed in a similar attack.

Oh, what an extraordinary coincidence. - CM

'The Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier opened fire on Australian and Afghan troops using an automatic weapon and a grenade launcher while he was on duty in a guard tower at a joint patrol base at Charmistan in Uruzgan province on Tuesday afternoon  (local time).

'Chief of Defence David Hurley said the three wounded Australian soldiers were in a serious condition in a Kandahar hospital this morning.

'Two Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

'The wounded Australians were from the Mentoring Taskforce and their families have been notified, General Hurley told a press conference in Canberra this morning.

'And he warned against drawing links between this attack and one in Kandahar 10 days ago, when three Australians were killed and seven more were wounded.

Don't connect the dots! At all costs, don't connect the dots!  No "pattern recognition" allowed! - CM

"There's no simple one-line explanation to this", he said.

Yes there is, General Hurley. With all due respect, sir, I invite you to reflect upon the following statement by Joseph Schacht, meticulous observer and analyst of Islam, from his monumental tome "An Introduction to Islamic Law": "The basis of the Islamic attitude towards unbelievers is the law of war: they must be either converted, or subjugated, or killed". - CM

'The rogue Afghan soldier, from the ANA's 3rd Kandak (battalion), fled after the attack in an Afghan army vehicle.

'Kandak members at the platoon-level Patrol Base Basir have now been disarmed, General Hurley said.

An elementary precaution; a tiny glimmer of commonsense from amidst the fog. - CM

'He said about 9 or 10 Australian soldiers and about 30 Afghans were at the base when the attack occurred.

The Australian Infidels were significantly outnumbered, in other words.  Presumably the Muslim attacker decided the odds were good enough for him to be able to attack and get away with it. - CM

'And he [General Hurley] conceded that it was impossible to fully protect Australian troops from rogue Afghan soldiers.

From Afghan Muslim soldiers who grow tired of smiling deceptions, and suddenly flip into full-on Combat Jihad mode. - CM

"This is a highly complex and dangerous environment and an element of risk will always exist", he said.

You are forcing our troops to play Muslim Roulette, General Hurley.  - CM

'He said that personal protection had been stepped up at Australian bases, and did not disagree when it was suggested [that] that would include the wearing of body armour on base.

How about the carrying of weapons at all times? And...no Australian or other Infidel soldier should ever be permitted to be alone with an Afghan Muslim.  And the soldiers should never, never, never turn their backs upon any Afghan Muslim, no matter how sweetly smiling and nice and seemingly trustworthy that Muslim may seem to be. - CM

'He said that intelligence gathering must be a priority, as there was no prior warning to either attack.

You will never be able to distinguish reliably beforehand between the Muslim who is 'safe' or inactive, who has chosen to ignore (for the present) the Jihad imperative, and the Muslim who has already flipped - or is going to flip - into Killer Jihadi mode. - CM

"It could be personal grievance, it could be religious ideology.  We don't know, there was no indication".

'It could be religious ideology'.  And this man is the General commanding Australian troops in Afghanistan?  Somebody give him S K Malik's 'The Quranic Concept of War', together with Winston Churchill's 'The Story of the Malakand Field Force'. - CM

'General Hurley revealed the initial pursuit of the attacker was called off so as not to confuse electronic surveillance which is being used as the primary method of tracking the man down...

'The attack comes hard on the heels of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's weekend visit to Afghanistan, where she opened a new Australian embassy building and spoke of the "great friendship" between the two countries...

The grotesque incongruity between those words, and what this Afghan Army Muslim soldier has just done, is just too great for even our usually-clueless and Islamophile ABC to ignore. - CM

'Australian Defence Association head Neil James said the latest shooting will have a serious impact on the trust between the Australian and Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan.

It certainly will.  I sincerely hope that any Aussie digger who has been silly enough, up till now, to put any degree of trust in any Afghan Muslim, will cease such foolishness forthwith. - CM

'The juxtaposition of the two incidents will have quite a serious effect on the ground and it will also reignite debate back here in Australia", he said. 

"Unfortunately, a lot of people back here in Australia will look at it in quite a different way to the troops on the ground".

'Unfortunately'??  Well, I know how I look at it.  And I suspect that those of the troops with a basic survival instinct and a modicum of commonsense are applying Ockham's Razor just as I am.  "You cannot tell who is or is not going to suddenly Go Jihad on you and your mates.  Therefore: Never trust a Muslim. Never trust a Muslim.  Never trust a Muslim.  And certainly not when the Muslim has access to weapons". - CM

'Retired Australian Major General Jim Molan says he doubts the attacks on Australian troops are a deliberate strategy by the Taliban.

"If you're part of a relatively sophisticated tactic that puts you into a military unit to be a sleeper, why would you not wait for the president to visit and kill him?" he said.

"Why would you not wait until you were in a mess hall and you take explosives into the mess hall, as happened a couple of times in Iraq, and kill 100 people?"

Major-General Jim Molan is starting to get an idea of how Muslims think.  But he is still avoiding the truly disturbing reality: that any Afghan Muslim, including an Afghan Muslim serving in the ANA, is capable of turning round and killing non-Muslims who happen to be within range. He's refusing to follow the evidence of events to the logical conclusion: that a Muslim who is not a signed-up official member of the Taliban, or Al Qaeda, or such, a Muslim who is a perfectly ordinary Muslim, may - simply because he is a Muslim, steeped in the teachings of Islam - desire and choose and set out to kill Infidels.  - CM

'Counter-terrorism expert David Kilcullen has told ABC Local Radio there could be a number of reasons why the rogue Afghan soldier turned on the Australians.

'Mr Kilcullen says it is possible the soldier was defecting.

"I think we may be seeing this in last night's incident, where you have someone in the military for some time, but decides to defect or to leave and they take the opportunity to kill someone over their leaving", he said.

Mr Kilcullen, you call yourself an 'expert', and yet you really cannot get a clue as to why a Muslim might choose to kill, or try to kill, some temptingly vulnerable Infidels?  - CM

'Greens Senator Christine Milne has used the incident to renew her party's call for Australian troops to get out of Afghanistan.

"It is obvious to anyone who looks at Afghanistan that what's going on there now is not going to be very different in a couple of years' time", she said.

True. - CM

"It's time for Australia to name a date when the troops [will] come home...".

The Australian Greens are, in general, perfectly clueless about Islam, and Muslims, and have mostly exhibited an attitude of grovelling dhimmitude vis a vis the Muslims in our midst.  But if the Greens are going to campaign to get our troops out of Afghanistan, I hope they succeed; for remaining in Afghanistan is a waste of time, men and money.  A word, however, in Ms Milne's ear: if so be you think that Muslims in general will like Australia if we leave Afghanistan, and that our leaving Afghanistan will make us less likely to be targeted by jihad terror raids whether from without or from within, you are mistaken.  Whether in or out of Afghanistan, we are a target of Jihad because we are not Muslims and because we are not ruled by Muslims and because the law of our land is not the Sharia

Post scriptum: on my last viewing of this article, there was embedded within it a video clip from ABC news, titled thus: "Defence Analyst Raspal Khosa discusses the recent attacks by Afghan soldiers".  He dodges the real issue completely.  If Mr Khosa is a sample of the kind of adviser our military is listening to, no wonder that they remain utterly clueless. - CM

Posted on 11/08/2011 8:46 PM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The Copts In Garbage City Worry

From The Washington Post:

Cairo’s Christians worry about Egypt’s next chapter

By , November 8

CAIRO

Coptic Christians are worried about their future in the new Egypt, as I could see Thursday night at a political rally in a poor Coptic neighborhood known here as Garbage City. [one of the professions to which the Copts have been relegated is garbage collection - not with trucks, but by hand. And many of them are forced to live among garbage. This kind of thing is common in Muslim lands. Christians in Pakistan are the lowest of domestics. Jews in Yemen were forced to clean latrines. Oh, it's a long story].

Gathered in an alleyway framed by heaps of trash, and Christian symbols decorating every nearby wall, the residents heard a simple message: To protect their families, Christians must vote in the parliamentary elections that begin late this month. Otherwise, Egypt may be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is mobilizing its own supporters.

“Muhammad and John need to live side by side,” admonished one of the speakers, arguing that Christians must fight for a secular state that will be moderate and tolerant. “If you don’t go vote, you have only yourself to blame for the consequences.”

Christians have “definitely” become more afraid since the revolution, explained Dina Beshay, a 29-year-old woman from the neighborhood. If the Muslim Brotherhood gained power, it would be a “big shock,” she said, because Christians would feel marginalized. “It is impossible for us to live in constant fear.”

This issue of sectarian tension lurks behind the election campaign now being waged across Egypt. People don’t often speak about it directly, but it’s an abiding fear here — as in most other countries shaken by the Arab Spring. The question is whether, as democracy empowers Islamist parties across the Arab world, Christian minorities will have a viable future.

The rally here was organized by the Free Egyptians Party, a secular, pro-market group founded by Naguib Sawiris, who is one of Egypt’s wealthiest businessmen and a prominent member of the Coptic minority. The party aims to get a turnout of 85 percent of the roughly 40,000 eligible voters in this district, who are mostly Copts.

Garbage City is an unforgettable spot, a vision that might have been imagined by a surrealistic movie director. Pickup trucks rumble in with towering loads of rubbish, which is picked over for anything that can be recycled. Fires burn across this trash landscape. Because garbage collection is seen by Muslims as “unclean” (garbage is fed to pigs), this work for untold generations has mostly been done by Christians, who labor in their gritty stalls surrounded by icons and crosses and posters of Jesus.

My guides were Karim Abadir and Omar Khashaba, two party officials. Abadir, an economics professor in London, says he came back to Egypt after the revolution to “stand my ground” as a Copt and be part of the new Egypt. “When Christians tell me they have no future in Egypt, my response is, ‘Go vote,’ ” he says.

Abadir was injured in the Oct. 9 Maspero incident, when police and the army attacked demonstrators who were protesting the burning of churches; 27 people died in the violence, mostly Christians. A Muslim who joined the marchers told me there was sectarian tension on both sides, with Copts chanting, “We are owners of the land” (meaning that Copts were in Egypt before Islam), and Muslims responding, “Islam, Islam.”

I talked with Christians from many areas of Cairo last week to gauge their worries. Every one of them expressed anxiety, but most said they remained hopeful that a democratic Egypt will remain tolerant of minorities. A sign of their wariness was that many asked me to use only their first names.

A woman named Nesrine said that every Sunday at her church in Heliopolis, several more Coptic families announce they are leaving the country. Nesrine has a Canadian passport, and her husband wants to move, but she’s waiting to see what the elections bring. The priests at her church are trying to calm the flock, telling them: “We have to stay. We have to take our place in our country.”

A woman named Raymonda, who lives in a mixed neighborhood and doesn’t attend church, says she fears the “very negative feelings to Christians” since the revolution. She doesn’t have another passport and never thought she would need one, but now she wonders. Her husband argues that they shouldn’t delay until it’s too late. “I don’t want to lose hope,” she says. “I want to bet on the Egyptian people.”

At a gathering of students and faculty at the Gerhart Center of the American University in Cairo, people talk honestly about religious tensions. They fervently hope this issue doesn’t subvert the promise of the revolution.

The Muslim woman who marched with the Christians to Maspero remembers hearing the sectarian chants, back and forth. “I started to cry,” she says. “I hated both sides.”

Posted on 11/08/2011 8:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Apparently, She Was The Runner-Up
Posted on 11/08/2011 8:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Australian PM Visits Afghanistan, Waffles About 'Great Friendship'; Soon After, Afghan Army Soldier Shoots Aussie Soldiers, Wounds 3

It appears that Australian PM Julia Gillard and her advisers have not read the Quran nor any other classical Islamic text, or she would not be reciting such foolish platitudes about 'friendship' between Muslim Afghanistan and Afghans and non-Muslim Australia, nor would she and her colleagues be so very startled and puzzled when Afghan army soldiers, members of a fervently Muslim society, turn savagely upon their supposed great 'friends' and 'allies', the people who are supposed to be 'training' and 'mentoring' them to be Thoroughly Modern Soldiers, and spray them with bullets.

I will begin with the report on PM Julia Gillard's whirlwind trip to Afghanistan, that took place a few days ago.  I encourage our readers to click on the link, for there you will see a full-colour photograph of our sublimely naive Ms Gillard side-by-side with that fox, Afghan president Hamid Karzai.  That photograph invites a caption competition.  I invite our more satirically-minded readers, such as 'reactionry', to supply suitable thought-ballons for the two principals - Mr Karzai and Ms Gillard. I will however give Ms Gillard half marks for just one thing - she has made no concessions whatsoever to Muslim sensibilities, in the matter of female headgear.  Neither hat nor scarf conceals her head of bright-red hair - it casts the most henna-bearded jihad gang boss into the shade.  From the ABC, Sally Sara reporting.

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-07/gillard-makes-surprise-visit-to-afghanistan/3638528

'Gillard makes surprise visit to Afghanistan'

'Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended a barbecue with Australian troops and held talks with president Hamid Karzai during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

'Her visit came just days after three Australian soldiers were killed - and others wounded - when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire at a base in southern Kandahar province.

'The Prime Minister thanked Australian troops during a visit to the main Australian base at Tarin Kot in southern Afghanistan, and told them she wanted to hear their ideas about Australia's future role in the country.

I wonder whether any Aussie soldier would have been willing and able to tell her - "Look, Madam Prime Minister, I think we should just cut our losses, quit burning men and money in this miserable Islam-addled hellhole, get out and go home and leave these ungrateful treacherous Mohammedan b*st*rds to rot; and oh, by the way, once we do get home, let's shut the door behind us and not let any more Mohammedans into Australia, eh, right?" - CM

"I wanted to spend some time trying to see this place through your eyes as we are planning the next phase of what happens here in Afghanistan", she said.  "I thought it was important to come and touch base and to see what is happening here and to hear directly from you about what the world looks like through your eyes".

Did any soldier feel inclined to tell her: "Out here, the world works like this: trust the Yanks, trust the Canadians, trust the Brits, and any other non-Muslim Coalition soldier, and your bomb-sniffer dog; but don't trust a Muslim if you want to get home alive"? -  CM

'She held talks with coalition commanders and local Afghan officials before going on to meet Mr Karzai in Kabul.

'Ms Gillard said Australia would be engaged in Afghanistan for the long term.

Waste of time. Waste of men. Waste of money . - CM

"We came to Afghanistan and we have found some tremendous days of sorrow, but we have also found a great friendship", she said.

'A great friendship'???  With whom, pray?  With our Aussie mates and our non-Muslim coalition fellow-fighters, yes.  But with the Afghan Muslims???

How can we possibly have a 'great friendship' when we are dealing with people who from birth on up imbibe the principle of al-wala wa al-baraa, 'loyalty and enmity': loyalty to fellow Muslims only (of the right sect, and if sufficiently Islamic), and enmity (fostered in the heart if unable to enact it, but ideally enacted in word and deed) toward all non-Muslims?  

What of Quran 48: 29 - "Muhammad is Allah's apostle.  Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers, but merciful to one another"?  What of other Surahs of the Quran: 58: 14, 15 and 22; 60: 1 and 13 - "Believers, do not make friends with those who are enemies of Mine and yours...Believers, do not make friends with those who have incurred the wrath of Allah..."; 4: 45 - 'Believers, do not choose the infidels rather than the faithful for your friends.."; 5: 51 - "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.  They are friends with one another.  whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number.  God does not guide the wrongdoers" and 5: 56 - "Your only friends are Allah, His apostle, and the faithful"..?  What of Ibn Ishaq - "Muslims are one ummah [community] to the exclusion of all men.  Believers are friends of one another to the exclusion of all outsiders"? What of Quran 3: 28 - "Let believers [Muslims] not take for friends and allies infidels [i.e. non-Muslims] instead of believers.  Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah - unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions".  Al-Tabari wrote of 3: 28 - "If you [Musims] are under their [infidels'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harboring inner animosity for them...Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with infidels in place of believers - except when infidels are above them [in authority].  In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them".  Ibn Kathir, another authoritative exegete, wrote of 3: 28, 'Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels'] evil may protect himself through outward show', and he cited a companion of Mohammed, Abu Darda, who said, "Let us smile to the face of some people [non-Muslims] while our hearts curse them".  How many smiling Afghan Muslims - including President Karzai with his oily grin - are doing just that toward the naive Australians? - CM

"We do intend to stay engaged here with you, in a spirit of friendship, for the long term".

My dear Ms Gillard, you are embarrassing yourself and us with all this talk of 'friendship'.  Do please read the Quran and underline all the passages that express enmity toward the Infidel, or non-Muslim, also known as kuffar, and get a clue. - CM

'Ms Gillard opened the new Australian embassy in the capital and praised diplomatic staff for their work in dangerous conditions.

'Ms Gillard says the new Kabul embassy is a "bricks and mortar" symbol of Australia's long-term commitment to Afghanistan.

I wonder how long it will be before someone explodes a truck bomb outside it? - CM

'Afghan foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul says Australia has made invaluable contributions to his country.

Keep that jizya flowing, Infidels - CM

"For all these achievements and others, we will always remain grateful to the people of Australia for their sacrifice in blood and treasure over the years to help us build a secure, stable, democratic Afghanistan", he said.

The usual flowery nonsense."We will always remain grateful". And I love you so much and my brother loves you too and we have a beautiful rug to sell if you will only step into the shop...  Suuure.

And to discover just how very grateful the Afghans are, and the unique manner in which they express that gratitude, we will move on to the next report from Afghanistan, dated November 9.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-09/soldiers-shot/3653744

'Afghan Soldier Shoots 3 Diggers'.

'Three Australian soldiers are in hospital this morning after being shot by a rogue Afghan soldiers, just 10 days after three diggers died (sic: they didn't 'die', they were killed, assassinated - CM) in a similar attack.

And 'rogue'. Ms Sara should have written "jihad-minded, fervently-Muslim'. - CM

'The Afghan National Army says one of its soldiers opened fire from a tower at Charmistan in Uruzgan province.'

'Two Afghan soldiers were also wounded.

They were punished for consorting - allying - with the Enemy, that is, with the non-Muslims. - CM

'All five soldiers received non-life threatening wounds and have been taken to the military hospital at Tarin Kot.

'The gunman fled the scene of the shooting in an Afghan National Army vehicle.

'It is unclear what prompted the attack.

'Unclear'.  Not to anyone who has read the Quran, or any of the other Muslim texts that are so full of enmity toward the non-Muslim. - CM

'Afghan and coalition forces have sealed off the area to carry out a search operation.

Somehow I suspect that the killer's fellow-Muslims won't be trying very hard to find him. - CM

'The latest incident comes 10 days after three Australians were killed and seven more wounded by a rogue Afghan soldier in Kandahar province.

'It also comes hard on the heels of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's weekend visit to Afghanistan, where she opened a new Australian embassy and spoke of the "great friendship" between the two countries.

It appears that even Ms Sara is dimly aware of a certain incongruity here. Some 'friendship' it is, when every now and again Afghan army soldiers take potshots at Australian soldiers as opportunity presents... - CM  

'Australian troops are currently training and mentoring some 3,500 Afghan soldiers and are due to hand over control to them by 2014..."

2014 cannot come fast enough.

Post scriptum, to the reader. If you click on the second link, to the story about the shooting, you will not see the text I have quoted and discussed here, but an updated and much-expanded account which I will examine in another posting, for it is a classic of its kind. - CM

Posted on 11/08/2011 7:04 PM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Israel’s Offshore Natural Gas Fields are a Geo-Political Game Changer

Noble Energy, Inc. Map of  Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Fields

The Oil and Gas Journal had a report, “Israel's offshore gas reserves poised to rise” that underlined how the imminence of energy independence for the Jewish state may also be a potential geo-political game changer in the eastern Mediterranean.

 The report noted:

Israel’s reserves of natural gas, now under development in the country’s Mediterranean offshore, are poised to rise substantially in the near future, according to a senior government official.

“Israel’s potential gas discoveries stand at 1,000 billion cu m,” said Israel Natural Gas Authority Director-General Yehosua Stern, adding that Israel's proven gas reserves amount to 300 bcm, most of it in the offshore Tamar field.

However, Stern told delegates at a conference on energy and the environment that the reserves figure is expected to rise by a further 453 bcm after production tests are completed at Leviathan field.

Stern also told conference delegates that he expects an additional 550 bcm of gas to be discovered in Israeli economic waters, which eventually will bring the country's total reserves to 1,300 bcm.

“In 2014-15 there will be an additional entry from Tamar to Israel in the Ashkelon region,” said Stern, who also noted that “an additional supplier will come into the Israeli gas market around 2016-17.”

The credit for this goes to a consortium composed of Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy, Inc. (Noble) (NBL-NYSE) and its Israeli partner, Delek Group. Noble has been developing offshore gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean since 1998. By 2013, the closer in Mari gas fields will come on stream, followed by the Tamar and the larger Leviathan field, currently under development. Other smaller gas fields are located off shore of the port of Ashdod. 

Watch this YouTube video of the visit by US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro to the pipe-laying vessel, “The Solitaire” contracted by Noble Energy, Inc. to connect the offshore gas fields to on-shore receiving facilities in Israel.

On November 2nd, Noble announced a 10 billion dollar LNG project to be built at Vasiliko near the University of Cyprus connecting with Israel’s Leviathan field.

Cyprus News noted that this announcement came on the cusp of a visit by Israel’s President Shimon Peres to sign bi-lateral agreements:

Noble Energy's country manager John Z. Tomich presented the plans for a 10-billion-dollar LNG plant at the University of Cyprus as part of a vision in which Cyprus and Israeli energy industries work together to supply Europe with natural gas.

Leviathan is one of the biggest gas reserves discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean and neighbors Cyprus' Block 12. Noble Energy works closely with Israeli company DELEK, which is its partner in the development of a natural gas well in Block 12 of Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Meanwhile, in the interests of further developing the recently-developed closer political, economic and military cooperation between Cyprus and Israel, Shimon Peres will arrive on the island tonight at 7.30pm. Accompanied by a delegation from DELEK, he will meet with President Demetris Christofias to sign bilateral agreements. Peres will also meet with Archbishop Chrysostomos II, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou, and House majority leader Nikos Anastassiades during his two-day visit.

The Oil and Gas Journal had this comment from President Peres about the significance of the Cyprus-Israel bi-lateral development projects:

Stern’s remarks follow statements by other government officials who said Israel and neighboring Cyprus stand ready to cooperate on a joint project to tap potentially huge offshore gas deposits.

“We can cooperate in generating this newfound energy, and use it for the benefit of the entire region,” said Israel’s President Shimon Peres, who added that the two countries have “substantial economic cooperation potential” with the discovery of gas in the Mediterranean.

These natural gas fields developments will make Israel a significant producer of natural gas for both domestic consumption and export to the EU. This development together with the on-shore oil shale field in the Shfela Basin with an estimated 260 billion barrels -See Israel's Black Gold- will doubtless change the shape of geo-political alliances.

Witness Israel's military and development alliances with Cyprus. Israel will be squaring off against Russia with potentially more reliable delivery of natural gas for the EU economies. It will also be sending an important message to Turkey, the bully of the eastern Mediterranean.

Now, more than ever Israel has to resolve the secret war with nuclear Iran and its proxies to realize its world political gains arising from natural gas and oil shale development.

You can put away those lame jokes about Moses turning left instead of right during the Exodus and allegedly missing black gold. What is the careworn expression; Ha Shem sometimes works in mysterious yet positive ways...with a little help from geologic science, technology and some Christian Zionists from the oil patch in Texas.

 

Posted on 11/08/2011 10:46 PM by Jerry Gordon

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