Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blood in the Streets


by Caroline Glick

Israeli military preparedness follows a depressing pattern. The IDF does not change its assessments of the strategic environment until Israeli blood runs in the streets.

In Judea and Samaria, from 1994 through 2000, the army closed its eyes to the Palestinian security forces' open, warm and mutually supportive ties to terror groups.

The military only began to reconsider its assessment of the US- and European-trained and Israeli-armed Palestinian forces after Border Police Cpl. Mahdat Youssef bled to death at Joseph's Tomb in October 2000. Youssef died because the Palestinian security chiefs on whom Israel had relied for cooperation refused to coordinate the evacuation of the wounded policeman.

Youssef was wounded when a Palestinian mob, supported by Palestinian security forces, attacked the sacred Jewish shrine. They shot at worshipers and the IDF soldiers who were stationed at Joseph's Tomb in accordance with the agreements Israel has signed with the Palestinians.

In Lebanon, the IDF only reconsidered its policy of ignoring Hezbollah's massive arms build-up in the south after the Shi'ite group launched its war against Israel in July 2006.

In Gaza, the IDF only reconsidered its willingness to allow Hamas to massively arm itself with missiles and rockets after the terror group running the Strip massively escalated the scale of its missile war against Israel in December 2008.

It is to be hoped that Thursday's sophisticated, deadly, multi-pronged, combined arms assault by as yet unidentified enemy forces along the border with Egypt will suffice to force the IDF to alter its view of Egypt.

By Thursday afternoon, seven Israelis had been killed and 26 had been wounded by unidentified attackers who entered Israel from Egyptian-ruled Sinai and staged a four-pronged attack. The attack included two assaults on civilian passenger buses and private cars. The assailants used automatic rifles in the first attack, and rifles as well as either anti-tank missiles or rocket-propelled grenades in the second attack.

The assault also involved the use of missiles and roadside bombs against an IDF border patrol, and open combat between the attackers and police SWAT teams.

There can be little doubt of the sophisticated planning and training required to carry out this attack. The competence of the assailants indicates that their organizations are highly professional, well-trained and in possession of accurate intelligence about Israeli civilian traffic and military operations along the border with Egypt.

Without the benefit of surprise, Thursday's attackers will be hard pressed to maintain their offensive in the coming days. But the possibility that the assault was just the opening round of a new irregular war emanating from Sinai cannot be ruled out. Unfortunately, due to the IDF's institutional opposition to confronting emerging threats before they become deadly, Israel faces the prospect of escalated aggression from Sinai with no clear strategy for contending with the enemy actors operating in the peninsula.

This enemy system includes Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic terror cells. It also includes the Egyptian military and security forces operating in the area, whose intentions towards Israel are at best unclear.

LIKE THE watershed events in Judea and Samaria, in Lebanon and in Gaza, Thursday's attack from Sinai did not come out of nowhere. It was a natural progression of the deterioration of the security situation in Sinai in recent months and years.

For more than a decade all the security trends in Sinai have been negative.

Sinai is populated mainly by Beduin. When Israel controlled Sinai from 1967 through 1981, the Beduin were willing to cooperate with Israel on both civil and military affairs. When Egypt took over in 1981, it punished the Beduin for their willingness to work with Israel. Perhaps as a consequence of this, perhaps owing more to regional trends emanating from Saudi Arabia, since the mid-1990s, the Sinai Beduin, like neighboring tribes in the Jordanian desert and, to a degree, their Israeli Beduin brethren, have been undergoing a process of Islamification as the loyalties of more and more tribes have been transferred to regional and global jihadist forces.

The first tangible indication of this came with the 2004 bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Taba.

That attack was followed by bombings in Sharm e-Sheikh and Dahab in 2005 and 2006. All the attacks were reportedly carried out by Beduin terror cells affiliated with al-Qaida.

Since the Palestinian terror war began in 2000, then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak did almost nothing to prevent massive arms smuggling by Palestinian terror groups through Sinai. The Palestinians - from Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad - were assisted by Sinai Beduin as well as by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah. Mubarak also did next to nothing to prevent human and drug trafficking from Sinai into Israel and Gaza.

Mubarak did, however, protect the Egyptian regime's control over Sinai by among other things sealing the official land border from Egypt to Gaza at Rafah, defending Egyptian police stations and other security installations and vital infrastructure such as the gas pipeline from attack. Forces from his Interior Ministry kept a firm grip on the Beduin tribes.

As bad and increasingly complex as the security situation was becoming in Sinai under Mubarak, it has drastically deteriorated since he was overthrown in February. Actually, the Egyptian government arguably lost control over Sinai while Mubarak was being overthrown, and until last weekend made no attempt to reassert its sovereign control over the area.

As the world media ecstatically reported on the photogenic anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square, almost no attention was paid to the insurgency unfolding in Sinai. Shortly after the protests began in Cairo in mid-January, Hamas sent forces over the border into Egyptian Rafah and El-Arish to attack police stations with rifles and RPGs. Hamas fighters reportedly went as far south as Suez. There they joined other terror forces in bombing and raiding the police station in the town that abuts the Suez Canal. In consortium with local elements, Hamas carried out the first of five bombings so far of Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan.

In a sharp departure from Mubarak's policies, the ruling military junta opened Egypt's border with Gaza and so gave local and regional jihadists the ability to freely traverse the international border.

Hamas and its fellow terrorists have used this freedom not only to steeply expand the missile and personnel transfers to the Gaza Strip. They have also escalated their challenge to Egyptian regime control over Sinai.

Over the past several months, in addition to recurrent bombings of the gas pipeline, these forces have attacked police stations and the port at Nueiba. In the wake of their July 30 attack on El-Arish in which two policemen and three civilians were killed, jihadist cells distributed leaflets calling for the imposition of Islamic law on Sinai.

According to media reports, jihadists also took over many of the main highways in Sinai at the beginning of August.

THESE LATEST assaults and the open challenge the leaflets and road takeovers pose to Egyptian state authority caused the military to deploy two battalions of armored forces to Sinai last weekend.

The stated aim of their operation is to defeat the al-Qaida-affiliated jihadist cells operating in the peninsula. Since Egypt's peace treaty with Israel prohibits the deployment of Egyptian military forces to Sinai, the Egyptian military regime requested and received Israeli permission for the deployment.

It is unclear how effective the latest Egyptian military deployment had been until Thursday's cross-border attacks on Israel had been. What is clear enough is that Israel cannot expect to receive serious cooperation from the Egyptian military in combating the enemy forces emanating from Sinai. Indeed, at this point it is impossible to rule out the possibility that Egyptian military personnel participated in the murderous attacks.

Passengers in one of the civilian cars attacked by gunmen in the first stage of the operation told the media that their attackers were wearing Egyptian army uniforms.

Almost immediately after the attacks took place, Egyptian military authorities denied the attackers entered Israel from Sinai. These denials signaled that the Egyptian military government will not assist Israel in its efforts to defend itself against the rapidly escalating threats it now faces from Sinai.

And this is not surprising. Since it overthrew Mubarak, the ruling military junta has assiduously cultivated close ties with the politically ascendant Muslim Brotherhood.

Three days before the attack, the IDF announced that its 2012-2017 budget includes no increase in either force size or equipment levels. As one IDF official told Reuters, "Our current capabilities are sufficient for our foreseeable requirements, though we will be investing anew in training and improving rapid-response mobility to allow for more flexibility during emergencies."

Recently, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz explained that the reason the IDF does not intend to change the training or size of the Southern Command, despite Egypt's increasing hostility towards Israel, is because Israel doesn't want to provoke Egypt by preparing for the worst. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quick to ignore Egypt and point his finger at the usual suspects in Gaza.

While it is reasonable to assume the Palestinians were involved in the attack, it is unreasonable to assume that they are the only culprits. And given the deteriorating security situation in Sinai and Egypt's escalating hostility, it is madness to limit Israel's attention in the wake of the attack to Gaza.

What the attack shows is that Israel must prepare for the new strategic reality emerging in Egypt. True, it is early yet to predict how Egypt is going to behave in the coming years. But we do not need perfect information about the emerging strategic reality to prepare for it.

Israel's requirements are clear. We need to invest the necessary resources to fortify the 240-km. border with Egypt by completing the security fence.

We need to increase the Southern Command's force levels by at least one regular division, preferably an armored one. We need to equip the IDF with more tanks and other platforms designed for desert warfare. We need for the IDF to begin training in desert warfare for the first time in 30 years.

We need to drastically ramp up the quality of our intelligence about Egypt.

On Thursday, we were shown that although the revolution in Egypt was not about Israel, Israel will be its first foreign victim as the new Egypt rejects the former regime's peace with the Jewish state.

It is a bitter reality. But it is reality all the same and we need to contend with it, as the blood in our streets makes clear.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick

Source: http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2011/08/blood-in-the-streets.php

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Will NATO-Backed Libyan Rebels Launch a Bloodbath in Tripoli?


by Thomas Lifson

President Obama committed America to the cause of the Libyan rebels based on the theory of R2P -- a responsibility to protect innocents, the innocents of Benghazi and other rebel strongholds, who presumably faced slaughter at the hands of loyalist forces of Col. Gaddafi. This is the dreamy theory of diplomacy pushed by Obama advisor Samantha Power.

But now that the rebels appear to be surging, if they take Tripoli, will they slaughter the enemy tribesman who supported dictator Gaddafi? If that threat were imminent, wouldn't the United States have an obligation to switch sides under the R2P doctrine?

Adam Garfinkle considers the possibilities on The American Interest:

There are reasons for thinking that the likelihood of the slaughter in Benghazi was far lower than the likelihood of a slaughter coming soon in Tripoli. Gaddafi may have thought back then that just the threat of mass violence could dissipate the rebellion, or weaken it fatally. Arabic is very good for threat making, and Arabs over the years have become masters at using language as votive acts. (There is a long tradition, just by the way, of leaders hiring poets to curse their enemies. There is as a result a whole genre of Arabic literature of this sort. And to those familiar with the Hebrew Bible, it will occur that this is not just an Arab hobby, but one practiced widely in the ancient Near East as well, as the used-to-be-very-well-known story of Balak and Bilaam attests.) Westerners eavesdropping on this internal conversation frequently take what is being said much too literally.

The Obama administration, in other words, naively interpreted overblown rhetoric, and now fails to comprehend the tribal dynamics:

NATO is not in a position on the ground to do anything about it. NATO, fighting without the United States, has not been in a position to do very much about anything, which raises a point I will follow up just below. Clearly, the rebels who might be soon advancing on Tripoli do not recognize a clear distinction between civilians and combatants. Tribal rules say that all adult males are fair game. Given the widely available military technology of our time, however, and the Libyans' lack of training in using that technology surgically, it is very unlikely that women and children will remain safe regardless of traditional prohibitions against harming them.

There are no good options for Obama now. I guess that smart diplomacy is working out about as well as hope and change. Garfinkle concludes:

All I know is that when a government engages in military activity on the basis of a nonsensical premise, there is a price to be paid always down the road. We are now pretty much down the road.

Thomas Lifson

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/will_nato-backed_libyan_rebels_launch_a_bloodbath_in_tripoli.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The End of Obama's Middle East Pipe Dream


by Leo Rennert

The stars were always aligned against President Obama's pipe dream of a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on Israel's withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines, with mutually agreed land swaps.

But this week's explosive expansion of a terror war against Israel from Gaza is a stark reminder to Israelis that the Palestinians are in no mood to negotiate a peace agreement -- and certainly not according to Obama's formula.

On Aug. 18, Israel was shocked by multiple attacks from Palestinian terrorists who used Hamas-ruled Gaza and Egyptian Sinai as launching pads for their deadly rampages. Eight Israelis were killed, mostly civilians, and more than 30 were injured, in coordinated terrorist ambushes near the sea resort of Eilat at the southern end of the Negev.

On Aug. 19, the terror attacks continued with day-long rocket barrages from Gaza that struck a synagogue and a yeshiva in the port city of Ashdos. Ten people were injured, two seriously.

Hamas, with its iron grip on Gaza, was delighted. Although it farmed out expanded attacks to one or more other terrorist outfits, it triumphantly reported the news as supportive of its own agenda to discard Obama's idea of two states and proceed instead to Israel's total destruction.

To underline its real intentions, Hamas declared in its news bulletin that the Eilat attacks occurred in "the occupied territories city of Om Ar-rashrash" -- its Arabic label for Eilat.

This should not be surprising to the folks in the White House. Eilat and the rest of the Negev, after all, are on the Israeli side of the pre-1967 lines. Yet, as far as Hamas is concerned, this makes absolutely no difference. In Hamas's playbook, Eilat is as much an "occupied territory" as Tel Aviv, Haifa and the rest of Israel. Hamas doesn't want two states under any circumstances. It is fully committed to a one-state solution -- Arab sovereignty from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

But it wasn't just Hamas that gave an unmistakable signal to the White House that Obama's peace strategy is dead as a dodo. For Obama, the Palestinian news was just as discouraging coming from the West Bank, where Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority hold sway.

Obama and Secretary of State Clinton may still fool themselves that Abbas is a genuine peace partner for a deal with Israel, but Abbas's own propaganda machine tells a quite different story.

In the latest in a long series of anti-Israel incitement programs broadcast by PA TV, Abbas signaled that any peace deal with Israel is predicated on removing any and every Israeli/Jewish presence from Jerusalem, including from Judaism's holiest shrines. Specifically, PA TV announced that the Palestinians, once having gotten Israel out of Jerusalem, would use the Western Wall Plaza to build an Arab residential neighborhood. Such uncompromising Abbas claims, which rule out any realistic basis for a two-state deal, have become commonplace, but they had special resonance in a week marked by the spilling of so much Israeli blood.

To show his true colors, Abbas also regularly uses his vast PA media resources to glorify as Paradise-bound "martyrs" terrorists like those who attacked Eilat and Ashdod. Not exactly the marks of a congenial peace partner.

In two blood-soaked days, the Palestinians disabused Obama of any rational basis fpr believing that he still can be a Mideast peace-maker and earn his Nobel Peace Prize. It won't happen on his watch -- whether he ends up as a one-term or even two-term president.

Leo Rennert

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/the_end_of_obamas_middle_east_pipe_dream.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Zawahiri: Co-opting Syria's Revolution


by IPT News

Al-Qaida's new senior leader is trying to co-opt Syria's revolution with a message of anti-Americanism and hate, in a new video translation recently released to jihadi forums.

"Peace be upon you while you teach the rebellious, treacherous, traitorous system severe lessons on how to resist him, his corruption and treachery, his compliance in favor of the global hegemony and his desertion of Golan," Ayman al-Zawahiri says in his attack on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. "Peace be upon you, O champions and heroes! Indeed you have presented a great example, teaching your Arab and Islamic Ummah lessons about sacrifice, resilience and fighting injustice."

In the clip, "The Glory of the East Begins with Damascus," Zawahiri paints America as responsible for pulling the strings of Syria's brutal regime. His conspiracy theory alleges America wants to manipulate the region for its own interests and to protect Israel from the wrath of the revolution.

Notably, Zawahiri tries to blend traditional al-Qaida ideas with Syrian resistance to the regime. This means praising the martyrs in Islamist strongholds like Homs and Hama, showing local bravery as a rejection of American intervention in the Middle East, and manipulating popular grievances against Israel to strike out against the United States.

The propaganda includes reciting a long line of salutes and poetry about Syria's famous warriors and conquerors, and also incorporating modern martyrs into the list. "Peace be upon you, O courageous and fierce, free and noble, in Daraa, Jisr ash-Shugur, Ma'arrat al-Numan, Baniyas, Homs, and Hama, the land of heroism and martyrdom," Zawahiri said, recognizing places where Syrians had staged protests.

Most important was the mention of Hama, an Islamist stronghold that witnessed repression of modern Islamist protests and the brutal crushing of a Muslim Brotherhood revolution in February 1982. "Whenever a martyr falls from amongst you, hundreds of others present themselves for martyrdom, and whenever someone is imprisoned, hundreds of others offer themselves, ready to sacrifice," Zawahiri said in praise of the revolution's fallen.

Al-Qaida has traditionally rejected the Muslim Brotherhood's approach of removing un-Islamic regimes through civil activity and elections, so the salute to the MB's martyrs may show a warming of ties toward either the Islamist groups or protesters in general. Such a warming would be consistent with Zawahiri's first statement as al-Qaida's leader, where he pledged, "we offer our hands and open our hearts to cooperate with everyone working on supporting Islam in the Islamic groups and organizations and outside of them" – even those that are not Jihadist groups.

Staples of al-Qaida's ideology were also part of Zawahiri's exhortation to Syrian protesters. "Say to him [Assad]: In fact it is you who is the leader of the gang of criminals… the partner of America in the war against Islam, which they call the 'war on terror,' and the guardian of the Israeli borders," Zawahiri stated, reinforcing the American "war on Islam" narrative.

As part of his praise of Syrian resistance, Zawahiri sounded an optimistic note that protesters had supposedly not been impressed by American sanctions. "I believe you not to have been fooled by the plots of the global hegemony and the ruses of the new Crusades," he added. "America, who worked with Bashar al-Assad throughout his tenure, now claims to be on your side, after it has seen the earth overcome with the tremors of your anger and after its plans were foiled in Tunisia and Egypt by the loss of two of their most important agents!" The United States has had sanctions on Syria since 2004 and has increased them in recent months.

Zawahiri also accused Washington of trying to take control of the revolution to protect Israel, a country which is universally unpopular in Syrian society. "Washington today seeks to replace Assad, who sincerely guarded the borders of the Zionist entity, with another regime which will end your uprising and Jihad, a government which will grant the Ummah some of their rights, but in essence will still be obedient to America and will safeguard the interests of Israel," he said.

Syrians have a responsibility to rise up and shout out to America about its hypocrisy, al-Qaida's new leader said.

"Tell America and Obama that you are the children of great conquerors, the progeny of Mujahideen… Tell them you are waging a war of liberation and freedom – liberation from the corrupt idolic tyrants and liberation for the Muslim lands.

"Tell them that your blessed anger and awesome uprising will never settle, Allah willing, until you raise the victorious flag of Jihad over Mount Scopus in our beloved and usurped land of Jerusalem," he stated, focusing on a target that had been a part of Israel since its founding.

One of the obvious gaps in al-Qaida's propaganda is its lack of a physical presence in Syria. Zawahiri addressed this by claiming that his fighters were busy fighting against the "new crusades," and that they were held back by "borders and restrictions penned by Sykes and Picot, then sanctified by our [Arab] rulers." However, he consoled Syrian Islamists by saying that Syria is "the land of Islam and martyrdom" and it "has enough mujahideen for themselves as well as others."

If al-Qaida has its way, Syrian efforts to topple Assad will open a new battlefront with America and Israel. "May Allah reward you with the best of rewards, on behalf of Islam and the Muslims," Zawahiri concluded. "May the Majestic reward you, O sons of Damascus, the Glory of the East begins with Damascus!"

IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3116/zawahiri-co-opting-syria-revolution

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Islamic Political Takeover of America


by Daniel Greenfield

American presidents have traditionally been the governors and the senators of key states. The rise of sizable politically active Muslim populations in those states positions Islamic groups to exert a strong and disproportionate influence on national politics. A governor or senator who seeks out Muslim support to get elected at a state level will form alliances that he will carry forward with him into the White House.

Basic diversity and multiculturalism means that state officials in key states are forming ties with Islamic associations that serve as front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood or other organizations that are equally antithetical to the long term survival of the United States. Through a few meetings, the Brotherhood is gaining a lever that it can use to move presidents.

Virginia once produced more presidents than any other state. Now with a Muslim population as high as a third of a million it’s known for mosque controversies and terrorist training camps. Ohio produced nearly as many presidents, from the ranks of former governors Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley. But former Ohio governor Ted Strickland spoke at a CAIR banquet and pandered to Muslim abuses in the Rifqa Bary case. Like California, Texas and New Jersey—Virginia and Ohio now rank among the top ten Muslim populated states in the country.

California hosts the largest Muslim population in the country. After Rick Perry signed his agreement with the Aga Khan, Schwarzenegger followed suit. Texas hosts the eight largest Muslim population in the country. Both states have been incubators of presidents.

Urban representation is another factor. Muslim populations are still negligible even in the top ten states, but they are often clustered in urban areas. Muslims made up 10 percent of the population of Washington D.C. in 2000. The numbers are probably higher today. A few miles away from the White House, cutting across Constitution Avenue and over Kingman Lake, lies the Masjid Al-Islam where Imam Abdul Alim-Musa promises an Islamic State of North America by 2050.

In January 2001, Musa said, “If you were to say that the Soviet Union was wiped off the face of the Earth . . . people would have thought you were crazy, right? … We saw the fall of one so-called superpower, Old Sam is next.”

Of course most people still think that’s ridiculous. They might change their mind when it’s not 10 percent, but 25 percent or 50 percent.

Americans shake their heads at the situation in France or the United Kingdom– but our own nation’s capital has a higher Muslim population percentage than Paris or London. We are nowhere near Stockholm, Amsterdam or Brussels. But Washington D.C.’s population decline since the 70′s puts it in a similar category to cities such as Detroit. It’s not inconceivable that within a decade the nation’s capital would be far more Muslim than it is today.

Former industrial and manufacturing cities left behind by the collapse of American industry are prime targets. Detroit and Dearborn are prominent examples with cheap real estate and a declining population that makes it all too easy for Muslims to get a foothold.

Amid the Rust Belt, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois the nucleus of a slowly emerging Muslim mini-state is forming. The pattern repeats itself across the ocean in the European Rust Belt, where it’s Roubaix in France or the Rust Belt of Northern England, in cities such as Manchester.

Rust Belt cities are prime targets for takeover. Low on capital, desperate for revival, struggling with falling populations and dumpster real estate prices. Immigrants bringing with them capital and cheap labor in the form of their own relatives can easily move up the ladder and eventually make these cities their own. It’s a familiar narrative with ominous overtones.

There’s a saying that the door to the White House runs through the Rust Belt. The contestable nature of the Rust Belt makes residents a bigger target since they can be won over. That means that a great deal of disproportionate influence in national elections can be picked up at cut rate prices.

But many of the footholds are in more mainstream American cities. Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. There are six figure Muslim populations in San Diego and Los Angeles. Houston and Dallas between them form another six figure population. These numbers are not that significant in the context of California and Texas’ huge populations, but they become more significant the closer we zoom in.

A voter in a major city has access that a voter elsewhere does not. Foreign businessmen willing to spread money around are always welcome in the midst of urban blight. And no one will look too closely at where that money is going or what it’s buying.

A voter in a battleground area is worth ten or a hundred voters anywhere else. An organization that can claim to reach a thousand or ten thousand voters is worth its weight in gold. A national organization that can give a politician access to a hundred thousand voters in three states is going to be in demand.

Like a game of chess, it’s not just about the number and strength of your pieces– it’s about their disposition. A pawn in the right place can be worth both your bishops. And a community in the right place can be positioned to checkmate any candidate who doesn’t come knocking on its door.

The long term implications are troubling because they take us beyond mere numbers. Immigration is expanding the Muslim population in the United States dramatically year by year, but it also prevents the kind of demographic Jihad that is bringing Europe to its knees. It takes a subtler long game to win the war on America.

If Europe’s No Go Zones resemble checkers, the American version resembles a game of chess that is less concerned with carving out Islambergs (an all-Muslim town in upstate New York) and more invested in building networks of power which can be used to control politicians, states and eventually the nation.

Daniel Greenfield

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/08/19/the-islamic-political-takeover-of-america/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Global Jihad Strikes Southern Israel


by P. David Hornik

Southern Israel erupted in terror attacks on Thursday. In a major escalation, about twenty jihadists who had apparently originated in Gaza crossed into Israel through Sinai and carried out several hits.

It started at about noon with a shooting attack on a civilian bus. A half-hour later explosives were detonated against an army patrol. Not long after there were attacks on public and private vehicles with guns, a mortar shell, and an antitank missile. All in all six civilians, a soldier, and a police officer were killed and about 25 people wounded. Two more soldiers were injured in hostilities closer to evening.

Reports say the Israeli defense establishment had intelligence information on such an attack, but expected it to happen at night—not brazenly in broad daylight. It was also expected that the direct perpetrators, the Al Qaeda- and Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees of Gaza, would attempt to kidnap a soldier; security forces, in fighting back and killing several of the terrorists, apparently prevented that outcome. It was the PRC that kidnapped the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held in Gaza to this day, at the Israel-Gaza border over five years ago.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a short, terse press briefing, said that “If there is anyone who thinks Israel will accept this they are wrong…. Israel will exact a heavy price from terror chiefs.” A short time earlier the Israeli air force had killed the PRC’s chief Qud al-Nirab, as well as the organization’s military commander and four others, with a strike on a building in Gaza. It seemed doubtful that this was all Netanyahu had in mind; and early Friday morning Israeli planes hit terror targets in Gaza while terrorists kept lobbing rockets at Israeli civilian targets.

Some major implications of these events include:

The role of Egypt: Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak stressed the fact that “the Egyptian grip is loosening and this is the reason for this attack….” It is no secret that, since the fall of the Mubarak regime, Sinai has descended into anarchy. This has involved reported infiltrations by global terror and rampant smuggling by Bedouins of Iranian weapons into Gaza.

Israeli media outlets quoted Egyptian officials denying any Egyptian involvement in Thursday’s attacks. It was also reported that Egyptian soldiers firing from across the Sinai border had killed at least two of the terrorists. Even if so, the fact remains that the terrorist squad—disguised, according to some Israeli eyewitnesses, as Egyptian soldiers themselves—managed to cross through Sinai to Israel. If not collusion, this at best bespeaks chaos.

In weighing whether to launch a substantial operation against Hamas, the PRC, and other groups in the steadily-strengthening hothouse of terror known as Gaza, Jerusalem is aware that the Mubarak era is over; how Egypt would respond is unclear. But Israel has to take into account that the situation in Egypt can still get a lot worse, especially if the Islamists attain greater power or even eventually take over. Seemingly the time to act against Gaza is now, or soon; before it turns much more difficult and risky.

Israel’s national priorities: Up until Thursday, the security situation in Israel had been relatively quiet for a time (the emphasis is on “relatively,” as dozens of rocket firings from Gaza continued in this period). This “vacuum” was recently filled by a wave of “social protests” in the Israeli streets over high housing and other prices. While the Israeli economy indeed has certain structural problems, the protests were largely driven and manipulated by the extreme left, and populist if not outright inane in nature.

Not surprisingly, one frequent demand of the leftists and populists had been to cut the Israeli defense budget and use the resources instead for allegedly worthier purposes. After Thursday’s events, these voices are certain to pipe down. With global-jihad forces entrenching themselves in Gaza and Sinai, and the peace with Egypt—always pragmatic and skin-deep at best—seriously in question as Islamist and extreme-nationalist factions gain strength there, “cutting defense” is the last thing Israel should be doing. Instead it should be preparing for a possible multifront war that could include the Egyptian front.

And speaking of military expenses, on Thursday night Gaza fired a number of Grad rockets at the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, and Israel’s new Iron Dome antimissile system successfully intercepted several of them. The cost of each interception, though, of the much-less-expensive rockets comes to $100,000. It is not going to be easy in the Middle East, and Israel does not need inane voices in its streets demanding a European-style welfare state.

The Palestinians’ UN statehood push. In about a month the Palestinian Authority is expected to ask the UN to recognize it as an independent state. That is, an entity including the Fatah-run West Bank as well as Hamas-run Gaza.

Apart from the fact that the West Bank Palestinian Authority is ultimately no less extreme in its anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic ideology than Hamas’s Gaza, the PA has actually been striving (albeit with difficulty) over the past few months to form a unified regime with Hamas. But even if the PA were pure as the driven snow, it is remarkable that an entity that includes the explicitly-jihadist terror haven of Gaza is suing for a major international upgrade of its status—and will undoubtedly attain it, at least in the General Assembly.

And while the U.S. is expected to veto the PA’s attempt in the Security Council, the administration is clearly unhappy at the prospect and was recently reported to be using it to squeeze concessions out of Israel. As for most of the other democracies, Israel has been waging an intensive diplomatic struggle to get as many of them as possible to vote against the PA statehood bid, or at least abstain. Getting across to people what Palestinian empowerment really means has never been easy. Thursday’s events won’t turn the tide either.

P. David Hornik

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/08/19/global-jihad-strikes-southern-israel/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

American Muslims vs. the Cultural Imperialists


by Manda Zand Ervin

One of the most politically toxic issues of our time is called Islam in the West, and Khomeinist Political Islam by the people of Iran.

What was supposed to be another Abrahamic religion has become an apparatus for global blackmail; and it is being emboldened by power grabbers sitting atop the World of Islam's Ivory Tower, and fanned by the Western ideologues and the uninformed mainstream media.

There have always been those who have made a good living out of chaos and mayhem; but the antidote to these people should be support for the sane victims, not the insane aggressors.

While the silent majority of the American Muslims are going to work every day, paying their taxes, sending their children to school and saving for their college, they still have to worry about what the Islamists are going to come up with next, to yet again upset their lives -- and worse, how the Islamists will be appeased by some politicians and the mainstream media.

Organizations such as the Council of American Islamic Relations [CAIR], or Islamic Society of North America [ISNA], who represent the Islamists, are created not by the American Muslims but by the foreign petrodollars -- with the mission to use some of the more vulnerable young American Muslims as a tool for intimidation, to shift the American culture from within, through double talk and guilt, by presenting themselves as victimized Muslim Americans.

Islamist cultures have shamefully failed their citizens. There is an epidemic of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance in almost every Muslim country, even among the petro-rich such as Iran, which according to the IMF report, had 0% economic growth in 2010. Sadly, itt seems that the same people who failed us in the old country are following us to the new country here in America.

American Islamist organizations are anti-freedom, anti-democratic and anti-America. They have no respect for human rights and dignity. They are by no means accepted by any of the diverse American Muslim communities; these simply want to be allowed to live their lives. Yet these Islamist organizations have succeeded in becoming a political Mecca for the American ideologues and the mainstream media.

The Breivik massacre in Norway was an example of how the mainstream media is ready to attack the alleged perpetrator who is a Christian -- but a Muslim terrorist gets a pass; according to the white European American mainstream Media and politicians, Muslims are not to be held on the same standards of civic behavior as everyone else: Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, and others, Muslims could have a lower intelligence or a different culture and so should be treated under different standards of ethics, accountability, law, social rules and etiquette. Muslims, it seems, should be kept under their protection, like children. According to people such as Senator John Kerry, we American Muslims are incapable and devoid of the same capabilities and knowledge that White European Americans have

These are the people we call "cultural imperialists." Black politicians are allowed to get away with crimes that no white American politician would ever. Be allowed to get away with. Cultural imperialism is when the Bell Curve is the applied standard, and in which ethnic norms are held higher for one group only, and everyone else is assumed to be under a lower, less-worthy yardstick and is treated as such. Cultural imperialism is not only discrimination, but in its even-if-well-intended condescension, worse than discrimination.

Perhaps the ideologues in politics and in the international media should decide whether they want to respect us, or continue to treat us like children or the insane -- the same way Sharia law does.

Manda Zand Ervin

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2366/american-muslims-cultural-imperialists

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

US and EU Funding Palestinian Repression


by Khaled Abu Toameh

It is time that international donors demanded that the Palestinian Authority stop using American and EU taxpayers' money to clamp down on journalists and political activists. Otherwise, the world could witness next month the creation of yet another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East.

The Western-funded Palestinian Authority has decided to ban a Palestinian satirical show on the grounds that it offended some Palestinians and ridiculed others.

If the Palestinian Authority cannot tolerate any form of criticism from its loyalists, how can anyone expect it to respect the views of political opponents and rivals?

Many Palestinians see the ban as part of the Palestinian Authority's continued assault on freedom of expression. They say that the move shows that the Palestinian leadership is not only lacking a sense of humor, but is continuing to emerge as another Arab dictatorship at a time when Arab masses are demanding regime change.

Palestinian journalists, political activists and human rights workers have all been targeted at one point or another by Palestinian policemen, all trained and funded by Americans and Europeans.

Western journalists and human rights organizations often tend to turn a blind eye to human rights violations by the Palestinian government. As far as many of them are concerned, a story that does not have an anti-Israel angel is not fit for print.

Failure to deal with such practices has only encouraged the Palestinian Authority to step up its offensive against actors, political critics, journalists and other activists.

The most recent victim was Majdoleen Hassouneh, a female journalist from Nablus, who was forced to go into hiding after being threatened and harassed by the Palestinian Preventative Security Force. Her crime: she had reported and photographed a demonstration staged by families of Palestinians held in Palestinian Authority prisons.

Because of her refusal to heed a summons for interrogation, the Palestinian police have arrested her two brothers as a way of pressuring her to hand herself in. Her plight, as well as the crackdown on freedom of expression and media, has received almost no attention in the West.

The decision to ban the popular satirical show Watan ala Watar [Homeland on a String] would not have been taken had the Palestinian Authority known that the move would draw strong condemnations from the international community and those who call themselves pro-Palestinian on university campuses around the world.

The show was taken off the air for allegedly ridiculing Palestinian physicians, policemen and government employees. The show was being aired on Palestine TV, which reports directly to Mahmoud Abbas's office.

Of course Palestine TV is controlled by Abbas loyalists and those behind the satirical show are known as supporters of the Palestinian Authority. Still, this did not help Palestine TV and the producers of the controversial show.

Not surprisingly, some Palestinians resort to the Israeli media to express their opinions because they know that in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip there still is no free media. They also see how some Palestinians who dare to criticize Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are being targeted by various branches of the Palestinian security services.

It is sad that nearly two decades after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians are still lacking a free media and many are afraid to express their views in public.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2362/us-eu-funding-palestinian-repression

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Israel Hit by Multiple Terrorist Attacks


by Rick Moran

Three separate terrorist attacks along the border with Egypt has killed at least 5 Israelis and wounded as many as 25.

Terrorists attacked a bus near Eliat with an RPG and detonated bombs near some IDF vehicles. There were also reports of another attack on a bus and vehicle.

Special forces engaged the terrorists killing at least 7. YNet News:

Heavy security forces presence is noted in the area, as a massive manhunt involving IDF ground forces and aircrafts is currently taking place. IDF forces reported three terrorists have been killed. It is unclear at this time if they were the only ones involved.

The Eilat Police have ordered emergency deployment in the area, and a situation room has been set up at the Yoseftal Hospital, which has declared a mass casualty event.

According to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, soldiers were among the wounded in these incidents. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino are en route to GOC Southern Command, where they will confer with Southern Command Chief Major-General Tal Russo.

All of the roads leading to Eilat have been closed, as was the Ovda Airfield. Eilat's airport has been placed on alert.

J-Post reports some mortar fire from Egypt. The Egyptian government denies any connection to the attacks, but Defense Minister Barak claims the terrorists inflitrated from Gaza.

As Rich Baehr notes, "These types of attacks in southern Israel never occurred while Mubarak controlled things. This is only the beginning; the bloody prelude to UN action in September."

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/israel_hit_by_multiple_terrorist_attacks.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Which Model for Postwar Iraq -- Vietnam or Korea?


by Jim Guirard

At the time of America's founding, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a lady at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, "What have you given us, Doctor Franklin?" -- to which the wise old gentleman responded, "Madam, we have given you a republic -- if you can keep it."

If you can keep it -- that was the central challenge facing the infant American "democracy" back then. And it remains still the central question facing the infant Iraqi "democracy" struggling to steady itself at America's instigation in the Middle East.

Now that the "Iraq War" (actually the Iraq Theatre of the Global War on Terrorism) is drawing toward a major defeat for the al-Qaeda-style Sunni terrorists, the question is whether we -- America and the West -- will take all necessary steps to protect Iraq not only from its revengeful AQ enemies, but also from its even more deadly Hizballah and Revolutionary Guard enemies in neighboring Shi'a Iran.

Or will we leave Iraq vulnerable to a partial-birth abortion by the ruthless caliphate-centered Islamo-fascists and suicide mass murderers -- whether Sunnni or Shia from -- Iran, who still wish and scheme night and day to colonize and to enslave it?

Which Cold War Model to Follow

At this point, there are two Cold War models from which to choose in what has now become Cold War II -- the still-successful South Korea model of the 1950s or the tragic, congressionally mandated cut-and-run South Vietnam model of the 1970s.

(a) In the former, we and our Coalition of democracies forced the Stalinist North Koreans to "get the Hell out" and, in keeping with the 1953 Panmunjam Peace Accords, promise never to return. And, indeed, they have not. This is because we most prudently left a powerful military contingent behind to enforce that hard-won victory -- who, half a century later, are still there in that essential role. Result: a peaceful, prosperous, free-enterprise, multi-party democracy, and a valued Asian ally.

(b) In the latter case, we and our coalition of democracies subdued the Viet Cong insurgents, forcing the Communist North Vietnamese exurgents to "get the Hell out" and, in keeping with the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, promise (sort of) never to return. But we then most imprudently (at the absolute insistence of a rabidly antiwar Democrat-run Congress) left no military forces behind to enforce that hard-won victory over Soviet-backed North Vietnam.

Immediate result: a second Vietnam War two years later and a Communist victory in late April of 1975 -- followed by a virtual avalanche of colonial "dominoes" for Communism during the Carter-Mondale years. Eventual result: a still-in-place single-party Communist dictatorship -- benign and slightly "reformist" at the moment, but who knows whether that will forever be the case?

Fast-Forward to Here and Now

Fast-forward to the current situation in Iraq and the "victory" we have won over the Pakistan-based AQ-style evildoers and assorted other "foreign fighters" -- and we will now have to choose between these two very different models...

o the Truman-Eisenhower-JFK-Nixon-Reagan-Bush-McCain "stay the course" and "confirm the victory" and "protect and rear the child" model of Korea, or

o the Carter-McGovern-Kerry-Ted Kennedy-Pelosi-Obama "cut-and-run" and "no more wars ever" and "abandon this troublesome little so-called democracy" model of Vietnam.

In the U.S. Senate, the antiwar and neo-"AWOL" (Always Weak On Liberty) Democrats, led now by John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, et al., will be downplaying any notion of a Bush-Petraeus-McCain long-term presence in Iraq -- and will sooner or later be slipping into the defeatist model of Vietnam and trying to blame Bush and Cheney for anything negative that ever happens there hereafter.

In the House, a similar gaggle of cut-and-run and "ACE" (Aid and Comfort to the Enemy) peaceniks will be led by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and what remains of her fellow far-left, blame-America-first "progressives" following last year's congressional elections.

It becomes vital, therefore, that the true history of both Vietnam Wars and their Cold-War consequences be clearly understood -- so that none of today's highly partisan politicians, media commentators, and left-illiberal interest groups can scam the American public with a variety of false "lessons" of those two long-ago conflicts.

Ignoring History at Our Peril

In this case, a prime example of such deceit and distortion of history is repeated each year when we fail to memorialize the late January 1973 end of the Vietnam War -- or, more correctly, the end of "Vietnam One." That was the twelve-year war which began in the Kennedy-Johnson year of 1961 and was fought largely by U.S. combat forces. This war officially ended with the Paris Peace Accords of January 1973.

Sadly, in January of this year (typical of other recent years), not one historically correct news article or lead editorial about the end of Vietnam One appeared on that anniversary date in any major U.S. newspaper. Nor was there any detailed mention by any network "talking head" or commentator of the historical truth of a defeated North Vietnam's exodus from the South.

Four months later, however, we witnessed another anniversary date, this one widely recognized: the end of "Vietnam Two," which (a) began in early January 1975, (b) involved no U.S. combat forces at all, and (c) came to a tragic end just four months after Vietnam One on April 30, 1975.

That was when South Vietnam's capital city of Saigon fell to rampaging Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese armies -- and when televised pictures of helicopters rescuing American diplomatic personnel, Marine guards, and friendly South Vietnamese from the U.S. Embassy roof were first burned into our memories.

The deceitful tactic was and remains clear. Propagandize a first-ever "Defeat of America" when, in fact, victorious American forces had departed South Vietnam more than two years earlier -- all of which is explained in this writer's earlier truth in history article, "The Two Vietnam Wars," available here at the American Thinker and at TruthSpeak.org.

And the tactic may well work again if the Maliki-led government of Iraq, the U.S. Congress, and the American president do not take care to protect and preserve by whatever means necessary -- as America so unwisely failed to do in Vietnam 38 years ago -- the stability of the newborn and still fragile Iraqi "democracy" now struggling to survive and prosper.

With only five months of our Bush-era "peacekeeping" Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) left to run, and with the current Maliki-led government in Baghdad still undecided -- under extreme anti-American pressure from Islamofascist Iran -- as to whether we should be invited to retain a tripwire anti-Iran military presence beyond the end of this year, it would seem prudent for that government to follow the theme of an Arabic-language slogan recommended to senior Defense Department officials in recent days by this writer, as follows:

Akriju Amrikan ...Wa Laquina Laisa Al'An. (Go home, Americans...but not quite yet!)

Jim Guirard is a D.C.-area attorney, writer, and national security strategist,

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/which_model_for_postwar_iraq_vietnam_or_korea.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Female Genital Mutilation "An Obligation" According to Iraqi Muslim Cleric


by Irfan Al-Alawi

In June, the parliament of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) adopted a ban on domestic violence, including female genital mutilation (FGM), a "procedure" that is widespread among Iraqi Kurds. The law will come into effect once it is signed by KRG president Mesud Barzani, who represents the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

But a local cleric, Ismail Sussai, in the major Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil, has delivered a televised sermon in which he described FGM as "obligatory," called on fathers to kill themselves, on pain of losing their "honor," if they are legally prevented from abusing their daughters for using mobile phones; and he defended the beating of wives and children.

The Kurdish cleric was particularly offended by use of mobile phones among girls, as well as by suggestions that the beating of women and children should be legislatively curbed, along with the FGM that was inflicted on the mothers and grandmothers of present-day Iraqi Kurdish leaders, and is still suffered by a majority of Kurdish girls.

He went on to threaten political opposition to the KRG if Barzani signs the law against domestic violence and FGM.

Sussai's diatribe included the claim that sanctions against FGM were forced on the Iraqi Kurds by a conference of "Jews" in the Chinese capital of Beijing -- a bizarre charge that is apparently based in the condemnation of FGM by the Fourth World Conference on Women hosted by the United Nations in Beijing in 1995.

Sussai based his argument for FGM on support for it by the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence, one of four Sunni schools. While Shafi'i legalists have declared FGM obligatory, its imposition on girls has not been uniform. Shafi'i jurisprudence is widely adhered to in Muslim communities in East Africa, as well as in Egypt and Indonesia, with additional enclaves of support in the other Arab lands, the Indian ocean, and Southeast Asia. But FGM is rare in large areas of the Muslim geographical region that recognizes Shafi'i religious law.

FGM is a pre-Islamic practice that appears to have been assimilated into Shafi'i jurisprudence through adoption of local customs. It is more common among Black Africans of differing religious affiliation, as well as Arabs in diverse areas of Saudi Arabia and its neighbours, including Egypt. Immigrants from both parts of the globe have introduced FGM into Europe and the U.S., where it is banned. Parents who insist on it may send their daughters back to their homelands for infliction of FGM, but in doing so violate the law.

Along with many Western countries, Indonesia and Egypt have prohibited FGM, although some extremist clerics in both countries emphasize their support for it in the style of the Kurdish Ismail Sussai.

FGM is unknown in the Muslim Balkans, rare in Turkey and Central Asia, and absent from India and Bangladesh. The custom is controversial and despised by most of the Islamic global community. Even the radical cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is influential in Egypt, has averred that while he supports the practice in a "moderate" Islamic way "indicated" in some of the hadiths (oral commentaries) of Prophet Muhammad, "such hadiths are not confirmed to be authentic."

Muslims should work to end FGM, so-called "honour" murders, beatings, and other abuses imposed on women and children under cover of religion. With all its many problems, the intentions of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which has a secular history, and of the Kurdistan Regional Government, are correct in banning these practices.

President Barzani should sign and enforce the law against domestic violence, including its anti-FGM components, and disregard the retrograde harangues of extremist clerics like Ismail Sussai.

But members of the Shafi'i school and non-Shafi'i Muslim clerics must also recognize a duty to unambiguously repudiate "Islamic" pretexts for FGM and other family crimes.

Irfan Al-Alawi

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2360/female-genital-mutilation-iraq

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Islam Overtaking Catholicism in France


by Soeren Kern

Islamic mosques are being built more often in France than Roman Catholic churches, and there now are more practising Muslims in the country than practising Catholics.

Nearly 150 new mosques currently are under construction in France, home to the biggest Muslim community in Europe. The mosque-building projects are at various stages of completion, according to Mohammed Moussaoui, the president of the Muslim Council of France (CFCM), who provided the data in an August 2 interview with the French radio station RTL.

The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report "Constructing Mosques: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands." France's most prominent Muslim leader, Dalil Boubakeur, who is rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, recently called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again – to 4,000 – to meet growing demand.

By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church in France has built only 20 new churches during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.

Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France's 65 million inhabitants) identifies itself as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of those actually are practising Catholics, according to the French Institute of Public Opinion (or Ifop, as it is usually called).

By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million) of the estimated 6 million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France identify themselves as "believers" and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are "practising" Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop on August 1. The report also says that more than 70% of the Muslims in France say they will be observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2011.

Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.

As their numbers grow, Muslims in France are becoming far more assertive than ever before. A case in point: Muslim groups in France are now asking the Roman Catholic Church for permission to use its empty churches as a way to solve the traffic problems caused by thousands of Muslims who pray in the streets.

In a March 11 communiqué addressed to the Church of France, the National Federation of the Great Mosque of Paris, the Council of Democratic Muslims of France and a Muslim activist group called Collectif Banlieues Respect called on the Catholic Church – in a spirit of inter-religious solidarity, of course – to make its empty churches available to Muslims for Friday prayers, so that Muslims do not have to "pray in the streets" and be "held hostage to politics."

Every Friday, thousands of Muslims in Paris and other French cities close off streets and sidewalks (and by extension, close down local businesses and trap non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices) to accommodate overflowing crowds for midday prayers. Some mosques have also begun broadcasting sermons and chants of "Allah Akbar" via loudspeakers in the streets.

The weekly spectacles, which have been documented by dozens of videos posted on Youtube.com (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), have provoked anger and disbelief. But despite many public complaints, local authorities have declined to intervene because they are afraid of sparking riots.

The issue of illegal street prayers was catapulted to the top of the national political agenda in France in December 2010, when Marine Le Pen, the charismatic new leader of the far-right National Front party, denounced them as an "occupation without tanks or soldiers."

During a gathering in the east central French city of Lyon on December 10, Le Pen compared Muslims praying in the streets to Nazi occupation. She said: "For those who want to talk a lot about World War II, if it is about occupation, then we could also talk about it [Muslim prayers in the streets], because that is occupation of territory. It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of districts in which religious laws apply. It is an occupation. There are of course no tanks, there are no soldiers but it is nevertheless an occupation and it weighs heavily on local residents."

Many French voters agree. In fact, the issue of Muslim street prayers – and the broader question of the role of Islam in French society – has become a major issue ahead of the 2012 presidential elections. According to a survey by Ifop for the France-Soir newspaper, nearly 40% of French voters agree with Len Pen's views that Muslim prayer in the streets resembles an occupation. Another opinion poll published by Le Parisien newspaper shows that voters view Le Pen, who has criss-crossed the country arguing that France has been invaded by Muslims and betrayed by its elite, as the candidate best suited to deal with the growing problem of runaway Muslim immigration.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose popularity was at 25% in July – worse than any predecessor less than a year ahead of a re-election bid, according to the TNS-Sofres polling group – has been spooked by Le Pen's advance in the opinion polls. He now seems determined not to allow Le Pen to monopolize the issue of Islam in France.

Sarkozy recently called Muslim prayers in the street "unacceptable" and said that the street cannot be allowed to become "an extension of the mosque." He also warned that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.

Interior Minister Claude Guéant on August 8 told Muslims who have been praying on the streets of Paris that they should utilize a disused barracks instead. "Praying in the street is something that is not acceptable," Guéant said. "It has to stop."

Meanwhile, France ushered in Ramadan by inaugurating a new mega-mosque for 2,000 worshipers in Strasbourg, where the Muslim population has reached 15%. Construction also continues apace of a new mega-mosque in Marseille, France's second-largest city where the Muslim population has reached 25% (or 250,000). The Grand Mosque – which at more than 8,300 square meters (92,000 square feet) will accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers in a vast prayer hall – is designed to be the biggest and most potent symbol of Islam's place in modern France.

Boubakeur, of the Grande Mosque of Paris, says the construction of even more mosques – paid for by French taxpayers – would ease the "pressure, frustration and the sense of injustice" felt by many French Muslims. "Open a mosque and you close a prison," says Boubakeur.

But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has implied that the construction of mosques and minarets actually is part of a strategy for the Islamization of Europe. Publicly repeating the words of a 1912 poem written by the Turkish nationalist poet Ziya Gökalp, Erdogan said: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers."

Reflecting on the retreat of Catholicism and the rise of Islam in France, Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini, an Italian Franciscan who heads the Izmir archdiocese in Turkey, and who has lived in the Islamic world for more than 40 years, has recounted a conversation he once had with a Muslim leader, who told him: "Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you. Thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you."

Soeren Kern

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2355/france-islam-overtaking-catholicism

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Justice Demands that Pollard's Sentence Be Commuted To Time Served


by Alan M. Dershowitz

There are several reasons why justice demands that Jonathan Pollard's sentence be commuted to time served and that he be immediately released.

The first is a legal and constitutional argument. Pollard waived his right to trial by jury in exchange for a promise by the government that it would not seek life imprisonment. The government broke that promise. It submitted a perjured affidavit by then Secretary of Defense Weinberger demanding life imprisonment and overstating the damage that Pollard had caused. This was a direct breach of the plea bargain. Unfortunately Pollard's appeal was argued to a panel that included two Jewish judges, at least one of whom aspired to the Supreme Court. The two of them wrote a scandalously inept opinion affirming the sentence, while the third, non-Jewish, judge declared it to be a gross violation of due process and basic fairness. The non-Jewish judge, who had no fear of being accused of dual loyalty, was correct. The two Jewish judges were dead wrong.

I know of no other case in American jurisprudence in which a plea bargain has been so blatantly violated and the violation approved by an appellate court. The legal remedy is enforce the plea bargain as written and impose the sentence that the government promised it would seek. If Pollard had served that sentence, he would be free by now.

Even if the law did not require Pollard's immediate release, principles of fairness and equal justice surely would. The typical sentence imposed on an American who spies for an ally of the United States is in single digits. Such sentences have been imposed on Americans who spies for Egypt and other countries that are American allies. There is no reason in justice or fairness for Pollard to have received the double digit sentence for spying for Israel. The prosecutor in this case tried to justify this sentencing disparity by arguing that since so many Americans support Israel, the need for deterrence is greater. This is an unacceptable double standard.

Finally, there are the humanitarian considerations. Pollard has served longer than any American convicted of spying for an American ally. He is very sick having undergone several surgeries. He will die in prison unless his sentence is commuted.

Why, it might be asked, is he still in prison? The answer is that two groups of people have worked hard to keep him in prison. The first is the intelligence community, led by former CIA Director George Tenet. President Clinton was apparently prepared to release Pollard toward the end of his term when Tenet, former head of the CIA, threatened to quit. This threat violated the law, which expressly prohibits a CIA Director from making policy. Tenet's illegal threat made policy and kept Pollard in prison.

The other group that worked hard to keep Pollard in prison was a group of Jewish senators who wrote to President Clinton insisting that Pollard's sentence not be shortened. President Clinton personally told me that this letter from influential Jewish senators affected his decision. Now even several of these senators are calling for Pollard's release.

Pollard's continued imprisonment, in violation of law, equality, justice and compassion, is a stain on America. This stain can be removed if President Obama commutes Pollard's sentence to time served. A commutation is different than a pardon. A pardon erases the conviction, whereas a commutation simply reduces the sentence, without in any way suggesting that the defendant was not guilty of a serious crime. Pollard has admitted his guilt, not once but several times. The first time was when he pleaded and was sentenced. More recently he has apologized, as has the Israeli government. By pleading guilty and cooperating with the investigation, Pollard spared the government the embarrassment and difficulties inherent in a spy trial. Had he not confessed his guilt, it is unlikely he would have been convicted of the most serious charge of spying, since the only direct evidence outside of his confession was the fact that he had unauthorized possession of classified material.

For helping the government in this way, he was promised that he would not have to spend the rest of his life in prison. But now he is likely to die in prison, a broken and sick man, unless President Obama does the right thing. The time has come, indeed it is long overdue, for Jonathan Pollard to receive proportional justice.

This article originally appeared in Newsmax.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2364/justice-demands-pollard-sentence-commuted

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Syria Guns Down Palestinians


by Joseph Klein

Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said earlier this week that it is “the duty of all Muslims to help stabilise Syria against the destructive plots of America and Israel.” He is echoing the opinion of Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatolla Khamenei, who considers himself to be the representative of Allah on earth and the deputy of the last Islamic messiah, Imam Mahdi. Khamenei declared last spring that the protesters in Syria were “God’s enemies.”

The thugs running Iran have carried out their “Muslim duty” by intervening on the side of their Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, against “God’s enemies.” They have deployed snipers in Syria, for example, to support Assad’s brutal crackdown against protesters, according to a former member of the regime’s secret police. They have sent Assad’s regime arms, riot control equipment, intelligence monitoring technical support, oil and personnel assistance from the Iranian Republican Guard. Khamenei is also reported to have ordered the transfer of $9 billion in unconditional aid to prop up Assad’s regime.

In addition, Iran agreed to fund a new multimillion-dollar military base at Latakia airport on the Syrian coast. As reported by the Telegraph:

Teams of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers are to be stationed at Latakia on a permanent basis where they will co-ordinate the arms shipments with officials from Syria’s Mukhabarat intelligence service.

The arms are said to include machine guns, rockets and medium-range missiles.

Now it turns out that the Iranian regime, which professes to be the Palestinians’ biggest supporter, has been helping a dictator who is not only brutalizing his own citizens, but also the Palestinian refugees living in Syria in a camp not too far from where the new Iranian-funded military base will be located.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a Palestinian refugee camp near Latakia had been shelled from the sea. Several people were killed and thousands of Palestinian refugees fled or were forced to leave their living quarters. This was no accident. There was firing directly into the refugee camp. The Syrian authorities have to date refused the UN agency access to the camp where it is feared that wounded and elderly residents are stranded.

“The situation is very bad,” Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, said. “We have a handful of confirmed deaths and nearly 20 injured…There are more than 10,000 residents of the camp, and half of them left out of fear of incoming fire from the land and sea. We don’t know where they are, and we’re the ones responsible for them. We’re just desperately trying to find out where everyone is.”

The Syrian security forces have reportedly herded thousands of Syrians and Palestinian refugees into a stadium and taken away their identification cards and cell phones. Based on what Syrian forces have done in previous city stadium round-ups, executions are expected.

The Syrians have hypocritically used the United Nations to excoriate Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. So have the Iranians.

For example, in explaining its vote last November on an anti-Israeli draft resolution, the Syrian representative declared that Israel must be compelled to put “an end to violating the human rights of the Palestinian people systematically and its excessive use of force… Syria will never accept that murder triumph over justice and law.”

How ironic indeed that the Syrian authorities are now ensnaring the Palestinian refugees living in Syria in a triumph of murder and persecution over justice and law. The irony is not lost on Palestinian officials, who took a rare break from their constant denunciations of Israel to condemn the Syrian crackdown.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo called the targeting of Palestinians and Syrians “part of the crimes against humanity.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said: “We urge the Syrian authorities to stop the attack on the refugee camp immediately. It is unacceptable, we cannot accept it.”

Iran’s rulers are willing to sacrifice some Palestinian lives if it means propping up their ally Assad. They view the Syrian regime and Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist arm in Lebanon, as major instruments to help achieve their goal of destroying Israel.

Ayatolla Khamenei has been quoted by chief commander of Iran’s Basiji forces, Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, in Fars News agency, the media outlet for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, as declaring that “Zionists are now encircled by those who are willing to wage jihad for Islam.” The loss of Syria, with possible repercussions in neighboring Lebanon now controlled by Hezbollah, would be a major blow to Khamenei’s strategy.

What is the United Nations doing while the Syrian dictatorship, with the help of Iran, goes after its own citizens, and now even Palestinian refugees, in the latest bombardments of Latakia? It is busy rewarding the aggressors. The United Nations Development Programme is actually spending nearly a million dollars, part of which is paid for by American taxpayers, to partner with the Syrian government in modernizing the Latakia port – the very same location that Assad’s forces are so busy shelling.

In sum, Palestinians are being fired upon and forced out of their homes in the same Syrian port city, under bombardment by Assad’s forces, where Iran will be funding a military base and where the United Nations is funding a modernization program. Meanwhile, the Obama administration issues toothless statements condemning the Syrian government while keeping the U.S. ambassador in Damascus and keeping the money flowing to the UN.

Joseph Klein

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/08/18/syria-guns-down-palestinians/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Hezbollah Official: Destroy Israel After U.S. Leaves Iraq


by Ryan Mauro

When an enemy gives insight into his strategic thinking, it pays to listen. A Hezbollah member of Lebanon’s parliament, retired Brigadier-General Walid Sakariya, predicts that Israel will be destroyed by a “Shiite crescent” in a war with hundreds of thousands of deaths. This war, he says, can only commence once two things happen: Iraq is absorbed into Iran’s bloc after a U.S. withdrawal and the Syrian regime is saved.

Sakariya says that Iraq is blocking plans to destroy Israel by acting as a “buffer zone.” Once U.S. forces completely leave, Iraq will fall to the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis, permitting Iranian forces to march through its territory. A “Shiite crescent” is created, bringing together over 100 million people in a war against Israel, he explains. He recognizes the high cost of such a conflict, and predicts “hundreds of thousands” of “martyrs” and the use of nuclear weapons by Israel. To Sakariya, the prize of destroying Israel is worth that price. The war hasn’t started only because Iran’s bloc anticipates more permissible conditions.

However, Sakariya concedes that the plan to destroy Israel requires preserving Syria as a member of the “confrontation” bloc and adding Iraq. Iran has undoubtedly made achieving these objectives its top priority.

“If Syria, as a confrontation country, fails, America and the Zionist enterprise will be victorious,” he said.

The Iranian regime quickly dispatched the Revolutionary Guards to Syria to help the Assad regime cope with the uprising against it. Joint commander centers were built in Homs and in Damascus International Airport. Iran is spending $23 million to build a Revolutionary Guards base at an airport in Latakia by the end of 2012. It will be able to host planes that can deliver up to 40 tons of weapons each. Defected Syrian soldiers claim that Iran and Hezbollah are behind the executions of disloyal troops, and Iranian snipers are active on the ground.

Iran’s proxies are working hard to force a complete withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Iraq in order to open up the opportunities mentioned by Sakariya. In June, the number of U.S. casualties spiked to the highest monthly level since 2008. The U.S. blamed the attacks on Iran, and top officials publicly warned of reprisals. Three Iranian proxies were responsible: Kaitab Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and the Promised Day Brigade, a group that split from the Mehdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr, who is also pledging to renew his jihad if U.S. forces stay.

Moqtada al-Sadr fled to Iran when the surge began. There, he earned the title of Grand Ayatollah. The Iranians clearly want to use him to lead the Iraqi Shiites. In April, he threatened to “escalate military resistance” if U.S. forces stay past the end of the year, and one of his aides said, “We are all time bombs and detonators at the hands of Moqtada al-Sadr.” He recently declared that any non-combat U.S. soldier in Iraq will be considered a legitimate target. “Whoever stays in Iraq will be treated as an unjust invader and should be opposed with military resistance,” his online statement reads.

There are strong obstacles standing in the way of Sakariya’s vision. The Iranians are undoubtedly employing every method and every technology they can to save the Assad regime in Syria, yet the protests continue to grow. Defectors claim that many more soldiers are deserting than is being reported. One defector said that 4,000 soldiers defected in Damascus alone, and hundreds of others have been imprisoned for refusing to shoot civilians. A Syrian opposition site claims that over 22,000 soldiers, including 7,000 officers have been jailed for disobeying orders.

In Iraq, Iran has been forced to downscale its proxy warfare. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that there has been a “dramatic reduction” of Iranian-backed attacks in recent weeks because of joint U.S.-Iraqi operations. The Iraqi government seems certain to authorize an extension of the U.S. military’s stay, with the U.S. offering to keep 8,500 to 10,000 troops in the country.

The Iraqi political environment is also unfavorable to Iran. Over 40 percent of Iraqi Shiites view Iran’s influence negatively, and only 18 percent view it positively. In the last elections in March 2010, the cross-sectarian bloc led by Iyad Allawi, a pro-American, secular Shiite, came in first place. The bloc of Prime Minister al-Maliki, who authorized offensives against Iranian proxies, came in a close second. The parties most closely aligned with Iran were defeated in a landslide.

Hezbollah MP Sakariya has done the West a favor by outlining the ambitions of the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis for the region, and identifying the linchpins of its strategy. If the fall of the Assad regime and the continued presence of the U.S. military in Iraq is what the axis is fighting against, then that is exactly what we must fight for.

Ryan Mauro

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/08/18/hezbollah-official-destroy-israel-after-u-s-leaves-iraq/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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