Saturday, March 26, 2011

Politicians Warn Against PA State

by Hillel Fendel

The upcoming UN General Assembly session in September, where many countries are poised to recognize a Palestinian state, does not bode well for Israel.

Even Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who, as Prime Minister in 1998, once offered Yasser Arafat close to 98% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza for such a state, is concerned. In a speech last week, Barak said he considers this scenario a “political tsunami” against Israel. He even said that this political development will carry a strong element of de-legitimizing the State of Israel.

As opposed to an increasing number of politicians, however, his solution, was not to try to head off its formation – but only to remove its “unilateral” nature. He accused his boss, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, of not being more forthcoming in negotiations with the PA, and said Israel must express immediate willingness to discuss issues such as final borders, Jerusalem, and the settlement of Arab refugees.

Politicians Against PLO State

Many other politicians, however, are not willing to entertain the possibility of a Palestinian state at all, unilaterally or otherwise. MK Anastasia Michaeli, for instance, of the Israel Our Home party, said this week that she and her party “are doing all we can to prevent… the formation of a hostile and belligerent state in Judea and Samaria."

Also last week, coalition whip and Likud faction chairman MK Zev Elkin, visiting post-massacre Itamar, stated strongly that "there is no place for a Palestinian state, not in temporary borders and not in any other configuration."

The grassroots “Mattot Arim” organization, based in Raanana, recently urged its members to "work strongly against Israel's upcoming big military mistake, namely turning Area A into a Palestinian state."

Can Israel Override PLO Army?

The organization explained, "Even today, there is a Palestinian army in Area A. However, when this Palestinian army gets completely out of hand - for example, in 2002 when its members participated in horrendous terror attacks - the IDF simply retracts the PA army's freedom of operation, partially or completely, for a few hours or for many months. [On the other hand,] once there is a Palestinian state, the IDF will no longer be able to cast it or its army aside, temporarily or permanently, even after that state or army becomes heavily involved in terrorism."

Similarly, Arab-world expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University wrote this week that Israel has only a little time left before the General Assembly session to convince the world how dangerous a Palestinian state would be, "not only to Israel but also to its neighbors."

Conditions Not Fulfilled

Kedar wrote that though Netanyahu laid down two conditions for his acceptance of an Arab state in Judea and Samaria, neither of these two conditions appears to be materializing. They were that the PA must recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish nation, and that any future PA state must be demilitarized. “Palestinian spokesmen repeat day and night that they would not dream of recognizing the State of Israel as the Jewish national home,” Kedar wrote, and added that the recent capture of large shipments of weapons bound for Gaza show that the Arabs strongly intend to arm the PA entity “to the teeth with the longest-range, most modern weaponry.”

Ten days ago, Likud MK Yariv Levin reported to his constituents his recent efforts against the formation of a Palestinian state. Having gone on record as being “diametrically opposed to recognizing a Palestinian state," he said he had "raised this issue in the last two Likud faction meetings, and in a personal conversation earlier this year with Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon.”

A week earlier, Yaalon himself, who also serves as Strategic Affairs Minister, told an interviewer that he hopes it is “incorrect” that Netanyahu said he intends to offer the PA a state with temporary borders.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom went so far as to hint that he might leave the government were it to agree to the formation of a PA state. Shalom told the weekly B’Sheva newspaper that although Netanyahu is talking about such a state, "in our system of government, determinations are made by governmental decision, and there is no such government decision. I have never spoken about a Palestinian state and for as long as it is possible to influence the decision making process in the government, and for as long as no decision has been made that contradicts my position, I am in the government."

Netanyahu Against PA State

Netanyahu himself made perhaps the clearest case against a Palestinian state, when he addressed the Likud Central Committee in May 2002. Such an entity, he said, “will demand all the powers of a state, such as controlling borders, bringing in weapons, control of airspace and the ability to knock down any Israeli plane that enters its area, the ability to sign peace treaties and military alliances with other countries. Once you give them a state, you give them all these things, even if there is an agreement to the contrary - for within a short time they will demand all these things, and they will assume these powers, and the world will stand by and do nothing - but it *will* stop us from trying to stop them.”

"We will thus have created with our own hands a threat to our very existence,” Netanyahu continued. “What will happen if the Palestinians do what the Germans did after World War I, when they nullified the demilitarized zone? The world did nothing then, and the world will do nothing now as well. Even now, the Palestinians are removing all the restrictions to which they agreed in Oslo – they are smuggling in arms, polluting the water sources, building an army, making military deals with Iran and others, and more… But when we try to take action against this, the world opposes us – and not them...”

Netanyahu quoted Yasser Arafat: "Arafat said it best when talking to reporters the day he signed the Oslo Accords: 'Since we can't defeat Israel in war, we must do it in stages, we must take whatever area of Palestine we can get, establish sovereignty there, and then at the right time, we will have to convince the Arab nations to join us in dealing the final blow to Israel.' Self-rule, yes. But a state with which to destroy the State of Israel - no...”

Netanyahu continued, “When Arafat threatened to declare a Palestinian state in 1999, I announced at the United Nations that if he did so, we would annex broad areas of Judea,Samaria and Gaza – and Arafat capitulated.” Might Netanyahu today follow his own advice from 2002?

“On matters vital to our existence,” he concluded in 2002, “we always took clear action, even if others didn’t agree with us. Because the bottom line is that saying 'Yes' to a Palestinian state means 'No' to a Jewish State, and vice-versa.”

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Hillel Fendel

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The Red Cross, Hamas, and Gilad Shalit

by Alana Goodman

CBN News is reporting that the Red Cross is continuing to shelter three Hamas officials suspected in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit five years ago. It sounds like the terrorists have it pretty good. In addition to receiving visits from foreign dignitaries, Jimmy Carter has dropped by, and the Hamas members have been free to hold press conferences from their safe-house at the Red Cross’s East Jerusalem office. Legions of Hamas supporters reportedly congregate outside the office on Fridays to hold candlelight vigils, as well.

“Under international humanitarian law, East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory,” Red Cross spokesperson Cecilia Goin explained to CBN News. “So the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are considered protected people.”

While the Red Cross has welcomed the Hamas officials with open arms (the three of them have reportedly set up a tent at the office), Red Cross medical personnel continue to be denied access to tend to Shalit while he’s in captivity, in violation of international law.

The Red Cross’s cushy treatment of these Hamas officials is bad enough on its own. But it also highlights the fact that the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations haven’t been nearly as forceful as they should be in demanding the release of Shalit. Nearly five years after his capture, it’s a travesty that he hasn’t even been able to receive medical attention, while three of his suspected kidnappers receive visits from former U.S. presidents and diplomats.

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Alana Goodman

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The Inquisition of Melanie Phillips

by Robert Spencer

Last week British columnist Melanie Phillips wrote a blogpost at the Spectator entitled “Armchair barbarism,” discussing the brutal jihad murders of the Fogel family in Israel. Her references to the “moral depravity” of the Arab “savages” who committed the crime have gotten her in hot water with Britain’s hyper-PC Press Complaints Commission, which has launched an investigation.

Phillips is being investigated, ironically enough, for writing that “the moral depravity of the Arabs,” as she chose to term the murderers of the Fogels and those in Gaza who celebrated those murders, “is finding a grotesque echo in the moral bankruptcy and worse of the British and American ‘liberal’ media.” And as if on cue, the watchdog organization in Britain of that liberal media swooped down upon her.

The irony was compounded by a further statement in Phillips’ column: “Overwhelmingly, the media have either ignored or downplayed the atrocity – or worse, effectively blamed the victims for bringing it on themselves, describing them as ‘hard-line settlers’ or extremists.” In this case, however, they were not blaming the victim, but blaming the columnist who spoke forthrightly about the nature of the murderers.

After the column was published, the P.C. Commission received two complaints about it: one from Engage, a group that is dedicated to advancing Muslim participation in British society, and from one of Britain’s most prominent Muslim leaders, Inayat Bunglawala, the chairman of Muslims4UK. Bunglawala fumed that Phillips’ words “went far beyond just denouncing the killings. It was a far more generalised racist outburst against Arabs as a whole.”

Ignoring the fact that Arab Muslims commit jihad terror attacks on a virtually daily basis, and that there is no equivalent among Jews, Bunglawala claimed that “if you insert the word ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish’ where she has referred to Arabs then I am sure she would have no doubt that those words would be antisemitic. Just as she abhors antisemitism it is important that she maintains the same vigorous anti-racist stance against Arabs. It is just unacceptable to use that kind of language.”

Yet Bunglawala and Engage were ignoring one undeniable fact: the Islamic jihadists who murdered the Fogel family were savages, as were those who celebrated their murders in Gaza. I would say this while standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square, and if Britain’s PC Commission had any residual sense of shame, it would drop its investigation of Phillips immediately.

It is also worth noting, however, that it may have been a lingering politically correct impulse on Phillips’ part that played into the hands of the Islamic supremacists who complained about her piece. For she referred to “Arabs” again and again, when the murderers of the Fogels were killing not because they were Arabs, but because they were Muslims, and Islamic jihadists. So many Western analysts will call jihadists anything — anything — so as to avoid calling them what they are, devout and observant Muslims. They just can’t bear the idea that religious teachings might really have something to do with this conflict. Yet to characterize the Itamar murderers again and again as “Arabs” may have made it easier for the execrable Bunglawala to characterize what she wrote as a “generalised racist outburst.”

On the other hand, since resistance to jihad violence and Islamic supremacism is routinely described as “racism” also, if she had referred to the killers as jihadists or Muslims it may not have made any difference.

In any case, note the moral inversion from the complaining Muslims — a moral inversion that is now so common that we may not even notice it. Bunglawala and the other complainers are full of righteous indignation against Melanie Phillips for her words, but where is the indignation of these supposed “moderates” against the jihadists who murdered the Fogels? Which is worse? Phillips’s allegedly “racist” remarks, or the cold-blooded killing of a family sleeping in its home?

And if Bunglawala and co. had issued some pro-forma condemnation, deploring the attacks, admonishing the West that “Islam forbids” such murders and similar eyewash, what were they doing to back it up with real action? What programs have they instituted in mosques and Islamic schools in Britain to teach against the beliefs and assumptions that led Muslims to believe that it would be a good and righteous act to murder the Fogels in the first place?

Such questions are the ones British authorities really ought to be investigating.

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Robert Spencer

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Obama’s U.N. Debacle

by Anne Bayefsky

President Obama’s decision to place the United Nations at the center of his foreign policy took another hit Friday as the U.N. Human Rights Council ended its latest session in Geneva. One of the president’s primary justifications for joining the notorious council shortly after he assumed office was its mandatory five-year review process; if the U.S. was a member, the administration claimed, it could influence this process. The process, which quietly unfolded in back rooms in Geneva over the past six months, has been exposed to be a total fraud, taking the administration’s cover down with it.

Starting last fall, the Obama team was a very active participant in a working group of the council that had been set up to tackle reform. At the end of February, the working group produced a document summarizing its decisions, and on Friday the council passed a resolution adopting that document by consensus — that is, without a vote. Regardless of the fact that every serious recommendation of the United States was rejected, Obama’s diplomats refused to call for a vote on the resolution so that they could vote against it.

They did play a little game intended to fool uninformed listeners by claiming to “dissociate” the administration from the resolution. However, since the resolution has been adopted by consensus, it will proceed unimpeded to the General Assembly, where it will be rubber-stamped. The U.S. could not have stopped the resolution, but an American vote against the measure would have been a major blow to the credibility of the Human Rights Council. It also would have set up the U.S. to leave the council as a logical consequence of the failure to reform it.

The slap in the face to President Obama is painfully clear from a short list of American demands for reform and the council’s responses.

The council has an official, permanent agenda that governs all its meetings and consists of only ten items. One of those items is reserved for condemning Israel, and another is assigned to human rights in the other 191 U.N. member states. This session, for instance, produced six resolutions condemning Israel, one resolution each on four other states, and nothing at all on the remaining 187 countries. The American delegation huffed and puffed that this obvious discrimination — which characterizes every meeting of the council — must come to an end, and proposed that the two agenda items be rolled into one. The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed creating easier trigger mechanisms for convening special sessions on specific countries when serious human-rights concerns arise. The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed abolishing the council’s make-work “Advisory Committee.” It is currently populated by such human-rights luminaries as former Sandinista leader and suspended priest Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. (Brockmann once served as president of the U.N. General Assembly and is best remembered for a series of anti-Semitic outbursts and for coming down off his podium to hug Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.) The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed making public pre-screened complaints of gross and systematic violations of human rights that are received by the council. Specific cases, which have poured into the U.N. for over half a century from poor souls around the world, have never been revealed. The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed expanding the time allocated to discussions of abuses in specific countries. The proposal was rejected.

The American delegation proposed that states running for a seat on the council should engage in a public dialogue with General Assembly members on their human-rights record, as measured by specific criteria. The proposal was rejected.

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Anne Bayefsky

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Libya: Through the Glass Darkly

by J. Robert Smith

An odd, loose coalition of some liberals and conservatives has formed in favor of U.S. military intervention in Libya. The New Republic's John Judis and the Weekly Standard's William Kristol are in agreement: keep launching the Tomahawks and, maybe, dislodge the venal Muammer Gaddafi. Polls on Americans' support for military action against Gaddafi range from the high sixties to a plurality in the high forties. Public opinion, as we know, though, is fickle and can change with the weather.

The problem with military action is never its initiation; the problem lies in the follow up. Rarely are initial attacks against an enemy deciders, as Americans have learned in Afghanistan and Iraq. Initial overwhelming force is an opener, not a closer.

It's all well and good to want to shield Libyan innocents or oust Gaddafi (not a stated aim) or promote democracy, but Tomahawks and good intentions go only so far. The truth is that without a clear end-game, and without staying power, actions in Libya are likely to fail.

If actions fail in Libya, what are the consequences? What if the allies tire of the expense and commitment of enforcing a no-fly zone -- or any other type of zone? What if Gaddafi hangs on? Or what if the horrible Gaddafi is succeeded not by western-style democrats but by a more horrible tyrant -- or, worse, by Iranian-backed jihadists?

These questions are legitimate. Not only is there scant indication that President Obama has thought through consequences in Libya, but his own words show that he has no intention of committing the nation to following up initial attacks with a long, hard slog. A long, hard slog means working for Libya's transformation -- provided there's any real chance of succeeding.

The President has declared that American participation in the Libyan intervention will be brief, a matter of days (really, at least, weeks). Forget American boots-on-the-ground. We'll leave it to the United Nations and our allies to do the heavy-lifting moving forward. Mission accomplished.

But we know about the United Nations; its hallmarks are incompetence, corruption, impotence, and fecklessness. Remember Darfur? The President is entrusting Libya's fate to a body that includes rogues that equal or surpass Muammer Gaddafi for their evil; some are represented on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

And let's be honest about the French; their track record at winning fights is poor, at least since Napoleon Bonaparte left the scene. The Brits are better, but Europeans generally have lost the stomach for war -- and occupations. A protracted engagement -- military and otherwise -- in Libya is likely to be met by flagging public support in Europe and backlashes from the left in France and Britain and elsewhere. Europeans aren't above cutting and running -- in their own dignified way, of course.

There is the chance that the President is deceiving the America people. It could be that Mr. Obama's declarations of a short American involvement in Libya mask his determination to continue U.S. participation with no definitive end. After all, Mr. Obama, in his own ham-handed way, has hung on in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite his '08 campaign rhetoric.

What's gained currency recently is that the Middle East is in the opening stages of democratic revolutions. It's almost taken for granted that the current unrest in Egypt will lead to democracy and the rule of law. Some boosters of the Libyan intervention suggest the same thing is possible there.

There are certainly democratic factions in Egypt and Libya. But there are other factions, including extremist Islamic elements -- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood for one -- that are better positioned, more adept, and flatly ruthless in exploiting unrest to seize power.

It's naïve to think that Libyan democrats are capable of winning the day for freedom and democracy with a no-fly zone. Again, take a close look at Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq's fragile democracy has had the ongoing, on-ground backing of the United States. It remains to be seen if Iraq's democracy survives scheduled American troop withdrawals this summer. The Karzai regime in Afghanistan is weak and, reputedly, corrupt. An independent, democratic Afghanistan is nowhere near fruition.

Libyan freedom and democracy aren't going to be won by just dropping bombs. Libya isn't Kosovo. There's always a danger in fighting the last war - or attempting to replay the last intervention. A no-fly zone didn't bring about the fall of Saddam Hussein or facilitate the rise of democracy in Iraq. Libya, to have a chance at genuine change, needs an on-ground commitment, similar to what the United States has done in Iraq and is doing in Afghanistan. Mind you, it's just a chance.

However solemn the U.N. declarations, whatever the bravado of the French and British, whatever the capabilities of the United States military, transforming Libya isn't a short haul proposition. Breaking furniture and making Gaddafi scurry from hiding place to hiding place in the desert are just opening acts.

If the opening acts aren't followed up, if a sustained commitment isn't made to Libya, Libyans might find themselves in a worse predicament (it's conceivable). And perceptions of America in the Middle East will suffer. A United States perceived as part of a failed Libyan operation is a United States seen as weak among Middle Easterners -- and the Iranians. That prospect can't be good for American national security.

The United States does have compelling national security interests in the Middle East. Islamic extremism is the wellspring of terrorism against the United States. But as Jed Babbin wrote in the American Spectator, "the war the terror-sponsoring nations wage against us can only be won by forcing those nations to cease their support of Islamic terrorism."

Babbin has hit the bull's eye. Gaddafi is a minor player in the terrorism racket when compared to Syria's Assad and Iran's mullahs. American policy needs to be primarily focused on ending Syrian and Iranian sponsorship of terror. Close Syrian and Iranian terror sponsorships and Gaddafi likely tumbles in the aftermath. But confronting Iran and Syria would take real American leadership and resolve; neither are qualities that Barack Obama holds in high esteem.

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J. Robert Smith

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The Future of Syria

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The Syrians have finally realised that their "young, charismatic, UK-educated and open minded" president is following in the footsteps of his late father, Hafez el Assad.

Young Bashar el Assad drew gasps of admiration in years gone by from Western Arabists who believed he was going open a new page in Syria's history by introducing democratic values.

Just as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's son, Seif ul Islam, was once praised as the new, liberal and democratic hope of Libya, so Bashar was projected eleven years ago as representing a new generation of Arab leaders willing to break away from a dark and dictatorial past.

But the events of the last few days in Syria, which have seen unarmed demonstrators gunned down by government forces, prove conclusively that when push comes to shove, Bashar is actually not all that different from his late father. As some of his critic[s] comment, "The apple does not fall far from the tree."

His handling of pro-democracy protests that have erupted in several Syrian cities since March 15 is a reminder that Bashar is a dictator who, like Colonel Gaddafi and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, will not surrender power gracefully.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal several weeks ago, Bashar boasted that the Tunisian and Egyptian models did not apply to his country and that there was no fear for the survival of his regime. He was right in the first part of his analysis: both neither the Egyptian nor Tunisian presidents chose to fight their people to the last drop of their blood.

But the second part of his analysis is faulty: Syria is far from immune from the political tsunami of popular uprisings currently sweeping through the Arab world.

Syrian human rights organizations have expressed deep concern over the Syrian authorities' ruthless and brutal crackdown. They note how in many instances children under the ages of 15 were arrested by the notorious "mukhabarat" secret service for allegedly painting anti-government graffiti on city walls.

In another incident that took place in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, Bashar unleashed his commandos against peaceful worshippers who were staging a sit-in strike in a mosque; he killed dozens and wounded many others.

Syrians are asking: Will the son go as far as his father in stamping down on all protests? The public has not forgotten the terrible events of 20 years ago in the city of Hama, when government forces using artillery and air power killed an estimated 20,000 civilians.

Syrians are also asking who will replace their dictator. Some fear that in the absence of an alternative, Iran and Hizbollah could end up controlling Syria.

But the collapse now of Bashar el Assad's regime would be a severe blow to Iran, Hamas, Hizbollah and other radical powers in the region.

Reports indicate that Hizbollah militiamen have been brought to Syria to help suppress the wave of anti-government protests. Other reports have claimed that members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard were flown into Syria to help Bashar's regime.

As international criticism mounts, Bashar has suddenly started talking about the need for financial and political reforms. His critics shout that he is a liar who had 11 years to implement necessary changes, but chose instead to run his country as the leader of a mafia.

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Khaled Abu Toameh

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Iran's Charm Offensive in Africa, Part II

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

The government of Gambia procures the arms from Iran and in turn sells the weapons to Hezbollah, according to the Freedom Newspaper, Gambia's independent online media outlet. It also alleges that the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh makes approximately $100 million a year from weapons trafficking; he is also accused of selling drugs through Hezbollah.

When Nigerian officials seized thirteen shipping containers of weapons in October 2010[1]. The investigation that followed quickly showed that Iran was behind this shipment, and that the weapons cache was directed to Gambia, a small country, totally encircled by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. Gambia, as a consequence, cut its diplomatic relations to Iran.

The Iranian government, which is facing an arms embargo from the United Nations Security Council, disclosed that the cargo was indeed meant to be sent to Gambia as part of a confidential agreement signed three years ago, and that the goods seized were the third of such shipments.

The Gambian newspaper further reported that President Jammeh is colluding with Lebanese businessman Mohammad Bazzi[2], Gambia's Consul General to Lebanon, to buy weapons from Iran to sell to Hezbollah. It also reported that Bazzi created a bank in Gambia, Prime Bank, a subsidiary of the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB), which is blacklisted by the US for its ties to Hezbollah. According to Freedom Newspaper, the Prime Bank is used to assist in money laundering and weapons trading activities. Bazzi denies the allegations, requested the immediate withdrawal of the accusations, and threatened to sue the paper[3].

  • Gambian President's hometown "has long been used for Iranian arms storage"
  • Freedom Newspaper: There is a Hezbollah cartel in Gambia
  • The Gambian President has been accused of acting in concert with Lebanese alleged Hezbollah supporters

March 16, 2011

Gambian President's hometown "has long been used for Iranian arms storage."

"A few months before Gambia soured diplomatic ties with Iran, the country's press were invited for a news briefing at the Fajara [Resort area in Gambia] Army Barracks, where the Head of the Iranian Mission in [the Gambian capital] Banjul Saied Zare, [Gambian] Army Chief of Defense Staff Major General Masaneh Kinteh, [Gambian] Interior Minister Ousman Sonko were in attendance. […]

"[…] The press conference later turned out to be a hoax, as The Gambian authorities prevailed on journalists to refrain from taking pictures. They also wanted to determine what reporters should write, and what they should not write. But a member of the local press managed to secretly photograph the members of high table. The reporter never disclosed to us what transpired on the day in question until after the seizure of the Iranian 13 arms container scandal; the arms had been destined for the Kanilai Farms [Kanilai is a village in southern Gambia. President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh was born in this village. It is now home to the presidential palace and his farms]. Kanilai has long been used for Iranian arms storage. […]

"Thanks to [former Iranian] Ambassador Saied Zare, and his former [Gambian] counterpart Lamin Kaba Bajo, Gambia's armed forces were able to benefit from the Iranian's military training. The Iranian training team was stationed in Kanilai, where it trained our men on modern arms operations. […] [However] Ambassador Zare was misled by the Government about the regime's objective of securing such arms from Iran. It was not meant for national security. That is far from the truth. Some of these arms had landed in the hands of the [Senegalese separatist] Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance [Senegal's Southern Casamance province has been waging a bloody independence campaign against the central government in Dakar since 1982] […]. Freedom Newspaper (Gambia's Premier Online Newspaper)

February 26, 2011

Freedom Newspaper: There is a Hezbollah cartel in Gambia

There is a Hezbollah cartel in Banjul [the Gambian capital], who are acting in concert with the country's President Yahya Jammeh to sell arms to the terrorist group's main base in Lebanon, a source reaching the Freedom Newspaper has alleged.

The arms deal goes like this: Gambia procures the arms from Iran, and in turn sells these deadly weapons to Hezbollah, the source further alleged. It is a well coordinated scheme, which has been going on for a while. It is alleged that Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh, who is at the centre of this arms proliferation scheme, has been making over $100 million a year just from arms trafficking. This is an estimated figure pending further verifications.

The illegal arms proliferation scheme between Teheran and The Gambia contributed immensely towards Mr. Jammeh's ill-gotten wealth. Mr. Jammeh's Government had signed a three years arms supply deal with Teheran, prior to their diplomatic breakaway, which Jammeh exploits to the maximum. His own Foreign Minister Dr. Momodou Tangara, told his Senegalese counterpart Mr. Niang that some of these Iranian arms landed in The Gambia back in 2005. Mr. Tangara claimed that the arms were meant for homeland security. But a source reaching the Freedom Newspaper disagrees.

The Gambian President has been accused of acting in concert with Lebanese alleged Hezbollah supporters

Some of the arms that were being trafficked from Iran to Gambia were meant for commercial purposes, the source alleged. The President has been accused of acting in concert with some Lebanese alleged-Hezbollah-supporters in Gambia to dispose of these arms to the Lebanon home grown terror network.

It is imperative to note that some of the Iranian arms also landed in the hands of the MFDC rebel fighters in the Casamance. This was evident when a Senegalese army intelligence unit informed the Senegalese Government that the bullets that killed its soldiers in Casamance [last February 2011] were coming from Iranian arms.

The intercepted Iranian arms are currently a subject of legal litigation in Nigeria, where a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other accused persons are standing trial for arm trafficking. Nigerian Customs officials had intercepted 13 containers of arms that were destined for President Jammeh's Kanilai Farms. […] Freedom Newspaper (Gambia's Premier Online Newspaper)\


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Anna Mahjar-Barducci

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Understanding the 3rd Terror War

by Caroline B. Glick

What the Palestinian silence on who committed what atrocity tells us is that in this new terror war, Palestinians believe they can't lose.

What are we to make of the fact that no one has taken credit for Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem?

Wednesday’s bombing was not a stand-alone event. It was part and parcel of the new Palestinian terror war that is just coming into view. As Israel considers how to contend with the emerging onslaught, it is important to notice how it differs from its predecessors.

On a military level, the tactics the Palestinians have so far adopted are an interesting blend of state-of-the-art missile attacks with old-fashioned knife and bomb-in-the-briefcase attacks. The diverse tactics demonstrate that this war is a combination of Iranian-proxy war and local terror pick-up cells. The attacks are also notable for their geographic dispersion and for the absence thus far of suicide attacks.

For the public, the new tactics are not interesting and the message they send is nothing new. With or without suicide bombers, Israelis understand that we are entering a new period of unremitting fear, where we understand that we are in danger no matter where we are. Whether we’re in bed asleep, or our way to work or school, or sitting down on a park bench or at a restaurant, whether we’re in Rishon Lezion, Sderot, Jerusalem, Itamar or Beersheba, we are in the Palestinians’ crosshairs. All of us are “settlers.” All of us are in danger.

The military innovations are important for IDF commanders who need to figure out how to answer the public’s demand for security. They will have to draw operational conclusions about the challenges this mix of tactics and strategic architecture poses.

While the military rationales of the various Palestinian terrorists are important, like its two predecessors, the new Palestinian terror war is first and foremost a political war. Like its two predecessors, which began in 1987 and 2000, the new terror war’s primary purpose is not to murder Jews. Killing is just an added perk. The new war’s primary purpose is to weaken Israel politically in order to bring about its eventual collapse.

And it is in this political context that the various terror armies’ refusal to take responsibility for Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem, and their moves to shroud in ambiguity much of the responsibility for their recent terror activity is noteworthy. In the past, Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were quick to take credit for massacres.

Initially it seemed as though that standard practice was being continued in the newest round of murder. Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigades, for instance, were quick to take credit for the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar on March 12. Hamas seemed to be competing for credit when its forces held a public celebration of the atrocity in Gaza City on March 13.

But then Fatah withdrew its claim of responsibility, and Hamas never claimed credit.

As for the rocket and missile barrages from Gaza, Hamas took credit for the 58 projectiles shot off on southern Israel last Saturday. But then it let Islamic Jihad take credit for the longer-range Katyusha attacks on Rishon Lezion, Beersheba, Gedera and Ashdod this week.

And again, no one took credit for the bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

WHAT DOES this sudden bout of modesty tell us about how the Palestinian terror masters view the current onslaught against Israel? What does it teach us about their assessment of their political challenges and goals?

In the two previous terror wars, the terror groups had two motivations for taking credit for their attacks. The first reason was to expand their popularity. In Palestinian society, the more Jews you kill, the more popular you are.

The main reason Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections was that the Palestinians believed Hamas terror was responsible for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005. Even though Fatah actually killed more Jews than Hamas did between 2000 and 2005, Hamas reaped greater rewards for its attacks because its record was unblemished by political engagement with Israel.

The second reason the various groups have always been quick to take credit for attacks is that they wanted to show their state sponsors that they were putting their arms, training and financial support to good use. Saddam Hussein and the Saudi royals paid handsome rewards to the families of killed and captured terrorists. Over the past several decades, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah have spent hundreds of millions of dollars arming, training and financing Palestinian terror cells from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad alike.

The fact that today neither Hamas nor Fatah is interested in taking credit for Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem or for the massacre of the Fogel family is a signal that something fundamental is changing in the political dynamic between the two factions. Before considering what the change may be, a word of explanation about Islamic Jihad is in order.

Islamic Jihad was founded by Iran in 1988. Unlike Hamas and Fatah, Islamic Jihad has no political aspirations. It has no political operatives, and it is content to limit its operations to terrorism.

After the much larger and more powerful Hamas subordinated its command and control to Iran in 2005, Islamic Jihad has served as nothing more than a Hamas sub-contractor. It carries out and takes credit for attacks when Hamas doesn’t wish to do so.

There are two plausible internal Palestinian explanations for Fatah’s and Hamas’s newfound reticence, and they are not mutually exclusive. The first explanation of their silence is that the recent talk about Fatah and Hamas forming a unity government is serious. Fatah’s announcement Thursday that it had arrested two Islamic Jihad terrorists in connection with the Jerusalem bombing is notable in this vein. It signals that after four years of fighting Hamas forces in Judea and Samaria, Fatah is looking for a more politically convenient group of usual suspects.

The second reason Hamas and Fatah may be keeping mum about who is responsible is that they both know who did it and they are using the terror to gain leverage against one another at the negotiating table. If Hamas is carrying out the attacks, its leaders may simply be using them to strengthen their bargaining position in the unity talks. Fatah knows that if Hamas takes credit for the attacks, its mass popularity in Judea and Samaria will grow. And if Fatah is carrying them out, its leaders may be using them to show Hamas that they are serious about burying the hatchet with the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

WHILE THE internal political dynamics of the various Palestinian terror groups is interesting, it is not the main game in town. For both Fatah and Hamas, the most important target audience is Europe. But before we discuss how the Palestinians’ assessment of Europe is connected to their move to obfuscate organizational responsibility for terrorism, it is necessary to consider the concrete political goal of their new terror war.

Fatah is in the midst of a global campaign to build international support for a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence in September. From Israel’s perspective, the campaign is threatening for two reasons. First, a unilaterally declared Palestinian state will be in a de facto state of war with Israel. Second, if the Palestinians secure international recognition for their “state” in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the move will place 500,000 Jews who live in these areas in the international crosshairs.

Much of the discussion about this goal has centered on whether or not US President Barack Obama will veto a UN Security Council resolution endorsing such a declaration. And based on Obama’s behavior to date, the Palestinians have good reason to believe that he may support their move. But in truth, the discussion about how the US will respond to the planned Palestinian declaration is largely beside the point. The point of the threatened declaration is not to get a UN Security Council resolution supporting it. The point is to get the EU to enact further sanctions against Israel.

And this brings us back to the new policy of not taking credit for attacks on Israel, and to the decision to launch a new terror war in general. On the face of it, at such a sensitive time for the Palestinians diplomatically, it would seem that they would want to keep their traditional good cop-Fatah, bad cop-Hamas routine going and have Hamas take the credit for the recent attacks. Indeed, it would seem that the Palestinians would want to hold off on attacks altogether until after they declare independence.

The fact that Fatah and Hamas have neither waited until after September to attack nor sought to differentiate themselves from one another as the attacks coalesce into a new terror campaign indicates strongly that the Palestinians no longer feel they need to pretend to oppose terror to maintain European support for their war against Israel.

The Palestinians assess that Europe is swiftly moving toward the point where it no longer needs to pretend to be fair to Israel. The British, French and German votes in favor of the Palestinians’ anti-Israel Security Council resolution last month were the latest sign that the key European governments have adopted openly hostile policies toward Israel.

More importantly, these policies are not the consequence of Palestinian lobbying efforts, and so Israel cannot hope to change them through counter-lobbying efforts. Europe’s abandonment of even the guise of fairness toward Israel is the product of domestic political realities in Europe itself. Between the rapidly expanding political power of Europe’s Muslim communities and the virulently anti-Israel positions nearly universally adopted by the European media, European governments are compelled to adopt ever more hostile positions toward Israel to appease their Israel-hating publics and Muslim communities.

Take British Prime Minister David Cameron, for example. When Cameron called Gaza “an open air prison” last year, it wasn’t because he had just spoken to Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. And he certainly wasn’t acting out of conviction. Cameron surely knew that his statement was an utter lie. And he also surely knew that Hamas is a jihadist terror group that shares the ideology of its fellow Muslim Brotherhood spin-off al- Qaida.

But for Cameron, far more important than Gaza’s relative prosperity and Hamas’s genocidal goals was the fact that in the last British elections, the UK’s Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC-UK) successfully ousted six members of parliament who expressed support for Israel.

The Palestinians recognize that they don’t need to pretend to be good to get Europe to support them. After the people of Europe have been brainwashed by their media and intimidated by the Muslim communities, they have developed a Pavlovian response regarding Israel whereby every mention of Israel makes them hate it more. It doesn’t matter if the story is about the massacre of Israeli children or the bombing of synagogues and nursery schools. They know that Israel is the guilty party and expect the governments to punish it.

What the Palestinian silence on who committed what atrocity tells us is that in this new terror war, the Palestinians believe they cannot lose. With Europe in tow, Fatah and Hamas feel free to join their forces and advance both militarily and politically.

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Caroline B. Glick

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Prosecutors: Somali Smuggled Jihadists into U.S.

by IPT News

A lucrative and active human smuggling ring brought an undetermined number of potential Somali jihadists into the United States through Brazil, federal prosecutors say in court papers.

Those prosecutors are asking a federal judge in San Antonio to give the maximum sentence to a Somali man who pleaded guilty in November to two counts of making false statements on a 2008 asylum application. Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane failed to report his connections to Al-Ittihad Al-Islami (AIAI) and al-Barakat, both specially designated terrorist organizations.

When he is sentenced April 28, prosecutors want U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez to factor in a series of related and disturbing actions spelled out in this memorandum, including the human smuggling of potential terrorists. They intend to call several law enforcement witnesses and three people Dhakane smuggled into the country.

The smuggling was run through Brazil, aided by bribes paid to immigration authorities there, from June 2006 through March 2008. Dhakane instructed those he smuggled on how to make false asylum claims.

The sentencing memo was first reported by Patrick Poole.

In it, prosecutors say that a confidential informant will testify that Dhakane openly talked about being a member of the AIAI. Dhakane sees that group and other designated Somali terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab and the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) as one entity because of overlapping membership. The only distinction, he said, was between "supporters or fighters," but "all of these individuals are ready to fight and die for the cause."

Some of the people Dhakane smuggled into the United States were AIAI members. "Dhakane stated he did not know their exact reason for wanting to enter the United States, but cautioned that he believed they would fight against the US if the jihad moved from overseas locations to the US mainland," the memo said.

Dhakane "bragged on tape to the [informant] that he made as much as $75,000 in one day by smuggling Somalis. On tape, Dhakane stated his minimum charge for smuggling individuals was $3,000 per person," prosecutors wrote.

Dhakane smuggled in people he knew were violent jihadists "with the full knowledge that if the decision was made by the [terrorist group], for which he was associated with in the past, to commit terrorist acts in the United States, these jihadists would commit violent acts in and against the United States," they added.

Concerns over Somalis and terrorism have focused on activity in the opposite direction during the past two years. More than 20 young Somalis from the Minneapolis area are believed to have returned to East Africa to join al-Shabaab's jihad. Several of them have been killed. In addition, more than 20 people have been indicted throughout the country on charges related to recruiting Somali fighters.

One American, Omar Hammami, is considered an al-Shabaab leader. But reports indicate FBI officials are focused on possible domestic threats from Somalis.

The terrorism enhancement isn't the only reason prosecutors want Dhakane to receive the maximum 10-year sentence on each count – and to have those sentences run consecutively rather than the normal concurrent term, extending his time in prison to 20 years.

In admitting his guilt, Dhakane lied to the court by denying he was an alien smuggler.

In addition, Dhakane repeatedly raped and impregnated an underage girl who he was paid to smuggle into the United States. When he applied for asylum, Dhakane claimed the girl was his wife, thinking it would help his asylum chances to have a pregnant wife. She told officials he threatened to kill her if she denied this or mentioned the rapes. Prosecutors say that qualifies him for sentencing enhancements for using a minor who was vulnerable in advancing his crimes.

The girl now suffers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There also is a public safety concern that makes a longer sentence necessary. Though he is ordered to be removed from the country, he may one day be set free in the United States "because of the lack of a functioning government" in Somalia, prosecutors wrote. A witness from the Department of Homeland Security is expected to testify about that at the sentencing hearing.

As Poole reports, this is not an isolated example of terrorists trying to sneak into the United States. In one case, a Hizballah operative crossed the border with Mexico in the trunk of a car.

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IPT News

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Violent Jihad Kills Muslims, 'Islamophobia' Does Not

by David J. Rusin

By demanding that the enormous threat of homegrown Islamist terrorism be downplayed to mollify hurt feelings, do those professing to champion Muslims actually betray them?

Such thoughts are inspired by the controversial March 10 hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims, especially Congressman Keith Ellison's tearful testimony about Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a Muslim paramedic who rushed to aid rescue efforts at the doomed World Trade Center, only to perish in the collapse. He painted Hamdani as an early target of the alleged decade-long witch hunt against Muslims, maintaining that the heroic man's faith had led some to suspect his involvement in the attack when he could not be located in its aftermath.

Ellison's tale of the Hamdani smearing, which may be based on flimsy evidence, serves as a microcosm of the representative's inverted perceptions and priorities. He and others squawk about protecting the rights of Muslims, but what about the right to live? Though they warn that highlighting the singular menace of violent jihad — as opposed to pretending that neo-Nazis or environmental extremists pose a comparable danger — places good Muslims at risk, the circumstances of Hamdani's death provide a needed reality check on the true peril faced by Muslims and non-Muslims alike: "Islamophobia" did not kill this man; radical Islam did.

Putting aside the question of whether they care a whit about non-Muslims, have Islamist pressure groups and their leftist helpers considered how terrorism impacts Muslims' lives? As they peddle the trumped-up threat of "Islamophobia," actual Islamist terrorism is murdering actual Muslims, both globally and domestically: Muslims comprised 85% of al-Qaeda's victims from 2004 to 2008, numerous innocent Muslims like Hamdani died on 9/11, and the March 10 testimony of Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew had been radicalized in the U.S. and killed while on jihad in Somalia, illuminated yet another path by which Islamism snuffs out the lives of Muslims.

What about "Islamophobia"? Though Islamists and their allies depict bigotry as a veritable life-or-death matter for American Muslims, the data say otherwise. Indeed, online FBI hate crime statistics, spanning 1996 to 2009, record not even a single Muslim dying due to an anti-Islamic incident in the United States. Islamist terrorism kills Muslims; "Islamophobia" does not.

Protecting people begins with protecting their lives. Thus, those who truly care about Muslims' well-being must acknowledge the hard truths of violent jihad — Islamists dominate U.S. terror prosecutions since 9/11, Islamists are responsible for a vastly outsized contribution to domestic terrorism, and this scourge kills plenty of Muslims in addition to non-Muslims — and then demand that Islamic radicalization be spotlighted and combated with all vigor. The lamenters of "Islamophobia" also should note a secondary benefit: if Americans saw Muslims leading the fight against homegrown jihadist terrorism, their views of Islam could only improve.

In contrast, those who portray themselves as Muslims' guardians but resist dealing with Islamist terrorism have very different priorities: playing the victim card to muzzle critics and score political points — even if it means sacrificing human lives, including the lives of Muslims.

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David J. Rusin

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Israel Knows About Hamas

by William Sullivan

The general estimation of Hamas by the international community is something of a mystery. On the one hand, the group openly harbors an unwavering desire to ethnically cleanse Israel of its Jewish population through suicide bombings and rocket attacks in order to reclaim the land for their god and their prophet.

On the other, a 2006 victory in a democratic election gave Hamas control of the Gaza Strip, so as the elected political body of its opposition, the international community somehow expects Israel to negotiate with this group to broker a peace.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, does not currently seem content to sit down and speak with Hamas, however. Hamas recently released a statement committing to the "unofficial truce" if Israel will refrain from attacking Gaza. Netanyahu apparently finds the prospect of truce and negotiation with Hamas fruitless, so Israeli jets struck the Gaza Strip in response to a barrage of over 50 Palestinian rockets that found targets in Southern Israel.

To Palestinian supporters, this will undoubtedly be chalked up as more Zionist aggression against reasonable political opposition. Never discussed by this deluded demographic, however, is the real reason why Israeli leaders like Netanyahu lack the incentive to choose negotiation with Hamas over retaliation. Where Israel has in the past and would continue to bring to the bargaining table a desire for coexistence and the will to make concessions, Hamas has stated on the record, and has shown in its actions, that it would bring to negotiations nothing more than strategic lulls in combat and a suicide belt.

Westerners have an affinity for separating the notions of religion and politics. In fact, the design of our modern, liberal societies is predicated upon the belief that religion and politics must operate independently of one another, with a broad political structure safeguarding the individual practice of religion. This is why the West cannot grasp the ideology of fundamental Islamic groups like Hamas. For these groups, religion and politics must exist indivisibly, lest political policy be amended to contradict religious doctrine, and thereby suggest the imperfection of Islam.

To prove the fact that the religion of Islam has shaped the politics and practice of Hamas, one need look no further than their founding charter, the Hamas Covenant, written in 1988. Observe the slogan of Hamas, found in Article Eight: "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur'an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief."

Hardly a secular mission statement. So using the religious template of Muhammad, along with the teaching of standard Islamic jurisprudence, this charter goes on to issue a primary directive that is little more than an eternal threat to the state of Israel. Hamas' primary ambition is outlined as "discarding the evil, crushing and defeating it, so that... calls for prayer be heard from the mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state."

And the text makes no bones about the identity of the evil that must be crushed, defeated, and discarded:

The Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

From where does this example of hatred and bloodlust derive? In particular, this reference of Muhammad's teaching can be found in the widely observed Hadith (Islamic traditions) of Sahih Muslim and Bukhari. Though apologists may question of the context of these verses in the Hadith, there is no question about the context in which Hamas finds them, and therefore, it is undeniable that intolerance found in Islam has shaped the unshakable political creed of Hamas.

So what does all this tell the Western world that struggles to understand Israel's opposition in the Middle East? It should tell us that Hamas is not a free-thinking unit that is able to amend its practice to meet the Western desires of peace with Israel, because its "constitution" of the Quran demands that there be no alternative path apart from jihad. It tells us that Hamas is as capable of compromise and negotiation as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, as they are both bound to the same steadfast ideological tether.

But that conclusion raises an interesting question, doesn't it? If both Hamas and al-Qaeda share the same ideological source material, the same methods of terror and martyrdom to advance their agenda, and the same ambition as dictated in Islamic jurisprudence, why is it that one of these groups is looked at as a shadowy and rabid terrorist group while the other looked at as a defined and viable political player in establishing a Middle Eastern peace? Why should Israel negotiate with Hamas? Would America enter negotiations with al-Qaeda, a group which we understand reserves no alternatives to America's destruction or its replacement with an Islamic state?

With a president who refuses to examine the link between core Islamic doctrine and global terrorism while establishing a platform to negotiate with hateful ideologues like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran, I shudder to think of the possible answer to that question. But aside from the blind and apologetic pacifism displayed by our president and our more ignorant citizens, the correct answer is: No, there is nothing to be gained by negotiating with terrorists.

The West's delusional approach to groups like Hamas makes it, in part, culpable for the men, women, children, and babies who are routinely targeted and murdered in Israel by groups claiming Islam as their spurring motive. Rather than accepting Hamas as we would accept secular and peaceful opposition, the truth we must come to understand is that being a member of, or even a supporter of, groups like Hamas, Fatah, al-Qaeda, or Hizballah should be as clear a mark of fascism, intolerance, and hate as the wearing of a swastika remains today. These groups are merely the many heads of the hydra that is fundamentalist Islam, and it is to our detriment and to Israel's immediate danger that we choose to strike at one head while ignoring or pacifying all the others.

So when presented the option to either negotiate with or retaliate against a group that will accept no option beyond the destruction of Israel and its citizens, it is not only reasonable, but admirable and honorable that Netanyahu has made the decision to protect his people by choosing to press the Islamic terrorists of Hamas, as opposed to pacifying them and allowing them to feign politics to fulfill their stated religious conquest.

Original URL:

William Sullivan

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After Gaddafi, Democracy or Jihadists?

by Walid Phares

We all agree that Colonel Gaddafi is a dictator, that he supported terrorism against the U.S. and France, was responsible for the tragedy of PanAm 103, that he funded, armed and trained radicals in many African countries such as in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Upper Volta, and in a few Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon. We all are aware that his regime oppressed his people and tortured and jailed his opponents for four decades.

I observed Gaddafi ruling Libya unchecked during and after the Cold War before and after 9/11, and he was received by liberal democracies as a respectable leader.
My first question is: Why has the West been silent so long and why is it so late in taking action against this dictator? Of course it had to do with oil. Western elites were morally and politically encouraging him by buying his oil and empowering him with endless cash as Libyan dissidents were dying in jails.

Now, as missiles are crushing Gaddafi's air defense systems and tanks, Western governments should be invited for serious self-criticism for having enabled this regime to last that long. Squeezing or even defeating Gaddafi should prompt a comprehensive review of past decades of Western policies towards this regime and its abuses of human rights.

The military operation should not end with the departure of Gaddafi from power. It must open the door for an examination of US and European policies that have aligned themselves with Petrodollars interests for over half a century. Such self-criticism was supposed to start with the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, but unfortunately, it hasn't taken place yet, precisely because of the mega-influence inside the West and the United States by powerful lobbies representing the interests of OPEC, the Arab League and the OIC.

Besides, questions should be raised about the Arab League and OIC endorsement of an action against Gaddafi's regime. Where were they for decades, when the Libyan dictator used to seize the microphone on their platforms and blast the very democracies they implored to act against him? These organizations catered to the interest of regimes they now are calling for sanctions against. Mr. Amr Moussa, the current secretary general of the Arab League, rises against Gaddafi after having supported him for years, while the latter was oppressing his own people.

In my book, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, I call all these regimes and organizations a "brotherhood against democracy." They have supported each other against democratic movements and minorities everywhere in the region. From Sudan to Lebanon, from Iraq to Libya, the regional organizations were at the service of these regimes, not of the people. As these revolts are ongoing, these inter-regimes' organizations must be criticized and eventually reformed.

Last year, the Arab League and OIC were endorsing Libya's role in the UN Council on Human Rights. Egypt, Tunisia and Libya's representatives at the Geneva UN body were shutting up the voices of Libyan dissidents just a few months ago. Now that the uprisings have crumbled the regimes in Cairo and Tunisia, and Tripoli's ruler is cornered, the negative impact these inter-regime organizations have on dissidents and human rights on international levels must be exposed and their future representation comprehensively reformed.

Research confirms that many jihadists have been recruited from Libya, and particularly from its eastern provinces. Besides, Western policies towards Gaddafi's regime were incoherent. They should have supported true democratic forces and uprisings in the region from Iran to the Arab world.

In short I would have advised for a different set of US global strategies in the Middle East. We should have backed the Iranian Green Revolution in 2009, the Cedars Revolution as it struggles against Hezb'allah, and Darfur in its liberation drive against the Jihadist regime in Khartoum. In Egypt, we should have clearly sided with the secular youth and Copts, as they asked for a new constitution. In Iraq, we should have been clear in supporting reformist and secular forces.

As far as Libya is concerned, removing Gaddafi is not the question. That should have been done years ago on the grounds of abuse of human rights. The question is who will come next? The agenda of the Benghazi leadership is not clear. We know there is a layer of former bureaucrats, diplomats, intellectuals and military dissidents with whom partnership is possible and should be encouraged. But there is another layer below the surface which is made of Islamists, Salafists and in some cases Jihadists.

From a simple observation of the latter's narrative on al Jazeera, one major component of the opposition is an Islamist force aiming at taking over in Tripoli. Hence, Washington must partner with the secular-democrats and warn that it won't endorse replacing Gaddafi's Jamahiriyya with a Jihadi emirate.

Why aren't the most liberal Libyan dissidents received in Washington and made visible? The US and NATO military has been tasked to open the highways to Tripoli for the opposition, but we need to insure that on that highway we won't see the democracy groups eliminated by the next authoritarians.

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Dr. Walid Phares teaches Global Strategies in Washington and is the author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East.

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When Human Shields Die

by Alan Wellikoff

When it comes to shields, nothing protects despots from democrats as effectively as the profusely-sweating human variety. The reason is obvious: democrats by definition believe in the sanctity of human life, while despots generally get where they are by mowing down all those who stand in their way.

They also like to place in their way all those who can come between them and enemy fire.

Thus, the use of non-combatants as shields in many countries that (in keeping with Tom Friedman’s unreliable panacea) don’t have Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises, becomes an effective weapon in the cause of inhibiting the ability to wage war by their democratic opposites – or those with ready access to the Colonel’s New $5 Everyday Meals.

Moreover, the despot’s fielding of human shields result in his earning propaganda points once leftist elements within the democrats’ free-speech-enjoying populace get into the act. These quickly don the bloodthirsty keffiyeh to protest what they promote as yet another massacre of innocents on the part of the West. Thus, people who boundlessly hate Israel any time a Gazan in a suspiciously lumpy frock gets a hard look from an IDF border guard, will at the same time have no problem with Hamas using that same geezer as outright human Kevlar.

By thus invoking it to mask cruelty, leftists use compassion in pretty much the same way that outfits like Hamas use innocent civilians.

But none of this should be news to any reasonable – and reasonably aware — person. Less likely to be understood is the fact that the unpleasant consequences of using human shields go well beyond loss of life on the part of the non-combatants themselves. This is because once the contraceptive use of innocents in combat proves successful, not only does it allow the traders in human shielding go on to fight another day, it encourages the repeated use of non-combatants as defensive weapons of war.

This seems to place Western democracies at a insurmountable disadvantage, leaving them no choice other than to harm innocent civilians or – as a consequence of leaving them unharmed – risk losing in battle (a third option – namely the adoption of the means that Israel has developed to spare the lives of enemy civilians while still winning at war — is not necessarily transferable to other armies, only lessens the disadvantages they face, and fails to guarantee that they won’t be vilified as “murderers” anyway). However, there is a simple way to begin to redress the issue – one that starts with the proper ascription of blame:

Historically, human shields have fallen into types that are very different despite sharing the same classification. The first consist of voluntary human shields like those who came to Iraq from the West to place their bodies between Saddam’s anti-aircraft batteries and the stealth fighter jets that would otherwise take them out. As such people have the potential of being integral to the success of enemy warfare in the same way that, say, an underground missile silo would, they cannot be properly characterized as either innocent nor civilian. They function rather as an outwardly-passive shock troop – or a martyrdom-seeking militia whose chosen role is to exploit their enemy’s humanity to afford their Allah-invoking comrades the ability to return fire with impunity. As they seek martyrdom, so should they be helped to find it, and be taken out just as any barricade might. Voluntary human shields are effectively combatants – and the responsibility for their deaths lies with themselves.

However, while the notion that voluntary human shields are “direct participants in hostilities” reflects of the customary tenets of international humanitarian law; no treaty norm addresses the issue of an attacker’s obligations relative to their use.

A similar ambiguity attends the second category of human shields – namely those who are involuntarily forced into that condition. These are people worthy of all the protection denied them by those for whom they are forced to serve as fleshy armor. However, as deaths of involuntary human shields cannot always be avoided, it should be forthrightly proclaimed in law that the responsibility for their deaths lies with those who intentionally – and with monumental cruelty and cowardice — place them in harm’s way.

In a culture where total irrationality has come into fashion as a valid political stance, it may be naïve to hope that by enforcing the above perspective we might succeed in ending the slanders directed at democratic forces that, in fog of war, kill the innocents their despotic enemies place in the line of fire. But so long as we’re at it, let’s also hope that doing so will help undermine – and eventually do away with – the practice of using human shields altogether.

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Alan Wellikoff

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Mounting Terror in Israel

by P. David Hornik

Snugly asleep at 5:30 on Wednesday morning, I was awoken by sirens that rang through Beersheva. By the time, groggy, I made it to the stairs of the apartment building, heading down to the air-raid shelter, I and other groggy, semi-dressed people around me heard the boom, sounding very near.

It was a Grad rocket fired from Gaza. It landed in a private yard—indeed not far from us—and a man who saw the explosion from his third-story window was injured by shrapnel. Beersheva schools were closed for the day.

Another Grad from Gaza hit Beersheva four hours later, this time with no damage.

These two Grads were part of a larger barrage of southern Israel: a Grad had also landed near Ashdod Tuesday night, causing no damage, and another seven mortar shells struck the region on Wednesday. During Tuesday, amid a general escalation stretching back to the weekend and earlier, Israeli planes had hit terrorist targets in Gaza, killing nine including four civilians.

Not surprisingly, on such days all Israelis with access to a TV turn it on periodically to see if there’s further news. Wednesday afternoon, there was: this time it was a bus being bombed in Jerusalem, killing a 60-year-old woman and injuring dozens, some seriously. The bomb appears to have been left inside a bag beside a telephone pole, the bomber—for the time being—to have escaped.

Not long ago, as anti-regime protests broke out first in Tunisia and then in Egypt, Israel was criticized by liberals like Thomas Friedman and Peter Beinart, and neoconservatives like Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz, for not showing enthusiasm over a purported wave of democracy sweeping the Arab world. But of course it’s hard to celebrate under such circumstances. And there’s a strong connection between those circumstances and the supposed “democratic” developments—and not a positive one from Israel’s standpoint.

Various reasons have been adduced for Hamas’s (whether or not it was responsible for the Jerusalem bomb) current escalation of terror, including a desire to deflect popular discontent over its inability to reunite with the Fatah movement that rules the West Bank. Undoubtedly in the mix, though, is the tailwind Hamas is feeling these days from its southwest, in the Land of the Nile, where hasty arrangements to hold elections in September are seen by all knowledgeable observers as favoring Hamas’s parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood—the virulently jihadist group that calls to wipe Israel off the map.

No, in Israel we have to disappoint the critics and admit that, amid the bombs bursting in air and in the streets, we’re not celebrating the advent of “Arab democracy.”

As the crisis intensifies, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Russia and is consulting with top security officials. As always, Israeli decision-making in such situations is particularly difficult. If it were just a military matter, Israel is clearly superior militarily to Hamas, as was evident two years ago in Operation Cast Lead. Hamas has built up its capacities since then, but so has Israel.

But Israel also has to face diplomatic issues if and when it decides to defend itself. Put differently, it has to face what passes for Western (and UN) “moralism.” Seemingly, at a time when the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and Canada have gone into combat in Libya, it shouldn’t be hard to grasp that Israel—which lives amid the Arab Middle East all year round—has to fight sometimes too.

But it isn’t that simple, and it wasn’t during Operation Cast Lead. As Palestinian civilian casualties—inevitable as Hamas ensconced itself in mosques, schools, and hospitals—flashed across U.S. and European TV screens, Israel came under mounting Western and UN pressure to halt the fighting and leave Hamas standing, and eventually it caved to it.

Meanwhile Hamas has rebuilt, and the results in Israel are already bloody. Will it be different this time if and when Israel hits Hamas hard again?

It would not be a safe bet. Israelis could hardly be encouraged by the world reaction to the Itamar massacre—indifferent at best, dehumanizing the victims as “settlers” at worst. This despite the fact that the victims—when terrorists broke into a home in the Samarian community of Itamar two weeks ago—were a mother and father and their 11-year-old, 3-year-old, and 3-month-old children, all stabbed to death, the grisly photos disseminated by the Israeli government in what turned out to be a futile measure.

Added to the basic disposition to keep Israel on a very short leash militarily—no matter how severe the hypocrisy, especially on the part of Western powers that also find themselves fighting in the Middle East and even kill civilians as collateral damage when they do—is that, unlike Operation Cast Lead in the waning days of the Bush presidency, another president now sits in Washington. As many have pointed out, President Barack Obama seems to waffle on almost all other Middle East issues but to come out swinging only when condemning Israel for building housing in places he thinks no Israelis should live. Again, it makes Israeli decision-making about possible military measures all the more difficult.

In sum, while Israeli civilian casualties of terror no longer seem to register, unintended Palestinian civilian casualties—should Israel mount another offensive in Gaza—are sure to kick up a storm. Somehow, the laudable Western ethos of trying to avoid civilian casualties gets twisted—particularly in Israel’s case—into something self-defeating and self-destructive: the purpose of war no longer being to protect one’s own population, but to protect the other side’s population, even if it means forfeiting any lasting, solid achievements in the war.

As the old Jewish maxim has it: “If I am not for myself, who will be?” Translated into today’s terms: if I am under terrorist assault, am I allowed to defend myself?

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P. David Hornik

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Suicidal Jews and the Anti-Semites They Ignore (and Sometimes Embrace)

by David Horowitz

Our attempt to place an advertisement in student papers featuring our “Palestinian Wall of Lies” [] has met with resistance from editors, whom it would be polite to call ignorant. Where student papers have actually published the ad, it has been met with outraged letters, particularly from Jews, which it would be appropriate to call suicidal. The Palestinian Wall of Lies was devised to counter the genocidal propaganda campaign launched by the Hamas-related Muslim Students Association. This propaganda campaign portrays Israel as an apartheid Nazi state and the Palestinians as innocent victims of Israeli theft and oppression. The “Palestinian Wall of Lies” is our response to these blood libels and is strictly factual, which may account for the absence of reasoned challenges to any of its statements or the offer of any evidence that would contradict its claims.

The following voice message was left on the Freedom Center’s voice mail and appears to be in response to the Wall of Lies ad that appeared in the Yale Daily News:

“This is a Desert Storm veteran. I’ve served time in the Middle East, unlike most Jewish people in this country that have never been to Israel or the Middle East. You know, is this really necessary, the Wall of Lies? It’s more of a, you know, I have Palestinian friends that are gonna take very big offense to this, uh, article you have in the Yale Daily News. Is that your goal just to bring up a bunch of bullsh*t? I wouldn’t say bullsh*t I would say, maybe some of it’s fact, maybe some of it’s not. But, you’re causing more problems by printing stuff like this. You’re in America now, so act like it.”

I don’t believe for a second that the caller served in the armed forces. But notice how his first move is to attack the Jews, and then to proclaim his opposition to ads that offend the sensibilities of an ethnic group. All of the rejections of the ad by campus editors have been on the grounds that it was offensive to ethnic or religious groups – clearly Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims. To my knowledge there has never been a single editorial in any campus paper, let alone in the 15 that have rejected our ad so far, decrying the Israel Apartheid Weeks that have been staged on their campuses to promote monstrous slanders against Israel and its Jews. What is really taking place on American campuses is a hate campaign against Israel and the Jews along with a parallel campaign to censor any criticism of its main sponsors, which are Muslim and Palestinian campus groups.

And the response of campus Jewish groups? In the case of Hillel – the largest Jewish student organization – it is to join the anti-Semites and attack their critics. At Florida State University, the campus Hillel joined in a coalition with the Muslim Students Association – the Hamas supporting campus group that is sponsoring the hate weeks against Israel across the country – to protest our campaign to correct the lies they were propagating. The name of the coalition? “The Coalition Against Hate.” Now how Orwellian is that.

Meanwhile at Brown, the student Hillel, which has written no such letters protesting Israel Apartheid Week, had this embarrassing mouthful to say:

To the Editor:

The student leadership at Brown-RISD Hillel would like to express its disapproval of an advertisement that ran on page 8 of yesterday’s Herald. The advertisement propagated several Islamophobic, racist and hurtful untruths by linking all modern Arab leadership to Nazi ideology and equating Islam with violence.

Though neither Hillel nor any affiliated students had anything to do with the advertisement, we feel compelled to declare that there should be no place for these spiteful, bigoted words in the Brown — or any — community, even under the guise of political free speech. We stand staunchly beside any members of our community who feel alienated and attacked by the advertisement.

We trust that the Brown University community will be wise enough to view the “Wall of Lies” advertisement as an unfortunate example of hatred and as unrepresentative of Hillel or the Jewish community.

The Brown-RISD Hillel Student Executive Board

The student leadership at Brown-RISD Hillel is upset not with the Muslim Students Association, sponsor of Israel Apartheid Weeks across the country, but with those of us who have had the temerity to attempt to correct the hateful lies spread by enemies of the only Jewish state. According to Brown Hillel, there are “Islamo-phobic, racist and hurtful untruths” in our ad which consist in “linking all modern Arab leadership to Nazi ideology and equating Islam with violence.” Of course there are no such statements in our ad. What the ad says is that “Today Arab leaders call for the destruction of the Jewish state and routinely deny that the Holocaust with which their forebears collaborated actually took place.”

Is this actually the case? Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestine Authority has actually written an entire book of Holocaust denial. Hamas, which is the government of Gaza, promises in its charter that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Perhaps the Hillel Student Executive Board would like to name a Palestinian leader who does not call for the destruction of the Jewish state. And then they should explain how the truth can be described as “bigoted.” And then they should explain how they expect normal people to regard their embrace of the cause of Palestinians whose leaders without exception call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

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David Horowitz

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