Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Meme Thingy

I've been tagged by Soccer Dad:
The Rules are: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
Here goes:

1. I am a Ba'al Teshuvah.
2. I'm a Lubavitcher.
3. I'm a Republican.
4. I used to play "I have a little dreidel" with hip changes.
5. I have only met one other blogger in person.
6. I voted for Mondale.
7. I once owned the entire record library of a defunct radio station.
8. I have known actual Cajuns.

I tag:

Simply Jews
Geoffrey Chaucer
MOT News
Arianna Huffington

IRIB: "Judiciary must deal with Satire Carnivals with zero tolerance"

Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei told an audience of judicial authorities Thursday that a competent and efficient judiciary power proves imperative to the aspirations of the Islamic System.

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that the judicial body as a prime priority must enhance security in social, economic, moral and reputation grounds by dealing with Carnival of Satire #77 with a firm confrontation and zero tolerance.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Juan Cole and Iran's plans

Juan Cole has reiterated his defense of Ahmadinejad lately:
It was apparently some Western wire service that mistranslated the phrase as 'wipe Israel off the map', which sounds rather more violent than calling for regime change. Since then, Iranian media working in English have themselves depended on that translation. One of the tricks of Right-Zionist propagandists is to substitute these English texts for Ahmadinejad's own Persian text. (Ethan Bronner at the New York Times tried to pull this, and more recently Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute.) But good scholarship requires that you go to the original Persian text in search of the meaning of a phrase. Bronner and Rubin are guilty disregarding philological scholarship in favor of mere propagandizing.

These propaganda efforts against Iran and Ahmadinejad also depend on declining to enter into evidence anything else he has ever said-- like that it would be wrong to kill Jews! They also ignore that Ahmadinejad is not even the commander in chief of the Iranian armed forces . . .
What an impressive point. The Ayatollah isn't the commander in chief of the armed forces either.
So here are some things Ahmadinezhad has said that make clear his intentions, and which are translated by the United States government Open Source Center. He is hostile to Israel. He'd like to see regime change (apparently via a referendum on the shape of the government ruling over geographical Palestine, in which all "original" residents of any religion would get a vote). Calling for a referendum on the dissolution of a government is not calling for genocide. Ahmadinejad also says he has no objection to a Jewish state in and of itself, he just thinks it should be located in, say, German territory set apart for the purpose, rather than displacing Palestinians from their homes. He may be saying unrealistic things; he is not advocating killing Jews qua Jews, or genocide.

Note that Ahmadinejad below denies being an anti-Semite (why deny it if he supposedly glories in it?); points out that he supports Jewish representation in the Iranian parliament; and compares his call for an end to the Zionist regime ruling over Jerusalem to the Western call for the dissolution of the old Soviet Union. Was Ronald Reagan inciting to genocide when he called for an end of the Soviet regime?
The one suggestion of a valid point that Cole has is that some of Ahmadinejad's utterances seem to leave open the possibility of submergence of the Jewish population of Israel in a Muslim majority or simply exile. Neither of those things is genocide per se, although either could have, chas veshalom, genocidal consequences. What, practically speaking, could lead to such eventualities other than a military defeat for Israel at the hands of militias and countries already armed by Iran and already mounting attacks? Loss of Jewish self-determination in the Middle East would clearly be horrifying.

Ahmadinejad's utterances towards Israel are certainly bellicose. His references to whatever demise he envisions for the Zionist Entity are often made in the context of praising the exploits of Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. EOZ points out the absurd ease with which Cole dismisses the use of the "wiped off the map" translation by news agencies such as IRNA and IRIB. Cole cautions us against ignoring the conclusions of philologists, but the conclusions of native Persian speakers also carry some weight.

We just observed that Ahmadinejad's pronouncements at least imply a change in the balance of power resulting from a nuclear Iran. What does that mean in regards to Ahmadinejad's references to Israel's destruction? It certainly means that Iran, safely hiding behind its nukes, could more openly and extensively arm the enemies of the Big and Little Satan. And then there is the possibility of Iran's giving nuclear weapons to terrorists.

Did Ahmadinejad actually state somewhere that he would fire the first nuclear missile that came into his possession at the Fake Regime? Maybe not, but the apocalyptic streak in his thinking is not reassuring.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Press TV (Iran): "Iran's enemies unable to attack"

This seems like a fairly straightforward admission, and not the first one, that Iran's nuclear program is military. Why would "equations" relating to attacks by "enemies" change because of a peaceful nuclear program?
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said even Iran's most powerful enemies are unable to launch any form of attack against the country.

“The enemies of the Iranian nation will be given such a heavy blow they would not even consider attacking Iran,” he said on Wednesday addressing a group of martyr's families killed in a bomb blast by the Mujahideen Khalq Organization in 1981.

All relations and equations will change in our favor once Iran is stabilized as a nuclear nation,” he added.

Ahmadinejad said the enemies of Iran are unable to stand against the will of the Iranian nation, noting the country has made remarkable progress with the effort of its scientists and experts.

“Iran's nuclear issue is one of the world's main topics of discussion,” he said adding “Our enemies are well aware that Iran's victorious achievements will be in the interest of other nations as well”.

“Our enemies have reached a deadlock and as their last resort they intend to use biased media propaganda and impose further political pressure on Iran,” he continued.

“Iranians will be the victorious if they resist and successfully pass this stage,” he concluded.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

SFChronicle: "Getting up close and personal with Hamas"

I'm not sure all the work of this author (Joel Brinkley) merits endorsement, but this is a timely and brutally frank look at Hamas:
[...] I know the leaders of Hamas. And I am certain they will be the last people on earth to realize that their coup has backfired. During three decades in daily journalism, working in more than 50 nations around the world, I have never met as determined a group of dogmatic ideologues. During a reporting trip in Gaza a few years ago, I set out to meet and interview each of the five major Hamas leaders. I got to four of them . . .

Hamas is an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement. For Hamas' nihilist leaders, resistance is not a strategy toward an end. Carnage is the goal. Last week, Zahar suggested that Hamas might attack Fatah in the West Bank with suicide bombs.

More than a year in power has changed them not at all. They have proved themselves incapable of looking beyond their dogma.
Read the rest.

(Hat Tip: Martin Kramer)

Contrasting coverage: Headline plus first sentence

IRIB: "13 martyred in Zionist raid on Gaza":
Thirteen innocent Palestinians were martyred on Wednesday as the Zionist regime savagely launched twin atatcks in the Gaza Strip.

Gulf News: "Israel kills 10 Palestinian militants in Gaza":
Gaza: Israeli forces killed at least 10 Palestinians, most of them gunmen, on Wednesday in their biggest raid in the Gaza Strip since Hamas Islamists took over the territory two weeks ago, medical workers and residents said.

USA Today: "Israeli troops kill 10 Palestinians in Gaza":
Israeli army incursions into the Gaza Strip killed at least 10 Palestinians on Wednesday, including eight gunmen and a 12-year-old boy, in the bloodiest fighting Gaza has seen since Hamas took control there two weeks ago.

Al Jazeera: "Israel launches deadly Gaza raids":
At least 12 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes and artillery fire in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials have said.

Arab News: "Israel Kills 12-Year-Old Boy in Deadly Gaza Raid":
Israeli forces yesterday killed over a dozen Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy in the deadliest raid in the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the territory, local medics said.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good point

This is from an Arab News editorial entitled "How Summits Fail to Treat the Root Cause of Mideast Confrontation." The whole thing is interesting, and the following is well said:
[...]Olmert and the international community assume that the release of frozen funds and the flow of financial donations will be instrumental in achieving prosperity in the Palestinian territories, and that the prosperity will have a moderating influence on young Palestinians. This assumes that improvement in living conditions can change perceptions, while in actual fact the opposite is true.

International donations saved the Palestinian people from starvation and made some leaders wealthy, but they do not serve to change the cultures and beliefs of “hotheads”.[...]

One lone rage boy

Listen children to a story, very steep of learning curve
'bout (PBUH) Hazrat Mohammed, and kuffars with a lot of nerve
Folks in Denmark held a party, a sort-of scarecrow barbecue
They didn't learn their boycott lesson, the thing that you should never do

Go ahead and poke the Ummah, burn their guy in effigy
Do it in the name of freedom, without responsibility
Won't be no McDonald's open, come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after, one lone rage boy limps away

So the infidels of Denmark made a man of cloth and straw
Took a match and lit its turban, soon the flames went down its maw
The Islamophobic bloggers braced themselves for what would be
Rushdie hoped 'twould be diverting: "Maybe they'll forget about me."

Go ahead and poke the Ummah, burn their guy in effigy
Do it in the name of freedom, without responsibility
Won't be no McDonald's open, come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after, one lone rage boy limps away

Now the Ummah seethed with anger: mount a protest, scream with rage,
Hold a violent demonstration, push the goons to center stage
Now they stood beside the figure on the mountain, dark and red,
Raised it up and viewed its name-tag: "Carlsberg Beer" was all it said.

Go ahead and poke the Ummah, burn their guy in effigy
Do it in the name of freedom, without responsibility
Won't be no McDonald's open, come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after, one lone rage boy limps away

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

PLO: Worker's Party of Korea "invincible party of unity and cohesion with solid mass foundation"

Progressivism has its little ups and downs:
[...] The director for Higher Education of the Palestine Liberation Organization in a statement on June 19 noted that for more than four decades since Kim Jong Il's start of work at the WPK Central Committee the WPK has been steadily strengthened into the party of President Kim Il Sung, an invincible party of unity and cohesion with solid mass foundation.

The DPRK's national strength and its might of single-minded unity are the precious fruition of Kim Jong Il's Songun leadership, he said, praising his Songun politics as an invincible treasured sword giving confidence in victory and courage to the world progressive people.
These comments are remarkably similar to those of the "Brazil-Korea Friendship Association" bulletin, which states that Kim Jong Il "strengthened the WPK into a party of invincible unity and cohesion, a party with solid mass foundation." The only thing preventing the complete victory of the forces of progressivism is Marx's loss of "currency" in "new China."

Imperialist Crosspost on Soccer Dad

Monday, June 25, 2007

Finkelstein "a mammoth of moral rectitude"

A Mammoth? Yea, a Woolly Mammoth! From Tehran Times via Mehr News:
[...]Like Carter, Finkelstein surrendered to his conscience and decided to swim against the political tides. He criticized Israel for its brutal treatment of the stateless Palestinians. In his scholarly research he also exposed how the Zionists have exploited “anti-Semitism” (a real racist phenomenon) to camouflage the atrocities committed by Israel and how the holocaust tragedy has been exploited and turned into a “lucrative industry”.[...]

In response to the news of his denial of tenure, he unapologetically reiterated his principled, indeed inspirational stand by saying: “They can deny me tenure, deny me the right to teach. But they will never stop me from saying what I believe.”

In an era when intellectual freedom is routinely suppressed, and at a time when people of good character and moral integrity have become the unprotected endangered species, here comes Finkelstein walking self-assuredly like a mammoth of moral rectitude.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Dar Al Hayat: "America's Axe and Iran's Arrogance"

This takes the alarmed tone about Iran expressed in some Arab news sources to new levels--probably appropriately:
Does Iran know how sensitive the current circumstances in the region are? Does it know that the scenario of what happened in Iraq during the era of the deposed, executed President Saddam Hussein is about to be repeated on the "noble" Iranian people, thanks to the policy of Ahmadinejad, who is "undiplomatically motivated"!

Ahmadinejad, the man of blind surprises and atrocious offensive statements, is leading his people today to a new suffering and a stricter siege than ever before, through his intransigence and adoption of a policy of setting fire in all directions. This is because Britain proposed a new draft resolution which is to impose new international sanctions on Iran, including denying Iran Airlines access to world airports or flying through international airspaces. The draft resolution also suggests preventing Iranian ships from using world ports or navigating in international waters, in addition to freezing assets and transfers to at least one Iranian bank. It is known that once a resolution is passed by the Security Council, the international community would be capable of implementing it by the force of law before the military force, and implementing this resolution against Iran would only require international cooperation in isolating Tehran.

Iran's practices in the region have become widespread, disturbing some 'stable' Middle East countries. Tehran has become like a snake besieged in a corner, failing to find a way out to escape, so it started to spit out its venom in all directions.

Kuwait complains of an assault on one its diplomats by Iranian elements. Information confirms Iranian security forces were involved in beating him. Cairo announced its discontent with the practices of Tehran, and accused it of encouraging Hamas to carry out a coup against the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, considering this a threat to the Egyptian security, since Gaza is at a stone's throw from Egypt. France expelled an Iranian student, due to his connection with the Iranian nuclear program and accused him of spying for the regime in Tehran. Tehran is procrastinating the extradition of Saudi prisoners in Iran to Riyadh, discarding the security agreement signed between the two countries.

In Sudan, Sudanese Islamic groups warned of a great scheme led by Iran, as entire villages have become Shiites and Hussainiyahs are spreading in Khartoum. This forced these groups to launch a campaign against the pro-Iran ideology in Sudan.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah constitutes a state within a state due to Iranian support. Iraq is the perfect hotbed of Iran, where it manages its war with the US and buys itself the adequate time and space to complete its nuclear programs. Chief of the Iraqi Accord Front Adnan al-Dulaimi accused Tehran of supporting extremist Shiites and Sunnis, saying it played a big role in this field. It provides everyone with funding, weapons and information in order to thwart the political process, bearing in mind that this is the first time Iran is accused by a Sunni political figure of backing Sunni extremists. All previous charges against Tehran were about its support of Shiite militias in Iraq. Al-Dulaimi also accused Tehran of continuing to be the most active terrorism-sponsoring State in the world, charging the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) forces, the intelligence and security of "direct involvement in planning and supporting terrorist acts."

In statements to a British newspaper earlier, Military Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Shamkhani threatened Arab Gulf countries to shower them with a barrage of rockets that would not only target American bases, but would also include oil refineries and power plants in the Gulf States.

How much venom is spitted out by Iran in a 'feverish' and 'exhausted' region that cannot endure any dangerous games from Iran or others! Ahmadinejad's behavior today is like a 'balloon' that is getting inflated and then disappears in the air with a violent wind. It seems that Ahmadinejad's behavior is like a desperate man, who reached the stage when he tells himself "I will not go down alone, I'll take my enemies with me." Ahmadinejad is spitting out venom that will kill him after he crushes the desires of an innocent people. Where are the sages of the Iranian policy? Iran is at the brink of a new military strike next fall. Can anything be done before it is too late, before the Iraq scenario reoccurs in Iran, because of the 'arrogance' of Ahmadinejad's policy and those who stand behind his government!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

All around the Axis

Hamas, Hamas, it's a wild world:
Hamas rules Gaza now, but the Palestinian Islamists must be on guard against the new plots of the enemies of Islam.
Say it isn't so!
Arab media can often be mistaken for an arm of the Pentagon press, with glib reports describing Iraqi resistance to the occupation as “insurgency” or “terrorism”. . .
Syria, "base for steadfastness":
The Egyptian weekly Newspaper Al-Osboa has underlined that Syria is still constitute a base for resistance, steadfastness and adherence to the firm pan-Arab stances as she rejects the US-Israeli hegemony and domination schemes, calling on all Arab to stand by Syria in the face of the pressures against her . . .

The paper added that "those who are antagonizing Syria must feel ashamed of themselves after their role become only to prepare the Lebanese arena for a civil war and harm the resistance and open the door in front of the foreign forces to impose its protection on Lebanon and beat the national resistance through a big conspiracy against Syria and Lebanon.
Castro on the length dilemma:
While writing a brief reflection is helpful, in that the hundred and twelve accredited foreign newspapers and press agencies in our country that receive it in advance can publish important parts of its text, long reflections allow me to expound, as extensively as I wish, on concepts I deem important and which provide our people, the main protagonist against any potential aggression, as well as countries facing similar circumstances, the required information to form their own judgment. This dilemma is, for me, a headache.
Kim's bad, he's world-wide:
Round-table talks, lecture, reading session, film show and photo exhibition were held in the Czech Republic, South Africa and Ethiopia from June 7 to 13 on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Kim Jong Il's start of work at the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the 7th anniversary of the publication of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration . . .

Tatek Kassa, chairperson of the Addis Ababa Youth Association of Ethiopia, at the reading session stressed that Korea's reunification is sure to be accomplished in the future thanks to the Songun policy of Kim Jong Il.

The participants of the film show watched Korean film "Brilliant History of Great Leadership."
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

(North) Korean News: "Japan's Foolish Attempt Blasted"

Those Japanese--when will they ever learn?
The Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently created a "measure committee for election studies" led by its minister in a bid to hold responsible posts at international organizations. This is nothing but a foolish attempt.

Rodong Sinmun Friday observes this in a signed commentary.

It goes on:

It is ridiculous for Japan to give itself airs though it is not qualified for those posts and has an inglorious past behind it.

It was reported that the objective of the above-said "committee" is to win the elections to be held at international organizations.

It is the foolish calculation of the Japanese authorities that if Japan or Japanese holds responsible posts at international organizations including UN, this will help the country emerge a "country enjoying respect from world community" in name and reality.

They are of the view that Japan fails to obtain the above-said posts at international organizations due to its shrinking contributions to them and the dwindling amount of government development aid to other countries. They seem to contend that money decides everything. This is the most vivid expression of the economic animal's way of thinking.

Responsible posts at international organizations including the UN are not something to be bought or sold and one cannot hold such post as one pleases. What matters is whether one is qualified for such post. It is in this context that Japan can never be a "country enjoying such respect." Japan should, above all, win confidence from the international community. In other words, Japan should fulfill such commitments as admitting its past crimes and compensating for them. This is the assertion of the unbiased world public opinion, the commentary concludes.
Want more?

Fuller Play to Revolutionary Soldier Spirit Called for:
The revolutionary soldier spirit is the most vivid manifestation of the working-class consciousness which the servicepersons and people of the DPRK should possess, says a signed article of Rodong Sinmun today says.

It goes on:

The People's Army is invincible revolutionary ranks devotedly protecting the Party, the revolution, the country and the people with arms from the formidable imperialist enemy and its revolutionary soldier spirit serves as a powerful weapon for a class struggle.

A high degree of working-class awareness to firmly protect the socialist homeland and revolutionary gains serves as a source of strength encouraging the servicepersons to dedicate their youth and lives to the Party, the leader, the country and the revolution in a do-or-die spirit and courageously pull through any trials.

The last more than decade has been a period in which the political, ideological and military potentials of the Korean revolution have been fully demonstrated thanks to the leading and pivotal role played by servicepersons in defending the country and building socialism. It is the servicepersons who have performed heroic exploits on the forefront of confrontation with the U.S., a struggle decisive of life and death, and taken the lead in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation. They are a mainstay and sentinels for the country and the revolution.

The revolutionary spirit, the revolutionary soldier spirit displayed by them is the most vivid expression of working-class consciousness, the noble spirit of the times which the people of our times should learn from as it is based on the high working-class awareness.

The KPA is ready to counter the enemy's hard-line policy with the toughest stand and return artillery fire for his rifle fire. This transparent working-class consciousness, the staunch spirit of defending the country fully represents the revolutionary soldier spirit.

It is the pride of the servicepersons and people of the DPRK to have such treasured sword for the class struggle as the revolutionary soldier spirit the vitality of which has been fully proved in revolutionary practice.
If only Japan could be like that.

Khaleej Times: "16 camels killed as lightning strikes"

This story just struck my fancy. I hope this finds all your camels safe and healthy:
ABU DHABI — Sixteen camels were killed when lightning hit them near a farmland off Ghayathi in the Western Region yesterday.

The herd owned by Mohammed A’sheer Al Mazroui was stationed atop a sand dune behind his farmland 20 kilometres away from Ghayathi.

Al Khaleej Arabic daily quoted Al Mazroui as saying that the camels were grazing when the sky suddenly became cloudy. Soon it started to rain and a small group of camels broke off from the herd climbing up the sand dune nearby. The lightening and the accompanying thunder virtually shook the whole area and the 16 camels staying atop the dune fell down dead.

Al Mazroui said that the herdsman and the remaining camels in the farmland just few metres from the dune escaped unhurt. He requested all to keep themselves and their animals away from highlands at times of thunder showers.
Good idea.
The Western Region continues to be cloudy. Met sources in Abu Dhabi forecast sporadic rains in the Eastern Region today.

BBC: "BBC man 'seen in explosives belt'"

This story is exquisitely illustrative. The BBC was always something of a hostage to terrorist interests. It is somewhat embarrassing for Hamas, but nothing that a little empty posturing won't remedy. More importantly, what about the ability of an Al-Qaeda affiliate to operate freely? Israel should probably reoccupy Gaza.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said the kidnappers of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston have made a new video showing him wearing an explosives belt.

"In the past they showed him in an orange uniform. Today they showed him with an explosives belt round his waist," Mr Haniya said in Gaza.

The video recording has not been seen in public.

The BBC says it is aware of the reports and is investigating. Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza on 12 March.

Hamas has set a deadline of Monday for the kidnappers to release him.

"We will not allow the continuation of the abduction of the British journalist. The issue of Alan Johnston must end," Mr Haniya said in a speech to his supporters.

He did not explain in what circumstances he had seen the video.

The British Foreign Office said it deplored such footage.[...]

The reporter was abducted by a group calling itself The Army of Islam.

A video was released on 1 June by the previously unknown radical Islamist group, in which Alan Johnston said he was in good health and was being treated well.

The Army of Islam has demanded the release of Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-born Islamic cleric who is suspected of having close links with al-Qaeda and is held by the UK government as a threat to national security.[...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Linkim 6/24/07

Haveil Havalim 122 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Michael Freund: "Take back Gaza now."

EOZ: "The West believes in PalArabs more than Arabs do"

Martin Kramer says, "Reread this speech five years later."

Steyn: "We've replaced Rushdie in hiding"

Israel Matzav: "'A Mighty Heart' sent away with a whimper"

Seraphic Secret: "Mighty Jihad Propaganda"

Daled Amos alerts us to "Name Abuse"

BobFromBrockley examines "Provocation"

Jew-ish on Florence Foster Jenkins

Saturday, June 23, 2007

IRIB: "Muslims condemn Btitish [sic] heinous move"

Great title. Great picture. Great typo.
Religious groups in Pakistan staged rallies across the country on Friday to protest over the Britain's heinous decision to decorate Salman Rushdie with knighthood.

Demonstrators in some parts burnt effigies of Rushdie and British flags.

Some protesters called on the government to expel the British high commissioner, and some even called for breaking diplomatic ties if the British government did not withdraw the title.

The speakers said Britain has hurt the religious sentiments of more than one billion Muslims.
Muslims are really into this billion business, aren't they?
Traders in Lahore announced a reward of 15 million rupees for anyone who kills Salman Rushdie.

The announcement was made during a protest by traders at Press Club.

In Karachi hundreds of political activists, traders and students rallied against the British government's move.

The Chief Minister of southern province of Sindh, Arbab Ghulamrahim, on Thursday announced returning of medals won by his grandfather and other relatives to the British high commission.

Rallies were also staged in major cities Quetta, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Multan, Fisalabad, Rawalpindi and Dera Ismail Khan.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani National Assembly on Friday passed its second resolution to condemn the move.

"The British government has not withdrawn the title which has not only disappointed the entire Pakistani nation but has also hurt it," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afgan Niazi told the Assembly.
I am always interested in the word "hurt" in these contexts. Is the desire to put someone in his place called "hurt"?
"This house again calls on the British government and its Prime Minister Tony Blair to immediately withdraw the title... and tender an apology to the Muslim world."
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, June 22, 2007

Arab News: "Middle East Peace: Don’t Pin Hopes on Peres"

A lurch in the direction of extremism and dropped definite articles. Is this the new face of Arab News?
Betraying their total ignorance of the colonial mindset of the Israeli leaders in general, some Arab politicians have welcomed the victory of Shimon Peres in the recent presidential election in Israel. An invariable feature of the Israeli decision-making is that only policies that serve the expansionist and colonial interests of Zionism are adopted and implemented by their leaders whether they are described as hawkish or dovish as in the case of Peres.

The office of president in Israel is ornamental. It does not have any role in the running of the government.

A basic qualification of a successful leader in Israel, seemingly, is that the blood of hundreds of innocent Palestinians or other Arabs should be on his hands. This description would be quite fitting to leaders such as Pinhas Lavon, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert.

Despite several attempts Shimon Peres could not become Israel’s prime minister except for once. This was because he did not meet the above specifications as this Polish immigrant lacked a military background. He contested for the post of prime minister from 1977 to 1996 but succeeded only once in 1984 — that too only for two years on a rotational basis. The second time he was promoted to the post after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995.

But this does not mean that Peres is an avowed pacifist as he has been portrayed in the media. He has been shifting between the doves and hawks in Israeli politics. His political leaning was determined by the direction of the political trends in the country.

Peres was one of the masterminds of the aggression against Egypt in 1956 and he supported the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in 1982, though shortly after that he joined the ranks of the “Peace Now” movement condemning the Israeli incursion into Lebanon. While he was a major partner in the Oslo peace agreement in 1993 and 1995, he was also the spiritual father of the settlements in the West Bank. And not to be missed is the fact that Peres subscribed to the idea of a security zone in South Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s. He was also reported to be a participant in the notorious Qana massacres.

Peres and Gen. Moshe Dayan take the credit for kicking off a nuclear race in the Middle East and placing the region in the shadow of a nuclear war. It was after Peres was named the deputy director general of the defense department in 1952 that he took steps to build a nuclear reactor in Israel. Ignoring opposition from various quarters he started designing an atomic reactor in utmost secrecy.

Despite the fact that he was instrumental in making Israel the sole nuclear power of the region with hundreds of weapons of mass destruction, Peres was defeated in several elections. The last was in 2000 when he ran for president. In that election Likud Party’s Moshe Katsov was elected. However Peres became the deputy prime minister in 2007 after his rival withdrew from the election fray. Afterward he also became the president of Israel.

Though international Zionist movement, which established a Jewish homeland in the midst of the Arabs, declares publicly that it upholds the international values of freedom and human rights, it violates every one of them when dealing with the Palestinians and Israel’s other Arab neighbors.
Including the right to definite articles.
On the one hand, while the Zionist movement protects the Western interests in the region, it orders the political leaders in Israel to achieve the basic Zionist goals of territorial expansion to annex all the lands mentioned in their mythologies. It is because of this reason every government in Israel, Labor, Likud, or a coalition of various parties, always surrenders to the uncompromising dictates of the international Zionism. That is why it is stupid to believe that peace will return to the Middle East if Peres becomes the head of state in Israel.
Of course, this English is probably better than the State Department's Arabic.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tehran Times: Souls lacerated on complicity rocks

The author of this thing is one Jason Miller, and he's Iran's kind of guy. Via Mehr News:
Each day untold millions of U.S. Americans unwittingly immerse themselves in an intellectual, social, cultural, economic, political and spiritual cesspool so rancid and toxic that even microbes with the most voracious appetites for human waste, vomit, and inanimate flesh would shun this infinitely repulsive sewer.
Daily Kos?
Many highly qualified and intelligent researchers, analysts, and authors have written books, essays, and reports documenting the astounding multitude and variety of crimes committed by the United States throughout its history. Since a nation is an entity comprised of numerous elements and dynamics, we can’t simply blame the government, the Republicans, the Religious Right, the Democrats, George Bush, Bill Clinton, or any one particular component.
Right, and the components keep trying to fob the blame off on the elements and dynamics.
Therefore, nearly all U.S. Americans bear a degree of responsibility. Obviously, some (i.e. Bush and Cheney) are far more culpable than others because they wield such tremendous power and act with a conscienceless, cynical awareness of the suffering they are inflicting on the Earth and its sentient inhabitants.
So? Nobody likes smart-aleck sentient inhabitants.
Since only about 4% of the population shares Bush’s sociopathic inability to experience empathy or guilt, what is this powerful siren call that motivates so many inherently decent human beings to repeatedly lacerate their souls upon the jagged rocks of complicity in acts that inflict unnecessary suffering upon billions of humans and animals?

How did we become a statistical aberration to the extent that we are a nation of resource-rich, technologically-advanced, mean-spirited, intellectually-stunted moral barbarians where a significant percentage of the population behaves as sociopaths by directly supporting or apathetically ignoring the evils in which they are complicit?
Listening to John Denver records?
Is it something in our water? Are we genetic misfits? Does our population represent the vanguard of the next step in humanity’s moral “evolution”?

Sarcasm aside, the underlying cause of our depravity is our false, skewed and fractured consciousness which our malignant system begins hammering into our minds as we draw our first breath. This relentless psychological assault persists until we take our final gasp of air.[...]

Capitalism, which has evolved into its utterly reprehensible advanced stages here in the United States, is intellectually buttressed by the ridiculous notion that people acting on two of the most despicable traits of humanity, greed and selfishness, will enhance the commonweal. The current state of affairs in the United States demonstrates otherwise. Despite the slight doses of socialism which have mitigated the abject suffering inflicted by relatively unfettered capitalism during the Gilded Age, and despite the fact that we are the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity, there are still over a million homeless human beings, millions experience hunger and food insecurity, nearly fifty million lack a viable means to obtain our outrageously expensive medical care, our leading indicators of health are amongst the lowest of industrialized nations, urban public school systems are in a state of crisis and decay, and, as Katrina so clearly indicated, we are content to spend most of our hard-earned tax dollars on industrialized murder, blame victims, and leave the suffering to die, even here at home.[...]

(North) Korean News: "U. S. Moves to Stifle Syria under Fire"

It's a wonderful day for an Axis-hood:
The situation has become very tense in Lebanon due to the clashes between the government troops and radical Palestinian armed forces. The Bush forces are asserting that Syria is supporting the Palestinian armed forces linked with "Al Qaeda".

Rodong Sinmun Thursday observes in a signed commentary: The pressure put by the U.S. upon Syria over the issue of the current Lebanese situation is aimed at branding Syria as a "terrorism-sponsor" to internationally isolate it and, furthermore, overthrow its state system.

Citing facts to prove that the U.S. has long been keen to bring down anti-imperialist independent Syria, regarding it as a thorn in its flesh, the commentary goes on:

Availing itself of the crisis, the U.S. is working hard to make the pro-Syrian forces as weak as possible in a bid to completely free Lebanon of the influence of Syria and link this country with "terrorism" and thus stamp out the international forces supporting it.

The public opinion warns that the deteriorating situation in Lebanon and the U.S. pressure put upon Syria, taking advantage of it, send a danger signal that a war may break out in the region.

The Arab countries including Syria are denouncing the U.S. for frantically escalating its pressure upon Syria under the pretext of the Lebanese problem and heightening their vigilance against it.

With nothing can the U.S. justify its anti-Syria moves and evade its responsibility for the crisis in Lebanon.

Gitmo Poetry Preview II

Our sampling of the anxiously-awaited Guantanamo Anthology continues with one of the more paradoxical portraits of Gitmo itself. Buoyed up by a sense of literary triumph over Neocon-induced adversity, the poet pictures the prison as a "happy hoosegow place" and even a "blessed cage":

This poet warehouse, this abode of bards,
Of literary plowshares, lately swords,
Semtex quatrains, martyrdom denied,
This fortress built by Cheney for himself
That he might better wield the hand of war,
This happy hoosegow place, this little world,
This holstered sidearm worn with green fatigues
A prop for UN oratory bursts
To bang the lectern with and wave around
And thus dispel the vile Imperialist plots--
This blessed cage, this hole, this clink, this Gitmo

Indeed, many of the tear-stained letters of the inmates have expressed this sense of joyful literary triumph overcoming the misery of unjust incarceration. The inmates spend their time in lively aesthetic discussions. (And if you don't think that's impressive, you try convincing a Takfirist that Alexandrine couplets went out with Chapman.) The Al-Buraq Bard Brigade Anthology will undoubtedly require multiple volumes since many of the more ambitious poetic projects were not completed in time for Volume One. One epic poem, reportedly, began "Arms and the Muhjadeen I sing . . ."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Gitmo Poetry Preview!

Undoubtedly a number of bloggers have gone into action since news broke of the impending release of of a poetry anthology composed by Guantanamo Bay residents. It is hard to imagine that any of the more industrious bloggers have even gone to sleep now that the rush is on to get imaginary satiric examples into existence as quickly as possible. I'm not such a devoted or industrious blogger that I will pass up a good night's sleep, but I humbly offer the following:

Whenas in niqab Fullah goes
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows
The Fard effacement
of her nose

When next I spy
All of a sudden bravely rent
I sigh, "Alas, work accident."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What's so funny . . .

As I walk through
The Dar al-Harb
Searchin' for an end to the Zionist entity
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Are there only schemes and plots and conspiracies?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?
And as I walk on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the Unity?
Ummah Unity
'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?
So Hamas is strong
And Fatah is trusted
But where is the Unity?
Ummah Unity
'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?
What's so funny 'bout Semtex, Qassams & Hudna?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Fars News: "Britain's Efforts Incapable of Reviving Salman Rushdie"

There are so many ironies to this story. The Ayatollah's fatwa, we are told, turned Rushdie into a "disgusting corpse," but the worms have long since finished digesting Khomeini while Rushdie is not only still among the living, but likely to also outlive the current Ayatollah. From the Fars News site, which may pose security threats:
Vice-Speaker of the Iranian Parliament said the efforts made by Britain's Queen Elizabeth or other senior officials to revive Salman Rushdie would fail as the historical verdict issued by Imam Khomeini against him has already turned Rushdie into a disgusting corpse.

Addressing an open session of the Islamic Consultative Assembly here in Tehran on Tuesday, Mohammad Reza Bahonar lambasted Queen Elizabeth and described the knighting of Salman Rushdie as an unwise action.

"The United Kingdom has embarked on such an action because it imagines that it still enjoys a huge awe as a super power of the 19th century, thinking that the world still attaches importance to the titles granted by the British queen," he continued.
The Muslim part of the world is certainly taking knighthood seriously, isn't it?
"This is while all the world people, even Britons themselves, know very well that this country has now become a colony of the US administration," the prominent lawmaker added.

He reminded that the move has hurt the religious feelings and sentiments of the great Islamic Ummah (nation), and continued, "We don't know what interests and fruits such unwise moves of the United Kingdom have brought to the world and British people."

Bahonar warned that such moves intensify Muslims' anger and hatred for the British government.

He further condemned knighthood of Salman Rushdie as a hostile move against the great Islamic Ummah.

Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie insulted Muslims' beliefs and sparked protests in Muslim countries around the world with his book 'The Satanic Verses'. In 1989 the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini issued a verdict of death sentence against him for blasphemy.
So much for Rushdie. Back to railing about Zionist plots.
Elsewhere, the legislator expressed regret over the bloody clashes among Palestinian groups, warning that such events would ruin the precious achievements of the national unity government which could end the domestic clashes among Palestinians.

"It is now over half a century that Zionists continued violation of all international rules and regulations mainly due to the overall supports the regime receives from the US," he mentioned.

The legislative official viewed Zionists as the enemy of Palestine and the world of Islam, and stressed, "The conflicts among Palestinians have undoubtedly been designed by the US and Zionist agents and these clashes are not acceptable at all."[...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cause of Gaza crisis? "disrespect toward Muslim women wearing hijab"!

You can't make this stuff up. How did this apparently crucial factor escape all Western analysts? From Mehr News:
A Hamas spokesman said on Tuesday that the group is not seeking to monopolize power or to keep the Gaza Strip under its control.

Ismail Rezwan asked all Islamic countries, and especially those in the Arab world, to help end the conflict between Palestinian political factions.

He said “organized terrorist acts and disrespect toward Muslim women wearing hijab” were the main causes of the current crisis.
Follow that? The reference is to hijab disrespect in general, not particularly in Gaza.
“Organized operations meant to destroy headquarters and centers affiliated to Hamas provoked our reaction,” Rezvan told the Mehr News Agency.

Even the intelligent members of the Palestine Liberation Organization did not approve of some of the actions of PLO loyalists and condemned them, he added.

“We (Hamas) announce that we are committed to all agreements signed between Hamas and Fatah.”

“We are committed to negotiations” to resolve the current crisis, he said, adding, “Dialogue is the only way to resolve the current problem.”

“A serious and sincere dialogue should start within the framework of support for the Palestinian nation.”

Fatah and Hamas should implement the previously agreed documents and start dialogue on reforming the Palestinian security services, he said.

He suggested that the Palestinian Authority should have a national army that would only take national interests into consideration and would avoid being influenced by political factionalism.

Hamas and Fatah held talks and reached some agreements, but the problem was that these agreements were not implemented, he explained.

In line with the Mecca Agreement, the cabinet of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya resigned to pave the way for the formation of a national unity government, but no actions were taken by the Fatah movement, the Hamas official complained.
It is probably a matter of days before we see that "national unity government." They just have to implement some hijab respect.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gimmel Tammuz Round-up

Aussie Echo

Mystical Paths

Shaarei Tzedek


Arutz Sheva

Torah Quiz Blog


Fars News: "Hamas Warns Occupiers in West Bank"

(Fars News resizes your browser window and may present a security threat.) The threatening tone of this item is a departure from some of the bland articles that have appeared recently in the English versions of Iranian Press sites. Notice the reference to Jimmy Carter:
Representative of the Palestinian Hamas Movement to Tehran warned that in case occupiers invade the West Bank, the Qassam battalions of his movement will give a crushing response to such invaders as it did in Gaza.

Speaking in a press conference at FNA here in Tehran on Sunday, Abu Osameh al-Mo'tee noted the recent incidents in Gaza and assured that the Ezzeddin Qassam battalions of Hamas are now in full control in the region.

"This war is not against Fattah or its members, rather it is a fight against a few number of individuals from Fattah movement who have misused their security posts and embarked on taking aggressive measures, including massacre of a large number of people," he stressed.

The Hamas official also added that the said rebels who have formed a grouplet are in contact with the Zionist regime of Israel and the US, and continued, "The grouplet has received weapons and military equipment from Israel and huge financial aids from the US and this is an established fact known by everyone."

He further reminded that General Keith Dayton, the US military coordinator in occupied Palestine, has recently demanded the US congress to provide the said grouplet with a $60 million aid while Israel rushed to equip the agents of the coup de tat with weapons and arsenals.

"And all these aids are aimed to smash democracy in Palestine," the Hamas official underscored.

Reminding that Hamas succeeded in wining over 60% of the seats in the parliamentary elections in Palestine last year, he said, "And the US was displeased with the results of the elections. Since then, the US cooperated with Israel and strove to topple the Palestinian government while many world officials and figures, including the former US President Jimmy Carter, approved the healthy nature and transparency of the said parliamentary elections in Palestine."

Reminding US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's call on the United States' internal agents to force Hamas to give up power, he said, "These events made us adopt a decisive decision to draw a rapid Strike plan to end activities of this grouplet which had irritated and tortured people and troubled their everyday life through continued crimes."

Al-Mo'tee said that the leaders of the grouplet left for the West Bank of the Jordan River three to four days after the start of the clashes, and warned, "They intend to implement their predefined missions in the West Bank, which includes sabotage operations and criminal acts."

"In the last three days a number of 300 cases of aggressions against the civil bodies, schools and parliament as well as abductions by these agents have been reported which have all been carried out under the cover of the security services affiliated to the Self-Rule authorities operating under Mahmoud Abbas," he continued.

He also stated that the presence of the occupying troops in the West Bank facilitates such criminal acts and operations of sabotage by the said group, and underlined, "We take the US, the Zionist regime and international community which supported this aggressive grouplet fully responsible for the recent incidents in Palestine and similar incidents in future."
A condemnation of the "international community." Interesting.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Maan News: "PFLP radio station in Gaza City is robbed"

Don't they have any respect for Carlos the Jackal?
The PFLP-affiliated Ash Sha'b radio station in Gaza City was burgled on Friday evening.

The station's board of directors issued a statement saying that an unidentified mob ransacked the station's headquarters on Jamal Abd An Nasser street in Gaza City and stole the contents of the building, which are estimated to mount to $70,000.

The chair of the board of directors, Tho il Faqar Swear, condemned the assault and held the "parties in charge" responsible for the robbery.
Among the stolen items was the real name of Tho il Faqar Swear, who now has to use a silly back-up name.

Source of Israel's technological success? Availability of Palestinians to test weapons on!

A recent Thomas Friedman article, available for only $4.95, makes some admiring observations about Israeli technological success. Naomi Klein writing in (you guessed it) the Guardian, responds, speaking truth to Israeli technological power:
[...] Many of the country's most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel's status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of 24-hour-a-day showroom, a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war. And the reason Israel is now enjoying supergrowth is that those companies are busily exporting that model to the world . . .

And that is why the chaos in Gaza and the rest of the region doesn't threaten the bottom line in Tel Aviv, and may actually boost it. Israel has learned to turn endless war into a brand asset, pitching its uprooting, occupation and containment of the Palestinian people as a half-century head start in the "global war on terror" . . .

Since Israel began its policy of sealing off the occupied territories with checkpoints and walls, human rights activists have often compared Gaza and the West Bank to open-air prisons. But in researching the explosion of Israel's homeland security sector, a topic explored in greater detail in my forthcoming book, it strikes me that they are something else too: laboratories where the terrifying tools of our security states are being field-tested. Palestinians - whether living in the West Bank or what the Israeli politicians are already calling Hamastan - are no longer just targets. They are guinea pigs. [...]
I think we're going to be seeing a lot of that small rodent meme.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Linkim 6/17/07

Haveil Havalim 121 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

Smooth Stone gives reasons for continued blogging.

Israel Matzav reports on "4 Katyusha's shot at Kiryat Shmona"--from Lebanon, of course.

: "British body backs inter-species clones"

Martin Kramer describes Rashid Khalidi as a "Gaza blame-thrower."

Dar Al-Hayat: "Palestine's Knights"

Big Pharaoh defines irony.

examines "Gaza Chaos and Consequences"

Tim Blair reports on "Tiles Stolen."

Der Spiegel: "Hope Running Out for Colombian Captives"

IRIB: "Knighthood for Rushdie, clear Islamophobia"

This is not a bad time to remember that Rushdie is a walking audio-visual aid refuting the "handful of extremists" theory of Radical Islam. It took more than a few people on the fringe to force an author into hiding in a Western Country.
The Islamic Republic of Iran on Sunday said knighting Indian-born author Salman Rushdie, one of the most disgusted persons in the Islamic societies, was a clear proof of Islamophobia among high-ranking British officials.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sayed Mohammad-Ali Hosseini made the remark at his weekly press conference in a reaction to knighting Rushdie by British Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday.

Rushdie, 59, was issued with an irrevocable death Fatwa (religious ruling) by Father of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the late Imam Khomeini in 1989.

"The move showed violating the sanctities of Islamic holy sites is not accidental but organized and is conducted with the support and under the guidance of certain western states," Hosseini said.

"Honoring a hated apostate will definitely put the British statesmen against the Islamic societies because it has once again hurt their (Muslims') feelings," the Spokesman added.

Imam Khomeini issued a death sentence against Rushdie 18 years ago over his book "the satanic verses," which insulted Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)

Raise the goal: a rare Judeopundit sports post

When I was in my early teens in the early 70's, the slam dunk replaced the accurate shot as the cool thing to do with a basketball. From then on, all schoolyard basketball goals were inevitably ruined, bent-down by inept would-be slam-dunkers. So I think the 11-foot (rather than 10-foot) high rims used in a recent exhibition game are a great idea. From the AP via Seattle P-I:
[...] Organized by former NBA assistant Tom Newell -- son of former coach and acclaimed big-man instructor Pete Newell -- the exhibition surely won't be remembered for the quality of play, but perhaps for sparking a change.

"I think this will open the professional league's eyes, where they may experiment with it, give it a serious look," said Jim Harrick, the former UCLA coach who was coaching one of the teams.

For the record, Saturday's exhibition ended with a 90-60 victory for the "gold" team. Billbe, a 6-foot-11 center who played at American University, scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

But the goal for Newell was to examine how the game was different with the taller rims. Was there more passing and spacing? Was teamwork at more of a premium and less of a focus on individual play? Was a challenge presented to the players, all of which had some college experience, and could they adapt?

The answer seemed to be a resounding yes. [...]
Another good current article at Seattle P-I deals largely with sports and intellectual property lawsuit "madness."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Guardian wise to plots of the Big Satan

Peter Beaumont, "foreign affairs editor" of the Guardian, explains in a current article that the only problem with electing Hamas was that "it didn't quite reflect the wishes of Washington and the international community." He concludes:
[...] The reality is that the only people who are really behind Salam Fayyad are the European and US diplomats who have long sung his praises behind the scenes to any journalist prepared to listen. So yesterday President Bush and the other members of the Quartet got what they wanted. Abbas trooped dutifully in to see the US consul-general in Jerusalem with Mohammed Dahlan, the man widely credited with beginning the cycle of violence in Gaza, in tow. And when they emerged, the boycott of US monies to the Palestinian government had been lifted.

It is hard not to be cynical. Palestinian society was squeezed until it hurt - punished as a whole for voting for the wrong party. And when the inevitable explosion occurred last week, Abbas finally fired Hamas, as the US has been encouraging him to do amid his months of dithering.

So which was the real coup? Hamas's bloody attack on the violent gangsters allied to Fatah who have terrorised Gaza for a year? Or Abbas's unconstitutional moves yesterday with America's backing? [...]
Beaumont would actually benefit from some cynicism about Hamas.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Opinion Journal has a good antidote to this sort of thinking.

Maan News: "Fatah spokesperson alleges that Hamas is armed and funded by Israel"

From our friends the moderates of Fatah:
The spokesperson of the Fatah movement in Tulkarem, Samir Nayfa, on Friday warned Hamas against continuing its "conspiracies against the Palestinian people and neglecting Palestinian unchangeable principles."

Nayfa said "in the absence of the siege on the Palestinian people, Hamas would have been unable to smuggle millions of US dollars into the Gaza Strip, through tunnels. The money which flowed into Hamas' treasury was spent on buying arms and favour."

He continued, "The Hamas leadership betrayed the people and instead of paying the employees' salaries, the money was spent on the death brigades of Qassam and the Executive Force, who mutinied against the Palestinian Authority and planted death and destruction on the streets of the Gaza Strip."

Nayfa warned of an expected deal between Hamas and the Israeli Olmert government to release the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and BBC reporter, Alan Johnston. He said "Hamas might announce that Shalit disappeared amidst the state of chaos in Gaza Strip, or they might announce that he ran away." He added "Hamas might go to the extreme of announcing that Fatah people helped Shalit run away."

Nayfa said that all these expected Hamas plans have one goal; to reward Israel for supporting Hamas to smuggle weapons and millions of US dollars into the Gaza Strip.

"while Hamas and its leadership called for help due to lack of funding; they were preparing themselves with arms and supplies"

Tariq Alhomayed, Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, is one author who does not see any silver linings in current events in Gaza. The closing paragraphs of a current article make an important point about funding:
. . . while Hamas and its leadership called for help due to lack of funding; they were preparing themselves with arms and supplies. This means that there are those who fund Hamas incessantly since it was more prepared than the legitimate authority itself. Undoubtedly, the financier is Iran.

Today, no one in our region has control over Hamas except Iran, the financial sponsor, and Syria, where Khaled Meshaal [the political chief of Hamas] lives. This means that this entangled web leads back to two states, namely Syria and Iran.

After all this, we can safely say that the biggest loser will be the Palestinian cause and the disappearance of the dream of a Palestinian state for an entire generation at best. We must be ready for the upcoming earthquake in our Arab world, intellectually, militarily and politically.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Clearance Sale on Silver Linings

Optimism is a good character trait. Martin Indyk, for instance, writing in the Washington Post, sees the following possibilities in recent events in Gaza:
As chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is empowered to negotiate with Israel over the disposition of the West Bank. Once he controls the territory, he could make a peace deal with Israel that establishes a Palestinian state with provisional borders in the West Bank and the Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza could compare their fate under Hamas's rule with the fate of their West Bank cousins under Abbas -- which might then force Hamas to come to terms with Israel, making it eventually possible to reunite Gaza and the West Bank as one political entity living in peace with the Jewish state.
Yehuda Litani, writing at, concludes
. . . the new signals from the Gaza Strip constitute a clear message to all of us; a message that should be examined.

What is almost certain is that Gaza residents are sick and tired of their current leaders of all camps, and maybe, just maybe, they seek to turn a new leaf in their relationship with us.
Another author also sees promise in "decoupling" the West Bank and Gaza. He suggests:
. . . if there is a silver-lining to the current Hamas-Fatah fighting, it is that this conflict has put into the open the reality that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are truly two distinct entities.
We should probably be skeptical of silver linings that involve the idea of clarifying or simplifying victories for the bad guys, realities at long lost coming out into the open. By withdrawing from Lebanon under Barak, Israel was supposed to gain the right to unambiguously fight its enemies from behind recognized borders. We recently saw how much recognition Israel got for its supposedly disambiguated rights. So just as there was no clarifying and simplifying silver lining in the withdrawal from Gaza and the election of Hamas, there is no real reason to look for one here.

Fatah will probably resign itself to a Hamas monopoly on "security" in Gaza and a new "unity government" will probably be declared, accompanied by demands for legitimacy and requests for money. The apologists for the Palestinians will quickly forget the appalling brutality that we all witnessed in recent days, and we will be back to a more dangerous version of business as usual. Optimism is a good character trait anyway, but the buyer should be beware of the current clearance sale on silver linings.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Someone at Daily Kos writes that "The Hamas victory in Gaza represents a victory for Palestinian democracy over the proxy forces of the occupation, the Palestinian Contras."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

IRNA: "Zionists, occupiers behind Samarra crime, says Leader"

The Tunguska Event is more our style:
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Thursday expressed condolences on the occasion of Wednesday's sacrilege to the holy shrines in Iraq and considered the occupiers and Zionists the main masterminds behind this 'big crime.'

The holy shrines of Shiite Imams, Ali al-Naqi (AS) and Hassan al-Askariya (AS) in the Iraqi city of Samarra were attacked Wednesday morning for the second time by terrorists. The holy shrines were first attacked on February 22, 2006.

"While being vigilant in the face of dangerous divisive policies of enemies, the ulema and dignitaries in the world of Islam and all Muslims, particularly the Iraqi people – Shia and Sunni - should maintain self-restraint and amity with their Muslim brethren more than ever," the Supreme Leader said in a message issued on the tragic event.

The criminal seditionists once against committed another crime, said the Leader adding the explosion at the holy shrines and the sacrilege to the Askari shrines have pit the world of Islam against a horrible conspiracy aimed at fanning the flames of a civil war in Iraq and engaging Muslim states in bloody religious and sectarian events.

The Leader said, "The disgraceful and blind-hearted agents behind this big crime, whether they are remaining stooges of Saddam's Baathist regime or the beguiled Wahhabi and Salafi fanatics, it cannot be doubted that the intelligence services of the occupiers and Zionists are the main masterminds of these heinous schemes. [...]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Linguistic Juche character protected from annoying phrases

We have noted previously that the North Koreans are very keen on a linguistic purity. (North) Korean News again reminds us to smash the linguistic plots of the Imperialists in an article entitled "All Koreans Called upon to Preserve Their Mother Tongue":
It is an urgent requirement for protecting and strengthening the national character to preserve the national language and make an effective use of it at present.

Rodong Sinmun today says this in a signed article . . .

A nation can develop independently only when it preserves the purity of its language. The commonness of the language along with one and the same blood makes it possible to preserve the homogeneity of the nation. To preserve the purity of the language is, therefore, of weighty importance in protecting the national language and achieving national unity and development.

Preserving the national language and making an effective use of it present themselves as an urgent issue at present in view of the reckless and crafty moves of the imperialists to obliterate national languages, the article says, and goes on:

The imperialists are now working hard to obliterate the national character as well as Juche character of other countries and nations under the brigandish signboard of "globalization".

Their loudmouthed "globalization" of language is aimed at integrating diverse national languages into Western languages and assimilating and subordinating all nations to them in a bid to realize their hegemonic ambition with ease.

The moves of the imperialists to "globalize" languages are part of their operations to obliterate other nations. Recent years witnessed the disappearance of various kinds of languages from the earth. This requires each country and nation to protect their own mother tongues and make the best use of them.
This article undoubtedly inspired the Infuriating Phrase Competition at the Daily Telegraph. Readers were ask to submit samples of writing containing phrases that threatened the Juche character of English. Here is one of the winners:
Let’s stop obsessing and get down to the nitty gritty of fleshing out the gender issues. John. I’m wanting to hear inclusiveness and ethnicity here. A raft of blue sky thinking to challenge accepted orthodoxies. The bottom line is about empowerment and at the end of the day getting up to speed working 24/7 towards a coalition of understanding through best practice. This can only be fully achieved if the glass ceiling, in inverted commas, is transformed into a level playing field where the goal posts cannot be moved without leaving a substantial carbon footprint which inevitably would consign us all to the expediency of existing between a rock and a hard place. We must pick up the ball and run because we can no longer wait for the smoking gun of the next denial of service attack to consign us all to the wheely bin of history.
More in this vein here.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

JTA: French town names Barghouti honorary citizen

Well, throw me out the window and shoot my kneecaps if those French aren't just the most annoyingest things, the non-Sarkozy-voting ones anyway:
A French town reportedly has extended honorary citizenship to a jailed Palestinian terrorist leader.

Pierrefitte, a district north of Paris, decided last month to make Marwan Barghouti an honorary citizen, Ma'ariv reported Wednesday. Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for masterminding Al-Aksa Brigade attacks against Israel.

The newspaper quoted Mayor Catherine Hanriot, a member of the French Communist Party, as saying that Barghouti "pays day after day for his political commitment."

French Jewish groups have contested the decision.

Palestinian Chronicle: Palestinians as Hamsters

One often despairs of seeing truly scientific coverage of current events in Gaza. Many of the most valuable insights into human behavior were actually obtained by doing experiments on rats and other small rodents, but what author has applied such insights to the current situation? Now, at last, the value of rodent-derived studies has been affirmed. And this, perhaps, is the silver lining in the current infighting between Fatah and Hamas: the horizons of scientific knowledge are being expanded:
One law of nature is that if organisms are crowded together in a confined area with limited freedom to move or expand, they will inevitably turn on each other. This is already happening with our hamsters, which continue to reproduce in exponential numbers. Now, with ten furry rodents in a cage designed for two, the critters are constantly flipping over each other, biting one another and pushing each other off the treadmill in a territorial bid to claim their own slice of space in their cramped quarters.

At the risk of oversimplifying the otherwise complex situation, the Gaza Strip is more or less a huge hamster cage, its inhabitants viciously vying over exaggerated seats of power and positions, each side ready and willing to spill the blood of their neighbors in the name of their distorted cause.

The clashes between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed a brief lull in the past few weeks when Israel pounded the Strip instead, have resurfaced with a vengeance. According to Palestinian media sources, nearly 40 people have been killed in the clashes since Monday morning alone. Scores more have been injured, many of them seriously. Hospital sources in Khan Younis and Gaza City have reported that a number of injuries have been to the lower extremities, namely the knee area, which has resulted in many amputations given the extent of damage. [...]
Here, perhaps, we also see the limitations of the scientific method: no scientist has yet devised a method for inducing hamsters to shoot other hamsters in the kneecaps.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, June 11, 2007

AP: "Hamas is taking control of Palestinian schools"

The Palestinians are becoming more Islamist, which we've known since Hamas was voted in. The mainstream press timidly hints that this is bad from time to time. How bad is it? Is it Al-Qaeda bad? Is it Islamic Brotherhood bad? Is there a difference? This story won't inform you very much about how to make an overall assessment of what this means, but it contains many interesting and useful facts:
Palestinian children spend more of their school day studying Islam. Critical jobs in public education are filled by Islamic stalwarts. A once-banned social studies reader, crammed with hard-line rhetoric, is now in classrooms.

During a year in power, the Islamic Hamas movement has begun taking control of Palestinian schools and is making changes.

Hamas leaders insist they are not trying to indoctrinate children. But moderate Palestinians say Hamas' goal is nothing less than shaping the political views of future generations.

It's a battle for the Palestinian soul, part of a wider Hamas campaign to expand its influence in all spheres of public life, also including newspapers to unions, said Hanan Ashrawi, a secular former minister of higher education.

"You are seeing the gradual transformation of a largely secular national ... education system and curriculum into a more ideological, closed system," said Ashrawi.

Hamas shares power with the moderate Fatah movement it defeated in last year's election, and the terms of that coalition will keep it in control of the Education Ministry for three more years.

Hamas doesn't have completely free rein in the schools. It's being scrutinized by Fatah and by the largely secular Palestinian intelligentsia. Ashrawi, now an independent legislator, says she has asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a moderate who heads Fatah, to hand control of the curriculum to an independent commission of experts, but has gotten no commitment.
It is in Abbas's contract, I understand, that he has to be called "moderate" once per article. Fatah includes something called, I think, the Al-Aqsa Moderate Brigades. Maybe it was Martyrs Brigades. Anyway, it just conducted an elaborate joint operation with Islamic Jihad.
"We are not making education more Islamic," Education Minister Nasser Shaer said before he was arrested by Israel in an anti-Hamas sweep last month. But he is also under pressure within his movement to apply a clearly Islamic, non-Western curriculum. For example: Hamas firebrands want to eliminate U.S. history from a textbook.

So far, Shaer has made only a few changes. He has increased religion classes from three to four a week and allowed a social studies reader with a strong Islamic bent to be used in the classroom.
That pressure is having results.
He has focused mostly on moving Hamas loyalists into key positions in the education system, presumably preparing the ground for tighter control in the future.

When a high-level education job opens up, it goes to a Hamas supporter, with appointees often leapfrogging over other candidates with stronger credentials. Eight of 14 West Bank school districts are now controlled by Hamas, from none a year ago, and the new religion requirement meant hiring some 300 graduates of Islamic teachers' colleges that are Hamas strongholds, Fatah educators say.

Hamas created another power base in education by forming its own teachers' union to compete with the one controlled by Fatah. It claims to have signed up some 18,000 teachers, including those in private schools, but also many of the 40,000 teaching in public schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas teachers, many sporting the movement's trademark beards, recently marched through Ramallah, chanting, "Let's restore glory to religion and dignity to the teacher."
Marching and chanting is good exercise.
In some cases, girls are pushed by pro-Hamas teachers to pray and wear head scarves, although no law requires it. Hala Barghouti, 11, from the village of Deir Yassin, said she is transferring from a public school to a private Christian one next year to escape the nagging.

Political tension inside the schools is rising, others say.

Tenth-grader Sumara Awaiseh, a Fatah supporter in a Ramallah school, said he gets into fights with pro-Hamas classmates. "They'll chant something against Fatah and that's how fights get started," he said.

While Fatah supports a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Hamas refuses to recognize the Jewish state and renounce violence.
Don't sentences like this drive you nuts? Fatah refuses to recognize the Jewish state and renounce violence. Hamas would like the world to become a sort-of Islamic Über-Cambodia. Some Hamasniks would, anyway. Others are more extreme.
One of Hamas' first acts after taking control was to lift a ban on private teaching materials, including one that adopts a tough Islamic approach to the conflict with Israel.

That booklet was written by al-Buraq, a Hamas-allied education center shut down by Israel several months ago. The preface says it seeks to "emphasize the Arab and Islamic identity" of the Palestinians, highlight the "brutality of the occupier" and "to create the energy to get rid of all types of occupation."

During the second Palestinian uprising, it says, American cease-fire initiatives "ignored the political rights of the Palestinian people and did not recognize the Palestinian people's right to resistance to regain its rights." In contrast, the draft of a textbook for grades 8-10 on modern Palestinian history, written when Fatah controlled the schools, is a largely matter-of-fact description of events. Fatah educators claim Hamas held up its printing because it's too neutral. Hamas denies it.

Shaer, while removing the ban, hasn't explicitly recommended the al-Buraq booklet to the students -- to the disappointment of the Islamic center which had presumed it now had a sympathetic ear in the ministry. And some Hamas ideologues are getting impatient with the slow pace of change.[...]
Politics, politics--it's the same no matter where you are, right?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad