Deja vu - Judith Apter Klinghoffer
Dr. Judith Apter Klinghoffer taught history and International relations at Rowan University, Rutgers University, the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing as well as at Aarhus University in Denmark where she was a senior Fulbright professor. She is an affiliate professor at Haifa University. Her books include Israel and the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences and , International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights
Saddam Hussein was one of our best allies. If so, I understand why he and his fellow CIA failures did their best to defeat Bush. They were hoping to give Iraq back to our best ally.
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 20:30
As I warned, RESPECT IS NOT WHAT CARTOON INTIFADA IS ELICITING. If Muslims care about their religion, it's time they stand up and do what Wafa dared do, defend it from those who are really hurting it - the violent Islamist.
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 20:31
In short, Britain should yield to none in its pride in having led the way on slavery and having served as a moral force in world affairs. Instead, as Melanie Phillips recounts in London’s Daily Mail, Britain has made the 1807 declaration of slavery’s abolition an exercise in self-abasement, a commemoration of British guilt for its practice rather than a celebration of its abolition.
But this is scarcely new to 21st century Britain. 2005 was the bicentenary of Lord Nelson’s victory over the Franco-Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar, No-one can deny Trafalgar’s finality and significance, coming at the end of a two-year invasion threat to England posed by Napoleonic France, which was then busily subduing the European continent, with England soon to be facing the peril bereft of allies – an early echo of Churchill’s Britain standing alone in 1940.
Yet to judge by the sometimes curiously anemic celebration of this peerless victory, Britain was similarly embarrassed. The Franco-Spanish defeat, which was its only object, was assiduously played down in deference to the sensitivities of both countries. Instead, a reenactment in May 2005 was produced of “an early 19th century sea battle” between a “blue fleet” and a “red fleet,” leaving one to wonder what historical distinction inspired the effort.
Britain’s psychological insecurity has practical ramifications. As Phillips rightly laments, the Britain that as recently as 1982 dispatched half the Royal Navy to reverse Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands has this week responded with tepidity and indecision to the Iranian seizure of 15 Royal Marines in international waters. Three years ago, six Royal Marines and two sailors were seized in the same locality and held for three days before being released. This time, Britain can expect any release to come with a hijacker’s extortionate demand – the release of five Iranian Revolutionary Guards who were captured in Iraq by American troops earlier this year. As Phillips says, Nelson may well be “revolving in his grave” – the more so now that the Royal Navy, which under his command would have dealt with such acts of war with summary audacity, is to be largely moth-balled.
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 15:58
EU: A Golden Anniversary -- and a Hard Reality for France
By Peter Zeihan
The European Union celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome on March 25. To mark the event, 27 heads of government gathered in Berlin, ostensibly to sign a declaration reaffirming the union's values and outlining future goals. Disputes over the document's text, however, proved so divisive that in order to avoid embarrassing refusals the leaders were not even asked to sign it. Meanwhile, the ceremonies were so dull that many officials wandered off into the streets of Berlin well before they concluded.
Europhobes point to such apathy as a perfect example of how Europe has failed. The union, they say, has no future if European presidents and prime ministers cannot even stay in a room long enough to commemorate the union's golden anniversary -- much less sign what in essence was a birthday card. Europhiles look at the same picture and turn it on its head. They argue that the union is so successful and its core features -- peace in Europe and a rich common market -- so entrenched that high-level attention is hardly needed.
Both are right, both are wrong -- and both are missing the point. The European Union has succeeded and failed, not by the standards of the pundits but by the criteria of its founder.
France created the European Union both to protect and assert itself in the geography of the Cold War -- and in that it was wildly successful. But that geography no longer exists, and the union now not only has grown beyond Paris' grasp, but also has fallen under the influence of a power that until recently France controlled.
A French Creation
Located as it is near the west end of the Eurasian landmass, France has always faced the same geopolitical dilemma: It is just large and strong enough to project influence, but not quite large and strong enough to secure its well-being alone. This reality forces France to be proactive in achieving its goals. During the Napoleonic Age, this meant acting aggressively to assert its order on a chaotic Europe and farther abroad. In the first half of the 20th century, it meant being equally aggressive in seeking allies against a region that was developing an order France could not control.
Throughout both periods, however, the French met with defeat after defeat. Napoleonic France was not strong enough to take on the rest of Europe and Russia, while France's Third Republic lacked the strength to defend itself against the other European powers without extensive outside help. Before World War II, France faced a melange of potentially hostile states -- the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy and Russia being only the five most significant.
But in the early post-Cold War years, the very geography of Europe changed. As the dust from World War II settled, France saw a silver lining in the brewing clouds created by the U.S.-Soviet policy of Mutually Assured Destruction. Germany, Italy and Austria were occupied. Spain languished in isolation under Franco's dictatorship. The United Kingdom largely disengaged itself from continental affairs. And most important, the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain was explicitly designed to limit contact between East and West.
After a series of stinging national catastrophes beginning with Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Moscow and culminating with the march by German troops under the Arc de Triomphe, Paris in the late 1940s finally found itself with no rivals.
In such an environment, Paris set out to create an entity that would be large enough to allow France to project power globally, but small enough for it to control. In 1948, France spearheaded the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community. This created the framework for the founding of the European Economic Community in 1957 (the Treaty of Rome), which in turn evolved into the European Union.
French domination of this entire process proved considerably durable, with the first true cracks not appearing until the final days of the Cold War. This should come as no surprise. The European Community/Union was designed explicitly to take advantage of the political geography of the Cold War, so when the Cold War ended, the continent's geography changed. The pond in which France swam enlarged, and the Soviet Union's imperial debris has since proven to be more than Paris can manage.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of challenges to French dominance in Europe. The United Kingdom is a full EU member, the belt of former Warsaw Pact states does not recognize Paris' leading role and expansion into the Balkans has exposed the union to a raft of issues that are challenging to say the least. The greatest challenge to the French project, however, lies in the twin pillars of its foundation.
Germany and Gaullism
Cold War France needed two things to make the European project function: an ideology that bound Paris firmly to the leadership of Europe, and a platform on which it could stand to wield that leadership. France found its answers in war hero Charles de Gaulle and -- ironically -- in its World War II foe.
While de Gaulle did not become France's president until 1959 -- two years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome -- his role as commander of the Free French Forces granted him the gravitas to shape debate within French society in both the Fourth Republic, which he challenged and displaced, and the Fifth Republic, which he forged and led. It was de Gaulle who imprinted on the French mind the idea that France could and should take up a leadership position in Cold War Europe as a counterbalance to both the United States and the Soviet Union. This, in de Gaulle's mind, would provide the kernel from which a European alternative to either superpower could grow.
And he realized he could not do it alone.
Much has been made of the "Franco-German motor of European integration," and rightly so. Even in defeat, Germany remained the industrial powerhouse of Europe while nearly one-quarter of the French population remained in agriculture. Without harnessing Germany's economic muscle (and larger population), France could never have used Europe as a reliable platform.
De Gaulle's strategy, therefore, was simple: Take advantage of Germany's post-war guilt to sublimate German national ambitions completely within France's European project. Use German markets to fuel French industrial expansion. Use German finances to feed French agriculture. And integrate the two states with the other community members to serve French interests.
Despite a number of changes in membership and circumstance, French diplomacy consistently succeeded in convincing the Germans that what was good for Europe (and, by extension, good for France) was good for Germany. France provided the direction and Germany provided the industrial and financial backing; as a result, Europe deepened and broadened.
But after German reunification formally began in 1990, France began to lose its pre-eminent position in European affairs. Yes, Germany remained critical in French thinking regarding Europe; but unlike the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s, when Paris largely determined the German position, reunified Germany began to inject its own preferences -- very quietly -- into European processes. By the time German reunification was completed in 1999, the press began to refer regularly to the Franco-German partnership rather than the Franco-German motor. It was a subtle but critical difference.
No longer divided and occupied by the Cold War superpowers, Germany was again whole and deciding its own policies in its new/old capital of Berlin. The very geography of not only Cold War Europe but also Cold War Germany had changed -- and with that, French hopes for controlling the European agenda began to wane.
During this time, Franco-German relations remained cordial, but the European project began to take a new (German) direction:
Germany flexed its newly reunified muscles in the early 1990s and began meddling in what ultimately blossomed into the Yugoslav wars -- which a more circumspect France did not appreciate.
German diplomats took the lead in crafting the euro -- a currency governed by the same conservative policies used in German, not French, monetary management.
Germany stood to benefit the most, both economically and politically, from expanding the European Union eastward. France was justifiably nervous about such efforts, which limited its financial benefits from the union. It also diluted France's political control of the organization -- the original rationale for creating the union (in the French mind) in the first place.
Germany, not France, is the largest trading partner and political influence on all the states that have joined the union since 1990. Germany, not France, is the global economic powerhouse. And Germany, not France, is able to hold -- indeed, demand -- a robust discussion with any major power of the world on any topic. And all this became the state of affairs before the relatively pro-American Angela Merkel became German chancellor.
French unease with the ongoing evolution of the European Union is not difficult to unearth. President Jacques Chirac, himself a proud and committed Gaullist, has often used the European Union as a scapegoat for France's (or his own) problems. Such an attitude toward an organization that he used to firmly control certainly contributed to France's 2004 defeat of the European constitution (a document written, appropriately, by a Frenchman) in a popular referendum.
What has occurred since 1990 is a subconscious realization in France that the European Union no longer is its exclusive playground -- that the European Union is quite capable of going down paths that France once could have blocked. In fact, with the qualified majority voting structure, France can even be forced down those paths against its will. The organization that France formed to secure its interests is now, at times, perceived to be threatening them. And the country responsible is not one of Chirac's traditional bugaboos, the United Kingdom or the United States, but instead the power that the French leadership held firmly in hand for a half century: Germany.
It is not that the Germany of today holds nefarious intent toward France, simply that it now holds German interests pre-eminent in its policymaking. With Germany undoubtedly the most powerful entity in the union, having Europe's drum reverberating with a deep German bass is a serious problem for Paris.
And it certainly is reflected in French domestic politics. The ideology of Gaullism -- like the organization of the European Union -- was crafted for a different geopolitical reality. With the Cold War dead and the Iron Curtain gone, the idea of French domination of Europe is simply a geographic impossibility. As such, it should come to no surprise that not one of the leading contenders for the French presidency is a Gaullist. The candidate closest to that stance is Nicolas Sarkozy, who while technically Chirac's successor is about as pro-American as a Frenchman can be.
So, with the French-German relationship as changed as the geography of Europe, what becomes of the union? The answer could be clearer than it seems.
French rationale for creating the European Union can ultimately be distilled down to three words: Guarantee French security. While the French effort has obviously made use of economic tools, the goal was political and military in nature. However, there is not a policymaker alive in Berlin who thinks a German bid for political and military dominance of Europe would be met with anything other than terror and rage. Until such anxieties cease to concern German decision-makers, Berlin's goals for the European Union will largely be limited to the economic sphere -- just as they have been since 1990. If Germany can make the union all about economic issues, then its position as Europe's largest economy will do the rest.
There is a reason why Merkel's first summit in her current role as EU president focused on energy security. There is a reason why Germany is the only major eurozone economy that has not called for more political oversight of the European Central Bank (ECB). There is a reason why it was a German who negotiated and wrote the Maastricht Treaty on monetary union. There is a reason why ECB policymakers look first and foremost at German economic data. And there is a reason why the ECB is located in Frankfurt.
So, when thinking of evolutions in the European Union, consider the implications of having the word "euro" replaced with "deutsche mark." For all practical purposes, that is what the euro is.
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 01:48
Barren and uninhabited, Hans Island is very hard to find on a map.
Yet these days the Frisbee-shaped rock in the Arctic is much in demand — so much so that Canada and Denmark have both staked their claim to it with flags and warships.
The reason: an international race for oil, fish, diamonds and shipping routes, accelerated by the impact of global warming on Earth's frozen north.
The flag war is reminiscent of one that has been raging in Spratly Islands between Brunei, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Taiwan has recently decided to use to turtles as means to strengthen its claim. I also recall a 1992 BBC drama positing a war between the major powers over arctic resources in which the US and the EU are fighting on opposite sides. As Andy Markowits so convincingly details in Uncouth Nation, European anti-Americanism far predates the war on terror and the BBC salivating over an European - American war is par for the course.
Fortunately for the rest of us, I believe that the Marxist are again off the mark. Just as 20th century wars were not fought over resources, so neither will 21st century ones and those who believe that possession of strategic resources will protect them should remember the fate of king cotton and king rubber. Personally, I am an agnostic when it comes to climate change. I have difficulty trusting people who cannot predict accurately tomorrow's weather to predict accurately the weather in the next 20, 30 or 50 years. The matter is just too complex. Moreover, all linear projection are always wrong. Does that mean we should not try to limit our carbon emissions? Absolutely not. Fighting climate change is the most politically correct way of describing the emerging consensus that the time has come to put an end to the power of"king oil." So, go, climate changers go. You are more useful than you know. BUT I, for one, would not invest my retirement funds in arctic resource exploration just yet if ever.
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 02:25
The problem with India's self-proclaimed (and wildly premature) declaration of superpower status is that it reflects a complacency about both its present which for many people is dire and its future, noted Fortune magazine. . . .
Go easy on the chatter about becoming the world's top three economies for the moment; first lets secure a place in the super eight.
Unfortunately, I must agree. The latest Indian budget was based on the assumption not only that the Indian economy has been successfully launched but that it needs no further help in the form of additional liberalization. Hence, efforts to grow the pie have been prematurely replaced with efforts to redivide it. Dangerous road especially when taken alongside of such a superior competitor as China.
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 02:42
Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 03:15
To be honest, this is not new and it is not limited to the PA. Still, it is important to spell it all out in detail.
Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 03:21
Facts however have again intruded. The Times (London) recently showed that the Lancet estimate was tenfold in excess of all other surveys; was produced by partisan figures using dubious extrapolations rather than body counting; included unexplained anomalies (such as an admitted two-thirds drop in the number of child deaths since Saddam’s overthrow) and was also found to be wanting by an array of experts on methodological grounds. The debunking is important, as the Lancet figure’s significance lies in the fact that, if believed, a key element in the case for removing Saddam – the humanitarian imperative – would be seen to have collapsed.
As to the views of Iraqis, questioned four years later as to whether they preferred life under Saddam to the present, a poll published on 18 March by Britain’s Opinion Research Business found that 49% of those questioned did not, while only 26% did. Also, Baghdadis’ sense of security has risen in tandem with the troop surge, according to the 400 interviewers who spoke to 5019 adult Iraqis – an index of the importance of American efforts via the troop surge to end the sense of rigidity and drift that had been increasingly characterizing the Bush Administration policy to date. Whether the surge and its attendant new strategies are adequate to the task remains to be seen.
Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 - 12:51
There are few points that have not already been made by those challenging his book’s willful thesis – that the Western radical left has so repelled Muslims with its secularity, impiety and license that it, rather than gruesome Islamist imperial ambition, is a primary cause of Muslim rage and terror against America. Nonetheless, here are two further considerations:
1. There is a “root causes” school that is endlessly fertile in identifying Western acts and faults which enrage Islamists and seeing to it that these operate as causes for their violence. Until now, this narcissistic preoccupation with personal political agendas has been largely a leftist monopoly, rounding up the usual suspects of Western oil greed, neo-liberal economics, neo-conservative muscle-flexing and of course support for Israel. (Some, like Democratic Senator, Patty Murray, as Jay Nordlinger helpfully pointed out in 2004, actually go one step further and appear to believe the Islamists have been nothing less than munificent philanthropists building day care centers for wretched Muslims). D’Souza has now produced the rightist version.
2. In his eagerness to indict the radical left, D’Souza recently wrote that
If traditional Muslims realized that there are millions of Americans who go to church, take care of their families and live by traditional values, they would be less likely to view us or our leaders as the Great Satan, and fewer of them will be tempted to join the camp of the Islamic radicals. Improving our moral reputation is not just a way to look better, it may also be the best long-term strategy to make our country safer.
In short, D’Souza thinks of Americans and Muslims as Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State Cyrus Vance once did of the US and the Soviets, namely, that the two sides “have similar dreams and aspirations about the most fundamental issues.” D’Souza’s solution to Islamist aggression: self-improvement – this being incidentally a similar delusion, seductively holding out the prospect of control, to the one Israelis have indulged and for which the historian and psychiatrist Kenneth Levin has coined the term “Oslo Syndrome”.
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 09:27
This is important as there are not enough reporters willing and able to pay the exorbitant price demanded from those standing up to Islamism. So, those who do need all the help we can provide. In this case, Choundhury is on trial and despite assurances to the contrary it goes merrily along. Even The US Congress called today on Bangladesh to drop the charges.
Here is the petition. We need 8600 signatures by April 1. So, please sign and ask your friends to do the same.
A Petition to Government of Bangladesh to Free and Drop All Charges of Sedition Against Muslim Journalist Salah Choudhury
To: Government of Bangladesh
We, the undersigned scholars and other individuals of good will, petition the Government of Bangladesh to drop all charges against Muslim journalist Salah Choudhury. We understand that he faces charges under the Bangladesh Penal Code of"sedition, treason, blasphemy and espionage," which are punishable by death. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is editor of the Bangladeshi tabloid The Weekly Blitz. A practicing Muslim , Choudhury wrote about the rise of Islamist extremists in Bangladesh and has written articles against anti-Israeli and Judeophobic attitudes in Muslim-majority countries. He also urged Bangladesh-Israel relations and real interfaith understanding based on religious equality.
PEN USA gave him their Freedom to Write Award in 2005 in recognition of his commitment towards courageous journalism and confronting extreme adversities
The American Jewish Committee presented its Moral Courage Award to him in May 2006, but the Bangladesh government prevented him from visiting the United States to receive the honor.
Choudhury is facing these charges for taking strong public and professional stands against the radical Islamists who are quietly taking over the world's third largest Muslim-majority country, against the oppression of religious minorities and others there, and for positive relations between Muslims and Jews. His one formal violation of Bangladesh regulations was his attempt to visit Israel in 2003 to attend a conference of the Hebrew Writers' Association. The applicable act allows Bangladeshis to travel to all countries in the world except Israel. The penalty for such violation is a 500 Taka (less than $8). On November 29, he was taken into police custody and, as he tells it, blindfolded, beaten and interrogated for 10 days in an attempt to extract a confession that he was spying for Israel. He spent the next 17 months in solitary confinement, and was denied medical treatment for his glaucoma . Only after an international campaign and the personal intervention of U.S. Congressman Mark Kirk did the Bangladesh government release Choudhury on bail. At the same time, the Bangladesh government promised to drop all charges against him after admitting that there was no substance to them.
In July, a mob stormed the premises of Choudhury's tabloid and beat him, fracturing his ankle.When Choudhury lodged a complaint with the police, the government responded by issuing a warrant for his arrest. That summer, a bomb was also set off Weekly Blitz offices and although government officials admitted knowing the perpetrators led by Mufti Noor Hussain Noorani, self-proclaimed bigot and head of the radical Khatmey Nabuat Movement, no arrests were ever made.
In September, a judge affiliated with a radical faction ordered the case continued, in spite of the government's reluctance to prosecute, proclaiming that"by praising Christians and Jews," Choudhury had"hurt the sentiments of Muslims." The United States, European Union, and other democratic nations have sent observer to his trial. Government witnesses have refused to show in court, the court has violated Bangladeshi legal procedure, and the prosecution has yet to provide a scintilla of credible evidence to support the capital charge. The new government in Dhaka has promised several American officials and others that they will have the case dropped. Yet, on February 28, 2007, the radical judge brazenly ordered the trial to proceed.
Resolutions in support of Choudhury and demands that the charges be dropped have been passed in the European and Australian Parliaments. A similar resolution passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously and is scheduled to come before the full House this month where it is expected to pass without opposition.
Noted international Human Rights attorney, Irwin Cotler, whose clients have included Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov, has identified eight violations on Bangladesh's own law in Choudhury's prosecution. The only way to restore the integrity of Bangladesh is to end this persecution now. In the name of justice, freedom of speech, freedom of passage and of human rights, we join with governments, human rights advocates and other scholars worldwide and ask that this injustice be immediately halted and that all charges against Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury be dropped.
We urge each of you who sign this petition and even those of you who don't to circulate it amongst your colleagues and friends to help us reach 10,000 names by April 1, 2007. Thank you from Scholars for Peace in the Middle East www.spme.net
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 10:38
Leeds, UK 14.3.07.... On Wednesday morning March 14, just hours before an invited academic talk and two-day academic workshop series by SPME Board member, Matthias Kuentzel, German scholar, the University of Leeds canceled this invited, university- sponsored, two-day workshop on"Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East."
Dr Kuentzel’s talk is part of a series of scholars’ and artists’ talks at the German Department. The series is supported by a grant form the School of Modern Languages, who did not raise any issues during the grant application process. The University cited security reasons for canceling the workshop based on threatening emails it received to the Office of Vice Chancellor.
Dr. Kuentzel is a research assistant of one the world's leading institute in the research of antisemitism, the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the board of directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, an academic society with about 0ver 9000 faculty throughout the world. who is a Research Associate at the Vidal Sasson Institute on Anti-Semitism of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The series of events had been well publicized for several weeks.
Members of SPME and other academics of good will from around the world are being asked to immediately write to the Vice Chancellor’s Office at or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to demand that this event be allowed to continue with appropriate security.
Last November, Dr Kuentzel gave a talk with the same title at Yale University as part of a series entitled ‘Antisemitism in Comparative Perspective’, which also featured talks by other internationally scholars such as Bassam Tibi, Wolfgang Benz, Jan Gross, Milton Shain, Ruth Wisse amongst others.
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 10:38
Interviewer:"Let's talk with the two children of the jihad-fighting martyrdom-seeker Rim Al-Riyashi, Dhoha and Muhammad. Dhoha, you love Mama, right? Where did Mama go?"
Interviewer:"What did Mama do?"
Dhoha:"She committed martyrdom."
Interviewer:"She killed Jews, right?"
Interviewer:"How many did she kill, Muhammad?"
Interviewer:"How many Jews did Mama kill?"
Interviewer:"How many is that?"
Interviewer:"Do you love Mama? Do you miss Mama?
"Where is Mama, Muhammad?"
Interviewer:"Dhoha, what would you like to recite for us?"
Dhoha:"In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate: 'When comes the help of Allah, and victory, and you see people entering the religion of Allah in troops, then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness, for He is ever ready to show mercy.'"
Interviewer:"What else would you like to recite? You have read the surah, 'When comes the help of Allah, and victory.' What would you like to recite for us now?"
Interviewer:"Recite the poem 'Mama Rim' for us. Recite anything. What would you like to recite?"
"I Want to Talk About Kindergarten"
Interviewer:"Muhammad, do you know how to recite?"
Interviewer:"Go on then, recite something for us. What would you like to recite?"
Dhoha:"I just remembered."
Muhammad:"I am in kindergarten."
Interviewer:"Are you doing well in kindergarten?"
Dhoha:"I am in kindergarten, I want to tell."
Interviewer:"Go on then, tell us. You're in kindergarten too? Are you in kindergarten, Dhoha? In kindergarten or at school?"
Muhammad:"I'm in kindergarten too."
Interviewer:"You're in kindergarten too."
Dhoha:"I want to talk about kindergarten, I want to talk."
Interviewer:"What would you like to recite for us? Have you heard the poem 'Mama Rim'? Go on then, recite it for us."
Dhoha:"Rim, you are a fire bomb."
Interviewer:"Go on, recite it."
Dhoha:"'Your children and submachine gun are your motto.'"
Interviewer:"Muhammad, go ahead and recite..."
Muhammad:"I'm in kindergarten."
Dhoha:"That's it, I'm done."
Interviewer:"OK, do you want to go to Mama?"
Your charity dollars at work.
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 10:39
The PA emerges as the ultimate parasite entity. I do not know what else to call one which only supplies 10% of its need. No, I am not making it up. This is what their newly appointed finance minister said:
"How long can you survive if the sanctions continue? On our own, we bring in $15 to 20 million per month—compared to a need of $160 million per month. Survival depends on how successful we are in bridging the gap. Clearly, you can't go long with 10 percent of what you need. That's all we have control over—just 10 percent of our need. I'm a realist, and one cannot look at that as a sustainable situation.
No, he was not asked to explain the reason for this dismal state of affairs nor how he intends to combat it. I have recently highlighted the EU's admission that it directly supports 30% of the Palestinian population. The US, UN and Arab states support the rest.
He was asked how long the PA can survive without foreign fund transfusion.
Actually, he admitted that that transfusion never stopped. All that happened was that the money did not flow through the finance ministry. Brilliant. The Quartet made sure that its pressure is barely felt while further corrupting Palestinian institution and empowering unaccountable NGOs. With friends like that . . .
Food for thought - Palestinians outside the PA (including those in Israel and Jordan) have no difficulty earning their keep and more.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:10
Alarm bells have been ringing here for some time over Chinese moves to integrate its defence and energy policies. It recently established a National Development Research Council, which includes the defence ministry, to manage oil policy. Intelligence reports from Beijing also quote Chinese president Hu Jintao as telling the Central Military Commission that one of the main aim of defence modernisation and expansion is to defend oil supply lines. In line with this objective, China has since 1996 focused on naval vessels such as nuclear submarines, destroyers and carriers that allow it to step out beyond its marine boundaries to protect its ships carrying crude. Simultaneously, it has exploited its geographical advantage by acquiring acreages in neighbouring Kazakhstan, Russia and Myanmar. Another cause of worry for India is that while it struggles to create a five-million-tonne strategic stockpile of crude, China has raised its reserves of POL (petrol, oil and lubricants) to 90 days’ consumption.
Never underestimate the Chinese. They have an ongoing border dispute with India. They fought over it in 1962. The Chinese ambassador raised the issue just prior to the Chinese president's visit to India. Then, both leaders"graciously" agreed to settle the issue amicably. Yesterday, the Chinese foreign minister tried to get on India's good side by blaming the border trouble on"Western colonist."
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on Tuesday blamed"Western colonist" of yesteryear for creating the border problem between China and India. He was confident that the two nations would find a proper solution to the problem on the basis of mutual respect.
"I believe the Chinese people and Indian people, who have won the struggle for national liberation, have enough wisdom and capability to find a proper solution to the issue left over by history," Li said while addressing a press conference in the backdrop of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the Chinese parliament.
The last time I saw the issue discussed on Indian TV, the experts were not interested in following Chinese advice to give up border territory:
India should “return” Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh to China for resolving the vexed border issue as Beijing does not want to see instability in Tibet, a leading Chinese scholar has said. “Tawang is central to the resolution of the Sino-Indian border issue,” Professor Ma Jiali with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a leading government think-tank said.
Democracies do not fight each other. China better democratize soon.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:10
Now, in a 6 March report regarding a Vermont crank who walks door to door collecting signatures for an investigation of"unanswered questions" concerning 9/11, Reuters notes that 2,992 people were killed by the hijacked planes on 9/11 - a figure differing by 19 from the usual one of 2,973, for this reason: Reuters includes the mass murdering perpetrators as casualties of their own homicidal acts.
In December 2001, in respect of its misleading practice of including the large numbers of killed Palestinian combatants (a majority, in fact of Palestinian fatalities) within general Palestinian casualty figures, Reuters was asked (no doubt rhetorically) -"Would Reuters similarly include Mohammed Atta and his al-Qaeda colleagues in the World Trade Center casualty list?" Five years later, Reuters has indirectly given its answer.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:11
Former Iranian General and assistant defense minister Ali Rez Asghari left Iran using a new passport and pseudonym and managed to smuggle important intelligence documents, according to a report published Friday morning by London based newspaper Asharaq Alawsat.
According to the report, the missing Iranian general was carrying documents and maps of Iran's military and intelligence infrastructure as well as information regarding the relations between the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizbullah and the Islamic Jihad.
In addition, the general was reported to possess information regarding the Iranian nuclear program as well as information about Iran's strategic military plans.
Let's hope that unlike Saddam's sons in law who ended up returning to Iraq and executed promptly, he be well protected in the manner the 1966 Iraqi pilot who defected with a Mig 21 is.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:11
Leading universities including Oxford and Cambridge have been targeted by Islamic extremists who remain widely active on campuses, a prominent academic is warning.
Up to 48 British universities have been infiltrated by fundamentalists and the threat posed by radical groups must be"urgently addressed", according to Prof Anthony Glees.
The claim calls into question the Government's attempted crackdown on Islamic extremism in universities and casts doubt on claims by Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, that the problem is not widespread.
You may wish to read the rest. Why doesn't it surprise me? Because I remember the success the USSR had doing the same.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:11
Indians topping the Forbes' list of Asian billionaires, replacing the Japanese, have flabbergasted the Chinese, who are regularly reading that India is not shining as reported by the Western media and experts.
"I am surprised that Indians have topped the Forbes' list of Asian billionaires," Chen Yu, a media consultant said.
"I must change my distorted impressions about India," she said. . . .
Compared to the impressive performance by Indian entrepreneurs, the only mainland Chinese to figure among the top 70 richest amongst Asians was Yan Cheung, the self-made woman entrepreneur of Nine Dragon Paper Co, who is the richest in China. Ting Guo, an executive with a multinational company said, India's rise is also as impressive as that of China but mostly went unreported or underreported in the Chinese media. Zhang Jing, a Chinese journalist with the China Information World also said that she was unaware of India's growth story and had a good impression of the software sector. Of late, the state-run Chinese media, especially the Communist Party-backed 'Global Times' has been writing a lot of stories, telling the Chinese readers that India was not shining as reported in a section of the Western media.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:12
"The hijab has nothing to do with moral values. A woman's moral values are reflected in her eyes, in the way she talks, and in the way she walks. They put on a hijab and go dancing, wearing high heels and lipstick. They wear tight jeans that show their bellies. They do this in Egypt."
Interviewer:"I want to ask you about that. You talk about the so-called Islamization and Americanization of women's clothing in Egypt. In other words, you criticize the hijab for its Islamization, yet you criticize jeans for its Americanization. So what do you expect women to wear?"
Nawal Sa'dawi:"The same things men wear. Do you wear a hijab or do you expose your belly? You wear appropriate clothes. I wear appropriate clothes. I don't wear jeans that expose my belly, and I don't cover my hair. You can sense my moral values from my voice, from the way I look at you, and from the way I walk."
I could not agree more. Recently I visited an ethnographic museum in Kochi, India and was struck by the difference between how much men's clothing changed and how little women's clothing did. Indian women continue to wear saris but Indian men could be found in such traditional attire only at hotel and restaurant entrances. Food for thought.
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 16:12