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
You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn’t enough. Your vodka and Cognac weren’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.
The Iranian supreme court could not agree more. It has just reaffirmed that according to their interpretation of Muslim law, individuals have the right to decide that their fellow citizens are not moral enough to live and proceed to execute them:
The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered “morally corrupt.” . . .
The ruling stems from a case in 2002 in Kerman that began after the accused watched a tape by a senior cleric who ruled that Muslims could kill a morally corrupt person if the law failed to confront that person.
Some 17 people were killed in gruesome ways after that viewing, but only five deaths were linked to this group. The six accused, all in their early 20s, explained to the court that they had taken their victims outside the city after they had identified them. Then they stoned them to death or drowned them in a pond by sitting on their chests.
In other words, Iran would be acting virtuously if it used its nukes to destroy any country (not only Israel) it considers too immoral to survive. Oh, yes, the IAEA just informed us that Iran produces nuclear fuel in underground facility.
Betsy Newmark explains it so much better.
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 14:21
I know this may strike some as unfair but I believe it is preferable to the alternatives.
Max Booth analyzes the hard, soft alternatives. Everybody is talking about the China option. They forget that the US was ready and willing to activate that option as early as 1966. But the Chinese were not. Only when the Soviets amassed troops on their northern borders and Zhou En Lai told Mao that he needed to choose between the US and the USSR, did Mao chose the enemy further away. I do not see Iran facing a similar choice, hence I do not see any reason she would agree to play ball. Hence, by throwing its principles to the wind, the US will merely lose more face and the Mullahs will have additional ammunition with which to convince the faithful of the correctness of their"hard" strategy.
James Baker is currently trying to execute the same exercise Clark Clifford used to force Johnson to go to Paris. Johnson went but held tough and helped elect a successor who refused to budge until China was ready for the great bargain. I believe Bush will follow in Johnson's footsteps. This is nothing to cheer about. It is better than the alternatives. It would be better yet if Bush took the bull by its horn and upped the pressure on Iran by closing the American borders to its citizens. Come on Bush, you can do it!
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 16:50
It is a must see and read.
This video kicked up a serious fracas along with blatant cover up attempts Youtube deleted it and CNN refused to let Glenn Beck show it. See Death Cult Mickey still on air and AFP dubs Hamas Mouse resistance Mickey
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 17:36
Tom Friedman is on a very well meaning campaign to refocus US attention on the dangers of Globalization to American technological primacy. He is right to worry. Americans will have to run awfully hard to stay in place. BUT in his recent column entitled "From Gunpowder to the Next Big Bang" he is trying to convince us that the Chinese are coming, the Chinese are coming.
I beg to differ and agree with the Chinese scholars:
ESTOFF has on occasion heard Chinese scientists and science policy experts see the problems of Chinese science as being inextricably bound up China's economic and political system. Recently a Chinese scholar remarked to ESTOFF that the lack of intellectual freedom and the extraordinary waste of resources severely handicap Chinese science. Both problems are rooted in the Communist Party's monopoly on power and in the socialist system. The Communist Party alternates between tightening and loosening constraints on society depending upon how secure the Party feels. The scholar said that the latest example of the Party's limitations on intellectual freedom is the firing of four Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researchers.
Interestingly, he mentions the Chinese culture of conformity as a barrier but fails to mention the real elephant in the room, the still very much authoritarian, if not totalitarian, Chinese state. The first one was enough to ensure that China did very little to exploit her great inventions:" compass, paper-making, printing and gunpowder." All four were most fruitfully exploited by Western innovators.
The idea that"once you have this foundation, being creative can be trainable" is vintage Chinese and patently wrong. I have little doubt that brilliant Chinese working for Microsoft will come up with useful improvement and write meticulously researched papers. They may even stumble upon an idea which can lead to the invention of the light bulb, not only a better light bulb. But as long as they live in an area where daring and failing are dangerous, they will not be the ones to reap the fruit of even their own ideas.
Finally, I must admit I am puzzled. Friedman is a democracy advocate so why is he so careful not to mention the problems the leftover Communist system poses for Chinese development?
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:58
What does McCain do?
He goes to Belgium where he uses a speech and a press conference to help improve US strategic position in that war.
First, he endeavors to restore European self confidence and trust in the transatlantic alliance:
Whether we turn our attention to the regime in Iran, the displaced in Sudan, troops under NATO command in Afghanistan, or to our own citizens, individuals everywhere look to the United States and Europe for unity and leadership. . . .
Not only do we seek European leadership, we believe it is necessary to make the world a better, safer place for our interests and our values. This means true leadership -- not a group of countries that merely follows American directives, as some fear, nor a coalition that opposes American power simply because of its country of origin, as others suggest.
He reminds the Russians and the Chinese that the American Congress holds some invaluble cards:
Asked what consequences there would be if Moscow and Beijing blocked such a move, he told reporters:"Clearly it's going to affect many areas of cooperation between our two countries.
"There will be a reaction in the U.S. Congress."
Bravo! Americans may not remember, but the Russians and the Chinese know the difficulties the Jackson Vanik amendment to the 1974 Trade Act caused the USSR. The executive may be talked out of pulling the air out of the Chinese economy but there would be plenty of Congressmen who would recognize the political gold which can be mined by standing up to obstreperous Russian and Chinese governments.
Finally, he warned Iran that the military option is very much on the table (italics mine):
The Arizona senator, who has been of President Bush's most vocal supporters on the war in Iraq, dedicated much of his address to Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology.
McCain urged"immediate" action by the U.N. Security Council in the form of"multilateral sanctions" against the country and refused to rule out the possibility of military force being used against Iran."To preemptively forswear options is to weaken our diplomatic hand," said McCain. "In the end, there is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear armed Iran."
The essay version of his speech is well worth reading in its entirety. It leaves no doubt but that John McCain is not only tough but smart and a true patriot. He never forgets that we are at war and never puts victory in that war second to his personal ambitions. Indeed, my man, John McCain, comes through again.
In a similar vain, Martin Gross writes in"What McCain has to offer" as a presidential candidate:
So how does one choose the right man? C. Northcote Parkinson of Parkinson's Law fame had the answer. For every impossible job -- as per Winston Churchill or FDR in World War II or Reagan in the Cold War -- there is only one person who fits the bill. He called it a short list of selection. The times are so challenging that a prospective candidate might best be described, in caricature, by a help-wanted ad for the job.
"Wanted: A president of the United States. Must be willing to work 110 hours a week, setting aside time to fight the light heavyweight champion of the world before lunch. He must be anxious to suffer psychic torture by daily watching Oprah and Katie Couric on television in the Oval Office, then be interviewed by Mike Wallace -- all the while conducting four simultaneous wars throughout the globe as commander in chief. Must be willing to face editorial demonization by the media, tussle with congressional opposition including threats of impeachment from Sen. Russ Feingold, while dealing with Cabinet officers being discharged for corruption. He must be able to handle a low 20 percent approval rating without losing heart or his natural optimism. Most important, the president must be willing to die in office as a symbol of his dedication to the American people, a love affair that will not be requited until 30 years later. Apply Box 101, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., along with a non-refundable deposit of $10 million."
Who among the contenders would be courageous enough to respond to such a daunting ad? Only one: Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Why? Is he so hopelessly ambitious to suffer indignity for his personal goals?
Perhaps, but more important, he seems to be the only one who has that in-born authentic patriotic spirit that requires him to sacrifice for this nation. Plus he seems to have the sense of destiny, shared by Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Reagan -- that he is the only one of his time capable of the onerous job of a president under shattering fire.
Besides, after years of torture by the communists in the Hanoi Hilton, he has already survived the test of the constant attack he will have to undergo as president.
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:59
In any case, the Ansar al-Sunna publication comes after earlier reports from Afghanistan about assassins being on their way to Europe to follow in the footsteps of the murderer of Theo Van Gogh. No, I am not making up the connection. Der Spiegel writes:
The remarks on the cartoon scandal in Ansar al-Sunna fit the pattern exactly."While it may prove difficult to make all Muslims carry out the divine verdict in this matter," the authors write,"the path of jihad against the enemies of God is still available."
The example the authors offer to potential jihadists is particularly cynical. Commenting on the murder of Dutch film director Theo Van Gogh, they note in a cool tone that by making"Submission," which they consider to be anti-Islamic, the director prompted Muhammad Buyeri to kill him.
To understand the timing of this" call for action," it is necessary to remember that Ansar al Sunna is one of the most active terrorist organizations in Iraq and that it also has a strong presence in Europe.
Moreover, it seems that European countries, like their fellow Middle Eastern ones failed to go after the organization because they assumed that the War in Iraq providing a sufficient outlet to their militancy. In a strategy formulated on the advice of their"terrorist experts," they made soothing noises to calm the so-called (Islamist organized )Muslim street and declared victory:
"We thought everything was over, but they're stoking the fire," sources within the German security establishment say."Given what is happening, you have to assume there will be reactions from militants in the countries cited by Ansar, or against journalists from those countries," says Guido Steinberg, a terrorism expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs."This kind of publication, backed by a large transnational terrorist organization, is dangerous."
Wrong again. The Islamists believe the Iraqi battlefield is being lost. In recently captured Al Qaeda letters in Iraq we read that "Every Year Is Worse Than The Previous Year" Why? Because Muslims fail to adhere to the letter of the religious code is the Islamist answer. In other words, the fault lies in non Islamist Muslims. That means attacking non Islamist Muslim states (note recent attacks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and moderate Muslims in the diaspora:
"It's our duty to increase our efforts to correct the wayward thinking of some Muslims and show what the 'religion of democracy' really means," the authors of the online journal write, adding that the task of every jihadist is"to follow the way of the prophet and take up the struggle against the enemies of religion."
Bin Laden, Zawahiri and Zarqaui all identified all those connected with the publication of the Danish cartoons as well as their liberal Muslim supporters as the appropriate target for Jihad.
The only question is will European terror experts reevaluate their appeasement recommendations before or after the next Van Gogh type Jihadist attack?
Well, the attacks have begun. First target Danish politicians.
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:59
At a 1936 meeting of a French think-tank, the Center for the Study of Human Problems, one of the conferees outlined the following scenario:
---"Let us imagine the worst in the simplistic, even improbable, form of a single nation conquering all others. Let us imagine Europe conquered by Germany. Well, I suggest that a Germany extended thus over the whole of Europe would no longer be the Germany that we know …. This would be Europe under a different name: a unified Europe. Or rather, it would be neither the Europe of today, nor the Germany of today, but something else; the European confederation of the future."1
Given the realities of Hitler’s New Order, such a prediction seems almost willfully naive. Bernard Bruneteau’s impressive accomplishment is to explain convincingly how a variety of French intellectuals came to hold such views, believing that their country’s defeat in 1940 could serve as the catalyst for establishing European unity. Their illusion, the author contends, was rooted in the vision of a united Europe they had articulated during the interwar years; it framed their initial reactions to the German occupation and allowed them to see potential in it, though some of them did so for longer than others. . . .
Bruneteau does not seek to homogenize this group, but he does identify common influences, networks and recurring themes in interwar ‘Europeanist’ discourse. Aristide Briand, who had sought a rapprochement with Germany during the late 1920s and early 1930s, was a crucial influence. Periodicals such as Notre Temps, L’Europe nouvelle and the Cahiers bleus encouraged the exchange and articulation of pro-European ideas. Greater continental unity was presented as the solution to a variety of problems. Building Europe would facilitate domestic reform, in which government by ‘technicians’ would ensure renovation of the state and social harmony through judicious planning. Just as critically, it would ensure peace with Germany.
Bruneteau emphasizes that the Europeanists did not allow themselves to be deterred by the rise of Hitler or the rapidly deteriorating international climate. Indeed, their desire for integration and peace intensified as the 1930s drew to a close. “Members of a minority, the partisans of a united Europe thus lived their engagement with a growing intensity; it sometimes took on a religious or eschatological character”; they came to hope for “a final deliverance, whatever its form and modalities.” (233)
Given this mindset, Bruneteau argues, it is possible to comprehend how these individuals could regard the collapse of 1940 as inaugurating a new European order. While some conceded the Nazi conquerors were harsh, they argued that in historical terms the Third Reich was performing a function comparable to that of empires in the past, from Rome to Napoleon – paving the way for a new era. The French had to recognize and adapt to the situation, in order to have a presence in the remaking of Europe. Some of these individuals also hoped that the Third Reich would evolve in a more moderate direction, facilitating the process.
Over the course of the occupation the Europeanists outlined their plans for the future. Their visions of economic coordination invariably rejected liberalism in favor of state direction. Africa and Eastern Europe were presented as promising sites for cooperative ‘development’ (exploitation) under Western European guidance. Commentators such as René Château encouraged new approaches to the study of history, in which an emphasis upon transnational trends and particular eras (such as the Carolingian Empire) would forge a common European consciousness. Cultural unity would also be forged in opposition to the negative examples of Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. Here again, Bruneteau highlights continuities with earlier thinking, noting that interwar anti-Americanism and critiques of national history prefigured such conceptions.
As he reconstructs the evolution of Europeanist discourse, Bruneteau stresses that it should not be seen simply as a response to Nazi pressure, even though the propaganda of the Third Reich took on some pan-European tones as the war turned against Germany. Nor were these intellectuals merely opportunists, seeking advantage under changed circumstances; their convictions were genuine and must be taken seriously. . . .
As Bruneteau stresses, there was an air of profound unreality about all of this. The lofty ambitions and communitarian rhetoric of the Europeanists contrasted starkly with the brutal, intensifying exploitation that characterized Nazi rule. While recognizing that some of the Europeanists he studies found aspects of the latter distasteful, Bruneteau surmises that in their devotion to the fantasy of a new, united continent they too often overlooked how it would be constructed. In this respect they were comparable to those who defended Stalinism after 1945. While some aspects of their ideas echoed in postwar discussions of European unity, Bruneteau seems to imply in closing that the wartime Europeanist vision also operated as a negative example, encouraging a more cautious and incremental approach to forging common institutions.
For additional insight see also: French Orientalism: The Mystique of Louis Massignon By David Pryce-Jones in the Covenant. The abstract begins thus:
Abstract: Louis Massignon revitalized for his contemporaries the assumptions that France was a Muslim power and that Jews had to fit into other peoples' conception of them, without right to any identity they might forge for themselves. France's pre-eminent Orientalist in his day, and a professor at the College de France from 1925 onwards, he nonetheless utilized scholarship to promote personal and political prejudices.
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 14:30
For as Tenet correctly points out and we all know, the reasons for the war were strategic. 9/11 showed that the status quo in the ME has become dangerous to the US. Since the ME could not be remade from peripheral Afghanistan, it had to be remade from Iraq. Richard Pearl may not have told Tenet that we are going to a war with Iraq on 9/12 but I told that to my students on 9/13 and I was not the only international relations professor to do so. Hence, the central question was always not whether to go to war but the public justification for it. Tenet may argue that he did not hype the information to help Powel but he admits that the PDB (Presidential Daily Briefings) were hyped and that Condi Rice realized it. Tenet writes (the black emphasis is mine):
On a Saturday morning shortly after Christmas 2002, John McLaughlin and Bob Walpole were attending yet another meeting at the White House. The subject turned to trying to improve upon the unsatisfactory presentation we had given a week or so before, during the"slam dunk" meeting. . . . Condi asked Walpole to summarize the Estimate's key judgments. He began doings so from memory, citing all the"we assess and"we judge" language that appears in the document.
-"Wait a minute," Condi interrupted."Bob, if you are saying there are assertions, we need to know this now." That was the word she used."We can't send troops to war based on assertions."
Walpole calmly said that the NIE was an"assessment" and that these were analytical judgments. He explained that the agencies attached certain levels of confidence to the various judgments - some matters we had high confidence in, other moderate or low - but there was a reason the document's title contained the word"estimate."
Condi asked what he meant about confidence levels. Walpole said that, for example, the analysts had"high confidence" that Saddam had chemical weapons.
What is high confidence, ninety percent?" she asked.
"Yeah, that's about right," Bob replied.
Condi said:"That's a heck of a lot lower than we're getting from reading the PDB." . . .
Turning to John McLaughlin, the national security advisor said:"You (the intelligence community) have gotten the president out on a limb on this."
Was she right? Were the PDB hyped? Tenet admits they were:
After the war, as part of our lessons-learned efforts, we went back and had analysts review everything the Agency had written regarding Iraq and WMD. We had in fact been much more assertive in what we were writing the president on some issues, such as aluminum tubes, than we had been for some other publications, including the NIE.
In other words, Condi was right. Intentionally or not, the CIA misled their most important client, the President of the United States, by painting him a more dire picture than the one they painted Congress and the country. If Bush and Cheney were in a hurry, it was because the CIA PDBs convinced them, they did not have time to lose.
No, Bush did not ask Tenet to hype the intelligence. Tenet and company hyped it all on their own. Bush should have given him the boot, not the Medal of Freedom.
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 14:32
Yale Disgrace: Yale Genetics Professor Accuses Israelis of"Occupying" New Orleans
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East www.spme.net has learned that on Wednesday September 28, Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, Department of Genetics Yale University, whose books include: Bats of Egypt (1985), Mammals of the Holy Land (1996) and his latest book Sharing the Land of Caanan (2004) posted the following to a listserv of 912 self-proclaimed Professors For Peace located at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/professors_for_peace/ The post was released on Friday, September 30, 2005.
- Israeli security agents (all with previous service in Israeli army or intelligence services) did not only provide services by training US troops in methods of “urban warfare” (read collective punishment and other war crimes) but are now in New Orleans getting taxpayer money to occupy our US cities (see http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051010/scahill ).
The article is about businesses, government projects and institutions and others hiring private security in New Orleans and the reference in the article to Israeli companies reads:
"... As business leaders and government officials talk openly of changing the demographics of what was one of the most culturally vibrant of America's cities, mercenaries from companies like DynCorp, Intercon, American Security Group, Blackhawk, Wackenhut and an Israeli company called Instinctive Shooting International (ISI) are fanning out to guard private businesses and homes, as well as government projects and institutions. Within two weeks of the hurricane, the number of private security companies registered in Louisiana jumped from 185 to 235. Some, like Blackwater, are under federal contract. Others have been hired by the wealthy elite, like F. Patrick Quinn III, who brought in private security to guard his $3 million private estate and his luxury hotels, which are under consideration for a lucrative federal contract to house FEMA workers."
Professors for Peace describes itself as"an international network of educators committed to promoting non-violent solutions to global conflicts and to countering racism and anti-immigrant aggression. Established in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, PfP works to respond to violent conflict by advocating resolutions that ensure racial, sexual, economic, and ecological justice. As educators, we recognize our responsibility to foster constructive dialogue in our classrooms, on our campuses, and in local, national, and international forums. We seek to work in alliance with other organizations and movements striving for peace, justice, and democracy...
"One only has to go to the listserv to see that these professors are neither for peace, justice or democracy. There is a preponderance of fabricated and falsified anti-Israeli propaganda on the Professors for Peace and other similar listservs which is making its way through college professor ranks as evidenced by this inflammatory piece with a reference that does not even verify the allegation. This stuff passes as academic verification, when in fact it is shoddy scholarship and propaganda to say the least. These are forums where professors abuse their academic freedoms.
"Yale should be ashamed of this kind of clearly shoddy scholarship and analysis which should must challenged at every level. This is completely irresponsible and a perpetuation of incessant lies about Israel that cannot be tolerated on our campus as scholarship. It is designed to incite and promote anti-Semitism, delegitimize the State of Israel and promote violence.
"The fact of the matter is that 'Israeli security agents' are not 'getting taxpayer money to occupy our US cities.' This is a boldface lie." said Edward S. Beck, President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, a group of faculty seeking to promote academic integrity and honest debate and end and hold accountable those professors who choose to fabricate and falsify information to promote conflict in the region and anti-Semitism in the world." Beck concluded.
This was followed by a second message:
Yale Disgrace- Follow-Up and Update. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East has learned that Mazin Qumsiyeh may no longer be on the Faculty of Yale University's Department of Genetics, though he is listed at http://info.med.yale.edu/genetics/fac/MazinQumsiyeh.php . SPME apologizes to Yale University if this is the case and advises Yale to disconnect Dr. Qumsiyeh's website, if he is no longer affiliated with the University. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East will make every effort to find out his current status. Dr. Qumsiyeh is listed as: -Cofounder and currently national treasurer and media coordinator of Al-Awda, -Palestine Right to Return Coalition (see http://al-awda.org). - Cofounder of the www.AcademicsForJustice.org and www.BoycottIsraeliGoods.org campaigns. - Vice President of the Middle East Crisis Committee (http://TheStruggle.org) (Source http://www.wildlife-pal.org/dr__mazin_qumsiyeh.htm For Further Information Contact: Dr. Edward S. Beck, President, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East 717.576.5038 or ScholarsforPeace@aol.com
Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - 19:55
To be honest, I do not think it's over and I think it will have long term ramifications. It is hard to believe but with the election of Angela Merkel there is a new spirit in Europe.
With Schroeder at the helm, Germany and France competed to see who can be more Anti-American. Since Merkel's election they compete to see who can be tougher. Chirac threatens to nuke terrorists' bases. Merkel says Ahmadinejad threatens the democratic world. EU stands by Denmark with the French foreign minister announcing:"You can never put question marks around the freedom of speech in any European country, and therefore we have all declared our solidarity with the Danes." Other EU members were just as strong.
I am glad we stand with the Danes and thrilled they found out about our"Buy Danish" efforts. As a Jew/Israeli I know how good expressions of solidarity feel.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 15:12
Remember Larry Summers was forced to leave Harvard?
Couldn't they learn from the corrupt survivor Kofi Annan:
In most scandals, people adjust their standards of rectitude, depending on whether they support or oppose the person at issue. The subject’s enemies whip themselves into a fever of theatrical outrage, and the subject’s defenders summon up fits of indignation at the lies of the accusers. Scandals are playgrounds for partisans, and everybody else gets to play the role of the junior high school bully, ganging up on whoever seems weakest and most alone.
The Wolfowitz scandal is no exception. People who never called for Kofi Annan to resign amid the $12.8 billion oil-for-food scandal are calling for Wolfowitz’s head over a $60,000 raise. Employees at an institution that, according to one report, wasted $300 million last year, and where roughly 1,000 people make $175,000 to $200,000 a year, are suddenly outraged at lavish spending. Editorials and statements by critics around the world are carefully crafted to avoid mentioning any of the exculpatory evidence on Wolfowitz’s side.
There has indeed been an explosion of Machiavellian posturing. But the core reality is the context Wolfowitz allowed to develop. He let potential allies turn into enemies.
The fact is, you go into politics with the establishment you have, not the establishment you wish you had. For Republicans, this is an establishment that is initially suspicious, but is filled with human beings who can be worked with. They need to feel respected. They need to be consulted on things they know a lot about. If they feel disrespected, they’ll cut you no slack, and a small misstep could be career-ending. They will make it impossible for you to do your job.
This has happened to dozens of Republicans (and unpopular Democrats), and it is happening to Wolfowitz. And the only question is when will these appointees start learning the simple rules of effective democratic leadership?
Brooks is not just talking. He is surviving as the conservative columnist in the New York Times! To be honest, I identify with the sad threesome. I have never mastered the political skills Brooks described. Indeed, I have always wondered how men like Summers and Wolfowitz made it as far as they did with so many Elsworth Toohis gunning for them?
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:52
Never has the name of this blog, Deja Vu, seem more relevant than while reading about the September 11, 1924 Kohat riots in India in Mohandas. The New York Times reported that 15 Hindus and Sikhs were killed and 24 wounded by rioting Muslims. The reason - a poem derogatory to Muhammad. The intercommunal violence let to Gandhi's first fast. No one worked harder for Muslim-Hindu cooperation than Gandhi. Uniting the Indians against the British was his primary goal. But even Gandhi could not overcome the basic Muslim/non Muslim divide.
Rajmohan Gandhi writes:
The following February, he and Shaukat Ali visited Rawalpindi, where Muslims came from Kohat to present their version, but the two investigators reached different conclusions. Shaukat Ali underlined the Hindu poet's inflammatory verses. Gandhi emphasized the condoning by Kohat's Muslim leaders of killing, abduction and forced conversion.
Why am I retelling the story? Not because it is reminiscent of the response to the famous Danish Cartoons. I am retelling the story because of news reports that Iran arrested 5 people for publishing articles seen as insulting to Islam, a day after they sparked protests by Iranian students.
A quick Google of the term "insulting Islam" revealed that Iran is far from unique:
On April 27, Turkey arrested four American street evangelists For"Insulting Islam."
Byle told Compass that the claim of insulting Islam was based on a book the evangelists were giving out, which he said politely explained that Christians cannot accept the Koran because it contradicts some of the teachings of the New Testament."
This is not the first such arrest in Turkey:
"Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a lawyer for one of the victims (of a recent evangelists killings),. . . said he defended Aydin seven years ago, when he was arrested for selling Bibles and accused of insulting Islam. Aydin spent a month in police custody and took his case to the European Court of Human Rights.". . .
"We didn't do this for ourselves, but for our religion,'' Hurriyet newspaper quoted an unnamed suspect as saying. ``Our religion is being destroyed. Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion."
In February, Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman, was sentenced to three years in prison for"insulting Islam" and one year for insulting President Hosni Mubarak.
In Malaysia, a woman be the name of Kamariah Ali, who publicly renounced Islam in 1999, was jailed by the courts in Terengganu state in 2005 for"insulting Islam"."Last year, she was charged under Section 7 of the Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) Terengganu. It is alleged that she declared that she is saying that she is no longer a Muslim only because she is trying to evade punishment from the court for again"insulting" Islam by saying she is no longer a Muslim. Her trial should have been concluded in August 2006, but the state-supporting media has suppressed all news of her case." ordered jailed by the court for"insulting Islam" in 2005.
All this pales in comparison to Saudi Arabia where insulting Islam is not only a crime, but one that can be punishable by death.
Saudi Arabia is said to have sentenced a Yemeni national to death for insulting the religion of his roommate.
A Saudi court in Jedda sentenced the Yemeni national to death on Jan. 7 (2003). They said the Yemeni, identified as Hail Al Masri was originally sentenced to two years imprisonment and 600 lashes. But a higher court headed by Ali Al Zahrani rejected the sentence and ruled that Al Masri should be beheaded.
Saudi newspapers said Al Masri tried to jump from the third floor where the courtroom was located after the death sentence was read. Al Masri was seriously injured in the fall and taken to a local hospital.
On September 25, 1924 Gandhi wrote:
I have no shadow of doubt that Islam has sufficient in itself to become purged of illiberalism and intolerance.
We are still waiting and hoping for the day Muslims will no longer claim that Islam is under attack.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:53
Pollard’s life sentence was the most severe prison term ever given for spying for an ally. Moreover, as Alan Dershowitz repeatedly pointed out, Pollard’s sentence was far greater than the average term imposed for spying for the Soviet Union and other enemies of the United States. Some justify the discrepancy by claiming that Pollard also spied for others and that his information he provided Israel reached America's enemies causing the country major harm. Former CIA director, James Woolsey, said it was not true that the information given to Pollard was leaked to other countries and Tenet does not make either claim. He only writes:
Many people in the intelligence community believed that Pollard hadn't been motivated by love of Israel alone. There are indications that he offered to spy for other countries.
I suspect that the reason Pollard was not released was also because Democratic Clinton, Albright and Ross were determined not to give Likud (read"Repulican") and Bibi a political victory. After all, James Carville, Clinton's campaign manager, was the man who helped Labor (read"Democratic") candidate Ehud Barak defeat Bibi in the following elections. Israelis understood as much at the time, but so no reason not to please, their friend, Clinton.
Retelling the incident at this point may also serve to undermine Bibi yet again. See, it says, his critics were right. Bibi was a lousy Poker player. Had he stuck to his guns, Pollard would have been released.
But wouldn't Tenet have resigned? Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin. Yes, he told Clinton he would because that was what Albright hinted she wanted him to do. Clinton needed a valid excuse to break his promise to Bibi and his CIA director's threat to resign (with the implication that freeing Pollard would damage US national security) was an excellent one. How do we know Tenet was wavering? Well, he reports that everybody was strengthening his hand. First he told Stan Moskowitz, one of Albright's men and when did nothing to stop him, he told his wife. She, too, failed him. Instead of trying to talk him out of it, she said,"Stick to your guns." Probably informed by Moskowitz and disappointed by Tenet's failure to follow through with Clinton, Madeleine Albright ambushed him. Tenet writes:
About midnight that Thursday, Madaleine came up to me and said:"If you're going to say anything to the president about Pollard, now is the time to say it."
"Why?" I asked, but she just repeated herself.
"If you've got something to say, say it now."
Madeleine was absolutely critical here: . . ."
Critical, indeed, without her encouragement, he probably would not have gone even as far as make the threat. She forced his hand and he saw Clinton. He did and afterwards,"fair" Dennis had to calm Tenet's nerves:"Don't worry," Dennis had to tell him,"In the end we will get the deal." Meaning, I believe, that the President will not blame him for scuttling the deal and nor will he have to resign.
And just to set the record straight. Bibi did not lose the Poker game to Tenet. He lost it to Dennis Ross. For Clinton did not back down because of Tenet. He knew him too well. When Bibi insisted, Clinton was still inclined to fulfill his promise. Only Ross stopped him: Tenet writes:
According to Dennis, he asked the president if he had promised Pollard to the Israelis. Clinton said no, but reading between the lines, Dennis believes that the president had all but walked up to that point.
Ross apparently knew just how truthful Clinton is. (No, I did not make a promise to that man!) Not that it stopped him from telling Clinton to ignore his commitment to Bibi. Making use of his best bureaucratic language he told Clinton to ignore his promise:
"You don't have a choice. . . . If you promised Bibi you would release Pollard, they you have to release him. But this agreement is too good for Bibi to give up. Hang tough and we will get a deal."
Yes, you could count on Bibi to put the good of his country ahead of domestic politics. So, Ross won his bet and, I am sure accolades from his bosses while Pollard is still languishing in prison 11 years hence. I cannot but wonder does being responsible for keeping a hostage this long keeps Ross (and Albright for that matter) up nights? For his soul's sake, I hope it does.
And just for the record - The US is spying on Israel all the time.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 22:46
This is happening in a country which possesses nuclear weapons! Is anyone paying attention or are we too focused on election 2008 to care?!
KHAR, Pakistan - Some 200 gun-toting Islamist militants smashed car cassette players and mobile phone cameras on Saturday and ordered tribesmen in a Pakistani region to grow beards, part of a drive to impose Taleban-style values.
The militants took up positions beside a road near Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, and stopped and searched passing vehicles, witnesses said.
“They smashed cassette players running music and mobile phones fitted with cameras,” a driver whose vehicle was searched told Reuters.
Radical Islamists deem music and pictures un-Islamic.
The driver, who did not want to be named, said the militants also urged clean-shaven tribesmen to grow beards.
A government official in Bajaur confirmed the incident but did not say whether authorities planned any action against the militants.
Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, bordering Afghanistan, is known as a hotbed of support for the militants and critics say the government’s influence there has weakened considerably since the authorities signed peace deals with the militants.
Progressive Pakistanis have become increasingly shocked by the boldness with which religious radicals are spreading their influence in other parts of the country and have demanded firm action by the government against them.
On Friday, militants attacked music shops with explosive devices in the town of Charsadda in neighbouring North West Frontier Province (NWFP), destroying at least five.
Last month, burqa-clad female students of an Islamic school or madrasa raided a brothel in the capital, Islamabad, and abducted three women for three days.
The top cleric of the mosque linked to the madrasa later threatened suicide attacks if the government used force to stop his movement.
Oh, yes, there is more: Pakistani cleric threatens attacks against officials
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:56
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:56
I hope the answer is yes! I hope Sarko knows that was the reason he won. I did not blog much on the French contest. I was afraid to jinx it. But I had a feeling Sarko was going to make it not because of the polls but because I watched a group of talking heads, members of the French elite discuss the elections on French TV and they said:"Everybody had their liberal revolution, Britain with Thatcher, US with Reagan, Germany with Merkel. It is our turn."
Even the BBC admits that this elections seem momentous. Already some analysts call Sarkozy a neo-con.
He certainly reflects a more positive attitude towards the US. He let it be known that he loves the US and had his picture taken with Bush. Pundits thought it was a mistake but they were wrong. The only reason Royal could have had for failing to raise the issue of US-French relations during the debate was that her polling showed the French did not share their elite's anti-Americanism.
In any case, upon his elections, Sakozy immediately announced that the US can rely on the friendship of France.
But is he good for the Jews?
For details of some violent response to his election visit No Pasaran
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:57
In the meantime, the Turkish parties hammered out a compromise bill securing the direct election of presidents:
The bill decreases the parliamentary term from five to four years and the presidency from a single seven year term to a five year one that can be extended by another five.
The proposal also sets a new quorum of deputies for a parliamentary session to go ahead. According to the new rule, the presence of one-third of deputies in the assembly would be enough for a session to go ahead.
According to the current constitution, a president can only serve a single term, while the new proposal allows the president to serve a maximum of two terms.
The support of twenty deputies will be needed for presidential candidates from outside Parliament. Additionally, parties that have received more than ten percent of votes in the national elections will be allowed to name a candidate as well. This last amendment was requested by ANAVATAN.
All in all, not bad.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:57
What is the Real Israel Factor? by Barry Rubin
One of the Middle East's biggest, least-discussed mysteries has been how to understand Israelis. This is a long, complex subject. But so many, including Arab friends, have asked me to explain about this issue that there is an obvious need for clarification here. . . .
Which reminds me of how one day I took a U.S. newspaper, walked down Shenkin street in Tel Aviv jammed with people, finally found an empty chair in a cafe, and read the front-page article, which explained how Israelis were so fearful of terrorism that nobody went out any more.
What is the Real Israel Factor? by Barry Rubin
One of the Middle East's biggest, least-discussed mysteries has been how to understand Israelis. This is a long, complex subject. But so many, including Arab friends, have asked me to explain about this issue that there is an obvious need for clarification here.
Here we go. From 1967 on, Israelis had a great debate. Both sides agreed the Palestinians and most Arab states weren't ready for peace. But the left thought big concessions could bring a permanent political deal once the other side began to change. The right doubted this would happen, and settlements in the captured territories would consolidate control there. Only a small minority saw permanent retention of the territories as a religious obligation. Most Israelis supported holding that land and building settlements as a strategic tactic.
By the end of the 1980s, signs of a real shift in Palestinian positions were still limited. But in the early 1990s, Iraq's defeat by a U.S.-led coalition and the PLO's low point seemed to offer a true opportunity. Rather than try to crush the Palestinian movement forever--something that would have fit the demonization of Israel stereotype--the country offered confidence-building measures and concessions in exchange for real peace. The result: the 1993 "Oslo" agreement and the ensuing peace process.
With the long-awaited moment perhaps at hand, debate within Israel shifted. The left claimed that Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat would make and implement a compromise peace. The right claimed he would do so and then break it. Hardly anyone believed Arafat would turn down even a good deal.
The test came with the Camp David meeting in mid-2000 and the offer by President Bill Clinton, with the agreement of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, at the end of 2000. The final offer--and even this was only the minimal proposal for starting negotiations--was a West Bank-Gaza Strip Palestinian state with the equivalent of all the pre-1967 land (with small swaps to make up for Israeli annexation of a few areas) plus a capital in east Jerusalem and massive reparations payments. Arafat turned it down and instead turned to renewed violence and terrorism.
At this point, Israeli perceptions were turned upside down. The high hopes of the 1990s (even my conservative friends, while balking at turning over east Jerusalem, had accepted large concessions and a Palestinian state in exchange for peace) crashed.
Internationally, Israelis had suffered two betrayals. First, there was the Palestinian leadership's use of concessions to strike against Israel directly and undermine its position internationally. After all, Israel's own government had dismantled the negative image of the PLO as a movement whose goals were Israel's destruction and whose means was terrorism. (On one memorable occasion, some American Jewish leaders rewrote a speech for Arafat to make it sound more moderate.)
The other betrayal came from the West, especially Europe. For years, Israel had been told that if it made concessions and took risks for peace, it would have international backing if anything went wrong. Now, subjected to a terrorist assault whose bloodiness was made possible by Israel's own admission of so many returning Palestinians, sponsorship for aid to them, and turning over of territory to their control, Israel also faced the most hostile Western policies and image, too.
Within the country, a new consensus emerged, taking one idea from the left and one idea from the right. From the left, most Israelis accepted the idea of giving up the territories and agreeing to a Palestinian state in exchange for real peace. From the right, the majority concluded that there was not going to be a Palestinian partner for peace or a negotiated resolution for many years to come. Of course, not everyone took this conclusion but most did. On this basis, friends of mine who habitually voted for Meretz on the left now cast their votes for Ariel Sharon to be prime minister.
After a half-century of warfare, in which everyone knows someone or has relatives who have died in war or terrorism, most Israelis are still eager for peace. They are not motivated because they think Israel weak or are afraid, but simply from feeling strongly that peace is preferable to war.
Digging in for the long run, they backed withdrawal from southern Lebanon and from the Gaza Strip. They were ready to pull out of much of the West Bank as well. Whether these withdrawals were a good or bad idea is another column; yet, they were certainly an attempt to show Israel's desire to not be "occupying" another people. At that point, it was up to the Palestinians to show what they would do with the opportunity. The election of Hamas and the continuation of terrorism was the result.
After all this political talk, it should be added that no country in the world--perhaps in history--has so many rapid psychological ups, downs, and dramatic changes as Israel. Yet, public opinion polls show a remarkably high level of personal satisfaction. The economy has boomed; progress continued. Whatever problems the country has--also another column--there is a strong sense of optimism and willingness to examine faults to repair them.
Which reminds me of how one day I took a U.S. newspaper, walked down Shenkin street in Tel Aviv jammed with people, finally found an empty chair in a cafe, and read the front-page article, which explained how Israelis were so fearful of terrorism that nobody went out any more.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:58
If Bush has a reason to celebrate Sarkozy's election, the same cannot be said about Putin though not necessary about Russians anxious to hold on to some hard gained freedoms. They were not helped by the Chirac, Schroeder, Putin triumvirate.
Luckily that triumvirate is gone. First, Putin lost Schroeder and, now, Chirac. Sarkozy, like Merkel, prefer the US as he made clear only yesterday. Chirac must be turning in his new apartment:
In an interview ahead of the May 6 runoff, Sarkozy said,"If you asked me which of the [two] countries France will have closer relations with - the United States or Russia, known to us for its Chechen war -'the U.S.' would be my answer."
Speaking to Europe 1 radio, he said that if elected France's next president, he would raise the issue with President Vladimir Putin, as"Russian democracy has progress to make."
Last week I met a group of Russian investigative journalists visiting newsrooms in the US. They minced no words. Their freedom of press is severely curtailed not only by Putin but by regional Putin representatives actively protecting corrupt officials from media exposure. A French president not"too sophisticated" to care about the faltering Russian democracy is priceless.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 14:58
I woke up to the news that 6 Muslim extremists living in Cherry Hill were arrested for plotting terrorist attacks on Fort Dix where some of my other neighbors as well as some of my former students work and train. Michelle Malkin posts parts of the FBI affidavit. It is not pretty. Michelle also constantly updates her posts.
Four are Kosovar Albanians, brothers and illegal aliens (Dritan, Eliver and Shain Duka)and Agron Abdullahu were from the former Yogoslavia. Oh, yes, Fort Dix is the place chosen as a safe heaven for 20,000 Kosovar Albanians by the US military in 1999. Al Qaeda and Iranian extremist activity in the former Yugoslavia is well documented both before and after the Clinton administration went to war on their behalf. As I wrote in Why is Richard Clark seething? it was part of its anti-Islamist strategy and that strategy, as Julia Goren explained earlier this month is not yet dead.
The other two, Serdar Tatar, a pizza deliverer whose family owns a pizzeria near Ft. Dix, is from Turkey and Mohamad Shnewer is from Jordan. I wonder if I ever bumped into any of them in the supermarket or the mall.
I know they have not attended the numerous inter-faith meetings in which I participated. For here is the irony. South Jersey is a hub of interfaith activity of the type also neglected by the media. For example, More than 100 people attend"Breaking Bread Together," Sunday, November 19, 2006. The interfaith program focused on Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish holidays and their significance (We had previous anti-terrorism programs). The interfaith program focused on Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish holidays and their significance. Bellow are the organizers, From left: Alan Respler, JCRC Executive Director; Farhat Biviji (you will find her on Beslan here.), Muslim lecturer (; Rabbi Lewis Eron, Jewish lecturer; Gloria Mazziotti, co-chair of the Catholic Jewish Commission and co-chair of the Breaking Bread program committee; Msgr. John Frey, Roman Catholic lecturer; and Zia Rahman, managing director of the Voorhees American Muslim Society and a co-chair of the three-way dialogue group.
Last July a number of us participated in the Turkish Interfaith Dialogue Center interfaith trip to Turkey. We were not only of different faiths but we were hosted by Turkish families and viewed Turkish sites of special interest to Jews, Christians and Muslims. It was wonderful. This past weekend I was invited to participate in a ground breaking for a new mosque in Cherry Hill . I could not make it but many of my Christian and Jewish friends did. Indeed, I feel bad for our Muslims friends who have worked for this mosque for years. This news must break their heart even more than it breaks ours. We are having our annual community gathering later this month. The plans will have to be revamped. It is not going to be easy but it has never been more important.
We are in the midst of a vicious war on terror. Muslims are also in the midst of an all important struggle for the future direction of their faith. Dan Pipes and Sudheendra Kulkarni write about the march of a million moderates in Turkey and Pakistan.
But recent PIPA polls also showed that while large majorities of Muslims reject attacks on civilians, they do not reject attacks on soldiers. I suspect that is the reason for the planned attack on Fort Dix.
We need a moderate Muslim organized march in Cherry Hill. American Muslims must make it clear that American soldiers are their soldiers and they do not support attack on our sons and daughters in the military. I will gladly march in support of my friends but I cannot march instead of them.
Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - 16:57