The prime assassination suspect, Syria, will respond to the UN move by stepping up support for Palestinian Islamists battling the Lebanese army and for Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which (a) aims to control Lebanon, and (b) is preparing for war with Israel. With Syrian help, Iran has rearmed its Shiite proxy; and the stage is set for a new round of rocket assaults against the Jewish state.
Hezbollah has tens of thousands rockets ready to go, while, in the south, Syrian-Iranian Palestinian ally, Hamas, has also achieved unprecedented levels of armament and is actively preparing for full-blown war.
Contrary to Israeli and American expectations, Syria will not sit out the conflict; rather, it will seize the opportunity to divert attention from its role in the Hariri killing–which was personally approved by Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad–by making every effort possible to defeat Israel and erase the stain of perceived humiliation dating 40 years to the Six-Day War of June 1967, which resulted in Syria’s loss of the strategic Golan Heights to Israel.
Assad’s father, Hafez, tried and failed to liberate Golan in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, although he did succeed in regaining some lost territory in susbequent, American-sponsored peace talks. His son, who has been in power since 2000, feels conditions are ripe for victory. Threatened by a rising Islamist movement (which his father managed to crush), the present despot of Damascus has decided to roll the dice with Tehran’s turbaned tyrants. The Baathist buzz in the Syrian capital is that the once-ridiculed Bashar could ironically emerge as the Arab world’s next hero in its decades-old struggle against the “Zionist entity.”
Ahead of all-out war, Assad will escalate tensions by stirring the terrorist pot in Lebanon–and on Israel’s borders.
Hariri’s assassination was the latest in a long line of Syrian-sponsored political killings in Lebanon. The billionaire politician and 22 others were killed in a massive car bomb in the capital, Beirut, on 14 February 2005.
An interim UN investigation found Hariri’s killing was “probably” politically motivated and has implicated Syria, which has naturally denied any involvement in his death.
The killing recalled Syria’s Soviet-supported assassination of Lebanese president-elect Bachir Gemayel in September 1982. The charismatic, beloved Maronite Christian leader–who was the son of the Phalangist party founder and leader Pierre Gemayel–was murdered nine days before he was due to take office, along with 25 others, in an explosion at party headquarters in the Maronite stronghold of Achrafieh.
Five years ealrier, in March of 1977, Lebanon’s Druze leader, Kamal Jumblat, was assassinated by the pro-Syrian faction of the Lebanese Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party. Syrian intelligence officers collaborated in the killing. Jumblat was shot and killed in his car by four gunmen a few meters from a Syrian check point.
Jumblat’s son, Walid, who has succeeded his father as Druze leader, has also been threatened by Syria. An unsuccessful attempt on the life of a political ally was widely regarded as a Syrian signal.
An anti-Israeli rally in Iran – increasing numbers of the British left are joining them in their hat
Thursday May 31,2007
ANTI-RACISM is supposed to be one of the guiding principles of our society, preventing discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin or nationality.
Yet it is a bizarre paradox of modern Britain that there is now a climate of increasing hostility towards Jews, particularly in those Left-wing intellectual circles which otherwise make a fetish of their concern for racial sensitivities.
Dressed up as criticism of the state of Israel, anti-Semitism is becoming not just tolerated but even fashionable in some of our civic institutions, including the universities and parts of the media.
Thanks to the Left’s neurotic hatred of Israel, we now have the extraordinary sight of self-styled liberal campaigners launching McCarthyite witch-hunts against anyone deemed to have Israeli connections, as in this week’s debate at the University and College Union’s annual conference at Bournemouth calling for a boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.
It has led to a rise in anti-Semitism in Britain.
Respect for democracy, individual rights and freedom of speech are being crushed beneath the juggernaut of shrill indignation.
What is particularly disturbing is the way opposition to the Jewish state descends into vicious antagonism against Jews themselves, as shown by this sickening recent outburst from writer Pamela Hardyment, a member of the National Union of Journalists, which in April voted to boycott Israeli goods.
Explaining her support for the NUJ’s stance, Ms Hardyment described Israel as “a wonderful Nazi-like killing machine backed by the world’s richest Jews”.
Then, like some lunatic from the far-Right, she referred to the “so-called Holocaust” before concluding: “Shame on all Jews, may your lives be cursed.”
Such words could have come straight from Hitler or the most fervent supporter of Osama Bin Laden.
But Ms Hardyment is hardly unique.
This sort of seething resentment can be found throughout the Left, whether in demands that Israel be treated as a pariah state or in connivance at anti-Semitic propaganda. Typical of this approach was the opinion of Ulster poet and darling of the BBC Tom Paulin, who once argued that “Jewish settlers in Israel should be shot dead. They are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them.”
Yet Paulin would no doubt be outraged if some English extremist uttered the same sentiments about radical Muslims settling in Britain.
One of the most nauseating rhetorical devices used by hysterical campaigners such as Paulin and Hardyment is to draw an analogy between the Nazi regime and the modern government of Israel.
Such a link is not only historically absurd, since Israel is by far the most democratic and liberal country in the Middle East, but it is also offensive because it demonises the Jews and devalues the horror of the Holocaust.
The pretence that Israel’s actions in its own defence against Islamic terrorists are somehow the equivalent of Nazi Germany’s gas chambers is a lie worthy of Dr Goebbels himself. And the tragedy is that this continual assault on Israel has led to a rise in anti-Semitism in Britain, much of it fuelled by Islamic radicals.
In 2006 there were 594 anti-Semitic race-hate incidents in this country, a 31 per cent rise on 2005 and the highest total since records began in 1984.
I should perhaps stress that I do not come from a Jewish family. Like Tom Paulin, I hail from the Belfast middle-class. But I have been repelled by the anti-Semitism – disguised as support for the Palestinians – of parts of the British Left.
I first became aware of this nasty phenomenon when, in 1985, I attended the annual conference of the National Union
of Students at Blackpool. There I was appalled to hear delegates calling for a ban on student Jewish societies, on the grounds that because such groups supported the state of Israel they were essentially fascistic in nature.
Yet, more than 20 years later, this sort of intolerance is no longer confined to the student debating floor. It now exists in large swathes of education, the press and the arts.
The boycott of Israel by academics was started by Professor Stephen Rose of the Open University, like Paulin another BBC favourite, who told his colleagues that “you have no right to treat Israel as if it were a normal state”.
The boycott is now so widespread that, in one grotesque incident, an Israeli PhD student had his application for Oxford initially rejected purely because he had served in his country’s army.
The professor dealing with the case, Andrew Wilkie, said he had “a huge problem with Israelis taking the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust and then inflicting gross human rights abuses on Palestinians”.
Professor Wilkie would not have dreamt of turning down a Zimbabwean because of Mugabe’s tyranny, or a Chinese applicant because of his own opposition to the occupation of Tibet.
This is what is so contemptible about the intellectuals’ fixation with Israel.
They are guilty of the most bizarre double standards.
While they scream about the Jewish state, they remain silent about human rights abuses carried out by brutal regimes across the world.
And it is ironic that, on the day the lecturers debated a boycott of Israel, they also voted to refuse to co-operate with any attempt to crack down on radical Islam on campuses, claiming such a move would be an infringement of free speech.
Given some of the lecturers’ enthusiasm for silencing Israeli opinion such a position is laughable in its hypocrisy.
United by anti-Semitism, the bigots of the academic Left and Muslim fundamentalism are destroying freedom of thought in this country.
In his second decade of leadership, Khamenei is living in fear of just such a velvet revolution. Whereas his cultural invasion fears envisioned liberal, democratic values potentially subverting the cultural foundations of the Islamic Revolution, his current worries center on the notion that the revolution’s enemies could recruit people through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to humanitarian, child welfare, trade union, environmental, and antidrug issues. Accordingly, any social or cultural activity outside the regime’s supervision is subject to suspicion, especially in the wake of the “color” revolutions that led to the replacement of leaders in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan — countries close to Iran’s borders.
Several foreign scholars, including at least one affiliated with George Soros, have been recently arrested in Iran.
The Iranian regime arose from a mass revolution and has always claimed that it represents the Iranian people. But its actions show how afraid it is of the people. In the regime’s view, most Iranians could potentially act against it, whether by going unveiled, watching foreign satellite television stations, or following Western dress fashions. Consequently, control over every aspect of personal life — the hallmark of totalitarianism — becomes necessary to preserve the legitimacy and authority of the Shiite jurists. According to Iranian police officials, more than 150,000 women were arrested in Tehran just last month for “bad veils.” Many photos and films showing police beating women have been published on websites. Young men are also being targeted; last month, the regime sent instructions to barbershops regarding banned hairstyles.
The international community has limited leverage with which to respond to the Islamic Republic’s violation of human rights accords that Iran has signed in the past. More can be done, however, to broaden and extend international condemnation of Iran’s human rights record. It was discouraging that, in March, the UN Human Rights Council decided to drop its examination of violations in Iran.
Instead of relying on the corrupt United Nations, the US must work with the newly-elected French leadership and Frau Merkel of Germany, and incoming PM Browne in the UK to enforce tough economic sanctions against Iran, while broadcasting to the Iranian people that they can quickly rejoin the community of nations by bringing down the mullahs.
Iran’s ally Hugo Chavez is tottering, with mass demonstrations increasing day by day. History shows that revolutions can be contagious.
Hat tip: Richard Baehr
Recently in the news several retired US generals, came out in favor of using defense resources for fighting the effects of global warming. The news media only carried it for a day or so, but it raised some potent strategic issues that should be discussed.
In a news release dated April 15, 2007, the leader of the group, Retired Marine Corps General Zinni turned climatologist and claimed that the US must stop global warming. The group argues that conflicts will be ignited because of the affects of droughts, famines, floods, and hurricanes brought on by human caused global warming, and America must become a constructive force in ending it.
A question for these generals
Why should we rely on strategic guidance from these men who, over the last 20 years, misguided the military in a focus on total war with a conventional enemy? Prior to 1989 this was an understandable orientation, but post-Persian Gulf War 1991 the threat evolved sharply toward asymmetric warfare as the preferred method of waging war against the US and the west. While the true emerging threat was in asymmetric war or terrorism, these climatologist generals were focused on, and caused the military to devote manpower and resources mostly to massed armored and mechanized formations rolling through the Folda Gap in Germany, along with strategic bombing.
These same generals resisted addressing the rising threat of urban warfare, terrorist warfare, and other “hugging” methods of combat that mitigated the might of a technologically advanced and superiorly resourced and trained military’s overmatch capabilities.
While General Zinni preached containment of Iraq in the late 1990s, Al Qaeda prepared and launched several attacks from General Zinni’s area of responsibility in the central region. Now the very generals that were derelict in their duties to recognize the rise of Islamic Fascism want us to heed their dire predictions on unproven theories of human-caused global warming? They had their chance in the 90s to recognize and prepare the military that they controlled for the true threat of asymmetric warfare, but they ignored it. They should have no reasonable expectation of us listening to their advice on anything.
To be sure, droughts, famines, floods, hurricanes and other climate related disasters could cause conflict that might draw in the United States, but these are is not the main risks we face. These retired generals are making the same mistake in signing on to the global warming hysteria as they did with emergence of asymmetric warfare and terrorism in the 90s. They identify the blatantly obvious first order effects, but predictably do not even try and conceder the second and third order effects of their proposed actions.
The real National Security risk: hyped and unproven man made global warming.
If we, as a nation, divert our economy to fight the phantom threat of the man-made global warming myth, our belligerent competitors around the world will benefit. Administering the prescriptions offered to combat global warming is a kin to throwing trillions of dollars down the drain.
Think of China. China would be more than happy to see us divert any part of our economy from capitalism to fighting global warming in a fruitless effort. Wasting those resources gives China a way to speed its efforts to catch and surpass us as the preeminent world power.
Our economy and security are dependant on growth. Every dollar wasted on global warming takes away from the growth of our economy and allows China, and other belligerent conventional competitors, to close the gap. China is delighted to promote the myth that American must stop growing to preserve our environment; not because they care for the environment, but because they see it as an opportunity to catch us on the world stage, while they are exempt from the same restrictions under the Kyoto Accords/
The same can be said for any peer competitor, but more importantly for any asymmetric competitor of ours. How long will it be before we hear Al Qaeda (AQ), or other terrorist groups, chastise the US for environmental reasons, or accuse the US of taking more than our share of the world’s resources?
Why would AQ pretend to care for the environment?
AQ and groups like them, indeed all of our enemies, understand that we can’t be defeated through military means, but only through manipulation of information in their favor. They seek to influence the American people to turn the people against the policies of the US government, and ultimately against the US government itself with civil strife.
The worldwide fanaticism surrounding global warming right now is obvious to our enemies as a source of leverage against us. AQ will use this irrational fear to affect the way the people of the world view the US a country and world leader, but more importantly to influence how our citizens view their own country.
If school teachers in America are able to turn kids against their parents for hurting the environment, then how much easier will it be for clever belligerent countries and terrorist groups to be able to use environmental issues like global warming to manipulate one of the most emotional and divisive issues that confront our country today?
So the next time one hears of one of our enemies chastising the US with regard to global warming, remember that it is not out of a concern for the environment, it is an effort to cripple the US and lessen our influence, and ultimately destroy us.
Likewise, the next time you hear one of these retired general preach to us about something military (let alone environmental issues), remember that these are the same men that totally dropped the ball on their watch in the 90s, during the rise of the use of terrorism as a weapon of asymmetric warfare.
Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the United States Army and a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Major Schroeder has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. His views are his own. He does not speak for the US Army or the Department of Defense
By Ray Robison
Despite the impression created by the dominant media, global jihad is showing signs of serious trouble. Bad news always tends to crowd out the good, of course, and this natural tendency is magnified when the press is as politicized and one-sided as it is today. Last March I postulated that the Global Islamic Jihad Movement had begun to fracture. ( The assertion was controversial with disagreement and agreement found oft times from the same sources. The most notable response was an interview conducted by Bryan Preston at Hot Air with CIA veteran Dr. Tefft.
It was a great interview and I welcome diverging opinions (that are supportable with evidence, not bumper sticker arguments) so I update here not as a rebuttal but to enhance the previous debate.
In March my hypothesis was supported by two essential elements. First, that reporting from Pakistan showed friction among al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Islamic Party of Gulbudden Hekmatyar. Second, that funding to these groups was drying up due to the loss of state sponsors. While these groups (representative of, but not the entirety of global jihad) continue to receive private donations and surely some rogue regime funding, the loss of Saddam, Libyan, Pakistani and the U.A.E. support could only increase their woes.
In the last few months independent war reporting from Iraq has discussed the “anbar awakening.” The term refers to the move by Sunni tribal chieftains in the al Anbar province to reassert power by fighting al Qaeda, allying with the Coalition and somewhat with Iraqi government forces. Even the mainstream media has begun to catch up and has reported the new development.
Recent reporting from Pakistan shows a similar but not so friendly development. There is little question that the new power broker of the Taliban, Maulvi Nazir is outwardly anti-U.S. and pro-al Qaeda. Yet at the same time he has adopted a “not in my backyard” stance as his Pashtun forces have killed and run off “Uzbeks” a colloquialism for al Qaeda used to refer to Arab and other foreign fighters (Pashtun and Uzbek ancient rivalries contribute to this designation). It is the age old story of infighting for power but this time it benefits the U.S. by reducing al Qaeda support and capabilities. The Sydney Morning Herald, in a fascinating series of interviews with different elements involved in the saga, quotes a Pakistani Governor about the treatment of “foreigners” – Arab jihadists:
“Virtually all of the tribes are ready to fight the militants. Yesterday the southern tribes held a jurga [council] and decided that any foreigner was to be shot dead and any tribesman supporting the foreigners would be banished from the area or killed too. They have declared jihad and their plan is to annihilate any of the foreigners who refuse to leave.”
As a matter of fact, this sounds a lot like what is happening in Iraq. While this certainly does not make the Taliban leader a friend, it is much better to have the enemies killing each other off. It provides solid evidence that al Qaeda is losing a foothold in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The earlier reporting from the region predicted bin Laden might leave the region and now we might have a better idea why.
Just as the Iraqi Sunnis have decided to wrest control from al Qaeda, it would appear the tribal chieftains of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border are doing the same. Not quite an awakening but it appears al Qaeda has overstayed its’ welcome again. Interestingly, a new study from the West Point Combating Terrorism Center identifies this same phenomenon in the horn of Africa among the regional tribes during the 90′s and notes it as an exploitable weakness.
Could this be a covert US strategy?
However, care should be taken in rejoicing at the thought of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters killing each other off. Nazir opposes al Qaeda because it currently seeks to aim jihad at the Pakistan government which brings heat on the tribal areas (admittedly a slow burn), whereas Nazir would much rather have the warfare directed at coalition forces in Afghanistan, which doesn’t particularly threaten Pakistani government survival and keeps the internal pressure off. Nazir has publicly claimed he would welcome bin Laden into his region if he capitulates to tribal governance. Yet it should be realized that Nazir knows Usama would never accept such terms and the offer is likely nothing but an effort to show that he is not a U.S. proxy.
According to the Asia Times, Nazir is a former pupil of Maulana Fazlur Rahman. I discussed the Maulana in the “Fractured Jihad” article as one of the most dangerous men on the planet because of his proximity to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and leadership of the government opposition plus leadership of international terrorism. (My book Both In One Trench highlights his connection to Saddam.)
Previously I noted reporting that Nazir was on the outs with al Qaeda, a very positive development. This claim finds more confirmation in India’s popular news website Rediff.com
“Old fundamentalist leaders of the 1980 Afghan war vintage such as…Maulana Fazlur Rahman… no longer command the kind of influence and obedience they commanded in the past.”
His loss of jihadist credentials may mean the end of significant support for al Qaeda.
There is also substantial reporting of a purge within the Taliban of anyone suspected of spying. Whether the Taliban spy plague is real or a finely tuned disinformation campaign against the Taliban, the good news is that they are killing more of their own. It’s a win-win for us.
In addition, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Islamic Party of Afghanistan is having a rough time. Afgha.com declares that Hekmatyar’s party is in the death throes of starvation. I am not familiar with the site but the facts in the article seem to be supported by other reporting (with one notable error, Hekmatyar was declared a terrorist long before 9/11 by the US State Department). The article reads like a laundry list of jihad follies from internal warring, to warring with other jihad groups, to a continuous degradation of his party leadership via assassinations. Considering that Hekmatyar has recently began a media blitz to show his relevance, it is quite likely he is very weak, but still dangerous.
As well as more signs of bitter infighting, the financial strain is starting to show publicly. The well regarded Counterterrorism Blog reported a few days ago about an al Qaeda leader on al Jazeera Television begging for cash donations. Evan Kohlmann at the blog calls the man al Qaeda’s declared leader in Afghanistan, Shaykh Mustafa Abu al Yazid. Interestingly, al Yazid claims to be calling for financial support of the Taliban. Which begs the question, if one of the new Taliban commanders (possibly the dominant leader of the most powerful faction) is openly fighting al Qaeda (as several outlets have reported), then why is al Qaeda doing fund raisers for them?
There are a couple of possible answers. Most obvious, I think, is that it may be a case of false advertising. The money is not meant for the Taliban, and al Qaeda leadership realizes that AQ has become unpopular and dangerous to support. Which would be nice confirmation that its popular support is drying up due to excesses against Iraqi Muslims. It could also mean that as usual there are divisions even within the Taliban, and that al Qaeda still works with some clans and fights others. Either way it’s good news for us.
Just as a coherent Iraq policy as heralded by Petraeus has made quick gains, a similar methodology in the Northwest Pakistan frontier border region might work. For all we know recent developments might not be just good fortune but evidence of a working covert policy.
Of course if the latter is the case we will probably not know for many years. Such is the case with much of the War on Terror, and another systematic reason why press coverage is biased toward the unfavorable.
I mentioned in the original “fractured” article that captured documents show Saddam had basically contracted a hit on US Forces in Somalia (using al Qaeda precursor groups) and was thus responsible for the Battle of Mogadishu. (Something I should have made clear then is that he was not solely responsible, but the documents indicate that he paid the bills.) This was easily the most contentious issue of the “fractured” article and for those who did not see my follow up, here is the link. The short version is that subsequent to that article the government released new al Qaeda documents which link up solidly to where the Saddam documents left off, providing a timeline and a human linkage from Saddam to the al Qaeda training in Somalia.
Ray Robison is a former army officer, a former member of the ISG, and co-author of the new ebook Both In One Trench: Saddam’s support to the Global Islamic Jihad Movement and International Terrorism
This sounds great, but note carefully this message from Fjordman: “I’ve seen signals from the European Union that they will step up control with ‘illegal websites.’ But since they recently passed pan-European anti-racism laws that ban incitement of hatred against ‘religious groups,’ this could potentially make Islam-critical websites illegal, too. Keep that in mind while reading this.”
“EU to strengthen surveillance of terrorist websites,” by Helena Spongenberg for the EU Observer, with thanks to Fjordman:
The European Union wants to strengthen its monitoring of militant Islamic websites, saying the internet plays a major role in the running and communication network of terrorist organisations. EU ambassadors gathering for their weekly meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (30 May) decided that a newly established online police portal “needs to be further strengthened” to combat terrorism, according to press reports. The European Union wants to strengthen its monitoring of militant Islamic websites, saying the internet plays a major role in the running and communication network of terrorist organisations.EU ambassadors gathering for their weekly meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (30 May) decided that a newly established online police portal “needs to be further strengthened” to combat terrorism, according to press reports.
The high-security portal – named “Check the Web” – was launched earlier this month and allows the 27 EU states to pool data on Islamist propaganda and internet chatter at the European Police Office (Europol) in The Hague.