Iraq Pulls Police Brigade Out of Service


Oct 4, 7:15 PM (ET)

By DAVID RISING BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Iraqi authorities pulled a brigade of about 700 policemen out of service Wednesday in its biggest move ever to uproot troops linked to death squads, aiming to signal the government’s seriousness in cleansing Baghdad of sectarian violence. The government move came amid steadily mounting violence, particularly in the capital. A U.S. military spokesman said the past week had seen the highest number of car bombs and roadside bombs in Baghdad this year. Four U.S. soldiers patrolling in Baghdad were killed by gunmen on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, also announcing the deaths of two other soldiers a day earlier in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk. The deaths brought to 21 the number of Americans killed in combat since Saturday. The suspension of the police brigade was the first time the Iraqi government has taken such dramatic action to discipline security forces over possible links to militiamen, though some individual soldiers have been investigated in the past. Baghdad’s Sunnis widely fear the Shiite-led police, saying they are infiltrated by militias and accusing them of cooperating with death squads who snatch Sunnis and kill them. The brigade was responsible for a region of northeast Baghdad with a slight Shiite majority, where gunmen on Sunday kidnapped 24 workers from a frozen food factory. Hours later, the bodies of seven of the workers were found dumped in a district miles away. Sunni politicians have said all those who were kidnapped were Sunnis. They blamed Shiite militias for the abduction and accused police of allowing the gunmen to escape and move freely with their captives. Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the chief ministry spokesman, said the brigade was being investigated because it “didn’t respond quickly” to the kidnapping. The top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, said the police brigade in the area had been ordered to stand down and was undergoing retraining. He said some were being investigated and that any found to have militia ties would be removed. “The government of Iraq was very clear as we go through this process that if that (unit) comes out at 30 percent of what it went in with, that’s OK with the government of Iraq,” he told a Baghdad news conference. “There is clear evidence that there was some complicity in allowing death squad elements to move freely when, in fact, they were supposed to have been impeding their movement,” Caldwell said. The U.S. military appeared to have a key role in getting the brigade sidelined. Caldwell said problems with the unit had emerged during a broad brigade-by-brigade assessment of police in Baghdad carried out by the U.S. military over the summer – and the decision was made by the Interior Ministry to act Tuesday. U.S. forces have been carrying out raids and arrests of militia members for the past month as part of a wide-scale U.S.-Iraqi sweep of Baghdad launched in August, which has seen the number of American troops in the capital double. Forces have been moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, searching houses, confiscating weapons and arranging services like water and electricity for residents in an attempt to stop sectarian violence and insurgent attacks. The rise in U.S. deaths in recent days may be linked to their increased presence in the capital, commanders have said. But at the same time, Sunnis have accused the Shiite-led government of balking at sending its security forces against the Shiite militias, many of which are linked to parties in the coalition. The suspended brigade had about 650-700 members, and the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Tuesday that its commander of the unit, a lieutenant colonel, has been detained for investigation. The major general who oversees the brigade and two others in the area has been suspended temporarily and ordered transferred. Khalaf said a random selection of troops in the suspended unit were being investigated for ties to militias. The sectarian spiral of revenge killings between Shiites and Sunnis has become the deadliest violence in Iraq, with thousands slain in recent months. “Over the past three months, murders and executions (by death squads) have caused the majority of civilian deaths in Iraq,” Caldwell said. The violence has also threatened to undermine the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as Shiite and Sunni parties in his coalition accuse each other of backing militias. On Monday, al-Maliki announced a new security plan to unite the feuding parties, creating local committees in which Sunnis and Shiites will work together to manage efforts to stop the violence on a district-by-district level. But contentious details of the plan still must be worked out – and Shiite and Sunni parties for a second day on Wednesday put off negotiations. At the same time, Sunni-led insurgents have continued their attacks targeting civilians, Iraqi officials and U.S. and Iraqi troops. Car bombs, as well as other explosions and shootings, killed 34 people across the country Wednesday. In the deadliest attack, a string of two bombs and an explosive-packed vehicle blew up in a district of stores and auto shops in a mainly Christian neighborhood of Baghdad, killing 12 people and wounding 56, police said. Hours later, after sunset and the end of the day’s Ramadan fast, gunmen opened fire on a popular cafe in an overwhelmingly Shiite district of southeast Baghdad, killing four patrons and wounding seven others. Caldwell said the number of car bombs and roadside bombs that went off or had been found and defused over the past week was the highest this year. He declined to give firm numbers, but said, “The trend line has been up over the last couple of months.” But he also said the military has killed or captured an increasing number of suspected members of al-Qaida in Iraq, the most feared Sunni insurgent group. In September, 110 al-Qaida suspects were killed and 520 detained – including a driver of the group’s leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, captured on Sept. 28.  

W. Va. Lawmaker Embarasssed by Photos — State Sen. Randy White, a Webster County Democrat

W. Va. Lawmaker Embarasssed by Photos
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 4, 2006; 11:52 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A state senator said he is evaluating whether to continue his bid for a second term after a Charleston television station aired revealing pictures of him last week.

“My family has urged me not to withdraw from the election and I will work with them to make a decision in the immediate future,” State Sen. Randy White, a Webster County Democrat, said in a letter to newspapers in his district.

An apologetic White also wrote that he was “shocked” and “horribly embarrassed” after WCHS-TV aired photos depicting him and at least two other men wearing only body paint.

“The pictures were taken approximately two years ago in private and were stolen from my personal computer,” said White, 51, a married father of three. “I am not sure why they were given to the media, but I must assume for obvious political reasons.”

WCHS said it received the photos anonymously on a compact disc. The various photos, censored by the station, were shown for about 80 seconds during a 5-minute news segment alleging White was the apparent victim of a blackmail plot. The station aired the segment during several newscasts last week.

White did not mention extortion during a brief Monday interview with The Associated Press or in Tuesday’s letter. White wrote that he had been working with his family to overcome a “personal identification situation” and to overcome depression for which he has been treated through medication for over a year.

“I am a religious person and have been for some months praying to God to help my family and me through this tragic and troubling episode in my life,” the letter said.

In its news segment, WCHS said it had reported the disc and its contents to the FBI.

White served three terms in the House of Delegates before winning his seat in the 11th Senate District in 2002.

Republican Harold “Pete” Sigler is challenging White in the November election. Sigler did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment Tuesday.

Who Knew Congressman Foley Was a Closeted Democrat?

The Philosopher and the Fatwa

The Philosopher and the Fatwa
By Robert Spencer
| October 2, 2006

It has happened again. On the heels of global Muslim rage against Pope Benedict XVI – which led to riots and three killings of Christians – a teacher in France has gone into hiding after receiving death threats. His offense? He published a column in the French newspaper Le Figaro in which he characterized the Muslim prophet Muhammad as “a merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist.”

Redeker said that one of the threats he received stated: “You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, three hundred thousand Muslims are ready to kill you.” As the death threats poured in, everyone abandoned Redeker. The teacher himself noted that France’s education ministry “has not even contacted me, has not deigned to get in touch to see if I need any help.” The senior editor of Le Figaro, Pierre Rousselin, declared on Al-Jazeera that he had been mistaken to publish Redeker’s article, and hastened to assure the Islamic world that the article did not reflect the opinion of the paper. It was unclear what exactly those who are threatening Redeker are upset about. Were they contending that he had lied about Muhammad? If so, they must contend with the fact that many Muslims around the world seem to agree, unapologetically, that Muhammad was “a merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist.” As I explain in my forthcoming book The Truth About Muhammad, mujahedin throughout the world see the Prophet of Islam as the personification of the qualities they are trying to embody. They have provided abundant evidence of this in recent years: 

·        Merciless war chief: On September 5, 2003, Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris invoked one of Muhammad’s battles, an expedition against the Byzantine empire known as the Battle of Tabouk, when speaking of the Iraq war in a sermon broadcast by the Palestinian Authority: “If we go back in the time tunnel 1400 years, we will find that history repeats itself…. Byzantium represents America in the west…. America will collapse, as Byzantium collapsed in the west….The Prophet [Muhammad] could, by means of unbroken ranks, conquer Byzantium, the greatest power compared to today’s America — and this without a single martyr falling from among the Muslims….The Prophet could, by means of the unity of the Muslim ranks and its awakening, defeat the America of that time….America is our No. 1 enemy, and we see it as our No. 1 enemy as long as we learn from the lessons of the Battle of Tabouk [which took place in October 630 AD]: ‘Make ready for them whatever you can of armed strength and of mounted pickets’ [Koran 8:60]. We are prepared and ready, but victory is from Allah….”[i]  

On November 21, 2003, Muslims poured out of the Maiduguri Road Central Mosque after Friday prayers in the Nigerian city of Kaduna, demanding the implementation of Sharia law and distributing flyers stating: “The only solution is Jihad, the type of jihad put into practise by Prophet Muhammed and exemplified by Shehu Usman Dan Fodio and the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. We Muslims should unite and embrace this concept of jihad that will undoubtedly empower us to destroy oppression and oppressors, and in its place establish Islam.”[ii] 

In October 2004, Sheikh Aamer Bin Abdallah Al-Aamer wrote this in the Al-Qaeda online journal Sawt al-Jihad: “Perform the Jihad against your enemies with your [own two] hands, sacrifice your souls and your property in fighting your enemy, as an imitation of [the acts of] your Prophet [Muhammad] in the month of Ramadan [and in order to] enrage your enemies.”[iii] 

Fawwaz bin Muhammad Al-Nashami, the commander of the jihad group that killed twenty-two people in a jihad attack in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, on May 29, 2004, said that he acted in accord with Muhammad’s wishes for Arabia: “We are Mujahideen, and we want the Americans. We have not come to aim a weapon at the Muslims, but to purge the
Arabian Peninsula, according to the will of our Prophet Muhammad, of the infidels and the polytheists who are killing our brothers in
Afghanistan and
Iraq….We began to comb the site looking for infidels. We found Filipino Christians. We cut their throats and dedicated them to our brothers the Mujahideen in the Philippines. [Likewise], we found Hindu engineers and we cut their throats too, Allah be praised. That same day, we purged Muhammad’s land of many Christians and polytheists.”[iv]

In the run-up to the 2004 American presidential election, a Muslim preacher invoked Muhammad to denounce democracy: “Our Prophet did not run for office in any election….He did not win any political debate. [Instead] he won the war against the infidel.”[v] 

In a January 2005 article in Arab News, columnist Adil Salahi reminded his readers that Muhammad never made war on a people without first inviting them to convert to Islam: “During the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) lifetime the Muslim community had to fight many battles, because there were several sources of danger and many opponents who were keen to suppress the rising voice of the Islamic message. The Prophet made sure that in none of these battles the Muslims would exceed the limits of what is lawful in Islam….[H]e would not launch an attack without alerting the enemy and calling on them to accept Islam and live in peace with the Muslim state.”[vi] 

London Muslim leader Hani Al-Sibaai in February 2005 justified the slaughters being perpetrated by Al-Zarqawi’s mujahedin in Iraq: “Do these people base themselves on Islamic law or not? They claim that they do, and to support it, they say that slaughtering appeared in a hadith by the Prophet, which was pronounces authentic by Sheik Ahmad Shaker. The Prophet told the Quraysh tribe: ‘I have brought slaughter upon you,’ making this gesture. But these are religious issues that may be disputed….[T]he Prophet drove nails into and gouged out the eyes of people from the ‘Urayna Tribe. They were merely a group of thieves who stole from sheep herders, and the Prophet drove nails into them and threw them into the Al-Hrara area, and left them there to die. He blinded them and cut off their opposite legs and arms. This is what the Prophet did on a trifling matter – let alone in war.”[vii] 

·        Plunderer: On March 28, 2003, the Palestinian Sheikh Muhammad Abu Al-Hunud warned in another sermon broadcast over Palestinian Authority television against those who would attempt to “mess with Allah’s book, to Americanize the region, Americanize the religion, Americanize the Koran, Americanize Muhammad’s message….” Any doubt that he meant by this that the Qur’an and Muhammad’s message would be stripped of their violent components were dispelled when he prayed about the Americans in Iraq: “Allah, make their possessions a booty for the Muslims, Allah, annihilate them and their weapons, Allah, make their children orphans and their women widows….”[viii] 

As late as November 2003, the website of the Islamic Affairs Department (IAD) of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C. contained exhortations to Muslims to wage violent jihad in emulation of Muhammad, and quoted Muhammad’s words about plunder: “Whoever of My slaves comes out to fight in My way seeking My pleasure, I guarantee him that I will compensate his suffering with reward and booty (during his lifetime) and if he dies, I would forgive him, have mercy on him and let him enter Paradise.”[ix] 

·        Slaughterer of Jews: A jihadist explaining that the Israeli/Palestinian struggle was more than just a nationalist conflict over land declared: “But all of these people don’t realize that our struggle with the Jews goes way back, ever since the first Islamic state was established in Madeenah with Muhammad (SAWS) the Messenger sent to all of mankind, as its leader. Allaah has related to us in the Qur’ân, the reality of the Jews’ malice and hatred for the ummah of Islaam and Tawheed, as he says: ‘You will surely find that the people with the most enmity towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists.’ (Surah Al-Maa’idah: 82) [Qur’an 5:82].[x]


In July 2006 a writer on a British Muslim Internet forum declared: “I’m so fed up with these dirty, filthy Israeli dogs. May Allah curse them and destroy them all, and may they face the same fate as Banu Qurayzah!”[xi] This was an Arabian Jewish tribe that was massacred on Muhammad’s orders, and with his participation, after he came to believe that they had betrayed him. Muhammad’s first biographer, Ibn Ishaq, puts the number of those killed at “600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.”[xii] 

·        Polygamist. It is not disputed by anyone that Muhammad had many wives. Muslim apologetic websites do not deny the fact, but celebrate it: Islam Online says of Muhammad’s wives that “they gave advice to their husband when he needed it, went with him to battle to nurse the wounded, accompanied him on his travels. They preserved the memory of intimate details of their married life in order to educate succeeding generations in the rules of purification and relations between spouses.” 

These are not the slanders of “Islamophobes.” These are the statements of people who consider themselves to be pious and knowledgeable Muslims, who wouldn’t dream of insulting Muhammad. It is noteworthy also that at least those who spoke in televised sermons seemed to assume that their Muslim audience would also know and accept that Muhammad behaved the way they say he did. Nor were there any protests raised against these or similar statements by other Muslims anywhere in the Islamic world. So why is Robert Redeker in fear for his life after threats for saying, in effect, what many Muslims around the world themselves say? It would appear that his chief crime was in saying these things as a non-Muslim, and in a disapproving way. Those Muslims who have issued threats to Redeker seem to be attempting to extend the traditional Islamic legal tenet forbidding non-Muslims in the Islamic state to insult Allah or Muhammad, or to hold any critical discussion of Muhammad by non-Muslims. It seems to be acceptable for non-Muslims to speak about Muhammad only if they speak as if they were believers, or with the sensibilities of believers paramount in their considerations. Even the noted moderate Muslim spokesman Akbar Ahmed of American University recommends something like this when speaking of the rage against Pope Benedict XVI. Ahmed hedges his support for free speech with an appeal to be sensitive to the consequences of speaking out: “Although I totally support free speech and freedom of expression, and have been saying so publicly, all of us need to be sensitive to the culture and traditions of other faiths. I am not talking of a purely academic or idealistic discussion but the possibility of people losing their lives as a result of some perceived attack on faith made across the world. I believe that the lives lost and the properties destroyed—including mosques and churches—after the Danish cartoons controversy erupted could have been avoided had there been people of greater wisdom and compassion at the start of the crisis.” (Ahmed’s “mosques and churches” statement is curious, since those who were angered by the Pope’s statement destroyed churches in Gaza, the West Bank, and Nigeria. They destroyed no mosques.) 

Ahmed seems to be saying in effect that non-Muslims should tread lightly about Islamic topics simply because violence might ensue. But if someone reacts violently to another’s words, particularly if those words would be inoffensive coming from someone else, the fault lies with the one who is reacting, not with the speaker. The threats to Redeker, following so closely on the global outrage at the Pope, are yet another example of the jihadist attempt to frighten and intimidate the West into chastened silence. 

That makes it all the more crucial, in these perilous times, for free people to speak out.

[i] Steven Stalinsky, “Palestinian Authority Sermons 2000-2003,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Report No. 24, December 26, 2003.

[ii] Adeyeye Joseph and Agaju Madugba, “Bomb Scare in Lagos,” This Day, November 22, 2003.

[iii] “Al-Qa’ida Internet Magazine Sawt Al-Jihad Calls to Intensify Fighting During Ramadan — ‘the Month of Jihad,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 804, October 22, 2004.

[iv] “Commander of the Khobar Terrorist Squad Tells the Story of the Operation,” Middle East Media Research Institute Special Dispatch Series No. 731, June 15, 2004.   

[v] Amir Taheri, “Kerry Wins The Arab Vote,” New York Post, August 18, 2004.

[vi] Adil Salahi, “No Fighting Before Explaining Islam,” Arab News, January 31, 2005.

[vii] “London Islamist Dr. Hani Al-Sibaai Justifies Slaughters in Iraq: The Prophet Muhammad Used to Slaughter As Well,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Clip No. 576, February 22, 2005.

[viii] Steven Stalinsky, “Palestinian Authority Sermons 2000-2003,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Report No. 24, December 26, 2003.

[ix] Steven Stalinsky, “The ‘Islamic Affairs Department’ of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C.,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Special Dispatch No. 23, November 26, 2003.

[x] “Our Struggle with the Jews is a Struggle for Existence, Not a Struggle for Land,” Al-Asaalah Magazine, Issue 30.

[xi] Yaakov Lappin, “UK Islamists: Make Jihad on Israel,” YNet News, July 2, 2006.

[xii] Ibn Ishaq, 464.



Fouad Ajami

  The scaffolding of the Iraq war is under renewed attack. So there had been no meeting between Mohamed Atta and Iraqi intelligence operative Ahmad al-Ani in Prague; and Saddam’s regime was “intensely secular” while al Qaeda was steeped in religious doctrine. Tariq Aziz, once Goebbels to his master, now in captivity, says that Saddam had only “negative sentiments” about Osama bin Laden, and that the despot had issued a decree “outlawing Wahhabism in Iraq and threatening offenders with execution.”     The case against the Iraq war now has a new canonical document: a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released on Sept. 8. Opponents of the war–to use their own language against the Bush administration–now “cherry pick” this report, and they find in it the damning evidence that had been their conviction all along. In their eyes, the case for this war was a willful hoax. And on the heels of this report, it was revealed that the National Intelligence Estimate now depicts Iraq as the breeding ground of a new generation of terrorists.     Intended or not, the release of the Senate report, around the fifth anniversary of 9/11, has been read as definitive proof that the Iraq war stands alone, that the terrors that came America’s way on 9/11 had nothing to do with the origins of the war. Few will read this report; fewer still will ask why a virtually incomprehensible Arab-Islamic world that has eluded us for so long now yields its secrets to a congressional committee. On the face of it, and on the narrowest of grounds, the report maintains that the link between the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq cannot stand in a Western court of inquiry.     But this brutal drawn-out struggle between American power and the furies of the Arab-Islamic world was never a Western war. Our enemies were full of cunning and expert at dissimulation, hunkering down when needed. No one in the coffeehouses of the Arab world (let alone in the safe houses of the terrorists) would be led astray by that distinction between “secular” and “religious” movements emphasized by the Senate Intelligence Committee. They live in a world where the enemies of order move with remarkable ease from outward religious piety to the most secular of appearances. It is no mystery to them that Saddam, once the most secular of despots, fell back on religious symbols after the first Gulf War, added Allahu Akbar (God is great) to Iraq’s flag, and launched a mosque-building campaign whose remnants–half-finished mosques all over Baghdad–now stand mute.     No Iraqi agents had to slip into hotel rooms in Prague for meetings with jihadists to plot against America. The plot sprang out of the deep structure of Arab opinion. We waged a war against Saddam in 1991 and then spared him. We established a presence in the Arabian Peninsula to monitor him, only to help radicalize a population with religious phobias about the “infidel” presence on Arabian soil. The most devout and the most religiously lapsed of the Arabs alike could see the feebleness of America’s response to a decade of subversion and terror waged by Arab plotters and bankrolled by Arab financiers. The American desire to launch out of Iraq a broader campaign of deterrence against the radical forces of the region may not have been successful in every way, but the effort was driven by a shrewd reading that, after Kabul, the war had to be taken deep into the Arab world itself.    Strictly speaking, the National Intelligence Estimate–another “canonical” document–is not a finding: It is an assessment of Islamic terrorism and its perceived links to Iraq. (It is odd, and ironic, that the intelligence agencies that had been mocked by liberal opinion for their reporting on Iraq before the war have now acquired an aura of infallibility.) Islamic terror did not wait on the Iraq war. The assertion that Islamic terrorism has “metastasized and spread across the globe” because of Iraq takes at face value what the jihadists themselves proclaim. It would stand to reason that their Web sites, and the audiotapes of their leaders, would trumpet their attachment to the cause of Iraq. It is inevitable that American analysts glued to jihadist cyberspace, and lacking intimate knowledge of Arab ways, would take the jihadists at their word. But Islamic radicals have not lacked for grievances. The anti-Americanism and antimodernism that brought them onto American soil five years ago predated Iraq. For the good part of two decades, jihadist terror blew at will, driven by the conviction in the lands of Islam and its diaspora communities that America was a pampered land with little zeal for bloody struggles.     The declassified portions of the NIE are not particularly profound in the reading of Islamism. Their sociologese is of a piece with a big body of writing on Islamist movements–that the resentments of these movements arise out of “anger, humiliation and a sense of powerlessness” in the face of the West. I dare guess that were Ayman al-Zawahiri to make his way through this report, he would marvel at the naïveté of those who set out to read him and his fellow warriors of the faith. Ayoob al-Masri (Zarqawi’s successor in Iraq) would not find himself and his phobias and his will to power in this “infidel document.” These warriors have a utopia–an Islamic world ruled by their own merciless brand of the faith. With or without Iraq, the work of “cleansing” Islam’s world would continue to rage on.    It was inevitable that the Arabs would regard this American project in Iraq through the prism of their own experience. We upended an order of power in Baghdad, dominated as it had been by the Sunni Arabs; and we emancipated the Shiite stepchildren of the Arab world, as well as the Kurds. Our innocence was astounding. We sinned against the order of the universe, but called on the region to celebrate, to bless our work. More to the point, we set the Shia on their own course. We did for them what they could not have done on their own. For our part, we were ambivalent about the coming of age of the Shia. We had battled radical Shiism in Iran and in Lebanon in the 1980s. The symbols of Shiism we associated with political violence–radical mullahs, martyrology, suicide bombers. True, in the interim, we had had a war–undeclared, but still a war–with Sunni jihadists. But there lingered in us an aversion to radical Shiism, an understandable residue of the campaign that Ayatollah Khomeini had waged against American power in the ’80s. We were susceptible as well to the representations made to us by rulers in the Sunni-ruled states about the dangers of radical Shiism.    The case against the war makes much of Iran’s new power in Iraq. To the war critics, President Bush has midwifed a second Islamic republic in Iraq, next door to Iran. But Iran cannot run away with Iraq, and talk of an ascendant Iran in Iraqi affairs is overblown. We belittle the Iraqi Shiites–their sense of home, and of a tradition so thoroughly Iraqi and Arab–when we write them off as instruments of Iran. Inevitably, there is Iranian money in Iraq, and there are agents, but this is the logic of the 900-mile Iranian-Iraqi border.    True, in the long years of Tikriti/Saddamist dominion, Shiite political men persecuted by the regime sought sanctuary in Iran; a political party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and its military arm, the Badr Brigade, rose in those years with Iranian patronage. But the Iraqi exiles are not uniform in their attitudes toward Iran. Exile was hard, and the Iranian hosts were given to arrogance and paternalism. Iraqi exiles were subordinated to the strategic needs of the Iranian regime. Much is made, and appropriately, of the way the Americans who prosecuted the first Gulf War called for rebellions by the Shiites (and the Kurds), only to walk away in indifference as the Saddam regime struck back with vengeance. But the Iranians, too, averted their gaze from the slaughter. States are merciless, the Persian state no exception to that rule.     We should not try to impose more order and consensus on the world of Shiite Iraq than is warranted by the facts. In recent days a great faultline within the Shiites could be seen: The leader of the Supreme Council for the Revolution in Iraq, Sayyid Abdulaziz al-Hakim, has launched a big campaign for an autonomous Shiite federated unit that would take in the overwhelmingly Shiite provinces in the south and the middle Euphrates, but this project has triggered the furious opposition of Hakim’s nemesis, the young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Hakim’s bid was transparent. He sought to be the uncrowned king of a Shiite polity. But he was rebuffed. Sadr was joined in opposition to that scheme by the Daawa Party of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, by the Virtue Party, and by those secular Shiites who had come into the national assembly with former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. A bitter struggle now plays out in the Shiite provinces between the operatives of the Badr Brigade and Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The fight is draped in religious colors–but it is about the spoils of power.     The truculence of the Sunni Arabs has brought forth the Shiite vengeance that a steady campaign of anti-Shiite terror was bound to trigger. Sunni elements have come into the government, but only partly so. President Jalal Talabani put it well when he said that there are elements in Iraq that partake of government in the daytime, and of terror at night. This is as true of the Sunni Arabs as it is of the Shiites. The (Sunni) insurgents were relentless: In the most recent of events, they have taken terror deep into Sadr City. The results were predictable: The death squads of the Mahdi Army struck back.     It is idle to debate whether Iraq is in a state of civil war. The semantics are tendentious, and in the end irrelevant. There is mayhem, to be sure, but Iraq has arrived at a rough balance of terror. The Sunni Arabs now know, as they had never before, that their tyranny is broken for good. And the most recent reports from Anbar province speak of a determination of the Sunni tribes to be done with the Arab jihadists.    It is not a rhetorical flourish to say that the burden of rescuing Iraq lies with its leaders. No script had America staying indefinitely, fighting Iraq’s wars, securing Iraq’s peace. The best we can do for Iraq is grant it time to develop the military and political capabilities that would secure it against insurgencies at home and subversion from across its borders. No one can say with confidence how long the American body politic will tolerate the expense in blood and treasure. It would be safe to assume that this president will stay with this war, that its burden is likely to be passed onto his successor. The Iraqis are approaching reckoning time, for America’s leaders are under pressure to force history’s pace. The political process here at home is not likely to impose a precise deadline for withdrawal. But the Iraqis should not be lulled into complacency, for the same political process is more likely to place limits on this commitment in Iraq.     For their part, the Iranians will press on: The spectacle of power they display is illusory. It is a broken society over which the mullahs rule. A society that throws on the scene a leader of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s derangement is not an orderly land; foreigners may not be able to overthrow that regime, but countries can atrophy as their leaders–armed, here, by an oil windfall of uncertain duration–strut on the world stage. Iran’s is a deeper culture than Iraq’s, possessed of a keen sense of Persia’s primacy in the region around it. What Iranians make of their own history will not wait on the kind of society that will emerge in Iraq. On the margins, a scholarly tradition in Najaf given to moderation could be a boon to the clerics of Iran. But the Iranians will not know deliverance from the sterility of their world if Iraq were to fail. Their schadenfreude over an American debacle in Iraq will have to be brief. A raging fire next door to them would not be pretty. And, crafty players, the Iranians know what so many in America who guess at such matters do not: that Iraq is an unwieldy land, that the Arab-Persian divide in culture, language and temperament is not easy to bridge.    We needn’t give credence to the assertion of President Bush–that the jihadists would turn up in our cities if we pulled up stakes from Baghdad –to recognize that a terrible price would be paid were we to opt for a hasty and unseemly withdrawal from Iraq. This is a region with a keen eye for the weakness of strangers. The heated debate about the origins of our drive into Iraq would surely pale by comparison to the debate that would erupt–here and elsewhere–were we to give in to despair and cast the Iraqis adrift. 

(Fouad Ajami, a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, is the author, most recently, of “The Foreigner’s Gift” (Free Press, 2006). He is a recipient of the 2006 Bradley Prize.)


Why we don’t take the anti-war arguments of “liberals” seriously –

Why we don’t take the anti-war arguments of “liberals” seriously – Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:50 AM

Do opponents of the war stop to think of how they sound to people not caught up in their Bush-hating, America-doubting psychosis? Evidently not. Pete Wehner who is doing a terrific job in the White House sent out an email with these quotes from Washington Post writer Richard Cohen:

Richard Cohen Now:

“George W. Bush wanted, in effect, to win the second term that George H.W. Bush had lost (to Bill Clinton), and he also wanted to finish the job his father had started with Saddam Hussein. If there is a better explanation for why Bush — not necessarily the neocons around him — so fervently wanted war, I cannot come up with it.” — Richard Cohen, “Can Bush Save Bush?” The
Washington Post
, October 3, 2006.  

Richard Cohen Then:

Iraq is in violation of U.N. Resolution 1441 — no ifs, ands or buts. It will not account for its weapons of mass destruction — chemical and biological for sure, maybe nuclear down the road. It is ruled by a thug who twice invaded neighboring countries and whose human rights record is as wretched as one could be. There is no need to gild the lily. The case for war is a good one.”
 — Richard Cohen, “Powellian Propaganda?” The
Washington Post
, February 13, 2003. 

Oh, and his view of the revenge-the-father canard then:

“Too often, though, compression becomes simplification. Thus we get references to colonialism, oil and militarism and a naive admiration for the Palestinian struggle. George W. Bush is caricatured as a simpleton out to avenge Saddam Hussein’s attempt to assassinate his father or doing the bidding of Big Oil. This is not the compression of wisdom, nor, for that matter, is it art.” — Richard Cohen, “Rhyme Ill-Reasoned,” The
Washington Post
, February 18, 2003. 

Democrats and their press: lying about the war – Monday, October 02, 2006 11:32 AM

Democrats and their press: lying about the war – Monday, October 02, 2006 11:32 AM
Watching MSNBC “reporting” on Woodward’s book this morning. The anchorwoman was describing Powell’s speech at the UN as the Administration’s case for going to war. In fact, the Administration’s case for going to war is contained in the 2002 White Paper, the congressional authorization for the use of force (November 2002), in the State of the Union message of January 20, 2003 and in its statement calling for the enforcement of UN Resolution 1441, a war ultimatum whose deadline passed on December 7, 2002. Powell’s speech was in February 2003.

Powell’s speech was not America’s rationale for going to war with Iraq. Powel”s speech had one purpose — to persuade Russia and China and France to enforce UN Resolution 1441. We now know why this was futile. Russia, China and France were Saddam’s allies and stood to lose billions of dollars each if he was toppled by a US-led UN force. The malicious Democratic Party campaign against Rumsfeld, the President and the War — which is abetted by the anti-war left in the press — is reaching a fever pitch. Two books a day it seems (as the Post‘s Karen DeYoung joins Woodward with another political illiterate screed against the Administration). The fact is that the left’s solution to present difficulties in Iraq is to deliver Iraq to Iran. The Democrats’ anti-war arguments are as sickening as they are absurd: We create the terrorists. If only America would stop its aggressions, the problem of the Islamic jihad would diminish accordingly.

Absurdity two: if only America left Iraq and focused on killing Osama bin Laden, the Islamic jihad would be over. Bin Laden’s death was recently reported. Did anybody stop to think what this would mean if it were true? It would mean nothing. Did the killing of Zarqawi end the war in Iraq? Bin Laden has been ineffectual for nearly three years. The war we are in is not a war with a gang, which will be demoralized by the loss of its leader. Dead leaders make martyrs — precisely what our enemies aspire to. By the left’s logic we should stop killing them, because that only encourages them.

Our enemies are engaged in a religious crusade It is a war with a religious crusade. Winning the war is going to require a long hard struggle. The weak and cowardly are going to counsel appeasement and retreat all along the way. Those who attack us from within without offering a constructive policy for winning are helping the enemy. They are not criticizing the Administration; they are sabotaging the war. I have yet to come across a single Democrat who has a plan to prosecute the war more effectively. That tells me more than I care to know about the integrity of the opposition.

Bottom line: This war will be won or lost on the battlefront at home — and right now the Democratic Party is a big part of the problem.

Campaign Cash from Al-Arian’s Mouthpiece
By Joe Kaufman | September 5, 2006

In 1998, during his reelection campaign, Florida Congressman Jim Davis accepted a financial contribution from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian, only to donate it to charity after al-Arian was arrested and indicted. This was far from a shining moment in Davis’s political career. So why, when Davis is running for Governor of Florida, is he now accepting donations from al-Arian’s main spokesperson in the media, Ahmed Bedier?

For years, al-Arian was being investigated for his role in the promotion and financing of terrorism abroad. Indeed, the man was a co-founder of PIJ and acted as its global chief financial officer, governing “Shura Council” secretary, and senior North American representative (David Tell, Weekly Standard, 2003). His reputation, apart from jihadi circles, was not a stellar one. That being the case, al-Arian took the necessary steps to change his image by attempting to gain political influence. Over the course of three years, he would donate close to $5,000 to candidates of his choosing. [His wife, Nahla, would contribute $3,000 more.] Al-Arian’s first choice was freshman Congressman Jim Davis.


Davis had been elected to Congress in 1996, and like all public servants, he was actively looking to raise funds for his reelection. On October 28 1998, al-Arian answered the call with a check for $200. Just nine days later, two PIJ suicide bombers detonated themselves in Jerusalem, murdering two and wounding 20. In February of 2003, al-Arian was taken into custody and charged with playing a major role in a global terrorist organization. Subsequently, television reports on Tampa’s local Bay News 9 and NBC 6 exposed the campaign contribution. Davis responded by stating that he would donate the contribution to charity.


Two elections and over 100 PIJ murders later, Davis has threatened a replay of the embarrassing saga by accepting a campaign donation of $100 from al-Arian’s main spokesperson in the media, the Communications Director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the co-host of WMNF’s True Talk, Ahmed Bedier.


Bedier, on his radio show last month, quipped, “I wouldn’t work for any organization that has any type of bad connections.” When Bedier made the statement, he was talking about CAIR, a group that he has been with for over three-and-a-half years, a group that was related to the terrorist organization Hamas. Since CAIR began, it has had four of its officials convicted in and/or deported from the United States, all found to have had ties with Hamas or al-Qaeda. One of the four, Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, previously a CAIR Communications Specialist and Civil Rights Coordinator, was conspiring with others to attack Americans and Indians overseas.


These actions have been backed up with statements from CAIR officials. CAIR’s co-founder and National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, stated in March of 1994, at a panel discussion at Barry University in Florida, “After I researched the situation inside and outside Palestine, I am in support of the Hamas movement….” (Steven Emerson, American Jihad, 2002) In November of 2001, CAIR’s then-Executive Director of its New York chapter, Ghazi Khankan, was quoted as saying at an interfaith event, “We don’t support Hamas and Hezbollah just to support them. I look at the issues.”


None of this has escaped Ahmed Bedier. For years, Bedier has acted as Sami al-Arian’s chief spokesperson in the media. Even after al-Arian pled guilty to conspiring to assist PIJ, for which he received 57 months in prison, Bedier took his side, going as far as to describe the judge who sentenced him as “biased and unfair.” (Orlando Sentinel, May 2, 2006) Bedier has defended PIJ, as well. In December of 2005, when he appeared on a local Tampa television show, ‘Your Turn with Kathy Fountain,’ after being asked by the host if he believed there was anything immoral about al-Arian’s connection to PIJ, Bedier said that, “before 1995, there was nothing immoral about it.”


Palestinian Islamic Jihad is not the only terrorist organization Ahmed Bedier has aided. Bedier’s July 21, 2006, radio show was devoted entirely to support for Hezbollah. On the show, all three of his guests – author Bilal al-Amin, Professor Rania Masri, and FSU alum Fadia Anani – gushed praise for the group, never once being reprimanded by Bedier (or his co-host, Samar Jarrah). Some statements from the guests included:


  • Al-Amin: “I’m not very good at being brief about Hezbollah, but I’ll try. I’ll just say that it’s not at all the picture that is portrayed of it in the West, as some sort of cartoonish terrorist group. It is a liberation movement in many senses for the Lebanese Shia that has huge support, probably more than any party in Lebanon…It has quite a clean record, and its leader, Hasan Nasrallah, is revered probably by most Lebanese as a fairly eloquent and capable leader.”
  • Masri: “Let everyone understand that Hezbollah is not a building, Hezbollah is [not] a street. Hezbollah is composed of families that believe in liberation, families that believe [in] dignity, families that believe [in] purpose.”
  • Anani: “They have been trying to invade Lebanon since the first day. Yesterday alone, there was a 20-hour battle between the Israeli army and the National Resistance Movement of Hezbollah. For 20 hours they fought. This speaks volumes about the heroic nature of Hezbollah.”
  • Anani: “The fact of the matter is that Hezbollah has a lot of the voice of the people here, so ultimately Hezbollah’s voice needs to be heard. You can’t just keep shutting it away, because it’s always gonna rise again.”

Today are the primary elections for the state of Florida. One of the elections will determine who gets to run as the Democrat for the powerful and prestigious position of governor. The big question is whether Davis will hold the Bedier contribution, like he did the one with al-Arian, and just wait for Bedier to follow in his friend’s footsteps and suddenly donate it, when it’s exposed in the press? Or will he do the right thing and give back the money now?

For all those concerned, the Davis campaign can be contacted at: 813-875-2006.

CAIR’s Catholic Blood Money — The links work on this page

CAIR’s Catholic Blood Money
By Joe Kaufman | October 4, 2006

On Sunday, September 24, 2006, Ahmed Bedier led a delegation of Muslims from his organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a visit to the St. Paul’s Catholic Church of St. Petersburg, Florida.  At the end of the visit, Bedier handed a check for $5000 to the pastor of
St. Paul’s for the repair of churches that had been damaged recently in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip, over one sentence spoken by the Pope.  The money was for a good cause, but accepting the money came with a price.

Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech he gave during a trip to Germany on September 12, quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor as saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”  This set off a firestorm across the Muslim world, resulting in violence.  Enraged crowds took their frustrations out on symbols of Christianity.  This included the murder of an Italian nun and the firebombing of churches located in the
West Bank and

Taking advantage of this sensitive situation was CAIR, an organization that pawns itself off as a “civil liberties” group, while having numerous ties to Islamic extremism, including links to individuals convicted for terrorist crimes.  At a press conference, on Thursday, September 21, Ahmed Bedier, the Director of CAIR’s
Tampa office, and Rev. Robert Gibbons, the Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, held aloft a large poster-board check for $5000 bearing CAIR’s insignia.  The money was said to be for the half-dozen churches that had been attacked, five of which were firebombed and shot at, the other doused with gasoline and set aflame.

It was a disquieting scene as Ahmed Bedier stood side by side with a high-ranking Diocese official.  Exactly two months prior to the event, Bedier hosted a radio show where all three of his guests lauded Hezbollah, a group that is found on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.  One of the guests went as far as to label the group “heroic.”  One must question if Rev. Gibbons was aware of this fact.

The check, which CAIR described as “seed money,” was made out to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a humanitarian relief program run by the Catholic Church, based in
New York City.  Additionally, a CNEWA fund was created in CAIR’s name, to raise further monies.

In order to make a donation to the fund, people have been asked to forward their checks to the CNEWA office under the title, “CAIR Palestine Damaged Churches.”  The term “
Palestine” denotes statehood and seems to have been injected into the fund’s address purely for political purposes.  If that is the case, the Catholic Church is being used for nothing more than to make a political statement, and being as such and the fact that the church accepted the money, the implication is that the church is in full agreement with the statement.

A situation similar to this occurred in October of 2001, when Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a CAIR financier, offered New York City a check for $10 million dollars to go towards relief efforts, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.  The check was rejected by the former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, on the grounds that the money was attached to a political statement made by Bin Talal, concerning
America’s relationship to the Mid East. 

While visiting the wreckage, Bin Talal called the attacks “a tremendous crime.”  He added, “We are here to tell
America and to tell
New York that
Saudi Arabia is with the
United States wholeheartedly.”  However, in a written statement handed out by his publicist, the Prince had another message for
America.  He stated, “At times like this one, we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack.  I believe the government of the
United States of America should re-examine its policies in the
Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause.”

Mayor Giuliani responded by stating, “There is no moral equivalent for this attack.  The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification when they slaughtered 5,000, 6,000 innocent people.  Not only are those statements wrong, they’re part of the problem.”  He said the statements were “highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous.”

Rudy Giuliani showed integrity, when he returned the check.  The Catholic Diocese could have done the same.  Instead, they kept the money and all of the extremist baggage that went along with it, while CAIR used the church to gain legitimacy and manipulated the media to gain publicity.

When Ahmed Bedier led his delegation to
St. Paul’s, it was not to have dialogue with Catholics, as CAIR had stated in press releases and elsewhere.  It just appeared that way, because, while Bedier acted like he was a friend to the Catholic community, the following day something occurred that would severely contradict the “friendship.”

On September 25, on WTVT-Tampa’s ‘Your Turn with Kathy Fountain,’ Bedier lashed out at the Pope, the figure whose picture adorns the website of the CNEWA, the group CAIR is raising money through.  Bedier angrily stated, “He said his intention was to start a dialogue.  Well, if you want to start a dialogue with someone, you don’t start it off by slapping them across the face and calling them names and say, ‘Well, now let’s talk.’”  It seems CAIR was acting in the same disrespectful manner towards Catholicism’s most revered, as it was accusing the Pope of acting towards Islam’s most revered — except in this case, while extremists across the world were screaming “Death to the Pope,” Catholics were embracing them by taking their money.

Iranian TV: Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest’ is a Pawn of the Zionist Lobby to Gain Cultural Control

Iranian TV: Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest’ is a Pawn of the Zionist Lobby to Gain Cultural Control

The following are excerpts from an Iranian TV report on Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which asserts that the film is a “Zionist” conspiracy to exert cultural influence by the Disney Company. The report aired on the Iranian news channel (IRINN) on July 27, 2006.


Similar assertions, about the “Tom and Jerry Show,” were made by Iranian professor Hasan Bolkhari, [1] during a film seminar; his comments were aired February 16, 2006 by Iranian Channel 4. Bolkhari, who is a member of the Film Council of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), is also cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry, [2] and active on behalf of interfaith issues. [3]


The following are excerpts from both reports:

IRINN, July 27, 2006

Anchor: “Zionist ideology uses all means to impose its cultural control. Cinema, as an attractive and popular form of art, has always interested the Zionist circles.”

Reporter: “The hot news of cinema circles worldwide is: The Pirates of the Caribbean attack the silver screen. The example of Pirates of the Caribbean – Hollywood’s latest effort to gain control – is all the more striking if we bear in mind the name of its producer: the Walt Disney company. Disney and its productions have been associated, more than anything, with the Zionist lobby in Hollywood. In 1995, when the pro-Zionist Jews were 2.5% of America’s population, they made up 7.7% of Disney’s board of directors. This clearly influences the content of this large company’s productions, as well as its policies and guidelines. The Aladdin animated film series is one example of Disney creations that present Arabs in a negative light.

“In 2004, Disney supported the Bush administration’s expansionist policies, and refrained from screening the film Fahrenheit 9/11, which harshly criticized Bush’s policy in attacking Iraq. This film, which won the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes film festival, became the bestselling documentary in the history of the film industry. Disney’s move brought it nothing but disgrace.

“In any event, Zionism is not restricted to the capitalistic weapons companies, such as Lockheed and the banks that support it. Cinema is considered another, subtle, weapon in the hands of those who support this corrupt ideology. In Hollywood, Disney is the manufacturer of this weapon, and Pirates of the Caribbean is its newest ammunition.

“Hamid-Reza Modaghegh, IRINN, Tehran.”

Iranian Channel 4, February 16, 2006

Hasan Bolkhari: “There is a cartoon that children like. They like it very much, and so do adults – Tom and Jerry.”


“Some say that this creation by Walt Disney [sic] will be remembered forever. The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon. It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse – especially the mouse.

“Some say that the main reason for making this very appealing cartoon was to erase a certain derogatory term that was prevalent in Europe.”


“If you study European history, you will see who was the main power to hoard money and wealth in the 19th century. In most cases, it is the Jews. Perhaps that was one of the reasons which caused Hitler to begin the anti-Semitic trend, and then the extensive propaganda about the crematoria began… Some of this is true. We do not deny all of it.

“Watch Schindler’s List. Every Jew was forced to wear a yellow star on his clothing. The Jews were degraded and termed ‘dirty mice.’ Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans’ perception of mice. One of terms used was ‘dirty mice.’

“I’d like to tell you that… It should be noted that mice are very cunning…and dirty.”


“No ethnic group or people operates in such a clandestine manner as the Jews.”


“Read the history of the Jews in Europe. This ultimately led to Hitler’s hatred and resentment. As it turns out, Hitler had behind-the-scene connections with the Protocols [of the Elders of Zion].”

“Tom and Jerry was made in order to display the exact opposite image. If you happen to watch this cartoon tomorrow, bear in mind the points I have just raised, and watch it from this perspective. The mouse is very clever and smart. Everything he does is so cute. He kicks the poor cat’s ass. Yet this cruelty does not make you despise the mouse. He looks so nice, and he is so clever… This is exactly why some say it was meant to erase this image of mice from the minds of European children, and to show that the mouse is not dirty and has these traits.

“Unfortunately, we have many such cases in Hollywood shows.”

[1] According to the site of the 2005 Iranian Short Film Festival (, Hasan Bolkhari (b. 1962) holds a Ph.D in Islamic Philosophy and, among other things, teaches philosophy of art at Tabatabaei and Al-Zahra Universities in Iran and is a prolific author of literary and scientific works. According to the site, he is also counselor and member of the Film Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and a member of the IRIB’s Approval Group – TV Films and Serials.

[2] According to a BBC report ( ), Bolkhari is a cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry; according to the IRIB’s English-language Radio Islam, he is an Iranian mass media expert ( ).

[3] According to the World Catholic Association for Communication, Bolkhari was the Iranian member of the interfaith jury of the recent 24th Fajr International Film Festival and “the Interfaith Jury was set up in 2003 to promote inter-religious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.” The jury also included a U.K. and a Belgian juror.