Fall of the Fifth Republic? — France today is a lot like New York City was before Rudy Giuliani: Its government is so large it crushes the economy – yet also too weak to stem widespread criminality. As with pre-Rudy New York, the fear that France’s best days are behind it prevails. — click the link in the text “The French Path To Jihad”

Fall of the Fifth Republic?
By Fred Siegel
New York Post | November 1, 2006

France today is a lot like New York City was before Rudy Giuliani: Its government is so large it crushes the economy – yet also too weak to stem widespread criminality. As with pre-Rudy New York, the fear that France’s best days are behind it prevails. For the moment, the French are breathing a sigh of relief, as the anniversary of last year’s three weeks of rioting by Muslim youth passed with much fanfare but no widespread disturbances. Yet — with the nation approaching both a presidential election and the Fifth Republic’s 50th anniversary — the French elites worry that their famously unstable country is headed for breakdown and a Sixth Republic.

The 2005 Ramadan Riots, which saw some 10,000 cars torched and 300 buildings firebombed, have been followed by a yearlong, lower-grade rolling riot — what some in the French police are calling a “permanent intifada.” Nationwide, this works out to 15 attacks a day on police and firefighters, and 100 cars set ablaze nightly. And for the first time, the police are being subject to well-planned ambushes.

So when the Oct. 27 anniversary of last year’s violence was met with “only” 277 torched cars, the Interior Ministry declared it “relatively calm.”

But the trends are not good. While last year’s violence was disorganized (rioters armed only with bricks, crowbars and Molotov cocktails) and largely confined to heavily immigrant Muslim and African neighborhoods, this past week saw a half-dozen well-organized attacks on public buses in non-immigrant neighborhoods by “youths” armed with guns. In some cases, they ordered passengers out at gunpoint, then firebombed the bus. In others, they’ve tossed Molotov cocktails into buses with the passengers still aboard.

The French press ardently insists there’s no link between Islam and the unrest in the streets. But there is a connection, albeit complex, between the rioters and Islam’s Jihadi elements.

Some of the rioters of 2005 and car bombers of recent clashes have shouted Allah Akbar (God is Great). But other rioters are drawn to Islam less as a faith and more as an off-the-shelf oppositional ideology that has replaced Marxism as the intellectual drug of the alienated.

In his Policy Review article “The French Path To Jihad,” based on interviews with French prisoners, author John Rosenthal notes that Islam’s attraction is often less its theological content than an aura of rebellion. “Islam disturbs people,” notes Jacques, a non-Muslim “and for me that’s a good sign.”

One Muslim prisoner he interviews sounds like an underclass kid from early ’90s New York: “Islam was my salvation. I understood what I was as a Muslim, someone with dignity, whom the French despised because they didn’t fear me enough . . . That is the achievement of Islamism. Now, we are respected. Hated, but respected.”

The Fifth Republic’s foreign policy, which sees the Arab world as a counter-balance to U.S. and Israeli power, has unintentionally legitimated some of the violence. French television, its perspective an extension of the nation’s ruling elites, has tried to incorporate young Muslims by depicting the conflicts in the Middle East largely from a Franco-Muslim perspective. On many nights, the TV news glorified the intifada against Israel. In the “al Dura affair,” French TV went so far as to fabricate images of a Palestinian boy supposedly killed by Israelis.

The Muslim underclass, not surprisingly, identified with the “youths” attacking Israelis and sees in their own violence a heroic extension of the battle against the enemies of Islam.

The continued violence and fear have received heavy coverage in the French press, and — along with a weak economy, high unemployment and the collapse in support for President Jacques Chirac — set the terms for the 2007 presidential campaign, now underway.

The 74-year-old Chirac is a career politician — and, like most of France’s insular elite, cut off from the public. He has managed the remarkable accomplishment of becoming less popular in France than President Bush.

But the old Socialist opposition — which had already managed to finish third in the 2002 presidential elections, behind the fascist Jean Le Pen — have been unable to capitalize on the nation’s troubles. The Socialists, who largely represent government bureaucrats and professionals, are as cut off from popular sentiment as Chirac. They are, explains American expatriate writer Denis Boyles, so ardent in their courtship of the Muslim vote as to be literally tongue-tied when it comes to the violence.

The one politician who seems to be in touch with the mood of anger and anxiety is Chirac’s plainspoken interior minister and political enemy — Nicholas Sarkozy, whose parents came to France as immigrants.

Sarkozy is not only philo-American, he admires Giuliani.

If his thus-far successful efforts to constrain Muslim violence hold, his chances of becoming the next president increase. The question then will be if Sarkozy has the Giuliani-like courage and ability to buck the tides of the traditional elites and pull his country back from the brink of ruin.

Zakat and Jihad from the Words of the Master

Zakat and Jihad from the Words of the Master

Douglas Farah points out the duplicity:

There is an extensive campaign by CAIR and other Islamist groups to portray jihad as a purely spiritual struggle a good Muslim wages to overcome personal evil. It is also a point made often by the “moderates” of the Muslim Brotherhood. This has led to confusion in policy and a fear of offending if one calls jihad what it really is.But as I have said repeatedly, just read what they say themselves to understand what the real agenda is. They tell us what they want to do, and yet we refuse to take them seriously by either understanding and knowing what they say, or acting to stop them.

A 1999 tome titled “Fiqh az-Zakat: A Comparative Study,” by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood leaves no ambiguity as to the nature of jihad. While often portrayed as a moderate, Qaradawi is one of the modern architects of the Islamist project to re-establish the Muslim Caliphate and then bring Allah’s rule to the rest of the world.

In writing about the use of zakat, the 2.5 percent of every earning and transaction a Muslim is to give to the cause of Allah, Qaradawi writes: “The most honorable form of jihad nowadays is fighting for the liberation of Muslim land from the domination of unbelievers, regardless of their religion or ideology. The communist and the capitalist, the Westerner and the Easterner, Christian, Jew, pagan or unbeliever, all are aggressors when they attack and occupy Muslim land. Fighting in defence of the home of Islam is obligatory until the enemy is driven away and Muslims are liberated.”

This is not a secret document, but a book that Qaradawi published, and he defines the occupied lands: “Today Muslim land is occupied in Palestine, Kashmire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Chad, Somalia, Cyprus, Samarqand, Bukhara, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Albania and serveral other occupied countries. Declaring holy war to save these Muslim lands is an Islamic duty, and fighting for such purposes in those occupied territories is the Way of Allah for which zakat must be spent.”

That is pretty forthright. He offers this conclusion: “The most important form of jihad today is serious, purposefully organized work to rebuild Islamic society and state and to implement the Islamic way of life in the political, cultural and economic domains. This is certainly most deserving of zakat. ”

It seems clear. The money being gathered-to the tune of billions of dollars a year-is to liberate Muslim lands and establish a Muslim state (the Caliphate). The fact that al-Qaradawi is a leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood offers a clue to why the Brotherhood has taken such pains to build up a financial infrastructure that spans the globe, an infrastructure the intelligence community knows almost nothing about, and has shown little interest in understanding.

UN admits Syria arming Hizballah

UN admits Syria arming Hizballah

The UN admits that it is completely ineffectual, or worse. “UN Admits Syria Arming Hizbullah, UNIFIL Takes Nights Off,” by Ezra HaLevi for Israel National News, with thanks to A Girl Scout:

Despite the 20,000 troops deployed in southern Lebanon, the United Nations admits that weapons smuggling from Syria continues unhindered. A German report finds UNIFIL does not patrol after dark.Hizbullah terrorists are free to roam at night without fear of being identified by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), according to a report by the German paper Der Spiegel.

UNIFIL commanders were interviewed by the paper, saying their function is to “observe changes in the behavior of the local population,” with Spanish UNIFIL official Richard Ortax admitting that no patrols are carried out at night “because of the danger involved.”

One junior officer told Der Spiegel he was glad that his battalion only left their camp once. “It’s absurd,” he said. “We landed here and set up our tent city, but since then we’ve only left the camp to drive around and to make sure that we’re seen.”

The report cites a long tradition of UNIFIL inaction, which it says allowed time for a Finnish contingent to construct a giant sauna and an Indian contingent to decorate its base with tradition Indian artwork.

Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border

Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border

The US House Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security has recently issued an interim report “summarizing its findings regarding the criminal activity and violence taking place along the Southwest border of the United States between Texas and Mexico.” Its findings are troubling though not unexpected, including the state of drug cartel-related violence along the border (which, in Mexico, now includes beheadings), armed attacks on US Border Patrol agents, the alarming rate of illegal alien sex offenders, and human smuggling.

Of particular note in the Congressional Report, A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border (PDF), is the following regarding the rate of OTM’s (Other Than Mexicans) from “special interest” countries known to produce and harbor Islamic terrorists.

The number of aliens other than Mexican (“OTMs”) illegally crossing the border has grown at an alarming rate over the past several years. Based on U.S. Border Patrol statistics there were 30,147 OTMs apprehended in FY2003, 44,614 in FY2004, 165,178 in FY2005, and 108,025 in FY2006. Most of them were apprehended along the U.S. Southwest border.

The sheer increase of OTMs coming across the border makes it more difficult for Border Patrol agents to readily identify and process each, thereby increasing the chances that a potential terrorist could slip through the system. Moreover, there is no concrete mechanism for determining how many OTMs evade apprehensions and successfully enter the country illegally.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pays particular attention to OTMs apprehended by the Border Patrol who originate from thirty-five nations designated as “special interest” countries. According to Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar, special interest countries have been “designated by our intelligence community as countries that could export individuals that could bring harm to our country in the way of terrorism.” …

The data indicates that each year hundreds of illegal aliens from countries known to harbor terrorists or promote terrorism are routinely encountered and apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally between Ports of Entry. Just recently, U.S. intelligence officials report that seven Iraqis were found in Brownsville, Texas in June 2006.103 In August 2006, an Afghani man was found swimming across the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo, Texas;104 as recently as October 2006, seven Chinese were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas.

Items have been found by law enforcement officials along the banks of the Rio Grande River and inland that indicate possible ties to a terrorist organization or member of military units of Mexico.106 A jacket with patches from countries where al Qa’ida is known to operate was found in Jim Hogg County, Texas by the Border Patrol. The patches on the jacket show an Arabic military badge with one depicting an airplane flying over a building and heading towards a tower, and another showing an image of a lion’s head with wings and a parachute emanating from the animal. The bottom of one patch read “martyr,” “way to eternal life” or “way to immortality.”

Being the world’s most open society has always been a source of liberty-inspired pride. In today’s world, it is also a source of very real potential peril.

Campaign Border Patrol

Campaign Border Patrol
By Quin Hillyer
Published 11/1/2006 12:08:55 AM

On the one issue that up until just two months ago was seen as being of intense interest to conservative voters — border security — most Republican congressional incumbents, especially in the House, actually have delivered in a big way. Most Democrats would take back that delivery. Intelligent Republican candidates would be wise to remind voters of these facts. And a documentary out last month, produced by conservative stalwart David Bossie of Citizens United, shows in stark relief why the issue is so important.

First, as for the movie: “Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration,” is a tour de force. It doesn’t proselytize. It doesn’t announce a political position. But it leaves no doubt how vexing, and at times how incredibly dangerous, is the issue of illegal immigration. Ranchers on the border have their property littered, their livestock attacked, and sometimes their safety threatened, by illegals crossing from Mexico. Police and other law-enforcement officials are attacked and in some cases killed. Drugs are run and teenage girls molested, and agitators yell that American land actually should belong to the Mexican people anyway. And, lest we forget, many of the illegals themselves, ones who themselves are peaceful but impoverished, are abused or abandoned en route by paid human-smugglers out to make a quick buck.

And conservative U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona is given lengthy opportunity to explain, with passion and plain-spoken eloquence (if that is not an oxymoron), why he supports ” get-tough” policies against the illegals.

But the documentary (available through CitizensUnited.com or at retailers such as Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, Netflix and Amazon) also gives ample time, without the moviemakers doing any editorializing, to Enrique Morones, a man dedicated to the mission of caring for the illegals and who becomes increasingly activist in pushing for open borders. Filmed over the course of seven months, the documentary comes across as being scrupulously fair. Yet it’s almost impossible to finish the movie thinking anything other than that the borders must be better patrolled and protected, and that the illegal access must be stopped — because American lands and American citizenship must not be violated.

All that said, reasonable people can certainly disagree about what to do with the illegals already in the country, and about the comparative advantages and disadvantages, economically and culturally, to having a steady supply of low-wage workers. (I myself favor the Pence/Hutchison/Krieble plan that combines very tough enforcement with a free-market-driven approach to guest workers who have specific jobs and meet specific standards. Once enforcement is ensured, humanitarian and other concerns should be addressed, and the Pence plan does it well.) But the vast majority of the conservative intelligentsia and the conservative base consistently have insisted that no matter what approach is taken with illegals already here and with guest workers, the first thing that must be done is to seal the border. Border enforcement is the sine qua non for any further discussion of other reforms.

As all political observers know, the Senate originally passed a bill full of ” reforms” for guest workers but notably weak on enforcement. President George W. Bush supported the Senate approach. Millions of immigrants demonstrated against tough measures against illegals. But the House stood firm for enforcement first. It wouldn’t budge. And members of both chambers of Congress eventually got the message that, at least in the short term, the House position was overwhelmingly popular with more Americans, and certainly with more Americans who felt intensely about the issue, than was the Senate bill.

Against the cries of many Democrats, both the House and the Senate finally passed, and President Bush signed, a bill authorizing a strong system of fences along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border. It was one example of a conservative promise made to conservatives that conservatives kept, in a way apparently favored by much of Middle America. As passionately as people felt about the issue all year long, it is an issue for which the promise-keeping incumbents ought to be rewarded at the polls on Election Day.

The reality of elections, however, often is that a deed once accomplished is promptly forgotten — especially when the election itself occurs before the now-passed law can possibly be implemented, and thus occurs before the voters can see physical manifestation of the legislative success. Hence, the Republicans (and it was mostly Republicans who pushed for the border fence) who won the legislative victory seem to be seeing little reward for it in the snapshot public opinion polls. Suddenly, border security seems less of an issue.

It shouldn’t be. The fact is that even though the fence is authorized, it still must be funded through annual Appropriations. If liberals take over Congress, the fence may never be built. For activists against illegal immigration, therefore, there ought to be plenty of reason to go to the polls and vote for the incumbents who did the activists’ will and kept their promises. Obviously, part of those promises still remains to be kept — and the more liberal party will never keep it.

In the last week of the campaigns across the country, the incumbents who pushed for the fence ought to use the illegal-immigration issue for all it is worth. The fence does not preclude further, humane, intelligent immigration reforms. But it should make the border less of a war zone. And that’s something to brag about, and to campaign on.

Kerry Apologizes for “Botched Joke” on Iraq — “I’m sorry that that’s happened,” he said of his comment. “But I’m not going to stand back from the reality here, which is, they’re trying to change the subject. It’s their campaign of smear and fear.” At issue is Kerry’s speech to a group of California students on Monday, when he said people who do not study hard and do their homework would likely “get stuck in Iraq”.

Kerry Apologizes for “Botched Joke” on Iraq

Kerry said his remarks about Iraq troops to a college crowd in California were aimed at Bush, not the military, and canceled campaign appearances on behalf of Democratic candidates to avoid becoming a bigger distraction.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Kerry apologises for ‘botched joke’
01/11/2006 – 17:27:52

Former US Presidential candidate Democratic Sen John Kerry today apologised for “a botched joke” about President George Bush’s Iraq policies that led Bush and fellow Republicans to accuse him of insulting US troops.

Even some Democrats assailed Kerry, who had some campaign appearances cancelled today.

“Of course I’m sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes?” Kerry said during an appearance on Don Imus’ nationally-syndicated radio programme. “I mean, you know, it’s pretty stupid.”

Kerry said he meant no offence to troops. “You cannot get into the military today if you do badly in school,” he said. But he said the White House was purposely twisting his words, and asserted that it is Bush who owes troops an apology for a misguided war in Iraq.

“I’m sorry that that’s happened,” he said of his comment. “But I’m not going to stand back from the reality here, which is, they’re trying to change the subject. It’s their campaign of smear and fear.”

At issue is Kerry’s speech to a group of California students on Monday, when he said people who do not study hard and do their homework would likely “get stuck in Iraq”.

Kerry aides said he mangled the delivery of a line aimed at Bush which was written to say: “You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq.”

But Republicans seized on it as evidence of troop-bashing by the Democratic Party’s 2004 presidential nominee. The Republican National Committee released a Web ad, to be e-mailed to Republican activists and state party officials, called Apologise.

“If it was a botched joke, someone show me the punch line. I don’t see how it was funny,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “I don’t know how … anybody could have taken them any other way.”

The fiery exchange evoked memories of Bush and Kerry’s bitter 2004 race for the White House, and injected last-minute fireworks into a taut race between Republicans trying to cling to control of Congress in the November 7 elections and Democrats striving to win it back.

With each party looking for any advantage in a campaign expected to turn in large measure on the unpopular war in Iraq, some Democrats joined Republicans in calling on Kerry to apologise.

“Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said,” said Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr., running for the Senate in Tennessee.

“Sen Kerry’s remarks were poorly worded and just plain stupid,” said Montana Senate President Jon Tester, a Democrat trying to unseat Republican Sen. Conrad Burns. “He owes our troops and their families an apology.”

“I’m sorry he did what he did. But I think the issue … we want to make sure it doesn’t confuse the subject of the war in Iraq,” Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin, running for Senate in Maryland, said on CNN.

A spokesman for Democratic congressional candidate Bruce Braley in Iowa said Braley had decided independently to cancel an event with Kerry scheduled for Thursday. Braley, who is running against Republican Mike Whalen, said in a statement that the White House and Kerry should stop bickering and focus on how to change course in Iraq.

Meredith Salsbery, a spokeswoman for congressional candidate Tim Walz, said Kerry made the final decision but acknowledged campaign officials were worried that the controversy would distract from his effort to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Gil Gutknecht.

Kerry spokesman David Wade confirmed Kerry no longer would appear at a Philadelphia rally today for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Casey.

“We made a decision not to allow the Republican hate machine to use Democratic candidates as proxies in their distorted spin war,” Wade said.

Kerry, meanwhile, sought frantically to contain the damage – to his party in next week’s elections and his own potential repeat run for the White House in 2008. He and some Democrats viewed the fracas as a key test of a lesson learned in the 2004 race – that he responded too slowly when hit with unsubstantiated allegations about his Vietnam war record from a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Kerry’s office released a supportive statement from retired Lt. Gen Claudia Kennedy, the first female three-star general in the Army and a supporter of his 2004 bid against Bush. “When it comes to Iraq, he’s right to stand up against baseless attacks, and right to keep fighting for a better course for our troops and our country,” she said.

Sen Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic campaign effort, called the White House attacks on Kerry an effort by Bush “to divert attention from his failed Iraq policy”.

“Instead of going on television attacking John Kerry and everyone else under the sun, the president ought to be sitting at his desk coming up with a plan for Iraq,” Schumer said.

The head of the Democratic party also downplayed Kerry’s remarks. “Kerry made a blooper. Bloopers happen,” Howard Dean told reporters in Burlington, Vermont.

Bush, campaigning in Georgia on Tuesday night, said Kerry’s statement was “insulting and it is shameful” hours after his spokesman, Tony Snow, unleashed a harsh attack on the Massachusetts senator.

Kerry responded yesterday with a harsh statement and in a hastily arranged news conference in Seattle: “I apologise to no one for my criticism of the president and of his broken policy.”

Republican Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he wasn’t sure “how you could construe” Kerry’s comment as a joke. Calling Kerry “my friend,” the Arizona Republican said: “I’ve found that if it is just a botched joke then apologise and move on.”

Kerry Apologizes for “Botched Joke” on Iraq — “I’m sorry that that’s happened,” he said of his comment. “But I’m not going to stand back from the reality here, which is, they’re trying to change the subject. It’s their campaign of smear and fear.” At issue is Kerry’s speech to a group of California students on Monday, when he said people who do not study hard and do their homework would likely “get stuck in Iraq”.

Iran to start military maneuvers days after Western-led drills in Gulf

Yemen the new centre for training jihadists

Yemen the new centre for training jihadists

  Tim Dick and Nick McKenzie
October 31, 2006

 

GROUPS of young Australian men are going to Yemen for jihadi training, say law enforcement sources who are concerned the country has replaced Central Asia as a destination for extremists.Australian security agencies recently identified a small group of men from NSW who travelled to Yemen for religious and military training. It is believed the men were of Arabic background. It is not known if this group has any connection to the Australians arrested in Yemen.One of the men was stopped from going after he was approached by authorities and warned that he would risk breaking terrorism laws if he flew to Yemen. A law enforcement source said Yemen was attracting radical local Islamists for religious and military training because of the counter-terrorist crackdowns in nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.“Yemen is the new wild west,” the source said. Authorities in Australia have been monitoring individuals who travel for extended periods to countries with radical Islamic training camps, although the ability to move easily over borders makes such detection difficult.One of Yemen’s most notable exports – along with oil, fish and Osama bin Laden’s father – are the extremist teachings of Islamic fundamentalists, such as the alleged al-Qaeda financier Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani.The US Government declared the red-bearded firebrand a “specially designated global terrorist” in 2004 for his financial and spiritual support of bin Laden.The conservative American magazine National Review dubbed him the “Yemeni Sheik of Hate”.Zindani founded the controversial al-Iman University, one several religious colleges in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which are often accused of promulgating anti-Western hatred.He reportedly claimed in one taped sermon that the attacks of September 11, 2001, were a conspiracy between the US President, George Bush, and Jews.Zindani leads the Islamist wing of an opposition party, Islah, and has helped the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas raise funds, but he is reported to be close to the relatively pro-Western Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh.Among the university’s former students is John Walker Lindh, who is serving 20 years in a US jail for fighting with the Taliban.Zindani and his students have been linked to the bombing of USS Cole in Aden in 2000 and the murders of three American missionaries in 2002.The university was briefly closed by authorities after September 11, 2001, in a crackdown on fundamentalist teachings.Before its suspension, it had about 6000 students, 800 of whom were foreigners. Many were expelled after the attacks on the US, but it – and others in Yemen – still attract students.Zindani’s Friday sermons are taped and are on sale by the evening of the same day. 

Iran and Russia: The Whore and the Pimp

Iran and Russia: The Whore and the Pimp
By Micah Halpern
MicahHalpern.com | November 1, 2006

It’s time to wake up and smell the roses – before they are blown to smithereens.Iran and Russia are in cahoots. Iran wants nuclear capability and Russia has the capability to make it happen. And unless they are stopped, it will happen. It is up to us. Neither of these countries has a global conscious. Neither country could care less.

Iran is whoring, and Russia is her pimp. Ahmadinejad and Putin recently had a telephone conversation during which they discussed the Iranian nuclear program. At the end of the conversation, Putin came to his conclusion.

Remember, Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, so they have an automatic veto on all matters before the Security Council. What Russia says matters. A Russian spokesman released a statement saying, “Russia strongly favors further negotiations.” He said that the international community “should try to reduce tensions through talks.”

He forgot to add that while the international community reduces tensions through talks, Russia would be supplying Iran with all the materials, know-how and advisory personnel they want and need.

Remember, Russia is building two nuclear reactors in Iran. Russia is heavily invested in Iranian nuclear development. Russia provides much of the expertise and most of the raw materials that Iran will be using for the reactors.

Russia has been pimping for countries in want of nuclear development, technology and weapons for a while now, just as they have for conventional weapons. They have very little else to provide and almost nothing else to export. Weapons are the products they have and they sell to anyone willing to pay the price. A recent study showed that Russia is one of the largest, maybe even the single largest, provider of weapons to third world countries.

They sell old, outdated weapons, rusty weapons. They sell 40-year-old rifles and ammo. They sell advisers. They also sell nuclear material to unscrupulous countries who aspire to nuclear capability.

Remember, Russia sold the weapons to Syria that Syria then went and supplied to Hezbollah to use against Israel. And then Putin side stepped responsibility by claiming that they had done their due diligence by having Syria sign a contract stipulating that the arms would not be used illegally by Hezbollah. The problem is that Russia sells to countries and to people who could not care less about what they sign, let alone about where and on whom they intend to use their weapons.

That’s not Russia’s problem. It is our problem.

Even in a three day face-to-face sit down with Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Putin refused to accept that a nuclear Iran might be a threat. All he could do was echo the Iranian claim that they want nuclear energy just for the sake of nuclear energy.

Putin is not a stupid man. He is certainly not naive. So why do Putin and the Russians continue to provide these resources to Iran and Syria and others?

Because it is business; and business is business. Because it is one of the only businesses in which Russia can be competitive in the world export market. Because Iran wants and Russia can provide.

Remember, Russia is not alone in this. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed el Baradei, recently briefed the United Nations General Assembly. Speaking on the issue of Iran and nuclear capability the respected head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iranian goals “were still unclear.”

Maybe he doesn’t remember, but once a country has the ability to produce nuclear energy the next step is a very simple one.

And then there will be no flowers to push up on any of our graves.

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