Baker sought to cover-up illegal trade with Saddam’s Iraq, Israeli charges

Baker sought to cover-up illegal trade with Saddam’s Iraq, Israeli charges
Iraq Study Group co-chair James A. Baker made two points as he testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the release of the ISG report on Dec. 7 (Mike Theiler/AFP)
 

Former Secretary of State James Baker was involved in a cover-up of illegal trading by his law firm with the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, according to a former contractor who did work for Mr. Baker’s firm.

 

Mr. Baker used non-Americans to help acquire funds from Iraq in violation of the United Nations embargo and U.S. law, the former contractor said.

 

Nir Gouaz, an Israeli security veteran, said that in 1999 Mr. Baker’s leading deputy at the law firm of Baker Botts ordered him to destroy all documents that detailed how he obtained from Iraq more than $250 million for a client.

 

Mr. Baker’s firm has denied Mr. Gouaz’s account.

 

But the Israeli said he has documents that could destroy Mr. Baker’s reputation. He said he has been angered by Mr. Baker’s attempt to press the Bush administration to impose an anti-Israeli policy in an attempt to win Arab cooperation to help stabilize Iraq. Mr. Baker, appointed by President Bush in 2003 as his envoy to recover debts from Iraq, has also co-chaired the Iraq Study Group, which on Dec. 6 issued 79 recommendations on U.S. policy in Iraq.

 

“When I heard the Baker recommendations, I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy,” said Mr. Gouaz, president of Caesar Global Securities, who worked for Mr. Baker’s law firm in Washington for two years. “In his eyes, the diplomatic vision for the Middle East is actually an economic vision. A person like that wouldn’t stop at anything to reap profits and dictate to Israel how to behave.”

 

Mr. Gouaz said he began working for Baker Botts, a leading Washington firm with more than 700 attorneys, in the late 1990s. He was assigned a case by Mr. Baker’s aide, Jeffrey Stonerock, to help recover an $880 million Iraqi debt to South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering, which completed infrastructure projects in Iraq.

 

Iraq cited the United Nations’ Oil for Food program, which permitted Baghdad to buy only food and vital requirements, for its failure to pay the debt. The United States also froze Iraqi bank accounts abroad.

 

Mr. Gouaz said he personally maintained what he termed a “superficial relationship” with Mr. Baker. But he said Mr. Baker was informed on everything that took place regarding international transactions at Baker Botts.

 

Mr. Gouaz said he was hired because he was discreet and not a U.S. national. He said a U.S. national could have been prosecuted for dealing with the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

 

“At that point, I thought I was doing work for Hyundai,” Mr. Gouaz recalled. “I didn’t think deeply about this. I didn’t think that James Baker was doing something abnormal. It is very acceptable to sell debts at a very low price. They took me because I was discreet and not American. He [Baker] knew this very well.”

 

In the end, Mr. Gouaz said, he acquired $273 million for Hyundai and helped save the company from bankruptcy. He said Mr. Baker’s law firm arranged a meeting with Shaiker Tawfik Fakoury, the president of the Bank of Jordan. In July 2000, Mr. Fakoury purchased the Iraqi government bonds from Hyundai at a discount and resold them to Saddam’s government in exchange for $450 million worth of oil.

 

Mr. Gouaz said he estimated that Mr. Baker’s firm received between 10 and 15 percent. Mr. Gouaz said he received much less, but would not specify. The Israeli said he dealt with everybody from a Chinese liaison to Jordan’s royal family to help recover the debt.

 

The Israeli investigator did not hear from Mr. Baker’s office until late 2001, after the al Qaeda suicide strikes on New York and Washington. Mr. Gouaz said Mr. Stonerock asked him to destroy the documents relating to the Hyundai-Iraq deal.

 

“A month or two after 9/11, I got a phone call from the office of James Baker and they told me ‘Remember the deal we did?’ I said ‘Of course,'” Mr. Gouaz recalled. “He asked ‘Do you have any documents from this deal?’ I said I don’t remember. He said ‘If you do, destroy them.'”

 

“It is in a safe,” he added. “At that moment, I knew that I would have to preserve the documents and even photographs [of meetings]. I gave it to somebody from the Israel Security Agency.”

 

Mr. Gouaz said since then he has felt pressure from Mr. Baker’s office. He indicated that since 2002 he began experiencing difficulties with acquiring permits from the U.S. government.

 

“There were no threats,” said Mr. Gouaz, who returned to Israel in 2003. “But I was under lots of pressure after 9/11 to get rid of the documents. They asked me to again sign a secrecy document, which I didn’t do. I felt under a lot of pressure regarding anything I did that required approval from the administration.”

 

Mr. Gouaz has allowed outsiders to see some of the documents. They included a copy of a July 11, 2000 letter from Hyundai that thanked Mr. Gouaz for his efforts in collecting money from Iraq, an Iraqi government bond for $11 million and photographs of what Mr. Gouaz said was a signing ceremony in 2000 in which Hyundai’s Iraqi government bonds were sold to the Bank of Jordan.

 

Mr. Stonerock, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, heads the Korea practice group at Baker Botts and advises non-U.S. clients on U.S. corporate matters. The firm cited Mr. Stonerock’s services for Hyundai Motor Co., but did not refer to the Iraqi file.

 

“Mr. Stonerock’s practice concentrates on applying both law and public policy to create value for clients,” Baker Botts said on its Web site. “He has brought this dual focus to supporting the Hyundai Motor Company in the site selection for its first U.S. manufacturing facility, representing Korean companies in major international arbitrations as well as patent-infringement litigations, working for major Korean energy companies in projects in several countries, and advising on the impact of U.S. trade policy, nuclear nonproliferation issues, and other U.S. governmental processes and matters.”

 

Mr. Gouaz is certain that Mr. Baker knew of every aspect of the Hyundai-Iraq case. In 2005, Mr. Baker, who counseled the firm’s clients for more than 20 years, became a partner in charge of the Washington, D.C. office of Baker Botts.

 

Over the last year, Mr. Gouaz said, he has been approached by some in the U.S. media to discuss his allegations against Mr. Baker. Mr. Gouaz, who has begun meeting reporters, said he is prepared to present evidence against Mr. Baker in any official U.S. inquiry.

 

“It could be that I will land in the United States and talk to an investigatory committee,” Mr. Gouaz said.

Ethiopia sends the Islamists reeling in Somalia: is there a lesson for Israel?

Ethiopia sends the Islamists reeling in Somalia: is there a lesson for Israel?

I posted this article with the assistance of my young Ethiopian Orthdox Christian Zionist mentee, Laban Seyoum to elicit exactly the comments that it has recieved vis a vis the ‘faltering Olmert Kadima government.’ Go forth you sons if Gideon, be not afraid and crush the perpetrators of terror in Hamastan, meaning Gaza. End the ‘rain of terror’ from the Qassem rockets falling on and killing hapless Israelis in Sderot and hitting strategic facilities in Ashkelon. And that’s just for starters. The ‘cease fire’ or hudna is a farce. Only concerted action with the resolve of the people of Israel behind it will work. If the Ethiopians can do it in Somalia with minimal U.S. aid, Israel can do likewise without so much as a bye your leave from the Oval office in Washington. In fact there may even be some quiet applause inside and outside the White House.

By Jerry Gordon

Tonight as we write this, Ethiopia appears on the verge of ‘crushing’ the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) militias as invading forces rapidly approach the major city of Mogadishu.

The Islamists dreams of the CIC of a ‘Greater Somalia’ under shari’a law has all but gone up in smoke in the wake of bombings of Mogadishu’s airport by aging Mig aircraft of the Ethiopian Air Force flying virtually unopposed.

Ironically, this may be payback for the failed ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident that saw 18 U.S. airmen, Delta and Ranger force soldiers killed, 73 wounded and one captured in an unsuccessful U.N. humanitarian raid against warlords in October, 1993 in Mogadishu. The U.S. State Department announced its support for the Ethiopian operation and our military in the region may be re-supplying the invading force.

According, to Reuters news reports advancing Ethiopian forces estimate that more than 1,000 Islamist fighters have been killed and thousands more captured including foreign fighters.

Clearly, the U.S. which has air, naval, marine and special force assets in the region in neighboring Djibouti gave Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi the ‘green light’ to attack the Islamist by defending the faltering secular Somalia government at the federal capital in Baidoa.

CIC leaders Sheikh Hassan Daahir Aweys and Sheikh Shariif Sheikh Ahmed. who were in Eritrea this weekend to ‘discuss’ strategy with allies there came back to Mogadishu, but with today’s developments their whereabouts are unknown,

Meanwhile the hunt goes on inside liberated Somalia for the three al Qaeda perpetrators of the 1998 Kenyan and Tanzanian U.S. Embassies bombings that killed more than 200 and injured thousands and the 2002 Kenyan Israeli owned Paradise hotel blast that killed 13 and injured more than 80. They had been given refuge in Somalia by the CIC.

But the tensions created by the Taliban-like CIC militia with its shari’a law agenda in Somalia is not over. There is still the matter of possible irredentism from the Somaliland district, the former British Somaliland protectorate, that may declare its full independence. The district has operated autonomously since the fall of the last central government in 1991.

Moreover, there is the question of whether Eritrea’s millitary support of the CIC rebels-they were alleged to have supplied 3,000 troops- might unleash a renewal of the conflict that resulted in a ceasefire reached in December,2000 with a buffer zone created 25 kilometers inside Eritrea with a 2000 person UN force that separates more than 500,000 Eritrean and Ethiopian troops straddling the border. Eritrea has been accused by the U.N. of breaching the 2000 Cease Fire agreement in October, 2006 by moving troops and equipment in the zone.

According to knowledgeable sources, Eritrea has given sanctuary to the CIC rebels. It is rumored that the CIC had received Egyptian, Libyan, Yemeni, Saudi, Syrian and Iranian intelligence and military support.

The question of Iran’s role in backing the Taliban like Islamist rebels. There were rumored deliveries of military equipment by Iran by aircraft in July to the CIC militia forces at Mogadishu.

Whether Somalia dissolves into irredentism or the resurgence of warlordism following the Ethiopian invasion in support of the beleaguered government in Baidoa, the reality is that in the war on Global Jihad, the Islamists may have been vanquished for once.

And this with a country, Ethiopia equipped with aging Soviet era Mig trainer bombers and SU-27 aircraft. Upwards of 10,000 Ethiopian troops were involved in what PM Zenawi called ‘a defensive operation.’ Call it what you may, Ethiopian deserves credit for the first punch in the Islamist nose in the Horn of Africa. The brief and successful military operation may send a stunning message to the ‘realists’ of the Baker Hamilton Commission and our State Department that appeasement doesn’t pay.

The irony is that Israel with its advanced military equipment and trained mainline and reserve forces could accomplish another similar victory in the war against Global Jihad by re-entering Gaza and rooting out the Hamas and al Qaeda cadres killing Israelis daily such as occurred in Sderot today -with the unabated rain of Qassem rockets.

What the sons of the Lion of Judah have shown in Somalia to the faltering Olmert Kadima government is that it might follow suit, if it had the resolve and the ‘green light’ from the White House. Time will tell. But it can’t come soon enough for many of us who support Israel.

Kol hakavod (all honors) to Ethiopia and PM Zenawi for this victory against the Global Jihadists.

______________
Laban Seyoum assisted in the preparation of this article

Posted by Jerry Gordon @ 11:47 pm |

Illegal Immigration Journal

Illegal Immigration Journal was started by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas in order to provide a comprehensive resource where the public, law enforcement and political leaders can find updated news and information on illegal immigration. Andrew Thomas ran for Maricopa County Attorney in 2004 on a platform that included cracking down on the problems relating to illegal immigration in Arizona. Shortly after entering office, he hosted the first Southwest Conference on Illegal Immigration, Border Security and Crime. During his first year, he successfully lobbied for state legislation to make human smuggling a crime, and has since used the new felony law to prosecute illegal immigrants who use the services of coyotes. His office has aggressively prosecuted non-residents for voting felonies.

http://www.illegalimmigrationjournal.com/

Iraq Policy and Public Opinion

Iraq Policy and Public Opinion




by Thomas E. Brewton

 

With mounting stridency, news media demand to know why President Bush fails to bow to public opinion expressed in the recent Congressional elections and pull our troops out of Iraq.
 

The underlying assumption is that public opinion, expressed in elections or opinion polls, in all cases represents truth and wisdom. As I wrote in The Limitations of Public Opinion, such is seldom the case when complex policy matters are the subject of those opinions.

 

The stock market, for example, gives us a daily, broad spectrum opinion poll reflecting the outlook for business. Obviously, however, very few people have the knowledge and resources to become rich and to keep their wealth over time simply through knowing what composite market opinion is at any given time.

 

Similarly, as Plato noted in downgrading uninformed opinion as a guide for policy, when someone is seriously ill, he seeks expert medical advice. Most people would agree with him that it is nonsense to got into the streets to poll random strangers for their opinions about what medical treatment should be prescribed.

 

Why then should we insist that voters’ opinions set our foreign policy, in Iraq, or anywhere else?

 

David Broder, the éminence grise of Washington Post columnists, wrote in a column dated December 14, 2006,

 

This is hardly the first time I have been reminded that people of high standing in the political community can be unfamiliar to most voters. When Richard Lugar of Indiana, for two decades the leading Republican Senate voice on foreign policy and a widely admired statesman, entered the 1996 Republican presidential race, no one in New Hampshire seemed to have heard of him.

 

The reason in both cases is that the national political press corps does not see its responsibility to spotlight all the people vying for the presidential nominations. Rather, our tendency is to narrow the field as quickly as possible and define who we think the “serious” candidates may be.

 

These early judgments are based on polls, financial reports and what I would call the “buzz” factor of novelty or excitement.

 

Here is the key quotation from his column:
 

But polls are unreliable when those surveyed know almost nothing about the candidates.

 

The only thing that most American know about our involvement in Iraq is that around 3,000 Americans have been killed there since the invasion.
 

Most voters know nothing about the geopolitical stakes or the intricate interrelations among the contending powers in the Middle East. Most have not the foggiest idea of what consequences almost surely would follow, were we to withdraw our troops as House Speaker-designate Pelosi and Congressman Murtha demanded.

 

New Deal liberalism in the 1930s transformed the media into the the creator and shaper of public morality.  Whatever “wrong” the media chooses to publicize and whatever “remedy” it chooses to support tends to become public opinion.  As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., (and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels) said, there being no independent standards of truth or morality, truth is whatever wins out in the marketplace.

 

Liberal-socialist-progressive doctrine became so-called mainstream opinion only as recently as the New Deal in the 1930s. The simple fact of the matter is that the “mainstream” worshipped by left-wing media is socialism, running as fast as it can, away for the Jeffersonian individualism of our original Constitution.

 

And when public opinion in that sense is the mode of government, with no value placed on respect for morality, religion, and tradition, we are under the sway of Tocqueville’s tyranny of the majority. This, of course, is the process we saw when throngs blocked public streets to demand “constitutional rights” for illegal immigrants.
 

A basic tenet of liberal-socialist-progressive, mainstream opinion is that wars are caused by capitalist greed. Thus the invasion of Iraq was, in liberal opinion, concocted (Bush “lied”) to enrich large corporations that contribute money to Republican politicians.

 

Liberals point out that socialist policies of the New Deal, even though ineffective in ending the Depression, were widely popular. Changing public opinion, in liberal orthodoxy, is a legitimate way to “amend” the Constitution and far simpler than the procedure prescribed in Article V.

 

Never mind that Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution confers the executive powers of the Federal government upon the President and grants him authority as commander of our armed forces in time of war. Newly minted “mainstream” opinion is to be accepted by the executive branch and the Federal judiciary as having superceded the words of the Constitution.

 

Unfortunately, popular opinion as the basis for political legitimacy cuts both ways.

 

In a society supposedly based on the rule of law, it is not sufficient that large numbers, even a majority, of Americans support policies that damage the Constitution. The same criterion would have legitimized the National Socialist subjugation of Europe by Adolph Hitler, who was enthusiastically supported by the opinion of forty million Germans.

 

If the only sanction necessary for public policy is volatile public opinion, then there is no need for a Constitution. Constitutions by definition embody the unchanging, underlying principles of political society. The checks and balances of our Constitution were intended precisely to forestall mob action, to prevent short-run public opinion from becoming the determinant of public policy.


How to Think About the War

How to Think About the War

By Herbert E. Meyer

Whether we are winning or losing in Iraq is open to debate, but it’s clear that our national conversation about the war has begun to fail. Today our elected leaders, our most influential commentators, and even ordinary Americans chatting among themselves at work or at their dinner tables, have begun to repeat their lines like wind-up dolls.  All of them, and all of us, are saying the same things over and over again; what started as a conversation has become a shouting match.  And when everyone is on “transmit” – but never on “receive” – we cannot hear and so we cannot learn.  And if we cannot learn, we’ve stopped thinking.
We need to start all over again to think about the war, and we mustn’t be afraid.  After all, we do this with our computers all the time.  When a program begins to fail – and they always do because even the simplest program is comprised of complex files that over time become damaged or corrupted — and when re-booting once or twice doesn’t do the trick, we’ve learned that the only thing to do is to un-install and re-install the program to get a fresh, clean start.
So, let’s conduct what scientists would call a “thought experiment.”  In your mind’s eye, go to Control Panel, click on “Add/Remove Programs,” scroll down to “The War” and double-click.  A box will pop on-screen asking if you really want to un-install.  Click “Yes” and you will hear the hard drive chunking and see its green light flashing while the program is removed.  Now, let’s “re-install” the program in our minds by thinking through, from the beginning, what this war is about:
What “Politics” Really Means
When we talk about politics, we usually mean Republicans versus Democrats, or liberals against conservatives, or the looming scramble among Presidential contenders for their parties’ 2008 nominations.  But there’s another way to talk about politics that goes deeper, and by doing so illuminates the current conflict.
Politics is the relationship between the individual and the State.  And for as long as human beings have walked the Earth, we have been struggling to get this right.  We’ve tried everything.  We’ve had kingdoms and empires of all sizes and flavors.  We’ve had military dictatorships, and civilian dictatorships.  We’ve had totalitarian states like fascism on the right, and communism on the left.  We’ve had constitutional monarchies, republics and democracies.
In a sense, each of these is an operating system.  Now, we’re all familiar with operating systems because we all use computers.  Today, for instance, we have Microsoft’s Windows operating system, Apple’s OS X, Linux, and a few others.  Every so often, these operating systems rub against one another in the marketplace.  The results can be fairly nasty – technically and legally – but in the end these competing operating systems usually learn to live with one another.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and consumers choose the ones they prefer.
Every so often – in business and in politics – one operating system sets out to utterly destroy all the others.  In business, this goal is rarely achieved.  Microsoft has a lot of money, but it hasn’t got tanks.  (If it did, Apple’s corporate headquarters would look like a building in downtown Beirut.)  But in politics, there really are tanks and other weapons.  And when one political operating system sets out to obliterate all the others, the result is a global war.
If Adolf Hitler had been content to remain within Germany’s borders, the results of the Nazi operating system would have been ghastly for the German people.  But there would not have been World War II.  If Lenin, Stalin and their heirs had been content to inflict communism solely within the Soviet Union’s borders, life would have been miserable for Soviet citizens.  But there would not have been a Cold War.
Now, when you look at history through the prism of operating systems, you find that one operating system has triumphed above all the others: Western Civilization.  Its key features are the separation of church and state, the primacy of the individual over the State, the encouragement of artistic expression and intellectual curiosity, free enterprise, and a never-ending struggle to reach equality among the races and sexes.  Like all operating systems, Western Civilization has its flaws, its shortcomings and its imperfections – as will any operating system designed and run by human beings.  But by any imaginable measure, Western Civilization is history’s greatest achievement.
Let’s Call it “Radical Islam”
While Western Civilization developed through the centuries, another operating system also took root.  Scholars argue over just what to call this operating system, but for convenience’s sake let’s call it Radical Islam.  Its key features are the combination of church and State, the submission of individuals to this combination, the discouragement of artistic expression and intellectual curiosity, the crushing of its people’s entrepreneurial talents, and the treatment of women as though they were property rather than people.  Just like Western Civilization, this operating system has its flaws, its shortcomings and its imperfections.  But unlike Western Civilization, Radical Islam contains a flaw that may not be correctible: it is incompatible with the modern world.
What we all learned on 9-11 is that the leaders of Radical Islam are determined to impose their operating system on us.  In other words, their objective is the destruction of Western Civilization.  The current conflict is our effort to prevent this from happening. 
Look back at history’s two most recent attacks on Western Civilization – by fascism in World War II, and by Soviet communism in the Cold War – and you may be surprised to see how sharp were the disagreements among our leaders, our commentators, and our parents and grandparents, over how best to respond.  Anyone who believes that “politics” was suspended during these wars – in Washington or at the dinner table – is just plain wrong.
But there was one issue during each of these struggles upon which virtually everyone agreed: Western Civilization deserved to win.  Despite its flaws, its shortcomings, and its imperfections, our “operating system” was better than the one that threatened to obliterate us.  So we would fight hard – to the death, if necessary – for our survival.
Now we can understand why our conversation about the present conflict has become so fierce, so bitter, and so partisan.  Today, there is a significant contingent among us who do not believe that Western Civilization is worth defending, or that our operating system deserves to survive.  Those who subscribe to this perception – and they include quite a few of our elected officials – are so focused on the flaws, shortcomings and imperfections of Western Civilization that they are blind to its achievements. So while some of us are debating how to win the war, others among us want only to stop the war.  This is why we are not so much talking among ourselves about what to do, but rather talking – shouting, really – past one another.
Simply put, the first decision we need to make is this: Do we intend to win this war whatever the cost?  If the answer is “no,” then stopping the war now is the only sensible thing to do.  It would mean we have chosen to surrender Western Civilization to its enemies, and that we or, more likely, our children and grand-children, will live under the Radical Islam operating system.
If our answer is “yes” – that we intend to win this war whatever the cost – then we had better be prepared to fight with all our strength and power.  To understand why, look back at our strategies for winning World War II and the Cold War.  In each of these conflicts, our objective wasn’t to kill people but rather to crush an operating system.  We understood that most Germans weren’t Nazis, and that most Russians weren’t communists.  They weren’t the problem; it was the operating system imposed on them by their leaders that threatened us.
How the Cold War Ended
In the Cold War, we were able to crush the Soviet communist operating system without a great deal of violence – a staggering achievement for which, one day, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John-Paul II will be celebrated by history.  The Cold War ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist.   But in World War II, we had no choice but to shoot and bomb our way through Italy, to flatten Germany, and to drop two nuclear bombs on Japan.  It was horrific, but it worked.  The war ended, the fascist operating system ceased to exist, and the people on whom this operating system had been imposed found their way forward.  Japan joined Western Civilization, and Italy and Germany re-joined it.
Although no one seems to have noticed, our strategy for winning the current conflict is strikingly similar to our strategies in the previous conflicts.  Our enemies aren’t the people on whom the Radical Islam operating system has been imposed, but rather the operating system itself.  We are using military power, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, to give moderate Muslims, who comprise the vast majority, the first chance they have had to hold power in a long while.  Our hope is that, over time, these moderates will develop an Islamic operating system that is compatible with the modern world and – more importantly – willing to co-exist peacefully with our operating system.
What the Bush Administration has now realized – belatedly – is that to achieve our objective we will need to use more violence than we had thought, and hoped, we would need.  That is why the President is seriously considering sending more troops to Iraq.  Simply put, we haven’t hit the Radical Islam operating system hard enough to crush it.  And this means the real issue isn’t the number of soldiers we send to Iraq, and perhaps to Afghanistan, but the orders that President Bush gives to our military commanders.
If the President orders our commanders to do the best they can with additional troops to get Baghdad under control, we will merely delay our defeat and suffer more casualties along the way.  But if the President’s orders are to crush the Radical Islam operating system once and for all – get set for a level of violence we haven’t seen since the darkest days of World War II. 
When General William Tecumseh Sherman said that “War is hell,” he wasn’t talking about soldiers fighting soldiers.  He meant that to end a war it is necessary to inflict such pain on the civilian population that it will no longer tolerate the war’s continuation.  That’s because no army can keep fighting without at least the tacit support of the civilian population on whose territory it operates.  War isn’t laser surgery, no matter how technically advanced may be the weapons.  War is a miserable, sloppy business in which innocent people suffer greatly.  Sherman hated marching through Georgia and inflicting pain on decent people who happened to be living there, but he understood that doing this was the only way to end the war.
Widening the War
The violence we will need to inflict to win won’t be limited to Baghdad, or even to Iraq.  Just as you cannot fill a bucket with water if that bucket has two big holes in its bottom, we will not end the war in Iraq so long as Iran and Syria continue to interfere.  Thus far, we have done nothing whatever to stop Iran and Syria from interfering, and unless we do we cannot win.  In other words, to crush the Radical Islam operating system we will need to widen the war.  More precisely, the governments of Iran and Syria must be taken out of the conflict, either by forcing these governments to cease fighting, or by removing and replacing these governments.
Honorable people will disagree over what specific steps to take, and how and when to take them.  There is nothing wrong with this, and the debate itself is healthy.  Indeed, our tolerance for public debate — even during wartime — is among the greatest strengths of Western Civilization.
But if we cannot resolve the question of whether or not we intend to win this war whatever the cost, then we will shortly lose the option of deciding.  As President Lincoln said of slavery in the US, a house divided against itself cannot stand; we cannot be half-slave and half-free.  It took a Civil War to resolve this issue.  Today, our choice is whether to fight for Western Civilization at whatever cost, or to stop fighting and accept the gradual erosion of our operating system.  And we are so divided over this question that it is scarcely an exaggeration to describe our debate as a kind of civil war.  Until we resolve this question, we are stuck with half-measures that delay our defeat while also blocking the path to victory.  And in war, if you aren’t winning you’re losing.  There is nothing in between.  So we must decide either to give up, or to summon the will to victory.
The trouble is, we have very little time left in which to decide.  Indeed, our time to decide has just about run out.

Showdown

Showdown
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 27, 2006

The nuclear crisis boiling away under the surface for the past three years with Iran has finally erupted.

Over the next three to six months, expect things to get much worse, with a very real possibility of a war that could spread far beyond the confines of the
Persian Gulf.
How we got here was entirely predictable – and avoidable. So is the path to a violent future. 

We got to this point because the White House essentially caved in to intense pressure from the CIA and the foreign policy establishment, and refused to do the one thing that could have headed off this crisis: that is, to support the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle for freedom against this clerical tyranny. And now, it is almost – almost – too late. 

The immediate trigger for the crisis occurred on Saturday, just two days before Christmas, when the UN Security Council finally quit dithering and passed a binding resolution to impose sanctions on
Iran because of its illegal nuclear program. 

While far from perfect (remember: this is the UN), UNSC Resolution 1737 bans nuclear and missile-related trade with Iran, and includes a short list of Iranian government entities and individuals whose assets could be subject to seizure and who could be banned from international travel. 

(The
United States had wanted both to be mandatory measures in this resolution, but gave in to a Russian demand to again give
Iran more leash). 

The UN Security Council passed a similar, binding resolution on July 31 giving
Iran one month to suspend its nuclear programs in a verifiable manner, or else…It’s taken all this time since that the earlier deadline expired for
China and
Russia to exhaust their formidable bag of diplomatic tricks. Now even they have come to acknowledge the obvious, that
Iran is using the IAEA as a foil for acquiring all the technologies it needs to make the bomb. 

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded typically to the news from

Turtle
Bay in
New York. “This resolution will not harm
Iran and those who backed it will soon regret their superficial act,” he said on Christmas Eve. 

“Iranians are neither worried nor uncomfortable with the resolution…we will celebrate our atomic achievements in February,” he added. 

In earlier statements, he has claimed
Iran would have a big nuclear “surprise” to unveil to the world by the end of the Persian year, which ends on March 20. So unless he is just blowing smoke (and I will explain shortly why I don’t believe that he is), then we will be facing very bleak choices in very short order. 

Remember, just a few weeks ago, Ahmadinejad announced to the world that
Iran had completed its uranium enrichment experiments and was now preparing to install 3,000 production centrifuges at its now-declared enrichment plant in Natanz, in central
Iran. 

His announcement fell exactly within the timeline that Israeli nuclear experts have derived from
Iran’s public declarations to the IAEA, and the on-site inspections by IAEA experts in
Iran.  

As I wrote after interviews in
Israel this past June, the Israelis projected that
Iran would complete work on two 164-centrifuge experimental enrichment cascades within six months, and that installation of the 3,000 centrifuge pilot plant would take another nine months. From then, it would take
Iran twelve months more to make its first bomb’s-worth of nuclear fuel. 

So far,
Iran is right on schedule. This will give it nuclear weapons capability by September 2008 – just in time for the
U.S. presidential elections. (And remember: this timeline is not speculative. It is based on information, not intelligence.) 

Once the UN Security Council resolution was passed, Ahmadinejad’s top nuclear advisor, Ali Larijani, said the regime now planned to accelerate the installation of the production centrifuges.  

“From Sunday morning [December 24] , we will begin activities at Natanz – the site of 3,000-centrifuge machines – and we will drive it with full speed. It will be our immediate response to the resolution,” Iran’s Kayhan paper quoted him as saying.  

How is this possible? Well, for one thing, it is likely that
Iran has been producing centrifuges in factories and workshops it has not declared to the IAEA. Worse, it may be operating a clandestine enrichment facility buried deep underground already, as many in
Israel and
U.S. intelligence have long believed. 

The Israelis told me this summer this was their “worst-worst case” scenario. But a senior Israeli intelligence official I saw recently said the likelihood of that “worst-worst case” now appeared to be far greater than he or others had previously believed. “There can be no doubt they have a clandestine program,” he said. 

And because it’s clandestine, we don’t know the size or shape of it, and therefore can’t make estimates of
Iran’s nuclear timeline based on speculation and fear. But now the Israelis, the Americans and the British are beginning to understand – finally – that what they don’t know about
Iran could be fatal. 

After all, they are facing a president in
Iran who has said that the Holocaust never really occurred under Hitler, but that he intended to carry it out himself, by accomplishing Ayatollah Khomeini’s goal of “wiping
Israel off the map.” 

On December 21 – just two days before the UN Security Council resolution – British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave the bleakest assessment of his entire tenure at

10 Downing Street

of the threat posed to the West by the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

Speaking in
Dubai, he gave an unusually blunt speech that warned of a monumental struggle between Islamic moderates and Islamic extremists, and that labeled
Iran as “the main obstacle” to hopes for peace. 

For the first time, a key world leader actually uttered parts of the laundry list of Iranian regime misdeeds that people like myself and Michael Ledeen and Iranian dissidents such as Rouzbeh Farahanipour and Reza Pahlavi have been warning about for years. 

Blair said there were “elements of the government of Iran, openly supporting terrorism in Iraq to stop a fledgling democratic process; trying to turn out a democratic government in Lebanon; floutting the international community’s desire for peace in Palestine – at the same time as denying the Holocaust and trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.” 

Blair expressed surprise that despite these overt deeds, “a large part of world opinion is frankly almost indifferent. It would be bizarre if it weren’t deadly serious.” 

“We must recognize the strategic challenge the government of
Iran poses,” Blair added. “Not its people, possibly not all its ruling elements, but those presently in charge of its policy.”  

While all of this is developing, the
United States and
Britain have begun a quiet buildup of their naval forces in the
Persian Gulf, with the goal of keeping the
Strait of Hormuz open to international shipping. 

The spark point of open military confrontation could occur in many different ways.

The Iranians, for example, might choose to get directly involved should the U.S. military aid the Iraqi government in a crackdown on the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army and the Badr brigade, two Shiite militias fueling the sectarian violence in
Iraq. (A clear sign that Iran is contemplating just such a move was revealed on Christmas day, when the U.S. Acknowledged it was holding four Iranians captured during a raid on the Headquarters of Abdulaziz al-Hakim in Baghdad just three weeks after he met with President Bush in the Oval Office).

 

Should Iran send troops, or escalate its current level of military involvement in Iraq, the U.S. might choose to take the war into Iran, say by attacking Revolutionary Guards bases near the Iraqi border that were involved in aiding the Iraqi Shi’ite militias. 

Should the
United States bomb a Rev. Guards base here or there, the Iranians might choose to respond by launching “swarming” attacks against
U.S. warships in the
Persian gulf, or by attacking a foreign-flagged oil tanker carrying Iraqi or Kuwaiti oil, or by increasing rocket and missile supplies to Hezbollah in
Lebanon to spark another diversionary war against
Israel. 

There are scores of ways this could happen. But where it gets us is to a direct military confrontation with
Iran – an
Iran which could be a nuclear power, and certainly will be a suspected nuclear power, in a matter of months, if not weeks. 

And there is no easy way of walking this back. Even the insane Baker-Hamilton proposal of a direct dialogue with
Iran will not get them to abandon their nuclear program, which this regime in
Tehran has clearly identified as a strategic asset it is willing to make great sacrifices to develop and protect.  

So fasten your seat belts. We are in for a rough ride.

“Rise up and march with Somalia to destroy Christianity and establish Khilafah”

“Rise up and march with Somalia to destroy Christianity and establish Khilafah”

Making clear what the war there is about. From the Islam First website, with thanks to DFS:

** Rise up and march with Somalia 2 crush ChristianityRISE UP AND MARCH WITH SOMALIA TO DESTROY CHRISTIANITY AND ESTABLISH KHILAFAH

DOORS OF JIHAD OPEN IN SOMALIA

A Somali Islamic Courts defence chief has for the first time called on foreign Muslim fighters to join his movement’s war against Ethiopia.

“We’re saying our country is open to Muslims worldwide. Let them fight in Somalia and wage jihad, and God willing, attack Addis Ababa,” Yusuf Mohamed Siad, known as Inda’ade, said.

“Today the war is being fought by land and air,” Sheikh Mahmud Ibrahim Suley, an SICS official, told reporters in Mogadishu.

“We want anyone who can help remove the enemy to come in,” he told a news conference in the Mogadishu, the Somali capital and an Islamic Courts stronghold.

“Our Islamic fighters have taken control of Idale and are heading to other parts where Tigray (Ethiopian) invaders are now based, by the will of Allah, we will liberate our people and country from the Ethiopian invaders,” Islamic Courts Information chief Abdurahim Ali Muddey said the AFP.

“We are at war with Ethiopia, but not with the government,” Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the Islamic Courts leader said on Thursday.

Somalia’s Islamic courts on Monday, June 5, claimed victory over a US-backed warlord alliance after four months of fierce fighting in the capital Mogadishu that claimed the lives of hundreds as the interim government invited the courts to take part in dialogue.

“The Joint Islamic Courts are not interested in a continuation of hostilities and will fully implement peace and security after the change has been made by the victory of the people with the support of Allah,” its chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).