Iran, Venezuela agree to thwart ‘US domination’

Iran, Venezuela agree to thwart ‘US domination’

Presidents Chavez, Ahmadinejad say ready to spend billions of dollars to finance projects in other countries to help thwart US domination. ‘We’ll underpin investments in countries whose governments are making efforts to liberate themselves from the (US) imperialist yoke,’ Venezuelan leader says
Associated Press

P{margin:0;} UL{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;margin-right: 16; padding-right:0;} OL{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;margin-right: 32; padding-right:0;} P.pHeader {margin-bottom:3px;COLOR: #192862;font-size: 16px;font-weight: bold;} var agt=navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();var is_major = parseInt(navigator.appVersion);var is_ie = ((agt.indexOf(“msie”) != -1) && (agt.indexOf(“opera”) == -1));var is_ie5 = (is_ie && (is_major == 4) && (agt.indexOf(“msie 5.0″)!=-1) ); function txt_link(type,url,urlAtts) { switch (type){ case ‘external’ : if( urlAtts != ” ) {var x = window.open(unescape(url),’newWin’,urlAtts)} else {document.location = unescape(url);} break; case ‘article’ : urlStr = ‘/articles/0,7340,L-to_replace,00.html’;url=urlStr.replace(‘to_replace’,url); if( urlAtts == ” || !urlAtts) {document.location = url;} else {var x = window.open(url,’newWin’,urlAtts)} break; case ‘yaan’ : urlStr = ‘/yaan/0,7340,L-to_replace,00.html’;url=urlStr.replace(‘to_replace’,url); if( urlAtts == ” || !urlAtts) {document.location = url;} else {var x = window.open(url,’newWin’,urlAtts)} break; case ‘category’ : urlStr = ‘/home/0,7340,L-to_replace,00.html’; url=urlStr.replace(‘to_replace’,url); if( urlAtts == ” || !urlAtts) {document.location = url;} else {var x = window.open(url,’newWin’,urlAtts)} break; } } function setDbLinkCategory(url) {eval(unescape(url));}Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said they were ready to spend billions of dollars (euros) financing projects in other countries to help thwart US domination.

The anti-US Presidents whose efforts to extend their influence have alarmed Washington met Saturday in Venezuela’s capital, the first stop on Ahmadinejad’s tour of Latin America that will also see him visit newly elected leftist leaders in Nicaragua and Ecuador. The oil-rich nations had previously announced plans for a joint USD 2 billion fund to finance investments in Venezuela and Iran, but Chavez and Ahmadinejad said Saturday that the money would also be used for projects in friendly third countries.

Reelection
Iran, Arab MK congratulate Chavez / Associated Press

Tehran congratulates Venezuelan president on his reelection; MK Barakeh send letter of congratulations saying victory proves people’s rejection of US policy

Full Story

“It will permit us to underpin investments … Above all in those countries whose governments are making efforts to liberate themselves from the (US) imperialist yoke,” said Chavez. “This fund, my brother,” Chavez said referring to Ahmadinejad, “Will become a mechanism for liberation.” “Death to US imperialism!” he said. Ahmadinejad called it a “very important” decision that would help promote “Joint cooperation in third countries,” especially in Latin American and African countries. It was not clear if the leaders were referring to investment in infrastructure, social and energy projects – areas that the two countries have focused on until now – or other types of financing. Before his meeting with Ahmadinejad, Chavez said in his state of the nation address that he had personally expressed hope to Thomas Shannon, head of the US State Department’s Western Hemisphere affairs bureau, for better relations between their two countries. Chavez said he spoke with Shannon on the sidelines of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s inauguration earlier this week, saying, “We shook hands and I told him: ‘I hope that everything improves.”’ Chavez – a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro whom Washington sees as a destabilizing influence – has pledged billions of dollars (euros) of help to the region in foreign aid, bond buyouts and preferentially financed oil deals.

‘Champion of struggle against imperialism’

Iran, meanwhile, is allegedly bankrolling militant groups in the Middle East like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, as well as insurgents in Iraq, in a bid to extend its influence.

Ahmadinejad’s visit Saturday – his second to Venezuela in less than four months – comes as he seeks to break international isolation over his country’s nuclear program and possibly line up new allies in Latin America. After Venezuela, Ahmadinejad will visit newly elected leftist governments in Nicaragua and Ecuador that are also seeking to reduce Washington’s influence in the region. Bolivian President Evo Morales, another critic of US policy, said he plans to meet with Ahmadinejad while both are in Ecuador Monday. Chavez and Ahmadinejad have been increasingly united by their deep-seated antagonism to Washington. Chavez has become a leading defender of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, accusing the United States of using the issue as a pretext to attack a regime it opposes and promising to stand with Iran. Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, has called Chavez “The champion of the struggle against imperialism.” On Saturday, he congratulated Chavez on his December re-election and said the Venezuelan people were wise to choose “A person as important on the world stage, a person so wise as Hugo Chavez.”

The increasingly close relationship has alarmed some, and critics of Chavez accuse him of pursuing an alliance that does not serve Venezuela’s interests and jeopardizes its ties with the United States, the country’s top oil buyer. Venezuela is among the top five suppliers of crude to the US market. Both countries are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Chavez said Saturday that they had agreed to back an oil production cut in the cartel in order to stem a recent fall in crude prices. “We know today there is too much crude in the market,” Chavez said. “We have agreed to join our forces within OPEC … To support a production cut and save the price of oil.” The two governments, which already plan to jointly produce everything from bricks to bicycles and develop oil fields in Venezuela, signed another 11 accords Saturday to explore further opportunities for cooperation in areas like tourism, education and mining. Ahmadinejad is set to travel to Nicaragua to meet on Sunday with Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla. On Monday, he travels to Ecuador for the inauguration of President-elect Rafael Correa, another outspoken critic of the administration of US President George W. Bush and Washington’s policies in Latin America.

Mullahs’ reign of terror in Iran

Mullahs’ reign of terror in Iran

By: Roya Johnson

As a former political prisoner, I have been asked on many occasions what has kept the mullahs’ regime in power in Iran for twenty five years. After all, the overwhelming majority of Iranians loathe them; their oil-driven economy is in shambles, with a majority of the population below the poverty line or very close to it. Internationally they are condemned as the most active sponsor of terrorism and major proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.  So, what is their secret?
 
There are several reasons for their longevity. Iran’s geography, its oil and natural gas resources, and the European Union’s policy of engagement are among them. In this article, however, my focus is on the main factor: the unbridled, systematic, and highly organized suppression of Iranian citizens and dissidents. Iran’s democracy movement must bring this structure of terror down before genuine change can be realized.
 
As a young student activist, I spent three years in the women’s ward of one of Iran’s prisons simply for engaging in political activity to promote democratic rights and encouraging others to get involved. It was in prison where I saw first-hand how the mullahs shield their tyrannical rule behind walls of suppression.
 
In Iran, a unique mixture of religious authority and demagoguery, combined with a bottomless coffer, and topped with unbounded capacity for savagery, has created the horrific machinery of terror and fear, which has served to preserve the ruling theocracy so far.
 
Similar to Europe’s age of inquisition, Iran’s apparatus of suppression legitimizes its barbarity under the cloak of religion. It has turned a sacred and compassionate religion into a tool to sanction killings, torture and destruction. Mosques and Friday prayer congregations have become instruments for spreading hate and vengeance.
 
Incapable of leading a nation of 35 million toward democracy, prosperity and progress, Khomeini-led clerics quickly realized after the 1979 revolution that they could hold-on to power only through a police state. They Set-up such organizations as the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Islamic Revolutionary Courts, the paramilitary Bassij force, and other agencies.
 
My time in prison was marked by unimaginable savagery of the prison officials and visiting mullahs towards prisoners who challenged the mullahs’ political and ideological legitimacy, and their claim to be God’s vice-regent on earth, by calling for popular sovereignty. They therefore were condemned for “waging war on God.” This legitimized their torture and execution.
 
Female prisoners like me were brutalized even more. The mullahs’ misogynous worldview goes through seismic jolts when they see women standing up to them. Many of my childhood friends ended up in the prison. Despite undergoing ceaseless physical and psychological torture, including rape, they remained defiant to the end. Many of them were snatched from our prison cells in the middle of the night and sent to the gallows. Some were buried in unmarked graves and at least two were pregnant when they were executed.
 
Relatives of political prisoners are denied access to universities, employment, traveling abroad and anything which requires government approval. Many relatives have been imprisoned just for sympathizing with their loved one’s political views or with the democratic opposition. Some relatives are even executed. In my cell, two teenage sisters were detained simply because they had refused to appear on television and denounce their activist brother, who had already been executed. Both were executed a few years later.
 
Torture is also used for made-for-TV confessions about how the opposition organizations and activists are basically corrupt and worse than the regime. The mullahs seek to sow fear, confusion and doubt in the minds of people in order to undermine the quest for a regime change. This also explains why the mullahs continue to flog, amputate limbs, gouge out eyes, hang, and stone people to death in public.
 
Despite such pervasive, systematic all-around suppression and tens of thousands of political executions, Iran’s ruling mullahs have failed to silence Iranians. Iranians continue to challenge the regime through demonstrations, strikes, uprisings and other means. But as long as the mullahs’ machinery of suppression is in place, the regime will continue to crackdown, kill, arrest, and do whatever is needed to put down dissent.
 
On their own, the mullahs will never abandon the suppression of Iranians, close down their torture chambers, send away the firing squads, and dismantle the gallows. Therefore, Iran’s democracy movement, which rightly seeks the toppling of this regime as the necessary first step to establish a secular democracy in Iran, must be empowered to tear down this wall of suppression. When that happens, the world would see how fast the mullahs’ regime would crumble.
 
It is not enough just to applaud Iranians’ courage and their aspirations for a democratic government. Defending and safeguarding the human rights of Iranians and all Iranian dissidents must be the main component of any policy in support of Iran’s democracy movement. Thousands of political prisoners who have died in the hands of mullahs and hundreds of others who are in their dungeons right now deserve this recognition.
 
Roya Johnson is vice president of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran.

Ideology must not be allowed to trump reality in Iraq thinking

Ideology must not be allowed to trump reality in Iraq thinking
Andrew Sullivan

15jan07

IN war and politics, unexamined axioms are always dangerous. That much we learned from 2003. The axiom driving policy then was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. On that unquestioned assumption, all the debate rested. And yet the axiom was false.

Yesterday a similar unquestioned axiom was driving the debate about whether to stay in Iraq or leave. The axiom is that leaving Iraq would be a disaster for the security of the West.Here’s how US President George W. Bush put it on Thursday: “To step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi Government, tear the country apart and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer and confront an enemy that is even more lethal.”

The fundamental question we have to ask right now is: how true is this? On the face of it, the President has a very strong point. Withdrawal would indeed be likely to prompt a massive blood-letting in Iraq.

It would give the Sunni-Shia civil war far more oxygen and almost certainly provoke the Sunni powers, particularly Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to intervene financially or militarily in defence of Iraq’s outnumbered Sunni minority.

It would mean Iran emerging as a Shia superpower in the region, with a strong presence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, further intensifying the sense of Sunni beleaguerment and anger.

We could see violence along the ancient Sunni-Shia fault line sucking in much of the region, with its many fragile regimes.

The consequences could be soaring oil prices and any number of unforeseen disasters. After all, ask yourself how many pleasant surprises have come out of the Middle East.

And yet the alternative — an indefinite entanglement with the pathologies of Iraq — prompts the question of whether there’s anything in this nightmare scenario that could be advantageous for the West.

Is there a constructive argument for leaving? That’s the alternative scenario worth pondering. Here’s how the counter-intuitive argument would run. From 9/11 onwards, the West’s war on terror has essentially followed the ideological narrative of al-Qa’ida and Osama bin Laden: this is a war between Islam and the West.

Bush’s dismal war strategy has only intensified that narrative, and that storyline is easily the most powerful recruitment device for Islamist terrorists in the West. But if America withdrew from Iraq and a Sunni-Shia war took off, the narrative of the long war would inevitably change.

It would go from Islam versus the West to Islam versus itself. Escalating conflict in the Arab Muslim world would only be fully explicable in terms of the Sunni-Shia split. Instantly, Sunni al-Qa’ida would have a serious enemy close at hand: Shia Iran.

Think of this not as a “divide and conquer” strategy so much as a “divide and get out of the way” strategy. And with deft handling it could conceivably reap dividends in the long run.

Wars, after all, are not just about guns and military action. They are also about ideas and ideology. Long wars, especially, are won by those who gain control of the narrative. The West won the cold war when it became understood globally as a battle between totalitarianism and freedom. Defining the conflict that way helped a great deal towards winning it and, in retrospect, the Helsinki accords that publicly endorsed that narrative were the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.

Similarly, redefining the war on terror as essentially the product of ancient feuds within Islam immediately shifts the argument onto terrain favourable to the West.

For the first time in five years, it takes the narrative out of bin Laden’s hands. It also has the added benefit of being true. Al-Qa’ida’s primary foes have always been Arab regimes not in accordance with extreme fundamentalist Wahhabist theology. But that theology is also full of contempt for those regarded by al-Qa’ida and most Sunnis as heretics: the Shi’ites of Iran.

We are learning in Iraq not to underestimate the power of this mutual hatred. The loathing of Muslims for other Muslims in the Middle East today is as deep as the loathing of Christians for other Christians once was in Europe. For Sunni versus Shi’ite, think Protestant versus Catholic. For 2007, think 1557.

Freud’s term for the passionate hating of people very like oneself — but different in some minor degree — was the “narcissism of small differences”. The West has a chance to exploit that Muslim narcissism for our own purposes — and for the sake of moderate Muslims across the world.

Or look at this another way: what is the greatest weakness of our enemy? It’s fanaticism. It was fanaticism that prompted bin Laden to attack on 9/11 before he had access to WMDs. He struck too soon because he couldn’t help himself. His rage forces him to make mistakes.

The same went for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who alienated all of Jordan by bombing a wedding and who even prompted bin Laden to worry about killing too many Muslims in Iraq. Al-Qa’ida hates the West but its main beef is with fellow Muslims who are heretics and traitors. The fanatics have certainly killed far more Muslims than non-Muslims over the years. So why not let them hang themselves by this rope?

By leaving Iraq, America could create a dangerous civil war that nonetheless has huge propaganda potential for changing the entire game of this larger war. It takes the West much further out of the picture and focuses the mind where it truly belongs: on current Muslim pathologies, paranoia and self-hatred.

We can still prove our pro-reform bona fides by concentrating on Afghanistan, where we still have a chance to turn things around. And we also give Iran a big headache in grappling with the chaos on its border.

The other likely result of a Sunni-Shia war is serious damage to the world’s oil supply. But isn’t that just what the West needs? Don’t we desperately need to wean ourselves off oil — and wouldn’t $US100 a barrel be the best way to accelerate that?

I’m not saying that leaving a civil war in Iraq is not dangerous. But so is staying. And the upsides of leaving haven’t been fully thought through yet, so let’s think them through. My fear is Bush has not thought this through. There is no plan B because his rigid, incurious mind doesn’t have the dexterity to entertain it.

The fundamentalist psyche doesn’t like paradox or nuance. But in dealing with this complex and metastasising problem, paradox and nuance and ruthless self-interest are indispensable.

This surely is the real conservative insight: that ideology must never trump reality, that new scenarios need new thinking, that in every crisis there is an opportunity.

Currently, the axiom that withdrawal is unthinkable is impeding our ability to think of new directions and new strategies. But we desperately need to think outside our comfort zone.

Why Islam Hates Democracy

Why Islam Hates Democracy

IN 1989, Iran’s Islamic tyrant Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa – a compulsory religious decree in Islam – that condemned Salman Rushdie to death. Rushdie had committed the crime of writing his book The Satanic Verses, which was, in Khomeini’s mind, slanderous to the Prophet Muhammad. In Islam, those who insult Allah or the Prophet are subject to the death penalty.

In 1992, Farag Foda, an Egyptian writer known for his secularist views, was shot dead outside his office in the heart of Cairo. This intellectual consistently called out for open dialogue with Islamic fundamentalists. The militant Islamic group al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya gleefully claimed not only responsibility, but justification. One of the gunmen, Abdul-Shafi Ahmad Ramadan, who was apprehended after the attack, boasted to police: “We had to kill him, because he attacked our beliefs.”

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazali, a prominent and distinguished Egyptian cleric, testified at the Foda murder trial in defense of the accused. He stated that Ramadan had done his Islamic duty because Foda had revealed his apostasy in opposing the establishment of an Islamic state, in rejecting Sharia Law (the law of Islam), and in questioning the unity of the state and religion.

The circumstances surrounding the death bounty on Rushdie’s head and the execution of Foda illuminate to us one serious and critical phenomenon: Islam’s inability to join the modern world.

Question: what happens in a society where “slandering” Muhammad, which is punishable by death, can entail the smallest disagreement with an Islamic law or even the hint of the support of a Western idea? How can a culture grow when a voiced social criticism of any kind or a reinterpretation of the Koran can be easily construed as slandering Muhammad and, therefore, be punished by death?

Answer: it can’t.

The tremendous success that has driven Western civilization is secularism. Islamic civilization sees secularism as anathema. In order to catch up with the West, Islam must embrace secularism, but embracing secularism would force Islam to sacrifice its Islamic character. This is why a reformed Islam is an oxymoron, because Islam cannot reform and still remain Islam.

The very meaning of Islam is the unquestioning submission to Allah and to Islamic law. The Koran is a body of doctrine that Muslims are expected to accept unquestioningly – without scrutinizing it for any flaws. Any notion that exists outside of the literal understanding of the Koran is regarded as being associated with sin at best and heresy at worst.

Islam is seen as perfect by Muslims. It is a total way of life. It doesn’t need any new ideas or any legal revisions to complement any new learning or new needs of society. In fact, Islam regards even the suggestion of new ideas or legal revisions as being un-Islamic. And if something is un-Islamic, it could be construed as being slanderous to Muhammad. And guess what happens next?

The use of the human faculty of reason itself, upon which the Western Enlightenment was based, is considered to be a form of heresy in Islam. This is why literacy, science and mathematics have often been regarded by the ulama (the scholars in Islam) as a threat to Islam.

It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist, therefore, to figure out why, throughout its long history of being repeatedly overwhelmed by foreign invaders, foreign rule, and foreign influences, the Arab world has absorbed absolutely nothing from the outside world. Self-insulated, Islam is intrinsically resistant to change.

In the Islamic Arab world, any foreign idea is heavily suspect. Any Western notion is automatically associated with evil. Thus, if the infidels say that an object will fall because of the laws of gravity, Muslims will suspect this to be a demonic lie. But if the same laws of gravity are sanctioned by a voice that is seen as representing authentic Islam, then such laws are automatically believed.

Individualism, creativity and originality are non-existent in the Arab world. And it is no mystery why the worlds of competition and commerce have spawned economic success stories in places like Japan and other Pacific societies in the post-WWII era, while the Arab world has been ridden with falling incomes, economic lethargy and social stagnation.

The bottom line is that the very notion of any new invention or innovation (Bida) is seen in Islam as being an offense to Allah. This is why, whenever anything even remotely close to a debate occurs in the Islamic Middle East, the accusation of Bida, which remains the most popular and effective accusation in the Arab world, immediately terminates the debate. The individual accused of Bida knows where the accusation can lead.

This reality might help explain why a functional democracy is nowhere to be found in the entire Arab world.

In the eyes of Islam, the very notion of democracy is demonized. In Islam, after all, Allah is sovereign, which means that humans constructing their own laws is sinful. The Koran and Sharia Law give Muslims all the laws they need. This is why Islam sees faith and politics as a single domain and why Farag Foda had to be killed for questioning it.

In Islam, democracy, as well as the very notion of the freedom of human conscience, represents a dangerous deviation from the Koran and the Sharia. Elections are seen as a form of blasphemy. They are Satan’s vehicle to destroy the Koran.

The Taliban in Afghanistan perfectly represented the logical extension of this despotic, impoverished and impotent way of Islamic life. They implemented Islamic belief in the most literal manner possible: everything that was prohibited in the Koran, and everything that was not mentioned in the Koran, simply became illegal.

Thus, aside from engaging in the typical oppression of women that is found in every Islamic Arab society, the Taliban banned television, film, books, photography, music (even at weddings) and sports. They also illegalized laughing.

The Taliban weren’t too concerned about the utter emptiness and insipidity they had left in the environment of the people they ruled. After all, there were always the passages from the Koran to memorize. And, as Mullah Hassan, the former Taliban governor of Kandahar, patiently explained: “Of course, we realize that people need some entertainment. We tell them to go to the parks and see the flowers. From this, they will absorb the essence of Islam.”

Flowers are indeed beautiful. But building a prosperous and dynamic society, nurturing democratic institutions, fostering economic growth, and safeguarding the sacredness and freedom of the human conscience demands much more than just the aesthetic appreciation of flowers.

It demands what the West has and the Islamic world miserably lacks.

But how does the Islamic world gain it if it cannot shed itself of how and why Salman Rushdie must live the rest of his life in hiding – escaping the fate of Farag Foda?

CAIR Exploits Dearborn Vandalism

CAIR Exploits Dearborn Vandalism

We at Dearborn Underground send our warmest congratulations to all of Dearborn’s and Detroit’s Iraqis on the recent dispatch of Saddam Hussein.

According to some recent press accounts, there was some vandalism along Warren Avenue in Detroit last week, probably related to the street celebrations by some Iraqi Shias:

“Sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone vandalized at least nine businesses and three mosques, all but one Shi’ite, according to Ali Zwen, manager of the Kufa Cultural Forum, a mosque at Warren and Archdale that sustained $4,000 in damage.

“Detroit police have not made an arrest for the vandalism that occurred between Greenfield and a few blocks west of the Southfield Freeway. Most of the area’s businesses with Arabic script on their signs were undamaged.

“Many of the spared businesses are owned by Iraqi-American Christians, Lebanese Americans and others with Middle Eastern roots. The evidence is largely circumstantial that Shi’ites were targeted, but some of the victims say it is too coincidental.”

Immediately, Dearborn’s own CAIR spokesman, Dawud Walid, commenced a shuttle diplomacy tour up and down Warren, meeting with Sunni and Shi’ite leaders to urge unity and calm. A follow-up report next day in the Detroit Free Press said,

“As Iraqi-American Shi’ites seethed over the trashing of several of their businesses and mosques in Detroit over the weekend, leaders in the Shi’ite and Sunni sects of Islam worked Tuesday to try to defuse animosity between the two sides that has existed for years but was amplified with the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in December.”

It seems elementary enough. Dearborn is home to many Iraqis, and some of the Sunni Iraqis were upset enough about the Shi’ite celebration of Saddam’s hanging that a tiny group made some threats and committed some vandalism. Though I harbor no sympathy for any of the late dictator’s supporters, (in fact, Mrs. Clancy and I were eyewitness participants in some of the local celebrations), I understand the emotions of seeing one’s enemies getting the upper hand. For instance, last November Mrs. Clancy had to intervene forcefully to keep me from breaking out the windows of the nearest Starbuck’s, an institution I identify closely with the politics of Nancy Pelosi. Regardless, the situation between the Sunnis and Shia never escalated beyond vandalism, and no one was injured.

But where CAIR and the usual Muslim spokesmen are concerned, even Muslim-on-Muslim violence is best explained as persecution of Arabs by non-Muslims. Dawud Walid used the press attention over this vandalism to repeat his unending demands for government investigations and hate-crime prosecutions.

“’We’re going to call on the federal authorities to investigate this because this is pure hate to attack a house of worship,’ Walid said. ‘Our community has been under siege since 9/11.’”

Walid has a capacity for non sequiturs that a Wellesley co-ed would kill for. That’s what enables him to connect up what were almost certainly acts of Sunni vandalism of a Shi’ite mosque as but one more example of the “siege” against the Arab community by America’s non-Muslims. In his view, even vandalism should be a federal case. “’No matter where the road leads, there should be prosecution,’ he said.” No matter where? Isn’t this how Mike Nifong got into so much trouble?

Similarly, Osama Siblani, the publisher of the Arab-American News, was quoted as saying, “I don’t believe it’s the Arab community that has done this.” The article doesn’t say why he doesn’t believe it, nor whom he believes really did do it, if not other Muslims.

Imad Hamad, director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s regional office, also wondered how the vandalism could be an example of Muslim-on-Muslim vandalism, when “we’ve never witnessed a retaliation” in Detroit’s Middle East community before. I’m not sure if that statement is completely accurate, but then again, there have been so damned few executions of Middle Eastern dictators it’s hard to make a comparison. Maybe we can hang al Sadr and give the Sunnis a chance to pass out some candy.

I don’t think it really matters to Hamad or Walid who broke those windows last week. Whether it was intra-Muslim retaliation or not, they aren’t going to let it shake their focus on the big picture, which is that Arab Muslims are “under siege” and victims of daily persecution by—me!, that is, any non-Muslim, non-Arab American. That’s right, we’re all potential persecutors these days! What else would possess Hamad to say something as ludicrous as, “’During a time like this, people are likely to target Iraqi Americans, who should report all threats to police.’”

The viciousness of a statement like that is beyond telling, though its lack of logic is self-evident enough.

By way of targeting Iraqi Americans in response to Saddam’s execution, Mrs. Clancy and I drove over to east Dearborn that night and stood around for a while amidst a throng of some very happy Arabs. Mrs. Clancy even took a few photos, but that was the extent of our aiming anything at Iraqi Americans, that, and our sincerest best wishes. If anyone reported us to the police for targeting Iraqi Americans, we weren’t aware of it, and there were certainly plenty of Detroit and Dearborn cops around, mostly directing traffic, and all wearing their relaxed, Tigers-won-the-pennant faces.

It isn’t that Hamad, Walid, and Siblani are always crying wolf just to get attention. It’s that the Muslim-as-victim scheme they require to give them something to be in charge of requires a scheme to create victimizers, too, even if the accused victimizers are innocent.

How prosaic and ineffective it feels to write, simply, that there is no “siege” against the Arab community in Dearborn, not since 9/11, nor ever. The very suggestion is an insult to every resident of the area, Arab, Muslim, or non-Muslim.

And this kind of inflammatory rhetoric isn’t helping anybody.

CAIR’s Got Friends in High Places

Andrew C. McCarthy of NRO Online has something quite interesting to report on the cozy relationship between the TSA and CAIR:

“As if snuggling up to CAIR, coercing our law-enforcement and intelligence professionals to endure CAIR’s Islamic ‘sensitivity training,’ and inviting CAIR to weigh in on our nation’s foreign policy were not enough, we now have a Bush-administration agency publishing an unedited CAIR press release on publicly subsidized, official government Internet space.

“In this instance, right under TSA’s emblem and a memorial banner depicting the late President Gerald R. Ford, Americans were treated to a news announcement beneath the big blue headline, ‘CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training.’ If you have the stomach for it, compare this TSA posting to the official CAIR press release from which it cribbed. They are identical.”

Detained Iranians tied to Revolutionary Guards: US official

Detained Iranians tied to Revolutionary Guards: US official

Speaking of “adventurism” in northern Iraq… From AFP:

WASHINGTON, Jan 12, 2007 (AFP) – A group of Iranians detained by US forces in Iraq in a new effort to counter Tehran’s alleged support for violent attacks had links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a senior US official said Friday.

Six Iranians were nabbed in a night-time swoop by US forces on an office in the northern Iraq city of Arbil early Thursday, prompting protests from Iran and strong criticism from other governments.

State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said the Arbil office was targeted “because there was information that we had that the individuals there were associated with attacks against multinational forces, against Iraqi forces,” he said.

“Certainly there’s also been information linking this facility to Revolutionary Guard and other Iranian elements … that are fomenting violence” in Iraq, he said.

“The claim that this was somehow an innocent diplomatic facility seems to ring hollow in light of that,” he said.

Casey confirmed that one of the six people detained had been released and the other five were still in custody of US forces, who are continuing to investigate the incident.

Iran protested the raid on the Arbil office to the US government via its interest section in the Swiss embassy in Washington, Casey said.

Earlier Friday State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said none of the detained Iranians held diplomatic passports and that the Arbil office had no diplomatic status.

“It was a building that the Iranians were using, occupying, it was Iraqi territory,” he said.

In Baghdad the office was described as an Iranian liaison office.