“Someone” said a bomb was on a Northwest Airlines plane in flight, #980 departing from Memphis, and it has returned to the airport. All passengers are still on board. Developing…
“Someone” said a bomb was on a Northwest Airlines plane in flight, #980 departing from Memphis, and it has returned to the airport. All passengers are still on board. Developing…
There is no denying that Wednesday’s frst-ever visit to Israel by Arab League representatives was symbolically significant. The newsmaking trip may have also been politically significant, even though (a) it was only a one-day visit to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; (b) the two envoys, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Jordanian FM Abdelelah al-Khatib, hail from countries that have already signed peace pacts with Israel; (c) the diplomats avoided making their dramatic, pro-peace statement on behalf of the Arab League; and (d) the head of the League, Secretary-General Amr Moussa, immediately dampened hopes for peace by saying the men had no mandate to speak on behalf of the 22-member group.
But the envoys did speak; and their message clearly reflected a growing fear among many Arab leaders that the Iranian-backed Islamizing of the Middle East threatens themselves as well as Israel. Secular Syria’s alliance with non-Arab, Islamist Iran and its Shiite Lebanese Arab proxy, Hezbollah, is regarded as a dangerous deviation, caused partly by America’s failure to lure Damascus away from Tehran and partly by the failed policies of a weak but cunning ruler, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In sharp contrast with his late father, Hafez, who ruthlessly crushed the Muslim Brotherhood when it threatened his regime, the present president has unsuccessfully sought to appease Syrian Islamists, who have risen in strength and influence to an alarming degree. (The younger Assad actually accelerated a budding Islamist alliance that his father began in a cynical attempt to counter American influence and plans for a so-called New Middle East. After years of battling and suppressing rightwing political Islam, the pseudo-socialist Baath Party surprisingly succumbed to the temptation of trying to use and manipulate its ideological foe.)
The survival of many Arab governments–and Arab identity itself–is increasingly called into question in ways never before seen. Hence, the historic visit to Israel.
“We are extending a hand of peace on behalf of the whole region to you, and we hope that we’ll be able to create the momentum needed to resume fruitful and productive negotiations” between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states, al-Khatib said in Jerusalem.
The envoys urged Israel to consider the Saudi-sponsored Arab League peace plan, which calls for Jerusalem to cede all land captured during the Six-Day War of 1967 in exchange for full Arab recognition of the Jewish state. Israel would also have to agree to creation of a Palestinian state and a “just solution” for the Palestinian refugee problem.
“Time is of the essence,” Gheit told Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Gheit and al-Khatib also met Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ahead of talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The delegation also met today with Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud opposition. Israeli news reports quoted Netanyahu as saying he rejected the Arab initiative and told the envoys that he does not believe withdrawals are a basis for peace, instead emphasizing closer economic cooperation.
China Confidential has learned that the envoys hinted that Israel could also be granted Arab League observer status as part of a land-for-peace accord, joining Eritrea and India as the organization’s observers.
From the desk of Fjordman on Wed, 2007-07-25 17:12
At the EU Observer, Anthony Coughlan, a senior lecturer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, notes that in every EU member state at present the majority of laws come from Brussels. Why do national politicians and representatives accept this situation? He suggests a plausible explanation:
“At national level when a minister wants to get something done, he or she must have the backing of the prime minister, must have the agreement of the minister for finance if it means spending money, and above all must have majority support in the national parliament, and implicitly amongst voters in the country. Shift the policy area in question to the supranational level of Brussels however, where laws are made primarily by the 27-member Council of Ministers, and the minister in question becomes a member of an oligarchy, a committee of lawmakers, the most powerful in history, making laws for 500 million Europeans, and irremovable as a group regardless of what it does.
“National parliaments and citizens lose power with every EU treaty, for they no longer have the final say in the policy areas concerned. Individual ministers on the other hand obtain an intoxicating increase in personal power, as they are transformed from members of the executive arm of government at national level, subordinate to a national legislature, into EU-wide legislators at the supranational.”
Just what will those terrorists think of next? After downplaying the idea for years that terrorists in America were practicing “dry runs” of hijacking operations, the feds have just issued a warning to airports to be on the lookout for terrorists practicing to carry explosives on to airplanes:
The unclassified alert was distributed on July 20 by the Transportation Security Administration to federal air marshals, its own transportation security officers and other law enforcement agencies.
The seizures at airports in San Diego, Milwaukee, Houston and Baltimore included “wires, switches, pipes or tubes, cell phone components and dense clay-like substances,” including block cheese, the bulletin said. “The unusual nature and increase in number of these improvised items raise concern.”
Security officers were urged to keep an eye out for “ordinary items that look like improvised explosive device components.”
Block cheese? It appears that cheese has the exact same weight and consistency of some types of plastic explosives. The feds found the cheese attached to cell phone charger as well as another package taped tightly together with other innocuous items with wires sticking out of it.
There is little doubt that terrorists are ever probing our air transport system looking for weaknesses as well as trying to ascertain our reactions to threats. I can’t help but think about the plan hatched by Kahlid Sheik Mohammad in the mid 1990’s to hijack a couple of dozen airplanes and crash them into the Pacific Ocean. Osama himself dismissed the plan as too ambitious.
Might al-Qaeda have reconsidered?
A plot like that would be years in the making with many “dry runs” made to test our defenses as well as gather intelligence in order to train the actual hijackers.
Just a bad dream? Or a nightmare waiting to happen? I wish I had more confidence in the people responsible for airport security. But when they spend as much time frisking a 70 year old woman for explosives as they do a Muslim male, I can’t help but wonder how really safe it is to fly.
Here’s a little something to get you to reach for you blood pressure meds this morning.
The Saudis have stealthily introduced their ideas of Middle Eastern history and events into American K-12 classrooms. Just how have they managed such a feat?
The United States government gives money — and a federal seal of approval — to a university Middle East Studies center. That center offers a government-approved K-12 Middle East studies curriculum to America’s teachers. But in fact, that curriculum has been bought and paid for by the Saudis, who may even have trained the personnel who operate the university’s outreach program. Meanwhile, the American government is asleep at the wheel — paying scant attention to how its federally mandated public outreach programs actually work. So without ever realizing it, America’s taxpayers end up subsidizing — and providing official federal approval for — K-12 educational materials on the Middle East that have been created under Saudi auspices. Game, set, match: Saudis.
But couldn’t all this just be an innocent attempt at promoting goodwill toward Muslims? Try again:
Harvard’s outreach training prompted K-12 teachers to design celebratory treatments of the life and teachings of Mohammad and the “revelation” and spread of Islam, with exercises calling on students to “appoint imams,” memorize Islamic principles, and act out prayer at a Mosque. According to Stotsky, if Harvard’s outreach personnel had designed similar classroom exercises based on Christian or Jewish models, “People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the A.C.L.U. would descend upon them like furies.”
Instead of training teachers in the history and contemporary challenges of the Muslim world, Stotsky concluded that Harvard’s outreach program was “manipulating” apolitical teachers with a “barely disguised” attempt to “shape…attitudes on specific political issues.” The lesson plans designed by K-12 teachers who participated in these Harvard-run seminars included exercises in which students were asked to watch newscasts and spot out instances in which Muslims were stereotyped as violent or barbaric. Lesson plans proposed discussion questions like, “Why have so many groups wanted to control the Middle East?” and “How might the history of repeated invasions influence the history of people in this area?”
If this information wasn’t verified by the Massachusetts Department of Education, you could dismiss the idea as simply the rantings of some conspiracy nut. Who could ever believe that a foreign country would be able to influence the curricula of American schools in such a way? And do it without any oversight by the federal government?
Maybe the feds could start a program “No Slanted View Of Middle Eastern History Left Behind.”
According to a Pew Global Attitude survey based on polling date from 47 countries reported by Reuters, Muslim support for suicide bombings has fallen sharply. In Pakistan, it has dropped from 33 percent to 9 percent. In Lebanon, it has dropped from 74 percent to 34 percent. It is down from 2002 in Bangladesh and Indonesia by at least half. But, reports Reuters, “support for suicide attacks remained at a high 70 percent among Palestinians.” This is their suicide, too.
Yet…this poll (the headlines which feature prominently in today’s media), without the qualifier, prompts the LA Times to publish an editorial advocating outreach and seemingly justifying (and certainly not criticizing the apporval rates for bombings against Americans and Israelis):
Can Western leaders drive a deeper wedge between extremist groups like Al Qaeda and Muslims around the world? One person who has clearly decided to try is British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He has forbidden his ministers to use the inflammatory phrase “war on terror” and pointedly avoided calling the Glasgow airport attack “Muslim” or “Islamist.” Instead, he simply branded it “criminal.”
British Muslims were overjoyed. Critics mocked Brown’s political correctness, rightly noting that linguistic self-censorship will not inspire similar self-restraint by the terrorists setting off the bombs. The question, however, is whether British police will now receive more cooperation from Muslim citizens on whom they depend for information to thwart the next bombers.
That’s right, Gordo. Stick you head in the sand. After all, the absolute last thing we want to do is offend anyone by hiding the nature of the enemy in the War on – well, as soon as the left in Europe and here tell us what the politically correct term for what to call the conflict against those who wish to destroy us actually is, I’ll let you know.
By James Lewis
Turkey is one great theater in the war between modernity and Islamist reaction. In Istanbul one can see radical imams stalking through the Grand Bazaar with fanatical expressions on their faces. Many more women and girls are wearing long coats and scarves in the summer heat, the Turkish version of the burqah. Early Turkish election results now show a forty percent vote for the Islamist AKP, five percent more than last time.
It seems that the modernist movement that began with Kemal Ataturk in 1922 may be crumbling before our eyes. Because Turkey is the most democratic country in the Islamic world, that fact may signal where the war on Islamist fascism is going.
The Turkish electoral system is stacked in favor of plurality governments. Tony Blair’s British Labour Party, with only forty percent of the vote, was able to control Britain for a decade, and drive the country to sacrifice more and more sovereignty to Brussels. Similarly, with only 35 percent of the vote the AKP was able to steadily stack the Turkish government with Islamists. Now they may get another five years to push their takeover. It all depends on parliamentary horse-trading going on right now.
Modernists are feeling desperate. They have gambled and lost at least three important battles: First, they placed their hopes on the United States and the Atlantic alliance. That strengthened their domestic position until 9/11/01. Then they placed their hopes on the European Union. When the United States knocked out Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Turks voted to block the US Fourth Army Corps from invading Iraq from the North. They were egged on by Jacques Chirac and his Euro-imperialist ally Dominique de Villepin (now facing their day in court over corruption and forgery charges).
Chirac and Villepin ambushed Colin Powell at the United Nations, whipped up an anti-American hate campaign in Europe, and helped to block America’s move to attack Saddam from the north. As a result, Saddam’s Baath Party was given enough time to organize a resistance, and to tie down American troops in the war we see today. Without French sabotage, the Iraq war might have been over by now. It didn’t help that the French gave EU passports to Saddam’s fleeing generals, who promptly disappeared somewhere in Europe to carry on sabotage of American efforts.
But shafting America didn’t work for modernizers in Turkey. They have ended holding with the short end of the stick. The Islamist AKP was able to use the Iraq War and the War on Terror to increase its power domestically in Turkey. Relations between Turkey and the US have become frayed; Israel-Turkish relations are at risk. The rise of a free Kurdish republic in Iraq has scared the Turks, who have a long history of violent struggle with the Kurds. And now the EU may be walking away from them.
The Turks expected their betrayal of the Americans to be rewarded with admission into the EU. Instead, the European Union has been deeply shaken by the rise of Islamism domestically, and now that the AKP has actually increased its power, Turkey looks less and less likely to become a full EU member. The Balkan countries, which have just joined the EU, still suffer from traumatic memories of the Ottoman Empire, which brutalized them for four centuries. Eastern Europe will resist Turkish accession to the EU. And Western Europe is finally grasping the folly of its multiculturalist fantasy, which whitewashed the long history of Islamic aggression against Europe. Two million Pakistanis have moved to London, making it the most dangerous center of Islamist agitation in Europe. While the EU is moving to become a superpower, it has never in its history pursued an enlightened and responsible policy. So far it is primarily marked by elite-encouraged anti-Americanism. There is no guarantee whatsoever about its future policies.
Thus the EU is shafting the Turks, just as the Turks betrayed the United States. Call it poetic justice. Or call it another French postmodern betrayal of civilization, cutting off its Gallic nose to spite its face — purely to stick it to George W. Bush and the Americans. Europe is now much more endangered than before, with Islamism on the rise both domestically and in adjacent Turkey.
There is a third lesson in reality in the offing. Turkey has been rescued before by its army, which has more than once taken over the government to restore democracy, in the tradition of Kemal Ataturk. But the idea of the armed forces taking over, even on behalf of democratic governance and modernity, doesn’t sit well with the EU. Like the United States, the European Union has a fixed idea of what legitimate government looks like.
The result is another “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choice. Islamic fascists have figured out that they can use the instruments of democracy to take over countries like Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey. That was Hitler’s strategy in Germany, and it was the Communist Party strategy in Europe for almost a hundred years. The Islamists are just following in their footsteps.
If the Turkish Army takes over, it will restore democracy as it has in the past. But in that case the EU will find it still harder to accept Turkey. Yet if the army does not take over, the Islamofascists may win the war for Turkey. Europe may therefore end up sabotaging Turkish democracy and aiding the Islamic fascists In taking over. They are perfectly capable of such idiocy, because they have not carried on a responsible foreign policy for over sixty years; they have no conception what it’s like. Which leaves only the United States as a constructive power on the world stage, with the Euros carping from the sides. Maybe we’ll luck out, and the Euros will change, but the track record isn’t good.
To make things even worse, the Turks have historic connections with the “stans,” which are ethnically related, as well as China, Iran and Pakistan. A Turkish return to the Dark Ages will add a powerful force to any Islamist alliance. China, Russia, Eastern Europe and even India have vivid memories of centuries of touch-and-go warfare against Turkic Islamist invasions.
The Free World — a phrase that is relevant again — may therefore see no less than four kinds of Islamist radical movements in the future.
1. In Iran, we see the Khomeinist suicide cult, now thirsting after nukes. It presents a clear and present danger. Even to Democrats.
2. In Europe and elsewhere we have the Saudi version of aggressive Islamism, the Sunni Wahhabi movement. This is the source of Al Qaeda, and of the mass-murdering suicide bombers in Iraq. Using Saudi oil money, Wahhabis have taken over most of the mosques in the Western world, encouraging a flow of immigration with the clear intention of taking over the host nations. So far, the West has shown itself to be helpless to resist such a “peaceful” infiltration.
3. A third Sunni radical movement is coming from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which is using legislative elections to strengthen its power. This is the Salafist brand of totalitarianism. When Nancy Pelosi flew to Syria to beg for its help from the Khomeini fascists to get the US out of Iraq, her sidekick Steny Hoyer outraged the Egyptians by openly meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, the source of Salafist fascism in the world. The only thing the Pelosi Democrats want to know is, “whom do we surrender to?”
4. Finally, we may be seeing a Turkic Islamist radical branch emerging. Turkey controlled the last caliphate (Islamic empire), the Ottomans, which went out of business only eighty years ago. It has not been forgotten.
The whole thing is a terrible mess, and it may get worse before it gets better. But there is an obvious US policy direction: That is to treat Islamofascism as another Cold War, backed up by some of the hot proxy wars that are so painful to democratic nations — like Iraq. During the Cold War the United States fought two major hot proxy wars, Korea and Vietnam. Those conflicts were more difficult domestically than World Wars I and II. In both cases the United States had to settle for less than victory.
We also fought a number of minor proxy wars during the Cold War, such as the Greek civil war, Israel’s Yom Kippur War against Soviet-armed Syria and Egypt, and scores of efforts at subversion and Communist revolution around the world.
And yet, the Cold War ended in an extraordinary success after seventy years. Freedom, democracy and economic prosperity won an unprecedented victory. Most of the world, including the post-Communist world, is far better off today because the United States had the determination and wherewithal to mobilize a coalition of the willing, with the Atlantic Alliance at its core.
The Cold War strategy was pursued from Truman to Reagan, but it was never easy or certain of victory. There were defeats, as in Vietnam, and years of domestic uproar about places like Nicaragua. Led and coordinated by the United States, the Free World used containment as one strategic tool, counter-revolution as another, public diplomacy, espionage and counter-espionage, a vast military build-up, the Kissinger-Nixon strategy of splitting China from the USSR, all based on a strong domestic consensus between realistic liberals and conservatives. We had many alliances with dubious regimes that were a lot better than the alternative.
We see a different world today — but still another great, long term civilizational campaign is ahead. Europe may try to stay out of the battle — like the Swedish cop-out in World War II — but only at the risk of its own freedom and prosperity. Russia will choose the West over the Islamists when it must, because it has done so throughout its history. China, India and Japan may do the same. They do not look to Islamism for prosperity and progress.
The ethnic Turkic world will continue to be a great battleground. As in the Cold War, we cannot expect every country to become a model democracy. The cultural leap is simply too great. So we may have to accept a Turkey and Pakistan run by military dictators, as Musharraf is doing in Pakistan today. The alternative, an Islamic fascist state with nuclear weapons, is just too awful to contemplate. In Iraq we may have to settle for less than Jeffersonian democracy. And Khomeinist Iran is clearly the next major threat for any president to face in 2009.
Bottom line: we are in the midst of another long battle for civilization, like it or not. We did not choose war against Prussian aggression in World War I, or against the Nazis 25 years later. We did not choose the fight Stalin and his successors. As FDR said, we all hate war. But being adults means facing realities we don’t like.
Americans have made the right decisions before. We must find the courage and moral clarity to do it again.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com