These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 5, 2011.
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Review of The Left is Seldom Right
In the Canada Free Press:
Author Norman Berdichevsky
The Left is Seldom Right
The terms LEFT and RIGHT are so taken for granted in any discourse on political affairs that Dr. Berdichevsky’s remarkable book appears as a welcome antidote to get us off the habit. It is a novel, insightful and well written treatise that should be required reading in any 101 course on political science and international affairs.
The twenty five case studies cover a varied range of both American and international affairs and history that reveal how often the political extremes on both the Right and Left have found a common front that …..’Glorify and deify abstractions such as The Nation, The Working Class, The Party, The Race, The King, The Leader, The Church and worst of all, The People’
The book also contains an engaging personal note on how the author matured from ‘radical’ and impressionable teenager, captivated by the language of the Left, convinced that it is always right, to the mature student of human nature and fallibility that is apparent in his judgment today.
This is indeed a book that suits the times with the approaching American presidential election of 2012 in which a large segment of the public may be expected to follow the same trajectory of political thinking by rejecting the ‘glamour appeals’ of the Left with its penchant for identifying itself with so called ‘progressive’ policies.
A large element in the book deals with how popular culture, particularly the cinema, has molded opinion in identifying its heroes with a false image of THE LEFT and why Hollywood has never dealt honestly with either the crimes of Stalinism and the gulags, Pol Pot, Castro, Arafat, or the principled resistance in World War II to the Nazis on the part of conservative, Christian, monarchist, nationalist and authoritarian parties and leaders (see the chapters on King Boris III of Bulgaria, Arne Sorensen and Dansk Samling, Greek leader Iannos Metaxas, the Austrian nationalist leaders Dollfuss and von Schusschnig; or the courageous women who initially were heroines on the Left but thought ‘outside the box’ and became vilified by The Left – Undset, Fallaci and Rahola.
Also fascinating are the chapters on how many ‘Liberals’ supported ostensibly progressive measures for groups such as ‘affirmative action’ and ‘multi-culturalism’ that have since become the denial of individual rights on which our constitution is based.
The Left is Seldom Right is a book that lives up to the claim that we should be much more aware and concerned with the right and the wrong of political issues rather than the Right and Left terminology we so frequently lean on as a crutch.
Posted on 07/05/2011 7:43 AM by NER
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Kabul - Inquiry begins into Soldier's Death
This is Sky News
The Ministry of Defence has begun an investigation into the death of a British soldier who was found dead with gunshot wounds in Afghanistan.
. . . a serviceman had gone missing from his checkpoint in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. The soldier's body was later discovered by an Isaf patrol after a massive manhunt was launched.
The MoD said the soldier was serving with The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Reports emerging from Afghanistan suggested he had, given the heat of the desert, popped out for a midnight swim after finishing his sentry duty.
There was also a report the soldier had left the base in the company of two of his Afghan army colleagues. Back in 2009, five British servicemen were killed by a rouge Afghan army soldier. (I think they mean rogue, although with all these reports of the dancing boys and the regular Thursday night bugger in I expect there is plenty of rouge also involved. Make up and dancing boys notwithstanding Afghan soldiers have turned on far too many NATO troops these last few years)
Following the discovery of the soldier's body, the Taliban claimed responsibility for killing him.
Nato spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick said: "He had suffered gunshot wounds. His exact cause of death is still to be established and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death are currently under investigation."
And according to AFP: - The top Afghan commander for the province, Sayed Maluk, said the soldier was found dead in a stream that ran through his military base, after apparently drowning, and his body was later shot by insurgents.
"According to the information I was given... he was swimming inside his base in a stream that runs through it. The flow of water was very fast and he drowned and his body was carried out of the base," said the commander of 215 Corps in Helmand. "When the Taliban saw the body of a British soldier in the stream they shot his dead body," he claimed.
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, could not be reached for comment. In an earlier statement he said the exact cause of death and circumstances surrounding the disappearance were under investigation.
Posted on 07/05/2011 3:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Inquest - Kent soldier Joseva Vatubua killed by Taliban bomb detonated from mosque
From The BBC
Pte Joseva Saqanagonedau Vatubua, 24, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 5th Battalion, was killed on patrol in Helmand province. An improvised explosive device (IED) was triggered by the Taliban, who were waiting in a mosque, an inquest heard.
The coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing on active service.
Pte Vatuba, who was originally from Fiji, was based at Howe Barracks in Canterbury, and deployed to Afghanistan in October
Pte Vatubua's family, including his wife Claudette and his mother, sister and aunt, heard Coroner David Ridley record his verdict.
"I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the device that killed Pte Vatubua was an insurgent device of a command wire nature, operated most likely from nearby the mosque," he said.
How does that poem by Ziya Gökalp go? The mosques are our barracks, domes are our helmets, the minarets are our swords, and the faithful are our army.
Posted on 07/05/2011 3:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
A Summary Of The State Of Middle Eastern Studies
Middle East Studies in Upheaval
by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
July 5, 2011
The troubled academic study of the Middle East and Islam by Americans is changing in fundamental ways. I offer some thoughts based on 42 years of personal observation:
One of many books on the "Arab world."
From Western offence to Islamic offence: Muslim relations with Christians divide into four long periods: from Muhammad's hijra to the First Crusade, 622-1099, during which time Muslims expanded at Christian expense; to the 2nd siege of Vienna, 1099-1683, which saw a mix of Muslim advances (e.g., Anatolia) and retreats (Iberia); to the Arab oil boycott, 1683-1973, with Christians on the offense; and since 1973, with Muslims on the offense.
When I entered the Middle East and Islam field in 1969, Americans looked almost exclusively at the Western impact on modern Muslims; today, the Muslim impact on the West features almost as prominently, from American slavery to the problems of Malmö, Sweden.
From Arab to Muslim: Books on "The Arabs," "the Arab world," "Arab politics," "Arab nationalism," and "Arab socialism" flew off the press during my student years. With time, however, the hollowness of this modern concept of Arabs became evident. I was one of those who argued for Islam as the real defining factor, devoting myself thirty years ago to proving that "Islam profoundly shapes the political attitudes of Muslims." Met with skepticism back then, this understanding has now become so blindingly self-evident that Amazon.com lists no fewer than 3,077 items in English on jihad.
From critical to apologetic writing: Little did I know, but by taking up Islamic history when I did meant slipping in before the deluge of revisionism. Back in 1969, scholars respected Islamic civilization while usually (but not always) maintaining a proudly Western outlook. Symbolic of old-fashioned learning, my first Middle East history professor assigned us Julius Wellhausen's study, Das arabische Reich und sein Sturz (in English translation to be sure), published in 1902.
The old guard: Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918), author of my assigned reading on the Umayyad Dynasty.
Then came the revolution. Martin Kramer ascribes the changes in Middle East studies to the publication of Orientalism by Edward Said in 1978; I see it more resulting from the sharp leftward turn of universities. Whatever the cause, the field descended into revisionist, apologetic, jargon-laden, error-prone Third-Worldism.
The old masters dropped out of syllabi. The Hartford Seminary rapidly "turned from being the premier Protestant seminary for missions to the Muslim world into an institution promoting Islamization." The academic understanding of jihad epitomizes this transformation: in a single generation, jihad went from being interpreted as aggressive warfare to moral self-improvement. Academics took their biased and shoddy work into government.
Academic work has sometimes become a near-parody of itself, with specialists proving such absurdities as: ancient Israeli history is a creation of modern Zionist propaganda, the Islamist movement already failed by 1992, water imperatives drive the Arab-Israeli conflict, and homosexuals do not exist in the Middle East. As maudlin obituaries to Said suggest, many specialists remain in his malign thrall.
From public indifference to engagement: The Middle East was politically prominent well before 2001 thanks to cold war tensions, oil exports, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iranian revolution. But American popular interest in the region remained modest until 9/11 and the subsequent Afghan and Iraqi wars. That surge of interest led to a wide awareness about the inadequacy of academic work. With the help of sophisticated critiques like Kramer's, plus organizations like Campus Watch, the public has become actively involved in opposing radical Middle East specialists, for example through activism to deny them tenure. One finds no parallel in other fields.
Martin Kramer subjected Middle East studies to its first sustained critique in 2001.
From trendy to retro: Another response to this failure consists of authors – often from outside the academy – harking back to pre-1980 scholarship to understand the region. Ibn Warraq, a pseudonymous ex-Muslim, published a sequence of books on the life of Muhammad, the origins of the Koran, its variants, and meaning, all of them premised on generations-old writings. Andrew Bostom, a medical researcher, anthologized significant portions of pre-1980 scholarship on jihad and antisemitism. Historian Efraim Karsh wrote Islamic Imperialism, which argues that Islam's expansionist tendencies have driven the religion since Muhammad's wars.
These old-fashioned books are yet few in number compared to the cascade of revisionism, but they mark a revival of ideas and themes that once appeared moribund. Their appearance, along with public engagement and the emerging presence of promising new scholars, signals that – almost uniquely in the humanities – a sound understanding of the Middle East and Islam may rebound.
Posted on 07/05/2011 7:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
The Palace Plotters In Israel
From The Jerusalem Post:
Israel's palace coup plotters
July 5, 2011
On Monday, saboteurs bombed the Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel for the third time since former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February. The move was just another reminder that Israel today faces the most daunting and complex threat spectrum it has ever seen.
From Egypt to Turkey to Iran to the international Left to the Obama administration, Israel faces a mix of military and political challenges that threaten its very existence on multiple levels. To meet these challenges, it is vital for the government and people of Israel to stand strong, unified and determined. The approaching storm will test our resilience as we have never been tested before.
Unfortunately, even if the government is competent, and even if the nation stands strong, there is reason to fear that Israel will fail to successfully withstand the dangers gathering against it. Unelected, unrepresentative and irresponsible senior government officials are liable to take actions that undermine the government's ability to protect the country and weaken the public's morale and unity of purpose.
Over the past week, we received two reminders of how dire the situation is. The first reminder relates to institutional impediments to the government's freedom of action in preventing Iran from fielding a nuclear arsenal.
Since the beginning of his first term as prime minister 15 years ago, Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently warned that the greatest dangers Israel faces stem from the forces of global jihad generally and the Iranian regime and its nuclear program specifically. After taking office for the second time in 2009, Netanyahu made blocking Iran's rise to nuclear power his top priority. He ordered the heads of the Mossad and the IDF to prepare plans to attack Iran's nuclear installations.
Last Friday, Haaretz reported that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi refused to obey his order. Rather than prepare strike plans, Dagan and Ashkenazi warned that such a strike would foment a regional war. That is, rather than do their jobs, they made excuses for failing to fulfill their duty to obey Israel's elected leadership.
Not wanting to take them on directly, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to wait them out. Dagan and Ashkenazi were both set to finish their terms at the beginning of the year, and Netanyahu and Barak figured they could replace them with commanders who would abide by the government's wishes. Specifically, Barak and Netanyahu believed that by replacing Ashkenazi with his deputy Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, they would have a military leader willing and able to take on the central challenge of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Barak announced last August that Galant would replace Ashkenazi as IDF chief in January. Galant's appointment was approved by the government and by the Senior Appointments Commission. But in late January, the government was forced to cancel it. And this week we received new indications that Galant's appointment fell victim to what has been likened to a palace coup. That is, the government was denied its right to choose its military leader by a group of senior officials who deliberately usurped that power from the government.
In January, we learned that Ashkenazi's close associate Lt.-Col. (ret.) Boaz Harpaz had forged a document that was transferred by Ashkenazi's office to Channel 2. The forgery purported to be a memo written for Galant by the public relations firm owned by Eyal Arad - Kadima's public relations guru. The forged memo detailed a public relations campaign that would discredit Galant's rivals and Ashkenazi, and so pave the way for Galant's appointment as chief of General Staff. Channel 2's broadcast of the memo seriously harmed Galant's public image.
The police opened an investigation, and Harpaz admitted to forging the document. Despite revelations that Harpaz was in intensive, continuous contact with Ashkenazi's wife Ronit and had a longstanding close friendship with Ashkenazi himself, the Military Advocate- General decided not to investigate Ashkenazi or any other officer about their ties to Harpaz and his forged document.
Over the weekend, Yediot Aharonot reported that last week Harpaz underwent two lengthy interrogations by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. Harpaz is reportedly divulging information about his connections to Ashkenazi.
Despite Harpaz's own admission that he forged the document, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has abstained, to date, from indicting him. Although jarring, Weinstein's actions are not surprising. It was Weinstein who personally overturned Galant's appointment in January.
Harpaz's defamatory memo wasn't the only thing working against Galant's appointment. A previously unknown environmental group called the Green Movement filed a petition with the Supreme Court calling for the cancellation of Galant's appointment because in the past he had used the state lands around his family homestead in Moshav Amikam without permission. Since his actions were administrative infractions rather than criminal acts, the Senior Appointments Commission concluded that he was fit to serve as chief of staff.
Weinstein felt differently. Claiming that he had ethical problems with Galant's behavior, Weinstein refused to defend the appointment to the Supreme Court. Weinstein's announcement forced the government to cancel Galant's appointment.
Ashkenazi's chosen successor,Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, whom Barak had previously eliminated from the running, was appointed instead.
Perhaps due to fear that Gantz might not stand up to Netanyahu and Barak as he and Ashkenazi did, Dagan shocked the country last month by launching an unprecedented public attack against Netanyahu and Barak. His clear aim was to discredit the option of an Israeli military strike against Iran.
According to Haaretz, Dagan was motivated by his desire to cover up his failure to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Also according to Haaretz, Ashkenazi, together with recently retired IDF intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, supported Dagan's attacks through off-record briefings.
It is impossible for the public to know what is going on behind closed doors. We cannot know whether a worthy general's rivals' successful campaign to discredit him has doomed the country to another three years of defeatist, incompetent stewardship of the IDF - and what's worse, to a nuclear-armed Iran. What we do know is that a handful of unelected civil servants took it upon themselves to undermine the government's ability to lead the country.
Posted on 07/05/2011 7:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Low-Level Violence In Iraq Does Not Stop
From Voice of America:
July 05, 2011
At Least 35 Killed in Iraq Bombings
People inspect the scene of rocket attack at a residential complex in Baghdad, July 5, 2011
Two bombs have exploded outside a government building north of Baghdad, killing at least 35 people.
Iraq officials said a car bomb and another explosive went off Tuesday in the town of Taji, about 20 kilometers north of the capital. They say more than two dozen people were wounded in the blasts.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In another attack, officials said a rocket hit Baghdad's fortified Green Zone late Monday, killing at least four people.
Earlier Monday, a wave of attacks targeting Iraqi police and soldiers killed at least eight people.
Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the peak of sectarian violence in 2006 to 2007, but Sunni insurgents and Shi'ite militias continue to carry out bombings and other attacks, many targeting Iraqi security forces.
Posted on 07/05/2011 8:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
A Musical Interlude: Sittin' On A Rubbish Can
Posted on 07/05/2011 9:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Bat Ye'or On The Significance Of Geert Wilders
On Geert Wilders's Acquittal
by Bat Ye'or
July 5, 2011
The acquittal of Geert Wilders has deeper meanings for Europe's future than it appears at first glance. As Geert Wilders said: it is a victory for truth. But what does truth mean in international policy? Do we not see that in Eurabia the words 'justice and peace' are travesties for submission to injustice and terrorism? Here one needs to know the extensive system of lies spread at every political and cultural level in Eurabia, to understand the Copernican revolution achieved by Geert Wilders. A victory performed by a single unarmed man, constantly threatened by death and whose only defence was his courageous and unbending commitment to say the truth. A truth buried by the whole Eurabian transnational and international system created since the 1970s.
Imposed on Europeans by controlling networks such a system emanates from the European Commission whose masters are no other than the political leaders of the European governments. The EU, a mastodon Kafkaesque structure, consuming astronomical sums, often enables European leaders to implement an authoritarian policy escaping people's awareness. Rivalries for power, ambitions, ideology, oppose Eurocrats to those they disdainfully call "racist, populist, xenophobic" opponents to their globalist Islamophile ideology. Yet there is more than usual policy into these clashes. There is what Wilders calls: the truth, a human moral element.
To understand the tremendous revolution achieved by Geert Wilders, one has to realise that the foundational stone of the Eurabian mind consist of two principles stated in article 22 of the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam:
a. Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari'a.
b. Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari'a.
Europe, while claiming to defend human rights has, in effect, adopted these principles and obeys a fundamental law of dhimmitude: dhimmis are forbidden on pain of death to propagate ideas considered hostile to Islam. Qadi 'Iyad (d. 1149), the famous Andalusian Imam, prolific author and scholar, described explicitly blasphemy. It consists in cursing Muhammad, blaming him or attributing imperfection to him, to his religion, whether in the form of a curse, contempt or belittling him or maligning him. He stated that any Jew or Christian who reviled the Prophet should be beheaded or burned, unless he converts. Under the pressure of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Eurabia has adopted these Islamic blasphemy rules.
The dhimmi attitude that has developed among European intellectuals, politicians, and the clergy requires the Western public to conform to one of the basic rules of dhimmitude: the express prohibition on Christians and Jews to criticize Islamic history and doctrine. This means that shari'a law has been imposed on Europeans by their own dhimmi leaders in their outreach to Islam. No wonder that since the 1970s Eurocrats censor any criticism of jihad and incriminate Israel's right to exist as an aggression, triggering wars and terrorism. The denial of the jihadist current trend by Europe, its compliance to shari'a laws by prosecuting and punishing its own citizens for criticizing them, constitute the basic issues of Wilders trial. By exposing them, he has overturned EU's policy.
In this tremendous fight for truth, Wilders is not alone. Many sacrificed their position and reputation, many despaired such as the sociologist Jacques Ellul (d. 1994) who saw the return of Nazism in a machinery disguising its Fascist authoritarianism and antisemitism with the words 'peace, justice, love, human rights'.
Can Wilders and his courageous supporters – each fighting in his own country against their dhimmi leaders – succeed in bringing some morality into a sordid policy of lies, corruption, hate and cowardice? Or could this success for truth be just a moment of light and hope before being crushed? Will Muslims themselves take this opportunity offered by the sacrifices of Wilders and the young anti-racist militants for freedom of speech, to ponder upon their own history of a long genocidal jihad over four continents with its trail of enslavement and dispossession of people? We are waiting to hear them acknowledging that jihadist ideology is criminal and that dhimmitude is a dehumanising oppression.
Now, the world sees the fanatical and revolting persecution of Copts and other Christians in Islamic countries, and the jihadist genocidal hatred against Israel. And Now, Jews, Christians, Hindus and others victims of Islamic wars, who suffered dispossession, apartheid, deportations, humiliations, child abductions – crimes perpetrated altogether within the context of dhimmitude – are hoping for a reconciliation that can only come with Muslim acknowledgement of a criminal supremacist ideology and its rejection.
Posted on 07/05/2011 10:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Hindu group criticizes Toronto school’s Muslim prayer sessions
From The Globe and Mail
A Hindu group that regularly criticizes Islam is going after a Toronto school for holding prayer sessions for Muslim students on Friday afternoons, arguing that it violates principles of secularism in the public school system.
For about three years, Valley Park Middle School on Overlea Boulevard in Flemingdon Park has held the services in its cafeteria after non-Muslim students are finished lunch. An imam from a nearby mosque leads the sessions, which last 30 to 40 minutes.
According to meeting minutes on the school’s website, the voluntary sessions were started because Muslim students were leaving early on Fridays to attend services. Canadian Hindu Advocacy says it has written a letter to the Toronto District School Board calling for the prayers to be stopped, and is prepared to hold protests when school starts up again.
The school said the practice helps prevent students from missing instructional time by going to pray. Gerri Gershon, the trustee for the area, said she had received some letters from members of the community who were concerned Muslim students were getting special treatment, but expressed surprise that another religious group would take issue with it.
During a speech at a 2010 rally for right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, (director Ron) Banerjee said Islam is less a religion than an ideology, and that Islamic civilization had contributed “less to human advancement than a pack of donkeys.”
Posted on 07/05/2011 10:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
That Libyan Fiasco
From the latimes.com
NATO feels the pressure from Libya campaign
Even as Libyan rebels make gains against Moammar Kadafi's regime, Western allies fear their coalition may split before he is ousted. And pressure for a negotiated settlement may leave Kadafi with some leverage.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
July 5, 2011
Reporting from Washington
With victory still elusive after 15 weeks of bombing, Western allies arrayed against Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi are racing to crack his regime before their own coalition fractures.
Even as Libyan rebel fighters begin to show improvement and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization increases airstrikes in the western part of the country, signs of friction have appeared within NATO. Members have expressed concern about declining munitions inventories and warned that the costs and stresses of the campaign cannot be sustained.
The eight nations shouldering the military burden have been pushing in vain for the other 20 NATO members to take on a larger role. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, major players disagree among themselves on the best strategy. The urgent desire for a breakthrough has caused some members to take riskier steps in the hopes of defeating Kadafi quickly, including airdrops of weapons to rebels, which the French military recently announced it had carried out.
Several signs of discontent have become public. In the Netherlands, Defense Minister Hans Hillen complained last week of "mission creep" and suggested that the campaign's advocates were deluded in believing they could crush Kadafi.
"People who thought that merely by throwing some bombs it would not only help the people, but also convince Kadafi that he could step down or alter his policy were a little bit naive," Hillen told reporters in Brussels.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini scolded the coalition over the accidental killing of civilians and called for a cease-fire — a step that U.S., British and French officials say would allow Kadafi to regroup.
In Washington, the Obama administration faces pressure from Republicans as well as antiwar Democrats. A GOP-sponsored measure to curb U.S. participation failed in a vote on the House floor, partly because some Republicans felt it wasn't restrictive enough.
Norway, whose small air force has carried out a disproportionate 10% of the strikes with six fighter planes, last month became the first country to set an end date to its role. The government has been facing calls for withdrawal from its leftist coalition partners. Norway's Defense Ministry said it planned to reduce its contribution to four fighters and to withdraw entirely by Aug. 1.
Senior European and American officials insist there has always been such dissent over NATO campaigns and that the players who count remain firmly committed. The alliance formally agreed last month to extend the mission, originally planned for 90 days, for another three months.
Officials and outside observers also acknowledge that pressure is growing for the coalition to deliver a knockout blow. If not, the Western powers, under acute economic stress and struggling with other military obligations, might have to negotiate an exit on terms that could leave Kadafi some leverage.
"All the countries are watching an economic and political time clock," said Jorge Benitez, a veteran NATO watcher at the Atlantic Council of the United States. "The question is: Whose coalition will break first, Kadafi's or NATO?"
NATO also faces pressure from outside the alliance. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov said Monday that his nation and NATO "so far don't see eye to eye" on how the alliance is implementing the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the campaign in Libya, the Russia 24 TV channel reported.
Lavrov particularly criticized the reported French air drops of weapons, saying they violate a U.N. arms embargo on Libya. "This also applies to sending instructors to pass on military knowledge and skills; all of this is covered by the weapons embargo," Lavrov said at a news conference in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where he met with NATO officials.
Kadafi may be seeking to heighten the rifts within NATO, issuing a statement Friday threatening to "move the battle to Europe."
The greatest source of internal pressure on NATO is from leftist and anti-interventionist parties, whose complaints are increasing even as polls suggest that the European public isn't particularly upset by the military engagement.
In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government has been a strong backer of the campaign, but it is under pressure from a coalition partner, the Northern League, which fears the fighting will lead to a further influx of African immigrants.
France and Britain, which have led the way on the campaign, are bearing the brunt of the military burden and costs, and they are eager to bring the conflict to an end. Their officials have been looking for ways to intensify the campaign and bring it to a close, parting company with the Obama administration, which has been urging patience.
The U.S. has reduced its role to logistical and intelligence support after carrying out intense airstrikes in the campaign's opening days and has declined British and French invitations to resume a combat role.
NATO also has had to scramble to provide enough precision bombs to Denmark and Norway, which had been running low during the course of the campaign's 5,000 strike sorties.
Western officials worry that the reluctance of many NATO members to take part, and the complaints of the antiwar parties at home, may be read by Kadafi and his supporters as reason to continue the fight.
Although President Obama last week dismissed Republican pressure as no more than election season politics, a senior administration official said their efforts came at a cost.
"It sent exactly the wrong signal to the other side," the official said.
U.S. and European officials say they believe Kadafi's camp may be on its last legs, but few insiders predict a quick end. Luis Ocampo Moreno, the International Criminal Court prosecutor who announced an arrest warrant for Kadafi, predicted last month that collapse was close — in "two or three months."
With such uncertainty, pressure will continue to build for a negotiated solution, analysts say.
Retired British Army Brig. Ben Barry, senior fellow for land forces at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said he sees increasing support, including from the Italians, for a cease-fire that would allow Kadafi's forces to remain in place — a solution the United States and other key NATO members have so far rejected.
Barry, who served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia-Herzegovina, fears such a deal would allow Kadafi to "behave like an intransigent Bosnian warlord," maneuvering to retain power in a western Libya rump state, "controlling energy resources — and then reverting to previous bad behavior."
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Israeli Military Intelligence Head On Hezbollah And Iran Aiding Syria
Israel's MI chief: Iran and Hezbollah actively helping Syria squash demonstrations
Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi says Islamic republic and Lebanon-based militant group fear that the anti-government protests will slide into areas under their control.
Iran and Hezbollah are actively assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in cracking down on anti-government demonstrations, Military Intelligence Chief Major General Aviv Kochavi said on Tuesday.
The Islamic republic and the Lebanon-based militant group have been transferring information, technical assistance and equipment to Syria to disperse demonstrators, said Kochavi.
"The great motivation Iran and Hezbollah have to assist [Syria] comes from their deep worry regarding the implications these events might have, particularly losing control of their cooperation with the Syrians and having such events slide onto their own territories," said the MI chief.
Iran operated directly in Lebanon to help organize Nakba Day and Naksa Day events and was making every effort to prevent anti-government demonstrations in Syria from continuing.
"Iran is taking total advantage of the unrest in the Middle East to push itself deeper into the states and organizations in the [region], including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Sudan, Yemen, Gaza and Iraq" said Kochavi.
Iran last week denied similar accusations made by the European Union and the United States.
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Dewsbury, Bradford and Tower Hamlets ... where Islamic extremists want to establish independent states with sharia law
From The Daily Mail
Islamic extremists have called on British Muslims to establish three independent states within the UK.
The notorious Muslims Against the Crusades (MAC) group have named Yorkshire towns Bradford and Dewsbury and Tower Hamlets in East London as testbeds for blanket sharia rule. The medieval 'emirates' would operate entirely outside British law, according to a document on the MAC website.
MAC says: 'We suggest it is time that areas with large Muslim populations declare an emirate delineating that Muslims trying to live within this area are trying to live by the sharia as much as possible with their own courts and community watch and schools and even self sufficient trade. Likely areas for these projects might be Dewsbury or Bradford or Tower Hamlets to begin with. In time we can envisage that the whole of the sharia might one day be implemented starting with these enclaves.'
The plan is part of the MAC's response to the government's revised Prevent strategy to combat Islamic extremism.
In its document, called Islamic Prevent, the fanatics also call for an end to CCTV cameras in and around mosques. It says: 'Muslims must get rid of all CCTV cameras from Muslim institutions. Sadly many mosques have today adopted CCTV cameras to spy on Muslims on behalf of the police and local authorities.'
Other inflammatory instructions include demanding the release of all Muslim prisoners, a ban on Muslims joining the police or armed forces and a rejection of British democracy.
The document ends: 'We can conclude that measures by the UK government are nothing more than an attempt by them to strip the Muslim community of their Islamic identity and to integrate them into the non-Islamic way of life.'
Greenwood, leader of Bradford Council, said people would 'not allow extremists to provoke them into violence'. Tower Hamlets and Kirklees Council, the local authority for Dewsbury, refused to comment.
I would have expected Dewsbury/Bradford to be one area with the third emirate to be somewhere in the Midlands. MAC may be a small group with less influence tha they make out but in this they are only echoing the ultimate aim of Hizb ut Tahir - the Caliphate.
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:25 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Senators And Times Copy Editors Criminally Negligent: "Millenniums" It Is
Let’s Not Linger in Afghanistan
By JEFF MERKLEY, RAND PAUL and TOM UDALL
LAST month President Obama announced plans for withdrawing by next summer the approximately 30,000 American troops sent to Afghanistan as part of the 2009 surge.
We commend the president for sticking to the July date he had outlined for beginning the withdrawal. However, his plan would not remove all regular combat troops until 2014. We believe the United States is capable of achieving this goal by the end of 2012. America would be more secure and stronger economically if we recognized that we have largely achieved our objectives in Afghanistan and moved aggressively to bring our troops and tax dollars home.
After Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, we rightly sought to bring to justice those who attacked us, to eliminate Al Qaeda’s safe havens and training camps in Afghanistan, and to remove the terrorist-allied Taliban government. With hard work and sacrifice, our troops, intelligence personnel and diplomatic corps have skillfully achieved these objectives, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden.
But over the past 10 years, our mission expanded to include a fourth goal: nation-building. That is what we are bogged down in now: a prolonged effort to create a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with. Let’s not forget that Afghanistan has been a tribal society for millenniums.
Nineteen months ago the president announced the surge strategy in hopes of stabilizing Afghanistan and strengthening its military and police forces. Today, despite vast investment in training and equipping Afghan forces, the country’s deep-seated instability, rampant corruption and, in some cases, compromised loyalties endure. Extending our commitment of combat troops will not remedy that situation.
Sometimes our national security warrants extreme sacrifices, and our troops are prepared to make them when asked. In this case, however, there is little reason to believe that the continuing commitment of tens of thousands of troops on a sprawling nation-building mission in Afghanistan will make America safer.
National security experts, including the former C.I.A. director Leon E. Panetta, have noted that Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan has been greatly diminished. Today there are probably fewer than 100 low-level Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has a much larger presence in a number of other nations.
Our focus shouldn’t be establishing new institutions in Afghanistan, but concentrating on terrorist organizations with global reach. And our military and intelligence organizations have proved repeatedly that they can take the fight to the terrorists without a huge military footprint.
We have urgent needs at home: high unemployment and a flood of foreclosures, a record deficit and a debt that is over $14 trillion and growing. We are spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. We need to change course.
A week before the president’s speech, 24 of our Senate colleagues joined us by signing onto a bipartisan letter urging the president to announce a sustained and sizable drawdown from Afghanistan with the goal of removing regular combat troops. This group includes progressives, moderates and conservatives united behind one conclusion: we’ve accomplished what we set out to accomplish in Afghanistan, and we can no longer afford the lives and money it is taking to pursue an ambitious open-ended nation-building mission.
It is not too late to change course in what has become the longest American war in history. In light of our considerable national needs, both security and domestic, we urge the president to bring our troops home at last.
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Iraqi Kurds Warn Iran To Stop Shelling
Kurdistan President Barzani Warns Iran Against Shelling
In a presidential statement, Kurdistan Region President Mas'oud Barzani warns Iran that relations between it and Kurdistan Region would deteriorate if Iran continues shelling Kurdistan Region's borders.
The statement, released July 2, reads: "By shelling our border regions, Iran only hurts our mutual interests and relations."
The statement adds that Iran's "intolerable" shelling of Kurdistan region is based on groundless pretexts.
The shelling has displaced villagers in the region and has caused great damage to agriculture.
Since 2007, Iran has periodically shelled Kurdistan's border regions, on the pretext of pursuing members of PJAK (Party Jiyanawa u Azadi Kurdistan), an offshoot of the PKK (Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan).
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Assad Can't Win And Alawites Can't Afford To Lose
Analysis: Syria's Assad faces dilemma in Hama
By Dominic Evans
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faces a dilemma over the city of Hama, crushed by his father a generation ago and now slipping beyond his control.
If he lets protesters stay on the streets, he will see his authority ebb away, but if he sends tanks into the city still scarred by the 1982 massacre, he risks igniting far wider unrest at home and deeper isolation abroad.
Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed when Hafez al-Assad ordered his troops in to defeat insurgents in Hama, and parts of its old city were razed to the ground.
Twenty-nine years later Hama demonstrators chanting for the overthrow of Bashar still curse the memory of his father, who died in 2000 after ruling Syria for three decades.
"If tanks go into Hama and crush the protests, Syria will ignite from south to north and from east to west," said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The regime will be isolated internationally, because Hama has historical symbolism."
Assad's forces largely disappeared from Hama one month ago after activists said at least 60 protesters were killed when security men fired on crowds of demonstrators.
The security vacuum -- some reports said even traffic police disappeared -- emboldened residents and the weekly protests after Friday prayers grew into huge gatherings.
Last Friday, video footage showed tens of thousands of people in the city's main square and activists said at least 150,000 people attended the rally demanding Assad's departure.
The next day Assad sacked the provincial governor and tanks appeared on the outskirts of the city. The tanks stayed outside Hama on Tuesday, but Syrian forces and gunmen loyal to Assad went in and killed 10 people, activists said.
Diplomats say how Assad deals with Hama could determine the direction of Syria's unrest, at least for the immediate future.
Since the outbreak of protests in March, the 45-year-old president has combined ruthless repression with a series of concessions to demonstrators, including a promise of national dialogue on political reform.
The mix of stick and carrot has often appeared counter-productive, and activists say they cannot hold talks with authorities while killings continue across the country.
"There's a political track and a security track and they don't seem to be in synch... Hama is a litmus test," a diplomat in Damascus said. "If the tanks stay on the outskirts and move away eventually, it would seem that the political track has won the day.
"If they continue to stay where they are, making sorties into the center of town, then maybe they are drifting back to the security solution... So what happens there in the next few days will really be key."
Abdelrahman said the mixed messages from authorities reflected genuine divisions at the top. "There is one wing of the authorities which wants a military solution in Hama and one wing which wants a democratic solution," he said.
Others said pledges of reform talks were a smokescreen.
"They are calling for dialogue... and at the same time the Syrian army is at the gates of Hama," said Rime Allaf, associate fellow at Chatham House. "It's the most blatant illustration of just how insincere the regime is about dialogue."
License TO KILL
Assad might hesitate to send the army into Hama for fear of alienating Russia and China, veto-holding members of the United Nations Security Council which have so far resisted Western efforts to secure U.N. condemnation of Syria.
"Even (Syria's) supporters at the Security Council, Russia and China, even they might baulk at military action in Hama," the Damascus-based diplomat said.
But analysts say a leadership increasingly focused on "regime survival" is unlikely to be swayed by international criticism.
Reaction to the unrest in Syria, where activists say security forces have shot dead more than 1,300 civilians, has been muted compared to the response to protests in Libya.
While the United States, European Union and other Western nations have imposed sanctions on Assad and senior officials, their repeated warnings over several months that Assad is running out of time are beginning to ring hollow.
"Bashar interprets the international position as one of support for him, because there are no clear messages from the international community yet," said Lebanese academic Nadim Shehadi. "The international community is divided over Syria."
"I think Bashar al-Assad thinks he has a license to kill from the international community."
French parliamentarian Gerard Bapt, head of the French-Syrian friendship committee, said there was also little regional appetite to confront Assad.
"With the Arab League not moving and with a nation like Saudi Arabia saying nothing publicly to condemn the killings by the Syrian regime it is difficult to see international pressure rising beyond the economic," he told Reuters in Amman.
"Another grand Hama massacre could result in a United Nations resolution, but is unlikely to contain protection for the civilian population, with the West already engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya."
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Hans Keilson, 101, Died More Than A Month Ago
Hans Keilson, author and psychoanalyst who counseled orphans of Holocaust, dies
Before he became an international literary sensation last year at age 100, Hans Keilson was better known as a psychoanalyst and an expert in childhood trauma.
A German-born Jewish doctor whose career was derailed when Hitler took power in the early 1930s, he fled to the Netherlands and joined the Dutch Resistance as a counselor for children orphaned by the Holocaust.
He interviewed hundreds of young people and with his findings wrote a seminal study of “sequential traumatization,” the piling on of horrors, one after another. That academic treatise was his most widely recognized work — until last year, when an American publisher re-released two novels he had written about the Holocaust more than a half-century earlier.
The author Francine Prose catapulted Dr. Keilson to fame with a glowing New York Times review of both books. “Comedy in a Minor Key” (1947) and “The Death of the Adversary” (1959) were “masterpieces,” she declared, and Dr. Keilson was “ a genius,” one of “the world’s very greatest writers.”
The books won critical praise in newspapers worldwide. “The Death of the Adversary” became an instant bestseller; “Comedy in a Minor Key” was nominated for a 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Dr. Keilson, who was 101 when he died of undisclosed causes May 31 in Hilversum, Netherlands, once said he was perplexed by the sudden adoration. “I’m not even a proper writer!” he told the British newspaper the Observer. But “maybe,” he added, “I did manage to produce something which goes beyond the everyday.”
Neither of the books found an audience the first time around.
“The Death of the Adversary” had enjoyed a fleeting moment of attention when it was first released in English in 1962. Time magazine named it one of the 10 best books of the year, alongside works by writers such as William Faulkner, Philip Roth and Vladimir Nabokov. “Comedy in a Minor Key” was never translated, and both soon fell out of print and into obscurity, where they remained for decades.
The novels were rediscovered in 2007 by American writer and translator Damion Searls, who stumbled upon an old copy of “Comedy in a Minor Key” in a bargain bin outside a Yugoslavian specialty bookshop in Austria.
Dedicated to Leo and Suus Rientsma, who hid Dr. Keilson in their home in Delft, the book is a darkly comic tale about the forced intimacy shared by a Dutch couple and their secret Jewish boarder. When the boarder dies of pneumonia, Dr. Keilson captures the couple’s efforts to get rid of the body in a series of plot twists.
Taken with the story’s domestic perspective on war, Searls resolved to bring the book back to the world’s attention. His English translation was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2010, along with a new release of “The Death of the Adversary,” originally translated by Ivo Jarosy in 1962.
The latter chronicles the growing, complicated hatred and fascination that a young Jewish boy feels for his persecutor — not Hitler, in the coded language of the book, but “my enemy” or “B.” As much as the narrator suffers, “B.” clearly suffers, too, as a victim of his own monstrousness.
That empathy for a reviled dictator brought the book fierce criticism in Israel when it was first published. Time magazine, on the other hand, called it “the profoundest explanation to date” of why so many people acquiesced to Hitler’s evil.
Prose agreed. “Rarely has a finer, more closely focused lens been used to study such a broad and brutal panorama,” she wrote, “mimetically conveying a failure to come to grips with reality by refusing to call that reality by its proper name.”
Hans Alexander Keilson was born Dec. 12, 1909, in Bad Freienwalde, near Berlin. His father was a textile merchant and a decorated veteran of World War I.
The younger Keilson finished medical school but, unable to practice because he was Jewish, found work as a swimming instructor.
His first book, “Life Goes On,” was published by the prestigious German publisher S. Fischer Verlag in 1933. Banned the following year, it became the publisher’s last book by a Jewish author before the implementation of Hitler’s anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws.
“My career is as a doctor and I write, it’s very strange,” he told Searls, who wrote about Dr. Keilson for the Believer magazine last year. “I lost both identities. I don’t know if that’s an advantage or a disadvantage.”
Dr. Keilson and the woman who became his first wife, Gertrud Manz, fled to the Netherlands together. Once there, they saw each other only rarely. Manz, a Catholic who could live openly, gave birth to their daughter in 1941; later, angered by Pope Pius XII’s failure to intervene far more publicly and forcefully against Hitler, she converted to Judaism.
Dr. Keilson went into hiding when the Nazis began their occupation of Holland in 1940. He joined the Dutch Resistance and, armed with a fake ID, traveled the country by train to counsel Jewish children who had suffered unimaginable losses during the war.
He continued to work for decades with Holocaust survivors and published his dissertation on sequential traumatization in 1979. That work was his way, he told Searls in an interview, of “finally saying Kaddish, the prayer for the dead.”
Dr. Keilson’s parents died at Auschwitz. Alhough they followed him to the Netherlands, he said he could never persuade them to go into hiding.
“My parents were the basis of my life. I still feel guilt over my parents, and it never ends,” he told the New York Times last year.
His first wife died in 1969. The next year, he married Marita Keilson-Lauritz. Besides his wife, survivors include a daughter from each of his marriages; and three granddaughters.
Dr. Keilson stopped writing fiction after the failure of his first three novels. He was glad the books had been rediscovered, he said. “They have gained new power of expression that they never had before. In America too, with a whole different audience,” he told Radio Netherlands in a recent interview. “It wasn’t written in vain after all.”
His first novel will soon be available in the United States, said Searls, who is translating the book. Dr. Keilson’s memoir was published in German last month and will likely also be translated into English.
Posted on 07/05/2011 7:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
A Musical Interlude: The Little White House At The End Of Honeymoon Lane (The Savoy Orpheans)
Posted on 07/05/2011 7:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
German Government And Tanks For Saudi Arabia
From Agence France-Presse:
Germans angry over Saudi tank sale reports
BERLIN — German opposition parties and even some members of the ruling parties were up in arms Tuesday over reports that the government wants to overturn its export rules and sell hundreds of tanks to Saudi Arabia.
This followed press reports that Saudi Arabia is about to buy 200 Leopard-2s, Germany main battle tank which is also produced under licence in Spain.
Germany has declined for over 20 years to sell such heavy weapons to Saudi Arabia because of concerns over human rights and fear for Israel's security.
To date, the government has refused to confirm the reports, saying such matters are discussed confidentially within the federal security council which determines export guidelines.
"The federal security council meets secretly. Therefore we can comment neither about its deliberations, nor about its decisions," foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke has told reporters.
But opposition leaders have demanded a parliamentary debate on the matter.
"The government must explain itself at some stage," Green parliamentary leader Juergen Trittin told ARD television Tuesday.
"Such decisions cannot be taken at a time when people are fighting for democracy in the Arab world," he added.
"And now one's trying to say such heavy weapons can simply be sold to dictators -- and that is the case in Saudi Arabia," he added.
"The government's readiness to sell 200 modern German tanks at a time of tension in the near East and the Arab peninsula denotes a frightening lack of judgment," the social-democrat parliamentary deputy leader Gernot Erler told the Welt newspaper's online service.
Such a policy demonstrates that Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westewelle "only pay lip service to supporting democratic movements in the Arab world," he added.
Selling tanks to Saudi Arabia at a time when that country has sent armoured vehicles to help put down a peaceful protest movement in neighbouring Bahrain is "a slap in the face for freedom movements in the whole region," Erler added.
The tiny but strategic Gulf archipelago, joined by a causeway to Saudi Arabia, has experienced repeated bouts of unrest between its Shiite majority population and its Saudi-backed Sunni ruling family.
Even in Merkel's government ranks, news of the possible deal has ruffled feathers.
Ruprecht Polenz, a Christian-Democrat who heads parliament's foreign affairs commission, suggested such a sale would go against all previous rules about exporting weapons to countries in turmoil, and even the parliament's Christian-Democrat president, Norbert Lammert, expressed concern about the timing of such a deal given the crackdown in Bahrain, newspapers reported.
The Saudi order for Leopard-2A7+ -- a 55 to 62-tonne tank equipped with a 120 mm gun -- could be worth billions of euros to the companies Kraus-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, Der Spiegel magazine reported.
The Saudi kingdom has been in talks with the Spanish subsidiary of General Dynamics about buying their version of the Leopard tank, but the major portion of the order would land with the Germans, the magazine suggested.
The Saudis are also in talks with US companies for 60 billion dollars worth (41 billion euros) of defence equipment that would become the largest US contract ever.
Die Welt newspaper, in an editorial, defended the government's bid to sell the tanks saying Saudi Arabia needed to be able to defend itself against Iran.
With Iran threatening to acquire nuclear weapons "the only way to avoid a nuclear arms race (in the region) is to help the Saudis develop a strong conventional deterrence," it said.
Comment: The "only way to avoid a nuclear arms race" is to give Saudi Arabia tanks, planes, guns, missiles with all the fixins?
No, the "only way to avoid a nuclear arms race" is for the West -- that includes Germany, or should -- to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, not least because the Iranian leaders are chiliastic, hysterical, and willing to take millions of casualties -- just as HItler was, as anyone can see by observing his behavior during the last days of the war. And that means attacking Iran's nuclear project, a collaborative effort, by all the members of NATO, and certainly with Israel involved as well. Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Tahrir Square boys and girls -- none of that matters as much as stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
"The only way."
Posted on 07/05/2011 10:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald