Tuesday, July 31, 2007

VideoBite: Jihad The Musical

Who says you can't laugh about the MidEast?
Bruce's MidEast Soundbites celebrates its first birthday
with a video clip from Jihad The Musical playing in Scotland

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dore Gold: Fatah illusion

Dahlan Isn't the Answer -Dore Gold

The latest clashes between Fatah and Hamas made many forget how closely the two organizations cooperated on the operational level over the years.

Fatah is willing to cooperate with Israel at a time of weakness, but can quickly renew its partnership with Hamas and other violent organizations, as was the case in the past decade.
(Ynet News)

Iraq critics impressed

A War We Just Might Win -Michael O'Hanlon & Kenneth Pollack

The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

[I]n the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help.

We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

[T]he surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.
[New York Times]

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wahabi education for US teachers

Saudi in the Classroom -Stanley Kurtz

It turns out that federal subsidies to university programs of Middle East Studies has been serving as a kind of Trojan horse for Saudi influence over American [kindergarten through 12th grade] education.

Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies' outreach program delivers seminars [for US teachers] that virtually promoted Islam as a religion, while sharply criticizing alleged American prejudice against the Muslim world - all at American taxpayer expense.
(National Review)

Debating hate speech

Shouting Murder on a Crowded Street -Daniel Schwammenthal

A British court last week sentenced four men to up to six years in prison for inciting murder and racial hatred. The men were among the hundreds of Muslims who marched to Denmark's embassy to protest the Muhammad cartoons that had been published in Danish newspapers. [The] protest descended into calls for terror and the beheadings of those who "insult Islam."

The convicted men did nothing more destructive than shout, and in the view of some Britons, the judge went too far and dangerously curtailed freedom of speech. But consider another view: By locking away the protestors for the words they chanted that day, the judge actually struck a victory for freedom of speech.

[T]he slogans the men were chanting and had written on their placards were calls to mass murder. By striking down the demonstrators' "freedom" to intimidate and threaten, the court protected free speech for everybody else. If the state is not allowed to stop Islamists' incitement to murder and terror, their speech may eventually be the only one that remains "free."
(Wall Street Journal)

Air security: Israeli style

The Israelis became the first victims of Middle Eastern aviation terrorism when an El Al flight from Rome was hijacked in 1968. Strong security measures have prevented a single El Al plane from being seized since, and no commercial airliner leaving Israeli airports has ever been taken over. How does Israel do it?
Israeli procedures concentrate more on identifying people who are threats than things that are threats.

Whereas Transportation Security Administration personnel often chat with one another at checkpoints, Israeli personnel focus consistently on evaluating the passengers.

Israeli procedures make obvious sense and are carried out with more politeness than we routinely experience in American airports.
(Detroit News)

Gaza deteriorates...for women

Gaza: Where Murder of Women Is Easy -Kevin Peraino

Yehia Abu Moghaseb watched several men lift three large bundles wrapped in black plastic from the back of a car and carelessly dropped them into freshly dug pits. They shoveled a few scoops of sand on top, before driving off. "There's no police," he recalled later, so Abu Moghaseb asked a neighbor to call the Hamas-controlled "Executive Force."

When a doctor tore open the black body bags, inside were three young women, two of them still in their teens. Two of the girls had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest; the third had her throat cut. [T]he murders had been honor killings, which are becoming increasingly common in lawless Gaza.

Looming buildup

Hamas Building an Army in Gaza -James Hider

[T]he recalibration of Hamas is a change in philosophy, with less emphasis on a martyr's death and more on achieving military goals...

The new attitude had allowed Hamas to reduce its casualties and build a more experienced force...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Guantánamo debate continues

Study Sees Threat in Guantánamo Detainees
-William Glaberson

[A] new study of detainees argues that many were a proven threat to United States forces.

The report is essentially a rebuttal of assertions by advocates for detainees that Guantánamo Bay is filled with hapless innocents who pose no real threat.

It paints a chilling portrait of the detainees, asserting that publicly available information indicates that 73 percent of them were a “demonstrated threat” [and] 95 percent were a “potential threat,” including detainees who had played a supporting role in terrorist groups or had expressed a commitment to pursuing violent jihadist goals.
[New York Times]

At least 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.

They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq, a US Defence Department spokesman told The Age yesterday.

Commander Jeffrey Gordon said the detainees had, while in custody, falsely claimed to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-arms merchants, low-level combatants or had offered other false explanations for being in Afghanistan.
[The Age]

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Terror by numbers

A stunning 70% of Palestinians justify terror

[S]upport for suicide bombings is widespread among Palestinians, the report said, with 41% asserting that such attacks are often justified while another 29% say they can sometimes be justified.

Only 6% of Palestinians say such attacks are never justified - the smallest percentage in any Muslim public surveyed.
(Washington Times)

Read Summary of Survey (Pew Global Attitudes Project)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pipes: move 'em to the desert

Two positions dominate and polarize the American body politic today. Some say the war is lost, so leave Iraq. Others say the war can be won, so keep the troops in place.

I split the difference and offer a third route. The occupation is lost but the war can be won. Keep U.S. troops in Iraq but remove them from the cities.

I call for international troops to be redeployed to the deserts and borders where they and their high-tech equipment can play a strategic role.

This implies the coalition abandoning its overly ambitious goal of a democratic, free, and prosperous Iraq, aiming instead for an Iraq that is secure, stable, and decent. In particular, holding elections in January 2005, a mere 22 months after the tyrant's overthrow, was premature and unrealistic; Iraqis will need years, perhaps decades, to learn the subtle habits of an open society.

Removing Saddam Hussein was a realistic and welcome act of international sanitation but repairing Iraq in the face of a liberated, fractured, and ideological Iraqi populace remains beyond the coalition's will. The coalition gave Iraqis a fresh start; it cannot take responsibility for them nor rebuild their country.
[New York Sun]

Monday, July 23, 2007

"Sagely byline" for Hamas

Hamas marchers looking like the KKK

A Byline for Hamas? -Marvin Hier & Abraham Cooper

First, the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously ran Op-Ed articles by Ahmed Yousef, a senior leader of Hamas who defended his group's bloody putsch in Gaza. Now, the Los Angeles Times has opened its Op-Ed page to Hamas' Mousa Abu Marzook. Whatever happened to the basic standards that civilized people are expected to live by? Why is the Times conferring a journalistic honoris causa degree on terrorists whose modus operandi is to deliberately target innocent civilians?

Hamas' views deserve real-time coverage, just the way the statements and actions of Hitler and Stalin received coverage. But such people do not deserve the status of a sagely byline, because that destroys the distinction between honorable men and women bound by basic principles of humanity and the despots and terrorists eager to destroy those values.

When will Osama bin Laden's guest column appear? Newspapers don't have the right to bestow editorial credibility on those bent on genocide.
(Los Angeles Times)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jihad in America

Intelligence Estimates, Illogical Conclusions - Youssef Ibrahim

The recently released National Intelligence Estimate stressed that the sort of Islam taking root in Muslim communities of America and Europe is a "radical" and "especially Salafi" type of Islam.

Every month, Saudi dollars flow in to build and staff more mosques, from one end of Europe to the other and in every American city.

Saudi Islam is not what we want to promote in America.
(New York Sun)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Radioactive release?

17% of Released Palestinian Prisoners Resume Terror Activity -Etgar Lefkovits

17% of Palestinian prisoners who have been released return to terror activities, Justice Ministry Pardons Department head Emmy Palmor said Wednesday. Israel is scheduled to free more than 250 Palestinian prisoners on Friday...
(Jerusalem Post)

"Collision Course"

[A] high-ranking IDF officer said that there [is] a limited window of opportunity for Israel to confront the Hamas threat. "There is an opportunity today since Hamas has not yet fully strengthen[ed] it's military capabilities," the officer said, adding that Israel was on a "collision course" with the Islamist group.
[Jerusalem Post]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bad investment strategy?

Bribing Abbas - John Podhoretz

America is raining half a billion dollars on the Palestinian government solely because it's kinda-sorta acting a little bit like it's maybe possibly giving up on terror.
(New York Post)
[Barbie Photo Credit: Simon Tyszko]

Ditching Oslo

Palestinian Institution-Building Before Statehood - Michael B. Oren

Never before has an American president placed the onus of demonstrating a commitment to peace so emphatically on Palestinian shoulders. [T]he bulk of his demands were directed at Palestinians.

By insisting that the Palestinians first construct durable and transparent institutions before attaining independence, Bush effectively reversed the process set out in the 1993 Oslo Accords whereby the Palestinians would obtain statehood immediately and only later engage in institution-building.
(Wall Street Journal)

Danger: Porous Borders

FBI: Iraqis Being Smuggled Across the Rio Grande - Brian Ross

The FBI is investigating a human smuggling operation that has been bringing "Iraqis and other Middle Eastern" individuals across the Rio Grande from Mexico for more than a year.An FBI report issued last week says the smuggling organization "used to smuggle Mexicans, but decided to smuggle Middle Eastern individuals because it was more lucrative." Each individual paid $20,000 to $25,000.
(ABC News)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Let the tumor grow?

Cancer cells

A Life of Unrest - Steven Erlanger

Israel is now confronted with a dilemma. There is a hostile entity on its southern border, run by an armed group [Hamas] that is committed to fighting Israel and is opposed to its existence. Should Israel now let a Gazan Hamastan grow?
(New York Times)

Friday, July 13, 2007

One Sad Story

Whenever a Helicopter Flies Over, Galit Thinks Her Father Is Coming Home - Ruth Sinai

When five-year-old Galit Zelinsky hears a helicopter fly over her home in Nahariya, she thinks her father is inside and is coming home. After all, her mother told her that her father is in heaven.

Andrei Zelinsky was killed by a Katyusha rocket [i]n July 2006. The entire family had run to the shelter when the siren sounded, but the shelter's new air conditioner was running, and Galit was cold.

So Andrei returned to their apartment to get her a blanket. At 5:40 p.m. the Katyusha hit. Rada Zelinsky, 30, will never forget the sight that met her eyes when she went out to look for her husband: body parts scattered all over the lawn. She could identify him only by his clothing.

Sharansky on Iraq

People of goodwill can certainly disagree over how to handle Iraq, but human rights should be part of any responsible calculus. Unfortunately, some leaders continue to play down the gross violations in Iraq under Hussein's republic of fear, and ignore the potential for a human rights catastrophe should the United States withdraw.

[D]espite the carnage in Iraq, Iraqis are more optimistic about the future of their country than Americans are. In a face-to-face national poll of 5,019 people conducted by Opinion Research, Iraqis said they preferred life under their new government, to life under the old tyranny. That is why, at a time when many Americans are abandoning the vision of a democratic Iraq, most Iraqis still cling to the hope of a better future. They know that under Hussein, there was no hope.

A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces could lead to a bloodbath that would make the current carnage pale by comparison. Without U.S. troops to quell some of the violence, Iranian-backed Shiite militias would dramatically increase their attacks on Sunnis; Sunni militias, backed by the Saudis or others, would retaliate in kind, drawing Iraq into full-blown civil war...

[T]he chaos could trigger similar clashes throughout the region as Sunni-Shiite tensions spill across Iraq's borders.

Perhaps the greatest irony [in] the debate over Iraq is that many of Bush's critics, who accused his administration of going blindly to war without considering what would happen once Hussein's regime was toppled, now blindly support a policy of withdrawing from Iraq without considering what might follow.
[Washington Post]

A parable

A retired diplomat was appointed director of a Biblical Zoo. Utilizing his skills and experience he succeeded in drawing tremendous crowds to visit the zoo.

The main attraction was a cage occupied by a lion and a lamb, illustrating the prophetic vision of peace. An old friend who was so overwhelmed by this scene asked the director how he managed to have the "lion and the lamb lie down together", a feat reserved for the [messianic] end of days.

"Simple," answered the [diplomat]. "Every day another lamb!"
Source: Rabbi Mendel Weinbach: Gateways

Scoop on Yasser?

Arafat died of AIDS -Aaron Klein

A confidential medical report released to the Palestinian Authority from the French hospital in which Yasser Arafat died, revealed the Palestinian leader succumbed to AIDS, said the founder and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Jibril.

Arafat died Nov. 11, 2004, at a military hospital in Paris. The official cause of death was not released...

...Arafat contracted AIDS from homosexual sex with his bodyguards.

See also: http://www.memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=1507

Note: the clip below was written prior to Arafat's death:
Outing Arafat -Joseph Farah

Arafat is a homosexual. There are also persistent rumors that he is a pedophile.
[I]n his private life, he is everything the Islamic culture detests - a closet pervert.

A Mighty Heart: Pearl critiques film

Moral Relativism and "A Mighty Heart" -Judea Pearl

Thanks to the release of the movie "A Mighty Heart," the legacy of my son, Daniel Pearl, is once again receiving attention. Yet the film compares Danny's abduction with Guantanamo and compares al-Qaeda militants with CIA agents. I am concerned that aspects of the movie will play into the hands of professional obscurers of moral clarity.

Danny's tragedy demands an end to this logic. There can be no comparison between those who take pride in the killing of an unarmed journalist and those who vow to end such acts - no ifs, ands, or buts. There was a time when drawing moral symmetries between two sides of every conflict was a mark of original thinking. Today, it reflects nothing but lazy conformity.

Judea Pearl is Daniel Pearl's father
(New Republic)

Hoffman: beware simplicity

Attempts in UK Seen as Model for New Attacks on U.S. Soil -Karen DeYoung

Bruce Hoffman, a counterterrorism expert at Georgetown University, said he considered al-Qaeda involvement likely in the British incidents and disagreed with those who labeled the attacks amateurish.

"They didn't work, but I think of all the al-Qaeda plots we've seen, their sophistication is in their simplicity. They used available materials."
(Washington Post)

Sowing Mistrust

Now Playing at a Theater Near You
-Thomas Friedman

In the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amid innocent civilians - without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.

Not all Muslims are terrorists. But virtually all terrorists today are Muslims. Angry Norwegians aren't doing this - nor are starving Africans or unemployed Mexicans. Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion.

Doctors plotting mass murder? Could that be? If Muslim leaders don't remove this cancer it will spread, tainting innocent Muslims and poisoning their relations with each other and the world.
(New York Times)

The Case for Mistrusting Muslims -Theodore Dalrymple

One of the most sinister effects of the efforts of the UK bombers is that they have undermined trust completely between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is because those under investigation turn out not to be cranks or marginals but people well-integrated into society...

This means, unfortunately, that no one can ever be quite sure whether a Muslim who appears polite and accommodating is not simultaneously contemplating mass murder.
(Los Angeles Times)

Terrorists: upper crusties

Lack of Civil Liberties, Not Poverty, Breeds Terrorism -David Wessel

"Each time we have one of these attacks and the backgrounds of the attackers are revealed, this should put to rest the myth that terrorists are attacking us because they are desperately poor," says Princeton economist Alan Krueger. "But this misconception doesn't die."

"As a group, terrorists are better educated and from wealthier families."

Examining 781 terrorist events reveals terrorists tend to come from countries distinguished by political oppression, not poverty or inequality. The conventional wisdom that poverty breeds terrorism is backed by surprisingly little hard evidence.
(Wall Street Journal)

"Anyone can"

If the Lebanese Army Can Stand Up to Jihadists, Anybody Can -Tim Cavanaugh

Lebanon, one of the most dysfunctional states on Earth, ha[s] imposed their will against a group of heaven-bound martyrs. If the Lebanese army can stand up to the terrorists, anybody can.
(Los Angeles Times)

Dandy ally vs. sinking ship

Unreformed Fatah a Sinking Ship - Barry Rubin

People who would be appalled if the Free World uncritically backed sleazy repressive Latin American dictatorships have no problem thinking Fatah a dandy ally without pressing it for reform.

Mark my words: Their ship will sink.
(Jerusalem Post)

IDF Blocks Rise of Hamas in West Bank -Shahar Ilan

The deputy head of IDF Military Intelligence, Col. Ronen Cohen, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee: "It is not the PA that is preventing Hamas from establishing itself militarily in the West Bank, but rather the IDF and the Shin Bet security service. As long as the IDF is in the territories, Hamas can't reach the same military level as in Gaza."

Fatah on Shaky Ground in West Bank -Ken Ellingwood

[I]t is only a matter of time until Abbas talks with Hamas to reach some form of accommodation.
(Los Angeles Times)

Iran's weak spots

Iran Curses Ahmadinejad over Petrol Rationing - Colin Freeman

[P]rotests over fuel rationing were accompanied by a stream of text-messaged jokes. "On the orders of President Ahmadinejad," read one, "those who are short of petrol can have a ride on the 17 million donkeys who voted for him."

Ahmadinejad's critics predict that his downfall may lie in the discontent of his ordinary working-class constituents...
(Sunday Telegraph-UK)

Iranian Banks Feel the Heat -Con Coughlin

Unmistakable cracks are beginning to appear in the edifice of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's autocratic regime. However much Ahmadinejad tries to dismiss the effect the sanctions are having, the fact is they have brought the Iranian economy to its knees and will continue to do so, particularly if Britain and America are successful in persuading the UN to toughen them...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Palestinian culture

Financial Aid Will Not Change Palestinian Political Perceptions - Yaron London

The aid provided to Palestinian refugees and their offspring by UNRWA since 1948 atrophied their ability to rehabilitate themselves and is one of the reasons for their political behavior. Hence, it is doubtful whether increasing economic support to the PA will change anything in the Palestinian political culture.
(Ynet News)

The Real Obstacle to Peace: Genocidal Jihad - Saul Singer

The more Israel embraced Palestinian statehood, the more violent and radicalized the Palestinians have become.
(Washington Post)

A different analogy

View from South Africa: Israel Is More Like the ANC - Warren Goldstein

South Africa's apartheid history is often invoked against Israel both internationally and in South Africa. But what if the real apartheid of the Middle East is the one directed against the Jews? And what if Israel is more akin to the African National Congress (ANC)?

In South Africa, the ANC was always ready to talk peace. Like the ANC, the Israeli government has always been ready to talk peace but has been forced since the birth of the Jewish state into an armed defensive struggle...

What if Zionism is not colonialism but rather an ancient people's deep connection to their native, historical and covenantal land? What if the real colonialism is Arab expansionism?

What if the dispute has never been about Palestinian statehood but really about the destruction of the Jews and the only Jewish state on earth?
The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa.
(Jerusalem Post)

Almost cutting off the snake's head

U.S. Aborted Raid on Qaeda Chiefs in Pakistan in ’05 -Mark Mazzetti

A secret military operation in early 2005 to capture senior members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas was aborted at the last minute after top Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, according to intelligence and military officials.

Members of a Navy Seals unit in parachute gear had already boarded cargo planes in Afghanistan when the mission was canceled...
[New York Times]

"PLO finished"

Hamas, Fatah, and the New Palestinian Reality - Tom Rose

The PLO is finished. The Palestinians know it. The Arabs know it. Only we don't know it.

As far as most Palestinians are concerned, Abbas is nothing but a figment of the West's imagination. The militias and armies that make up Fatah control Abbas. He does not control them. Abbas has no following and the plan to prop him up won't succeed...
(Weekly Standard)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Doctor Jihad: ideology trumps all

Mohammed Asha, MD, Jihad brain surgeon

7 Doctors Tied to British Plots -Mark Lander & Sarah Lyall

The seven men are physicians, while the lone woman is a laboratory technician. [T]he prospect of highly educated professionals as terror suspects is chilling...
[New York Times]

2 Held in a British Plot Looked to U.S. -Alan Cowill & Scott Shanet

Two of the medical doctors arrested in bungled car bomb attacks inquired about practicing medicine in the United States.

Word that two of the doctors implicated in the British attacks had asked about working in the United States, sent tremors through the American medical community...
[New York Times]