Monday, December 31, 2007
Israel seized 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate in bags marked as sugar from a Palestinian truck traveling in the West Bank with EU aid for Gaza.
Potassium nitrate can be used to make explosives and power homemade rockets.
Benazir Bhutto believed that dictatorship and terror were political twins that kept each other alive. "Only the fresh air of democracy can kill the monster [of Islamism]," she liked to say.
"When the people are allowed to speak, they will not speak in support of terror."
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Turning Abbas's logic on its head -Daniel Pipes
First[ly], the many billions of dollars and record-shattering per-capita donations from the West have rendered the Palestinians poorer. Second, Palestinian impoverishment is a long-term positive development.
The hardship model, subscribed to by all Western states, attributes Palestinian actions to poverty, isolation, Israeli roadblocks, the lack of a state, etc. Eliminate those hardships and Palestinians, supposedly, would turn their attention to economic development and democracy. Trouble is, that change never comes.
The exhilaration model [suggests] the absence of despair and [the presence of] overwhelming hope, in fact, feed extremism. For Palestinians, hope derives from a perception of Israeli weakness, implying an optimism and excitement that the Jewish state can be eliminated. Conversely, when Palestinians cannot see a way forward against Israel, they devote themselves to the more mundane tasks of earning a living and educating their children.
Exhilaration, not hardship, accounts for bellicose Palestinian behavior. Accordingly, whatever reduces Palestinian confidence is a good thing. A failed economy depresses the Palestinians' mood, not to speak of their military and other capabilities, and so brings resolution closer.
Palestinians must experience the bitter crucible of defeat before they will drop their foul goal of eliminating their Israeli neighbor and begin to build their own economy, polity, society, and culture. No short-cut to this happy outcome exists. Who truly cares for Palestinians must want their despair to come quickly, so that a skilled and dignified people can move beyond its current barbarism and build something decent.
Bhutto [was] seen as having a wide base of support here [Pakistan].
1.5 Minute VideoBite below:
'Al Qaida behind Bhutto's assassination' -AP
Al Qaida took responsibility for assassinating Pakistani former prime minister Benazir Bhutto...The Foreign Office in Islamabad said in a statement it was not certain as to the report's veracity
Al-Qaeda Heads List of Suspects in Bhutto Assassination - Joby Warrick & Thomas E. Ricks
At the top of the list of suspects in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is the al-Qaeda terrorist network and its legion of allies, including loosely affiliated groups that espouse similar views and, in some cases, share training facilities and other resources.
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, former chief of Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the Middle East, said there is "no doubt in my mind" that the culprits are linked to al-Qaeda. Bruce Reidel, a former CIA official and onetime member of the National Security Council, said of al-Qaeda: "They had means, plenty of martyr wannabes. And they probably had inside information on her route and security."
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
No international furor saved Aqsa Parvez, a Toronto teenager, whose father was charged on Dec. 11 with strangling her to death because she refused to wear a hijab.
More than 25 "honor killings" have been confirmed in Britain's Muslim community in recent years. Many more are suspected.
In Basra, Iraq, more than 40 women who wear Western-style clothing have been killed so far this year by Islamists, Iraqi police say. [T]he bodies are often left in garbage dumps with notes accusing the victims of "un-Islamic behavior."
In Pakistan, a tribal council ordered a woman to be gang-raped as punishment for her brother's supposed liaison with a woman from another tribe.
In Tehran, a father beheaded his 7-year-old daughter because he suspected that she had been raped. In Saudi Arabia, the Islamic police prevented schoolgirls from leaving a burning building because they were not wearing headscarves and abayas; 15 of the girls died in the inferno.
In San Francisco, a young Muslim woman was shot dead after she uncovered her hair and put on makeup in order to be a maid of honor at a friend's wedding. These are only examples - the tip of a dreadful iceberg...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Jeff Dunham helps us laugh at Jihad again, with a short video of "Achmed the dead terrorist," this time with a Christmas message.
An earlier Achmed clip can be viewed in my archives [see November 27, 2007].
CONTENT WARNING: This video clip contains suggestive language and adult themes
Friday, December 21, 2007
"Everyone Knows What a Peace Deal Looks Like" -Evelyn Gordon
One of the most widespread misconceptions about Israeli-Palestinian talks is that "everyone knows what a deal looks like." As the New York Times put it in an editorial last month, "The broad outlines of a deal...have been apparent since President Clinton's 2000 push."
Yet according to a summary of the Taba talks prepared by negotiator Gilad Sher after they collapsed, the Palestinians insisted that the "safe passage" connecting Gaza and the West Bank be under Palestinian sovereignty, thereby effectively severing Israel in two.
On the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest site, the Palestinians insisted that the mount be entirely theirs, with Israel having no rights whatsoever. The Palestinians also demanded recognition of the "right" of all refugees and their descendants to relocate to Israel. The Palestinians adamantly refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state.
In short, not only is there no agreement on what a deal looks like, there is no agreement even on the fundamental premise that must underlie any deal - namely, the establishment of two states for two peoples.
So international donors have pledged $8.6 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority. This eye-popping amount of money will continue the Palestinians' status as the highest per capita aid recipients in the world.
Remove the Israelis from the West Bank and the estimates of how long Fatah would remain in power range from two weeks to two hours.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
[A] new partnership [is emerging] with Nicaragua's Sandinista President Daniel Ortega, Iran and its Venezuelan allies...
Few Nicaragua observers believe Iran has any obvious need for trade ties with one of Latin America's poorest countries.
(San Antonio Express-News)
An exceedingly well done slideshow on how jihadists are entering the US, was produced by Texas' San Antonio Express-News...click the title-link or photo to view:
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Stotsky compares budgetary support aid provided annually to the Palestinian Authority and the number of Palestinian homicides annually...[g]raphed together, the two figures show an uncanny echo:
The correlation is even clearer when the aid of one year is superimposed on the homicides of a year later:
Rather than deprive their Palestinian enemies of resources, Israelis have been following Shimon Peres's mystical musings to empower them economically. As I wrote in 2001, this "is tantamount to sending the enemy resources while fighting is still under way - not a hugely bright idea."
Rather than further funding Palestinian bellicosity, Western states, starting with Israel, should cut off all funds to the Palestinian Authority.
Pledging Billions to the PA in Paris -Yisrael Ne'eman
PA police...are expected to patrol the streets between 6AM and midnight giving a feeling of security to the population and holding down crime. This is a limited success but the big issue they are not confronting - the Hamas/Jihad underground. This job is left to the Israeli army from midnight to 6AM when the PA police are confined to their barracks. The PA police refuse to confront the Hamas/Jihad for if they did they would surely lose. More than ever the West Bank population is pro-Hamas.
The Palestinian people want the Hamas/Jihad. They voted as such in elections and the latest opinion polls prove their preferences have not changed.
[Mideast: On Target]
What About the Palestinians' Record? -Diana West
Christmas came early to the Palestinian Authority when the "international community" decided to pledge billions in aid. Why? Did the PA end its terrorist ways? Stop state-sanctioned incitement against Israel and the West? Change Fatah's charter (forget about Hamas) calling for Israel's destruction?
We avert our collective eye from the goals of jihad. Instead, we see ourselves as villains - Israel for its existence, and Israel's supporters for, well, their support for Israel's existence.
Iran's covert nuclear weapons program is continuing, and the American intelligence community's misassessment of it has opened the door for Iran to achieve its nuclear ambitions, the former head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, warned.
Noting that he had headed Military Intelligence at the time of the ostensible Iranian "halt" in 2003, Ze'evi-Farkash said the Iranians, recognizing that the international community had discovered their covert weapons program, set about hiding its traces, but then resumed their activities.
For instance, weapons system development at the Lavizan site, identified by Iranian opposition groups, was halted and moved elsewhere, and all traces of activity were removed.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
-Yaakov Katz, Herb Keinon, & Hilary Leila Krieger
Israel is sending video footage - which shows Egyptian security forces assisting Hamas terrorists cross illegally into Gaza - to the U.S. Congress to pressure Egypt to clamp down on Hamas smuggling activities.
The House and Senate agreed Sunday to hold back $100 million in military aid for Egypt...
Terrorists Killed Israeli with Kosher Weapons -Herb Keinon
The terrorists who killed Ido Zoldan near Kedumim in the West Bank last month used weapons the PA received from Jordan with Israel's approval, a government official said. The three members of the terrorist cell were members of the PA security forces.
About 200,000 Gazans rallied in support of Hamas on the 20th anniversary of its founding, in a significant show of force.
Central Gaza City was filled with green flags, and a large banner reading "We will not recognize Israel" adorned the back of the stage.
(New York Times)
Hamas Vows Never to Recognize Israel -Avi Issacharoff
Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said that whoever declares he will never recognize Israel earns "the people's love." In a fiery speech, Haniyeh cited the achievements of Hamas and "the resistance" throughout the region.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Expelled Jews hold deeds on Arab lands -Etgar Lefkovits
The government needs to bring up the issue of hundreds of thousands of Jews who left their homes in Arab countries following the establishment of the State of Israel as part of any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, the president of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries said.
About 850,000 Jews fled Arab countries after Israel's founding in 1948, leaving behind assets valued today at more than $300 billion, said Heskel M. Haddad. He added that the New York-based organization has decades-old property deeds of Jews from Arab countries on a total area of 100,000 sq.km. - which is five times the size of the State of Israel.
Most of the properties are located in Iraq, Egypt and Morocco, Haddad said.
[Photo credit: MentalBlog]
"[T]hese campuses aren't getting gifts, they're getting investments," said Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Friday, December 14, 2007
According to the 2007 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, 82% agree that "The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel"...
37% can envision Israel and its Arab neighbors settling their differences and living in peace, while 55% disagree. 36% said Israel should be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem in the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, while 58% disagree.
The survey, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, polled 1,000 self-identifying Jewish respondents on Nov. 6-25.
(American Jewish Committee)
There is no problem with a quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The problem is rushing to hand the Palestinians a country before they seem remotely able to function as a sufficiently peaceful people.
Look at Gaza. Israel, America and the world were told that if Israel would just withdraw from Gaza, the Palestinians left behind would show their aptitude for self-rule. That they did, as Gaza became a hellish nightmare of violence.
Mr. Abbas can talk all day about his desire to peacefully coexist with Israel - I may be on the verge of believing him - but until there is an appreciable number of Palestinians similarly inclined to such civility, the two-state solution is worse than no solution. It is a delusion that only serves to reward horrific behavior.
In Jerusalem a few summers ago, I met many Palestinians eager to coexist peacefully with Israel. There simply are not enough of them.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Condoleezza Rice has got some nerve. [T]he Secretary of State had the hutzpa to compare Israel's treatment of Palestinians to that meted out to US blacks during the bad old days of the segregationist South.
[T]he fact that American blacks were victims of violence and hate, while Palestinians are its proficient practitioners, seems to have escaped the secretary of state's attention. [W]ould Hamas terrorist-in-chief Ismail Haniyeh qualify as a Palestinian Rosa Parks?
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I disagree with that consensus, believing that military action against Iran is now more likely than before the NIE came out.
In short, with Option #1 undermined and Option #3 unacceptable, Option #2 - war carried out by either US or Israeli forces - becomes more probable.
Thus have short-sighted, small-minded, blatantly partisan intelligence bureaucrats, trying to hide unpleasant realities, helped engineer their own nightmare.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Eggnog lattes on sale at Starbucks? There's one invariable sign that Christmas is almost upon us - a story about how Bethlehem is suffering at the hands of wicked Israel. It has become a feature of seasonal journalism...
The message: oppressive Israel has snuffed the life out of the town where the Prince of Peace was born.
The truth is very different. The parlous position of Palestinian Christians, indeed the difficult position of most Christians across the Arab world, is a consequence not of Israeli aggression but of growing Islamist influence. Israel goes out of its way to honor sites and traditions sacred to other faiths, while the radicals who are driving Palestinian politics seek to create an Islamist state in which other faiths, if they survive at all, do so with the explicit subject status of dhimmis.
For an interesting display of anti-Israel Christmas coverage, see National Geographic Magazine's "Bethlehem 2007 A.D." Their video and photo gallery are stunning examples of how some media paint Israel's attempts to defend herself in a contextless haze. Absent from National Geo's narrative is mention of Bethlehem's Rachel's Tomb. CAMERA has a thorough critique of the National Geo piece.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Under the cover of an aid project, Iran is building a large mountain road in southern Lebanon believed to be a supply route for Hizbullah.
During the 2006 war, the lack of good supply lines meant that Hizbullah struggled to move men and arms down from the Bekaa Valley. But in the event of another war, there will now be a clear route - presently lined with banners announcing that it has been paid for by the "Iranian Contributory Organization for Reconstructing Lebanon."
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
-Yossi Klein Halevi
The sense of betrayal within the Israeli security system is deep. After convincing the international community that the nuclear threat was real, now that has been undone by Israel's closest ally.
What makes Israeli security officials especially furious is that the report casts doubt on Iranian determination to attain nuclear weapons. Is it, asks one Israeli analyst, [logical] for one of the world's largest oil exporters to risk international sanctions and economic ruin for the sake of a peaceful nuclear program?
"The Syrians were working on their nuclear project for seven years, and we discovered it only recently," says one security analyst. "The Americans didn't know about it at all. So how can they be so sure about Iran?"
But it really doesn't make a difference. [T]he president is boxed in just the same. The NIE denies him the option of taking military action against Iran's nuclear program for the duration of his tenure in office.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy stands humiliated for having dared to speak of the possibility of attacking Iran. The Germans will immediately reinvigorate their commercial ties with the mullahs as will the British and the French. The Russians and Chinese will drop even the veneer of opposing Iran's nuclear program.
[T]he NIE sets a dangerous trap for Israel. If Israel doesn't take action against Iran's nuclear installations it risks annihilation. And if it does take action, it can expect to be subject to international and American condemnation far worse than what it suffered after bombing Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.
Israel's relations with the US are in a state of crisis. [T]he US double-crossed Israel. By placing the bait of a hypothetical coalition against Iran, the US extracted massive Israeli concessions [at Annapolis] and then turned around and abandoned Israel on Iran as well. What this means is that not only has the US cut Israel off as an ally, it is actively working against the Jewish state.
With the stroke of a pen the US this week has let it be known that it doesn't have a problem with Iran acquiring the means to carry out the second genocide of the Jewish people in 70 years.
The NIE's message to Israel and world Jewry is clear. Again we are alone in our moment of peril. It is high time that our political and military leaders acknowledge this fact, stop hoping that someone else will save us, and get to work on defending us.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The headline finding - that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 - is written in a way that guarantees the conclusions will be misread.
The real differences between the NIEs are not in the hard data but in the psychological assessment of the mullahs' motives and objectives. The 2007 NIE is internally contradictory and insufficiently supported. It implies that Iran is susceptible to diplomatic persuasion and pressure, yet the only event in 2003 that might have affected Iran was our invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. As undersecretary of state for arms control in 2003, I know we were nowhere near exerting any significant diplomatic pressure on Iran.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Why Does U.S. and Israeli Intelligence Differ? -Yaakov Katz
Israel's Mossad claims that the Iranians will be able to develop a nuclear bomb by the end of 2009; IDF Military Intelligence warns that Teheran will cross the technological threshold within six months; and now the Americans are putting the timeline toward the middle of the next decade, or 2013 at the earliest. Defense officials in Tel Aviv admitted that the report would probably embolden Iran.
The Americans are still traumatized by the blatant intelligence failure vis-a-vis Iraq's alleged WMD and do not want to be caught crying wolf again. Israel takes the more stringent track.
Ahmadinejad: U.S. Nuclear Assessment Is Victory for Iran
Iranian President Ahmadinejad says the new U.S. intelligence report on Tehran's nuclear program is "a victory" for the Iranian nation against world powers.
Relax? Don't. -Bronwen Maddox
The newly published U.S. intelligence report argues that Iran has been deterred from pursuing them mainly by the fear of U.S. military action, a fear that has now faded.
The report makes clear the seriousness of the threat, not the opposite.
Was Bush Behind the Iran Report? -Robert Baer
Bombing Iran, it seems, is now off the table.
[T]here is no doubt that the Bush White House was behind this [report and] that an explosive 180-degree turn on Iran like this one was greenlighted by the president. The real story behind this [report] is that the Bush Administration has finally concluded Iran is a bridge too far.
Iran is a black hole, and it's entirely conceivable Iran could build a bomb and we wouldn't know until they tested it.
The writer is a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East.
The Gulf States and Iran -Max Boot
Iran is building up its military arsenal, and has threatened to shut down the Persian Gulf. What particularly concerns Gulf Arabs is the possibility that Iran could go nuclear - a concern unlikely to be erased by the ambiguous findings of the new National Intelligence Estimate.
(Wall Street Journal)
Alone on the Battlefield -Alex Fishman
The information available to Israeli and Western intelligence services shows that Iran, due to diplomatic pressures, indeed froze the process in 2003, but the same information shows that the efforts were renewed two years later and are continuing to this day.
Behind closed doors, Israeli defense officials are convinced that U.S. intelligence bodies are simply getting it wrong...now [Israel] may have to do this a bit more alone.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Israel: Iran Likely Restarted Nuclear Arms Program
Israeli intelligence believes Iran is still trying to develop a nuclear weapon, Israel's defense minister said, disputing a U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran has halted its program.
"It's apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped pursuing its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then it has apparently continued that program," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio. Barak said, "We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth, even if it is from our greatest friend."
(AP/International Herald Tribune)
US: Iran froze nuclear weapons program -Herb Keinon
A new US intelligence report that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, but continues to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, has not lessened Israeli concerns, since enriched uranium can be used both for civilian and military purposes, Israeli government officials said.
Th[e] finding...suggests that Iran is susceptible to diplomatic pressure...
Iran did have a military nuclear program at a time when the country had a more moderate president than its current leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even though they vociferously denied a nuclear weapons program at the time.
"This just shows they were lying all along," the [Israeli government] official said. [Jerusalem Post]
Iran Laughing at U.S. Lack of Nuclear Intelligence -Amir Oren
A hearty Persian laugh was heard in Tehran after looking at U.S. intelligence's website of "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities." The document enables the ayatollahs to conclude that the Americans have no understanding of what is really happening in Iran's nuclear program.
[E]ven U.S. intelligence officers agree that Iran can buy nukes off the shelf - from Syria, North Korea and maybe Pakistan.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
"One must be blind not to see that dividing the capital will bring the neighborhoods of Jerusalem, government ministries and schools into the range of Kassam rockets," Ya'alon said at a Jerusalem rally against the division of Jerusalem organized by the One Jerusalem organization.
"Whoever runs away from terrorism will find himself chased by terrorism," he said. "We cannot let blind politicians divide Jerusalem."
[P]articipants in the conference were above all motivated by their fear of a radical and relentlessly aggressive Iran. This fear has deepened with the success of the Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza, as well as the expansion of Iranian influence westward into the Iraqi vacuum. That, and not American fiat, brought 49 states and organizations to Annapolis...
[New York Times]