Archive for December, 2008

The Gaza War: Is it All So Hard to Understand?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

By Barry Rubin*

But why, more than one reporter from highly reputable publications has asked me, is Israel attacking Gaza now? At first, I was astonished: because Hamas cancelled the ceasefire and started massive rocket firings at Israel.

No, they responded, as if I had said something rude. Isn’t it the election, or an attempt to stop the tunnels, or this or that reason?

Absolutely not, I say, it’s like Pearl Harbor, or September 11. If someone announces they are going to go to war with you and then does it, you retaliate and fight.

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Gaza Comes to America: Hate Demonstrations Against Israel on the East and West Coasts

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA (December 30, 2008) — “This is not Gaza, or London, or Paris, or even Detroit. This is downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.”

Tom Trento is describing the intense demonstration against Israel that just took place. He made the video by quietly and bravely circulating among the pro-Palestine demonstrators so that we can easily hear their chants. At red-hot levels of screaming rage, about 200-300 demonstrators, many in kaffiyehs, wearing or holding the Palestinian flag, some wearing “Obama” baseball hats, many women in serious hijab and men in Islamic prayer clothing, chanted “Nuke Israel — there is no Israel,” “Occupation is a Crime,” “Go to Hell, Israel,” and “Free Palestine.” One fully bearded African-American man in Islamic clothing proselytized. He said that Islam is wonderful, that it’s in our very natures, that we had best accept this. … (Continue reading…)

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Insight into Obama’s Middle East Policy?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

by Daniel Pipes*

Two events earlier this month summed up differing views of George W. Bush’s Middle East record.

In one, Bush himself offered a valedictory speech, declaring that “the Middle East in 2008 is a freer, more hopeful, and more promising place than it was in 2001.” In the other, an Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, expressed disrespect and rejection by hurling shoes at Bush as the U.S. president spoke in Baghdad, yelling at him, “This is a farewell kiss! Dog! Dog!”

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Is U.S. Detention Policy in Iraq Working?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

by Jeffrey Azarva*

On December 31, 2008, the United Nations mandate for Multi-National Force-Iraq, which has authorized the presence of foreign troops in Iraq since 2004, will expire. While troop levels and future U.S.-Iraq cooperation dominate debate, the future of coalition detention operations in Iraq is as important. The reform of detainee operations in Iraq has been one of the most important, and least reported, contributors to the past year’s reduction in violence. Detention facilities, once viewed by military commanders as a strategic backwater,[1] today are viewed as an integral part of the coalition’s successful counterinsurgency strategy. The coalition now uses detention facilities to learn why Iraqis join the insurgency so that the insurgents can be rehabilitated and turned into allies instead of enemies.

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CNN uses the word “terrorist” re: Hamas, then redacts it

Monday, December 29th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

CNN is a leader of, and role model for, the very politically-correct “mainstream” media. So I was flabbergasted to read an article posted today entitled, “Barak: Israel in ‘all-out war’ with Hamas,” which didn’t refer to Hamas as “assailants,” “extremists,” “gunmen,” “insurgents,” or “militants,” but actually printed the statement, “Israel continues to strike at Hamas terrorist targets in Gaza…” Initially, I thought to myself, “Does this represent a change in editorial policies — or even attitudes — about terrorism at the media giant?” But I also felt that I should be cautious before jumping to conclusions. I took a screen-shot of the page as well as saved the article to disk. After running some errands, I returned home, turned on my laptop, and reloaded the CNN article in question. Lo and behold, CNN had redacted its original terminology, removing any mention of the word “terrorist” in reference to Hamas, changed the story’s title, but left the URL (link to the page) unchanged. In other words, it pulled a fast one on its readers.

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An Analysis of al-Qa’ida’s Worldview: Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?

Monday, December 29th, 2008

By Raymond Ibrahim*

By analyzing what al-Qa’ida preaches to Muslims regarding Islam’s relationship to the non-Muslim world at large, and what it states to the West are its reasons for battling it, this essay seeks to highlight the many disparities behind al-Qa’ida’s words. Juxtaposed in themes, the following excerpts are all derived from Usama bin Ladin’s and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s writings and speeches as found in The Al Qa’ida Reader.[1]

Is al-Qa’ida waging war on the United States–issuing a fatwa to "kill the Americans and seize their money"[2] (p. 13)in retaliation to U.S. oppression, or is this animosity founded on something else? Is it mere reciprocity or is it a religion-based ideology? Talking to the West, al-Qa’ida insists it is reciprocal treatment; talking to fellow Muslims it insists that Islam demands this animosity. Consider the following discrepancies:

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Hamas’s Strategy: The Rockets or the Media

Monday, December 29th, 2008

By Barry Rubin

Nothing is clearer than Hamas’s strategy. It gives Israel the choice between rockets and media, and Hamas thinks it is a situation of, “We win or you lose.”

Option A: The Ceasefire

Hamas ends a ceasefire giving it the peace and quiet needed to build up its army and consolidate its rule over the Gaza Strip. Israel would deliver supplies as long as there weren’t attacks. From a Western-style pragmatic standpoint this is a great situation.

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Putin Rewriting Stalin’s Bloody History

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is busily rewriting the history of former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s blood-thirsty dictatorship over the Soviet Union. So says the BBC in a story entitled, “Stalin could win Russian vote,” published today. This is a frightening development given the well-documented terror under which the Soviet people lived during Stalin’s reign. But it is not unexpected given Putin’s own history. Indeed, this is par-for-the-course for Putin, who spent 17 years working for the dreaded KGB, one of the largest and most brutal “security services” in world history. Vladimir has surrounded himself with other former KGB goons, so in the Kremlin nowadays “[u]nder Mr Putin, influence stems from the former Soviet organs of repression.”

At least the BBC isn’t buying into Putin’s historical revisionism:

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Israel’s long overdue strike against Hamas: A time for war

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…

A time for war and a time for peace. …

Ecclesiastes 3

Echoing the Old Testament’s verses from Ecclesiastes regarding Israel’s massive offensive against Hamas terrorists today, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting.” Hamas, and possibly other Palestinian terrorist groups, have launched approximately 300 rockets and mortars into southern Israel just during the past week. Previously, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 2,300 rockets and mortars into Israel since since January 2008, and launched at least 2,000 at the Jewish State in 2007. Any other democratic nation faced with a rain of terrorist projectiles aimed at its civilian population would be expected to act forcibly to stop such attacks, yet once again many in the “international community” are pressuring Israel to show “restraint.” This is not like Mumbai in late November, where India is still trying to figure out exactly who planned and executed the terrorists attacks. Palestinian terrorists work out in the open, flaunting international law, when they launch their lethal projectiles against Israeli civilians. According to the AP:

… The [Israeli] offensive [against Hamas in Gaza] sparked angry protests throughout the Arab world, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Vatican, the U.N. secretary-general and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair all called for an immediate restoration of calm. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation. …

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The Taliban-Heroin Connection

Friday, December 26th, 2008

By Douglas Farah*

The case of Khan Mohammed is drawing wide-spread coverage, and rightly so. He is the first known Taliban to convicted of drug trafficking. He was sentenced yesterday to two life sentences.

It was another (along with Viktor Bout, Monzar al Kassar, and other “shadow facilitators”) in a series of successful, aggressive moves by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in tackling not just drugs, but those that use the money to arm those who want to carry out attacks around the globe, particularly aimed at the United States.

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Suspicious character (dog) caught on tape shoplifting

Friday, December 26th, 2008

A suspicious looking character was caught on security video shoplifting at a Smith’s grocery store in Utah. Watching the tape, one can tell that he is good at what he does. He blended into the crowd of shoppers, was friendly, and seemed to know exactly where to go in the store to find what he was looking for. He grabbed the goods and then made a quiet and quick exit. The difference here? The shoplifter was a dog. From CNN:

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When Friends Fight About Ideas

Friday, December 26th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

I have to get this off my chest or I will explode. This is my therapy session. Today, I am truly a blogger.

The internet seems to incite cowards to strike-and-flee, often under assumed names. They have no shame and no manners. I accept this as par for the course at the hands of strangers. In addition to kind words, praise, and some admiration, I am also used to a certain amount of vitriol, sarcasm, thinly veiled anti-Semitism, and to more overt demonizations of Israel, America, feminism, or of one political party over another. … (Continue reading…)

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Palestinian terrorist rocket kills 2 schoolgirls

Friday, December 26th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Palestinian terrorists keep on firing rockets into Israel, but these moron-murderers ended up killing two of the their own today — 2 schoolgirls — i.e., the people they are supposed to be “defending.” The terrorists don’t care, as their hatred of Israel overrides all other matters, just as Fatah and Hamas fought a civil war that killed hundreds in 2007, and Hezbollah rockets crashed into Arab villages killing children in 2006. From the AP:

A projectile fired by Palestinian militants fell short of its target in Israel on Friday, striking a house in northern Gaza and killing two schoolgirls. …

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Brits stand up for Israel and gays, condemn Ahmadinejad’s “Alternative Christmas Message”

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

A number of British government representatives, Members of Parliament (MPs), and a human rights advocate have taken a strong pro-Israel stance, defended gays, and condemned Channel 4′s decision to allow Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver an “Alternative Christmas Message” to the British people. Channel 4 receives public subsidies, so British taxpayers are paying to provide a platform for one of the world’s most dangerous (and mentally unstable) dictators. From the BBC:

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Anti-Semitic sunflower seed marketing: “Spit them [Jews] out everywhere”

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

A Russian-owned shop in Brooklyn, calling itself the “Costco of the ethnic Eastern European market,” has stopped selling packages of sunflower seeds sporting a very anti-Semitic label after pressure from local Jewish groups. This is not an isolated incident, as anti-Semitism is on the rise in the U.S. It is disgusting to think that the shop owners would even consider stocking their shelves with such blatantly bigoted branding. Here are the details from Ynet:

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