Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sweeping it under the rug

BBC Pays £200,000 to "Cover Up Report on Anti-Israel Bias" - Paul Revoir

The [BBC] is refusing to release papers about an internal inquiry into whether its reporting has been biased [against Israel].

The BBC is fighting to prevent the public finding out what is in the review, which is believed to be critical of the BBC's coverage in the region.
(Daily Mail-UK)
The BBC Friday won the right to keep secret an internal report into its Middle East coverage, according to a high court ruling.The ruling is a blow for critics of the BBC's coverage, who want to know if the extensive Balen report discloses evidence of anti-Israeli bias.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Shifting sands

Sunni Sheiks Join Fight Against Iraqi Insurgency - Todd Pitman

There is no mistaking whose side Sheik Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi is on. Outside his walled home in Ramadi, Iraq, a U.S. tank is on permanent guard.

The sheik is leading a growing movement of Sunni tribesmen who have turned against al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in Anbar province. The dramatic shift in alliances may have done more to undercut the insurgency than American forces have achieved in years with arms.
(AP/Washington Post)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Another Iranian Hostage Crisis

Tehran's Hostages - Editorial

Fifteen British sailors and marines were kidnapped Friday in Iraqi territorial waters by the naval forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. It was a premeditated act, carried out only hours before Britain voted to stiffen sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program in a unanimous UN Security Council resolution.

Britain and the U.S. can still respond today with the confidence that they maintain military superiority. That confidence will vanish the minute Iran achieves its goal of becoming a nuclear power.
(Wall Street Journal)


Stop Appeasing Those Who Kidnapped British Servicemen - Editorial
It is depressing that the Western response has been so feeble.
Even the Shia-dominated Iraqi government has called on Iran to release the men - a far bolder call than anything coming from London or Washington.

Hostage Gambit - Amir Taheri
Western apologists for the Khomeinist regime have already started blaming the U.S. for having made the mullahs nervous. The argument of the apologists is: Don't do anything that makes the mullahs unhappy, or else they will do more mischief.
The truth, however, is that making the mullahs nervous may be the only way of persuading them to end their defiance of the UN and stop trying to export Khomeinism to neighboring countries.
(New York Post)

British Sailor Captives Paraded on TV -Thomas Harding, G. Jones and S. Payne
The release by Al-Alam television in Iran of film of Faye Turney, the captive Royal Navy rating, wearing a black Muslim headscarf, caused outrage Wednesday after she appeared to be speaking under duress...

U.S. Opens Naval Exercise in Persian Gulf - Michael R. Gordon
In a calculated show of force, the U.S. Navy began a major exercise in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday...
The exercise was clearly intended to send a signal that even with its forces stretched thin by the Iraq war, the U.S. still has the military means to project power in the region.
(New York Times)

Iran and America: Capture Kharg Island? - James A. Lyons Jr.
In November 1979, when the U.S. embassy was sacked and our diplomats were taken hostage, I recommended to the then-acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that our only good option was to capture Kharg Island, Iran's principal oil export depot. If we did this, we could negotiate from a position of strength for the immediate return of our embassy and our diplomats. Unfortunately, the Carter administration rejected any offensive operations as a means of responding to this blatant act of war against the United States. We were humiliated and seemed to the world to lack the courage to defend our honor.

There is no time to waste. Immediate diplomatic and military pressure must be brought to bear to obtain the immediate release of the British sailors and marines. The capture of Kharg Island could be viewed as part of a larger economic sanction that the UN Security Council has already endorsed. It is not an attack against the Iranian people.

The writer, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, is a former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the UN.
(Washington Times)

What it leads to

Hunted Women of Gaza - Martin Chulov

Eight women were murdered across Gaza during a ten-day stretch this month; all had been accused of immoral behavior.

So-called honor killings have been carried out in Gaza in the past, but women have never before been hunted down so blatantly.
(The Australian)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tools of the trade

Iraq Bombers Blow Up Two Children Used as Decoys -Kirk Semple

Insurgents detonated a bomb in a car with two children in it after using the children as decoys to get through a military checkpoint in Baghdad...
(New York Times)

Welfare for a terror society?

Aid to Palestinians Rose in '06 Despite Embargo - Steven Erlanger

Despite the international embargo on aid to the PA since Hamas came to power a year ago, significantly more aid was delivered to the Palestinians in 2006 than in 2005...

While starvation has been avoided, a culture of dependence is expanding.
(New York Times)


"Talks" with PA Ready to Disappoint - Editorial
Those who want to reopen the aid spigot should remember that giving money directly to the terrorists running the PA has never made the suffering people on the West Bank any less miserable. But it will enable terrorists to launch more attacks against Israel, a democratic ally, and the West. The West Bank regime is in fact a zombie state, kept alive by Western aid and without any real way to sustain itself.
(Investor's Business Daily)

Palestinian Handouts - Linda Chavez
The Palestinians will never have a better life if they continue their destructive, self-defeating hatred of the Jewish state and its people. Until they learn to devote their energies into helping themselves rather than tearing down each other and their neighbors, we should not spend one more dime on aid. (Washington Times)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Palestinian unity

Rice's Mideast Minefield - David Ignatius
Abbas failed to deliver on his promise that Hamas would release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit before formation of a unity government.
(Washington Post)

Europe welcomes Hamas

Rather than renounce violence, Hamas terror boss and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh stated clearly that his [new] Hamas-Fatah government supports "all forms of resistance." Abbas lackey, Nabil Shaath echoed this point on behalf of Fatah, "...we won't give up our right to resist."

[T]he Europeans have made no bones about their eagerness to embrace the terror government. [T]he Norwegians became the first European country to give it full recognition. The[y] were followed by the EU and by Italy, which both sent the Palestinians letters of congratulations on their new terror government. France has reportedly agreed to host the Hamas-Fatah terror government's foreign minister, and Britain has pledged to continue its "humanitarian aid" to the Palestinians.

The only thing that can be done is to finally declare that the jig is up. Those who support recognizing all or part of the Hamas-Fatah terror government are in breach of international law and of UN Security Council Resolution 1373, which bars member states from financing terrorists and those giving them safe harbor.

There is no peace process, only a war process. And if we do not recognize this fact and fight, we shall soon begin to bury more innocents whose lives will be sacrificed because we were too stubborn to acknowledge reality.
[Jerusalem Post]

Monday, March 19, 2007

Murder leads to exodus

French Jews Flock to South Florida - Alfonso Chardy

French Jews living in South Florida say hostility from Islamic militants in France spurred them to leave. Departures surged after last year's abduction and death of Ilan Halimi in France.
(Miami Herald)

Bin Laden is the glue

A New Face of Jihad Vows Attacks on U.S. - Souad Mekhennet and Michael Moss

Intelligence officials have warned that al-Qaeda is reforming as an alliance of small groups around the world that share a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam but have developed their own independent terror capabilities.
(New York Times)

An incredible speech

America and Israel Are at War with a Common Enemy

"Israel, you are not alone. The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened."

-Pastor John Hagee
Founder, Christians United for Israel
speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's [AIPAC] annual policy forum in Washington
(Jerusalem Online)

Laughing in the face of evil...controversial song

Possible Ban Aids Comeback for Teapacks -Matti Friedman

The Israeli pop band Teapacks is enjoying a comeback thanks to a Finnish official trying to ban the group's "Push the Button" from the Eurovision song competition.

See the music video of the song at:

CAIR's influences

Group Advocating for Muslims in U.S. Gets More Scrutiny
Neil MacFarquhar

Critics accuse CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] of pursuing an extreme Islamist political agenda and say at least five figures with ties to the group or its leadership have either been convicted or deported for links to terrorist groups.

Some Muslims, particularly the secular, find CAIR overly influenced by Saudi religious interpretations, criticizing it for stating in news releases, for example, that all Muslim women are required to veil their hair.
(New York Times)

Europe snubs Israel...again

EU Backs Syria on Golan Heights -Reuters

The EU supports Syria's goal of regaining the Golan Heights from Israel, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said.
(Washington Post)

Israeli Officials Slam Solana Remarks - Herb Keinon

Israeli officials expressed disappointment Wednesday that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana backed a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights following talks in Damascus with Syrian leaders, rather than publicly calling Syria to task for supporting terrorism.
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mullah madness

Tee-shirt photo

The Myth of Moderate Mullahs: It's Still Khomeini's Iran - Reuel Marc Gerecht

It is astonishing that some Western analysts of Iran, and some senior U.S. government officials, actually believe that Khamenei and his kind would be willing to restore relations with the United States. Such a restoration would be an end to the revolution as we have known it.

For the mullahs this would be an unbearable defeat. Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and Rafsanjani have no intention of letting this happen.
(Weekly Standard)

Saudi's play chess

Overrated New Initiative - Hillel Halkin

Every couple of years, a much-ballyhooed new initiative has surfaced to solve the Israel-Arab problem. Will anyone remember the current "Saudi initiative" 40 or even five years from now? Not unless the Saudis are willing to go a lot further toward meeting minimal Israeli conditions for a peace agreement.

There is no way that even the most dovish Israeli government can agree either to return all the way to the pre-1967 borders or to accept a massive influx of the descendants of the 1948 refugees.

And because the Saudis know this, they also know that their initiative in its current form is no more than a propaganda ploy. This is not to say that the Saudis would not like to see Israel at peace with the Arab world as part of their efforts to contain the spread of Iranian and Sunni jihadist influence. They are simply not, so far, willing to take any real risks to do so.
(New York Sun)

The Saudi "Peace" Plan Ultimatum - Editorial
[I]t is difficult to understand why Rice has seen fit to spend so much political capital in wartime on a diplomatic initiative with so little likelihood of success. If the Saudis want to be taken seriously as peacemakers, they need to stop issuing ultimatums to Israel and start issuing them to the Palestinian irredentists they continue to lavish money on.
(Washington Times)

The coming Gaza War

Yuval Diskin

All the scenarios point to a war in Gaza. According to Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin's forecast, some 200,000 Israelis will find themselves under the threat of missile fire from Gaza as early as this year.

The defense establishment feels that even the political echelons have already come to terms with the inevitability of a military operation. Hamas' effective military might is improving daily. (Ynet News)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Trouble in Taybeh

Palestinian Christians Look Back on a Year of Troubles
Isabel Kershner

Jack Massis, 51, a grocer in Taybeh, the last entirely Christian village in the West Bank, speaks matter-of-factly about how two of his teenage sons were beaten with clubs last month by Muslims.

In the year since Hamas came to power...reports of beatings and property damage [against Christian Arabs] by Muslims have grown.
(New York Times)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Building a caliphate

Iran Is Building "Hamastan" in Gaza
-General Shalom Harari

Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh does not speak from parliament. Rather, he makes his declarations from the mosque every Friday. The head of government preaching from mosque creates the image of a new caliphate being built inside Gaza.

Hamas thinks it can build a new southern Lebanon in Gaza, and this is what it is busy doing.

The IDF will have to enter Gaza in a very wide-scale operation in the next year. The big question is whether to do it now or wait, like Israel did in Lebanon - and look at the results.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Two cracks in the wall

Ali Resa Asgari
Iranian General Defects with Hizbullah's Arms Secrets
-Richard Beeston & Michael Theodoulou

Ali Resa Asgari, 63, a general in the elite Revolutionary Guards and former deputy defense minister, appears to have defected to the U.S., taking with him a treasure trove of his country's most closely guarded secrets.

Several sources confirmed reports that Asgari had fled to the West, the first senior Iran official to defect since the revolution 27 years ago.

Column One -Caroline Glick
The broadcast of a massive student protest against Iranian President Ahmadinejad during his recent visit to Teheran University was another major blow to the regime.

The footage, which was broadcast on France 2, was taken by cellular phone video cameras. It showed heroic students standing on stage next to Ahmadinejad calling him a dictator and daring him to arrest them, as hundreds in the audience cheered them on while burning Ahmadinejad's photograph.
[Jerusalem Post]

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Chesler takes heat from feminist colleagues

Feminist Phyllis Chesler

Long before the rise of the Taleban, I learnt not to romanticize Third World countries or to confuse their hideous tyrants with liberators. I also learned that sexual and religious apartheid in Muslim countries is indigenous and not the result of Western crimes - and that such "colourful tribal customs" are absolutely, not relatively, evil.

Nevertheless, Western intellectual-ideologues, including feminists, have demonized me as a racist "Islamophobe" for arguing that Islam, not Israel, is the largest practitioner of both sexual and religious apartheid in the world and that if Westerners do not stand up to this apartheid we will be overrun by Sharia [Islamic law]. I have been heckled, menaced, never-invited, or disinvited for such heretical ideas...

Now is the time for Western intellectuals to stand with [moderate Islamic] dissidents. To do so requires that we adopt a universal standard of human rights and abandon our loyalty to multicultural relativism, which justifies, even romanticises, indigenous Islamist barbarism, totalitarian terrorism and the persecution of women, religious minorities, homosexuals and intellectuals.

Our abject refusal to judge between civilisation and barbarism, and between enlightened rationalism and theocratic fundamentalism, endangers and condemns the victims of Islamic tyranny.
The writer is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the City University of New York.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A hug that kills

Iranian President Ahmadinejad, left, welcomes Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, at the start of their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 6, 2007.
(AP Photo)
General Yoav Galant said the training and technology from Iran has enabled Hamas to grow from a ragtag militia into a well-organized group resembling an army - complete with battalions, companies, platoons and special forces for surveillance, snipers, and explosive experts.

"Highly enriched Islam"

The Silence That Kills - Thomas L. Friedman

Nobody in the Arab world ''has the guts to say that what is happening in Iraq is wrong - that killing school kids is wrong,'' said Mamoun Fandy, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

''People somehow think that killing Iraqis is good because it will stick it to the Americans, so Arabs are undermining the American project in Iraq by killing themselves.'' The world worries about highly enriched uranium, but ''the real danger is highly enriched Islam,'' Fandy added.
(New York Times Select)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

To life

The summer 2006 Lebanon war triggered a baby boom in Israel, according to a report on Channel 10 television Monday. According to health maintenance organization statistics, the number of women currently in advanced stages of pregnancy was 35% higher than a year ago.

Commenting on the pregnancy figures, Gila Bronner, director of the Sexual Health Service at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, said stepped-up sexual activity after a war was an affirmation of life.

Monday, March 05, 2007

"Bitter Fruit"

From Bad to Unthinkable - Mortimer B. Zuckerman

Hardly anyone in Israel thinks that if it decides to give up territory again, it would get peace in return. Tendering olive branches of the kind so often advocated by Israel's critics has borne nothing but bitter fruit.

Israel left Lebanon, and Hizbullah made war. Israel left Gaza to the Gazans and was rewarded with more rocket attacks.
(U.S. News & World Report)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

"The tension builds"

What actually happened in Riyadh? -Dr. Guy Bechor

It would have been a sensitive visit in any case - a meeting between the two most prominent figures in the Middle East today, who represent the Shi'ite and Sunni worlds - Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Saudi king Abdullah.

Saturday evening, Ahmadinejad landed in Riyadh to a king's welcome. Feasts were prepared for him. Abdullah meant to speak with him about everything, but first and foremost the nuclear issue.

I believe that Abdullah offered to mediate between the Iranians and the Americans, and he has the ability to do so comparatively well. Shortly before midnight, it was announced suddenly that Ahmadinejad was returning to Teheran. I believe that the talks blew up, since it's strange for him not to have stayed at least a night on such an important visit, one that had been prepared ahead of time.

Ahmadinejad has a hot temper, and he tends to get offended. The Iranian president essentially spurned the Saudis' hand, extended in hopes of preventing a major crisis in the Gulf.

Apparently he has decided that it isn't yet time to let Iran off its crazy merry-go-round...[t]he tension builds.
[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, March 02, 2007

Joe talks military strategy to Congress: 'let's sideline politics'

The Choice on Iraq -Joseph Lieberman

Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake--assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences.

A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill--probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.

I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next.
[Wall Street Journal]

Below is short clip of Senator Lieberman's speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee recently:

"There is something profoundly wrong when opposition to the war in Iraq seems to inspire greater passion than opposition to Islamist extremism. There is something profoundly wrong when there is so much distrust of our intelligence community that some Americans doubt the plain and ominous facts about the threat to us posed by Iran. And there is something profoundly wrong when, in the face of attacks by radical Islam, we think we can find safety and stability by pulling back, by talking to and accommodating our enemies, and abandoning our friends and allies. Some of this wrong-headed thinking about the world is happening because we're in a political climate where, for many people, when George Bush says 'yes,' their reflex reaction is to say 'no.' That is unacceptable.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007


In 2003, security officials of the Iranian Mission to the UN...were detained by transit cops when they were seen videotaping subway tracks from Queens to Manhattan at 1:10 in the morning.

"We're concerned that Iranian agents were engaged in reconnaissance..." Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly [revealed].