Friday, August 31, 2007


There's a short post over at Rohana's blog where Rohana, a young Muslim lady whose native language is presumably not English, is wondering why she speaks to God in English. We exchange a couple of comments, and the exchange leads to the following:

Yankee Doodle: Hey, next time you're talking with Him, put in a good word for your infidel friend, Yankee Doodle. ;)

Rider of Rohan: Lool. Sure I'll do that. What should I tell Him ? erm.. to make you one of the fidels ??? :P

I highly encourage you to visit Rohana's blog, but beware: She has a singular wit!

While you're out-and-about, don't forget to check out the blog of a seasoned relic from yesteryear!

The funniest thing I have seen in a long time (and how appropriate, since it relates to recent scandals on the US political scene) is from Pela's blog: In the Gents' Room.

I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice from the other stall saying: "Hi, how are you?"

I'm not the type to start a conversation in the restroom but I don't know what got into me, so I answered, somewhat embarrassed, "Doin' just fine!"

And the other person says: "So what are you up to?"

What kind of question is that? At that point, I'm thinking this is too bizarre so I say: "Uhhh, I'm like you, just traveling!"

At this point I am just trying to get out as fast as I can when I hear another question. "Can I come over?"

Ok, this question is just too weird for me but I figured I could just be polite and end the conversation. I tell him "No.......I'm a little busy right now!!!"

Then I hear the person say nervously... "Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tomorrow Never Dies, Part II of II

Continuing with commentary on Armed and ready for Iran by William Hawkins, August 31, 2007:

Iraq was the frontline state against Iran under Saddam Hussein, who became the hero of the Arab world during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. But he brought disaster on himself when he invaded his ally Kuwait in 1990.

The two countries with the strongest military potentials in the Persian Gulf region are Iran and Iraq. Washington needs a friendly regime in either Tehran or Baghdad. Whatever the proximate cause cited for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the real strategic objective was to replace Saddam with a new government with which the US could cooperate against Iran.

First of all, as long as they were keeping each other in check, who cares if they both are hostile to us, as well?

Second of all, as far as that strategic objective was concerned, we had already demonstrated our tremendous military superiority, and had those countries intimidated. Saddam was not going to push us too far, and Iran saw what had happened to Iraq.

So, Bush throws both of those cards away, and draws to a quagmire.

Not to mention which, it's the Saudi Wahhabi elites that are radicalizing the Sunni Islamic world, which is far bigger than the Shia world; it's the Saudi Wahhabi-inspired Sunnis who hit us on 9/11.

But, Bush will not double-cross his friends in Riyadh... will he?

The objective needs to be, and should have been all along, to deal with Saudi Arabia. Do that, and Iran will have less need to be belligerent, and will in any case have greater reason to think twice about starting trouble.

As it is now, Iran is spoiling for a fight that they know we can't finish, as tied up in Iraq as we are, and with unfinished business in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

But Iraq is still in turmoil, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-dominated government in crisis. American commanders have made considerable progress in winning the respect of Sunni tribal leaders and turning them against al-Qaeda. But a key part of this improved relationship is a pledge to protect the Sunnis from genocidal attacks by radical Shi'ite death squads and Iranian-backed militias.

Without trying to take anything away from the efforts of our military commanders and our troops, I think if you look into things some, you will discover that al-Qaeda made considerable progress in turning Sunni tribal leaders away from al-Qaeda, too. Heh.

Recent attacks on Maliki by US senators, including presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, have again raised the question of whether the prime minister is an Iraqi nationalist serious about leading a national-unity government or merely a Shi'ite partisan. Though born and educated in Iraq, Maliki went into exile in Iran and Syria during Saddam's crackdown after the 1991 Gulf War. He was deputy leader of the De-Ba'athification Commission in the post-invasion interim government, which many charge became a witchhunt against Sunnis.

On August 22, Maliki lashed out at his American critics on his return from a three-day trip to Syria, saying, "We will pay no attention. We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere." The danger is that he only defines his "people" as Shi'ites, and "elsewhere" is Iran.

Saddam was a brutal dictator, etc., etc., but at least he was a counterweight to Iranian influence, without being a Saudi puppet.

Now we have another guy, who is already alleged to be oppressing Iraqis (the Sunnis this time), only who, at the drop of a hat, will align himself with Iran.

Bought and paid for with US money and US and Allied lives, no less!

On August 9, the Christian Science Monitor headlined a story on how Shi'ite-controlled media in Iraq have been trying to "shift attention from Iran to its Sunni neighbors" by running stories hostile to Saudi Arabia for is support of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

As British prime minister Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston famously explained foreign policy in 1848, "We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow."

The US sympathized with the Iraqi Shi'ites when they were being oppressed by a hostile Saddam Hussein, but continuing to support them if they fall under hostile Iranian influence does not coincide with America's "perpetual" interests.

US forces are again engaged, as they have been during several prior phases of the Iraq campaign, in beating down the pro-Iranian Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr, who also heads a powerful Shi'ite bloc in Iraq's legislative assembly. It is not clear who will win the power struggle within the Shi'ite majority in Iraq, so it is only prudent to strengthen the next line of defense, either to support a unified Iraq or to sustain anti-Iranian forces in a fragmented Iraq.

As long as we're talking Realpolitik, I have an idea....

How's about let the Saudi Wahhabis and the Iranian Shiites battle it out, and then, if need be, we go in and stomp the winner?

Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf states do not have the manpower to combat Iran, so they need superior weapons that are interoperable with those of the United States. Cooperation in the areas of missile defense, maritime patrol, counter-terrorism and energy security is moving ahead with US-led joint exercises. American trainers, advisers and support personnel will also have to accompany the new weapons systems.

The Saudis et al. don't have the numbers to fight Iran.... well, Saudi jihadis sure seem to cause us enough trouble in Iraq!

Why is it these guys only know how to fight when they're on the wrong side?

Though a minority in Iraq, the Sunnis are a majority in the Muslim world. In addition to providing material and diplomatic support for what is called by the State Department the "six plus two coalition" (the GCC plus Egypt and Jordan), a tilt toward the Sunnis would also help Turkey, whose governing Justice and Development Party has caused concerns about the possible future orientation of the country towards Islam. But the Turks have long been at odds with the minority Alawi sect of Shi'ites that rules Syria, whose people are majority Sunni.

I wonder if helping Turkey is such a good idea....

At least the American Turkish Council should be happy, and, after all, they pay our bribes!

There is congressional opposition to the Saudi-GCC weapons deal. On August 2, 114 members of the US House of Representatives (96 Democrats, 18 Republicans) rushed a letter to President Bush declaring their intention to vote against any sale of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Finally, somebody with a clue!

The letter was organized by New York Democratic Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Jerrold Nadler, who staged a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in New York on July 29. The argument in the letter was similar to that made by Shi'ite leaders in Iraq, that Saudi Arabia had been uncooperative in the "war on terror".

"Saudi Arabia had been uncooperative in the 'war on terror'."

Now, that's got to be the understatement of the year!

What the letter really represented was recognition by those in the anti-war movement that there is, indeed, a regional conflict beyond Iraq, and they do not want the United States engaged in any of it. Weiner and Nadler have been in the forefront of the "cut and run" caucus on Iraq. Those who signed their letter don't just want out of Iraq, they want to withdraw completely from everywhere "east of Suez".

Maybe they don't have such a clue after all.

For Congress to block the arms sales would undermine what trust there is between Washington and the Sunni world. It would also fuel the propaganda of both al-Qaeda and Tehran that alleges the US is at war with all of Islam, when in fact US security interests are in line with those of a majority of Muslims regarding the rising threat from the Iranian regime.

Trust between Washington and the Sunni world?

Try collaboration between Bush and the Saudis.

It is very unlikely that congressional opponents of the arms sales can muster the veto-proof majorities in both houses needed to block the deal. So whatever resolutions and statements may come out of Congress on withdrawals or redeployments from Iraq, the larger regional conflict will continue to build, and the United States will continue to be in the thick of it.

Even if Congress does muster a veto-proof majority, I suspect King George will just find a way to do his arms deal anyway.

Thanks to Asia Times Online, the international dateline, and Bush's policy of rendering all possible aid and assistance to so many de facto enemies, it can truly be said that

Tomorrow Never Dies!

Tomorrow Never Dies, Part I of II

There's an interesting article in tomorrow's issue of Asia Times Online entitled Armed and ready for Iran by William Hawkins, August 31, 2007.

Because of the difference in time zones between the US and East Asia, I can read tomorrow's news today, and even comment on it before it happens! It's kind of like time travel....

On July 29, just a few days before the US Congress went on its August recess, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns held a press briefing in Washington outlining how the George W Bush administration plans to arm Sunni states in the Middle East to contain Iranian expansion.

So Bush is going to arm the Sunni states in the Middle East.

This just keeps getting better and better.

Taken in conjunction with the escalating charges from the White House that Iran is aiding the insurgency in Iraq, and the threat to brand the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization (a step up from listing Tehran as a state sponsor of terrorism), this new round of arms sales indicates a regional strategy that is looking beyond the fighting in Iraq to consider the entire region to be an interlinked theater of war.

We've had problems with Iran ever since Dhimmi Carter helped oust the Shah, and now Iranian President Adminijihad's calls to destroy Israel are of concern.

But, given that the Kingdom of Hatred across the gulf from Iran has as one focus of its hatred the Shiites, and given that the Kingdom of Hatred is so involved in fomenting Holy Terror in Iraq against US and Allied forces, and given that the Kingdom of Hatred has control of nuclear weapons, I can't help but wonder if all the saber-rattling against Iran isn't foolish (as are so many other policies of the present administration).

A US President with a clue might try speaking softly and carrying a big stick; such a President might even consider a charm offensive. The US can always get nasty if need be, and, if nothing else, would at least then be able to say that we had given peace a chance.

But such thinking flies in the face of the desires of the Wahhabi overlords who are obviously calling the shots here.

The US$20 billion in planned military aid to Saudi Arabia and the other five members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) will run in parallel with increased military aid to Israel ($30 billion) and to Egypt ($13 billion) over the next decade. According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the arms sale to Cairo will "strengthen Egypt's ability to address shared strategic goals" with Israel and the other Sunni Arab states - the best way to build new diplomatic and security alliances is to pull otherwise diverse states together against a common enemy.

Why are we giving money to the oil sheikhdoms? It's bad enough that Saudi Arabia funds terror and supplies jihadis with petrodollars, but do we have to give them our tax dollars to do it with as well?

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

If it is not yet obvious to you whose side President Bush is on....

The arms deal with Israel was signed in Jerusalem on August 16. At the signing, Burns put the aid to Israel in the context of the Iran-Syria axis and its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, all enemies of the Jewish state. But he then went on to say, "We have said to the congressional leadership that we intend to seek their support for increased military assistance to our friends in the Gulf: to Saudi Arabia and to Kuwait and to Bahrain and to Qatar, [to] the United Arab Emirates and to Oman. All of this together represents a signal from the United States that our country is strong in this region, that we intend to be a good friend to our allies and our partners in this region." This was an explicit setting of Israel and the Sunni Arabs together in a US-backed security alignment.

It should be remembered that last summer, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan openly criticized Iran's Hezbollah proxy for raiding into Israel, triggering more than four weeks of heavy fighting. The Arab states gave Israel the diplomatic space it needed to mount military operations aimed at crippling Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It should also be remembered that Saudi Arabia funds a great deal of terror worldwide, and supplies the textbooks that teach Palestinian Arab children to hate Israel.

In his March 29 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Burns outlined the pivotal role Lebanon plays in regional dynamics: "We are also working with France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and others to signal our strong support for Prime Minister [Fouad] Siniora's democratically elected government in Lebanon, to enforce the arms embargo imposed by Security Council Resolution 1701, and to prevent Iran and Syria from rearming Hezbollah.

Isn't Hezbollah bragging that they have already rearmed, and are ready for a new round? Or, am I getting my terrorists confused?

"We have stationed two [aircraft] carrier battle groups in the Gulf, not to provoke Iran, but to reassure our friends in the region that it remains an area of vital importance to us. And at the regional level, Secretary Rice last autumn launched a series of ongoing discussions with our Gulf Cooperation Council partners, as well as Egypt and Jordan, regarding issues of shared concern, including most especially the threat posed by Iran." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said Israel will not lobby against the new arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as it has against previous sales.

He should lobby against it....

Admittedly, the expensive, high-tech stuff that we sell likely won't be used against Israel. But, US funding of it will free up petrodollars for suicide bombers, who will be used not only against Israel, but against US forces in Iraq.

All paid for by the US taxpayer!

Iran, with its support for militias in foreign lands, its supposed nuclear ambitions, and its aggressive Shi'ite faith, poses a much greater threat to the Sunni Arab world than does Israel, which has no intention of toppling Arab regimes and converting their people to its religious doctrines. Iran does have these ambitions, directed at both Jews and Sunni Muslims. As a nation-state with vast oil reserves and substantial diplomatic support from Russia and China, Iran is much stronger than the ad hoc al-Qaeda terrorist group. Al-Qaeda can kill people with suicide bombers in marketplaces, but it cannot seize state power. The terrorism groups sponsored by Tehran are far more capable and dangerous as projections of Iranian power.

Who are we saying took out the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, and was trying to hit some other target on 9/11? Was it Al-Qaeda, or was it Iran?

We started out going after Al-Qaeda for 9/11, then we went after Iraq (none of the 9/11 terrorists were Iraqis), now we're after Iran.

Meanwhile, now nearly six years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden is still at large, with nuclear weapons, and threatening something that will make us forget all about 9/11!

Less than four years after Pearl Harbor, the tyrants who were responsible for that had done bin Kil'd!

On August 9, the Tehran Times, the self-proclaimed "loud voice of the Islamic Revolution", highlighted a speech given in Lebanon by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that attacked the proposed US arms sales as an attempt to "drown the Mideast in wars". The speech was given at an event marking the group's alleged "victory" in last summer's Lebanon war, and follows Nasrallah's claim that his fighters have been fully rearmed and trained for a new round of conflict.

Look who's talking! But, Saudi Arabia isn't innocent here, either.

Ever since the pro-Western, secularizing shah of Iran was overthrown by the radical ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, the Middle East has been ripped by the Shi'ite-Persian/Sunni-Arab divide. Far more have died in this sectarian struggle than have ever fallen in combat with Israel or Western "imperialists".

Keep that paragraph in mind, too, when viewing Iraq. Iran knows the Saudi Wahhabis want to radicalize the Sunni world and destroy the Shia world. Iran also knows the Saudis are arming militias and terrorists in Iraq, and supplying jihadi fighters. Iran's interference in Iraq goes beyond trying to help fellow Shiites; Tehran is trying to place Saudi Arabia's belligerent King George in check.


This is more quality.

From Plan for Terror Screening of Aid Groups Cut Drastically by Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, August 30, 2007:

The Bush administration has decided to sharply scale back its plan to screen U.S. foreign aid contractors around the globe for potential terrorism connections, deciding instead to begin with a pilot program involving aid recipients in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip before expanding it worldwide.

That makes perfect sense to me. We're not going to be careful who gets into our country, or who is allowed to stay, why should we care about who gets our tax dollars?

At least El Presidente Jorge Arbusto is consistent!

(For my foreign readers, and others, who may not know: "Jorge Arbusto" is Spanish for George Bush.)

The decision, announced Tuesday at a meeting of U.S. officials and representatives of nonprofit groups, was made after lawmakers and several large aid organizations said that the global screening requirements were onerous and unwarranted. An official of the U.S. Agency for International Development had earlier promised to defer the program, which initially was to have taken effect Monday.

The global screening program, initially described in a July 17 Federal Register notice, would have required that all nongovernmental organizations seeking funds from the agency provide detailed information about key personnel, including phone numbers, birth dates and e-mail addresses.

That's the difference between those who have to pay money to the US Government, and those who receive money from the US Government: when you go to file your tax return next year, just try to file it without giving your birth date and your telephone number. Try it, and see what happens!

That information was to have been reviewed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to ensure that there were no connections with individuals or groups associated with terrorism or threats to national security. It would have affected thousands of individuals in nonprofit groups, charities, religious organizations, colleges, universities and private corporations.

Now, it might make sense that some charities would not have to jump through these hoops; but, then we would be accused of profiling and Islamophobia if we only collected this data on the charities that might most logically be connected to terrorism.

Besides that, there are still the ETA, the IRA and other organizations out there.

Still, if you're getting free money from US taxpayers, why not have to provide your email address? If you get an email from a government investigator asking whether you spent US taxpayer dollars on terrorist activities, just delete it! That's what we do with spam!

At the presentation Tuesday, USAID officials said they would initially carry out a "pilot vetting program" with recipients of grants and contracts in the West Bank and Gaza, according to materials presented at the meeting and made available to The Post by a contractor organization on the condition that it not be identified.

West Bank and Gaza -- not a bad place to start.

While awaiting results from the pilot program, the administration will review comments it receives through the end of next month and seek input from Congress and the foreign aid fund community, the officials said.

Would anyone care to contact our elected officials?

Remember them on election day, too.

The global vetting idea grew out of a congressional amendment in 2003 that required the secretary of state to "take all appropriate steps" to ensure that U.S. funds in the West Bank and Gaza do not reach any person or group that "advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in or has engaged in terrorist activities."



They should have done this decades ago, when terrorism and giving away US money both first got popular!

At the very least, they should have started that on September 12, 2001.


Just more proof that it's our money, and not their money. If it were their money, they'd be taking care of it.


A subsequent Government Accountability Office report criticized USAID's implementation of that program. Also pushing USAID to take action, according to its Tuesday presentation, was a recent report by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israel-based organization, that Al-Quds Open University -- a U.S. aid recipient -- "hosts branches of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations."

The organization said the university had received in $100,000 in 2006 in "in-kind" aid from USAID, and it also complained that USAID planned to provide $2.4 million in scholarships for about 2,000 Palestinian students without a guarantee that recipients are not "members of the Hamas or Islamic Jihad student unions, have participated in their events, or have given any support to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, including voting for them in the council elections."

How many of my readers are US citizens, patriotic and loyal to this country, law-abiding (speeding and parking tickets excluded), who can't afford to pay for their kids or themselves to go to college?

But, we are going to make sure that Palestinian Arab kids have their school paid for by the US taxpayer!

Why can't Saudi Arabia pay for some of those kids to go to school?

Or, why can't Saudi Arabia at least stop paying for the bombs those guys strap on before they board buses full of Israeli civilians?

Dear readers, the US Government is run by smacktards!

(For my foreign readers, and others, who may not know: "smacktards" are people who are so retarded, ya gotta smack 'em!)

72 Gunmen for 72 Virgins?

This is quality.

Iraq says 72 gunmen arrested after Kerbala chaos.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces have arrested 72 gunmen following clashes in the city of Kerbala this week that forced hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to flee a religious festival, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

Seventy-two gunmen: one for each virgin!

Or, would that at some point (when these guys go on to Allah) be seventy-two squared?

I'm not going to make the obvious jokes....

A ministry statement said a number of weapons had also been confiscated during a search of homes across the southern city.

"The city of Kerbala is now witnessing stability and calmness," said the statement.

The gunbattles appeared to pit Iraq's two biggest Shi'ite groups against each other -- followers of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army, and the rival Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), whose armed wing controls police in much of the south.

So, let me see if I understand this: these are two rival Shi'ite militias doing this.

Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who visited Kerbala on Wednesday, blamed "outlawed armed criminal gangs from the remnants of the buried Saddam regime" for the violence.

Sure. Blame the dead guy.

Up to 52 people were killed in day-long fighting around two revered Shi'ite shrines.

These are two rival Shi'ite militias doing this! If they are going to fight each other at their own "revered Shi'ite shrines", then why don't we let them fight?

I suspect some Americans feel a sense of responsibility for Iraq now, thinking that we broke the system with our invasion, and, as they say in the markets, if you break, you buy it.

Well, I don't think we broke it.

I suspect that it was broke already, and Saddam Hussein (that dead guy mentioned above) was just really good at wall-papering over the problems.

In the wake of the chaos, Sadr suspended all armed activity by his Mehdi Army to remove rogue elements from the militia, several aides said on Wednesday.

But violence by unidentified gunmen against SIIC offices continued. An army source said gunmen attacked a SIIC building overnight in the town of Haideriya, south of Kerbala.

That followed attacks against several SIIC buildings in Iraq on Tuesday night.

Analysts have said the test of Sadr's six-month suspension order would be whether his fighters obeyed because it was no longer clear how much authority he exercised over the militia.

If their leaders no longer control the militias, then it's chaos, and I repeat:

We didn't break it! It was broke already.

The Other Gorilla

From Libel Tourism: Where Terrorism and Censorship Meet by Cinnamon Stillwell, Wednesday, August 29, 2007 (boldface of headings in original):

It has become popular for those with competing political agendas to allege threats to free speech, whether real or imagined. Yet, there is a very real threat to free speech that has received little attention in the public sphere. It's called libel tourism and it has become a major component in the ideological arm of the war on terrorism.

"Yet, there is a very real threat to free speech that has received little attention in the public sphere."

You can say that again!

Any idea what it is?

(Hint: Got bananas?)

At question is the publication of books and other writings that seek to shed light on the financing of Islamic terrorism. Increasingly, American authors who dare enter this territory are finding themselves at risk of being sued for libel in the much more plaintiff-friendly British court system in what amounts to an attempt to censor their work on an international level.

The latest case of libel tourism to rear its ugly head involves the book "Alms for Jihad", which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Co-written by former State Department analyst and USAID relief coordinator for Sudan J. Millard Burr and UC Santa Barbara professor emeritus of history Robert O. Collins, "Alms for Jihad" delves into the tangled web of international terrorist financing and, chiefly, the misuse of Muslim charities for such purposes.

This is old news for readers of my blog, but I leave it in here just to publicize the situation some.

Billionaire strikes back

Among those the book fingers for involvement is Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, the former chairman of Saudi Arabia's largest bank, National Commercial Bank. Bin Mahfouz has come under similar scrutiny on previous occasions, including being named a defendant in a lawsuit filed by family members of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He even has a section of his Web site devoted to trying to refute such charges.

"He even has a section of his Web site devoted to trying to refute such charges."

Is there a section of his website that isn't devoted to trying to refute such charges?

Saudi Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, Financier of Holy Terror and Oppressor of Western Liberties... guaranteed a place in history next to Sheikh Osama bin Laden.

Step up and claim your title, Sheikh bin Mahfouz! Who knows? Allah might be extra pleased with you, and give you a few extra virgins when you get to paradise!

With this in mind, Cambridge University Press lawyers looked over the manuscript for "Alms for Jihad" carefully before giving it the go-ahead. According to Collins, the passages involving bin Mahfouz are, in fact, quite "trivial" compared to the wealth of information contained in the book on how such funds are used to finance conflicts around the globe.

And then Cambridge chickened out... but, here's the story in case you missed it.

Yet, it is bin Mahfouz's inclusion in "Alms for Jihad" that has proven to be the most problematic, for he soon threatened Cambridge University Press with a libel lawsuit. Before the suit could commence, Cambridge University Press capitulated and announced in July that not only was it taking the unprecedented step of pulping all unsold copies of "Alms for Jihad," but it was asking libraries all over the world to remove the book from their shelves. Cambridge University Press issued a formal apology to bin Mahfouz and posted a public apology at its Web site. It also agreed to pay his legal costs and unspecified damages, which, according to bin Mahfouz, are to be donated to UNICEF.

Authors Burr and Collins, however, did not take part in the apology, nor were they a party to the settlement, and they continue to stand by their scholarship. As Collins put it, "I'm not going to recant on something just from the threat of a billionaire Saudi sheik ... I think I'm a damn good historian." The authors were aware that Cambridge University Press' decision was based not so much on a lack of confidence in the book as on a fear of incurring costly legal expenses and getting involved in a lengthy trial. The British court system is known as a welcoming environment for "libel tourists" such as bin Mahfouz. The Weekly Standard elaborates:

Bin Mahfouz has a habit of using the English tort regime to squelch any unwanted discussion of his record. In America, the burden of proof in a libel suit lies with the plaintiff. In Britain, it lies with the defendant, which can make it terribly difficult and expensive to ward off a defamation charge, even if the balance of evidence supports the defendant.

Bin Mahfouz has indeed availed himself of the British court system on many occasions, having either sued or threatened suit against Americans and others at least 36 times since 2002, according to Rachel Ehrenfeld, author and director of the American Center for Democracy.

And, Pamela over at Atlas Shrugs has called Dr. Ehrenfeld a giant.

But, there's another giant that we're missing (though she considers herself just a citizen).

And, there's another gorilla in the room!

When a Saudi Sheikh tries to shut you up,
It can be a real drag;
But when your own government shuts you up,
Then it's called a gag!

Riddle me this!

Some follow the case
Of terrorism and libel,
But who knows the story
Of treason and Sibel?

Please go to Libel Tourism: Where Terrorism and Censorship Meet to read the rest of Cinnamon Stillwell's excellent story.

For my part, I will only quote one more excerpt from it, specifically, another heading:

"Price of book skyrockets"

I told you so!

Now, I make another prediction, and you can take this one to Vegas, and then to the bank:

The Sibel Edmonds case sheds light on an awful mess;
Therein lies a story truly to be had!
It, for our audience, we shall address,
To the satisfaction of the good, and the horror of the bad!


(Hat tip to my email tipsters!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Patrick Henry Remix

Attention Islamic Khawarij
Terrorists and Jihadis!

You have asked for my submission,
and the submission of free people the world over,
to include that of your Muslim brothers and sisters
who dare to have a view of Islam
that is different from yours;
well, to those who believe peace
with you is possible,
I offer
this for submission:

(I have reworked Patrick Henry's famous speech from March 23, 1775. Passages in red are mine, and replace one or more words of Patrick Henry's; passages in blue are inserts.)

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.

This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the Majesty of Heaven, Which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth -- to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the Saudi religious leaders for the last several decades, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?

Is it that insidious smile with which our friendship has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our friendship comports with these warlike preparations which cover distant deserts and darken distant lands. Are terrorist training camps necessary to a work of love and tolerance? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be tolerant that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation -- the first arguments to which terrorists resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has the Saudi Wahhabi World any enemy, in any quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of mujahideen?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the militant Islamists have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last several decades. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing.

We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before foreign leaders, and have implored their interposition to arrest the bloody hands of the militants and preachers of hatred.

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the mullahs. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and tolerance. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak -- unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a religious policeman shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three hundred millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Mecca and Medina! The war is inevitable -- and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the Middle East will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom's Third Option

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Atlas Shrugs Interviews Rachel Ehrenfeld

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld will be on the radio tonight -- details at Atlas Shrugs. Please listen if you can, and call in.

If you miss the interview, please keep an eye on Dr. Ehrenfeld's website, where the transcripts for this and other interviews will hopefully be posted soon.

While you're there, contribute to Dr. Ehrenfeld's campaign to protect our freedom. You can join the counterjihad right now by helping Dr. Ehrenfeld with a tax-deductible contribution!

Monday, August 27, 2007

King George

From the Authorization for Use of Military Force, September 18, 2001, Public Law 107-40 [S. J. RES. 23], 107th CONGRESS:

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Such was the authorization given to our nation's 43rd (and most recent Republican) President.

Here are the words of Abraham Lincoln more than a decade before he was inaugurated as our nation's 16th (and first Republican) President:

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, — "I see no probability of the British invading us"; but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."

The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

Source: In 1848, while he was a US Congressman, Abraham Lincoln wrote this in a letter, opposing the Mexican-American War.

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

The Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorilla

There's a recent article in The Jamestown Foundation's Global Terrorism Analysis that helps serve to describe the threat we are facing, and the consequences of not "taking the bull by the horns" to deal with it.

The article appeared earlier this month, and provides background to a terrorist attack that occurred in Yemen early in July. The article is entitled Yemen Faces Second Generation of Islamist Militants, by Gregory D. Johnsen. I reproduce it here in its entirety, with my comments (as usual - heh):

The July 2 suicide attack in Marib, which killed eight Spanish tourists and two Yemeni drivers, painfully illustrated the degree to which Al-Qaeda in Yemen has reorganized itself into an effective force (Terrorism Focus, July 10). The Yemeni government was caught largely unaware by the attack, as it believed the al-Qaeda threat had been neutralized. Yet, while the government managed to deter one generation of militants, it neglected to maintain the initiative through the second generation. This second generation of fighters, many of whom have spent time in Iraq, coalesced around the leadership of some of the 23 men who escaped from a political security prison in Sanaa in February 2006 (Terrorism Focus, February 7, 2006). The government attempted to negotiate for the surrender of many of these escapees, 10 of whom have turned themselves in, but much of its resources over the past few years have been devoted to ending the al-Houthi revolt in the north, which it determined was a more immediate threat (Terrorism Focus, July 31).

There is some background here that needs to be addressed.

A discussion of the July 2 terrorist attack itself can be found here. Basically, however, in that article the analysts argue that there is a schism among Al Qaeda in Yemen between the "old guard" who feel that a de facto truce is appropriate, and young radicals, a "second generation" who seek to prosecute the jihad more rigorously. These younger mujahideen have received experience and radicalization in Iraq; here's the key quote from that article:

The new generation of militants, many of whom were radicalized in Iraq, is determined to carry out attacks in Yemen. This represents a sharp break from the old guard, who have advised their younger members to have patience and allow for negotiations with the Yemeni government to continue. The old guard is also concerned that any attacks within Yemen will lead to a government crackdown on its leadership, much like what happened in the aftermath of the USS Cole attack in 2000 and the September 11 attacks in 2001 (al-Ghad, July 4).

Readers of my blog know that a major source of the problems in Iraq is Saudi Arabia: Saudi volunteers, Saudi know-how and Saudi funding. Since no one will deal with this source of terrorism at the source, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the war in Iraq drags on.

Understanding that militant Saudi Wahhabism is a threat to them, both because of their Shiite Islam, which the Wahhabis hate with a passion, and because of old power politics between Saudi Arabia and their own country, I cannot help but wonder if the Iranians are merely acting out of self-preservation when they support terrorists in Iraq. They are not only tying up American forces, but they are offsetting Saudi influence. The situation is so dire, that I characterize non-Wahhabi Muslims and US and allied military forces as Riders on the Storm, having a common enemy: Saudi-funded hatred.

Continuing now with Yemen Faces Second Generation of Islamist Militants:

Yemen did, however, react quickly in the aftermath of the suicide attack. It arrested a handful of suspects in the days following the attack and, on July 4, it killed Ahmad Baysawani Duwaydar, an Egyptian it claimed masterminded the strike (Terrorism Focus, July 10). Yet, after a more thorough investigation, the government modified its claims, and released the details of the 11-man cell it said was behind the attack (26th of September, August 2). Duwaydar's role in the report was reduced to providing material support to the other members of the cell. Among the suspects were three of the 23 escapees, including the head of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Nasir al-Wuhayshi. Yemen also identified the suicide bomber as Abdu Muhammad Said Ruhayqah, a 21-year-old who was living in the Sanaa neighborhood of Musayk, which has become known over the past few years as a haven for Islamic militants.

Yemen responded to the most recent threat from al-Qaeda by renewing tribal alliances it had established in 2001 and 2002 to counter the militants. On August 5, three days after Yemen revealed the make-up of the cell, President Ali Abdullah Saleh traveled to Marib and al-Jawf to meet with tribal leaders and ask for their assistance in combating al-Qaeda (al-Sharq al-Awsat, August 6). This was reminiscent of a similar trip Saleh made in late 2001, after more than a dozen soldiers were captured during a failed attempt to arrest two suspects in Marib. The early morning raid Yemen launched on an al-Qaeda hideout three days later demonstrates the success of the negotiations.

Getting the local people to "buy in" to the government's program is important. Generally, people do need to feel they have some power to influence their government's course of action; in the absence of that, there is more support for terror.

Notice what I am saying here: "in the absence of that, there is more support for terror." The terrorism will still be there, regardless; these fanatics hate us, and, according to their ideology, they will go to heaven for trying to kill us. And, this "us" is all-inclusive, since the radical terrorists don't discriminate: they hate anyone who doesn't agree with them.

But, I am trying to draw attention to the surrounding people: they have the options of 1) assisting the government against the terrorists, 2) passively looking on and doing nothing, or 3) assisting and covering for the terrorists. The government's program is aimed at getting them away from the second two options, and toward the first.

The raid, which took place in the border region between Marib and al-Jawf governorates, resulted in the deaths of all four al-Qaeda suspects. Three of the suspects—Ali Ali Nasir Doha, Naji Ali Salih Jaradan and Abd al-Aziz Said Jaradan—were wanted in the March assassination of Ali Mahmud Qasaylah, the chief criminal investigator in Marib, as well as for their role in the July 2 attack (Terrorism Focus, May 22). The fourth suspect was Amar Hasan Salih Haryadan, an 18-year-old from the Mahashimah tribe in al-Jawf. According to Yemen's Interior Ministry, Haraydan had been recruited to be another suicide bomber in an upcoming attack that Al-Qaeda in Yemen was planning (, August 9).

And, success! However...

Attacks on army checkpoints, government buildings and an electrical sub-station the following day in Marib appear to be retaliatory strikes by the suspects' relatives and not a response from al-Qaeda. The attacks did little damage, but they do illustrate some of the problems the Yemeni government must navigate as it attempts to dismember al-Qaeda. This is not simply a two-sided battle between the government and Al-Qaeda in Yemen, but rather one of multiple and shifting alliances among a variety of different actors. The murky world of tribal loyalties and militant Islamism in the region has led Arafat Madabish, a Yemeni journalist, to label it "Maribistan" in an unflattering comparison to Pakistan's Waziristan (, August 9).

Consistent with the theory that the people need to buy in to the government's policy, those who disagree with it fought back as they could, but these seemed to be amateurs, and their attacks somewhat ineffective. With a little work, the government might be able to get those same people to prevent radicalist terror attacks to begin with, or at least to not react violently when an attack occurs and the government has to respond.

That's all nice in theory. But, what are we not talking about here?

If Yemen is to succeed in dismantling this second generation of al-Qaeda-like militants, it must have significant tribal assistance. Saleh's August 5 meeting was an important step, but a consistent and ongoing effort is necessary if Yemen does not want to face a third generation of militants.

Geographically, Yemen is on one side, and Iraq is on the other; what we are not talking about here is the eight-hundred-pound gorilla that sits in the middle of the peninsula fomenting all of this by spreading its hateful version of Islam, by spreading terrorist know-how, by supplying jihadi volunteers, and by funding the whole show with petrodollars.

This gorilla is a best friend of President Bush, and until somebody in the White House has the honesty and integrity to deal appropriately with Saudzilla, Yemen will be just another Rider on the Storm.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bush's Kosovo Policy

Chronicles Magazine is an interesting site. One of the reasons I like it so much is because it features the work of Dr. Srdja Trifkovic. Dr. Trifkovic is of Serbian heritage, and is very well-educated and articulate. He has a particularly good handle on Eastern European affairs, though I find that his articles are well worth reading, regardless of what topic he writes about; he does his research, and develops his points logically, using clear and appropriate analogies.

Dr. Trifkovic has a fairly recent article entitled The President’s Painted Corner. Please go to the link and read it; as always, Dr. Trifkovic's article is most excellent.

In his article, Dr. Trifkovic addresses the policy of the current Bush Administration to promote the independence of Kosovo.

My readers my not be familiar with the background and significance of Kosovo, and it is beyond the scope of this article to address that in depth. Briefly, however, Kosovo is now a mainly ethnic Albanian/Muslim area in Serbia. In that respect, it is somewhat akin to certain regions of the United States, in that the United States is predominantly an English-speaking, Protestant country, which has regions with significant Spanish-speaking, Catholic minorities. However, generally speaking, those two groups in the United States get along reasonably well; this has certainly not been the case between the 1) Slavic and Orthodox Christian Serbs and the 2) ethnic Albanian and Muslim people in Kosovo.

In the fourteenth century, Kosovo was the scene of a big battle between the Serbs and invading Muslim armies. In that respect, a comparison with the Alamo, scene of a battle between Texans seeking independence from Mexico and the Mexican Army under Santa Anna, is somewhat useful.

It should be emphatically noted, however, that such comparisons only serve up to a point; again, relations between the "anglos" and the "latinos" in America are not bad, relations between the United States of America and the United Mexican States are generally good, and, in any case, any historical animosities are neither as deep nor as old as they are in the Balkans.

For a little more background on Kosovo, you may wish to begin with the Wikipedia article.

I have reproduced here some excerpts of Dr. Trifkovic's article, along with my comments:

It is not prudent for the United States to insist that Kosovo should and will become independent—as President George W. Bush did in Tirana last June, followed by similar sermons from Dr. Rice and her aides on an almost daily basis—even as it is obvious that Russia will veto any attempt to achieve that goal through the U.N. Security Council, and even as the European Union is increasingly reluctant to participate in any scheme to bypass the United Nations. Statements by U.S. officials that Kosovo’s independence is “inevitable” are a classic case of irresponsible policymakers painting themselves into a corner on a peripheral issue, and then claiming that the issue had morphed into a test of American resolve.

Never mind that it is not prudent -- which, as we will see, it is actually quite foolish -- but why would we want to?

Keep that question in mind as you consider this topic: Why does the Bush Administration insist that Kosovo become independent?

A mature, self-confident and globally hegemonistic “hyperpower” would never allow Kosovo to become such a test for three reasons.

Quite apart from its historic, cultural, moral, and legal aspects, the issue of who controls the southern Serbian province is perfectly irrelevant to American interests. It is a small, land-locked piece of real estate, of dubious “objective” value, away from all major Balkan transit corridors, and not nearly as rich in natural resources as both Serbs and Albanians like to imagine. If Kosovo were to disappear tomorrow, no ordinary American would be able to tell the difference.

Okay, no reason there to insist on Kosovo's independence from Serbia....

The change of Kosovo’s status against the will of Belgrade, in addition to being a clear violation of international law, would set a precedent potentially detrimental to U.S. interests. To enable an ethnic minority to secede from an internationally recognized state on the grounds of that minority’s numerical preponderance in a given locale would open a Pandora’s box of claims all over the world, not least among Russian speakers in the Crimea, parts of Estonia and Latvia, northern Kazakhstan, and eastern Ukraine. It could also affect the future of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and perhaps even California, when Mexicans achieve a simple majority in those states. (The question is indeed “when,” not “if.”) State Department officials Nicholas Burns and Daniel Fried still insist that no precedent would be set by creating an independent Kosovo, but they cannot control reality, and their assurances are nonsensical.

There Dr. Trifkovic outlines some serious counterincentives.

If a group of people can simply move in to an area, and continue arriving until members of that group become a majority in that area, and then have an internationally-recognizable claim to independence from the country to which they immigrated, that would really cause some problems.

Sweden would become "balkanized", places in France would no longer belong to France, and, as Dr. Trifkovic alludes to, the United States might quickly no longer be united.

The Muslim world will not be appeased by Kosovo today any more than it was appeased by Bosnia a decade ago. America will not earn any brownie points among the world’s “Jihadists of all color and hue” (to borrow a phrase from Rep. Tom Lantos) for creating a new Muslim state in the heart of Europe. Albanian “gratitude” would prove as valuable to America today as it has, over the years, to Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Communist China. On the other hand, the failure to create an independent, internationally recognized Kosovo would be yet another sign that Emperor Bush has no clothes and that America has no sureness of touch. Furthermore, favoring the imposition of a “solution” from the outside against the will of one of the parties could set a dangerous long-term precedent for Israel.

Danger to Israel by imposing a solution from the outside....

But, what's this about no "brownie points" for America among the world's jihadists?

Well, those guys are so mean, they hate themselves -- literally.

But, what about certain other elements in the Islamic world?

Is there anyone in the Islamic world to whom Bush hopes to endear himself? Anyone whose policies he seems to further? Anyone that he is exceptionally close to, both in business dealings and on a personal level?

Our policy is not sensible. It panders to the aspirations of a small and primitive, yet shrewdly opportunistic, polity with territorial pretensions against all of her neighbors. President George W. Bush declared in Tirana last June that America is committed to Kosovo’s independence, and he was greeted almost as enthusiastically as Benito Mussolini, Nikita Khrushchev, and Chou En-Lai had been greeted by the Albanians over the decades. As Nicholas Stavrou noted in the National Herald, Mr. Bush reflects the Albanians’ talent for choosing patrons who fulfill three criteria: They must be big enough, far enough, and willing to offend the interests of Albania’s neighbors:
President Bush’s venture into the Balkan tinderbox is nothing short of a blatant provocation aimed at two nations that stood side by side with the United States in two wars, Serbia and Greece. It is part and parcel of a neo-conservative agenda, formulated by the same gang that produced the Iraq war . . . and threatens to engulf the Middle East into a regional conflagration. The ultimate goal, of course, is the conversion of Russia into a first class enemy. The new Cold War warriors view the Balkans as a “logical extension of the Middle East” that ought to be part of a new arrangement that would facilitate integration of Islamic and non-Islamic cultures. Russia, in their view, cannot be trusted with any role in their nefarious schemes to “modernize” Islam and redefine the Middle East as a “region that starts in the Persian Gulf and ends in Sarajevo.”

Serbia and Greece, two nations that have historically been on the front lines against violent Islamic expansion, the kind Osama bin Laden advocates....

And President Bush, who made the comment:

"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

is siding with Kosovo, whose links to Islamic mafia and Islamic terrorists are well-known.

Our policy is perfectly sensible. We just need to (forgive me for using this over-used buzz-phrase) "connect the dots."

It is plainly irrational to insist on Kosovo’s independence, with all the risks such a policy entails, while the United States faces so much other “unfinished business” around the globe. The list is well known and depressing. Iraq is a disaster, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Afghanistan is a lesser calamity only when compared with Iraq. Any solution to the challenge presented by Iran will depend on Washington’s ability to have Russia on its side as a partner, which is impossible if Moscow’s concerns over Kosovo are treated as illegitimate. Russia is also an essential partner in helping control Kim Jong Il and devising a sustainable long-term energy policy for the Western world.

Insisting on Kosovo's independence is only irrational if you are concerned about US national security -- or the national security of Serbia, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, etc.

In short, Kosovo is an asymmetric issue. Mr. Bush cares about it only as it relates to U.S. “credibility.” The second greatest blunder of his presidency may result from his willingness to accept the assurances of inherited Clintonite bureaucrats of Mr. Burns’ ilk, who have insisted that the Serbs will cave in and that the Russians will budge.

If push comes to shove, Mr. Bush will face Moscow all alone. There is a great deal of dissent in Europe, from Madrid to Athens to Bucharest and Bratislava, but not even those Europeans who are nominally pro-independence—notably, the Germans—would sacrifice a single day’s supply of natural gas over Albanian claims. By contrast, this is, for Serbia, an existential issue and, for Russia, a litmus test of her ability to be a great power once again.

The most important reason the United States should not support Kosovo’s independence is and always has been cultural and civilizational; but trying to explain that to the chief executive who is fanatically supportive of a blanket amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens in the United States is as futile as trying to reform Islam.

George W. Bush has painted himself into a tight corner in the Balkans, and he will get a bloody nose if he does not relent. That is bad news for the church-burning Albanian Muslims of Kosovo, and bad news for their heroin-financed lobby in Washington, but it is very good news for America and the civilized world.

Saudi Arabia has been pouring a great deal of resources into Islamic communities in the Balkans.

The Saudis have been financing mosque construction and renovation, they have been training mullahs and sending them to the Balkans....

The Saudis sent mujahideen to the Balkans in the 1990's; although their holy warriors were of little use on the battlefield, they had a great impact committing atrocities against the infidels, and increasing the level of brutality in that war, provoking Serb reactions. Saudi "freedom fighters" (terrorists) even managed to irritate the Croats, who were Muslim allies against the Serbs -- so much so, that on at least one occasion the Croats were pulling troops off the lines facing the Serbs, and putting them on the lines facing the mujahideen!

The Saudis have a vested interest in Kosovo becoming independent from Serbia. They also have a vested interest in seeing that precedent set, so other lands that have growing Muslim minorities can some day have their Muslim enclaves demand independence from the nations to which the places where they live now belong.

That would mean the dismemberment of Sweden, Norway, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Holland, Denmark, Spain, Canada and the United States, to name a few Western nations.

Russia (Chechnya!), China (Ningxia, Gansu, Xinjiang!!), India (Kashmir!!!) and other countries would not be immune, either.

And Bush is furthering this goal -- although whether deliberately or through incompetence remains to be legally established.

Allahu Akbar, Mr. President!

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Counterjihad in Spain

Soeren Kern has an interesting website called Soeren Kern, Strategic Insights Into America, Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. If you are not familiar with it, it is well worth the visit.

An article that Kern authored and published in April appears there, entitled Spain’s Feminized War on Terror Goes Awry, April 22, 2007. The article addresses the anti-terrorism policy blunders of Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. It should be noted that Spain faces a terrorist organization that is fighting for independence in Basque country, known as the ETA; I leave that for you to investigate if you are interested, and I recommend the article I am quoting from as a good place to start. The other terrorist threat that Spain faces is, of course, Islamic terrorists. I have reproduced here some key excerpts from the cited article relating to Islamic terrorists, and interspersed my own comments.

For many Spaniards, including his supporters, Zapatero is an accidental political leader who was thrust into the prime minister’s office by the Islamic terrorists who set off a series of train bombs in Madrid that killed 191 people only three days before the 2004 general elections. Although the incumbent Popular Party (PP) was widely expected to win another term in office, Zapatero benefited from the hysteria fomented by Spain’s left-leaning mass media in the hours before voters went to the polls. With the aid of a motley hodge-podge of leftist and nationalist parties, Zapatero, who failed to win an absolute majority, was able to cobble together a coalition government. Thus Zapatero, who is dogmatically attached to the ideas of the European left, is beholden to the extreme left in order to remain in power.

That terror strike reaped excellent benefits for the terrorists. It motivated the Spanish electorate to vote in a political leader who immediately broke with all his previous statements regarding the terrorists that threaten Spain, and who then set a brave, new course of appeasement.

Setbacks on the International Arena

A few days after taking office, Zapatero withdrew the 1,300 Spanish troops that were deployed to Iraq by the previous government of José Maria Aznar. Opponents of the withdrawal accused Zapatero, who broke his own campaign pledge that Spanish troops would remain in Iraq until the United Nations voted on the matter later that summer, of naively thinking that the Al-Qaeda terrorist problem exists only because of the war in Iraq. And although it is true that a majority of Spaniards opposed the intervention in Iraq, many also believed that Zapatero’s precipitous action smacked of appeasement that not only weakened Spanish national security, but also destroyed the international credibility and stature that Spain had built up during the Aznar government.

Although the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq did not make much of a strategic difference in terms of the war effort, the move sent a symbolic message that represented a major victory for Al-Qaeda. Because what Zapatero did not seem to understand was that Islamic radicals still consider four-fifths of Spain to be Muslim land that must be liberated from the Spanish infidels who drove out the Moors in what is known as the Reconquista (711-1492). Thus by appearing to give in to the demands of medieval-minded Islamic extremists, Zapatero reinforced the perception that it is the terrorists, not the government, that sets the agenda in Spain.

The terrorist attack in Madrid resulted, only several days later, in the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. The terrorists got what they wanted, and fast!

Confirming the growing suspicion that Zapatero’s post-modern approach to fighting terrorism lacks a basis in reality, he told TIME Magazine in September 2004 that “sexual equality is a lot more effective against terrorism than military strength”. At the same time, he announced an ill-defined initiative he calls the “Alliance of Civilizations“, which borrows heavily from the “Dialogue of Civilizations” concept promoted by Islamic radicals in Iran during the 1990s; in its essence, the initiative calls on the West to negotiate a truce with Islamic terrorists, and on terms set by the latter.

Indeed, Zapatero seems to believe that multilateral group therapy is the best way to work out his differences with the Islamic extremists who want to take over his country. But the prime minister’s initiative has been widely criticized in Spain and elsewhere because of its failure to comprehend that Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are at war not just with Spain or other individual states, but with the very ideals of Western society... and especially with hyper-secularists like Zapatero himself.

These guys are not just at war with the ideals of Western society; they are at war with the ideals of anyone who does not conform to their desires.

But what do the terrorists think? Well, they seem to understand Zapatero better than Zapatero understands himself. Indeed, in March 2007, Al-Qaeda launched new threats against Spain, this time over its military deployment in Afghanistan. In a video, a hooded man said the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan “exposes Spain again to threats” unless they withdraw their troops from the country. “The Spanish people have been tricked by a socialist government which withdrew troops from Iraq and sent 600 to Afghanistan,” the man proclaimed. So much for Zapatero’s truce with Islam.

No surprise here; the parallels with Chamberlain in 1938 are remarkable.

The irony, however, is that Zapatero, who is deathly afraid of the domestic political fallout of military casualties abroad, has placed so many restrictions on Spain’s presence in Afghanistan that in the over three years that they have been there, Spanish troops have almost never left their bases (which, not surprisingly, are located in the most pacific region of Afghanistan). In fact, as everyone familiar with the embarrassing reality knows, Spanish troops do not serve any meaningful purpose in Afghanistan because they focus all of their efforts on keeping out of harm’s way.

Here's a hint for Prime Minister Zapatero: you need some guts.

The terrorists see that Spain flinched as a result of the Madrid attack; now they have zero respect for you. The more you try to limit your casualties, the more the terrorists hold you hostage and terrorize you.

What Spain needs to do is have its military in Afghanistan take a more active role in battling the terrorists, while Spanish authorities at home do the same, against not just Al Qaeda, but against the ETA, as well.

Even if Spanish forces get beat up some on the battlefield, at least the terrorists will respect Spain. Spain needs to make the terrorists think twice about attacking, and that just isn't going to happen if Spain refuses to fight.

And, make no mistake about it: Spain is just as threatened as Israel. As we all know, Spain was once a part of the Caliphate. Bin Laden, and others like him, won't stop until Spain has submitted again.

The radical Muslims will retake all of Spain (and other places) that Muslims held before, then they will take any parts of Spain (and other places) that Muslims had not previously conquered. Non-Muslims will be offered the triple choice of conversion to Islam (as the terrorists understand it), submission under dhimmi status, or death. No matter what Spaniards do, it will never be enough to satisfy radical Muslim imperialists; the fate of Spain will be the same as that of other infidel lands.

The road of appeasement has no end short of Hell-on-Earth.

In any case, most Spaniards now fear that Zapatero’s appeasement tactics have left Spain dangerously susceptible to terrorist intimidation and coercion. Indeed, polls show that many voters believe Spain is much more of a target for terrorists today than before. In fact, Zapatero’s ruling Socialist Party has fallen behind the opposition PP for the first time in 18 months in opinion polls.

Another article by Kern is entitled Spain’s Counter-Terrorism Policy Under Challenge by Al-Qaeda and ETA, dated July 6, 2007. Again, here are excerpts with my comments.

As if the terrorist threat posed by ETA were not enough, the Spanish Secret Service (CNI) in April warned of the increased risk of a new terrorist attack in Spain by Islamic extremists. According to an April 22 report in El Pais, a daily newspaper that is close to the Zapatero government, the CNI believes that al-Qaeda has established an active cell in Spain and that the country is now the group’s prime target in Europe.

Indeed, al-Qaeda frequently says that it intends to recover “al-Andalus,” a Moorish reference to the four-fifths of Spain that was ruled by Muslims for 800 years until 1492. For example, in claiming responsibility for the April 11 bombing in Algiers which killed 24 people, an organization called Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said: “We will not be in peace until we set our foot again in our beloved al-Andalus.”

As we were saying?

Fears of another attack have been heightened because of the international spotlight on the 29 mainly Moroccan suspects who are on trial for the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 and injured about 1,800 people. That attack is believed to have been carried out by two groups: the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) and the shadowy Takfir Wal Hijra, which stems from Egypt. Although these groups are said to act on their own, they also receive instructions from al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, extremists from Pakistan are active in the northeastern region of Catalonia, especially in Barcelona, where police are tracking Asian groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). The JEM has been implicated in the 2005 bombings of the London Underground, while the LET is linked to attacks in India.

Two things to note here: one is the connection between terrorists and Pakistan; the other is the connection between terrorism in Spain and terrorism in India.

The war against extremist Islamic terrorists is a global one, and the global community needs to get involved and draw the line against terror. There can be no tolerance of certain Islamic terrorist groups, because they all threaten pretty much anyone within reach; they all need to be condemned and fought. Otherwise, as one group succeeds against one enemy and grows stronger, it will spread like a cancer and threaten others; meanwhile, it will set an example that should not be allowed to be set.

Terrorism experts say that Islamic extremists proselytize at the hundreds of unofficial mosques that operate in garages and basements throughout Spain. According to El Pais, terrorists recruited in Spain are trained in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as in Africa, where al-Qaeda teaches them how to handle weapons and explosives; those who subsequently return to Spain pose the greatest threat to security.

Interesting how it is the informal "mosques" that pose the threat. That helps keep the radicals a little more off the counterterrorist radar.

Zapatero had hoped to buy his peace with Islamic extremists by withdrawing the 1,300 Spanish troops deployed to Iraq by the previous government of Jose Maria Aznar. Yet Spain’s military presence in Afghanistan and Lebanon, as well as the government’s continuing crackdown on Islamic radicals at home, ensures that it will remain high on al-Qaeda’s hit list.

That last sentence flies in the face of everything the author has been saying; I think it may have been misworded, and perhaps should read more along the lines of this:

"Despite Spain's military presence in Afghanistan and Lebanon, as well as the government’s continuing crackdown on Islamic radicals at home, it will remain high on al-Qaeda’s hit list."

Certainly, I think we have established that the terrorists would more likely be backed off by a more defiant attitude, not a more appeasing one.

Defining Islam

It's pretty amazing to read and watch the reports and comments about America that come from outside America.

One thing that is heard is how Christian fundamentalists hold disproportionate power in America, and blah blah blah....

Changing the channel or clicking to a different website, there is a report about all the depravity -- pornography, rap music that degrades women, blah blah blah....

Those Christian fundamentalists are pretty liberal-minded to permit all the depravity!

The dynamic of a free country....

Americans generally seem to understand how such contradictory things can exist side-by-side in a free country, but foreigners (who may never even have been to America) so often completely fail to comprehend this; those foreigners who see the contradictions sometimes concoct these elaborate pontifications to explain it all.

Being an American and following what is said about America, it makes me sympathize with and try to understand Muslims.

There are these rabid nutters who lead protests with signs saying "Behead those who insult Islam" and terrorists who blow themselves up, along with busloads of innocent people, including infants... these nutters and terrorists are not exactly the most shining examples of humanity that the Islamic world has to offer.

Then there are the infidels saying "Islam is Evil," "Islam is Hell," blah blah blah.... (And for those of you who haven't read enough of this blog, I am poking fun at myself here!)

As a matter of principle, I am tired of Islam being defined, on the one hand, by terrorists who want to behead people and blow them up, and, on the other hand, by infidels who, reacting to the terrorists, see Islam in its worst possible light. Either way, the terrorists are setting the agenda, and I'm tired of it.

If you read the posts under the label "The Other Islam" you may notice that I have been pondering this dilemma for some time now.

Recently I got "interviewed" and my initial reaction to the idea was :|
-- but then, when I saw the questions, it wasn't so bad....

And, I got to thinking....

When America got attacked at Pearl Harbor, Americans didn't stand around at Pearl Harbor waiting for the next attack; we took the fight to places like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In less than four years, we brought the Empire of Japan to its knees, and accepted its surrender on board an American battleship in Tokyo Bay.

Yet, ideologically, in the battle against Islamic terrorists, we have been hanging around at Pearl Harbor waiting for the next attack.

I am tired of Islam being defined by terrorists; I am tired of terrorists setting the agenda.

You are going to see this label, "The Other Islam", move in a bold new direction.

We are going on the ideological offensive.

Stop Islamic Conquest is setting a course for Big Terror's Tokyo Bay.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Peace Through Victory

There is an interesting site that I link to, The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center. They have an article that addresses what was said by the terrorist organization Hamas when its spokesperson Osama Hamden spoke on Arabic-language Iranian TV.

The key exerpts from the August 6th interview are translated and collected together for reference; I reproduce them here (boldface was in original; numerals, which I place in brackets, refer to footnotes -- see original):

1) Justification for suicide bombing attacks carried out against Israel and the rejection of the Jews' historical connection with the Land of Israel :

Interviewer : ...The Sharia' [Islamic law] forbids [acts of] aggression during jihad [holy war], such as the killing of women, children, the elderly, clerics who devote themselves to studying religion, and other civilians who do not serve in the enemy's army. Do you consider all the Jews in Palestine [sic] to be combatants and thieves of the land? We have witnessed suicide bombing [ ‘amaliyyat istishhadiyyah ] attacks on buses and in restaurants [in Israel ].

Osama Hamdan : First of all, let me raise a very important issue. What is the ruling regarding those who live in Palestine , or in what is called Israel , and [who are] aggressors who stole the land [i.e., “ Palestine ”]? The way we [i.e., Hamas] see it, they all came to Palestine from abroad, whether before the declaration of the [establishment of the ] Zionist entity or after it. If you were to conduct a statistical survey within the Zionist entity, you would find that all these people [i.e., the Jews living in Israel] have their origins in other countries – they came from Europe, Eastern Europe, from America, South America and other places [around the world].

Interviewer : In other words, there were no Palestinian Jews?

Osama Hamdan : No, there were no Palestinian Jews. When the British Mandate began in 1917, there was [only] one settlement on the lands of Palestine of a few dozen Jews who were living there illegally according to the law in force at the time. I want to note that under the Ottoman empire there was a law that prohibited the Jews from staying in Palestine for over a month [otherwise] their passports and personal documents were taken away from them. [Under the Ottoman empire] they [the Jews] were given permits to enter [ Palestine ] at the crossing [border] crossings and to stay on Palestinian land for a month. The only group that can be called Jewish [in Palestine ] at the time was the one living in Nablus and they still live there. [5] The Palestinians regard them as part of Palestinian society, and they number no more than a few hundred. Those who immigrated from various countries are not Jews. Anyone who comes to a war zone and stays there is a combatant, regardless of whether he wears a uniform. That's the first issue .

2) Justification for carrying out suicide bombing attacks on buses:

Osama Hamdan : [Regarding] the second issue, actually, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian resistance force premeditatedly killed [Israeli] civilians. You mentioned the buses. They [bus passengers] are a simpler case. A bus is protected by various security measures, [as opposed to] a school, a theater, or a stadium, those are civilian targets where the killing of women and children is deliberate. Those targets [i.e., schools, theaters and stadiums] were not targeted by the resistance. Why were buses targeted? Because they are the means of transportation used by the soldiers as well. The Zionist soldiers, who go from their homes to their bases and back, use public transportation, because it is free or almost free . I think there is a security motive behind the occupation [IDF] soldiers' use of public transportation. They shield themselves behind the so-called “civilians.” Therefore, as far as I can see, they should stop using public transportation, or else [Israeli] society should prevent them from using it, because the soldiers are the target. I would like to emphasize that in the dozens of operations that were carried out on buses, there were no cases in which the Zionists announced that 20 children or 50 women had been killed. Quite the opposite, if you examine who was killed in suicide bombing attacks on buses, you will find that 70% were occupation soldiers, and they were even in uniform at the time of the attack. [6]

3) The final objective: the destruction of the State of Israel

Osama Hamdan : We [i.e., Hamas] are preparing for a confrontation [with Israel ], not only in preparation for Israeli aggression, because the entity is founded on aggression, but because the final goal of the resistance [8] is to wipe this entity off the face of the earth . This goal necessitates the development of the resistance's until the entity has been destroyed.

I reproduce footnote [6] here:

6 The statement is incorrect. Most of the suicide bombing attacks carried out by Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations were directed against civilian targets such as buses, to murder indiscriminately as many civilians as possible. The overwhelming majority of the victims of suicide bombing attacks have been civilians, only a very few belonged to the security forces. Most of the civilians were killed or injured simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Conspicuous among the casualties have been the high numbers of infants, young children, adolescents and the elderly. For further information see our December 20, 2005 Bulletin entitled “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000 – December 2005)”

The key things to get out of this are as follows:

1) Hamas feels that killing non-combatants, including infants, is justified and justifiable -- "Anyone who comes to a war zone and stays there is a combatant, regardless of whether he wears a uniform."

2) The ultimate goal of Hamas is to "wipe [Israel] off the face of the earth" -- military and civilians, adults and children, men and women... the entire nation of Israel.

Put another way:

Hamas advocates and justifies the death of any and all Israelis; Hamas takes actions to kill any and all Israelis; Hamas openly admits it will continue to kill any and all Israelis.

Israel is facing a war of extermination perpetrated by what can only be described as the de facto heirs and kindred of those who orchestrated the Holocaust; unless Israel utterly destroys Hamas, the war is not over, and I have no doubt that should Hamas prevail, its war will continue as it finds a new focus for its hatred.

It is a fight to the death, and anyone with even the slightest pretension to civilization needs to support Israel against Hamas as long as Hamas continues on its current course.

The utter destruction of Hamas, as it now exists, equates to the survival of Israel vis-a-vis Hamas; those two goals are mutually interchangeable.

There can be no peace in the presence of people who advocate such ideas and who take active measures to implement them.

Consequently, unless Hamas clearly and convincingly changes its course (to include, but not to be limited to, the recognition that Israel has a right to exist, and the cessation of attacks against non-combatants), there is no substitute for absolute victory, which means:

1) The unconditional surrender of Hamas;

2) The dismantlement of Hamas as an organization;


3) The lawful trial for criminal conduct of any Hamas members who fall into Israeli or international custody and are so accused.

If anything less than this is accepted, the world will be a shabby and dangerous place indeed.

Peace through Victory!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Counterjihad on the Italian Front

A recent article at The Jamestown Foundation Global Terrorism Analysis by Kathryn Haahr, entitled Italy's Underground Islamist Network, discusses counterterrorist operations in Italy.

I reproduce it here in its entirety along with some of my own comments; numbers in brackets refer to footnotes in the original.

In late July, Italian police announced that they had arrested three Moroccans in a counter-terrorism operation codenamed "Hammam." The operation was aimed at breaking up a terrorist cell believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda and with proven connections to Moroccan Islamic Combat Group (GICM) members tied to the March 11, 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid. Police reportedly are still looking for a fourth accomplice who may have fled Italy. The three, the imam of the Ponte Felcino Mosque, Perugia Province, and his two aides, had stored 60 chemical substances (including nitrates, acids and cyanide) in the mosque's cellar, the majority of which were of high toxicity and of the type to fabricate explosive artifacts (, July 21; Corriere Della Sera, July 21-23; La Vanguardia, July 21). The imam used the mosque to proselytize radical Islam and to train young men in the use of arms, explosives and toxic substances in terrorist operations. Police uncovered propaganda films and documents downloaded from the internet, used to instruct the recruits on how to prepare poisons and explosives, pilot a Boeing 747 and send encrypted messages (El Pais, July 22; Corriere Della Sera, July 23; La Stampa, July 23; Las Provincias, July 23).

Officers of the Italian Division for General Investigations and Special Operations (DIGOS) and the Central Office for General Investigations and Special Operations (UCIGOS) also reported that they discovered maps of aqueducts in Umbria—which they surmise might have been targets for potential poisoning attempts—as well as pictures of Rome's Fiumicino Airport. Investigations to date lay no doubt that the Ponte Felcino mosque was a "school of terrorism, embedded within a system of small cells that act autonomously," according to Carlo de Stefano, director of UCIGOS (El Pais, July 22). In a related development, police searches of the Perugia mosque led them to another imam in Pierantonio, a small village in Perugia Province, who had a map with five or six cities marked. These activities led the Muslim World League chairman, Mario Scialoja, to say that Italy is now "full of dangerous fundamentalists" and argue for an official register of imams in Italy (La Stampa, July 22).

Two things jump out at me from these two paragraphs.

First, terrorists were using a mosque -- an internationally recognized and protected place of worship -- for training and preparation of violent criminal acts (although some of these mosques may not have official recognition; read on).

We really need to stop treating these terrorists as "somebody's freedom fighters" and recognize them for the violent criminals that they are. They claim to have a political agenda, and some of them may be sincere about their political agenda, but this is premeditated mass murder that they were planning. That murder would likely have been of defenseless civilians. Let's not glorify these guys, as the PC Left does, by trying to see some greater cause that they are killing for.

Let me put it another way: George Washington never used a church to prepare for attacks on civilians, and he never would have tolerated either the abuse of the place of worship, or the targeting of non-military personnel. One man's freedom fighter most certainly is not another man's terrorist; terrorists are criminals, plain and simple.

The other thing that jumps out at me is how the Islamic community, in this case Mario Scialoja, chairman of the Muslim World League, is denouncing this and calling for "an official register of imams in Italy"!

This is the correct approach for the Islamic community to take. Muslims can't police their own mosques any better than to discourage radical criminal activity, report it to the police, and demand official action.

To begin with, the decent people in the Islamic community are working for a living, they show up to pay their respects to their Creator, and find their mosque full of criminals arming and preparing for mass murder. It is completely unreasonable to expect a few decent Muslims to confront these criminals on their own, and, if they did, people would be calling them vigilantes.

Moreover, however, if Muslims should fail to report such activity and seek official help in dealing with it, then they become complicit in the criminal acts that follow, and earn the suspicion of the surrounding community. If Muslims are to live peacefully in the non-Muslim countries where they are, then they have a duty to cooperate with the authorities to help police their mosques and communities.

Significance of Perugia as a Jihadi Epicenter

The recent activity in Perugia demonstrates the reach of Salafi Islamism from northern Italy into the south. Most known "jihadi" activity by Salafi Islamists has centered in Milan, Lombardy Province, and Turin, Piemonte Province. There are an estimated 20 Islamic centers, cultural institutions and associations in Piemonte, and circa 15 in Lombardy. Perugia reportedly has five Islamic centers, cultural institutions and associations.

The most significant aspect of radicalization in Italy is Salafi Islamism's espousal of radical activities, namely recruiting for global jihad in sermons and outreach activities at official and unofficial mosques. The Italian intelligence services --in close coordination with the Spanish, German and Dutch counter-terrorism authorities -- now believe that the majority of Islamists in Italy -- most espousing radical jihad -- are connected to North African radical groups (predominantly the GSPC and GICM) and to Ansar al-Islam, an organization primarily based in the Kurdish areas of Iraq. To date, Islamists have increased their presence in the regions of Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria and Liguria. Turin and Milan are the epicenters for jihadi activities, but other cities and towns show indications of Islamist activities. A distinct development for Italy is the appearance of Islamist enclaves in parts of major cities --particularly Milan and Turin -- in which Islamist traditions, doctrine and lifestyles frequently challenge Italian legal laws (abuse against women, espousal of holy war against "infidels") and social norms [1].

When you hear Salafi, you need to make a connection to Wahhabi. When you hear Wahhabi, you need to make to make a connection to Riyadh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you have a different take on that, please leave a comment!

It is also noteworthy that many Muslims are happy to live in the relative freedom of the West. As indicated in the end of the preceding paragraph, these concepts of honor killings, veils over the faces of women, and so on, are generally imported -- from Saudi Arabia. Once the Salafis/Wahhabis show up (with their inevitable Saudi backing), there goes the Muslim and surrounding neighborhood.

A case study is Turin, Piemonte, which has become a "Kabul of the Piemonte" due to its history of Islamist imams calling on its faithful to support Osama bin Laden and to engage in jihad against the infidels. Most of the Muslims in the Turin area are Moroccans. In 2005, Italian police detained three Moroccans, believed to be members of GICM, for planning attacks in Italy and abroad, and for recruiting extremists to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq (El Mundo, May 18, 2005). In April 2007, prosecutors in Turin were scheduled to start investigating Mohammed Kohaila, the imam at the Cottolengo mosque, for calling on Muslims to hate Christians and Jews and praying for their deaths. According to media group AKI on April 3, "the DVD portraying Kohaila's sermon was filmed with a hidden camera by a faithful attending the prayers on behalf of a news program on state broadcaster RAI's second channel, Annozero."

According to information as of January 2007, there are 258 mosques officially registered with the Interior Ministry, but their number may be much larger due to their rapid growth (La Stampa, January 5). The oldest mosque is the one in Rome, which belongs to the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, Italy's oldest Muslim organization; it is the only mosque to have a special recognition as "ente di culto" (entity for religious worship). All Islamic centers function as places of worship and have sites for libraries, Quranic schools and bookstores [2].

Please note that it was "a faithful" and not an infidel who filmed this rabid nutter calling for the death of us kuffar.

Cultural Aspects of Islam and Islamism in Italy

There is no general culture of a global jihad movement among Italian Muslims, which likely can be attributed to the fact that Islam in Italy is not monolithic since no one ethnic group predominates. While groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and a few foreign imams have given verbal and spiritual support to violent jihadi groups, most Muslim organizations do not espouse militant Islam. However, the exportation to Italy of new forms of Islamist movements and ideologies, especially Salafi Islamism, has introduced Middle Eastern and North African Islamist imams, their radical ideologies and their militant Islam activities. This new brand of Salafism, coined Salafi-Jihadis by the French scholar Gilles Kepel, exhorts Muslims to engage in jihad. These "new" ideologies, coupled with the allure of defending the plight of the global ummah, have begun to alter the cultural reference points for Italian Muslims. These subtle exogenous factors, combined with various indigenous cultural characteristics that this author defines as "Cultural Variables," appear to be transforming traditional cultural reference points for Italian Muslims, which could lead to an increased attraction to Islamism.

What is the plight of the global ummah that needs defending?

The plight is that some leaders in the Arab and Muslim communities want Palestinian Arabs to have an issue with Israel, so they keep them in densely populated areas along Israel's border with no economic development.

The plight is that these leaders blame infidels for their own corrupt and foolish shortcomings, and preach hatred and jihad as a solution to the problem.

If Saudi Arabia would invest half as much in industrial development and the economy of Muslims in the Middle East as it spends trying to convince Muslims to kill infidels, there would be no plight. The plight is that Saudi Arabia and others spread a hateful brand of Islam with their petrodollars, and invest in terrorism.

Existing empirical research on Islam in Italy demonstrates that the process of Islamization in Italy has increased since the early 1990s, while simultaneously younger generations of Italian Muslims have become more oriented toward socio-religious perspectives and positions versus the more traditional socio-economic platforms of the first generation [3]. Sociological studies demonstrate that for the majority of Muslims, the sense of not being represented at the national level increases their sense of "vulnerability," and they thus look to alternative sources of authority who can better protect their religious and socio-economic interests -- unfortunately, organizations such as Union of Muslim Students in Italy, which are influenced by Wahhabi tendencies and are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, are filling this void. Some of the cultural variables affecting attitudes and behavior among Italian Muslims include: a sense of social inclusion; a sense of alienation due to negative Italian media attitudes toward Muslims; increasing Salafi and Wahhabi influences in make-shift mosques and the power of foreign Islamist imams; internet sites that exhort Muslims to support the global jihad against the infidel; and, the diffused meaning of Muslim identification when ethnicity no longer matters as it did for the first generation -- ethnicity is now global and they think and act globally as opposed to locally. Sociological and political studies of mosques, the imams preaching in mosques and Muslim families indicate that these cultural variables are prominently manifested in the sermons of radical imams seeking to influence the attitudes and behavior of young Italian Muslims.

That's a tough one, because the broader community is going to be suspicious of Muslims if all they see are jihadis and terrorists; as long as that suspicion remains, the decent people in the Islamic community will have a hard time gaining political power to allow them to offer an alternative to jihadis and terrorists.

Looking to the Future

Since the September 11 attacks, Muslims have felt pressure to declare their rejection of radical Islam and to adhere to European values. The interaction between Muslim immigrants from diverse countries, cultures and ideologies could facilitate the robustness of the doctrine of jihadi views: if the sense of alienation stemming from social difficulties (unemployment, living in a "foreign" society such as Italy) in individual ethnic Muslim communities in Italy were to accentuate, one could see the development of minorities of disaffected Muslim youth (male and female) accepting Islamist ideas, especially that of the "non-territorial Islamic state" espoused by Islamist groups and al-Qaeda. It is unclear to what extent the appeal of new radical trends is resonating within ethnic Muslim communities, such as Salafi Islamism, but this is an area that bears serious research. Certainly, the continuing absence of a unified/centralized Islamic leadership is not helpful to this situation. Italian journalist Magdi Allam alluded to this problem in his 2002 book, "Bin Laden in Italy: Travels in Radical Islam," in which he identifies several personalities that he defines as Islamist (such as the director of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, or UCOII, as well as the imams of the Turin, Milan, Bologna and Naples mosques) and their radical impact on Italian Muslims.

Well, we need to find out "to what extent the appeal of new radical trends is resonating within ethnic Muslim communities" and consider shutting off its well-funded source.

Intra-ethnic tensions, which already play out in the competition between various Islamic and Islamist organizations, could cause a splintering between groups and their followers. Although Arab and South Asian Muslim organizations and influences are nowhere as prevalent as they are in the United Kingdom, the appearance of new groups, such as Jamaat-e-Islami, should be studied. Moreover, the strengthening of Muslim Brotherhood organizations and ideologies is something to be observed. Organizational rivalries are evident in the emergence of two types of Islam, each of which has its adherents: an Islam of the mosques (organizations such as UCOII, which represents numerous Islamic mosques throughout Italy), and Islam of the "state" (the ICI in Milan, and other mosques that receive foreign state funding from Saudi Arabia). The friction between Islam of the mosques and Islam of the "state" is that those mosques that receive foreign state funding tend to have a fundamentalist orientation, such as toward Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood—this tension is visible in the politics of each Muslim organization [4].

"Intra-ethnic tensions" -- again, these jihadis are perhaps more of a danger to Muslims who fail to accept the criminal ideology that the jihadis preach, than they are to infidels.

Read this part again: The friction between Islam of the mosques and Islam of the "state" is that those mosques that receive foreign state funding tend to have a fundamentalist orientation, such as toward Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood—this tension is visible in the politics of each Muslim organization [4].

Foreign state funding for terrorism
state sponsorship of terror.

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

President Bush, since you refuse to deal with your buddies in Saudi Arabia who sponsor terror, then you are with the Saudis, and, using your own logic, that means that

You are with the terrorists.


The existence of Salafi networks and cells, and their proven connections to other cells throughout Europe, are in and of themselves worrisome because they could not exist without a minimum amount of sympathy and support from the general population in which they live and operate. Perugia, like Turin and other cities, can be viewed as a laboratory in which competing ideologies (reform Islam vs. Salafi Islamism) are playing out. Deeper studies should explore the context in which immigration might be inducing an Islamist shift and the underpinnings of religious belonging.

We need to investigate and get a handle on how much sympathy there is for terrorists and criminals, but mostly, we need to deal with the state sponsors of terror -- all of them!