Monday, December 31, 2001

Al Jazeera is a spokespiece for radical Islamists, not a defender of open debate, claims Amir Taheri in Opinion Journal. (Via Moira Breen.)

Saudi Arabia is always mentioned with deference, while Qatar's domestic affairs are either ignored or presented in a rosy light. Syria was criticized only once, in June this year, and then ever so gently. It still led to the expulsion of al Jazeera's correspondent from Damascus. Indeed, the only two Arab countries to be systematically criticized are Algeria and Kuwait, the first because it has fought Islamist terrorists and the second, presumably, for its refusal to be swallowed by Iraq.

The secret of al Jazeera's undoubted success, however, lies not in its craven approach to Arab leaders, but elsewhere. It tells Arabs what they already think the mythical "Arab street" feels. It assumes that radical Islamism is on the rise in all Arab countries and that it's secretly supported by the majority. This is why al Jazeera talk shows, the backbone of its programming, favor radical Islamists. The situation also takes for granted that the average Arab is deeply anti-West and especially anti-American. The channel creates the impression that the West, and the U.S. in particular, are behind all of the Arabs' woes, including the presence of incompetent and corrupt regimes.

Also by Taheri, an Iranian writer living in France: Islam can't escape blame for September 11.

Anwar Iqbal, UPI: Pakistani and Indian leaders want to take their countries as close to war as possible, without actually starting one.

Nylon Masood in The Nation, Pakistan, speculates that the Parliament attack on December 13th was staged by India to ensure international support for a war on Pakistan.

A careful analysis of the campaign launched against Pakistan reveals many holes. The New Delhi commissioner of police, whose press conference was televised at length to establish the link between Pakistan and the terrorists involved, made some statements that give cause for doubting the credibility of the alleged plan to target the political leadership of India in the parliament. He stated that the terrorists first went to the airport but found the security too tight. They then made their way to the parliament. Thus the commissioner of police himself established that the attack on the parliament was an afterthought. How does this fit into the accusation being made vociferously by Mr. Vajpayee himself, that the attack on the parliament was premeditated and carefully planned? Another interesting aspect of the incident is that all five terrorists were killed, and the "proof" of Pakistan-based organizations was obtained from two Indian citizens in New Delhi, and another two persons from Kashmir. This cannot but create legitimate doubts about the credibility of the inquiry, conducted by the Indian government, which has rejected proposals from Pakistan for a joint inquiry, as well as the offer of the US for assisting with the investigation.

B. Raman of Hindustan Times wants India to respond to Pakistan's proxy war with a proxy war of its own.

To talk of limited military action in the form of hot pursuit of terrorists, hit and run raids and air-strikes on their training camps in Pakistani territory is to exhibit a surprising and worrisome ignorance of ground realities and a lack of understanding of a decades-long proxy war. Legally, India has the right of hot pursuit, but it works only when armed groups indulge in hit-and-run raids from rear bases in a foreign territory across the border. It cannot be used against suicide squads of foreign mercenaries operating from safe sanctuaries in our territory provided by alienated elements in our own population.


Political, diplomatic and economic actions by themselves would not make the junta relent unless simultaneously accompanied by hard-hitting covert actions directed at Pakistan�s neuralgic spots carefully identified. A covert action is defined as a clandestine and deniable action, armed or unarmed, not involving the use of the armed forces which a State undertakes in a situation where the use of the conventional diplomatic or military option is considered as not feasible or advisable.

David Warren, sensible Canadian, on the dilemmas faced by India and Pakistan.

Sunday, December 30, 2001

International Herald Tribune investigates the European terror network.

Many Islamic radicals in France have prison records. The French refuse to release figures detailing the numbers of those of North African descent in the prison system, but social workers estimate it runs as high as 70 percent. The prisons have become more efficient recruiting grounds than the mosques. "Prison is a good indoctrination center for the Islamic radicals, much better than the outside," a French Interior Ministry official said. "There are about 300 Islamic radicals in prisons in Paris, and they spend a lot of time converting the criminals to Islam."

It also claims that investigators were only steps away from uncovering the September 11 plot.

It's time for media professionals to do their annual "boy, did we tell you some interesting stuff this year!"-routine. I'm not a professional, and I wouldn't make a good one either, because I believe very few new things ever happens. 2001 were like most years. Some threads died, others were born, some changed direction, most continued as before. It was a good year for curiosity and irreverence - and not so good for the tired remains of guilt-ridden 20th century philosophies. It was a good year to go about your business and being kind to other people, and not so good for blowing up stuff in the name of some God. Responsibility was hot, victimology not.

Overall, it was a good year. I'm not sure I have the right to be patient on behalf of the worlds poor and oppressed, but one year is a very short time. A houndred years is also a short time. It's only a houndred years since we Europeans thought it was a good idea to conquer the earth, and 60 years since many of us tried to exterminate the Jews. 10 years ago we got rid of the last communists. We're moving in the right direction, one year at a time. I think there's a global self-consciousness we have now, that didn't exist before, and as long as we don't suffocate from the guilt of surviving the 20th century, our model will gradually spread, and all of us humans will pull through. The war in Afghanistan was a step in this direction, not against it.

In the world of media professional and NGG's (Non-Governmental Guiltologists), what happens today is a crisis, and what happened yesterday is ancient history. That's one way to look at it, but we also need the long perspective for balance. We're doing fine. Keep it up, boys and girls!

Shimon Peres gets a slap on the wrist for negotiating ceasefire with the Palestinians behind Sharon's back. On norwegian state radio this was presented as evidence that Sharon does not want peace, and is out of touch with his own people. Peres and Sharon are clearly pulling in different directions, but that does not mean one wants peace and the other does not. The straight path isn't always shortest. There's been a "peace process" for ten years, and it hasn't led anywhere. Two major obstacles to Palestinian independence are Arafat's stubborness and the hatred of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Arafat has been declared irrelevant (Peres were negotiating with Ahmed Qureia of the Palestinian Parliament), and terrorists are finally being arrested. Israel should continue this path for a while, then create a peace process, a new one. The Palestinians deserve a beginning, not the animated corpse of Oslo.

Friday, December 28, 2001

In a "Council Common Position" the EU has published a list of what it considers terrorists and terrorist organizations. Full list, from the EU Official Journal, (pdf L344/83 and L344/93):

  • Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) / Tierra Vasca y Libertad / Basque Fatherland and Liberty, including the related Koordinadora Abertzale Sozialista (KAS), Xaki, EKIN, Jarrai-Haika-Segi and Gestoras pro-amnistia (an ETA prisoner support group)
  • Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre / First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (G.R.A.P.O), which started out as the armed wing of the Spanish Communist Party.
  • Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, the militant wing of Hamas, named after the 1936 martyr.
  • Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), which assasinated an 18 year old Catholic girl for having a Protestant boyfriend.
  • Orange Volunteers (OV)
    Should the ceasefire fall our main target will be the Irelands tourist industry. There is no security on the border, what's to stop us driving down to Dublin some Monday morning and planting a dozen devices in litter bins all across Dublin? We could shut it down for days. Ordinary Catholics have nothing to fear from us, we will only hit legitimate targets. But it is a war, and innocents die in wars.
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  • Real IRA and the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA), which broke away from the (Provisional) IRA after the Good Friday Agreement. History of the various IRA's.
  • Red Hand Defenders (RHD) / Ulster Defence Association (UDA) / Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
    I've been down South. My view of the 26 counties is: keep your nose out of our fucking business. They're peasants down there. Their economy is nothing. They're just trying to get a foot in the British economy. They want the shipyard. There's nothing for me in a united Ireland at all - I'm British. If republicans want an "all Ireland" then they should move down South.
  • Revolutionary Nuclei / Revolutionary Popular Struggle / Epanastatikos Laikos Agonas (ELA), a Greek group fighting "imperialist domination, exploitation, and oppression." ("What ever happened to the Popular Front of Judea, Reg? He's over there.")
  • Revolutionary Organization 17 November / Dekati Evdomi Noemvri, named after a 1973 student uprising in Athens.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Just a quick note to let you know I'm off to my other Home to celebrate my favourite holiday. (I used to have fun opening presents, now I enjoy wrapping them almost as much.) I'll be back in a week or two.

Until then: Have a quiet Christmas, and a merry New Year. Please don't blow up anyone you disagree with - unless they tried to blow you up first.

Btw: On Saturday my warblog will be three months old. It has grown in readership and declined in urgency. Let's hope this trend continues.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

On Sulawesi, Indonesia, Christians are forcibly converted, driven from their villages, or killed, in a campaign of religious purification by the Laskar Jihad guerilla. (Via The Edge of England's Sword.)

Steven Snyder of International Christian Concern went to investigate.

As we entered the war zone we were struck by the number of Jihad posts we saw along the road. Some blatantly displayed signs that proclaimed the name of the terrorist organization "Laskar Jihad," with each displaying the Jihad flag, a black flag with Arabic writing on it. Each Jihad post had posters of Osama Bin Laden, some with writing underneath his picture saying "THIS IS OUR LEADER." Young Muslim men, most were armed, guarded these posts to inspect passing vehicles to see if they were occupied by Christians. Identity papers were being searched and if you were a Christian, then you would be in danger of summary execution.

Like the self-respecting 21st century fanatics they are, Laskar Jihad has a website. See, it's all about creating a safe atmosphere for refugees, and fighting adultery and social pathologies.

Sunday, December 16, 2001

More words from Arafat.

I today reiterate a call for the complete and immediate cessation of all military activities. I renew the call to completely halt any activities, especially suicide attacks which we have condemned and always condemned.

Detailed plans to bomb Londons financial district found in Afghan Al-Qaeda camp. The bomb would be similar to the ones that killed two houndred and wounded four thousand in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Lets hope whoever wrote the plans didn't make it back.

Readers at Hindustan Times calls for an attack on Pakistan.

Indeed, India must do everything, including use of military option, to wipe out terrorism, should Pakistan fail to close down ALL the terrorist camps in PoK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] and their own land. It is an open secret that JeM and the likes are involved and I see no need to give any "proof" in this regard. While, we should give Pak government a chance to act, we must put a strict deadline. Should they fail, we MUST go ahead with the military option, at least into PoK, as that is not Pak territory and Pakistan should have no problem in that. This is probably the best time and chance for us to react and not be cowed down by the never- ending "international" pressure. Please ACT!
- Sanjay Upreti

I request the honourable Prime Minister of India to attack Pakistan. I thought the NDA Government alone can save India (forget about the useless Congress Party which could not find an Indian among the one billion population of India for its leadership, the party should be dumped into the Sea - for not showing unity at this time). Millions of Indians like me have a very high regard for the NDA Government. This respect will continue only if it retaliates against Pakistan.
- Gurumurugan

Enough democracy demonstrations. Now it is time to act to save the country. Whoever, I repeat, whoever talks anti-Indian on Indian soil MUST HAVE TO BE EXECUTED. NO room whatsoever for ever moderate, or any f*** such as Hurriyat. JUST REMOVE THEIR existence from our country.
- Indian

The world is waiting for our action. This is the perfect time for it! We should not forget the fifth column at home, it must be covered prior to external actions!
- Prakash Bhirud

Enough is enough. We have been fighting terrorism for the last two decades and paying with our blood. We have lost tens of thousands. America woke up a few months ago and now the whole world is falling flat to condemn terrorism. Do not forget their official position on Kashmir, Pakistan, Chechnya and Palestians before September 11. This is not a time for American or world support. This is an attack on the "body and soul" of our democracy. Action must be direct and proportionate, and planned - no knee-jerk reactions. Also, the nation can do without talk of "Hindus uniting" and so on. It doesnt matter which religion I subscribe to when I know I'm Indian. India was attacked on the 13th, not Hinduism. Jai Hind.
- Bhairav

A detailed analysis of the role of ISI in Pakistani politics, by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis in New Delhi.

India claims it has sufficient evidence ISI was involved in the suicide attack on its Parliament.

ISI is the powerful Pakistani intelligence service.

The ISI has become a state within a state, answerable neither to the leadership of the army, nor to the President or the Prime Minister. The result is there has been no real supervision of the ISI, and corruption, narcotics, and big money have all come into play, further complicating the political scenario. Drug money is used by ISI to finance not only the Afghanistan war, but also the proxy war against India in Punjab and Kashmir.

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Al Ahram, Egypt, praises alternative media like AlterNet and The Nation for their rebellion against western mass media.

A cursory search on the Internet of these and other outlets transports the visitor to another world: articles by Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Arundhati Roy, Robert Fisk, Tareq Ali, as well as lesser known figures like Nigerian activist Oranto Douglas and Palestinian poet Soheir Hammad, to name only a few, are readily found. Their absence is conspicuous in the mainstream media. These articles are provocative and cheeky -- not very "newsworthy" in mainstream terms, as they often deal with the fate of developing nations in the "new world order" and offer a variety of anti-war takes. The slogans of alternative outlets are worth something in themselves: CounterPunch "Tells the facts and names the names." My personal favourite is DemocracyNow Radio: "Resistance Radio: the exception to the rulers."

"Alternative" (ie. anti-mainstream) media are doing real harm when they convince Arab intellectuals to read The Nation instead of The Economist. Now, introspection and dissent is necessary to preserve democracy. If I weren't busy with this war, death and pestilence stuff I might be taking a look at the mess down in Europe, or the social democratic nanny state I live in. There's a lot to improve back home, and countless mistakes to learn from - but it's important not to lose the historical and global perspective. We're very well off in the West, and despite our internal differences we have two principles in common, democracy and capitalism, to which we owe our wealth and freedom. Without this in mind, introspection becomes shallow, and harmful for us and those who watch us.

Also harmful is the way these publications confirm the Arab fear that the West hates Islam, and wants to destroy it. Western lunacy-leftists seem to be quoted a lot more often than the actual lunacy-hawks as evidence of our malevolent intentions - perhaps they should ask themselves why.

More Than Zero puts Winona Ryder's "shoplifting" in the proper perspective.

David Warren: Terrorist attacks on the US, Israel and India have created an unspoken triple pact.

Here is what's unspoken: "We three bourgeois democracies agree, in light of our common experience as victims of terrorism from the same extended family of Islamic fanatics, that barring some truly unforeseeable future event, we will no longer even ask each other to pull any punches."


What the Bush administration looks forward to now, is the emergence of Israel, India, and soon Turkey, as effective U.S. proxies in the fight against essentially the same enemy. Call it imperialism, if you please. It is, in reality, the natural convergence of interests between democracies, against tyrannical outsiders who have pushed too far. We saw it in the fight against Hitler, and in the NATO containment of Soviet Russia, and we see it again against the Islamic jihad. In the long run, Europe is onside, too, and Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. They don't need reasons to be allied against terrorism, or rather they already have the big reason. But every other ally -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, for instance -- has to be bought off.

Mr. Warren is a Canadian - and not very proud of it these days, accusing prime minister Jean Chretien of walking in the footsteps of France.

Do you know that part of what made me so proud to be Canadian was the speed and confidence with which this country entered into the horrors of World War II? Not because we were ourselves directly attacked, but because Poland was, and our allies, Britain and France, were at war. We knew who we were, and we could not do otherwise. Even a man like the prime minister of the day, Mackenzie King, though capable of obtuse complacency, was able to understand what was at stake.


We sent off a small contingent of Canadian troops by boat from Halifax, with much empty political rhetoric and fanfare. Now the only news one reads of this Canadian expedition, in the world press, is that it won't be allowed even to help with humanitarian interventions, because our prime minister has decided that would be too dangerous.

Friday, December 14, 2001

Yes, something has definitely changed in Saudi-Arabia when the Arab News print an article called Why we should be happy the US is the sole superpower.

6. Bin Laden represents the resentment and anger that many Muslims feel against their own regimes.
A: Well, why take it out on the US? The US has admittedly supported many dictatorships in the Middle East for its own selfish economic and strategic reasons. Yet, if the real grievances are with local rulers why not take it up with them? There are many nonviolent ways to push for change, Bin Laden has just chosen the easiest way, which is violence.

I wonder which dictatorships he is referring to.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

The pope comes out on terrorism. He's against it.

Jock Falkson at The Palestinians never lived up to Oslo.

The ultimate, long term goal of the Oslo Accords was ��to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process.� It has become clear to a majority of Israelis that these finely crafted phrases were either never internalized by the Palestinians or they were never honest objectives in the first place. It has been made abundantly clear that what PLO so-called peace partners wanted was not land for peace, but the Land of Israel itself. Without Jews. Without democracy. Without any peculiar attachment to the rule of law. The map of Israel, all of it, hangs in Arafat�s office and is published in all PLO literature and books, only it�s called Palestine.

Israel declares Arafat irrelevant, cuts all contact with the PA, and launches campaign to end his reign. "Only Israel can provide for its own security and that is what we will do."

US and Europe still recognize Arafat as the leader of the Palestinians.

Destroyed radio station Voice of Palestine accuses Israel of censorship.

Debka calls Israeli response feeble, bureaucratic and evasive.

With another 10 Israelis dead and 22 still in hospital from the latest Palestinian terror outrage Wednesday, the Israeli defense cabinet�s ruling in a special session that the Palestinian Authority is �no longer relevant to the State of Israel� sounds feeble, bureaucratic and evasive. The very phrasing will intensify popular pressure on the Sharon government to go all the way against Yasser Arafat and his regime. Demonstrations are scheduled to demand the resignation from the government of right-wing ministers, unless Yasser Arafat is expelled and the West Bank re-occupied without further delay Bitter parallels are drawn between Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush who, if he acted on the Israeli model, would have declared bin Laden irrelevant and broken off contact with al Qaeda at Tora Bora.

US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz speaks on the present and future state of warfare, (via Virginia Postrel.)

Often people say that the solution to the problem of surprise is better intelligence. But, the solution is not just better intelligence. We always need better intelligence, but we must also learn not to depend too much on intelligence; not to assume that other people operate on assumptions that mirror our own about what is impossible, what is irrational, or both. The answer is not building our war plans around one or two well-defined, familiar threats. We must have plans that make allowances for complexity and uncertainty and the unexpected�plans that give us a range of options and the flexibility to respond to surprise.

Finally: Osama bin Laden reveals his role in the September 11th massacre.

When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.


Those youth who conducted the operations did not accept any fiqh in the popular terms, but they accepted the fiqh that the prophet Muhammad brought. Those young men said in deeds, in New York and Washington, speeches that overshadowed all other speeches made everywhere else in the world. The speeches are understood by both Arabs and non-Arabs even by Chinese. It is above all the media said. Some of them said that in Holland, at one of the centers, the number of people who accepted Islam during the days that followed the operations were more than the people who accepted Islam in the last eleven years. I heard someone on Islamic radio who owns a school in America say: "We don't have time to keep up with the demands of those who are asking about Islamic books to learn about Islam." This event made people think (about true Islam) which benefited Islam greatly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Emmanuel Sivan in Newsweek: Hamas support is growing.

There is a growing popularity, admiration for those who take daring action. There is also disappointment with Arafat, because the public recognizes that the intifada as he perceived it - that is, a way of bringing pressure to bear on Israel in order to get greater concessions, but still within the framework of the political process - that this is going nowhere. In the pro-Arafat press itself, ever since the beginning of the summer, this sense of going nowhere is openly debated, so Fatah itself is now split between the older guard who back Arafat and the younger guard who blame him for getting them entangled in a struggle which has cost them 600 lives.

Khaled Ahmed on the history of Pakistan and radical Islam.

And: A look at the roots of Pakistani anti-Americanism.

Benazir Bhutto in the Nation, Pakistan:

As the Northern Alliance advanced, the bodies of unclaimed dead Pakistanis littered the landscape. None had stopped them from going. None came forward to accept their dead bodies. They were abandoned. No one knows what happened to the Arab widows and orphans other than that they were banned from entering Pakistan. Defeat has its own bitter aftertaste. The earlier bravado of victory in the ground war and the noisy demonstrations for fighting against the infidel ended. A dark silence descended. Few asked for accountability of those who provoked young men into siding with the Taliban. Few wondered about the mothers who lost their sons or the young widows or orphans. The second Afghan war is a double tragedy for the Muslim world. It is a war that never should have happened. Yet, in the madrassahs set up under Zia, that second war took its roots bringing in its wake death, destruction and shame.


Trade is the key to economic salvation yet it is a key lost in the madrassahs of Pakistan. Here the men learn to fire guns instead of learning to manage businesses. Yet the lesson of the 20th century is the reality of economic power. Releasing economic power has prerequisites like freedom, rule of law, deregulation and open competition. Economic interests play a critical role in building peaceful relations. Trading relations increase the partners' joint economic welfare. Some of the world's greatest opportunities for trade and growth are the undeveloped markets of South Asia. Before the British conquest, it was one of the world's richest regions. It can again claim its heritage by building peace through conflict management.

In a 1998 interview, Bhutto recalls her first encounter with bin Laden's movement.

There was a no confidence move against me in 1989. At that time the same Ziaist (former military dictator Zia ul-Haq) constituency saw me as an obstacle in the path of Islamisation of the country. They offered half a million dollars each to 14 of my legislators to defect so the no confidence would be a success. Some of these came to me and I said 'Take the first instalment and pretend you're with them.' So when the no confidence vote came they were my Trojan horses.

We heard at that time that the Saudi government had funded this operation, so I sent a minister to the Saudi government and the minister came back having been assured it was not the Saudi government but philanthropist Arabs who had played a part in the Afghan war and had sympathy with those who had worked with General Zia's government, and had therefore done it individually out of their own personal finances. And that was when we first heard this name of Mr bin Laden.

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Women and girls in Kabul on why they're still wearing the burqa:

If somebody took off their burqa probably nobody would do anything, but after all these years of Taliban we still live in fear. It's a kind of shame feeling, and I feel it myself. I couldn't go out of the hospital and show my face. When I was at school, at university, I used to talk with boys and laugh with them, but for five years now we've been told not to speak with a man, not to sit with a man, and if a man comes into this room now, I still feel afraid.

Ah .. Matt Welch dispels the well-manufactured illusion that Noam Chomsky is a censored dissenter.

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Dale Amon at Libertarian Samizdata discusses the place of the weblog in the grand scale of things:

Blogs are anarchic. The entry cost is low and falling so anyone who wants can jump in. If the new blogger has ideas and communicates well they will collect a readership; if they grow tired of it someone else with similar ideas will take up the slack and the readership. Any thought that can be thought will be written, rewritten, torn apart and reassembled a hundred times. The better the idea, the more relevant and interesting and important it is, the more widely it will spread... regardless of to whose interest or detriment it is. That is the glory of Chaos.


I do not believe that the global media is going to shrivel up and die. It serves a purpose. Journalism was once and can once again be an honourable profession if it goes back to its' roots and forgets the Star thing. Someone has to go out and collect the raw data. What has changed is who makes the decision on what the data means, what is important and to what use it should be put. That is now the niche of the blog.

Exactly. Did I remember to tell you visitors just how easy it is to create one of these weblogs you're reading? You don't have to be a nerd or a designer, or even unemployed, all you need is something to say and time to put it into words. (You know who you are.) Takes five minutes to create one, honest. Well, maybe ten. That's the good news. The bad: You don't have to fight wimpy corporations or biased editors to get readers, but there's still the general unfairness of the universe standing between you and the power to slashdot entire web servers. But if you are discouraged by that, you're missing the whole point: It's never been easier, in the recorded history of human existence, to have your Voice Heard by other people. If that intrigues you, you know where to click.

The Palestine Chronicle represents everything that is wrong with the Palestinian struggle for independence: Acceptance of Evil for a Good cause, and eagerness to place blame anywhere in the world except at home. It has a good reader section though. Writes Mike Thompson from North Carolina:

The issue to Palestine appears to be the desire for statehood. To that end, above all else, leaders should mobilize the population. My point is, if statehood was granted tomorrow, and the Palestine population failed to make the new state work, or prosper, what will you do? Who will you blame? It seems to me, an outsider, you should be preparing the population for the future. Plan the government, the many departments, draw maps, plan for prosperity.

Make sure the younger generation understands the need to be involved in the civil government, that they prepare to be prosperous. Work from the inside out, to be prepared. Your state is coming. Your right to self government is on the horizon.

The world, and most of the Americans that I interact with day to day, want nothing more that peace to be the norm for the whole world. When nations, and the people of nations are dedicated to freedom, peace and tolerance of other people and nations that seek peace are the norm, life is the worth living. I know that if the news of the day was of the people of your area preparing for a prosperous future, instead of planning the next holy war, the rest of the world will pressure the Israelis to stand down. If the news clips were of children learning to use computers instead of slingshots, opinions will change. If the photos were of everyday citizens building your future state, instead of firing weapons in the air, your cause will be recognized by the world.

There are also letters from the usual shameful westerners, and believers in the great Jewish Conspiracy. This constructive scolding from an anonymous american is beyond weird, calling for Palestinians to take lessons from womens groups: Where is the "Million Arab March" on Washington?

Pro-Palestinian complaints that it's nearly impossible to tell America Mideast "truths" reminds me of bellyachings by the U.S. men's movement. It, too, complains that the other side (feminism) "controls" media and so unfairly wins all gender debates. The fact is, few men's groups fight fire with fire. They refuse to master the techniques women�s groups use. Similarly, pro-Palestinian forces rarely use media to counter pro-Israeli lobbyists. The problem isn't what the opposition does; it's how little proponents do.

Hamas are not freedom fighters. Not only because of the way they fight, but because of what they are fighting for, not freedom, but Islamic fascism.

From the Hamas Manifesto, Ten Principles of Faith:

5. Hamas strives to set up an entity wherein Allah is the highest purpose, the Koran is the law, jihad is its means, and dying for the sake of Allah is the noblest wish.
9. The Jews control the media and the world financial institutions. By means of revolution and war, and organizations, such as the Masons, Communists, capitalists, Zionists, Rotary, Lions, B'nai B'rith, and the like, they undermine human society as a whole in order to destroy it. By their evil corruption, they try to gain domination of the world by such institutions as the United Nations and its Security Council. More details of their iniquity be found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
10. Hamas opposes any secular state the PLO would seek to create in Palestine, since by definition it would be anti-Islamic. On the other hand, if the PLO would adopt Islam and follow its flag, then all of the PLO's members would become freedom fighters who would light the fire to consume the enemy.

The 1988 Charter of Hamas:

By virtue of the distribution of Muslims, who pursue the cause of the Hamas, all over the globe, and strive for its victory, for the enforcement of its positions and for the encouragement of its Jihad, the Movement is a universal one. Whoever denigrates its worth, or avoids supporting it, or is so blind as to dismiss its role, is challenging Fate itself. Whoever closes his eyes from seeing the facts, whether intentionally or not, will wake up to find himself overtaken by events, and will find no excuses to justify his position.

Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It links up with the setting out of the Martyr Izz al-din al-Qassam and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936; it further relates to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 War, and to the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 and thereafter.

Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said:

"The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

Izz al-din al-Qassam was martyred in 1935 at the hands of the British, and sparked the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt. The militant wing of Hamas is known as the Izz al-din al-Qassam Brigades.

When some of al-Sheik�s friends rushed to the battlefield that morning, and saw Izz al-Din al-Qassam, Yusef al-Zybawi and Hanafi al-Massri lying in a pool of blood, they knew that the battle was over. However, today Palestinians continue to flood the West Bank and Gaza with flyers which carry the smiling face of al-Qassam followed by a verse of the Koran saying, "Count not those who were slain in the way of God as dead, but rather living with their God, by him provided."

Thursday, December 06, 2001

Ramzy Baroud in the Palestine Chronicle attempts to justify the Intifada:

To merely describe a young Palestinian man who blows himself on a busy street or as he rides in a crowded bus as simply "evil", "wicked" and "terrorist", portrays a severe lack of understanding regarding the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Statistics about Israeli settlers. Since the second Intifada began, several thousand have given up their settlements, but there are still 200 000 left.

Hichem Karoui, the Palestine Chronicle: A matter of perspective.

In a recent interview on NBC's "Meet the Press", U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared:" Arafat is not a particularly strong leader, and I don't know that he has good control over the Palestinian situation"! Then he added: "He has not ever delivered anything for the Palestinian people throughout history. His record is not particularly impressive"! These words show clearly the way the Bush administration deals with the Palestinians. Not only it marginalizes and provokes them in inviting General Sharon to the White House and ignoring Arafat, but also in considering their cause just a spare wheel for the needs of Mr. Bush's war effort in Afghanistan and its expected annexes.


What Israel and Washington view as strength, others consider as weakness, injustice, and humiliation. And what Israel and Washington view as an endeavor favorable to peace, some observers and actors in the Arab world still consider as offending millions of people and attempts to fool them and despise their minds, their principles, and their creeds. And what Israel and Washington view as good and fair deeds, may be considered by one billion and half people in the Islamic world as villain and vicious terrorism, against which everybody should fight. The whole thing is then a matter of vision and perspective.

So - what has Arafat achieved for the Palestinian people? He may die soon, out of natural causes, or if the Israelis decide to take the risk, so perhaps it is time to think of an epitaph. He hasn't given them land, nor democracy, and who knows what chaos will follow his death. The only strengths he appears to have is stubborness and evasion, and what the Palestinian people needs is the opposite: Flexibility, and a sense of responsibility for their own future. Reading Palestinian websites, (and Arab sites in general), all I see is "Israel this", or "Americans that". What they need to hear is this: 1. Israel is here to stay. 2. The US won't change its foreign policy. 3. You build your future, not foreigners. Choose a better way, and the world will follow.

Apparently there is an Israeli surrender-- I mean peace-movement. Gush Shalom hasn't seen a Palestinian demand they couldn't meet, and Jews Against the Occupation places the burden of bringing peace exclusively on Israeli shoulders:

We urge Israel to uphold the human rights of Palestinians by:
* immediate, total and unconditional withdrawal from all of the territories taken by force and occupied in 1967
* recognition of the Palestinian right to national self-determination, to return and to compensation, and the implementation of steps towards the realization of this right
* abolition of all discriminatory laws, and the introduction of full legal equality between Jews and non-Jews
* redistribution of resources and a massive program of international aid to rehabilitate Palestinian communities.
Only an approach based on these elements stands any chance of leading to the conditions for a just peace in the region.

Which leaves out the two other obstacles to Palestinian freedom and dignity: Hamas, who spreads moral corruption, and Arafat, who spreads political corruption. Both must go, and the sooner Palestinians start working on it, the better for both sides. If the Israelis leave tomorrow, will Palestinians be able to face that task, or will they use the necessary compromises of any peace agreement as an excuse to ignore their own problems?

Today, of course, peace is unreachable. There is no peace process in the Middle East, and hasn't been for years. There's a war process, and it's culminating right now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Prime Minister Sharon delivered a speech of war yesterday:

Just as the United States is conducting its war against international terror, using all its might against terror, so too will we. With all the strength, determination, and resources we have used until today, and with resources at our disposal. Do not believe false prophecies and do not be misled by promises of immediate results. This struggle is not an easy one, this struggle will not be short. But we will be victorious.

Israel does not start wars. This war of terror, as in the past, has been forced upon us. We know who has forced it upon us. We know who is guilty. We know who is responsible. Arafat is responsible for everything that happens here. Arafat has made his strategic choices: a strategy of terrorism. In choosing to try to win political accomplishments through murder and in choosing to allow the ruthless killing of innocent civilians, Arafat has chosen the path of terrorism.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

I took part in Walk for Capitalism Oslo today, organized by Fredrik Norman - and I can't think of anyone better suited. There were a lot more communists than capitalists there, but they were the kind that shouts, not the kind that throws bricks and eggs. They actually helped promote our message. Our side was mostly quiet amateurs, but the loud, ridiculous mocking from the professionals helped us give a favourable impression after all. I'm still new to this rally business, next time I'll bring some catchy slogans.

In 1974, the museum of Kabul was "one of the greatest testimonies of antiquity that the world has inherited". When it reopened this week, mostly rubble was left.

Personally, (and I don't expect many of you to agree), I find it difficult to mourn over lost cultural treasures. To answer the dilemma, if I could choose between saving a human or the Mona Lisa, I would choose the human, even if there were no photographs or copies of the painting left. If we had the attitude that all that is beautiful around us will one day be destroyed, perhaps we would appreciate it more while it is still there. And perhaps, if once in a while some of the great things left behind by our ancestors were to disappear, it would give us courage to create them all over again.

Steven Den Beste reserves the lowest pits of hell for the Pakistani teachers who sent thousands of young students to their deaths in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Jihadi were volunteers. I cry for them. (I have tears in my eyes as I write this.) Intrepid and eager to fight, they ran away, got themselves smuggled into Afghanistan -- and then discovered that they'd been lied to. They found out that there was no glory in this war. They discovered that they were fighting other Muslims, and that they had no chance at all, none whatever, of bagging an American. The only Americans they saw were 20,000 feet above them, dropping bombs. They discovered that the Taliban were not holy men, but corrupt thugs who had sold their souls to al Qaeda. And they found out, moments before their deaths, that no amount of courage could protect them from cluster bombs dropped from 50,000 feet, and that God wasn't going to show up on the battlefield and fight along side them.

Speaking of Palestinian terrorism ..

Update: .. and again.

Kelly L. Ross on terrorism, Palestine, and the legacy of the Iranian revolution.

The Israelis had been funding conservative Isl�mic groups among the Palestinians, hoping in this way to counter the influence of the revolutionary Marxist ideologies that seemed dominant in Palestinian guerrilla organizations. This turned out to be a mistake. The Ir�nians had coopted the revolutionary ideology to their own purposes, and now this began to catch on with the Palestinians, among whom there were relatively few Shi'ites. In time, suicide bombers became the weapon of choice for Palestinian attacks on Israelis. A new era, of pure terrorist attacks, rather than attempts at the familiar forms of guerrilla warfare, had arrived. While scholars have been using the term "Islamism" for the mix of ideology in the Ir�nian revolution and the movements inspired by it, a term already exists in Western politics for such a thing, and that term is "fascism."

The only way palestinians can achieve their goals, is through a fundamental change of tactics:

If the Palestinians wish to exploit the moral possibilities of their position, that they have a good claim to their old homes in Palestine, that the actions of the Israeli Occupation are often contrary to International Law (which they are), then they should do so in a way that does not undercut their own moral ground and does not give precisely the wrong impression to the Israelis, and to disinterested observers. This can be done, not with the traditional Middle Eastern rhetoric and practice of violence, but with the very modern device of non-violent resistance, Mah�tm� Gandhi's Satyagraha, or "truth force." When I was a student in Beirut in 1969 and 1970, a Catholic priest once suggested that Palestinian refugees who wanted to go home should simply get up and walk across the border into Israel. There was no more than a fence there. A large crowd could trample it down. The Israelis always feel justified in violent responses to violence. Dead Israelis mean deadly retaliation. Although this is usually protested by some, most Western opinion sees it as at least understandable, which it is. If Palestinians, however, were to cease killing Israelis and deliberately adopt a non-violent approach, then Israel would be in no position to justify or explain deadly retaliation to anyone.

Ross is a professor of philosophy, and a congressional candidate for the Libertarian Party, whose huge website with political, philosophical and historical writing is a shrine of learning.

Saturday, December 01, 2001

- I still don't understand why we were only issued a single clip between the two of us.
- Those are our orders. We have to save the bullets for the americans.
- So what am I supposed to do with an unarmed rifle?
- Wave it at the bitches and pretend it's loaded.

From The Spiders, part one of an online comic by Patrick Farley.

While you're there, spend a few hours reading some of his other excellent works ..

.. and please consider leaving a small tip on your way out. If he made printed comics, Farley would belong in the prominent section of my collection. Instead he gives it away on the web for free. That's impressive and foolish and deserves compensation.

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