Fighting to Win
Friday, December 03, 2004
UN under Fire
The New York Senate tabled a bill that would have funded expansion of the United Nations headquarters. From The New York Sun:
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat of Brooklyn, was pleased with the decision.
"I was gratified to have the opportunity in Albany to work on the Assembly side to organize people against the U.N.'s doing anything in New York," Mr. Hikind said. "I'm so delighted, on behalf of my community and New Yorkers, to tell the U.N. to go to hell, plain and simple. They want to expand? Forget it!" he added. "Let them move to Mozambique, or Paris, or God knows where."
State Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn was quoted by the AP yesterday as saying that Americans "have been insulted by the U.N. repeatedly since September 11, 2001, as we have sought to defend ourselves from terrorism. This is hardly the time to assist the United Nations with expansion efforts on American soil."
And state Senator Serphin Maltese, a Republican from Queens, also weighed in on the embattled U.N.: "It has evolved into an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic group of petty, sniping bigots who are pursuing an anti-freedom, antidemocratic, anti-American agenda. To authorize an expansion of their headquarters would be a slap in the face of American citizens."
To Mr. Hikind, however, the "U.N. is a cesspool." He declared, "It's the most corrupt organization if the history of the world. Why any of us in New York would want to support this organization's being here, on principle, is beyond me."
"The U.N. is evil, it is racist, it is anti-American," he added. "New York will do very, very well without them."
According to the article, the United States contributes $1.12 billion annually to the United Nations.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Muslims seek ban on 'Submission II'
Just a month after Theo van Gogh was murdered because of his film Submission, muslims in the Netherlands attempt to silence his co-producer.
Several Muslims in the Netherlands are seeking a court injunction to prevent MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali making a sequel to the short film "Submission".Here's a December 2003 interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Lawyer Robert Moszkowicz said Tuesday that the group he represents also want Hirsi Ali banned from making hurtful remarks about Muslims and Islam.
Moszkowicz noted Hirsi Ali recently described Islam as "deadly dangerous" without making a distinction between fundamentalist Islam and Islam in general.
It is expected the case will be heard by a court in The Hague, but it is unclear when this will take place.
If I were to say the things that I say now in the Dutch Parliament in Somalia, I would be killed.
I wish I could go back, and I would love to go back, even if it's just to see my parents and brother.
But I can't go back, because the situation is that I have said things about the Islamic religion, I have said things about my past, I have said things about the Prophet Mohammed and his message about women.
By saying these things, I think I would be seeking danger if I went back to Somalia.
I'm not intimidated by the threats and the attempts to make me shut my mouth, because living in a rich western European country like this one, I have protection that I otherwise would not have in Somalia or in Africa or in any other Islamic country.
So I am going to make use of this huge opportunity - that I am protected and I can say what I want, that it gets published and spread, and that I am a voice in parliament for these women.
See the film Submission here.
Hiding our heroes and their accomplishments
Thomas Sowell on what the media isn't reporting:
You cannot fight a war without many brave men taking risks with their lives in order to try to accomplish their mission. Yet can you name a single American hero in either of the two wars going on today in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Chances are you can't -- not if you rely on the mainstream media. You may be able to name someone from the little band of people involved in the prison scandal in Iraq or perhaps Jessica Lynch who was rescued, but not those who rescued her.
There are apparently no heroes among the more than 100,000 men and women fighting for us overseas -- only victims. At least, that is how the news gets filtered and spun in most of the media.
Robert Spencer examines the supporters of the first Islamic TV network in the US:
The first nationwide American Muslim TV network has begun operations: on Tuesday, Bridges TV began broadcasting on the GlobeCast World TV satellite system.
Hassan [the founder] decided to present a more positive view of Islam: Bridges TV declares that its intention is to “fuse American culture with the values of Islam in a healthy, family-oriented way.”
But what kind of voice? ... It’s impossible to tell so early in the network’s life, but in the meantime, the Bridges TV website asks inquirers to “check the legitimacy of Bridges TV” with, among others, Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR); Aleem Rahman, President & CEO of IslamiCity.com, which it identifies as “the largest Muslim Web site in North America”; and Alex Kronemer, who created and produced the PBS documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet.
Aleem Rahman’s IslamiCity.com, meanwhile, sells auto pioneer Henry Ford’s notorious hate screed The International Jew, which draws abundantly from other classics of hatred and incitement such as the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The edition IslamiCity.com carries contains the Protocols as well. Nor is this farrago of lies and forgery presented as a historical artifact; the IslamiCity ad copy asserts that “in the so called ‘democratic, pluralist’ America this book has been systematically suppressed. The International Jew is a magnifying glass applied to the hidden sources of immorality, vile degeneracy, and subversion. … By reopening this debate this book exposes the inherent danger of unchecked Zionism.”
Terrorists flow into Iraq from Syria
All Aboard the Terrorists' Convoy
When not in Iraq, Abdullah cuts meat for a living. He is a Syrian cook at the Kingdom of God restaurant in Damascus, in a bustling suburb dominated by Iraqi exiles.
For the past year Abdullah has also been on the payroll of Iraqi resistance forces fighting coalition troops. Like many Syrians he is convinced that his country will be invaded next and that it is only by keeping America bogged down in Iraq that Syria will be spared. "All we know is that Syria is the next station in the American plan. The Americans are all Jews and unbelievers,'" said Abdullah.
In April, the 23-year-old boarded a convoy of vehicles in Aleppo, northern Syria, with 10 other fighters from the area. He had been recruited at a mosque 30 miles south of Aleppo, built last year by a local sheik with business interests in Iraq and strong sympathies with the resistance. It is brazenly entitled the "Mujahedeen Mosque."
Abdullah, originally from the Aleppo area, and the other fighters, were provided with Iraqi passports and weapons. Abdullah was given a bazooka to carry.
They were told they would be relieving Syrian mujahedeen already in Iraq, part of a regular "troop" rotation, and would be expected to fight until they in turn were either killed or replaced.
In return Abdullah's family would be paid $3,000 a month by the mosque, more than most American soldiers in Iraq, and a fortune in Syria.
"I don't feel scared, I feel satisfied," he said.
"We are Muslims, we should do jihad. We should go to Palestine but it is difficult to enter - but in Iraq it is easy to kill the Jews."
Several prominent mosques in Damascus, including the large Bilal al-Hashemi mosque, have reputations as staging posts for Syrian fighters, suggesting a logistical and financial operation beyond the ability of any one tribal leader. The America military believes there may be as many as 2,000 foreign fighters in Iraq, mostly from Syria.
They do not operate in a vacuum. Iraqi exiles - those who fled the Saddam regime and more recent arrivals, supporters of the old regime - live in separate quarters of Damascus.
Fear of being sued for discrimination sabotages national security
Heather MacDonald on how political correctness is endangering us all.
Currently, from immigration enforcement to intelligence gathering, government officials continue to compromise national security in order to avoid accusations of "racial profiling"—and in order to avoid publicly acknowledging what the 9/11 Commission finally said: that the "enemy is not just 'terrorism,' [but] Islamist terrorism." This blind anti-discrimination reflex is all the more worrying since radical Islam continues to seek adherents and plan attacks in the United States.
The anti-discrimination hammer has hit the airline industry most severely—and with gruesome inappropriateness, given the realities of 9/11 and the Islamists' enduring obsession with airplanes. Department of Transportation lawyers have extracted millions in settlements from four major carriers for alleged discrimination after 9/11, and they have undermined one of the most crucial elements of air safety: a pilot's responsibility for his flight. Because the charges against the airlines were specious but successful, every pilot must worry that his good-faith effort to protect his passengers will trigger federal retaliation.
The DoT action against American Airlines was typical. In the last four months of 2001, American carried 23 million passengers and asked ten of them (.00004 percent of the total) not to board because they raised security concerns that could not be resolved in time for departure. For those ten interventions (and an 11th in 2002), DoT declared American a civil rights pariah, whose discriminatory conduct would "result in irreparable harm to the public" if not stopped.
American's defense pointed out the behavioral warning signs that had led to the 11 removals. But fighting the government civil rights complex is futile; in February 2004, the airline, while vehemently denying guilt, settled the action for $1.5 million, to be spent on yet more "sensitivity training" for its employees. American's pilots were outraged. "Pilots felt: 'How dare they second-guess our decision?' " says Denis Breslin, a pilots' union official. "We just shake our heads in shame: 'How could the government be so wrong?' "
Not satisfied with just one scalp, the Transportation Department lawyers brought identical suits against United, Delta, and Continental Airlines. While maintaining their innocence, those carriers also settled, pledging more millions for "sensitivity training"—money much better spent on security training than on indoctrinating pilots to distrust their own security judgments.
In addition to individual discrimination suits, the government has continued to sic "disparate impact" analysis on anti-terror measures. One of the most destructive innovations of the rights lobby, such analysis—which assigns bigotry to neutral policies if they affect different demographic groups differently—is suicidal in a war-fighting situation. It rules out every security procedure that might actually be useful in combating Muslim terrorists, since a screening device for Muslim terrorists cannot by definition have the same effect on non-Muslims.
The skittishness of an airline executive about the possibility of behavioral profiling at American airports should be a thing of the past. Edmond Soliday, former United Airlines Vice President of Safety, lauds Israel's intense scrutiny of passengers. Soliday says he was "profiled" in Israel. "I was a single man alone, with no checked baggage, in that airport for the first time, wandering aimlessly looking for a pay phone. Security hit me." He was intensively questioned, and not just with "seven canned questions preapproved by the Department of Justice, as here." That kind of intervention found two suicide bombers in the Tel Aviv airport, who were walking on the concourse with identical gym bags but pretending not to know each other. Security sweated them and found explosives in their bags. Why don't we do what the Israelis do? I asked Soliday. "I'd be in jail in a week," he replied.
The inspection charade continues
Diplomats: U.N. Lacks Right to Inspect Sites in Iran
Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog would like to visit a secret military site in Iran that an exile group said was a nuclear weapons site, but they lack the legal authority to go there, U.N. diplomats told Reuters.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes satellite photographs show that high explosives are being tested and that procurement records show equipment has been bought that can be used for making bomb-grade uranium, citing unnamed diplomats.
But the military sites the inspectors would like to inspect -- the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran and Lavizan II in northeastern Tehran -- are legally off limits to the IAEA, which only has the right to monitor civilian nuclear programs.
"The IAEA simply has no authority to go to sites that are not declared nuclear sites," a diplomat close to the IAEA inspection process told Reuters. He said that the IAEA had not asked to inspect Lavizan II, although they would like to.
"If a country has a strategy for hiding its nuclear program, then the Additional Protocol is of little use," a U.N. diplomat said, adding that the IAEA would not have been able to prove that Libya had an atomic arms program if Muammar Gaddafi had not confessed and handed over his atom bomb designs.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Efforts to freeze terror funds unsuccessful
From The Jerusalem Post:
In a panel discussion for reporters, Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy and the Center for the Study of Corruption and the Rule of Law, said European Union officials have repeatedly shied away from defining what terrorism is. Therefore, efforts to crack down on terror-financing activities are thwarted from the start, she said. Political rivalries, particularly European resentment of US-led initiatives, are also impeding efforts, she added.
As such, only $211 million of terrorist-related assets, out of billions, have been frozen in the three years since the September 11, 2001, attacks, Ehrenfeld said.
Left leaning press in France in decline
This sounds familiar:
Le Monde, like other French national dailies, has been experiencing financial hardship of late.
It has cut 90 staff after newsstand sales fell by more than 10 percent in a year to bring circulation down to around 340,000, and is looking for an investor to take a one-third stake for around EUR 50 million (USD 67 million).
It also had its reputation as a paper of reference badly damaged by a book, "The Hidden Face of Le Monde", published last year with allegations of bias, editorial arrogance and ambitions of influencing politics rather than reporting it. The newspaper strongly rejected the attacks.
Le Monde's rivals are faring little better in the marketplace.
Cash-strapped Liberation, which puts itself further to the left, fears its own independence may be called into question if a businessman, Edouard de Rothschild, sees through plans to grab a third of its capital in return for EUR 20 million (USD 27 million).
Tracking down terrorists in Mosul
From The New York Times:
At first the suspect was merely one of 115 Iraqis whom American troops corralled for questioning on Saturday night in a particularly nasty part of Mosul. But his belligerence stood out. And then he made his move.
Sitting where the troops had ordered him to sit - in front of an open-air cigarette store - the suspect flicked out of his pocket several folded sheets of handwritten notes. It was clear he hoped the pages would land unnoticed amid the clutter of the store just a step away.
They did not. A soldier scooped them up and handed them to an Iraqi interpreter working for the Americans. "Who has this? He is an insurgent!" shouted the interpreter, known only to the soldiers as Jeff the Fighting Kurd.
Jeff and another interpreter quickly translated the pages for the American officers who gathered around.
One passage mentioned a proposal for a large-scale attack against American troops, according to the interpreters. Another urged attacks on the families of Iraqis thought to be working for the Americans. Another described "how to get money and use the money for jihad," an interpreter said. And still another underscored the importance of "bringing information about who is working for the U.S. forces."
An American commander told embedded journalists not to report other passages - more specific, descriptive and pointed - for fear of jeopardizing efforts to gather intelligence and prevent attacks on American forces.
The Ukrainian elections
David Satter in the Wall Street Journal explains that since the demise of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been ruled by an oligarchy of criminal clans.
A result of the absolutization of power in the former Soviet Union is that democracy has taken root only in the Baltic republics. In the other republics -- with the possible exceptions of Moldova and Georgia -- elections exist to confirm a decision that the authorities have already made. Until a few days ago, it appeared that Ukraine was about to strengthen this tradition. It was symbolic of the cynicism of the present Ukrainian leadership that the deputy head of Mr. Kuchma's administration reacted to the apparent poisoning of Mr. Yushchenko that has left his face pockmarked and partially paralyzed by suggesting that he should hire a food taster.
The popular revolt against the falsified election results in Ukraine has now spread from Yushchenko partisans to members of parliament, journalists working for state TV, and even members of the security forces. It could, if successful, reverse the relationship between rulers and ruled in Ukraine in a way that is dramatic enough to change the entire political psychology of the former Soviet space. It is for this reason that Mr. Putin has been so adamant in congratulating Mr. Yanukovich on his "victory." The example of a free Ukraine will morally isolate the Russian leadership, making clear that Russia can either join the civilized world or preserve authoritarian rule, but not do both. In this, Ukraine may repay a country that brought it communist enslavement with an example of freedom, and with the preconditions for a new start.
The Appeasement of Iran
Micheal Ledeen on the "negotiations" with Iran:
No serious person can believe that the negotiations are going to block, or even seriously delay, the Iranian race to acquire atomic bombs. The European posturing is the Western counterpart of the Iranian deception, a ritual dance designed to put a flimsy veil over the nakedness of the real activities. The old-fashioned name for this sort of thing is "appeasement," and was best described by Churchill, referring to Chamberlain's infamous acceptance of Hitler's conditions at Munich. Chamberlain had to choose between war and dishonor, opted for the latter, and got the former as well. That is now the likely fate of Blair, Chirac, and Schroeder.
They surely know this. Why do they accept it?
Read the whole thing.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Violence at the Ukrainian polls
The Sunday Telegraph details the extent of the Ukrainian election fraud:
It was 5.30pm on election day in Ukraine when the thugs in masks arrived armed with rubber truncheons.
Vitaly Kizima, an election monitor at Zhovtneve in Ukraine's Sumy region, watched in horror as 30 men in tracksuits stormed into the village polling station.
"They started to beat voters and election officials, trying to push through towards the ballot boxes," he told The Telegraph.
"People's faces were cut from blows to the head. There was blood all over."
The thugs - believed to be loyal to the pro-Russian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich from his stronghold, Donetsk - were repulsed only when locals pushed them back and a policeman fired warning shots.
Maya Syta, a journalist working at polling station 73 in a Kiev suburb, witnessed ballot papers destroyed with acid poured into a ballot box. "The officials were taking them out of the box and they couldn't understand why they were wet," she said.
"Then I saw they started to blacken and disintegrate as if they were burning. Two ballots were wrapped up into a tube with a yellow liquid inside. After a few moments they were completely eaten up."
The most common trick was "carousel" voting, in which busloads of Yanukovich supporters simply drove from one polling station to another casting multiple false absentee ballots.
In another brazen fraud recorded by observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, voters were given pens filled with ink that disappeared, leaving ballots unmarked and invalid.
Despite talk of an East-West showdown, many Ukrainians protesting about the election result say that Mr Yanukovich's criminal background is unacceptable, not his bias towards Russia.
The prime minister was twice convicted for robbery and battery in his youth and is seen as the protege of a group of business oligarchs known as "the Donetsk fellas" from the eastern region where he was once governor.
"How could they dare try to impose such a bandit on us?" asked Yuri, who was ferrying protesters to Kiev's Independence Square yesterday in a car festooned with orange streamers. "We will never accept it."
Iraqi elections will be held
From the BBC:
The interim deputy prime minister [Mr. Saleh] of Iraq has said that postponing the forthcoming Iraqi elections would be giving in to terrorism.
Speaking on the Breakfast with Frost programme, Mr Saleh condemned the insurgency.
"They do not want to see a functioning democracy right at the heart of the Islamic world," he said. "We will not let them succeed."
But he added: "Most Iraqis, including those in Falluja and Mosul, according to opinion polls, want to take part in elections."
His comments were endorsed by the former British envoy to Baghdad, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who also appeared on the programme.
"If you allow violence to dictate the timing of the election, that will encourage violence," said Sir Jeremy. "There will be violence whenever you hold them."
Iran playing the IAEA like a fiddle
Iran Vows Not to Give Up Centrifuge Demand:
Iran toughened its position over its nuclear program Sunday, vowing to maintain its demand to exempt 20 centrifuges it says it wants for research despite international efforts to save a deal committing Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment and all related activities.
Asefi said Iran won't give up on its position on the centrifuges, even if time was running out for a final agreement.
"We are negotiating with Europeans to specify the way we are going to use the 20 centrifuges. ... What is important is the legitimate right of our country, and we won't give (that) up," he said.
As the board awaited a formal Iranian response, France, Germany and Britain toned down language in a proposed Security Council resolution in an attempt to entice Tehran to sign on to full suspension. The confidential draft, made available to The Associated Press, weakened language on how any freeze would be monitored by the agency. It was said by Western diplomats to be unsatisfactory to the United States.
"We are not worried about referral to the U.N. Security Council," Asefi said. "But we prefer that negotiations be continued within the framework of the IAEA because otherwise the capabilities of the agency and Europe will be in doubt."
UK may send more troops to Iraq
From The Telegraph:
The government is preparing to send up to 1,000 more British troops to Iraq in the run-up to the first democratic elections there for more than 50 years.
Defence chiefs are convinced that insurgents will intensify attacks against coalition forces across the country to delay and disrupt the elections, called for January 30.
It's important that the coalition forces do not allow the insurgents to regroup after the United States marines' successful attack on Fallujah.
"Both the British and American forces must now press home this advantage. Keeping the insurgents at bay will be vital if the elections are to be democratic and successful and achieving that will require extra troops."
The officer said he expected coalition forces to mount attacks against insurgent strongholds in central and northern Iraq.
The once and future authoritarian Russia
A New York Times editorial on the state of freedom of the press in Russia:
A recent analysis of press freedoms in the former Soviet Union by the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York has determined that only the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania cultivated an independent media. The remaining 12 nations have found ways to thwart, control or even kill journalists who dare to investigate the powerful.
The worst of the lot is Turkmenistan, where a dictatorial leader appoints editors and throttles independent voices. The autocratic leader of Belarus has driven the last independent newspaper out of print and onto the Internet, to which few of his citizens have access. Ukraine, where the latest election has drawn angry protesters into the streets, also has a questionable record on press freedoms. President Leonid Kuchma, whose chosen replacement is being touted as the winner in a faulty election, was implicated in 2001 in the unsolved killing of a journalist.
By far the most disappointing of the former republics, however, is Russia. As Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, puts it, the message from the Kremlin is: "You can kill a journalist and get away with it."
Already, President Vladimir Putin's Russia has failed to solve the murders of 11 important journalists. The most recent was in July: Paul Klebnikov, an American editor at Forbes Russia, was gunned down outside his office in Moscow.
Economic freedom isn't doing any better. The Financial Times on the destruction of Yukos:
Whatever the outcome the latest move by the company's managers signals the approaching finale of one of the most dramatic sagas in the short history of Russian capitalism. It started 16 months ago with the arrest of two key shareholders the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and close associate Platon Lebedev who are standing trial for tax evasion and fraud.
The attack was seen largely as politically motivated and investors were initially prepared to separate the action against the shareholder from the company.
But over the past year Yukos, once the largest and most profitable Russian oil company, has been reduced to the most plagued stock in the market.
Its market capitalisation has fallen from more than $30bn (€22.5bn; £16bn) to $2bn, its tax liabilities climbed to $25bn and Yuganskneftegas, its main production asset, is being put up for a forced sale at $8.6bn, well below its fair value of $15bn estimated by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. The planned merger between Yukos and Sibneft to create a world leader is a distant memory.
Background on the Yukos Affair here, published Nov. 2003:
YUKOS has become Russia's most successful oil company. Just a month ago, it merged with Sibneft to form the world's fourth largest oil company. It introduced Western accounting standards and management, pioneered shipping Russian oil to the U.S. market, and launched a private consortium to build a pipeline from western Siberia to the arctic port of Murmansk. It has also bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S. oil equipment. Over the years, YUKOS paid billions of dollars in taxes and gave hundreds of millions to charity. It was also the company most independent from the government, and the attack on YUKOS suggests that other companies may soon be on the chopping block.
Politically well-connected businessmen, associated with government-dominated oil companies and banks, have conspired to dismantle YUKOS by bringing apparently trumped-up charges of past irregularities against YUKOS's principal shareholders.
With the attack on YUKOS, the ex-KGB faction in the Kremlin has reverted to state-led repression against private capital and independent power centers. A crackdown on the independent media has been going on for three years.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Sharansky: Measure freedom, not elections
Natan Sharansky in the Jerusalem Post:
What was not understood then, or often even now, is that a non-democratic Palestinian regime will, by its nature, always threaten Israel. Non-democratic regimes always need to mobilize their people against external enemies to maintain internal stability. This is why the regime in Egypt, having lost Israel as a political enemy by signing a peace treaty, sponsors what is perhaps the most rabid anti-Semitic incitement on earth. That is also why the Saudi regime funds a Wahhabi fanaticism at home and abroad that is terrorizing our entire world. And that is why the Palestinian Authority used all the resources, not to improve the lives of Palestinians but rather to strengthen hatred toward Israel.
We should be under no illusions about the upcoming Palestinian elections. The winner of these elections, like the elections that were regularly held in the Soviet Union, will not have anything to do with democracy. The winner will be chosen well before Palestinians go to the polls.
Free elections can only be held in a free society where people can express their views without fear of being punished, let alone killed. Indeed, free elections are never the beginning of the democratic process but one of its crowning achievements.
Still, whoever emerges from the elections in January should be given an opportunity to win the trust of the free world, including Israel.
Why? We should not accept the results of the Palestinian elections for the same reason we did not accept the results of the Ukrainian elections.
Our role in Iraq
Charles Krauthammer in the Washingting Post says there is a civil war in Iraq and we are the ones fighting it:
People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side is fighting it. The other side, the Shiites and the Kurds, are largely watching as their part of the fight is borne primarily by the United States. Both have an interest in the outcome. The Shiites constitute a majority of Iraqis and will inevitably inherit power in any democratic arrangement. The Kurds want to retain their successful autonomous zone without worrying about new depredations at the hands of the Sunni Arabs.
This is the Shiites' and Kurds' fight. Yet when police stations are ravaged by Sunni Arab insurgents in Mosul, U.S. soldiers are rushed in to fight them. The obvious question is: Why don't we unleash the fierce and well-trained Kurdish pesh merga militias on them? (Mosul is heavily Kurdish and suffered a terrible Kurdish expulsion under Hussein.)
Yes, some of the Iraqi police/National Guard units fighting with our troops are largely Kurdish. But they, like the Shiites, fight in an avowedly nonsectarian Iraqi force. Why? Because we want to maintain this idea of a unified, non-ethnic Iraq. At some point, however, we must decide whether that is possible, and how many American lives should be sacrificed in its name.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
A tribute to America's cowboys
One Cowboy Left
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
A documentary about soldiers by soldiers
This looks interesting:
Desert Sky: the untold story of the 159th Aviation Brigade in Iraq
A year in the life of the world's largest Air Assault Helicopter Brigade told by soldiers
More info here.
Palestinian leaders aren't talking about peace
Steven Stalinksy of MEMRI in The New York Sun:
Yasser Arafat's death has created an unprecedented amount of optimism in the West regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state and the possibility of peace. Yet amongst Palestinian Arab officials there is little talk of peace, as numerous officials have endorsed the continuation of Arafat's "jihad" against the Jewish state.
Some members of the Palestinian Arab establishment close to Arafat are now stating in public that he never really wanted peace, and instead used the peace process as a strategy to destroy Israel in phases. The Palestinian ambassador in Iran, Salah Al-Zawawi, explained in an interview on Iranian Al-Alam TV on November 12 that Arafat "knew that this path is the path of martyrdom and jihad. He knew that this great cause requires martyrs, not leaders...He fought the jihad and we saw him in many battles...If you ask me what will surely be the end of this Zionist entity, I will say to you that this entity will disappear one of these days... It's a matter of time...Our phased plan, which I already mentioned, is to establish an independent sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital..."
It's About Time
U.S. Eyeing New Tact in Respect of Iran: Aim Is To Reach Out to Democrats
The State Department is looking at ways to reach out to Iranian democrats inside the country to see who would be willing to accept outside support in their efforts to reform and change the Islamic republic.
"We are exploring ways to begin working with groups inside the country," the chief of the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative, Scott Carpenter, told The New York Sun yesterday.
While the president's nominee for secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has yet to sign off on a new Iran policy, the recent interest in reaching out to Iranian democrats in itself represents a change for Foggy Bottom, which until now has shied away from any open contact with or support for Persian activists inside the country.
A new Russian empire?
Ralph Peters on the importance of the outcome of the Ukrainian elections:
This is the biggest test for democracy on Europe's frontier since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia always seemed fated for a hybrid government — part elections, part strongman rule — but Ukraine could go either way. Especially in the country's west and center, Ukrainians have struggled for freedom for centuries.
But Russia regards Ukraine as its inalienable possession, stolen away as the U.S.S.R. collapsed.
Fatefully, the ties were never severed between the successors of the KGB in Moscow and Kiev. Now the grandchildren of the Russian thugs who mercilessly put down Nestor Makhno's Ukrainian revolt against the Bolsheviks, who slaughtered Ukraine's prosperous peasantry and murdered Ukraine's intelligentsia are back at work.
This election may have been Ukraine's last chance.
Disgracefully, the international community appears ready to give Putin a free hand in subverting the freedom of a sovereign, democratic state. President Bush values his relationship with Putin, although Putin hasn't hesitated to undermine Washington's policies.
While constructive cooperation makes sense, there are times when the United States must draw a line — unless we intend to make a mockery of our support for freedom and democracy.
This is one of those times. President Bush should not let a bunch of gangsters in Kiev and the sons of the KGB in Moscow destroy the hopes of a major European state. Ukraine isn't Russia's to steal.
Anne Applebaum on the The New Iron Curtain:
In the Sumy region, they record, a member of the electoral commission was beaten up by unidentified thugs. At one polling station, "criminals" disrupted the voting and destroyed the ballot boxes with clubs. In Cherkassy, a polling site inspector was found dead. More "criminals" broke polling station windows and destroyed ballot boxes. In the Zaporozhye region and in Kharkov, observers saw buses transporting voters from one polling station to the next.
It can't be a coincidence that if the Ukrainian election is settled in Moscow's favor, it will mark the third such dubious vote in Russia's "sphere of influence" in the past two months, following the polls in Belarus and the separatist province of Abkhazia, not counting the irregularities that were belatedly uncovered in the election of Putin himself.