Saturday, January 27, 2007

Second Holocaust Countdown: 1,000 days

Today this blog begins a new "thread" counting down the days until the Second Holocaust.

When Iran detonates its nuclear weapons over or in Israel.

Delivered either by missiles or by its client organisations, Hizbollah or Hamas.

The timeline will periodically be updated and relevant articles be provided.

How do I know it will happen? How do I know it will happen in 1,000 days?

The answers to both questions are that like everyone else, I cannot see into the future.

However, consider the following and then it may cast the above two questions in a different light:

1. Has any action so far been able to stop or even slow down the development of nuclear weapons in Iran?

2. Who has sufficient capability, will and motivation to prevent the use of Iranian nuclear weapons with the support of the world? (Hint: Neither the US nor Israel satisfy all these criteria)

3. Why would a millenarian President and the mullahs - who put Islam and the eradication of Israel above their own country - NOT strike Israel with nuclear weapons once they acquired them?
The 1,000 days comes from an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu:
When the chief of the Mossad says that within three years Iran will have a nuclear weapon, that's 1,000 days, and each day that goes by is a day lost to our efforts to stop this.
Onto the articles.

Professor Benny Morris, a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University, recently had an article published in the Jerusalem Post titled This Holocaust will be different:
One bright morning, in five or 10 years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.

The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel's anti-missile batteries and Home Front Command units.

This is arguably the most powerful article written so far about this subject. A must read.

Saul Singer follows up in the Jerusalem Post this week with some further thoughts:

REACTIONS TO Morris's piece tend to bifurcate into despair at being forced to face an inescapable truth, or dismissal as baseless warmongering. Neither reaction is warranted and both lead to the wrong result: doing nothing.

First, it must be stated that Morris has faithfully described a plausible scenario if present trends continue. Israel is demoralized by a crisis of confidence in its political and military leadership not seen since the 1973 war. The US is stumbling into an Iraq-driven isolationism not seen since the Vietnam war.

Europe, absent American leadership, will not risk confronting Iran, and will attempt to adjust to living under a new nuclear threat. And once nothing is stopping Iran, and in the face of the global silence that has met Iran's open calls for Israel's destruction, we cannot expect that the mullahs will act "rationally" according to Western lights rather than their own.

After the Holocaust, and after 9/11, can we really assume that genocidal fantasies are just overheated rhetoric rather than preparations for action?

The countdown began some time ago.

What is different is that now we no longer count in years, but in days.

The yardstick for the next 1,000 days is what tangible action every country and every leader is doing to prevent the Second Holocaust?

ABC: From Missing in Inaction to Spinmeisters

Following the escalation in fighting in the Gaza Strip in the last 48 hours, a previous post highlighted the lack of coverage by the ABC in the Middle East Conflict section.

It was assumed that the ABC were busily spinning a story to downplay the tragic carnage arising from the infighting between the Islamofascists - Hamas - and the ultranationalist terrorists - Fatah.

Well, the spun story has arrived.

The title of the ABC's news article disguises the tragedy of the infighting: Hamas suspends talks with Fatah.

The article mentions the casualties in passing. Only three of the eleven sentences in the article discussed the deaths, the remaining sentences about the political maneuvers and responses.

And all three were in the passive voice:

"after clashes between the two left 11 people dead"
Deaths seem to be some sort of side-effect of the clashes. Like those from tornadoes and hurricanes.
"A loyalist from Fatah, four Hamas members, a teenager, a toddler and two others were killed in the volatile coastal strip on Friday."
Volatile? Maybe it was chemicals that did it.
Medics say a further two Hamas supporters died of wounds received in an attack on Thursday night.
An attack by who?

Aren't we lucky the ABC are providing us with "complete coverage of the crisis in the Middle East"?

Worthy Petitions

There's a new website for collecting signatures regarding petitions for Israel.

The address is

A previous petition collected 187,392 signatures for the kidnapped soldiers (Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev) that was sent to the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

They have launched a new petition for the kidnapped soldiers to present to the new UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon.

The currently active petitions are:

Kidnapped Soldiers

As a citizen of the free world, I am calling for the United Nations and my government to ban political, economical and tourist relations with the Lebanese, Iranian and Syrian governments, who serve as host countries to these terror organizations and who are supporting them financially.

Read more and sign the petition

Kassam Rocket Attacks on Israel

In 2006 Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, hoping that the Palestinians living there would seize the opportunity and use their new found independence to build new schools and hospitals. Instead they have chosen to dig tunnels to smuggle weapons and build Kassam rockets to launch attacks on Israeli cities.

Read more and sign the petition

Reject Iran's Holocaust Denial to UN

Iranian Ambassador Alireza Moayeri has just sent a letter to the UN Human Rights Council asserting that his government's repeated denials of the Holocaust are justified by academic and informational freedom. I urge you to strongly condemn this appalling misuse of the Council and of human rights principles by the Iranian regime.

Read more and sign the petition

ABC: Missing In Inaction

This blog has highlighted before here and here how the ABC News Online's Middle East Conflict section fails to cover adequately conflicts in the Middle East. Typically this omission has a bias to it.

Now we have yet another example. Jerusalem Post covers it:

Gaza violence reaches new height in deadly gunbattles

Hamas gunmen stormed the home of a militant from the rival Fatah movement late Friday, witnesses said, sparking a deadly gunbattle and capping a day of factional violence that killed at least 14 people, including a 2-year-old boy, across the Gaza Strip.

Friday's violence was among the deadliest in nearly two months of infighting and marred the first anniversary of Hamas's upset victory in Palestinian elections. After nightfall, the fighting showed no signs of slowing, as the sound of gunfire echoed throughout Gaza City.
Sounds bad. And newsworthy. Onto Ha'aretz and its report:
11 killed, 20 hurt as Gaza factional clashes escalate

Rival Palestinian factions clashed Friday across the Gaza Strip, killing 11 people and wounding 20, three seriously, in a wave of bombings and shootings.

Hamas said Friday evening that it was suspending talks with the rival Fatah movement on forming a coalition government due to the ongoing infighting.

"Following the awful massacres committed today in Gaza and northern Gaza... we have decided to postpone all dialogue with Fatah," said Ismail Radwan, a Hamas spokesman.
Massacres! This has to be news. The editors are salivating.

Even the SaudiSydney Morning Herald has coverage, albeit the casualty count a bit low:
Six killed in Gaza Strip faction clash

Rival Palestinian factions clashed across the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing six people and wounding 20 in a wave of bombing and shootings, and a Fatah-linked militant group said it had captured 24 Hamas hostages.
So what does our ABC have?


And so we wait.

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. They are working hard on this one and not quite ready to publish.

After all, it takes time to spin something out of this story.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Persecution of Palestinians

This time it's happening in two different places.

The first is the persecution of Christian Palestinians in Bethlehem. By Muslim Palestinians. Because they are Christians. The courageous and principled journalist Khaled Abu Toameh (himself a Muslim) reports in Jerusalem Post:

A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city.

The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

According to the families, many Christians have long been afraid to complain in public about the campaign of "intimidation" for fear of retaliation by their Muslim neighbors and being branded "collaborators" with Israel.

But following an increase in attacks on Christian-owned property in the city over the past few months, some Christians are no longer afraid to talk about the ultra-sensitive issue. And they are talking openly about leaving the city.

"The situation is very dangerous," said Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of the Beit Sahur-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station. "I believe that 15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here. This is a very sad situation."

Qumsiyeh, one of the few Christians willing to speak about the harsh conditions of their community, has been the subject of numerous death threats. His house was recently attacked with fire-bombs, but no one was hurt.

Qumsiyeh said he has documented more than 160 incidents of attacks on Christians in the area in recent years.

The second involves Palestinians in Iraq under pressure from Shi'ites, as reported in the UK's Daily Telegraph:
Palestinians living in Iraq have been warned that they will be killed by Shia militias unless they leave the country immediately.

Iraqi police say the immigrants, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, are the target of a backlash by hardline Shias, including members of the Mehdi Army led by the Shia preacher Moqtada al-Sadr.

More than 600 Palestinians are believed to have died at the hands of Shia militias since the war began in 2003, including at least 300 from the Baladiat area of Baghdad. Many were tortured with electric drills before they died.

Now the Shia militias are stepping up their campaign to drive out Iraq's 20,000 remaining Palestinians – half the estimated 40,000 living in the country at the start of the war, all of whom were welcomed by Saddam Hussein and provided with housing, money and free education.
The second is certain to be reported in the mainstream media more than the first. Mainly because the culprits in the first are Muslim Palestinians. This does not fit the mainstream media's narrative for the conflict involving Palestinians. The narrative requires Israelis to be involved. And in this case, they are not.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Nettle Pines for Palestine

Senator Kerry Nettle, the Australian Greens Senator, recently visited "Palestine" and Israel, as she describes it in her online photo album here. Let's hope she travelled in an environmentally-friendly way.

Andrew Landeryou has some provocative words to say about Nettle here.

The title of her photo album immediately raises a few eyebrows. At the risk of bursting Nettle's balloon, Palestine currently does not exist, despite it having been offered to indigenous Arabs many times in the past 75 years or so, and more recently to non-indigenous Arabs like the Egyptian middle-class engineer Yasser Arafat. Israel is still waiting for the Arab Palestinians to take "yes" for an answer.

(Hmm. Yasser Arafat and Mohammed Atta were both Egyptian middle-class university graduates turned terrorists. What is it about wealthy professionals living in an Arab dictatorship that makes them terrorists? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned poverty?)

It may also be news to Nettle that Palestine was originally the land area now encompassed by modern day Israel, Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank) and Jordan. That is, the land on both banks of the Jordan River.

It was also promised to the Jews by the British, after which it was then promised to the Arabs by the British. The Ancient Greeks may have invented geometry, but the Brits invented the art of triangulation.

However, this all took place many years before scientists warned of a coming Ice Age, which means it's been revisioned out of Nettle's history.

There is one positive from the title of her photo album. Nettle mentions Israel, which presumably means she recognises its right to exist. And therefore, that makes her less radical than Hamas and Iranian millenarian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who both want to wipe the non-existent country off the face of the earth.

Some of the more noteworthy photos and captions include:

  • graffiti on the concrete walled section of the security barrier that says "The Wall will not stop us". It's Nettle's caption too. Nettle either sympathises with this view or this is the only photo for which she remains neutral. I'll go the former. So who will not be stopped and from doing what? Palestinian terrorists killing innocent Israeli children in their beds? Palestinians illegally settling in Israel rather than the "occupied" land they have been "resisting"? Pro-Palestinian apologists from spreading falsities?
  • Two photos captioned respectively "hummer + electric security wall" and "apartheid road, security wall + palestinian on horse". Rule #1 of propaganda satisfied on two counts: never let the facts get in the way of a great narrative. First count: the photos are of a chain-link fence, rather than a wall. Second count, it's not apartheid since it separates nationalities not ethnicities. Israeli citizens - Jews and non-Jews (e.g. Arabs) alike - use one road, while those without Israeli citizenship use the other. It's not dissimilar to the Australian-only and non-Australian queues at the airport immigration counter. Many countries discriminate between its citizens and non-citizens without it being called apartheid. Pretty soon, Nettle will be claiming these are apartheid walls too.
Not the sharpest Nettle in the Green bushes.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ahmadinejad Right Again

First, there was the post Even A Stopped Watch Is Correct Twice a Day.

Now, millenarian Iranian President Ahmadinejad gets another thing correct, quoted in this article:

Ahmadinejad: 10 more resolutions will not stop us
Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday defended his economic policies from sharp domestic criticism and said recent UN Security Council sanctions would never deter the country from pursuing its nuclear program.
Sanctions failed the Iraqi people and those threatened by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s.

It is unlikely to help the Iranian people and those threatened by the mad mullahs of Iran in this decade.

However, there is one thing worse than tough sanctions supported by the entire world. And that is a set of weak sanctions not supported by most.

The first is merely ineffective. The second emboldens the Iranian theocratic despots.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Halutz Exposed!

Here's the front page of Ha'aretz's news website this morning:

Zoom in on the photo and caption:
The Winograd Committee may have Halutz by the short and curlies, but now it is for everyone to see.

UPDATE: The caption has hurriedly been changed to read 'first public appearance'. Was it the editor or censor who moved on this one?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Did Moqtada al Sadr Execute Saddam Hussein?

It doesn't get richer than this:

According to the Saudi daily Al Riyad, citing a witness to the execution of Hussein, one of the masked men was indeed Moqtada Al Sadr. Knowing that Saddam Hussein had Moqtada's father killed, this would not be surprising. In fact the son would want to take part in taking revenge. But if this turns out to be true, this would be another major faux pas for Iraqi authorities.
IraqSlogger covers it:
Meanwhile the Sunni pro-Baathist website Iraqi Rabita has claimed that one of the masked men who put the noose around Saddam’s neck was in fact Muqtada al Sadr.
IraqSlogger then refers to a pro-Baathist website that does a rudimentary photo comparison and analysis. One picture is posted here:

(Click here to see more photos if you are happy to provide Baathists with advertising revenue.)

The photo was just shown on Fox News' Fox & Friends Live TV show.

It sounds a bit far-fetched but to be fair, it does resemble the typical Middle East soap opera:
  • Dictator kills cleric.
  • Superpower invades dictator's country and sets up new government.
  • Superpower captures dictator.
  • Cleric's son rises to head thug of militia, supported by neighbouring country who are arch enemies of dictator.
  • New government convicts dictator and sentences him to death.
  • New government cozies up to thuggish cleric son.
  • Thug demands dictators execution and government complies.
  • Superpower reluctantly hands over dictator to new government who hands him over to militia.
  • Thug takes part in dictator's execution as revenge.
  • Militia shout thug's name during the proceedings.
  • Execution captured on video.
  • Dictator loses.
  • Superpower embarrassed.
  • Thugs, militia, government, neighbouring country and YouTube live happily ever after.

ABC Revisionism

It should have come as no surprise, but it was hard to remain off the floor having read the summary line for the latest article in the ABC's Middle East Conflict section, titled Israeli army chief-of-staff resigns:

Israel's army chief, General Dan Halutz, has tendered his resignation over the Israeli attack on southern Lebanon last year.
Why not add in "and targetting of a Red Cross Ambulance"?

Suggested replacement words: Israel's war with Hizbollah in southern Lebanon.

Hopes Trump Reality

Ha'aretz broke the non-story with the headline Israeli, Syrian representatives reach secret understandings:

In a series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006, Syrians and Israelis formulated understandings for a peace agreement between Israel and Syria.

The main points of the understandings are as follows:
  • An agreement of principles will be signed between the two countries, and following the fulfillment of all commitments, a peace agreement will be signed.
  • As part of the agreement on principles, Israel will withdraw from the Golan Heights to the lines of 4 June, 1967. The timetable for the withdrawal remained open: Syria demanded the pullout be carried out over a five-year period, while Israel asked for the withdrawal to be spread out over 15 years.
  • At the buffer zone, along Lake Kinneret, a park will be set up for joint use by Israelis and Syrians. The park will cover a significant portion of the Golan Heights. Israelis will be free to access the park and their presence will not be dependent on Syrian approval.
  • Israel will retain control over the use of the waters of the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret.
  • The border area will be demilitarized along a 1:4 ratio (in terms of territory) in Israel's favor.
  • According to the terms, Syria will also agree to end its support for Hezbollah and Hamas and will distance itself from Iran.
You can tell the excitement this has stimulated within Ha'aretz given the plethora of spin-off articles:
More on the Israel-Syria contacts:
The article was written by Ha'aretz correspondent, Akiva Eldar. I met Eldar in Israel a few years ago and was struck by his stubborn faith in the Oslo process, suggesting a return to it three years after its collapse. By that stage, most Israelis had accepted that Oslo was not only dead, but also a mistake, and perhaps even a driver of the Palestinian terrorist war known as the second intifada. Except for a few hopefuls like Eldar.

Neville Chamberlain was the first to set aside the reality of security for hope and faith in peace with the Munich Agreement.

Back to the Syrian peace understandings. Setting aside the news that the relevant Israelis and Syrians reject these meetings happened or any understandings were agreed upon, what is interesting is the content of what was allegedly agreed.

In particular, consider the commitments through the lens of two attributes - reversibility of commitment, and impact on military balance of power:
  • Peace agreement signed: easily reversible, no change to military balance of power
  • Israel withdraw from the Golan: not easily reversible, favours Syria
  • Kinneret Park: easily reversible, no change
  • Control of waters: not easily reversible, no change
  • Demilitarised zone: easily reversible, no change
  • Relationship with Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran: easily reversible, favours Israel
Therefore, if the understandings had turned into an agreement, which subsequently broke down, Israel would be left with control of the waters and Syria with control of the Golan.

The other aspects would revert back to where we are now, i.e. no Kinneret park for joint use, no peace agreement, a militarised border and Syria re-establish connection with Hezballah, Hamas and Iran.

The shift to Syria of the military balance of power would remain intact.

The Oslo process shattered the idea of giving away tangible assets, like land and military equipment, for intangibles like commitment to peace. Particularly when doing such a deal with a tyrant. The Syrian understandings seem like a case of Munich and Oslo lessons not learned.

When will an agreement require Israel's counterparty to offer something as permanent and strategically important as that offered by Israel?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Oh ABC News, Where Art Thou?

ABC News Online has this side image in its World section, drawing readers into the Middle East Conflict part of the website:

Note the words Complete coverage.

I hate to disappoint ABC News Online readers out there, but I think Aunty missed at least one newsworthy item this week.

Palestinian Authority Chairman addressed a crowd at Fatah's 42nd anniversary.

Jerusalem Post's reporter - and brave Muslim journalist - Khaled Abu Toameh covered the rally in his article titled Abbas: Aim guns against occupation:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on Palestinians to refrain from internal fighting and to direct their guns only against Israeli "occupation."

Abbas, speaking during a rally marking the 42nd anniversary of the founding of his Fatah party, told thousands of supporters that the Palestinian struggle would continue until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

He also expressed opposition to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state with temporary borders."The issue of the refugees is non-negotiable," Abbas said. "We will not give up one inch of land in Jerusalem and we consider the settlements illegal. We also reject any attempt to resettle the refugees in other countries."

The "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas lets his guard down in front of a home crowd, and the ABC misses it. Completely.

The ABC reminds me of Officer Barbrady: "
Okay people, nothing to see here!"

A Neater Solution

From the ABC News Online article, Red Crystal becomes third emblem of IRC, an interesting choice of word to describe the solution:

The International Red Cross (IRC) has an additional emblem from today - the Red Crystal.

The red diamond on a white background will serve as an alternative protective sign for relief workers in war zones, instead of the red cross or the red crescent.

A new third emblem for the Red Cross movement may sound unnecessary, but the Red Crystal brings to an end decades of bitter wrangling, which went to the heart of the Middle East conflict.

For years Israel demanded recognition under the Geneva Conventions of the Red Star of David - the emblem used by its relief society.

But Arab states refused.

The new Red Crystal was a neat solution to break the deadlock and at the same time offer a neutral emblem to any country which objected to either the cross or the crescent on religious grounds.

For whom exactly is this solution neat?

A neater solution would have been to allow the Red Star of David or Magen David Adom.

Sheikh-en Out of Context

If I had a dollar for every time Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilali's comments were alleged to have been "taken out of context", I could pay to have my convict background rewritten and a cover for my cat meat.

In the meantime, enjoy this Google search returning more than a thousand results.

ABC = Androgenous Broadcasting Corporation

The ABC can't decide whether Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is a man or a woman.

First, there is this sentence in their article Bush hits back at Iraq plan critics:

But at a joint news conference with Mr Livni, Dr Rice did not underestimate the task.
Soon after, in their very next article Rice in Middle East for fresh peace push:
For her part, Ms Livni said she supported the idea.
What's with the flipping gender agenda?

Tim Blair covers this and earlier Mr Tzipi mistakes.

The ABC should keep this photo of Livni close by their Middle East Conflict editor:

Memo to budding ABC journalists: Livni is the one on the right.

Evaluating Bush's Strategy

A recent posting prior to Bush's recent announcement laid out the five tests for determining how successful the strategy would be. Let's see how they stack up:

1. Will the rules of engagement change to enable US soldiers' to go on the offense rather than just defend themselves?

The answer is probably. Time will tell, but the positives are that the US soldiers will embed with the Iraqis and look to have a more permanent role in the clear, hold and build strategy.

2. Will Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki reluctantly accept it with rhetoric pushback and the Shi'ite thug Moqtada al-Sadr oppose it?

It was first announced that Maliki was part of putting the plan together, which would not be a positive. However, it now appears as though Maliki looked into the abyss that is the future, and realised he two choices: get off the Shi'ite fence and act, or a fall of the Iraqi government through US withdrawal of support. Provided Maliki feels pressured to act for the benefit of Iraq and not just the Shi'ites and Iran, the signs are good.

While Moqtada al-Sadr will not be happy, it remains to be seen if he will actually be confronted. Arguably the biggest short-term test.

3. Will it be widened to such an extent that Iran and Syria feel directly threatened by it?

In words, yes. But deeds matter more, so again, the jury is out. A positive sign is the warning action in Irbil where Iranian 'diplomats' were captured. This is a test of will. If the US does not blink, there is an outside chance the tide can be turned.

4. Will it cause the US public to now accept their country is now in the midst of a long regional war, perhaps indeed a global war?

Too early to tell. A good bellweather will be the response of the US Democrat Party, and any independent-thinking elements within the Republican Party. If they remain muted in a 'wait and see' posture, then the public will have given Bush a grace period.

5. Will there be criticism of it by the UN, Russia, China and western Europe?

Haven't heard much yet, so this could go either way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Five Tests for Bush's New Strategy

US President George W Bush is soon to announce a new strategy for Iraq. There are five tests that will determine if it will succeed. None relate to the number of troops deployed.

They are:

1. Will the rules of engagement change to enable US soldiers' to go on the offense rather than just defend themselves?

2. Will Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki reluctantly accept it with rhetoric pushback and the Shi'ite thug Moqtada al-Sadr oppose it?

3. Will it be widened to such an extent that Iran and Syria feel directly threatened by it?

4. Will it cause the US public to now accept their country is now in the midst of a long regional war, perhaps indeed a global war?

5. Will there be criticism of it by the UN, Russia, China and western Europe?

If the answer is yes to all, then the strategy has the maximum chance of succeeding.

Breaking News: Hizb ut-Tahrir Sydney Conference Shut Down

Via Little Green Footballs, news that the Bankstown City Council has shut down the Khalifah Conference. The information can be found at the organisation's website:

Sydney, Australia - The decision taken today by Bankstown City Council to cancel the venue for the up-coming Khilafah Conference displays the hollowness of the ‘free speech’ rhetoric.

Without proper explanation or consultation, the council has unilaterally withdrawn the availability of the Bankstown Town Hall as the venue for the Khilafah Conference to be held on the 27th January 2007.

Wassim Doureihi, spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, says: “The decision taken today by Bankstown City Council speaks volumes of the empty rhetoric surrounding the supposed noble epitomes of western liberal democracy.”
The key message is in the last sentence.

Islamists use whatever tools modern free societies are available in their quest to establish a non-western non-liberal non-democratic Caliphate. These tools include freedom of speech, freedom to gather and protest, freedom to vote and freedom of expression in the media (both traditional and new).

And none of it is original: even their fascist and anti-Semitic streaks are rehashed philosophies of 19th and 20th century Europeans.

If they were to succeed, then there would be no more democracy. Fear would replace freedom. We don't have to imagine what it would be like: we have seen some of the most recent Islamist governments in power. These were Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamist Courts Union in Somalia.

Only one remains today: Hamas in Gaza.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Sydney Conference Watch

Hizb ut-Tahrir have organised a conference on 27 January 2007 in Bankstown, Sydney.

The conference is called Khalifah Conference 2007. Khalifah is another word for Caliphate, the term that denotes an Islamic world run according to Shari'a law.

The organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in many countries, but an attempt to ban them in Australia and the UK failed.

They don't like Jews or Israel as seen in their article The Muslim Ummah will never submit to the Jews. They also don't like Ariel Cohen who doesn't seem to be a big fan of them: see here.

Behold the promo video:

The website listed at the end of the video contains more info about Hizb ut-Tahrir, presumably spun by its members.

This article in the Herald Sun highlights the government's inability to ban the group and stop the conference (hat tip: Little Green Footballs).

neoZionoid will be keeping an eye out for any further info that comes to light on this conference.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In Briefs

A primer about the nature of the enemy begins:

Given the stakes involved in this war and how little is known, even now, about what is at the core of this conflict, it is worth reviewing in some detail the nature of our enemy - including disaggregating who they are (Shia and Sunni extremists), what they believe and why they believe it, and the implications of that for America and the West.
Read it all here.

Israel is often called the canary in the coal mine, effectively a looking glass into the future for other Western countries, particularly when it comes to the interaction with the enemy. A disturbing feature of such interaction:
38 of the 272 suicide bombings in Israel (roughly 14 percent) were carried out by terrorists that had received Israeli citizenship in the context of family reunification
Read on here.

ABC News Online has an article called Fatah stages show of force that begins:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party has celebrated its 42nd anniversary with a mass rally in Gaza City that amounted to a show of force against its rival, the governing Hamas.
Note it's a 42-year anniversary. That's 1965 when Fatah was established (1964 to be exact). This preceded the Six Day War in which Gaza, Judea and Samaria (an earlier name for the West Bank) were captured by Israel in a defensive war. Thus putting paid to the idea that Fatah is only trying to "liberate" the lands "occupied" in 1967.

Something to worry about:
Federal authorities have investigated whether Islamic extremists from Saudi Arabia had sought to fund a mosque in South Australia, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.

Mr Downer said there were concerns that a Saudi-funded Adelaide mosque could have become a breeding ground for extremists.

"I can say that there have been investigations by federal authorities in Adelaide into funding for mosques from Saudi Arabia," he told ABC radio in Adelaide on Monday morning.

"And by funding from Saudi Arabia, I don't mean funding by the Saudi Arabian government, but by extremist groups in Saudi Arabia."

Gee, I hope it was funded by the extremist Saudi Arabian government and not extremist groups in Saudi Arabia.

Alan Dershowitz is on song again:
The international community's obsessive focus on the State of Israel caused it to miss out on genocides all around the world, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told a rally in a Toronto synagogue last week, according to a report in the Canadian Jewish News.

"Six million additional people have died since the end of the Second World War because of this obsessive focus on Israel," Dershowitz was quoted as saying, citing global inaction over the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and the slaughter currently taking place in Darfur.

The magician's art of distraction.

Finally, what do terrorists do in a period of calm (tahdiye) or ceasefire (hudna)? Answer given here:

The noteworthy drop in Israeli casualties from Palestinian attacks belies the fact that there has been "significant escalation on the ground in terms of the threat levels and the number of attempts to dispatch suicide bombers" in recent months, a senior officer in the IDF Central Command told reporters yesterday.

Relaying data on violence in the territories during the past year, the officer said that 187 Palestinians, currently in Israeli custody, were involved in conspiracies to carry out suicide bombing attacks in 2006.

Last year, 11 Israeli citizens were killed in two suicide bombings perpetrated within the Green Line, the lowest such figure since 2001.

According to the senior officer, the greatest asset in the arsenal of the security forces is the ability to operate freely in Palestinian cities.

During the period of tahdiye (calm), between January and September of 2005, the IDF avoided entering Palestinian towns, but once the agreement that led to the calm collapsed, it was necessary to use greater numbers of troops in order to renew operations inside the cities.
Someone needs to turn the tap off, not just put the plug in the sinkhole.

Friday, January 05, 2007

News in Briefs

1. Checkout this photo from AP on Jerusalem Post's website:

The caption:

Palestinian Fatah-loyalist security forces fire towards Hamas gunmen. [File]

- what the @$#% is that civilian wandering past gunmen in the middle of a firefight? No wonder there are so many non-combatant deaths in Gaza.

- where is the gunmen on the left aiming? Unless the target is up on the first floor, or they have smart bullets, it's going to be a long, long firefight.

- I wouldn't want to be in the front row (seen on the right of the picture). There is equal danger of being shot from behind by one's fellow fighters than in the front by the enemy.

2. We welcome Dry Bones Blog to the blogroll on the right-hand side of this blog. Dry Bones has been illustrating humorous cartoons for many years, including those that appear on the Jerusalem Post website. He has a daily blog. Check it out.

3. The ABC Online Editors must either be holidays or turned their back on the Middle East. Overnight, more Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting, as Khaled Abu Toameh reports:
Eight more Palestinians were killed Thursday in armed confrontations between Hamas and Fatah members in the Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll to 13 over the past 48 hours. At least 16 Palestinians were wounded in Thursday's fighting.
Meanwhile, IDF operations in Ramallah, Bethlehem and northern Gaza strip resulted in the apprehension of one terror suspect, the failed attempt to arrest another, and four Palestinian deaths in the resultant gunfights, presumably as Palestinians defended the terror suspects. Jerusalem Post has a good summary here.

So what news do we get at the ABC?


(Incidentally, "Briefs" in the title was not a typo. I'm taking blogging one stage further than Pajamas Media. No pictures though.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sins of Omission

It's hotting up again in the Gaza Strip, as Ha'aretz reports:

Assailants targeted three senior Hamas officials in the West Bank, kidnapping one, torching the car of a second and shooting in the air as a third emerged from a mosque, officials said Thursday.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the attacks came a day after four supporters of the rival Fatah group were killed in factional fighting in the Gaza Strip. Gaza is a Hamas stronghold, while Fatah dominates in the West Bank.

Late Wednesday, gunmen stormed the home of Deputy Health Minister Bashar Karmi in the West Bank town of El Bireh and seized him. Arab satellite TV stations reported that he was released Thursday morning, but the report could not immediately be confirmed independently.

Wow. Kidnappings of ministers. Torching of cars. Shooting at mosque-goers. Four killed yesterday. Maybe a chance for the mainstream media to crank out the "brink of civil war" phrase again.

Let's check out the lastest in the Middle East Conflict section of ABC News Online to see how they are reporting it:
Israel fires at Palestinian farmers: medics

Medics say three Palestinian farmers have been wounded by Israeli fire in northern Gaza near the border with the Jewish state.

The Israeli Army says it is not aware of the incident.

Under a November 26 cease-fire, Israel withdrew its troops from Gaza and militants were supposed to stop firing rockets.

Since then, around 70 rockets have been fired into Israel and one Palestinian has been killed.

At least six Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since the truce was called.
Hmm. Interesting news to choose off the wire service feed above everything else that is happening.

Anything else in that section? Let's take a look:

Nope. Nothing there about the death and destruction between Hamas and Fatah.

I wonder where it could be?

Of course! My mistake ... it must be in the Middle East section of the World News page:

Mother Hubbard, Mother Hubbard.

So where is it, Aunty?

UPDATE: BBC now reporting five dead. ABC continues to report zero.

UPDATE: Finally, the ABC climbs out of its torpor to report Six killed in Gaza clashes.

Ten Most Wanted Deposed for 2007

In keeping with the end-of-year and start-of-year top tens, here is my list of the ten people whom I want removed from power and influence in 2007:

1. Ali Khamenei (will not live to see out 2007)
2. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
3. Moqtada al-Sadr
4. Nouri al-Maliki
5. Mahmoud Abbas
6. Kim Jong-Il
7. Vladimir Putin
8. Bashar Assad
9. Hassan Nasrallah
10. Hugo Chavez

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Domino Theory of Conflict Resolution

Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli-Syrian conflict. Israeli-Lebanon conflict. Israeli-Arab conflict. Israeli-Iranian conflict. Israeli-insert-your-Middle-Eastern-grievance-here conflict.

It's the key to Middle East peace. If we only just solve the conflict(s), then all countries will sue for peace.

Then all countries would allow economic development, personal freedoms and democracy to flourish. Al Qaeda would close down, and Osama bin Laden would abandon his quest for a global caliphate in preference to starting a Shopping Channel on pay-TV. Global warming would disappear. The English soccer team would win the World Cup.

The assumption is a positive correlation, perhaps a causative effect, of any Israeli-centric conflict resolution and Middle East peace. The logic goes: solve the conflicts with Israel (i.e. Israeli concessions including existential ones) and the rest will follow. The Domino Theory of Conflict Resolution.

Memo to those "Imagine-all-the-people" global citizenoids: there never will be long-term peace in the world, regardless of whether Israel - and the conflicts related to her - exist or not.

Some people not suffering from delusions of world peace argue that it is neither correlative nor causative.

Close, but not quite correct.

There does seem to be a correlation between a focus on conflicts involving Israel and the rest of the Middle East conflicts. It is not the actual conflict involving Israel that is the problem, but the discussion of it and the perceived linkage to it.

The reasoning is this. Conflicts involving Israel are a convenient excuse for unrelated problems and root causes. It serves a useful distraction for those responsible for the real problems, who include tyrants, radical Islamists and terrorists (some are members of more than one of these clubs).

However, as a self-fulfilling prophecy, once those club members have suckered in other world leaders and "honest" brokers into believing the issues are linked, they effectively are. Perception is reality.

The cart is then put before the horse. The focus is no longer on root causes, but on moot causes.

The first step to solving Middle East issues is not to try resolve those involving Israel. It is to decouple and isolate them.

Knocking over the Israeli dominos won't make the other dominos fall. They aren't even in the same room.

Which is why people like Tony Blair, so on the mark about the importance of values and ideology, is so disappointingly off the mark when he claims that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the opening act in the Middle East peace show.

Perhaps Blair is suffering from the same "leave-a-legacy" disease that afflicted Bill Clinton in his autumnal years in office, vis-a-vis the Camp David push for an Oslo-accord peace, which in turn accelerated the intifada.

Depressingly, now comes another actor onto the stage in this tragical farce, but at the start of his reign: Ban Ki-Moon, the new UN Secretary-General.

From a Jerusalem Post article:

Ban Ki-Moon, the new secretary-general of the United Nations, said on Monday that the Israeli-Palestinian issue was at the core of solving all the problems in the Middle East.
"If the issues with the conflicts between Israel and Palestine go well, [resolutions of] other issues in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria, are likely to follow suit. I will meet with the concerned parties as soon as possible," Ban said in an interview.
Thought to self: How long until Ban-Ki Moon retires?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Even A Stopped Watch Is Correct Twice a Day

Sometimes even evil men get it right. This from Iranian millenarian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned the UN Security Council's imposing sanctions on Iran, telling a crowd Tuesday that Iran had humiliated the United States in the past and would do so again.
Declaring war on the United States 27 years ago. US Embassy hostages in Tehran. Khobar Towers. Marine Barracks in Lebanon. Iranian IEDs killing US soldiers in Iraq. Nuclear weapons programs.

The best the US can do is a watered-down UN resolution and James Baker's recommendation to ask Iran to stop the mayhem while their soldiers cut and run.

Mahmoud's assessment is more accurate than a Reuters photo.

Ahmadinejad continues, this time with reference to the UN:
Speaking in the southwestern provincial capital of Ahvaz, Ahmadinejad said the Security Council's resolution of Dec. 23 was invalid and had left the world body's reputation in tatters.
Strictly speaking, by December 23 the UN's reputation was already in as many shreds as the Oil-for-Fraud documents in the UN offices shortly after the US Congress issued a subpoena for them.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Toying With The Reader

Following on from his other amusing parodies of Reuters, Aussie Dave of Israellycool fame has once again thumped Reuters out of the park.

This time it's for their use of the words "toy gun" in a photo caption.

Read his post and see the photo in question here.

If I had a dollar for every photo throughout the year of a Palestinian child with guns and/or explosives in their possessions, I'd be able to buy up and donate a couple of greenhouses in Gaza.

UPDATE: The Best of 2006: Top 10 Separated At Birth photos are even better.

Reason to Celebrate the New Year


Where Are They Now?

Jerusalem Post has an article about assassination plots to be carried out in Australia in 1975:

According to intelligence documents released on Sunday, terrorists planned to kill pro-Israel politician Bob Hawke (who was to become prime minister in 1983), then Israeli ambassador Michael Elizur, [businessman, community leader and JPost contributor Isi] Leibler and journalist Sam Lipski.

Buried deep in the middle of the article is an interesting piece of information:

The details were in a secret ASIO report that had been presented to the cabinet of prime minister Malcolm Fraser. The report described the terrorist threat to Australia at a time when Palestinian groups were hijacking aircraft and carrying out attacks aimed at Jewish institutions in Europe and the Middle East.

ASIO identified a key figure in the plan as Munif Mohammed (Ahmed) Abu Rish, who came to Australia in 1974 claiming to be a journalist and indicated he would return in 1975 to plan the ambassador's assassination. The terrorists were reportedly given fake passports by Palestinians living in Australia.

So what happened to the Palestinians living in Australia who aided and abetted Abu Rish?

UPDATE: ABC News Online covers this incident here. But doesn't dig deep enough about the co-conspirators.

The Price of Jewish Blood

First it was Saddam Hussein's US$25,000 bounty paid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Now, from a New York Post article, Hizbollah is paying Palestinians to fire Qassam rockets into Israel to kill Israelis:

Hezbollah and its Iranian backers are rewarding Palestinian terrorists with thousands of dollars for each homemade rocket that hits southern Israel, according to Israeli intelligence.

The size of the payoffs depends on the number of Israelis killed or wounded, the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.

Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based guerrilla group that fought a border war with Israel last summer, is smuggling cash from Iran into the Gaza Strip to pay off different terrorist organizations who launch homemade Qassam rockets into the western Negev region of Israel.

"Sometimes, they are paid before the attack and sometimes they submit a bill to Lebanon and the money gets transferred a short time later," a security official said.
The reward for killing Jews used to be 72 virgins in Paradise. Israel's restraint in no longer targetting terrorists seems to have forced payments to be made in advance rather than in arrears.

Question: Money is transferred to terrorists. Which banks are being used?

(Hat tip: Pajamas Media)

Holocaust Archive

Iranian (millenarian) President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known for questioning the Holocaust while wishing to create another.

How timely is this year's opening of a previously secret archive of information about Holocaust survivors. The archive is in the German town of Bad Arolsen, containing 50 million documents in 16 miles of archive shelving about 17 million victims.

CBS' 60 Minutes put together this video report whereby three Holocaust victims joined the journalist Scott Pelley to see their own records.

Now those UN sanctions are in place that target Iranian officials (and have them sheikhing in their boots), maybe the only travel allowed should be to this archive.

(Hat tip: Chernstar)