“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nobody loves you when you're down and out.

Has Musharraf, like George W. Bush lost his base?
Imran Khan: President Musharraf must resign

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad
Last Updated: 12:24pm BST 31/07/2007

Imram Khan: President Musharraf must resign
Khan believes that Gen Pervez Musharraf is ‘sunk in a crisis of his own making’

Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, called on President Pervez Musharraf to resign yesterday.

"It is all over for him. He is sunk," Mr Khan told The Daily Telegraph. "He has lost touch with Pakistan. It is a crisis of his own making and the accumulative effect of his miscalculations."

Years of internal discord over the country's support for the US-led war on terror came to a head earlier this month with a commando assault on Islamabad's radical Red Mosque. Since then a series of suicide bombs by Muslim extremists has claimed the lives of more than 200 people.

Mr Khan said: "The longer Musharraf stays after this, the longer the backlash of extremism will last. The majority of Pakistanis, secular minded or not, view Musharraf as an American puppet." Read the rest.

Oh well, that settles it. "American Puppets must die! First Tony Blair, now Pervez Musharraf. John Howard (Australia) must renounce his ties to Amerika."

I understand that Musharraf is a dictator but it's not as if he's the only one in the Muslim world. Is it coincidental to hear more calls for democratic elections as Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise? I don't think so. We've read that the Muslim Brotherhood has been working on this very strategy for years. We question whether their idea of Democracy is "One man, one vote, one time" and believe that their sudden embrace of democracy is a pretext for the establishment of an Islamic state.

Yes, Pervez Musharraf is a military dictator. But seldom has the world seen one so benevolent. Musharraf has ruled Pakistan with a relatively light hand and all parties, religious and secular have been given a wide degree of latitude under his reign. Imram Kahn says that Musharraf faces a fundamentalist backlash for being an American puppet. We say this is backwards thinking, and the backlash has come against the rising fundamentalism. They say "The fundamentalism is against American policies in the Muslim world." They wish to confuse which came first, the chicken or the egg. If we engage in this game, we can go way back in history. Farther even than the Barbary pirates and the Halls of Tripoli. We can go back to the beginning of the problem when marauding hordes began driving Christians and Jews from the middle east and Turkey. But there's no need to play those games. The fundamentalists really don't give a damn about them but if that's all it takes to convince you, it's in their bag of propaganda ploys.

Imram Kahn like much of the world, seems to dislike George Bush and America. The Bush administration is at an extreme low tide of public opinion. Anti-Americanism is near historic highs and it is very easy to take advantage of the situation. Anyone who is or was a friend or associate of George Bush is an easy target. Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, Blair, Musharraf. Why do you think Gordon Brown comes into office publically putting distance between himself and America?

I remember years back when Pakistan had a worldwide marketing campaign to establish itself as a banking hub of the world. Radio and magazine advertisements declared that Pakistan was a modern country and open to banking and commerce. I think that was in the Benazir Bhutto years or it may have been after she fled the country. It turned out, that this PR campaign was in fact, an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Remember the International Bank of Commerce and Credit?

Pakistan has struggled to modernity (look, they developed the bomb) and like America, is a divided country right now. There are many secular Muslims in Pakistan; modern people who like salacious television and American bluejeans. People who go to the mall. City people, mainly, who "just try to be good" and are frightened of Islamists and suicide bombers. On the other hand, there are many "good upstanding religious people" who send their children to the "religious schools" for a thorough education in the "fundamentals " of the Religion of Peace.

The Muslim world is at the cross roads. It can move ahead in an ugly world made smaller and infinitely more complicated by globalization and secularization or it can recoil into fundamentalism. If Pakistan is not careful, they may long for the good 'ol days of Musharraf and people like Imram Kahn may regret their ill considered words.

Pakistan is one of those bell weather countries from which we may be able to determine how severe this clash of civilizations will be. We will keep a sharp eye on Pakistan, looking for a break in the weather and hoping that it doesn't get worse.

"Where is the moral purity in war unending?"

The Limited War for Hearts and Minds
By Diana West
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Someday, when the war in Iraq has become a historical episode, we will tally up the lessons learned -- if, that is, we ever learn any. Here are two worth mastering because failing to do so probably means we will no longer exist.

1. Nation-building in a war zone is nuts. Nation-building in an Islamic war zone is suicide.

When the United States embarked on its most successful cases of nation-building in Germany and Japan, both countries lay in ruins, their cities and infrastructure devastated, their populations decimated. These appalling conditions worked wonders toward opening both countries to all manner of Americana: democracy, deNazification, demilitarization and, in Japan's case, not just a constitution practically written by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, but also baseball. In other words, Total War was followed by Total Pacification.

In Iraq, we have fought a Limited War for Limited Pacification, which has resulted in a perpetual, if limited, war zone. At about $200 million a day, this war may not sound very "limited," but consider where "Sunni insurgents," "Shiite militias" and assorted thugs and jihadi groups go at night after a hard day's maiming and killing and IED-ing. They go home to safe houses. Now, ask yourself whether, say, a George Patton or a Curtis LeMay would allow them to wake up again, chow down breakfast and return to maim, kill and IED another day.

The answer is no, not on your life. Such generals would have seen to it that the enemy's home, his neighborhood, his entire town if necessary, was destroyed, doubtless killing innocent (and not innocent) civilians in the process. Total War. It's ugly and barbaric, but it leads to Total Pacification, not to mention Total Victory, which is supposed to be the point. Limited War is ugly and barbaric, but it just leads on and on. And where is the moral purity in war unending?

The Limited Warrior struggles for the answer, and comes up with ... Hearts and Minds: The superpower that doesn't want to use its super powers will instead make everyone like it a lot. To that end, Gen. David Petraeus, our top commander in Iraq, has ordered troops out of their well-fortified bases into "outposts" in Iraq's most dangerous enclaves. (One such outpost was recently struck by suicide bombers, killing nine Americans and wounding 20.) Often described as the linchpin of Gen. Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy, this outpost-plan is supposed to "establish regular contact with Iraqi civilians and win their allegiance," according to The New York Times.

Win their allegiance -- is he kidding? I hate to be the one to break it to Gen. Petraeus, not to mention President Bush, but the fact is, in an Islamic war zone, an "infidel" army just isn't going to win Islamic allegiance. There are many religious and cultural reasons I could offer in explanation, but instead I'll turn to the underreported story of the week: two findings contained within an extensive new poll of Muslim opinion conducted in four major Islamic countries Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan.

According to, more than half of those polled in Indonesia, and three-quarters of those polled in Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan believe in the strict application of Sharia, or Islamic law. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents expressed their desire to see the Islamic world united in a caliphate.

Which brings me to Lesson 2.

With numbers like these, portraying jihadist war goals (Sharia, caliphate) as belonging to a "tiny band of extremists" is nuts. Persisting in this PC fantasy as part of the narrative and strategy of the "war on terror" is suicidal.

But such PC fantasy fuels hearts-and-minds efforts that go beyond "allegiance"-winning outposts in Iraq as the United States now weirdly cheers on world Islamization to curry Islamic favor. As said by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos at a recent Kosovo hearing "Here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. ... The United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe."

Aren't we nice? Aren't we lovable?

Or are we just too dumb to live?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Without A CAIR - Guestpost by Harrison

An EB guestpost by Harrison at the Possum Bistro!

Thanks for helping - here's a lawsuit!

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper gets interviewed and defends his organisation's support for a bill that will allow CAIR to sue normal citizens ('John Does') for informing authorities or local law enforcement agencies of suspicious behaviour exhibited by any other person; to me, this is simply a blatant display of obstructionism of active citizens and their efforts to help the local law enforcement agencies to apprehend potentially dangerous members of the community. At worst, this is complicit behaviour by CAIR that is, unsurprisingly, typical of its protocol that condones the funding and institutional support of terrorist groups such as Hamas: in other words, a clear, unambiguous act of treason.

Hooper doesn't truly answer the question that is put forth to him, which concerns the shaky justification behind the decision to support such an audacious, self-serving move as to protect the rights of potential enemies of the state. As Tucker sums it up at the end of the clip, the position taken up by CAIR and the Democrats is utterly "indefensible": who truly determines whether something is done in "good faith"? Note that Hooper, when confronted with this pointed query by Tucker, jumps at the opportunity to invoke the "good faith" provision in order to obfuscate the unchanging fact that Tucker irrepressibly clings on to - that the lawsuit will be enacted before the obscure "good faith" detecting device that CAIR has managed to procure is applied to the accused.

Thus, the precedent is that of prosecuting normal citizens on the inaccurate, self-serving basis established by those at CAIR who undoubtedly already possess that raging strain of hypocrisy and anti-anti-Muslim prejudice. You know the Pillars of the Progressive: Muslims can insult other religions and their gods in cartoons, run anti-Semitic articles and basically spew venomous invective calling for the heads of their enemies - but when that type of behaviour is done unto them, it's 'racism', 'xenophobia' and 'anti-Islam'; cultural relativism which rationalises and legitimises suicide bombings, stoning and honour killings as 'natural', but condemns the incarceration of blood-thirsty terrorists as 'barbaric'; the Fairness Doctrine according fundamentalist and ideologically-charged commentaries that rant about 'Western imperialism' and 'oppression of Islam' equal value with rational analysis, while dismissing the need to respond to contradictions in their tirades by accusing critics of 'anti-Muslim bigotry' and the 'Western impulse to cow the inferior peoples'.

It doesn't take a large degree of agitation to expose the Pillars, because the average indoctrinated dhimmi at CAIR recites them like a knee-jerk response to any sign that may hint that you're not totally on their side with the jihadists, terrorists and apologists: Hooper displays this more than once in the clip, first referring rather ridiculously to the KKK, then snidely suggesting that the day when an entirely non-Muslim flight is possible isn't here yet, insinuating rather disrespectfully that Tucker is prejudiced against Muslims. This verbal insult being delivered in a manner so direct and without any prior knowledge of Tucker's own sensibilities or sentiments about the issue provides a clear carbon copy of every single investigation of any John Doe who is sued by CAIR: the assumption of anti-Muslim bias that would 'inevitably' lead to the prank call being made by John Doe is established as a 'truth' even before John Doe himself/herself receives the news that he or she has just been sued.

That is persecution sanctioned by CAIR and those Democrats who support the amendment, directed towards normal citizens who may or may not have been motivated by an inherent anti-Muslim bias, but certainly there is the possibility of their act of reporting being motivated by the observation of 'suspicious behaviour'. Yet on the surface Hooper masks it simply as an act of prosecution, though it is justified neither on a basis of evidence nor a past record of criminal behaviour/racial discrimination, but on an inherent prejudice that those who called in must be, without doubt, full of hatred towards Muslims. To judge and punish someone based on their race, religion or beliefs (supposed or otherwise) is persecution - it is no longer a clean, justifiable act of prosecution in the name of the law. In case CAIR needs to be reminded of the natural conclusion should persecution be allowed to manifest to its most extreme degree, look no further than the Holocaust. But I bet they denied that ever happened.

In short, Hooper is advocating the legalisation of prosecuting people not on grounds of 'suspicious behaviour', but by slapping such behaviour with the label of guilt sans evidence. Tucker is right in saying that this would surely disincentivise ordinary citizens from informing airport security about questionable behaviour, lest they find a lawsuit being issued against them by CAIR, which is more than adequately funded since it is seen as the legitimising ideological mouthpiece - a tool of the Islamists and jihadists with which to infiltrate our institutions and further drive the dichotomy between the believers and the kuffar in preparation for Judgement Day. However, I believe that a select few citizens will nevertheless risk the lawsuit and still do their duty to protect each other from potential danger and death - if there are lawyers who are willing to defend these brave souls in court, expose the persecutory, bigoted and irredeemably racist attitude of CAIR, rip the veneer and show the rest their intentions and the actions that point towards such loyalties which run counter to that of our nation - then perhaps there is hope for us all. The more citizens that stand up and refuse to be blackmailed and coerced by CAIR and the Democrats, the harder it will be for the amendment to be passed; if passed, the harder it will be for CAIR to justify its insidious acts of unmasked treason.

Hooper is also obviously attempting to invidiously widen the chasm between the citizen and the constitutional state. The American people opted for a republic rather than a democracy, and for good reason: the minimal state was desired, with a select body of personnel - collectively called the government - empowered by the citizenry with just enough authority, legitimacy and oversight to handle affairs of the state. There is a reason why the American people did not choose to bestow in the hands of government the monopoly of force and power to establish law and order, and that decision was manifested in the Second Amendment. Each citizen has individual sovereignty to preserve the sanctity and security of private life should various strata of law enforcement fail to intervene at the most dire of circumstances - and to survive as a society, each citizen must be willing to aid others in preserving that collective sanctity, minimising intrusions onto peace, willing to sacrifice blood and tears to protect what society holds dear - be it values, beliefs or customs.

The citizen has a part to play in the continuing provision of security of the state and its inhabitants, and Hooper is without doubt trying to deprive the government of its most useful ally in the weeding out of enemies of the state: the people who are the eyes and ears out there in the populace. What Hooper's intentions may be in instigating such a plot, I do not believe that they are for the betterment of the country. CAIR's support of the amendment reeks of betrayal and warranted suspicion - we, the people, should do well to sound this out to our peers and make out voices heard above the bigotry of the progressives.

Post-script: Flopping Aces posted on this today.

Will Bhutto Save Musharraf and Pakistan?

"The Red Mosque was just a warm-up for what will happen if the religious schools are not disarmed," Bhutto said.

Bhutto warns of Islamist revolt in Pakistan

29 Jul 2007, 1958 hrs IST,AFP

BERLIN: Exiled former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto warned of a looming Islamist revolution mounted from the country's madrassas, in a German magazine interview to be published on Monday.

Bhutto said she was planning her return to Pakistan this year to help stabilise the country in the face of the extremist threat.

"The Red Mosque was just a warm-up for what will happen if the religious schools are not disarmed," Bhutto said.

She added that Islamist extremist leaders were plotting an overthrow of President Pervez Musharraf's government and had converted madrassas in Pakistani cities into military headquarters with well-stocked arsenals.

A suicide bombing during protests on Friday at Islamabad's pro-Taliban Lal Masjid killed 14 people in the 13th suicide blast to hit the country since a bloody army raid on the Lal Masjid on July 10.

The bomber targeted officers policing Islamic students who had occupied the mosque to demand that their jailed former cleric should lead prayers after its chaotic reopening on Friday.

The government has denied reports that Musharraf held a secret meeting with Bhutto in Abu Dhabi in a bid to arrange a power-sharing pact to steady his position.

Bhutto, who has lived in self-imposed exile since 1998 in London and Dubai because of corruption claims against her, said there were ongoing talks with Musharraf about her possible return to Pakistan.

She could be jailed on the charges upon re-entering the country, which she said she plans to do by December.

The reports of the meetings and negotiating is being reported in the Indian papers.

Islamabad, July 31 (PTI):
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's recent meeting with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has caused "immense turmoil" in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), according to leaders of the two parties.

"Don't ask me about the level of our demoralisation and frustration. Where do we stand now as we have again sought the props of a military dictator after agreeing to accept him in uniform and re-elect him as President?" 'The News' reported yesterday, quoting a top PPP leader.

In fact, nearly all PPP leaders in Pakistan are in a state of shock and refuse to believe that their party chief has joined hands with Musharraf. They are also worried that the party would experience large-scale defections ahead of the general elections slated for later this year.

"I am still to comprehend why Benazir Bhutto showed desperation in meeting a desperate Musharraf despite knowing that she would gain nothing but would lose massively. We have been fighting against the military rule for the past eight years not to see this day," another senior PPP leader said.

Even PML bigwigs are dumbfound and dazed because of the recent meeting between Bhutto and Musharraf in Abu Dhabi.

They too fear that a number of their party comrades may desert the outfit and join PPP or other opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, in the country.

Some PML leaders also fear that their party may fall apart, particularly if the anchor (Musharraf) becomes "weak and unstable".

"Undoubtedly, we have the largest number of influential constituency based figures in our ranks, but they can't win without the state patronage. We are doomed if we're not significantly helped in any way by the President in the parliamentary polls," a PML leader said.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Condi - "Peace in Our Time"

Hezbollah Rejects U.S. Vision of Mideast
By HUSSEIN DAKROUB, Associated Press Writer

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Hezbollah's leader said Saturday that the militant Islamic group's war last summer with Israel has left the U.S. vision of a "new Middle East" in shambles and claimed the guerrilla group was ready to strike Israel again at any time.

During the 34-day war in southern Lebanon, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a new era of democracy and peace in the region, "a new Middle East."

But Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, said the U.S. vision aimed at reinforcing Israel.

"There is no new Middle East," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told a mass rally in the southern town of Bint Jbeil, one of the towns hardest hit by the war. "It's gone with the wind."

Nasrallah did not personally attend the rally to mark the first anniversary of the war which Hezbollah calls "a divine victory. His speech was relayed to the crowd on a giant screen set up in the main square of Bint Jbeil.

Nasrallah said the guerrilla group would never be at peace with Israel.

"We will not wait for anyone to defend us. We will defend ourselves and our country," he said. "We possess and we will continue to possess rockets that can hit any area in occupied Palestine if Israel attacks Lebanon," he added.

"It is impossible to live with a back-stabbing enemy on our border, who has been assaulting us ever since it was born."

Hezbollah triggered the war by crossing the Israeli border and capturing two soldiers who have not been seen or heard from since.

Nasrallah taunted Israel, saying Hezbollah had thwarted the Jewish state from achieving any of its declared objectives in the war, including freeing the captive soldiers.

"The enemy has even failed to return the two prisoners," he said.

Nasrallah did not explicitly confirm that the two were still alive. But he said the only way to secure their freedom was through "indirect negotiations and a (prisoner) exchange" for Lebanese citizens held by Israel.

Nasrallah charged that the war was the result of "a U.S. decision" and the United States provided Israel with "political and material support."

"There was American pressure on Israel to continue its war until the desired objectives were achieved," he said in his address, broadcast live by Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

The offensive killed more than 1,000 Lebanese, most of them civilians, according to tallies by the Lebanese government, human rights groups, and The Associated Press. Hezbollah launched nearly 4,000 rockets at Israel during the war, which killed 119 Israeli soldiers and 39 civilians

Hezbollah's critics also blame the group for prompting the current political crisis by stepping out of a coalition government.

The Hezbollah-led opposition has held street protests since Dec. 1 outside Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's office in Beriut. It wants to force him to resign or share power in a national unity Cabinet that would give the opposition veto power.

Saniora, backed by the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority and the United States, rejects the opposition's demand.

Rival governments could emerge if Parliament fails to elect a new president before Nov. 25, when opposition-backed President Emile Lahoud must step down. Iran and Syria back the opposition, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the West support the Saniora government.

Visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned that Lebanon could face a new civil war if its feuding leaders fail to resolve the political crisis threatening to tear the country apart.

Kouchner delivered the warning on the second day of his visit for talks with Lebanon's rival factions. France, the former colonial power, has encouraged dialogue between the Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Also on Saturday, Lebanese troops pressed a 2-month-old assault on Islamic militants holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp, storming one of their hideouts and killing eight fighters in a clash, state-run media reported.

The army pounded Fatah Islam's remaining positions with artillery, tank fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the National News Agency and witnesses said. The five-hour bombardment sent plumes of heavy black smoke up above the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, witnesses reported.

The conflict has left more than 200 dead since it began on May 20 and has threatened to further destabilize the country.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saudis Continue Their Mischief

15 of the 19 who carried out 9/11 were Saudis. Security officials and terrorism experts believe that Wahabis in the Balkans are receiving covert financing from Saudi 'charities'. Five of the '9/11' attackers had served as Wahabi sponsored fighters in Bosnia, according to intelligence sources. Dozens of other militants arrested in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, who proved to be members of various militant groups had been awarded Bosnian citizenship."

Balkans: Wahabis seen as growing regional threat

Novi Pazar, Serbia, 7 July (AKI) -
Although still a small group, Wahabis, followers of a fundamentalist school of Islam, are increasingly seen by officials and observers as a growing threat to the Balkans. Tensions between Wahabis and mainstream Muslims have been simmering for the past 18 months as Wahabis seek to gain influence in Bosnia-Heregovina and also in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. In the past months, seven suspected militants were arrested in southern Serbia and a radical Islamist training camp and weapons cache uncovered. Evidence, the Serbian interior ministry says, that Wahabis are trying to recruit potential terrorists and plot attacks.

In April, at the request of the Serbian authorities, police in breakaway Kosovo province issued an arrest warrant for Ismail Pretic, who they claim is a Wahabi militant who may have fled to the United Nations administered province. Road-blocks have been erected in northern Kosovo to help apprehend Pretic, who should be considered "armed and dangerous," according to police.

Serbian security officials say militants at the Wahabi training camp in Serbia's southern Sandjak region - were planning an attack on local Muslims. On 17 March police discovered there an underground arsenal of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, 10 kilogrammes of plastic explosives and automatic assault rifles. Police said they arrested four suspected Islamist militants during the raid a further two on 19 March.

Up to 30 Wahabis had been gathering and undergoing training in the camp at Ninaja Mountain, about 30 km north of the town of Novi Pazar police said. The six men arrested all come from Novi Pazar, capital of Sandjak - a Serbian region populated predominately by Muslims.

“Wahabis did not act this openly before. When these men were arrested, it was clear they had received some financial support since they were all poor yet loaded with weapons. Their main target was and still is the Islamic community in Sandzak," Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, leader of Islamic community in Sandzak told Adnkronos International (AKI).

There was a connection between Bosnian and Sandzak Wahabis, Zukorlic points out.

“We had individuals from Bosnia-Hezegovina coming to hold lectures and they were considered to be leaders among local Wahabis," Zukorlic said.

"But, gradually Bosnian Wahabis stopped their contacts with locals. Here, we have about 150 sect members and they are not all the same," Zukorlic added. Visibly identifiable by their ankle length trousers and beards, Wahabis have campaigned to do away with with what they see as heresy, attempts that have erupted into violence several times.

Asked if the Islamic community can solve the problem of Wahabi radicalism, Zukorlic replied: "They no longer pray in mosques."

The fundamentalist Wahhabi movement which preaches a 'pure Islam' originated in Saudi Arabia in the early 18th century and preaches religious intolerance towards other religious groups, including moderate Muslims. Several clashes have been reported lately in Bosnia and in Sandzak between Wahabis and moderate Muslims, including in a shootout in Novi Pazar last November in which several people were injured.

The Wahabi movement first emerged in the Balkans during the 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia, when thousands of mujahadeen fighters from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims. Many have remained in the country since the war, and according to foreign intelligence sources have been indoctrinating local youths and even operating terrorist training camps.

Because of the Wahabi military support in the 1990s, the Bosnian government has been reluctant to crack down on Wahabi religious and military training efforts, analysts say. The Wahabis, who believe they are carrying out God's will, refuse to crack down on the alleged terrorists in their midst, stoking tensions between the Wahabis and the government.

“The Wahabi sect is a national security question for Bosnia, because Islamic analysts consider them as militant and therefore dangerous, " the chairman of Bosnia's three-man rotating state presidency, Negojsa Radmanovic, told AKI. "If Wahabis prove to be a security risk, the authorities will have to take action to ensure the public's safety and regulate Islam," he said.

Only the funeral of former Bosnian Muslim leader and wartime Bosnian president, Alija Izetbegovic went down with a bigger crowd and more security than that of the unofficial leader of the Wahabi sect in Bosnia, Jusuf Barcic,, in Tuzla following his death in a car crash in April.

Barcic's funeral threatened to become a serious incident as more than 3,000 Wahabis from Bosnia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Sandjak gathered at the event, refusing journalists access to the mosque. More than 50 uniformed and undercover police reportedly monitored the funeral. Police were reported to have taken no action when Palestinian Karray Kanel Bin Ali, the alleged 'mastermind' of the Wahabi sect in Bosnia, threatened to smash cameras and ordered a journalists to be removed from the spot.

Although Barcic had not been on good terms with the Muslim community in Bosnia for the past eight years, after his return from Saudi Arabia, the community granted his father permission to bury him with religious honours. Barcic, a self-proclaimed sheikh became known to the Bosnian public two months ago after he and his followers attempted to enter the central Czar mosque in Sarajevo to preach "a return to traditional Islam. He and his followers had earlier occupied several mosques in the Tuzla region, clashing with local Muslims.

In Maoca, near the Bosnian town of Brcko, Wahabis have even their own elementary school. "The ministry neglected these premises. We renovated them using our money and now we are educating our children," said a teacher at the school, Nusret Imamovic. Some 20 pupils there are following Jordan's rather than the Bosnian school programme, Imamovic said.

Security officials and terrorism experts believe that Wahabis in the Balkans are receiving covert financing from Saudi 'charities'. Five of the '9/11' attackers had served as Wahabi sponsored fighters in Bosnia, according to intelligence sources. Dozens of other militants arrested in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, who proved to be members of various militant groups had been awarded Bosnian citizenship.

Although the Saudis have reportedly poured money into building mosques and supporting Wahabi missionaries, only about three percent of the Bosnian population adopted this more conservative form of Islam. Commentators such as Zukorlic claim Wahabis remain a small group with no significant influence in the region. Wahabis claim they are merely religious activists.

Schumer Doesn't Like The US Constitution Much

"a tremendous disrespect for the Constitution"- Dana Perino

...He ( The President) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court...

Schumer to fight new Bush high court picks
By: Carrie Budoff Politico
Jul 27, 2007 05:33 PM EST

Schumer said his “greatest regret” in the last Congress was not doing more to scuttle Alito.

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

“We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”

Schumer’s assertion comes as Democrats and liberal advocacy groups are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court with Bush’s nominees – Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito – has moved quicker than expected to overturn legal precedents.

Senators were too quick to accept the nominees’ word that they would respect legal precedents, and “too easily impressed with the charm of Roberts and the erudition of Alito,” Schumer said.

“There is no doubt that we were hoodwinked,” said Schumer, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said Schumer's comments show "a tremendous disrespect for the Constitution" by suggesting that the Senate not confirm nominees.

"This is the kind of blind obstruction that people have come to expect from Sen. Schumer," Perino said. "He has an alarming habit of attacking people whose character and position make them unwilling or unable to respond. That is the sign of a bully. If the past is any indication, I would bet that we would see a Democratic senatorial fundraising appeal in the next few days."

Schumer voted against confirming Roberts and Alito. In Friday’s speech, he said his “greatest regret” in the last Congress was not doing more to scuttle Alito.

“Alito shouldn’t have been confirmed,” Schumer said. “I should have done a better job. My colleagues said we didn’t have the votes, but I think we should have twisted more arms and done more.”

While no retirements appear imminent, Bush still could have the opportunity to fill another vacancy on the court. Yet the two oldest members – Justice John Paul Stevens, 87, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 74 – are part of the court's liberal bloc and could hold off retirement until Bush leaves office in January, 2009.

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, said he was persuaded by a conversation with Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who spoke with Specter at the Aspen Institute gathering in Colorado this month, to study the decisions of the Roberts Court. The term that ended in June was notable for several rulings that reversed or chipped away at several long-standing decisions, delighting conservatives but enraging liberals.

Breyer has publicly raised concerns that conservative justices were violating stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave precedents undisturbed.

“It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said, reading his dissent from the bench in June to a 5-4 ruling that overturned school desegregation policies in two cities.

Schumer said there were four lessons to be learned from Alito and Roberts: Confirmation hearings are meaningless, a nominee’s record should be weighed more heavily than rhetoric, “ideology matters” and “take the president at his word.”

“When a president says he wants to nominate justices in the mold of [Antonin] Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas,” Schumer said, “believe him.”

There is Trouble in Paradise. Malaki and Petraeus Have Hard Feelings.

I can't deal with you any more. I will ask for someone else to replace you." -Nouri al-Maliki to Gen David Petraeus

Iraqi leader tells Bush: Get Gen Petraeus out

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:44am BST 28/07/2007 Telegraph

Relations between the top United States general in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, the country's prime minister, are so bad that the Iraqi leader made a direct appeal for his removal to President George W Bush.

Although the call was rejected, aides to both men admit that Mr Maliki and Gen David Petraeus engage in frequent stand-up shouting matches, differing particularly over the US general's moves to arm Sunni tribesmen to fight al-Qa'eda.

One Iraqi source said Mr Maliki used a video conference with Mr Bush to call for the general's signature strategy to be scrapped. "He told Bush that if Petraeus continues, he would arm Shia militias," said the official. "Bush told Maliki to calm down."

At another meeting with Gen Petraeus, Mr Maliki said: "I can't deal with you any more. I will ask for someone else to replace you."

Gen Petraeus admitted that the relationship was stormy, saying: "We have not pulled punches with each other."

President Bush's support for Mr Maliki is deeply controversial within the US government because of the Iraqi's ties to Shia militias responsible for some of the worst sectarian violence.

The New York Times claimed yesterday that Saudi Arabia was refusing to work with Mr Maliki and has presented "evidence" that he was an Iranian intelligence agent to US officials. "Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia's counterproductive role in the war," it reported.

Alongside the firm support of Mr Bush, Mr Maliki also enjoys the backing of Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador and his predecessor, Zalmay Khalilzad, now America's representative at the United Nations.

Mr Khalilzad took a swipe at Saudi Arabia in an editorial published earlier this month that was widely seen as an appeal for a larger UN role in stabilising Iraq.

Mr Crocker, who attends Mr Maliki's stormy weekly meetings with Gen Petraeus, said the Iraqi leader was a strong partner of America.

"There is no leader in the world that is under more pressure than Nouri al-Maliki, without question," he said. "Sometimes he reflects that frustration. I don't blame him. I probably would too."

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Chinese Erosion of US Security

One of the many little things stolen by the Chinese. Read the names of the Chinese spies identified and captured. Not too many O'Briens and Williams. Perhaps if they look like there may be some bok choy in their fridge they should not be in atomic weapons research labs.

There is substantial concern,” Mr. Mueller said. “China is stealing our secrets in an effort to leap ahead in terms of its military technology, but also the economic capability of China. It is a substantial threat that we are addressing in the sense of building our program to address this threat.

FBI calls Chinese espionage 'substantial'
By Bill Gertz, Washington Times
July 27, 2007

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said yesterday that Chinese intelligence operations against the United States are a major problem and that the FBI is stepping up counterespionage efforts against them.

Mr. Mueller was asked during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about growing Chinese espionage activities.

“There is substantial concern,” Mr. Mueller said. “China is stealing our secrets in an effort to leap ahead in terms of its military technology, but also the economic capability of China. It is a substantial threat that we are addressing in the sense of building our program to address this threat.”

He declined to elaborate but said he would be willing to disclose more in a closed-door meeting.

The FBI and other counterintelligence agencies are hiring more agents and analysts who specialize in Chinese affairs to deal with the threat, U.S. officials said.

The FBI in San Francisco last month ran advertisements in three Chinese-language newspapers, asking for help from Chinese Americans to provide information about “illicit activities,” presumably by Chinese intelligence operatives.

Several recent Chinese spy cases highlight the problem of Beijing's spying, including the case of Los Angeles businesswoman Katrina Leung, a longtime informant for the FBI who was later accused of secretly working for China's intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security.

Another Chinese spy ring was recently highlighted by the case of Chinese-born defense contractor Chi Mak, who was convicted of passing embargoed U.S. defense technology to China. Several of his relatives also were linked to the compromise of U.S. Navy technology to China.

Noshir Gowadia, a Hawaii-based defense consultant, also was indicted last year on charges of selling classified B-2 bomber and other weapons technology to China. He also was charged with helping Chinese missile designers build a stealth cruise missile. He pleaded not guilty.

Joel Brenner, the director of national counterintelligence, said in an interview in March that China's theft of technology from the United States is a serious problem and that Beijing is “eating our lunch” in terms of compromised know-how.

Chinese spies are “very aggressive” in obtaining technology, often before it is fully developed by U.S. researchers, Mr. Brenner said.

Michelle Van Cleave, a former national counterintelligence executive, said in a recent defense report that Chinese spies are among “the world's most effective” and include civilian and military spies who have “a global reach.”

Recent Chinese espionage successes include design information on all of the most advanced U.S. nuclear weapons, U.S. missile design and guidance technology, electromagnetic weapons and space-launch capabilities, Miss Van Cleave stated.

China also succeeded in frustrating U.S. intelligence-gathering and counterintelligence against China through Leung, Mr. Brenner said.

China's government denies that it engaged in intelligence-gathering against the United States.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

In Your Heart You Know He is Right. Right?

New mosques are popping up across Venezuela. No Problem?

Family values may not end at the US border but then neither do US security risks, none more so than those coming from Hugo Chavez. The Republicans can criticize the Democrats for considering talking with America's declared enemies, but when are the Republicans going to actually do something about them? It will not come from the present White House.The neglect and the action shortfall from The Bush Administration when it comes to US border security borders is a scandal.The Democrats are even worse.

Yesterday in the Senate, Barack Hussein Obama, made a ruling that secure borders and homeland security were not related. That may prove to be a costly mistake for the Democrats. Here is hoping.

Venezuela and Iran team up for `axis of unity'

Thursday, Jul 26, 2007

A billboard of Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looms over a motorway in Venezuela, marking the entrance to a factory designed to produce three things: tractors, influence and angst.

The tractors, lined up in shiny red phalanxes on the grounds of Veniran, a joint venture between Venezuela and Iran, are for peasants and socialist cooperatives across Latin America.

The influence, less visible but real enough, is for Chavez and Ahmadinejad, two presidents who hope this and other ventures will project their prestige and power.

The angst, if all goes to plan, is for Washington. Veniran might be tucked away in the backwater provincial capital of Ciudad Bolivar but it is part of a wider attempt by Chavez to forge a common front against the US.

The socialist radical is using Venezuela's vast oil wealth to strike commercial and political deals with countries that challenge the US such as Iran, Belarus, Russia and China, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean, to rebuff what he refers to as the "empire".

"Chavez is a global player because right now he has a lot of money that he is prepared to spend to advance his huge ambitions," said Michael Shifter, an analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue thinktank. "He has worked tirelessly to upset US priorities in Latin America."

Supporters say he has worked tirelessly to support the poor and marginalized, for example through a US$250,000 loan to help farmers in Bolivia's lowlands build a coca industrialization plant, part of an effort to turn the leaf into cakes, biscuits and other legal products instead of cocaine.

"For years we have wanted to do this but no one would support us," said Leonardo Choque, leader of the Chimore federation of coca growers. "Then the Venezuelans come and offer us a loan with very low interest rates. And no conditions." Venezuela is also funding a new university nearby.

In contrast the US is accused of bullying Andean nations into destroying coca crops without promoting equally lucrative alternative livelihoods -- a big stick and a small carrot.

Of all Chavez's alliances the one with Iran is the most striking. Some of the estimated 180 economic and political accords signed with the mullahs over recent years are now bearing fruit.

The first "anti-imperialist cars" from a joint venture reached Venezuela's roads this month, with the first batch earmarked for army officers.

There is now a weekly flight between Caracas and Tehran, with a stopover in Damascus, operated by the Venezuelan state-controlled airline Conviasa and Iran's national carrier, Iran Air. New mosques are popping up across Venezuela and universities are teaching Farsi.

Iran is to help build platforms in a US$4 billion development of Orinoco delta oil deposits in exchange for Venezuelan investments.

The 4,000 tractors produced annually in Ciudad Bolivar are small beer in comparison but they have a symbolic value as agents of revolutionary change. Most are given or leased at a discount in Venezuela to socialist cooperatives that have seized land, with government blessing, from big ranches and sugar plantations.

Dozens have also been sent to Bolivia and Nicaragua.

"The idea is to help our brothers develop the land," said Reza Mahboubi, an Iranian manager at the plant. The technology was Iranian, as were the supervisors, but most of the 130 staff were Venezuelan. Asked if the objective was also to stick a finger in George Bush's eye, Mahboubi merely smiled.

A colleague who asked not to be named said the Iranians had been warmly welcomed: "I love it here. It's hot and sunny and they eat rice, just like back home. Except here I go out salsa dancing."

Chavez inaugurated the factory in 2005 with the then Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami. He has struck up a friendship with his successor, Ahmadinejad, and hailed their "axis of unity."

"The relationship is fundamentally geopolitical rather than economic," Shifter said. "It tells the world that Iran, an international pariah, is welcome in Latin America, which is traditionally regarded as the strategic preserve or `back yard' of the United States."

Rudy is Energized

"I guess we'll be seeing each other in some familiar places."

Giuliani has a reputation for being a nuts and bolts politician that understands the mundane and obvious things that need to be done to make a huge city work. The song says if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. His ideas are pragmatic and no one should ever doubt his ability to follow through and lead after he sets a goal.

The left detests him, the Republicans may as well get used to him. He is there best shot.

In this essay on energy there is absolutely nothing new, except you have to believe he will get it done.

Leading America Toward Energy Independence

By Rudy Giuliani
July 26, 2007
Real Clear Politics
America needs to become energy independent.

We should have started to move toward energy independence back in the 1970s, when oil prices spiked and there were the long lines at gas stations. Presidents Nixon and Carter talked about energy independence, but not a lot got done. The next President of the United States is going to have to make it a major goal of their administration. Most people will say it's impossible, we've tried before. I'm running for president because I know how to get things done.

I will move America toward energy independence. It will require setting goals, sticking to them and energizing the American people to achieve them. It will require expanding our reliance on a much more diverse range of energy sources that America can control.

Ethanol and other bio-fuels are already helping America move toward energy independence. But it is embarrassing that Brazil is so far ahead of America in the use of ethanol. It should be other way around. Seventy percent of the new cars sold in Brazil can use ethanol. In the United States there's only a very small percentage. In Brazil you can pull up to most gas stations and get ethanol. That's not the case in the United States. Our goal has to be more growth in ethanol. Because every percentage that we increase our use of ethanol, we reduce our reliance on foreign oil from volatile areas of the world.

Just like Brazil is ahead of us in ethanol, France is ahead of us in nuclear power. Eighty percent of the electricity in France comes from nuclear power. Only twenty percent of electricity in America is generated by nuclear power and it's going to go down to fifteen percent in the future if we don't do something about it. We invented the peaceful use of nuclear power, but we've let other countries get ahead of us. There is no reason for that. No one's ever died from nuclear power in the United States. Despite that fact, we haven't licensed a new nuclear power plant in the United States in 30 years.

America has more coal than Saudi Arabia has oil. If we can compete and make cost effective the process of carbon sequestration, clean coal, we can rely on coal to a much larger extent. And we can rely on it without harming the environment.

We also must increase our use of solar power, wind power and hydro-power. We can reduce energy costs and reduce pollution through conservation. And if we can figure out how to change our electrical grid to a digital grid we'll be able to use our energy on a much more efficient and consistent basis.

The government needs to help business establish competitive, cost-effective technologies in the short-run. That doesn't necessarily mean larger subsidies. But it does require government helping those developing industries and technologies. In the case of increasing the number of oil refineries and nuclear power plants, it means breaking down some of the bureaucratic burdens.

In the long-run, energy independence can become a great industry for America. We can sell our advances to countries like China and India. They need energy independence even more than we do and they are further behind us in this effort. If we approach this challenge from a position of our strengths, not our weaknesses, we can find new opportunities and create new jobs right here in America.

The government has to approach energy independence the way we put a man on the moon. When the Soviets put a man in space, President Eisenhower was embarrassed and angry. President Eisenhower said we're going to get to the moon first and he started the space program. President Kennedy took it over and expanded it. President Johnson continued the job and President Nixon got it done. That's two Republican presidents and two Democratic presidents - not thinking about partisan interests, but thinking about the national interest. That is the way America achieves great goals.

The bottom line is that there is no one answer: Ethanol and bio-fuels can't do it all, conservation can't do it all, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, hybrid vehicles - none of these are silver bullet solutions. But if we increase our use of each one of them to a higher level, we can achieve energy independence in the future while creating a new engine for the American economy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Islamic Schutzstaffel, SS

" I'll get a bigger shawl if you get your eyebrows waxed."

On patrol with Iran's fashion police

It all starts with one simple sentence, spoken almost in a whisper, but which has a thunderous effect.
A female police officer deployed in Tehran's latest moral crackdown tells a woman that her manto (overcoat) is too short and infringes Iranian Islamic dress rules.

"Azizam (my dear), good afternoon, if possible could we have a friendly chat, please allow us to have a small chat," the officer, a graduate of Tehran's police academy, tells the young woman.

"My dear there is a problem with your manto. Please do not wear this kind of manto. Please wear a longer manto from now on."

Some are just let go there, but others are escorted to waiting minibuses with dark black tinted window panes and labelled "Guidance Patrol."

A girl in a short white manto whose long hair was tumbling out the front of her headscarf is taken by the police to one of the minibuses on Vanak Square in central Tehran -- an unexpected and unhappy end to her shopping trip.

Another arrested woman is already inside the bus. She begins to cry. "I promise, I promise!"

And the minibus doors slam shut.

Tehran's police have said they are operating a three stage process in implementing the new wave of a crackdown on dress deemed to be unIslamic, which started with some intensity on Monday afternoon.

First, women are given a verbal warning on the street. If the problem is not resolved there, they are taken to the police station for "guidance" and to sign a vow not to repeat the offence. Should this be unsuccessful, their case is handed to the judiciary.

"Sure my manto is short, but there are many others whose clothes are more seductive than mine and they walking by without any punishment," one of the arrested girls in the minibus complained bitterly.

The arrested women will now go to a "centre for combating vice".

Their parents will be phoned and they will bring a longer coat and fuller headscarf for their daughters. If the young women sign the pledge they will then be released.

"We want our words to have an effect on people," a female Iranian police officer, who by law was not allowed to give her name, told AFP before being dispatched to take part in the crackdown.

"Our method is through guidance and via words. We do not face an instance that prompts us to be physical. We do not have any bats or sprays, in the toughest instances we may grab her hand and 'guide' her to the minibus," she said.

"I am doing this it as it is my duty and my job is supported by the religious teachings," another women clad in the black chador uniform of Tehran's female police added.

A girl confronted by the female police for having overly short trousers and transparent stockings apologizes.

"I am wearing stockings but, sorry, they are too light. Sorry I will change them, definitely I will change them. Now can I go?"

Not everything goes so smoothly.

One young passer-by rounds on the police for devoting such resources to moral crackdowns rather than other social problems as the minibus -- now filled with "badly veiled" women -- speeds away to the police station.

"Shame on you, look what you've done! The people's problem is not this, go fix your traffic situation, people are stuck in traffic for hours, go fix other real problems," she shrieks.

There was already considerable controversy inside Iran when the first stage of the "plan to increase security in society" was launched in April.

Many conservatives have applauded the drive, but moderates have publicly questioned whether Iran would be better off tackling poverty and crime rather than slack dressing.

Just before the new crackdown started, popular television host Farzad Hasani grilled Tehran's police chief Ahmad Reza Radan about the drive on his talk show, accusing the police of "not differentiating between people and thugs."

An old woman in a black chador in Vanak Qquare echoed the sentiment.

"Our youth have no peace of mind. They are afraid to go out, they are afraid that if they go out they will be taken to the police. Aren't they saying that there is freedom?"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We Are Engaged in a Phoney War

Interim Presidential Prediction, the Cancer Factor.

Looking at the Presidential contenders, it is difficult to see how Hillary does not capture the Democratic nomination. Bill Clinton wants to get back in the game. He will pull out all the stops and Obama is not going to make the cut.

The Republicans are not quite so clear. Fred Thompson, although interesting, does not look to me to have the staying power and the depth needed to win a national election. He is no Reagan. Reagan was governor of California and had been on the national scene for many Years. Fred Thompson is too old, has had cancer and IMO would be a weak candidate.

McCain- au revoir.

Romney seems to be a good competent man. The problem is that he looks to be too Republican and too corporate. I like him, but he will not pick up enough in the center and will not excite the Republican conservative right. He would beat Obama but not Clinton.

That leaves Guiliani. Rudy could win if he comes out early and declares that he is no boy scout, never was and never will be. He needs to come out swinging and stay on the offense, concede his weaknesses, and tells the American public to grow up and pick a leader who can lead. He has a proven record under severe conditions. He needs to laugh at those that criticize his personal life. Giuliani can pick up enough of the Northeastern states to overcome some red states going blue. He is also a cancer survivor and that returning would cost the Republicans the election if it returns.

US and Iran Talk.

US and Iran hold fresh Iraq talks

The US and Iraq are having a little chat. This is the second meeting since the envoys met in May for their historic first encounter in Baghdad, the second bilateral meeting in 27 years. The US envoy to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, are meeting in Baghdad. Last night in the Democratic debate Barack Obama claimed he would meet with just about anyone anytime, including Iran. The US is meeting Iran for the second time (officially)in twenty seven years. There does seem to be some room in the middle.

...The US blames Iran for supporting some of those who are attacking US and UK troops in Iraq, while Iran blames the US troop presence for Iraq's troubles.

The insurgency and related sectarian violence in Iraq are causing thousands of deaths every month.

Separate talks

The talks began with a heated exchange between the Iranian and US ambassadors, the Associated Press quotes an anonymous Iraqi official as saying.

Mr Crocker charged the Iranians with providing training and weapons to the Shia militias behind violence in Baghdad and beyond, the AP reports.

Mr Kazemi-Qomi reportedly brushed aside the allegations, saying that the US had no proof of its claims.

On Monday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani held separate talks with the two ambassadors to urge them to work together to improve his country's security.

However, ahead of the talks, the US and Iran continued to blame each other for the situation.

Timeline: US-Iran ties

A chronology of key events:
1953 US and British intelligence services help Iranian military officers depose Prime Minister Muhammad Mussadeq, a leading exponent of nationalising the oil industry.

Ayatollah Khomeini's legacy still overshadows US-Iranian relations
1979 16 January - US-backed Shah of Iran forced to leave the country after widespread demonstrations and strikes.

1979 1 February - Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile and takes effective power.

1979 4 November - Iranian students seize 63 hostages at US embassy in Tehran, prompting drawn-out crisis leading to severing of diplomatic ties and sweeping US sanctions against Iran. Their initial demand is that the Shah return from the US to Iran to face trial. Later Iran also demands the US undertake not to interfere in its affairs.

1980 25 April - Secret US military mission to rescue hostages ends in disaster in sandstorm in central Iranian desert.

1980 27 July - Exiled Shah dies of cancer in Egypt, but hostage crisis continues.

1980 22 September - Iraq invades, sparking a war with Iran which lasts the rest of the decade. While several Western countries provide support to Iraq during the war, Iran remains diplomatically isolated.

1981 20 January - Last 52 US hostages freed in January after intense diplomatic activity. Their release comes a few hours after US President Jimmy Carter leaves office. They had been held for 444 days.

1985/6 US holds secret talks with Iran and makes weapons shipments, allegedly in exchange for Iranian assistance in releasing US hostages in Lebanon. With revelations that profits were illegally channelled to Nicaraguan rebels, this creates the biggest crisis of Ronald Reagan's US presidency.

1987/8 US forces engage in series of encounters with Iranian forces, including strikes on Gulf oil platforms.

The hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran lasted 444 days
19883 July - US cruiser Vincennes mistakenly shoots down Iran Air Airbus over the Gulf, killing all 290 people on board.

1989 3 June - Ayatollah Khomeini dies. President Khamenei is appointed supreme leader the following day.

1989 17 August - Hashemi Rafsanjani sworn in as president, with apparent backing of both conservatives and reformers in the leadership.

1990/91 Iran remains neutral in US-led intervention in Kuwait. Rapprochement with West hindered by Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 religious edict ordering that British author Salman Rushdie be killed for offending Islam in one of his novels.

1992/3 Iran criticises perceived US regional interference in the wake of the Gulf War and the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

1993 US President Bill Clinton takes office.

1995 President Clinton imposes oil and trade sanctions on Iran for alleged sponsorship of "terrorism", seeking to acquire nuclear arms and hostility to the Middle East process. Iran denies the charges.

1996 Mr Clinton stiffens sanctions with penalties against any firm that invests $40m or more a year in oil and gas projects in Iran and Libya.

The Khatami presidency has not led to closer US-Iranian relations
1997 23 May - Muhammad Khatami elected president of Iran.

1998 President Khatami calls for a "dialogue with the American people" in American TV interview. But in a sermon a few weeks later he is sharply critical of US "oppressive policies".

1999 Twentieth anniversary of US embassy siege. Hardliners celebrate the occasion, as reformists look to the future rather than the past.

2000 18 February - Iranian reformists win landslide victory in general election. Shortly afterwards, President Clinton extends ban on US oil contracts with Iran, accusing it of continuing to support international terrorism.

2000 March - US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright calls for a new start in US-Iranian relations and announces lifting of sanctions on Iranian exports ranging from carpets to food products. Iranian foreign ministry initially welcomes the move, but Ayatollah Khamenei later describes it as deceitful and belated.

2000 September - Mrs Albright meets Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi at UN in New York - the first such talks since diplomatic ties were severed in 1979.

2001 June - The US alleges that elements within the Iranian Government were directly involved in the bombing of an American military base in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Tehran angrily rejects the allegations.

Bush branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil"
2001 September - Report by Central Intelligence Agency accuses Iran of having one of the world's most active programmes to acquire nuclear weapons. The CIA report says Iran is seeking missile-related technology from a number of countries including Russia and China.

2002 29 January - US President George W Bush, in his State of the Union address, describes Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil". He warns that the proliferation of long-range missiles being developed in these countries is as great a danger to the US as terrorism. The speech causes outrage in Iran and is condemned by reformists and conservatives alike.

2002 September - Russian technicians begin construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite strong objections from US.

2002 December - The US accuses Iran of seeking to develop a secret nuclear weapons programme and publishes satellite images of two nuclear sites under construction at Natanz and Arak.

2003 February-May - The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducts a series of inspections in Iran. The country confirms that there are sites at Natanz and Arak under construction, but insists that these, like Bushehr, are designed solely to provide fuel for future power plants.

2003 June - White House refuses to rule out the "military option" in dealing with Iran after IAEA says Iran "failed to report certain nuclear materials and activities". But IAEA does not declare Iran in breach of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran's account of its nuclear programme failed to satisfy the US
2003 September - Washington says Iran is not complying with non-proliferation accords but agrees to support proposal from Britain, France and Germany to give Iran until end of October fully to disclose nuclear activities and allow surprise inspections.

2003 October-November - Tehran agrees to suspend its uranium enrichment programme and allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. An IAEA report says Iran has admitted producing plutonium but adds there is no evidence that it was trying to build an atomic bomb. However, US dismisses the report as "impossible to believe". The IAEA votes to censure Iran but stops short of imposing sanctions.

2003 December - US sends humanitarian aid to Iran after earthquake kills up to 50,000 people in city of Bam. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Iran's permanent envoy to UN, Mohammad Javad Zarif, hold telephone talks in a rare direct contact.

2004 January - President Bush denies that US has changed its policy towards Tehran and says moves to help Iran in the wake of earthquake do not indicate a thaw in relations.

2004 March - A UN resolution condemns Iran for keeping some of its nuclear activities secret. Iran reacts by banning inspectors from its sites for several weeks.

2004 September - The IAEA passes a resolution giving a November deadline for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran rejects the call and begins converting raw uranium into gas.

A US nuclear monitor publishes satellite images of an Iranian weapons facility which it says may be involved in work on nuclear arms.

2004 November - Iran agrees to a European offer to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for trade concessions. At the last minute, Tehran backs down from its demand to exclude some centrifuges from the freeze. The US says it maintains its right to send Iran unilaterally to the UN Security Council if Tehran fails to fulfil its commitment.

2005 January - Europe and Iran begin trade talks. The European trio, France, Germany and the UK, demand Iran stop its uranium enrichment programme permanently.

Condoleezza Rice says the US is looking for a diplomatic solution

2005 February - Iranian President Mohammed Khatami says his country will never give up nuclear technology, but stresses it is for peaceful purposes. Russia backs Tehran, and signs a deal to supply fuel to Iran's Bushehr reactor.

New US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says attacking Iran is not on the US agenda "at this point in time".

2005 March - President George W Bush signals a major change in policy towards Iran. He says the US will back the negotiation track led by the European trio - EU3 - and offer economic incentives for the Islamic state to give up its alleged nuclear ambitions.

Mr Bush announces the US will lift a decade-long block on Iran's membership of the World Trade Organization, and objections to Tehran obtaining parts for commercial planes.

2005 June - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor, wins a run-off vote in presidential elections, defeating cleric and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani.

2005 July - The US concludes that President Ahmadinejad was a leader of the group behind the 1979 hostage crisis at its embassy in Tehran, but says it is unsure whether he took an active part in taking Americans prisoner.

2005 August - President George W Bush makes the first of several statements in which he refuses to rule out using force against Iran.

Ahmadinejad says Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear technology

2005 August-September - Tehran says it has resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant and insists the programme is for peaceful purposes. The IAEA finds Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

2006 March - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the US faces "no greater challenge" than Iran's nuclear programme.

2006 April - A report in the New Yorker suggests the US is planning a tactical nuclear strike against underground nuclear sites - a claim Washington denies. Iran says it will retaliate against any attack and complains to the UN.

Iran announces it has successfully enriched uranium - prompting Ms Rice to demand "strong steps" by the UN. An IAEA report concludes Iran has not complied with a Security Council demand that it suspend uranium enrichment. Mr Ahmadinejad insists the pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology is Iran's "absolute right".

Tehran offers to hold direct talks with Washington on the situation in Iraq, in what would have been the first such talks since 1980. Tehran later withdraws the offer.

2006 May - The US, Britain and France table a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment or face "further action".

In response, Iran's parliament threatens to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if pressure over its nuclear programme increases.

Later that month, the US offers to join EU nations in direct talks with Iran if it agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing work.

2006 December - The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

2007 January - Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard had been arrested in Iraq. He said they had been "engaged in sectarian warfare".

In his State of the Union address on 24 January, Mr Bush lumps Iran with al-Qaeda: "It has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who...take direction from the regime in Iran," he says. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat."

A few days later, seeking to ease concerns about a future military confrontation with Iran, the US president says he has "no intent" to attack the country.

2007 February - US officials say they have proof that Iran has provided sophisticated weapons which have been used to kill American soldiers in Iraq.

This is rebuffed by President Ahmadinejad in an interview with an American television station. He dismisses the claims as an "excuses to prolong the stay" of US forces.

2007 March - The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, holds a meeting with an Iranian team at a conference of Iraq's neighbours in Baghdad.

The talks are the first formal encounter between the two sides for more than two years.

2007 May - The US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi hold the first high-level talks between the two countries in almost 30 years.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Timing is everything

The Western Lobster Pot

Turkish PM Erdogan and His Wife

Why don't they love us?

This fundamentalist business is one huge cluster you-know-what but more than that, as most EB readers know, its a religious war. I have been amazed and dismayed by the Ummah's reaction to the Coalition's effort to depose the most dangerous and oppressive dictator in the world. We take out the man (Saddam Hussein) who has killed more Muslims than everyone else combined and the Muslim world sees us as a crusader enemy. Why do they react that way when we have made it abundantly clear that this is not a crusade or a religious war? In spite of our efforts more young Muslims have become radicalised. This one-sided war is being waged throughout the world by the other side's active jihadis. So far, the moderate Muslims, due to fear or sympathy for the cause have been largely unwilling to speak out against the violence. In deed, democratic elections in Algeria and lately in the Palestinian territories seem to favor the Islamists. Even the so-called moderate Turkey seems to be tilting towards fundamentalism which has been ascendant since at least 1979. Upcoming elections in Pakistan will be the next indicator on the trend line.

Why did we let this happen?

The politically correct west is unwilling to acknowledge that the jihadi mentality most closely adheres to the teachings of the Koran. As we declare Islam the religion of peace, the truest Muslims, most faithful to the teachings of the prophet are martyring themselves in a war against the infidel world. More dismaying than the Muslim reactions is the reaction of the west which is equally put off by the "holier than thou Bible or Koran thumping fundamentalists." It is sickening to hear the moral equivocation about violence in the Torah. There is nothing remotely equivalent between the two religions but each passing generation falls further away from a real knowledge of the Bible and Christianity.

It is astounding to see how secularized the west, including the United States, has become since WWII. This did not occur by happenstance but is the result of a long campaign against the status quo institutions of the west. This campaign which may well have been started by a 1947 Supreme Court decision institutionalising the false notion of a constitutional separation of Church and State. Another landmark decision in 1962, striking prayer in schools, accelerated the erosion of the Judaeo-Christian value system which the country was founded on. America's intelligentsia point to the deist Thomas Jefferson as the North Star for their separation argument. But does anyone seriously think that Jefferson's contemporaries saw him as anything other than the eccentric that he was? Of all the founding fathers, only Jefferson and one other were deists. The others were Christian but generations of public school children have been indoctrinated in this new liberalism which denies the truth and rewrites history to support the new paradigm. Today far too many people think that fundamentalist Christians and Jews are a greater world threat than the fundamentalist Islam which daily delivers indiscrimate carnage. The Gramscians and their useful idiots have convinced too many dumbed down public school alumni that all religion is a threat to mankind. (Not that Hitchens is a Gramsician but his current book is a prime example.) Equally amazing is the idea that global warming is a more immediate and exitential threat.

Until these destructive inculcations can be overcome, it will be difficult to mobilize the west in anything other than reactive police actions against the waxing Islam. But, if and when the jihadis kill thousands in another spectacular attack, particularly in Europe, the public backlash against Islam could be sudden and severe. Unrestrained by Christian civility, such an attack could trigger a reactive killing spree the likes of which has not been seen since the holocaust. On the other hand, the west may not resist a slow boil.

Since WWII the west has been on a downward spiral. It has fallen away from the Bible and into a humanist way of thinking which is unprepared to recoqnize or admit that some ideas and theologies are in fact, better than others and worth fighting for.

These attitudes have even taken root in our main stream religions with the Epicopalians and Methodists falling into the multi-culti ecumenical trap. (For Doug - remember, Bush is a Methodist). Fundamentalist Islam prospered as Bin Laden was given a safe haven in Afghanistan with years to train and teach jihad for the virulent Wahhabist theology. Had Bin Laden stayed with the slow boil technique it is likely that al-Qaeda Afghanistan would still be the going concern that it was in the 1990's. He would still be training recruits by the thousands but instead, for a few glorious weeks, the US military put the butt up his posterior and drove the monster into hiding. Saudi Arabia on the other hand, to this day continues their slow and deliberate campaign to spread a particularly nasty (and pure) form of Islam. It is to the wests enduring shame that to date, the Saudis have hardly been censured for their part in financing the worldwide propagation of hate.

Post colonial guilt led to acceptance of a massive influx of incompatible Muslims into the west. "Celebrate Diversity" became the mantra as old Biblical restraints were cast off even as the Arab and Muslim diaspora grew.

Both Christianity and Islam are in conflict with this resurgent secularization. The difference is the way each religion reacts to world. Islam (the pure version) makes no distinction between government and religion. Christianity renders unto Caeser. The left is largely unwilling to recognize the distinction because to do so would be contrary to the ideals which they have been devoted to for the last fifty years.

Man's chief concerns are money and power. In order to affect the balance of power, that is, to gain control, the left have attempted to overthrow the traditional institutions of the West. Since their failed "revolutions" of the 1960's, their efforts were particularly directed towards infiltrating western institutions in order to sabotage them from within. They have been most successful in Europe where the cancerous effects of secular socialism have left the population nihilistically unwilling and unprepared to address matters beyond themselves. In the US, the lefts' most obvious successes have been in the field of education where the old 60's radicals have acquired the power and authority to affect their changes and advance their agenda.

If elections are any barometer of attitudes and they certainly seem to be in the Islamic world, the 2008 Presidential election will give us an indication of whether the people of the United States will continue to resist the threat or will tolerate the slow boil.