Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Is an Iranian General the Most Powerful Man in Iraq?

April 29, 2008

by Hannah Allam, Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel

One of the most powerful men in Iraq isn't an Iraqi government official, a militia leader, a senior cleric or a top U.S. military commander or diplomat, he's an Iranian general, and at times he's more influential than all of them.

Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani commands the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, an elite paramilitary and espionage organization whose mission is to expand Iran's influence in the Middle East.

As Tehran's point man on Iraq, he funnels military and financial support to various Iraqi factions, frustrating U.S. attempts to build a pro-Western democracy on the rubble of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.

According to Iraqi and American officials, Suleimani has ensured the elections of pro-Iranian politicians, met frequently with senior Iraqi leaders and backed Shiite elements in the Iraqi security forces that are accused of torturing and killing minority Sunni Muslims.

'Whether we like him (Suleimani) or not, whether Americans like him or not, whether Iraqis like him or not, he is the focal point of Iranian policy in Iraq,' said a senior Iraqi official who asked not to be identified so he could speak freely. 'The Quds Force have played it all, political, military, intelligence, economic. They are Iranian foreign policy in Iraq.'

McClatchy reported on March 30 that Suleimani intervened to halt the fighting between mostly Shiite Iraqi security forces and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in the southern city of Basra. Iraqi officials now confirm that in addition to that meeting, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani personally met Suleimani at a border crossing to make a direct appeal for help.

Iraqi and U.S. officials told McClatchy that Suleimani also has:
Slipped into Baghdad's Green Zone, the heavily fortified seat of the U.S. occupation and the Iraqi government, in April 2006 to try to orchestrate the selection of a new Iraqi prime minister.

Iraqi officials said that audacious visit was Suleimani's only foray into the Green Zone; American officials said he may have been there more than once.

Built powerful networks that gather intelligence on American and Iraqi military operations. Suleimani's network includes every senior staffer in Iran's embassy in Baghdad, beginning with the ambassador, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Trained and directed Shiite Muslim militias and given them cash and arms, including mortars and rockets fired at the U.S. Embassy and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, the sophisticated roadside bombs that have caused hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi casualties.

'I'm extremely concerned about what I believe to be an increasingly lethal and malign influence by (Iran's) government and the Quds Force, in particular in Iraq and throughout the Middle East,' Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday.

Not just a terrorist group

Suleimani's role in Iraq illustrates how President Bush's decision to topple Saddam has enabled Shiite, Persian Iran to extend its influence in Iraq, frustrating U.S, aims there, alarming America's Sunni Arab allies in the Persian Gulf and prompting new Israeli fears about Iran's ambitions.

Iraq has become a battleground between Bush's vision of a secular, multiethnic, Western-oriented democracy and the aims of Suleimani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to whom he reports.

'To understand it (the Quds Force) as just a terrorist group, as the U.S. does, is not helpful,' said Rasool Nafisi, a Washington-based Middle East analyst. 'It is a very important, almost second tier of Iranian international diplomacy.'

The Iranians' longstanding goals include pushing United States forces out of Iraq, perhaps encouraging a broader American retreat from the Middle East and securing a Shiite-dominated Iraqi regime that's friendly to Tehran and can't threaten a repeat of Saddam Hussein's 1980 invasion of Iran, which started a devastating eight-year war.

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because intelligence information is classified, said that Suleimani's Quds Force has provided arms to Taliban insurgents fighting U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan and has supported Islamist militant groups such as Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are Sunni, and Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is Shiite.

In Iraq, Iran's chief ally has been the Badr Organization, formerly the paramilitary wing of what's now the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the country's largest Shiite political party. During the Iran-Iraq war, Badr operated as a wing of the Iranian military; after the toppling of Saddam, Badr members infiltrated the security forces and were believed to be responsible for torturing and killing jailed Sunnis.

U.S. military officials also charge that Suleimani has brought in Hezbollah fighters to train Iraqi Shiite cells, which the Americans call 'special groups,' that specialize in attacking American forces.

The U.S. officials said that Suleimani's organization is the main source of the EFPs planted by the 'special groups' and other Shiite militias. The weapons, which can shoot plugs of molten copper through thick armor, not only have caused casualties, but also have forced the Bush administration to spend billions developing high-tech defenses and buy thousands of new blast-proof vehicles.

Iran's embassy in Baghdad didn't respond to a formal request for information, and its mission in New York had no comment. Iran has repeatedly denied U.S. charges that it's arming Shiite militants in Iraq.

One of Suleimani's first major victories against the United States in Iraq, however, was the product of political shrewdness, not military force. It came in January 2005, when Iraqis voted for the first time since Saddam's ouster nearly two years earlier.

The Bush administration pulled out all the stops to keep secular, pro-Western interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in office, aiding him with broadcast airtime, slick campaign ads and veteran advisers.

Suleimani countered with a covert PR campaign on behalf of a bloc of conservative pro-Iran Shiites that he helped assemble, and he sent printing presses, consultants and broadcasting equipment, said a senior Iraqi official who's known Suleimani for years. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive relationship between Iraq and Iran.

When the ballots were counted, Bush pointed to the purple-dyed fingers of Iraqi voters as a triumph for democracy — but Allawi and his bloc were out and Iran's allies were in.

A year later, in April 2006, Iran became deeply concerned about a deadlock in negotiations over the selection of a new Iraqi prime minister after a second round of parliamentary elections.

This time, Suleimani slipped into the Green Zone to negotiate with Shiite politicians and to ensure that Iraq's final choice was acceptable to Tehran.

In the end, the Iraqis compromised on Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

Stunned by the security breach, American officials demanded an explanation from their Iraqi allies.

U.S. officials 'were upset, but this solved the problem at the time,' Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi told McClatchy in an interview this month at his Baghdad office. 'I think they were pleased on one side, they were unpleased from the other side. Pleased that there was a solution to the standstill situation that we had at that time, but of course, I think, unpleased because he (Suleimani) was in the Green Zone.'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, who was the ambassador to Iraq at the time, told McClatchy last week that 'certainly there were allegations that he came' to the Green Zone in April 2006. Khalilzad said he couldn't recall whether the U.S. Embassy verified the reports.

U.S. officials said that wasn't the last time Suleimani visited Iraq. 'It appears that Suleimani could accumulate a number of travel miles from the number of times he's crossed the border' since April 2006, said a U.S. intelligence official, who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

The U.S. Treasury Department subsequently placed Suleimani on a terrorism watch list of individuals with whom Americans are barred from doing business. And in October 2007, Treasury named the Quds Force as a supporter of the Taliban,

Hezbollah, Hamas and 'other terrorist organizaations.' U.N. Resolution 1747 of March 2007 put Suleimani on a watch list of Iranian officials associated with the country's nuclear program.

Lighting fires and putting them out

The United States has struggled, without much success, to cripple Suleimani's operations in Iraq. The most publicized episodes occurred when U.S. forces detained alleged Quds Force operatives in Baghdad in December 2006 and in Irbil in 2007.

If U.S. officials thought that would discourage attacks on American forces in Iraq, they were mistaken: Instead, the following months saw a huge spike in EFP attacks.

Nor did Iran blink in talks about its nuclear activities. Instead, the Revolutionary Guards seized 15 British sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf, and four Iranian-Americans were detained in Iran.

As tensions mounted over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration dispatched an additional aircraft carrier battle group and extra missile defense batteries to the Persian Gulf.

After a series of talks — which the White House initially resisted — Iran freed its British and Iranian-American detainees, and the U.S. military released nine of the suspected Quds Force operators in November.

Tensions appear to be rising again, however. EFP attacks in March reached July's record level, the U.S. military said, and Mullen last week accused Suleimani of precipitating the battles in Basra by backing the Shiite militias and criminal groups that sought control of the southern city and its vital oil-loading facilities.

'The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago,' Mullen said. 'They seem to have gone the other way.'

Suleimani, however, has proved to be equally adept at making peace to achieve his goals. Last month, he played a pivotal role in ending the fighting for control of Basra between Iraqi troops and the followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

Iraqi security forces moved against Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, as well as criminal gangs. The unrest threatened to snowball into a full-blown Mahdi Army uprising that would have paralyzed not only most of Iraq's oil-producing south, but also Baghdad, where more than 2 million of the group's supporters live in the vast Sadr City slum.

Representatives of the two Iranian-backed parties that anchor Iraq's ruling Shiite bloc — the Dawa Party of Prime Minister al Maliki and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq — went to Iran for talks with high-level Iranian officials. They met with Suleimani in Tehran, according to two insiders' accounts, and then with Sadr himself in the holy city of Qom.

'A delegation went to speak to the officials in Iran in the name of the alliance, to ask them to encourage these groups to stay within the boundaries of the law,' said Ammar al Hakim, the son and senior aide of the leader of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. 'They met with a number of officials, and Mr. Suleimani was one of them.'

Iran has been wary of Sadr's independence and unpredictability, but he's widely believed to be a recipient of some Iranian support.

One member of the delegation that met with Suleimani, Ali al Adeeb, a top Dawa Party leader, said that the Iranian officials swore that they weren't arming Sadr's forces.

'We reminded them that the security of Iraq would affect the security of Iran,' Adeeb said in an interview at his Baghdad headquarters. 'And that any support they give to the Sadrist movement would send a message to the United States to stay in Iraq because it's still too unstable.'

During that same weekend, March 28-29, a higher-level meeting took place at the Iran-Iraq border crossing at Mariwan. Iraqi President Talabani, a pro-American Kurd, delivered to Suleimani what one Iraqi politician, speaking on condition of anonymity, called a plea: 'Stop the fighting.'

Another Iraqi official said that Talabani asked Suleimani to 'stop Sadr.' Suleimani 'immediately sent messages' and 'the fighting stopped the next day,' said the Iraqi official, who also requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the meeting.

Two other senior Iraqi officials confirmed the meeting; Talabani couldn't be reached for comment.

'As long as the dialogue is about Iraq, meetings will be held on the soil of Iraq as well as the other places,' said Hadi al Ameri, an Iraqi legislator who commands the Badr Organization.

'Maybe the president going to the border can be questioned as far as protocol, but protocol is not our main concern. Our main concern is putting out the fires.'

Despite Suleimani's apparent ability to put out fires, a half dozen senior Iraqi leaders interviewed in Baghdad cautioned that focusing on one individual overlooks the larger problem of competing U.S. and Iranian agendas that are tearing the country apart.

In separate interviews, Hakim and Iraqi Vice President Abdul Mahdi likened the Iraqi government's position to being 'caught between the Great Satan and the Axis of Evil.'

'This man is like other men,' Hakim said of Suleimani . 'He may have significant intelligence capabilities, he may have his good points and his bad points. But it's not logical that we exaggerate these points to the extent of giving a surreal picture.

'We have all enjoyed watching the American films in which the 'hero' is capable of doing the impossible, and anyone can die in the film except him, but no sooner does the film end than we return to the reality that only God is omnipotent,' Hakim said.


Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism:

Saturday, April 26, 2008


A biker is riding by the zoo when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage.

Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage, and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A NYT reporter has seen the whole scene and, addressing the biker, says, "Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life."

"Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right."

"Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist from the New York Times, America's finest newspaper.

Tomorrow's paper will have this on the first page. What motorcycle do you ride and what political affiliation do you have?"

"A Harley Davidson and I am a Republican."

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys The New York Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads on the first page:

"We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election.
On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to another lawyer; and a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is also a lawyer.
On the other side, you have a true war hero married to a woman with a huge chest who owns a beer distributorship.
Is there really a contest here?"

Thursday, April 24, 2008



The Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), since its inception in 1993 has been assailed by many as a NATO political instrument to justify dismemberment of Yugoslavia and NATO aggressions.

It has been essentially a rogue court with rigged rules and scandalous protocol to achieve political objective to convict. Some judges did not hear about the Balkans until they arrived in The Hague. John Laughland wrote: “It is not victor’s justice; it is no justice at all.”

The Tribunal’s verdict for the Serbs was predetermined –all would be found guilty.

Over its 15 years of existence, the Tribunal has indicted publicly 161 persons, 92 Serbs.

Fifty have been sentenced thus far to over 700 years. Serbia has handed over 42 out of 46 indicted individuals. Six Serbs died in the Hague jail, including President Milosevic, without being convicted. Not only was Milosevic indicted but also his top civilian and military leaders. The same is true for the Bosnian Serb civilian and military leaders.

[Photo: US Secretary of State Madeline Albright hugs Kosovo Albanian Hasim Thaci suspected of murder, sex slavery, heroin trade and human organ traffic.]

How ironic that Carla del Ponte, for nine years until this January the chief prosecutor of the ICTY who never concealed her dislike of Serbia and Russia for that matter, in her autobiography The Hunt: Me and War Criminals presumably easing her conscience, based on credible reports and witnesses belatedly revealed existence of Nazi style crimes committed by the current Kosovo Prime Minister (PM) Hashim Thaci and his followers.

The Third Reich style crimes included harvesting of organs from abducted Serbs to sell for transplants. Moreover, del Ponte’s book provides insights into the ICTY operations which prove beyond doubt that John Laughland and others have been right on the mark.

This is in particular true when it comes to ghastly crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs, who instead of serving long-term sentences in various European jails have become not only leading politicians but the PMs: Hashim Thaci, Ramush Haradinaj and Agim Ceku.

Of course these Nazi style crimes have been condoned by KLA supporters in Washington, London, Berlin, Paris, The Hague, Brussels, Bern and some other European capitals. Needless to say, the Albanians and their supporters dismiss these claims, while Russia and Serbia are demanding a war crimes investigation.

Russia has officially addressed the ICTY asking whether the ICTY has any information about the crimes reported in the book. Despite knowing that the KLA ruled Kosovo is a lawless society, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Kosovo authorities to investigate the claims!

UDI Timing

Washington had a big hand in manipulating operations of the ICTY. Hence, it is fair to assume that it must have known about the publication date of Del Ponte’s book. Orchestration of unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) from Serbia had to be squeezed before revelation of atrocities and the presidential elections in Serbia since Washington and Brussels wanted badly president Tadic to be reelected.

If these crimes had been revealed before February 17, would Washington/Brussels have proceeded with the KLA/NATO ruled Kosovo independence? After all Washington/Brussels played a major part in the propaganda, which described Kosovo Albanians as martyrs and even legitimized independence on that basis.

Washington needed time to coerce two thirds of the EU membership and a handful of other countries to recognize the KLA/NATO ruled Kosovo (abbreviated to KLA/NATO Kosovo). At this writing only 37 countries (out of 192 UN members) have recognized KLA/NATO Kosovo.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated: “The plan was to persuade or force about 100 countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence, and just 37 recognized it, while more than 50 said without any doubt that they would not recognize it. This is not the picture which those who encouraged Kosovo to declare independence wanted to see.”

Second, it would have been embarrassing if acquittal of another war criminal, former PM Ramush Haradinaj, would have taken place before the UDI. Yet another KLA PM and Thaci’s predecessor, Agim Ceku, escaped indictment despite well documented war crimes by the Canadian peacekeepers.

Responsibility for the Eight-Plus Year Cover-up

These ghastly atrocities have been covered up for over eight years. Who were the cover-up masters? The UNMIK chief then and current French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner would be a good candidate. According to Danica Marinkovic, the investigating judge of Pristina District Court, Kouchner prevented the investigation.

She tried to give evidence to the ICTY during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Del Ponte’s spokeswoman, Florence Artman, in one of her interviews stated that UNMIK men didn’t let “iron Carla” to initiate a case against the Albanians regarding the disappearance of people and the trade of donor organs.

Carla; dubbed “New Gestapo” “La Puttana” by Italian Cosa Nostra, and “Unguided Missile” by the Swiss bankers, admitted there was sufficient evidence for prosecution, but it “was nipped in the bud” focusing on the Serbs.

[photo: Richard Holbrooke meets Muslim Albanian gunman leader Lum Haxhiu on June 24, 1998. Holbrooke wears no shoes at this meeting, a gesture in an Islamic tradition that signals the host that the visitor has deep respect for the host.]

A room in a “yellow house” outside small town of Burrel (55 miles north of Tirana) in the remote mountainous region was used as the impromptu clinic for butchering some 300 young Serbs.

Organs from young Serbs were extracted there and taken to Tirana Mother Theresa airport according to a witness driver.

Other sources claim that the body parts were flown to Istanbul where they were transplanted into wealthy Arab patients.

A team of unnamed journalists reported these Mengele type atrocities to the ICTY and UNMIK. The victims left with one kidney were kept locked and later killed for other organs when a buyer was found. They were then secretly buried. Two of the sources said they helped to bury the corpses of the dead around the “yellow house” and in a neighboring cemetery 12 miles away.

Del Ponte says that in 2003 her team of ICTY investigators plus UNMIK officials found the “yellow house” with traces of blood.

An Albanian prosecutor who accompanied the team said: “There are no graves of Serbs here. But if they took the Serbs from the Kosovo border and killed them, they did the right thing.”

“The team was shocked by what they saw, said Chuck Sudetic, a former ICTY official and the book co-author. They found gauze and vials of medicines, including a muscle relaxer used during surgery.

The victims also included Albanians and trafficked women from Eastern Europe forced to work as prostitutes.

Del Ponte goes on to say that UN personnel feared for their lives in Kosovo while some of the judges presiding over the ICTY were in fear from Kosovo Albanians that have committed atrocities against the Serbs and that is why very few cases of Kosovo Albanian war criminals have been prosecuted.

“I am sure that some of the top UNMIK and even KFOR officials feared for their lives and the lives of their mission members. I think that some of the judges of the Tribunal were afraid that the Albanians might come and get them.”

She then characterized the KLA/NATO rule as a land of with no laws and institutions, a land of blood feuds, ruled by the thugs who present themselves as heroes of “the suffering Albanian people.” She goes on to say that those few and far between investigations of the terrorist KLA were the hardest during her era.

The researchers were confronted by the clans, vendettas and political pressures, and that “policemen from Bern and Brussels and all the way to Bronx” are well aware about the insurmountable difficulties when it comes to the attempts to investigate Albanian organized crime.

[Photo: Lum Haxhiu who met Holbrooke on on June 24, 1998 pictured by Raffaele Ciriello for Afghanistan Online (]

Del Ponte details her meeting with Hashim Thaci, who admitted that Kosovo Albanians committed atrocities. “I looked into his eyes and told him that I have launched the investigation over crimes that the Albanians had committed in Kosovo.

I have not said a word implying indictment against him, but Thaci certainly concluded that I had done so since his face turned into stone.”

Incidentally, Thaci has admitted in another confession that infamous Racak “massacre,” used by the Clinton administration as casus belli to bomb Serbia for 78 days, was orchestrated by the KLA dressing their KLA dead in civilian clothes, machine gunning them and dumping them in a ditch and claiming it was a Serbian slaughter of civilians.

Furthermore, Del Ponte points out that Hashim Thaci and Agim Ceku are considered by UNMIK and KFOR as “more than dangerous in the peaceful efforts in the Baalkans...Thaci and Ceku, in theory can stir up the minority Albanian rebels, to start violence in Macedonia, South Serbia and other regions.”

Was Kouchner guilty of obstruction of justice in addition to his several successors? Is it possible that the former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari didn’t know anything about it before recommending supervised independence?

Is it possible that nobody in the Clinton or even Bush-43 administration knew about it? A question also needs to be asked if someone in the Serbian government took part in the cover-up?

Switzerland Embarrassed: Neutrality at Risk?

Del Ponte, now Swiss ambassador to Argentina has been ordered to shut up by the Swiss government. Senior Swiss officials are calling for her resignation. What about the freedom of expression? Switzerland had officially recognized the independence of KLA/NATO Kosovo and was one of the first to open the embassy in Pristina. In order to mitigate the embarrassment, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs has even banned the presentation of Del Ponte’s book in Milan.

“Any public presentation of this work is incompatible with the author’s status of Swiss ambassador.” It should also be noted that Hashim Thaci spent time in Switzerland in mid 1990s acquiring funds for the KLA. The Swiss government deserves to be embarrassed for tarnishing their celebrated multi-century neutrality in order to recognize the KLA/NATO Kosovo.

Presumably the government wanted to please the bankers who have been only too willing to launder the Albanian drug money.

Belgrade Media

According to Belgrade media, Thaci made millions (some suggested 4 million euros) selling kidneys, hearts and livers of young abducted Serbs. In summer of 1999, some 300 Serbs were abducted in Kosovo and transported to several camps in Northern and Central Albania.

They were given medical tests. Those who passed were treated well until they were brought under the surgeon’s knife. Their body parts were flown to European clinics while they were left to die.

The ICTY protected witness K-144 took part in these atrocities who said that at least 300 kidneys and 100 other organs were sold. The kidneys were sold at the price between 10,000 and 50,000 German marks.

General Stajanovic, head of the intelligence service of the Serbian army during the war has no doubt that Del Ponte’s claims will sooner or later be proven. He stated: “In these hospitals they decided amongst themselves what each commander of the KLA would have.

They decided who would make this money from drug dealing, who from weapons, and who from selling body parts. Thaci, the prime minister, was among them.”

Sima Spasic, head of the Alliance of Families of 1,300 Serbs disappeared in Kosovo showed the pictures of body parts he filmed in 2003. “Right after the war, when we understood that too many people have disappeared, I went to the KFOR commanders and asked them where the people were, and they just shrugged shoulders.

Only after they saw Serbian people demonstrating and were afraid of their anger, they took me to some place. I cannot explain what I saw there. It was a small mountain of pieces of bodies and the first thing I saw was a baby who’d been taken from his mother’s stomach, lying there.

It was impossible to look. It was a massive grave they’d dug before. Today I know in this massive grave there were 26 Serb bodies—also there was my brother Milosh.”

Families of the victims now plan to sue Del Ponte for withholding the evidence and concealing the crimes.

Spasic met with Del Ponte in 2001. In 2004, he received a call from Carla’s office with information that “all people you are looking for are dead.” Del Ponte hid the truth although she received the list of names of those kidnapped and those who kidnapped them in 2001. Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecution Office has formally opened the investigation.

Hashim Thaci Biosketch

Hashim Thaci, alias “Snake,” founder and president of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), was in July 1997 sentenced in absentia to 10 years imprisonment for the criminal acts of terrorism, and in February 1998 an international arrest warrant was issued.

He was apprehended at the Budapest airport on an Interpol warrant but released soon afterward when then UNMIK chief Michael Steiner intervened.

Steiner’s accomplishments included implementation of discriminatory measures against the Serbs, using double standards, making promises he never kept, and marrying a young local Albanian staff member that he dated for much of the time he was in power.

The New York Times columnist Chris Hedges researched Thaci’s bloody consolidation of power through the assassination of rivals and linked him to the murder of moderate Albanian politicians who failed to support the KLA’s goal of ethnically pure Kosovo.

This reputation did not disqualify him from receiving weapons and support from the CIA or from public embrace from senior members of the Clinton administration such as Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke (Photo from my book).

In post-war Kosovo, Thaci organized a number of terrorist groups composed of former KLA members who were responsible for numerous crimes, murders, kidnappings and threats. He also has been in contact with Albanian terrorists in Macedonia and Southern Serbia. He controls the greater part of organized crime in the Drenica region.

His clan is involved in the weaponsmarket, the cigarette market, oil smuggling and human trafficking as well as stolen cars.

Thaci led the KLA delegation at Rambouillet and was the principal State Department contact during the war. He is a regular visitor to Washington. In November 2007 his party won the election and he was appointed the PM.

Acquittal of Haradinaj

The ICTY found Ramush Haradinaj “not guilty” of all counts on April 3. Haradinaj was the most senior KLA official and a former PM, accused of mounting a “widespread’ and systematic campaign” to abuse, kill and expel Serbs ant other minorities in 1998.

Presiding judge said there was evidence that KLA guerrillas committed many of the crimes listed in the indictment but that the acts were “not on a scale or frequency” to establish a wider campaign against the civilian population.

The 37-count indictment also accused Haradinaj and his “Black Eagles” KLA unit of killing and intimidating Albanians who refused to cooperate. Nine witnesses linked to the Haradinaj case have been killed in the 2003-2007 period while the prosecution’s main witness was shot during the investigation. 20% of the subpoenaed witnesses refused to testify out of fear.

Haradinaj’s lawyers were so confident that they did not present a defense. The decision was met with joy and cheers in Pristina but with fury in Serbia. Haradinaj said “This is a decision to strengthen Kosovo.”

The Serbian PM, Vojislav Kosunica, described the acquittal as a testimony that the court “does not exist to mete justice....It is clear that that in question is a court which has been set up to officially declare innocent those who committed war crimes, like Haradinaj...

The decision of the Hague Tribunal represents a mockery of justice and a mockery of the innocent victims who suffered at the hands of Haradinaj.” Serbian president Tadic said: “Such a verdict would not see justice done and it would not encourage Serbs and other non-Albanians to expect a safe and peaceful life in Kosovo.

He reminded that Del Ponte told him that prosecution witnesses were intimidated and even murdered, in order to keep silent about Haradinaj’s crimes. The Serbian deputy PM Bozidar Djelic called the verdict “scandalous,” saying it was a “black day for international justice.” Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor, Vladimir Vukcevic, suggested that it is high time that the ICTY closed down.

The Kosovo Serb political representatives felt that the “the verdict sends to Kosovo Serbs a message from the international community that there is no justice...”

Criminals are rewarded with a state to which they are returning to heroes, while on the other hand the truth about missing and abducted Kosovo Serbs remains hidden, as does the trade of their organs.”

Serbian National Council for Cooperation with the ICTY claimed that it provided “several thousand confidential documents” to back the Haradinaj indictment and urged the ICTY prosecutors to appeal the verdict.

Del Ponte in her book claims that Haradinaj was involved in sale of the organs but he was not charged with this Mendele type of crime. Del Ponte accused UNMIK officials of deliberately obstructing the investigation.

Haradinaj, while indicted on 37 charges, was released three months later and was allowed to remain in Kosovo until the trial started two years later. He reported to The Hague with a letter of recommendation from the top UNMIK official Soren Jessen-Petersen, who expressed his deepest friendship for Haradinaj.

This in contrast to the case of the Serbian president Milosevic who was not allowed to receive even a medical treatment in Moscow for his ailing heart despite guarantees from the Russian government. His basic human rights have been violated.

Ramish Haradinaj Biosketch

Ramush Haradinaj, founder and president of the Alliance for the future of Kosovo (AAK), is probably the most influential criminal in Metohija. He left Yugoslavia for Switzerland in 1990 and worked there as a security guard in night clubs and at soccer matches.

He returned to Pristina in 1991 to participate in demonstrations. He got arrested but escaped and returned to Switzerland. He then applied for the Foreign Legion in France.

In 1996 he completed diversionary terrorist training in Albania and then established logistics bases in Kukes and Tropoja in Northern Albania for transporting weapons into Kosovo. He crossed into Kosovo in 1997 and, together with his brothers, organized a series of terrorist attacks against several police departments.

He formed a terrorist group in 1998 and established the KLA general staff for Metohija. He formed a special KLA unit, “Black Eagles,” which kidnapped and brutally murdered dozens of Serb civilians as well as disloyal Albanians.

In the Glodjane prison, under his direct control, a large number of Serbs were murdered. The Serbian authorities brought 108 criminal charges against him, claiming that he personally murdered 67 civilians, kidnapped 400 civilians, and ordered the killing of 267 more.

According to a document from the Serbian War Crimes Committee, supported by photographs and testimonies of witnesses, on June 12, 1999, Haradinaj ordered the torture, rape and execution of an 11-member Roma wedding party. He personally murdered several of the civilians and raped the bride.

Haradinaj became deputy KPC commander under Agim Ceku but left the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) after placing his brother Daut as commander of the KPC, which carried out assassinations of political rivals.

He created a criminal organization which controls organized smuggling of drugs, cigarettes, oil, oil derivatives, weapons, vehicles and other goods. He controls the area bordering Albania. Part of the profits was ploughed back into financing Albanian terrorists in Macedonia and Southern Serbia.

Criminal charges were filed against him for a series of murders in an inter-mafia conflict and the organized assassination of Tahir Zemaj, who was supposed to be a major witness against him and his brother.

In early December 2004 Haradinaj became the Prime Minister of Kosovo. His party ranked third in the elections but formed a coalition with Rugova’s Democratic Alliance of Kosovo. This had caused a controversy in Belgrade and resulted in a request to the UN administrator Soren Jessen Petersen to annul the appointment.

Petersen refused, using the argument that Haradinaj was democratically elected. Haradinaj was interviewed twice by the ICTY for the war crimes and subsequently indicted.

He resigned the premiership, turned himself in, and pleaded not guilty before the Tribunal. In his book “Stories of War and Freedom,” he says: “Each and every day we killed Serb policemen.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised Haradinaj and said that he could serve as a model for the legal system in Serbia.

Agim Ceku Biosketch

Agim Ceku, a former Yugoslav Army officer, first the KLA chief of staff then the commander-in-chief of the KPC, subsequently advanced to become the PM. He has been linked to three of the grisliest episodes of brutality in the Serb-Croat 1991-1995 civil war.

During the armed conflicts in Croatia, as a colonel in the Assembly of National Guard, he commanded a unit which in 1991 carried out kidnappings, assassinations and massacres of 156 of the most renowned Serbs from Gospic. In 1993 he masterminded the attack by the Croatian army on the Medak pocket where 81-200 Serbs were massacred, some of them burned alive.

Scott Taylor wrote: “Many Canadian peacekeepers had witnessed the atrocities committed by Ceku’s troops in Croatia in 1993 and 1994, and it was largely on the strength of their testimony that the Hague tribunal issued a sealed indictment.”

This was Canada’s largest military action since the Korean War.

Taylor says that traumatized Canadian peacekeepers “buried the grisly remains and were encouraged to collect all possible evidence in order to bring the perpetrators to justice” yet Canada’s Louise Arbour, then the chief ICTY prosecutor, “chose to pursue more politically prominent suspects, and nothing was done to bring Ceku to justice.”

Jane’s Intelligence Review described Ceku as a planner of massacres against Serb civilians living in UN-protected zones in 1993 and 1995.

Ceku was a key planner in the Croatian offensive Oluja (Storm) in August of 1995, tacitly approved by the Clinton Administration, which resulted in the killings of anywhere up to 2,500 Serbs and the ethnic cleansing of some 200,000, nearly the entire ethnic Serbian population in the region.

He worked closely with the U.S. government hired Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), who advised the Croatian government in Operation Storm. When the ICTY announced that Ceku was under investigation, there was strong U.S. pressure to suppress the indictment.

A Western diplomat told the London Sunday Times: “If we lose him it will be a disaster. When you get to the second level of the KPC, you are down to a bunch of thugs.”

After appointment as the supreme KLA commander in January 1999, he took part in the planning and execution of many terrorist acts. At the conclusion of the war, his troops were supposed to be disarmed. Under his control as the KPC chief, KPC members channeled support for terrorist activities in Southern Serbia and Macedonia.

Taylor wrote: “As this indicted war criminal continues to enjoy his freedom, bask in public acclaim, and collect a UN paycheck, Canadian soldiers are risking their lives to disarm UCK forces in Macedonia. All in the name of peace and justice”

Through his brother Ethem, Ceku controls criminal activities connected with trafficking in arms and drugs and with illicit trade in excise goods. He owns Pristina hotels and more than 60 clubs around Kosovo that are considered nests of illegal business.

He was arrested at the Ljubljana airport on an Interpol warrant but released rapidly after then the UNMIK Chief Holkeri intervened.

KLA Decapitated Abducted Serbs

The American public was shocked and outraged at the despicable and barbaric beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg and Paul Johnson by jihadists in Iraq and Saudi Arabia respectively.

Most Americans were completely unaware that such barbaric practices are not uncommon in the Islamic world. In Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, there is “Chop-Chop” Square where public beheadings in the presence of a large number of spectators take place.

Political dissidents are subjected to these barbaric punishments. But Western media have concealed from the public the pictures of the Serbs beheaded by jihadists in Bosnia and Kosovo.

On November 2, 2003, the Belgrade daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti published a text with photos showing KLA criminals with bloody trophies of decapitated heads of Serbs. A large photograph shows three members of the KLA in uniform. The oldest man is holding a severed human head in his right hand and carrying a larger head in his left arm.

Serbian Prime Minister then Zoran Zivkovic called on the international community to react to the photos: “We kept being told by the Hague (ICTY) that there’s no evidence of war crimes committed in Kosovo by the Albanian side.”

The UN police found the photos after the search of an Albanian house in the village of Prilep. The trophy photos resemble the style similar to mujahideen trophy photos from Bosnia, Chechnya and elsewhere. The photos were taken during the NATO 78 day campaign against Serbia, April or May 1999.

The KLA gunmen in the photos, who subsequently occupied positions in the KPC, were Sadik Chuflaj, KLA member from Decani, and his son Valon, who had an UNMIK identity card and then became a KPC member with the rank of lieutenant.

The units in that part of Kosovo were commanded by Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the AAK party whose brother Daut was sentenced to imprisonment for crimes committed against dissenting Kosovo Albanians.

Bojan Cvetkovic, a sales clerk from Nis who volunteered for the Yugoslav Army, was identified as a victim. On April 11 he was abducted by the KLA together with four other soldiers. Traces of all of them disappeared. The second photo shows a horrific spectacle: Sadik Chuflaj is placing one of the severed heads into a large bag that might be presumed to be full of the heads of young Serb soldiers.

KLA Terrorism Exported into Southern Serbia and Macedonia
In late 1999 Albanian terrorism was exported, using Kosovo as a sanctuary, into Southern Serbia and Western Macedonia by virtue of the founding of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (LAPMB) and the National Liberation Army (NLA), respectively.

The command was taken over by local Albanians who had received KLA military training with logistics support from some members of the KPC command. Shefqet Musliu, a local criminal, became the LAPMB commander. Daut Haradinaj, a KPC commander, organized NLA activities in Western Macedonia.

U.S. troops had turned a blind eye to men and weapons smuggled from the U.S. sector in Kosovo into Southern Serbia and Macedonia. De facto, the U.S. sector with its enormous military base Camp Bondsteel, built on illegally expropriated and strategically located farmland, became the staging ground for the Albanian terrorism.

Scott Taylor, for his book Diary of an Uncivil War, conducted interviews with Albanian villagers in Macedonia. One of them spoke freely about the KLA (UCK).

Didn’t he mean NLA or ANA, Taylor asked. The Albanian laughed and said: “The only people who use those terms are NATO and you, the media. Have you ever seen ANA or NLA spray painted on walls or on our soldiers’ crests?” The answer, of course, was “No.”

In 2001 armed clashes with the security forces in Southern Serbia intensified in the three-mile-wide buffer zone between the KFOR and the Serbian troops created by the military agreement which terminated the war. In order to counter this new wave of terrorism, the Serbian government in the post-Milosevic era had sought and obtained NATO cooperation. The

Serbian troops were allowed to re-enter the buffer zone and clean up the terrorists. The Albanian terrorists, upon laying down their weapons, were given blanket amnesty by NATO and were allowed to return to Kosovo.

Terrorism against Serbia No Crime

On May 24, 2001, KFOR arrested and released more than 450 LAPMB terrorists: “KFOR screened and released all LAPMB members who are not suspected of having committed serious crimes.” What constitutes serious crime was not defined.

The contrast between the language of UN Resolution 1244 and UNMIK/KFOR practice is striking. The message they delivered to the Kosovo Albanian terrorists is that secessionist terrorism is legitimate.

The Albanian terrorists were treated as a regular army engaged in a legitimate military action. Killing policemen and sniping at civilians obviously did not constitute “serious crimes.” In the mass media, these terrorists were portrayed as rebels.


On February 17, Washington illegally orchestrated Kosovo UDI in violation of the UN Charter, Helsinki Accords and the controlling UN Security Council Resolution #1244 which ended the war and affirmed the Serbian sovereignty over the province.

Violation of Serbia’s territorial integrity and international law has established a precedent worldwide in favor of separatist movements with unpredictable consequences.

The European Union (EU) established mission (EULEX), as a part of the Ahtisaari’s supervised independence deception, despite any legal basis including authorization from the UN Security Council.

Condoning of ghastly war crimes committed by the U.S./EU ally in Kosovo, summarized briefly herein, constitute an inherent part of deeply flawed foreign policies which amount to bankruptcy of western values.

If Americans really want to know why their country is no longer regarded as “the home of the brave and the land of the free” they should forcefully object to the way the foreign policies are conducted in their name. The Europeans should do pretty much the same.

Vojin Joksimovich, Ph.DAbout the Author

Vojin Joksimovich is a Nuclear Engineer that has written over 125 professional publications, over 50 newspaper columns and delivered over 40 talks on Balkan conflicts. He is an author of Kosovo Crisis: A Study in Foreign Policy Mismanagement and The Revenge of the Prophet: How Clinton and Predecessors Empowered Radical Islam.


Sunday, April 20, 2008


China returns to Africa:

A Superpower and a Continent Embrace

edited by Christopher Alden, Daniel Large and Ricardo de Oliveira

The Sunday Times review by Max Hastings

In the era of Mao Tse-tung, 40 years ago, one of the commoner sights in the African bush was that of a gang of local labourers sweating on a road or railway line under the supervision of Chinese comrades, who scampered hastily into the trees with their Little Red Books whenever a westerner hove into view.

China made a determined ideological thrust into the continent in the 1960s - and was humiliated. Mao's men learnt by painful experience that Africa mocks “isms”.

Beijing's local clients, President Julius Nyere of Tanzania notable among them, contrived the economic wreck of their own societies with their disastrous experiments in socialism. When the social engineers were deposed, the Chinese comrades departed discredited with them.

In the past 15 years, however, a new Chinese invasion of Africa has taken place. This is infinitely more pragmatic than the last one, and driven by a quest for energy and raw materials. It is being conducted with some skill, and backed by China's huge new wealth. Its implications are likely to be much more far-reaching than the past Maoist adventures, and thus they prompt corresponding alarm among western powers.

Anybody interested in the continent, and in the rise of Chinese power, needs to know what is going on. The editors of this hefty volume have assembled essays by 24 academics of a dozen nationalities, who possess exceptional knowledge of China's operations in Africa.

Successive chapters address such diverse subjects as the social influence of the 750,000-strong Chinese diaspora in the continent; Chinese medicine; the history of the disastrous Tanzanian railway; and, most important, the progress of Beijing's drive to buy into oil and mineral resources the length and breadth of the continent. The outcome is scarcely bedside reading, but it presents an impressive and balanced study of one of the most important developments in the modern world.

Beijing fetes African leaders, and in 2006 held a showpiece “Forum on China-Africa Co-operation” to celebrate its new strategic partnership. That year, two-way trade accounted for almost £30 billion.

Some 800 Chinese companies have already invested £6 billion in African countries, and there is more - much more - to come.

The editors of this book say in their introduction: “China's expanding relations with Africa are the most important dynamic in the foreign relations and politics of the continent since the end of the cold war.”

The Chinese offer African countries three things: big money - usually significantly more than western competitors will pay; long-term commitments; and Beijing's cool, ruthless assurance of “non-interference”, which means that local dignitaries will not be troubled by the tiresome needling they get from Europeans and Americans about human rights and corruption.

The tyrannies of Sudan and Zimbabwe have been especially notable beneficiaries. President Robert Mugabe has responded enthusiastically, urging his subjects to “look East”. Likewise, a former Nigerian president told Chinese guests enthusiastically: “When you're leading the world, we want to be very close behind you.”

The book notes that the Chinese media enthuses about Africa's future in a very different key from western reports and prophesies of gloom and doom. Chinese leaders tour the continent assiduously. Chinese traders flourish in Cape Verde and Senegal, Chinese cash funds industrial take-off in Mauritius, and is rebuilding the infrastructure of war-torn Angola.

China is buying feed from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania; cobalt from South Africa and Congo; copper from Zambia and South Africa; ferrous metals from Mauritania, South Africa and Zimbabwe; chemicals from Niger; oil from everywhere it can buy the stuff.

Angola has now overtaken Saudi-Arabia as China's biggest supplier.

The authors are even-handed in assessing the costs and benefits to the continent of Chinese engagement. On the credit side, increased competition for commodities has boosted the prices paid to producers.

Paranoia about “Chinese imperialism” would ill-become the West, since many of the trade practices adopted by Beijing have been commonplace among western companies since the 19th century.

Almost everybody has always been in Africa for what they could get out of it. China's engagement does, however, incur risks and costs of which sophisticated Africans are increasingly aware. Reliance on capital-intensive commodity industries does little to help the poorest people in poor societies, and risks trapping their economies in price-volatile activities.

Much of Beijing's money goes straight into the pockets of Africa's rich elites, and thereafter into Swiss banks.

Trevor Ncube, a Zimbabwean newspaper publisher living in South Africa, says sardonically: “If the British were our masters yesterday, the Chinese have come and taken their place.”

Western pressure on African leaders about human rights may be ineffectual, but Chinese pressure is nonexistent. It is an ugly spectacle to see China backing Sudan and Zimbabwe in world forums. In 2005, China opposed debate in the UN Security Council about Mugabe's appalling demolition campaign, which left 700,000 Zimbabweans homeless.

The book cites a spokesman of the Kenyan government saying approvingly: “You never hear the Chinese saying that they will not finish a project because the government has not done enough to tackle corruption. If they are going to build a road, it will be built.” The Chinese ambassador in Zambia showed his country's claws with unusual directness during the country's last election in 2006. He publicly threatened dire consequences if the “wrong” candidate, from Beijing's perspective, secured the presidency.

Christopher Clapham, the editor of the Journal of Modern African Studies, argues in his contribution: “In the longer term, no external power with long-term interests in Africa can escape the issue of ‘governance', because this is the essential precondition for maintaining stable economic relationships.”

Clapham also suggests, interestingly, that China may suffer from the absence of any spiritual dimension in this “deeply, indeed intensely spiritual continent, in which the rival agendas of Christianity and Islam, along with extensive indigenous systems of belief, are best understood not merely as some new kind of religious cold war, but as an extremely important part of ongoing attempts to make sense of human life under rapidly changing and often deeply troubling circumstances”.

Yet it suits African dictatorships to do business with China, which is content to deal exclusively with state actors, heedless of their brutality or corruption, and ignores political oppositions and employees' lobbies.

Beijing offers them a real alternative to dealing with the West and its heavy moral baggage.

Christopher Alden, a lecturer in international relations at the LSE, writes: “Africans, as agents of their own destiny to an extent not seen before, are increasingly deciding the shape that relations with Asian states will take rather than allowing these to be experienced and understood through western eyes.”

Clapham believes, however, that Chinese cultural penetration of the continent will be limited by lack of inclination on both sides, together with the absence of any shared historical memory.

He notes that many African countries, even in the 21st century, still choose to do business with the nations that colonised them - the Congolese with Belgium; the Senegalese with France; the Eritreans with Italy; the Ghanians, Nigerians and many others with Britain. In other words, China's engagement in Africa, while likely to persist and indeed grow much more important, may remain restricted to the economic sphere.

The West, Clapham believes, still has much to offer the continent that the Chinese cannot or will not match.

He may be right. The authors of this book are surely correct, in refusing to take a high moral line about what the Chinese are doing in Africa. Their economic offensive should be measured coolly against the West's past policies there, which have scarcely been unselfish.

But it would be nice to hope that the optimists are right: that Africans themselves will soon recoil from China's shamelessly cynical cash-and-carry policy, which flaunts its absolute indifference to the interests of indigenous people. Western moralising may sometimes be hypocritical, but it is surely preferable to the absence of any morality at all in dealing with the likes of Mugabe.

Friday, April 18, 2008



Islam produced terrorism but no bread

An update of our previous story: Explosive situation in Egypt:Al Azhar spends $10 billion on Islam while Egyptians can't find bread

The unprecedented food crisis in the most populous country of the arab world escalates into what is becoming a start of a popular uprising against the government that could lead to unpredictable consequences, not only for Egypt, but the whole arab world and beyond.

CAIRO (Reuters)

Sunday, 06 April 2008

Egyptian security forces thwarted plans for a strike by about 20,000 textile workers in the Nile Delta on Sunday when hundreds of plainclothes agents took control of the factory, worker activists told Reuters.

Solidarity stoppages and protests in other parts of the country were cancelled or failed to draw widespread support, disrupting attempts to launch a nationwide general strike.Karim Al Behiry, a blogger who works in the textile factory in Mahalla el-Kubra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Cairo, said the security men made it impossible to protest.

"They are inside and outside the factory and workers who managed to reach the place were taken one by one to their machines and were forced to work," he told Reuters. "Many workers couldn't reach the factory in the first place because of the security siege," he added.

A workers group at state-owned Misr Spinning and Weaving Company had called for workers across the country to strike on Sunday in solidarity with their demands for wage increases to face recent rises in prices.Egypt's urban consumer inflation jumped to an 11-month high of 12.1 percent in the year to February.

Higher prices for food have hit the poorest Egyptians hardest.The strike call won overt support only from the anti-government protest movement Kefaya and some small opposition parties and movements.

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has said that it supported the strike but would not be participating. On the social networking website Facebook, a group in support of the protest had accumulated more than 60,000 members by Sunday morning.


Security forces arrested 28 people in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Mansoura late on Saturday and on Sunday as they were distributing leaflets in support of the strike, security sources and a committee of legal observers said.

"These included the opposition blogger Malek Mostafa and members of the frozen Islamic Labor Party," lawyer and human rights activist Gamal Eid told Reuters.

The organizers of the strike have called for demonstrations in main squares in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities to protest declining standards of living, especially among the poor.But the Interior Ministry threatened to prosecute any strikers or protesters and mobilized thousands of riot police in the streets of Cairo to prevent them.

The security presence was especially strong around Tahrir Square in central Cairo and at the headquarters of the lawyers and journalists association, popular venues for protests.
The curse of Islam on Egypt: "We don't have enough food to eat," Egyptians are saying.

Abdel Nabi Salim's main job in life is queuing for bread.

The graying 65-year-old retired administrator stands under Egypt's glaring noon sun, waiting in a queue that snakes out to the street to buy 20 loaves of steaming subsidized pocket bread from a barred window for 1 Egyptian pound ($0.18).

Egypt has for decades provided cheap bread for the poor because it enables millions to survive on low salaries and wards off political discontent. But bread lines have lengthened in recent months as costs of other non-subsidized Egyptian staples soared.

The current crunch means that once Salim buys his first batch of bread, he will return to the back of the line to wait, again, for the additional 10 loaves he needs to keep his extended family from going hungry.

"This is a rotten system," he said, a half hour into a daily wait for bread that can last several hours. "I come here every day. I have no work, so this is my job.

Waiting for bread."Excruciating lines have prompted media headlines of a bread "crisis" in the most populous Arab country, where cuts in bread subsidies led to riots in 1977 that killed scores and forced the government to back down.

Observers say sustained problems in the subsidy system could lead to a repeat of the 1977 crisis, if not quickly contained."It may be something far more reaching and much more violent, I'm afraid, because people are increasingly feeling that their faces are to the wall," said Gouda Abdel Khalek, a Cairo University economist.

Death in the lines

Already, at least 11 people have died in bread lines since early February, including a heart attack victim and a woman hit by a car while standing in a queue that stretched into the street, security sources said.

One person was shot dead and three wounded after a fight broke out in a queue in one Cairo suburb. Elsewhere, an argument between two boys over their place in line escalated to a brawl in which four people were hurt.

Top Egyptian officials have vowed speedy intervention to restore easy access to subsidized bread, which provides daily nutrition to 50 million Egyptians -- or over two-thirds of the population, according to U.N. statistics.Some, however, have also sensed opportunity in the current bread crunch: some bakers sell subsidized flour on the black market for a profit, a practice to which government inspectors had often turned a blind eye.

"Some of the bakery owners have no conscience ... They sell just a little bread, and the rest (of the flour) goes to the black market," said Mohamed Ahmed, who runs a bakery in Cairo's poor Sayyida neighborhood. "If everyone worked right, there wouldn't be these crowds." President Hosni Mubarak has called on the military to help provide bread to the masses.

One minister said security forces would provide an additional 2 million loaves daily and Egypt would raise the share of flour sent to bakers, state media said.Egypt's bread lines are largely fuelled by urban inflation, which hit 12.1 percent in the 12 months to February. Prices for dairy goods are up 20 percent, vegetables 15 percent and cooking oils 40 percent, Egypt's statistics agency said.

To help cope, Egypt last week waived import duties on rice, dairy products, edible oils and types of cement and steel. Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid told a London newspaper Egypt had to act against inflation because of the danger it posed to its liberalization program.

"People are coming and saying we don't have enough food to eat ... and that will hijack the whole reform program of Egypt. We cannot afford that," Rachid told the Financial Times.

Monday, April 14, 2008


by Daniel Pipes

The future of Europe is in play.

Will it turn into "Eurabia," a part of the Muslim world?

Will it remain the distinct cultural unit it has been over the last millennium?

Or might there be some creative synthesis of the two civilizations?

The answer has vast importance.

Europe may constitute a mere 7 percent of the world's landmass but for five hundred years, 1450-1950, for good and ill, it was the global engine of change. How it develops in the future will affect all humanity, and especially daughter countries such as Australia which still retain close and important ties to the old continent.

I foresee potentially one of three paths for Europe: Muslims dominating, Muslims rejected, or harmonious integration.
(1) Muslim domination strikes some analysts as inevitable. Oriana Fallaci found that "Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam." Mark Steyn argues that much of the Western world "will not survive the twenty-first century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries."

Such authors point to three factors leading to Europe's Islamization: faith, demography, and a sense of heritage.

The secularism that predominates in Europe, especially among its elites, leads to alienation about the Judeo-Christian tradition, empty church pews, and a fascination with Islam. In complete contrast, Muslims display a religious fervor that translates into jihadi sensibility, a supremacism toward non-Muslims, and an expectation that Europe is waiting for conversion to Islam.

The contrast in faith also has demographic implications, with Christians having on average 1.4 children per woman, or about one third less than the number needed to maintain their population, and Muslims enjoying a dramatically higher, if falling, fertility rate. Amsterdam and Rotterdam are expected to be in about 2015 the first large majority-Muslim cities.

Russia could become a Muslim-majority country in 2050. To employ enough workers to fund existing pension plans, Europe needs millions of immigrants and these tend to be disproportionately Muslim due to reasons of proximity, colonial ties, and the turmoil in majority-Muslim countries.
In addition, many Europeans no longer cherish their history, mores, and customs.

Guilt about fascism, racism, and imperialism leave many with a sense that their own culture has less value than that of immigrants. Such self-disdain has direct implications for Muslim immigrants, for if Europeans shun their own ways, why should immigrants adopt them? When added to the already-existing Muslim hesitations over much that is Western, and especially what concerns sexuality, the result are Muslim populations that strongly resist assimilation.

The logic of this first path leads to Europe ultimately becoming an extension of North Africa.

(2) But the first path is not inevitable. Indigenous Europeans could resist it and as they make up 95 percent of the continent's population, they can at any time reassert control, should they see Muslims posing a threat to a valued way of life.

This impulse can already be seen at work in the French anti-hijab legislation or in Geert Wilders' film, Fitna. Anti-immigrant parties gain in strength; a potential nativist movement is taking shape across Europe, as political parties opposed to immigration focus increasingly on Islam and Muslims.

These parties include the British National Party, Belgium's Vlaamse Belang, France's Front National, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, the Danish People's Party, and the Swedish Democrats.

They will likely continue to grow as immigration surges ever higher, with mainstream parties paying and expropriating their anti-Islamic message. Should nationalist parties gain power, they will likely seek to reject multiculturalism, cut back on immigration, encourage repatriation of immigrants, support Christian institutions, increase indigenous European birthrates, and broadly attempt to re-establish traditional ways.

Muslim alarm will likely follow.

American author Ralph Peters sketches a scenario in which "U.S. Navy ships are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims." Peters concludes that because of European's "ineradicable viciousness," its Muslims "are living on borrowed time".

As Europeans have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing," Muslims, he predicts, "will be lucky just to be deported," rather than killed. Indeed, Muslims worry about just such a fate; since the 1980s, they have spoken overtly about Muslims being sent to gas chambers.

Violence by indigenous Europeans cannot be precluded but nationalist efforts will more likely take place less violently; if any one is likely to initiate violence, it is the Muslims. They have already engaged in many acts of violence and seem to be spoiling for more. Surveys indicate, for instance, that about 5 percent of British Muslims endorse the 7/7 transport bombings.

In brief, a European reassertion will likely lead to on-going civil strife, perhaps a more lethal version of the fall 2005 riots in France.

(3) The ideal outcome has indigenous Europeans and immigrant Muslims finding a way to live together harmoniously and create a new synthesis. A 1991 study, La France, une chance pour l'Islam (France, an Opportunity for Islam) by Jeanne-Hélène Kaltenbach and Pierre Patrick Kaltenbach promoted this idealistic approach. Despite all, this optimism remains the conventional wisdom, as suggested by an Economist leader of 2006 that concluded that dismissed for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia as "scaremongering."

This is the view of most politicians, journalists, and academics but it has little basis in fact.

Yes indigenous Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, make more babies, and again cherish their heritage.

Yes, they could encourage non-Muslim immigration and acculturate Muslims already living in Europe.

Yes, Muslim could accept historic Europe. But not only are such developments not now underway, their prospects are dim. In particular, young Muslims are cultivating grievances and nursing ambitions at odds with their neighbors.

One can virtually dismiss from consideration the prospect of Muslims accepting historic Europe and integrating within it. U.S. columnist Dennis Prager agrees: "It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for Western Europe than its becoming Islamicized or having a civil war."

But which of those two remaining paths will the continent take? Forecasting is difficult because crisis has not yet struck. But it may not be far off. Within a decade perhaps, the continent's evolution will become clear as the Europe-Muslim relationship takes shape.

The unprecedented nature of Europe's situation also renders a forecast exceedingly difficult. Never in history has a major civilization peaceably dissolved, nor has a people ever risen to reclaim its patrimony. Europe's unique circumstances make them difficult to comprehend, tempting to overlook, and virtually impossible to predict. With Europe, we all enter into terra incognita.

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube/Diller distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He is in Australia for the Intelligence Squared debate to take place this evening in Sydney. This article derives from a talk he delivered yesterday to the Quadrant.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Alan Note: the author tends to present a pro-Russian viewpoint in his articles so read it with that in mind.

By Michael Averko

Since the Soviet breakup, Ukraine has been geo-politically spun in two ways. When Ukraine's less Russia friendly side appears to have enhanced its stature, there is an increased yearning to drive Ukraine away from Russia as much as possible.

When Ukraine's more Russia friendly grouping seems strengthened, there is greater talk of mutual respect for the two Ukrainian ways of viewing Russia. Another Ukrainian perspective falls somewhere in between the two.

On NATO expansion, "the will of the people", takes a back seat for the Russia unfriendly crowd. The Orange Ukrainian government's desire to have Ukraine in NATO has consistently run contrary to the majority of its citizenry. The explanations for this unpopularity include a not so well informed Ukrainian public, caught in a Cold War time warp.

In comparison, there is little second guessing of polls showing that most Ukrainian citizens have a positive attitude on their country joining the European Union (EU). For some, Ukrainians are ignorant when stating apprehension about NATO and knowledgeable upon agreeing with the anti-Russian consensus; albeit for not always the same reason.

Many see the EU as a beneficial sugar daddy of sorts. By and large, Ukrainians have exhibited a reasonable stance on EU membership. Polls indicate that many Ukrainians favor closer economic ties with Russia. The two newest EU members (Bulgaria and Romania) have yet to receive full rights within that union.

There are other countries said to be ahead of Ukraine for EU membership. These other nations might have a bit of a wait. This situation and Russia's economic resurgence has led a good number of Ukrainians to consider closer ties with Russia.

On the criticism of Ukrainian opposition to NATO expansion: the claim of that Ukrainian view being caught in a Cold War time warp is bit ironic. NATO is a Cold War era created military alliance. This relates to how Russia is perceived. Anti-Communism among non-Russians developed two forms. T

here is the anti-Communism that does not view Russia with hostility and the variant which perceived the Soviet Union as a continuation of an inherent Russian threat challenging Western interests (never minding the numerous instances of pre-1917 Russian cooperation with a number of Western powers, coupled with the West often not being unified). The Russia unfriendly consensus is spearheading the effort to include Ukraine and Georgia in NATO, with Russia left out.

There was a time when Russian membership in NATO was a more positively received thought in Russia. Shortly after the failed coup against then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian government of Boris Yeltsin openly inquired about Russia's inclusion in NATO.

The Western reply was one of astonished bemusement. Shortly thereafter, the NATO membership inquiries of non-Russian former Communist bloc states were welcomed by Western officialdom. The lobbying efforts for that NATO expansion included anti-Russian propaganda, which caricatured Russia as an inherently threatening entity, necessitating a strong alliance against it.

In conjunction with the Western anti-Serb policies following Yugoslavia's demise, many Russians felt that the Russia unfriendly side got the upper hand in the West. Anti-Serb advocates tend to be anti-Russian as well. The Cold War's end saw the redevelopment of some prior European alliances. This included the enhancement of Russian sympathy for Serbia and German interest in supporting a vibrantly independent Croatia.

On former Yugoslavia, Ukrainian public opinion is not radically different from Russia's. Moreover, much of Ukraine's citizenry do not view Russia as a threat.

A good deal has been written about the close historic and cultural ties between Russia and much of Ukraine. This reality has existed for a period far exceeding the Soviet Union's existence. It is therefore kind of McCarthyite to suggestively portray pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine as being exclusively Soviet nostalgic.

Overall, the current French and German governments have been more critical of Russia when compared to their respective predecessors. Despite this harder line, France and Germany have prudently opposed the Bush administration's attempt to actively promote Ukrainian and Georgian inclusion into NATO. Ukraine and Georgia are better served with positive assistance in the socioeconomic areas.

Running contrary to Russia's best interests, some Russian government connected sources have not always presented an accurate overview of Ukraine. Russia Today, the Russian government funded 24/7 English language television news network had a recent (April 1) on-line news item entitled "Bush Supports Ukraine's Dream".

The title incorrectly suggests a mass Ukrainian craving for joining NATO. Scrolling down the contents of that segment, there is contradiction to that suggested popularity, with the citation showing how most Ukrainians oppose NATO membership.

Awhile back, I commented on a 2005 News World International (NWI) feature that included Russian "spin doctor" Sergei Markov, who has been portrayed as a semi-officially approved Russian government source (now defunct NWI was a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television affiliate).

When asked why Ukraine's Orange government is counterproductive, Markov said that its Russia unfriendly elements served to provoke a nationalist backlash in Russia. Relative to the question presented to him, Markov's stated emphasis on Russia conjures up the image of a Russian not concerned with how Ukraine feels; and provides fodder for the faulty notion of Russia being collectively ripe with overly aggressive nationalists.

The better answer to the NWI question would note that the newly inaugurated (at the time) Orange government's Russia unfriendly elements are anathema to many in Ukraine, who do not view Russia with hostility. This political climate in Ukraine increases instability, which does not benefit anyone in the long run.

I am reluctant to use the term "Russophobia" because those accused of being such tend to dislike Russia more than actually fearing it. The term "Russophobia" reflects a soft approach at dealing with the hard core anti-Russian prejudices. "Anti-Russian" and "Russia unfriendly" can thus be considered more accurate (though not always so perfect) alternatives to "Russophobia".

Anti-Russian bias includes the American Congress passing a bigoted anti-Russian "Captive Nations Week Resolution", (in 1959) that recognized every Communist country as "captive" with the exception of Russia. The leading activists behind the Captive Nations Week Resolution were anti-Russian Ukrainian-Americans; whose roots typically came from the Galician region of Western Ukraine. Western Ukraine's lengthy historical experience of non-affiliation with Russia explains why that part of Ukraine does not feel so closely akin to Russia.

Another example of Russia unfriendly bias is shown by the views receiving the nod in American presidential administrations. A case in point is a comparison between Carter administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and Clinton administration Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbott.

In some circles, Talbott has been perceived as being soft on Russia. When compared to Brzezinski's hard views on Russia, Talbott is nowhere near as soft. The two of them do not appear to be so politically diverse from each other. Several years ago, I watched Talbott and Brzezinski gleefully bash Russia at a Carnegie Endowment panel discussion, which also featured Vladimir Lukhin and Sergei Rogov.

Andreas Umland is a Ukrainian based (at last notice) academic, who often comments on Russian nationalism. Over the course of time, Umland has exaggerated the extent of Russian nationalist extremism.

Some others besides himself are mum on anti-Russian nationalist extremism. Umland can answer by saying that such matter is not within his realm of expertise. Bingo!

The seemingly well funded likes of Johnson's Russia List and Russia Profile prop Umland's commentary, without providing a detailed analysis on the anti-Russian nationalism that has been significantly downplayed (reference the points made in this article, which are generally not well received by English language mass media folks and those influenced by them).

That politically correct nationalism includes attempts to downplay the close historic and cultural ties between Russians and many Ukrainians.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


The Jihad for The Sake of Bread

Egypt, the land of the greatest civilization that gave the world the wonders of the Pyramids and the Library of Alexandria, that has been known to be the light of the world. Once It was swept by fundamental islam, expelled the Jewish population, oppressed and keep persecuting the native descendants of ancient Egyptians, the Copts (both Jewish and Copts that made Egypt the most thriving, economically and culturally in the Middle-East).

Became the motherland of the Muslims Brotherhood, that exported to the world the phylosophy of islamic terror through its satellites accross the globe which gave birth to Al Qaeda and companies. Now egypt is hungry, and a time bomb that could explode with repercusions felt all over the Western world.

Muslims wants to boycot Dutch and Danish products. Now they kill for a piece of bread.

Egypt, the biggest country in the arab world, has been experiencing the gravest situation of it's modern history since the begining of the year, shortage of subsidized bread that is the main food item for at least 60% of the population.

The economic situation in Egypt has been going from worse to catastrophic. We have been pedicting that, for the last year, warning that the islamic radicalization would lead the country to a total bankruptcy and turmoil.

Islam is ruining the country, Besides the billions (disguised Jeziah) the US is giving Egypt, Al Azhar islamic institutions is in command of an open budget that exceeds $10 billion for building mosques, paying sheiks'salaries, sending Da'wah (missionaries) that are experts in bomb making all over the world.

While the infrastructure, school, universities, medical services, hos[itals, transportation, water supply, sewer systems, roads, are falling into disaray, with the highest unemployment rate in the world, 60% of a population below the age of 30 Al Azhar declared: If you die in the line of bread, you're a Shahid.

Now, and for the last three months Egyptians have to stand in line and fight to buy bread, which caused the death of seveteen people up to now. The funny thing in that misery, Al Azhar issued a fatwa, stating that whoever gets killed in the bread line would be considered a martyr (Shahid). The jihad for the sake of bread.

What a consolation for hungry and miserable people. Islam always have the solution. If islam brings you misery, hunger and death, islam won't leave you depart empty handed, you're a Shahid, and you will get those 72 virgin whores, and all the Kentucky fried chicken (with no bird 'flu) you can eat, without the need for viagra.

That beats "les biscuits" Marie Antoinette suggested for the hungry people during the French revolution.

The situation is desintegrating rapidly, with a government in total paralysis and corruption, under a ruthless dictator (Mubarak), and the harshest living conditions ever for the majoroty of Egyptians. Worth noting that if islam is the result of this catastrophic backwardness, corruption, and disintegration, it could lead to more radicalization and benefit the fundamentalist factions such as the "Muslim Brotherhood, that promote the slogan, "Islam is the solution."

Egypt's shortage of bread

The signs of revolt and civil unrest is looming with the start of tomorrow's general strike in defiance of Mubarak and the government
Egypt warns its citizens against general strike
Says it will take firm action against participants
CAIRO (AFP) Saturday, 05 April 2008

The Egyptian interior ministry warned on Saturday that it will take firm action against anyone protesting or striking, in response to calls for a general strike the following day.

"The ministry warns that, according to the law and for the protection and interest of the public, the stability, security and peace of citizens, its services will take immediate and firm measures against any attempt to demonstrate, disrupt road traffic or the running of public establishments and against all attempts to incite such acts," a statement said.

A call for a general strike on Sunday has been circulating for more than a week on the Internet, via text messages and on the social networking site Facebook.

It is unclear who initiated the call which snowballed after some 25,000 employees at a textile plant in the central city of Mahalla announced plans to go on strike from Sunday over low salaries and price hikes. The interior ministry accused "provocateurs and illegal movements" of having "spread false rumors and called for protests, demonstrations and a strike on Sunday.

"It stressed that it will be business as usual on Sunday at all public institutions, including schools and state-owned factories.Sky-rocketing food prices in Egypt since the start of the year have been matched in recent weeks by a rumbling wave of popular discontent and unprecedented strikes and demonstrations.