Saturday, August 30, 2008


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In-Depth Issues:
-->Report: Iran Supplied Hizbullah with Advanced Missiles - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News) Iran has supplied Hizbullah with missiles equipped with advanced navigation mechanisms which can accurately hit extensive targets inside Israel, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported Friday, quoting Arab sources. In addition, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Siyasa reported Tuesday that 300 Iranian experts were working to build an array of antiaircraft missile installations on the mountain range in western Lebanon.

Iran Condemned for Surge of Youth Hangings - Michael Theodoulou (Times-UK) Iran, the world's most prolific executioner after China, has hanged a woman and four men for murder in defiance of mounting criticism from human rights groups. The latest hangings brought to 232 the number executions in Iran this year, compared to 317 in 2007, according to Amnesty International. Of particular concern is the number of youths facing execution for crimes they committed as children. Amnesty International told the Times, there are "at least 132 juvenile offenders known to be on death row." Human Rights Watch said Iran "leads the world in executing juvenile offenders."

Ten Roadblocks Removed in the Hebron Area (IDF Spokesperson's Office/IMRA) During the past few weeks, ten roadblocks were removed in the Hebron area in order to improve the routine life of the Palestinian population. Approximately 100 IDF checkpoints were removed in the past months in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

PA, Germany Sign Agreement to Establish 55 Police Stations in West Bank (Maan News-PA) Palestinian Interior Minister Abd Ar-Razaq al-Yahya and German Representative to the PA Klaus Burkhardt on Thursday signed a joint agreement to establish 55 new police stations in the West Bank.

Brand Israel - Haskell Nussbaum (Jerusalem Post) September marks the beginning of an ambitious new pilot program, being run by the consul-general in Toronto, Amir Gissin, to "rebrand" Israel. Starting with print ads in bus shelters and billboards, and continuing with radio and editorial content, Israel will be portrayed as an innovative leader in technology that brings real benefits to people. "Explaining why we are right is not enough," says Gissin. "Our goal is to make Israel relevant and attractive to Canadians and to refocus attention away from the conflict." The writer is the author of 101+ Ways to Help Israel: A Guide to Doing Small Things that Can Make Big Differences.

Israel Leads OECD in R&D - Gali Weinreb (Globes) Israel tops the OECD in terms of civilian R&D expenditure as a proportion of GDP, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported. Israel spent 4.7% of GDP on civilian R&D expenditure. The OECD average was 1.7%; Japan and South Korea each spent 3.2%, and the U.S. spent 2.2%.

Israel's Kibbutzim Finding New Life as Hotels - Sarah Wildman (Dallas Morning News-New York Times) The newfound capitalist success of the kibbutz hotel movement is an oxymoron. Across the country, kibbutzim, the socialist collective farms created by early Zionist pioneers, increasingly have encouraged visitors to be paying guests rather than volunteers. With a couple of years of relative peace and a few capitalist changes, kibbutzim have become a draw again for Israelis who are weary of city life, for global volunteers and for tourists.

Four Questions about American Jewish Demography - Ira M. Sheskin (Jewish Political Studies Review) The most probable number of Jews living in the U.S. is between 6.0 and 6.4 million. It thus appears that the number of Jews in the U.S. is currently higher than the number in Israel, though this is very likely to change in the future. The writer is associate professor of geography and regional studies at the University of Miami and has completed or is currently working on 43 major demographic studies for Jewish federations throughout the U.S.

Useful Reference:

Photos from Hamas Summer Camp: Campers Receiving Paramilitary Training (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

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U.S. Refuses to Follow France's Lead and Talk with SyriaThe U.S. refuses to follow France's lead and will not talk to Syria until it decides to take a "positive role" in international affairs, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Wednesday that he would visit Damascus on September 3-4, after welcoming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Paris last month.

Wood restated U.S. policy that precludes any dialogue with Syria unless it decides "to play a positive role, stay out of the internal affairs of Lebanon, stop supporting terrorists and be a productive player on the world scene....Today, it has not been."

"Until Syria plays a positive role in the region, it is going to continue to isolate itself," he said. Washington continues to blacklist Damascus as a state sponsor of terrorism. (AFP)

See also Israel: Assad Not Serious about Peace
Syria's rush to take advantage of the conflict in Georgia and the Russia-U.S. rift to cozy up to Moscow seems to indicate that it is not interested in serious negotiations with Israel even with U.S. participation, diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said on Thursday. "It is not at all clear what the Syrians want," one Israeli diplomatic official said. "They say that above all, they want American involvement in the talks with Israel, but then they side clearly with the Russians during a time of great tension with the U.S. and NATO." (Jerusalem Post)

Iran Says 4,000 Atomic Centrifuges Working - Hashem Kalantari"There are currently close to 4,000 centrifuges active at the Natanz enrichment facility....Another 3,000 centrifuges are being installed," Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Sheikh Attar told Iranian state television, the official IRNA news agency reported. President Ahmadinejad said last month Iran had more than 5,000 centrifuges running. (Reuters)

One Dead in Attack on Lebanese Helicopter - Zeina KaramAttackers opened fire on a Lebanese military helicopter Thursday, killing an army officer and forcing the craft to make an emergency landing, a senior security official said. The area where the helicopter came under fire is a predominantly Shiite region southeast of Sidon and a Hizbullah stronghold. (AP)

See also Hizbullah Downs Lebanese Chopper, Thinking It Israeli - Amos HarelHizbullah downed a Lebanese Army helicopter on Thursday in what Israeli officials believe was a case of mistaken identity. Israeli officials noted that Hizbullah has recently been trying to improve its anti-aircraft capabilities with the goal of downing Israeli planes. (Ha'aretz)

Abbas: No Resettlement of Palestinians in Lebanon - Bassem MroueAbout 400,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon, which were set up in 1948. On a visit to Beirut on Thursday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said, "The refugees should have the right of return to their homeland and we are negotiating this with the Israelis....We are against permanent resettlement" of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. (AP/Washington Post)

Egypt to Open Its Border with Gaza on WeekendEgypt will open its border with Gaza for two days on Saturday and Sunday to allow stranded and humanitarian cases to cross, Hamas sources in Gaza said Thursday. Some 1,500 Egyptians stuck in Gaza will go home on Saturday and 400 Palestinian patients will leave for medical treatment in Egypt on Sunday. (Xinhua-China)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

Report: Israel Reaches Strategic Decision Not to Let Iran Go Nuclear

The Israeli government has recently decided in a special discussion that it will not hesitate to use whatever means necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported. Because of Israel's lack of strategic depth, Jerusalem has consistently warned it will not settle for a "wait and see" approach, but rather use preemption to prevent any risk of being hit in the first place. Former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh visited Switzerland and Austria last week, after both countries announced massive long-term investments in Iranian gas and oil fields for the next decade.

"Talk of the Jewish Holocaust and Israel's security doesn't impress these guys," Sneh said wryly. Hearing his hosts speak of their future investments, Sneh replied, "It's a shame, because Ido will light all this up." He was referring to Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, the recently appointed commander of the Israel Air Force. "Investing in Iran in 2008," Sneh told his Austrian hosts, "is like investing in the Krups Steelworks in 1938, it's a high-risk investment." The Austrians, according to Sneh, turned pale. (Jerusalem Post)

Militants Take Control of Hamas Council - Khaled Abu ToamehThe results of a recent election held for one of Hamas' key decision-making bodies are likely to hinder efforts to free kidnapped IDF soldier St.-Sgt Gilad Shalit, sources in Gaza told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday. The secret ballot was held for the Shura (Consultative) Council, made up of Hamas' senior political and religious leadership and tasked with discussing all important issues. The names of the Shura Council members are kept secret. Sources said the vote resulted in a major victory for the "young guard" in Hamas, most of whom are affiliated with the movement's armed wing, Izzadin al-Kassam.

The sources described the victory as a "coup," pointing out that the newly-elected members were far more radical than those ousted from the council. "The Shura Council of Hamas is now dominated by warlords, thugs and militiamen," one source said. "The new members are not as educated as their predecessors." Another source said, "From now on, the armed wing of Hamas is expected to play a bigger role in the decision-making process....

The political leadership of Hamas has definitely been weakened." A Palestinian academic closely associated with Hamas said, "The new members are less patient and less experienced....These are the guys who carry the guns and control the situation on the ground." (Jerusalem Post)

Two Israeli Arabs Arrested in Islamic Jihad Plot to Kill Israeli Pilots, Scientists - Jack Khoury and Yuval AzoulayTwo Israeli Arabs from Shfaram have been arrested on suspicion of belonging to Islamic Jihad and planning attacks that included assassinating Israeli pilots, scientists and university professors. The two are also suspected of planning a shooting attack on an army checkpoint near Ramallah. Anis Sappori, 20, who studies at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, and Hussam Khalil, 19, who studies in Jordan, were arrested together with three Palestinians, all members of Islamic Jihad. Khalil has confessed to his involvement. (Ha'aretz)

Israel Arrests Fatah Man Who Was Pardoned But Returned to Terror - Michael FreundSecurity forces on Thursday arrested a Fatah operative in Nablus who had been given a pardon by Israel as part of agreements between Israel and the PA. The security establishment said Adham Lubada had returned to terror activity and production of explosive belts following his pardon. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel Allows Protest Boats to Leave Gaza - Yaakov Katz and Herb KeinonIsrael allowed two boats carrying international activists and seven Palestinians to leave Gaza on Thursday and sail without interruption back to Cyprus. An official said Israel had been aware of who was on board the ships - including the identity of the Palestinians - and had not interfered since none of the passengers posed a security risk. "None of the passengers was dangerous to Israel, and they were not coming into Israel, so there was no reason to stop them," the official said. "If a boat, however, tried to take wanted Hamas terrorists out of Gaza, that would be a different story." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Israeli Perspectives after the Georgia War

Assad Working Post-Georgia World to His Advantage - Aluf BennThe old world, where America ruled by dint of its military and economic might, and preached to others in the name of fighting terror and spreading democracy, is yielding to a bipolar system. In the new world, starring leaders like Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there is no meaning to noble ideals, only to power. The leader who understood the significance of the change better than others, and is working to leverage it to his advantage, is Syrian President Bashar Assad. Searching for allies, Assad is putting Syria up for sale. Assad was quick to take Russia's part in its war with Georgia, lent it public support, and agreed to heighten Russia's naval presence at its port in the city of Tartus. (Ha'aretz)

Russia Is Not the Soviet Union - Guy BechorThe Russians have no interest in embarking on a new cold war. During Assad's recent visit to Moscow, Putin and Medvedev refused his requests to sell advanced missiles to the Syrians, and added a few conditions: First, they will sell Syria defensive weapons only. Second, they will not be selling Syria arms that would change the status quo of full Israeli supremacy over Syria. Third, everything they sell will be paid for in cash, in advance. The Russians know very well that Syria's economy is unstable.

They know that the Iranians help the Syrians with payments, but they also know that Iran itself is facing great difficulties. Russia is not the Soviet Union. By invading Georgia, Russia caused itself economic and political damage that may take years to repair. The investors who lifted the Russian economy are simply running away now: $12 billion was taken out of Russia in the past two weeks.

Moreover, at this time Russia is closely associated with Israel no less so and possibly more so than with Syria. A million and a half former Russians reside in Israel, and Israel's high-tech industry is highly important for the Russian economy. The writer is head of Middle Eastern Studies at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya. (Ynet News)

Welcome to History - Shlomo AvineriWhat happened in the Caucasus is reminding many people that Russia has never been a nation state in the usual sense of the term, but has always been an empire - whether in czarist or Soviet guise. And under Vladimir Putin it is again becoming what it had been in the past. The writer is professor emeritus at Hebrew University and former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)

Russia Aware of Israel's Low Profile in Georgian Crisis - Herb KeinonAnatoly Yurkov, the charge d'affaires at Russia's embassy in Tel Aviv, told the Jerusalem Post in an interview that Moscow appreciated the balanced position Israel had taken throughout the Georgian crisis, as well as its "low profile." After Russia's recognition of the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia, the dominant position in Jerusalem is that this is not Israel's fight, that it has critical strategic interests in its relationship with Moscow, and that it is not a superpower that needs to sound off on every issue.

Jerusalem, which has already sent humanitarian aid to Georgia, has offered to send humanitarian aid to North Ossetia in Russia to help it deal with the influx of refugees there. (Jerusalem Post)
Other Issues

The Gaza CeasefireSince June, when Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, the blockade of Gaza has been relaxed but not lifted. Some items - like frozen meat, soft drinks, shampoo and clothes - have become commoner. But Israel still bans goods which it says may be used for making weapons, including metal pipes, fertilizer, and batteries. Most petrol stations remain closed.

Since the truce began, militants have launched some 40 rockets and mortars into southern Israel, but Israel has so far refrained from firing back. Israel says Hamas is using the lull to stock up its arsenal with more sophisticated weapons. It is already thought to have Iran-supplied rockets that could reach Ashdod, Israel's fifth-largest city and main port, some 38 km. (23 miles) north of Gaza. (Economist-UK)

Forward to the Past - Jonathan SpyerIn recent weeks, a number of prominent Fatah figures have suggested that their movement might abandon its commitment to a "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and return to the pre-1988 demand for Israel's replacement by a single state in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

In fact, the "one-state solution" has been the end-goal of modern Palestinian nationalism for the greater part of its history and its reemergence should come as no surprise. It is apparently hoped that rebranding Fatah-style Palestinian nationalism using the language of the U.S. civil rights movement of 50 years ago might cause at least some observers not to notice that the one-state solution coincidentally involves the disappearance of a legally constituted Jewish state, and the consequent termination of the right of self-determination of Israeli Jews.

In other words, the one-state solution includes the full realization of the program of Palestinian nationalism. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya. (Ha'aretz)

Israel to Display the Dead Sea Scrolls on the Internet - Ethan BronnerSpecialists in Jerusalem have begun digitally photographing every one of the thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the aim of making the entire file available to all on the Internet. Equipped with high-powered cameras with resolution and clarity many times greater than those of conventional models, and with lights that emit neither heat nor ultraviolet rays, the scientists and technicians are uncovering previously illegible sections and letters of the scrolls, discoveries that could have significant scholarly impact.

The 2,000-year-old scrolls, found in the late 1940s in caves near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem, contain the earliest known copies of every book of the Hebrew Bible. The texts, most of them on parchment but some on papyrus, date from the third century BCE to the first century CE. (New York Times)

A Boom in Israel's Exports to India - Neal SandlerAs India's economy grows, exports from Israel to the world's second-most-populous country are soaring. Netafim, a leading supplier of drip irrigation systems, has expanded its staff in India from fewer than 100 employees just four years ago to more than 700 and on Aug. 23 opened a second factory in Chennai. Makers of everything from chemicals to software are seeing similar surges.

Exports of nonmilitary goods and services from Israel to India jumped 40% in the first half of 2008 from the same period the year before, after reaching a record $1.6 billion for 2007 as a whole. Military business also is booming. A senior Israeli defense industry source estimates that Indian purchases now account for about one-third, or $1.67 billion, of Israel's $5 billion in annual defense exports, with India supplanting the U.S. as Israel's largest customer for weapons systems.

In the past two years Israeli real estate developers have committed billions of dollars to projects in India, constructing everything from housing to hotels and shopping malls. "We were debating between India and China and decided to go with the former because conditions there for foreigners to operate were a lot easier," says Segi Eitan, CEO of Property and Building.

Products from Israel accounted for less than 2 percent of India's $230 billion in total imports last year, but in key fields such as defense, agriculture, water, and high tech, Israel has what India is looking for. (Business Week)


Listening to Iran - Terry Milewski (CBC News-Canada)
Since the time of Darius the Great, there have been ties of blood and history between Persia and Israel that are now, 2,500 years later, on a collision course. Some 60,000 Jews from Iran live in Israel. Menashe Amir is the voice of Israel in Iran. On Israel's state-run radio, he's been broadcasting daily to Iran, in Farsi, for 48 years.

For the past 15 years, he's also been hosting a fascinating Sunday call-in show. Iranians can call a number in Germany, so that they're not seen to be calling the "Zionist entity," and they're rerouted to Amir's studio.

In an interview with CBC News, Amir said the West has failed to understand the Iranian threat. He believes the regime is opposed by most Iranians but is consumed by an apocalyptic vision: the triumph of Shia Islam over the world. Western governments, he says, don't see that, for the Iranian mullahs, the destruction of the Jewish state is just a step along the way.

"On the same day, in the same speech that Ahmadinejad called for wiping off Israel from the map, he added that the destruction of Israel is the first step of our final confrontation with Western civilization."
Amir says the regime dreams of a new caliphate - an Islamic empire spanning the globe.

"They have the money, the missiles, they are seeking to have the nuclear bomb and the life of humankind is not important for them. I want to mention what Rahim Safavy, who was the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, said a few days ago:

'We shall win and you, the Westerners, shall lose because we gave 200,000 victims, martyrs, in eight years of war with Iraq and we have 300,000 disabled and injured in this war - and we don't care about it. But you, the Westerners, are afraid to give 4,000 or 5,000 victims and casualties, so the final victory will be ours.'"
Amir says the Iranian people don't share the regime's messianic vision. "Iranians are totally a different nation - a peaceful, polite, moderate people who want a good life, who adore the United States, who respect Canada, who like Western music....But the regime in Iran doesn't feel like they're Iranians. Mostly, firstly, they think they are Shi'ite Muslims and they have to work for the sake of Islam."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Italy, the worlds leader in the fight against Islam attempts to take it up a notch and put a ban on Mosque construction. If this passes look for a call to end all Mosque construction to spread across Europe.

As the Swedes have already looked to put an end to the Islamic calls to prayers being broadcast in their country. Muslims across the world use our freedoms against us in order to impose Islam on us.

To fight back we are going to have to bend our constitutions and treat Islam unlike other religions, as it is a political movement as well as a religion. Either that or Muslims will eventually dominate us. Take your pick.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Prime Minister John Howard - Australia

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.



I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.'

'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom'

'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, Learn the language!'

'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.

It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.

If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'

'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why.

All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.'

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.

But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.

'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE.

We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.

' Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, American citizens will find the backbone to start speaking and voicing the same truths. If you agree please SEND THIS ON

Sunday, August 24, 2008


By John A. Ross (08/22/08)

Many Americans would like to support a qualified African-American for president. The soon to be Democrat Party candidate for the office of the President of The United States, Barack H. Obama, needs, however, to be more forthcoming in answering fundamental questions.

Rather than eek out responses to questions that is and has been voting issues for most Americans like abortion, taxes, national security, international treaties and the United Nations-be candid. Forced to muddle through shifting platform positions on these and other issues is concerning and suggests that, predicated upon perceived public opinion, your position routinely changes.

It has become abundantly clear that your oratorical skills are exemplary, however, the citizens of America that will vote on November 4, 2008, for a president and not a college debate team leader.

A political moderate may be the ideal vice presidential running mate, to offset your recognized penchant to always lean and vote for controversial socialist issues.

Perplexing to most political moderates is your ill-defined ‘change’ mantra.

Are you, for example, advocating changing everything about America, or just our borders, culture and language?

Important policy statements you have made and carried by the mainstream media and press suggest, or infer, that illegal aliens are welcome, our cultural norms must be debated and all Americans need to learn Spanish.

In all fairness to you and the American people, what, conceptually, do you have in mind?

Your ‘change train’ has left large numbers of “show me” Americans at the train station and they all are not from Missouri.

By taking, heretofore, an insolent intellectually elitist approach to national security, you have scared many Americans. Raised by parents and grandparents that militarily or in some capacity participated in WWII, Korea, Cold War, Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, most Americans are more cautious.

Intimately familiar with the “fog of war,” the loss of loved ones, and the ever- present “negotiations” that communists resort to when they cannot win on the battlefield Americans are mystified by your cavalier approach.

Having never been introduced to the tools and psychology of warfare must be considered a blessing; however, unlike you most Americans do not have a Harvard education nor do they call themselves a “citizen of the world.”

They are just ‘Americans.’Senator Obama, what motivates you to hand $845 billion-dollars to the corrupt United Nations? Your Senate bill S.2433 will make Saddam Hussein’s ‘Oil for Food’ United Nations scandal look like a church bingo game.

Are you repaying Saddem Hussein’s Nadhmi Auchi for his financial support?

Senator Obama, that money needs to stay in America to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and build a high-speed rail system.

Also, what the hell is the Civilian National Security Force that will duplicate our Department of Defense and Social Investment Fund Network that appears to be a payback to America haters Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn and MoveOn.Org’s George Soros?

The long and the short of it Senator Obama America needs answers to the aforementioned questions.

John Ross

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Caucasus: If Russia Acted Differently and Future Possibilities

By Michael Averko

A series of destabilizing responses were likely if Russia did not counterattack against the August 7 Georgian government strike into South Ossetia. Russia would have probably faced a significantly greater refugee crisis from what occurred. Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili might have had greater inclination to attack Abkhazia. Many Russians would be pressing the issue of why their government did not take action to deter the hypothetically stated situation.

These points relate to why Russia acted in the way it did. In doing so, the Kremlin no doubt considered the rhetorical backlash it would receive.

The Russian government was in a kind of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. They knew that a reasonably based (as far as major powers conducting armed action) counterattack against the Georgian government was not going to be met with open arms from Western neo-liberals and neo-conservatives. On the other hand, a Russian non-military response would probably not result in significant benefits for Russia. On the contrary, some in the West would gloat about how their guy Saakashvili had his way with "Russian surrogates" and Russia.

Russian foreign policy takes into account the Western post-Soviet global advocacy that favors certain humanitarian issues over others. Western laxness to the 1995 ethnic cleansing of 150,000 Krajina Sebs and willingness to downplay Kosovo Liberation Army transgressions lead Moscow to believe that the West would not be so scornful of a "disproportionate" Georgian government attempt which victoriously retook South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

In 1992, Russia assumed the role of peacekeeper in the disputed South Ossetian and Abkhaz territories of the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). As the strongest force in the Caucasus, the Russians were on better terms with the involved adversaries than the belligerents were with themselves.

Comparative references are made to the Russian counterattack on Georgia and the 2003 American led attack on Iraq. Saakashvili is nowhere near the threat that Saddam Hussein posed. At the same time, the territory of the former Georgian SSR borders Russia, whereas Iraq is not even in the same hemisphere as the United States. In 1991, there was an international consensus for turning back Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.

This included Syria and Turkey; two countries not known for seeing eye to eye. In 2003, Syria, Turkey and other nations expressed apprehension to the American led attack which overthrew Saddam. For now, it appears that the suffering caused by the Russian military action in Georgia will be considerably lower than what Iraq has experienced since 2003.

Georgia's best chance at successfully achieving a mutually agreed to jurisdiction in South Ossetia and Abkhazia involve factors that some will not find appealing. The least provocative factor grants the two regions great autonomy.

The other facet concerns Georgia and Russia redeveloping closer ties. South Ossetia and Georgia are not currently motivated to be a part of Georgia. Russia presently sees little reason to please Georgian desires in the two disputed territories.

Attention has been given to Abkhazia's ethnic makeup prior to the Soviet breakup (17.8% Abkhaz and 45.7% Georgian, as per the 1989 Soviet census). The roughly 35% non-ethnic Abkhaz/Georgian population took different positions on the Abkhaz-Georgian dispute.

Many fled post-Soviet war torn Abkhazia, with a good number remaining (according to a 2003 census of Abkhazia, 43.8% of the population is Abkhaz and 21.3% Georgian). The Abkhaz note that they were said to be a majority in their region going back to about the mid-19th century (based on not always accurate census taking).

During the Stalin era, the Abkhaz felt discriminated against when compared to the Georgians.

Abkhazia's situation reveals how disputed territories have different circumstances. Among the comparative specifics being history and human rights, in conjunction with the overall will of the people from the respective disputed territory. The disputed former Communist bloc territories are Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Trans-Dniester.

Related articles:

Fallout From the Conflict in the Caucasus

Conflict in the Caucasus and Ukraine's Russia Friendly Side

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


August 20, 2008

Hizb ut Tahrir London meeting: an eyewitness report

This report comes from Jihad Watch, and is a first hand account of Islam's quest for world domination through the control of land, energy, ports, and the subversion of world governments. Here are the facts: A Jihad Watch reader went undercover to the Hizb ut Tahrir conference in London on the caliphate last Saturday, and kindly sends us this exclusive report about what was said there: Khilafah The Need for Political Unity London Conference on Saturday 16th August 2008 hosted by Hizb Ut Tahrir – Britain - chilling revelations follow, and see video below:

“The destruction of the Islamic Khilafah State over 80 years ago marked the beginning of dividing the Muslim World into countless nation states governed by a plethora of kings, dictators and western backed ‘democrats’. Today three major regions of the Muslim World are under occupation, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. Oil and food crisis has pushed millions of people into starvation. Sectarian divisions are fuelled by occupying powers to further divide and weaken us.

The Muslim Ummah now needs a new political thinking and direction. It requires a new leadership that will unify the Umma and utilize her resources to address these countless problems. This one day conference will address the obligation of unifying our Umma under one leadership and discuss how political unity is the only practical way forward for the Muslim Ummah.” -- Hizb Ut Tahrir, Britain

Related Video from one of their supporters:


Sajjad Khan: Realising Political Unity
Dr. Mahmad Salim: The Shariah and Unity
Sister Sultana Parvin: Scientific and Educational Potential under the Khilafah State
Jamal Harwood: Economic Development through Unity and Khilafah policy
Dr. Imran Waheed: Pakistan Case Study – an application of Unity and Khilafah policy

Conference Attendance2000-2500 people.

The Troxy is located in the heart of East London, Commercial Road, E1. The overwhelming majority were from the Bangladeshi community. A high number of women attended, with the majority in attendance being male.

Islam Channel, the satellite media broadcasters, were present as well, for media coverage.Introduction Since 1924, the Muslim World saw the collapse of the Golden Age of Islam and the destruction of the Islamic State: the Uthman Khilafah I.E. the Ottoman Empire.

Today, due to Islamic political parties such as Hizb Ut Tahrir, Muslims worldwide are supporting and working towards the re-establishment of this Islamic State.

Rallies, demonstrations, protests, and conferences take place in Turkey, Indonesia, Hebron, Kyrgyzstan, Al Quds (Jerusalem), Lebanon, Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Yemen, Ukraine, Australia and the United Kingdom. As part of a global campaign, Hizb Ut Tahrir are going from country to country announcing the need for political unity and establishing an Islamic State. Muslims in their thousands are responding to the call.

May this point be emphasized: Islam demands the political unity of the Ummah. The Muslim World united under one Islamic leadership and ruler.

This much-desired Islamic State is not some dream or vague imagination proclaimed just by Islamists, jihadists or extremists.

No, this so-called Caliphate is a very real political and religious ideology long held in the hearts and minds of Muslims the world over. Indeed, since the days of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the yearning to return to the glory days of Islam never diminished.

British Muslims (despite their inconsistent condemnation and lack of public protests against acts of Islamic terrorism) state that Islam is a peaceful religion that seeks to live in harmony, not superiority with others.

And so, as hard-working, law-abiding citizens of the respective countries in which they reside, they seek to be treated as such. They demand that they be recognized for their peaceful endeavors to encourage moderate Muslims to strengthen community cohesion. They want recognition for their achievements and contribution to society and should be supported.

Instead, they feel victimised because of the global terrorism which has been carried out in the name of Islam. Thus we often hear complaints of ‘Islamophobic’ attitudes within the community, government and media, which British Muslims say they are continually confronting post 7/7.

Yet is this a backlash or rightly placed frustration with the British Muslim community for their lack of conviction in condemning acts of terrorism in the name of Islam?

I’m sure that some truly condemn terrorism. However, there is a problem. If this is the view of the majority of peaceful Muslims in the UK and the West; then how on earth did we all end up in this so-called clash of civilizations?

Why are there ongoing debates about whether or not Islam is a religion of peace, how to differentiate between the moderates and extremists, and how to fight this perpetual ‘War on Terror’?

Who are we actually at war with? Who can we trust to help us in this war? What values are we defending and from whom, exactly? Could the likes of Osama Bin Laden indeed be correct when they state that the West has launched Crusades against Islam (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and now perhaps Pakistan is next?).

This is not a War on Terror, but a War on Islam -- they say.

Well, the Islamic Liberation party ‘Hizb Ut Tahrir’ certainly seems to think that the War on Terror is a War on Islam. And not only that, they are putting forth their case for the return of the Islamic State remarkably well, and ever so defiantly against the U.S. and U.K.

Their objective is to politically unify the Muslim World and its resources, to become the world’s one and only authentic Islamic State.

A genuine and Sharia-governed Islamic State without Western designated ‘artificial’ borders, without corrupt dictators and non-Islamic leaderships and without the influence of Western imposed democracy, Imperialistic and Colonialist agendas. An Islamic Superpower ruled under one leader -- Islamically elected, of course.

One reason why the political case to unite the Muslim World and its resources is so appealing to Muslims is because this will also cause an affront to Western powers. And the following will prove it to be immediately obvious as to why.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Iran Reports Test of Craft Able to Carry a Satellite - William J. BroadIran test-fired a new rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit, the Iranian state news media reported Sunday. Western experts said the launching represented a potentially significant if much-delayed step in Iran's efforts to join the international space club.

The report comes amid growing Western nervousness about Iran's nuclear program and concerns that it could one day use its missile expertise to threaten enemies with annihilation by means of atomic warheads. "The Iranian development and testing of rockets is troubling and raises further questions about their intentions," a White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, said Sunday.

Rocket scientists agree that the same technology that puts satellites into orbit can deliver warheads. Iranian officials also point to the use of satellites by the U.S. to monitor Afghanistan and Iraq and say they need similar abilities for their security. (New York Times)

See also The Global Range of Iran's Ballistic Missile Program - Uzi RubinAnyone with a satellite launch vehicle can drop a bomb anywhere in the world. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

On Anniversary of Lebanon War Truce, Israelis Believe Another War with Hizbullah Is Inevitable - Robert BergerOn the second anniversary of the truce ending the Lebanon War between Israel and Hizbullah, many Israelis believe another war with the Islamic group is inevitable. "The war set the stage for a more comprehensive Middle East conflict," said Israeli analyst Michael Oren.

"It set into motion a dynamic in the Arab world, where much of the Arab street believes that Hizbullah won that war, and there is tremendous expectation on Hizbullah to continue the struggle." In 2006, Oren said, "We destroyed all of Hizbullah's infrastructure, much of its civilian headquarters, we killed about a quarter of their fighters, that is a prohibitive number of casualties for any modern fighting force, and yet perception is everything in the Middle East and the perception was, in the Arab world at least, that Israel was bested in that conflict."

Hizbullah fired 4,000 rockets into Israel during the 34-day conflict. With a bristling new arsenal of rockets, Oren believes a Hizbullah attack on Israel is just a matter of time. (VOA News)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel Approves Release of 200 Palestinian Prisoners - Roni SoferThe Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved the release of some 200 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The Prime Minister's Office said, "This is a gesture and a trust-building move aimed at bolstering the moderates in the Palestinian Authority and the peace process."

Among the prisoners who are slated to be released are two Palestinians "with blood on their hands." One murdered Israelis and the other sent murderers. (Ynet News)

See also Victory Parade for Released Palestinian Prisoners - Avi IssacharoffSenior Fatah and PA figures will meet the released prisoners near the entrance to Ramallah and lead them on a victory parade through the streets to the Muqata, where they will pay their respects at Yasser Arafat's grave before listening to speeches that will be broadcast by Al Jazeera. (Ha'aretz)

See also Prisoner Release Unlikely to Help Fatah - Yaakov LappinThe government's decision to release some 200 security prisoners - mainly from Fatah - was unlikely to help that group, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari, a senior research scholar with the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, said on Sunday. Harari, who was a senior adviser on Palestinian affairs to the Defense Ministry for 20 years, said Fatah was in an extremely vulnerable state, and that the proposed prisoner release would likely be "forgotten after two days." (Jerusalem Post)

Israel Calls on UNIFIL to Report Smuggling - Yitzhak BenhorinAmbassador Dan Carmon, acting head of Israel's UN delegation, met on Friday with Claudio Graziano, head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and told him that Israel is concerned about Hizbullah's violations of UN Resolution 1701 and the group's increasing power.

Carmon said Hizbullah's rearmament and the transferring of weapons from Iran and Syria to Lebanon should be mentioned in UNIFIL's reports to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Graziano claimed Thursday that Israel is the main culprit in violations of the UN resolution for its intelligence-gathering overflights of Lebanon. (Ynet News)

Despite Truce, Palestinian Rockets Strike Israel - Shmulik HadadPalestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Sunday afternoon that landed in Israel. Another rocket had landed on Friday afternoon. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Iranian Controversy over Cult of the Imam - Najmeh BozorgmehrWhen President Ahmadinejad announced on Sunday the launch of a rocket built to carry an Iranian satellite into space, he did so in the name of the last true Shia imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi. The launch coincided with the end of festivities in Iran to mark the birthday of the imam, who is believed to have gone into hiding in the year 941 and will return to bring peace and justice to the world.

But this year there are claims that the imam is being exploited for commercial and political purposes. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, on Sunday called those who had "opened a business" and claimed to have been connected to the imam "liars." Former president Rafsanjani said the current "fake" obsession with the imam had "misled millions of people."

Ahmadinejad rarely starts a speech without first praying for God to hasten the imam's second coming. The president, who has no clerical background, makes frequent reference to the imam as a way of displaying his piety. But many clerics and politicians believe the government encourages superstition among the masses to win votes and deflect attention away from day-to-day problems such as inflation, currently at 26 percent. (Financial Times-UK)

Dear Condoleezza Rice: Save Darfur - David SuissaLast Saturday, after services at Beth Jacob Congregation in Los Angeles, a young black man named Adam Akabar got up to speak. He was a Muslim refugee from Darfur, and he came to tell us his story and ask for our help.

For the past year, he has been traveling the U.S. with his photos and personal accounts to expose the ongoing nightmare happening to his people. Ms. Rice, I don't understand how you could go to the Middle East 21 times over the past few years, and agonize for weeks on end on the Israel-Palestinian conflict over things like roadblocks, building permits and border crossings, and, while millions of Darfurians are going through a historical genocide, make only one short, ineffective trip in four years to that part of the world.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that Jews don't appreciate your 21 trips to the Middle East. It's just that there are other areas, like Darfur in Africa, where millions of people are in clear and present danger, and they also need your immediate and undivided attention. (Jewish Journal of Los Angles)

Syria Hid Nuclear Program - Ephraim AsculaiThe photographic evidence of the existence of a nuclear reactor under construction at Syria's bombed Al-Kibar site was overwhelming: pictures of the reactor under construction, with great similarities to a North Korean plutonium production reactor, and its later camouflage by the construction of a surrounding building that completely enclosed the structure; the intake of water from the Euphrates River and the outlet of returning water from the building back into the downstream of the river, which indicated the existence of a strong energy source at the site.

The most damning piece of evidence probably is the way the Syrians razed the site, poured concrete over it and claimed that it was some sort of a military site and not a nuclear reactor. This should have been enough for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to indict Syria for its violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But given the attitude of the present director general of the IAEA, it is doubtful that this will happen. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Jerusalem Post)


Russia and the Middle East - Walter Laqueur (Middle East Strategy at Harvard)
As Russia returns to a position of strength, a main aim will be to weaken America's position in the Middle East since the belief that America is Russia's worst and most dangerous enemy is quite common.

Moscow has threatened to supply greater help to Iran and Syria, which would certainly annoy America. But Russia does not want to do this at the price of creating political and military problems for itself in the years to come.

The attack on South Ossetia provided Russia with a unique opportunity; it was motivated by a militant Georgian nationalism which failed to understand that small and weak countries, unlike big and powerful ones, are not in a position to keep separatist regions indefinitely under their control.

Such opportunities will not frequently return, and other opportunities will have to be created by the Kremlin - probably by exploiting existing conflicts such as those in the Middle East.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Tom Paine's "Common Sense" was the most important printed dissertation of our American Revolution back in the l770s.

Fortunately, Tom Paine has been resurrected to give insight and direction to USA citizens who just might be intuitive sufficiently to regain the direction sought by Benjamin Franklin when he told an inquirer that the delegates in Philadelphia gave us "a republic, if you can hang onto it."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


More than 375 insurgents and al Qaeda operatives have been captured during the first week of Operation Omens of Prosperity in Diyala province. Six senior al Qaeda in Iraqi leaders in the province have been captured during the province-wide operation.

The Iraqi military announced it captured 265 suspected al Qaeda fighters during operations from July 29 through Aug. 2. Five members of al Qaeda's provincial shura, or executive council, were captured during this timeframe.

Iraqi troops captured Qussai Ali Khalaf, the leader of al Qaeda's Islamic State in Iraq in Diyala province; Adnan Gumer Mohammed, the provincial "judge"; Ahmed Quasim Jabbar the provincial military commander; Abu Anas al Baghdadi, "a top al-Qaeda operative in Diyala"; Basem al Safaah, who led sectarian attacks against Shia; and Antisar Khudair a woman who recruited female suicide bombers.

Al Qaeda has stepped up female suicide attacks in an effort to bypass increased security.

The arrests over the past two days show the Iraqi security forces are operating throughout most of the province. On Aug. 3 Iraqi soldiers and police arrested 18 insurgents in the Adhim, Kanaan, and Tahrir regions, and captured 15 more in raids throughout the province. On August 4, Iraqi security forces captured 34 "wanted men" during operations in Khalis and captured 15 insurgents in Miqdadiyah.

Operation Omens of Prosperity

Operation Omens of Prosperity began on July 29 after the Iraqi and US military and the government of Iraq signaled the operation well in advance. Diyala has been the most violent province in Iraq this year as al Qaeda has attempted to regroup in the rural farmlands in the eastern and northern regions of the province.

Iraqi and US military intelligence indicates al Qaeda has camps and safe havens in the desert regions, the foothills of the Hamrin mountains, and around Lake Hamrin. "We have seen al-Qaida continue to be pushed into what we call 'the support zones' or the areas of the desert," said Major General Mark Hertling, the commander Multi-National Division North during a press briefing on July 27.

"And we will continue to pursue them into those areas, relentlessly pursuing them and showing them there is no sanctuary until they leave this country."

These bases are used to strike and Iraqi military and civilian targets in the urban areas in Diyala as well as in Baghdad.
Operation Omens of Prosperity is currently broken down into three smaller operations: Sabre Pursuit, Iron Pursuit, and Bastogne Pursuit. An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Iraqi soldiers and police, backed by about 3,000 US troops, are participating in the operation.

Sabre Pursuit, which began on July 25, four days prior to Omens of Prosperity, has focused on the southeastern region of Balad Ruz. The region appears to have been cleared as local security has been fully transferred to Iraqi soldiers and police and an emphasis is being placed on reconstruction efforts.

Iron Pursuit is a US-led operation that is "directed against all the support zones of al Qaeda in Iraq," Hertling said. The operation is spanning Diyala and neighboring Salahadin province. Iraqi and US troops are conducting air assaults into known al Qaeda rear areas.

Iron Pursuit also serves as a blocking force to catch al Qaeda fighters fleeing Diyala westward into Salahadin. Iraqi troops are "pushing toward the Uzaym River Valley attempting to kill or capture AQI members fleeing from Diyala into Salahadin in order to escape advancing Iraqi Security and Coalition forces." Three al Qaeda fighters have been killed and nine captured so far.

There has been no reporting on Bastogne Pursuit, which was mentioned by Hertling during the July 27 briefing, but the operation is likely to focus on the foothills of the Hamrin Mountains in the Kifri and Khanaqin districts in the north. Iraqi troops captured a senior al Qaeda financier and facilitator in the Lake Hamrin region.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


On Sunday, August 3, 2008 right after Divine Liturgy, St. Basil of Ostrog, SOC Lake Forest/Mettawa cordially invites you to a concert of Serbian spiritual and folk songs featuring the Brkić triplets, Vera, Nada and Slobodan.

The Brkić family is from the village of Glušci, near Šabac, Serbia. Dragiša and Zorica Brkić have two daughters Vera and Nada, and two sons Slobodan and Miodrag.

Two of the triplets, Nada and Slobodan, have been visually challenged since their birth.

The children have been brought to Boston for a series of surgical procedures to improve their vision.

Medical advances in the U.S. have given them hope of being able to see one day: after one surgical procedure they can now very faintly recognize objects in front of them.

Through their singing they are raising funds needed to help them pay for their medical bills and additional surgeries. These young teenagers, though physically blind, have rich spiritual vision. God has given them beautiful voices that can bring both joy and tears to their audience.