Wednesday, November 30, 2011

These People Are Dangerous

"It was very dusty, and there were absolutely no trees, no shade at all. The United Nations refugee agency had set up camp on the Kenyan side of the border, at the bottom of the hill. Dozens of bright blue plastic tarps clustered near a large, well-made tarpaulin tent where people were lining up in the sun to register. We passed a health center - really just a place where you could report the dead - around which were thousands and thousands of tents.
"The farther we walked, the shabbier the tents became. At first, most of them were blue tarpaulins strung onto branches and twigs, with whole families sheltering under them. A little farther on, the tarpaulins ran out and thin branches and twigs were just shoved into the soil, with cloths arranged over them, women's shawls or a shirt, so the children could sit in the shade. The tents were clumped around little waterholes in the sand, some of them no more than muddy puddles. The smell of recent rain was still in the air, but the puddles were already evaporating in the heat.
"As we left the car we walked past two men who were arguing about a jerry can of water. One of them lost his temper and pulled a gun, and my heart thudded. Suddenly all the men around us had guns -pistols or rifles. My eye caught a series of spent bullets on the ground, nestled in the sand. Three or four older men walked up to the man with the gun with their arms out and said, "Take the water. It's yours - go," and gave it to him. He sat down on the sand and put his hands over his head and cried. His clothes were torn; his toes poked out of his broken shoes; he looked wretched.
"The older men tried to take his gun away, but they couldn't get him to give it up. They gave the other man another can of water. Everyone badly wanted everything to stay calm - suddenly everyone was an expert in conflict prevention. I crept up to Mahamuud and said, "these people are dangerous." He looked at me and said, "They are dangerous. They are hungry and thirsty. They have been walking for a long time. They have nothing left to lose. They feel like they are dead already."
"He was right. The people all around us looked like ghosts. They were gaunt. They had been moving away from their homes for weeks, and had lost everything along the way. Babies had died; there were listless children in almost every mother's arms. They had been attacked by bandits, and they had crossed all kinds of battlefronts. When I looked into people's eyes, it was disorienting. they looked as if they had been to Hell and back." Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
That was a description of Somalia after the downfall of the Siad Barre regime, and the resulting tribal-led civil war. With Barre gone and his Communist-led supporters in free fall, Islamists came to the fore. Now Somalia is plagued with another curse, that of al-Shabab, the terrorist group trying to take over Somalia and enact strict Sharia, while they prey upon the poor and terrorize those attempting to escape famine and strife.

Once again, the United Nations has set up massive refugee camps in Kenya, at the border between the two countries. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled their villages to try to find safe haven for their families. Humanitarian aid agencies are trying to feed the refugees, to give them the hope of prolonged life, to replace their dread and fear. Conditions are as dreadful for this new generation of refugees huddled in overcrowded refugee camps, as they were for the previous starving refugees.

And now, al-Shabab has once again chosen to ban humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, UNHCR, and other nations' humanitarian aid groups from the areas that they control. Armed and masked men have violently taken over the aid offices, and ordered aid workers to depart. They were already working in Somalia on a list given clearance by al-Shabab's "Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies."

The outlook for the welfare of hundreds of thousands of Somalis, most of them suffering the effects of the drought-caused famine, will be at even greater risk. "You can't tell if this is one commander acting unilaterally, or a proper edict sent down from al-Shabab's bosses. But the fact is right now, everything's stopped. We're looking at what we can do in the next few days, then we'll assess longer-term strategies.

It could be a real mess."

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Stage-Managed Perspective

Prosor: The UN is a Rubber Stamp for the PA
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Prosor: The UN is a Rubber Stamp for the PA

The United Nation’s automatic pro-Arab majority distorts history and makes the body a “rubber stamp for the Palestinian Authority," Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor charged Tuesday.

“Instead of promoting peace, the U.N. perpetuates the conflict. All that is required to distort history is an automatic majority in the U.N. rather than accuracy of facts,” he said on the anniversary of the international body’s recognition of the State of Israel in 1947.

In a direct contradiction of the historic vote 64 years ago, the United Nations now calls the day “Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”

Against a tidal wave of pro-Palestinian Authority speeches Tuesday, Prosor pointed out, “U.N. Resolution 181 [in 1947] mentions the Jewish state no less than 25 times, but for 64 years the Palestinian leaders have not dared to use the term even once. The fact is that by 1967 Judea and Samaria were part of Jordan and Gaza was part of Egypt. The Arab world at the time did nothing to establish a Palestinian state.”

Prosor, who was highly successful as Israel’s ambassador to Britain, also exposed the myth of “Palestinian refugees.”

He stated, "The difference between the two distinct populations Arab and Jewish] [was – and still is – that Israel absorbed the refugees into our society. Our neighbors did not.

"Refugee camps in Israel gave birth to thriving towns and cities. Refugee camps in Arab countries gave birth to more Palestinian refugees.”

As published online at ArutzSheva, 30 November 2011

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Neutrality of the United Nations

UN Officials Show PA Spirit, Bash Israel
by Gavriel Queenann UN Officials Show PA Spirit, Bash Israel

The United Nations on Tuesday continued to demonstrate it is not an honest broker in the Israeli-Arab conflict as senior UN officials marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that a Palestinian state was "long overdue," in an official statement released by his office.

"The need to resolve this conflict has taken on greater urgency with the historic transformations taking place across the region," Ban said.

Ban said a solution to the current impasse must be found that results in two states based on the 1967-lines with Jerusalem as their shared capital.

The statement from Ban's office presupposes the maximalist demands of the Palestinian Authority as the only possible formula for a final status agreement.

Ban praised the accomplishments of the Palestinian Authority, claiming that the Ramallah government is "institutionally ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood."

He did not address the ongoing corruption probes that plague the government of PA prime minister Salam Fayyad or that the PA is dependent on foreign aid and on the verge of fiscal insolvency.

Instead, Ban called on both sides to return to direct negotiations, while at the same time adopting PA rhetoric that Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem constitute a "major obstacle to peace."

Ban was not alone in his celebration of one-sided, anti-Israel rhetoric.

Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967" condemned Israel as a rights violator and occupier.

"Every year, on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we are reminded of Israeli authorities’ invidious schemes to permanently empty Palestine of Palestinians.

"This prolonged human catastrophe must be brought to an end once and for all," a statement said.

UN observers note that even Falk's title at the world body presupposes the PA position from the outset, raising serious questions about how the United Nations can claim to be a neutral arbiter when it has demonstratively been co-opted by the Palestinian Liberation Organization's propaganda machine.

Israel maintains territories captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War cannot be defined as “occupied” as they were never a part of a sovereign state. Rather, Jordan seized Judea and Samaria – and Egypt seized Gaza – when the Arab world sought to destroy Israel on the eve of the nascent Jewish state’s independence in 1948.

As published online at ArutzSheva, 30 November 2011

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Introducing Baby To Dog - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Tuesday, 29 November, 2011



Has he/she ever showed any signs of aggression towards anything?

If the answer is no then you have nothing to worry about - you just need some help in understanding dogs a little - which I will provide you with below.

Having said that the biggest mistake people make is being nervous, anxious, fearful or expecting/anticipating problems.
I am going to give you a few articles to read. Please read them as it is critical that you understand how dogs communicate and how we unintentionally communicate to them. And below I am going to coach you on introducing your dog and baby in more detail. Also, the same methodology can and should be used when introducing your new dog to your toddler, or older children.

Here are the articles and then I will continue with an explanation below. You can either read them now or continue on and read them after - but to read them is a must!

First I want to share this with you...when my daughter was a toddler strangers would criticize me for leaving her in the car with Shanny (my first German Shepherd x Malamute) while I stepped into the pizza place to pick up the pizza I had called ahead to order. Shanny would have done anything and everything she could to protect my daughter if the need ever arose. Shanny would never have harmed her - I had nurtured Shanny's balanced state of being and enabled the best attributes of a dog. I had respected her as a dog and as a non-human person. I had every reason to trust in Shanny. Not only did Shanny never let me down, but she often astonished me with her kindness, instinct, intuition and great intelligence.

When I was in the hospital, having just delivered my daughter into this world, I took one of the little hats that she wore on that first day and gave it to my Mom to take home (while I was still at the hospital) so Shanny could meet my daughter for the first time - not in actual physical presence - but instead by her scent on the little knitted hat. This is of great importance to the dog - it should be allowed to meet the baby by scent first. (If you are introducing your new dog to children rather than baby, you can skip this step!).

Now I would have had no trepidation about my Daughter and Shanny meeting in physical presence first, but because I was still at the hospital, I wanted to send Shanny something to let her know what was going on. If you can do this first it is a wonderful way to start.

Why the nose first...well please read this to understand...

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE with babies, children and dogs
I end up with quite a few clients who retain me to help because their dog has become child reactive. This is so easily avoidable, but people in not understanding how and what they communicate create this situation, which gets exponentially worse if allowed to continue and then results in aggression. So let’s make sure you do not accidentally create this situation.

How does this type of behaviour start? Well, when a child's parents are nervous of their child being around a dog...the dog learns that when children are near, people are nervous, anxious and/or fearful. Dogs look to their humans for leadership…if you are uncomfortable it tells your dog that it should be on guard. So the dog learns to associate children with tension and fear and eventually this turns to aggression. The dog does not create the situation of aggression - people do!

This has nothing to do with training your dog - it has everything to do with training yourself. What this is about is the psychology of humans and the psychology of Dogs.

Reading the articles that I provided links to above, will ensure that you can get a good understanding of what follows below…but read on and then you can go back to the linked articles after.

Make sure you are not tense, stressed or anticipating reactive behaviour (what you probably think of as aggression) from your dog. Your dog has absolutely no reason to be aggressive - unless you create the aggression! To lead by example you must be without any such emotions. You must be (calm) and have confidence in yourself and in your dog. Your state of calm confidence will set the framework for your dog’s state. If your thoughts and body language are relaxed and confident you indicate to your dog that you are confident with the situation - this allows your dog to relax and normalize the experience of meeting your baby. Dogs are naturally good with children and babies - it is only when the human creates tension and bad associates, when the human has failed to enable balance in their dogs that dogs are aggressive to children.

I am going to ask that you also read about Leadership and debunking the Alpha Myth here - a whole understanding is very important as it will foster a relaxed and informed state for you!

Encourage your dog to use its nose to greet your baby. A dog’s sense of smell is acute. In its natural state, dogs greet each other by smelling each other - not by jumping all over each other in an excited state. Excited greetings occur because the human has taught the dog that greeting (a human - child or adult) requires excitement. This is not a dog’s way. It is a human’s way. To teach this type of greeting de-normalizes the experience for a dog. Make the greeting normal and comfortable.

RELAX AND ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL MEETING - by doing so you will make it what it should be.
So train yourself to control your thoughts, your emotion and direct your focus. Only then can you properly support your dog. Remember, you communicate with your state-of-mind, and hence your body…not just by the words or tone you use to speak.

If your dog is truly a little too eager/pushy you need to disagree with your dog’s behaviour. For instance your dog places his paws on the baby with a little too much energy or wants to lick the baby’s face too much. Touch your dog and say 'no' and then say 'gentle'. Touch gets his attention, 'no' to indicate the behaviour is not appropriate and 'gentle' to provide the right direction. This is coaching/mentoring. It is all your dog requires. As long as you do so from a calm and confident state your dog will understand. It is really simple - the energy behind what you do is everything and has an immense impact on creating a positive, normal, happy greeting and future relationship!

I cannot state enough how important it is to be relaxed, calm, confident and patient - it is everything!

This meeting should be enjoyed, it should be beautiful - and not infused with stress, tension and nightmare scenarios in your mind. Remember, it is the human who creates the situation, good and bad!

I have had to rehabilitate too many dogs who have become aggressive to children simply because they were not socialized using all of the methods I note above. Instead of socializing and normalizing them to greeting and being with children - the people fear from the get-go and lock the dog in another room or never allow the dog to greet a baby. Well guys, what do you think will happen - of course you make the dog aggressive. You make the dog frustrated and confused. Dogs are highly intelligent, sensitive animals - take advantage of their natural nature, work with it, don’t destroy it.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Warned, Repeatedly

"We have been here before. But this time it's much more serious. The government has taken a very stern view. It's not quite clear at this stage what more Pakistani authorities can do, apart from suspending supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.? Farzana Sheikh, associate fellow, Asia program, Chatham House, London

Well, how about retaliation? This is what steaming mad Pakistan is hinting at. Retaliation? This time, an up-front attack on U.S. troops, rather than the usual covert attacks presumably emanating from Pakistani Taliban, but ably led by the Pakistani military. Which is precisely what occurred to begin with, to elicit a counter-attack by NATO forces.

Despite the outraged howls of denial by Islamabad and the military, this was no unprovoked, mindless attack by NATO forces. It was a response, called in by Afghan military forces that were being bombarded across the border from Pakistan. NATO doesn't do a bad job at all, in its military expertise-and-response, in pinpointing the precise area where attacks come from.

As it did on this occasion, much to the chagrined anger of the regime, who now claim through Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani that "Business as usual will not be there. We have to have something bigger so as to satisfy my nation." The humiliation, the insult to the honour and the sensitive sovereignty of Pakistan, a proud, nuclear-owning, terrorist-clinging-supporting state is simply insuperable.

Insult after assault, assault after interminable insults. Forcing a face-loosing assault on a proud nation by mounting an intrepid undercover attack on Osama bin Laden's look-alike who just happened to be living unobtrusively adjacent a prime elite military training barracks. And now, this intolerable attack on the sovereign authority of the country.

Pakistan certainly has its defenders, who are simply aghast at this turn of events. China has declared itself to be "deeply shocked". And it takes quite a lot to deeply shock culture-and- sovereignty-sensitive China. As for Russia, whose own peril-laden invasion of Afghanistan ended with its maimed troops limping back to the motherland defeated, Russia expressed its view that it was simply "unacceptable" to violate the sovereignty of states, even, they emphasized, when on the prowl for "terrorists".

Russia knows all about hunting for terrorists; it has them galore in Chechnya, which it handles thoughtfully with sensitive gloves of kid leather. And, oh yes, that little spat with Georgia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in 2008, that too. But of course, that was then, this is now, is it not? But all is certainly not lost. Cash infusions always help to ameliorate hurt feelings.

And the U.S. withdrawing its billions in treasury promises for Pakistan is surely equal to the threat of its removal as an ally in the fight against terrorism? The United States and NATO remain anxious to enlist Pakistan's co-operation in 'pacifying' Afghanistan. Which isn't likely to happen as long as Pakistan continues to support the Taliban whom they directed in their mission in Afghanistan.

So this remains an interesting stand-off. One that fairly well represents the usual tide of events that occur between Western states and those of nations governed largely by growing swells of Islamism.

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The Smiting Hand of God

That's the destructive hand of the Almighty that the Islamic Republic of Iran contends is raised on their behalf. For Allah has decreed that His favoured regime and his newly-chosen people, the Persian Empire, must master the secret formulae to engineer and perfect ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. This, in any event, is what the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamanei trumpets to the world at large.

But what if God prefers a different alliance altogether? One that equally proudly points to ancient scripture attesting that Israel is God's chosen? Proof of which is their peculiar ability to withstand onslaughts that such a small nation beset with violence from large and plentiful neighbours has ably proven it is capable of fending off? In the process, acquiring its own nuclear capability.

The world shudders at the prospect of balefully belligerent Iran, which oppresses its own and threatens others, perfecting ownership of nuclear proficiency. So concerned about the potential that rumours have been rife in the corridors of diplomacy and the military that while diplomacy will continue to wedge itself into the picture, the might of thunderous attacks may be employed.

But what if airborne missiles and bunker-busting bombs are seen to be expressive of an earlier time and not necessarily representative of newer methods of interruption and cessation? Attacks by stealth and at arm's length which have gradually diminished the threat by forestalling its dire imminence? In reflection of technological advances, a program-destructive worm like Stuxnet.

And the clever, carefully covert placement of newer-generation explosives, detonated at a distance? By some mysterious chance, Iran's atomic scientists and ballistic experts have been expiring before their biological due date. Targeted for assassination, abduction, de-briefing. And a number of explosions at delicate installations have taken place, one last month destroying the lives of 30 scientists and members of the Republican Guard.

Iran Nuclear

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility south of the capital, Tehran, Iran. Source: AP

Iran strenuously denies any such occurrence, as it usually does, explaining that the huge blast a month ago that killed a top ballistics missile expert was simply the result of an accident in the testing of a system meant to target Israel for annihilation. A second explosion yesterday has the informed speculating that Tehran's military along with its sensitive atomic sites might just be under attack. Not from the skies, through Israeli warplanes overflying Saudi Arabia, but in a most arcane manner.

Satellites have picked up confirmation of the blast that struck the city of Isfahan's uranium enrichment facility. Something was certainly destroyed; the huge blast and billowing smoke was responsible for alarming Iranians living in the vicinity who corroborate something truly unusual had occurred, shattering their windows.

Despite the regime's denials of an Isfahan-area nuclear-site blast, caused instead by a military exercise carried out in the area, according to the city's governor, Tehran insists no explosion had taken place whatever. Commenting archly on the issue, Israel's Intelligence Minister, Dan Meridor stated: "There are countries who impose economic sanctions and there are countries who act in other ways in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat."

Clearly, Israel has more to lose with Iran's success in mastering nuclear-weaponization than any other concerned nations of the world. And, as Major-General Giora Eiland, Israel's former national security director claimed, the blast at Isfahan was no accident.
"There aren't many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it's the hand of God."

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Diplomatic Niceties Gone Amok

Iranian students have had plenty of practise in exercising their sovereign right to upturn the Vienna Convention on the practise of diplomatic protocols and sanctity of foreign embassies. They have as example the siege of the American embassy in 1979 when the Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was in its infancy and U.S. diplomats were held for 444 agonizing days of stand-off.


Inspired by that glorious event signifying the wonders of sovereign determinism, and spurred on by Britain's decision to increase sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, by isolating its banking system, a mob of students set up by their Basiji masters, engaged in full frontal attack on the British embassy in Tehran, as well as the staff compound.

Most Iranians are proud of their country's success in establishing a nuclear program, irrespective of their support for the regime. Among them those who deplore the current regime, whose mass protests for liberalization after the tainted re-election of Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought about the "green revolution" that revolved nowhere, simply sputtered in the face of violent regime repression.

The British flag was burned, along with that of the United States and Israel, just so that no one might err in misunderstanding the extent of the rage at the reaction of the international community to the latest release of information from the IAEA. Of course police were present. They witnessed the carnage that ensued as students entered and ransacked the British embassy, destroying documents, carrying off souvenirs. Nothing of this kind could conceivably occur without the support, however silently given, of the Ayatollahs.

Terrified diplomats sought safety from the mob in safe rooms reinforced for just such purposes. They were held there, effectively prisoners, under the circumstances, for hours. Until the regime finally gave approval for the police to clear away the protesters. The enthusiasm with which the police performed that duty could be estimated by the fact that the mob was able to re-enter the embassy to continue their rampage. They were said to be merely a hundred or so in number, hurling rocks, petrol bombs and other tokens of goodwill.

In the Iranian parliament some of their members were heard to have called out "Death to England", as though the student mob required additional inspiration, as they replaced the Union Jack with the Islamic flag, chanting "Death to England". This is Iran, led by fanatics who flame the emotions of nationalism and Islamism among their brain-washed youth, anxious to prove how faithful they are to Islam and the Prophet. So anxious that they are not entirely disinclined to offer the supreme sacrifice.

Martyrdom figures large in the passion of this faith of submission. Those whom they view as their deadly adversaries would not necessarily mind these faith-engulfed psychopaths ending up as martyrs as long as they didn't take anyone else with them. There can be no reasonable debates of ideology or appropriate social relations between such people. So the mystery is that Western democracies even bother to install diplomatic missions in Tehran at all.

There is no trust whatever between the regime and the representatives of foreign countries. The Iranian government elite consider the foreign presence of diplomats in their country as akin to hosting iniquitous dens of espionage-tasked enemies of their state. There may be some truth in that, since all foreign embassies are staffed with personnel skilled in interpreting and conveying vital statistics and information useful to their home governments.

With that well understood, all civilized communities and social orders recognize the imperative to offer security and respect to the representatives of other countries within their own. And they accordingly treat the embassies and living compounds of foreign visitors as is required; as though they represent the soil of those foreign countries; they are sovereign areas that must be protected and respected.

Unless, that is, your own sovereign nation is represented by a clique of maniacal fantasizing paranoids who imagine themselves answerable to no laws but their own.

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The Irrepressible Tyranny of Pure Faith

The Arab world is turning itself inside-out. Like a snake in season, shedding its skin. And what is found beneath the shed skin of the snake re-inventing itself? Why, goodness gracious, another skin. The new skin, needless to say, accommodates a larger snake.

The traditional tyrants that have oppressed and suppressed the various countries' populations of the Middle East and North Africa are finally being toppled. The people are speaking. Not necessarily with one voice, but they are united in their anger and their antipathy toward those who have maltreated and abused them for so long.

They want change. At least those among them who are gathering and creating a revolution. They are by no means necessarily the majority of those populations, but they are those who have assumed the audacity of the crowd, having discovered that loud, belligerent demands have gained legitimacy in a new world where communication is open and everywhere.

Regimes, even resolutely and bitterly nasty ones, do not appreciate being embarrassed on the world stage. Their pretense at liberal and kindly attention to the needs of their own cannot be upheld when evidence to the contrary is electronically conveyed through the news and social networking systems' worldwide tentacles. Condemnation sits poorly on their self-esteem.

And the free world, peering in from the outside, amazed at the events that steadily unfolded and continue to do, has voiced its approval and its remote support for whatever it is that the burdened are engaging in to produce something that looks similar to participatory democracy. Even within totalitarian regimes. Whose response is swift, harsh and uncompromising.

The world's most powerful country had two of its presidents, by turn, address the issues of liberty and human rights in the Muslim and Arab world. Both had the temerity to recommend the acquisition of human rights and the ascension of liberty for all. Former President George W. Bush claimed: "Democracy does not threaten Islam or any religion. Democracy is the only system of government that guarantees their protection."

He was feeling fairly confident about the U.S. involvement in Iraq, overturning the abysmal tenure of a brute, and helping to usher in a state of democracy in a country whose inhabitants were mired in tribal, ethnic and sectarian hatred whose passions were unleashed by the removal of their personal tyrant. Resulting in nightly bloodbaths as Sunni butchered Shia and Shi'ites murdered Sunnis.

And then, the biracial miracle of the new President Barack Obama, representing the mountain visiting Muhammad, to deliver his Cairo speech to the world of Islam, that America had no mission but to inspire trust and reconciliation between itself and the world of Islam. A democratic Middle East would find no interference impeding its progress by the United States of America.

And he extended his friendly hand to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it was spat upon, a clenched fist the response. For Iran had already transited to democracy without the intervention of the U.S., and under the auspices of Islam itself, and the Grand Ayatollahs fumed at his impudence. President Mubarak, listening to Presidents Bush and Obama, held his counsel to himself.

And then, history was overtaken by the currency of the present, and President Obama oversaw, approvingly, the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. Who had done his utmost to repress fanatical Islamism and maintain trust with the United States, and peace with Israel. Tunisia, Libya, Syria, have all experienced their Arab Spring, and the winter of fundamentalist Islamism is impressively on tour.

Everywhere that women were accustomed to moving freely and with confidence, they have gradually been garbing themselves much as the women of Saudi Arabia, that great good friend and confidant of the United States, have been impressed upon to do. In fact, just as Iranian women must now also dress, for the culture of Sharia would have it so.

Those two fundamentalist Islamist states, one Sunni, the other Shia, each representing itself as the true gatekeeper of Islam, engaged in a struggle for supremacy. Saudi Arabia has possession of Islam's holiest sites, but Iran will soon be possessed of Allah's supreme weapon. Each have used their oil wealth to instigate violent jihad, to spread the word of Islamic superiority. On the way to a global Caliphate.

Farewell, tyrants of the Middle East. Welcome, ye faithful and pure Islamists. Tyranny has many faces and none so rigid and uncompromising as the righteously entitled.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Egypt's Democracy Outcome...?

Egyptians - despite the apprehensions that people eligible to vote in the first elections assumed to be legitimately democratic and not stage-managed as they have historically been in an effort to appear 'fair and just', while manipulating the vote to result in a resounding (and wholly anticipated) victory for the ruling regime - are resolutely turning out in great numbers. The first round of votes took place in Cairo.

It's estimated that 50-million Egyptians are eligible to vote, including roughly eight million living abroad - if they have the proper enabling certification. Most eligible Egyptian voters are Muslim, while a minority proportion - anywhere from ten to 20%, are Coptic Christians. And they have lined up, patiently, and fully engaged in the process, to have their vote count for something. What it will, in the end, count for, is the question.

Political parties of various ideological stripes have sprung up like mushrooms after a rain, since the downfall of Hosni Mubarak and the promise of forthcoming elections. None of these various parties are really organized, nor were they capable of communicating their platform adequately, with the exception of the Muslim Brotherhood and their Salafist counterparts, who have had a long struggle in Egypt for legitimacy.

But they have done their work well, illegal or semi-legal, in infiltrating Egyptian society at the street level, while organizing themselves into a formidable underground political party whose ethos is fundamental Islamism. Of course, although the Muslim Brotherhood had its inception in Egypt in the 1920s, it has worked diligently to gain entrance and legitimacy as a movement to be reckoned with, throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, (Infidel!) for one, carefully and in detail wrote about their surge of influence in her native country, Somalia, and even in Kenya, among expatriate Muslims, where Christians are in the majority. They gained a reputation of trust; where corruption reigned supreme everywhere, anything the Muslim Brotherhood was involved in, banking, health care, social services, was seen to be above reproach.

And they built upon the already existent mistrust of Muslims regarding the infidels around the world, but mostly the despised Jews, whom they were urgently exhorted to hate even more and avoid at all costs having any truck with, and with Christians. And this brings us back to Egypt's own Christians, the Copts, who have a history in the country that far outstrips that of Islam.

A large community spread all over the country, with historic churches and a heritage of being among the original ancient Christian sects in the Middle-East-cradle of Christianity, faithful to their beliefs. The community has seen increased levels of conflict between the majority Muslims and minority Christians, as their houses of worship have been attacked, set on fire, and worshippers murdered.

Conflict between Muslims and Christians is not universal in Egypt, there exist many Muslims who respect and honour their Christian counterparts. But as the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood gain in strength and popularity and the prospect of their finally finding a voice of authority in government increases, Egypt's Christian Copts know that their future in their country is more fraught with danger than ever before.

"Some in the Brotherhood and some Salafis do not properly understand the Koran. They want to use religion to abuse people. They oppose freedom. When they see a woman uncovered, as Christian women are, they tell her to cover her head when it is none of their business." Now that's a generous, Christian view of the future, is it not?

Just as Jews have reason to be deeply concerned respecting the outcome of the vote, its final tally, and the resulting makeup of the new Egyptian government, so too do its Christians. They might consider seeking haven in Israel, if it was not a majority-Jewish country, had more geography to be generous with, and was not as it is, busy with other Muslim and Christian seekers-after-security.

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Misplaced Trust, Honourable Forgiveness

Nephew of Soldier Who Died at Joseph's Tomb Joins IDF
by Gil Ronen Nephew of Joseph's Tomb Victim Joins IDF

The nephew of a soldier whose death on October 1, 2000, is a painful chapter in the IDF's history, has joined the military and has entered the ranks of the Border Police, in which his late brother served.

Eleven years ago, Madhat Yusef, a Druze soldier, was wounded when an Arab mob stormed Joseph's Tomb in Shechem. The IDF did not mount an operation to rescue him, instead trusting assurances by the Palestinian Authority (PA) that it would do so itself. The PA did not assist him, however, and he bled to death slowly, over the course of four hours.

Madhat's death is considered to be a stain in the annals of the IDF, and as contradicting the ethos of leaving no soldier behind on the battlefield. He was one of the first casualties of the bloody terror war that broke out in September 2000, which has come to be known as the Oslo War or the Second Intifada.

Border Police Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy uncovered Tarwat's combat soldier's pin, newspaper Yisrael Hayom reported. "My father Salman served in the Border Police for 28 years," said Mahdi, Tarwat's father, at the ceremony in which Tarwat was sworn in. "The Border Police is our home. I am proud of my son Tarwat who decided to continue in the path of my father and Madhat, and to protect the security of the State of Israel."

While the Border Police force belongs to the Israel Police, it largely employs soldiers in the course of their mandatory tem of service.

As published online at ArutzSheva, 28 November 2011

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whither Syria?

"It is important that the international community move to resolve this problem and deliver a powerful message to the Syrian government." Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan
Syria, despite assurances to the contrary, has spurned the Arab League demand to allow monitors to vet what is occurring in the country as it descends further into outright civil war. Another pledge of the regime, to withdraw its army from cities, while nothing could be further from reality. The army still besieges those strongholds of Syrian defiance to the regime, still killing protesters.

As for the unified position of the Arab League on imposing biting new sanctions on Syria, (already reeling economically from EU- and US-Canada-imposed sanctions), unity eludes the League membership. Iraq has announced it will not take part. Nor will Lebanon. Nor will Algeria. Jordan appears to be hesitating, despite the strong words of King Abdullah to Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
"Iraq is a neighbour to Syria and there are interests - there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis living in Syria and there is trade. Lebanon also has the same idea and Jordan, too, has shown its objection."
Syria's central bank is to be isolated. Senior Syrian officials may no longer travel to neighbouring countries, and commercial flights will be cut off. Army deserters are battling with the regime's soldiers. And now Damascus insists that regional powers are inciting the violence, an accusation formerly levelled against 'foreign' interference and Israel.

It is hugely instructive to view the fluidity of the governing situation of the Middle East in the past ten months. So much has changed. Not the least of which is the removal of tyrants with the imminent replacement of Islamists who will be equally tyrannical. And then there is Turkey where an Islamist government finally overturned a long period of secular rule.

There is Turkey and its current slate of governing elite who had forged a new alliance in the Arab world, which has not yet quite shed its friendship with Aryan Persia, still has not defined a potentially new relationship with Lebanon and Hezbollah and Gazan Hamas, and has denied the Syrian dynasty's legitimacy.

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Pakistani Fury

The Government of Pakistan is furious. Again. With the United States. With NATO. The U.S. is in one of those proverbial hard places. A hard enough place that although it knows full well that Pakistan has always supported the Afghan Taliban - given them haven, weapons, military support despite that the country is a purported ally to the West and the U.S. fighting terrorism - it doles out $1.2-billion annually of U.S. treasury to the Pakistan military.

Pakistan has officially assured the United States, for the past ten years and more, that they are fighting in the same camp, for their mutual interests. They've taken U.S. funding, primarily used for the military, even while the military is diverting some of those funds for arms to supply to the Taliban, materially and logistically supporting them, enabling them to mount their attacks in Afghanistan.

It was, in fact, Taliban rockets targeting Afghan soldiers that resulted in the NATO response that hit two military outposts in northwest Pakistan, killing 28 troops. The alerted NATO helicopters and fighter jets simply tracked the rocket trajectory and struck the source there, in response. That they happened to hit Pakistan military outposts across the border is hardly an accident. It was a legitimate response.

"Close air support was called in, in the development of the tactical situation, and it is what highly likely caused the Pakistan casualties", General Carsten Jacobson explained on behalf of the International Security Assistance Force. "We are aware that Pakistani soldiers perished. We don't know the size, the magnitude."

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani called it "an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty". Pakistan is very sensitive about its sovereignty. The Foreign Office plans to take up the matter "in the strongest terms" with its allies in NATO and the United States. The Pakistani army chief promises that steps are in the offing in response "to this irresponsible act".

"Pakistani troops effectively responded immediately in self-defence to NATO/ISAF's aggression with all available weapons." So there. Sad it couldn't be left there. To allow Pakistan to stew in the juices of its righteous indignation, a trusting helpmeet in the battle against terror, once again betrayed by the perfidy of the West.

As far as they're concerned - so they bruit about for public consumption to a public furiously beset by hatred of the West and its corrupt values - this was a deliberate attack on innocent Pakistani soldiers. Despite that maps of the area clearly marking out wherever military posts are located. So the first area of disrupted cooperation to be the stoppage of the transit of NATO supplies.

NATO will have to resort to alternate supply routes. Which it most certainly will do. As inconvenient as it may be. And Pakistan will stew itself into greater paroxysms of fury.

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Muslim Brotherhood Aspiration

Muslim Brotherhood Holds ‘Kill the Jews’ Rally on Election Eve
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Muslim Brotherhood Holds ‘Kill the Jews’ Rally

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which expects to win at least a plurality in Monday’s legislative elections, held a “kill the Jews” rally in Cairo Friday.

Thousands of supporters attended the pre-election rally at a mosque on the Muslim Sabbath, promising to “one day kill all the Jews” and wage war against Jerusalem’s “Judaization.”

The demonstration was held on the anniversary of the United Nations’ proclamation of the 1947 partition plan that established the State of Israel and which was immediately followed by a pan-Arab war aimed at annihilating it.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which generated the Hamas terrorist organization, has drawn the anger of leaders opposing the provisional military regime, staying away from the Tahrir Square protests last week that resulted in deadly classes between soldiers and protesters.

Smelling victory, the Brotherhood is suddenly promoting itself as a party that favors non-violence rights for women, but it boasts its hatred of Jews and Israel.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood party is widely hated by liberals, its image of a defender of Egyptians is likely to catapult it into the dominant political force in Egypt this week.

"The Muslim Brothers really screwed this revolution. They've done everything possible to monopolize and hijack the revolution," said Democratic Front Party member Wael Nawara, quoted by the Pittsburgh Tribune.

"The Muslim Brotherhood (is) very opportunistic. They don't care about the Egyptian blood. ... They only care about taking power," said Azza Kamal, a political activist.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Addressing The Situation

The Arab League is furious. Not an unusual situation. They have cause to be furious for one reason or another. At least they no longer must endure the contemptible harangues that Col. Moammar Gadhafi was accustomed to treating them all to. But no, Israel's intransigence aside, there is now Syria to consider. And reconsider. And consider again, since the various ultimata that have been laid upon Syria have been singularly ineffective.

Although solidarity is a slippery slope in the Arab League, the resolve to have matters appear to be well looked after, is imperative for honour's sake, if nothing else. Generally, the Arab League brooks no outside interference in their internal matters. Sudan's President al-Bashir, indicted for genocide by the International Criminal court was warmly welcomed to represent his country's interest at these meetings; he is an insider, the ICC is not.

But the Arab League is feeling quite irritated of late. It succumbed to the temptation to allow the UN and NATO to intervene in Libya, and a few of their members even went so far as to join the international no-fly-zone activities. The disappearance of the irascible and unpredictable Gadhafi will be missed by no one there. The 22-member bloc had 'invited' Syria to Cairo to sign an agreement to allow observers into the country.

Should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad spurn this generous opportunity to reinvent himself and his regime for welcome back into the fold, biting sanctions will be imposed upon him and his regime; crippling economic boycotts. "If that is to happen, it will be very unfortunate because the damage will be to all sides", commented Syria's economy minister. Quite in line with the regime's usual threats of all hell to pay if Syria goes under.

Violence continues to erupt in the country; 50 more people have latterly died, inclusive of 11 security force members, and 7 military pilots, killed in an ambush led by the Free Syrian Army, deserters from the regular military. The country is in the throes of very uncivil warfare. The Arab League is prepared to invite intervention from the United Nations.

And the Free Syrian Army chief, based in Turkey, has now yet again, called for foreign air strikes on "strategic targets" to help speed up the process of unseating the regime. "We are not in favour of the entry of foreign troops, as was the case in Iraq, but we want the international community to give us logistical support.

"We also want international protection, the establishment of a no-fly zone, a buffer zone and strikes on certain strategic targets considered as crucial by the regime." This, from an Arab population that scorned the activities of the United States and its allies in attacking and occupying Arab countries. The West warring against Islamic countries.

Question: Why is the 22-member Arab League impotent to address the situation themselves? They spend immense fortunes on buying all the latest-model, technologically-advanced warplanes and other instruments of war, why cannot their standing armies intervene to bring a halt to what they insist must be stopped?

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At Risk

Yet another brotherhood deal signed between Fatah (Palestinian Authority) and Hamas. There is certainly no love lost between the two. Fatah, led by Mahmoud Abbas, and considered to be 'moderate', ranks as such only because Hamas is so obviously immoderate. But not all that unusual in the Middle East. The two leaders, Hamas's Gaza leader, Khaled Meshaal, and the president of the Palestinian Authority meeting again in Cairo, to express their mutual affection for one another, have presented a unified front.

Abbas and <span class=
Abbas and Mashaal
Wikimedia Commons
They are, in fact, unified in the degree of their determination to destroy the State of Israel; one by stealth, the other up-front by direct, violent, intransigently furious confrontation. They will forge on together, the urban legend has it in the streets of Cairo, to destroy the enemy and conquer any doubts that they are capable of mounting a lethal attack, resulting at long last in a Palestinian State impervious to disruption by any outside entity.

Which is not to say they are not perfectly capable of destroying their dream of statehood themselves. Of course there is a little problem of corruption, tribal enmities, religious sectarian conflict, and civil amateurism, in a nascent state incapable of organizing their finances, let alone the services they offer to their constituents. This is a state-in-waiting that is beset by quite a few problems, none of which have easy solutions because those who dominate the field have little interest in the practicality of responsibility.

With the possible exception of Salam Fayyad, the current PA prime minister whom Fatah continues to support and whom Hamas vehemently rejects. Which is an entirely other story. The PA is in dire financial straits, its fragile institutions ready to collapse. It cannot pay its state employees, the situation is that dire. And Salam Fayyad, the incorruptible technocrat-economist whose passion for his people's struggle is undeniable, warns of imminent collapse.

Dependent on the transfer of tax monies that Israel collects on its behalf, and has withheld, as a gesture of condemnation for the PA's recent unilateral venture to UNESCO membership, in preparation for additional such, they also now face the prospect of the European Union, the United States, Canada and Australia (for starters) withdrawing their millions in aid as a result of joining with Hamas, recognized as a terrorist entity by all these charity-sponsors of the PA.

Of course, the United States is uneasy about having been informed that the moderate Mahmoud Abbas has a neat little program whereby a policy that pays convicted Palestinian murderers $5000 in recognition of their heroism, and building them new homes as a gesture from the PA to its stalwart "resisters" of the occupation. Out of funding coming from the United States for the Palestinian Investment Fund that PA Prime Minister Fayyad founded in 2002.

No longer is Prime Minister Fayyad overseeing the fund, but Hamas is in total control of PIF assets in Gaza. Moreover, an investigation is to be launched as to whether funds were drawn from the PIF for Mahmoud Abbas's international trips hither and yon in an effort to convince UN-member diplomats to support the PA's attempt for unilateral declaration of statehood in the UN ... in direct contravention of U.S. policy.

Should, heaven forfend, international funding be cut off, the PA will not have the wherewithal to exist; it will dissolve itself for it cannot afford itself. The nascent state, representing a population that has been dependent on international charitable funding for over 60 years, as the world's longest-reigning 'refugees', insists it must be recognized as an independent state, all its instruments of statehood recognized, but it cannot afford to be a state; there is no reliable economic underpinning from within.

Strange kind of logic, that is. Hugely dependent on its neighbour Israel for water and energy resources; a good part of its economy heavily reliant upon trade with Israel, along with mentoring and co-operation, yet it refuses to recognize the Jewish State, and will not negotiate in good faith for a long-sought conclusion to the enmity between them for a final agreement on two sovereign states, side by side.

The Palestinians have no wish to surrender anything; not for them painful concessions. The pain should be unilaterally imposed on Israel, and the gain should ideally be entirely the Palestinians'. That is, should they ever reach a final decision to lay aside their covert plans to destroy Israel and live as neighbours, in peace. But the Palestinians seem functionally incapable of drawing the conclusion that to reach an agreement, concessions must be made from either side.

They have traditionally been prepared to risk everything in their vendetta against the nakba.

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Try It On For Size

Temple Mount
Imagine yourself living in a country surrounded by other countries. Yet your country is isolated from those other countries which surround yours. Moreover, yours is but a sliver of a country, a tiny bit of land, contrasting hugely with the land occupied by each of those other countries all co-located within the same geography. Your country has a relatively slight population, well under ten million people. The other countries have far larger populations.

There is little in common between the type of country yours represents and those by whom your country is surrounded. Their governments are headed by autocratic rulers, by fundamentalist theocracies, by tyrannical kings and their retinues, by powerful militaries. Yours is an elementally Western liberal democracy.

The entire geographic region honours one particular religion. And that religion informs the laws and the social structure of all the countries except yours.

Your country worships another religion entirely, although both types of religion had their origins in the region, and there is a nexus between the two; the other is a type of successor to yours. But the religion is not universally representative of all the inhabitants of your country, which has become a tolerant, pluralist society, welcoming other religions as well.

Violence always threatens because your neighbours do not accept the presence of your country in their midst. It is offensive to them that your country is there, within the same geography that they dominate. As a result there is always the threat of attack by the military of one of the countries, and attacks have been common enough in the past, when combined military forces have sought to unseat your country.

Finally, circumstances where your country repelled all such attacks and in fact won such wars imposed upon it by its neighbours, caused them to lose face. And your country gained additional territory. And two of the neighbours made a decision to sign a peace pact with your country. Peace between your country and those two neighbours has lasted for a period of 38 years.

But peace has not been universal, since non-state militias dedicated to the destruction of your state, and one country in particular announces to the world at large that its intention is to destroy your country, and the non-state militias are a creature of that state, all of whom plan to totally annihilate the population of your state.

Worrying, isn't it, if you are a citizen of that embattled country?

But you take each day as it comes, and hope for the best. Even though there are constant across-the-border rocket attacks against your people and their villages and towns, your leaders, in ordering repercussions to be visited on your attackers, give you hope that some day peace will reign.

And then you discover that the largest, most populous of the countries with whom yours has a peace agreement is prepared to abrogate it.
"It looks like it is going to be a long Arab Winter. The Islamists are going to inherit the mantle of the dictators. A wave of Islamic rule, with all it entails, is sweeping across the Arab world. It will replace secular dictatorships with Islamic ones. We should have expected nothing else." Moshe Arens, former Israeli defence and foreign minister
"The political context in Egypt, when it comes to peace with Israel, might be changing. Islamist parties - led by the Muslim Brotherhood but not exclusively - could be a dominant political bloc." David Makovsky, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Inchoate Rage

Ramy Yaacoub, Free Egyptian Party: "We are deeply concerned about the security situation"

Can there ever be anything resembling democracy as it is known in liberal Western countries taking hold in the Middle East, in Africa, in Muslim countries that are increasingly turning themselves into Islamist states? The long and seemingly inevitable progression from reasonable accommodation to Islamic precepts aligned with the governance of a modern state toward intractable fundamentalist Islam has matured into an icy winter of discontent that will soon mire all Muslim countries in Islamism.

This is the Islamism that is redolent of the Bedouin, tribal culture of incessant sniping, suspicion, challenges, assassinations and inter-clan warfare, whose ethos the religion was formulated to express, and to bring together under one spiritual roof. Because Islam is so deeply engrained in every facet of life for the believer, regulating each hour of each day, demanding utter fealty and surrender of self to the faith, there is no compatibility with another kind of political ethos. They are polar opposites.

Young Egyptians who gathered nine months ago to express their dissatisfaction with the kind of regime that they and their parents and their forbears have always lived under; authoritarian, rigid, demanding, to be exchanged for a more liberal, free political atmosphere where the individual has rights, saw that gestation give birth to more of what they rejected. The transition they longed for is an illusory one. In any event, meaningful change takes time. Nothing of any substance is achieved in a relatively short period of time. And they are due for a surprise.

Their own tradition, heritage and culture is incapable of assimilating a Western-style liberal democracy. They are too heavily weighted with prejudices, suspicions, hatreds, handed down from generation to generation. Theirs is essentially an uncivil society, a hard and primitive one, despite that among their population are those who would, in the best of circumstances, embrace the concept of liberty and equality. Growing Islamism among the populace had led Egyptians increasingly to reject Christian Copts in their midst, to acknowledge their heritage rights.

If thousands of Cairenes gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the immediate dissolution of the current governing body, there are millions living in Cairo who are silently hoping their presence there will dissolve, and peace descend, enabling them to get on with their lives that have been disrupted by all the raucous unrest and resulting violence. What is occurring in Tahrir Square resembles the Intifadas that took place in Israel. The country's economy has suffered hugely in the last nine months.

The demands of the protest are unreasoning ones. An orderly progression must take place between one government and another; the institutions of government must be well understood and tended to and the transition completed in good order. This fundamental necessity in a country that has been wracked by unrest and violence is required to avoid utter civil chaos. The devil we know is the ruling national army, the very same one of which President Mubarak was the head.

The devil waiting in the wings are the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, salivating at their good fortune that non-religious, secular university students, the unemployed, the mildly Muslim and the working poor are doing the groundwork for them. Pressing the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to stand aside in favour of a civilian government, rejecting the presence of Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in the interim until the voting process is completed, handing the field of eventual victory to the Muslim Brotherhood.

That eventuality will honour the Egyptian protesters with another kind of totalitarian rule that will circumscribe their lives even more than they had previously experienced. And it will set their country on a potential resumption of war with the Middle East neighbour with which President Anwar Sadat and his deputy, Hosni Mubarak, honoured a peace agreement for 38 years.

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