Sunday, October 31, 2010

Christian South Sudan Prepares For Secession To Escape Islamic North

From Creeping Sharia:

South Sudan prepares for secession, to escape Islamic north

Posted on October 31, 2010 by creeping

This time its Christians seeking to preserve a piece of their African nation as Arabs and Muslims wreak havoc from the North. Sudan’s genocidal war criminal of a president may prevent the referendum from taking place.

When people hear of conflict in Sudan, they tend to think about Darfur, the western region where fighting since 2003 has killed some quarter-million people and forced nearly two million from their homes.

But another conflict is brewing over the fate of oil-rich Southern Sudan. And it could come to a head on or before January 9, less than 90 days from now. That’s when heavily Christian South Sudan is scheduled to vote on whether to break away from the predominantly Muslim north.

The January vote was scheduled under a 2005 peace accord ending a 21-year civil war between the two regions. As a temporary solution, Southern Sudan was given limited autonomy and the promise of a secession vote in 2011.

But, recently, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other top officials in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, have sent mixed signals about whether they will be ready for the vote, allow the vote, or abide by its results.

Complicating matters further, a tiny oil-producing district along the north-south border, Abyei, has its own plebiscite scheduled the same day on whether to remain in the north or join the south if it votes to secede.

The governments of north and south can’t even agree on who should be allowed to vote in Abyei. President Bashir warned last week that failure to resolve other thorny issues, like how to share oil revenues, before the referenda could trigger a conflict much more serious than the previous civil war.

via As Sudan Prepares for Secession Vote, Fears of Unrest Intensify

Anti-Semitism At The U.N.: UNESCO Demands That Israel Remove The Cave Of The Patriarchs From Its Historic Registry

From The American Thinker:

October 31, 2010

UNESCO demands removal of Cave of the Patriarchs from historic registry

Leo Rennert

The coincidental timing couldn't be more appropriate.

UNESCO -- one of the UN's many agencies with an anti-Israel agenda --pressures Israel to remove the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron from its list of national heritage sites. The cave is the burial place of Judaism's three Patriarchs -- Abrahma, Isaac and Jacob -- and three of its four Matriarchs -- Sarah, Rebecca and Leah.

The fourth Jewish Matriarch, Rachel, is buried near Bethlehem. As part of its campaign to help Palestinians with their efforts to deny historic Jewish ties to the Holy Land, UNESCO also announced that Rachel's Tomb is really a mosque.

However, UNESCO's timing turns out to be a bit untimely. Because this week, in synagogues around the world, Jews read the "Chaye Sarah" portion of the Book of Genesis, which recounts how Abraham, in his search for a burial place for his beloved Sarah, bougt the Cave of Machpelah and its adjacent land from Ephron the Hittite for 400 shekels of silver as a deed in perpetuity.

Thus, this week's Torah reminder squarely puts the spotlight on the first real estate transaction in biblical history -- the start of nearly 4,000 years of Jewish ties to the Holy Land. Because of the Cave of the Patriarachs and the Matriarchs, Hebron is Judaism's second holiest city -- after Jerusalem.

But UNESCO brushes all this aside. Like other UN bureaucracies, it already has decided that a future Palestinian state will encompass the entire West Bank as defined by a 1949 armistice line. And since the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem are on the Palestinian side of that line, UNESCO wants Israel to disown their sacred and historic ties to Israel and the Jewish people.

However, notwisthstanding UNESCO's latest anti-Israel propaganda drive, in this instance, the Bible fortuitously offers the best and most authoritative refutation of this clumsy UN attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state.

UNESCO, the land is ours. We bought it fair and square. Just consult the Bible -- assuming there happens to be one in your august offices.


Posted at 09:31 AM

Turkey: Army Chiefs Boycott Ceremony Where President's Wife Wore Hijab

From Jihad Watch:

Turkish army chiefs boycott ceremony where president's wife wore hijab

Turkish secularism steadily eroding away. "Turkish army chiefs boycott ceremony over Islamic headscarf," from AFP, October 30:

ANKARA -- Turkish army chiefs boycotted an official ceremony at the presidential palace because the president's wife wore an Islamic headscarf, the press reported Saturday.

The army's top brass were conspicuous by their absence late Friday at a banquet thrown by President Abdullah Gul to commemorate the creation of the modern, secular Turkey in 1923.

The military organised a separate reception at the same time to give the generals an excuse not to accept the president's invitation, the reports said.

The secularist main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) also declined Gul's invitation.

Turkey's First Lady has worn the hijab, which covers the head and neck, since adolescence.

The boycott was criticised by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose wife also wears the headscarf.

The army's generals, who see themselves as custodians of the Turkish republic, regard the headscarf as a threat to the state's secular traditions and are against any relaxation of the ban on wearing them in schools and government buildings....

Erdogan, who has led the Islamist-rooted conservative government since 2002 reproached the generals, saying "the armed forces should have been present" at the presidential palace....

Gul, a former AKP cadre, has been pressing for a lifting of the ban on veils since he took office.

The ban on headscarves on university campuses was recently eased by the Higher Education Board (YOK), which used to be a bastion of secularism but is now headed by an Erdogan supporter.

Posted by Robert on October 30, 2010 8:43 AM

The Arab Lobby Rules America

from Winds of Jihad:

The Arab Lobby Rules America

by sheikyermami on October 30, 2010

The Arab Lobby Rules America

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Lost in all of the controversy over the mosque is the fact that the Arab lobby is one of the strongest in America—even stronger than Israel’s, says a controversial new book. Alan Dershowitz on how Arab governments influence U.S. politics.

Abeed Obama knows who his masters are……

While the media and politicians engage in frenzied debate about the virtues and vices of building—or preventing the building of—a Muslim community center (cum mosque) near the “sacred ground” of 9/11, Iran continues to build a nuclear weapon, as the Israelis and Palestinians take a tentative step toward building a peaceful resolution to their age-old conflict. Inevitably, whenever Middle East issues take center stage, the question of the role of lobbies, particularly those that advocate for foreign countries, becomes a hot topic. This book by longtime Middle East authority, Mitchell Bard, is a must read for anyone who cares—and who doesn’t?—about the role of lobbies in influencing American policy in the Middle East. Its thesis, which is sure to be controversial, is easily summarized:

“If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office, you’d be surprised how much better friends you have when they are just coming into office.”

Yes Virginia, there is a big bad lobby that distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East way out of proportion to its actual support by the American public. Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, author of the screed, The Israel Lobby, are right about that. But the offending lobby is not AIPAC, which supports Israel, but rather the Arab lobby, which opposes the Jewish state.

Both the pro-Israel and pro-Arab lobby (really lobbies because there are several for each) are indeed powerful but there is a big difference—a difference that goes to the heart of the role of lobbying in a democracy. Bard puts it this way:

“One of the most important distinguishing characteristics of the Arab lobby is that it has no popular support. While the Israeli lobby has hundreds of thousands of grass root members and public opinion polls consistently reveal a huge gap between support for Israel and the Arab nations/Palestinians, the Arab lobby has almost no foot soldiers or public sympathy. It’s most powerful elements tend to be bureaucrats who represent only their personal views or what they believe are their institutional interests, and foreign governments that care only about their national interests, not those of the United States. What they lack in human capital in terms of American advocates, they make up for with almost unlimited resources to try to buy what they usually cannot win on the merits of their arguments.”

This is a critical distinction for a democracy. The case for Israel (though not for all of its policies) is an easy sell for pro-Israel lobbyists, especially elected representatives. Voting in favor of Israel is popular not only in areas with a large concentration of Jewish voters, but throughout the country, because Israel is popular with Evangelical Christians in particular and with much, though certainly not all, of the public in general. Lobbies that reflect the will of the people are an important part of the democratic process. Thus, the American Association of Retired People (AARP), the principal lobbying group for the elderly, is extremely powerful because there are so many elderly people in this country who want to protect social security, Medicaid, and other benefits. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a powerful lobby precisely because so many Americans, for better or worse, love their guns. And The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a powerful lobby because Americans, in general, support the Middle East’s only democracy and reliable American ally.

But why is the Arab lobby, and most particularly the Saudi lobby, also powerful? Saudi Arabia has virtually no support among Americans. Indeed, it is widely reviled for its export of terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, its manipulation of oil prices, its anti-Christian and anti-Semitic policies, its total deprivation of any semblance of freedom of speech or dissent, and its primitive forms of punishment that include stoning and amputation. Yet, as Bard demonstrates, the Saudi lobby has beaten the pro-Israel lobby over and over again in head-to-head conflicts, such as the sale of sophisticated weapons to a regime that doesn’t even have the technical skills to use them, and the conflict over whether to move the United States’ embassy to Jerusalem. Even now, Saudi Arabia is lobbying to obtain a multibillion-dollar arms deal, and it is likely to succeed over the objections of Israel.

The Arab Lobby: A ‘many-headed hydra’/JONATHAN KIRSCH

Mideast expert Mitchell Bard claims Arab lobby, headed by Saudis, ‘has unlimited resources to try to buy what they usually cannot win on merits of their arguments’

How then does a lobby with no popular support manage to exert influence in a democratic country? The secret is very simple. The Arab lobby in general and the Saudis in particular make little effort to influence popularly elected public officials, particularly legislators. Again, listen to Bard:

“The Saudis have taken a different tact from the Israeli lobby, focusing a top-down rather than bottom-up approach to lobbying. As hired gun, J. Crawford Cook, wrote in laying out his proposed strategy for the kingdom, ‘Saudi Arabia has a need to influence the few that influence the many, rather than the need to influence the many to whom the few must respond.’”

The primary means by which the Saudis exercise this influence is money. They spend enormous amounts of lucre to buy (or rent) former state department officials, diplomats, White House aides, and legislative leaders who become their elite lobbying corps. Far more insidiously, the Saudis let it be known that if current government officials want to be hired following their retirement from government service, they had better hew to the Saudi line while they are serving in our government. The former Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, who was so close to the President George H.W. Bush that he referred to himself as “Bandar Bush,” acknowledged the relationship between how a government official behaves while in office and how well he will be rewarded when he leaves office. “If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office, you’d be surprised how much better friends you have when they are just coming into office.”

Bard concludes from this well known quid pro quo that: “given the potential of these post-retirement opportunities, it would not be surprising if officials adopted positions while in government to make themselves marketable to the Arab lobby.”

The methodology employed by the Arab lobby is thus totally inconsistent with democratic governance, because it does not reflect the will of the people but rather the corruption of the elite, while the Israeli lobby seems to operate within the parameters of democratic processes. Yet so much has been written about the allegedly corrosive nature of the Israeli lobby, while the powerful Arab lobby has widely escaped scrutiny and criticism. This important book thus contributes to the open marketplace of ideas by illuminating the dark side of the massive and largely undemocratic Arab lobbying efforts to influence American policy with regard to the Middle East.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

U.N. Secretary-General Calls On Everyone To Help Feed North Korea

From One Free Korea:

Ban Ki Moon calls on everyone (except Kim Jong Il) to cover North Korea’s grocery bils.from One Free Korea by Joshua StantonAs I noted the other day, North Korea has announced its traditional million-ton food production shortfall for this year. True to form, its government has found a uniquely obnoxious way to address this that has nothing to do with increasing domestic food production or diverting foreign exchange toward the purchase of food:

North Korea demanded massive food aid from South Korea in return for concessions over a reunion programme for separated families, a Seoul official said.

The demand for 500,000 tonnes of rice and 300,000 tonnes of fertiliser was made when the two sides met in the North’s city of Kaesong to discuss reunions, media pool reports from Kaesong quoted the official as saying. [AFP]

Yes, I believe there is a word for this. At the other end of the hormonal spectrum, Ban Ki Moon pleads with us to think of the children:

The Secretary-General wrote that reports from inside the country indicate that North Koreans continue to suffer from chronic food security, high malnutrition and severe economic problems.

While serious concerns remain about political and civil rights in the insular nation, “I urge the international community not to constrain humanitarian aid on the basis of political and security concerns,” Ban wrote. [The Canadian Press]

You know, I’m long past believing that international food aid is ever going to make a damn bit of difference for North Korea’s children, for reasons that Ban unwittingly trips right over:

He also urged nations to “encourage improvements in the human rights situation” inside North Korea.

The Secretary-General said the North Korean government also had the responsibility “to take immediate steps to ensure the enjoyment of the right to food, water, sanitation and health, and to allocate greater budgetary resources to that end.”

“Such persistent problems as widespread food shortages, a health care system in decline, lack of access to safe drinking water and deterioration in the quality of education are seriously hampering the fulfilment of basic human rights,” Ban wrote.

Margaret Chan was not available for comment.

Ban said broad restrictions on civil and political rights, such as freedom of thought, religion, and expression continue to be imposed by the North Korean government on its citizens. “The government’s control over the flow of information is strict and pervasive,” his report said.

But with North Korea, there are always fresh reminders of why there is donor fatigue. Coincident with its demand that other nations feed its people, North Korea is on a palace-building spree. There is so much theft, corruption, and diversion, and so little monitoring and accountability, that markets have become a more efficient and equitable way of feeding the North Korean people, as opposed to the few who keep everyone else hungry and ignorant. Which is why I appreciate that Josette Sheeran is at least expressing the problem accurately:

The World Food Programme estimates North Korea has one million metric tons of food less than it needs to feed its population this year.

Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the Rome-based UN food agency, told reporters in Japan on Tuesday that she will travel to the North to urge Pyongyang to provide enough food and nutrition for its hunger-stricken people.

Adding that up to 50-percent of children in North Korea are malnourished, she said that the WFP will provide food to some 600,000 young children and pregnant women there. [Chosun Ilbo]

I look forward to Ban Ki-Moon joining the call for food aid donations … from Kim Jong Il.

Germany: Politician Launches Party To Combat "Political Islam"

From Creeping Sharia:

German politician launches party to combat “political Islam”

Posted on October 30, 2010 by creeping

Will a version of the Freedom party sprout up in the U.S.? AhlulBayt News Agency reports:

A former member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Rene Stadtekewitz has formed Die Freiheit (Freedom) party whose main agenda is ‘to combat political Islam.’

Around 50 founding members took part at the first formal party meeting on Thursday.

Stadtkewitz whose new party plans to run in regional and national elections, was voted

as the new party chairman.

The Berlin state legislator is a close ally of Dutch Islamophobic politician Geert Wilders as both are hoping to widen their anti-Muslim hate campaign throughout Europe.

More to come as English-language sites pick it up

Understanding Islam, Islamism And Jihad

From Middle East Affairs Information Center:

Understanding Islam, Islamism and Jihad

Posted by Crethi Plethi on Sat, October 30, 2010, in Global Islam, Global Jihad, Islamism . Thu, Oct 28, 2010
The Rubin Report
By Barry Rubin

Ibrahim al-Khouli

Understanding Islam, Islamism and Jihad: A Practical Example

An Egyptian Islamist cleric named Ibrahim al-Khouli is interviewed on television, with translation by MEMRI. What can we learn from his words? A lot.

“What is the nature of our relations with [the West]? They are relations of Crusader aggression against the land of Islam–in Afghanistan, in Iraq, which was destroyed and removed from history….”

Supposedly, though this is not necessary what actually happens, Jihad is supposedly only defensive. However, it is easy to portray anything as defensive by dissociating cause and effect. Why did U.S. forces go into Afghanistan? It was as a response to the September 11 attacks. If there had been no September 11 attacks U.S. forces would not have attacked Afghanistan and the Taliban would probably still be ruling there.

Iraq is somewhat more complex. But of course the first such U.S. attack, in 1991, was in response to an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and at the request of the Kuwaitis, Saudis, and other Arabic-speaking, Muslim-majority countries. In 2003, whether the action was rightly guided or not, it was in response to a belief that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons and breaking agreements in a way that would lead to future aggression on Baghdad’s part. And that Iraqi aggression would be against other Muslim-majority countries.

A particularly fascinating line is that Iraq has been “removed from history.” What does this mean? That Iraq’s fate is not supposed to be a happy or peaceful or democratic country–goals certainly not achieved but which are not “supposed” to be achieved. Iraq and its people are “supposed” to be a cog in the wheel of Islamist revolution. Iraq, then, does not belong to its own people but to the will of Allah, as interpreted by the radical totalitarians. And if this means Iraqis have no “right” to live peaceful lives but must suffer decades of war, suffering, and destruction, so be it.

So here are three underlying principles that guide the radical Islamists and their allies but which Westerners wouldn’t swallow if they were presented openly and directly:

–They have the right to attack the West but the West has no right to defend itself.

–They will pretend that the battle is one of the West against the Muslims, while actually it is a battle among Muslims in which the West might help defend one group of Muslims against another.

–Their goal is to use Jihad to defeat the West simultaneously with using lies and guilt to make the West so afraid of offending Islam that it doesn’t interfere while Islamists take over the Muslim-majority world.

(By the way, always note that Israel is only one issue among many and often nowadays is pretty secondary. One reason is the importance of other issues; another is the general Islamist assumption that after they take over Muslim-majority countries and chase out Western influence, disposing of Israel would be pretty easy and thus that task can wait for a while.)

Khouli continues:

“Forget about [Usama] bin Laden and al-Qaeda. That’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about the jihad of the entire nation….I’m talking about jihad which is led by the Islamic scholars, and the entire nation will be mobilized for the sake of the supreme jihad. This will lead us to a confrontation….We should follow the example of the young men of the Taliban. A group of several thousands of students [Taliban] have been crushing NATO in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Where are the armies of the Muslims?”

Here there are three additional lessons.

First, al-Qaida is only a portion of the problem, and the less important part at that. True, al-Qaida is the most likely group to try to attack America and its citizens or institutions abroad at present. Yet the big strategic danger for U.S. interests is the overthrow of entire countries, the plunging of millions of people into revolution or civil war. Revolution, not terrorism, is the main threat; transforming countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia into new Irans and the extension of Tehran’s power throughout the region is the big danger.

Second, the Jihadists recognize that if they are going to mobilize the masses they must first convince the people that the West is weakly in retreat and that victory is easy. Anything that enhances that impression, therefore, strengthens the revolutionaries and makes violence more–not less–likely.

Third, however, is the Islamists’ disappointment that things aren’t going better. He asks, “Where are the armies of the Muslims?” Because, at least up to now, revolutionary Islamists cannot persuade most Muslims to rise up, wage jihad, overthrow their rulers, wipe out Israel, and attack the West.

Why is this? Some are natural human forces of individuals preferring safety and a materially better life to sacrificing themselves. Others oppose the Islamists because they support their nationalist governments or have communal-ethnic loyalties (the Kurds, for example, or the different competing groups in Lebanon). And many simply don’t believe the revolutionary Islamist interpretation of Islam.

All of these people (except for the small minority of Christians among them) are Muslims. They know what’s in the Koran and understand their own religion. Yet they do not accept what the revolutionaries tell them is the “only” proper interpretation of Islam. It is as ridiculous to say that all Muslims “must” be radical and Jihad-minded if they properly understand their own religion as it is to say that Islam is a religion of peace and that the radicals are only a tiny minority who misunderstand their own religion.


About the author,

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). For the website of the GLORIA Center go here and for his blog, Rubin Reports, go here.


Turkey Declares Israel To Be A Threat

From Middle East Affairs Information Center;

Turkey Declares Israel As A Threat

Posted by Crethi Plethi on Sat, October 30, 2010, in Anti-Israel, Arab-Israeli Conflict, Global Islam, Islamism, Israel, Turkey . Thu, Oct 28, 2010 and Fri, Oct 29, 2010
By Barry Rubin

New Turkish Government Threat Assessment: Iran and Revolutionary Islamists are Great

One of the most important–perhaps the most important–indicator of Turkish government foreign policy is the National Security Council (NSC) threat assessment. The well-intended EU demand that Turkey, as a sign of its democracy, break the armed force’s power over the NSC. This happened, though whether it is in the long-term interest of Turkey’s democracy is still an open question.

When the army was in command, and Turkey had a generally pro-Western, secular government, the NSC listed as major threat to the country’s future both Iran and revolutionary Islamist movements. But now that these alliances have been reversed, a new version has just been produced, with Iran and Islamists (the current regime loves Hamas and Hizballah) omitted.

The Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) is still listed and friction with Greece over borders in the Aegean Sea is mentioned as a challenge.

Russia, Iraq and Greece are also dropped. The draft will be approved in the next few days by the full NSC.

Yet, according to the Turkish media, the report goes far beyond just dropping enemies. Iran, along with the other four countries, is officially listed as allies with whom Turkey has a “shared vision.”

It’s nice that Turkey is getting along with Russia, Iraq, and Greece. But the official listing of Iran as a Turkish ally should give pause to Western policymakers, at least if they actually paid attention to such things.

Perhaps in some future report, the way things are going, the United States and Israel will be listed as the new threats, unless the current government loses next year’s election.

Turkish Regime Declares: Israel Is The Only Country It Views As A Threat

Only hours ago I wrote about the Turkish regime’s decision, in its official main strategy document, to drop revolutionary Islamism or Iran as threats–because they are now its allies–in the main NSC document. It was only a matter of time, I added, before they declared Israel or even the United States as threats.

It turns out that the document does in fact define Israel as the only country threatening Turkey, saying it does so by causing instability in the region and might lead countries to engage in an arms race. No, according to the regime, Iran doesn’t cause instability in the region nor, by seeking nuclear weapons, is it possibly leading toward an arms race.

So is this regime in Turkey, as it also violates the sanctions on Iran and subverts other American policies, still a U.S. ally? Getting this Islamist regime out of power, through the electoral process, should be a major priority of U.S. strategy. Not doing so helps this anti-American government stay in power.


Stunning Pronouncement From The Vatican On Israel

From The American Thinker:

October 30, 2010


Michael Geer

The Vatican has called for Israel to end its occupation of "Arab lands," noting that all of what we define currently as Israel is "Arab land."

That the Bible must not be used to justify either their ‘occupation' nor their ‘injustices' against Palestinians.

"The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands," Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, Massachusetts, and president of the "Commission for the Message," said at Saturday's Vatican press conference.

"We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people - all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."

You've just been witness to a significant event in the End Times unfolding, amigo. The Vatican stating that Israel is "no longer a chosen people".

The Vatican has just nullified the Bible, and elevated Replacement Theology in full public view.

This is .... stunning.

Vatican synod calls for end to Israel's ‘occupation'

Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Israel, American Jewish Committee blast synod remarks

CNS STORY: Israelis not happy with synod statement, angry over bishop's remarks

News For Growing Christians - Catholic Church rejects Israel's promised land' as an exclusive right

Bishops at Meeting Urge Israel to End Its Occupation of Palestinian Territories -

Israel slams Catholic statement on Mideast, singling out archbishop -

Posted at 06:05 PM

With Obama, the Future Of Israel Looks Bleak

From Newsmax:

With Obama, the Future of Israel Looks Bleak

Friday, 29 Oct 2010 12:19 PM Article Font Size

By: Frank Gaffney

Earlier this year, President Obama drove U.S.-Israeli relations — to use one of Obama's oft-employed analogies — into a ditch.

Arguably, ties between the two countries were never more strained than last spring when Obama serially insulted the elected leader of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vilified his country, and tried to euchre it into making territorial, political, and other ill-advised concessions to Arabs determined as ever to destroy the Jewish state.

Unfortunately, what the president has in mind for Israel after the election next week will make his previous treatment of the Jewish State look like the good old days.

To be sure, ties between the United States and Israel, far and away America's most important and loyal friend in the Middle East, have improved lately from the nadir to which Obama plunged them since he took office.

That has nothing to do, however, with a change of heart or agenda on the part of the president and his administration.

Rather, it is a reflection of a cynical calculation forced upon the Obama White House by its panicked congressional allies. Already laboring under the backbreaking burden of their association with a president and his agenda that have become huge liabilities, Democrats on Capitol Hill faced wholesale defections of their Jewish constituents and funders if their party's leader persisted in his assault on Israel.

Public letters and private conversations had the desired effect: Barack Obama began treating his Israeli counterpart with a modicum of respect and the optics of a restarted peace process — however short-lived or doomed — helped conjure up an image of a renewed partnership between the two nations.

Make no mistake about it, though: Once the 2010 elections are behind him, it is a safe bet that Obama will revert to form by once again exhibiting an unmistakable and ruthless determination to bend Israel to his will.

Worse yet, he will be able to take advantage of a vehicle for effecting the so-called "two-state solution," no matter how strenuously Israel and its friends in Washington object: The Palestinians will simply unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for international recognition, and Obama will accede to that request.

A number of the particulars involved in this gambit are unclear at the moment. For example, will the Palestinians announce the borders of their state to be the 1967 cease-fire lines, in which case large Israeli population centers (defiled as "settlements") will be inside a nation that is certain to be, to use Hitler's phrase, judenrein (free of Jews)?

How will the Hamas-stan of Gaza be connected to the currently PLO-run West Bank in a way that will make them "contiguous" without bisecting the Jewish state and ensuring that Hamas does not take over the rest of the so-called "Palestinian authority"?

Also unclear is precisely how Obama will handle the sticky issue of extending U.S. recognition of Palestine. Will he want to parallel Harry Truman's direct and immediate endorsement of the establishment of Israel in 1948? Or will he do it more disingenuously, as former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton speculated in The Wall Street Journal last week, by having the United States abstain from an approving vote by the United Nations Security Council?

The hope behind the latter would be that Team Obama and its partisans will somehow avoid retribution from Israel's friends, both Democrats and others, both here and abroad.

The truth is that, either way, Obama will have dealt Israel a potentially mortal blow. Without control of the high ground and water aquifers of the West Bank, the Jewish state is simply indefensible and unsustainable.

Some may suggest that international forces (perhaps led by the United States) should be deployed in the areas Jews have historically known as Judea and Samaria so as to ensure that they are not used to harm Israelis in the low-lying areas to the west.

We have seen how such arrangements work in practice in Lebanon, though — which is to say not well.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Curious Case Of The Islamic Republic Lobby And U.S. Human Rights Activists

From The American Thinker:

October 30, 2010

The Curious Case of Islamic Republic Lobby and US Human Rights Activists

By Arash Irandoost

Demonization of Jews and threats to annihilate Israel don't faze some "human rights activists."

This past September, Ahmadinejad paid yet another visit to the UN to deliver his message of hate and demonization of Israel and Jews. In reaction, the usual walkout ensued and pundits pro and against this " little big man" spoke in his admiration or his arrogance.

Ahmadinejad's inflammatory remarks, such as denial of holocaust and wiping Israel off the map, are deliberately orchestrated to fuel the "1400 year old anti-Semitism" fire among his Muslim sympathizers. Ahmadinejad is fully aware that hatred for the Jews runs deep among many Arabs and left leaning groups. Even though Ahmadinejad's rhetoric has been mostly intended for internal consumption, most reporters have been unwilling or incapable to challenge him on his assertions.

Afraid that their sleazy leader might eventually be caught off guard and trapped by smart questioning, his handlers have changed tactics and limited his visits to private meetings with trusted and proven supporters. Ahmadinejad met with communist sympathizers, representatives of anti-war, labor, alternative media and Iranian and Palestinian solidarity organizations. Among the participants were former attorney general Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, and Amiri Baraka, poet and activist.

According to Bill Baar, who was in attendance, activists admired Ahmadinejad but overlooked human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic. Barr said, "Guest after guest delivered prepared statements, posing no questions or challenges to Iranian delegation. They lauded Ahmadinejad as a hero for standing up to the bullying of the United States government." Mr. Baar, disappointed with the meeting, continued, "Speech after speech failed to address any calls for solidarity with the brave young men and women in Iran who took to the streets and demanded their rights in the face of government suppression. "

Wednesdays' gathering comprised of many Iranian groups, including American-Iranian Council, American-Iranian Friendship Committee, and Coalition Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. These organizations are known for their support of the Islamic Republic among the Iranian opposition groups. Some are engaged in lobbying for the regime such as CASMII under the guise of "anti-war" and "human rights," and AIC an advocate for dialogue, diplomacy, and removal of sanctions. Other organizations are engaged in anti-war propaganda, but do not trouble themselves with current internal affairs of Iran, aware that such exposure might anger the American general public, and ill-informed politicians, against the Islamic Republic.

These Iranian-American organizations have adamantly denied their role as the "lobbyist" for the Islamic Republic in the past. However, on Wednesday several Iranian-American groups admiringly expressed their support for Ahmadinejad.

Closely and carefully examined, it becomes clear that being anti-war and pro human rights is only a façade, orchestrated to hide their anti-Semitic beliefs. One can conclude that these lobby groups are commissioned to excuse Ahmadinejad's incitement to genocide and keep hidden from the public eye atrocities committed by Islamic Republic officials.

Since the presidency of Ahmadinejad, anti-Semitism has been heightened and played up by the regime inside Iran. The regime leaders are actively engaged in Israel bashing and annihilation of Israel in the strongest terms for the purpose of showcasing themselves as Islamic leadership in the world and Middle East.

As early as 1997, Trita Parsi, President of NIAC, made confrontation and fight with AIPAC as one his primary goals. His doctoral thesis focused on Israel and the only book he has published deals with Israel. The basic premise of Parsi's book is that IRI does not pose a threat to the United States and is very much interested in establishing diplomatic relationship with the United States. He further claims that the United States is interested in establishing diplomatic relations with Iran as well, but it is the "evil" Israel that prevents it from coming to fruition. According to Dr. Parsi, the reason is very obvious, Iran, united with the United States, will weaken and harm the position of Israel. Therefore, Israel and its powerful lobby are vehemently opposed to Iran and the US establishing friendly ties. The United States under pressure from Israel pressures the UN to turn Iran's "peaceful" nuclear program as the threat to world peace and security. Therefore, Israel, not Iran, should be perceived as the world threat!

Needless to say, AIC, NIAC, CASMII and others fail to answer why the "peaceful" Islamic Republic as a UN member state calls for wiping a sovereign UN member nation off the map. Or, why the Islamic Republic continues to fund terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezb'allah, and provide military and technical assistance and financial support to Iraqi and Taleban insurgents to kill American soldiers. If the mullahs are indeed interested in having friendly relations with the Great Satan, then why have a special "Quds Day" or "Jerusalem Day" and chant "Death to Israel," "Death to America," and walk on and burn the US and Israeli flags?

Confronted by such questions, in the past they used to seek refuge in the reformist camp. Then their reply was: Once Mousavi is elected, he is pragmatic enough that it will end such militancy and bring about the needed reforms.

With Mousavi officially out of the picture, such lobbyists do not play the pragmatic card anymore. They have received new marching orders. They do not demonstrate in front of the UN and talk about human rights violations by the Iranian regime anymore. Talking about rape in IRI jails, by its Basij and Hamas thugs, is now out. Unconditional support for Islamic Republic and Ahmadinejad is in. All this to ensure the Iranian regime's survival.

Amazing what a difference a year makes! The same lobbyists who distanced themselves (at least publicly) form Ahmadinejad are now openly admiring his statesmanship and love for peace and human rights. One of CASMII leaders, after attending the dinner reception and being granted a long interview with Ahmadinejad, referred to him as "a great man misrepresented by the media." As we say in Iran, Bisharmi ham haddi daarad! Mildly translated: the gall of some people!

A New Start In the Relationship Between NATO and Russia

From The American Thinker:

October 29, 2010

A 'new start in the relationship between NATO and Russia'

Phil Boehmke

When NATO leaders meet in Lisbon on November 19th for a two day summit there will be a new chair at the table reserved for Dmitry Medvedev. The UK Guardian reports that the Russian president has accepted an invitation to join the summit in Portugal.

The officials said several joint Nato-Russian initiatives on Afghanistan were on the table. They include the contribution of Russian helicopters and crews to train Afghan pilots, possible Russian assistance in training Afghan national security forces, increased co-operation on counter-narcotics and border security, and improved transit and supply routes for Nato forces.

“The summit can mark a new start in the relationship between Nato and Russia,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general.


Western diplomats said it was quite likely that agreements with Moscow on enhanced co-operation in Afghanistan on a range of fronts would be reached in time for the Lisbon Nato summit on 19-20 November.


The Russian president is also expected to hold a separate, two-hour meeting with the US president, Barack Obama, Rasmussen and other top Nato leaders. Officials said a separate agreement on limited Russian co-operation with Nato’s European missile defense plans was also in prospect.

Medvedev’s decision to go to Lisbon, and the raft of new agreements with Moscow, will be seen as the fruit of Obama’s policy to “reset” relations with Russia.

For many Afghans (friend and foe alike) the image of Russian Mi-17 helicopters in the skies over their country is one of the most enduring images of their decade long war with the former Soviet Union. The return of the Russians to Afghanistan is bound to have implications well beyond mere short-term political considerations.

Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are desperate to create the illusion of foreign policy success (no matter the cost) as a means of reversing their political fortunes. The “restart” of relations with Russia is reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s pre-World War II policy of appeasement. In the face of U.S. weakness and British military cutbacks, Vladimir Putin can see a clear path in the Russian quest to regain their super-power status. The recent re-appearance of statues and images of Stalin are far more than a mere nostalgic expression for the era of Soviet might on the world stage.

The Obama-Clinton foreign policy combined with necessary cutbacks in military spending in the United Kingdom have already shown us a glimpse of things to come. The UK Daily Mail reports.

RAF fighter jets have been scrambled to intercept Russian nuclear bombers near British airspace twice in the last week, it emerged today.

The alarm was raised after the huge Tupolev Tu95 ‘Bears’ were spotted on Monday and Tuesday, flying in a Nato-policed zone close to the UK.

Tornados from RAF Leuchars in Fife were dispatched to identify and escort the bombers back to international air space.

The incident is the latest in a long line of cat-and-mouse engagements between RAF fighters and Russian aircraft, as the Kremlin seeks to test Western response times.

Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and NATO may seek the warm embrace of the Russian Bear for short term political gain, but as with any other predator the bear that is lurking in the international forest can smell fear and sense weakness.

Reports of the latest engagements emerged as Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond hit out at the ‘lack of clarity’ from the Coalition Government over the future of two RAF bases threatened with closure.

The Russians long-term plan for expansion and the return to international prominence seems an ideal match for the troubled economic times and the vacuum of American leadership.

October 29th 2010

Posted at 09:23 AM

All Quiet On the Black-Ops Front

From AEI:

ARTICLES & COMMENTARY All Quiet on the Black-Ops Front By Jonah Goldberg

National Review Online

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'd like to ask a simple question: Why isn't Julian Assange dead?

In case you didn't know, Assange is the Australian computer programmer behind WikiLeaks, a massive--and massively successful--effort to disclose secret or classified information. In a series of recent dumps, he unveiled thousands upon thousands of classified documents from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Military and other government officials insist that WikiLeaks is doing serious damage to American national security and is going to get people killed, including brave Iraqis and Afghans who've risked their lives and the lives of their families to help us.

Even Assange agrees. He told the New Yorker earlier this year that he fully understands innocent people might die as a result of the "collateral damage" of his work and that WikiLeaks may have "blood on our hands." WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicized breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb.

So again, I ask: Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?

It's a serious question.

In almost every corner of the popular culture, there are people who assume incredible competence on the part of our intelligence agencies. We take it as a given that spooks can, in the immortal words of Elvis, take care of business in a flash. In the Jason Bourne movies, say the wrong word into your cell phone, and assassins will find you at the train station in minutes. In AMC's Rubicon, if you pay too close attention to crossword puzzles, your train will be "accidentally" derailed. In Three Days of the Condor, if you ask your bosses the wrong question, a postman with an ice-bullet-shooting machine gun will pay you a visit.

Of course, that's just Hollywood. But if you read left-wing accounts of the intelligence community, two versions dominate. The CIA and similar outfits are either evil and incompetent, or evil and super-competent. Sometimes the folks at The Nation will mock the CIA for trying to blow up Castro with an exploding cigar. Other times some Oliver Stone type will insist that the military, or the CIA, or the NSA, or rogue elements from those quarters, managed to assassinate JFK and pin it on a Marxist dupe named Lee Harvey Oswald.

Under either scenario, you'd think Assange, super-whistle-blower of the international Left, would be a greasy stain on the autobahn already.

Meanwhile, conservatives have something like a mirror-image view of the black-ops crowd. We tend to think they're either well-intentioned bunglers or noble ninjas in London fog trench coats. Again, either way, Assange's shrimp-on-the-barbie should have had Strontium-90 in it years before anyone heard his name.

Oh, and it's not just nation-states that are threatened by WikiLeaks. These guys spend much of their time going after big corporations that, we're often told--at least by Hollywood and the people who e-mail me in ALL CAPS--routinely rub out gadflies and whistle-blowers who try to let the world know the electric car was perfected in 1920, or that milk companies are making millions by poisoning their customers (that was the actual plot of I Love Trouble, by the way).

Now, I know there are many solid answers to my question. For starters, the world isn't nearly so dramatic as novelists, bloggers, self-important journalists, and nostalgic former spies often claim it is. The main evidence that the U.S. government didn't bring down the World Trade Center on 9/11 is that no one has the ability to pull off a conspiracy like that. And the people who come closest--i.e., those very same spies--are too decent and patriotic even to imagine trying.

Indeed, most of the documents from WikiLeaks debunk the vast majority of conspiracy theories that fueled so much idiocy on the left for the last decade. No sinister plots involving Halliburton or Israel have been exposed--because they only existed in the fevered fantasies of some coffee-shop dissidents.

Second, Assange is essentially hiding behind his celebrity and the fact that it wouldn't do any good to kill him, given the nature of the Web. Even if the CIA wanted to take him out, they couldn't without massive controversy.

That's because assassinating a hipster Australian Web guru as opposed to a Muslim terrorist is the kind of controversy no official dares invite.

That's fine. And it's the law. Ultimately, I don't expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him. Alas, as of now, the plan seems to be to do nothing at all.

Jonah Goldberg is a visiting fellow at AEI.

Paying Attention To Central America's Drug Trafficking Crisis

From The Brookings Institution:

.Paying Attention to Central America's Drug Trafficking Crisis

Central America, Counternarcotics Policy, Crime, Taxes

Kevin Casas-Zamora, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Latin America Initiative

The Brookings Institution

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DeliciousDiggFacebookGoogleLinkedInLiveNewsvineStumbleUponYahooTwitter.October 27, 2010 —

When President Barack Obama signed the annual list of countries with major drug trafficking or drug producing problems last September, five of six Central American countries made the cut. The list provides tangible support for thinking that is now prevalent in Washington’s policy circles: Central America’s drug-related security plight has reached the level of crisis. The situation in Central America is arguably as grave as in Mexico, which is currently attracting a vast majority of news headlines. Moreover, Central America’s drug trafficking and related violence are unlikely to get better any time soon.

An anti-drug policeman carries a bag containing drugs after an airplane crash in Choluteca.

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Reuters/Edgard Garrido


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Never a sedate place, Central America has seen a massive deterioration of its crime indicators in the recent past. In the past decade, homicide rates have gone up in every country in the region, in some cases dramatically. The northern half of the Isthmus, comprising Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, is now the most violent region in the world outside of active war zones. In 2009, Guatemala and Honduras had, each of them, more murders than the 27 countries of the European Union combined. Even in the safer southern half of the region, crime figures have taken a turn for the worse, with homicide rates increasing sharply in Costa Rica (63%) and Panama (140%) in the past 5 years, according to official sources.

There is hardly any doubt that the narcotics trade is behind the trend. Approximately 40% of the total number of murders are directly connected to drug trafficking in Guatemala, where, according to some estimates, more than one-third of the territory (particularly the unforgiving forests of Petén in the north) is under effective control of criminal organizations. The narcotics maelstrom engulfing the region cannot be underestimated. According to United Nations figures, cocaine seizures in Central America have grown six-fold in the past decade. Remarkably, since 2007, countries in the Isthmus have confiscated more than 3 times as much cocaine as confiscated in Mexico – about 100 metric tons per year.

Predictably, the region met the release of President Obama’s list with a chorus of loud calls for the United States to increase its counternarcotics assistance. Presidents Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica and Mauricio Funes of El Salvador explicitly decried the marginalization of Central America within the U.S.-funded Merida Initiative and requested a new counternarcotics plan specifically designed for the Isthmus. If the latter was meant as a serious request, it was a very odd one. There is a plan already – the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) – which was initially conceived as the Central American component of the Merida Initiative against organized crime. However, if the statements were meant to convey the urgency of scaling up the resources allocated to CARSI, they had a valid point. Since the start of the Merida Initiative in 2008, the funds allotted to the seven members of CARSI (the six Central American countries plus Belize) amount to approximately $260 million - less than one fourth of Mexico’s share of U.S. counternarcotics assistance. The requested funds for the fiscal year 2011 do little to redress the imbalance: funds for Mexico will still exceed those for Central America by better than a three to one ratio. That’s an indefensible disproportion, reflective of the fact that Central America has been an afterthought ever since the Merida Initiative was designed. The Isthmus is, however, no afterthought for organized crime syndicates.

The underfunding of CARSI is a mistake and a lost opportunity. For it is clear that the plan addresses in a sound way the region’s main vulnerabilities in the fight against organized crime – the marginalization of much of its youth and the terrible weakness of law enforcement institutions. Young people (15-24 years old) in Central America comprise 21% of the total population. They are, however, 45% of the unemployed. Remarkably, one-fourth of the young in Central America are neither at school nor at work, thus becoming a reserve army for criminal organizations and for the region’s notorious youth gangs (maras). Law enforcement problems are, if anything, worse. The region’s police and judicial institutions are underfunded, underequipped and undertrained, as much as they are prone to severe corruption. It is, thus, not difficult to fathom that they command little support from the population. According to regional opinion polls in no Central American country the majority of the population trusts the police or the judiciary and only in El Salvador figures go beyond 40%. Such mistrust results in pervasive impunity. In Costa Rica, less than one-fourth of offenses are reported to the authorities, an act that is widely considered useless if not counterproductive. The crux of Central America’s predicament with organized crime is easy to identify: its law enforcement institutions are not merely ineffectual to deal with crime; in fact, they compound the problem. To different degrees –from the severe in Guatemala to the mild in Costa Rica—they need to be purged and, in some cases, rebuilt from scratch.

CARSI largely reflects these priorities. More than two-thirds of the appropriated funds for the plan in 2010 go to community-based violence prevention programs and to improving the capacities of police and judicial institutions. The latter includes the funding of basic tools such as a region-wide fingerprinting system, the creation of vetted units to handle complex multi-national investigations, or the improvement of prosecutorial capacities with regards to complex financial crimes. Unlike the Mexican component of the Merida Initiative, less than 10% of CARSI may be regarded as military assistance. This is the right approach in Central America. It is to be hoped that, in the future, even more of CARSI’s funding will go to urgent institutional tasks, such as the improvement of internal control and anti-corruption units within law enforcement bodies, and the widespread adoption of modern information technologies as part of the policy making process in the security realm.

Yet, a dose of perspective is indispensable. CARSI is merely a drop in the ocean. Even the best designed and funded counternarcotics assistance program is no substitute for the difficult undertakings that may ultimately deliver Central America from the perils of organized crime. The Central Americans must accept that, just like achieving peace two decades ago, providing opportunities for young people and rebuilding their law enforcement institutions is something that only they can do. The cries for more U.S. funds will ring hollow unless the region’s elites get serious about improving their own countries’ precarious tax base, which makes reducing deprivation and insecurity a nearly impossible task. Who can expect the Guatemalan state to exert effective control over its territory, when tax collection in that country amounts to a paltry 10% of GDP?

At the same time, Washington must realize that if it doesn’t want lawlessness to become the fate of its southern neighbors it is essential to rethink the failed status quo of the so-called “War on Drugs” and have a rational discussion about alternative approaches, including the legalization of some drugs. Mutual responsibility is, indeed, the key concept. But for both sides it goes well beyond CARSI.

Viva Palestina "Humanitarian Aid" Convoy And Hamas Defame Israel

From Middle East Affairs Information Center:

Viva Palestina ‘Humanitarian Aid’ Convoy and Hamas Defame Israel

Posted by Crethi Plethi on Fri, October 29, 2010, in Anti-Israel, Anti-Zionism, Gaza Flotillas and Convoys, Hamas, Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center . Thu, Oct 28, 2010
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

Members of the Turkish delegation to the convoy (arrows) visit terrorist operatives of the Jerusalem Battalions, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Jerusalem Battalions forum quoting the official Jerusalem Battalions website, October 26, 2010)

Viva Palestina ‘Humanitarian Aid’ Convoy and Hamas Defame Israel

The Viva Palestina convoy arrived in the Gaza Strip and was given festive ceremonies by senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad figures. They stressed the Hamas themes of the establishment of a Palestinian state instead of the State of Israel and glorified shaheeds of the Palestinian terrorist campaign.


On the afternoon of Thursday, October 21, the Viva Palestina convoy entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing. It comprised 150 vehicles and 350 participants, most of whom arrived in El Arish by air.[1] The convoy brought aid to the Gaza Strip valued at $5 million. Convoy activists remained in the Gaza Strip for three days, during which they were feted at various ceremonies and events organized and directed by the de facto Hamas administration.

The convoy enters the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Hamas’ Paltoday website, October 22, 2010). Right: Members of the convoy kiss the ground of the Gaza Strip (Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, October 24, 2010)

The de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip conducted a media campaign to use the convoy as a lever to improve its image in international and Arab public opinion, defame Israel and exert pressure on it achieve a unilateral end to the so-called “siege” of the Gaza Strip. Convoy activists, especially those from the Arab-Muslim world, were included in ceremonies and events which were clearly Hamas-Islamist in character (On the other hand, the European members of the convoy, who were in the minority after the Middle East contingents arrived, made sure to keep a low media profile.)

The convoy activists met with senior Hamas figures, headed by Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration. During a sermon he called Israel (“the occupation”) “a cancerous growth on the living body of the Arab nation” and emphasized that Palestine was and would remain Palestinian, Arab and Muslim. To soften the image of the Hamas administration, Fathi Hamad, interior minister, said that Hamas had released dozens of criminals as a gesture to the convoy and in accordance with the request of its moving spirit, George Galloway. The prisoners were released in a festive ceremony on October 23 (Safa News Agency, October 23, 2010).

The convoy is welcomed as it enters the Gaza Strip (Hamas’ Paltoday website, October 22, 2010)

Members of the Turkish delegation, who did not reveal their organizational affiliations (in our assessment, most of them belonged to IHH), were taken by commanders of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to visit its positions. The PIJ’s website posted pictures of the Turks, who joined PIJ operatives and were photographed with them holding weapons, wearing uniforms and decorated with PIJ headbands. The pictures were posted on the website of the Jerusalem Battalions, the PIJ’s military wing, and removed after a short period of time.

Around noon on October 24 the members of the convoy left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing and held a press conference organized by convoy leader Kevin Ovenden. He reported that Viva Palestina was planning another convoy, this one to be called Lifeline 6, which would arrive in the Gaza Strip in the near future (Safa News Agency, October 24, 2010).

Ismail Haniya welcomes the convoy with calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel

Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration, accompanied the members of the convoy and participated in a number of events held in their honor. One of the main events was the October 22 sermon delivered in the Al-Shati mosque. Present at the time were convoy spokesman Zaher Birawi (whose entrance was banned by the Egyptian authorities but who somehow managed to enter the Gaza Strip); Khalil al-Khaya, leader of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council; Ahmed Yussuf, head of the “governmental” committee to break the “siege;” Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Abu Mujahed; Osama al-Muzeini, senior Hamas figure; and Hamas spokesmen Fawzi Barhoum and Sami Abu Zuhri, and others.

Speaking live at the event on Al-Aqsa TV, Ismail Haniya welcomed the members of the convoy and thanked them for their efforts. He reiterated Hamas’ familiar positions as he verbally attacked Israel:

1. The arrival of the convoy, he said, was a step along the road to “the liberation of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque, the restoration of the territories of Palestine and the lifting of the siege of the Gaza Strip.”

2. The arrival of the convoy’s activists “proved” to the “occupation” that it was both hated and isolated.

3. The “occupation” [i.e., Israel] was “a cancerous growth on the living body of the Arab nation.”

4. He criticized the UN Security Council and expressed solidarity with the activists who did not manage to enter the Gaza Strip [i.e., those whose entrance was prevented by the Egyptians].

5. He reiterated Hamas’ refusal to recognize the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine. He said that “Palestine” was and would remain Palestinian, Arab and Muslim.

After the prayer, convoy spokesman Zaher Birawi, a Hamas activist from Britain, delivered a short speech in which he praised the population of the Gaza Strip and promised that he would return again and again until the siege was lifted. Those present in the mosque cheered after his speech, shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “We will redeem you Al-Aqsa with our lives and blood” (Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, October 22, 2010).

Zaher Birawi, Hamas activist from Britain, delivers a speech (Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, October 23, 2010)

On the evening October 22 a festive ceremony was held in honor of the convoy’s participants at the Rashad al-Shawa Center in Gaza, attended by senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad figures. Convoy spokesman Zaher Birawi and Muhammad Sawalha (two Hamas activists living in Britain), as well as other activists, expressed their appreciation. The last speaker was Ismail Haniya, who welcomed the assembled audience and said that the arrival of the convoy was “a continuation of the Palestinian victory in Operation Cast Lead.” He called it a historic moment, the end of the era in which Israel received international support. He appealed to members of the convoy and asked them to continue their actions until the “siege” was broken. He said it would be broken and that the “occupation” would end through the convoys and shaheeds (martyrs). He called for more overland, sea and air convoys from around the globe, until the “siege” was lifted. He also praised the 17 activists headed by convoy initiator George Galloway, whose entrance into the Gaza Strip had been prevented by Egypt, and again proclaimed Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The convoy participants honored. Birawi sits in the center, next to Mahmoud al-Zahar. Muhammad Sawalha is apparently next to him (

Left: Kevin Ovenden, extreme leftist activist from Britain, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara. He replaced George Galloway as head of the convoy after Galloway's entrance to Egypt was denied. Right: Muhammad Sawalha, who reached the Gaza Strip with the delegation (

Praise for Hamas and Mavi Marmara shaheeds

On October 23 the convoy activists paid a visit to the Sheikh Radwan cemetery. A ceremony was held in which the activists mixed earth they had brought with them from the graves of the Turkish activists who had been killed in the confrontation with the IDF with earth from the graves of Hamas leaders (Ahmed Yassin, Abd Rantisi, Sayid Siyyam). Mahmoud al-Zahar, who led the ceremony, said that there would always be shaheeds and praised the shaheeds who had been killed aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Praise for the shaheeds: Mahmoud al-Zahar at the ceremony at the cemetery (Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, October 24, 2010)

The ceremony at the cemetery (Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, October 24, 2010)

Solidarity meeting of Turkish activists with the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The visit to the Gaza Strip was used by the Turkish delegation to demonstrate solidarity with the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Delegation members were careful not to openly identify themselves to the media as belonging to IHH. However, before they left for the Middle East they were received by IHH head Bülent Yildirim, who during a ceremony in Istanbul called on Egypt to allow the convoy free entry.

Members of the Turkish delegation toured several Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions with commanders of the Jerusalem Battalions, the PIJ’s military wing. During the tour one of the Turks said that Muslims (i.e., the PIJ) trusted them to struggle against “the criminal Zionist entity” and that he was proud to meet them. He said that the entire Turkish nation, like the Arabs and all Muslims, were praying for their victory and supported them (Jerusalem Battalions Ilam Ghaza forum, quoted by the official website of the Jerusalem Battalions, October 26,2010).

In addition to their statements, pictures were posted on the PIJ forum of members of the Turkish delegation wearing camouflage uniforms and headbands, and holding guns. The pictures which were posted on the official Jerusalem Battalions website were removed a short time after they appeared. In any event, the faces of the delegation members were obscured in the original but were circled and marked with an arrow with the Arabic word “delegation.”[2] The pictures were the following:

In addition to the ceremonies, senior Hamas figures met with delegations from the Arab countries who had arrived with the convoy:

1. Ismail Haniya met with 140 Algerian activists. He thanked them for the efforts invested by Algeria in the Palestinian cause and said that the Palestinians were learning from the Algerian people, who had lived under French occupation for 130 years. Abd al-Rizaq al-Maqri, head of the Algerian delegation, said that the Algerian nation was entirely supportive of the Palestinians.

2. Ismail Haniya also met with 70 activists from Jordan. Abd al-Fatah al-Kilani, head of the Jordanian delegation, said that they supported the positions of Haniya’s administration, which had adopted the “resistance” [i.e., terrorism] as its path.

3. Senior Hamas figures hosted the Tunisian delegation. Yousef Farhat, Hamas spokesman for the central Gaza Strip, welcomed them. Ahmed al-Kakhlawi, head of the delegation, said they had come to support the Gaza Strip, stressed the necessity to complete the jihad against the “occupation” and denounced the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

4. A ceremony to lay the corner stone for a hospital was held in the Jabaliya refugee camp, attended by senior Hamas figures and the Yemeni delegation (Hamas’ Paltoday website, October 24, 2010). One of the members of the Yemeni delegation was apparently Sheikh al-Idrisi, a member of the Al-Islah faction of the Yemeni Parliament and a Hamas supporter. He was aboard the Mavi Marmara and was photographed waving a large shabaria (dagger) (a picture which gained popularity). During his stay in the Gaza Strip he presented the shabaria, or a similar one, to Ismail Haniya.

Sheikh al-Idrisi waving the shabaria (dagger) aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Left: Sheikh al-Idrisi presents Ismail Haniya with a shabaria (dagger), possibly the one he was waving aboard the Mavi Marmara. Right: Ismail Haniya proudly shows off his present (



[1] Further information about Egypt’s refusal to allow 17 of the convoy’s activists into its territory will shortly appear in an ITIC bulletin .

[2] Palestinian Islamic Jihad sources were quick to respond to the pictures, saying that they were taken as “souvenirs” (Ma’an News Agency, October 26, 2010).


Friday Iran Talking Points

From Blog:

5:17 PM (5 hours ago)Friday Iran Talking Pointsfrom Blog by Eli Cliftonfrom LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for October 29th, 2010:

The National Interest: Ted Galen Carpenter writes that while the Obama administration has said it wants to use diplomacy to bring an end to Iran’s nuclear program, Washington’s negotiating strategy casts doubts on the administration’s sincerity. He remarks that the latest U.S. and European offer, as it currently stands, “includes conditions that are tougher than those contained in the version that the Ayatollah Ali Kamanei rejected last year.” He identifies two possible reasons: the P5+1 might have no interested in a negotiated settlement or that European American policymakers are confident the sanctions regime is “beginning to bite” so the Iranians are ready to capitulate. “If the former explanation is true, the conduct of Washington and its allies is both reprehensible and dangerous,” and “if the latter explanation is true, Western negotiators may be overestimating—perhaps wildly overestimating—the impact of the latest round of sanctions,” concludes Galen. He proposes that if Obama is sincere in pursuing a settlement, then concessions and compromise are required, and “not the State Department’s version of macho posturing.”

The Jerusalem Post: Hilary Leila Krieger reports on the Obama administration’s attempts to revise the uranium enrichment deal with Tehran that collapsed last year as a “confidence-building step” to move forward talks it hopes to reconvene in November . The original proposal, negotiated in Vienna last October, involved Iran sending most of its enriched uranium to France and Russia for further enrichment. Mark Dubowitz, the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies‘ Iran expert, yet again endorses crippling sanctions and warns Iran will probably just use the negotiations as a stalling technique. This has been his consistent meme in numerous op-eds and interviews. “The sanctions are clearly inflicting serious damage on the Iranian economy and forcing the regime to implement measures to counter the impact of sanctions,” Dubowitz assessed. “Some of these countermeasures, like massive reductions in subsidies for gasoline and other commodities, could be economically disastrous and further fan the flames of political discontent.” “I think the Iranian regime genuinely believes [it] can withstand the economic and political pressure,” he concluded

Time: Vivienne Walt writes that while U.S. and European sanctions appear to be having an effect on Iran’s economy, Iran still has many economic allies and “even the U.S.’s close allies in Europe have stopped short of cutting their relations with Iran.” While Iran’s trade relationships with the West continues to be challenged by sanctions, Iran is expanding its alliances with Asian countries eager to access Iran’s oil and take on the contracts abandoned by departing Western companies. “Despite that flexibility in the sanctions, many European politicians believe that the U.S. has strong-armed them into following Washington’s demands on Iran,” and companies are under pressure to cut ties with Iran, even if not required to do so by their governments. “Because the U.S. has Iran on a blacklist, the rest of the world has to follow,” a Swiss investment manager told Walt. “What makes it a shady country anyway? Because the U.S. says so? The U.S. is trying to corner other countries.”

India: One of The Muslims Accused In Chopping Off A Professor's Hand Over Blasphemy Wins Local Election From Jail

From Jihad Watch:

India: One of the Muslims accused in chopping off of Christian professor's hand over "blasphemy" wins local election from jail

The prospects for a democracy to succeed in upholding human rights and a free society are ultimately only as good as the values that inform those who participate in it. An update on this story. "Kerala man accused of chopping hand wins poll," from the Press Trust of India, October 28 (thanks to GS):

Thiruvananthapuram: Contesting from prison, an accused in the sensational case of chopping off the hand of Thodupuzha Newman college lecturer TJ Joseph, has won from a block panchayat division in Ernakulam in the civic body elections.

Anas won from the Vanchinad division of Vazhakkulam block in Ernakulam district on a ticket of Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI), political arm of Popular Front of India (PFI), whose activists were allegedly behind the attack on Joseph for preparing a question paper containing blasphemous references to Prophet Mohammed.

First, whose prophet? And Joseph was then fired in addition to being maimed.

Anas, now in judicial custody and lodged in the Viyyur central jail in connection with the case, won from the division defeating the nearest UDF candidate by a margin of more than 1,000 votes, while the LDF candidate came third.

The accused, who contested the seat after getting permission of the local court, could neither campaign for the poll nor cast his vote. Anas is the 47th accused in the case.Posted by Marisol on October 28, 2010 9:43 PM

Religious Freedom Missing From National Security Strategy

From The Christian Post and Alliance Defense Fund:


Fri, Oct. 29 2010 07:00 AM EDT

Experts: Religious Freedom Missing from National Security Strategy

By Stephanie Samuel
Christian Post Correspondent




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Text DiggFacebookStumbleUponRedditdel.ico.usYahooBuzzG-bookmarksTechnoratiNewsVineMySpaceWASHINGTON – Religious Freedom plays a key role in democracy building and needs to be included in the U.S. national security policy, security experts say.


Obama Upholds Religious Freedom in Muslim Speech

White House Less Concerned about Religious Freedom, Report Says

William Inboden, a scholar of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, stressed on Thursday that the absence of freedoms to believe in and worship in the religion of choice in various regions is often a tell-tale sign that there are looming national security issues.

While speaking at the Georgetown University, he called attention to Afghanistan and the strife that has been growing there since before the 9/11 attacks. By not addressing freedom issues of women and the religious minority within its borders, Inboden said America “missed the opportunity to connect the dots” between religious freedom and terror.

Inboden says America is missing another opportunity to declare religious freedom’s importance in its national security policy. The 2010 National Security Strategy, detailing America’s plans to combat national security threats, does not mention religious freedom.

In a section entitled, “Values,” the document states, “The United States supports the expansion of democracy and human rights abroad because governments that up hold these values are more just, peaceful and legitimate.” The document does mention the freedom to worship, but doesn’t integrate the subject of religious freedom into the definition of a democracy and human rights abroad.

Paulette Otis, professor of Security Studies at the Marines Corps University, downplayed its absence saying that America’s “actions speak louder than words.” She said Americans don’t have religion’s role in American democracy pinned down and figured out.

“Every few years another problem comes up. We have it public, we have it in the press, we have it the courts, we argue about it, we fight about it, but we do not commit acts of genocide, we don’t have violence in the street and we do not commit genocide on another population in our midst,” said Otis.

America’s ability to have religious divides and solve them in non-violent ways speaks volumes to foreign countries, she added, and is a far more effective teaching tool for religious freedoms than a clause in the National Security Strategy.

However, Inboden contends that those documents are a blueprint for military officials on the ground, working with foreign allies.

“These documents are important and [the fact] that there’s an omission … speaks volumes,” Inboden said.

In his 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, President Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of the right for all to freely worship in any faith to the middle east.

“I saw … firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the souls,” Obama said.

But Eric Patterson, of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, noted, “Cairo was just a speech. That’s all it was; a beautiful moment. We haven’t seen a lot of implementation.”

“The National Security Strategy has the force of law behind it,” he stressed.

Rashad Hussain, Obama's special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, explained that he is fulfilling the vision of the president's Cairo speech by addressing issues such as employment, healthcare and education that the administration believes are fueling security threats. He also said that Obama and his administration support "the protection of religious freedom and the promotion of religious tolerance."

But Patterson contends that many in Obama’s administration seem to have a material view on tackling national security and insists that the free exchange of voices from religion are essential to democracy.

Georgetown University’s Berkley Center hosts an ongoing symposium on topics of religion and global issues. Thursday’s keynote discussion of Religious Freedom and National Security Policy was its eighth discussion.

Obama's Not-So-Hidden Agenda

From Center for Security Policy (CSP):

Obama's not-so-hidden agenda

Center for Security Policy
Oct 26, 2010

By Frank Gaffney, Jr.

Earlier this year, President Obama drove U.S.-Israeli relations - to use one of President Obama's oft-employed analogies - into a ditch. Arguably, ties between the two countries were never more strained than last Spring when Mr. Obama serially insulted the elected leader of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vilified his country and tried to euchre it into making territorial, political and other ill-advised concessions to Arabs determined as ever to destroy the Jewish State. Unfortunately, what the President has in mind for Israel after the election next week will make his previous treatment of the Jewish State look like the good old days.

To be sure, ties between the United States and Israel - far and away America's most important and loyal friend in the Middle East - have improved lately from the nadir to which Mr. Obama plunged them since he took office. That has nothing to do, however, with a change of heart or agenda on the part of the President and his administration.

Rather, it is a reflection of a cynical calculation forced upon the Obama White House by its panicked congressional allies. Already laboring under the backbreaking burden of their association with a president and his agenda that have become huge liabilities, Democrats on Capitol Hill faced wholesale defections of their Jewish constituents and funders if their party's leader persisted in his assault on Israel. Public letters and private conversations had the desired effect: Barack Obama began treating his Israeli counterpart with a modicum of respect and the optics of a restarted peace process - however shortlived or doomed - helped conjur up an image of a renewed partnership between the two nations.

Make no mistake about it, though: Once the 2010 elections are behind him, it is a safe bet that President Obama will revert to form by once again exhibiting an unmistakable and ruthless determination to bend Israel to his will.

Worse yet, he will be able to take advantage of a vehicle for effecting the so-called "two state solution," no matter how strenuously Israel and its friends in Washington object: The Palestinians will simply unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for international recognition - and Mr. Obama will accede to that request.

A number of the particulars involved in this gambit are unclear at the moment. For example, will the Palestinians announce the borders of their state to be the 1967 cease-fire lines, in which case large Israeli population centers (defiled as "settlements") will be inside a nation that is certain to be, to use Hitler's phrase, judenrein (free of Jews)? How will the Hamas-stan of Gaza be connected to the currently PLO-run West Bank - in a way that will make them "contiguous" without bisecting the Jewish state and ensuring that Hamas does not take over the rest of the so-called "Palestinian authority"?

Also unclear is precisely how Mr. Obama will handle the sticky issue of extending U.S. recognition of Palestine. Will he want to parallel Harry Truman's direct and immediate endorsement of the establishment of Israel in 1948? Or will he do it more disingenuously, as former UN Ambassador John Bolton speculated in the Wall Street Journal last week, by having the United States abstain from an approving vote by the United Nations Security Council. The hope behind the latter would be that Team Obama and its partisans will somehow avoid retribution from Israel's friends, both Democrats and others, both here and abroad.

The truth is that, either way, Mr. Obama will have dealt Israel a potentially mortal blow. Without control of the high ground and water aquifers of the West Bank, the Jewish state is simply indefensible and unsustainable.

Some may suggest that international forces (perhaps led by the United States) should be deployed in the areas Jews have historically known as Judea and Samaria so as to ensure that they are not used to harm Israelis in the low-lying areas to the west.

We have seen how such arrangements work in practice in Lebanon, though-- which is to say not well.

In southern Lebanon, UN "peacekeepers" have merely wound up protecting Israel's enemies, notably Hezbollah, as such foes of both the Jewish State and our own have amassed immense amounts of missiles and other arms and prepared to resume hostilities against Israel at a moment of that Iranian-backed terrorist group's choosing (or, more precisely, that of their sponsors in Tehran.) The same is certain to eventuate in the West Bank as paramilitary forces the United States has foolishly trained and equipped become a standing army and fall under the sway of Hamas.

Such a "two-state solution" will make another regional war vastly more likely, not prevent it. Yet, the Obama administration is committed to pursuing that goal as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made excrutiatingly clear in a pandering speech to the Americah Task Force on Palestine last week.

Among other ominous comments, she declared that "the World Bank recently reported that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, ‘well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.'" She seemed determined in particular to emphasize the last seven words.

Voters need to know now whether President Obama and those in Congress who support his agenda are determined to help Israel's enemies destroy her - not find out that is the case after the elections.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.

A Conservative Foreign Policy

From Campaign For Liberty:

The Late, Great Joe Sobran's Lesson for the Tea Party

By Jack Hunter

View all 38 articles by Jack Hunter

Published 10/29/10

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A Conservative Foreign Policy

I've only subscribed to two newsletters ever, one being former National Review editor Joseph Sobran's "Real News of the Month."

In the mid-1990s, I was in my early 20s, and the discovery of past conservative thinkers like Russell Kirk and Richard Weaver encouraged me to seek out their contemporary intellectual descendants, of which Sobran was one of only a handful. Most right-wingers in the '90s, including many pundits and intellectuals, were so obsessed with Bill Clinton that conservative principles took a backseat to partisanship and conspiracy theories. Neither interested me.

At the time, I realized that if being a conservative simply meant hating Democrats, then it meant nothing. But if being "conservative" was to think like Sobran, it had immeasurable meaning precisely because he constantly encouraged his audience to remember and re-examine what that term meant.

Learning of Sobran's passing last month at the age of 64, I began to recall so many of his conservative reminders, particularly his Jeffersonian views on foreign policy. One of the beautiful things about the Tea Party is it now encourages conservatives to remember and re-examine what they stand for -- Sobran's specialty. Sobran had to leave his 18-year job as editor of National Review in 1993 in part because his traditionally conservative views clashed with the neoconservatives' agenda for the Middle East. In his final column before his death, he wrote:

"I saw 30 years ago that we were headed for needless war with the Arabs, and I had two boys in their teens. By 1991 I hated Bush with a murderous fury. He was willing to get young men like my son Mike killed for no clear reason. I didn't want them dying in the Middle East, where we always seem to be defending democracy and freedom these days."

He added, "Nobody else at National Review seemed to have this worry."

Today, the neoconservatives that so worried Sobran are worried themselves about a Tea Party movement hell-bent on cutting spending, particularly if grassroots conservatives begin critiquing the big government program of American empire. Recently, columnists representing the American Enterprise Institute -- Danielle Pletka and Thomas Donnelly -- warned in the Washington Post that Tea Partiers should stay away from the likes of Ron or Rand Paul, Sen. Tom Coburn, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and any other Republican who dares question our current foreign policy. Neoconservatives Pletka and Donnelly seem to believe that America's superpower status is what makes it great, forever spreading "freedom" and "democracy" around the world through perpetual war. Needless to say, the conservative Sobran took a more traditional view:

"[M]any Americans admire America for being strong, not for being American. For them America has to be 'the greatest country on earth' in order to be worthy of their devotion. If it were only the second-greatest, or the 19th-greatest, or, heaven forbid, 'a third-rate power,' it would be virtually worthless," he wrote. "This is nationalism, not patriotism."

Sobran continued, "When it comes to war, the patriot realizes that the rest of the world can't be turned into America, because his America is something specific and particular ... But the nationalist, who identifies America with abstractions like freedom and democracy, may think it's precisely America's mission to spread those abstractions around the world -- to impose them by force, if necessary."

He added, "For the nationalist, war is a welcome opportunity to change the world. This is a recipe for endless war."

As long as the neocons continue to define the Right's foreign policy, the Tea Partiers will be prevented from truly achieving their limited-government desires. As George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Joseph Sobran once warned, a state of perpetual war is simply incompatible with republican government. The neoconservatives now fear too many conservatives are beginning to waking up to this. Sobran spent years trying to wake them up, reminding his right-wing friends that "War has all the characteristics of socialism most conservatives hate: centralized power, state planning, false rationalism, restricted liberties, foolish optimism about intended results, and blindness to unintended secondary results."

The countless examples of Sobran's wit and wisdom are too many to revisit here. His genuine patriotism informed his conservatism, and as a result, he was at odds with the neocons for the last decades of his career. If traditional conservatives want to take back their movement from the big-government neocons, they would be wise to remember that they will be fighting the same battles as the late, great Joseph Sobran.

Reprinted with permission from Charleston City Paper