Monday, July 05, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

PressTV (Iran): "'Israel preparing to occupy Lebanon'"

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 01:32 PM PDT

Let's just say this is one of those cases in which the story does not quite live up to the headline:

Israel troops are conducting military drills to get prepared for being deployed in Lebanon, in a move Tel Aviv says is aimed at preventing "rocket attacks by Hezbollah," Israeli sources say.

Israel is conducting drills at its Elyakim training base, near Haifa, to simulate attacks on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, Haaretz reported.

An Israeli colonel told Haaretz that the US military officers had advised Israel to deploy its soldiers in Lebanon during the 33-day war in 2006, hinting that Israel will do so in any offensive on Lebanon in the future.

The Elyakim base is covered with many simulated minefields and camouflaged bunkers. Israeli troops are exercising to pass those spots and find "rocket sites," the report added.

According to the plan, Israeli troops will then be transported to Golan Heights by helicopters to be trained conducting other operations.

We learn of more Israeli ambitions in another PressTV article, "Israel plans 2700 new settlements":
Israeli settlement councils plan to build 2700 new settlements in the West Bank immediately after the existing settlement freeze on September 27.

The plans await approval by Israeli Housing Ministry and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, daily Haaretz reported on Monday.

In larger cities, plans have already been authorized, the report said. [...]

"Settlement" is PressTV-talk for "housing unit." The big and middle-sized Satan are also up to no good, but Iran is taking action:
The Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission plans to set up a committee to confront the plots hatched by Washington and London against Tehran, a lawmaker announced on Monday.

"The parliament approved in its session yesterday that a committee named as the 'Committee for Confronting US, Britain's plots' be set up," Rapporteur of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazzem Jalali told FNA. [...]

Iran is also concerned with human rights in the somewhat-less- than-middle-sized Satan:
Iran's Judiciary Human Rights Headquarters issued a statement on Monday strongly condemning the inhuman action of Canadian police in suppressing protesters against the G-20 Summit in Toronto.

The statement referred to sever suppression of protesters by Canadian police and said the Canadian government on various occasions expresses concern about violation of human rights in other countries but during the G-20 Toronto Summit it revealed its inhuman nature which stunned the world public opinion. [...]

Hey, wait a minute, Canada is evil, but calling them "inhuman" is a bit much.

Crossposted on Judeopundit

Council speak 07/05/10

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 04:40 AM PDT

The council has spoken!

Council Winners

Non Council Winners

For a full list of this week's entries, see here.

As turkey turns

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 04:27 AM PDT

During the diplomatic aftermath to the flotilla incident, the Washington Post was all too willing to cast the controversy as Israel attacking a ship that was under a friendly flag, precipitating the crisis. Today the Post reports on Turkey's march into authoritarianism, As Turkey looks to West, trial highlights lagging press freedom

For a country that is trying to demonstrate its reliability as a partner of the West, Turkey faces an awkward moment next week: An Istanbul judge is set to weigh the legality of enormous tax-related fines imposed on a media firm whose newspapers had sharply criticized the government.

The case, which pits Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan against one of Turkey's wealthiest businessmen, has exposed what some observers say are the prime minister's autocratic tendencies. Critics also point to recent arrests of journalists and Erdogan's allegations that some Turkish columnists are agents of Israel.

The ruling will be closely watched as a bellwether of the direction being taken by Turkey, a young republic that is still wrestling with the fundamentals of democratic governance after centuries of Ottoman rule, even as it pushes for membership in the European Union.

That last paragraph is a little troubling. Is it that Turkey is "struggling with ... democratic governance" or that it is being run by a party which has little use for such niceties.

Barry Rubin recently published a letter written by a Turkish intellectual:

When it comes to demanding more freedom for Islamism, you talk big, Mr. Erdoğan, by defending and using democracy. In reality, you have a conveniently narrow understanding of the concept of democracy. During your long single-party dictatorship, your citizens cannot even talk on their phones freely: they fear they are being constantly monitored and recorded. Anyone who dares to criticize you and your radical views might find himself or herself in jail the following week. You have, Mr. Erdoğan, created an Arab-style regime of oppression. You have turned Atatürk's Turkey into a Republic of Fear.

Mr. Erdoğan, you and your partners in Islamism have been leading Atatürk's Republic of Turkey back into medieval darkness, and you have been doing this under the pretext of democracy and the so-called "alliance of civilizations." Iranian, Arab, Sudanese, and other Islamist dictators have no business referring to their shameful crimes against humanity as "civilization," and you should leave Turkey and Turkish Islam alone. You and your dangerous ambitions have no right to put Atatürk's Turkey into such a position.

It's good that the Washington Post is shedding a light on Turkey's recent slide into extremism, unfortunately it portrays it as a struggle to get democracy right rather than a conscious effort by the ruling party to consolidate its power.

Sometimes the best arguments are the simplest

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 04:07 AM PDT

Recently there have been a number of bloggers who have referenced basic arguments regarding the Middle East. How many times do you read about "historic Palestine?" A few weeks ago, Seraphic Secret referenced Dry Bones's The State of Palestine Quiz.

Read about extremist settlers or moderate Palestinians? Elder of Ziyon explains.

Daled Amos recenly quoted (and supported) three mistaken assumptions identified by Elliott Abrams, made by the Obama administration in its quest for peace in the Middel East.

The Obama Administration appears to have three basic premises about the Middle East. The first is that the key issue in the entire Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The second is that it is a territorial conflict that can be resolved in essence by Israeli concessions. The third is that the central function of the United States is to serve as the PLO's lawyer to broker those concessions so that an agreement can be signed. I think these premises are all wrong.

The Muqata (quoting an article by Prof Yisrael Auman) illustrates faulty assumptions made by Israel when it comes to negotiations:

For example, Government after government has "offered" the Palestinians upwards of 90% of Yehuda vShomron (the West Bank), as a starting position for negotiations, while the Palestinian's opening negotiation point is always, 100% of everything with Jerusalem as the capital of "Palestine". There's huge fanfare when PA President Abbas announces that Israel could maintain a "presence" in the Jewish quarter of the Old City and part of the Western wall...

Of course, any land they "forfeit" in their opening negotiating position, is immediately qualified that they demand 100% of the land mass, with "land swaps" for any bit that Israel may get.

Finally, Meryl explains why Israel must continue to defend itself:

The historic failure of the EU and the UN to stop Israel's enemies from arming, as well as the collaboration of the UN with Israel's enemies which resulted in the murder of Israeli soldiers, are why Israel will not allow them to police Gaza.

They have failed in every single attempt so far. Why should we believe they'd succeed in stopping arm shipments into Gaza?

In short then, Israel is demonized for failing to create a Palestinians state where none existed before, encouraged by an American administration that doesn't understand the situation, using a disadvantageous negotiating strategy, while the world fails to protect it and the media demonizes it.

Do not speak ill of dead terrorists

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 03:02 AM PDT

Yesterday the New York Times wrote of the death of Mohammed Oudeh, otherwise known as Abud Daoud the mastermind of the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympics, killing eleven of them.

In later years, as a graying member of the Palestinian old guard, Mr. Oudeh, most commonly known by his guerrilla name, Abu Daoud, showed no remorse for the botched hostage taking and killings of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team that shook the world. He saw the attack as instrumental in putting the Palestinian cause on the map.

"Would you believe me if I tell you that if I had to do it all over, I would?" he said in a 2008 interview with The Associated Press. "But maybe, just maybe, we should have shown some flexibility. Back in our days, it was the whole of Palestine or nothing, but we should have accepted a Palestinian state next to Israel."

I don't know why the attack was considered "botched," after all Abu Daoud saw the attack as " instrumental in putting the Palestinian cause on the map." It's a sentiment the Peter Jennings demonstrated quite well, as Martin Peretz recalled:

"I first saw Jennings on ABC when, as a young TV journalist, he reported from the Munich Olympics. And I was filled with disgust that his subsequent career has only deepened. At Munich -- I still remember it, 30 years later -- Jennings tried to explain away the abductions and massacre of the young Israeli athletes. His theme: The Palestinians were helpless and desperate. Ipso facto, they were driven to murder. That's life..."

While I probably shouldn't quibble in the the obituary acknowledges that Abu Daoud didn't regret the terrorism, it adds this little bit at the end:

In 1996, his exile appeared to be over when he and several other former guerrillas were allowed back by to Israel in order to attend an assembly amending the Palestinian national charter. He joined those voting to remove the charter's call for an armed struggle to destroy the Jewish state.

Actually the purpose of the vote wasn't so clear. Prof Yehoshuah Porath, for one, considered the vote a scam. It changed nothing. But supporting a two state solution - no matter how insincerely - seems to be sufficient the New York Times to expiate the sin of murder.

Needless to say the obituary says nothing about "moderate" Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's role in the terror.

In other dead terrorist news, Elder of Ziyon noticed that a CNN reporter mourned the death of Muhammad Hussein Fadlallāh. This actually isn't too surprising as Fadlallah was given (for a short time) a column at the Washington Post's On Faith website.

The Guardian's obituary was (of course) rather fawning:

Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, mourned the loss of "a voice of moderation and an advocate of unity among the Lebanese and Muslims in general".

Celebrating a religious authority he said many Sunni clerics relied on in their efforts to bridge Lebanon's often violent religious divides, Maher Hamoud, a leading Sunni sheikh, told the Guardian the west struggled to understand Fadlallah's message: "He always sought to differentiate between resistance movements, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and terrorism."

Even read this account of Fadlallah's library in Beirut from 2006:

In Lebanon, he's considered a respected, liberal voice among his clerical peers, his moderation evident in his quick denunciation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and insistent calls for dialogue with the West.

The library is his gesture toward bridging a divide he sees as bridgeable; knowledge, he says, is the foundation of that dialogue.

"There is no censorship over any of the titles," Fadlallah said in his office a few blocks away. His thin eyebrows arched under his black turban, which framed his ascetic face and snowy beard. "You can't silence an idea by imprisoning it," he said.

While I suppose that it's progress that Fadlallah's library included books by Ariel Sharon and Binyamin Netanyahu, I find it hard to believe that he was, in any way, liberal in the Western tradition.

In too much reporting there's a sense that if someone isn't the most extreme, it means that they are absolutely - not relatively - "moderate."

Finally there's one terrorist who is still with us, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi . (via memeorandum)

The Scottish government insists Kenny MacAskill, the justice minister who took the final decision to release Megrahi, based his ruling on a medical report by Dr Andrew Fraser, director of health and care at the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).

A spokesman said Professor Sikora's advice to Libya "had no part to play in considerations on the Megrahi case".

Jack Straw, then Justice Secretary at Westminster, admitted last year that trade and oil agreements were an essential part of the British government's decision to include Megrahi in a previously planned prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.

The case for compassion looked like opportunism last year. That Megrahi is still alive today confirms that impression.

When will the elites in the West stop romanticizing terrorists?

Crossposted on Yourish.

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