In 2009, Libya’s major export customers were European: Italy received about 38 percent of its exports, Germany had 10%, and France and Spain had about 8% each, according to the CIA’s World Factbook.
That same year, Libya received nearly 19% of its total imports from Italy, followed by China at 10%, and Germany and Turkey at about 10% each, the CIA reported. France accounted for less than 6%. via sidetick.com
The European Union has long claimed the moral high ground in the Middle East, but for many years it has misrepresented its post-modern "soft power" foreign policy as a morally superior alternative to the United States in the Arab world.
The popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are exposing the hypocritical ambiguities that underpin European foreign policy. At the same time they are drawing attention to Europe's own democratic deficit.
As Egyptians were rising up against their government in early February, for instance, the European Union's "Foreign Minister," Baroness Catherine Ashton, penned an article in the London-based Guardian newspaper saying she wanted to see "deep democracy" take root in Egypt. Ashton warned that Egypt should not become a "surface democracy" with votes and elections, but that it should be a "deep democracy," which involves "respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech, an independent judiciary and impartial administration." Ashton also said the Egyptian government "must respond to the wishes of their people."
The irony of Ashton's cheek in lecturing other countries on democracy is that she was elevated to her current position neither through "surface democracy," nor through "deep democracy," but through backroom wheeling-and-dealing in the European Union's unelected Narcissocracy, which is notorious for ignoring the wishes of European citizens.
Although Egyptian President's Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign was propped up by phony elections that were rigged time and time again, arguably he had more democratic legitimacy than Ashton, who has never faced the scrutiny of a ballot box (okay, in 1982 she was elected to become the Treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at a time when it was receiving financial support from the Soviet Union), but she and has never once campaigned to win over the hearts and minds of the European masses she claims to represent.
Moreover, Ashton's current position, formally known as "The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy," was established by the European Union's controversial Lisbon Treaty. Also known as the Reform Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty is nearly identical to the European Constitution, a document that was soundly rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Likened to a "slow-moving coup d'état," the 250-plus page Lisbon Treaty is all about the centralization of political power by an unelected ruling clique in Brussels. The treaty not only establishes a permanent EU president, foreign minister and a European Union diplomatic service; it also obligates European nations to surrender, in many areas, their sovereignty to centralized decision-making.
Given the European Union's own lack of democratic legitimacy, it is not surprising that Ashton's calls for more democracy in the Arab world have come across as patronizing and hypocritical.. It also goes a long way in explaining why Europe's "value-based" foreign policy has been unable to formulate a coherent response to the momentous changes taking place in the Middle East.
Consider the EU's much-vaunted European Neighborhood Policy, a scheme that involves providing aid and trade to countries in North Africa and the Middle East in return for progress on democracy and human rights. Over the past decade, Arab autocrats have received billions of euros in financial handouts, even as Europeans have turned a blind eye to lack of democratic reforms in the region.
While Europeans talk a good game about democracy promotion, in practice they have been far more interested in pursing realpolitik, largely in order to protect their business interests in North Africa and the Middle East, and to ensure regional stability to keep a lid on illegal immigration.
One example involves Tunisia. The autocratic government of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali secured more than €3.6 billion ($ 4.9 billion) from European taxpayers since 1995, largely at the behest of France. In the midst of the Jasmine Revolution (as the political upheaval in Tunisia is being called), the European Union continued to insist that Ben Ali's government was a success story.
During the early days of fighting in Tunisia, French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was vacationing in the seaside town of Tabarka using a jet owned by a Tunisian businessman linked to Ben Ali. She was accompanied on the December trip by her partner Patrick Ollier, also a minister within the French government.
According to the French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, Alliot-Marie's parents bought shares in a property company owned by an associate of Ben Ali while protests were going on in Tunisia. Just three days before Ben Ali was removed from office, Alliot-Marie offered the "know how" of France's security forces to help quell the fighting in Tunisia.
Alliot-Marie resigned from her post on February 27; French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that his ministers should stick to France for their holidays to avoid gaffes, after it emerged that Prime Minister François Fillon had accepted a free holiday from ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Another example involves Libya. The European Union, which receives over 85% of Libya's crude oil exports, has been split over how to react to the violence engulfing the country. A few northern European countries have called for immediate sanctions on the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. But they have been opposed by southern European countries like Italy and Spain, which have significant oil and gas and interests in Libya, and which also fear a "biblical exodus" of refugees.
Libya exports natural gas to Italy by way of an underwater pipeline, and to Spain in the form of liquefied natural gas. Libya accounts for some 13% of Italy's total gas imports, and just over 1.5% of total Spanish gas imports. But many more European countries receive crude oil from Libya. Austria receives 21.2% of its crude oil imports from Libya, France 15.7%, Germany 7.7%, Greece 14.6%, Ireland 23.3%, Italy 22.0%, the Netherlands 2.3%, Portugal 11.1%, Spain 12.1%, and the United Kingdom 8.5%, according to the International Energy Agency.
Britain has long been accused of pandering to Libyan autocrats. In August 2009, the Labour government was involved in releasing from prison the bomber of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people. British commentators have speculated that the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who had served only eight years of a life sentence, was motivated by lucrative Libyan oil deals as well as anti-Americanism.
Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all of which have important business interests in Iran, have long resisted more vigorous sanctions to contain Tehran's nuclear program.
In Spain, where the Socialist government never misses an opportunity to criticize Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been pleading with the autocrats in Qatar to invest €3 billion in Spain's ailing banking sector.
But European bureaucrats are skilful players of the double game, and will respond with more moral posturing. It's all part of the act.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are on an urgent rescue mission – for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Clinton is not in Geneva today to do something about human rights. She is in Geneva to protect the administration’s investment in the U.N. human rights organization’s top body, which only six months ago welcomed Libya as a full member and only three months ago passed it through its meaningless “universal periodic review” process, touted as its number one monitoring procedure.
image via Crethi Plethi Flickr
On Friday, March 4, Iran – the country that buries women naked to their waist and then stones them to death for “adultery” – is going to take its seat as a full-fledged member of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
If President Obama and his secretary of state really understood the error of using the United Nations to prop up human rights demons, then rather than attempting, even today, to help the Human Rights Council cover its tracks, it should be telling the world and the U.N. to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.
And it should resign from the Human Rights Council effective immediately now that its “reform” has proved to be impossible – as was obvious to human rights victims from the start.
But don’t hold your breath. The Obama administration would rather promote the institution of the United Nations than save real people from the U.N.’s grotesque neglect.
Hadar Sela, and published in The Propagandist h/t cifwatch.com
The recent incidents on the streets of countries as far apart as Libya and Bahrain, Tunisia and Iran have riveted the Western world to its television sets and Twitter accounts. The sight of authoritarian regimes gunning down their own people as though they were swatting flies has us outraged. Western politicians and human rights activists issue sober statements. Western journalists devote indignant column inches to the question of ‘how could they?’ But one thing is conspicuous by its absence; any honest and thorough appraisal of how the West has been complicit for years in ensuring that such human rights abuses could come about.
The U.S. delegation to the United Nations is looking to win tough language against Libya by the U.N. Human Rights Council, as the body prepares for what may be its most critical test since President Obama reversed U.S. policy in 2009 and joined the controversial panel.The Human Rights Council is notorious for showing an anti-Israel bias and being slow to condemn blatant human rights abuses by countries aligned with certain members of the 47-member council.As it happens, Libya earned a seat on the Human Rights Council in 2010 -- a point that will likely come up for debate when the council meets for a special session Friday. U.S. diplomats plan to back an effort to kick Libya off the council and name a special investigator to look into atrocities committed on protesters rebelling against Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi via foxnews.com
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said that while he appreciated the EU’s efforts, the draft resolution must be strengthened by including a call to strip Libya of council membership and by condemning Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his government.
“First, the moral outrage of Libya’s membership on the world’s top human rights body must end immediately.
Even the Arab League ejected Libya. With bodies piling up on the streets of Libya, the EU and the must not stay silent on this pernicious moral hypocrisy,” Neuer said.
“Second, the EU must explain why its draft – breaking with council practice on condemnatory resolutions – studiously avoids naming the Libyan government or its leader as the perpetrators of the ongoing atrocities,” he said.
Diplomats are expected to hold a number of meetings to work on the draft’s language before Friday’s session.
There is some fear in Geneva that there might not be enough support within the council to pass a strong resolution against Libya, despite the many international voices, including that of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who have condemned the country’s government.
It remains a possibility that the measure might not pass at all. African and Asian members of the Human Rights Council have in the past blocked criticism of abusive governments except when it has been directed at Israel, which has been the subject of six emergency meetings in five years.
The signature of several Muslim governments in support of the special session – including Jordan, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority – does indicate a crumbling of traditional bloc-support for the Gaddafi regime.
Independent of diplomatic efforts at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, there is a simultaneous push to sway the UN General Assembly to call for a vote to strip Libya of its council membership. Human Rights Watch, which has been advocating for such a measure, said that it was complicated because no member had ever been kicked off the council.
It was a stunning moment of moral clarity. As the South Vietnamese refugees clambered onto rickety boats in the South China Sea to escape the victorious Communists, the American Left that orchestrated the US defeat through a sustained campaign of propaganda and fake calls for peace stood silent.As Pol Pot, the "progressive" dictator tortured and murdered a third of his people in Cambodia, the leftists "peace" activists in the US and Europe who never saw a US military operation that was justified, turned a blind eye.The silence of the likes of Susan Sontag, Jane Fonda, Noam Chomsky and their fellow travelers came to mind last week when the Western media and intellectual elites averted their gaze as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the long exiled spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood spoke before a crowd of millions at Cairo's Tahrir Square.Qaradawi, who had been living in exile in Qatar during Hosni Mubarak's reign, became an international jihadist superstar thanks to Qatar's unelected potentate Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani who gave him his jihad indoctrination show on Al Jazeera. From his internationally televised soapbox, Qaradawi regularly preaches international jihad and genocide of Jewry to millions of fans worldwide.Two important things happened during Qaradawi's appearance in Cairo. First, his handlers refused to allow Google's Egyptian Internet revolutionary Wael Ghonim to join the cleric on the dais. For anyone willing to notice, Qaradawi's message in spurning Ghonim was indisputable. As far as the jihadists are concerned, Ghonim and his fellow Internet activists are the present day equivalent of Lenin's useful idiots.They did their job of convincing credulous Western liberals that the overthrow of Mubarak was all about sweetness and light.And now they are no longer needed.The second message was Qaradawi's call to destroy Israel. With millions of adoring fans crying out "Amen," and "Allahu Akhbar," Qaradawi called for a Muslim conquest of Jerusalem - that is, for the destruction of Israel. As a first step, he demanded that the Egyptian military open the Egyptian border with Gaza.In the dismal tradition of its Vietnam-era teachers, today's international Left had nothing to say about Qaradawi's genocidal speech. In the New York Times' write-up of Qaradawi's triumphant return to Egypt for instance, the murder-inciting cleric was referred to as a champion of democracy and pluralism.Leftist writers like Peter Beinart have spent the better part of the past month whitewashing and belittling the significance of the Muslim Brotherhood.The same Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in 1928 and got its first boost from the Nazis who funded their anti-Jewish pogroms in Cairo and Alexandria in 1939 is seen as nothing to worry about. US President Barack Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assured Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose motto is, "Allah is our objective; the prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; Dying in the path of Allah is our goal."THE SAME Left who champions Qaradawi as a liberal is absolutely adamant that the revolutions now raging throughout the Muslim world are a mere sideshow to the region's chief drama. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Morocco and Saudi Arabia are nothing. And the anti-regime protests in Iran have no strategic significance whatsoever to the West, which is mortally threatened by the mullocracy.Who cares if the Arabs are ruled by tyrants, democrats, jihadists, or fascists? The only thing that matters is that "Palestine" is free of Israeli "occupation."How can anyone get excited about the future of the oil-dependent global economy when Jews still reside in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem?The Left's essential indifference to the plight of hundreds of millions of Arabs and its significance for the West was exposed in a news analysis by Brendan O'Neill in The Australian on February 16. O'Neill noted that whereas the demonstrators in Cairo were fairly silent on the issue of the Palestinians, anti-Mubarak demonstrations throughout the West prominently featured anti-Israel slogans and chants of "Free, free Palestine!"O'Neill concluded that the contrasting messages, "reveals something important about the Palestine issue.... [It] has become less important for Arabs and of the utmost symbolic importance for Western radicals at exactly the same time."Actually, it is important to Western leftists and jihadists, which is why the Palestinians only became a salient issue in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood began taking control over the opposition movement with Qaradawi's sermon on February 18.IN A groundbreaking study of the propaganda war against Israel entitled "The Big Lie and the Media War against Israel: From Inversion of Truth to Inversion of Reality," published in Jewish Political Studies Review in March 2007, Joel Fishman showed that the Muslim Brotherhood's propaganda war against Israel, like the Left's propaganda war against Israel, relied heavily on Nazi propaganda against Jews.The early partnership between the Brotherhood and the Nazis, brought together by Palestinian Arab leader and Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini imported European anti-Semitism to the Muslim world. Beginning in the early 1950s, Nazi war criminals immigrated to Egypt. There they recreated much of Josef Goebbels' anti-Semitic propaganda operation for Gamal Abdel Nasser.Fishman also documented how in the aftermath of World War II, and particularly after Israel's victory in the Six Day War, the Soviets adapted Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda to demonize Israel as the new, collective Jew and in turn demonize the collective Jew as the new Nazi Germany.Two sources fed the Soviet anti-Jewish/anti-Zionist propaganda machine: former Nazi propagandists in Egypt; and former Nazi propagandists employed by the East German Communist regime. According to Fishman, the messages developed by these ex-Nazi propagandists were the basis for the Soviet campaign to delegitimize Israel which began in earnest after 1967. The call to arms was published first in a Pravda editorial in October 1967. There, Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement was reviled as dedicated to "genocide, racism, treachery, aggression, and annexation...all characteristic attributes of fascists."With both the Soviets and the Arabs spewing the same inverted message, it didn't take long for it to become the rage in Europe. Europe's adoption of the Nazi-inspired propaganda in which reality was inverted and Israel - the victim of Arab imperialist, genocidal aggression - became the imperialist, genocidal aggressor was facilitated by France's embrace of the Arab camp after its withdrawal from Algeria and effective withdrawal from NATO.By 1975, with the UN General Assembly's adoption of the Soviet-Arab sponsored resolution 3379 defining Zionism as racism, most European governments had fallen in line with the Soviet-Arab propaganda war.They in turn spent the next generation bringing their message to America.TODAY, THAT message has become the sum total of Europe's Middle East policy. From their massive global funding of anti-Israel NGOs, to their financing of anti-Zionist films, plays, art exhibitions and educational curricula throughout the world and their bankrolling of the Palestinian Authority, the Europeans have put their money where their mouths and well-washed brains are.As Norway's plan to run the Israeli embassy out of Oslo because its security measures annoy its neighbors; to European authorities' refusal to provide police protection for their threatened Jewish communities; to initiatives like the Dutch Parliament's current bid to outlaw Jewish ritual slaughter all make clear, hatred of Israel runs seamlessly into outright governmental aggression against Jews.So too, as The Guardian's recent onslaught against the PA for its leaders' willingness to make minor compromises with Israel in the framework of a peace treaty demonstrates, mainstream forces in Britain and throughout Europe now side openly with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in their annihilationist war against the Jewish state.It is this obsessive campaign against Israel that explains the so-called Middle East Quartet's insistence that the most urgent item on the international agenda is coercing Israel to surrender land and rights to the PA.Whereas the EU cannot figure out a coherent policy regarding Libya even as Muammar Gaddafi massacres his own citizens and sets fire to his oil fields, Europe's leaders are unified in their firm conviction that the so-called "peace process" must be reinvigorated.So too, the Obama administration remains incapable of lifting a finger to prevent an Iranian proxy from taking over Bahrain or a consortium of al-Qaida terrorists from taking over Yemen. Obama refuses to take any action to help the Libyan people overthrow Gaddafi. As for Iran, Obama maintains his steadfast refusal to take any action to help the Iranian people overthrow their nuclear-proliferating, terror-supporting regime.But at the same time, the president and his advisors are absolutely committed to coercing Israel to block Jews from building homes in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and ensuring that everyone is clear that Jews have no legitimate right to our capital city and historic heartland.As for the Left itself, as Ron Radosh reported in Pajamas Media this week, attendees at J Street's annual post-Zionist confab could barely muster polite applause for the mildly Zionist MKs from Kadima that spoke at the conference. But they broke into raucous applause when Arab and Jewish anti-Zionist speakers proclaimed that all progress in the region is tied to Israel ending its so-called "occupation."AND THIS brings us back to 1975, to the boat people in the South China Sea, the killing fields in Cambodia, and the Left that couldn't care less about them.It could be argued that the Bill Ayres, Howard Zinns and Jean Paul Sartes of the world can be forgiven for their decision to side with the Soviets and their Third World proxies against the US and the Western alliance.After all, they had nothing personal at stake. The Soviets were not threatening their freedom.And what did they owe to "unprogressive," "reactionary" people from Southeast Asia who agreed with America that Communism was evil and wished to be free?But the situation is different today. By waging its war against Israel through Palestinian proxies, the West threatens itself. The Nazi propaganda recycled by the Soviets which has enslaved the peoples of Europe and much of America's intellectual elite has not only turned them into willing participants in the new war against the Jews. It has turned them into instruments for their own destruction.By focusing their attention entirely on Israel and its imaginary crimes, the Europeans and their American admirers ignore the fact that the Islamic war against Israel is itself a proxy war for global jihad.That war, informed by the same Nazi propaganda, but refined through the prism of Islamic Jew hatred and totalitarian imperialism, does not see Israel's destruction as its ultimate aim. The jihadists, whom the West so happily ignores and whitewashes, have made it absolutely clear that destroying Israel is but the first skirmish in their great war. Their ultimate aim is the conquest of what remains of Western civilization.Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
Al-Qaradawi used the opportunity to attack the Jews, basing his answer on a known hadith [oral tradition] calling for the murder of Jews. On the program he said that righteous Muslims were “the salt of the earth” who were always instrumental in liberating lands. He called them a source of hope and that he hoped that through them Jerusalem would be “liberated,” as would “Palestine,” the Gaza Strip, and all the lands ruled by the enemies of the Muslims. He said that the war against the Jews was not only the war of the Palestinians but of all Muslims. Al-Qaradawi based his answer on a well-known hadith about the war on Judgment Day between Muslims and Jews. He said that the prophet Muhammad said that “…therefore you will continue to fight the Jews and they will fight you until the Muslims kill them. The Jew hides behind rock and tree. The rock and the tree say, oh, slave of Allah, oh, Muslim, here is the Jew behind me, come and kill him.” He interpreted that to mean that those who fight to “liberate” the holy places are the Muslim slaves of Allah, and not Jordanians or Palestinians or Egyptians or Iraqis.
Portrait of Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Abdallah al-Qaradawi: A “Moderate” Islamist?OverviewSheikh Dr. Yusuf Abdallah al-Qaradawi is a central figure affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He was expelled from Egypt and found refuge in Qatar, and operates from there throughout the Muslim world.
After President Hosni Mubarak was ousted al-Qaradawi returned to Egypt and delivered the Friday sermon at a mass rally held in Al-Tahrir Square in Cairo. Many consider him the supreme religious and ideological authority for the Muslim Brotherhood, although he is not officially its leader (in the past refused to accept the title of the Muslim Brotherhood’s General Guide). He is influential in Egypt and considered one of the most important Sunni Muslim clerics of our generation and a spiritual authority for millions of Muslims around the world, including the Hamas movement.
Al-Qaradawi’s popularity among the Sunnis has grown because of the massive use he makes of electronic media, mainly television and the Internet. One of his most important tools is the Al-Jazeera TV channel, which broadcasts his popular program “Life and Islamic Law,” (Al-Shariaa wa Al-Haya) viewed by tens of millions of Muslims.
Al-Qaradawi has often exploited the program for blatant anti-Semitic propaganda and incitement (see below). He was also one of the founders of the IslamOnline website in 1997, which often quotes him.
Al-Qaradawi refers to his religious views as “moderate Islam,” which seeks to balance intellect and emotion. He has positive attitudes toward reforms in Islam, which he calls “correcting perceptions which were corrupted.” He is considered one of the foremost propounders of the doctrine of the “the law of the Muslim minorities,” which provides the Muslim minorities around the globe with space in which to maneuver and compromise between their daily lives and Islamic law. The aim of implementing his doctrine is to unite and unify Muslim minorities to make it possible for them to live under non-Muslim regimes, until the final stage of spreading Islam to the entire world.
At the same time, building a bridge between the exigencies of Muslim emigrants’ daily lives and Islamic religious law also includes regarding taking over Europe as Islam’s next target. In 2003 al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa declaring that “Islam will return to Europe as a victorious conqueror after having been expelled twice. This time it will not be conquest by the sword, but by preaching and spreading [Islamic] ideology…The future belongs to Islam…The spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world and includes the both East and West marks the beginning of the return of the Islamic Caliphate…”
Although al-Qaradawi opposes Al-Qaeda and its methods, he enthusiastically supports Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombing attacks targeting the civilian Israeli population. In the past he also supported “resistance” (i.e., terrorism) to the occupation of Iraq, including, by implication – although he denied it – abducting and murdering American civilians in Iraq. He issued fatwas calling for jihad against Israel and the Jews, and authorizing suicide bombing attacks even if the victims were women and children. He regards all of “Palestine” as Muslim territory (according to Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas ideology), strongly opposes the existence of the State of Israel and rejects the peace treaties signed with it, and opposes the Palestinian Authority (and in the past called for the stoning of Mahmoud Abbas).
image via aSMawi
- But the US is not alone in Moonbattery: Germans who refuse to ‘partner’ with Afghans have to undergo ’sensitivity training’via sheikyermami.com
The New York Times recently ran an article on Sweden, much of it on the city of Malmo. That place has a high proportion of Muslim residents some of whom have become so militant that the city’s Jews have reportedly fled due to harassment. The Swedish mayor said that he didn’t want racist movements like Zionism in the city.
|The attack on Lara Logan |
in Cairo two weeks ago
was carried out by Muslims
who believed it was their
There have been many reports of increased lawlessness as areas of Swedish cities where immigrants from the Middle East live have become no-go areas for the authorities. Sweden is also facing an epidemic of rapes, anti-Jewish incidents (including a mob attack on an Israel-Sweden tennis game and an assault by a Muslim on a Jewish youth soccer team), violent leftist attacks on conservatives, and official crackdowns on freedom of speech.
you want it like this?
So the Times interviewed a couple of people including the mayor of Malmo—no mention of his anti-Jewish activities—and an anti-Israel professor from the Social Democratic party.
Why, of course, that the
big problem in Sweden is Islamophobia!
...more like PERVERTS!
And what did the article conclude?
The apparent suddenness of the eruption of unrest in the Arab world raises a question: Is it possible to forecast unrest? Analysts say that the upheavals in the Arab world are the perfect opportunity to put the best models of human conflict to the test.
New Scientists reports that, unfortunately, only those with access to classified intelligence documents will find out the results.
It is a problem that has troubled the field of conflict modeling for years. Many military funding bodies, notably the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), bankroll attempts to forecast revolutions, terrorist activity, and other conflicts — but results emerge into the public domain only piecemeal, if they come out at all.
Take the Political Instability Task Force, funded by the CIA and based at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Since it was formed in 1994, it has used historical data on conflicts, political structures, and economics to rate the stability of countries around the world. Details of the model are publicly available, but the forecasts that the task force hands to the CIA are not.
In Response to the Israeli Police shooting 15 civilians...outraged residents are blocking intersections around Samaria.
Here is a video of the police brutality this morning.
Here is a map of the current major intersections which are blocked by demonstrators.
|Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi|
Photo by: Olivier Pitussi
Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi said...
in an op-ed in The New York Times
that Israel's loyalty oath bill
is "an attempt to relegate
Palestinian citizens of Israel to inferior status."
Tibi said that the loyalty oath,
which requires non-Jewish immigrants
to pledge allegiance to Israel
as a "Jewish and democratic state",
is akin to the United States
requiring Mexican immigrants
to swear allegiance to a U.S.
that is white and Protestant,
while pardoning immigrants
from Europe of the obligation.
In an earlier post, I reported that two of the six 'Israeli Arab' MK's who visited Libya last spring now regretted going. Haaretz interviews former Arafat adviser and current MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al), who was one of the initiators of the Libya trip. Tibi says that he has no regrets about visiting Libya.
I guess that it goes without saying that Tibi's interview is full of disingenuous claims regarding both the visit to Libya and Israel's treatment of 'Israeli Arabs,' but this is perhaps the most bizarre claim of all:
So it is correct to accept an invitation from anyone, without exercising judgment?No, no one could have predicted a year ago that the Gadhafi regime would be on the verge of being overthrown. But it was definitely predictable that Gadhafi would react violently to any demonstrations. And the Libyan regime was one which was already known a year ago to practice torture. Go here and here.
"First of all, he invited us and secondly, no one imagined he would do what he is doing a year later. Anyone who says he could have foreseen these events is not speaking the truth and is being deceptive."
Everyone today seems to be in favor of the people and against the regime in Libya, but isn't it true that even before the visit, Gadhafi was not a democrat or a believer in human rights?
"I admit the connection with the Arab world is one that involves non-democratic regimes. There's a difference between visiting and being loyal to or trailing after one regime or another. I am saying clearly and unambiguously that a visit does not constitute an expression of support for Gadhafi's policy in Libya - and such things were said there. For example, I personally expressed criticism of the backwardness in the world as a result of certain regimes, and the fact that rights are not granted to citizens. And we said that the role of the revolutions that erupted and overcame colonialism in the Arab world has been to give freedom and liberty and democracy to the Arab world."
The Libyan regime was known a year ago - and even longer ago - as one that practiced torture. It was more than 'just' an undemocratic regime. Tibi's claims not to have been aware of the nature of the Libyan regime are completely disingenuous. He and his colleagues gave support and comfort to a tyrant. The least they could do is own up to it.
Michael Rubin is getting a little ahead of the curve here, but I hope he's right anyway.
Qaddafi’s exile or death will be the last nail in the coffin of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Egyptians thought, “If Tunisians can do it, why not us.” When Mubarak fled, Libyans concluded that it was their turn. If people power can topple Qaddafi, not even the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will be able to contain the rage of the Iranian people. And if the Islamic Republic collapses, then suddenly the threats from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will decline as their state support evaporates.
I suppose this shouldn't come as too big a surprise.
In an interview today on the Al Arabyia news network, an informed source within the Revolutionary Guards Corps revealed that Iran has several military bases in Libya.Then why has Ahmadinejad come out in favor of the revolution in Libya? Especially when Gadhafi has behaved toward Libyans in the exact same way that Ahmadinejad behaved toward Iranians since the summer of 2009.... Probably because he figures that Gadhafi's done anyway, so there's no point in not hopping on the revolutionary bandwagon. Besides, Ahmadinejad's angling for Libya's new rulers to let him keep those bases there. The bases are staging areas for smuggling arms and training out of sight of the West.
The source, who requested anonymity due to his sensitive position within the Guards, elaborated further that the Iranian military bases are located mostly along Libya’s borders with the African countries of Chad and Niger. From there, he said, the Guards actively smuggle arms and supply logistical assistance to rebellious groups in the African countries.
According to this source, Guards enter Libya under the guise of oil company employees. Most of these companies are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.
The source, who is a colonel in the Guards, added that Gaddafi and his government are quite aware of these activities and have even signed joint contracts with those Iranian oil companies so that the the Guards can enter Libya without any trouble.
The colonel stated that with the current unrest in Libya, over 500 Guards have been unable to evacuate and are under orders to destroy all documents.
According to this source, the military collaborations between the Revolutionary Guards and the Gaddafi government date back to 2006.
What could go wrong?
The two leaders of Iran's Green Movement and their wives were kidnapped on Thursday night, and are being held at an undisclosed location, possibly awaiting a show trial. The West is silent.Yes it is true, not exactly as any one source has been reporting, but the two top leaders of the Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were kidnapped on Thursday night — when the streets of Tehran were full of armed men. It was a typical Mafia-style snatch. The two men — already under house arrest — were beaten and bloodied, and then were led out of their homes in blindfolds and handcuffs, stuffed in the trunks of the cars of their captors from the Revolutionary Guards and, along with their wives, taken to a location in Tehran, then, on Friday, to another in Parchin, and finally to a third location, a heavily protected private residence.One has to wonder what Iran's Greens have to do to get the West to notice. That's not to say that I'm enamored with them because I believe they will stop the nuclear weapons program. You all know that I am not. But at least with them, there might be something about which to negotiate rationally. And maybe they won't have the apocalyptic desire to bring about the coming of the 12th Imam by bombing Israel, like Ahmadinejad has.
So far only a few voices, most notably that of Ayatollah Dastgheib (sorry for the link in Persian, but I can’t find a translation online yet), have been raised to denounce the action and call for the release of the hostages. Needless to say, no Western leader has done anything yet, and nobody should expect any tough talk from Western capitals. After all, Mousavi and Karroubi were never contacted by any Western leader after the electoral hoax of June, 2009, although at least some of those Westerners sent intermediaries to negotiate with representatives of the Iranian regime.
Terror works, you see.
I do not know if we will see Mousavi or Karroubi alive. For the moment, I imagine they are being interrogated and tortured in an effort to extract “confessions” of their obedience to foreigners. Indeed, the very evening of the kidnapping, Intelligence Minister Moslehi — whose name is on a list of Iranians under EU consideration for being sanctioned for their role in grave human rights violations — gave a late evening interview on national television in which he spoke extensively of the “foreign hand” behind Iranian protests, and the next day he was quoted in a national news service as identifying yours truly as the inspiration behind at least some of the dissidents (again, it’s in Farsi, but in compensation there’s a flattering picture of me). He claimed that an Iranian arrested as a CIA agent was somehow inspired by my writings to work against the regime.
Actually it’s the other way around. It’s the courage of the Iranian opposition, and the hope that one day this evil regime will be removed, that inspires these blogs. And to judge by Moslehi’s rant, it’s doomed, because he has real trouble with information. For all the attention and vitriol these fanatic buffoons direct at me, their Intel Minister does not even know where I work. He and his vaunted network can’t manage to find out that I have been at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies for two and a half years, which is pretty amazing when you consider that they have obviously been reading Pajamas Media.
NGO Monitor has called on Sarah Leah Whitson, the head of 'Human Rights Watch's Mideast and North Africa division, to resign, on the grounds that she misled the public regarding the nature of the Gadhafi regime in Libya and the intentions of Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam.
Following Human Rights Watch's (HRW) neglect of brutal human rights violations in Libya and false claims and cover-ups about prospects for reforms there, NGO Monitor today called for the immediate resignation of Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's director of its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division. HRW's MENA division failed to devote the necessary resources to speaking out against human rights violations by oppressive Middle East regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Hamas, Lebanon, and most notably, Libya. Recent statements by Whitson regarding Seif Islam, a son of Moammar Qaddafi, demonstrate that she consistently whitewashed the reality in Libya and further embarrassed her organization.Maybe Whitson was just trying to raise money from the Libyans. She's really good at that.
"Human Rights Watch, and specifically MENA director Sarah Leah Whitson, has soft-peddled Qaddafi's oppressive acts and offered no help to the Libyan people," says Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor, a research institution that tracks NGOs. "Whitson was well aware of the atrocities committed by the Qaddafi regime, but she chose to present the façade that Qaddafi's son was prepared to implement 'reforms.' The events in Libya over the past weeks reveal Whitson's gross incompetence. She has failed to retract her previously misleading statements. She cannot continue to head the MENA division, and we call for her immediate resignation."
NGO Monitor notes that Whitson held a press conference last year in Libya that was abruptly halted and ended in "pandemonium." Yet, Whitson spun her trip and the event in a positive light in her 2010 "Postcard from Tripoli," in which she said that Libya had a "moment of opportunity." Even more egregious is Whitson's enthusiastic marketing of the Qaddafi regime from 2009's Tripoli Spring (published in Foreign Policy):
For the first time in memory, change is in the air in Libya. The brittle atmosphere of repression has started to fracture, giving way to expanded space for discussion and debate, proposals for legislative reform, and even financial compensation for families of the hundreds of men killed in a prison riot a decade ago.These assessments differ sharply from the Libya Whitson now admits she saw, as part of her attempts to rewrite the record. In contrast to the earlier fiction, she recently wrote "most Libyans we spoke with never had much faith that Moammar Qaddafi would learn new tricks, or that the announced reforms were anything more than an endless loop of promises made and broken."
Many Libyans say the changes were unavoidable in the face of the open satellite and Internet access of the past decade.
"What Sarah Leah Whitson admits she knew about the Qaddafi family's fraudulent reform agenda completely contradicts statements during her Tripoli trip," says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "Reform was never on the horizon and Seif Islam was simply seeking to validate the eventual transfer of power to his hands, using allies like Whitson. Her attempts to give a facelift to MENA's treatment of Libya is indicative of the division's approach to many of the repressive regimes in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Hamas, and others."
Read the whole thing.
| Piss Christ via en.wikipedia.or|
credited with New York Magazine's not-terribly-flattering portrait of Karl Rove is one Andres Serrano.
And if that name sounds vaguely familiar to political types, it's because his most notorious work is "Piss Christ," which helped trigger a major flap around the National Endowment for the Arts in the late 1980s.
via nytimes.comVIA KARL ROVE
During the transition, he said the time to act on the debt is now. “What we have done is kicked the can down the road,” he told The Washington Post. “We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further.” He said he would start a budget initiative in February 2009.
After the stimulus package passed, he and his aides said it would soon be time to turn to deficit issues. The same promise was made after health care reform. He made the pledge yet again at a press conference this week. Right now is not the time, the president always says, but tomorrow we will get serious.
But tomorrow never comes.
The biggest tease came last year when the president’s debt commission announced its report. That report produced a series of great conversations. But, yet again, words do not translate into action. The message of the president’s 2012 budget is: Not yet. We’ll get serious tomorrow.
The budget has some fine features. I’ll soon be writing a column about how many of its provisions are better than anything the Republican Party is proposing. But it is laughably inadequate compared with the fiscal problems before us.
In 2012, the only year this budget controls, the president would actually increase the deficit with more spending. Roughly two-thirds of the alleged savings would nominally kick in after 2016. The budget imagines that $328 billion in financing for transportation projects will magically appear. While ignoring tax reform, it lards up the tax code with another layer of special preferences. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that $780 billion of the proposed deficit cuts are politically dubious.
The budget gets a lot of little things right, but it squanders the opening created by the debt commission. It fails to touch the big programs or ask for any shared sacrifice from the American people.
Two explanations are commonly offered to explain why the White House decided to kick the can down the road. Some analysts say the Democrats are trying for a repeat of 1995: Do nothing on the deficit; goad the Republicans into announcing entitlement cutbacks and then savage them on the campaign trail for cutting off granny.
I don’t believe this is in the president’s head. It would be morally reprehensible to bankrupt the nation for the sake of a campaign theme. Obama is not that sort of person.
The other explanation is that Obama is following the model of the 1983 Social Security deal. Be patient, the president argued at his press conference this week. If I lead from the front my proposal will get stymied in the partisan circus. Better to lead from the back and have negotiations in private with Republican leaders. Then when the time is ripe, we’ll cut a deal outside the glare of the scream machine.
The president and his aides may really believe in this strategy, but it is wrong. This is not like fixing Social Security in the early 1980s. The current debt problem is of an entirely different scale. It requires a rewrite of the social contract, a new way to think about how the government pays for social insurance.
The president has enormous faith in getting smart people around the table and initiating technocratic reform. But you can’t renegotiate the social contract in private. You have to have public buy-in. You have to spend years out in public educating voters about the size of the problem and what will be required. You have to show voters what a solution looks like.
The New Deal wasn’t passed by a president who led quietly from the back. Neither was the Great Society or the Reagan Revolution. President Obama’s softly, softly approach is a rationalization, not a coherent strategy. It’s the latest version of Obama’s eternal promise: I’ll do it tomorrow.
So the mantle of leadership has passed to Capitol Hill. While Obama asked for patience yet again, Eric Cantor announced that Republicans will put entitlements on the table. It may be politically risky, but it looks more like leadership to me.
they were not Jewish police. this is not sovereignty. don't tread on me.
Border police arrested eight residents of the Gilad Farm during the demolition of buildings there. According to the settlers, 13 residents were injured during the evacuation, as a result of police violence. The police deny using excessive force
Israel's border police - who are largely made up of what is so delicately called 'minorities' (Bedouin and Druze) - shot rubber bullets and tear gas at revenants at Gilad's Farm during a raid that took place at 4:00 am on Monday. Gilad's Farm is an outpost that overlooks Route 60, the main North-South road through Samaria. It is just north of Geva Binyamin and Kochav Yaakov.
Setters claimed that Border Police forces shot rubber bullets and tear gas at them during the demolition of three structures at the unauthorized outpost of Gilad Farm in Samaria on Monday.Here's video of the incident - decide for yourselves.
According to police, eight settlers were arrested during the clashes that broke out when they entered the outpost in a pre-dawn raid. Settlers claimed that 12 people were bruised by rubber bullets.
Police said they responded only after stones were thrown at them and they understood that a number of settlers had knives and instruments which could be used for stabbing.
Settlers have called for an immediate investigation into the incident. Police said they operated according to the rules of engagement, but they did not respond to the specific charges.
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), who was at Gilad Farm, claimed that Border Police pushed him to the ground. He added that he retrieved a rubber bullet from the scene.
Let's go to the videotape.
And for those of you who question whether they really used rubber bullets, over at the Muqata, Joe Settler has pictures of people who were wounded that were taken by Jameel (who was there).
UPDATE 12:07 PM
Israel Radio reports on its 12:00 newscast that the police claim they used paint bullets and not rubber bullets.
כוחות משטרה ומג"ב עצרו הלילה (שני) שמונה מתושבי חוות גלעד, במהלך הריסת מבנים במקום. חמישה מהם נעצרו בחשד להחזקת סכין או דוקרנים, ואחד נעצר בחשד שהשליך אבנים על כוחות הביטחון. שני בני אדם נוספים נעצרו בחשד לכריתת עצי זית. בין העצורים גם איתי זר, מקים המאחז הקרוי על שמו של אחיו גלעד, שנהרג בפיגוע ירי. Border Police forces arrested the night (two) of eight residents of the Gilad Farm, the demolition of buildings there. Five of them were arrested on suspicion of holding a knife or spikes, and one was arrested on suspicion of throwing stones at security forces. Two other people were arrested on suspicion of logging trees. Among those arrested Even stranger to me, establishes outpost named for his brother Gilad, who was killed in a shooting.
לטענת ה מתנחלים , 13 תושבים נפצעו במהלך הפינוי, כתוצאה מהאלימות המשטרתית. According to the settlers , 13 residents were injured during the evacuation, as a result of police violence. בעקבות האירוע, צפויות היום חסימות כבישים והפגנות ביהודה ושומרון. Following the event, expected today roadblocks and demonstrations in the West Bank.
המשטרה וכוחות הביטחון עזבו את המאחז, לאחר ששלושה מבנים שנבנו בצורה בלתי חוקית נהרסו. Police and security forces left the outpost, after three buildings were built illegally destroyed. תושבי חוות גלעד הביעו זעם רב על היקף הכוחות שהוקצתה להריסת המבנים, והשמיעו תלונות קשות על שימוש לכאורה באלימות על ידי השוטרים כלפי המתיישבים. Gilad Farm residents have expressed great anger on the scope of powers assigned to the demolition of buildings, and made serious complaints about the alleged use of violence by police against the settlers. לטענתם, כמה שוטרים אף ירו מטווח קרוב מאוד כדורי גומי על תושבי המקום. They argue that few police officers also fired at close range with rubber bullets on local residents.
המתנחלים טוענים בתוקף שיש ברשותם תמונות של רימוני הלם וכן כדורי גומי בהם נעשה שימוש כנגדם, אך המשטרה הכחישה את הטענות, ומסרה כי המתנחלים יידו אבנים לעבר אנשיה. The settlers insist that have pictures of stun grenades and rubber bullets used against them, but police denied the allegations, saying that the settlers threw stones at people. "כוחות הביטחון הגיבו באמצעים לפי מדרג הפרות הסדר. ככלל, האמצעים בהם השתמשו הכוחות הם לא-קטלניים ונועדו לבלום את ההתפרעויות", נמסר. "Security forces responded to the means by level of disturbances. In general, the means used by forces they do not - meant to curb the deadly riots," it said.
"ראינו מה קורה שמשטר יורה על אזרחיו" "We saw what happens regime shoots on its citizens"
"זוהי הכרזת מלחמה עלינו", אומר בתגובה יהודה שמעון , מתושבי המאחז. "This is a declaration of war on us," says Yehuda Shimon response, residents of the outpost. "הגיעו לכאן באמצע הלילה כוחות עצומים של למעלה מאלף איש על מנת להרוס שלושה מבנים. אחד מהם הוא של חייל. איזה מסר זה מעביר לבחור שנותן עכשיו את גופו למען המדינה? ישנם אלפי צווי הריסה על מבנים של ערבים פה באזור שצריך להרוס, כמו למשל מסגד לא חוקי בכפר בורין, אבל המנהל האזרחי טוען שאין לו מספיק כוח אדם. כנראה שלהרוס מבנים של יהודים שמשרתים את המדינה אפשר להקצות מאות לוחמים ומשתמשים אפילו באמצעים כמו מזל"טים כנגדנו. "Midnight arrived enormous forces of over a thousand people to demolish three buildings. One of them is a soldier. What kind of message it now takes to choose who gives his body for the country? There are thousands of demolition orders for buildings of Arabs here in the region to be destroyed, such as Invalid mosque in the village of Burin, but the civil administration claims it has enough personnel. Apparently demolishing buildings of Jews who serve the state can allocate hundreds of fighters and use even by means of UAVs against us. אין ברירה, על התושבים ביישובים להתעורר בהקדם". There is no choice, residents in wake soon. "
ח"כ מיכאל בן ארי (איחוד לאומי) אמר, כי "רק הליכוד יכול לירות כדורי גומי על מתיישבים ולהמשיך להילחם ביהודים ולהחריב בתים. Michael Ben-Ari MK (National Union) said that "only the Likud can shoot rubber bullets to sit down and continue to fight the Jews and destroy homes. בזמן שההתנתקות הביאה עלינו גראדים בבאר שבע, עסוקים נתניהו ואהרונוביץ' בחורבן ובפגיעה חסרי תקדים במתיישבים. While the disengagement brought us Grads Beer Sheva, busy Netanyahu Aharonovitch unprecedented destruction and compromising the settlers. מה שרבין ואולמרט לא עשו עושה ממשלת ימין". What Olmert, Rabin did not do right-wing government. "
מארגון "נשים בירוק" נמסר: "אנו מוחים בתוקף על השימוש בכדורי גומי על ידי כוחות הביטחון נגד תושבי חוות גלעד. האחריות לפועים במקום מוטלת על ראש הממשלה נתניהו, שצריך להפסיק להסתתר מאחויר שר הביטחון ברק. את סופם של משטרים היורים על אזרחיהם אנו רואים במדינות סביבנו". Organization Women in Green said: "We protest strongly the use of rubber bullets by security forces against residents of the Gilad Farm. Bleating responsibility instead rests on Prime Minister Netanyahu, who must stop hiding Mahuer Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The end of the firing regimes on their citizens, we see countries around us. "
מוועד מתיישבי שומרון נמסר: "ההרס והאלימות בחוות גלעד הם מעשי התגרות של אהוד ברק במתיישבים כתגובה לדרישה בכנסת להפקיע ממנו את סמכויות מתן אישורי הבנייה וניסיון לשקם את מעמדו בשמאל, לאחר שהתברר שרשימתו תימחק בבחירות הבאות. ברק, כמו שאר שונאי ההתיישבות יישאר הערת שוליים בהיסטוריה היהודית". Vaad settlers of Samaria said: "Gilad Farm destruction and violence are acts of provocation in response to Ehud Barak and settlers to expropriate the Knesset demand from the construction permit granting authority and trying to rebuild his standing on the left, after learning his list is deleted the next election. Barak, like other enemies of the settlement will remain a footnote in history Jewish. "
קישורים: Links: via translate.googleusercontent.com
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