Archive for February, 2012

Why US officials talk about an Israeli attack

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Gossip about possible attacks on Iran’s nuclear program seems to be everywhere, including the top echelons of the US and Israeli governments. Michael Ledeen discusses the relative credibility of some of these statements here.

He believes that Iranian threats (to close the Strait of Hormuz or to attack American ships, for example) are mostly bluster.

He also suggests that predictions that Israel will attack Iran coming from official US sources (for example, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta) are directed at Iranian ears (additionally, President Obama has added to the pressure by issuing an order to freeze assets of the Iranian government in the US).

I think that there is more to the administration’s talkativeness than just pressuring Iran, unfortunately. It is for domestic consumption as well. There is no doubt that whatever happens this year, even if the struggle is entirely diplomatic, there will be a marked increase in the world oil price. Indeed, even if Iran does nothing, speculation that there will be some kind of conflict will make it happen.

This can’t help the US economy. Therefore it’s important to the administration, in this election year, to ensure that everyone knows that the crisis, whatever form it takes, is an Israeli problem. Any American action, anything that happens to the oil price, or even, in the event of war, to US assets in the Middle East, will be presented as related to the Israel-Iran conflict. This will make it possible for the administration to claim that it is pro-Israel now, while setting the stage to further pressure Israel to withdraw from the territories after the election.

Of course this is nonsense. An Iranian bomb is a huge problem for the Saudi royal family, who might lose their jobs. It is a huge problem for the Gulf states. It is a biggish problem for the Turkish regime, which would like to expand its influence or even become the ‘new Ottoman Empire‘. It is a problem for Europe, which will be exposed to  nuclear blackmail. And ultimately, it is a problem for the US, which the Iranian regime considers its main rival for regional domination, the Great Satan which it sees as the most important enemy of Islam in the world.

While the talk from Iran and the US may be partly misdirection, Israel is not bluffing. There is no doubt that the Israeli leadership cannot accept a nuclear Iran (or, indeed, a nuclear Egypt or Saudi Arabia). The Iranian commitment to destroying Israel and killing Jews is for real, whether in a nuclear war or by conventional means under a nuclear umbrella, and Israel takes the threat entirely seriously.

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The Prize

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
President Obama displays his Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama displays his Nobel Peace Prize

News item:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — Nobel Peace Prize officials were facing a formal inquiry over accusations they have drifted away from the prize’s original selection criteria by choosing such winners as President Barack Obama, as the nomination deadline for the 2012 awards closed Wednesday.

My immediate reaction was “about time!” — Obama, whatever you think of him, got the prize for his ideology, not for anything he did. After all, it was awarded only 11 months after his inauguration, and his nomination had to be submitted only 12 days after it. The official press release issued at that time said in part,

…the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. [my emphasis]

One gets the feeling that the Norwegians simply preferred his rhetoric to that of notorious unilateral cowboy George Bush.

So did they suddenly realize that they should have waited for actual results before throwing the Nobel at Obama?

Unfortunately not. The folks who found it in their hearts to let one of the most evil players on the international scene, a man guilty of causing the deaths of thousands and whose legacy of  murder continues today, Yasser Arafat, keep  his prize, still don’t seem to get it. Here’s the complaint against Obama’s Nobel:

The investigation comes after persistent complaints by a Norwegian peace researcher that the original purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations… [my emphasis]

Fredrik Heffermehl, a prominent researcher and critic of the selection process, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that “Nobel called it a prize for the champions of peace. And it’s indisputable that he had in mind the peace movement, i.e. the active development of international law and institutions, a new global order where nations safely can drop national armaments,” he said…

“Do you see Obama as a promoter of abolishing the military as a tool of international affairs?” Heffermehl asked rhetorically.

The problem for them is that Obama, who has already withdrawn from Iraq and is getting out of Afghanistan as rapidly as possible — arguably too rapidly — has not done enough. He has not decommissioned our nuclear deterrent, or forced Israel to give hers up. They almost certainly object to Obama’s use of drones to kill al-Qaeda elements in Pakistan, Yemen, etc. — one of the most precise methods there is to kill people that want to kill you with minimal damage to non-combatants (despite widely-publicized mistakes, there is no comparison to traditional warfare in this respect).

Of course, it is impossible to argue with those who simply cannot process the fact that there is evil in the world that has to be opposed by force. This is almost a religious belief for them, just as jihad is for our enemies.

Three years after, it’s clear that the non-military policies of the Obama Administration have pushed peace farther away. Its warmth toward radical Islamists in Turkey and Egypt, its lack of support for the Iranian Green Revolution, its extended efforts to engage Syria, its pressure on Israel to lift the blockade of Hamas, its attempts to force Israel into a dangerous surrender of strategic depth in return for nothing — all of these encouraged and empowered the radical Islamist forces that oppose the West, these same forces that the administration refuses to name out of political correctness!

So not only did President Obama not deserve the prize in 2009, he certainly does not deserve it now.

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Great Palestinians: Haj Amin al-Husseini

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Bosnian Muslim soldiers of the SS Khanjar Division, raised by Haj Amin al-Husseini, read a pamphlet entitled "Islam and Judaism" in 1943

Bosnian Muslim soldiers of the SS Khanjar Division, raised by Haj Amin al-Husseini, read a pamphlet entitled "Islam and Judaism" in 1943

In August 1929, the British-appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, accused Jews who wished to establish rights to pray at the Western Wall of planning to destroy the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. What else is new?

As a result, Arabs rioted and committed pogroms against Jews in such places as Tzfat, Hevron, Yafo, etc. A total of 133 Jews were murdered, and in Hebron the ancient Jewish community was entirely driven out. Husseini’s slogan “itbach al yahud” means “butcher the Jews.”

Al-Husseini — whom Yasser Arafat (probably falsely) claimed as an uncle — had tremendous influence among Palestinian Arabs from 1920 until he fled to Iraq in 1937. The vicious pogrom in Iraq in June 1941, called the Farhud, was partly due to his incitement.

The inspiration behind the coup, and the Farhud itself, came not from Baghdad, but Jerusalem. The Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, sought refuge in Iraq in 1939 with 400 Palestinian émigrés. Together, they whipped up local anti-Jewish feeling. An illiterate populace imbibed bigotry through Nazi radio propaganda. Days before the Farhud broke out, the Nazi youth movement, the Futuwa, went around daubing Jewish homes with a red palm print. Yunis al-Sabawi, who, together with the Mufti and Rashid Ali, spent the rest of the war in Berlin, instructed the Jews to stay in their homes so that they could more easily be rounded up. — Lyn Julius, “Farhud: a slaughter in Iraq

In November 1941 he met Hitler in Berlin, where he helped create a Waffen SS division of Bosnian Muslims to fight for the Reich in Eastern Europe. Here is an incredible video, including WWII German footage and narrated by historians Robert Wistrich and Sir Martin Gilbert, that describes al-Husseini’s service to the Nazis, and shows how the Mufti cross-pollinated Islamic and Nazi antisemitism (7m 55s):

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One of Husseini’s tasks for Hitler involved Arabic propaganda broadcasts to the Middle East:

The Nazi Arabic-language broadcasts were the result of a collaboration between officials in the German foreign ministry and pro-Nazi Arab exiles who found refuge from the British in Berlin, most notably Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the most important Palestinian religious and political figure of the era, and Rashid Ali al-Kilani, leader of a pro-Axis coup in Iraq in 1941, which was quickly reversed by the British military [but not before the Farhud — ed.]. Husseini’s and Kilani’s arrival in Berlin in 1941 provided the Axis with a rare asset: Arabs who could communicate Nazi ideas in colloquial, fluent, and passionate Arabic…

Following the arrival of Husseini and Kilani in Berlin, the broadcasts more skillfully integrated the Nazi perspective on World War II with themes of Arab nationalism, as well as rhetoric that we would now call fundamentalist or radical Islamic. On July 3, 1942, as Rommel’s Afrika Korps advanced toward El ‘Alamein, about 60 miles west of Alexandria, Egypt, a station called Berlin in Arabic announced that German and Italian forces were coming to “guarantee Egypt’s independence and sovereignty,” and “to liberate the whole of the Near East from the British yoke.” Husseini, who came on the air to celebrate Rommel’s “glorious victory,” declared that “the Axis powers are fighting against the common enemy, namely the British and the Jews.” …

At 8:15 p.m. on July 7, 1942, the Voice of Free Arabism played a remarkable program titled, “Kill the Jews Before They Kill You.” The broadcast began with a lie: “A large number of Jews residing in Egypt and a number of Poles, Greeks, Armenians, and Free French have been issued with revolvers and ammunition” to fight “against the Egyptians at the last moment, when Britain is forced to evacuate Egypt.” The broadcast continued:

“In the face of this barbaric procedure by the British we think it best, if the life of the Egyptian nation is to be saved, that the Egyptians rise as one man to kill the Jews before they have a chance of betraying the Egyptian people. It is the duty of the Egyptians to annihilate the Jews and to destroy their property. … You must kill the Jews, before they open fire on you. Kill the Jews, who have appropriated your wealth and who are plotting against your security. Arabs of Syria, Iraq, and Palestine, what are you waiting for? The Jews are planning to violate your women, to kill your children and to destroy you. According to the Muslim religion, the defense of your life is a duty which can only be fulfilled by annihilating the Jews. This is your best opportunity to get rid of this dirty race, which has usurped your rights and brought misfortune and destruction on your countries. Kill the Jews, burn their property, destroy their stores, annihilate these base supporters of British imperialism. Your sole hope of salvation lies in annihilating the Jews before they annihilate you.”

After the war, al-Husseini continued his work toward the extermination of the Jewish people. The British actually allowed him to return to Mandate Palestine, where he became head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jerusalem. Later he went to Cairo, where he was a key player in the ODESSA network that helped former SS war criminals escape, and in many cases find refuge in Arab countries. It’s said that his influence was partly responsible for the expulsions of Jews from Arab countries after 1948.

Husseini is still a hero to Palestinian Arabs. Of course Yasser Arafat referred to him often, and even Mahmoud Abbas praised him.

So much for the theory that Palestinian hatred and violence is caused by ‘occupation’!

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