Friday, April 20, 2007

'What war on terror?'

From Ted Belman at The American Daily

After Arabs had terrorized America on behalf of Arab causes, the Bush team refused to fight or even to indict any Arab entity at all ... [The Bush team] hasn’t even financed democratic movements in Iran to bring about regime change. Saudi Arabia continues to spread the Wahabbi doctrine of active Jihad throughout madrassas and mosques all over the world including in the US with nary a word from the US. Surely this puts the lie to the war on terror. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the engines of terror through out the world.

Arabs have 'nothing left to concede' if Israel spurns initiative

From UPI

A roundup of commentary from Arab newspapers April 19: An editorial in Saudi Arabia's Okaz said the "train" of the initiative had started to rumble forward after the Arabs had proved they are real "peace-seekers," desiring to end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all. "But the question is: Are the others serious in seeking peace? The others are not just Israel, which should be ready ... but all the other concerned parties, especially those who are addicted to" a biased stance, said the semi-official daily, in reference to the United States. The paper added that if Israel was neither interested, nor serious, nor ready now for a fair peace, the rest of the world should realize the Arabs "have nothing left to concede."

Gates Visit to Israel Viewed as Anti-Climax

From Barbara Opall-Rome at

Despite Gates’ positive public remarks regarding the importance of bilateral defense ties, Israeli officials here characterized the visit — the first by a U.S. defense secretary in nearly eight years — as disappointing. The Pentagon chief defended the U.S. administration’s intent to push through Congress an advanced arms package to Saudi Arabia that Israel opposes. He also was skeptical about the Israeli proposals for U.S. military assistance in halting arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza and also from Syria into Lebanon, sources here said.

Six Questions for Nicholas Shaxson on African Oil and American Foreign Policy

From Ken Silverstein at Harper's Magazine

What's driving the newfound American interest in African oil? Angola and Nigeria alone will account for nearly 1/2 of all the growth in OPEC output this year, and America is currently importing as much oil from [Angola and Nigeria] as it is from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Within five years or so, West Africa will probably account for a quarter of U.S. oil imports. Around the world, oil companies have been locked out of the best oil and gas provinces, from Venezuela to Russia to Iran. As Dick Cheney put it: “The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratic regimes friendly to the United States.” West Africa is mostly friendlier than Iran or Venezuela; its oil is mostly light and sweet—ideal for making motor fuels—and production is surging. It's hardly surprising the region is attracting a lot of American interest now.

Pakistani Taliban ready to shelter bin Laden


A Pakistani Taliban leader, who recently joined government forces to crush foreign militants near the border with Afghanistan, said on Friday he would shelter al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, if he requested help. Mullah Mohammed Nazir told reporters that he viewed bin Laden as an oppressed Muslim and was therefore obliged to provide refuge, despite his apparent support for the Islamabad government's efforts to expel foreign fighters from the area. The Saudi-born bin Laden is accused of sponsoring the hijacked airliner attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States, which killed more than 3,000 people. US intelligence suspects he may be sheltering in Pakistan's remote tribal areas together with other al-Qaeda leaders.

Virginia Tech and Islam

From Sheila Musaji at The American Muslim

The father of the Virginia Tech shooter worked in Saudi Arabia before he married and earned enough money to buy a business back in Korea. The supposed ‘similarity’ between Cho’s video and statements to some statements made by al Qaeda people ignores the fact that Cho also referred to Christian beliefs - “I die like Jesus Christ to inspire generations of defenseless people…” “Do you know what it feels like to be impaled upon a cross”. Muslims don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross. All of the supposed ‘connections’ with Islam or Muslims are nothing more than the ridiculous ramblings of bigots. This need to connect any violent act in some way with Islam or Muslims is becoming a mental sickness in some quarters.

Remarks by President Bush on the Global War on Terror

From the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House

THE PRESIDENT: Let me just talk about a couple of countries. One, Saudi Arabia. My friend, His Majesty, the King, kindly forgave 80% of the debt in the run-up to this conference; 80% of Saudi debt to Iraq was forgiven. That's a strong gesture. It's a gesture that I'm confident will spread goodwill in Iraq. And so the conference can be a success on that alone.

Growing Violence in Schools a Cause for Concern, Says Study

From Fatima Muhammad and Galal Fakar at Arab News

Teachers in the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] are horrified by what is happening and call on the authorities to provide them with protection. “This is something that seems to be increasing day by day. Some teachers suffered serious injuries and were left unconscious. Firm action needs to be taken and an example must be made of these pupils,” said Izuddeen Hafiz, a teacher at a secondary school in Jeddah ... A recent study conducted by two students under the supervision of Khadija Kaj Itani, an assistant professor at Effat College, showed that aggressive behavior is present at both intermediate and secondary schools, regardless of whether the schools are government-run, private or international ... Another high school pupil, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “The problem of violence in our schools will remain as long as teachers continue to beat kids. To save face and to prove that they are stronger, pupils naturally react aggressively. What goes around comes around.”

Shi’ite vs. Sunni?

From Conn Hallinan at Foreign Policy In Focus

In its campaign to divide and conquer, according to journalist Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration has ended up bolstering “Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” Hersh quotes Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, as saying, “The Middle East is heading into a serious Sunni-Shiite cold war. The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq; it’s doubling the bet across the region. This could get very complicated.” “Blowback” has already happened. As Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations wrote in The New York Times, “Who cannot remember that to contain the so-called ‘Shiite Crescent’ after the 1979 revolution, the extremism of the fundamentalist Salafi movement was nourished by the West—only to transform into Al-Qaeda and the Taliban? Why should the same policy in the same region procure any different results now?”

Yemen plan to check further rebellion

From Nasser Arrabyee at Gulf News

Salafi schools which are scattered throughout Yemen, are among the schools which the government wants to get rid of to check extremism. Al Houthi followers recently attacked a Salafi school in Sa'ada after accusing them of fighting with the government troops. Though the Salafis do not recognise the constitution or democracy, they call for obedience to President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was elected according to the constitution ...The rebels in Sa'ada in the north of Yemen are deceiving people and their leader Al Houthi is adopting the style of Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaida, said an official in Sanaa yesterday.

The Virginia Tech Shootings: “Do not grieve over the disbelievers”

From Abu Irsaad at The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge

As I was watching the reports of the shootings at the University of Virginia Tech, I noticed that the Kaafir reporter kept using the word, “Tragic.” So that got me to think a lot about the various “Tragedies” in recent American history. As wild as it may sound, I started laughing at this site. I laughed because America in itself is a tragedy to humanity ... No matter what anyone wishes to believe, these leaders in America represent the whole nation even if millions hate the leaders. If these millions really hate their leaders, then they must remove them immediately or simply leave the Country. We say to those Americans that hate their leaders: “If you truly hate your leader(s), and don’t do anything to remove them immediately, then know that the Lord of everything has said whatever strikes you of disaster - it is for what your hands have earned…” This is the essence of the pathetic “melting pot;” people do so much evil that they forget that they are not in a dream world.

British Minister Fails the War of Ideas

From Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog

When Jihadi cells grow and operate in London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, blow up undergrounds, conspire to destroy airliners over the Atlantic; when British authorities are now monitoring more than 1,200 potential future Terrorists across the isles; that is not a local police issue. When the Salafi Jihadists operate in Morocco, Algeria, India, Russia, Indonesia, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Holland, France, Canada and the United States, with one ideology, a focused identity, a global strategy and a set of coordinated moves ... These "groups" are not a collection of individuals engaged in personal quest for glory or banditry. The Jihadists who massacred British citizens on July 7, 2005 in London and those who are developing Terror cells throughout England and the rest of the World are members of an international army formed by Salafi ideologues who began their campaign in the 1920s, while the Khomeinist Jihadists joined the fray in the 1980s. They are not just seeking to "impose" values by personal acts, including violence; they are waging a war, a full fledged, carefully planned series of campaigns over the decades to crumble their foes and establish totalitarian regimes.

One dead, two wounded in Serb anti-terrorist raid

From Reuters

Police shot dead the leader of a suspected terrorist group in a dawn raid on a disused house in the mainly Muslim area of Sandzak in which two others were wounded, Serbian police said on Friday. A United Nations official in Kosovo, where Prentic was wanted for firearms offences, said Serb police 'believed that he, along with another person, was planning possible suicide bomb attacks on mosques in Novi Pazar'. Local media said the three suspects were Muslims belonging to what the media said was a fundamentalist Wahhabi sect.

Gaza: Christian Bookshop Bombed

From Elizabeth Kendal at ASSIST News Service

Two Internet cafes also were bombed on the night of 15 April. Around 40 Internet cafes and video stores have been targeted in the past few months. A self-appointed anti-vice squad calling itself 'The Swords of Islam' has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks. This is the same group believed to have kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston and in September 2006 threatened to bomb all churches and Christian institutions in Gaza in response to Pope Benedict's comments linking Islam with violence. Several possibly al Qaeda-linked, Taliban-type vigilante militias are now operating in Gaza, demanding and enforcing Islamisation along strict, purist Wahhabi lines. Ali Waked of Ynet news (Israel) comments that the signs of widespread radicalisation in Gaza are clear to see in strict dress codes and in virulent opposition to anything 'un-Islamic'.

Plain Tales from British India

From William Dalrymple at the NY Review of Books

Niall Ferguson's deeply controversial—if impressively eloquent—celebration of the British Empire and what he sees as its central role in the spread of capitalism, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, was first published in 2003, the same year that the US went into Iraq ... Partly as a result of Ferguson's work ... Academic discussions on Lawrence of Arabia's views on Iraq, the revolt of the Mahdi in Khartoum, the British Mandate in Palestine, and the Wahhabi Uprisings of the North-West Frontier have all taken on an entirely new importance as perspectives changed in the light of recent horrors in Baghdad, Falluja, Darfur, Gaza, and Kabul. Postcolonial studies were always a heavily politicized and angrily polemical academic field, but after September 11 they became a central focus of protest against American foreign policy ... The study of imperialism, in short, was suddenly about the present as much as the past.