Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Democrats want to make The Filthy Rich Dirt Poor

Gingrich's Speech in New Hampshire has apparently caused a firestorm with many calling him a racist. You decide, (See 1 below.)

Democrats may be hell bent on raising taxes because the "filthy" rich need to become dirt poor!

Who is the turkey? (See 2 below.)

And what of Syria. Barry Rubin is interviewed. (See 3 below.)

Another Rubin, Michael, blasts GW for failures and broken promises. (See 4 below.)

Something is beginning to work in Iraq. (See 5 below.)

I have repeatedly said I do not understand why we continually pull Muslim/Arab chestnuts out of the fire. (See 6 below.)

Dennis Praeger hails forth on Islamophobia and considers it a good term. (See 7 below)

More from Sen. Lieberman. (See 8 below.)


1) "While the West Sleeps"
Speech by Newt Gingrich

We better start talking about the shape of the table now because this country doesn't have the stomach to face what is coming!

Gingrich's Speech in New Hampshire has apparently caused a firestorm, with many calling Gingrich a racist. You decide……..

“...I want to talk about ...briefly ... the genuine danger of terrorism, in particular terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass murder, nuclear and biological weapons. And I want to suggest to you that right now we should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision and leadership that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of threat.

Let me give you two examples.

When the British this summer arrested people who were planning to blow up ten airliners in one day, they arrested a Muslim couple who were going to use their six month old baby in order to hide the bomb as baby milk.

Now, if I come to you tonight and say that there are people on the planet who hate you, and they are 15-25 year old males who are willing to die as long as they get to kill you, I've simply described the warrior culture which has been true historically for 6 or 7 thousand years.

But, if I come to you and say that there is a couple that hates you so
much that they will kill their six month old baby in order to kill you, I
am describing a level of ferocity, and a level of savagery beyond anything
we have tried to deal with.

And, what is truly frightening about the British experience is they
are arresting British citizens, born in Britain , speaking English, who went
to British schools, live in British housing, and have good jobs. Those
arrested represent a religious extremist culture that hates the Anglo Saxon
and western cultures.

This is a serious long term war, and it will inevitably lead us to
want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will
lead us to learn how to close down every website that is dangerous, and it
will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing
of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear or biological weapons.

And, my prediction to you is that either before we lose a city, or if
we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of
engagement that uses every technology we can find to break up their
capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free
speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from
recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to
destroy their lives while destroying us.

This is a serious problem that will lead to a serious debate about the first amendment, but I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to pro actively... develop the appropriate rules of engagement.

And, I further think that we should propose a Geneva convention for
fighting terrorism which makes very clear that those who would fight
outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction,
and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally
different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating
barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous.

This is a sober topic, but I think it is a topic we need a national
dialogue about, and we need to get ahead of the curve rather than wait
until actually we...lose a city which could literally happen within
the next decade if we are unfortunate.

So this is a very sober description of the Islamic terrorist threat
facing us. We are NOW at war with a culture that wants not to take over
our land, but to KILL us... all-non Muslims, especially Americans and

We must not put our heads in the sand and hope this is not true.

It is true and we cannot allow it to happen.

Maybe this is why Pres. Bush is so bull headed about the War?

Could it be so many people see Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan as the
trees but miss seeing the Islamic Movement as the Forest ?

I hope Bush is wrong, but I am afraid he is right.”

2) Nancy Pelosi condemned the new record highs of the stock market as
"just another example of Bush policies helping the rich get richer".
"First Bush cut taxes for the rich and the economy has rebounded with
new record low unemployment rates, which only means wealthy employers
are getting even wealthier at the expense of the underpaid working class".

She went on to say "Despite the billions of dollars being spent in
Iraq our economy is still strong and government tax revenues are at
all time highs. What this really means is that business is exploiting
the war effort and working Americans, just to put money in their own pockets".

When questioned about recent stock market highs she responded "Only
the rich benefit from these record highs. Working Americans, welfare
recipients, the unemployed and minorities are not sharing in these
obscene record highs". "There is no question these windfall profits
and income created by the Bush administration need to be taxed at 100%
rate and those dollars redistributed to the poor and working class".
"Profits from the stock market do not reward the hard work of our
working class who, by their hard work, are responsible for generating
these corporate profits that create stock market profits for the rich.

We in congress will need to address this issue to either tax these
profits or to control the stock market to prevent this unearned income
to flow to the rich."

When asked about the fact that over 80% of all Americans have
investments in mutual funds, retirement funds, 401K's, and the stock
market she replied "That may be true, but probably only 5% account for
90% of all these investment dollars. That's just more "trickle down"
economics claiming that if a corporation is successful that everyone
from the CEO to the floor sweeper benefit from higher wages and job
security which is ridiculous". "How much of this 'trickle down' ever
get to the unemployed and minorities in our county? None, and that's
the tragedy of these stock market highs."

"We democrats are going to address this issue after the election when
we take control of the congress. We will return to the 60% to 80% tax
rates on the rich and we will be able to take at least 30% of all
current lower Federal Income Tax tax payers off the roles and increase
government income substantially. We need to work toward the goal of
equalizing income in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest."

When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied: "We
need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and
minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal
immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of
unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a
long ways to guarantee these people the standard of living they would
like to have as "Americans".

2)The Geopolitics of Turkey
By George Friedman

Rumors are floating in Washington and elsewhere that Turkey is preparing to move against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an anti-Turkish group seeking an independent Kurdistan in Turkey. One report, by Robert Novak in the Washington Post, says the United States is planning to collaborate with Turkey in suppressing the PKK in northern Iraq, an area the PKK has used as a safe-haven and launch pad to carry out attacks in Turkey.

The broader issue is not the PKK, but Kurdish independence. The Kurds are a distinct ethnic group divided among Turkey, Iran, Iraq and, to a small extent, Syria. The one thing all of these countries have agreed on historically is they have no desire to see an independent Kurdistan. Even though each has, on occasion, used Kurdish dissidents in other countries as levers against those countries, there always has been a regional consensus against a Kurdish state.

Therefore, the news that Turkey is considering targeting the PKK is part of the broader issue. The evolution of events in Iraq has created an area that is now under the effective governance of the Iraqi Kurds. Under most scenarios, the Iraqi Kurds will retain a high degree of autonomy. Under some scenarios, the Kurds in Iraq could become formally independent, creating a Kurdish state. Besides facing serious opposition from Iraq's Sunni and Shiite factions, that state would be a direct threat to Turkey and Iran, since it would become, by definition, the nucleus of a Kurdish state that would lay claim to other lands the Kurds regard as theirs.

This is one of the reasons Turkey was unwilling to participate in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Americans grew close to the Kurds in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, helping augment the power of an independent militia, the peshmerga, that allowed the Iraqi Kurds to carve out a surprising degree of independence within Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The Turks were never comfortable with this policy and sent troops into Iraq in the 1990s to strike against the PKK and pre-empt any moves toward more extensive autonomy. Before the war started in 2003, however, the Turks turned down a U.S. offer to send troops into northern Iraq in exchange for allowing the United States to use Turkish territory to launch into Iraq. This refusal caused Turkey to lose a great deal of its mobility in the region.

The Turks, therefore, are tremendously concerned by the evolution of events in Iraq. Whether northern Iraq simply evolves into an autonomous region in a federal Iraq or becomes an independent state as Iraq disintegrates is almost immaterial. It will become a Kurdish homeland and it will exist on the Turkish border. And that, from the Turkish point of view, represents a strategic threat to Turkey.

Turkey, then, is flexing its muscles along the Iraqi border. Given that Turkey did not participate in the 2003 invasion, the American attitude toward Ankara has been complex, to say the least. On one hand, there was a sense of being let down by an old ally. On the other hand, given events in Iraq and U.S. relations with Iran and Syria, the United States was not in a position to completely alienate a Muslim neighbor of Iraq.

As time passed and the situation in Iraq worsened, the Americans became even less able to isolate Turkey. That is partly because its neutrality was important and partly because the United States was extremely concerned about Turkish reactions to growing Kurdish autonomy. For the Turks, this was a fundamental national security issue. If they felt the situation were getting out of hand in the Kurdish regions, they might well intervene militarily. At a time when the Kurds comprised the only group in Iraq that was generally pro-American, the United States could hardly let the Turks mangle them.

On the other hand, the United States was hardly in a position to stop the Turks. The last thing the United States wanted was a confrontation with the Turks in the North, for military as well as political reasons. Yet, the other last thing it wanted was for other Iraqis to see that the United States would not protect them.

Stated differently, the United States had no solution to the Turkish-Kurdish equation. So what the United States did was a tap dance -- by negotiating a series of very temporary solutions that kept the Turks from crossing the line and kept the Kurds intact. The current crisis is over the status of the PKK in northern Iraq and, to a great degree, over Turkish concerns that Iraqi Kurds will gain too much autonomy, not to mention over concerns about the future status of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The United States may well be ready to support the Turks in rooting out PKK separatists, but it is not prepared to force the Iraqi Kurds to give them up. So it will try to persuade them to give them up voluntarily. This negotiating process will buy time, though at this point the American strategy in Iraq generally has been reduced to buying time.

All of this goes beyond the question of Iraq or an independent Kurdistan. The real question concerns the position of Turkey as a regional power in the wake of the Iraq war. This is a vital question because of Iran. The assumption we have consistently made is that, absent the United States, Iran would become the dominant regional power and would be in a position, in the long term, to dominate the Arabian Peninsula, shifting not only the regional balance of power but also potentially the global balance as well.

That analysis assumes that Turkey will play the role it has played since World War I -- an insular, defensive power that is cautious about making alliances and then cautious within alliances. In that role, Turkey is capable of limited assertiveness, as against the Greeks in Cyprus, but is not inclined to become too deeply entangled in the chaos of the Middle Eastern equation -- and when it does become involved, it is in the context of its alliance with the United States.

That is not Turkey's traditional role. Until the fall of the Ottomans at the end of World War I, and for centuries before then, Turkey was both the dominant Muslim power and a major power in North Africa, Southeastern Europe and the Middle East. Turkey was the hub of a multinational empire that as far back as the 15th century dominated the Mediterranean and Black seas. It was the economic pivot of three continents, facilitating and controlling the trading system of much of the Eastern Hemisphere.

Turkey's contraction over the past 90 years or so is not the normal pattern in the region, and had to do with the internal crisis in Turkey since the fall of the Ottomans, the emergence of French and British power in the Middle East, followed by American power and the Cold War, which locked Turkey into place. During the Cold War, Turkey was trapped between the Americans and Soviets, and expansion of its power was unthinkable. Since then, Turkey has been slowly emerging as a key power.

One of the main drivers in this has been the significant growth of the Turkish economy. In 2006, Turkey had the 18th highest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, and it has been growing at between 5 percent and 8 percent a year for more than five years. It ranks just behind Belgium and ahead of Sweden in GDP. It has the largest economy of any Muslim country -- including Saudi Arabia. And it has done this in spite of, or perhaps because of, not having been admitted to the European Union. While per capita GDP lags, it is total GDP that measures weight in the international system. China, for example, is 109th in per capita GDP. Its international power rests on it being fourth in total GDP.

Turkey is not China, but in becoming the largest Muslim economy, as well as the largest economy in the eastern Mediterranean, Southeastern Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus and east to the Hindu Kush, Turkey is moving to regain its traditional position of primacy in the region. Its growth is still fragile and can be disrupted, but there is no question that it has become the leading regional economy, as well as one of the most dynamic. Additionally, Turkey's geographic position greatly enables it to become Europe's primary transit hub for energy supplies, especially at a time when Europe is trying to reduce its dependence on Russia.

This obviously has increased its regional influence. In the Balkans, for example, where Turkey historically has been a dominant power, the Turks have again emerged as a major influence over the region's two Muslim states -- and have managed to carve out for themselves a prominent position as regards other countries in the region as well. The country's economic dynamism has helped reorient some of the region away from Europe, toward Turkey. Similarly, Turkish economic influence can be felt elsewhere in the region, particularly as a supplement to its strategic relationship with Israel.

Turkey's problem is that in every direction it faces, its economic expansion is blocked by politico-military friction. So, for example, its influence in the Balkans is blocked by its long-standing friction with Greece. In the Caucasus, its friction with Armenia limits its ability to influence events. Tensions with Syria and Iraq block Syrian influence to the south. To the east, a wary Iran that is ideologically opposed to Turkey blocks Ankara's influence.

As Turkey grows, an interesting imbalance has to develop. The ability of Greece, Armenia, Syria, Iraq and Iran to remain hostile to Turkey decreases as the Turkish economy grows. Ideology and history are very real things, but so is the economic power of a dynamic economy. As important, Turkey's willingness to accept its highly constrained role indefinitely, while its economic -- and therefore political -- influence grows, is limited. Turkey's economic power, coupled with its substantial regional military power, will over time change the balance of power in each of the regions Turkey faces.

Not only does Turkey interface with an extraordinary number of regions, but its economy also is the major one in each of those regions, while Turkish military power usually is pre-eminent as well. When Turkey develops economically, it develops militarily. It then becomes the leading power -- in many regions. That is what it means to be a pivotal power.

In 2003, the United States was cautious with Turkey, though in the final analysis it was indifferent. It no longer can be indifferent. The United States is now in the process of planning the post-Iraq war era, and even if it does retain permanent bases in Iraq -- dubious for a number of reasons -- it will have to have a regional power to counterbalance Iran. Iran has always been aware of and cautious with Turkey, but never as much as now -- while Turkey is growing economically and doing the heavy lifting on the Kurds. Iran does not want to antagonize the Turks.

The United States and Iran have been talking -- just recently engaging in seven hours of formal discussions. But Iran, betting that the United States will withdraw from Iraq, is not taking the talks as seriously as it might. The United States has few levers to use against Iran. It is therefore not surprising that it has reached out to the biggest lever.

In the short run, Turkey, if it works with the United States, represents a counterweight to Iran, not only in general, but also specifically in Iraq. From the American point of view, a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq would introduce a major force native to the region that certainly would give Iran pause in its behavior in Iraq. This would mean the destruction of Kurdish hopes for independence, though the United States has on several past occasions raised and then dashed Kurdish hopes. In this sense, Novak's article makes a great deal of sense. The PKK would provide a reasonable excuse for a Turkish intervention in Iraq, both in the region and in Turkey. Anything that blocks the Kurds will be acceptable to the Turkish public, and even to Iran.

It is the longer run that is becoming interesting, however. If the United States is not going to continue counterbalancing Iran in the region, then it is in Turkey's interest to do so. It also is increasingly within Turkey's reach. But it must be understood that, given geography, the growth of Turkish power will not be confined to one direction. A powerful and self-confident Turkey has a geographical position that inevitably reflects all the regions that pivot around it.

For the past 90 years, Turkey has not played its historic role. Now, however, economic and politico-military indicators point to Turkey's slow reclamation of that role. The rumors about Turkish action against the PKK have much broader significance. They point to a changing role for Turkey -- and that will mean massive regional changes over time.

3) Barry Rubin is the Director of Global Research for International Affairs Center of The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. His latest book is entitled "The Truth About Syria"

Rubin was recently interviewed and here is a brief overview.

Question: How has Assad managed to survive?

Answer: It has failed to provide a better life for its citizens, to defeat Israel and to unify the Arab world but yes, it has survived. It has done so through ruthless ideology, authoritarianism, building of hatred and scapegoating. It need Israel to survive - conflict is its main asset.

Question: Golan is not a priority?

Answer: If Syria were given the Golan back the next day its situation would not change and then the people would begin to ask questions about their plight about their lack of democracy, lack of free speech and why so much money is spent on the military.

Peace in the region makes Israel a normal player and enhances the influence of America. This is not in Syria's best interest as Assad sees it.

Question Why does Syria matter so much?

Answer: Because it can and is causing trouble in Lebanon. Its threats and violence is paying off as the Western World offers concessions etc.

Question: Is there a benefit to engaging Syria?

Answer: No, because they know how to play the game and though they talk they want to engage they are simply trying to avoid the Hariri Trial because it will expose some of their most senior leaders to examination and possible conviction for criminal acts etc.

Question" Can Syria be drawn away from Iran?

Answer: Probably not because Syria needs what they receive from Iran and they also continually bleed Lebanon. Syria produces nothing and sells even less. It also gets Iranian protection from the U.S. and Israel. Finally, it receives Islamist cover from its own population. All the West can offer is commercial investment but that means opening up the Syrian economy and that would probably bring down Assad and for sure loosen his control over the nation.

Question: How should America approach Syria?

Answer: Through touch diplomacy and be told the U.S. will not engage until it changes its policy and Israel will not engage either until Assad does something to stop terrorism.

4) Michael Rubin on Bush's soft policy towards PKK, Palestinians: Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy: President Bush's Broken Promises
by Michael Rubin

During his last 18 months in office, President Bush confronts a broader set
of international crises than in his first 18 months. While pundits blame
unilateralism and the Iraq war, the deterioration of Washington's relations
with once-staunch allies has less to do with a lack of diplomacy and more to
do with its kind.

Too often, the administration has sacrificed long-term credibility for
short-term calm. Take Turkey. At the June 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul,
President Bush promised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the
U.S. military would shut down Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorists in
Iraq. He did not. Three years later, the Turks no longer trust U.S. promises
and may send their army into Iraqi Kurdistan.

Already the damage to U.S. prestige is severe. Once among America's closest
allies, Turkey, according to a Pew Global Attitudes Project poll last month,
is the most anti-American country in the world. Only 9% of Turks have a
favorable impression of the U.S.; 83% hold the opposite view. Most blame
U.S. inaction against the PKK.

On June 24, 2002, Mr. Bush declared, "The United States will not support the
establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained
fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." Less than
a year later the State Department reversed course, eliminating the cessation
of terror as a precondition for engagement. Palestinian terrorism grew.

While the White House condemns Hamas terrorism, Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, to which Mr. Bush promised a half billion
dollars in July, is equally culpable. A year ago Fatah's military wing
threatened to "strike at the economic and civilian interests of these
countries [the U.S. and Israel], here and abroad," and it claimed
responsibility for a rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot in June.

Empty promises of accountability encourage terror by diminishing the costs
of its embrace.

While terrorists benefit, Arab liberals pay the price for the president's
rhetorical reversals. His promise in the second inaugural speech to "support
the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and
culture" rings hollow as Egyptian police beat, arrest and sodomize
protestors rallying to demand the rule of law.

Mr. Bush has yet to act on his promise to resolve the case of Palestinian
banker Issam Abu Issa, whose visa the State Department revoked in February
2004 as he prepared to testify before the House Financial Services Committee
on Palestinian Authority corruption. Nor has the president fulfilled a
promise to demand the release of Libyan dissident Fathi Eljahmi, imprisoned
by Moammar Ghadafi since March 2004. State Department officials say
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit the Libyan dictator this
autumn, regardless of Mr. Jahmi's fate.

On June 5, 2007, Mr. Bush endorsed the Prague Declaration, which calls upon
governments to instruct diplomats "to actively and openly seek out meetings
with political prisoners and dissidents committed to building free societies
through non-violence," and announced that he'd tasked Secretary Rice to
implement it. U.S. embassies in the Middle East have yet to reach out to any
dissident or political prisoner.

Increasingly, friends view Washington as an unreliable ally; foes conclude
the U.S. is a paper tiger. This latter conclusion may transform broken
promises into a national security nightmare.

Way back in April 2001, the president established a moral redline when he
declared that the U.S. would do "whatever it took to help Taiwan defend
herself" in the face of Chinese aggression. But amid Beijing's steady
military build-up, Mr. Bush stood in the Oval Office beside Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao and condemned Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for holding a
referendum on missile defense. Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Bush has yet to
send a single cabinet-level official to demonstrate commitment to the island
nation. Such contradictions may raise doubt in Beijing and encourage Chinese
officials to test U.S. resolve.

After promising Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in May 2003 that
Washington would "not settle for anything less than the complete, verifiable
and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons program," Mr. Bush
directed his administration to do just that. Despite the administration's
self-congratulations over its ephemeral deal with North Korea in February of
this year, the fact remains that, against its allies' wishes, Washington
acquiesced to Pyongyang's continued custody of its reactor and nuclear
weapons. This broken promise is guaranteed to haunt the next U.S.

Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy. Addressing
crises with insincere promises is as counterproductive as treating a
hemorrhagic fever with a band-aid. Empty promises exacerbate crises. They do
not solve them. While farsighted in his vision, it is the president's
failure to abide by his word that will most shape his foreign policy legacy.
It would be ironic if he justifies the "Bush lied, people died" rhetoric of
protestors across the White House lawn in Lafayette Park, though not for the
reasons they believe.

5) Methods That Work in Iraq
By Frederick J. Chiaventone

The United States is now employing our former enemies to fight Al-Qaeda. This new approach, especially noticeable in the provinces of Anbar and Diyala, is paying off. We shouldn't be surprised. History has ample precedent.

A number of former enemies - Sunni and Shi'a groups - of the American presence in Iraq have already signed on and are guided by three simple rules: they must promise to stop fighting American forces; agree to attack Al-Qaeda forces; and finally, begin a gradual rapprochement and cooperation with Iraqi military and police forces.

Bringing former insurgents into the fold is a mark not only of progress but of sound, practical thinking, a good grasp of historical precedent, and a much better understanding of local politics. Pols everywhere agree: all politics is local.

U.S. commanders have in fact realized that the best weapon against a guerrilla is frequently a former guerrilla. Except to the political naifs who get their history lessons from Showtime this is not a new concept, but one which has been used by the U.S. Army -- indeed by a number of armies -- in the past, and frequently with remarkable success.

When the fascist government in Italy finally collapsed, some of the fiercest fighters on the Allied side were Italian soldiers who but weeks before had fought alongside their German counterparts. The Italians, however, had come to fear and loathe their Nazi allies. It hadn't taken too long for them to realize who their real enemies were. Eager to come to blows with their former oppressors they sought to fight alongside Allied forces. Allied leadership was practical enough to recognize the potential contributions of Italian fighters. Rather than disarm these former enemies or shift them to the sidelines, we took strategic and tactical advantage of our new allies' hard won experience, their intimate knowledge of Wehrmacht operations, and their enthusiasm to pay back their Nazi overlords.

Payback is by no means a new concept. When Hernando Cortez conquered what is now Mexico he never had more than 500 Spanish soldiers under his command. Certainly the horses, steel swords and primitive muskets gave the Spaniards a limited advantage, but even these would have been fairly useless in confronting an enemy numbering literally in the tens of thousands. Instead, Cortez quickly realized that while the Aztecs were the big dog on the block, they had not made any friends in the region. Arrogant to a fault, rapacious and brutal to neighboring tribes, the Aztec Empire looted and murdered its neighbors without compunction. They herded thousands of captured subjects back to Tenotchtitlan for the sole purpose of butchering them to appease bloodthirsty gods. (Does the behavioral pattern sound familiar?) When the Spaniards arrived they were delighted to welcome the thousands upon thousands of local tribesmen who flocked to their banners in the hope of getting back at their Aztec overlords. This approach worked to a fault. In record time the vaunted and vicious Aztec Empire ceased to exist.

American soldiers in the field were quick to recognize the potential of the disenchanted and yet fierce members of Native American warrior sects. The majority of scouts for the US Army during the extensive Sioux Wars of the 1870's through 1890's for example were not, as Hollywood might have us believe, United States soldiers. Instead they were largely Arikara, Shoshone, Pawnee, Winnebago, and Crow scouts. All of these indigenous people knew and hated the Sioux. The Sioux were fellow Indians to be sure, but not well loved by those who by necessity or tradition lived near them. It was a group of Shoshone and Crow scouts who in June of 1876 first discovered and then blunted a massive assault by Crazy Horse's warriors on Brigadier General George Crook's encampment along the Rosebud. A week later, George Custer would use Crow and Arikara scouts to discover a large encampment of Sioux led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Unfortunately for him and many of his men Custer would dismiss the Crow's declaration that the camp contained "...more warriors than you have bullets." A cavalier disregard of his scouts' advice proved disastrous in this event.

The following year the Sioux themselves would actually volunteer to track and fight the Nez Perces. And in later years General George Crook would be faced with the task of bringing to bay Geronimo's fierce marauding Apaches. No pushovers, Crook described the Apaches as "the tigers of the human species." Knowing the difficulties facing him Crook quickly enlisted the aid of other Apache warriors as scouts. It was the Apache scouts who finally located and brought Geronimo to bay. They knew the enemy and the terrain intimately. Apaches would continue to serve as scouts for the Army as a separate unit until as late as 1942. In almost every significant case, throughout the Indian wars it was the Indian Scouts who led American forces to the enemy in question.

We should keep this in mind when congressmen and news commentators begin to question a military use of former guerrillas against Al-Qaeda or the Mahdi Army. Perhaps it has taken us some time to relearn the lessons of history but this may just be the approach that our commitment to Iraq requires. Our newly acquired allies have learned their lessons the hard way. They have come to realize that the true enemies of Iraq and the Iraqi people are not American GIs -- instead they are fanatical Saudis, Syrians, Egyptians, Chechens, Palestinians and Iranians who have come to feed their blood thirsty gods with the bodies of Iraqis. Or they are criminals and murderers who thrive on the chaos of war at the expense of those who would work and live in peace rather than raise their children in a climate of fear and death.

What we must now strive to do is to not repeat our past grievous errors. Most Native American Indian scouts were woefully treated after they had served honorably and well. Disarmed, abused, returned to reservations, their treatment amounts to nothing less than a national disgrace. In our own history General Crook, in a rare display of integrity, resigned his commission when his promises to his Apache scouts were broken by a duplicitous government in Washington.

But I don't worry about the generals, it's the politicians who bear careful watching.

6) 'Our men would surrender if the war lasted 10 more days'

"The cease-fire acted as a life jacket for the organization [at the end of the Second Lebanon War]," a Hizbullah officer said in an interview aired by Channel 10 on Tuesday.

In the interview, the unnamed officer said Hizbullah gunmen would have surrendered if the fighting last summer had continued for another 10 days.

His statement sharply contrasted with those made by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah on several occasions since the monthlong war.

At the end of the war, Nasrallah said his organization had gained a "divine victory."

The officer shown on Channel 10 said the organization's gunmen had been running low on food and water and facing rapidly diminishing arms supplies.

The officer also said that many Hizbullah commanders were ordered to hide before the war started, and that the gunmen who remained were forced to fire Katyusha rockets from inside urban populations because of the IDF's efficiency in destroying launchers minutes after a launch had been detected.

He said that when the gunmen relocated to cities and villages, they knew innocent civilians would be hurt as a consequence.

The quick arrival of IAF jets at rocket-launch sites, sometimes only four to five minutes after a Katyusha was fired, "surprised" Hizbullah, the officer said.

7) Why ‘Islamophobia’ is a brilliant term
By Dennis Prager

What do anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia have in common?

In fact, nothing.

But according to Islamist groups, Western media and the United Nations, they have everything in common. Anti-Semites hate all Jews, racists hate all members of another race, and Islamophobes hates all Muslims.

Whoever coined the term "Islamophobia" was quite shrewd. Notice the intellectual sleight of hand here. The term is not "Muslim-phobia" or "anti-Muslimist," it is Islam-ophobia — fear of Islam — yet fear of Islam is in no way the same as hatred of all Muslims. One can rightly or wrongly fear Islam, or more usually, aspects of Islam, and have absolutely no bias against all Muslims, let alone be a racist.

The equation of Islamophobia with racism is particularly dishonest. Muslims come in every racial group, and Islam has nothing to do with race. Nevertheless, mainstream Western media, Islamist groups calling themselves Muslim civil liberties groups and various Western organizations repeatedly declare that Islamophobia is racism.

To cite three of innumerable examples: The Guardian published an opinion piece titled, "Islamophobia should be as unacceptable as racism"; the European Union has established the European Monitoring Center for Racism and Xenophobia; and the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission of Australia notes that "Muslims have also been the target of racism in Australia, often referred to as Islamophobia."

Even granting that there are people who fear Islam, how does that in any way correlate with racism? If fear of an ideology rendered one racist, all those who fear conservatism or liberalism should be considered racist.

Of course, some may argue that whereas conservatism and liberalism are ideas, Islam is a religion, and while one can attack ideas, one must not attack religions. It is, however, quite insulting to religions to deny that they are ideas. Religions are certainly more than ideas — they are theological belief systems — but they are also ideas about how society should be run just as much as liberalism and conservatism are. Therefore, Islam, or Christianity, or Judaism, or Buddhism should be just as subject to criticism as conservatism or liberalism.

However, the only religion the West permits criticism of is Christianity. People write books, give lectures and conduct seminars on the falsity of Christian claims, or on the immoral record of Christianity, and no one attacks them for racism or bigotry, let alone attacks them physically. The head of the Anti-Defamation League announces that conservative Christians are the greatest threat to America today, and no one charges him with racism or Christianophobia.

The statement may be an expression of hysteria and of ignorance, but not of racism. But if one says that Islam does not appear compatible with democracy or that the Islamic treatment of women is inferior to the West's, he or she is labeled a racist Islamophobe.

One might counter that maligning people for criticism is not only true of those who criticize Islam, it is also true of critics of Israel and of America — the former, it is said, are immediately labeled "anti-Semitic" and the latter are immediately labeled "unpatriotic." Neither is true at all. Both are, and I use this word rarely, lies.

No one is labeled anti-Semitic for merely criticizing Israel. People are labeled anti-Semitic for denying Israel's right to exist, for siding with those who wish to exterminate it or for singling out the Jewish state alone among all the nations of the world for attacks that most other countries deserve far more.

And no one in any responsible capacity has called anyone "unpatriotic" just for criticizing America. Sen. Hillary Clinton claimed during the last Democratic presidential debate that the Defense Department called her "unpatriotic" for asking whether the Defense Department has a plan to withdraw American troops from Iraq. Yet the term "unpatriotic" was not only not used in the response to the senator, it was not even hinted at.

The fact remains that the term "Islamophobia" has one purpose — to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam. And given the cowardice of the Western media, and the collusion of the left in banning any such criticism (while piling it on Christianity and Christians), it is working.

Latest proof: This past week a man in New York was charged with two felonies for what is being labeled the hate crime of putting a Koran in a toilet at Pace College. Not misdemeanors, mind you, felonies. Meanwhile, the man who put a crucifix in a jar of urine continues to have his artwork — "Piss Christ" — displayed at galleries and museums. A Koran in a toilet is a hate crime; a crucifix in pee is a work of art. Thanks in part to that brilliant term, "Islamophobia."

9) Lieberman escalates attack on Iraq critics
By Manu Raju
Ever since Connecticut Democrats refused to back him for a fourth term in Congress, Joe Lieberman has been burnishing his independent credentials in the narrowly divided Senate while becoming increasingly critical of the Democratic Party on the war in Iraq.

Lieberman, the Democrats’ 2000 vice presidential nominee, insists he is not actively considering joining the Republican Party. But he is keeping that possibility wide open as his disenchantment grows with Democratic leaders. The main sticking points are their attempts to end the war in Iraq and their hesitation to take a harder line against Iran.

“I think either [Democrats] are, in my opinion, respectfully, naïve in thinking we can somehow defeat this enemy with talk, or they’re simply hesitant to use American power, including military power,” Lieberman said in a wide-ranging interview with The Hill.

“There is a very strong group within the party that I think doesn’t take the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously enough.”

Lieberman says he is annoyed by the mudslinging on Capitol Hill and Democrats’ unwillingness to work with President Bush. But his critics say he has contributed to that polarization by his rhetoric and refusal to compel Bush to find a new way forward in Iraq.

As Lieberman sees it, however, the Democratic Party has slipped away from its “most important and successful times” of the middle of last century, where it was tough on Communism and progressive on domestic policy.

“I fear that some people take this position also because anything President Bush is for, they’ll be against, and that’s wrong,” said Lieberman, a staunch advocate of the war. “There’s a great tradition in our history of partisanship generally receding when it comes to foreign policy. But for the moment we’ve lost that.”

Even though he did not reclaim his Senate seat as a Democrat, Lieberman has been instrumental in two bills this Congress central to the 2006 Democratic campaign platform: an ethics and lobbying overhaul bill and a measure to implement recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. The 9/11 bill cleared Congress last week, and the ethics bill could win final approval this week before lawmakers adjourn for August recess.

But if Lieberman seems blunt about the direction of the Democratic Party, it may stem from his loss last August in the primaries to businessman Ned Lamont, who wooed Democratic voters with his anti-war platform. Lieberman calls his ensuing victory in the general election as an independent “inspiring.” And remaining an independent has freed him to repeatedly buck the Democratic leadership on foreign policy and other legislative issues.

“Now that he knows he can win as an independent, he doesn’t need the Democrats at all,” said Kenneth Dautrich, a professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut. “I think it’s absolutely emboldened him.”

Lieberman was the only non-Republican in June to vote against Democratic efforts to pass a resolution expressing no confidence on embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He has no plans to endorse a Democrat for president, including the senior senator from his home state, Christopher Dodd, and is open to backing a Republican candidate for president. Lieberman also startled Democrats when he lent his support to the re-election bid of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a top target of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

During this month’s Iraq debate, Lieberman was working behind the scenes strategizing with Republicans and was front-and-center in several GOP press conferences denouncing Democratic tactics to push for an end to the war.

Lieberman was the lone non-Republican to vote against Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) efforts to shut down debate on an amendment to bring troops home by next April. (Reid voted against the cloture motion to file a similar motion at a later time.) Lieberman was also alone when he joined 40 Republicans in voting to kill an amendment by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to extend the time between troop deployments in Iraq.

“I’m disappointed that I am in so small a minority among Senate Democrats in taking the position that I have,” Lieberman said.

But even as he has played a key role on some of their top domestic initiatives, Democrats have at times kept their distance from Lieberman. Last week, for instance, Reid held a press conference with several Democrats to tout their efforts to pass the 9/11 Commission bill and a homeland-security spending plan. Lieberman, the lead Senate negotiator on the measure and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was conspicuously absent.

Reid said it was not intentional to leave Lieberman out of the press conference, but Lieberman said not being invited was “surprising.”

The distance that Democratic leaders appear to be keeping from Lieberman could result from the animosity that the Democrats’ anti-war base has directed toward him. That criticism intensified even more last month, when he suggested military intervention against the Iranian government.

“He used to have a heart and soul, and he used to care about people,” said Leslie Angeline, an activist with the anti-war group Code Pink, who held a 24-day hunger strike until she could meet with Lieberman about his position on Iran.
Angeline is facing an unlawful entry charge after she refused to leave Lieberman’s office during her strike.

Even though Lieberman has become a lightning rod on the left, his prominent chairmanship and influence within the Democratic caucus is safe, for now, given the Democrats’ razor-thin majority. Analysts say if Democrats increase their Senate majority from the 2008 elections, Lieberman’s influence and role could be marginalized within the caucus.

Still, Lieberman is unfazed and says he has no intention of formally rejoining the Democratic Party.

“For now, I find being an independent more fun,” Lieberman said. “The partisanship in this place is out of control. As an independent I’ve got the opportunity to speak out against that.”

Excerpts from The Hill’s interview with Sen. Lieberman
The Hill: How long do you see U.S. troops staying in Iraq?

Lieberman: I think some troops will be there for quite a while to secure the country, particularly from external threats. Look, I hope that this surge, which has always intended to be temporary, gets to a point sometime next year where it has succeeded enough in quelling the sectarian violence, particularly so that some of the troops that were part of the surge begin to come home. But my direct answer is that there is no explicit answer. The answer is that the troops will come home when the mission is completed.

The Hill: Obviously, a lot of Democrats don’t feel that way.

Lieberman: I’ve noticed that.

The Hill: How dissatisfied are you with you right now with the way this debate has been handled in the Senate, especially during the defense authorization bill debate?

Lieberman: I’m disappointed that I am in so small a minority among Senate Democrats in taking the position that I have. While I obviously understand and respect that Iraq is a difficult issue, and people take different points of views, I’m surprised and disappointed that the split has followed partisan lines so much. It shouldn’t be.

The Hill: Some of this criticism might seem surprising from someone who was the vice presidential nominee seven years ago. How far away from the Democratic Party do you see yourself right now?

Lieberman: Right now, certainly on Iraq, to some extent on some other foreign policy issues, like how do we confront Iran, how do we contain Iran, how do we deal with what that threat represents in the Middle East. To some extent on some defense issues, I have disagreements with most Democrats. But I agree with most Democrats on a lot of other issues, and a lot of domestic issues particularly.

The Hill: Are you open to switching parties and becoming a Republican?

Lieberman: I have no interest or desire in doing that. I wouldn’t foreclose it as a possibility, but I hope that I don’t reach that point.

The Hill: What would drive you over to that point?

Lieberman: Well, I guess I’d know it. It’s like Justice [Potter] Stewart and his definition of obscenity: he couldn’t define it but he’d know when he saw it. I think I’ll know it when I feel it, but I hope I never get to that point.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Feed a Bully- Grow His Appetite!

Muslims control governments with a land mass 1000 times the size of Israel and, yet, they want Israel too. Israel became a huge thorn in their side in 1947. Since that time Muslims have concocted a story about how important Jerusalem is to them when, in fact, Mecca and Medina are the two cities they pray to and when doing so actually turn their backs on Jerusalem. The Muslims will not stop with Jerusalem. The radicals amongst them want to rule the world. We could wake up to this realization but then we would have to take our heads out of the sand and that is too discomforting for so many.

Just as I thought and stated. Feed bullies and it increases their appetite.(See 1 below.)

Livni meets and finds out Egypt and Jordan will not speak for The Arab League but make gestures to widen the noose. (See 2 below.)

Is Olmert prepared to do just about anything for survival? (See 3 below.)

Sarkozy or not, 600 French decide they are safer in Israel than France, because of anti-Semitism. More expected to immigrate. (See 4 below.)

In the most recent debate Sen. Clinton sought to paint Sen. Obama as naive. She must be careful to what degree she attacks the young Senator because her election is beholden to the black vote and she must not be seen at attacking him too aggressively. However, Clinton is enough of a jackal to rip him apart if she smells blood. Furthermore, if she does then how can she turn around and ask Sen. "Damaged Goods" to serve on her ticket which is what I believe Obama has been seeking all along.


1) 200 defiant Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades terrorists threaten fresh wave of anti-Israel violence unless they are included in amnesty deal with Israel
They are up in arms against the deal struck by prime minister Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas a week ago to waive Israeli military pursuit of 179 wanted al Aqsa Brigades gunmen for three months, against a pledge to renounce terrorism and surrender their side arms. The 200 mutineers have informed Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas and their commanders that as long as they are subjected to IDF pursuit and detentions, they have no reason to hold back on terrorist activity against Israeli forces and civilians on the West Bank.

A group has broken away and formed the Yasser Arafat Brigades.

Israeli military sources warn that these embittered Palestinian operatives are dangerous enough to be taken seriously, especially when their comrades who took the pledge pocketed grants averaging $22,000 plus a regular wage.

The Olmert government reasoned that the temporarily pardoned terrorists would join up with the Fatah campaign to suppress Hamas on the West Bank. This hope appears to have gone by the wayside. Furthermore, the pardoned terrorists are now walking about with the same guns they surrendered at the Palestinian security service last week, only to have them returned through the back door.

Therefore, Israeli military sources conclude that rather than achieving any useful purpose, the exercise was a harmful precedent. The al Aqsa Brigades members left out of the deal with Israel are convinced that an amnesty and other privileges are there to be extorted by threats of violence. In the meantime, Hamas, Jihad Islami and other rejectionist and radical terrorists are keeping their heads down and building up their weapons caches, ready to spring at the right opportunity, as they did in Gaza.

2) Egypt, Jordan FMs meet with Livni to push Arab peace plan
By Barak Ravid

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem on Wednesday, as part of what the Foreign Ministry called a "historic" visit to discuss an Arab peace proposal, saying they hoped for a positive response from Israel.

Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and his Jordanian counterpart, Abdulelah Al-Khatib, were due to discuss the Arab peace initiative, which calls for Israel to receive full recognition from all Arab states in exchange for a withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries and an agreed solution to the refugee problem.

"We hope that upon our return, we would also convey to the Arab League the responses of Israel and I hope that the responses will be positive," Aboul Gheit said at a news conference.

MK Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the opposition and Likud party chairman, explained at a meeting with the foreign ministers Wednesday morning his rejection of the Arab peace plan.

Netanyahu said the 2005 unilateral pullout from Gaza had failed, and added that: "Wherever Israel hands over territory, the place immediately turns into a terror base for radical Islam."

"We need to restart the political process by means of economic projects which will advance peace and not the opposite," the Likud MK said.

Aboul Gheit and Al-Khatib also meet with President Shimon Peres Wednesday morning.

They then had lunch with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. In the afternoon, they were scheduled to pay a rare visit to the Knesset and to address its Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, but not the plenum.

"It is the first time the Arab League has authorized a delegation to come to Israel," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark Regev said, calling the visit "historic."

He said the sides would discuss how the Arab League peace initiative, first proposed at a summit in Beirut in 2002 but re-launched at the latest summit in Riyadh in March, can "be of tangible benefits to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process" and serve as a "vehicle" to promote progress.

The Arab League, he added, also had a "very important role to play" in supporting Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle with the Islamist Hamas movement.

"We believe it's very important those pragmatic Arab states support moderate and pragmatic Palestinians," he said. "It would be counterproductive if the moderate Palestinian leadership would be supported only by the West."

In a special interview with Haaretz on Thursday, Al-Khatib urged Israel to focus on peacemaking with the Palestinians before making peace with Syria.

"Peace with Syria is no alternative to peace with the Palestinians; the heart of the problem in the region is the Palestinian problem, and without a solution to it there will be no peace in the region," Al-Khatib said.

3)[For regime survival] PM Olmert offers final status talks with Abbas - PA compliance indefinitely postponed. It sounds like PM Olmert wants to pull another

For years the so-called "Belin-Mazen" agreement was cited by withdrawal
proponents as proof that a deal could be reached. This despite the fact
that "Beilin-Mazen" "solved" thorny issues such as Jerusalem and refugees by
providing for committees to solve the issues.

"Beilin-Mazen" was used as a deceptive propaganda tool but Olmert's proposal
is considerably more dangerous because within the context of the Road Map a
sovereign Palestinian state can be created before the difficult final status
issues are resolved.

PM Olmert wants to launch talks as part of his strategy to keep in power
(have "citrus" status with both the media and Israeli law enforcement
officials) so he drops the precondition of PA compliance.

Israel could ultimately find itself with a soverign Palestinian state - and
all the security ramifications - without even having a piece of paper signed
by the Palestinians that, ostensibly, they have no more claims to justify
battle against the Jewish state.]

4)'In France I was worried, in Israel I feel safe'

Two planes carrying 600 new immigrants from France land at Ben-Gurion Airport, marking biggest aliyah event since beginning of year. More than 3,000 olim expected to arrive from France by end of 2007

"When I got on the plane on the way to Israel, I immediately felt calm and secure. In France I was always worried when my children went on the underground on their own, or even just wandered the streets. I always dreamt of immigrating to Israel; I feel safe here," Jacklyn Benishu said Wednesday morning after landing in Israel as a new immigrant.

Benishu arrived with 600 other new immigrants from France on two planes which landed at Ben-Gurion Airport in the morning.

New Immigrants
‘Anti-Semitism is in the air in France’

French olim expected to arrive in Israel on Wednesday say they do not feel at home in France; 'there is a feeling that something is about to happen,' one of them says
Full story

The two planes, one from Paris and one from Marseilles, marked the biggest aliyah event since the beginning of the year.

Officials at the Jewish Agency for Israel, which organized the event with AMI (Aliyah et Meilleure Integration), said that this year has seen a 10 percent rise in the number of new immigrants from France compared to the previous year, making 2007 a record year for French aliyah.

More than 3,000 olim are expected to come to Israel, as opposed to 2,900 in 2006. This is a 35-year record.

Most of the new immigrants who arrived Wednesday morning will be absorbed in Jerusalem, Netanya, Ashdod and Ashkelon, as part of a project of the Ministry for Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency, which encourages the aliyah of organized groups from the country of origin.

Talking to Ynet on her way to Israel, Jacklyn Benishu said that her two older sons were already in the Jewish state. The oldest one made aliyah a year ago because he had always dreamt of joining the IDF, and now serves in the Air Force. The second son is going to be drafted in the coming months.

Benishu arrived in Israel with her second husband Gerard and their two younger sons.

In Paris Benishu owned a beauty parlor, and she plans to open one in Israel as well.

Her husband Gerard lost two children from his first marriage. His son was killed in a road accident when he was 17 years old, and his daughter died of an illness when she was seven. Their father views his immigration to Israel not only as a realization of the Zionist dream, but also as an opportunity to start a new life.

Gerard's three other children from his first marriage stayed in Paris with his ex-wife, but he hopes that they will eventually also make aliyah.

Gerard Benishu worked at the French Socialist Party in the 1970s, starting as the private driver of former President Francois Mitterrand. He took part in the election campaign of party candidate Segolene Royal, who recently lost the presidency to Nicolas Sarkozy.

Talking to Ynet, he said, "I am not sure I will be able to enter politics in Israel as well, but after I reach a reasonable level of Hebrew I will start learning and try, although I am not sure I will stay with the left-wing parties."

The new immigrants were greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport by President Shimon Peres, Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski and Immigration Absorption Minister Jacob Edery.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Syria annexes 4% of Lebanon and nary a peep!

In today's WSJ, Bret Stephens, who will be speaking here next year, wrote an article describing how Syria annexed 4% of Lebanon, territory vastly larger than the fracas over the claim of Israel's occupation of the Shaba Farms. Yet, nary a word.

Benn reports on Blair's visit. (See 1 below.)

Ne'eman writes the West faces a dichotomy. (See 2 below.)

If the Surge is beginning to succeed then opponents must ignore it. (See 3 below.)

Olmert appears willing to reverse course based on the supposition more Arab countries are willing to establish relationships with Israel. (See 4 below.)

Based on various debates that have taken place one can only conclude:

Sen. Clinton is basing her campaign on her experience. She is an experienced liar.

Sen. Obama's campaign is based on his lack of experience. He doesn't have to lie about that, it is self-evident.

Sen. McCain's Campaign was based on the fact that he thought he would be able to raise "cane."

Former Sen.Edward's campaign is based on his hair style.

Former mayor Guiliani's campaign is based on terrorists who took a bite out of the Big Apple.

Then there are the other candidates, most of whom cannot raise enough money to get anyone's attention, nor should they.

This leaves voters in a quandary but in the near future things will return to "abnormal" and the media will revert back to trashing the winner and reporting on the various DUI's of Lindsay Lohan.


1) Giving Blair a Big Bear Hug
By Aluf Benn

In anticipation of Tony Blair's visit in his new role as Quartet envoy, the Prime Minister's Bureau has decided to adopt a "bear-hug policy." From Israel's point of view, Blair's mission is a great opportunity. There are few with his standing, connections and experience in the world. Even if the dominant view, that Blair will exceed his limited mandate and seek to negotiate a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, is true, there are few people losing sleep about this in Jerusalem. If anyone is going to mediate, it might as well be Blair and not someone who is less of a friend. The possible alternatives, such as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or the European Union's Javier Solana, are not as promising.

Olmert will seek to use Blair's talents to disseminate the following message: that Israel wants an agreement with the Palestinians, that it does not want to hold on to the territories, and that it is honestly interested in bolstering Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Blair can also serve as a useful conduit with the Saudis and others in the Arab world.

Blair's personal standing stems mostly from his close ties with U.S. President George W. Bush. More than any other world leader, Blair offered support to Bush before and after the war in Iraq. Bush owes him, and this is recognized in the Middle East, and he is treated with respect here. If he faces difficulties, he will not hesitate to complain to the White House.

But being an experienced politician, who governed the U.K. for a decade and won three consecutive elections, Blair knows that he must start in low gear. He must keep a low profile with the media, and listen to his hosts, and explain that he is busy building institutions of governance that will help the Palestinians. He seems to be aware of local sensitivities, and recognizes that he has significant gaps in knowledge -- so he will not rush into discussions on Jerusalem and the refugee question tomorrow.

Blair's mission will officially begin during his next visit, in mid-September, at which point a regional summit will be held. At that meeting, he will present Israel and the Palestinians his intentions and plans in greater detail.

Among the possible disagreements with Israel, Blair believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the root of enormous international problems, and he also believes it can be resolved. He believes that the parties already know the solution and that all that is necessary is a good mediator. In Israel, the view is that things are a lot more complex, but they are willing to listen.

2) Unpleasant Choices: Islamists vs. the Corrupt
By Yisrael Ne'eman

Nowadays the West is facing a very unpleasant decision concerning support for Middle Eastern and Moslim regimes world wide. The choice is whether to support a full democratic electoral process knowing radical Islamists will come to power or to back corrupt pro-Western secular rulers who at best allow for partially rigged elections but assure their own continued terms in office. The most prominent example is Egypt where Hosni Mubarak won the recent contest and parliamentary vote but it is an open secret that the Moslem Brotherhood (despite certain gains) would have polled a much better outcome provided the elections had been totally honest.

The Palestinians and the Hamas victory are a case in point for the free and open democratic process when they swept to power in January 2006. Since then they physically captured the Gaza Strip, have increased illegal weapons procurements through the highway of tunnels originating in Egypt through Sinai and in essence are installing an Islamic dictatorship. What remains is the West Bank, still under control of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his emergency Fatah government led by PM Salam Fayad. The Hamas leadership in Gaza claims Fayad�s government to be illegal while the Abbas/Fayad government equally declare Hamas rule in Gaza to be illegitimate. In order to �ensure� legality Abbas has announced elections for both the parliament and presidency. Hamas announced that polling will only be held in Gaza on the backs of American or Israeli tanks. Let us recall the Hamas election victory of a year and a half ago where they took 72 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian parliament representing both Gaza and the West Bank.

Abbas has enormous Western support for his election scheme. Hamas has announced its refusal to participate in the West Bank elections but that may not be final unless they are sure Fatah will be the formal winner (Egyptian style). Simultaneously the Bush administration is pushing for a Middle East peace conference for Israel and the Palestinians accompanied by the �moderate� Arab states, the US, Europe and others. The preference is for corrupt secular pro-Western regimes since they can supposedly ensure conflict resolution � at least for the moment.

These regimes will only survive the Islamic challenge should they change their ways through economic development and a smooth, honest functioning of the system meaning a new beginning for the Arab Middle East. This demands cooperation with the West and a peace agreement with Israel since the conflict accentuates radicalism and in this case bolsters the Islamist cause. Accepting Israel�s right to exist is a major obstacle for the �moderates�, this being seen by many (secular as well) as a betrayal of the Arab/Moslem cause. Instituting a western style regime with checks, balances, financial audits and accountability is even more difficult for the Abbas/Fayad regime and Fatah. If anything, their predecessors led by Yasir Arafat encouraged graft, corruption and mafia style techniques to guarantee their own power.

For the West to �win� Fatah and Abbas will first have to triumph in a rigged election. The US and EU will need to invest billions of dollars (or euros) to build infrastructure, encourage investment and create jobs. In the next step they must secure a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel based on the principle of �Israeli security for Palestinian sovereignty� (much better than the undefined �Land for Peace�). Assuming such a long shot scenario succeeds, Fatah must win the next elections, but this time free, open and not rigged. Step Three involves repeating the process throughout the Moslem/Arab world. Such an outcome is virtually impossible in light of the continuing Islamic Revolution led by Khomenist Iran, the Moslem Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.

All of this brings us to the much heralded international peace conference spoken of by US President Bush this past week. Such a conference is a first step in the political-diplomatic counter offensive against the Islamists, in this case in the Palestinian arena.

The West does not believe that freely elected extremist Islamist regimes provide any hope for peaceful international relations nor for an open electoral process in the aftermath. The only possibility left is to work with corrupt secular regimes in the hope of instituting western reforms. The chance of success with the Palestinians is miniscule but it is the only reasonable existing option if Israel does not want the West Bank to fall to the Hamas as did Gaza. But no one should get too hopeful.

3) The Surge Succeeds
By J.R. Dunn

It's now quite clear how the results of the surge will be dealt with by domestic opponents of the Iraq war.

They're going to be ignored.

They're being ignored now. Virtually no media source or Democratic politician (and not a few Republicans, led by Richard "I can always backtrack" Lugar) is willing to admit that the situation on the ground has changed dramatically over the past three months. Coalition efforts have undergone a remarkable reversal of fortune, a near-textbook example as to how an effective strategy can overcome what appear to be overwhelming drawbacks.

Anbar is close to being secured, thanks to the long-ridiculed strategy of recruiting local sheiks. A capsule history of war coverage could be put together from stories on this topic alone - beginning with sneers, moving on to "evidence" that it would never work, to the puzzled pieces of the past few months admitting that something was happening, and finally the recent stories expressing concern that the central government might be "offended" by the attention being paid former Sunni rebels. (Try to find another story in the legacy media worrying about the feelings of the Iraqi government.) What you will not find is any mention of the easily-grasped fact that Anbar acts as a blueprint for the rest of the country. If the process works there, it will work elsewhere. If it works in other areas, that means the destruction of the Jihadis in detail.

Nor is that all. Diyala province, promoted in media as the "new Al-Queda stronghold" appears to have become a death-trap. The Jihadis can neither defend it nor abandon it. The Coalition understood that Diyala was where the Jihadis would flee when the heat came down in Baghdad, and they were ready for them. A major element of surge strategy - and one reason why the extra infantry brigades were needed - is to pressure Jihadis constantly in all their sanctuaries, allowing them no time to rest or regroup.

A blizzard of operations is occurring throughout central Iraq under the overall code-name Phantom Thunder, the largest operation since the original invasion. It is open-ended, and will continue as long as necessary. Current ancillary operations include Arrowhead Ripper, which is securing the city of Baqubah in Diyala province. Operation Alljah is methodically clearing out every last neighborhood in Fallujah. In Babil province, southeast of Baghdad, operations Marne Torch and Commando Eagle are underway. (As this was being written, yet another spinoff operation, Marne Avalanche, began in Northern Babil.)

The Coalition has left the treadmill in which one step of progress seemed to unavoidably lead to two steps back. It requires some time to discover the proper strategy in any war. A cursory glance at 1943 would have given the impression of disaster. Kasserine, in which the German Wehrmacht nearly split Allied forces in Tunisia and sent American GIs running. Tarawa, where over 1,600 U.S. Marines died on a sunny afternoon thanks to U.S. Navy overconfidence. Salerno, where the Allied landing force was very nearly pushed back into the sea. But all these incidents, as bitter as they may have been, were necessary to develop the proper techniques that led to the triumphs of 1944 and 1945.

Someday, 2006 may be seen as Iraq's 1943. It appears that Gen. David Petreaus has discovered the correct strategy for Iraq: engaging the Jihadis all over the map as close to simultaneously as possible. Keeping them on the run constantly, giving them no place to stand, rest or refit. Increasing operational tempo to an extent that they cannot match ("Getting inside their decision cycle", as the 4th generation warfare school would call it), leaving them harried, uncertain, and apt to make mistakes.

The surge is more of a refinement than a novelty. Earlier Coalition efforts were not in error as much as they were incomplete. American troops would clean out an area, turn it over to an Iraqi unit, and depart. The Jihadis would then push out the unseasoned Iraqis and return to business. This occurred in Fallujah, Tall Afar, and endless times in Ramadi.

Now U.S. troops are remaining on site, which reassures the locals and encourages cooperation. The Jihadis broke (and more than likely never knew) the cardinal rule of insurgency warfare, that of being a good guest. As Mao put it, "The revolutionary must be as a fish among the water of the peasantry." The Jihadis have been lampreys to the Iraqi people. Proselytizing, forcing adaptation of their reactionary creed, engaging in torture, kidnapping, and looting. Arabic culture is one in which open dealings, personal loyalty, and honor are at a premium. Violate any of them, and there is no way back. The Jihadis violated them all. The towns and cities of Iraq are no longer sanctuaries.

The results have begun to come in. On July 4, Khaled al-Mashhadani, the most senior Iraqi in Al-Queda, was captured in Mosul. On July 14, Abu Jurah, a senior Al-Queda leader in the area south of Baghdad, was killed in a coordinated strike by artillery, helicopters, and fighter-bombers. These blows to the leadership are the direct outgrowth of Jihadi brutality and the new confidence among the Iraqis in what they have begun to call the "al-Ameriki tribe".

We will see more of this in the weeks ahead. The Jihadis have come up with no effective counterstrategy, and the old methods have begun to lose mana. The last massive truck-bomb attack occurred not in Baghdad, but in a small Diyala village that defied Al-Queda. An insurgency in the position of using its major weapons to punish noncombatants is not in a winning situation.

You will look long and hard to find any of this in the legacy media. Apart from a handful of exceptions (such as John F. Burns of the New York Times), it's simply not being covered. Those operational names would come across as bizarre to the average reader, the gains they have made impossible to fit into the worldview that has been peddled unceasingly by the dead tree fraternity. What the media is concentrating on - and will to continue to concentrate on, in defiance of sense, protest, and logic, to the bitter end - is peripheral stories such as the Democrat's Senate pajama party, reassertions of the claim that the war has "helped" Al-Queda, and the latest proclamation from the world's greatest fence-sitter.

The situation as it stands is very close to that of the final phase of Vietnam. Having for several years confused that country's triple-layer jungle with the rolling plains of northwest Europe, William Westmoreland in 1968 turned over command to Creighton Abrams. Though also a veteran of the advance against Germany (he had been Patton's favorite armored commander), Abrams lacked his predecessor's taste for vast (not to mention futile) multi-unit sweeps. After carrying out a careful analysis, Abrams reworked Allied strategy to embody the counterinsurgency program advocated by Marine general Victor Krulak and civilian advisor John Paul Vann.

Abram's war was one of small units moving deep into enemy territory, running down enemy forces and then calling in massive American firepower in the form of artillery or fighter-bombers for the final kill.(Anyone wishing for a detailed portrayal of this style of operations should pick up David Hackworth's Steel My Soldiers' Hearts. It will surprise no one to learn that Hackworth claims that the strategy was his idea and that he had to fight the entire U.S. military establishment to see it through, but it's a good read all the same.) This was a strategy that played to American strengths, one that went after the enemy where he lived. By 1970, Abrams had chased the bulk of the Vietnamese communists across the border into Cambodia and Laos.

But Vietnam also had its ruling narrative, one that had no room for successful combat operations. That narrative had been born in 1968, at the time of the Tet offensive. Tet was a nationwide operation intended by North Vietnamese commander Nguyen Vo Giap to encourage the Vietnamese people to join with the Viet Cong and PAVN in overthrowing the government. It was an utter rout, with the communists losing something in the order of 60,000 men. The Viet Cong were crippled as a military force, and never did recover.

But panicky reporters, many of whom had never set foot on a battlefield (not to mention figures at ease with manipulating the facts, such as Peter Arnett), were badly shaken by the opening moves of the offensive, among them an abortive attack on the U.S. embassy grounds at Saigon. Their reportage, broadcast and printed nationwide, portrayed a miserable defeat for the U.S. and its allies, with the Viet Cong and PAVN striking where they pleased and making off at their leisure. The media portrait of a beleaguered American war effort was never corrected, and became the consensus view. (This process was analyzed in detail in Peter Braestrup's Big Story, one of the most crucial -- and overlooked -- media studies ever to see print.) After Tet, there could be no victories.

The success of the Abrams strategy was buried for twenty years and more, as the myth of utter U.S. defeat was put in concrete by "experts" such as Stanley Karnow, Frances FitzGerald, and Neil Sheehan. Only with the appearance of revisionist works such as Lewis Sorley's A Better War and Mark Moyar's Triumph Forsaken has the record begun to be set straight.

That was how it was played at the close of the Vietnam War. That's how it's being played today.

And what do they want, exactly? What is the purpose of playing so fast and loose with the public safety, national security, and human lives both American and foreign?

Generally, when someone repeats a formula, it's because they want to repeat a result. And that's what the American left wants in this case. During the mid-70s, American liberals held political control to an extent they had not experienced since the heyday of FDR. The GOP was disgraced and demoralized. The Democrats held the Senate, the House, and the presidency. There was absolutely nothing standing in the way of their maintaining complete power for as long as anyone could foresee... until Jimmy Carter's incompetence proved itself, which caused the whole shabby and illusory structure to fell apart in a welter of ineptitude and childishness.

The American left wants a return to the 1970s -- without Jimmy Carter. (Okay, without disco, either.) They want a cowed GOP. They want control of the institutions and the branches. They want a miserable, defeated country they can manipulate. And they want it all under the gaze not of the Saint of Plains, but of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who can assure that left-wing predominance will continue for a generation or more.

Will they get it? That's a question worth some thought. Because as it stands, neither of the program's necessary elements is coming to fruition. The war is not being lost, and their great political scandal has fizzled.

The other half of the equation was Watergate. Vietnam would not have been anywhere near as much a disaster without it. Watergate paralyzed the Nixon administration. It turned Nixon himself from an odd, unlikable, but incredibly capable politician to a half-crazed ghost sobbing in the Oval office in the middle of the night. It transformed his last great triumph -- the Paris peace accords that ended the war on an acceptable standoff -- into ashes. The left wing of the Democratic Party, shepherded by people like George McGovern and Mark Hatfield, proceeded to undercut the settlement as quickly as they could manage. Two separate appropriations acts passed in June 1973 cut off all further aid to the countries of Southeast Asia. (A third such act passed in August 1974 has gained more attention but it only duplicated the effects of the first two.) From that point on it was a matter of time. Nixon resigned a little over a year later. Less than a year after that, in April 1975, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia all fell.

(The price tag for this, which liberals don't care to bring up, was over 2 million dead in Cambodia, 165,000 dead in Vietnam, another 200,000 plus drowned and murdered on the high seas during the exodus of the boat people. Laotian numbers can only be estimated but must have been in the thousands. The price of Indochinese "peace" was nearly twice that of the war itself.)

And that, in case you were wondering, is what Plamegate was about. The Democrats needed a scandal - and not merely a run-of-the-mill, everyday scandal, but a mega-scandal, a hyper-scandal, something that would utterly cripple the administration and leave it open to destruction in detail. The targets were Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, held by the MoveOn crowd to be the actual brains behind Adolf W. Chimp. When nothing at all could be dug up on the administration principals, the scandal was effectively over. Knocking off a vice-presidential aide might cause excitement within the Beltway, but nobody in the real world could be expected to care. It may be a bitter thought to I. Lewis Libby that he was taken down through sheer proximity, like a bystander during a drive-by shooting, but it was in the very best of causes. Libby's sacrifice not only saved the administration, it may well save tens of thousands of Middle Eastern lives in the years to come. (This also explains why the President was so circumspect in dealing with the investigation - he knew exactly what the opposition was up to, and could afford to give them no ammunition whatsoever.)

Plamegate ended last Thursday with a judge throwing Plame's suit out of court on strictly technical grounds. (This is something of a disappointment - I would really have liked to see what that pair of hustlers would do when cross-examined by a competent defense attorney.) People like John Conyers are trying to create a conflagration by blowing on the embers of the attorney firings and the vice-presidential subpoenas. To no avail. Scandals, like forest fires, occur only when conditions are perfect. Through their failed efforts, the liberals have in effect set a backfire, surrounding the administration with wide barriers of burned-over ground. The Democrats themselves have rendered Bush unassailable, and all the slumber parties, the empty votes, and the rhetoric are intended to camouflage that fact. Bush will have hard days yet, but he will not be Nixonized. He will be able to fight his war as he sees fit.

That means a continuation of the surge, and of the strategy of General Petreaus. Will that be enough? It's impossible to say. But the past few months have been the most surprising in the entire Iraq saga to date. I have a feeling that Al-Queda (and the media, and the Democrats), will have a few more surprises coming in the months ahead.

4)More Arab states may forge contacts with Israel, Egyptian FM says

Aboul Gheit scheduled to visit region this week together with his Jordanian counterpart to promote Arab peace initiative

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday, on the eve of a diplomatic visit to Israel, that additional Arab countries may later forge diplomatic contacts with Jerusalem.

Aboul Gheit is scheduled to visit the region on Wednesday together with his Jordanian counterpart, Abdel Ilah al-Khatib, to promote the Arab peace initiative, a peace-for-land plan re-launched by an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia in March.

Egypt and Jordan were mandated for the mission by an Arab League committee last month because they are the only Arab nations that have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called on other Arab states - particularly Saudi Arabia - to join in direct talks with Israel on the initiative. Saudi Arabia and others have refused, saying Israel must accept the peace offer before they would consider a direct meeting.

However, Aboul Gheit held out the possibility of broader contacts if Israel meets certain conditions, though he did not specify which Arab nations might join.

"The committee's statement pointed to the possibility for a larger working group to contact and consult the Israeli government about the peace settlement," Aboul Gheit said in a statement.

"This is on condition that Israel stops its actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," he said. He mentioned lifting measures imposed after the start of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, including an economic blockade, halting the building of the security fence and excavations at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Arab initiative promises Israel full peace with all Arab nations if it withdraws from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and allows the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israel rejected the plan outright when it was first presented in 2002, but Olmert has now expressed willingness to discuss it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Does Confusion reign? Can Political Parties function?

Friedman discusses the NIE Report, the seeming confusion regarding the make-up of al Qaeda and other matters pertaining to Iran, withdrawal and the general threat from terrorists.

One of GW's problem of waning U.S. support against his efforts to combat terrorism is that he has been successful in protecting our own nation from harm. When the wolf leaves the door for a long period those inside feel safe and drop their guard. An attack on this nation would have two consequences:

a) It would put Democrats in a terrible position.

b) The media would attack GW for being unprepared. (See 1 and 3 below.)

An investment manager recites history and gives a warning but acknowledges he has been wrong near term as I have as well. (See 2 below).

Has GW had the rug pulled out from him before his new initiative regarding Abbas and Fatah even begun? (See 4 and 9 below.)

New flap reaches Livni over handling of matters regarding Lebanese War. Olmert cannot avoid the fallout either. (See 5 and 8 below.)

Benziman writes Olmert's obituary. (See 6 below.)

Is Hamas about to be blamed for the consequences of its actions in Gaza as the economy nears collapse? (See 7 below.)

Daniel Pipes discusses the Red Mosque Rebellion. (See 8 below.)

In future memos I hope to address the nature of our current political party structure and what impact the internet may be having as Congress, under the Democrats, continues to implode.

Michael Oren maintains Bush has not wavered in terms of his demands upon both Israel and the Palestinians.. (See 9 below.)


1) Week out of Focus: Washington, Iraq and Al Qaeda
By George Friedman

Last week, the United States focused on the state of the war -- not just the one in Iraq, but the broader war against al Qaeda. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was released asserting that al Qaeda has reconstituted itself in Pakistan and is either at or near its previous capabilities. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his gut told him there is an increased risk of an al Qaeda attack in the United States this summer. President George W. Bush said at a press conference that the July 15 status report on Iraq would show that progress is being made in the war. When the report actually was released, it revealed a somewhat more pessimistic picture in some areas. Meanwhile, the Republican Party was showing signs of internal strain over the war, while the Democrats were unable to formulate their own collective position. So, it was a week in which everyone focused on the war, but not one that made a whole lot of sense -- at least on the surface.

In some ways, the most startling assertion made was that al Qaeda has reconstituted itself in Pakistan. What is startling is that it appears to acknowledge that the primary U.S. mission in the war -- the destruction of al Qaeda -- not only has failed to achieve its goal, but also has done little more than force al Qaeda out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Chertoff's statement that there is a high threat of an attack this summer merely reinforces the idea that the administration is conceding the failure of its covert war against al Qaeda.

This is not an impossible idea. A recent book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner, "Legacy of Ashes," provides an extraordinary chronicle of the CIA's progressive inability to carry out its mission. So the NIE claim might well have been an admission of failure. But it was an odd admission and was not couched as a failure.

What made this odd is that the administration is not known to concede failure lightly. During the same week, it continued to assert the more dubious proposition that it is making progress in Iraq. Why, therefore, was it releasing such pessimistic reports on al Qaeda, and why was Chertoff saying his gut tells him an attack this summer is possible? Why make the best-case scenario for Iraq and the worst-case scenario for al Qaeda?

There is nothing absurd about a gut call in intelligence, and much of the ridicule of Chertoff was absurd. Intelligence analysis -- particularly good intelligence analysis -- depends on gut calls. Analysts live in a world of incomplete and shifting intelligence, compelled to reach conclusions under the pressure of time and events. Intuition of experienced and gifted analysts is the bridge between leaving decision-makers without an analysis and providing the best guess available. The issue, as always, is how good the gut is.

We would assume that Chertoff was keying off of two things: the NIE's assertion that al Qaeda is back and the attacks possibly linked to al Qaeda in the United Kingdom. His gut told him that increased capabilities in Pakistan, coupled with what he saw in England and Scotland, would likely indicate a threat to the United States.

One question needs to be asked: What should be made of the NIE report and the events in the United Kingdom? It also is necessary to evaluate not only Chertoff's gut but also the gut intuitions of U.S. intelligence collectively. The NIE call is the most perplexing, partly because the day it appeared Stratfor issued a report downplaying al Qaeda's threat. But part of that could well be semantics. Precisely what do we mean when we say al Qaeda?

When U.S. forces talk about al Qaeda, they talk about large training camps that move thousands of trainees through them. Those are not the people we talk about when we discuss al Qaeda. The people who go through the camps generally are relatively uneducated young men being trained as paramilitaries. They learn to shoot. They learn to devise simple explosives. They learn infantry tactics. They are called al Qaeda but they are more like Taliban fighters. They are not trained in the covert arts of moving to the United States, surviving without detection while being trained in flying airliners, and then carrying out complex missions effectively. They are al Qaeda in name and, inside Afghanistan or Pakistan, they might be able to do well in a firefight, but they are nothing like the men who struck on 9/11, nor are they trained to be. When the U.S. government speaks about thousands of al Qaeda fighters, the vision is that the camps are filled with these thousands of men with the skill level of the 9/11 attackers. It is a scary vision, which the administration has pushed since 9/11, but it isn't true. These guys are local troops for the endless wars of the region.

When we think of al Qaeda, we think of the tiny group of skilled operatives who gathered around Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atef in the 1990s. That group was capable of planning attacks across continents, moving money and men around the world -- and doing so without being detected. Those people have been the target of U.S. intelligence. The goal has been to capture, kill or bottle up those men in inaccessible places in order to prevent another attack like 9/11 or worse.

If the NIE report meant to say this group has reconstituted itself, it would be startling news. One of the ways this group survived is that it did not recruit new members directly into the core organization. One of the ways Palestinian terrorist organizations have been destroyed is by allowing new personnel into the core. This allowed intelligence agencies to vector agents into the core, map them out and destroy them. Al Qaeda was not going to make the same mistake, so it was extremely reluctant to expand. This has limited its operations. It could not replace losses and therefore weakened as it was assaulted. But it did protect itself from penetration, which is why capturing surviving leaders has been so difficult.

If the NIE report is true, then the NIE is saying al Qaeda not only has been recruiting members into the core group, but also that it has been doing so for some time. If that is true then there have been excellent opportunities to penetrate and destroy what is left of it. But we don't think that is true, because al-Zawahiri and others, possibly bin Laden, are still on the loose. Therefore, we think the NIE is saying that the broad paramilitaries are active again and are now located in Pakistan.

Strange Week in Washington

Alternatively, the NIE is saying that a parallel covert group has been created in Pakistan, is using al Qaeda's name and is mounting new attacks. The attacks in the United Kingdom might have been part of its efforts, though they are an example of why we have always argued that terrorism is technically much more difficult to carry out than it might seem. Those attacks were botched from beginning to end. Unlike strikes by al Qaeda prime -- the core group -- these attacks, if they represent an effort by a new al Qaeda, should be a comfort. It was the gang that couldn't shoot straight operating globally. If Chertoff's gut is speaking about a secondary group in Pakistan carrying out attacks similar to those in the United Kingdom, then certainly there is cause for concern, but nothing like the concern that should be felt if al Qaeda prime is active again. But then we don't think it can be, unless it has recruited new members. And if it has been recruiting new members and U.S. intelligence hasn't slipped someone inside during the process, then that would be not only a shame but also the admission of a major intelligence fiasco. We don't think that is what the NIE is discussing. It is a warning that a group calling itself al Qaeda is operating in Pakistan. That can be called a revived al Qaeda, but only if one is careless with terminology.

It should also be remembered that the United States is placing heavy pressure on the Pakistanis. A report leaked early last week by the New York Times confirmed what Stratfor said as early as January 2004, that a major incursion into northwestern Pakistan had been planned by the United States but was called off at the last minute over fear of destabilizing President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Or, more precisely, it was called off after Musharraf promised to carry out the operation himself. He did so, but ineffectively and half-heartedly, so that al Qaeda prime was not rooted out.

By leaking the report of the planned incursion, the United States was reminding Musharraf of his guarantee. By issuing the NIE report, it was increasing pressure on Musharraf to do something decisive about militant Islamists in Pakistan -- or the United States would have to do something. Already heavily pressured by domestic forces, Musharraf ordered the raid on the Red Mosque last week, demonstrating his commitment to contain radical Islamism in Pakistan and root out al Qaeda -- or at least that part of al Qaeda that is not part of the isolated primary group. Between the implicit threat of invasion and the explicit report that Pakistan is the center of a new al Qaeda, Pakistan got the message. Whether Islamabad will be able to act on it is another question.

So the NIE report was meant to pressure Pakistan, even if it looked like an admission of the total failure of the intelligence community's mission. Chertoff's warning of attacks this summer was partly an attempt to warn that there might be attacks like those that happened in the United Kingdom -- to which the answer is that one can only hope that they would be exactly like those. Even had they been successful, they would not have risen to the level of 9/11 or even close. And they failed.

The fact is that, in a simple empirical sense, the one thing that has been successful in this war is that there has not been a single follow-on attack to 9/11 in the United States. The reason might be because al Qaeda either doesn't want to attack or lacks the resources. Another answer might be that it has been stopped by effective U.S. counterterrorism activities. This is a subject that needs analysis. In our view, it is the latter. But the simple fact is that the one mission achieved by the administration is that no attacks have occurred.

There have been numerous warnings of potential attacks. Such warnings are always interesting. They imply that the United States has sufficient intelligence to know that attacks are being planned but insufficient intelligence to block them. The usual basis of these warnings is an attack elsewhere. The second is access to a fragmentary bit of intelligence, human or electronic, indicating in a nonspecific way that an attack is possible. But such warnings usually are untrue because an effective terrorist group does not leak information. That is its primary defense. So chatter about attacks rarely indicates a serious one is imminent. Or, and this happens, a potential attack was aborted by the announcement and by increased security. We have no idea what Chertoff saw to lead him to make his announcement. But the fact is that there have been no attacks in six years -- and should there be a strategic attack now, it would represent not a continuation of the war but a new phase.

All of this neatly intersected with Bush's discussion of Iraq. He does not want to withdraw or announce a time line for withdrawal. His reason should be that a withdrawal from Iraq would open the door to Iranian domination of Iraq and a revolution in the geopolitics of the Arabian Peninsula. Bush has not stated that, but it is the best reason to oppose a withdrawal. Not announcing a timetable for withdrawal also makes sense because it would be tantamount to announcing a withdrawal. It tells Iran to simply sit tight and that, in due course, good things will come to it.

The primary U.S. hope for a solution to Iraq is an understanding with Iran. The administration both hates the idea and needs it. A withdrawal would make any such understanding unnecessary from the Iranian point of view and end any chance that Iran will reach an agreement. In our view, Iran appears to have decided not to continue the negotiating process it began precisely because it thinks the United States is leaving anyway. Therefore, Bush must try to convince the Iranians that this isn't so.

Bush has not given a straightforward justification for his concerns from the beginning, and he is not starting now, although the thought of an Iran-dominated Iraq should give anyone pause. But in arguing that the war in Iraq is a war against al Qaeda, and that al Qaeda is getting stronger, he justifies the continuation of the war. In fact, Bush explicitly said that the people who attacked the United States on 9/11 are the same ones bombing American troops in Iraq today. Therefore, the NIE report and Chertoff's warning of attacks are part of the administration's effort to build support for continuing the fight.

Bush's problem is that the idea that Iraq is linked to al Qaeda rests on semantic confusion -- many things are called al Qaeda, but they are different things. Something called al Qaeda is in Iraq, but it has little to do with the al Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11. They share little but the name.

U.S. policy on Iraq and the war is at a turning point. There would normally be a focusing down to core strategic issues, such as a withdrawal's consequences for the strategic balance of power. That not only is not happening, but Bush, for whom this is the strongest argument against withdrawing, also seems incapable of making the argument. As a result, the week saw an almost incoherent series of reports from the administration that, if examined carefully, amounted to saying that if you think the war in Iraq is going badly, you should take a look at the war against al Qaeda -- that is a total failure.

We simply don't think that is true. Of course, you can never prove a negative, and you cannot possibly prove there will be no more attacks against the United States by the original al Qaeda. Also, you can claim anything you want on a gut call and if it doesn't happen, people forget.

The intellectual chaos is intensifying -- and with it, the casualties on the ground.

2)This week's was an especially
good read. He spelled out a little market history comparing the current state of the market to past, similar periods:

* December 1961 (followed by 28% market loss over 6 months)

* January 1973 (followed by a 48% collapse over the following 20

* August 1987 (followed by a 34% plunge over the following 3 months)

* July 1998 (followed abruptly by an 18% loss over the following 3

* July 1999 (followed by a 12% loss over the following 3 months)

* December 1999 (followed by a 9% loss over the following 2 months)

* March 2000 (followed by a 49% collapse in the S&P over the following

According to Hussman those periods all share the following with today:

* The price/peak-earnings multiple is above 18.

* The S&P 500 index (on a weekly closing basis), is at a 4-year high.

* The S&P 500 is 8% or more above its 52-week moving average

* Treasury and corporate bond yields are rising.

Hussman is quick to point out that he is not trying to make a prediction but
it trying to create a context for current market events.

This is an important distinction. The market can go in any direction, at any
time, for any reason, or no reason, at all. The general tone of Hussman's
article ties in with what he has been writing for a while, but the bullet
points sum it up nicely.

Clearly these sorts of obstacles can exist for a long, long time without
hurting the market. This is an argument for not making big bets to get out
of the market for fear of a correction, bear market, crash or whatever else.
I continue to be bearish (have been for a while and have been incorrect),
but am so without missing the market. My trigger point for taking action is
simple (a breach of the 200 DMA by the S&P 500), and this has not been
violated, so I ride along skeptically thinking a turn will come soon.

Bear markets come so infrequently that guessing about the next one in a
meaningful way is likely to be the wrong trade. Hussman creates a great
background of what stocks must continue to overcome in order to go higher.
The things Hussman cites, perhaps subprime, the dollar, or even something
else will cause the next bear market at some point, but time devoted to
trying to nail the top is probably not productive.

3)Juval Aviv - was Golda Meir's bodyguard and she appointed him to track down and bring to justice.

Palestinian terrorists who took the Israeli athletes hostage and

killed them during the Munich Olympic Games. Aviv recently shared

information EVERY American needs to know but our government has

not shared His bio is below, his book is "Staying Safe."

Juval Aviv allegedly gave intelligence (via what he had gathered in Israel and

the Middle East ) to the Bush Administration about 9/11 a month before

it occured His report specifically said they would use planes as

bombs and target high profile buildings and monuments. Again allegedly the

Administration ridiculed him and refused to respond (Congress has

since hired him as a security consultant - but still the

Administration does not listen to him).

Aviv didn't agree with going into Iraq - said it didn't make sense if

we wanted terrorists responsible for 9/11 (and also he believes in Golda

Meir's approach which was to bring justice to the terrorists but do

not take down civilians - killing civilians only creates more

terrorists - but similar to Bush , Israel 's subsequent leaders were

not as insightful as Golda Meir) - however, when we did decide to

invade Iraq we should have learned from Israel 's past mistakes. He

very articulately stated that Israel 's greatest mistake against their

war on terror was to invade the West Bank and Gaza and stay there...

He said they should have done the proven anti-terrorist strategy

which was "Hit and Leave" instead of "Hit and Stay." Now we are

stuck in Iraq and it is worse than Vietnam - Iraq is the U.S. 's West Bank /

Gaza . He doesn't think we will ever be able to truly leave because

even when we are able to pull our troops back we will still have to

go back regularly which will keep us quagmired. We should have hit hard

and left immediately - or actually, we shouldn't have gone in at


He predicts the next attack on the U.S. is coming within the next few months. Forget

hijacking airplanes because he says terrorists will NEVER try and hijack a plane

again as the people on the plane will not go down quietly.

Aviv believes our airport security is a joke- we are being

reactionary versus looking at strategies that are effective.

1) our machines are outdated. They look for metal and the new

explosives are made of plastic

2) He talks about how some idiot tried to light his shoe on fire -

we now have to take off our shoes, a group of idiots tried to bring

aboard liquid explosives - now we can't bring liquids on board. He

is waiting for some suicidal maniac to pour liquid explosive on their

underwear and light up in a plane or in the terminal and then we will

all have to travel naked!

3) We only focus on security when people are heading to the gates, he

says that if a terrorist attack targets airports in the future, they

will target busy times and on the front end when people are checking

in. It would be easy for someone to take two suitcases of

explosives, walk up to a busy check-in line, ask a person next to them to watch

their bags for a minute while they run to the restroom or get a

drink (and I have done that for people myself) and then detonate the bags

BEFORE security even gets involved. Israel checks bags before people

can enter the airport.

He says the next attack will come in

the next few months and will involve suicide bombers and non-suicide

bombers in places that people congregate: Disneyland, Las Vegas , Big

Cities (NY, SF, Chicago , etc...) and there it will be shopping

malls, subways in rush hour, train stations, casinos, etc.. as well as rural

America ( Wyoming , Montana , etc...). The attack will be simultaneous

detonations around the country (they like big impact) 5-8 cities

including rural areas. They won't need to use suicide bombers

because at largely populated places like the MGM Grand in Vegas - they can

simply valet park!

He says this is well known in intelligence circles but our government

does not want to alarm Americans. However, he also said that Bush

will attack Iran and Syria before he leaves office (we are being

prepared for that! and I have to wonder if we are not hearing about

this impending attack so America will support attacking Iran and

Syria ?). In addition, since we don't have enough troops Bush will

likely use small, strategic nuclear weapons regardless that the

headlines the next day will read "US Nukes Islamic World" and the

world will be a different place to such an extent that global warming

will be irrevelant.

These are not conspiracy theories or crazy rantings. This is the man

(and we have all heard/read that the Bush Administration was warned

about 9/11 prior to it happening) who did the warning. He travels

regularly to the Middle East and he knows his stuff.

On a good note - he says we don't have to worry about being nuked -

he says the terrorists who want to destroy America will not use

sophisticated weapons - they like suicide as the frontline approach.

He also says the next level of terrorists will not be coming from

abroad, but will be homegrown - having attended our schools and

universities - but will have traveled frequently back and forth to

the Middle East . They will know and understand Americans but we

won't understand them - we still only have a handful of Arabic and Farsi

speaking people in our intelligence networks and we need that to

change he said...What can we do? From an intelligence perspective he says the U.S.

needs to stop relying on satellites and technology for intelligence

but follow Israel , Ireland and England 's example of human

intelligence both from an infiltration perspective as well as trust citizens to

help. We need to engage and educate ourselves as citizens but our

government treats us like babies and thinks we can't handle it and

will panic.

He did a test for Congress recently putting an empty briefcase in 5

major spots in 5 US cities and not one person called 911 or sought a

policeman to check it out. In fact, in Chicago - someone tried to

steal it! In Israel an unattended bag or package would be reported

in seconds with a citizen shouting "Unattended Bag" and the area cleared

slowly, calmly and immediately by the people themselves.

Unfortunately, we haven't hurt enough yet for us to be that


He also discussed how many children were in preschool and

kindergarten after 9/11 without parents to pick them up and the schools did not

have a plan. Do you have a plan with your kids, schools and families

if you cannot reach each other by phone? If you cannot return to

your house? If you cannot get to your child's school - do they know what

to do? We should all have a plan.

He said that our government's plan after the next attack is to

immediately cut-off EVERYONE's abiltity to use their telephone, cell

phone, blackberry because they don't want terrorists to be able to

talk to one another - do you have a plan if you cannot communicate

directly with those that you love?

Juval Aviv holds an M.A. in Business from Tel Aviv University and is

President and CEO of Interfor, Inc., an international corporate

intelligence and investigations firm.

Juval Aviv is President and CEO of Interfor, Inc. Based in New York

with offices around the world, founded in 1979, Interfor provides

foreign and domestic intelligence services to the legal, corporate

and financial communities and conducts investigations around the world.

In addition, Mr. Aviv serves as a special consultant to the U.S.

Congress and other policy makers on issues of terrorism, fraud and money


A leading authority on terrorist networks, Mr. Aviv served as lead

investigator for Pan Am Airways into the Pan Am 103-Lockerbie

terrorist bombing. He was featured in the recent film, Munich , as

the leader of the Israeli team that tracked down the terrorists who

kidnapped the Israeli Olympic team. Interfor's services encompass

white-collar crime investigations, asset search and recovery,

corporate due diligence, litigation support, fraud investigations,

internal compliance investigations, security and vulnerability

assessments. Since its inception, Interfors asset investigation

services have recovered over $2 billion worldwide for its clients.

Before founding Interfor, Mr. Aviv served as an officer in the Israel

Defense Force (Major, retired) leading an elite Commando/Intelligence

Unit, and was later selected by the Israeli Secret Service (Mossad)

to participate in a number of intelligence and special operations in

many countries in the late 1960s and 1970s. While working as a consultant with El Al, Mr. Aviv surveyed the

existing security measures in place and updated El Als security

program, making El Al the safest airline in business today.

Most recently, Mr. Aviv wrote Staying Safe: The Complete Guide to

Protecting Yourself, Your Family, and Your Business,(2004,HarperResource).

He has been a guest on ABC Nightline, FOX News, CNN, BBC

Newsnight, ZDF (German National Television) and RAI (Italian

National Television) and has been featured in numerous articles in

major magazines and newspapers worldwide.

4) Bush’s Middle East peace conference plan peters out after telephone conversation with Saudi King Abdullah

Washington sources report the White House tried to play down the importance of the proposal put forward by President George W. Bush Monday, July 16, after Saudi King Abdullah said he would not attend. White House spokesman Tony Snow said it was too early to say where or when the conference for discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would take place. "I think a lot of people are inclined to try to treat this as a big peace conference" said. "It's not."

The president could have known before he unveiled his conference plan that not only the Saudi ruler but also Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, both key regional players, would not be coming.

Neither goes along with Bush’s boycott of Hamas. Washington’s total rejection of the Islamist terrorists who seized the Gaza Strip was highlighted in his speech. That morning, Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman arrived in Washington to try and persuade White House advisers to rewrite some changes into the speech. No chance, he was told.

Middle East sources note that the Bush Middle East statement had the effect of accentuating the gaps dividing the very Arab rulers most needed to back peacemaking. Three opposing camps emerged more clearly than ever:

One. The US, Israel and Jordan, are convinced an uncompromising boycott of Hamas will bring down its Gaza government and restore the rule of Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah.

Two. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and most of the Gulf emirates object to this boycott and advocate power-sharing between Hamas and Fatah because they are convinced the latter will never recoup its military strength either in Gaza or the West Bank.

Three. Iran and Co. - Syria, Yemen and Hizballah, whose solid backing for the Palestinian Islamists is expressed in cash, arms, advisers and combat training.

By concretizing these gaps, the Bush speech has motivated the three camps to prove its path is the correct one. Therefore, Camp One while backing Abbas all the way will find it harder than ever before to isolate Hamas. So long as the extremist rulers of Gaza benefit from the support of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Syria, the massive US-Israeli cornucopia of cash, benefits and concessions showered on the Salam Fayyad government in Ramallah will lend Fatah rule not much more than a limited and artificial lease of life.

5) Livni: PM does not need to resign over Comptroller's report
By Amos Harel and Barak Ravid

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not need to resign in the wake of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss' scathing report on Olmert and the Israel Defense Forces' handling of the home front during the Second Lebanon War.

"The government's job is to correct the mistakes revealed in the report, and we have begun doing so," said Livni, during a press conference with visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. "The Defense Ministry has taken responsibility for the issue and that is the government's job now."

Livni, who did call on the prime minister to resign following the publication of the Winograd Committee's partial report on the war in late April, added that the government must "stick together as part of the correction of the failures that are presented in the report." Livni said she had yet to read the full report.

MKs across the political spectrum called on Olmert to step down over the reports findings, and both Likud and National Union-National Religious Party submitted no-confidence motions Wednesday afternoon.

Likud faction whip Gideon Sa'ar said the prime minister's response to the report, in which he issued a harsh personal attack on Lindenstrauss, was "embarrassing and humiliating," adding that "this government of failure is not able to rectify [problems] and learn lessons."

National Union-NRP faction whip Uri Ariel said "a government that abandoned millions of civilians in wartime cannot continue to function, regardless of the prime minister's multiple cover-up attempts.

Meretz faction whip Zahava Gal-On said the reports findings paint the picture of a "reckless prime minister, who gambled not just with IDF soldiers' lives, but also with the lives of the residents of the North."

"Instead of accepting responsibility for the failures and correcting the mistakes, he attacks the comptroller," she continued. "He should draw the obvious conclusions today, and resign."

PMO blasts comptroller report as 'biased and superficial'
The Prime Minister's Office launched a personal attack on State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Tuesday, following the publication of a damning report on the political and military handling of the home front during the Second Lebanon War.

The criticism from the PMO was levelled at Lindenstrauss himself, and distinguished him from the State Comptroller's Office.

"The state comptroller, as is his way, chooses attractive targets and shoots from every direction in order to get big headlines and public attention," said a written response from the PMO.

Senior officers in the Israel Defense Forces General Staff have also in recent days launched attacks on the comptroller in the media, harshly criticizing his choice of language in the report.

The response referred to an "unfathomable and unbridgeable gap" between the 582-page report as a whole, assembled by the office of the comptroller, and the chapter summing up the entire report, written by the comptroller himself.

It called the former and "impressive professional report" while blasting the chapter written by the comptroller himself as "biased and superficial... reflecting the personal and private positions of the State Comptroller regarding several people, the prime minister among them."

The attack on the comptroller also targeted his language use.

"To our surprise, the term 'eclipse of reason,' which is repeated three times in the ten pages of the summary, is not found once in the 600 pages of the report."

The PMO also said that the comptroller blamed decades-old problems with the home front on the Olmert government.

"The comptroller chose to direct his poisonous arrows at the government, which had only been in existence for two months. Was there really an expectation that within two months, the government would solve all of the problems on the home front that had accompanied Israel for a generation?"

The government also responded to a claim in the report according to which it decided to go war without considering the risk to the home front, and did not deal with the matter of the home front during the course of the war.

The response said that the matter was discussed at the outset of the war on July 12, and again in meetings on July 30 and August 6.

In response to the criticism in the report that the government did not hold hearings on evacuating civilians from the north of the country, the PMO response said that its policy on "selective evacuation" was the right one, because, it said, a "mass evacuation would have meant more ghost towns in the north."

IDF top brass: Report unfairly critical of home front chief
Senior IDF General Staff officers have in recent days joined the PMO in criticizing the comptroller's report, saying he was unfairly critical of GOC Home Front Command Yitzhak (Gerry) Gershon.

Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi, while announcing that the IDF is studying the report, nonetheless issued a statement expressing full support for Gershon.

According to the senior officers, both the comptroller and the media often fail to differentiate properly between the home front and the Home Front Command, placing too much emphasis on the Home Front Commands responsibility for addressing the problems that arise in war.

The officers said that the neglect of the home front was "the responsibility of all governments past and present. For years, they failed to resolve legal problems and did not provide the resources necessary for cope with threats. You can't now put the whole story on Gerry."

The officers added that the report itself points out that in areas where the Home Front Command operated during the war, the civilian population received improved assistance. "Show us one local authority that says we didn't help it during the war," they said.

The officers also rejected the report's claims that Gershon ignored wartime defense minister Amir Peretz's orders, specifically regarding a broader call-up of reserve troops. "The problem is that the minister made the comments during situation assessments, and did not issue them as explicit orders," they said, adding that a more extensive call-up would not have helped the communities under attack.

6) How will Olmert be remembered?
By Uzi Benziman

Ehud Olmert's response to George Bush's speech on Monday demonstrates his manner of thinking and how he perceives his own role: His people rushed to explain that the American president's statements were fully coordinated with the prime minister, that he was very satisfied with them, that they reflected a strong loathing for Hamas and that they placed the burden of proof on Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. There was a follow-up to the verbal reaction: Olmert announced that Vice Premier Haim Ramon would head a ministerial committee charged with discussing the implementation of the report on the West Bank outposts issued over two years ago by attorney Talia Sasson.

Olmert's response is mainly spin: He wants to be viewed as having developed an exceptionally close relationship with Bush and as being completely undisturbed by the American president's expectations of Israel.

The demands of Olmert's government set forth by Bush in his speech - the dismantling of unauthorized outposts, an end to West Bank settlement expansion and a reduced presence in the territories - are being presented by officials in Jerusalem as negligible in comparison with Bush's demands of the Palestinians.

In any event, Olmert is acting the part of someone who is genuinely prepared to do his part in realizing the vision outlined by Bush: He replaced the justice minister with his vice premier as head of the committee that is ostensibly dealing with the removal of the illegal outposts. For anyone needing a reminder, a month after becoming acting prime minister, only one outpost (Amona) was evacuated, and only partially; since his election, the government has been deterred from evacuating even the disputed building in Hebron.

The time has come for Olmert to ask himself how he wants to go down in history. Each of his 11 predecessors stamped his or her mark in office: David Ben-Gurion earned the title of principal founding father and shaper of the state. Moshe Sharett will be remembered as representing the conciliatory line vis-a-vis the Arabs. Levi Eshkol is remembered as the great reconciler between the Labor and the Revisionist movements, and for not standing in Dayan's way in the Six-Day War. Golda Meir is considered to hold supreme responsibility for the Yom Kippur War. Menachem Begin is the person who brought peace with Egypt and set the precedent of withdrawing from territories occupied in the Six-Day War. Yitzhak Rabin (in his second term) and Shimon Peres created the Oslo Accords, and Benjamin Netanyahu neutered them. Ehud Barak is etched into the national consciousness as the person who pulled the Israel Defense Forces out of Lebanon and offered Yasser Arafat a peace agreement based on a near-total withdrawal from the territories, including East Jerusalem. The overriding feature of Ariel Sharon's tenure was the implementation of the Gaza Strip disengagement plan.

And what will Olmert leave behind? So far, his name is connected only with the defeat in the Second Lebanon War.

He did make some new noises when he placed his convergence plan on the public agenda, and he did appear to be genuine in his recognition that to maintain the state's Zionist character it must get rid of the lion's share of the territories - but his performance last summer foiled his good intentions. Now he is busy jockeying for survival and bogged down in schemes to save himself from the judgment of the Winograd Committee. Hovering above is the question of why he is so determined to stay in office. Is it just to lick the wounds of his injured pride?

Olmert's ability to change the verdict of history regarding his term in office depends, first and foremost, on his courage.

He talks as if he has come to the realization that the key to saving Israel from its existential problems is a willingness to withdraw from the West Bank. He must translate that awareness into action. Even if he does not have much time left in his term, he should take advantage of it to bring about a sea change in the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians.

The outline sketched by President Bush on Monday is a serviceable vessel in which to pour an Israeli push to end the conflict with the Palestinians. This is a national goal of the first order, and there can be no more appropriate personal enterprise for which to be recorded in the chronicles of the state.

7) Gaza's economy on verge of collapse

Gaza's economy could collapse within weeks unless Israel reopens crucial commercial trade crossings, UN officials and Gazan businessmen warned Wednesday.

More than 68,000 workers have lost their jobs since Gaza's borders were closed in mid-June, following fierce factional battles in which Hamas expelled the forces of the rival Fatah faction, said Nasser el-Helu, a prominent Gaza businessman.

The closings added to the already high unemployment rate in the narrow coastal strip.

Israeli officials say they cannot open the main commercial crossing point at Karni, citing security concerns, though they have promised to maintain the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

In recent weeks, some border points were opened to transfer humanitarian supplies. But no industrial material has entered Gaza, bringing construction activity and manufacturing to a halt, including $93 million (€67.5 million) worth of UN-funded projects employing 121,000 people, according to the United Nations.

More than 70 percent of Gaza's factories have stopped production, says Gisha, an Israeli human rights group.

The appeal came a day before the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators, the US, the UN, the European Union and Russia, meet in Portugal with their newly appointed emissary, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"We are asking them (the Quartet) to take consideration of what is happening here. They must take political decisions to open all the crossings, and then the operational solutions will be found," said John Ging, director of the United Nations Relief Works Agency in Gaza.

The UN provides food aid to 80% of Gaza's 1.4 million people.

"Please lift the siege of Gaza," el-Helu said. "Mr. Blair, the siege is destroying our economy, our community."

El-Helu said Israeli business partners had begun canceling contracts because Palestinian factories were unable to meet deadlines.

He said if the borders remained closed, Gaza's economy would collapse "in one or two weeks maximum."

8) Red Mosque in Rebellion
by Daniel Pipes

Imagine that an Islamist central command exists — and that you are its chief strategist, with a mandate to spread full application of Shariah, or Islamic law, through all means available, with the ultimate goal of a worldwide caliphate. What advice would you offer your comrades in the aftermath of the eight-day Red Mosque rebellion in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan?

Probably, you would review the past six decades of Islamist efforts and conclude that you have three main options: overthrowing the government, working through the system, or a combination of the two.

Islamists can use several catalysts to seize power. (I draw here on "Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop: How Inevitable is an Islamist Future?" by Cameron Brown.)

* Revolution, meaning a wide-scale social revolt: Successful only in Iran, in 1978–79, because it requires special circumstances.
* Coup d'état: Successful only in Sudan, in 1989, because rulers generally know how to protect themselves.
* Civil war: Successful only in Afghanistan, in 1996, because dominant, cruel states generally put down insurrections (as in Algeria, Egypt, and Syria).
* Terrorism: Never successful, nor is it ever likely to be. It can cause huge damage, but without changing regimes. Can one really imagine a people raising the white flag and succumbing to terrorist threats? This did not happen after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in Egypt in 1981, or after the attacks of September 11, 2001, in America, or even after the Madrid bombings of 2004.

A clever strategist should conclude from this survey that overthrowing the government rarely leads to victory. In contrast, recent events show that working through the system offers better odds — note the Islamist electoral successes in Algeria (1992), Bangladesh (2001), Turkey (2002), and Iraq (2005). But working within the system, these cases also suggest, has its limitations. Best is a combination of softening up the enemy through lawful means, then seizing power. The Palestinian Authority (2006) offers a case of this one-two punch succeeding, with Hamas winning the elections, then staging an insurrection. Another, quite different example of this combination just occurred in Pakistan.

The Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) complex sits at the heart of official Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, amid the country's ruling institutions.

The vast Red Mosque complex, also known as the Lal Masjid, geographically in the midst of Pakistan's ruling institutions, boasts long-standing connections to the regime's elite, and includes huge male and female madrassas. But, turning on its benefactors, Kalashnikov-toting burqa-clad students confronted the police in January 2007 to prevent them from demolishing an illegally constructed building.

In April, the mega-mosque's deputy imam, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, announced the imposition of Shariah "in the areas in our control" and established an Islamic court that issued decrees and judgments, rivaling those of the government.

The mosque then sent some of its thousands of madrassa students to serve as a morals police force in Islamabad, to enforce a Taliban-style regime locally with the ultimate goal of spreading it countrywide. Students closed barbershops, occupied a children's library, pillaged music and video stores, attacked alleged brothels and tortured the alleged madams. They even kidnapped police officers.

The Red Mosque leadership threatened suicide bombings if the government of Pervez Musharraf attempted to rein in its bid for quasi-sovereignty. Security forces duly stayed away. The six-month standoff culminated on July 3, when students from the mosque, some masked and armed, rushed a police checkpoint, ransacked nearby government ministries, and set cars on fire, leaving 16 dead.

This confrontation with the government aimed at nothing less than overthrowing it, the mosque's deputy imam proclaimed on July 7: "We have firm belief in God that our blood will lead to a[n Islamic] revolution." Threatened, the government attacked the mega-mosque early on July 10. The 36-hour raid turned up a stockpiled arsenal of suicide vests, machine guns, gasoline bombs, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, anti-tank mines — and letters of instruction from Al-Qaeda's leadership.

Mr. Musharraf termed the madrassa "a fortress for war." In all, the revolt directly caused more than 100 deaths.

Mosques have been used as places for inciting violence, planning operations, and storing weapons, but deploying one as a base to overthrow the government creates a precedent. The Red Mosque model offers Islamists a bold tactic, one they likely will try again, especially if the recent episode, which has shaken the country, succeeds in pushing Mr. Musharraf out of office.

Our imaginary Islamist strategist, in short, can now deploy another tactic to attain power.

9) 'Media spin can't mask government failures'
by Amnon Meranda
Political arena rages following state comptroller's war report. Movement for Quality Government calls on Olmert to resign immediately

"No media spin aimed at discrediting the state comptroller can disguise the grave failures of the government, or spare the prime minister from the need to take responsibility and draw personal conclusions," head of the Knesset State Control Committee MK Zevulun Orlev said Wednesday.

Orlev said that the state comptroller's report on the government's handling of the home front during the Second Lebanon War was "one of the most severe reports in the history of the State of Israel.

War Report
Comptroller faults government over home front handling / Yoav Friedman
State comptroller's report on last summer's war points to government's and army's failure in protecting civilian population, says years of budget cuts dealt a blow to local authority's preparedness for emergencies
Full story

"The findings unequivocally confirm the government's failure to treat the home front and its abandoning of the north's residents," he added.

Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik said she didn't think the report was tainted by personal motives, as suggested by the Prime Minister's Office: "I don't think the comptroller is 'out to get' the prime minister… you can't expect a two-month old administration to take on deficiencies that had been building up for years…we are all at fault."

MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) said that "the prime minister and the government must stop shirking responsibility… and start correcting the mistakes."

Direct responsibility for failures
The Movement for Quality Government called on the prime minister to resign following the report's publication.

"Olmert bears direct responsibility for the deep failures exposed by the comptroller, which join the errors made during the war and revealed by the Winograd Commission," the movement stated.

MK Amy Ayalon (Labor), who headed the sub-committee in charge of looking into the government's handling of the home front during the war, slammed the way in which the various government authorities applied the lessons of war.

"Our report may not have been so blunt, but its essence was the same – the decision-making process was lacking to begin with… the government was completely unaware of the war's realities."

Chairman of the Likud faction MK Gideon Sa'ar said the government's failure was common knowledge, adding that "the worst thing is that nothing has been done over the past year to rectify the situation…the government is simply unable to learn any lessons."

"The prime minister and his government have failed miserably," said MK Arieh Eldad (National Union). "Olmert is nothing more than an accident-ridden driver on Israel's road in history. The sooner we revoke his license the sooner we will be on our way to recovery."

Former MK Yossi Sarid, who headed a committee nominated by various social organizations to investigate the government treatment of the home front during the war, called Olmert "an impertinent brat that insists on damaging things further instead of accepting responsibility and stepping down."

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel called Prime Minister Olmert's reaction to the report "hazardous to the government" adding that he was "slamming the comptroller's motives in order to distract the public from the report itself."

Aviram Zino and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report

9)The Bush Doctrine Lives
The president isn't selling out Israel or relaxing his call for Palestinian democracy.

Newspapers in Israel yesterday were full of stories about President Bush's call on Monday for the creation of a Palestinian state and an international peace conference. While Israeli officials were quoted expressing satisfaction with the fact that "there were no changes in Bush's policies," commentators questioned whether the Saudis would participate in such a gathering and whether Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with his single-digit approval ratings, could uproot Israeli settlers from the West Bank.

But all the focus on the conference misses the point. Mr. Bush has not backtracked an inch from his revolutionary Middle East policy. Never before has any American president placed the onus of demonstrating a commitment to peace so emphatically on Palestinian shoulders. Though Mr. Bush insisted that Israel refrain from further settlement expansion and remove unauthorized outposts, the bulk of his demands were directed at the Palestinians.

"The Palestinian people must decide that they want a future of decency and hope," he said, "not a future of terror and death. They must match their words denouncing terror with action to combat terror."

According to Mr. Bush, the Palestinians can only achieve statehood by first stopping all attacks against Israel, freeing captured Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, and ridding the Palestinian Authority of corruption. They must also detach themselves from the invidious influence of Syria and Iran: "Nothing less is acceptable."

In addition to the prerequisites stipulated for the Palestinians, Mr. Bush set unprecedented conditions for Arab participation in peace efforts. He exhorted Arab leaders to emulate "peacemakers like Anwar Sadat and King Hussein of Jordan" by ending anti-Semitic incitement in their media and dropping the fiction of Israel's non-existence. More dramatically, Mr. Bush called on those Arab governments that have yet to establish relations with Israel to recognize its right to exist and to authorize ministerial missions to the Jewish state.

Accordingly, Saudi Arabia, which has offered such recognition but only in return for a full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, will have to accept Israel prior to any territorial concessions. Mr. Bush also urged Arab states to wage an uncompromising battle against Islamic extremism and, in the case of Egypt and Jordan, to open their borders to Palestinian trade.

If the Israeli media largely overlooked the diplomatic innovations of Mr. Bush's speech, they completely missed its dynamic territorial and demographic dimensions. The president pledged to create a "contiguous" Palestinian state--code for assuring unbroken Palestinian sovereignty over most of the West Bank and possibly designating a West Bank-Gaza corridor. On the other hand, the president committed to seek a peace agreement based on "mutually agreed borders" and "current realities," which is a euphemism for Israel's retention of West Bank settlement blocks and no return to the 1967 lines.

Most momentous, however, was Mr. Bush's affirmation that "the United States will never abandon . . . the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people." This means nothing less than the rejection of the Palestinians' immutable demand for the resettlement of millions of refugees and their descendents in Israel. America is now officially dedicated to upholding Israel's Jewish majority and preventing its transformation into a de facto Palestinian state.

Beyond these elements, the centerpiece of Mr. Bush's vision was the international conference. The Israeli press hastened to interpret this as a framework for expediting the advent of Palestinian statehood, yet it is clear that the conference is not intended to produce a state but rather to monitor the Palestinians' progress in building viable civic and democratic institutions. The goal, Mr. Bush said, will be to "help the Palestinians establish . . . a strong and lasting society" with "effective governing structures, a sound financial system, and the rule of law."

Specifically, the conference will assist in reforming the Palestinian Authority, strengthening its security forces, and encouraging young Palestinians to participate in politics. Ultimate responsibility for laying these sovereign foundations, however, rests not with the international community but solely with the Palestinians themselves: "By following this path, Palestinians can reclaim their dignity and their future . . . [and] answer their people's desire to live in peace."

Unfortunately, many of these pioneering components in Mr. Bush's speech were either implicitly or obliquely stated, and one might have wished for a more unequivocal message, such as that conveyed in his June 2002 speech on the Middle East. Still, there can be no underrating the sea change in America's policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict brought about by this administration. If, under U.N. Resolution 242, Israelis were expected to relinquish territory and only then receive peace, now the Arabs will have to cede many aspects of peace--non-belligerency and recognition--well in advance of receiving territory.

Similarly, Mr. Bush's commitment to maintain Israel's Jewish majority signals the total rescinding of American support for Resolution 194, which provided for refugee return. Moreover, by insisting that the Palestinians first construct durable and transparent institutions before attaining independence, Mr. Bush effectively reversed the process, set out in the 1993 Oslo Accords, whereby the Palestinians would obtain statehood immediately and only later engage in institution building. Peace-for-land, preserving the demographic status quo, and building a civil society prior to achieving statehood--these are the pillars of Mr. Bush's doctrine on peace.

But will it work? Given the Palestinians' historical inability to sustain sovereign structures and their repeated (1938, 1947, 1979, 2000) rejection of offers of a state, the chances hardly seem sanguine.

Much of the administration's hope for a breakthrough rests on the Palestinians' newly appointed prime minister, Salaam Fayyad, who is purportedly incorruptible. Nevertheless, one righteous man is unlikely to succeed in purging the Palestinian Authority of embezzlement and graft and uniting its multiple militias.

The Saudis will probably balk at the notion of recognizing Israel before it exits the West Bank and Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees throughout the region will certainly resist any attempt to prevent them from regaining their former homes. Iran and Syria and their Hamas proxies can be counted on to undermine the process at every stage, often with violence.

Yet, despite the scant likelihood of success, Mr. Bush is to be credited for delineating clear and equitable criteria for pursuing Palestinian independence and for drafting a principled blueprint for peace. This alone represents a bold response to Hamas and its backers in Damascus and Tehran. The Palestinians have been given their diplomatic horizon and the choice between "chaos, suffering, and the endless perpetuation of grievance," and "security and a better life."

So, too, the president is to be commended for not taking the easy route of railroading the Palestinians to self-governance under a regime that would almost certainly implode. Now his paramount task is to stand by the benchmarks his administration has established, and to hold both Palestinians and Israelis accountable for any failure to meet them.

Mr. Oren is a fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and the author of "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present" (Norton, 2007).