Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Will the next attack be on our schools?

Even George Friedman is perplexed by Israel's raid on Syria. (See 1 below.)

Why proposed Shaba Farm transfer now by Syria? (See 2 below.)

Another view regarding Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia. (See 3 below.)

Some in the NSI truly believe, like in Chechnya, the next attack will be on our school children. I am reading Podhoretz's new book "WW 4. It is a very good read and a thoughtful and factual response to the liberals who have vilified their "enemies" in the Administration.(See 4 below.)


1) Israel, Syria and the Glaring Secret
By George Friedman

What happened in the Middle East on Sept. 6?

The first reports came from the Syrians, who said their air defenses fired at an Israeli warplane that had penetrated Syrian airspace and dropped some ordnance on the country's North. The plane then fled toward the Mediterranean at supersonic speeds, the Syrians said, noting that sonic booms had been heard.

A Syrian delegation was meeting Turkish officials about the same time, and the Turks announced that two Israeli fuel tanks had been dropped inside of Turkish territory, one in Gaziantep province and the other in Hatay province. That would mean the aircraft did come under some sort of fire and dropped fuel tanks to increase speed and maneuverability. It also would mean the plane was flying close to Turkish territory or over Turkish territory, at the northwestern tip of Syria.

The Israelis said nothing. It appeared at first glance that an Israeli reconnaissance flight had attracted Syrian attention and got out of there fast, though even that was puzzling. The Israelis monitor Syria carefully, but they have close relations with the Turkish military, which also watches Syria carefully. We would assume they have intelligence-sharing programs and that reconnaissance in this area could have been done by the Turks or, more likely, by Israeli reconnaissance satellites. Yet, an Israeli reconnaissance flight seemed like the only coherent explanation.

What was most striking from the beginning was the relative silence on all sides. The Israelis remained mum, not even bothering to leak a misleading but plausible story. The Syrians, after threatening to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council, have been less vociferous than one would expect. The United States had nothing official to say, but U.S. sources leaked a series of incompatible explanations. The Turks, after requesting an explanation for the fuel tanks, dropped the matter.

The leaks, which seemed to be coming from the Americans, raised the scope of the operation from a reconnaissance to something more. It was U.S. sources who said up to eight aircraft were involved in the operation. Early on, a leak originating in the United States implied that there might have been Israeli commandos involved as well. U.S. leaks also mentioned that a shipment of cement had been delivered to Syria from North Korea a few days before the incident and implied that this shipment might have contained nuclear equipment of some sort that was the real target of the attack. All three countries were silent officially on the intent of the attack, but the Americans were filling in some blanks with unofficial hints.

The media also were filled with a range of contradictory speculation. One story said this was a dry run for an Israeli air attack against Iran. Another said the Israelis were demonstrating their ability -- and hence the U.S. ability -- to neutralize Syrian air defenses as a signal to Iran that it, too, is vulnerable. Some stories also claimed that new missiles, not nuclear materials, were being shipped to Syria. There were many other explanations, but these were either pure speculation or were deliberately being fed to the media in order to confuse the issue.

Officials finally started to go public last week. Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was consulted in advance and supported Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's action in Syria. U.S. President George W. Bush went out of his way -- commenting directly and through his press secretary -- to make it understood that he also knew a raid had been carried out, but had absolutely nothing to say about it. That drew attention to two things. First, the United States knew what was going on. Second, the United States was going to keep the secret -- and the secret was an important one. Between Netanyahu and Bush, the reconnaissance theory was dead. An important operation occurred Sept. 6. It remains absolutely unclear what it was about.

Another leak appeared via the Sunday Times, this time with enough granularity to consider it a genuine leak. According to that report, the operation was carried out by Israeli commandos supported by Israeli aircraft, under the direct management of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. It had been planned since June, just after Barak took office, and had been approved by the United States after some hesitation. The target was in fact nuclear "material" provided by North Korea, according to that leak.

All of this makes perfect sense, save one thing. Why the secrecy? If the Syrians have nuclear facilities, the Israelis should be delighted to make it public. Frankly, so should the United States, since the Bush administration has always argued that nuclear proliferation to rogue states, including Syria, is one of the key problems in the world. The Syrians should be spinning the story like crazy as well, denying the nuclear program but screaming about unprovoked Israeli-U.S. aggression. The silence from one or two parties makes sense. The silence from all parties makes little sense.

Looked at differently, Israel and the United States both have gone out of their way to draw attention to the fact that a highly significant military operation took place in Northern Syria, and compounded the attention by making no attempt to provide a plausible cover story. They have done everything possible to draw attention to the affair without revealing what the affair was about. Israel and the United States have a lot of ways to minimize the importance of the operation. By the way they have handled it, however, each has chosen to maximize its importance.

Whoever they are keeping the secret from, it is not the Syrians. They know precisely what was attacked and why. The secret is not being kept from the Iranians either. The Syrians talk to them all the time. It is hard to imagine any government of importance and involvement that has not been briefed by someone. And by now, the public perception has been shaped as well. So, why the dramatic secrecy designed to draw everyone's attention to the secret and the leaks that seem to explain it?

Let us assume that the Sunday Times report is correct. According to the Times, Barak focused on the material as soon as he became defense minister in June. That would mean the material had reached Syria prior to that date. Obviously, the material was not a bomb, or Israel would not have waited until September to act. So it was, at most, some precursor nuclear material or equipment.

However, an intervening event occurred this summer that should be factored in here. North Korea publicly shifted its position on its nuclear program, agreeing to abandon it and allow inspections of its facilities. It also was asked to provide information on the countries it sold any nuclear technology to, though North Korea has publicly denied any proliferation. This was, in the context of the six-party negotiations surrounding North Korea, a major breakthrough.

Any agreement with North Korea is, by definition, unstable. North Korea many times has backed off of agreements that seemed cast in stone. In particular, North Korea wants to be seen as a significant power and treated with all due respect. It does not intend to be treated as an outlaw nation subject to interrogation and accusations. Its self-image is an important part of its domestic strategy and, internally, it can position its shift in its nuclear stance as North Korea making a strategic deal with other major powers. If North Korea is pressed publicly, its willingness to implement its agreements can very quickly erode. That is not something the United States and other powers want to see happen.

Whether the Israelis found out about the material through their own intelligence sources or North Korea provided a list of recipients of nuclear technology to the United States is unclear. The Israelis have made every effort to make it appear that they knew about this independently. They also have tried to make it appear that they notified the United States, rather than the other way around. But whether the intelligence came from North Korea or was obtained independently, Washington wants to be very careful in its handling of Pyongyang right now.

The result is the glaring secrecy of the last few weeks. Certainly, Israel and the United States wanted it known that Syria had nuclear material, and that it was attacked. This served as a warning to other recipients of North Korean nuclear technology -- most especially Iran. At the same time, the United States did not want to publicly embarrass North Korea, out of fear that the North Koreans would simply chuck the disarmament talks. Moreover, Damascus had no interest in publicizing that it had thoughts of a nuclear program, so it quieted down.

We should note that if this theory is true, and the United States and Israel discovered the existence of a Syrian nuclear program only from North Korean information, this would represent one of the most massive intelligence failures imaginable by both Israel and the United States. Essentially, it would mean that, unless this was the first shipment of material to Syria, Israel and the United States failed to detect a Syrian nuclear program on their own. That is possible, but not likely.

It is a neat theory. It might even be a true theory. But it has problems. The biggest problem is why Syria would be trying to obtain nuclear technology. Sandwiched between Israel and Turkey -- a country that has not had great relations with Syria in the past -- and constantly watched by the United States, the probability of it developing a nuclear capability undetected is infinitesimal, and the probability of Israel not taking it out is nonexistent. Moreover, Syria is not Iran. It is poorer, has less scientific and other resources and lacks the capability to mount a decade long development effort. Syria actually plays a fairly conservative game, taking its risks in Lebanese politics and allowing jihadists to transit through the country on their way to Iraq. Trying to take on Israel or the United States in a nuclear gambit is not the Syrians' style. But certainly they were caught doing something, or they would be screaming to high heaven.

There has been persistent discussion of nuclear material in Syria, which, if we took the words seriously, would tend to indicate that something radioactive, such as enriched uranium or plutonium, was present. If what was delivered was not equipment but radioactive material, the threat might not have been a Syrian nuclear program, but some sort of radioactive device -- a dirty bomb -- that might be handed off to Hezbollah. The head of Israel's military intelligence was quoted as saying something about the attack having re-established Israel's deterrence power after its failures in the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah. Perhaps the problem was that the material was being transferred from North Korea to Syria on its way to Lebanon, possibly to use against Israel.

That would explain Syria's relative silence. Concern that the deal with North Korea will fall apart might keep the United States quiet. But a Syrian transfer of such material to Hezbollah normally would set Israel to raging at the Syrians. The Americans might have kept quiet, but the Israelis would have leaked much earlier than this. Israel would want to use the threat as a tool in its public relations war.

Another reason for the silence could be psychological warfare against Iran. The speculation above might be true in some variant, but by remaining ominously silent, the Israelis and Americans might be trying to shake Iran's nerve, by demonstrating their intelligence capability, their special operations ability and the reach of their air power. With the Israelis having carried out this attack, this very visible secrecy might be designed to make Iran wonder whether it is next, and from what direction an attack might come.

Normally such international game-playing would not interest us. The propensity of governments to create secrets out of the obvious is one of the more tedious aspects of international relations. But this secret is not obvious, and it is not trivial. Though it is true that something is finally being leaked three weeks after the attack, what is being leaked is neither complete nor reliable. It seems to make sense, but you really have to work hard at it.

At a time when the United States is signaling hostile intentions toward Iran, the events in Syria need to be understood, and the fact that they remain opaque is revealing. The secrecy is designed to make a lot of people nervous. Interestingly, the Israelis threw a change-up pitch the week after the attack, signaling once again that they wanted to open talks with the Syrians -- a move the Syrians quickly rebuffed.

When events get so strange that interpretation is a challenge, it usually indicates it was intended that way, that the events are significant and that they could point to further instability. We do not know whether that is true, but Israel and the United States have certainly worked hard to create a riddle wrapped in a mystery.

2) Syria willing to place Shaba Farms in UN custody
By Barak Ravid

Syria is willing to transfer the Shaba Farms to the custody of the United Nations as part of an effort to resolve the sovereignty dispute over the area, which is currently under Israel's control.

The new Syrian position was outlined in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, who visited Damascus last month.

Israeli political sources said Tuesday that Syria's offer is meant to put pressure on Jerusalem, which opposes any withdrawal from Shaba at this stage.

Moratinos sent the letter to the UN secretary general two weeks ago, after discussing the matter with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.

In it, Moratinos, who was the European Union's special envoy to the Middle East before becoming Spain's foreign minister, wrote that Syria is willing to transfer the area to UN custody even before the international border between it and Lebanon has been fully demarcated. The UN has been engaged in marking the border for the past year.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said last year that he would also like to see Shaba transferred to UN custody.

The Shaba Farms, situated in the foothills of Har Dov at the point where the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria converge, used to be part of the French Mandate in Syria and Lebanon. The border, which followed a 1923 agreement between Britain and France, was never precisely demarcated.

In May 2000, following Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon, the UN ruled that Shaba was part of the Golan Heights, and was therefore Syrian rather than Lebanese. It also said that Shaba's future should be determined in negotiations between Israel and Syria.

However, Lebanon claimed that Shaba was within its sovereign territory, and this provided Hezbollah with a pretext for continuing its military operations against Israel, in order to liberate the "occupied territory."

Following last year's Second Lebanon War, the UN began marking the international border between Syria and Lebanon, mainly in order to resolve the dispute over which country actually owns Shaba. Israel's position has been that there should be no discussion of Shaba's future until the UN makes a final decision on precisely where this border lies.

"There is no change in Israel's stance on the matter," a source in the Prime Minister's Bureau told Haaretz on Tuesday. "First, the demarcation of the border must be completed."

Senior Foreign Ministry officials told a Moratinos aide who visited Israel last week that there should be no discussions on Shaba "at our expense." They also warned that an Israel Defense Forces withdrawal from the area at this time would undermine Israel's interests and constitute a "prize" for Syria's ally, Hezbollah.

Israeli sources expressed dissatisfaction Tuesday at the fact that Spain did not officially inform Israel about the Moratinos letter to Ban Ki-moon. Israeli diplomats learned of its content by chance during talks at the UN.

The letter may contribute to the growing tension between Israel and Spain, initially sparked by a meeting Moratinos held with Hezbollah's deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem. Following that meeting, a Moratinos visit to Israel that had been scheduled for earlier this month was postponed until October.

UN mapping expert Miklos Pinter, who has been busy delineating the border area near Shaba, visited Israel two weeks ago to meet his Israeli counterparts. Next month, the UN is expected to publish a new report on the situation between Israel and Lebanon, and Pinter's findings may be included in the document.

Israeli officials are concerned that this report could spark renewed discussion of which country has sovereignty over Shaba Farms.

3) Humbling Ahmadinejad

No matter what else happens in the world, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will always have a place in the headlines. Ever since he was elected Iranian president in 2005 he has captivated the media spotlight. His visit to the UN General Assembly in New York drew even more attention because of his speech Monday before some 800 students at Columbia University.

Dean John Coatsworth's foolish statement that he would have invited Hitler himself to speak at the university only intensified the protests and demonstrations, but despite raucous opposition, the event proceeded as planned.

The most powerful statements on the day were not spoken by Ahmadinejad himself, but by the president of Columbia, Lee Bollinger. His introduction set the tone for the entire afternoon, and it was an academic and political tour de force.

"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," he proclaimed. He attacked Ahmadinejad over his Holocaust denial, his position on Israel, his human rights record and more. Bollinger's assault was merciless: "You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

IN THOSE few moments, the atmosphere and nature of the visit changed. The media had reported that this was a "speech" or "debate," but after Lee Bollinger's introduction, it became a trial. Defendants often engage in tirades and rants, and Ahmadinejad did just that; but he couldn't really transform his podium into a platform of incitement, because he was now speaking as a man indicted.

The Iranian president opened by protesting that he was hurt and insulted by the introduction, though he did not address the accusations themselves. He then gave a long sermon about the connection between science and prophecy, spoke out strongly against the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and noted his love for "all people," though he also spoke extensively against Israel. Premeditated or not, this took up most of his speech.

Then came the cross examination: student-generated questions on the major issues were posed to the speaker, who attempted to justify himself.

TO BE HONEST, I was rather disappointed that Ahmadinejad was not consistently pressured to clarify his statements. This was done once only, and when it was, he became visibly agitated and tried rather unsuccessfully to evade the question.

Particularly problematic was the lack of pressure regarding the Holocaust issue. Ahmadinejad, though stating that it was a historical fact, also said repeatedly that its veracity should be questioned. He also claimed that women were treated with perfect respect in Iran. Neither claim was seriously challenged. In this, Columbia failed, but the rest of the event more than compensated for this.

Around the half-point of the "trial" came the most stunning moment of the afternoon. When challenged on Iran's persecution of gays, the Iranian president replied, "We don't have gays in Iran. I don't know who told you that… we don't have that phenomenon." The comment was greeted with outright mockery by the students, who jeered and laughed audibly.

In that one moment, more conclusively than ever before, Ahmadinejad proved himself to be the "astonishingly uneducated" ignoramus that Bollinger had introduced him as.

This proved to be one of the most memorable segments of the trial, and sure enough, most of the headlines regarding the event were along the lines of "Lee Bollinger: Ahmadinejad a 'cruel and petty dictator'" and "Ahmadinejad: 'There are no gays in Iran.'"

OVERALL, the negative impact on Israel of the event was minimal. The Iranian president made no new statements on the serious issues; all his comments on Israel and the Holocaust were rehashed from previously publicized speeches.

In fact, to my mind, the statements were no worse than those of Norman Finkelstein, Avrum Burg or Illan Pappe. On the other hand, whenever Ahmadinejad deviated from his usual rhetoric he faltered, and this is where the speech was truly influential. Bollinger's indictment, the demand to clarify his position, his comment on gays - in all these he was agitated at best, outright ridiculous at worst.

If we ask ourselves what changed in Ahmadinejad's image and influence after his visit to Columbia, I think the answer is unequivocal: He was deservedly humbled. Never before had he been treated like a defendant, and Columbia changed that for good.

The event also succeeded as an excellent exhibition of debate, the highest form of free speech. Rather than allow Ahmadinejad to limit his rhetoric to one-sided speeches, Columbia challenged his positions and made him defend himself.

The debate bears some comparison to the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy in this regard. Those deliberately offensive caricatures were hailed by many in the Western world on the basis of free speech. But that very justification was being denied to Columbia University. Both were attempts to test the limits of free speech, the former offended over a billion Muslim people; the latter challenged the tolerance of otherwise liberal New York Jews.

FINALLY, it should be noted that though Columbia is a prestigious university, Ahmadinejad is the president of some 70 million people. He is used to speaking unchallenged before crowds of thousands or tens of thousands. In Columbia, he was on trial before 800 college students. The situation he was exposed to was demeaning, not empowering. He gained no credibility in this debate; au contraire, the platform forced him to speak not as a powerful president but as just another controversial lecturer.

4) Al Qaeda Targets Our Schoolchildren
By Marc Sheppard

While Democrats prepare witless campaign slogans blaming Republicans for millions of children not protected by health insurance, al Qaeda's blatant threat to exterminate 2 million American kids remains unheeded. And it will likely continue to be, notwithstanding mounting evidence that there exists no peril on Earth our young need greater protection from today than merciless jihadist monsters.

Not lack of a national insurance plan. Not global warming. Not racial or cultural disparities. Not even the Patriot Act, any of its overplayed incursions into individual liberties, or any of the other countless silly and diaphanous liberal causes célèbres, but rather that which would abruptly and savagely end their innocent short lives.

Nearly 6 months have passed since I first challenged the inexcusable refusal by DHS and FBI authorities to publicly connect the obviously connectable dots representing an unnerving number of alarming events -- particularly in the wake of the Beslan school massacre. These include:

* Videotapes confiscated in Afghanistan showing al-Qaeda terrorists training to takeover a school
* Spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith‘s declaration of al-Qaeda's "right" to kill 2 million American children
* An Iraqi national with known terrorist connections caught with a computer disk containing information detailing Department of Education crisis planning for U.S school districts.
* Two Saudi men - one wearing a black trench coat despite the Florida heat -- terrifying a busload of Tampa schoolchildren by boarding a school bus and remaining for the entire ride to school, all the while laughing and speaking Arabic.
* A March FBI/DHS bulletin noting "recent suspicious activity" by foreigners who drive school buses, are licensed to drive them, or have actually managed to purchase them right here at home. Including "members of the unnamed extremist groups" who have obtained commercial drivers licenses with school bus endorsements.
* Osama bin Laden's promise that the 2004 terrorist attack at Beslan will happen many times over in the United States.

In that time, little or nothing has been done to relieve parents' understandable anxieties, despite the fresh dots which continued to accrue on this disturbing non-puzzle.

Dots like the seventeen full-sized yellow school buses reported stolen from charter schools, business schools and private bus companies in Houston, Texas, over the past few months. Connect to that and previous disturbing stories the fact that thousands of school bus radios have also been stolen (2000 in California in 2005 alone), and the images shaped should be triggering earsplitting alarms throughout all branches of media and law enforcement.

But instead -- the silence looms apparent while the question remains: Why?

We ARE talking about School Buses

It's certainly no big stretch to imagine these purloined vehicles employed as mega-potent yet inconspicuous car-bombs to target schools or other heavily populated buildings, is it?

Or busloads of innocent, unsuspecting, tykes being exploited as hostages? Or, perhaps, kidnapped as prologue to a Beslan-style (see this article) school invasion horror story? Or -- our worst nightmare of all -- falling victim to some maniac who smiles the bassamat al-farah right before obliterating the bus and its tiny passengers from the driver's seat? Or all of the above?

Bear in mind, we're talking about school buses -- those nondescript yellow kiddie-movers into which parents have trustingly loaded their young for generations, never pausing to consider their naked vulnerability. Never, I can only hope, until now.

In his stirring article, The Logic of Suicide Terrorism, which first appeared in The Atlantic in June of 2003, terrorism expert Professor Bruce Hoffman examined the lure of bus explosions to twisted minds [Warning: Graphic]

"Buses remain among the bombers' preferred targets. Winter and summer are the better seasons for bombing buses ... because the closed windows (for heat or air-conditioning) intensify the force of the blast, maximizing the bombs' killing potential. As a hail of shrapnel pierces flesh and breaks bones, the shock wave tears lungs and crushes other internal organs. When the bus's fuel tank explodes, a fireball causes burns, and smoke inhalation causes respiratory damage. All this is a significant return on a relatively modest investment. Two or three kilograms of explosive on a bus can kill as many people as twenty to thirty kilograms left on a street or in a mall or a restaurant."

Can you imagine the heart-stopping horror of such an unthinkable event and its impact upon the nation -- particularly on parents of school-aged children? Or the image of a burning yellow school bus carcass indelibly burned into your subconscious between those of two falling towers and many more falling and burning fellow-Americans?

Let there be no doubt whatsoever: these abhorrent architects of fear most certainly can and do imagine it in their dreams.

Forewarned is Forearmed

The seemingly all lack of candor coming from Washington is outrageous, as are their lame attempts to distance the few tidbits they do throw us from Islamic terrorism. Thanks to the persistent efforts of advocacy groups like the ACLU and CAIR, half of our leaders and fellow-Americans are concerned as much with the plight of a few murderous enemies at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as they are with danger to the countless innocents in the homeland. The resulting political correctness and mindless tolerance-at-any-cost have created an atmosphere in which both warnings and enforcement must first be sieved through potential "racism" and "profiling" filters.

Further abetting this frustration is that when news does break out, it invariably ends with some hapless public servant assuring us that "parents and children have nothing to fear." Similar reassurance were given the doomed on the sinking Titanic.

It's certainly understandable that without locations or dates of specific threats, officials are disinclined to speculate publicly for fear of spreading unnecessary panic. But shouldn't parents at the very least be assured that the powers that be are working behind the scenes with school districts and first-responders to develop protection, threat assessment, and crisis plans? Does no one in authority appreciate the unique psychological torment of feeling helplessly incapable of protecting our children?

Thankfully, one thing that has improved since March, no thanks to DHS, is public awareness of the issue. And there's been no brighter source for this vital illumination than the radio and television shows of Glenn Beck.

Last month, I noticed a curious second wave of e-mail response to my March article. I later discovered the source of this sudden renewed interest in the topic -- Mr. Beck had been discussing the piece's subject on his radio show and promising a 4 part series on it for his nightly CNN show for months. Aptly timed, on the eve of the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 al Qaeda assaults, he delivered the first installment of his must-see expose.

The series title, Exposed: The Perfect Day, refers to an expression purportedly coined by al Qaeda vermin to describe an imminent day in which Americans are killed on an unprecedented scale. If you've been paying attention, you'll understand why it's prudent to assume that the targets of such massive, coordinated attacks will likely include both schools and school buses.

Episodes One and Two, essentially review the information I covered in March, with additional inspired insights from counterterrorism experts including Brad Thor and Lt. Col. Joe Ruffini and former FBI special agent Don Clark.

Thor lent a compelling observation that the recent bin Laden video, once-again calling on Americans to embrace Islam, fits al Qaeda's pattern of offering the enemy capitulation before decapitation. He also revealed that an "inside source" had confided a belief by Florida authorities that the Tampa bus incident was a "dry run," planned to expose our weaknesses. Am I alone in wondering whether or not such concerns have made their way up the food chain to DHS?

Ruffini added that all major charges against the 2 Saudis were dropped under intense pressure from our old friends at CAIR. No surprise there -- running interference for all plots Islamic appears to be the council's mission statement of late.

In Part 2, Beck aired more shocking video of the unparalleled inhumanity that was Beslan.

If you haven't done so, I urge you as a parent to experience both the series, and these videos.

4) Why Children are Targets - A gruesome perspective

Episode Three of The Perfect Day did a compelling job of exploring the "whys?" of targeting students. And the answers, as speculated by Beck, the returning Thor, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American/Islamic Forum for Democracy and former NY City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, will surely surprise you.

While Kerik concentrated primarily on the long-term economic impact on tourism, the airline industry, the stock market and, of course, our public education system, his fellow guests smelled a bigger, more rancid rat.

The show's captain mapped the discussion's course when he proposed that it's not about the body counts or spreading fear, but rather the backlash,

"and more importantly, it is about how that backlash would be used as propaganda in the foreign media, to unite extremists all over the world against us."

He then handed the ball off to the waiting Dr. Jasser, by asking:

"They want something so horrific where they are raping our children, killing them, torturing them, stuffing [them] out the windows, having the whole media see, because they want us to do what?"

And Jasser ran with it, explaining how these inhuman actions are intended to further divide the world into Muslim and non-Muslim. Our anticipated rage response to such unprecedented horror, predicts the doctor, would likely result in hate-crimes against Muslims, which al Jazeera would broadcast without context to 80 million people throughout the Middle East world.

Thor, who believes outraged Americans' reactions may well include "lynching Muslim people in the streets and burning mosques," adds:

"They want to reduce us to animals like them so that they can get the Islamic world behind them and finally get the holy war that they want kicked off and ignited."

We must use all methods at our disposal to uncover and prevent their future moves, and, failing that, be prepared to minimize our losses - lest we fall right into their barbarous hands.

What Can (and Must) be Done

My purpose here is not to shock or panic but rather to alarm you in a manner hopefully more Paul Revere than Wes Craven. And the response to that alarm must be action.

For starters, school districts are not the arena in which to score political points with the misguided champions of diversity and tolerance. What's needed is clear, level-headed decision making unfettered by all PC nonsense. The reports of "extremist group" members seeking positions as bus drivers here in the states and terrorists embedded as employees at School Number One in Beslan alone should serve as warning that school and bus company employees must be American citizens with confirmed immaculate backgrounds. Period.

Furthermore, the technology to retrofit all school buses with GPS tracking devices is as cheap as it is effective. American freight fleets have been installing them in trucks for years to combat hijacking. Do vehicles transporting our most precious cargo of all deserve any less protection? While some districts have taken this step, many more have not, as drivers' labor unions create roadblocks, calling such measures "Orwellian" and in at least one case, believe it or not, "racist." The hell with their self-serving whining -- these are our kids - demand that your district implement this crucial safety feature.

Episode Four of Beck's series introduced Kenneth Trump of National School Safety and Security Services, who wisely advised parents to know not only who's driving their kids' bus, but also the manner of training they've received:

"School districts do a great job of training drivers how to drive the bus, very poor job at training them on security procedures, recognizing and reporting strangers, what to do in an emergency situation, how you would get a hold of the police, what to do when the police show up, what to do if you have somebody pull a gun on a bus, what to do if you have a stranger or parent or irate parent or an unusual person, a terrorist, approach a bus, even just simple things."

Additionally, do you know how or even if your school district has prepared for a bus or building crisis? Are they practicing lockdown, active shooter and terrorist-siege scenarios and crisis response? Are drills crafted in coordination with first-responders and law enforcement? Are such drills regularly practiced?

Let's not forget, you're typically dealing with a "gun-free zone" liberal mindset in our public schools, where only one in four teachers dare confess to the perceived crime of thinking Republican. As April's 32 student death tragedy at Virginia Tech suddenly reminded us, such mentality rarely spawns a secure environment.

That's why it's up to you to hold their feet to the fire until you're completely comfortable with their response.

On Beck, Brad Thor recommended Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman's strategy for school protection called the 4 Ds (Deter, Detect, Delay and Destroy). The plan combines awareness and prevention musts for parents, teachers and school officials with tactical advice for law enforcement. I suggest you read the article Preparing for school attacks, which the Colonel coauthored, to learn more about his warnings to avoid falling victim to the 5th D - Denial. After all, while the "odds of a school attack in your community are admittedly low ..to ignore the threat is to live in denial."

Dangerous denial, I might add. Especially when we refuse to imagine the possible worst before it happens.

Imagine all the People .....

To be sure, if there's one battlefield on which our fanatical enemies have outflanked us, it's that of imagination. While al Qaeda continues to develop diabolical methods of mass murder, our countermeasure response has targeted only those offenses previously deployed or otherwise detected. The already tedious waits at airports now made further agonizing by silly shoe surrender and ridiculous liquid restrictions are perfect examples of just how shortsightedly reflexive these responses have been.

But the lives of our progeny depend on a more proactive, imaginative approach. We now know that the FBI ignored a summer of 2001 memo urging an investigation into Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools that actually suggested bin Laden's involvement. Dare we repeat that fatal lack of imagination, given current similar warnings, and do nothing until another 3000 (or, perhaps, many more) are slaughtered? What greater call to action do we possibly need?

Last week we learned of nine postcards sent to different schools in Marion County, Florida, each with a crudely hand drawn cartoon depicting a building exploding and spewing bodies to the ground. Each card also contained the handwritten caption "Jihad Boom" and the words "9-11 ? 10-10." Several schools in the same county had received written threats just a week earlier promising attacks on the September 11 anniversary.

Hoax or genuine threat? Not yet determined. Then again, as of this writing there's been neither a response from DHS nor any confirmation that the feds are even involved in the investigation, despite the threats moving through US mail. Jihad Boom? 9-11? Not realizing whose lap any threats containing such words belong in transcends failures of imagination to touch upon gross incompetence.

It's high time DHS stops treating us like children, so that we may better protect our own children.

We reassure our frightened kids, awakened from nightmares, that what scared them was only a dream - not real -- there's no such thing as monsters.

Dreadfully, we know all too well that's no longer the truth - and so does our Department of Homeland Security.

To me, the verdict is clear: Ahmadinejad was defeated, and Columbia won a victory for freedom.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Arab Unity Meeting is Best Way to Create Disunity!

Abbas indicates he will stiff Sec. Rice regarding the upcoming Nov. conference and , in time, it will probably fall apart as other Arab nations refuse to attend. Most Arab nations and their respective leaders have too many divergent conflicts to resolve before getting together in a unity meeting. I have oft stated, if you want to create disunity among Arabs just bring them together for a unity meeting. (See 1 below.) (See 1 below.)

Amil Amani helps us to understand Ahmadinejad through an understanding of intricate religious texts as if we needed it. (See 2 below.)

Former Israeli Defense Chief, Moshe Ya'alon, offers advice: Jihadism can be defeated. I watched Ken Burns documentaries on WW 2 last night and there is no doubt that all forces of Evil can be defeated if we remain united and determined. The question is can we unite? (See 3 below.)

Dennis Ross discusses what Israel accomplished by its recent attack on Syria. He concludes much as I have already that Israel was intent on sending a variety of messages both to Syria, Iran as well as the reluctant West.(See 4 below.)


1)Rice Expands Washington Peace Conference Base, Dilutes Results

The Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has said to everyone in sight that he will not attend the Washington peace conference the White House is promoting for November unless he is assured of progress on core issues and on Palestinian statehood. Otherwise, he says, the event is futile.

He tried explaining this to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice when she visited Ramallah last week. He told her that no consensus had ensued from his meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on a single issue; he would therefore absent himself from the conference. But, he said, she “misunderstood” his meaning.

Our Middle East and Washington sources disclose that, to make sure the US government understood that no Palestinian official, including prime minister Salam Fayyad, would be there, Abbas sent two secret emissaries to Washington and Paris. They reported that there is not the slightest chance of a prior Israeli-Palestinian consensus on any core issue in the next two months. Therefore, the Palestinian seats at the conference would be vacant.

Abbas insisted in the message to the two governments that he was not playing games to extort last-minute concessions from Israel. He simply wanted more time for the serious negotiating track he had opened up with Olmert to continue uninterrupted.

The Israeli prime minister is fully aware of Abbas’ position, but has made no comment.

He too is not keen on the conference, but is leaving it to the Palestinians to upset the Bush administration’s the applecart.

It also suits Olmert’ image at home to look tough on security (the Sept. 6 air attack over Syria), while pleasing the doves by appearing to work toward forging a historic breakthrough in the conflict with the Palestinians. From time to time, one issue or another is officially said to be referred to joint Israel-Palestinian experts committees after the two leaders reached agreement in principle. In fact, according to defense sources, no progress has been attained on any issue at all.

Olmert’s initiative to free 91 jailed members of Abbas’ Fatah group to mark the Muslim feast of Eid al Fitr, approved by the government Sunday Sept. 23, was not aimed at changing the Palestinian leader’s mind about attending the Washington meeting, but presenting himself to the Americans and Israeli doves as amenable to pacific concessions to the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Knesset opposition members will hold a special session Monday to air their objections to releasing another batch of Palestinian terrorists, knowing they will go straight back to their violent ways – without demanding anything in return. About half the 91 prisoners on the list must be pardoned by President Shimon Peres before they can walk free and the entire list was posted on the Prisons Authority’s Web site as required by law in case any Israeli citizen wishes to press charges against them.

This process takes up time and attention. The US secretary of state, who understood Abbas very well, is meanwhile struggling to stand the Washington peace conference on its feet.

After turning a deaf ear not only to Abbas, but also to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both of which prefer to stay away, she has come up with a fresh tactic. Instead of the smallish Israel-Arab forum originally planned, which she too realizes has nowhere to go, the secretary is trying to jazz the event up with momentum for a big international summit.

Now she is talking about inviting the entire Arab League, which would include Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the Maghreb nations, as well as a couple of Muslim rulers.

The Palestinians, the Saudis, the Egyptians and the Israelis could then hardly stay away – especially when she has not attached any strings, replacing them with “hopes.”

Invitees like Syria were not asked to recognize Israel or renounce their sponsorship of terror but rebuked. “We hope,” she said, “that those who come are really committed to helping the Israelis and Palestinians find a way through – and that means renouncing violence, it means working for a peaceful solution.”

She spoke Sunday after the Middle East Quartet meeting in New York issued a statement of support for the Washington conference.

The US secretary knows perfectly well that the larger the forum, the less the chance of consensus on action or substantive issues. But even resolutions that are mere generalities, she believes, can be sold to the Arab and Muslim world as a demonstration that the Bush administration is making good on its pledge to bring about progress for a solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Even so, Abbas is standing by his refusal to attend, and without him, there is no conference. US officials think the Palestinian leader believes he can get away with his rebuff without paying a price. They say Washington can hardly cut off aid to his Ramallah-based government on the West Bank, for fear of strengthening Hamas and the hard-line Palestinian groups backed by Damascus and Iran.

Embarrassingly, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said Sunday night he had no notion of the conference agenda. He said the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner had also shrugged when asked if he knew anything about it. Without an agreed agenda, said Mubarak, there was no point in calling the conference because it was preprogrammed for failure.

2 )Who is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
By Amil Imani

To understand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mindset and behavior require close scrutiny of the elaborate and intricate theology of Hujetieh Shiism, perhaps the most fundamentalist of the numerous Shiite sects.

In the 1950s, a group of Islamic clergy led by Sheikh Mahmoud Halabi (a close associate of Ayatollah Khomeini) formed a society called the Anjoman-e Khayryyehye Hujjatiyyah-ye Mahdaviat (Charitable Society of the Mahdi), based in Mashhad, Iran. The Hujjatyyah membership was mostly composed by the bazaar-i businessmen and fanatical mullahs. Among many things, they were against the communists, Marxists, and atheists. Their overarching "raison d'être," however, was to prepare the world for the upcoming of the 12th Imam -- the Mehdi.

However, the most important immediate agenda item on their list was to harass and persecute the Baha'is, a religious group representing a small percentage of Iran's population. In fact, the Hujjatiyyah-y's alternative name became "The anti-Baha'i Society" (Anjuman-e Zidd-e Baha'iyat). They collectively worked for a single purpose: the eradication of Baha'is.

The terrible plight of the Baha'is in Iran is particularly heart-wrenching, since they are the largest non-Muslim population in the country and have been, from day one, severely brutalized by Muslims. Baha'i teachings of tolerance and openness to science are anathema to the Islamofascists on many levels, but the history of the faith includes direct challenges to the theological legitimacy of the mullahs. These slaveholders find the Baha'i faith a threat to their own version of Islam and the absolute theocratic power it puts their hands.

The egomaniac President Ahmadinejad is a member of Hujjatiyyah. He sees himself as the personal vassal of the Mahdi-Messiah or Hidden Imam, with whom he has fantasized tête-à-têtes frequently.

Ahmadinejad, a man driven by his religion, has a spiritual advisor in Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi (the defacto leader of the Hojatieh). The President's advisor is known for his extremist views on Islam and promotes suicide bombings and attacks on civilians in the West. There is only view of Islam for him. He once said, "...if anyone tells you their own interpretation of Islam, punch them in the mouth!"

President Ahmedinejad has in a short time acquired great many descriptors at home and overseas: zealot, fascist, fanatic, anti-Semitic, lunatic and more. One prominent Western columnist called him "unhinged." But we cannot just dismiss the man as an aberration, someone who is in urgent need of psychological help, a person out of touch with reality, who represents nothing of substance.

Once again the West is misreading and misjudging people and events in the Middle East, due to the fact that it views things through its own prism.

Looking at the man through Western spectacles, he indeed appears to be all of the above and more. Yet Ahmadinejad is far from unhinged. As a matter of fact he is firmly hinged to a set of beliefs that dictate his views of the world, and inform him how he should deal with it from his position of power.

An unhinged man has the potential of becoming once again hinged. But, there is very little that can be done to a person who is inseparably hinged, and Ahmadinejad views are firmly rooted in the most orthodox philosophy of Shiism.

For our purposes, however, it is sufficient to document the fact that Ahmadinejad is not mentally disturbed; there is no display of contradictory thoughts and behavior. There is a full internal consistency in Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad's words, deeds and beliefs show a fully hinged person.

Below are a few examples of his sayings, beliefs and actions. Whether one agrees or disagrees with them, they all fit perfectly into a consistent pattern.

▪ He literally believes in the imminent emergence of the Mahdi - the Shiites' promised one who is expected to appear to set aright a decadent and wretched world.

▪ He views himself as the vassal of Mahdi, working for him and being accountable to him.

▪ His main task is to prepare the world so to hasten the Mahdi's coming. If this preparation requires much destruction and bloodshed, so be it.

▪ As a former mayor of Tehran, he developed elaborate detailed plans preparing the city for the arrival of the Mahdi.

▪ He allocated generous sums for extensive road improvement to a mosque at Jamkaaraan near the city of Qum where it is believed the promised Mahdi is hiding in a well since the age of nine, over 1100 years ago.

▪ He reportedly visits the well frequently and drops his written supplications into the well for the hidden Mahdi to act upon them.

▪ He has said in private that it was he who asked the Mahdi to inflict the massive stroke on Ariel Sharon.

▪ He sees the Jews as the sworn enemies of Islam. The hostility dates back to the time of Muhammad's own treatment of the Jews in Medina. At first, expediently, Muhammad called the Jews "people of the book," and accorded them a measure of tolerance until he gained enough power to unleash his devastating wrath on them.

▪ He says that the Holocaust is a myth. He is, in this respect, in good company with a number of other revisionist fanatics.

▪ He wants Israel to be wiped out of the map or transferred to Europe.

▪ In his speech at the UN general assembly, he implored the Mahdi to come and save the world. He claimed that during his speech of some twenty odd minutes, a powerful light enveloped him and all participants were held transfixed, unable to move their eyes.

▪ He believes that the earth is Allah's and all people must either become believers of his brand of Islam or must perish as infidels najis (unclean) who by their very presence defile Allah's earth.

▪ He believes that this earthly life is passing and worthless in comparison to the afterlife awaiting a devoted and faithful believer. Hence, he holds to the old belief that if a faithful kills an infidel, he goes to Allah's paradise; and, if the faithful gets killed in the process of serving the faith, again he goes to Allah's paradise. Hence, it is a win-win proposition for the faithful.

Ahmadinejad is a true devoted Muslim. Being unpredictable, self-contradictory and inconsistent are major symptoms of the mentally unhinged. By these standards of insanity, Ahmadinejad emerges as completely sane. He is fully predictable, consistent and has shown no self-contradiction. He does not even pretend that he misspoke or apologize for his outrageous statements. He is not a typical politician who practices the devious art of doublespeak, deception and change of position to suit his immediate convenience.

He knows who he is, what he believes, and what his own mission in life is: serving as the instrument for the revered Mahdi. Allah will make him emerge from the well as soon as the world's conditions hit absolute hopeless bottom. Ahmadinejad sees himself as a driver who can play a critical role in doing just that, driving the world to the very bottom. And he plans on having an arsenal of nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

There is nothing really "unhinged" about Ahamadinejad's thinking, statements and actions. They are internally consistent. He is simply a fanatic who is wedded to an extremely dangerous exclusionary system of belief. Humanity must learn that dismissing him as alunatic will result in great suffering, as it did with Hitler.

Tragically, Ahmadinejad is the embodiment of several million people who are hinged exactly like him and who are willing to give their lives, and take with them as many lives as required in the service of their belief. In this age of Weapons of Mass Destruction a man with huge sums of petrodollars can serve as the catalyst of total annihilation.

Prudence would err on the side of being an alarmist than a complacent dismissive.

Ahmadinejad and his ilk are not interested in any negotiation, any compromise or any live-and-let-live final solution. They are determined to be the soldiers of Mahdi come-what-may. They have no problem with the total destruction of the world. They are headed for a life of eternal bliss in Allah's paradise. They hardly care, even rejoice, if the rest of humanity is subjected to a tragic death in the nuclear, biological and chemical wasteland of planet earth.

Humanity cannot afford and must not ignore the emergence of the final threat to its very existence on this planet.

3)Islamists can be defeated: War against Jihadists requires uncompressing effort by entire western world
By Moshe Ya'alon

The Islamist Jihad wave did not begin in September 2001 with the attack on the US. The Iranian revolution in 1979 marks the historic turning point where fanatical Islam began to gain strength and confidence. Iran's role as a Muslim state served as a source of inspiration for the emergence of al-Qaeda, the strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the rise of Hamas – these are varying movements and often even rival ones, but they share the common goal of Islamization.

The lack of resolve and disregard by the US and western states vis-à-vis the Islamist Jihad threat, and even the aid often provided to Islamist forces fighting common enemies (for example the Mujahideen in Afghanistan), also contributed to its sense of security. Only the 9/11 attacks roused resistance against the threat.

President Bush's decision to shift from defensive to offensive operations changed the situation: The toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the targeting of al-Qaeda leaders made organization leaders go underground, making it difficult for them to carry out large-scale terror attacks. The awakening of the West led to intelligence cooperation that culminated in the foiling of attacks in the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany, Africa the Far East and other places. The awakening of Arab states to the threat (including Saudi Arabia) delivered a further blow to Jihadist elements.

The success of phase A in the preventative attack, alongside pinpointed successes, led to a sense that Islamist Jihad was on the defensive and even in retreat. However, the US' entanglement in Iraq, in what was supposed to be phase B of the preventative attack, brought this to a halt – and in turn made Jihadists rear their head once again.

Iran (and Syria as well) found Iraq to be fertile ground for carrying out attacks on the US, against its allies and its interests in the region. Even the halting of Israel's counter attack against the wave of Palestinian terror and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip have put new wind into Jihad's sails, as did Israel's performance in Lebanon during the Second Lebanon War.

Jihadist elements in all their forms have been encouraged by these developments, perceived as the deterioration of the US' and Bush's status, and the gaining of political power by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in the Palestinian arena. Hence, the balance in the conflict between Islamist Jihad and western culture is at this point in time mixed.

Never surrender to terror

Jihad and the terror and guerilla organizations operating on its behalf can (and must) be defeated. Such victory requires a clear strategy by the nations of the free world that would combine political, economic, PR, educational and military measures. The strategy must include all the following elements:

1. Surrender to terror should not take place under any circumstances, under any conditions, or in face of any other threat.

2. An uncompromising war should be waged against all Jihadist elements, while leaders of the free world should be guided by the principle of "the best defense is offense."

3. A diplomatic campaign for strengthening "world order": Isolation and economic sanctions against wayward countries (such as Iran and Syria), and of course against Jihad organizations (such as al-Qaeda, Hizbullah and Hamas.)

4. Directing the West's economic aid to Muslim countries and elements that are prepared to instigate change; towards a culture that sanctifies life and not death. Many Muslims believe that a culture that sanctifies death has a self-destructive mechanism. These are the persons who should be spoken to and encouraged.

Even in the days leading up to World War II there were elements in the West who preferred not to confront the Nazi ideology, and were even willing to forgive it in order to buy short-term calm. Jihad's ideology does not match the intensity of Nazi Germany's and it does not equal the strength of the free world. Hence, if the countries of the free world have enough resolve, Islamist Jihad will be defeated even without the bloodshed of World War II.

4) What Israel Really Gained by Bombing Syria Statecraft
By Dennis Ross

Sometimes in international relations it is good to preserve mystery. The irony is that often when an action has been taken but not admitted, everyone seems to know anyway. That certainly seems to be the case with Israel's military strike against a target in northern Syria.

The Israelis aren't talking about it or acknowledging anything. The Syrians are describing an episode in which they fired on Israeli aircraft, the aircraft dropped something, and fled Syrian airspace. The President of the United States won't comment on the event--of course, by not denying it, he leaves the impression that something significant absolutely took place.

And, it appears, something did. The sketchy reports that have emerged, again all citing anonymous sources in Israel or in the intelligence community here, are that Israel took out a facility in northern Syria in which North Korea was helping Syria develop a nuclear capability. The absence of leaks coming out of Israel lends credence to the reports. Israel used to be one of the best keepers of secrets. Excluding this episode, it has become one of the worst. Everything seems to leak--and not in drips, but in torrents. (Once when I was negotiating, the Israeli prime minister at the time insisted on a one-on-one meeting with me because, he told me, this was the only way he could ensure that nothing would leak out of the meeting. He wasn't concerned with my side, but his.)

In this case, Israel has played it very smartly. Much is being made about the silence of Arab criticism of the apparent Israeli raid and what it says about Arab attitudes toward Syria. In fact, had Israel taken credit for the raid, Arab states would have felt duty-bound to condemn it, Israel's resort to force, and its unilateral effort to impose its will once again.

Why would Israel carry out such a raid now? Anything involving a Syrian nuclear development is going to be a concern for the Israelis--and their threshold of tolerance is going to be low. Israel has tracked the North Korea-Syrian military relationship very closely for a long time. North Korea has provided Syria with advanced missile technology and surface-to-surface rockets of increasing range, accuracy, and payload. Moreover, the Israelis know that North Korea has practically never developed a weapons system that it has not sold. Given that history, North Korea's nuclear developments and continuing military cooperation with Syrian has drawn extremely close Israeli scrutiny.

So, on one level the Israeli raid simply reflected an effort to blunt North Korean-Syrian nuclear development before it could allow the Syrians to develop a nuclear capability. But that is only part of the story.

The Israeli security establishment has become increasingly concerned about significant Syrian weapons acquisitions, forward deployment of forces, training exercises, and directives about a possible war. Israeli military officials to whom I have spoken have become convinced that Syria's president, Bashar al Assad, has begun to believe that he could fight a limited war against Israel. Using as many as 20,000 rockets--with some chemically armed as a reserve and a deterrent to prevent Israel from striking at the strategic underpinnings of his regime--he appears, at least according to many in Israel's intelligence community, to believe he could fight a war on his terms. He was impressed by what Hezbollah did in the war with Israel in the summer of 2006 and believes he, too, could win by not losing in a limited war.

Israel has been looking for ways to convince Assad that he is miscalculating; that he will not be allowed to fight a war on his terms; and that he had better not play with fire. This summer, Israel has conducted military exercises designed not just to improve Israel's readiness but to convey a message to Assad. The raid not only blunts Syria's nuclear development but also reinforces the Israeli message of deterrence. In effect, it tells President Assad that Syria has few secrets it can keep from Israel. For a conspiratorial and paranoid regime, this is bound to keep its leaders preoccupied internally trying to figure out what Israel knows and doesn't know.

Beyond this, the raid sends the message that Israel can hit what it wants--no matter how valuable and sensitive to the regime--when it wants, and Syria is powerless to stop it. Here the silence from the Arab world, even if a function of Israel's silence, can provide small comfort to President Assad. No one in the Arab world much cares if Syria suffers blows to its prestige and losses to its military capabilities.

So, the raid is as much about preemption of a potential nuclear threat as it is about reestablishing Israel's deterrent in the eyes of the Syrian regime. Indeed, Major General Amos Yadlin, the head of Israel's military intelligence, was quoted as telling the Israeli cabinet that Israel had "restored its deterrence."

From this standpoint, Israel may also have had Iran in mind. The press is now reporting that an accident took place in July in Syria at a chemical plant at which a number of Iranian experts were killed. Perhaps this is just a coincidence. Or perhaps Israel is also sending messages to Iran that it has the capacity, and more importantly, the will to protect itself from those who would seek to threaten it with weapons of mass destruction.

At a time when Iran appears to be determined to press ahead with its nuclear program and may have doubted Israel's will to do anything about it, Israel may well be acting to show it will do whatever it takes to ensure its security. With the United States bogged down in Iraq and apparently unable or unwilling to prevent Iran's nuclear developments, the Israelis may be signaling everyone, including the Bush Administration, that if the international community doesn't take more decisive action, it will.

Statecraft involves using all the tools of the state to affect the behavior of friends and foes alike. Israel's raid against the Syrian plant reflects the use of a military instrument applied quite selectively to affect the psychologies of many different actors on the world stage. Whether it will have the affect the Israelis desire remains to be seen. But for now, the Israelis have made a statement without triggering a wider conflict in the process.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How big a stick? How big a carrot?

Dennis Prager explains the Left's grip on our courts, education and media. (See 1 below.)

Chodoff asserts Olmert's new pronouncements vis a vis Gaza will fail, will not undercut Hamas' support and is simply a substitution for justified military action. (See 2 below.)

Israel's latest IAF raid on Syria was assisted with information from the US involving N Korea scientists. Whether the attack destroyed a nuclear facility or other type WMD remains unclear. (See 3 below.)

I attended a lecture last night sponsored by the local Council on World Affairs. The presenter was a young scholar named, Nathan Gonzalez who has just written a book entitled: "Engaging Iran." Gonzalez asserts we share many things in common with Iran and must find a way to meet them and focus on these shared views, ie. Iran's population desires to have more freedom and wants to end the repressiveness of their current leaders. Iranian's are predominantly pro-American and Iran would prefer a Shia ruled Iraq in their border. He believes Iran's leaders are dangerous and have cleverly used the umbrella of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli rhetoric to still Arab leaders fearing backlash from the Arab Street in order to develop their nuclear ambitions.

Any attack on Iran would rally the Iranians round their nation's flag and strengthen their leadership's position and power and thus he urges we renew our efforts at dialogue and in doing so reduce our threat of attack which they obviously fear. Gonzalez also does not believe Iran would attack Israel, ie Jerusalem, and destroy Islam's 3rd holiest site. He further argues Iranians are a proud people and though their government might sponsor terrorists Iranians, themselves, do not resort to bomb-belt tactics.

Gonzalez was rational and made sense except he never explained a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv and the consequences of allowing Iran to gain nuclear capability and what would happen consequently if his more benign views were wrong.

Most wars are a consequence of mis-calculation and judgement of the other side's willingness to fight. Feed a bully and you increase his appetite. Disbelieve his words and you do so at your peril. How big a stick and how big the carrot?


1) Why the Left has changed journalism, education and the courts
By Dennis Prager

Whether one is on the left or right, it cannot be denied that the left has had an enormous impact on the major institutions of American society — specifically journalism, education and the judiciary.

In every poll I have seen, liberals overwhelm conservatives in academia, including the teachers' colleges, which are quite far left, and in journalism. And few deny the leftward tilt of the Supreme Court for most of the last 40 years.

The question, then, is not whether the left has had such an impact, but why.

I learned a major part of the answer years ago in Idaho where I was the moderator of a panel of judges — including a past California Supreme Court justice — and lawyers connected to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. I asked the panel members to give their view of the role of judges. The response of the liberal former California Supreme Court justice opened my eyes to the left's view of virtually everything in society.

He said that the purpose of a California Supreme Court justice, and for that matter, every judge, is to fight economic inequality and racism in society.

I responded that I thought the one purpose of a judge was to render justice in the courtroom.

I might as well have responded in biblical Hebrew (that's where I got the idea of a judge's role anyway): He and the other liberals on the panel reacted as if I had offered a new and original notion of judges' roles.

Because the left views the purpose of judges as furthering a social agenda that transcends justice in the courtroom, the judicial process has been distorted for decades. Perhaps the best-known example is Roe v. Wade, a decision that even some liberal scholars — such as Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School — have criticized.

In the words of pro-choice liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, "[T]he very basis of the Roe v. Wade decision — the one that grounds abortion rights in the Constitution — strikes many people now as faintly ridiculous. Whatever abortion may be, it cannot simply be a matter of privacy." But for the liberal justices involved, the question was not whether abortion rights are to be found in the Constitution; it was whether or not they wanted to legalize abortion.

The same principle holds true in journalism. There was a time when the primary purpose of journalists was to report the news. That is why they were called "reporters." But for most news people on the left, reporting the news is insignificant compared to changing society for the better, which is the whole point of being a leftist.

This explains why coverage in the mainstream news media is liberal. The New York Times is simply more interested in furthering its social ideals than in reporting news. That is why, to cite just one recent example, the newspaper featured such poor reporting about the Duke lacrosse players who were falsely charged with raping a black woman. The facts suggested the district attorney had trumped up the charges, but The New York Times was less interested in the facts than in portraying rich white Duke athletes as racists.

With regard to education, the same change of purpose has occurred. Until the left took over education, the primary purpose of a teacher was to teach, and to do so as truthfully and apolitically as possible. Today, the primary purpose for very many high school teachers and college professors on the left is to influence students. That is why so many high schools show students Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" (and show nothing that contradicts his thesis). It is more important to influence young people to fight global warming than it is to teach them.

The same holds true for textbooks. Until the left took over education, textbooks were largely chosen on the basis of their clarity and historical accuracy. But for leftist educators, a vital goal of American history texts is to make minority students feel good about themselves. Thus, history can be distorted so as to give as much attention to minorities and women — no matter how much less significant their actual roles in American history — as to white men, who constitute the great majority of the primary figures who shaped American history.

And the situation in universities is even worse. Entire departments — English, sociology, political science, women's studies and African American studies, to name a few — have become leftist laboratories. Their commitment to actual, let alone objective, teaching is minimal. A student is no longer supposed to leave an American university well educated in Western civilization — the primary purpose of a university education throughout American history — but committed to left-wing notions of social justice, economic equality, environmentalism, opposition to American exceptionalism, self-identification as a world citizen rather than as primarily an American, and the like.

Merely teaching is as unimportant to most left-wing teachers and professors as is mere reporting of the news for left-wing journalists or mere rendering of justice to most liberal judges. They regard their professions not as ends but as means — to higher, leftist ends.

2) The Gaza Enemy
By Elliot Chodoff

This past week the Israeli government decided to declare Gaza a "hostile entity," after years of terrorism emanating from that area. Many Israelis felt the decision to be too late by 5-7 years, but on the principle of "better late than never" it was generally well received by the public. There is good reason for this positive reception.

Gaza has been a center of terrorist activity for decades, long before it became Hamastan. In recent years, before and after the Israeli withdrawal in August 2005, rockets and mortar bombs flew out of Gaza at Israeli civilian targets, disrupting lives when not actually taking them. As the rocket makers learn and improve their skills, the early primitive rockets have been gradually replaced with more effective longer range ones. Importation of weapons from other countries, notably Iran, has added further to the terrorists� rocket deployment and capabilities.

Suicide attacks initiated in Gaza cost hundreds of innocent lives, and more would have been lost had the Israeli security services not discovered them and taken appropriate action, either through air strikes or ground operations. Hamas� operational and support center is located in Gaza, but it is by no means the exclusive terrorist organization on the ground. It shares space with Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front, the Popular Resistance Committees and a plethora of smaller, lesser known groups as well as Fatah and its spin-offs which still operate out of Hamas-ruled Gaza despite the overthrow some months ago.

Thus, declaring Gaza a "hostile entity" is simply recognition of a longstanding reality. The ramifications of the declaration, including possible reduction of electricity, gasoline, and other supplies currently provided by Israel to the population that elected and supports Hamas, would seem to have few if any ethical issues associated with them. After all, if the children of Sederot are fearful of rocket attacks while in their homes and schools, to say nothing of their streets and playgrounds, the people who support those whose rockets are the cause of this fear should realize that there is a price to be paid for that support.

We are in total agreement with the above sentiment. Nonetheless, the Israeli political and military leadership have chosen the wrong policy by which to actualize that sentiment. Of itself, the "hostile entity" declaration is meaningless. Given that the IDF has been operating in and out of Gaza for years, the declaration adds nothing to the military security aspect of the war with the terrorists. In fact, the declaration comes as a substitute for military action, which the government repeatedly refuses to authorize. It a policy that is doomed to fail and ultimately will backfire.

A reduction in essential supplies and services, such as electricity and gasoline, will indeed make life more difficult for the Palestinian residents of Gaza. If the policy purpose were purely tit for tat or revenge, this would certainly be effective. But if the objective is to reduce popular support for terrorism in general and Hamas in particular, it simply won't work that way.

Terrorist organizations are not easily coerced, if at all, by threats to the population, even of their supporters. In the absence of a true central government, it is simply too easy for them to lay the blame at the doorstep of the enemy or another organization. Here�s how it will work in Gaza:

Hamas will alternatively blame Israel, Fatah, and the other Gaza terrorist organizations for the suffering of the population. Israel, because, in addition to cutting off supplies, it represents all that is evil in the world; Fatah, because it is collaborating with Israel and the Great Satan USA (Hamas can argue, with some justification, that when Fatah was in control of Gaza there was just as much if not more terrorist activity, and no declaration of hostility � there must be a conspiracy in there somewhere); and Islamic Jihad et al. because they are really the ones firing the rockets, not Hamas (wink, wink).

The Israeli leadership must also be aware of the fact that the Palestinian population will suffer a great deal before capitulating and removing Hamas, if it ever does. In the meantime, support for Hamas will grow, international pressure will build on Israel to relieve the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians, and the policy will collapse without achieving its objectives. This failure will leave Israel worse off in the eyes of the world and the terrorists, of only for having been foolish enough to initiate a policy that was so clearly doomed to fail from the outset.

It is perfectly understandable that the Israeli leadership seeks a policy substitute for large scale military action in Gaza, especially after its por decision making performance against Hizbullah last year. Unfortunately it will find that the only way to eliminate terrorism is to eliminate terrorists. And f they are not willing to go away quietly of their own accord, it will be left to the IDF to do the job. The only question that remains is how long it will take before the government comes to this conclusion, and how many innocents will be killed and maimed along the way.

3) Report: Syria, North Korea hold high-level talks in Pyongyang

North Korea and Syria held high-level talks Friday in Pyongyang, the North's state media reported, amid suspicions that the two countries might be cooperating on a nuclear weapons program.

The talks took place between Choe Tae Bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, and Saaeed Eleia Dawood, director of the organizational department of Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The two sides discussed ways of improving friendship and cooperation and other issues of bilateral interest, KCNA said, without elaborating.

U.S. government sources have said that Israel shared intelligence information with the Bush Administration this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, the Washington Post reported Friday.

According to the report, the sources said the White House was deeply concerned by the possibility that North Korea was assisting the nuclear ambitions of a country closely linked with Iran.

The newspaper reported that the sources said, however, that Bush opted against an immediate response due to fears it would undermine negotiations with Pyongyang aimed at securing the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program.

The sources reportedly said the United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence, prior to an alleged Israel Air Force strike on Syria earlier this month.

According to reports in the American and British media, the target of the alleged strike was a nuclear facility built with North Korea's assistance.

Syria has said IAF planes violated its airspace and fired missiles at targets on the ground, but both Damascus and Pyongyang have vehemently denied the reports of nuclear cooperation.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. sources said the IAF strike was carried out in the middle of the night in order to minimize potential casualties.

The report stated that the quality of the intelligence, which included satellite imagery, is uncertain, as is the extent of North Korean assistance and the seriousness of the Syrian effort.

The Washington Post said this uncertainty raises the possibility that North Korea was merely unloading items it no longer needed, adding that Syria has actively pursued chemical weapons in the past but not nuclear arms. The newspaper said that some proliferation experts are thus "skeptical of the intelligence that prompted Israel's attack."

The newspaper also quoted Bruce Riedel, a former intelligence officer at Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, as saying "There is no question it was a major raid."

"It was an extremely important target," the report quoted Riedel as saying. "It came at a time the Israelis were very concerned about war with Syria and wanted to dampen down the prospects of war. The decision was taken despite their concerns it could produce a war. That decision reflects how important this target was to Israeli military planners."

Israel has long known about Syria's interest in chemical and even biological weapons, but "if Syria decided to go beyond that, Israel would think that was a real red line," Riedel told the Washington Post.

The Washington Post, which had previously reported that the alleged air strike occurred three days after a North Korean ship docked at the Syrian port of Tartous, said Friday that the "ship's role remains obscure."

"Israeli sources have suggested it carried nuclear equipment," the paper wrote. "Others have maintained that it contained only missile parts, and some have said the ship's arrival and the attack are merely coincidental. One source suggested that Israel's attack was prompted by a fear of media leaks on the intelligence."

Ronen Solomon, who searches information in the public domain for companies, told Haaretz recently that Online databases tracking the ship had altered their records following a report in The Washington Post linking it to the reported air strike.

U.S. President George W. Bush refused to comment Thursday on reports of an IAF strike in Syria, but said he expects North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and not allow other countries to gain its know-how on producing such technology and weapons. (For more, click here to watch Haaretz.com TV)

"We expect them to honor their commitment to give up weapons and weapons programs," Bush said during a news conference. "To the extent that they are proliferating, we expect them to stop their proliferation."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Assad and Jimmy Carter two lying jokes!

In Wednesday's WSJ, Carl Rove has an op ed piece urging Republicans to make Health Care their central campaign theme and he responds to Senator Clinton's government approach by suggesting a free market one, claiming it will provide better care, more choice and at lower costs. Rove is right and Clinton has resorted to a Rube Goldberg approach as before but has offered more bells and whistle sounding "choices" while acknowledging it will cost $100 billion in more taxes. When was a politician's estimate ever believable? You can double it from the git go and then expect more. They always low ball to get the ball rolling.

More evidence that fake photography and biased reporting is a fact. (see 1 below.)

Syria greets Ms Rice with car bomb and Syria's finger prints all over evidence. (See 2 below.)

Avi Dichter says Abbas and Palestinians must fight terror before any meaningful agreement over statehood can move forward but it is reported in two versions that differ. (See 3 below.)

America's most lying ex-President, Jimmy Carter, does not consider Iran a threat to Israel. Carter is a threat to himself and would do himself some good if he kept his mouth shut but he is incapable of doing so because he wreaks with contempt and animus regarding Israel on both personal and religious grounds. But considering that his Center has been funded by enormous Saudi funds it is understandable. See Vol 17, Number 1 Winter 2007 Issue of "On Campus" which is devoted to a complete documentation and expose of Carter's lies and purposeful misstatements and intentional ignoring of facts.

But then Assad is Carter's equal! Former Syrian VP sums up Assad and considers him a fool. (See 4 and 5 below.)


1) Al Dura Trial Takes Huge Turn - UPDATE


PJM PARIS….FLASH: The French Appellate court trial of Phillippe Karsenty in the matter of Mohammed Al Dura - the epochal case of the Palestinian boy allegedly shot by Israeli troops in 2000 - took a huge turn today. Photos of the boy have been accused of being the birth of fauxtography. For the first time the court has ordered France 2 to produce the original tapes that could prove the whole enterprise a fake.

2) Murder of another anti-Syrian Lebanese lawmaker was Damascus’ greeting for Middle East visitor US Secretary Rice: Car bomb kills Lebanese MP Antoine Ghanem and five others

Wednesday, Sept 19, the day Condoleezza Rice arrived for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, a car bomb in East Beirut killed lawmaker Antoine Ghanem, further reducing the anti-Syrian majority in parliament six days ahead of its election of a new Lebanese president. Bashar Assad was signaling that he was not deterred from his policies by the Israeli air attack of Sept 6 and would not let American influence displace his grip on Beirut.

Counter-terror sources note Syria’s fingerprints all over the assassination of Antoine Ghanem, 64, the 8th anti-Syrian MP to be murdered in two years. Two days earlier, this member of the Christian Phalangist party returned secretly from Abu Dhabi. He had been in hiding after being threatened with death should he run for election. On his return, he told his friends the Syrians and their Lebanese supporters were after him to whittle down parliamentary support for an anti-Syrian president.

The tip-off on his return to Beirut must have come from a regional intelligence service with spies in the oil emirate. That, plus the method and speed with which the plot was assembled, point to Damascus’ experienced hand. The bomb car loaded with 40 kilos of explosives perfectly tallied with the means used to assassinate another anti-Syrian lawmaker, Walid Eido, on July 14.

Syria was bluntly accused of the crime by leader of the 14 March majority Saad Hariri, whose father was blown up in February 2005, and Druze leader Walid Jumblat, whose father also died at Syrian hands in the 70s, when Bashar Assad’s father Hafez was Syrian president.

The US secretary of state did not have an easy ride in her effort to inject substance into President Bush’s international conference in Washington two months hence. Israeli leaders made a show of goodwill - Ehud Olmert’s close adviser Haim Ramon even conjured up a largely unfeasible plan to transfer parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians – but by and large Israel prefers declarations to deeds. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, for his part, said that without substantial progress towards establishing a Palestinian state, there is no point in him attending.

Without the Palestinians and the Saudis, the conference is a non-starter.

In other areas, Rice’s arrival found Israel on the move:

1. The security cabinet declared the Gaza Strip a hostile territory controlled by a hostile force, Hamas. While this decision could pave the way for Israel to cut off electricity, water and other services to Gaza - if the Qassam missiles continue to fly against Israeli populated areas in the Negev, which has not yet been decided – it also cuts Abbas off from possible steps to restore his dialogue with Hamas.

2. The IDF’s Givati armored infantry brigade began a large training exercise on the Golan backed by engineering and air units. Only two weeks ago, Israeli politicians harped on the need to ease military tensions with Syria. They promised the summer maneuvers being wound up would not be followed by further military activity. Yet all of a sudden, Givati was pulled out of the Gaza Strip sector and moved up north.

And on the very day of her arrival, Israel’s opposition leader, former PM Binyamin Netanyahu let the cat out of the bag and became the first Israeli politician to confirm foreign media reports of an Israeli air operation against Syria on Sept. 6, saying he had been privy to its details from its outset. He was roundly condemned as an irresponsible blabbermouth.

Rice may have set out on her journey meaning to promote Middle East peace diplomacy. What she found was a climate of confrontation, animosity and war tension.

3)Dichter: demand PA fight terror- mistake to speak of final agreement

Hebrew version has a radically different quote since the main thrust is not stripped out by the English editor's "...": "It is a mistake to speak of a final agreement.
We should demand the implementation of the first stage of the Roadmap -
Palestinian fighting (terror) as is written in the Party platform. We
should demand the anchoring of the borders as mentioned in Kadima's election
program, which includes a united Jerusalem." ]


Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Thursday, Israel should
unilaterally demarcate its final borders with the West Bank.

"It is a mistake to speak of a final agreement . We need to demand the
demarcation of the borders as mentioned in Kadima's election program, which
includes a united Jerusalem," he told Kadima delegates.

4) Carter: Iran not yet a threat to Israel

Former President Jimmy Carter said that he does not think Iran poses an immediate threat to Israel, despite claims by Iranian officials that they have drawn up bombing plans if the Jewish state should attack.

Speaking on Wednesday at Emory University, Carter, who brokered the 1979 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt, said Israel's superior military power and distance from Iran likely are enough to discourage an actual attack.

"Iran is quite distant from Israel," said Carter, 83. "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel."

Iran's deputy air force commander said Wednesday that Israel is within range of Iran's medium-range missiles and bombers and that Teheran would strike back if Israel "makes a silly mistake."

The White House said the comments almost sound geared toward provoking a fight and Israeli officials said they take the threats seriously.

Responding to a question from an Emory student during a public forum, Carter did not dismiss the desire of the Iranian government to attack Israel, noting a nuclear program Iran's leaders claim is to fuel nuclear reactors, not make weapons.

"Obviously, we all hope we can do whatever we can to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power," Carter said.

Carter said unease between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank is a far greater threat to the nation's security than Iran. He criticized President George W. Bush's administration for not doing enough to broker peace in the region.

"Since President Clinton made his heroic effort at Camp David, there hasn't been a single day of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis," he said.

Carter spoke roughly a year after he completed his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid".

Jewish groups and other critics condemned Carter for comparing Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories to the oppression under South Africa's apartheid regime.

Carter said he chose the title to be provocative, not inflammatory, and that he hoped to encourage debate over Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

In a new 'afterword' to editions of the book released this month, Carter criticizes the lack of "balanced debate" in the US about the Middle East and warns officials against being "seen as knee-jerk supporters of every action and policy" of Israel's government.

The Emory event was Carter's 26th annual town hall meeting at the Atlanta university, where he holds the title of distinguished professor and lectures about once a month.

5)Former Syrian VP: Assad's a joke: Exiled Syrian opposition leader Abdul Halim Khaddam says President Bashar Assad 'incapable of defending the country'. He condemns Syria-Iran collaboration, and notes that last week's IAF infiltration was 'one of many' which Syrian regime opts to keep silent about
By Roee Nahmias

Syrian President Bashar Assad "is a child, he's simply a joke," Abdul Halim Khaddam, the nation's former vice president, said Thursday.

Khaddam, who was expelled after alleging that Syrian leaders were involved in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese President Rafik Hariri, made the comments during an interview with the Nazareth-based Arab daily a-Sinara.

Syrian Response
'Israel's actions will have consequences' / Yitzhak Benhorin
In an interview with Newsweek Magazine, Syria's US ambassador refutes reports of Syrian-North Korean nuclear cooperation, warns that 'Israel has made a serious mistake'

Khaddam currently lives in exile in France and frequently speaks out against Assad's regime and calls for an ouster. In the interview he disparaged the Syrian president, accusing him of "tying Syria to Iran's interests."

"Iran aspires to regional hegemony," he said. "Syria's ties to Iran will make it one of the battlefields in the struggle (between Iran and the West) – and for issues that have nothing to do with Syria's national interests. Therefore, in our opinion it is dangerous to link Syria with Iranian policy, whose results have been Arab and international isolation."

When questioned about the Israeli Air Force's infiltration of Syrian airspace two weeks ago, Khaddam said he had no concrete information on the incident, but added: "What Israel did against Syria is aggression. We condemn this aggression and there is not a soul in Syria who would accept such aggression against it."

"It is aggression against the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and independence. On the other hand, the Syrians are more and more concerned because the Syrian regime can't protect the Syrian air, sea or ground."

Regarding whether Syria can even respond to the IDF aerial infiltration, Khaddam answered, "The Syrian regime is too busy oppressing people and being corrupt. If it focused on building the country, making significant infrastructure changes and establishing a democratic government, then Syria could have responded to this or any type of aggression.

"At present, when the regime is occupied with insignificant matters and isn't dealing with the economic crisis, it can't provide the elements that would allow it respond to such aggressions."

'Syria has the means'
However, he added, "Syria has the means to respond, but it doesn't have the will to do so. The regime failed to make the political decision to respond, and therefore it is incapable of defending the country."

Khaddam also said that this wasn't the first IAF infiltration, but rather one of "many incidents" which Damascus chose not to publicize.

He scorned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's policy of making belligerent moves with one hand while extending the other in peace. "Olmert's talk demonstrates that he mocks Bashar Assad's intelligence. He tells him, 'I respect you, I respect your policy,' but then makes aggressive moves towards him. That's really respectful. What is this silence on Assad's part?"

"We think he's a child," Khaddam wrote off the Syrian president. "He's a joke. Assad can't do anything but oppress the Syrian people."

Regarding reports that the Syrian military was arming and cooperating with Iran's army as well as with Russia, Khaddam said: "There is talk of cooperation, but under that very cooperation the aggression occurred. Cooperation that doesn't benefit the nation's interests isn't really cooperation."

Khaddam heads the Syrian opposition organization in exile, the National Salvation Front, which recently held a conference in Berlin on how to mobilize the Syrian people in the struggle to topple the "dictatorial Syrian regime and building a democratic, civil, and modern state".