The tomb of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq, is one of the holiest shrines for Shiite pilgrims. Millions of Iranians flock to it and other sites across the border annually, and control over what the pilgrims see and hear has become a major issue for the ruling theocrats in Tehran.
I am amazed at the current U.S. debate over Syria. Those urging intervention may be driven by humanitarian good intentions, to end the fighting and ease suffering. But whatever they are proposing--no-fly zones, safe havens, direct supply of weapons to rebels, etc—have they actually considered how four highly visible, recent precedents turned out?The 4 examples Rubin analyzes of US intervention in the Middle East are:
1. Do not rush in to push diplomacyToo bad he is offering these suggestions to Obama on how to deal with Iran and not on how Israel should deal with the PA.
2. Do not make unnecessary concessions
3. Let the other side make the first move toward serious negotiations
A bevy of foreign policy experts are pressing Barack Obama to move quickly on his promise to "engage in aggressive personal diplomacy" with Iran.Read the whole thing.
He'd be better off first taking a long, deep breath and allowing Iran's economic crisis to take its toll on the mullahs before getting down to serious business.
...So the Obama administration has no need to swing into action. A rush to negotiate would only embolden the mullahs, extract unnecessary concessions from the U.S. and subject Iranians to clerical rule for the foreseeable future.
...So the new administration would be wise to back-burner serious negotiations with Iran for a while. Let Iran make the first move toward negotiations. If it does, the U.S. should respond positively but show no eagerness. Insist on overtures only from Iran's supreme leader.
Its military is puny; Iran fought Saddam Hussein for eight years and could not advance even 100 miles into Iraq, so it hardly represents a military threat to the United States or Israel. The large U.S. military presence in the region can easily keep Iran in check. Even if Iran is striving to develop nuclear weapons, it is at least three years away. All Iran can do is fan the flames against U.S. interests through surrogates such as Hezbollah and Hamas.Askari does not address the fact that during that war that ended 20 years ago, if Iran did not advance far into Iraq during the war, Iraq for its part was unable to make much headway into Iran either. For that matter, he leaves out how the Majnoon Islands and the Al-Faw peninsula were captured by Iran.
While a bare majority of 51 percent called the Democrats' victory "a good thing," even more said they were concerned about some of the actions a Democratic Congress might take, including 78 percent who were somewhat or very concerned that it would seek too hasty a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Another 69 percent said they were concerned that the new Congress would keep the administration "from doing what is necessary to combat terrorism," and two-thirds said they were concerned it would spend too much time investigating the administration and Republican scandals.
The film consists of a series of interviews with Iraqis from all backgrounds - Sunni and Shiite, rich and poor, educated and not so much, old and young. In essence, the director wanted to find out the reactions to the war and the presence of the American forces.She describes the documentary in general, and 2 of the people interviewed in particular--
Terrorism is an information war disguised as a military operation. The press plays a symbiotic role, and isn't willing to address that.Along these lines, he quotes from a document found in Al-Zarqawi's hideout. After outlining the various ways the US has been successful against the terrorists, the first item listed in the terrorist effort to regroup is:
To improve the image of the resistance in society, increase the number of supporters who are refusing occupation and show the clash of interest between society and the occupation and its collaborators. To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance. [emphasis added]The degree to which this ploy has worked is documented by the Washington Post, which Instapundit points to as an example of the symbiotic relationship between the media and the terrorism:
More ink equals more blood, claim two economists who say that newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks.The international media may perhaps be unaware of the consequences of their doting coverage of terrorists when the consequences are not constantly and blatantly laid at their front doorstep, but what can be said of the leftist media in Israel, when the consequences are seen--and felt--on a near daily basis? It's likely more a result of the overall leftist viewpoint of the media, than anything else. Ideology trumps profit: and the results are no better.
It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.
"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."
...The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.
Assistant Attorney General John R. Bolton told Congress today that the United States would not seek the indictment of Yasir Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in the 1973 killings of two American diplomats in the Sudan.
The department said it had insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Arafat in the deaths of the American Ambassador, Cleo A. Noel Jr., and the charge d'affaires, George C. Moore.
Members of Congress had asked the department to study recent evidence that the lawmakers said indicated Mr. Arafat might have taken part in the decision by Palestinian guerrillas to kill the two men.
This is the same controversial and outspoken John Bolton who now represents the US at the UN.
In the early evening hours of 1 March 1973, eight Black September Organization (BSO) terrorists seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum as a diplomatic reception honoring the departing United States Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) was ending. After slightly wounding the United States Ambassador and the Belgian Charge d'Affaires, the terrorists took these officials plus the United States DCM, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and the Jordanian Charge d'Affaires hostage. In return for the freedom of the hostages, the captors demanded the release of various individuals, mostly Palestinian guerrillas, imprisoned in Jordan, Israel and the United States.The fact that Arafat was directly involved in the assassination is not new knowledge.
The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
Evidence clearly points to the terrorist group Black September as having committed the assassinations of Amb. Noel and George Moore, and though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established. [emphasis added]Johnson later acquired 27 previously classified cables through the Freedom of Information Act. According to Johnson:
The cables demonstrated that in March 1973 the State Department had promptly concluded that Black September was nothing more than a front for Fatah and that Arafat himself had directed the operation resulting in the assassination of Noel and Moore. Both points are made over and over again in the cables to and from the Secretary of State.
To take one example, in early March the U.S Mission in Vienna reported to Secretary Rogers: "The Black September Organization (BSO) is a cover term for Fatah's terrorist operations executed by Fatah's intelligence organization, Jihaz al-Rasd...For all intents and purposes no significant distinction now can be made between the BSO and Fatah...Fatah leader Yasir Arafat has now been described in recent intelligence as having given approval to the Khartoum operation prior to its inception."
It's all very well for the US to assume to attempt to broker a peace treaty between Rabin and Arafat, but if it had been common knowledge that Arafat--a world terrorist and no freedom fighter--had ordered the murder of US officials, would Clinton and the US been so ready to push Israel into the Oslo Accords?
Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.
Crossposted at Israpundit
What is the insurgency if not a war supported by one (minority) part of Iraqi society fighting to prevent the birth of the new Iraqi state supported by another (majority) part of Iraqi society?But isn't what he is describing an insurgency, which is defined as, "an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict."
As I noted here in November 2004: "People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side " -- the Sunni insurgency -- " is fighting it." [emphasis added]Well, if only one side of an insurgency is fighting an insurgency--that is an insurgency, isn't it?
During the period between the end the UN vote on partition and the end of the British mandate, Civil War broke out between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Most of the battles during this period were won by the Jews.That is an interesting way of putting it, but no, when people talk about the Palestinian civil war they are referring to the currenting in-fighting among Palestinian Arabs, the one that is not generally talked about--except as something to be avoided by Israel making concessions to prop up the PA.
From the moment the United Nations voted to partition, civil war erupted in Palestine. [emphasis added]
A significant percentage of Palestinians do not want peace with Israel; they want peace without an Israel. If these individuals and groups are not fought by those Palestinians who want peace with Israel, peace is impossible.This fundamental difference between the political war going on in Iraq and the turf war between Palestinian Arab groups is why in Iraq, Hussein loyalists who opposed the January 2005 election were, by December, urging their fellow Sunnis to vote and warned Al Qaeda to stay away--while Hamas, which is careful not to welcome Al Qaeda with open arms, has no grudge with them.
The discovery of a number of 122 mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions.Another issue regarding the WMD that has not been fully resolved is whether any components could have been moved from Iraq to Syria before the war.
The investigation of these rockets is still proceeding. Iraq states that they were overlooked from 1991 from a batch of some 2,000 that were stored there during the Gulf War. This could be the case. They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.
"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."A side point to this is the claim that the only reason given for the war was the existence of the Weapons of Mass Destruction. Apparently even the New York Times was confused by this--Andrew Sullivan shows that in less than 12 months the Times forgot the reasons Bush gave:
BAIT AND SWITCH:See also:
"President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night [at his American Enterprise Institute speech] of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time." -- New York Times editorial, February 27, 2003.
"The White House recently began shifting its case for the Iraq war from the embarrassing unconventional weapons issue to the lofty vision of creating an exemplary democracy in Iraq." -- New York Times editorial, today [November 13, 2003].
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