discarded lies: sunday, november 23, 2014 5:07 pm zst
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daily archive: 09/10/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Myth and Reality
Ali Abunimah, cofounder of Electronic Intifada EI-EI-O wrote an article about Arun Gandhi's suggestion that 50,000 Palestinian "refugees" march from Jordan to Israel, "forcing the Israelis to choose between relenting to a wave of people power, or gunning the marchers down in cold blood."

Before we look at Mr. Abunimah's concerns, I have a question: How long are Palestinians going to be called "refugees?" I ask that because "refugee" is usually not a nice thing to call someone, it's kind of demeaning. Technically, most Israelis are refugees because they've had to flee repeatedly from war, oppression and religious persecution. But they made a new country and new lives and prospered and I don't hear anyone call Israelis refugees.

But let's ignore that question - like everyone does - and take a look at Mr. Abunimah's questions:
Imagine, for example, if the Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, instead of abjectly and unsuccessfully begging his Israeli captors to allow him to attend the Christmas services at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity last year, had simply announced he would walk there without their permission, and invited all the people of Ramallah, international figures, clergymen, and the world's press, to walk with him? What if Palestinian ministers slept in and defended with their bodies the houses and farms of their people, slated for demolition or seizure by Israel?
Well, Mr. Abunimah, the Palestinian Authority is pre-occupied and doesn't have much free time for marches. Arafat is directing the intifada, Palestinian ministers are managing the intifada and the little people are fighting the intifada. So the officials don't really have time to go sleeping in their people's houses to defend them and such.

And Mr. Abunimah, why are you trying to convince people that the first Palestinian intifada was passive and nonviolent? That is so not true. Hundreds were killed and thousands were injured. Not to mention that the number of Arabs killed for political and other reasons by Palestinian death squads exceeded the number killed in clashes with Israeli troops. And Arafat delegated the authority to carry out executions to the intifada leadership. See, Mr. Abunimah? The Palestinian ministers could not possibly go marching around or sleeping in people's houses. They had executions to carry out.

Mr. Abunimah ends his article with a complaint: He mentions that
...on 30 August, China's Xinhua news agency reported the death of 55-year-old Aisha al-Zaban. She had been on hunger strike for 12 days in solidarity with her imprisoned son and his comrades. Doctors had advised her to end her fast, but she refused and died of a heart attack. I was unable to find her name in any of the dozens of American newspapers that routinely echo the calls for Palestinians to follow the way of Gandhi.
Mr. Abunimah, if American newspapers reported every heart-attack in the world, it would make for very boring news. Clinton's heart attack made the headlines. Think of him as representing heart attack victims everywhere.

Besides, it looks like China got the scoop. Let them have the glory of reporting it.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Russia's Palestine
From FrontPage magazine, Russia Under Attack

...

It appears that the Chechen conflict, far from remaining a localized affair, is becoming an open wound in Russia’s flank, a cultural, ethnic and religious clash with no end in sight and with increasingly international ramifications; in other words, a Russian “Palestine.?

There are two aspects common to these attacks. First, based on the limited intelligence available, none of the terrorist assaults was a strictly “Chechen? operation. Indeed, the plane and subway bombings were claimed by the “Islambouli Brigades,? an al Qaeda-associated group, previously known for attacks in Pakistan. It is named after Khaled al-Islambouli, an Egyptian army lieutenant and member of the Islamic Group now led by Ayman al Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s second in command. Zawahiri was the main author of the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, and whose brother, Mohammed, is still an al Qaeda operative.

Links between Chechen rebels and international Islamic terrorism, including al Qaeda, are not new. Indeed, ever since the first Chechen war (1992-96), Islamists from all over the Middle East have gone to Chechnyia to fight the Russian infidel. While it is true that Chechen Islam was traditionally rather syncretic and mostly under the influence of Sufi brotherhoods, some warlords, most prominently Shamil Basayev, have been attracted to Wahhabism and, at least initially, have attracted Saudi and other Gulf money, weapons and volunteers.

It was one of those volunteers, Khatab, a Saudi whose life and career strongly resembled Bin Laden’s, who, together with Basayev, invaded the Russian province of Daghestan in 1999, thus provoking the present Chechen war. Furthermore, a number of European Muslims from France and Britain, have also joined the Chechens, while the self-proclaimed Chechen Islamic Republic was only recognized by the Taliban. Chechens were trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and fought against the US in 2001 in that country.

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
What do you do?
Take the Commander-in-Chief Test

...

President Bush in early 2003, just months after 9/11 and anthrax. The Clinton administration had indicted Osama bin Laden, citing ties to Saddam Hussein and had bombed a suspected al Qaeda bio-weapons plant in Sudan with ties to Iraq. Czech intelligence insists that 9/11 plotter Mohammad Atta met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague. UN weapons inspectors are being frustrated in Iraq. British intelligence says that Saddam was trying to buy uranium in Africa. Saddam had invaded Kuwait a decade before and had used chemical weapons on his own people. One of the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing had taken refuge in Baghdad and families of Palestinian suicide bombers were paid by Iraq. The CIA Director, originally appointed by Clinton, tells you "it's a slam dunk" that Saddam has WMD. The French, strongly opposed to war with Iraq, say their intelligence service believes Iraq still has WMD. Russian President Putin, opposed to war with Iraq, tells you that Russian intelligence believes Iraq has plans for terror assaults on the U.S. Most of the CIA's human assets in Iraq have been discovered and murdered. Do you wait to get more spies into the country to confirm the other intelligence? Or do you go to Congress for a resolution supporting the use of force and then use force?

Bonus Essay Question: President (Plug in Name of Your Choice) in February 2005. The CIA and South Korean and Japanese intelligence agree that radio traffic and satellite photos of North Korea, where no one has human spy assets, is facing a famine and that it has massed troops to invade South Korea in a few days, after smuggling a nuclear bomb into a major Japanese city to blackmail Japan and the US into giving them a free hand. What do you do?

(Hat tip: Jim Russell)
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Arafat's Friends
Arafat in danger of being hoisted by Iranian petard

...

Hezbullah, it must be remembered is an Iranian proxy, and would not embark on any strategic undertaking without approval from Teheran. The most important question facing western intelligence experts and policy makers is what is Iran’s goal that justifies it risking its alliance with Arafat, not to mention a possible Israeli and western response.

Iran has two major strategic goals. One is to buy time until it becomes a nuclear power, which it believes will buy it the same immunity from US attack that a similar status has brought Pyongyang. The second is to prevent the US from permanently entrenching itself across the Shat el Arab river in Iraq, and seeing Iraq fall into less than friendly hands.

...

A base on the Lebanese coast under the protection of Beirut’s Syrian overlords would enable Teheran to project power southwards towards Israel, northwards towards Turkey and westwards towards Europe. Teheran hopes this would significantly increase its standing and prestige in the predominantly Sunni Arab world by succeeding in pressuring Israel into accepting a humiliating and unfavorable settlement, something the Arab world has singularly failed to achieve.

Such a base would also enable Iran to initiate terror attacks against France and other European countries, to intimidate them into not joining the US in targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities, either via sanctions or military action. It could also serve a base to mount attacks on the vital Turkish oil port of Ceyhan, the planned major terminus of future pipelines designed to lessen the West’s dependence on Middle East oil by piping oil from the newly discovered Caspian Sea oilfield.

With such a strategy in mind, Iran has, according to intelligence sources, increased its cooperation with al Qaeda. As previously mentioned, its Hezbullah proxy has already allowed a small force of al Qaeda operatives to set up base in Gaza, and perhaps in the West bank as well.

...

Iran realizes it is dangerously close to a showdown, either with Israel or the US, perhaps both. It hopes to deter Israel from attacking either its nuclear or its Syrian ally. As it knows it is no military match for Israel, it hopes to deter Israel by creating a supposed balance of terror, based on the long range (up to 40 kilometers) upgraded Katyusha rockets it has supplied Hezbullah via Syria, stationed in southern Lebanon. These rockets pose a threat to the densely populated Haifa bay area, and this is supposed to deter Israel from taking any major action against Hezbullah or its Iranian and Syrian patrons.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Tragically Poor
HonestReporting on Understanding Palestinian Poverty:

On Sept. 7, Agence France-Presse released an article entitled 'Most Palestinians live in poverty, on two dollars a day.' Why are most Palestinians so tragically poor? The AFP reporter turns to a U.N. representative who blames Palestinian poverty on four sources:

Israel's blockade of the territories, destruction of assets [in Palestinian areas], expansion of Jewish settlements and the separation barrier.

Israel is thereby accused of complete responsibility for the unfortunate state of the Palestinian economy. The AFP report provides no dissenting voices, and Israel is not granted the right of response to any one of these serious allegations.

This article is not merely anti-Israel ― it's sloppy journalism at its worst.

AFP fails to acknowledge the mounds of evidence that while Israeli anti-terror policies have created some hardships, the primary reason for Palestinian poverty is irresponsible Palestinian leadership, whose embezzlement, diversion of funds to terror, and failure to invest in infrastructure have left the average Palestinian destitute.

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has shown unprecedented generosity toward Palestinians, donating approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The World Bank noted recently that 'donor disbursements to the Palestinians currently amount to approximately $1 billion per year or $310 per person ― one of the highest per capita rates in the history of foreign assistance.' (By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $68 per year, in today's dollars, to Europeans.)

So where's all the money going? A recent, in-depth study from the independent Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) found overwhelming evidence that 'European aid has not reached its intended target ― the Palestinian people. It has been diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement to hatred.'

While direct PA payments to terror gangs (with Yassir Arafat's own signature as authorization) have been documented since 2002, the FPC continues to find a 'compelling connection' between EU aid and funding of Palestinian terror. Just one point of evidence cited by the FPC: An interview with PA officials and Fatah leaders on the BBC in November 2003 revealed that the PA had reimbursed $50,000 of monthly expenses to one of the deadliest terror groups, the Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades.

So the EU, now the single largest donor to the PA, literally contributes to keeping bands of terrorists on the PA payroll. Precious funds intended to ease Palestinian poverty are used instead for suicide bombs targeting Israeli civilians.
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in Discarded Lies:
Why I must Read (conclusion)
I left off at the horrific murders of Meriav Hatuel, along with her mother and sisters and Nick Berg's horrible beheading video. I could not read for weeks after these events and blogged more about Nick Berg, his moronic "father", Michael "Americans are dumb" Moore and the beheadings that followed than the Qur'an. I restarted reading, but found it very hard to get anywhere. To this day, it is a chore to pick up the Qur'an and read for the required period of time to get anything out of it; the Qur'an translation I have is a very hard read even in the best of circumstances. The beheading theme continues to this day.

Since the restart, I have seen many recurring themes in the Qur'an. I have commented a number of times how the text repeats itself over and over again on the same points. Here are just some of the "Qur'an hit parade" themes:

It seems the Allah never destroys anyone or anything (even though he could without effort if he wanted). When the righteous are destroyed, Allah has favored them with paradise; when the unbelievers are destroyed it is a lesson from Allah to be a believer.

The Qur'an refers to "Clear Signs" ad nausem. Rarely are they defined except in the most general terms. Often works of man are included as "Clear Signs" as are the workings of nature. One could argue that these are indeed signs of a higher being, another could argue that it is nature in a universe without a God. In any case, the "Clear" part of "Clear Signs" always eludes me. At least Christianity has tales of miracles and events that would be hard pressed to be explained as "nature" or "works of man".

Allah also seems to be a big fan of "ridicule" and "humiliation". He really hates it when someone ridicules the "Clear Signs" or his messengers. Hell is often described as a place of "humiliating torture".

The Qur'an relates many stories of leaders that lead their people away from "The Path". They always fail and the people that followed them are consigned to "humiliating torture" and usually cry out to have the leaders cast down with them. Yet, the people are urged to respect and blindly follow the prophet or risk the same fate.

Early Conclusions on the Qur'an

(This should cause a number of regular LGFWW commenters' heads to explode)

My main conclusion is that Islam is a more a cult of personality than a religion. The same could be said for Christianity, but that is another topic for another time (HINT). The evidence points to the prophet being a man that needed to use religion to control his people and to build an empire.

The Future

The long-term plan is to continue with the small amount of the Qur'an left to read and then move into more of Islamic history and culture. It goes without saying that the central focus will be terrorism.

In the short term, I will be preoccupied with election blogging.


Announcement

Now that the LGFWW readers are caught up, I will make an announcement. The hosts of LGF Watch Watch have graciously invited me to continue my weekly posts. I am happy to take them up on this offer. I will be posting on Islam, Islamic history and culture every Friday (the day that Imams give their sermons in the mosques, appropriate? I think so.)

So look for my posts every Friday, I hope to bring some interesting topics forward as well and start the occasional fracas.
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