Saturday, September 30, 2006
THE HATE THE LEFT LEARNED TO LOVE
Victor Davis Hanson
New York Post, September 28, 2006
Hating Jews, on racial as well as religious grounds, is as old as the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Later in Europe, pogroms and the Holocaust were the natural devolution of that elemental venom.
Anti-Semitism, after World War II, often avoided the burning crosses and Nazi ranting. It often appeared as a more subtle animosity, fueled by envy of successful Jews in the West. "The good people, the nice people" often were the culprits, according to a character in the 1947 film "Gentleman's Agreement," which dealt with the American elite's social shunning of Jews.
A recent third type of anti-Jewish odium is something different. It is a strange mixture of violent hatred by radical Islamists and the more or less indifference to it by Westerners.
Those who randomly shoot Jews for being Jews—whether at a Jewish center in Seattle or at synagogues in Istanbul —are for the large part Muslim zealots. Most in the West explain away the violence. They chalk it up to anger over the endless tit-for-tat in the Middle East. Yet privately they know that we do not see violent Jews shooting Muslims in the United States or Europe.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises to wipe Israel "off the map." He seems eager for the requisite nuclear weapons to finish off what an Iranian mullah has called a "one-bomb state"—meaning Israel's destruction would only require one nuclear weapon. Iran's theocracy intends to turn the idea of a Jewish state on its head. Instead of Israel being a safe haven for Jews in their historical birthplace, the Iranians apparently find that concentration only too convenient for their own final nuclear solution.
In response, here at home the Council on Foreign Relations rewards the Iranian president with an invitation to speak to its membership. At the podium of that hallowed chamber, Ahmadinejad, who questions whether the Holocaust ever took place, basically dismissed a firsthand witness of Dachau by asking whether he really could be that old.
The state-run, and thus government-authorized, newspapers of the Middle East slander Jews in barbaric fashion . "Mein Kampf" (translated, of course, as "Jihadi") sells briskly in the region. Hamas and Hezbollah militias on parade emulate the style of brownshirts.
In response, much of the Western public snoozes. They are far more worried over whether a Danish cartoonist has caricatured Islam, or if the pope has been rude to Muslims when quoting an obscure 600-year-old Byzantine dialogue.
In the last two decades, radical Islamic terrorists have bombed and murdered thousands inside Europe and the United States . Their state supporters in the Middle East have raked in billions in petro-windfall profits from energy-hungry Western economies. For many in Europe and the United States, supporting Israel—the Middle East's only stable democracy—or even its allies in the West has become viewed as dangerous and costly.
In addition, Israel is no longer weak but proud and ready to defend itself. So when its terrorist enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas brilliantly married their own fascist creed with popular left-wing multiculturalism in the West, there was an eerie union: yet another supposed Third World victim of a Western oppressor thinking it could earn a pass for its murderous agenda.
We're accustomed to associating hatred of Jews with the ridiculed Neanderthal Right of those in sheets and jackboots. But this new venom, at least in its Western form, is mostly a left-wing, and often an academic, enterprise. It's also far more insidious, given the left's moral pretensions and its influence in the prestigious media and universities. We see the unfortunate results in frequent anti-Israeli demonstrations on campuses that conflate Israel with Nazis, while the media have published fraudulent pictures and slanted events in southern Lebanon.
The renewed hatred of Jews in the Middle East—and the indifference to it in the West —is a sort of "post anti-Semitism." Islamic zealots supply the old venomous hatred, while affluent and timid Westerners provide the new necessary indifference --if punctuated by the occasional off-the-cuff "Amen" in the manner of a Louis Farrakhan or Mel Gibson outburst.
The dangers of this new anti-Semitism is not just that Jews are shot in Europe and the Unites States—or that a drunken celebrity or demagogue mouths off. Instead, ever so insidiously, radical Islam's hatred of Jews is becoming normalized.
The result is that the world's politicians and media are talking seriously with those who not merely want back the West Bank, but rather want an end to Israel altogether and everyone inside it.
(Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, was the 2002 winner of the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism.)
Monday, September 25, 2006
Islamic Plans and How They Fund Their Expansion
GS Don Morris,Ph.D.
September 25, 2006
The Pope makes a reference to a 14th-century Byzantine emperor's remark about Islam imposing itself by the sword, and to protest this linking of Islam and violence:
· In the West Bank and Gaza, Muslims attack and burn seven churches.
· In London, the ever-dependable radical Anjem Choudary tells demonstrators at Westminster Cathedral that the pope is now condemned to death.
· In Mogadishu, Somali religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin calls on Muslims to "hunt down" the pope. The pope not being quite at hand, they do the next best thing: shoot dead, execution-style, an Italian nun who worked in a children's hospital.
"How dare you say Islam is a violent religion? I'll kill you for it" is not exactly the best way to go about refuting the charge. But of course, refuting is not the point here. The point is intimidation.1
In today's world, religious sensitivity is a one-way street. The rules of the road are enforced by Islamic mobs and abjectly followed by Western media, politicians and religious leaders.1 Of course we continue to be told that this is not mainstream Islam. It is a corruption of the faith by a few.
Some estimate that worldwide there are 1.5 billion people practicing Islam. If only a maximum of the intolerant Islamists are 1% of this population, this means 1,500,000 represent a direct threat to Western values. This is a large enough number to get my attention. Furthermore, if it is also true that the remaining Islamic people are moderates and believe their religion has been hijacked this begs the following question. You are 1,485,000,000 individuals-am I to believe that if you all stood up and demanded that these intolerant individuals cease and desist that you could truly have a religion that behaves in a peaceful and tolerant manner? We, the world citizens, could enjoy peace as would all of you. Your answer will demonstrate how we of another faith interpret your view of the future.
There are those who have said that their aim is to have Islam as the dominant religion in the world and that we should all live under Sharia Law. “ According to Syrian-born radical Islamist and the founder of the London branch of Hizb Al-Tahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party), Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, Muslims in the West have very serious responsibilities in preparing the people to embrace Islam or to accept the Islamic way of life.”2 Many others have documented the international aim of this mandate, from Emmanuel Sivan3 to Great Britain-based Islamic Truth Group4 to Indonesian Islamist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir5 to identify but a few. I submit for your consideration that we ought not to dismiss the claim of an “all Sharia World” in the future. Intimidation through terror has been a primary mode of operation for those prosecuting the war against the West. Perhaps we should take to heart their message; since 9/11 the intolerant ones have used terrorism in the following countries:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chad, Chechnya, Dagestan, Denmark, East Timor, Egypt, England, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ingushetia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Jordan-Iraq, Kabardino-Balkans, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Gaza-Palestinian Authority, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Arab Republic, United States, Uzbekistan and Yemen
They are organized, well-trained, well funded and committed groups who seem to be moving toward an international alliance. All of this takes money, lots of money and it is no coincidence that a relationship exists between the quantity and quality of international terrorism and the ability of these groups to create and to generate the financial flow necessary to sustain these actions.
The Islamic finance sector is prospering due to a growing demand from investors, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and the flow of oil money from the Gulf.
Analysts estimate that the Islamic finance sector - which complies with Sharia law based on the Quran - is now worth up to $500 billion, compared to $200 billion two years ago.6
There are multiple reasons for this increase. For example, the incredible increase in a barrel of oil over the last two years has provided the necessary cash flow to also divest into other income producing financial ventures. Oil alone has lead the way. "There has been a huge inflow of oil wealth into Islamic investment funds which are, naturally enough, seeking Islamic ally-compliant vehicles, such as sukuks, in which to channel funds," said Neale Downes, a partner at Trowers and Hamlins.6
The old saying, “follow the money” is as true today as it ever was. It is not only Muslim based countries that are investing in Sharia Law driven industries; it involves also non-Muslim countries. “"The [Islamic finance] industry is doing better than ever," said Rodney Wilson, director of post-graduate Islamic studies at Durham University in the northeast of England.
"There is a lot of money flowing into the Islamic finance institutions and conventional banks, which are also offering Islamic finance products. It's obviously related to the high price of oil and the money flowing into the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Islamic retail banks and investment funds now number in the hundreds and financial institutions in non-Muslim countries, including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and UBS, are increasingly choosing to offer products that are compatible with Sharia law .”6
Islamic finance is growing, prospering in Southeast Asia and soon Japan. Earlier this month, the central bank of Malaysia said it planned to conduct Islamic financial business in international currencies to help increase investment from abroad. Investments into the Gulf region are increasingly complying with Sharia law such as the building of a so-called economic city north of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia at a cost of $27 billion. Japan will be the first major industrialized country to issue Islamic bonds if the Japan Bank for International Cooperation goes ahead with a plan aimed at attracting money from oil-rich Muslim countries. Earlier this month, the Kuwait Finance House launched the first sukuk in China to finance construction of a power station, whose profits will be shared among investors.6
Increase in oil price generates the monies enabling direct cash flow and it provides investment diversification. They are creating huge financial portfolios that unto themselves generate even more financial stability. We should take note and understand that the investments and monies are following primarily from countries willing to follow Sharia Law with respect to finances alone. I do hope that everyone understands the ramifications of this. In addition, it is becoming alarming to note that current non-Muslim countries are willing to set aside their social and democratic principles, their life values in exchange for “making a buck.” Some suggest that we are either so naïve, ignorant or politically correct to not see that it is their enemy who is going to fund our destruction.
This piece has been written as an alert for those in the West who still refuse to acknowledge the dangers ahead for us. Terrorism is the tactic of record for the moment; it is not the enemy. We need to clearly identify the enemy, understand the practical means it uses to fund all of its activities and take immediate and appropriate action to defeat them. I have offered non-military solutions in a previous piece-I encourage everyone to read it.7 By no means is it the answer; it is only a beginning!
- Tolerance: A Two-Way Street http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/21/AR2006092101513.html
- Tashbih Sayyed, Ph. D., “Islamic Fascism”, Editor in Chief of Pakistan Today and The Muslim World Today
- Emmanuel Sivan, Eavesdropping on Radical Islam, Middle East Quarterly, March 1995.
- Great Britain-based Islamic Truth Group (ITG) http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6291
- Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian Islamist Abu Bakar Bashir: 'It is Not Democracy That We Want, but Allah-cracy!', MEMRI, September 8, 2006
- “Oil fuelling Islamic finance sector”, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres, September 24,2006.
- Morris, GS Don, “Solutions for Iran,” http://docstalk.blogspot.com/, September 14, 2006.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Media Gives Islam Extremists the World Stage-Again
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.*
September 18, 2006
Banner headlines ring out: MUSLIM LEADERS DEMAND APOLOGY FOR POPE'S 'MEDIEVAL' REMARKS-this on the Drudge Report accompanied with a large photo of presumably angry Muslim men shouting to the reporter’s camera. This information was repeated across the Western media and once again supports an anti-Western stance-at no financial cost to the world’s Muslim political movement. They are enabled by our media- no need for a PR firm or a political advocacy group when the Western media does the job- for free.
Why is this a story in the first place? Is it because some “angry” Muslims stage protests over some statement and, thus, it deserves recognition as a news event? It seems to me that what was said is less a news event than is the fact that Muslims were “angry, once again and demanded …” So, the West can look forward to a news story every time some Muslims get angry over something we say or print; so much for freedom of speech! Either the media are intentionally supporting an anti-Western agenda or they are willing to be manipulated by those committed to the fall of western society as we know it. If it is the latter they are selling out their ethics for making a sale for their media outlet-both are reprehensible.
Here’s why this is a non-story. Pope Benedict XVI was on a six-day visit to his former home country of Germany. One of the many stops during this trip was designed for him to deliver a sermon. This is what Roman Catholic leaders, from priests to Popes do-for a living. He was in Freising ready to give his sermon when he set it aside saying, "I brought a long sermon, but I won't give it; you can get it in print later," Pope Benedict XVI instead decided to give an encouraging talk to priests on Thursday in the cathedral where he was ordained -- a spontaneous gesture ending a nostalgic, six-day homecoming to Bavaria. The primary message was one of motivation to his priests. For example he offered these kind words, "God needs people, he needs people who will say, 'I am ready to help with your harvest." He stressed to the priests the value of their difficult vocations.
As reported by Fox News this trip “also showed the warmer side of Benedict, who can sometimes seem stiff and shy in public. The pope visited the house of his birth in Marktlam Inn, prayed at the graves of his parents, and visited the University of Regensburg, where he once taught and served as vice-president. He repeatedly delighted his fellow Bavarians by taking time to shake hands and kiss babies.” This was simply a trip to honor and thank his fellow Germans. Last Tuesday, he delivered yet another lecture at his old university at Regensburg. His central theme was one on which he has touched repeatedly in recent months - the need to reconcile faith and reason.
He quoted from a little-known medieval text recording debates between a Byzantine emperor and an educated Persian. The Pope recalled that the emperor had told his adversary: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Benedict acknowledged the "startling brusqueness" of the remark, but went on to endorse fully the view that "spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable". Certain Muslims chose the following interpretation of these remarks: “he appeared to say the concept of jihad was "unreasonable" and quoted a medieval ruler who said Muhammad's innovations were "evil and inhuman". The pope did not explicitly agree with nor repudiate the comment.
From this began the barrage of condemnations. From India to Turkey, across the Islamic world we have people clamoring for an apology. The media appears to flourish when Islamists get angry; headlines, video clips, sound bites and photos scream at the news consumer. Today we have countries recalling their ambassadors to the Vatican, photos of “angry” Islamists from all parts of the world. Never mind that this Pope has made clear, time and again, that he stands for a decisive and uncompromising rejection of any use of violence in the name of religion.
However, let us examine this “opportunity for distortion and confusion” presented by our fascist Islamic enemies. Immediately they take center stage and find that the media values their opinions; this provides for them a forum and platform to make inaccurate, misleading charges about the West, Christianity, and specific leaders. By doing this, they inflame and motivate their legions of followers, the greater percentage of whom are illiterate and cannot decipher for themselves what was truthfully said. Nor can they understand the context from which the sentence was lifted. Context is critical to understanding meaning and it indicates the intention of the individual or group under duress. Reports of this kind also incite those in the West who are adamant Islam supporters. Many of these people view any criticism of the religion as being intolerant, racist and anti-Islam ; the results produce motivated constituencies.
This is about control-the “angered” Islamists are in total control of the message, the media, and the Pope. Their intention is to intimidate, to demonstrate who is the moral authority now and to subjugate the position of Christianity. Note the following demand - not a request - it is a demand: “Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said the Vatican statement saying the Pope was sorry did not go far enough. We want a personal apology [from the Pope]. We feel that he has committed a grave error against us and that this mistake will only be removed through a personal apology," Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Leader Mohammed Habib told Reuters. The media is the vehicle and appears to be quite willing; the story is escalating as I write this op-ed.
Additionally, this kind of presentation adds resonance to those individuals advocating and practicing appeasement. It also adds to the fear component that seemingly resides within many Westerners. The resultant action is predictable: best not challenge anything any Islamic person says or does for fear of some type of attack. In addition, anyone daring to protest will be labeled, his/her point of view invalidated, comments discounted, and will be held responsible for provoking the furor that inevitably follows as part of the demand for a public apology. Despite speaking the truth, the protester and his/her position will be isolated - the classic use of terror tactics. This has been going on for centuries; it is time to take this on as well
I do hand it to the fascist Islamists; they know how to use and abuse the media to suit their needs and to promote their cause. Another important point to understand is simple. By challenging the world’s leader of Roman Catholics he is forced to respond in a manner consistent with his teachings, hence, he apologizes. Thus, the enemy has gained control over the religious leader of one of its targeted foes, forcing him to now take a defensive/apologetic stance while the enemy dictates the conversation. On September 16, Pope Benedict chose to retreat from his initial message. All of this is interpreted by the fascist Islamic side as a victory and is evidence that the West is wilting under the ongoing pressure and it motivates them to increase the rhetoric as well as their demands. The West has learned nothing thus far.
I suggest all of the preceding was the result of the media making ‘something out of nothing'. Do people in Massachusetts, Iowa, New Mexico or California even recognize any of the people in the photos? Do they relate to these people displayed in various postures, stomping on flags, or boxes or vehicles”? I suspect not, but do these same media consumers believe that the entire Islamic world is up and arms, that they are dangerous, frightening particularly with what is written? If you believed the media then you would believe all of the preceding. This is the danger of distorted media representation. Only a very small part of the story is being told.
Not surprisingly, the two major UK television stations had 'experts' discuss the Pope’s 'misspeak'. These shows dominated the better part of a Saturday morning over on this side of the Atlantic-more platform time for the stated enemies of the West. To date I have not read, heard or seen a reporter challenging the anti-Pope statements-they are either afraid or unwilling to do so.
The true story of this story is that it is a non-story! The media embraces this event while all but ignoring that a “gunman shot Ali in the back Sept. 7 after he refused to join a crowd chanting Quran verses in honor of the lunar eclipse”. Ali was a Christian convert from Islam; this was his fate and no one was offended by this - or at least the media would have you so believe. In Somalia the law of the land is Sharia. If you are an apostate – one who leaves Islam for another religion –you must be killed. You are operating under the jurisdiction of the Union of Islamic Court-no one is offended in Somalia, no Christian group is offended even though Christians in Somalia are being murdered simply because they do not support Islam. The media knows about these stories and yet is not going to put the stories in a banner headline or run ongoing feature stories on the situation. I am left with the interpretation that the media is complicit with misinforming its consumers and thus misrepresenting major events of the day.
Perhaps some brave, responsible, and courageous reporters could return to a time long ago when the media reported events, circumstances, situations and people in a fair manner and stood up to thuggery that presented itself in what today we call political correctness.
* Special thanks to my editor Ms. Chana Givon
My Blog: http://docstalk.blogspot.com/
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Solutions to Iran’s Treachery
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
September 14, 2006
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said:
“Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement … Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world …'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise. Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world. In his battle against the World of Arrogance, our dear Imam [Khomeini] set the regime occupying Qods [Jerusalem] as the target of his fight. I do not doubt that the new wave which has begun in our dear Palestine and which today we are also witnessing in the Islamic world is a wave of morality which has spread all over the Islamic world. Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world - and this is attainable."1,2
Iran continues to also abuse the world’s only international body, the United Nations. It has refused to honor any of the resolutions written to force it to cease pursuing a nuclear bomb. Its leadership has sworn to eliminate Israel; suggests that the Holocaust did not happen; and it creates and supports proxy terrorist groups. Furthermore, it funds more than its share of groups committed to the destruction of the West and instilling Sharia Law in states that our grand children will live.
I do not value their way of life nor do I support a form of Islam that has tenets contrary to my own beliefs and I am willing to stand up for our democratic freedoms. However, this will require a monumental effort on the part of millions of people who are like-minded. Have you noticed that the West’s identified enemy does not concern itself with political correctness? Its leadership uses our concept of freedom of speech against us. In turn, we refrain from speaking the truth for fear of offending fellow citizens and our enemies. Meanwhile, in Iran today, the government closed down two opposition and reformist newspapers.3 So much for “free speech” at home!
Iran can and will be stopped from trampling upon our culture and disrespecting what we hold to be dear. There are a multiple of options and each requires courage to implement and perseverance to secure victory. By no means does there appear to be a single answer to stopping Iran’s march toward nuclear armament. However a collection of the following suggestions can and will contain Iran’s actions. We must be willing to think and operate “outside the nine dots”-please simply “try on” the following ideas, critique them and share your thoughts with others and me.
· The West needs to form a new coalition, along the lines of NATO that demonstrates a collective will and mechanisms for challenging sovereign nations and/or groups who verbalize the demise of one of the participating parties and/or takes such an action. Stand united at a major press conference and indicate enough is enough. State that you believe in western values, you are no longer going to be blackmailed inside each respective country and that you are putting “on warning” insurgent groups everywhere in the world.
· Agree to hold any sovereign country responsible for terrorist militias, groups etc that attack any of the aligned western countries.
- Impose economic sanctions immediately by identifying the services and products that are produced or managed by this new coalition and place these products and/or services under sanction for any country calling for our demise.
Specifically, place all spare parts for any military product under restriction; cancel all current military related product orders; place all oil related parts, from drill bits to transfer lines under restriction; freeze all tourist and student visas from countries directly engaged in stating our destruction and/or those countries serving as homes for said groups.
- Within each of the coalition countries gather the top 20 (each country decides how many) business leaders and indicate that the business world is being asked to generate a plan to isolate terrorist countries without diminishing our respective economies. Once each country creates a plan, hold an international meeting of all these representatives and recreate business rules to support the West’s economy. Invite India and China as well as Russia to provide counsel to the suggested plan.
- Tell the major energy companies they have 5-10 years (they decide) to develop and implement energy sources other than oil from the Middle East. Provide financial incentives to each participating government’s companies as well as to Middle East countries who support us.
The majority of Iran’s income is derived from its oil industry. Fortunately, Iran has not done a very good job diversifying its income streams and this is to our advantage. We should attack this now.
We possess the following information: Iran’s oil fields are ageing and doing so because of lack of investment in this arena. Hence, my suggestion previously to curtail any and all oil related parts and products to Iran. This action will require that the USA, Norway, and Mexico make it financially and product availability profitable for China and India to support these actions. In addition the USA must broker a deal with Russia enabling Russia greater access to the USA world of commerce. We need Russia, China and India ‘s resolve in order to ensure that Iran cannot cut a deal with any of these countries. I mention that we must have the cooperation of Norway, Mexico and I now suggest Nigeria to increase output given that Iran will respond, in kind, to these sanctions by threatening to reduce oil production and/or actually cut their production. Please understand that Iran cannot afford to suspend production for any length of time, this is its primary income flow. Therefore, I do not see this is a “weapon” that Iran can use-we should call their bluff on this one.
Concomitantly, this new coalition must have a naval flotilla inside the Persian Gulf. The Gulf is connected to the Gulf of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz. This is necessary if Iran decides to shut down shipping lanes. The second part is for the coalition to blockade this same area and not allow incoming cargo carrying ships destined for Iran.
We know right now, without any of these actions in place that Iran is going to miss its 2010 production target by 500,000 –a million barrels per day (bpd) due precisely to their ageing oil fields. According to National Iranian Oil Company managing director Gholam Hossein Nozari, “The main challenge of OPEC number two oil producer, Nozari said, was "maintenance of oil reservoirs or increasing the recovery rate". 4 Clearly Iran is vulnerable with its oil production and ability to deliver it to market. There are many additional tactics that can be developed ranging from hurting their ability to ship, deliver and process their oil fields. My main point is simple: Attack their ability to wage war, to fund terrorism and to develop a nuclear bomb and its resultant arsenal-attack their income source!
· Strike a deal with the gulf countries that process Iran’s oil into gasoline-some 40% plus of Iran’s national gasoline is processed outside the country-another vulnerability
· OPEC has indicated its concerns regarding the falling oil prices: “Ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries arriving in Vienna on Sunday have indicated concern that oil prices may fall. “ 5
· Set in motion, via the new coalition, setting restrictions on spot market price loading within the oil industry. This may take the form of legislation or some other form of action. Evidence mounts that the increase in per barrel oil price is due to oil speculators rather than the natural forces of supply and demand. For example, comparing worldwide oil use and availability, one discovers no significant increase in either during the last 18 months. Take care of this issue and you further weaken Iran’s income stream
· Announce that each coalition country is providing financial incentives to its respective populations via tax relief if the country meets a 5% reduction in oil energy needs. Create a climate within each country to ensure conservation of energy. More on this concept in another piece. This announcement alone will drop the price per barrel of oil several more dollars. Yes, again hurting Iran’s income stream flow.
Hopefully you have been willing to stay with this piece to its conclusion. You all may have the 28 reasons why the general idea won’t work, or why specific components of my plan won’t work. Of course you are entitled to your thoughts and beliefs. However, I know this-operating daily out of a mind-set that offers only the reasons why things can’t or won’t get done, produces the same results-nothing is accomplished but you were right about it!
We cannot afford this kind of thinking! I live next door to a country (Iran) dedicated to wiping us (Israel) off the face of the earth-Israel is a small democratic country that has served my native country (USA) well for decades. You might say I, and others, here in this tiny country that fits inside New Jersey, have a vested interest in finding a solution to the Iranian Problem. We would prefer one that did not include war. When I lived in California I felt safe and protected from all the ugliness occurring in the Middle East. Then, on September 11, I realized how vulnerable the entire Western culture had become.
We have once again been told and even warned-death and destruction will befall Israel, the USA, and all other like-minded cultures. Our enemies have delivered on their promises, some of us not only heard but we are listening intently. Please take courageous steps to stand up for what you believe. I discovered long ago the importance of asking what is it that you would be willing to die for on “the hill”? Without question our enemy has clarified what their answer is, I know what mine is! Consequently, when someone presents an alternative idea that has merit and/or promise, I ask how can we make this happen-time to get into action.
- Aljazeera web site http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/15E6BF77-6F91-46EE-A4B5-A3CE0E9957EA.htm
- “Iran closes down two reformist papers”, Associated Press, Sep. 11, 2006
- “Iran to miss 2010 oil output target, Iran to miss 2010 oil output target,” Gulf Research Center—Business Bulletin AFP August-29-2006
- Carola Hoyos , “Opec concerned over falling oil prices”, The Financial Times Limited 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Time To Change The Rules of War-Part II
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
The international laws that we currently use are steeped in Western traditions, values and Judeo-Christian principles. The original designers of the Geneva Convention were individuals born, raised and acculturated within Western countries. The Geneva Conventions consist of treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland that set the standards of international law for humanitarian concerns. The conventions were the results of efforts by Henri Dunant (1862). Henry Dunant or Henri Dunant, was a Swiss businessman and social activist. The 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant's ideas and in 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy. His family was very devoutly Calvinist (Calvinism is a system of Christian theology) and had significant influence in Geneva society.
The conventions, their agreements and three added protocols are as follows:
In addition, there are three additional amendment protocols that have been added to the Geneva Convention:
- Protocol I (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. As of August 2, 2006 166 countries had ratified it.
- Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. As of August 2, 2006 162 countries had ratified it.
· Protocol III (2005): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. As of August 2, 2006 it had been ratified by two countries and signed but not yet ratified by an additional 74 countries
As of June 27, 2006, when Nauru adopted the four conventions, the entire Geneva Conventions have been ratified by 194 countries. As per article 49, 50, 129 and 146 of the Geneva Conventions I, II, III and IV, respectively, all signatory states are required to enact sufficient national law to make grave violations of the Geneva Conventions a punishable criminal offence. However this has not uniformly occurred. Unless a country formally ratifies each of the preceding, said country is not legally required to honor the agreement.
It is useful to understand that each new set of guidelines has attempted to appease groups of violated people as well as trying to civilize an otherwise uncivil set of human behaviors.
The entire idea that one can first create war rules emanates from a value system that honors and values life. Additionally, the concept that once rules are stated, clarified and agreed to, all participating parties will honorably behave in accordance with them. This is a value found within the culture of western societies. Thus, the world community created war rules based upon western civilization human values and grounded in western rules of self-government. This is not true of other countries; their leaders have instead argued that a treaty signed simply grants them time to gain strength and when appropriate the laws will be broken. Therefore, these same “laws’ serve as a means to an end. It is duly noted that within a theocratic state, the “law of the land” is not based upon secular or governmental law; rather it is based upon Sharia Law. In these countries there is no separation of state and religion and Sharia Law is THE prevailing legal authority. This is critical to understand if we are to comprehend the necessity for changing current International War Rules.
When we “break our word” there are usually immediate and harsh ramifications brought upon the country in breach of the laws. Additionally, the West set up an International Court to adjudicate these infractions. The court itself has been modeled and grounded by Judeo-Christian values. This same model and same values cannot be found in all countries currently using and abusing this system of righteousness during wartime. It is also true that in reality there is no such operational system with authority over the individual actions taken by sovereign nations, militias, non-governmental groups or by defined terrorist groups. The so-called authority rests with the ability of nations to secure the uniformed cooperation of all parties who have signed the agreements. The last half of the 20th century up to the present time has presented example after example of conflict and abuse of the interpretations of these war rules. Legal scholars, historians, the media and bloggers have made available to the public these considerations. I leave it to the reader to avail him/her self of the literature.
Rather, my point is again simplistic: can the world authentically expect groups of people and nations representing contrasting cultures, distinctly different cultures, possessing different behavior operational codes to adhere to the current concept of Western law? Let us be honest and speak the truth. Up until the world’s most recent history, the world authority figure has emanated from Western values specifically when it comes to war rules. Times have changed dramatically and I suggest this is no longer applicable theory into practice.
Fascist Islam does not adhere to the West’s rules and/or belief system with respect to human life. This world community “marches to a different drummer” and thus has no need to obey or follow “our rules”. However, they are willing to abuse our self-imposed laws upon us while not holding themselves accountable to them. Thus, there is nothing inappropriate or “wrong” when they target civilians with rockets, send homicide bombers to murder civilian targets, use children as human shields, imbed themselves within civilian populations, do not distinguish themselves from civilian populations, send waves of children (unarmed) ahead of its “soldiers” to clear the battlefield of mines and the list goes on and on. Life on this earth is in preparation for the true after life and no greater good can come from serving G_D by killing innocents as a homicidal bomber.
As I argued in a previous piece, it is time for us to change the rules of war. If we do not, we will loose. This will require courage to stand up for what we believe-they do for their beliefs. It will require us to have the courage of our convictions-they do for their convictions. It will require us to not waiver in the face of criticism, they do not listen to it; and it will require a long-term commitment, they are so committed!
Our enemy has already recognized that the rules of war need adjusting or “tweaking’. The end of the recent hostilities in Lebanon had no sooner begun than a group of Arab states approached the US Congress demanding an investigation into the use of cluster bombs by Israel. This request was honored without hesitation. Munitions shipments to Israel were halted, a probe was begun-Israel’s enemies acquired yet another war strategy. I am pleased to say that the US Senate rejected the bid to curb the use of cluster bombs. 4
This was an attempt to shift the war rules language so as to prevent Israel from using a legal weapon-one that 56 other countries possess and that 9 countries other than Israel have used. Again we see the enemy manipulating language inside a document that they fundamentally do not support. Of course with this comment I have upset many of you and you are shouting, “yes, but we also signed the Geneva Conventions” and …to this I suggest that those “shouters” should examine the actual behavior, on the ground, of Hizzbollah, Syria and Iran. Shall I count the real violations of the very signed agreement you say you signed? In my world, words are an expression of thoughts and actions authenticate your thoughts. The ethical disconnect between signed agreements and real implementation is the “tale of the tape”.
I therefore request that the existing war rules be either discarded and we start all over again or we amend the existing rules of war. I also ask that given the ugliness of war, why should we have any rules at all? This is a question that does not resonate positively with most people. Is it possible to make war equitable and fair when by design it is meant to cause death and destruction to the enemy? What do we mean, exactly, by war rules? When there is a conflict in human values whose rules should you follow? How exactly should Israel address the following situation?
“The article reveals that Hizbullah has recruited over 2,000 children aged 10-15 to serve in armed militias, and that the Hizbullah-affiliated Mahdi Scouts youth organization is training them to become martyrs. "The children are educated from an early age to become martyrs in their youth, like their fathers, and their training is carried out by the Mahdi Scouts youth organization... [This organization], which is affiliated with Hizbullah, teaches the children the basic principles of Shi'ite ideology and of Hizbullah's ideology... The first lesson that the children are taught by Hizbullah is 'The Disappearance of Israel,' and it is always an important part of the [training] program...The organization's goal is to train an exemplary generation of Muslims based on the [principle of] 'the rule of the jurisprudent' [a founding principle of the Islamic Revolution in Iran], and to prepare for the coming of the Imam Mahdi [the Shi'ite messiah]. Its members, including the children, undertake to obey their commanders, to bring honor to the [Muslim] nation, and to prepare themselves for helping the Mahdi [when he comes]."5
How should any western nation defend itself against armed terrorists whose military operational strategy is to fire lethal missiles into civilian populations and to use not only the children but to use civilians as shields? What are possible solutions?
I suggest that the Western countries collectively approach the existing IJC at the Hague and file war crime charges against Hizzbollah and Lebanon. Furthermore, we should indicate that we are temporarily suspending the Geneva conventions as the rules of war-we will do our best to honor humanitarian practices but we no longer feel morally or ethically compelled to do less than our enemies do on the filed of battle. We will also hold any sovereign nation responsible for all civilian injuries and deaths if militias operating in their countries or non-governmental sanctioned entities disrespect fundamental humanitarian behavior.
Concurrently, the Western countries should convene a war rules writing summit and invite non-Western countries to participate as full partners in re-defining war rules and consequences. Those countries choosing to not participate operate in war at their own risk and accept that rules of war may be suspended during any conflict.
If none of the preceding can occur in the immediate future, Western countries minimally must file a complaint over sections in the Geneva Convention that address civilian definition, participation and response to these populations during time of war.
It is clear that our enemy will use our own language and human values against us to denigrate our ability to defend ourselves. They use the “power” of world opinion to persuade governments to decrease countries ability to apply military actions upon an enemy. As long as we, in the West, continue to value what others think of us, the current war rule interpretations will demean our ability. The outcome of shifting policy forces sanctions upon countries. The sanctions can range from economic to military actions against us. Under the current “legal structure” it is possible to bar munitions, replacement parts, weapons and much more to be made accessible to the sanctioned country. Thus, our enemy can defeat us by using our laws against us. Does this make any sense to anyone? Do we not have the moral obligation to protect our own people and thus the legal imperative to do the same? Perhaps it is really just me who sees the world through a non-existent lense!
- Morris, GS Don, “Understanding the Fourth Geneva Convention”, posted on www.primerct.org and http://docstalk.blogspot.com/ August 2006.
- US Senate rejects bid to curb cluster bomb use, Jerusalem Post, September 8, 2006, www.jpost.co.
- Mirfat Al-Hakim, "Hizbullah's Children's Militias." , August 18, 2006 edition, Roz Al-Yusuf an Egyptian weekly