Spearhead Analysis: EMERGING CLOUT OF HAMAS

November 26, 2012

By Air Commodore (R) Khalid Iqbal
Spearhead Research

As the newly worked out cease fire arrangement come into force in Gaza, a re-look at the conflict is in order. Gaza people entered an interesting phase of struggle when their mandate was denied after 2006 elections; the people of Palestine had given Hamas a resounding mandate of 74 of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council against Al-Fattah’s 46. Voter turnout was more than 77%. Hamas earned the first right to form a government. Nevertheless, this right was forcibly denied through an international conspiracy. This resulted in a de’facto territorial bifurcation between Al-Fattah and Hamas. It encouraged Israel to impose a crippling siege over the people of Gaza. Reaction by the comity of nations and agencies like UN, OIC and Arab League etc was of regret and severe condemnation.

Now Gaza, under Hamas rule, has emerged as an independent political actor to reckon with. Cease fire, truce and any other stabilizing mechanism in Palestinian territories has to be endorsed by Hamas, and not just by the PLA government. Despite denial of mandate, the political power has quietly shifted to its rightful place and the legitimate owner; Gaza and Hamas. Now all routs to durable peace process pass through Gaza. Israelis are already talking to Hamas as the de’facto government of Gaza. Now this is likely to be further formalized with the involvement of Egypt. Hamas achieved a significant breakthrough, when the Emir of Qatar made a state visit to Gaza. He was the first head of state to do so. In the middle of the recent crisis, Egyptian prime minister also arrived in Gaza. Others are expected to follow. Operation “Pillar of Cloud” compelled all Arab countries to rally around Hamas, or at least pretend as such. Like Operation “Cast Lead”, Operation “Pillar of Cloud” also took place on the eve of Israeli elections. It was a rerun of the criminal aggression against Gaza four years ago that had left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including hundreds of children. Planning of such events close to elections ensure that there is no political level opposition from within Israel.

The most significant casualty of “Pillar of Cloud” was Ahmad Al Ja’abari, the operational commander of the military wing of Hamas, who was assassinated along with his son. Ahmed al-Ja’abari’s assassination, coupled with air strikes on the Gaza Strip has smashed the inhibitors that kept the conflict from conflagration. Some may say that such assassinations are an aim in themselves. However, these have not brought any long term benefits. Israel killed Hizbullah leader Abbas al-Moussawi, and got the vastly more intelligent Hassan Nasrallah. Hamas founder Sheik Ahmad Yassin was replaced by an abler man. Ja’abari’s successor may be less or more capable. It will not make much of a difference. Assassination of the military commander Ja’abari was a well planned event to trigger the reaction. The Gaza Strip is full of missiles. Some of them are able to reach Tel Aviv. Israeli military had long planned a major operation to destroy as many of them as possible from the air. Intelligence outfits had patiently been gathering information about missile locations. This was the main purpose of the “Pillar of Cloud” operation.

Palestinian Authority plans to make another attempt, on November 29, to get the non-state member status, for Palestine, at the UN. It is uncertain whether or not this increase in violence will affect the petition. New circumstances will certainly pose question on whether or not the Palestinian Authority has the power to reignite solidarity amongst Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The division between these two territories has gone much beyond land and politics; it represents a division between the people. The challenge to unite Palestinians has been daunting for the Palestinian Authority.

Egypt aspires to reposition itself in regional politics. It is doing so by aligning itself with the Arab cause. Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi has repeatedly mentioned the Palestinian cause in his public speeches, most specifically during his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly. Egypt is now in a position and mood to redefine itself in Arab and global politics. Turkey has already scaled back its relations with Israel. These realignments will discourage additional Muslims countries from extending recognition to Israel. Cumulatively, it would strengthen the lobbies wishing a durable solution of Palestine conflict. President Morsi played a critical role in brokering the much-needed ceasefire between Hamas and Israel after eight days of shelling that led to the death of 162 Palestinians. He took another major initiative by agreeing to open Egyptian border crossings with Gaza to allow the trade of food and goods to help relieve Israel’s economic and humanitarian siege of the enclave in line with the wide public support at home.

Failure of the UN to resolve the crises came to fore, yet once again. UN chief Ban- Ki-Moon urged all sides to the Gaza conflict to immediately cease their fire, warning at a press conference in Cairo, he said: “All sides must halt fire immediately…Further escalating the situation will put the entire region at risk.” Earlier, the UN Security Council held its session to discuss the issue but hit deadlock on a statement on the Gaza conflict with the United States saying it opposes any action that undermines efforts to reach a ceasefire. But Russia warned that unless an Arab-proposed statement calling for Israel-Hamas hostilities to end was agreed to, it would press for a vote on the full council resolution – setting up a potential veto clash with the United States. Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the Arab proposal, made through Morocco, is “a very good text”. Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, highlighted the growing frustration of the Palestinian Authority and its allies as the fighting intensified and the council could do nothing. The Security Council cannot “remain on the margin,” he told reporters. He said it was now urgent for the “the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and stop this aggression against our people.” US ambassador Susan Rice said there had to be an agreed ceasefire between the Israelis and Hamas for any halt in violence to be “meaningful or sustainable.” It is another wake-up call for the UN. It must carry out meaningful structural reforms to remain relevant in the domain of contemporary conflict resolution. The UN should, at least, be able to honour its own resolutions regarding the settlement of Palestinian issue.

Attachment of Pakistani people to the Palestinian cause predates the creation of Pakistan. They feel that Palestinian issue is the outcome of conspiracies hatched to dismember Ottoman Caliphate. France and Britain lured the Arabs to conspire in toppling Ottoman Empire and in return assured that the Arabs would remain safe. On the contrary, they created an epicentre of insecurity for the Middle East in the form of Israel. Arabs had to pay for the injustices meted out to the Jews by the Europeans. In 1937, while addressing Muslim League’s meeting in Lucknow, Quaid-i-Azam had condemned Britain for conspiring to divide Palestine. In 1946, he urged to resist the plans of settling of Jews in Palestine. Palestinians are a leading miserable life. They are living like open air prisoners and have been facing recurring crisis like situation since 1948. When Pakistan’s first Prime Minister visited the US inn 1948, an influential delegation of the Jew community called on him and offered political and economic support for Pakistan in exchange for recognition of Israel. To this Mr Liaquat Ali Khan replied: “Gentlemen! My soul is not for sale.”

Palestinian issue is not likely to be resolved through armed means; however, negotiations may lead to its settlement. Negotiations between the both parties should be equity based. For this purpose, Palestine Authority should be elevated to statehood. Recurring spates of Israeli aggression against Palestinians are condemnable and world powers should take all necessary steps to immediately stop these acts. The UN and other humanitarian agencies should make necessary arrangements for sustained provision of food, medical facilities and other amenities to the besieged people of Gaza.

The real remedy is peace; a comprehensive and sustainable peace with the Palestinian people. Hamas has already pledged that it would respect a peace agreement concluded by the Palestinian Authority that could establish a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, provided this agreement was confirmed in a Palestinian referendum. The UN needs to pick up the threads, and try to undo its past mistakes.

Current crisis has thrown up three interesting developments: Egypt is emerging as political leader of the Middle East, Hamas is now an independent political actor, and in the long term perspective, Israel is on the losing end in terms of international sympathy.

Writer is Consultant, Policy & Strategic Response, IPRI.
Email:
Khalid3408@gmail.com


At least 15,000 Pakistanis stranded in Libya

March 14, 2011

Around 15,000 to 20,000 Pakistanis remain stranded in Libya, caught in the turmoil, whereas a Monitoring Committee set up in Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) is monitoring the situation in Libya and coordinating early repatriation of the stranded persons. Talking to a local news agency, Managing Director OPF Habib Ur Rehman Khan said after Egypt the political unrest in the Middle East had spilled over into Libya. He said the monitoring committee was working closely with the Special Task Force established in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. Khan said that the OPF Airport Counters are operative around the clock and OPF officials deputed at these airport counters were facilitating Pakistanis returning from Libya.


Libya unrest sparks refugee crisis at Tunisia border

March 1, 2011

Libya’s border with Tunisia is being overrun with migrants, many of them from Egypt, fleeing turmoil in Libya, aid workers say.


Thousands of Egyptians have been streaming into Tunisia from Libya

A UN refugee official told the BBC that 20,000 Egyptians were stranded and needed food and shelter. Many are sleeping in the open despite the cold.

Some Egyptian refugees staged protests shouting: “We want to go home.”

About 100,000 people have fled anti-government unrest in Libya over the past week, the UN estimates.

The BBC’s Jim Muir at the Ras Jdir border crossing with Tunisia says the exodus of Egyptian workers from western Libya began on Wednesday, but has been intensifying daily since then.

Liz Eyster of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) told the BBC that Tunisian authorities were no longer able to cope with the influx.

“They’ve been accommodating people in shelters, schools and places of their own. But we’re now aware of the fact that they’re very much stretched and they need the support of the international community.”

Monji Slim, the local representative of the Red Crescent, told AFP news agency: “It is a humanitarian crisis, our capacities to take in people are exhausted. The entire world should mobilise to help Egypt repatriate its nationals.”

About 7,000 Egyptians have already been evacuated by air, but Ms Eyster said there was a “bottleneck in getting the Egyptians back home”.

One stranded refugee said: “All the people here are demonstrating because they want to go to Egypt. All countries are sending aircraft to rescue their people – Turkey, Korea, India, Bangladesh – everyone is arriving and leaving except for Egyptians.”

A number of countries have been evacuating foreigners by air and sea.

On Sunday a Greek ship carrying hundreds of migrants – mainly from Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain – docked at the port of Piraeus near Athens.

‘Revolution’

The exodus comes as the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, battles for political survival in an uprising that began in the east of the country.

At least 1,000 people are believed to have been killed in nearly two weeks of violence in which eastern cities cities have fallen to anti-government forces.

Col Gaddafi is facing the biggest challenge to his 41-year rule, but still controls the capital Tripoli.

However the centre of Zawiya, about 50km (30 miles) to the west, was being held by the anti-government camp on Sunday. Pro-Gaddafi forces are surrounding the city.

“This is our revolution,” some demonstrators, quoted by Reuters news agency, chanted.

A number of protesters stood on top of a captured tank while others crowded around an anti-aircraft gun, Reuters added.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was “reaching out to many different Libyans in the east”.

She was speaking on her way to Geneva to meet the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss the crisis.

Opposition forces that control Benghazi and other eastern cities say they have formed a national council to act as the political face of the anti-Gaddafi movement.

Late on Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously backed an arms embargo and asset freeze on senior Libyan government officials.

It also voted to refer Col Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

In a telephone interview with a Serbian TV, he said the sanctions were null and void.

“The people of Libya support me, small groups of rebels are surrounded and will be dealt with,” he added.

Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam denied that his father had any assets abroad.

“We are a very modest family and everybody knows that,” he told ABC News. “They are saying we have money in Europe or Switzerland… It’s a joke.”

He also denied widespread reports that Libyan troops and mercenaries had fired on civilians.


WikiLeaks: Israel’s secret hotline to the man tipped to replace Mubarak

February 8, 2011

By Tim Ross, Christopher Hope, Steven Swinford and Adrian Blomfield

The new vice-president of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, is a long-standing favourite of Israel’s who spoke daily to the Tel Aviv government via a secret “hotline” to Cairo, leaked documents disclose.


Omar Suleiman, left, was Israel’s preferred candidate to replace President Mubarak according to secret cables released to The Daily Telegraph by WikiLeaks

Mr Suleiman, who is widely tipped to take over from Hosni Mubarak as president, was named as Israel’s preferred candidate for the job after discussions with American officials in 2008.

As a key figure working for Middle East peace, he once suggested that Israeli troops would be “welcome” to invade Egypt to stop weapons being smuggled to Hamas terrorists in neighbouring Gaza.

The details, which emerged in secret files obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to The Daily Telegraph, come after Mr Suleiman began talks with opposition groups on the future for Egypt’s government.

On Saturday, Mr Suleiman won the backing of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to lead the “transition” to democracy after two weeks of demonstrations calling for President Mubarak to resign.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, spoke to Mr Suleiman yesterday and urged him to take “bold and credible steps” to show the world that Egypt is embarking on an “irreversible, urgent and real” transition.

Leaked cables from American embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv disclose the close co-operation between Mr Suleiman and the US and Israeli governments as well as diplomats’ intense interest in likely successors to the ageing President Mubarak, 83.

The documents highlight the delicate position which the Egyptian government seeks to maintain in Middle East politics, as a leading Arab nation with a strong relationship with the US and Israel. By 2008, Mr Suleiman, who was head of the foreign intelligence service, had become Israel’s main point of contact in the Egyptian government.

David Hacham, a senior adviser from the Israeli Ministry of Defence, told the American embassy in Tel Aviv that a delegation led by Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak had been impressed by Mr Suleiman, whose name is spelled “Soliman” in some cables.

But Mr Hacham was “shocked” by President Mubarak’s “aged appearance and slurred speech”.

The cable, from August 2008, said: “Hacham was full of praise for Soliman, however, and noted that a ‘hot line’ set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use.

“Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated.” The Tel Aviv diplomats added: “We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman.”

Elsewhere the documents disclose that Mr Suleiman was stung by Israeli criticism of Egypt’s inability to stop arms smugglers transporting weapons to Palestinian militants in Gaza. At one point he suggested that Israel send troops into the Egyptian border region of Philadelphi to “stop the smuggling”.

“In their moments of greatest frustration, [Egyptian Defence Minister] Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] would be ‘welcome’ to re-invade Philadelphi, if the IDF thought that would stop the smuggling,” the cable said.

The files suggest that Mr Suleiman wanted Hamas “isolated”, and thought Gaza should “go hungry but not starve”.

“We have a short time to reach peace,” he told US diplomats. “We need to wake up in the morning with no news of terrorism, no explosions, and no news of more deaths.”

Yesterday, Hosni Mubarak’s control of Egypt’s state media, a vital lynchpin of his 30-year presidency, started to slip as the country’s largest-circulation newspaper declared its support for the uprising.

Hoping to sap the momentum from street protests demanding his overthrow, the president has instructed his deputy to launch potentially protracted negotiations with secular and Islamist opposition parties. The talks continued for a second day yesterday without yielding a significant breakthrough.

But Mr Mubarak was dealt a significant setback as the state-controlled Al-Ahram, Egypt’s second oldest newspaper and one of the most famous publications in the Middle East, abandoned its long-standing slavish support for the regime.

In a front-page leading article, the newspaper hailed the “nobility” of the “revolution” and demanded the government embark on irreversible constitutional and legislative changes.


Britain funding project to train Pakistan judges

March 19, 2010

LONDON, March 18 (APP)-The United Kingdom is funding a project to train Pakistan family judges on cases relating to child abduction.

According to the annual report on human rights 2009 published by Foreign and Commonwealth Office and launched by the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the Lancaster House on Wednesday evening, the judges are to be trained under the bilateral judicial agreement on child abduction.

The UK has a similar agreement with Egypt on how to handle child abduction cases. With reference to Pakistan, the report says, “We will be funding a project to train Pakistan family judges on the UK-Pakistan protocol. In recognition that court-imposed custody issues and that arrangements to which both the parents agree can be more sustainable, we have also been developing other avenues for resolving cases including international mediation.”

In the 2009, FCO funded the NGO Reunite to train mediators in Pakistan and Egypt to help parents have contact with their children or have them returned to the UK.

On the issue of ‘forced marriage’ prevalent in the South Asian sub-continent, the report mentioned the excellent performance of the Assistance Unit based in the British High Commission in Islamabad which won the UK Civil Service Award for Diversity and Equality.

The award recognised the Unit’s innovative approach to tackling the practice of forced marriage were as well as directly helping victims, they have undertaken an active outreach and awareness programme among the local communities.

Furthermore, the report also noted progress made by the Pakistani government on improving human rights situation despite the serious challenges that faced the civilian government, exacerbated both by a serious economic crisis and a concerted and violent campaign of suicide attacks by violent extremists in major cities throughout the country.

“Pakistani civil society particularly its media, remains strong and vocal, frequently calling the Pakistani authorities to account.”

The report also spoke about the support for military action in Swat by the galvanised civil society horrified by the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Taliban.

Such abuses, particularly against women and girls, caused widespread outrage in Pakistan, the report said.

It said between 2007 and 2010, Euros 200 million of general assistance will fund projects focused on specific themes including humanitarian assistance, democracy and capacity building for local governments and NGOs. Further support is provided to the local NGOs by the European Commission.

“The UK also strongly supports the EU in requiring that Pakistan sign and ratify all major UN treaties related to human rights, prior to any further trade agreements between the EU and Pakistan.”

According to the report, the UK also funds programmes to promote human rights in Pakistan. These projects aim to raise awareness, benefit vulnerable communities and engage political attention in order to effect longer term political reform.

The report appreciated that the Pakistani Government has created a National Day for Minorities on August 11 and initiated Inter-Faith committees on local level to resolve disputes before they spark into violence.

To support the federal and provincial Pakistani governments in addressing the misuse of the blasphemy laws, the UK Government is funding a project analysing their socio-political impact. This will increase the capacity of the law enforcement officials, government representatives and civil society to implement and monitor proper procedures in blasphemy cases.

On Kashmir, the report says the UK support conflict prevention efforts and its South Asia programme on the Conflict Pool funds for human rights, conflict prevention and peace building projects on both sides of the Line of Control.


Gaza remains in ruins a year after Israeli onslaught

December 22, 2009

Some 6,400 homes were severely damaged or destroyed during Israeli offensive last winter

Kamal Awaja’s family is still living in a tent on the rubble of their home one year after Israel’s winter war on Gaza, but now they have electricity, running water and wireless Internet. And a few miles away the Sawafieri family is raising chickens by hand a year after Israeli bulldozers crushed tens of thousands of birds in their cages when they methodically destroyed the fully-automated farm.

A cold calm has largely prevailed along Gaza’s borders since the end of the massive three-week offensive that Israel launched on December 27, 2008, aimed at halting rocket fire from the Palestinian territory ruled by the Hamas movement. But the group remains firmly in control despite two-and-a-half years of strict Israeli sanctions, and the sparse reconstruction that has taken place is mostly an improvised reordering of the rubble left by the onslaught.

A year ago the Awajas were trapped behind the front lines when ground troops backed by tanks and aircraft stormed into northern Gaza in what would prove to be the deadliest Israeli offensive ever launched on the coastal territory. Awaja and his wife were wounded as they tried to flee and it was four days before they were able to get to a hospital, he says. Their eight-year-old son Ibrahim was shot dead as their home was destroyed. Now the smiling boy with curly black hair stares down from memorial posters hanging on the family’s tent, which has been cobbled together from canvas shelters donated by aid groups, dingy plastic tarps and wool blankets. Israel has sealed Gaza off from all but vital humanitarian aid since Hamas seized power in June 2007.

The limited amount of cement and iron smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt is beyond the financial means of the vast majority of the territory’s 1.5 million residents, most of whom rely on foreign aid. Some 6,400 homes were severely damaged or destroyed during the war, according to UN figures. Most of those who lost homes now share crowded apartments with relatives or huddle under tents supplied by aid groups. Awaja, who still collects a salary from the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, connected the tent to an electricity grid and purchased an array of home appliances smuggled in through the tunnels. His surviving children surf the Internet with Israeli wireless cards. “We couldn’t live in this hell forever, we had to do whatever we could to raise our standard of living,” explains Awaja, who says he was well-off before the war. “Can you imagine a house in 2009 without television and the Internet?” The new comforts have brought new challenges, like the large packs of feral dogs that try to rummage through the kitchen at night.

“You don’t have anything if you don’t have a house,” Awaja says. “You don’t have any security.” The Sawafieri family has also begun rebuilding, using a 10,000-dollar grant from the Hamas-run Agricultural Ministry to build a ramshackle warehouse and assemble new cages to hold some 5,000 chickens. But the structure erected with scrap metal and torn canvas is a far cry from the modern farm where they raised some 31,000 birds on the eve of the war.

“It was all automatic, you just turned the switch on,” says Mahmud Sawafieri, 24, pointing to the crushed 20-tonne silos rusting outside the warehouse. Israel scored an overwhelming military victory in the war, during which some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. “Operation Cast Lead achieved its goal, which was to restore Israel’s deterrence ability,” opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who served as foreign minister during the war, said last week.

However, Israel continues to face international condemnation of its actions during the war, including a UN Human Rights Council report that accuses both it and Palestinian militants of war crimes. The report authored by the respected South African jurist Richard Goldstone documented dozens of cases of alleged war crimes – including the methodical destruction of the Sawafieri farm – but has been rejected as biased by Israel.

Hamas, meanwhile, remains as firmly in control of Gaza as it was before the war and as dead-set against any recognition of Israel. The group insists there is no truce, only a strategic decision to temporarily halt the rockets. “The resistance agenda has to support the political agenda,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said. “The occupation stopped firing rockets at Gaza, and Hamas and the other factions reached an understanding about how and when to fire rockets. If there is another Israeli incursion, we will fire them again.” afp


LIVING AND DYING: ISLAM, JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY

November 12, 2009

SCAPEGOATING ISLAM BECAUSE WE ARE TOTALLY SCREWED UP AIN’T GONNA WORK

Gordon Duff

Today, in Tampa, Fla, a Navy reservist tried to murder a Greek Orthodox priest from Crete as a “terrorist.” The reservist claimed the non-Arabic speaking Greek had yelled “Allah Akbar.” (God is Great) When arrested, Naval Reservist Jason D. Bruce told police the priest had tried to rob him. Thus, America’s honor is defended again. Two idiotic wars, two phony invasions and lots of hate crimes, the number, we will never know. We do know 99% of what we hear is lies. Vietnam was a lie. Iraq was a lie and Americans are dying in Afghanistan over more lies. Perhaps we could spread the hate out a bit. We seem to have so much of it.

Now when I hear about 9/11, no matter what I saw, the insane coincidences, the suppressed intelligence and the childish lies told the Commission by Rumsfeld and Cheney make me feel like we have all been “had.” The Iraq lies, thousands of them, were not enough. Now we have the fiasco of a war in Afghanistan where everything is destroyed, everything except poppy plants. They must be invisible, bullet proof, something. One pattern emerges, lies, money, lies, killing and more lies. I am sick of it. Scapegoating Greek priests or Islamic Americans isn’t justified, even after incidents like Ft. Hood shootings.

The stink over Ft. Hood is starting to spread. Every bit of it dishonors the families of the dead. We have too many people, too many armchair counter terrorists, too many “boogeyman” fundraisers and too many hate mongers. They are all in motion now. Dead soldiers are, as usual, a business, a racket. Nothing new in this.

The terrorist, Hasan, is going to have to get the “Jack Ruby” treatment. I got an anonymous email from the Homeland Security group at George Washington University last night claiming Hasan walked in off the street. I ran the names of the people he was with, off the same list his name came from. It was a “who’s who” of security and counter terrorism experts. Hasan got too close to the power during his 6 years at Walter Reed. He made friends in the “right” places and now they are running for cover like rats.

I don’t think any American had a part in this. This Hasan guy was totally nuts. Can I please have an end to the lying? Please stop the phony fundraising for right wing political baloney. Please stop damning over a billion Muslims because of this one criminal. I don’t care if there are a hundred more like him, do the count. Islamic Americans have not been much of a threat, not compared to many other groups. They have a nasty habit of working for a living, obeying laws and leaving other people alone. This is the truth. Learn to deal with it and move on with life.

If you lie to me enough times, I will stop thinking you are a nice person. 9/11 is so full of holes, that failing to call for a new investigation but blaming Islam is an insult, an insult to me, an insult to endless millions of Muslims to believe 9/11 was an abomination.

I can no longer tell which group, the former Bush administration or the conspiracy people are telling the truth. I have proof that the Bush group lied about Iraq and hundreds of other things. Thus, they can’t be believed. Anyone who chooses to believe a liar is a fool. End of story.

Back when Saddam invaded Kuwait, we were told that babys were taken out of their incubators and killed. Then we found the story, reported by every news organization, came from Israeli sources. It was a total lie. After 9/11, we saw films of Palestinians dancing in the streets celebrating. Then we found the films were 10 years old. Israeli’s gave us them also.

When the UN called our invasion of Iraq a war crime, we used 9/11 as an excuse, that and information we have found was, not only lies, but lies paid for by taxpayer money. We bought lies to start a war whose only real purpose was to steal oil, bilk the government with no bid contracts to Bush insiders, hundreds of billions were stolen and kill of thousands of Americans in the process.

When we found we had started a permanent war, we set up a cheap subterfuge called “the surge” and put half of Iraq on welfare, paying criminals billions of dollars to leave us alone. The end result? We seem to have built a massive Mafia inside Iraq that any real government will have to fight for decades. This is what has really happened. Check on it. The truth is out there.

Can anyone begin to tell me what Afghanistan is about? Please, anyone? I study this stuff and it makes my head spin. I have so many groups, foreign fighters, Mujahideen, a dozen different Taliban groups in two countries and more warlords than you can count. We send people out into the middle of nowhere, and folks show up and try to kill them. I love our military geniuses.

Do we know why? Sure we do. You send anyone, girl scouts, mimes, washing machine repairmen into Afghanistan, and someone will show up to kill them. Buy a history book. Read it.

Do we call Afghanistan a war? It is more like Detroit.

Are we going to win the war? Win what? Oh, we are going to make everone love President Karzai and join his government and build a nation, a democracy we can be proud of. Farming on the moon would be easier and much more sensible. It would also be cheaper and less dangerous.

So, what is all this stuff about Islam? I don’t claim to be an expert. I studied this stuff in college. I have lived in Islamic countries. I have many friends there. Islam is not a country. It isn’t really one religion, there are different kinds. We are talking about nearly half the planet here.

Are there things in Islam that read “unpleasantly?” Yes. The Koran has alot of Old Testament in it. Get out a Christian Bible. Start with Genesis. A couple of things will start to come to mind. Both religions involve the same folks, Abraham in particular. Both religions involve alot of war and killing. You can pick out language that will justify anything.

If you want to see how language can be twisted, read the Patriot Acts and then scan the Constitution. If you don’t have your eyes roll back into your head after that, you are a pure dullard.

Islam can be used to justify many things. The Taliban and some in Iran have some odd ideas. The Wahabists in Saudi Arabia make my head spin also. However, the church by my mother’s house in Kentucky had snake handlers and people rolling around the floor. Before you want to accuse the Taliban of crazy, listen to John Hagee, “preacher in charge” during the Bush administration. This guy is “Taliban on steroids.”

What is real and not real? News on TV is not real, not anymore. If you see a picture of something, it could be a dozen years old, it could be anything. If someone tells you something, you have to ask yourself why? Who is paying him? Should things be that way? Hell, no!

If we send our kids to war, we now have to ask, who makes money from it. We all do that already, don’t try to kid me. Some of us don’t admit it, but we all do it. First thing you ask:
What are we there to steal? Do they have oil? Drugs?
Did the Israeli’s push us into it?
Where is this place, I never heard of it? Does someone have a map?
Who is the enemy? Is there an enemy? If we win, do we get a prize?
Do we have to blow the whole place up first, before we give them billions to rebuild it or can we just save the time and drop money on them instead?
What do you call 5000 lobbyists on the bottom of the ocean? (A good start?)
Can we dig back into our own history: (from the Declaration of Independence, 1776)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Does it say, anywhere, that it is our job to invade other countries and do all this for them? Does anyone note a failure or two in keeping to some of these ideas back here? Did the Founding Fathers suspect that huge corporations were going to buy and sell our own government and that a huge standing army, more powerful than the forces of the entire planet was going to, under the guise of “spreading freedom,” run rampant around the planet with mercenaries and oil companies?

Does anyone pick up an undercurrent of “mind our own business” in these words from the Declaration of Independence? Has anyone found the part saying we will send in armies and put drug dealers, criminals and thieves in charge of countries, steal their oil, blow things up and fight for decades, because we don’t like their religion?

The folks who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson in particular, knew Islam well and was not a person very inclined to be a Christian extremist. It takes a bit of work to show Jefferson as a Christian at all. These were men of the Age of Enlightenment, a time when religion and its abuses had proven itself unable to exist in a democracy. If you want to check, you will find that the official policy of the Catholic Church, well into the 19th century declared, not only living in a democracy but the act of voting as a sin.

Perhaps the next time anyone, be it in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq or Alabama, feels a need to chase someone down the street because of their religion, it might be time to pause a moment. The 3 religions of the Book share one thing in common, a single deity. It is the same deity. There are different words, different practices and, oddly, many of the same prophets.

Even if it was written 3000 years ago or 1500 years ago, the intent was not to destroy the lives of children, destroy families and spread hate. Anyone who thinks they can fix this with a gun or bomb or advocate hate, is an enemy of mankind. You are either with us or against, us, Bush was right about that. He just had the “us” part wrong.

Published under special bilateral arrangements between Veterans Today and Opinion Maker


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