Sunday, November 22, 2009

Renouncing jihad

British Muslims who renounced jihadism - you can read this fascinating article, writen by a fellow British Muslim trying to understand (1) what made them decide to pursue violent jihad to establish a fantasy caliphate under one-size-fits-all sharia law; and (2) what made them stop. And, no, I'm not going to give you a summary; this is worth reading in its entirety! (Thanks to Barry Rubin.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Graham v. Holder

Here, thanks to Libby, is a highly-revealing exchange between Senator Lindsey Graham and Attorney General Eric Holder about the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian rather than military court. The exchange makes it crystal-clear that Holder has absolutely NO legal explanation for his decision.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Major Hasan's motivation

Barry Rubin suggests that, to understand Major Hasan's thought process and motivation prior to the Fort Hood massacre, the best place to start is the slide show he presented as part of his 'grand round,' or lecture, when he was a medical resident at Walter Reed Hospital.

The grand round is supposed to be on a medical topic. Instead, Hasan instead lectured on the morality (or lack thereof) of serving as a Muslim in the U.S. military when it is fighting other Muslims in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rubin's analysis, which contains the link to the slide show, is sobering and should be required reading for anyone trying to understand Hasan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More on Mumbai

Turns out there's an American angle at the center of the Islamist attacks in Mumbai last year. Daood Gilani, a Pakistani-American posing as American Jew David Coleman Headley, reconnoitered every target site in Mumbai, including the Chabad center, in July 2008. See this article for more details. (Thanks to Daily Alert.)


No, this has nothing to do with foreign policy, but it is a very informative and alarming article about vaccines, how they're made and why they're not. A cautionary tale of government intervention, and a most timely one as the Congress considers gargantuan bills to take over the health care sector.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An isolated incident?

So was Major Hasan's action 'an isolated incident'? Not according to this article:

"Hasan's attack was the third incident this year in which US military installations were targeted by radicals. In September, two North Carolina men were charged for allegedly conspiring to kill US personnel at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, home of the Marines' officer training school and the FBI Academy. In June, Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, an American Muslim convert, allegedly fired at two soldiers taking a cigarette break outside a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark., killing one and injuring the other. Authorities say the alleged shooter said the attack was retaliation for US military actions overseas."

(Thanks to Daily Alert.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's either Iran or Israel

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has come up with his own version of 'you're with us or against us.' In a speech in Istanbul, he said the United States must choose between Iran and Israel. (See here for the version offered by Iranian dissidents.)

Put another way, Ahmedinejad's signaling that our current groveling, as evidenced in this excerpt from a speech by William Burns, a senior State Department official, is far from sufficient: "[The United States seeks] a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interest and mutual respect. We do not seek regime change. We have condemned terrorist attacks against Iran. We have recognized Iran’s international right to peaceful nuclear power." Here's the rest of his speech; read it and wince.

Child bride in Kansas City

Here's a slightly confusing story about a mother and stepfather who 'married off' a 14-year-old girl to a 23-year-old man. The man is now charged with statutory rape. The article doesn't mention until the 7th paragraph that it was Muslim family, of course - no one could possibly want to appear Islamophobic, after all.

There is one useful quote, from Mahnaz Shabbir of Stilwell, a past president of the Heartland Muslim Council who says that Islam says followers should live by the laws of the land. That is indeed the crux of the matter - and this 'marriage' was anything but legal. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Islamists and Fort Hood

One of the (dubious) advantages of an awful crime like the Fort Hood shooting is that it does reveal reality. We'll be hearing lots about Major Hasan and his motivations in the days and weeks to come, but here's a clear indication of how Islamist groups like the Islamic Society of North America see the problem.

ISNA president Ingrid Mattson said: "I don't understand why the Muslim-American community has to take responsibility for him. The Army has had at least as much time and opportunity to form and shape this person as the Muslim community." (Thanks to Islamist Watch.)

As is usual for her, it's a red herring. Hasan spent years denouncing U.S. policy in violent terms and was trying to contact Al Qaeda; people are focusing on those specifics, not his membership in the Muslim-American community. Her true goal is to obscure those facts by using the bludgeon of political correctness - the same tool that let Hasan get as far as he did.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sorry I missed it

In a debate at Brandeis University, former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dore Gold asked South African judge Richard Goldstone, author of the new UN report accusing Israel of war crimes during the Gaza conflict, what Israel should have done differently to protect itself.

Goldstone responded that that was a decision for Israel to make, although he thought they perhaps should have conducted undercover commando raids. He then suggested someone at Brandeis write a research paper on the topic. No, I'm not making this up.

If you want to see Gold's excellent presentation, here's the video. At least he got to give his side of the story; when Eye of the UN's Anne Bayefsky criticized the Goldstone report at a UN media event, UN officials cut the mike and escorted her off the premises. Just think: our taxpayer dollars support those guys!

The Iranian expert at State

According to this recent blog entry from American Thinker, John Limbert has been named the State Department's chief expert on Iran. And he definitely has expertise - among other things, from his time on the advisory board of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC is considered by many to be the de facto Iranian lobby in Washington.

Just think: in his new job, Limbert will get to see all those classified memos, cables and reports that he only heard about before. Plus, he'll be in all discussions of any significance on Iranian policy. At least there won't be any more ambiguity in State's policy on Iran: it'll be consistently pro-Iranian.

Islamophobia and all that

Andy Bostom has drawn up a chart of all the terrorist attacks carried out by Muslim extremists on U.S. soil. He comes up with a total of 3,308 Americans killed in 65 attacks over the last 35 years.

In retaliation for these attacks, Bostom found exactly one case: a convicted felon gunned down a Muslim four days after 9/11. The felon has since been convicted and sentenced to death.

The next time someone tells you that Muslims in America are under threat of violence from Americans, show that someone the chart.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Remember the Syrian reactor?

The German news magazine Der Spiegel has published a fascinating article about the Israeli attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor in September 2007. If you ignore some of the gratuitous slams ("as is always the case with these strikes, the bombs were far more destructive than necessary. For the Israelis, it made little difference whether a few guards were killed or a larger number of people."), it has lots of details - some of which must be true.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

As for that cargo ship

The cargo ship Francop just seized by the Israelis turns out to have been carrying, in addition to hand grenades, mortars and ammunition, some 3,000 missiles from Iran which the Israelis believe were intended for Hezbollah. By way of comparison, this is 10 times as many weapons as the infamous Karine A was carrying when it was intercepted in January 2002 with 50 tons of missiles, mortars, rifles and ammunition from Iran to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

An interesting note: "[Israeli] Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said the crew, led by a Polish captain, was not aware of the Francop's contents and cooperated fully."

Missing in action

Iranian dissidents celebrated the 30th anniversary of the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran with counter-demonstrations. At considerable risk to themselves, they shouted "Death to the dictators" instead of "Death to America." And, according to the Los Angeles Times, they also challenged President Obama, saying "Obama! Obama! Either you're with them or with us!" (Thanks to Investor's Business Daily.)

The White House, to mark the anniversary, issued a statement by Obama saying America “wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.” It then reassured the Iranian regime that the United States has no intention of interfering in Iran’s internal affairs.

Barry Rubin recounts here the Bronx cheer that Iranian supreme leader Khamenei gave Obama's attempts to make friends: "Whenever [the Americans] smile at the officials of the Islamic revolution, when we carefully look at the situation, we notice that they are hiding a dagger behind their back," he said. "They have not changed their intentions."

Conclusion: studiously ignoring the people in Iran who want to be our friends, while courting those who prefer to be our enemies, is not 'realistic' foreign policy; it's foolish, shortsighted - and just plain wrong.

Monday, November 2, 2009

More on honor killings

Here's a link to an article from the New York Post, with, as Jihad Watch notes, the first reasonably accurate discussion in a mainstream publication about Muslim honor killings in the United States. It notes: "Over the past two years, there have been about a dozen attempted or successful honor killings committed in the US."

And here, from the comment section of that blog entry, is a German website that lists the known honor killings in Germany. Even if you can't read German, you can easily get the idea just by scrolling through it.

Bottom line: honor killings may be more common in Europe, but they're happening here too.

Climate change

When historians write the definitive account of our times, I suspect they'll describe 'imminent catastrophic climate change' as the peculiar topic that distracted Western leaders precisely at the time when they needed to focus on real existential threats.

According to EU Observer, climate change will top the list of subjects to be discussed at the November 3 U.S.-EU summit - Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iran are further down the list. The Europeans want to avert a train wreck at the UN climate change conference scheduled for this December in Copenhagen and to that end will pressure President Obama to adopt a carbon dioxide emissions trading system compatible with theirs.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The perils of foreign elections

It's always risky to subordinate U.S. foreign policy decisions to the procedures or outcomes of foreign elections. Two recent cases come to mind: Afghanistan and Honduras.

In Afghanistan, opposition presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has now bowed out of the November 7 runoff. Since much of the discussion about whether President Obama should increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan has centered around the legitimacy of the Afghan government, this move leaves the U.S. government with both feet firmly midair.

In Honduras, the United States has brokered a murky compromise to allow former president Manual Zelaya to return home, and to proceed with November 29 elections to choose a new president to go forward. What if, as one Honduran source suggested, Zelaya can't return to Honduras until the Supreme Court rules on the issue - and it doesn't do so until after November 29? It was smart for the U.S. government to negotiate a way around its ridiculous insistence that Zelaya be reinstated, but what a dumb position to be in in the first place.

Hint to the Obama administration: try focusing primarily on U.S. national security interests. In Honduras, there were none of which I'm aware, so we should have kept our distance rather than meddling. In Afghanistan, the government's legitimacy is important, but more important is the overall security situation in the country. Both American and Afghan lives are currently at risk, and protecting them should be the main focus.