Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ahmadinejad at the UN

I heard most of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the United Nations on Tuesday. (OK, I mostly heard the voice of the translator, with Ahmadinejad's voice in the background.) I subsequently read the transcript of his speech, as well, as provided by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and posted on the Global Security web site. The following are a few of my reactions to his speech, which I cheerfully admit are colored by my broad scale reading, watching, and following of world and international news.

Ahmadinejad has become slicker since last year. The speech he gave then could be fisked in a rather straightforward manner. Even when his specific statements were true, the context in which he placed them turned them into lies. For example, Ahmadinejad said

The occupiers are incapable of establishing security in Iraq. Despite the establishment of the lawful Government and National Assembly of Iraq, there are covert and overt efforts to heighten insecurity, magnify and aggravate differences within Iraqi society, and instigate civil strife.

There is no indication that the occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability. Numerous terrorists were apprehended by the Government of Iraq, only to be let loose under various pretexts by the occupiers.

What he did not say was that the efforts to "instigate civil strife" are largely funded, armed, and directed by his own government in Iran. He also did not mention that the terrorists who were "let loose under various pretexts by the occupiers" were released at the request of the government of Iraq under the formal claim by Iran that they were diplomats of Ahmadinejad's government.

This year Ahmadinejad was not as directly dishonest. This year he spoke in broader generalities to limit his hearers' ability to catch him on specifics, and twisted those generalities in a manner that would do proud. Talking about Iran's nuclear weapons development program, for example, Ahmadinejad said

After three years of negotiations and attempts to build confidence, the Iranian nation came to the firm belief that the main concern of these powers is not the possible deviation of Iran's nuclear activities, but is to prevent its scientific progress under this pretext.

And, if this trend continues there will be no possibility for Iran to enjoy its rights, not even in the next 20 years. Therefore, Iran decided to pursue the issue through its appropriate legal path, one that runs through the IAEA, and to disregard unlawful and political impositions by the arrogant powers.

In the last two years, abusing the Security Council, the arrogant powers have repeatedly accused Iran and even made military threats and imposed illegal sanctions against it. However, by the grace of faith in God and national unity, Iran has moved forward step by step and now our country is recognized as one with the capacity for industrial scale fuel cycle production for peaceful uses.

Previously, they illegally insisted on politicizing the Iranian nation's nuclear case, but today, because of the resistance of the Iranian nation, the issue is back to the Agency, and I officially announce that in our opinion the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed and has turned into an ordinary Agency matter.

In this manner, Ahmadinejad announced to the United Nations that his government's nuclear program had passed what many nuclear analysts consider the "point of no return." In their judgement, no embargo or blockade can any longer prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons. The only ways left to stop Iran's nuclear weapon development are (1) to destroy their nuclear facilities or (2) to get the Iranian government (or its successor) to abandon its nuclear program — as Libya and South Africa did.

That's really scary, but it's not the scariest part. The scariest part was when Ahmadinejad said

I would also like to announce that unlike the monopolistic powers, the Iranian nation is ready to offer to other members its experiences in the form of educational programs and based on its obligations under the Agency's Statute and under its supervision.

Thus did Ahmadinejad, which claims Iran "has fulfilled all of its obligations", announce that Iran intends to violate its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and spread nuclear technology to other countries. He did not state that Iran would also provide nuclear technology and materials to non-state entities, but one would have to be a complete fool to simply assume it would not.

There is also a major difference in the religious references in the two speeches. In last year's speech, Ahmadinejad began with a rather traditional Muslim introduction, saying

I praise the Merciful, All-Knowing and Almighty God for blessing me with another opportunity to address this Assembly on behalf of the great nation of Iran and to bring a number of issues to the attention of the international community.

and he closed that speech by saying

0, Almighty God, all men and women are Your creatures and You have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

This year he opened with a rather specific prayer for the return of the Mahdi, the savior hoped for by the Hojjatieh splinter sect of Shi'ite Islam (to which Ahmadinejad belongs, along with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Iraq's Moqtada al-Sadr), saying

"Oh God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness"

The quotation marks around this prayer appear in the transcript as provided by IRNA. In a similar vein, Ahmadinejad closed his speech saying

I wish for a bright future for all human beings and the dawn of the liberation of and freedom for all humans, and the rule of love and affection all around the world, as well as the elimination of oppression, hatred and violence. A wish which I expect will be realized in the near future.

This sounds nice. Who could object to a bright future, with liberation and freedom, with love and affection, and with the elimination of oppression, hatred and violence? Only those who recognize the truly Orwellian use of the language by Sunni and Shi'ite extremists alike. To these extremists, the height of freedom — the bright future without oppression, hatred and violence — is represented by a Sunni or Shia version of the government of the Taliban. That is not a vision that any sane person would accept, or that any rational person would describe in such terms.

And look at his final sentence fragment: "A wish which I expect will be realized in the near future." Ahmadinejad expects the return of the Mahdi in "the near future." This is chilling. The Hojjatieh believe the Mahdi will return only when the world contains enough oppression, misery, tyranny, and sorrow to warrant his coming. As a result, they believe in spreading evil and creating chaos as their way to hasten his return. (See The Two Trees of Jihadism.)

These elements, and a lot of the rest of the speech, seem to be a call to Islam. In Islamic history, and apparently in the Koran, a call to Islam is required before an enemy is attacked. If the enemy submits, they are to be accepted and are not to be destroyed; if the enemy does not surrender and convert, their destruction is commanded. The call to Islam is, in such cases, the same as a declaration of war. (To be fair, Iran declared war against us years ago. It's just that we have ignored their war against us — including, to a significant degree, the proxy war Iran is waging against us in Iraq.)

The call to Islam is exemplified by, among others, the excerpts from the speech given just below. When reading them, it is worth keeping in mind (as with the "bright future" above) that a large number of words and expressions mean quite different things to these people than to normal folks. The government of Iran, for example, regards opposition to it and its mullahs as obedience to Satan. And, too, these people are well practiced in the art of taqiyya.

The only sustainable way to the betterment of mankind is the return to the teachings of the divine prophets, monotheism, respect for the dignity of humans and the flow of love and affection in all relationships, ties and regulations, and to reform the present structures on this basis. ... Monotheism, justice and compassion for humans should dominate all the pillars of the UN and this organization should be a forum for justice, and every member should enjoy equal spiritual and legal support.

Nations are inherently good and can co-exist peacefully. They should endeavor to serve their own people; others that do not need them. Is it not high time for these powers to return from the path of arrogance and obedience to Satan to the path of faith in God? Would they not like to be cleansed of their impurities, submit to the will of God and believe in Him?

In this important gathering, I have to remind them of the following words of the Almighty which have been mentioned in the Holy Quran: "Do they not look at the powers and governments which came before them? If the people of the past had actually possessed something, they would have kept it and would not have let you possess it now. God destroyed them because of their sins and nobody could protect them against the will of God".

They have to know that thoughts and methods based on oppression and injustice are doomed to failure. Do they not see the signs of vigilance and resistance based on monotheism, philanthropy and the justice-seeking spirit of the nations of the world? Do they not notice that we are nearing the sunset of the time of empires? I hope that this invitation will have a practical answer.

The last excerpt makes the call to Islam — "this invitation" — explicit. "Do they not notice that we are nearing the sunset of the time of empires [i.e., of those Iran considers enemies]?" With Ahmadinejad's history, this is unlikely to be merely an historical observation. Given the beliefs of the Hojjatieh sect to which the leadership of Iran and its subsidiaries belong, it is doubtful that this is a hoped-for result they are waiting for God to produce. Under these conditions, this question reads like a notification and slightly veiled threat of new aggressive activity. That new activity might be something like the activity in the mid-17th century in southeastern Europe, but with more reach and Iran's new weapons.

UPDATE: James Lewis at American Thinker has noted many of the same things I've commented on here. He carries his analysis further, and makes specific projections and recommendations. Read his whole article.

One more thing: The statement Ahmadinejad made in his speech, as part of his call to Islam, that made me laugh out loud — and made me decide to write this — was when he said

Faith in God means believing in honesty, purity, justice and compassion for others!

It's not that this statement is false. The statement is true. It's just amazing that Ahmadinejad said it, because it raises the question of who or what it is that he has faith in. Given his personal record and that of the government he now leads, and by his own statement, the one thing that's sure is that it's not God.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Picture of the Day

Hillary models a prison jumpsuit for admirers.


I know, I know. But that's how this picture struck me when I saw it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Superb Turn Of Phrase

Mitt Romney responds:

"Hillary Clinton had a choice. She could stand with our troop commander in Iraq, or she could stand with the libelous left wing of her party. She chose the latter. The idea that she would be a credible commander-in-chief of our armed forces requires the willing suspension of disbelief."
Hillary Clinton was one of 25 Democrat Senators who refused to condemn the party's extremists. It appears that either (1) owns these 25 Senators (including New Mexico's Senator Jeff Bingaman) or (2) these Senators are deathly afraid of George Soros' MoveOn extremists.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Tide Is Turning (2)

Almost two weeks ago, I wrote that The Tide Is Turning about changes appearing in Iraq and across the Arab world. Now comes word in a Michael Totten piece that, at least in some areas, the changes have been more rapid and more complete than I'd dared hope.

Ramadi has changed so drastically from the terrorist-infested pit that it was as recently as April 2007 that I could hardly believe what I saw was real. The sheer joy on the faces of these Iraqis was unmistakable. They weren’t sullen in the least, and it was pretty obvious that they were not just pretending to be friendly or going through the hospitality motions. ...

What he said next surprised me even more than what I was seeing.

“You know what I like most about this place?” he said.

“What’s that?” I said.

“We don’t need to wear body armor or helmets,” he said.

I was poleaxed. Without even realizing it, I had taken off my body armor and helmet. I took my gear off as casually as I do when I take it off after returning to the safety of the base after patrolling. We were not in the safety of the base and the wire. We were safe because we were in Ramadi.

What brought about this kind of change, and this scale? It was the experience gained — by us and by them.
The Iraqis of Anbar Province turned against Al Qaeda and sided with the Americans in large part because Al Qaeda proved to be far more vicious than advertised. But it’s also because sustained contact with the American military — even in an explosively violent combat zone — convinced these Iraqis that Americans are very different people from what they had been led to believe. They finally figured out that the Americans truly want to help and are not there to oppress them or steal from them. And the Americans slowly learned how Iraqi culture works and how to blend in rather than barge in.
This kind of change cannot be reversed. Experience, once gained, cannot be lost. As others have said, "you can't unring a bell."

There's a lot more in Totten's piece. And the pictures are great. Recommended. While you're at it, why not also see why Victor Davis Hanson says doomsday is not just around the corner, in Iraq or a number of other places.

UPDATE: With the changes Totten reported, al Qaeda moved is "caliphate" headquarters from Anbar to Diyala province. Now, as Ed Morrissey reports, the same thing is happening there. But this time it's not just Sunni tribes forming an alliance against al Qaeda. Diyala province has a mixed Sunni and Shia and Kurdish population, and all these groups are joining forces with the local government and the U.S. forces, proving that they can and will cooperate across sectarian divides for the common good.

The tide continues to turn.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Tide Is Turning

The most hopeful sign I have run across recently for progress in Iraq and against al Qaeda is that groups that have been fighting against us are now fighting alongside us and, more importantly, why they are doing so. Michael Yon reported from Iraq about his interview with Abu Ali, local head of the 1920s Revolution Brigades. He reports that

Abu Ali said that on 1 April 2007, he and his people attacked al Qaeda in Buhriz for their crimes against Islam. He also said something that many Muslims have said to me: al Qaeda are not Muslims [emphasis added]. (Both Sunni and Shia have said nearly the exact same words, at times on video.) Abu Ali said they fought hard against al Qaeda, and on 10 April, they asked the Americans to join the attack. It worked.
Since then, the Americans and the 1920s together have been dismantling al Qaeda in Iraq's Diyala province. That's important, but even more important is the reason: "their (al Qaeda's) crimes against Islam".

It's not just Abu Ali and his group. Across Diyala provice, as in Anbar province before it, tribal and regional leaders have turned on al Qaeda and have joined with the Iraqi security forces and the Coalition forces in the battle against terrorism — swearing on the Quran to defeat al Qaeda. This change is huge. A year ago, both of these provinces were considered irrevocably lost to al Qaeda, providing the terrorists with safe havens and bases of operations. The people there have lived under al Qaeda's domination, and have seen first-hand the extreme contradiction between the lies they tell and the actions they take.

Because of the U.S. forces' actions, there were more than 80 days without an attack in Ramadi (Anbar province), and there are some weeks without a single attack in the entire province. It's so quiet, Marines there are complaining they should have been rotated to Baghdad, where they could accomplish something. Michael Totten's business partner notes,

When troops come back complaining that there aren't enough fights to go around, you are not losing.
And now Diyala province is headed the same way.

It's not just there. Increasing numbers of jihadists are turning against the program promoted by the group of organizations including al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Some now are in places like the Saudi rehabilitation program which has helped change the direction of many actual and potential terrorists, reportedly including released detainees from Guantanamo. In that program

"The aim is to reform the youths, to listen to them and talk to them," said Ahmed Jailan, one of the clerics. "We also try to instill a sense of hope in them by telling them they still have the chance to make up for what they lost if they follow true Islam."
Having produced these results, it sounds to me like the "surge" is working very well. These results, including both al Qaeda's attacks on Muslims and U.S. soldiers' defenses of Muslims, are causing al Qaeda to lose its fighters and supporters to disillusionment.
“They are doing the opposite of what Islam advocates,” he added, mentioning suicide bombings and racketeering. “Resorting to suicide attacks and explosives is the strategy of organisations at bay.”
It is important to remember that these are statements by those who have been the Islamists' adherents and supporters. These are not the statements of the Islamists' opponents, though they are statements with which the opponents would agree.

And it's not just the victims and the rank & file, either. Now one of the "founding fathers" of the Salafi jihadist movement, Sayid Imam al-Sharif ("Dr Fadl"), has recanted. His conversion is exceptionally significant because, in addition to being the founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, he developed the theological justification for terrorism used by his co-worker Ayman al-Zawahiri, and by Osama Bin Laden with whom he fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. His Foundations of Preparation for Holy War is the Salafi jihadists' "bible". Now he declares that armed operations are wrong, counterproductive and must cease. His new book (due to be published soon) is a repudiation of his prior work, and is endorsed by "hundreds of other former militants." His statement is a remarkable recantation that "undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida."

That leaves the remaining "true believers" increasingly using "suicide bombers" who aren't interested in committing suicide — who are lied to and tricked into their actions, or coerced into them, or kidnapped & beaten & drugged, or (like the kidnapped Down's Syndrome patient) unable to understand what is being done to them. And it leaves those "true believers" increasingly exposed as barbarian pretenders (and demons?), wolves in sheep's clothing masquerading as Muslims for their own inhuman (and anti-Islamic) purposes.

All of this says the tide is turning. Has this turn reached a critical mass? I don't know — but if not, it's getting closer. Critical mass or not, it's already rattled Ayman al-Zawahiri.

If this is so, if the tide really is turning, then this (pseudo-)Islamic fascism is well on its way to joining its totalitarian brethren on the dung-heap of history. There it will lie alongside the Thug cult against which the British fought, and the Assassin cult which was fought by (among others) both Saladin and the Crusaders. If it is important enough, it may remain in our language — as the thugs and the assassins have. More likely, though, it will fade from the memory of history as just another Islamist (pseudo-Islamic) cult. And this may happen within the remainder of my own lifetime. Or, as AJStrata puts it,

We kill them, arrest them, find their caches and destroy them and al-Qaeda responds by killing an Imam and kidnapping women and children. This is the death spiral for al-Qaeda. They could have lost Iraq with the image of having done a valiant effort trying to take on the Great Satan - that would have been crippling to their cause but not terminal. Now they are losing and making America out to be the protector while they skulk away as warriors who could only take on children. The Battle for Islam is at hand and it may be on the way to a very favorable conclusion for mankind and Islam itself.

One more thing: In this instance, it really doesn't matter whether the Islamofascists have hijacked Islam and represent a perversion of the religion as many assert, or whether the Islamists' teachings are inherent in Islam as many others claim. It doesn't matter because it is Muslims saying the terrorists are not Muslims, but are pretenders and apostates. And it is Muslims saying al Qaeda is committing crimes against Islam. This is a key element telling me the tide is turning, and a true sea change has occurred. (And if Muslims want to demonstrate that Islam is truly a religion of peace, and not a totalitarian cult, denouncing and going after those who are giving them a bad name — and those who fund and support them — is a good way to do it.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Disgusting Politics

Maybe it's my current mood, but there have been several things from the last couple of days that have gotten me really disgusted. Here are the biggest ones.

1 — A Senatorial Lie

New York Senator Chuck Schumer made a statement on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday. As quoted, Schumer said:

The violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes "We have to fight al Qaeda ourselves." It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here.
To be as charitable as possible, this is a complete lie. Less than a year ago, Iraq's Anbar province was considered a lost cause controlled by al Qaeda. I am quite certain Senator Schumer was among those who said so.

It was controlled by al Qaeda, but it was not a lost cause. Once the "surge" began, and U.S. troops went into Anbar province with a new strategy, al Qaeda was pushed out. Attacks, whether against the troops or against civilians, dropped more than 80%. With that success, the troops recruited the tribal sheikhs as allies to make sure that al Qaeda would not be able to move back in when the troops leave. Schumer's statement is false at best and fraudulent at worst, even if his only sources of news are CNN and the New York Times.

Disgusting. Schumer may be the most mean-spirited Senator in Washington, and one of the most partisan. He is lower than scum.

2 — Presidential Candidate — Republican

I saw part of the Republican presidential candidates' debate Wednesday night. In it, one candidate really stood out.

Supporters of Congressman Ron Paul describe him as a libertarian. From hearing him in this debate, it's clear Ron Paul is a libertarian like I'm an African elephant — there may be a connection there somewhere but it's a long, long time ago in a land far, far away. He's clearly not a libertarian but an old-style isolationist, circa 1915. Based on Wednesday's performance, maintaining that position requires him to operate in a manner that is both simplistic to the point of stupidity, and deeply dishonest. The non-sequiturs and false statements I heard coming out of his mouth were simply breathtaking.

Disgusting. This man cannot be supported by anyone with three neurons to rub together. He is lower than scum.

3 — Presidential Candidate — Democrat

Not content with attacking the U.S. and its policies here, Congressman Dennis Kucinich went to Damascus, Syria to do so on foreign soil in cooperation/conspiracy with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Under Assad's direction, Syria is a prime supporter and supplier of a variety of terrorist organizations. Syria is also a primary avenue by which terrorists are armed and supplied, and sent into Iraq to kill Americans. Gateway Pundit has it exactly right: "You have to hand it to Kucinich. Where the other democratic candidates just talk about propping up evil regimes, he goes out and makes it happen!"

Disgusting. This man cannot be supported by anyone with three neurons to rub together. He is lower than scum.

Monday, September 3, 2007

California Poll

Saw this in a Random Thoughts column by Thomas Sowell. It's too good not to pass on.
A joke says that a poll was taken in California, asking if people thought illegal immigration was a serious problem. The results showed that 29 percent said, "Yes, there is a serious problem." But 71 percent said, "No es una problema seriosa."