The U.S.-based assets of the Palestinian Authority have been frozen in an effort to force the PA to pay a $116 million dollar terrorism judgment against it. Read this and other stories in this week's Global Jihad Monitor.
Why are the polls down? Is public support for the war crumbling? Well, no. But the explanation for plummeting numbers varies depending on which war you are talking about.
If you mean what started out as the "war on terror," support remains high. You may recall that war. It was about the eradication of militant Islam and its state sponsors. To the extent there is public uneasiness, it is not over the fact of that war but rather the manner in which it is being prosecuted, with terrorists continuing to score successes and their facilitators in Iran and Syria making war on American forces with impunity.
But if you're talking about what the "war on terror" has lately evolved into — namely, the war to spread freedom — public support cannot fairly be described as "crumbling." Public support for that war was never there in the first place. Read More.
Berkeley student Kerry Eskenas is an undergraduate fellow with FDD. She recently completed her initial training as an anti-terror/pro-democracy activist and has written several articles for the California Patriot which describe her experiences here, here and here.
Today, the Lebanese Government accepted a UN investigation commission request to have a number of former security chiefs brought in for interrogation in the Hariri assassination. The three directors detained were: Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, the former chief of General Security; Maj. Gen. Ali Hajj, the former director general of the Internal Security Forces; and Brig. Gen. Raymond Azar, the former director general of military intelligence. The commander of the Presidential Guards, Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan, also appeared before the U.N. investigation in response to a summons. The Commission ordered former pro-Syrian MP Nasser Kandil to appear as well. But according to official sources, he has taken refuge in the Syrian capital. The four former security officials are considered as the strategic arm of the Lebanese regime and the umbrella that protected Hizbollah under Syrian Baathist supervision. Jamil Sayyed, according to well-informed Lebanese sources was the highest Syrian Mukhabarat “man” inside the Lebanese apparatus since the early 1990s. Mustafa Hamdan, commander of the Harass al Jamhuri, Lebanon’s version of the “Republican Guards,” is accused of masterminding many assassinations, and potentially part of the conspiracy to kill Hariri. Sources in Lebanon believe that the UN investigation may well link the Lebanese regime, Assad’s agencies and Hizbollah to the assassination.
IGNORING ABU GHRAIB: Film-maker Don North has produced two films about some of the most despicable abuses to take place at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But PBS and other MSM (mainstream media) outlets refuse to air them. Why? Perhaps because the abuses he has focused on -- the amputations of the right hands of Iraqi merchants -- were carried out while Saddam Hussein was still in power. Such barbarity evidently fills the MSM with ennui.
Want to bet that if Don had made films about abuses at Abu Ghraib while U.S. forces were running the place -- even such lesser abuses as scaring prisoners with barking dogs -- there'd be plenty of film at 11? Read More.
A number of bloggers and editorial writers have noted the hypocrisy of so many (like the New York Times) who are now criticizing the Iraqi Constitution, but celebrated the Afghan Constitution when it was drafted even though it gives an even greater role to Islam and includes fewer protections for the rights of women and non-Muslims.
"The media, and much of the commentariat, will continue to bray about how we're establishing Shari'a law in Iraq and that women will "lose gains they made during Hussein's rule." Andrew Sullivan is playing
Chicken Little, fearing that "there's still a reasonable chance of a pretty depressingly illiberal constitution." Hopefully that's just his hangover from the past weekend still making his head pound."
A few comments:
The fact that many who are now criticizing the Iraqi constitution didn't push back as hard on the Aghan one doesn't mean the loopholes for Islamists to hijack Iraq's emerging constitution don't exist. So what if the Aghan constitution is just as bad, or worse? Two wrongs do not make a right.
Many others, such as Nina Shea from Freedom House, were just as vocal about the problems with the Aghan constitution as they are now about the Iraqi Constitution - and it is really worth paying attention to their analyses (see today's op-ed in National Review Online)
Aghanistan's constitution was no model of liberal democracy, but given where Afghanistan was coming from (gender-apartheid under the Taliban and total theocracy), it was a huge step forward. In contrast, if Iranian-style Islamic law is established in Iraq, it will be a step backward for women and non-Muslims, who have benefited from civil law since 1959. Not to mention that it will not exactly serve our national security interests.
Saying that women benefited from civil law in Iraq until now should not be misconstrued to give Saddam or the Ba'athis credit. The law of 1959 (which is far from perfect but was ahead of its time) was introduced a decade before Saddam came to power. Saddam's legacy to Iraqi women was to create hundreds of thousands of destitute widows (from wars and massacres), reintroduce tribal customs such as honor killings and reduce literacy rates among women such that the younger generation of Iraqi women is less educated than their mothers.
Finally, what will the implications for the administration's Forward Strategy of Freedom be if Islamist clerics (inspired by Iran's Guardian of Councils) are able to veto every law that comes out of Iraq's legislature, and quash freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the media in the name of "morality," as is clearly their intention?
The appear to be very different from those in Britain. The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens and Joseph Rago write that Arab-American “are well on their way toward blending into the great American melting pot.”
As for American Muslims, most “have fared well in the U.S. … 59% of American Muslims have at least an undergraduate education, making them the most highly educated group in America. … They tend to be employed in professional fields, and most own stock, either personally or through 401(k) or pension plans. In terms of civic participation, 82% are registered to vote, half of them as Democrats. Interestingly, however, the survey found that 65% of Muslim Americans favor lowering the income tax.
Does that mean there is no cause for concern? Not quite. There is, for example, the problem of “U.S. mosques funded by Saudi Arabia, which can serve as a conduit for the kingdom's extreme Wahhabist brand of Islam.”
And while “most American Muslims have successfully integrated into American life, there remain culturally isolated and impoverished enclaves of Muslim immigrants. It was in just such an enclave in Jersey City, N.J., that the disciples of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman planned the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Similarly, in Lodi, Calif., where two Pakistani men have been charged with attending terrorist training camps, some 80% of the Pakistani community does not speak adequate English.”
Also: “Hanging over all this is the question of the long-term trajectory of the American Muslim population. In Britain, as in Germany and France, a striking feature of the Islamist movement is that it has taken root among second-generation Muslims, whose disenchantment with their Western lives is matched by the romanticist appeals of ethnic authenticity and religious purity. America's mostly foreign-born Muslims are perhaps less susceptible to this. But that's no guarantee their children won't be seduced. Then, too, neither a first-rate Western education nor economic affluence offers any inoculation against extremism: Just look at the careers of 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta, educated at the Technical University of Hamburg, or Daniel Pearl killer Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who did undergraduate work at the London School of Economics.”
It is becoming nearly impossible to sort the extreme rhetoric of the antiwar Left from that of the fringe paleo-Right. Both see the Iraqi war through the same lenses: the American effort is bound to fail and is a deep reflection of American pathology.
An anguished Cindy Sheehan calls Bush "the world's biggest terrorist." And she goes on to blame Israel for the death of her son ("Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel").
Her antiwar venom could easily come right out of the mouth of a more calculating David Duke. Perhaps that's why he lauded her anti-Semitism: "Courageously she has gone to Texas near the ranch of President Bush and braved the elements and a hostile Jewish supremacist media."