This week's Syria Monitor is now available. In it, Tony Badran, a Research Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, provides an update on the latest news affecting Syria's opposition and dissident movements.
This week's Syria Monitor includes reports on rallies being organized in Paris, London and Beirut to demand the release of Syrian prisoners of conscience; more information on next week's National Salvation Front Conference, which will take place in London; an update on the deteriorating health condition of Anwar al-Bunni, who has been on a hunger strike since being arrested two weeks ago; as well as news on the continuing harassment of signatories of the Beirut-Damascus Declaration.
You can sign up here to receive the Syria Monitor, which is sent out every Tuesday. You can track daily developments in Syria at the Syria Monitor blog. Previous Syria Monitors can be viewed here.
British MP George Galloway, whom I've met more times than I care to and who is in person as unhinged as he is in the press, recently told GQ magazine that a suicide bombing attack that killed British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be "morally justified."
Fascinating as a deep exploration of the moral philosophy of George Galloway would be, I'll focus instead on the political ramifications of Galloway's pronouncement.
Currently, Galloway is trying to build up a genuinely anti-war political party, Respect, whose future success will depend on its ability to attract disaffected Labour Party supporters and perhaps a few Liberal Democrats.
Supporting the assassination of a sitting Prime Minister will not, shall we say, be likely to increase Respect's support beyond its current core of Trotskyist socialists and British Islamists. Politically, Galloway is his own worst enemy.
The otherwise sensible David Ignatius has a column in today's Washington Post urging the administration to engage Iran. Indeed, he supports more than the "direct negotiations" that Iran's leadership is calling for. Ignatius wants "more air travel to Iran, more scholarships for students, more exchanges, Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization." I can't think of a worse idea.
Iran's belligerency is today at the highest it has been since the Islamic Revolution, and it is now--now!--that Ignatius would have us reward the regime by engaging it, giving Iran the same perks of statehood as we might give to, say, Finland.
And what does the United States get in return? Will Iran verifiably end its uranium enrichment program? Will the rights of religious minorities--such as the oppressed Baha'i--be given more respect? Will Iran stop supporting jihadists in Iraq? No: Rewarding Ahmadi-Nejad's sabre-rattling with concessions will lead to more sabre-rattling, and will probably result in ever more concessions.
Yesterday's front page story in the Washington Post reporting that U.S. officials have been rejecting Iranian overtures for direct talks with the regime has been followed by reports today that IAEA head Muhammad el-Baradei also supports direct talks.
The United States response has been that direct talks can only happen when Iran has verifiably suspended its uranium enrichment activities. As long as Iran refuses to do this, direct talks with the regime will only give it more time to develop nuclear technology.
It was Rudyard Kipling in his poem Dane-Geld who offered what I believe is the best case against concessions of the sort Iran is asking,
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation, To puff and look important and to say: -- "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you. We will therefore pay you cash to go away."
And that is called paying the Dane-geld; But we've proved it again and again, That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld You never get rid of the Dane.
It has been about ten years since the terrorist named “Carlos the Jackal” was sentenced to life in prison in France for murder. He was lucky to have missed the guillotine. It was banned by France in 1981.
“Carlos” is a Venezuelan Communist named Ilich Ramirez Sanchez. His father was a left-wing Venezuelan lawyer who named his three sons Vladimir, Ilich and Lenin all borrowed from his Russian hero. He arranged for the boy to attend Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where Ilich made the KGO connections he would often use in his terrorist activities over the next twenty years.
Ilich, or Carlos as he likes to be called, is now pushing 60 years old. He has a round flat face like a pizza pie and eyes like little olives pushed into the dough.
The latest issue of the Global Terrorism Monitor is now available. This week's stories include: Israel launching a series of actions against Palestinian terrorists, including the arrest of the head of the Hamas Military Wing in the West Bank and the targeted killing of Islamic Jihad's most senior militant in Gaza; Egypt claiming for the first time that Palestinians had aided in the recent Sinai Bombings; and Coalition forces killing hundreds of Taliban fighters following a new wave of deadly Taliban attacks against civilians and military targets in Afghanistan. Read the whole thing.