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Sep 30, 2007

Peas in a Pod

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's parliament voted Saturday to designate the CIA and the U.S. Army as "terrorist organizations," a largely symbolic response to a U.S. Senate resolution seeking a similar designation for Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The parliament said the Army and the CIA were terrorists because of the atomic bombing of Japan; the use of depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq; support of the killings of Palestinians by Israel; the bombing and killing Iraqi civilians and the torture of imprisoned terror suspects.

"The aggressor U.S. Army and the Central Intelligence Agency are terrorists and also nurture terror," said a statement by the 215 lawmakers who signed the resolution at an open session of the 290-member Iranian parliament. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio.

The resolution, which urges Ahmadinejad's government to treat the two as terrorist organizations, would become law if ratified by the country's hard line constitutional watchdog but probably would have little effect as the two nations have no diplomatic relations.

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a resolution urging the State Department to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Charged with defending the system put in place after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Guards answer to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and are revered by many for their defense of the country during the 1980s war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The terrorist designation, the first such move against a foreign government entity, would cut the Revolutionary Guards off from the U.S. financial system and freeze the assets of its members or subsidiaries have in U.S. jurisdictions. It would also allow the Treasury to move against firms subject to U.S. law that do business with the Guards, which have vast business interests at home and abroad.

While the proposal attracted overwhelming bipartisan support, a small group of Democrats said they feared that labeling the state-sponsored organization a terrorist group could be interpreted as a congressional authorization of military action in Iran.

This is so silly...

And yet, no it's not silly at all - because instead of two boys in a sand box whacking each other over the head with plastic shovels and miniature bobcats, we have two Big Boys with substantially larger and lethal toys, whacking at each other, threatening to wreck the sandbox - only their sandbox is populated by innocent people that inevitably will get squashed.

I wonder if they even thought about that?

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Posted: Sep 30, 2007 1:30am
Jul 2, 2007
  “The term unlawful combatant (also unlawful enemy combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent) denotes a person denied the privileges of prisoner of war (POW) designation, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions; one to whom protection is recognised as due is a lawful or privileged combatant.[1] Once a combatant is found by a competent tribunal to be an [...]

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Jul 21, 2006
I came across an excellent speech by the former President of Weizmann Institute of Science, Haim Harari. I intend to post it in portions, put the Speech in Block-Quote section by section and then comment on each section. The section I am commenting on will be in a deviating color and in Italics.

UNDECLARED WWIII
By Haim Harari
"As you know, I usually provide the scientific and technological "entertainment" in our meetings, but, on this occasion, our Chairman suggested that I present my own personal view on events in the part of the world from which I come. I have never been and I will never be a Government official and I have no privileged information. My perspective is entirely based on what I see, on what I read and on the fact that my family has lived in this region for almost 200 years. You may regard my views as those of the proverbial taxi driver, which you are supposed to question, when you visit a country.

I could have shared with you some fascinating facts and some personal thoughts about the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, I will touch upon it only in passing. I prefer to devote most of my remarks to the broader picture of the region and its place in world events. I refer to the entire area between Pakistan and Morocco, which is predominantly Arab, predominantly Moslem, but includes many non-Arab and also significant non-Moslem minorities.
Why do I put aside Israel and its own immediate neighborhood? Because Israel and any problems related to it, in spite of what you might read or hear in the world media, is not the central issue, and has never been the central issue in the upheaval in the region. Yes, there is a 100 year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is. The millions who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel. The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel. The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilian in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel. Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endangered Saudi Arabia and butchered his own people because of Israel. Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the 60's because of Israel. Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of his own citizens in one week in El Hamma in Syria because of Israel. The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel. The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do with Israel, and I could go on and on and on.

One of the prevailing ideas put forward, especially by the Left and Far Left, is that Israel is the root of all evil that takes place in the Middle-East. It is being bought whole-sale by the media to such a degree that it is hard to come by any OBJECTIVE news on the Topic - this is especially true in Europe (that it is true about the news in the Arab speaking world goes without saying.) where the attitudes towards Israel has always been less than amiable.

If the assertion that Israel is behind every evil that happens in the Middle-East was even remotely true - then it is logical to assume that Israel wouldn't be doing much else but plotting evil against it's neighbors. The social and economic standard of Israel compared to it's neighbors in the same region (who incidently have the same climate, soil capacity and other unpredictables to struggle with) indicates that Israel is spending its time working hard at harnessing its resources - how can it do that if it is primarily occupied with plotting against its neighbors? The answer is - it isn't plotting anything. The answer comes in the next paragraph:

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel would have joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine would have existed for 100 years. The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 millions, larger than the US and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. They have a land area larger than either the US or all of Europe. These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half of the GDP of California alone. Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers. The social status of women is far below what it was in the Western World 150 years ago. Human rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact that Libya was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights commission. According to a report prepared by a committee of Arab intellectuals and published under the auspices of the U.N., the number of books translated by the entire Arab world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates. The total number of scientific publications of 300 million Arabs is less than that of 6 million Israelis. Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing the poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline. And all of this is happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area, which developed, at some point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world.
Saladin the Great is most likely spinning wildly in his grave. He left behind him a vast Empire that flourished not just economically, but culturally and spiritually - and what is left of all that wealth? Nothing but burnt tatters. As Mr Harari says - it's all very dysfunctional. A few are mooching off of the many. Where is all that Science the Arabs became famous for? Why is it that Arabs go to Europe or the US to study Medicine, Law, Science and Economics? According to History that shouldn't be necessary - they should infact be teaching us - like they taught us mathematics...yet the rate of literacy is a mere 30% percent...

It is fair to say that this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide murders and general decline. It is also a fact that almost everybody in the region blames this situation on the United States, on Israel, on Western Civilization, on Judaism and Christianity, on anyone and anything, except themselves.

Do I say all of this with the satisfaction of someone discussing the failings of his enemies? On the contrary, I firmly believe that the world would have been a much better place and my own neighborhood would have been much more pleasant and peaceful, if things were different.

I should also say a word about the millions of decent, honest, good people who are either devout Moslems or are not very religious but grew up in Moslem families. They are double victims of an outside world, which now develops Islamophobia and of their own environment, which breaks their heart by being totally dysfunctional. The problem is that the vast silent majority of these Moslems are not part of the terror and of the incitement but they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.

The events of the last few years have amplified four issues, which have always existed, but have never been as rampant as in the present upheaval in the region.


It is really, really sad.

Shalom!
This article, including artworks and photos are © Henric C. Jensen aka Shadow Bear and are NOT public domain, unless otherwise specified.

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Posted: Jul 21, 2006 8:08pm

 

 
 
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