Archive for the ‘Islamic’ Category

Iran Says Again, Holocaust a ‘Big Lie’

January 27, 2009

Iran’s government spokesman on Tuesday branded the Holocaust a “big lie” created to place the Islamic republic’s arch-foe Israel in the Middle East, the state IRNA news agency reported.

“The Holocaust is a concept coming from a big lie in order to settle a rootless regime in the heart of the Islamic world,” Gholam Hossein Elham told a conference on Gaza in central Iran’s religious city of Qom.

It was not the first time an Iranian official has questioned the massacre of Jews by Nazis in World War II.

Iran does not recognise Israel, and since his election in 2005 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has attracted international condemnation by repeatedly predicting that the Jewish state is doomed to disappear.

In late 2005 Ahmadinejad branded the Holocaust a “myth.” His comment was followed by a conference in Tehran in 2006 that brought together Holocaust deniers and revisionists.

A mass-circulation Iranian newspaper also staged a controversial cartoon competition on the subject.

In September last year a group of Iranian Islamist students unveiled a book mocking the Holocaust and filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes and revisionist arguments.

The United Nations designated January 27 as international Holocaust memorial day in 2005, marking the date Soviet troops liberated the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Poland.

From AFP and AP

A look at the Islamic militant Hamas group

January 9, 2009

NAME: Arabic for “zeal.” Is acronym of Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah, or Islamic Resistance Movement. Use first was in 1987 leaflet presaging launch of first Palestinian uprising against Israel, 1987-93.

GOAL: To establish Islamic theocracy in Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Does not recognize state of Israel and committed to its destruction.

OPERATIONS: Built grass-roots base through preaching and network of health, education and welfare services in Gaza Strip and West Bank. Preaches armed resistance against Israel and has staged dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks, killing hundreds. Listed as terror group by U.S., European Union and Israel.

FUNDING: Community services financed by Arab agencies and Islamic charities; Israel claims funding for military wing (Izzedine al-Qassam) comes from Iran, Syria and Palestinians living abroad.

HISTORY: Began as offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in 1970s. Initially supported by Israel as counterbalance to Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. Early activity concentrated on social and community issues; militant faction took over in 1980s. Entered politics with run for Palestinian parliament in 2006, defeating long-dominant Fatah.

GAZA TAKEOVER: Seized control of Gaza in 2007 during five days of battles with Fatah forces loyal to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

DECISION-MAKING: Khaled Mashaal, former physics teacher who lives in Syria, considered….

Read the rest from The Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090109/ap_on_re_
mi_ea/ml_palestinians_hamas_glance_1

Thousands across Middle East protest Gaza attack

January 5, 2009

Thousands protesting Israel’s ground offensive on Gaza converged Sunday in Beirut and Istanbul as the leaders of the only two Mideast Arab nations to sign peace treaties with Israel demanded an end to the attack.

In Yemen, security officials said anti-Israel protesters attacked several Jewish homes in the northern province of Omran, smashing windows and pelting them with rocks. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said at least one Jewish resident was injured among the tiny minority community.

By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer

Lebanese police used water hoses to try to push about 250 demonstrators away from the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon’s capital. When that failed, they fired tear gas, Lebanese security officials said. A second Beirut protest — a sit-in outside the U.N. building — drew thousands of supporters of Hamas and Lebanon’s Islamic Group.

In Turkey, more than 5,000 people held an anti-Israel rally in Istanbul, waving Palestinian flags and burning effigies of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President George W. Bush. Also in Istanbul, club-wielding police broke up a small demonstration by protesters who hurled eggs at the Israeli Consulate, the private Dogan news agency reported. There were no reports of arrests or injuries.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090105/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_mid
east_israel_palestinians;_ylt=AqTfoooWVJlplVIKJ8aT1_BvaA8F

Arab Nations Urged To Cut Off Oil to Isreal, Allies

January 4, 2009

An Iranian military commander called on Islamic countries to cut oil exports to Israel’s supporters in response to the Jewish state’s offensive in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA said commander Bagherzadeh described oil as “one of the powerful elements of pressure” on the Jewish state’s Western backers in the “unequal war” faced by Palestinians in the coastal strip.

“Pointing at Westerners’ dependence on the Islamic countries’ oil and energy resources, he (Bagherzadeh) called for cutting the export of crude oil to the Zionist regime’s supporters the world over,” IRNA said, referring to Israel.

Reuters

IRNA gave only the commander’s last name but it may have been referring to Mirfeysal Bagherzadeh, a brigadier-general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. There was no immediate comment from other Iranian officials.

Iran, which often rails against the United States and Israel, is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and a leading member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Top exporter Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades.

Read the rest:
http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnDAH452978.html

Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands ... 
Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Israeli troops backed by scores of tanks are battling Hamas fighters in Gaza fields and roads, surrounding the battered territory’s main city on a mission to end militant rocket attacks.(AFP/Shay Shmueli)

Pakistan in “denial” over Mumbai carnage: India

December 31, 2008

India on Wednesday said Pakistan was in “denial” over the Mumbai attacks and refusing to acknowledge evidence linking the gunmen who carried out the assault with elements in Pakistan.

“If anyone is in a state of denial, anything that we give will be denied,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters.

The minister said the Pakistani father of the sole surviving gunman had confirmed to Pakistan television that his son was involved.

“If that is not evidence then what is?” Chidambaram said.

AFP

The November attacks in Mumbai left 172 dead, including nine of the gunmen whom India insists were trained by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and abetted by unnamed Pakistani agencies.

Last week Pakistan’s acting High Commissioner Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi was summoned to the Indian foreign ministry and given a letter purportedly written by the sole surviving gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman.

The letter said he was from Pakistan and that he wanted to meet Pakistan’s top envoy in New Delhi.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081231/wl_s
thasia_afp/indiaattackspakistandiplom
acy_081231114723

Pakistan’s Mumbai Probe Finds Pakistanis Heavily Involved

December 31, 2008

Pakistan’s own investigation of terror attacks in Mumbai has begun to show substantive links between the 10 gunmen and an Islamic militant group that its powerful spy agency spent years supporting, say people with knowledge of the probe.

At least one top leader of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or “Army of the Pure,” captured in a raid earlier this month in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, has confessed the group’s involvement in the attack as India and the U.S. have alleged, according to a senior Pakistani security official.

By ZAHID HUSSAIN, MATTHEW ROSENBERG and PETER WONACOTT
The Wall Street Journal

FILE  INDIA OUT. CREDIT MANDATORY  ...
Above: Nov. 26: Azam Amir Kasab walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India. AP

The disclosure could add new international pressure on Pakistan to accept that the attacks, which left 171 dead in India, originated within its borders and to prosecute or extradite the suspects. That raises difficult and potentially destabilizing issues for the country’s new civilian government, its military and the spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence — which is conducting interrogations of militants it once cultivated as partners.

A probe could add new international pressure on Pakistan to accept that the attacks originated within its borders.

Pakistani security officials say a top Lashkar commander, Zarar Shah, has admitted a role in the Mumbai attack during interrogation, according to the security official, who declined to be identified discussing the investigation. “He is singing,” the security official said of Mr. Shah. The admission, the official said, is backed up by U.S. intercepts of a phone call between Mr. Shah and one of the attackers at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the site of a 60-hour confrontation with Indian security forces.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1230
68308893944123.html

Israelis Are Paranoid; With Enemies All Around

December 30, 2008

Israel fears for its life.  President Ahmadinejad in Iran won’t even say the word “Israel,” referring only to the “Zionist state.”

Islamic militants world-wide have created turmoil, violence and uncertainty.  President Zardari’s troubles in Pakistan are closely watched by Israeli leaders.  The once Westward leaning democracy is now being undermined and attacked from within by Muslim extremism.

And Israel isn’t certain about support from the United Nations or even the United States the way it once was.  It sees the UN dominated by Islamic voics and the U.S. has a new President-elect that has yet to be tested.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad

As Benny Morris (see below) says, “The Holocaust is increasingly becoming a faint and ineffectual memory and the Arab states are increasingly powerful and assertive.”

No, Israelis are paranoid.  And, as they see it, with enemies all around, who wouldn’t be?

Related:
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around

Blog:
http://kennedy121.wordpress.com/200
8/12/30/hamas-qassam-rockets/

*********************

By Benny Morris
The New York Times

MANY Israelis feel that the walls — and history — are closing in on their 60-year-old state, much as they felt in early June 1967, just before Israel launched the Six-Day War and destroyed the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies in Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Art by Edel Rodriguez

More than 40 years ago, the Egyptians had driven a United Nations peacekeeping force from the Sinai-Israel border, had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and air traffic and had deployed the equivalent of seven armored and infantry divisions on Israel’s doorstep. Egypt had signed a series of military pacts with Syria and Jordan and placed troops in the West Bank. Arab radio stations blared messages about the coming destruction of Israel.

Israelis, or rather, Israeli Jews, are beginning to feel much the way their parents did in those apocalyptic days. Israel is a much more powerful and prosperous state today. In 1967 there were only some 2 million Jews in the country — today there are about 5.5 million — and the military did not have nuclear weapons. But the bulk of the population looks to the future with deep foreboding.

The foreboding has two general sources and four specific causes. The general problems are simple. First, the Arab and wider Islamic worlds, despite Israeli hopes since 1948 and notwithstanding the peace treaties signed by Egypt and Jordan in 1979 and 1994, have never truly accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s creation and continue to oppose its existence.

Second, public opinion in the West (and in democracies, governments can’t be far behind) is gradually reducing its support for Israel as the West looks askance at the Jewish state’s treatment of its Palestinian neighbors and wards. The Holocaust is increasingly becoming a faint and ineffectual memory and the Arab states are increasingly powerful and assertive.

More specifically, Israel faces a combination of dire threats. To the east, Iran is frantically advancing its nuclear project, which most Israelis and most of the world’s intelligence agencies believe is designed to produce nuclear weapons. This, coupled with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s public threats to destroy Israel — and his denials of the Holocaust and of any homosexuality in Iran, which underscore his irrationality — has Israel’s political and military leaders on tenterhooks.

To the north, the Lebanese fundamentalist organization Hezbollah, which also vows to destroy Israel and functions as an Iranian proxy, has thoroughly rearmed since its war with Israel in 2006. According to Israeli intelligence estimates, Hezbollah now has an arsenal of 30,000 to 40,000 Russian-made rockets, supplied by Syria and Iran — twice the number it possessed in 2006. Some of the rockets can reach Tel Aviv and Dimona, where Israel’s nuclear production facility is located. If there is war between Israel and Iran, Hezbollah can be expected to join in. (It may well join in the renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict, too.)

To the south, Israel faces the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip and whose charter promises to destroy Israel and bring every inch of Palestine under Islamic rule and law. Hamas today has an army of thousands. It also has a large arsenal of rockets — home-made Qassams and Russian-made, Iranian-financed Katyushas and Grads smuggled, with the Egyptians largely turning a blind eye, through tunnels from Sinai.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/
opinion/30morris.html?_r=1

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast
/12/29/gaza.israel.strikes/index.html

Pakistan’s Ugly, Dangerous Game

December 30, 2008

Today Pakistan closed the U.S. and NATO supply line from Pakistan into Afghanistan in a move it said allowed Pakistan to chase down and kill anti-U.S. Taliban members in the tribal areas.

The fact is that the U.S. and NATO needs those supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan and they also need the Pakistani army to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  One without the other is a fool’s errand.

For some months now, Pakistan resisted U.S. pleas for the Pakistani army to take a greater role in fighting the Taliban in the tribal areas.  When Pakistan ignored U.S. requests, the U.S. targeted key Taliban men and positions using drone aircraft armed with missiles.

An unmanned Predator drone. Six suspected militants were killed ... 
An unmanned but missile-armed U.S. Predator drone.(AFP/USAF/File/US Air Force)

But Pakistan is trapped by conflicting loyalties: to allow the U.S. drone overflights and attacks caused militants inside Pakistan to revolt.

Pakistan again wrestled with a long standing dilemma: to appease the U.S. and continue to suck up U.S. money and supplies or to suffer the consequences of further internal and border violence from Islamic militants.

Pakistan is using the unsettled situation with India over the Mumbai massacre as a ruse to move troops away from the tribal areas and the border with Afghanistan and toward India.  This allowed rebels to attack the NATO supply system for Afghanistan inside Pakistan.

Pakistan is playing an ugly and dangerous game.  The Islamic militants inside Pakistan have no real love for the government of President Zardari — nor did they for his predecessor General Musharraf. 

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former ... 
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari.REUTERS/Nadeem Soomro (PAKISTAN)

In Pakistan, the government leadership reaps most of the wealth from U.S. assistance and little trickles down.

So Pakistan’s gamesmanship only further annoys the militants.

India has lost all regard for Pakistan and its games, too. India wants answers and action from Pakistan following Mumbai: not war.  And Pakistan seems to be stonewalling while saying all the right things, as usual.

And the U.S. should be weary too by now of Pakistan’s clumsy chicanery…..

This now is the challenge for Barack Obama and India.  The militants in Pakistan have already decided they can’t tolerate the Zardari regime.  Obama’s play is not known.  But in India, patience is wearing thin.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
Pakistan Closes NATO Supply Line to U.S., Afghanistan

Pakistan: India moves troops toward shared border

Pakistan army: We must ‘avoid conflict’ with India

From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf
/12/30/pakistan.afghanistan.border/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/1
2/30/pakistan.india.tensions/index.html

http://pakistankakhudahafiz.wordpress.com
/2008/12/30/the-brass-tacks-of-indias-duplicity/

Iran Diplomat Says Gaza Violence is US Plot Against Islamic World

December 29, 2008

Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Republic Nasser Hamidi-Zare said Monday that Gaza tragedy is a sequel to the US plots in the Middle East.

Speaking to IRNA Monday, he added that Islamic Ummah should be vigilant about overt and covert plots of the US and the Zionist regime which have taken aim at Islamic world, and support Palestinians by maintaining their union.

Stating that the Zionist regime was founded on terror and it will continue its life with terror acts, he noted that the regime is a big threat to the region’s security and world, Islamic Ummah in particular.

Referring to the recent crimes in Gaza, Hamidi went on to say that today, all the Muslims and freedom-seekers shoulder the responsibility to condemn Zionist regime’s crimes in Gaza and sympathize with the Palestinians.

–IRNA

Related:
 Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say

Gaza Fighting’s Strategic Cost

December 29, 2008

A hot war in Gaza was not how Israel planned to appear on the strategic agenda of Barack Obama when he takes office in January. Its leaders had hoped to keep the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the backburner of the new Administration, which Israel hopes will make Iran’s nuclear program its overriding priority in the Middle East. Instead, the weekend bloodbath in Gaza – the deadliest since Israel occupied the territory in 1967 – will cast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an urgent crisis demanding a response from Washington, and highlighting the failure of the Bush Administration’s and Israel’s policies on Hamas in Gaza.

 By TONY KARON
Time Magazine

Smoke billows from a tunnel in Rafah on Gaza's border with ... 
Smoke billows from a tunnel in Rafah on Gaza’s border with Egypt following an Israeli air strike. Israeli jets have bombed Hamas targets in Gaza for a third day, killing several children, while the Islamists fired deadly rockets to retaliate for the blitz that has left more than 300 dead.(AFP/Said Khatib)

The air strikes that began Saturday, in which Palestinians claim at least 280 people have been killed, marked a dramatic escalation of a high-stakes strategic poker game between Israel and Hamas. Over the past seven weeks, each side has calculated the odds of outbidding the other, and even as Hamas, and the civilian population it represents, paid a heavy price in human casualties over the weekend, it may nonetheless retain a strategic advantage. The radical Palestinian movement that governs Gaza appears to have underestimated Israel’s readiness to launch a military campaign in response to an escalation of Palestinian rocket fire onto its southern towns and cities. This is, however, an Israeli election season in which polls show voters moving so quickly to the right that even the hawkish frontrunner, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, is losing support to parties even more extreme than his own. Still, the factors that restrained Israel from launching an attack on Gaza until now remain in place, and the strong likelihood of an escalation in the confrontation in the days and weeks ahead – and the negative regional backlash it is likely to promote – will likely mark a diplomatic setback for Israel. (Read TIME’s Top 10 news stories of the year.)

 

Israel launched Saturday’s strike knowing that Hamas would respond with a fusillade of rockets, possibly using some of the longer-range weapons smuggled in to Gaza over the past year to strike Israeli towns such as Ashdod and Ashkelon. It may even activate suicide bomber cells in East Jerusalem or in the West Bank. Israel had prepared for the first possibility by deploying additional air raid protection in towns as far as 40 kilometers from the Gaza border. And it is likely to follow up its air strikes with ground attacks in Gaza aimed at neutralizing as much as it can of Hamas’ military capability. But Hamas has good reason to expect that Israel’s military campaign will be limited, and it believes it can come out ahead in the strategic equation despite the heavy cost in blood that will be paid by its own leaders and militants, as well as by Palestinian civilians.

Read the rest from TIME magazine:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081229/wl_time/08599186886400