The Happy Arab News Service

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Things that NEED to be Said

May 13, 2007

In his testimony before the Winograd Committee, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was asked why he told the Knesset he would not stop the war in Lebanon until it achieved its main objective - the return of the abducted soldiers - even when he knew it was impossible to carry out this mission.

Attorney-at-Law Olmert responded to the committee thus: "There are things that are said because they need to be said." He meant that not always does a person mean what he says. Sometimes he is driven by special considerations to take a stance, even if he does not support it in practice, or when he knows there is no chance of its being fulfilled.

. . .

By Uzi Benziman


I don't know what special considerations was Olmert driven by, but the very moment he said it... we lost the war.

January 31, 2008

Vinograd Report

. . .

Furthermore, the fact that it took so long to decide on the ground operation meant that it only began once the diplomatic process leading to the August 14 cease-fire was close to fruition, leaving insufficient time for the army to achieve its war aims. Thus, "Israel did not win a diplomatic achievement as a result of a military one, but relied on a diplomatic achievement... to end the fighting." (!!! NB)

. . .

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 30, 2008


Labels: ,

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 3:50 PM


The Map of Global Jihad

Last updated: January 31, 2008

December 1, 2007

"Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S," says the New York Times. According to the paper, the US forces in Iraq have got a good insight into the mystery of foreign fighters in Iraq when in September this year they raided a tent camp near the Syrian border. The camp belonged to a cell of insurgents involved in smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq. Inside the camp the Americans discovered a collection of biographical sketches of more than 700 global Jihadists that the cell have brought into the country from Syria since August 2006.

This should be the most detailed information the US has ever had on the national composition of foreign volunteers in Iraq that account for the bulk of suicide bombers used by the insurgents to attack markets, bus stations and mosques in Baghdad and elsewhere. The majority of fighters hail from two US friendly regimes and while one of them, the Saudis, is a well known hornet nest, another one should come as a surprise:

Saudis accounted for the largest number of fighters listed on the records by far — 305, or 41 percent — American intelligence officers found as they combed through documents and computers in the weeks after the raid. The data show that despite increased efforts by Saudi Arabia to clamp down on would-be terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, some Saudi fighters are still getting through.

Libyans accounted for 137 foreign fighters, or 18 percent of the total, the senior American military officials said. They discussed the raid with the stipulation that they not be named because of the delicate nature of the issue.


Here is a map with numbers of fighters from each country published by the NYT:

The Saudis are predictably confirmed in their reputation of a nasty bunch of hardcore fundamentalists but otherwise the map does not square at all with the previous US estimates of the origin of foreign fighters in Iraq. It also runs contrary to some commonly held ideas about the distribution of intensity of Islamic militancy fervor across the region. Egypt has got no more than two fighters on the list, a strangely low figure given the image of Egypt as permanently under the threat of takeover by Muslim Brothers. Luckily for Al Kaida, North Africa has provided more than its share of volunteers with Libya revealing itself as a land of Global Jihad number two.

Given that the captured archive contained information on just a few hundreds of fighters it's difficult to know how well it reflects the overall situation of Islamic militancy in the region. But if the map bears some semblance to the reality then it's not only that the situation of some US allies in the region is shaky. Algeria may be excused for its 64 volunteers by the legacy of the last civil war, but Morocco and Tunisia, the top Arab reformers, are also well represented on the list.

However, when it comes to exporting Islamic militancy overseas, Libya is vastly outperforming all of its neighbors. It's not clear why Libya, with a population of less than six millions (it's the smallest of Arab countries in the region of North Africa in terms of population), should account for almost 20% of all foreign fighters in Iraq.

Compared to its neighbors, Libya is both less better off and has got more volunteers in Iraq. This may indicate that reforms and modernization do make a difference of sorts, though they are hardly a silver bullet against the plague of Islamic militancy given dozens of fighters from other parts of North Africa registered in the camp.

Libya was late to the economic reforms and demographic transition in which other North African countries are setting the pace for the rest of the Arab world. The old social order and way of live are disintegrating under the hardships brought upon by a 30% unemployment rate and rapid urbanization currently estimated at 90%. Yet, however bad the situation of Libya may be, it should be plainly much worse in Yemen, an ancestral homeland of Osama Bin Laden, which should be a more natural candidate for the respectable second place next to Saudi Arabia.

In short, there are some surprises here and Libya is one of them, a valuable piece of information that should improve our guessing regarding where the Global Jihad is going to strike next. Watch out, Gaddafi.

January 31, 2008

It's genetic

According to AP, one of Gaddafi's sons may be involved in a string of latest attacks in Mosul. At least, this is what a colonel from Anbar Awakening Council told AP. So there may exist an alternative explanation for the elevated number of Libyans among foreign Arabs fighting with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq.

BAGHDAD - A devastating explosion in northern Iraq was spearheaded by foreign fighters under the sponsorship of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader, a security chief for Sunni tribesmen who rose up against al-Qaida in Iraq said Saturday.

Col. Jubair Rashid Naief, who also is a police official in Anbar province, said the Anbar Awakening Council had alerted the U.S. military to the possible arrival in the northern city of Mosul of the Seifaddin Regiment, made up of about 150 foreign and Iraqi fighters, as long as three months ago

The U.S. military did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment about Naief's claim.

"They crossed the Syrian border nearest to Mosul within the last two to three months. Since then, they have taken up positions in the city and begun blowing up cars and launching other terror operations," Naief told The Associated Press.

The so-called Anbar Awakening Council is a grouping of Sunni tribes in the western province that last year turned against al-Qaida and began working with U.S. forces. The council is credited with the sharp drop in violence in the former insurgent redoubt.

The movement has since been spread by Americans through Baghdad and surrounding districts. That and the introduction of 30,000 additional U.S. troops by mid-2007 are seen as the main factors in the recent decline in violence in the country.

Naief did not explain why the younger Gadhafi would be sponsoring the group of fighters. Seif Gadhafi, however, was quoted by the Austrian Press Agency last year as warning Europeans against more attacks by radical Islamists.

"The only solution to contain radicalism is the rapid departure of Western troops from Iraq as well as Afghanistan, and a solution to the Palestinian question," Gadhafi was quoted as saying.

Touted as a reformer, 36-year-old Gadhafi has increasingly been sharing his father's spotlight and reaching out to the West to soften Libya's image and return it to the international mainstream. He has no official government post, but many see him as the man most likely to take power in the North African country when his father steps down or dies.

. . .


It's worth mentioning that shortly after Gaddafi had initiated his historical reconciliation with the West and embarked on a program of political and economic reforms a few years ago, he became an epicenter of a massive scandal amid allegations that he was plotting to assassinate the Saudi monarch. Reformists or not, this family seems to be packed with committed troublemakers.

Labels: , , , ,

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 12:59 AM


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Talmudic Sharpshooting

The Jerusalem Post

Jan 21, 2008

While members of the Nahal Haredi Battalion have decided to abandon the yeshiva benches in exchange for an M-16 rifle in the IDF, their past study of intricate Talmudic passages is assisting them today in turning into top-of-the-line combat soldiers.

Last week, soldiers from the battalion - also known as Netzah Yehuda - came in first place in a sharp-shooting course at the Adam Training Facility near Modi'in.

Representatives of the Golani and Givati Brigades also participated in the course, during which soldiers are trained to become sharpshooters and are taught to use mathematical equations to calculate the affect wind and distance will have on their shot.

Nahal Haredi, which belongs to the Kfir Brigade and is based in the Jordan Valley, was established eight years ago as a single company. Today it is a full battalion with three companies and an elite counterterror squad.

Most of the battalion's 700 soldiers are recruited in Israel and come from a haredi or national religious background.

A Haredi source involved with the battalion said Monday that the soldiers' impressive results were due to their past Talmud studies, which helped them develop analytical skills.

The source said the battalion's scores were the best obtained this past year at the facility.

"Since the soldiers are haredi, they never really studied advanced math," the source said. "The course trainers broke their heads trying to figure out how the soldiers caught on so quickly until they realized that due to their experience studying Talmud it was a piece of cake for them to understand how to solve the complicated equations."


Labels: ,

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 1:48 PM


Monday, January 14, 2008

Here I am, o Lord!

A brilliant improvisation on one of Chavez last interviews from Simply Jews. Reprinted here with their permission for my Chavez collection.

Hugo Chavez: here I am, o Lord!

In a typically selfless act of courage, Chavez threw his weight on the scale to protect his friends.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Friday for Europe to remove from its list of terrorist organizations two Colombian groups -- including FARC, the group that freed two hostages Thursday in a mission Chavez organized.

"Take me instead", shouted Chavez to the astonished journalists, "and let my people go!".

When asked why ELN and FARC kidnap people, kill other people and trade in cocaine, Comical Hugo answered that the journalists should learn and understand the real Bolivarian way and the real Bolivarian project.

"No one should be bothered by it", he said, "It is absolutely essential to do so."


Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 2:32 PM


Friday, January 11, 2008


Last updated: April 17, 2009

January 11, 2008

Another example of how much the Israeli academy and in particular social and political sciences have degenerated into pseudo science practiced by people lacking even the minimal decency and common sense.

Published: 12/23/07
by Hillel Fendel

( A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.

The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."

The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."

The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers' eyes.

The paper was published by the Hebrew University's Shaine Center, based on the recommendation of a Hebrew University professors' committee headed by Dr. Zali Gurevitch.

The fact that a research paper of such a low quality was singled out for a prize by Hebrew University teachers' committee says it all. No less astonishing in his lack of logic was the head of the committee contacted by Arutz-7.

"I do not have the entire text in front of me," Gurevitch said, when contacted by Arutz-7, "and I don't think we can jump to conclusions based on partial sentences, but I can say the following: This was a very serious paper that asked two important questions: Is the relative lack of IDF rapes a noteworthy phenomenon, and if so, why is it that there are so few IDF rapes when in similar situations around the world, rape is much more common?"

Of course cases of rape are also virtually unknown among the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this sense the IDF is not very unique to start with. Rape seems to be more characteristic of the tactics used by third world armies and militias such as the Arabs themselves. Neither Israeli men are so massively raping Israeli women. Israel by far is not leading the world in this respect. In this sense the behavior of Israeli soldiers is not very different from their behaviour at home as civilians. So the "two important questions" asked by Gurevich are no questions at all as there is no paradox and nothing out of ordinary here.

Also noteworthy is the attempt by Nitzan to drag Israeli demographic concerns into this:

Nitzan's paper did, however, give much space to the explanation that the Israeli soldiers refrained from rape out of demographic considerations. She explained at length how fearful the Jewish population is of the growing Arab population, and how in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother's nationality.


Rape is a powerful demographic weapon indeed and is used as such by the Janjaweed in Sudan but precisely for the opposite reason - it's extremely destructive for Muslim demography. According to various activists who've been to Darfur and Chad, men usually avoid venturing outside refugee camps for fear of being killed. Only women go outside and a standard explanation offered for this is that if you are a man and you meet Janjaweed then you'll be killed. If you are a woman you are only raped and left alive. Using this tactic the Janjaweed captured and raped thousands if not dozens of thousands of Darfurian women. If a victim happens to be a virgin girl her chances to ever get married are reduced to zero. If she is a married woman then she is immediately abandoned by the husband. There is no place for victims of rape in this society. (Israeli fans of Darfur and its genocide should pay attention to this minor detail. This is a culture of people you want your country to be hosting here).

Recently some progress has been achieved on this issue in the Arab world but not too much and it was limited to this:

December 31, 2007

AL-AZHAR, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, has said any woman pregnant by rape must abort the baby immediately to maintain "social stability".

"A raped woman must terminate the pregnancy immediately upon learning of the pregnancy if a trusted doctor gives her clearance for the abortion,'' the Islamic Research Council of the Cairo-based institution said.

This would ensure "social stability" (!!! NB), it said.

The independent Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights said two women were raped every hour in this country of 76 million.

Many factors contributed to the increase in sexual harassment including rising unemployment, the huge cost of marriage and the fact that sex outside marriage was forbidden, experts said.

Egyptian law banned abortion except on the grounds of "necessity", which included instances when a woman's life or health was in danger or in cases of fetal abnormality.

Source: Herald Sun

Luckily not all is lost for Israeli academics. A few recent cases of rape of Israeli women by Israeli Arabs show that while the Israeli side appears to be incurably afflicted by stone age racism, on the other side a few people still remain very receptive to the humanistic message of Israeli academy. One can only hope that the future peace deal with the Palestinians will not only include annexation of Israeli Arab territories to the future Palestinian state. It will also provide for the possibility of unilateral separation by Israel from some sections of its academy. Let's call it convergence.

August 1, 2008

Resistance Forever

Tali Fahima, a radical leftist who served two years in prison on charges of aiding the leader the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Jenin, Zakariya Zubeidi (by volunteering to act as his personal human shield against Israeli targeted assassinations), accused him of having become the whore of the Shin Bet security service. This came in the wake of Shin Bet's granting Zubeidi free passage to travel to Ramallah for eye surgery. In an interview to Channel 10, Fahima said, "I refuse to see him and I won't even speak to him."

Fahima added that Zubeidi "talks about his private pleasures, like being able to travel around without an [IDF] drone following him, like the occupation is over, like everything is fine - It was nice to believe in the fairy tale, but there are no fairy tales in the resistance. Zubeidi is a disgrace to the resistance. We are still living under an occupation."

However, Fahima added in a personal jab that Zubeidi "is not a big terrorist. A man who fires bullets into the air is not a big terrorist."

Indeed, Tali never fires bullets into the air. She never fires bullets at anything but targets.

Tali never fires bullets into the air

In response, Zubeidi could produce nothing but lame excuses...

Zubeidi responded to Fahima's remarks, saying "this is the first time in eight years that I've left [the West Bank city of] Jenin. I came to Ramallah to take care of my eyes that were hurt from an explosive device."

"Tali Fahima only experienced a small part of the Palestinian people's problems," he added.

Source: Haaretz

Tali should try her hand at making improvised explosive devices in her kitchen. This will give her a better perspective on the Palestinian people's problems.

April 17, 2009

Lisa Goldman has a couple of cool shots of herself and Tali Fahima in all her glory here and here.

איזה מותקים

:D :D

Labels: ,

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 11:37 PM


Monday, January 7, 2008

The Crux of the Matter

Last updated: January 14, 2008

January 7, 2008

Once upon a time Israel was held to be the most egalitarian society in the Western world according to dr. Dan Ben-David. And it was not so long ago.

"Which country today has the greatest equality?... If we confine ourselves to the non-communist world, it has been suggested that the new state of Israel may lead the list." So wrote Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson in his book "Economics" - a text that became the bible of every first-year economics student in the Western world during the '50s, '60s and part of the '70s. This is how Israel was introduced to an entire generation of economists by one of the most important leaders in the field.

Something went wrong since then though.

Today, the Israel that will be celebrating its 60th birthday is less "new," and to the title of the list that it currently leads it is necessary to add the prefix "in-" - as in "inequality." A badge of honor, it is not.

But What exactly is this something that went wrong? "There is little argument about the need to grant compensation for excellence as a means of providing incentives for achievement," writes Ben-David in Haaretz. "Similarly," he says,

. . . it makes no sense that envy should become the binoculars through which the majority views society's most successful. But along with yesteryear's socialist bathwater, we appear to have also thrown out our community conscience and social compass. Salaries beginning with the number 7 and followed by 3 zeroes reflect the national average. But in a country where that is the average, monthly salaries that begin with the same number but are followed by 5 zeroes (or more) long ago surpassed - in most cases - not only the boundaries of propriety but also the boundaries of economic rationale.

Few in Israel remain unconvinced that these insane salaries are the source of our leap from the forefront of egalitarian countries in the 60's to heading the list of most unequal Western countries this decade

So far so good. Haaretz readers were sure thinking that they are in for a familiar ride of bashing the 18 families that own Israel while the bottom decile is digging in waste bins for food. Here comes a shocker as Ben-David turns tables on his readers:

The problem is that this is just another example of the easy life that we make for ourselves when the issue of inequality is raised and the focus invariably turns to those maddening examples, instead of to the actual crux of the problem.

And here comes a diagram by means of which Ben-David gets straight to the crux of the problem. Here it is:

The graph compares inequality at 1967 at the heyday of Israeli socialism with 2006, a few years after Bibi has delivered his crushing free market reforms. It's not difficult to calculate the income gap between the top and bottom deciles using the graph. For example in the year 1967 the income gap between the two bottom deciles was 117%. Take the bottom decile as a base, say 100%, and multiply it by 2.17. You will get 217. The income gap between the third and second deciles in that year was 38%. Multiply 217 by 1.38 and you get 299.46 which means the income gap between the third and bottom deciles was 200%. And so on until you reach the top decile. And if I do my arithmetics correctly the income gap between the two deciles has actually decreased over that period.

Ben-David has apparently arrived at the same conclusion. In the modern capitalist Israel the income gap between the top and bottom deciles is actually lower than it was in the good old days of the Mapai socialism.

In fact the income gap has remained virtually unchanged between the top and the ninth deciles, while there was a dramatic decrease in the three bottom deciles with the income gap between the third and the bottom one falling from 300% to 200% and, as I said, the overall income gap between the top and bottom deciles seems to have fallen too.

This is not to say that inequality in Israel has not increased. But, according to Ben-David, its increase has nothing to do with how the populist media and socially oriented bleeding hearts explain the fact that Israel is now at the top of lists constructed by using more sophisticated inequality indices.

But, in contrast with conventional wisdom, most of the increase in Israeli income gaps did not result from the very wealthiest leaving the rest of us in the dust, nor did it come from society discarding its very poorest farther and farther behind. The bulk of the increase in income disparity came from gaps that became increasingly wider between each of the middle income deciles. Each of the income lanes in the central boulevard of Israeli society has moved farther and farther from the others.


In other words, the crux of the matter is that in terms of inequality the difference between 1967 and 2006 is in disintegration of the center. In some other respects the situation has actually improved.

But the real crux of the matter is not even the confusion surrounding the issue of inequality. If Ben-David is right (and even if he is not), the crux of the matter is to what degree worn out and overused cliches dominate the public debate in Israel on social issues and actually on every issue.

Take whatever social issue: Poverty, Racism, Ashkenazi Mizrahi divide... And you see the same. It's the media that is constantly looking for new opportunities to start another mass hysteria. It's the self appointed mahatma-gandhis that explain every social problem by racism and discrimination. It's the bleeding hearts that bleed their hearts for any reason and without as a form of hobby. They are the crux of the problem.


The links to discussions provided in the end of the article are provided only because in the process of these discussions I have opportunity to explain myself. Not necessarily because people I was talking to are examples of bleeding hearts and mahatmas.

January 14, 2008

Gandhism for Dummies

A comment of mine did not pass through Ynet moderators. I think it would be useful to compare here the original article and the blocked comment. On one hand it should make it very clear what sort of emotional response in its readers the socially oriented reporting is trying to manufacture. On the other, what sort of feedback from its readers it does not need.

Betraying our immigrants

Decision to close down immigrant language schools like cutting off someone’s tongue

Ariana Melamed

Ever since the first reports about the decision to close down ulpans (language schools for immigrants), I have been waiting for them: Authors who write in Hebrew, men of letters, great lovers of the language.

I am waiting for their furious petition, or even a demonstration outside the Education Ministry. I am waiting for them to say in a loud and clear voice that closing down ulpans is like cutting off someone’s tongue; like forced silence; like spiritual death forced upon thousands of people.

. . .

But how will they speak Hebrew without language schools for adults? They will speak a little, mumble even, with pain, and complete alienation, and despair. They will feel the incredibly justified sense that they were betrayed, and that nobody was there to help them out when they did not understand what is going on around them, because everyone around them uses a language that had been blocked to them.

And how will they be reading books in Hebrew? They will not be reading, unless the speakers, authors, and teachers of this beautiful and stubborn language stand up and insist that it belongs to everyone, every single person - to the last immigrant who is getting off the plane right now and staring at the old-new homeland, not knowing yet that he has been sentenced to silence.


This is the comment:

Another piece of misinformation

The author should have mentioned that the absorption ministry has decided to close down ulpans because it intends to outsource teaching Hebrew to private schools.

Two reasons were given for this. First, a few surveys conducted recently pointed to the low quality of teaching in state ulpans. The idea to outsource teaching Hebrew to private schools is partly based on the assumption that these schools that specialize in teaching foreign languages should be better in doing this than state ulpans.

Second. The rate of immigration was very unstable recently and very low in the last years. In this situation to maintain a network of state ulpans just for an occasion a bih aliyah happens is wasteful and so the absorption ministry prefers to hire services of private schools on demand.

That's all

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 11:34 PM


Where are the terrorists today?

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer
January 6, 2008

BAGHDAD - Three Iraqi soldiers threw themselves on a suicide attacker wearing an explosives vest at an Army Day celebration Sunday — an act of heroism the U.S. said likely prevented many more deaths. Iraqi police said at least 11 people were killed in the blast, the deadliest in a series of bombings in Baghdad.

. . .

Shortly before the bomber struck the Army Day festivities, about two dozen Iraqi soldiers were standing outside the offices of a local non-governmental agency pushing for unity in Iraq. The troops, their AK-47 rifles raised in the air, chanted pro-army slogans and a common anti-insurgent taunt: "Where are the terrorists today?"

Associated Press photographer Hadi Mizban was about five yards away from the suicide attacker when he blew himself up on a narrow street in the central Karradah area.

"The blast happened as civilians were giving flowers to soldiers and sticking them in the muzzles of their guns," recalled Mizban, an Iraqi national. "It was a jubilant scene."

Afterward, he said, the street was littered with bodies, weapons and shoes. Dazed soldiers and policemen carried their bloodied colleagues to nearby pickup trucks that whisked them to a hospital.

"There was a severed head on the street and some of the soldiers that I was photographing earlier were dead. Those who survived panicked, pulling back from the scene and shooting in the air," said the 40-year-old Mizban.

Among the dead were four police officers, three Iraqi soldiers and four civilians, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. At least 17 people were injured.

. . .

. . .


Well guys. What can I say ... Next time don't ask stupid questions

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 3:15 AM


Thursday, January 3, 2008

9/11 comes to Pakistan

Last updated: April 9, 2009

October 20, 2007

Up to 500 of supporters of the returning opposition leader were killed and wounded when two suicide bombers struck at a huge crowd of dozens of thousands of Bhutto supporters who welcomed their leader back from exile. Bhutto was not hurt but she was visibly shocked by the sight of dead bodies scattered all around the truck she was driving in. Dozens of corpses were reported lying under a huge poster that read "Long Live Bhutto" on a day when the process of simmering discontent, rampant anti Americanism and Talibanization of the country has reached its fruition.

January 3, 2008

The World's Most Dangerous Place

This is how the Economist titled its new article about Pakistan: The world's most dangerous place. In a short and incomplete inventory of Pakistan's troubles the Economist lists:

the sectarian divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims;

the ethnic tensions between Punjabis, Sindhis, Pushtuns and “mohajir” immigrants from India;

the insurgency in Baluchistan;

and the spread of the “Pakistani Taliban” out of the border tribal areas into the heartlands.

In short, you name it, they got it. Yet the Economist believes not all is lost for Pakistan. "Nothing else has worked", it says and so "it is time for Pakistan to try democracy":

Yet Pakistan's plight is not yet hopeless. Two things could still help arrest its slide into anarchy, improbable though both now seem. The first is a credible investigation into Miss Bhutto's murder and the security-service lapses (or connivance) that allowed it to happen . . .

Second, there could be a fair election. This would expose the weakness of the Islamist parties. In the last general election in 2002, they won just one-tenth of the votes, despite outrageous rigging that favoured them. Even if they fared somewhat better this time, they would still, in the most populous provinces, Sindh and Punjab, be trounced by the mainstream parties. An elected government with popular support would be better placed to work with the moderate, secular, professional tendency in the army to tackle extremism and bring Pakistan's poor the economic development they need.


There are still some questions though. For example, what if fair elections instead of exposing the weakness of the Islamist parties will achieve just the opposite?

Or, why does the Economist think that an elected government with popular support is better placed to bring Pakistan's poor the development they need? On one hand the Economist admits that the record of both Bhutto and the surviving leader of the second major opposition party is not really impressive. "In truth," it says, "both Miss Bhutto and Mr Sharif were lousy prime ministers." On the other hand, during the few years of Musharraf's reign Pakistan has enjoyed a very robust and stable economic growth. When it comes to the economy the general has a better record than probably all of his democratic predecessors together.

The Economist seems to have an unshakable faith in this magic wand called democracy. There are many people who would be more skeptical as to how democracy is going to save Pakistan. In particular those of them who've seen Gaza.

This is why I am still procrastinating with my "Shalom Bhutto" post. Why bother if I may soon be able to deal with Bhutto (and maybe Sharif) away in one go in one big Shalom post that I'll call . . . you guess . . . "Shalom Pakistan"


All of my Shalom (farewell) posts can be accessed through Shalom Haver tag below.

April 9, 2009

Time to bid Shalom?

President Barack Obama’s new regional strategy puts Pakistan at its centre. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to the region, visited Pakistan this week. At a dinner for journalists the two men conceded that America was not winning in Afghanistan but seemed at odds over whether it was actually losing.

American prophecies for Pakistan are no more optimistic. A recent report for the Atlantic Council, an American think-tank, gave warning that “time is running out” for Pakistan. Separately, David Kilcullen, an adviser to the Bush administration, has said Pakistan might face “internal collapse” within six months.

Source: The Economist

Labels: , , ,

Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 3:15 PM


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Life After Peace

January 2, 2008

The Danger of Peaceful Borders

I am reposting here this article as it is because there is nothing intelligent I can add to it. On several occasions I expressed my view on this blog about the dangers of peace for Israel and in particular the concept of open borders. Guy Bechor brilliantly explains the demographic and economic aspects of having peaceful borders but it's really much more than this.

Of course it's not peace or peaceful borders that are dangerous but rather the mentality and culture that drive the peace religion. In its interpretation history stops after a piece of paper is signed. There is no real life after peace but rather the triumph of utopia and humanity's wildest dreams.

In reality there are more than enough reasons to believe that peace can be even more dangerous for Israel than the current situation. A peace deal in the West Bank/Gaza can set Israel on a course for an even more massive confrontation with the Palestinians and its own Arab minority in the future than all Intifadas together. In fact right now Israel seems to be even less prepared to manage post peace than to fight wars. Israel's inability to manage its peaceful borders makes it look even less likely that it can manage a proper peace without endangering its very existence.

This is not to say that Israel should not try to strike a deal with the Palestinians or seek for a compromise with the Arab world as a whole. But it should be understood that peace can quickly become the cause of Israel's undoing. The Israeli tendency towards wishful thinking and infantile idealism will see to it.

December 30, 2007
Guy Bechor

Our so-called peaceful borders in fact constitute grave threat to our future

We are used to automatically speak favorably of “borders of peace,” for example the ones with Egypt and Jordan, as well as the separation fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Meanwhile, we speak negatively of wartime borders, such as our northern border with Lebanon. However, the border paradox is much more complex than that: We should in fact direct much attention and be more concerned about our “peaceful borders.”

A peaceful border constitutes a threat, because through it we see the infiltration of illegal immigration, which changes demographic realities, as well as drugs, prostitutes, and weapons, mostly directed to criminal elements. These are the borders that allow the third world to pour into the developed world. For example, look at the scope of Palestinian immigration to Israel, which was coupled with the granting of citizenship, during the Oslo years.

When the difference in gross domestic product between Israel and its neighbors is 20-fold and even more than that, the movement will always be one-way. The United States and Mexico also have peaceful borders, so why are the Americans building sky-high fences there? Because these borders separate the developing world from the third world.

This insight raises an interesting question: Would Israel be able to maintain its existence as a Jewish State in a situation of peace and open borders? I find it hard to believe. (!!! NB)

To this day, the construction of our fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians has not been completed. We haven’t truly benefited from it, because it has always been breached in one area or another. Now we are told that the fence would not be completed, because the government budget allotted to it has been cut. This is terrible, because today we already see many Palestinians immigrating to Israel while circumventing the fence.

In Israel, and our police know this very well, there are currently tens of thousands of Palestinian illegal aliens, as if we never had an Intifada and went 10 years back in time. What’s the point in constructing a fence if we fail to complete it? This is not only a security issue, but rather, also an economic and demographic issue. This is about the survivability of Israel’s Jewish society.

In the south we have another threatening “border of peace,” with Egypt, which is almost completely breached. Weapons, explosives, drugs, prostitutes, and illegal immigration pass through it almost freely. Meanwhile, the inflow of African jobseekers continues unabated, and every night the IDF encounters more people looking for jobs and a new country to move to.

While the situation in Darfur is increasingly stabilizing, Israel has turned into a preferred immigration destination, and not only from there. The news has spread, and the masses are arriving from across Africa. And why shouldn’t they come? Egyptian troops fire at them on occasion, but this will not deter them. Israel does not expel them, but rather, imprisons them, and many are already working in Israel, particularly in Eilat hotels, and telling their relatives about the heaven that had opened up to them.

There is an urgent need to seal the border between us and Egypt with a fence, and immediately complete the separation fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Whatever we fail to do today shall come to haunt us tomorrow and for a long time to come. Based on the rules of the Middle East, and we must always keep this in mind, borders of peace always constitute a serious threat.


Back to HappyArabNews

Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 12:41 AM