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There was a moment several months ago when my good friend, John and I became embroiled in a heated debate focusing on Israel’s attack of and drive into Lebanon during July of 2006. Now Dubbed the July War or commonly known in Israel as The Second Lebanon War, I expressed my belief that, whether one believes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is an effective leader or not, due to the circumstances involving the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, Olmert had to act or face the perception from those who support violent aggression against Israel that Olmert would have no will to defend and fight for the country and for the Israeli people. Despite the eventual outcome of that month-long conflict, and the subsequent loss of Israeli confidence in their newly appointed ad hoc leader, there was left little doubt that Olmert would commit to protecting the nation.

As tends to occur, my friend who passionately supports the Palestinian cause, began intensely referencing particular actions and specific examples of Israeli crimes against Palestinians, most notably the Phalangist massacre of 1982 which still evidences doubt as to categorical, direct involvement of the IDF (Maronite Christian forces committed the massacre; whether Israeli forces knew or didn’t know what was taking place within the Palestinian refugee camps is still unclear. Regardless, the IDF’s perimeter around the refugee camps prohibited Palestinians any escape from the marauding Maronite militias. This does not diminish the fact that Israel is one of the leading human rights adherents on the face of the planet, not to mention the only democracy in the Middle-east with a judiciary that is near second to none.)

As I’ve said, John is passionate and intense, and I do become easily flustered in verbal arguments especially when he and I come face to face. Needless to say, we don’t participate in too many political debates, but one thing I did learn from that experience is how little I knew about the Israel/Palestinian conflict specifically and the Middle-east in general. In essence, the respect I have for my friend inspired me because of my ignorance, regardless of our differences.

Since last summer I have set out on a personal crusade, or more appropriately a jihad in order to educate myself in such matters. Through books, magazines, and websites, I have learned more than I have ever known about the Middle-east and the geopolitical/religiopolitical enfilade that encompasses the region.

Inevitably, and in order to better understand the motivations of the inhabitants in that part of the world, I was compelled to ascertain more information about the majority belief systems in the Middle-east–Islam. My general studies did not lead me to others who would formulate my opinion for me. Rather, I came to conclusions that centered around the idea that Islam is a repressive, intolerant, and expansionist faith based around the idea of capitulation to Allah, subjugation, or death. After that, after I had worked out my own conceptions and conclusions, then I came across such websites as Jihadwatch.com and The Gates of Vienna–websites with writers and scholars whose ideas matched my perceptions of Islamic ideology.

From Jihad Watch, below is another fantastic piece by Hugh Fitzgerald about the rise of those (namely infidels) who wish to learn more about Islam who also end up being faced with the concept of global jihad. My recent experiences and discoveries stemmed from an argument with a friend as well as the continued fallout from 9/11 and the subsequent and unjustified war in Iraq. There may be many paths to Allah, but there are also many paths to discovering the truth about Islam.

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Fitzgerald: Cat’s out of the bag

Those at the Emory Wheel are reduced to this transparent nonsense of Taqiyya and Tu Quoque. How else can they proceed? They know what is in the texts. They know what states, societies, families suffused with Islam are taught. They know the tenets. They know the attitudes. They are well used to the atmospherics. They just don’t know how to handle those Infidels who also know those texts, those teachings, those attitudes, those atmospherics.

And there is nothing they can do to stop more and more Infidels, as they pick up their newspapers or turn on the evening news, from realizing how much of it is about this or that local manifestation of the worldwide and permanent Jihad — which can only get worse, and examples of which will only proliferate. Those Infidels will find out, slowly and then more rapidly, in greater and greater numbers, about Islam. There is nothing Islamic apologists can do about this, try as they will to lie, or to hide, or to distract with irrelevancies, or by appeals to Western “guilt” and false claims of victimization. Islam itself, as the vehicle for Arab imperialism, is the most successful imperialist project in history, the force which caused whole peoples to jettison and ignore, or despise, their own histories, pre-Islamic or non-Islamic. In light of that, the raising of idiotic claims of “racism” will not forever prevent Infidels, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and all others, everywhere and not just here in this country, from finding out about Islam.

It’s too late. Cat’s out of the bag. The Qur’an is just a click away (www.quranbrowser.com). And so are the Hadith. And so is the Sira — or you can read the texts about Muhammad, the Muslim texts, the texts of Qur’an and Hadith and Muslim Sira, and Muslim commentators and historians, with connective tissue and organizing principle supplied by Robert Spencer.

There is nothing these people can do about all that, except what they have been doing all along: “three Abrahamic faiths,” “one of world’s great religions,” “hijacked” or “perverted” by “extremists,” or adducing in support of this preposterousness a handful of Qur’anic phrases: “there is no compulsion in religion” (which does not mean what an Infidel who reads only those words would naturally take it to mean), and 5.32 but not 5.33 (Bush does it, Blair does it, even semi-educated fleas do it). Or if not the Qur’an, then one of the inauthentic Hadiths from one of the unauthoritative collections: Karen Armstrong loves the one about Muhammad returning from the “Lesser Jihad” of war to the “Greater Jihad” of domestic life, without recognizing that the hadith in question is not widely accepted as authentic. Why, I can write the Mosque-Outreach script for Infidels myself, and so can you, dear reader, and so can any man.

Here’s a case study, based on the posts of a Muslim who dropped by Jihad Watch a few days ago. He asked:

My questions to you are: Do you personally know any Muslims? Do you have any Muslim friends? Do you know about the Muslim experience in the post 9/11 America? Have you ever visited a Mosque? Have you ever been to an inter-faith event (e.g. poetry recital)? Have you ever read the Holy Qur’an or any of the other Islamic spiritual texts such as the works of Jalaluddin Rumi or al-Ghazali, Rabia al-Adawiyyah, Muhammad Iqbal, etc.?

The questions are misplaced. Many of the readers at this site have visited those Mosque Outreach exercises in Taqiyya-and-Tu-Quoque. Many have read the Qur’an, and have read and reread it, keeping in mind several things:

1) About 20% of it makes no sense, even to Muslims who know classical Arabic. See Christoph Luxenberg for one attempt to solve that matter of philology.

2) The internal contradictions in the Qur’an are resolved through the doctrine of “naskh” or “abrogation,” so that, as in the systems of common law, where the doctrine of stare decisis ordinarily holds but later decisions, when different, cancel the effect of earlier ones (e.g., Plessy v. Ferguson is not valid after Brown v. Bd. of Education).

3) The doctrine of “naskh” allows the so-called Meccan suras, the softer ones, which were presumably the product of a time when Muhammad still felt the need for support and had not yet become as harsh toward Infidels as he became once he had taken control in Medina (Yathrib), to be cancelled or overruled or overturned by the much harsher so-called “Medinan” suras.

4) While there are more than 150 Jihad verses in the Qur’an — though only 27 appearances of the word “qitaal” or combat, the most dangerous ones, such as those contained within Sura 9, are among the very last “revealed,” and hence possess great authority.

5) In English or French, as Western scholars of Islam familiar with the original texts have noted, the Qur’an’s verses are far less harsh than they are in the Arabic. Many of the words involving the treatment to be meted out to Unbelievers, that is Infidels or non-Muslims, are of this kind.

6) The official Muslim groups tend to distribute the translations that are much milder than the real thing. Even those used by Muslims, such as that of Yusuf Ali, do not always adequately convey the real meaning. But that can be found usually in the notes, and it is important for Infidels to read those Muslim annotations.

7) The Qur’an by itself does not yield up its full meaning, and the Sunnah, that is the customs and practice of Muslims of the time, of Muhammad and the Companions, is the true interpretive aid, the essential means by which obscure meanings are teased out. That is why Muslims so often refer to “Qur’an and Sunnah.”

8 ) Islam is a collectivist faith that does not admit of free exercise of conscience. That is, it will not permit — often on pain of death — individuals from deciding for themselves that they wish to leave Islam, sometimes for another faith, sometimes for no faith at all. That Islam does this makes it akin to other totalitarian belief-systems that do not tolerate anyone leaving that closed system. In a sense, a Muslim who leaves Islam is treated as a deserter from the army of Islam, just as someone who is persuaded to become a Muslim, even without any real understanding and with very incomplete (often deliberately withheld) knowledge, merely by reciting the single verse of the Shehada, is regarded as a recruit to the army of Islam, someone who has been signed up, rather than someone who has been carefully taught in order to save his individual soul.

9) Yes, not only have many of those posting here visited mosques during those phony Outreach Programs, but we have made it a point to attend those utterly phony presentations of Islam, in which none of the real questions — about how Islam divides the world uncompromisingly between Believer and Infidel, and territorially between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb — ever come up. And of course there is never a discussion of Muhammad, that is of the killings of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, the decapitation of the bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, the attack on the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, the tale of little Aisha, and so much else.

It makes no sense whatsoever, given the smooth taqiyya-and-kitman-and-tu-quoque so well-practiced and presented, for Infidels to attend any Muslim event without having thoroughly prepared themselves by learning about Islam, by reading the immutable texts of Islam, by talking to those who have grown up in Islam and left it, or those who, as Infidels, grew up in lands dominated by Islam — such as Hindus from Bali or Bangladesh, Christians from Egypt or Iraq or Pakistan, Jews from Yemen or Egypt or Syria, Zoroastrians, what few are left, who have escaped from Iran, and so on. One can expect only apologetics from Muslims — that is what our experience, individual and collective, demonstrates again and again. One can only take so much nonsense and lies, before even the most naive start to have things begin to make sense. They figure the whole thing out.

You offer, instead of honesty, a list of all kinds of irrelevancies. Jihad Watch is a pedagogic site. It is a site devoted to presenting all kinds of material about Islamic behavior and Islamic doctrine, and showing their connection. And it is also devoted to revealing the ways in which Infidels, in and out of the West, do or do not exhibit the traditional behavior of dhimmis — that is, the non-Muslims under Islam who were allowed to stay alive, and even to practice, within severe limits, their non-Muslim religions, but who were subject to a host of economic, political, legal, and social disabilities that together amounted to a permanent condition of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.

In conclusion, a few questions, in turn, for you.

Have you ever compared the treatment, meted out over the past 1350 years, in all the lands conquered by Islam, toward the indigenous non-Muslims, with the way in which Muslims have been received and allowed to settle deep behind what they themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines?

Have you ever given the slightest thought to the possibility that the belief-system of Islam, with its Total Regulation of Life and Complete Explanation of the Universe, was essentially akin to a totalitarian doctrine?

Have you ever wondered about, or gone to hear, or read the books of, the many brilliant and articulate apostates from Islam, including but not limited to, Ibn Warraq (Why I Am Not a Muslim), Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Sina (whose site http://www.faithfreedom.org relentlessly offers arguments against Islam from those who finally left it, and in so doing found intellectual and moral peace), Anwar Shaikh (who has described Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism in “Islam the Arab National Religion”), and many others, the most impressive people born into Islam, thoughtful, articulate, coherent — and being joined by other thoughtful, articulate, sensible people who through no fault of their own were born into Islam.

Eventually some Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and Indian Muslims may be able to slough off Islam as an ideology through a re-embrace of what could be seen as an original identity: that they were merely the descendants of Hindus, or in some cases Buddhists, who were forcibly converted to avoid either death or the onerousness of the dhimmi condition. Similarly, in the case of some North African “Arabs,” they may recognize themselves as the descendants of the indigenous Berbers — so many of whom, under the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs, were so arabised as to become “Arabs” themselves. And they not only became “Arabs,” but in turn to oppress the rights of those Berbers who still, steadfastly, have managed to resist the very arabisation that the ancestors of the “Arabs-from-Berbers” did not. Similarly, given how educated and intelligent Iranians are, including some who once worked to overthrow the Shah, they will come to see the use to which Islam is naturally put, the damage it has brought to Iran. This can be made to frame the incipient anti-Islam sentiments of many Iranians in national terms, see the primitive desert Arabs as having brought the “false gift” of Islam to the superior civilization of Persia. Discussion of what misery the Arab “gift” of Islam has brought to Iran, and a recognition by Iranian Muslims that they are the descendants of Zoroastrians whose last adherents are now so oppressed in Iran, might be one point of purchase to undo or at least limit the appeal of Islam. Have you given that Arab supremacism for which Islam is a vehicle any thought yourself?

And you ask, who has read the Qur’an? You should have asked: Who has read the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira, should you not? In turn, one might ask: Have you read the Bible? Have you gone to a church merely to observe Christian worship? What do you know about the field of comparative religion? And would you allow other Muslims, your siblings or your children, to freely visit churches and synagogues and Hindu temples, and to read the holy scriptures of other faiths, and even to study those faiths formally, as many non-Muslims study Islam and the history of Islam? Would that be something you think should be encouraged for Muslims, both in Dar al-Islam, and in the Lands of the Infidels?

Tell us all about it.

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“Politicians are dumb everywhere. There are very few smart, well-meaning politicians.”
– Hecubus

That is a quote from little old me from this story concerning Chicago’s ban on The Nativity Story advertising. As much as I believe that statement, little did I predict that a politician would emerge this quickly and demonstrate so thoroughly his lack of knowledge in matters he had better well have a near-expert understanding. Please meet your new Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat from Texas, a man who possesses an obvious flair for the obtuse.

Below is an interview conducted by Jeff Stein for the Congressional Quarterly. In his time with the incoming HIC Chairman, Stein asked some fairly basic, and fairly simple questions concerning Islam, Iraq, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. Reyes’ mental acuity is shocking–not in what he knows, but in what he doesn’t (but certainly should) know.

[Of course, Republicans prooved just as moronic in a previous interview under similar circumstances, but they don’t head the House Intelligence Committee either. ]

Now you may say to yourself, “Well, I don’t know all the answers,” or “those are some pretty tough questions.” That’s fine. But your job doesn’t likely require you to know all of the answers to the questions posed by Stein. It’s disturbing that the soon to be leader of the House Intelligence Committee, whose job it is to be intimately familiar with subjects and issues such as Islam, Iraq, Shiites vs. Sunnis, and al-Qaeda, has barely a clue as to what those concepts and entities entail. Reyes doesn’t even do a passable job stumbling his way through the interview with the typical politicized pat answers that all politicians practice religiously when standing in front of a mirror.

But in all honesty, the questions in the interview are not difficult to anyone who keeps up with current world events, and I found myself becoming very angry with Reyes and the intellectual vacuum in which he resides . This man has no clue, and he has no right to sit as Chairman for a committee whose expertise lies in the areas in which he was queried.

Oh well, Nancy Pelosi picks another winner to lead the nation. She would have been much better off choosing Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.), who does have the understanding and expertise necessary for the Chairman post, but Pelosi’s personal issues with Harman prevented her from making the right choice. Way to go, Pelosi.

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Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda

Forty years ago, Sgt.
Silvestre Reyes was a helicopter crew chief flying dangerous combat missions in South Vietnam from the top of a soaring rocky outcrop near the sea called Marble Mountain.

After the war, it turned out that the communist Viet Cong had tunneled into the hill and built a combat hospital right beneath the skids of Reyes’ UH-1 Huey gunship.

Now the five-term Texas Democrat, 62, is facing similar unpleasant surprises about the enemy, this time as the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

That’s because, like a number of his colleagues and top counterterrorism officials that I’ve interviewed over the past several months, Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.

It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield?

To his credit, Reyes, a kindly, thoughtful man who also sits on the Armed Service Committee, does see the undertows drawing the region into chaos.

For example, he knows that the 1,400- year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Rep.
Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., and
Terry Everett, R-Ala., both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI.

I thought it only right now to pose the same questions to a Democrat, especially one who will take charge of the Intelligence panel come January. The former border patrol agent also sits on the Armed Services Committee.

Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

Civil War

And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah…”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Poquito,” I said—a little.

“Poquito?! “ He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh….”

I apologized for putting him “on the spot a little.” But I reminded him that the people who have killed thousands of Americans on U.S. soil and in the Middle East have been front page news for a long time now.

It’s been 23 years since a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed over 200 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, mostly Marines.

Hezbollah, a creature of Iran, is close to taking over in Lebanon. Reports say they are helping train Iraqi Shiites to kill Sunnis in the spiralling civil war.

“Yeah,” Reyes said, rightly observing, “but . . . it’s not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s a heck of a lot more complex.

“And I agree with you — we ought to expend some effort into understanding them. But speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes is not alone.

The best argument for needing to understand who’s what in the Middle East is probably the mistaken invasion itself, despite the preponderance of expert opinion that it was a terrible idea — including that of Bush’s father and his advisers. On the day in 2003 when Iraqi mobs toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Bush was said to be unaware of the possibility that a Sunni-Shia civil war could fill the power vacuum, according to a reliable source with good White House connections.

If President Bush and some of his closest associates, not to mention top counterterrorism officials, have demonstrated their own ignorance about who the players are in the Middle East, why should we expect the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee to get it right?
Trent Lott, the veteran Republican senator from Mississippi, said only last September that “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people.”

“Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion?” wondered Lott, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a meeting with Bush.

“Why do they hate the Israelis and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference?

“They all look the same to me,” Lott said.

Haunting

The administration’s disinterest in the Arab world has rattled down the chain of command.

Only six people in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad are fluent in Arabic, according to last week’s report of the Iraq Study Group. Only about two dozen of the embassy’s thousand employees have some familiarity with the language, the report said.

The Iraq Study Group was amazed to find that, despite spending $2 billion on Iraq in 2006, more wasn’t being done to try “to understand the people who fabricate, plant and explode roadside bombs.”

Rare is the military unit with an American soldier who can read a captured document or interrogate a prisoner, my own sources tell me.

It was that way in Vietnam, too, Reyes says, which “haunts us.”

“If you substitute Arabization for Vietnamization, if you substitute . . . our guys going in and taking over a place then leaving it and the bad guys come back in. . . .”

He trails off, despairing.

“I could draw many more analogies.”

Yet Reyes says he favors sending more troops there.

“If it’s going to target the militias and eliminate them, I think that’s a worthwhile investment,” he said.

It’s hard to find anybody in Iraq who thinks the U.S. can do that.

On “a temporary basis, I’m willing to ramp them up by twenty or thirty thousand . . . for, I don’t know, two months, four months, six months — but certainly that would be an exception,” Reyes said.

Meanwhile, the killing is going on below decks, too, within Sunni and Shiite groups and factions.

Anybody who pays serious attention to Iraq knows that.

Reyes says his first hearings come January will focus on how U.S. intelligence can do a better job helping the troops in Iraq.

It may be way too late for that.

“Stop giving me tests!” Reyes exclaimed, half kidding.

“I’m not going to talk to you any more!”

Queries Vex New Chair of Intelligence

Reuters
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; Page A07

The incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee could not describe Hezbollah and incorrectly described al-Qaeda‘s Islamic roots in a recent interview.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), whom incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named earlier this month to chair the panel, formally known as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was asked by a reporter from Congressional Quarterly whether al-Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. “Predominantly — probably Shiite,” Reyes replied.

From Osama bin Laden down, al-Qaeda’s leadership is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

In fact, U.S. officials blame al-Qaeda’s late leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a story published online Friday, Reyes responded “Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah” and then said, “Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o’clock?”

The Texas congressman later added: “Speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes, a former Border Patrol agent and an opponent of the Iraq war, was chosen for the intelligence committee post over the panel’s two top-ranking Democrats, Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.) and Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.).

Reyes’s office issued a statement yesterday noting that the interview covered a wide range of topics.

“As a member of the intelligence committee since before 9/11, I’m acutely aware of al-Qaeda’s desire to harm Americans. The intelligence committee will keep its eye on the ball and focus on the pressing security and intelligence issues facing us,” Reyes said in the statement.

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A comment from a fellow WordPress poster on my piece, Qana Bombing: Where are the 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts Now? caused me to bristle a bit when said poster attempted to indicate that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization. After responding to his comment on that blog entry, I was then promted to find this list which details most of the higher profile terrorist acts committed by Hezbollah since May of 2000, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon.

24 Jul 2006 – Hezbollah fired more than 70 Katyusha rockets into Israel, several of which landed in Nahariya, Safed, and Kiryat Shmona. Medics treated at least 49 people who were lightly to moderately wounded. More than 2200 rockets have been fired at Israeli cities since July 12, killing 17 Israelis, all of them civilians. 20 Israeli soldiers were killed in other incidents.

23 Jul 2006 – Shimon Glickblich, 60, of Haifa was killed Sunday morning (11:00) while driving his car in Haifa. Habib Isa Awad, 48, of Iblin, was killed while working in the carpentry shop in Kiryat Ata. Another 12 were wounded in the morning barrage in Haifa, and more later in the day as over 90 rockets were fired at Haifa, Akko, Kiryat Shmona, and elsewhere in northern Israel.

20 Jul 2006 – Five IDF soldiers were killed and five wounded in continuing exchanges of fire in the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras, near Avivim, where two soldiers were killed on Wednesday. The body of the fifth soldier, St.-Sgt. Yonatan (Sergei) Vlasyuk, 21, of Kibbutz Lahav was retrieved on July 22. At 16, Yonatan immigrated alone to Israel through the Jewish Agency’s “Na’aleh” program. He was adopted by Dalia Gal, a member of Kibbutz Lahav in the Negev. An IDF officer was killed and three soldiers were wounded as two Apache (Cobra) combat helicopters on their way to Lebanon to assist IDF forces operating against Hezbollah terrorists near Avivim collided and then crashed south of Kiryat Shmona.

19 Jul 2006 – St.-Sgt. Yonatan Hadasi, 21, of Kibbutz Merhavia and St.-Sgt. Yotam Gilboa, 21, of Kibbutz Maoz Haim were killed and nine soldiers were wounded in exchanges of fire between IDF and Hezbollah in south Lebanon, near Moshav Avivim. The Israeli force had crossed the border to destroy the Hezbollah rocket-launching position at the former IDF outpost of Shaked. Rabia Abed Taluzi (3) and his brother Mahmoud (7) who were playing soccer outside their house were killed and dozens were wounded in two Katyusha rocket attacks on the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth.

18 Jul 2006 – Andrei Zelinksy, 36, was killed Tuesday evening in Nahariya outside a bomb shelter. Though he managed to save his family by rushing them into the shelter, he returned home to get a blanket for his daughter and was killed. Some 130 rockets were fired at the north on Tuesday, 100 of them within one hour and a half – also landing in the Haifa area, Karmiel, Tiberias, Safed, Maalot and Rosh Pina. About 60 people injured were evacuated to hospitals in Safed and Nahariya.

17 Jul 2006 – Over 50 rockets were fired towards the eastern and upper Galilee on Monday night. A Katyusha rocket hit the external wall of the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed, causing damage to infrastructure; five patients, two doctors and two other hospital employees were injured. Earlier, 11 people were wounded in Haifa when a 3-story apartment building was hit by missile. The Israel Air Force destroyed at least ten long-range Iranian-made missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv, by targeting a Hezbollah truck carrying the missiles before they could be launched. To date, missiles have been fired up to 40 kilometers into Israel.

16 Jul 2006 – Eight killed, 50 wounded in Hezbollah rocket attack on Haifa – Rockets began falling on the Haifa area shortly after 9:00 a.m. Eight employees of Israel Railways at the Haifa train depot were killed in a direct hit by a Fajar missile made in Syria. A total of over 50 people were wounded in Haifa and the Haifa Bay area.

15 Jul 2006 – Katyusha rockets landed for the first time in Tiberias, located 35 kilometers from the Lebanese border on the Sea of Galilee, as well as in nearby communities.

14 Jul 2006 – Shortly after 8:30 p.m. =46riday night an Israeli navy ship was severely damaged by an Iran-manufactured missile fired by Hezbollah. Four IDF soldiers were killed: Staff Sgt. Tal Amgar, 21, of Ashdod; Yaniv Hershkovitz, 21, of Haifa; Shai Atias, 19, ofRishon Lezion; and Dov Steinshuss, 37, of Karmiel. Omer Pesachov, 7, of Nahariya, and his grandmother Yehudit Itzkovitch, 58, of Moshav Meron were killed by a Katyusha rocket in Meron early Friday evening. Roni, Omer’s older sister, was badly wounded, and the grandfather, Naftali, was lightly hurt. The family had fled the Katyushas in Nahariya to spend a quiet weekend with their grandparents.

13 Jul 2006 – Monica Seidman (Lehrer), 40, of Nahariya was killed in her home by a Katyusha rocket Thursday morning. In the evening, Nitzan Roseban, 33, was killed in Safed by a direct rocket hit. On Thursday evening Katyushas landed in Haifa.

12 Jul 2006 – Hezbollah terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory and attacked two IDF armored jeeps patrolling the border with Lebanon, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two. Ground forces entered Lebanon in the area of the attack. A large explosive device was detonated underneath an Israeli tank, killing all four of the tank crew. An eighth soldier was killed when IDF troops entered Lebanon to try to retrieve the bodies of the tank crew. Throughout the day, Hezbollah terror organization fired Katyusha rockets and mortar shells at Israel’s northern borders’ communities and IDF posts.

27 May 2006 – An IDF soldier was wounded when Katyushas were fired at an army base at Mt. Meron in the upper Galilee.

27 Dec 2005 – A branch of a Palestinian organization connected to Al-Qaida fired 6 Katyushas, damaging a house in Kiryat Shmona and a house in Metulla. In response, the IAF attacked a training base of the Popular Front, south of Beirut.

21 Nov 2005 – An attempt to kidnap an IDF soldier was foiled when paratroopers patrolling near Rajar village discerned a Hezbollah unit approaching. Private David Markovitz opened fire, killing all four. In a heavy attack of mortars and Katyusha rockets that ensued, nine soldiers and and two civilians were injured.

29 Jun 2005 – More than 20 mortars were fired from across the border. Cpl. Uzi Peretz of the Golani Brigade was killed and four soldiers wounded, including the unit’s doctor. Fire was exchanged and helicopters and planes attacked five Hezbollah outposts in the Reches Ramim area.

24 Apr 2005 – Several explosive devices exploded near the Lebanese-Israeli border, in the Mount Dov area. Officials believe the devices were planted by Hezbollah, but this was not confirmed. No injuries were reported in the explosions.

7 Apr 2005 – Two Israeli-Arabs from the village of Rajar near the Israel-Lebanon border were kidnapped by Hezbollah operatives and held in captivity for four days. The men, identified as Muki Ben-Jamal and Nuef Maharj Ben-Ali, said they were interrogated by their captors who wanted information on Israel. They were later released. Israeli officials did not believe that any security information had been compromised.

9 Jan 2005 – An explosive device was detonated against an IDF patrol at Nahal Sion. One Israeli soldier was killed, and a UN officer was killed.

20 Jul 2004 – Hezbollah sniper fired at an IDF post in the western sector of the Israeli-Lebanese border. Two IDF soldiers were killed.

7 May 2004 – Fire in the Mt. Dov sector. IDF soldier Dennis Leminov was killed, and two other soldiers were severely wounded. The IDF returned fire.

19 Jan 2004 – An anti-tank missile was fired at IDF D9 while neutralizing explosive charges near Zari’t. An IDF soldier, Yan Rotzenski, was killed and another soldier was severely wounded.

6 Oct 2003 – Staff Sgt. David Solomonov was killed when Hezbollah fired at an IDF force south of the =46atma Gate in the eastern sector. In addition, the Hezbollah fired missiles and rockets at an IDF post in the Reches Ramim area.

10 Aug 2003 – Haviv Dadon, 16, of Shlomi, was struck in the chest and killed by shrapnel from an anti-aircraft shell fired by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Four others were wounded.

20 Jul 2003 – Hezbollah snipers fired on an Israeli outpost near Chetula, killing two Israeli soldiers. The IDF retaliated with tank fire directed at a Hezbollah position, killing one operative manning the post. That night, there were multiple Israeli flights over Lebanon, two of which generated powerful sonic booms over Beirut.

7 May 2003 – Hezbollah attacked IDF positions in the Sheba’ farms with heavy rocket, mortar, and small arms fire. One Israeli soldier was killed and five others were wounded in the attack. Lebanese authorities asserted that the Hezbollah firing had been preceded by an Israeli army foot patrol crossing the Blue Line.

5 May 2003 – A cycle of armed exchanges across the Blue Line began. Israel carried out more than 20 air sorties over the country. Subsequently, Hezbollah fired several anti-aircraft rounds with shrapnel landing inside Israel.

22 Mar 2003 – Hezbollah fired rockets and mortars at Israeli army positions in the Sheba’ farms and adjacent areas. This attack followed eight incursions into Lebanese airspace by Israeli aircraft.

6 Jan 2003 – Hezbollah fired anti aircraft shells in the vicinity of Birait in the western sector of the Lebanese border. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

29 Aug 2002 – Fire at an IDF post in the Mt. Dov sector. IDF soldier Ofer Misali was killed, and two other soldiers were lightly wounded.

12 Mar 2002 – Infiltration: In a shooting attack on the Shlomi- Metzuba route. Six Israelis civilians were killed, among them IDF officer Lt. German Rojkov.

7 Aug 2001 – Two houses belonging to senior members of the former Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army militia were blown up using explosive devices. One of the houses belonged to Robin Abboud; the other to Samir Raslan. Hezbollah is suspected.

28 Apr 2001 – A 60 year-old Israeli man was found stabbed to death in Kfar Ba’aneh, near Carmiel in Galilee. The terrorists responsible for the attack were apprehended in July. Six members of a Hezbollah-linked Palestinian terrorist cell responsible for the murder were arrested in July. The murder was the initiation rite of the organization.

14 Apr 2001 – Fire at an IDF post in the Mt. Dov sector. IDF soldier Elad Litvak was killed.

1 Apr 2001 – A 42 year-old Israeli woman was stabbed to death in Haifa. Her murder was the initiation rite of a terrorist cell, whose members were apprehended in July. Six members of a Hezbollah-linked Palestinian terrorist cell responsible for the murder, originally thought to be criminally motivated, were arrested in July. The murder was the initiation rite of one of the terrorists into the organization.

16 Feb 2001– Fire at an IDF convoy on Mt. Dov. IDF soldier Elad Shneor was killed, and three other soldiers were wounded.

26 Nov 2000 – A charge was detonated near an IDF convoy. IDF soldier Khalil Taher was killed and two other soldiers were wounded.

7 Oct 2000 – Kidnapping: Three IDF soldiers: Adi Avitan, Omer Soued and Binyamin Avraham were kidnapped by the Hezbollah from the Mt. Dov sector.

Again, this is post May 2000, and it doesn’t take into account the plothora of attacks that Hezbollah have perpetrated in the past, such as the U.S. Marine Barracks bombing in 1983 that killed 241 Americans, and the coinciding attack on the French military that killed nearly 60. Additionally, countless jetliner hijackings stood as one of the staples of Hezbollah terrorism since their organization came into being in the early 1980’s.

Here is another timeline that goes into the beginnings of Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.

1982: Israel invades Lebanon to drive out the PLO’s terrorist army, which had frequently attacked Israel from its informal “state-within-a-state” in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah, a Shiite group inspired by the teachings and revolution of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, is created with the assistance of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The group is called Hezbollah–or “party of God”– after initially taking responsibility for attacks under the name “Islamic Jihad.” (Not to be confused with the Palestinian terror organization Islamic Jihad.)

July 19, 1982: The president of the American University in Beirut, Davis S. Dodge, is kidnapped. Hezbollah is believed to be behind this and most of the other 30 Westerners kidnapped over the next ten years.

April 18, 1983: Hezbollah attacks the U.S. embassy in Beirut with a car bomb, killing 63 people, 17 of whom were American citizens.

Oct. 23, 1983: The group attacks U.S. Marine barracks with a truck bomb, killing 241 American military personnel stationed in Beirut as part of a peace-keeping force. A separate attack against the French military compound in Beirut kills 58.

Sept. 20, 1984: The group attacks the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut with a car bomb, killing 2 Americans and 22 others.

March 16, 1984: William F. Buckley, a CIA operative working at the U.S. embassy in Beirut, is kidnapped and later murdered.

April 12, 1984: Hezbollah attacks a restaurant near the U.S. Air Force Base in Torrejon, Spain. The bombing kills eighteen U.S. servicemen and injures 83 people.

Dec. 4, 1984: Hezbollah terrorists hijack a Kuwait Airlines plane. Four passengers are murdered, including two Americans.

Feb. 16, 1985: Hezbollah publicizes its manifesto. It notes that the group’s struggle will continue until Israel is destroyed and rejects any cease-fire or peace treaty with Israel. The document also attacks the U.S. and France.

June 14, 1985: Hezbollah terrorists hijack TWA flight 847. The hijackers severely beat Passenger Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, before killing him and dumping his body onto the tarmac at the Beirut airport. Other passengers are held as hostages before being released on June 30.

Dec. 31, 1986: Under the alias Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, Hezbollah announces it had kidnapped and murdered three Lebanese Jews. The organization previously had taken responsibility for killing four other Jews since 1984.

Feb. 17, 1988: The group kidnaps Col. William Higgins, a U.S. Marine serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group in Lebanon, and later murders him.

Oct. 22, 1989: Members of the dissolved Lebanese parliament ratify the Taif Agreement. Although the agreement calls for the “disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,” Hezbollah remains active.

Feb. 16, 1992: Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah takes over Hezbollah after Israel kills the group’s leader, Abbas Musawi.

March 17, 1992: With the help of Iranian intelligence, Hezbollah bombs the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring over 200.

July 18, 1994: Hezbollah bombs the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires–again with Iranian help–killing 86 and injuring over 200.

Nov. 28, 1995: Hezbollah bombards towns in northern Israel with volleys of Katyusha rockets in one of the group’s numerous attacks on Israeli civilians.

March 30, 1996: Hezbollah fires 28 Katyusha rockets into northern Israeli towns. A week later, the group fires 16 rockets, injuring 36 Israelis. Israel responds with a major offensive, known as the “Grapes of Wrath” operation, to stop Hezbollah rocket fire.

Aug. 19, 1997: Hezbollah opens fire on northern Israel with dozens of rockets in one of the group’s numerous attacks on Israeli civilians.

October 1997: The United States lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Dec. 28, 1998: Hezbollah opens fire on northern Israel with dozens of rockets in one of the group’s numerous attacks on Israeli civilians.

May 17, 1999: Hezbollah opens fire on northern Israel with dozens of rockets in one of the group’s numerous attacks on Israeli civilians.

June 24, 1999: Hezbollah opens fire on northern Israel, killing 2.

May 23, 2000: Israel withdraws all troops from Lebanon after 18 years patrolling the “security zone,” a strip of land in the south of the country. The security zone was set up to prevent attacks on northern Israel.

June 2000: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan certifies Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. Shortly thereafter, the U.N. Security Council endorses Annan’s report. Hezbollah nonetheless alleges Israel occupies Lebanon, claiming the small Shebba Farms area Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 war as Lebanese territory.

Oct. 7, 2000: Hezbollah attacks an Israel military post and raids Israel, kidnapping three Israeli soldiers. The soldiers are later assumed dead. In mid-October, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah announces the group has also kidnapped an Israeli businessman. In 2004, Israel frees over 400 Arab prisoners in exchange for the business man and the bodies of the three soldiers.

March 1, 2001: The British government adds Hezbollah’s “military wing” to its list of outlawed terrorist organizations.

April 9, 2002: Hezbollah launches Katyushas into northern Israeli town. This assault comes amidst almost daily Hezbollah attacks against Israeli troops in Shebba farms.

Dec. 11, 2002: Canada lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Aug. 10, 2003: Hezbollah shells kills 16-year-old Israeli boy, wound others.

June 5, 2003: Australia lists Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization.

Sept. 2, 2004: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 calls for “the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,” a reference to Hezbollah.

December 2004: Both the United States and France ban Hezbollah’s satellite television network, Al Manar. A U.S. State Department spokesman notes the channel “preaches violence and hatred.”

March 10, 2005: The European Parliament overwhelmingly passes a resolution stating: “Parliament considers that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities by Hezbollah. The (EU) Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them.” The European Union nonetheless refrains from placing the group on its list of terror organizations.

July 12, 2006: Hezbollah attacks Israel with Katyushas, crosses the border and kidnaps two Israeli soldiers. Three Israeli soldiers are killed in the initial attack. Five more soldiers are killed as Israel launches operation to rescue the soldiers and push Hezbollah from its border. Hezbollah launches rockets into towns across northern Israel.

Yes, they are a terrorist organizaiton, and not a group of freedom fighters as some have deluded themselves into believing.

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I actually agree with the peacenik protestors on this one. Let’s pull out of Iraq and leave these ungrateful fucks behind forever. We’ll pull the military out so our soldiers won’t have to attempt to protect a people who are daily killing them. We’ll pull our copious funding so they can just go ahead and descend into barbarism like all middle-east fanatical Muslims want. I say YES to Iraqi civil war!

I seem to remember a time when the native peoples of Iraq were dancing and partying in the streets of Baghdad in celebration of a tyrant by the name of Saddam having just been overthrown–the most memorable image being a large bronze statue of the deposed dictator yanked down by Iraqis and U.S. forces together in solidarity. Yes, most of the residents of Iraq were relieved by Sadam’s exit. No all, but most.

Particularly happy were the Shiite Muslims, since Saddam tended to kick the shit out of them on a regular basis. Now however, hundreds of thousands of the unappreciative fucks are chanting in the streets their support of Nasrallah and Hezbollah, and the downfall of Israel and America.

Fine. Bush’s plan of democracy in the Mideast has been one of the biggest failures in a term filled to the brim with memorable blunders. Why fight it anymore? Let’s get out. Let them kill one another. Who cares? It’s what they want anyway.

P.S. I know I’m over simplifying.

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Iraqi Shiites Chant ‘Death to Israel’

 

Aug 4, 8:09 AM (ET)

By MURTADA FARAJ
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Hundreds of thousands of Shiites chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” marched through the streets of Baghdad’s biggest Shiite district Friday in a massive show of support for Hezbollah in its battle against Israel.

No violence was reported during the rally in Sadr City. But at least 26 people were killed elsewhere in the country, most of them in a car bombing and gunbattle in Mosul in the north.

The demonstration was the biggest in the Middle East in support of Hezbollah since Israel launched its attacks against the guerrillas in Lebanon on July 12. The protest was organized by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political movement built around the Mahdi Army militia has been modeled after Hezbollah.

Al-Sadr summoned followers from throughout the Shiite heartland of southern Iraq to converge on Baghdad for the rally but he himself did not attend.
Demonstrators, wearing white shrouds symbolizing willingness to die for Hezbollah, waved the guerrillas’ yellow banner and chanted slogans in support of their leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, which has attained a cult status in the Arab world for its defiance of Israeli military power.

“Allah, Allah, give victory to Hassan Nasrallah,” the crowd chanted.

“Mahdi Army and Hezbollah are one, let them confront us if they dare,” the predominantly male crowd shouted, waving the flags of Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq. Many walked with umbrellas in the searing afternoon sun. Volunteers sprayed them with water.

“I am wearing the shroud and I am ready to meet martyrdom,” said Mohammed Khalaf, 35, owner of a clothes shop in the southern city of Amarah.

Al-Sadr followers painted U.S. and Israeli flags on the main road leading to the rally site, and demonstrators stepped on them – a gesture of contempt in Iraq. Alongside the painted flags was written: “These are the terrorists.”

Protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags, as well as effigies of President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, showing the men with Dracula teeth. “Saddam and Bush, Two Faces of One Coin” was scrawled on Bush’s effigy.

Iraqi government television said the Defense Ministry had approved the demonstration, a sign of the public anger over Israel’s offensive in Lebanon and of al-Sadr’s stature as a major player in Iraqi politics.

“I consider my participation in this rally a religious duty. I am proud to join this crowd and I am ready to die for the sake of Lebanon,” said Khazim al-Ibadi, 40, a government employee from Hillah.

Although the rally was about Hezbollah, it was also a show of strength by al-Sadr, and many worried that the presence of so many Shiite demonstrators – most of them from the Mahdi Army – would add to tensions in the city that has seen almost daily clashes between Shiite and Sunni extremists.

The sectarian violence escalated after the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra unleashed a wave of reprisal attacks on Sunnis nationwide.

In the latest violence Friday, at least 13 people were killed when Iraqi security forces fought street gunbattles with suspected insurgents in Mosul after a suicide car bomber blew up a police patrol, provincial police commander Maj. Gen. Withiq al-Hamdani said.

He said the suicide bombing killed four policemen and eight insurgents were killed in the subsequent gunbattle.

Also Friday, another suicide bomber killed three people on a soccer field in Hatra town near Mosul. An engineer was shot dead and an unidentified body, showing signs of torture, was found in western Baghdad.

The U.S. military said in a statement that coalition forces killed at least three “terrorists” during an air strike and multiple raids southeast of Baghdad on Thursday.

Separately. gunmen shot and killed four people and wounded eight from a Shiite family late Thursday in Dujail, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police Lt. Hussam al-Dujeili, said.

On Thursday, Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, told a Senate committee in Washington that sectarian violence in Iraq “is probably as bad as I have seen it” and that if the spiral continued the country “could move toward civil war.”

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