To the Arab Jews: Happy Passover!

In an article on the Arab reformist websites Aafaq (April 9, 2007) and Middle East Transparent (April 8, 2007), Egyptian author Hisham Al-Tuhi rejects the view that Muslims should not convey holiday greetings to non-Muslims on their holidays, reviews the history of Jews in Arab countries in the 20th century, and wishes Jews still living in Arab countries a happy Passover.

The following are excerpts: [1]

In Response to My Norouz Holiday Greetings, I Received [From Muslims] a Flood of Racism, Hatred, Ugliness, and Abuse

"In my previous article, I gave holiday greetings to the Afghanis and the Kurds on the Norouz holiday, [as well as] the Egyptian Baha'is. The letters came in from the caves: a flood of racism, hatred, ugliness, and abuse.

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Cartoons Condemning the Terrorist Attacks in Algeria and Morocco

By: O. Winter

The two terrorist attacks on April 10, 2007 in Casablanca, Morocco, and the April 11, 2007 bombing in the Algerian capital were harshly condemned in the Arab world. This was clearly reflected in cartoons published in Arab newspapers, many of which dealt with various aspects of Islamist terrorism.

The cartoons presented the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks in Morocco and Algeria as bloodthirsty murderers destined for hell; the spread of terrorism in the Arab world was characterized as a worrying and threatening phenomenon; terrorism was presented as a distortion of the commandments of the Koran; and there was criticism of the clergy's acquiescence in the face of terrorist acts.

The following is a sample of the cartoons:

Cartoons Condemning the Terrorist Attacks in Morocco and Algeria

Cartoon No. 1: The top sign says "Morocco" and the bottom sign says "Algeria."

Source: Al-Watan (Qatar), April 13, 2007.

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Morocco's mistakes in anti-terror strategy are today costly

By Olivier Guitta

In light of the recent suicide bombings in Casablanca from terrorists who did not want to get caught alive, it's interesting to take a look at some of the major deficiencies of Morocco's anti-terror strategy.
From last week's issue of The Croissant comes this story:

The United Nations pointed in 2003 to the weaknesses of the Moroccan anti-terror fight, even after the May 16 terror attacks in Casablanca:

A U.N. group composed of a dozen people and placed under the direction of a British diplomat visited Morocco in September 2003.

To verify that Morocco applied the UN Council Resolutions relating to putting an end to the support networks of international terrorism

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Algiers Terror "Ghazwa": It is a global war with Terror, in different battlefields

By Walid Phares

Today's suicide attacks in Algiers leaves us with the following thinking points:

1. The Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (with its new name) joined al-Qaeda few months ago. It is now waging "Jihad" against the Algerian state, civil society and democracy movements in that mostly Arab Muslim country. The press release by al Qaeda of Maghreb -aired on al Jazeera TV- is clear: It is about a global Jihadi campaign with Algeria and other countries as "battlefields."

2. This is an additional evidence that the War on Terror is global and not linked directly and exclusively to U.S. Foreign Policy. The Jihadists in Algeria are targeting Algerians from all backgrounds while there are no US troops in that country. It is a struggle that began before 9/11 and is resuming today.

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Turkish forces drive into northern Iraq to destroy Kurdish PKK rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan

They crossed at several points – 20 km deep to target PKK camps east of Zaho and 30-40 kms up to the rural areas of Haftanin, Sinaht and Pirbela provinces. The Turkish army is also clearing landmines that could impede its cross-border offensive against rebel Kurdish camps. DEBKAfile adds: Ankara accuses Iraqi Kurdistan of harboring the PKK terrorists, allowing them to stage cross-border raids into Turkey and run back for cover.

Earlier this week, Ankara and Iraqi Kurdish leaders swapped threats over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Officials in the Turkish capital said Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani’s persistent claim to Kirkuk will lead to the loss of the last trace of stability in Iraq. Barzani retorted: “Turkey is not allowed to intervene in the Kirkuk issue; if it does, we will interfere over Diyarbakir and other cities in Turkey.”

Ankara replied: “Turkey will not hesitate to take necessary precautions so that Barzani can’t even spell the “D” of Diyarkabir (the biggest city in Turkey’s southeastern Kurdish region). Barzani should know his place.”

New Academic Paper: The Convergence of Crime and Terror

By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

By 1931, Al Capone was a celebrity criminal with a litany of offenses that included murder, bribery, and running illegal breweries. But the government would have had trouble proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for his most notorious activities, and charged him with tax evasion. Although the mobster swore that the government couldn't collect legal taxes from illegal money, he proved to be wrong -- and entered prison on May 5, 1932. This was the most famous example of a model that law enforcement adopted to deal with the unique problem of the mob, a model that placed a higher priority on neutralizing mob leaders and their activities than on winning the heaviest sentence. Thus, mob leaders were often prosecuted for, and convicted of, lesser offenses discovered by investigators. Because of the difficulty of convicting terrorists and their supporters of their most serious offenses, the "Al Capone model" of prosecuting for applicable lesser offenses has also been used frequently in terrorism cases.

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Show Me the Money and I'll Show You the Agenda (updated)

By Andrew Cochran

I'm trying to determine why senior U.S. government officials or Congressmen continue to entrust their precious time to those with an extremist or Islamist agenda when they're searching for "moderate Muslims" with whom to hold a dialogue. It still happens all too often, even years after the 9-11 attacks (I have another example about which to post soon). And I have to conclude that too many government officials around the world and experts are still trusting what they hear from a foreign leader or long-standing Islamist, instead of watching what they actually do. My golden rule, probably due to my experience as a CPA and consultant, is simple: see how the Islamists and their supporters (or their opponents, for that matter) spend their money, and stop trusting what they say.

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Is European Civil War Inevitable by 2025?

by Baron Bodissey

Below is the latest in a series of articles by the British author Paul Weston. It concerns the demographic future of Europe and the civilizational conflict that seems likely to occur sooner than one might have thought.

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Is European Civil War Inevitable by 2025?
Part One
by Paul Weston

If I were to tell you that within twenty years Europe could find itself engaged in a civil war so bloody it made WWII look like a bun fight, you might logically consider me a candidate for the men in white coats. You would be wrong, however. Based on the demographic evidence collated for this article, such a scenario looks not merely possible, but inevitable. In 2005 European males aged 20-40 outnumbered Muslim males of a similar age by 18:1. By 2025 this ratio could drop to a mere 2:1.
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DEBKAfile Military Report: Blasts killing 4 British troops in Basra were the Iranian extremists’ rejoinder to the pragmatists who forced release of 15 captured Britons

Approximately two hours before the freed British sailors and marines flew out of Tehran for home, formally released by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after 12 days’ in captivity, a patrol of two British armored vehicles was struck by a roadside bomb trap northwest of Basra and 4 soldiers killed.

In London, Tony Blair said there was a clear link to elements in Iran who support terrorism in Iraq.

Two powerful roadside bombs were planted on both sides of their patrol route very near an Iraqi army checkpoint in Hayaniya, a stronghold of Shiite cleric Mogtada Sadr’s pro-Iranian Mehdi Army militia on the northwestern outskirts of Basra.

Since the British lookout had not warned the patrol of its danger, the bombs were presumed to have been planted by the Iraqi soldiers who would not have aroused suspicion. The Iraqi troops were indeed arrested. The bombs themselves were of Iranian manufacture, as are 95% of all such devices which explode in Iraq.

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Secret Dealing in Hostage Crisis

According to our sources, the boss of Turkey’s MIT traveled to Tehran at Britain’s behest to negotiate the release of 15 sailors seized by the Revolutionary Guards. (...) 

Tensions Rise in Turkey in Advance of Presidential Election

By: R. Krespin

As the countdown proceeds towards the May 16 presidential election in Turkey, a sense of panic pervades Turkey's secular circles, which fear for the secular and democratic nature of the Turkish republic. The possibility that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will bid for and win the presidency heads the national agenda, with daily polls, wagers, and guessing games.

According to the Turkish constitution, the president is elected by parliament; at present, the AKP party, whose roots are Islamist, holds the majority in parliament.

To date, Erdogan has been secretive about his candidacy, saying that the AKP will disclose its presidential candidate on April 16, a month before the election.

The thought of an Islamist occupying the highest position in the land has thrown the country into turmoil, and has deepened the rift between Islamists and secularists - and this is reflected in Turkey's divided media.

Business circles, NGOs, and the general public have been expressing their wish for nominating a candidate by national consensus, so as to prevent chaos and instability.

Many of the AKP government's Islamization attempts during the past four years have met with rejection and vetoes by the current president, the staunchly secular Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who has acted as a force for checks and balances. This will be lost if he is replaced by Erdogan.

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Special Report & Slides Released on Pre-Iraq War Intel

By Andrew Cochran

Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, today released a newly declassified report of the Department of Defense Inspector General about the intelligence activities of Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, before the Iraq War. Sen. Levin also released declassified slides which Under Secretary Feith used to brief the President and senior staff on the alleged relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The slides include a checklist of shared "objectives" with the notation, "Intelligence indicates cooperation in all categories; mature, symbiotic relationship,” and the last page has a bullet point stating, "Multiple areas of cooperation." The IG report confirms that the intelligence community did not find any operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda and that “the CIA and DIA disavowed any ‘mature, symbiotic’ relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida.” The IG concluded that Under Secretary Feith's briefings included "conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community," and that his actions were "inappropriate." You can download the IG report here and the slides here. Much of the slide presentation is still redacted as a matter of security. Newsweek released a portion of the slides in a story in January 2006 on the MSNBC site, but this is the first release of the entire slide presentation. You can read a transcript of a Fox News Channel interview in February with Feith on the Fox News site.

This closes one of the last outstanding loops in an issue which has no apparent future. I last posted on this issue on November 3 (with links to previous posts).

Are the Tides Turning for Al-Qaida in Iraq? Signs of an Ugly Rift with the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI)

By Evan Kohlmann

For months, there has been vigorous ongoing debate over the current state of Al-Qaida and its "Islamic State" in Iraq--its popularity, its brutality, and its longterm sustainability. The discussion has grown more complex in recent weeks as other Sunni insurgent groups--such as the Iraqi Islamic Resistance Front (JAAMI)--have begun to loudly complain about Al-Qaida's ISI aggressively muscling in on their territory and resources. Add to this the sudden break-up of the 1920 Revolution Brigades into two factions, one Sunni nationalist and one pro-ISI. The split itself was sparked by the assassination of the former leader of the 1920 Brigades, apparently at the hands of Al-Qaida. Arguably, the last straw was the ISI's Abu Omar al-Baghdadi's latest audio message, in which he arrogantly suggested that Sunni insurgents were incapable of fighting the U.S. and Iraqi government without the help of Al-Qaida. Al-Baghdadi even challenged other Sunni insurgents who refused to join the ISI to prove their salt by videotaping their own suicidal ambushes on U.S. bases and military barracks in Iraq.

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Israeli military intelligence chief predicts Iran-Hizballah-Syria attack on Israel in summer

In his briefing to the Israeli cabinet Sunday, April 1, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, AMAN chief, reported that Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas expect the United States to attack Iran in the summer and they are preparing to retaliate by going to war with Israel. In Yadlin’s view, a proliferation of players and a many imponderables could ignite a conflict, which none of the parties wants – as happened in the Six Day War of 1967.

DEBKAfile analysts note five salient points in Gen. Yadlin’s briefing:

1. His comments came one day after Iran’s chief of staff, Gen. Hassan Fayrouz Abadi, urged the Arabs to hurry up and join Iran in a defense treaty because, he claimed, Israel threatened a war offensive in summer, two months hence. According to the Iranian general, Israel was bent on a “suicide assault” against a number of Arab states to save the Americans from having to pull their troops out of Iraq (sic).

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