London Car Bomb Found; Second Car Bomb and Suspect Identified (updated)

By Jeffrey Imm

In London today, a car bomb was defused outside of a central London nightclub at 2 AM (British Time), targeting up to 1,700 people with a combination of gasoline bombs and reportedly a trunk full of nails.

London police were contacted when witnesses saw a Mercedes being driven erratically near London West End night club Tiger Tiger, and the driver jumped out of the automobile and ran away. The car was reported to have two gasoline canisters and be full of nails. Witnesses subsequently saw gas canisters being removed from a Mercedes automobile by police at 4 AM BDT.

According to the Daily Mail, the apparent target, the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket, had up to 1,700 people inside. A Daily Mail senior anti-terrorist source said: "This was a viable device which could have caused massive damage and killed hundreds if it had worked. The consequences would have been terrible. This is the scenario that we have dreaded."

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Cartoons in the Arab Press on the Hamas Takeover in Gaza

Numerous cartoons recently published in the Arab press dealt with the Hamas takeover of Gaza.

Some of the cartoons condemned the brutal murders perpetrated by Hamas, implied that they have led the movement, as well as the Palestinian cause, to a dead end, and presented the fighting among the Palestinians as shocking and pointless. Others presented the civil war as the result of an American-Israeli plot carried out with the collaboration of Fatah. And one cartoon even depicted Gaza as an Iranian nuclear outpost.

Below is a sample of the cartoons:

Hamas Brutality

Cartoon No. 1: The masked fighter is saying "the government is illegitimate." The caption above the severed head is deliberately ambiguous, and can be interpreted as meaning either "legitimate butchery" or "butchery according to Islamic law," the latter hinting at Hamas.

Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), June 18, 2007.

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Iran bombers attack Our Boys

By TOM NEWTON DUNN
Defence Editor

June 26, 2007
IRANIAN forces are being choppered over the Iraqi border to bomb Our Boys, intelligence chiefs say.

 

Military experts claim this worrying move means we are at WAR with Iran in all but name.

Last night an intelligence source told The Sun: “It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran — but nobody has officially declared it.

“We have hard proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have crossed the border to attack us.

“It is very hard for us to strike back. All we can do is try to defend ourselves. We are badly on the back foot.”

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Inquiry sought in Ahtisaari bribery allegations

June 25, 2007 -- The Speaker of the Parliament of Serbia, Oliver Dulic, is calling for a formal inquiry into allegations that the Finnish UN Envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, has received bribes in access of 2 million Euros from an Albanian organized crime figure in order to have Ahtisaari write a proposal that will recommend independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo.

A report alleging Ahtisaari took bribes was reported over the weekend by a Bosnian news agency, Focus, specifying that German intelligence, the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, has uncovered accounts held by Ahtisaari that received 2 million Euros and that on at least two occasions Ahtisaari was a recipient of cash payments totaling in access of 40 million Euros.

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DEBKAfile Exclusive: Sudden Egyptian decision to lift anti-Hamas blockade of Gaza.

President Hosni Mubarak’s astonishing U-turn renders pretty pointless the conference he convened in Sharm al Sheikh Monday, June 25, to discuss the Hamas takeover crisis. Only Saturday, he denounced Hamas for staging an illegal coup. Sunday, June 24, our exclusive intelligence sources report an official VIP convoy headed by Hamas’ interior minister Siad Sayam – who is believed to have masterminded the Hamas coup in Gaza - was allowed to drive out of Gaza with 15 senior Hamas commanders who led the military action against Fatah last week. Their cars bore official Palestinian government plates. Egyptian security units escorted the convoy from Rafah to Cairo international airport, where the Hamas delegation emplaned for Damascus.

Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman then held a long telephone conversation with Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, who later made a speech declaring “resistance” (codeword for terror) was the only way forward for the Palestinian people.

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Tariq Ramadan: moslims hebben plicht om zichzelf te blijven

Engeland, juni 2007

In een stuk in de Guardian breekt Tariq Ramadan de staf over de Britse politiek in Irak en haar obsessie met ‘de terroristische dreiging’. Dit zou, aldus Ramadan, gepaard gaan met een paternalistische wens tot integratie van moslims.
Moslims zouden Britse waarden als vrijheid, tolerantie democratie e.d. moeten accepteren. De hele moslimgemeenschap zit, aldus Ramadan, in de verdachtenbank. Ramadan heeft kritiek op het feit dat Tony Blair vorig jaar december minderheden opriep om zich te conformeren aan ‘onze essentiële waarden’ en dat hij zei dat minderheden ’de plicht hebben om te integreren’.
Moslims hebben, zo stelt Ramadan ‘niet een plicht om te integreren’ , maar zouden gesteund moeten worden in hun ‘plicht om zichzelf te blijven’.
De filosoof Tariq Ramadan is een kleinzoon van Hassan al-Banna, de oprichter van de zeer omstreden Muslim Brotherhood en hij geniet groot gezag bij veel Europese moslimjongeren.
Tariq Ramadan is gasthoogleraar aan de Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam om een 'brug te slaan tussen de verschillende culturen' en hij doet er onderzoek naar 'integratie en multiculturaliteit'. Tariq Ramadan is mogelijk genoemd naar de Arabische krijgsheer Tarik ibn Zijad die in 711 met zijn troepen overstak vanuit Noord-Afrika naar Gibraltar om het Iberisch schiereiland voor de islam te veroveren.

Guardian, 4 juni 2007

Lebanon, Gaza, the Broader Syro-Iranian Offensive

By Walid Phares

The latest dramatic military and terror events in Gaza and Lebanon can be viewed from a regional geopolitical perspective: A Syro-Iranian axis offensive on its (their) primarily western front stretching along the Mediterranean coast.
..
In previous analyses I have argued that the Tehran-Damascus axis is involved in a regional campaign to seize as much physical terrain and score as many victories across the Middle East in order to consolidate their strategic posture before 2008; the year they believe Americans will limit – perhaps diminish — their moves because of the U.S. presidential campaign season.

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Monzar al Kassar and the Criminal-Terrorist Nexus

By Douglas Farah

The Drug Enforcement Administration's arrest last week in Spain of Monzar al Kassar, a major-league weapons trafficker, shows how closely connected the worlds of organized criminal activity and terrorism have become.

Al Kassar is a creature of the Cold War, tolerated in his multiple criminal activities because state sponsors, including the United States, needed his services. He built a fortune, lived in a mansion in Marbella in southern Spain and seemed to be set for life.

But, as with Viktor Bout and others, the end of the Cold War opened new opportunities that proved hard to resist. And al Kassar's hatred for Americans seems to have grown, although, given his long ties with organizations killing Americans, perhaps it is just now more overt.

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Adding Hezbollah to the EU Terrorist List

Featuring Matthew Levitt
June 20, 2007

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe

Introduction Pressing our European allies to add Hezbollah to the European Union (EU)�s terrorism list is more important today than ever before. Nearly a year after it dragged both Lebanon and Israel into a devastating war last July, Hezbollah has reportedly restocked its weapons caches and missile arsenals, rebuilt much of its destroyed infrastructure, and capitalized on its ability to hold the Israel Defense Forces at bay (and the political reckoning that followed in Israel) to position itself as an even more dominant player in domestic Lebanese politics as well as the face of �resistance� and pride in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Hezbollah�s proactive support for radical Palestinian elements engaged in acts of terrorism and political violence is central to these groups� success and continues unabated. Renewed rocket attacks into northern Israel this week and the recent Hamas coup in Gaza (which tactically replicated Hezbollah tactics in Southern Lebanon) are just the most recent disturbing signs of how successful this strategy has been. Hezbollah is Syria�s primary proxy in Lebanon seeing to Syrian interests in the wake of the withdrawal of Syrian troops in April 2005, playing a particularly disruptive role opposing the establishment of an international tribunal to investigate and try suspects tied to the Hariri and other bombings targeting political and intellectual leaders of the anti-Syrian coalition. Hezbollah operatives are further suspected of training Iraqi insurgents and of sending it own combatants to Iraq. Lees verder...

'Publieke omroep NPS duldt geen rechts geluid'

Bij NPS-programma Buitenhof worden afwijkende meningen stelselmatig genegeerd en gecensureerd. Andere NPS-producties zijn geen haar beter: 'Het Journaal, Nova: het zijn in feite veredelde melkertbaanprojecten voor kansarme linkse journalisten.'

Joshua Livestro pleit voor Nederlandse Fox News
Volgens Joshua Livestro is het treurig gesteld bij de linkse NPS

Dat zegt journalist Joshua Livestro in zijn column 'Retourtje Buitenhof' in De Telegraaf. Het wekelijkse NPS-programma Buitenhof zette Livestro zondag aan de kant als columnist.

Hij was vier maanden geleden gevraagd als opvolger van columnist Ronald Plasterk (PvdA), die minister van Onderwijs werd. Maar al vanaf het begin werden de columns van Livestro zwaar gecensureerd door eindredacteur Corinne Hegeman.

'Veel erger'
'Het is nog veel erger dan u denkt. Wat er daar met uw belastingcenten wordt gedaan, dat deugt gewoon niet. Afwijkende meningen worden stelselmatig genegeerd of nog erger: gecensureerd,' zegt Livestro.

De commentator pleit voor een Nederlandse variatie op de Amerikaanse televisiezender Fox News, als tegenwicht tegen ‘de grote stroom van linkse "nieuws"programma's'.

Eigen meningen
'Als (centrum)rechts Nederland zijn eigen meningen – zeg maar de meningen zoals u die leest in deze krant, of in een weekblad als Elsevier – ook op tv wil terugzien, dan zullen we gewoon het heft in eigen hand moeten nemen.'

Eindredacteur Hegeman was dinsdagochtend niet bereikbaar voor commentaar.

Lees ook de weblog van Elsevier-redacteur Paul Lieben Ook rechtse opinies op tv, alstublieft!

Syro-Iranian massacre of Lebanese Politicians

By Walid Phares

With the assassination of Lebanese MP Jebran Tueni in December 2006, months after the murder of political leaders George Hawi and Samir Qassir during the summer, the Syro-Iranian terror war room had opened a bloody hunt against the democratically elected Lebanese Parliament. After the withdrawal of regular Syrian forces from Lebanon in April 2005, Bashar Assad and his allies in Tehran designed a counter offensive (which we described then and later) aiming at crumbling the Cedars Revolution. One of the main components of this strategy was (and remain) to use all intelligence and security assets of Syria and Iran in Lebanon in order to “reduce” the number of deputies who form the anti-Syrian majority in the Parliament. As simple as that: assassinate as many members as needed to flip the quantitative majority in the Legislative Assembly. And when that is done, the Seniora Government collapses and a Hezbollah-led cabinet forms. In addition, if the Terror war kills about 8 legislators, the remnant of the Parliament can elect a new President of the Republic who will move the country under the tutelage of the Assad regime.

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DEBKAfile Exclusive: Hamas – and its Syrian and Iranian sponsors - capture priceless Palestinian Authority intelligence archives in Gaza putsch

The Fatah-led general intelligence and security services caved in too fast to shred, wipe or burn documents, computer disks and archives. The entire collection fell into Hamas’ hands when they seized Palestinian Preventive Intelligence HQ at Tel Awa (henceforth Tel al-Islam) and the Palestinian General Intelligence center near Gaza port.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources say: Never before has a bonanza of Western intelligence secrets on this scale ever reached an implacably hostile Islamist terrorist gang. The US, British and Israeli intelligence services may have suffered their greatest debacle in the war on Islamist terror. It will take them many years to recover.

Hamas has taken possession of hundreds of thousands of documents cataloguing the clandestine operations of Western intelligence services in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the oil emirates. It is now the owner of complete archives of Palestinian undercover links with foreign intelligence services going back decades, with names of spies, political collaborators and double agents. The documentation covers the secret ties Palestinian intelligence maintained from the 1970s, when Yasser Arafat was based in Lebanon, with the Americans, the British, the French, the Israelis and many others.

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Qatari Reformist: The Root Cause of Terrorism is The Culture of Hate

Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former dean of the shari'a and law faculty at Qatar University, has recently published several articles in Gulf papers about terrorism and its root cause. According to Al-Ansari, terrorism is the outcome of a culture of hatred in the Arab countries, and in order to eliminate it, the culture of hate must be eliminated.

The following are excerpts from the articles:

Baseless Excuses for Terrorism

In an article titled "How the Arabs Explain the Terror Phenomenon" in the Qatari daily Al-Raya, Al-Ansari criticized the ways in which the Arab world denies and ignores the phenomenon of terrorism, and refuted the political and socio-economic arguments justifying it:

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EU To Implement New Cross Border Cooperative Measures to Combat Terrorism

By Victor Comras

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council decided, June 11th to finally implement their agreement last January to expand cross border police and judicial cooperation on an operational and information-sharing basis to combat terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration. (See my January 15, 2007 blog). The plan originally called for setting up an EU-wide network of national data bases accessible by participating countries with regard to the investigation, prevention and prosecution of terrorism, cross border crime, and illegal immigration It envisaged a broad range of cross border cooperation including information exchange, sky marshals, counter-terrorism cooperation, illegal immigration, repatriation, joint cross-border policing operations, and civil crisis management.

But the Council has only agreed to move ahead now with one phase of this program. This involves the community wide application of so-called Prum Treaty measures which provide for close police co-operation and information exchange on DNA-profiles, fingerprints and vehicle number-plates. Each EU member country must now designate specific contact points within their law enforcement and investigative agencies through which they can each have gain access to each other’s DNA, fingerprint and vehicle-registration information.

But, not everyone is happy with this agreement. EU privacy advocates have indicated they intend to challenge the new measures in the EU Parliament, national parliaments, and in the EU court system. Nevertheless, these new measures should go a long way toward improving cross border cooperation in Europe and may eventually be extended to assist in closer cooperation with other like minded countries, including the United States and Canada.

Hamas Poised to Convert Captured Gaza Strip into Islamist Enclave

DEBKAfile’s Exclusive Log of Five-Day Blitz

June 14, 2007, 12:58 PM (GMT+02:00)

Abbas' Presidential Guardsmen surrender to Hamas
 

Abbas' Presidential Guardsmen surrender to Hamas

 

14 June: Hamas seizes control of strategic Philadelphi enclave on Egyptian border and all Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and Israel. At least 35 people died in the fighting Wednesday. Any international force in Gaza will be resisted in the same way as an Israeli occupation army, said a Hamas spokesman Thursday, June 14.

Senior Israeli officers described the Hamas victory to DEBKAfile as a greater misfortune for Israel than its Lebanon War setbacks. There, Hizballah was forced by Israeli military action to accept a UN ceasefire and international peacekeepers.

Hamas has no such incentive. In the case of Gaza, the winner takes all and can dictate terms. A radical Islamic enclave with a dominant Iranian-Syrian military presence has sprung up unopposed as a hostile reality on Israel’s southwestern border. It has made the Israeli-Middle East Quartet’s boycott an irrelevance.

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Youth Bulges, Violence, and the Fifth Village: “The Game is Over for Europe”

by Baron Bodissey

UPDATE: This translation contains errors. Lars Hedegaard has since made a revised translation. See our newer post, “A Continent of Losers”.


Below is a translation of an interview by Lars Hedegaard of the German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, from the May issue of the online magazine Sappho. The article was translated from the Danish by Zonka, who deserves our thanks for undertaking such a Herculean task.

Dr. Heinsohn elaborates on a theme that Mark Steyn has made familiar: the impending demographic collapse of the West, particularly Europe, and the accompanying threat from a surplus of angry young Muslim males.

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Interview: Tabernes kontinent

While the European populations are shrinking, and the best-qualified young people are leaving, we continue to allow mass-immigration of unqualified Muslims, who will soon make our welfare society collapse. Add to this the fact that the Muslim world has built up a surplus of youths, which according to experience will lead to mass-murder, and the effect cannot be helped by foreign aid. The originator of these bleak predictions is the German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, who believes that the game is over for Europe.
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Russian President Putin’s Interview with G8 Newspaper Journalists

President Vladimir Putin Fields Questions from G8 Member Countries' Newspaper Journalists
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

I would like to warmly welcome you.

I would just like to say a few words at the beginning of our discussion. We believe that the G8 forum is a useful and interesting event that allows us to synchronise our approaches to key issues linked with the development of the global economy and on the international agenda. And not simply to, shall we say, synchronise our watches but also to coordinate our positions, positions that can then be formalised in G8 documents and, later on, in the documents of other international organisations, including the UN. And this has occurred in the past.

I am very pleased to see that the agreements that were reached in St Petersburg last year have not been forgotten. Many of our agreements are being implemented. Moreover, the German G8 presidency has not forgotten about the major themes of our discussions in St Petersburg. We see clear evidence of what we discussed in Russia in the documents that are now being drafted by experts and sherpas. Of course, this first and foremost refers to energy. But not only that. This also includes development aid and especially aid to African countries. This includes the fight against infectious diseases. Naturally, this also includes our joint efforts concerning climate change.

Of course we will address all of this and, as I have already said, other serious international issues for Europe, such as the Balkans, and other problems. And I am confident that an open, honest discussion between partners on all of these problems — no matter how difficult they are to resolve — will be a useful discussion.

I would like to thank you for the interest you have shown in our work. And I certainly do not have the audacity or the responsibility of speaking for all my G8 colleagues. But I am ready to explain in more detail Russia’s position on issues that you think are of interest to the public.

That was everything I wanted to say at the outset and I will not waste time in a monologue. I am listening to you. Let’s start working.

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Scholen verlagen massaal eisen bij examen

Door onze redacteur Japke-d. Bouma

Rotterdam, 7 juni. De ene school stelt beduidend lagere eisen aan de schoolexamens dan de andere.

 

Ze compenseren nog steeds massaal de lagere cijfers van het centraal examen. Die trend blijft zich voortzetten en geldt ook voor havo-, mavo- en vmbo-scholen, zo blijkt uit nieuw onderzoek. „Het begint belangrijker te worden op welke school je hebt gezeten dan hoe hoog je eindcijfers zijn”, zegt Jaap Dronkers, hoogleraar sociale ongelijkheid aan het Europees Universitair Instituut te Florence. Morgen presenteert hij zijn onderzoek op de Nederlandse Onderwijsdagen in Groningen. Volgende week worden de eerste uitslagen van het centraal examen bekend.

Als alleen het centraal examen zou tellen, zou rond een kwart van alle middelbare scholieren zakken. Omdat ook de schoolexamens meetellen, is dat nu slechts zo’n tien procent. Dronkers stelde eerder vast dat de cijfers van het centraal schriftelijk examen tussen 1997 en 2004 elk jaar lager werden ten opzichte van de cijfers van de schoolexamens. Uit zijn nieuwste cijfers, over 2005, blijkt dat „scholen hun leven niet hebben gebeterd”, zegt hij.

Op een kwart van de vwo-scholen is bij ten minste één vak meer dan een punt verschil tussen centraal en schoolexamen. Voor havo- en mavo-scholen is dat 10, respectievelijk 18 procent. De verschillen zijn het grootst op ‘zwarte scholen’, particuliere en vrije scholen.

De Inspectie onderschrijft Dronkers’ eerdere bevindingen. In maart rapporteerde ze aan de verantwoordelijke staatssecretaris, Van Bijsterveldt (CDA), dat de verschillen tussen de cijfers ontstaan doordat „de schoolexamens soms te makkelijk zijn”. Een andere verklaring is dat schoolexamens beter aansluiten op de schoollessen. Volgens de Inspectie zijn bij aanzienlijke verschillen „maatregelen wenselijk” en zal zij scholen „indringend blijven aanspreken” op te grote verschillen.

Margot Kraneveldt, onderwijsspecialist van de PvdA-fractie in de Tweede Kamer, noemt Dronkers’ bevindingen „zorgelijk”.

 

 

Europe's New Anti Terrorism Convention Strong on Substance, Short on Adherents

By Victor Comras

The new European Anti-Terrorism Convention which entered into force on June 1st, provides for a much broader and improved framework of investigative and judicial cooperation among European countries in combating terrorism than was previously the case. It builds on an earlier 1977 European Terrorism Convention which was much narrower in scope and came into play only after the commission of terrorist acts. Unfortunately, only seven of its thirty-nine European signatories have so far ratified the convention. The seven include Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine. What are the others waiting for?

The new Convention, negotiated two years ago under the auspices of the Council of Europe, completely changes the ground rules. It expands coverage beyond actual “terrorist acts” to “offenses which may lead to acts of terrorism." It also does away with many of the limitations included in the previous convention and calls for full investigative cooperation, mutual assistance and extradition in cases also involving incitement, recruitment and support of terrorist activities.

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DEBKAfile Exclusive: Fierce battles rage Thursday between the Turkish army and Kurdish PKK rebels on both sides of Turkish-Iraqi border. A Turkish Black Hawk shot down over Iraq

Heavy casualties are reported on both sides. Turkish tanks have also been hit. The PKK Kurdish Workers Party turns out to have been ready for the major Turkish operation, well-armed with anti-tank and shoulder-borne missiles for shooting down Turkish warplanes and helicopters. Despite Ankara’s blackout on the scale of operation against the Kurdish rebels on both sides of the border and the scope of the Turkish incursion of Iraq, DEBKAfile’s military sources report the situation as of Thursday, June 7:

PKK bands, who stole earlier into southeastern Turkey from Iraq and locally, are hitting Turkish concentrations behind the lines and impeding their thrust into Iraqi Kurdistan to destroy rebel hideouts. The Turkish army is therefore fighting on two fronts: in the southeastern Turkish Gabar, Cudi and Bakok mountains and River Cehennem, as well as in northern Iraq.

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Wertheimer Manifest

Im Rahmen des vom BDB initiierten 1. deutschen Islamkritikertreffens am 2.6.2007 in Wertheim wurde von den Teilnehmern nach ausführlicher Diskussion ein Katalog von Forderungen an Politik, Medien, Kirchen und andere gesellschaftliche Entscheidungsträger verabschiedet, das

Wertheimer Manifest

Der schleichenden Islamisierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland wird von Seiten der politisch Verantwortlichen kein Widerstand entgegengesetzt, ja, sie wird sogar noch gefördert. Statt der Identitätswahrung der Mehrheit unbedingten Vorrang einzuräumen, fließen Scharia-Elemente in die deutsche Rechtsordnung ein.

Diese Politik richtet sich gegen den überwältigenden Mehrheitswillen, wie die beiden Allensbach-Studien von 2005 und 2006 zeigen, wonach eine große Mehrheit der Deutschen die Ausbreitung des Islam in ihrem persönlichen Umfeld mit wachsender Sorge beobachtet und sich zunehmend von dieser Ausbreitung bedroht fühlt. Alleingelassen von Politik, Kirchen und Medien, überrascht es daher kaum, dass die Bereitschaft der Deutschen, die pauschal geforderte Toleranz gegenüber dem muslimischen Glauben zu üben, dramatisch sinkt, wie Allensbach feststellt. Dies ist ein Besorgnis erregender Befund in Hinblick auf die friedliche Weiterentwicklung unserer Gesellschaft.
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DEBKAfile Exclusive: US forces transfer Iraqi Kurdistan’s security responsibility to local peshmerga to sidestep threatened Turkish invasion

Defense Secretary Robert Gates Sunday cautioned Turkey against sending troops into northern Iraq.

The heavy Turkish military buildup on the border of Iraqi Kurdistan last week prompted the autonomous region’s president, Massoud Barzani, to send a personal emissary, Safin Dizai, to Ankara with an urgent message.

Turkish tanks would not be allowed to cross into northern Iraq, he said. The Kurdish army known as peshmerga would repel them. “The people of Kurdistan,“ said the messenger, “would not stand by as spectators if Turkish tanks and panzers entered Kirkuk.” And finally, “Turkey also knows that a military incursion is out of the question. The world will not allow this. The US is here and does not want it.”

The Kurdish leader had his answer Thursday, May 31, when Turkish chief of staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanýt declared his army was ready for incursion into northern Iraq. "There is not only the PKK in northern Iraq,” he said. “There is Massoud Barzani as well"

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Lebanese army faces Damascus-backed resistance from Fatah al Islam in the northern Lebanese camp of Nahr al-Bared

DEBKAfile reports: After two weeks of fighting, the Lebanese army is still stalled in its effort to break through to the Palestinian Nahr al-Bared refugee camp and rout the Fatah al-Islam radicals holed up there. Two tough obstacles have not been overcome - even with the help of a US-Jordan-UAE airlift of military aid in the last ten days or the mobilization of Lebanese army commando units.

1. Fatah al-Islam are not fighting alone; they are backed by elite units of the Iranian-Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian-General Command, which is commanded by Ahmed Jibril. These Palestinian units are highly trained in urban guerrilla warfare by Syrian commando battalion officers and Iranian Revolutionary Guards and have better skills than the Lebanese commandoes.

2. The radical fighters are getting as many guns and as much ammo as they need to ward off a Lebanese commando incursion into the camp. To avoid tipping its hand, Damascus is holding back the pro-Syrian militias in northern Lebanon from direct involvement in the fighting. But they were heavily armed beforehand and are now diverting to the Fatah Islam everything they need to keep on fighting.

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