Monthly Archives: November 2007

President Mbeki Rips Into Rival’s Values

President Mbeki of South Africa made plain his opposition to Jacob Zuma’s desire to become president of the African National Congress which leads inevitably to president of South Africa. Mbeki specifically pointed out the ANC’s commitment to women rights and charged Zuma is opposed to these historic values. He even stated there should be no problem in having a woman elected head of the nation. These comments were obviously directed at Zuma who was charged with rape(not convicted) and has made several disparaging remarks about women. The president also noted the ANC opposition to tribalism which Zuma frequently plays upon in his public comments. He believes Zuma is a demagogue who plays to the crowd and, if elected, esort to a patronage system of rewarding friends, something the ANC has always opposed.

There is considerable evidence that Jacob Zuma has become a popular figure in his party and will most probably obtain the position of president of the ANC and also of the nation. At this point in time, his reputation as a womanizer and demagogue does not bode well for South Africa.

Taliban Foiled In Plan To Kill Afghan School Girls

Within a day after Osama bin Lalden told the world that America and Europe were the enemies of Afghanistan, US and Afghan troops uncovered bombs set to go off when 400 school girls entered the Poorak Girls School in eastern Logar province. A hand grenade and another bomb were rigged to explode at the school’s entrance. Col. Abdul Majeed Latifi, deputy chief in Logar said: “I am 100 percent sure this was the work of the Taliban.” Upon arrival, US troops found two mortar shells underneath a footbridge in front of the school that was only a few feet from the home of a family.

Osama bin Laden continually complains that US and NATO forces have brought death and destruction to Afghanistan. There is no doubt in many cases lack of accuracy in bombing has resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent Afghan men, women, and children. But, for those duly concerned about such carelessness, there should be equal concern about the barbarity of the Taliban which kills fellow Muslims in the name of some sort of righteous need. How does one justify killing school girls?

Fatah–We Will Fight With Hamas If Israel Invades Gaza!

Within days after the conclusion of the Annapolis conference which supposedly was to clear the way for peace between Israel and Palestinian leaders, a key official of Fatah, which President Abbas controls, announced Fatah would back Hamas, its enemy, if Israel troops invade the Gaza strip. “Fatah won’t remain idle in the face of an Israel invasion of the Gaza Strip. We will definitely fight together with Hamas against the Israel army. It’s our duty to defend the people against the occupiers.” This statement apparently indicates a willingness on the part of Fatah and Hamas to set aside differences in case Israel attacks any portion of the Palestinian Authority. There are reports several Arab nations are trying to mediate issues between Hamas and Fatah. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have made clear to President Abbas that peace cannot proceed until he reaches some sort of compromise with Hamas. The leaders of Hamas are charging the Annapolis conference was a cover up to allow Israel to launch an attack on Gaza.

It is amazing that nothing was done or said or agreed upon at Annapolis between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas concerning any planned Israel operations in Gaza. This is definitely not the time for Israel to initiate any violent action against Hamas regardless of the provocation. There is no question Hamas is allowing rocket attacks on Israel, but the Olmert government has too much at stake to allow their anger and frustration to get in the way of proceeding on the road to peace. Invade Gaza and that ends any hope for peace for years. The most important focus of Israel should be upon how it can assist moderate Arab leaders in negotiating with Hamas so there can be a unified Palestinian group with whom to negotiate.

Were US Soldiers In Iraq Exposed To Radiation?

The United States Army denies reports that soldiers who were stationed at a nuclear research center in Baghdad were exposed to harmful levels of radiation. Since 2003, more than 750 soldiers have been guarding the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center which is 12 miles south of Baghdad. Army officials claim those who received measurable levels of radiation were found to be within US safety standards. However, Sgt. Jason Boatright send an email in August suggesting they had been exposed to radiation at levels not appropriate for health and safety. Boatright met with Col. Mark Melanson, chief of radiation safety, but he also gave interviews to a Memphis TV station in which he stated: “I noticed the guys would end up with rashes. Some had headaches, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues. We realized we were exposed to radiation.” Colonel Melanson insists Boatright is the only soldier who ever complained about radiation.

The US Army has announced that any soldier who was stationed at the nuclear facility should contact medical authorities or go to a VA hospital if discharged if they have any indication of radiation poisoning. Hopefully, no one else will be identified who encountered medical problems at the nuclear site.

Iranian Leader-Focus On Nuclear Technology, Not Weapons

Former Iranian Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Larijani urged his nation to remain focused on developing its nuclear capabilities. “Iran has reached a good level in nuclear technology due to its steadfastness and today their(Western) theorists should accept that Iran has gained access to nuclear technology.” He pointed out the International Atomic Energy Agency and its director, Mohamed ElBaradel has stated there is no evidence Iran is making atomic weapons. Larijani says even if Iran was thinking about making nuclear weapons that would not even happen for years to come. He urged his nation’s leaders to engage in negotiations with other nations about nuclear energy.

Larijani’s statement is an indication many clerics wish their nation to pursue a nuclear energy program, but are not particularly interested in developing atomic weapons. Despite what Bush and other hysterical commentators believe, Iran’s clerics are conservative and they are not stupid. Unleashing atomic weapons on another country would lead to the end of Iran and their power. This is the time to negotiate with Iran, not threaten it.

Peace Or Israel Could Be Finished, Says Olmert

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed a view that many objective observers share that “if the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-styloe struggle for equal voting rights(also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.” This is the first time an Israel leader has made a link between the current situation as the South African apartheid struggle. In a sense, Olmert was confronting the alternative to a two-state solution– an Israel in which Muslims would outnumber Jews if they received the right to vote. Unfortunately, for the prime minister, polls indicate most Israelis were not reassured by the Annapolis conference. The liberal daily Haaretz poll showed only 17% thought Annapolis a success and 42% regarded it as a failure. A similar poll in Yedhiot Ahronot showed 50% felt Annapolis a failure and 83% did not expect positive results by the end of 2008.

Olmert’s honesty may come back to haunt him if negotiations collapse with President Abbas. At this point Prime Minister Olmert must make a dramatic announcement to jump start negotiations. It could be something as simple as ensuring Palestinians of equal access to water supplies or an immediate freeze on further West Bank settlements. Olmert might well ask Turkey to become a partner in discussions since it is among the few nations which has good relations both with Israel and Arab nations.

Russian Election Results Known Before Election

President Vladmir Putin has set in motion an impressive election machine that will guarantee his United Russia party will gain at least 70% of the votes in this week’s election. United Russia has completely dominated what is reported on television. They have received 60% of news coverage in prime time and recent debates between members of other political parties was shown at 7:00 am and at midnight leading to only 1.5% of Russians ever seeing the event. According to Federal Election Chief, Vladmir Churov commented when asked about the limited exposure by TV to other political parties, “if a party does nothing, how can we expect the media to cover it?” Of course, whatever United Russia does must, by definition, be something of worth. Golos, an independent national election observer, is concerned at the incredible increase in the number of absentee ballots which probably is due to pressure from employers that their workers vote for United Russia and by having absentee ballots they can check to see they vote the right way. Golos has received 1,131 phone calls in which 43% of callers complain about election abuses that favor United Russia.

Vladmir Putin is an intelligent manipulator of elections. He avoids brutal actions and works behind the scene to ensure his party will score an impressive victory. Perhaps, President Musharraf can learn something from him about how to win while, technically, being legal.

Pakistan Political Parties Debate Boycott Of Elections

The political opposition to President Musharraf has yet to decide on a unified approach to dealing with the upcoming January elections. The All Parties Democratic Movement(APDM) issued a clear statement that it will engage in a boycott unless President Musharraf restores by December 15th the judiciary to its positions of authority. former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has also indicated his willingness to support a boycott unless Musharraf ensures the presence of an honest election and restoration of Pakistan Supreme Court judges to their posts. Sharif expressed his view that “we do not accept him(Musharraf) as a legitimate president. However, Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) indicated she might participate in elections if guaranteed they will be fair. She believes the issue of the judiciary should be handled apart from the electoral process.

It is doubtful if a splintered political opposition will be able to attain the success it might achieve if united, either for a boycott or for participation. A great deal depends on the reality of a fair electoral process, that is something only Musharraf can guarantee. Will he go in that direction is the real issue.

Flash-Osama bin Laden Wants West Out Of Middle East!

In another example of Osama bin Laden attempting to come across as a real threat, the terrorist leader urged European leaders to get out of the Middle East for their own good. He noted, “with the grace of God…the American tide is receding and they eventually will return to their home across the Atlantic, it is in your own interests to force the hand of your politicians(away from) the White House.” He said the United States and the Europeans would soon be out of Afghanistan which would allow its neighbors to “settle their scores.’ Osama bin Laden also claimed he alone was responsible for 9/11 and the Taliban knew nothing about his plans or actions. He expressed concern that Americans deliberately bombed innocent children and women in order to break the spirit of the mujahideen.

Osama bin Laden is undoubtedly hiding in some mountain cave in Pakistan, distant from any serious military action and increasingly becoming a voice from the past. He expresses horror at the killing of innocent women and children by NATO and American planes, but not a word about his followers who commit suicide amidst women and children. Thousands have died because he encouraged suicide attacks in crowded areas where Muslims gather because of his mistaken belief that somehow he alone is communicating with God. The tide is receding, but he forgets it is also the tide of disgusted Iraqis and Afghans who are tired of the senseless deaths caused by al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden is as much impressed by his own voice as Bush is impressed with his grasp of the Middle East. Both men believe themselves in communication with a God who seeks violence and death in the name of God. Their God is not the God of Muslims or Christians or Jews.

Teddy Bears And Muhammad–The Saga Concludes!

People of the Muslim faith are encountering discrimination and prejudice from religious bigots throughout the world and the last thing they needed was for the clerical bigots in the Sudan to add fire to the flames of anti-Muslim feeling. In a decision that would have seemed logical to the 15th century mind, Ms. Gillian Gibbons of England, a primary school teacher working in the Sudan, was found guilty of “insulting religion” because the children in her class chose the name of “Muhammad” for a teddy bear. The British Foreign Office is furious and British Muslim groups are distressed because the court case is a God-send to every idiotic bigot in their nation who wants to make a case that the Muslim religion is backward and bigoted. It now turns out that a member of the school staff– Sara Khawad, was the one who told religious authorities about the “crime” and even testified against Ms. Gibbons. The judge who heard the case, Mohammed Youssef, said “We are happy with the verdict. It is fair. We will be very sad to lose her.” Huh!

Every time situations like this occur, Muslims confront anger from those who believe their religion has scant relevance to life in the 21st century. This writer knows the overwhelming majority of Muslims believe Judge Youssef and the Sudan court system behaved in an incredible stupid manner by even identifying this situation as an example of “insulting religion.” The best solution at this time is for every ambassador to leave the Sudan for a month in protest against the close minded fools who actually believe naming a teddy bear Jesus or Muhammad, or Moses, or bin Laden or teddy makes a difference in our lives. So, let me print it, the name of the teddy bear in the Sudan was Muhammad.