Monthly Archives: February 2010

Iran Uncovers Terrorist Plot

The Iranian government once again has thwarted attempts by Mossad and other Israel agencies to forment revolution in their nation. A scheduled concert in the city of Tabiz has been cancelled after it was discovered that two women were in the music group. Iranian law only allows women to be in a musical group if the audience is for women or the woman is singing solo. Undoubtedly, God is on the look out for evidence of sloth and lack of belief in his words of wisdom. The government agency which cancelled the concert also made note the concert was sold out which meant there could be a riot and hundreds might die or get injured. It is wonderful having a government which constantly is on the watch for ways in which it could assist people.

First, we allow women to play a musical instrument in a band, next the woman is directing the band, and eventually only women are in the band and men must do the cooking and cleaning.

Taliban Rethinks Strategy With Civilians

During its reign as the government of Afghanistan, the Taliban imposed a strict sharia law that compelled men and women to adhere to rigid rules and regulations concerning their daily lives. Women were beaten if the veil was not entirely on or if their dress revealed an element of color, but today, the Taliban have somewhat relaxed. They realize forces opposing them have the power to inflict defeat if civilians turn toward the government or foreign forces. Even as US, Afghan and NATO forces advance step by step into Marjah, the Taliban is being compelled to accept changes in their philosophy of rule.

The battle is proceeding much slower than anticipated by American military leaders. The real issue is whether the Taliban can be defeated without civilian casualties in order to win the population away from the Taliban.

South Africa To Debate Moral Values

President Jacob Zuma urged his countrymen to engage in an open debate regarding the nation’s moral values and beliefs. On one hand, he said, “we are united in diversity” but on the other hand he decried that certain people believe their standards and values are superior to those of other groups. “I am going to initiate a national conversation on the moral code and our moral values.” Who can oppose a national discussion on moral values? Who can oppose allowing many people to engage in open debate regarding the values of a nation? Outwardly, the goal is desirable, but it also raises questions as to whether the goal is identifying an overall outline of what constitutes the characteristics of a democratic society or is one imposing that upon those who disagree?

A democratic society has a multiple set of values and beliefs because only through diversity of ideas can any society institute changes. Today’s “radical idea” is tomorrow’s conventional way of thinking. Always maintain an open stance for diversity of values and morals.

“Foreign Looking People” Denied Entry To Nightclub

The case in Sweden could have occurred in a dozen nations in the world. A group of six men tried to enter bars and nightclubs in a Swedish city, but were denied entry due to their “foreign looking appearance.” To make matters worse, a similar group of six men who
had a Swedish looking appearance” were welcomed with open arms. In itself, this is not the most vivid example of discrimination, and entry into a nightclub is certainly not the most critical issue in the world. The six Arab men were informed that an Easter party was being held and entry was available on an invitation basis only.

An American comedian, Groucho Marx, once said he would never enter a club that accepted people of his ilk since obviously they had low standards. Discrimination is horrible in any aspect of life, but sometimes one can only wonder if not being allowed to enter certain places is a compliment rather than insult.

Palestinian Leader Urges Peace With Israel

President Mahmud Abbas urged Israel to reach out to the Palestinian Authority government and work for peace between the two nations. “An independent Palestinian state is a vital interest to Israel.” Abbas argued peace between Palestinians and Israel would change the entire Middle East and relieve tension in the region. It would also create the basis for an extended peace between Israel and other Arab nations such as Syria. However, the Abbas message included a warning that no peace could be achieved until Israel halted further construction of settlements in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

The European Union in December supported the idea of Jerusalem becoming the capital of two nations-Palestine and Israel. Such a step would be symbolic of the importance of peace between the two nations.

Is Europe Losing Patience With Afghanistan?

The divide between American policy in Afghanistan and nations of Europe apparently is growing wider as witness the collapse of the Netherlands government over this issue. Durch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende declared the end of his coalition government over the issue of whether 2,000 Dutch troops should be evacuated from Afghanistan. Twenty one Dutch soldiers have died in the Afghan war, but the entire process of war and conflict has made most people tired and seeking an end to the conflict. The Dutch withdrawal has simply added fuel to the issue in nations like Germany where the Afghanistan war simply lacks popularity. The Suddellutsche Zeitung wrote: “The alliance no longer seems able to muster and preserve unity without which the war will scarcely be winnable…This shows that the public and politicians are losing patience with the Afghanistan mission.”

Ironically, the war in the United States, aside from such institutions as Fox News and right wing pundits, is not very popular. Obama fears ending the mission for fear of being lambasted by Fox News. Fortunately, in Germany there is no such TV station.

Egypt Cracks down On Muslim Brotherhood

The vast majority of stories dealing with the Middle East pertain to American involvement or to the Palestine-Israel conflict, and few concern internal Arab disputes. The Muslim Brotherhood(MB) was among the initial nationalist -religious groups which emerged in the region and within years after the successful Gamel Nasser seizure of power in Egypt, it clashed with secular nationalist forces. There have been ongoing crackdowns on the MB in Egypt since President Mubarak fears it will become a powerful force that challenges his control of the nation. The MB has been successful in creating social services to the poor, and, in many cases it is more successful than government agencies.

The current Egyptian crackdown has resulted in arrest of the MB’s leader, Mahmoud Ezzat and several of his deputies. In theory the MB is an unlawful agency, but it has decided to open to the public internal policies and events which has aroused anger on the part of the government. How can an organization be illegal but displaying information about itself and attempting to gain power in the legislature? The MB has promised to enter candidates for parliamentary elections this year which undoubtedly will result in an attempt to destroy the group’s ability to be a political force.

The Egyptian government charges there is a “special outfit” in the MB which adheres to the ideas of radical writer, Sayed Qotb. According to the government there is an official MB which tries coming across as moderate and a secret leadership which is bent on radical changes in the country. The MB exists in a twilight zone of being denied legal status as a political group and a group that does exist and interacts with Egyptians.

Does John McCain Recall What He Said About Gays?

In 2006, Senator John McCain expressed his views regarding the presence of gays and lesbians in this manner: “The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it.” OK, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has come forth to recommend ending the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and McCain along with his Republican buddies are denouncing calls for change. Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made clear he wants a change in policy and has General David Petraeus whom conservatives regard as a great military leader. The basic argument advanced by Republican congressmen is changing the policy somehow impedes “military effectiveness” as noted by Cong. Gene Taylor.

Lost in their concern about “effectiveness” is any consideration for the effectiveness in combat of gay and lesbian soldiers who are risking their lives in the service of the nation. Latest polls of Americans indicate at least 60% favor changing the policy. It is always so fascinating that so many congressmen who have never served in the military know so much about military effectiveness.

Dutch Dodge Dutch Treat In Afghanistan

The price of George Bush’s inaction in Afghanistan continues to plague the current situation and impacts those nations which seek to restore some semblance of stability to the divided nation. The Dutch government has collapsed over the issue as to whether their troops should remain in Afghanistan past the original 2010 deadline. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the Labor Party which is part of his coalition has refused to serve in a government which allows their troops to remain in Afghanistan past the original deadline. There are only 2,000 Dutch troops in the country and they mainly focus on economic development, but they are part of the promised 10,000 additional troops promised to the Americans.

Reality is the difficulty to secure an extra 10,000 NATO troops from nations which have waited for a decade to witness the establishment of a stable government in Afghanistan. Reality is President Karzai will never be the one to accomplish that goal and sending troops to fight for a corrupt, inefficient leader is no guarantee of success. Perhaps, it is time to cut the string and allow Karzai to handle the situation, or in failing to do so, step aside and allow a Cabinet of honest technocrats to deal with problems.

Children’s Hour In Middle East!

Last month the deputy foreign minister in Israel decided to humiliate the Turkish ambassador so he arranged for that person to be seated in a lower chair and then refused to even offer him a cup of tea or coffee. This was to show the world that Israel does not treat decently those nations which insult their actions in the Middle East. Yesterday, as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was prepared to visit a city in his country someone created a huge poster which depicts Israel President Shimon Peres in the act of bowing to Erdogan. Naturally, the Turkish Prime Minister insisted the poster be removed.

A major problem in the Middle East is the presence in Israel of Avigdor Lieberman as the foreign minister of a major nation. This man leans toward childish activities and has absolutely no talent in the world of diplomacy except to endorse activities like having an ambassador sit in a lower seat. Isn’t it time Israel sent mature individuals as their diplomatic representatives?