Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Tide Turns In Baghdad

The Strategypage reveals that terrorists are slowly being driven out of Baghdad by the eighteen new Iraqi battalions trained by America. Seven of those battalions can operate on their own, able to move their troops quickly to make raids and fend off ambushes. Iraqi soldiers respond to the one or two dozen terrorist attacks made each day, and do so with increasing effectiveness. Each Iraqi battalion has ten American advisors who fine tune operations and help the Iraqi commanders promote and cull the leadership in the middle ranks.

Terrorists are finding easier pickings outside Baghdad in less well-defended towns. Yet, the tide is turning against them there, too.

There are now 120 total Iraqi army and police battalions sufficiently well-led to commit to combat in Iraq. That's 207,000 Iraqi soldiers and police. Three dozen are sufficiently well-led to fight without American supervision. As the Iraqi military leaders mature, the Iraqi divisions will roll out over the countryside of Iraq, defeating the insurgents. And those new Iraqi military leaders are mostly Kurds and Shia Arabs, not the Sunni Arabs who officered Saddam's army. That's bad news for the Sunnis, who may be realizing that the days of Iraq as a Sunni empire are gone and never to return.

It's bad news for the insurgents, especially the hated foreign jihadis. As Iraqi battalions establish their presence throughout the country, the locals will feel more confident to provide the intelligence to extirpate the armed resistance to the new Iraqi democracy.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Religion Of Peace & Tolerance

Four teenaged Christian girls were walking to school in last Saturday near the Muslim town of Poso on the island of Sulawesi in eastern Indonesia when they were attacked by up to six men clad in black clothes and masks, bearing machetes. One girl, Noviana Malewa, escaped into a ravine. She is now in intensive care at a nearby hospital. The other three were not so lucky: Yarni Sambue, 15; Interesia Morangke, 16; and Alfita Paulina, 19. Their bodies were found at the site of the attack, clad in their brown school uniforms. Their heads were found a couple hours later in two different places. One head had been left at a church, probably as a message.

Horrific photos of the girls remains were published here and here.

Some 2000 people have been killed in fighting between Muslims and Christians around Poso. Although a peace deal was signed in 2001, the neighbouring Christian town of Tentena was bombed in May, killing 22 people, apparently by Muslims. These beheadings were likely perpetrated by Muslims, as well.

Muslim violence has been on the rise in Indonesia, part of a Muslim campaign of terror to create a Muslim superstate in southeast Asia, one infidel head at a time.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Peace Be With You

Mustang Nine is the blog name of a National Guard soldier from Minnesota, currently deployed near Baghdad, a veteran of twenty-two years of military service. He controls access to the gate of the camp, helped by Iraqi interpreters, as he explains in this post from his blog "Six More Months":

I met Neo the same day I met Fox and Junior, “my” interpreters. Neo, before he transferred to another job, worked the gate with about 12 other interpreters, and we considered him one of the best; intelligent, eloquent, and principled. He owned a jewelry business in Baghdad before the war and my predecessors introduced us quickly, advising me to talk to Neo before buying any jewelry, because he had the best quality at the most reasonable prices. After about a month, Neo left the gate to work at the base contracting office. This was the perfect match for him. His business experience and knowledge of the Baghdad economy allowed the contracting office to drive the hardest bargains and find the best suppliers. It also allowed him to get a little less face time in front of the other Iraqi workers, which he hoped would reduce the risk associated with working here, and the constant threats he received. Neo moved his family four times since I arrived here to protect them from those threats.

I found out this afternoon that two days ago, Neo was driving to work when his car was stopped by terrorists. They pulled him from his car and shot him in the back of the head. They left his body lying in the ditch alongside the road. Neo’s real name was Nabeel. Nabeel lived his life with more courage and honor than the cowards who murdered him will know in a thousand lifetimes.

Nabeel stayed here in spite of the danger because he believed that he was building a peaceful and free Iraq. I will miss you, my friend. May God grant you the peace you sought.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rocky 6

A decade after the last Rocky movie hit the silver screen, a deal for the new Rocky movie has been done. Rocky 6 now seems inevitable. The plot is still secret of course but with star Sylvester Stallone pushing 60 it might feature aging boxer Rocky Balboa battling retirees in a huge bout for the championship of the AARP. The most startling news is that Mr. T will reprise his role as Clubber Lang. You can never have enough of Mr. T. I pity the fool who doesn't with his jibber jabber.

That leads to Rocky 7, when Balboa battles challengers who butt in line for the Early Bird Special at the local buffet near his retirement community. Hard on its heels comes Rocky 8, where Balboa butts heads with several nasty tempered pugs in walkers at his nursing home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Secret Of Success In Mosul

Michael Yon writes another fabulous post on the Coalition success in Mosul, where the US military and Iraqi police are steadily whittling the insurgents down to nothing. It may be the biggest success story you were never told by the media. Apparently when Americans or Iraqi citizens bleed, it leads. But when the insurgents bleed to death, its not news because it doesn't support the story the media wants to tell.

While the liberal media paint Iraq as Vietnam, Yon tells the real deal in Mosul:

"While open warfare still rages parts of Iraq, in Mosul the war is becoming more like police work. Most of the top enemy leadership in Mosul has been killed or captured, and the replacements of the replacements of the replacements are the new targets. But these new quarterbacks recruited from the fans in the stadium are progressively less adept at staying alive in an increasingly terrorist-hostile environment. They face an increasingly sophisticated ISF. The rates of incline (the ISF) and decline (the terrorists) sharply intersect to form an “x.” The ISF grows stronger every day, while the insurgents weaken and stumble.

"The people of Mosul, too, have demonstrated newfound trust in their new government; an expectation that sometimes extends to patience with the inevitable glitches that have to be worked out of any new system. In a period of months, they have gone from not talking with the Americans to providing a flood of information that increases in scope and value, resulting in the elimination of terrorists, and the discovery and removal of weapons and bomb-making materials, items they don’t want near their children."

One of the main tactics for taking down the terrorists is the cascading raid:

"The police were also developing their own intelligence and acting on it, even becoming adept at “the cascading raid,” as I began to call it. The Americans do it often, but call it “the domino effect.” Watching these raids unfold, I saw the effect was more like a cascade. Raid cascades happened like this: a bad guy is caught, and tells where other terrorists are, who are then quickly caught, and they in turn rat out a few more. One terrorist might lead soldiers to three more, who might lead them to four more, who might lead them to another one. Sometimes the cascades lasted only a few hours and netted perhaps a half a dozen fighters before petering out. Other cascades lasted days and netted dozens.

"An example of a typical cascade happened when the 5-West police captured two terrorists who were handing out Jihad literature. During interrogation, they ratted the location of their cell leader. The police raided the cell leader's house, killed one terrorist and captured seven others. The cell leader quickly broke, giving up the identity of his boss. The police continued the momentum of the cascade, capturing the higher ranking cell leader, who in turn gave interrogators the location of a large cache of weapons, mortars, and ammunition. The weapons cache validated the capture and validity of all the previously captured terrorists in the cascade."

Yon reports that the terrorists are the terrorists biggest enemies:

Strangely, foreigners captured by Americans in Mosul always seemed intent on telling every secret they knew as fast as possible. This seems counter-intuitive. It seems reasonable that the foreigners would have the strongest resolve. But in fact they are alone, without support and very easy prey for local terrorist cell leaders. Terrorists feeding on terrorists. It's no wonder that when they are captured, foreign fighters typically tell everything.

From these "tell-all" interrogations, we've learned how local insurgents recruit foreigners, including how they coerce some of the “jihadists” to carry out homicide attacks. Time and again, the soldiers in Mosul would capture foreigners, and the jihadists would tell everything. The Deuce Four captured a Libyan who then complained loudly to the Americans that the Iraqis wanted him to commit suicide while killing Iraqi police. He wanted to fight Americans mano-a-mano, and the alternate plan was not a worthy substitute to his thinking. Strangely, in sense, the Americans rescued an enemy from his enemies, who were also our enemies.

Lieutenant Colonel Kurilla comments on the seemingly endless number of Number Two terrorists that the Coalition is killing or capturing:
"Did you ever notice that the news always says 'Top Zarqawi Lt or aide arrested'? You would think that the Army is trying to dupe the press or else that there are thousands of Zarqawi Lieutenants. But the fact is, we capture so many of the top leadership that they replace them and we fail to say that this was the replacement cockroach."
Read Yon's entire post for yourself. You'll learn more about what's really happenning on the ground in Iraq than if you read the newspaper all summer.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam

One of the most pernicious positions advanced by Muslims to justify their war on the West is that it is but a defensive reaction to the Christian Crusaders who attacked the Muslim world without provocation a thousand years ago. Osama Bin Laden and other Muslim terrorists invoke this argument by calling Americans "Crusaders." This Muslim position is unskeptically accepted by the politically correct. For example, Bill Clinton declared that the Crusader's sack of Jerusalem in 1099 AD was the ultimate cause of the Sep 11 attacks.

Robert Spencer rebuts this dishonest history by pointing out that long before the First Crusade launched, Muslims had conquered two thirds of the Christian world in a massive campaign of bloody religious imperialism. This and much more is laid out in his excellent book, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)."

After Mohammed died in 632 AD, the Muslims embarked upon a jihad to conquer the known world for Islam. The Mediterranean Sea at that time was surrounded by Christian nations. All five of Christendom's major cities came under attack by the Muslims, four of them conquered: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome. Only Rome barely escaped Muslim conquest after the Pope agreed to pay tribute in 846 AD.

The rules of engagement for Muslim invaders were simple, consisting of Mohammed's three part policy for dealing with unbelievers: 1) Convert to Islam; 2) Accept second-class status as a dhimmi and pay the jizya, the poll tax on non-Muslims; or 3) die.

Accepting dhimmi status meant that Muslims were the masters, non-Muslims the despised inferiors. Dhimmis must wear special clothes, give way to Muslims on the street, stand when Muslims enter a room, are forbidden to build new churches, can not bear arms, may not strike a Muslim, and their testimony has no weight in court. When a dhimmi pays his poll tax, the Muslim collector must humiliate him so that he feels subjugated, in accordance with the Koran. Typically, this means that the dhimmi must stand while the collector sits. When the dhimmi pays, the collector strikes him on the face to ensure he feels inferior. While Muslims claim they do not compel anyone to become Muslim, in practice being a dhimmi was so difficult that most converted to Islam to end the abuse.

The Muslims swept across Christian North Africa, annihilating villages who had no idea what a Muslim was until they swept into their homes and began beheading them, raping them, looting them, and enslaving them. They crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain in 711 AD, most of which they conquered by 715 AD. They pressed on to invade France but were stopped by Charles Martel at Tours in 732 AD. Two more unsuccessful invasions were attempted in 792 AD and 848 AD.

On the other end of the Mediterranean, the Muslims conquered the Christian city of Jerusalem in 638 AD. They swept north to Christian Syria and Armenia and then into Byzantine Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Muslims laid seige to Constantinople, the capital of Christian Byzantium, in 668 AD and 717 AD unsuccessfully. The Muslim war went on for nearly three and a half centuries before they conquered all of Asia Minor. It took until 1453 for the Muslims to conquer Constantinople and rename it Istanbul.

The Muslims also attacked through southern Europe, raiding Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete. They invaded Sicily in 827 and pressed on into Italy, reaching Rome in 846 AD. Rome paid tribute to the Muslims, thus avoiding becoming a Muslim city. Otherwise, the Vatican would be another mosque.

By the end of the eleventh century, the Byzantine empire had been whittled away by Muslim invaders until only Greece remained. The Byzantine emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, pressed by savage Muslim armies, called upon Pope Urban II for help in his defense. Pope Urban launched the First Crusade in 1095 AD to defend Greece against the Muslims.

By the time the First Crusade was launched, Muslims had savagely conquered Christian village after village, nation after nation, penetrating Europe on three fronts, in a jihad that was waged from the initial conquest of Jersulem in 638 AD for 457 years. Yet the Muslims ignore their four and half centuries of aggression to claim the Christians had initiated hostilities with Islam with the Crusades.

Therefore, the Muslim claim to be the innocent victim of unprovoked aggression by Christian Crusaders is simply a pack of lies, lies which have become Islamic doctrine.

The Muslim jihad against the West continued until 1683, when they became too weak to continue waging large scale war. The Muslim will to wage jihad remained and the doctrine of jihad remained in force. It wasn't until oil money reinvigorated the Middle East that Muslims were able to renew their jihad against the non-Muslim world.

The Muslim jihadis operate under the same rules of engagement. Before attacking, Islamic law mandates that the infidels be issued a call to Islam. For example, Osama Bin Laden opened his war with America by calling on it to convert to Islam in his November 2002 "letter to the American people": "What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? 1) The first thing we are calling you to is Islam ...." When the infidels reject the call to Islam, Muslims are then free to make war on them.

The Muslim doctrine of taqqiya, "concealment," allows Muslims to lie among unbelievers, especially when living in infidel nations. It is permissible to deny parts of Islam to survive. For example, you can publicly object to terror in America while sending secret contributions to Al Qaeda.

Spencer makes other interesting points about the differences between Islam and Christianity. For example, Christians believe that there is an order to the universe, which is governed by laws. For them, the universe is like a giant clockwork made and set in motion by God. The Muslims, by contrast, reject this. Their universe is governed by Allah's arbitrary will, which can change at any time. The pieces of the world need not interact rationally. In short, the Western world holds reason to be the highest virtue, while the Muslim world holds faith to be supreme.

Muslims do not agree with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example, they want capital punishment for infidel murderers of Muslims but forbid it for Muslim murderers of infidels, forthrightly explaining that non-Muslims are "on a lower level of belief and conviction" than Muslims, who possess a "loftier" faith. They also disagree with the right to change religions. Islamic law demands the death penalty for apostates.

The West believes in pluralistic governments which allow all faiths to flourish. Islam demands a theocracy where non-Muslims are second-class citizens. The West is committed to democracy. Islam is committed to authoritarian theocracy. Spencer bluntly states that Islam is a totalitarian, supremacist, expansionist ideology. The difference in values between the West and Islam leads to the current clash of civilizations. Spencer quite rightly states Western values and traditions are superior and worth fighting for. We deserve to win against Muslim terror, which represents an inferior set of values.

For anyone who wants a deeper understanding, without the fuzzy-wuzzy multicultural candy coating, of the Islamist enemy who is waging war on the West through terror, I Strongly Recommend This Book. It is very readable and provides you with all the talking points you need to defeat politically correct liberals in argument.

Beautiful Maidens

Al Qaeda nutjobs attack Arabs living in residential compounds in Saudi Arabia in a new television series being broadcast in the Middle East during the Ramadan holiday called "Beautiful Maidens." The beautiful maidens of the title refer to the seventy-two virgins radical Islamists believe they will win as martyrs in the jihad against non-believers. The show makes the point, controversial in the Arab Muslim world, that blowing yourself up is no way to meet chicks.

One of the writers for "Beautiful Maidens is a former radical Muslim nutjob himself. Abdullah Bjad, a Saudi (naturally), said that during one of the suicide bombings in 2003 on a Saudi Arabian residential compound, the murderer was talking to his bosses. He was "heard on the mobile phone counting down the seconds to the 'beautiful maidens.' His last words were: 'One second to the 'beautiful maidens.' He then blew himself up."

The director and producer of "Beautiful Maidens," Najdat Anzour, a Muslim Syrian, says, "The series is aimed at those who have not made up their minds about terrorism yet. We want to tell them that Islam is a religion of tolerance, peace and dialogue. It's not a religion of violence." He said the show was dedicated to "all innocent victims of terrorism."

These are old chestnuts peddled by Muslims but completely false. Islam is anything but tolerant or peaceful. Jihad against unbelievers is part of Islamic doctrine and the highest duty for Muslims. Most of the history of Islam is one of war against infidels, interrupted only when Muslim civilization was too feeble to bear arms successfully against the West. Likewise, the assertion that Islam desires dialogue is refuted by a thousand years of fatwas forbidding contact with the West inspired by the injunctions of Mohammed against befriending or imitating unbelievers.

The dedication to "innocent victims of terrorism" is the slipperiest piece of rhetoric of all, as Muslims only consider Muslims to be innocent. There are dozens of ways in which Muslims declare non-Muslims to be guilty of aggression against Muslims and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. The traditional way is declare infidels as arrogant in rejecting the truth offered by Mohammed. Other variations on this theme include Osama Bin Laden's declaration of all American civilians as legitimate targets because they pay taxes which support Israel and general oppression of Muslims around the world. Presumably, "Beautiful Maidens" features Arab families as victims of the terrorists because American and other Western victims would receive little sympathy with a Middle Eastern Muslim audience.

Of course, anything that knocks suicide bombing will attract criticism in the Middle East. The Internet is ablaze with condemnation of "Beautiful Maidens" in Arabic chat rooms. Anzour, the director, has been castigated as an infidel who is tarnishing the image of Islam. In typical Islamic fashion, they do not rebut the show's themes with that famous Muslim dialogue but rather demand that the series be cancelled. However, to its credit, the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), an Arabic satellite television station that broadcasts "Beautiful Maidens," refuses to do so. Oddly, MBC is owned by Saudis.

North Korea Teeters On The Edge

North Korea is doomed, reports Strategy Page, with signs of its demise spreading. The North still has problems feeding itself, though it enjoyed a good crop this year. Food is rationed, which perversely gives the government more short term political control, allowing it to punish rebellious towns by cutting off their food. A black market, ie a free market, in food has arisen for the wealthy, which is to say, business entrepreneurs and senior government leaders.

The oversized military is in decline. There is no money for training or maintenance, eroding their readiness. Discipline is evaporating. The conscript military may not be willing to control rebellion within North Korea, let alone launch offensive operations against South Korea.

Within the civilian government, the attitude is every man for himself as the government slowly sinks, though the government retains enough authority to stifle any open criticism. Corruption is rife. Even the secret police, the center of power, take bribes.

The Communists in control of North Korea have long propagandized their ignorant people to believe that South Korea is a poor, starving puppet of the United States. Much of their power derives from hiding the success of South Korea from their own people by restricting information. However, the government is slowly becoming resigned to their people suspecting the truth as it spreads via various forms of "information pollution," such as visits from South Korean tourists bringing desperately needed hard cash.

Crime is on the upswing. Burglary and robbery are more common as the struggle for everyday life sharpens.

StrategyPage sees the situation in North Korea as much the same as Communist Eastern Europe in the 1980s before its collapse. Its collapse is inevitable. But will it die in its sleep or in one last insane fit of rage?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Combat Babe

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Erin Liberty, of Niceville, Florida, is an ammunition technician with Ammunition Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group. She jumped in a seven-ton truck with nineteen other Marines, part of a convoy to carry them home to their base at Camp Fallujah, Iraq last June 23rd. She was sitting second to last seat in the back, on the right side when an IED constructed of five 155-millimeter incendiary rounds and propane tanks detonated six feet from each side of the truck.

“When it blew up, we all flew back and then forward again in our seats. I looked at the girl next to me and saw her bounce up and down in the flames. I just closed my eyes and waited for it to end. I felt myself being thrown in the air, but my eyes remained shut. When I impacted the ground, I realized nothing hurt. I felt everything that was happening, but it was like there was a bubble around me, because when I hit the ground and woke up, I felt no pain. I looked at my hands and saw the skin hanging off my left pinky finger, but it still didn't hurt. Not then.”
Erin survived with third degree burns on her hands, two black eyes, and a broken cervical vertebrae in her neck. The Seabee woman sitting next to her wasn't as lucky.

Erin was sent home for surgery, scheduled for next month, but first she got married, having been engaged before she went to Iraq. “It's been a rough engagement,” she said.

Now ask yourself, why does the mainstream media make Cindy Sheehan the face of the war in Iraq and not Erin Liberty?

Thanks to Blackfive.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Soldiers Died, Clinton Took Bribe

Louis Freeh, FBI director under President Bill Clinton, is publishing his memoir called "My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror". He writes of a difficult relationship with his boss Clinton,

"The problem was with Bill Clinton — the scandals and the rumored scandals, the incubating ones and the dying ones never ended. Whatever moral compass the president was consulting was leading him in the wrong direction. His closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out.”

If only that were the worst of it.

Terrorists bombed an US military barracks, Khobar Towers, in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing nineteen of our guys and wounding 372 more. The Saudis refused to allow the FBI to question the bombing suspects they held. Clinton had made a fine sound bite, vowing to bring to justice those responsible. When Freeh asked Clinton to make a personal request to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to give the FBI access to the suspects, Clinton refused.

Freeh writes in his book that when Clinton and Abdullah talked,

“Bill Clinton raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he understood the Saudis’ reluctance to cooperate and then he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the Clinton Presidential Library.”

In other words, the quid pro quo was that Clinton would not press the issue if Abdullah paid him off with a bribe via Clinton's library. That was a "donation" soaked in American military blood, an expression of contempt from a president who famously claimed to loathe the military. When the chance came at Khobar Towers, he sold the military out.

The FBI was later able to question the Saudi suspects after George Bush the elder made the request to Abdullah. Iran was behind the bombing. Clinton refused to support a prosecution based on the FBI's evidence.

Freeh will be talking about his book to Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes", this Sunday night, October 9, at 7 PM ET/PT.

Stupid Muslim Tricks: Saudi Soccer Fatwa

The Islamic geniuses in Saudi Arabia have ruled that Muslims should not play soccer like the Europeans do because it violates the Prophetic tradition (hadith) against imitating Christians and Jews. The Neanderthal Wahhabi clerics dictate that soccer can only be played if the rules are different from the rest of the world and the players play only to get in good shape to kill infidels in the jihad.

One of the soccer fatwas, written by Saudi Sheikh 'Abdallah Al-Najdi, as published in the Saudi daily, Al-Watan, on August 22, 2005:
"1. Don't play soccer with four lines [surrounding the field], since this is the way of the non-believers, and the international soccer rules require drawing [these lines] before playing.

"2. One should not use the terminology established by the non-believers and the polytheists, like: 'foul,' 'penalty kick,' 'corner kick,' 'goal,' and 'out of bounds.' Whoever pronounces these terms should be punished, reprimanded, kicked out of the game, and should even be told in public: 'You have come to resemble the non-believers and the polytheists, and this has been forbidden.'

"3. If one of you falls during the game and breaks his hand or his foot, or if the ball hits his hand, he shall not say 'foul' and shall not stop playing because of his injury. The one who caused his injury shall not receive a yellow or a red card, but rather the case shall be judged according to Muslim law in the case of a broken bone or an injury. The injured player shall exercise his rights according to the shari'a, as [is stated] in the Koran, and you must testify together with him that so-and-so tripped him up intentionally.

"4. Do not set the number [of players] according to the number of players used by the non-believers, the Jews, the Christians, and especially the vile America. In other words, 11 players shall not play together. Make it a larger or a smaller number.

"5. Play in your normal clothing, or in pajamas, or something like that, but not in colorful pants and numbered jerseys. Pants and jerseys are not appropriate clothing for Muslims. They are the clothing of the non-believers and of the West, and therefore you must be careful not to wear them.

"6. Once you have fulfilled [these] conditions and rules, you must play the entire game with the intention of improving your physical fitness for the purpose of fighting Jihad for Allah's sake and preparing for the time when jihad is needed. One should not waste time in celebrating a false victory.

"7. Do not play for 45 minutes, as is the practice among the Jews, the Christians, and in all of the countries of non-belief and atheism. This is also the length of time that is accepted in the soccer clubs of those who have strayed from the righteous path. You must be different than the non-believers, depart from their path, and not imitate them in anything.

"8. Do not play in two parts [i.e. halves], but rather in one part or in three parts, so as to be different than the sinful and rebellious, the non-believers and the polytheists.

"9. If neither side has defeated the other and neither side has inserted the ball between the posts, do not waste further time [in an extension] or in 'penalty kicks' until someone has won, but rather leave [the field] immediately, since this kind of victory is precisely an imitation of the non-believers and [adoption] of the international soccer rules.

"10. Do not appoint someone who follows the players around and is called 'a referee', since, after canceling the international rules such as 'foul,' 'penalty kick,' 'corner kick' and so on, there is no need for his presence. Moreover, his presence is an imitation of non-believers, Jews and Christians, and constitutes adoption of the international [soccer] rules.

"11. In the course of the game it is forbidden for groups of youth to gather and watch, since if you are gathering for the sake of sports activity and physical fitness, as you claim, why should they be looking at you? You must make them participate [in order to improve] their physical fitness and prepare for jihad; or else say to them, 'Go propagate Islam and seek out moral corruption in the marketplaces and in the press [in order to correct it], and leave us to improve our physical fitness.'

"12. When you finish playing, be careful not to talk about the game, and not to say 'we play better than the opponent,' or 'so-and-so is a good player,' etc. Moreover, you should speak about your body, its strength and its muscles, and about the fact that you are playing as [a means of] training to run, attack, and retreat in preparation for [waging] jihad for Allah's sake.

"13. If one of you inserts the ball between the posts and then starts to run so that his companions will run after him and hug him, like the players in America and France do, you should spit in his face, punish him, and reprimand him, for what do joy, hugging, and kissing have to do with sports?

"14. You must take the three posts or iron rods which you use to construct [the goal], and into which the ball is kicked, and replace them with just two instead of three. In other words, take out the cross-post or rod… so that [the goal] will not be similar to what is customary among the non-believers, and in order to violate the despotic international soccer rules.

"15. Do not do what is known as 'substitution' – that is, putting in a player in place of a player who has been disqualified – since this the custom of the non-believers in America and elsewhere."
The fatwa was issued in Saudi Arabia's al-Taif region, where the captain of the well known Al-Rashid soccer team reports that three of his team had left under the the belief that soccer was prohibited by Islam. They were recruited by Zarqawi's Al Qaeda terror organization in Iraq. One of them, Majid Al-Sawat, subsequently was arrested in Iraq while preparing to be a suicide bomber. He is held in prison in Mosul. The other two team members, Tamer al-Thamali and Dayf Allah al-Harithi, completed their suicide missions.

Saudi Arabia is our partner in the war against terror.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Why They Hate Us

Kirk H. Sowell is an Arabist, attorney, published author and specialist in Middle Eastern affairs. He makes the case that Arab Muslims hate America out of religious bigotry:

The primary factor in determining how the United States is viewed in the Muslim world is the political psychology of Islam which leads many believers to expect that as along as Muslims are faithful to their religion, then it will not only spread (which it is doing) but will be a political and military power surpassing its non-Muslim rivals. There are two other popular theories for explaining Muslim anti-Americanism, one (predominant on the Right) being that modern Arab states inflame anti-Americanism through their media, and the other (predominant on the Left) being that anti-Americanism is due to U.S. foreign policies. Both of these theories have some value, but as I will show, they are ultimately inadequate.

Islamic political theory began with certain statements in the Quran and events from the life of the Prophet Muhammad which emphasized that political power arose from the right faith. This was followed by the amazing Arab conquests of the seventh century and confirmed by the dominance, with only temporary reversals, of Muslim states up to the height of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. Islamic legal doctrine developed which taught that it was the duty of the state to wage jihad to expand the borders of Islam. Monotheistic peoples who accepted Muslim rule would be able to keep their property and practice their religion, but those who resisted could be forced to convert and/or be sold into slavery. Islamic law also held that once land was brought under Muslim rule, it remained obligatory for Muslims to reconquer it should it be taken over by non-Muslims.

With this framework in mind, what is offensive to many Muslims is not that others believe differently than they do, but that non-Muslim states have power, and that non-Muslims in formerly Muslim lands, such as modern Israel, Spain and Sicily, do not submit to Muslim rule. Note that this has nothing to do with terrorism per se. Traditional mainstream Islam was not terroristic, as Islamic law contained rules of warfare which forbade intentionally killing non-combatants, required the protection of enemies who surrendered on terms, required fair notice before resuming hostilities after a truce, etc. Mainstream Islam held that the doctrine of jihad included spreading Muslim rule by conquest, but through conventional modes of warfare rather than what we think of as terrorism.
Returning now to the two alternative theories - the theory that anti-Americanism is caused by government-owned media which stir it up to divert attention from their own failures seems valid because there are many instances of this. But the phenomenon predates the existence of modern Arab media, so this theory confuses symptom for ultimate cause. Also, there is very little if any difference between independent and government-owned Arab media in terms of anti-American bias. The other theory, that anti-Americanism is driven by U.S. policies which are genuinely to blame for the Arab world's problems, may have some superficial appeal since some U.S. policies have been wrong-headed (the Iranian coup in 1950s, being too close to Mubarak and the Saudis, etc.). Yet even where U.S. actions bring about positive outcomes, there is still an anti-American reaction.

There are two additional factors which have a significant role in driving public perceptions in the Muslim world, especially in Arab countries. One secondary factor is the pollution of Arab culture and society with the worst ideologies ever created by Western civilization - Nazi anti-Semitism, fascism and Marxism. Neither Islam nor the Arab world are intrinsically oriented toward hatred of Jews. Indeed, historically relations between Muslims and Jews have been much better than between Christians and Jews. Traditional states in the Middle East were autocratic, as were most of their European contemporaries, but they were certainly not totalitarian in the modern sense. This has changed radically since the 1930s, however, as first Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and later the Soviet Union flooded the region with their ideology.

The appeal of the German and Italian models faded after World War II, but in most Arab countries ideologies based on statism and Marxism were ascendant thereafter. Saddam Hussein even consciously modeled himself after Joseph Stalin. The current effort to promote democratic reform and freedom of expression in the Arab world is an attempt to "drain the swamp" of this toxicity, but one would have to be naive to
think that the warped worldview expressed in the Al-Quds editorial above will go
away any time soon.

Finally, Arab perceptions of American power are shaped by the natural resentments which any people would have when they compare their great past with their pitiful present. The Russians and the French often resent the ascendance of American power and their relative decline; Americans would surely feel the same were roles reversed. The Arabs were the sole rulers in one great empire, the Umayyads (661-750 A.D.), the dominant ethnic group in its even greater successor, the Abbasids (750-circa 945), and Muslims more generally can look back on other great powers, most prominently the Ottomans (1301-1924).

Political and military power aside, the Islamic civilization contemporary with Europe's Middle Ages was one of humanity's most high achieving. The rise of Europe, the ascendance and the United States, and the success of Israel have all contributed to the Arabs' sense of dejection and need for empowerment. Meanwhile, the phenomenon of modern television ensures that the power and wealth of the West is ever before their eyes.

Simply put, Muslims in the Middle East are indoctrinated to believe their religion is supreme and so must reign supreme over the Earth. That vision crashes upon the reality that an infidel power, the United States, is the world's sole superpower. Their hatred of America stems from their religious bigotry. It does not matter what America does or doesn't do, whether we do Muslims well or ill. The burden of the hostility does not rest on America, but rather on the Muslim antagonism toward all other religions.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Supergirl

Originally uploaded by
Other Lisa.

The Mongolian Cow Dairy, the third biggest dairy in China, wanted to sell more sour yogurt. That's how it all started. To move that yogurt they needed advertising. To deliver that advertising to Chinese eyes, they needed a vehicle that Chinese would welcome into their homes. Most of Chinese TV is pretty bland fare, featuring military officers singing patriotic anthems. One of the most watched shows every year on the national broadcaster, China Central TV, is the "Spring Festival Evening Party," a sort of Chinese version of the Lawrence Welk show showcasing variety acts with patriotic themes.

Renegade Hunan Satellite TV developed a Chinese knock off of "American Idol," where females from four to 89 were encouraged to sing for stardom. The prize was $6000, a princely sum in China amounting to five years of the average wage. About 120,000 girls auditioned for the talent competition. The finalists were picked by a few judges from the entertainment industry and thirty-one judges from the "laobaixing," the common people. The winner, the Supergirl, was chosen by the viewing audience, who paid an extra fee to vote by cell phone. Thus was born the Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Supergirl Contest.

It was a runaway hit. The audience accumulated as the show moved through the country, choosing regional finalists. The final show picking the national winner drew 200 million viewers. Some 271,000 viewers voted by cell phone to pick Li Yuchun, 21, a student from the Sichuan province. Hunan TV raked in the money, $12 million from the Mongolian Cow Dairy and fifteen grand from advertisers for every fifteen second spot. The Mongolian Cow Dairy became the biggest dairy in China during the show's run.

The Communists in charge of China were not amused. First, Western influence, especially American influence, is not welcome in Red China, despite its recent forays into the capitalist market system. One of the creators of the Supergirl contest, Liao Ke, denied knowledge of the "American Idol" program. He just happenned to dream up a duplicate of it. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Culture has decided to issue no more licenses to foreign satellite TV broadcasters and reign in the thirty-one existing ones "to safeguard national cultural safety."

The state didn't like the way the way the show's hostess, Li Xiang, talked. Instead of the officially approved soft beauty favored by China Central TV, Li Xiang is an edgy pop music hostess who uses Hong Kong and Taiwanese slang in her onstage patter. Such slang, born where speech is freer, comes across as hip and fresh to mainland Chinese kids. Chinese leaders don't like that at all: "Hosts and hostesses represent the image of radio and TV stations and therefore have an unshakeable responsibility to spread advanced culture and national virtue and to safeguard the country's interests." Consequently, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has decreed that masters of ceremony must use standard formal Mandarin Chinese. No more Hong Kong nor Taiwanese slang nor accents.

"We are having a lot of discussions on anti-worldliness. We always stand against the programs of low taste and worldliness," said an official from the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television. The Supergirl finalists portrayed themselves as various sex object stereotypes: tomboy, pouty schoolgirl, baby doll, and glamour queen. They sang raunchy rock songs. They craved fame. The government pressure toward the end of the series was enough to force the show to abandon pop songs in the final show in favor of more traditional folk and opera songs, like "Love Our China."

And there was the matter of voting for the winner. Some commentators, noting the enthusiasm for voting, ventured that people might want to pick their leaders like that some day.

The capitalist genie is out of the bottle in Red China and can not be put back. China is slowly turning to capitalism, to free markets, and embracing free speech by degrees. These things will be delivered not by foreign armies forcing change on China but rather by the Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Supergirl, who is a human wrecking ball to the old Chinese Communist system.