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New U.S. – Iran Strategies: “Let’s Talk, Baby”

The Obama administration is looking for new ways to deal with Iran and its nuclear program, even though it has been revealed that the Islamic Republic now has enough low-enriched uranium (more than 1,000 kilograms of the stuff) to make at least one nuclear bomb. The new U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice (no relationship to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) was reported as saying that the U.S. Administration will make all diplomatic efforts to encourage Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program and become a regional “team player” who is no longer a sponsor of terrorism. Rice, who served as Under-Secretary of State during the Clinton Administration, said that she hopes to help convince Iran to “abandon its illicit nuclear program and become a regional actor”, along with Syria (another sponsor of terrorism) to help lesson tensions in the Middle East.

Obama wants to open a dialogue with both countries, and said in his inaugural address that America is willing to “extend a hand to those willing to unclench their fist”. Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, said that America’s allegations towards Iran are “completely groundless” and that his country does not sponsor international terrorism and “has no intention of developing nuclear weapons”. Along with Khazaee’s remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran will welcome talks with America and other western countries as long as they are conducted in a framework of openness and mutual respect.

President Obama’s willingness to open talks with a country that has been an enemy of America since the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970’s is a bit contradictory to that of previous administrations; especially that of the Bush Administration, when Iran was considered to be part of an “Axis of Evil”. The Bush stance resulted in virtually no official contact between the two nations. Iranian Ambassador Khazaee further remarked that “Iran has always condemned terrorism in all its aspects”, possibly referring to his country’s version of whom and what terrorists actually are; usually in reference to countries like Israel.

It may yet be awhile before Obama extends an actual invitation to Iranian president Ahmadinejad to come to Washington on a formal visit; but it does look like some sort of meetings will take place between representatives of the two nations, most likely in a neutral location like Geneva or Paris.

Talk is cheap though, and as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. After all, the Japanese ambassador was in Washington for talks in 1941 when his country attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, ushering in America’s involvement in WWII. Iran’s animosity towards both the U.S. and especially towards Israel needs to change dramatically before any progress can be made towards improving relations between Iran and the West.

Behind the Persian Wall

Iran is the third largest nation of bloggers in the world. Its population tops 70 million. And yet when we think of Iran, all we can see is the face of one man. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This wonderfully done animated clip asks us to take a look behind our common preconceptions.


IRAN: A Nation Of Bloggers from ayrakus on Vimeo.

The Oil War?

Oil WarPicture: The Washington Post

In a mode that could clearly say: “I told you so”, critics of America’s involvement in Iraq are now saying that the U.S. Administration sent the troopers there for one primary reason: to shore up a reliable source of crude oil that would keep flowing into American storage facilities, and hence into American citizens gas tanks for at least another 15 to 20 years. With Iraqi petroleum reserves estimated to be at least 10% to total world supply, and if major American oil companies like Exxon-Mobil and Amoco controlling the pumping of fossilized, primeval Earth in most of Iraq, then it would be a win-win situation; the winners being Uncle Sam and Co. of course.

Unfortunately, for President George Bush (an oilman himself) and his assistant, Vice President Dick Cheney (of Halliburton Corp. fame); things didn’t work out the way they wanted them to. Now that Iraqi and (presumably) US forces are staging an operation against Shiite militiamen in the oil rich Iraqi city of Basra, this oil war doctrine seems to be more relevant than ever. Iraqi oil production has been plagued with a scores of problems in both Iraq’s southern region as well as in the northern, Kurdish controlled sector.

Maybe this explains why so many top American officials have made so many “surprise visits” to Iraq in this 2008 election year.

Ever since the invasion of March, 2003, production and exports of Iraqi crude oil have been beset by a combination of old production equipment in bad repair, as well as countless incidents of sabotage by Iraqi insurgents and foreign elements who simply do not want Iraqi oil to fall into the hands of “The Great Satan”, no matter what the price to Iraq’s own economy. As oil has been this country’s major export (and was used by Saddam Hussein to fleece his pockets during his 30 year reign) not being able to produce and export sufficient quantities has resulted in the country’s economy becoming an international basket case.

Now, more five years later and 4,000 American way dead, this precious resource seems even more distant from American and other Western automobile gas tanks. Countries like Israel, who once feared possible attacks from Iraq with weapons of mass destruction, called WMD’s for short, now fear another oil rich country, Iran, whose leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has often called for Israel to be “wiped off the face of the map”. Despite the fact that the U.N. Headquarters is still located in New York City, American governmental officials, and especially New York City officials should have been more prudent than to let this man come twice to address the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, as well as speak before such a pristine academic institution as Columbia University. For it is Iran’s sponsored militiamen who are now fighting Americans in southern Iraq, as well as providing training and arms to Hamas militiaman in Gaza and to the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Oil is now fetching more than $100 a barrel, and the U.S. Dollar is even weaker than currencies like the Israeli Shekel. It appears that the time has come for some serious stock-taking in regards to just why American forces went into Iraq in the first place, instead of simply letting Saddam Hussein and his cronies remain there as a possible buffer against the real world enemy – Iran.

Et tu, Cheney?

Cheney in RamallahNo sooner had the fine china been put away for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain at Jerusalem hotels like the Kind David at Jerusalem hotels like the King David, when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney came to town. Cheney, also back from a quick trip to beleaguered Iraq (where U.S. forces have just suffered their 4,000th war casualty) stopped off in Israel to visit both with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Not exactly “Mr. Personality”, Cheney reiterated previous remarks by both McCain and Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (who was also here recently) in respect to American support of a two state solution and a full partnership with Israel. Cheney also pulled no punches when he mentioned that Iran was not only a danger to Israel but to America and the non-Islamic world at large. This also was not anything new as both Senator McCain and Sec. Rice had made similar remarks.

In respect to relations between Israel and the Palestinians, Cheney said that in order for peace to be achieved, “some painful concessions need to be made”. Now, here is the kicker question in this remark: painful for whom? Israel, the Palestinians (the West Bank Palestinians, that is ) or for those nasty people called Hamas who nobody wants to deal with, except people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah, that is. And we might as well throw in people like Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2, and even more nasty than Osama bin Laden, so they say. Cheney’s visit with Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was also a bit lackluster, but what could one expect, since any rational person knows who the most powerful Palestinian leader really is.

Cheney has been behind much of America’s five plus year Iraq experience that is being “commemorated” today with the announcement of the 4000th slain U.S. combat soldier. Not as bad as Vietnam, which had at least 40,000 dead GI’s after the same 5 year period. But these new war dead are bad enough for a much scaled down professional military that requires it’s thinly spread-out troop contingents to spend at lest two duty tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan – take their choice.

As for Cheney’s short trip here, it will most likely be his last to the region, although his boss, President George W. Bush plans to be back in Israel to help celebrate the upcoming 60th Independence celebration. Busch better not plan to be here at the same time that former Beatles greats Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr plan to be here too, as they will surely upstage him.

Oh what the heck. The fact that he’s still alive with half a heart left feebly beating is a triumph in itself! Dick Cheney doesn’t need to worry about such things as upstaging the Beatles, since he won’t be attending the party.

Gotcha! Hillary Hits Back

Hillary Rodham Clinton can definitely be called “the comeback kid” following Tuesday’s American primary contests in four states. Winning handsomely in both Ohio and Rhode Island, and squeaking by in Texas by a 3% margin. Clinton now has considerable breathing space in which to prepare for the next and perhaps most decisive contest, the Pennsylvania primary in late April.

Hillary BackAlthough her opponent, Barack Obama only won in the Vermont primary and is just slightly ahead in the Texas caucuses he still leads the overall delegate count by at least 100; and is now having to re-plan his overall strategy if he expects to win the Democratic Party nomination in July. When interviewed Wednesday morning in Austin, Hillary Clinton seemed to have regained her confidence and said that what made the difference is her overall experience as compared to Obama’s. When interviewers from CNN asked whether the recent commercial about which candidate would be able to make the right decision after receiving a 3 a.m. phone about a national security emergency, she reiterated about her past experience in such matters, including her being sent to such places as Bosnia (during their civil war) to mediate a peace agreement. She compared herself to Obama who she said “only continues to talk about a speech he made back in 2004 concerning America’s involvement in Iraq”.

I suppose that Hillary can say that she has a bit of experience, as the “red phone” did ring a few times at 3 a.m. when she was in bed with her husband Bill. She also could include her “experience” in dealing with that very uncomfortable period from November 1998 until July, 2000, when she had to deal with another kind of crises that was “a bit too close to home”.

Disregarding those unpleasant episodes, Hillary does probably have a bit more of a track record than Obama has; and whether or not this will help her to wind up making a “V” sign at the speakers podium of the convention will be determined in the coming weeks ahead.

People all over the world have been following the U.S. Presidential campaign; and these primary races have for sure been followed by those living in the Middle East and elsewhere in Islamic World. Barack Hussein Obama is no doubt the favorite of many who make up what is known as Dir Al Islam – the World Community of Islam, and these include many of America’s present enemies, such as Hamas, the Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and most certainly The Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a recent short visit to Iraq, said during a speech there that nearly everyone hates Americans. Well, he does anyway.

Jews around the world, especially in Israel, have from the start been a bit apprehensive about the possibility of Obama winning the Presidency; and what could afterwards be in store concerning America’s future relations with the Jewish State. There is really no way of knowing how Obama will deal with the Israel-Palestinian issue until he is actually sitting in the Oval Office. But in the weeks and months ahead, this matter will most certainly crop up; and it will most likely be used against Obama by both Clinton and John McCain, the Republican nominee.

This year’s contest has so far been anything but boring; and with the U.S. heading towards what may be a moderate to severe recession, the U.S. economy will be a top issue in the months ahead as well. If Hillary does manage to win over the remaining primary contests and become her party’s candidate, she’ll still need all the help she can get to beat McCain in November. And to do this, she’ll have to get real friendly again with a guy named William Jefferson Clinton, who has a bit of “experience” himself.

Iranian Jews Arrive in Israel

A group of 40 Iranian Jews have just arrived in Israel as part of an ongoing program to bring the remainder of a once large Jewish population dating back top the time of King Xerxes the Great (known as Achashverosh by Jews). The group, one of the largest in recent immigration efforts, came via an unnamed country due to the sensitivity involved and potential danger to the remaining Iranian Jewish community.

Approximately 25,000 – 30,000 Jews remain in Iran, most of them in the larger cities of Teheran, Shiraz, and Eshfahan. While Jews had a good life there during the reign of the Shah, their lives have become increasingly difficult since the Islamic Revolution of 1978/79; and a few years back a group of 13 Jewish men were arrested and convicted of being spies for Israel, a popular trumped up charge in Arab and Muslim countries. Fortunately, the group was later released, but only after they had been subjected to torture and imprisonment. The election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran has further complicated the delicate game of brinksmanship that Iranian Jews are now forced to play.

The new immigrants are receiving a special grant of $10,000 by some Jewish and Christian Zionist organizations each as well as a government package of Olim or immigration benefits. Jews wishing to leave Iran for life elsewhere are usually free to do so, but must leave virtually all financial resources behind. What they leave is then confiscated by government authorities.

One of the new immigrants, Avraham Dayan, said that he had had seen his son, now living in Israel, for 11 years. “I feel like I’m in heaven” Dayan said has he entered the arrivals terminal at Ben Gurion Airport.

So far this year, around 200 Jews have arrived in Israel from Iran. This group is believed to be the largest group to come together since the deposing of the Shah in 1979. In a recent documentary involving the life of Jews still remaining in what was formerly Persia, it was shown that Jews are allowed to practice their religion under the Shiite Muslim dominated regime, but cannot learn Hebrew or belong to organizations dealing with Israel. Ironically, Israel and Iran once enjoyed cordial relations under Shah Reza Pahlavi, and many large buildings in central Teheran, including many housing government offices, were built by Israeli construction companies such as Solel Boneh. Everything changed when the Ayatollah Khomeini deposed the Shah and declared Iran to be an Islamic republic.

While Iranian Jews are still living more or less normally under the ultra Islamic regime of the Mullahs and Mr. Ahmadinejad, the Jewish State of Israel has been singled out as one that the Iranian president would like to see “wiped off the face of the map. Whether this national feeling will cause additional problems for Iranian Jews is something that could become evident with Iran’s increasing belligerency and its desire to continue with its nuclear fuel enrichment program.

There are at least 50,000 former Iranian Jews presently living in Israel. Other Iranian Jewish communities are found in the USA, mainly in New York Los Angeles, as well as in the U.K.

Olmert’s Russian Quickie

Olmert and PutinIt seems that we writers can’t get enough about writing on Israeli political tête-à-têtes. And Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s “quickie” visit to see Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin last Thursday is just one of those episodes in Israel’s continuing problem with Iran’s ongoing nuclear program – and Russia’s latest involvement with the Iranian Republic. That this short, three hour visit, followed on the heels of Putin’s own state visit to see Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, must have sent alarm bells ringing in Jerusalem. Olmert, who barely had time for a quick dinner meeting with the Russian leader before flying back to Israel, must have expressed his country’s concern for Putin’s remarks that Iran (in Putin’s opinion) does not appear to have plans to build a nuclear weapon.

That “assurance” was not enough to satisfy Olmert who only last year, on October 18 2006 (see photo), spent a longer period in Moscow to warn Russia that Israel will not stand idly by and allow Iran to become a nuclear military power. Putin even made his own comments then that his country would not allow this to happen.

So, why Putin’s seemingly ambivalence to what appears to be a very serous situation regarding the Islamic Republic? Was it serious enough for Olmert to ‘commute’ to Moscow in the time that he would do to drive to Haifa in heavy traffic; and in addition, to make this quick trip known to the press? Indeed it was, as Russia seems to be charting its own foreign policy course, which is definitely one that favors its own self interest, and is bringing Russia into a confrontation position with the United States that hasn’t been around since the end of the Cold War. There are many reasons for the Kremlin’s friendliness with Teheran. For one thing, Russia’s foreign trade with Iran is considerably larger than its trade with Israel (except for possibly diamonds that is).

Besides agreeing to supply the Iranians with a lot of updated military hardware, including several types of missile systems, Russia has also agreed to help Iran with its nuclear reactors, which are supposed to be for the manufacture of electricity and other “peaceful purposes”. What isn’t being divulged is to what extent Putin is actually committing his country to helping Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Ali Kahmanei, the chief reigning Mullah, to complete Iran’s nuclear facilities and have them “on-line” as soon as possible.

Olmert warned the Kremlin last year that Israel would do what it has to do to prevent Iran from reaching the “point of no return” regarding Iranian reactors producing weapons grade enriched uranium and plutonium. That “point” is apparently nearer than most of us would like to believe, and this has prompted Olmert to pop in to see Putin at what apparently was a “spur of the moment” arranged visit (something like out of an “Ice Station Zebra” or “Fail Safe” movie scenario, perhaps?).

More on this visit will undoubtedly be divulged, as what exactly Olmert did discuss with Mr. Putin is still classified information – and rightfully so. Too much detail of these kind of events often get leaked out and the consequences are not helpful to any of us, especially here in Israel.

Most of us living in this country, myself in particular, would like to go bed at night without wondering what might be store for us – and perhaps sooner than we think!

Benazir Is Back & There’s Gonna Be Trouble

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan following her self-imposed exile in 1999. Ms. Bhutto, who left Pakistan following military leader Pervez Musharraf’s taking over in that country and declaring martial law. The daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was prime minister of Pakistan until he was overthrown and later executed by a military coup led by General Zia ul-Haq, Benazir represents a family dynasty similar to the Nehru and Gandhi families in neighboring India.

No sooner had she landed in Karachi, her motorcade was attacked by suicide bombers and more than 136 were killed. No one has so far taken responsibility for the bombing, but Ms. Bhutto has no shortage of enemies including terror groups like Al Qaeda, and even President Musharraf himself who condemned the bombings. That he was not present to personally welcome Benazir back to Pakistan makes many wonder if he may have been responsible. Benazir escaped this attempt unscathed, probably due to the special bomb-proof van she was riding in.

Representing the Pakistan People’s Party, a party which has been in and out of power a number of times since the country became independent in 1947, Ms. Bhutto agreed to return to her country following a promise made by President Musharraf that he would “share” power with the woman who has been his nemesis since he, like Zia before him, took over power by force and martial law. Benazir has been prime minister twice and both times had to leave office under allegations of corruption. Despite this, however, she has tried to bring an element of democracy to a country where this has been sorely lacking; resulting in a number of military coups, including the one which resulted in her father’s execution.

People living in Israel may not be taking much notice to these events; but they are important as Pakistan is a predominately Muslim country, and one in which radical Islam has a firm foothold, including terrorism. Many still remember the death of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Karachi by an Al Qaeda affiliated terror group in January, 2002. And many people in Israel are very much aware that Pakistan is a nuclear power with missiles capable of reaching Israel. Ms. Bhutto, a highly educated and moderate politician, who went to Harvard at only age 16, and later became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, may be able to help bring an element of moderation and religious tolerance back to a country which has been drifting in dangerous directions under Mr. Musharraf. Even though he agreed (under great pressure) to join U.S. President Bush’s War on Terror, radical Islamic fundamentalism has been rampant in Pakistan, and Islamic madrasa study centers have been notorious for indoctrinating people from all over the world (including the USA) into their version of Islam.

Many may not want to compare Ms. Bhutto to Israel’s only woman prime minister, Golda Meir, who led Israel during one of her country’s most trying periods, The Yom Kippur War. It might be prudent, however, to bear in mind that the present world situation in which Benazir Bhutto will have to deal with, should she again become prime minister, is one of the most potentially dangerous and volatile ones in human history. If she does take over the administration of her country’s affairs, and should neighboring Iran become a nuclear power as well, her western orientation and political moderation might be a counter balance to the Iranian Mullahs, and of course Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ms. Bhutto might also find a way to improve her country’s stand in regards to some kind of relations with Israel; as even low keyed ones are better than none at all.

The “Good Ol’ Boys ” are Back

Knesset Dress Code Needed !Monday, October 8 was the opening session of the 2007/2008 winter Knesset assembly. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, had been in recess since August, giving its members the opportunity to enjoy a vacation period which included the religious holidays. This is not to say that these politicians were entirely on holiday, as many of them use these break periods to catch up on their private and often questionable business affairs. In fact, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who gave the opening speech of the winter session, seems to have been very busy lately trying to consolidate his legal defense against a number of allegations relating to his private business affairs.

Olmert, whose, real estate dealings in Jerusalem and connection with Bank Leumi, the country’s oldest and most well known bank, seems to be slipping further down the slimy slope of financial irregularities which puts an even bigger cloud over his head; much to the delight of his political enemies. Olmert tried to put on a strong face by saying that the Israeli government has made no agreements with the Palestinians prior to the scheduled international summit conference in Annapolis Maryland, now said to only be coming off in two months time. The conference was to have commenced in only a few weeks; but was post phoned due to a lack of progress by Israel in making any tentative deals with the Palestinian Authority, and further remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it would be useless to hold such a meeting without any concrete itinerary by both Israel and the Palestinians.

Concrete itinerary: that was something that was severely criticized by Knesset opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who expressed great doubts that any kind of agreement could be made with Mahmoud Abbas. The P.A. President only represents part of the Palestinians due to Gaza being under the control of Hamas party leader Ismail Hananyah. As both Israel and the United Stated refuse to have any dealings with Hamas, which is considered a ‘terrorist entity’, the scheduled summit in Maryland is virtually doomed from the outset.

From many points of view, including Mr. Netanyahu’s, that’s ok with them as they believe that this conference is a complete non-starter. With Palestinian rockets continuing to be launched against Israeli settlements and towns, including the launching of the longer range Grad missile, and Corporal Gilad Schalit still being held captive in Gaza, any kind of conference is almost doomed before it begins. As Secretary Rice remarked during her last visit to the region, “We are looking for something more than just a ‘photo session’ and a few handshakes”.

Both Prime Minister Olmert and Opposition leader Netanyahu did not speak kindly regarding the problem concerning Iran; especially in the aftermath of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent address before both Columbia University and the U.N. General Assembly. It might be said that at least the two Israeli leaders did agree on something!

Despite all the mixed feelings it was nice to see that Israel does have a very vibrant democracy, and not just a “puppet parliament “as in countries like Syria and Iran.

Back to Normal

No sooner had Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad split New York for a bit of “Latino Cucaracha” with his new friend, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez; then it was “back to normal” in our part of the Middle East. Hamas is now threatening to “send 200 suicide bombers” (women) against IDF Merkava tanks. Hooray for ‘normalcy’! I was almost beginning to think that those good folks had forgotten us with all that attention on that diminutive guy with the week’s growth of beard and the same drab tie-less suits that resemble something that Borat would wear when promoting his beloved Kazakhstan.

After being on the constant receiving end of Palestinian Qassam rockets, including more than 12 sent in a period of one day, it appears that the new Defense Minister Ehud Barak is finally keeping his promise concerning dealing with the people who shoot those home made ‘bottle rockets’ over into Sderot and other places within Israel. Israeli reprisal operations, mostly from the air, have killed at least 12 Gazans, including some suspected terrorists in both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. 4 Civilians were also killed, however, due their just being in the vicinity where IAF rockets hit their targets. After all, Gaza is so oversaturated with people that it’s very difficult to pick out targets without having innocent bystanders nearby. And the terrorists know this fact very well, and use it as propaganda weapons for more negative world opinion against the Jewish State. In fact, this time, PA President Mahmoud Abbas also jumped on the bandwagon and lambasted Israel for the “massacre” of innocent Palestinians.

Poor guy. I guess that was the best he could do from his relative comfortable headquarters in the Muqata compound in Ramallah. Mr. Abbas, who has been recently receiving a lot of support, both morally and financially, from Israeli P.M. Olmert, must have been feeling the heat from his former Prime Minister, Ismail Hananyah, who just happens to be in charge of Hamas’ Islamic fiefdom in Gaza.

Anyway, getting back to ‘basics’, Dr. Nizar Rian, a senior Hamas official, declared that his approximate 50,000 Hamas fighters “sleep with explosives, ready to prevent Israeli tanks from intruding into holy Palestinian territory”. He also said that many more Palestinian women have now joined their ranks and are prepared to become martyrs as well. He reminded Israel that women have been used very effectively in past terror operations, and though it is frowned upon by the Quran for women to assume militaristic roles, “the duty to guard to Motherland is more important than any other consideration”.

Guard the “motherland”? It’s more like blowing up their enemy, especially Israeli innocents. The horrible terror attack at the restaurant in Haifa a few years back, as well as an aborted attack from a Palestinian woman on her way to explode herself in the emergency entrance of Beer Sheba’s Soroka Hospital, are two examples of “guarding the Motherland”.

We will all surely hear again soon from Mr. Ahmadinejad, as soon as he returns from having cappuccino coffees with Mr. Chavez. But until then, we can go back to ‘normality’ which includes dealing with Hamas’s new threat of 200 female suicide bombers. I wonder what they are expecting to receive in paradise, as their male suicide counterparts await the embrace of 72 gorgeous virgins? Modern versions of Omar Sharif perhaps?

We Would Invite Hitler Also

John Coatsworth, Dean of the School of International Relations at Columbia, said over the weekend that “if Adolf Hitler himself had arrived in the U.S. and wanted to speak at our university, we would certainly let him. If he were willing to engage in moral debate in our university student forum, he would be welcomed as everyone has a right to express their views”. This statement by a prominent member of the Columbia U. faculty was backed up by Mr. Lee Bollinger, the university president, who has the ‘distinction’ of introducing their special guest, Iranian President Mahmoud Achmadinejad, who is scheduled to speak Monday at 1:30 P.M. EST.

No doubt Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speech, followed by a question and answer forum, will be “interesting”, to say the least. Trying to compare the Iranian leader with perhaps the most notorious man in history, might be another matter, however, as Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to be a bit more clever than The Fuehrer was, and this will most likely be brought out in his speech; assisted by a contingent of interpreters to convert Ahmadinejad’s native Farsei tongue into American English. Hitler never had the opportunity to set foot in America, probably due to “logistical factors” as well as his being a bit ‘pre-occupied’ with events going on Europe prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Had the Nazi dictator been able to make it over to New York, the most likely visitation venue at the time, and had the defunct League of Nations been situated there, instead in Geneva Switzerland, it would have been interesting as to what kind of reception he would have received. Hitler and his entourage, undoubtedly including his propaganda genius Joseph Goebbels, would surely have flown over in the dirigible Hindenburg, in order to show their pride in German manufacturing ingenuity ( he would have needed an arrival like this to make up for his athletes’ poor showing against a superior American team in the 1936 Olympiad, held in the German capital, Berlin).

Upon arriving in New York, The Fuehrer would undoubtedly have gone into a tirade on the League on Nations podium, with his usual lambasting of Jews and Communists; and with probably large numbers of protestors outside as now will be the case with Mr. Ahmadinejad. Hitler would also say that he was not pursuing the possession of weapons of mass destruction, including a new type of super bomb, later to be known as a nuclear bomb. When later asked why his country was zealously persecuting minorities, especially Jews, Hitler would most likely have laughed and said: “you see, we are merely trying to ‘purify’ the German people and rid it of vermin and other forms of pests. This is the only way we can be strong!”

Are these words, actually spoken by this mentally disturbed individual, really much different than the words spoken by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said that he wants the Zionist State of Israel “wiped off the face of the map” and that his words “are the Iranian People’s words”?

Judging from the state of world affairs during the mid to late 1930’s, had Hitler actually arrived to the U.S. would U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt have invited The Fuehrer to dinner at the While House? After all, American relations with Nazi Germany were actually fairly cordial prior to Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939; much more so than the present state of no relations between America and the Islamic Republic. Roosevelt might even have wanted to make amends for “embarrassing” The Fuehrer by sending 18 black athletes, including the immortal Jesse Owens; who won 4 gold medals. The Afro-American part of the American delegation wound up with 14 gold medals, 25% of all such medals won in the entire games.

There are no such problems facing U.S. President George Bush; and he will certainly not extend any kind of invitation to the Iranian president to visit Washington. Even at the General Assembly, as occurred last year, the two men’s paths will not likely cross; even though Bush will also speak before the General Assembly. 70 years have passed since the time when Adolf Hitler might have shown up in News York; had it been “logistically feasible”. And yet, not much has really changed in so far as tyrants being tyrants.

No Gays or Nukes in Iran

Many were ‘delighted’ to hear Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declare that “there are no homosexuals in Iran” at his appearance before a selected audience at New York’s Columbia University of Monday, September 24. Many more were even more thrilled to hear him say before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that “the nuclear issue is now a closed subject and will only be discussed within the framework of the IAEA”. All this is good to know, and makes everyone who hasn’t been following this absurdity more apt to eat their Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes without burping. I think that the most reassuring statement yet by the visiting Iranian leader was in regards to his grand visions of the future, Some of these ‘visions’ include a demise of Western powers, especially the United States; and the creation of an Israel-less Palestine, to be brought about by “democratic referendum” .

With all this “good news”, why are a lot of people, even the leaders of countries like France and Germany so worried? I’m not referring to this boogeyman’s usual enemies like the U.S. and Israel. I’m referring to former friends of the Islamic Republic like France and Germany, both of whose leaders used their forum opportunity before the General Assembly to speak out against the dangers of Iran becoming a nuclear power. Why this new stance by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy? This is something that had previous only been espoused by people such as U.S. President George Bush and Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair (especially following the Iranian ‘detainment’ of several of Her Majesty’s naval personnel).

And why was Columbia University President Lee Bollinger so “frank” when introducing his special guest as “a cruel and petty dictator”? Perhaps people are finally starting to wake up in regards to the potential danger of this man who doesn’t seem to give a ‘didly squat’ concerning reactions to his ideas for a new world order. As he later said himself, when addressing the world body: “the age of the empires are over”. I presume that by ’empires’ he was referring to his adversaries, and not to his own country, formerly known as Persia, and once one of the greatest empires in the world. In fact, the Persian Empire once threatened to overwhelm the entire known world, and was only held back by the combined efforts of 300 of Grecian King Leonidas’ personal warriors, and the victory of the Grecian naval fleet over the Persians at Thermopylae.

All that was a long time ago, however, and now a new religious imperial threat, in the form of militant Islam, threatens to once again overwhelm much of the modern “Known World”.

It is truly amazing that a demigod such as Ahmadinejad can come to a place like New York and express his views within the combined aspects of free speech and diplomatic immunity. It’s the policy of diplomatic immunity that has caused so many problems in the past, especially during the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Diplomatic immunity has allowed people traveling with diplomatic passports to get away with virtually anything – even murder. As long as two countries are not in an actual state of war with one another, their representatives can freely come and go as they please under the guise of diplomatic immunity.

Besides proudly saying that homosexuality does not exist in his country (or heterosexuality either, unless people are married); he also said that all groups living in Iran, including women and minorities such as Jews have democratic freedoms and “proportional representation” in parliament.

With all this “good news”, why are so many so anxious for Mr. Ahmadinejad and his entourage to go back to where they came from? It’s early Autumn in New York; but from a political point of view for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it might as well be the dead of winter.

Watch Out New York

No boys and girls; this isn’t a jingle like the one heard every year at Christmas time. And Iran’s “beloved” president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is definitely not Santa Claus. But he is definitely coming to town – New York City that is – on Monday, September 24, to address the annual opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. This isn’t Mahmoud’s first visit, as he also came last year to address the U.N., not long after he had made his famous comments concerning Israel’s “irreverence” and that it should be “wiped off the face of the map”.

Scheduled to address not only the UN world body; he is also slated to address a large gathering of students and faculty members at Columbia University, located on the other end of that same island that was attached by Muslim extremists in September, 2001.

This year, the Iranian President’s visit to that international “free talk zone”, otherwise known as the United Nations, comes with the Islamic Republic being even closer to becoming a declared nuclear power. It also comes just days after a series of new weapons, including new fighter bombers and long range missiles were unveiled at Iran’s annual National Day parade officiated over by “you know who”. During this parade, the Iranian leader made further unfriendly comments, including one which stated that nothing, even the U.S., was going to stop Iran from achieving its military development goals; including its nuclear ambitions.

Despite all of this, not only is this guy and his entourage going to show up on American soil; he is also scheduled to make a speech at such a prestigious academic institution as New York’s Columbia U. His declared purpose for this address: “Americans do not know the truth”.

While it’s understandable that Mr. Ahmadinjad will again be allowed into the U.N.’s famous landmark, which due to the clauses written in the organization’s founding charter makes this patch of territory “off limits” for the U.S. or any other country’s jurisdiction; it doesn’t explain why Ahmadinjad should be allowed to address the student body of Columbia – albeit with the assistance of an interpreter. Mr. A. may be surprised to discover that though he doesn’t know English, at least well enough to make a credible address in this language; there may be a number of Farsei speaking people in the university audience – including some representing the Islamic Republic’s opposition; who are very interested in hearing what he has to say, before his words are ‘diluted’ a bit by his faithful interpreters. His interpreters, no doubt hand picked from among his political followers – some of them highly educated, will do their best to convey their mentor’s words of enlightenment. This ‘enlightenment’ includes why he believes that the genocidal event known as The Holocaust is a fabrication; and why (in his opinion) that upstart group of people, known as Zionists, should be banished from lands they have “occupied” over the past 60 years. This territory includes cities like Haifa and Tel Aviv, of course; not to mention “Holy al Quds”, otherwise known as Jerusalem.

Other un-welcomed tyrants have made addresses before the U.N. in the past, including Russia’s Nikita Khrushchev, who banged a shoe on the podium and said to the Free World: “We will bury you!”; and also Cuba’s cigar smoking and gun-toting Fidel Castro. And, of course, that gun-toting Palestinian bad guy, Yassir Arafat; who even managed to win the Nobel Prize in the end for his “contributions towards world peace”.

It’s very doubtful that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will win any peace awards – not this year anyway. And it’s surprising that Columbia U. would let such a man stand behind its forum’s podium, even though the university’s faculty has become more and more anti-Israel in its orientation over the past several years. There still is that hallowed right, however, in the American Constitution regarding freedom of speech and opinion. But that “right” is supposed to be reserved for Americans and not for persons with ultimate goals of mass destruction; which includes destroying sovereign nations such as Israel.

One thing for sure is that Mr. Ahmadinejad won’t be seen strolling by the Duck Pond in New York City’s Central Park. Or will he? He may even have the outright audacity to visit Ground Zero: site of the former World Trade Center. After all, he appears to have his own ideas as to why this event happened- and who the perpetrators really were.

With these realities in mind, and in light of what might be coming down in the next few months, this person should simply not be welcome on America’s, or any other free nation’s shores.

“God’s Warriors” – The Aftermath

Christiane Amanpour
CNN, that ‘impartial’ cable news service that always seems to favor certain “interest groups” appears to have really outdone itself this time with the recent presentation of a three part program entitled “God’s Warriors”; shown initially between August 22 to 24th. Directed and moderated by the network’s most prominent news reporter, Christiane Amanpour, the program began by portraying the activities of Jewish extremists, located mostly in Israel, who believe that they have the right to use whatever means possible to reinforce their claim on the biblical covenant to the Land of Israel. In addition to interviewing a number of Jewish activists, this segment of the program also mentioned other factors that continue to receive international criticism; including the ‘security wall’ or fence still under construction in Israel, and “Jewish lobbies” in America such as AIPAC; which many claim to have too much influence on American foreign affairs.

The other two segments dealt with Islamic and Christian radicals, whose international messages are also receiving more than their share of attention in the media.

It is the segment dealing with Islam, however, that has the most ominous message to the world’s more than 6 million inhabitants. This religion, which more than 1.3 billion people claim to adhere to, has created the most controversy and is one that holds the most potential danger to Mankind.

Ms. Amanpour claims that she had tried to be as impartial as possible in portraying the positions of people representing three of the world’s great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This ‘impartiality’, however, seems to have severe flaws in respect to which religious group has received the most criticism in respect to its potential danger to humanity. And that “group”, is one in which its representatives are a very miniscule segment of the total planet’s population.

CNN has never been very partial to Israel, or to Israel’s position in respect to what has been occurring in the entire Middle East; to say nothing of the world itself. It’s understandable, when viewing the international version of this news network, as one sees many commercials from Arab and similar companies; including airlines, banks, telecom companies, and even real estate companies offering viewers expensive commercial and residential properties in places like Dubai and Bahrain.

Prior to the showing the 3 part program, a special Larry King Live program had as it’s guests representatives of the three mentioned religions, including Rabbi Marvin Heir, Founder and Dean of the Simon Weisenthal Center, which deals with keeping the message of the Holocaust alive before the world. Rabbi Heir, along with the other guests: Rev. John McArthur, Pastor of Grace Community Church: Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of the Organization for the Separation of Church and State; and Dr. Maher Hathhot, Senior Advisor for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Rabbi Heir’s opinions became even more distinct after he had the opportunity to view the entire series; especially parts dealing with Islamic militants and radicals.

Rabbi Heir wonders how a network like CNN, and a renown reporter like Ms. Amanpour, can dedicate so much “attention” to the activities of a group of “Jewish radicals” numbering less than 200, when Islamic radicals, including suicide bombers and other “Holy Martyrs” number into the millions and are literally scattered all over the globe. He also wonders how activities in the so-called “occupied West Bank” can be compared to activities of groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas, whose combined acts of terror and “martyrdom” have already resulted in thousands of people killed and many more thousands injured; to say nothing of literally billions of dollars of property destroyed including the World Trade Center, Embassies, and other locations too numerous to mention.

The entire world Jewish population numbers no more than 16 million – a miniscule fraction of both Christianity and Islam. And while Judeo Christian relations seem to be improving, and Israel appears to have many friends among fundamentalist Christian organizations, the “relationship” between Muslims and Jews is now at a historic all time low. This reality is particularly ominous when one compares the relationship between the country of Iran, once an ally of Israel, to what is transpiring today; when Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has openly called for Israel to be “wiped off the face of the map”.

CNN, founded originally by media mogul Ted Turner, a rumored Anti-Semite, has never been overly friendly to the Jewish State. With Ms. Amanpour’s program, God’s Warriors, that ‘relationship’ is bound to deteriorate even further. It is an outright pity that for the sake of having one’s ‘bread’ buttered, one must play the tune of the ones who provide that butter. It’s not to say that other vested interest groups also provide funds for radicals, including Jewish ones. It must simply be pointed out that those representing Muslim interests, especially in the energy sector, seem to wield a lot of financial clout. And that clout became clearly evident in the production “God’s Warriors”.

2006 OneJerusalem.com Year In Review

This is the OneJerusalem.com Year in Review – just a partial list, things that caught the eye..
Some Pics from the year and our associated posts. Happy New Year everyone!
To the families of the missing soldiers we hope to see them all back home soon.

January:
Hamas Wins ElectionsHamas Wins ElectionsMahmoud AhmadinejadMahmoud Ahmadinejad
Amir PeretzAmir PeretzArik Sharon in HospitalArik Sharon in Hospital
Arkady GaidamakArkady Gaidamak
Feburary:
Muslim Cartoon FiascoMuslim Cartoon FiascoBibiBibi’s Election Hype
Kadima Wins ElectionsKadima Wins Elections

March:
Miss IsraelMiss IsraelShelly & AmirShelly & Amir
Google IsraelGoogle Israel

April:
Kadima Wins ElectionsPrime Minister Ismail HaniyehIsrael Top Model Niral KarantinjiIsrael Top Model Niral Karantinji
Kadima Wins ElectionsParadise Now Wins

May:
Farewell To Yossi BanaiFarewell To Yossi BanaiMeir Ariel Passes AwayMeir Ariel Passes Away
Qassams Rain on SderotQassams Rain on Sderot

June:
Al Zarqawi is ToastAl Zarqawi is ToastMichael Moves to DubaiMichael Moves to Dubai

July:
NasrallahNasrallahKatzav Boinking EverybodyPresident Katzav Boinking Everybody
WarWar

August:
Bye Bye KofiBye Bye KofiLynching Dan HalutzLynching Dan Halutz
Mel Shits where he eatsMel Shits Where He Eats

September:
Pope Pisses Off MuslimsPope Pisses Off MuslimsIran Chasing the BombIran Chasing the Bomb
Our Missing SoldiersOur Missing Soldiers

October:
Idiots on the Streets Hit New LowIdiots on the Streets Hit New LowIsrael Trains Still A DisasterIsrael Trains Still A Disaster
Spawn of the Devil is in the MakingSpawn of the Devil is in the MakingAvigdor Joins the GovernmentAvigdor Joins the Government
Kim Has the Bomb!Kim Has the Bomb!

November:
Benny Gives Police An EnemaBenny Gives Police An EnemaGemayel Killed by SyriaGemayel Killed by Syria
Putin The DictatorPutin The DictatorBoratBorat

December:
Saddam SwingsSaddam SwingsJames Brown PassesJames Brown Passes
Tnuva SoldTnuva Sold

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