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Reportage from the field.

Apocalypse Now? Is Iran planning a cataclysmic strike for August 22? By Joel C. Rosenberg

National Review Online

August 10, 2006, 3:14 a.m.

Apocalypse Now?
Is Iran planning a cataclysmic strike for August 22?

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Is Iran planning an apocalyptic strike against Israel and/or the United States for August 22? If so, what should the U.S. do to protect Americans and our ally? Such questions are worrying a growing number of officials in the White House, at the CIA, and at the Pentagon, and for good reason.

As a devout Shiite Muslim, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is telling colleagues in Tehran that he believes the end of the world is rapidly approaching. He also believes that the way to hasten the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the “Hidden Imam” or the “Mahdi” is to launch a catastrophic global jihad, first against Israel (the “little Satan”) and then against the U.S. (the “Great Satan”). What’s more, Ahmadinejad is widely believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons that would give him the ability to carry out his apocalyptic religious views. Some experts even speculate that Iran may already have several atomic bombs and the means to deliver them.

August 22 By Bernard Lewis

The Wall Street Journal


August 22
August 8, 2006; Page A10

During the Cold War, both sides possessed weapons of mass destruction, but neither side used them, deterred by what was known as MAD, mutual assured destruction. Similar constraints have no doubt prevented their use in the confrontation between India and Pakistan. In our own day a new such confrontation seems to be looming between a nuclear-armed Iran and its favorite enemies, named by the late Ayatollah Khomeini as the Great Satan and the Little Satan, i.e., the United States and Israel. Against the U.S. the bombs might be delivered by terrorists, a method having the advantage of bearing no return address. Against Israel, the target is small enough to attempt obliteration by direct bombardment.

It seems increasingly likely that the Iranians either have or very soon will have nuclear weapons at their disposal, thanks to their own researches (which began some 15 years ago), to some of their obliging neighbors, and to the ever-helpful rulers of North Korea. The language used by Iranian President Ahmadinejad would seem to indicate the reality and indeed the imminence of this threat.

Would the same constraints, the same fear of mutual assured destruction, restrain a nuclear-armed Iran from using such weapons against the U.S. or against Israel?

Hizbullah's real goal is racist By Alan M. Dershowitz

The Christian Science Monitor Online

from the July 27, 2006 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0727/p09s01-coop.html

Hizbullah's real goal is racist: To free the Middle East holy lands of Jews

By Alan M. Dershowitz

Sometimes an apology can be quite revealing. Consider the one recently issued by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah. He apologized to the families of two Israeli children who were killed by a Hizbullah rocket that hit the Christian holy city of Nazareth. He called them shahids, martyrs, even though they did not choose to die at the hands of Hizbullah terrorists.

The apology was issued not because they were children or innocent bystanders, but because they were Israeli Arabs and not Jews. Hizbullah's rockets are aimed at Jews, and earn cheers whenever they kill a Jewish baby or grandmother. No apologies there.

Friends of Israel Cannot Let Democrats Take Power By Dick Morris

Friends of Israel Cannot Let Democrats Take Power

Dick Morris
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ten years ago, on April 18, 1996, Israel attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon for 16 days in an operation called Grapes of Wrath. The global condemnation of Israel was fierce, especially when it bombed a U.N. refugee camp, killing 107 people, an attack that Tel Aviv said was a mistake.

At the time, the United States did nothing to stop the tide from turning against Israel and President Clinton said, "I think it is important that we do everything we can to bring an end to the violence."

In private, Clinton seethed at the Israeli attack, saying he had discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres the possibility of concluding a military defense treaty with his nation, pledging U.S. aid in the event of an attack.

"They really want this guarantee from us," Clinton told me. "I would have given them the commitment, too, but now I can't because of the uproar over the refugee camp bombing."

No such treaty was ever signed.

A Strange War By Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

July 21, 2006, 6:40 a.m.

A Strange War
Israel is at last being given an opportunity to unload on jihadists.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Sum up the declarations of Hezbollah’s leaders, Syrian diplomats, Iranian nuts, West Bank terrorists, and Arab commentators — and this latest Middle East war seems one of the strangest in a long history of strange conflicts. For example, have we ever witnessed a conflict in which one of the belligerents — Iran — that shipped thousands of rockets into Lebanon, and promises that it will soon destroy Israel, vehemently denies that its own missile technicians are on the ground in the Bekka Valley. Wouldn’t it wish to brag of such solidarity?

Image of the week

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero photographed wearing the kaffiyah (Photo: AP) image URL

Clueless Joe Wilson By Christopher Hitchens

Fighting Words
Clueless Joe Wilson
How did the CIA's special envoy miss Zahawie's trip to Niger?
By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, April 17, 2006, at 3:14 PM ET

Nobody appears to dispute what I wrote in last week's Slate to the effect that in February 1999, Saddam Hussein dispatched his former envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and former delegate to non-proliferation conferences at the United Nations, to Niger. Wissam al-Zahawie was, at the time of his visit, the accredited ambassador of Iraq to the Vatican: a more senior post than it may sound, given that the Vatican was almost the only full European embassy that Iraq then possessed. And nobody has proposed an answer to my question: Given the fact that Niger is synonymous with uranium (and was Iraq's source of "yellowcake" in 1981), and given that Zahawie had been Iraq's main man in nuclear diplomacy, what innocent explanation can be found for his trip?

Wowie Zahawie By Christopher Hitchens

Fighting Words
Wowie Zahawie
Sorry everyone, but Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger.
By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, April 10, 2006, at 4:43 PM ET

In the late 1980s, the Iraqi representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency—Iraq's senior public envoy for nuclear matters, in effect—was a man named Wissam al-Zahawie. After the Kuwait war in 1991, when Rolf Ekeus arrived in Baghdad to begin the inspection and disarmament work of UNSCOM, he was greeted by Zahawie, who told him in a bitter manner that "now that you have come to take away our assets," the two men could no longer be friends. (They had known each other in earlier incarnations at the United Nations in New York.)

False Prophet By Ilan Berman

January 19, 2006, 8:21 a.m.

False Prophet
Ahmadinejad is bad news for the world.

By Ilan Berman

Thank goodness for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In five short months, Iran's radical new president has managed to do what legions of policy analysts and intelligence warnings have not: jolt the world awake to the growing global threat posed by an ascendant Iran.

Since taking office on August 4, 2005, Ahmadinejad has unapologetically steered Iran onto an all-too-familiar foreign-policy course. In October, he caused an international furor when, speaking at a major anti-Zionism conference in Tehran, he declared that the state of Israel was a "tumor" that should be "wiped off the map." Undeterred, Ahmadinejad used a subsequent televised address in early December to undertake a debunking of the "myth" of the Holocaust. Most recently, he has launched a rhetorical war on Israel, calling for the "relocation" of the Jewish state from the Middle East to either Canada or Europe.

How Islamic Group's Ties Reveal Europe's Challenge By Ian Johnson

The Wall Street Journal

How Islamic Group's Ties Reveal Europe's Challenge
A Conduit to Mainstream, Muslim Lobbyist Also Has
Some Fundamentalist Links

December 29, 2005; Page A1

MARKFIELD, England -- As Europe wrestles with the dissatisfactions of its 20 million Muslims and the spread of radical Islam, greater scrutiny is falling on its Islamic groups.

The largest and most important of these is the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, a lobbying group representing Muslims in 22 countries. Its leader, Ahmed al-Rawi, has advised national politicians and testified before the European Parliament. This year, he attended Pope John Paul II's funeral.

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