Category Archives: World Events

Somebody Threw A Shoe At Bush — Hooray!

An Iraqi cameraman threw his shoes at President Bush at a Baghdad news conference, literally hurling a deadly insult at him. Apparently he’s being hailed as a hero by “thousands” of protesters around Iraq. (Of course, “thousands” of Iraqis will seemingly turn out at a car crash, so I’m not particularly impressed by the numbers.)

It seems to be lost on him, and them, that it’s entirely due to George Bush that he can commit assault on a visiting allied foreign head of state and not find himself being slowly fed into a wood chipper*, and that demonstrators can protest that his free speech should be protected without their families being rounded up and thrown in a dungeon.

So my response isn’t really anger or disgust at his behavior.

It’s more like you’re welcome.

* He’s in jail for the time being, just like I’d expect an American protestor who threw something at al-Maliki on a U.S. visit would be.

More Of This, Please

Mumbai killers to be denied a muslim burial (The Scotsman):

A MUSLIM graveyard today refused to bury nine of the gunmen who terrorised Mumbai.

The men were not true followers of the Islamic faith, according to the influential Muslim Jama Masjid Trust, which runs the 7.5-acre Badakabrastan graveyard in central Mumbai.

“People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim,” said Hanif Nalkhande, a trustee. “Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.”

And this: Muslims speak out against terror online (Times of India):

NEW DELHI: Muslims protesting online against violence and fundamentalism find themselves cornered by radical elements in their community. Posts by on online communities like ProgressiveIslam.org express fear of retaliation against Muslims after the Mumbai terror attack.

One member writes: “I’m sure there will be an anti-Islamic backlash in the country.” The internet has brought liberal Muslims together allowing them to voice their opinions in blogs and websites that encourage change within their community, analyze how the media represent them and show ways to counter the biases Muslims find themselves up against.

“Now is the time for Muslims everywhere to march in the streets and speak out for peace, and let the public know that we do not support this type of butchery and hatefulness,” says a post on the site.

An online post says that the only way to avoid bigotry “is for the Muslims in India to police their own. All too often, it’s an ‘open secret’ in our communities as to which elements among us support such things, and unless we clamp down on our own extremists, I think it’s awfully hard to cry foul when the backlash begins.”

Since 9/11, we in the West have heard an endless number of Muslim spokespeople telling us how terrorism is against the principles of Islam. But as long as the Salafist/Wahhabi/jihadi strain of Islam can collect adherents and turn even a tiny minority of them into human missiles, we will have a terrorism problem.

I don’t want to hear about the terrorists’ “grievances” or their “oppression” or their “despair.” I don’t want to hear it from Muslims and I especially don’t want to hear it from Westerners. Fuck that. Terrorism is evil,
period.

We in the West consider it to be evil, and don’t tolerate it in our own culture. If the “silent majority” of so-called “moderate” Muslims considers it evil, too, then they need to step up and not just say so but actively root it out of their community.

That’s the only way it’ll end in any even vaguely peaceable way.
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One Nuclear Bomb Can Ruin Your Whole Day

Iran Said to Have Nuclear Fuel for One Weapon, says the New York Times:

The figures detailing Iran’s progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country’s main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium.

Several experts said that was enough for a bomb, but they cautioned that the milestone was mostly symbolic, because Iran would have to take additional steps. Not only would it have to breach its international agreements and kick out the inspectors, but it would also have to further purify the fuel and put it into a warhead design — a technical advance that Western experts are unsure Iran has yet achieved.

“They clearly have enough material for a bomb,” said Richard L. Garwin, a top nuclear physicist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb and has advised Washington for decades. “They know how to do the enrichment. Whether they know how to design a bomb, well, that’s another matter.”

Nuclear weapons are 1940s technology. Hell, for a simple gun system, I know how to design a bomb, at least to a first approximation. And do we really think that they couldn’t have a secret engineering shop working on this while they tell the Keystone Kops IAEA that, no, really, these are all the nuclear sites we have, honest? Formally breaching their agreements and expelling the inspectors hardly seems like a speedbump for a regime that’s okay with, oh, invading an embassy, just for starters.

Let’s remember, too, that while I’m sure Iran would love to have their own home-built nuclear-tipped IRBM to destroy Tel Aviv threaten and deter their enemies, a big clunky ISO container bomb would do the job quite nicely.

The question, of course, is what do we do about it? Apparently, the chances of an Israeli strike have gone up, and the United States might not get in the way:

TimesOnline: Bush and Olmert to meet over Iran’s nuclear ambitions

The timing of the talks, between two lame duck leaders with only weeks to go before they leave office, is intriguing. Israel has stated repeatedly that it would be unacceptable for an Iranian regime to acquire nuclear weapons. Although Tehran insists that its uranium enrichment programme is for peaceful purposes, President Ahmadinejad has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Intelligence sources have told The Times that the prospect of Israel taking preemptive military action to knock out Iran’s nuclear facilities appears to have become significantly more likely in recent weeks. Such an operation would require at least tacit US cooperation because it would almost certainly involve Israeli warplanes flying through US-controlled airspace in Iraq.

Jerusalem Post: Israel won’t let Iran go nuclear

Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, has stressed to The Jerusalem Post in an unusually hard-hitting interview.

For now, Israel is backing diplomatic and economic efforts to thwart the Iranians, Gilad added, but it doubts these will work and it is keeping all options open.

Asked about the complexities of any resort to military action, particularly since Iran has built its facilities to withstand a repeat of the IAF’s 1981 destruction of Saddam Hussein’s
nuclear reactor at Osirak,
Gilad replied, tellingly, that domestic critics 27 years ago said the Osirak raid “couldn’t be done. And the fact is, it succeeded.”

President-Elect Obama has said that “Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable. We have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening.” Is an Israeli strike with tacit US cooperation and a heavy sigh of relief from all the neighboring countries “international” enough?

I can see Obama and company breathing a heavy sigh of relief themselves if Israel does something to stop Iran before the Inaugural. That way, he can cite a fait accompli and avoid having to see if his “forceful diplomacy” passes the world laugh test.

Russian Troubles in the Far East

Apparently, the Russian government is losing Siberia to the Chinese, at least de facto.

President Dmitry Medvedev says that if the Russian government does not take immediate steps, Moscow could lose the Russian Far East, a declaration that one Russian news agency called “unprecedented” and at the very least suggests Russia faces far more serious problems there than the Kremlin has acknowledged up to now.

Speaking to a conference on social-economic development in Kamchatka kray, Medvedev said that “if we do not step up the level of activity of our work [in the Russian Far East], then in the final analysis we can lose everything,” with that region becoming a source of raw materials for Asian countries.

The consequences of further inaction, the Russian president said, could come not only quite quickly but “end in an extremely dramatic way” much as the Soviet Union did 17 years ago. And consequently, he called on the Russian government to “take administrative decisions” and not to get tied up with “other problems.

Since Putin and the Sock Puppet apparently dream of restoring the Soviet Russian Empire, maybe they should remember that of old, the Czars secured their eastern frontier before conquering their way south (*cough*Georgia*cough) or throwing their weight around in European wars.

(Hat tip to The Dignified Rant)