The little country that could 1

There is a formula for a nation’s success and happiness: have children and a free market economy.

Other nations may hate you and envy you; attack you with words, sanctions, terrorism, and rockets; but still you will thrive, prosper, innovate, and grow.

Caroline Glick writes:

A lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat’s hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel’s Age of Terror, most Israelis don’t really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.

The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.

And then the likes of Catherine Ashton [EU  Representative for Foreign Affairs] expect us to care what they think about us.

Well, we don’t.

… The Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.

The “international community’s” inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.

Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don’t have “peace.” And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.

What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse. …

Just about the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren’t about what other people give you – money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

We think that statement bears repeating: Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.

Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. … There is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world.

When you have children, you have a future. And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook. …

Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.

Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not “that shi**y little country.” It’s “The Little Engine that Could.”

Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can’t even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.

On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.

Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world.

Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits …

Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel’s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia’s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC’s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.

Israel’s discovery of its energy riches couldn’t have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.

At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in “peace.”

And so we won’t, ever again.

Against gun control 2

This video was first posted nearly four years ago in March 2009. But the argument against gun control remains valid. In particular, it deals with the result of gun confiscation by the Australian government.

Posted under Australia, Commentary, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 28, 2012

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The tangled web 15

It is certain* that General David Petraeus, as head of the CIA, lied to the nation about the armed attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on 9/11/12. General Petraeus has now resigned, citing an adulterous love affair – not participation in a cover-up – as a moral lapse so grievous that it renders him unfit for high office.

In our judgment – and we are always and insistently judgmental – lying to the nation is a far worse moral offense than adultery. We would like to think that General Petraeus is of the same opinion.

The Obama administration has woven a tangled web of lies about the military defeat of the United States by Arab Muslims in Libya. Now they are desperately trying to cover up not only the truth but the lies as well. Ever more tangled the web becomes. So far, two Generals and an Admiral, all men of distinction and honor (see our posts Yet more about Benghazi – but still not enough, October 31, 2012, and Admiral fired in storm over Benghazigate?, October 31, 2012), have been entangled in it and brought down. Will the incredible luck that has sustained Obama throughout his political life keep him yet again from the disgrace he deserves?

We found that our suspicions about what might be the far more scandalous truth behind General Petraeus’s resignation are shared by Paul A. Rahe, who writes at his website Ricochet:

Here is what I wonder. Did David Petraeus allow himself to be blackmailed by the minions of Barack Obama?

The testimony Petraeus gave Congress on Benghazi shortly after the assassination of our ambassador to Libya was a restatement of the patently false narrative foisted on the country by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their underlings — to wit, that the assault on the American consulate was a spontaneous demonstration in reaction to [an anti-Islam] Youtube video.

Petraeus had to know better. The Benghazi bungle took place on the anniversary of 9/11. There was plenty of intelligence available to Petraeus prior to the event suggesting that Al Qaeda was becoming a real force in the region, and the e-mails that the CIA sent the White House at the time indicate that the folks in the agency knew within hours that the attack had been carefully planned and knew who in Benghazi was responsible.

So why did a man always known for his honor and integrity go before a Congressional committee and lie through his teeth? If Washington were Chicago, we would know the answer. Blackmail is, in Chicago, standard operating procedure. Is Washington now Chicago? Is Petraeus leaving office a disgraced and broken man because one act of dishonor and betrayal led him to commit another far more shameful?

I hope not. I greatly admire the man. … But I, nonetheless, have to ask, “Why did Petraeus lie?” And given the fact that the lie was part of a preposterous narrative being peddled by a President who knew that the truth might well be fatal to his reelection — and who depended on his lies being echoed by a pliable, servile press — I have to ask, “How did they get an honorable man to disgrace himself so utterly?”

If this line of questioning makes sense, then we have to entertain the possibility that David Petraeus is resigning because doing what he did in his testimony to Congress is distasteful in a fashion that a man of his mettle cannot long bear.

Congress should not let this pass. David Petraeus should be made to testify about Barack’s Benghazi Bungle. We have a right to know the truth. We had a right to know it well before the 6th of November. We now have a right to know why we were denied the truth.

Let’s conjecture that the Obama gang feared that the General would tell the truth when called to testify before Congressional inquiries next week. Obviously the head of the CIA is an indispensable  witness when a CIA mission was one of the targets in Benghazi and two of its men were killed. “So,” think the stoats and weasels in the White House, “let’s quickly get rid of the man who might reveal all that we’re trying to cover up – our incompetence, our callousness, our weakness, our bad judgment, our illicit dealings, our treachery – and stick another man in who will lie for us. Now on what grounds can we demand General Petraeus’s resignation? Well, there’s that love affair we know of. We’ll get him to say he’s so overcome by remorse for that he feels he must ask to be let go.”

Why does the General agree to do it? It’s another lie, even though the fact of the affair (finished some time ago) is true.  Let’s say he goes along with the new deception in order to be free to tell the truth. But will he tell the truth now as a private citizen? According to some media reports he will not be testifying before the closed-door Democrat-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee next week; the new conniving head of the CIA will be doing so in his stead.

But it is a different story with the Republican-dominated House whose inquiry into the Benghazi affair starts on Thursday. CNN reports:

Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including diplomat Chris Stevens. …

King said … that Petraeus is “an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else.”

“David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he’s still the CIA director, and I don’t see how the CIA can say he’s not going to testify,” King said. “I think his testimony is … certainly necessary … He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has.”

If Petraeus does not testify as originally scheduled on Thursday, King said, “It should be very soon after that.”

When he does, if he tells the truth regardless of the consequences to the Obama administration or his own reputation, he will go a long way towards redeeming that reputation. If he shirks it, or endorses the administration’s lies yet again – great general though he is and deserving of all honor for his exceptional service to his country – his good name will be tarnished beyond redemption.

*

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who glibly stated that she “accepted responsibility” for what happened in Benghazi, is reported to have “turned down an invitation to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next Thursday on the Benghazi attack”.

Note added 11/13/12. Go here to see what she will be doing that she considers more important than attending the inquiry into Benghazigate.

*

*We were wrong. There is no certainty about this. See the comment below by Loretta Landrum Richey 11/13/12.

Hurray! Atheists shout down Muslims 13

Happy atheists shout down grim, hate-spewing Muslims at 2012 Atheist Convention in Australia.

“Where are the women?” the Atheists ask the Muslims – loudly, in chorus.

Good fun, and a victory for our side.

An expression of triumph, a spontaneous burst of sympathetic exultation, is perfectly in order.

“Terrorists are the world’s most god-fearing people” 4

Two videos from Creeping Sharia to remind the West that Islam is waging war against us.

 

Bloodbaths, lies, and after 2

The pretense continues that “the rebels’ – a crowd of untrained Libyans dangerously armed – achieved the conquest of Tripoli and now the defeat of Gaddafi’s last defenders in Sirte and his capture.

Here is a report from the Telegraph in which the writer tries to uphold the internationally agreed lie, while yet supplying the information that a US drone guided from the Nevada desert, and French bombers, and British “advisers” – actually strategists and leaders and, probably, effective fighters in sufficient number – ended Gaddafi’s forces’ last stand and flushed out the man.

Deep in the lunar landscape of the Nevada desert, American specialists trained to their computer screens spotted unusual activity at around 7.30am in District Two. From their windowless bunker, lit by constantly flickering computer screens, the analysts directed their unmanned Predator drones to zoom in on the convoy [of trucks] as it picked up speed and headed west. Nato’s eyes were suddenly trained on Gaddafi’s convoy.

Around 40 miles off the Libyan coast a Nato AWAC early-warning surveillance aircraft, flying over the Mediterranean, took control of the battle and warned two French jets that a loyalist convoy was attempting to leave Sirte.

As the convoy sped west, a Hellfire missile was fired from the Predator and destroyed the first vehicle in the convoy.

By now, the NTC troops had realised that the loyalists were escaping and a small number of lightly armed rebels began to give chase.

To me it seemed like a wild, chaotic situation. But we now know that it had, in fact, been foreseen by the British SAS and their special forces allies, who were advising the NTC forces.

British military sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that small teams of SAS soldiers on the ground in Sirte, armed but under strict orders not to get involved, had warned them throughout the siege to be alert to the fleeing of loyalists.

Assisted by other special forces – in particular the Qataris [put in because they're Arabs which makes it okay if they have "boots on the ground"? - JB]  with whom the SAS have a long relationship dating back 20 years – the SAS tried to impress on the Libyans the need to cover all escape routes.

But despite the advice, the breakout seems to have taken the rebels on the Zafran front completely by surprise.

In the previous two weeks I had repeatedly seen the militiamen fail to hold forward positions at night as they fell back to their encampments. Again and again loyalists had used cover of darkness to surprise the militiamen and manoeuvre into new firing positions.

Once more their surveillance was lax, and one rebel fighter confessed to me that in the early hours of Thursday they had failed to keep proper watch on the western front and they were surprised by the convoy. …

At this point the SAS urged the NTC [National Transitional Council] leaders to move their troops to exits points across the city and close their stranglehold.

After the Hellfire missile struck its target, the convoy changed direction, possibly hoping to avoid a further strike, before heading west again. It had begun to fracture into several different groups of vehicles.

The French jets were also given permission to join the attack.

By now a group of 20 vehicles in the convoy had reached a point around three miles west of the city. The shattered streets had been left behind, and the convoy had halted next to a walled electricity sub station, in arid farmland dotted with breeze block compounds and trees.

Just then, the French pilot began his bombing run, seconds later releasing two 500lb GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, into the centre of the convoy.

The bombs unleashed massive force. Arriving at the site, a few hours later, their devastating power was clear to see: at least a dozen vehicles were shredded and burned out, while I counted more than 25 bodies, some lying twisted and charred inside the vehicles and others lying in clumps nearby.

The air strike marked the end of any attempt at an ordered retreat and the convoy’s remnants scattered. …

Col Gaddafi had survived the air strike, but was apparently wounded in the legs. With his companions dead or dispersed, he now had few options.

He and a handful of men … appeared to have made their way 300 yards north from the devastation and taken shelter in a drainage culvert running under a dual carriageway. …

Members of the Al Watan revolutionary brigade who had been following the convoy at a distance witnessed the explosion, but at that point still had no idea who was in the vehicles.

Saleem Bakeer, a rebel fighter who said he was among those who came across Gaddafi hiding in the pipes said they had approached on foot.

“One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me,” he said.

“Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ‘My master is here, my master is here’, he said, ‘Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded’.”

“We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying: ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?’”

The initial astonishment [on the part of the rebels] appears to have quickly switched to jubilation, and then rage.

“I don’t think that anyone thought he would be there, we all thought that he would be in the south, or maybe across in Niger or Algeria. We were as shocked as he was at first,” said Abdullah Hakim Husseini, one of the band of men who found him. “We were so happy when we knew it was him. I thought, ‘at last, it’s all over’.”

Mobile phone footage shows Col Gaddafi alive but weak and bloodied, with blows raining down on him from frenzied fighters. At one point he was hauled onto the bonnet of a pickup truck, then pulled down by his hair. His weighty golden gun, intricately engraved and decorated with the words “The sun will never set on the Al Fattah revolution”, was snatched by one of the revolutionaries. His satellite phone was seized, and it was later discovered that he had made one last call to Syria.

Omran el Oweyb, the commander who captured Gaddafi, said that he only managed to stagger ten steps before he fell to the ground. …

One rebel was heard screaming in his face: “This is for Misurata, you dog.”

Gaddafi – confused, bloodied, stumbling – can be heard to reply, in what could be his last, laughably philosophical words: “Do you know right from wrong?”

What happened in the next minutes is the subject of intense controversy. Sometime in the next hours or minutes he died of a bullet wound to the left temple. The official NTC account says he was caught in crossfire as he was being driven to hospital. …

However the ambulance driver who ferried him said Col Gaddafi was already dead when he was loaded into the ambulance, around 500 yards from his point of capture.

One NTC member, who did not want to be named, admitted that this version of events was likely. “They beat him very harshly and then they killed him,” he said. “This is a war.”

So British SAS soldiers directed the last battle on the ground.

A Hellfire missile and bombs released from French planes hit the truck-convoy in which Gaddafi was trying to flee from Sirte. Gaddafi and at least one of his men sought shelter in a large drainpipe. And only then the Libyan savages moved in for the kill.

This is also from the Telegraph:

In Benghazi, on the main square where it all started, they were slaughtering camels in celebration. … They daubed their hands in the camel-blood, and gave the V-for-victory sign with dripping fingers. …

In the cafes, people were watching TV pictures – more graphic than any shown in Britain – of a bloodied Gaddafi dragged along and beaten, feebly protesting, before a gun was put to his head.

The picture then cut to the dead ex-leader being rolled onto the pavement, blood pooling from the back of his skull.

Gaddafi’s death is already showing up some of the weaknesses of Libya’s new rulers.

The claim by the interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, that he was killed in “crossfire” looks ever more false with every new piece of video.

Both he and his son Mutassim were alive when captured, and dead soon after. A statement by an anonymous NTC source that “they beat [Gaddafi] and they killed him” seems closer to the mark.

But Mr Jibril angrily rejected demands by the United Nations and some in the West for a proper investigation into the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death.

“People in the West don’t understand the agony and pain that the people went through during the past 42 years,” he said.

The dictator’s treatment – before and after death – underlines that Libya does not have a government, or a state with functioning standards, only a collection of militias.

After he was killed, his [torn and bloodied] body was taken by the Misurata militia and put on display in a shopping centre, where yesterday the corpses of his slain son Mutassim and Gaddafi’s army chief, Abu Bakr, were placed alongside.

Libyans from hundreds of miles away came to queue up and, some wearing gloves and masks, view the three bodies. …

The various militias are quarreling over who should take possession of the corpses. It is a harbinger of fiercer quarrels to come. Trouble looms.

Most of the militias are based on a particular town, financed and commanded largely autonomously. Gaddafi’s death means that the main thing which united them – the war against him – is over. Now, the many rivalries and disputes between them, and between them and the NTC, may come to the fore. …

The NTC is indeed going to vanish: Mr Jibril, along with the rest of the council, have already said they will serve only until elections in eight months’ time, and he repeated that yesterday. Eight months is quite enough time for political disputes to fester and harden into something more serious.

Such as more civil war?

This comes from DebkaFile:

[National Transitional Council leader] Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will be little more than a figurehead. Even now, he is confined in Benghazi by three strongmen, who control most parts of the capital, and have not given him permission to move the seat of the interim government to Tripoli. …

The regime taking shape could not be further from the Western ideal of a free democracy.

Behind the grisly images of Muammar Qaddafi’s last moments spilling out since Thursday, Oct. 20, a quiet contest is afoot between the US and at least two NATO allies, France and Germany, over who deserves the credit for his termination and therefore for ending the alliance’s military role in Libya.

American sources are willing to admit that US drones operated by pilots from Las Vegas pinpointed the fugitive ruler’s hideout in Sirte and kept the building under surveillance for two weeks, surrounded by US and British forces.

Both therefore had boots on the ground in breach of the UN mandate which limited NATO military intervention in Libya to air strikes.

According to the London Daily Telegraph, his presence in the convoy was first picked up by the USAF River Joint RC-135V/W intelligence signals plane, which passed the information to French warplanes overhead who then carried out the strike on Qaddafi’s vehicle.

The German Der Spiegel reported Monday, Oct. 24, that the tip revealing Qaddafi’s last hiding place came from German BND intelligence agents. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel was dead against German participation in the NATO operation in Libya, the BND nonetheless played an important role in intelligence-gathering.

It is increasingly obvious now that without the active intervention of the US, Britain, France and Germany, the anti-Qaddafi rebels on their own would never have beaten Qaddafi or been able to end his life.

As usual, however, the foreign offices of all the NATO countries involved in the operation will follow a long established custom of the Western powers and allow the Arabs to lie.

The lie will be that the people of Libya overthrew a tyrant. The truth will be that they’ll instate an Islamic regime in his stead; and the West, for all its talk of helping Libya become a free democracy, will not raise a finger to prevent that from happening.

The black slaves of Arabs and Durban III 4

While leftists and other “humanitarians” in the United States and Europe are in a perpetual state of moral outrage concerning Israel’s alleged mistreatment of Palestinians, the savagery of modern-day Arab enslavement of black Africans elicits almost no reaction.

So writes Stephen Brown at Front Page in an article on the Arabs’ African slaves, particularly in Mauritania:

The most recent case highlighting this leftist hypocrisy concerns four anti-slavery activists in Mauritania, who were sentenced last week to six months in jail for protesting the enslavement of a ten-year-old girl earlier in August in Nouakchott, the country’s capital. …  The convicted men belong to the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania (IRA), an anti-slavery NGO. …

Yet under Mauritanian law the criminal was the slave-owner:

The IRA discovered the child slave in Nouakchott, and reported the matter to police. Owning a slave was made a crime in Mauritania in 2007. It calls for a penalty of up to ten years in prison and fines ranging from US $2,000 to $4,000. A prison term of up to two years is also mandated for anyone who “facilitates” slavery. …

The law was nodded at:

The ten-year-old slave girl’s mistress… was arrested and charged but only has to report to the police once a week.

The slave child is nowhere to be found:

The child, for whom the demonstrators braved the government’s “draconian response,” is reported as still missing.

Why are the authorities allowing this obvious miscarriage of justice?

A problem in abolishing slavery in Mauritania, says one former slave, now an anti-slavery activist with SOS Esclaves, is that “the authorities themselves keep slaves.” …

SOS Esclaves is another anti-slave group in the country, which -

estimates there are about 500,000 black African slaves among the country’s population of 3.1 million. Their masters are Arab and Berber Mauritanians, who share only the same Islamic religion with their chattel. Unlike in Sudan, where the Arabs get their African slaves from old-fashioned, brutal slave raids, the Mauritanian slaves are the product of a system that has kept them in a state of bondage for generations, going back, in some cases, several hundred years.

Laws made against slavery in Arab countries are a matter of window-dressing for Western observers. They mean little because sharia, the law of Islam, promotes slavery:

Slavery in Mauritania and other Arab countries will be difficult to eradicate. Slavery is an ingrained, centuries-old institution in Islamic countries. It is also legal under Sharia law …

From the seventh century to the twentieth, it is estimated 14 million Africans were violently enslaved and transported under harsh conditions around the Islamic world.

Black Africans became synonymous in Arab eyes with inferiority and with even something less than human. And since the Islamic world experienced no abolition movement … the black slave … continued to remain sub-human in the Arab worldview.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why black Africans are being hunted down, imprisoned, tortured, or just summarily murdered in Libya by the Libyan rebels whom the US, Britain, France, NATO are actively supporting – while the attention of those multitudes of leftists and other “humanitarians” whom Stephen Brown so rightly scorns is otherwise engaged.

*

The plight of the Arabs’ black slaves will not be the subject of UNESCO’s “anti-racism” convention, Durban III, to be held in New York later this month.

No doubt, like Durban I and Durban II, it will be an international hate-fest against Israel and the Jews.

Last November these countries voted against the Durban III session: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States. (Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary and Spain abstained.)

Governments (in addition to Israel’s) that have announced they will not be joining in the coven are those of: The Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and – reluctantly? – the US.

Letting Arabs lie 2

In 1918 Australian troops liberated Damascus from Ottoman rule. An Arab contingent, led and misled by the romanticizing Englishman T.E.Lawrence, wanted to claim that they had achieved the victory. So the British ordered the Australians to withdraw and let the Arabs march in as if they were the conquerors.

The lie fostered the notion among the Arabs that they really were great warriors. This meant that when, thirty years later, a small ill-equipped ad hoc Israeli defense force beat the five Arab armies that attacked the new state, the Arabs felt not only humiliated but incredulous. The lie, as is the way with lies, did them no good.

The Europeans – the British at least – should have learnt their lesson then, that allowing the Arabs their false pretenses is a stupid and counter-productive policy.

But it seems they did not. It’s pretty obvious that something similar is happening now with the “capture of Tripoli by the rebels”.

In our recent post Sudden victory in Libya, we quoted this question asked by DebkaFile:

How did the ragtag, squabbling Libyan rebels who were unable to build a coherent army in six months suddenly turn up in Tripoli Sunday looking like an organized military force and using weapons for which they were not known to have received proper training? Did they secretly harbor a non-Libyan hard core of professional soldiers?

Now here’s the story that is supposed to answer such a question, cooked up (so we suspect) by AP and some wily Arabs, and swallowed whole by the Washington Post:

They called it Operation Mermaid Dawn, a stealth plan coordinated by sleeper cells, Libyan rebels, and NATO to snatch the capital from the Moammar Gadhafi’s regime’s hands.

Ah, so NATO did play a part. Well, everyone knows that NATO was assisting the rebels – with air-strikes, weaponry, intelligence. So what? Nothing new there.

It proceeds in the manner of pulp fiction:

It began three months ago when groups of young men left their homes in Tripoli and traveled to train in Benghazi with ex-military soldiers.

Ex-military, eh? But – soldiers of what nationality? Is care being taken here to hide the fact that NATO soldiers put their boots on Libyan ground and took charge of the rebel forces for an advance on Tripoli? After NATO had said they wouldn’t do such a thing? Perish the thought!

After training in Benghazi, the men would return to Tripoli either through the sea disguised as fishermen or through the western mountains.

A script ready for the big screen.

“They went back to Tripoli and waited; they became sleeper cells,” said military spokesman Fadlallah Haroun, who helped organize the operation.

He said that many of the trained fighters also stayed in the cities west of Tripoli, including Zintan and Zawiya, and waited for the day to come to push into the capital.

Operation Mermaid Dawn began on the night of August 21 and took the world by surprise as the rebels sped into the capital and celebrated in Green Square with almost no resistance from pro-Gadhafi forces.

Haroun said about 150 men rose up from inside Tripoli, blocking streets, engaging in armed street fights with Gadhafi brigades, and taking over their streets with check points.

See what tacticians these rebels are? What long-sighted and meticulous planners?

He said another 200 men [came] from Misrata.

But why did the armed Gadhafi troops melt away when the rebels drove through?

Would they fear a raggle-taggle rebel army?

Fathi Baja, head of the rebel leadership’s political committee, said it was all thanks to a deal cut with the head of the batallion in charge of protecting Tripoli’s gates, the Mohammed Megrayef Brigade.

His name was Mohammed Eshkal and he was very close to Gadhafi and his family.

Close to Gadhafi? Then why – ?

Ah, there was a reason. A secret grudge nursed for many and many a long year. So the plot thickens.

Baja said Gadhafi had ordered the death of his cousin twenty years ago.

“Eshkal carried a grudge in his heart against Gadhafi for 20 years, and he made a deal with the NTC — when the zero hour approached he would hand the city over to the rebels,” said Haroun.

“Eshkal didn’t care much about the revolution,” said Haroun. “He wanted to take a personal revenge from Gadhafi and when he saw a chance that he will fall, he just let it happen.”

But Haroun said he still didn’t trust Eshkal or the men who defected so late in the game.

Haroun said that he didn’t trust any of the defectors who left Gadhafi’s side so close to August 20.

“They knew his days were numbered so they defected, but in their hearts they will always fear Gadhafi and give him a regard,” he said.

Haroun said NATO was in contact with the rebel leadership in Benghazi and were aware of the date of Operation Mermaid Dawn.

Only “aware of it”. Did NATO have no active part in it?

Oh, yes, it did.  Haroun would not deny NATO had played a role.

“Honestly …

Savor that “Honestly”!

“Honestly, NATO played a very big role in liberating Tripoli — they bombed all the main locations that we couldn’t handle with our light weapons,” said Haroun.

And AP hastens to bear out the honest confession of Haroun by adding details anyone can check out:

Analysts have noted that as time went on, NATO airstrikes became more and more precise and there was less and less collateral damage, indicating the presence of air controllers on the battlefields.

Targeted bombings launched methodical strikes on Gadhafi’s crucial communications facilities and weapons caches. An increasing number of American hunter-killer drones provided round-the-clock surveillance as the rebels advanced.

Okay, that’s accepted. But that was all?  Any suspicion that European soldiers were on the ground would be wholly unfounded?

What if European foreign offices were to give out a different tale?

Diplomats acknowledge that covert teams from France, Britain and some East European states provided critical assistance.

Oh? Of what sort?

Well, quite a variety when we get down to it:

The assistance included logisticians, security advisers and forward air controllers for the rebel army, as well as intelligence operatives, damage assessment analysts and other experts, according to a diplomat based at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Only advisers, not trainers, mark you. But what if European military personnel were actually spotted among the rebels? Well,

Foreign military advisers on the ground provided key real-time intelligence to the rebels, enabling them to maximize their limited firepower against the enemy. One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the Qatari military led the way, augmented later by French, Italian and British military advisers.

So a foreign but Arab army was “augmented” by European advisers.

But only “later’. How much later? We’re not told, but they couldn’t have been too far behind considering the speed of the advance.

This effort had a multiple purpose, not only assisting the rebels but monitoring their ranks …

There’s a good word – “monitoring”. It implies “merely observing, merely taking note”.

… and watching for any al-Qaida elements trying to infiltrate or influence the rebellion.

Ah, watching for al-Qaida elements. That’s old policy, perfectly legitimate.

And besides, most of the observing was still being done from the air. Assistance given without the use of any actual Europeans at all:

Bolstering the intelligence on the ground was an escalating surveillance and targeting campaign in the skies above. Armed U.S. Predator drones helped to clear a path for the rebels to advance.

Baja said as the time for Operation Mermaid Dawn came close to execution, NATO began to intensify their bombing campaign at Bab al-Azizya and near jails where weapons were stored and political prisoners were held.

And then the people rose up.

The dramatization is brought to a climax with the last line.

We cannot prove – yet – that the story is a lie. But we are fairly persuaded that it is: a false account seasoned with little hints of the truth to allow the fibbers to say later if challenged, ‘But we said that NATO did this, and the British and French did that, and okay we may have left out details of what they actually did…” in a red-faced effort to minimize their deception.

The AP account serves only to confirm to us – contrary to what it wants readers to believe – that NATO troops were the commanders and effective fighters in the attack on Tripoli.

But it suits the US, Britain and France politically to pretend that it was a victory for the rebels, both in order to seem to be adhering to their declared limits of engagement, and also, most importantly, to make it seem that the Libyan people fought and won their own battle.

So yet again, Arab pride is boosted – truth be damned.

*

And here’s the latest DebkaFile report which, if it turns out to be accurate, would confirm our suspicions:

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that British, French, Jordanian and Qatari Special Operations forces Tuesday, Aug. 23, spearheaded the rebel “killer strike” on Muammar Qaddafi’s regime and Tripoli fortress at Bab al-Azaziya, Tripoli. This was the first time Western and Arab ground troops had fought together on the same battlefield in any of the Arab revolts of the last nine months and the first time Arab soldiers took part in a NATO operation.

Our military sources report that the British deployed SAS commandos and France, 2REP (Groupe des commando parachutiste), which is similar to the US Navy DELTA unit

The main body of the rebels to the rear of the combined foreign force was nowhere near being a unified military force.

*

And one lie has already been exposed.

A story was put out by the rebels that Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, had been captured  - and then he appeared at a Tripoli hotel before foreign correspondents.

Even the Guardian was embarrassed by the apparent exposure of this lie. Its report is here:

There was no doubt about it: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s second son and heir presumptive, had been captured. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the rebels’ National Transitional Council (NTC), declared on Monday that he was “being kept in a secure place under close guard”.

News of the supposed arrest, which came without a date or a location, was a huge boost for the rebel movement. …

Yet just hours later, journalists at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli were woken during the night by a knock at the door and told to go downstairs. There, inside a white armoured vehicle, with a mobile phone next to him and a smile playing around his lips, was Saif himself. …

The revelation that the man they had declared to be in captivity was in fact touring parts of regime-held Tripoli and doing the V-for-victory sign for a crowd of apparent supporters seemed to stun many rebels as much as it did the rest of the world. …

A spokesman for the NTC leadership, had no explanation of Saif’s sudden reappearance, and could say only: “This could all be lies.” …

The image it projects of the rebels is hardly flattering – and while Saif’s dramatic reappearance is far from the only occasion on which the international community has had reason to question the credibility of the fighters, this particular misstep could prove damning. …

A British spokesman hastened to excuse the liars.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, the international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, was keen to avoid chastising the NTC leadership. “I think it’s inevitable in this situation, with the warfare going on … that there will be some confusion.” …

We have a vision of the ghost of T.E. Lawrence hovering over Mr Mitchell in the BBC studio.

The United States in a hostile world 8

Should the United States refrain from any intervention in the world beyond its borders except in its own incontrovertible interest?

Or should it act as the world’s policeman? Does it have a “responsibility to protect”- if so, whom from what? Populations from their rulers? Vulnerable groups from any and all attackers?

To bring the debate to the moment and the actual, should the US keep its forces in Afghanistan after 10 years of fighting savage peasants and failing to crush them? Should there still be a US military presence in Iraq? In Germany? In South Korea? Should the US be fighting – as it is –  in Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen?

Should it not be using force to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power? And immediately against Iran’s ally, Bashar Assad, the bloody tyrant of Syria?

Should it not be outspending China on defense?

Should it not be helping Georgia liberate two of its provinces from Russia?

Should it be protecting South Sudan from its northern neighbors and their Ugandan proxies? Or the Nigerian Christians from their Muslim persecutors? Or the ethnic African Muslims of Dafur from the Arab Muslims who are raping, robbing, hounding and massacring them? Or destroying the pirates of Somalia? Or putting an end to the Arab/African slave trade?

Can those who answer yes to the first question fairly be called “isolationists”?

David Harsanyi considers, in a column at Townhall, whether the label is apt when applied to those who want America to withdraw from Afghanistan and refrain from any further participation in the NATO intervention in Libya:

There’s been a lot of talk about an alleged turn in American public opinion — particularly among Republicans — toward “isolationism.”

In a recent debate among GOP presidential hopefuls, there was some discussion about ending the United States’ commitment to the tribal warlords and medieval shamans of the Afghan wilderness. This induced John McCain to complain about the rise of a new “strain of isolationism” … McCain sidekick Lindsey Graham went on to notify Congress that it “should sort of shut up and not empower Gadhafi” when the topic of the House’s potentially defunding the military — er, kinetic, non-warlike bombing activity over Libya — came up. It would be a mistake, he vented, for Republican candidates to sit “to the left” of President Barack Obama on national security.

So if you don’t shut up and stop carping about this non-war war of ours, you are abetting North African strongmen. Makes sense. It’s the return of Teddy Roosevelt-style Republicanism, in which arbitrary power (and John McCain’s singular wisdom) matters a lot more than any democratic institution.

Sure, some on the far right and swaths of the protectionist, union-driven left oppose international trade agreements and [are] endlessly freaking us out about foreign influences.

Our interpolation: Is this protectionist section of the left aware of the left-elite’s longing for world government?

But isolationists? Judging from our conduct in the real world of economy, we’re anything but insular. So perhaps McCain simply meant noninterventionists — as in folks who have an unwavering ideological aversion to any and all overseas entanglement.

That can’t be it, either. Maybe, like many Americans, some in the GOP are simply grappling with wars that never end and a war that never started.

And with plenty of troubles here at home, it’s not surprising that Americans have turned their attention inward.

We can’t be in a constant state of war. Then again, Afghanistan is not a war per se, but a precarious social engineering project that asks our best and bravest (or, as our ally Hamid Karzai calls them, “occupiers”) to die for the Afghan Constitution, which is roundly ignored — except for the parts codifying Islamic law, that is. But all these conflicts come with the price of endless involvement. We almost always win.

When and where? Since World War Two, where has America won a hot war? Oh yes – against Granada.

But we never really go home. …

Did sometimes. From Granada after victory. From Vietnam after defeat.

This week, we learned that Obama rejected the advice of lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department who questioned his legal authority to continue this nonmilitary military involvement in Libya without congressional authorization. Instead, the administration offered a string of euphemisms concocted to bypass the Constitution.

Without any tangible evidence that this conflict furthers our national interests or any real proof that we are preventing a wide-scale humanitarian crisis, it’s not a surprise that Defense Secretary Robert Gates says we’re “leading from behind” — which is, in fact, as stupid and deceptive as the case it doesn’t make.

Are you an isolationist for questioning those who continue to weaken the Constitution? … Are you an isolationist for questioning this brand of obfuscation? Are you an isolationist for wanting American forces to win and leave the battlefield rather than hang around for decades of baby-sitting duty?

And Tony Blankley writes, also  at Townhall:

I was one of the first GOP internationalist-oriented commentators or politicians to conclude that the Afghanistan War effort had served its initial purpose and that it was time to phase out the war. As a punitive raid against the regime that gave succor to Osama bin Laden, we had removed the Taliban government and killed as many al-Qaida and Taliban fighters as possible. …

But as the purpose of that war turned into nation building, even GOP internationalists had a duty to reassess whether, given the resources and strategy being brought to the new purpose, such policy was likely to be effective.

Now many others in the GOP and in the non-isolationist wing of the Democratic Party are likewise judging failure in Afghanistan to be almost inevitable. That is not a judgment driven by isolationism. Neither are we isolationist in our judgment (along with the opinion of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and almost the entire uniformed chain of command) that we see no national interest in Libya.

This is not isolationism; it is a rational effort at judging how best to advance American values and interests in an ever-more witheringly dangerous world.

Both Harsanyi’s and Blankley ‘s opinions are apt as far as they go.

But  the problem is deeper, the questions that need to be raised about foreign policy harder than those they are answering.

Can America have a coherent foreign policy that America itself and the other states of the world can depend upon for any useful length of time? The two political parties are now so divided ideologically that foreign policy will depend on whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat. It will necessarily chop and change. Or if relations with some states stay more or less the same for a while, they will do so unreliably.

Could the very uncertainty characterize foreign policy usefully? No foreign state being secure in its relations with the US, each would have to be vigilant, tack according to the US wind, adjust to the changes. A case could be made that a Machiavellian preference to be feared by other nations rather than loved might serve America well.

But there are other developments to be considered. In countries throughout the world – led in this by Europe –  there is an ideological tendency towards world government. The nation state is not liked: new political alignments, such as the European Union, are trying to phase it out. Democrats, for the most part, are in sympathy with the movement; Republicans are not. Democrats – like most leftists everywhere – have a vision of the UN turning into a world government; Republicans – many of them at least – would be happy to see the monstrous institution disbanded. It cannot continue long as it is: being a house of lies, it must fall down.

NATO is weakening. Letting Turkey into it was fatal. No longer secular, Turkey is now in the camp of Islam, inimical to the West.

The world as it was conceived to be after World War Two is changing kaleidoscopically under our eyes.

In relation to the rest of the world, what are American interests? How should they be pursued?

Should America concentrate on preserving itself as a fenced-in area of freedom on an otherwise unfree planet?  That would be isolationism. Should it form a union with other as-yet-free nation-states: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel? India perhaps? Honduras? Papau? …

What would such a union do, what would be in its joint interest – “spreading democracy”, “protecting civilians”, “building nations”? The questions troubling America now would trouble it jointly, and the answers remain as hard to find.

Mercenary values 1

The profession of warrior is as respectable as any other, unless the warrior sells his skill to serve an evil cause.

The government of Somalia considered hiring Saracen International, a South African mercenary firm, to fight pirates and Islamic militants. A disapproving report in the New York Times may have squashed the idea.

Jeff Jacoby writes at Townhall:

That negative publicity may have undone the deal. The Times subsequently reported that Somali authorities “have cooled to the idea” of hiring private militiamen. “We need help,” a government official was quoted as saying, “but we don’t want mercenaries.”

Somalia certainly does need help. It is one of the world’s most unstable and violent countries. … It has been wracked for years by bloody insurgencies, and the central government, what there is of it, is under constant assault by al-Shabab, a lethal jihadist movement closely tied to al-Qaeda. Pirates plying the waters off Somalia’s shores menace international shipping.

The place is a hellhole, and each day that it remains one is another day of death and devastation for more innocent victims. Who is going to help them? The 8,000 peacekeeping troops sent in by the UN are inadequate to the job. “Western militaries have long feared to tread” there, as even the Times acknowledges. So why shouldn’t the Somali government turn to private militias for the help it so desperately needs?

It is fashionable to disparage mercenaries as thugs for hire, but private-sector warriors are as old as combat itself. Americans may dimly remember learning in grade school about the Hessian mercenaries who fought for the British during the American Revolution, but other mercenaries fought for American independence. … Many mercenaries have been heroes of American history. Among them are John Paul Jones, who became an admiral in the Russian Navy; the Pinkerton security firm, which supplied intelligence to the Union and personal protection for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War; the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of American airmen who fought for France in World War I; and the Montagnards, the indigenous tribesmen who fought alongside American soldiers during the war in Vietnam. …

This is not an abstract argument. When Rwanda erupted in mass-murder in 1994, the private military firm Executive Outcomes offered to stop the slaughter for $150 million The Clinton administration turned down the offer. In the ensuing carnage, some 800,000 Rwandans were killed.

In 1995, by contrast, the government of Sierra Leone hired Executive Outcomes to put down a savage rebellion by the brutal Revolutionary United Front. Within a year, the company had quelled the uprising and driven the rebels out.

It may not be politically correct to suggest letting mercenaries deal with nightmares like Somalia and Darfur. But political correctness doesn’t save lives. Sending in mercenaries would.

For a state or nation to hire the expertise it lacks is eminently sensible. Somalia should hire mercenary soldiers; Zimbabwe and California should hire mercenary free-market economists; the Palestinians and Pakistanis should hire mercenary brains; the Germans should hire mercenary humorists.

But why stop there?

Many a failed state could turn into a law-and-order polity with a thriving economy if it would hire an administration.

It need not pick the personnel from one country only. It should make up a team consisting of the most competent administrators from a number of countries, most obviously the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

And why not hire a judiciary as well – from the same pool of mostly Anglophone lands where commonsense, rationality, learning, fair-mindedness, humane restraint, probity, and the capacity to adjudicate objectively may still be found?

The hiring state would continue to make its own laws, but would have to be open to the advice of the imported administration and judges as to what laws could and should be enacted if it wasn’t to waste its money.

We float this idea on the ether because it is a good one. We mean it seriously, but would be astonished if it were taken seriously by any failing state. We know that we don’t yet have the clout even of the failing New York Times.

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