Monday, April 24, 2006

[imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1377 (14 messages)

imra Mon Apr 24 00:25:04 2006 Volume 2 : Issue 1377

In this issue of the imra daily Digest:

Olmert entourage: Sharon decided on Gaza retreat
due terror, increased terror will make it easier to
pass "convergence" plan
Excerpts: A Lebanon independent from Syria.
"Russia'a intensifying Islamism" 22 April 2006
Abbas Heading for Europe to Break
Through Isolation of Hamas
Syria Decides to Upgrade Palestinian Representation
AJCongress to Secretary Rice: US Foreign
Affairs Manual Encourages Israel's Rejectionists
Hamas: Samhadana appointment remains
Penn State cancels exhibit on Palestinian Terror
- "did not promote cultural diversity"
Attacks on Public Institutions Continue: Palestinian Gunmen
Attack the Municipalities of Nablus and Bani Suheila
Following Clashes and Tension between Fatah and Hamas,
PCHR Calls for Use of Dialogue and the Law
Hamas, Fateh Agree on a Solution to Diffuse Internal Crisis
Palestinian sues PA authorities,
says tortured for helping Israel
Text:Kuntzel's disturbing TNR article
on Iran's suicide indoctrination
Excerpts: Civil war 23 April 2006


Subject: Olmert entourage: Sharon decided on Gaza retreat
due terror, increased terror will make it easier to
pass "convergence" plan

Olmert entourage: Sharon decided on Gaza retreat due terror, increased
terror will make it easier to pass "convergence" plan

Aaron Lerner Date: 22 April 2006

Sima Kadmon is a leading political journalist who writes for Israel's
leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
Buried in her weekly lead article in the 21 April Friday edition of Yedioth
Ahronoth titled "Turbo Negotiation" focusing on coalition negotiations are
two revelations:

1. That terror attacks served to induce Sharon to decide on the plan to
retreat from the Gaza Strip.

2. That the Olmert team believes an increase in terror attacks will make it
easier to pass Olmert's "convergence" plan (retreat from most of the West

Interestingly, these revelations are bracketed within the segment of her
column in which she describes, in glowing terms, Olmert's security
consultation after the terrorist attack last week. For some reason Kadmon
declined to share with her readers what most other reporters considered to
be a significant element of the story: that Olmert rejected the unanimous
recommendation of security officials to take military action.

The following is a translation of the two paragraphs about terror and the
"convergence" plan:

"Around Olmert it is claimed that terror won't hurt his diplomatic plan.
The terror did not hurt Sharon's disengagement, the opposite, it gave birth
to it: the decision fell for Sharon after the attack on Line 2 in Jerusalem
in August 2003, an attack that ended the hudna period. Every attack after
that only strengthened his position, that there is no one to talk with and
therefore Israel should carry out a unilateral process.

As long as there are more attacks, those around Olmert maintain, it will be
easier to pass the convergence plan, both internally as well as on the
international front. The Americans won't push for a return to the Roadmap -
anyone with eyes in their heads will see that there isn't a partner, that it
is impossible to reach an agreement, and that if this is the situation,
Israel must carry out measures that serves its security without thinking
about the other side."

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730




ANKARA [MENL] -- The United States was said to have requested access to air
and naval bases in Turkey.
Turkish sources said the Defense Department has discussed U.S. military
access to several bases in Turkey. They said they included air and naval
bases that spanned an area from Central Asia to the Mediterranean.

"The request was for temporary access and connected to the crisis with
Iran," a Turkish source said.

On April 17, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported that the United States
has sought to establish a presence in three naval bases in Turkey. The
newspaper said the United States demanded access to bases located along the
Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
NOTE: The above is not the full item.
This service contains only a small portion of the information produced daily
by Middle East Newsline. For a subscription to the full service, please
contact Middle East Newsline at: for further details.


Subject: Excerpts: A Lebanon independent from Syria.
"Russia'a intensifying Islamism" 22 April 2006

Excerpts: A Lebanon independent from Syria."Russia'a intensifying Islamism"
22 April 2006

+++ARAB NEWS (Saudi) 22 April '06:"(Lebanese P.M.)Siniora Urges Syria to
Accept Lebanon's Sovereignty" Agencies -
"Lebanese Prime minister ... urged Syria to accept an independent
" 'heavy-handed interference in Lebanese domestic affairs by the Syrian
security' '
" 'when we achieve peace ... we'll have ... normal relations between
Lebanon and the Arab countries and with Israel' "
NEW YORK, 22 April 2006 - Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora yesterday
urged Syria to accept an independent Lebanon, normalize diplomatic relations
and accept the delineation of borders between the two neighbors. Siniora
said relations with Syria are a "major challenge" for Beirut because of
"heavy-handed interference in Lebanese domestic affairs by the Syrian
security," and other events in the last 19 months.
In remarks to the United Nations Security Council, he said Syrian security
officials had inflicted damages in Lebanon that were not easy to heal. ...
He asked Syria to show "a genuine recognition that a free and sovereign
Lebanon can have good relations with Syria and can serve the Syrian and Arab
interests better." ... ..
But a UN report this week claimed that Syrian intelligence has told Lebanese
legislators to extend the term of President Emile Lahoud, a pro-Syrian
politician, warning that failure to heed the demand would "put their
personal security at risk." Lahoud's 6-year-term expired in 2004 and was
renewed for three years under Syrian insistence.
. . .Asked if Lebanon can envision establishing diplomatic relations with
Israel, Siniora said: "Well yes, when we achieve peace. Let me state it very
clearly, when you talk about the Arabic issue of achieving peace it states
clearly that we'll have natural relations, normal relations between Lebanon
and the Arab countries and with Israel.

+++THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) April 21, 2006

"Into the labyrinth of Russia's intensifying Islamism"By Alexey Malashenko*
--reprinted from --

" 'Wahhabi Web' is a vast one (Wahhabi is the term used in Russia for all
supporters of radical

"Wahhabism has become even more entrenched"

"natural for discontent in any Muslim social unit to be expressed in a
religious form"

"Islamism has evolved into an enduring idealogical and political force"

... on the map of Russia ..."Wahhabi web" is a vast one (Wahhabi is the term
used in Russia for all supporters of radical Islam) ...from Kaliningrad to
Vladivostok and from Murmansk to Orenburg. Manifestations of Wahhabism have
been noted in Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Mordvinia, in the Samara oblast, and in
Kurgansk, Orenburg, Penza, Perm, Ulianovsk, Cheliabinsk and Tiumen oblasts;
not to mention southern Russia from Rostov and Volgograd to the republics in
the northern Caucasus. There are also Wahhabis in Moscow, though there are
no signs that they engage in regular activity in the capital. . . .
At news conferences, representatives of the security services invariably
talk about the cells of Wahhabis that have been crushed and the seizure of
field commanders. doing so they confirm that the very phenomenon of
Wahhabism, or Islamism, has not disappeared, but on the contrary has become
even more entrenched.
Some causes for the rise of Islamism are common to the entire Muslim space
of Russia. The first and most notable is the global nature of Islam itself
and its primordial aspiration to regiment social life. A second factor
derives from the first: it is natural for discontent in any Muslim social
unit to be expressed in a religious form. And there are more than enough
reasons for such discontent in Russia.
The third factor is the lack of stability in the northern Caucasus ...f the
struggle against local Islamists have echoed throughout Muslim Russia.
A fourth factor is outside influence. After the fall of the Iron Curtain,
Russia had the opportunity to fully savor more than just Western cultural
tradition. Russian Muslims underwent indoctrination from the south and
exposure to ideas of "pure Islam" and Islamic fundamentalism - in other
words, to other types of Islam previously unknown in the Soviet Union. In
...f the Russian Muslim population, especially youths, these ideas were
attractive and ... new ideas was accompanied by intensive penetration by
foreign Islamic governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as
international organizations pursuing both humanitarian and political aims.
Notwithstanding the common factors that explain the revival of Islamism...
there is a difference in intensity. ... The Islamists of the northern
Caucasus are firmly ensconced in a system of local political ties. They are
covertly supported by a number of local politicians and take part in a
system of political checks and balances.
In addition, Islamists can and do act according to their own logic and
ambitions. They are capable of using Islam as a means of social and
political mobilization and they exploit the support of the population that,
if it cannot exactly be described as massive, is sufficiently broad. ...
inthe northern Caucasus are so diverse that it is impossible to reach
definitive conclusions. Thus, in Dagestan the active members of jamaats, or
Islamist groups, number 20,000-100,000, while the Ingushetia jamaa has been
said to include all adult men in the republic. ... .
... at the beginning of the 21st century it became clear that Islamic
radicals had reserve forces. Returning to their homeland, graduates of Arab
and Turkish institutes of higher education were able to consolidate in
several dozen mosques and gather around them radically inclined Muslim
youths. They established connections with similar-minded people from the
Caucasus, as well as contacting radical groups from Central Asia.
...radical Islam has become a more permanent fixture of religious ideology
and political practice not only in the south of Russia.
...The conflict between traditional Islam and the Islamists is ubiquitous.
Apart from the northern Caucasus, where it can be observed in its most
extreme form, including armed clashes, it is present in Bashkiria,
Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Izhevsk, Moscow, Omsk, Perm, Petrozavodsk, Tiumen
and other Russian cities.
Unraveling the true potential of Islamism in Russia is a highly complicated
task. An entire mythology has developed around it . . .This mythology is
disseminated by experts, particularly in Europe and the United States. Their
publications and accounts are rife with citations from the Russian mass
media, which in turn are based on Islamic Web sites and excerpts from
personal conversations with Muslim politicians, including insurgents. This
mythology is exemplified by the discussion about the prospects for an
"Islamic revolution" in Russia.
It would seem there is no threat of any kind of an Islamic revolution in the
Russian Federation. But Islamism has evolved into an enduring ideological
and political force. Its ultimate potential has yet to be determined, but it
appears to be on the rise. In any event, the Russian Islamic community
considers itself to be a valuable part of the world Muslim community, or
umma. It shares the idea of Islamic solidarity, and many Russian Muslims
openly or clandestinely sympathize with Islamists.
*Alexey Malashenko is a professor at the Moscow State Institute of
International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian
Federation, and a scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center. This
commentary first appeared at, an online

Sue Lerner - Associate - IMRA


Subject: Abbas Heading for Europe to Break
Through Isolation of Hamas

Abbas Heading for Europe to Break Through Isolation of Hamas
Deputy PM: Mishaal Doesn't Necessarily Represent Palestinian Government

Palestine Media Center - PMC [Official PA website]

Ahead of kicking off a European fund-raising tour to break through the
Israeli, US, and European siege imposed on his Hamas-led government,
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Cabinet of Prime Minister Ismael
Haniyeh were struggling to contain a deadlock over security authority from
developing into an impasse.

Meanwhile the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called for a "national
dialogue" as Haniyeh's Cabinet distanced itself from Mishaal's statements in
Damascus on Friday, saying that Hamas' chief of politburo doesn't
necessarily represent the Palestinian government.

Abbas flatly denied any question of a power struggle with Hamas and instead
referred to "confusion" given the new administration's inexperience, he told
AFP in interview.

Abbas rejected and overruled Interior Minister Saeed Siyam's decision on
Thursday to create a new security force as "illegal and unconstitutional."
The government's spokesman Ghazi Hamad insisted that Siyam's decision was

Hamas politburo chief, Khaled Mishaal, stepped in from his exile and refused
on Friday President Abbas' rejection of Siyam's decision to create the new
security force, accusing Palestinian presidency of "military and security
coup" in "collusion" with the Israelis and Americans to undermine Hamas

Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasseruddin Al-Shaer was quick to distance
his government from Khaled Mishaal's inflammatory statements, and said that
these statements do not necessarily represent the Palestinian Government,
according to the Palestinian official news agency WAFA.

Al-Shaer urged restraint, collective work, and called on all parties to
examine their statements carefully, taking into account the tightened grip
of the Israeli occupation and the siege imposed on the Palestinian National
Authority (PNA), and to refrain from issuing statements and counter

PLO Calls for National Dialogue

Meanwhile, the PLO decided to call for a "national dialogue" led by
President Abbas, the Chairman of the PLO and the PLO's Executive Committee
(EC), to consider "ways for salvation" out of the financial and political
siege, "which is aggravating and widening internationally," according to a
statement released by WAFA following a meeting of the PLO Executive
Committee in the West Bank town of Ramallah Friday.

The PLO welcomed a similar call for national dialogue by the Speaker of the
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Aziz Al-Dweik, a Hamas leader.

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) barred member of the EC, Tayseer Khaled,
from moving from Nablus to Ramallah to attend the meeting.

The PLO invited all the national and Islamic parties to take part in the

However, the meeting, chaired by Abbas, approved a presidential decree
overruling Saeed Siyam's decision to create a new security force, because it
constituted "a legal violation" and aimed at "transforming all the armed
force of Hamas, and its affiliates, into legitimate forces of the PNA, a
move that threatens to open the door for serious internal struggles," the
statement said.

The PLO also called on the government to "announce its commitment to Arab
and international legitimacy, the Arab peace initiative (in Beirut in 2002)
in particular, and to the Palestinian Declaration of Independence (in
Algiers in 1988) as well as to the PLO (political) program."

Urging the government to stop issuing "contradictory statements," the PLO
warned against prejudicing these bases and thus threatening "the bases of
the Palestinian national action and achievements."

Rejecting Siyam's decisions on Thursday, the PLO however left the door open
for a solution.

"If the aim is to curb the security chaos, any force outside the security
agencies cold join these agencies according to the regulations of these
agencies," instead of creating a separate or a parallel force.

Deadlock Develops

Saeed Seyam, announced Thursday, the formation of a new armed "operational
force" at his ministry that will constitute a police arm directly
subordinate to him.

He also appointed Jamal Abu Samhadana, 43, who founded the the Popular
Resistance Committees (PRC) in the Gaza Strip and is high on Israel's
most-wanted list, to a senior security position in the interior ministry.

Haniyeh blessed the new force as part of endeavors to restore order to the
increasingly chaotic Palestinian territories.

"I bless the announcement from brother Saeed Siyam, the interior minister,
yesterday to form a force to protect general order," Haniyeh told
worshippers in a Gaza mosque.

Abbas, leader of the former ruling Fatah movement, acted less than 24 hours
after Seyam's decisions.

"President Abbas considers the decisions of Interior Minister Saeed Siyam
illegal and anti-constitutional," Abbas' adviser, Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, told
reporters in Ramallah.

The Associated Press said it obtained a copy of a letter Abbas sent to the
Prime Minister Haniyeh, and it said that, "all the officers, soldiers and
security personnel are asked not to abide by these decisions and to consider
them nonexistent."

In his letter to Haniyeh, Abbas wrote that, "we have learned through the
media that the interior minister issued decisions violating the law."

A deadlock developed when the government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, said Siyam
would form the new force as planned, despite Abbas' overruling, adding that
it "respects the law (and) the national interest."

"The decision of the interior minister conformed with the law ... which
gives the minister the authority to take the necessary decisions to
guarantee security," Hamad said. "The aim of the decision was to support and
strengthen the efforts of the police, and not to replace the police."

Hamad said however that Mohammed Awad, general secretary of the government,
was scheduled to meet on Saturday with Abbas' presidential secretary Rafiq
Al-Husseini to try to defuse the controversy.

Fatah Reacts to Mishaal

Mishaal's statements in Damascus Friday inflamed emotions. Addressing a
rally in Damascus, he vowed, "The military-security coup supported by
Zionists and Americans will not happen."

"We can understand that Israel and America are seeking ways to besiege and
starve us. But what about the sons of our people who are plotting against
us, who are following a deliberate plan to make us fail?"

Fatah's Revolutionary Council, the movement's main decision-making body,
issued a statement late Friday condemning Mishaal's remarks, accusing him of
"igniting and preparing for civil war."

"Mishaal is inciting a Palestinian civil war. He shouldn't interfere with
what is going on in the Palestinian territories . He should let us solve our
problems here in the territories without interfering," a Fatah spokesman

Fatah's reaction led to protests in Gaza and Ramallah, with some protesters
slamming Mishaal as "collaborator."

Abbas Embarks on EU Tour

Meanwhile Abbas arrived in Jordan on Friday en route to Turkey, Norway,
Finland and France.

On Thursday, Abbas received a letter from British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
delivered by his Middle East envoy, Lord Levy, outlining proposals to revive
the moribund peace process with Israel.

"The letter contains ways to unfreeze the peace process and the role that
Britain can play in this regard," Rafiq Al-Husseini, said after Levy met
with Abbas in Ramallah.

"There are strong indications that intense international efforts are being
deployed to restart the peace process after the formation of a government in
Israel," said Al-Husseini.

Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, Blair reiterated his support for a negotiated
two-state solution for the Middle East conflict.

"The whole of the international community stands ready and willing to take
forward a negotiated solution on the basis of a fair deal that allows for an
independent and viable Palestinian state, providing that Hamas recognise the
state of Israel and give up violence," he said.

The EU said Friday its freeze of budget aid for the PNA will stay in effect
indefinitely but blamed Israel for the PNA government's financial crunch,
said spokeswoman for EU External Relations Commissioner.

Complying with a diplomatic boycott of the Palestinian government, France
has refused a visa for the Palestinian Planning Minister, Samir Abu Eisha,
to attend a conference in Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman
Jean-Baptiste Mattei said Friday.

However France announced Wednesday that it would not halt relief aid to the
Palestinians, a move, which it said would be a "major political mistake."

Ahead of his tour, Abbas said: "If the European countries don't want to have
contact with the Palestinian government, there are other means to maintain
aid directed towards the Palestinian people," he said in an interview with
French daily Le Monde published Friday.

Abbas said he would explain his position during visits to the leaders of
Norway, Turkey and France, "so that the Palestinians are not penalized by
the economic blockade."

"I believe that the stop in European aid is unjustified," he told Le Monde.

Abbas said government employees' salaries should be paid, in full or in
part, as soon as possible.

"We are going to make proposals along this line to the Americans and
Europeans in the hope that they will be accepted," he said.

Earlier this month, Yasser Abed Rabbo, member of the PLO Executive
Committee, told the "Voice of Palestine" radio that Abbas would visit the
Brussels-based European Commission and address the European parliament
during his tour.

On Friday Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, said the president
would also talk to European leaders about reviving peace negotiations with
Israel, frozen since a Palestinian uprising erupted in late 2000.

"He will ask for assistance in holding an international conference for peace
as preparation to negotiate a permanent agreement in accordance with the
road map," Erakat said, referring to a UN-adopted blueprint for peace.


Subject: Syria Decides to Upgrade Palestinian Representation

Syria Decides to Upgrade Palestinian Representation
Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 06:50 PM
DAMASCUS, (SANA - Syrian news agency) -

Syria announced on Thursday she would uplift the Palestinian diplomatic
representation to her to a higher degree as she declared launching of a
national campaign to boost the Palestinian people.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem said in a joint press conference with
his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud al-Zahar, "President Bashar al-Assad has
directed to upgrade the level of Palestinian representation in Damascus and
to facilitate visits of the Palestinians to their families in Syria as to
deepen family relations among them."

He added, "President Assad intended too to open the door of popular
donation as to back the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority and
the government."

Asked if his meeting today with Zahar would increase pressures put on Syria,
al- Mouallem said Syria does not fear anyone and she is not ashamed of her
support to the Palestinian cause at this stage but rather she would continue
such move in a bigger way.

For his part, Zahar expressed thanks to Syria as a government and people
asserting that she has never delayed to boost the Palestinian cause even in
the toughest times.

He depicted ties with Syria as "distinguished" as well as with all other
Arab countries confirming that the accord to upgrade the level of
Palestinian representation in Syria will be followed up by technical

Zahar noted that Syria does not object to permit Palestinians entre with
their Palestinian passport to ease their communication and suffering
asserting that the zero international would be used to contact the
Palestinians after the needed administrative measures are taken.

Commenting on Syria's launching of a popular campaign to boost the
Palestinians starting from the end of this month, Zahar said the PA minister
of interior would follow up the technical procedures to start a new era of
constructive cooperation saying "Syria the Arabism is supporting the
Palestinians who are looking forward for this Syrian stand."

Earlier, President Bashar al-Assad underlined when received PA foreign
minister Syria's backing to the Palestinian people's struggle calling to
respect their democratic choice instead of punishment.

During the meeting, Zahar voiced appreciation of Syria's backing to the
Palestinian people to restore their full rights.

Syria reiterated on Thursday the importance of bolstering the Palestinian
national unity and renewed support to the Palestinian people struggle.

" Syrian underlines the importance of boosting the Palestinian national
unity on the basis of respecting the Palestinian people choice and their
firm principles to return home, independence and the building of their state
with Jerusalem as its capital, " Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa said when
met the Palestinian foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Vice President Sharaa also renewed Syria's support to the Palestinian people's
struggle noting to Syria's launching of a popular campaign on the level of
individuals and boards to collect money for charities in the interests of
the Palestinian people that cement their steadfastness.

For his part, the Palestinian foreign minister Zahar briefed Sharaa on the
outcome of his standing tour that included a number of friendly and sisterly
countries to explain the Palestinian people's suffering due to the nonstop
Israeli aggression and campaigns of siege and embezzlement they are exposed
to by some countries.



Subject: AJCongress to Secretary Rice: US Foreign
Affairs Manual Encourages Israel's Rejectionists

Chairman Jack Rosen to Secretary Rice: US Foreign Affairs Manual Encourages
Israel's Rejectionists

For Immediate Release
April 21, 2006

American Jewish Congress
825 Third Avenue, Suite 1800
New York, NY, 10022
212-879-4500 Fax 212-758-1633
web site:

Secretary of State Rice is Asked to Update US Foreign Affairs Manual to
Refelct Israel's Rightful Existence

April 21, 2006/NYC- The American Jewish Congress is pressing U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleeza Rice to eliminate a rule within the Foreign Affairs
Manual, 7 FAM 1383.5-4 Palestine, that allows persons born after the
creation of the State of Israel in 1948 living within Israel's 1967 borders,
to list their place of birth by city only, with no country, thus
inadvertently undermining Israel's claim to a sovereign national existence.

"It is simply mind-boggling" AJCongress Chairman Jack Rosen wrote in a
letter to the Secretary Rice, that the US may be inadvertently encouraging
Israel's most extreme opponents by treating the Jewish State as if it is all
disputed territory. This rule contradicts America's own policy to refrain
from any "contact with the Hamas-governed Palestinian Authority until it
recognizes Israel's right to exist," Rosen wrote.

The letter continues, "It is true that the State Department allows persons
born in territories whose sovereignty is disputed to choose to list their
place of birth as reflecting any recognized position in the dispute. There
is, however, no legitimate dispute about sovereignty over Jaffa, Tel Aviv or
Haifa. These are firmly and indisputably sited within the borders of the
State of Israel. No United Nations resolution, no rule of international law,
so much as casts doubt that Israel is not sovereign in these places."

Rosen said, "Only those, who like the Hamas-appointed Palestinian Foreign
Minister, dream of day when Israel is no longer on the map of the Middle
East deny Israel's sovereignty over these and other places within the
post-1948 borders of Israel."

Rosen concluded, "That the Foreign Affairs Manual treats such views
seriously only prolongs the persistence of Arab irredentism, a fantasy that
is large measure responsible for the persistence of conflict in the Middle

The American Jewish Congress is a membership association of Jewish
Americans, organized to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad, through
public policy advocacy, in the courts, Congress, the executive branch and
state and local governments. It also works overseas with others who are
similarly engaged.



Subject: Hamas: Samhadana appointment remains

Hamas: Samhadana appointment remains

Palestinian government rejects calls to cancel appointment of most wanted
rocket chief Jamal Samhadana to general supervisor of interior ministry,
defends establishment of new security body
Ali Waked YNET 22 April 2006,7340,L-3242335,00.html

Hamas rejected on Saturday calls to dismantle its new special security body,
and turned down a demand by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to cancel the
appointment of Jamal Abu Samhadana as general supervisor of the interior

Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siam, a leading Hamas member, said on
Saturday night in Gaza that he did not understand the storm that erupted
over the decision to set up the new body, which he said was taken under his
authority. Siam added that the new body was designed to combat the security
anarchy in the Palestinian Authority in the context of what interior
ministry staff members call "the intifada against the security anarchy."

Siam expressed his sorrow over the clashes that broke out in Gaza and Rafah
between Fatah and Hamas activists, in which over 30 people were injured.

He said that "these clashes should be stopped, only the Israeli occupation
benefits from them." Hamas said that comments by Khaled Mashaal were not
aimed at describing Fatah members as traitors or to be slanderous, and also
called on restrained to be shown.

'Exposing the truth'

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahari said that Mashaal's comments were aimed at
exposing the truth before the Palestinian people and were meant to hurt
anyone. "But guarding Palestinian unity does not mean hiding the truth," he

In Gaza mediation efforts continued Saturday night between Fatah and Hamas
with the aim of ending the clashes following Mashaal's comments, which
included the use of rocks, Molotov cocktails, stun grenades, and the
exchanges of blows.

Muhammad Dahlan, a member of the Palestinian legislative council and a
senior Fatah member, called on Fatah activists to be restrained and not to
be dragged to provocations and "Mashaal's poisonous incitement, despite the
fact that he described our activists and leaders as traitors."

(04.22.06, 20:34)


Subject: Penn State cancels exhibit on Palestinian Terror
- "did not promote cultural diversity"

PSU censors exhibit
By Jessica Remitz
Collegian Staff Writer Friday, April 21, 2006

For Penn State student Josh Stulman, years of hard work ended in
disappointment yesterday when the university cancelled his upcoming art
exhibit for violation of Penn State's policies on nondiscrimination,
harassment and hate.

Three days before his 10-piece exhibit -- Portraits of Terror -- was
scheduled to open at the Patterson Building, Stulman (senior-painting and
anthropology) received an e-mail message from the School of Visual Arts that
said his exhibit on images of terrorism "did not promote cultural diversity"
or "opportunities for democratic dialogue" and the display would be

The exhibit, Stulman said, which is based mainly on the conflict in
Palestinian territories, raises questions concerning the destruction of
Jewish religious shrines, anti-Semitic propaganda and cartoons in
Palestinian newspapers, the disregard for rules of engagement and treatment
of prisoners, and the indoctrination of youth into terrorist acts.

"I'm being censored and the reason for censoring me doesn't make sense,"
Stulman said.

Charles Garoian, professor and director of the School of Visual Arts, said
Stulman's controversial images did not mesh with the university's
educational mission.

The decision to cancel the exhibit came after reviewing Penn State's Policy
AD42: Statement on Nondiscrimination and Harassment and Penn State's Zero
Tolerance Policy for Hate, he wrote.

Garoian could not be reached by The Daily Collegian for further comment by
press time yesterday.

Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon wrote in an e-mail message that "there are
other issues involved in the display that has caused a problem, issues that
have nothing to do with the content of the painting." Mahon wrote that he
did not know all the details.

"We always encourage those who are offended by free speech to use their own
constitutional right to free speech to make their concerns known," Mahon
wrote. "This is an educational institution and people should embrace
opportunities to inform one another and the public. ... We don't have a
right to hide art."

Stulman said the exhibit, which is sponsored by Penn State Hillel, aims to
create awareness on campus about the senselessness of terrorism and drew
inspiration from images that have appeared in the public through newspapers
and television.

He said he was shocked at the university's decision to cancel the exhibit
and that he has tried to meet with Garoian on numerous occasions to discuss
his artwork.

"It's not about hate. I don't hate Muslims. This is not about Islam,"
Stulman said. "This is about terrorism impacting the Palestinian way of life
and Israel way of life."

Stulman said advertisements for the event were defaced in the Patterson and
School of Visual Arts buildings, one of which had a large swastika on it.

Stulman, who is Jewish, said he felt threatened and abused by the Nazi
symbol and is concerned for his artwork and his personal well-being.

Garoian also wrote that exhibit space in the School of Visual Arts is
reserved for students and faculty, not groups with a particular agenda.

Stulman said he created his paintings on his own and he approached Penn
State Hillel in February to help with advertising costs and food for the
opening. He said the School of Visual Arts did not object to his earlier
exhibit, also sponsored by Hillel.
Tuvia Abramson, director of Penn State Hillel, said while Hillel sponsored
the Stulman's exhibit, the group had nothing to do with his message or

"We don't have a political agenda except to support the voice of Jewish
students," he said.

Abramson said Hillel is exploring other venues for Stulman's exhibits to
ensure his message does not go unnoticed.

"It's about opening eyes and challenging viewpoints," Abramson said.
"Artistic expression is the basis for creativity -- but here, it was

--Collegian staff writers Meaghan Haugh and Devon Lash contributed to this


Subject: Attacks on Public Institutions Continue: Palestinian Gunmen
Attack the Municipalities of Nablus and Bani Suheila

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Attacking Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update
23 April 2006

Attacks on Public Institutions Continue
Palestinian Gunmen Attack the Municipalities of Nablus and Bani Suheila

In a continuation of the trend of attacking international institutions,
which has become a feature of the ongoing security chaos in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory (OPT), gunmen from Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
closed down the Nablus municipality building this afternoon in protest
against the statements made by Khaled Meshal (the head of the Hamas
political bureau). And last Thursday, a citizen threw 2 homemade grenades
in the Bani Suheila municipality building.

PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 13:00 on
Sunday, 23 April 2006, a group of about 20 gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades stormed the Nablus municipality building, firing heavily in the
air. The gunmen forced staff and citizens to leave the building. They
announced the indefinite closure of the building in protest against the
statements of Khaled Meshal, the head of the Hamas political bureau. In
addition, they requested that the municipality should allocate salaries for

And at approximately 10:15 on Thursday, 20 April 2006, a citizen threw two
homemade grenades at the entrance of the Bani Suheila municipality building,
located in El-Rawda Street in Bani Suheila (east of Khan Yunis). The attack
came in protest against a complaint filed by the mayor to the police against
the attacker. The Mayor, Abdel Qadir El-Rigib, informed PCHR's fieldworker
that a citizen came to the municipality accompanied by two of his sons. He
requested that the complaint, filed against one of his sons a few weeks ago,
be dropped. The complaint was filed on the grounds that municipality
workers had been insulted and attempts had been made to assault them. When
the Mayor refused to withdraw the complaint, one of the sons threw two
homemade grenades into the municipality building and near the entrance. No
injuries were reported.

PCHR strongly condemns this attack and expresses grave concern over the
escalating security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Centre
calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the
Attorney-General, to investigate these attacks and to bring the perpetrators
to justice.

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail:, Webpage
If you got this forwarded and you want to subscribe, send mail to
and write "subscribe" in the subject line.


Subject: Following Clashes and Tension between Fatah and Hamas,
PCHR Calls for Use of Dialogue and the Law

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release

Ref: 37/2006
Date: 23 April 2006
Time: 11:00 GMT

Following Clashes and Tension between Fatah and Hamas, PCHR Calls for Use of
Dialogue and the Law

PCHR welcomes the agreement brokered by Egypt between Fatah and Hamas last
night to end tensions between the two sides and put a stop to violence seen
mainly in Gaza City, which resulted in dozens injured yesterday. PCHR calls
upon the two sides to use dialogue and legal remedies in resolving
Palestinian internal differences.

Clashes broke out on Saturday, 23 April 2006, between hundreds of students
from al-Azhar University and the Islamic University, which are located close
to each other in the west of Gaza City. The clashes began following
statements by the Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Khaled Mash'al, in
Damascus on Friday, in which he accused Palestinian parties of working to
undermine the Hamas-led government.

These statements were made in the context of increasing differences between
the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) government and the Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas, centred on disputes over authority. These
differences peaked when President Mahmoud 'Abbas issued a decree abolishing
a decision taken by the Minister of Interior Sa'id Siam on Thursday, 20
April 2006, to form a special security force to support the police. The
announcement came in the context of efforts being made by the government to
end the state of security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, the clashes broke out first
at the campus of the Islamic University at 12:30, when members of the Fatah
Student Youth Movement put up a poster attacking Khaled Mash'al. Members of
Hamas tore down the poster and clashes erupted between the two sides. The
clashes escalated and soon involved large numbers of students from al-Azhar
University, whose student council is controlled by the Fatah Student Youth
Movement, and students from the Islamic University, whose student council is
controlled by Hamas members. The two sides threw stones and empty bottles
at each other. Some students even used home made grenades and supporters of
the two sides fired guns into the air.

The clashes continued until the evening and the two sides were reinforced by
supporters from outside the university. During the clashes, 33 students
were wounded (6 were injured by shrapnel from home made grenades; 4 suffered
from tear gas inhalation used by the police to disperse the students; and
the remaining students were hit by stones). According to medical sources,
two of the wounded were in a serious condition:

1) Khalil Hamad, 20, from Beit Hanoun,; and
2) Waleed Khaled Abu 'Eita, 20, from Gaza City, both wounded by
shrapnel to the head and throughout the body.

Buildings belonging to the two universities were also damaged. Following
the clashes, the administrations of the two universities decided to suspend
lectures for three days, in an attempt to decrease tension and protect their
property. Lectures at the two universities will be resumed on Tuesday, 25
April 2006.

At approximately 21:00 on the same day, hundreds of Fatah supporters
demonstrated in Gaza City in protest to Mash'al's statements. The
demonstrators moved from the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in the north of Gaza
City towards the Palestinian Legislative Council. The demonstrators moved
into the yard and opened fire into the air. A number of demonstrators
climbed to the roof of the Council and threw home made grenades. The
demonstrators then moved towards the Palestinian presidential compound in
the city. No clashes or casualties were reported.

At approximately 12:00, also on Saturday, at least 15 armed members of the
al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated to Fatah, broke into the Palestinian
court compound in Nablus, demanding that the Head of the Political Bureau of
Hamas apologize for what they considered to be an insult to the Palestinian
president and the Fatah movement. They forced staff members to leave the
building and closed it. They demanded its closure until Mash'al apologized
to the Palestinian president.

Last night, at the end of a meeting in Gaza City brokered by the Egyptian
government, Fatah and Hamas agreed to end the tension and form a permanent
bilateral dialogue committee to consider all new issues.

PCHR welcomes the agreement:
1) PCHR follows with utmost concern the increasing differences between
the PNA presidency and premiership over authorities.
2) PCHR reminds that such differences are not new, as they existed
before Hamas won the majority in the last Palestinian legislative elections,
and even when President Mahmoud 'Abaas himself held the position of prime
minister in 2003.
3) PCHR asserts that legal and constitutional differences are
legitimate as long as they are dealt with within the framework of quiet and
responsible dialogue, which serves the interests of the Palestinian people,
rather than resolving them through violent means.
4) PCHR calls for use of dialogue and the law in resolving all
constitutional problems between the Palestinian presidency and premiership,
through referring to the Higher Constitutional Court (whose authorities are
temporarily assigned to the High Court of Justice), which has the power,
among other things, to interpret provisions of the Basic Law and other laws,
according to the amended Basic Law of 2003.
5) PCHR emphasizes that the various establishments of the political
regime are not islands isolated from one another, rather they must
complement one another in a way that serves the interests of the Palestinian


Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail:, Webpage
If you got this forwarded and you want to subscribe, send mail to
and write "subscribe" in the subject line.


Subject: Hamas, Fateh Agree on a Solution to Diffuse Internal Crisis

Hamas, Fateh Agree on a Solution to Diffuse Internal Crisis

GAZA, Palestine, April 23, 2006 (IPC + Agencies) - [Official PA website]- A
meeting between high-ranking officials from both Hamas and Fateh movement
ended on midnight with an agreement on a solution to diffuse the internal
crisis that broke out following the latest statements of Hamas' politburo
chief Khaled Mashaal.

Under Egyptian auspices, officials from both factions called on the
Palestinian people to cease all acts of friction, which would lead to
clashes, and agreed on working jointly to enhance national unity.

Unfortunate clashes have broken out between supporters of both movements
from the universities of Al Azhar and the Islamic University, following
student activities both condemning and supporting Mashaal's statements,
leading to clashes that resulted in a number of injured students.

During a speech on Friday in Damascus, Mashaal lashed out against President
Mahmoud Abbas and members of Fateh movement, accusing them of corruption and
conspiracy to thwart the new Palestinian government, which was formed by
Hamas following its victory in the legislative elections last January.

Representatives of the two movement stressed the need to respect the
leadership of the people and the national figures, and refraining from the
language of doubts and unnecessary suspicion, and called to form a permanent
mutual dialogue committee to serve the interests of the Palestinian people.

On Sunday, news reports have hinted that President Abbas might agree to an
urgent meeting between him and Hamas' politburo chief in Turkey to contain
the tense situation and disperse any suspicions by the people of a possible
internal feud. President Abbas also called off a demonstration that security
personnel were supposed to hold in Ramallah City to denounce Mashaal's

The meeting, which was held last night, was attended by a representative of
President Abbas on Fateh movement and the Prime Minister Ismail Haniya as a
representative of Hamas movement, and was mediated by the Egyptian security
team currently in Gaza Strip, as well as the head of President Abbas'
office, Rafiq Al Husseini, and Secretary General of the Council of Ministers
Mohammed Awad.


Subject: Palestinian sues PA authorities,
says tortured for helping Israel

Palestinian sues PA authorities, says tortured for helping Israel
By The Associated Press Haaretz 7 April 2006

A Palestinian man sued Palestinian authorities on Thursday, saying he was
tortured after he helped Israel prevent terrorist attacks on its citizens by
Palestinian militants.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says Ali
Mahmoud Ali Shafi was kidnapped on September 22, 2001, in Palestinian
Authority-controlled territory and tortured for six months.

Shafi lived in the West Bank town of Qalqilya from 1948, when the state of
Israel was created, until 1994, when he moved to Haifa, the lawsuit says.
Before moving to Israel, he helped the Israeli security services prevent
terrorist attacks on its citizens, it says.

In September 2001, he returned to Qalqilya so his daughter could visit her
grandmother, and members of the Palestinian security service entered their
house and asked him to accompany them to their headquarters for 10 minutes,
the lawsuit says.

When he arrived at the headquarters, he was stripped, handcuffed and beaten,
and hot salt water was poured onto his wounds, the lawsuit says. He escaped
when Israel Defense Forces soldiers passed through town, scaring his guards,
it says.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on Shafi's behalf, saying it would be
impossible for him to get justice in areas controlled by the defendants,
which include the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation

An e-mail and a telephone message for the office of the Palestinian Observer
Mission to the United Nations were not immediately returned Thursday

Unwieldy wheels
A recent Irish study confirms that '4x4s' are among the most dangerous

Material witness
Daniel Sperber discusses the Talmudic era's musical instruments and weapons.

1. Thank you 09:15 | Eli07/04/06

2. I`ve Said It Once And I`ll Say It Again! 10:49 | Sam The Sham07/04/06

3. #1 20:13 | Jeff07/04/06

4. Ditto 21:08 | D07/04/06

5. Israel is the Answer 04:25 | Jeff08/04/06

6. Not a single western news source reported this 17:34 |

Today Online

Gideon Levy: Abu Tir or Abu Tor
Responses: 24

Editorial: New model - the police officer / terrorist
Responses: 19

A philosophy that is destroying the Palestinians
Responses: 83

Rabbis exonerate father charged with killing son
Responses: 72

Rosner's Domain

* Does Hamas know what it's doing?

* New poll: Peretz as Defense Minister?

* Weekend notes: Rice to testify on AIPAC trial?

More Headlines
18:53 Hamas seeks to distance itself from latest bin Laden comments

18:59 Reichman quits politics after education ministry goes to Labor

18:57 Israeli Court: PA meets criteria to be classed sovereign state

18:13 Hamas-Fatah unrest persists in territories despite bid to end tension

18:35 Rights group: Medical costs in Israel third highest in West

16:40 Mofaz: Islamic Jihad launched Katyusha rocket at Israel

17:24 Rabbinical sages exonerate father charged with killing son

18:34 Mubarak wants Olmert, Abbas meeting to restart peace talks

17:23 Reputed mobster indicted for possession of LAW missile

18:22 Panel approves road, railway plan aimed at relieving Tel Aviv traffic

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Subject: Text:Kuntzel's disturbing TNR article
on Iran's suicide indoctrination

Ahmadinejad's Demons

by Matthias Kuntzel - The New Republic
Post date 04.14.06 | Issue date 04.24.06

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Ayatollah Khomeini imported 500,000 small
plastic keys from Taiwan. The trinkets were meant to be inspirational. After
Iraq invaded in September 1980, it had quickly become clear that Iran's
forces were no match for Saddam Hussein's professional, well-armed military.
To compensate for their disadvantage, Khomeini sent Iranian children, some
as young as twelve years old, to the front lines. There, they marched in
formation across minefields toward the enemy, clearing a path with their
bodies. Before every mission, one of the Taiwanese keys would be hung around
each child's neck. It was supposed to open the gates to paradise for them.

At one point, however, the earthly gore became a matter of concern. "In the
past," wrote the semi-official Iranian daily Ettelaat as the war raged on,
"we had child-volunteers: 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds. They went into the
minefields. Their eyes saw nothing. Their ears heard nothing. And then, a
few moments later, one saw clouds of dust. When the dust had settled again,
there was nothing more to be seen of them. Somewhere, widely scattered in
the landscape, there lay scraps of burnt flesh and pieces of bone." Such
scenes would henceforth be avoided, Ettelaat assured its readers. "Before
entering the minefields, the children [now] wrap themselves in blankets and
they roll on the ground, so that their body parts stay together after the
explosion of the mines and one can carry them to the graves."

These children who rolled to their deaths were part of the Basiji, a mass
movement created by Khomeini in 1979 and militarized after the war started
in order to supplement his beleaguered army.The Basij Mostazafan--or
"mobilization of the oppressed"--was essentially a volunteer militia, most
of whose members were not yet 18. They went enthusiastically, and by the
thousands, to their own destruction. "The young men cleared the mines with
their own bodies," one veteran of the Iran-Iraq War recalled in 2002 to the
German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine. "It was sometimes like a race. Even
without the commander's orders, everyone wanted to be first."

The sacrifice of the Basiji was ghastly. And yet, today, it is a source not
of national shame, but of growing pride. Since the end of hostilities
against Iraq in 1988, the Basiji have grown both in numbers and influence.
They have been deployed, above all, as a vice squad to enforce religious law
in Iran, and their elite "special units" have been used as shock troops
against anti-government forces. In both 1999 and 2003, for instance, the
Basiji were used to suppress student unrest. And, last year, they formed the
potent core of the political base that propelled Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--a man
who reportedly served as a Basij instructor during the Iran-Iraq War--to the

Ahmadinejad revels in his alliance with the Basiji. He regularly appears in
public wearing a black-and-white Basij scarf, and, in his speeches, he
routinely praises "Basij culture" and "Basij power," with which he says
"Iran today makes its presence felt on the international and diplomatic
stage." Ahmadinejad's ascendance on the shoulders of the Basiji means that
the Iranian Revolution, launched almost three decades ago, has entered a new
and disturbing phase. A younger generation of Iranians, whose worldviews
were forged in the atrocities of the Iran-Iraq War, have come to power,
wielding a more fervently ideological approach to politics than their
predecessors. The children of the Revolution are now its leaders.

In 1980, the Ayatollah Khomeini called the Iraqi invasion of Iran a "divine
blessing," because the war provided him the perfect opportunity to Islamize
both Iranian society and the institutions of the Iranian state. As Saddam's
troops pushed into Iran, Khomeini's fanatically devoted Revolutionary Guard
moved rapidly to mobilize and prepare their air and sea forces. At the same
time, the regime hastened to develop the Basiji as a popular militia.

Whereas the Revolutionary Guard consisted of professionally trained adult
soldiers, the Basiji was essentially composed of boys between twelve and 17
and men over 45. They received only a few weeks of training--less in weapons
and tactics than in theology. Most Basiji came from the countryside and were
often illiterate. When their training was done, each Basiji received a
blood-red headband that designated him a volunteer for martyrdom. According
to Sepehr Zabih's The Iranian Military in Revolution and War, such
volunteers made up nearly one-third of the Iranian army--and the majority of
its infantry.
The chief combat tactic employed by the Basiji was the human wave attack,
whereby barely armed children and teenagers would move continuously toward
the enemy in perfectly straight rows. It did not matter whether they fell to
enemy fire or detonated the mines with their bodies: The important thing was
that the Basiji continue to move forward over the torn and mutilated remains
of their fallen comrades, going to their deaths in wave after wave. Once a
path to the Iraqi forces had been opened up, Iranian commanders would send
in their more valuable and skilled Revolutionary Guard troops.

This approach produced some undeniable successes. "They come toward our
positions in huge hordes with their fists swinging," one Iraqi officer
complained in the summer of 1982. "You can shoot down the first wave and
then the second. But at some point the corpses are piling up in front of
you, and all you want to do is scream and throw away your weapon. Those are
human beings, after all!" By the spring of 1983, some 450,000 Basiji had
been sent to the front. After three months, those who survived deployment
were sent back to their schools or workplaces.

But three months was a long time on the front lines. In 1982, during the
retaking of the city of Khorramshahr, 10,000 Iranians died. Following
"Operation Kheiber," in February 1984, the corpses of some 20,000 fallen
Iranians were left on the battlefield. The "Karbala Four" offensive in 1986
cost the lives of more than 10,000 Iranians. All told, some 100,000 men and
boys are said to have been killed during Basiji operations. Why did the
Basiji volunteer for such duty?

Most of them were recruited by members of the Revolutionary Guards, which
commanded the Basiji. These "special educators" would visit schools and
handpick their martyrs from the paramilitary exercises in which all Iranian
youth were required to participate. Propaganda films--like the 1986 TV film
A Contribution to the War--praised this alliance between students and the
regime and undermined those parents who tried to save their children's
lives. (At the time, Iranian law allowed children to serve even if their
families objected.) Some parents, however, were lured by incentives. In a
campaign called "Sacrifice a Child for the Imam," every family that lost a
child on the battlefield was offered interest-free credit and other generous
benefits. Moreover, enrollment in the Basiji gave the poorest of the poor a
chance for social advancement.
Still others were coerced into "volunteering." In 1982, the German weekly
Der Spiegel documented the story of a twelve-year-old boy named Hossein, who
enlisted with the Basiji despite having polio:

One day, some unknown imams turned up in the village. They called the whole
population to the plaza in front of the police station, and they announced
that they came with good news from Imam Khomeini: The Islamic Army of Iran
had been chosen to liberate the holy city Al Quds--Jerusalem--from the
infidels. ... The local mullah had decided that every family with children
would have to furnish one soldier of God. Because Hossein was the most
easily expendable for his family, and because, in light of his illness, he
could in any case not expect much happiness in this life, he was chosen by
his father to represent the family in the struggle against the infidel

Of the 20 children that went into battle with Hossein, only he and two
others survived.

But, if such methods explained some of why they volunteered, it did not
explain the fervor with which they rushed to their destruction. That can
only be elucidated by the Iranian Revolution's peculiar brand of Islam.

At the beginning of the war, Iran's ruling mullahs did not send human beings
into the minefields, but rather animals: donkeys, horses, and dogs. But the
tactic proved useless: "After a few donkeys had been blown up, the rest ran
off in terror," Mostafa Arki reports in his book Eight Years of War in the
Middle East. The donkeys reacted normally--fear of death is natural. The
Basiji, on the other hand, marched fearlessly and without complaint to their
deaths. The curious slogans that they chanted while entering the
battlefields are of note: "Against the Yazid of our time!"; "Hussein's
caravan is moving on!"; "A new Karbala awaits us!"

Yazid, Hussein, Karbala--these are all references to the founding myth of
Shia Islam. In the late seventh century, Islam was split between those loyal
to the Caliph Yazid--the predecessors of Sunni Islam--and the founders of
Shia Islam, who thought that the Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet
Muhammad, should govern the Muslims. In 680, Hussein led an uprising against
the "illegitimate" caliph, but he was betrayed. On the plain of Karbala, on
the tenth day of the month of Muharram, Yazid's forces attacked Hussein and
his entourage and killed them. Hussein's corpse bore the marks of 33 lance
punctures and 34 blows of the sword.

His head was cut off and his body was trampled by horses. Ever since, the
martyrdom of Hussein has formed the core of Shia theology, and the Ashura
Festival that commemorates his death is Shiism's holiest day. On that day,
men beat themselves with their fists or flagellate themselves with iron
chains to approximate Hussein's sufferings. At times throughout the
centuries, the ritual has grown obscenely violent. In his study Crowds and
Power, Elias Canetti recounts a firsthand report of the Ashura Festival as
it occurred in mid-nineteenth-century Tehran:

500,000 people, in the grip of delirium, cover their heads with ashes and
beat their foreheads against the ground. They want to subject themselves
voluntarily to torments: to commit suicide en masse, to mutilate themselves
with refinement. ... Hundreds of men in white shirts come by, their faces
ecstatically raised toward the sky. Of these, several will be dead this
evening, many will be maimed and mutilated, and the white shirts, dyed red,
will be burial shrouds. ... There is no more beautiful destiny than to die
on the Festival of Ashura. The gates of the eight Paradises are wide open
for the holy and everyone tries to get through them.

Bloody excesses of this sort are prohibited in contemporary Iran, but,
during the Iran-Iraq War, Khomeini appropriated the essence of the ritual as
a symbolic act and politicized it. He took the inward-directed fervor and
channeled it toward the external enemy. He transformed the passive
lamentation into active protest. He made the Battle of Karbala the prototype
of any fight against tyranny. Indeed, this technique had been used during
political demonstrations in 1978, when many Iranian protestors wore funeral
shrouds in order to tie the battle of 680 to the contemporary struggle
against the shah. In the war against Iraq, the allusions to Karbala were
given still greater significance: On the one hand, the scoundrel Yazid, now
in the form of Saddam Hussein; on the other, the Prophet's grandson,
Hussein, for whose suffering the time of Shia revenge had finally come.

The power of this story was further reinforced by a theological twist that
Khomeini gave it. According to Khomeini, life is worthless and death is the
beginning of genuine existence. "The natural world," he explained in October
1980, "is the lowest element, the scum of creation. "What is decisive is the
beyond: The "divine world, that is eternal." This latter world is accessible
to martyrs. Their death is no death, but merely the transition from this
world to the world beyond, where they will live on eternally and in
splendor. Whether the warrior wins the battle or loses it and dies a
Martyr--in both cases, his victory is assured: either a mundane or a
spiritual one.

This attitude had a fatal implication for the Basiji: Whether they survived
or not was irrelevant. Not even the tactical utility of their sacrifice
mattered. Military victories are secondary, Khomeini explained in September
1980.The Basiji must "understand that he is a 'soldier of God' for whom it
is not so much the outcome of the conflict as the mere participation in it
that provides fulfillment and gratification." Could Khomeini's antipathy for
life have had as much effect in the war against Iraq without the Karbala
myth? Probably not.With the word "Karbala" on their lips, the Basiji went
elatedly into battle.

For those whose courage still waned in the face of death, the regime put on
a show. A mysterious horseman on a magnificent steed would suddenly appear
on the front lines. His face--covered in phosphorous--would shine. His
costume was that of a medieval prince. A child soldier, Reza Behrouzi, whose
story was documented in 1985 by French writer Freidoune Sehabjam, reported
that the soldiers reacted with a mixture of panic and rapture.

Everyone wanted to run toward the horseman. But he drove them away. "Don't
come to me!" he shouted, "Charge into battle against the infidels! ...
Revenge the death of our Imam Hussein and strike down the progeny of Yazid!"
As the figure disappears, the soldiers cry: "Oh, Imam Zaman, where are you?"
They throw themselves on their knees, and pray and wail. When the figure
appears again, they get to their feet as a single man. Those whose forces
are not yet exhausted charge the enemy lines.

The mysterious apparition who was able to trigger such emotions is the
"hidden imam," a mythical figure who influences the thought and action of
Ahmadinejad to this day. The Shia call all the male descendants of the
Prophet Muhammad "imams" and ascribe to them a quasidivine status. Hussein,
who was killed at Karbala by Yazid, was the third Imam. His son and grandson
were the fourth and fifth. At the end of this line, there is the "Twelfth
Imam," who is named Muhammad. Some call him the Mahdi (the "divinely guided
one"), though others say imam Zaman (from sahib-e zaman: "the ruler of
time"). He was born in 869, the only son of the eleventh Imam. In 874, he
disappeared without a trace, thereby bringing Muhammad's lineage to a close.
In Shia mythology, however, the Twelfth Imam survived. The Shia believe that
he merely withdrew from public view when he was five and that he will sooner
or later emerge from his "occultation" in order to liberate the world from
Writing in the early '80s, V. S. Naipaul showed how deeply rooted the belief
in the coming of the Shia messiah is among the Iranian population. In Among
the Believers: An Islamic Journey, he described seeing posters in
post-Revolutionary Tehran bearing motifs similar to those of Maoist China:
crowds, for instance, with rifles and machine guns raised in the air as if
in greeting. The posters always bore the same phrase: twelfth imam, we are
waiting for you. Naipaul writes that he could grasp intellectually the
veneration for Khomeini. "But the idea of the revolution as something more,
as an offering to the Twelfth Imam, the man who had vanished ... and
remained 'in occultation,' was harder to seize." According to Shia
tradition, legitimate Islamic rule can only be established following the
reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. Until that time, the Shia have only to
wait, to keep their peace with illegitimate rule, and to remember the
Prophet's grandson, Hussein, in sorrow. Khomeini, however, had no intention
of waiting. He vested the myth with an entirely new sense: The Twelfth Imam
will only emerge when the believers have vanquished evil. To speed up the
Mahdi's return, Muslims had to shake off their torpor and fight.
This activism had more in common with the revolutionary ideas of Egypt's
Muslim Brotherhood than with Shia traditions. Khomeini had been familiar
with the texts of the Muslim Brothers since the 1930s, and he agreed with
the Brothers' conception of what had to be considered "evil": namely, all
the achievements of modernity that replaced divine providence with
individual self-determination, blind faith with doubt, and the stern
morality of sharia with sensual pleasures. According to legend, Yazid was
the embodiment of everything that was forbidden: He drank wine, enjoyed
music and song, and played with dogs and monkeys. And was not Saddam just
the same? In the war against Iraq, "evil" was clearly defined, and
vanquishing evil was the precondition for hastening the return of the
beloved Twelfth Imam. When he let himself be seen for a few minutes riding
his white steed, the readiness to die a martyr's death increased

It was this culture that nurtured Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's worldview. Born
outside Tehran in 1956, the son of blacksmith, he trained as a civil
engineer, and, during the Iran-Iraq War, he joined the Revolutionary Guards.
His biography remains strangely elliptical. Did he play a role in the 1979
takeover of the U.S. Embassy, as some charge? What exactly did he do during
the war? These are questions for which we have no definite answers. His
presidential website says simply that he was "on active service as a Basij
volunteer up to the end of the holy defense [the war against Iraq] and
served as a combat engineer in different spheres of duty."

We do know that, after the war's end, he served as the governor of Ardebil
Province and as an organizer of Ansar-e Hezbollah, a radical gang of violent
Islamic vigilantes. After becoming mayor of Tehran in April 2003,
Ahmadinejad used his position to build up a strong network of radical
Islamic fundamentalists known as Abadgaran-e Iran-e Islami, or Developers of
an Islamic Iran. It was in that role that he won his reputation--and
popularity--as a hardliner devoted to rolling back the liberal reforms of
then-President Muhammad Khatami. Ahmadinejad positioned himself as the
leader of a "second revolution" to eradicate corruption and Western
influences from Iranian society. And the Basiji, whose numbers had grown
dramatically since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, embraced him. Recruited
from the more conservative and impoverished parts of the population, the
Basiji fall under the direction of--and swear absolute loyalty to--the
Supreme Leader Ali Khameini, Khomeini's successor. During Ahmadinejad's run
for the presidency in 2005, the millions of Basiji--in every Iranian town,
neighborhood, and mosque--became his unofficial campaign workers.

Since Ahmadinejad became president, the influence of the Basiji has grown.
In November, the new Iranian president opened the annual "Basiji Week,"
which commemorates the martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War. According to a report
in Kayan, a publication loyal to Khameini, some nine million Basiji--12
percent of the Iranian population--turned out to demonstrate in favor of
Ahmadinejad's anti-liberal platform. The article claimed that the
demonstrators "form[ed] a human chain some 8,700 kilometers long. ... In
Tehran alone, some 1,250,000 people turned out." Barely noticed by the
Western media, this mobilization attests to Ahmadinejad's determination to
impose his "second revolution" and to extinguish the few sparks of freedom
in Iran.

At the end of July 2005, the Basij movement announced plans to increase its
membership from ten million to 15 million by 2010. The elite special units
are supposed to comprise some 150,000 people by then. Accordingly, the
Basiji have received new powers in their function as an unofficial division
of the police. What this means in practice became clear in February 2006,
when the Basiji attacked the leader of the bus-drivers' union, Massoud
Osanlou. They held Osanlou prisoner in his apartment, and they cut off the
tip of his tongue in order to convince him to keep quiet. No Basiji needs to
fear prosecution for such terrorists tactics before a court of law.

As Basij ideology and influence enjoy a renaissance under Ahmadinejad, the
movement's belief in the virtues of violent self-sacrifice remains intact.
There is no "truth commission" in Iran to investigate the state-planned
collective suicide that took place from 1980 to 1988. Instead, every Iranian
is taught the virtues of martyrdom from childhood. Obviously, many of them
reject the Basij teachings. Still, everyone knows the name of Hossein
Fahmideh, who, as a 13-year-old boy during the war, blew himself up in front
of an Iraqi tank. His image follows Iranians throughout their day: whether
on postage stamps or the currency. If you hold up a 500 Rial bill to the
light, it is his face you will see in the watermark. The self-destruction of
Fahmideh is depicted as a model of profound faith by the Iranian press. It
has been the subject of both an animated film and an episode of the TV
series "Children of Paradise." As a symbol of their readiness to die for the
Revolution, Basij groups wear white funeral shrouds over their uniforms
during public appearances.

During this year's Ashura Festival, school classes were taken on excursions
to a "Martyrs' Cemetery." "They wear headbands painted with the name
Hussein," The New York Times reported, "and march beneath banners that read:
'Remembering the Martyrs today is as important as becoming a Martyr' and
'The Nation for whom Martyrdom means happiness, will always be Victorious.'
" Since 2004, the mobilization of Iranians for suicide brigades has
intensified, with recruits being trained for foreign missions. Thus, a
special military unit has been created bearing the name "Commando of
Voluntary Martyrs. "According to its own statistics, this force has so far
recruited some 52,000 Iranians to the suicidal cause. It aims to form a
"martyrdom unit" in every Iranian province.

The Basiji's cult of self-destruction would be chilling in any country. In
the context of the Iranian nuclear program, however, its obsession with
martyrdom amounts to a lit fuse. Nowadays, Basiji are sent not into the
desert, but rather into the laboratory. Basij students are encouraged to
enroll in technical and scientific disciplines. According to a spokesperson
for the Revolutionary Guard, the aim is to use the "technical factor" in
order to augment "national security."

What exactly does that mean? Consider that, in December 2001, former Iranian
President Hashemi Rafsanjani explained that "the use of even one nuclear
bomb inside Israel will destroy everything." On the other hand, if Israel
responded with its own nuclear weapons, it "will only harm the Islamic
world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." Rafsanjani
thus spelled out a macabre cost-benefit analysis. It might not be possible
to destroy Israel without suffering retaliation. But, for Islam, the level
of damage Israel could inflict is bearable--only 100,000 or so additional
martyrs for Islam.

And Rafsanjani is a member of the moderate, pragmatic wing of the Iranian
Revolution; he believes that any conflict ought to have a "worthwhile"
outcome. Ahmadinejad, by contrast, is predisposed toward apocalyptic
thinking. In one of his first TV interviews after being elected president,
he enthused: "Is there an art that is more beautiful, more divine, more
eternal than the art of the martyr's death?" In September 2005, he concluded
his first speech before the United Nations by imploring God to bring about
the return of the Twelfth Imam. He finances a research institute in Tehran
whose sole purpose is to study, and, if possible, accelerate the coming of
the imam. And, at a theology conference in November 2005, he stressed, "The
most important task of our Revolution is to prepare the way for the return
of the Twelfth Imam."

A politics pursued in alliance with a supernatural force is necessarily
unpredictable.Why should an Iranian president engage in pragmatic politics
when his assumption is that, in three or four years, the savior will appear?
If the messiah is coming, why compromise? That is why, up to now,
Ahmadinejad has pursued confrontational policies with evident pleasure.

The history of the Basiji shows that we must expect monstrosities from the
current Iranian regime. Already, what began in the early '80s with the
clearing of minefields by human detonators has spread throughout the Middle
East, as suicide bombing has become the terrorist tactic of choice. The
motivational shows in the desert--with hired actors in the role of the
hidden imam--have evolved into a showdown between a zealous Iranian
president and the Western world. And the Basiji who once upon a time
wandered the desert armed only with a walking stick is today working as a
chemist in a uranium enrichment facility.
Matthias Kuntzel is a political scientist in Hamburg, Germany, and author of
Djihad und Judenhass (or Jihad and Jew-Hatred).


Subject: Excerpts: Civil war 23 April 2006

Excerpts: Civil war 23 April 2006

JORDAN TIMES 23 April '06:"Islamists courting Palestinian civil war - Fateh"

"Fatah Party ...accused Hamas 22 April of courting civil war"

"Abbas ... part of a plot to remove Hamas from power"
GAZA CITY (AFP) - The Fateh Party of Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas Saturday of
courting civil war, as relations ...hit crisis ... after the Islamists took
... Fateh and Hamas leaders planned on meeting Saturday night in order to
pull the sides back from the brink.
As tensions mounted, Fateh accused Hamas supremo Khaled Mishaal of being
hysterical for saying on 21 April, in a thinly veiled reference to Abbas,
that the Palestinian president was part of a plot to remove Hamas from
. . .
"We can only describe this speech as divisive, because it aims to provoke
tensions in the Palestinian territories and spark civil war."
The war of words began when Abbas vetoed a Hamas government decision to
create a new special force of armed activists headed by a wanted man.
. . ., Mishaal told his audience: "What is happening in Palestine is a
policy carried out by a parallel government, a counter-government which
deprives us of our prerogatives and the people of their rights. It is a
"A certain part of our people is plotting against us. They are carrying out
a premeditated plan which is aimed at our undoing."
..., Fateh said the speech was by "a man whose ambition is and always has
been to cause Palestinian blood to flow ... while he lives in (Damascus
exile) and benefits from the experiences of certain people to provoke
divisions and civil wars."
. . .
Since late 21 April pro-Abbas groups have been demonstrating in both the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
..., demonstrators shouted: "Mishaal has sold out to Syria and Iran," ...
. . .Abbas and Hamas have been sharing power uneasily ..., unseating
Fateh and ending its grip on power of more than a decade.

Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA


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End of [imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1377 (14 messages)

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