Spanish Pundit (II)

diciembre 31, 2005

And now we have here how the "pacifist" Zapatero acts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 3:07 pm

One of my first posts in this blog was about the lie of the pacifism of Mr. Zapatero. He based all hie elctoral campaign in accusing the Aznar Administration of being in Iraq fighting an “illegitimate, unjust and illegal” war. The Socialist party had even issued a law that only authorises to enter in a foreing war with either of one permissions: that of the Parliament or that of an international organization like UN. Well it looks like he had sent a ship to Iraq war: the best -and more modern one- of Spanish war frigates, Alvaro de Bazan (F 101).

TRCSG Sailor Reenlists Aboard Spanish Ship Alvaro de Bazan
Story Number: NNS051013-06

Release Date: 10/13/2005
4:52:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Kimberly R. Stephens, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

ABOARD USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (NNS)
— USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Operations Specialist 2nd Class Keison Hunt reenlisted aboard the Spanish ship Alvaro de Bazan (F 101) in the Persian Gulf Oct. 2.
Hunt is currently part of the U.S. Communications Assistance Team (CAT) that has been assigned in the integration of Bazan into the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG).

Bazan is the first European ship with the Aegis weapons system and is assisting the TRCSG with Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf.

“I decided to reenlist on the Spanish ship because I knew that I would be the first U.S. Navy Sailor to do it, and it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Hunt. It was also a first-time experience for many of the Spanish Sailors and officers on board Bazan to witness this type of ceremony.

“It has been an honor for me to preside over this ceremony on board my ship,” said Bazan Commanding Officer Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller La Calle. “We don’t have this kind of act for re-enlisting in the Spanish Navy, so it has been an interesting experience from which we can learn and maybe apply in a similar way.”Hunts dedication in working with Bazan’s CAT team has been an essential part of TR’s Operations Departments endeavor to meet the challenge of joint operations.

“In spite of the language ‘barrier,’ the interaction has been good, especially with our communications team,” said La Calle.”I thought that it was a good experience because not many U.S. Sailors get the chance to be a part of another military. The Spanish crew was very friendly, and I enjoyed every moment of being on this ship,” said Hunt.

Alvaro de Bazan is currently working with TRCSG in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf. MSO sets the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. [continues here…]

When the launching of this ship (May 6/2005) Bono played hommage to the US flag: (I have underlined the Zapatero’s words when he did not play any tribute to the US flag).

Bono pays homage to US flag

Defense minister José Bono yesterday paid homage to the US flag at a military ceremony in Virginia. Bono said, “We pay our deepest honor to your flag, which respects the Spanish people and stands for the value of freedom.” Bono thanked the US for rendering tribute to the Spanish flag and therefore, in the name of the Spanish people, he wished to return the same tribute. He added, “In Europe we cannot forget that it was the United States who helped in the triumph over totalitarianism.” Bono’s attitude is in notable contrast to that of former opposition leader and current prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who at the Spanish armed forces day parade on October 12, 2003, whas the only invited guest who did not rise in salute to the US flag when it passed by the reviewing stand. Bono’s words were equally surprising because he had previously stated, in order to justify Zapatero’s scorn for the American flag, “Here we do not kneel down, we are just as sovereign as the US, though we may be smaller and not as powerful,” and added that “Spanish soldiers are not at the disposition of the US government; shaking hands with the US president for us cannot mean turning our backs on the Spanish people.” Yesterday, in the hangars of the US aircraft carrier Roosevelt, Bono attended the launching ceremony of the Álvaro de Bazán, the first new Spanish F-100 class frigate, and its addition to the Roosevelt’s carrier group. Aboard the Roosevelt, anchored at Norfolk, Virginia, Bono addressed the ship’s crew and declared that it would show the Spanish flag around the world. Concluded Bono, “The flag evokes feelings of equality and solidarity, and together we can do more and we will, because we want what the Constitution says.”

The Alvaro de Bazan is the first European ship with the capability of forming part of a US carrier group thanks to its combat potential and radar system.

Of course, as a Spanish citizen (and a very proud one of being so), I think that we have to remain sovereign but not to be idiots. I mean, you can just state your reasons for not entering in a mission in a trustful and honest way. What you cannot do is to scorn on the others, commit every possible wrong in exterior policy and afterwards think you are the smartest in town.

The best thing of course is that the Socialists now are saying that they have not send that ship to “make war”… but it has continued to make impact in the Gulf:

“I am extremely proud of the 7,000 Sailors in our strike group, each one of whom makes a vital contribution every day to our success, whether at sea fighting terrorism or helping to set the conditions for security and stability in this region,” said Rear Adm. James A. Winnefeld, commander, Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. “Together, we’re all determined to carry this important mission through, until our last day underway.”


CVW-8’s Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 led the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group’s first combat flights in support of OIF, when it began flying combat sorties Sept. 24. Since then, aircraft from CVW-8, which consists of Fighter Squadron (VF) 213 and VF-31; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 and VFA-15; Sea Control Squadron (VS) 24; Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124; and Helicopter Squadron (HS) 3; have conducted strikes in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom while protecting coalition ground troops.

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group includes the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, with its embarked air wing, CVW-8; the Norfolk-based guided-missile cruiser San Jacinto; the Norfolk-based guided-missile destroyers Oscar Austin and Donald Cook; the Spanish frigate SPS Alvaro de Bazan (F101); and the combat logistics ships USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34) from Naval Weapons Station Earle, N.J., and USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) from Norfolk.

Also it has helped the Operation Steel Curtain:

Operation Steel Curtain is an offensive aimed at preventing cells of Al Qaeda from entering Iraq through the Syrian border. Coalition ground forces consisting of 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2,500 U.S. Marines began the offensive Nov. 4 near the town of Husaybah near the Iraq/Syria border.

And now THE photo:

051203-N-4154B-008 Persian Gulf (Dec. 3, 2005) – The Spanish Navy frigate Alvaro de Bazan (F101) sails alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during Alvaro de Bazan’s departure from Carrier Strike Group Two (CSG-2). CSG-2 is currently underway on a regularly scheduled deployment conducting maritime security operations. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Matthew Bash (RELEASED)

So EL MUNDO, one of Spanish newspapers, asked the Governement what was the role of this ship. (To me it’s very clear, ejem). And it published the news (that were nothing new, ejem). And informed that the TRCSG threw 2.500 kilos of bombs in Iraq with the protection of the Spanisg frigate. USA has confirmed that the frigate was in all these operations.

The Governement said that the “integration in the group of the USS Theodore Roosevelt has been the result of a very large progress of preparation, whose negotitiations began on November 24th, 2005, when Aznar was the President of Spain. It also has said that the Almiral of Spanish Navy has express orders of not joining war actions.

The problem is that the “Naval Review”, one of the Official Spanish Navy publications, informed, on April 14th, 2005, that it was in that moment that the “integration” was signed between Sebastián Zaragoza Soto, Chief Admiral of Spanish Navy, and Michael G. Mullen, Admiral and Chief Commader of the US Naval Forces in Europe.

So Mr. Rajoy, the oppostion leader, has asked Mr. Zapatero to explain the role of the frigate in Parliament. And Llamazares, the communist leader, that intended to accuse Aznar of genocide in Iraq, has also asked Zapatero about the mission of the frigate.

But the success of the integration is a reality and the role of Spanish sailors and officers, have been praised by USS Theodore Roosevelt. I am very proud of it, and with me any Spanish proud of being so.

Lastly, but not least a cartoon appeared in EL MUNDO:

The true mission of the Spanish frigate in the Gulf:
ZAPATERO: My fellow irqais, remember that smoking can kill you.
Boommmmm

(Spanish Parliament has just now passed a law forbidding to smoke in public places)

Chamberlain: la política del apaciguamiento

Filed under: Sin categoría especial — Nora @ 12:08 pm

Cuanas se refiere en su blog a un post encontrado en The Belmont Club:

Justo antes de dejar Londres para visitar Paris esta semana, el Primer Ministro Neville Chamberlain dijo a la Casa de los Comunes que otra vez está apelando a Adolf Hiler para continuar así su política de apaciguamiento en general. Haciendo esto, se ha revelado, y puede probarse como el más importante hecho internacional desde Munich, los esfuerzos del Gobierno británico para encontrar una casa a los Judíos de Alemania. Habiendo buscado entre todas las colonias, reveló qeu el Gobernador de Tanganica había puesto a su disposición 50.000 acres de terreno para asentar allí a los judíos, y a sus familias…

Este artículo fue escrito hace 67 años en la Revista Time Magazine, titulado “después de Munich” y fechado en noviembre de 1938.

El resto del artículo describe el Gobierno de su Majestad y sus esfuerzos para asentar a las 70.000 víctimas de los “progroms nazis en Tanganica o en 10.000 millas cuadradas de territorio británico en la Guyana británica.

Si el pasado parece una historia familiar con un final concebible, los que vivieron en él no tenían ningún presentimiento sobre el futuro. En 1938 Chamberlain pudo continuar sin ningún tipo de vergüenza por su parte con el “trabajo de apaciguamiento de Munich, y Time Magazine pudo pensar que encontrar la tierra para un estado judío en África y en Sudáfrica era una proposición viable. La invasión nazi de Polonia ocurrió menos de un año después y las instituciones antiguas que constituyeron el cuadro al que se refiere el artículo de Times no duraron ni otros 20. las colonias europeas desparecieron y America se convertiría en una superpotencia y la saga de Israel comenzaría.

Pero algo no deja de ser familiar para el lector moderno. Un comentarista de películas de Time lamentaba la tendencia de Hollywood a tergiversar la Historia.

60 gloriosos años (Imperator-RKO Radio) podría ser una experiencia interesant para los cine-adictos de USA cuyas nociones del siglo XIX pueden haber sido un poco confundidas por las últimas películas de las versiones Hollywood. Suez, por ejemplo, retrataban a Fernando de Lesseps, que actualmente tiene 2 mujeres y 10 hijos, como un joven soltero en busca de amor, y explicaban la participación inglesa en la construcción del canal de Suez como el resultado de una Elección General que nunca tuvo lugar.

Muy interesante para los tiempos que corren.

Chechen jihad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 1:20 am

Article appeared on GEES:

The connection between interna-tional terrorism and the “movement for independence” in Chechnya is substantial and explicit, but all too often ignored in the West. The popular assumption is that Chech-nya is a distant problem that need not be addressed by anyone outside Russia.
Unfortunately, the evidence sug-gests otherwise. Islamic extremists and their terror-tactics have been a central factor in the Caucasus more than a decade ago. From Iraq to Af-ghanistan, London to Moscow, Is-lamic terrorists have firmly imbed-ded Chechnya into the global web of terror networks.
A sparsely reported but highly sig-nificant development in the war against Islamic extremism in the Caucasus occurred on October 13 in the Russian republic of Astemirov-Balkaria. There, approximately 100 terrorists led by Wahhabi adherent Anzor Astemirov killed at least twenty-four police officers and civil-ians, though the Russian daily Kommersant reported the actual casualty count was higher than the official count. Chechens and a sig-nificant group of Arabs took part in the assault, and news reports sug-gested that radical Chechen leader Shamil Basayev may have been di-rectly involved in the operation.
Leon Aron, the director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, believes that foreign Is-lamic militants have fueled much of the violence in the Caucasus and “hijacked Chechnya’s struggle for independence.” There is much to support this claim as many Islamic fundamentalists who have a history of international terrorism have be-come involved in the Chechen con-flict. Osama bin Laden’s chief lieu-tenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, at-tempted to establish a base for Is-lamic terrorists in Chechnya in 1996.
By 1999, it was estimated that at least 100 Al Qaeda members joined up with Chechens in the Caucasus. In addition, Shamil Basayev is be-lieved to have trained in Afghani-stan in 1994. Basayev has claimed responsibility for – among other horrendous acts of terror – the Beslan school hostage situation that claimed the lives of 330, including women and young children.
This process of Chechen “Islamiza-tion” began in the mid 1990s as sig-nificant numbers of Arab fighters joined the fight of Muslims in Chechnya seeking to gain inde-pendence from the Russian Federa-tion. At that time, moderate Sufi Islam, long dominant in Chechnya, began to give way to Wahhabism. Money coming from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Af-ghanistan was paid to those who converted to Wahhabism and those who recruited others to join the mili-tant sect. As one Chechen convert explained: “I liked it that Arabs want to go on making war until they liberate the whole world of the [in-fidels]” and holy war should con-tinue “until all the Christians are converted to Islam.”
The influx of Arabs and Islamic fundamentalists soon changed the face of the conflict in Chechnya. The Middle East Quarterly accurately noted last summer that “A close ex-amination of the evolution of the Chechen movement indicates that Islamists and followers of Al-Qaeda have increasingly sought to co-opt the Chechen movement as their own.”
American and Russian intelligence services have found evidence sug-gesting that many of the same groups and individuals that fi-nanced al-Qaeda also provided support for Chechen leaders, such as the Saudi-born Ibn al-Khattab. Iran and Saudi Arabia are also be-lieved to have provided funding for Basayev and his followers. The ex-planation for this generosity is un-ambiguous: this diverse group of fanatics is united under the common goal of establishing an Islamic state in the Caucasus.
The events on the ground continue to suggest that the forces attempting to establish an Islamic state from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea are relatively weak. However, as the United States and our Iraqi allies crush the hopes of the Islamists in Iraq who seek to create a new ca-liphate, their efforts will soon focus elsewhere – as is already evident with recent terror attacks in Jordan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. An ex-tremely likely target will be Chech-nya and its neighboring republics.
Alexei Malashenko, an expert on Chechnya at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, stated recently that “The Chechen conflict is spilling into neighboring republics, escalating the process of destabilization” in the Caucasus and Central Asia. This poses an enormous threat to both the territorial integrity of Russia and the long-term interests of the United States in the region. The process has already started and is likely to pick up increasing steam as Islamists be-gin to lose hope in Iraq and Af-ghanistan. The second Chechen war began in 1999 with the invasion of Chechnya’s neighboring republic of Dagestan. This was an attempt to spread the conflict in hope of gener-ating a larger Islamic rising. Al-though Russian forces quickly drove the aggressors back to Chechnya, the Islamists have far from given up hope.
The Russian republic of Ingushetia has similarly experienced terror at the hands of the Chechens and their Islamist supporters. Repeated at-tempts to assassinate the pro-Moscow president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, have so far been unsuccessful. However, the em-ployed tactic of suicide car bomb-ings illustrates not only the same desired ends of the Chechens and their Islamist allies, but also the matching callous means. While the Islamists have failed to topple the Ingush leadership thus far, they did succeed in briefly taking the repub-lic’s capitol of Nazran in 2004. This operation was carried out by mili-tant followers of Shamil Basayev and concluded only after nearly 100 government officials and police offi-cers had been killed.
The influx of radical Islam and the expansionist nature of the aspira-tions of its followers have made it evident that Chechnya has trans-formed from a republic seeking in-dependence to one of the global cen-ters of Islamic jihad. Vladimir Putin described the danger of a widening conflict in a December 2003 televi-sion appearance: “they have com-pletely different goals – not the in-dependence of Chechnya, but the territorial separation of all territories of compact Muslim residence. It fol-lows that we should resist that, if we don’t want the collapse of our state. And if that happens, it will be worse here than in Yugoslavia.”
Unfortunately, Putin was not exag-gerating. London’s Sunday Express reported that British intelligence sources revealed that Chechen fighters were some of the last hold-outs in the battle at Tora Bora in Af-ghanistan. Chechens have also gone to Iraq to fight Americans and our allies. The same British intelligence source told the Sunday Express: “These are not just people dreaming of a homeland, they are key global terrorist figures.” The source added: “British forces in the Gulf during the initial phase of the fighting were finding Chechen bodies among the fanatics fighting along Saddam Hussein’s troops. A number of the foreign fighters confronting our troops in Basra have turned out to be Chechens.” Thus, Chechens are clearly gaining experience in guer-rilla warfare and terrorist operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and those that survive will bring their skills back to Chechnya.
However, to understand the scope of the events in Chechnya and its neighboring republics, one must also be acquainted with the global attempts to wreak havoc by the Chechens and their Islamist associ-ates not only in the Middle East and Central Asia, but in Western Europe as well. In 2002, Shamil Basayev engineered a plot to assassinate British Prime Minter Tony Blair at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Had it been successful, the attack would have killed several members of the killed several members of the Royal Family and certainly would have had just as great of a psychological impact on the people of Britain as the July 7 attacks. Terrorists from Chechnya and its neighbors have targeted Russian and Western inter-ests in Britain, France, Spain, and elsewhere.
Many of these plots originated in Georgia’s Shevardnadze Trail, a passage which runs through the eastern Georgia stretch known as the Pankisi Gorge and is described by former U.S. counterterrorism of-ficial Paul J. Murphy as a “lawless area that Georgia is unable to totally control and that has served as a conduit for financial and logistical support and fighter reinforcements into Chechnya since the early 1990’s.” The Pankisi Gorge has been the staging ground of alleged at-tempts to use ricin in London and bomb the Russian embassy in Paris. Chechens and members of al-Qaeda alike seek refuge and plot future attacks in Pankisi camps. Thus, it is clear that any attempt to combat terror in Chechnya and throughout the region will also have to attribute significant attention to the Pankisi Gorge.
The April 2004 expiration of the Georgia Train and Equip Program, a United States effort to assist the Georgian government in combating terrorism and to bring order to the Pankisi Gorge, signals a lack of re-solve on the part of the United States to alleviate the terrorist prob-lem in Chechnya and its surround-ing territories. This will have to change and the United States must re-dedicate itself – to a greater de-gree than previously displayed – to eliminating this problem. The up-coming November 27 Chechen presidential elections are certainly a positive step; however, without lim-iting the influence of foreign Islamists and subduing the radical-ized portions of the Chechen popu-lation, the new government is cer-tain to exert little control and may be just another artificial façade un-able to stem the tide of Islamic ex-tremism currently engulfing Chech-nya and its surrounding regions.
Robert T. McLean is a research intern at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.
You can continue reading this interview to a chechen jihadist leader who committed suicide this December 2005 (this page has also another very interesting links):

“Q. Some Muslims are hoping for a peaceful solution to this conflict, and to give heed to Western proposals and conditions for a cease-fire. How do you see the solution to this conflict?”
“A. Islamic issues can only be solved by Islamic means, namely through abiding by Sharia (Divine Law) and not Western proposals or United Nations conditions. Any resolution through non-Islamic means places the future of Muslims in the hands of tyrants who will never accept the rise of an Islamic state.”

“Q. Several Islamic populations are fighting defensive wars against aggressors. Yet some of them raise the banners of nationalism that may incorporate elements of secularism, ethnic nationalism or religion. How would you describe the war in Chechnya?”
“A. The fighting in Chechnya is a Jihad for the sake of Allah, a Jihad that aims to ensure that the word of Allah is supreme in this land. We consider most of the commanders and fighters as Mujahideen whose intentions are sincere and devoted to Allah Most high.”
“Q. The Russian military machine is massive and incorporates large numbers of troops and sizeable quantities of modern arms, yet the Russians are being decisively beaten on a daily basis by a small group of Mujahideen What are your comments in this regard?”
“A. All of the Mujahideen’s victories are attributed solely to Allah Most High… The jihad in Chechnya should serve as an example to all Muslims throughout the world that any Muslim rights that are forcibly usurped, including land, cannot be restored except through force. Negotiations only serve to lose one’s rights and honour. Let us consider Palestine as an example. There are a small number of Jews occupying Palestine. The Arabs outnumber them and have larger military forces, however, instead of fighting for the sake of Allah like their brothers in Chechnya, the Arabs (nationalists and secularists) chose to negotiate with their enemy. This has resulted in the humiliation of the Arabs, and has failed to restore Arab rights and territories.”
“Q. The complete victory of the Mujahideen is now in sight. What will happen once the war is over. Will we witness a recurrence of the tragedies that took place in Afghanistan, Bosnia and other Muslim countries that freed themselves from the yoke of crusader invasions?”
“A. Allah Most High has promised that those who glorify and fight for Allah in times of war, and who establish His Sharia in times of peace, will always have victory bestowed upon them… The Mujahideen will strive to ensure that the Muslims of Chechnya will continue to be united, and that the light of Sharia dispels the evil of disunity. It is only through Allah that success is granted.”
“Q. Many Muslims around the world have expressed their support and sympathy for their brothers in Chechnya. Most Muslims continue to support the Mujahideen through supplication to Allah, and by spreading awareness about the jihad in Chechnya. Has this support had any impact in Chechnya, if so, please give us some examples?”
“A. The supplications of Muslims and their financial support has played an important role in the victories of the Mujahideen. This support has helped mitigate the difficulties faced by the Mujahideen who are lacking adequate supplies of food and medicine. We ask Allah to accept the support given to us by our brothers, and remind the Ummah that coming to the aid of Muslims who are oppressed is a sacred duty that Allah Most High has confirmed…”

diciembre 30, 2005

Europe news on jihadism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 5:47 pm

From Global Jihad Watch:

Plans to ‘Top’ 9/11 Strikes’ (AFP) – – Three Algerians arrested in an anti-terrorist operation in southern Italy are suspected of being linked to a planned new series of attacks in the United States, interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu said Friday (12/23). The attacks would have targeted ships, stadiums or railway stations in a bid to outdo the September 11 2001 strikes by al-Qaeda in New York and Washington which killed about 2,700 people, Pisanu said. The Algerians are suspected of belonging to a cell established by the al-Qaeda linked Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.

Spain Jails Six Accused of Aiding al-Qaeda (Reuters) – A Spanish judge has jailed six people on suspicion of recruiting Islamic radicals to send as suicide bombers or insurgents to Iraq, Chechnya or Kashmir, a court official said on Saturday (12/24). The six were among 16 people arrested in raids around Spain. Another two people surrendered after learning police were looking for them.

French Parliament OKs Anti-Terror Measures (AP) – France’s parliament approved an anti-terrorism bill Thursday (12/22) that will boost the use of video surveillance and allow police more time to question terror suspects. The law will allow mosques, department stores and other potential targets to install surveillance cameras, and it will stiffen prison terms for terrorists and those providing support. It also will enable police to monitor people who travel to countries known to harbor terror training camps, and to extend the detention period for terror suspects from four days to up to six days.

La jihad chechena

Filed under: Sin categoría especial — Nora @ 5:39 pm

Artículo aparecido en GEES y que me ha parecido muy interesante reproducir.

La conexión entre terrorismo internacional y el “movimiento independentista” de Chechenia es sustancial y explícita, pero con demasiada frecuencia es ignorada en Occidente. La premisa popular es que Chechenia es un problema distante, que no es necesario que trate nadie de fuera de Rusia.

Desafortunadamente, las evidencias sugieren lo contrario. Los fundamentalistas islámicos y su táctica de terror llevan más de una década siendo un factor central en el Cáucaso. De Irak a Afganistán, de Londres a Moscú, los terroristas islámicos han encajado estrechamente Chechenia en las redes globales del terror.

Un suceso escasamente difundido pero altamente significativo en la guerra contra el fundamentalismo islámico en el Cáucaso tuvo lugar el 13 de octubre en la república rusa de Astemirov-Balkaria. Allí, aproximadamente 100 terroristas liderados por el fiel wahabí Anzor Astemirov mataban a veinticuatro funcionarios de policía y civiles al menos, aunque el diario ruso Kommersant difundió una cifra de bajas más elevada que el recuento oficial. En el asalto tomaron parte los chechenos y un grupo significativo de árabes, y las informaciones de las noticias sugirieron que el líder fundamentalista checheno Shamil Basayev pudo estar implicado directamente en la operación.

León Aron, el director de estudios rusos del American Enterprise Institute, cree que los militantes islámicos extranjeros han alimentado gran parte de la violencia del Cáucaso y secuestrado “la lucha chechena por la independencia”. Hay muchas pruebas que apoyan esta afirmación puesto que muchos fundamentalistas islámicos que tienen historial de terrorismo internacional se han implicado en el conflicto checheno. El principal lugarteniente de Osama bin Laden, Aymán al-Zawahiri, intentó establecer una base para los terroristas islámicos en Chechenia en 1996. Hacia 1999 se estimaba que al menos 100 miembros de Al Qaeda se habían unido a los chechenos en el Cáucaso. Además, se cree que Shamil Basayev se ha entrenado en Afganistán en 1994. Basayev ha reivindicado – entre otros horribles actos de terror – el secuestro de la escuela de Beslán, que se cobró las vidas de 330 personas, incluyendo mujeres y niños.

Este proceso de “islamización” chechena comenzó a mediados de los años 90, cuando cifras significativas de guerrilleros árabes se unieron a la lucha de los musulmanes de Chechenia por la independencia de la Federación Rusa. En aquella época, el Islam sufí moderado, predominante durante mucho tiempo en Chechenia, comenzó a ceder terreno al wahabísmo. El dinero procedente de países tales como Arabia Saudí, Pakistán y Afganistán era abonado a los que se convertían al wahabismo y a aquellos que reclutaban a otros para unirse a la secta militante. Como explicaba uno de los conversos chechenos: “Me gusta que los árabes quieran continuar luchando en la guerra hasta liberar al mundo entero [de los infieles]”, y la guerra santa debe continuar “hasta convertir a todos los cristianos al Islam”.

La afluencia de árabes y fundamentalistas islámicos pronto cambió el aspecto del conflicto en Chechenia. El Middle East Quarterly observaba con precisión el pasado verano que “un examen cercano de la evolución del movimiento checheno indica que los islamistas y los seguidores de Al-Qaeda han intentado competir cada vez más con el movimiento checheno como propio”.

Los servicios de Inteligencia americanos y rusos han descubierto pruebas que sugieren que muchos de los mismos grupos y particulares que financiaban Al-Qaeda también proporcionaban apoyo a los líderes chechenos, como el nacional saudí Ibn al-Jattab. También se sabe que Irán y Arabia Saudí han proporcionado financiación a Basayev y sus seguidores. La explicación de esta generosidad es inequívoca: este grupo distinto de fanáticos está unido bajo el objetivo común de establecer un estado islámico en el Cáucaso.

Los sucesos sobre el terreno continúan sugiriendo que las fuerzas que intentan establecer un estado islámico desde el Mar Negro hasta el Mar Caspio son relativamente débiles. No obstante, mientras Estados Unidos y nuestros aliados iraquíes aplastan las esperanzas de los islamistas en Irak, que intentan crear un nuevo califato, sus esfuerzos pronto se centrarán en otras partes – como ya es evidente en los recientes atentados del terror en Jordania, Indonesia y Bangladesh. Un blanco extremadamente probable será Chechenia y sus repúblicas vecinas.

Alexei Malashenko, experto en Chechenia del Carnegie Center de Moscú, afirmaba recientemente que “el conflicto checheno se está extendiendo a las repúblicas vecinas, escalando el proceso de desestabilización” en el Cáucaso y Asia Central. Esto supone una enorme amenaza tanto para la integridad territorial de Rusia como para los intereses a largo plazo de los Estados Unidos en la región. El proceso ya ha comenzado y es probable que provoque cada vez más polvareda conforme los islamistas comienzan a perder las esperanzas en Irak y Afganistán. La segunda guerra chechena comenzó en 1999 con la invasión de la república de Dagestán, vecina de Chechenia. Se trató de una tentativa de extender el conflicto con la esperanza de generar un levantamiento islámico mayor. Aunque las fuerzas rusas condujeron a los agresores de vuelta a Chechenia rápidamente, los islamistas están lejos de haber perdido la esperanza.

La república rusa de Ingushetia ha sufrido el terror a manos de los chechenos y sus partidarios islamistas. Las repetidas tentativas de asesinar al presidente pro-Moscú de Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, han sido hasta la fecha infructuosas. Sin embargo, la táctica del atentado suicida en coche empleada no sólo ilustra los mismos fines deseados por chechenos y sus aliados islamistas, sino también la llamativa coincidencia en los medios. Mientras que los islamistas han fracasado a la hora de derrocar a la cúpula ingush hasta el momento, sí que lograron brevemente hacerse con el Capitolio de la república de Nazrán en el 2004. Esta operación fue perpetrada por seguidores militantes de Shamil Basayev, y solamente concluyó después de que casi 100 funcionarios gubernamentales y efectivos de policía hubieran perdido la vida.

La afluencia del Islam radical y la naturaleza expansionista de las aspiraciones de sus seguidores han evidenciado que Chechenia ha pasado de ser una república en busca de la independencia a ser uno de los centros globales de la jihad islámica. Vladimir Putin describía el peligro de una ampliación del conflicto en una aparición televisiva de diciembre del 2003: “tienen objetivos completamente diferentes – no la independencia de Chechenia, sino la separación territorial de todos los territorios de residencia musulmana compacta. Se deduce que deberíamos resistir a ello, si no queremos el colapso de nuestro estado. Y si ocurre eso, aquí será peor que en Yugoslavia”.

Desafortunadamente, Putin no exageraba. El londinense Sunday Express informaba de que fuentes de Inteligencia británicas revelaban que los guerrilleros chechenos constituían algunos de los últimos reductos de la batalla de Tora Bora, en Afganistán. Los chechenos también han acudido a Irak a luchar contra los americanos y nuestros aliados. Las mismas fuentes británicas de Inteligencia declaraban al Sunday Express: “Esto no son solamente personas que sueñan con una patria, son figuras capitales del terrorismo global”. La fuente añadía: “Las fuerzas británicas en el Golfo, durante la fase inicial de la lucha, se estaban encontrando cadáveres chechenos entre los fanáticos que luchaban junto a las tropas de Saddam Hussein. Un buen número de guerrilleros extranjeros que hacen frente a nuestras tropas en Basora han resultado ser chechenos”. Así, los chechenos están adquiriendo experiencia en el conflicto de guerrillas y las operaciones terroristas en Irak y Afganistán rápidamente, y los que sobrevivan llevarán sus habilidades de vuelta a Chechenia.

Sin embargo, para comprender el alcance de los sucesos de Chechenia y sus repúblicas vecinas, uno tiene que conocer también los intentos globales de causar estragos por parte de los chechenos y sus socios islamistas no sólo en Oriente Medio y Asia Central, sino también en Europa Occidental. En el 2002, Shamil Basayev concebía un complot para asesinar al primer ministro británico Tony Blair y a la madre de la Reina. De haber tenido éxito, el atentado habría asesinado a varios miembros de la familia real y ciertamente habría tenido un impacto psicológico tan grande sobre el pueblo de Gran Bretaña como los ataques del 7 de julio. Los terroristas procedentes de Chechenia y sus vecinos han apuntado a intereses rusos y occidentales en Gran Bretaña, Francia, España y en otras partes.

Muchos de estos complots se originan en el Paso de Shevardnadze, en Georgia, un pasaje que discurre a lo largo del estrecho del este de Georgia conocido como el Pankisi Gorge, y es descrito por Paul J. Murphy, ex funcionario del contraterrorismo norteamericano, como “un área sin ley que Georgia no puede controlar en su totalidad y que ha servido como conducto de apoyo financiero y logístico y de refuerzos destinados a Chechenia desde los primeros años 90”. El Pankisi Gorge ha sido el escenario de las presuntas tentativas de utilizar ricina en Londres y volar la embajada rusa de París. Chechenos y miembros de al-Qaeda por igual buscan refugio y planean futuros ataques en los campamentos del Pankisi. Por tanto, está claro que cualquier intento de combatir el terror en Chechenia y por toda la región también tendrá que dedicar considerable atención al Pankisi Gorge.

La expiración del Georgia Trail and Equip Program en abril del 2004, un esfuerzo norteamericano por asistir al gobierno georgiano en el combate contra el terrorismo y llevar el orden al Pankisi Gorge, señala la falta de resolución por parte de Estados Unidos a la hora de aliviar el problema terrorista de Chechenia y sus territorios circundantes. Esto tendrá que cambiar y los Estados Unidos tienen que volver a dedicarse – en un grado mayor al mostrado previamente – a eliminar este problema. Las próximas elecciones presidenciales chechenas el 27 de noviembre ciertamente son un paso positivo; sin embargo, sin limitar la influencia de islamistas extranjeros y la sumisión de los segmentos radicalizados de la población chechena, ciertamente el nuevo gobierno va a poder ejercer poco control, y puede que sea solamente otra fachada artificial incapaz de dominar el fundamentalismo islámico que actualmente engulle Chechenia y sus regiones adyacentes.
Hace poco ya posteé sobre esta cuestión.

Tueni’s murder

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 5:22 pm

[This] attack follows a string of nearly a dozen bombings carried out in Lebanon in the past year, beginning with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last February. Hariri had resigned from his post after turning against Damascus, and his death sparked massive rolling street protests that ultimately led to the final withdrawal of 14,000 Syrian troops from Lebanon. Tueni, like a handful of previous victims, was a staunch critic of Syria.
At least two others also died in the Tueni attack. Dazed and bloodied workers from nearby factories crunched across broken glass at the scene hours later; the smell of burned plastic and burned pine needles hung in the air as security forces wearing plastic gloves scoured the hillside looking for clues. For some Lebanese, the clues point to one culprit. “I accuse the military regime in Syria. I accuse the remnants of the military regime in Lebanon tied to Syria,” Nayla Moawad, a prominent MP from northern Lebanon, said at the offices of An Nahar. “This is a catastrophe.”

Tueni, in a file photo from June, 2005
Hussein Malla / AP
Tueni, in a file photo from June, 2005

The Syrian government quickly denied any involvement in Tueni’s assassination. But it’s clear that whoever carried out today’s bombing intended to send a message to the West. United Nations’ investigator Detlev Mehlis’s report on the murder of Hariri was released today and, as expected, the report points a finger at Syrian intelligence. The report goes even further, accusing the Syrian government of obstructing the investigation and harassing witnesses. Syria—already the target of a range of economic sanctions–could face further embargoes based on the findings. But after today’s bombing, some Lebanese no longer think the U.N. can curb Syrian influence in their country. “We have the Mehlis report but so what?” says Jean Luc Bersuder, a 48-year old photo editor at An Nahar. “It’s not over. Syria still has the capacity to make problems in this country.”

Tueni is not the first person working at An Nahar to be attacked. Last June, columnist Samir Kassir was killed by a car bomb. And in September, television anchor May Chidiac survived a bomb planted underneath her car but lost an arm and a leg as a result of the attack. Tueni knew the danger he was in: colleagues say he had received several death threats over the phone in recent months. He traveled with heavy security and even spent the past month in Paris to keep a low profile. In an interview with a NEWSWEEK reporter last April, Tueni made it clear exactly who he saw as the biggest threat. “I believe [the Syrians] will try to keep a lot of spies here,” he said. “They’re trying to say to the people: We’ll be back in Beirut. They know the psychological effects are very important. I’m sure they’re preparing something else.”

And this is the result:

Lebanon mourns slain editor of top newspaper

Tens of thousands turn funeral into demonstration against Syria

Mourners carry coffins.
Lebanese mourners carry the coffins of slain anti-Syrian lawmaker and press magnate Gibran Tueini, his driver and bodyguard in Beirut, on Wednesday.

Joseph Barrak / AFP – Getty Images

“We want your head, Bashar,” the crowds chanted in reference to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are here to revolt against the oppression and barbarity that is taking away our best men,” mourner Nabhan Abu Samra said.

Many thousands, most of them waving Lebanese flags, answered a call by anti-Syrian politicians for a large turnout at Tueni’s funeral, carrying his flag-draped coffin on their shoulders through the streets of central Beirut to the Greek Orthodox church where a service will be held.

“All of Lebanon bids goodbye today to the martyr of free speech Gebran Tueni,” said the frontpage headline of al-Mustaqbal newspaper, owned by the late Hariri.

Uniting force
The 48-year-old Tueni was among the most fiery critics of Damascus, publishing his biting editorials on the front-page of his an-Nahar newspaper, Lebanon’s leading daily.

Many Lebanese politicians have blamed Syria for Tueni’s murder, though Damascus has been quick to deny any involvement.

“Can no one say ’no’ in this country without being killed?” asked Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who campaigned for Syria’s withdrawal, in a call to LBC television on Tuesday night.

“I am threatened now … If what they want is to silence every opposition voice, then until when?”

Slain man's daughter.
Hussein Malla / AP
Nayla Tueni, daughter of slain anti-Syrian journalist and legislator Gibran Tueni, mourns as she lays her hand on her father’s coffin, in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh, Lebanon, on Wednesday.

A Lebanese flag was draped over Tueni’s seat in parliament, which held a special session in his honor on Wednesday. A large banner bearing Tueni’s picture was draped over the headquarters of an-Nahar in downtown Beirut.

In Martyr’s Square, the crowds also repeated the vow Tueni led them in making on the same spot at a symbolic March 14 rally: “We swear by God Almighty, Muslims and Christians, to remain united and defend great Lebanon forever and ever.”

Sanaa Mansour, dressed from head to toe in a black Islamic cloak, said: “We are here to show solidarity with all Lebanese, Muslims and Christians, and to call for an end to this series of deaths and for the complete liberation of our country.”

There is a Syrian arrested over Beirut Car Bomb.

A Syrian was arrested Tuesday (12/27) on suspicion of involvement in the assassination earlier this month of Gebran Tueini, the anti-Syrian general manager and columnist of Lebanon’s leading newspaper. Abed al Kader Abed al Kader was among three Syrian nationals detained earlier for questioning in the Dec. 12 killing of Tueini.

About the renditions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 5:06 pm
In Europe we have a lot of information about a lot of new commissions that are going to be opened to investigate about the renditions

According to current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials, some European governments were informed of at least some of the details of the CIA flight operations before or as they happened. Other European governments operated what one U.S. counterterror official acknowledged amounted to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding the CIA airplanes. In other words, the governments may have been aware that something was going on in their airspace with CIA aircraft, but they did not really want to know what was happening, did not ask too many (or perhaps any) questions about the agency’s activities, and the United States did not volunteer any answers. A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

Because the European governments themselves either had some knowledge of the CIA activities, or, in other cases, may have ignored activities they had reason to suspect were going on, some European investigators believe that the nations that allowed CIA flights to use their airfields won’t be eager to answer any questions.

You can also read more information from a blog called “Colorado Coalition for Human Rights“.

Linked to this there is the very “strange” case of Khaled El-Masri.

Interesting articles about the role of women in Al-Qaeda

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 4:53 pm

This two articles were very interesting.

Women of Al Qaeda

Jihad used to have a gender: male. The men who dominated the movement exploited traditional attitudes about sex and the sexes to build their ranks. They still do that, but with a difference: even Al Qaeda is using female killers now, and goading the men.

Very little is known about the first woman to become a suicide bomber for Al Qaeda in Iraq, except that she dressed as a man. Two weeks after a U.S.-backed operation to clean out the town of Tall Afar near the Syrian border in September, she put on the long white robe and checkered scarf that Arab men commonly wear in Iraqi desert towns. The clothes disguised her gender long enough for her to walk into a gathering of military recruits with no one taking much notice. The clothes also concealed the explosives strapped around her womb. “May God accept our sister among the martyrs,” said a Web site linked to the organization of Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi. She had defended “her faith and her honor.” No name was given. But the bomb that blew apart that anonymous woman killed five men, maimed or wounded 30 more, and opened a new chapter not only in the war for Iraq but in the global struggle against terror.

Never before had any branch of Al Qaeda sent a woman on a suicide mission. Since female bombers first appeared in Lebanon two decades ago, their ranks have come mainly from secular Arab nationalist groups, from Kurdish rebels in Turkey and the non-Muslim Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighting the government of Sri Lanka. Only in the past few years did the Palestinian “army of roses” carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis, and the “black widows” strike at the enemies of Chechnya’s rebels. Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Qaeda and its offshoots around the world held back. But as he has before, Zarqawi broke the taboos. His strategy is to create images of horror, “to look like he has more capability than he truly has,” says Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the Coalition forces spokesman in Baghdad. Zarqawi recruits where he can, he exploits whom he can and he attacks the softest of targets to get the peculiar kind of publicity he craves. Women are his new weapon of choice.

In October, Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed that a second female bomber, this time accompanied by her husband, killed herself attacking an American patrol in Mosul. And last week the world learned of the third: Muriel Degauque, 38, a fair-skinned Belgian from the grim rust-belt city of Charleroi near the French border. As a girl, she often ran away from home. As a woman, she had a succession of failed relationships with Muslim men: a Turk, an Algerian and finally a Belgian of Moroccan descent who followed the teachings of radical Salafists, similar to those of Al Qaeda. They went to live for at least three years in Morocco, and when she returned home she was fully veiled: alienated, lonely, in the thrall of a husband who consumed her entire world. Muriel—now calling herself Myriam—”couldn’t have children,” a spokesman for the Belgian prosecutor’s office said last week. Even when she was near her parents, she rarely spoke to them. The last they heard from her was during the summer. On Nov. 9, she blew herself up attacking Iraqi police near the town of Baqubah. American troops gunned down her husband shortly after Myriam was killed.
That same night, Nov. 9, bombers hit three hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman. As scores of dead and wounded were still being counted, Al Qaeda in Iraq announced that a woman had been among the suicide attackers there, too. Zarqawi, once again, was publicizing his new approach. But what Zarqawi did not know was that the woman had failed to detonate her bomb.

The second one is called

Reform: Not Ignorant, Not Helpless

The West is focused on the extreme cases of oppression against Muslim women. But there’s another world out there.

The West’s exposure to Muslim women is largely based on Islam’s most extreme cases of oppression: Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, Wahhabi-ruled Saudi Arabia and postrevolutionary Iran. Under those regimes, women were and are ordered to cover. Many Afghan women are forbidden to attend school, and no Saudi woman is allowed to drive. Yet despite the spread of ultraconservative versions of Islam over the past few decades, these societies are not the norm in the Muslim world. In Egypt, female cops patrol the streets. In Jordan, women account for the majority of students in medical school. And in Syria, courtrooms are filled with female lawyers. “Women are out working, in every profession, and even expect equal pay,” says Leila Ahmed, Harvard Divinity School professor and author of “Women and Gender in Islam.” “Though the atmosphere in Muslim countries is becoming more restrictive, no matter how conservative things get they can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

Still, Muslim women are feeling like pawns in a political game: jihadists portray them as ignorant lambs who need to be protected from outside forces, while the United States considers them helpless victims of a backward society to be saved through military intervention. “Our empowerment is being exploited by men,” says Palestinian Muslim Rima Barakat. “It’s a policy of hiding behind the skirts of women. It’s dishonorable no matter who’s doing it.” Scholars such as Khaled Abou El Fadl, an expert on Islamic law and author of “The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam From the Extremists,” says this is an age-old problem. “Historically the West has used the women’s issue as a spear against Islam,” he says. “It was raised in the time of the Crusades, used consistently in colonialism and is being used now. Muslim women have grown very, very sensitive about how they’re depicted on either side.”

Surely the late feminist Doria Shafik felt the scorn of men—Arab and British—while fighting for the right to vote in 1940s Egypt. Yet Shafik persevered and cast her first ballot in Cairo in 1956. “I render thanks unto God to have been born in the land of mysteries,” she later wrote. “To have grown up in the shadow of the palms, to have lived within the arms of the desert, guardian of secrets … to have seen the brilliance of the solar disk and to have drunk as a child from the Nile sacred river.” Millions of Muslim Arab women still love the societies they’re born into, regardless of jihadist manipulation or American intervention. If reform is to come, they will surely be the ones who push it forward.

About Mrs Anthrax release

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 4:47 pm

This is a very interesting article about Mrs Anthrax. I just copy here some paraghraphs.

During the interview, she declared: “To end one’s career in defense of Iraq is an honor.” Ammash laughed while recounting the anonymous phone calls that were bombarding her and other Saddam aides, urging them to defect and abandon the regime for the sake of their families. She said she’d received e-mails filled with computer viruses, as many as 18 in a single day. “It doesn’t fit the image of the U.S.,” she complained, evoking the notion that gentlemen don’t mess with a lady’s e-mail.

Articulate and well-mannered, Ammash had been educated in the United States; she received a masters from Texas Woman’s University in Denton and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Missouri. She was said to have been a key figure in Saddam’s biotech and genetic research programs and to have been trained by Nassir al-Hindawi, the alleged father of Iraq’s biological weapons efforts. However Ammash told me her scientific work focused on the what she called the carcinogenic effects of depleted uranium, which had been present in some U.S. bombs and missiles during the 1991 war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

Of course, I didn’t believe everything she said (and she probably didn’t believe I was a journalist acting in good faith, either). Although we talked for nearly two and a half hours over tea, this was hardly a normal interview. It was a chat on the eve of war. Ammash and I both knew that bombs would soon be falling on Baghdad and that Saddam’s regime was, most likely, in its last days.

One thing Ammash said did stick in my memory. She stressed that Iraqis remained fiercely proud of their civilization despite decades of violence and deprivation. “This country is Mesopotamia. Ninety-nine percent of the American people don’t know the country they’ll soon be bombing is Mesopotamia,” she said. “This nation has been serving civilization for 6,000 years. We invented the first alphabet … every American who enjoys education owes that to us.”

To be sure, the “Mesopotamia card” was part of a spiel that Saddam’s aides had propagated before the war in an effort to stir up international sympathies. But pride in their history is also one reason why even Iraqis who opposed Saddam remain so resentful of what they see as foreign occupation. When I was in Iraq on assignment for a couple of months this past summer, some Baghdad friends who’d welcomed the sight of American Marines in 2003 now nurtured a festering and deep-seated ambivalence about the U.S.-led occupation. Some said they actually preferred the yoke of an Iraqi autocrat such as Saddam to the rule of an American conqueror, even a benign one.

Today it’s obvious that many aspects of the U.S. presence in Iraq have been far from benign. When Ammash’s husband, Ahmed Makki Mohammed Saeed, told me in 2004 that he’d been “tortured” while being detained by U.S. authorities, I wasn’t sure whether to believe him. Revelations about U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib prison had not yet surfaced. And his accounts sounded bizarre: being subjected to hours and hours of earsplitting American rap music laced with profanity and being doused with cold water, then forced to stand for hours in front of a freezing air-conditioner turned up full blast.

Still, the sheer weight of detail suggested to me that he wasn’t making it up. And subsequent tales of torture from other former detainees indicated that he might actually have been one of the luckier ones among them.

To read the rest you can go here.

And we are again talking about racism in France

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nora @ 4:38 pm

If you read this article appeared in Newsweek you are gooing to hink that all French are racists. But why only the inmigrants that are muslims are the ones who have rioted and burned through out more than a fortnight. Nearly 10,000 cars have been burned and more than 200 buildings.

For now, at least, the fires have died out—but an acrid bitterness still hangs in the air. Ask those on the football pitch behind the high wire fences of Montfermeil. Year after year, coach Kaddor Slimane, a son of Algerian immigrants who grew up in neighboring projects, has seen his teams win their league’s sportsmanship award. Yet what does their good behavior mean in the “outside” world, where they are seen through the lens of limitations and stereotypes? “The French are racist,” he says. “They just don’t want to admit it.” Life in the projects isn’t so bad when you are a child, says Amad, a 24-year-old community activist who declined to give his last name for fear of racist attacks. “But once you reach a certain age, you’re fed up. There’s nothing to do except play soccer or hang out,” in voiceless exile from the “other” France.

The politicians whose inaction and confusion (and seeming indifference) contributed to the violence, on the other hand, have rediscovered their voices. Almost as if the riots never happened, many are once again speaking in familiar platitudes and posturing about law and order. “All those who participated in the riots will have to pay, today or tomorrow,” France’s Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy declared on Dec. 15 at an homage to injured police and firefighters. Then he waded into the crowd, alongside his political rival, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, for handshakes and photos.

For a brief moment, in the immediate aftermath of the riots, genuine change seemed possible. As if to make up for lost decades, French officials rushed to propose new initiatives designed to address “root causes” of the unrest. The government is stepping up plans to knock down the soulless housing blocks that make life in France’s banlieues so oppressive and alienating, and to replace them with smaller-scale housing surrounded by greenery. It injected an additional 100 million euros into the 2006 budget for social-support organizations in troubled communities. And it promised, yet again, to focus laserlike on unemployment, which ranges from 20 to 40 percent in many ghetto communities—two to four times the national average.

It’s curious then that they have asked the police to leave them alone, that the rios began not because there were youngsters who were stealing things from cars but when the police entered Clichy-sur-Bois, and that the rioters were screaming and shouting “Allah Akbar”.

I recommend reading also this post.

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