Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘war

Baby Björn Launches Ergonomic Human Shield Carrier

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Written by Thag

August 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm

World Pulls Jaw Muscle While Yawning At Beirut Bombing

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BeirutNew York (AP) – The world was treated for a pulled jaw muscle today after yawning at the car bombing in a Beirut suburb yesterday. Doctors at New York’s Bellevue Hospital reported that that patient was admitted to the ER, treated, and released.

A powerful explosion caused extensive damage and killed five passers by on Thursday in the Lebanese suburb of Haret Hreik, a stronghold of Hezbollah support. The bombing follows a series of similar attacks in Lebanon, in spillover from the three-year-old sectarian civil war in neighboring Syria. Opponents of the Assad regime, primarily Sunni Muslims, resent Shiite Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, exacerbating the fragile demographic tensions in Lebanon. The world, however, which would rather focus on either wresting concessions from Israel or on the new season of Downton Abbey, reacted with boredom to yet another episode of Muslim-on-Muslim violence.

Contributing to the yawn were the neverending armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan. “The world has basically resigned itself to certain populations killing each other all the time, while pretending to support democratic values,” said hospital spokesman Dr. Ray Ciszt, explaining the patient’s predisposition toward the pulled muscle. “Each time the media report further attacks in Syria, Lebanon, or even within the Gaza Strip, as long as Jews aren’t the ones pulling the trigger, the world finds it dull. Iterations of these occurrences have strained the patient’s jaw muscles from repeated yawns.” The yawning in reaction to the latest Lebanon bombing only exacerbated the muscle strain and finally resulted in injury.

Dr. Ciszt said the world risked a similar injury to its eye muscles this year when President Obama was offering excuses and apologies for sweeping violations of privacy by the National Security Administration, and the world reacted with eye-rolling. To forestall a recurrence that would seriously injure those muscles, doctors told the world not to pay attention when Obama later had to offer a defense of the missteps in rolling out his health care initiative. The admonishment also proved helpful when the US granted major concessions to Iran on its nuclear program after more than a year of official insistence that no such developments would be tolerated.

For now, the world is being instructed to maintain its studious ignorance of international developments and domestic politics, lest further parts of its anatomy sustain harm. At particular risk, says Dr. Ciszt, is the world’s digestive system, which apparently does not have the stomach for applying actual pressure on the Palestinians.

Written by Thag

January 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

After Rocket Fire, Israel Retaliates Harshly Against Trees, Rocks

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Lebanon rocket

One of the Lebanese rockets that fell short and landed short of Israel, relieving the IDF of the burden of having to target that bunch of shrubs with artillery in response.

Kiryat Shmonah, Israel, December 29 (AP) – One of five rockets fired from Lebanon hit near this northern Israeli town today, and the IDF responded fiercely with dozens of artillery shells aimed at empty fields, rocky hillsides, and unpopulated cedar groves.

The impressive display of deterrence came amid heightened tensions along the border, where an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese sniper earlier this month. Determined to demonstrate that any such aggression would be met by a firm, uncompromising answer, Israel boldly informed the UN force patrolling the border that it would not tolerate any such violations of sovereignty. The latest violence, which represents a significant escalation, have forced the IDF to showcase the lethality that further provocation would beget, and they did so by taking pains to minimize the lethality of the encounter.

“Israel has no interest in escalation of the situation,” said IDF spokesman Neville Chamberlain. “Our aim here is to demonstrate to Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army that violence against Israel or Israelis will be met with uncompromising avoidance of consequences that actually convey our seriousness.” He added that the units patrolling the border have been equipped with extra white flags in case any fighting breaks out.

The border has been more or less quiet since 2006, when Israel and Hezbollah fought to a standstill. Since then the Israel Defense Forces have studiously sought to prevent a recurrence, lest they be drawn into a conflict for which they have been trained and armed. During that conflict, Israel repeatedly tried to draw attention to the contrast between its own strategy and that of its adversary, pointing out that whereas Hezbollah had no compunction about aiming for civilian targets with its missiles, the Israeli military shied away from hitting targets that might contain actual human beings.

That conservative approach, says military analyst Dunkirk Beech, aims to avoid the sticky question of civilian casualties. Israel attracts opprobrium for any collateral damage, however unintentional, while its opponents openly target noncombatants while suffering no international consequences, diplomatic or otherwise. Accordingly, says Beech, the IDF has evolved a policy of harsh verbal retaliation for any threat to Israelis, coupled with the threat of even louder warnings. If that two-step deterrent system fails to forestall escalation, the Israeli military has no compunctions about terminating inanimate objects beyond the border with extreme prejudice.

A similar approach has characterized Israeli police activity in recent months, during which a war among organized crime syndicates has claimed the lives of criminals, bystanders, and law enforcement officials up and down Israel’s coastal towns and cities. In response to car bombs, drive-by shootings, and intimidation of policemen and prosecutors, police officials have made grand pronouncements about bringing the perpetrators to justice, while not actually having anything to show for their investigative work. As a result, suspects either avoid arrest entirely or are released for lack of evidence.

Written by Thag

December 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Hamas Unveils Winter Line Of Suicide Bomber Fashions

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suicide BarbieKhan Yunis refugee camp, Gaza Strip (AP) – Times may be tough, but Hamas designers are busy releasing their winter 2014 looks for the suicide-vest-wearing crowd, and the new offerings are to die for. Or in.

Chief Hamas fashion designer Mahmoud A-Zahar has completely revamped the classic martyr look, replacing the traditional bulky vest and its busy, busy pockets of pipe bombs, with explosive plates and improvised shrapnel that put the slim in Muslim. The male models showing off the new offerings prance about the runway, and when they are finished, they head back outside where they get a stylish bullet to the head for homosexual behavior.

“It’s all about the trim and the sleek in this time of austerity,” gushes A-Zahar, referring to the deprivation that Gaza Strip residents undergo because the sassy Hamas refuses to waver from its goal of eliminating as many Israelis as possible by violent means. “Just because we’re death-loving, barbaric fundamentalists, we shouldn’t look fashionable?”

The new vest’s slimness is engineered to help its fashion-forward wearer blend in with infidels, even those far beyond Gaza’s borders. “We can export these to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, you name it,” he said.

A-Zahar had to have the materials for his new vests shipped into the Gaza Strip at great expense, now that Egypt has closed off most of the underground smuggling routes and Israel maintains a naval blockade. Unable to obtain the standard steel ball-bearings that typically serve as the shrapnel in what is essentially a sartorial Claymore mine, he appropriated materials such as screws and nails from critical public works projects.

“The people of Khan Yunis have lived with pitiful sewage systems for the longest time,” he laughed. “Another two years won’t make such a difference. Besides, the European Union will always sponsor a few more containers of raw materials for the poor, poor Gazans.” With an artist’s wave of a hand, he revels in the willingness of foreign governments to underwrite Gaza’s infrastructure, freeing him and his fellow designers to dedicate funds to the stylistically more significant effort of eliminating the Zionist Entity next door.

The fashion endeavors do not end with the suicide bomber vest; A-Zahar’s fellow Hamas designer Ismail Haniyeh oversees a grassroots effort to bring design sensibilities to the people by having them contribute metal pipes and tubing from plumbing, construction, electrical, and other infrastructure projects so they can serve as components of rockets to be aimed at Israeli civilians. “We put the art in artillery,” beamed Haniyeh.

Written by Thag

December 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Assad Unimpressed By Iraq Body Count

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Syria flagDamascus, Syria (AP) – Nearly three years into an uprising against his rule, Syrian President Basher Assad remains disdainful of the number of people killed in neighboring Iraq, having achieved a body count in less than three years that rivals what the Iraqi insurgents have needed ten year to accomplish.

UN estimates put the number of dead in Syria at about 110,000, while the number of casualties in the ongoing Iraq insurgency only reached that level sometime in 2012, according to conservative estimates. That means it took about nine years for the sectarian violence in Iraq to attain what Assad’s forces, Hezbollah, and the amalgam of rebel groups have done only since mid-2011.

“While the achievement here is not on the level of a Pol Pot, or with the sustained intensity of Hutu-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, the Assad regime has shown it is no bloodshed slouch. Its commitment to indiscriminate killing can be seen as a statement to Syria’s neighbor to the southeast,” said John Rambo of the Brookings Institute. “Syria has only 20 million people and Iraq has more than 32 million, but in a fraction of the time, Syria has caused mayhem at similar levels in a third of the time.”

Proponents of Iraq’s various warring factions point to an asymmetry in the comparison, emphasizing that whereas in Syria, the violence is in many ways a classic civil war, albeit with guerrilla tactics and sporadic acts of bona fide terrorism, in Iraq almost all of the killings involve terrorism as opposed to sustained battles between organized forces. That disparity, they note, accounts for the slower rate of killings in Iraq.

“We are genuinely doing the best anyone can, given the circumstances,” said Moqta Al-Sadr, leader of a prominent Shiite faction. “When American and Western forces were still here, we could focus on engagements with actual troops, but even then, it was not a real confrontation between armies.” The post-Saddam-Hussein insurgency has been characterized from the beginning by car bombings, shootings and other trademarks of terrorism, rather than by battles of attrition that claim hundreds of lives over days and weeks.

Still others are unimpressed by Assad’s achievements. “In terms of percentage of the population, Assad has certainly made a mark,” noted Richard Cheney, a former US Secretary of Defense who has also studied the Iraq theater. “Aside from the casualty mark, which represents a full two-hundredth of Syria’s population, the conflict has also uprooted about a twentieth of Syria’s people. But in terms of sheer numbers, it’s kind of pathetic in comparison to, say, American campaigns in East Asia and Germany.”

Others, in turn, laugh at such American assertions of bloodshedding prowess. “The US has always enjoyed technological superiority,” noted military historian Adolf Hitler. “But it takes a serious commitment to decimate an entire continent while committing genocide,” he said, referring to German achievements between 1939 and 1945.

The German claims were in turn laughed at by historians Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin, who noted Chinese and Soviet achievements, respectively, in causing the deaths of tens of millions of their own citizens through disastrous domestic and agricultural policies. “The USSR and the People’s Republic accomplished through manifestly non-military means what Assad could never hope to do,” wrote Stalin in an e-mail. “Soviet policies in the 1920’s and 30’s, and Chinese practices in the decades following WWII, caused more deaths than the entire current populations of Syria and Iraq combined.”

Written by Thag

December 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

On Syria, Obama Vows To Restore American Weakness

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Muslim Obama gestures toward Mecca (AP).

“By the time we’re finished, what will remain of American influence in the Middle East will resemble this invisible basketball.”

Washington, DC, September 2 (AP) – President Obama took the case for a limited strike against Syrian targets to Congress this week, arguing that a contentious, politically fraught process an and uncertain outcome were the only way to ensure that no matter what the result, the US would emerge with a diminished standing.

In an address to reporters and fellow Democrats, the President gave the rationale for delaying a strike, if any, until after Congress takes up the question instead of summarily deciding against military action. As Obama sees it, simply letting Syrian leader Basher Assad off the hook for using chemical weapons would not have the same deleterious effect on American global influence as a protracted display of cowardice, backpedaling, partisan divisiveness, and lack of political will.

“Iranian ascendancy remains only one possible outcome of many if the US launches strikes against Syria,” Obama told those in attendance. “But to simultaneously guarantee decades of profound Ayatollah influence in the Middle East and a retrenchment of American power not seen since the withdrawal from Vietnam, we have to approach the very idea of military action with a manifest absence of confidence; with an unwillingness to deploy the power in which we’ve invested trillions of dollars; and with an ironic obliviousness to the effect this compromising of principles has on both our allies and enemies.”

In fact, said Secretary of State John Kerry, the ultimate foreign policy goal is not merely withdrawing from leadership on the world stage and slowly fading into history. The Obama administration aims to set in motion an accelerated American decline so irreversible that no matter who succeeds Obama in the Oval Office, by 2030 the US will wield roughly the same level of international clout as it did in 1799.

“My address last week on the urgency of American-led military intervention in Syria was simply to raise the stakes in the event of the inevitable, agonizing reversal,” explained Kerry. “In fact, since the beginning, talk of an American strike never went beyond consideration of a limited, targeted operation with no boots on the ground, meaning that neither Assad nor the mullahs of Tehran would have to seriously contend with American military might.”

That might, he added, is the only thing that might deter Syrian loyalists, Hezbollah, or other, similarly allied interests, from fully prosecuting the war against the Syrian rebels, whom Washington openly supports, at least rhetorically. The very fact that the on-again, off-again military operation was never even conceived as a campaign with actual deterrent value, and would only be a slap on the wrist for getting caught using nerve gas, has allowed Assad, his supporters, and anti-American groups the world over to claim that it was their threats of retaliation against American interests that kept the US from getting more deeply involved.

Following the meeting with reporters and supporters, Obama was to meet with representatives of the Chinese government to negotiate how and at what pace Beijing will take over as the leading industrialized nation.

Written by Thag

September 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Russia Would Not Get In Way If World Decides Not To Strike Syria

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Russian flagMoscow, Russia August 28 (AP) – Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov told reporters at a press conference this evening that if the Western powers decide to abandon their intention to launch strikes against its ally Syria, Russia would not impede the move.

A longtime supporter of embattled Syrian leader Basher Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his foreign policy team not to oppose the supporters of the Syrian rebels in the event that those allies decide to continue not aiding the rebels militarily against Assad’s forces. The death toll in the two-year-old conflict has surpassed 100,000.

The announcement marks a clear shift in Russian strategy, which until now has focused on countering Western efforts to bolster Assad’s opponents. The new approach, says Near East Institute analyst Mark Mywords, takes a more circumspect approach that recognizes other countries’ ability not to intervene. For some countries, their ability even exceeds that of Russia, though the US and Iran, historically, have been loath to use it.

“What we’re seeing is a new appreciation by the Kremlin that sometimes the most effective form of inaction is to let others perform the non-action,” he explained. “In the rush to abandon much of the Communist government legacy, Russia was quick to let go of generations-old incentives not to do anything. But a resurgence of nostalgia for the simpler old times, as rough as they were, has prompted the leadership to revisit many of the Soviet practices such as providing no reason to do things at all, since the end result will be the same anyway,” he continued.

Syria flagThe change presents Washington and other Western governments with a new opportunity not to act, coming as hundreds of thousands of Americans have made a point not to demand US action. The Obama administration continues to weigh its options on how best not to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, despite a vow by Obama that any such development would not be tolerated by the international community.

Discreetly getting out of the way of someone else’s not doing anything has a venerable history, according to military historian Anne Nabler, author of See No Evil, See No Evil. “Perhaps the most famous example of not standing in the way of non-action is the world’s reaction to Hitler’s annexation of the the Czechoslovakian Sudetendland in 1938,” she wrote in an e-mail. “But history is rife with nations standing idly by while other nations stand idly by.”

Written by Thag

August 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

US Boldly Almost Considering Maybe Weighing Possibility of Mulling Syria Involvement

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Secretary of State John Kerry, demonstrating the weightiness of the question of whether to consider forming a committee to explore alternatives regarding the possibility of discussing heretofore unexploited methods of avoiding an actual decision.

Secretary of State John Kerry, demonstrating the weightiness of the question of whether to consider forming a committee to explore alternatives regarding the possibility of discussing heretofore unexploited methods of avoiding an actual decision.

Washington, DC (AP) – Fresh from a trip to the Middle East and eager to showcase American decisiveness and will, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters today that the Obama administration is seriously considering leaning in the direction of talking seriously about examining the ways in which the US might convey its possible intent to get involved in the Syrian conflict.

The conflict, a civil war now more than two years old, has claimed in excess of 70,000 lives, according to UN figures, in addition to millions of refugees driven to neighboring countries and millions more displaced within Syria. Conflicts among world powers and among the various rebel groups have stymied efforts to bring the fighting to a close, or even to get the warring sides to the negotiating table. In the meantime, sporadic military assistance continues to flow to both sides, with Russia and Iran primarily supporting the Assad regime and other Arab states and Turkey siding with the rebels.

To date, however, active military assistance to the rebels by outside nations has not materialized, as western countries are loath to get involved in yet another overseas intervention with an unclear outcome and no exit strategy. The Kerry announcement has injected a note of almost-on-the-way-toward-the-neighborhood-of-decisiveness into the mix. It implies that the US, which has provided what it calls non-lethal material support to the rebels in the form of medical supplies and other off-the-battlefield assistance, will now lean more toward an active role in pondering whether any further discussion of extending help might be in the offing.

The announcement may also serve as a rebuttal to President Obama’s Republican critics in Congress, who have long agitated for a more muscular foreign policy and a more robust defense of Israel’s regional interests. Instability in Syria, now spilling over into Lebanon, has left Israel with no clear course of action that would increase its sense of security.

Some Republicans welcomed the announcement, but cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusion on the President’s initiative. “We will form a fact-checking committee to gather information on whether to debate the President’s possible change of approach, if and when such a development seems to be happening,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Other Republicans were less thrilled. “Some of us had hoped to see something more definitive,” said a disappointed Ralph Reed, a conservative lobbyist. “Mr. Kerry could at least have told us that the possibility of actually militarily asserting our interests has moved beyond the declarative stage and into the substantive phase of imagining what scenarios might be feasible if certain unlikely circumstances play out exactly as we would like it.”

At press time, a spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an umbrella group representing some of the rebel factions, was deliberating whether to consult his colleagues about formulating a response that might acknowledge the announcement.

Written by Thag

May 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Syria Refugees Top 1 Million; UN: ‘Only 19 Million to Go!’

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refugeesGeneva, Switzerland (AP) – The United Nations Refugee Agency announced today that the number of refugees who have fled Syria to neighboring countries has now hit one million, an auspicious milestone in the international effort to rid the country of all twenty million or so inhabitants.

“With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in a statement. “This is well ahead of our agency’s projections, and represents a welcome augmentation of the Syrian refugee trend.”

It has taken two years, since the start of the uprising against Basher al-Assad’s rule,for the refugee numbers to begin growing as quickly as they are now. Guterres estimates that 7,000 to 8,000 refugees leave the country each day, which is well beyond initial projections. “Even if we don’t adjust for the slower pace of refugees in the initial years of the conflict, it should take only another forty years to completely empty Syria of people,” he said.

The UN agency, and a separate UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, have set a long-term goal of transforming the entire Middle East population into refugees, but have enjoyed only mixed success. The lion’s share of refugee population maintenance and cultivation has been at the hands of UNRWA, which provides education and other services to millions of Palestinians descended from the original population displaced in 1948-9 and 1967. Those services provide incentive for the refugees to remain stateless, and the agency’s policies dovetail with Palestinian Authority laws barring the development of infrastructure in refugee camps that would help the population lead some semblance of normal lives – but which could therefore be construed as acceptance of the displacement. The global Palestinian refugee population is estimated at five million.

The onset of hostilities across the Arab world two years ago initially gave the UN Refugee Agency hope that these developments would usher in a marked increase in the number of refugees, but with the exception of Syria, the conflicts ended too quickly to generate significant numbers of displaced people. In Tunisia and Libya, the overthrow of the regimes took weeks or months. In Egypt, the violence was comparatively contained and created no refugees. In Bahrain, the government successfully suppressed the unrest.

The UN has therefore pinned its hopes on Syria in the meantime, and has welcomed the international intervention of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran, which have supplied the warring factions with armaments, funds and training to help perpetuate and intensify the fighting.

Guterres laments the violence that has been directed at Palestinian refugees in various camps, decrying the waste of precious resources that could be put to better use creating more new refugees instead of attacking existing ones. “It’s shameful that the Syrian rebels have turned against the Palestinians in their midst. They should be taking lessons from them, not hurting them. The Palestinian refugees are our major success story, and it pains me to see that go unappreciated.”

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Written by Thag

March 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

N. Korea Denies Developing Technology to Feed Population

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Kim Jong-Un, looking well fed.

Kim Jong-Un, looking well fed.

Seoul, South Korea (AP) – The tense mood on the Korean peninsula persisted Wednesday after the publication of a South Korean intelligence estimate that presented evidence that North Korea was attempting to develop population-feeding technology. The North denied the accusations.

If true, the news would represent a shift for the insular, repressive regime, which has focused more in recent years on pursuing the development of nuclear weapons and on maintaining strict isolation for its citizens from the outside world. Those pursuits have placed dictator Kim Jong-Un and his policies at odds with most of the rest of the world and antagonized  even the few allies it still has, such as China.

China, which has food supply issues of its own, and a population of 1.2 billion to feed, is unlikely to look kindly on its southern neighbor attempting to shift its own position in that regard, and actually pursuing the welfare of its population would remove North Korea from the classic mold of Communist dictatorships. One of the salient features of such regimes, from Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot, is an utter disregard for human lives that stand in the way of implementing Communist Party ideology. A shift by North Korea into actually providing for its population would be viewed as a destabilizing, possibly dangerous move.

It is also a scenario that the US and South Korea, the two countries most threatened by North Korea’s intransigence, have not adequately prepared for, according to an official at the American embassy in Seoul who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The whole carrot-and-stick approach that we’ve been following with the north has assumed that they need food assistance, and that they can leverage their technological progress to gain more of that assistance,” said the official. “But for Kim to start focusing on finding ways to feed his people directly, that’s a game-changer, right there. The international community is not sufficiently prepared to face a North Korea that is willing to focus on caring for its citizens at the expense of a nuclear weapons program.”

A similar situation is slowly developing in Iran, which denies it is pursuing such weapons technology in the first place, but nevertheless faces sanctions by an international community wary of the Islamic Republic’s intentions. Recent developments have seen a possible shift in Tehran’s orientation, with nuclear fuel being directed to civilian power generation instead of further refinement toward weapons-grade uranium. Western nations, principally the US and Israel, remain suspicious of Iran’s motives, aware that an Islamic state that can adequately provide for its people would be an anomaly in the Middle East and a threat to regional instability.

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Written by Thag

February 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Security Council Rejects Petition on Syria War Crimes: ‘No Mention of Israeli Atrocities’

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UNNew York, NY (AP) – The United Nations Security Council reacted coolly to a petition calling for the body to investigate alleged war crimes by the Syrian government, saying that the request failed to provide for adequate condemnation of Israeli aggression against Palestinians.

The petition, signed by 58 countries, asked the Council to look into accounts of massacres and the targeting of civilians by Syrian forces and affiliated militias. It comes against the backdrop of continued violence all over the country, including a newly intensified campaign in the north and the Syrian Air Force bombing of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus.

Russia, long opposed to international intervention in the two-year-long civil war gripping Syria, warned that it would veto any resolution targeting the Assad regime. Russia seeks to forestall foreign involvement in its internal struggles with separatist elements, and sees in its longtime ally Syria a precedent for such involvement. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, “Russia sees no benefit to singling out one side in this bloody conflict for condemnation,” unless it’s Israel, which was oppressing countless innocent, peace-loving Palestinians long before Assad began killing them indiscriminately.

China, also wary of legitimizing international “meddling” in other countries’ internal conflicts, does not wish to invite scrutiny of its policies in Tibet, and has shied away from “one-sided declarations that will accomplish nothing,” as the Foreign Ministry in Beijing phrased it, unless those declarations are leveled at Israel. “The wholesale slaughter of women and children in the Yarmouk refugee camp must not be used by cynical partisan parties to imply that anyone but Israel mistreats Palestinians,” its statement read. “The allegations of carnage serve no one but the merchants of death who wish to encourage further involvement,” and since Israel cannot be blamed directly for the massacres, it is best to remain silent on the issue.

The United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, Navi Pillay, lamented the lack of UN action on the issue of Syrian refugees, expected to number one million by the end of the winter. “But I can’t really blame the Security Council for this one,” she explained. “Since it’s not Israel driving these people from their homes, who can be expected to care? It’s not as if actual concern for human lives has ever been the driving force behind Security Council resolutions.”

At press time, the Shiite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, allied with Assad, had announced that it was prepared to start another war with Israel so the international community might do something. “Plus, we’d get to launch all these cool rockets into Israel,” said Hassan Nasrallah, the movement’s leader.

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Written by Thag

January 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Israel To Allow Missiles Into Gaza Via Aircraft, Artillery

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Israel's Iron Dome system prevents inferior armaments from penetrating the Israeli market.

Israel’s Iron Dome system prevents inferior armaments from penetrating the Israeli market.

Kerem Shalom Crossing, Israel (AP) – Several weeks after a cease-fire was declared between Israel and the Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip, negotiations are continuing over the terms of that cease-fire. Through Egyptian mediators, Israel has conveyed its agreement to allow certain military goods into the Gaza Strip, with certain conditions.

Among those conditions, say the Egyptians, is a provision that the armaments be delivered by Israeli aircraft, artillery, tanks and infantry, and that the drop-off points be restricted to missile-launching, armament storage and military training facilities used by Hamas. An Israel Defense Force spokesman said the army was ready to make delivery of these payloads repeatedly if necessary, and follow up with further deliveries if the materials did not adequately reach their destinations.

Last week the Israeli military began enforcing a more generous limit on Palestinian fishing boats, and offered to supply the hulls of boats venturing beyond the six-mile limit with hundreds of explosive shells, provided in the space of a few seconds at twice the speed of sound. But in what analysts say is a sign of the complex economic picture that is the Gaza Strip, few fisherman have voluntarily taken up the Israeli Navy on its offer.

Similarly, Israel has allowed Palestinian farmers access to lands abutting the border fence, and has made available many hundreds of bullets for the farm workers to carry embedded in their flesh. Several Palestinians accepted such a deal in the immediate aftermath of the fighting, but since then, none have stepped forward.

Before the 2007 takeover of the coastal strip by Hamas, Israel was a major market for the area’s exports, especially agricultural goods and manual labor. But after Hamas routed forces loyal to the more moderate Fatah faction that still governs the West Bank, Israel imposed a blockade. During that time, the flow of war materiel all but dried up, except for Palestinian attempts by individuals and small groups to deliver explosives through the air to Israeli communities, and by IDF deliveries of missiles to militants. Sporadic Israeli deliveries of bullets to the hearts and heads of militant leaders also took place.

The Gaza Strip economy took a beating; the internal trade of explosives and bullets persisted, with almost weekly deliveries of bullets to the bodies of individuals suspected of collaborating with Israel, but the number of available customers remains inadequate to meet the producers’ minimum requirements for sustainability. Last month Hamas made repeated attempts to export rockets to the surrounding Israeli communities, with some deliveries reaching as far north as Tel Aviv and as far east as the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. But Israel’s Iron Dome system imposed strict conditions on the import of such goods, and few deliveries made it through the screening process.

Hamas and its supporters in Iran and Lebanon have decried such Israeli barriers, accusing the Jewish state of imposing unfair restrictions on Palestinian rockets. But the American-funded system, say Israeli trade representatives, is intended to protect Israel’s economic interests from over-the-border threats. Israel questions the necessity of delivering these goods specifically to its population, noting that countries such as Syria, Iraq, Mali, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan have managed to develop a thriving internal system of armaments exchanges, with various groups competing in each for ascendancy in the high-speed delivery of bullets and shrapnel.

suicide bombingIsmail Haniyeh, a veteran Hamas member, recalls the early days of his movement’s once-thriving provision of explosives to Israeli bus passengers. That avenue of export was cut off more than ten years ago after the IDF effectively cut off Hamas’s delivery routes. Before then, the movement relied on delivery personnel to individually accompany each package of explosives to its final destination. That system is no longer practicable, says Haniyeh. He remains cautiously optimistic that a resumption of Israeli deliveries will allow his movement to distribute the effects of those materials as broadly as possible across the Gaza Strip population, as Hamas did in Pillar of Defense and in the 2009 Operation Cast Lead.

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Written by Thag

December 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Iran Insists Its Ballistic Missiles Are for ‘Peaceful Purposes’

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Iran nukesTehran, December 22 (Reuters) – The Islamic Republic of Iran defended its pursuit of long-range ballistic missile technology, calling the endeavor a peaceful one, and criticized continued Western economic pressure on Iran aimed at stopping the program.

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the US in particular, citing American “hypocrisy” at allowing its ally Israel to develop defensive technology such as the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system and the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor, while preventing countries such as Iran from developing weapons that might overwhelm those defenses and slaughter countless Israeli civilians. He insisted that his country’s missile program was intended only for peaceful purposes.

“Specifically, we envision the peace that will prevail in the world after we obliterate the Zionist regime with these weapons and establish an Islamic state across the region,” Ahamdinejad said in an address to the country’s parliament.

The United States and the European Union have long suspected that Iran’s pursuit of ballistic missile technology is aimed at acquiring weapons, a claim Iran denies. In the past, Tehran has claimed that the missiles are purely for research purposes; in one test publicized in Iran state media, the program examined what would happen when a woman convicted of spying for Israel was strapped to a prototype missile launched into the Persian Gulf.

In an interview aired on Iran’s English-language channel Press TV, Ahmadinejad also accused the US of focusing on Iran in order to divert international attention from its own questionable projects, in particular a firearms testing program that periodically perpetrates the wanton slaughter of innocents; he said Israel was an active partner in that program and other, similar initiatives in Norway and anywhere else anyone at any time has ever been murdered.

Ahmadinejad reiterated his characterization of Israel as a “cancer,” in the same week that Israeli researchers announced the success of a new technology to freeze and destroy cancerous tumors with no apparent side effects. He suggested that Israeli scientific and medical advances were little more than a devious front to generate goodwill that might shield the evil imperialist running dog capitalist Zionists from criticism, given that “every malady ever suffered by man or beast has its origins in the diabolical Zionist plot to conquer the Earth.” Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran’s resistance to that diabolical plot would use only peaceful means such as sponsoring bombing attacks on Israeli civilians and arming Hamas and Hezbollah, two peaceful organizations that routinely lob peaceful explosive rockets at Israel.

The president defended his country’s material support for embattled Syrian dictator Basher Assad, calling any attempt to topple Assad or meddle in Syrian affairs illegitimate, unless such involvement came from Iran, he said. Iran’s involvement would be limited to peaceful activities such as supplying weapons, fuel and military advisers to loyalist Syrian forces. Such activities would be in keeping with the Shiite country’s established reputation for non-violent mediation of sectarian conflict, as demonstrated almost weekly by peaceful Shiite suicide bombings of Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq.

In an unrelated development, the Iranian currency plunged even further yesterday.

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Written by Thag

December 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Hamas to Execute Gravity for Collaboration with Israel

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gravityGaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip has sentenced gravity to death, after the force of nature was convicted of providing assistance to Israel in its recent Pillar of Defense operation against the Gaza Strip, and in numerous Israeli assassinations of Islamic militants. All appeals have been exhausted, says gravity’s lawyer, Mahmoud Souingh.

Gravity stood trial for more than three hundred counts of treasonous collaboration, and was convicted on all counts. The total would have been higher, said prosecutor Mustafa Dayariyya, but his office decided only to pursue the ones with the most direct evidence. Each charge carries a mandatory death sentence by firing squad.

In most of the counts, gravity was charged with causing bombs from Israeli aircraft to descend, whereupon they hit buildings, roads and other targets, all contributing to the deaths of Palestinians. In other cases gravity insisted on allowing noncombatants to be harmed by incoming bombs, even where they were not the intended target. In still others, gravity caused entire structures to collapse after being hit. Although the last group accounted for the largest number of casualties, it represented the fewest individual counts.

In many other cases, the prosecution charged gravity with permitting Israeli artillery and mortar shells to enter a ballistic arc instead of continuing upward, where they would cause no damage.

Souingh had argued that the court should take into account gravity’s behavior when rockets and other projectiles were fired at Israel – that gravity also caused those missiles and shells to strike, and that gravity could not be accused of loyalties to one side or the other. In its closing arguments, the prosecution rebutted that contention by noting that gravity had allowed the Israeli Iron Dome interception system to knock about 80% of the rockets out of the sky, and notably refused to keep the interception projectiles on the ground.

Moreover, argued Dayariyya, gravity caused dozens, if not hundreds, of Palestinian rockets to fail to launch properly, resulting in “friendly fire” casualties among Gazans.

The well publicized trial comes against the backdrop of broad daylight shootings of suspected collaborators during the conflict. The political echelon of Hamas was embarrassed by the appearance of vigilante justice and the brutality with which the executions took place, all on a public street in full view of children and other bystanders. The careful selection of incidents with only carefully documented evidence occurred because while Hamas seeks to maintain the image of an orderly governing body, they have no wish to moderate public rage against collaborators by casting doubt on the veracity of any particular case.

Unlike the suspects gunned down last month, gravity had not yet been formally convicted of, or even charged with, collaboration beforehand. However, a number of Arab media outlets have questioned over the years whether various forces might be merely part of a vast Zionist conspiracy to control the world.

In Egypt, Iran and Sudan, sharks, squirrels and eagles, respectively, have been accused of acting as instruments of Israeli aggression or espionage, pointing to a sinister control Israel exerts over the animal world. Secular Israel has been accused of corrupting faith in God by manipulating the heavens so that the movements of the stars and planets contradict the cosmology of the Quran and other religious works.

Dude...how insecure do you have to be to find this idiot a threat?

Dude…how insecure do you have to be to find this idiot a threat?

In perhaps the most dramatic case, Muslims themselves have been manipulated by Israel and its backers, by mechanisms yet unexplained: the Muslim world was somehow made so insecure in its faith that millions of Muslims reacted with deadly violence to pathetic cartoons and films that made light of the prophet Muhammad. Authorities in Iran, the Gaza Strip, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have vowed to find the purveyors of that insecurity.

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Written by Thag

December 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

Ban: Continued Israeli Existence a ‘Mortal Blow to the Peace Process’

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UN Secretary General Ban, indicating the exact size Israel the international community might be persuaded to tolerate.

UN Secretary General Ban, indicating the exact size Israel the international community might be persuaded to tolerate.

Geneva, December 3 (AP) – Reacting to an Israeli decision to approve planning for construction in a sensitive area of the West Bank, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon restated the organization’s position: that continued Israeli existence mortally harms the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Israeli move came in response to the UN General Assembly vote last Thursday to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state. With that achievement, the Palestinians are eligible to seek membership in various UN bodies previously inaccessible to them, such as the International Criminal Court, where they could bring cases against Israel for its actions in the Occupied Territories. Israel captured those territories from Jordan in 1967, and entered into the current peace process in 1993. The process lays out the terms for a negotiated final status agreement between the parties.

But relations fell apart in the ensuing years. Persistent Israeli existence since then has cast a pall on the process, throwing up obstacles at every turn. The Palestinians even resorted to guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings on Israeli civilians to address that challenge, but through it all Israel stubbornly refused to cease existing.

“From the UN’s point of view, the solution has always been clear,” said Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rdaineh, “and Palestine has always shared that view: that the Arab-Israeli conflict would end overnight if Israel simply disappeared.” But successive Israeli governments have opposed implementation of such an arrangement, even going so far as to increase the number of Israelis in the interim, making the actual fulfillment of that vision progressively more difficult.

Rdaineh is widely considered a moderate, meaning that he espouses the official Fatah view that progress toward a Palestinian state through the elimination of Israel must be achieved through negotiation, not force. He lamented the perpetual lack of cooperation from the opposite side of the negotiating table.

Ban’s characterization of recent Israeli existence reflects more than just a reaction to the developments of the last few days. “Ban put his finger on the single most important factor causing the peace process to be stalled,” explained Louis Farrakhan, a commentator on relations with the Muslim world. “Forget the bombings, the checkpoints, Iranian influence, the Qassam rockets, the incitement to terrorism, the construction of settlements – all those are merely symptomatic of the much more fundamental Israeli crime of not just going away.”

But Israel does not have a sole claim to guilt on the matter, said Farrakhan. “The United States has enabled Israel to continue violating international law – that is, to continue being – by supplying the Israelis with tens of billions of dollars in military aid that Israel then uses to prevent itself from being wiped out and solving the whole problem.” The US has allocated approximately $3 billion each year for Israeli defense spending since 1979.

Such defense aid has kept Israel from acceding to efforts by Iraq, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and others to bring the process to its proper conclusion. As an incentive for Israel, Farrakhan recommends making future American aid to Israel dependent on Israel taking steps to destroy itself.

“A country that has the nerve to defy international will by refusing to get rid of itself is a country that shouldn’t exist,” claimed Farrakahn. “Q.E.D.,” he added, presumably referring to Al-Qaeda, yet another non-governmental organization working to bring the peace process to a peaceful conclusion.

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Written by Thag

December 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

In Case of Involvement in Syria, France to Preemptively Surrender

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Note the central position of white on the flag.

Note the central position of white on the flag.

Paris (Reuters) – President François Hollande of France announced today that in anticipation of his country’s military involvement in the ongoing civil war in Syria, France signals its preemptive surrender as of now.

The capitulation represents the latest in a long French tradition of surrendering in major armed conflicts, a trend that began in 1815. The Hollande administration appears eager to cement its place firmly in France’s collective history, establishing its Gallic credentials in the most authentic way possible.

The French Senate and National Assembly were quick to endorse the President’s surrender. Both legislative houses voted overwhelmingly to approve it, and to offer the opposing side in the conflict, whoever that might turn out to be, favorable terms, including its choice of France’s remaining overseas possessions. A second proposal to offer all French women as concubines to the victors remains stuck in committee.

“This is a historic day for France, and I guess for Syria,” said Hollande to a joint session of the legislature. “Truth is, Syria is kind of a footnote here. The important thing is that France is living up to its reputation.” Applause rang through the Palais Bourbon, and spectators threw confetti to mark the end of a war à la France.

With the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815, France saw the onset of a century in which they would achieve victory in several minor skirmishes and accumulate vast holdings worldwide while fighting primitive tribes, while suffering humiliating defeat at the hands of Prussia in the late nineteenth century and enduring 1.4 million casualties in the First World War. While technically the French were on the winning side in that war, the figure represents nearly one twentieth of the country’s prewar population.

Then in Word War Two, France surrendered within two weeks of the German offensive in 1940, not lasting even as long as Poland, a country whose cavalry had yet to upgrade from horses to tanks. In the 1950’s, French Indochina became Vietnam when Ho Chi Minh’s ragtag militiamen drove out the French. A guerrilla war in Algeria forced France to abandon that colony in the 1960’s; France divested itself of its last overseas colony in 1980.

“Tradition and precedent are immensely important to the French,” explained Dr. Albert Speer of Berlin University. “And there is no French tradition or precedent quite like the propensity for surrender.”

The move comes at a time when international intervention has become more than a remote possibility. France was the first major power to recognize the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and other Western countries have begun to follow suit. Despite persistent Russian and Chinese resistance to the intervention, the tide is turning against the Assad regime, and France saw fit to establish exactly where it stands on the issue: under a white flag.

As part of the terms of surrender, France will also agree to continue to be overrun by radical Muslim migrants from Africa.

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Written by Thag

December 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Security Council Endorses Plan to Nuke Africa

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New York, November 26 (AP) – The United Nations Security Council voted 12-3 today to accept a joint European-American proposal to bring the horrific violent conflicts in Africa to an end by obliterating all human life there with nuclear weapons.

Protracted civil wars and terrorism in Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria and elsewhere have proved far too complex and bloody to resolve, explained US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. “We thought we had the conflict in Congo licked ten years ago,” she said, “but government incompetence, corruption and disorganization, combined with rebel brutality and outside meddling, have made things worse.”

The West bears the lion’s share of responsibility for much of the bloodshed in Africa, said Jan Grauls, head of Belgium’s mission to the UN, and must therefore assume the bulk of the burden for ending it. Though not currently a Security Council member, Belgium’s brutal, exploitative administration of the Congo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries prompted the nation to lobby council members heavily, in favor of a comprehensive solution. France, also once a colonizer of Africa and one of the council’s permanent members, aggressively took up the motion once it was introduced.

AIDS in Africa.

The Security Council released a statement that read, in part: “The Council has resolved to take one of its most drastic measures ever, in response to one of the most severe humanitarian crises ever. The civil wars, ethnic unrest and rampant disease in Africa cry out for a permanent solution. This decision paves the way for just such a solution, and the Council anticipates that nations with the means to participate in the effort will do so with alacrity. May the nations of the world always reach agreement this quickly when it comes to human suffering.”

It remains unclear when, if at all, the nuclear holocaust will be unleashed. The Council did not set a timetable, nor did it assign specific responsibility. Instead the members split into several working committees to hammer out a roster of participants and a preliminary list of necessary resources, and which countries might provide them.

The United States, Russia and China, as the three largest nuclear powers, are the obvious choices for supplying the materials, while France, Britain, India and Pakistan are far less likely to part with even part of their limited arsenals just to wipe a billion black people off the face of the Earth. Israel has never acknowledged possessing atomic weapons, and given the history of the Security Council’s perceived hostility to the Jewish state, is unlikely to participate. Iran is suspected of pursuing development of a nuclear arsenal, but maintains its nuclear program is strictly for civilian power generation and research; it nevertheless approached the Council with an offer to supply fissible material for the purpose of this initiative.

According to Noah Itall, Professor of International Relations at Columbia University, it is unlikely that any nuclear action will take place before 2014, and even then it will probably not cover the entire continent. “The most unstable, miserable parts of Africa are sub-Saharan, and that’s where the bulk of the effort will likely be directed,” he said in an interview. “That’s also where AIDS is most rampant, and where diamonds are fueling a bunch of brutal conflicts, so this initiative can kill three major birds with one stone.”

Whether or when the rest of the continent gets wiped clean will determine on a host of factors, chief among them the availability of oil and other natural resources in the target areas. For that reason, Egypt and other North African countries are likely to be spared, said Itall. “But East Africa will definitely be second in line – the famines and wars in Ethiopia and Sudan are just begging for this kind of resolution, and the instability and piracy of Somalia will probably mean a double dose of ICBMs.”

The three dissenting votes came from Togo, South Africa and Morocco.

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Written by Thag

November 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Hitler Disappointed with Hamas Performance in Recent Conflict

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“I’d facepalm, but the German word for that is two pages long.”

Berlin, Germany (AP) – The Führer of the Third German Reich, Adolf Hitler, expressed disappointment yesterday at The Hamas movement’s attainments during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, sources close to the deceased German Chancellor say.

The founder and leader of Germany’s National Socialist movement since the 1920’s, Hitler expected Hamas to kill far more Jews than its rocket attacks actually did. Israel’s Iron Dome system shot down hundreds of Hamas rockets aimed at populated areas, and one of the fatalities resulted not from a rocket but a mortar shell. In that attack, an Israeli Bedouin was also killed; Hitler found that achievement of dubious merit, as the Arabs have always been, in the Führer’s mind, important allies in ridding the world of Jews.

“It’s really quite a pathetic display,” said Martin Bormann, a deceased Hitler aide. “The Führer was able to get his followers to kill far more Jews, and with often more meager resources than Hamas has at its disposal. I mean, the Reich didn’t even develop rockets until late in the war, and we still managed to kill the bulk of Europe’s Jews.”

Fawzi Lajjiq, a Hamas spokesman, defended the organization’s performance, citing logistical and tactical factors. “The number of Jews killed was largely a matter of chance,” he explained. “We didn’t have the wherewithal to employ our vintage tactics of commando operations,” Hamas’s term for suicide bombings, “and the cowardly Israelis were too scared to actually begin a ground assault, which deprived our fighters of the opportunity to kill many Jews more directly.” He expressed the hope that with further assistance from Iran, the organization would acquire the means to spill more Jewish blood.

In fact the connection with Iran troubles Hitler, said Bormann. “[President of Iran Mahmoud] Ahmadinijad is a staunch denier of our efforts to wipe out the Jews,” he noted. “He might share our goals in that regard, but we made it our life’s work to free the world of those hook-nosed, dirty, greedy, treacherous devil-spawn, and to have him say we never did such a thing, with just a wave of the hand, is insulting.”

Hitler actually harbors the hope that emerging world powers will finish the job he started. “The local players in the Middle East are far too backward and fractured to do things properly and thoroughly,” said Rudolph Höss, also a Führer confidante. “We’re banking on such rising stars as Venezuela and China to eventually see things through.” Venezuela has close ties to the various enemies of Israel, especially Iran, but although they play an outsize role in the oil trade, their political clout is limited. China tends to look inward, but in recent years as invested heavily in building relations with African countries, many of which are hostile to Israel.

“The Reich started in 1933, and is supposed to last a thousand years,” mused Höss. “So if it takes a few more decades to clear the world of Jews, that’s not a big deal.”

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Written by Thag

November 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

With Gaza Fighting Over, World Refocuses on Ignoring Syria Conflict

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Dead Syrians. Let’s face it: you don’t care.

Damascus, Syria (AP) – Now that a cease-fire has taken effect between Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, international attention is returning to anything but the ongoing civil war in Syria.

The war, which has claimed about 50,000 lives in its twenty months, has reached a strategic stalemate; loyalist air power continues to pound rebel positions and supply lines, while the opposition has gained political backing from players such as France, Britain and the Arab League. But worldwide appetite for actual intervention remains all but nonexistent, primarily because no one really cares.

“It’s one thing if Israel is involved, because everyone can get behind an anti-Zionist initiative,” said a frustrated rebel spokesman in Aleppo. “But as soon as you take Jews out of the equation, it doesn’t matter how many Muslims or Arabs die. Just look at Iraq,” he said, referring to an insurgent campaign of terrorist bombings that gets mentioned in Western media outlets but generates no agitation for intervention of any sort.

Neighboring Turkey, though welcoming to rebels and refugees, is loath to actively intervene. A member of NATO, the country has requested that the alliance arrange for batteries of Patriot missiles be stationed along its Syrian border to protect Turks and Syrians on its side of the frontier from Syrian loyalist air power. “That’s about all we have the stomach for,” said a Turkish diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. “On second thought, to hell with the anonymity. I’m Mustafa Jarmuk, and I’ll say it outright: we really don’t give a damn about Syria. If Jews aren’t involved, the rest of the world really couldn’t give a crap.”

Egypt has its own challenges. On top of the efforts to broker the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Cairo is now grappling with increasing unrest over a series of deadly accidents and popular frustration with the perceived lack of systemic or economic change since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak as President. Protesters demanded this week that the Prime Minister resign. Moreover, Egyptians are quite happy to see Syrians suffer, as the two countries have often vied for leadership in the Arab world. Any attempt to resolve the conflict would mean a quicker end to Syrian misery.

Iran openly supports the Assad regime, providing arms, logistical support, training and personnel, but only as a vehicle for attaining regional hegemony. The less the world pays attention to the Syrian war, the more effectively Iran can help Assad wipe out the insurgency, after which he would massacre rebels and their hometowns by the tens of thousands while the world looked away.

Western powers have no appetite for further intervention in the Middle East, following the mixed results of such operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. China and Russia have repeatedly stymied UN Security Council efforts to rein in Assad’s forces, preferring to see Syrians slaughter each other with impunity. Any attempt to intervene would jeopardize that goal.

“Syria has, what, four million people?” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “It should only take them another few decades to kill one another off completely.”

“We can wait,” he said.

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Written by Thag

November 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Unused Grad Rocket Feeling Left Out, Inadequate

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Gaza City, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – GL-5678832, a Chinese- made Grad missile, is the only unit in its lot of 32 missiles to remain unused, and is questioning its self-worth.

“I don’t know what they think is wrong with me,” it said. “I passed Quality Control. I’ve been properly assembled. Somebody even scrawled a boastful, demeaning message to Israelis on my fuselage. I was all set to be loaded into a 122 mm 9P132/BM-21-P launch tube and sent hurtling over the border, but – nothing.”

GL-5678832 was stored with its lot-mates in an underground bunker in the city of Khan Younis, only to be moved last Thursday to a location closer to the border in anticipation of launching. The Hamas crew managed to fire all the other missiles in the lot, but on Saturday the Israel Air Force struck the building in which the rocket was waiting, causing it to collapse. The falling debris buried the building’s cellar, blocking access to the rocket. A separate, simultaneous strike killed three members of the five-man launch crew and seriously injured the other two.

“I still have these visions, these dreams, you know?” continued the missile. “My whole purpose is to terrorize, and maybe inflict some lethal bodily harm along the way. Is it too much to ask that I embed some flaming shrapnel in the torso of some Israeli kid? I mean, I know even some of my buddies didn’t make it all the way – GL-5678844 had a damaged tail fin and fell on a house a couple of miles away, killing a bunch of Palestinian children – but at least they got to try, you hear what I’m saying?”

GL-5678832’s situation is hardly unique, says Tera Risst, an expert on guerrilla movements and asymmetrical warfare. “There are literally thousands of unused rockets strewn about the Gaza Strip. Some were damaged in Israeli strikes. Some were mishandled and couldn’t be fired. Some haven’t been completely unpacked and assembled yet. And some, the fighters simply didn’t get a chance to use.”

“It can be a source of real self-doubt for a rocket to get so close to fulfilling its purpose and then, through no fault of its own, come up short – literally and figuratively,” she continued. “It’s crucial that these projectiles get the emotional support they need, or the Gaza Strip is going to have a crisis on its hands.”

The risks of leaving the emotional turmoil untreated, explained Risst, include depression, suicidal thoughts and unstable behavior. For any individual rocket the situation is risky enough, but if any of the unused missiles spend prolonged periods of time in one another’s company, the effects are compounded. “These units desperately need someone to sit down with them and explain that nothing here is their fault, that there are forces much larger influencing events – and above all, to just give them a listening ear,” she stressed.

Such help is unlikely to be available anytime soon, warned Bura Kratt, a social worker with the nonexistent Gaza City Municipal Welfare Office. Hamas resources, already challenged by the logistical obstacles thrown up by all the recent destruction, are likely to focus primarily on replenishing stockpiles of rockets, and not on maintenance of the older units.

Foreign donors are also unlikely to provide funding or personnel for the necessary counseling. The European Union generally reserves its funding for infrastructure, education and peacemaking initiatives, while Muslim countries such as Iran favor training humans to use more and different varieties of weapons, then providing them. GL-5678832 will have to muddle through on its own.

At press time, social workers were spreading throughout Israel’s south to help residents cope with the aftereffects of the Palestinian rocket fire. No plans have been announced to counsel the unused projectiles in the antimissile Iron Dome system, which brutally shot down hundreds of innocent Grad rockets.

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Written by Thag

November 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Peace-Loving Syria, Pakistan Denounce Israeli Aggression

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Jerusalem (Combined News Agencies) – The peaceful regimes of Syrian President Basher al-Assad and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan issued condemnations of Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip today, calling on the international community to step in to prevent further mistreatment of the beleaguered, innocent Palestinians.

Syria, currently in the midst of a twenty-month-old peaceful uprising against Baath Party rule, is attempting to use its position as a beacon of human rights to lead the Middle East toward justice and security. Estimates differ on the number of Syrians killed as a result of the peaceful civil war; the numbers range from about 40,000 to more than 51,000. Syrian warplanes non-violently bombed Damascus suburbs today, adding to a death toll since the weekend of about 200.

Syria issued a statement that condemns “the crimes of the Israeli barbarians against the Palestinian nation and government in the Gaza Strip.” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabanni Khar used the term “aggression” in denouncing Israel’s actions, which came as a result of persistent rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities in the south of the country.

Both Syria and Pakistan have histories of harboring peace-loving terrorist organizations and individuals. Syria, until a recent falling-out that resulted from the completely non-violent civil war, hosted the headquarters of Hamas, the Islamist organization that runs the Gaza Strip and instigated the rocket attacks on Israel. For reasons not entirely clear, Hamas is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union. Assad’s regime has also welcomed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command; Abu Nidal; and assorted other Palestinian groups, each of which has perpetrated peaceful acts of terror that resulted in the deaths of Israelis and Jews worldwide.

Pakistan has long sponsored armed groups and terrorists in its struggle with neighboring India over the disputed territory of Kashmir; the 2008 Mumbai attacks were but one in a series of bombings and shootings by groups based in Pakistan. The country also harbored the famous pacifist Osama Bin Laden until he was killed in a raid by American commandos in May 2011. Bin Laden’s peaceful activities have sparked nonviolent conflicts throughout Asia and the Middle East resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.

Israel has yet to respond to Pakistan’s and Syria’s earnest pronouncements, presumably because they have been too busy planning a series of brutal massacres in the Palestinian imagination.

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Written by Thag

November 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hamas Militant Can’t Wait to Be Killed by Superior Firepower

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Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – Ahmad Kawasmeh, 22, is in many ways your typical resident of the Gaza Strip: young, unemployed, fervently Muslim and uncompromisingly anti-Israel. He also boasts an infectious enthusiasm for being shot, dismembered, burned, crushed or otherwise killed in a looming confrontation with the Israeli Army.

“Ahmad reminds us what it’s all about, with his youthful exuberance,” said Mahmoud Salah, his commander in the Izzedin-el-Qassam Brigades, the main Hamas fighting force. “Most of us walk around with bravado, boasting of the Zionist soldiers we’ll kill, the tanks we’ll blow up, the aircraft we’ll shoot down. Ahmad is different. He’s all about the pure experience of being overwhelmed by superior firepower and dying in a painfully frustrating fashion.”

Salah said Kawasmeh reminded him of a Hamas fighter killed in confrontations with the IDF in 2010. “Hamdi [Al-Tuq] tried to fire an antitank missile at a bulldozer, but an Israeli tank shot the missile,” he recalled. “Then the tank’s turret rotated a few degrees, and bam, Hamdi was in a dozen pieces. I’ll never forget him for that. He lived and died what it’s all about.”

The Hamas militants are keenly aware that their only real option in a ground conflict is to booby trap the hell out of every room in every building and exact as heavy a toll as possible on the invading Israeli troops. They also know that no matter how many soldiers they dispatch, the technologically and logistically superior IDF will kill more of them. They are already getting a taste of the disproportionate capabilities, with at least sixty fighters among the one hundred dead Gazans in the last five days and not a single Israeli soldier killed. Three Israeli civilians have been killed by Hamas missiles.

Kawasmeh. You can see it in his eyes.

Those statistics have made Kawasmeh even hungrier to meet his fate. “You can see it in his eyes,” says Jibril Abu Kluf, a comrade. “He wants to be the one crushed under the rubble of a collapsing arms storage depot. He wants to be the one torn apart by Israeli naval gunners before he can launch that missile at Tel Aviv. He wants to be standing on a rooftop when a bomb lands, flattening him before collapsing the structure like a pile of blocks.”

Gaza has no shortage of young men like Mr. Kawasmeh; it is a veritable breeding ground for unemployment, frustration, prejudice, isolation and radicalism. On track to be unlivable by 2020, Gaza is teeming with Hamas recruits – or potential recruits – itching to take out their frustrations on whatever outside forces can be blamed, and die trying. Anything to avoid actually trying to transform the place into a thriving trade corridor.

“Trying to do anything other than ‘resist’ Israeli ‘Occupation’ would mean admitting that Palestinians’ problems have solutions that do not involve lobbing rockets at Israeli towns and trying to blow up buses full of Israeli schoolchildren,” explained Mustafa A-Salka, who studies what passes for the Gaza economy. “The leadership of Hamas has far too much at stake in terms of its standing to blame anything but the Zionists, and they control what goes on in Gaza. Young men such as Ahmad Kawasmeh will naturally gravitate toward the only career options the Hamas makes available.”

Hamas can and does supply a limited number of positions in propagandizing, but the clumsy performance of the Gaza publicity machine so far in this conflict does not inspire additional candidates to want to be associated with the debacle. “At least with getting blown to smithereens, there’s a clear right way to do it,” says Kawasmeh. “And no Zionist pig soldier is going to stop me from – well, he might, actually, come to think of it. For some reason those Israelis have reasons to value life.”

“It’s not something I can wrap my head around.”

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Written by Thag

November 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

UN Insecurity Council Denounces Self

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“Are you sure we should make it such a vivid color?”

New York, NY (AP) – Meeting behind closed doors because of what others might think of them, the United Nations Insecurity Council took up the matter of the violence in and around the Gaza Strip, and wound up denouncing itself.

“Who are we to judge the complex situation as if we have a clear perspective?” read Irresolution 4449. “In all likelihood we would end up exacerbating the situation. We call upon – uh, ourselves to look into things better next time.”

“As if we’re capable of that,” the statement continued.

For the third straight day, Israeli forces and Hamas militants have traded fire, after months of persistent rocket attacks from the coastal strip into southern Israel. The Jewish state began its recent offensive with air attacks, and civilians have become casualties on both sides of the border amid the escalation.

Arab nations called for the Council to convene to discuss the deteriorating situation, expecting the body to condemn Israel’s attacks. However, Russia and China, two of the permanent Insecurity Council members, loudly warned they would veto any decision that smacked of decisiveness.

“Although insecurity comes from underlying questions about one’s value, often the sufferer tries to mask or compensate for it by imperious or arrogant behavior,” explained Dr. Sal Fimmage, who teaches Political Science at the University of Maryland. “The nations that requested the meeting of the Council fear that their own failures in resolving the Palestinian question will become the subject of discussion, so they attempt to divert international attention and shift the focus to Israel.”

“But the Insecurity Council is similarly plagued with its own confidence issues, not to mention self-deception and hypocrisy,” continued Dr. Fimmage. As a result, the Council members find difficulty acting decisively in any way that would defy the dominant voices on the Council, he explained. Those dominant voices oscillate between overbearing forcefulness and abject timidity. Israel has never been a member of the Insecurity Council.

The Council has issued myriad Irresolutions, many of them ostensibly addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict, though in reality merely reflecting the grandstanding in which insecure entities engage when they feel their image is threatened. The bluster was most apparent in a series of Irresolutions issued in the late 1980’s, during the first Palestinian Intifada, or uprising: the Council vociferously objected to every conceivable move by Israel that could be interpreted as harmful to Palestinians, while ignoring gross human rights violations by its members, such as China, Russia and a host of African and Latin American countries desperate to keep attention riveted away from suppression of dissent at home.

Many nations clamor for a seat on the Council, which has rotating membership except for the five permanent members, who may exercise veto power. Changing geopolitical balances of power have prompted calls to reform the Council, but its permanent members, ever not-confident, tenaciously cling to any semblance of international influence they appear to wield.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice downplayed the significance of the most recent irresolution. “I really don’t want to talk about it,” she said, hurrying down the hall and into the elevator, where she quietly cursed herself.

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Written by Thag

November 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Syria, Turkey Fighting over Which Is the Worse Hellhole

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“This is the hand I wipe with. I will now shake yours.” Assad (AP).

Cespul, Turkey (AP) – Fighting has intensified along the border of Turkey and Syria, where the two countries have escalated their conflict over which one is the more backward, filth-ridden craphole.

Syria, in the midst of an uprising that began last year, remains the clear favorite, but Turkey’s continual bungling in diplomatic, military and political matters has kept the contest close. Unwilling to relinquish its aim to lead the Middle East back into the seventh century, Turkey retaliated for Syrian incompetence last week after stray mortar shells struck the town of Septik, and fired artillery at Syrian positions near Flush.

The deadly exchange of fire cost lives on both sides of the border. In addition to the damage caused by the shelling itself, both Syrian and Turkish soldiers suffered injuries when they improperly loaded their weapons, causing them to misfire and wreaking havoc in the Turkish town of  Fikal and the Syrian village of Dayariyya as the ordnance fell short of enemy positions.

The rivalry over which country has done a better job of keeping the Muslim world in the Dark Ages has not always involved Turkey and Syria. In the 1980s, Iran and Iraq spent years at war with each other, vying for the title of Most Immoral regime in the Middle East. Other countries such as Libya and Afghanistan occasionally made token claims; in the aftermath of 9/11, as the U.S. prepared to bomb Afghanistan back to the stone age, they discovered the country was already there.

“I’m ambidextrous.” Erdogan (AP).

With the turmoil in North Africa over the last two years, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt all had to turn their focus inward and concentrate on rebuilding the corrupt systems that had come toppling down after years of unsustainable graft and nepotism. That left an emptier playing field, into which Syria, Turkey and Iran have all come tumbling. But while Iran has focused on making a complete douchebag of itself on the world stage, the other two republics set their sights on direct conflict with each other.

It began slowly, as Turkey, a member of NATO, harbored refugees and rebels seeking shelter from Basher Assad’s soldiers, and making noises about bringing in its more powerful Western allies. When Syria downed a Turkish military plane several months ago, the two countries realized they had an opportunity to come out of the conflict with their infrastructure and reputations at an all-time low, but that doing so would require continued escalation of a pointless, bloody, poorly managed and chaotic war, and they immediately embarked along that course.

As of press time, Turkish forces were massing at Stool, in case the Turkish leadership decided to order an all-out assault on the neighboring Syrian region of Al-Fissis.

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Written by Thag

October 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Obama Announces, Fine, He’s Really a Muslim

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Muslim Obama gestures toward Mecca (AP).

Washington (Reuters) – Reacting to years of right-wing agitation on the subject, President Barack Obama announced today (Wednesday) that, if they insist, fine, he’s actually a Muslim.

At  a White House press conference this morning, the President told the assembled reporters that after years of ignoring far-right-wing accusations that he’s really a follower of Islam, it was time to let the truth be known at last. Despite decades of overtly Christian worship and a documented history of Protestant religious associations, Obama finally acknowledged his accusers’ arguments.

Charges of problematic religious associations have dogged Obama since the 2008 presidential campaign, when opponents latched on to his past links to firebrand Christian pastor Jeremiah Wright. Obama said at the time that he repudiated any messages of bigotry the pastor may have espoused, and that he no longer followed Wright.

At the same time, opponents noted Obama’s Arabic middle name Hussein, and adduced it as evidence that he is actually an adherent of Islam, the core texts of which were written in Arabic, as were important texts in other religions in Arabic-speaking lands. Many of the same opponents also insisted Obama was not actually born in the United States, as the Constitution requires of a President, but in Kenya, where he spent time as a young boy. Obama’s birth certificate was issued in Hawaii.

With Hawaii’s confirmation of Obama’s birth certificate as authentic, all but the most extreme accusers refocused on trying to cast Obama as anti-American, based on the assumption that “Muslim” and “American” are concepts that cannot be reconciled. As of 2010, there were approximately 2.6 million Muslim-Americans, according to the Pew Research Center.

How some opponents see the President.

With his admission, President Obama might be seeking to take the wind out of his vocal critics’ sails, says Professor Blowe Harde, Political Science Department Chair at Tulane University“The President is evidently challenging his opponents’ assumption that being a Muslim can have a detrimental effect on one’s American patriotism. He approved the killing of Osama Bin Laden and has consistently maintained a policy of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan to get rid of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants,” but many Americans clearly felt that killing Muslims wan’t enough evidence that Obama himself was not also a Muslim, said Harde.

“Muslims kill more Muslims than anyone else ever has, so sustaining the conflict with Al Qaeda and its ilk is perfectly consistent with how a Muslim would behave,” concurs Blather Skyte, an analyst with CBS News. “Obama must have realized that decimating the terrorist leadership would never sufficiently demonstrate that he wasn’t sympathetic to them.”

The press conference also featured a question-and-answer session with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who revealed that the administration is considering a proposal to announce that Obama is also, in fact, Jewish. Such a measure may forestall objections to the President’s newly-confessed faith from Americans sympathetic to Israel. A Pew Research Center poll found that suspicion of Obama’s policy toward Israel has not shifted meaningfully as a result of the announcement; the researchers explain the negligible effect on the fact that Jon Stewart has yet to weigh in on the story.

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Written by Thag

June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm