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Posts Tagged ‘suicide bombing’

Madness … chilling madness

Posted by Richard on July 8, 2010

Mohammed Abu Mustafa, a Palestinian infant from Gaza, was just four and a half months old and facing death in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Israel. He had a genetic immune system deficiency. According to Haaretz, his mother Raida had experienced this heartbreaking situation before:

"I had two daughters in Gaza," she continued, her black eyes shimmering. "Both died because of immune deficiency. In Gaza I was told all the time that there is no treatment for this and that he is doomed to die. The problem now is how to pay for the [bone marrow] transplant. There is no funding." 

Shlomi Eldar, a reporter for Israel's Channel 10 News, went to the hospital to report little Mohammed's story. He ended up spending eight months filming the family, creating a full-length documentary, Precious Life, that's set to premier this week at the Jerusalem Film Festival. It's already won effusive praise. 

But first, Mohammed's life was in the balance and depended on a marrow transplant. Eldar reluctantly went to the hospital to do a story about the infant, convinced that nothing good would come of it: 

"I got to her after all the attempts to find a donation for the transplant had failed," he relates. "I understood that I was the baby's last hope, but I didn't give it much of a chance. At the time, Qassam rockets falling on Sderot opened every newscast. In that situation, I didn't believe that anyone would be willing to give a shekel for a Palestinian infant."

He was wrong. Hours after the news item about Mohammed was broadcast, the hospital switchboard was jammed with callers. An Israeli Jew whose son died during his military service donated $55,000, and for the first time the Abu Mustafa family began to feel hopeful. Only then did Eldar grasp the full dramatic potential of the story.

Thanks to the generous donations of countless Israeli Jews, Mohammed Abu Mustafa's life was saved. And despite his editor's misgivings, Shlomi Eldar decided that the story should be followed, leading to the documentary film.

Based on the lengthy interview with him by Haaretz, it's clear that Eldar is a compassionate, liberal (in the best sense of the word) person who feels deeply for the suffering of the people of Gaza, who was conflicted about Israel's conflict with Hamas, and who covered the conflict in a way sympathetic to the suffering of the residents of Gaza. But that's not the point of this post.

No, the point of this post is an exchange Eldar had with Raina Abu Mustafa, little Mohammed's mother, that almost led him to abandon the film project (emphasis added): 

From an innocent conversation about religious holidays, Raida Abu Mustafa launched into a painful monologue about the culture of the shahids – the martyrs – and admitted, during the complex transplant process, that she would like to see her son perpetrate a suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem.

She also explained to Eldar exactly what she had in mind. "For us, death is a natural thing. We are not frightened of death. From the smallest infant, even smaller than Mohammed, to the oldest person, we will all sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Jerusalem. We feel we have the right to it. You're free to be angry, so be angry."

And Eldar was angry. "Then why are you fighting to save your son's life, if you say that death is a usual thing for your people?" he lashes out in one of the most dramatic moments in the film.

"It is a regular thing," she smiles at him. "Life is not precious. Life is precious, but not for us. For us, life is nothing, not worth a thing. That is why we have so many suicide bombers. They are not afraid of death. None of us, not even the children, are afraid of death. It is natural for us. After Mohammed gets well, I will certainly want him to be a shahid. If it's for Jerusalem, then there's no problem. For you it is hard, I know; with us, there are cries of rejoicing and happiness when someone falls as a shahid. For us a shahid is a tremendous thing."

That was enough to drain Eldar's motivation and dissolve all the compassion he had felt for Raida and Mohammed.

… 

Madness. Disturbing, chilling madness. 

How do you coexist with people who not only despise your mere existence, but don't value their own? Or even their children's? How do you coexist with people who will rear their son to perpetrate a suicide attack on the very people whose donations made his survival possible?

It cannot be done.

If your eyes fill with tears upon reading this — you're not alone.

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al Qaeda’s Tet offensive

Posted by Richard on August 16, 2007

Commentators and pundits have been pondering the meaning of al Qaeda's horrific truck bomb attacks in far northern, peaceful, Iraqi Kurdistan. What prompted them to attack a small, isolated ethnic group, far from U.S. troops, the surge, and disputed territory? Most missed the point.

This attack wasn't aimed at the Yazidis, or at the Kurdistan region, or even at the government of Iraq. It was aimed squarely at NBC, ABC, CBS, and the United States Congress. The Yazidi villages were just a convenient, low-risk target on which to unleash the maximum possible carnage. The reason for killing hundreds of Yazidis is to shock and dismay Americans. Expect more such "media events" between now and September 15.

Today's column by Ralph Peters addresses the issue well (emphasis added):

The victims were ethnic Kurd Yazidis, members of a minor sect with pre-Islamic roots. Muslim extremists condemn them (wrongly) as devil worshippers. The Yazidis live on the fringes of society.

That's one of the two reasons al Qaeda targeted those settlements: The terrorist leaders realize now that the carnage they wrought on fellow Muslims backfired, turning once-sympathetic Sunni Arabs against them. The fanatics calculated that Iraqis wouldn't care much about the Yazidis.

But the second reason for those dramatic bombings was that al Qaeda needs to portray Iraq as a continuing failure of U.S. policy. Those dead and maimed Yazidis were just props: The intended audience was Congress.

Al Qaeda has been badly battered. It's lost top leaders and thousands of cadres. Even more painful for the Islamists, they've lost ground among the people of Iraq, including former allies. Iraqis got a good taste of al Qaeda. Now they're spitting it out.

The foreign terrorists slaughtering the innocent recognize that their only remaining hope of pulling off a come-from-way-behind win is to convince your senator and your congressman or -woman that it's politically expedient to hand a default victory to a defeated al Qaeda.

Peters goes on to explain that, barring the triumph of the "peace at any price" crowd here at home, and despite the likelihood of more massive bloodshed in the near term, the Petraeus plan is working well and the longer-term outlook in Iraq is pretty good. Read the whole thing.

The Islamofascists in general and al Qaeda in particular are masters of media manipulation and propaganda (the founders of the movement learned at the side of the Nazis). They're also keen students of history, and they know all about the 1968 Tet offensive, in which Viet Cong forces were defeated and decimated at every turn, but won a huge victory on the public relations front, leading Walter Cronkite to declare Vietnam a failure and destroying public support for the conflict.

Will al Qaeda be able to replicate Tet? I don't think so. For one thing, the media environment has changed, and we no longer rely on a Walter Cronkite to tell us "that's the way it is." Hardly anyone watches the Katie Courics and Keith Olbermans today. And in any case, if they try to paint an al Qaeda Tet as a tremendous defeat for the U.S., the new media will quickly counter with evidence to the contrary.

But they will no doubt try, and it will get ugly. 

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Thoughts about the airliner plot

Posted by Richard on August 11, 2006

I’m flying back to Tennessee tomorrow (my dad is dying), so airport security and airliner safety are personally meaningful issues for me right now. By now, everybody and their brother have had their say about the Brits’ foiling of the airliner plot, but I want to throw out a few random thoughts I’ve been having.

  • Given the disturbing picture of British Muslims painted by surveys in the past year, I was pleased to hear that the original tip that led to the conspiracy came from a British Muslim who told police he was concerned about suspicious statements and behavior by a Muslim aquaintance.
  • Critics of the Bush Doctrine often point to Pakistan as evidence that the doctrine is not an idealistic commitment to democracy, but hypocritical and immoral. They have a point — you have to hold your nose while cozying up to the Musharraf regime, that’s for sure. But Pakistan apparently played a vital role in foiling this plot — that kind of cooperation is a pretty powerful "yeah, but…"
  • I heard someone say on the radio yesterday that the Brits initially didn’t inform the U.S. about their investigation because they were afraid of CIA leaks; this story suggests there’s something to that claim.
  • OTOH, I also heard that the Brits got critical information from the much-maligned NSA "wiretap" (actually, phone record data mining) program. And from a "sneak and peek" search. You want to argue that the NSA monitoring and the "sneak and peek" search are such egregious violations of civil liberties that it would be better if ten airliners carrying maybe 4000 people had blown up over U.S. airports? Good luck persuading people of that.
  • Bush identified the enemy properly as "Islamic fascists" instead of as "terrorism," which is a tactic, not an enemy. Yay! I believe that’s only the second time he’s done so. CAIR, the organization dedicated to concealing, excusing, and defending Islamic fascism in the U.S., is terrribly upset. Good.
  • OTOH, TSA and Homeland Security are still playing the political correctness game and focusing on dangerous objects instead of dangerous people. It’s the gun control mentality writ large, and it’s stupid and dangerous. Yes, I know — not all Muslims are terrorists. But virtually all the terrorists in the world are young male Muslims, you fools, so focus your limited resources where they’re most warranted — not on the Maalox belonging to somebody’s grandmother or the contact lens drops of a tattooed and pierced teenage girl.
  • On a related note, I’m pretty sick of hearing Michael Chertoff reassure us that a young male Muslim shooting Jews in Washington has nothing to do with terrorism; that a bunch of missing young male Muslim Egyptians are nothing to worry about; and that we shouldn’t be overly concerned about two young male Muslims from Dearborn’s "Hezbollah High" who had information about airport security checkpoints and flights, $10,000 in cash, and a bunch of disposable cell phones of the type used to trigger bombs. Is this guy a complete fool, or does he just think the American people are?
     

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What would you do?

Posted by Richard on July 14, 2006

Imagine you’re an Israeli Jew, maybe a resident of Haifa. Maybe you, or your parents or grandparents, fled to Israel from Baghdad or Amman or Cairo more than half a century ago to escape persecution. All of your life, peace and security have been pressing issues. There was always the threat of all-out war, of course, but the day-to-day routine terrorist attacks were the real burden.

In the early years, Palestinian terrorists attacked with guns, shooting as many people as they could — schoolchildren if possible — before attempting to escape. Israel countered by arming large numbers of its citizens, and such attacks became less and less successful.

In response, the Palestinians adopted a new tactic: suicide bombings. They apparently really do love death, as they proudly proclaim. This tactic was terribly effective and difficult to stop. Over time, you and your fellow Israelis simply learned to live with a certain level of random horror.

Recently, though, the situation seemed to improve. Sure, a market, bus, or restaurant occasionally blew up, and you might be unlucky and be in it at the time. Or you might arrive a few minutes later to see the mangled bodies and pieces of flesh in the rubble. But the number of suicide bombings had declined precipitously, especially since large sections of The Wall went up and the Gaza border was secured. You were feeling safer and safer in your day-to-day activities.

In response, however, the Palestinians seemed to be adopting yet another new tactic. This time, maybe two. First, they lobbed more and more rockets into random targets, initially from the safe haven of Gaza, and then from Lebanon as well. They bragged about having thousands and thousands of rockets — and their friends in Tehran, Damascus, and Ryadh will surely buy them more.

But the Palestinians’ second new tactic was the real chiller: kidnappings. Carried out regularly and routinely, on even a modest scale, kidnappings could be a terribly effective terror weapon, in many ways more so than suicide bombings. They leave the friends and families of the victims — and by empathy, every caring person in the country — on the hook day after day after day — hoping, fearing, despairing. They tie up all kinds of military and police resources trying to locate and rescue the victims. And after milking the situation for all the agony they can cause, the terrorists can indulge their murderous, barbaric natures and return their victims’ bodies in this condition to further traumatize the population.

So imagine you’re that Jew in Haifa, huddled in your bomb shelter in case of more Iranian missiles. You’re thinking about the future. It’s not the immediate hostilities that you’re worried about. You’re pretty confident of the IDF’s ability to bring the current intense fighting to a successful conclusion, unless too hobbled by the timidity of the politicians.

No, you’re thinking about what life in Israel will be like over the next 2, 5, 10 years — however long the nation has to put up with a certain level of random rocket and missile strikes, and routine kidnappings and tortures, ending in butchery. However long dismembered bodies on the streets will be something you just have to learn to live with.

Imagine you’re that Jew in Haifa — what would you do?

I know what I’d do. I’d contact every elected official I could reach, every newspaper, TV station, and radio program, every blog and forum. I’d be saying as forcefully as I could to anyone who’d listen: Do not let these new tactics continue for years like the suicide bombings. Do whatever it takes to nip this in the bud, to stop these animals now.

Whatever it takes. 
 

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Non-news: suicide bombers not Iraqis

Posted by Richard on July 1, 2005

LGF posted an AP story earlier today announcing breathlessly that the vast majority of suicide bombers in Iraq have been foreigners. Yawn. The only people who might be surprised by this probably dismiss it as a Rove trick.

Readers of the Grand Junction, CO, Daily Sentinel heard this straight from the horse’s mouth a couple of weeks ago. Shortly after, so did readers of Chrenkoff and my blog. In the Daily Sentinel story about Grand Junction’s Col. Jim West, he not only reported that most suicide bombers were non-Iraqis, he said that not all of them went willingly to their fate:

"He was trying to drive into a busy checkpoint and the Marine guards wounded him and disabled his car before he could reach the intersection and activate the bomb," West wrote. "When they opened the door to remove him, they found him chained to the seat with his hands taped to the steering wheel. He had an activation switch on his body that he could use but they also found a remote-control activation device under the front seat. It was hidden in the floor of the car so he probably didn’t know it was there… He was going to die whether he wanted to or not."

A guard activated a radio-jamming device immediately so the bomb couldn’t be detonated, West wrote.

The driver was "yelling and very agitated and had a glazed look," West said in a telephone interview. It turned out he also was heavily drugged, West said.

The AP story does add breadth and detail to the story of foreign suicide bombers. Of course, some of the details aren’t presented as accurately as one might wish:

There have been a few exceptions.

On election day Jan. 30, a mentally handicapped Iraqi boy, wearing a suicide vest, attacked a polling station.

The poor kid didn’t "attack" a polling station. The jihadists strapped explosives on him and made him start walking toward the polling station. The kid didn’t know what was happening, but he became confused or scared and turned around. Started walking back where he came from.

They remotely detonated him.

Attacked a polling station, my ass.

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One Coloradan’s experiences in Iraq

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2005

Stories about local men and women serving in Iraq are probably fairly common in small cities and towns throughout the country. They’re almost unheard of in big-city papers, where they might interfere with the "Vietnam/quagmire" meme. The MSM don’t much care what our men and women on the ground in Iraq think. They prefer the relentless flood of negative dispatches from reporters esconced in their hotels and fed information and images by "stringers" with ties to the terrorists.

The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction, CO, just across the state from me, published one Coloradan’s story on Sunday — a fascinating article about Col. Jim West, a 58-year-old Grand Junction business owner who volunteered for duty in Iraq and is now on his second tour. It’s based on his letters home and a phone interview with him.

I didn’t find this article myself; I didn’t even know the Grand Junction paper’s name, much less its website. Arthur Chrenkoff, writing on the other side of the world from me, pointed to it. An amazing thing, this Internet.

What seized Chrenkoff’s attention, and with good reason, is Col. West’s information about suicide car bombers. Most of them are non-Iraqis — mainly Palestinians, Syrians, and Saudis. Apparently, not all of them are eagerly embracing their opportunity to meet those 72 virgins (emphasis added):

"He was trying to drive into a busy checkpoint and the Marine guards wounded him and disabled his car before he could reach the intersection and activate the bomb," West wrote. "When they opened the door to remove him, they found him chained to the seat with his hands taped to the steering wheel. He had an activation switch on his body that he could use but they also found a remote-control activation device under the front seat. It was hidden in the floor of the car so he probably didn’t know it was there… He was going to die whether he wanted to or not."

A guard activated a radio-jamming device immediately so the bomb couldn’t be detonated, West wrote.

The driver was "yelling and very agitated and had a glazed look," West said in a telephone interview. It turned out he also was heavily drugged, West said.

The driver, a Palestinian, was treated for gunshot wounds to the legs suffered when the guards fired to stop his car. West said he didn’t know what happened to him afterwards.

He did, however, follow some as they recovered in the hospital from wounds suffered in battle.

"Some of them are very sullen," but one he remembered, was completely different.

"He was just so happy to be alive" while he was being treated for bullet wounds to the stomach and shoulder.

"He couldn’t believe our people were doing that."

But there’s much more to West’s story, and it’s well worth reading. He describes himself as "the top oil person for the reconstruction." Among other things, he’s supervising the building of a pipeline under the Tigris River that will carry 2 million barrels of oil a day to Turkey. He’s impressed by the Iraqis and optimistic about the future:

Cast against the threats against him and his team is the exhilaration he witnessed when millions of Iraqis purpled their fingers in January to show they had cast ballots in a free election.

“The people of Iraq continue to amaze me,” West wrote home. “Following the election and its overwhelming success, the people seem to have developed a new vision. Maybe it’s the fact that they, as a people, have stood up to the insurgents and made their statement for freedom, or maybe they have finally realized that this election was a first step in becoming a free and independent nation. Whatever it is, they have a zeal about themselves that I don’t think will ever be extinguished. They have tasted freedom and no one can take that from them.”

Indiscriminate killing of women and children is the work of outsiders, he said.

“There’s no plan to it, other than to terrorize the populace,” he said.

“To me, the key is to get the government up and running,” he said. “We’re doing that. Eventually the tide’s going to turn.”

But West is a realist, not a Pollyanna:

“… It’s a huge task to rebuild this nation because Saddam Hussein allowed it to degrade so badly during the last few years of his reign. Much of the equipment and technology that is currently being used to produce and refine the oil is over 20 years old. … This alone would make the rebuilding difficult but now you introduce the insurgents and the terrorist groups that are trying to destabilize the country and we are faced with an almost impossible feat.”

When he started work in Iraq, he said it seemed as though the Americans were welcomed by about 90 percent of the Iraqis.

“That’s probably lowered some now,” he said, to about 75 percent of Iraqis supporting the American presence and 5 percent who would “kill you if they could.”

Very interesting article. RTWT.

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