2006-07-14

Morning Report: July 14, 2006

The Tammuz War continues. Deep strikes hit Israel and Lebanon, while a manual for undercover jihadis reveals a blurred line between Islamic and Western identities; and archaic value systems still haunt Muslim women living in Europe and Britain.

Rocket attacks hit Israel. Via Pajamas Media, over 700 rockets have been fired at Israel in the current war, including a hit on a residential building in Safed (Tsfat). JPost: 'Thirteen people were wounded in the latest bombardment of rockets on Safed and Nahariya on Friday afternoon. A rocket landing in Safed hit a residential building. Two of the wounded in Safed sustained moderate wounds, the other eight were lightly wounded. The wounded in Nahariya were all reported to be in light condition. Rockets also reportedly landed near Hatzor, Bar'am, Mahanayim, Horfesh, though no one was reported wounded. Nahariya also sustained another barrage of five Katyusha just an hour earlier, causing a brush fire in an open area. Western Galilee fire fighters were working to control the flames.' Ha'Aretz: 'In the latest spate of rocket attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, two people were moderately hurt and eight sustained light injuries after a Katyusha rocket hit a residential building in Safed on Friday afternoon. ... Katyusha rockets struck Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, for the first time Thursday night, and the Home Front Command ordered area residents Friday to stay near bomb shelters so they could go inside as soon as they hear an air-raid siren. There were no casualties in the rocket strike on Haifa's Stella Maris area.' Debka: 'Eleven Israeli civilians injured by dozens of Hizballah rockets fired into northern Israel Friday, on the third day of war. Two were seriously hurt in barrage aimed at Safed town and nearby military installations. The IDF base at Biria took a direct rocket hit from Lebanon and suffered casualties. Another hit a house, setting it on fire. Two Israeli civilians were seriously injured in another targeted house near the IDF’s Northern Command HQ. Two Israeli civilians were killed in Nahariya and Safed Thursday and nearly a hundred injured by more than a hundred Hizballah rockets.' (various)

Israel strikes targets deep in Lebanon. Arutz Sheva: 'The Israel Air Force during the night struck Hizbullah targets deep in Beirut, including the Beirut-Damascus Highway, the airport and a major terrorist stronghold in a south Lebanon neighborhood. The highway has major significance to the terror organization, serving as a primary route for the weapons supply train. Operatives use the road to bring weapons and ammunition from Iran to Hizbullah via Syria. IAF aircraft also struck other Hizbullah targets, including Hizbullah headquarters in a densely populated neighborhood in south Beirut, deep in the Lebanon Valley near the Syrian border, major roadways and other strategic locations. Fighter pilots focused their efforts particularly on the Beirut airport, repeatedly bombing the facility which serves as a transfer point for weapons to the terrorists.' Arutz Sheva also reports expressions of support for Israel from Arabs: 'Arab readers on the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic-language site are submitting comments underscoring the importance of hitting the terror organization with a powerful fist. “Arabs understand only the language of force,” wrote one reader. “If they feel that Israel is week they will carry on until it is completely destroyed. That is how they think,” said the anonymous writer. “What is stopping them is your force. If this thinking evaporates, even if it is only in their minds, Israel would pay a heavy price in civilians and casualties. Israel has to be strong until peace is achieved with these terrorists,” concluded the comment.' Via IRIS. (A7)

How Hezbollah thinks. Counterterrorism Blog: 'Hizballah’s decision to kidnap the two IDF soldiers was taken by Sheikh Hassan Nasserallah and the other six members of the Shura Karar, its supreme decision-making body. Additionally there are two Iranian representatives (from the Iranian embassy in Beirut/Damascus) that provide a direct link on matters that require strategic guidance or Iranian assistance or arbitration. The file for handling special operations of this kind is usually left to Imad Mughniyeh, the elusive terrorist mastermind for Hizballah, who stands with one foot within Hizballah (reporting to Nasserallah directly) and with one foot in Iran inside the architectures of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the al-Qods unit within the Iranian Pasdaran. Mughniyeh is strictly reserved for special occasions (like the Buenos Aires bombing in 1992 to avenge the Israeli assassination of the previous leader Sheikh Abbas al-Musawi) and his primary mission over the last decade has been to forge qualitative ‘military’ guidance to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives inside Gaza and the West Bank.' (CTB)

Al-Qaeda's debut in Kashmir. The Intelligence Summit:
Srinagar, 14 July (AKI/Asian Age) - A new militant group has been launched in Kashmir, calling itself "al-Qaeda Jammu and Kashmir", but the intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities here have no clue on whether it is actually a wing of the organisation led by Osama bin Laden. Significantly, the launch - made known in a phone call to a local news agency on Thursday afternoon - was announced just two days after terrorists struck with impunity in Mumbai and Srinagar, exploding a series of bombs that resulted in the death of over 200 people.

The 13 July is also a date of great historical importance for Jammu and Kashmir because it is annually observed as "martyrs' day" throughout the state and by Kashmiri people worldwide in commemoration of when in 1931, the troops of autocratic Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh had gunned down 22 Muslims outside Srinagar central jail, an incident which heralded the "freedom struggle" in the then princely state under British India. The Kashmir Valley was shut on Thursday to mark the occasion.

While "Al-Qaeda Jammu and Kashmir" said its objectives and philosophy would be spelt out shortly, it called upon Indian Muslims to take up "jihad". ...

Full article at the link. (TIS)

Encyclopedia of Jihad. Also from TIS: 'Islamist websites are filled with security manuals and training information for jihadi militants. These manuals are often posted on forums sympathetic to violent Islamists, and the visitors to the forums are able to ask questions to different jihadi security experts regarding fighting tactics and intelligence strategies. In intelligence training and sharing practices, the jihadi sites have posted three significant documents: the Great Jihad Encyclopedia, a letter from al-Qaeda operative Abu Yahia al-Libi and a document titled "How to Confront and Cope with Intelligence Agency Interrogators." ' The work comprises material dating from 2002 and is attributed to an individual named "Abu al-Qaidan", a name which points to possible Algerian origin. 'The encyclopedia elaborates on many intelligence skills such as espionage, counter-terrorism, sabotage, the importance of human intelligence (HUMINT) and agent handling. Moreover, it includes training on quality intelligence work such as the use of safe-houses, defensive and offensive intelligence, operating behind enemy lines, preventive security and a detailed explanation of reconnaissance.' The article concludes that 'Advancement in communication technology is the key to the success of any counter-terrorism operation by security and intelligence agencies; unfortunately, the same applies to terrorist operations that use the same technological systems to utilize and disseminate their ideology and methods.' Worth reading in full. (TIS)

Muslim women in the Netherlands face sexism. The Muslim Woman reports: 'Discrimination is not a new thing for Women so is the case in Netherland, immigrants and refugees – most of who belong to Muslim community are facing discrimination in job fields. ... Gender inequality problem here in Netherland is progressively more linked with immigrant women and has been generally tagged as an integration problem.' Puja cites this study by ADNKronos International: 'Women immigrants and refugees - many of whom are Muslims - continue to encounter discrimination in the Netherlands, a United Nations expert said on Thursday. The expert, who spent 3-11 July on a fact-finding mission to the country, was critical of immigrant women's access to the jobs market, child care provision, and the Dutch government's tougher procedures for asylum-seekers which frequently dismiss the applications of rape and toruture victims who are unable to 'positively demonstrate' their trauma. "The worrisome reports of suicides and missing persons, especially minors, in return centres for rejected asylum-seekers also require urgent attention," said UN special rapportuer on violence against women, Yakin Erturk. She is unpaid and serves in an independent capacity. "Gender inequality issues are increasingly associated with immigrant women and defined as an integration problem," she said.' (TMW, AKI)

Honor killing brother sentenced. Telegraph: 'Two men were given life sentences today for the "barbaric" honour killing of a young woman, because they did not approve of her choice of lover. Samaira Nazir, a 25-year-old graduate and recruitment consultant, was knifed to death by her brother and cousin after a heated argument. She had angered her family with pleas to be allowed to marry Salman Mohammed. The Central Criminal Court heard that her Pakistani family disapproved of the Afghan asylum seeker, accusing him of being after their money. Miss Nazir's brother Azhar Nazir, 30, will serve no less than 20 years, while her cousin Imran Mohammed, 17, was handed a minimum term of 10 years. Judge Christopher Moss told them: "This was a barbaric crime. She suffered a brutal, gruesome and horrific death."' (Telegraph)

Commentary. As we've been noticing, there is growing respect for Israel among its nominal enemies - not that respect among seasoned veterans of "the other side" was ever lacking, as a certain guest-blogger at Big Pharaoh attests: 'This idiot Nasrallah. He is so funny. He keeps on issuing threats, he has no idea what he is talking about. What Israel is doing to him now is just gentle padding on the shoulders. [Nasrallah] didn't see what we saw. Israel fought on 3 fronts in 1967 and it was hell.'

It's a good time for us in the neocon camp to take stock. I myself have been among the centrists who favored Israel's disengagement from Gaza. Yossi Klein Halevi writes that 'Those of us who have supported unilateralism didn't expect a quiet border in return for our withdrawal but simply the creation of a border from which we could more vigorously defend ourselves, with greater domestic consensus and international understanding. The anticipated outcome, then, wasn't an illusory peace but a more effective way to fight the war. The question wasn't whether Hamas or Hezbollah would forswear aggression but whether Israel would act with appropriate vigor to their continued aggression.' But 'If unilateralists made a mistake, it was in believing our political leaders--including Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert--when they promised a policy of zero tolerance against any attacks emanating from Gaza after Israel's withdrawal. That policy was not implemented--until two weeks ago.'

Commenting on YKL's article, Solomonia agrees that the past two weeks are seeing a belated fulfillment of Israel's "promise to seriously respond to provocations after withdrawal" and concludes:
It would be nice (not the right word, but you get the point) to see some direct action against the Syrian regime (no more flyovers without a delivery), as they also need to feel the pinch, which they should have felt long ago, for being Hamas's hosts. Action against Iran is a bigger nut to crack, and one that I don't want to tackle right now, but it looks like that's coming soon anyway, especially as they've said they'll fight if Syria is attacked. ... On the other hand, it could very well be that the Israelis have taken the measure of the Syrians and have decided they're nothing but chumps in all this. They're saving their punches for Iran.

Jeremayakovka offers some insights on "Why is This Jewish War Different From All Other Jewish Wars?" and notes that
It's another test of Natan Sharansky's free society/fear society thesis, as set forth in The Case for Democracy. That is, this is a chance to support dissenters within the "fear societies" that Israel is attacking -- in Gaza and Lebanon (a must-read from Carl in Jerusalem) and possibly Syria and Iran. ... It largely depends on how close the American eagle flies to the Israeli "canary in the coal mine."

Jeremaya is reassured by Yossi Peled's promise that "Tsahal's [the IDF's] mission is today to strike at Hezbollah with such force that the movement won't survive." So am I.

As the last two observers have noted, much depends on Israel's fulfillment of its promise, and on the support of the American eagle. If President George W. Bush does indeed plan to bring back the neocons, then we may be heading in that direction. The Bush Administration's flirtation with so-called "realism" has proved an abject failure. Our successes to date have come from the dual-track approach of strengthening freedom movements while aggressively confronting fascism and terrorism. Let's not stop now. The time for playing "good cop" is over.