Morning Report: October 5, 2006

Good cop, bad cop. The PA struggles over which face to present to the world, while Israel continues its diplomatic work. Some sobering thoughts on the Iraqi government - and on men in government everywhere - plus advances for gay rights in California round out today's report.

A kinder, gentler Palestinian Authority. Ha'Aretz reports: 'The economic boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority is effective and the international community will continue to maintain the boycott, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni during their Thursday morning meeting. Livni told Rice the weapons embargo on Hezbollah must be enforced. Rice later met with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and asked him to ease restrictions at Gaza Strip border crossings. Peretz said humanitarian allowances are in Israel's security interest and said the key to accelerating diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians is the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.' Meanwhile, via IRIS, a member of the famed Moderate Fatah Faction explains it all: 'Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ stated recognition of Israel’s right to exist is part of a “political calculation” aimed at ultimately destroying the Jewish state, a terror group leader and member of Abbas’ Fatah party told WND in an interview. The leader said the Fatah party does not recognize Israel and that any final accord that doesn’t include flooding the Jewish state with millions of Palestinians will not be supported by the Fatah party and will lead to Palestinian civil war. “The base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Akko,” said Abu Ahmed, Fatah member and leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip.' Glad we cleared that up. (Ha'Aretz, IRIS)

Israel names new amabassador to US. Arutz Sheva: 'Israel has chosen Sallai Meridor to be its new ambassador to the United States. Meridor completed a six year term as head of the Jewish Agency last year. During his tenure he advocated for expanding Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Meridor replaces Danny Ayalon, whose term is ending in January after a four year stint.' (A7)

Olmert, Rice talk Iran in Jerusalem. Jerusalem Post: 'Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Wednesday evening in Jerusalem. Rice expressed her concerns to Olmert about Iran's nuclear program, saying that Teheran has rejected all the proposals put forth on the matter by the international community. Earlier, Rice met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and praised his leadership.' (JPost)

ITM: "The four sins." Mohammed at Iraq the Model reflects on the problems and violence plaguing Iraq today. In this post, he examines failings on the Iraqi side:
I will be talking only about leaderships, not the people because the latter expressed their choices in a civilized way but the leaderships led us to this unpleasant situation through a number of mistakes that I'm going to list one by one…

First is Sunni stupidity: The Sunni leaderships fell in the gravest mistakes the day they adopted the pan-Arab Baathist ideology of the past regime and stuck to the Saddamist ways without any consideration for the changes in the world in general and in Iraq in particular. Sunni leaders dragged the Sunni body into a confrontation with a superpower and with other components of the Iraqi people, and happened despite the fact that Sunni communities hardly fired a bullet at the allied forces back during OIF and made an unconditional surrender. The leaderships did not use the position to make something good out of it but instead used the collapsed organizations of the past regime to swim against the current in a suicidal stupid move blessed by Arab regimes awed by the fall of the idol.

Second is the treason of Shia leaderships; those are the ones who encouraged America to make the change and made all kinds of promises that they would contribute to leading the new Iraq in a way that plants the seeds of democracy and pluralism in the entire Middle East. In fact they were hiding their true intentions. Those leaders pretended to be America's allies in the beginning but the Taqiyya soon faded away when those leaders seized offices and powers. They went back to the laps of their primary sponsor replaced America's friendship with Iran's and abandoned the idea of a modern state for a stupid dream of building an Iran-style theocracy in Iraq.

Kurdish opportunism comes third. The closest friends and allies of America in Iraq let her down the day they put their plans for a separate Kurdish state above everything else and took advantage of the weaknesses of the center to make more gains for their project of an ethnic state. So instead of having the Kurds and their pioneer experience as an element of stability for the rest of the country they became yet another element of instability and weakness. They presented the first chapter of ingratitude for America who was hoping the Kurdish experiment could become an example that can be reproduced and spread southwards.

Fourth and last of local reasons is the weakness, incompetence and confusion surrounding the liberal leaderships: Those liberal leaders in spite of what they achieved in the beginning, allowed themselves to be infected with a very dangerous type of narcissistic selfishness. They closed their ears, eyes and mouths to the then approaching theocratic threat. Their selfishness and ego were the reason for many conflicts among liberal parties the thing that led to their collective lousy results in the elections. Instead of joining their forces to stop the theocratic tide, liberal politicians like Allawi, Chalabi and the like were busy fighting each other at a so critical point in time. Watching that happen, many secular politicians found themselves choosing to go under the umbrella of religious or ethnic blocs in order not to miss the chance to have a seat in the parliament.

Read it all at the link. And keep an eye on Iraq the Model for a forthcoming critique of US policy, which Mohammed informs me is in the final stages and should be posted within a few hours. (ITM)

Tammy takes on the patriarchy. Tammy Bruce: 'Here's one comment which will remind you of my Authentic Feminist foundation--while we all complain that politicians are politicians, here's one thing we can be sure of--with all the page scandals, the intern scandals, and girls who worked for politicians turning up dead (think Kennedy/Kopechne and Condit/Levy), none of the politicians involved have been women. A woman lawmaker has never been accused of sexually harassing an intern, or of making passes at a page, nor has a woman in office been linked to an office worker's death. So perhaps it's not Washington, DC, power or politics that is the common thread here--maybe it's the sort of man attracted to that environment. There are women serving on both sides of the aisle, and no matter what you think of Hillary Clinton, as an example, we can be pretty darn sure she's not chasing an intern of either sex around her office. The same can be said about Elizabeth Dole, and Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, or Barbara Mikulski. Because it's not about homosexuals, but about men, gay and straight, young and old, and what they do with power.' (Tammy Bruce)

California: Schwarzenegger signs gay rights legislation. Mercury News: 'Marking the first law of its kind in the nation, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed a bill that limits the use of the so-called ``gay panic'' defense -- legislation inspired by the slaying of a Newark transgender teen. The ``gay panic'' defense typically arises in cases in which the victim's sexual orientation played a role in the crime. Defendants argue that they did not intentionally kill the victim and that their rage was triggered after learning that the victim was gay or transgender -- meaning they should be punished for a lesser offense, such as manslaughter. The bill, written by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, states that it is against public policy for a defendant to play upon the bias of the jury, or for a jury to allow bias against the victim to enter into its decision.' The bill comes in the wake of the murder of Gwen Araujo of Newark, California. The Advocate: 'A landmark bill enabling California's registered domestic partners to file joint state income tax returns and have their earned income treated as community property for state tax purposes was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Saturday. The State Income Tax Equity Act was sponsored by Equality California and authored by lesbian state senator Carole Migden of San Francisco. ... In related news, Schwarzenegger also signed the Equality in Prevention and Services for Domestic Abuse Fund, which establishes a fee on domestic-partnership registrations to support education and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims of domestic violence.' (Mercury, Advocate)

Commentary. Syria and Iran seem to be trying to beat the international community (or the Zionist conspiracy, if you prefer) to the punch: 'Our Iranian sources report that, in a move to counter possible UN sanctions, foreign minister Manoucheir Mottaki presented 7 booklets with two enclosures listing those firms to the Majlis on Oct. 2. He explained: “Article 8 of the law titled Support for the Islamic Revolution of the Palestinian People bans economic relations with any company, institution or firm affiliated with the Zionist regime anywhere in the world.” Two days earlier, the US Congress passed a bill extending Iran sanctions after the White House watered down an earlier version that would also have punished offshore subsidiaries of US companies that deal with Iran. However, part of the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s current Middle East mission is to press Arab leaders to instruct banks in the region to cut ties with entities contributing to Iran’s nuclear program, support for terror or pursuit of advanced conventional weapons. Iran has countered by pushing OPEC to reduce production and raise oil prices. Mottaki further informed the Iranian parliament that the list of firms with whom Iranian law bans relations will be updated henceforth year by year. Iran and Syria are determined to expose Israeli companies hiding behind false names.' It looks as if the battle lines are being drawn.

My SWAP (Scientific Wild-Ass Prognostication) is that there's going to have to be a final split with the United Nations by the US and its allies; and Syrian and Iran (with the help of Venezuela) will probably make it easy for us by continuing to trash the UN for being an "imperialist" and "zionist" tool. The United Nations will have no middle ground left to stand on.