Morning Report: November 16, 2006

Not so fast. A North American leader won't be pushed around by Communist China, and an analyst advises Tehran not to hold the party just yet.

Canada's Harper rejects Beijing's trade threats. CTV: 'Canada won't "sell out" on human rights to promote trade and investment with China, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says. "I think Canadians want us to promote our trade relations worldwide, and we do that, but I don't think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values -- our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights,'' Harper told reporters during a Wednesday stopover in Anchorage, Alaska. "They don't want us to sell that out to the almighty dollar.''' Shiro-Khorshid Forever: 'I am so proud of the Canadian Prime Minister. Once again he has shown that he is a man of dignity and he will stand up for human rights and human dignity no matter what the consequences. I am very optimistic that one of these days he will stand up against the IRI [Islamic Republic of Iran] and let everyone know that human rights is much more important then oil.' The Spirit of Man: 'This is almost unprecedented in Canadian politics and PM Harper makes all freedom loving people of the world proud by his recent stance.' (CTV, SKF, TSoM)

Europe takes firm action on a major threat. AP: 'European health ministers from 53 countries approved the world's first charter to fight obesity on Thursday, vowing greater action against the epidemic of expanding waistlines across the continent. The charter, approved in Istanbul, Turkey, was drafted by the World Health Organization in consultation with its European member states. It is the first real attempt to compel national authorities to take concrete action to combat obesity.' (AP)

Debka: Israel government "not trying" on Gaza threat. Debka:
Question No. 1: Did Israel counteract Egypt’s permission to let Hamas’ $4million cash infusion from Iran and Saudi through to the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Nov. 16? The answer is no, even though Israeli intelligence knows about Hamas’ regularly smuggled moneys and their destination - not hospitals, schools or food, but guns, troops and, yes, missiles.

Has Israel called Egypt to account for failing to stop the extremist Palestinian groups smuggling of arms and cash past its border guards? No, again. One way would be to move Israeli forces one kilometer deep into the Philadelphi border route for every $100,000 reaching the Hamas war chest. After all, Egypt contracted to seal its border against terrorist traffic under an international accord brokered by the US secretary of state. But prime minister Ehud Olmert prefers to let Cairo off the hook. Thursday, Nov. 15, the day after a deadly Palestinian missile attack on Sderot, he again praised “Egypt’s role in blocking smuggling to Gaza.”

Have the seven Israeli cabinet ministers used their presence in Los Angeles for an intensive information campaign to expose to the American public the role the Europeans and Egyptians are playing in the availability of funds for Hamas hands, despite the freeze imposed by the Middle East Quartet? No again ...

What to do? First, the analysis contends, Israel "must stop fooling itself" about the Palestinians. Specifically, Israelis should recognize that the rhetoric of an imminent Hamas/Fatah accord is largely empty; and they should heed the words of Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, who admitted 'that Israel erred in pulling out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 without leaving behind a stable, responsible Palestinian government.' The article also suggests limited military options short of a full-scale re-occupation of the Gaza Strip. Full article at the link. (Debka)

Jihad cell busted in Morocco. AKI via The Intelligence Summit: 'Authorities in Morocco say they have destroyed a Jiihadist cell consisting of 13 militants based in the city of Casablanca. In a raid on the safehouse used by the militatns who called themselves "Group for Monotheism and Jihad" [al-Tawhid w'al-Jihad], security forces found a"hit list" with the names of people the cell was allegedly plotting to kill as well as a haul of threatening letters addressed to prominent civil society figures.' (AKI)

Amir Taheri on Ahmadinejad's premature euphoria. Amir Taheri at Benador: 'Iran: Radical circles are unanimous in their belief that Iran can now proceed with its nuclear program without fear of U.S. and allied retaliation. They expect Democrats to revert to Clinton-era policy and seek a "Grand Bargain" with the Islamic Republic - acknowledging Iran as the major regional power and recognizing its right to the full cycle of nuclear technology. This perception has boosted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cause in next month's crucial elections. Ahmadinejad argues that Bush's defeat vindicates his own policy of "standing firm against the Great Satan he hopes to see his faction win control of the Assembly of Experts - a body that can elect and dismiss the "Supreme Guide." Ahmadinejad would thus control all levers of power in Tehran. Yet the expected U.S. retreat on Iran may not materialize - or, if it does, produce the results Tehran desires. Why should Democrats be less worried about a rogue state armed with nuclear weapons than the vilified "neocons"?' (Amir Taheri)

ThreatsWatch: Iraq kidnapping details still hazy, but meaning is clear. Steve at ThreatsWatch:
The Iraq Minister for Higher Education, Abd Dhiab, maintains still that 150 were kidnapped and that 70 have been released. He also said that according to the testimony of the released men, some of the kidnap victims were tortured and killed by their captors. With 55 unidentified bodies showing up on the streets of Baghdad overnight, there is likely validity to his claim.

To the detriment of all Iraqis, Shi’a and Sunni, President Nouri al-Maliki is giving every appearance of minimizing the situation, leaving the impression among the Iraqi public that he is misrepresenting either known facts or suspicions or both. This highlights a greater issue for the Iraqi political leadership going forward, with consequences paid by the Iraqi general public. If Maliki continues to refuse to challenge Muqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army and all other bands of terrorist thugs - Sunni or Shi’a - the Iraqi general public stands little chance of realizing liberty.

That, however, is easy to say from the comfort of the continental United States. Action taken will certainly result in the peril of grave danger for the families of the brave at the hands of retaliatory animals. Unfortunately, there is no other path to liberty for Iraq and its citizens. Forget the elections for a moment. Think of the liberty lost (or yet to be attained) when one is fearful for his life to simply walk the streets or go to a university. Without liberty, democracy serves little purpose.

Liberty and liberty alone will transform the Middle East. ...

Go read the whole article, Liberty and the Future of Iraq. It's excellent. (TW)

Commentary. People who are in power, and who feel empowered, often behave very differently from people who see themselves as powerless. Having a stronger Democratic presence in Washington may mute the voice of the juvenile extremist faction of the Democratic party. Perhaps the party's authentic liberal core - the Democrats truly worthy of the name - will rise to the defense of liberty in America and in the world. We'll have to wait and see.