Morning Report: November 7, 2006

Decision day. An election-day roundup.

Syria: Countdown to war. Debka:
Syrian FM Walid Mualem threatens to start “countdown to war” with Israel failing progress on peace track. EBKAfile cites Mualem’s words at a joint news conference in Damascus with Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Steore Monday, Nov. 6, as an explicit threat of war to be launched against Israel at a time of Syria’s choosing. The Syrian minister welcomed a debate going on in Israel about whether to resume negotiations with Damascus on the Golan Heights, which Syria lost to Israel in the Six-Day War. He went on to say: “We now have a window of opportunity of several months. If there is no progress, the countdown will begin for a new Syrian-Israeli war.” On Nov. 3, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 276b> revealed that on Oct. 30 British PM Tony Blair had sent his senior political adviser Nigel Sheinwald (picture) on a mission to Damascus, hoping to turn the coming British exit from Iraqi towns round as leverage for a comeback to the Arab world and make up for his failed Iraq policy. One of the items in the British official’s briefcase for his meeting with president Bashar Asad and Mualem was a secret message from Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert: an offer to start peace talks. It was posted through Blair. The Syrian president sent a return message to the British prime minister: Tell Olmert I’m ready to talk. This move connected with a broader deal: Damascus would break away from its pact with Tehran in return for normal relations with the West. Israel-Syrian talks would kick off this process. Both parties agreed that the Sheinwald mission and the business they discussed would be kept secret. No sooner had the British emissary flown out of Damascus, when the Syrians leaked word of his visit together with the Syrian president’s rejection of Olmert’s offer to talk, barring a prior Israeli commitment to cede the Golan. This was not what the Syrian president had told his British vistor. When Sheinwald arrived in London, he found out that Asad had been stringing him along before killing the Blair initiative stone cold. All along the Syrian ruler had kept faith with Tehran.

Read the rest at the link. (Debka)

Operation Autumn Clouds ends. Vital Perspective:
Early this morning IDF infantry, engineering and armored forces completed their operations against terror infrastructure and rocket launching infrastructure in Beit Hanoun to prevent and disrupt the launching of rockets at Israel. Over the course of the operation:

Forces conducted searches throughout the town in order to locate terrorists, gunmen and weaponry.
Dozens of armed gunmen were killed in aerial attacks and clashes with soldiers.
IDF soldiers uncovered large amounts of weaponry including rocket launchers, anti-tank missile launchers, grenades, explosive devices, AK-47 assault rifles, various ammunitions types, observation equipment and more.
The IDF targeted and hit 9 rocket launching cells, some of them also responsible for rocket manufacturing.

Full post at the link. (Vital Perspective)

Europe's Muslim Brotherhood. Counterterrorism Blog: 'In 1990 Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni scholar and the unofficial theological leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan al Muslimoun), published a book called Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase. This 186-page treatise can be considered the most recent manifesto of the Islamist revivalist movement. ... After examining the situation of the “Islamic Movement” throughout the Muslim world, the dissertation devotes significant attention to the situation of Muslims living in the West. ... Having affirmed the necessity of the Islamist movement in the West, Qaradawi proceeds to present a plan of operation. The Egyptian-born scholar openly calls for the creation of a separate society for Muslims within the West. While he highlights the importance of keeping open a dialogue with non-Muslims, he advocates the establishment of Muslim communities with “their own religious, educational and recreational establishments.” He urges his fellow revivalists to try “to have your small society within the larger society” and “your own ‘Muslim ghetto.’”' (CTB)

Egyptian blogger arrested. Or Does It Explode: 'Last October, Adelkarim Nabil Soliman got some attention for when Egyptian police interrogated him over blogposts critiquing Al Azhar University, where he was enrolled as a student. Soliman soon got booted out of school. And now he's been taken into custody for refusing to disavow his posts. A new blog is chronicling Soliman's arrest: http://www.freekareem.org. ' (ODIE)

Amarji's latest. A cancer-free Amarji shares his gut reactions to latest developments: 'The recent White House meeting with representatives of the National Salvation Front was, contrary to attempts at undermining it by many, quite a success and indicated a growing willingness by members within the current administration to assume a more open posture towards one of the most important and pragmatic Syrian opposition groups in exile. This openness is not restricted to members of the National Security Council. Indeed, and over the last few months, we have had quieter endorsements from all relevant decision-making centers within the administration. No, this does not mean that the Administration will be holding direct talks with Khadddam and Bayanouni soon, for tactical and ideological reasons on both sides. But contacts with the NSF through its liberal members will now take place regularly and on a high enough level to make it worth our while at the NSF to make point of acknowledging them at this stage. So, people can denounce, speculate, object, interpret, analyze and dismiss the fact and nature of these contacts to their hearts’ content, but, and at the end of the day, the fact cannot be denied: there is indeed a new kid on the block these days, a new player that, whether people like it or not, and for better or for worse, will make quite on an impact on the scene of Syrian external opposition. ...' (Amarji)

Commentary. Here's Orson Scott Card: 'There is only one issue in this election that will matter five or ten years from now, and that's the War on Terror. And the success of the War on Terror now teeters on the fulcrum of this election.' Americans, you know what you need to do. Now go vote.