Morning Report: May 15, 2007

Iranian nuclear project moves forward. Khaleej Times: 'Iran has made progress in enriching uranium, UN nuclear inspectors learned on a visit last weekend to a key site, diplomats told AFP on Tuesday. This shows Iran moving towards meeting the claim made in April by its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Teheran has reached an ”industrial scale” of enrichment, the process which makes what can be fuel for nuclear power reactors or in highly refined form the raw material for atom bombs. Iran is defying demands, and sanctions, from the UN Security Council for it to stop enrichment, due to fears it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. The UN watchdog International Atomic is to file a report by May 23 on Teheran’s nuclear work, and this could lead to further UN sanctions against Iran. “They are speeding up some centrifuges (the machines which enrich uranium) and beginning to enrich towards an industrial level” at a plant in Natanz, one diplomat said.'

Terrorists threaten safety of 3 missing soldiers. CNN: 'The Islamic State of Iraq -- a Sunni insurgent coalition that includes al Qaeda in Iraq -- issued a statement Monday saying it is holding three American soldiers and warning the U.S. military to call off its search. "Your soldiers are in our hands. If you want your soldiers' safety, do not search for them," the Internet posting said. The soldiers went missing after an ambush Saturday on their military convoy in a volatile region south of Baghdad. Four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi soldier were killed in the attack outside Mahmoudiya. ... While the insurgent group offered no proof that it is holding the soldiers, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said Monday that the military believes al Qaeda in Iraq or an affiliated group is responsible for their abduction.'

CENTCOM on search and rescue efforts. CENTCOM:
The U.S. military, coalition partners and Iraqi security forces are making a “massive effort” to find three American soldiers missing in Iraq since May 12, a senior U.S. military officer said today.
“We are using every asset and resource available to the United States and our Iraqi allies in these efforts,” Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said during a videotaped release broadcast on the Pentagon Channel today.

A convoy carrying seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter was ambushed by enemy forces as it traveled west of Mahmudiyah, Iraq, during a search for roadside bombs, U.S. officials reported. The attack site is located about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Positive identification has been made of three U.S. soldiers killed in the attack, Caldwell said, and of the Iraqi interpreter. Identification of the fourth U.S. soldier killed in the ambush is pending, he said.

However, “we still have three missing American soldiers,” Caldwell said, noting their current duty status is classified as “whereabouts unknown.”

Dead Taliban leader was training US recruits. Counterterrorism Blog: 'On May 10, 2007, the Nine Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation was able to secure access to an exclusive interview with Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah--only 24 hours before Dadullah was killed by Afghan and NATO military forces. During what would become his final interview, Dadullah stated that American and British Al-Qaida recruits are in the midst of planning and training for new terrorist strikes in their home countries: "We will be executing attacks in Britain and the U.S. to demonstrate our sincerity," he explained in Pashto, "to destroy their cities as they have destroyed our cities." A senior U.S. official told the Blotter on ABCNews.com that recent intelligence reports confirmed Dadullah's claim that U.S. citizens were being trained in Taliban and al Qaeda camps. "The number is small, not large, but even once is dangerous," the official said.'

More terrorists busted in Iraq. MNF-Iraq:
Soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, detained a suspected insurgent wanted in connection with a recent rocket attack on a Coalition forces' base near Baghdad Monday. After receiving small-arms fire, troops moved to the suspect’s house and quickly secured the area. The suspect had an AK-47 assault rifle, two ammunition magazines and a cell phone.

In the Iraqi capital Monday, Coalition forces detained a man suspected of conspiring directly with al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders. Inside the targeted building troops found a cache containing weapons and explosives, including bomb-making chemicals. An explosives disposal team safely destroyed the materials off-site.

Coalition forces detained four suspected terrorists in Ramadi Monday for having alleged ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders. This raid was part of ongoing operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq's command structure, officials said. ...

Defeating CAIR. Via Israpundit, Muslim convert Stephen Schwartz at Family Security Matters has an excellent piece on the role of anti-terrorist Muslims: 'In my view, CAIR is best understood by comparison with its predecessor in the history of totalitarian penetration of this country: the Soviet-controlled Communist party. I believe that like the Stalinists of the 1930s and 1940s, CAIR represents an alien ideology without roots in our society. But also like the Communists, I see in CAIR an organization adept at confusing and otherwise dealing with most of its opponents.' In my view, this is an extremely important article, not only because of the message for Muslims, but also because of the implicit message for today's liberals - which I'll discuss below in the Commentary section.

The Joooooz. The Spirit of Man: 'When I got into a fruitless political debate with a leftist German individual regarding the war on terrorism, radical Islam, Israeli-Palestinian conflict and president Bush's policies in Iraq, I was shocked to hear this question at the end of the argument: Are you Jewish? Well, if being against the assholes and idiots of this world means to be a Jew, then I am very well proud to be one.' And he probably has too much influence in US policy.

Fouad Ajami on the Middle East. Fouad Ajami at US News:
This region has been stubborn in its refusal to accept the stark verdicts of history. The State of Israel is a year away from its 60th anniversary, and still the Arab imagination denies Israel's legitimacy. Iraq is different, but a state that gives pride of place to the Shiites (and the Kurds) is still an oddity in the Arab landscape. For well over a millennium, the Shiite Arabs have not governed; they have been the stepchildren of the Arab world. But in their long years of defeat and subservience, the Shiites remained righteous in their claim to the Prophet Muhammad's mantle, in their stubborn hope that the day would come when the order of things would be righted.

True to those Shiite hopes, American power, in a moment of perfect innocence, struck into Baghdad and upended an entrenched order of power, granted the dispossessed a chance at a new history, delivered them a big country loaded with oil and possibilities.

The Sunni Arab rulers, and the angry men and women on the airwaves and in the "chat rooms" of the Arab world, insist that their animus toward this new Iraq derives from their opposition to the American presence. ...

To find out what this means for Iraq, read the whole article at the link.

Khaled Abu Toameh on Jerusalem. Via IRIS, Khaled Abu Toameh writes: 'The security fence has virtually cut off the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem from the West Bank, making the Arab residents fully dependent on Israel's economy. Dozens of merchants who owned businesses in Ramallah and Bethlehem have moved back to the city in the past few years. "People see the anarchy and instability in the Palestinian Authority areas and prefer to leave to a safer place," explained Ibrahim Barakat, a businessman from Beit Hanina, a large Arab neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. "Also, people are afraid of losing their status as permanent residents of Israel and that's why they are moving back into Jerusalem. After all, life inside Israel is much better than the West Bank." But perhaps the most significant change that took place over the past few years has been Israel's success in eliminating the presence of a Palestinian political address in east Jerusalem. ...' Go read it all.

Commentary. Today's Belmont Club has an excellent analysis of the paradoxical relationship between islamism, liberalism, and conservatism:
As a concept it was devilishly clever. Perhaps because freedom was achieved through choice it became possible for sophists to substitute the notion of indeterminacy for liberty. Freedom was redefined as a process of never arriving anywhere. History became a endless Road trip. So the argument went, one with a kind of mystical appeal. The swindle was to make all journeys on all roads one and the same. ...

The most disturbing consequence of accepting the analysis that multiculturalism is abetting the advance of a hostile non-Western culture is that it makes one hope, almost perversely, for the whole ludicrous enterprise to come a-cropper. A kind of wishing for the worst in order to better the situation. Conservatism acquires a mirror image of the bizarre relationship between multiculturalism and Islamism, only flipped. Conservatism is Islamism's main foe at the same that it is Islamism's greatest beneficiary. An almost absurd tableau has been set up where the more the Left pushes multiculturalism, the greater the benefit to radical Islam, while simultaneously the more the Left benefits radical Islam, the greater the benefit to conservatism.

Now back to Stephen Schwartz:
* The Communists sought to identify all progressive, labor, and social movements with themselves. They even seized upon the once-honorable term “progressive” as their own. Authentic progressive reform – originally identified with the Republican party – as well as labor unions and social protest, did not threaten the foundations of the U.S. Rather, they strengthened the integrity of our democracy and the sovereignty of our people.
* Similarly, CAIR appears to seek subordination of the whole of Sunni Islam in the U.S. to its control. The organization’s outsized ambitions are reflected in its very name – as if it has authority for all relations between the U.S. as a society and the entirety of Islam. Moderate Islam, organized and functioning as a normal religion not very different from Catholicism and Judaism, represents no menace to America. ...

Schwartz goes on to say:
If the agenda of the Stalinists and Wahhabis in America seems identical, so has the camouflage. For decades the American Communists claimed to be the only consistent defenders of civil rights for Blacks and other minorities. However, when support for African Americans conflicted with Soviet orders, the Communists denounced civil rights advocates – as late as the 1960s they tried to turn Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. against the long-serving but anti-Communist Black leaders and intellectuals, A Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and James Baldwin. Today, I believe, CAIR poses as a civil-liberties agency when its real task is to exclude and suppress moderate Sunni and other non-Wahhabi Muslims, keeping them out of mosques, academia, and other public institutions.

So, how can we win?
American Communism was defeated when outstanding liberals, progressives, labor organizers, sincere pacifists, and legitimate social protest leaders turned against it. CAIR will be defeated as outstanding Muslim representatives, including imams, teachers, and community activists repudiate it.

Schwartz's message is directed at moderate (or reformist) Muslims and their non-Muslim allies. But as I said above, it should also be read and heeded by today's "liberals, progressives ... and legitimate social protest leaders". The involvement of a new generation of Western liberals on the side of true liberty could be the next important phase for the counter-jihad.