The Middle East peace killers

After President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo calling for reconcilation between US and the Muslim world, Muslims have hailed its tone but wants action. Israel’s response is a continuation of settlement construction. As much as Israel tries to taiji away the eyes of the world on the Palestinian issue to Iran’s nukes, President Obama is having none of it. In fact, President Obama’s speech has redrawn the battle lines.  The focus is suddenly not so much a Islam vs Jew or Palestinian vs Israel issue but it is now a centrist/moderate vs extremism/hardliners issue. Here in the NY Times aricle titled “The Divisions within Israel and the Palestinians“, the author Ethan Bronner says

No matter how seriously and intelligently Mr. Obama presses Israel and the Palestinians to make peace with each other, little is likely to be accomplished until something else is addressed: the fierce and explosive divisions within each society between those who favor a deal and those who oppose one.

Sounds like President Obama’s Cairo speech may end up to be just that, a speech. Ethan Bronner is spot on on the main difficulties to achieve peace. Both sides have hardline, extremist elements within their societies. And these are the ones who will attempt to disrupt any peace agreement that is unpalatable to them. The Israelis and the Palestinians have signed an agreement at Oslo in 1993 before, but it broke down. On why, Shimon Peres, Israel’s president said

the challenge of making the accord work was heightened by the fact that only half of one nation had decided to seek peace with half of the other, which made disruption easy.

So what’s President Obama’s game plan ? He has promised action but the Palestinian side is now divided into 2 irreconcilable groups, Fatah & Hamas. A divided Palestinian side have no legitimacy of negotiating any peace accord. On the Israeli side, they are skeptical about living in peace side by side with Palestinians which may eventually turn out to be a rogue state at their doorstep. And to remove the settlers from the disputed lands is a political bomb. After the lifting emotions brought by the speech, it sounds like President Obama is naively signing on to something which is almost impossible to achieve and potentially explosive. So why in the world is President Obama so committed to and so confident about Mid-East peace ? Let’s take a look at what the alternative is if the status quo is maintained.

  1. For the Israelis, it means having to live with the periodic invasions into Palestinian territories to weed out terrorists. Sure you can send in the tanks and set up road blocks and keep the Palestinians impoverished, but every time you do that, you just take away karma points in the global eyes of every succeeding generation. And you cannot always guarantee a president Bush to keep your ass covered all the time.
  2. Israel risks alienating the US and they cannot afford to do so. America is the patron saint, the godfather of Israel. Without US “unbreakable” support and surrounded by hostile Arab enemies, their lives will get miserable because they only have limited influence on the region and the world. It’s also not lost on Israelis that President Obama’s renewed friendship with other Arab states will also sideline Israel in the region.
  3. The accord of settlement freeze is already agreed upon by the Israelis themselves, so it is difficult to defend on a moral standpoint. Israel also potentially stand to win recognition of their Jewish state by the Arabs if they compromise, finally living in peaceful coexistence with a bonanza of economic gains that will follow.
  4. The Palestinians are actually more of a peace killer than the Israelis. Though politically explosive, Israel can still weather the settler issue. But Fatah and Hamas have been at each other’s throats and hopes of them coming together is almost an impossibility. If there is a major stumbling block to peace, it will be because of pure stupidity on the part of the Palestinians. The Palestinians need to stop the whining and decry the violence, start governing and provide basic services for the people before any negotiations can begin with Israelis. Barring which, Israel will use the excuse it does not feel safe bargaining with half of Palestine again.
  5. The Palestinians are going to be forgotten and relegated to the sands of history if they don’t get their act together. After President Obama, there is very little chance another US president will be as patient and sympathetic to their cause. In future, nobody will care, not even Arab countries and those who care are the extremists and terrorists. If they don’t realize this, they will be annihilated or just go extinct 20-30 years from now. Israel is prepared to endure terrorism & just wait out for the ultimate demise of Palestinians. It is absolutely vital that the Palestinians stand with this US president in ths critical  time of history to ensure their hopes for statehood. They have a lot to do to win credibility.
  6. For the rest of the Arab world, extreme groups will not want to see peace for the Palestinians. Also if Iran turns conservative and acquires nuclear weapons, other Arab states and Israel will not sit idly by adding to the complexity of the situation. Here, the popularity of President Obama will be put to the test, whether he can help influence moderate, centrist groups in Middle-East to take charge. They also want to see US disengage militarily and they will probably help if only to quickly get rid of the US. If Arabs become more moderate, the pressure will also be more intense for Palestine and Israel to sue for peace. The darker alternative is a total collapse of order in the Mid-East to extremist groups with the world containing conflicts within it by military means which is a lose-lose for everyone.
  7. America will not be trusted as an impartial honest broker and will have to continue living with the scourge of Islamist terrorism who will continue to use the Palestinian failures as a rallying cry. It will become a cancer that will keep relapsing every now and then, with every incident threatening a real “clash of civilizations” with apocalyptic consequences.

There are other more complex scenarios for how this game will be played out. But President Obama is the only US president in recent memory who can see through the thick fog to a much better alternative for all parties. For Israelis and Palestinians, the time now is for their extreme groups to assess the threshold of pain they can endure. If the Palestinians think they can bear with the situation now and suicide bomb their way to statehood, then there’ll be no peace. If the Israelis think they can get away with ethnic extinction of Palestinians and sit out President Obama’s term, then there’ll be no peace. If the Arabs are not supportive and they still think in terms of winner-take-all mentality, then there’ll be no peace. It will be a combination of carrots and sticks that will convince the parties to act. Nevertheless contrary to Ethan Bronner, I would say these are actually better than normal odds for a real positive change in the Middle East under President Obama.


The Brave Great Communicator

President Barack Obama has just delivered what must be one of the most unique, idealistic, candid and sober speeches that I’ve ever experienced coming from any American president in my life. For some Americans, it will seem like he’s apologizing to the world for what they deem as their unique and sacred American values. For some Muslims, it will be dismissed as just feel-good hogwash that tries to hide the true intentions of the evil empire. For the skeptics, the speech lacked specifics, action items and policy changes. For the terrorists, this speech is a warning shot that threatens their very existence. But 1 thing is clear, this speech will not only be scrutinized and analyzed by the political parties and media outlets of America, but it will also be judged by the Islamic world and the world at large.

To simply see what the speech as apologies or lack of concrete actions specified in it is shallow at best. Here’s my take on what he said in Cairo. For any conciliation to happen, understanding must happen. For far too long, the Islamic world and the west have harbored negative views on each other. The environment is simply too poisoned. The west have always thought of the Islamic world as full of despotic, repressive, corrupt governments who eschew human rights. The Islamic world, as far as the Middle-East is concerned sees the west as patronizing and guilty of the problems today by carving up the Middle-East to suit their self-centered strategic objectives. President Obama’s speech is an effort to bridge this gulf. In it, he tries to present the positive face of Islam to Americans. That Islam is a religion for peace and it should not be equated to despotic and corrupt governments, human rights violations and violent extremism. President Obama starts off by a narrative on the contributions Islam has to the modern world. It was a history lesson for Americans as well as a display of respect for this religion of 1 billion.

And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as…

Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.

If the whole speech is taken into context, it is an appeal to cooler, more moderate minds. People who holds extreme views will not be able to swallow this speech. The speech is targeted to annoy the terrorists, religious fundamentalists and extreme right-wing conservatives not just in the Arab Muslim world but also in domestic America. Just as Bush coined the “War on Terror” and proclaimed “either you are with us or with them”, here Obama is also laying down the same gauntlet. But now, the boundaries are not borders, religions or race but instead it is drawn between centrists and extremism. The speech is designed to unite moderate forces from all sides and parties and seek to isolate the ultra extremists, to give moderate progressive voices a boost. It contains a warning that these extremists will always seek to derail and hijack the agenda and a rallying call for the young, who have less emotional baggage, to remake this world. It made intolerance the main enemy.

Some are eager to stoke the flames of division and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort, that we are fated to disagree and civilizations are doomed to clash.

Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith in every country. You more than anyone have the ability to reimagine the world, the remake this world.

Then there’s the idealism. The inevitable idealism in Obama’s speeches that makes him such a compelling speaker. It is the source of the magical and powerful allure of Obama’s message to people yearning for a better more perfect world.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

For those religious evangelists, I think ironically this speech will generate more interest in religion than any other. His religious references and quotes so eloquently spoken, will arouse curiosity and interest in the young to explore religion.

The Holy Koran tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

The speech will be picked apart and criticized, that is to be expected. But the main thrust of the speech is really for setting the stage for President Obama to begin small steps to bridge the divide. Only by first bridging the divide, then other bigger things can be done. President Obama has shown courage and candour saying the things that he did in Cairo but it is to be expected as he is not a president who believes in the status quo. There will be the usual skeptics but I think for the first time, I feel that the elusive and complex Middle-East peace have a better chance of resolution after today. I strongly encourage you to read the transcripts or watch his speech here.

This is how the War on Terror should be conducted

Learn something, dear conservatives and Republicans. The real War on Terror will not be won by firepower. President Obama’s trip to the Saudi Arabia and the Middle-East has provoked the 2 top Al-Qaeda leaders to blunt the President’s offensive. Now I’m sure the GOP and its spokesman Ayatollah Cheney would be busy lambasting the President right now, saying that his trip is just denigrating the US by “apologizing” and appearing weak to Muslims. If this is the impression that Al-Qaeda has, that the US is weak, then it certainly does not show. In fact, from what the 2 terrorists are saying, they sound afraid that President Obama may undercut their demonizing of the US. The main tools of al-Qaeda have always been making use of the hatred and anger of Muslims and channeling them to violence against the west. It is pretty clear that President Obama’s “apologetic” trip has become an offensive which puts Al-Qaeda on the defensive.

This is the way to fight the War on Terror or any war. The battleground is not in the valleys of Pakistan’s Swat valley or Iraq or any place. It is everywhere. It exists as misguided and warped emotional and mental processes in everyone’s minds all over the world. The hijackers of 9/11 does not come from the Taliban, most are Saudis with a resonably high education. In this war, these people can spring up anywhere in the world. Some angry student in an Indonesian University or a poor, hungry and disgruntled citizen from China Xinjiang are just as likely be persuaded to inflict pain and panic on the world. In fact, the recent offensive against Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat valley by the Pakistan army would probably have driven more people over to the Taliban’s side. They don’t need many, they just need a few more and it’s already enough to destabilize countries. Al-Qaeda feeds on these people’s extreme emotions, ignorance, prejudices, fears, providing them with spiritual, emotional and physical support, that’s how they recruit. By gradually blunting Al-Qaeda’s justifications, it has become a mortal threat to Al-Qaeda’s very existence. Bin Laden and Zawahiri understands this very clearly. They have to respond to Obama’s current offensive.

President Obama have to correct the image that the US is at war with Islam. The problem is Americans themselves also harbor this wrong impression. But just as President Obama is changing the Islamic world’s perception of the US, it is also equally if not more important for him to alter American’s perception of the Islamic world. Otherwise, not much will change. The image of the War on Terror must be recast as one against fear, prejudice, bigotry, tyranny and intolerance, not against any peoples. It will be a very difficult task as this enemy is not flesh and blood. It is a war of hearts and minds. The enemies are within ourselves, within all our societies, within our countries. This is the real War on Terror and President Obama has now finally fired the first shot at the heart of the terrorists.

Pro-life, Catholics, Satan, Terrorists and the War on Intolerance

It is pretty disgusting reading an article like this. Another monger of fear and intolerance among us, another hypocritical wolf posing as a messenger of god, cloaked in shepherd’s clothing. What bloody difference is a man like this from those murderers who killed in 9/11 ? Pretty much none. They are all terrorists who are not averse to using violence as a means to push their agenda. Randall Terry said,

abortion opponents “have to be confrontational” and “have to use highly-charged rhetoric” to advance their movement.

Brings to my mind the mullahs recruiting confused and weak-willed suicide bombers and brainwashing them to commit mass murder. I’m sure the killer of George R Tiller must have sat in countless such “highly-charged rhetoric” sessions in church or religious gathering and then, one day, the justifications piled up enough to push him to act. Right now, he must be feeling like he’s a good servant of god and had earned his place in heaven. Contrast this with what those Islamist terrorists are being brainwashed on, that they will be rewarded for their destructive deeds with heaven and 40 virgins. This Randall Terry and his kind have to bear responsibility for these murders much like the mullahs of the Middle East for the suicide bombings.

So what do Catholic fundamentalists, pro-lifers, Islamist terrorists, evil and satan have in common. They are one and the same. The Catholic leadership, all the way up to the Pope, bears a heavy responsibility for these murderous acts committed under the banner of religion. Because they insist on the absolute that abortion is a sin and there are no gray areas, they have in fact unwittingly laid the groundwork for such confrontations to occur. The Pope of all people should tone down the abortion rhetoric and condemn anyone who says that killing another is justified when it’s in the name of Jesus or the church. Religion, in fact, have become the main reason of conflict in today’s world. By leaving no ambiguity and painting everything in good and evil terms, some of their extremist followers have become potential ticking time bombs. Religion is one of the main tools in the arsenal of the terrorist today.

All around us, people like Randall Terry exists. They represent the real evil, cloaked as leaders of our societies, exploiting people’s divisions, fears and prejudices to spread their ideas of intolerance and bigotry everywhere and sowing the seeds of destruction. The enemies of today are no longer Russians or Chinese or even Middle-East, but within each and every society, these people and their misguided ideas exists, hoping to drive a wedge in between everyone and blind our eyes.

We have to keep up the war against intolerance and bigotry. Just like this bigot Randall Terry, we have to pronounce in no uncertain terms that the one thing we will not tolerate is intolerance itself. It is a disease that needs to be prevented and cured. The “War on Terror” has devolved into a “War on Tolerance” and should in fact be re-christened as the “War on Intolerance”.

Nuclear armed superpower in danger of falling to Talineocon rebels again

Earth (Intergalactic Press) — Talineocon forces have broken a truce with the American government and have wrested control of the strategic town of Richmond Virginia from American government forces, coming within 100 miles of the capital Washington D.C. The Supreme Evangelist for the ultra conservative Talineocon rebels, Ayatollah Dick Cheney, says that they have obliterated the defence forces in Richmond and are now in the process of implementing their strict capitalist syariah law in the city. Since the beginning of 23167 StarDate, the Talineocon forces have pushed into the Virginia district and started to impose strict syariah law which calls for intolerance, anti-abortion and strict abstinence. They have started to imprison and torture Muslims who refused to give in, waterboarded gays and forcing the local population to embrace Christianity as the sole religion. Their Wall Street financial clerics have also started to amass an amazing fortune to fund the Talineocon’s ambitions by duping the local population to buy into their derivatives under the guise of free market capitalism and free choice.

According to President Obama of America, the Talineocon forces have resorted to extreme measures of electrocuting captured American forces on their balls to extract the critical intelligence needed to circumvent the supposedly impregnable fortress of Richmond, “in complete violation of the Geneva conventions on human rights”, he said. “These folks have no morals and will resort to anything to further their ideology of world domination and imposing their intolerant agenda on everyone.” But the real concern is a superpower armed to the teeth capable of destroying 10 Earths is now in danger of falling into the hands of the Talineocon. “America must definitely not be allowed to fall into the hands of these extremists, the consequences are just too disastrous.”, Obama said. This view is also echoed by the Grand Vizier of the Star Federation, Spohkh. He has already sent an emissary to America to obtain assurances about the safety of the nuclear weapons. President Obama has reassured the Grand Vizier that the weapons are safe and he will also take whatever steps necessary to reduce them so the threat they present will be diminished over time.

According to American Supreme Commander General Petraeus, American forces will start to push back on the advance by the Talineocons and the offensive could start as early as next week. The Obama administration has been sending humanitarian aid and resources into the Virginia area to help the people cope with the upheaval. They are also busy overturning the disastrous policies of the previous Talineocon president George Bush. The wreckage left by Bush can be seen in the major cities throughout the country, with people losing their jobs and their money to Wall Street, and the numbers of the poor rising everyday. Infrastructure is being neglected as there is not enough money to fix them and America is chalking up more debt due to wars and rising health care costs. The health care burden has become so huge that the system has all but broken down. Millions are being turned away in hospitals and clinics because they don’t have insurance. The situation is grim and dire. “But America’s moment is not when it is easy and expedient but when it is complex and hard.”, Obama told a press conference. “America’s moment is when it sticks to its founding father’s principles even when it is easy to turn a blind eye every now and then.”. Grand Vizier Spohkh agrees. “The Talineocons and Ayatollah Cheney must be prevented at all costs from taking control of the superpower and its nuclear weapons again. They must be stopped as they represent the same kind of hateful extremist ideology espoused by the terrorists, the only difference being they are wearing suits this time and not turbans.”

Again, Pelosi shows the GOP neocons are grasping at straws

It’s amazing how childish, petty and dirty politics can be sometimes. The recent Nancy Pelosi fiasco about her lying about being informed about waterboarding techniques by the CIA is just another example in a long list of them. Granted, Nancy Pelosi is a politician herself and so is Obama and their livelihood depends on being relevant to the people who puts them in power. They are no saints and they have their shortcomings. But everything is relative and isn’t whether the issue of Pelosi being informed or not a less important issue compared with the fact that the Bush administration authorized the use torture on detainees ? Of course, the GOP is trying to save what’s left of their credibility after this damning fact. The GOP is simply using Pelosi to taiji away the issue and to distract everyone from their real misdeeds. But what strikes me is their lame attempt at it that they are nearly screaming to us their intention to gloss over the torture issue by amplifying the Pelosi lie. Do they assume that we are all like stupid idiots who will just get swayed by their taiji tactics ? Do they naively assume that just because Nancy Pelosi lies we will just conveniently forget the blatant fact that they are the ones who have branded America as a country who tortures ? Not so fast, GOP necons and your media cronies. Fundamental moral principles will catch up to you one day…

Ayatollah Cheney and the decline of the GOP

The ayatollah has spoken again.

Dick Cheney made clear Sunday he’d rather follow firebrand broadcaster Rush Limbaugh than former Joint Chiefs chairman Colin Powell into political battle over the future of the Republican Party.

It really shows the depths of idiocy, emptiness and bloody cro-magnon instincts in minds of the GOP. Limbaugh is an entertainer who will care less about the welfare of the country and the people than his own carefully cultivated niche that mostly appeals to the disaffected cro-magnon, redneck segments of the population. He rabble rouses for a living for crying out loud. Colin Powell is probably one of the last few remaining intelligent, honest and patriotic members of their party. For the ayatollah to endorse Limbaugh instead of Colin Powell is really beyond my understanding. Why in the world would the ayatollahs of the GOP want to embrace a charlatan entertainer as the flag bearer of their own party ? Are they so desperately out of ideas that they have no choice but to cling to the last remaining shreds of conservative support that they have  ? It seems to be the case to me. It seems they are waiting for the chance to come back again probably through another catastrophic event. It looks to me that they are actively wishing and maybe, god forbid, plotting for another 9/11 style event to happen again so they can snub Obama with a “See, you are so weak and you are so wrong”. It would seem that they are prepared to sacrifice the welfare and the blood of Americans to forward their own misguided utopian political philosophy that is more designed to divide the world than bring it together. The GOP today is so full of hypocritical patriots it really has become an insult to the memory of the party Reagan has built. It really has become a danger to American democracy to have such a weak alternative party and potentially dangerous fifth column of the country.