The Good Ole' Arab News

Ah, the Arab News...always good for a chuckle. From time to time I post the more err peculiar items in the daylog. Enjoy!

On Oct. 15, a huge bomb practically vaporized a car in a U.S. diplomatic convoy, escorted by a Palestinian Authority police car. The convoy crossed into the Gaza Strip at the Erez Crossing, on their way to interview Gaza's best and brightest, Palestinian academics who had applied for prestigious Fulbright scholarships to study or teach in the United States.

No soldiers or government officials were in the targeted car. Only private US citizens were murdered: "John Branchizio, 36, Mark T. Parson, 31, and John Martin Linde Jr., 30. Their home towns were not released, but all were employees of DynCorp, a Reston, Virginia-based government contractor that provides security services to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv."1

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ostensibly condemned the bombing, but the Arab News (remember, its the official, government approved and sponsored English language daily of the Saudi Arabia) apparently had a more...nuanced view. They ran an editorial cartoon in the Oct 16. issue that portrayed an Orthodox Jew ostensibly mourning the body of a slain American, while holding a dagger dripping with blood behind his back! The American body has a prominent stab wound. You can see the cartoon at

The not-so-implicit sub-text is, the #!*@% Jew$ made us do it.

I guess we're supposed to see this Erez Crossing bombing as a response to the recent Israeli bombing of an alleged terrorist training camp in Syria. Good one, Arab News! I've always suspected those Fulbright scholarships were a breeding ground for terror...

Meanwhile, the Oct. 17 Arab News reports2 from Putrajaya, Malaysia on Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's opening remarks to the 2003 Islamic Summit Conference (which is also known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference or OIC). The Prime Minister's remarks, faithfully reported without commentary or disclaimer by the Arab News, includes these gems:

  • “The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
  • “We are up against a people who think. They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking.”
  • “For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think, then we could have devised a plan, a strategy to win us final victory.”
  • “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews”, but {he} suggested using political and economic tactics instead of violence.
The Western press generally describe the Malaysian regime as moderate. My theory is, this is because (take your choice) a) he acknowledges that the holocaust happened; b) he compliments the Jews on how darn clever Hitler made them. Many Muslims who compliment Jews suffer persecution from militants; c) the remark about 1.3 billion Muslims is perhaps a tribute to Gandhi's observation (I paraphrase) that a hundred thousand British simply can't rule a nation of a billion.

I was intrigued that, according to the Arab News, the Prime Minister was calling for non-violent tactics, but considering the source of the report, I had certain doubts. Thanks to the sleuths at the Wall Street Journal's Best Of The Web Today (, I found the unabridged remarks from the Conference3, and learned of another facet of the Prime Minster's commitment to non-violence (emphasis added):

The early Muslims produced great mathematicians and scientists, scholars, physicians and astronomers etc. and they excelled in all the fields of knowledge of their times, besides studying and practicing their own religion of Islam. As a result the Muslims were able to develop and extract wealth from their lands and through their world trade, able to strengthen their defences, protect their people and give them the Islamic way of life, Addin, as prescribed by Islam. At the time the Europeans of the Middle Ages were still superstitious and backward, the enlightened Muslims had already built a great Muslim civilisation, respected and powerful, more than able to compete with the rest of the world and able to protect the ummah from foreign aggression. The Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars in order to access their own scholastic heritage.


We are enjoined by our religion to prepare for the defence of the ummah. Unfortunately we stress not defence but the weapons of the time of the Prophet. Those weapons and horses cannot help to defend us any more. We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defence. But because we discouraged the learning of science and mathematics etc as giving no merit for the akhirat, today we have no capacity to produce our own weapons for our defence. We have to buy our weapons from our detractors and enemies.
In other words, non-violence is appropriate in order to rebuild Islamic economic and educational that Islamic leaders can design modern weapons and build modern armies that will win. Further perusal of the speech finds several condemnations of violence, but the emphasis is on ending internal violence between Islamic factions and regimes. Nowhere is there a clear statement calling for an end to violence against the ememy.

Arab News, you never let me down.

World War IV Ramblings

A final thought: Its worth remarking how a number of seemingly disparate events have occured in a relativly small window of time, a couple of months:
  • The renewed4 targeting of Americans in Palestine;
  • The Ramadan offensive in Iraq, a hopefully failed attempt to replicate the Tet offensive which the UN/US forces won mililtarily -- their casualties were only a tenth of their opponents, and the NVA had to carry on the war without the VC which after Tet was no longer an effective fighting force -- but lost in the court of public opinion;
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister's speech;
  • The Arab news cartoon and related articles in the Islamist "press";
Does anyone still believe that the only threat is al-Qaeda, a supposedly independant terrorist network that has nothing to do with Iraq? Of course, no-one outside the conspiracy community has enough information at this point to prove definatively if these events are all orchestrated by a formal, if secret, political alliance. More likely, its a case of various Islamist organizations ideologically allied in a common cause. A rough analogy comes to mind: In WW II, we didn't know if Hitler had formally signed off on the Pearl Harbor attack or the rest of the Japanese war plan; we can be almost certain that Mussolini didn't sign off, indeed, I wonder if he even knew about it ahead of time. And yet the first major invasion in which the US participated significantly was not Japan, or occupied was Italy. Perhaps this best illustrates how the current Iraq war fits into the larger war against the Islamists, with 9-11 being roughly analagous to Pearl Harbor. At the very least, we'd be naive if we didn't treat these diverse Islamist organizations as effectively (albeit not formally as was the case with the WW II Axis powers) in a military and political alliance.


1. "Bomb Kills 3 Americans In Gaza Strip" by Molly Moore and John Ward Anderson, Washington Post Foreign Service Thursday, October 16, 2003; Page A01. Accessed Oct 16, 2002, 10pm EDT.

2. "Mahathir Urges Muslim Unity" by Omar Salahuddin, Special to the Arab News, Friday, October 17, 2003. Accessed Oct 16, 2002, 10pm EDT.

3. "Dr Mahathir opens 10th OIC Summit", The Star News Staff, Thursday October 16, 2003. Accessed Oct 16, 2002, 11pm EDT.

4. ...but not unprecedented. Eric Rozenman of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) writes, "Although the October 15 murders, apparently committed by Palestinian Arab terrorists, were the first targeted attack of U.S. officials in Israel or the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past three years, they were not the first such crimes, nor did they demonstrate a shift in Palestinian Arab attitudes", and cites a series of incidents dating as far back as 1973. The Palestinian Media Watch, and The Washington Institute for Near East Policy have also documented this.