Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why Iran Wants a Nuclear Weapon

Today in the markets, a great deal of fear and uncertainty is rampant, largely due to Israeli statements to the effect of "We will attack Iran" (meaning bomb their fuel site at Natanz). These came from former Israeli intelligence officials, and not fringe hawks. The fear Israel has is that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon, and then carry out the threats issued by Ahmedinejad.

But why does Iran want a nuclear weapon? Is it to carry out the threats issued by the Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, or is it a strategic issue? There are competing interests in Iranian religious (ideological) and political arenas, but both seem to desire the acquisition of nuclear weapons. It seems to me that at the ideological level Iran is a fanatical regime seeking the destruction of a hated minority in the Middle East (the Jews). But at a political level Iran seeks nuclear weapons for security reasons.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Iranians looked long and hard at US statements and actions. The US declared that there was an "axis of evil" and that these states cannot be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. The problem is, one did, North Korea. Iraq did not. Iraq was attacked and North Korea was not, and the only difference was that there was a demonstrated nuclear weapons program in North Korea. (This is not the only difference but for the point of this piece it may well be). The Iranians noted that a nuclear weapon can be a deterrent to US military action. Now Iran sees this weapon as a "must have" to deter action by both Israel and the US. The Iranian Shahab 3 missile can reach all of Israel, and if equipped with a nuclear warhead would functionally change the balance of power in the Middle East.

Once Iran has a nuclear weapon that could deter a full scale US assault (Iran has said it will treat a US or an Israeli attack as precisely the same thing), it can then proceed to squeeze the United States in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran strategically controls this strait, and could harass shipping lanes with artillery fire, missiles, rockets, along with the IRGC naval boats. For the Iranians they can bring physical harm to Israel with a nuclear weapon, and economic harm to the rest of the world by essentially closing the Strait of Hormuz. If this took place there would be a classic naval battle that would easily escalate into something much more, once US air power struck Iranian land assets.

The US is in a very difficult situation. It can allow Israel to pre-emptively defend itself (which seems to me a right, since waiting could mean the total annihilation of Israel), this will be treated as an aggression by both the US and Israel, and the response will not discriminate. Also if the Iranians acquire a nuclear weapon and subsequently close the Strait of Hormuz, the US will view this as a restriction of international shipping and a causus belli. The situation is made more serious by Israel's absolute determination to remain in existence, and by the eschatological rhetoric of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. At the UN Ahmedinejad made a speech to the General Assembly, after which he made an untranslated supplication for the coming of the Mahdi (the return of the 12th Imam from occultation, which will herald a coming of Islamic dominance and the end of the world).

Keeping these things in mind, we may well see a deadly confrontation in the Middle East by January of 2009 (Israel has made noises that it will not wait for the new administration to take office). If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, there will be a three way confrontation between nuclear powers at the center of world oil production and religious conflict. Iran will launch a multi-faceted response incorporating Hezbollah and Shi'a (secret) assets around the globe, which gives the situation the potential to spread rapidly.

There may be no good solution.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Evolved Threat of Islam

People think that combating terrorism, or Islamism is about fighting the benighted Oriental. This couldn't be further from the truth. The threat from Islamic radicalism and Islamic violence is quite adaptive. They adapt to their cultures (if they are migrants) and they adapt to western strategies to combat them. Several recent articles have articulated this quite well:

1) How (Not) To Spot a Terrorist, Foreign Policy.
2) Stumbling Towards Eurabia, The Journal of International Security Studies.

Something important to understand is that the people who articulate Jihad are not robed bandits in the mountains of Afhanistan. Many are well read, affluent, intelligent, and live in the west. The man most influential in articulating the new Jihad is Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Setmariam Nasr (known by his pen names Abu Musab al-Suri and Umar abd al-Hakim).

Al-Suri was born in 1958 in Syria and was a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood there. He actively participated in the planning and training of the MB in Syria. He founded a militant off shoot of the MB called "The Fighting Vanguard" (al-Tala'iah al-Muqatilah) When the Assad regime finally crushed an MB inspired uprising in Hamma, killing 10,000-30,000 there. This destroyed the Syrian MB (then based in Baghdad) but galvanized al-Suri's will and determination.

He is a veteran of the Afghan Jihad where he honed his military skills (1987-1992). In 1988 he gained Spanish citizenship when he married Elena Moreno (reportedly out of genuine love and passion).

His most prominent and copious work is Da'wat al-muqawamah al-islamiyya al-'alamiyyah ('The Call for an International Islamic Resistance'). This has been a widely read and extremely popular work. He has written another work which indicates his willingness to learn from past experience, al-thawra al-islamiyyah al-jihadiyya fi suria - alam wa amal (The Syrian Islamic Jihadist Revolt, Pains and Hopes). This is a summary of his experience of the uprising with a view to taking lessons from the experience.

Al-Suri's new ideology is far more rational than other radicals, in his recent works he has advocated a break from the ideology of direct confrontation and the establishment of a Nizam, la tanzim (A system, not an organization). This was developed in the face of western intelligence organizations becoming more competent at infiltrating terror cells. In such a formulation the days of linked and organized jihad is over. It would consist of a series of unconnected, loosely organized, ultra radical, ultra violent terror cells. We have seen the establishment of such a cell in the Harbi format in France, when approached by law enforcement the group detonated a bomb in their apartment killing themselves to avoid capture.

Combine this loose organization with the Harbi doctrine of finding what is prohibited (drinking, sex, pork, etc...) now permissible in order to blend in to the local society. This renders these groups much more impregnable with regards to intelligence and counter-terrorism.

Take this and add in the fact that 50% of German Muslims believe that those killed fighting non-believers go to paradise, and 25% that say they would participate in armed struggle against non-believers, and you have yourself quite a problem. Being that 44% of German Muslims are fundamentalist (See Bassam Tibi's work on the matter), at the very least these people will be very reticent to turn over fellow Muslims who are engaged in the activities that al-Suri has outlined. Now we have a group adapting to blend in and carry out far deadlier attacks, combined with a highly radicalized local population. This is a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Being a Liberal Used to Mean Something

Confessions of a former liberal:

As a former "liberal" I have a few statements to make. The very reason I was a liberal is because I felt it stood for something. I thought it stood for equality, for principles, for liberty, for standing up to lies and tyranny. Now I realize it has slowly become a bull shit whiners club. So much self flagellating and so little genuine critical thought.

Democrats ran the administration that defeated Nazism and the Japanese Empire, simultaneously, but what happened? These people were for the working class, they were liberal, and they wanted to make sure others had the same rights that they so valued. As I read the works of our founding fathers (United States) I see a group of people who view liberty as of paramount importance. The germinal works of the intellectual foundation of the United States clearly evidence a view that I can fully support.

We see liberals like Noam Chomsky (see below) who take every opportunity to distort reality and history to score points against the US. We see liberals who blame the United States for 9-11, saying we brought it on ourselves. They defend the Islamists, saying attacks on this pestilent ideology is Islamophobia. The biggest bit of nonsense ever. Islam is an ideology freely adopted by its adherents, not a race. Would these same whiny liberals object to the term "Naziphobia"? It is not denoting a hatred of Germans, it denotes a fear of "Nazism".

These liberals share a lot of common reasoning with the Islamists. For instance the grand mufti of Australia saying rape is the fault of the woman, is a lot like the liberals here saying 9-11 is the fault of America. This is even worse because if the analogy were reversed, it would be like the woman saying it is her own fault she was raped. And, no surprise, feminists lead the charge in this form of self flagellation.

Ironically, as it was the left in the US that fought and destroyed Nazism, it is the left in Europe that will usher fascism back into prominence. As they constantly apologize for the bigoted and violent rhetoric of Islamists living in Europe, as they continue to treat honor killings as individual events instead of part of a larger problem, they pave the way for reactionaries to rise to power. Once they allow a Muslim population to grow in numbers while simultaneously radicalising itself they allow neo-Fascists the opportunity of raising the specter of the "other", and they won't be altogether wrong.

Europeans have a history of appeasement of evil, it certainly seems the liberals in the US have adopted a similarly dangerous habit. I see the reason why so many neo-conservatives made the move they did.

Friday, May 23, 2008

As I was reading through Zad al-Ma'ad by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (student of renowned Hanbali scholar, Ibn Taymiyya) I began thinking about the Islamic concept of Jihad.

Much has been made about the distinction between Jihad al-Akbar (The Greater Jihad, a spiritual and internal struggle for good) and Jihad al-Asghar (The Lesser Jihad, the outer jihad). My thoughts centered on the latter. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya names jihad as 'dharwat ul-Sanam' (lit. pinnacle of the camel's hump) of Islam.

He says (and I translate) that "Jihad is the pinnacle of the summit of faith, and the prophet experienced it in all its states". Al-Jawziyya divides the outer jihad into several categories. Among them:

1) Jihad al-Lisan (tongue)
2) Jihad al-Qalam (pen)
3) Jihad al-Qalb (heart)
4) Jihad al-Sayf (sword)

1) Jihad of the tongue, which is professing the "truth of Islam" to the unbelievers in an attempt to convert them, this also includes speaking against "injustice".
2) Jihad of the pen, writing against injustice or in support of the faith.
3) Jihad of the heart. If there is an injustice which cannot be stopped by word or deed, knowing its evil in the heart is a jihad.
4) Jihad of the sword.

This is where I came to rest.The jihad of the sword is two fold:
1) Ibtida'iyya (offensive)
2) Dafa'iyya (defensive).

The first is used to spread Islam into the Dar al-Harb (Realm of war) and the second is to defend the Dar al-Islam (Realm of Islam). I noticed further that in Islam there are two forms of general obligation:
1) Fard Ayni (Individual obligation)
2) Fard Kifaya (communal obligation)

The Greater Jihad falls in the first category and the Lesser Jihad in the second. This is important because Jihad al-Ibtida'iyya is an OBLIGATION. It is obligatory to engage in offensive jihad against the non-believers. It is obligatory on the community, thus not everyone must take up the sword against the 'kufar' (Infidels), but there must be some who do.

In this sense, the 9/11 atrocities where the manifestation of an Islamic obligation. For any objections to the loss of innocent life, the Islamic position is that it is permissible as long as pecunniary restitution is made to the families of those lost. It is also permissible in Islamic law to use human shields in the performance of both offensive and defensive jihad. Suicide, however, is indeed forbidden.As westerners we must look carefully at this doctrine of mandatory and exclusive warfare. The world shall be reduced to:

1) Dar al-Islam, where all will be Muslim. Those that remain Christian or Jewish will be forced to pay a sizeable tax. All those not in these two groups will be given the option of conversion to Islam, or death.

2) Dar al-Harb. The non Muslim world. This world is in a perpetual state of warfare with Islam.

Occassional treaties are acceptable, only so long as it increases Muslim strength for another onslaught. It is far more reminiscent of Orwellian war, which never ceases. We should look hard at the dystopia that this form of Islam seeks to impose, and determine how best to deal with it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Darwinism and the Free Market

Recently there was a great deal of debate on RD.net, surrounding Free Market Capitalism, and Socialism. There is an issue that remains unexplored (this will also be relevant to Creationism), that there is no need of a designer, to accept this for the process of evolution, but deny it to the process of economics is not only illogical, but foolish. Keep in mind that this is a comparison of the process.

Darwinism as I understand it is the process of natural selection acting on the various species of life that undergo various forms of genetic mutation, during their competition for resources. It is the non-random selection of randomly occurring mutations (to borrow from Richard Dawkins). This process requires no designer, and it evidences no designer, due to the fact that it is largely cold and uncaring, and that it has rendered species adapted to survive, yet physically imperfect.

The Free Market, as I understand it is paraphrased as an "invisible hand" which guides the market and the allocation of capital and resources. For instance the interplay of supply and demand in say..... the stapler market. Staplers are made by companies to fit a demand, and this supply will act in a natural way in its reactions to demand. Scarcity of staplers, increases the cost due to the demand remaining constant. The actors in the market act according to the invisible pressures that are exerted upon them. No government need regulate the number of companies providing a service. For instance a monopoly may arise, but the monopoly could never charge more for its product than another company could. For instance if there was only one company making staplers, and it cost them $1.00 to make each stapler, it could charge $10 for each stapler, but in such a case, another company could come along and charge $5.00 for each stapler and steal market share away from the other company. The original company could lower prices to $3.00 per stapler and take its market share back. This could continue until the company that best "adapts" itself to survive on the lowest margin (say $2.50 per stapler) will survive, while other companies can compete with a similar price, a superior product, or other competitive advantage.

The development of competitive advantage is forced upon a market by these invisible forces. In a market designed and manipulated by a large government, such advantages cannot be developed and people will not do their best work or come up with the greatest innovations. For instance company "A" selling staplers for $2.50 while making them for $1.00 could funnel money away from dividends to shareholders to do research on a new type of cheaper stapler production. While company "B" continues with business as usual. Company "A" then announces it can produce staplers for $0.25 per stapler, and will sell them for $1.75. Company "A" has maintained its $1.50 margin on each unit it produces, while cutting cost to the consumer by $0.75, and can then take more market share from other companies. This is the "leap" in evolution of the market, it is undesigned and produces the most efficient products, the most efficient means of cost control, and the best value to consumers and the market at large.

Thus I find it interesting that Creationists are often the staunchest defenders of the free market, because the free market embodies all the principles of Darwinian natural selection and evolution. It also follows that a Socialist economy more closely resembles the false notions contained in Creationism. It is no wonder that the same sort of thinking occurs in Socialist thought and Creationist thought. The dodging of questions, the straw manning, the claims of "That's not my Christianity/Socialism", these are ubiquitous to both "theories" because they are both equally intellectually bankrupt.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Self Flagellating, the Case of Noam Chomsky

There will be a running series here on Noam Chomsky. One post to deal with each of his distortions and lies. I at one time considered myself a staunch member of the left, although I find directional terms to represent political views to be somewhat useless now. During this time, I found Chomsky to be an invaluable contributor to the discussion in America and on America. I still regard his writings as such, but I have noticed a disturbing trend, namely that he often distorts the truth, and maintains a curiously ineffective moral compass. Today we talk about Noam Chomsky and Faurisson Affair.

Robert Faurisson was a French professor of literature at the University of Lyon. He is a Holocaust denier who, in two letters to Le Monde, denied the existence of any Nazi gas chambers. He is an outright denier who has written articles for the Journal of Historical Review (Published by the Holocaust denying Institute for Historical Review). The IHR has had such "esteemed" contributors as David Irving, Ahmad Rami, and Ernst Zundel (repellent anti-Semites to the man).

After these letters were published, Faurisson was fired from his position, under the guidelines of the Gayssot Act, which prohibits Holocaust denial. A petition was circulated in support of Faurisson's right to free speech, and Noam Chomsky was a signatory. I can only concur that Faurisson had his rights violated, and that more broadly Holocaust denial laws are anti-libertarian and a waste of time. However Chomsky went beyond simply signing the document...

Chomsky wrote:

"I see no anti-Semitic implications in the denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even the denial of the holocaust."

A PDF copy of the newspaper article criticizing Chomsky can be found here.

The letter itself can be found on Chomsky's site, here:

The denial of the Holocaust is a clear instance of anti-Semitism on the part of Faurisson, and is so in general. We will leave aside Faurisson's ties to Neo-Nazis and his "friendship" with Ernst Zundel and Ahmad Rami. Denial of the Holocaust entails certain attendant consequences, unavoidable and unacceptable. Holocaust denial absolutely asserts the following:

1) The Jews fabricated a massive lie.
2) The Jews profit from this lie.
3) They have fabricated stories (matching) for every survivor.
4) This hoax involves all Jews.
5) This hoax involves almost every government.

The consequence of this? That the Jews lie to extort gentile money, and influence other governments to pay this extortion money, and enlist still other governments to support them. This is an age old anti-Semitic line "The Jews are greedy, dishonest, and run the world." Such anti-Semitism is unavoidable. So to deny the Holocaust, with such abundance of evidence, means that one must have the anti-Semitic conclusion in mind, and can't simply be "evaluating history". This can be seen when we look at Holocaust deniers themselves. To a man, liars, anti-Semites, bigots, the mentally deranged, Muslim radicals, and discredited non-scholars. Most deniers are more than one of these things. Thus if the Holocaust is a hoax, it is only the above "brave men" who have uncovered it.

We have shown Chomsky's assertions to be utter rubbish, but he is not finished soiling himself... Chomsky went further:

"Putting this central issue aside, is it true that Faurisson is an anti-Semite or a Neo-Nazi? As noted earlier, I do not know his work very well. But from what I have read -- largely as a result of the nature of the attacks on him -- I find no evidence to support either conclusion. Nor do I find credible evidence in the material that I have read concerning him, either in the public record or in private correspondence. As far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort."


So Chomsky goes further than saying Holocaust denial is not anti-Semitism, he says that a famous Holocaust denier, aligned with neo-Nazis, and counting virulent anti-Semites (Ahmad Rami) as "friends" is NOT an anti-Semite.

For the connection between Faurisson and Neo-Nazis see:


Chomsky has a broken moral compass. He is unable to discern reality in his constant need to demonize America and Israel. He often chances upon some legitimate observation, but in general he flails away in some self flagellating seizure, bending truth to fit a priori conclusions. This no doubt will serve to preface my next post (coming later this week) on Chomsky's whitewashing and downplaying of the Khmer Rouge genocide....

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Failed Ideologies

Lately I have been doing some reading, prompted by discussions with self styled "Socialists". Mostly impressionable liberals, dedicated to acting contrary to the status quo, not out of principle but out of contrarian tendencies. These people have failed in the most simple task, an analysis of Communism/Socialism.

I have been reading "The Communist Manifesto" and"1984" (George Orwell for you science folks). The one thing I noticed was how easily Communism and Socialism lend themselves to a state apparatus like the one described in “1984”.

There are several issues that come as necessary consequences of Socialism. First one must understand what Socialism means. It is a theory that strongly resembles religion, for once you note a flaw or weak point, the socialist immediately says “Nay sir, this is not MY socialism, ‘tis but a straw man.” This is all too reminiscent of “Nay sir, this “hell” you speak of is not my Catholicism, ‘tis but a straw man.” Indeed, indeed. The only fair method to judge Socialism (here I shall use this as a synonym to the degree that it corresponds to Communism) is to read its proponents and critically view its various (and often bloody) instantiations in the world, both past and present.

Socialism is somehow rooted in what might be termed an honorable notion, the equality of all and justice for the working class. It claims for itself, a promised utopia, yet delivers only a dreary dystopia, one best described through the eyes of Winston Smith. Yes this fictional “Ingsoc” (“English Socialism” Orwellian term) is seen most well embodied in North Korea, a country whose system promises all the Utopia of the Manifesto, and delivers all the destruction of “Ingsoc”.

Socialism requires control of all resources, currency, credit, material, and labor by a government. This creates quite a problem, because it effectively ends a free market. The free market works well (although not perfectly) because it naturally allocates resources and avoids a massive bureaucracy.

For instance, in a Capitalist society, such as the United States, I may travel back and forth to the coast (for recreation) as much as I please, so long as I can afford this in currency earned through my labor and my skills. These skills acquired at a price, namely a college education, both costly and long. In a socialist country, the government must allocate resources. To decide who should get what is difficult, because some obviously need more than others. Thus a massive bureaucracy must arise. How much fuel should a person get to drive, how much if he is married, if he has children, if he has a sick father in Arkansas, or Arizona, or Alaska? What is the formula? Thus such an allocation becomes either formulaic, unbending to actual needs, or at the discretion of a bureaucrat. This is only one example of the absolutely destructive nature of Socialism.

Second is the destruction of ambition, motivation and innovation. For instance, one may innovate for one of two reasons. 1) Benefit for mankind. 2) Personal profit. Capitalism allows for both forms of motivation, socialism only one. Thus Socialism would certainly inhibit the growth and forward progress of society. Also, in a socialist country, one would be paid how? On how hard he works? No, impossible, this is capitalism, but rather on the fact that he exists. Thus the man who works in the health department 12 hours a day to help people and the man that shows up for 7 hours and takes a 2 hour lunch would be paid the same. In fact, why even come to work? Why not sleep in and collect your food rations later? It would punish the hard working and reward the lazy.

Finally liberty. Capitalism gives you the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. For instance, in the US, one may live as a communist, vote for the Communist Party, live on a commune, espouse communist views, read communist books, and travel to communist countries. This is of no concern to the government, and no concern to the citizenry. But in a socialist nation, the government must absolutely crush and capitalism, and must imprison or snuff out such people. One could not, conversely, go live on some land and build a society of capital. Simply put it would attract those in society who wished for a better life, who had ambition, and socialism would crush this to maintain its system. Such an act would prove the superiority of the free market, and has done so in China, Vietnam and Laos. Socialism requires Orwell’s Thought Police, they are intrinsically linked to Socialism.

Since everyone is doing it.....

Since everyone is getting a blog, I figured I had better do the same....

I picked a saucy name in order to create that acrimonious environment I so thoroughly enjoy elsewhere!

I will be sure to write something very provocative, very insightful, and definitely amusing, every week.