17 February, 2011

Jihad2: Iran's warships to transit Suez on 'anti-pirate' mission. Is it really Mission Europe?

For the first time in decades, two Iranian warships plan to transit the Suez Canal on route for Syria. Israel has denounced this as a provocation. At a time when Egyptians are in a delicate state of political and religious turmoil this is a brazen signal of growing Persian outreach. It is directed at the popular revolts igniting regime-changes across the southern Mediterranean.

Iran wants to show itself powerful and sympathetic to the religious masses. But not at home. Iranian mullahs have ruthlessly crushed popular demonstrations in Iran. Their aim is to stoke up problems elsewhere and train aggressive bandit regimes like Hamas in Gaza, HizbAllah (Party of God) in Lebanon (armed to the teeth with missiles and rockets) and spread war tensions in Syria and Jordan and now boost its influence in Egypt. Non-Iranian cargo ships loaded with Iranian missiles, arms and ammunition have previously been stopped for violating UN resolutions against this traffic.

It has a clear goal to antagonize Israel. But is it part of a larger goal -- Europe and whole of the European Sea, the Mediterranean?

The ships -- a frigate and a supply ship -- are symbolic of Iran's entry into the area where it has been banned or barred for thirty years. It has little military significance but huge propaganda value. It reinforces a religious message that is at the same time a political one. As exposed in the last commentary, Iran resumed plane flights to Egypt after three decades. The resumption occurred just a few months before President Mubarak was forced to resign. It indicated Iranians had already grabbed new powers to change policy inside Egypt. Mubarak was loud and outspoken about the 'Persians' who he called the greatest enemy of the Arabs. Some Iranians have a dream — 1500 years ago Persians under Darius 1 once controlled the pre-Suez Canal linking the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. A continuous struggle for supremacy occurred under competing Islamic flags.

For Iran, which today holds the chairmanship of the oil cartel OPEC for the first time in 36 years, the latest story has had a very profitable effect. Oil prices moved to their highest in more than two years, rising 2.40 dollars in a single day. That rise was more than a whole barrel cost before oil became the plaything of the cartel. In 1973 oil was transformed into the Oil Weapon in the war against Israel and the West.

Why does the Iranian regime say it wants to make an armed naval entrance into the Mediterranean? Hold your breath! Ostensibly to tackle bandits -- that is pirates. Have the Iranian captains lost their way? The pirates in question are 5000 km away — off the African coast of Somalia.
"During the mission the Iranian Navy cadets are due to be trained and prepared for defending the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against the continued threat of attack by Somali pirates," the semi-official Iranian Fars report said.
Why don't they try 5000km in the opposite direction -- the Antarctic?

Will the presence of Iranian gunships help the Mediterranean States build democracy? Will it help build respect for human rights and religious harmony?

If we turn to the source of the Iranian religio-political philosophy, it is clear that Europe is in the middle of an ideological war. Europeans with wishy-washy ideas are in no position to fight. The European Community is based on firm, supranational values, that is, absolute values such as telling the truth in national statistics, honest money, correcting corruption and requiring democratic backing for public decisions. Robert Schuman the founder of European democracy said that it must be based on Judeo-Christian foundation such as the search for truth, not dogmatism. A clash is inevitable.

This is what the Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini said:
'We know of no absolute values besides total submission to the will of Almighty.
(He meant his own ideas of the Almighty, his politics and human conduct.)
'People say: 'Don't lie!' But the principle is different when we serve the will of Allah. He taught men to lie so that we can save ourselves at moments of difficulty and confuse our enemies.'
The WikiLeaks indicate that the Gulf States -- now under pressure again -- recognize this mendacious Iranian tongue. 'Don't believe one word in a hundred of what the Iranians say.' That was what thirty years of experience taught the emir of Qatar. The world has only to observe the reality of today's Iran.

World peace requires either peacefully agreed common values or armed and verbal resistance against untruth. Human rights and responsibilities are a goal to attain for all societies. In Europe, the first legal convention for free States was created in 1950 when Robert Schuman and other Founding Fathers signed the Council of Europe’s Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Europe’s initiative arose because in WW2 much of the Continent was under a slave system — forced labour, extermination camps and destruction of religious values. Slavery was applied under both the neo-pagan Nazi regime as well as the atheistic Soviet regime. Those two systems had their own propaganda systems that twisted and distorted the truth. In the West many people were duped in the years before WW2 and during the Cold War. Free media including electronic media help make that difficult today.

The Convention guarantees that all signatory States must assure freedom of religion and the freedom to be able to change one’s religion as well as the freedom of conscience and the freedom of communication including criticizing religious and political ideas.

Schuman maintained that only a society based on Christian principles that recognized the potential of all individuals for salvation provides the basis for equality under law or democracy. A society based on Christian principles allows open discussion for Atheists, Jews, Christian sects, Muslims, animists, Buddhists and Hindus. The same applies to the Jewish State of Israel where there is freedom for Christians, Baha’is and Muslims and all who do not revert to violence. This contrasts starkly with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza. Both demand a Jew-free territory with a death penalty to any Muslim or Arab who would sell a house or land to a Jew.

Atheism treats religious believers of all types as second-class citizens. Nazism treated Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the confessing Lutheran Church as enemies to be destroyed. Islamic States are in the logical impossibility of maintaining a democracy because non-believers in Islam are treated as second-class citizens, either as outright infidels or at best people of the Book, (the Hebrew Bible which is not generally read or available in Islamic societies, only mixed ones). They are then granted second-class citizenship involving higher taxes etc as dhimmis. That is not democracy.

While one can applaud a call for freedom, one should also be aware that too often in history the removal of one ‘tyrant’ leads to another sort of tyranny and the loss of freedom again. The criterion in Egypt is that the Muslim community should recognize the possibility of individual Muslims changing their religion to that of the Coptic Church. According to a recent survey, four out of five Egyptians are of the opinion that any so-called Muslim ‘apostates’ should be executed. That is far from democracy.

Tyrants do not like free media. Religious tyrants are especially edgy and cry blue murder when critical questions are raised proving that they are talking rubbish. Today we have the extra facilities of the electronic media but we should be under no illusion that this will provide a freer society in dictatorships. Egypt was able to close down Internet in the first days of the popular revolt. This is also a possibility in many of the Mediterranean despots, such as Syria.

Europe's leaders are fast asleep while a major attack on European values is under way. The Suez Canal is vital for 8 per cent of world trade and 5 per cent of its oil. China is now making massive purchases for future oil. That alone would render oil much more expensive for Europe. According to WikiLeaks Saudi government say their oil reserves are possibly overstated by 40 %. The world’s largest exporter of crude will not be able to bail Europe out much longer. An oil crunch is inevitable.

If together with this easily foreseeable price hike, oil is again used as a religio-political weapon as it was in the 1970s, Europe could find itself in dire, dire straits.

Energy shortage is Europe's most urgent danger. It needs to establish energy independence. It can do it within a decade. Energy penury lays us open to energy blackmail. The extra short European Council on Energy of 4 February 2011 will go down as one that refuse to provide a vision. It created a new sleeping pill. Instead of initiating something real like a supranational Energy Community to mobilize the whole population, it devalued the whole idea. An energy community was a ‘brand name’ in the words of President Jerzy Buzek of the European Parliament. In other words it is an unrealistic dream of the inter-governmentalists. They have no intention of opening their eyes to the mortal danger Europe is facing, and acting. They are afraid of proposing the new, democratically-agreed treaty that is necessary for a real Energy Community.

Is energy more important than the euro crisis? Listen to what the International Energy Agency told the European Commission at a meeting inside the Commission’s Berlaymont recently. 'The rise in price of oil in 2010 cost the EU more than the combined budget debt of Greece and Portugal!' That was when oil rose from the 75s to the 90 a barrel mainly in the last quarter. Now it is above one hundred dollars and still rising.

The rise in oil prices in 2010 amounted to an additional cost for Europeans equivalent to HALF of the entire budget for the European Union in 2010. That is the RISE, not the total cost. Imported Energy (oil and gas) amounts to two and a half times the entire EU budget.

Oil is on a move upwards which represents a theft from the pockets of every European. Why theft? Because it is not a free market. It is being run by a multiple cartel system that ensures that the cartel-owners get the maximum price. In the early 1970s oil price was $2 a barrel. It was quadrupled by a political decision in 1973 using the oil weapon against Europe. In 1979 it was quadrupled again using the same method. A free market is when everyone is free to supply the demand on the market without secret cartels switching off the tap. All cartels involve theft by restricting supply, production, transport, financing, refinement and outlets. The Suez Canal is vital for Europe. It is becoming another tool for a global cartel.

Why has the European economy hit the doldrums? Part of it is dishonest politics and economic cheating. The other part is that the European economy is being sucked dry by ever-rising energy prices. Europeans need to use their native intelligence to create both energy independence and foreign policy independence. Strength comes through the democracy of the supranational Community system not inter-governmentalism.

Over the past year the oil import costs for the 34 mostly rich countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have soared by $200bn to $790bn at the end of 2010, according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency. It cost the USA $72 billion, the EU $70 billion.

The increase, due to high crude prices, is equal to a loss of income of about 0.5 per cent of OECD gross domestic product, according to the IEA. Oil consuming nations, meanwhile, need to accelerate their efforts to reduce their reliance on oil, especially for transportation, the IEA said.

Europe’s first priority must be to cut oil and gas imports. I asked the director of one of Europe's most advanced technological firms the following question:

'If politicians and the people set as their goal to have energy independence in ten years, is it attainable?'

His answer is quite different from politicians and others who think they know.

He said that it was possible that over the course of the year Europe could be energy import neutral. That is on average it could cut its imports to zero. In the winter it would need some energy but at other seasons it could export energy.

Which politician has told you that? None that I know. Why? Is it possibly because the extra billions from the oil price scam is being used to persuade them that it is not possible?

Who would gain most if Europe ran out of power? Consider the exaltation of Iran in the Arab world if it did it. Europe should be aware! Iran is not a coy friend. What does a child do if you take away its toys. It tries to take yours. Europe has been talking to Iran about stopping its bomb-making programme. It has tried sanctions. Some of the Iranian nuclear programme has been sabotaged by the Stuxnet computer worm malware.

Will Iran take this lying down? Are the Iranians worried if European sanctions ruin their own country? Do they want to launch some sort of religio-political malware against Europe in revenge? Politicians assume sanctions would stop the mullahs in their religio-political goals. They should not rely on wishful thinking. They should rely on the facts.

How do you influence people who are mass-murderers of children? Consider the words of the leader who sent hundreds of young children to march through mine fields to explode them. Khomeini ordered half a million plastic keys to give to such children. Tied round their neck the key was a symbol to open the gates of paradise. Did he sacrifice other families' children for Iran or for a religious idea? War with Iraq he said was 'a divine blessing'.
‘We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another word for paganism. I say let this land burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam triumphs in the rest of the world.’
That world, that target, includes Europe.

11 February, 2011

Jihad1 : 'Islam awakes!' Europe falls asleep, comatose on its Energy addiction

'Islam Awakes!' That's what the news ticker said on the monitors of the press area of the European Council building on 4 February. Mubarak had already announced he was going. The European Council was in its usual secret session, closed to the press and closed to the public. On its agenda the topic of most vital interest to the public: Energy.

The European Union is the world's greatest importer of energy. That is not a boast. That is a mark of shame. It is also a sign pointing to Europe's greatest danger: Energy Blackmail. Europe has already experienced the effects of an oil embargo in the 1970s.

The EU pays 2.5% of its GDP on imported energy -- money that could be used stimulate its own innovations, an energy efficiency economy and native energy production. On oil alone the EU spends an enormous 270 billion euros. It cost only a fraction of that to produce, as it flows freely from wells. The surplus profits are used too often against the welfare of Europeans and Americans. Instead Europe's economy is still driven by Arab oil. Moreover it mostly comes from the Persian Gulf countries and is exported through a narrow and dangerous strait.

The poorer Arab States are now being aroused by their richer religious cousins. North African States are now much more mosque-orientated than only a decade ago. Daily habits and clothes have changed. More than piety is involved. Egypt is a key State between Saudi and Iranian power grabs. No wonder that the 86-year old Saudi King Abdullah was reportedly apoplectic at naive American attempts to unseat Mubarak.

'The events in Tunisia and Egypt are the sign of the Islamic Awakening' and 'an Islamic liberation movement' -- these were the words of Iran's Supreme Leader Khomenei. He addressed the Friday crowds for the first time in seven months. These movements will spell an 'irreparable defeat' for the United States, he said to cheering crowds raising their fists and shouting 'Death to America! Death to Israel!'.

Did the Europe's 27 leaders closeted in secret hear about Iran's pronouncement on the Mediterranean revolution? Did anyone tell them that the leader of nuclear Iran was laying ideological claim to Europe's southern frontiers? Are they talking about it now the Council has dispersed? We don't know.

Through Egypt by ship and pipeline comes 5 per cent of the world's oil and much of it destined for European and American consumers. Around 8 per cent of the world's exports comes through the Suez canal. It is the major umbilical that attaches marine trade of Europe, the Near East and Asia. Who is behind this revolt? There are many factors, such as wanting the freedoms of the West across the water, a sense of purpose, work and an end to grinding poverty.

Others are more dangerous, including the Muslim Brethren, an organisation that for decades has spawned jihadi spin-offs worldwide. It has been called the mother of modern jihadis, including Iran and Al Qaida. Like Communism, Nazism and other isms, it is ideological to the core. It still retains its poisonous ideological connection with Nazism and the Arabic version of Hitler's Mein Kampf and the fictitious propaganda The protocols of the Elders of Zion are widely published. Danish cartoons are not.

Its slogan is Islam is the Solution. But what is the question? What is life's purpose? To die as a so-called martyr? It has not brought happiness, peace, satisfying work, productive industry or the conservation of Nature and the ecological betterment of the planet. Europe has rejected the Islamic solution intellectually and physically with great loss of blood at Tours, Vienna and many other times over a millennium and half. Internal documents of the Brotherhood cite that the goal is a kind of 'grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions.'

Is the only way to show this solution to destroy the successful alternatives? How about a good example? A weak ideology turns to immoral action and illicit expansion, often by violence, intimidation or sabotage. That distracts people from deeper analysis that exposes its false assumptions. The weakest spot of such an ideology is exposed in a public debate.

Why do these 'solutions' require the death of Israel? Because Israel has allowed freedom of worship. The Israeli government also pays for the maintenance of mosques. It did not desecrate them or build synagogues on top of them. It has produced a high tech society out of penniless Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands. It has turned a barren land into an exporter of food. It is an example that many tyrants want to hide from their populations.

The interest of Iran should be kept in mind. Its regime can only stay in power at home by attacking and eliminating all its opponents at home and attempting to expand abroad. Its propaganda is powerful and contrasts with the weak reply of the West.

Consider how Iran has created a sphere of influence and propaganda in the Near East in the last few years. This now nearly surrounds Israel. It has gained a decisive interest in Gaza where it has often supplied arms and rockets by sea and by land. This has overexcited the whole of the Muslim world. Iran has also paid for and trained the militant Hizballah movement in Lebanon and has succeeded to make this militant Shi'ite jihadist army an integral part of the government of the once peaceful country. Iran's influence in Syria is also growing.

The Jordanian authorities are faced with a stark existential choice -- bend to Tehran or be broken. That seems to be the ground why they have urged America to go to war against Iran, even though this would bring war and destruction to the entire region. The Jordanians see this catastrophe of war as a lesser evil than an inevitable total Shi'ite take-over of the whole region through intimidation and small arms. That would only lead to further major war elsewhere, a global jihad. The Iranian theocracy has as its avowed aim the destruction of America and Europe as the great satans.

Is Iran behind the troubles in Egypt? Is it taking an opportunistic hand in the uprising against Mubarak? Iran rather gave its hand away. Last week it accused Israel of supplying plane-loads of anti-riot material to Mubarak's regime. That was swiftly denied by Jerusalem as nonsense. The fact of the matter is that in October last year -- for some unknown reason -- plane flights were resumed between Tehran and Egypt. Who authorized it? Strangely no one seems to know. Why is it significant? Simply because plane flights between the Shi'ite state and Egypt have been stopped not for a year or two but for thirty years.

For years President Mubarak had already warned the Muslims in neighbouring countries of the plans of the sectarian leaders of the Iranian Islamic Republic. 'The Persians are trying to devour the Arab states,' he said. 'A nuclear armed Iran with hegemonic ambitions is the greatest threat to Arab nations today,' Mubarak told the Arab Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2009.

Now we know from WikiLeaks that all the neighbouring States are worried about what they consider the malevolent influence of Iran. The Saudis are calling Iran a 'snake' whose head needs to be cut off. Why then did the Egyptians -- the fiercest enemy of the Persians -- do this most extraordinary thing? They chose this moment to agree to resume airflights with Tehran. They were cut in the days of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Revolution of 1979-80. At that time the Shah left Iran and in a final trip between the capitals took his plane to Egypt. It is an indication of the growing power of Iran in Egypt.

The revolutionaries have a longer memory than many European leaders -- the Crusades are common talk. Are Europeans equally familiar with their past struggles with militant jihadis over 1500 years?

The Iranians can recall the vital need to control supply routes. At one stage, 2500 years ago, Egypt fell under the sword of the Persian monarchs Darius 1 and Cambyses of Persia. A three-language monument, unearthed by de Lesseps and now in Paris, declares the words of Darius that his men re-excavated the canal that links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea.

King Darius says:
I am a Persian; setting out from Persia, I conquered Egypt. I ordered to dig this canal from the river that is called Nile and flows in Egypt, to the sea that begins in Persia. Therefore, when this canal had been dug as I had ordered, ships went from Egypt through this canal to Persia, as I had intended.
This was when the natives of the land were mainly Egyptians -- that is Copts, whose language is similar to ancient Egyptian. Only later when the Egyptian Empire had been destroyed did the Greeks, the Romans and then the Arabs take over the land. Prior to that Egypt was one of the world's greatest Christian countries. Many Arabs tend to believe civilisation only existed with Islam. The Persians remember they not only had a great civilisation but were controlling Egypt long before the Arabs arrived.

The Suez Canal itself can be seen as a historic goal for the Iranian regime. Today the Iranians have decisive influence in all the countries surrounding Israel, the only democracy in the entire Middle East.

The Iranians have no reason to be nice to those trying to thwart its nuclear plans. Europe is trying to impose crippling sanctions on the regime. If the Iranians gain influence on the Suez Canal they will have an additional stranglehold on Europe and its oil imports. The other route for oil from the Persian Gulf is by super-tanker around Africa. This too is becoming more dangerous. Witness the capture of hundreds of ships including a couple of tankers with enough oil for a fifth of the daily needs of the USA.

Who are these Somali pirates? They told Reuters: 'We are Muslims. We are marines, coastguards -- not pirates.' Really? They are jihadis. They are at war. One terrorist leader of the al-Shabaab-linked Mu'askar Ras Kamboni (also designated by the US State Department as a terrorist) said on Somali radio: 'I can say the pirates are part of the Mujahedeen [religious fighters], because they are in a war with Christian countries who want to misuse the Somali coast.' Guilty people have poor reasoning. Stealing super tankers worth hundreds of millions of euros shipping oil peacefully hundreds of kilometres out in the Indian Ocean has nothing to do with the coast guards. Osama bin Laden was more frank when he praised the Somalis' war of Islam against Christianity.

Maybe Europe's leaders in the European Council briefly discussed the rising demand for 'democracy' across North Africa. 'Democracy'? Islam? Who is right? They cannot both be right because there is no example of Islamic democracy in history. Democracy-- that is the equality of everyone under law -- is based on Judeo-Christian principles. Islam is based on the supremacy of the Islamic believer over the unbeliever. Effectively the voter may get one vote as in late Weimar Germany but only once. Iran shows that once the theocratic power has taken over they are not willing to give it up regardless of what the people vote. Hamas in Gaza is another example where those voted in to power then proceeded to kill and attack their electoral opponents of the Palestinian Authority. Gaza is one of the tentacles of Iran's Shi'ite octopus -- to use the Jordanian description.

The other Sunni countries have not been willing to allow overtly religious political parties (who might take over forever) or anti-religious parties (that religious fanatics oppose with suicide 'martyrs' as it would expose their methods, logical deficiencies and intolerance). With no philosophical or constitutional separation of secular from the religious powers, usually the military is needed to separate political competitors. The sword of Islam has been used frequently against unbelievers but also believers of the wrong hue.

Democracy as we know it is based on a religious or spiritual concept. Europe's democracy allows atheists or secularists to survive and even thrive. It allows them to pose the most probing questions and make even blasphemous criticism of Christianity. A Judeo-Christian society thus provides tolerance of antagonistic views of its own religion. The reason is that truth is valued above all and must be examined with all critical faculties. Truth will out. The results are clear. Christianity in all its multiple human imperfections is growing worldwide without the sword, intimidation or blackmail.

That is not true for an atheist State. A secular regime like Soviet Communism was at war with spiritual values and the freedom of religion. Only a Judeo-Christian system can produce democracy. Atheistic 'people's democracies' were hollow and false. The core of dialectic materialism was intellectually rotten.

As Schuman explained, democracy is not something that arises by spontaneous generations by mobs, by demonstrations or by revolt. It requires a moral base and a soundly founded concept of where ultimate authority comes from. That is not a false god or false religion.
Democracy is above all not something made quickly; Europe has taken more than a thousand years of Christianity to fashion it. In Africa we were forced to burn our bridges. Not only did we give the vote to an often illiterate population but what is worse, we turned power over to men who often had no training and who were exposed defenceless to all temptations of capriciousness and injustice. We tried to slacken the rhythm, to bring in controls; these were only frail preventive measures against the thrust of nationalism. I would like to be able to quote on this subject what Jacques Maritain, following Bergson, wrote more than twenty years ago, at the time when a more generous and Christian policy on our overseas territories was being elaborated. I will just keep to a few pertinent phrases:

'We must realise that the part that instinct and irrationality plays is much larger role in the animation of a group than an individual. At a time when one people enters history claiming their political and social adulthood, large sections of mankind remain in a state of immaturity or suffering from an unhealthy reactions accumulated during the course of time and are still only sketching out or preparing themselves culturally to be called a people. Let us understand that to enjoy one's privileges as an adult person without the risk of bankruptcy, a people must be capable of behaving as adults...

'Nothing is easier for political fraudsters to exploit good principles for an illusion, nor is anything more disastrous than good principles badly applied...'

I conclude with Bergson that 'democracy is essentially evangelical as it has love as its motor.'
Schuman summed up several thousand years of history: 'Democracy will be Christian or it won't exist. An unchristian democracy is a caricature which sinks into tyranny or anarchy.'

We should have no illusions about installing a real democracy or where a tyranny or anarchy in the Mediterranean can lead.