The War for Africa

Has already started.

“Ex Africa semper aliquid novi”

“Always something new from Africa” said Pliny the Elder, and this remains true today, but unfortunately, the news is most often bad, especially for Africans.

Ansar Al Dine fighters near Timbuktu, Mali. Note the black war flag of Jihad.

In April of this year, in the disarray after a military coup, Malian government forces fled the country’s northern cities, abandoning an area as large as France. While there were several actors in the anti-government movement, hard-line Islamists affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb quickly appeared alongside the local Islamic militia, Ansar Al Dine.

The fabled city of Timbuktu came under shariah law, with wine and music banished, and floggings, amputations and the demolition of ancient Muslim shrines in their place.  This is an appalling situation for the people of Northern Mali, one that is little noticed in the West, at least among the priorities of foreign policy establishments. It should be, not only for the gross violations of human rights in Northern Mali, but for its larger strategic implications.

In the wake of Muammar Qadaffi’s deposition, vast stores of weapons and armaments

Benghazi US consulate under attack on 9/11/2012

found their way into many hands. In fact, Navy seal, Glen Doherty killed at Benghazi, was tasked with trying to retrieve shoulder fired anti aircraft missiles. Libya’s interim president has stated that foreign fighters, including some from Mali, were involved in the attack. There is little reason to doubt him, as his version of events has been proven right, while the “evolving” positions of the US administration have been consistently wrong.

One fears then that American policy makers have little if any idea of what they are dealing with: far more than isolated terrorist attacks, but a continent wide challenge.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram, a violent Jihadist movement, began its campaign in 2009. Yet, while information on its savage asymmetrical war of bombings, assassinations, beheadings and ethnic cleansing has been reported by the wire services from the start, it was long rarely mentioned in broadcast news reports. A search shows CNN first reporting in 2011, and then only in security matters blogs. Boko Haram’s atrocities make for lurid reporting, but the group has a far larger significance,

An AFP (Agence France Presse) report datelined September 27, 2012,  Gao, Northern Mali that as jihadi fighters pour across the Niger border,

Perhaps the most startling thing about these fighters along this frontier route is that nearly all of them are from sub-Saharan Africa rather than the Maghreb.

, I am surprised,” Nigerien Hicham Bilal, who is leading a katiba (combat unit) to Gao, admitted to AFP. “Every day we have new volunteers. They come from Togo, Benin, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Algeria and elsewhere.”

This then, is the significance of Mali.  A route has been opened for jihad from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Guinea.  A look at the map shows the enormous advantage the forces of Islam have. Boko Haram began by demanding Islamic rule in the Muslim majority northern half of the country; now it fights to brig all of Nigeria under sharia.

Why then would one doubt that Islamic rule in North Africa and the Sahel would not press

The fall of Northern Mali has opened a jihad trail between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

further, through migration, economic pressure, and outright war? There are strategic thinkers among the Islamists.  The movement that now triumphs in Egypt began in the1920s.

In Arabic “abd,” slave, also means  black African The Arab drive for domination of black Africa began many centuries ago, manifested most blatantly in the Arab slave trade, reaching deep into the interior, penetrating as far as the Central Congo. Confronted with superior European technology and organization, Arab influence in Central Africa receded, but has long since renewed its assault as the decades long Civil War ( which might better be called the war for Independence of black Sudan) in Sudan, and the continuing oppression of Muslim black people in Darfur. The ancient Christian land Of Ethiopia is already one third Muslim, and Christians have been expelled from some Muslim areas. In Kenya , Somali Al Shabab jihad operatives have carried out attacks in the capital, Nairobi. Any African country with a substantial Muslim population can expect Arab directed violence and aggression, with the assistance of these large fifth columns,

Poor Africa.  The continent seems destined to be dominated and plundered. These trends

Tippu Tip or Tib (1837 – June 14, 1905 Once owned 10,000 slaves. His influence reached the Easter Congo. While he appears black, he was partly  of Muscat descent, considered himself an Arab, and acted accordingly towards non Muslim Africans

point to a future in which black Africa faces economic, political and religious enslavement.   Christianity in the ancient lads of Christendom has become largely nominal; in Africa it is fervent belief. Christian Africa will not submit willingly, but its resistance will be at a severe disadvantage.  The Muslim forces will have the support of their brethren globally, and the weapons and resources for war in which the Middle East and North Africa are well stocked.  If Christian Africans receive the same level of support that the West has given minorities in Muslim lands, the their future may be grim.

This Arab empire will be like its predecessors, living off plunder and captive populations, perhaps partnering with Russia and China in resource extraction, even as hose nations fight their own Islamic insurgents.

So, are these the musings of someone with an internet connection ad too much time on his hands?

Perhaps not.

Africom, established in 2007 and headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is U.S military’s hybrid military-civilian organization with the mission of working with African nations on security matters, with security broadly defined as including not just military capability but economic and social developmen,t as well.  Although  the US has bases in Africa, no African nation has agreed to host the command,

The commands mission is sounds relatively benign, but some Africans see it as aimed a securing resurces and supply lines. This may be so.  Perhaps the US is pre-positioning  for its part in the wider struggle. On whose side it will stand, and why is open to question, but what isn’t, is that it is Africa that will suffer as it always has.

Iraq: What Were You Thinking?

(I’m a bit late coming to the table commenting on Iraq.  Mass opposition to the war seemed to vanish with President Obama’ s inauguration. The war is officially over and while some fault the President for leaving the job uncompleted, it was a task that could never be finished, short of a war of annhilation.

Obama’s far more tentative moves to influence events in the Arab world are equally misguided and based on similar utopian fantasy, but have the saving grace of costing far less in treasure, and nothing in our blood.  We will again reap humiliation and disappointment, but at a cost of mere billions, rather than trillions.  The Iraq War above all other trends and events, is the source of the Obama presidency.)

 

Toward the end of  “Band of Brothers” there is a scene in which GIs riding comfortably in a deuce and half taunt German POWs who are walking to the rear, with their wounded riding in horse drawn wagons:

Hey, you! That’s right, you stupid Kraut bastards! That’s right! Say hello to Ford, and General fuckin’ Motors! You stupid fascist pigs! Look at you! You have horses! What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives… For what, you ignorant, servile scum! What the fuck are we doing here?

Even Hollywood is right sometimes.

Truly a great moment, but one long gone.   Tonight, I caught snatches of  “The Green Zone” as I was making dinner.  It was by extension the standard, “Bush lied, people died” narrative, and ends with  Matt Damon as a whistle blower emailing all the media the “truth” about  WMD, a twenty first century remake  of the scene where Robert Redford pauses before walking into the New York Times in “Three Days of the Condor.”

Yet the film is worthwhile, for the Iraq War needs no propagandist’s frame to demonstrate its utter futility.

What were you thinking?   Did you sleep through college American History when they covered Woodrow Wilson’s Mexican intervention?  Did you think that rather than making the world safe for Democracy, that attempting that only in the MIddle East would be more manageable?

U.S.occupation of Veracruz, Mexico, April 1914

Did you ever speak to anyone, anyone at all, who had some knowledge of Islam and had perhaps spent some time in the Middle East, so as to know, that the Arabs would never put aside their arms  and join Israel in making the deserts bloom?

But Saddam is  gone, you say,  the Iraqis free.  A murderer and a sadist, and his sons worse yet, might still be there. Yes, they are gone; but the North Koreans  live on in privation that any Iraqi, even today cannot conceive.  Did yo pick Iraq because it was “doable?”

But we thought he had WMD; the intel was bad.  Today we have Iran on the brink and Pakistan transporting warheads around utility  vans, and of course, North Korea. If the intel was bad, it was your job to spot the flaws.

What were you thinking?

US AC47 Gunship raining fie on the outskirts of Saigon, 1965. Saigon, like Baghdad was never entirely secure. But there was plenty of beer.

Were you certain  our technology and wealth would prevail?  You had then, never landed at Ton Son Nhut in the 60ss, seen the aircraft parked wing to wing as far as the eye could see, and then in the evening watched firefights between the ARVIN and The Viet Cong at the end of the runway, while having a few beers on the rooftop of the Caravelle.  And tipping the barman,  as a joke said, “Vive Ho Chi MInh,” to find him in delighted agreement.

Toward the end of The Green Zone, on of the characters says to Damon, it is not for you to say what happens here.  No it wasn’t ,nor was it in Saigon, or Veracruz.  Like any many Americans across the political spectrum, I opposed this war from the very first, as I had opposed the Gulf War before it, and for the same reason.  These places simply are not fighting worth fighting for, and were they we would not fight on our own.

Yet, in the first days, I could not but help feel proud as our boys the young Americans and Brits rolled toward victory in armored columns.  Remember this picture well, for you shall not see it again.  This folly has robbed us of  the ability to wage righteous war for at least a generation, if not forever.

What were you thinking?

Were you nostalgic for the unequivocal victory of World War Two and the prosperous and just peace that followed, and having failed  in Viet Nam, did you want to give it one more try just to show that we still have it in us?  Could you not see that in liberating Western Europe we were helping nations that had authentic traditions of sovereignty and cultural institutions much like our own? And that our people were largely willing to join in a struggle to not only defend their own shores, but save peoples not dissimilar from them?  Did it not occur to you that the best we’ve done since, in wars where these conditions did not obtain  is pull a draw in Korea?

What were you thinking?

Did you think that you could remake a country with pallets of dollars despite the absence of any scale of historical, cultural and linguistic understanding of the place? “The Green Zone”  – accurately I’m sure -shows the bustling self important functionaries, with their phones, laptops, and ear buds, taking the situation in hand,  as well a s the sophisticated weaponry and command/control that would surely subdue insurgents with their AKs and RPGs.

Defense Chief McNamara arrives at Ton Son Nhut, April 1964

How do I know this is an accurate portrayal?  Because we have seen it all before, the crew cut guys with white shirts and ties, showing Macnamara around.  Did you think that money and and hubristic engineering could solve all problems?.  McNamara wanted to build  a fence around Vietnam,  and someone in DOD had the idea of ln6yofting a huge inflatable artificial moon into orbit to disrupt Viet Cong sleep patterns.  He couldn’t get the funding. This time, there were no limits.

What were you thinking?

Did you think the greatly lessened lethality of modern war, purchased at extraordinary financial cost, would make this more palatable?  That a war fought by a professional military would not raise substantial objection as it dragged on inconclusively if the public at large was not involved? If the relatively small number of dead and maimed were distributed across the vast country, and came often from communities of little influence, small town and rural, black and Hispanic?

You too, are ” ignorant, servile scum,” slaves to your utopian illusions.

Downed Drone: Iran Puts the Salami to Obama

Kinda reminds me of the captured alien aircraft in "Independence Day."

Sometime last week, an RQ-170, CIA operated  drone crashed, landed  in, or was somehow hijacked by Iran, and they have been gleefully showing it off since.

"Obama Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane" TEHRAN (FNA)Click for full story.

As reported in the BBC and elsewhere, President Obama, in the course of a Monday press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  said that the U.S. has asked for its wayward drone to be returned.  You know, like you might ask a grumpy  neighbor to give you your ball back.  When it comes to dealing with our enemies and adversaries, this administration’s playbook appears to be “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

As the President is rather busy, he perhaps had not been informed that Iran had already said that it was not giving the drone back, and in  fact intends to reverse engineer the fallen spy-craft  and then mass produce it.  This may overstate their engineering and industrial capability, but Iran competing with Israel on the international arms market would be better than the apocalyptic scenario the Islamic Republic is currently pushing.  This was reported by ABC and Al Jazeera, among others.  We all know the daily intelligence briefing the President (and this has been the case for quite a while, long before Mr. Obama took the job.)receives is just a rehash of what is on the networks, but one would think the collators  could be a bit more timely,

General Hossein Salami( File Photo)

CNN  quotes Iran’s Fars New Agency reporting that on Sunday, Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s military said”No nation welcomes other countries’ spy drones in its territory, and no one sends back the spying equipment and its information back to the country of origin.”

Hossein ( a variant of Hussein) Salami!  How great is that?  I could proceed with various bend over, hide the salami jokes,  with reference to the President’s middle name, but I won’t, because the general’s name, in  this context, is the only thing funny about this disaster.

That the president appears,weak, ineffective, and just plain dumb in this matter is summed up by ABC’s lead in:  “Obama: Hey Iran, Can We Get Our Drone Back?”

The use of drones for both surveillance and attack has been key to the president’s tactics in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, and has yielded some spectacular successes.  Were he expanding this approach to Iran, he would find much support across the political spectrum.

This, unfortunately is unlikely, given the President’s ongoing reluctance to confront Iran, dating from before his lack of enthusiasm for the abortive 2009 “Green Revolution ” in the Islamic Republic.

So the question that remains is  Why was the drone not destroyed on the ground( Indeed, why don’t they have a fail-safe “kill-switch’?  Or if they do, why wasn’t it used?

The blogosphere is replete with accounts that Obama nixed actions to destroy,  or retrieve the drone, fearing that such  action would be regarded by Iran as an act of war.but I cannot find much reporting on this in what are considered reliable sources, at least among Mr. Obama’s supporters.

Typical of such reports is this in the UK Daily Mail:

A senior U.S. official confirmed it was the drone earlier today. ‘Yep, that’s it – it’s intact,’ a source told Fox News. ‘This is a big prize in terms of technology.’

Meanwhile the official added that President Obama decided not to retrieve or destroy the drone because that could have been seen as an act of war.( I know, the Daily Mail quoting Fox: must be a lie, right?)

One would not doubt that such discussions occurred, however, and the question remains: why was nothing done?  Similar reports appeared at the time of Bin Laden’s killing, but whether or not the President was reluctant to make the call, he did give the word.

On the Internet, those who see President Obama as a Fanon  style-anti imperialist,  and /or jihadi sympathizer closet Marxist Internationalist Manchurian candidate go so far to say the drone drop might have been a set up. or at the very least, the President simply doesn’t mind much if Iran gets a break

Newt Gingrich was called a racist for Saying the President’s world view derived from his Kenyan roots, but it is difficult to explain both his actions and lack of action with out reference to his origins and upbringing:  An African socialist father( for more on African socialism,look into Julius Nyere) advocating taxes of up to 100 per cent of income on the rich, a mother who saw much virtue in the developing world, and little in America, and grandparents who were decidedly to the left of most in their native Kansas.

In a conflict with non-western nations, Obama will almost always give the benefit of the doubt to the victims of long gone imperialists, with the Usama takeout a salient exception.

The President has demonstrated that he does not fear war.  He was willing to bomb Libya, ruled by a regime with which we had had amiable relations for some, time,  because he thought it would benefit the Libyans.   He was not willing to bomb the drone on the ground because that would have been of no benefit to any party other than the U.S.

Mr Obama is not a  Manchurian candidate, but a product of his background and our universities,.  He has no grand plan, as many fear, to “take down: the U.S. ”  At best,  he does not see America as a discrete entity, distinct from the world which he wishes to heal,

Although I oppose almost everything this President does and thinks, at times it is possible to feel sorry for him.  Historians may well cast him as a tragic figure,  someone whose very nature precluded him from being the post racial ,non-ideological unifier that the country wanted him to be,

Mr. Obama is among us. but the cannot be of us.

( For a detailed look at Mr. Obama’s background, see Dinesh D’Sousa’s “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” A caution, however: this work is not up to the standard of some of Mr. D’Sousa’s other efforts, in my view.  He seems to be aiming for an edgy, hip style that would resonate with Huffington Post Readers, and it not only misses that mark, but falls flat.)

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Desert Wind in the Southern Philippines

(From time to time, I will write about happier times in my wanderings and residence in Dar ul Islam.)

The PhilippinesPhilippine gunmen snatch US citizens on Tictabon (BBC) 13 July 2011
“Two Filipino Americans kidnapped by “Islamic insurgents.”  This is another skirmish in a very old theatre of the oldest war of all.  I’ve been thinking of these two Filipino Americans, and the southern Philippines since I read the headline.  Long ago, I traveled the area where they were taken.

Over a long life things change, and not always for the better.  In 1969-70 I was twenty, and spending a year in the Philippines going to classes at Ateneo University, living with my parents in Manila.  My father managed a fertilizer plant  on the Bataan peninsula across the Bay.

During school breaks I took trips around the islands. At the time of the last free election before the Marcos regime became semi-permanent, I went down south to Mindanao and Jolo.  Before living in the Philippines, my family had been for many hears in Indonesia, and later Costa Rica.  In the Southern Philippines  I found the Muslim Malay culture that I remembered from my Indonesian childhood and still longed for, and remnants of the Spanish colonial era.  It was a fascinating and satisfying blend,

I flew to Davao where I was the guest of a an old mestizo  family I knew from Manila.  They had extensive plantations and copra processing works.   And a cute daughter, but very well watched over. These old families were very Iberian, with the young girls strictly chaperoned, and now I wonder if this in itself is a remainder from Moorish Spain.

After a few days of huge meals, beach parties , and  what little  light flirtation was allowed, it was time to go further west and south towards  the last islands of the  Philippines, and the beginnings of the Malay Archipelago.

It was a tough journey over dusty roads, crammed in with passengers whose main hobby was spitting, and a boat that became a sweatbox when the crew sealed it up at night.  Like many in Southeast Asia, Filipinos fear the night air.  Unhealthy they say, and home to unseen things that mean people no good.

It was a relief to reach Zamboanga, stretch my legs and enjoy a shower and a walk about town,  “The monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga,” the old navy song goes.  I saw no monkeys, but instead a  sleepy town, streets of white sand and crushed shell lanes off the few bits of macadam.  Venerable trading hoses built of coral block with signs saying  “Hnos Gonzales Manila – Zamboanga – Madrid. “And there were Moros, the Spanish for moors, Muslims  of various groups, the biggest the Taosug and the Bajo, the sea gypsies found there and in Indonesia ,and as far as the Mergui Archipelago in SoutheastBurma,  Small compact men with turbans, short flapping trousers,  buttoned tunics, leather belts, and small short curved swords.  The sultan of Sulu, on Jolo Island, not far away, had once been suzerain of a good part of Borneo.  I had to go there.

1969 Philippine Military outside Jolo Great Mosque. From the time of the Spaniards, through the American occupation, and on to the present, Sulu has never been pacified.

Waiting at the airport for the small island hopper, I ran into an American guy, a Peace Corps volunteer.  He recommended a hotel, and said he’d show me around.  He was working in malaria control, still spraying DDT in those days.

Aside from him, I never saw another westerner.   It was the election of1969, the one in which Marcos won a second term, the first in Philippine history to do so, and than stayed on indefinitely,  I had been warned that elections were a dangerous time to travel, but encountered no trouble.  Danger would have come from being caught in a crossfire between rival parties.  Local races, dealing  with matters of power and influence were particularly hard fought, and still are.  Islamic terrorism was an unknown term

Grand Mosque, Jolo Town, 1969

The Mestizo population of Jolo has a unique language, Javocano, a pidgin Spanish without much in the way of grammar, very easy to understand,  So I was in a town with wet markets, a waterfront where the Moro sailing craft, vinta, unloaded plenty of fresh seafood, ready for feasting on at the restaurants built out over the harbor on pilings, and all centered on a grand mosque,  Perfectly exotic, and exactly what I was looking for.

Vintas

Jolo Island coastline

A malaria education team arrived in a jeep at my hotel the next morning, without the Peace Corps guy, who was at a government meeting. We took of into the hills, climbing switchbacks until we could look back at the city, the fringing islands and the sea glittering to the blue horizon.  Then on into the interior valleys, small holdings hacked out of the jungle, and tiny hamlets, the little stands selling food and sundries, just like the ones called warungin Indonesia.

Moro village headman with wives and children, malaria team right and left.

Village snack stand Jolo Island, but it could be many places in Southeast Asia, to this day. Borders dont always mean a lot.

We stopped at one for lukewarm cokes.  The young man in charge  suddenly gestured for silence.   In the distance up ahead we heard some popping.  Gunshots, from two directions.  He went over to the jeep and tapped out a sequence of long and short toots,

Smuggler with son and a tool of the trade.

The shooting stopped, and we heard a jeep coming down the road towards us. It was a unit of the Philippine Constabulary, a paramiltary police force founded by the Americans in 1901, and which had been mixing it up with the Moros off and on ever since.  This bunch had been having a little shoot out with men they described as smugglers.  The team leader bought them cokes and handed out some literature on malaria, and then they drove off towards town.

Philippine Constabulary after a morning's exchange of potshots with smugglers.

After a few minutes,  another, and different signal on the horn.  And a quarter of an hour later, men in civvies, carrying M-1s  ambled down the rod and we had another round of cokes,  which they bought,

Islam's prohibition of gambling clearly ignored

Was my guide a Muslim or a Christian?  It didn't matter back then.

Was my guide a Muslim or a Christian? It didn't matter back then.

These guys were, in my guide’s words, respected men in the community, who preferred to conduct their business on their own, without interference from the authorities.  The constabulary and the government never showed up when they were needed, except at election time, to hand out favors, and hang around with guns at the polls, he said. In discussing the local politics and economy, religion never entered the talk.  I don’t remember if my guide was a Muslim or a Christian.

An old man came up to me.  I could only understand that he was asking if I were Amerikano.  He said, the team leader translated, that he liked Americans.  His father told him that the moros hated the Spanish who were sneaky fighters, cowards, and cruel to prisoners.  The Americans  they liked “ We killed them; they killed us,  Good sport, and good fun!” he said,

Later, walking around the town, I found a small brass plaque set into a concrete plinth.  In1902, it said, a number which I don’t’ remember of “brave Americans” had given their lives fighting “bandits“  The plaque had been erected in appreciation by the  business community fo the town, with the names of the subscribers being mostly Spanish, and a few American.

I met the Peace Corps guy that night in one of the waterfront restaurants.  He looked over his shoulder before having a San Miguel. As we tucked intoheaps of chili crab, he explained.  Although a Maltese Catholic from Queens,  he had married a local girl, and converted to Islam.   I’ve since wondered how he fared.  Many smitten young men take conversion to Islam – which is easy enough, especially if you are already circumcised – quite lightly.  Just words, they think, but find out that it is, as I did year after this, taken very seriously. His wife was at home, not comfortable with foreigners, he siad.   Thinking back, I’m not sure if I spoke to a woman the whole time I was there.

These village women put on their best sarongs to have their picture taken

I traveled around the island for the next few days

Sandy white beach and the usual friendly kids

by local bus and jitney.  I can understand why the kidnapped Americans would want to open a resort in the region,  The beaches were gorgeous, almost painfully white, dazzling, and stretching for miles.  The sunsets were nightly theatrical displays as the last rays illuminated the cumulonimbus towering above the sea into the stratosphere.  The people were courteous.  Sabah was not far away and many had some Malay, and there was usually an old man in any village who could speak Spanish.  I wished I had time to take on of the boats to Tawi Tawi and Jesselton in Malaysia, and the on to Indonesia.  One day, I thought, but returned to Manila and have never been back.

Village market. Plenty of fresh fish.

I’ve thought of that trip from time to time when there has been news from the Southern Philippines.  The news is uniformly bad, and at times shocking.  The violence by the Moro Liberation Front and Abu Sawwaf is nothing new.

After seizing the islands from Spain, the US fought the Philippine insurrectos who figured that since they had pretty much rolled up the Spaniards before eh Americans arrived, they had a right to an independent country,

The war in the south was quite different,  The Moros had never acknowledged Spain, and had always warred on Christians and animists, with rape, pillage and slave taking incidental in benefits in defending and advancing their faith. Jihad by sea, much like that of the Barbary corsairs, and in the Arab and Turkish tradition of razzia..

There the Americans encountered the juramentado,a moro warrior sworn to kill

"Institutionalized Suicide"

Christians until killed himself. In other words, a shahid, a Muslim martyr, a suicide slasher rather than bomber,  The .45 revolver with its massive stopping power was developed to replace the .38 which often had no visible effect on these enemies, just as asymmetrical wars with Muslims now push among other developments, drone technology.

The Americans did prevail, but the violence never disappeared entirely, and continues to this day.  The Philippine government has granted some autonomy,and continues to attempt to negotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Jolo 2007. The mosque has been renovated or replaced.

2007: A Muslim woman in Jolo. Centuries after Islam appeared in Southeast Asia, arabization is eradicating local customs. The hijab began appearing in the eighties. This picture from the Navy Times, 2007, taken during US Philippine joint operations. Plus ca change...

 

Jihad  began in Seventh Century Arabia. The great tide surging from the desert wastes a few centuries  later had already reached the islands of equatorial Asia.  Today the hot desert wind blows again where the trade winds rustle palm fronds on coral strands.

 

 

(On October 3, 2011, one of the Filipino Americans was released, the BBC reported, on Basilan Island, not far from Zamboanga.   Her son and nephew remain captives.)

CNN Watch

While the parachute jornos are celebrating the fall of the dictator in Tripoli, and the advent of democracy(Note a draft Constitution with a shariah dominance provision is up on the net, provenance unsure, but we shall see),  the rewrite squad is busy back home making sure events fit the narrative.

“Israeli warplanes strike Gaza”Aug 25 2011 )3:21GMT

The obligatory shot of casualties being rushed to hospital leads off.

Let.’s see, “missiles struck a social club”.  I wonder if they were playing dominoes And then there is an air-strike on a tunnel between Rafa and Egypt.  What are these tunnels for?  Not for legitimate cargoes which Israel passes through every day.

An Islamic Jihad “militant” killed is described as “a victim”

I lose track; how many ceasefires this week from Hamas( of course Islamic Jihad and such have nothing to do with Hamas, who is only the government.)

The article later refers to the cross border incursion from Sinai

CNN mentions ten rockets fired from Gaza Wednesday, without casualties in Israel. Since Friday’s attack, I remember more than that, but I don’t have the patience to comb the wires for them.  The implication here, as it always is,  is “Hey no one got hurt.  Why get angry?”.

This same lopsided view is evident in some hand wringing reported from the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East who “remains worried about the continuing tensions, in particular the escalation of violence in Gaza and  Southern Israel.”

The only straight talk is from the IDF:

“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israel citizens and IDF soldiers, and will respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the State of Israel.”

Here’s where it gets really weird: this article is the mobile version.   Like a lot of people I scroll the headlines in the morning; it’s too much work to turn on the laptop.When I went to the full web page to paste the previous text, I fund a completely different, and I must say, more nuanced article, with an earlier deadline

Israel says it killed Islamic Jihad militant in airstrike

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 24, 2011 — Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/08/24/israel.violence/index.html

What is going on here?  I give up.  CNN?  I prefer Al Jazeera – at least, with the name, you know were they are coming from.