Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Palestine - Mapping The Truth Erases A Long-running Fiction

[Published 12 January 2015]

The US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs has featured a map on its website - which both rejects and corrects the misleading use of the terms “1967 boundaries” and “1967 borders” — which have never existed in relation to any territorial subdivision between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

The map makes clear:
1. There was a 1950 armistice line that separated Israel from the Gaza Strip
2. There was a 1949 armistice line that separated Israel from the West Bank.
The use of dishonest and untruthful verbiage such as “boundaries” and “borders” has been a major factor in causing what now appears to have led to an irretrievable breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) designed to create a second Arab State in former Palestine — in addition to Jordan.

Absent from this State Department map is there any mention of these aberrant terms.

Instead the map seeks to present an honest and accurate position of the current territorial relationship that exists between Israel, the West Bank (“Judea and Samaria”) and Gaza.

PLO propaganda — aided by sloppy media journalism — have been the drivers in introducing these false and misleading terms into the political diplomatic lexicon.

This campaign of deception and media indolence can at least be traced back to October 2007 — when USA Today under a headline — “Abbas wants return to pre-1967
borders” — reported PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas telling Palestine TV:
“We have 6,205 square kilometers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We want it as it is.”

There were four “small” problems confronting Abbas — that he was not prepared to recognise - nor USA Today to question or challenge:
1. There had never been any pre-1967 borders—only the 1949 and 1950 armistice lines.

2. Those armistice lines had been agreed between Jordan, Israel and Egypt — long before the PLO came into existence in 1964.

3. The PLO in 2007 at best still only “had” about 40% of the West Bank it had obtained under the 1993 Oslo Accords. Israel “had” the other 60% - also granted under the Oslo Accords.

4. The Jews had a better legal claim to “have” at least that part of the West Bank they had lived in prior to 1949 — before being driven out by six invading armies - as well as those areas defined as State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes as stipulated by article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.
Undeterred by these roadblocks - Abbas continued making these misleading demands - with Islam On Line reporting the following statement by Abbas on 9 December 2009 under the headline — “Abbas Names 1967 Borders as Precondition for Talks”:
“We will renew negotiations if the settlements are completely halted and the 1967 borders recognized as the borders of the Palestinian state,”

The New York Times obligingly gave credence to Abbas’s claims on 19 May 2011 with a story under a banner headline “Obama sees ‘67 borders as starting point for peace talks” followed by this misleading report accompanied by a supposedly accurate map showing the “Green Line Pre-1967 border”:
“A day before the arrival in Washington of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mr. Obama declared that the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — adjusted to some degree to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank — should be the basis of a deal. While the 1967 borders have long been viewed as the foundation for a peace agreement, Mr. Obama’s formula of land swaps to compensate for disputed territory created a new benchmark for a diplomatic solution.”

Suitably emboldened with the New York Times unquestionably uttering the same nonsense as he was — Abbas sent a letter to the UN Secretary General dated 23 September 2011 applying for membership of the the UN.

Abbas—signing as “President of the State of Palestine [a non-existent legal entity—ed.], Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization”- brazenly repeated his earlier claims — this time seeking to implicate most of the international community in his fantasy.
“Furthermore, the vast majority of the international community has stood in support of our inalienable rights as a people, including to statehood, by according bilateral recognition to the State of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the number of such recognitions continues to rise with each passing day.”

Abbas was at it again in 2012—as BBC News reported him saying:
“Palestine for me is the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital. This is Palestine,”

With Abbas last week choosing the path of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in preference to resuming negotiations with Israel — he surely has succumbed to his own propaganda and sown the seeds for his own fall from grace.

He has shown himself unwilling to be bound by the procedures laid out in the Oslo Accords, the Bush Roadmap and Security Council Resolution 242 — the internationally laid down parameters under which an end to the Jewish-Arab conflict was to be negotiated and resolved.

An opportunity could now be opening for negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan - the parties to those 1949 and 1950 armistice lines — to try and transform them into lasting and permanent borders.

A little bit of intellectual honesty can go a long way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Remembering Australia's First Jihadist Attack - 1 January 2015

[Published 30 December 2014]

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs announced last March that the centenary of the Battle of Broken Hill on 1 January 2015 would not be formally commemorated by the Australian Government.

That decision will now be seen in hindsight by many as a wise one indeed — following the fallout resulting from the horrific Martin Place siege perpetrated by self-styled Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis just two weeks ago - that claimed his life and those of two innocent civilians.

However Nicholas Shakespeare has written a novella — ”Oddfellows” - based on this little known event — to be published by Random House in January - ensuring this centenary will not pass unnoticed.

Shakespeare has written a poignant article - “Outback Jihad” - in which he graphically describes what the locals call “The New Year’s Day Tragedy”:
“The tragedy was a desperate response, in the least likely spot, to a jihad announced on the other side of the world. On 11 November 1914 — 100 years ago this month — the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V, and caliph of all Muslims, who had earlier signed a treaty with Germany, declared a holy war against Great Britain and her allies, “the mortal enemies of Islam”. The Turkish sultan’s call overlooked the Christianity of his own allies in Germany and Austria-Hungary, and was virtually ignored by Muslims, save for some small-scale mutinies in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and in Broken Hill where two disaffected “Turks” decided to launch a suicide mission under a homemade Turkish flag. Their target: a train of 40 open ore wagons carrying more than 1200 holiday-makers…

At 10 am on 1 January 1915, the long and crowded train pulled away from the Broken Hill platform. It had been a town ritual since 1901: on New Year’s Day, the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, a friendly society founded to embrace education and social advancement, held a picnic 25 kilometres away at a shady creek in Silverton…
Less than ten minutes after leaving the station, the train slowed down, the driver having been warned that sand had drifted across the line. The engine stoker was standing out on the footplate when he noticed a red cloth fluttering above a white cart. His first thought: someone’s exploding defective ammunition. But he dismissed it. No one would be venturing out with a powder magazine on New Year’s Day…

... They chugged past. The driver noticed what looked like an insignia on the red cloth. What this was, he couldn’t make out. Then a breeze sprang up, the cloth unfolded, and the driver saw a yellow crescent, like a banana, and a star.

At that moment, a pair of white turbans bobbed up from the trench—dark faces, the tips of rifles—and the driver heard two gunshots. One bullet hit the sand, spitting dust against the engine. The second bullet struck the brake van, embedding itself in the woodwork…”

In the ensuing melee and mayhem that followed for the next three hours—six people (including the attackers) were killed and seven injured.

Shakespeare records:
“The two soldiers of Allah were not Turks, but British passport-holders from India’s north-west frontier, a region now divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

One was Badsha Mahomed Gül:
“Born in the mountainous Tirah region, Gül had come to Australia as a cameleer. When the camel business declined, he had worked in a silver mine until the outbreak of war, and was laid off after all contracts with the German smelters were cancelled…

Three days after the tragedy, a confession was discovered, tucked under a rock and written in a mixture of Urdu and Dari, in which, astoundingly, Gül claimed to have visited Turkey four times — and even to have enlisted in the sultan’s army…"

Gül’s accomplice was Mullah Abdullah:
”.. a disgruntled old cameleer with a limp. Aged 60, he had lived in Broken Hill for 15 years. Different skin colour, strange clothes, not Anglo-Saxon —boys laughed when he hobbled by and chased him down the street, throwing stones. He never retaliated, but several times complained to the police, who failed to act.”

Eerily reminiscent of Man Haron Monis and his numerous brushes with the legal system:
“He (Abdullah) was not trained as a priest, but he had priests in his family. In the absence of a religious leader, he had begun to take on that role in “Ghantown”, as the North Broken Hill camel camp was known.

As well as acting as imam, he served as the butcher of his community, slaughtering animals in the manner stipulated by Islamic law. The fact that he was not a member of the butchers’ union in the most unionist town in the country brought him into conflict with those who needed little excuse to treat a Pathan from north-west India as an enemy alien. The most aggressive of his persecutors was the local sanitary inspector, a short, mournful-looking Irishman called Cornelius Brosnan.”

Broken Hill’s current mayor — Winston Cuy — acknowledges there are sensitive issues in the incident such as religion and civilian deaths.
“Broken Hill will be recognising it. What are the words you use and how do you commemorate it?”

Christine Adams — Curator of the Broken Hill Sulphide St Railway and Historical Museum — provides a sensible pointer:
“We think that it needs to be treated with a certain amount of tact. It was two people, what they did was a terrible terrible thing, it wasn’t a nation”.

Islam Must Degrade And Destroy Islamic State

[Published 26 December 2014]

The impassioned plea by the father of a Jordanian F16 fighter pilot captured by Islamic State has shot down attempts by American President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to distance Islam from the Islamic State (ISIL).

Speaking to the media - the father of Islamic State’s star captive - 1st Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, - said:
“I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria: to host my son, the pilot Mu’ath, with generous hospitality. I ask God that their hearts are gathered together with love, and that he is returned to his family, wife and mother.

We are all Muslims.”

This desperate cry for mercy stands in stark contrast to what President Obama stressed at a media conference in August:
“Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”

Cameron has been equally as strident:
“We should be clear: this is not the “War on Terror”, nor is it a war of religions. It is a struggle for decency, tolerance and moderation in our modern world. It is a battle against a poisonous ideology that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim.”

Abbott was eager to support Obama and Cameron’s statements — telling a media conference during the Martin Place siege in Sydney last week:
“But the point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion.”

These Presidential and Prime Ministerial statements had followed a most explicit condemnation of Islamic State by Iyad Ameen Madani - the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — the collective voice of the Muslim world - representing 57 countries over four continents comprising 1.4 billion Muslims - the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.

As Vatican Radio reported on 25 July:
"In a statement, he [Madani] officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

Yet the simple plea of one distraught Jordanian parent pleading for his son to be set free - stressing that “we are all muslims” — will certainly sheet home the distinct unease being felt by non-muslims living in Sydney — still reeling from the Lindt Chocolat Café siege and subsequent shoot out in Martin Place killing two innocent civilians and the self-styled Islamic cleric who perpetrated the siege.

Such unease subsequently found the head of the Australian Defence League and two other people being charged over a brawl near a mosque in Sydney’s Islamic heartland—Lakemba.

The news that Sulayman Khalid, 20, was one of two men arrested on Christmas Eve as part of an ongoing counter-terrorism investigation into the alleged planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil — has only increased such unease.

As the Daily Telegraph reported:
“Khalid, also known as Abu Bakr, appeared earlier this year on SBS’s Insight wearing a jacket emblazoned with the Islamic State flag and stormed off the set when questioned about his support for IS fighters.”

France has this week also seen three supposedly “lone wolf” incidents allegedly involving “deranged” Muslim perpetrators in:
1. Nantes - when a van was driven into a crowd killing one and wounding 9 other shoppers

2. Dijon - where a man shouting “allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) injured 13 in a similar attack to that in Nantes

3. Tours - where an attacker - also yelling “allahu akbar” - was shot dead after stabbing three police officers
Meaningless OIC condemnatory statements designed to distance Islam from Islamic State are no longer sufficient.

Surely the time has come for the OIC to galvanise its member States into pledging unified Islamic military action to degrade and destroy Islamic State.

Such steps could include:
1. OIC resolving that all 57 member States join the American-led coalition of 62 States presently fighting Islamic State. Presently only 13 of those Islamic States have joined the coalition. Major Islamic States — such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria, Pakistan and Nigeria remain uncommitted.

2. Making a unified Islamic approach to the United Nations Security Council by sponsoring a resolution calling for the use of armed force by the United Nations against Islamic State under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

3. Four Islamic States — Malaysia, Nigeria, Chad and Jordan — are members of the UN Security Council and provide an effective bloc to pressure the Security Council — particularly those States exercising a veto - into taking such action.

Growing Islamoparanoia needs to be contained - if rampant Islamophobia is not allowed to run riot.

Islamic State - The Bogeyman Haunting The Lindt Chocolate Cafe

[Published 19 December 2014]

The joint press conference given by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on 16 December after the siege at the Lindt Chocolate café in Martin Place had finally ended - was particularly noteworthy for certain viewpoints expressed by Mr Abbott during that conference.

The Prime Minister - flanked by NSW Premier Mike Baird, Commissioner Colvin of the Federal Australian Police and Deputy Commissioner Burn of the New South Wales Police — made the following statement:
“It is pretty obvious that the perpetrator was a deeply disturbed individual, a long history of crime, a long history of mental instability and infatuation with extremism. It’s interesting that the ISIL death cult seems to attract people like that. I refuse to use the term Islamic State and I would strongly caution anyone, anywhere, from using that term, because that exults a movement which has nothing to do with any real religion and is a travesty of a true and just state. It is very wrong to identify the death cult that the individual concerned tried to associate himself with; it is very wrong to identify that death cult with any community or with any faith. The phrase that I like to refer to, uttered by my friend, Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, of the ISIL death cult: it’s against God, it’s against religion, it’s against humanity.”

The Prime Minister’s description of the perpetrator - self-styled Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis — failed to mention his involvement - with his partner Amirah Droudis — in a long running legal battle defending charges arising from letters sent in 2007 to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Their cases and appeals have so far progressed through eight separate court hearings and appeals in which Monis and Droudis were separately represented by two different legal teams.

Funded at enormous public expense by Australian taxpayers — the matter first reached the High Court in 2012 leaving the High Court’s six judges who heard their case split neatly down the middle 3-3.

At this High Court hearing three QC’s, Five Senior Counsel, and 10 Junior Counsel appeared for Monis and Droudis, the Queen and the State of New South Wales - with the Commonwealth, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland intervening .

The latest hearing — a second Application for removal of all the proceedings to the High Court — was heard on 12 December 2014 by the High Court - comprising his Honour Chief Justice French and his Honour Justice Gageler — who refused the applications.

The matters are listed for mention in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal again on 12 February 2015.

The opinions of these legal teams regarding Monis’s alleged mental instability and ability to give instructions and comprehend what he was being told could prove most enlightening.

The Prime Minister’s comments exhorting people not to mention the term “Islamic State” fly in the face of the unpleasant reality that has developed since Islamic State and the restoration of the Caliphate were formally declared in June and has since reportedly attracted 80 recruits to its ranks from Australia.

Prime Minister Abbott’s attempt to downplay the threat to world peace and security constituted by the actions of Islamic State — as endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolutions 2170 and 2178 — constitute a serious error of judgement.

Mr Abbott’s “death cult” views were first expressed in September this year.

At pains to “de-islamize” the Martin Place siege—the Prime Minister stated at his joint press conference:
“We are a very united society. Yes, we have amongst us a few deranged individuals who may choose to try to wrap their psychoses in a political ideology. But the point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion. It has nothing to do with any particular community. It is something to which sick individuals succumb and sick individuals exist in all communities and in all societies. This idea that ISIL is somehow spawned by any particular religion, frankly it’s probably even less true than saying that Catholicism spawned the IRA. They’re just completely separate things.”

Islam was clearly visible at the Lindt Chocolat café when Monis forced hostages to hold up a black flag that declared in Arabic script:
“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

“Islamic State” was also certainly at the forefront of his thinking.

In a video - shot while the siege was ongoing and posted to Facebook - Westpac executive and fitness business owner Marcia Mikhael relayed three requests by Monis including:
“One is for him to get an IS flag and he will release one hostage.”

New York Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism - John Miller — had no reticence in stating that the Martin Place siege had the hallmarks of Islamic State orders — telling the Daily Telegraph on December 16:
“You have to go back to September when ISIS put out the call through its official spokesman for people to attack in their own countries with what they have at hand.”

Viewing Islamic State as purely a death cult and not a well-armed and run State already occupying an area larger than England denies the reality of what this group poses.

The bogeyman in the Lindt Chocolate Café won’t go away because Australia’s Prime Minister wants to put the term “Islamic State” out of sight and out of mind.

Pope Calls On World To End Islamic State Barbarism

[Published 6 December 2014]

Pope Francis has considerably upped the ante in enlisting spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I — to sign a joint Common Declaration demanding an end to international indifference regarding Islamic State barbarism being perpetrated against religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

The Common Declaration constitutes an impassioned plea on behalf of 1.2 billion Catholics and 300 million Orthodox Christians world-wide for concerted international action to eradicate Islamic State.

Whilst two seemingly indifferent Permanent UN Security Council members - Russia and China — and another 129 member States of the UN stand on the sidelines - an American-led coalition comprising the remaining 62 UN member States has been doing the heavy lifting confronting Islamic State outside United Nations authorisation — prompting the Pope and Bartholomew to declare:
“While recognizing the efforts already being made to offer assistance to the region, at the same time, we call on all those who bear responsibility for the destiny of peoples to deepen their commitment to suffering communities, and to enable them, including the Christian ones, to remain in their native land. We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years. Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes. It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests. And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many.”

The Pope and Bartholomew have demanded this shocking state of affairs be met by:
“an appropriate response on the part of the international community.”

No nation should shirk from its duty to eradicate the threat Islamic State poses to the breakdown of world peace and security.
“The grave challenges facing the world in the present situation require the solidarity of all people of good will,”

Islamic State needed to be confronted by Muslims and Christians together:
“Inspired by common values and strengthened by genuine fraternal sentiments, Muslims and Christians are called to work together for the sake of justice, peace and respect for the dignity and rights of every person, especially in those regions where they once lived for centuries in peaceful coexistence and now tragically suffer together the horrors of war”

In a further pointed criticism of Russia — the Declaration stated:
“We also remember all the people who experience the sufferings of war. In particular, we pray for peace in Ukraine, a country of ancient Christian tradition, while we call upon all parties involved to pursue the path of dialogue and of respect for international law in order to bring an end to the conflict and allow all Ukrainians to live in harmony.”

The grim situation facing Christians in Iraq has been confirmed in a video released on the Orthodox Christian Network by Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad.

Canon White — who was ordered to leave Iraq for his own safety by the Archbishop of Canterbury — speaks movingly of the plight of Christians there. Around 250,000 have been displaced by Islamic State in the north of the country - all that remained from the 1,500,000-strong Christian population.

He said:
“Things were bad in Baghdad, there were bombs and shootings and our people were being killed, so many of our people fled back to Nineveh, their traditional home. It was safer, but then one day, ISIS — Islamic State. They came in and they hounded all of them out. They killed huge numbers, they chopped their children in half, they chopped their heads off, and they moved north and it was so terrible what happened.”

Islamic State forced Christians to convert to Islam on pain of death—Canon White added.

He told of the fate of a group of Christian young people:
“Islamic State turned up and said to the children, you say the words that you will follow Mohammed. The children, all under 15, four of them, said no, we love Yesua, we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us. They said, ‘Say the words.’ They said, ‘No, we can’t.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.”

Meanwhile US Secretary of State — John Kerry — was depressingly telling a meeting of the US led coalition that the limited military action being undertaken against Islamic State could see the Coalition’s commitment being:
“measured most likely in years…”

Kerry however left no doubt on the Coalition’s mission:
“Our coalition does not summon hate, but rather the courage to build a future that is based on shared interests, shared values, and a shared faith in one another.That contrast in goals marks the dividing line between barbarism and civilization, and it explains both why we dare not fail and why we will succeed.”

The dividing lines have been drawn - demanding that every member state of the United Nations declares on which side it stands and what it will contribute towards eliminating Islamic State.

The international community needs to shed its present indifference and unanimously take up the call of the Pope and Bartholomew to put an end to the horrors represented by the Islamic State and those who are flocking to fight under its flag.

Time to end this reprehensible international indifference — and time to stop crying.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Islamic State - Pope Calls For International Consensus

[Published 28 November 2014]

Pope Francis has made public his thoughts on the action necessary to counter Islamic State.

Speaking to Vatican Radio after his return from a visit to the EU parliament in Strasburg, he said:
“I never say all is lost, never. Maybe there cannot be a dialogue but you can never shut a door. It is difficult, one could say almost impossible, but the door is always open.”

Responding to a question about whether or not it would be possible to communicate with rather than fight the militants, the Pope said:
“I repeat what I have said: when you want to stop an unjust oppressor, you must do so with international consensus.”

Since dialogue is realistically impossible — only an international consensus expressed in a Security Council resolution under Chapter V11 of the United Nations Charter can achieve the Pope’s clearly enunciated position.

So far two Security Council Resolutions have been passed — Resolution 2170 adopted on 15 August and Resolution 2178 adopted on 24 September

These two Resolutions were passed under the provisions of Article 41 of the UN Charter:
"The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

Neither Resolution has acted as a brake to stop Islamic State in its tracks — let alone bring about its downfall.

An American led coalition has undertaken military intervention in Syria and Iraq to degrade and destroy Islamic State but its objectives have not succeeded by any stretch of the imagination.

The State Department has announced that over 60 coalition partners have committed themselves to the goals of eliminating the threat posed by Islamic State and had already contributed in various capacities to the effort to combat Islamic State in Iraq, the region and beyond.

The State Department outlined five areas of possible involvement by coalition members as formulated by Secretary of State John Kerry and recently resigned Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel:
1. Providing military support ;
2. Impeding the flow of foreign fighters;
3. Stopping Islamic State financing and funding;
4. Addressing humanitarian crises in the region; and
5. Exposing Islamic State’s true nature.

Not all coalition partners have participated in the countless aerial bombing attacks on Islamic State forces.

As at 6 November Australian fighter jets had flown 144 missions against Islamic State and dropped twenty-five 500-pound laser and GPS-guided bombs on 14 ISIL targets, with 11 destroyed and three damaged.

Belgium, France, Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom have also been involved in aerial strikes against Islamic State fighters.

However the two notable omissions from this international coalition ranged against Islamic State are China and Russia — both members of the Security Council holding the power to veto any stronger action by the Security Council up to now.

Such action is becoming increasingly urgent as an unknown number of foreign fighters flock to join Islamic State and a pledge of allegiance has been made by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis— a Jihadi based organisation based in the Sinai Peninsula.

Islamic State head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared on November 10:
“We announce to you the expansion of the Islamic State to new countries, to the countries of the Haramayn [Saudi Arabia], Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Algeria,”

Baghdadi claimed them as new provinces under Islamic State.

This may indeed be all propaganda — but the Pope has clearly shown his concern.

The only real basis for international consensus rests on the Security Council passing a resolution under Article 42 of the UN Charter:
"Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations."

A Papal plea made directly to China and Russia to join in drafting a resolution under Section 42 could just prove to be the catalyst to persuade these two recalcitrant nations into authorizing military action under the United Nations Charter against Islamic State.

Having supported Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2178 — China and Russia now need to go that extra mile to defeat what they have already declared to be a grave threat to international peace and security.

Russia’s President Putin has a chance to come in out of the cold caused by his growing international isolation over Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. China would enhance its international reputation enormously by acceding to the Pope’s request.

A Papal miracle is within reach.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Islamic State : APEC A Fizzer - G20 Promises No Better

[Published 13 November 2014]

The 2014 APEC Conference in Beijing this past week has been and gone and the G20 Conference is taking place in Brisbane this weekend.

If the APEC Conference is any guide the world leaders assembled in Australia will have little to say about the meteoric rise of Islamic State (IS) over the past six months and the threat to world peace and security Islamic State poses.

Expectations were high that Islamic State would be discussed at the APEC Conference.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key declared before the meeting:
“It’s very hard to believe that leaders won’t spend a lot of time talking about that [Islamic State].

And if you think about risks to the global economy, certainly one of the risks is that there’s a very, very significant meltdown of the situation in the Middle East. And if you saw that then the economic risks to the world are very significant.”

Two days later at meeting’s end he was singing a different song admitting that:
“discussions about IS played just a small part in the APEC talks, with leaders focused on progressing two significant free trade deals.”

Key however revealed he had had a conversation on IS with US President Barack Obama “on the sidelines” of the conference—telling reporters:
“He is very much in agreement with me that ultimately the real issue here is one of diplomacy.”

He said Mr Obama was quite confident about the capacity of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to reach out to Sunnis and be much more inclusive.

“I think him and I are very much on the same page - that you need some military capability and clearly need to try and control and rein in Isis but on the other side of the coin if you are really looking for a long term solution, it has got to come from people feeling as though they are part of the long-term solution to Iraq.”

If Obama’s sentiments have been accurately reported by Key - then the US President has changed tack for the third time in four weeks going from initially planning to “degrade and destroy” IS to “disrupting and delaying” IS and now planning “to try and control and rein in” IS.

How one can ever possibly deal with Islamic State diplomatically was not revealed.

Meanwhile Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was able to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry when they reportedly discussed a timeframe in combating Islamic State - as well as the work Australian Special Forces would be undertaking in combating IS in Iraq.

In her usual and frank manner Bishop made no bones of the difficult task ahead:
“I don’t think anybody was under any illusions that this would be easy. IS is well funded, well resourced, with apparently 16,000 fighters or more from 80 different countries. When you are dealing with an ideology, it’s very hard to know what a complete mission would look like.

It will take time, it will take effort from a number of countries.”

No doubt Bishop would have been very concerned to hear the evidence given today by Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan to a Parliamentary Committee examining new counter-terrorism legislation - known as the Foreign Fighters Bill.

Gaughan told the committee Australia’s control order regime needed to be overhauled with a lower threshold for evidence - so police can catch terror suspects. More Australians had managed to slip out of the country to join Islamic State fighters.
“I think what we’re missing is the ability to stop people — the enablers and the supporters. We haven’t got anything there We got wind of it after the fact but the fact is there are still people travelling. And regardless of what we’re doing, we’re not stopping that, so we need some other tools."

Gaughan reportedly said greater powers were needed to stop those facilitating and supporting home-grown extremists.
“There are, I would say, a handful of facilitation groups operating up and down the east coast [of Australia] that at the moment are just far enough away from law enforcement that we can’t arrest them”.

The APEC Leaders Communique managed to mention the word “terrorism” just once:
“We commit to jointly tackle pandemic diseases, terrorism, natural disasters, climate change and other global challenges.”

The Communique showed more concern for wildlife than for human life being shed each day in the bloodbath that has become Syria and Iraq and threatens to spill over into surrounding countries:
“We commit to continue our efforts in combating wildlife trafficking. We will take steps to combat wildlife trafficking by enhancing international cooperation through Wildlife Enforcement Networks (WENs) and other existing mechanisms, reducing the supply of and demand for illegally traded wildlife, increasing public awareness and education related to wildlife trafficking and its impacts, and treating wildlife trafficking crimes seriously.”

Can one dare hope Obama and Putin might come together in Brisbane and agree on the terms of a Resolution to be put to the UN Security Council to confront Islamic State — which by its ongoing conquest of land and its inhabitants is threatening to make a mockery of every economic decision and prediction set to be taken and trumpeted at the G20?

Hopefully the Beijing babble will give way to serious business in Brisbane.

Palestine - Obama Confronts Embarrassing About-Face

[Published 7 November 2014]

The Republican Party’s stunning victory in the American mid-term elections offers real hope that President Obama will now be held to honouring the written commitments made to Israel by President George W Bush in his exchange of letters with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 12 April 2004 — as overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407-9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95-3 the next day.

Those commitments were made in support of Israel’s decision to unilaterally disengage from Gaza — which Israel duly honoured in 2005—when the Israeli Army and 8000 Israeli civilians left Gaza — many after living there for almost forty years.

That withdrawal brought Hamas to power in Gaza’s one and only election - which has since seen three wars, thousands of deaths and casualties, property destruction running into billions of dollars and 11000 rockets being indiscriminately fired into Israeli civilian population centres.

Bush’s Congress-endorsed commitments assured Israel that the United States:

1. Would do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan other than the Roadmap envisioned by President Bush on 24 June 2002.

2. Reiterated America’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders,

3. Was strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.

4. Understood that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.

5. Accepted as part of a final peace settlement that Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.

6. Acknowledged that in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it would be unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, that all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution had reached the same conclusion

Commitments jointly made by an American President and endorsed by an American Congress cannot be unilaterally revoked

President Obama and his administration sought to circumvent these clearly stated American pledges — thereby encouraging continuing Arab rejectionism of Israeli peace overtures whilst souring the American—Israeli longstanding relationship.

Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly took the first steps to repudiate these commitments on 6 June 2009:
“Since coming to office in January, President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Israel to halt all settlement activity in Palestinian areas, a demand rejected by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israelis say they received commitments from the previous US administration of President George W. Bush permitting some growth in existing settlements.

They say the US position was laid out in a 2004 letter from Bush to then Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon."

Clinton rejected that claim, saying any such US stance was informal and:
“did not become part of the official position of the United States government.”

Clinton — doubling as Obama’s attack dog — made Obama’s intentions clear — when she stated on 25 November 2009
“We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

This blatant disregard for Bush’s written commitments - which had never mentioned land swaps -signalled trouble for Israel - if Obama ever confirmed Clinton’s statements.

Eighteen months later Israel’s worst fears were realised when President Obama declared on 19 May 2011:
“The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

Israel’s curt response came the same day:

Mr. Netanyahu said in a pointed statement just before boarding a plane to Washington that while he appreciated Mr. Obama’s commitment to peace, he:
“expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of American commitments made to Israel in 2004 which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress”

Prior to Obama’s statement U.S. presidents generally had steered clear of saying any negotiations should start on the 1967 lines.
1. “It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders.” — President Lyndon Johnson, September 1968

2. “In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest point. the bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.” — President Ronald Reagan, September 1, 1982

3. “Israel will never negotiate from or return to the 1967 borders.” — Secretary of State George Shultz, September 1988

These Presidential statements were reiterating the personally expressed policy positions of those then Presidents.

Bush’s commitments — so overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress — are in an entirely different league.

With the Republicans now firmly back in control of both Houses — the President and Congress need to assure Israel — and indeed every other nation — that commitments jointly made by an American President and endorsed by an American Congress cannot be unilaterally revoked.

America’s honour and credibility — and any hope of ending the Jewish-Arab conflict — demand this happens very soon.

Palestine Wallows With Sweden In Ikea La-La-Land

[Published 2 November 2014]

Sweden Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s announcement on 30 October that Sweden has recognized the State of Palestine elicited a response from Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman that will surely go down as one of the most memorable diplomatic quotes of 2014:
“It is too bad that the government of Sweden has chosen to adopt the measure that does a lot of damage and has no benefits. Sweden must understand that relations in the Middle East are much more complicated than self-assembly furniture at Ikea”

Ms Wallstrom’s reasons for justifying Sweden’s incredible decision were:
“The Government considers that the international law criteria for the recognition of the State of Palestine have been satisfied.

There is a territory, albeit with non-defined borders. There is also a population. And there is a government with the capacity for internal and external control….

The Government’s assessment that the international law criteria have been fulfilled is shared by international law experts, including Professor Ove Bring, Professor Said Mahmoudi and Professor P Wrange, who recently wrote an opinion piece on this subject in Dagens Nyheter (20 October).”

It seems inconceivable that Professor Bring, Professor Mahmoudi and Professor Wrange could have reached the conclusions attributed to them by Ms Wallstroms.

Hopefully someone conversant in the Swedish language might be kind enough to post a translation in English to verify what they actually wrote.

Sweden is sending a clear signal that masks an underlying and sinister racist and apartheid attitude

Certainly Ms Wallstrom’s assertion that the international criteria for recognition of the State of Palestine have been satisfied — are rebutted by the clear terms of article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1934—which expressly provide:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:

a) a permanent population;

b) a defined territory;

c) government; and

d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Failure to even mention that there must be a permanent population before Sweden can possibly begin the diplomatic process of recognising the State of Palestine indicates the incredulity that Ms Wallstrom’s announcement has produced.

Sweden is sending a clear signal that masks an underlying and sinister racist and apartheid attitude — that Jews presently living in the West Bank have no right to expect to continue living there as part of the State of Palestine’s permanent population.

The fact that Jews have lived, died and been buried in the West Bank since Biblical times with the exception of a 19 year period between 1948-1967 seems to be strangely absent from Sweden’s current thinking.

The fact that international law — Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter — authorises and legalises close settlement by Jews on West Bank land —including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes — while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced —seems to have passed under Sweden’s radar and that of the panel of its international law experts.

Equally as incredible is the fact that Sweden considers that the legal requirements for a State can be met in an undefined area with non-defined boundaries.

Effective control of territory is required — boundaries are not and have never been a necessary legal prerequisite.

Sweden is of course entitled to do whatever it likes in pursuit of its perceived national interests — no matter how inept and incompetent its decisions might be.

However having apparently done so on its total misconception and misinterpretation of international law surely should give Sweden cause for second thought.

Ironically any such reconsideration now has its own problems in international law — since article 6 of the Montevideo Convention further provides:
“The recognition of a state merely signifies that the state which recognizes it accepts the personality of the other with all the rights and duties determined by international law. Recognition is unconditional and irrevocable.”

Among Sweden’s well-known exports are the “do-it yourself” furniture and home product construction kits emanating from Ikea — which proudly states on its website:
“We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet.”
If the Swedish Government thought its decision to recognise the State of Palestine would have a similar effect — then it has been gravely mistaken.

How Sweden builds relations with the State of Palestine - whilst missing pieces integral to its construction prevent it becoming a functioning entity Sweden can conduct meaningful diplomatic relations with - remains to be seen.

Perhaps Sweden should have heeded another successful Swedish export — Abba - whose “Waterloo” lyrics will surely resonate to Sweden’s future embarrassment:
“My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself”

Ignoring history by attempting to unilaterally recognize a second Arab State in former Palestine for the first time ever in recorded history — in addition to Jordan — whilst
1. the PLO Covenant

2. the Hamas Charter and

3. the declared intentions of the Islamic State

oppose that solution — is a certain recipe for disaster.

Ms Wallstroms further declared:
“In 2009 EU Member States reiterated their readiness to recognise a Palestinian State, when appropriate. We are now ready to lead the way.“
EU member States tempted to follow Sweden into this political quagmire based on a reading of international law lacking any credibility whatsoever will only exacerbate the Arab-Jewish conflict — not resolve it.

Sweden has now become stuck with a fictitious and non-existent State of Palestine wallowing in an Ikea la-la-land.


I have now been supplied with an English translation of the opinion piece written by three law professors on 20 October upon which Sweden’s Foreign Minister relied when claiming that the international law criteria for the recognition of the State of Palestine had been satisfied.

As I suspected when I wrote my article - the three professors do not maintain that those international criteria have been satisfied.

They never could have - if they were to retain any shred of professional credibility.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister has some answering to do in explaining why she tried to hide behind the opinions of these three law professors who never said what she claimed.

The three professors indeed argue that those criteria have been replaced by a new controversial and questionable principle they call the “legality principle” to justify the right of Sweden to recognize the State of Palestine under international law.

The three professors espousal of the applicability of the “legality principle” is not worth the paper it is written on since it fails to consider article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

UN General Assembly Resolutions they mention to support their claim have no legal binding effect and the 2004 decision of the International Court of Justice is similarly an advisory non- binding opinion only.

Justice El-Araby (now ironically Secretary General of the Arab League) warned his fellow judges:
“The international legal status of the Palestinian Territory (paras. 70-71 of the Advisory Opinion), in my view, merits more comprehensive treatment. A historical survey is relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly, for it serves as the background to understanding the legal status of the Palestinian Territory on the one hand and underlines the special and continuing responsibility of the General Assembly on the other. This may appear as academic, without relevance to the present events. The present is however determined by the accumulation of past events and no reasonable and fair concern for the future can possibly disregard a firm grasp of past events. In particular, when on more than one occasion, the rule of law was consistently side-stepped. The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date, is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain.”

The three professors are trying to sweep the 1922 League of Nations Mandate (and the 1920 San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres that led to the Mandate) under the carpet - as well as the 1937 Peel Commission Report and the 1947 UN Partition proposals.

There is a myriad of international law legally sanctioning the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in what is today called the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Sweden can do as it likes - as I stated in my article - but perverting international law on the way should be exposed at every opportunity.

Trying to hide behind the veil of “international law” to justify Sweden’s decision without fully examining the facts and the applicable law is disgraceful.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Skirt-fronting Putin Can Help Eradicate Islamic State Crisis

[Published 22 October 2014]

The possibility of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott shirt-fronting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Brisbane next month over the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Ukrainian sovereign territory with the loss of all on board - including 38 Australians - has receded following Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s 25 minute meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Asian Europe Summit held in Milan this week.

Abbott had vowed:
“I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin. I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered. There’ll be a lot of tough conversations with Russia and I suspect the conversation I have with Mr Putin will be the toughest conversation of all.”

“Shirtfront” is an Australian slang term used in Australian Rules football to describe;
”a head-on charge aimed at bumping an opponent to the ground”

ABC News reported on Bishop’s meeting with Putin:
“The Foreign Minister said she received assurances from Mr Putin that he would help facilitate access to the crash site for international investigators but could not confirm a timeframe in which the Russian president would act.

“I had a very detailed discussion with him. I expressed our concerns about the Malaysia Airlines crash. He said that he would seek to respond to my request by asking the separatists to provide that access.

I announced to the gathered world leaders that I’d had a conversation with President Putin and that he had been most cooperative and had responded very constructively to my request that Russia use its influence to ensure that the independent investigators can have access to the crash site of MH17.”

Hopefully such access will have occurred well before the G20 leaders meet.

Putin however should not believe he will have a trouble free ride in sunny and welcoming Brisbane.

Australia punches well above its weight and is a member of the American-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) in Iraq — whilst carefully avoiding confronting IS in neighbouring Syria.

Australia - also currently a member of the United Nations Security Council - should be increasingly concerned at the lack of a specific Security Council Resolution authorising the use of force against IS.

Bishop was alerted to Iraq’s frustrations with the Security Council - when Iraqi Foreign Minister Al-Ja’afari stated at a joint press conference with Bishop in Baghdad on 18 October:
“We have requested assistance with air strikes, logistic preparations, and the provision of intelligence information from the Head of UN Security Council and all the member countries. We also asked for their help with humanitarian assistance for 100,000 people who have been internally displaced from Mosul and other areas in Iraq. We have asked a number of countries to help us in rebuilding infrastructure, especially in Mosul…

...The clear message we send to the Head of the UN Security Council was that any country that wants to work with us needs to coordinate and communicate closely with the relevant authorities. The main points we have mentioned in our letter to the Head of the UN Security Council and to coalition member countries and non-member countries such as China and Iran are that they must avoid striking civilian targets and residential areas. China and Iran have offered to help Iraq. China is not a member of the coalition. We will work with any countries that want to help and assist Iraq even if they are not members of the coalition”

The idea that China and Iran should offer any help to Iraq outside the American—led coalition — which itself is operating without Security Council authorisation — seems a recipe for disaster.

Only a UN Security Council mandated force—backed by Russia-can degrade and destroy IS and end what has become a crisis of increasing international concern.

Putin - from his perspective - needs to ensure that the passage of any such Security Council resolution does not result in Syria’s President Assad being removed from power.

Russian and Iranian national interests in Syria dictate that Assad remains in power - whilst his American-supported opponents attempt to overthrow him in a conflict that has raged for more than three years and seen over 200000 deaths and three million refugees - with no end in sight.

Putin has previously supported a Security Council resolution that removed a common threat to both American and Russian interests — Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal — whilst leaving Assad untouched.

The looming threat that battle-hardened Chechens fighting for IS represent for Russia is made chillingly clear in this report:
“When the Islamic State commander known as “Omar the Chechen” called to tell his father they’d routed the Iraqi army and taken the city of Mosul, he added a stark message: Russia would be next.

“He said ‘don’t worry dad, I’ll come home and show the Russians,’” Temur Batirashvili said from his home in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, on the border with the Russian region of Chechnya. “I have many thousands following me now and I’ll get more. We’ll have our revenge against Russia.”

Iran’s Shiite population has no illusions about the threat the Sunni ideologically-based Islamic State poses.

America and Russia face that same common threat.

Ms Bishop—meeting Putin again in Brisbane on the sidelines of the G20 Summit - could be the catalyst persuading Putin to back a Security Council resolution to eradicate the Islamic State.

“Skirt-fronting” could well become the new buzz word in international diplomacy.