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Tarek Heggy writes at Winds of Change:

Before Second World War broke out in 1939, the Soviet Union was contained within its borders although, it had patriarchal relations with other communist movements worldwide through an organization that the Soviets established to support such movements, which was called Communist International or the Comintern.

The military defeat of Germany and Japan, created a power vacuum in the international arena after the Second World War. In Europe, the German army began withdrawing westward after it had reached the gateway to Stalingrad. Simply speaking, as the German army retreated from east to west, the Soviet army occupied the territory that they abandoned. At first the Soviet forces moved forward within their own territory then they advanced into other countries that later formed the Warsaw Pact and the Comecon and were known as the Eastern European countries or the countries beyond the Iron Curtain. Consequently, all the lands that were removed from the realm of German sovereignty became new areas of influence for the Soviet Union and its political and economical ideologies. As a result of the German retreat to the west the bloc of countries in Eastern Europe was formed and became like planets orbiting around the Soviet Union.

A similar process took place in Asia. When the Japanese army retreated from the vast territories that it had conquered outside of the Japanese home islands, communist parties in those areas took over the evacuated lands.

Although this process took place in more than one country, there are numerous examples including; Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia, the greatest and the most important case in point was that of Mao Tsetung in China. He, and after him the remnants of his communist followers, proceeded to replace the withdrawing Japanese forces and simultaneously swept away the Chinese anticommunist alternative led by Chiang Kai-shek who withdrew from the Chinese mainland and settled on the island of Formosa.

I commented on the post there:

When the Nazis and Japanese withdrew from conquered areas as WW2 drew down the resulting power vacuum led to the domination of communist parties. When the USSR left Afghanistan the Taliban took over. When the Shah of Iran fell the Khomeinistas took over Iran and Wahhabist hardliners took more power in Saudi Arabia. Also see Somalia, Gaza, Lebanon, Chechnya and Algeria. Is this the genesis of a new world war, that wherever communism or autocracy fails as a system and political islam is available, political islam will take over?

What does this promise for Egypt, Libya, Morroco, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma? What does it promise for France and Netherlands?

Heggy addresses what Muslims must do in this post. Read it all.

The follow-on question for the free, non-Muslim world is: What strategy is available for containing this pattern? There are hard questions that need to be answered after much thought. Only after these questions are answered will it be possible to define, understand, and communicate the proper strategy for the new Cold War against the Assassins.

  • Should the free world prop up failing dictators?
  • Should the free world prop up failing communist states?
  • What can the free world do to reclaim its own renegade academy and media, that reflexively sides against difficult freedom and with easy tyrrany and barbarism whenever possible?
  • What can the free world do to strengthen itself?
  • What can the free world do to weaken the appeal of political islam?
  • Should the free world attempt to weaken political Islam?
  • Should the free world attempt to weaken Islam? Is there anything in Islam uniquely worth saving?
  • What can the free world do to protect ex-Muslims from the vengeance of political Islam?

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Genocide Maps on Google Earth

Foreign Policy points to a Google Earth map for genocide in Darfur. Also see a timeline for Nazi death camps and a Google Earth map of the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

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Soudabeh Ardavan: Iranian Painter

b16_v.jpgSoudabeh Ardavan was on the Iranian left. She wanted the Shah out, believed that Khomeini was the right choice to replace him, and spent about 7 years in Iranian prisons during the 80s, beginning in 1981. She was able to emigrate from Iran, and now lives in Sweden.

From the Holy Crime website:

She was arrested at home when members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard came looking for a 17-year-old boy in her building; they told her they had a report of her taking part in a demonstration. She was blindfolded and taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

There Ardavan painted the sad faces that surrounded her, using moist tea dregs for color. Her brush was fashioned from a toothpick, strands of her own hair and string pulled from her prison garb. It was her most valuable possession in captivity, where art was her only refuge.

She related the story of four young friends who communicated by tapping on the prison walls in code. One, Sohela Darvishkohan, hanged herself because she was forced to endure five floggings a day, at each prayer time, for refusing to turn from her secular ways and become a pious Muslim. “Become a religious Muslim, or die,” the wardens told her, according to Ardavan, who depicted the three surviving women in a state of shock with tears streaming down their faces.

Find more of her story at Artists for Peace, Justice, and Civil Liberties , The Iranian, the Iranian Voice, and more at Amnesty Press (in Swedish!).

H/T: Hamid Tehrani at Global Voices

Transcript: Gingrich on Meet the Press Dec 17 2006

Read this very interesting interview from Meet the Press on December 17, 2006.

MTP Transcript for Dec. 17
Newt Gingrich, David Brooks, Tom Friedman
Updated: 12:43 p.m. CT Dec 17, 2006MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: the president explores new options for Iraq.


PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: I’m not going to be rushed into making a difficult decision.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: The tension between the First Amendment and the war on terror. And will this man, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, run for president of the United States? With us: our guest, Newt Gingrich.

Then, is there any good options for Iraq? And how will the war in Iraq affect Republicans and Democrats in the 2008 race for the White House? Insight and analysis from two columnists for The New York Times, David Brooks and Tom Friedman.

But first, for four years, he was speaker of the House of Representatives, he’s been touring the country contemplating a run for the White House, talking about American solutions. He’s with us this morning.

Newt Gingrich, welcome back.

FMR. REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): It’s good to be here.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me start with Iraq, on the minds of all Americans, and show them what you said a few weeks ago up in New Hampshire. “Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told a New Hampshire audience that unless the Bush administration admits that the war in Iraq is a ‘failure,’ it will never develop a strategy to leave the country successfully.” Why is the war a failure?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Well, the war’s a failure in part because the strategy, as I told you on this show in December of ‘03, has been wrong consistently, it’s been a strategy that was far too American. Second, it’s a, it’s a failure because the instruments of national power don’t work. And it’s important to understand we all focus on Maliki’s government. The, the Baker-Hamilton Commission reports that out of 1,000 people in the American Embassy, 33 speak Arabic, eight of them fluently. Now, at some point we have to have a national conversation about the fact that, outside of the uniform military, none of the instruments of national power work, and they need to be fundamentally overhauled. This isn’t about policy. It’s as though you wanted to go to Boston, I wanted to go to Los Angeles, and the car standing outside was broken. Doesn’t matter what our policy agreement is, the car doesn’t run.

And so I think the administration shouldn’t just focus narrowly on Iraq, they should look, first of all, at the larger war, which does include Iran, it does include North Korea, it does include al-Qaeda. And they should look second at what are the strategic changes necessary to win in Iraq? And if you have to do that, how are you going to get the job done when Treasury doesn’t work, Justice doesn’t work, State doesn’t work, intelligence doesn’t work? And this is a very severe problem for our effectiveness.
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Queer Eye for the Army Guy

Moral Clarity from Blackfive:

I agree with Shali. I don’t think it will undermine much of anything. I do have some concerns about safety issues (one reason to “Don’t Tell” or avoid looking like you “Don’t Tell”).

I disagree with repealing the policy (just) because of the political perception that we need more soldiers (um, hello, there are already gay Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, etc.). My point is that, if ending the policy is the right thing to do, then, well, it’s the right thing to do.

Exactly, discover what is right and do it because it is right. Here are some reasons why ending the policy is the right thing to do.

  • It is stupid to get rid of good soldiers because they are openly gay. The military needs to keep good soldiers.
  • Fraternization between heterosexual male and female soldiers hasn’t destroyed morale, nor will fraternization between gay soldiers.
  • Basic training already erases cultural conflicts between soldiers. There is no reason why basic training couldn’t weave another thread into the fabric.
  • “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is the only legitimate beef that universities and colleges have against military recruiters and programs. Ending the policy would sharpen debate and promote patriotism.
  • Soldiers have a get out free card. All they have to do is say “I’m gay” and they’re discharged and can get a raise from a military contractor. WFT?!

Enlisted Swine has more good reasons.

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Jailed Because of Their Religion

Tell the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch that there are some prisoners in a horrible jail in Iraq. They’ll jump up and go looking right quick. But tell them the prison is in Iran, and the US military will not guarantee their safety while they inspect the prison, and watch them sit right back down.

From Azarmehr:

My thoughts on this Christmas day today were with our jailed Iranian Christian convert compatriots and their families. They were recently arrested during their worship ceremonies in Tehran, Karaj and Rasht.

Their names:

  • Shirin Sadeq Khanjani
  • Behrooz Sadeq Khanjani
  • Hamid Reza Toloii-nia
  • Behnam Irani
  • Bahman Irani
  • Shahin Taqi-zadeh
  • Yussef Nourkhani
  • Parviz Khalaj-Zamani
  • Mohammad Beliad
  • Payman Salarvand
  • Sohrab Sayyadi

h/t: Hamid Tehrani at Global Voices

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Who has the right to criticize Islam?

Salman Rushdie gave a talk on Secular Values, Human Rights, and Islamism at the Center for Inquiry in NYC on Oct 11, 2006.

JACOBY: I think, what this seems to me to be saying, in English, is really don’t only Muslims have the right to criticize Islam?RUSHDIE: No. No. Everybody has the right to criticize everything. You know?

RUSHDIE: You don’t get a kind of get out of jail card if you happen to belong to a particular religion or club or cult. I mean I think the point about an open society is that everybody has their say. You don’t have to be anybody. Or rather you can, in fact, be anybody in order to have your opinion. The question is whether you argue your case well or badly. Nobody has to agree with me, you know. But if you’re going to give me the opportunity to have a microphone in front of me, and the chance to get up on my hind legs and talk, I may as well say what I think.

That’s pretty much at the center of it all, isn’t it?

h/t: Pajamas

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