Monday, July 31, 2006

LA PETITE PHRASE QUI VA BIEN

L'obscure lubie des objecteurs de croissance
[Le Monde 29 juillet 2006]

Au-delà des grands classiques - protection sociale, flexibilité du marché du travail, chômage des jeunes, dette publique -, un thème économique inédit pourrait émerger lors de la campagne présidentielle. Celui de la décroissance, doctrine en vogue. L'économie, nous dit-elle, a besoin, pour croître, de ressources énergétiques. Or, celles-ci étant limitées, la croissance est un non-sens. Il faut de toute urgence opter pour la décroissance économique, seule voie pour sauver la planète de la folie des hommes.

"Chacun comprend qu'une croissance infinie est matériellement impossible dans un monde fini", affirme dans son programme le Parti de la décroissance, né en avril 2006, et qui organise, cet été, plusieurs marches prosélytiques. Car il s'agit de remettre dans le droit chemin les pauvres pécheurs consommateurs. "La décroissance est d'abord une désintoxication, une désaliénation, un désencombrement."

Les objecteurs de croissance, comme ils aiment à se surnommer, bénéficient de la puissance médiatique de quelques-uns d'entre eux, comme José Bové, Yves Cochet, Nicolas Hulot ou Hubert Reeves. Ils profitent aussi de la perte de vitesse, chez les altermondialistes, du combat contre le libéralisme, moins mobilisateur depuis que ce dernier n'est plus incarné par les Etats-Unis mais par des pays émergents comme la Chine, l'Inde ou le Brésil.

Apparemment d'une grande simplicité, le concept de décroissance repose en réalité sur des fondations philosophico-scientifiques complexes, voire obscures. "Nous analysons l'économie comme un système de transformation de matière et d'énergie régi par les lois de la physique, et non comme une machine à mouvement perpétuel conduite par des forces exogènes, avec la monnaie pour unique médium", explique un de ses maîtres à penser, Robert Ayres, qui préconise de mesurer production et échanges en joules plutôt qu'en dollars.

Les "décroissants" se proclament humanistes, mais ils ne croient pas en l'homme. Leur pessimisme leur fait dire que l'humanité ne sera pas assez inventive pour trouver des énergies de substitution au pétrole ni assez raisonnable pour éviter un désastre écologique. Mais ils laissent à son sort le milliard d'êtres humains qui vit avec moins de 1 dollar par jour.
Si les économistes ne croient plus à l'idée, dominante dans les années 1960, selon laquelle une croissance forte est une condition suffisante pour vaincre la pauvreté, ils s'accordent en revanche pour dire que la progression du PIB est une condition nécessaire. "Il est impossible de faire reculer la pauvreté s'il n'y a pas de croissance économique", résume Humberto Lopez, coauteur du rapport de la Banque mondiale "Poverty Reduction and Growth : Virtuous and Vicious Circles". "Une politique de réduction de la pauvreté sans croissance n'est pas viable, ajoute l'économiste Pierre Jacquet. Pour produire des biens publics et promouvoir des objectifs sociaux, il faut un flux de ressources nouvelles, et donc de la croissance."

En Chine, le nombre de personnes très pauvres est passé, grâce au boom économique, de 377 millions en 1990 à 173 millions en 2003. Selon certaines simulations, l'extrême pauvreté y sera éradiquée dans quinze ans si le PIB continue à progresser au même rythme. Le scénario catastrophe par excellence pour les objecteurs de croissance.

Au-delà des préoccupations écologiques légitimes qui sont les siennes, il faut prendre la doctrine de la décroissance pour ce qu'elle est, une théorie élaborée par des individus habitant des sociétés prospères. Une lubie de gosses de riches parfaitement égoïstes. Mais cela va généralement ensemble.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

TROU DU CUL DE LA SEMAINE

Il s'agit, bien evidemment, d'un islamiste (Qui et quoi d'autre?) prouvant s'il est encore besoin la grande ouverture d'esprit de ces encules et ce a propos de Nadine Chandrawinata, Miss Indonesie et participante a Miss Univers :

"Her vulgar appearance at Miss Universe is an insult to Indonesian women"
Statement from Islamic Defenders Front, an Indonesian militant Islamic group, who filed a police report against Indonesia's Miss Universe candidate Nadine Chandrawinata accusing her of indecency. Miss Puerto Rico won the competition


Spotlight on Indonesia's Islamic schools

BBC NEWS World Edition

.... Sharia law

Umi would like Indonesia to adopt Sharia law because she says its strict rules would allow everyone to live in peace. "There would be no more rape or killing," she said.
Her friend Restifan agreed. "If we live our lives the correct way we can be an example to others," she added. But outside Darunnajah pesantren, not everyone was prepared to be patient.

One such person was Saleh Mahmud Nasution, a member of the youth wing of the Islamic Defenders Front (IDF), a hardline group which used to send gangs to smash up bars selling alcohol, but more recently encouraged volunteers to go to fight a jihad against American forces in Iraq.

Saleh is only 20 years old, but he is already a regular on the preaching circuit, espousing the message of direct action he has learned from his elders.
"Even the prophet Mohammed fought in more than 20 wars because he saw that there was no other way," he said.

Salahudin Wahid, a moderate Muslim leader, said radical groups may be attractive to young men because they offer a sense of purpose.
"First they feel there is great injustice in the world. They see the West dominating developing countries, and many of those developing countries are Muslim. So they get the idea that they are fighting a new kind of imperialism*.

"It is partly a romantic notion, but some of these extremist groups also offer money and training to young people who see no other future for themselves," he said.
Saleh, of the Islamic Defenders Front, certainly believes himself to be on a mission.
He is studying Islamic politics at university and wants to dedicate his life to fighting for the introduction of Sharia law in Indonesia.
He said he respected people like the convicted Bali bomber, Amrozi. "Indonesia needs more people like Amrozi, people who are prepared to sacrifice themselves for their religion," he said.
Saleh said he would not want to carry out a bombing himself, but in all likelihood there are others who would be prepared to cross that line.

The challenge facing Indonesia's leaders, political and religious, is to prevent that happening.

*L'Islamisme, nouveau vecteur de la revolution proletarienne ? Pas etonnant que les gauchos baisent le cul des barbus autant qu'ils le peuvent. J' etais pourtant persuade que:

"De toutes ces idéologies, la moins importante est la religion. Comme elle représente l’écorce desséchée d’un système d’idées reflétant les conditions d’un passé lointain, elle n’a plus qu’un semblant de pouvoir à l’abri duquel se réfugient tous ceux qui sont effrayés par le développement capitaliste"

(Le texte entier ICI)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

HEZBOLLAH UNPLUGGED

Hezbollah: Party Of Cowards

Global War On Terror: After the standard condemnation of Israel for defending itself, the U.N. humanitarian chief rightly attacked Hezbollah for its "cowardly blending" among civilians. Where have we seen this before?

Speaking to reporters at Cyprus' Larnaca Airport on Monday after a visit to Lebanon to coordinate international relief efforts, Jan Egeland issued the standard denunciation of Israel for using "disproportionate" force and for violating "international humanitarian law."

But he said something else, something that indicates that even the East River elites are beginning to recognize the calling card of terrorists — the use of civilians and even entire nations as human shields.

"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending . . . among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians who bore the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."

Members of Hezbollah, like the terrorist groups in Iraq, do not follow the rules of war. They do not wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from the civilian population. They routinely store their weapons in civilian homes and fire them from civilian neighborhoods. Then they scurry back to their hiding places.

Like the Nazi V-1 and V-2 rockets of World War II, Hezbollah's rockets and missiles are not aimed at military targets, but at the heart of cities and towns. They and their warheads are designed to indiscriminately kill and maim civilians.

As Middle East expert Kenneth Timmerman notes on Newsmax.com, the Katyusha rockets Hezbollah is raining down on northern Israeli towns, including the port city of Haifa, are different from the ones that the Soviets fired during World War II. Those carried standard explosive warheads.

Hezbollah's Syrian-made 220 mm version is stuffed with 40,000 ball bearings packed into a warhead containing 88 pounds of explosives. A longer-range version, the Chinese-made Raed, has also been supplied to Hezbollah by Iran.

The bearings are expelled at lethal velocity when the missile hits its target. Anyone within a 50-yard radius will be seriously wounded or maimed.

"This kind of rocket gives no one a chance," said Haifa's police chief, Nir Meriash. "I found a woman lying in the street with one of her legs beside her, detached from her body."

At least a half-dozen of the larger Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets have hit the Haifa area, including the deadly July 16 strike that killed eight railway workers in a train maintenance depot. These carry a 100-pound warhead and, according to Meriash, "are meant to kill civilians."

Hezbollah is no different from the car bombers in Iraq, those who blew themselves up at weddings in Jordan, who bombed Bombay, Madrid and London, or who attacked us on 9-11. They just wreak their carnage at longer range.

Then again, they may be worse, for in addition to targeting civilians indiscriminately, they also use civilians, their homes and their neighborhoods to hide behind.

Civilians are casualties in every war, but arguably the Israelis are at least trying to hit military targets or the infrastructure that supports Hezbollah.

The problem is that Hezbollah has woven itself into the very fabric of Lebanon, masquerading as a political party much as the Nazis did in Germany. The terrorists have in fact converted an entire nation into a human shield.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ANY QU...WHATEVER !

Inquiétudes autour de la menace islamiste
[Le Figaro 25 juillet 2006]

Attentats de Bombay et guerre au Liban : le renseignement français craint les répercussions des tensions internationales.

LA GUERRE au Liban et les risques de radicalisation qu'elle entraîne, les attentats meurtriers de Bombay le 11 juillet… la menace terroriste pèse sur l'été. Réunissant plusieurs ministres (Défense, Intérieur, Affaires étrangères, Économie...) le 18 juillet sous la présidence du premier ministre, le comité interministériel du renseignement a évoqué le Hezbollah.
Les RG, la DST et la DGSE s'inquiètent surtout des réactions des terroristes se réclamant d'al-Qaida. Et ce d'autant plus que la menace islamiste, divisée en trois grandes catégories, est chaque jour plus complexe mais se retrouve autour d'un point commun : le brasier irakien.

Première menace : l'apparition de jeunes terroristes isolés. Pour les services de renseignement, ils constituent une nouveauté particulièrement inquiétante. Âgés d'une vingtaine d'années, une poignée de jeunes Français se radicalisent rapidement et partent pour l'Irak, souvent via le Maghreb, seul ou avec des proches. Le tout sans aucun lien avec d'anciens réseaux terroristes ou des filières un tant soit peu organisées. Certains ont été repérés et suivis à la trace. Avec, à la clé, une question angoissante : certains de ces routards quasiment indétectables sont-ils passés à travers les mailles du filet ?

Deuxième menace : le développement de filières organisées vers l'Irak. Peu sophistiqués dans un premier temps, les réseaux d'acheminement de volontaires vers l'Irak se sont peu à peu professionnalisés. De nombreuses filières ont été découvertes depuis dix-huit mois. Selon les services français, les djihadistes irakiens souhaitent aujourd'hui accueillir des volontaires déjà aguerris. Ces derniers effectuent d'abord des séjours dans des zones d'entraînement comme le Maghreb ou le Sahara, le Proche-Orient ou peut-être bientôt l'Afghanistan. Une fois formés, ils partent pour le djihad. Le chiffre officiel d'une dizaine de Français en Irak est probablement inférieur à la réalité. Comme est sous-évalué le nombre de ces volontaires rentrés en France ou en Europe.

Troisième menace : la renaissance des réseaux de soutien au terrorisme algérien. L'exemple le plus frappant est le réseau créé en 2004-2005 par l'islamiste Safé Bourada, après avoir purgé une peine de prison pour son rôle dans les attentats de 1995. Détail intéressant : le réseau Bourada avait des contacts en Irak et au Liban. Il était surtout lié au Groupe salafiste pour la prédication et le combat algérien (GSPC), créé en 1998. Le GSPC a multiplié les déclarations hostiles à la France et il peut compter sur plusieurs dizaines de soutiens. Des membres présumés du groupe sont d'ailleurs régulièrement interpellés dans l'Hexagone mais aussi ailleurs en Europe, comme en Italie la semaine dernière. Des camps d'entraînement viennent d'être découverts au Mali. Bénéficiant de la «concorde nationale» décrétée en Algérie, certains de ses membres pourraient bien décider de s'en prendre à l'ancien colonisateur.
WELL.......ANY QUESTIONS ???

No women aid workers in Pakistan quake area: clerics
[www.reuters.com july 25 2006]

MANSEHRA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Muslim clerics in Pakistan's conservative North West Frontier Province want local authorities to expel all women working for international relief agencies in earthquake affected areas by the end of this month.
The clerics accuse the women, including Pakistanis employed by foreign non-government organizations (NGOs), of dressing improperly, mixing with men and drinking alcohol, which is banned in Islamic Pakistan.


"We are not against the NGOs, but we are against them spreading obscenity in society and trying to weaken our faith by corrupting our women," Moazzam Ali Shah, head of Tehreek-e-Islaha Muashra, or Movement to Cleanse Society, told Reuters in Mansehra town.
The clerics have not said what action they might take if the women aid workers are not asked to leave.

More than 50 international NGOs are based in Mansehra carrying out relief and rehabilitation projects for the victims of a massive earthquake that killed over 73,000 people and rendered millions homeless in Pakistan's Kashmir and Frontier province last October.
Mansehra is the district where Balakot, one of the towns hardest hit by a massive earthquake last October, is located.

"We know an ultimatum has been given and we are waiting to see what happens," said Frank Lehmann, a senior official with World Vision, an NGO involved in providing schooling for children still living in tent encampments.

"We respect the local culture and try to behave accordingly," Lehmann said, adding that the relief agencies had raised their concerns with the local authorities.

Police have given assurances that aid workers will be protected, while talks are held with clerics to settle the issue.

"No one would be allowed to disrupt relief work and we are absolutely serious about security issues," Waqas Aziz, a district police officer, said.

"We see this as a local issue, which is being defused. But we have told the NGOs to take care about local sensitivities while working in this area," he said.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity with links with a banned militant organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba, is active in the area, and its officials in Balakot told Reuters they supported the allegations against the foreign aid workers.

The United States added the charity to a list of terrorist organizations earlier this year, but there have been no moves against it by the Pakistani authorities.

Monday, July 24, 2006

LA REALITE EN FACE !.!.!.! DES QUESTIONS ????

AUX AAAAAA-BRIS CITOYENS ! CHIEZ DAAAAAAANS VOS' PANTALONS......

Guerre mondiale, acte IV, par Ivan Rioufol

Seule bonne nouvelle dans le drame que subit le Liban, après Gaza : l’Occident ose enfin nommer les agresseurs. Ils s’appellent Hezbollah et Hamas, et ces organisations nazislamistes ont mis Israël en état de légitime défense. Même le G 8 a admis que les « forces extrémistes » étaient à l’origine des violences. Néanmoins, les dirigeants des grandes puissances n’ont pas osé démasquer l’Iran et la Syrie. Piètre délicatesse.Jusqu’alors, l’Occident bonhomme jugeait que le djihad lancé contre lui s’expliquait par les injustices nées de sa propre hégémonie et singulièrement de l’alliance américano-sioniste. C’est avec cette contrition que le 11 septembre 2001 fut compris par ceux qui refusèrent de voir dans ces attentats l’acte I de la troisième guerre mondiale, soutenue par des mollahs illuminés. Aussi est-il heureux que l’Europe pacifiste ouvre les yeux et cesse ses sous-entendus sur la responsabilité centrale de l’État hébreu dans le désordre mondial. L’obsession antijuive et anticroisés des fanatiques enturbannés n’autorise plus les excuses de leurs victimes. À l’instar d’Hitler, il faut prendre à la lettre l’Iranien Ahmadinejad, puisant dans le Coran pour appeler à « éliminer » Israël. Si l’on admet que les ripostes occidentales, en Afghanistan puis en Irak, furent les actes II et III de cette tragédie, c’est l’acte IV qui vient d’être ouvert, sur le dos d’un Liban traumatisé et impuissant, par les ayatollahs poursuivant leur course à l’enrichissement de l’uranium. Faut-il faire un dessin de ce que risquerait d’être le Ve acte ? Une attaque nucléaire sur Tel-Aviv. L’apocalypse. C’est dans ce contexte qu’il faut juger Tsahal, a priori blâmable de s’en prendre avec une telle virulence au pays du Cèdre, tout en épargnant les vrais soutiens du Hezbollah que sont la Syrie et l’Iran. L’objectif israélien vise à briser et à désarmer un mouvement terroriste ayant pris le Liban en otage et sa population comme bouclier humain. Cette stratégie de libération est légitime. Aussi, l’accusation de Jacques Chirac, lors de son intervention du 14 juillet, est-elle injuste. « On peut se demander, a-t-il dit, s’il n’y a pas une volonté de détruire le Liban, ses routes, sa communication, son énergie, son aérodrome, et pourquoi ? » La France ferait mieux de s’alarmer de la montée en puissance de la barbarie islamiste et de sa volonté d’en découdre avec l’Occident.

Affronter le totalitarisme

Une chose est de nommer les agresseurs. Une autre est de ne pas se tromper d’adversaire. Israël n’est pas en guerre contre le Liban, comme a semblé le dire la France et comme l’assure le premier ministre libanais, Fouad Siniora, qui a reçu, lundi, Dominique de Villepin à Beyrouth. Ce sont la Syrie et l’Iran qui ont déclaré l’assaut et qui se jouent d’un Liban sans armes. Qu’attend la France pour dire cette autre évidence ? Paris a eu raison d’apporter son soutien aux Libanais qui souffrent et meurent des coups portés au Hezbollah et à son arsenal disséminé. Israël prend d’ailleurs le risque, à poursuivre trop longtemps ses frappes ciblées et à pousser à l’exode des populations, de se couper d’une opinion internationale plutôt compréhensive. Cependant, personne ne s’émeut des civils israéliens de Haïfa, Tibériade, Safed, etc., touchés par les roquettes et missiles made in Iran. L’heure est trop grave pour renouer avec les ambiguïtés, révélées en 2003 par l’opposition de la France à la destitution de Saddam Hussein. L’actuel chaos irakien, entretenu par ces mêmes sectes mortifères, donne certes raison à la sagesse prônée alors par Jacques Chirac. Mais l’image qu’il donna, d’un pays systématiquement antiaméricain et proarabe, a pu faire douter de la volonté d’affronter le totalitarisme coranique. C’est pour éviter l’ultime acteV - la guerre généralisée - que l’Occident, soutenu par les pays musulmans modérés, se doit de resserrer les rangs pour ramener à la raison les maîtres chanteurs iraniens et syriens. Et donner tort, ainsi, à ceux qui estiment déjà inévitable la destruction par la force des sites nucléaires iraniens (lire L’Iran dans la 3e guerre mondiale, de Laurent Artur du Plessis, Jean-Cyrille Godefroy).

Conséquences électorales ?

La pression internationale brouillera-t-elle l’ordonnancement de la campagne présidentielle ? Le souffle de la guerre dévoile la légèreté de Ségolène Royal, qui n’a pas même osé, samedi en Corse, se prononcer sur la violence insulaire. Sa prudence, proche du désarroi, rehausse les statures d’hommes d’état de Lionel Jospin, qui sut qualifier le Hezbollah de terroriste, ou de Laurent Fabius, par exemple. Une tension persistante pourrait être, surtout, une aubaine pour Jacques Chirac ou Dominique de Villepin, qui ne furent jamais tant populaires que lorsqu’ils prirent la tête du camp de la paix lors de la crise irakienne. En déclarant, le 14 juillet : « Il faut faire très attention, toutes les initiatives comptent, tous les mots comptent (...) on est au bord du gouffre », le chef de l’État ne s’est-il suggéré en homme bouclier ? Les positions courageuses de Nicolas Sarkozy, ami déclaré d’Israël et des États-Unis - ami critique, précise-t-il dans Témoignage (XO Éditions) - ne sont en revanche pas de celles qui, en 2003, auraient rassuré le sentiment munichois répandu dans les médias et l’opinion. Ce défaitisme a-t-il disparu ? Rien n’est moins sûr.

Facilité

À noter, à la lumière du danger que fait peser l’islam extrémiste sur la paix dans le monde, l’empressement des hommes politiques à ignorer ce sujet dérangeant. Dans son livre programme, Nicolas Sarkozy ne fait pas exception à cette facilité
LA BARBARIE ORDINAIRE AU PAYS DES DROITS DE L'HOMME

Meurtre de Bobigny: trois suspects interpellés, un en fuite

Trois personnes ont été placées en garde à vue lundi dans le cadre de l'enquête sur le meurtre de Yamine, 19 ans, frappé à mort et abandonné dans une cave de Seine-Saint-Denis vendredi soir. Une autre personne est activement recherchée. Les enquêteurs privilégient la piste d’une affaire d’honneur bafoué.

Un crime d’honneur : Yamine pourrait avoir été la victime d'un guet-apens destiné à lui infliger une « correction » parce qu'il aurait sali la réputation d'une jeune fille. C’est la thèse principale avancée lundi soir par les enquêteurs sur le mobile du meurtre du jeune Yamine Djerroud vendredi soir. « Ce qui pouvait ressembler au départ à une correction a tourné à l'acharnement », a estimé le procureur-adjoint du tribunal de Bobigny, Patrick Poirret, en révélant que les enquêteurs avaient identifié « deux auteurs possibles » et « actifs » du meurtre.

Trois personnes, arrêtées dimanche et lundi, sont toujours entendues en fin d'après-midi par les enquêteurs de la Brigade criminelle à Paris, dont l'un des suspects du meurtre et la jeune fille en question. Un deuxième suspect présumé est en fuite et activement recherché. Selon le magistrat, ce deuxième homme, « qui connaissait la victime et que la victime connaissait », serait resté « jusqu'au bout » de l'agression de Yamine, 1,90m et ceinture noire, tué à quelques dizaines de mètres de chez lui, dans un quartier plutôt tranquille de Bobigny.

Une histoire d’honneur bafoué ?

Le mobile de l'homicide tient « probablement à des rumeurs circulant sur une jeune fille », rumeurs que Yamine aurait lui-même colportées, a affirmé avec prudence le procureur, évoquant « une hypothèse retenue en l'état des auditions ».
La victime aurait pu « diffuser des informations sur cette jeune fille qui auraient vexé l'un des deux auteurs présumés de l'agression », a précisé le procureur-adjoint. Ce jeune serait le petit ami de la jeune femme, d'après un résidant de la rue de Bresse. Il serait connu pour ne pas supporter qu'on parle en mauvais termes de son amie, qualifiée de « très mignonne et frivole » par cet habitant qui a souhaité conserver l'anonymat. Il y a deux semaines, il aurait déjà « tabassé », dans le même quartier et pour cette raison, un autre habitant de la rue, qui s'en serait sorti avec un traumatisme crânien, rapporte-t-il.

Un meurtre choquant

Le soir des faits, Yamine a été « convié » par ses agresseurs « à passer la soirée » avec eux, a rapporté le procureur-adjoint. Il concède ainsi une certaine « préparation » dans l'acte qui pourrait ouvrir la voie à une qualification d'assassinat lors de l'ouverture d'une information judiciaire dans les prochains jours. Les deux jeunes hommes, majeurs, « connaissaient la victime et étaient de la même classe d'âge ». Ils avaient eu « autrefois des liens avec cette cité ». Ils n'habitaient plus le quartier mais ils y revenaient fréquemment. Ils ne seraient « pas spécialement connus des services de police », a précisé le procureur-adjoint.

Le jeune homme gisait inanimé dans une grande flaque de sang, son pantalon de toile beige descendu sur les genoux et une couverture sur le visage. Pour des habitants du quartier, il s'agit d'une « signature » pour humilier le jeune homme. Selon l'autopsie, Yamine est mort entre 20 heures 30 et 22 heures, sous l'effet conjugué « d'un violent coup à la face », suivi « d'une asphyxie » en raison du sac plastique placé dans sa gorge. L'arme (un objet métallique ou contondant) du crime n'a pas été retrouvée par les enquêteurs.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

AU MOINS ON A LE FOOT ! ( MERDE C'EST FINI)

France driven to (gasp) market wine
[International Herald Tribune 23 juillet 2006]

With the 2005 Bordeaux vintage fetching record prices in the wine futures market, the elite chateaux of France have rarely had it better. Further down the pecking order, though, French winemakers' woes are growing. Consumers are drinking less or snubbing French wines in favor of New World alternatives. And the European Commission wants to tear up some vineyards to reduce excess production and cut subsidies to growers.

The crisis has forced some vignerons to embrace a new approach to marketing, a concept that some of them used to hold in roughly the same esteem as phylloxera, the pest that ravaged French vineyards in the 19th century.

"Wine increasingly is becoming a consumer good, not a cultural exception," said Pierre Courbon, international marketing director at OVS, a French company that was created to sell a new wine brand, Chamarré, which aims to go head-to-head with consumer favorites from Australia, California, Chile and elsewhere. "Beer, spirits, vegetables, dairy products and even bread is branded. Why not wine?"

Until recently, such words might have been seen as heresy in France, where many winemakers have an almost religious attachment to the idea that wines must reflect the specific attributes of the land on which they are grown, not the global characteristics of a brand. French law requires quality wines to be labeled accordingly, listing details like the region, the vineyard and the producer.

But many consumers in major export markets like Britain and the United States now prefer to choose their wines according to the grape variety, like cabernet sauvignon or riesling, rather than the name of the region in which they were grown, like Bordeaux or Burgundy.

New World producers have obliged, providing ranges of varietal wines and lining them up on supermarket shelves under familiarly reassuring brand names like Jacob's Creek, Hardys or Gallo. Though France, a country synonymous with wine, was slow to follow suit, a few French brands are catching on with consumers. JP Chenet, a line of wines marketed by Les Grands Chais de France, a privately held company, is one of the fastest growing.

While the French provenance of JP Chenet is clear, Chamarré, which recently went on sale in Britain and the Nordic countries, is a further step down the road toward international-style branding. The labels, with the Chamarré name in large type, accompanied by the region or varietal blend, closely resemble those from some of the leading California brands, a clear indication of where OVS is setting its sights.

The company, owned by Pascal Renaudat, a French wine industry veteran, and several of the country's largest wine growers' cooperatives, recently set up an office in Miami and plans to enter the U.S. market this year. There, the wines will generally be priced at $7 to $12, said Hubert Surville, who heads the U.S. arm.

OVS has big plans, hoping to sell one million cases, or 12 million bottles, each year in the United States alone within five years, Surville said.

The company, which has attracted financing from the French government and private banks, plans to support the introduction of Chamarré with a broad-based marketing campaign. In the United States, Surville said, OVS plans to spend $10 million on advertising and other promotions over the next three years, a sizable amount for a wine brand. In Britain, much of the marketing activity will be focused on the point of sale, as in-store promotions fuel up to 70 percent of wine sales in that country, Courbon said.

Though French wines once held a 10 percent market share in the United States, that has fallen to about 3 percent, analysts say, with Australia, Chile and other exporters taking up much of the slack. In Britain, French wines retain nearly one-fifth of sales, but their share has been sliding, and France has yielded market leadership to Australia.

Some of the other successes in branding French wine have come through outside involvement. Fat Bastard, an irreverent wine brand created about a decade ago by Guy Anderson, a British importer, and Thierry Boudinaud, a French producer, and featuring a cartoon hippopotamus on the label, sells 500,000 cases a year in the United States. Anderson and Boudinaud have sold the brand to its U.S. distributor and moved on to other quirky branding ventures involving French wine, including Le Freak.

E. & J. Gallo, meanwhile, is selling a French wine under the label Red Bicyclette, an attempt to build on nostalgic images of rural France. Southcorp, which owns the Lindemans, Penfolds and Rosemount brands of Australian wines, has also started a French brand, La Belle Terrasse. Analysts say it is probably only a matter of time before other big wine and spirits companies start their own French wine labels.

"You've got a supply crisis in France which is never going to be dealt with through the existing distribution and marketing infrastructure," said Richard Halstead, operations director at Wine Intelligence, a market research company in London whose clients include OVS. "As long as that exists, there's going to be a willingness to try new things."

Australians have shown a particular knack for branding, with a relatively recent entrant in the U.S. market, Yellow Tail, growing into something of a phenomenon, selling more than 7.5 million cases last year. Like many of the other new wine brands, Yellow Tail features an animal on the label, in this case a wallaby.

Chamarré is also taking the animal route, as the name, in southern French patois, refers to a kind of butterfly, the yellow- tailed skipper. OVS has yet to select an advertising agency to develop this image further, but Courbon said OVS had narrowed the list to three finalists, with a decision likely next month.

LES JOURNALISTES DU "MONDE" JAMAIS EN RETARD D'UNE CONNERIE

Thierry Marx Un samouraï des fourneaux dans le Médoc
[Le Monde 22 juillet 2006]

Qui de mieux qu'un Marx pour révolutionner la pesanteur bourgeoise du Médoc ? A la tête des cuisines du Château Cordeillan-Bages, situé au coeur du vignoble huppé de Pauillac, un enfant du prolétariat de Belleville, grandi dans les cités du 9-4 (Val-de-Marne), a imposé son anticonformisme dans ce bastion du conservatisme culinaire et social.

Chef de l'année 2006 pour le guide Gault & Millau, sérieux postulant à une troisième étoile Michelin, Thierry Marx invente dans cette chartreuse du XVIIIe siècle une cuisine du troisième millénaire, sans rien oublier de ses origines ni des embardées de son parcours.

Carrure de ceinture noire de judo (qu'il enseigne, ainsi que le jiu-jitsu et le sabre japonais), crâne rasé et sourire de sosie de Bruce Willis, Thierry Marx s'affirme comme le leader charismatique d'une nouvelle vague de chefs français. Souvent regroupés au sein de l'association Générations. C, dont ce samouraï des fourneaux est un membre actif, des cuisiniers comme Pascal Barbot, Michel Portos, Nicolas Pourcheresse, Jacques Decoret, Alexandre Gauthier, Gilles Choukroun, Eric Guérin ou Jean-Marie Baudic bousculent les codes de leur profession et réfléchissent à l'avenir de leur métier.

"Thierry Marx est un peu l'aîné de cette génération", analyse Luc Dubanchet, rédacteur en chef de la revue Omnivore, qui a pisté en précurseur ce mouvement dit de "la jeune cuisine". "Son passé comme ses convictions inspirent le respect. Quand on mange chez lui, on fait un grand repas, mais on déguste aussi une idéologie."

D'intrigants petits miracles se succèdent à la table de Cordeillan-Bages : quiche lorraine liquide, bar au cacao cuit dans l'argile, risotto de soja, saucisson virtuel dans lequel une quenelle de lapereau est pochée dans un bouillon d'huîtres avant de s'émoustiller sur le craquant de lentilles fraîches. S'affichent ici l'ambition créative d'un univers, le désir d'une complicité ludique avec le client, une vision planétaire de la cuisine, loin de l'obsession traditionnelle pour le terroir.
"Ce fantasme du terroir a souvent un aspect réactionnaire, observe Thierry Marx. Oui au terroir moderne (le chef a participé au classement en AOC de l'agneau de Pauillac), non au terroir "comme dans l'temps". Gamin, mon terroir, c'était plus les produits du supermarché que les spécialités locales."


Elevé par ses grands-parents, ce fils de boulanger d'origine polonaise respirera moins souvent le fumet des bons petits plats que l'odeur du bitume et des cages d'escalier dans une banlieue parisienne en dégradation. Tout s'est vite déshumanisé, raconte-t-il, surtout quand des vagues de gens ont commencé à perdre leur emploi. "Le vélo qu'on ne pouvait pas s'acheter, on le piquait. Beaucoup de mes copains de l'époque ne s'en sont pas sortis." Heureusement, ses grands-parents l'ont tiré d'affaire en l'orientant vers les Compagnons du devoir, comme pâtissier.

Pendant son tour de France, le petit dur se découvre un goût pour la préciosité des petits-fours et des sucreries. CAP en poche, il se laisse pourtant happer par d'autres frissons. On le retrouve, à 20 ans, parachutiste au Liban, avant que le casque bleu ne choisisse de combattre au côté des Phalanges chrétiennes et réchappe de peu à la mort. Des souvenirs de chaos qui remontent aujourd'hui douloureusement. "Au Liban, j'ai découvert la peur, le désenchantement, la sensation que la vie ne vaut rien, que tout peut basculer. En rentrant en France, j'étais largué."

Il s'égarera dans des petits boulots (vigile, convoyeur de fonds), avant que la cuisine ne lui permette de se reconstruire. "La guerre est le point de rupture ultime entre les hommes, confie-t-il aujourd'hui. La cuisine est l'incarnation du partage, le plus court moyen de toucher le coeur de l'autre."

Rien n'ira de soi, pourtant, pour ce jeune homme sans attache dans le sérail de la restauration. A force de cours du soir, de livres dévorés avec l'énergie de l'autodidacte, il se forge un savoir-faire. Rebuté par l'immobilisme français, il complète sa formation par des voyages. Après l'Australie, sa passion des arts martiaux le pousse jusqu'au Japon pour une rencontre fondatrice avec un pays et sa culture.

"J'ai retrouvé là-bas ma sérénité", explique celui qui a travaillé dans les bars à sushis de Kyoto, avant d'être initié aux rites de la cuisine kaiseki, la haute cuisine traditionnelle nipponne. "J'aime le respect des Japonais pour le produit, la nature, les aînés." Une phrase d'un maître l'a beaucoup marqué : "La cuisine, ça se regarde, ça se médite, ça se mange."

Cette empreinte, on la repère souvent dans la quête d'épure esthétique et gustative des assiettes servies par Thierry Marx. Face, par exemple, au dépouillement d'une huître et caviar d'Aquitaine, effleurée par une écume de pamplemousse, on pense à ces maîtres sabreurs, également experts dans l'art délicat du bonzaï. Chaque hiver, ce passionné de l'Asie repart d'ailleurs deux mois se ressourcer dans son pays d'adoption.

En France, son entrée dans la galaxie des étoilés passera par des rencontres décisives avec de célèbres aînés - Alain Chapel, Joël Robuchon, Jacques Maximin - et une femme de la nuit, Régine, avec laquelle, au Cheval Blanc, à Nîmes, il goûtera pour la première fois, au début des années 1990, aux feux de l'actualité médiatique.

Aujourd'hui, dans les cuisines de Cordeillan-Bages, entre les pieds de vigne alignés au cordeau et le désordre boueux de la Garonne toute proche, Thierry Marx profite de la reconnaissance, mais ne cesse de chercher (avec 1 700 recettes testées en un an dans son laboratoire), de structurer et déstructurer plats et produits, en assumant ses paradoxes. Guerrier à la sensibilité exacerbée, sage au constant besoin de défoulement, végétarien capable de conceptualiser des plats comme le filet de boeuf fumé aux sarments, cet artisan du luxe milite ainsi pour une cuisine populaire.

Au sein de son association, Coccin'art, fusionnant "cuisine nomade et art urbain", l'enfant du Val-de-Marne milite, en collaboration avec des musiciens et des graffeurs, pour sensibiliser les jeunes à la gourmandise, persuadé qu'en inventant une nouvelle cuisine de rue il peut susciter des vocations et ouvrir au monde les cas les plus désespérés.

"L'ascenseur social est bloqué depuis trente ans, s'indigne Thierry Marx. J'ai connu ce rejet quand on vient d'une cité." La cuisine, explique-t-il, encourage à une meilleure compréhension de son prochain. C'est un métier épanouissant, et il voudrait en convaincre le plus grand nombre.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Worth A Look...


JE NE PEUX Y CROIRE !!!!
[Via NO PASARAN & EXTREMECENTRE.ORG]

Exiled Bakri in SOS plea
[By David Wooding Whitehall Editor]

EXILED preacher of hate Omar Bakri has begged the Royal Navy to rescue him from war-torn Beirut.

The Muslim cleric who fled Britain last year, tried to board a ship full of women and children yesterday but was turned away.

He also wrote to the British embassy asking to be allowed back on “humanitarian grounds”.
In an email to officials, dole scrounger Bakri pleaded: “The current situation in Beirut left me without any choice but to appeal to you to grant me a visit visa to see my children for one month.”

But his bid to sneak on one of our ships was blocked at harbour gates by sharp-eyed officials.
Bakri, 46, left his family in Edmonton, North London, last August and went to Lebanon after a Sun campaign to kick him out.

Charles Clarke, then Home Secretary, banned him from returning here.

The mad mullah, who hailed terrorists as “magnificent” martyrs, bought a £150,000 bolthole in the exclusive Doha district of Beirut.

In March he boasted: “When I left England I bought a one-way ticket out. I never want to see the place again."

But cowardly Bakri changed his tune as soon as bombs started dropping

He contacted the British embassy asking to be allowed back to see the six children he deserted. Bakri said last night: “What concerns me is my safety. I’d be happy with a month’s visa but this morning they told me I couldn’t because I’m not a British citizen any more.”

Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green said last night: “This man has a cheek trying to come back to Britain after what he did here.”

A diplomat said: “He hasn’t spoken to any of our people. But he may have been turned away by security guards patrolling the port entrance.”

Anjem Choudary, Bakri’s right-hand man, said last night: “He plans to write to the British authorities and see if they will give him a visa for a passage out.”

Syrian Bakri can’t return there because he faces 20 years’ jail over a coup bid.

Over 20 years in the UK, Bakri sponged £300,000 in benefits. He preached violence and praised the 9/11 al-Qaeda terrorists as the Magnificent 19.

Bakri, dubbed the Tottenham Ayatollah, was a member of al-Muhajiroun, which he left to form al-Ghuraba.

Both have since been outlawed.

Radical preacher barred from rescue ship
[Gerri Peev Political Correspondent]

A RADICAL Muslim cleric had his bid to evacuate Lebanon aboard a British ship rejected when officials blocked his return to the United Kingdom.

British authorities turned down a request from Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed for a one-month visa to Britain.

The preacher, who called for Muslims to rise up against Westerners, was frightened he would be bombed by the Israelis.

He said his children were very worried about him. "All I am asking is that you give these children the right to see their own father, at least as a visitor."

In an interview with a London Arabic newspaper this month, Mr Bakri Mohammed said "the day will come that the flag of Islam will fly over Big Ben and the British parliament".

He was banned from returning to Britain after he was ruled "not conducive to the public good". He fled the country in August last year in the wake of the 7 July bombings.

Barred Islamist preacher refused evacuation from Lebanon

LONDON (AFP) - An Islamist preacher barred from Britain for his radical views has said that he had tried to join the British evacuation from Lebanon but had been turned away.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, speaking from Beirut, said he had been prevented from boarding a naval warship evacuating Britons from the chaos because he did not have a British passport.

Bakri, who lived in London until his exile last August, said he had asked British authorities to rescue him from the violence in Lebanon for the sake of his family, who are still living in Britain.
"I know controversy surrounds all the news about me, I am myself accepting my destiny. But I have the right like anybody else to look for safety," Bakri told Sky News television after being turned away from the ship on Thursday.

The preacher claimed he had written to the British embassy, asking to be allowed back on humanitarian grounds.

"I applied for them to give me a visitor's visa, not to appeal against the decision to withdraw my indefinite leave to stay in the UK," he told BBC radio by mobile telephone from the Lebanese capital.

"I never appealed against that because I understand the controversy that surrounds my views and my business in the UK."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said he was not aware of any contact between Bakri and British officials.

The Syrian-born preacher, who settled in Britain in 1985, was banned from re-entering the country in August last year, when then home secretary Charles Clarke ruled that his presence was "not conducive to the public good".

He headed the radical al-Muhajiroun group in London until 2004 and praised the hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States as the "magnificent 19".

Bakri said he was now only requesting to be taken to Cyprus and wanted his family to join him there.

"That is for my safety and as well for the sake of the children who cannot understand why all this is going on," he said.


LE CV DE CE PORC
[MEMRI]

Syrian born radical Islamist Sheikh Omar bin Bakri Muhammad is the founder of the London branch of Hizb Al-Tahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party [1]), and of the organization "Jama'at Al-Muhajirun" ("The Emigrants," in reference to those who accompanied the Prophet Muhammad on his Hijra from Mecca to Medina). Additionally, Sheikh Bakri presents himself as the spokesman of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. This organization, by Bakri's own admission, participates in fundraising for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and is "in touch" with Hizbullah. Bakri has further claimed to have recruited volunteers for training in paramilitary camps located in the U.S. and Lebanon.

Sheikh Bakri's Activities: A Partial Timeline

The Paris-based Intelligence Newsletter reported that Bakri was recruited at an early age by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood movement, and participated in its leader's, Issam Al-Attar, revolt against then-Syrian President Hafez Assad that was "drowned in blood in 1982 at Hamat." As a result, he was expelled from Syria and moved to Beirut.

In Beirut, he joined Sheikh Khalil Al-Mat and the local branch of Hizb Al-Tahrir. Then, in 1983, (or according to some versions in 1979 during Syria's invasion of Lebanon) he took the alias of Omar Fustuk and settled in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he established "Al-Muhajirun" as a front for the Hizb Al-Tahrir in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Muhajirun now has offshoots in Lille, France, and Hanover, Germany.[2] In 1995, 47 Sunni organizations were reported to be active in Western Europe under the umbrella of Hizb Al-Tahrir, which is headquartered in Hamburg.[3]

In 1985, after the Saudi government deported him he then went to London where he later left Hizb Al-Tahrir following a disagreement with its leaders. While Bakri wanted to deal with numerous issues troubling the Muslim community, such as racism and unemployment, the Hizb Al-Tahrir leaders claimed that such activity would sidetrack the party from its main goal, the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
In 1993, Bakri became a legal resident of Britain, and in March 1996 he applied for citizenship.

Living in London

Sheikh Omar Bakri preaches at several London mosques. Between 1994 and 1998, he gave speeches at Islamist rallies in Trafalgar Square and Wembley Stadium. He founded the Al-Khilafa publishing house in London and serves, he says, as a judge in the "Shari'a Court of the UK." Bakri often presents himself as the spokesman of the International Islamic Front, and cited this title on a letter he wrote to Osama bin Laden.[4] Bakri has described the International Islamic Front as the political wing of the [International] Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, led by Osama bin Laden.[5]

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Sheikh Bakri acknowledged that he lives on social benefits from the British government: "He receives nearly £300 a week in state handouts for himself, his [Lebanese] wife, and their five (as of 1996) children. He told the Mirror, 'Islam allows me to take the benefit the system offers. I'm fully eligible. It is very difficult for me to get a job. Anyway, most of the leadership of the Islamic movement is on [state] benefit.'"[6]

Up until September 1998, when seven radical Muslims were arrested in London on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity, Bakri insisted that the British government was tolerant of his activities. In an interview with the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on August 22, 1998, Bakri was asked why the Islamic groups never attacked Britain. Bakri replied, "I work here in accordance with the covenant of peace which I made with the British government when I got [political] asylum… We respect the terms of this bond as Allah orders us to do."[7]

The London Sunday Times reported that one of Bakri's aides, Makbool Javid, was appointed by Jack Straw, then Home Secretary in Blair's government, to the newly-established Race Relations Forum.[8] In an interview some nine months later, Bakri said, "The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity."[9]

But after the arrest of the seven, Bakri changed his tune, and in an interview with an Egyptian weekly he denounced Britain as "the spearhead of blasphemy that seeks to overthrow Muslims and the Islamic caliphate." He explained that "the arrested Egyptians are political refugees who are not involved in terrorist activities," adding that Muslims in Britain condemn the "barbaric" acts of the British government against "innocent Muslims who, it is now apparent, were lulled and betrayed into believing they could seek sanctuary in Britain from their corrupt regimes… It is clear the British government has adopted a harsh policy against the peaceful Muslim community, using fear, force, and the methods of tyrannical regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Syria, Iran, and other Middle Eastern governments… [as] a ransom for future economic favors" extracted after a recent visit to London by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.[10]

Actually, the friction between Sheikh Bakhri and the British government began long before September 1998. As early as 1991, during the Gulf War, Bakri was questioned by MI5, following a claim that he had called for the assassination of then-Prime Minister John Major. According to the Mail on Sunday, Bakri said: "Major is a legitimate target. If anyone gets the opportunity to assassinate him, I don't think they should save it. It is our Islamic duty and we will celebrate his death."[11] Bakri later told The Birmingham Sunday Mercury that he had been "misquoted," and clarified the point, saying that Major would be a "legitimate target" if he were to set foot in a Muslim country and that the same now applied to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bakri also said that in such a case he would not "condemn the killers."[12]

This incident recently repeated itself, when Al-Muhajirun spokesman Abd Al-Rahman Salim said that Blair had become a legitimate target for any Muslim who wants to assassinate him, due to his involvement in the attacks on Afghanistan. The AFP quoted Salim as saying: "Now that the Americans, the British, and, it is safe to assume, also the French, have begun to bomb Muslims in Afghanistan, government buildings here [in Britain], military installations, and No. 10 Downing Street have become legitimate targets. This also means Prime Minister Tony Blair has become a legitimate target. If any Muslim wants to kill him or get rid of him, I would not shed a tear for him. In the Islamic view, such a man would not be punished for his deeds, but would be praised."[13]

Military Activity
In December 2000, Bakri went to Birmingham to recruit volunteers, and while being there he gave an interview to The Birmingham Sunday Mercury on December 12, 2000. In the interview, Bakri explained that he had come to Birmingham to recruit people not only as members for his Al-Muhajirun party, but also to fight abroad in places such as Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. He said that in Britain there were only physical training camps, but that volunteers were sent from Britain to military training camps in South Africa, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and the U.S.[14]

The issue of paramilitary training courses was discussed at length in an interview Bakri gave to CNSNews.com, in which he again acknowledged that he was involved in financing training for volunteers sent to the U.S. He explained that his "Jihad network" was taking advantage of the fact that firearms training with live ammunition was more readily available in America than in Britain. "When we started to go to Afghanistan," Bakri said, "they started to label us terrorists, so now we go to the USA!"

According to Bakri, some of the men undergoing training in the use of firearms and explosives, and in surveillance and other skills, would be expected to join Jihad in one country or another. "Some may decide, 'I want to go and help my Muslim brothers in Chechnya or Palestine or Kashmir or South Lebanon.' That's up to them. It's independent of the organization," he said.
Bakri added that the training camps were run by private firms in "certain places," among them Michigan and Missouri, and that Muslims from various countries trained there for periods ranging from one week to three months. The recruits had "different backgrounds – some British, some American, Arab, or Asian – but all of them have European or American citizenship. There is no need for visas," he said.
"It's not illegal. We aren't hiding anything. It should be looked at with an open mind. We're talking purely about helping people who would like to train. The skills they learn… are part of the religious obligation every Muslim has. A Muslim must have military training at least once in his life," he said. In another interview, Bakri claimed that the Koran stated that it is the obligation of every Muslim reaching the age of 15 to do military service.[15]
Bakri continued, "In our [Muslim] countries, this is easy. We can fulfill this obligation by joining our national armies. But some Muslims would not like to join the British or American forces... [and] would rather go to an independent training camp."
"Why call this 'terror training?' All Americans can learn how to shoot – what happens when this American person is a Muslim? Or are you calling us second- or third-class citizens?" Bakri asked.[16]

In another interview, with Milan's Il Giornale on October 14, 2000, Bakri said that The International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders (The IIF), created by Osama bin Laden, was actively supporting Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. "We collect funds to be able to carry on the struggle; we recruit militiamen; and sometimes we take care of these groups' propaganda requirements in Europe." According to Bakri, during the previous month The IIF had recruited 160 volunteers in Britain and sent them to Jordan, where they awaited opportunities to infiltrate into the West Bank and join the uprising against Israel. Recruits had also been sent in recent months to Lebanon, where they were training in Palestinian refugee camps. "In the 'Ein Al-Hilweh camp, for instance, new mujahideen are being recruited and trained with the aim of opening up another front in south Lebanon." He added that The IIF is also "in touch with Hizbullah and with Islamic movements such as Usbat Al-Ansar, which are determined to fight for the liberation of Jerusalem."[17]

The Asian Age magazine reported that Bakri claimed that it was he who had recruited 24-year-old Muhammad Bilal to carry out the suicide attack that killed a number of Indian soldiers in Srinagar in December 2000. Bakri said that Bilal's brothers and cousins had also been trained by Al-Muhajirun, and that Bilal's parents were "proud of their son's sacrifice." He added that he had recruited 600 British Muslims in universities and mosques to fight in Kashmir. The magazine also reported that Bakri finances the Al-Maddad organization, which, with other groups, has recruited 2000 other young men from all over Britain.[18]

Sheikh Bakri's fame has spread as far as eastern Asia, where The Bangkok Post reported that "…Southern separatists are receiving terrorist training and money from foreign supporters." According to the paper, a training farm about 20 kilometers from the Thai-Malaysian border had ties with "the Mideast and radical Muslims based in London." The paper mentioned Bakri as one of the farm's "foreign supporters."[19]

Bakri has no objections to airplane hijackings, as indicated by his statements to the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yussuf: "The Islamic movement has the right to sacrifice whoever it sees fit. The rule is that [Muslim] children, women, and the weak should not be a goal except in one situation: if it is difficult to win without sacrificing them. So, if hijackers find [Muslim] women, and children and elderly people on a [hijacked] plane, they should set them free except if the goal of the hijackers is to free women, children, and elderly people held prisoners in countries. In this case, they can be kept, because the blood of Muslims is equal [to others' blood], but they can sacrifice foreigners on the plane… and if you study Shari'a you will know that. The fedya [ransom] of a Muslim is 12,000 dirhams, while that of a Dhimmi [i.e. a Christian or a Jew under Muslim rule] is 4,000 dirhams."[20]

The bin Laden Connection

On several occasions, Sheikh Bakri presented himself as the spokesman of the political wing of The International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, established by Osama bin Laden in 1996. Al-Ahram Weekly reported that Bakri was known for his connections with bin Laden, whom he described, in an interview with the weekly, as "the leader of all Islamist movements, whether we like it or not."[21]

However, in his interview with CNSNews.com, Bakri denied any organizational connection with bin Laden. "We have no direct links with Osama bin Laden," he declared. "[But] we have ideological links with the world Islamic movement, including Osama bin Laden. We may agree with him in something and disagree with him in something. At the end of the day, there is no proof yet that he is involved in any terrorist activity. If terrorism means someone is supporting Muslims against the occupying forces in Somalia or in Arabia, I will never call him a terrorist. I will call him a freedom fighter. I will call him a hero."[22]

Bin Laden was to participate, albeit not physically, in the Rally for [Islamic] Revival, planned by Bakri for September 6, 1996 but cancelled at the last minute. The conference was to have been one of the high points of Bakri's career, and Radical Islamist leaders from all over the world were to participate in one way or another. Bin Laden was to send a videocassette, as were Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman, imprisoned in the U.S.; Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who at that time was still imprisoned in Israel; and Hizbullah spiritual leader Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadhlallah. Sheikh Muhammad Ubaid, also of Hizbullah, who had been kidnapped by Israel, was supposed to send a "message" from his prison cell in Israel. Also expected to attend was Egyptian Jihad leader Yasser Tawfiq Al-Serri, who was sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt in 1993 for a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sidqi. Recorded messages were also sent by the imprisoned leaders of the Algerian Islamic movement.

Following severe pressure by the Egyptian, Algerian, and Israeli governments, the British Home Office announced that Scotland Yard would be monitoring the conference for "statements made in support of terrorism or racism [that] would be in violation of British law" and a threat of possible persecution for any such statements. The conference was subsequently cancelled.[23]
After the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, Bakri said that even if it was proven that bin Laden was responsible for the bombings in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Tanzania, "those still remain legitimate acts." He added, "The American troops in the Gulf region are there to fight against Islam and Muslims. Their presence is not legitimate and fighting against them is the duty of every Muslim. The American bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan, the war against Iraq and America's blind support for the Israeli enemy – these are acts of war against Allah and his Prophet."[24]

After the American missile attack on Afghanistan and the Sudan, Bakri read an announcement, that he said had come directly from bin Laden, to the Italian daily La Repubblica on August 24, 1998. The announcement said, "…The war has begun. Our response to the barbaric bombardment against Muslims of Afghanistan and Sudan will be ruthless and violent…" Bakri added, "Our response could happen in any corner of the world. Retaliation for the U.S. attacks will end only when the last American soldier has left Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and when the embargo against Iraq is over… We will not give a truce to America."[25]

On July 15, 1999, Bakri published a letter written to bin Laden on his Al-Muhajirun website, calling on him to act against the West. The letter was removed from the site after U.S. protest, but was read aloud in mosques in North London, Bradford, Sheffield, and Leicester.[26] In his letter, Bakri wrote, "…The Islamic Movements have not used the real weapon yet… Oh Osama… You and your brothers are now breathing life and dignity into the body of the Ummah (nation). Our main mission as Muslims is to carry the Islamic message to the entire world…"
"We are an Ummah of Jihad and beyond doubt we have been chosen by Allah to lead the whole world if we hold to his command… The opportunity is here and we must not pass it by… Our Muslim brothers are firm in their Jihad so we must not lose time aimlessly and act now. The Ummah is our Ummah, the war is our war, and the enemy is our enemy, the mujahideen are our brothers, the victory or defeat is our victory or defeat, and the Khilafa is our Khilafa. Oh Osama… Let us hear the good news from you and your brothers, for a new dawn is near at hand."[27] According to several sources, a reply from bin Laden was read aloud in mosques in London and Pakistan.

Excerpts of another letter to Bakri by bin Laden, sent by fax from Afghanistan in the summer of 1998, were recently published in The Los Angeles Times. Bakri later released what he called bin Laden's four specific objectives for a Jihad against the U.S.: "Bring down their airliners. Prevent the safe passage of their ships. Occupy their embassies. Force the closure of their companies and banks."[28]

Ideological Doctrine

Sheikh Bakri's radical ideological doctrine is manifested in many different spheres. On several occasions, Bakri has expressed his hatred of Jews. He had "Kill the Jews" posters printed, and claimed that these were not his words but the words of the "scriptures." [29] In the Mercury interview, Bakri said that the Holocaust was "a tool used by Jews in order to justify their own hegemony over Muslims in Palestine. Much worse crimes have been committed against Muslims in Chechnya, Kashmir and Palestine."[30]

Yet after issuing a Fatwa calling on Muslims to fight against Israel, Bakri told the BBC, "We have no problem with the Jewish community here. Our real problem is with the occupying forces… We are talking about a cancer in the heart of the Muslim world and that is Israel. It must be eradicated and removed." On another occasion, Bakri told protesters at a violent demonstration outside the London Central Mosque in Regent Park, "All Israeli targets are legitimate for you. All Israelis must be destroyed."[31]

Bakri also called for the death of playwright Terence McNally for portraying Jesus Christ, considered by Islam to be a prophet, as a homosexual in his play Corpus Christi.[32] Bakri also reportedly urged all homosexuals to throw themselves from Big Ben.[33] In response, the Lesbian Avengers and Outrage, two London-based gay-rights groups, held a mock trial for Bakri, issuing a "Queer Fatwa" that read: "Omar Bakri Muhammad is hereby sentenced to 1,000 years of relentless sodomitical torment."[34]

The most significant element of Bakri's doctrine is Jihad. A document entitled "Jihad: The foreign policy of the Islamic state" was posted on the Al-Muhajirun website. The document included a lengthy, in-depth analysis of the meaning of Jihad. "Jihad, as a term, cannot be translated as 'holy war,'" it said, "nor can it be translated as… 'struggle.' At best, its legal meaning can be understood as 'using military force, where diplomacy fails, to remove the obstacles the Islamic State faces in carrying its ideology to mankind.'
"The aim of Jihad, unlike the Crusades, past and present, is not to forcibly convert to Islam the inhabitants of other lands. Rather, it is to provide them with the security that comes from the application of Islam, leaving them the choice of adopting Islam or keeping their own religions… History confirms that this is and always has been the role of Jihad, for it was in Muslim Spain that the Muslims, Christians, and Jews were able to live peacefully under an Islamic authority…"
"The difference between the use of force by the West and that by Islam is that the Capitalist West uses force overtly and covertly for the benefit of a few, such as corporations, while Islam uses force openly and justly to carry its mercy to others…"
"Jihad is… one of the main Pillars of Islam after Tawhid (the assertion of Monotheistic faith) and Da'wa (proselytizing). In fact, Jihad is… Da'wa by the Islamic state as its foreign policy."[35]
Unlike his London colleague Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Masri (see Radical Islamist Profiles 1)[36], who maintains that the Islamic revolution must begin in Yemen – Sheikh Bakri says that the revolution must begin in London. The Mercury reported that Bakri "lusts for the establishment of a global Islamic regime called Al-Khilafa, starting here in the UK" and that he wants to see the UK become the first Islamic state in a new world order. The paper also reported that Bakri called British laws and democracy 'phony' rules made up by "the monkeys in Parliament."[37]
In an interview with the French Le Monde, Bakri stated his "intention to make the flag of Islam fly high at No. 10 Downing Street and at the Elysee." The article continues, "Islam, according to him, is the supreme ideology facing an immoral West, and… all contemporary leaders of the Muslim world, with no exceptions, are pawns of the West."[38]

Similar messages were conveyed in an interview Bakri gave to Yeshiva University undergraduate newspaper editor Aaron Klein, who attended one of Bakri's conferences and reported on it in The Jerusalem Post. In a speech at the conference, Bakri said, "With thanks to Allah, we bring peace to all, and we help the world realize that Islam is the only way of life… Terrorism according to the West is defined as 'the systematic use of violence to achieve political or religious ends… Al-Muhajirun defines terrorism as 'to attack without the divine right'…"
Bakri told Klein, "…Clinton is a target of the Jihad, and American forces are a target of the Jihad wherever they are… American people must reconsider their foreign policy, or their children will be sent back to them in coffins. They need to think about the consequences of maintaining forces in Lebanon, the Golan Heights, and the Middle East as a whole. Clinton is responsible and he will pay… [The existence of Israel] is a crime. Israel must be removed…"
"…Our duty is to work to establish an Islamic state anywhere in the world, even in Britain…. Life is protected under us. There will be no minorities and majorities as in America. antisemitism in the U.S. is disgraceful. Synagogues and churches will flourish in the Khilafa as long as they adopt Islamic law. We restored life for Jews after the Crusades, and we plan to do so again…"
"And what Clinton and Barak are doing [in the peace process, then at its height] is putting themselves in a position of God, so they are now at direct war with the people who believe in God."[39]

Reactions to the Attacks on U.S. and U.S.-UK Operation in Afghanistan

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., Bakri told the BBC that "what happened was a direct consequence of the evil foreign policy of the USA. This is the compensation and payback for its own atrocities against Muslims."[40] The Al-Muhajirun website offered an in-depth look at the issue, under the headline, "USA at war with Islam":
"In the eventuality that the American forces launch [an] attack against Taliban, the divine verdict already expounded by the Scholars of Islam is that the military and government buildings, the war machine and the soldiers of the alliance will all become legitimate targets for Muslims wherever they are in the world and they must be fought against…"
"Oh Muslims, stand together and unite our Ummah (nation) to fight against the enemies of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad in this time of need. The Book of Allah (i.e. the Koran) calls you, the Ummah cries for your help and Paradise awaits you. Verily, Allah orders you in the Koran: 'Go and fight, young or old, and sacrifice your wealth and life in order to get paradise' (9:41) and 'Fight the Mushriks [polytheists] all together the way they fight you all together' (9:36)…"
"…It is time that we made a clear and unambiguous distinction between haq [truth] and batil [falsehood], between Imaan [belief] and Kufr [heresy], between oppressors and the oppressed, between the alliance of Shaytaan [Satan] and that of Allah …"[41]
Sheikh Bakri also issued a "Fatwa Against [Pakistan's President] General Musharraf – USA." This ruling was posted on the Al-Mahajirun Website in Arabic, as well as in an English version. In Arabic, it reads: "Question: What do the clerics say about Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other Islamic states allowing the U.S. to use their land, skies, ports, and military bases… while intensive preparations are underway for striking a blow at the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [i.e., the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan]…?"
"Answer: There is no doubt that America attacked, and is still attacking, the Muslims in every place and is carrying out massacres against them… It is the obligation of all Muslims to be in a state of war with it. The minimal obligation is a complete boycott, by means of avoiding diplomatic relations [with the U.S.]… The only ones who claim that 'diplomatic relations' [with the U.S.] are allowed are the clerics of the treacherous sultans (i.e. the rulers of Arab and Islamic countries), most of whom are donkeys bearing books, and some are like dogs: they have renounced the verses of Allah and become like dogs, that should be left to pant, as a place is already reserved for them, surely on the lowest level of the fires of Hell."
"Those people… their situation is clear and there is no need for any doubt among any of the Muslims: They are Murtaddun [who were Muslims] who left Islam for heresy, if, at all, they were Muslims to begin with. They all are involved in the war against Islam and against Muslims and therefore the sentence of Murtadd Harbi [a Murtadd who should be fought] applies to them, as follows:"
"1)His blood becomes permissible, and he must be killed, as an obligatory punishment, without possibility of forgiveness, because he fights against Allah and his Prophet… 2)His marriage becomes invalid, as does his guardianship of his children and relatives… 3)His property is permissible … he will not be able to bequeath [it]… 4)He cannot be buried in a Muslim cemetery, because burying Muslims is an honor that is fitting only those who are Muslims, while they, male and female alike, are Murtaddun Harbiyun [who should be fought] and are not Muslims 5)He must be treated with animosity and hatred, exactly like the Harbi heretic is treated… 6)There is no distinction between a man and a woman with respect to this verse. The blood of a woman Murtadda Harbiya who fights is permissible, exactly like that of a male Harbi – even if her fighting is limited to singing: thus acted the Prophet against the fighting women of the Quraysh tribe. He permitted their blood and ordered them killed, although he generally prohibited killing women, and was even strict about this…"
The Fatwa appeared under the emblem of the "Shari'a Court of the UK," and, in the Arabic version, was signed by Sheikh Bakri, Shari'a Court Judge in London, and by the Secretary General of the Committee for the Protection of Legitimate Rights (in Saudi Arabia), Muhammad bin Abdallah Al-Musa'ari "Abu Majed." The two called on all Muslim clerics to study the matter and add their signatures to the ruling.
However, during its translation into English, the Fatwa underwent a transformation. It was signed by "Juristic Muslim scholars from various countries such as: Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, the Emirates [UAE], Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and UK…" In this version, the names of Bakri and Al-Musa'ari appear only at the bottom, with telephone numbers for obtaining further information.
The English version also lacks the section about "book-bearing donkeys" and "panting dogs," and is replaced by the Koranic verse establishing that "the punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Prophet and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned… [5:33]." Similarly, the section referring to the Prophet Muhammad's killing of the Quraysh women is replaced by a paragraph that reads, "Therefore we ask Muslims with the capability, especially the army of Muslim countries, to move quickly and to capture those Apostates and criminals involved in these crimes, especially the ruler of Pakistan, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and Rabbani of Afghanistan and his followers [in the Northern Alliance]…"[42]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Yotam Feldner is MEMRI's Director of Media Analysis.
**Please note, some links may no longer be active.

[1] Established in 1953 in Jerusalem by the Palestinian Taqi Al-Din Al-Nabahani.
[2] Intelligence Newsletter, September 19, 1996, No. 295, http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/199610/19961911.1.html.
[3] The Observer, August 13, 1995, http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/19960908.html .
[4] www.terrorism.com/_trcctforum5/000004b5.htm .
[5] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), November 19, 1998.
[6] The Daily Mirror, September 7, 1996, http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/199610/19961011.1.html .
[7] Executive Intelligence Review, September 4, 1998.
[8] Ibid.
[9] CNSNews.com, May 24, 2000.
[10] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), October 1, 1998.
[11] Mail on Sunday, November 12, 1995.
[12] http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/sampleissue_jan2001.asp.
[13] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), October 10, 2001.
[14] http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/sampleissue­jan2001.asp.
[15] Ibid.
[16] CNSNews.com, May 24, 2000.
[17] Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, November 2000.
[18] Dawn Weekly, "The battle for hearts and minds," Irfan Husain, October 6, 2001.
[19] Periscope Daily Defense News Capsules, September 4, 1996.
[20] Roz Al-Youssef, Egypt, September 13, 1999, www.geocities.com/~lrcc/Women/comment.htm .
[21] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), November 19, 1998.
[22] CNSNews.com, May 24, 2000.
[23] http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/199609/19960908.html .
[24] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), November 19, 1998.
[25] www.dailystarnews.com/199808/25/n8082513 .
[26] www.swordoftruth.com/swordoftruth/archives/newswatch/199937/news5.html .
[27] www.terrorism.com/­_trcctforum5/000004b5.htm .
[28] The Los Angeles Times, October 14, 2001.
[29] http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/sampleissue­jan2001.asp .
[30] Ibid.
[31] BBC News, October 14, 2000.
[32] http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/sampleissue­jan2001.asp .
[33] The Times, September 9, 1996, http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/199610/19961011.html .
[34] The Guardian, September 9, 1996, http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/199610/19961011.html .
[35] www.almuhajiroun.com/islamictopics/islamicissues/jihad.html .
[36] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 72.
[37] http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/sampleissue­jan2001.asp .
[38] Le Monde, September9,1998;http://msanews.mynet.net/MSANEWS/199610/19961011.html .
[39] The Jerusalem Post, May 30, 2000.
[40] AFP, September 14, 2001.
[41] www.almuhajiroun.com/press­_releases/index.html .
[42] www.obm.clara.net/shariahcourt/fatwas/fs3.html .

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

LE MONDE LECHEUR DE CUL OFFICIEL DE L'ELYSEE

Jacques Chirac et George W. Bush veulent neutraliser le Hezbollah
[Le Monde.fr 18 juillet 2006]

En envoyant Dominique de Villepin à Beyrouth, lundi 17 juillet, Jacques Chirac a voulu faire un geste politique fort pour rappeler, au coeur de la crise au Proche-Orient, toute la spécificité de la relation franco-libanaise et exprimer aussi son attachement personnel au Liban. A Beyrouth, M. de Villepin s'est entretenu avec le premier ministre libanais, Fouad Siniora. Il a exprimé "la solidarité de la France" avec les Libanais, et a appelé à "une trêve humanitaire immédiate".

Ce voyage a été décidé dimanche après-midi par M. Chirac, alors que les dirigeants du G8 mettaient la dernière main, à Saint-Pétersbourg, à un texte de déclaration commune appelant à la fin des hostilités au Proche-Orient. Il n'a été annoncé que lundi matin, afin de préserver un effet de surprise.

Le président français était arrivé à Saint-Pétersbourg avec la conviction que la dégradation de la situation au Proche-Orient serait au cœur du G8. Lors de son entretien avec George Bush, la conversation a tourné entièrement autour du thème du Liban. M. Chirac a fait observer au président américain qu'il fallait envoyer des secours humanitaires à ce pays, et il a ajouté qu'en matière d'aides financières aux Palestiniens, il faudrait aller plus loin. M. Bush a acquiescé.

M. Chirac a adopté une approche en deux temps : obtenir qu'un appel soit lancé à Israël et aux autres parties du conflit pour une fin des hostilités, et s'appuyer sur le travail effectué depuis 2004 avec les Américains sur la résolution 1559 du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU. Ce texte appelle au désarmement de toutes les milices au Liban et vise à restaurer la pleine souveraineté du pays.

Les résultats de cet effort commun franco-américain ne doivent pas être dilapidés, juge Jacques Chirac. Dans ses déclarations à Saint-Pétersbourg, le président français s'est attaché non pas à formuler des accusations contre Israël, mais à insister sur la nécessité d'aider le gouvernement libanais à rétablir son autorité sur les régions dominées par le Hezbollah. Il n'a pas réitéré les propos qu'il avait tenus quelques jours auparavant sur un usage "disproportionné" de la force par Israël.

L'envoi de Dominique de Villepin à Beyrouth, explique-t-on côté français, ne relevait pas d'un mouvement d'humeur visant à signifier un mécontentement face à une attitude américaine trop conciliante à l'égard d'Israël, qui poursuit ses opérations militaires au Liban. Ce voyage relevait de considérations franco-libanaises, bâties sur une histoire commune. Il visait à coïncider avec les opérations d'évacuation de ressortissants français, et à appuyer le message du G8.

Jacques Chirac est arrivé à la conviction qu'aucun gouvernement démocratique ne sera viable au Liban, ni capable d'exercer sa souveraineté sur tout le territoire, s'il n'est pas mis fin à la capacité de nuisance du Hezbollah. La France veut travailler à renforcer le gouvernement de Fouad Siniora, un homme que le président français connaît par ailleurs personnellement peu, en comparaison avec l'amitié étroite qui le liait avec l'ancien premier ministre Rafic Hariri, assassiné en février 2005 à Beyrouth.

La France, le Royaume-Uni et les Etats-Unis ont travaillé de concert pour que le G8 aboutisse à une déclaration sur le Proche-Orient. Les Russes étaient réticents, estimant que le G8 n'était pas l'enceinte appropriée. L'équipe de M. Poutine craignait aussi que la Syrie, avec laquelle la Russie veut entretenir des relations privilégiées, soit mise sur le banc des accusés. C'est en grande partie sur insistance russe que ni la Syrie ni l'Iran ne sont mentionnés dans la déclaration.

Pour sa part, Jacques Chirac ne parle plus au président syrien Bachar Al-Assad, en qui il avait placé, un temps, des espoirs, mais qu'il tient pour responsable de la montée des périls au Liban.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

LA LANGUE DE BOIS DU HEZBOLLAH

Inside the Mind of Hezbollah
[Robin Wright washingtonpost.com Sunday, July 16, 2006]

Hasan Nasrallah is exactly where he always wanted to be.
"Ever since I was 9 years old, I had plans for the day when I would start doing this," the Hezbollah chief reflected on his leadership quest, when I visited him in the southern slums of Beirut not long ago. "When I was 10 or 11, my grandmother had a scarf. It was black, but a long one. I used to wrap it around my head and say to them that I'm a cleric, you need to pray behind me."

Nasrallah is a man of God, gun and government, a cross between Ayatollah Khomeini and Che Guevera, an Islamic populist as well as a charismatic guerrilla tactician. The black head wrap -- signifying his descent from the prophet Muhammad -- is now his trademark, and he is Lebanon's best known politician. Lines from his speeches are popular ring tones on cellphones. His face is a common computer screensaver. Wall posters, key rings and even phone cards bear his image. Taxis play his speeches instead of music.

At 46, Nasrallah is also the most controversial leader in the Arab world, at the center of the most vicious new confrontation between Israel and its neighbors in a quarter-century. Yet he is not the prototypical militant. His career has straddled the complex line between Islamic extremist and secular politician. "He is the shrewdest leader in the Arab world," Israeli
Ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon told me on Friday, "and the most dangerous."

Until this eruption of violence along the Lebanese border -- the most dramatic cross-border acts of war by Israel since its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 -- Nasrallah had largely succeeded in being both. A fiery populist, he extolled the virtues of democracy to me in one breath, then argued that only suicide bombers can secure that democracy. "As long as there are fighters who are ready for martyrdom, this country will remain safe," he bragged in a speech earlier this year. But now the man who helped create Hezbollah may finally have to make a choice.
When we met in his office, before this new battle with Israel, Nasrallah claimed to see peaceful political activism as Hezbollah's future.
"We have ministers, we have members of parliament, we have municipal council members, leaders of unions and syndicates," he boasted as we sat on faux French brocade furniture at his now-bombed headquarters. "If we are maintaining our arms until now, this is due to the fact that the need for it is still there, due to the permanent or constant Israeli threats against Lebanon. Whether we keep on with the resistance or stop the resistance, we are effectively now a full-fledged political party."

The outskirts of Beirut are known as the dahiya , Arabic for "suburbs." It has come to mean the poor, dense and sometimes dangerous maze of slums that is also Hezbollah-land. Its dirty alleys are crammed with concrete-block shanties. Gnarled masses of wire run from one building to the next, illegally tapping into electrical, phone and television lines. While lights burn brightly in trendy downtown Beirut, the dahiya is often eerily dark because of sporadic electricity.
Hezbollah has become an enterprise in the dahiya, often outperforming the state. It runs a major hospital as well as schools, discount pharmacies, groceries and an orphanage. It runs a garbage service and a reconstruction program for homes damaged during Israel's invasion. It supports families of the young men it sent off to their deaths. Altogether, it benefits an estimated 250,000 Lebanese and is the country's second-largest employer.
In the dahiya, Nasrallah is an icon, famed for his oratory and revered as a champion of Lebanon's long-dispossessed Shiite minority.

Born in a Christian suburb of Beirut in 1960, the first of nine children, Nasrallah only joined Hezbollah after the Israeli invasion. Trained in Islam at the top seminaries of both Iraq and Iran, he became one of the original military leaders in Iran's new training camps.
"I was then 22 years old," Nasrallah told me. "We used to discuss issues among ourselves. If we are to expel the Israeli occupation from our country, how do we do this? We noticed what happened in Palestine, in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, in the Golan, in the Sinai. We reached a conclusion that we cannot rely on the Arab League states, nor on the United Nations," he said. "The only way that we have is to take up arms and fight the occupation forces."
With a force of between 600 and 1,000 full-time fighters, along with thousands of backups pulled from the streets willing to become human bombs, Nasrallah managed what the tens of thousands in the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan were unable to do for a half-century -- force Israel to retreat. Today, his is the last private army left in Lebanon.

Nasrallah became the movement's secretary general in 1992, at age 32, after Israeli helicopter gunships assassinated his predecessor. His first major decision was to shift a movement best known for its terrorism spectaculars against the United States, France and Israel into politics -- and run candidates for parliament.
"They resist with their blood," declared Hezbollah campaign posters at the time, featuring suicide bombers. "Resist with your vote."
But Hezbollah's shifts under Nasrallah should not be mistaken for moderation. As with other Islamist groups in the Middle East, change was about survival of both cause and constituents. The end of Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1990 had altered the environment. From then on, Hezbollah needed to participate in the political system -- or face loss of the weapons that gave it power.

Today, Hezbollah holds 14 seats in parliament, one of the larger blocs, and in 2005 joined the government for the first time. This year, Nasrallah even made an unlikely alliance with a right-wing Christian who was once a Lebanese army general -- while still accepting what U.S. intelligence has pegged at about $100 million annually from Iran in goods, cash and arms, including an estimated 13,000 rockets and missiles.

For six years, Hezbollah also demonstrated some military restraint. When Israel ended its 18-year occupation of Lebanon in 2000, Nasrallah declared, "We have liberated the south. Next we'll liberate Jerusalem." Yet until last week, Hezbollah's increasingly infrequent offensives were largely limited to the disputed border town at Shebaa Farms.
But the transition is far from complete; Nasrallah still wants it both ways. A few weeks before I saw him, he gave a speech about the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad, which triggered rioting worldwide and more than 100 deaths. Nasrallah condemned "those fools that did wrong to our prophet," but he also criticized the attack on the Danish Embassy in Beirut. "Let us stop this nonsense," he said. "As Muslims and Christians, we should continue to cooperate and unite in order to reject the offense to our prophets and our holy belongings."

Yet Hezbollah still has refused to comply with U.N. Resolution 1559, which calls for the dismantling and disarming of Hezbollah's militia. "The Israeli Air Force could destroy the Lebanese army within hours, or within days, but it cannot do this with us," Nasrallah told me. "We exercise guerrilla warfare. . . . Lebanon still needs the formula of popular resistance."
Whenever Nasrallah talks about the terrorist tactics with which Hezbollah has become synonymous, the message is still tortuously two-faced. Our exchange about al-Qaeda and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was typical:
"What do the people who worked in those two [World Trade Center] towers, along with thousands of employees, women and men, have to do with war that is taking place in the Middle East? Or the war that Mr. George Bush may wage on people in the Islamic world?" he asked me. "Therefore we condemned this act -- and any similar act we condemn."
But the Pentagon?
"I said nothing about the Pentagon, meaning we remain silent. We neither favored nor opposed that act," he replied. "Well, of course, the method of Osama bin Laden, and the fashion of bin Laden, we do not endorse them. And many of the operations that they have carried out, we condemned them very clearly."

The use of terrorism is a difficult subject for the head of a group that succeeded in redefining extremist tactics. Hezbollah deployed the first Islamic suicide bombers in modern times. It was also the first to carry out multiple attacks simultaneously. Al-Qaeda and Hamas and Iraq's insurgents -- all Sunni movements -- have copied these tactics.
Nevertheless, Nasrallah has only disdain for bin Laden and the Taliban. In April, an al-Qaeda cell in Lebanon tried to assassinate him. And the late al-Qaeda chief in Iraq this spring condemned the Shiite movement as an "enemy of the Sunnis" -- ironically, in hindsight -- for protecting Israel by preventing Palestinian attacks from Lebanon. "The worst, the most dangerous thing that this Islamic revival has encountered . . . was the Taliban," Nasrallah told me. "The Taliban state presented a very hideous example of an Islamic state."

Yet Hezbollah has not abandoned its extremist origins, even as it tries to establish conventional political legitimacy.
"It is unacceptable, it is forbidden, to harm the innocent," he told me, reflecting on Iraq. "To have Iraqis confronting the occupation army, this is natural. But if there are American tourists, or intellectuals, doctors, or professors who have nothing to do with this war, they are innocent, even though they are Americans, and it is forbidden. It is not acceptable to harm them."

In 2004, Hezbollah issued a communique condemning the beheading of American contractor Nicholas Berg by al-Qaeda in Iraq as a "despicable act" that did "grave damage to Islam and the Muslims." But the day before we talked, a suicide bomber had detonated a bomb at a Tel Aviv restaurant during the busy lunch hour, killing 11 and wounding more than 60 civilians. The bomb was laced with nails and other projectiles; the injuries were particularly gruesome. Islamic Jihad, another Iranian-backed group, claimed credit.
I asked Nasrallah how he applied his metric on civilians to Israelis. He described the issue of what he calls "occupied Palestine" as "complicated."
"It is our opinion that in Palestine, women and children need to be avoided in any case," he responded. "But it came after more than two months of daily Israeli killing of Palestinians, and the destruction of houses and schools, and the siege that is imposed on the Palestinians. There is no other means for the Palestinians to defend themselves. That is why I cannot condemn this type of operation in occupied Palestine."

Discours du Meme Hasan Nasrallah diffuse sur la television Al-Manar en Fevrier 2005
[Memritv.org]

Hassan Nasrallah: Israel is our enemy. This is an aggressive, illegal, and illegitimate entity, which has no future in our land. Its destiny is manifested in our motto: "Death to Israel."

Crowd:
Death to Israel
Death to Israel
Death to Israel
Death to Israel
Death to Israel

Hassan Nasrallah: The American administration is behind Israel. I must clarify that when I say 'America' I do not mean the American people, most of whom are distant and ignorant of what is going on in the world, and of what its government and army are doing in the world. Nevertheless, we consider the current administration an enemy of our [Islamic] nation and of the peoples of our nation, because it has always taken a position of aggression, of occupation, and of supporting Israel with weapons, airplanes, tanks, money, as well as political support, and unlimited protection.
We consider it to be an enemy because it wants to humiliate our governments, our regimes, and our peoples. Because it is the greatest plunderer of our treasures, our oil, and our resources, while millions in our nation suffer unemployment, poverty, hunger, unmarriageability, ignorance, darkness, and so on. America… This American administration is an enemy. Our motto, which we are not afraid to repeat year after year, is: "Death to America."

Crowd:
Death to America
Death to America
Death to America
Death to America
Death to America
Death to America

Hassan Nasrallah: Some people may wonder and say: "Is there no end to this hostility?" Yes, there is an an end. If the Zionists leave our lands and holy places and give them back to their owners, this conflict will come to an end. If America stops interfering in our countries' and nation's affairs, stops its aggression, stops its occupation, stops its plundering of our resources and treasures, we will have no problem with it. We don't want to go to Washington to fight America. We are defending our countries and our existence.
Any rift, civil strife, disintegration, or dispersion in any Arab or Islamic country, or in the entire nation, serves our Zionist enemy and its plan of hegemony, and serves the Great Satan – the American administration, whose main concern is to control our oil, our treasures, our resources, and our markets. [They want us] to become millions of slaves who eat and drink but are living dead, devoid of honor, respect, and existence.--

Hassan Nasrallah: How can death become joyous? How can death become happiness? When Al-Hussein asked his nephew Al-Qassem, when he had not yet reached puberty: "How do you like the taste of death, son?" He answered that it was sweeter than honey. How can the foul taste of death become sweeter than honey? Only through conviction, ideology, and faith, through belief, and devotion. We do not want to live merely in order to eat, drink, and enjoy life's pleasures, and leave our homeland to Israel so it will slaughter it upon the altar of its aspirations, desires, hate, and historic vendettas. Therefore, we are not interested in our own personal security. On the contrary, each of us lives his days and nights hoping more than anything to be killed for the sake of Allah. The most honorable death is to be killed, as the Leader Imam Al-Khamenei said when 'Abbas [Musawi] was martyred. He said: "Congratulations to 'Abbas, congratulations to 'Abbas." The most honorable death is death by killing, and the most honorable killing and the most glorious martyrdom is when a man is killed for the sake of Allah, by the enemies of Allah, the murderers of the prophets [i.e. the Jews].