Israel Resource Review 9th December, 2006


HUDNA" –WINKED: Mistranslation of an Arabic term which does not connote "cease fire"
David Bedein

Over the past few weeks, almost all of the western media have mistranslated the term "hudna" to mean a "ceasefire".

A "hudna" connotes a respite in a war between Islamic forces & non-Islamic forces.

The authoritative Islamic Encyclopedia (London, 1922) defines "hudna" as a "temporary treaty" which can be approved or abrogated by Islamic religious leaders, depending on whether or not it serves the interests of Islam, and that a "hudna" cannot last for more than ten years. The Islamic Encyclopedia mentions the Hudaybia treaty as the ultimate "hudna." Arafat also referred to a hudna in his speeches when he would refer to the Oslo accords. In the words of the Islamic encyclopedia, "The Hudaybia treaty, concluded by the Prophet Muhammed with the unbelievers of Mecca in 628, provided a precedent for subsequent treaties which the Prophet's successors made with non-Muslims. Muhammed made a hudna with a tribe of Jews back then to give him time to grow his forces, then broke the treaty and wiped them out. Although this treaty was violated within three years from the time that it was concluded, most jurists concur that the maximum period of peace with the enemy should not exceed ten years since it was originally agreed that the Hudaybia treaty should last ten years."

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Baker Hamilton Report Analyzed
Melanie Phillips

he Iraq Study Group report did more than merely live down to its advance billing. Its authors are now revealed to be as intellectually deficient as they are morally malodorous. Calling these people 'realists' is clearly someone's idea of a joke; on the contrary, their reasoning amounts to the most unrealistic, utopian and utterly fatuous wishful thinking possible. Thus they say

Iran should stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, respect Iraq's sovereigntyand territorial integrity, and use its influence over Iraqi Shia groups to encourage national reconciliation.

Thus all of Iraq's neighbours apparently have

an interest in avoiding a chaotic Iraq… Iraq's neighbors and key states in and outside the region should form a support group to reinforce security and national reconciliation within Iraq…


Syria should control its border with Iraq to stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in and out of Iraq.

But the violence in Iraq — that 'grave and deteriorating' situation which the ISG was set up to address — is being largely fuelled in the first place by Iran and Syria, which are doing so precisely because they do not want to avoid chaos in Iraq. On the contrary, they are causing it. So this airy wish-list is totally ridiculous.

The report is also profoundly dishonest, refusing to acknowledge the inevitable consequences of its own reasoning. It sets up, for example, yet another straw aspiration: that the Iraqis have to be brought to be able to police themselves, disregarding the fact that this is precisely what the coalition has been attempting to do for the past four years — and then saying that even if they are not in such a position, the US should depart. In other words, cut and run but don't admit it. And this even though the authors spell out in gory detail the dire consequences that chaos in Iraq would have for the US and for the world. But if the US leaves Iraq before it is pacified, the present chaos will in hindsight look like a picnic.

Having ruled out precipitate withdrawal, staying the course, sending more troops or splitting Iraq into three, the New Way Forward it comes up with is the truly brilliant suggestion that the US should invite the Arab world to sort out the mess — including those states that are actively causing it. Here is a flavour:

Saudi Arabia's agreement not to intervene with assistance to Sunni Arab Iraqis could be an essential quid pro quo for similar forbearance on the part of other neighbors, especially Iran. The Saudis could use their Islamic credentials to help reconcile differences between Iraqi factions and build broader support in the Islamic world for a stabilization agreement, as their recent hosting of a meeting of Islamic religious leaders in Mecca suggests. If the government in Baghdad pursues a path of national reconciliation with the Sunnis, the Saudis could help Iraq confront and eliminate al Qaeda in Iraq. They could also cancel the Iraqi debt owed them. In addition, the Saudis might be helpful in persuading the Syrians to cooperate.

Yes, just like the Mafia might be helpful in promoting gun control.

Or how about this:

Although Iran sees it in its interest to have the United States bogged down in Iraq, Iran's interests would not be served by a failure of U.S. policy in Iraq that led to chaos and the territorial disintegration of the Iraqi state.

Well if that's the case, why is Iran busily producing precisely such chaos? It simply beggars belief that these authors do not seem to have grasped that the interests of the current Iranian regime would indeed by served by seizing control of southern Iraq and thus greatly extending Iranian Shia control in the region.

Given such imbecility, it's not surprising that the authors recommend negotiating with people who regularly announce that they intend to destroy Israel and engender a re-run of the Holocaust they have always denied, as a precursor to destroying America and the west. Whatever conflict they are looking at, the only approach that the ISG authors accept is negotiation and compromise. But when dealing with people whose agenda is the totally non-negotiable eradication of the other, any compromise is tantamount to abject surrender and complicity with terrorism, fascism and genocide.

In the middle of a war, this is not merely appeasement but rank treachery. For the harm done by the mere publication of this report is severe. Its authors have shamefully heartened and strengthened the enemies of the west at a time when coalition soldiers are fighting and dying to defend it. The Arab and Muslim world is smelling American defeat, and terrorists are openly rejoicing:

'The report proves that this is the era of Islam and of jihad,' said Abu Ayman, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin. The Islamic Jihad terror group is responsible for every suicide bombing in Israel during the past two years. '(With the Iraq Study Group report), the Americans came to the conclusion that Islam is the new giant of the world and it would be clever to reduce hostilities with this giant. In the Koran the principle of the rotation is clear and according to this principle the end of the Americans and of all non-believers is getting closer,' Abu Ayman said.

The ISG and their ilk want to surrender to Iran and Syria and offer up Israel as a propitiatory sacrifice. To justify this act of atavistic ethnic malice, they put forward the fantasy that the Israel/Arab conflict is the core grievance driving the regional war and the Islamic jihad. This is clearly absurd. What on earth has Israel got to do with the war between Sunni and Shia in Iraq, or al Qaeda's attacks in Malaysia or elsewhere in Asia in the furtherance of a pan-Asian caliphate, or the Islamist genocide in the Sudan? Casting Israel as the regional villain bears no relation whatever to 'realism', nor to anything approaching reality. It has everything to do instead with a deep-seated animus against the Jewish state, and unhealthily close connections with the Arab world that is driven by the desire to see Israel destroyed — and which is being talked up as a result by these authors as the solution to a murderous problem that the Arab world itself has created. Only Israel is required to make any actual concession — giving up the Golan to Syria — and yet only Israel is to be excluded from a 'support' network for Iraq that seems to encompass most of the rest of the world. In the ISG universe, this is clearly a world that is Jew-free; or at least, where the Jews play one role only — that of global fall-guy.

The vile personal agenda by the ISG's principal author, James Baker III, is brought to light in this article on the Insight website, which reports that he is pressing to abandon America's ally to those who wish to exterminate it — and to do so by removing 'Jewish pressure':

The White House has been examining a proposal by James Baker to launch a Middle East peace effort without Israel. The peace effort would begin with a U.S.-organized conference, dubbed Madrid-2, and contain such U.S. adversaries as Iran and Syria. Officials said Madrid-2 would be promoted as a forum to discuss Iraq's future, but actually focus on Arab demands for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war. They said Israel would not be invited to the conference.

'As Baker sees this, the conference would provide a unique opportunity for the United States to strike a deal without Jewish pressure,' an official said. 'This has become the most hottest proposal examined by the foreign policy people over the last month.'

Officials said Mr. Baker's proposal, reflected in the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, has been supported by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte… Officials said the Baker proposal to exclude Israel from a Middle East peace conference garnered support in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Saudi Arabia on November 25. They said Mr. Cheney spent most of his meetings listening to Saudi warnings that Israel, rather than Iran, is the leading cause of instability in the Middle East. 'He [Cheney] didn't even get the opportunity to seriously discuss the purpose of his visit—that the Saudis help the Iraqi government and persuade the Sunnis to stop their attacks,' another official familiar with Mr. Cheney's visit said. 'Instead, the Saudis kept saying that they wanted a U.S. initiative to stop the Israelis' attack in Gaza and Cheney just agreed.'

It is not clear from this whether Cheney was in any sense agreeing with the Saudis, or whether — which seems far more likely — he was merely pinned to the wall by their obsessive hatred of Israel (an interesting gloss, also, on the Saudi 'peace plan' for the Middle East in which such an unhealthy interest is being taken). Nevertheless, it is clear that Israel has many highly placed enemies within the Bush administration who are seizing upon the President's political weakness to advance their appalling cause of throwing Israel's bloody carcass at the ravening wolves of the jihad. As Alex Fishman reports:

There are many voices in Washington, such as that of new Defense Secretary Gates, who are urging that Israel be used to promote America's interests in the region… In Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's meeting with Mahmoud Abbas last week, she reiterated that the US administration would work with every Palestinian government it found acceptable. In other words, any compromise Abbas reaches with Hamas that would lead to the establishment of a unity government would be acceptable by the US.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem are already pointing out the flexibility in the US' 'uncompromising stance' regarding the three conditions set out by the Quartet that enable the lifting of sanctions on the Hamas cabinet. One of the staunchest conditions was that Hamas would recognize Israel's right to exist. Now the American administration is prepared for a more flexible phrasing: It can live with a Hamas government whose ministers do not publicly condemn Israel's right to exist.

According to Israeli diplomatic sources, Hamas is very much aware of this erosion in the American stance and is sensing the loosening of the sanction rope around its neck. Even IDF military pressure on Hamas has waned. It is no wonder, therefore, that Hamas is walking around with a sense of achievement, and the immediate result is the hardening of the Hamas stance vis-à-vis Mahmoud Abbas, which is likely to lead to further inflexibility on the issue of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.

No less worrying is the British ambiguity about Hamas. The Times reported:

Mr Blair told the same press conference that while Israel's right to exist was non-negotiable, it might be necessary to find 'a different way forward' that bypassed the Quartet principles. His official spokesman explained later that while Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, accepted the principles, Hamas — the largest party in authority — did not. 'We have to find a way of resolving that either through a unity government or another way,' the spokesman said.

Tony Blair may be a staunch supporter of Israel. Nevertheless, the British Foreign Office has long been its enemy, and the British mandarinate imbibes a knee-jerk instinct for appeasement with its mother's milk. Accordingly, it is desperate to construct any fig-leaf to allow it to talk to Hamas. The danger posed by Foreign Office thinking is exacerbated by Blair's long-expressed and fundamentally misconceived view that if Israel/Palestine can be solved, the threat posed by the global jihad will be eased. The truth of course, is exactly the other way round: that the impasse between Israel and the Arabs will only be solved if the threat presented by the Arab and Islamic world is defeated.

A different view altogether of America's current attitude, however, has been reported by al Quds newspaper, as translated by the BBC Monitoring service (no link discovered):

Abbas is coming under heavy pressures from the US administration to dismiss the Hamas government and form a government of technocrats for a transitional period of between six months and one year, after which presidential and parliamentary elections will be held. The US government has apparently run out of patience and has started to see in Abbas's weakness a burden on it and an obstacle in the way of its efforts to activate the negotiations on the Palestinian track so as to have a free hand in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran.

Sources close to the Palestinian and Americans sides agree that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was violent in her criticism of Abbas's hesitation to take the step of disbanding the Hamas government during her meeting with him in Jericho 10 days ago. These sources reported that she gave him a few weeks to take the decision required from him; otherwise, the US government would withdraw its support for him.

With such ambiguities and uncertainties, all eyes now are upon President Bush. The ISG is composed of, and supported by, people who look down on him as a tongue-tied parvenu hopelessly out of his depth. But their own words reveal them to be people whose arrogance and cynicism are matched only by their mental vapidity, and who have now dangerously and shamefully weakened the west still further in its titanic struggle against Islamist fascism.

The hand of history has now descended upon George W Bush. Rarely has such a fateful outcome depended upon one isolated and beleaguered individual. Everything now turns on whether he has the strength, the courage and the character not merely to reject the ISG charade — he promptly dumped its main recommendations on troop withdrawals and appeasement of Iran and Syria— but to raise his game altogether.

That means grasping that his strategy until now for Iraq and the region has been wrong, principally because he has treated the issues of Iraq, Iran and Israel in isolation from each other. In truth, they are all fronts in the same war. There can be no prospect of making progress with any of them unless they are addressed as part of a connected whole, and the states that are driving this war on many fronts — principally Iran and its satellite, Syria (although the forked-tongued Saudis should not be forgotten either) —are confronted and defeated.

Iraq will not be pacified until and unless Iran and Syria are dealt with. Israel will not be at peace unless and until America and the free world not only deal with the rogue states threatening extermination and genocide, but also stop treating those who preach, teach and act towards the destruction of Israel as resistance fighters with a legitimate grievance and deal with them instead as pariahs, to be excluded from the counsels of the civilised world and fought as the enemies that they indubitably are.

Bush is now surrounded by vultures sharpening their murderous claws. Does he have the inner resources to rise above them? To do so, he would have to not merely acknowledge the strategic errors he has made but transform the way he has run his office. This is a President who, until now, has operated through consensus. He has required his administration to present him not with a series of alternative options but with a settled view to which they all agree. This has been nothing short of disastrous, since his administration has been constantly at war within itself, with the State Department, Defence, the CIA, the generals in the field and sub-groups within those groups and others all fighting each other. Bush's failure to choose between these warring perspectives and instead to operate on the basis of a 'consensus' which amounts merely to the lowest common denominator is in itself a major cause of the difficulties in Iraq.

The ISG report, and his reaction to it, has now ruptured that consensus management. The big question now is whether Bush has the capacity to follow through, to rise above his warring advisers and follow his moral instincts — to emerge from being a weak chief executive to become a world leader and statesman. In the dying fall of his presidency, does he have the wherewithal to go for broke? On this lonely and frail figure the fate of the free world now depends.

Melanie Phillips's Diary:

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Commentary: "Test the intentions of Israel's neighbors." - An insult to our intelligence,
Arlene Kushner

Edward Djerejian, a key advisor to Baker on his study, told the Jerusalem Post today that there is no intention to force Israel into concessions. Rather, the desire is to "test the intentions of Israel's neighbors." What an insult to our intelligence, to think we might buy this. You don't have a conference that excludes Israel and determines how to pressure us, in order to test our neighbors.

You see, explained Djerejian, the situation in the Middle East "cries out for a comprehensive solution" and that is what this is attempting to achieve. What he, and others who think like him, fail to comprehend -- and this is an absolutely critical failure -- is that such a comprehensive solution is not possible because the will is lacking on the Arab side. Some problems cannot be fixed, just so. Some problems must be confronted.

According to the Post, Djerejian says the aim is to help Israel, presumably because a "comprehensive peace" with a "two-state solution" would be in our best interests. Aiming to help us? And I'm flying to the moon next week.

But in a way it's good that Djerejian is saying all of this, because perhaps at least it indicates a recognition that what was proposed didn't go over too well in many quarters.


The editorial in today's Post has a good take on the matter. Citing the Iraq Study Group Report, which says that "the United States should embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international support . . . [which] should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran among them," the Post comments:

"How embarrassing. Senior figures from both major American parties have, in broad daylight, betrayed such staggering naiveté that their report might not have passed muster with a reasonably discerning high school teacher, let alone offered a serious basis for US foreign policy.

"One wonders whether a single Iraqi, Jordanian, or Saudi with whom the committee spoke believes that Iran 'has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq.'"

Right on . . . Americans, wake up! You're being led down a garden path that is mined.


Meanwhile, Tony Blair is coming to the Middle East with the intention of "unlocking the door" to peace. The main problem, he conceded, is that "the Palestinians don't accept Israel's right to exist."

Well, good morning! Glad that he acknowledges this. But it would be better still if he admitted that because they don't accept our right to exist they are not going to make peace with us.


If Blair -- or Bush or Baker -- imagine that they will be able to manipulate the Palestinians into moderating or accepting us, they are living in dream world. PA prime minister Haniyeh (considered the "moderate" of the bunch, yet) is now in Iran. This is what he said to Friday worshippers:

"The world arrogance and Zionists . . . want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop jihad and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past.

"The United States is pressing the Hamas-led Palestinian government to recognize Israel, renounce violence and form a national unity government with the moderate Fatah party in a bid to revive the peace process with Israel.

"I'm insisting from this podium that these issues won't materialize. We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem."

At the same time, Hamas has declared intention to run in any new elections that Abbas calls, including in the election for president. That ought to stop him cold -- he could be replaced by a Hamas figure.


News this week was that Iran is having major trouble with its technology for enriching uranium, and will not master it for another year or so. For those of us here, sitting under the gun, as it were, the additional window of time is good news. Maybe within that year the Western world will begin to get things straight and stop the appeasement. There are constant debates here about whether in the end Bush will have the courage to bomb Iran. Maybe there'll be a new gov't in Israel. There are constant debates here, as well, about whether we'll do it if Bush doesn't. Maybe there will be a revolution in Iran. One can hope (as long as one continues to plan against the worst case scenario).

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