Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tough talk from Israel?

An Israeli defense official says his country could attack Iran to prevent that nation from developing nuclear weapons.

Someone should tell President Bush to rein in Ehud Olmert ... and someone should tell Vladimir Putin to rein in Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Israel and the 2006 elections

Last night I heard a representative from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, discuss (among other things) the impact of the 2006 elections on Israel. He didn't seem worried about any changes in US policy, although some Israelis are. I suppose that, given the absence of a Cynthia McKinney this campaign season, there won't be any such changes next year when the Democrats reclaim Congress.

He discussed the current situation in Israel. One big item in the news is the Israeli artillery barrage in the Gaza Strip that left 18 Palestinians dead. Seems like this is the first big story from the region since the Israel-Hezbollah war this summer.

What concerned him most? I would say Iran. He brought up Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments about eliminating the Zionist state.

Is Ahmadinejad as big a threat to the Jews as Adolf Hitler was? For all the Iranian leader's braggadocio, I don't think he (or the real power broker in his country, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) would dare to attack Israel. The reasons are twofold: An American response, and a risk of creating Palestinian casualties.

There are objections to this second item. After all, Iran fought a war with other Muslims, namely those in Iraq, for eight years. And how much identification would the Persians of Iran feel toward the Sunnis of Ramallah, East Jerusalem, and Gaza?

The Palestinians, though, have become a cause celebre in the Islamic world, and a key part of the Muslim ummah. Their proximity to Israel may ironically prove to be a sort of protection for the Jewish state from the greater threat of a nuclear Iran.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam sentenced

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has received a death sentence. What are the charges against him?

The principal one, for this trial, seems to be his reprisal against Shiite Muslims in Dujail for a 1982 assassination attempt. According to the Chicago Tribune, "entire families from Dujail were detained. Death sentences against many were issued after perfunctory one-day trials. Nearly four dozen victims died in captivity--often during interrogation." The death count: 148.

While the sentence seems final, it may not be. "There are appeals and more trials," the Tribune wrote. Hussein is scheduled for another trial for charges of genocide. The basis: killing around 180,000 Kurds in 1987-88. The Tribune: "All told, Hussein's regime is believed to have killed at least 300,000 Iraqis."

Some Sunnis have reacted violently to the death sentence. Even after his sentencing, it seems, the dictator can still cause trouble in Iraq.