Late Birthpangs

A few items that I had marked for follow-up, but then dropped the ball on. While I wouldn’t say these items are timely anymore (except for the first one), they’re still relevant.

Al-Qaida: Not Just For the Middle-East Anymore
On August 24, Al-Shabaab, a Somali militant group tied to Al-Qaida, burst into a hotel in Mogadishu dressed as police officers and opened fire, killing several lawmakers and other guests. The group’s avowed goal is to topple Somalia’s fragile transitional government and restore the country to Islamist rule. (A good summary of the situation can be found on the CFR website.)

Naturally, this won’t get as much international attention as Israel’s “criminal” enforcement of a legal blockade.

U.N. Actually Defends Israel . . . Against the American Press
You know, when the U.N.–an entity that can’t let a week go by without issuing some trumped up condemnation of Israel–is being more fair to Isarel than our own media, you know its time to find alternate sources for your news.

A few weeks ago, a Hezbollah sniper attack killed an Israeli soldier, three Lebannese workers, and a Lebanese reporter who were working on the Israeli side of the Lebannon border. As Bigjournalism.com reports, both Reuters and the AP, in their zeal to place blame on Israel for the murder of five people, falsely stated that the incident happened on the Lebannon side of the border, failed to mention that the tree-cutting operation that was fired upon was coordinated with the United Nations Peacekeeping troops (UNIFIL), and tried to place blame on prior Israeli aggression.

Meanwhile, the U.N. itself has officially backed up Israel’s side of the story. Had their own people not been involved, and were they not concerned that U.N. personel might be at risk in future attacks, I’m pretty sure they’d be condemning Israel now too.

At this point, pretty much every newspaper in the U.S. of A. is dependent on regurgitating AP and Reuters stories. We need to explain this sort of thing to them when we cancel our subscriptions (which an increasing number of Americans are).

Arabs Discussing War with Israel
Not that that should shock anyone, except for maybe the aforementioned American press. MEMRI has been helpful enough to pass along a few translations from a recent interview with Mahmoud Abbas with some Egyptian editors. Here are a couple of highlights:

“… At the recent Arab summit, in Sirte, [Libya], the delegates said: ‘We will fight [Israel].’ They counted tanks, and concluded that [the Arabs] have more tanks than Israel does. They did the same with planes, and said: ‘We have 3,000, while Israel has [only] 1,500, so we can defeat it. . . .’ [Nevertheless] I told them, ‘If you want war, I am with you.’ . . .

“I was the first [Arab leader to meet with] the Jewish lobby in the U.S.. No Arab leader had done so before me, because the extremism [of this lobby] makes it dangerous to meet with [its members]…. I was asked 27 questions, the first of which was, ‘What is your stance on [Israel as] a Jewish state?… I told them: You can call yourselves whatever you wish, even ‘The Great Hebrew Zionist Empire,’ but I refuse to call you by any name [of this kind]…

None of this is a shock to those who have actually been paying attention. It’s a well-known fact that Arab leaders consistantly say one thing in English and another in Arabic. But it’s always good to remind ourselves why Israel cannot expect negotiations in good faith from her enemies, who are willing to fake graves to justify trying to seize land in Jerusalem.

The Collapse of European Catholicism
I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by the Economist running this particular story. It’s the sort of you would expect to find in Christianity Today.

In the diocese of Evreux, Christianity has been part of the fabric of life for 15 centuries. Of its 600,000 inhabitants, about 400,000 might call themselves, at least loosely, Catholic. But the number of priests under the age of 70 is a mere 39, and only seven of those are under 40. That is just a bit worse than average in a country that, as recently as the 1950s, boasted 40,000 active priests; in a few years, the number under 65 will be a tenth of that. This suggests a body that is not so much shrinking as dying.

On closer inspection French Catholicism is not dead, but it is splintering to the point where the centre barely holds. . . .

Nice Yeats reference. The article goes on to describe the disconnect between faith and action in a majority of Europeans–a problem we have here in America as well. It’s a fascinating, and frightening, snapshot of what is wrong with Western Christianity as we pass through the last days–and why Jewish Europeans are increasingly coming under persecution by those who are moving into the vacuum of true faith.

“I Say, Scully, Would You Care For a Spot of Tea?”
File this one under “signs in the heavens”:

Britain released hundreds of previously secret “UFO files” on Thursday, including a letter saying that Winston Churchill had ordered a 50-year cover-up of a wartime encounter between an unidentified flying object and military pilot.
The files, published by the National Archives, span decades and contain scores of witness accounts, sketches and classified briefing notes documenting mysterious sightings across Britain.

You know, if the skeptics are correct, the governments of the world are wasting an awful lot of money and effort trying to convince the UFO community that they’re on to something.

Shalom

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