Archive for May 2008

Bosnian TV alleges Muslim official linked to 9/11 attacks

May 28, 2008

BBC Monitoring European. London: May 9, 2008.

Excerpt from report by Bosnia-Hercegovina Federation public TV, on 5 May

[Host Bakir Hadziomerovic] On last night’s [Bosnian] Federation Television
prime-time news, it was reported that the OHR [Office of the High
Representative] anti-corruption team was completing an extensive
investigation against several individuals involved in economic crime, aiding
war criminals and terrorist activities worldwide as well as individuals
involved in the wide network of construction mafia. Based on reliable
information, tonight we are revealing the names of the people whose illegal,
criminal and terrorist activities have already been proven by the
anti-corruption team.

According to exclusive confirmations [that we have received], the
investigation conducted by OHR experts concerns Hasan Cengic, member of the
SDA [Party of Democratic Action] Main Board and a person who during the
aggression against our country was the master of the TWRA [Vienna-based
Muslim charity suspected of helping smuggle arms into Bosnia and channelling
funds to radical Islamists] donor chest. In addition to Cengic’s criminal
undertakings involving donated funds worth several million, which “60
Minutes” has repeatedly reported on in detail, the anti-corruption team has
allegedly come into possession of a document in which Hasan Cengic
personally signed a money transfer intended for the Al-Qai’dah 9/11
terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

[Passage omitted: on other investigations]

According to reliable and confirmed information from diplomatic quarters,
the anti-corruption team will soon submit all the gathered documentation
proving brutal criminality as well as involvement in terrorist activities
and in the hiding of war criminals to the B-H [Bosnia-Hercegovina ]
prosecutor’s office special department for organized crime, after which
arrests and trials of those responsible will ensue.

Credit: Bosnia-Hercegovina Federation TV, Sarajevo, in
Bosnian/Croatian/ Serbian 1800 5 May 08

Advertisements

Που οφείλεται και πως μπορεί να αντιστραφεί η κερδοσκοπία…

May 28, 2008

Του Χρύσανθου Λαζαρίδη, Γ.Γ. του ΔΣ/Δ21

 

Σε προηγούμενο δημοσίευμα δείξαμε ότι η αλματώδης άνοδος του πετρελαίου τα τελευταία πέντε χρόνια (από τα 25 στα 130 δολάρια το βαρέλι), οφείλεται κατά μικρό ποσοστό (15% περίπου) στην αυξημένη ζήτηση από την πλευρά της Κίνας. Κατά διπλάσιο ποσοστό (30%) οφείλεται στη «διολίσθηση» του ίδιου του δολαρίου. Και κατά το μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό, (55%), οφείλεται στη διεθνή κερδοσκοπία.
Η κερδοσκοπία, με τη σειρά της, οφείλεται στην έξαρση της γεωπολιτικής αβεβαιότητας που πυροδότησε η αμερικανική επέμβαση στο Ιράκ το 2003, καθώς και η αδυναμία των αμερικανο-βρετανικών δυνάμεων να ελέγξουν, στη συνέχεια, τις εξελίξεις στο ίδιο το Ιράκ. Γεγονός που αποσταθεροποίησε ακόμα περισσότερο, ολόκληρη τη Μέση Ανατολή.
ΜΆ άλλα λόγια, μέχρι σήμερα είχαμε στην διεθνή αγορά πετρελαίου «υπερβάλλουσα ζήτηση» για λόγους κερδοσκοπικής αποθεματοποίησης. Αν μειωθεί η αβεβαιότητα και αντιστραφούν οι προσδοκίες, τότε μπορεί να προκύψει «υπερβάλλουσα προσφορά», από την απότομη εκποίηση των αποθεμάτων που έχουν δημιουργήσει οι κερδοσκόποι. Πράγμα που μπορεί να οδηγήσει σε κατάρρευση τιμών…
Τι σημαίνουν αυτές οι διαπιστώσεις;
* Αν σταθεροποιηθεί η κατάσταση στο Ιράκ, τότε η ανοδική πορεία του πετρελαίου μπορεί να αντιστραφεί απότομα. Η πτώση μπορεί να φτάσει 55 δολάρια πιο κάτω από σήμερα (130 δολάρια). Δηλαδή να πέσει ως τα 75 δολάρια το βαρέλι…
* Αν ταυτοχρόνως αντιστραφεί και η πορεία του δολαρίου, τότε – καθώς θα ανεβαίνει το δολάριο – η πτώση των ενεργειακών τιμών μπορεί να είναι μέχρι και μιάμιση φορά μεγαλύτερη, οπότε το πετρέλαιο μπορεί να μειωθεί ως τα 50 δολάρια το βαρέλι (ίσως και πιο κάτω, αν υπάρξει «υπερακόντιση» – overshooting – δηλαδή «υπερβολή στην πτωτική διόρθωση»).
* Αν αντίθετα, οι ΗΠΑ οδηγηθούν σε ήττα και αναγκαστική αναδίπλωση από το Ιράκ, τότε θα προκύψει πολύ μεγαλύτερης έκτασης εμφύλιος πόλεμος εκεί, με πιθανότατη ανάμιξη όλων των όμορων χωρών (Ιράν, Συρία, Ιορδανία, Τουρκία, Σαουδαραβία), νέα έξαρση της γεωπολιτικής αστάθειας διεθνώς, με αποτέλεσμα νέα – πολύ μεγαλύτερη – άνοδο των τιμών πετρελαίου με σεισμικές επιπτώσεις σε όλο τον κόσμο. Εδώ ουσιαστικά δεν υπάρχει όριο: Τα 200 δολάρια το βαρέλι φαίνονται «λίγα» και τα 300 δολάρια δεν φαίνονται «πολλά»…
Συμπέρασμα:
* Για να αποφύγει τα χειρότερα – και για τον εαυτό της και για τον υπόλοιπο κόσμο – η Ουάσιγκτων πρέπει να αντιστρέψει την πολιτική της έναντι της Ρωσίας και να προχωρήσει σε μείζονα στρατηγική σύγκλιση με το Μόσχα. Αλλιώς δεν μπορεί να σταθεροποιήσει το Ιράκ…
* Πρέπει ακόμα να υπάρξει μείζων αναδιάρθρωση συναλλαγματικών ισοτιμιών μεταξύ δολαρίου-ευρώ (υπέρ του δολαρίου) και δολαρίου-γουάν (υπέρ του γουάν). Πόσο πιθανά είναι όλα αυτά;
Για την ώρα δεν φαίνονται πιθανά. Αλλά στην πολιτική (γιατί κυρίως πολιτικές είναι όλες αυτές οι προϋποθέσεις, που επηρεάζουν τις προσδοκίες για το πετρέλαιο), όσα φέρνει η ώρα δεν τα φέρνει ο χρόνος.
Όμως, ακόμα κι αν τα πράγματα πάνε καλύτερα, το πιθανότερο είναι να χειροτερέψουν (βραχυχρόνια) πριν αρχίσουν να βελτιώνονται (μεσοπρόθεσμα).

 

 

 

 

Albania asks Kosovo to agree on pipeline

May 20, 2008

Albania is readying plans for an interconnection line with Kosovo.

Production of energy from Albania’s hydropower stations would be well balanced with the production from Kosovo’s power stations, said Albania’s Economy and Trade Minister Genc Ruli, the Shekulli newspaper reported.

“Minister Ruli and Shiroka, his counterpart, stressed the cooperation in the  field of energy. The two ministers noted that the Albanian and Kosovo  electricity systems complement each other very well,” Albanian officials
said in a statement.

Analysts said, however, that while cooperation could be profitable, the two  countries’ financial capabilities are still far from strong enough.

Albania potentially could increase its energy production by 60 percent if it  finds a reliable energy source, like the coal power stations in Kosovo.  Currently, however, both nations are net importers of energy.

According to Kosovo Energy Corp. analyses, the country needs about $3  billion in investments to keep its current energy system afloat.

According to Albanian specialists, the construction of the thermoelectric  cooler power stations and the interconnection lines and the construction of  the pipelines supplying gas would help the situation on both sides.

 
Source: UPI

CANA CALLS FOR ASSERTIVE ADVOCACY AT PONTUS AND ASIA MINOR GENOCIDE CONFERENCE

May 17, 2008

Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, New York, Tel. 1-917-699-9935

 

“We must challenge the status quo with coalition building, media attention, and bold public action to make the world aware of our suffering” –CANA Press Officer, Nikolaos Taneris

NEW YORK—The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) stressed the need to focus on gaining media attention, and on printing Pontian Genocide scholarship in the English language with the overall goal of an all out effort to engage the Diaspora in advocacy for worldwide recognition of the Genocide of Asia Minor and Pontus, during the initial Catastrophe in Asia Minor and Pontus conference, held in Chicago from May 9-10.

CANA Press Officer Nikolaos Taneris, in his remarks, to the opening session of the conference, attended by the top scholars and community leaders on the Pontian Question from throughout the Diaspora, emphasized “the need to mobilize and inspire a new generation to work to gain influence in  political spheres , to build an assertive identity that will challenge our opponents”  , Taneris added “We must challenge the status quo with coalition building, media attention, and bold public action to make the world aware of our suffering”

In closing remarks Taneris achieved a consensus amongst some panelists for the need for scholarship in English, in particular, the importance of releasing Pontian Genocide scholarship in English,  so  Academics, and educators  can understand and carry our message, as can the non-Hellenic press, which are most important in advancing our cause.

Participating in the conference, which featured remarks from a wide range of Hellenic organizations, was Dr. Theofanis Stavrou the professor of history at University of Minnesota and founding editor of Modern Greek Studies Yearbook. He is also the general editor of Nostos, A series of monographs in modern Greek history and culture. Dr. Stavrou was born in Dhiorios in Kyrenia, and emphasized his own personal familiarity of displacement, from his tragic first-hand experiences with the criminal Turkish military- invasion of our Cyprus homeland. The experiences of Cyprus brought him to the scholarship on the Pontian Genocide, which includes a soon to be released review of Pontian Genocide scholar Fotiades’ work.

Other participants were Dr. Harry Psomiades the professor emeritus of political science at Queens College, and founder and director of the Queens College center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies from 1974-2004, Dr. William H. Samonides a Harvard University scholar and PHD who has devoted himself to the reconstruction of the Pontian Hellenic community in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. Professor Ellene S. Phufas of SUNY—Erie Community College, who is a second-generation Arcadian Hellene, presented on the realities of Greek to English translation, Prof. Phufas has completed the translation from Greek to English of NOUMERO 31328: THE BOOK OF SLAVERY a memoir by Asia  Minor Genocide survivor Ilias Venezis.

Michalis Charalambidis, member of the executive Committee of the International League for the Rights and Liberations of People, renowned Hellenic politician and intellectual, was denied entry to the US at the airport in Chicago, on the Tuesday before the conference. Reportedly, Charalambidis has a proper visa and for , as yet, unexplained reasons was denied entry, some speculation was raised that this may be the result of a Turkish smear campaign targeting Charalambidis for his advocacy for Genocide awareness, which the Turkish government denies. If these speculations prove to be true, they would symbolize a serious breach of intellectual freedom, if the US did indeed bow to Turkey’s Genocide denial campaign, by not allowing this conference participant into the US.

George Shirinian, the Executive Director of the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, a division of the Zoryan Institute, provided expert advice and commentary on the practical needs and efforts of a serious academic institute devoted to research, publication and education in the fields of Genocide Studies and Diaspora Studies. A major overall goal of this initial conference is the founding of serious academic institute devoted to Pontus and Asia Minor Genocide, in the Diaspora.

The two-day conference was hosted by the United Hellenic American Congress, the Federation of Hellenic American Organizations “Enosis”, the Pan-Pontian Federation of USA and CANADA and the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago, and sponsored as well by Mr. Chris P. Tomaras, Chairman of the Pan Hellenic Scholarship Foundation.

CANA invites Hellenes, in the homeland and throughout the Diaspora, to share their views regarding these remarks by writing to cana@cyprusactionnetwork.org

To view and download a picture of conference participants, visit this page, available on our homepage titled “Photos of Participants at The Catastrophe in Asia Minor and Pontus Conference”:  http://cyprusactionnetwork.org/photos_of_participants_at_the_catastrophe_in_asia_minor_and_pontus_conference

 

 
========================
Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
2578 Broadway #132
New York, NY 10025
New York: Tel. 917-699-9935
Email: cana@cyprusactionnetwork.org
www.cyprusactionnetwork.org
========================

 
The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) is a grass-roots, not-for-profit movement created to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of Cyprus.

 

Lebanese Fleeing War Arrive in Cyprus

May 16, 2008

A total of ten boats and sailing vessels have arrived at the Larnaca port since Monday evening, carrying around 140 people escaping the fighting between Hezbollah fighters and pro-government forces.

Speaking to the press, Larnaca Marina Director Michalis Fili said that every vessel carries around ten passengers, noting that most of these are Lebanese nationals who have dual nationality. Some are holders of British or French passports.

These passengers will either remain in Cyprus until the situation improves in Lebanon or will travel to another country by plane.

During the Lebanon crisis in July 2006 and throughout its duration, Cyprus had made its emergency services and facilities available to the international community for the repatriation of foreign nationals from Lebanon.

As a result, almost 60,000 foreign nationals arrived in Cyprus for voluntary repatriation. More than 25,000 were nationals of EU member states, there were almost 24,000 North American and Australian nationals (US, Canada and Australia), 8,000 Lebanese (from the total of about 60,000, a sizeable percentage were dual nationals of Lebanon) and 1,700 Indians. In total, nationals of 114 countries were received and offered assistance in Cyprus.

 

 

Source: Cyprus Embassy in Washington D.C

A Secular Market Nightmare

May 13, 2008

By Alyssa A. Lappen

 

Source: FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 09, 2008
The global sub-prime mortgage mess would have been “unthinkable in the Islamic capital markets sector,” Malaysian Islamic finance scholar Mohammed Mahmud Awan told Arab News on April 24; Islamic law, or “shari’a principles” would prohibit selling “a debt against a debt,” Awan said at a Bahrain university globalization conference. Trading trillions of dollars in debt without assets backing them caused the crisis, Awan claimed, adding that the “Islamic finance model…would have easily prevented the current economic crisis.”

Others disagree. All “Islamic finance today is interest based,” notes Rice University Islamic economics, finance and management chairman Mahmoud el-Gamal in the Financial Times. Islamic banking, merely “shari’a arbitrage,” is “first and foremost about religious identity,” el-Gamal says.

Indeed, Islamic finance debt instruments are no better than Western mortgage securities, and probably worse. Islamic sukuk al-ijara (shari’a bonds) are merely reverse-engineered structured finance instruments. Many grave secular risks accompany the growing foothold of shari’a finance in the West.

Despite claims of their superior safety by International Center for Education in Islamic Finance professor Awan, Islamic financial institutions manufacture “special purpose entities” (SPEs)—which coincidentally helped destroy Enron. Islamic financial engineers merely renamed the prickly SPEs “special-purpose vehicles (SPVs)”—legal devices to “restructure interest-bearing debt, collecting interest [as] rent or [a] price mark-up,” el-Gamal observes.

Here’s how they work: sukuk bond issuers sell real estate or assets to SPVs, which then capitalize their investment by selling share certificates. In turn, the SPVs then lease back the assets they purchased to the sukuk issuers, collecting principal plus interest, which they pass on to sukuk investors as “rent.” When the sukuk matures, the SPVs sell or return the property to the sukuk issuers. Supposedly safe “alternative” Islamic finance instruments that claim to avoid usury, in short, use Western structured finance tools—“some of the most complex ever created.”

Repeat. Using Western securitization technology, shari’a finance banks now transform liquid, traceable cash flows from interest-bearing debt—that is, real interest-bearing assets—into illiquid assets.

“Junk” synonymous with high yields

Shari’a finance is an “invented tradition” empowering Islamic radicals, writes USC King Faisal Professor of Islamic Thought, Timur Kuran, in Islam and Mammon: “Neither classical nor medieval Islamic civilization featured banks in the modern sense, let alone ‘Islamic banks’.” Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood (forefathers of current political Islam) heavily used modern Western securitization technology to advance MB founder Hassan al-Banna’s shari’a banking invention.

The messy sub-prime mortgage market—which some astute observers consider a mere extension of opaque Enron-era mark-to-fairly-tale accounting—could end tame compared to the 20th century-hatched shari’a banking boondoggle: The latter has far fewer regulatory or monitoring protections against abuses than the mortgage market. Even staunch Islamic banking purveyors admit: The industry’s “documentation is not standardized,” its “inter-creditor agreements can be complex,” it frequently employs “off-balance sheet financing,” it’s preferred by “certain corporate (sic) and individuals” — and “Shari’a regulations can override commercial decisions.”

Western markets are now dangerously in “panic mode.” And as frequent experience demonstrates, the bigger the financial innovation, the greater the “unforeseen consequences”—i.e. market declines. In the 1987 equity market crash, “portfolio insurance” played a key role; in 1994, mortgage-backed bonds wiped out $1 trillion in value—then roughly 10% of the U.S. bond market. They whacked huge pension funds, municipalities and institutional investors—and beached a few hedge funds like dead whales.

Secular market risks of shari’a finance show in above-market sukuk interest rates—oops—rents. Despite Western central banks’ historic 2007 rate cuts to limit losses feared equal to the 1986 to 1995 savings and loan crisis, a sukuk index with a mere 3.8 year duration on Nov. 30, 2007 sported 6.2% “coupon.” In mid January 2008, intermediate Treasury yields were 2.89%—and the Lehman Brothers intermediate U.S. corporate bond index yielded just 5.25%. Only long-term U.S. corporate debt then paid above 6.5%.

Among other Islamic market hazards are doubts on surety of payments for the scheduled life of the sukuk loans—and whether, on maturity, investors will recover 100% of their principal. Then there are the dubious underlying “profit and loss sharing” Islamic finance philosophy. And possible back taxes, interest or penalties, were the Internal Revenue Service to rule sukuk enterprises “uneconomic,” as it did innumerable similarly-structured 1980s tax-shelter schemes.

Moody’s Investors Service (like other financial rating agencies) now profits by formally assessing Islamic financial instruments Yet the industry has several major risks, a 16-page Moody’s analysis reported in January 2008. These include its range of asset classes, “weak position of investment account holders,” “importance of the Shari’ah supervisory board,” rate-of-return-risks, new operation risks, short track record—and foundations in third world countries where transparency, corporate governance and risk management basically don’t exist.

Ideological pitfall: Once Islamic, always Islamic

Moody’s missed the biggest risk of all, however—the ideological risks of shari’a, or Islamic law— despite a significant precedent. Citibank Islamic financiers launched its Saudi American Bank subsidiary in Jeddah and opened a Riyadh branch in 1955 and 1966 respectively—apparently without due diligence on operating under shari’a. But in 1980, Citibank learned about the risk of sudden confiscation when the Saudis abruptly seized SAB by royal decree, denied Citi all future profits, and ordered the bank to train Saudis staffers—essentially because the bank was insufficiently Muslim. Evidently, it was a case where “shari’a regulations can override commercial decisions.”

Shari’a banking is not governed by secular finance law alone. And it cannot be severed from the complete body of Islamic law—statutes initiated by Mohammed and developed by caliphs, scholars and jurists over 1,400 years.

These laws grant the Islamic ummah (Muslim nation) supremacy over all others—and give them all land and property to hold in trust for Allah. Under shari’a, land or property once conquered or acquired by Muslims cannot generally revert to its original owners.

Possessions confiscated from non-believers “is a way of exacting revenge,” writes 11th century jurist Abul Hasan al Mawardi. As Qur’an 57:2 argues, “To Him belongs all dominions of the heavens and earth.” Echoes Qur’an 59:7: “That which Allah giveth as spoil [war booty] unto his Messenger…it is for Allah and His Messenger and for the near of kin.…”

Al-Mawardi (d. 1058) holds that Allah authorized the 2nd Islamic Caliph, Umar Ibn Khattab, to confiscate property in three ways—by fulfilling a trust to Islam, by force, or by ruling under Allah’s law—and that it is just to take anything from nonbelievers thereby. (The Laws of Islamic Governance, 1996 Ta-Ha edition, pp. 207-251)

Consider, moreover, modern Muslim Brotherhood applications of classical shari’a law. They claim all territories ever controlled by Islam. Islam will soon reconquer Rome, “the capital of the Catholics, or Crusader capital,” just like Constantinople, Hamas “legislator” Yunis Al-Astal preached on Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008.

Similarly, Islamic laws are key to shari’a finance, MB “economic reforms,” and the MB central plan, “Towards a Worldwide Strategy for Islamic Policy.” Swiss police discovered the so-called Project, penned by Qaradawi, in MB chief financial officer Yusef Nada’s Lugano villa in November 2001.

The 12-point handbook rests on shari’a interpretations of MB founder Hassan al-Banna, who in 1928 envisioned a caliphate (Islamic empire) to impose shari’a law globally. To establish the universal Islamic state, the plan orders Muslims to conduct “gradual, parallel work to control local power centers …[with] institutional work as means to this end” and create “special Islamic economic, social and other institutions,” as well as “necessary economic institutions” to fund spreading fundamentalist Islam.

Far from benefiting investors, as Islamic finance “scholar” Nizam Yaquby claimed last October, shari’a doctrine advocates a supremacist ideology, commanding Muslims to wage jihad warfare until they subdue all “infidels” and “unbelievers” into accepting universal Muslim rule.

“Holy War is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or force,” argues 14th century Tunisian jurist Ibn Khaldun in The Muqaddimah. Unlike other faiths, he argues, Islam is obligated “to gain power over other nations.” (trans. Franz Rosenthal, abridged, Princeton Univ. Press, 9th printing, 1989, p. 183).

The MB invented shari’a banking and finance in the 20th century to implement classical financial jihad (jihad bi al-mal) and the Islamic statutes requiring it. Al Banna designed the political, economic and financial foundations that give 21st century Muslims tools to fulfill this classical form of jihad, mandated by and central to the Qur’an.

“True believers are those who strive with their wealth and their lives,” states Qur’an 49:15. “Strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives,” reiterates Qur’an 61:10-11. “Financial jihad is more important than self-sacrificing,” (suicide bombing) instructs Saudi MB cleric Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi. Their sacrifices for Islam necessitates collecting money for mujahadeen, commands Qaradawi.

MB links to Saudi Arabia

Arabian King Saud bin Abdel Aziz welcomed Muslim Brotherhood exiles from Egypt in 1954, 1961 and 1964. He funded the MB’s Islamic University of Medina in 1961 to spread fundamentalist Islam, particularly to foreign students. Later, Saud and his heirs subscribed to the Brotherhood’s bottom line: constructing a cornerstone global financial joint venture — to fund charitable foundations.

The vast resulting web of “relief” organizations include the Muslim World League, Rabitta al-Alam al-Islami, and the International Islamic Releif Organization (IIRO) — all implicated in funding al Qaeda, the 9/11 attacks, Hamas, and a vast array of other MB terrorist groups. As Qaradawi told BBC Panorama on July 30, 2006, donations constitute “jihad with money, because God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and our money.”

In 1969, the Saudis used MB guidelines to found the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In March 2008, President George W. Bush subserviently appointed Pakistani-born OIC “special envoy” Sada Cumber. Identifying with Texas “communities of the Muslim Umma” as much as the U.S., Cumber professes to bring to the OIC official U.S. resources to “tackle” Muslim world problems of “education, culture, the status of women, … science and technology, … [and] civil society…,” rather than present U.S. views there, as expected of diplomats.

More than solving problems, however, the OIC wants to “promote Islamic banking worldwide,” as with the 1973 founding of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which since 1975 approved over $50 billion in funding to Muslim nations. In 2001 alone, the IDB also transferred nearly $540 million from Saudi and Gulf royal telethons to fund suicide bombers and the Palestinian Authority war on Israel.

Universal Islamic banking—“a jihad worth supporting”

The MB and IDB Islamic banking architects also now control two central Islamic finance standard-setting agencies—the 1990-founded Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), and “de facto Islamic central bank,” or Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed christened the latter in November 2002 “to absorb the 11 September shock and reinforce the stability of Islamic finance,” and support “a jihad worth pursuing to abolish … slavery” to the West, namely, a “universal Islamic banking system.”

AAOIFI members include the Saudi Dallah al Baraka Group, al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, and Kuwait Finance House—all implicated in funding al Qaeda and other MB offspring, according to Richard Clarke, the former national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection, and counter-terrorism. Sudan and Iran—both on the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list—are members too. Iran is also a U.S. State Department-designated terror-sponsoring nation.

IFSB members include the central banks of Iran, Sudan, and Syria (all designated state terrorism sponsors) and the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), since its inception, widely documented to fund terrorism.

U.S. laws theoretically prohibit dealing with terrorists, their associates or enablers. Yet AAOIFI and its shari’a board advise many Western banks, Moody’s and Dow Jones. Moreover, terror-supporting Pakistani cleric Muhammad Taqi Usmani heads AAOIFI religious advisers. In September 2007, he ordered British followers to remain “peaceful” only until they are “strong enough for jihad” and to “establish the supremacy of Islam.” Such radicals adorn shari’a boards advising U.S. banks.

Religious banks obviously cannot prevent financial crisis.Therefore, U.S. government and IRS regulators, bankers and investors should insist on keeping the best, safest and fairest secular markets in the world strictly unIslamic.

 

 
——————————————————————————–

 

Alyssa A. Lappen, a senior fellow at the American Center for Democracy, is a former senior editor of Institutional Investor, Working Woman and Corporate Finance. Her website is http://www.alyssaalappen.org.

 

 

 

LEBANON: Opposition continues military takeover, enforces siege

May 11, 2008

Lebanon’s worst sectarian violence since its 15-year civil war ended in 1990 has spread from Beirut to the Druze heartlands of Mount Lebanon and on to the second city of Tripoli in the north as Hezbollah and its opposition allies continued their military takeover of the country.

Druze leader Waleed Jumblatt, who for many years has controlled the mountain areas southeast of Beirut, ordered his fighters to stand down and requested his rival Hezbollah-allied Druze leader Talal Arsalan to hand the area over to the army.

“I tell my supporters that civil peace, coexistence and stopping war and destruction are more important than any other consideration,” Jumblatt told local TV station LBC.

Eye-witnesses in Aley, the Druze-majority town at the heart of the clashes, said Shia Hezbollah fighters patrolled the streets, firing into the air, following fierce clashes with Jumblatt’s Progressive Social Party (PSP) militants.

 

 
Mountain conflict

 

The mountain conflict began late 9 May after Hezbollah and its opposition allies’ took over Sunni-majority west Beirut. According to witnesses, Hezbollah militants operating in Mount Lebanon set up checkpoints between the villages of Qmatiye and Souk el-Gharb, two kilometres southwest of Aley.
The mountain conflict began late 9 May after Hezbollah and its opposition allies’ took over Sunni-majority west Beirut. According to witnesses, Hezbollah militants operating in Mount Lebanon set up checkpoints between the villages of Qmatiye and Souk el-Gharb, two kilometres southwest of Aley.
Reuters video short on Lebanon crisis
 
 

 
Watch larger version of video
 

Confronted by PSP fighters, Hezbollah kidnapped four of the Druze, killing one, according to residents of Aley. In revenge, PSP members kidnapped and executed three Hezbollah supporters.

“Mount Lebanon has nothing to do with the problems in Beirut,” said Rami Shamseddine, a resident of Aley. “We’ve been through lots of wars here and have learned our lesson. We just want peace.”

In Tripoli, supporters of Sunni parliamentary leader Saad Hariri, whose fighters in west Beirut were routed on 8 May, burned Hezbollah offices, triggering running gun battles between rival Sunni militants. At least 7,000 residents fled their homes and several civilians were wounded, though an uneasy calm held by the afternoon.

 

 

39 dead, dozens injured

 

At least 39 people have been killed and dozens wounded in four days of fighting between supporters of the Western-backed government, now facing collapse, and the Hezbollah-led Iranian and Syrian-backed opposition, triggered after the government ordered a crackdown on Hezbollah’s military infrastructure.

The crisis deepened on 10 May after Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, vowed to confront Hezbollah over the issue of its arms, an issue Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said would be tantamount to a “declaration of war”.

“Hezbollah today has a problem with all of Lebanon, not just the government,” said Siniora. “We never suspected Hezbollah was capable of occupying Beirut militarily… Hezbollah must realise the force of arms cannot intimidate us.”

The US and Israel have warned that the Hezbollah takeover of Beirut could trigger regional conflict, while Britain, Italy and France have readied evacuation plans for their nationals.

Turkey and Kuwait have already begun evacuating their citizens through Lebanon’s northern border with Syria, the only open route out of the country. The road to Lebanon’s airport has been blocked since 7 May by Hezbollah supporters. Other land routes are cut off, and the Beirut port is also shut.

Despite the siege, food supplies in Beirut remain good, with many grocers in the capital open for business.

 

Source: IRIN