Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hate France?

I remember way back when France withdrew its forces from NATO. Since then I really never gave France much consideration.

Satisfied going about my business not giving a rip what happens in France, or what that country does.

Well, I must give credit where credit is due.

Seems that nation is ready to again to fill its military roll of its membership in NATO, and I welcome that.

Why not? France already contributes militarily in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

1. France has not turned a blind eye to calls for help in Afghanistan
Since 2002, French forces have been involved in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul and in the regions of Kandahar (July 2003 to mid-2006) and Jalalabad (2006) where the special forces have been deployed.

More than 2,000 French troops participate in the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of Afghanistan with ground, naval, and air support through UN resolutions and other international agreements. This participation includes :

1,100 troops in the RCC of Kabul under French command until April 2007 ; the participation of each country in ISAF was negotiated within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and today, all of them are working together in accordance with the terms of the missions entrusted to them by the Alliance ;

France also plays an active role in training the Afghan Army. This mission is essential to the long-term stabilization of the country : more than 3,800 officers have been trained by French instructors. Our effort has been stepped up following the decisions President Chirac announced at the Riga NATO summit, with :

the preservation of our air capacities in Tajikistan and the participation of our aircraft carrier task group as of mid-March in missions to assist ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom ground forces ; the supply of certain critical capabilities (particularly the dispatch of two EC 725 Caracal transport helicopters) ;

the training of Afghani special forces as of April 2007 ; the strengthening of our participation in the formation of the Afghan army as of the end of April 2007. 51 instructors will join the Afghan staff (corps and brigade levels) and a battalion, including operations outside Kabul (South and East in specific).

2. Reasons for the French mission in Kabul

The situation in Kabul remains fragile : During the last months, the Taliban has tried to infiltrate the capital city in order to undertake terrorist actions. Three years ago, there were no suicide attacks in Kabul : it is the case nowadays.

You can’t reasonably expect to secure the country if you do not secure its centre of decision : this is the task which has been assigned to the French forces, a choice which is supported by the Afghan government itself.

However, a new deployment of our troops outside Kabul can be envisaged, depending on whether the security in the capital area permits it. According to this principle, a small unit has been sent to the South of Afghanistan to assist the Canadian PRT in Kandahar.

Having said that, our medium-term objective is to transfer the entire responsibility of their own security to the Afghan authorities.

3. France’s participation in the reconstruction effort

France participates in the international effort of reconstruction in a bilateral manner, but more significantly, within UN agencies and the European Union. France is financing approximately 16% of the EU contributions (1.5 billion Canadian dollars earmarked for 2002-2006). The eradication of poppy remains the most serious challenge for the country. In the framework of the fight against heroin trafficking, Paris organized and hosted, in 2003, an international conference on the drug routes within Afghanistan. The Ministers Council convened on February 12th to confirm their long term commitment to the EU, and to decide on dispatching a mission in Afghanistan that will enable a support system for the police and will contribute to the reinforcement of state law.

4. France has strong commitment in UN and NATO operations elsewhere Altogether, France has 35,000 troops overseas. Among them, 16,000 from all branches and services are deployed in operations. France is the second-biggest contributor after the United States in crisis management missions and the third-biggest contributor in NATO :

France sent troops to Lebanon in less than 72 hours. There are now 1,650 troops on the ground ; The presence of France in Cote d’Ivoire (3,700) is the cornerstone of the UN mission and contributes to the stability of West Africa ; Similarly, in Chad (1,100), French troops are a major factor in the stability of a very versatile region and contribute, to a certain extent, to prevent the spread of the Darfur crisis. Another significant presence is in the Balkans : about 2,200 troops in Kosovo and 400 in Bosnia.

French military have been involved in most of these places for decades and have paid a heavy sacrifice : 100 French soldiers lost their lives in the Balkans, more than 100 died in Lebanon (58 of them in Beirut on 23 October 1983), and dozens in Africa. In Afghanistan, 10 soldiers died and 109 have been injured./.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Time Magazine Loses Suit Against Suharto

Interesting story about freedom of the press.

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia's highest court ordered Time magazine to pay $106 million in damages for defaming former dictator Suharto by alleging his family amassed billions of dollars during his 32-year rule, officials said Monday.

If true I am shocked, really dumbfounded!

Imagine somebody in rule of a nation be found with his hand in the cookie jar!?
What really drives me nuts is with so much stolen money he feels the need to complain!

The May 1999 cover story in the magazine's Asian edition said much of the money had been transferred from Switzerland to Austria before Suharto stepped down amid riots and pro-democracy protests in 1998.

Suharto, who has also been accused of widespread rights abuses, filed a lawsuit with the Central District Jakarta and later the Jakarta High Court, both of which ruled in Time's favor.

A panel of three Supreme Court judges, including a retired general who rose in the military ranks during Suharto's administration, overturned the decisions on Aug. 31. The ruling ordered Time Inc. Asia and six employees to apologize in leading Indonesian magazines and newspapers as well as Time's Asian, European and America editions.

"Time magazine has to pay $106 million for defaming Suharto," said Supreme Court spokesman Nurhadi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name. "The article and photographs hurt the image and pride of the plaintiff as a great retired army general and the former Indonesian president."

Read the Time article article yourself:

Israel has dozens of neo-Nazis

Just following on another story.

Police: Israel has dozens of neo-Nazis

There are dozens more neo-Nazis in Israel, and police are working on finding them, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said on Monday, two days after police announced they had uncovered a neo-Nazi ring in Petah Tikva composed of former-Soviet Union immigrants.


At a pre-Rosh Hashana toast at the police's national headquarters, Cohen said that a number of neo-Nazi Web sites have been operating in Israel over the past few years, but that this was still not a widespread phenomenon, Israel Radio reported.

I rather think they should hurry.

It is not about race or the Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic problems. This is about culture. A culture of youths who have no concept of where they come or why they are in Israel.
Throw their collective asses out, back to the land of anti-Semitism where they come from.
The eight suspects arrested on Saturday night were allegedly involved in a number of attacks, including synagogue desecrations and brutal beatings in the central part of the country.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Revoking neo-Nazis' citizenship

Is this strange or what?
Who would expect such events to happen in Israel?

Interior Minister: I'll consider revoking neo-Nazis' citizenship

By Roni Singer-Heruti, Haaretz Correspondent

The Interior Ministry said Sunday that it would consider revoking the citizenship of eight teens suspected of running a neo-Nazi cell in Petah Tikva, if they are convicted.

The suspects, aged 17 to 19, confessed to assaulting dozens of people, mainly foreign workers around Tel Aviv's central bus station and Carmel market, causing many of them serious injury. The eight were arrested a month ago, and a gag order on the arrest was lifted Saturday.

According to police, the neo-Nazi cell comprised individuals who have distant ties to Judaism and nonetheless immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union under the Law of Return, which grants all Jews the right to immigrate.

Geeze, I would throw them out in a New York second.