The first point of reference is of course the retirement of Mr Castro, and the astonishing associated regional silence on the need for liberation and empowerment of the long-suffering Cuban people. We need to do far better than that, especially as descendants of enslaved and otherwise oppressed people ourselves.
It also seems that Mr Skerritt of Dominica has at length made public statements on his involvement with the ALBA framework. In effect, under local pressure, he denies any military involvement.
It seems that that has happened just in time, for, over the weekend, Columbia seems to have struck across its Ecuadorean border at base of the Marxist [i.e. "Communist"], left-wing anti-government rebel group, FARC, killing Raul Reyes, one of its key leaders. In response, Mr Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has rushed ten battalions to the opposite border [about 6,000 troops], with tanks in support. In so dispatching troops, Mr Chavez reportedly stated: "we don't want war - but we won't let the empire [meaning the US] or its lap dog President [of Columbia] Alvaro Uribe try to make us weaker."
Ecuador, under its president, Rafael Correa, has reportedly placed 3,200 troops on its own border, and there is a wave of diplomatic protests over the cross-border attack. Mr Correa is quoted as saying:
"Ecuadorean territory has been bombarded and insulted intentionally by a foreign government; this situation is extremely grave and intolerable . . ."According to the just cited [and above-linked] Daily Telegraph report, he rejected an apology by Columbia, expelled its ambassador, broke off diplomatic ties, and said that he "will take stronger measures in the coming hours."
In its own response, Columbia has first stated that "international law allowed such operations in pursuit of terrorists. "
It has also released some of the captured intelligence. So, as the UK's Daily Telegraph reports:
The BBC adds:
Colombia announced that computer files recovered from the site where Mr Reyes was killed showed that Ecuador's government had been in talks with the rebels and that Mr Chavez had recently sent $300 million to Colombian guerrillas.
"The questions raised by these documents need concrete answers," said the Colombian national police chief, General Oscar Naranjo.
Colombia accused Ecuador and Venezuela of having ties with the Farc and said the rebels had tried to buy uranium.In another report, BBC goes on to observe:
The Colombian authorities said the information had come from documents found during Saturday's raid on the rebel camp in Ecuador.
"When they mention negotiations for 50 kilos of uranium, this means that the Farc are taking big steps in the world of terrorism to become a global aggressor. We're not talking of domestic guerrilla but transnational terrorism," said Colombian national police chief Oscar Naranjo at a news conference in Bogota.
Other documents showed that President Chavez had provided $300m (£151m) to the Farc, and had received funds from them many years earlier, he said.
And there was also evidence of links between the Farc and representatives of the Ecuadorean government, Gen Naranjo claimed.
Mr Uribe has promised the Colombian people he will take a tough stance against the guerrilla movement that for more than 40 years has used kidnapping and murder as a weapon against the state. He believes they can be stopped militarily.
Mr Chavez, on the other hand, has offered his support to the Marxist rebels.
While not endorsing their methods, he has said Farc should be treated as an insurgent force rather than as terrorists, claiming they have a legitimate political goal.
But anecdotal evidence points to more tacit support.
Former rebels who have defected have spoken of receiving co-operation from some in the Venezuelan military.
They have also reported that Venezuela has provided weapons, shelter and financial support.
Venezuela's main opposition leader, Manuel Rosales, has often spoken out about these links.
"The guerrillas go in and out of our national territory, kidnap people and make alliances with criminals, who they train in kidnapping and extortion," he said recently.
In short, some very worrying developments have been taking place, and on the reports in hand, they do not show Mr Chavez in a good light. This should be another warning-light to Caricom's leaders as we engage Mr Chavez in our own region, especially in light of our previous observations here and here.
But the issues do not stop there, as we can see by following the dotted lines to the Middle East in light of evident actions by Venezuela's partner, Iran -- an Iran which was just, 14-0, with Indonesia abstaining -- put under a third round of sanctions over its suspected nuclear weapons programme. [Not irrelevant is the fact that Iran just launched a satellite, i.e it has in effect shown to the world that it is capable of building an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM. By its claim, developing that satellite launch rocket took just nine months]
In particular, we should observe the reported source of the new, 122 mm Grad rockets that were used to bombard Ashkelon over the weekend from Gaza, which provoked yet another round of Israeli cross-border attacks in response, and which then led to renewal of the bombardment as soon as Israel withdrew its troops:
Long-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli cities the past few days were manufactured in and imported from Iran, according to Israeli security officials speaking to WND.The WND report continues:
In a major escalation, Hamas the past few days has been firing long range Grad rockets at the strategic Israeli port city of Ashkelon, home to some 125,000 Israelis about 11 miles from Gaza. Ashkelon houses a major electrical plant that powers most of the Gaza Strip.
Grad rockets are longer-range projectiles similar to the Katyusha rocket, which the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group successfully used in 2006 to barrage northern Israel, killing 42 Israeli civilians and reportedly wounding over 4,000. The Grad travels up to 12 miles and delivers a larger payload than the Qassam rocket, which can travel about four to five miles and is the usual rocket of choice for Palestinians.
At least three Grad rockets landed in Ashkelon today, wounding a woman who had used her body to protect her two children. A least a dozen Grads slammed into Ashkelon since Friday, causing injuries to civilians and massive damage to houses and buildings.
At least 140 rockets, mostly Qassams, targeted the Israeli city of Sderot the past four days . . . One man was killed and dozens injured last week. Thousands of rockets have been regularly launched at Sderot since Israel retreated from the Gaza Strip in 2005 . . . .First, let us observe that key term, "the occupying regime."
According to Israeli security officials, the Grad rockets fired at Israel in recent days were made in Iran and were smuggled in parts into the Gaza Strip, where they were assembled. It is thought a large number of rockets were brought into Gaza in January, when Hamas breached the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the sources said . . . .
In a statement carried widely in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday called in Muslims and their leaders worldwide to "rise up" against Israel and the United States in response to Israel's anti-rocket operations in Gaza.
"It is with the support of that [the U.S.] oppressive government that the Zionists [Israel] are committing these unforgivable sins with impudence," Khamenei said in the statement.
"The Islamic (people) must rise and the Islamic leaders must hit the occupying regime in the face with their nations' anger," Khamenei's statement said.
For, Israel is not occupying Gaza, has long since withdrawn from the Sinai and Jordanian lands it took in previous defensive wars. Lands it occupied in Lebanon in response to cross-border attacks, were evacuated as long ago as 2000. Similarly, strictly, the West Bank zone comprises Disputed Territories, and Israel has long since sought to find a reasonable compromise with the Palestinian Arabs. It is the Arabs who rejected 97% of the land inside the Green Armistice line [which is not a border], with land in exchange for the remainder, and went to a terrorism campaign in 2000.
What the term really means is that in the minds of the Iranian Mullahs and other islamists, Israel itself -- the historic and internationally recognised national homeland of the Jewish people -- is viewed as "occupied territory," as the PLO charter declares and as Hamas' charter declares. That is, once lands have once come under the domination of Islam, they are always "occupied" if they ever fall out of Islamist control. All of this, on the way to the sort of global domination implicit in how the Islamists -- with considerable historical basis, see Quranic texts such as Q 9:5 and 29:
5: But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. [This is the infamous Sword Verse that takes precedence under the doctrine of Abrogation, over a hundred more irenic passages in the Quran; mostly from the earlier Meccan period. It implies a global agenda of conquest, which led to the -- to the too often unrecognised, unacknowledged, unrepented of -- classical and modern history of Islamic imperialism and supremacism.]So, on whatever pretexts are convenient at any given time, the war to subjugate the world continues, and in that war temporary alliances and truces are just stages on the way to the intended subjugation of the whole world -- a subjugation that is envisioned for completion in this Century. Indeed, it is worth the time to observe again the following words from an Iranian Government Website, in a Christmas 2006 message to the world:
[. . . . ]
29: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. [This is The Verse of Tribute, which is a cornerstone of dhimmitude, in which non-Muslims under Islamic rule are subjected to harsh, Apartheid-like conditions that deny their basic human rights.]
Man's effort to procure the facilities needed in his life, is as old as history. In today's world, science and technology have helped human societies to achieve many of the amenities. But mankind has not yet been able to eliminate poverty and remove the unequal distribution of income in the society, because of the unjust world order imposed by the so-called big powers, which by monopolizing science and technology terrorize weaker nations and plunder their wealth and natural resources. The cold and calculating domineering powers impose on the weaker nations, the methods of production, consumption and technology that are to the benefit of capitalists. In the weird system of today’s powerful counties, moral and spiritual values have no place and are seen as undesirable liabilities that prevent these powers from reaching economic welfare and what they call true prosperity. However, the exploitation of the weak, the unjust system of distribution and denial of the rights of nations, will end with the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS). In the government of the Imam man will witness real economic welfare throughout the world without any discrimination. The main issue in his global government is carrying out social justice and one of the main products of social justice is a highly developed economy that leads to the blossoming of moral and spiritual values as emphasized by the dynamic teachings of Islam.Given the history of 1400 years of Islamist supremacism, imperialism, and oppression, these worlds ring hollow, even as they give us a chilling warning of the scope of the global conflictt hat even now is emerging: "the government of the Imam . . . throughout the world . . . global government."
In other words, we face a global agenda of Islamist domination, one backed up by a religious sanction for world conquest. As Lee Harris sums up; by way of reviewing Bostom's recent The Legacy of Jihad:
In our current climate of political correctness, there has been a reluctance even to acknowledge the most obvious facts about the nature of jihad. Indeed, just as there are Holocaust deniers, there is a contemporary tendency to deny the historical evidence relating to jihad, though, as Bostom’s book amply demonstrates, there is scarcely a lack of such evidence from any number of different sources, from every period, from the original wave of Arabic conquest in the seventh century to today’s headlines . . . .
[F]or those who wish to see Muslims repudiate the classical tradition of jihad, it may be beneficial to encourage the illusion that jihad has always meant an internal struggle against sin or a fight for a just cause and that any other interpretation is contrary to the “real” message of Islam.
Yet for those who are seeking to understand the nature of historical Islam, it is imperative to come to grips with what jihad has actually meant to Muslims throughout their history, and especially during those periods in which Islam expanded its domain, not only by conquering new territory, but also by transforming utterly the cultures of those who fell under its sway . . . .
Islamic jihad, from its commencement, refused to recognize the legitimacy of any status quo other than that achieved in Dar el-Islam, or “the domain of peace.” Other peoples’ delicate balance of power meant nothing. Outside the domain of peace there was only the domain of war, and here no entity could hope to be treated as representing a legitimate order, for no order that was not based on Islamic law could ever be recognized as legitimate in the eyes of Muslims. The only legitimate order was a Muslim order . . . . Muslim jihad followed logically from the principle that all men should live in Muslim societies. Like the French revolutionaries [of 200+ years ago], Muslims wished to liberate humanity, and they were aware that they could do this only by violently overthrowing the status quo and disregarding any claims to legitimacy based on mere custom or tradition.
So, when we see the dots that connect Mr Chavez to Iran, as in the following, we should take serious pause before we simply blindly nod as we hear the rhetoric of American imperialism [for all the sins of the Americans] -- especially now that over the past few days we are able to see a little more of what has been going on between Venezuela and Columbia:
Plainly, Caricom countries need to think about our regional and foreign policy stances in a world facing such a titanic struggle, very, very carefully and soberly indeed.
"The two countries [Iran and Venezuela] will united defeat the imperialism of North America," a beaming Chavez told a news conference during an official visit to the Islamic Republic . . . ."When I come to Iran Washington gets upset," he said . . . . "Iran and Venezuela -- the axis of unity," read one of many official posters at the site near the port town of Assalouyeh, showing the two leaders hugging each other and shaking hands . . . .Chavez, who last week pushed two U.S. oil giants out of his country as part of his self-styled socialist revolution, said: "This is the unity of the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean Sea."
One for careful thought and serious intercessory prayer. END