April 30, 2006
Friday , April 28, 2006
SACRAMENTO — A tourist from Saudi Arabia traveled to California to molest a 2 1/2-year-old girl, federal and state officials said Friday.
Nabil Al Rowais, 37, was arrested at a Vallejo hotel Thursday night after he arrived for a visit he'd arranged by e-mail with a man he thought was the girl's father, officials said.
The girl doesn't exist and the "father" was really an undercover agent.
Al Rowais told investigators he is a practicing psychiatrist in Saudi Arabia, though he entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa issued in Canada, according to a joint statement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento, and the California Department of Justice.
It's unclear whether Al Rowais was residing in Canada, said Justice Department spokeswoman Robin Schwanke.
He faces five to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of traveling in foreign commerce with the intent to have sex with a minor.
A federal magistrate on Friday ordered Al Rowais held without bond for a May 12 court appearance.
The sting resulted from an ICE investigation known as Operation Babynet, initially sparked by an El Dorado Hills man who eventually pleaded guilty to molesting his infant daughter and distributing the images over the Internet.
"Whether a sexual predator is on the Internet exploiting our virtual borders or is an alien who has preyed on children, ICE is using all of its law enforcement authorities to identify them and bring them to justice," Rick Eaton, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Sacramento, said in a statement.
ICE agents have arrested more than 7,800 people nationwide, including nearly 2,000 in California, as part of its 2-year-old Operation Predator targeting child sex predators.
Jordanian police say a man is believed to have shot dead his divorced sister after seeing her photograph on his male friend's mobile phone. The 27-year-old shepherd is said to have surrendered himself shortly after the incident saying he had killed his sister to cleanse his family's honour.
It is the fifth report of a so-called honour killing in Jordan since January.
Under the current laws, men convicted of an honour killing can get jail sentences of as little as six months.
The 31-year-old victim, who has not been identified, was shot twice in the head at her home in a Palestinian refugee camp in the northern city of Irbid.
Police quoted by Associated Press said the brother began monitoring his sister's activities after seeing her photo on a friend's mobile phone.
He is alleged to have killed her after seeing the man leave her home in Azmi al-Mufti camp on Monday, police said.
The Jordanian government wants to introduce tougher punishments for such crimes, but many MPs from conservative tribal backgrounds are against the proposed changes, arguing that they encourage vice.
In 2004, at least 19 women are believed to have lost their lives in honour killings in Jordan.
THE “genocide” catastrophe in Sudan’s western province of Darfur, which has been seeping into neighbouring Chad for much of the past three years, is now bleeding freely across the border.
The Arab government in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital on the river Nile, has exported the Darfur calamity by backing Chadian rebel groups which it allows to operate from bases in Darfur.
This expansion of the Darfur chaos has created a major regional and international crisis. It seems certain to lead to the collapse today of long- running peace talks designed to resolve the western Sudan conflict that has seen more than 300,000 black African Darfurians killed, mainly by Khartoum-backed Arab militias – the so-called janjaweed (Arabic slang for armed men on horseback) – and more than two million made refugees.
Oliver Bercault, a researcher with advocacy group Human Rights Watch, said last week, while visiting N’Djamena, Chad’s capital: “Darfur has become like west Africa and eastern Congo, where war is exported and flowing over borders. It is just very sad for the civilians caught up in it all.”
Diplomats and aid workers are freely admitting that the situation is now totally out of control and extremely dangerous, leaving millions of civilians in both Darfur and Chad virtually abandoned to their fates.
What had been a Chadian tragedy long in the making became obvious to the outside world in mid-April when a column of Chadian rebels, trained by the Sudan government, made a lightning advance from bases over the border in Darfur across 600 miles of desert to attack N’Djamena. The rebels, in trucks mounted with heavy machine guns and carrying mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, stormed the capital.
Some 350 people died in the fighting after soldiers loyal to Chad’s President Idriss Déby repulsed the attack with helicopters, tanks and artillery. French fighter jets flew overhead in support of the beleaguered regime, an ally of Paris.
The multiple fallout from this latest African tragedy will today focus most immediately on the people of Darfur, who, for the past three years, have endured assaults by Sudanese government forces and militias that the US administration has labelled genocide – a contention supported by human rights organisations and a host of independent observers.
But despite such a serious charge against the Sudanese government, neither the UN, Western nations nor the African Union have been able to find a solution to stem the violence. Darfur – and now Chad – is a stunning example of the world’s inability to resolve such humanitarian crises.
Long-running peace talks on Darfur in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, are expected to be disbanded today with no agreement. Sudan’s government has rejected the key proposal – that 20,000 UN peacekeepers replace the current 7000 ineffectual African Union troops, financed by the US and the European Union, trying to maintain peace in a region the size of France.
Robert Zoellick, the US deputy secretary of state, last week said of the peace talks: “Either you get approval of the [Khartoum] government or you invade, and that’s a very big, serious challenge.”
In other words, all the game plans to provide relief and succour to the besieged and careworn ordinary people of Darfur are falling apart.
Human Rights Watch said the Khartoum government is using the chaos in Chad and the failure in Abuja as cover to launch new military offensives in Darfur on African villages – a continuation of a campaign of ethnic cleansing, allowing Arab pastoralists loyal to Khartoum to take over the better watered and higher ground of African agriculturalists.
This latest assault is also backed by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who, in his latest audiotape, urged his followers to launch a second front against “the West” in Darfur.
The suffering of the millions of internal refugees in Darfur worsened still further when the UN announced last week that its food rations will be halved.
The UN World Food Programme [WFP] in Sudan costs £440 million a year, approximately. But donors have provided only one-third of this sum for 2006 . Britain and the US are the two most munificent bilateral donors. But, apart from Libya, no Arab state has contributed anything, despite windfall gains from high oil prices and Sudan’s membership of the Arab League.
WFP director James Morris said his only option is to reduce the daily ration from 2100 calories to 1050 per person. The cut takes effect next month. “This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made,” said Morris. “Haven’t the people of Darfur suffered enough?”
Chad is a vast expanse of rock and desert twice the size of France where the harsh conditions have been ameliorated only by the fresh waters of Lake Chad. But since independence, the huge inland sea has receded to less than 20% of it former water volume and now covers just 500 square miles.
The reasons for this environmental and economic disaster are complex, but Lake Chad’s disappearing act is just one more major factor in a regional disaster of epic proportions.
The challenge of Chad for the West is daunting as Sudan has begun a campaign to topple a government in N’Djamena that is hardly more palatable than the appalling regime in Khartoum.
Chad is an oil-rich state which is, nevertheless, one of the poorest countries in the world. Half the population is illiterate. There is no electricity or piped water outside the capital. Since independence from France, Chadians have experienced a 30-year civil war – which ended in 1990 and which is beginning again now – together with four coups and several attempted coups.
Ironically, President Déby himself came to power in a coup in 1990, thanks to support from Sudan which gave him and his rebels bases in Darfur.
He is now opposed by a mishmash of rebel groups, including Sudan-backed factions, who have united in one main alliance, the United Front for Change. He is even opposed by many of his own relatives, angered by the way he is squandering oil riches, including expenditure on the white armour-plated Hummer in which he travels around N’Djamena.
Two of Déby’s uncles defected from their posts as top Chadian Army commanders in February to become rebels, an illustration of the desperation that exists among the 10 million people of Chad .
Western strategists now surely realise that Déby will have to be got rid of before Darfur can be tackled. But they worry that if Déby falls that a new government will be sympathetic to the very regime in Sudan that has wreaked such havoc in Darfur.
30 April 2006
Limewoody: UN is a DISASTER.
Dutch police have arrested three men and a woman after finding explosives in their apartment in the port city of Rotterdam, a police spokeswoman said.
"We searched a house in Rotterdam early this morning based on information we had received," the spokeswoman said.
She did not disclose what sort of explosives were found nor the identities of those arrested, but said they were being questioned by police.
"The explosives are being brought to explode in an open area nearby and then an investigation will start," the spokeswoman said.
During the raid, 15 residents from seven neighbouring apartments were evacuated, she said.
A Reuters photographer said the area had been cordoned off.
The Netherlands' security alert level has been at "substantial" since the bombing attacks in London on July 7 last year, the second highest in a four-stage warning system.
The country was shaken by the 2004 murder of a film-maker critical of Islam.
Nine young Muslim men were sentenced to jail terms recently for belonging to a terrorist organisation.
The al-Qaeda terrorist group has attempted to bribe Fijian guards at Saddam Hussein's trial into identifying witnesses so they could be killed, a Fiji newspaper has reported.
A Fijian guard attached to the US Marshalls told the Fiji Times he and four others had been offered $F3.48 million ($A2.65 million) for information which led to the death of the witnesses.
Josevata Tuisavalu said al-Qaeda operatives contacted the Fijian guards to make the bribe attempt, which was rejected.
"Our work here involves security for the witnesses against Saddam and also defence lawyers, judge and translators," the paper reports Tuisavalu as saying.
"During trial the witnesses faces are covered and their voices are made to echo.
"The al-Qaeda offered us $F3.48 million for the death of any of the witnesses but we are not easily tempted."
Tuisavalu said the Fijian guards protected close to 50 people involved in the trial of the former Iraqi dictator.
"We are the only one allowed up at the court house and have the privilege of (being) face to face with Saddam," he said.
© 2006 AAP
By Mohammed Zaatari
Saturday, April 29, 2006
SIDON: A woman was beaten to death by her brother and husband in the area of Zahrani in South Lebanon on Monday. According to the results of a preliminary investigation, both men believed that the woman, a mother of two children, was possessed by evil spirits.
Sources said that the two men decided to kill her after consulting a sheikh, who advised them to "beat her hard on the head until the evil spirit leaves her soul."
The sources said that the woman, who was in her 30s, had frequently had disagreements with her husband and that this had caused a lot of trouble for her family, in particular her brother.
They also said that after the men "tried all means" to calm her rages, they consulted the sheikh, who told them that the woman was possessed because someone had cursed her.
The sheikh allegedly told them that the only way to release the spirit was to beat her.
News of her death emerged Friday, with the killers consequently rushing to bury the body.
However, some witnesses reported to the security forces that they had seen the two men beating her.
South Lebanon's general prosecutor then ordered security forces to exhume the body for inspection and to reveal the cause of death. The two men were arrested pending investigation.
Limewoody: One might ask who are the evil spirits? Or is it just The Religion of Quiet and Piss:
- "A women complained to Muhammad that her husband slapped her on the face, (which was still marked by the slap). At first the prophet said to her: "Get even with him", but then added: "Wait until I think about it". Later on, Allah supposedly revealed 4:34 to Muhammad, after which the prophet said: "We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best". [To beat your wife is best.] ("At-Tafsir al-Kabir" on 4:34, Razi (Quoted in "Beyond the Veil, Razi is one of the greatest Muslim scholars)
- "Narrated Ikrima: 'Rifaa divorced his wife whereupon Abdur-Rahman married her. Aisha said that the lady came wearing a green veil and complained to her (Aisha) and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating. It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's messenger came, Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes! When Abdur-Rahman heard that his wife had gone to the prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him, but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment. Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's messenger! She has told a lie. I am very strong and can satisfy her, but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifaa." Allah's messenger said to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifaa unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." The prophet saw two boys with Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that Abdur-Rahman said, "Yes." The prophet said, "You claim what you claim (that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow."" (Hadith, Bukhari, vol. 7, # 715)
- "Iyas Dhubab reported the apostle of Allah as saying: "Do not beat Allah's handmaidens", but when Umar came to the apostle of Allah and said: "Women have become emboldened towards their husbands", he (the prophet), gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the apostle of Allah complaining against their husbands. So the apostle of Allah said, "Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you". (Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 – On Beating Women, #2141)
- "Umar reported the prophet as saying: "A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife". (Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 – On Beating Women, #2142)
- "This shows that wives should obey their husbands…". On 2142: "This means that a man tries his best to correct his wife, but he fails to do so, he is allowed to beat her as a last resort. This tradition never means that a husband should beat his wife without any valid reason". (Abu Dawud's notes on Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 – On Beating Women, #2141)
- Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: Abu Bakr came and sought permission to see Allah's Messenger. He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came 'Umar and he sought permission and it was granted to him, and he found Allah's Apostle sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter of Kharija when she asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck. Allah's Messenger laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr then got up went to 'Aisha and slapped her on the neck, and 'Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah's Messenger which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah's Messenger for anything he does not possess." (Hadith, Sahih Muslim, Book 009, #3506, Muhammad doesn’t slap his wives, but laughed at hearing about his friend Umar slapping his wife when they asked for more money. Muhammad’s wife was slapped by her father upon hearing she too had been asking for more money.)
- "You have rights over your wives, and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave with open unseemliness. If they do, God allows you to put them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not with severity. If they refrain from these things and obey you, they have right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, for they are your wards having no control of their persons." (Muhammad's Farewell Address, Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", Guillaume's translation, page 651)
Yousef Qaradhawi: 'It is Permissible For The Husband to Beat Her Lightly'
Likewise, the beating must come only after admonishment, and expelling [the wife] from the bed [as is said in the Qur'an 4:34], 'Admonish them, leave them alone in their beds, and beat them.'
On January 14, 2004, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, the imam of the mosque of the city of Fuengirola, Costa del Sol, was sentenced by a Barcelona court to a 15 month suspended sentence and fined € 2160 for publishing his book 'The Woman in Islam.' In this book, the Egyptian-born Sheikh Mustafa writes, among other things, on wife-beating in accordance with Shar'ia law.
On pages 86-87, Mustafa states: "The [wife-]beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman]." He adds, "It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs," using a "rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused." Similarly, "[the blows] must not be hard." 
A musulman would probably take more offence that this woman is naked the fact that she har been beaten the hell out.
By Arshad Sharif
ISLAMABAD, April 30 (Reuters) – The movie salesman was selling jihad to the converted. The buyers thronging his stall on the sidelines of a late-night rally in the Pakistani capital belonged to a crowd organised by a sectarian Sunni Muslim group.
"This is the latest video of the beheadings," he told his customers, as they pored over titles including "Slaughter of Americans in Iraq", "Slaughter of Traitors in Afghanistan" and "Taliban Celebrations".
In Pakistan, compelled to join a U.S.-led global war on terrorism after al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States, anger has risen over what many see as an attempt by the West to suppress Muslims around the world. But that is only part of the story. Pakistan is also locked in a long struggle with its own demons, particularly sectarian violence that has killed thousands. Three weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed at least 57 people at a prayer meeting in Karachi celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammad. At the other end of the country, in the Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the toll from weeks of fighting between security forces and pro-Taliban and al Qaeda tribesmen pushed towards 300.
The video seller didn't have the latest action from the conflict on the Afghan border, but he had something just as gruesome. "This one is about the activities of mujahideen in Waziristan and Afghanistan," the seller said.
Dated in December, and supposedly shot in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, it had footage of hangings ordered by influential militant clerics.
The bodies of the hanged men, described as criminals and bandits, were then dragged through the streets by pick-up trucks, in a grisly demonstration of rough justice in an area where the civil administration has, according to tribesmen, collapsed. HEAVENLY VIRGINS "The commentary in them makes no bones about who is producing them — they are Pakistani Talibs," said Samina Ahmed, the Islamabad-based director of the International Crisis Group's South Asia project.
For less than a dollar apiece, some VCDs glorify the exploits of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, promise 72 heavenly virgins for prospective suicide bombers and prescribe beheadings for informers.
There are also training films on how to run a guerrilla war, based on Islamist militants fighting the Russian army in Chechnya. Messages in the films put Presidents George W. Bush, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the top of a hit list for would-be assassins in a war against what are described as the American "crusader forces". Musharraf has banned several militant organisations since 2002, and just last year he launched yet another campaign against groups stirring sectarian violence between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shi'ites. But some, such as Sipah-e-Sahaba (Soldiers of Companions of the Prophet), keep bouncing back, although they seem to be getting less space to put their message across. The group organised the recent late-night rally in Islamabad but under another name. BAD FOR BUSINESS Irfan Ali runs an Islamic bookshop in Karachi and says Musharraf's policies since Sept. 11, 2001, have definitely been bad for business.
"The fact is our business was doing very well when we were selling jihadi literature," Ali lamented. "Now our sales have come down drastically." The owner of another bookshop in Karachi said such material could always be arranged for trusted customers.
"Jihadi literature, cassettes and VCDs are still available but you will not find it openly. This business has gone underground. It is only sold to known acquaintances or reliable people," he said.
That said, it is not too hard to find the leader of one of the most feared militant groups in Pakistan. His message of radical Islam can be heard outside a number of well-known mosques. Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-i-Mohammad, has kept a low profile for some time because of pressure from Pakistan's security apparatus, according to some analysts. But outside Islamabad's Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, his voice blares out from speakers from among the stalls selling perfumes, skull caps, religious texts, cassettes and videos after Friday prayers. "Curse on the face of the Americans … Mullah Omar and Osama are the light of our eyes. Whoever tries to steal this light, we will rob them of their peace," Azhar shouts.
"Spread the message of Jihad in every street." Not all Pakistani preachers of militant jihad are such shadowy figures. Some are members of the National Assembly, representatives of Islamist parties that form the largest opposition block. Maulana Mairaj-ud-Din, a legislator from South Waziristan, is captured on a video titled "Ghadaran", or Traitors, inciting tribesmen to take up arms for the cause.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is being treated for head injuries in New Zealand after being hurt while on holiday in Fiji.
The 62-year-old was airlifted to a private Auckland hospital after falling from a coconut tree.
Richards was holidaying with his wife and other members of the Rolling Stones on an island resort in Fiji after the Australasian leg of their latest world tour when the accident occurred on Thursday .
Richards was flown initially to Suva for treatment but later transferred to a private hospital in Auckland for further tests.
A spokesman for the band, Bernard Docherty, has confirmed the guitarist suffered concussion and will remain in hospital for a few days.
The Rolling Stones are scheduled to kick off the European leg of their Bigger Bang tour at the end of next month.
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|Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST||Apr. 28, 2006|
The nature of the war being waged against Israel changed, perhaps irreversibly, this week. Processes that have been developing for more than four years now came together this week and brought us to a very different military-political reality than that which we have known until now. The face of the enemy has changed. If in the past it was possible to say that the war being waged against Israel was unique and distinct from the global jihad, after the events of the past week, it is no longer possible to credibly make such a claim. Four events that occurred this week – the attacks in the Sinai; the release of Osama bin Laden's audiotape; the release of Abu Musab Zarqawi's videotape; and the arrest of Hamas terrorists by Jordan – all proved clearly that today it is impossible to separate the wars. The new situation has critical consequences for the character of the campaign that the IDF must fight to defend Israel and for the nature of the policies that the incoming government of Israel must adopt and advance. The two attacks in the Sinai were noteworthy for several reasons. First, they were very different from one another. The first, which targeted tourists in Dahab, was the familiar attack against a soft target that we have become used to seeing in the Sinai over the past year and a half. The attack against the Multinational Force Observers was more unique since it only has one past precedent. In an article published last October in the journal MERIA, Reuven Paz explained that the al-Qaida strategist Abu Musab al-Suri supported the first type of attack. His follower, Abu Muhammad Hilali, wrote last September that in waging the jihad against the Egyptian regime there is no point in attacking foreign forces or Egyptian forces because such attacks will lead nowhere. He encouraged terrorists to attack soft targets like tourists and foreign non-governmental organizations on the one hand, and strategic targets like the Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel on the other. In both cases, such attacks would achieve political objectives. Opposing Hilali's view is Zarqawi's strategy. As one would expect from al-Qaida's commander in Iraq, Zarqawi upholds attacks on foreign forces. The foregoing analysis is not proof that two separate branches of al-Qaida conducted the attacks. But the combination of approaches this week does lend credence to the assessment that al-Qaida is now paying a great deal of attention to Israel's neighborhood. And this is a highly significant development. Until recently, Israel, like Jordan and Egypt, did not particularly interest al-Qaida. When bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and his military commander Saif al-Adel merged their terror organization, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, with al-Qaida, they adopted bin Laden's approach which dictated suspending their previous war to overthrow the Egyptian regime and concentrating on attacking America and its allies. In the same manner, when the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi joined al-Qaida, he was compelled to put his wish to overthrow the Hashemite regime to the side. Israel was not on the agenda. But today everything has changed. Israel, like Egypt and Jordan, is under the gun. Bin Laden himself made this clear in his tape this week. By placing Hamas under his protection, bin Laden made three moves at once. First, he announced that the Palestinians are no longer independent actors. Second, he defined the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority as a part of the liberated Islamic lands where al-Qaida can feel at home. Third, he hitched a ride on the Palestinian issue, which is more popular in the Islamic world than the Iraq war, where al-Qaida is apparently on the road to defeat. For his part, Zarqawi already announced his plan to go back to his old war and work to topple the Hashemites (and destroy Israel) last November, after he commanded the Amman hotel suicide bombings. Back then Zarqawi announced that Jordan was but a stop on the road to the conquest of Jerusalem. In his video this week, Zarqawi emphasized that the destruction of Israel through the conquest of Jerusalem is one of his major goals. Both he and bin Laden made clear that from their perspectives, the war against the US and the war against Israel are the same war. On the level of strategic theory, bin Laden and Zarqawi both expressed al-Qaida's long-term strategy that Zawahiri laid out last year to the Jordanian journalist Fuad Hussein. Zawahiri explained then that there are seven stages to the jihad before the establishment of the global caliphate. According to Zawahiri, the global jihad began in 2000 and will end in 2020. Today we are in the third stage, which includes the toppling of the regimes in Jordan, Syria and Egypt and the targeting of Israel for destruction. While al-Qaida today is setting its sights on Israel and its neighbors, the arrests of Hamas terrorists this week in Jordan show that for their part, the Palestinians are working to advance the global jihad. The Hamas attempt to carry out attacks in Jordan points to a change in Hamas's self-perception. They have gone from being local terrorists to being members of the Islamist axis, which is led by Iran and includes Syria, al-Qaida and Hizbullah. A week after Zarqawi carried out the attacks in Amman last November, Iranian Foreign Minister Manochehr Mottaki met with the heads of Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP and DFLP-GC in Beirut. At the end of the summit, Ahmed Jibril declared, "We all confirmed that what is going on in occupied Palestine is organically connected to what is going on in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon." A week later, Hizbullah launched its largest Katyusha rocket attack on northern Israel since the IDF withdrew from south Lebanon in May 2000. Two weeks later, Islamic Jihad carried out the suicide bombing outside the shopping mall in Netanya. Shortly thereafter, Zarqawi's al-Qaida operatives launched another barrage of Katyushas on northern Israel from Lebanon. Similarly, on January 19, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted a terror summit in Damascus attended by the same cast of characters. The same day, Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide bombing in the old bus station in Tel Aviv. And on April 18, the day before last week's suicide bombing in the old bus station in Tel Aviv, Ahmadinejad carried out yet another terror summit in Teheran with the same participants. And, again, shortly after the summit, al-Qaida struck in the Sinai. Zawahiri's seven stages of jihad go hand in hand with a 60-page text written by Saif al-Adel sometime after the US invasion of Iraq. Adel deposited his manuscript with the same Jordanian journalist. Adel, who has been operating from Iran since the battle of Tora Bora in November 2001, is reportedly Zarqawi's commander in Iraq and al-Qaida's senior liaison with the Iranian regime. In his manuscript he laid out al-Qaida's intentions for the third stage of the jihad. He explained that the organization needed new bases and was looking for a failed state or states to settle in. Darfur, Somalia, Lebanon and Gaza were all identified as possible options. As the American author and al-Qaida investigator Richard Miniter puts it, "US forces together with the Kenyans and the Ethiopians have pretty much prevented al-Qaida from basing in Somalia or Darfur. That left only Lebanon with all its problems with its various political factions, overlords and the UN. But then suddenly, like manna from Heaven, Israel simply gave them the greatest gift al-Qaida ever received when Ariel Sharon decided to give them Gaza." Israel, he explains, provided al-Qaida with the best base it has ever had. Not only is Gaza located in a strategically vital area – between the sea, Egypt and Israel. It is also fairly immune from attack since the Kadima government will be unwilling to reconquer the area. Moreover, as was the case with Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Gamaa Islamiyya terrorists who merged with al-Qaida in the 1990s, the Palestinians today constitute an ideal population for al-Qaida. They already support jihad. They have vast experience in fighting. And if it only took Hamas two weeks in office to get all the other terror groups – from Fatah to the Popular Resistance Committees to the Popular Front – to pledge allegiance to it last week, Hamas's co-optation by al-Qaida shouldn't be very difficult. Al-Qaida today is building its presence in Gaza, Judea and Samaria gradually. It drafts Palestinian terrorists to its ranks and provides them with ideological indoctrination and military training. In November, for instance, a terror recruiter in Jordan who had drafted two terrorists from the Nablus area to al-Qaida's ranks and instructed them to recruit others, informed them that he intended to send a military trainer from Gaza to train them. The two, who were arrested in December, had planned to carry out a double suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Last May, the first terror cell in Gaza announced its association with al-Qaida. When Ra'anan Gissin, then prime minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman, was asked to comment on the development by a foreign reporter, he presented the government's position on the issue as follows: "There is some evidence of links between militants in Gaza and al-Qaida… but for us, local terrorist groups are just as dangerous." On the face of it, Gissin's arrogance seems appropriate. After all, what do we care who sends the bombers into our cafes and buses? But things don't work that way. As the attacks in Egypt, the arrests in Jordan and the bin Laden and Zarqawi messages this week all indicated, we find ourselves today in a world war. The Palestinians are no longer the ones waging the war against us. The Islamist axis now wages the war against us through the Palestinians. The center of gravity, like the campaign rationale of the enemy, has moved away. Today, the decision-makers who determine the character and timing of the terror offensives are not sitting in Gaza and or Judea and Samaria. They are sitting in Teheran, Waziristan, Damascus, Beirut, Amman and Fallujah. The considerations that guide those that order the trigger pulled are not local considerations, but regional considerations at best and considerations wholly cut off from local events at worst. This new state of affairs demands a change in the way all of Israel's security arms understand and fight this war. The entire process of intelligence gathering for the purpose of uncovering and preventing planned terror attacks needs to be reconsidered. A reconfiguration of political and diplomatic strategies is also required. Talk of a separation barrier and final borders, not to mention the abandonment of Judea and Samaria to Hamas sound hallucinatory when standing against us are Zarqawi who specializes in chemical and biological warfare; bin Laden who specializes in blowing up airplanes; and Iran that threatens a nuclear Holocaust. Who can cause Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz, Tzipi Livni and Yuli Tamir to take the steps required to protect Israel from the reality exposed by the events of this past week?