February 7, 2006
What can possibly explain the fact that the sudden outburst of violent riots by Muslims around the world is taking place several months after the offending cartoons were published in a Danish newspaper? An orchestrated campaign by Islamofascists in Syria, that's what. The Baathist dictatorship of Bashar Assad in Damascus is under increasing pressure to reform itself, and decided to contrive the outrage among Muslims to reassert its domestic authority. This "rent-a-mob" tactic is also aimed at rekindling ethnic tension in Lebanon as a way to regain a foothold for Syria, from whence they were forced to retreat almost a year ago. For a "rogue regime" that has long been a sponsor of terrorism, such practices are just par for the course. The violence has spread to various European countries, Indonesia, and now to Afghanistan. See Washington Post. Latent anti-American sentiment is being blamed, which shows how absurd and delusional much of the Muslim world is today; the United States had nothing to do with those cartoons! This latest incident demonstrates, once again, the futility of trying to appease Islamic extremism and the various nationalistic movements that fall under its umbrella. Victor Davis Hanson (via Instapundit) asks whether the escalating offensive by Muslim fanatics may elicit a "European Awakening Against Islamic Fascism." Each in their own way, the governments of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Denmark are showing increasing backbone in response to Islamic bullying, almost making the Bush administration look tame by comparison.
UPDATE: As usual, Belmont Club has much more in-depth coverage of this latest flare-up in the "clash of civilizations," including the destruction of the Danish Embassy in Damascus by government mobs, and makes an excellent suggestion: Show solidarity with Denmark! Pay a visit to the Danish Embassy in Washington, which issued a press release on this incident yesterday:
Minister for Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller vehemently condemns the attack and he states: "Syria has failed its obligations, and it is utterly unacceptable that the Embassy was not protected by the Syrians. I reserve the right to take all steps vis-à-vis the Syrian Government."
In the old days, what happened in Damascus would be a cause for war.
Sen. Barack Obama, the young Illinois moderate who is widely considered to be the Democrats' "Great Multicultural Hope" for some future presidential race, has run afoul of Sen. John McCain. Obama had made a personal pledge to cooperate with McCain in a bipartisan push for lobbying reform legislation, and then backed out at the behest of his party leaders, leaving McCain in the lurch. In response, McCain wrote an unusually blunt and sarcastic letter (link via Chad Dotson) expressing regret that Obama reneged on his commitment. Whenever a moderate like McCain gets riled up, you know there must be a very good reason for it. Whenever some fresh new face like Obama's arrives on the national stage, I usually reserve judgment while everyone else fawns in premature adulation. I think my initial hesitation about Obama's leadership credentials has been borne out by events.
Obama has responded, professing to have no idea at what prompted McCain's rebuke. He says that he thought the "Honest Leadership Act" introduced by Minority Leader Harry Reid "should be the basis for a bipartisan solution." Yeah, right. (link via Instapundit)