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There’s been a lot of talk recently predicting the break-up of Iraq back into its constituent pieces. The country was glued together by the British after World War I from three vilyets or provinces of the dismantled Ottoman Empire: Kurdish Mosul, Shia Basra, and Sunni Baghdad. Now it’s seems on the verge of becoming unglued. Last week in The Persian Ratchet , we discussed how the break-up of Iraq would shatter Iran. Let’s talk now how an Iraq break-up would rearrange borders across the entire Middle East. Like how it would precipitate the break-up of Saudi Arabia.



It is common for politicians in trouble to seek scapegoats for their own incompetence and wrong-headedness, but when this begins getting widespread popular support, both the people's liberties and pocketbooks are in danger. Given its history, one would think Germany's people would be particularly resistant to demagogy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Recently, Franz Muntefering, head of Germany's left-wing Social Democratic Party (the SPD), which also is the lead party in the governing coalition, accused business leaders of being "anti-social" and like "swarms of locusts." Rather than denounce him for attacking businesspeople and "international capital," other SPD leaders joined in the denunciations. The chairman of Lufthansa airline and a director of the "Invest in Germany" organization, Jurgen Weber, replied to the SPD leaders: "If it turns out that this criticism of capitalism has a fundamental nature, then we don't need an Invest in Germany organization any more."



On Sept. 1, 2004, Chechens affiliated with al Qaeda seized a middle school in Beslan, Russia.  In the three day siege, 334 people --most of them children -- were killed.  Could something like that happen here? * In May of 2006, two Saudi students at the University of South Florida boarded a school bus.  They were "cagey and evasive" in explaining why they boarded the bus, said a spokesman for the Hillsborough County sheriff. * In March of 2007, the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement warning that Moslems "with ties to extremist groups" were signing up to be school bus drivers. *  A Houston television station reported in August of this year that 17 large yellow school buses have been stolen. Al Qaeda prefers middle schools because the girls are old enough to rape, but the boys aren't big enough to fight back, says retired Army LtCol. Dave Grossman, who runs a private security firm.  Why would al Qaeda contemplate something so monstrous?



The war between Persia and the West is very ancient, well over a thousand years older than the war between Islam and Christianity.

Western Civilization originated in a strip of land 90 miles long and 30 miles wide along the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor (Turkey today) known as Ionia. The Greeks who settled there in the 9th and 8th centuries BC colonized such cities as Ephesus and Miletus, where the first philosophers in history (like Thales, 635-543 BC) offered natural explanations of the world rather than superstition and myth.

The founder of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great (576-529



[Just after Rena Cohen wrote this on July 12, she learned of a Moslem terrorist attack in Netanya, Israel, killing two and wounding several others. Her daughter is spending the summer in Netanya and was nearby when the suicide bomber hit. Thankfully she was unhurt.]Before our horrified eyes, terrorism has just struck again in London, killing and wounding scores of innocent civilians, as terrorism always does. The pictures of bloody carnage are now becoming so familiar, from New York to London, from Jerusalem to Madrid, from Baghdad to Moscow, from Riyadh to Kashmir, from Bali to Manila. Just a few short days ago on July 4th, the American people celebrated freedom, and honored the courage of the men and women who have given so much to keep it and to protect our country. That same day, a deadly charade was being carried out in another part of the world under the banner of democracy. While Israel is pulling out of Gaza and parts of the disputed territories of the West Bank to foster peace, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its allies are preparing for the next terror war.



Perennial presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat congressman from Ohio, told a group of bloggers last week he plans to force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take up his measure to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. Ms. Pelosi "is working very quietly and very effectively behind the scenes" to gather votes to impeach President Bush, Rep. Diane Watson (D-Cal) told a town hall meeting in Los Angeles Oct. 17. Mr. Kucinich, Ms. Watson and Ms. Pelosi are three of the reasons why I think historians will regard the Democrat sweep in the 2006 midterms as the essential prerequisite to the Republican victory in the 2008 presidential election.



You’re a cowboy out in the Wild West. You and your fellow cowboys are surrounded by a horde of bloodthirsty Indians dressed in warpaint and issuing bloodcurdling whoops for your scalps. There’s a dozen of you versus two thousand of them. Even John Wayne would know it’s time to retreat.Especially if Wayne knew the Indians were from different tribes that hated each other, and by vamoosing, they’d start to fight among themselves, going at each others’ throats while you could get safely back to Fort Apache.Pretty much sums up the situation in Gaza.



Terri Schiavo has committed no crime, yet she has been sentenced to death by Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who steadfastly jettisoned due process in her case. The fundamental issue in Terri's case is disability rights -- not the right to die. Throughout all the extensive media coverage of the case, there has been only slight mention, but usually none at all, that nearly every major disability-rights organization has filed legal briefs to prevent what they regard as judicial murder. The protests are not only from pro-lifers and the Christian Right. Mrs. Schiavo -- who collapsed in 1990 from what may have been a potassium imbalance that temporarily stopped her heart and cut oxygen to her brain -- has never been comatose, brain dead or in a persistent vegetative state, despite what some physicians have stated and others have denied. Michael Schiavo has forbidden therapy or rehabilitation for Terri since 1991, or any further tests since 1993. Terri has never even had an MRI or PET scan, let alone a complete neurological examination.



The New Republic is one of the founding bastions of American liberalism, founded in 1914.  For months now, its youthful editors have been standing by a story of their "Baghdad Diarist" alleging revolting behavior by our soldiers in Iraq. The allegations were shown to be false, no witnesses were found, still the editors stood their ground.  Then they had a telephone conversation with their Diarist, one Pvt. Beauchamp, who refused in the conversation to confirm his story. The phone conversation took place on Sept. 6 and was taped.  When it was leaked this week, New Republic readers discovered that the editors, having never told them about the conversation, had been lying to them all along.  There goes the credibility of yet another liberal bastion.



Saudi Arabia is a pre-eminent example of how God’s sense of humor is unfathomable to mere human beings. A tribe of primitive desert nomads who believe in an atavistic religion seize control of a vast sandy wasteland under which, completely unknown to them, contains more of the critical substance upon which modern civilization depends than anywhere else on earth. This makes the nomads impossibly rich without doing anything to earn their wealth, which they proceed to spend billions of disseminating around the world their religion which is dedicated to destroying the civilization that gave them their wealth. So now God is patiently waiting for us to get the joke and figure a way out of it.