Friday, April 10, 2009

Who Stole the Holy Land?

 

by  Steven Plaut  

 

Why do the anti-Zionists feel that a thousand-year old claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy, while a 1,900-year claim by Jews to the land should be rejected as absurd?

 

So let us see if we have this straight. The anti-Zionists claim that the Jews have no right to the land of Israel because before Israel was re-created in 1948, it had been almost 1,900 years since the last time that the Jews exercised sovereignty over the Land of Israel. And the anti-Zionists claim that it is absurd to argue that anyone still has rights to land that was last governed with sovereignty 1,900 years ago.

And on what basis do they argue that the Arabs have some legitimate claim to these same lands? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised sovereignty over that land 1,000 years ago.

You all with me? 1,900 year-old-claims are inadmissible. Thousand-year-old claims trump them and are indisputable.

Now let us emphasize that even the thousand-year-old Arab claim is not the same thing as a claim on behalf of Palestinian [sic] Arabs. After all, the last time that Palestinian Arabs held sovereignty over the lands of "Palestine" was ... never. There has never been a Palestinian Arab state in Palestine. Ever.

It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of historic Palestine. There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of "Palestine" already in late Biblical days, and they were important military and political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the Land of Israel. After the rise of Islam, historic "Palestine" was indeed part of a larger Arab kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071 CE, when Palestine came under the rule of the Suljuk Turks. That was the last time Palestine had an Arab ruler. After that, it was always ruled by a long series of Ottomans, Mamluks, other Turks, Crusaders, British, and — briefly — French. And in any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger Arab empire make it any more "Arab" than the fact that it also was once part of larger Roman, Greek, Persian, Turkish, or British empires? Now it is true that historic Palestine probably once had a population majority who were Arabs, but today it has a population majority who are Jews. So if population majorities are what determine legitimacy of sovereignty, Israel is at least as legitimate as any other country.

So why exactly do the anti-Zionists claim that a thousand-year old claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy, while a 1,900-year claim by Jews to the land should be rejected as absurd, even though the United Nations granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because the thousand-year-old Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim. But if national claims to lands become more legitimate when they are more recent, then surely the most legitimate of all is that of the Jews of Israel to the lands of Israel, because it is the most recent!

The other claim by the anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the lands of Israel (historic Palestine) because they moved there from some other places. Now never mind that there was actually always a Jewish minority living in the lands of Israel even when it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there? The claim would be absurd enough even if we were to ignore that fact that most "Palestinian Arabs" also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries, starting in the late nineteenth century. But more generally, does the fact that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this fact necessitate the conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as the anti-Zionists insist?

If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians must lead the way and show the Israelis the light, by returning all lands that they seized from the Indians and the Mexicans to their original owners and going back to whence they came. For that matter, the Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to turn the British isles over to their rightful original Celtic and Druid owners, while they return to their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The Danes of course will be asked to move aside, in fact to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands, to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.

But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called upon to leave the Iberian peninsula that they wrongfully occupy, and return it to the Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they came from and leave Hungary to its true owners. The Australians and New Zealanders obviously will have to end their occupations of lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied Bulgaria. Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end his or her forced occupation of Latin America. It goes without saying that the French will lose almost all their lands to their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.

Ah, but that leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan, will have to be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab occupiers and squatters, and returned to their lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from the cruel occupation of the Arab imperialist aggressors. Iraq must be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia must be returned to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may retain control of the central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland. But not the oil fields.

Oh, and the Palestinian infiltrators, usurpers and squatters will of course have to return the lands they are illegally and wrongfully occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners, which would of course be the Jews!

And right after all this, Israel will be happy to implement the Road Map in full!

Steven Plaut 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Palestinian Arab children dying to kill: Purposely sacrificing children.

 

by Eli E. Hertz

  

What kind of society consciously and purposely sacrifices its own youth for political gain and tactical advantage? Suicide bombers are an escalation of a small-arms war introduced and championed by Palestinian Arab leaders, even prior to Arafat's arrival from Tunis to Gaza in July 1994.

 

Today the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs nurture a blind hatred of Israel. They created a cultural milieu of vengeance, violence and death — preparing their children to be sacrifices in a death cult. Proud parents dress up their toddlers not in clown costumes, but with suicide belts,[1] and countless others celebrate their children's deaths with traditional sweet ho liday cakes and candies.

 

Palestinian Arabs are killing their children because they make effective delivery systems for killing Israelis. They also sacrifice them because wounded or dead children paint Israelis as heartless and cruel in the eyes of the world and the Israelis themselves.

This so-called success encouraged Palestinians to enlarge the role of their children by using them as human shields, direct combatants and suicide bombers — glorifying, rather than mourning their deaths.

The death of Arab children on the front lines — extolled as shahids or martyrs — has become a cynical weapon in the arsenal of Arab leaders. They have learned that when their children are killed, they gain world sympathy, especially in Europe and North America — where the death of any child is viewed as a tragedy and portrayed as such in the media, regardless of circumstance.

While Palestinian leaders exhort the public into volunteering their children for suicide missions, they make sure their own children are not among the volunteers.

International law prohibits using children to fight. Article 38 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted in 1989) condemns the recruitment and involvement of children in hostilities and armed conflicts. In 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted a treaty that raised the age limit for compulsory recruitment and participation in combat to age 18. Article 36 of the same UN document calls on states to protect children against any kind of exploitation.[2]

Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General Olara Otunnu condemned terrorist groups' use of children as human shields, gunmen and suicide bombers. At a UN Security Council debate on January 14, 2003 devoted to measures to protect children in armed conflict, he said:

"We have witnessed child victims at both ends of these acts: [Palestinian] children have been used as suicide bombers and [Israeli] children have been killed by suicide bombings. Nothing can justify this. I call on the Palestinian authorities to do everything within their powers to stop all participation by children in this conflict."[3]

A Washington Post editorial headlined "Death Wish,"[4] following a conference in which 57 Islamic nations rejected the idea that Palestinian 'resistance' to Israel had anything to do with terrorism, said:

"In effect, the Islamic conference sanctioned not only terrorism but also suicide as a legitimate political instrument. ... It is hard to imagine any other grouping in the world's nations that could reach such a self-destructive and morally repugnant conclusion."

The Post castigated Muslim states and suggested their behavior was liable to be the seeds to their own destruction. It concluded:

"The Palestinian national cause will never recover — nor should it — until its leadership is willing to break definitely with the bombers."

A criminal Palestinian Arab leadership, along with cowardly and intimidated Palestinian parents on the West Bank and Gaza, exploit their children to engage in armed conflict — in opposition to values held by the rest of the civilized world and in flagrant violation of international law and common decency.

There is no excuse — nor any widespread precedent among the wretched of the earth — for sacrificing the youth of any society for political gain and tactical advantage. If this is to stop, the culpability must be put squarely on the shoulders of Palestinian society and others who legitimize, support and 'understand' such child sacrifice.

FOOTNOTES

[1] "Baby Bomber Photo 'Just Fun,'" BBC, June 29, 2002, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2075072.stm.

[2] Justus Weiner, "The Recruitment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 1, 2002.

[3] See "UN urges Palestinian leaders to stop child suicide bombings," Agence France-Presse, January 14, 2002.

[4] "Death Wish," Washington Post, April 4, 2002, at: www.mefacts.com/cached.asp?x_id=11482.
 

Eli E. Hertz is president of Myths and Facts, Inc. The organization's objective is to provide policymakers, national leadership, the media and the public-at-large with information and viewpoints that are founded on factual and reliable content.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Islam, war, and deceit: a synthesis Part I

 

by Raymond Ibrahim

1st part of  2

Part I: Fundamentals

Today, in a time of wars and rumors of wars emanating from the Islamic world — from the current conflict in Gaza, to the saber-rattling of nuclear-armed Pakistan and soon-to-be Iran — the need for non-Muslims to better understand Islam's doctrines and objectives concerning war and peace, and everything in between (treaties, diplomacy), has become pressing. For instance, what does one make of the fact that, after openly and vociferously making it clear time and time again that its ultimate aspiration is to see Israel annihilated, Hamas also pursues "peace treaties," including various forms of concessions from Israel — and more puzzling, receives them?

Before being in a position to answer such questions, one must first appreciate the thoroughly legalistic nature of mainstream (Sunni) Islam. Amazingly, for all the talk that Islam is constantly being "misunderstood" or "misinterpreted" by "radicals," the fact is, as opposed to most other religions, Islam is a clearly defined faith admitting of little ambiguity: indeed, according to Sharia (i.e., "Islam's way of life," more commonly translated as "Islamic law") every conceivable human act is categorized as being either forbidden, discouraged, permissible, recommended, or obligatory. "Common sense" or "universal opinion" has little to do with Islam's notions of right and wrong. All that matters is what Allah (via the Koran) and his prophet Muhammad (through the hadith) have to say about any given subject, and how Islam's greatest theologians and jurists — collectively known as the ulema, literally, the "ones who know" — have articulated it.

Consider the concept of lying. According to Sharia, deception is not only permitted in certain situations but is sometimes deemed obligatory. For instance, and quite contrary to early Christian tradition, not only are Muslims who must choose between either recanting Islam or being put to death permitted to lie by pretending to have apostatized; many jurists have decreed that, according to Koran 4:29, which commands Muslims not to "destroy themselves," Muslims are obligated to lie.

 
The doctrine of taqiyya

Much of this revolves around the pivotal doctrine of taqiyya, which is often euphemized as "religious dissembling," though in reality simply connotes "Muslim deception vis-à-vis infidels." According to the authoritative Arabic text Al-Taqiyya fi Al-Islam, "Taqiyya [deception] is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it. We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream. ...Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era [p. 7; my own translation]."

Some erroneously believe that taqiyya is an exclusively Shia doctrine: As a minority group interspersed among their traditional enemies, the much more numerous Sunnis, Shias have historically had more "reason" to dissemble. Ironically, however, Sunnis living in the West today find themselves in a similar situation, as they are now the minority surrounded by their historic enemies — Christian infidels.

The primary Koranic verse sanctioning deception vis-à-vis non-Muslims states: "Let believers [Muslims] not take for friends and allies infidels [non-Muslims] instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah — unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions" (3:28; other verses referenced by the ulema in support of taqiyya include 2:173, 2:185, 4:29, 16:106, 22:78, 40:28).

Al-Tabari's (d. 923) famous tafsir (exegesis of the Koran) is a standard and authoritative reference work in the entire Muslim world. Regarding 3:28, he writes: "If you [Muslims] are under their [infidels'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harboring inner animosity for them. ...Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers — except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them."

Regarding 3:28, Ibn Kathir (d. 1373, second in authority only to Tabari) writes, "Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels'] evil may protect himself through outward show." As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's close companion, Abu Darda, who said, "Let us smile to the face of some people [non-Muslims] while our hearts curse them"; another companion, al-Hassan, said, "Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgment [i.e., in perpetuity]."

Other prominent ulema, such as al-Qurtubi, al-Razi, and al-Arabi, have extended taqiyya to cover deeds. In other words, Muslims can behave like infidels — including by bowing down and worshiping idols and crosses, offering false testimony, even exposing fellow Muslims' weaknesses to the infidel enemy — anything short of actually killing a Muslim.

Is this why the Muslim American sergeant Hasan Akbar attacked and killed his fellow servicemen in Iraq in 2003? Had his pretense of loyalty finally come up against a wall when he realized Muslims might die at his hands? He had written in his diary: "I may not have killed any Muslims, but being in the army is the same thing. I may have to make a choice very soon on who to kill."

 
War is deceit

None of this should be surprising considering that Muhammad himself — whose example as the "most perfect human" is to be tenaciously followed — took an expedient view of lying. It is well known, for instance, that Muhammad permitted lying in three situations: to reconcile two or more quarreling parties, to one's wife, and in war (see Sahih Muslim B32N6303, deemed an "authentic" hadith).

As for our chief concern here — war — the following story from the life of Muhammad reveals the centrality of deceit in war. During the Battle of the Trench (627), which pitted Muhammad and his followers against several non-Muslim tribes known as "the Confederates," one of these Confederates, Naim bin Masud, went to the Muslim camp and converted to Islam. When Muhammad discovered that the Confederates were unaware of their co-tribalist's conversion, he counseled Masud to return and try somehow to get the Confederates to abandon the siege — "For," Muhammad assured him, "war is deceit." Masud returned to the Confederates without their knowing that he had "switched sides," and began giving his former kin and allies bad advice. He also went to great lengths to instigate quarrels between the various tribes until, thoroughly distrusting each other, they disbanded, lifting the siege from the Muslims, and thereby saving Islam in its embryonic period (see Al-Taqiyya fi Al-Islam; also, Ibn Ishaq's Sira, the earliest biography of Muhammad).

More demonstrative of the legitimacy of deception vis-à-vis infidels is the following anecdote. A poet, Kab bin al-Ashruf, offended Muhammad by making derogatory verse concerning Muslim women. So Muhammad exclaimed in front of his followers: "Who will kill this man who has hurt Allah and his prophet?" A young Muslim named Muhammad bin Maslama volunteered, but with the caveat that, in order to get close enough to Kab to assassinate him, he be allowed to lie to the poet. Muhammad agreed. Maslama traveled to Kab, began denigrating Islam and Muhammad, carrying on this way till his disaffection became convincing enough that Kab took him into his confidences. Soon thereafter, Maslama appeared with another Muslim and, while Kab's guard was down, assaulted and killed him. Ibn Sa'ad's version reports that they ran to Muhammad with Kab's head, to which the latter cried, "Allahu Akbar!" (God is great!)

 
Koranic sequential deceit

It also bears mentioning that the entire sequence of Koranic revelations is a testimony to taqiyya; and since Allah is believed to be the revealer of these verses, he ultimately is seen as the perpetrator of deceit — which is not surprising since Allah himself is described in the Koran as the best "deceiver" or "schemer" (3:54, 8:30, 10:21). This phenomenon revolves around the fact that the Koran contains both peaceful and tolerant verses, as well as violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were baffled as to which verses to codify into Sharia's worldview — the one, for instance, that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29)? To get out of this quandary, the ulema developed the doctrine of abrogation (naskh, supported by Koran 2:106) which essentially maintains that verses "revealed" later in Muhammad's career take precedence over the earlier ones, whenever there is a contradiction.

But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view has been that, since in the early years of Islam, Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by the infidels and idolaters, a message of peace and coexistence was in order (sound familiar?). However, after he migrated to Medina and grew in military strength and numbers, the violent and intolerant verses were "revealed," inciting Muslims to go on the offensive — now that they were capable of doing so. According to this view, quite standard among the ulema, one can only conclude that the peaceful Meccan verses were ultimately a ruse to buy Islam time till it became sufficiently strong to implement its "true" verses which demand conquest. Or, as traditionally understood and implemented by Muslims themselves, when the latter are weak and in a minority position, they should preach and behave according to the Meccan verses (peace and tolerance); when strong, they should go on the offensive, according to the Medinan verses (war and conquest). The vicissitudes of Islamic history are a testimony to this dichotomy.

A Muslim colleague of mine once made this clear during a casual, though revealing, conversation. After expounding to him all those problematic doctrines that make it impossible for Muslims to peacefully coexist with infidels — jihad, loyalty and enmity, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong — I pointedly asked him how and why he, as a Muslim, did not uphold them. He kept prevaricating, pointing to those other, abrogated verses of peace and tolerance. Assuming he was totally oblivious of such arcane doctrines as abrogation, I (rather triumphantly) began explaining to him the distinction between Meccan (tolerant) and Medinan (intolerant) verses, and how the latter abrogate the former. He simply smiled, saying, "I know; but I'm currently living in Mecca" — that is, like his weak and outnumbered prophet living among an infidel majority in Mecca, he too, for survival's sake, felt compelled to preach peace, tolerance, and coexistence to the infidel majority of America.

 

Raymond Ibrahim

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Islam, war, and deceit: a synthesis Part II

 

by Raymond Ibrahim

 

2nd part of 2

 

Part II: The use of deception by Islamist groups from Al-Qaeda to CAIR

The fact that Islam legitimizes deceit during war cannot be all that surprising; as the saying goes, all's fair in love and war. Moreover, non-Muslim thinkers and philosophers, such as Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Hobbes, all justified deceit in war. The crucial difference, however, is that, according to all four recognized schools of Sunni jurisprudence, war against the infidel goes on in perpetuity — until "all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to Allah" (Koran 8:39). In its entry on jihad, the definitive Encyclopaedia of Islam simply states:

The duty of the jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained. Peace with non-Muslim nations is, therefore, a provisional state of affairs only; the chance of circumstances alone can justify it temporarily. Furthermore there can be no question of genuine peace treaties with these nations; only truces, whose duration ought not, in principle, to exceed ten years, are authorized. But even such truces are precarious, inasmuch as they can, before they expire, be repudiated unilaterally should it appear more profitable for Islam to resume the conflict.

Moreover, going back to the doctrine of abrogation, the vast majority of the ulema agree that Koran 9:5, famously known as ayat al-saif — the "sword verse" — has abrogated some 124 of the more peaceful Meccan verses.

The obligatory jihad is best expressed by Islam's dichotomized worldview that pits Dar al-Islam (the "realm of submission," i.e., the Islamic world), against Dar al-Harb (the "realm of war," i.e., the non-Islamic world) until the former subsumes the latter. Internationally renowned Muslim historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) articulates this division thusly: "In the Muslim community, holy war [jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. The other religious groups [specifically Christianity and Judaism] did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense. ...But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations."

This concept is highlighted by the fact that, based on the ten-year treaty of Hudaibiya (628), ratified between Muhammad and his Quraish opponents in Mecca, ten years is, theoretically, the maximum amount of time Muslims can be at peace with infidels. Based on Muhammad's example of breaking the treaty after two years (by citing a Quraish infraction), the sole function of the "peace treaty" (or hudna) is to buy weakened Muslims time to regroup before going on the offensive once more. Incidentally, according to a canonical hadith, Muhammad said, "If I take an oath and later find something else better, I do what is better and break my oath." The prophet further encouraged Muslims to do the same: "If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better."

After negotiating a peace treaty criticized by Muslims as conceding too much to Israel, former PLO leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat, speaking to Muslims in a mosque and off the record, justified his actions by saying, "I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraish in Mecca." In other words, like his prophet, the "moderate" Arafat was giving his word only to annul it once "something else better" came along — that is, once Palestinians became strong enough to renew the offensive.

Most recently, a new Islamic group associated with Hamas called Jaysh al-Umma (Islam's army) stated clearly, "Muslims all over the world are obliged to fight the Israelis and the infidels until only Islam rules the earth." Realizing their slip, they quickly clarified: "We say that the world will not live in peace as long as the blood of Muslims continues to be shed." Which is it — until Muslim blood stops being shed in Israel or "until only Islam rules the earth"?

These are all clear instances of Muslims feigning openness to the idea of peace simply in order to buy more time to build up their strength.

Here, then, is the problem: If Islam must be in a constant state of war with the non-Muslim world, which need not be physical, as the ulema have classified several non-violent forms of jihad, such as "jihad-of-the-pen" (propaganda) and "money-jihad" (economic); and if Muslims are permitted to lie and feign loyalty, amiability, even affection to the infidel, simply to further their war efforts — what does one make of any Muslim overtures of peace, tolerance, or dialogue?

This is more obvious when one considers that, every single time Muslims "reach out" for "peace," it is always when they are in a weakened condition vis-à-vis infidels — that is, when they, not their non-Muslim competitors, benefit from the peace. This is the lesson of the last two centuries of Muslim-Western interaction, wherein the former have been militarily inferior and thus beholden to the latter.

One wonders if the reverse would hold true. If, for example, the Palestinians suddenly became stronger than Israel and could annihilate it, if Israel reached out for peace or concessions, would the (overwhelmingly Muslim) Palestinians grant it? In fact, the answer to this question is evident in all those countries where non-Muslim groups live as minorities among Muslim majorities: while living in constant social subjugation (according to Koran 9:29) they are also sporadically persecuted and killed — such as the Christian Copts of Egypt who, after merely assembling for prayer in a condemned factory, found 20,000 rioting Muslims surrounding them, screaming the Muslim war cry, "Allah Akbar," while throwing stones at them.

 
Reciprocal treatment or religious obligation?

Why did Osama bin Laden, who firmly believes in the division of the world into two entities — Islam and the rest — which must war until the former dominates the globe, attack the U.S.? The following anecdote sheds some light: after a group of prominent Muslims wrote a letter to Americans saying that Islam is a peaceful religion that wishes to coexist with others, seeking only to "live and let live," bin Laden, thinking no non-Muslim would see his letter, castigated them as follows:

As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarized by the Most High's Word: "We [Muslims] renounce you [non-Muslims]. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us — till you believe in Allah alone" [Koran 60:4]. So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility from the heart. And this fierce hostility — that is, battle — ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed [i.e., a dhimmi], or if Muslims are at that point in time weak and incapable [i.e., taqiyya]. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the heart, this is great apostasy! ...Such, then, is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity, and hatred — directed from the Muslim to the infidel — is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them (from The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 43).

It bears repeating that this hostile weltanschauung is well supported by mainstream Islam's schools of jurisprudence (i.e., there is nothing "radical" about it). When addressing Western audiences, however, bin Laden's tone drastically changes; he lists any number of "grievances" for fighting the West — from Palestinian oppression, to the Western exploitation of women and U.S. failure to sign the Kyoto protocol — never once alluding to fighting the U.S. simply because it is an infidel entity that must be subjugated. Indeed, he often initiates his messages to the West by saying, "Reciprocal treatment is part of justice" or "Peace to whoever follows guidance" — though he means something entirely different than what his Western audience thinks.

This is of course a clear instance of taqiyya, as bin Laden is not only waging a physical jihad, but one of propaganda. Convincing a secular West (whose epistemology does not allow for the notion of religious conquest) that the current conflict is entirely its fault only garners him and his cause more sympathy; conversely, he also knows that if Americans were to realize that, all political grievances aside — real or imagined — according to Islam's worldview, nothing short of their submission to Islam can ever bring peace, his propaganda campaign would be quickly compromised. Yet the fact is al-Qaeda is motivated more by religious obligation than reciprocal treatment. Hence the constant need to lie, "for war," as their prophet asserted, "is deceit."

It should be added that, though the vast majority of the world's Muslims are not active terrorists, bin Laden's list of grievances against the West is paradigmatic of the average Muslim's grievances. However, if they are unaware that, according to Islam — not bin Laden — animosity towards infidels transcends time, space, and grievances, and that religious obligation commands the war continue till "all religion belongs to Allah," they are either ignorant of their own faith, or — taqiyya?

 
With friends like these ...

Associated with Hamas, denounced by American politicians for "pursuing an extreme Islamist political agenda," its members arrested for terrorism-related charges — the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is another Muslim group which appears to be less than sincere to its non-Muslim audience; situated in the U.S., it is also much closer to home. When it comes to the issue of jihad, perpetual warfare, even doctrines such as taqiyya — indeed, all that has been delineated in this essay — CAIR has been at the forefront of not only denying their existence, but accusing of "Islamophobia" and threatening with lawsuits anyone alluding to them, thereby censoring any critical talk of Islam.

Could CAIR be taking lessons from the Muslim convert Masud, whom Muhammad urged to go and live among the Confederate infidels, solely in order to mislead and betray them, so that Islam might triumph?

The most obvious example of taqiyya, however, comes from an entire nation: Saudi Arabia. If any nation closely follows Sharia — including, but not limited to, the division of the world into two perpetually warring halves, Islam and infidelity — it is Saudi Arabia, a.k.a. America's "friend." According to Sharia, for instance, the Saudis will not allow the construction of a single church or synagogue on their land; Bibles are banned and burned; Christians engaged in any kind of missionary activity are arrested, tortured, and sometimes killed; Muslim converts to Christianity are put to death.

Yet for all that, in their attempt to portray Islam as a "tolerant" religion, a religion that, once again, merely seeks "peacefully coexist" with others, the Saudis have been pushing for more "dialogue" between Muslims and non-Muslims, specifically Christians and Jews (ironically, those two peoples who are currently much more powerful than Islam). Rather tellingly, however, Saudi Arabia refuses to host any of these conferences; after all, their prophet Muhammad's deathbed wish was to expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian peninsula; how to re-invite them now and talk of peace and tolerance? Moreover, surely the Saudis fear that a real "debate" — not just the perfunctory talk of "mutual understanding" that permeates these farces — might take place, once the non-Muslim participants discover that they are not free to practice their faiths on Saudi soil? The most recent interfaith conference was held in Madrid, where King Abdullah, despite all the aforementioned, asserted, "Islam is a religion of moderation and tolerance, a message that calls for constructive dialogue among followers of all religions."

Mere days later, it was revealed that Saudi children's textbooks still call Christians and Jews "infidels," the "hated enemies," and "pigs and swine." A multiple choice test in a fourth-grade book asks Muslim children, "Who is a 'true' Muslim?" The correct answer is not the man who prays, fasts, etc., but rather, "A man worships God alone, loves the believers, and hates the infidels" — that is, those same people the Saudis want to "dialogue" with.

Clearly, then, when Saudis — or other Sharia-following Muslims — call for "dialogue" they are merely following the aforementioned advice of Muhammad's friend, Abu Darda: "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them."

 
Implications

There is also a troubling philosophical — again, specifically epistemological — aspect to taqiyya. Anyone who truly believes that no less an authority than God justifies and, through his prophet's example, sometimes even encourages deception, will not experience any ethical qualms or dilemmas about lying. This is especially true if the human mind is indeed a tabula rasa shaped by environment and education: deception becomes second nature.

Consider the case of Ali Mohammad — bin Laden's "first trainer" and longtime al-Qaeda operative. Despite being entrenched in the highest echelons of the terror network, his confidence at dissembling enabled him to become a CIA agent and FBI informant for years. People who knew him regarded him "with fear and awe for his incredible self-confidence, his inability to be intimidated, absolute ruthless determination to destroy the enemies of Islam, and his zealous belief in the tenets of militant Islamic fundamentalism." Indeed, this sentence sums it all: for a "zealous belief" in Islam's "tenets," which, as seen, legitimize deception, will certainly go a long way in creating "incredible self-confidence" when lying.

The bottom line is, any Muslim who closely observes Sharia law — and that is, incidentally, the definition of a Muslim, "one who submits to (the laws of) Allah" — laws that, among other bellicosities, clearly and unambiguously split the world into two perpetually warring halves — such a Muslim will always have a "divinely sanctioned" right to deceive, until "all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to Allah" (Koran 8:39). All Muslim overtures for peace, dialogue, or even temporary truces must be seen in this light.
 

Raymond Ibrahim is the associate director of the Middle East Forum and the author of The Al Qaeda Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda.
Substantial portions of this essay made up part of Mr. Ibrahim's written testimony that was presented to Congress on February 12, 2009.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An opening to Iran? They've sold us this rug before.

 

by Michael Rubin

  

During the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama promised to meet the leaders of Iran "without preconditions." He appears a man of his word. Within days of his election, the State Department began drafting a letter to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intended to pave the way for face-to-face talks. Then, less than a week after taking office, Obama told al-Arabiya's satellite network, "If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us." The president dispatched former Defense Secretary William Perry to engage a high-level Iranian delegation led by a senior Ahmadinejad adviser.

The pundits and journalists may applaud, but their adulation for Obama's new approach is based more on myth than reality. "Not since before the 1979 Iranian revolution are U.S. officials believed to have conducted wide-ranging direct diplomacy with Iranian officials," the Associated Press reported. But Washington and Tehran have never stopped talking; indeed, many of Obama's supposedly bold initiatives have been tried before, often with disastrous results.

In 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini's return gave an urgency to U.S.-Iran diplomacy. Many in Washington had been happy to see the shah go, and sought a new beginning with the "moderate, progressive individuals" — according to then Princeton professor (now a U.N. official) Richard Falk — surrounding Khomeini. The State Department announced that it would maintain relations with the new government. Diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Tehran worked overtime to decipher the Islamic Republic's volatile political scene.

On November 1, 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's national security adviser and now, ironically, an Obama adviser on Iranian affairs, met in Algiers with Iranian prime minister Mehdi Bazargan and foreign minister Ibrahim Yazdi to discuss normalization amidst continued uncertainty about the future of bilateral relations. Iranian students, outraged at the possibility, stormed the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days.

But the hostage seizure did not end the dialogue. For five months, even as captors paraded blindfolded hostages on television, Carter kept Iran's embassy in Washington open, hoping for talks.

Should Obama send a letter to Iran's leaders, he would follow a path worn by Carter. Just days after the hostage seizure, Carter dispatched Ramsey Clark, a Kennedy-era attorney general who had championed Khomeini after meeting him in exile in France, and William Miller, a retired Foreign Service officer critical of U.S. policy under the shah, to deliver a letter to Khomeini. After word of their mission leaked, the Iranian leadership refused to receive them. After cooling their heels in Istanbul for a week, the two returned in failure. Shining a spotlight on private correspondence may score points in Washington, but it kills rather than creates opportunities.

Obama's inattention to timing and target replicates Carter's failure. His outreach to Ahmadinejad comes amidst Iran's most contentious election campaign since the revolution. Allowing Ahmadinejad to slap a U.S. president's outstretched hand is an Iranian populists' dream come true. Alas, this too was a lesson Obama might have learned from Carter. Three decades ago, desperate to engage, Carter grasped at any straw, believing, according to his secretary of state, that even a tenuous partner beat no partner at all. Each partner — first foreign minister Abolhassan Bani-Sadr and then his successor Sadeq Qotbzadeh — added demands to bolster his own revolutionary credentials, pushing diplomacy backward rather than forward. Thirty years later, the same pattern is back. Ahmadinejad's aides respond to every feeler Obama and his proxies at Track II talks send with new and more intrusive demands.

Once out of office, Carter aides sought to secure history's first draft with a flood of memoirs praising their own efforts. Kissinger aide Peter Rodman noted wryly in a 1981 essay, however, that pressure brought to bear by Iraq's invasion of Iran did more to break the negotiations impasse than Carter's pleading with a revolving door of Iranian officials.

Carter is not alone in his failed efforts to talk to Tehran. While the Iran-Contra affair is remembered today largely for the Reagan administration's desire to bypass a congressional prohibition on funding Nicaragua's anti-Communist insurgents, the scheme began as an attempt to engage Iran. On August 31, 1984, national security adviser Robert McFarlane ordered a review to determine what influence Washington might have in Tehran when the aging Khomeini passed away. Both the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency responded that they lacked influential contacts in Iran. Because weapons were the only incentive in which the war-weary ayatollahs had interest, McFarlane decided to ship arms both to cultivate contacts and win the goodwill necessary to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon. He failed. Not only did the Iranian leadership stand McFarlane up during his trip to Tehran, but the incentive package also backfired: Hezbollah seized more hostages for Tehran to trade.

The stars seemed to align for George H.W. Bush, however. Khomeini died on June 3, 1989, and, two months later, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose pragmatism realists like Secretary of State James Baker applauded, assumed Iran's presidency. In his first address, Rafsanjani suggested an end to the Lebanon hostage crisis might be possible. Like Obama, Bush spoke of a new era of "hope." State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler described Iran as "genuinely engaged." Alas, as Rafsanjani spoke publicly of pragmatism, he privately ordered both the revival of Iran's covert nuclear program and the murder of dissidents in Europe.

In his first term, Clinton signed three executive orders limiting trade with Iran and approved the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. He and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright changed tack in their second term. Both apologized for past U.S. policies. The State Department encouraged U.S. businessmen to visit Iran, until Iranian vigilantes attacked a busload of American visitors in 1998. Not discouraged, and lest U.S. rhetoric offend, Albright even ordered U.S. officials to cease referring to Iran as a rogue regime, and instead as a "state of concern." Rather than spark rapprochement, however, it was during this time that, according to the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, Tehran sought to develop a nuclear warhead.

While the press paints George W. Bush as hostile to diplomacy and applauds the return of Bill Clinton's diplomatic team under his wife's leadership, it is ironic that the outgoing administration engaged Iran more than any U.S. presidency since Carter — directing senior diplomats to hold more than two dozen meetings with their Iranian counterparts. Yet, after 30 years, Iran remains as intractable a problem as ever. Every new U.S. president has sought a new beginning with Iran, but whenever a president assumes the fault for our poor relationship lies with his predecessor more than with authorities in Tehran, the United States gets burned.
 

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of the Middle East Quarterly, was an Iran country director at the Pentagon between September 2002 and April 2004.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

If the US abandons Israel, will Russia 'fill the bill'?

 

  by  Ted Belman

 

On March 30th DEBKA reported

 

DEBKA file's Washington sources report that the Obama administration is on the threshold of a major rapprochement with Tehran, a reversal of US policy dramatic enough to block out international sanctions. Iran will be allowed to keep its nuclear program, including military elements and enriched uranium stocks, up to the point of actually assembling a weapon.

 

The US president is willing to ditch Israel as a friend. This will be brought home to Jerusalem when he makes his big speech on April 7 appealing for a grand US-Muslim global reconciliation. The US president is preparing to tie a Palestinian-Israeli settlement - on Washington's terms - to such unrelated issues as Afghanistan and Pakistan as the currency for purchasing Muslim and Arab backing for accommodations of these outstanding terrorist fronts.

 

Israel may decide to say "no" to a sovereign Palestine and "no" to giving up the Golan, in which case Obama's entire Muslim outreach crashes. He will have no choice but to go to the mat with Israel. In fact the more he beats up on Israel, the better his relations with Iran will be. He needs Iran to be a partner, not an enemy. He needs Iran to help in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama will have to convince Saudi Arabia and Egypt that such a rapproachment is good for them, too. That leaves Israel out in the cold.

It would not be the first time that Israel was abandoned by its patron.

 

During WWI, Britain had need of the Jews and so issued the Balfour Declaration in favour of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The San Remo conference in 1920 awarded Palestine and TransJordan to Israel. Before the League of Nations formally set up the Palestine Mandate in 1922, Britain, contrary to law, removed TransJordan from the land given to Israel. Thereafter things went from bad to worse.

 

Britain became the enemy of the Jews and friend of the Arabs. After WWII the Jews forced Britain to give up the Mandate resulting in the Partition Plan being passed by the UN.

 

Prior to the end of the Mandate, Ben Gurion started buiding an army and began the search for weapons of all sizes including heavy arms and planes. Britain and the US both imposed an arms embargo. Russia became Ben Gurion's principal supplier. This story is covered in detail in The Pledge by Leonard Slater.

 

Russia also voted for the establishment of Israel and was one of he first countries to recognize her. The US would have voted against Israel's establishment but for the intervention of President Truman.

 

***********

 

In 1956, Britain and France had need for Israel's help in reversing the takeover by Nasser of the Suez Canel. They invaded the Sinai together. So Britain was once again Israel's friend. But America under Eisenhower, became the enemy of all three and forced them to retreat from the Sinai. This was Eisenhower's Arab outreach.

 

It was around this time that Russia became estranged from Israel and embraced Egypt, Syria and Iraq instead.

 

France became Israel's patron and chief arms supplier. France also was instrumental in setting up Israel's nuclear plant at Dimona. You will recall that in the '67 war, Israel used France's Mirage jets. The American embargo continued but was soon to change.

 

Shortly after this war, France withdrew its support from Israel. The US became Israel's supplier and patron with the intent of dislodging Russia from the ME. The US befriended the Arabs by restraining Israel in both the '67 War and the '73 war. This policy enabled the US to replace Russia as Egypt's patron. As a reault of the Iraq War, the US also ousted Russia from Iraq.

 

Meanwhile the US had been ousted from Iran and Russia/USSR over time filled the gap.

Now Obama is working to replace Russia in both Syria and Iran. To do this she must throw Israel under the bus.

 

Thus it becomes in Russia's interest to strengthen Israel to resist being sacrificed to the detriment of Russia. Russia does not want to lose its influence in Iran and Syria.

 

As they say, "what comes around, goes around".

 

During the cold war, the US was Pakistan's patron and USSR/Russia had a close relationship with India. Since the fall of the USSR, both Russia and India have moved closer to Israel.

Russia needs to strengthen this relationship especially while the US has to nurture Pakistan at the expense of its relationship with India.

Russia has no need for Muslim oil. But it could use Israeli technology and so could India. Israel will need a patron to exercise her veto in the Security Council. She will also need markets to replace the loss of the EU as its principal trading partner.

 

As a case in point, Israel rushes to India's defense

 

NEW DELHI - Israel emerged as India's number one defense partner last week when it was revealed that New Delhi had signed a US$1.4 billion deal with the country to purchase a 70 kilometer shore-based and sea borne anti-missile air defense system.

 

This is among the bigger defense deals between the two countries and the biggest military joint venture by India with a foreign country, overtaking the India-Russia BrahMos cruise missile project.

 

A senior defense official said the total value of the deal was over $2 billion, with one portion valued at $600 million being hived off to the state-controlled Defense Research and Development Organization.

 

This makes Israel India's biggest defense supplier, clocking over a billion dollars in new contracts in 2007 and 2008 to overtake Russia.

 

"We have a very special defense relationship with India," Israeli Major General Udi Shani, director of the Defense Ministry's Sibat export agency, was quoted as saying recently.

 

Twenty percent of Israel's population came from Russia, or their parents did, and speak Russian. And Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is a native of Russia, and speaks her language literally and figuratively.

 

The US surely doesn't want Russia to have access to Israeli millitary technology and will be reluctant to push Israel so far as to cause a rupture of their relationship.

 

Let the games begin.

 

 

Ted Belman

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

 

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