Friday, April 8, 2011

Two Hurt in Missile Strike on Bus Carrying Students Near Gaza

by Anshel Pfeffer, Yanir Yagna and Haaretz Service

Two people were wounded Thursday after an anti-tank missile exploded into a bus traveling in one of the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Following the attack, 16 additional mortar shells were fired at Israeli towns in the western Negev, most of them hitting open areas.

Bus strike from Gaza - Assayag - April 7, 2011

Bus damaged by missile strike from Gaza which wounded two people, April 7, 2011.

Photo by: Ilan Assayag

Magen David Adom crew who arrived at the scene said that a 16-year-old boy was critically wounded as a result of the attack, and that the bus driver was moderately hurt by shrapnel wounds in his leg.

"The boy was lying on the ground bleeding. The bus driver was conscious and hysterical. The entire bus destroyed – it was a horrifying sight," said a member of the rescue service.

MDA said that the rescue services resuscitated the boy and later transferred him to the hospital. MDA also said the bus was nearly empty after dropping off school children and was carrying only the driver and the 16-year-old boy at the time of the attack.

Residents of communities near the site of attack were instructed by authorities to stay inside their homes in case the strikes at Israeli towns will continue.

Following the attack, the Israel Defense Forces quickly retaliated and launched both land and air strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the IDF spokesperson said, killing a 50-year-old man and wounding five others.

Defense Minister, Ehud Barak ordered the army to respond quickly and said he held the Hamas militant group, which rules Gaza, responsible for the violence. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

The strike came following several weeks of tension and mutual attacks along Israel's border with the Hamas-ruled Strip, with Israel Defense Forces aircraft striking smuggling tunnels in southern Gaza earlier Thursday.

On Tuesday, IDF tanks fired at and killed an armed Palestinian approaching the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on Tuesday, as three mortar bombs exploded in Israeli soil.

The incident took place after an IDF force spotted an armed Palestinian near the Erez crossing at the Strip's north, later directing tank fire to the spot. No injuries were reported from among the soldiers.

On Saturday, IDF planes struck a vehicle travelling at the south of the Gaza Strip, killing three Hamas operatives, one of them a top commander in Hamas' military wing.

An IDF Spokesperson stated that the three men were members of a terrorist cell that was "planning to kidnap Israelis over the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover" in Israel and in the Sinai Peninsula, a popular spring tourist destination for Israelis.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency identified the three as Isma’il Labad and his brother Abdullah from Ash-Shati' refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, and military commander Muhammad Ad-Dayah from the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

Ad-Dayah, 33, is considered to be a top Hamas military official. As a child he participated in the first intifada, later serving as the bodyguard of former Hamas chief Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Ad-Dayah also lost one of his eyes during an attempted mortar attack on a nearby settlement.

Hamas vowed vengeance against Israel in a statement Saturday, describing the strike as a crime and "serious escalation" of the recent violence, and vowed that Israel would "bear all the consequences." The militant group also called on the U.S. to stop the flow of financial aid to Israel.

Prior to the attack, Palestinian militants have fired rocket salvos into Israel, reaching as far as the major southern city Be'er Sheva, and Israel has carried out a series of air strikes.

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Anshel Pfeffer, Yanir Yagna and Haaretz Service

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Barack Obama, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Zionism

by William Sullivan

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran has predicted a shameful end to the political career of Barack Obama. He contends that Obama offers the guise of "change and defending the rights of nations" only to use military force in order to protect American interests and Israel as George Bush did. But he will be far more shamed than Bush, he says, because at least Bush was honest about it.

Who knows, maybe purveyors of deception can just smell their own. But we Americans, and certainly the Israelis, are more than a little confused by the substance of his contention. If Mahmoud really thinks that Barack Obama has done anything to help American or Israeli interests, he obviously can't see the desert for the dunes.

Despite overlooking the human rights nightmare in the popular revolution in Ahmedinejad's country, Barack Obama has endorsed deposing Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and is currently exacting forceful measures to oust Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

Principal among the opposition groups ready to seize influence in these countries is the Muslim Brotherhood, whom Obama has all but endorsed as the new political power in Egypt. And in Libya the group is emerging as a prominent political factor.

But in deposing these dictators and clearing the lane for the popular Muslim Brotherhood, what has Barack Obama really done for America or Israel? For example, has he helped to thwart future terror attacks and Islamic jihad?

A recent CNN piece authored by Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister makes the claim that he has. The article explains that the Libyan faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, though not directly linked to other factions, shares the "philosophy of the pan-Arab Islamist movement founded in Egypt in the 1920's," and that if the Muslim Brotherhood has a "prominent role" in a new Libyan government, it would "dent support" for other "jihadist groups."

It's interesting that the article doesn't go to any effort to expand on what that "Islamist movement" of the 1920's was all about. Half of America can't tell you the three branches of our own government, but the writers of CNN assume that Americans might know the basis for a purposefully obscure Islamic movement from nearly a century ago? But as you might expect, this turns out to be a pretty handy omission if you're trying to present the Muslim Brotherhood in a positive light. The philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood is primarily based on Hassan al-Banna's 1928 treatise, Jihad. Do you have any guesses as to what it's about?

Your everyday Islamic apologist may guess that it is about that contrived "internal struggle" all Muslims endure to be peaceful, loving, and compassionate to their neighbors. Do you know what al-Banna had to say of this so-called "jihad of the heart, or the jihad against one's ego?" Talk like that, he said, "is used by some to lessen the importance of fighting to discourage any preparation for combat, and to deter any offering of jihad in Allah's way." No, in al-Banna's philosophy, sending a mandatory "military expedition to the Dar-al-Harb" (the non-Muslim world) at least once or twice a year is preferable to that "internal struggle" nonsense.

So though the article makes the contention that the Muslim Brotherhood having power in Libya would "dent support" for jihadist groups, it conveniently leaves out that the Muslim Brotherhood clearly subscribes to a core jihadist philosophy in the most literal sense.

What about advancing human rights? Will the disappearance of Mubarak and Gaddafi make the Middle East a nicer place to live?

The Egyptian faction of the Muslim Brotherhood thinks so, but only if your idea of human rights includes "the preservation of honor by stoning adulterers" and "punishing gays." It's nice that Barack Obama thinks that dictators committing "potential humanitarian" crises are bad, but how does he feel, I wonder, about burying a woman condemned for adultery to her waist and having children and strangers hurl rocks at her until only a mangled corpse remains? We may find out, because that is what democracy will likely yield in Egypt, considering the Brotherhood is the leading spearhead for social reform.

And as far as the immediate substance of Ahmedinejad's claim, have Obama's actions protected Israel at all?

Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei of the Muslim Brotherhood has announced that, if he is elected, Egypt would declare war against Israel if it decides to attack Gaza. This means that Israel, though perpetually absorbing rocket fire from Gaza, cannot defend itself without anticipating violent reprisal from Egypt. Where Mubarak's Egypt has many times remained relatively uninvolved when Israel was forced to combat its aggressive Arab neighbors, the new Egypt that Obama is helping to democratically birth may do no such thing. This amounts to more powder in the Middle Eastern keg and more suicide bombs and rockets in Israel's future. And, at least in part, they can thank our president for that.

Obama's foreign policy has not made America or the Middle East safer, and contrary to Ahmedinejad's belief, it is beyond dispute that our president is no friend of Israel. Obama is the product of progressivism, and progressivism is largely the product of 60's counterculture. And as such, he likely sees Zionism as an extension of American imperialism, and therefore loathsome. This is evidenced by his incessant apologies to the Middle Eastern world for America's past actions.

But I do have to admit, the fact that Obama is so politically aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and is never seen to be at odds with them does suggest a far more sinister reason for his anti-Zionism. Like maybe he was listening more closely in Jeremiah Wright's church than he lets on.

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William Sullivan

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Spain: The "Most Anti-Semitic Country in Europe"

by Soeren Kern

Spain emerged as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the European Union in 2010, and the Spanish government has done nothing about it, according to the authors of an annual report that tracks anti-Semitic violence on the Iberian Peninsula. The "dangerous" and "extraordinary" rise in anti-Semitism comes at a time when Spain is mired in the worst economic recession in its modern history, and the authors of the report conclude that Jews are increasingly becoming a scapegoat for the economic and social problems facing Spain.

The document titled "Report on Anti-Semitism in Spain in 2010" was jointly produced by the Observatory on Anti-Semitism in Spain, an arm of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE), and a non-governmental organization called the Movement against Intolerance. The report was made public at a well attended press conference in Madrid on March 30.

The report, which says there were around 400 anti-Semitic incidents in Spain during 2010, records anti-Semitic attacks on persons and on property, anti-Semitism in the Spanish media and on the Internet, efforts to trivialize the Jewish Holocaust, dissemination of anti-Semitic literature, as well as anti-Semitism in public institutions.

The report also provides data derived from opinion polls. For example, according to a poll commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 58.4% of Spaniards believe that "the Jews are powerful because they control the economy and the mass media." This number reaches 62.2% among university students and 70.5% among those who are "interested in politics." More than 60% of Spanish university students say they do not want Jewish classmates. "These numbers are as surprising as they are worrying: the most anti-Semitic people are supposedly the most educated and well-informed," the report says.

In other polling data, more than one-third (34.6%) of Spanish people have an unfavorable or completely unfavorable opinion of Jewish people. But as in other European countries, anti-Semitism is more prevalent on the political left than it is on the political right. For example, 34% of those on the far right say they are hostile to Jews, while 37.7% of those on the center-left are hostile to Jews. And sympathy for Jews among the extreme right (4.9 on a scale of 1-10) is above the average for the population as a whole (4.6).

Among those who recognize themselves as having "antipathy for the Jewish people," only 17% says this is due to the "conflict in the Middle East." Nearly 30% of those surveyed say their dislike of Jews has to do with "their religion," "their customs," and "their way of life." Nearly 20% of Spaniards say they dislike Jews although they do not know why.

The new findings corroborate earlier research. For example, according to a September 2008 study published by the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center, nearly half of all Spaniards have negative views of Jews, a statistic that marks Spain as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe. According to Pew, 46% of Spaniards hold negative opinions of Jews, up more than double from the 21% of Spaniards with such views in 2005.

Spain is also the only country in Europe where negative views of Jews outweigh positive views; only 37% of Spaniards think favorably about Jews. By comparison, 36% of Poles have negative views of Jews while 50% have positive views; in Germany, 25% negative versus 64% positive; in France, 20% negative versus 79% positive; and in Britain, 9% negative versus 73% positive. (By way of comparison, according to Pew, 77% of Americans have favorable views toward Jews, compared to 7% unfavorable.)

Another report about European anti-Semitism published by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League says that 54% of Spaniards believe that "Jews have too much power in international markets." And 51% of Spaniards believe that "Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country."

The survey data on Spanish anti-Semitism raises many questions, including one that seems never to have been asked: How many Spaniards have actually ever met a Jew? Not very many, it would appear. In fact, Spain today has one of the smallest Jewish communities in Europe; the country has only around 40,000 Jews out of a total Spanish population of 47 million, which works out to less than 0.08 percent.

By contrast, in France -- which with 500,000 Jews has the third largest Jewish population in the world (after Israel and the United States) -- attitudes towards Jews are relatively positive when compared to those in Spain. (Of course, it is entirely possible that Spaniards are just being more honest than other Europeans about their true feelings towards Jews, thereby skewing the statistics and masking the true extent of the problem on other parts of the continent. After all, there are good reasons why more than one quarter of French Jewry wants to leave France.)

What explains the dramatic increase in Spanish anti-Semitism since 2005, especially considering that the only exposure most Spaniards have ever had to Jews is through television?

Pew, in a politically correct sleight-of-hand, says the blame lies with "those who place themselves near the right end of the political spectrum." But most professional observers of contemporary Spanish politics lay the blame squarely with Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who took office in 2004, and since then has managed to drive Spanish-Israeli relations to their worst point since bilateral diplomatic ties were established in 1986.

Zapatero, who makes no secret of his postmodern dislike of Zionism, is well known in Spain for his anti-Israel and anti-Jewish outbursts. At a dinner party in the Moncloa Palace (the Spanish White House) in 2005, for example, Zapatero addressed his guests by launching into a tirade of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric that ended with the phrase: "It is understandable that someone might justify the Holocaust."

Zapatero has also sought to restore Spain's traditionally strong ties with the Arab world by ingratiating himself with Israel's enemies. During the 2006 Lebanon War, for example, Zapatero participated in an anti-Israel rally where he wrapped himself in a Palestinian kaffiyeh (scarf) and gratuitously accused Israel of using "abusive force that does not protect innocent human beings." Zapatero then dispatched his foreign minister to Syria, a move the Israeli foreign ministry said proved that the Spanish government was "closer to Hezbollah terrorists than to the Israeli government."

Zapatero, who refuses to visit Israel (even though the two countries commemorated 20 years of diplomatic ties in 2006), also refers to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a "cancer" that is metastasizing into all the other conflicts in the region. As a disciple of postmodern moral equivalency, Zapatero naturally believes the "cancer" is Israel, not Islamic terrorism.

Spanish anti-Semitism is also being stoked by the non-stop anti-Israel rhetoric of Spain's leftwing intellectual and media elites, most of whom are enthusiastic sycophants of Zapatero and his pro-Arab, pro-Islam worldview. Indeed, Spanish radio, television and print media, much of which is directly or indirectly controlled by the Socialist government, is notoriously biased against Israel. As most Spaniards do not speak foreign languages, they have little or no access to alternative sources of information, which goes a long way toward explaining Spanish attitudes towards Jews, especially of the Israeli variety.

Add to this the Spanish media's bizarre obsession with neo-conservatism, which in Spain has become a pejorative term denoting a conspiracy to promote Jewish domination of the world. Many ordinary Spaniards, who otherwise show little interest in foreign affairs, seem to have deep-seated opinions about those Jews Frum, Kristol, Pearle, Podhertz and Wolfowitz, et al.

Zapatero and his cabinet ministers have also played the neo-con card to explain to the Spanish public why the Spanish economy is tottering on the edge of catastrophe. Although analysts had warned for many years that the Spanish housing bubble was unsustainable, Zapatero ignored them, saying those fears were overblown. But now that the bubble has burst, Spain's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to more than 20%, the highest level in the industrialized world. Some 4.7 million Spaniards are now without work and looking for someone to blame.

Zapatero says Spain's problems are due to "the neo-conservative model based on capitalism without borders nor limits nor ethics." That's postmodern Zapatero-speak for "the Jews are to blame." More recently, Zapatero ordered Spain's official intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Center (CNI), to investigate whether the "Anglo-Saxon media" (aka the English-language press dominated by Jews) is conspiring to undermine the Spanish economy.

The official anti-Semitic rhetoric in Spain has reached such a fever pitch that members of the U.S. Congress recently sent a letter to Zapatero in which they expressed their concerns about growing anti-Semitism in Spain. The ADL has also published a special report titled "Polluting the Public Square: Anti-Semitic Discourse In Spain." The report says: "ADL is deeply concerned about the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in Spain, with more public expressions and greater public acceptance. Opinion makers in the media and in politics are crossing the line that separates legitimate criticism of Israeli actions from anti-Semitism and the results are evident."

But just as Spaniards get smug about their self-perceived racial superiority, along comes a study which says that many Spanish anti-Semites actually have Jewish blood. An examination of the genetic signatures of the Spanish population shows that 20% of contemporary Spaniards have Jewish origins. As it turns out, far fewer Jews than previously thought complied with the Edict of Expulsion in 1492, by which the estimated 800,000 Jews in Spain were ordered to leave the country. Many of them simply converted to Roman Catholicism instead.

Many of those so-called conversos tried to blend in by adopting surnames that indicated trades or professions. One such Sephardic name is Zapatero, which means shoemaker.

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Soeren Kern

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

Nihad Awad, Co-founder of CAIR Unplugged: Portrait of an Anti-Semite

by Steven Emerson

In the past few years, Nihad Awad, head of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other top CAIR leaders have been feted to a dizzying array of non-Muslim defenders in the media, Congress, local law enforcement like Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca (who recently asserted that any attack on CAIR is an attack on all Muslims). Never mind that CAIR was created in 1994 as a Hamas front group but no one paid any attention as CAIR successfully portrayed itself as a "civil rights" group, ready to issue diatribes and calls of racism to anyone who questioned CAIR's ulterior agenda and modus operandi.

Literally scores of Congressmen, mayors, governors and law enforcement commanders cozied up to CAIR as the new oppressed ethnic minority on the block. This past week, nearly the entire Chicago congressional delegation pledged their support to CAIR.

Even the NYPD pulled from its anti-terrorism curricula, at the behest of CAIR, the acclaimed documentary called the "Third Jihad" as too conspiratorial and racist in it depictions of radical Islamic fanatics bent on carrying out acts of terrorism. CAIR's real agenda, already in effect in the Obama Administration, is to sanitize and censor from the American political and governmental vernacular any reference to "radical Islam" under the claim that such a term was racist and that by excising the reference to radical Islam this would ultimately persuade Americans that such a term was fabricated by the "enemies of Islam." Unfortunately for CAIR, the majority of terrorist plots since 9-11 were carried out by radical Muslims.

Still, CAIR, while portraying itself as a peace loving civil rights group, would unceasingly label any critic of CAIR or of radical Islam as a racist for daring to reveal CAIR's true agenda. And over time, the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Associated Press, MSNBC and CNN would abet the legitimacy of CAIR by describing it repeatedly as a civil rights group (akin to the mainstream media describing and interviewing former KKK leader David Duke as a "peacemaker"). This also scandalously joins in CAIR's campaign of calling critics of CAIR or radical Islam "Islamaphobes and racists."

So the modus operandi of CAIR would be to go on the offensive, aided by the mainstream media, after any official, author or organization that had the audacity to suggest an ulterior illicit agenda of being non patriotic or of harboring a covert radical Islamic agenda to infiltrate this country from within, as was revealed unambiguously in the FBI's sudden 2005 discovery of hundreds of thousands of secret internal Muslim Brotherhood (MB) documents that revealed secret plans for a "civilizational jihad" that would secretly infiltrate American society from within. According to federal prosecutor Nathan Garret, these documents were the most important national security findings in 50 years. But in what has become a corrupt practice of the mainstream media, most newspapers ignored or paid scant attention to these astounding documents, following the dictates of CAIR or of the Islamist ideologies of the reporters themselves which they had grown to develop.

In the meantime, the gentle sounding Nihad Awad would publicly outreach to Jewish and Christian groups in creating an aura of tolerance.

So imagine my shock when I read Awad's comments he delivered in 2010 before a joint convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) — another front for the Muslim Brotherhood whose leaders had called for jihad in Palestine to kill all the Jews—and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a Jam'at group from southeast Asia that had on its website hadiths to kill all Jews. Both MAS and ICNA have dozens of chapters throughout the US.

He cited as inflammatory comments from a congressional member that "there are too many mosques in this country," a former House speaker saying the United States is experiencing an "Islamic cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization" and a religious leader who called Islam "wicked" and "evil."

In his speech, which the media typically ignored, Awad started with a series of diatribes against Israel. Among his most inflammatory comments concerning Israel, he said, in discussing negotiations between Israel and the US related to settlement issues:

"Did Israel freeze any settlements? They did not. Not only that, to bring Israel to the table negotiations to talk about more fair solution to the conflict, the United States government begged Israel to stop building settlements. Israel did not. The United States bribed Israel. They gave them billions of dollars and promised to give them arms just to freeze the settlement buildings for 90 days. They came, Israeli delegations came here and they put so many conditions. "

The reality of those negotiations was that Israel had no preconditions with the settlements and rejected the US proposal as being unworkable, yet Awad postured it was the Israelis who "held out" for more US "bribe" money.

Awad continued with this, blaming Israel for the erosion of America's image in the rest of the world:

"They exploited the American generosity with all sorts of (UI word) and other things. I will explain. What's the end result? Nothing. Israel's still position is the same. What's the impact of this stiffness towards the President of the United States and the office of the presidency in the United States? It's really the erosion of the image of this country around the world. Nobody even thinks the administration is interested in talking about the peace process now because of Israel's behavior."

Contrary to Awad's efforts to blame Israel for the breakdown in the talks, it was the Palestinian Authority's (PA) refusal to negotiate with Israel (and the refusal of the Palestinians to drop the "right of return"— a policy that meant suicide for Israel) that halted negotiations. Something Awad failed to address.

Awad then began addressing his views toward Jewish control in the US:

"So we in the activist community, yourselves, we always call on the President, on the White House to do things. But there's nothing being done. Why? Because the second power lies with the Congress. Members of Congress compete with each other, whether Democrats or Republicans, to please the Israel lobby, to please Israel. Some of members of Congress are willing to put the interests of Israel ahead of the United States' interests."

"Why? Because we have to understand what drives members of Congress. Is it values, principles or votes and money and pressure? The pro-Israel lobby has mastered deception, pressure tactics and exploiting the system of giving money to candidates and putting pressure and threatening some candidates with either scandals or what have you. And they managed over many years to have this huge influence on not only members of Congress but those who want to be elected officials in the United States."

Attributing masters of deception to the "pro-Israel lobby" by Awad is a thinly disguised euphemism for Jews. Awad's claim that pro-Israel members of Congress traitorously put Israeli interests ahead of US interests is a blatant age old anti-Semitic variation taken from the notorious anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Awad's allegations are the same only slightly cryptic posturing about Jews used by the KKK and other racist white supremacist organizations.

The reality is that most Congressmen, like the 63% of Americans who support Israel, do so out of ideological sympathy and convergence of interests.
Awad continued to wade into the arena of US Middle East foreign policy concerning Palestinians:

"We cannot change the U.S. foreign policy towards Palestine from the top. It has to start at the bottom. We have to educate others. Before we educate others, we have to educate ourselves. Many of us, those who are Palestinians or Muslims or non-Muslims who believe in justice for the Palestinians they think because they know it is a just cause, they think that this is enough to talk about the issue of Palestine. This is wrong."

"We need to educate ourselves about specifics of this country and how this issue is hurting our government. It's hurting our economy. It's hurting our status in the world. It's hurting our claim to be a just society, liberal society, progressive society that goes to the aid of the weak and the oppressed, when we in fact do everything to the opposite when it comes to the Palestinians."

"We need to understand the [microphone noise over word] of how this [microphone noise over word] has been misfed and influenced and has been given the wrong information about the Palestinian side."

For decades, supporters and apologists of Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), including organizations such as CAIR, have blamed Israel and American support for Israel for the "plight"and oppression of Palestinians, justifying the terror committed by those Palestinians against Israel. That terror, itself, is always minimized and justified as "resistance." Thousands of explosive rockets fired by Hamas and other armed terror groups from Gaza into Israeli civilian residential areas is "resistance." Suicide bombers on buses and in shopping malls are "resistance" attacks. When Israel responds with defensive measures, it is oppression and occupation. This is yet another example of anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda.

Awad continued exhorting the propaganda line lamenting the supposed futility of seeking redress with the US administration in getting help to the "oppressed" Palestinians:

"Now for the past so many years people spent a lot of time calling the White House and calling Congress and they asked the President to say something, to do something about the bombings of Gaza, the building of settlements, the demolition of homes, the uprooting of olive trees, the deportation of Palestinians and the targeted killings of innocents and the destruction of the Palestinian economy, all of these things. People were told they were right, and they spent a lot of their energy. And what's the result? Nothing."

In fact, what Awad, as a good propagandist left out, were the facts that Israel had ceased the demolitions of terrorist homes and stopped targeted assassinations for many years, that the Palestinian economies in both the West Bank and Gaza were flourishing and that Palestinians were no longer being deported.

Awad then commented about the US military high command recently wading into the US – Israeli issue:

"There has been a shift in the last year, big shift. The military for the first time, and the military has huge credibility in Washington, D.C., when the Department of Defense comes for any budget request, hardly any member of Congress will say no, because this is for national security, for the first time in the history of the U.S./Israeli relationship, the commanders, the military leaders of the United States, have said that Israel is hurting the United States. And this is [applause over few words] that what goes on in Iraq, the intensity of the fighting in many places, they blame Israel for it, that Israel is instigating this anti-American sentiment because of what Israel does. Israel is putting America in jeopardy. And when the military, the U.S. military says so, people should listen. And now I believe there's a growing movement with the Congress and in the public to distinguish between America's interest and Israel's interest."

Last year, General David Petraeus did publicly state the Israeli – Palestinian conflict had an adverse effect on US peacemaking in the region, but he and no other US military commander blamed Israel or the US/Israeli relationship for this. In fact, General Petraeus and other senior US military leaders have reinforced the solid defense and security relationship the US shares with Israel. Awad's contention is simply another example of his anti-Israel and even anti-American provocation.

Further, how does Awad's position in this square with his contention that a pro-Israeli Jewish cabal controls Congress and the US Administration? If that were so, the military command would follow lock-step with the supposed directives of the puppet masters. The reality is, there are no such puppet masters.

Awad explains to his audience how he believes they can educate themselves about changing the state of affairs with the "Israeli lobby" exercising so much control over the US Government:

"But you need to do the following: I would recommend to you to read the following books. Number one - The Israel Lobby by a person John Mearsheimer. He and Professor Stephen Walt, they wrote a strategic paper and book. It's called The Israel Lobby. In that they show that Israel is not as pro-Israel, supporters claim that it is a strategic ally of the United States and that's why the United States has to be on the side of Israel all the time no matter what Israel does. This book is an objective research, first class scholars in political science from the University of Chicago and University of Harvard [sic]. They both prove without any shred of doubt that Israel has been a strategic liability on the United States. And it uses facts. This book uses facts. And they have evidence to show that."

The Israel Lobby book was such a classic case of anti-Semitic conspiracies that it included the Washington Post and NY Times, hardly friendly to Israel, as part of this Jewish cabal. And, if the "lobby" was so powerful, how did these authors get this book published by Jewish book publishers?
Awad's suggested reading list for his audience continued:

"Another magazine we should subscribe to is The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Google it. Subscribe to it. It is written and prepared by mainly former U.S. officials in the Muslim world, in the Middle East. And they love their country. They love the interests of the United States. But also they give you a clear and good analysis of the views and issues and Congress and who's doing what. But also, the most beautiful thing about this magazine is they publish a list of how much the Israel lobby on regular basis gives them contribution to members of Congress and those who run for public office in the United States. Those who like math, those who know how figures work in Washington, D.C., they will know that there is science behind the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, on members of Congress."

WREMA has been described by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other mainstream Jewish civil rights groups as blatantly anti-Semitic. Having read about 150 of their issues over the past 15 years, nearly every article blames Israel and the "Jewish lobby" for all transgressions committed by radical Muslim states. WREMA's conspiracies about the Jewish lobby fits well into the Protocols of the Elders of Zion fabrication.

Awad offers a conspiratorial explanation of why many US officials support Israel:

"Then, work with candidates for public office, not only members of Congress or the Senate, even at the city council level and at the district level. That's where a lot of investment, the pro-Israel lobby is putting. They take these people to tours to Palestine. They show them the settlements, but they don't show them the refugee camps. They take them to Tel Aviv, but they don't show them Gaza and what Israel has done to Gaza. They don't show them the destruction that Israel has done to the Palestinian life and infrastructure and future…. They take them and they brainwash them. And also they promise them with funds and with votes."

Even Judge Goldstone has recanted his allegations against Israel. Moreover, it's Hamas which launched thousands of rockets and terrorist attacks from Gaza that precipitated Israeli retaliation, a fact Awad ignores. And why should Israel show visiting officials Gaza? Israel left Gaza and ceded control to the Palestinians. Awad claims Israelis "brainwash" these officials, as though such officials have no ability to render their own judgment and decision-making.

Recently, we saw a report about highly developed parts of Gaza and the West Bank showing how economic development and modernization (hotels, restaurants, shops, well stocked food markets, modern malls) are taking root among significant portions of the Palestinian population, yet this is significantly under-reported because it does not fit the "Israel is the oppressive occupier" theme. Why doesn't Awad and CAIR ever tout these advances of the Palestinians?

In his speech, Awad demonstrated his true background as an anti-Semitic, Israel-hating provocateur who uses his position in CAIR to further a radical Islamist agenda, and that is precisely the reason CAIR exists.

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Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and the author of five books on these subjects, most recently "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US."


Qur’an Burnings and Muslim Murders

by Robert Spencer

Everyone is angry with Terry Jones, the Qur’an-burning Florida pastor. Barack Obama issued a written statement saying that “the desecration of any holy text, including the Qur’an, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.” In Afghanistan, General David Petraeus and NATO representative Mark Sedwill said they “hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the holy Qur’an, are not representative of any of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people.”

The United Nations got into the act, too. “The recent burning of a copy of the Quran in the United States and similar actions anywhere else contradict the efforts of the United Nations to promote tolerance, intercultural understanding and mutual respect between cultures and religions,” thundered UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Time Magazine’s Joe Klein even claimed that “Jones’s act was murderous as any suicide bomber’s,” since Muslims enraged by the burning of the Qur’an in Florida have murdered about 20 people in Afghanistan and five in Pakistan.

Is that Jones’s fault? Many, many in the West agree with Klein that it is. Guardian editor Matt Seaton explained that Jones was to blame because his Qur’an-burning was “done knowingly involving reckless endangerment, and quite possibly wishing for this kind of bad result.” Bill O’Reilly even claimed that Jones had “blood on his hands.”

To that, Jones’s response was succinct: “We reject Mr. O’Reilly’s statement. The responsibility should be laid upon the people who committed the acts.” O’Reilly and the rest were assuming that the Muslims who were rioting and killing over the burning of a book half a world away had no control over their reactions, and thus could not be held accountable for them: they were demonstrating their belief that it was the West’s responsibility to make sure the Islamic world behaves in a civilized manner. Muslims had no such responsibility.

Instead of all this morally myopic posturing, Obama, Petraeus, Ban Ki-moon and the mainstream media ought to be standing up for freedom of speech. Speech that is inoffensive needs no protection, and those in power can all too easily use “hate speech” codes to restrict speech they find politically inconvenient or challenging. Obama, O’Reilly and the rest should have said: ”While I disapprove of the burning of the Qur’an, in America we believe that freedom of expression is a fundamental bulwark against tyranny and the hallmark of a truly free society, and it requires us to put up with things we don’t like without responding with violence.”

Jones’s Qur’an-burning could have been a teaching moment for the West, showing why free societies are preferable to Sharia states. But instead, Obama and the media are effectively reinforcing the principle that violent intimidation works: they knew that somewhere in the world Muslims were going to become violent because of the burned Qur’an, and instead of telling them to act like civilized people, they are demanding that free people change the way they behave to try to prevent another Islamic murderous spree. That’s just what Afghan President Hamid Karzai is demanding: he wants the U.S. to restrict the freedom of speech to protect the Qur’an: “The American Congress and Senate must condemn this in clear words, show their stance, and prevent such incidents from happening again.”

The world’s leaders and opinion-shapers can and should be telling these rioting Afghans and Pakistanis, and those who are defending them, to realize that if someone burns a Qur’an in Florida, it doesn’t harm them, or the Qur’an, or Allah, or Muhammad. He could and should tell them that to respond with irrational violence against people who are not involved with the burning (or even against the people who are involved with it) is just savagery.

People like Obama and Seaton have forgotten, if they ever knew, that one’s response to someone else’s provocative action is entirely one’s own responsibility. If you do something that offends me, I am under no obligation to kill you, or to run to the United Nations to try to get laws passed that will silence you. I am free to ignore you, or laugh at you, or to respond with charity, or any number of reactions.

Everyone in the world is so busy condemning Terry Jones that they have forgotten about freedom of expression, and why it is so important to reinforce even when we find the expression detestable—indeed, especially in such cases. And so, if we continue down this path, one thing is certain: That which is not understood or valued will not be protected, and so it will be lost.

Those who censor themselves today to keep from offending Muslims who are offended all too easily may wish in the not-too-distant future that they had stood up more robustly for the freedom of speech when it was threatened. But by then, it could easily be too late.

Original URL:

Robert Spencer

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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Separation of Mosque and State? Robert Spencer Vs. Zuhdi Jasser

by Diane Schrader

Newsrealblog Editor’s Note: Diane Schrader attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s West Coast retreat this past weekend and will be filing several reports on the various speakers and panels. This is the second; read the first here.

I have to give props to David Horowitz – his recent Freedom Center weekend featured a significant diversity of thought. A particularly fascinating element was a debate between Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, author of Stealth Jihad, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander who advocates the “separation of mosque and state.”

The crux of the debate is the million dollar question – are jihad, terrorism and sharia law inextricably linked to Islam itself, or can so-called moderate Muslims embrace American concepts of liberty and justice, independent of the political aspects of Islam?

Jasser, of course, believes that type of separation can indeed happen – that Islam on its own is not inherently violent or hateful. Part and parcel of this perspective is the whole concept of “radical Islam” being some type of extremist outworking of an overall less malevolent Islamic worldview.

Spencer, who unlike Jasser is not a Muslim, argued that anyone who studies the scriptures of Islam must come to the conclusion that so-called radical Islamists are merely acting on the actual tenets of their faith – in other words, that the Islamic worldview is indeed malevolent. And Spencer’s got me convinced that he’s a lot closer to the truth than Jasser.

History teaches that Islam has not always been aggressive, as Jasser pointed out, but Spencer noted that just because Muslims were not powerful enough to wage violent jihad at certain historical moments does not mean that their goal had ever changed.

Jasser also argued that how Muslims perceive Koranic teaching is somewhat affected by their particular imam (or teacher,) the implication being that radical imams produce radical followers. He drew a parallel between that and a Jew or Christian deferring to their rabbi’s or minister’s view of scripture. But the Bible urges followers to test any teacher’s interpretation against the scripture itself – effectively minimizing the danger of a teacher leading people astray. Not to say it hasn’t happened – virtually every cult is birthed by someone twisting the words of scripture – but therein lies the point. Jasser’s analogy falls apart because any “radical minister,” for example, is soon exposed as a teacher of anti-biblical thought. In comparison, the so-called radical imams are teaching a doctrine that is in fact what the Koran says.

Another implication of the argument that Muslims can separate some of the Koran’s teachings from their everyday lives is the idea that Islam simply needs to “grow up” – that it needs to evolve into something more compatible with modern values. An unspoken assumption behind this idea is that Judaism and Christianity have already gone through such an evolution, which is why those belief systems are compatible with Western thought.

This is nonsense. Judaism and Christianity are compatible with Western thought, all right, because Western thought owes much of its lineage – the concepts of individual responsibility, private property, and fallen human nature, among other valuable lessons – in part to Judeo-Christian thinking. But Jasser misunderstands the fundamental nature of both Judaism and Christianity. They have both maintained the same teachings for thousands of years. They have not “evolved” (although they have been bastardized, by some – but that’s a discussion for another day).

So quite frankly it seems kind of insulting to Muslims to imply that, if we just give Islam some more time, it will “grow up” and become a faith we can all learn to love. The only change that can happen and is compatible with our American system of government is when individual Muslims decide that living in liberty and freedom is of higher value to them than fully embracing Islam (which, although he might not characterize it exactly so, is indeed what Jasser has chosen to do).

Regarding sharia law in particular, Jasser says that any system of law that may be said to be “of God” becomes manmade law when humans implement it – but this is a very weak argument that somehow sharia itself can be separated from Islam. In another discussion during the Horowitz event, Jasser indicated that he thought a person could embrace sharia “just for themselves” – but this is illogical. No one can embrace any system of law all by themselves, because systems of law include such things as judgment and punishments. More than one person is required for a legal system.

In defending attacks against the prophet Mohammed, Jasser implied that other faiths look up to men who were flawed, like Abraham. Jasser of course entirely misses the point that neither Judaism nor Christianity hold Abraham to be equivalent to deity, or in any way impervious to criticism. (Nobody gets killed if you draw a picture of him, either.) And the Bible is fairly clear about Abraham’s personal failings. Spencer agreed, however, that calling Mohammed out for his pedophilia does not win over most Muslims.

Dr. Jasser, somewhat poignantly, asked what he was to teach his children if Islam could not be separated from its violent, anti-Western tendencies and political visions of conquering the world. I would argue, with great respect for Dr. Jasser and his noble but misguided mission of trying to fuse his faith with American values – that in fact Islam is not a faith that he wants to pass along to his children.

Other presentations throughout the weekend underscored that reality, as speakers like Andrew McCarthy and Karen Lugo brought home, again and again, the sobering reality of fatwas, terrorism and jihad. Watch the NewsReal Blog site for video of the Enemies Within panel, in particular.

Original URL:

Diane Schrader

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

The Truth About “Palestine”

by P. David Hornik

“With the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it’s more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” President Obama said yesterday after meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Peres’s visit is widely regarded as a groundbreaker for a visit in May by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is expected to come under a mounting tide of pressure on the Palestinian-state issue, culminating in a Palestinian attempt to secure UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September.

Meanwhile a poll by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that one-third of Palestinians approve the attack in the Israeli West Bank community of Itamar in March. In the attack five members of the Fogel family—the parents as well as their 11-year-old son, 4-year-old son, and 3-month-old daughter—were stabbed to death in their home.

Four decades ago America was shocked by the Manson murders, in which intruders shot and stabbed to death four adults and a teenage boy at the house of actress Sharon Tate in Los Angeles (Tate, one of the stabbing victims, was eight months pregnant). One can imagine the horror Americans would feel toward any society one-third of whose members would approve the Manson murders. On the scale of horror, the Itamar massacre, given the ages of three of the victims, was even worse.

And two other points should be made. One is that the Itamar perpetrators have not yet been caught—in contrast to other Palestinian terror attacks where Israeli security forces usually quickly nabbed the culprits. The delay this time is attributed to Israel having withdrawn its forces from much of the West Bank, to be replaced by U.S.-trained Palestinian forces.

And second, while the ages of the young Itamar victims may indeed have been “too much” for many Palestinians, that wasn’t the case with the 2008 massacre by gunfire of seven teenage boys and a young man in a Jerusalem yeshiva. That attack won the approval of 84 percent of Palestinians.

The above—focusing on the murderous anti-Israeli hatred of many of the Palestinians who are supposed to be awarded a state abutting Israel—can be added to the many arguments against such a state, at least at this time, that make no impression on the devout. Or as Netanyahu himself said recently—not about a Palestinian state per se, but about the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the region and the world—“There is no evidence that these true believers will not ignore.”

Take, for instance, the above statement by Obama, who must be counted among those believers. Rationally speaking, the “winds of change blowing through the Arab world” should not make “more urgent than ever” the creation of a Palestinian state, but induce more wariness than ever. Those winds have already blown away the Mubarak government in Egypt, which upheld a formal albeit icy-cold peace with Israel for three decades, and is likely to be replaced by a far more hostile, quite possibly belligerent regime.

Then there’s Jordan, also formally at peace with Israel since 1994, now subject as well to instability and seething with Islamist and Palestinian hatred of Israel. As for Syria, while the Alawite regime of the Assads is already one of the most hostile toward Israel, it’s also a regime that has—out of pragmatism—maintained a peaceful border since 1973; its weakening, and the rise of Sunni Islamists in its stead, could well put an end to that pragmatism.

Rationally, then, the overall instability of the Middle East, where regimes can disappear overnight, is not an argument for creating yet another Middle Eastern state squeezed up against your borders; it’s an argument against it. To this must be added the results of Israel’s previous territorial withdrawals over the past decade—from Lebanon, leading to Hezbollah’s takeover of the south and eventually of the whole country, now teeming with military facilities directed at Israel; and from Gaza, leading to the empowerment of Hamas and an ongoing nightmare of rocket fire and warfare.

Put popular Palestinian hatred in the mix, and the idea of the Palestinian state as an urgent policy goal emerges as not just irrational but crazy. It’s been suggested that Netanyahu, instead of trying to parry the pressures with deft diplomatic games, should start boldly enunciating the truth. It makes a lot of sense.

Original URL:

P. David Hornik

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

EU: Approval of East Jerusalem Settlement Expansion is Deeply Disappointing

by Haaretz Service

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said on Wednesday that she was "deeply disappointed" by Israel's approval of new settlement building in East Jerusalem.

"The actions taken by the Israeli Government contravene repeated and urgent calls by the international community, including the Quartet, and run counter to achieving a peaceful solution that will preserve Israel’s security and realize the Palestinians’ right to statehood," Ashton said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee recently discussed the construction of 942 housing units in Gilo, which lies beyond the Green Line. The plan has already been approved at the district level.

Ashton spoke directly about the plan, saying that it "may further damage an already fragile political environment."

"I reiterate that the EU considers that settlement activities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, undermine trust between the parties and constitute an obstacle to peace," Ashton said.

The plan also drew condemnation from the United States, who earlier in the week, released a statement saying "not only are continued Israeli settlements illegitimate, Israel’s actions run counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations."

While the Prime Minister's Office had pledged to monitor the work of planning committees directly, fearing they may approve politically sensitive building plans - i.e., over the Green Line - at inopportune moments, the fact that this plan is moving on to the local level may indicate that that policy is being relaxed.

The district planning committee is supposed to discuss 1,608 housing units in neighborhoods beyond the Green Line next week.

Original URL:

Haaretz Service

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

Religious Radicals’ Turn to Democracy Alarms Egypt

by Neil MacFarquhar

Abboud al-Zomor — the former intelligence officer who supplied the bullets that killed President Anwar el-Sadat and is Egypt’s most notorious newly released prisoner — waxes enthusiastic about ending the violent jihad he once led.

“The ballot boxes will decide who will win at the end of the day,” Mr. Zomor said during an interview in his large family compound in this hamlet on Cairo’s western edge. “There is no longer any need for me to use violence against those who gave us our freedom and allowed us to be part of political life.”

In its drive to create a perfect Islamic state, his Islamic Group and other groups like it were once synonymous with some of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in Egypt. But they are now leaping aboard the democracy bandwagon, alarming those who believe that religious radicals are seeking to put in place strict Islamic law through ballots.

The public approval of the constitutional amendments on March 19 provided an early example of Islamist political muscle, the victory achieved in no small part by framing the yes vote as a religious duty. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Islamist campaign was the energy invested by religious organizations that once damned the democratic process as a Western, infidel innovation masterminded to undermine God’s laws.

Mr. Zomor, 64, with his bushy gray beard and nearly 30 years in prison, has emerged as a high-profile spokesman for that sea change since he was released on March 12.

He and other Salafis, or Islamic fundamentalists, rhapsodize about founding political parties and forging alliances with the more mainstream Muslim Brotherhood to maximize the religious vote.

Several reasons lie behind this remarkable turnabout, according to senior religious sheiks, junior members and experts.

Foremost is the desire to protect, if not strengthen, the second amendment of Egypt’s Constitution, which enshrines Shariah, or Islamic law, as the main source of Egyptian law. The parliament to be elected in September will guide the drafting of a new constitution.

“If the constitution is a liberal one this will be catastrophic,” said Sheik Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, scoffing at new demands for minority rights during a night class he teaches at a recently reopened Salafi mosque in Alexandria. “I think next they will tell us that Christians must lead Muslims in the prayers!”

Second, the Salafis arrived late to the revolution, with many clerics emphatically supporting President Hosni Mubarak and condemning the protesters.

Young Salafis rebelled — extremely rare for a group that reveres tradition and hierarchy.

“The majority of the Salafi youth were the people who actually said, ‘No, this is impossible, we have to be part of this, it is a just cause,’ ” said Sherif Abdel Naser, a 24-year-old Egyptian-American who now attends political classes three nights a week at Sheik Shahat’s cramped mosque.

The Salafi movement is inspired by the puritan Wahhabi school of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia, whose grand mufti churned out a fatwa condemning the Arab uprisings as a Western conspiracy to destroy the Islamic world. But an array of philosophies exists under the Salafi umbrella, ranging from apolitical groups that merely proselytize on the benefits of being a good Muslim to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2, is an Egyptian Salafist.

Some Egyptians are convinced that the government released the likes of Mr. Zomor as a kind of bogeyman — to frighten the country about the possible downside of democracy. Mr. Zomor said Salafist violence was only a reaction to the repression of the Mubarak government, but he shocked many Egyptians by advocating punishments like amputating thieves’ hands.

In an example of fundamentalists now emerging into public light, the sons of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik who is serving a life sentence in the United States, convicted in a conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993, recently addressed a conference at a five-star Cairo hotel, demanding that the United States release their ailing father.

“Somebody wants to give the impression that democracy will bring about the worst in Egypt,” said Hossam Tammam, an expert on Salafi groups.

He finds the threat exaggerated, but noted that the Salafis would be hampered in political participation because they did not accept the idea that all Egyptian citizens should enjoy equal rights. The Salafi model is based on medieval Islamic caliphates where minorities were protected but had to pay a tax for the privilege, and were barred from the military and many government positions, he said.

Some famous Salafi clerics have been preaching national unity and have said they would preserve the peace treaty with Israel. But more exclusionary thinking also emerges in sharp relief.

Sheik Mohamed Hussein Yacoub, a prominent Cairo cleric, generated outrage by labeling the referendum results as a “gazwa al-sanadiq,” or “conquest of the ballot boxes,” using a freighted Arabic word for conquest associated with Islam’s early wars. Egypt belongs to the observant, he said, and those who object could emigrate to North America.

He later claimed he was joking, but such attitudes are easy to find among Salafi foot soldiers. At the University of Alexandria, within sight of the sparkling Mediterranean, five bearded Salafi students set up a small table at the Faculty of Commerce on Tuesday to advocate the benefits of an Islamic state.

When a Christian student objected, one fundamentalist argued, “When we launch wars, we do it to strengthen our religion,” he said. “Will you fight alongside us to spread our religion?”

“I will be angry,” replied the other student.

”We cannot put God’s orders to a referendum,” said Ibrahim Mohamed, 21, one of the Salafi students. “Islam says adulterers must be stoned.”

Various Salafi groups have been taking the law on social issues into their own hands, including severing a teacher’s ear about 10 days ago in upper Egypt after accusing him of renting an apartment to prostitutes. And the army intervened on Monday to calm violence in the oasis of Fayoum that broke out after Salafists destroyed places selling beer and the owners shot a Salafi dead. Critics say the Salafi program is too religious to have broad appeal; while the Muslim Brotherhood frames its arguments in policy terms, the Salafis emphasize spiritual benefits that play well among the poor.

Alarmed by the violence, Ali Gomaa, Egypt’s grand mufti, is planning a conference of spiritual leaders in mid-April to try to establish consensual guidelines for separating religious and political discourse — for both Muslims and Christians.

Some experts hope the emergence of the Salafis will create a healthy attempt to reconcile Islam with democracy.

“The Salafis have realized that the only way for them to survive is to be politically engaged,” said Mr. Tammam, the expert. “If the Salafis are absorbed into the political system here, they can be reformed, but this will not eliminate radical thinking for good.”

Original URL:

Neil MacFarquhar

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

African Mercenaries in Libya - Part III

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi could not only face The International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity in his country, he has been involved in terrorist and criminal acts in Northern Ireland, when Libya supplied arms to the IRA during its terror campaign, and Sierra Leone, when Gaddafi masterminded the 11-year civil war that left over 50,000 dead.

Aroun Rashid Deen a journalist from Sierra Leone living in New York comments that "It was also part of Gaddafi's broader agenda included in his geopolitical ambition to destabilize much of West Africa and establish satellite states in the region to be headed by puppet regimes that will be doing his bidding. The decade-long war ripped Sierra Leone apart. Thousands of its victims, whose arms and legs were chopped off by rebels, were reduced to being paupers, roaming the streets as beggars in Freetown and other cities. Children as young as a day old were also among those whose arms and limbs were hacked off by Gaddafi's rebels. Pregnant women, too, were disemboweled with delight in their display of ghastly brutality."

For now, Gaddafi is trying to retain power by arming thousands of Africans with the complicity of African governments, building a strong African anti-West block. The media outlet News Days of Zimbabwe reports it is difficult to believe that gunmen with military experience were hired and flown out of various African nations without the knowledge of security services in those countries, suggesting some African governments have cooperated with the plan or at the very least looked the other way.

If Gaddafi stays in power, he will keep on threatening his own people and the whole world, through violence and terrorism as he did in the past. The United States is bracing for possible Libyan-backed terrorist attacks. The New York Times writes that, asked if American officials feared whether Gaddafi could open a new terrorism front, President Obama's top counter-terrorism official John O. Brennan said: "Gaddafi has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature. We have to anticipate and be prepared for things he might try to do to flout the will of the international community."[1]

East Africa


No clear information on mercenaries heading to Libya


Unconfirmed sources say huge numbers of foreign mercenaries from the African country of Eritrea have arrived by ship at the port (ferry terminal area) in Tripoli, Libya on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. The mercenaries were seen roaming around on the streets of Tripoli. In the past four weeks the Eritrean government has been said by credible sources to have sent two battalions of Eritrean army of artillery unit and a commando unit to Libya in the last four days to support Gaddafi

Eritrea sent these two battalions through Chad. A Chadian member of government told a French intelligence personnel in Chad that Eritrea sent the two battalions as cover-up as "bakers, technicians, cooks, nurses and drivers to help in the humanitarian activities". The Chadian intelligence officer believes that the Eritrean artillery unit may have played a major role in the recent battle gains around Tripoli for Gaddafi[2]


Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy UN ambassador, who has turned against the Gaddafi regime, said Ethiopians were among the mercenaries that that came in support of the Libyan leader[3].

The video below shows Ethiopian mercenaries being captured in Libya.


No clear information on mercenaries heading to Libya.

However, Uganda has accused Gaddafi of involvement in recent terrorism attacks in which two suicide bombs killed 76 people as they watched the FIFA World Cup final in Kampala last year[4]. Furthermore, Wikileaks revealed that Uganda's leader, Yoweri Museveni, fears the Libyan leader is out to shoot down his Presidential plane and he has since asked US security agencies for surveillance protection whenever he is flying[5].


There is no confirmed news that Somali merceneraries are present in Libya. On the other hand, there is evidence that Somali immigrants have been harassed for having been taken for mercenaries and that at least four of them have been killed[6].


Reports claim that Darfur rebels areamong mercenaries in Libya (See Hudson-NY Report: Gaddafi Mercenaries in Libya)[7].


No clear information on mercenaries heading to Libya


Kenyan mercenaries are among foreign soldiers helping Gaddafi. This was confirmed by Gaddafi's former Chief of Protocol Nouri Al Misrahi in an interview with the Al Jazeera broadcasting network. When asked where the mercenaries came from and how they were recruited, the first country he mentioned was Kenya. He then clarified that they were not sent officially by their governments, but were recruited directly by the regime[8].

Diplomatic relations between Libya and Kenya resumed in 1998, after 11 years ago after they were severed. The relations between the two countries severed in 1987 after Kenya accused Libya of supporting a rebel movement in its universities and in providing aids to Kenyan opposition groups[9].

West Africa


According to Saudi-owned satellite channel, Al-Arabiya, last February four planes with mercenaries took off from Benin and landed to Benghazi in order to help Gaddafi.[10]

Burkina Faso

Tuaregs from Burkina Faso have been hired by the Libyan regime. The Tuareg community is composed of some 1.5 million people spread across Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali and Niger. According to the AFP, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has recruited some 800 Tuareg separatist fighters from Niger, Mali, Algeria and Burkina Faso[11]. According to news reports in Libya there are also non-Tuareg mercenaries from Burkina Faso. However, there is not enough clear information.

Burkina Faso is one of the African countries which enjoyed the most benefits from Libya's investment. In this country, Gaddafi expanded its infrastructure and built the hospital. Traditionally, the government of Burkina Faso has established close partnership with Gaddafi.

Former leader of the opposition coalition of Burkina Faso Hama Arba Diallo said "Gaddafi is not only investing in Burkina Faso, […] and we are very grateful. What happened in Libya […] become a burden for us all," said Diallo[12].

Cape Verde

No information on mercenaries heading to Libya.

Ivory Coast

No information on mercenaries heading to Libya.

The Ivory Coast is now facing a political and humanitarian crisis.


Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared that the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, should resign. Jammeh's declaration came as a surprise. Gaddafi was actually considered as the mentor of the Gambian President, who is one of the African most cruel dictators. Gambian opposition's media outlet, Freedom Newspaper, reports the following: "Speaking on behalf of The Gambian leader, during in a nationwide televised speech, the Head of Gambia's Civil Service Dr. Njogu Bah said Gaddafi has lost the will of the people, and should resign in the interest of peace, stability, and tranquility in Libya. Mr. Bah says power belongs to the people, and the mass revolt in Libya clearly manifests that Libyans want to see an end to Gaddafi's rule"[13].

Gambia was considered to be one of Libya's major ally. In 1994, Gaddafi helped Jammeh, at the time he was an army Lieutenant, to topple the democratically elected Government of former Gambian President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Libya also provided bilateral support to Gambia in the areas of military hardwire (weapons), agriculture, education, and other areas of national development[14].

There is no clear information on mercenaries from Gambia in Libya. The Gambian President stated: "We are calling on all Gambians in Libya and around the world not to be used as mercenaries because the current revolution taking place in Libya is one that will not fail, Allah willing. Any Gambian that is captured as a mercenary in Libya should not expect any intervention or support from the Gambia government."[15]


According to media items, Ghanaian mercenaries are fighting in Libya. Rumors say that Ghanaians are being offered US$2500 dollars per day to go fight on behalf of the Gaddafi regime[16]. However, many simple Ghanaian workers have been captured by Libyan rebels, who thought that they were mercenaries.

Guinea Conakry

Many Guineans have expressed sympathy with the Libyan leader, and denounced the air raids on Libya. Pro-Gaddafi Guineans said they would seize this opportunity to show their gratitude to the Libyan leader who has always been kind to Guinea[17].

According to Guinean media, hundreds of Guinean soldiers went to fight in Libya allegedly sent by their own government.[18]

Guinea Bissau

No information on mercenaries heading to Libya.


News items reports that mercenaries from Liberia are fighting in Libya[19].

Gaddafi is also responsible for financing and supporting former Liberian President Charles Taylor, facing trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War.


BBC reports that Tuaregs from Mali confirmed that a large number of their community's members were hired by Gaddafi[20].

Furthermore, the Rebel National Libyan Council claims Mali sent regular troops to assist Gaddafi[21]. The government of Mali denies the allegations. However, reports state that a discreet recruitment office for mercenaries was installed in a Libyan hotel in the Mali's capital, Bamako[22].


Tuareg from Niger have been hired as mercenaries. According to French daily, Le Monde, Gaddafi has often used battalions of Tuaregs, picking these rugged warriors from tribes living in Southern Libya but mostly in the Tuareg communities of Mali and Niger. One of Gaddafi's closest advisors is also a Tuareg[23].

The Rebel National Libyan Council claims that Niger sent regular troops to assist Gaddafi[24].


Nigeria backed the UN's No-Fly-zZone resolution over Libya. Nigeria's permanent representative to the UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu, said, in a statement after the vote, that the Federal Government declared: "the current state of affairs leaves an indelible imprint on the conscience and moves us to act. The magnitude of this humanitarian disaster is, indeed, what compelled Nigeria to vote in favor of this resolution."[25]

Nigeria's backing possibly comes as a reaction to Gaddafi's remarks in 2010, when the Libyan leader stated that Nigeria should be split into a Muslim and a Christian country to end communal clashes. Nigerian politicians, religious leaders and civil society reacted strongly, calling Gaddafi anything from "mad" to "evil," "ignorant," "reckless" and "inflammatory."[26] After Gaddafi's remarks, Nigeria recalled its ambassador to Libya but few months later the two countries mended their relations.

Media items report the presence of Nigerian mercenaries in Libya. Two men, identified by Libyan rebels as Nigerians in civilian clothes, were shot and killed during a firefight in Benghazi[27].


Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is a Gaddafi's supporter. Wade has been considered for long time as Gaddafi's protégé.

There is no clear information on mercenaries from Senegal in Libya.

Sierra Leone

No confirmed news about the presence of mercenaries from Sierra Leone.

However, some unconfirmed rumors have been floated by the fact that Gaddafi has been hiring mercenaries from states and organizations from which had received support in the past; and Gaddafi had, in the past, supported Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel army that fought a failed eleven-year war in Sierra Leone, starting in 1991 and ending in 2002.

Aroun Rashid Deen a journalist from Sierra Leone living in New York writes of Gaddafi's involvement in Sierra Leone's internal affairs: "Gaddafi was the mastermind and key financier of the brutal war that left hundreds of thousands dead in Sierra Leone in West Africa in the 1990s. The war would not have happened in the first place had it not been for the desire of the Libyan leader to punish the government of Sierra Leone for what he regarded as its siding with the West in the 1980's when Gaddafi was at loggerhead with particularly the United States and Britain."[28].


No information on mercenaries heading to Libya.


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Anna Mahjar-Barducci

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