Friday, January 6, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Realities New and Old

by Steven Emerson

The votes still aren't fully counted in Egypt, but the Obama administration has seen enough to reverse long-standing and well-rooted policies to shun the theocratic, global Caliphate-minded Muslim Brotherhood, whose philosophy spawned terrorist movements from Hamas to al-Qaida.

High level meetings between American and Brotherhood officials reflect a "new political reality here [in Egypt], and indeed around the region," the New York Times reported in a front-page article Wednesday, "as Islamist groups come to power."

What is astounding and dangerous about the new U.S. recognition is the fact that Brotherhood leaders became more openly radical and militant once Mubarak was thrown out, issuing incendiary speeches calling for "martyrdom" operations against Israel and aligning with Hamas and other terrorist groups. Yet as the New York Times wrote, the Obama administration accepts as truthful "the Brotherhood's repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt's treaty with Israel," the Times reported.

But there's another reality that seems overlooked. And that's the Brotherhood's history of deception and duplicity, policies that reflect its modus operandi in gaining legitimacy in Egypt and around the world but still promoting a militant agenda. While some MB officials may tell American officials they will respect individual liberties and honor Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, it's not hard to find massive evidence that paints a different and more disturbing picture.

As we reported last week, the Brotherhood is poised to dominate the next Egyptian government after vowing last spring that it sought no such power. The group's deputy chief says the Brotherhood "will not recognize Israel under any circumstances" and may place the peace treaty before voters in a referendum.

Earlier this year, it tried to hide its bylaws and their calls for "need to work on establishing the Islamic State" from English-reading audiences, striking them from its website. Last week, however, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie gave an address reminding followers of the agenda laid out by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. "It begins with the reform of the individual and then to start building the family and society, then the government; then the rightly guided caliphate, then instructing the world; instructing guidance, wisdom, truth and justice."

Brotherhood members must see their electoral success as a huge step in the direction of creating "the rightly guided caliphate." The United States would be foolish to differ.

It also would be foolish to overlook the Brotherhood's record.

After American commandos killed Osama bin Laden, the Brotherhood told English language audiences "one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed," Reuters reported. In Arabic, however, they referred to the mass-murdering al-Qaida founder with the honorary term of Sheikh and called him a shaheed, or martyr. The statement also criticized the American attack as an assassination.

Despite their reputations among some in the West as supposed moderates, Brotherhood officials routinely endorse terrorism. Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group in control of Gaza, declares itself to be the Brotherhood's Palestinian branch. Its peaceful intent includes recent reiterations of its commitment to violent jihad and its vow never to accept the state of Israel's right to exist.

"Our presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said last month.

For all the talk of the Brotherhood renouncing violence, the Associated Press noted that "it supports Hamas in its 'resistance' against Israel."

But the Brotherhood's threat of violence is not limited to actions against Israel. Influential Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi endorsed kidnapping and killing American civilians in Iraq in 2004 as an "obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately."

More recently, Qaradawi has called on Muslims to acquire nuclear weapons "to terrorize their enemies" and sanctioned killing Israeli women because they serve in the army. He has prayed to be martyred while killing a Jew.

Incredibly, there has been no American confirmation or denial of an Indian newspaper report last week which indicated Qaradawi is helping broker peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, which itself is scandalous.

But this is the same administration whose Director of National Intelligence called the Brotherhood "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence," during a February congressional hearing. James Clapper tried to walk this back in subsequent statements, but his assessment flew in the face of all the Brotherhood has said about itself since its founding in 1928, beginning with its motto:

"God is our goal, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and death in the service of God is the loftiest of our wishes."

There are good reasons why the United States does not deal with Iran or recognize Hamas government in Gaza: Granting unilateral recognition to totalitarian political movements or governments only emboldens their terrorist ideologies. Shunning, boycotting and ostracizing totalitarian movements and regimes that still promote violent ideologies and policies is the only proven way of undermining their legitimacy and containing them, short of military action. The Brotherhood, which supports the terrorist Hamas, can mouth to the West all the platitudes about peace it can muster. But the record of its actions and its statements in Arabic shows the emptiness of such words.

Here is Badie, the supreme guide, in October, following Israel's decision to release more than 1,000 prisoners, many of them Hamas killers, in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit: "The deal also proved that Israel only understands the language of force and resistance. This language is able, with God's permission, to liberate the Palestinian people suffering under the captivity of the Zionists."

Deception is part of the Brotherhood's modus operandi in America as well. Evidence in the largest terror-financing trial in U.S. history shows the Muslim Brotherhood created a network of Hamas-support organizations here, operating as the "Palestine Committee."

One exhibit, a 1991 "Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," described the Brotherhood's work in the United States as a "kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all religions."

Court records provided "ample evidence" placing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its founders in the Palestine Committee, but CAIR refuses to acknowledge those connections. The evidence prompted the FBI to cut off communication with CAIR, but plenty of U.S. politicians and policymakers continue to engage the group.

Even if U.S. government officials accept the premise that the Brotherhood is a new reality in international relations, it is profoundly troubling that the U.S. would unilaterally grant new-found legitimacy without extracting demonstrable concessions that the Brotherhood has truly changed its policies. We still carry great leverage, supporting Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year and through economic support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Beyond the leverage of financial support, there are many options for the U.S. to pursue, as it did through an international boycott organized against South Africa when it existed as an apartheid state.

In legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood more than any other previous administration, the U.S. undermines genuine secular and pluralist parties, admittedly in the minority in Egypt, but which hold out the only hope for alternatives to the empowerment of authoritarian policies of Islamist regimes. In the entire history of Islamist regimes taking over or winning by elections, there has never been an Islamist regime that has ever given up power peacefully.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt parallels its embrace of Muslim Brotherhood American branches and front groups whose officials say nice things on American television, yet continue to covertly spread the ideology of, and in many cases funded, Islamic militancy and terrorism. Throughout its history, Brotherhood groups and leaders around the world starting with al-Banna, its founder, in Egypt, have spread the incendiary conspiratorial doctrine that the West, Christians, Jews and infidels have secretly conspired to suppress Islam since 1095, the year of the first Crusade. And in the age of instant worldwide communications, this delusional paranoia that non-Muslims – especially the West, Jews and Christians are waging a war against Islam – has become the No. 1 factor in motivating Islamic terrorists to carry out their attacks. In Egypt as in the United States and Europe, Brotherhood leaders blamed Israel, Jews and the United States for the 9/11 attacks. Nearly every Islamic terrorist arrest in the United States has been described by Islamist leaders as evidence of a "war against Islam."

The Muslim Brotherhood, where ever it is around the world, from Cairo to Chicago, seeks to gain legitimacy thru a campaign of deception and penetration of western regimes and institutions. It defies common sense to grant unilateral legitimacy to the Brotherhood without demanding concrete actions to openly disavow its support for Islamic terrorist groups or stopping the spread of its mass incendiary message that there is a war against Islam.

Wittingly or unwittingly, the United States has now become a de facto enabler of a militant ideology that ultimately seeks the destruction of our own way of life.

Steven Emerson


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

Thursday, January 5, 2012

EU Countries Agree to Embargo on Iranian Oil Imports, in Principle

by Jeff Treesh

The European Union has agreed in principle to blocking imports of oil from Iran, but has yet to decide when such an embargo would be put in place, a decision that could deal a devastating blow to the Iranian economy.

The EU embargo, as reported by Reuters, comes on the heels of the United States approving sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. EU countries collectively are the second biggest Iranian oil market after China, buying about 450,000 barrels per day. A diplomat said there still isn't EU agreement yet on any measures against the central bank, as well as disagreement over when the embargo would enter into force, and what to do about existing contracts.

Iran has threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz, the oil passage out of the Persian Gulf through which nearly one-fifth of the world's oil travels, if the West imposes economic sanctions. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, has said it would prevent Iran from closing the strait. Iran's parliament also claims to be preparing a bill to bar foreign warships from the Gulf without permission from the Iranian Navy.

Tensions between the two countries continued to rise, after Iran warned U.S. carriers Tuesday to stay out of the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon rebuffed Iran and said the U.S. would not stop its operations there.

The U.S. sanctions, which were included in the Defense Authorization Act that President Obama signed into law last week, would penalize financial institutions conducting business with Iran's Central Bank. Obama took some issue with the provision in a signing statement, indicating there could be some flexibility in how the law is enforced.

Analysts warn that conflict between the U.S. and Iran could cause oil prices to spike. The Saudis have mentioned they would cover any loss from an embargo, a charge Iran hotly denies. They say that while the Iranians are not able to shut down the strait because the United States would stop them, they still have the ability to disrupt the world market.

The world needs to make up their mind if they are going to seriously try to stop the nuclear program, and stick to it. Every day of indecision is another day the centrifuges continue to spin.

Jeff Treesh is @IranAware


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

Iran Building Missile Base in Venezuela

by Lee DeCovnick

Iran and Venezuela are feverishly building ICBM bases on the Paraguana Peninsula, a thumbnail shaped spit of arid land around a thousand square miles in size, 250 miles northwest of Caracas. These bases are designed to house missiles with nuclear tipped warheads capable of reaching large portions of the United States. From the Jerusalem Post, in May of 2011, and noted at the time by American Thinker, we read about these stunning developments that the Obama Administration and their socialist enablers in the media want to bury before the 2012 election.

Iran is building intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm - Khatam al-Anbia - owned by the Revolutionary Guards. The rocket bases are to include measures to prevent air attacks on Venezuela as well as commando and control stations.

The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project, which amounted to "dozens of millions" of dollars...

... the clandestine agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean the Chavez government would fire rocket at Iran's enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes.

Anna Mahjar-Barducci on the Stonegate Institute website wrote the following in December of 2010. Read the entire article, it's terrific.

At a moment when NATO members found an agreement, in the recent Lisbon summit (19-20 November 2010), to develop a Missile Defence capability to protect NATO's populations and territories in Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the East (namely, Iran), Iran's counter-move consists in establishing a strategic base in the South American continent - in the United States's soft underbelly.

The situation that is unfolding in Venezuela has some resemblance to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. At that time, Cuba was acting on behalf of the USSR; now Venezuela is acting on behalf of Iran. At present, the geopolitical situation is very different: the world is no longer ruled by two superpowers; new nations, often with questionable leaders and the ambition of acquiring global status, are appearing on the international scene. Their danger to the free world will be greater if the process of nuclear proliferation is not stopped. Among the nations that aspire to become world powers, Iran has certainly the best capabilities of posing a challenge to the West.

Back in the 1962, thanks to the stern stance adopted by the then Kennedy administration, the crisis was defused.

Nowadays, however, we do not see the same firmness from the present administration. On the contrary, we see a lax attitude, both in language and in deeds, that results in extending hands when our adversaries have no intention of shaking hands with us. Iran is soon going to have a nuclear weapon, and there are no signs that UN sanctions will in any way deter the Ayatollah's regime from completing its nuclear program. We know that Iran already has missiles that can carry an atomic warhead over Israel and over the Arabian Peninsula. Now we learn that Iran is planning to build a missile base close to the US borders. How [much] longer do we have to wait before the Obama administration begins to understand threats?

Ms. Mahjar-Barducci, the answer to your eloquent question is simple. This Administration will finally begin to understand the threats just a couple of minutes after the first nuclear detonations over Miami, Atlanta, Houston and the Naval Shipyards in Portsmouth, Virginia.... and not a second sooner.

Lee DeCovnick


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

The New Cold War with Russia

by Peter Huessy

With Russia's announcement that it will build a new 100 ton intercontinental ballistic missile – apparently pursuing its own nuclear modernization program -- the Cold War, it seems, has returned. Russia is building a system with the ability to quickly add hundreds of new warheads to its inventory. And it is conveniently placing the blame on Washington for a continued nuclear "arms race." This accusation helps both the Kremlin and the American critics of US military modernization by adding yet more leverage against any US efforts at nuclear modernization.

The whole idea of "arms control" has been to reduce warheads to make the early use of nuclear weapons in a crisis unlikely. During the height of the Cold War, however, the former Soviet Union would repeatedly justify its nuclear missile modernization programs as a response to American missile programs, and echoing the American critics of our own nuclear deterrent program who portray the United States as the serial aggressor and Moscow as the aggrieved party.

Out of that concern was born what was then called the "nuclear freeze." If the United States stops its nuclear weapons programs, it was argued, the Soviets will follow suit. But, as one skeptic, former US Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, wryly noted, "We build, they build. We stop, they build."

Even though the US badly needs to modernize all three legs of its nuclear deterrent, 62 members of the House of Representatives have resurrected the nuclear freeze. Congressmen Markey and Frank, both Massachusetts Democrats, argue the US is spending too much money on nuclear deterrence -- funds, they claim, that are both unnecessary and counter-productive.

There is however, a slightly new twist to the arguments of the nuclear freeze proponents. The new culprit now allegedly standing the way of a nuclear-free world is not only US nuclear deterrence but missile defense. The theory is that our missile defense is what causes Russia to build more nuclear missiles to overcome it. But is this historically the case?

Russia, in the 2002 Moscow Treaty with the Bush administration, agreed to a nearly 65% reduction in deployed strategic nuclear weapons, and was relatively quiescent when the US removed itself as a party to the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty that banned all but a small rudimentary missile defense of each country's homeland.

Over the past decade, nevertheless, the US has built some 1000 missile-defense interceptors to defend against short, medium and long range offensive missiles from a variety of threats. But the US plans for building missile defenses in Europe to defend NATO and the US from Iranian rockets has been the single most important irritant in relations between the Russia and the US. Ironically, technical studies show such European defenses have no capability against Russian missiles aimed at the United States.

During the Bush administration, Moscow used the projected deployment of US interceptors in Poland, and associated radars in the Czech Republic, as leverage to change the governments in both countries. The Russians charged Poland and the Czech government with undermining peaceful relations with Russia and with having allowed themselves to be "bullied" by the US government. This bullying by Russia, which repeatedly beat them up over what it called US "hegemonic" military adventures, was effective in undermining these governments' ruling parties which had been allies of the US.

Unfortunately, nuclear freeze advocates in America have used the same arguments to try to stop US missile defenses in Europe among other places. American critics of missile defense said it would make nuclear arms reductions impossible, and cited Russian arguments making the same point. Eliminating both segments of the Bush-era missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic apparently were central to what has been termed a "reset" of US-Russian relations that had become increasingly acrimonious, especially over Moscow's continued subversion and attacks against the Republic of Georgia at the end of the Bush administration.

Now Moscow finds in convenient to deploy new missiles in Russia but blame the United States in a "He made me do it" security policy. If questioned, the Russians can quote any number of American critics of missile defense. These critics echo, and even claim to understand. Moscow's threat to withdraw from the 2010 "New Start" arms control treaty. Their solution? Do not build any more missile defenses, especially in Europe; then Russia and the US can continue reducing nuclear weapons. How ironic, therefore, is this administration's policy that it (1): rhetorically pursues a zero nuclear weapons goal, while (2) planning to build, as its initial elements, a replacement missile defense system in Europe, in Romania, at sea, and with radars in Turkey.

The number of Missile defenses protecting the continental United States has actually been diminished. A planned deployment of 55 missile defense interceptors in Alaska and California has been reduced to 30. The airborne laser, the kinetic energy interceptor and other sensor elements of missile defense have been put on the shelf or cancelled. And a future phase of US defenses in Europe has also been sharply curtailed in the defense bill just passed by the Congress.

This is all a replay of the Soviet Union's nuclear freeze campaign during the Reagan administration. Then, America kept its cool, modernized its nuclear deterrent, and leveraged arms control to pursue our own strategic ends, while laying the groundwork for the current inventory of over 1000 missile-defense interceptors of all kinds, now deployed world-wide in the defense of America and its allies. And at the same time, the US, through a series of four major nuclear arms control agreements, reduced US and Russian deployed weapons and stockpiles by close to 90%.

The announcement by Russia also has to be understood as a long-standing decision by Russia to move ahead with a giant missile. It shows they are still banking on nuclear war threats as the basis of deterrence and see the US as their primary enemy, despite US's best efforts to move the relationship elsewhere.

The US, through NATO, should stick to its "missile defenses" and its planned sustainment and modernization of the US nuclear umbrella deterrent. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates explained: "Our extended deterrent underpins our alliances in Europe and in the Pacific, and enables our friends, especially those worried about Tehran and Pyongyang, to continue to rely on our nuclear deterrent rather than to develop their own…. While some may not see a real nuclear threat to the United States today, we should be mindful that our friends and allies perceive different levels of risk within their respective regions. Here our arsenal plays an irreplaceable role in reducing proliferation."

The cost of such an effort is less than 5% of the current defense budget and costs 75 cents out of every $100 dollars we are planning to spend at the Federal level over the next decade --a modest price to pay to "provide the common defense."

Peter Huessy


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

The Genocide Doctrine

by Daniel Greenfield

Whether or not Ron Paul actually said that he would not intervene to stop the Holocaust, there is nothing particularly extraordinary about this position. The United States has never intervened to stop a genocide. Not in WW2 and not since when several genocides have taken place, most notably in Africa, without any military intervention.

The United States did participate in two NATO wars justified with phony claims of genocide, but the only ethnic cleansings that have taken place have been of Serbs from Kosovo and of Africans from Libya. Which is to say the closest thing to a genocide in either case was perpetrated by our allies against the people we were bombing on their behalf in two civil wars. And neither of those rise anywhere near the level of genocide. We have maintained close ties with two genocidal Muslim states, Turkey and Indonesia. The latter conducted genocide against Christians in East Timor on our watch and with our weapons. Obama’s Indonesian stepfather was a likely participant in that genocide; his former Director of National Intelligence helped keep it going. And Obama has been on record opposing any intervention in Sudan.

It is doubtful that any American president would have intervened militarily to stop the Holocaust, with the possible exception of George W. Bush, and there is no reason to pretend otherwise. Ron Paul can’t be given credit for much, but his response is honest if nothing else. Or at least partly honest. It’s more likely that he is actually sympathetic to another party in the conflict. His newsletter where he blames Churchill for prolonging WW2 by not letting the USSR and Nazi Germany “fight it out” suggests as much. It’s an echo of similar themes put out by Pat Buchanan and other fellow travelers. But this really isn’t about him. The question of whether we should be intervening to stop genocide is virtually irrelevant because it’s not something we do. Holocaust education has very little to do with the mass murder of the Jews of Europe and a great deal to do with teaching tolerance. The genocide doctrine employed by modern administrations has nothing to do with the Holocaust either. It has a great deal to do with dressing up the wars that our leaders decided they wanted to fight anyway.

WWI had enough grandiose claims made about it to make you think that it was the ultimate war against evil. WWII where there actually were monsters on the side, not just Prussian stuffed shirts with curled mustaches, must have caught the propagandists by surprise. But had Hitler’s minions practiced eugenics and killed ethnic minorities, there would have been no war. The initial response to Hitler was that he was stabilizing an unstable country. It was only when Hitler insisted on destabilizing the region with grandiose ambitions that war became inevitable.

Stability is the reason why we began bombing Libya. Not because Gaddafi was guilty of genocide, but because Western diplomats and the assorted grab bag of elites had decided that democracy was the way forward in the Middle East. And the dictators who were blocking the way forward had to go. Gaddafi’s crime wasn’t that his troops were raping and murdering their way through the opposition. Raping and murdering your way through the opposition is a time honored-practice of Muslim rulers.

The trouble with Gaddafi was that he stood in the way of plans to “stabilize the region.” That also happens to be Israel’s crime. And stability means fitting into the regional order and not making too many waves. When Hitler was rolling out workers rights and grandiose national spectacles, then he was fitting into the European future. Oswald Mosley, the fellow who would become the bugbear of English socialists, started out as a radical socialist, until his approach fell out of step.

It might be nice if we actually avoided wars except when dealing with threats or mass murdering lunatics, but plenty of the former and the latter have thrived on our watch. If we actually fought wars to deal with threats then the Saudis wouldn’t be stuffing their faces with lamb stew while counting their rolls of money and rolls of fat. And if we actually dealt with mass murdering regimes, then the Butcher of Khartoum wouldn’t be laughing while his troops wipe out another African village.

After World War II when we began actively intervening to push back threatening ideologies our wars on occasion had a certain amount of substance. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada and Afghanistan were arguably in our national interest. That was more than could be said for when we were clearing the way for UN aid workers or creating a Muslim state in Yugoslavia or protecting the fat Kuwaiti merchants from being looted by Saddam’s kinfolk. Saddam arguably engaged in genocide, and didn’t have to worry about being bombed. It was only when he stepped on the toes of some of our oily friends that the bombs began to fall. And when our Kuwaiti friends got back their dominion courtesy of the United States Marines, their first order of business was ethnically cleansing the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who had sided with Saddam. The response from the Bush Administration Mark I, which was quite fixated in its own way on the “peace process,” was to shrug its shoulders and treat it as business as usual.

There’s something noble about the idea of the United States Marines coming forward when some dictator decides to wipe out a few million people. It’s what most Americans think their country does. But that idea is also completely detached from reality. We don’t do it and we aren’t about to start doing it. Which is why keeping things like Right 2 Protect around is a dangerous thing. It provides ammunition for the amoral likes of Obama and Clinton to fight their Post-American wars for their Post-American reasons.

The situation in the American Jewish community is even worse. The lessons of the Holocaust could not be any more lost on American Jewish leaders than if they had actually traveled in time from 1929 and were still enthusiastic about the prospects of the League of Nations for bringing world peace. Somehow the lesson taken away from the mass murder of six million Jews is not that survival is precarious, but that it’s important to teach everyone to get along.

Israeli Jews, who are trying to survive a region ruled by a totalitarian ideology that is every bit as murderous as Islam, are constantly told that their survival efforts make them as bad as the Nazis. If they were really committed to peace then they would be out there offering up the Sudetenland of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem to the Nazis, and doing it more enthusiastically and with more feeling than they have up till now.

The real crime of those obnoxious Israelis isn’t that they are oppressing anyone, but they are out of step with Realpolitik and with the syrupy liberal arguments used to clothe the brutal insanity of that Realpolitik in the veneer of ethics and morality. And whatever defenses of Israel are voiced they always fall short because they have nothing to do with either issue. The issue that Israel is out of step with the regional ambitions of the Arab Muslim majority and the pious suicide drive of the West.

Israel is doing its part. Tel Aviv is overrun with African migrants. Half the country is overrun with terrorists. A sizable percentage of its Arab Muslim citizens hardly pay any taxes and obey only the laws that they want to obey with no one to tell them otherwise. A nation that’s hardly the size of Rhode Island has given up three times its own size in territory in the name of peace, without actually receiving any peace in return. But that’s not enough.

The genocide doctrine was not about doing what’s right, but about doing what’s wrong. The aftermath of World War II didn’t lead to a renewal of the rights of small nations but their acquisition and submergence into regional and global orders. Israel is a pariah within the regional and the global order for that simple reason. It is out of step with the United Nations, the European Union and the great progressive dreams of rolling all of mankind into some massive authority. The Great Daddy.

Our genocide interventions have been about the agenda of the international order. At the United Nations the nations that resisted Communism and Islam have been victimized. From Taiwan to Israel, the balance of power falls on the side of the powerful. The false lessons of Nazism have come down to quashing nations and empowering regional alliances to resist the “Rogue States” who fall outside the order. Nationalism is the foe, internationalism is the ally.

This hasn’t prevented genocide, it has enabled it. Sudan is free to commit genocide so long as it has the support of the Arab League. The Arab Muslim majority which perpetrates genocide is protected by the Arab Muslim majority which has the influence and the wealth to make genocide possible. The obscene inversion of the international response to Nazi atrocities was to create a system that makes them possible and even profitable. The Holocaust happened because the Nazis weren’t killing anyone that people really cared about. That is the same reason why genocide in Sudan has taken place. No one really cared. And why should they? The people being raped and murdered aren’t the way forward for a United Europe or an Arab Awakening or any grandiose philosophy of a better and more federalized world. They’re simply people. The kind of people that the genocide doctrine was supposed to protect, but whose extermination it has actually enabled.

Daniel Greenfield


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

The Arab Spring: An Obituary

by Bruce Thornton

Thirteen months after a Tunisian street-vendor immolated himself and sparked the revolutions in the Middle East dubbed the “Arab Spring,” the bipartisan celebrations that attended those events last year appear premature, if not delusional. Now that Islamist parties are consolidating their power in the wake of the regime changes in those countries, President Obama’s claim that Egyptians merely wanted “a government that is fair and just and responsive,” or Senator John McCain’s assertions that Libyans were aiming for “lasting peace, dignity, and justice,” or Senator Joseph Lieberman’s article in Foreign Affairs that summarized the Arab Spring as a struggle for “democracy, dignity, economic opportunity, and involvement in the modern world” each reflects dangerous wishful thinking rather than sober analysis.

This delusional enthusiasm of a year ago has not been chastened by subsequent events that have led to Islamist dominance across the region. That’s because the Arab Spring revolutions seemingly confirm a powerful narrative that for a decade has purported to explain the roots of jihadist terror, and the means for eliminating it. In his second inaugural speech, President Bush formalized this narrative in the Bush Doctrine, which articulated a foreign policy focused on ending the “resentment and tyranny” that left people vulnerable “to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder,” leading to terrorist violence that can “cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat.” Only the “force of human freedom” can “break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant.” When the uprisings of early 2011 removed brutal autocrats like Gaddafi, Mubarak, and Tunisia’s Zin El Abidine ben Ali, the power of democratic freedom seemingly unleashed by our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan now appeared poised to work its magic in the heartland of the Islamic world.

A year later the dictators are gone and elections have been held, but this optimism about the power of democratic voting now appears simplistic and naive. The liberal democracies some expected to develop in the Middle East appear to be no closer to reality than they did under the tyrants. In Tunisia, an Islamist party, Ennahda, took 90 out of 217 seats on the new National Constituent Assembly. Like most Islamist parties, Ennahda takes it inspiration from Egypt’s Muslim Brothers, whose credo is “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.” Exploiting the naïveté of Westerners who believe in the oxymoron “moderate Islamist,” Ennahda founder Rachid Gannouchi has assured the West and Tunisian secularists that his party is moderate and does not intend to subordinate their rights and freedoms to shari’a law. Yet Ennahda counts as supporters the more radical Salafists who do want strict adherence to shari’a, and who find broad support among the poorer, more conservative rural Tunisians.

Gannouchi himself sometimes sounds like an Islamist, as when he told listeners at an election rally, “God wants you to vote for the party that will protect your faith.” Some Tunisians are already acting on this imperative to “protect” Islam. Salafists stormed a university in Sousse to protest its refusal to admit a veiled female student. A group of Muslims tried to convert a church into a mosque, and though dispersed by police, they have been invited to ask the government’s faith ministry to effect the conversion. A violent protest erupted against a television screening of the animated movie Persepolis, a negative portrayal of the Iranian revolution in which Allah is depicted as a cartoon. To chants of “Your god has been insulted, come out and defend him!” a mob attempted to burn down the house of the station’s owner. While disavowing the attack, Ennahda called the screening a “provocation” that was equally responsible for the violence. Understandably, secular and liberal Tunisians are skeptical about Ennahda’s promises of moderation, which perhaps are tactical deceptions, given the party’s more hardline base and Muslim Brothers roots. Najib Chebbi, for example, who heads the Progressive Democratic Party, has called Ennahda “a nondemocratic force” with “an ideological project they haven’t acknowledged yet.”

Next door in Libya, the continuing disorder in the wake of Gaddafi’s fall has created even more opportunities for Islamist domination. The epicenter of the rebellion, eastern Libya and the towns of Darnah and Benghazi––where the flag of al Qaeda has been seen flying over the courthouse––supplied proportionately more fighters against our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other country. These veterans of the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have now acquired weapons looted from arms depots, including assault rifles, machine guns, mines, grenades, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and thousands of SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down commercial airliners. The LIFG fighters played a major role in the take-over of Tripoli and the capture of Gaddafi’s compound, and their leader, Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, is the commander of the Tripoli garrison. These Islamist allies of al Qaeda will be a major force in whatever government, if any, eventually rules Libya.

Equally worrisome, like the other militias in Libya, the LIFG veterans have refused to disband and hand over their weapons, contrary to earlier pledges to surrender them to the National Transitional Council, Libya’s interim government. Just this month, gun battles erupted in Tripoli between militias from that city and those from Misrata, casting in doubt the possibility for a stable government anytime soon. In the east, some of the largest and best- armed of these militias with ties to Islamist groups are forming political parties. The NTC is unlikely to be a liberal counterweight to these well-armed Islamists. Its draft constitutional charter proclaims, “Islam is the religion of the state, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Shari’a).” On “liberation day” after Gaddafi’s death, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the NTC and Libya’s interim leader, confirmed these intentions when he told the crowd to shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” “We are an Islamic country. We take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.” One of his first pledges was to end the old regime’s ban on polygamy, since “the law is contrary to Shari’a and must be stopped.”

The Islamist ascendency is even more troublesome in Egypt, the most populous Muslim country in the region and birthplace of the Muslim Brothers, who have been the biggest beneficiary of regime change. In the first two rounds of voting, Muslim Brothers and Salafist parties took 70% of the vote, marginalizing the parties of the photogenic “Facebook kids” that charmed so many Western observers. Meanwhile, the Egyptian army, trained and financed by the United States and recipient of $1.3 billion in aid, continues its hold on power, joining in the murder of Christian Copts, brutalizing and killing protestors, and recently shutting down 17 international organizations that promote democracy. The outcome of the army’s stranglehold on Egypt and the struggle over control of the country could be yet another military dictatorship and increasing violence and chaos.

A more likely outcome will be a modus vivendi struck between the military and the Islamists, one that lets the army keep its economic privileges, while the Muslim Brothers install an Islamized constitution, something a majority of Egyptians would support. In a Pew survey from last year, 84% of Egyptians support the death penalty for apostates, and 82% support stoning adulterers. In another poll from 2010, 85% of Egyptians said Islam’s influence on politics is positive, 95% said that it is good that Islam plays a large role in politics, 59% identified with Islamic fundamentalists, 54% favored gender segregation in the workplace, 82% favored stoning adulterers, 77% favored whippings and cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers, and 84% favored death for those leaving Islam. And 60% of Egyptians in a Pew poll in 2011 said that laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran. All these traditional Islamic beliefs and preferences are inconsistent with the foundational ideals of liberal democracy such as tolerance, separation of church and state, respect for individual rights, a flourishing civil society, and equality for all before the law.

Despite all this evidence, the Obama administration believes that the Muslim Brothers are “moderates” that can be integrated into a democratic government and restrained by electoral accountability. Only by ignoring the words of Muslim Brothers spokesmen could Obama nourish such a delusion. Consider a 2010 address by Muslim Brothers Supreme Guide Muhammad al-Badi’: “The Muslim nation has the means [to bring about] improvement and change . . . It knows the way, the methods, and the road signs, and it has a practical role model in Allah’s Messenger, [the Prophet Muhammad] . . . who clarified how to implement the values of the [Koran] and the Sunna at every time and in every place.” Al-Badi’ is clear about how this “change” will be brought about: Muslim regimes “crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” These remarks reflect the Muslim Brothers draft platform of 2007, which proclaimed that “Islam is the official state religion” and “the Islamic shari’a is the main source for legislation.”

Equally suggestive of illiberal Islamic doctrine as the likely inspiration for a future Egyptian government is the increasing violence against the Coptic Christian minority. In 2011, 80 Christians have been killed and scores of churches attacked. Yet such violence should not surprise us, given the sectarian intolerance expressed by Egyptian clerics. Sheik Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Cairo’s prestigious Al Azhar University and a “moderate” for many in the West, has called Christians “infidels,” those “who declare God is the Christ, son of Mary.” And he quotes Koran 9:29: “Fight … the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the Jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Such faith-sanctioned intolerance and violence are incompatible with a pluralistic democracy that respects the rights of all individuals regardless of sect or creed.

Given this Islamist perspective, the soothing words of moderation and non-violence currently coming from the Muslim Brothers may represent a temporary tactical deception necessary until their power can be consolidated and their true aims pursued. And such deception is apparently working. According to the January 4 New York Times, the Obama administration is seeking “to forge closer ties” with the Muslim Brothers, accepting “the Brotherhood’s repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel.” To this end, Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson, have met with top leaders of the Muslim Brothers’ Freedom and Justice Party, thus legitimizing an organization whose fundamental tenets are hostile to our interests and security, and whose self-proclaimed goal is “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house.” Despite a historical record of misreading Islamic revolutions, starting with Iran in 1979, our foreign policy establishment continues to believe the tactical deceptions and soothing assurances of groups who despise us, but who want our money and good will as they consolidate their power and influence.

The Western response to the Arab Spring reflects the failure of imagination that blinds us to the powerful role of Islam in Middle Eastern culture and society. Hence France’s preeminent scholar of political Islam, Olivier Roy, has proclaimed that in Egypt, “This is not an Islamic revolution,” and claims that those who overthrew Mubarak “do not see in Islam an ideology capable of creating a better world.” Likewise the Carnegie Endowment’s Marwan Muasher: “Islam as a solution is not enough for them; people want jobs and better lives and will demand results.” And the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Kaminski writes, “When the state isn’t hostile to religion, ideological Islam isn’t a bankable political issue. Elections usually turn on more pedestrian matters.” These analyses reflect the dominant narrative explaining the Arab Spring mentioned earlier: that the same lack of political freedom and economic opportunity and development that bred terrorist organizations and violence has now led to the overthrow of the dictators and the beginning of democratic regimes. In a pluralistic democracy, so the claim goes, doctrinaire Islamist parties will not be able to deliver these material boons, and the voters will punish their failure, leading to either the Islamists’ marginalization, or their moderation of their ideology in order to win votes.

This interpretation, however, assumes the secular West’s understanding of religion as a Marxian “opiate” that compensates for a lack of material goods. It also depends on a false distinction between traditional Islam, which is supposedly compatible with liberal democracy, and a presumably heretical Islamism given traction by a lack of political participation and economic development. But traditional Islam has always been thoroughly political, and the melding of state and religion has always been central to Islamic and Islamist politics alike, given the belief that Islam provides a complete, divinely bestowed blueprint for political, religious, social, and economic order. That’s why a program like the Muslim Brothers’ has wide support among Muslims across the region. Given this broad sympathy, the trade-offs and compromises that arise from sharing power in a consensual, pluralistic government are not likely to lead Islamist parties to moderate their claims for the priority of Islamic doctrine and law. It is more likely that Islamist participation in democratic institutions is a temporary tactic in the long-term strategy of creating an Islamic government similar to that in Iran.

If the trends of 2011 continue, the outcome of the Arab Spring will resemble the legacies of the Iranian Revolution and the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by the mujahidin: the Islamist Winter of more power, influence, and prestige for an ideology fundamentally and violently hostile to American interests and ideals.

Bruce Thornton


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Identity Among Middle East Christians

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

In the course of the present unrest across the Middle East and North Africa, it has become clear that questions of identity are going to be extremely important in deciding the future paths of the various countries in turmoil, not only as regards the divide between Islamists and secularists, but also concerning ethnic and sectarian tensions in countries like Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

For Christians in the region, the issue of identity will similarly be important in determining ways to adapt to the changing political order. This naturally raises the problem of how exactly these Christians define themselves. For example, what does it mean to speak of an "Arab Christian"? Which Christians in the region feel the strongest affinity with such a description? Which ones reject it most vehemently?

It is often said that the concepts of Arab nationalism and pan-Arabism were formulated in significant part by Christians who did not wish for their communities to continue enduring discrimination. For instance, one could point to the fact that Michel Aflaq -- a founder of the Ba'ath Party -- and George Habash, an Arab nationalist thinker who founded the Marxist terrorist group known as the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine," were both Christians.

However, what is often overlooked is that these Christians who were the most vociferous and staunch proponents of Arab nationalism and the notion of "Arab Christians" have been either Antiochian Greek Orthodox or Melkite Greek Catholics, two Christian sects concentrated in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Aflaq and Habash were Antiochian Greek Orthodox, but a case in point for the Melkite Greek Catholics is the current patriarch of the church: Gregory III Laham.

In an interview with the Italian monthly magazine "30Giorni" back in 2005, Laham even went so far as to state that "the Melkite bishop Edelby… would always repeat: we are Arabs, not Muslims…. I add: we are the Church of Islam."

As for the terrorist attack in October 2010 on the Syriac Catholic "Our Lady of Salvation" church in Baghdad and similar assaults on Christians in the region, Laham characterized the persecution as a "conspiracy planned by Zionism and some Christians with Zionist orientations… that aims at depicting Arabs and Muslims in Arab countries as terrorist and fundamentalist murderers," according to a report in Lebanon's Daily Star.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the uprising in Syria, Laham has condemned the Arab League's suspension of Syria from the organization on the grounds that the move has caused separation in the Arab world, with the Patriarchate Council affirming the following, as noted by the Syrian Arab News Agency: "The criterion of the Arab League's success will be through its capability to solve the Palestinian cause, not through division or hostility."

In contrast, among the Maronites in Lebanon and the Copts in Egypt, the sentiment is more divided. One will almost certainly encounter members of both groups who identify as "Arab Christians," yet there has been a counter-trend on the question of identity that has never existed for the Antiochian Greek Orthodox or the Melkite Greek Catholics. For the Maronites, an alternative identity has been offered in the ideology of "Phoenicianism," which traces a link between the ancient Phoenicians and the Lebanese of today, besides taking pride in Lebanon's multicultural nature. A notable proponent of this view has been the well-known poet Said Akl, who reached his centenary last July.

Among Copts, there is the notion of "Pharaonism," which prefers to stress Egyptian identity as a combination of descent from the Ancient Egyptians, Egypt's historically close links with the Mediterranean world, and individual nation-state patriotism. This sentiment is shared by some Egyptian Muslims, and one of the most prominent advocates of Pharaonism in the 20th century was the liberal Muslim intellectual Taha Hussein.

Finally, one comes to the issue of identity among the Christians of Iraq. In this case, we find a virtually unanimous rejection of the term "Arab Christians." Instead, Christians in Iraq identify as ethnic Assyrians, although among some Chaldean Catholics there is a preference for a distinct Chaldean identity.

There is even a political party for Assyrians known as the "Assyrian Democratic Movement," which aims to secure an autonomous province for Assyrians in the northern Nineveh plains of Iraq.

One might note in objection to my point that Tariq Aziz -- the vice-president of Iraq during Saddam's rule -- was a Chaldean. On the contrary, he is overwhelmingly viewed as a traitor by Assyrians. Not only did Aziz drop his Christian birth name Mikhail Yuhanna, but he also abetted Saddam's Arabization policy in the north of Iraq, which led to the destruction of numerous Assyrian villages and the inhabitants' forced resettlement in Baghdad and points south in order to make way for Arab settlers.

What is apparent from these observations is that the degree of absorption of the Arabic language into the various churches correlates with the prevalence of the concept of "Arab Christians." In the cases of the Antiochian Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic churches, Arabic has come to dominate as the main liturgical language over Byzantine Greek.

The Maronites and Copts used to maintain Syriac and Coptic respectively as their sole liturgical languages even after the Muslim conquests, but have gradually come to incorporate Arabic to a limited degree as their adherents have adopted Arabic as their language of everyday communication. However, the Assyrian churches, whose adherents primarily speak various Eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects as their mother tongue, still maintain Syriac as their sole liturgical language.

In short, the degree of linguistic and cultural Arabization over time has played more of a part in the formulation of identity among Middle Eastern Christians than a simple desire to avoid persecution at the hands of the Muslims majorities.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and an Adjunct Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Source: The American Spectator;

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Report on Biased Textbooks Goes to 500 Superintendents

by Ryan Mauro

The Christian Action Network has sent 500 school superintendents a report showing that many textbooks are biased against Israel and the West while whitewashing radical Islam. The report, authored by Citizens for National Security, examines 200 quotes from 30 textbooks used in Florida.

“[Students] aren’t being taught about the theological motivations behind radical Islam,” said Martin Mawyer, President of the Christian Action Network.

“The impression students are given is that terrorists are misguided fighters against Western imperialism and aggression, who are only wrong in their approach. It was amazing how many times the word ‘Palestine’ was used, making it sound like Israel was built on top of a conquered country,” he said.

The report lists several quotes from textbooks teaching students that the 9/11 attacks were a response to U.S. foreign policy. For example, one book says, “What were the sources of Muslim anger?…bin Laden declared that the attacks were a response to the ‘humiliation and disgrace’ that have afflicted the Islamic world for over eighty years.”

Another teaches that Bin Laden was motivated by the “military presence of the sacred soil of the Arabian peninsula and its support for Israel’s hostility to Palestinian nationalism.” The ideology of radical Islam is not discussed. While Bin Laden’s statements about the West’s foreign policies are mentioned, quotes about his ideology are not. For example, Raymond Ibrahim in “The Al-Qaeda Reader” brings to light this quote from Osama Bin Laden:

“In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them, and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts the sharia from being publicly voiced among the people, as was the case at the dawn of Islam.”

The texts also are also unfavorable to Israel. One textbook states, “Angered over the loss of their territory to Israel, some militant Palestinians responded with a policy of terrorist attacks.” In discussing the 1948 war, one textbook just says that “war soon broke out” without explaining that the Arabs invaded Israel with the objective of destroying it.

It then says, “By the end of the 1948 war, Israel controlled almost three fourths of Palestine, including land in the Negev Desert and half of Jerusalem. Jordan and Egypt divided the rest of Palestine between them.” Coupled together, it sounds if the war was one of conquest by Israel.

The report documents numerous instances where Islam is treated more favorably than Christianity. For example, one textbook states, “The Quran permitted fair, defensive war as jihad, or ‘struggle in the way of God,” and says that is how Islam expanded. Another selected quote is that Jews and Christians “have historically enjoyed religious freedom in many Muslim societies.”

“[Islamic forces] rarely imposed their religion by force on the local population…By contrast, Christian monks motivated by missionary fervor, converted many of the peoples of central and eastern Europe,” is another textbook excerpt included in the report.

Some textbooks took a blatantly skeptical stance towards the historical accuracy of Judaism and Christianity.

“A few loyal followers of Jesus spread the story that Jesus had overcome death,” is how one describes the birth of Christianity. As for the history of the Jews, “Many scholars today doubt that the early books of the Hebrew Bible reflect the true history of the early Israelites.”

The full report can be found at the Christian Action Network’s website here.

Two other incidents since 2010 showed how pervasive biased education is. In Georgia Campbell Middle School, students in a seventh grade class had to complete an assignment that included a fictional letter from a Saudi woman advocating Sharia Law.

“Women in the West do not have the protection of the Sharia as we do here. If our marriage has problems, my husband can take another wife rather than divorce me, and I would still be cared for…I feel very fortunate that we have the Sharia,” the text reads.

In September 2010, FrontPage covered how New York’s statewide high school Regents exam required students to read outrageously biased essays about history. According to one reading, “Wherever they went, the Moslems brought with them their love of art, beauty and learning. From about the eighth to the eleventh century, their culture was superior in many ways to that of western [sic] Christendom.”

Guest speakers on current events at schools are also a problem. In 2010, controversy erupted at Clarence High School in New York because of a guest speaker named Hassan Shibly. I interviewed him extensively and reviewed his Facebook page and published the results. He denied that Hezbollah is a terrorist group, instead calling it a “resistance organization.” Since then, he has joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations as the Executive Director of its Tampa chapter. He recently was a guest speaker in over a dozen high school classes in the area, addressing about 500 students.

The next generation will one day lead this country and decide its fate. Its education must be taken with the utmost seriousness. If today’s aspiring leaders are incorrectly taught about our values and security, then they will incorrectly lead on values and security.

Ryan Mauro


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