Saturday, February 11, 2012

Caroline Glick: The Fatah-Hamas Peace Process


by Caroline Glick

Fatah-Hamas PRC.jpg
On Monday afternoon, the Palestinians destroyed officially whatever was left of the concept of a peace process with Israel.

When PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas signed a deal with Hamas terror-master Khaled Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, the notion that there is a significant segment of Palestinian society that is not committed to the destruction of Israel was finally and truly sunk.

But before the ink on the agreement had a chance to dry, the peace processors were already spewing bromides whose sole purpose was to deny this inarguable conclusion. Both the Obama administration and the EU claimed that the agreement is an internal Palestinian issue. The EU actually welcomed the deal.

As Foreign Policy Commissioner Catherine Ashton's spokesman put it, "The EU has consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind President Mahmoud Abbas as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution."

The Israeli Left was quick to blame the agreement on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In an apparent bid to inject a bit of reality into the delusional discourse, Netanyahu condemned the pact. As he put it, "If Abbas moves to implement what was signed today in Doha, he will abandon the path of peace and join forces with the enemies of peace."

Netanyahu added a personal appeal to his supposed partner in peace saying, "President Abbas, you can't have it both ways. It's either a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel. It's one or the other."

Netanyahu's statement was a nice start. But it didn't go nearly far enough. In speaking as he did, Netanyahu obscured the fact that Abbas already made his choice. He has cast his lot and that of Fatah with Hamas. In so doing Abbas once more exposed the dirty secret that everyone knows but no one likes to discuss: Fatah and Hamas share the same strategic goal of destroying Israel. Fatah is not a moderate force that accepts a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. It is a terrorist organization and a political warfare organization. Fatah's strategic goal remains what it has been since it was founded in 1959: The obliteration of the Jewish state.

In truth, Monday's agreement is nothing new. Fatah and Hamas have worked together since at least 1994. In November 1994, Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement in Cairo. The agreement set out each side's sphere of responsibility. Fatah would negotiate with Israel and Hamas would attack Israel.

That Cairo agreement was but the first in a line of agreements between the two groups. Each new agreement in turn reflected both their shared goal of destroying Israel and their changing tactical preferences.

In 2000, for instance, when Fatah returned to active terrorism against Israel, Fatah and Hamas set up joint terror cells they called the Popular Resistance Committees.

In 2007, they signed their first unity government deal after Hamas defeated Fatah in the 2006 legislative elections. That deal not only set the terms for cooperation in the PA. It paved the way for Hamas's inclusion in the PLO. Since the PLO rather than the PA or Fatah is the signatory to the agreements with Israel, the 2007 agreement signaled Fatah's willingness to abrogate its treaties with Israel.

After Hamas ousted Fatah personnel from Gaza in June 2007, the unity deal was left unimplemented. But even as their gunmen shot at one another on the streets, Fatah and Hamas remained strategic allies. Fatah continued to finance Hamas and provide political support for its continued missile and terror war against Israel.

Last May, Abbas signed another unity deal with Hamas. Like the 2007 deal, the pact set the conditions for Hamas's integration into the PLO and so placed the Palestinians on course for canceling all the agreements that the PLO has signed with Israel since 1993. In the months that passed since, the sides have been diligently working out the means of enacting their unity deal. Those contacts brought about another agreement signed in Cairo in December. That pact laid out the steps for integrating Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the PLO. The first step involved setting up a temporary PLO leadership. This step was implemented last month. The transitional leadership is now organizing new elections to the PLO's legislative body, which in turn will appoint the executive.

December's agreement also set out the basis for the interim unity government agreement that was signed on Monday. The sole charge of the transitional PA government is to organize elections for the PA's legislature and its chairmanship.

SO MONDAY'S agreement doesn't represent a break with past Fatah behavior, but a continuation of it. The notable aspect of Monday's agreement is that it shows just how drastically the balance of power has tilted towards Hamas and away from Fatah since 1994.

Since Monday, the usual crowd of peace processors has come up with a number of arguments to deny the significance of the latest Hamas-Fatah rapprochement. One of their favorite claims is that the deal with Fatah is proof that Hamas is becoming more moderate.

For instance, Shlomo Brom, an inveterate peace processor from the Institute of National Security Studies, told JTA, "Hamas is moving away from Syria and Iran, and to a certain degree from Hezbollah, and is repositioning itself in line with the popular movements behind the Arab Spring and the democratization process, particularly in Egypt and Tunisia. A renewed push for reconciliation with Fatah should be seen as part of this reorientation."

To make this claim, Brom had to ignore the fact that "the popular movements behind the Arab Spring" are jihadist movements from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since December, all of Hamas's leaders have made public statements underscoring that the movement's goal remains the destruction of Israel and that its chosen means of attaining that goal is terrorism and war.

Hamas's leaders have also been clear that they view their current rapprochement with Fatah as a means to overwhelm and defeat Fatah. As the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' senior researcher Jonathan Halevi showed in recent studies of this week's deal and the December agreement, Hamas's goal in entering the PLO is to abrogate the PLO's treaties with Israel. Its goal in joining a unity government with Fatah is to organize elections. Hamas is expected to win both the PA's presidential and legislative elections in a landslide.

Another argument that the Left is making is that since Monday's deal made Abbas the PA prime minister as well as its president, the agreement is proof that he is strong and therefore, it's terrific. As Haaretz editorialized on Wednesday, Netanyahu is irresponsible and destructive because, "Instead of welcoming the bolstered status of a leader who signed the Oslo Accords and reined in terror in the West Bank, Netanyahu opted to present the deal as a capitulation by the PA to a terrorist organization."

This argument ignores the inconvenient fact that Abbas had no choice other than to take on the title of prime minister because Hamas forced him to fire Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Both the US and the EU view Fayyad as a moderate and the only way to avoid a backlash from firing him was for Abbas to replace Fayyad with himself.

A THIRD argument that has received substantial attention is that the agreement is nothing more than a survival pact between two weakened leaders. Mashaal, it is argued, was weakened by his forced departure from Damascus. He made the deal to strengthen his position vis-à-vis Hamas's leaders in Gaza.

While it may be true that Mashaal's stature has taken a hit in comparison to Hamas terror master Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, the shift in power between the two arch-terrorists is immaterial.

With their Muslim Brothers taking power in Egypt, both men are far more powerful today than they ever were before. Moreover, Mashaal's transitional power-sharing agreement with Abbas is remarkably similar to the deal the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood wrought with Egypt's military junta in the lead-up to the recent elections.

Unlike Hamas, Fatah has certainly been weakened by recent events in Egypt. As Mashaal's Egyptian patrons take power, Abbas's chief patron Hosni Mubarak is on trial and dying under house arrest.

What is notable about the claims that the agreement is nothing more than a deal between two weak leaders is that they presuppose that it is perfectly understandable that Abbas would turn to Hamas in his moment of weakness in the hopes of strengthening his position.

From Haaretz's perspective, Abbas is outsmarting Hamas by signing an agreement with Mashaal. According to this line of thinking, Abbas is riding Hamas to increase his power. Since Haaretz is convinced that Abbas is interested in peace, the paper's editorialists are certain that once he gains strength he will renege on his agreement with Hamas. That is, Haaretz thinks the deal is terrific because Abbas is a liar.

The problem is that it isn't terrific that Abbas is a liar. Because what that means is that he can't be trusted to keep his word. Just as Haaretz seems to think he won't keep his word with Hamas, so, Israel has every reason to believe that he won't keep its word with it. And indeed, he has a proven track record of lying to Israel. In 1996, he signed an informal "peace deal" with then-deputy foreign minister Yossi Beilin. The Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement was the basis of Ehud Barak's peace offer to Yasser Arafat in 2000. When Arafat rejected Barak's offer, Abbas denied he had ever signed the agreement with Beilin.

In 2008, Abbas negotiated with Ehud Olmert, giving the premier the impression that he was interested in peace. But after Olmert offered him unprecedented Israeli concessions, not only did Abbas reject the offer, he announced that he does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

The most troubling aspect of Abbas's decision to turn to Hamas in his moment of weakness is what it says about the relative balance of regional forces. Twenty years ago, when Arafat was weakened and isolated due to Israel's defeat of the Palestinian uprising, and Arafat's decision to support Saddam Hussein against the US in the Gulf War, the PLO chieftain decided that the only way to rebuild his strength was to gain recognition from the US. And 20 years ago, Arafat knew that the road to Washington went through Jerusalem. So he agreed to enter into peace talks with Israel.

It is a testament to the weakened state of the US in the region that in his hour of distress, Abbas opted to turn to Hamas. Not only does this signify that Washington is no longer considered a serious power broker. It indicates that for weakened leaders, peace with Israel is a far less attractive option than peace with jihadists.

Like Abbas, Arafat was a liar. The consequence of Arafat's move towards Washington was a two-decade-long phony peace process that left Israel in a strategic position far weaker than that it enjoyed in 1992.

The consequences of Abbas's move towards Hamas will in all likelihood be far worse.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick

Source: http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2012/02/the-fatah-hamas-peace-process.php

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

Why Saudi Prince Bin Talal Funds Middle East Studies in America


by Cinnamon Stillwell

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal--million dollar benefactor of Middle East studies programs at Harvard University, Georgetown University, and beyond--spoke at Harvard this past Wednesday. The prince touts himself as a model of liberalism in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia--in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, he advocated for reform among Middle Eastern monarchies in response to the demands of the "Arab Spring"--and he has always claimed that his funding for Middle East studies in the U.S. springs from nothing more than a desire to promote cross-cultural understanding.

Yet, as the following excerpt from this Harvard Crimson article reveals, the underlying reason for his largesse likely has more to do with promoting a positive image of Islam in the West. Hence the whitewashing of Islamic history that routinely occurs in the programs he funds and via the professors, such as Georgetown's John Esposito and Harvard's Ali Asani (both are quoted in the article) whom he has tapped to direct them:

For Alwaleed, the donations were intended to promote an international dialogue between Islamic nations and the West, according to Asani. The initiative began as an effort to combat Islamophobia after September 11.

'The whole idea behind these centers is to bridge gaps and bring people closer together. In the end, it's about breaking misconceptions,' said Nadia H. Bakhurji, secretary general of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation. 'Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how much publicity we do, in the end, there is such an anti-campaign against Islam in general in the world.'


Cinnamon Stillwell

Source: http://www.campus-watch.org/blog/2012/02/why-saudi-prince-bin-talal-funds-middle-east

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

US Says AQ in Iraq Behind Syria Bombings


by Rick Moran

The opposition has been saying that the recent spate of bombings in Damascus and Aleppo could be pinned on President Assad who they say was trying to discredit their movement to oust him.

Instead, the US government says that, at least in a couple of cases, Assad is right; al-Qaeda is behind the terror attacks.

McClatchy:

The international terrorist network's presence in Syria also raises the possibility that Islamic extremists will try to hijack the uprising, which would seriously complicate efforts by the United States and its European and Arab partners to force Assad's regime from power. On Friday, President Barack Obama repeated his call for Assad to step down, accusing his forces of "outrageous bloodshed."

The U.S. intelligence reports indicate that the bombings came on the orders of Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian extremist who assumed leadership of al Qaida's Pakistan-based central command after the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden. They suggest that Zawahiri still wields considerable influence over the network's affiliates despite the losses the Pakistan-based core group has suffered from missile-firing CIA drones and other intensified U.S. counterterrorism operations.

U.S. officials said that al Qaida in Iraq, or AQI, began pushing to become involved in Syria as Assad's security forces and gangs of loyalist thugs launched a vicious crackdown on opposition demonstrations, igniting large-scale bloodshed. Growing numbers of lightly armed army deserters and civilians have joined an armed insurrection, and perhaps thousands of people have been killed.

Zawahiri finally authorized AQI to begin operations in Syria, the officials said, in what's believed to be the first time that the branch has operated outside of Iraq.

From AQ's point of view, it makes sense. As in Mubarak's Egypt, the Islamists had been beaten down by Assad over the years with the Muslim Brotherhood very weak and fundamentalist political parties squelched. Now that Assad is under attack, the religious extremists in Syria are beginning to emerge as a force. And al-Qaeda is seeking to take advantage of the chaos to establish a toe hold in Syria.

One more argument not to arm the Syrian rebels.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/02/us_says_aq_in_iraq_behind_syria_bombings.html

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Reflections a Year after Hosni Mubarak's Resignation


by Daniel Pipes

1. Dewy-eyed predictions of democracy within the year proved to be as silly as they appeared to be back then. Instead, a power-hungry military leadership shows it will do whatever necessary to remain in the saddle.

2. The real action has yet to come. The Syrian regime seems destined to fall and that could have destabilizing repercussions in the Middle East's most important country, Iran.

3. Do not confuse Arab regimes with Arab peoples. One of my consistent themes for years has been "if you are pro-Arab, you must be anti-Arab regimes." Events in Libya and Syria have emphatically made this point.

4. The Realpolitik regimes in Moscow and Peking will pay a price for their backing police states, and especially the Syrian one. Likewise, the pathetic Turkish foreign policy slogan of "zero problems" turned out to mean zero problems with police states.

5. Islamists are pursuing the age-old Middle Eastern habit of splitting just as they attain success: The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis find cooperation difficult in Egypt. Hamas now boasts the Haniyeh and Meshaal factions. When Islamists take over in Damascus, they will break with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ankara and Tehran are often at odds.

6. My favorite statement summing up the past year's complexities: The IDF has prepared humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees in a buffer zone between Syrian- and Israeli-controlled territory. including thousands from the ruling Alawite sect, prompting Israel's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, to muse: "I am not sure all the Alawites will run toward Israel," but many will do so.

Daniel Pipes

Source: http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2012/02/reflections-a-year-after-hosni-mubarak-resignation

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

Israel Alone Against the Islamic Republic


by David Meir-Levi


In dealing with the threat of a nuclear Iran, Obama has not merely kicked the proverbial can down the proverbial road; he has actually aided and abetted Iran in its quest for military nuclear capabilities.

Such a grim assessment of Obama’s Iran policy is unavoidable in light of his inaction against Iran for its capture of the RQ-170 stealth drone in December of last year; his silence over Iran’s initiation of 20% uranium enrichment at the underground Fordo facility near Qom; his reluctance to send U.S. aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz; his hesitation in approving immediate sanctions on Iran’s central bank and energy sector; his silence as Hugo Chavez allies with Iran to develop terrorist and missile bases in Venezuela; his secret attempt to influence Congress to soften US sanctions; and his secret letter of appeasement to Iran. These inactions are incomprehensible and unforgivable because they have allowed Iran to reach the threshold of becoming a nuclear threat to the entire world.

What can now be done? All the options are bad. Sanctions have slowed Iran’s progress but not stopped it. Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would certainly inflict crippling pain and would set back Iran’s WMD quest by a year or so; but this course of action brings with it risks of regional upheaval and war, global economic disruption, and Iran-sponsored terror attacks on US and Israeli targets anywhere in the world. On the other hand, not stopping Iran from bringing the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust has obvious consequences of an even more dire and perilous nature.

How can any country, any national or international leader, dissolve this Gordian knot of similarly evil alternatives? Israel may have the answer, without an airstrike.

Since 2005 various parts of the Iranian nuclear project have been hit by a series of disasters, which Iran blames on the West, and especially Israel.1

In April 2006, two transformers blew up and 50 centrifuges were ruined during Iran’s first attempt to enrich uranium at Natantz. A spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Council stated that the raw materials had been “tampered with.”

Between January 2006 and July 2007, three airplanes belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards crashed under mysterious circumstances. Some reports said the planes had simply “stopped working.”

“Stopped working” was also the Iranian explanation for two lethal computer viruses that penetrated the nuclear project’s computer system in 2007, knocking out a large number of centrifuges.

In January 2007, several insulation units in the connecting fixtures of the centrifuges, which were purchased on the black market from suppliers in Eastern Europe, turned out to be flawed and unusable. Iran concluded that some of these suppliers were actually straw companies that were set up by Iran’s enemies to outfit the Iranian nuclear effort with faulty parts.

In January 2007, Dr. Ardeshir Husseinpour, a 44-year-old nuclear scientist, died under mysterious circumstances. The official announcement said he died in a “work accident,” but Iranian intelligence blames Israel.

Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a particle physicist, was killed in January 2010, when a booby-trapped motorcycle parked nearby exploded as he was getting into his car. Some analysts harbor the suspicion that Mohammadi was killed by Iranian agents because of his support for the Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, but Iran blames Israel.

In June 2010, reports surfaced that the computer system operating the uranium enrichment site of Natanz had been infected with a new and more powerful cyber-weapon, a deadly virus known as “Stuxnet.” A highly sophisticated, incredibly invasive, but surgically refined virus, Stuxnet infected 59% of Iran’s computers but targeted only those using the Siemens SCADA software used by Iranian nuclear facilities. Contrary to Iranian denials, analysts confirmed that this cyber-attack delayed Iran’s WMD progress by at least several years and forced 984 centrifuges off-line.

On Nov. 29, 2010, motorcyclists blew up the cars of two senior figures in the Iranian nuclear project, Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani. The motorcyclists attached magnet bombs to the cars and then sped away. Shahriari was killed by the blast but Abbassi-Davani, although injured, managed to escape with his wife before his car exploded. This attack prompted the Time Magazine 11/30/2010 article “Is the Mossad Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Scientists?”

In July 2011, a motorcyclist ambushed Darioush Rezaei Nejad, a nuclear physicist and a researcher for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, shooting him as he sat in his car outside of his house.

In November 2011, a huge explosion occurred at a Revolutionary Guards base 30 miles west of Tehran. Satellite photos showed that almost the entire base was obliterated. Brig. Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ missile-development division, was killed, along with 16 of his personnel. This was the military base where the long-range (10,000 km) missiles were being developed for deployment against the Western Hemisphere. Israeli experts suggest that it was a “work accident” resulting from improperly handled munitions.

And this “work accident” was soon followed by “Duqu” (aka “son of ‘Stuxnet’”), a cyber-weapon which invaded Iranian nuclear facility computers in December 2011, and created secret “back doors” so that the computer programs could be seized and manipulated later to alter networks, create destructive programs, or even destroy the entire networks themselves.

On Jan. 11, 2012, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a deputy director at the Natanz uranium-enrichment facility, was killed when motorcyclists attached a magnet bomb to his car, in downtown Tehran. Some find these assassinations reprehensible, others acknowledge the need to do what it takes to stop Iran from becoming the world’s next nuclear enemy.

Current assessments suggest that Iran will not be able to manufacture a deployable nuclear weapon before 2015, thanks in large part to the clandestine efforts summarized above.2

But even these successful covert operations, and perhaps another Stuxnet somewhere in the offing, cannot succeed forever, and at best they merely slow the progress of the current Iranian government, so ferociously committed to nuclear confrontation with the Sunni world and the West. So this approach, successful though it has been, is just a different iteration of kicking the can down the road. Even combined with the most stringent of sanctions, it only pushes the problem further into the not-too-distant future.

But there is a way, and it may be the only way, to achieve a long-term resolution to the Iranian nuclear threat: regime change. Iranian anti-Mullah sources, inside Iran and abroad, suggest that the Iranian people are ready for a more pro-Western regime to replace the Mullahs. The MEK (People’s Mujahedin of Iran) believe that such a change could occur within one year, and some Israeli leaders concur.

But instead of supporting regime change from within, Obama has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. When Obama turned a blind eye to the massacre of unarmed protesters in Iran in 2009, he supported the Mullahs and encouraged their quest for WMDs. When he turned a blind eye to the massacre of unarmed protesters in Syria, ongoing since early 2011, he handed Iran another victory by allowing the Iranian puppet government in Syria to prolong its stay in power, and thus to serve Iran’s interests, support Hezbollah and maintain proxy control over Lebanon.

Now Obama is trying to pressure Israel to commit to not mounting a conventional weapons bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.3 Is that because he wants the blame to settle squarely on Israel, and Israel alone, if Israel does bomb Iran, so that his hands can be clean, prior to November 2012, of any blame for whatever catastrophes such an attack might cause; or is it because Obama really believes that a nuclear Iran will be better for the world’s health?

In either case, Israel does not trust Obama, and is not bowing to his pressure. But neither is Israel about to launch a conventional bombing attack on Iran. Israel’s clandestine attacks have successfully delayed Iran’s nuclear ambition for at least several years into the future: plenty of time for regime change, in Iran or in the USA in November 2012.

End Notes

1. Except as otherwise noted, the summary list which follows utilizes material from Ronen Bergman’s “Will Israel attack Iran?” New York Times, January 25, 2012 at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/magazine/will-israel-attack-iran.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all; and http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/nuke3.htm.

2. For assessments see: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iran/nuclear_program/index.html; and http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/world/middleeast/08israel.html; and http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/07/us-iran-nuclear-israel-idUSTRE70612X20110107; and http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/outgoing-mossad-chief-iran-won-t-have-nuclear-capability-before-2015-1.335656; inter alia.

3. For examples see: http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/02/panetta-believes-israel-could-strike-iran-this-spring/; and http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2106071,00.html; and http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/02/west-making-case-to-israel-dont-attack-iran/; and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2095799/West-scrambles-avoid-Israeli-attack-Iran-come-months.html; inter alia.

David Meir-Levi

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/10/israel-alone-against-the-islamic-republic/

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

The Brewing Egyptian Hostage Crisis


by Alan W. Dowd


Not long ago, I used this space to ask if the Arab Spring was like 2009 (the failed Twitter Revolution in Iran), 1989 (the democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe) or 1979 (the Islamist revolution in Iran). Like others, I believed the end of Mubarak’s autocratic rule was something to celebrate, but I worried that what ultimately replaces Mubarak may not be worth celebrating. And sadly, a year later, elements of the Arab Spring are starting to resemble 1979, as evidenced by the brewing hostage crisis in Egypt.

Nineteen American citizens working for well-known and well-established nonprofit groups are being held on trumped-up charges that they tried to destabilize Egypt. Their offices were raided in late December, some are holed up in the U.S. embassy and all of them have been barred from flying out of Egypt. As Time magazine notes, December is significant. December is when Congress passed a number of conditions for aid to the Egyptian military, including proving a “commitment to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, progress toward democratic reforms, and the protection of free expression, association and religion.” Not only are the last two of those conditions not being met by Egypt, but Time adds that Cairo’s case against the Americans is “propagated by the military-led regime.”

That’s also an important part of the story. To its credit, the Egyptian military played a key role in persuading Mubarak to cede power, and in preventing Egypt from careening into chaos. The Egyptian military is now trying to serve as something of a referee/power broker/king-maker. Up until this crisis, Washington recognized that while having the Egyptian military in charge is not ideal, it may be necessary to hold the political pieces together in Egypt. But if this is how the “responsible” parties in post-Mubarak Egypt are going to treat Americans, then it’s time to reevaluate everything about this interests-based relationship. Hopefully, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey is conveying that very message in his talks in Cairo.

The clear, unambiguous and indeed private message should be threefold:

• The U.S. aid spigot—an average of $2 billion per year since 1979—will be shut off if these hostages aren’t freed and if post-Mubarak Egypt continues to resemble post-Shah Iran. As Time puts it, “if Egypt’s generals get away with the NGO crackdown and the political humiliation of its biggest foreign benefactor, it’s going to set a dangerous precedent for other regimes testing the waters of democracy.”

• The United States is prepared to radically rethink its security posture and force structure in the region. There are many other countries in the region that will take U.S. aid dollars and assist the U.S. in protecting its strategic interests.

• U.S. force will be employed if American interests or citizens are again threatened. Washington cannot allow another far-off revolution to hold America hostage.

Of course, it is the administration’s lack of clarity, lack of consistency and lack of commitment at times that has contributed to this situation. After all, the administration offered an extended hand to Tehran, averted its gaze from Iran’s pro-freedom revolution, initially supported Mubarak and then threw him under the bus, “led from behind” in Libya in a halfhearted war that had an expiration date for U.S. involvement, sat silent far too long regarding Syria and then inexplicably did nothing to end Assad’s reign, abruptly yanked U.S. forces out of Iraq, and recently sped up the timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

These actions and non-actions send signals to the generals in Cairo and Islamabad, to the tyrants in Tehran and Pyongyang, to the guerillas and jihadists who roam earth, to the business-suit autocrats in Moscow and Beijing.

Make no mistake: the president is not to blame for the hostages being taken, just as President Carter wasn’t to blame for the Iranian hostage crisis. The hostage-takers, the thugs, the enemies of freedom bear that responsibility. But presidents are responsible for how their administrations respond to crises like this.

For months, Carter did nothing of substance in response to the embassy takeover, and when he tried to do something it proved worse than nothing. President Obama has said little and done nothing, at least not in public view, regarding the Cairo crisis. Perhaps he is working behind the scenes. Perhaps he is trusting Gen. Demsey to deliver the message. Either way, the world is watching and waiting.

Alan W. Dowd

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/10/the-brewing-egyptian-hostage-crisis/

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

Party Like It’s A.D. 632


by Bruce Bawer


Recently the Partij voor Moslim Nederland (Party for Muslim Netherlands), which already enjoys a significant presence in various municipal governments in that country, announced that it intended to run candidates for the Dutch Parliament. An article in Forbes listed the party’s major principles, which included limits on “offensive” speech about religion; the criminalization of blasphemy and of the destruction of religious texts; immediate admission of Turkey to the EU; an end to support for Israel; and the free and unimpeded importation of Muslim brides from abroad.

Whether to work within existing parties, or to concentrate on forming and building up separate Muslim parties, has always been a key strategic question for the soft jihadists of Europe. Though there are Muslims in Norway who are prominent members of several large traditional parties, the country now has a Muslim party too. Founded in 2009 as the Independent Labour Party, it was obliged later that year to change its name to the Samtidspartiet (Contemporary Party) because of official concerns that it might be confused with the Norwegian Labor Party. When outlining the party’s goals, its founder, Norwegian-Pakistani Ghuffor Butt, focused on a desire for lower taxes, gas prices, and the like – making it sound like rather a libertarian party for Muslims. Formerly a cinema director, producer, and political journalist in Pakistan, as well as an actor in some twenty Pakistani movies, Butt ran – and, as far as I know, still runs – a successful store in Grønland, a largely Muslim district in Oslo, that sells Bollywood films.

Yet lest these credentials suggest he was a “liberal” and “modern” Muslim, Butt made it clear, in answer to a Dagbladet journalist’s questions, that his party’s other objectives included lifting the ban on hijab in the police force, establishing exclusively Muslim schools and hospitals, instructing immigrant-group children in their parents’ native tongue rather than in Norwegian, easing residence-visa rules, using taxpayer money to fund the building of mosques and pay the salaries of imams, punishing those who had reprinted the Danish Muhammed cartoons, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, and prohibiting homosexuality. (Later, presumably loath to offend some of his allies on the left, Butt made a phone call to Dagbladet to walk back the bit about gays: while homosexual conduct is forbidden by Islam, he said, the party did not intend to change Norwegian law on the subject. Yeah, right.)

“If Norwegians didn’t drink alcohol, have premarital sex, and eat pork,” Butt told Dagbladet, “they’d be the world’s best Muslims.” He also suggested that Mossad was responsible for 9/11 and echoed the popular myth that Jews hadn’t shown up for work at the World Trade Center that day.

It is interesting to note that the official launch of this putatively Norwegian political party took place in Pakistan – yet another apparent indication of the way in which many Norwegian-Pakistanis view their relationships to their old and new homelands. As Butt explained, it was easier to reach Norwegian Pakistani voters in Norway this way because they didn’t watch Norwegian TV: thanks to satellite dishes, their sets are tuned to the Pakistani channels on which he was planning to do interviews. “In three years, Oslo’s mayor will be a Norwegian-Pakistani,” he predicted (wrong so far), and expressed the hope that within fifteen years a “second-generation immigrant” would be Norway’s prime minister.

Then there’s the U.K., where Muslims established the Islamic Party of Britain in 1989 only to dissolve it in 2006 after limited success in local elections. The party received widespread attention when one of its functionaries, in answer to a reader’s question on its website, said that gays should be put to death for “public…lewdness.” The party is no more, but it lingers on, after a fashion, in the form of the socialist Respect Party, to which it had intimate ties. Based in the immigrant-heavy city of Manchester, run by two people named Salma Yaqoob and Abjol Miah, and founded in 2004 in opposition to the war in Iraq, the party – which has what one might call a “special relationship” with the Muslim Association of Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain, and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) – calls for a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich to fund welfare programs, stauncher support for Pakistani, and a tough stance toward Israel; though it presents itself as a part of the left, it has soft-pedaled women’s rights and gay rights to garner Muslim votes. Its most famous member is the Hamas-loving international gadfly George Galloway, who represented the party in Parliament after his expulsion from Labour.

And let’s not forget Spain, where in 2009 Muslims formed the Partido Renacimiento y Unión de España (PRUNE), which – though it calls explicitly for a “moral and ethical regeneration” of Spanish society, with Islam as the motive force – denies that it’s a Muslim party. A similar situation obtains in Germany, where a party called the Alliance for Innovation and Justice, founded in 2010, also claims it’s not a Muslim institution, despite its overwhelmingly Muslim membership, its clearly Islamic ideological orientation, and its intimate ties with the ruling party in Turkey.

So it goes. In those places in Europe where Muslims have reached a certain percentage of the population, it’s not surprising to see Muslim parties cropping up, fielding candidates, and, eventually, winning elections – first for local offices, then for seats in Parliament.

One challenge facing all such parties, however, is that of convincing Muslims that a separate party is the best way for them to gain power. Indeed, while it’s important to keep an eye on these still relatively small parties, at present the far more significant problem is the readiness of the large, established parties that, in order to win Muslim votes, are quick to betray their founding principles – and to sell out the interests, rights, and security of members of constituencies (such as gays and Jews) that are increasingly being dwarfed by ever-ballooning Muslim populations. The possibility of those Muslim votes being siphoned off by newer, smaller parties with aggressively Islamic platforms can only encourage the major parties to shift their own agendas in even more Muslim-friendly directions.

It’s all part, needless to say, of the complex, subtle – and ominous – workings of soft jihad. Which is why the decision of the Party for Muslim Netherlands to dive into the parliamentary fray is a development worth taking note of. For it’s no isolated incident, but part of a much larger and constantly shifting picture – that of the steady, and seemingly inexorable, political Islamization of Europe.

Bruce Bawer

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/10/party-like-its-a-d-632/

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

Al-Qaeda Takes Over East Africa


by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

Ethiopia of great interest to Al-Qaeda, which sees it as the gateway to the whole African Continent.

Al-Qaeda is expanding its presence in Africa. The Islamist terrorist group hopes to find in the African continent new safe havens from which to attack Western interests and build logistical bases. Al-Qaeda is already present in the North Africa and in Somalia. However, Al-Qaeda is looking for new countries in which to establish its own rule. It is now looking at Ethiopia, a country ruled by a cruel dictatorship, and situated in the Horn of Africa. Although Ethiopia has a Christian majority, a third of the population is Muslim. Ethiopia is, the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa and where the Prophet Mohammed found refuge when he was persecuted by the Meccans. It is also the country where the jihadist Abu Musab Zarqawi may be following in the Prophet's footsteps, and to which he is thought to have to relocated before being killed in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda Cell Uncovered

The Ethiopian government recently confirmed having arrested eight suspected Al-Qaeda members as they were attempting to launch an attack in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian state-run news agency, ENA, citing a statement by Ethiopia's Federal Police, reported that the National Intelligence and Security Service Taskforce of the Federal Police said the eight suspects had been arrested after they were found organizing, providing training to, and educating recruits, with the assistance of the Somali terror group, Al-Shabab. According to the same report, the suspects also had links with al-Qaeda cells in other parts of the world, including Kenya, Sudan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Ethiopia became one of Al-Qaeda's targets after intervening in the Somalia war in 2006, when the Ethiopian government sent in its army to counter another Islamist movement that ruled much of southern Somalia. Last November, media reported that Ethiopian troops again entered Somalia, this time to support, Kenya's offensive against the Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow the Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government and impose Islamic law there. Reuters reported that "scores of Ethiopian military vehicles, ferrying troops and weapons, pushed at least 80 km into Somalia [...], according to local residents and elders." In response, Al-Shabab militants released a statement warning Ethiopia against military intervention in Somalia: "Let them come and sniff the kind of gunpowder we have here," the statement read. Despite the warning, media reported in December that Ethiopian troops in Somalia killed a member of a notorious Yemeni Al-Qaeda-linked family, Abu Al-Baraa Abdul Aziz bin Attash. In January, Al-Shabab, in return, killed 33 Ethiopian soldiers, during a suicide attack on a Somali army base.

Boko Haram

Last December, The Ethiopian Times, among other media outlets, reported that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, responsible for recent terrorist attacks against the Nigerian Christian community, opened training camps in Ethiopia. "A source revealed that the Boko Haram, in conjunction with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magreb opened training camps in Ethiopia, besides the usual training grounds of Al-Qaeda in Sudan and Somalia."

The Sudan Tribune also mentions that "Africa's porous borders, poor security at sea and airports as well as luck of coordinated counter-terrorist task forces, conflict and political instability among others have created [a] conducive environment to terrorist groups."

Israel

In 2010, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article mentioning that the Yemen-based arm of Al-Qaida was examining the possibility of infiltrating terrorists into Israel, coming from training camps in Somalia under the guise of new Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia or as Somali refugees.

Conclusion

Al-Qaeda's support for Somali jihadists has ensured the Islamist movement a base from which to expand its activities in Eastern Africa and West Africa, and from which to develop and stage attacks against local and U.S. interests in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Because of its geographical position, Ethiopia in particular is of great interest and importance for Al-Qaeda, which sees the country as an opening gateway to the whole African continent.

Anna Mahjar-Barducci

Source: http://www.stonegateinstitute.org/2835/al-qaeda-east-africa

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

For Palestinians, No Arab Spring


by Khaled Abu Toameh

Abbas collecting autocratic titles, including those he denied to Arafat.

At a time when Arab heads of state are facing popular uprisings demanding reforms and democracy, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has secured himself yet another job: Prime Minister.

Earlier this week, Palestinians were surprised to hear that Abbas had reached a deal with Hamas to form a unity government that would be headed by the Palestinian president.

The 76-year-old Abbas already holds several titles. In addition to his job as president, he is also the chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, head of the Fatah Central Committee and Commander of the Palestinian Armed Forces.

Abbas's deal with Hamas, which was reached under the auspices of Qatar, has drawn sharp criticism from many Palestinians. Moreover, the deal has divided Hamas into camps -- one that accepts the appointment of Abbas as prime minister and another that categorically rejects it.

As if not enough, Palestinian sources reported that Abbas may also serve as Finance Minister and Interior Minister in the proposed unity government -- raising the number of titles he would hold to eight.

Abbas's critics say his planned appointment as prime minister is in violation of the Palestinian basic law, which prohibits the president from serving as prime minister simultaneously.

Ironically, it was Abbas who in 2003 demanded that the basic law be amended to prevent his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, from serving as prime minister and president at the same time. Abbas's goal back then was to limit the powers of Arafat's autocratic leadership.

While most Palestinians have welcomed the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the feeling in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is that Abbas is making a mockery not only of the same law that he fought so fiercely to approve, but also of calls for reform and change.

Many Palestinians are convinced that the Qatari-brokered deal is more about helping Abbas consolidate his grip on the Palestinian government than ending the Hamas-Fatah dispute.

The deal with Hamas does not only guarantee Abbas additional titles and powers, but also helps him (and Hamas) get rid of current Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Both Fatah and Hamas regard Fayyad as a threat. Fatah does not like him because of his efforts to end financial corruption and reform Palestinian institutions. Hamas has never accepted Fayyad because of his moderate views and the Palestinian Authority's security crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

In the end, Abbas succumbed to Hamas pressure to get rid of Fayyad. If and when the Qatari-sponsored deal is implemented, Fayyad will be forced to search for a new job.

By agreeing also to serve as prime minister, Abbas has chosen to swim against the tide. Instead of paving the way for the rise of new leaders, he is searching for ways to tighten his grip on the government.

It is hard to see how he will manage to get away with this new initiative at a time when a growing number of Palestinians and Arabs are demanding an end to the rule of autocrats and tyrants.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Source: http://www.stonegateinstitute.org/2837/palestinians-arab-spring

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

The Problem of Sharia Law in Britain


by Michael Curtis

Unequal justice under unequal laws.

On many occasions James Madison warned of the power of an "ecclesiastical establishment." Britain now is confronted by such a threat. The estimated Muslim population in Britain is now 2.9 million, nearly five percent of the total population, and an increase of about 75 percent in the last decade. In Britain, which has the third largest Muslim population in Europe, over twenty- five areas have Muslim populations so large that if they are not the majority yet, they are approaching it. The Muslim increase has resulted from a high birth rate, greater immigration and conversion. Over 5,000 people in Britain convert each year. Hundreds of mosques have been built. Islamic primary and secondary schools have been established; the schools devote part of the time each day to religious instruction.

The country is therefore challenged by a steadily increasing number of regions with considerable Muslim populations, by the influence of Islamic religious extremists, by the influence of religion in the society, by differences over social issues such as women's rights, marriage, and divorce, and by the trend towards a legal system for Muslims, separate from the rest of the British population.

Sharia (Path, in Arabic) law is the divine law of Islam. It comes from a number of sources: the Koran, the teachings (Sunna) of the Prophet Muhammad, the interpretations by successive imams of those teachings, and fatwas, the rulings of Islamic scholars. Practicing that law in Britain is legal. As a result of the 1996 Arbitration Act, which allows private disputes to be settled by an independent arbitrator, the rulings of religious bodies have legal force in disputes about inheritance and divorce, and can be enforced by county courts or the High Court, thus making them binding in British law.

Sharia law is practiced in Sharia councils, Muslim arbitration tribunals and informal tribunals. Since 1982, well before the 1996 Arbitration Act was passed, Muslims have been resorting to Sharia courts rather than the courts of the British government. There are now 85 Sharia courts acting in accordance with Muslim principles. The rules of these courts are legally binding. About 3,500 Muslims go each year to these courts for arbitration.

The procedures of these courts present problems. The presiding judges are imams; there is no agreed-upon selection process based on experience and credentials over their appointment. Furthermore, there is little or no access to legal representation for defendants and there is no real right of appeal even when there may not be genuine consent by both parties to the arbitration. The proceedings themselves are not even recorded.

Another issue is the fact that different legal systems for individuals of different religions living in the same country and under the same government promote division. Some of the rulings of the Sharia courts are both contrary to British common law, particularly those that are discriminatory against women and non-Muslims. Sharia courts and British courts hold different standards. Sharia courts have tried to ban alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking, prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, and the mixing of sexes in public. Extremist Muslim groups, especially Muslims against the Crusades, have even called for the creation of a " Sharia controlled zone" in three boroughs in London (Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, and Newham), and in several towns including Bradford, Luton, Leicester, and Dewsbury. These would be autonomous entities operating outside British law. Their objective is to defeat " Western decadence" in Britain. These controlled zones would be the first step in the creation of an Islamic state.

Surprisingly, Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in February 2008, argued that the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law seemed unavoidable, and that such adoption, or "constructive accommodation," would help maintain social cohesion. He held that Muslims should not have to choose between the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty. He sought "constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law," even though the principle that there is only one law for everyone is an important pillar of social identity in a Western democracy, Williams held that people also hold other affiliations and loyalties which shape and dictate how they behave in society and the law must take account of that.

The fundamental question is whether Islamic courts should be forced to acknowledge the primacy of British common law, especially in relation to the issue of discrimination against women. Sharia law treats women as second class citizens. Already, about 17,000 Muslim women in Britain have become victims of forced marriages, have been raped by their husbands, or subjected to female genital mutilation.

The Sharia courts claim that their verdicts are officially binding in British law in cases involving divorce, financial differences between husbands and wives, and domestic violence that is a criminal, not a civil, offence. Lord Phillips, the former Lord Chief Justice, spoke of the "widespread misunderstanding" of Sharia law and approved the use of Islamic courts for cases of family, marital, and financial disputes. However, many disagree with that view and hold that British law is absolute. Should the rulings of those courts be officially enforced rather than simply accepted voluntarily?

British lawmakers are concerned about the pressure being exerted on women to accept the ruling of the Sharia courts. To this end Lady Cox in June 2011 introduced a bill in the House of Lords to acknowledge the primacy of British law; the bill will be discussed during the 2012 parliamentary year. She and others have deep concerns about the discrimination Muslim women suffer in Sharia courts, particularly in cases involving child custody and domestic violence. The custody of children reverts to the father at a set time, usually the age of seven, regardless of what would be in the best interests of the children. The bill would make it an offence to claim that Sharia courts have legal jurisdiction over British family or criminal law. It would end the Sharia practice of giving women's testimony less weight than that of men, and overcome the unequal access of women to divorce. Under Muslim Sharia law, a man can divorce his wife by repudiation: a woman must provide justifications. Female evidence is not permissible in a Sharia court in the case of rape. Women cannot become judges in those courts. The general principle is the concept that human rights laws should take precedence over religious law. The immediate point is that women should be free of coercion, intimidation, and unfairness.

Of course, Sharia law is interpreted differently by Muslim judges. Not all would accept the view of Judge, Dr. Suhaib Hasan, that the penal law should provide that women be stoned for adultery and that robbers have their hands amputated. Nor is it clear to what extent women go to Sharia courts voluntarily and accept unfair decisions. It is more probable that they are pressured by families to abide by those decisions, and even more probable that they do not know their rights under British law.

Will Sharia law become the dominant law in Muslim areas? Surveys show that most Muslim students in Britain want Sharia law to be introduced into British law. Sharia law reflects Muslim cultures abroad in which compliance is enforced. Opponents of Sharia law object to law derived from theocratic systems. Once confined to Saudi Arabia, enforcing theocratic rules through national laws has spread to democratic countries, thus becoming a troubling issue. It is not consonant with the true values of democratic systems—the rule of law, legal equality, and open justice.

Michael Curtis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University and author of the forthcoming book, Should Israel Exist? A sovereign nation under attack by the international community.
Source: http://www.stonegateinstitute.org/2839/sharia-law-britain

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Harvard Promotes the Palestinians’ Slow-Motion ‘Final Solution’


by Bruce Thornton

There is no idea so hateful or useless that some university somewhere won’t hold a conference on it. The latest example of this unfortunate truism is the recently announced “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Conference” scheduled for early March at the Harvard Kennedy School. Nineteen speakers and ten panels will spend two days explaining why “’two-states for two peoples’ is no longer a viable option for Israel/Palestine,” as the organizers assert, and discussing a “solution” to the Israeli-Arab crisis that has absolutely no chance of ever being implemented.

The adherents of this veiled assault on Israel argue that the “two-state solution,” “in which Israel is secure and the Palestinians have sovereignty,” as President Obama told Time magazine, has been a failure. Of course, the two-state solution has failed because since 1948, the first time Arabs rejected a Palestinian state, a critical mass of Palestinian Arabs have wanted something more than sovereignty: they want Israel destroyed and her land possessed by Arabs from “the river to the sea,” as PLO chief Yasser Arafat used to say. The one-state solution, which envisions a single nation comprising Arabs and Jews under a single government, is a way to achieve the same aim. Such a state would obviously require the end of Israel’s Jewish identity, and would result in an Arabic demographic explosion that in any kind of representative government would marginalize Jews. Moreover, we can see the most likely sort of regime that would rule the “one state” by looking next door at Egypt, where Islamists are now in control and relations with Israel have deteriorated. Whatever the result, such a state would not resemble the liberal democracy of Israel today.

Perhaps the conference will address issues like Arab intransigence, genocidal anti-Semitism, and terrorist violence, but judging from some of the speakers, such balance seems unlikely. Among the usual obscure academics and Palestinian activists camouflaged as scholars, one finds anti-Israel luminaries like Stephen M. Walt, who along with John Mearshimer in 2007 published The Israel Lobby, an academic recycling of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in which nefarious American Jews secretly control U.S. foreign policy in service to their Zionist puppet-masters. Even more suggestive of the conference’s bias is the presence of Ilan Pappé, whose scholarly malfeasance got him cashiered from Haifa University over his involvement in a student’s master’s thesis that fabricated an Israeli massacre of Palestinians. Such an episode will surprise no one familiar with Pappé’s own work, which as historian Efraim Karsh has written, displays a “consistent resort to factual misrepresentation, distortion, and outright falsehood.” Pappé is clearly an ideologue and propagandist, as he frankly admits: he sneers at “objectivity,” professes that he is “not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened,” and crows that “my ideology influences my historical writings.” That such a travesty of the profession of history is invited to speak at a prestigious university testifies to how intellectually and morally corrupt the American academy has become.

This rather loose attitude towards evidence and fact embraced by Pappé reveals itself as well in the on-line descriptions of the panel topics, where one finds libels such as references to “the original 700,000 [Arabs] who were ethnically cleansed from Palestine in 1948 and 1967,” moral cowardice in phrases such as “a great deal of violence has isolated the two peoples from one another,” and the de rigueur question-begging epithet: “How can justice for the victims of racism or violence be achieved?” You get the picture: racist Israelis who ethnically cleansed Arabs from their homeland and incited a “cycle of violence” need to abandon their Jewish identity and their ancestral lands in order to resolve a bloody conflict.

The Kennedy School conference, then, is a propaganda exercise the effect of which is to further the Palestinian Arab “phases” strategy for destroying Israel. In this regard, history provides an interesting parallel to the way the Arabs have manipulated Westerners and obscured their true aim, the destruction of Israel. In 1938, Hitler began fulfilling his plan to create a racial German empire, one that also was put into place by “phases.” Just as the Middle East regimes today claim that their hostility to Israel results from the maltreatment of the Palestinians, who have been dispossessed of their homeland by an oppressive invader, Hitler justified his aggression against Czechoslovakia as in fact the liberation of his fellow Germans from an alien government oppressing them and violating their rights. Thus Hitler’s pretext that national and ethnic self-determination for the Sudeten Germans, necessary because of the Czechs’ “brutal treatment of mothers and children of German blood,” as Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels put it, was the reason he was interfering in Czechoslovakia.

This pretext, moreover, which exploited the principle of “national self-determination” enshrined in the Versailles settlement, offered Czechoslovakia’s allies France and England the seductive delusion that if only a settlement could be negotiated regarding the Sudeten Germans, a resolution could be achieved without violence. Meanwhile, Hitler’s Nazi stooges in Czechoslovakia instigated violent riots and fabricated incidents of violence against Germans, at the same time they kept escalating their outrageous demands during negotiations. As Hitler’s puppet in Czechoslovakia, Konrad Henlein, put it, “We [Sudeten Germans] must always demand so much that we cannot be satisfied.” The goal was to force the Czechs to break off negotiations and thus justify a German invasion.

Consider the similarities between Hitler’s strategy and that of the Palestinian Arabs:

• Hitler’s military was not ready for a war against both France and England in 1938, so he was reluctant to gamble on force to achieve his aims. Today the Palestinians and the Arab states have suffered three defeats at the hands of Israel, and are unlikely to risk such humiliation again.

• Hitler thus turned to duplicitous negotiations over the alleged suffering of the German minority in the Sudetenland and their right to national self-determination to buy time and achieve his aims without war. Likewise the Arabs now speak of a “Palestinian homeland” and Palestinian self-determination to grind Israel down in a process of specious negotiations filled with outrageous demands, such as the return to Israel of 700,000 “refugees” or the dismantling of “settlements,” so that the new state will be ethnically cleansed of Jews. And the Palestinians “cannot be satisfied” with legitimate concessions made by Israel, including at least three legitimate offers to give them the homeland they allegedly pine for.

• In concert with phony negotiations, the Sudeten Nazi Party fomented violence and manufactured atrocities in order to justify German intervention and create international sympathy for their cause. So too the Palestinian Arabs have manufactured numerous atrocities, such as the Jenin “massacre” or the Mohammad Dura killing, and used terrorist violence in order to provoke retaliation and defensive measures that further alienate the international community from Israel and increase pressure on it to make concessions.

• Most important, just as England and France were unwilling to take action against Hitler’s aggressive intentions, and so found in the alleged suffering of the Sudeten Germans a convenient excuse to pressure Czechoslovakia into committing national suicide, so too the West finds in “Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation” a convenient pretext for ignoring the obvious goal of the Palestinian Arabs, the destruction of Israel. Indeed, President Obama’s recent demands for more Israeli concessions as a prelude to a peace settlement recalls the suicidal concessions England and France demanded from Czechoslovakia. As the crisis continued in 1938, the British solution was “for Prague to get a real twist of the screw.” And while the Czechs fought desperately for their national survival, British Minister Basil Newton advised Czech president Edvard Benes “go forthwith to the very limit of concession.” How similar to the constant accusations that Israel negotiates in bad faith, and to the continually escalating demands on Israel to make unreciprocated concessions to a people who have met every previous concession with terrorist attacks, and who always “demand so much they cannot be satisfied.”

Winning international sympathy and support for the “oppressed” Palestinians has been a critical element in the “phases” strategy. The Kennedy School conference––like the boycott of Israeli academics, one of whose prime movers is Ilan Pappé–– is yet another example that this strategy to destroy Israel by manipulating international opinion has been working. The “one-state solution” is in fact an enabler of a slow-motion final solution.

Bruce Thornton

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/08/harvard-promotes-the-palestinians-slow-motion-final-solution/

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

Daniel Pipes: "The Public is Receiving Much Disinformation"


by Rachel Hirshfeld


Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes
Israel news photo: danielpipes.org

Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, gave an interview with conservative political activist, Ezra Levant, as was reported by Israel Matzav, the popular blogspot for issues regarding Israel and the Middle East.

Regarding the continually deteriorating situation in Syria, Daniel Pipes stated that it is only a matter of weeks or months until the Syrian “tyranny” topples. He noted, as others have written, that the most important aspect, from a strategic point of view, is that a regime change in Syria will almost certainly result in the breaking of the Syrian alliance with Iran, which will cause “a real blow” to the Iranian regime. As of now, Iran uses their relationship with Syria as a means of transferring arms and money to Hizbullah and Hamas, and gaining influence in “the heart of the Middle East.”

Pipes said that while the Iranian military is, largely, out of date, Israeli officials have indicated that it has dispersed functions and continues putting facilities underground, some as far as 100 meters. As Iran continues putting nuclear facilities underground at an increasing rate, the option of staging a pre-emptive attack will no longer be viable.

At this point, Pipes notes, Israel lacks the support of the United States and is, therefore, left with two feasible options to attack Iran. Either they can use fighter planes, striking key targets, although that option may not be viable in the near future. The second option is to use tactical nuclear weapons based in submarines, which will, undoubtedly escalate the situation even further, but remains plausible.

The American administration, he said, does not put sufficient pressure on Iran and is not willing to exert the necessary force needed to curtail its nuclear ambitions.

He goes on to state that if the United States was, in fact, ready and willing to attack Iran, more options would be available. The United States has a larger military force, more planes, more ordinance, better intelligence and troops may be deployed on the ground, but says that it is highly unlikely that Israel would decide to take such a route.

Pipes said that while Iran has been on the international radar for quite a while, there is a newfound urgency to the situation. While there was always some sort of timetable with regards to Iran, it no longer remains in the distant future, and is taking on a heightened degree of urgency, with "July looming," as a time at which a non-nuclear pre-emptive strike would no longer be feasible.

There has been a lot of media coverage and "chit chat by Israelis" as well as visits to Israel by top international officials, seeking to "cool down the Israelis."

Pipes said that the public is being fed a great deal of “disinformation.” The man in the street cannot possibly discern the truth and everything the public thinks is true is mere speculation. Pipes said that it will probably be ten years before we learn the truth behind what is going on now.

Rachel Hirshfeld

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/152558#.TzP5YoFvIi5

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

Iranian Official: Better Not Consider Attacking Iran


by Rachel Hirshfeld


Map of Strait of Hormuz

Map of Strait of Hormuz
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Iranian Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity Brigadier, Massoud Jazayeri, said that Israel and the United States are in “no position to launch a military strike against Iran” and that the decision to do so would have grave consequences.

The Iranian commander stressed that they do not take the threats of the American administration seriously and stated that, “the US war and peace signals are either pointless or lack enough credence when it comes to policy making.”

He went on to say that, “The US government is in such a desperate situation that even Americans have been pouring into the streets across the country to protest against the capitalist system and chant slogans in support of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

He was referring to Obama’s policies regarding Iran, which seem to be best characterized as an ambiguous “carrot and stick” approach that project weakness. Obama has stated, “Any kind of additional military activity inside the Persian Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us. It could have a big effect on oil prices… And so our preferred solution here is diplomatic.”

In an interview with FOX News yesterday, former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani voiced the same concern and stated, "President Obama has 'no clue' what is going on in the Middle East and that he is living in a 'fairly naive world.'"

While President Obama, in his pre-Super Bowl interview on Sunday stated, that there is no imminent “evidence” that Iran has the “intentions or capabilities” of attacking the United States, there is much evidence to the contrary.

Fars News Agency reported that, “Iran has warned that in case of an attack by either the US or Israel, it will target 32 American bases in the Middle East and close the strategic Strait of Hormus. An estimated 40 percent of the world’s oil supply passes through the waterway.”

Rachel Hirshfeld

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/152553#.TzP4mIFvIi5

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

To Bomb or Not to Bomb Iran


by David Meir-Levi


Itchy trigger fingers can cause wars. A pre-emptive conventional weapons bombing strike against Iran’s known nuclear facilities could do more harm than good….or at least so say some.[i]

And indeed there is the real and frightening possibility that an Israeli or American attack might unite Iran’s disaffected anti-Mullah 30-somethings into a furious show of patriotism and thus lock in the current mullah-cracy (aka the Islamic Republic of Iran) for another generation. Such an attack might also have a similar effect on the current Syrian regime; radicalize the Muslim world against the West; ignite Hezbollah on the Lebanese border; re-invigorate a flagging Hamas; endanger US troops in Iraq; spark revenge terror attacks; propel oil prices skyward; trigger a regional war; prompt Iran’s closure of the Straits of Hormuz; and cause stock markets world-wide to plummet. And then again, it might not.

But what happens if one does not bomb?

Some current analysis suggests that an Iranian Islamist regime armed with nuclear weapons will trigger a regional nuclear arms race; destroy the non-proliferation treaty; increase the danger of miscalculation that could bring on a nuclear exchange; allow Iran to escalate its destabilizing influence throughout the region and the world; threaten Israel and moderate Arab regimes; manipulate energy markets to its benefit; pose as a guardian of Muslim communities even beyond the Middle East; and, perhaps worst of all, share its nuclear technology with its non-state proxies and terrorist groups. Thus empowered, Iran just might be able to throw its nuclear weight behind the current Syrian regime; radicalize the Muslim world against the West; ignite Hezbollah on the Lebanese border; re-invigorate a flagging Hamas; endanger US troops in Iraq; provide a measure of impunity for Muslim terror attacks; propel oil prices skyward; trigger regional wars anywhere it wants; close the Straits of Hormuz with impunity; and cause stock markets world-wide to plummet.

And to make matters worse, the Iranian nuclear threat may by now be global. Israeli sources disclosed that recently Iran began working on missiles with a 10,000 kilometer (c. 6,200 miles) range, capable of striking targets in the western hemisphere. But even worse is the slowly emerging reality that Iran and Hezbollah are working with drug cartels in Mexico and with the Venezuelan government to smuggle materials into South America, creating a conduit that could one day be used to smuggle nuclear weapons into South America for deployment against North America. An Iranian nuclear attack on North America, via long-range missiles or from bases in South America, could involve the detonation of a nuclear device high in the atmosphere to send a massive electromagnetic pulse that would paralyze virtually all U.S.-based electronic defense systems, destroying America’s electrical grid, and shutting down everything from cars to computers to airplanes and refrigerators. And if detonated closer to the ground, such a device would vaporize millions of Americans.

But Iran does not need to actually drop the bomb. The moment Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the region will feel compelled to do the same, sparking a nuclear arms race among the world’s most unstable and fanatical regimes and their proxy terrorist forces. And such threats, without a single missile being launched, would have a devastating effect on the Israeli economy and society: withdrawal of overseas and Israeli investors, a record number of Israeli emigrants, a sharp decline of Jewish immigration, dwindling tourism, intensification of military-political-economic dependence on the U.S., and the transformation of Israel from a strategic asset to a strategic liability.

Should Iran achieve nuclear military capacity, it will be free to advance its Islamist revolution throughout the world with impunity from attack. So it may well be that by not bombing, the world, and especially the USA and Israel, will pay a much higher and more horrific price.

But what about the IAEA, inspections, and sanctions?

The problem with the IAEA and its inspections is that it has failed numerous times to detect clandestine WMD activity in countries that are signatories to the non-proliferation treaty. Such embarrassing gaffs include North Korea, Libya, Russia, China and most recently Syria and Iran. Moreover, there is no method of enforcement of IAEA inspections. With complete impunity, Iran recently barred inspectors from the most sensitive and suspicious of its WMD sites.

Moreover, Iran possesses the most clandestine-capable nuclear-weapon technology in history: the gas centrifuge. Gas centrifuge installations can be housed in a room the size of a high school gymnasium, and require very little external power, thus making it almost impossible to detect. Iran can now make centrifuges on an entirely indigenous basis.

Sanctions have failed to bring Iran to its knees, even though the most recent ones have thrown the Iranian economy into turmoil. And this is one of the most problematic aspects of sanctions: in a country where leaders have no concern for the well-being of their own people, sanctions can harm the innocent without influencing the government. Enhanced incentives have not only failed to entice Iran to give up its nuclear program, but they have had the reverse effect of validating its uncompromising policy against making any concessions in the nuclear arena. Moreover, Iran has successfully evaded US sanctions against its state shipping company simply by painting new names on its ships. Equally problematic is the willingness of Russia, China, North Korea and Venezuela to supply Iran with whatever it needs, including WMD expertise and uranium, to vitiate the effects of the West’s sanctions.[ii]

The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control reported in November, 2011 that by December 2008 Iran had one atomic bomb. By 2009 it had two, and by 2011, five. The IAEA garnered evidence that Iran was testing nuclear explosives and working on weaponization (fitting nuclear warheads to nose-cones of missiles). In January 2012 Iran announced publicly that its uranium enrichment site was about to become operational, prompting the IAEA to warn the world that Tehran now has the ability to make whatever nuclear weapons it chooses, within months.

And most recently, on February 3 of this year, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told an Iranian audience that Iran will continue its nuclear program, will retaliate ferociously against any military interference, and will offer its full support to any nation or group that confronts Israel, “that cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”

It seems crystal clear that Iran can and will go nuclear very soon, and once nuclear, it will use its new strength to advance its Islamic genocidal goals. For the U.S., for Israel, for the EU and for the UN these developments should represent the sum of all fears, yet Obama seems not only dead-set against taking military action against Iran; he is working very hard to talk Israel out of doing so.[iii]

Such a grim assessment of Obama’s mindset is unavoidable when one recalls his inaction against Iran for its capture of the RQ-170 stealth drone in December of last year; his silence over Iran’s initiation of 20% uranium enrichment at the underground Fordo facility near Qom; his reluctance to send U.S. aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz; his hesitation in approving immediate sanctions on Iran’s central bank and energy sector; and his secret attempt to influence Congress to soften the most recent more biting sanctions.

So it is not surprising that “pre-empt now” and “point of no return” are terms used by some pundits in the West to predict Israel’s supposedly imminent attack on Iran.[iv]

Some have suggested that the only viable solution is regime change in Iran. Perhaps a much easier solution is regime change in the USA in November 2012.

Endnotes:

[i] http://keller.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/how-about-not-bombing-iran/?pagemode=print “How About Not Bombing Iran?’; and Colin H. Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East in the Obama administration, at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137031/colin-h-kahl/not-time-to-attack-iran; and R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the George W. Bush administration, at http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/21686/what_to_do_about_iran.html ; and Roger Cohen, at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/opinion/cohen-dont-do-it-bibi.html?_r=2; and Jeffrey Goldberg at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/09/the-point-of-no-return/8186/.

[ii] http://features.rr.com/article/00wR5Cg0rn4L1 for list of recent articles discussing the support Iran receives from its erstwhile allies.

[iv] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/11/02/israel-test-fires-missile-that-can-hit-iran-1866648425/, and http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/magazine/will-israel-attack-iran.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all, and

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201202011030–tms–cthomastq–b-a20120202feb02,0,1249312.column , and http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11204, inter alia.

David Meir-Levi

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/09/to-bomb-or-not-to-bomb-iran/

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

The Chutzpah of Omar Barghouti


by Daniel Greenfield


The classical definition of the Yiddish word Chutzpah is a man on trial for killing his parents who asks for leniency because he is an orphan. Next to that definition is a picture of Omar Barghouti, a Qatari-born Muslim who moved to Israel and enrolled in Tel Aviv University to obtain a Masters Degree in Philosophy while conducting an academic boycott campaign against Israel.

Omar Barghouti is promoting a boycott of a service that he makes use of as a platform, and explains the contradiction between calling for a boycott of Israeli universities while studying at an Israeli university by saying that his studies are a “personal matter.” This is a privilege only enjoyed by Omar the Boycott Maker, while ordinary Jewish and Arab students and faculty have their personal academic studies politicized by him and his leftist cronies.

Two years ago when his alma mater was going to hold a series of lectures at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Barghouti’s Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounced Tel Aviv University for the “oppressive and criminal activities fostered, facilitated and celebrated by that institution” that PCABI alleged were taking place there. Presumably Barghouti didn’t mean his own activities, which certainly met that standard and were facilitated by Tel Aviv University.

It’s not as if this Qatari and Egyptian immigrant didn’t have any other options. Qatar and Egypt have their own universities. So does the United States. Barghouti knows that quite well since he also has a degree from Columbia. Instead Barghouti moved to Israel and set up shop denouncing a country that he wasn’t born in and did not grow up in and can leave any time he wants to.

With a PhD in Philosophy, Barghouti has the perfect background for a parasite whose only real career is political activism on behalf of terrorists. Had he stayed in Egypt, he would have had to live off the family money or get a real job. But in Israel he has a rewarding career of promoting a boycott that he doesn’t actually participate in, while conducting a world lecture tour denouncing Israel.

Barghouti does not just call for a boycott of Israel, what he is really promoting is a one state solution destruction of Israel. And his “passion” for the subject is not the random parasitism of another activist looking for a cause. Omar Barghouti is a distant cousin of Marwan Barghouti and Mustafa Barghouti. Marwan Barghouti is a major terrorist leader serving five life sentences for numerous murders. Mustafa Barghouti was a Soviet-educated Communist leader and a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority.

The Barghouti clan, that part of it which is still hanging out in Israel, tends to have a lot of PhDs and their own agenda aiming for power in the Palestinian Arab movement. Bashir Barghouti, was a leading Jordanian Communist who served as the Minister of Industry in the Palestinian Authority. Another of the bunch, Mohammed Barghouti was the Minister of Labor.

But the grip of the Barghoutis on power has been a tenuous one. While they do control a few towns in the West Bank, mostly they have had to settle for being academics, whiny writers and poets penning turgid denunciations of Israel. Some of the bunch has made it to America, others linger in Egypt and Jordan, and anywhere else pretentious parasites can find a warm academic nook to crawl into.

With that background, Omar Barghouti’s campus Jihad combined with a campus outpost is unsurprising, he is only following the family tradition of burrowing into academia and building a career denouncing Israel. The boycott program has opened a new front in the war against Israel by giving terrorist sympathizing leftists in Europe an excuse to reject papers from Israeli academics and bar the door against students with Israeli diplomas, not including Barghouti of course. It is also building a power base for the new generation of the Barghouti clan.

The BDS movement, which aims for a boycott of Israel, has never been accused of fielding a coherent argument. Barghouti’s own articles and speeches are equally incoherent. Playing the professional Palestinian, Barghouti insists that Jesus was a Palestinian. Aside from the absurdity of retroactively assigning a 20th century Arab nationalist identity to a figure who lived in the twilight days of a Jewish state, Barghouti’s own Palestinian identity seems rather shaky considering that he only stopped by the area as an adult.

Why a Qatari-born immigrant like Omar Barghouti should have more legal and civil rights than a Jewish child born in Israel cannot be defended in any way except by an appeal to the racial and religious superiority of the construct of a Palestinian identity. A fraud that the Barghoutis have done a good deal to perpetuate in academic life.

In a recent op-ed promoting the Penn State BDS conference taking place in February, Omar Barghouti tried to latch on to Occupy Wall Street by claiming to represent “the global 99 percent.” Considering how much money and power the Barghoutis have, they are the 1 percent, both locally and globally. Anyone who has seen the mansions of the ruling elite in the West Bank can only laugh at Omar’s assertion that Israel is part of the 1 percent exploiting the rest of humanity, while the influential clans like the Barghoutis are the 99 percent.

While it is easy to ridicule Omar Barghouti’s shopworn anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories, his boycott tours enable leftist bigotry by dressing up the racism of their academics and activists in the fringed scarves and t-shirts of a national liberation movement. And yet Omar has already made his own argument against the existence of a Palestinian state.

Omar Barghouti has asserted that Israel is a racist apartheid state and accordingly has no right to exist, but that would be a far more accurate description of the goals and purposes of Palestinian Arab nationalism, which has set out to not only ethnically cleanse the Jews, but which has also managed to ethnically cleanse much of the Arab Christians from the territories under their control.

While Israel has a multiethnic and multi-religious population that encompasses the refugees of many nations, from Vietnamese boat people to Sudanese refugees, the Palestinian Arab nationalist vision is obsessed with the supremacy of the Arab Muslim clans like the Husseinis and the Barghoutis who want to preserve their tribal privileges and feudal power. The only refugees they care about are their own uncles and cousins.

Omar talks about equality, but it isn’t equality that he is after; it’s power. And in his chutzpah he accuses Israel of the crimes of his family and the Palestinian Arab supremacist national movement.

Daniel Greenfield

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/09/the-chutzpah-of-omar-barghouti/

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

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