Friday, March 23, 2012

Middle East Peace Won’t End Terrorism

by Max Boot

Just as there was a certain segment of the intelligentsia which claimed after 9/11 that the U.S. “had it coming,” so too there will no doubt be some who claim that the Jews somehow had it coming because the Toulouse gunman, Mohammed Merah, cited the plight of the Palestinians along with other issues (e.g., the public ban on the veil in France) to justify his murderous rampage. The best riposte to this despicable line of argument comes from none other than Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who says as Jonathan noted yesterday: “It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life.”

This will not, of course, silence the anti-Israel lobby which will claim that Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza will continue to drive would-be terrorists around the bend until a real Palestinian state is established. The argument, plausible on its face, falls apart at the slightest examination.

Just imagine that Fayyad and his boss, Palestinian Authority President Mohammed Abbas, had actually reached a “final status” deal with the Israelis. I know: it’s hard to imagine but suspend disbelief for a second. No one knows exactly what such a deal would entail but it’s safe to guess that, to be acceptable to any Israeli government, it would have to maintain Israeli sovereignty over much of Jerusalem and the large settlement blocs in the West Bank which are next to Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries. This would mean incorporating perhaps 5% of the West Bank into Israel proper with possible offsets elsewhere. The settlement would also presumably require Palestinians to recognize Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, to agree to live in peace with Israel, and (hardest to swallow) to renounce any right of return. Moreover Israel would probably insist–and rightly so–that any future Palestinian state be prevented from acquiring certain military capabilities (e.g., no anti-aircraft missiles that could shoot down jetliners landing at Ben Gurion Airport) and that Israel maintain some kind of security presence along the border between Jordan and the West Bank. Whatever happens with the Palestinians, the Golan Heights would remain under Israeli control at least pending a deal with Syria, which at the moment seems impossible to imagine.

Again, there is no realistic prospect of such a deal being done anytime soon; there is, for example, the inconvenient fact that Gaza is under the control of Hamas which won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. But even if such a deal were done and the “peace processers” were to succeed beyond their wildest dreams—even if that were to occur, does anyone imagine that future Mohammed Merahs would react by saying: “I give up my jihad and am reconciled to the state of Israel. The Jews are now my friends.” The thought is absurd. What the Merahs of the world would say instead is: “An apostate regime of traitors has sold out the Palestinian birthright to avaricious sons of apes and I will never accept this sacrilege. The Jews remain my enemies.” In short what the Merahs object to is the existence of the state of Israel under any conditions, not its existence under its post-1967 borders.

To me this is so obvious that it barely needs saying. Yet a significant portion of the foreign policy establishments in the U.S. and Europe still don’t seem to get it. There is nothing wrong with pressing for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement; a deal, if it is a good one, is in the best long term interests of both sides. But no one would should [sic] imagine that any deal will deny extremists the ability to exploit the Palestinian cause to justify their own killer rage at the world in general and Jews in particular.

Max Boot


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Verdict on Toulouse: French Incompetence

by D. G. Myers

Mohammad Merah, the self-confessed murderer of Jewish schoolchildren and French soldiers, died while jumping from his bathroom window in a torrent of police gunfire around 11:30 this morning in Toulouse. “This man doesn’t interest me,” Nicole Yardeni, the president of the regional Council of Jews, scoffed after the 32-hour siege had finally ended. “He is only an instrument of death.” But the French press seemed plenty interested. “Itinerary of a killer,” Le Parisien headlined its story over a front-page photo of a smirking Merah. “End of the road for a killer,” L’Humanite trumpeted. “Trajectory of hatred,” Libération blared.

Perhaps it was well that the French had become interested in Merah at last. Although he was on a Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur “watch list” since 2008, no one was apparently watching him.

Claude Guéant, the interior minister, defended the French intelligence agency’s failure by saying it follows “a lot of people engaged in radical Islamism. Expressing ideas and manifesting Salafist opinions is not grounds enough for prosecution,” he explained.

Maybe not, but Merah did more than merely express Salafist opinions. A neighbor in Toulouse filed two police complaints after Merah had tried to recruit her son to jihad by showing him Al Qaeda videos of murders and beheadings, Haaretz reported earlier today. A petty criminal who was known to police for his violent streak from childhood, Merah was radicalized in prison, traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to receive terrorist training at the hands of Al Qaeda, and returned to France determined to kill.

Even when they had Merah cornered, the French authorities did not appear to know what to do with him. After two gunshots were heard from Merah’s apartment shortly before 1:00 in the morning, Guéant wondered aloud if Merah had killed himself. French commandos waited another ten hours, with no communication from Merah, before assaulting his apartment. A special camera was inserted into the apartment, but Merah could not be found. Finally he fired upon them from the balcony and retreated to his bathroom to await them. When the commandos burst in, Merah emerged from the bathroom, firing ferociously, wounding one officer in the foot. Then he dashed back to the bathroom and flung himself from the window.

A columnist for the Telegraph described Merah as a Nike or “Just Do It” terrorist. “[I]ntelligence experts believe al-Qaeda no longer has the organisational capacity to conduct [spectacular] attacks [like 9/11],” Con Coughlin wrote. “Instead they are focusing their energy on softer targets.” Merah may be among the first of a new wave of “lone wolf” terrorists, experts fear.

That’s one fear. My fear is that French powerlessness — the French inability to stop Merah before he murdered Jews and soldiers, the French incompetence at preventing him from writing the last chapter of his own story, going out in a blaze of gunfire, refusing to be taken alive — will only encourage more Islamist terrorists. Whether France has shown that it cannot protect its Jews remains an open question. What France has abundantly demonstrated, however, is that it cannot prevent known Islamists from carrying out terrorist attacks on French soil, nor capture them alive once they have done so.

D. G. Myers


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Gaza Running Low on Fuel, Patience

by Yousef al-Helou

With shortages of electricity, water, fuel, cooking gas and medicine, a lack of economy and no infrastructure, patience with the Hamas-led government in Gaza is running low.

The chronic fuel shortages have added to the despair of Gaza's 1.6 million people, many of whom blame the government for its failure to resolve the endless crises.

Mohammad al-Abadlah, a member of the gas stations union, says 80 percent of life in Gaza has ground to a halt due to the lack of fuel and electricity. He held the Egyptian government responsible for the shortages.

This view was echoed by an official from the Energy Authority, who said $2 million was sent to Cairo but no fuel has arrived.

The fuel shortages have had a catastrophic effect on daily life. Gazans are enduring daily power cuts of up to 18 hours, hundreds of factories have shut down and even elevators are not working.

Gas station owners say they cannot obtain even a liter of fuel and people are using cooking oil to drive. Others wait in the streets for transport they are lucky to find. Even three-wheel motorbikes are in demand.

The noisy sound of generators can be heard throughout Gaza, day and night, causing several casualties through fires and by their lethal fumes.

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has tried to calm people down and said Qatar agreed to send cargo ships with fuel via Egyptian ports.

At a press conference Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Awad said the crisis was politically motivated by external forces that sought to tighten the siege.

But many Gazans are not satisfied by the government's response, and Hamas' ongoing attempts to blame others for the crisis have only angered people further.

"They only blame the Israeli siege, but what has the government done to solve the problem?" a 32-year-old asked.

"It's the lack of management. It's corruption. If they cannot rule then they should leave office. Sometimes they blame the PA and sometimes the EU and now Egypt," another said.

Sameh, a 23-year-old student, said the government could not expect people's support when it failed to provide for its citizens.

"How do they expect the people's support when they are not providing us with means of steadfastness under Israeli occupation and siege in Gaza?"

"People are not asking for surrender under the siege that is a form of collective punishment but again people's fate is with the hands of the government," said Abu Nidal, an unemployed man.

A recent graduate, also unemployed, said: "Life is unbearable in Gaza. Patience has run out."

"For God's sake, they should know that the people are the source of power and authority. People are not happy under the bad circumstances we are going through, so they should do something or step aside and let someone else rule," said a taxi driver who could not find gas.

A 52-year-old restaurant owner who was forced to close his business said Hamas had disappointed voters who hoped the party would bring reform.

"A lot of Fatah supporters voted for Hamas for reform and change but after six years in power, what happens? Tunnel owners including some Hamas members have became very rich, prices of land and apartments and cars have skyrocketed and they even impose taxes and want to share everything we have."

Discrimination against non-Hamas supporters has reached an unprecedented level, as anyone outside the party finds when applying for a government job, and aid sent to the Palestinian people through convoys is not fairly distributed.

With around 80 percent of Gazan households reliant on food aid provided by international organizations, Hamas' tax hikes have only added to the discontent.

A change in policy could restore the government's popularity, but for many Palestinians -- who feel their needs are sidelined by personal and factional interests -- only national unity will end the crises.

Yousef al-Helou is a freelance journalist from Gaza. He can be reached at


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Clashes Across Syria Despite UN Pressure

by Reuters

Clashes flared across Syria on Thursday, opposition activists said, the day after the UN Security Council had called on all sides to stop fighting and seek a negotiated settlement to the year-long uprising.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Council's unanimous statement had sent a clear message to Syria to end all violence, but the appeal had little impact on the ground, where rebels are seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.

Opposition sources said Syrian tanks had heavily shelled a large neighborhood in the city of Hama on Thursday after fighting between Free Syrian Army rebels and pro-Assad forces.

The shelling destroyed houses in the Arbaeen neighborhood of northeast Hama, which has been at the forefront of the revolt. Opposition sources said at least 20 people have died in army attacks in the area in the last two days.

It is impossible to verify reports from Syria because the authorities have denied access to independent journalists.

Syrian troops also attempted to storm the northern town of Sermeen on Thursday, killing one man and wounding dozens, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, quoting its network of contacts within Syria.

"Syrian forces are still not able to get inside the town because of fighting but they are shelling Sermeen and using heavy machine guns," said SOHR head Rami Abdelrahman.

Fighting was likewise reported in the central Hama province and the southern city of Deraa, where several soldiers died in an ambush, and loyalist forces conducted raids in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, he added.

The Security Council statement, which was supported by both Russia and China, marking a rare moment of global unity over the crisis, backed a peace drive by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and warned of "further steps" if Syria failed to respond.

Annan's six-point peace proposal calls for a ceasefire, political dialogue between the government and opposition, and full access for aid agencies. It also says the army should stop using heavy weapons in populated areas and pull troops back.

Firing into Lebanon

While the UN statement, which lacks the legal force of a resolution, talks of the need for political transition in Syria, it does not demand that Assad to step down - something both the rebels and the Arab League have called for.

"In clear and unmistakable terms, the Security Council called for an immediate end to all violence and human rights violations," UN chief Ban said in a speech in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Syria's official news agency appeared to play down the Council statement, saying it contained "no warnings or signals".

At least 8,000 people have died in the revolt, according to UN figures issued a week ago, and diplomats have warned that without a swift resolution, the conflict could spread and degrade already tense sectarian relations across the region.

Underlining the dangers, several Syrian shells landed in the Lebanese border village of al-Qaa and nearby fields late Wednesday, wounding one person, after heavy artillery was heard on the Syrian side of the frontier, residents said.

"More than five shells landed in the fields and in the village," a farmer in al-Qaa told Reuters. Another resident said one shell had detonated next to the main school.

The Human Rights Watch group said on Thursday Syrian security forces were committing "serious abuses" in Qusair, a city in the province of Homs, near the Lebanese border.

"Following their bloody siege of Homs, the Assad forces are applying their same brutal methods in Qusair," said Sarah Leah Whitson, the HRW Middle East director.

"Having seen the devastation inflicted on Homs, the Russian government should stop arms sales to the Syrian government or risk becoming further implicated in human rights violations."

Russia has defended its long-standing military ties with Syria and has said it sees no reason to modify them.

Earlier this week, the New York-based HRW accused opposition forces of committing rights abuses on government troops and their militia allies, including torture and summary execution.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told Dutch radio on Monday that 3,000 members of the security forces had died in the uprising, which Damascus blames on terrorist gangs.

Russia hedging bets

Looking to pile pressure on Syria, the European Union is set to impose further sanctions on Assad's inner circle on Friday, including his wife Asma, who described herself as "the real dictator" in an apparently genuine email published by Britain's Guardian newspaper last week.

"Tomorrow we will decide on new sanctions, not only against the Assad regime but also against the people around him," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Deutschlandfunk radio.

He added that the UN statement was an important contribution to solving the crisis in Syria.

"Assad cannot depend on the protective hand of Russia in the violence against his own people and that could accelerate the process of erosion of the regime."

Although Russia has not budged from its main demand that Assad must not be shunted from office by foreign powers, it has adopted a much sterner tone this week, accusing the Syrian leadership of mishandling the crisis.

Analysts say this change of tack is a sign Russia is hedging its bets about Assad's fate and wants as strong a hand as possible in shaping Syria's future should he fall.

"Russia will not be focused on keeping Assad in power for the sake of keeping Assad in power," said Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.



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The answer is in the FACTS - Part II

by Eli E. Hertz

Read Part I here

The Global March to Jerusalem

The Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for March 30, 2012, is an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel's borders from surrounding countries - Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt - with the goal of reaching Jerusalem and highlighting the so-called "Judaization of Jerusalem."

To learn more about the Global March to Jerusalem, click HERE.

Jerusalem's Jewish Link: Historic, Religious, Political

Jerusalem, wrote historian Martin Gilbert, is not a 'mere' city. "It holds the central spiritual and physical place in the history of the Jews as a people."

For more than 3,000 years, the Jewish people have looked to Jerusalem as their spiritual, political, and historical capital, even when they did not physically rule over the city. Throughout its long history, Jerusalem has served, and still serves, as the political capital of only one nation - the one belonging to the Jews. Its prominence in Jewish history began in 1004 BCE, when King David declared the city the capital of the first Jewish kingdom. David's successor and son, King Solomon, built the First Temple there, according to the Bible, as a holy place to worship the Almighty. Unfortunately, history would not be kind to the Jewish people. Four hundred and ten years after King Solomon completed construction of Jerusalem, the Babylonians (early ancestors to today's Iraqis) seized and destroyed the city, forcing the Jews into exile.

Fifty years later, the Jews, or Israelites as they were called, were permitted to return after Persia (present-day Iran) conquered Babylon. The Jews' first order of business was to reclaim Jerusalem as their capital and rebuild the Holy Temple, recorded in history as the Second Temple.

Jerusalem was more than the Jewish kingdom's political capital - it was a spiritual beacon. During the First and Second Temple periods, Jews throughout the kingdom would travel to Jerusalem three times yearly for the pilgrimages of the Jewish holy days of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot, until the Roman Empire destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE and ended Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem for the next 2,000 years. Despite that fate, Jews never relinquished their bond to Jerusalem or, for that matter, to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.

No matter where Jews lived throughout the world for those two millennia, their thoughts and prayers were directed toward Jerusalem. Even today, whether in Israel, the United States or anywhere else, Jewish ritual practice, holiday celebration and lifecycle events include recognition of Jerusalem as a core element of the Jewish experience. Consider that:

Jews in prayer always turn toward Jerusalem.

Arks (the sacred chests) that hold Torah scrolls in synagogues throughout the world face Jerusalem.

Jews end Passover Seders each year with the words: "Next year in Jerusalem"; the same words are pronounced at the end of Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year.

A three-week moratorium on weddings in the summer recalls the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 BCE. That period culminates in a special day of mourning - Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month Av) - commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples.

Jewish wedding ceremonies - joyous occasions, are marked by sorrow over the loss of Jerusalem. The groom recites a biblical verse from the Babylonian Exile: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,"and breaks a glass in commemoration of the destruction of the Temples.

Even body language, often said to tell volumes about a person, reflects the importance of Jerusalem to Jews as a people and, arguably, the lower priority the city holds for Muslims:

When Jews pray they face Jerusalem; in Jerusalem Israelis pray facing the Temple Mount.

When Muslims pray, they face Mecca; in Jerusalem Muslims pray with their backs to the city.

Even at burial, a Muslim face, is turned toward Mecca.

Finally, consider the number of times 'Jerusalem' is mentioned in the two religions' holy books:

The Old Testament mentions 'Jerusalem' 349 times. Zion, another name for 'Jerusalem,' is mentioned 108 times.

The Quran never mentions Jerusalem - not even once.

Even when others controlled Jerusalem, Jews maintained a physical presence in the city, despite being persecuted and impoverished. Before the advent of modern Zionism in the 1880s, Jews were moved by a form of religious Zionism to live in the Holy Land, settling particularly in four holy cities: Safed, Tiberias, Hebron, and most importantly - Jerusalem. Consequently, Jews constituted a majority of the city's population for generations. In 1898, "In this City of the Jews, where the Jewish population outnumbers all others three to one ..." Jews constituted 75 percent of the Old City population in what Secretary-General Kofi Annan called 'East Jerusalem.' In 1914, when the Ottoman Turks ruled the city, 45,000 Jews made up a majority of the 65,000 residents. And at the time of Israeli statehood in 1948, 100,000 Jews lived in the city, compared to only 65,000 Arabs. Prior to unification, Jordanian-controlled 'East Jerusalem' was a mere 6 square kilometers, compared to 38 square kilometers on the 'Jewish side.'

Eli E. Hertz


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nazis or Muslim Terrorists: Does it Matter? (Yes)

by Shoshana Bryen

It was, it appears, a Muslim radical behind the massacre in Toulouse -- a French-born petty thief who traveled in Afghanistan and Pakistan and was already under surveillance by French authorities. It was not, as first thought, French neo-Nazis. To which the question arises, "Does it matter which?" Yes, it does, because the response of both governments and individuals differ depending on the culprit.

Neo-Nazis are part of the woodwork in Europe, but official society treats their outbursts like a social disease. Wealthy or important people given to ranting are like relatives with a drinking problem - fashion guru John Galliano was fired from Dior, fined and shuffled off to "rehab." Unwashed Nazis are punished. The original three suspects in the Toulouse shooting were cashiered from an elite unit of the French Army for appearing in a photograph in a private house draped in a Nazi flag.

There is no official tolerance for Nazis; this is not a complaint.

Radical Muslims, however, present Europe with a different sort of problem, one that frightens governments enough to make them treat their increasingly large, loud and sometimes violent minorities very, very gently. It would be unfair to say Muslim terrorism is tolerated, but Muslim crime certainly is and the French are not always clear on the difference. President Sarkozy immediately ordered additional police protection for Jewish and Muslim schools, as if it were a matter of crime targeting schools, not terrorists targeting Jews.

There have already been the requisite nods toward Islam as peaceful and the gunman -- not any ideology/religion he studied or espoused -- solely to blame, although one can imagine that Nazi-ism would be fair game. The gunman's neighbors have lined up to tell reporters that he was a nice guy, a quiet person, and not very religious. Just a normal French citizen who happened to have a criminal background, belong to a Salafist group and travel to Afghanistan (where he was arrested for bomb making!) and Pakistan.

Mohammed Merah was already well known and under surveillance by French authorities, but even after what appears to have been his first murder (of a French soldier), he remained at large. This stands in contrast to Italian police who last week pre-empted a planned attack on the Milan synagogue by arresting a Moroccan-born Muslim who had trafficked in Islamic radicalism before he did the deed.

And despite the fact that he will be charged with "terrorism," prosecutor Francois Molins took pains to point out that under French law, terrorism can be "any crime that is carried out to disrupt the national order and does not have to be linked to a political cause." The French government therefore isn't necessarily saying Merah is an Islamic radical who killed French soldiers and French Jewish children out of ideological conviction -- he could equally be simply a "hate monger" or a "racial supremacist."

Dominique Thomas, an expert in radical Islam, told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the killer's method and logistics show that apparently he does not belong to a network. Former French spy chief Louis Caprioli said although Merah must have had outside help to get to Afghanistan and Pakistan, he could nevertheless be a "lone wolf."

And there have been the "yes, but..." comments, which are offered as explanatory but which are, in fact, exculpatory in the eyes of some. (You have to imagine the "Yes, but...")

  • He was angry with French troops being in Afghanistan and killing Muslims.
  • Muslims live with horrible prejudice in France and the failure of France to integrate Muslims makes them lash out." There is at least one report that Merah called a French radio station to say that he wanted revenge for the ban on wearing the full Islamic veil in public.

These are problems of France, not of Jews, but Jewish identity leads to a somewhat different "yes but..."

  • Israelis kill Palestinian children in Gaza -- remember that poor little girl all bloodied after the last Israeli Air Force attack? And her poor father?" (Yes, it was an old photo of a child killed in a car accident having nothing to do with Israel, but people believe what they want to believe.)

Too cynical?

While his first anguished comments were indeed about the victims, President Sarkozy quickly turned to protecting the sensitivities of the Muslim population. "I have brought the Jewish and Muslim communities together to show that terrorism will not manage to break our nation's feeling of community. We must stand together. We must not cede to discrimination or vengeance."

Too late for the Jews.

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA and author of JINSA Reports from 1995-2011.


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Why Iran Thinks America Won't Attack

by Reza Kahlili

Iranian agents have successfully infiltrated American think-tanks, universities, and our political system as part of a plot to keep the United States from attacking the Islamic regime as it continues to expand terrorism worldwide and pursue its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The infiltration goal is to mold American opinion and create doubt about the advisability of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities -- all part of a longstanding strategy to pull the strings of America and the West.

Iranian leaders first successfully engaged U.S. forces in Iraq at a time when President Bush was in an offensive policy of confronting Islamists after 9/11. The Iranians correctly believed that if America got bogged down in Iraq, it would not want to open another front with Iran before stabilizing Iraq, buying Iran time for nuclear development.

Iran had already infiltrated the Shiite majority in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. At that time, I was working as a CIA spy in the Revolutionary Guards and was reporting their activities to America. When the U.S. went to war against Saddam, the Iranians began a campaign of terror in Iraq that not only crippled America financially by stringing out an unfunded war, but killed many U.S. soldiers.

The same infiltration policy was enforced in Afghanistan with the training and arming of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters against NATO forces.

That strategy kept Iran's rulers out of harm's way, allowed them to pursue their nuclear and missile programs with impunity, and forced America to rethink its involvement in the region. They called their strategy a great victory over the "Great Satan."

Their planning was multilayered. Another aspect of it was to infiltrate America itself, a plan right of the KGB playbook. Fake dissidents were placed in America's think-thanks and pro-Iran academics in its universities. Nonprofit organizations were formed. All the ensuing propaganda targeted American public opinion and foreign policy.

The Iranian agents easily became the voice for negotiations and argued against sanctions and war. They successfully attached themselves to antiwar groups, including Occupy Wall Street, and infiltrated the American media, mostly those open to their softer approach.

In this Iranian Intelligence Ministry plot, outlines were passed to its assets in the U.S. to use such arguments as:

  1. Sanctions hurt innocent Iranians and not the regime;
  2. any act of war will unite Iranians around the very regime they despise;
  3. the nuclear issue is a nationalistic issue that the majority of Iranians support and therefore cannot be the center of the West's confrontation with Iran;
  4. Iranian dissidents don't want the West's support because if the West supports them, the regime will label them as Western agents; and
  5. Iran is a rational regime, and negotiations are the only way to resolve the issues.

The strategy sought to buy time to build a formidable military so the West would fear retaliation should it attack the regime, which knew full well that the global economy is dependent on a stable flow of energy out of the Persian Gulf and that any long-term disruption could create havoc for the U.S. and West.

The Islamic regime today has over 1,000 ballistic missiles, many in underground silos spread throughout the country and capable of reaching not only every U.S. military base in the region, but also capitals in Western Europe. Meanwhile, it is working on intercontinental ballistic missiles with the help of China and North Korea.

It also has armed Hezb'allah with 40,000 rockets and missiles and armed Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Syria with missiles, explosives, and conventional weapons. Meanwhile, it has expanded its collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and rebels in Yemen and Bahrain, and extended its reach into Latin America and Africa.

This strategy has bought Iran sufficient time to produce enough enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs and speed up its enrichment to the 20-percent level at the Natanz and Fordow facilities. That material within weeks could be further enriched to weaponization grade.

Iran's leaders believe that with the current global economic climate, specifically in the United States and Europe, and it being an American election year, the talks of a military option to take out the nuclear facilities amount to a bluff. They believe they hold the key to President Obama's re-election, as any instability in the region and in the price of energy will send America back into a severe recession.

More dangerous is their belief that even a limited conflict with America will help their status as the leader of a worldwide Islamic movement and trigger the downfall of regimes in the region more friendly to the U.S.; help the Syrian regime out of its current crisis; and push the military junta out of power in Egypt, helping solidify control by the Muslim Brotherhood.

As the Iranian strategist Mehdi Mohammadi recently stated, as Iran progresses on the nuclear front, the West will realize that not only will a military option no longer work, but neither will sanctions. Then the West will have to accept a nuclear Iran.

Iranian leaders also believe that since Israel would now have to act alone, it will not risk thousands of missiles from many fronts raining down on Tel Aviv and ultimately will also accept a nuclear Iran.

Most of all, they believe that once Iran is nuclear-armed, the West will be checkmated, as the cost of any confrontation at that time would be the destruction of the world.

The leaders of the Islamic regime have often said, "While the West loves life, martyrdom is an honor for us."

Therein lies the dilemma for the West: bear the economic and human costs of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities now, or accept a nuclear-armed Iran that is bent on paving the way for the return of the 12th Imam Mahdi and the global dominance of Islam.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book A Time to Betray. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).

Reza Kahlili


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The Tao of Warmongering

by Daniel Greenfield

A day after Barack Hussein Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, he gave a press conference and responded to a question of what would happen if sanctions on Iran fail (more than they have already) by denouncing “those who are suggesting, or proposing, or beating the drums of war.”

On cue the Pravda press rushed to their iPads to begin tapping out the appropriate denunciations of Republican candidates, Netanyahu and American Jews for their warmongering. However, at that same press conference, Obama was careful to draw a distinction between Syria and Iran.

When asked whether his “window of diplomatic opportunity” and serious-face remarks about the “costs of war” applied to Syria as well as Iran, the peacemonger suddenly became the warmonger, asserting, “What’s happening in Syria is heartbreaking and outrageous, and what you’ve seen is the international community mobilize against the Assad regime. And it’s not a question of when Assad leaves — or if Assad leaves — it’s a question of when.”

In Iran, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei get an endless window to repress their own people and build their nukes, while in Syria, Assad is told that it’s only a question of when he leaves. That’s not the kind of talk you use unless you mean to make him leave, one way or another, using the fig leaf of the international community, which can’t get a war vote through the UN, but can organize yet another Coalition of the Willing.

To the untrained ear this may sound a lot like the beating of war drums, but sophisticated types know that it’s actually the cowbell of peace jangling with the groovy beat of humanitarian vibes. Sure it may all end in bombs falling on Damascus, but they’ll be peace bombs painted rainbow colors by marines who have married each other in a special commitment ceremony.

Republicans make war, while Democrats make explosive peace, just like they did in Kosovo where there are still more American troops than there are in Iraq, a legacy of the Clinton Administration’s humanitarian bombmaking peace.

Now after years of sneering at Republicans, the Democrats have their own Axis of Evil list, they just refuse to admit that they have it. Bombing countries on the list is a friendly act, which is why the current name for the Coalition of the Willing in Syria, is “Friends of Syria,” a name that would have given Orwell a fit. Bombing countries that aren’t on the list is irresponsible warmongering.

It’s a matter of transparent hypocrisy that the same voices who keep denouncing warmongering in Iran, want us to go into Syria. The difference between warmongering and a righteous humanitarian effort is a matter of political orientation, much like the difference between Iraq and Libya where we bombed a country to rid it of its dictator only to leave behind chaos and feuding factions. Or between Kony 2012 and drone strikes in Somalia.

Democrats don’t like the military, but they like their wars. Until the Gulf War, every significant war in the previous century had been initiated by Democratic presidents. They just didn’t like calling them wars. Korea was a “police action” and in Vietnam we were just there as advisers. No wars to see here. Libya officially wasn’t a war, it was just one of those things where we bombed a country for several months until we tracked down and helped kill its leader. If we go into Syria, it certainly won’t be as a war, we’ll be keeping the peace through a war, bombing the village to save the village.

In the 20th century, there has hardly been a single Democratic president who didn’t bring America into a war. Woodrow Wilson had WW1, Franklin Roosevelt had WW2, Truman had Korea, JFK and LBJ had Vietnam, Bill Clinton had Yugoslavia and Obama has Libya. Only Carter was the odd man out, though he did begin supplying the Afghan Mujahideen with weapons which helped bring us into the current conflict.

With a record like that you would think that the Democrats would at least leave the peace signs and flowers at home. Some of their wars were necessary and some weren’t, but they are responsible for the lion’s share of the wars that we have been in.

These days the Dems love intervening in what they call “humanitarian crises”, which is usually code for intervening on one side of a civil war where both sides are dubious. They don’t tend to intervene in genuinely one-sided conflicts. Sudan and Rwanda never saw bombers overhead. Actual genocide doesn’t interest them except when bemoaning the general fallen state of man without international law. Fake genocide, whether it’s in Yugoslavia or Libya draws them like flies to a D.C. banquet in summer.

These wars are usually billed as “interventions” to stop the killing. And that part doesn’t work too well. There’s still killing going on in Yugoslavia, it just doesn’t make the evening news. Libya has more killing than ever now that we liberated it. We can probably count on the Syrians for the same. But while the killing doesn’t stop, that was never really the point. If the Dems wanted to save lives, there would have jets over Sudan and peacekeeping forces gunning down Janjaweed rape squads like mad dogs.

What these peaceful wars are really about is glorying in the majesty of international law and sending soldiers off to die so that people in other countries will live the way you want them to. The Arab Spring isn’t about overthrowing dictators, it’s about putting the right kind of dictators in power.

No wonder then that the “international community” in all its majesty sneers at the kind of limited existential conflict that Israel would like to fight. There’s no mention of a democratic Iran and the stuff about international law is just unserious. Stopping madmen from getting their hands on nuclear weapons is fine for the plot of a Tom Cruise movie, but serious diplomats can’t be expected to take it seriously as a basis for intervention. Why if they intervened every time some lunatic got his hands on nuclear weapons, they would have to go into North Korea and Pakistan. And why do that when it’s much more fun to lay out the plans of what kind of government Syria should have after its liberation from Shiite totalitarian rule to Sunni totalitarian rule, as if they won’t handle that themselves.

Warmongering is what selfish states do when they stand to benefit in some way from a conflict. But the United States no longer fights wars with any hope of benefiting from them. Increasingly it fights wars for some abstract principle. Even when there’s a perfectly good reason to go into a country, such as its rulers harboring terrorists who murdered thousands of Americans, our leaders won’t stop until they’ve eliminated any such selfish elements through a program of nation building.

In times past we sacrificed soldiers to win wars, in our days we sacrifice them to lose wars. The more soldiers die unnecessarily to protect and take care of the vital infrastructure of the local democratic junta when they could have been saved with an air strike or two, the more we show how unselfish we are, how humanitarian and altruistic our foreign policy is.

Some countries pride themselves on having a foreign policy that serves their interests. We pride ourselves on having a foreign policy that doesn’t serve our interests at all. The more our foreign policy doesn’t serve our interests, the nobler we know that we are. Take the Arab Spring. We would have been well served to protect ourselves by keeping allied governments in place. Instead we sacrificed those governments and turned the place over to the Muslim Brotherhood, thereby showing how unselfish we truly are.

American leaders live in constant fear of having a foreign policy that someone might mistake for being unilateral or self-interested. The instant this happens we will alienate the world and that will make it impossible for us to get anything done, which it is already impossible, because we never do anything that serves our own interests anyway.

The rest of the world naturally thinks that we are always throwing our weight around, no matter what we do. But the peacemongers live in the blissful knowledge that nothing they do serves our own interests. And being certain of having a truly selfless foreign policy, they feel entitled to bomb anyone they want since no one can accuse them of bombing out of self-interest.

The altruistic warmonger becomes a peacemonger through his altruism achieving the satori of selflessness.. By submitting to the tin god of international law as a Muslim submits to Allah, he gains freedom from conscience and the perceived right to do anything he pleases for the humanitarian cause. Warmongering becomes peacemongering. Invasions become interventions. Bombings become acts of friendship. And as in 1984, war becomes peace.

Daniel Greenfield


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The Death of Free Speech in Sweden

by Bruce Bawer

Earlier this month, under the headline “Words are not innocent,” the Swedish newspaper Dagbladet ran an opinion piece by its cultural editor, Kaj Schueler, which was, essentially, an attack on Sweden’s newly minted Free Press Society. It was one of several such attacks directed at the organization in recent weeks by members of Sweden’s mainstream media, all of which made essentially the same arguments as Schueler – who, early in his article, summed up his position as follows: “According to the Free Press Society, we no longer have real freedom of speech in Sweden. They are wrong – we have it. But since words are not innocent, there are limits to free speech.”

As the rest of Schueler’s article made clear, he wasn’t referring here to the kind of reasonable “limits” on free speech that prohibit, for example, direct incitement to violence and murder. No, he was talking about much broader and vaguer and more pernicious “limits” – the kind that ban, for example, “offensive” statements, or, more specifically, statements that certain groups of people might object to as “offensive.”

Which groups? Well, groups like the Muslims who are an increasingly formidable presence in Sweden, notably in the southern city of Malmö, where their presence has caused an increasing amount of what may euphemistically be described as social friction. Thanks to a rising tide of anti-Semitic activity by Muslim youth, for example, more and more Jews are abandoning Malmö for other parts of Sweden or for Israel. Schueler sought to blame Malmö’s problems not on Muslims (needless to say) but on (of all people) the Danes.

His argument? Malmö, owing to its geographic proximity to Denmark, has been influenced not only by Danish music, drama, film, literature, and cuisine, but also by political ideas that, in Schueler’s view, have poisoned Denmark and threaten to poison Sweden, too. Among these ideas: “biker-gang culture, hatred for immigrants, and so-called straightforwardness.”

Ah yes, the poison of straightforwardness! Ask any honest broker who is familiar with the looming disaster that is now Malmö and they will not mention “biker-gang culture.” They will, if they are candid enough, tell you about the proliferation in Malmö of other types of gangs with another type of “culture.” They will not talk about “hatred for immigrants” but about immigrants from the Muslim world who, with increasing audacity and arrogance, have made very clear their contempt for the West, for democracy, for sexual equality, for Christianity and Judaism, for freedom of speech and religion, for gays, and for the traditional culture and social values of the country in which they live. But no, Schueler was not about to enter that territory.

“In Denmark as in Sweden,” lectured Schueler, “it is sometimes argued that there are only certain things that should be said, thought, and debated when it comes to topics like feminism, Islam, immigrants, cultural differences, crime, and multiculturalism. If you do not take a politically correct stance on these questions, it is said, you are excluded from the media.” Schueler put this in such a way as to seem to be suggesting that such claims are ludicrous – that accusations of censoriousness on the part of the Swedish media are false – even though the whole point of his article was, in fact, to defend this censoriousness as the only appropriate posture for responsible journalists to take.

Which brings us back to the Free Press Society, which was founded precisely in response to this insidious pattern of censoriousness. The group is modeled on the Danish organization of the same name, established in Copenhagen in 2004 by Lars Hedegaard, who, as Schueler was quick to inform his readers, has “expressed strong anti-Muslim views” and “has been convicted of racist statements in accordance with the Danish equivalent of the law on incitement to racial hatred.” The truth of the matter is that Hedegaard’s “crime” was stating objective facts about Islamic belief and practice, including the religion’s deplorable treatment of women – and stating them, moreover, in a private conversation in his own home. Schueler wrote as if Hedegaard’s conviction on such charges proves that he is a disreputable character, when in fact what it proves is that, when it comes to freedom of speech, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

There was more. Hedegaard, it seems, gave a talk at the opening of Malmö’s Free Press Society, and Schueler quoted a remark apparently made by him on that occasion in which he acknowledged the centrality to Islam of the commandment to bring the whole world under Islamic domination. Schueler made no comment about Hedegaard’s remark – which was a simple statement of fact – presumably because Schueler was confident that for his readers, as for him, the remark itself constituted transparent proof of Hedegaard’s dangerous extremism.

Schueler’s conclusion: the Free Press Society in Malmö, like its original in Copenhagen, “is not about defending freedom of expression or freedom of the press,” but is rather about defending “extremist” opinions of “certain groups and phenomena,” namely “Muslims, multiculturalism, and feminism,” and is thus, ultimately, about spreading and intensifying bigotry. “In Sweden, as in Denmark,” proclaimed Schueler, “freedom of speech and of the press has its limits. Laws…have been enacted to prevent racist and extremist persecution of Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and other minorities. Unfortunately, this has been necessary, for words are neither neutral nor innocent.”

And so ended his article. This, mind you, from a newspaper editor. Needless to say, the notion that Muslims in the West are the subjects of “extremist persecution” is a cornerstone of politically correct thinking in Europe, as it is in North America. But while journalists like Schueler, in addition to propagating this falsehood, may be willing to admit, as he does, that Jews and gays in Europe are the objects of widespread abuse, they prefer to avoid the ticklish fact that the perpetrators of this abuse are overwhelmingly Muslim. Nor do they particularly wish to discuss such topics as the subordination of women under Islam or the very real – and systematic, widespread, and brutal – persecution of Christians and Jews in Muslim countries. It is the right to address such truths with candor and courage that the Free Press Society exists to protect.

On March 17, Free Press Society founder Ingrid Carlqvist penned a highly apposite reply to Schueler, noting that if he doesn’t recognize “that free speech is threatened in Sweden” it “is because he, like nearly all other Swedish journalists, has completely failed to perform his duty.” She quoted the late historian Knut Carlqvist (apparently no relation): “The Swedish media have never realized that their job is to keep an eye on the state and power. They think their job is to educate the people” – in other words, to echo the political establishment’s line and do their best to ensure, day by day, that the Swedish people toe that line.

The Free Press Society exists, Ingrid Carlqvist explained, to resist that lockstep tendency – “to highlight and publicize the many issues to which Sweden’s mainstream media respond with silence.” She asked why Schueler and other Swedish journalists “are so fearful of me and the Free Press Society? Because I know their agenda inside out. With over thirty years’ experience in Swedish newsrooms, I know exactly what kind of talk goes on among my colleagues.” She pointed out that Schueler and other critics of her group could have “respond[ed] to us with substance”; instead, by engaging in the usual name-calling, labeling the Free Press Society as a bunch of racists, Nazis, and Islamophobes, Schueler and his ilk have simply demonstrated that everything the group says about the Swedish media’s modus operandi is absolutely correct.

The Swedish media’s demonization of the Free Press Society has already, alas, proven effective: as Carlkvist noted, her organization had to cancel an event on the topic “Gender Studies at the Universities: Science or Madness?” because a witch hunt on Twitter had resulted in cancellations by two of the three scheduled presenters. (One of them blogged that he had withdrawn from the event after discovering that the Free Press Society stands for “xenophobic values that I do not share and do not want to be associated with.”)

Carlkvist ended her piece with a grim but incontrovertible affirmation: there is no free speech in Sweden. “A country where journalists serve the power structure and see it as their most important responsibility to ‘educate people’ is in desperate need of a Free Press Society. When people have forgotten that it was the silence and fear of not thinking like everyone else that brought the Nazis to power in Germany, then we are in trouble.” Indeed. If any country needs a Free Press Society, it’s Sweden. Best of luck to Carlkvist and her gutsy colleagues. They’ll need it.

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His new Harper Collins e-book, "The New Quislings," about the Norwegian Left's exploitation of the July 22 mass murders in Norway, is now available.


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

Israel's Arabs, Living a Paradox

by Daniel Pipes

Can Arabs, who make up one-fifth of Israel's population, be loyal citizens of the Jewish state?

With this question in mind, I recently visited several Arab-inhabited regions of Israel (Jaffa, Baqa al-Gharbiya, Umm al-Fahm, Haifa, Acre, Nazareth, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem) and held discussions with mainstream Arab and Jewish Israelis.

Ali Yahya, former Israeli ambassador to Greece and Finland.

I found most Arabic-speaking citizens to be intensely conflicted about living in a Jewish polity. On the one hand, they resent Judaism as the country's privileged religion, the Law of Return that permits only Jews to immigrate at will, Hebrew as the primary language of state, the Star of David in the flag, and mention of the "Jewish soul" in the anthem. On the other hand, they appreciate the country's economic success, standard of health care, rule of law, and functioning democracy.

These conflicts find many expressions. The small, uneducated, and defeated Israeli Arab population of 1949 has grown ten-fold, acquired modern skills, and recovered its confidence. Some from this community have acquired positions of prestige and responsibility, including Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, former ambassador Ali Yahya, former government minister Raleb Majadele, and journalist Khaled Abu Toameh.

But these assimilated few pale beside the discontented masses who identify with Land Day, Nakba Day, and the Future Vision report. Revealingly, most Israeli Arab parliamentarians, such as Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zuabi, are hotheads spewing rank anti-Zionism. Israeli Arabs have increasingly resorted to violence against their Jewish co-nationals.

Indeed, Israeli Arabs live two paradoxes. Although they suffer discrimination within Israel, they enjoy more rights and greater stability than any Arab populace living in their own sovereign countries (think Egypt or Syria). Second, they hold citizenship in a country that their fellow Arabs malign and threaten with annihilation.

My conversations in Israel led me to conclude that these complexities impede robust discussion, by Jews and Arabs alike, of the full implications of Israeli Arabs' anomalous existence. Extremist parliamentarians and violent youth get dismissed as an unrepresentative fringe. Instead, one hears that if only Israeli Arabs received more respect and more municipal aid from the central government, current discontents would be eased; that one must distinguish between (the good) Arabs of Israel and (the bad) Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza; and a warning that Israeli Arabs will metastasize into Palestinians unless Israel treats them better.

Religious signs along a main street in Baqa al-Gharbiya.

My interlocutors generally brushed aside questions about Islam. It almost felt impolite to mention the Islamic imperative that Muslims (who make up 84 percent of the Israeli Arab population) rule themselves; discussing the Islamic drive for application of Islamic law drew blank looks and a shift to more immediate topics.

This avoidance reminded me of Turkey before 2002, when mainstream Turks assumed that Atatürk's revolution was permanent and assumed Islamists would remain a fringe phenomenon. They proved very wrong: a decade after Islamists democratically rode to power in late 2002, the elected government steadily applied more Islamic laws and built a neo-Ottoman regional power.

I predict a similar evolution in Israel, as Israeli Arab paradoxes grow more acute. Muslim citizens of Israel will continue to grow in numbers, skills, and confidence, becoming simultaneously more integral to the country's life and more ambitious to throw off Jewish sovereignty. This suggests that as Israel overcomes external threats, Israeli Arabs will emerge as an ever-greater concern. Indeed, I predict they represent the ultimate obstacle to establishing the Jewish homeland anticipated by Theodor Herzl and Lord Balfour.

Kosher sign below, minaret above.

What can be done? Lebanon's Christians lost power because they incorporated too many Muslims and became too small a proportion of the country's population to rule it. Recalling this lesson, Israel's identity and security require minimizing the number of Arab citizens – not by reducing their democratic rights, much less by deporting them, but by such steps as adjusting Israel's borders, building fences along the frontiers, implementing stringent family reunification policies, changing pro-natalist policies, and carefully scrutinizing refugee applications.

Ironically, the greatest impediment to these actions will be that most Israeli Arabs emphatically wish to remain disloyal citizens of the Jewish state (as opposed to loyal citizens of a Palestinian state). Further, many other Middle Eastern Muslims aspire to become Israelis (a phenomenon I call Muslim aliyah). These preferences, I predict, will stymie the government of Israel, which will not develop adequate responses, thereby turning today's relative quiet into tomorrow's crisis.

Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2012 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


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Mordechai Kedar: Radical Islam in Africa

by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Angelo Pezzana)

Before Islam appeared on the scene, the Arab tribes would contend with each other in endless wars that continued for hundreds of years and cost many lives. When Islam appeared in the first quarter of the seventh century CE, it was meant to be a new, religious basis for the definition of the individual and the group; a unifying focus of ideological identification that would substitute for the divisive tribal identification from which the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula suffered. The tragedy of Islam is that it failed in this important task, so the Islamic peoples and the tribes remained divided and fragmented, bickering with each other and quarreling with each other as if they had forgotten the explicit saying in the Qur'an, (Chapter 3, verse 103): "Cleave, all of you, to the religion of Allah and do not part from each other". The worst thing is that throughout history, Islam has been used as fuel for the fires of internal conflicts, and many times in the course of the history of Islam, both sides of an internal conflict justified the conflict in terms of Islam, and each declared jihad against the other.

European colonialism left behind it in Africa heterogeneous states, each of which is a aggregation of tribes that differ from each other. Therefore, for many years, most of the African states have been afflicted with violent conflicts that leave behind them many thousands of dead and wounded. Cases of genocide, in Biafra in the late sixties and in Rwanda in the year 1994 are the direct result of the conflicts between tribes within African states. In cases where one side of a conflict is Muslim and the other side is Christian or Animist (pagan) the religious element becomes part of the reasons for the war, fueling the conflict and turning it into a holy jihad, thus justifying deeds of mass slaughter.

When conflicts between the tribes are colored with a religious hue, situations are created in which Muslim dictators have behaved with total brutality: Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda between 1971 and 1979 eliminated about a half million of the citizens of the state in cold blood. Some of them he threw into Lake Victoria, teeming with crocodiles, to be food for the predators. These days a film is circulating on the Internet of a different case: a mass murderer in Uganda, Joseph Kuny, who forcefully enlisted children, armed them and turned them into mass murderers totally lacking in compassion or conscience.

For about fifty years, in the second half of the twentieth century, a terrible and destructive war was carried out in Sudan, between the Arab-Muslim North and the Christian-Animist South. Over the years, this war has caused about two million fatalities, and it ended in an agreement that brought about in July of 2011 the division of Sudan into two states, a northern state which is Arab and Muslim, and a southern state with a Christian and Animist population.

In the region of Darfur, a section of Sudan, genocide has been taking place since 2003, in which Arab Muslim militias, aligned with the Sudanese government, have been methodically eliminating African Muslim tribes, burning their villages, slaughtering the men and making abused slaves of their wives. As of today about a half million people have been killed as a result of the battles, arson and starvation that has afflicted the population of Darfur, and millions of its people were forced to flee to Libya, Chad or Nigeria. At the crux of this conflict is the popular belief that prevails among Arab Muslims, that Muslims who are not Arab are not true Muslims, but rather second class Muslims who are only pretending to be Muslims, and therefore it is permissible to shed their blood.

It is important to note that in Arabic, a person with black skin is called "abd", "slave", and Arabs were the biggest slave merchants selling Africans to work in America. This view of the people of Africa turns them into easy and legitimate prey. In the countries south of the Sahara - Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania - there is a Muslim majority, because most of their residents have converted to Islam during the course of history in order not to be considered as slaves. Therefore Arab Muslims consider them not to be true Muslims.

In the battles over Darfur there are organizations with an Islamic character such as "Jamaat Ansar al-Sunnah" or "Group of the Followers of Sunnah"; "Jamayat al-Kitab wal-Sunnah Alh'irih" - "Charity Association of Koran and the Tradition"; and the "Salafion" - "The Glorious Past". And the texts that these organizations distribute are reminiscent of the texts of Usama bin Laden and Iman Al-Zawahiri, past leaders of Al-Qaeda. It is important to note that during the nineties of the previous century, Al Qaeda had bases in Sudan. In 1988 the terrorists who struck the American embassy in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and Dar-es-Salam, the capital of Tanzania came from these bases; those attacks resulted in more than two hundred fatalities, .

During the years that Al Qaeda was present in Sudan, members of the organization would deal with their opposition in the acceptable way: decapitation. That is how they dealt with journalists and politicians who opposed Al Qaeda and its presence in Sudan.

Regarding Sudan, we should recall that for several years in the nineties, a Muslim religious leader, Hasan Al-Tourabi, led in this state, his close relationship to the ruler Al-Bashir allowing him to impose the Muslim laws of Shari'a in Sudan. Alcohol was freely spilled out onto the ground, cinemas were closed and a radical dress code was enforced upon the women. Sudan's acceptance of the presence of Al Qaeda on its territory should be seen in this context.

In Nigeria, a state of 160 million residents, half of the residents of the country are Muslims and the other half are Christians. A radical militia, "Boko Haram" (Western culture is forbidden) has been active among the Muslims in recent years. The goal of this group is to eradicate all influence of Western culture on the population, and to impose Islamic Shari'a as the law of the land. In part of the northern region, the Muslim section of Nigeria, Islamic Shari'a has already been implemented and therefore it is forbidden to sell alcoholic drinks, and women are punished with severe corporal punishment and even death if they are even suspected of a sin against Islam. To date, thousands of citizens have been killed in Nigeria in conflicts between Muslims and Christians, because of religious differences.

Somalia has been the arena of bloody tribal wars for the past twenty years. The war caused the involvement of international terror elements, like Al Qaeda, and the main Islamic militia is the "Consolidation of Islamic Courts" which is supported by terrorist militias, "Shabab al-Thura" (the Revolutionary Youth). These militias are not repulsed by the use of any means against their enemies, and they carry out massacres against them. The civilian and economic infrastructures of Somalia are in ruins and most of its population suffers from malnutrition, but in the eyes of the Muslim militias this fact is not important. In recent years (Christian) Ethiopia has become involved because of the influence of the (Christian) United States in (Muslim) Somalia, and this involvement has exacerbated the religious component in the considerations and arguments of the Muslim militias in Somalia.

The situation of war and the lack of a functional government in Somalia has thrown the horn of Africa back hundreds of years, to the era of terror and piracy: thousands of Somalian Muslims find their livelihoods in piracy in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, and they especially love oil tankers, because of their size, their price and the precious cargo that they carry. Pirates don't mind tourist yachts either, because those who sail on them are people of means and therefore will prefer to pay ransom on the spot instead of arguing with their captors. The determination of the European countries has caused this phenomenon to be almost totally eliminated, and it is important to note that on the high seas there are no courts of justice or human rights organizations: when a ship is attacked by pirates, security guards shoot to kill, without a trial and without a warning. The cultured world has succeeded in eliminating this medieval phenomenon, only because it did not impose upon its war with piracy the limitations that stem from modern ideas of "human rights" and "judicial procedure". The world understands that pirates have effectively excluded themselves from the domain of modern humanity, and therefore they do not deserve the rights that modern humanity awards even to criminals.

It is important to note that in this matter that the Iranian Navy has cooperated with European navies. Iran, like Europe, saw in the pirates an economic danger, and therefore cooperated with the European "infidels" in this matter.

In neighboring Kenya, about one tenth of the population is Islamist, and international terror organizations exist among them as well. The double attack that was carried out in 2002 against the Paradise Hotel is a painful example of this, in which three vacationing Israelis and 13 local employees were killed. And there was also an attempt to shoot down an Arkia jet, which, if it had been successful, would have resulted in a large number of Israeli fatalities.

In the states of Northern Africa - Morocco , Algeria, Libya and Tunisia - "Al Qaeda in the Countries of the Maghreb" is active, which, from time to time kidnaps and murders tourists and professional people such as engineers who come to these countries as tourists or to work in their various occupations. In parallel, Islamist groups are known to attack European volunteers who function as doctors and nurses, usually in the clinics that the World Health Organization establishes, because the Muslim Africans see the volunteers as missionaries of a sort, but camouflaged and hidden and therefore, also dangerous.

In Ghana, about one sixth of its population is Muslim, and here too, Saudi propagandists are inciting the Islamist population against the state authorities.

Every few years in the states where there is an Islamist population in Africa, an event recurs with similar characteristics: a television is placed in the road, usually in front of a restaurant, in order to attract customers, and hundreds of people crowd around in order to watch the film or the soccer game. At that same time a murderous attack is carried out, in order to warn? the population not to watch the immoral thing called the television. Events of this sort have occurred in Somalia and in Nigeria.

Another African issue that draws fire from the Muslims is the matter of witchcraft. Among the African tribes, many believe in the power of magic, spirits, demons and ghosts and the rituals that include components of exorcism by sorcerers are attractive to them. According to Islam a sorcerer has no right to live, so any time that Muslims encounter an event that includes a component of sorcery, some will lose control and act violently against the sorcerers and those who believe in them.

The Islamic radicalization that encompasses the African countries during the past twenty years is a direct result of the Islamist preaching that arrives from Saudi Arabia in three main ways: local leaders learn in Saudi madrassas and then return to their countries in order to pass Wahhabi (radical) Islam on to the population; Saudi leaders who move to African countries and convince its people to adopt the radical Wahhabi stream of Islam; mosques, libraries, radio stations, Internet sites, support organizations and madrassas that Saudi Arabia establishes and underwrites serve as centers of dissemination of Wahhabi Islam. The economic plight that prevails in most of the African countries turns the populations of these countries into easy prey for the "dawa" that is provided by the petro-dollars of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Mosques established by Saudi money run loudspeakers in the public space, creating religious tension because of the feeling that the Muslims are taking over the country. Printed and recorded Islamic material that is distributed for free to people in the streets creates among the non-Muslims a feeling that they are victims of Muslim propaganda, which usually is foreign in spirit and character to the pluralistic culture of Africa.

An additional problematic characteristic that exists in Africa is the widespread presence of Sufi Islam, which is based on spiritual and mystical concepts, not political or jihadist. Sufi Islam is relaxed and does not concern itself usually with matters of this world. It is suitable to the spiritual atmosphere that exists in various parts of Africa. In Sudan there is the Mahdi movement, which also has spiritual, mystical characteristics. Wahhabi Islam considers the members of Sufi sects to be infidels, and tension between the Wahhabi adherents and the Sufi adherents rises from time to time rises to the level of a struggle between the violent Wahhabi that is imported from Saudi Arabia and the serene and spiritual Sufis whose origin is more local.

The events of the past year, which collectively are called the "Arab Spring", also added fuel to the Islamist fire of Africa: The battle in Libya between Qadhaffi and his opposition took on an added African quality in the form of mercenaries who arrived from Chad, Niger and Sudan in order to support Qadhaffi. Many of them were caught, and the color of their skin betrayed the fact that they were not Libyans, but foreigners, and not Muslims, but rather those who came to Libya in order to murder Muslims. In parallel, it became clear that in the dispute within Libya there is also an ethnic element: among Qadhaffi's opposition there were Berber tribes, who were also citizens of Libya. This involvement of Africans in the events between Arab Muslims does not help to create a relaxed climate between Arab Muslims and non-Muslim Africans.

In Morocco there is also great tension between the ruling Arabs, and the Berber Africans who are ruled by them The Berbers are always suspected of being disloyal to the state and to the Islam that was forced upon them, and therefore their status in the state is fairly problematic. A similar phenomenon exists in Algeria, and it is the source of tensions between the Arab North, residents of the cities and the desert, Bedouin, Berber periphery.

Egypt, an important African state, also his its part in the African crises recently: millions of Africans have fled to Egypt from the wars and famine in Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and other African states. The deterioration of the economic situation in Egypt as a result of the events of 2011 push many of them into a life of crime and many attempt to emigrate to Israel via Sinai, where the Bedouins exploit them shamefully, extort their money and even harvest their organs.

The economic crisis in Eastern Africa encourages the governments of these states to invest in economic initiatives - in agriculture, tourism and industry - all of which need water, and therefore they take advantage of the rain water that falls in their fields. This water would have contributed to the sources of the Nile in the past, but now it is trapped within the states of the horn of Africa. Therefore, the flow of water in the Nile is decreasing, and Sudan (in both of its parts) and Egypt, which are downriver, receive a smaller quantity of water, and of a lower quality, because there is not infrastructure for treatment of waste water anywhere along the Nile. This raises the tension/pressure among Egyptians and Sudanis and they are investing much effort to prevent the retention of water in the horn of Africa. Tension in this matter between the states is increasing, and this also does not contribute to a relaxed atmosphere between Arab-Muslim Egypt and Sudan on the one hand, and the states of Eastern Africa on the other, with the African populations, part of which are Muslim, who assert their right to exploit their water. The fact that in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis won two thirds of the seats of the parliament represents a threat to the other states of Africa, who fear the strengthening of the Islamist trends among themselves, and from increasing involvement of Islamist Egypt in what happens within their borders.

Conclusion: The population of Africa is involved in a series of disputes with a tribal background, where the Islamist and ethnic components play an important, and sometimes critical part. Saudi Arabian money, Wahhabi propaganda, the presence of terror organizations and wide distribution of weapons (some of which disappeared from weapons storehouses of the Libyan army as a result of the fall of Qadhaffi), do not contribute to a calming of the relations between various groups of the African population, and developing trends are also not in the direction of relaxation.


Dr. Mordechai Kedar ( is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally.

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Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

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

Something is Happening in Damascus

by Farid Ghadry

The events of the last 24 hours in Syria leads me to believe that there is something big that just happened beyond what we read in the news.

Yesterday, the Russians sent special military units into Syria and an oil tanker dropped anchor in Tartus port with support from a Russian Equator reconnaissance ship off the Syrian coast. All under the pretext their mission is to protect the Russian cadre of diplomats and nationals. Some 200,000 Russians make Syria their home. However, in the history of the Middle East, Russians have never dispatched special forces to any country to protect their own.

Oil? Reconnaissance? Russian special forces? There is more to this story than the public cover.

Parallel to the Russian invasion, the threats of both WMD and the large arsenal of missiles the Russians and the Iranians have equipped Assad with is a high concern issue for the international community. Not just because these may fall in the wrong hands but also because Assad is imbalanced enough to think of launching them. If Assad‘s brother Majd died of mental illness, that vein exists in every Assad who is descendent of Suleiman, father to Hafez, Rifaat, and Jamil.

Further, the Mazzeh battle yesterday between the Assad loyalists and the rebellious Syrians fighting for life and liberty has had an impact on the psyche of Assad, especially in light of major attacks on the Air Force Intelligence buildings two days earlier in Aleppo; this makes the WMD concerns legitimate enough for covert operations against his rule.

As of yesterday, fighting could erupt anyplace, anytime and no area is safe in Syria. In my book, this qualifies as a full blown-out civil war.

The Russian equation backing Assad so conclusively and overtly has never been witnessed before in the region; even during the height of the Cold War when the US and the Soviets were battling each other through Arab-Israeli wars. The vacuum left behind by a hurried US exiting the region and implementing an Erdogan caretaker policy provides the Russians with an opportunity to stick it to the Americans and to re-emerge as a powerhouse through a full-throttled support of Assad. The ultimate price would be levied by the Syrian people dying while waiting for help and the Israelis sensing Obama has abandoned them to the radical wolves of the region.

Whoever gave Obama this idea of outsourcing US interests to Erdogan should appear in front of Congress to explain himself.

With all these events taking place so suddenly, would it be safe to assume that something extremely important has just happened in Damascus? What if a failed military coup prompted the Russians to back Assad and Iran’s heavy infiltration with added reinforcements? What if these special counter-terrorism forces have entered Syria to protect Assad from putsches?

Since when Russia cares about its people to send special forces to protect them? Russian Spetsnaz forces, under Putin, chemically gazed the Chechnyan terrorists with their hostages in the 2002 Nord-Ost siege of the Dubrovka theater killing four times the number of hostages than the number of terrorists. This on top of a Stalinist history that recorded 40 million Soviets killed by his regime of terror.

Something is really up in Damascus and If I have to make a bet, it must be regime supporters flipping against their boss. Who would not after reading their emails?

Farid Ghadry


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

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