Friday, April 6, 2012

CIA: Iran Expands Program But No Nukes?

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The evidence of a major expansion of Iran’s nuclear program is a matter of record as far as the CIA is concerned, but the spy agency is still claiming Tehran hasn’t decided to build a bomb. Yesterday, COMMENTARY contributor Bill Gertz wrote in the Washington Free Beacon about the CIA’s official report to Congress on arms proliferation which was delivered in February but which hasn’t come to the attention of the public until now. The report states the bare facts about Iran’s program that are by now a matter of public knowledge since the International Atomic Energy Agency has been putting out regular bulletins about their damning findings.

The acknowledged facts are these: the Iranians have expanded their nuclear infrastructure and continued nuclear enrichment. They have constructed advanced nuclear centrifuges and bringing them online. Even more ominously, a new underground nuclear facility at Fordow has begun production of “near-20 percent enriched uranium,” the material that can be used to produce bombs. But as Gertz noted, the CIA’s report did not note the questions raised by the IAEA about weaponization research that is believed to be going on in Iran.

That omission is a crucial point in evaluating the CIA’s stance on Iran’s nuclear program. The agency has grudgingly noted the way Iran has proceeded with its nuclear build-up. But it is still sticking to its largely discredited 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that claims the Iranians are not building a bomb. In order to maintain that stance, it must ignore or downplay any evidence that points to weaponization.

As even the New York Times noted last month, American intelligence is still recovering from the black eye it received from its mistakes about Iraq’s weapons stockpile. But the agency’s decision to try to avoid making the same mistake on Iran has led them to buy into an equally fallacious mindset. Moreover, criticisms that the Iraq intelligence was influenced by the politics of the Bush administration is more than matched by the pressure coming from the Obama White House to downplay worries over Iran’s nukes that lend weight to calls for more action and less talk about the threat.

While American intelligence may have been guilty of overselling the threat from Iraq, it now appears to be doing everything possible to avoid taking the blame for a confrontation with Iran. But what the spooks seem to be forgetting is that as bad as the spanking over its Iraq errors was, it will be nothing compared to the anger that will come down on them should their optimistic assessments about Iran be proven false. Moreover, as bare bones as the CIA’s latest report may be, it contains enough to be someday thrown in their faces as proof that they knew the nature of the Iranian threat but refused for political or institutional reasons to draw the right conclusions.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another Unforced Obama Error on Egypt

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Yesterday, I wrote about the Obama administration’s decision to back the Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for a monopoly on power in Egypt. The rationale behind this startling decision was the possibility that an even more extreme Islamist appeared likely to win the upcoming presidential election. But now it appears that the candidacy of Sheik Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the Salafi leader who appeared to be taking the country by storm, is in jeopardy.

If so, and the possibility that the most radical Islamist in the race will not be running Egypt has receded, the question for Washington is how President Obama’s foreign policy team — which met this week with a delegation of radical Islamists from the Brotherhood in the White House — proposes to walk back their latest unforced error on Egypt? Given the dangers that would accrue from the Brotherhood adding the presidency to their control of Egypt’s new parliament, it looks as if the administration has given sanction to a development that will alter the political landscape of the Middle East in a manner that will severely diminish American influence and increase the possibility of more Islamist violence against Israel.

The problems of Sheik Ismail provide a bit of comic relief to an otherwise grim situation in Cairo. The radical leader is an ardent foe of the United States, but it appears that his mother, who went to California to be with Ismail’s sister who had previously immigrated there, obtained American citizenship before she died. If so, that would contravene a law passed last year that mandated that the parents of any Egyptian president must not have any other passport. Should the charge be true and Ismail is forced to leave the contest, that would be a huge victory for the Brotherhood and their candidate, wealthy businessman Khairat Al Shater.

But this is nothing for the United States to cheer about. Though the White House may be buying into the Brotherhood’s assurances of moderation and devotion to peace and stability, a closer look at Al Shater reveals that the Islamist group hasn’t really changed its stripes. As Bret Stephens wrote earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal, the Brotherhood candidate is anything but moderate on the question of Middle East peace and doesn’t sound like someone the White House should be rolling out the red carpet for:

On the subject of Israel, Mr. Shater noted that the killing of Hamas’s Ahmed Yassin was “a heinous crime corresponding to the perfidious nature of the Zionist enemy.” As for negotiating with Israel, he called it “mindless”: “The only way” to deal with the Jewish state, he insisted, “is jihad.” He faulted “the enemies of Islam” for trying to “distort and remove [jihad] from the hearts and minds and souls of Muslims.” He blasted the U.S. for preventing “the Islamic nation in its entirety” from eliminating “the usurper Zionist enemy.”

Moreover, although as Stephens notes, some of the things the candidate says are pleasing to Western ears, there’s no denying his goal is to impose Islam on every aspect of Egyptian society. If, in the most optimistic scenario, the Brotherhood wants to emulate Turkey rather than Iran, that means the transformation of a secular Western ally into an Islamist nation that will always be hostile to U.S. interests and peace.

Yet, by diving into the election and giving the Brotherhood its seal of approval, the White House may have once again undermined any hope that the military or secular moderates could hold off the Islamist surge.

The list of administration errors on Egypt is long. It refused to promote democracy or human rights while Hosni Mubarak still ruled, but then compounded that error by quickly dumping Mubarak. It repeated that pattern by seeking to attack the military government that succeeded Mubarak and then appeased them by continuing the aid in the face of provocations. Now, it has put its chips on the Brotherhood even though there is still a chance it can be stopped. After all this, the only question is what Obama blunder will be next?

Jonathan S. Tobin


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U.S. Government and Media Cheer Muslim Brotherhood Regime in Egypt

by Barry Rubin

A year ago we were told that Egypt was going to become a moderate democratic state ruled by hip Facebook kids. Now we are told that we should be grateful Egypt is going to become a moderate Islamist republic ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Western media and governments have made terrible mistakes that will destabilize the Middle East — even more — for the rest of our lives, oppress tens of millions of people, cause tens of thousands to flee their countries, and cause thousands to die.

Here is the prime example of that situation at this moment.

As the Muslim Brotherhood openly bids for a monopoly of power in Egypt, the U.S. government is once again supporting the Brotherhood rather than the moderates or army. The Muslim Brotherhood, you see, is supposedly fighting the Salafists, so they are the “good Islamists.” It is like backing a Stalinist Communist Party to keep the Trotskyites out of power, even though the former group is the real threat.

The Muslim Brotherhood, breaking previous promises, is running a candidate for president of Egypt: Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat el-Shater. Shater wasn’t even at the press conference announcing his candidacy. Supreme Guide Muhammad al-Badie — the true architect of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, though few in the West understand this — read a letter by Shater saying he was merely complying with the Brotherhood’s decision.

“We decided that Egypt now needs a candidate from us,” said Mohamed el-Morsi, president of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. But he added, “We have no desire at all to monopolize power.”

As for not seeking to monopolize power? That’s what the Brotherhood gave as an explanation when it was only running candidates for a small portion of seats, then half of them, then every one. Each time, they explained they weren’t running a candidate for president because they didn’t want a monopoly on power.

How can the Brotherhood hold the presidency, control parliament, and write the constitution, and still not have a monopoly on power?

The New York Times has basically endorsed el-Shater and the Brotherhood, calling him “the group’s most important internal advocate for moderation and modernization,” and adding that “many American officials who have met with Mr. Shater … have praised his moderation, business savvy and effectiveness.”

It sums him up as “a conservative but a pragmatist,” which is more than it will probably grant Mitt Romney.

The newspaper does briefly report that Egyptian liberals are getting suspicious about the Brotherhood, and that Shater helped kick “moderates” out of the group. But it quickly recovers, explaining that Egyptians have nothing to complain about since they will have a choice between — what I will call — supposedly “liberal” Shariah, “moderate” Shariah, and “hardline Shariah” candidates:

The Brotherhood’s entry into the race also turns the election into a debate over the future of the Islamist political movement that is sure to resonate in the region. Mr. Shater faces Islamist rivals to his left and right — one a more liberal former Brotherhood leader (Aboul Fotouh), the other an ultraconservative Salafist.

Not exactly.

It works like this: The Brotherhood puts its organization, prestige, and voting base behind one candidate; the Salafist party puts the same behind another. So where will the “liberal” Islamist end up at the polls? Well here’s a hint: in the parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood got almost 50 percent, the Salafists received 25 percent, and the liberal Islamic party got … 1 percent.

While Shater is now defined as the “good guy,” the bad guy is Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. Indeed, the Times explains, even the U.S. government backs Shater since he is needed to beat Abu Ismail. This is why “the United States offered signs of tacit approval over the weekend when the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamic group, broke its pledge not to field its own candidate.”

This argument is pure nonsense. After all, if the Brotherhood had thrown its support behind a nationalist or moderate non-Islamist candidate, that person would have buried Abu Ismail in a landslide!

Abu Ismail is evil because he is “an old-school Islamist” who wants to abolish Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, treat the United States as Iran does, and take away women’s rights.

In contrast, though, Shater is new, a media star, pragmatic, and a moderate Islamist who wants to abolish Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, treat the United States as Iran does, and take away women’s rights.

It is one thing to back a pro-American dictator or army who may be oppressive at home. It is another thing to back moderate democracy advocates who may be weak and lose. But how can U.S. policy back an anti-American extremist who will be oppressive at home and trample on U.S. interests?

How can the New York Times call the anti-American, anti-Semitic, genocide-advocating, anti-woman, and anti-Christian Brotherhood merely a “religious and anti-colonialist movement”? How can the Washington Post, whose coverage is better, refer to the Brotherhood as a “long-oppressed Islamist group”?

Meanwhile, the non-Islamist moderates continue to commit political suicide. Their latest brilliant move is to embrace that old Arab strategy that has always proven to be disastrous: the boycott. They discovered that the 100 members of parliament chosen to write a new constitution were almost all Islamists. That shouldn’t be surprising, since these two parties have 75 percent in the lower house and even more in the upper house.

So now instead of fighting tooth and claw over every sentence of the new constitution, forcing the Islamists to make some compromises — or at least, if they refuse, to become exposed for their true nature — the moderates have walked out entirely.

Between a catastrophic U.S. policy and a dumb-as-rocks Egyptian moderate strategy, Egypt should be an Islamist state in practice within one year. Then the Middle East is set for decades of turmoil while the United States faces its worst setback in the region since Iran’s revolution more than three decades ago.

Barry Rubin


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

MB Presidential Candidate Pledges to Implement Sharia in Egypt

by Andrew G. Bostom

As reported by The Washington Post today (4/4/12), recently announced Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate for the Egyptian Presidency, Dr. Khairat Al-Shater, Deputy Chairman of the MB, has affirmed his commitment to implementing Sharia -- Islamic Law -- in post-Mubarak Egypt.

Yesterday (Tuesday 4/3/12) El-Shater met with the Jurisprudence Commission for Rights and Reform. This umbrella group of Islamic scholars, including MB and Salafist party representatives, was established after last year's uprising against President Hosni Mubarak as a coalition to represent the popular traditionalist Islamic political factions. According to the Post report,

The group, called the Jurisprudence Commission for Rights and Reform, said in a posting on its Facebook page that el-Shater promised that, if elected, he would form a council of clerics to review legislation to ensure it adheres to Islamic Shariah law.

Predictably, the Post also reports, "A Brotherhood spokesman could not immediately confirm the offer."

Al-Shater's promise to the Jurisprudence Commission for Rights and Reform served as a reminder of the MB's 2007 political platform that included a similar provision, mandating that parliament consult with a religious council of clerics when drafting legislation to assure compliance with Islam's religio-political totalitarian Sharia. Salient features of the 2007 180-page draft platform included the proposed the establishment of the Supreme Council of Clerics, to whom the Egyptian president and legislative branches must defer on issues of conformity to the Sharia. The platform document also stated that women and non-Muslims were barred from serving as president of Egypt, and further stipulated that international agreements signed by past governments -- including the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty -- were to be reexamined and brought to a public referendum.

Over thirty years ago, in 1979, Hava Lazarus-Yafeh described the perverse phenomenon -- borne of complete Western rejection -- that nevertheless caused an "amalgamation" of Islamic and Western values in the warped political language of Islam's contemporary theocrats. The Muslim Brotherhood -- then and now -- represents the apotheosis of that totalitarian Islamic trend:

When calling for an Islamic totalitarian Republic, wherein the ulama [scholars of Islam] hoped to restore God's will in history, they used Western concepts of democracy, liberty, equality etc.... All of these contemporary religious leaders in Islam were raised and nourished by the literary activity of the Modernists who consciously blurred the differences between East and West. Hence we may understand the unintelligible [note: to Westerners with their wits about them!] phenomenon of the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, talking about Islamic democracy and freedom while cultivating a vision of an Islamic State, which is certainly a far cry from any Western democracy.

Andrew G. Bostom


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Sharia in America — on The Glazov Gang

by Jamie Glazov

Robert Spencer, Bruce Thornton and Nonie Darwish recently joined The Glazov Gang to discuss The Islamic War on Free Speech in America. All three parts of this three-part series can be found below. Part I deals with The Islamic War on Free Speech in America, Part II focuses on Trayvon Martin, Race Hustlers and Media Bias and Part III sheds light on Robert Spencer’s new book: Did Muhammad Exist?

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Jamie Glazov


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

Obama’s Knife in Israel’s Back

by David Meir-Levi

In his March 28th article, “Israel’s Secret Staging Ground,” in Foreign Policy, Mark Perry revealed previously secret information about Israel’s dealings with Azerbaijan; and many are now of the opinion that his article was in reality Obama’s knife in Israel’s back. According to Perry, four unnamed senior diplomats and military intelligence officers leaked information indicating that Israel has purchased air force bases in Azerbaijan for use in preparation for an attack on Iran.

The likelihood that it is mere coincidence that four senior diplomatic and military intelligence sources separately leaked the same information at the same time is very small. So John Bolton holds Obama responsible. Bolton suggests that because Obama’s private efforts to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran have failed, he decided to ratchet up the pressure on Israel by revealing sensitive, secret information that, once available to Iran, will make an Israeli offensive less likely to succeed, and thus be a deterrent to such an offensive.[1] This is surely not the sort of thing that a head of state does to an ally; but it might be the sort of thing that an unconscionably Machiavellian President running for re-election might do if he perceives that an Israeli strike on Iran might be a political liability for him.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denies any collusion with Israel, and, indeed, Azerbaijan is a rather unlikely ally for the Jewish state; but Wikileaks gives a solid basis for such collusion, the motivation for which may be Azerbaijan’s perception of Iran as an existential enemy.

Some Israeli analysts deride the very idea that Israel could be in league with Azerbaijan for a variety of strategic and tactical, military, logistical and political reasons, including the fact that an Iranian revenge attack on Azerbaijan’s oil production facilities could easily destroy the country’s entire economy.

But these commentators all miss the point. It does not matter whether or not the information is correct. Those who leaked it presumably thought that it was. It does not matter that the President says that he did not knife Israel in the back and has “no interest” in leaks of this kind, or that “…the US is crawling with thousands of intelligence and former intelligence officials.” The buck stops at Obama’s desk. He is the Commander-in-Chief of those thousands. Yet his response is dismissive, nonchalant, and insouciant: hardly the appropriate attitude when an ally’s secret defensive plans have been compromised, with potentially existential consequences.

In the context of a broader perspective this incident takes on rather dire dimensions, as it is the latest in a long line of anti-Israel statements and actions originating with Obama or with those working close to him.

This past February Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Iran that he thinks Israel will strike as early as April. So Israel’s ally tells Israel’s enemy when Israel will strike. Surely, for Iran, this is “news you can use.” Was this just a gaff, or was it an intentional leak meant to undermine Israel’s military options? Panetta answers to Obama, but Obama seems to be insouciant, saying nothing.

Another problem regarding Obama’s silence is the recent flap about a State Department official’s refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the official capital of Israel. This official is not to blame. She was merely conforming to the directives of her employer, the U.S. Department of State, which, despite Congress’ Jerusalem embassy act of 1995, and the recent Supreme Court decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, continues to ignore U.S. law. The State Department answers to the President, and the President is silent, insouciant, on this issue.

But he did have something to say about the status of Jerusalem on the White House website. Not too long ago Obama himself ordered the removal of all references to “Jerusalem, Israel” from the White House website, replacing them with “Jerusalem.” What could be Obama’s motive for divesting Israel of its capital, and Jerusalem of its Jewish state? Connecting some recent dots will offer an answer to that question.

To a mostly Jewish AIPAC audience on June 4, 2008, front-running Presidential candidate Obama announced that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.” But only a few days later, after being assailed by Arab-American and Palestinian spokespersons, he told a mostly Arab audience that “…it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate.” [2] To which audience did he lie?

But as the world had already learned a few months earlier, he was willing to divide not only Jerusalem, but all of Israel. In January, 2008, Obama said he supported the division of Israel into two parts by a Palestinian state.[3] This stunning comment came as Obama, struggling to articulate his stance on key Mideast issues, asserted that “The Palestinians have a legitimate concern that a state have a contiguous coherent mass that would allow the state to function effectively.” Was Obama not aware that a land corridor between Gaza and the West Bank would effectively cut Israel in half, making it incoherent and non-contiguous, divided into northern and southern portions? Was this merely the gaff of an inexperienced, flustered and geographically challenged presidential candidate trying to accommodate Arab-American voters, or was Obama stating a priority that presaged a series of later presidential anti-Israel words and deeds?

Looking back a bit further into Obama’s not-too-distant past, one may be able to find the likely answer to these questions.

During his presidential campaign (2007-08) he revealed to the press the names of those to whom he would look for guidance on Middle East issues, his “brain trust” as it were: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Anthony Lake, Susan Rice, Bettylu Saltzman, Robert Malley,[4] and Samantha Power, among others – a dream team for the anti-Israel crowd at home and abroad. Given his choice of advisors, it was not difficult to predict that he would be no friend of Israel.

And speaking of advisors, let’s recall Obama’s mentor and spiritual guide, the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright who glad-handed and honored the notorious anti-Israel and anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual Louis Farrakhan, and who is still active in anti-Israel activities with his most recent participation in the planning of the “Global March on Jerusalem” (GMJ). Did Obama sit in Wright’s fire-and-brimstone anti-Israel church and never inhale?

It is also important to recall Obama’s comfort and conviviality with Arab and Arab-American anti-Israel leaders[5], some of whom saw him as a friend of “Palestine” whom they could trust to take strong pro-Palestinian positions once in the White House. Such leaders included the likes of Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah. Obama’s attendance at a vociferously anti-Israel celebration with these and other Palestinian-American leaders back in 2003 was apparently something of a political embarrassment to Obama during his election campaign, so much so that The Los Angeles Times withheld the video of his participation.

It was at this event that Obama is said to have told Ali Abunimah not to press him about Palestinian issues, explaining that he would be able to do more for the Palestinians once he is elected a U.S. Senator. Obama later denied saying that, but Abunimah never publicly retracted the statement and alluded to it several times in public appearances where he expressed his disappointment in Obama’s positive statements about Israel.

Obama’s comment to Abunimah was an eerie precursor to his recent “hot mike” gaff with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Just as he did not want his voting constituency to know what he planned to do for the Palestinians once elected to the U.S. Senate, so too does he not want the American public to know what sort of flexibility toward Russia he looks forward to, regarding missile defenses, once elected to his second term as President. Obviously in both cases the nature of this post-election flexibility is something that, if known, would reduce his chances of being elected.

Given the above, it may be premature to suggest that Obama wants Iran to win, but clearly he wants Israel to lose.


[1] See for a comprehensive summary of the damage that this leak may cause for Israel. For the most detailed, in-depth and objective summary and analysis of the issue of why an Israeli attack on Iran may create problems for the USA and constitute a liability for the President see .

[2] The video of that speech is no longer available on line but see excerpts at ; and for the flip-flop when speaking to Arab audiences see: and

[3] Originally published with video in Israel Insider, Jan. 29, 2008. The article and video are no longer on line, but available at .

[4] But see for a summary of his defenders on the issue of his attitude toward Israel.

[5] For details of Obama’s connections to radical Islam, CAIR and Farrakhan see; ;; and (for his wife’s connections too).

David Meir-Levi


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

The Left’s Frontal Assault on the Supreme Court

by Rick Moran

Reverberations from President Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court last Monday continue to be felt, as his allies on the left join the administration’s attempt to intimidate the justices by saying that if the Supreme Court overturns part or all of Obamacare, it will prove that the justices are hyperpartisan and engaging in “judicial activism.” But the federal courts fired a salvo of its own at the executive branch, as a three-judge appeals court in Texas, hearing arguments on another Obamacare suit, ordered the Department of Justice to craft a statement explaining the president’s attack and demanded that the executive branch confirm that the courts have the power to review the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress.

This extraordinary clash between two branches of government was precipitated because the President of the United States and his far-left allies are seeking to delegitimize any adverse decision made by the Supreme Court against what they consider Obama’s signature political achievement: the Affordable Care Act. There is nothing subtle about the assault. It is naked aggression against a co-equal branch of the federal government and the country has rarely seen anything like it.

The former constitutional law professor told reporters on Monday, “Ultimately I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected Congress,” adding:

I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years all we’ve heard is that the biggest problem is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, here’s a good example.

That’s not a shot across the bow. That’s a full-bore broadside against the notion of an independent judiciary. Leaving aside the laughable notion that Obamacare was passed by a “strong majority” in Congress (219-215 in the House and 60-39 in the Senate without a single Republican vote in either chamber), what does it matter how many congressmen voted for it? The Supreme Court overturns congressional statutes all the time. Writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, David Kopel notes that “It is certainly not ‘unprecedented’ for the Court to overturn a law passed by ‘a democratically elected Congress.’ The Court has done so 165 times, as of 2010.”

And the question of the court engaging in “judicial activism” is equally bogus. How can anyone construe the legitimate function of the Supreme Court to review statutes and determine their constitutionality as “activism” of any kind?

Kopel avers that Obama has now “raised the stakes considerably” for the court:

At issue now is not just the issue of whether Congress can commandeer the People and compel them to purchase the products of a particular oligopoly. At issue is whether the Court will bow to a President who denies the[ir] very legitimacy of judicial review of congressional statutes–or at least those statutes which garnered the “strong” majority of 219 out of 435 Representatives.

The drama moved to Texas on Tuesday where the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was hearing arguments on a related Obamacare case brought by physician-owned hospitals. Judge Jerry E. Smith asked the government attorney whether the Obama administration believed in judicial review of acts of Congress:

Judge Smith: Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority, in appropriate circumstances, to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?

Dana Lydia Kaersvang: Yes, your honor, of course there would need to be a severability analysis, but …

Smith: I’m referring to statements by the president in the past few days to the effect— and I’m sure you’ve heard about them — that it’s somehow for what he termed “unelected judges” to strike acts of Congress that have enjoyed — he’s referring of course to Obamacare — to what he termed a “broad consensus” and majorities in both houses of Congress. That has troubled a number of people who have read it as somehow a challenge to the federal courts or to their authority or to the appropriateness of the concept of judicial review. And that’s not a small matter.

Smith wasn’t finished. He then ordered the Department of Justice to write a letter — three pages long and single spaced — “stating what is the position of the attorney general and the Department of Justice in regard to the recent statements by the president. Stating specifically and in detail, in reference to those statements what the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review.” He demanded that the letter “make specific reference to the president’s statement and again to the position of the attorney general and the Department of Justice.”

A chastened President Obama slightly walked back his inaccurate and stinging attack on the court, saying that he was really referring to the commerce clause when he said overturning Obamacare would be “unprecedented”:

[T]he point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress.

Obviously, the president was not making that point on Monday — not even close. And Attorney General Eric Holder, affirming that he would comply with the 5th Circuit’s order, reiterated the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review. “We respect the decisions made by the courts since Marbury v. Madison,” Holder said Wednesday, referring to the landmark case that established the precedent of judicial review by the Supreme Court. “Courts have final say,” he added.

While Judge Smith’s order may have caused the administration to retreat for the moment, no such deference is being shown by the president’s allies on the left. A weird kind of hysteria has gripped the liberal commentariat as pundits try to outdo one another in exaggerated rhetoric and apocalyptic warnings about the “unelected people” on the court as Obama called the justices.

Topping the list of hysterics is laws professor David Dow, writing in The Daily Beast, who is calling for the “impeachment” of the Roberts court if Obamacare is struck down. Dow accuses the court of carrying out a “sustained effort” to “return the country to the Gilded Age.” He says of the arguments conservatives are using against Obamacare, “You don’t have to pull the analytical thread of that reasoning very hard to see that it boils down to an argument for allowing the poor to die.” One almost expected Dow to call for the use of the guillotine on the court’s conservatives by the end of his hyperbolic rant.

Not to be outdone, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times claims that the court “has squandered even the semi-illusion that it is the unbiased, honest guardian of the Constitution. It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes.”

But the biggest outcry from the left echoed the president’s assertion that the court would be engaged in “judicial activism” if it overturned Obamacare. E.J. Dionne noted “a court that gave us Bush v. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.”

As mentioned above, it is wondrous logic indeed that posits the notion that when the Supreme Court performs the task that constitutionally, historically, and traditionally it has carried out with regards to the constitutional efficacy of any particular law that it is somehow “unprecedented” or evidence of unnecessary activism. And all of this ranting about “justice” and “social progress” shows a determined ignorance about the one salient point never mentioned on the left: that Obamacare is not the only remedy to our health care problems, that it is a bad law whose unintended consequences are just starting to be felt. To believe that the end of Obamacare would be the end of health insurance reform is nonsense.

What might be the result of this concerted attack on the legitimacy of the court? The justices are not immune to this kind of pressure. It is said that the justices read the morning papers like everyone else. And they also read the polls. While it is a comforting notion that the Supreme Court is above the sort of partisan warfare that is going on in Washington now, the facts are a little more prosaic. Each justice, liberal and conservative, has their legal views shaped by their experiences, their knowledge of the law, and yes, their prejudices and biases.

But the left’s unprecedented attack on the court’s legitimacy is a pre-emptive strike designed to both create the conditions for political warfare against the court and conservatives during the fall campaign, and to intimidate swing votes like Justice Kennedy. We won’t know until late June when a decision on Obamacare is expected whether the president and his hard left allies were successful.

Rick Moran


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

Courtroom Terror

by Raymond Ibrahim

Muslim lawyers representing the plaintiffs prevented the defense team from entering the court. "They said no Muslim will defend a Christian. The Muslims decided later that even Christians would not defend him."

Apologists sometimes try to explain away Islamic terrorism as a byproduct of something else, calling it the "weapon of the weak." The usual argument is that because Muslims are politically, socially, or militarily weak—the archetypal example often given is Israel vis-à-vis the Palestinians—they have no choice but to resort to terror to strike at their stronger adversaries; they resort to terrorism simply to even the odds.

Although this narrative is widely accepted, it is false. Consider the following account that took place a couple of weeks ago in Muslim-majority Egypt:

More than 300 Muslim lawyers inside and outside a courthouse in the southern Egyptian province of Assuit today [3/16] prevented defense lawyer Ahmad Sayed Gabali, who is representing the Christian Makarem Diab, from going into court. Mr. Diab was found guilty of "Insulting the Muslim Prophet" and was scheduled today for a hearing on his appeal. Attorney Dr. Naguib Gabriell, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization, said there was "terror in the Assiut Court today." He added that he was on his way to court when he was advised that Muslim lawyers have issued death threats to any Christian lawyers who attend the court session. "Makram Diab was assaulted by Muslim lawyers during his transfer from the courtroom and security failed to protect him." Peter Sarwat, a Coptic lawyer, said that Muslim lawyers representing the plaintiffs prevented the defense team from entering court. "They said no Muslim will defend a Christian. It was agreed that Christian lawyers would take over and two Coptic lawyers volunteered, but the Muslims decided later that even Christians would not defend him." Sarwat said the Muslim lawyers wanted to assault the chief judge but he managed to leave the court via a rear door [emphasis added].

The report goes on to explain how Muslim lawyers and activists went to court to defend Diab's right to a fair trial only to be assaulted by other Muslim lawyers: "They were assaulting us in a beastly and strange way just because we went there to defend a citizen who happened to be a Christian," said one of the lawyers, adding that exiting the court required security intervention: "We left court in a security vehicle which took us to Security headquarters; otherwise we don't know what the outcome would have been for us."

More details include eyewitnesses reporting that the Muslim lawyers were "armed with clubs." Several, including reporters, were injured in the ensuing melee, and human rights groups were "forced out of the courtroom by the Muslims."

According to, the primary definition of terrorism is "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes." In other words, terrorism is not just limited to 9/11-like strikes, but entails intimidating, bullying, threatening, and so on—precisely what happened at this courthouse trial.

Some more points to keep in mind:

  • Those making the death threats, physically assaulting others with clubs, and otherwise engaging in terrorist behavior were "more than 300 Muslim lawyers"; not jihadis or fugitives hiding out in caves, but lawyers.
  • The entire issue revolves around something that, by Western standards of freedom, would be a non-issue to start with: insulting a "holy" figure, Islam's Prophet Muhammad. In a Western court of law, the Christian "blasphemer" would not even be tried, but rather the terrorist "lawyers."
  • The attacks on fellow Muslim lawyers, who merely sought to represent the condemned Christian, is in keeping with Islam's doctrines of loyalty and disloyalty, which command Muslims always to side with fellow Muslims, while having enmity for non-Muslim infidels—certainly those perceived to have insulted the Prophet.

The lesson that emerges from this shameful miscarriage of justice is . . . predictability. Anyone familiar with the Islamic world—its history, its doctrines—cannot be surprised at any of the above: rage and violence in response to a non-Muslim insulting the prophet; rage and violence toward Muslim members of a legal system because they sided with this "infidel", who is guilty before he is even charged with a crime, simply because he is not a Muslim—these are quite standard, with ample precedent, regardless of whether the enraged Muslims are suit-and-tie wearing lawyers, or kalashnikov-toting jihadis.

Contrary to popular belief, as this episode clearly shows, "Islamic terrorism" is not a product of "weakness," but rather the typical response to those who transgress the bounds of Sharia. Whether one man "blaspheming" Muhammad in a Muslim-majority nation as in this example, or whether an entire nation existing on land perceived to belong to Islam as in Israel)—for those transgressing the bounds of Sharia, terrorism is never far behind.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Islam Conquers European Football

by Soeren Kern

As part of the agreement, however, the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah required Real Madrid to remove the cross from the crown on its logo for all promotional materials. The president of Real Madrid dutifully complied.

The top-ranked football team in Spain, Real Madrid, has removed a Christian cross from its official logo as a way to strengthen its fan base among Muslims in Europe and the Middle East.

According to Spain's top sports newspaper, Marca, the change was made to "avoid any form of confusion or misinterpretation in a region where the majority of the population is Muslim."

Real Madrid says its decision to remove the cross from its logo (see image here) is simply a cost of doing business in a globalized world. But critics say the move represents yet another erosion of European culture and tradition in the face of encroaching Islam.

The cross controversy comes as Real Madrid begins to build a $1 billion sports tourist resort in the United Arab Emirates. The foundation stone for the 50 hectare Real Madrid Resort Island was laid in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah on March 29; the complex is scheduled to open in January 2015.

Real Madrid says its resort island will be the first theme park on an artificial island to combine tourism and sports, and it will be the first recreational tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark. The complex will include a 450-room luxury hotel, luxury villas, a sporting harbor, and the world's first-ever football stadium that is open to the sea.

According to Real Madrid, "This is a decisive and strategic step that will enhance the strength of this institution in the Middle East and Asia, a key region in which the passion for this club has been apparent. Real Madrid and the Government of Ras al-Khaimah want to transmit the passion of Real Madrid and what it means throughout the world."

As part of the agreement, however, the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi, required Real Madrid to remove the cross from the crown on its logo for all promotional materials related to the resort island. The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, dutifully complied.

The cross was first to Real Madrid's logo in 1920, when King Alfonso XIII granted the club his royal patronage. The word Real is Spanish for royal, and the cross still forms an integral part of the coat of arms of the King of Spain.

To be sure, Real Madrid is not the first Spanish football club to remove a "religiously incorrect" cross from its logo in an effort to appease Muslim sensibilities. Some observers, in fact, say Real Madrid's move is part of a concerted effort to prevent a rival football team in Barcelona from winning over the Middle East.

FC Barcelona recently signed a five-year €150 million ($200 million) shirt sponsorship deal with the Doha-based Qatar Foundation, a so-called charitable trust that has been accused by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo of providing funding to the extremist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an advocate of terrorism, wife beating and murderous anti-Semitism. The agreement permits the Qatar Foundation to place its logo on FC Barcelona's official team shirt.

In addition to earning €30 million per season, the agreement has enabled FC Barcelona -- which claims to be "the undisputed brand leader in world football" -- to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.

FC Barcelona's public relations efforts in the Muslim world have not been without controversy. Like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona has a cross in its official logo. But after Saudi Arabia complained that the so-called Cruz de San Jorge -- a red and white cross that forms an integral part of FC Barcelona's logo -- was offensive to Islam because it evokes memories of the medieval Crusades, the horizontal line (and thus the offending cross) was removed from all FC Barcelona shirts sold in the Middle East.

Football clubs in Italy have also had run-ins with Muslim fashion police. In Milan, for example, the football team Inter Milan was sued by a Turkish lawyer named Baris Kaska. He filed a complaint with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) against Inter Milan after the team wore shirts with a "Crusader-style" red cross that Kaska alleged was "offensive to Muslim sensibilities."

The shirt's design -- to mark the 100th anniversary of the club -- included a big red cross on a white background, a symbol of the city of Milan. But Muslims said the emblem reminded them of the Knights Templar, which Kaska said symbolized "Western racist superiority over Islam."

In an interview with the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia, Kaska said Inter Milan had "manifested in the most explicit manner the superiority of one religion over another." He also said that Inter should be "heavily fined for displaying an offensive symbol."

In neighboring Germany, the Gelsenkirchen-based FC Schalke 04, which plays in Germany's top league, the Bundesliga, asked an Islam expert to consider whether the team's anthem is insulting to Muslims.

The third verse of the anthem, which is titled "Blue and White, How I Love You," contains the words: "Mohammed was a prophet who understood nothing about football. But of all the lovely colors he chose [Schalke's] blue and white."

Although the song was written in 1924, the football team began receiving complaints -- hundreds of them -- after a Turkish newspaper reported that the song is insulting to Mohammed. Muslims are now demanding that the offending line be struck from the song, which is chanted by Schalke's fans before every match.

Elsewhere in Germany, the German Central Council of Muslims issued a fatwa (religious ruling) stating that Muslim football players are not required to fast during the month of Ramadan.

The ruling was issued after the German football club FSV Frankfurt issued an official warning to three of their players for fasting and failing to tell their manager. The club said fasting harms the performance of its players.

In France, the referee of a woman's football match on March 18 in the southern French city of Narbonne refused to officiate the game when players for one of the teams took to the pitch wearing Muslim headscarves. The incident involved players from Petit-Bard Montpellier, who had been due to play Narbonne in a regional promotional tie.

The international governing body of football, known as FIFA, banned players from wearing the Islamic headscarf, also known as the hijab, in 2007, saying it was unsafe. But on March 3, FIFA accepted in principal that female footballers could wear headscarves when playing in official competitions.

The rule change, instigated by the brother of the King of Jordan, Ali bin al-Hussein who is also FIFA vice president, is due to come into effect on July 2.

FIFA secretary general, Jerome Vacke, says al-Hussein successfully convinced FIFA that the hijab is a cultural rather than a religious symbol, and that the rule change will allow women all over the world to play football. But the change has angered many Europeans, including some feminist groups, who say the Muslim headscarf is a sign of "male domination."

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien, Asma Guenifi, the director of a women's rights group called Ni Putes, Ni Soumises, said the rule change is "a total regression." She added: "I think FIFA is influenced by intense lobbying from rich Middle Eastern countries, like Qatar."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.


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

Mordechai Kedar: Is Islam the Solution?

by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in Italiano (translated by Angelo Pezzana)

Since its founding in 1928, the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood has been "Islam is the Solution", meaning that it is forbidden for Muslims to adopt any Western solution, like socialism, nationalism, patriotism, liberalism, pluralism, or any other "ism" of European creation, and that they must abide by the solutions found within the Islamic sources: the Qur'an and the tradition of the prophet Mohammed, peace and prayers be upon him. According to their approach, "The Qur'an is our constitution, the prophet is our leader, jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is our hope". This was all very well when they were fighting the evil forces of Gamal Abd el-Naser, Anwar al-Saadat and Husni Mubarak, who were not averse to using any means of oppression and torture for the Muslim Brotherhood, which took upon itself the responsibility of caring for the tens of millions of Egyptians living in unplanned slums, without flowing water, sewage, electricity or telephone.

Since the beginning of the revolution of the 25th of January, the Muslim Brotherhood has had to address the question of whether they should exploit the popular sympathy that was created towards them as a result of the community activities that they engaged in for many years, and turn it into political terms such as seats in the People's Council, the government and the presidency. Regarding the People's Council, a positive answer was easily taken, because the Brotherhood has held these seats since the days of Mubarak, when they took upon themselves the rules of the political game, because that was the only game on the field. In the first fair elections that were held in Egypt, at the end of 2011, the Brotherhood won almost half of the seats in the parliament, and together with the Salafis, the Islamic bloc makes up about 70 percent of the parliament. The important question confronting them today is whether or not to try for the president's seat as well. The considerations that guide them in this matter are:


  • The results of the elections for parliament have demonstrated the popularity of the Brotherhood among the population; therefore their candidate will win the post of president of the state. This would be a golden opportunity for them to prove that indeed "Islam is the solution", and to establish for the first time, religious leadership. They are encouraged by the [previously secular] Turkish model, because even in Turkey, Islamism now rules the parliament, government and presidency.


  • Conquest of the presidency will turn the Islamists into a "Sulta" - government - that will not be able to avoid using force against the population, and this will cause them to lose public sympathy.
  • An Islamic president will be in continual conflict with the military, whose leaders may become angry, disperse the parliament and cancel the results of the elections, as occurred in Algeria in 1992.
  • The Brotherhood will be identified with both the successes and the failures of the state, and the current condition of Egypt does not herald success.
  • The secular groups will feel as if they are "out of the game" politically, so they will act against the rule of the Brotherhood even if it harms the state, its economy and its stability.
  • The Islamic image of the state will put off the tourists and investors, and will make economic recovery difficult. The American civil (food) and military (weapons) support will also be endangered.
  • The international atmosphere regarding Islamophobia will cause them to be the focus of monitoring and scrutiny by the international community.
  • To run a modern state they will have to compromise on some important aspects of Islam, such as implementation of Islamic Shari'a, and difficult questions will immediately arise regarding such issues as the status of the (Christian) Copts, the serving of alcohol in restaurants, the raising of pigs by Copts, the obligation for women to dress modestly, decapitation of murderers, cutting off the hands of thieves, stoning adulteresses and flogging adulterers. Failure to implement Shari'a fully and strictly will bring embarrassing criticism by the Salafis upon the Brotherhood.
  • The Brotherhood will need to take difficult decisions regarding the continuation of the peace with Israel. Keeping the treaty is against Islam, but canceling it will make them seem like dangerous agents for the stability of the region and the world. And they don't want to be in Iran’s position, regarding international opinion.
  • The Brotherhood will have to wage an all-out war with the radical jihad organizations whose representatives are in Egypt, principally in Sinai, and the Muslim fundamentalists, both inside and outside of Egypt, will criticize them for this.
  • The government of the Brotherhood will need to manage a relationship with Hamas, in such a way as not to put it in the negative light of cooperating with a terror organization.

In light of all of these negative considerations, the Shura Council of the Brotherhood decided last year not to propose a candidate for the presidency from among its ranks. Objections were so strong that in June of 2011 the movement expelled Abd al Mun'im abu al Futuh, one of the leaders of the Brotherhood, because he dared to propose himself as an independent candidate for the presidency, contrary to the wishes of the Brotherhood's leadership. However, things have changed since then. The fact that they won almost half of the seats of parliament caused many of the mid-level leaders to begin to think: They think that now they have the power and the ability to realize the dream of many years: to establish and run an Islamic state from bottom to top.

However, their intoxication with power places them between two hostile groups, the military and the liberals, each one hostile for its own reasons. The military fears that the Brotherhood intends to do what Erdogan did to the Turkish military, which was supposed to be a watchdog for the secular character of Turkey: to subjugate it. Under the auspices of Mubarak and his predecessors, the officers turned the Egyptian military into an independent economic empire that conducts itself without regard to the budget of the state, and it fears that the civil government will force it to divest itself from its economic assets. Officers of the military, most of whom are secular up to their ears, fear that a government that is colored with the Islamic green will force them to resign in order to turn their positions over to "our people".

There is also the important question of how correct it is for the United States to arm and equip the military of a state with an Islamic character such as that of the Muslim Brotherhood, and if the United States declines to continue its support, the military will quickly become useless. But the greatest reason that the military objects to the rule of the Brotherhood is that the civil government will put the military in its place and will disband the High Military Council, which apparently has become infatuated with power since February of 2011.

On the other hand, the liberal and secular groups also object to the Brotherhood having so much power, because they fear that this regime will limit their individual freedoms, shut the mouths of its detractors, force the secular women to dress in wide capes according to the Islamic dress code, forbid women to work in some professions (medicine, for instance) where they come into too close contact with men, impose censorship upon the press, books, films and plays, impose corporal punishment for religious trespasses, forbid the sale of alcohol, and break up political parties and organizations that do not meet with their approval.

The Copts are especially anxious, because they know very well that the intensification of Islamist trends will likewise increase the acts of harassment towards them, as individuals and as a group, and their lives, which are difficult to begin with, will become intolerable. Too many Muslims see Copts, with the wine that they drink and the pigs that they eat, to be the cause of Egypt's sufferings, and there are those among the Muslims, who think that the economic troubles that have settled upon the country during the last year, mainly the disappearance of tourism and investments, are a divine punishment for Egypt continuing to host the Christian Copts within its bosom, enabling them to conduct religious rituals and their way of life freely. The fact that the Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt and the Muslims are the descendants of Bedouins of the desert that invaded Egypt only in the seventh century and imposed Islam on part of its people, is not important in the eyes of the Muslims.

The question which naturally arises is: What caused the change in the position of the Brotherhood not to put forward a candidate for the presidency? The answer has to do with the deterioration of relations between the High Military Council and the Brotherhood, after the Brotherhood won a clear majority in the parliament. The Brotherhood fears that the temporary government under El-Ganzouri, who was named by the officers, will rig the elections for presidency in order to set up an anti-Islamic president who will be acceptable to the military. Therefore the Brotherhood demands to change the temporary government that was appointed by the military for a permanent government that will be chosen by the People's Council, which was elected democratically. The military objects and threatens to disperse the parliament and cancel the results of the elections. The suspicion of the Brotherhood is that the remnants of the old regime - military officers and some of the candidates for the presidency - are trying to cancel the achievements of the revolution, first and foremost the legitimate parliament that was elected democratically. Therefore the Brotherhood demands that the parliament form a new government to protect the revolution from" the tails of the old regime that continue to wag despite the fact that the head has been cut off" as one of them said in an interview on the BBC radio channel. Therefore the Brotherhood has decided to take a pre-emptive step and put up their own candidate, whose wide public support will be clear and it will be difficult to rig the elections.

The Question of the Constitution

The constitution is supposed to be the script according to which the government will conduct itself, dividing responsibilities and authorities between the parliament with its two houses, the president, the government, the prime minister, the legal system and the military. It is clear to all that it is impossible to continue acting according to the constitution that Mubarak established because it is designed to perpetuate his regime. In order to write a new constitution, the parliament chose a committee of one hundred members: fifty from the parliament and fifty community activists, at whose head is the president of the parliament, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Mahmud al Katatni. The structure of the committee and its composition has an Islamic character, and the secular minority fears that its members were selected only because they will give a seal of approval to a constitution with clear Islamic attributes. Because of this fear, the secular members of the committee have begun in recent days to resign from the committee one after another.

The military is also involved with writing the constitution, in order to assure that the civil regime will not harm its status; therefore it is not clear if the constitution will ever be completed. The general leader of the Brotherhood, Dr. Muhammad Badi’ said lately that the media are "Pharaoh's magicians, and Satan has allowed them to attack the Brotherhood, so it is the Brotherhood who should write the constitution." What he meant is that the new constitution must assure that the media say only that which the Brotherhood will allow them to say.

The Criticism of the Opposition

Mudkhat Qlada, a Coptic Egyptian intellectual who lives in Switzerland and writes frequently in the Egyptian press, writes this week: The problem of the general leader is the difference between him and Mubarak. Mubarak was a fascist regarding security matters and the leader of the Brotherhood is a religious fascist, and therefore all of his underlings must act according to "We will do and we will listen" to his instructions. His egoism has increased lately to the point where it has reached the level of an obsession and he thinks that he is the dictator of Egypt with a crown upon his head. He has begun to take out his bitterness on the media people who defended him and the Brotherhood during the challenges of the previous regime, and now he accuses them of heresy and says that they have sold their souls to the devil. He relates to the Brotherhood and those who serve them as if they are as holy as Moshe ben Amram, after he divided Egypt into two parts: the camp of believers and the camp of infidels. The Muslim Brotherhood has contracted and subsumed G-d within the Brotherhood and the angels of Islam are above all (while the others live on Earth, beneath). The general leader has become the supervisor in charge of soul-searching, and the lord of the Constitutional Council. His group will produce a constitution for Egypt and the head of parliament will act as Fathi Sorour (head of the parliament under Mubarak). However he is better than Sorour because he has folded Allah within his cape. If the general leader doesn't apologize for his words, why, there is no doubt that he is walking in the ways of Mubarak, because Mubarak belittled the people and the [general] leader belittles the political power of others".

These words express, - more than anything – the fear and anxiety of the seculars and the Copts for the future of Egypt, since it has become clear to the Egyptians that they have exchanged a secular dictatorship for a religious dictatorship. A similar thing happened in Iran in 1979.

Al Tahrir Square Awaits Them

Where the Superpowers Stand

It would have been interesting to hear the representatives of the United States and Russia react to the move of the Muslim Brotherhood regarding the presidency of Egypt. Hilary Clinton, the Secretary of State, declared that the United States will carefully investigate whether the Islamic regime in Egypt stands up to acceptable democratic standards, human rights, minority rights, and right of the political opposition. The woman who conducts the foreign policy of the United States could not have made a worse choice of words because the words that she said are insulting, offensive and humiliating to every Egyptian; as if Egypt is a small child whom the American kindergarten teacher interrogates as to what he did and to whom. The average Egyptian is well aware of Egypt's long history of thousands of years, just as he is aware of the achievements of the ancients, mainly in architecture and engineering. Is he willing to accept a "lesson" from a state that was established less than three hundred years ago? With her words, Clinton arouses hostility and suspicion, and pushes the Brotherhood beyond the sphere of American influence. There are other, more discrete and less harmful ways to convince the Brotherhood to relate with honor to the minorities, women, secular people and even to Israel and to its peace agreement with her.

On the other hand, we heard again this week from Yevgeny Primakov, who was the prime minister of Russia and fulfilled various intelligence functions in the past which were connected to the Middle East. (According to Batsi Gidowitz, he is a Jew whose original name was Yona Finklestein.) He claims that the support that the United States gives to Islamic organizations brings radical Muslims to power in the Arab world. The examples that he brings are Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria; states which, in every case, were involved with the West to a greater or lesser degree, openly or discreetly, and the result in every case is the emergence of political Islam from under the carpet to the political light of day. Russia, in its support of Asad, tries to retain the previous political order in which Islam was in the mosque, and the state was "normal", according to the Russian standards, of course, which were demonstrated in Chechnya, for example. According to his approach, the United States is guilty of raising the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. Interesting.

Happy holiday to all the people of Israel.


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.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:

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.

Obama Campaign's Big Blunder

by Thomas Lifson

Move over, Etch-a-Sketch! The Obama campaign accidentally handed its opponents a huge present, if they have the wit and the guts to use it.

The portion of the public that is paying attention is justifiably alarmed at Obama's overheard promise to Putin have "flexibility" on missile defense after the election. A serious doubt about Obama -- that unshackled by a future election he will reward his friends and punish his enemies with abandon -- is out there as a meme. Right now, it is mostly confined to the conservative blogosphere, but plenty of people who voted for Obama in 2008 are disconcerted by some of his actions and results, on energy, the economy, the Arab Spring, Israel, Russia, the Saudi king bow...the list goes on and on. Seeds of doubt have been planted. As more people start paying attention, the idea will spread.

Right now, President Obama's attitudes about race are a matter of some concern to Americans, his comment on Trayvon Martin raising troubling issues in a case that is being tried in public before a potential jury is empanelled. Eric Holder's troubling statements about "my people" add to the worry that an element of racial vengeance may be lurking in the heart of the Obama administration.

In this context, as Obama desperately tries to change the subject away from race -- to the extent of attacking the Supreme Court -- the campaign really stepped in it. Neil Munro of the Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign website has removed several videos that pitched alarmist messages to African-American voters, following reporting by The Daily Caller and the Fox News Channel.

In one video that the campaign yanked from the "African-Americans for Obama" section of its website Tuesday, actress Tatyana Ali seemed to predict that a second Obama term would bring a host of benefits to African-Americans once the president no longer had to concern himself with campaigning.

"What really excites me ... is that a U.S. president has only two terms," a laughing Ali said in the footage that the Obama campaign scrubbed from its website Tuesday. "In the second term, 'it's on,' because we don't have to worry about re-election."

"In the second term, it's on." That is a clip at least as powerful as the visual of an Etch-a-Sketch.

To be sure, the race card will be played against the use of this clip (it is still available on the BET site, according to Munro) by Obama opponents. But the Obama campaign endorsed it by putting it on its website, and it was produced by BET, whose managers contribute substantially to Democrats and Obama. It is not racist to notice what they do.

Needless to say, the Romney campaign will not touch it with a ten foot pole. But that does not constrain a super-PAC. Such material can be produced and brought to the awareness of a significant portion of the persuadable electorate. There are enough people who adamantly want Obama out of office -- no matter what they think of Romney -- to contribute to a super-PAC willing to go after Obama hammer and tongs.

In the campaign, too, it's on.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson


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

NY Times in Dreamland about the Palestinians

by Leo Rennert

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has come up with a new brainstorm to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To allay Israeli security concerns, the Palestinians, he writes, must couple non-violent resistance with their own map for a two-state solution. "Just calling for an 'end to occupation' won't cut it," he advises The map, he explains, would demonstrate that Palestinians are ready to settle for 95 percent of the West Bank and all Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem ("A Middle East Twofer," page A19, April 4).

However, Friedman seems to overlook the fact that he's merely recycling the two-state map that Bill Clinton and then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat in 2000 and 2001 -- a map immediately rejected by Yasser Arafat. Friedman also seems to have forgotten that such a map again was offered to the Palestinians more recently, in 2008, by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - again a map immediately repudiated by Mahmoud Abbas. In fact, Olmert even went one better on Friedman by throwing in a huge sweetener for the Palestinians -- internationalization of Jerusalem's religious shrines under a consortium in which the Palestinians, Jordan and Saudi Arabia would be represented.

Also overlooked by Friedman is that Abbas and Palestinians have been brandishing a completely different map of their own -- a map that leaves no room whatsoever for Israel. It's a map that projects a one-state solution -- a Palestinian state -- from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Never mind Hamas's up-front objective to eliminate Israel. The Palestinian Authority's agenda reaches the same objective. And its desired borders infuse PA textbooks, media, sermons and other types of propaganda.

To this end, Abbas conducts an all-out global campaign to delegitimize Israel by erasing all Jewish historical ties to the Holy Land. The latest such anti-Israel propaganda piece was disseminated by the Palestinian Authority during Holy Week -- a contention that Moses really was a Muslim who led a Muslim Exodus from Egypt. Under Abbas, Jews aren't even entitled to their Passover.

In an apt parallel, Friedman's fantasy world, which abets such Palestinian myths, is also inhabited by Times correspondents in the paper's news pages. Witness two "news" articles in the same March 4 edition

Writing about Israeli government plans to evict Jewish settlers from a house they bought in Hebron, correspondent Isabel Kershner provides her own history of Hebron --- a history that fails to mentions Jews or Jewish. ("Netanyahu slows eviction of Settlers From a House" page A8).

"Hebron is a hotly contested city where several hundred Jewish settlers live among almost 200,000 Palestinians," Kershner writes. "The house in question is near the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives, the biblical matriarchs, are said to be buried. The site is revered by Muslims and Jews and has been fought over for centuries."

Note that Kershner uses "biblical" instead of "Jewish" so as to give Muslims as much of a claim to Hebron as Jews may have. When it comes to revering the Cave of the Patriarchs, Kershner even puts Muslims ahead of Jews.

Kershner's history fails to point out that Hebron is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world. In addition to the Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron is where King David was anointed and reigned for seven years before heading to Jerusalem. Jews lived in Hebron for centuries until 1929 when an Arab pogrom murdered 67 Jews and drove all other Jews out of Hebron, Judaism's second holiest city. Hebron's Judenrein status was short-lived, however. Israel captured the city in the 1967 war.

None of this interests Kershner or appears in her article.

Pro-Palestinian spin also infuses an article by correspondent Marlise Simons about the International Criminal Court tossing out a Palestinian charge that Israel committed "war crimes" during its three-week counter-terrorism offensive in Gaza in late 2008. The court held that it can only deal with parties that have attained statehood ("Court Rejects Palestinians In Their bid For a Tribunal" page A9).

Simons' article is laced with sympathy for the Palestinians' latest failure to get statehood recognition. "Some groups still express hope that a prospective Palestinian state can take its case to the court because it has found few places to seek justice," Simons writes.

What Simons fails to acknowledge is that the Palestinian idea of "justice" leaves Israel with none at all.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers


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The Russians are Humiliating America Comfortably Because Americans Elected President Bambi

by Farid Ghadry

How many times policy makers face the most difficult dilemmas whose answer is so simple that it escapes their rational behavior? If you add the Syrian terror against its civilians, the answer to the question is X+1.

If you really need an incentive to how beneficial freedom and democracy in Syria would be, just follow the Kremlin’s line of thought (or threats for a more crude approach). I am certain someone in this administration does that.

Here is one Kremlinian threat proposed by the Foreign Minister of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov during a trip to Baku Azerbaijan. Mr. Lavrov warned against arming the Free Syrian Army to fight the Assad regime by making this outlandish, yet fearful, claim: “Even if they arm the Syrian opposition to the teeth, it won’t be able to defeat the Syrian army.” He also warned that a foreign military intervention would lead to even more disastrous consequences for Syria (He really meant Russia here).

It seems Russia can arm the Assad regime of terror to its teeth and send its own Special Forces to defend him personally but that is not considered foreign because the Russians think they are our neat cousins to the North. Mr. Lavrov was in Baku to kill two birds in one stone and judging from the Obama timidity when it comes to terror in the region, the Russians are simply humiliating America comfortably.

If there is one thing Russia fears more than anything else in Syria, it is well-armed battalions of Freedom Fighters with one goal in mind. The same fear would grip Iran and the Assad regime of course, both of whom caused the death of over 4,000 US Marines and soldiers in Iraq. The most difficult dilemma in Syria has a simple solution: Arm the Free Syrian Army indirectly to defeat terror and to give peace a chance. Is it that simple that it is freezing the decision-making at the highest levels? Does America look like a deer caught in the headlights of a Russian car? Yes, it does. Perception is everything.

The trip to Baku by FM Lavrov, my guess and for those who missed the Obama leak, is to threaten the Azerbaijanis against permitting landing rights to the Israeli Air Force to take matters into its own hand against the Iranian nuclear program. That leak has helped Russia indirectly. Since the Iranians have no leverage in Azerbaijan, Russia, it seems, is playing as an Iranian proxy.

For once in America’s history, the American President and the Russian President seem to work together against America’s interests in the region, which center around defeating terror in the form of an Iranian nuclear program and the Assad regime. This is how it looks like to the outside world when America insists on negotiating and Russia insists on defending with weapons and violence.

Is there something that could be done to save Assad from the jaws of defeat and the region from a threatening nuclear weapon? Just highlight the humiliation America is experiencing with this President in office.

I wish Hillary Clinton won the elections in 2008 if it had to be a Democratic candidate because judging from how President Bill Clinton saved old Yugoslavia from terror against Russian objections, she may have done the same in Syria.

Our President is a Bambi parading for looks and love.

Farid Ghadry


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