Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Jersey Voters Support NYPD Tactics on Jihadism, Reject Christie's Criticism


by Andrew G. Bostom

Quinnipiac University polling data released today (4/11/12) indicate that by a wide margin, 71% to 20%, New Jersey voters the affirm that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is "doing what is necessary to combat terrorism" by gathering information on Muslim organizations and activities in the Garden State. And by another wide margin, 62% of New Jersey voters believe the NYPD treats Muslims appropriately, while only 18 percent indicate that Muslims are targeted unfairly by the NYPD. Moreover, New Jersey voters disagree, substantially, 56% 32%, with Governor Chris Christie's criticism of New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's tactics to combat jihadism.

The questions addressing and responses these issues are reproduced from the survey, below:

32. "Do you think the New York City Police Department has unfairly targeted Muslims to combat terrorism or has acted appropriately?"

Appropriate: 62%

Unfair: 18%

Don't know: 20%

33. "As you may know, in an effort to combat terrorism, the New York City Police Department has gathered information on Muslim organizations and individuals in New Jersey since 9/11. Do you think the New York City Police Department has crossed the line by gathering information on Muslims in New Jersey or are they doing what is necessary to combat terrorism?"

Necessary: 71%

Crossed line: 20%

Don't know: 9%

34. Recently Governor Christie has criticized New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for the way that the New York City Police Department has conducted information gathering on Muslims in New Jersey. In general, do you agree or disagree with Chris Christie's criticism of Ray Kelly?

Disagree: 56%

Agree: 32%

Don't know: 12%

Andrew G. Bostom

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/04/new_jersey_voters_support_nypd_tactics_on_jihadism_reject_christies_criticism.html

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

Egyptian Court Suspends Panel Empowered to Write New Constitution


by Rick Moran

A panel made up of 70% Islamist members that was chosen by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies to write the new constitution has been suspended by the country's supreme court.

The significance of this ruling is that the constitution will now almost certainly not be written by the time the presidential elections are held in June, which means that the new president will be operating under the old constitiution - a document that grants him near dictatorial powers.

CSM:

The court ruled that the Islamist-dominated parliament had acted improperly in naming parliamentarians to fill half the 100 seats of the constituent assembly. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the largest parliamentary bloc, complained that "politics" had a hand in the judges' decision.

Omar Ashour, an expert on Islamist movements who is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, said the court's decision could signal a move by the ruling military council to intervene in the democratic transition. Removing the military from a political role is one of the major challenges Egypt faces in the years ahead.

"That the administrative court would enter into such a political and ideological battle is not a good sign," he said. He noted that there are two court cases pending to dissolve the parliament, a move that could throw the transition into chaos.

Now some new body - its composition and selection process as yet unclear - will be tasked with writing the constitution. Some liberals rejoiced in the court's decision, hoping it would result in a constituent assembly that was more inclusive.

Secular parties had wanted fewer of the members to come from the elected parliament, which is dominated by Islamist parties. In the three-stage election that spanned the end of last year and the beginning of 2012, the FJP and the ultraconservative Nour Party came in first and second, and then worked together to appoint the constituent assembly.

The courts are still dominated by the military so the notion that the generals will be intervening in the democratic process is well founded. Can they manipulate the presidential vote to elect Mubarak's former intel chief General Omar Suleiman? If so, things might become a lot more difficult for the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/04/egyptian_court_suspends_panel_empowered_to_write_new_constitution.html

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

The Region: The Iraqi model: As Good As it Gets


by Barry Rubin

[Editor: Above is the Iraqi flag, which reads "God is great" (Allahu Akbar) in Arabic.]

Iraq is in a mess. Violence continues.

Factionalism leads to endless bickering.

Corruption is at high levels. Christians live in fear or flee altogether. Islamism is constantly creeping forward. Yet I would suggest that with all these shortcomings the “Iraqi model” is the best that can be expected for the Middle East.

What’s the worst-case scenario? Iran, Afghanistan, Gaza, Sudan, or the permanent civil war situation in Syria, Yemen, and probably Libya.

It isn’t that democracy is theoretically impossible or incompatible in principle with Islam or Arab society. The problem is that it just isn’t going to happen at this particular point in history. What you or I or small groups of moderate democratic Arabs, or naïve Western journalists want isn’t relevant here.

The reporters can pal around with Muslim Brotherhood members every day of the week and talk about how moderate they are but that won’t make them moderate.

Tens of thousands of well-financed, fanatical, hard-working, and tactically creative cadre are laboring long hours throughout the region to bring revolutionary Islamist dictators in each country.

They are opposed by dozens of moderates who are concentrated in the capital cities, have hardly any money, usually don’t know how to relate to the masses, have no strategic sense, are more badly divided than the Islamists and confuse writing an op-ed piece or holding a demonstration with organizing a mass movement to seize state power.

Wishful thinking has no place in political analysis or statecraft or journalism. The fact that the moderates are so much “like us” is not an advantage for them–except in getting favorable media coverage–but a fatal disadvantage in their own societies.

Personally, I would prefer that the moderates win, but then I grew up watching the Washington Senators baseball team finish in last place in the American League every year.

The model usually put forward, including by the Obama Administration, is the Turkish regime. It is rare in history for a democratic state to promote a foreign government that is so antithetical to its own interests in almost every way. There are some positions in common but far more that are different. Two put it as briefly as possible, there are two problems.

The first problem is that the Turkish regime is boosting radical Islamist movements and governments that are America’s biggest enemy. These include Iran, the Gaza Strip (Hamas), and the current government in Lebanon (Hizballah). The Turkish regime has tried to back the Muslim Brotherhood but has been rebuffed, since the Brotherhood has no interest in following non-Arab leadership. And in Syria, the Turkish regime has been backing the Islamists in the opposition, intending to produce an anti-American regime in Damascus.

The Turkish regime also loathes Israel and supports radical Islamist forces against it. Only regarding Iraq do US and Turkish interests basically coincide.

The second problem is that the Turkish regime has systematically reduced democracy at home. Hundreds of moderates have been arrested on ridiculous charges. The armed forces, formerly the guardian of secularism and the basic democratic system, have been broken. The media is intimidated.

Radical Islamists have been infiltrated into all parts of the government. This well-coordinated creeping tendency toward dictatorship has barely been reported in the West.

What is the Turkish model in terms of the Arabic-speaking world? It is a formula for radical Islamist groups to seize state power and fundamentally transform their societies while appearing to be moderate.

It is a step by step process, the equivalent of the Russian revolutionary movement graduating from anarchism to Bolshevism precisely a century earlier.

The most surprising thing is not that the West has been taken in by this trick but that it has happened so thoroughly.

At a time when even Lebanon is governed by a combination of Islamists and radical clients of Tehran and Damascus, Tunisia has a mostly Islamist government, and when the secular Turkish republic is being transformed by Islamists there is not much of an alternative.

In Morocco and Jordan, as usual, the kings have brilliantly maneuvered to provide the appearance of democratic pluralism and even Islamist participation while he holds the reins. In Algeria, as usual, the army is running things. In Saudi Arabia and the small sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman), as usual, traditionalist regimes rule but they are now not so much intimidated by radical Arab nationalist threats as horrified by radical Islamist threats.

And at a moment when President Barack Obama has transformed America from being leader of the Free World to reflecting the effect, unrealistic elite from the Brie World, there’s not much hope from that quarter.

So that brings us to Iraq. As I’ve outlined above, the situation there is far from ideal.

Yet there are some significant advantages.

Internally, there are elections that mean something, a real element of pluralism, space for freedom of speech, and some working decentralization.

Of the greatest importance is the fact that Islamist elements have been defeated (in the Sunni case) or held at bay (in the Shia case). Things can certainly get worse but some stability seems to have been achieved at this time.

Another key factor is that Iraq is acting more “normally” as a state by minding its own business. It is not subverting neighbors or trying to take over the Middle East.

Iraq also has decent relations with the West. This is a country that is trying to deal with its own problems. And if there is factionalism and corruption, at least it appears to be clear that no force can monopolize power and establish a repressive dictatorship.

Call it chaotic pluralism as an alternative to Islamist dictatorship. And, yes, that appears to be the best that can be expected in those countries not still dominated by traditionalist monarchies. It is certainly preferable to the “Turkish model.” Yet I don’t expect many people in the West to appreciate that point.

Is my assessment too pessimistic? Well, you are free to be optimistic. You can imagine an Israel-Palestinian peace based on a comprehensive treaty ending the conflict and establishing a two-state solution.

You can fantasize about moderate Muslim Brotherhood leaders pragmatically getting down to solving Egypt’s problems by creating jobs, building housing, and establishing new industries. You can pretend that various forces will be grateful to America and President Obama for demolishing several dictatorships.

But none of this is going to happen. It is vital to understand why and to comprehend what must be done in the face of this situation.

By pretending to soar to the heights of democracy, the Islamists are on the road to autocracy, and an anti-Western, regionally destabilizing autocracy at that. By being so gullible, the West is assisting at the domination of the region of a repressive, anti-Western force that will set the region back 60 years (to the origin of radical Arab nationalist hegemony) if not 600 years.

This article was also printed in The Jerusalem Post.

Barry Rubin

Source: http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/04/the-region-the-iraqi-model-as-good-as-it-gets/

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

Brotherhood May Get Unlimited Power


by Jonathan S. Tobin

The latest news out of Egypt constitutes, at least on the surface, a setback for the Muslim Brotherhood’s drive to obtain a monopoly on power in the world’s most populous Arab country. An Egyptian court suspended the proceedings of a committee that was drafting a new constitution. Considering that the Muslim Brotherhood dominated the body working on the constitution, this represents a victory for the embattled secularists and religious minorities that view the group’s rise with alarm. But in doing so, the court flipped the timetable under which Egypt was supposed to move toward a new government. The president Egyptians elect next month will now come to office prior to the adoption of a new constitution.

That means that person will be vested with the same powers held by authoritarian dictator Hosni Mubarak, whose fall last year during the Arab Spring protests set in motion these events. Should the new president be the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat el-Shater or that of one of the other Islamist parties, he won’t need to write a constitution to fit his whims, the new leader will be able to transform the country via executive fiat. In which case the Obama administration’s faltering attempts to portray the Brotherhood as moderates or to work with a military that is rapidly losing control of the situation will all have been in vain.

The absence of a new constitution will make the battle for the Egyptian presidency even more crucial for the future of the Middle East. But right now, it looks as if the Brotherhood is holding most of the cards. The popular candidate of its main Islamist rival may be disqualified. Former general Omar Suleiman, the army’s choice, may not get on the ballot. But even if he does, he will have little chance as he is associated with the brutality of the former regime as well as with its close ties with the United States.

The secular alternative, Amr Moussa, the favorite of many foreign observers, is finding himself boxed out by the rise of the Islamist parties. He’s also fending off the worst possible slur that can be suffered by an Egyptian politician: the charge that he has a Jewish relative. Moussa has fervently denied the accusation that he has a Jewish half-brother with Israeli citizenship as a scurrilous lie. Whether true or not, and it’s difficult to have sympathy for either side in that argument, the fact that this is the sort of thing Egyptians care about speaks volumes about a political environment in which extremist Islamists can be viewed by the Obama administration as “moderates.”

As previously reported, the administration recently entertained a Brotherhood delegation in the White House. As troubling as that development was, as Steve Emerson noted in his Investigative Project on Terrorism Website, it turns out that the welcome mat rolled out for the Brotherhood involved giving the members of the visiting group a pass on vetting for ties to terrorism or other crimes. As Emerson points out, the head of the Brotherhood delegation, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, has been implicated in a U.S. investigation of a child pornography ring that relates to activities during a period when he lived in this country. But the State Department ensured Dardery was treated as a diplomat with blanket immunity from questioning or even inspection of his baggage or computers that is standard since 9/11 for visitors from Egypt.

The administration may think it can work with the Brotherhood, but if its presidential candidate obtains Mubarak-style powers, President Obama may find that a country that was once a key to stability in the Middle East will go completely off the tracks and take with it any vestige of American influence.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/04/11/muslim-brotherhood-may-get-unlimited-power-egypt-constitution-election/#more-790774

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

The Bipolar Obama Presidency


by Peter Wehner

Yesterday, President Obama informed us that that he was not prepared to question the patriotism or love of country of any of his political rivals. “I’m a firm believer that whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, that you’re a patriot, you care about this country, you love this country,” Obama said at a fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “And so I’m not somebody who, when we’re in a political contest, suggests somehow that one side or the other has a monopoly on love of country.”

Except that he is.

For example, in this speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Obama repeated a line he’s often used. “But if we’re being honest, we know the real problem isn’t the Members of Congress in this room. It’s the Members of Congress [Republicans] who put party before country because they believe the only way to resolve our differences is to wait … till the next election.”

Insisting time and time again that Members of Congress are putting party above country for political expediency is a pretty good definition of being unpatriotic. The president, then, is doing the very thing that he said he never does.

Such is the bipolar nature of the Obama presidency. He not only does one thing while claiming to do another; Obama, ever true to himself, presents himself as high-minded even as he routinely takes the low road. His hypocrisy is combined with an unmatched sense of moral superiority. If this effort isn’t premeditated, then the condition is clinical. Neither option reflects particularly well on the president.

Peter Wehner

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/04/11/bi-polar-obama-presidency/#more-790811

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

The Muslim Brotherhood Goes to Washington


by Irfan Al-Alawi

Like the Turkish AKP, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will be exposed not a new period of civil power in Muslim society, but as a party working toward the installation of permanent clerical authority.

Representatives of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) arrived in Washington DC on April 3, an event that was predictable after the pan-Islamic movement won pluralities in the recent elections in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. The aim of their journey to the Potomac was to improve the organization's image as a leading force in radical Islam. Members of the MB delegation hoped to convince American lawmakers, media, and experts that they represent a "moderate" variety of Islamist doctrine. According to the Voice of America, they were "one of five Middle Eastern Islamist political parties taking part in meetings with U.S. officials in Washington as well as a conference organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace." In reality, all five parties at the Carnegie conference were branches of the MB: from Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The MB acolytes were also favored by meetings with officials of the U.S. National Security Agency. As noted in The Washington Post, the MB visitors to the American capital were subordinate figures in the movement, chosen "in part for their fluency in English and their familiarity and ease with American culture. But the delegation did not include the decision makers at the top of the Brotherhood's leadership."

The MB public-relations campaign evidently borrowed tactics from similar efforts by the so-called Justice and Development Party (AKPartisi) of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Playing on the (correct) assumption that Westerners know little of Islam and the Muslim lands, the Egyptian MB delegation repeated the catch-phrases they are convinced will win them friends in the U.S. and Europe: "The priorities for us are mainly economic, political — preserving the revolution [sic] ideals of social justice, education, security for the people," Sondos Asem, a member of the delegation, said.

As Erdogan and the AKP have emphasized Turkey's economic boom, its commitment to entrepreneurship, and its middle-class support, the Egyptian MB likewise claimed to value practical economic and social improvements for the country's masses over the Brotherhood's traditional vision of an "Islamic state."

Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak a year ago, however, the Brotherhood has already alienated Egypt's non-Islamist citizens by its devious behavior: during the Egyptian Revolution and in the period preceding the election cycle, the Brotherhood promised it would not run its own candidate for the national presidency, but it now has such a standard-bearer: business magnate and Brotherhood ideologue Khairat al-Shater.

Additionally, ever since the MB expelled Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futouh, a physician and party stalwart who announced his run for the presidency last year, the Brotherhood's constituency has been divided. Many Brotherhood supporters consider Abul-Futouh a better-known and more credible candidate for the position.

Both Al-Shater and Abul-Futouh could benefit from the disqualification in the Egyptian presidential race of the radical fundamentalist television preacher, Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismael. Sheikh Abu Ismael, an independent Wahhabi (so-called "Salafi," the extreme form of Islam imposed on Saudi Arabia), wants to remake Egypt in the image of Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is likely, however, that he will be removed from the electoral list on the grounds that his mother acquired American citizenship.

Brotherhood intrigues have provoked concern among both Egyptian liberals and Coptic Christians. Both recently walked out of discussions on a new constitution, charging that the MB and other Islamists dominated the proceedings.

Notwithstanding its apparent self-confidence and its supine welcome by gullible Westerners, the Egyptian MB enjoys no certainty in its fight for the presidency. Former Arab League general secretary Amr Moussa possesses the highest level of name recognition and an international profile that is lacking among the rest of the Egyptian contestants. Although he was a political ally of Mubarak, Moussa managed to extricate himself from his association with the former dictator and his circle.

If, as is most probable, the elected Islamists of the Egyptian MB follow the pattern developed by Erdogan and the AKP in Turkey, they will endeavor to employ economic privatization and "moderate" positions on regional conflicts to cover their more central agenda.

In Turkey, this has meant an energetic penetration of neighbouring countries' markets, plus the disapproval of the bloodthirsty regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. At the same time and at home, nevertheless, Erdogan and the AKP pursue discriminatory policies against the large, heterodox Alevi Muslim minority; disregard the interests and rights of Christians, and seek to downgrade women's education, while enhancing the status of official training for Sunni clerics.

Like Turkey, Egypt has a substantial history of military rule, although the Cairo government was never as thoroughly committed to secularism as its peers in Ankara. According to sources, the Egyptian MB gained 37.5% of the post-Mubarak parliamentary ballots with the approval, if not the direct connivance, of the military. In Turkey, however, the AKP under Erdogan has attacked the military power sharply, with the encouragement of Western liberals and other observers, who apparently believe a civilian Islamist administration is a preferable alternative to a garrison-led secular state.

The Egyptian MB has drawn away from the Egyptian army in protest against the assumption of power by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) after the fall of Mubarak. It is doubtful, nonetheless, that the Egyptian MB will choose to confront the Egyptian military in the manner Erdogan adopted against the Turkish armed forces: by a series of political show-trials during which he accused members of the military of having planned a coup against his rule, and now by a retrospective trial of officers involved in the military takeover of Turkey in 1980.

Turkey had previously undergone years of debate over the limits of military power. The AKP and other Islamists had constructed a widespread network of religious groups able to pose as a civic force. For Egypt, a complete MB break with the army would be a sudden and unsettling move; and, notwithstanding the undeniable success of the MB in organizing an oppositional Islamist subculture in Egypt, it has not achieved the extent or sophistication of the Turkish AKP and its allies.

Although members of the AKP came West during the first decade of the 21st century reiterating their attachment to transparency, accountability, and even secularism in government, as well as frequenting free-market think-tanks and cultivating conservative opinion, the actions of the AKP in power have proven such rhetoric and intrigue hollow.

The Muslim Brotherhood has passed through various phases: a revolutionary party, a political partner of the Egyptian army, and an important component of the global alliance of Islamist fundamentalists. These included the predecessors of Ayatollah Khomeini (whom it inspired), the Saudi Wahhabis, and the South Asian jihadists. The MB has now reached the summit of its influence as a faction able to hypnotize Western leaders with its "moderate" idiom.

But regardless of its honeyed words and the slick, updated, Westernized vocabulary of its travelling exponents, the Egyptian MB cannot, in its middle sectors, its base, and its fundamental outlook, change. It is a thoroughly Islamist party with a profoundly retrograde vision of a state based on religious dictates. As in Turkey, sooner or later, as soon as the Egyptian MB thinks it is strong enough to prevail, the mask will fall, and the promises it made in Washington and elsewhere in the West will be shrugged aside. Like the Turkish AKP, The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will be exposed not as a new period of civil power in Muslim society, but as a party working toward the installation of permanent clerical authority.

Irfan Al-Alawi

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/2997/muslim-brotherhood-washington

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

Death to Churches: Christian Holidays in the Islamic World


by Raymond Ibrahim

While the mainstream media, government officials and so on try to portray these attacks as products of poverty, the fact is, wherever there are significant numbers of Muslims, churches are under siege.

Last Sunday, many Christians around the world celebrated Easter, taking for granted that they can congregate and worship in peace. Not so in the Islamic world, where top religious officials call for the destruction of churches, Christian holidays celebrated in church are increasingly a time of death and destruction, and a time of terror.

Nigeria, for example, saw some 50 Christians killed "when explosives concealed in two cars went off near a church during Easter Sunday services in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna….the casualty figure may go up because some injuries were really critical." The church targeted was "the Assemblies of God's Church near the centre of the city with a large Christian population and known as a major cultural and economic centre in Nigeria's north." According to the pastor holding Easter services at the time, "We were in the Holy Communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church."

There is little doubt that the Islamist group Boko Haram ["Western Education is a Sin"] is behind the terror strike. Boko Haram has long been targeting churches—most glaringly, last December 25, when several churches were bombed in the Muslim majority areas of Nigeria, in what was described as "Nigeria's blackest Christmas ever: then, over 40 Christians were slain, "the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church [in Madalla, near the capital of Abuja] after celebrating Christmas Mass as blood pooled in dust from a massive explosion." As usual, the charred and dismembered remains of Christian worshippers were seen scattered in and around the destroyed church.

While the Christmas -- and now Easter -- church attacks may be Nigeria's most known, they are certainly not the only ones. The last six weeks alone reveal:

  • Sunday, March 11: A Boko Haram suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church during Mass, killing at least 10 people. The bomb detonated as worshippers attended Mass at St. Finbar's Catholic Church in Jos, a city where thousands of Christians have died in the last decade as a result of Boko Haram's jihad.
  • Sunday, February 26: A Boko Haram suicide-car bomber killed at least three people, including a toddler, at another church in Jos. Witnesses said the jihadist drove his car into the prominent Church of Christ during morning prayers.
  • Sunday, February 19: A Boko Haram bomb attack outside a church in Abuja left at least five people seriously injured and many more hurt, when a parked car filled with explosives detonated outside the Christ Embassy Church.

While the mainstream media, analysts, government officials, and so on, try to portray these attacks as products of Nigerian poverty, the fact is, wherever in the world there are significant numbers of Muslims (Nigeria's population is half Christian, half Muslim), churches are under siege (see sections dealing with church attacks in the "Muslim Persecution of Christians" reports for February, January, December, November, October, September, August, and July).

Some of the more spectacular ones include the Baghdad church attack where 58 Christians were killed; similarly, the New Year's Eve church bombing in Egypt that saw over 20 Christians killed (when several more churches were bombed and attacked, and thousands of Egyptian Christians demonstrated, they were slaughtered by their own military); earlier, in 2010, eight Egyptian Christians were shot dead by drive-by Muslims as they were leaving church on Christmas Eve.

Further, Muslim attacks on churches during the holiest of Christian holidays are not limited to Nigeria and Egypt, but occur throughout the Muslim world—for instance, in distant, "moderate" Philippines, where another church was bombed during Christmas.

Of course, there are some Muslim nations—Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and soon possibly Kuwait—where one rarely hears of church attacks; but only because they have nipped the "church problem" in the bud by not allowing them to exist in the first place. The hatred for churches is still there, but in an unseen form.

What an efficient way church attacks are, with worshippers tightly gathered in one spot, to ensure the deaths of maximum numbers of Christians.

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

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3009/terrorized-churches-islamic-world

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

Germany: A Koran in Every Household


by Soeren Kern

Salafists also believe that democracy, because it is a man-made form of government, must be destroyed.. According to Die Welt, the Salafists have launched a "frontal assault" against people of other faiths and "unbelievers". Many Islamists believe Islamic Sharia law is a divine ordinance that is to replace all other legal systems. The number of Islamic radicals in German is surging. Islam is giving them respectability.

Islamic radicals in Germany have launched an unprecedented nationwide campaign to distribute 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Koran into every household in Germany, free of charge.

The mass proselytization campaign -- called Project "Read!" -- is being organized by dozens of Islamic Salafist groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and in Switzerland.

Salafism is a branch of radical Islam, practiced in Saudi Arabia, that seeks to establish an Islamic empire (Caliphate) across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe -- and eventually the entire world. The Caliphate would be governed exclusively by Islamic Sharia law, which would apply both to Muslims and to non-Muslims.

Salafists also believe, among other anti-Western doctrines, that democracy, because it is a man-made form of government, must be destroyed.

Although Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), regards the Salafist groups as a threat to German security, Salafists have free reign in the country, and Salafist preachers are known regularly to preach hatred against the West in mosques and prayer centers that are proliferating across Germany.

The campaign to place a Koran in every German household is being spearheaded by a Rheinland-based Salafist, Ibrahim Abou-Nagie, a Palestinian preacher of hate, who leads a radical Islamic group called "The True Religion" ("Die Wahre Religion").

In September 2011, German public prosecutors launched an investigation into Abou-Nagie after he called for violence against non-believers in videos posted on the Internet. In his sermons, Abou-Nagie glamorizes Islamic martyrdom and says that Islamic Sharia law is above the German Constitution. He outspokenly believes that music should be prohibited, that homosexuals should be executed, and that adulterers should be stoned.

Abou-Nagie has tens of thousands of followers across Germany. Among them are two German Muslim converts-turned-terror suspects trained by Abou-Nagie and recently arrested in Dover, England, after British border police searched their luggage and found a document entitled "How to Build a Bomb in Your Mom's Kitchen," an article from the English-language online magazine "Inspire" produced by Al-Qaida in Yemen.

In one video, Abou-Nagie tells his audience that "whoever follows the Christian Bible or the Jewish Torah instead of the Islamic Koran will go to Hell for eternity."

Not surprisingly, Abou-Nagie sees it as his calling to save the German people from the wrath of Allah by converting them to Islam. To achieve this aim, Abou-Nagie founded Project "Read!" to distribute tens of millions of copies of the Koran throughout Germany.

The campaign is now well under way. More than 100 Salafist "information booths" have already been set up in dozens of German cities, particularly in the regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Hessen and Hamburg.

Abou-Nagie's approach is simple and effective: German Muslims are encouraged to purchase a copy of the Koran (red cover) in order to fund the free distribution of additional copies of the Koran (blue cover). In addition to the public distribution of the Koran on the streets and market places, non-Muslims can order a free copy of the Koran on an Internet website called hausdesqurans.de.

According to Abou-Nagie, Salafists have already distributed more than 300,000 German translations of the Koran, and a fifth print run consisting of tens of thousands of additional copies has already been ordered from the printing plant, which is located in Baden-Württemberg.

During the extended Christian Easter weekend from April 5-9, Project "Read!" entered into a new phase. According to the Berlin-based newspaper Die Welt, the Salafists have launched a "frontal assault" against people of other faiths and "unbelievers". On April 7, for instance, Project "Read!" organized a nationwide campaign to distribute the Koran in 35 German cities, including Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Heidelberg, Konstanz, Munich and Osnabrück.

According to Die Welt, German authorities view the Koran project, which fundamentalists are using a recruiting tool, as a "most worrisome" campaign for radical Islam. Security analysts say the campaign is also a public-relations gimmick intended to persuade Germans that the Salafists are transparent and "citizen friendly."

In an effort to improve their image, the Salafists have removed from their "information booths" all literature about the role of women in Islam or the supremacy of Islamic Sharia law over democracy.

Moreover, the German translation of the Koran has edited out many of the verses which call on Muslims to make war on non-believers. According to BfV, the German domestic intelligence agency, the German version of the Koran is "rather non-controversial."

German authorities also say, however, that Project "Read!" is being organized by Islamist networks that hold an extremist world view and a militant ideology.

A spokesperson for the Berlin branch of the BfV told Die Welt that "the objective of this campaign is to help bring those who are interested into contact with the Salafist scene in order to influence them in the context of their extremist political ideologies."

Although not everyone who takes a Koran into their home will convert to Islam, German authorities say Abou-Nagie's Project "Read!" is a establishing a breeding ground for anti-constitutional ideas.

In any case, the number of Islamic radicals in Germany is surging.

According to the BfV, there are an estimated 29 Islamist groups in Germany with 34,720 members or supporters who pose a major threat to homeland security. Many of them want to establish a "Koran-state" in Germany because they believe Islamic Sharia law is a divine ordinance that is to replace all other legal systems.

The head of the German Police Union (DPolG), Rainer Wendt, has told the Hamburg-based Bild newspaper that he is concerned about the presence of clandestine Islamic sleeper cells made up of Muslim immigrants and converts in Germany. He has called for the recruitment of undercover agents to infiltrate the Islamic environment. It is the "only way to monitor the scene," Wendt said.

"Radical Islamists live everywhere and nowhere in Germany. One cannot rule out that that nice young man from next door, who brings grandma her fresh bread every morning, is not in fact an Islamic sleeper and terrorist," Wendt warned.

The BfV is particularly concerned about Muslim youth who are prone to "rapid radicalization patterns," and who possess a "high willingness to use force" and "to attack." Some of them are under surveillance by the security authorities, according to Wendt.

The BfV is also monitoring a surge in online Islamist propaganda, much of which warns Muslims that they are not to integrate into German society. With an estimated 4.3 million Muslims, Germany has Western Europe's second-biggest Islamic population after France.

Some of the Islamists are Germans who recently converted to Islam. This would include former boxer Pierre Vogel, who converted to Islam and studied in Saudi Arabia. He is now an Islamic preacher who rails against Muslim integration into German society.

Many of the German converts to Islam are socially disaffected drop-outs from school and/or ex-convicts, and radical Islam is giving them respectability, according to German security services.

Some of the home-grown Muslim radicals are being alienated from German society by means of Sharia law, which is now competing with the German criminal justice system in all major cities in Germany.

Settlements reached by the Muslim mediators often mean perpetrators are able to avoid long prison sentences, while victims receive large sums in compensation or have their debts cancelled, in line with Sharia law. This is fomenting distrust for the established legal system, analysts say.

According to Kirsten Heisig, the author of the book "The End of Patience": In Germany "the law is slipping out of our hands. It is moving to the streets or into a parallel system where an imam or another representative of the Koran determines what must be done."

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

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3007/germany-koran

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

An Introduction to Danish Culture


by Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Norman Berdichevsky, a contributing editor for New English Review and the author of more than 200 articles and book reviews that have appeared in a variety of American, British, Danish, Israeli and Spanish periodicals. He is the author of the new book, An Introduction to Danish Culture.

FP: Norman Berdichevsky, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Berdichevsky: Thank you for having me and allowing me to present readers with information about An Introduction to Danish Culture which followed the publication of The Left is Seldom Right by a few months.

Tell us what inspired you to write An Introduction to Danish Culture.

Berdichevsky: The book was my answer to the moral crisis that grows ever more ominous and threatening and was brought into the public forum with the so called ‘Muhammad Cartoon Crisis’ in which, overnight, Denmark became the target of not only Muslim wrath and violence but an unprecedented and ignorant criticism of Danish society in much of the Western media as if it were the culprit for a “provocation.” It was a bitter pill to swallow for many Danes who saw their country turned into a pariah state in 2006 by worldwide demonstrations just as Israel had been by the JIHAD GENIE that will continue to run amok (an old Danish expression) and needs to be put back in the bottle. Yesterday, Israel, Today, Denmark ……. tomorrow the World! Nevertheless, the full cost of the Muslim boycott of Danish goods and services was far less than first feared and more than made up by a spontaneous “Buy Danish” campaign that was wholly the initiative of individuals and owed nothing to any formal support or statement by Denmark’s “allies” in NATO and among Western heads of state.

The record needed to be set straight and proclaimed loudly and strongly. My familiarity and appreciation of Denmark, family connections, its people, culture, language, traditions and way of life were gained through first-hand knowledge of Danes I am proud to call my friends, many years residence in the country, family connections (my son and three grandchildren) and a profound respect, admiration and sense of obligation to acquaint my fellow Americans and others with a realistic picture of what I learned. I also wrote the book as a personal testimonial to my deep sense of gratitude towards the Danish people for their conduct during World War II and especially for the aid and comfort they provided to their Jewish fellow citizens.

I had seen two Danish films at the old Thalia movie theater on Broadway and 95th Street and they had made an enormous impression on me – Dreyer’s “Ordet” (The Word) based on the play by World War II resistance hero, Pastor Kaj Munk and Ditte-Menneskebarn (Ditte-Child of Humanity) based on the book by the great proletarian writer Martin Andersen Nexø. They intrigued me – how did these writers – much like Hans Christian Andersen use the tiny canvas of their small country and ‘minor’ language (about the same number of speakers as Hebrew) to paint such a universal work.

FP: What are the central themes of your book?

Berdichevsky: The book is divided into several sections on the country’s geography, economy, important historical events, the language and cultural achievements including Denmark’s contribution to science, engineering, seafaring, shipping, exploration, literature, philosophy, the cinema, architecture, its record on human rights, democratic institutions, and humanistic traditions all of which deserve to be much more widely known; eleven outstanding ‘Great Danes’ and those facets of the national culture such as the national language, social relations, food and drink, the country’s reputation as a social welfare state, the role of the tiny but influential Jewish community, modern political issues and the role played by Danish-Americans in American society.

FP: Why Should Americans bother about Denmark?

Berdichevsky: For several reasons, Denmark is often cited in many American public policy debates as the outstanding example of a model European social welfare state and for this reason held up a model for the Left (and so claimed Oprah after a two-day visit) or criticized by those on the conservative side of the spectrum such as Bill O’Reilly for its sky high taxes and lack of initiative (conclusions he also reached after a two day visit). It behooves us all to examine how much truth there is in each claim and what a majority of Danes have felt about these issues and whether or not the many polls cited by observers claiming that “The Danes are the happiest people in the world” are accurate.

Denmark is an ally, a member of NATO and maintains a small force in Afghanistan. It shares with us many vital interests including the treaty provisions that allow the stationing of American bases in Greenland, and more importantly our values. It is worth dwelling on how the Danes behaved as trusted allies in World War II. On March 21, 1945 at noon, 46 Mosquito bombers and fighter aircraft attacked Shell House, used by the Gestapo in Copenhagen to imprison Danish resistance fighters on the top floors. The building was attacked with precision bombing that demolished the lower floors of the building. More than 100 Germans and Danish collaborators were killed in the attack. Leading members of the Resistance managed to escape in the chaos.

This magnificent action that lifted Danish morale across the country was marred by the unfortunate accident of “collateral damage”. One of the low flying British aircraft unfortunately struck a signal tower on the nearby railway line. The resulting fire was mistaken by other attacking aircraft as the target and they dropped their bombs on the school. More than one hundred Danish civilians were killed in the conflagration that engulfed the orphanage and surrounding residential buildings, among them more than 80 children. In spite of the terrible tragedy, the attack had a galvanizing effect that signaled to the entire country that Denmark and the Danish Resistance were valued allies who were not forgotten. It also led to a significant and immediate drop in the number of collaborators who had been shown proof that the Allied cause was triumphant and could reach them in their most protected lair.

This is what we in the U.S. and U.K. have forgotten – reliable allies are only those with whom we share fundamental values – in a nation with a thousand years of history behind it such as Denmark. We cannot find them in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere in the “Muslim World”. It is also a dramatic example of why true allies understand that in spite of the grief, such accidents and incidents should not divide us and must not be the occasion for pathetic hand wringing and calls for “investigations” (that give aid and comfort to our mortal enemies) but accepted as part of the price for

FP: What makes the country’s geography so unique that you devote five chapters to it?

Berdichevsky: Probably no more than one American in a thousand can name another Danish city besides Copenhagen or sketch a map outlining the diverse areas of Jutland – the peninsula on the European mainland bordering Germany, and the two major islands of Fünen (site of Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen), and Zealand where Copenhagen is situated. In addition, there are several hundred scattered smaller islands. Probably even fewer are aware that Denmark once constituted an Empire spanning the North Sea, Baltic, and North Atlantic, ruling over much of the north and east of England for two hundred years and including the territory of Greenland (50 times the size of Denmark), the Faeroe Islands, Bornholm (much closer to Sweden than Denmark), Iceland (now independent) and reaching into the Caribbean to the Danish West Indies (sold to the United States in 1917 and known since then as the U.S. Virgin Islands – the only part of American territory where you drive on the left hand side of the road) and that this small nation was once a great naval power and exerted control over large parts of Northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein).

FP: What makes Denmark different from the other Scandinavians nations, their history and culture?

Berdichevsky: Denmark has none of the majestic scenery of mountains, fjords and glaciers that dominate Sweden, Norway and Finland. Its gently rolling terrain, lush and beautifully cultivated fields and gardens provide a Disney like setting that go so well with the “Fairy Tales” of Hans Christian Andersen. For centuries, Denmark was the most powerful Scandinavian nation and much more intimately involved in European affairs which meant a good deal of French and German influences at the court. Its proximity to Great Britain and reliance on a powerful navy were an important element in the European balance of power, a factor that when abandoned, exposed Denmark to the wrath of unrestrained German military force and the dramatic loss of territory in the 19th century (wars of 1848-51 and 1864).

FP: What are the most common stereotypes most Americans hold about Denmark?

Berdichevsky: Danish culture and society are often portrayed by pale stereotypes and clichés about socialism, cradle to the grave security, football, pornography, Hamlet, pigs, dairy cattle, beer and more recently the inevitable and obscene charges of “racism” stemming from the Cartoon Affair. On the other hand, much of the American public under the influence of Hollywood and media personalities have retained what is perhaps the longest lived myth to emerge from the Holocaust – that the Danish King Christian X volunteered to wear the Yellow Star (never imposed on the Danish Jews during the German occupation) as a symbol of solidarity with his Jewish subjects.

FP: Are the Danes really the happiest people in the world as shown by several surveys?

Berdichevsky: It depends. Many surveys claim that but they base their definition of happiness on the many entitlements of social welfare, national health insurance and unemployment benefits includingmaternity and paternity leave but as even Shakespeare was aware of when he had Marcellus comment in Hamlet that ”There is something rotten in the state of Denmark” Act 1, scene 4, 87–91. Many observers question the results and mention poignantly that Denmark’s high suicide rate – among the highest in Europe and approximately equal to the suicide rate in the United States (11.9 vs. 11.8 per 100,000 population according to Wikipedia on line) should make people question these studies and avoid any smugness. One doesn’t see all too many smiling faces on an average gloomy winter day. What is significant is that fewer Danes are couch potatoes – an extraordinary number of cultural, social, and sports activities keep people engaged and avoid the “idle hands are the Devil’s plaything” mentality.

FP: How have Danish-Americans fit into the USA’s cultural geography?

Berdichevsky: Danish-Americans form a proud yet modest community (no contradiction). Unlike most Americans of Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish descent, Danish-Americans were less likely to establish cohesive ethnic settlements of their own. While the other Scandinavian immigrants tended to congregate with their own countrymen, the Danes spread out nationwide and comparatively quickly disappeared into the “melting pot”. A large preponderance of the Danish immigrants were single men who searched for brides among women of other national origins and subsequently they were more likely to use English and teach English to their children avoiding the appearance of mono-ethnic or “ghetto” communities. Among names of prominent Danish-Americans (born in the U.S. of full or partial Danish ancestry including those born in Denmark who became U.S. citizens) are Gutzon Borglum (sculptor who designed and carved the monumental heads of four American Presidents on Mt. Rushmore), Victor Borge, Lloyd Bentsen (unsuccessful candidate for Vice-President, 1988), Buddy Ebsen (actor), Lauritz Melchior (opera singer),Viggo Mortensen (actor), Veronica Lake (actress), Lady Bird Johnson, Jacob Riis (photographer) and the late Ted Sorenson (speechwriter and co-author with President J. F. Kennedy of “Profiles in Courage”).

FP: Who are the most well-known and important individuals you chose for the section on “Great Danes”?

Berdichevsky: Hans Christian Andersen whose collected “Fairy Tales” are, after the Bible, the world’s most translated literary work, Danish-American humorist Victor Borge, philosophers Søren Kierkegaard, “Out of Africa: author Karen Blixen, the present Queen Margrethe II, Nobel prize winning physicist Niels Bohr, astronomer Tycho Brahe, Arne Jacobsen, the “Father of Danish Design”, engineer and poet Piet Hein, clergyman N.F.S. Grundtvig, and politician Arne Sørensen.

FP: Does Denmark present a successful example of Jewish assimilation?

Berdichevsky: By and large yes. Denmark of the mid-nineteenth century set a marvelous example in human relations and brotherhood based on mutual respect. It was possible because a small minority had seen how it was incumbent upon them to win the respect of their neighbors. In today’s topsy-turvy world, Denmark and other nations are struggling to maintain their noble traditions and culture in the face of provocation from a militant minority of Muslim immigrants that seek to impose its will and culture/religion on the majority. Although a few researchers have examined the question, “How did the Jews disappear from the Danish provincial towns?”, the evidence does not provide a clear explanation. There was clearly no discriminatory legislation after Jews were granted full civil equality by a special ordinance issued on March 29, 1814 although some craft guilds prohibited non-Christians from becoming apprentices to learn the particular skill. It is clear that some Jews left the provincial cities towards the end of the 19th century to settle in Copenhagen where they died. It may well be that others emigrated to the Danish West Indies (today’s U.S. Virgin Islands) to pursue their business interests or back to their places of origin in Schleswig-Holstein but the main reason is probably that they intermarried (without formal conversion) or just opted out from participation in Jewish community affairs.

FP: Why has Integration of the Muslim immigrant community been so difficult?

Berdichevsky: The Muslim minority of immigrants and their children/grandchildren has come to feel increasingly emboldened to act beyond the law under the influence of several imams who helped fan the flames of confrontation and distorted the cartoon controversy to exert their influence. Saudi money is apparent in the plans to construct a major mosque in Copenhagen. In the bustling Nørrebro neighborhood one can see how a major traffic thoroughfare reserved for bus traffic only and where parking for motorists was strictly forbidden, has been expropriated as a No-Go area for “ordinary citizens” (i.e. the non-Muslim majority). The lane along a stretch of the neighborhood’s major thoroughfare, Nørrebrogade, has been taken over by parked cars that are utilized by shop owners (all Muslim) to store their wares (predominantly fruit and vegetables) or simply expropriated by “passers-by” who have illegally parked, knowing full well that the Danish police and parking officials will not uphold the law against Muslims. This is nothing less than the existence of a separate law for those who now constitute a parallel culture under protection of their own Sharia law that are off limits to all others. Similar neighborhoods amounting to Muslim ghettoes exist in other cities. It is no secret that the voting behavior of Muslim immigrants supports the Leftwing parties that have done their utmost to turn Denmark into the model of what is called a “multi-cultural society” but which more and more resembles a mosaic of segregated neighborhoods. Moderate Danish Muslims who objected to the campaign of demonstrations and boycotts against Denmark during the “Cartoon Crisis” were threatened and ostracized.

FP: Has the Danish-German border issue been finally and fully resolved?

Berdichevsky: Yes. The pro-Danish movement to ‘return’ South Schleswig to Denmark that flowered briefly after World War II was nipped in the bud. The ‘core’ Danish minority population today in South Schleswig is much stronger than it was in 1920 and 1939, In recent local elections, the SSW (Danish Minority Party in South Schleswig) increased its share of the vote to regain strength and even attracted some voters who are the descendants of German refugees from the lost areas in the east that were annexed by Poland and Czechoslovakia after 1945. They identify with the Danish minority and feel that the program of the SSW speaks more closely to their social and economic interests than the German political parties. Both the German and Danish governments signed solemn agreements after World War II regarding their respective minorities guaranteeing them free rights to organize socially, culturally and politically and that their own self-identity could not be questioned, challenged or “tested”. What had been a conflict lasting centuries and a major issue even as recently as in 1945-50 has been put to rest. It makes a fascinating story.

FP: Norman Berdichevsky, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Jamie Glazov

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/04/11/an-introduction-to-danish-culture/

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

A Tale of Two Civil Wars


by Alan W. Dowd

The Syrian civil war is now more than a year old. The Syrian army has killed some 10,000 people—and counting. Although Damascus has made promises about ceasefires and diplomatic settlements, it’s not in Bashar Assad’s DNA to countenance any challenge to his rule. Recall that his father slaughtered 20,000 Syrians to staunch a 1982 uprising. The younger Assad’s army—what one observer describes as a “hellish killing machine”—is on its way to eclipsing that grisly milestone. For instance, Assad’s henchmen ushered in this week by attacking refugee camps, firing across the Turkish and Lebanese borders, and making a mockery of the latest UN peace plan. In response, President Barack Obama has offered little more than promises of non-lethal aid and intonations about establishing “a process” to transition to a “legitimate government.” Inaction in the face of such butchery is easy to criticize, of course. Since America cannot intervene everywhere, presidents have to draw the line somewhere. But it’s difficult to understand why the president has chosen to draw that line at Syria, especially if we consider Obama’s response to the Libyan civil war just one year ago.

Recall that in announcing his decision to intervene in Libya (by bombing Qaddafi’s forces), the president declared, “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities…where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.”

That sounds like a fairly accurate description of Syria. Yet this time around, there’s no help on the way for the rebels—at least not from Obama. Instead of a Libya-style air war, Obama’s reaction to Syria is beginning to look a lot like Washington’s non-response to the mangling of Bosnia almost two decades ago. As Senator Joe Lieberman recently observed, “I feel like we are reliving history.”

When Yugoslavia began to descend into civil war in 1992, Western Europe seized upon the crisis as an opportunity to prove it was ready to keep the peace. It was, as one European diplomat famously declared, “the hour of Europe.”

Washington took the hint and stepped aside. It would be a fateful decision. Europe’s confidence in itself and in the UN was badly misplaced. As historian William Pfaff notes in The Wrath of Nations, “In the Bosnian crisis, the United States didn’t act, so everyone failed to act.” He argues that international organizations like the United Nations “proved an obstacle to action, by inhibiting individual national action and rationalizing the refusal to act nationally.”

The result: some 200,000 dead and millions of refugees.

As a candidate, then-Governor Bill Clinton had promised to end the bloodletting by arming the outgunned Bosnian Muslims and striking Serb artillery with U.S. airpower. But before he could take any such action as president, Clinton was blindsided by Somalia. And so, the slow-motion genocide continued for 31 months under Clinton.

The low point came when Dutch peacekeepers in the laughably misnamed UN Protection Force allowed Serb militiamen to enter the so-called safe haven of Srebrenica and liquidate 7,000 Bosnian men and boys. It was a microcosm of the entire war: The Serbs were by and large the aggressors, the Muslims were outgunned and thus easy prey, the UN was worthless, the Europeans were helpless, and the Americans were absent.

Only after Washington reasserted itself in late 1995, after Srebrenica, did the situation on the ground change. When U.S. military might was finally brought to bear against Serbian paramilitaries, the one-sided war came to an abrupt end, just as many had predicted.

This is not to say that a Bosnia- or Libya-style intervention in Syria is the right course of action. After all, there are risks to getting in and risks to staying out.

Intervening makes post-Assad Syria the West’s problem—and could even open the door to more toxic problems. Egypt reminds us that what replaces autocracy may not be worth celebrating.

Not intervening, on the other hand, will allow Assad to strangle the opposition and extend his rule, like his father and Saddam did for decades, like the mullahs have in Iran, like all dictators do when their subjects’ cries for help go unanswered.

Moreover, no two international crises are identical. Indeed, there are many differences between Bosnia circa 1995 and Syria circa 2012. One of the most significant is how directly what’s happening in Syria could impact America’s wider national-security interests.

The primary motivation for intervening in Bosnia was always humanitarian. Syria, on the other hand, is one of those unique cases where conscience and national interest overlap: Protecting the people of Syria—a humanitarian motivation—by targeting the Assad regime would deal a blow to Syria’s patron and partner in Iran—a national-security interest.

Another important difference between Bosnia and Syria is how U.S.-led coalitions of the willing have built an impressive record in recent years of punishing and/or ending regimes that flout basic norms of behavior: In addition to Bosnia, that record includes Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. (The fact that brutal governments remain in power in places like Sudan and North Korea should not overshadow the fact that there are fewer such governments today than there were, say, 15 years ago.)

While Obama has been largely silent and inactive on the situation in Syria, he wasn’t silent this time last year, when he ordered U.S. forces to take part in NATO’s air war against Qaddafi.

“In just one month,” Obama boasted, “the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. It took us 31 days.”

If it was fair for Obama to take that swipe at the Clinton administration, then it seems fair to point out the shortcomings in Obama’s own approach. It is Obama’s incongruent response to these congruent crises that—according to his own standard for action—makes his Syria policy a failure.

Alan W. Dowd

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/04/11/a-tale-of-two-civil-wars/

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The Failure of the Palestinian Venture


by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Angelo Pezzana)
Lately, there have been many rumors about the intentions of the Palestinians, specifically Abu Mazen, to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and to return to the days before the 1993 Oslo Accords, when Israel was responsible for all of the territories of Judea and Samaria, including the Arab cities. About one month ago, in March 2012, a conference including Egyptian and Palestinian notables convened in Cairo, and discussed this as a serious possibility, "because at present there is no political solution on the horizon". The questions that the conference dealt with were: who has the authority to take a decision to disband the PA, and whether the advantages of such a move would outweigh the disadvantages. According to the participants, the PA has failed because it has not achieved a full Israeli withdrawal from all of the territories "occupied" in 1967, and has failed to impose the refugees' "right of return" upon Israel.

Ibrahim Hamami, head of the Center for Palestinian Affairs in London, who participated in the conference, stated: "The Palestinian Authority was established to serve the goals of the occupation by continuing negotiations, while the Palestinian citizen did not benefit from it at all. On the contrary: it was the Palestinians who were forced to withdraw because of the settlement activity and roadblocks. An additional reason to dismantle the PA is the Israeli fear of deterioration in security that will occur in Israel because of the absence of Palestinian security organizations". By saying it, Hamami implies that the whole raison d'être of the PA security organizations is to keep Israel's security, thus he undermines the legitimacy of the existence of the PA. Hamami claims that six years ago, in 2006, Abbas had already hinted at the possibility of dismantling the PA after Israel broke into the Jericho prison and arrested Ahmed Sadat and his associates. Since then the possibility of dismantling the PA has arisen from time to time, when Abbas has become disappointed with Israel.

As a result, Palestinian spokesmen have it easy: they just have to blame Israel for their failure. It's convenient and it provides an explanation that the West will buy, because the West doesn't have a deep understanding of the problems of the Middle East in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue in particular. The truth of the matter is, there never was a chance for the Palestinian Authority to succeed, because of the innate problems that stem from the nature of the political culture of the Middle East. We will focus on a few of them:

1. The fundamental problem of any modern Arab state is the problem of its legitimacy to exist as a state, principally because the state does not reflect a well-defined ethnic unit, and therefore is not a nation-state in the European sense, e.g. France and Holland. Traditionally, there is no "Syrian people", "Jordanian people", "Lebanese people", or "Sudanese people". There is an "Arab people", which is divided into tribes, clans, religious groups and sects. Arab states such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Sudan are creations of colonialism, which arbitrarily divided up the Arab nation, without regard to demographic facts. The PA suffers from this problem too, because - traditionally - there was never a "Palestinian People", and there is no trace of such an entity in any book or newspaper that was printed before 1920, before the area of "Sham" (Greater Syria) was divided into four political units: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine-Israel.

2. Most of the members of the "Palestinian People", the virtual collective upon which the idea of a Palestinian state is supposed to be built, are descendants of immigrants that entered the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River during the second half of the 19th century and the twentieth century. The Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the Jewish villages that were established in pre-state Israel were an attractive source of livelihood for the immigrant workers, who came from the surrounding areas. Many Egyptians fled to Israel in the years of the 1860s in order to escape forced labor - digging the Suez Canal. Therefore even today, many "Palestinians" have names such as "Al-Masri" (The Egyptian), "Masarwa" (Egyptians) and "Fayoumi", names which point to their Egyptian origin. Others are called "Al-Haurani", because they were brought by the British from the Hauran, in Syria, principally to work in the port of Haifa. People who live in the village of Jisr al-Zarqa are Sudanese, and therefore they did not participate in the 1948 War of Independence and remained in the place where they settled, between Caesaria and Ma'agan Michael. European geographers who visited the Land of Israel in the 19th century, as well as the international investigative committees which operated during the first half of the twentieth century, documented groups of immigrants from Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, North Africa and the Balkans, who were residing in Israel. Residents of Rehania and Kfar Kama, two Galilee villages, are Cherkessian from the Caucasus. The Booshank clan who lives in Kfar Manda came from Bosnia. All of the residents of the Negev, most of the residents of the Gaza Strip and some from Mount Hebron are Bedouins, who for centuries were wandering between the deserts of Sinai, the Negev, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Their Saudi Arabian dialect clearly testifies to their country of origin. Some of the Armenians - who are Christian - fled to Israel from Turkey in the years 1915-1918, because of the genocide that the Turks carried out upon them. Therefore, most of the "Palestinians" are a mixed people, various groups whose origin is not the Land of Israel.

3. The modern Arab state, since its inception, has failed and continues to fail in its main objective: to settle in the hearts of the citizens and to take the place of their traditional loyalty for the tribe, the ethnic group (e.g.: Kurdish, Turkmen, Arab), the religious community (e.g.: Muslim, Christian, Druze, Alawite) or the sect (e.g.: Sunni, Shi'a). A person will define himself as "Iraqi" or "Syrian" only if he is part of a system of government or if he enjoys economic or political benefits from it. No person will volunteer for a state, dedicate his time, his wealth, and certainly not his life for a government, if he doesn't feel that the governing system represents him. In the Palestinian case, this is evident because of the absence of a volunteer army. All of the employees of the PA, especially those who serve in security apparatuses, are salaried, and serve the government only for what their salary is worth, and no more. They usually don't do it because they see the PA as something that reflects their collective consciousness. Without the flow of funds, the PA would never be able to buy the services of its employees. It would collapse, and this leads to the clear conclusion that it is not considered a state of its citizens but rather an employer of its salaried workers.

4. One of the results of the failure of the Palestinian venture is the split between Gaza and Ramallah. From a historical point of view, the bond between these two centers of Arab population is fairly weak, and is not stronger than the bond between any two centers of population in the Middle East. Between 1948 and 1967 the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian occupation, while the Old City of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian occupation. These two states reacted with an iron fist to any attempt of the residents of these areas to liberate themselves from occupation. The idea of a "Palestinian State" that would unify the Gaza Strip with Judea and Samaria is new, and was born after 1967 from the coupling of the Israeli left with Arab deceit, which misled some naive Jews to believe that the Arabs would come to terms with a Jewish state within the cease-fire lines which divided the Land of Israel between the states of Israel, Jordan and Egypt until 1967, known as the "Green Line".

5. The Palestinian Authority was originally defined as a political entity, a "state in progress", for the Arabs who live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. But this geographical definition is a severe contradiction to the modern Arab narrative which claims that the concept of "Palestinians" includes, in addition to the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, all of the Arabs who live inside Israel as citizens of the Jewish state, immigrants and refugees who live in the scores of refugee camps and outside of them in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and in many other states. The connection or bond has never been established between the PLO, the organization that established the PA, and the groups who are defined today as "Palestinian" and live outside of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, because the PLO claims since its inception in 1964 that it is "the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people". What - if so - is the PLO doing for the "Palestinians" in Jordan, where they are a majority? or in Syria (especially today)? or in Lebanon? What would be the meaning of the establishment of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, for the "Palestinians" who live as citizens of other states outside of it? How would this state solve the problem of the "Palestinian" diaspora, those who do not belong to local tribes in other Arab countries?

6. Since a real answer was never given to this question, the PLO invented the standard, but impossible answer: "the right of return", meaning a solution through a third party: Arab "Palestinians" who were born in Arab states and have lived in them for scores of years, will move to Israel, and this, despite the fact that all throughout history, there has never been a case where the establishment of a state was conditional on the transfer of millions of people who were born in a second state to a third state. What is implied by the "right of return" is that the Palestine Liberation Organization and the "state in progress" that it established, shirk their responsibility for a solution to the problem of the "Palestinians" in the diaspora. Therefore, every time that any possible solution came up between Israel and the PLO, Arafat, and later Abu Mazen, made an obligatory visit to the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, in order to ease tensions and to tell the people there that they are not forgotten, and their problem is not neglected by the PLO. But since no one really believes them, organizations that object to the political process between Israel and the PLO have developed in those camps, principally Hamas and the Fronts for Resistance.

7. The PLO has never clearly and decisively defined its relationship to the state of Israel as a state of the Jewish people. Despite the fact that the Oslo Accords were signed, and despite the fact that according to them, "Palestinian" media were established, these media channels have never stopped speaking about the Galilee, Haifa, Acre, Yaffo and Be'er Sheva – all inside Israel – as part of "Palestine". And even now, the logo of the PLO includes the map of Palestine in its entirety. There has always been a double message: We speak with Israel, but it doesn't exist because it is actually Palestine. This is how the "Palestinian" educational system operates: Israel does not appear in books as a legitimate state, and it is the same in the public arena: all of the drawings and illustrations of "Palestine" are from the Mediterranean sea to the Jordan River, without any mention of Israel. This situation has created a cognitive dissonance among many Arabs as well as on the Israeli side: how can the "Palestinians" speak of their state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but at the same time, represent "Palestine" as the whole area between the sea and Jordan, including Israel in it?

8. The Palestinian National Covenant states in section 1 that "Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian people; it is an inseparable part of the greater Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people is part of the Arab nation." This wording became the official version of the Palestinian narrative, which expresses the political aspirations of the "Palestinians". Section 2 of the covenant states that "Palestine, as its borders were defined during the period of the British Mandate, is one indivisible territorial unit." This statement negates of the existence of the state of Israel (and perhaps also the Kingdom of Jordan). This section has never been changed. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords Israel was told in a vague letter that the sections that contradict the peace accords are no longer operative, but the covenant itself was never reworded. It is this discrepancy that gives rise to the Israeli perception that the Palestinians speak about the establishment of a state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but their true intention is that by the end of the process, the Palestinian Covenant will be realized exactly as written.

9. Arafat, followed by the various heads of the PLO, made a huge strategic mistake when they issued the ultimatum that Jerusalem must be the capital of the Palestinian state. This distressed many Jews who, despite their desire to reach peace with the Arabs, are not willing to give up Zion, the cherished treasure of the Jewish people, toward which it has prayed for the 1900 years of exile. The demand to have Jerusalem is relatively new because the Palestinian covenant - whether in the 1964 version or the 1968 version - does not mention Jerusalem at all. It is interesting that the Hamas covenant, which was written in 1988 also does not speak of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Moreover, there is no historical basis for the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem, because this city was never the capital of an Islamic state or province. The capital of "Jund Filistin" (the District of Palestine) after the Islamic conquest in the year 637 CE was the city of Ramle, 30 kilometers to the west from Jerusalem. And just for the sake of comparison: In the Jewish Bible, Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times and in the Islamic Qur'an not even once. The Jewish people and the children of Israel also appear in the Qur'an hundreds of times, but the Palestinian people - like Jerusalem - not even once. The baseless Muslim-Palestinian demand for Jerusalem has caused many millions of Christians to grant Israel its unstinting support.

10. The world paid little attention to the Palestinian terror that raged in Israel after the outbreak of the second Intifada, at the end of September 2000 - until September 11, 2001. With the attacks that occurred on that day in New York and Washington, the world began to understand better the terror that Israel was confronted with, because until then, there was no tangible reference point with which to help them understand the problem in Israel. Only after September 11, 2001, was the decision taken to declare Hamas, as well as Al-Qaeda, to be terror organizations and to boycott any bank or organization that transfers money to it. The Palestinians, chiefly Arafat, did not understand that continuing the terror after September 11, 2001 worked against them and made it easier for Israel to define them as terrorists, which has darkened their image in the world until today, at least regarding Hamas.

11. Since January 2006, the split between the PLO and Hamas has not simply been a division between two parties who sit together in the same elected body. Rather, the split has a deeply cultural characteristic, because Hamas represents a religious Islamic concept, which sees the division of the Islamic nation into states as a colonialist, anti-Islamic division, that was intended to break up the nation of Islam into splinters. The PLO is trying to build a modern, artificial narrative of a Palestinian people, similar to the modern narrative of the Syrian, Iraqi or Jordanian peoples. Hamas, a religious movement from the Muslim Brotherhood school of thought, sees the narrative of the nationalist circles as something that is against Islam and this is the basis for the split between the two movements. In June 2012, Hamas will mark five years since the establishment of the Islamic state in the Gaza Strip, while in Judea and Samaria, the PLO has failed to establish a governing body that has any chance of surviving without the backing of the state of Israel. Anyone who is involved with what is happening in Judea and Samaria, Arabs as well as Jews, knows that Hamas will take control of Judea and Samaria, and sooner rather than later, if Israel and the IDF leaves that area.

12. During the year 2011, since the beginning of the "Arab Spring", the Arab world has neglected the Palestinian problem, because the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria have taken over the newspapers, the radio stations, the TV channels and computer screens. The Arab World has turned its back on the Palestinians and their problems, and has removed them from the public agenda. This is the real reason that the Palestinians turned to the UN last September for recognition as a state. Later, the continual development of events in Egypt and Syria that dominate the Arab media push the PLO again to search for their friends in the corridors of the international arena, in places where there isn't even the slightest understanding of the culture of the Middle East and the problems that it causes to modern illegitimate entities that are known as Arab states. There exists in the world, and even in Israel here and there, the hope that if only the Palestinians will get their state, they will accept Israel as a legitimate state with the right to exist in peace and security, Hamas will sit together with the PLO around the campfire and will sing the Palestinian hymn harmoniously, and the sons of Hebron will take wives from the daughters of Nablus. No one is willing to address the question: What will the world do when the Palestinian state, with a territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria turns into a Hamas state? It's interesting that those Israeli bleeding hearts who naively hope for peace despite the discouraging past, seem to have had enough, and don't deal with this question either.

There is a conclusion to be drawn from all of the above. The Palestinian national project was supposed to create a Palestinian people on which to base the establishment of a Palestinian state. This has resulted in total failure. Only a small intellectual minority, who is liberated form the tribal mindset, believes in it. Therefore, Israel and the world must search for a different solution, for example the eight-state solution that was presented on this stage in the past, and which is based on the establishment of eight Arab city-states: one in Gaza which already exists, and has been alive and kicking for almost five years, and another seven in each of the Arab cities in Judea and Samaria: Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Jericho and the Arab section of Hebron. Israel must remain forever in the rural expanses in order to assure that the hills of Judea and Samaria will not turn into the hills of Hamas. And just as the Arab residents of Jerusalem have the option to have Israeli citizenship - and according to many public opinion polls, prefer to live under Israeli control than under any alternative Arab control - Israel should offer Israeli citizenship to the Arab residents of the villages of Judea and Samaria as well.

The world must wake up and recognize the reality, read the "Al-Fatiha" - the first chapter of the Qur'an, which is similar to the Jewish "Kaddish" and the Christian "Requiem" - over the Palestinian Authority, and to send its corrupt officials who were brought form Tunisia back to the place from where they were brought by Rabin (may he rest in peace) and Peres (he should live and be well), who were deceived by fellow Nobel prize laureate, the great murderer and compulsive liar, Yaser Arafat. They thought that he will take care of Hamas for them without the Supreme Court or human rights groups, but what is actually happening is that Hamas is taking care of the PLO (Gaza, since June, 2007) and takes care of the Israelis too, in Sderot, Ashkelon and the area surrounding Gaza, without any Supreme Court or human rights groups, but with Goldstone and the perennial bias of the UN and most of the rest of the world.

The dismantling of the Palestinian Authority into eight Arab city-states, based on the local and different tribes who live in these cities, is a necessary condition for peace, for Israel and its Arab neighbors to thrive, and therefore Israel and the world must accept Abu Mazen's threat to quit with a blessing.

Read more about Dr. Kedar's proposed Eight-State Solution:


See a Palestinian speak about the foreign origin of "Palestinian" families:



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Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Mordechai.Kedar@biu.ac.il) 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.

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