Saturday, July 28, 2012

Professors and Politicos Fooled by the Muslim Brotherhood


by Cinnamon Stillwell

Engagement with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is the consensus among elite opinion and certainly among the ranks of North American Middle East studies academics, the "experts" tasked with informing the public and, often, policy-makers on foreign policy in the region. Since the Egyptian revolution, these academics have whitewashed the Muslim Brotherhood, downplayed its Islamist agenda, and urged U.S. cooperation—a policy suggestion the Obama administration has clearly taken to heart.

Many have been shocked by the speed with which the Obama administration has pursued this policy of outreach. The current debate within Congress about the potential influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department—a deliberation that crosses party lines—demonstrates just how deeply the influence has spread.

The symbiotic relationship between the academic and political spheres came to the fore in April of this year. No sooner had representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, met with White House officials than the same delegation was taking part in a panel discussion at Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) on April 4, 2012 (click here to watch).

That the Saudi-funded ACMCU and its founding director John Esposito—a notorious apologist for radical Islam and the moderator of the panel discussion—would host the FJP makes perfect sense. So, too, did the FJP representatives' deceptive claims to uphold democratic rights, women's rights, religious and political pluralism, and a pro-American foreign policy, even as the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist philosophy, stated goals, and the words of its own members—when directed towards Arabic-speaking audiences—all indicate otherwise. In reality, the Muslim Brotherhood's goal of establishing a global caliphate in which Sharia (Islamic) law reigns supreme remains unchanged. (In the U.S., as noted by Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes, this entails replacing the "Constitution with the Koran.") The challenging question and answer period indicated that the audience at Georgetown was not entirely misled by the FJP's façade of moderation, despite the fact that they were given a platform by a prestigious institution in the field of Middle East studies.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Obama administration, which seems determined to forget the lessons of the 1979 Iranian "Islamic revolution." From the halls of academe to the corridors of power, the advice of "experts" can have far-reaching consequences.

Cinnamon Stillwell

Source: http://www.campus-watch.org/blog/2012/07/professors-and-politicos-fooled-by-the-muslim

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- Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

AQI Comeback Is Not Indictment of Surge


by Max Boot

The “surge” which turned around the situation in Iraq in 2007-2008–at a time when the war appeared lost–is now history, but the debate about what actually happened continues. It is indeed heating up because of the recent resurgence of al-Qaeda in both Iraq and Syria. Does this mean that the “success” of the surge was overhyped? Short answer: Not really.

To see why the surge worked, there is no better source than this article by political scientists Stephen Biddle (my colleague at the Council on Foreign Relations), Jeffrey Friedman, and Jacob Shapiro in the new issue of International Security. They reject the commonly heard arguments of surge skeptics that violence declined because insurgents were bribed into joining the Sunni Awakening and that violence had run its course anyway because of sectarian cleansing. They write:

This evidence suggests that a synergistic interaction between the surge and the Awakening is the best explanation for why violence declined in Iraq in 2007. Without the surge, the Anbar Awakening would probably not have spread fast or far enough. And without the surge, sectarian violence would likely have continued for a long time to come—the pattern and distribution of the bloodshed offers little reason to believe that it had burned itself out by mid-2007. Yet the surge, though necessary, was insufficient to explain 2007’s sudden reversal in fortunes. Without the Awakening to thin the insurgents’ ranks and unveil the holdouts to U.S. troops, the violence would probably have remained very high until well after the surge had been withdrawn and well after U.S. voters had lost patience with the war.

I find that conclusion to be squarely in line with the facts as I discovered them for myself during my trips to Iraq in 2007-2008. Neither the surge nor the Sunni Awakening would have succeeded by itself; together they turned the tide and decimated al-Qaeda in Iraq. The fact that AQI has now made a comeback is no indictment of the surge; it is, rather, an indictment of Prime Minister Maliki’s recent leadership and of the Obama administration’s inability or unwillingness to extend the mandate of U.S. troops in Iraq past 2011.

It often takes decades to solidify the gains won on any battlefield. If U.S. troops had left Europe in 1945–as they did in 1919–it is fair to speculate that World War II would not be seen as the “good war”; it might even be seen, like World War I, as a military victory undone by political defeat afterward. So too, if the U.S. had left South Korea after the end of fighting in 1953. It took decades of commitment to harvest the gains won on the battlefield by our soldiers. We have not made that commitment in Iraq, and so the result is to allow a once-defeated terrorist group to stage a comeback. The same thing happened in Afghanistan in the past decade: the Taliban were truly defeated, if not totally annihilated, in 2001, but our inattention and unwillingness to make a commitment to building a durable post-Taliban state allowed them to stage a comeback.

In war victory is seldom final; it is almost always conditional and provisional. President Obama has lost sight of that truth in Iraq, as President Bush lost sight of it in Afghanistan, and the result is needless fighting. But that in no way slights the achievements of either the soldiers and spies who brought down the Taliban in the fall of 2001 or those who routed al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007-2008.

Max Boot

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/07/27/a-qaeda-iraq-comeback-is-not-indictment-of-surge/

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

Alger Hiss, The “Loss” of China, and the Obama Administration’s Blindspot Toward The Islamist Threat


by Barry Rubin

When Andrew McCarthy drew a parallel between the treatment of State Department official (and Soviet spy) Alger Hiss in the 1940s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin Weiner today it reminded me of an interesting discovery from my own research, as documented in my history of the State Department, Secrets of State. As Andrew McCarthy notes, after Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy and convicted of perjury, Secretary of State Dean Acheson–a friend and colleague in his law firm of Hiss’s brother–defended the accused spy.

This doesn’t mean that Huma Abedin Weiner–whose father, mother, and brother were very active in the Muslim Brotherhood and who herself worked for Brotherhood front groups–is guilty of any misbehavior. After all, Alger Hiss’s brother, Donald, was a respected lawyer who never did anything wrong either. A key influence in Alger’s life were the political views of his wife. And while Huma’s spouse, Anthony Weiner, has certain personal issues being a Muslim Brotherhood person isn’t one of them. On the other hand, though, Alger, unlike Huma–to continue the analogy–was never an official in a Communist front group.

Yet the Hiss case does offer us a lot of lessons for today.

After World War Two ended the State Department had to decide how to convert back to peacetime work. It did a thorough security review of 3000 employees to check for security risks and identified 285 people as possible problems. Most of them had either already quit; were forced to resign or encouraged to go elsewhere as soon as possible. A lot of them went to work for the United Nations.

On July 26, 1946, Secretary of State James Byrnes released a detailed report going through these cases. The Truman Administration also fully cooperated with the House of Representatives, which issued its own detailed report on these investigations in March 1948. Remember that there was not enough proof to prosecute anyone and in many cases the information against them was minor and even clearly false, far less than we know for a fact about Abedin Weiner. Having a relative with Communist sympathies was enough to get someone fired though. In the end, about 50 of those who had been investigated but against whom there was no reliable evidence–in some cases just statements by personal enemies–were allowed to remain at junior posts at the State Department.

But in one case, the 1948 House of Representatives’ report said that a certain man was “the greatest security risk the Department has [ever] had.” He wasn’t identified by name but it was noted he resigned on a specific day. It was the date Hiss resigned. Obviously, he was the person being referred to in the report. Every high official in the State Department had to know that Hiss was deeply implicated in espionage.

Many people know the story of Whittaker Chambers and his warning about Hiss to State. What they may not know that by 1945 and certainly by early 1946 both the State Department and the FBI was convinced of Hiss’s guilt. Secretary of State Byrnes was informed. In March 1946, the State Department security staff recommended Hiss should be given a choice between being fired or resigning but also noted that they did not believe they could prove Hiss’s guilt in court. So a Republican with impeccable conservative credentials, the future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, stepped in and offered Hiss a job as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Hiss accepted and resigned.

Hiss’s guilt was thus no secret within the government. One can understand how, lacking proof before Chambers produced pilfered documents, that they might have chosen to remain silent. To defend Hiss publicly, though, was both morally wrong and politically suicidal. Here is a graphic precedent for high-ranking officials knowing there was a real danger and yet loudly denying that any problem existed.

I’m not going to repeat the story of Chambers and Richard Nixon and the “Pumpkins Papers” because you presumably know about this or can easily research it. An intriguing question, though is this: Why is it that the Truman Administration did a good job of rooting out Communists and spies but did not publicly acknowledge this, even when it came under attack from Senator Joe McCarthy and others? Remember that the pro-Communist left hated Truman and ran against him in 1948 under the Progressive Party banner?

Presumably there were two main reasons. First, it did not want to lend credence to the attacks against itself and make the New Deal look bad, a political motive. Second, it could not reveal intelligence sources–including what we now know as the Verona Intercepts of Soviet secret telegrams as well as information from friendly intelligence agencies. In Hiss’s case there was also an element of the aristocracy sticking together. Yet this was a costly decision. At any rate, the lack of acknowledgment of the Truman Administration’s and State Department’s own efforts in this regard has led to some misunderstanding of history as well as adding to the mythology that the problem of Communist penetration was a myth.

One wonders whether we will be saying the same thing in a few decades about radical Islamist penetration of the federal government today. In this case, though, the Obama Administration behaved far worse than did its predecessor. Truman got rid of those with real security problems; Obama is doing nothing. And meanwhile the administration’s Republican enablers are contributing to the danger. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of evidence of multiple suspect individuals in this regard. Go back and read what the superb investigative reporter Patrick Poole has been writing for the last few years to see the extent of this problem.

Let me mention another of the most passionate issues of that earlier era. Did the United States lose China? I do not propose to reexamine the issue in depth but only to make some very specific points. The question in retrospect is whether the United States should have followed an energetic policy of supporting the nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-Shek against the Communists. No one can say whether such a policy would have changed the course of the Chinese Civil War. It was said that certain left-wing experts on China influenced the Truman Administration not to do more. It could well be argued that these experts didn’t have much influence, that no U.S. government would have undertaken such a giant effort at the time, and that such an effort wouldn’t have changed anything.

Incidentally, this also reminds me of a great memo written by a long-forgotten American diplomat who possessed common sense. Around 1946 in response to the idea that Ho Chi Minh wasn’t really a Communist but a nationalist who the United States could win over and moderate by giving him support, the State Department officials wrote something like this: “That argument might possibly be true but it would be a hell of a risk to take!”

As I said, though, I don’t want to enter into those debates.

But if we focus on revolutionary Islamism today we can answer parallel questions more easily. In the Obama Administration’s favor, we could say that it succeeded in Libya in installing a non-Islamist government that prevailed in elections. We can also say that in Tunisia the nature of that society has limited the scope of an Islamist victory and may–or may not–eventually get rid of an Islamist-led coalition there. That’s due to Tunisia, though, not to the White House.

The president’s record on Egypt, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Turkey, however, is bad. The Obama Administration has promoted the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria; pressed Israel to go soft on Hamas in the Gaza Strip (and vastly helped Hamas by its own Egypt policy), and promoted a stealth Islamist regime in Turkey to be its best friend in the Middle East. And here we know that literally hundreds of “experts” inside and outside of government–a far more impressive force than the handful of suspect China experts–have promoted this goal. This record is far clearer than the China question of sixty years ago.

The usual defense is that Obama didn’t have much leverage to prevent these problems from developing. That’s nonsense. He could have worked with the army in Egypt and Turkey as well as doing more to promote the moderate forces there. In Lebanon, the United States abandoned the moderates who were then in power, a problem due partly to George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice but mainly to Obama. The same can be said of Bush and Rice letting Hamas run in the Palestinian elections even though that violated the Oslo agreement. While it seems like a bad joke it is sadly true that Bush and Rice assumed that Hamas would lose because they depended on the misleading polls by the incumbent Palestinian Authority’s Fatah leadership’s front group. But Obama’s panicked reaction to the Turkish-organized Gaza flotilla–we must do something to ease the pressure on Hamas!–was even more embarrassing.

Think about what’s happening in Syria. How about investigating how pro-Islamist Defense Department official broke U.S. regulations by bringing Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leaders in for meetings a few years ago? There is no bar on U.S. aid–including supplying guns–to the Muslim Brotherhood elements in the opposition. There is no policy favoring help for moderates among the rebels. There is no statement that any opposition group involved in massacring civilians because they are Alawites or Christians will never again get any American political or military assistance! How about investigating the terms of U.S. aid to radical anti-American forces in the opposition and the Obama Administration’s help in creating a Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council?

As for Turkey, we know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the State Department reporting warned repeatedly about the Islamist and anti-American intentions of the Turkish regime. That one is completely Obama’s fault. He has repeatedly made clear that a repressive Turkish government that has broken the armed forces, is subverting the courts, and has trampled on the freedom of expression is his ideal type of regime, an example for other Muslim-majority countries!

This article was also published in PJ Media.

Barry Rubin

Source: http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/07/alger-hiss-the-%E2%80%9Closs%E2%80%9D-of-china-and-the-obama-administration%E2%80%99s-blindspot-toward-the-islamist-threat/

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

Obama Says His Economic Policies Worked!


by W.A. Beatty

Here is a hot news item from U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Tim "Tax Cheat" Geithner as he was testifying to Congress on July 24, 2012: "The economy is not growing fast enough. Unemployment is very high." No kidding! As if we Americans did not already know that!

Just for the record:

  • The "official" U-3 unemployment rate is presently 8.2 percent, while the "unofficial but, some would say, more realistic" U-6 unemployment rate is 14.9 percent.
  • According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012. That growth rate is quite slow.

Geithner continued: "... we will keep supporting anything practical, sensible, that will make growth stronger, help get more people back to work[.]" Gosh, you have received plenty of practical, sensible suggestions, but they were contrary to your (and President Barack Hussein "kill list" Obama's) ideology, so they were rejected. So my questions are, "After three years of failure (resulting in continued slow growth and high unemployment), why do you continue to cling to your demonstrably failed ideas? Is your obviously failed ideology stronger than what you are actually seeing?"

With what Geithner said as background, let's all have a good laugh (otherwise we would cry) at Obama's recent remarks about the U.S. economy and what he has done.

While speaking at a fundraiser (spelled: friendly, gullible audience) about his economic policies on July 23, 2012, in Oakland, CA, Obama said, "We tried our plan -- and it worked." Obama actually said that. He continued, discussing Mitt Romney's proposed tax and spending cuts, "We tried that and it didn't work," describing Romney's proposals as being just like the Bush-style top down economic policy.

The unemployment rate in Oakland, CA in May 2012 was 13.7 percent.

Now the MSM is claiming that his quote was taken out of context. This is the quote that the MSM says is taken out of context:

Just like we've tried their plan, we tried our plan - and it worked. That's the difference. That's the choice in this election. That's why I'm running for a second term.

In support of the "out of context" claim, The MSM is offering his full quote:

I'll cut out government spending that's not working, that we can't afford, but I'm also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well. Just like we've tried their plan, we tried our plan - and it worked. That's the difference. That's the choice in this election. That's why I'm running for a second term.

Out of context or not, Obama said, "... we tried our plan - and it worked." So let's examine that statement.

As "proof" that his economic policies have worked, Obama cited the automobile industry bailouts. He said, "I refused to turn my back on a great industry and American workers. Three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back." Let's examine just how much Obama's "roaring back" auto industry cost us taxpayers:

  • Obama's violations of bankruptcy law made the bailout of General Motors (GM) and Chrysler $26.5 billion more expensive than necessary. Obama and his administration violated every fundamental principle of the U.S. bankruptcy code by:
  • protecting some union pensioners while not protecting non-union workers. GM gave $1 billion to Delphi's union retirees but gave Delphi's non-union retirees nothing.
  • paying off Chrysler's unsecured union benefit trust fund instead of Chrysler's secured creditors. One tenet of bankruptcy law is that similarly situated creditors should receive similar treatment.

Obama and his administration gave special treatment to the United Auto Workers (UAW) above and beyond what other creditors and unions received rather than requiring the UAW to accept standard bankruptcy concessions. The auto industry bailout was actually a UAW bailout.

  • We taxpayers are on the hook for Obama's "roaring back" auto industry. GM stock closed on Monday, July 23, 2012 at $19.02 per share. As of noon on Friday, July 27, 2012, it was $19.23, so the discussion that follows is not exactly correct, but it's close. The Monday close would leave us taxpayers with a loss of about $25 billion. How? Let's add it up.

At Monday's price, our 500 million shares, or 26.5 percent, of GM are worth $9.5 billion. GM's share price was $33 when we taxpayers "bought" it. So the per share price drop is about $7 billion. But Obama let GM keep $45 billion worth in past losses to write off future earnings, losses that are normally not carried forward by bankruptcy. The "book value" of those losses was $18 billion, which let GM avoid paying any income tax on its $7.6 billion "profit."

Eighteen-billion-dollar losses "book value" plus $7 billion stock price loss = $25 billion. But when you add in the $10 billion required for us to just break even (at $53 per share stock price), you get the total amount that we taxpayers are "out."

For perspective, each 1¢ movement in GM stock price translates to $5 million in movement for us.

  • Isn't it rather ironic that Obama should describe what Bush did and what Romney proposes as "top-down" economic policy? Obama thinks that he knows better than the markets, rather than letting markets decide which products and services deserve to survive. Does the green energy industry come to mind?

Anyway, here are two of the five principles of top-down planning:

  • Decision-making: approach in which the desired results or objectives are decided upon first, and then methods to achieve them are selected.
  • Management: approach in which a board decides what results are to be achieved and how, and passes the plan down the hierarchy or management levels.

That sure sounds quite a bit like what Obama is currently doing, while at the same time dismissing the Bush-style top-down economic policy. Can anyone say "hypocrite"? And where is the MSM on this? No differences of outcomes will result from the fact that Obama is top-down central planning by way of taxes and regulations rather than by the heavy handed fiat of a Soviet premier. This will come as a very big shock to Obama (and his Teleprompter speech writers), but issuing government mandates is the ultimate "top down" way to govern.

We get a view of Obama's "working" economic policies. Sure, they work for him and his UAW buddies. But what about all of us taxpayers who have to foot the bill for his policies?

Recall that Obama also said, "The private sector is doing fine" and "If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it." So here is one more Obama quote that cannot stand the scrutiny of, as Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest of the story."

And here is a quote from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a political hack if there ever was one, and one of Obama's strongest supporters: "The economy has not recovered. Some people call it a recession; I think it's a depression." Based on that statement, I would say that Obama's re-election chances are, at best, dim.

Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/07/obama_says_his_economic_policies_worked.html

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

'You Didn't Build That' has Obama Team Panicking


by Rick Moran

Mitt Romney has retaken the lead from President Obama in the latest Rasmussen tracking poll:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney attracting 49% of the vote, while President Obama earns support from 44%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.

The numbers are similar to the 49% to 43% advantage Romney enjoys on the question of who is trusted more to handle the economy.

Seventy percent (70%) of voters see Obama as politically liberal, while 67% see Romney as a conservative. However, the president is seen as more extreme ideologically. Forty-three percent (43%) see him as Very Liberal, while just 24% believe Romney is Very Conservative. Most voters are either politically Moderate or Somewhat Conservative. Sixty-two percent (62%) place Romney in that group while just 25% say the same for Obama.

Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).

Romney's five-point advantage is the largest enjoyed by either candidate in just over a month. As with any such change in the race, it remains to be seen whether it marks a lasting shift or is merely statistical noise.

There is little doubt that the impetus for this change is "Four Little Words":

"You didn't build that" is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense. Mr. Obama has felt compelled-for the first time in this campaign-to cut an ad in which he directly responds to the criticisms of his now-infamous speech, complaining his opponents took his words "out of context."

That ad follows two separate ones from his campaign attempting damage control. His campaign appearances are now about backpedaling and proclaiming his love for small business. And the Democratic National Committee produced its own panicked memo, which vowed to "turn the page" on Mr. Romney's "out of context . . . BS"-thereby acknowledging that Chicago has lost control of the message.

The Obama campaign has elevated poll-testing and focus-grouping to near-clinical heights, and the results drive the president's every action: his policies, his campaign venues, his targeted demographics, his messaging. That Mr. Obama felt required-teeth-gritted-to address the "you didn't build that" meme means his vaunted focus groups are sounding alarms.

The obsession with tested messages is precisely why the president's rare moments of candor-on free enterprise, on those who "cling to their guns and religion," on the need to "spread the wealth around"-are so revealing. They are a look at the real man. It turns out Mr. Obama's dismissive words toward free enterprise closely mirror a speech that liberal Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren gave last August.

The problem with the president's denials - and the denials of the liberal punditocracy who claim the attack is a "lie" - is that few believe that he really doesn't believe what he said. His claims to be in love with free enterprise and small businesses aren't credible considering the effect of his policies on both.

The Obama campaign's bigger problem, both sides are now realizing, is that his words go beyond politics and are more devastating than the Romney complaints that Mr. Obama is too big-government oriented or has mishandled the economy. They raise the far more potent issue of national identity and feed the suspicion that Mr. Obama is actively hostile to American ideals and aspirations. Republicans are doing their own voter surveys, and they note that Mr. Obama's problem is that his words cause an emotional response, and that they disturb voters in nearly every demographic.

That "emotional response" is why this issue won't go away like an ordinary gaffe or even Romney's tax returns that most voters say isn't really an issue. Americans aren't quite ready to abandon the notion of individual achievement - something the president is finding out to his detriment.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/07/you_didnt_build_that_has_obama_team_panicking.html

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

Is Syria Falling into the Hands of Al-Qaeda?


by Khaled Abu Toameh

Once the jihadists get rid of Assad, they will move on to hijack the "Arab Spring" in Jordan in the hope of replacing the monarchy with another Islamist state in the region.

The "Arab Spring" in Syria, which began as a popular and non-violent uprising against Bashar Assad's regime, has been hijacked by Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist organizations.

In the past few weeks, thousands of bearded Muslim fundamentalists from various Arab and Islamic countries have converged on Syria to participate in the fighting against Assad's forces.

Many of these armed extremists who appear every day on Arab TV stations have made no effort to conceal their aspiration to establish an Islamist caliphate in Syria.

The men who are fighting against Assad's army are anything but reformists and democracy-loving activists. Most appear to be ruthless terrorists and militiamen who came to Syria to carry out suicide bombings and massacre innocent civilians.

These are the same Al-Qaeda members who have been waging a war of attrition against the Iraqi government - and before that the United States - and who are still trying to take control over Yemen.

Palestinians who fled the fighting in Syria this week said that the some suburbs of Damascus were full of Al-Qaeda militiamen from a number of Arab countries. Others said that many fighters belonged to radical Salafi groups.

The Palestinians said that the Muslim fundamentalists stormed the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus and began recruiting young men to join what they described as the jihad [holy war] against Assad's regime and all "infidels."

The jihadists already have their eyes set on neighboring Jordan. Once they get rid of Assad, they will move on to hijack the "Arab Spring" in Jordan in the hope of replacing the monarchy with another Islamist state in the region.

Of course the Sunni jihadists do not represent the entire Syrian opposition, which still includes many secular figures who are struggling to create a democratic and secular regime.

But what is clear now, is that whoever replaces Assad would not be able to ignore the fact that Syria has been swamped with thousands of Al-Qaeda and Salafi terrorists who pose a threat to stability in the Middle East.

The US Administration and other Western countries that are supporting the Syrian opposition need to wake up and make sure that arms and money do not fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda. The Syrian opposition also needs to distance itself immediately from all radical Islamist terrorists operating in Syria.

If this does not happen soon , the day will arrive when many in Syria and the West will miss Bashar Assad.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3213/syria-al-qaeda

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

What the BBC Does Not Know


by Michael Curtis

It is ironic that the BBC should be aware of this Palestinian declaration, which has never been implemented -- a 1988 claim to Jerusalem -- but unaware of the 3000 years of Jewish history, in which Jerusalem has been the cardinal and capital feature politically, religiously and historically.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has once again displayed its unrelenting bias against the state of Israel. In conjunction with this summer's Olympics in London, it has posted a BBC Olympic website containing basic information about the competing countries, including a map which indicates the capital of each country. In its text of Israel, the site lists Jerusalem as "the seat of government though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv," an observation factually correct.

It appears, however, that Israel has no capital -- certainly not Jerusalem. In comparison, the BBC lists "East Jerusalem" as "the intended seat of government of Palestine," a state which does not yet even exist. The question arises whether the BBC is intentionally describing Jerusalem in this way to add to the ongoing campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel. A brief explanation of Jerusalem's political and religious significance might be useful.

Politics and religion have always been intertwined in Jerusalem, a city that bears the weight of a history that started about 3000 years ago. David became the king of Judea around 1010 B.C.; he unified the Israelite tribes, and established Jerusalem as his capital in the City of David. In 964 B.C., during the reign of David's son, Solomon, the Israelites built a Temple to establish a physical expression of their religion in the city they considered sacred. Jerusalem thus became both the political capital and the religious capital: the Holy Place for Jews.

Although Jerusalem was captured again and again by invading armies, the Jewish people maintained its identity until the Second Temple was finally destroyed in 70 A.D.

After a revolt led by Bar Kokba in 132 A.D. against the Roman Empire, and his creation of a State of Israel, the Romans made a determined effort to "dejudaize" the area. They renamed the area of Israel Syria Palaestina. and the city of Jerusalem became Aelia Capitolina.

In 135 A.D., Jews were banned from the city. Since then, their liturgy, every day, has repeated their yearning for a return to the Temple and to Jerusalem.

The First Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. during the Babylonian invasion, which led to the exile of many Jews, whom King Cyrus of Persia allowed to return only in 539. Immediately, they began building the Second Temple in their sacred city, an edifice that became the political symbol of a Jewish state.

Two other religions, Christianity and Islam, also established a presence in Jerusalem. Even though it was the place where Jesus was crucified, the city only became holy for Christians in the 4th century A.D, after the Emperor Constantine and his mother, Helen, converted to Christianity and, in 326 A.D., ordered the building of the Basilica of Saint-Sepulcre, which has become for many Christians the most important destination for pilgrimages. It was with Constantine that the city once again became Jerusalem.

Muslims, commemorating the Prophet's experience in the city about which there are different versions, began building there in 638 A.D, on the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock. Although this is not a mosque, the Al-Aqsa mosque has been built close to it. Mecca and Medina are the two important Holy Places for Muslims; only in recent years have some Muslims regarded Jerusalem as a third Holy Place.

For many years especially during the Abbasid Caliphate starting in the 8th century, Jerusalem had little significance for Muslims. After a brief period of rule by the Christian Crusaders, started by Geoffrey of Bouillion in 1099 after repelling Muslim invaders, the city was retaken by Saladin in 1187 and remained under various kinds of Islamic control until the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

Political rivalries over the Middle East have always existed among the great powers. With the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the Holy Places became rallying points for both Zionists and Arab nationalists. Political passions were shown at both the Western Wall and at the Dome of the Rock. But, after Britain was given the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1920 at the San Remo conference, it established Jerusalem as the capital of the British Mandate in 1922.

The decisive proposal for settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict was the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, which partitioned the entire area between Jews and Arabs, with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum [separate body] under a special international regime, and under the administration of the United Nations. Whether this was a feasible solution or not was never tested: the armies of five Arab nations invaded the new state of Israel immediately after it declared its birth in May, 1948.

As a result of this 1948-49 war, Jerusalem was divided by the so-called Green Line of April 1949 -- an armistice line between Israel and Jordan where the fighting had stopped. Between 1949 and 1967, Jordan controlled the old city, including the Jewish quarter, and used ancient Jewish gravestone from the Mount of Olives as floors for their latrines. Moreover, Arabs controlled the Holy Places of all three religions,

West Jerusalem was officially declared the capital of Israel; in January 1950. the Israeli Parliament, called the Knesset, moved to Jerusalem.

During the Six Day War in June 1967, after Jordan invaded Israel on the fifth day of the war, despite warnings from Israel not to, Israeli paratroopers landed in east Jerusalem, which remains in Israeli hands. Although the area was not annexed, on July 27, 1967, Israeli law and jurisdiction were extended to east Jerusalem and to a few miles of the West Bank. On July 30, 1980, a fundamental law adopted by the Knesset declared that, "Jerusalem complete and unified is the capital of Israel." It is the seat of the President of the state, the Knesset, the government, and the Supreme Court.

Palestinian leaders have also claimed Jerusalem. Their statement on November 15, 1988 about the establishment of a state proclaimed the capital as Jerusalem: Al-Quds al-Sharif.

It is ironic that the BBC should be aware of this declaration, which has never been implemented, but unaware of the 3000 years of Jewish history in which Jerusalem has been the cardinal and capital feature, politically, religiously and historically.

Michael Curtis is author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under attack by the International Community.

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3212/bbc-olympics-israel

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

How Europe Funds Israel’s Destruction


by Giulio Meotti


While the U.S. is home to many Christian supporters of Israel, the Christian groups more closely linked to global public opinion, bureaucracy, media and legal forums are all violently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. This month, for example, the Church of England voted to support the boycott movement against Israel.

A special report by the Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor, revealed the huge flux of money that is being provided by European governments for the Church-based efforts to destroy Israel. This development is paving the way for a new Jewish bloodbath through the vehicle of excluding Israel’s Jews from the family of nations.

The Dutch government, for example, grants millions of euros to organizations such as Kerk in Aktie and the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation, which support a “general boycott” of Israeli products as per the policy of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands. The Interchurch Organization also received money from the European Union (€5.3 million).

Diakonia, Sweden’s largest humanitarian NGO founded by five Swedish churches (the Alliance Mission, the Baptist Union, InterAct, the Methodist Church and Mission Covenant Church), financed programs “to commemorate the Nakba,” the Palestinian term for “catastrophe” which indicates Israel’s foundation in 1948.

The UK’s Christian Aid and Finland’s FinnChurchAid received millions from the EU to propagate the worst anti-Israel blood libels, including starving, torture, dispossession and siege. The World Council of Churches, which plays a pivotal role in mobilizing churches in the boycott against Israel, gets annually millions from European taxpayers.

European taxes are used in several ways to fund anti-Semitism of an intensity unseen since Nazi Germany.

Brussels is putting cash into the pockets also of Islamic terrorists.

The Palestinian Authority has reported that the EU (41.4 million euros), France (19 million euros) Ireland (5 million euros), Norway (53 million dollars) and the World Bank (40 million dollars) have all given funds to the Palestinian budget, used to pay the families of the “martyrs” (read: suicide bombers) and the 5.500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Europe is financing Israel’s destruction also by channeling millions of euros to secular and leftist NGOs. These are just some: Addameer (207.000 $ from Sweden), Al Haq (426.000 $ from Holland, 88.000 $ from bailout-needing Ireland and 156.000 $ from Norway), Al Mezan (105.000 $ from Sweden), Applied Research Institute (374.000 $ from the European Union and 98.000$ from bankrupt Spain), Coalition of Women for Peace (247.000 $ from the European Union) and Troicare (2.000.000 $ from Brussels and 640.000 $ from UK).

There is a fourth way Europe funds Palestinian terrorism and anti-Semitism: books, school textbooks, documentaries, tv channels. This is a kind of “software” of the holy war against the Jews.

According to a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, the Palestinian textbooks funded by the European Union incite hatred against Israel: “Palestine” is shown to encompass all the Jewish State, Judaism’s most holy sites (such as the Temple Mount and Rachel’s Tomb) have been erased, the Jews are demonized and Arab “martyrdom” is praised. In these texts, Jews are described as “cunning,” “locusts” and “wild animals.”

Thanks to Arab satellite channels, Hizbullah’s al-Manar and Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV stations can beam their hatred into European living rooms, radicalizing Muslim immigrants throughout the continent. Brussels has never tried to stop this European Jihad TV, ignoring even the massacre of four Jews in southern France last spring by a French Muslim.

The European Union funded a television show entitled “The Stars,” which told its viewers that the size of “Palestine” is 27.000 kilometers—an area that includes all of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Hadera, Haifa, Petah Tikva. The show described Nazareth as a “Palestinian city.” The flag of the European Union is proudly displayed behind the host throughout the broadcasts of the entire first season of “The Stars.”

One of the latest issues of Zayzafuna, the Palestinian Authority magazine for children, included an essay submitted by a girl in which Adolf Hitler is admired because he killed Jews. The story, revealed by Palestinian Media Watch, shows a girl in her dream asking Hitler: “You’re the one who killed the Jews?” Hitler responds: “Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world.” Zayzafuna is financed by Paris-based Unesco and the MDG Achievement Fund, another UN foundation funded by the Spanish government.

Seventy years ago the Europeans had to round up the Jews and take them to the nearest railway station. Now they just need to finance a textbook, fund a television show and draw a check at a distance of 3.299 km (that between Brussels and Jerusalem). It’s a cleaner and more comfortable anti-Jewish policy that resists any rational exorcism.

We will not be surprised if one day, under the Eurabian banner, the new Europeans will try to expel the descendants of the Holocaust from the land of Israel. This second Shoah will be called “Peace and Love for Palestine.”

Giulio Meotti

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/giulio-meotti/how-europe-funds-israels-destruction/

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

Islamists vs. the Quest to Eradicate Polio


by Frank Crimi

The Pakistani Taliban has banned UN health workers from administering polio vaccine to almost 250,000 children living in South and North Waziristan, the Taliban-controlled region along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Despite the near eradication of polio worldwide — having been reduced from over 350,000 cases in 1988 to less than 700 in 2011 — Pakistan remains one of three countries, where the disease still remains endemic.

Yet, when the government of Pakistan recently launched a national three-day polio vaccination campaign targeting 34 million Pakistani children, its efforts to reach a quarter million children living in South and North Waziristan were rebuffed by the Taliban.

According to Taliban leaders, the UN vaccinators from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF were really not health workers on a mission to protect vulnerable children from the dreaded viral disease, but rather US spies trying to locate new Taliban targets for American drone strikes.

Despite the absurdity of that charge, it should be noted that the Taliban view of vaccination campaigns of any kind had become somewhat jaundiced after it learned the United States had used a fake anti-hepatitis immunization campaign that helped lead to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

So, given that lesson, an edict was issued by Pakistan Taliban chief Hafiz Gul Bahadur that banned the polio vaccination campaign in South and North Waziristan “as long as drone strikes are not stopped.”

According to Bahadur, the Taliban wasn’t in need of American “well-wishers who spend billions to save children from polio…while, on the other hand, the same well-wishers … kills hundreds of innocent tribesmen, including old women and children by unleashing numerous drone attacks.”

The Taliban’s decision was heartedly endorsed by 200 Waziristan tribal leaders, one of whom, Malak Mamoor Khan, said the drones were far more dangerous than the polio virus, because a “child rarely dies of polio while hundreds of children have died due to drones.”

Of course, Khan neglected to point out the heavy contributions the Pakistani Taliban has made to increase the mortality rate of Pakistani children, especially its fondness for using children as human explosives.

After all the Taliban and its Islamist allies in the region have long used Waziristan as an area in which to construct and operate a slew of suicide training facilities, death factories that have trained over 5,000 Pakistani children, many as young as eight, as suicide bombers.

In fact, the Pakistani jihadists’ enthusiasm for using children as human ordinance can be witnessed by the fact that of the 2,488 incidents of terrorism in Pakistan in the last two years — which have claimed the lives of 3,169 people — most were the result of suicide bombings conducted by underage terrorists.

So, it shouldn’t surprise then that the jihadists have now refused to inoculate children under its control from an acute viral infection that can lead to permanent paralysis and, in some cases, death.

Perhaps equally less surprising is that the one common thread that seems to link the three countries where polio remains endemic — Afghanistan and Nigeria being the two others — is that they almost exclusively occur in Muslim areas that are home to anti-Western and anti-American insurgencies.

In Nigeria, for example, Muslim clerics in the country’s predominantly Muslim north have long tried to block UN immunizations of children, which they consider nothing more than an orchestrated Western-led plot to depopulate the Muslim populace through vaccines laced with HIV and sterilization chemicals.

Those efforts to block vaccinations have since been aided by the support of Nigeria’s al-Qaeda-linked Islamist terror group Boko Haram, support which has helped lead to a four-fold national increase in polio, with the added bonus that the disease is now spreading to neighboring Niger, Mali and Ivory Coast.

In fact, like Nigeria, there is concern that polio may now be spreading outside of Pakistan, a concern bolstered by the fact that in late 2011, the World Health Organization traced China’s first polio outbreak in ten years back to Pakistan.

Unfortunately, eradicating the disease from Pakistan without Taliban cooperation seems a hugely daunting task given that the Islamist terror group operates with impunity in the mountainous terrain of Waziristan. As one Pakistani health official said, “going to these areas for a polio campaign would be tantamount to putting the lives of our staff in jeopardy.”

That hazardous assessment, sadly, is growing equally true for polio vaccinators working outside Taliban-controlled areas as a disturbingly large percentage of Pakistani Muslims seem to share the Taliban’s aversion to polio vaccinations, albeit for differing reasons.

In particular, many Pakistani parents, fearful that vaccination is either a US-led plot to sterilize Muslims or violates Islamic law, are refusing to let their children become vaccinated. According to one Pakistani government health official, an estimated 30,000 families across Pakistan refused polio vaccination during the latest national polio vaccination campaign.

Moreover, the efforts to prevent health workers from administering polio vaccinations are becoming increasingly violent and deadly, violence fueled in part by some Muslim clerics who have denounced the polio campaign to be anti-Islam. One cleric in Pakistan’s Punjab province, Maulvi Ibrahim Chisti, recently called for a jihad against polio vaccination teams.

Recent examples of that jihad include a community health worker shot and killed in Karachi; a polio vaccination team beaten up in the capital Islamabad; two workers of WHO wounded when their vehicle was shot at by armed men in Karachi; and a polio vaccinator brutally beaten by a family in Islamabad for trying to administer anti-polio drops to their child.

Yet, despite the rise in violence against polio vaccinators, there are those who remain confident that the Pakistani public will eventually be won over to the side of preventative medicine.

One of those voices is Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to Pakistan’s Prime Minister, who said, “It is our religious duty and obligation to protect our children against disease and disability,” adding that over 730 Muslim scholars and religious leaders “have pledged their support to the cause.”

One of those religious leaders was Mufti Abdul Qayyum, a one-time staunch anti-polio vaccine advocate who had once said in an interview that the polio vaccine was “haraam” (sinful), noting that he would rather have his own child “crippled by polio than take her forward for administration of a haraam vaccine.”

Those words became bitterly prophetic as Qayyum’s own 23 month-old niece recently fell victim to polio, an event which transformed the Islamic scholar into a devoted advocate of polio immunization, one who reportedly has now administered anti-polio drops to children in his city of Quetta as well as to his own one year-old son.

Unfortunately, Mufti Qayyum’s conversion came at the expense of his niece, who now faces lifelong paralysis, a fate now possibly faced by the 250,000 Pakistani children without polio immunization who live under Taliban control.

Frank Crimi

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/frank-crimi/the-taliban-plays-polio-roulette-with-pakistani-children-2/

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

Turkey’s Hypocrisy Over Gaza


by Stephen Brown

It must be one of the biggest cases of diplomatic hypocrisy in the world today.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s most recent efforts to improve damaged relations with Turkey ran into a brick wall once again, receiving only a dismissive response from Israel’s former ally. Lieberman stated Israel is ready “to solve any outstanding disputes” with Ankara but was ignored by Turkish officials despite the deteriorating Middle East environment. Meeting with Turkish journalists, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also contributed this week to the diplomatic push to re-establish close ties with Israel’s one-time friend, telling the journalists Israel and Turkey “were ‘important and stable’ countries in an unstable region” and this regional instability makes reconciliation especially important.

“Turkey and Israel have relations that go a long way,” said Netanyahu. “We need to find ways to restore the relationship that we had, because I think it is important for each of our countries.”

But the appeals of both senior Israeli politicians fell on deaf ears in Ankara. As with past efforts to patch up relations between the two countries, the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists three outstanding issues must be settled before discussions regarding improvement can even begin.

The first condition is that Israel must apologize for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. The Mavi Marmara is a Turkish ship that tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza in 2010 but was boarded by Israeli naval commandos. Nine people on the ship died in the ensuing fight with the commandos. The second condition is that Israel must compensate the families of those who were killed, while the third concerns Turkey’s demand that Israel lift its blockade of Gaza.

“As long as Israel does not apologise, does not pay compensation and does not lift the embargo on Palestine, it is not possible for Turkish-Israeli ties to improve,” Erdogan said in 2011 when dashing last year’s efforts to renew friendly ties.

Israel has always said it would never apologize for enforcing its legal blockade of Gaza, which is necessary for its security. Also, the people on the Mavi Marmara were the ones who provoked the violence by ignoring Israeli warnings to stay away and then attacked the commandos with iron bars. Besides, Lieberman said in an Israel Radio interview last year that an apology would not make any difference in Israeli-Turkish relations due to the negative stance the Islamist Erdogan government has adopted towards Israel since it came to power in 2002.

“Whoever sees the positions expressed by Turkey [regarding Israel and the Palestinians] in the international community does not have any illusions that an apology will dramatically improve Israel’s ties with Turkey,” said Lieberman.

And an apology, according to Lieberman, may even be dangerous for Israel, since it may signal weakness in a region where weakness is not liked.

“It is forbidden to be weak, and an apology is first and foremost a message of weakness,” said Lieberman.

But it is Turkey’s last demand, that Israel lift its legal blockade of Gaza, which really stands out due to its hypocrisy. Almost unmentioned by the mainstream media during the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident was the fact that while Turkey was bitterly complaining about the Israeli embargo on Gaza, championing the Palestinian cause before the world, it was at the same time blockading landlocked Armenia, an embargo it has maintained since 1993. Turkey closed its border that year with Armenia, a former Soviet republic in the southern Caucasus Mountains, and has refused to reopen it since, a move that has seriously disrupted the development of the small Christian nation’s economy.

The cause of the border closure was the war between neighboring Azerbaijan and the Armenian-majority enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, a former Soviet autonomous region within Azerbaijan’s borders. In the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union was disintegrating, Nagorno-Karabakh’s Supreme Soviet (parliament) voted to break away from Azerbaijan and join Armenia, a move that saw pogroms break out against Armenians in Azerbaijan and eventually led to their being ethnically cleansed from the Turkic-speaking country. Armenians then retaliated, expelling all Azeris living in Armenia.

“The response of the Soviet and Azeri-Turk authorities was strikingly reminiscent of the traditional Turkic reaction to Armenian aspirations for freedom. The genocide process once more gained pace,” wrote Caroline Cox and John Eibner in their book Ethnic Cleansing In Progress: War In Nagorno Karabagh.

In wanting to join Armenia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians believed they were correcting a historic wrong. The new Soviet government first awarded the region to Armenia in 1921, but Stalin cancelled that decision shortly thereafter as part of his divide-and-rule strategy regarding minorities. The future Soviet dictator then gave the territory, which was 95 percent Armenian according to the 1921 Soviet census, to Azerbaijan, setting the stage for the war seven decades later between the two entities.

But what upset Turkey and led to the border closure is that the vastly outnumbered Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, with Armenia’s support, won the war that ended in a ceasefire in May 1994. In the end, the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians not only freed almost all their territory from Azeri control but also captured several districts of Azerbaijan proper. And like Israel, a steadfast Nagorno-Karabakh government refuses to return the captured districts until its security is assured, since these areas had been used to launch attacks against its territory.

Like the Arab states with Israel after 1967, since Azerbaijan’s defeat Turkey has been demanding that the captured Azeri land be returned and states it will maintain the blockade of Armenia until it is. Azerbaijan established its own blockade of Armenia in 1989, leaving Armenia with open borders only with Iran and Georgia. Still, the damage from this Turkic blockade has been severe for Armenia’s economy. Armenian President Serge Sarkisian brought up the blockade last year during a speech to the Council of Europe.

“This unlawful blockade of Armenia must come to an end. Europe cannot and should not tolerate new dividing lines,” Sarkisian said.

To its credit, Armenia has not given in to Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s bullying. Again, like Israel, the Armenians live in a rough neighborhood and giving back the captured districts without their terms being met would, as Avigdor Lieberman would probably agree, signal a weakness that could be dangerous if not fatal. After all, the Armenians know what the Turks are capable of, having seen a million of their people perish at Turkish hands in 1915 in the first genocide of the last century (Turkey’s demand that Israel apologize for the nine deaths on the Mavi Marmara while refusing to even recognize its responsibility for a million Armenian deaths is also another instance of its diplomatic hypocrisy).

The United States has tried to come up with a solution to Turkey’s blockade of Armenia. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern has suggested that Turkey open one railroad to Armenia without opening the entire border. The news outlet ArmeniaNow says this is part of the “settlement without a settlement” solution the European Union also supports. There would be no final peace agreement, ArmeniaNow states, “but the borders should be opened for regional energy and transport projects” under this plan. But so far Turkey has refused. It still demands that Armenia first return “occupied” Azeri territory.

Turkey’s stubbornness on this issue, however, is not surprising. It has illegally occupied northern Cyprus for 40 years, stationing troops there and setting up a puppet state that is not recognized by any country. So Ankara’s insistence that “occupied” Azeri land be returned the embargo on Gaza be ended is simply in keeping with the hypocritical thinking that appears to be guiding Turkish foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Armenia.

Stephen Brown

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/stephenbrown/turkeys-hypocrisy-over-gaza/

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Veteran Diplomat: Obama No Israel Lover


by Jonathan S. Tobin

While Obama campaign surrogates are spending the summer beating the bushes trying to convince Jewish voters not to believe anything they saw the president do to Israel during his first three years in office, a veteran Washington peace processor and critic of Benjamin Netanyahu has the chutzpah to tell the truth about the state of the U.S.-Israel relationship, in an article in Foreign Policy today. Aaron David Miller spent 24 years working for several administrations, pushing hard to force Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. But he understands the difference between presidents who care about Israel and ones who don’t. In an article in which he forecasts “Turbulence Ahead” for the U.S.-Israel relationship if President Obama is re-elected, Miller says one of the key problems is the attitude of the man in the White House:

I’ve watched a few presidents come and go on this issue, and Obama really is different. Unlike Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama isn’t in love with the idea of Israel. As a result, he has a harder time making allowances for Israeli behavior he doesn’t like. Obama relates to the Jewish state not on a values continuum but through a national security and interest filter.

It’s true that the president doesn’t emote on many policy issues, with the possible exception of health care. But on Israel, he just doesn’t buy the “tiny state living on the knife’s edge with the dark past” argument — or at least it doesn’t come through in emotionally resonant terms. …

In this respect, when it comes to Israel, Obama is more like Jimmy Carter minus the biblical interest or attachment, or like Bush 41 minus a strategy. My sense is that, if he could get away with it, the president would like to see a U.S.-Israeli relationship that is not just less exclusive, but somewhat less special as well.

Miller doesn’t pull punches about Netanyahu’s shortcomings nor does he blow the current difficulties out of proportion. He rightly acknowledges this isn’t the first time there has been tension between the two nations. But Miller’s discussion of Obama’s view of the Jewish state goes right to the heart of the problem. Obama’s apologists can deny these facts all they want, but the ordinary pro-Israel voter isn’t fooled, which accounts not only for the polls that show the president bleeding support but also for the Jewish charm offensive the administration has been conducting in recent months.

As Miller points out, the impending crisis about Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons makes the need for close cooperation between the U.S. and Israel vital. But Obama’s coldness toward the Jewish state not only creates dangerous daylight between the two nations but also undermines the notion that Israelis should defer to and rely on the United States in a crisis. If the president is unhappy about the prospect of Israel striking out on its own on Iran, he has no one to blame but himself.

While Obama’s supporters keep trying to pretend there is no problem, Miller is merely saying what everyone already knows when he observes: “Obama’s views are much closer to the Palestinians than to Israel.”

As for the future, Miller points out that past confrontations between U.S. and Israeli leaders has led to them both being defeated for re-election, as was the case with the elder George Bush and Yitzhak Shamir in 1992. But Netanyahu is not in much danger of losing the next Israeli election. That means if Obama survives Romney’s challenge, the odds are the next four years will be difficult. As Miller writes, “Buckle your seat belts. It may be a wild ride.” That’s a prediction pro-Israel voters should take seriously this fall.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/07/25/veteran-diplomat-obama-no-israel-lover/

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

Turkey Reportedly Mobilizes Tanks and Missiles to Border with Kurdish Syria


by Ilan Ben Zion

Erdoğan’s rhetoric regarding Syria has grown increasingly belligerent

A Turkish military truck transports a mobile missile launcher to the Syrian border, in Iskenderun, Turkey, on Wednesday. Turkey is deploying anti-aircraft units along its border with Syria following the downing of one of its warplanes by Syria. (photo credit: AP Photo)
A Turkish military truck transports a mobile missile launcher to the Syrian border, in Iskenderun, Turkey, on Wednesday. Turkey is deploying anti-aircraft units along its border with Syria following the downing of one of its warplanes by Syria. (photo credit: AP Photo)

Turkey has mobilized and deployed tanks and missile batteries on the Syrian border adjacent to a Kurdish region that declared autonomy from Damascus, the Turkish Cihan News Agency reported on Thursday.

Trucks loaded with battle tanks and missile batteries departed from the southern Turkish town of Sanlıurfa, bound for the Mursitpınar border crossing, the report said.

The border towns of Amuda, Derik, Kobani (aka- Ayn al-Arab) and Afrin were reportedly under the control of a Kurdish group called the Democratic Union Party, allegedly affiliated with the PKK.

The mobilization of Turkish troops toward the border came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that Kurdish control over western Syria could prompt Turkey to invade.

“If there are formations that are being set up right now that [result in] a terrorist act, then it is our most natural right to intervene,” Erdoğan said.

The presence of Kurdish groups affiliated with the PKK could provide Turkey with a casus belli in Syria, analysts believe. The PKK, a Kurdish group designated by the US, the EU, and Turkey as a terrorist organization, has waged a decades-long conflict against Ankara.

Erdoğan’s rhetoric regarding Syria has grown increasingly belligerent since the uprising there broke out 16 months ago. Last month, Syria shot down a Turkish Air Force jet, which nearly prompted military retaliation by Turkey.

Ankara warned Syria earlier this week that any cross-border violence would be repaid in turn.

Ilan Ben Zion

Source: http://www.timesofisrael.com/turkey-mobilizes-tanks-and-missiles-to-border-with-kurdish-syria/

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

Iran's 'No to Mandatory Hijab' Campaign Grows


by Joanna Paraszczuk

As Cyber Police announce Facebook crackdown, Iranians protest obligatory Islamic dress code on social networks.
illustrative
Photo: Ruth Eglash

A Facebook campaign against the obligatory veiling of women in Iran continued to grow this week, attracting over 15,700 'likes' by Thursday - even as Iran's Cyber Police vowed increased crackdowns on the social network, and after morality police raided and closed Tehran coffee shops for serving improperly-covered women.

Liberal students from Iranian universities launched the Facebook campaign, called 'No to the Mandatory Hijab', two weeks ago. Since then, thousands of Iranians have 'liked' and commented on the Facebook page, which reads "Rules cannot force anyone to do anything, this includes all people and all women all over the world". The page asks Iranians to send in photographs that are then posted to Facebook with a banner that reads 'Unveil Women's Right to Unveil.'

The campaign has also generated enormous interest across the Persian-language cyberspace, with blogs, Twitter and Facebook discussing it.

While she has not sent her photograph to the Facebook campaign, Ayatollah Khomenei's granddaughter, Naimeh Eshraghi, also criticized the mandatory hijab this week.

Eshraghi, a petrochemical engineer, told the Jamaran news site that her grandfather had never actually decreed that Iranian women most cover their heads.

"I have a positive view on the hijab, and personally I like it," Eshraghi said. "However, I'm not really interested in the chador (the usually black, floor-length, full body covering, whose name means 'tent' in Persian), because it makes things hard for me and also, when a woman is dressed from head to toe in black it doesn't really make too pretty a sight."

Notably, another of Khomenei's granddaughters, Zahra Eshraghi, has also previously spoken out against the mandatory hijab.

Ironically, Iran was the first Muslim country to ban the veil. In 1936, Reza Shah Pahlavi - the father of Mohammed Reza Shah - banned the hijab and the chador, and ordered the police to arrest women who appeared in public wearing it.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, however, the hijab has been compulsory for women in Iran.

However, over the years, many women have pushed the boundaries regarding head-coverings.

This month, the Iranian police launched a new campaign against 'un-Islamic' clothing and hairstyles. In a single July weekend, the Basij 'morality police' and regular officers raided and closed down over 50 Teheran cafes found to be serving improperly veiled women, ISNA reported.

(Such crackdowns are not uncommon - in January, the Iranian police launched a campaign against sellers of 'pernicious Western' Barbie dolls.)

Meanwhile, Iran's Cyber Police announced this week that it was cracking down - yet again - on Iranian use of the social network.

In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency on Tuesday, Cyber Police chief Kamal Hadianfar said the authorities planned to take down sites on Facebook and elsewhere on the internet that promoted "prostitution and licentiousness".

"In 2010, Facebook was a free country for criminals, but thanks to Allah and the Cyber Police, over the past 15 months we have made great progress in cleansing social networks, especially Facebook," Hadianfar said.

The Cyber Police chief boasted that the authorities had already shut down a major Facebook page, Daf & Paf.

According to Reporters without Borders, in January the Cyber Police arrested four Iranians allegedly involved in setting up the Daf & Paf page which had 27,000 members and allowed Iranians to take part in an online beauty contest by uploading photographs of themselves.

Radio Zamaneh, a Persian-language news site based in Amsterdam and blacklisted by Iran's Intelligence Ministry, reported on Wednesday that several Iranian Facebook users have said their accounts have been hacked in the past few days.

Some Iranians, however, are fighting back against the crackdowns and against the Islamic dress code.

Since the police shut the Daf & Paf site down, Iranians created several 'protest' Facebook pages, one of which features a bareheaded woman in an off-the-shoulder dress with an above-the-knee hemline.

Meanwhile, the 'No to Obligatory Hijab' campaign has attracted support from men as well as women, including several prominent Iranian figures. On Thursday, writer Moniro Ravanipor - who formerly faced trial in Iran for taking part in the 2000 Berlin Conference - sent in her photograph. Also featured on Thursday was human rights activist Kourosh Sehati, who was arrested and detained for helping organize the July 1999 student uprisings, which led to street battles in downtown Teheran.

The pro-democracy Iran Press News website, which posts news from inside Iran, reported recently that several people attacked Basij 'morality police' officers after they arrested a young girl in southeast Teheran for violating the Islamic dress code.

Joanna Paraszczuk

Source: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=279054

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

No Illusions about Egypt


by Isi Leibler

The government of Israel is making all the right noises and appropriate statements in expressing hope that the new government of Egypt will maintain the cold peace.

But we should be under no illusions. Even the greatest optimists cannot gloss over the reality that the Islamic forces of the Muslim Brotherhood seeking to control Egypt are ultimately committed to revoking the peace treaty. Their motives stem not merely from nationalist xenophobia, but are deeply rooted in fanatical extremist Islamic ideology, which is infinitely more intense and inflexible. Although former President Hosni Mubarak treated Israel like a pariah and exploited popular anti-Semitism, in comparison to these Islamic zealots, he would be considered a “liberal.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is the organization that spawned Hamas and remains adamantly committed to wiping the “Zionist entity” off the face of the map. This was reiterated last month by its leader Mohammed Badie, who called for “imposing Muslim rule throughout Palestine” and “freeing it from the filth of Zionism.”

It represents the most intolerant wing of Islam, rejecting coexistence with other religions, and is renowned for persecuting and harassing Christians. The Brotherhood is not merely dedicated to imposing Shariah law in Egypt but is fervently committed to achieving global conquest on behalf of Islam.

Its leaders, who during World War II allied themselves with the Nazis, are notorious for promoting rabid anti-Semitism. The imams continuously remind their followers that Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs and deserve to be killed as enemies of the Prophet Mohammed. They have a long tradition of assassinating opponents, terrorism and suicide bombings.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood is pragmatic and politically savvy and thus disinclined to overplay its hand, initially avoiding extreme behavior which could result in a break with the U.S. and Western countries and lead to a total meltdown of the already disintegrating Egyptian economy. It recognizes that Mubarak’s ouster was principally propelled by economic factors and that if it is to retain power it must feed 80 million Egyptians.

U.S. administration spokesmen are burying their heads in the sand when they imply that once the Brotherhood is in control it is likely to act responsibly and provide a pluralistic environment for Egyptians. Even more absurd are the reassurances that it is undergoing a liberal transformation and committed to maintaining a democratic system of government. Similar delusionary nonsense was disseminated about Hamas when it “democratically” gained control of Gaza.

Every “elected” radical Islamic group has ultimately imposed a regime in which political opponents and other independent societal elements were marginalized. One need only observe the more "democratic" and "liberal" Erdogan Islamist regime in Turkey which, in a relatively short time, completely eradicated the reforms of Kemal Ataturk, imprisoned the former military leaders and replaced the secular military government with an Islamic authoritarian regime. The Muslim Brotherhood is far more radical than its Islamic Turkish counterpart.

The reality is that democracy cannot survive in a society dominated by Islamic extremists who brook no opposition. Indeed, much as we despise authoritarian, dictatorial and even totalitarian regimes, precedents clearly indicate that a regime ruled by Islamic fanatics is likely to be far more oppressive than a military autocracy.

Although weakened, the military did dissolve the Islamic fundamentalist-dominated parliament, and still represents a barrier to total Muslim Brotherhood control. But it is likely to avoid a direct confrontation unless it is confident it has public support. In this explosive environment, U.S. pressure on the military to stand down can only serve to further undermine Western interests and lead to intensified oppression.

We should not expect newly elected President Mohammed Morsi to be a moderating influence. His recent undertakings to act on behalf of the entire Egyptian people are totally out of synch with his long-standing record of support for hardline Brotherhood policies.

Just prior to the election, Morsi announced that the Quran would be the constitution of Egypt and “that this nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic Shariah. I swear for Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text [of the constitution] ... it will truly reflect the Shariah.”

Morsi, who refused to accept a congratulatory call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that he would honor Egypt’s existing international agreements, including the peace treaty with Israel. Yet he repeatedly includes the caveat that it is necessary to re-examine the 1978 Camp David agreements and that if Israel’s leaders (to whom he previously referred as "vampires" and "murderers") did not keep their commitments to the Palestinian people, Egypt was not obliged to honor the peace treaty. Oft-repeated chants expressed at his rallies included “Morsi will liberate Gaza," “Jerusalem will become the capital of the united Arab nation,” and “Death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”

Setting aside the current “standoff” with Israel, there is every likelihood that at a future time of his choosing, like Yasser Arafat, Morsi is likely to suggest that the Prophet’s violation of the Treaty of Hudaybiya in 629 C.E. on the grounds that agreements with infidels and Jews need not be honored was a historical precedent that could be applied against Israel.

Any doubt about Morsi’s outlook towards the West was clarified with his televised inaugural presidential speech, which the U.S. government ignored. He proclaimed that “it is my duty to make all efforts” to seek the release of the “Blind Sheikh,” Egyptian Omar Abdel Rahman, who headed the terrorist group that allegedly orchestrated the assassination of Anwar Sadat, was accused of being allied with Osama Bin Laden and is now serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for conspiring in 1993 to destroy the World Trade Center and seeking to bomb New York City landmarks.

In reporting this, The New York Times observed that Morsi had previously remarked that he suspected that unknown hidden hands might have played a role in the 9/11 World Trade Center bombings, saying, “When you come and tell me that the plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, you are insulting us.”

Now, notwithstanding undertakings to Jewish leaders that he would not invite Morsi to the White House unless the Egyptian president made a public commitment to genuinely adhere to the peace treaty with Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that he will be hosting the man who will urge him to release an unrepentant, major, global terrorist leader.

We in Israel are on the front lines. We may enjoy relative tranquility from Egypt in the short-term due to the prevailing chaos and restraints from the military. However, Hamas now feels confident that in the event of a future clash with Israel, Egypt is likely to provide it with maximum support and may ultimately even join it in confronting us.

This means that our border with Egypt will need to be strongly secured and Israel must gird itself for an increase in terrorist attacks emanating from the Sinai Peninsula. These are likely to include missile attacks, making the relationship with Egypt extremely fragile.

The only bright side of this dismal picture is the awareness by our adversaries of the incredible power of the Israel Defense Forces. This ultimately represents the greatest deterrent against any further deterioration in relations or escalation of assaults against us.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at ileibler@netvision.net.il.

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2299

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

The Great Muslim Cover-Up


by Daniel Greenfield


Over in Toronto, a Muslim cleric with the unwieldy name of Al-Hashim Kamena Atangana had a great idea. Al-Hashim’s idea was for Toronto to pass laws forcing women to wear burkas. “Cover up or get raped,” was the implied message. Toronto only has an estimated 5.5 percent Muslim population so the Toronto Taliban probably won’t be getting their way until they have higher double digit numbers, but they can wait.

Meanwhile in Egypt where the population is 90 percent Muslim and the other 10 percent are running for their lives, a new TV channel represents a brave new frontier in Islamic feminism. Maria TV features women giving lifestyle and makeup tips while wearing full niqab, which covers their faces and leaves only their eyes exposed. According to some Saudi clerics who think that women are only allowed to leave one eye exposed, this makes them either a bold feminist experiment or shameless strumpets.

In a country where Tahrir Square has become synonymous with sexual assault; the Al-Hashim paradigm is taking hold. There are photos of female students at Cairo University from the 60′s and 70′s that showed them dressing like women did in the 60′s and 70′s. But by the time Obama showed up to praise Cairo University as a great representative of Islamic civilization, the cover-up had begun. The question is where will the cover-up end and what will the Cairo University class of 2020 look like? They probably won’t have faces, but will they even have eyes?

You can attend a university with your head covered, even with your face covered, but it gets harder to attend class when your eyes are covered. If the trend means anything in a decade Muslim feminism will mean fighting for the right to keep one eye open in a creed that wants everyone to keep their eyes shut.

The West has reacted to the Islamic cover-up with its own cover-up. The Western liberal will run through the gamut of his own civilization’s sins before reluctantly admitting that some parts of the Muslim world may not be an ideal place to be a woman, but he immediately reaches for a rolled up copy of the New York Times and uses Tom Friedman’s latest report from an airport’s luxury lounge in Dubai or Kuala Lumpur as proof that the reforms are coming.

Indeed if you read anything from Tom Friedman, who is expert at writing books about how the world is becoming a global village because it’s so ridiculously easy for him to fly anywhere on his frequent flyer miles, that is all he can talk about. Saudi Arabia is constantly being reformed. Why in 1962 it abolished slavery and recently the Saudi king has agreed to let women vote in municipal elections in 2015. This is naturally a big deal in an absolute monarchy that has been ruled by the same family for longer than it had oil companies.

There is no question that King Abdullah is a great feminist. If you doubt that just ask any one of his 13 wives. It may be true that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive or leave the country without permission from their husband; but so long as Tom Friedman has a comfortable seat and an alcohol-free drink whenever he flies to Saudi Arabia, the reports of reforms will keep on coming about this cheerful outpost in our global village.

We all live in villages. Our village is a place where women are considered human beings, but in the village that is an ocean and a desert away, women are considered property. The problem is that lately our two villages have been overlapping thanks to the heap big magic of the airport. Americans travel to Saudi Arabia, where they are told to cover themselves up and respect the local customs, and Muslims travel to Canada where they tell the city of Toronto that it needs to cover up its women or they won’t be responsible for the consequences. Our village just can’t seem to win.

This is not the sort of stuff that you put in tourist brochures, this is the sort of stuff you cover up, and these days our nations exist as long tourist brochures covering up the problems and extolling the virtues of all these people who visit, move in, learn to fly planes and ram them into buildings.

Our tourist brochures say, “Diversity,” but diversity is another one of our village’s unique virtues. It’s not a virtue when you reach Saudi Arabia, and it’s not a virtue when Saudi Arabia reaches us. Our noble commitment to diversity leads us to diversify by investing in multiculturalism, but many of the men with thirteen wives and sharp knives in that other village are not interested in multiculturalism.

The Taliban showed us what they thought of multiculturalism when they blew up Buddhist statues and the Islamists in Mali are showing us what they think of multiculturalism with a rampage directed against Sufi shrines. The Muslim Waqf in Jerusalem is continuing its vandalism of the remains of the Second Temple. All of them are following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia which has waged a campaign of destruction against the cultural artifacts of every other culture.

In India, Hindus had the temerity to sing in their own country during the month of Ramadan, which ended in violence as furious Muslims tried to explain their views on multiculturalism with big rocks. In that same spirit, Al-Hashim Kamena Atangana, like so many other Muslim clerics, is trying to explain to us that while in our village it may be the custom to treat women as human beings, in his village it is the custom to treat them as property.

The Al-Hashims bellow that Western women should act more Muslim and Western feminist groups encourage their members to try on hijabs as gestures of tolerance and servitude. That great Islamic feminist, King Abdullah and his thirteen wives, whose kingdom spends billions on such propaganda, no doubt approves, and wishes they would move on to not driving cars as another gesture of tolerance for our new wonderfully diverse village.

The hijab is the gateway to the burka and both are just forms of mobile purdah, the segregation that requires a woman to stay at home. And if she can’t stay in her tent, then she can only go out while wearing a big black tent that goes everywhere she goes.

Under the burka, the Muslim woman is still locked up in her room in her husband’s house even when she’s out and about in the marketplace. It is a liberal concession that allows her to occasionally leave the house while still being locked up in the house. And this brilliant bit of Islamic feminism, this reform which says that women can occasionally leave the house and shouldn’t be raped so long as they’re wearing a tent that makes it look like they’re still in purdah, is just one of the ways that Islam is enriching our multiculturalism with its monoculturalism.

Western liberals respond to the problem with the same methods as Middle-Eastern Islamists. Their solution to everything is the great cover-up. Muslims cover up women, Western liberals cover up the Muslim abuse of women. Muslims are afraid of dealing with the idea that women are more than mobile property and Western liberals are terrified of dealing with the idea that this is what Muslims actually believe about women.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, whether it’s for the bacteria that thrive under full body robes or the kind that thrive in ideologies which try to control everyone. No matter how many cover-ups are made and how many cloaks, hijabs and burkas are thrown over the truth, sooner or later the cover-ups have to end and the truth has to shine forth.

Daniel Greenfield

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/daniel-greenfield/the-great-muslim-cover-up/

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