Friday, November 2, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: Iran has Defeated the US in Iraq




by Mordechai Kedar

 

In March 2003 the forces of the international coalition, under the leadership of the United States,  invaded Iraq to bring to an end the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, and to rid the world of the danger from his chemical weapons, which he had previously used in 1988 to subdue the Iranians in the bloody war that had begun eight years earlier. Just before the West's invasion of Iraq in 2003, he transferred all of the containers of chemical and biological weapons to Syria, so that they would not be confiscated by Western forces, just as he sent his fighter jets to Iran right before the war of liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in January 1991.

Saddam fell, the evil regime that he established fell with him and the people of Iraq could finally breathe freely. Hundreds of newspapers, radio stations and television channels appeared, uncensored, in the Iraqi public arena. They were allowed to speak about anything, and to criticize anything, even the occupation by the West. For the first time in decades, the Shi'ites in Iraq were permitted to establish organizations and parties on a sectarian basis and even to publicly demonstrate their mourning on the anniversary of the murder of Hussein bin Ali, known as the "Slaughter of Kerbala" that occurred in the year 680 CE. The Shi'ites, who are the majority of Muslims in Iraq felt, rightly so, that the future belonged to them.


However, two forces worked against them: one is the Sunni population, the minority that had ruled the Shi'ite majority with the unsheathed sword of Saddam, the minority that lost the pot of gold that it sat upon all those years. And the Sunnis, because of their plight, appealed to the richest Sunni sponsor in the world, the Saudi Arabians, who opened their hearts and pockets in order to support their brothers, who had now become the new downtrodden in Iraq. And the second force that worked against them was the influx of roaming jihadis, who had escaped from the fire and brimstone that the Americans hurled upon the remnants of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. They came to Iraq to conduct the war against the infidels
, both the Christians and the Shi'ites together, from there. "Al-Qaeda of the Land of the Two Rivers", under the command of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, sowed death in the streets, in the markets, in the mosques, and in the churches, in an effort to undermine the majority Shi'ite rule in which the foreign coalition had invested so much blood and treasure to establish.
 

To counteract this, a Shi'ite militia arose, no less cruel than that of al-Qaeda, called "The Mahdi Army", headed by Muqtada al-Sadr, the scion of a noble Shi'ite family and a good friend of Hasan Nasrallah. The money, the weapons, and the ammunition of this militia all came from Iran, and its people learned their specializations of murder and sabotage in the training camps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. A short time after the Western coalition took over Iraq, their soldiers found themselves under Shi'ite-Sunni crossfire, between the Mahdi Army and al-Qaeda. The two sides fought simultaneously against each other and against the coalition, which had to defend itself against both of them. Nevertheless, al-Qaeda got special attention from the West, which almost totally eradicated it, while the Shi'ite Mahdi Army, despite the blows it had taken, continues until today to be an influential force in Iraqi internal politics. Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi was eliminated, while Muqtada al-Sadr is still alive and kicking.

It is sad to note that the war of the coalition forces against the Iraqi insurgency was influenced by political and economic considerations: the Americans never exerted real pressure on the Saudis to stop supporting the Sunni insurgency, despite its having caused many American fatalities, mainly because Saudi Arabia supplies oil to the Western countries. On the other hand, despite the many proofs the Americans had that Iran is involved up to its neck in the Shi'ite incursion, they never held Iran accountable for the American blood that was spilled in Iraq as a result of the Iranian weapons that poured into Iraq. The White House, whether in the days of Bush or in the days of Obama, was afraid to open a new front in Iran while the army of the United States was deep in the Afghani swamp and the Iraqi inferno.

The countries of the coalition quickly lost patience, because they saw no point in their soldiers running around in Iraq like chickens between unrestrained firing squads like so many targets. One after another, these countries pulled their forces out of the festering swamp, leaving those behind them to die, the Iraqis to drain each others' blood, and all the Iraqis together to drain the blood of the foreigners. At the end of 2011 the United States withdrew its forces from Iraq according to Obama's campaign promise, and left behind it a fragile and crumbling Iraqi political system, as a result of never-ending disputes between various types of groups: ethnic  (Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen), tribal (the society in Iraq comprises more than seventy tribes), religious (there are eight different religions in Iraq) and sectarian (Sunni, Shi'ite, Sufi, Salafi, and a few Christian denominations), that have never managed to rise above their differences to become a unified Iraqi people with a shared national consciousness.


The Iraqi politicians are corrupt down to their bones, and are motivated by tribal, familial, sectarian and economic considerations, that share nothing at all in common with the good of the country. Many of them are accused of being involved with terror, to the point that Tariq al-Hashimi, the Sunni deputy of the Shi'ite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, had to flee from Iraq because of rumors and "testimony" that he had organized a few murderous attacks against Shi'ites a number of years ago. The security and legal organizations - army, police, intelligence, and courts - are constantly suspected of serving sectarian interests, and their activities are perceived among the population as illegitimate.


The failing political system in Iraq made it possible for Iran to exploit the weakness in order to buy some of the politicians, to eliminate others and to threaten the rest that they had better behave, according to the edict imposed from Teheran, even while the coalition forces were still in Iraq. The Iranian control on the Iraqis was strengthened many times over after the exit of the Americans, who are no longer on Iraqi soil to defend the fragile Iraqi system. The situation today is that Iran actually determines what is done in Iraq, and dictates its agenda to the Iraqi politicians, especially in matters related to the war in Syria.


The strength of Iranian influence and control on Iraq is evidenced in several ways, and we will mention  a few of them here. About one year ago, Iran sent a group of a few dozen snipers to Syria to help Asad's forces put down the rebellion against him. A few of the Iranian snipers were taken prisoner by the Free Syrian Army, and filmed. They told in fluent Persian who had sent them to Syria and why, and the video clip - documented proof of Iranian involvement in the murder of freedom-seeking Syrians - evoked sharp criticism against Iran. As a result, the Iranians took its snipers out of Syria and demanded that Iraq send Iraqi snipers instead, so that in case they were caught they would speak Arabic and not Persian while being recorded.

But the matter is not limited to snipers, because in recent months many Shi'ites have been infiltrating from Iraq to support Asad in the slaughter of the Sunnis of Syria, and the Shi'ite ruled government in Iraq ignores those who enter Iraq illegally. But on the other hand, there are also Sunni infiltrators from Iraq into Syria to support their brothers who are fighting Asad's dictatorial regime with all their strength. The government of Syria is reaping today what it sowed in the years 2003 to 2008, when it volunteered to be the bridge which allowed the Hizb'Allah jihadis to cross over from Lebanon to Iraq in order to ruin the lives of the Iraqis. Now, the Iraqi jihadis are shortening the lives of the Syrians in the service of the Iranians. Iraq today is an inseparable part of the Shi'ite coalition under the leadership of Iran, which is fighting an all-out war against the Sunni coalition, whose members are Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Sunni countries.


Another matter that proves Iranian control of Iraq is the economic issue: since the Syrian economy is dysfunctional, Asad has no money to pay salaries to his soldiers and officers. So he asked for cash support from Iran, concerned that his soldiers would desert if he didn't pay them, and Iran ordered the Iraqi government to transfer to Asad tens of millions of dollars in cash
every month, in order to fund the military, intelligence and the murderous gangs of "Shabbiha" whose job it is to keep Asad alive in in power.

Another monetary issue is the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran, in the context of which the dictatorship of the ayatollahs was expelled from the international clearing system known as "SWIFT", and as a result of this, money cannot be transferred directly to Iran. Customers who still buy oil and gas from Iran transfer the payments to Iraqi governmental companies, and these find ways to transfer the monies to Iran.


In Baghdad, in March of this year, a summit conference was held of the leaders of Arab countries, however by instruction of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, all the Iraqi soldiers and security people were removed from the international airport of Baghdad and Iranians were put in their place. The one who organized all of the preparations for the summit conference was the most powerful man in Baghdad: the Iranian ambassador, who apparently is also one of the senior members of the Revolutionary Guards. It was he who determined who would speak and who would not, and as a result, about one half of the Arab rulers did not come to the summit because they knew who was behind it. The reason for Iranian involvement in the Arab summit conference was the desire of the Ayatollahs to show the world that after the miserable period of terror and death that reigned in Iraq during the American occupation, a period of calm and serenity has come to the Land of the Two Rivers, under Iranian hegemony.


It is important to note that the United States conducted a series of discussions with Iran before the withdrawal, about the way the country would be managed after the withdrawal,  but these discussions did not bear any fruit because of one simple reason: the Iranians understood that the United States was under pressure because of the promise of President Obama to withdraw from Iraq during his first term in office, and from the moment that he said this, the United States lost the ability to pressure Iran on this issue. During the past two years, many Iraqi politicians went in pilgrimage to Teheran, while senior Iranians rarely come to Baghdad. This illustrates the relative power of Iraq and Iran, because in international relations the well-known rule is that the less important comes to visit the more important more times than the important one comes to the less important. (For example: how many times have the presidents of the United States visited Israel, compared to the times that the prime ministers of Israel traveled to Washington to get a little attention in the White House...) During many Iraqi politicians' visits to Teheran, agreements of "cooperation" were signed, meaning that Iraq is harnessed to the Iranian wagon. The Iranian general Qassem Sulaimani, who is today the commander of the "Quds" force, makes many declarations about Iraq, and many Iraqis are convinced that he is the one who rules Iraq by means of his merciless soldiers who assault any Iraqi they don't like. Not all Iraqis support the Iranian rule, and not even all of the Shi'ites want it, but those who oppose Iran risk their lives and the lives of their relatives: two years ago Mithal al-Alusi, an Iraqi Sunni politician and member of parliament, founder of the the Party of the Iraqi Democratic Nation, which calls for separation of religion and state,  visited Israel. His visit to Israel and his secular agenda of political action resulted in several attempts to murder him, and in one of those attempts, two of his sons who were in the car with him, were murdered.


Iraq's coupling with Iran turns the Land of the Two Rivers into a spring board which will facilitate the continuing spread of Iranian hegemony into Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Emirates until it reaches the crown jewel of the Arabian Peninsula : Saudi Arabia.  The Ayatollahs dream of returning Shi'ite hegemony to Mecca and Medina, thus restoring the crown of dominion of the "ahl al-Bayt" - members of the family - of Muhammad, meaning the Shi'ites, to their status of Islamic leadership, which was stolen from the fourth Caliph, Ali bin Abi Talib, in the middle of the seventh century. When Iranian control of the Gulf is complete, more than half of the reserves of oil and gas of the whole world will be under their control, and then they will be able to have as much influence as they like on the world economy, and especially that of heretical, permissive and materialistic Europe. Iraq is an essential link in the chain that Iran is winding around the neck of the people of the Gulf and the world at large.


Is this why the world came in 2003 to liberate Iraq from the dictatorship of Saddam? Was this the goal for which Western countries sacrificed the lives of more than four thousand of their soldiers? Was it justified to invest more than a billion dollars - a thousand million - so that Iraq will become part of the Iranian coalition? Did the president of the United States take this development into account when he withdrew the forces from Iraq a year ago? Was the reason for the withdrawal to keep a promise made in the previous campaign, so that it could be used as ammunition in the present campaign, while the political and security considerations were - if they were considered at all - only of secondary importance?


If the president of the United States did not take into account the possibility that Iraq would become a satellite of Iran, it just proves his ignorance in the most important and critical matters relating to American national security. The problem is that there were many who warned him - in the media - about this possibility. Many articles that were published during the period prior to the withdrawal of the United States armed forces from Iraq warned clearly about the possibility that in the wake of a withdrawal, Iraq, torn apart and bleeding, unstable and weakened as it already was,  would become prey for the Iranians. For example, the periodical Newsweek wrote this explicitly in October 2010, more than a year before the exit of the American forces from Iraq. But there were those who preferred to ignore these warnings, apparently because of the approaching election season.


What could the United States have done to prevent this scenario from happening? How could the international system have assured that Iraq would be rebuilt as a state capable of standing up to Iranian pressures? The answer to these questions was addressed by the writer of these lines to the State Department of the United States two years ago, in October 2010, during correspondence with one of the advisers that are supposed to understand something about matters in the Islamic world. In those days the president of the United States conducted a series of discussions on American strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the correspondence with that adviser was intended to suggest another possible solution to the problems of these two unfortunate countries. The solution that I suggested was based on revoking the artificial borders
demarcated by the colonialists and establishing homogeneous,  and therefore stable, political entities, by dividing up these states into their ethnic and tribal components, like the Emirates in the Gulf.

In the discussion that I conducted with the adviser in the State Department, he rejected the idea of dividing Afghanistan and Iraq into homogeneous entities out of hand, and claimed that there is a way to stabilize these two states on the basis of developing an inclusive national consciousness.  In my opinion he is not the only dreamer of dreams in the State Department, because there are more than a few people who do not allow the facts to discredit their theories, and even when all of their beautiful plans collapse in front of their eyes they still believe that there is a way to revive them and to successfully implement them. It seems that these people have some degree of influence on the decision makers in the Withe House, and therefore everything that the United States devises in order to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan is good in theory but does not work in practice.


The time has come when Washington's policy should be conducted by realistic people, who will see reality in the world as it is and will relate to it in a way that will promote the interests of the Free World, people who will know that they must not surrender to the greatest enemy of the West, Iran.




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Dr. Kedar is available for lectures


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 Zahav with the permission of the author.

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.

Israel’s Gaza Dilemmas



by P. David Hornik


 

Tuesday night was a “quiet one” in southern Israel—just two rockets fired from Gaza, no injuries or damage reported.

Monday night was “louder,” with 20 rockets and mortars fired. As the Jerusalem Post described it:
Air raid sirens sent residents fleeing for cover in the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev and Ashkelon coastal regions.
Overnight on Monday, the Israel Air Force launched multiple air strikes in Gaza, targeting an area used to fire rockets in northern Gaza and multiple terrorist targets in the south of the Strip, the army said.
And on Sunday here in my city of Beersheva, 25 miles from Gaza, we were woken up by the rocket alarm at 5:25 a.m.; two Grads landed in open areas near the city and schools were closed for the day.

None of this, of course, compares (so far) with last week, when the hostilities included the firing of 80 rockets and mortars from Gaza in one 24-hour period.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, up for reelection in January, recently claimed the relative security quiet as one of the achievements of his four-year term.

True, Israel has been in no wars in that period and suffered little terrorism of the fatal kind. It is also true that the frequency of fire from Gaza is lower than in the previous term of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, when it reached about 3000 projectiles in 2008 before Olmert finally launched the Gaza War (December 2008-January 2009).

Since then, though, the frequency has been down to hundreds per year—not too consoling to southern Israelis and especially those in the “Gaza belt” (immediate vicinity of Gaza) who get the mortars as well as the rockets.

It was in a tour of that beleaguered area last week that Netanyahu pledged to beef up defenses, and on Sunday the cabinet approved a 270-million-shekel (about $70 million) plan to build 1700 bomb shelters in the area.

Clearly the timing had something to do with the elections. There is also something depressing about the move, since it seems to acknowledge that Israel is essentially on defense and expects the projectiles to keep coming.

No doubt, going on offense is fraught with difficulties too.

In the aforementioned Gaza War, the Israeli army inflicted heavy damage on Hamas infrastructure and killed hundreds of Hamas terrorists—and also, as collateral damage, hundreds of Gazan civilians, whom Hamas systematically uses as human shields to this day.

Israel, of course, got the blame with the Goldstone Report, and also lost ten Israeli lives in the war. But by now, with Gaza rebuilt and rockets again falling on southern Israel in large quantities, a cost-benefit analysis is irrelevant: the war gained Israel a breathing spell but did not solve the problem.

And since that time, while Hamas’s relations with its main patron Iran are now somewhat frayed, its stock has been rising in the Sunni world. Last week the emir of Qatar visited the Strip and pledged $400 million in aid, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are reportedly chipping in generously as well.

To that equation must be added, of course, the new Egypt now governed by a radical movement—the Muslim Brotherhood—of which Hamas is an offshoot. In Hamas, in other words, Israel now faces an enemy that—while small in itself—has powerful and varied backing, making a military offensive risky and problematic.

No doubt, dooming the residents of southern Israel to rocket fire and late-night sprints to bomb shelters is no solution either. The answer could lie in a reoccupation of some militarily important parts of the Strip, with a very strict carrot-and-stick approach to withdrawing again.

As Hamas amasses both weapons and backing, time is not on Israel’s side. The next Israeli government—which may be more hawkish than the current one—will need to take that into account if it wants to avoid essentially surrendering southern Israel to the forces of destruction.

P. David Hornik

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/davidhornik/israels-gaza-dilemmas/

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

The Pro-Islamist Obama Administration: A Case Study in Syria



by Barry Rubin


Almost a year ago today, November 17, 2011 to be specific,I analyzed the new Syrian opposition leadership created by the Obama Administration through the services of the Islamist regime in Turkey. It was already obvious that the Syrian National Council (SNC) was a Muslim Brotherhood front group, yet the Obama Administration backed it any way.

Even if you aren’t interested in this specific issue, the SNC story is a terrific case study of how the Obama Administration has trashed U.S. interests abroad, and especially in the Middle East.

If the White House’s plan had worked, Syria would definitely have ended up with an anti-American, antisemitic regime, allied with its fellow Brotherhood regimes in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Tunisia into an anti-American, anti-Western revolutionary bloc.

That might happen any way since the Obama Administration is still channeling guns to the Brotherhood and Salafists. But finally, after more than a year, the government has given up on the SNC.

Since the White House knew and knows that the SNC was a Muslim Brotherhood front and knows that most of the guns given by Qatar and Saudi Arabia are being handed over to Islamists (presumably as long as they aren’t al-Qaida) that result cannot be due to incompetence but to a deliberate strategy.

This is the effort to empower revolutionary Islamists on the grounds that, as Robert Worth put it in the New York Times: “potential allies who profess to believe in democracy and civic rights.”
How was it possible to know the SNC was a Brotherhood front? Because when its leadership group was announced in November 2011, 10 of the 19 members were Islamists and at least two more were their reliable tools. Although this was readily apparent from their past statements and behavior, I was the only person in the West to write about this.

Syrian Kurds and other oppositionists complained about this even before November 2011 because they saw what was happening in the SNC’s formation. Last May, two of the non-Islamists resigned, complaining that the group’s leadership was “autocratic” and dominated by the Brotherhood. The New York Times did cover this story, but the significance of the development was ignored and this information was not taken into account in any mass media analysis of the Obama Administration’s Syria policy.

Isn’t the U.S. government backing the emergence of what would be equivalent of a fascist or Communist regime big news?

Next, a delegation of Syrian Kurdish rebels visiting Washington DC was asked by the State Department to join the SNC. They refused and denounced the organization. From day one, it was clear the SNC had no support within the country yet the White House continued to back it as the appropriate leader for all Syrians even though Syrians didn’t want it.

Isn’t the U.S. government trying to impose the equivalent of a fascist or Communist regime on an unwilling populace big news?

Finally, on October 31, the U.S. government discovered—amazingly enough—that the SNC was not such a great group after all.  Indeed, they accused the organization they had created of trying to “hijack” the Syrian revolution! Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said its members had been out of the country too long and:

“We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution. There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime for their own purposes.”

In other words, this is an admission that the United States has been backing a group that promotes an extremist regime in Syria. And it also takes note of the increasingly open arrival in Syria of radical jihadists and al-Qaida supporters. Even a Chinese magazine has covered how Chinese Muslim Islamists are going to Syria to fight.

Yet the announcement by Clinton fails to recognize the bankruptcy of Obama Administration policy. A proper response and a good policy would require:

–Stopping the supply of weapons by Qatar to the Muslim Brotherhood units in Syria and by Saudi Arabia to the Salafists. The American intelligence officers are in Turkey overseeing these deliveries—to make sure nothing goes to al-Qaida—should also make sure that no guns go to the Brotherhood and Salafists. Only those units led by Kurdish autonomists, defected Syrian army officers, and local non-Islamist leaders should be supplied.

–Waking up to the Turkish regime’s anti-American, pro-Islamist policies. Rather than lavish praise on the Ankara regime, Obama should never use it as an intermediary for U.S. strategy since the Turkish rulers will subvert U.S. interests.

–Understand that Brotherhood regimes in Egypt and Tunisia may “purport” support for democracy and human rights they are against both things.  As a Tunisian recently wrote, providing details of the growing authoritarianism in her country, in a New York Times op-ed piece:

“There is nothing moderate or democratic about the Islamists. They played the moderate and democratic game to gain power. Now, in office, they keep postponing elections to entrench themselves in the fabric of government and judiciary by brute force.”

The ruling party’s leader, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, just gave an interview in which he explained that a democratic framework is merely the best way to put into power an Islamist regime with the full implementation of Sharia law.

In Egypt, there is growing information about how the Brotherhood regime’s new constitution is going to impose Sharia law in alliance with the Salafists. Well, what do you expect when a radical Islamist regime comes to power. Oh, right, the U.S. government didn’t expect that a Brotherhood regime would be extremists.

The U.S. government should support the anti-Islamist forces in the region including relatively moderate Arab governments; truly moderate Arab, Iranian, Kurdish, and Turkish democratic opposition groups; and Israel.

–Finally, Libya was the place that this policy has just failed tragically. The use of Islamist guards, the deference to a weak (if well-intentioned) and badly infiltrated government to protect American lives led to a successful terrorist attack and the murder of Americans.

The Obama Administration’s policy of supporting America’s most dangerous enemies in the world today is implicitly admitted and even partly discussed. Now is the time to see how immensely disastrous and obviously failed is this policy and to abandon it. But that’s going to be up to American voters as the Obama Administration seems to have no intention of really changing course.

This article was originally posted on PJMedia.

Barry Rubin

Source: http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/11/the-pro-islamist-obama-administration-a-case-study-in-syria/

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

The Courage of Ronnie Fraser



by Ben Cohen


I first met Ronnie Fraser, an unassuming lecturer in mathematics at one of London’s further education colleges, in 2002. Sitting at a table in a small central London cafe, Ronnie barely sipped the cappuccino in front of him as he laid out for me, in urgent tones, the growing support among British academics for a boycott of their Israeli colleagues, along with the vicious strain of anti-Semitism underlying their campaign.

I can admit, now, that a large part of me wanted to believe that Ronnie was exaggerating. The boycott was certainly wrong and definitely misguided, but could one really argue that British academics, six decades after the Holocaust, were trafficking in the kinds of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that would not have been out of place in the pages of Der Sturmer?

The answer, in short, was yes. As it turned out, Ronnie’s prognosis was entirely correct; not only did the academic boycott of Israelis become the most pressing concern inside the leftist-dominated University and College Union (UCU), it did so in ways that led many of its Jewish members to conclude that they themselves were its principal target. And so, from 2005 onwards, a motion to implement, extend and refine a boycott of Israel’s academic sector became a fixture at the annual conferences of the UCU, which were transformed into festivals of anti-Semitic bombast. To give one example, as pro-Israel academics mused over the prospect of a legal challenge to the boycott, one boycott advocate, a faculty member at London University’s prestigious University College, declared that any legal action would be financed by those with “bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down.” A neo-Nazi couldn’t have put it more venomously.

Nonetheless, Ronnie Fraser never shied away from confronting this toxicity head-on. This week, he brought his case to an employment tribunal, charging that the boycott amounted to a breach of Britain’s anti-discrimination legislation. The Jewish Chronicle today reports:
A Jewish academic repeatedly broke down in tears as he told an employment tribunal that he had suffered a decade of harassment while opposing a boycott of Israel.
Maths lecturer Ronnie Fraser, whose parents escaped Nazi Germany, said he felt a special responsibility to challenge the University and College Union after it rejected a widely-accepted definition of antisemitism.
The grandfather-of-nine wept as he took the oath at London’s Central Employment Tribunal on Wednesday. He said he had felt threatened by the union’s anti-Israel policies and a catalogue of events that had left him “hurt, upset and insulted”.
“This case is not about Israel-Palestine. It’s not about me. It’s about fellow Jews. We have been forced out. We have been humiliated. It has been horrendous and relentless against us,” he said.
Later the tribunal was briefly halted when Mr Fraser again wept while explaining how he believed his grandparents had been killed at Auschwitz.
“They died as a result of antisemitism and this is my way of saying ‘never again’. I don’t want my four children and grandchildren having to suffer what they did,” he said.
The significance of Ronnie Fraser’s action is simply explained. For more than a decade, anti-Semitic hate speech has cowered behind the imperative, as boycott advocates would have it, of engaging in “solidarity” with the Palestinians. By raising his complaint within a legal forum, Ronnie’s aim is to expose the true nature of this sordid rhetoric.

Win or lose, Ronnie Fraser is truly deserving of the designation of a hero. With little more than a modest lecturer’s salary to support him, he has flung himself into the frontline battle against anti-Semitism, thereby achieving more than all the established Jewish communal organizations, particularly here in America, combined. As “Engage,” another brave organization fighting the boycott, noted in its report of Ronnie’s remarkable speech to the UCU last year, his remarks to an audience filled with boycott advocates were met with “stony silence.” If any notion of justice still prevails in the United Kingdom, the employment tribunal cannot afford to react similarly.

Ben Cohen

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/11/01/the-courage-of-ronnie-fraser/

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

Stealth Islamist Charter Schools Under Investigation



by Arnold Ahlert


The charter school movement associated with Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen is under federal investigation

If one believes that the battle for the nation’s soul is occurring, not just in Washington, D.C., but in schools across the nation, the steady advance of Turkish-Gulen Charter Schools may be cause for alarm. Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish Islamic cleric who fled his native country in 1998, after being charged with seeking to overthrow the secular Turkish government. He currently lives in exile at a 28-acre mountain complex in the Pocono Mountains, with more than $25 billion of assets at his command. The 135 charter schools associated with the Gulen Movement (GM) enroll more than 45,000 students and comprise the largest charter school network in the United States — all of which are fully funded by American taxpayers. Fethullah Gulen has been under investigation by the government since 2011.

That investigation, carried out by FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education, is centered around charter school employees who are allegedly engaged in kicking back part of their salaries to the Muslim movement also known as Hizmet (service to others), founded by Gulen. Gulen initiated his movement in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, more than 40 years ago, preaching impassioned sermons to his followers, who may now number as many as six million. In Turkey, the Gulen Movement has been accused of pushing for a hardline Islamic state. Despite this reality, government officials investigating the kickback scheme are apparently satisfied that there is no religious agenda being disseminated in America. Their investigation is centered around the hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators, and other staffers employed under the H1B visa program, who may or may not be misusing taxpayer money.

This would appear to be a stunningly naive approach to the issue. H1B visas allow US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. “Specialty occupations” are defined as “requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.” Gulen schools are among the nation’s largest users of the H1B visas. In 2009, they received government approvals for 684 visas. The Harmony School, a Gulen-related institution, has applied for more H1B visas than any educational institution in the country.

GM officials at some of the charter schools that ostensibly specialize in math and science, claim they need to fill teaching spots with Turkish teachers. At the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College, Ruth Hocker, former president of the parents’ group, grew suspicious when certified American teachers began to be replaced by uncertified Turks with limited English-speaking skills who, despite that limitation, commanded higher salaries. Parents pointed out that these uncertified teachers were moved from one charter to another when their “emergency” credentials expired. They also spoke about a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members.

Similar complaints arose in Texas, where it was revealed that hundreds of Turkish teachers and administrators were also working with H1B visas. In addition, the Harmony School group was using taxpayer money to fund Gulen’s movement via school construction and renovation projects. Despite assertions that the bidding process on those projects was fair, records showed that virtually all of the work has been done by Turkish-owned contractors, according to the New York Times.

A former teacher from Turkey revealed an ominous development, reportedly telling the FBI that the Gulen Movement had divided the United States into five regions, with a general manager in each who coordinates the activities of the schools, and related foundations and cultural centers.

All of the above raises the obvious question: if these schools are traditional American charter schools that do nothing more than “follow the state curriculum,” as Tansu Cidav, the acting CEO of the Truebright Science Academy in North Philadelphia contends, why is it necessary to hire foreign teachers and coordinate activities nationwide?

A federal document released in 2011 may provide the answer. It posits that Gulen’s charter schools may in fact be madrassahs, where students are “brain-washed” to serve as proponents of the New Islamic World Order Gulen purportedly seeks to create.

Former Muslim Brotherhood member Walid Shoebat illuminates the bigger picture. Shoebat, who was highly critical of a CBS “60 Minutes” report on Gulen (who refused to be interviewed for the piece), likens the cleric’s movement to the leftist Center for American Progress (CAP) And radical billionaire George Soros. “Both men are extremely wealthy, use that money to surreptitiously spread their ideologies, and like to operate behind the scenes as much as possible,” writes Shoebat.

The American Thinker’s Janet Levy takes it one step further. After noting that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belongs to the AKP political party founded by Gulen upon his arrival in Pennsylvania, she points out that “Turkey is reverting to its historical Ottoman Empire-inspired Islamic fundamentalism,” even as “it is pursuing a stealth or cultural jihad against the West, in large part through the efforts of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic theologian.” In a 1999 video, Gulen himself spoke of a surreptitious plan for taking over the Turkish government: ”You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe … The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it[.]”

The movement is well on its way towards achieving that aim. GM is now active in 140 countries. Aside from its charter school empire, other interests including boarding schools, universities, banks, media companies, newspapers, charities, and think tanks.

60 Minutes reporter Leslie Stahl took the typically leftist, see-no-Islamist-evil approach towards complaints about the Gulen schools advancing an Islamic agenda in America, assuring viewers that he promotes “tolerance, inter-faith dialogue and, above all, he promotes education.” Yet even Stahl was forced to acknowledge that while Gulen “invites conspiracy theories that he’s running Turkey from the Poconos and is bent on global Muslim domination,” his movement “does lack transparency: its funding, hierarchy, and ambitions remain hidden–leading our State Department to wonder in cables between Ankara and Washington if Gulen has an ‘insidious political agenda.’”

This is not the first investigation conducted of Gulen’s empire. In 2008, members of the Netherlands’ Christian Democrat, Labor, and Conservative parties agreed to cut several million euros in government funding for organizations affiliated with Gulen. An investigation ensued when Erik Jan Zürcher, director of the Amsterdam-based International Institute for Social History, along with five former followers who had worked for Gulen, told Dutch television that the Gulen community was moving step-by-step to topple the secular order.

In Pennsylvania, neighbors of Gulen’s fortress retreat complain of hearing automatic gunfire and the drone of a surveillance helicopter that constantly searches for intruders. 100 Turkish guards stand watch over the property as well. If this man and his movement–which continues to expand–have nothing to hide, they have a remarkable way of showing it.

As a Turkish observer speaking to the New Republic noted, “No society would tolerate this big of an organization being this untransparent.” The FBI’s new investigation against Gulen’s organization brings us one step closer to exposing what goes on behind the closed doors of Gulen’s empire.

Arnold Ahlert

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/arnold-ahlert/stealth-islamist-charter-schools-under-investigation/

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

US Withdraws Support from Syrian National Council



by Rick Moran


Despite this move being long overdue, it is not a good sign that the administration understands the Islamist dynamic in the Syrian opposition. This means that any attempt to bring together members of the opposition will almost certainly result in an even more dangerous coalition that would be hazardous to American interests.

Haaretz identified the problem last month:
But the arguments over what the character of Syria will be after Assad's fall are somewhat premature. With the West finding it hard to help the rebels decide the military campaign, with the militias in Syria forced to turn to organized crime organizations and arm procurers in order to buy assault rifles at thousands of dollars per rifle and two bucks per bullet, and with disagreements among the militias preventing the establishment of a joint command center, it is hard to take seriously talks about a united government-in-exile and a timetable for its establishment.
Still, like Egypt during the revolution, the largest, most organized group in the Syrian opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood. They control about one-quarter of the 310 members of the Syrian National Council (the largest Syrian opposition group working in exile. ) Its deputy president is Mohamad Faruq Tayfur, a senior Muslim Brotherhood representative. Ali Sadr al-Din al-Bayanuni, formerly the leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, is also a senior member of the SNC. The two are in charge of the council's logistics and assistance division, and they control a hefty portion of its budget. Within Syria, they maintain a network of civilian services and have taken control of the civilian defense authority, turning it into a paramilitary arm of the organization. Until recently, this unofficial body was controlled by a religious military outfit called the Syrian Hawks, which decided to disassociate from the authority after the Muslim Brotherhood assumed control of it.
Several prominent members of the SNC resigned last March citing domination of the SNC by the Muslim Brotherhood:
The main Syrian exile opposition group suffered a serious fracture on Wednesday as several prominent members resigned, calling the group autocratic, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and powerless to help Syrian rebels as government forces, having flushed insurgent strongholds in the north, swept into the rebellious southern city of Dara'a.
So who will the US back in this new opposition group?
The United States has no direct power to anoint the would-be new leaders of Syria, but U.S. backing will be essential for any hopefuls seeking outside financial, diplomatic or possible military assistance. The United States is supporting new opposition leaders who will attend a strategy session in Qatar next week, Clinton said.
Clinton and other U.S. officials are fed up with infighting among the SNC leaders seeking recognition as a shadow government and have become convinced that the group does not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria. It also has little legitimacy among on-the-ground activists and fighters, and has done little to stem the infiltration of Islamist extremists into the opposition forces.
Clinton had some of her strongest words to date about the risk that the uprising against Assad could be overtaken by militants who do not seek a democratic replacement.
"We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution," Clinton said. "There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime for their own purposes."
Clinton's problem is that the only organized groups who speak about democracy in a post-Assad Syria are Islamist groups. They may, as President Morsi has done in Egypt, accept a limited number of secularists, women, and Christians to fool the west into believing they represent the whole of the opposition. But the reality is that the Brotherhood will run things pretty much as if they weren't there.

Rather than a step forward, this is a retreat. Clinton will soon be faced with the reality that the Muslim Brotherhood is the strongest political force in Syria. Whether we hand over the country to them as we did in Egypt is a possibility that a President Romney will have to take into account immediately upon taking office.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/11/us_withdraws_support_from_syrian_national_council.html

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

Obama's Marriage Masquerade



by Joshua Foxworth


This issue of marriage is not as simple as it seems on the surface.  It is not simply about allowing two people to have the same rights with respect to hospital visitation or property rights.  Marriage involves the role of the federal government and the states, the classification of rights with the U.S., and the rights of Americans to hold their own viewpoints.

President Obama's views on marriage do not merely affect what he calls two people of the same sex who chose to remain in a committed relationship.  His views show a marked change in legal and constitutional theory that has tremendous implications.

Prior to becoming president, Barack Obama repeatedly asserted that marriage was not a "civil right."  This goes back to his debate with Alan Keyes in 2004, in which he clearly and repeatedly asserted that marriage was not a civil right, but that property matters and hospital visitation were.  After becoming president, Obama compared the struggle for marriage to that of the civil rights struggles of African-Americans.  Since Obama's endorsement of gay marriage, the White House website now clearly classifies marriage under the civil rights tab.  Thus, marriage was not a civil rights issue before Obama was president, and now it is.

In multiple interviews and debates, Senator Obama asserted that the issue of marriage was one to be decided by the states.  He noted that the federal government simply did not have a constitutional role in marriage.  However, not long after assuming office, the president endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act.  While the White House website asserts that this legislation is intended to prevent the federal government from denying rights to same-sex couples, simply reading the summary of the bill shows that this is not the case.  The legislation clearly states that it would repeal the parts of DOMA that allow a state to decide for itself how to define marriage, and force a marriage carried out in one state to be recognized in all states.  Thus, marriage was a states' rights issue prior to the Obama presidency, and now it is not.

Finally, there is the issue of faith.  In 2004, State Senator Obama clearly and articulately denoted his view that his faith dictated the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.  In his interview to endorse gay marriage, the president asserted that his faith dictated that we should treat others as we would like to be treated.  Without addressing the problems with this assertion and the questions it raises about the president's knowledge of his faith, consider this: as little as three years ago, the president's faith told him that marriage was between one man and one woman, and now it tells him the opposite.

So within the timespan of three years, President Obama has changed his views on where marriage falls within the realm of rights, changed his views on state and federal jurisdiction on marriage, and changed his religious and moral views to go from defining marriage as one man and one woman to maintaining that it is something else.

Now that the scope of the president's evolving views has been established, the question remains as to whether the president has always supported gay marriage -- or have his views legitimately changed?  Neither of those possibilities is good from a political standpoint.

First, if the American people believe that the president lied to them about his views, then the 2012 election is all but over.  Consider the president's actions after taking office: he pushed for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell; he issued two memorandums, one for establishing the same rights for same-sex couples where one was a federal employee and the other for preventing hospitals that take Medicare and Medicaid from preventing visitations to same-sex partners; he supported the Respect for Marriage Act; he spoke often to the LGBT community about "the goal" and his desire to see it reached; and he has now classified the matter as a civil right.  Most of these things were done before the president's supposed change of heart, and there seems to be no defining issue or moment by which the president can state he was prompted to have this evolution in his view.

Additionally, the entire roll-out of this new view point is contrived.  First, the education secretary admits to supporting gay marriage, and then the vice president lets it be known that he supports it, and finally the president admits that his views have changed.  This series of events was not accidental.  Arne Duncan was used as a tool to introduce the issue, and he and Vice President Biden were used as softeners to ready the American people for the idea of a pro-gay marriage president.  They were buffers to get the American people talking about the issue and an excuse to raise it with the president.  By doing this, the president is not questioned as to what prompted the change or when it happened.  He can simply point to the people around him and assert that his views have "evolved" just like everyone else's.

If the Republican Party can cement the belief that President Obama lied about his view to get elected and has been pursuing a pro-gay marriage agenda since he came to office, then the idea that he is lying about other facets of his ideology will be an easy sell.

The second option is that the president had a legitimate change of heart.  The obvious problem this raises is that if he can change his mind on this issue from both a moral and legal point of view, he can surely change it on other issues.  Thus, nothing the president says in his campaign speeches or literature can be believed.  However, if you are shocked that the president can change his mind on matters, I have hours of health care debates on CSPAN for you to watch before you go to your "shovel-ready" job that cuts the deficit in half.

No matter which of these theories you believe, the next question to ask is the same.  It is also the most important question, and the one that no one is asking.  During the 2008 election, Senator Obama stated that it was up to churches to decide what they recognized as marriage.  Since assuming office, the Obama administration has been very vocal in its support for the "It Gets Better" program.  President Obama and numerous members of his administration have made videos for the program.  Recently, the founder of this program gave a hate-filled rant against Christians for their bullying of the LGBT community.  So the question that remains is this: "Will the president's views evolve to a point where it is no longer a matter of choice for churches and synagogues to recognize only the marriages they see fit?"

Before you answer that question, remember the new viewpoint expressed by President Obama: marriage is now a civil right, and states should not be able to "deny" marriage rights to a couple.  No one can deny a person a civil right, and no state law can take that right away.  Thus, no one can deny a same-sex couple their civil right to hold a ceremony in the same place where traditional marriage couples hold their ceremonies.

The implementation of these policies will not be immediate or obvious.  Given the president's citation of troops in his statement supporting gay marriage, the likely path to the establishment of national gay marriage will be a military couple married in one state and stationed in another by the military.  This situation will be cited as "no fault of their own," and the president will assert that one state cannot deny rights to a couple whose only desire is to serve their country.  The next obvious step will be a national definition of marriage to prevent a patchwork of laws in 50 states from causing someone to lose his or her civil rights.  Once this is established, the ability to deny someone the same use of a facility as any other couple will be an easy sell. 

Joshua Foxworth is the owner and editor of ThePoliticalGuide.com, a site dedicated to impartial summaries of political positions and controversies for representatives and candidates and to providing election information.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/05/obamas_marriage_masquerade.html

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

Benghazi Reveals Obama-Islamist Alliance



by James Lewis


The nature of the Benghazi disaster is now clear.  Ambassador Stevens was engaged in smuggling sizable quantities of Libyan arms from the destroyed Gaddafi regime to the Syrian rebels, to help overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.  Smuggling arms to the so-called "Free Syrian Army" is itself a huge gamble, but Obama has been a gambler with human lives over the last four years, as shown by the tens of thousands of Arabs who have died in the so-called Arab Spring -- which has brought nothing but disaster to the Arab world.

For the last four years, the Obama policy has been to offer aid and comfort violent Islamic radicals in the delusional belief that their loyalty can be bought.  We therefore betrayed Hosni Mubarak, our 30-year ally in Egypt, so that the Muslim Brotherhood led by Muhammed Morsi could take over.  Obama indeed demanded publicly that Mubarak resign, for reasons that never made any sense at all.  Egypt went into a political and economic tailspin, and the Muslim Brotherhood were elected.  The Muslim radicals have now purged the only other viable political force, the army and police, to protect their monopoly on power.  We have colluded in that betrayal.

In Libya, we betrayed Moammar Gaddafi, who had surrendered his nuclear program to the Bush administration.  In Afghanistan, we betrayed the central government set up by the Bush administration and negotiated with the fanatical war sect of the Taliban to take over.  The Taliban entered our history when they gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in the years before 9/11/01 to plan, train, equip, and implement the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.  The Taliban are our fanatical theological enemy, as shown by their sadistic attempt to assassinate 14-year-old women's rights advocate Malala Yousuf.

Afghanistan has many thousands of Malalas we will never hear about.

Our consistent policy of betrayal of moderate Muslims in favor of radical Islamofascists goes hand-in-hand with our appeasement of the Iranian Khomeinist regime, which is the most America-hating Shiite regime, now facing competition from America-hating Sunni regimes in Egypt and elsewhere.  It also fits our cooperation with Turkey's "neo-Ottoman" regime, which has also purged the Turkish army and police to remove modern-minded Turks from power.  Egypt and Iran will soon have nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles.

We have therefore followed a single "community disorganizing" policy toward the Muslim world, consisting of betraying moderates to bring theocratic fascists to power.  Obama "explained" that policy in a publicized argument with Hillary Clinton at the White House when Mubarak was overthrown.  His explanation?  Fascist revolutions are "organic," and therefore more stable than moderate revolutions.  Obama's fantasy policy runs contrary to U.S. foreign policy since World War I.

The biggest loser in this mad administration has been hundreds of millions women of the Muslim world, who were on a path to modernity and freedom until Obama and Hillary Clinton betrayed them.  Today they are shut inside the prisons of sharia law.

The second-biggest loser has been relative stability in a great geographical swath of the Muslim world, from Afghanistan and Pakistan across the Middle East, all the way to Tunisia and Morocco.

The third-biggest loser has been our anti-proliferation policy against the spread of weapons of mass destruction among developing nations.  From fighting proliferation, we have turned to aiding it.

Those three Horsemen of the Apocalypse are now out of the barn and riding free.

In Benghazi, al-Qaeda showed that they could not be bought even by our back-stabbing policy.  Our Benghazi arms-smuggling base was attacked by elements of AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Maghreb) in an act of betrayal against our fantasy-driven way of doing things.  The American betrayer was itself betrayed, and Obama-Hillary could do nothing to defend the Americans under attack at the Benghazi arms-smuggling base, because any public revelation of the truth would rip the cover off our mad actions and focus the hatred of Muslim nations on the United States.

The evidence now shows that Obama was aware of the attack within 55 minutes of the start.  It lasted for six or seven hours, and Obama consistently countermanded standing orders to protect Americans under attack in the Africom command area.  General Ham may have been fired for following standard U.S. policy to defend American personnel. 

In Syria, the Assad regime now has a legitimate basis to convict us of deadly dabbling in the Syrian civil war.  Russia and China are likely to take up Assad's cause at the United Nations.  They would be right on the facts.

Because the Benghazi attack coincided exactly with the AQ attack on our Cairo Embassy, both on September 11 of this year, this was apparently a central command decision by AQ, presumably ordered by Osama bin Laden's successor, Al Zawahiri, in Pakistan using a video released on the web shortly before those attacks.  The message was "al-Qaeda lives!"  Everybody who saw the news photos that day got that message.  Only Obama is in public denial.

Because the Egyptian regime chose not to defend our embassy, we know that Muhammad Morsi was in cahoots with the AQ attack.  Host governments always have the first responsibility to defend accredited embassies.  Egypt "forgot" to defend us, and that was the message.

The purpose of the AQ attacks was to embarrass the United States, and to show us to be a paper tiger, precisely the way Ayatollah Khomeini did to Jimmy Carter.  AQ also wanted to tear off the cover of the Benghazi arms-smuggling operation, to make us look like a treasonous ally, which, as it turns out, we are.  All of our allies around the world, from South Korea and Japan to Israel, Australia, and Norway, must now be reassessing our reliability.  One major betrayal of our allies is enough to shatter sixty years of faith in American leadership.

Here is the evidence as published in the Jerusalem Post, in an interview with retired  counterintelligence professional Clare Lopez.  The credit for the exposing the U.S. arms-smuggling conspiracy that just capsized goes to Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org) and other alert conservative columnists around the web.

James Lewis

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/benghazi_reveals_obama-islamist_alliance.html

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

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