Saturday, February 26, 2011

The United Caliphate States of Europe

by Samuel J. Mikolaski

Increasingly, the leaders of Western Europe are recognizing the failure of multiculturalism. Whether they will do anything about the problem remains to be seen.

How did Europe come to this pass? I speak as one born in the Balkans but raised in Canada, where I was, thankfully, assimilated to democratic, Anglophone culture. The issue in Europe has in part to do with the formation and expansion of the EU and whether, with the massive migration of worker Turks into Western Europe, Turkey should be admitted to the EU.

Admission of Turkey into the EU clearly would exacerbate an already critical illegal migrant situation. This particularly affects Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and the UK (which also has a large population of Islamic Pakistanis). The drain on welfare resources and medical services to support these unassimilated populations has reached crisis proportions, to say nothing about the undermining of civil law in parts of Paris and London, the Midlands of England, Germany, and Austria.

In addition, Europe's problems have been worsened by American policies in the Balkans of the past 15 years. This is true in three important respects:

  • Our mismanagement of Bosnia
  • Our intervention in Kosovo
  • Our policy of defaming our traditional Serb allies while ignoring the incredible mafia criminality and anti-Christian destructiveness of Albanian and Bosnian Islamic extremism

The extent of infiltration of Islamic organized crime from Albania and Bosnia into Europe is staggering. This is ignored or excused by the powerful Albanian lobby in America's Northeast and in Congress. To be fair, some in Congress, such as Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana, are alert to the situation, and a fresh look is being taken at our Balkan policy within the State Department.

The Bosnia Imbroglio

President Clinton imported Al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Bosnia to counter Slobodan Milosevic, a decision facilitated in part by Madeleine Albright's vitriolic, personal hatred of Serbs, which significantly skewed our foreign policy. We did not betray the Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians, all of whom had more reactionary communist regimes than the former Yugoslavia. The irony is that Serbs rid themselves of Milosevic without Washington's help and turned him over to the Hague.

The attempt to combine the three major ethnic groups in Bosnia into one state has failed. Serbs have defensively created Republica Srpska. The Croats, who have tried accommodation with the radical Islamist leadership, have decided they have had enough. They recently asked Russia to intervene in the Security Council to stabilize their situation in the face of radical Islamist undermining of their status in the Bosnian federation.

I have carefully read the 700 pages of The Clinton Tapes by Taylor Branch. The book is based on 79 two-hour interviews, often late at night, as President Clinton sought over the years during his administration to freshly recount events of the day or of previous days.

It is remarkable how little understanding is reflected in these tapes about the history of the Balkans, especially of the strong Christian heritage in Bosnia and Kosovo and the attempts by the Ottoman Empire to restrict Christianity by forced conversions to Islam through the kidnapping of Serbian boys (who became the famed Janissaries), by brutality, and by discriminatory economic policies.

Nor was there even a hint of anxiety or regret at what his importing of Al Qaeda into Bosnia was causing as they settled down, married Bosnian women, and began the process of imposing Islamic radicalism on Bosnia, which had become significantly secular since the expulsion of the Ottomans from Europe after World War I.

From Bosnia and Kosovo we now have one of the largest and most virulent drug cartels in the world, the worst of white slavery and prostitution trafficking into Europe, and terrorist training compounds. (Several of the 9/11 hijackers spent time in Bosnia among their Al Qaeda compatriots.) It is fascinating that some, including Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the UN, wanted to re-establish Christianity as the dominant culture in the Balkans against the rising radical Islamic tide, a proposal that never got off the ground.

It is scarcely credible, but nevertheless true, that the Clinton Administration ignored the Islamic Declaration by Alija Izetbegović, former president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which he clearly urged Islamists in Bosnia and worldwide to take up jihad against the West. Instead they regarded him as "their boy," ignoring the proliferating terrorist cells in Bosnia.

The Devastation of Kosovo

The silence of the West about the expulsion of Serbs, Romanies and other non-Albanians from Kosovo, the terrorizing of the remaining Serbs, and the destruction and desecration of literally hundreds of churches, monasteries, cemeteries and other Christian landmarks, some of which are medieval treasures, is a tribute to the West's allowing some of the worst vandalism and repression of the Christian faith in modern times.

There are more churches, monasteries and other Christian landmarks per square kilometer in Kosovo than anywhere else on earth. Kosovo is to Serbian Orthodox Christians what Canterbury is to Anglicans and the Vatican to Roman Catholics. But Christian Orthodox populations are expendable in the political maneuvering of Western politicians.

The latest bombshell is the Council of Europe's recently adopted report from Dick Marty that Kosovo leaders, including Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, are complicit in crime, including organ trafficking. There is now a strenuous effort to sweep the body parts issue under the rug lest it torpedo efforts to legitimize the illegally mandated separation of Kosovo from Serbia. The data are horrific: Serbian captive youths were selected on the basis of genetic compatibility for killing in order to harvest saleable body parts.

The Marty report confirms allegations by prosecutor Carla del Ponte, of the Hague International War Crimes Tribunal, first published in 2008 (some say even earlier, in 2003). Human Rights Watch has called on the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo to appoint a special prosecutor based outside Kosovo to investigate Marty's findings. But there is an insuperable obstacle to effective judicial proceedings: Kosovo is tiny, and it is almost impossible to shelter witnesses, should they come forward. Testifying would mean signing a death warrant against oneself and one's entire family.

Few in America recognize that in the Balkans we are reaping the whirlwind of recent policy errors. In Samuel Huntington's words, we are indeed witnessing the clash of civilizations. But our adversary is not an identifiable state enemy. The strategy is to insinuate a minority Islamist population into a culture and allege discrimination while practicing it. Once they gain status or power they turn on their hosts.

In America today one cannot even begin to discuss the issues. On April 25, 2008, at the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, warned that there is:

a degree of thought control and limitations of freedom of expression without parallel in the Western world since the 18th century ... Islam and Islamic values now have a level of immunity from comment and criticism in the Western world that Christianity has lost and Judaism has never had.

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Samuel J. Mikolaski is a retired theology professor.

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The Death of ‘Linkage’

by Danny Ayalon

The last few weeks and months have finally proven the fallacy of one of the most mistaken theories about development and peace in the Middle East. For a number of years, foreign officials, experts and commentators have claimed that if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was solved, then there would be peace in the Middle East. This was coined “linkage.”

Former President Jimmy Carter was once asked, “Is the linkage policy right?” He replied, “I don’t think it’s about a linkage policy, but a linkage fact. … Without doubt, the path to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.” Another enthusiast of linkage is former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab world.”

The WikiLeaks revelations proved that among Arab decision makers and policy-shapers, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was fairly low on the list of urgent priorities in the region. These private conversations reveal that Arab leaders are preoccupied with the looming threat of Iran and only make perfunctory statements on the “Palestinian question,” as one senior American diplomat who has spent his career in the Middle East told the New York Times recently.

These revelations shook the linkage argument to its very foundations, but recent events in our region have dealt it the mortal blow.

Last year, the United Nations Development Program released its Human Development Report for Arab states with the assistance of Arab scholars and researchers. This report stated that the Arab world is lacking in all areas of human development, such as freedom, empowerment of women and education. In addition, nearly 50 percent of the Arab world lives below the international poverty line. For the Arab world to merely maintain its current position, which is at the lowest rung on the development ladder, it will need to create 51 million jobs in the next 10 years.

Food insecurity, rising desertification and vanishing water resources have all contributed to placing parts of the Arab world on a precipice. The recent chaos on the streets of capitals in the Arab world demonstrates this volatility.

Furthermore, the linkage argument has allowed a dereliction of responsibility for anything that happens outside of Israel‘s few square kilometers, which is equivalent to less than one seven-hundredth of the Arab world. Even the term “Middle East conflict” is negligent in that it stresses the singularity and uniqueness of our conflict, perhaps even one of the least bloody and destructive, in a region that has seen dozens of recent and ongoing conflicts.

In fact, of the 11 million Muslims that have been killed in violent conflicts since the middle of the last century when the state of Israel was created, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Muslims were killed in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli-Arab conflict. However, more than 90 percent of all Muslims killed during the same time period were killed by fellow Muslims.

While I am sure that the majority of the residents of the Middle East, including Israelis, would desperately like to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians, unfairly overloading the pressure to sign a peace agreement makes it that much harder.

Precisely those who feel that a utopian Middle East will exist after Israeli and Palestinian leader sign their name on a piece of paper demonstrate a lack of understanding of the issues at stake and make it harder for the conflict to be resolved.

Unfortunately, radical elements in our region will remain long after the ink on any agreement has dried. To fully grasp this, we just need to listen to the radical elements themselves. In 1996, al Qaeda rose to prominence with Osama bin Laden’s fatwa or “declaration of war.” The long, rambling fatwa stood at more than 11,000 words, railing against everything deemed unacceptable to his brand of militant Islam. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict barely appeared and was nothing more than a footnote to all the general grievances laid out by bin Laden.

While Israelis, including this Israeli government, desire a peace agreement with all of our neighbors, it cannot come at the cost of our existence. Recent events have only confirmed to Israel that we live in a tough neighborhood with constantly shifting sands. If Israel signs a peace agreement, it needs to know that it is permanent, stable and secure, and not subject to changing circumstances.

Israel, with a narrow waist of only a few kilometers, can afford to take few chances with the security of its population, the majority of which reside a mere RPG launcher away from the Green Line.

Those espousing linkage ignore the reality beyond Israel‘s borders. Recent events have brought the true nature of challenges facing the Middle East to international attention. Let us hope that this wider view will at least prove constructive to meeting those challenges, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can return to its proper perspective to improve the possibility of its resolution.

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Danny Ayalon is Israel‘s deputy minister of foreign affairs.

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UCLA Daily Bruin Prints Center’s “Wall of Lies”


Taking inspiration from Jumanah Albahri’s admission of a genocidal agenda in her confrontation with David Horowitz at UCSD last year, the focus of this spring’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Campaign will be Islamic extremists’ genocidal objectives and their campaign of lies, which are on full display during their annual “Israel Apartheid Week.” As the centerpiece of the Freedom Center’s counter-protest, student groups will confront the “apartheid walls” with our center’s “Wall of Lies,” which is composed of the anti-Israel lies Palestinians promulgate with the intention of destroying the Jewish State. The UCLA Daily Bruin has just printed the center’s Wall of Lies, which is depicted in the graphic above, and is also printed below. To learn more about the Wall of Lies, visit

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Rocket Attack Shakes Israel

by P. David Hornik

On Wednesday night a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the southern Israeli town of Beersheva (a resident, I heard the sirens and the boom). It damaged several homes and vehicles, and ten people including four children had to be taken to hospital for anxiety (I heard the ambulances too).

Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza—apparently hitting the responsible terror cell itself and injuring three of its members, and various other terror targets in the Strip, causing damage.

Amid a general escalation in rocket and mortar fire (and other terror) from Gaza in recent months, the Grad attack on Beersheva marked a specific escalation in two ways. For one, the Iranian-made Grad is a longer-range and more powerful rocket than the Kassams that Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, have mostly been firing from there.

For another, Beersheva is a larger and more distant target than any other that Hamas has struck since Operation Cast Lead (Israel’s war on Gaza terror) two years ago, during which seven rockets hit Beersheva and seriously injured two people including a seven-year-old boy.

The timing of Wednesday night’s attack is no mystery. Two Iranian warships—the first to have crossed Egypt’s Suez Canal since the 1979 Iranian Revolution—were simultaneously heading to the harbor in Latakia, Syria. Even a New York Times report acknowledges that the upheaval now sweeping the Middle East is, rather than a triumph of democracy, a boost for Iran and its allies.

In other words, the Grad firing represents growing Axis of Evil assertiveness and a further erosion in the deterrence that Israel partly reestablished with Operation Cast Lead. Add in Thursday’s news about four new nuclear sites in Syria, and the mood for Israelis is something other than the celebration that pundits like Thomas Friedman and Peter Beinart—shining optimists of a new, peaceful, liberal Middle East—have harshly demanded of them.

An Israeli institute with close ties to Military Intelligence also reports that Hamas is trying to exploit the Mubarak government’s fall to get Egypt to allow more weapons into Gaza. Mubarak, fearful of Hamas and its parent-organization the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt itself, had acted to stanch the flow—clearly with limited success. Egypt’s current military rulers’ attitude is uncertain; again it’s hard for Israelis to be optimistic.

Israel has never had attractive choices on Gaza, having to decide between the Scylla of occupying over a million deeply hostile Arabs and the Charybdis of terror from the Strip. Clearly, retaliatory raids like Wednesday night’s—wounding three jihadists ready for martyrdom and damaging some facilities—do not deter and have only symbolic value. Is another Cast Lead-type offensive, then, the only real option?

It would risk, for one thing, pushing the new military regime in Cairo—still an unknown quantity—into backing Hamas, and possibly even taking up arms against Israel to prove its nationalist credentials. It would also risk playing into Iran’s hands: one thing Tehran, which has its own domestic problems, may well relish is a diversionary spectacle of Israeli bombs hitting Gaza while the West—in the spirit of the Goldstone Report—joins the Arab and Muslim worlds in a fury of condemnation.

On the other hand, words like Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s on Thursday—that Israel would “not tolerate the bombardment of our citizens” and “I wouldn’t suggest that anyone test our resolve”—risk sounding dangerously hollow. Hamas, backed by Iran, is testing Israel’s resolve and getting away with it. Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak face the difficult task of deciding how much to tolerate—or when to respond more substantially and how.

To an extent it’s a game of chance. A single Grad or Kassam that causes more serious, even catastrophic harm could force Israel to act—without hope of Western (or any other) backing.

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P. David Hornik

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ACLU Leaders Are Supporting Censorship of Israeli Speakers

by Alan M. Dershowitz

The international campaign to prevent speakers from delivering pro-Israel talks at universities has been assisted by leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union—an organization that is supposed to protect freedom of speech for all. The method used to silence these speakers and preclude their audiences from hearing their message is exemplified by a now infamous event at the University of California at Irvine.

Michael Oren—a distinguished scholar and writer, a moderate supporter of the two-state solution, and now Israel's Ambassador to the United States—was invited to speak. The Muslim Student Union set out to prevent him from delivering his talk Here is the way Erwin Chemerinksy, Dean of the law school, described what the students did:

"The Muslim Student Union orchestrated a concerted effort to disrupt the speech. One student after another stood and shouted so that the ambassador could not be heard. Each student was taken away only to be replaced by another doing the same thing."

Chemerinsky understates what happened, as anyone can see by watching a video of the event, available online ( This was more than a "concerted effort to disrupt the speech." It was a concerted effort to stop it completely—to censor Oren's right to speak and his audience's right to hear him. The efforts to disrupt succeeded; the effort to stop ultimately failed. Moreover, Chemerinsky fails to mention what happened both before and after the concerted effort. There is undisputed evidence that there was a well-planned conspiracy to censor Oren's talk, and then to lie about it, which the students did after the event.

The students were disciplined by the university for their actions, though the nature and degree of the discipline has been kept confidential. Campus sources have characterized it as a "slap on the wrist." Since the students were arrested, the District Attorney, quite understandably, commenced a criminal investigation. After learning of the careful planning that went into the concerted effort to prevent Oren from speaking and the subsequent cover-up, the DA filed misdemeanor charges against those who were involved.

This decision resulted in an outcry by radicals, many of whom favor censorship of pro-Israel speakers. In a letter to the DA signed by many well-known anti-Israel zealots, the incident was described as merely a protest: "The students nonviolently and verbally protested…"

Then, in an effort to blame the victims, the letter pointed the finger at pro-Israel students who wanted to listen to Oren speak claiming—quite falsely—that the Muslim Student Union censors "conducted themselves in less of a disruptive manner than some of the counter-protestors…" This is simply a lie, as anyone can see by viewing the video. Moreover, the intent of the so-called "counter-protestors" was simply to hear the speaker, whereas the intent of the Muslim Student Union was to censor the speaker.

The fact that radical anti-Israel zealots would support censorship of a pro-Israel speaker comes as no surprise. But the fact that the letter of support was signed by two ACLU leaders should shock all civil libertarians and supporters of the ACLU. I have been a supporter of the ACLU for half a century and was a national board member. I supported the right of Nazis to march through Skokie and I defend the right of the most virulent anti-Israel speakers to participate in the marketplace of ideas. The ACLU policy has always been to oppose concerted efforts to prevent speakers from delivering their remarks. While supporting sporadic heckling and jeering that merely demonstrates opposition to the content of the remarks, the ACLU has always condemned concerted efforts to silence invited speakers.

Yet signatories of the letter—which never once criticizes the censoring Muslim Union students while condemning those who wanted to hear the speaker—include "Chuck Anderson," who identifies himself as President ACLU Chapter, Orange County and Chair, The Peace and Freedom Party, Orange County;" (a hard left anti-Israel group), and "Hector Villagro," who identifies himself as "Incoming Executive Director, ACLU of Southern California."

Dean Chemerinsky, while also opposing criminal prosecution, made a point to condemn the censoring students:

"The students' behavior was wrong and deserves punishment. There is no basis for the claim that the disruptive students were just exercising their First Amendment rights. There is no constitutional right to disrupt an event and keep a speaker from being heard. Otherwise, any speaker could be silenced by a heckler's veto. The Muslim students could have expressed their message in many other ways: picketing or handing out leaflets outside the auditorium where Ambassador Oren was speaking, making statements during the question and answer period, holding their own events on campus."

The ACLU leaders, on the other hand, seem to be justifying the actions of the censoring students while limiting their condemnation to the pro-Israel students who wanted to hear the speaker.

After being criticized for supporting censorship, Villagro sought to justify his signing the letter by the following "logic:"

"The district attorney's action will undoubtedly intimidate students in Orange County and across the state and discourage them from engaging in any controversial speech or protest for fear of criminal charges."

The opposite is true. If these students are let off with a slap on the wrist from the University, that will encourage other students around the nation and the world to continue with efforts to prevent pro-Israel speaker from delivering their speeches. The ACLU should be supporting a clear line between occasional heckling and outright censorship. The ACLU leaders who signed the letter are on the wrong side of that line and should not be speaking for the ACLU.

Unless the ACLU explicitly renounces its' leaders support for students who seek to censor pro-Israel speakers, that organization will lose the backing of many who believe that all speech should be protected—not only speech approved of by its leaders.

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Alan M. Dershowitz

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Where Is The Outrage Now?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Obama and many others in the international community have been quicker in condemning settlement construction in Israel than atrocities by Arab dictators against innocent civilians.

Has retired South African judge Richard Goldstone considered the possibility of heading a special commission of inquiry to look into the war crimes that are being perpetrated against Libyans and other Arabs?

Settlements may be a problem, but they are not more dangerous than the massacres that are being perpetrated against Arabs.

It took President Barack Obama nine days to condemn Col. Muammar Gaddafi's massacres in Libya as "outrageous" and "unacceptable."

It took the UN Security Council more than a week to hold a closed-door meeting and issue a tempered statement condemning the violence in Libya and calling for its immediate end and for those responsible to be held accountable.

This is the same Security Council that one week earlier held a special and open session to condemn construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Fourteen out of fifteen members of the council voted in support of the anti-settlement resolution, which was vetoed by the US.

The same members, however, saw no need to hold a vote on the slaughtering of thousands of Libyans by Gaddafi.

But both Obama and the Security Council stopped short of calling for Gaddafi's removal from power for perpetrating atrocities against his own people.

The Europeans have also been cautious in their response to the carnage in Libya. They too have refrained from calling for regime change in Libya.

One can understand why Americans and Europeans are worried about their economic interests in Libya, especially with regard to oil. It is also likely that the West is embarrassed about its relationship with the Libyan dictator who, despite his crimes, was welcomed back into the international community in 2003.

Then, Gaddafi was apparently forgiven for his role in the Lockerbie plane explosion and support for countless terror groups in the Arab and Islamic world. Gaddafi was forgiven because he had agreed to abandon his nuclear ambitions and promised to be good..

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, on the other hand, who for over 30 years served Western interests in the Middle East and did his utmost to preserve the peace treaty with Israel and support moderate Arabs and Muslims, was thrown to the dogs by the Obama Administration as soon as his people started demanding regime change.

Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seem to be more troubled by the death of 300 Egyptians than the brutal massacring of thousands of Libyans. Obama and Clinton seem to be more worried about construction in Jewish settlements than war crimes and serious human rights violations in the Arab world.

The US Administration and the rest of the international community have once again sent a message to the Arabs that they do not really care about human rights and democracy and that they are ready to sacrifice thousands of Arabs to keep the oil prices as low as ever. Mubarak was unfortunate because his country does not have oil.

Now at least the Arab people know that they can no longer rely on Obama and Clinton to support any of their pro-democracy movements.

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Khaled Abu Toameh

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Teachers Physically Assaulted by Islamists

by David J. Rusin

Classroom topics ranging from ham to the Holocaust have been known to inspire complaints, demands, and legal threats by offended Muslims, but sometimes even violence can erupt.

Consider the case of Gary Smith, head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls' School in the Islamist stronghold of Tower Hamlets, a borough of London, England. Recent court proceedings illuminate an incident from last July, when four men attacked Smith with a knife, a metal rod, and a cement block as he walked on the street, leaving him with significant injuries. Why? "They did not approve of him teaching religion to Muslim girls," the Daily Mail reports:

Detectives made secret recordings of the gang's plot to attack Mr. Smith prior to the brutal assault.

The covert audio probe captured the gang condemning Mr. Smith for "teaching other religions to our sisters," the court heard.

"The evidence from what was said on the probe points overwhelmingly to a religious motive for this attack," the prosecutor concluded. The men pleaded guilty and will remain in custody until sentencing. Police have denied knowing of the gang's intentions beforehand.

This is not the first example of a teacher in Europe being physically assaulted because his or her benign words or actions at school had distressed Muslim sensibilities:

  • Two years ago in Denmark, Rabih Abou Khamis, an ethnic Palestinian Muslim, pummeled and bit an instructor who had shaken his nine-year-old daughter's hand at the start of a parent-teacher meeting. In the words of a police superintendent, the father insisted that the educator's behavior had been "indecent" and "gone too far and offended his honor." Khamis was convicted and sentenced to prison time.

  • Last year in France, a teacher claimed that a student had sprayed her and an assistant with "teargas" during a lesson on 9/11. She stated that "he stood up and declared that al-Qaeda is not terrorist and that neither is the Taliban," before pulling out a canister and dousing them. According to a Dutch news item, the student is of North African origin. IW has been unable to determine the outcome of the criminal complaint filed against the teen.

Non-Muslims commit the vast majority of violence suffered by teachers in the West, but what of religiously motivated violence targeting educators? Robust statistics are lacking. However, combining the above cases with the paucity of comparable incidents sparked by teachers' perceived insults to religions other than Islam, there is reason to suspect that in this genre of faith-driven brutality, Islamists once again account for a disproportionate share of assailants.

One thing is certain: sooner or later, the supremacist ideology of radical Islam spawns outbreaks of violence. Minimizing such violence must begin with combating the ideology at its core.

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David J. Rusin

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Another Brick in CAIR's Wall of Resistance

by IPT News

When a Tustin, Cal. man was indicted on immigration charges and accused of lying about his contact with a relative who worked for Osama bin Laden, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) blasted the case for its reliance on an informant it considered unreliable.

In interviews with Southern California Public Radio in February 2009, CAIR-Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said the FBI has been "hiring shady characters," and "a convicted felon, a con artist" who should not be believed.

Now, that same convicted felon is the foundation for a class-action lawsuit CAIR filed with the ACLU this week against the FBI. The Bureau, it alleges, sent informant Craig Monteilh into southern California mosques to conduct surveillance on people simply because they are Muslims.

The lawsuit represents three men active at the Islamic Center of Irvine and the Orange County Islamic Foundation, but seeks class action status on behalf of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who interacted with Monteilh. It also requests a court order requiring the government destroy all the information he gathered.

This action comes one month after CAIR officials claimed their organization had a "consistent policy of positive and constructive engagement with law enforcement officials." That defense was required after CAIR's San Francisco chapter posted a flier on its website, urging people to "Build a Wall of Resistance" by not talking with the FBI.

FBI officials have not commented on the lawsuit. The allegation that agents are sending informants into mosques without cause has been made for several years. FBI Director Robert Mueller has repeatedly denied this charge in public and under oath before congressional panels, saying "we do not focus on institutions. We focus on individuals. And I will say generally if there is evidence or information as to an individual or individuals undertaking illegal activities in religious institutions with appropriate high-level approval, we would undertake investigative activities, regardless of the religion."

Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office, made it clear during a forum at the University of Michigan-Dearborn last year that informants are a tool used to target a variety of crimes. "We use [informants] in gang cases, we use them in public corruption cases, we use them in everything we do," he said. "We use them in counterterrorism cases ... Folks, we don't target religions. We don't target buildings. We can't do it. Under our rules, under the laws of this land, under the Constitution we can't do it. I would go to jail; agents would lose their jobs."

The lawsuit portrays the agents responsible for handling Monteilh as cavalier toward these concerns and legal safeguards. The agents "were well aware that many of the surveillance tools that they had given Monteilh were being used illegally," it says. Further, the plaintiffs claim:

"Agent [Kevin] Armstrong once told Monteilh that while warrants were needed to conduct most surveillance for criminal investigations, 'National security is different. Kevin is God.' Agent Armstrong also told Monteilh more than once that they did not always need warrants, and that even if they could not use the information in court because they did not have a warrant, it was still useful to have the information. He said that they could attribute the information to a confidential source if they needed to."

Unless Monteilh was recording his FBI handlers, it is his word against theirs. The lawsuit makes no reference to recordings that prove the allegations.

There are recordings that may show Monteilh's work did target people warranting scrutiny.

Though the case later was dropped, charges were brought against a man whose brother-in-law served as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden and was designated by the United States as a terrorist. Ahmadullah Niazi was accused of failing to disclose that relationship and of lying about his travels to Pakistan.

During a February 2009 bond hearing, an FBI agent testified that Niazi referred to bin Laden as "an angel" and provided an informant – who turned out to be Monteilh – with taped sermons from an imam considered to have been a spiritual advisor for two September 11th hijackers.

Agent Thomas Ropel, III, who is not named as a defendant in the CAIR/ACLU lawsuit, testified that Niazi initiated conversations in which he "discussed conducting terrorist attacks and blowing up buildings."

The notions that mosques should not be breached during terrorism investigations can be debated. But a number of prosecutions show mosques have been used to further illegal activity. Among the examples:

    • In Detroit, a complaint charged Imam Luqman Abdullah with using his mosque to preach violent jihad and for weapons and martial arts training. Abdullah refused to surrender to FBI agents who came to arrest him, firing three shots before being killed by return fire. CAIR spent more than a year trying to blame the FBI for Abdullah's death, but separate reviews by the state of Michigan and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division found the agents had acted appropriately.

    • In Tampa, three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's governing board served as religious and administrative leaders of a mosque during the early 1990s. One, Ramadan Shallah, serves as the terrorist group's leader today.

    • The disappearance of young Somali men from Minneapolis believed to have joined the al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia was aided by meetings inside a local mosque.

    • Homeland Security records obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism under the Freedom of Information Act show that a prominent Virginia mosque was "associated with Islamic extremists" and "operating as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S." A report by Immigration and Customs Enforcement dated in December, 2007, said the mosque "has been linked to numerous individuals linked to terrorism financing" and "has also been associated with encouraging fraudulent marriages."

Any CAIR criticism of the FBI should be viewed in light of the Bureau's 2008 decision to cut off non-criminal communication with the group. That move is based on evidence the FBI discovered during a terror financing investigation which found that CAIR's founders were part of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network in America. CAIR itself is listed among the network's entities.

Last year, a Department of Justice official succinctly reported that no new evidence had emerged "that exonerates CAIR from the allegations that it provides financial support to designated terrorist organizations."

The outcome for the lawsuit against the FBI will take time. The record of the accusers, however, is already clear.

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IPT News

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Column One: Playing Israel’s Good Hand

by Caroline B. Glick

On Wednesday night, Israelis received our first taste of the new Middle East with the missile strikes on Beersheba. Iran’s Palestinian proxy, the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood known as Hamas, carried out its latest war crime right after Iran’s battleships entered Syria’s Latakia port.

Their voyage through the Suez Canal to Syria was an unadulterated triumph for the mullahs.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s warships sailed across the canal without even being inspected by the Egyptian, US or Israeli navies.

On the diplomatic front, the Iranian-dominated new Middle East has had a pronounced impact on the Western-backed Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s political posture towards the US.

The PA picked a fight with America just after the Obama administration forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to surrender power.

Mubarak’s departure was a strategic victory for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and for its sister branch Hamas in Gaza.

As part of his efforts to neutralize the threat the Muslim Brotherhood posed to his regime, Mubarak sealed off Gaza’s border with Egypt after Hamas seized power there in June 2007.

The Gaza-Sinai border was breached during last month’s revolution. Since Mubarak’s forced resignation, the military junta now leading Egypt has failed to reseal it.

The revolution in Egypt happened just after the PA was thrown into a state of disarray. Al- Jazeera’s exposure of PA documents indicating the leadership’s willingness to make minor compromises with Israel in the framework of a peace deal served to discredit Fatah leaders in the eyes of the Israel-hating Palestinian public.

In the wake of the Al-Jazeera revelations, senior PA leaders escalated their anti-Israel and anti- American pronouncements. The PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was forced to resign.

The shift in the regional power balance following Mubarak’s fall has caused Fatah leaders to view their ties to the US as a strategic liability.

If they wish to survive, they must cut a deal with Hamas. And to convince Hamas to cut a deal, they need to abandon the US.

And so they have. Fatah’s first significant move to part company with Washington came with its relentless bid to force a vote on a resolution condemning Israeli construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria at the UN Security Council. In an attempt to avert a vote on the resolution that the US public expected him to veto, Obama spent 50 minutes on the phone with Mahmoud Abbas begging him to set the resolution aside. Obama promised to take unprecedented steps against Israel in return for Abbas’s agreement to stand down. But Abbas rejected his appeal.

Not only did Abbas defy the wishes of the most pro-Palestinian president ever to occupy the White House, Abbas told the whole world about how he defied Obama.

Abbas’s humiliation of Obama was only the first volley in the Fatah leader’s campaign against the US. Abbas, Salam Fayyad and their PA ministers have sent paid demonstrators into the street to protest against America. They announced a boycott of American diplomats and journalists. They have called for a boycott of American products. They have scheduled a “Day of Rage” against America for Friday after mosque prayers.

While excoriating Obama and the US, the PA is actively wooing Hamas. On Wednesday, the PA accepted the legitimacy of Hamas control over Gaza. Three-and-a-half years after Hamas wrested control over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup, on Wednesday Fayyad said that the PA is willing to end its objection to Hamas control over the area if Hamas agrees to participate in the general elections Abbas has scheduled for September.

At the same time as he publicly beseeched Hamas to join forces with Fatah, Fayyad announced that the PA is willing to forgo US financial assistance if that assistance continues to come with political strings attached. The only real string attached to US aid is the stipulation that no US financial assistance can be used to finance Hamas.

THE PA’S announced willingness to end its receipt of US aid is by far its boldest move to date. With the Arab world going up in smoke, Fatah officials know they cannot expect to receive any significant funding from Arab states for the foreseeable future. That makes them entirely dependent on US and Europe.

And make no mistake, the PA budget is entirely a creation of foreign aid. The PA is the largest foreign aid recipient in the world. Last year, it received $1.8 billion in foreign assistance.

US direct assistance accounted for $550 million, or nearly a third of that amount. The US gave the PA another $268m. in indirect assistance through UNRWA. UNRWA is the UN agency devoted exclusively to providing welfare benefits to the Palestinians while subordinating itself to the Palestinian political agenda.

Without US assistance, the PA would cease to be a political factor in the region. So by offering to forgo the aid, Fayyad, Abbas and their colleagues are essentially threatening to commit political suicide.

The Palestinians’ declared readiness to forgo US aid is all the more remarkable when compared to Israel’s refusal to countenance the thought of forgoing or even cutting back the assistance it receives from the US. Whereas the Palestinian economy will collapse without US assistance, were Israel to forgo the $3b. in military assistance it receives every year from Washington, the move would have little impact on the economy.

Economic analyses of US military assistance have noted that several factors degrade the value of the aid. The US requires Israel to spend 75 percent of the assistance in the US. Israel’s inability to open its purchases to competitive bidding in the world market has forced it to pay inflated prices for much of what it buys.

So, too, by buying US weapons systems, Israel has harmed its own military industries, which are blocked from selling or developing systems for the IDF contractors.

Moreover, because the US has tied its aid to Egypt to its aid to Israel and justified its military aid to Jordan and Lebanon through its military assistance to Israel, by accepting the aid, Israel is enabling its neighbors to upgrade their military capabilities. Their upgraded military capabilities in turn force Israel to invest still more resources in its defense budget to maintain its qualitative edge against its US subsidized neighbors.

With all the hidden costs the military assistance entails, it is reasonable to discount the actual value of the aid by 50%. That is, the actual value of annual US military assistance is about $1.5b.

The direct military cost of the Second Lebanon War is estimated at $2.2b. The direct military cost of Operation Cast Lead is estimated at $1.4b. The actual costs of both wars to the Israeli economy were several times higher.

Those who claim that Israel cannot manage without US military aid ignore the fact that neither of these wars had any discernible impact on the economy.

The political cost Israel has paid for US military assistance has been astronomical. As a recent study of US military assistance by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies demonstrated, the psychological impact of the US aid on Israeli and American leaders alike has had a disastrous impact on the relations between the two states and impaired their ability to understand the actual strategic rationale of their alliance. Israeli leaders have developed a subservient mentality towards the Americans and the Americans have forgotten that a strong Israel is the US’s most valuable strategic asset in the region.

THE PALESTINIANS’ expressed willingness to forgo their assistance from the US is no doubt a bluff. And Congress would do well to call their bluff and cancel US assistance to the PA.

Yet their behavior presents Israel with an important lesson about the fundamentals of diplomacy that appear lost on our leaders.

The Palestinians understand the rules of diplomacy far better than Israel does. Israel believes that diplomacy is about getting other governments to be nice to us. Palestinians understand that diplomacy is a nonviolent means of weakening your enemies and expanding your own power. They also understand that the starting point for any effective diplomatic strategy is a reality-based assessment of other government’s interests.

As the revolutions throughout the region show, in the real world, the Arabs do not care about the Palestinians. Europeans and leftist Americans care about the Palestinians. European leaders need to support the Palestinians for domestic political reasons. US leaders support the Palestinians to maintain good relations with Europe and with the American Left.

Recognizing this, the likes of Abbas and Fayyad understand that no matter what they say or do, the West will probably not abandon them. Europeans need them to continue carrying out their political war against Israel because that is what their constituents demand. US leaders will continue to support them because they follow Europe’s lead.

On the other hand, given their newfound power, PA leaders have to bend over backwards to appease Hamas and Iran if they wish to survive.

Since they rightly assess that the West needs them more than they need the West, not only are the Palestinians unwilling to pay any price for maintaining Western support for them.

They are willing to initiate ugly confrontations with the US and humiliate Obama in order to win the approval of Hamas and Iran.

Facing this reality, Israel’s best bet is to initiate a few confrontations of its own to demonstrate its strategic importance to the US and Europe.

With the conflagrations raging in the Arab world essentially making its argument that a strong Israel is imperative for the West, Israel should be going on the offensive against the Palestinians and the international Left that supports them.

But instead of pointing out the truth, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his colleagues maintain their posture as supplicants to Washington, making concession after concession in exchange for further abuse in the hopes of avoiding a confrontation.

For instance, Netanyahu has defied his own party and broken his word to the public by maintaining an undeclared freeze on Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Since January 2010, Netanyahu has systematically denied Jews building permits in the area in the hopes of appeasing Obama.

And how has Obama repaid Israel for our government’s willingness to deny Jews their civil rights? The Obama administration has branded all Jewish communities in post-1967 Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as “illegitimate,” and blamed Israel for the absence of peace in the region.

As our region is consumed by the flames of rebellion and revolution, the challenges and threats Israel faces multiply by the day. In these new and trying times, our leaders must shed their failed concepts of statecraft based on weakness and adopt new ones founded on strength. The PA is playing a bad hand wisely.

We are playing a good hand foolishly.

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Caroline B. Glick

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gaddafi's Son Denies Crackdown; Loyalists Reportedly Continue Attacks

by Leila Fadel, Ernesto Londono and Debbi Wilgoren

Moammar Gaddafi's son denied Thursday that Libya has killed large numbers of protesters through airstrikes and other attacks, while a former top Gaddafi aide said he quit the government to protest its violent crackdown.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Gaddafi's son, disputed the death tolls that have have been reported since the protests began 10 days ago, saying allegations that hundreds have been killed are a "joke."

"Tripoli is quiet," he said in an interview aired on Libyan state television. "Life is normal."

The junior Gaddafi said Libya intends to provide Western journalists on Friday access to Tripoli, the capital, and other cities, so they can corroborate the government's claim that the country remains under Gaddafi's control.

The U.S. State Department issued a warning to Western journalists who have entered Libya in recent days without government permission. Citing information received from top Libyan officials, the warning said some members of CNN, BBC Arabic and al-Arabiya would be allowed into the country, but any reporters not approved by the government as part of that effort would be considered al-Qaeda "collaborators."

"The Libyan government said that it was not responsible for the safety of these journalists, who risked immediate arrest on the full range of possible immigration charges," the State Department warning said.

Libya appears dangerously fractured, with Gaddafi's regime intent on fighting but its authority beyond Tripoli in doubt. The longtime ruler has tightened his grip on the capital, witnesses say, by flooding the streets with militiamen and loyalist troops who were reportedly roaming the streets and shooting opponents from SUVs.

Rebels who launched an uprising last week have consolidated their control of key eastern cities, however, and continued advancing west across the coastal strip, where most of the country's population is clustered. The opposition has called for a large protest Friday.

In the city of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, an army unit attacked a mosque where protesters had been stationed for several days, a witness told the Associated Press. The soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the mosque's minaret with anti-aircraft missiles, the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

He told the AP there were casualties, but couldn't provide exact figures. Some of the young men among the protesters had hunting rifles, he said. He said a day earlier an envoy from Gaddafi had come to the city and warned protesters, "Either leave or you will see a massacre."

"What is happening is horrible, those who attacked us are not the mercenaries; they are sons of our country," the witness said, sobbing. After the assault, thousands massed in the city's main Martyrs Square, shouting "leave, leave," in reference to Gaddafi, he said.

The other attack came at a small airport outside Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, where rebels claimed control on Wednesday, AP reported. Militiamen on Thursday attacked a line of residents who were protecting the facility, opening fire with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, said a resident who saw the assault

"They left piles of human remains and swamp of blood," the resident told the Associated Press. "The hospitals are packed with those killed and injured."

In Cairo, a cousin and close adviser to Gaddafi said he had defected from the regime to protest its crackdown on the uprising, the Associated Press reported. Gadhaf al-Dam, who arrived in Egypt several days ago, is a member of the Libyan leader's inner circle, handling Libyan-Egyptian relations.

Dam said in a statement that the crackdown has seen "grave violations to human rights and human and international laws," AP reported. He said he left Libya "in protest and to show disagreement."

Oil prices hit $100 a barrel because of the turmoil in the North African oil exporter, a peak not reached since 2008. In Washington and other capitals, attention turned to the possible responses to the crackdown, including economic sanctions or imposition of a no-flight zone over Libya to prevent the use of aircraft against civilians.

In Washington, President Obama said the United States was developing a "full range of options" and would intensify discussions with other nations to address the violent unraveling of Gaddafi's regime.

"The suffering and bloodshed are outrageous and unacceptable," Obama said. The Libyan government "must be held accountable for its failure . . . and face the cost of continued violations of human rights."

But enormous questions remained about whether any foreign powers could wield the influence necessary to head off Libya's dizzying plunge into disorder, much less persuade Gaddafi to reconsider his vow to fight to the death in defense of his 41-year-old regime.

The independent organization Human Rights Watch has estimated that 300 people have been killed in a week of clashes, although some Libyan opposition groups and Western diplomats have said that they fear the figure may be much larger.

A 600-passenger ferry chartered by the U.S. government was in Libya to evacuate U.S. citizens to the nearby island of Malta, but its departure has been delayed by turbulent weather.

Residents reached by telephone in Tripoli on Wednesday said Gaddafi's loyalists appeared to have reclaimed control of the capital after several days of skirmishes. Stores and offices were shut down, the residents said, while blue-uniformed militiamen set up checkpoints and regime loyalists cleaned up graffiti calling for him to step down.

But opposition groups appeared to have taken control of cities across a broad swath of northern Libya that stretched hundreds of miles from Tobruk, near the Egyptian border, to as far as Misurata, 120 miles east of the capital. The loosely organized opposition protected key roads and government installations, with men in fluorescent orange vests patrolling the area, armed with sticks or rocket-propelled grenades.

A state-run radio station previously known as Eastern Radio was under the control of opposition groups, which renamed it Free Radio. In and around Baida, along the northern coast west of Tobruk, the once-omnipresent portraits of Gaddafi had been ripped down or burned.

"Oh Moammar, dictator, it's your turn now," people chanted.

There was ample evidence of recent fighting in Baida. Buildings on Revolution Street were pocked with bullet holes. At La Braq Airport, spent ammunition from rifles and antiaircraft rounds littered the ground. Civilians and defected soldiers climbed on tanks and blocked the runways to stop planes from landing - a precaution, residents said, after people were gunned down last week by purported mercenaries flown in from elsewhere in Africa.

The ability of the rebels to swiftly push west suggested that Libya's powerful tribes, long a beneficiary of Gaddafi's patronage, were turning against him. In recent days, tribal leaders have declared their support for the opposition after Gaddafi's use of warplanes and helicopter gunships to kill hundreds of protesters.

Indeed, the eastern tribes have long complained of being denied a share of Libya's wealth and resources, and eastern cities such as Benghazi have been bastions of opposition. Such grievances led to a revolt in the 1990s and underpinned the ongoing rebellion that began in Benghazi last week, in a country of as many as 140 tribes.

The east's al-Zuwayya tribe threatened to shut down oil production unless authorities stopped the "oppression of the protesters." The Warfala, one of the country's biggest and most influential tribes, has also reportedly joined the opposition. The tribe controls areas around Tripoli.

"We are seeing more and more tribal defections. A lot of police and military in Tobruk, Benghazi and other eastern cities defected because their tribal leaders had ordered them," Ronald Bruce St. John, an author and expert on Libya, said in a telephone interview. "I think you will see more and more in western Libya."

So far, St. John said, it appears that the major tribes in and around Tripoli continue to support Gaddafi.

The signs of a widening rebellion in eastern Libya came as more senior military commanders and government officials defected. The Libyan newspaper Quryna reported that an air force pilot bailed out of his Soviet-made warplane and allowed it to crash rather than following an order to bomb Benghazi.

Residents of Tripoli said a sense of fear pervaded the capital.

"We have been indoors for the past three days," said Rahma, a Libyan American reached by telephone, who insisted that her last name not be used to avoid any retribution. "Tripoli is like a ghost town, as if nobody exists here."

She said her father, also a U.S. citizen, had been detained during an anti-government demonstration a few days ago in front of Tripoli's courthouse and was being held at a hospital on a military base. She said she fears for his safety after listening to Gaddafi's speech, in which he threatened to execute anyone going against the regime.

"We don't know what's going to happen to him," Rahma said.

She said two sons of a neighbor were killed at a protest. The next day, Rahma said, the neighbor placed a green Libyan national flag by her house to show support for Gaddafi and avoid being targeted by his loyalists.

Original URL:

Leila Fadel, Ernesto Londono and Debbi Wilgoren

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Second Suspected Syria Nuclear Site Is Found

by Jay Solomon

A second suspected nuclear installation has been identified in Syria, according to commercial satellite photos, providing new evidence that Damascus may have been pursuing atomic weapons before a 2007 Israeli military strike.

The publishing Wednesday of the photos by Washington's Institute for Science and International Security could increase pressure on the United Nations to demand expansive new inspections of suspect Syrian facilities during a March board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.


ISIS - A suspected nuclear site, identified from commercial satellite images.

IAEA inspectors visited eastern Syria in 2008 and reported that they recovered traces of processed uranium from a site called Dair Alzour, which the Bush administration alleged housed a nearly operational nuclear reactor. Israeli jets destroyed the facility nearly eight months before the IAEA's visit.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has rebuffed repeated IAEA requests to conduct additional inspections of the site as well as three other facilities the U.N. agency believes could be related to a covert Syrian nuclear program. Damascus's rejection of IAEA inspections could result in Syria being declared noncompliant with its U.N. commitments and referred to the Security Council for formal censuring.

Mr. Assad denied in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month that his government has pursued a nuclear program. He also said he wouldn't allow the IAEA expansive powers to inspect his country.

The photos published by the ISIS think tank identifies what it says are one of the three additional sites the IAEA believes could be connected to the Dair Alzour facility. In a series of photos, ISIS displays what it alleges were apparent Syrian attempts to disguise the activities of site after the Israeli attack.

"Laying down a new foundation could be an attempt to defeat the environmental sampling the IAEA inspectors would like to carry out to see if uranium was present," the ISIS report reads.

ISIS says the location and contours of the building suggests it housed uranium-conversion equipment that is used to produce nuclear fuel. The facility, in a town called Marj as Sultan, is on the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus.

ISIS said it located the site using commercial satellite images based on information provided by sources at the IAEA as well as by a report in the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has said in recent months that he'd consider calling for a so-called special inspection of Syrian sites if Damascus continues to deny U.N. staff entry. Syria could then be referred to the Security Council, if it again refused the IAEA's request.

Diplomats at the IAEA said Mr. Amano is also considering releasing a report at the March meeting that would detail what the agency says is evidence that Syria was secretly developing a nuclear reactor. Such a move is viewed as less of a political risk than a call for a special inspection, but still could result in Security Council action at a later date.

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Jay Solomon

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Obama to Libyans: You’re on Your Own

by Stephen Brown

Washington finally broke its silence Wednesday over the crisis in Libya when President Barack Obama issued a statement before television cameras in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Until now, the Obama administration had been making only bland declarations concerning the Libyan turmoil in order not to endanger American diplomats and citizens who had yet to be evacuated to safety. Before Wednesday’s statement, Obama had only given out a written declaration regarding Libya last Friday.

But while the cause for the administration’s diplomatic reticence was resolved by a sea evacuation, Obama’s statement nevertheless contained only empty words. Instead of threats or a hard-hitting warning to Gaddafi from the leader of the world’s only superpower concerning the raging violence, the American public was treated to Obama’s well-known multi-polar approach for solving world problems, even when they involve American interests. With Wednesday’s statement, Obama once again demonstrated his continued intent to keep American power off the world stage.

“The entire world is watching, and we will coordinate our assistance and accountability measures with the international community,” Obama declared. “To that end, Secretary Clinton and I have asked Bill Burns, our Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, to make several stops in Europe and the region to intensify our consultations with allies and partners about the situation in Libya.”

Hillary Clinton will also travel to Geneva next Monday for more talks with other foreign ministers, all of which ought to scare Gadaffi into reining [sic] in his bands of killers and mercenaries.

Hundreds of these soldiers-for-hire, principally from Sudan, Chad and Niger, were reported to be heading to the Tripoli area, Gaddafi’s stronghold. According to an analysis by Stratfor Global Intelligence, the oil wealth in that area and the oil around Benghazi, the center of the anti-Gaddafi revolt, could see the current fighting develop into a protracted civil war between the two geographic regions.

Such a prospect would constitute a heavy setback for American and Western interests. With oil already over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008 and expected to reach $120 within weeks if Libya’s oil ports are not reopened soon, the United States and other Western countries are facing severe economic consequences. One report sums up this dismal financial forecast by warning high oil prices would end America’s and the world’s economic recovery, which is just getting underway. Like with Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which, Obama seems to believe, is caused by the building of Israeli settlements, reality is once more being ignored.

But Obama’s decision to send his diplomats on a world tour first before taking any action regarding Libya, if any is taken at all, is in keeping, as one analyst states, with his leftist world view, one in which there are no superpowers. Or at least in America’s case, a superpower that refuses to act like one. Early in his administration, Obama signaled the days of America unilaterally using its power to defend its interests were over when he told the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2009 “power is no longer a zero-sum game.”

“No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation,” he said. “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.”

These words must have gladdened the hearts of tin pot dictators, like Gadaffi, around the world. Under an Obama presidency, they would not have to fear unilateral American military action for their misbehavior, like the air strike Ronald Regan ordered against Gadaffi in the 1980s. Due to his leftist egalitarianism, Obama has leveled American power down to that of Benin’s, restricting his country’s options in any world crisis. Hillary Clinton, reflecting this approach, said on Tuesday the United Nations Security Council was where action on Libya should be decided.

While Obama’s multi-polar approach was expected, what was most surprising, though, about his Wednesday White House statement is that he announced no course of action at all. With criticisms that he was not being tough enough on Libya, it is baffling that his administration appears not to have even started working on a plan to deal with the crisis. With the Libyan revolt already days old, his words indicated his government is only now developing a course of action, even though he said “my national security team has been working around the clock to monitor the situation there.”

“I’ve also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis,” he said. “This includes actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we’ll carry out through multilateral institutions.”

Obama ended his statement by quoting a Libyan who said: “We just want to be able to live like human beings.”

But for that to happen, what is needed immediately is for the United States and NATO to use their airpower to stop the fighting. Bombing Gadaffi’s forces would cost less lives in the long run than a civil war fought “to the last drop of blood,” as the Libyan leader has promised. This also would allow the all-important oil exports to resume.

Discussions have taken place regarding establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and that is probably what Clinton will take up with her counterparts next Monday. But while this will stop Gaddafi’s mercenary pilots from bombing the opposition, it will not stop the killing on the ground. The only thing that would cause an old executioner like Gadaffi to stop killing is if an American aircraft carrier were to appear before the Libyan coast. But with Obama in the White House, don’t expect such a show of American power, even if it would allow people to start living like human beings.

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Stephen Brown

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Multiculturalism In Retreat

by Herbert I. London

At long last a European politician, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, lifted the curtain on the pernicious dimensions of multiculturalism. After several decades of home grown terrorism and an acceptance of separation by Muslim groups in the United Kingdom, the prime minister said, "Enough."

A new course will be charted that moves from accommodation to integration. There may be a risk of xenophobia with the Cameron approach, but it is a worthwhile trade-off if terrorist impulses are thwarted.

Mr. Cameron called his strategy "muscular liberalism": confronting extremist Islamic thought, and challenging those efforts that attempt to undermine Western values. The prime minister made special mention, for example, of zero tolerance for the subjugation of women, a practice permitted because of Islamic separation and application of Sharia Law.

The notion that different groups within a society should be encouraged to pursue their own cultural paths is a formulation based on religious tolerance. But as George Santayana, among others, noted: the first duty of the tolerant man is to exercise intolerance for intolerance. In other words, a line must be drawn when religious groups use societal tolerance to promote intolerance.

For at least two generations, Europeans have failed to integrate immigrants into their societies. These are recent immigrants who do not speak the language of the host country and have not accepted the basic historic and cultural background of the nation in which they now reside.

After observing the corrosive influence of multiculturalism, a consensus is beginning to emerge. In addition to Cameron's comments, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared multiculturalism a "total failure." Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets on mosques. French authorities have issued a prohibition on burqas and other full-body robes worn by some Muslim women. And the Swedish Democratic Party, which had almost no influence in the politics of the country, gained 5.7% of the vote in national elections after campaigning on a platform of anti-multiculturalism.

France, which has about 10 million Muslims, has introduced mandatory courses for all immigrants on "French values," women's rights and an overview of France's national history. Whether national identity can be imbibed or transcend religious imperatives remains to be seen.

From a sociological perspective integration represents a compromise between the traditions of the mother country and the host nation. Presumably one can be French, share the tradition of liberalism and at the same time be a Muslim. But is this compromise realistic? Will Islam allow for Sharia Law to coexist with liberal traditions?

Assimilation also demands the acceptance of the host nation's values and the shedding of the past. This is an all-or-nothing position that forces a stark choice. Put bluntly, "if you want to join us, you will do so on our terms. After all, no one has forced you to enter our shores."

Clearly Europeans have a right --some would argue an obligation -- to defend their Christian heritage against an onslaught from radical Muslim intrusion. The question is how best to defend this heritage. Cameron's well stated statement against multiculturalism is the sound of national tocsin to preserve British culture. On this side of the Atlantic it is a welcome statement that sets the tone for the challenges the West now faces, and will be facing, in the decades ahead.

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Herbert I. London

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Egypt, the Middle East and the Obama Doctrine

by Guy Millière

The most common – but incorrect--description of the storm that has just shaken Egypt is that it was born spontaneously of a large popular discontent.

There was and still is discontent among the Egyptian people, but the spark that ignited the powder was not spontaneous at all. It is now known ("The Secret Meeting That Sparked The Uprising," The Wall Street Journal, February 11th 2011) that a group of activists met several weeks before the start of the uprising to organize a series of events carefully designed to thwart the actions of security forces, and that these activists included members of various organizations of the left, the extreme left, and Islamists.

It is also impossible to ignore the fact that the Obama administration, beyond attitudes sometimes contradictory, supported the agitation, and that it indicated relatively quickly a determination both to drop Hosni Mubarak to encourage rapid democratization, and to see the Muslim Brotherhood integrated into the game.

Hosni Mubarak is gone, but there was no "revolution," just a coup; and thanks to maneuvers and manipulations, power is now in the hands of a "high council of the armed forces," which includes all military commanders. The constitution was abolished. Parliament was dissolved. The army remains what it has been since 1952: the backbone of Egyptian society.

Maintaining a military dictatorship is still possible, if not likely.

A new constitution is being drafted, and elections are scheduled. The new constitution, written by a committee headed by an Islamist judge, Tarek al-Bishry, will soon be completed. If elections are held, they will almost certainly lead to very disappointing results for those who may still dream of seeing the emergence of a "democracy."

There is a broad discrepancy between what most of the activists say they want, what the English speaking urban middle class protestors shown on American TV news reports from Tahrir square say they want, and what the poor and illiterate people who comprise the bulk of the population seem to want.

Surveys conducted in recent months show that only a tiny minority—less than 5%-- wish for freedom.

An overwhelming majority support instead a solid commitment to the strict enforcement of Islamic Shariah Law -= including stoning and female circumcision -- and to anti-American and anti-Israeli policies.

As poverty and illiteracy will not magically vanish, and sources of opinion, belief and prejudice will remain what they are, the logical consequence is that votes will go mostly to Islamists and radical nationalists.

In addition, one should expect an overall economic decline that Western aid will not curb. Presumably, the growth figures for recent years -- -9% through 2009, and 4.7% in 2010 -- belong to the past. Prices of food and basic necessities will rise again. Poverty, hunger and discontent will increase. It is almost certain, therefore, that trouble and unrest will also increase.

As Egypt needs American financial and logistic assistance, the alliance with the United States will not be broken, but will most likely become more distant and more chaotic.

As the army fears the consequences of another war, the peace treaty with Israel will not be repudiated, at least not immediately. But the border between Egypt and Gaza will probably become more permeable, and Egypt will presumably be less vigilant in controlling the passage of potential terrorists through its territory.

An evolution similar to the one at the end of the reign of the Shah in Iran seems excluded for the moment: there is no political and spiritual leader in Egypt that could be fully compared to Ayatollah Khomeini -- even if Youssef al-Qaradawi, President of the International Union of Ulema and prominent speaker on Al-Jazeera in Arabic, is back in Egypt and could play this role if he decide to play it, and if his health allows (he is 84).

Without fully joining the camp of the enemies of America and the West, Egypt will no longer be a friend; it is effectively lost -- whatever the initial intentions of those who started it all.

The handling of events by the Obama administration will, in all probability, be judged harshly by historians.

During the first two years of the Obama presidency, the position of the United States everywhere in the world has weakened. The president of the United States apologized for the past of his country wherever he went; he reached out to regimes that were supposed to be his worst enemies, and turned his back consistently on regimes that were supposed to be his most reliable friends.

In June 2009 in Cairo, Obama delivered a speech obsequiously extolling the virtues of Islam, and comparing Israel to South Africa during apartheid and Confederate States at the time of the Civil War. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, considered the mortal enemy of the Egyptian government, were invited to attend the speech.

At the same time, as the Iranian youth were protesting against a rigged election, Obama chose Ahmadinejad over the protestors.

Those two years were also marked by an almost unprecedented isolation and demonization of Israel, and by a strengthening of the camp of Iran in the Middle East: Syria, an ally of Iran for thirty years, was joined by Turkey (Sahar Zubairy, Turkey and Iran: A Growing Alliance, 11-05-2009,, and then by Lebanon. At the same time, the pro-Western camp was weakened and destabilized. Egypt is being lost. Jordan is confronted by protests and riots. Saudi Arabia looks more stable, but events in Yemen, in Bahrain, and now in Libya could have heavy consequences.

Although some think it a coincidence, others discern relations of cause and effect: During the twentieth century, whenever the United States was led by weak and indecisive people, or by ideologues, freedom retreated, and disorder grew.

This unwritten rule seems to apply also to the twenty-first century.

During the first year of the Obama Presidency, some authors spoke critically of an "Obama doctrine," based on docile courtesy vis-à-vis dictatorships hostile to the Western world; anti-Israeli attitudes; hints of anti-colonialism and pro-third-worldism, and a perhaps unconscious desire to weaken the United States. Charles Krauthammer in "Decline is a choice"(The Weekly Standard, October 19 2009) said the Obama doctrine was an "exercise in contraction," the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance." Ralph Peters, in "The Obama doctrine, Hugging Foes, Hurting Friends» (, April 29 2009) wrote that Obama's foreign policy was « a combination of dizzying naivete, dislike of our allies, disdain for our military, distrust of our intelligence services. »

The Obama doctrine is mentioned again, this time to say that President Barack Obama finally embodies American values; that what is happening will serve the interests of America (Simon Tisdall, "Out of Egyptian protests Obama's new doctrine is Born," The Guardian, February 11, 2011).

It is difficult to see how what happened in Egypt, and what happens in other Middle Eastern countries serve the interests of America. It is even more difficult to see, in Obama's words and reactions, a clear embodiment of American values.

It is easier to see the effects of the Obama doctrine as it was defined by critics of Obama in 2009. Obama's words and reactions could be described, at best, as a lack of any sense of leadership, or, more simply, using the words of Niall Ferguson ("Wanted: A Grand Strategy for America,, 02-13-2011), a "colossal failure."

Contagion, which many thought would not occur, has occurred, but it was helped by a mix of bad intentions, naivety and incompetence that will have to be analyzed at a later date.

Hostile dictatorships are facing trouble, but less trouble than allies of the West are facing -- and the dictatorships can use the most brutal and unrestrained repression. They will almost certainly survive. Allies of the West might not be so lucky. Iran continues to place its pawns: two Iranian warships just crossed the Suez Canal, after a trip through the Red Sea with a stopover in Jeddah, forty miles from Mecca. What, as well, will happen if Jordan falls; if Egypt is ruled soon by a combination of Islamists, radical nationalists and generals, and if Saudi Arabia has to consider that the "strong horse" in the region is Tehran, and no longer Washington? What will happen if Yemen and Bahrain, and then Bab El-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz, fall into the wrong hands?

Several presidents during the last decades spoke of America's determination to make the world safe for democracy. This determination seems to have been replaced by hesitations and by what seems to be a strange propensity to make the world safe just for powers that are toxic.

Original URL:

Guy Millière

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In Libya, an al-Qaida Ally Lurks in the Shadows

by IPT News

The mounting violence in Libya could have the unintended consequence of reviving radical Islamists including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a terror organization aligned with al-Qaida.

As Muammar Gaddafi's 41-year-old dictatorship totters on the brink, U.S. policymakers should pay close attention to reports that LIFG members are being released from Libyan jails, according to Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury Department official who monitors jihadist organizations. Until now, the LIFG has been essentially moribund inside Libya since Gaddafi's regime launched a repression campaign against it in the late 1990s.

But last week, more than 100 members of the LIFG were reportedly set free under mysterious circumstances from a jail near Tripoli. It is unclear whether they were released by anti-government forces or by order of Gaddafi, whose government says it has freed close to 850 purportedly reformed jihadists from prison in recent years.

Whatever the reason, news that LIFG members are getting out of jail is very troubling, according to Jonathan Schanzer, currently vice president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "Either way, what we're risking is a resuscitation of the LIFG," he said.

Since late 2003, when Gaddafi agreed to relinquish his weapons of mass destruction, the Libyan regime has sought to re-brand itself as an ally of the West in fighting al-Qaida and has provided intelligence on the LIFG.

As his domestic situation deteriorates, Gaddafi may believe it is in his interest to release terrorists "in order to say to the West, 'you need to back us'" and to drive home the point that the war against al Qaida will suffer if he is driven from power, Schanzer told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Monitoring LIFG's situation should be a top priority of U.S. intelligence agencies as they watch events in Libya, he said, and congressional committees would do well to examine the issue in oversight hearings.

On Sunday, a Libyan official said that Islamist gunmen last week attacked an army weapons depot and a nearby port, killing four soldiers and seizing hundreds of weapons. On Wednesday, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Khaim told European Union ambassadors that al-Qaida has established an emirate in the eastern city of Derna headed by a jihadist released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Italian Foreign Minister Francesco Franco Frattini also mentioned reports that an emirate had been declared in that region of Libya. He said it would be "worrying" if "radical Islam is only a few hundred kilometers away from the European Union's front door."

The LIFG was formed by Libyans who went to join the Afghan mujahedeen in fighting the Soviet Union during the 1980s. The organization's goal was replacing Gaddafi's government "with a hard-line Islamic state," said Noman Benotman, a former member of the LIFG's Shura Committee. In the mid-1990s, he said, the group spent years planning an operation to overthrow Gaddafi. That effort failed, as did several attempts to assassinate the Libyan dictator in the 1990s.

Between 1997 and 2001, LIFJ and al-Qaida increasingly coordinated their operations and the LIFJ established two military training camps in Afghanistan. After 9/11, LIFG joined al-Qaida in attacking U.S.-led Coalition troops who were fighting to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban. In 2002, senior al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan alongside at least three LIFG operatives.

In December 2004, the State Department designated the LIFG a Foreign Terrorist Organization: "LIFG members have been directly or indirectly implicated in a number of terrorist activities, particularly in North Africa…The LIFG constitutes the most serious threat to U.S. interests and personnel in North Africa."

According to the State Department, senior LIFG leaders based in Europe helped plan a wave of suicide attacks in May 2003 targeting Western and "Jewish" interests in Casablanca, Morocco, including a restaurant, a hotel and community centers. More than 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the attacks.

In 2004, CIA Director George Tenet said in Senate testimony that one of the "most immediate threats" comes from "smaller international Sunni extremist groups who have benefited from al Qa'ida links," such as the LIFG.

In February 2006, the Treasury Department announced it was formally designating four organizations and five individuals as financial supporters of the LIFG, "an al Qaida affiliate known for engaging in terrorist activity in Libya and cooperating with al Qaida worldwide." Patrick O'Brien, assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crime, said the LIFG "threatens global safety and stability through the use of violence and its ideological alliance with al Qaida."

Within the next few years, however, the Gaddafi regime (which has provided the United States with intelligence on LIFG) embarked on a campaign to persuade LIFG members to abandon jihad. It was spearheaded by the Libyan ruler's Western-educated son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who began a dialogue with LIFG members.

In 2009 and 2010, the Gaddafi Foundation (an organization headed by the younger Gaddafi) brought foreign journalists to Libya to showcase its campaign to persuade jihadists to change their ways. During one visit last year, the foundation arranged for the journalists to interview 88 low- and mid-level members of the LIFG. They had won their release after signing a document criticizing al-Qaida and denouncing attacks against non-combatants.

The outreach efforts won the Gaddafi regime generally favorable coverage from the Los Angeles Times.

"A nation the West once considered a major sponsor of terrorism may have pulled off a groundbreaking coup against Al Qaeda: coaxing a group once strongly allied with Osama bin Laden to renounce its one time partner as un-Islamic," read the Times' December 2009 account. "The defanging of a group that the U.S. has listed as a terrorist organization since 2004 is the fruit of a years-long dialogue between the militants and the government."

Schanzer expressed skepticism about the Gaddafi Foundation's claims of success persuading jihadists to abandon violence. "I'd like to see the recidivism rates," he said, referring to statistics that could shed light on the percentage that have returned to the battlefield. Schanzer said advocates had yet to provide any data on the subject.

"To what extent can you trust Gaddafi's judgment on who they let out?" he added. "Do they go back to join the global jihad?" Based on the available information, "it is impossible to tell."

Reports that Libyan jihadists are being freed from jail are an ominous indication of where the country is headed, Schanzer said.

In interviews with the Washington Post last year, some participants in the Libyan rehabilitation program showed why a healthy skepticism is in order. Sami al-Saadi, a founder of the LIFG and a former aide to Osama bin Laden released from a Libyan prison two months earlier, expressed doubt the al Qaida boss "is calling for the killing of any single civilian."

Others said they still believed in waging war against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also said the conflicts in Somalia and the Palestinian territories were legitimate forms of jihad.

"When America invades a country, the insurgency is legal and lawful. From a religious point of view, it is permissible and we have to support it," said one of the men, the group's emir. "And U.S. policies in Israel and other places adds (sic) fuel to the fire."

The Libyans brought in a mediator (described by the Post as a "moderate Islamist") to engage with the ex-militants. He agreed with the former jihadists. "Violence against occupation is a sacred act," he said. "It is a sacred jihad."

"I don't know how you parse jihad," U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz told the Post when asked about these comments. "If it means that, 'If you don't do it in Libya, you are free to go and do it elsewhere,' that would be a little troubling to us."

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IPT News

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