Saturday, June 18, 2011

Has America Lost its Resolve?

by Nicolouw M. Kruger

Recent events in the US taking out Osama Bin Laden hinted of strong resolve. Paradoxically, Barack Obama's position re Israel vs. the so-called Palestinians showed an absolute lack of resolve.

My dictionary tells me that resolve means "to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something): I have resolved that I shall live to the full."

In the history of the US there have been periods of resolve, to the full. The Cuban missile crisis in 1962 was a matter of resolve, no matter what.

Ironically it was a liberal, Democratic government that managed the job to face off the Russians and the Cubans. A potential mega-incident was avoided through sheer resolve.

From a distance, in global and if I might say objective terms: the US remains weak. It is a well-known fact that so-called freedom fighters delight when a Democrat is elected as US President.

This should be no surprise. Traditionally the Democrats have been a bunch of wimps while the Republicans have been seen as hawks by the world.

Resolve is about global perspective. The countries in Europe have shown resolve as and when it suits them, but its present governments have mostly shown they are wimps.

No matter what Barack Obama says from the White House podium, he's playing the game to please the world and win an election. He will show little resolve for the USA, when it comes to the crunch.

General Hayden's view about interrogation deniers (like Obama) is quite relevant here. I hope that the evidence will show that Osama Bin Laden was killed through ruthless resolve.

In fact, it was quite sobering to observe, from a distance in South Africa, Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton taking credit for this historical hit while they have resisted this cause -- with such vengeance.

What is the character of a man like Barack Obama, to take credit for the killing of Osama Bin Laden, while giving little credit to Gen. Hayden and his predecessors for showing resolve when it really mattered?

My point is that, no matter what the liberal media will have the USA believe, the terrorists understand one simple language -- the will of Americans to be consistent it its resolve, or not.

Of course the USA is not the only country with a populist government. Here in Africa we have wimps with a lot more resolve than Barack Obama -- Zimbabwe is a prime example.

No regrets here. Even this past week the so-called liberation ANC movement sent Pres. Zuma (who has been married 5 times and has 20 children) to dine with some weirdo called Moammar Gaddafi.

Does America still have resolve? Somehow 9/11 galvanised the people of the USA to stand in strong resolve against a common enemy. Just to see it wasted 2 elections later.

Since then the waters got a bit murky. Bush screwed up re weapons of mass destruction -- never mind that he removed a Muslim despot from power -- and Michael Moore made a fortune.

Yes, the positive of democracy is to remove a despot from power, not that Bush ever was close to being one. The downside is that strong leaders can and will be replaced by wimps like Barack Obama.

The question is: will the American people shift the balance of power? If Barack Obama wins another term of office then the world will think that the USA is a nation of wimps.

And maybe the world will be right.


Nicolouw M. Kruger lives in South Africa.

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

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Caught Lying—While Swearing to God

by Raymond Ibrahim

Sobhi Saleh, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader who was elected by Egypt’s Supreme Council to be on the constitution amendment committee, recently gave a speech wherein he insisted that Brotherhood men should only marry Brotherhood women, since they are “superior” to other Muslim women in Egypt—and so they can “produce little Brotherhood kids.” He also likened Egyptian secularists to atheists (that is, infidels) and referred to Egyptians disagreeing with the Brotherhood as qaum lut, the “People of Lot,” the Koran’s unflattering appellation for sexually depraved societies.

To “clarify” his position, which he received some heat for, Saleh recently appeared on Dream TV, debating Muslim intellectual Dr. Khaled Montaser. At one point, because he was unable to refute Montaser, Saleh snidely remarked that he was unaware the show was going to be an “inquisition” and that he wasn’t even informed that Montaser would be debating him. The host Mona al-Shazly, protested, adding, “Yes, you did know who you would be facing.”

Saleh kept insisting otherwise, including by swearing to God—all with a very sincere look.

The host, visibly stunned, pointed out that she and the whole studio team were present when the coordinator called Saleh and told him who the other guest would be, adding in a very disappointed tone, “I have a great problem that you would swear to God on the air, when I know for a fact that you’re lying.”

Watching the video, it is clear that Saleh was mortified and speechless, to the point that, to break the awkward silence, the host said, “Okay, we’ve passed this, let’s move on now.”

This anecdote is ultimately for the benefit of those Western peoples uninitiated in Islamic lore, who—by projecting their own ethic onto Islam—may find it incongruent for a Muslim who piously seeks to order society around God’s laws, do so by taking false oaths in that same God’s name.

Yet, the fact is, Saleh’s lie accords well with Islam’s notorious doctrines of deception, which permit Muslims to deceive in order to empower Islam—which is precisely what the Muslim Brotherhood and all Islamist organizations, violent and nonviolent, are all about.

Why Saleh resorted to lying is further telling: his opponent was armed with facts, which always beat sophistry. For example, when Saleh began arguing that a Brotherhood-led government for Egypt would be wonderful for Coptic Christians, Montaser proceeded to read from a number of fatwas issued by the Brotherhood’s former grand mufti, Abdullah al-Khatib—fatwas asserting that it is forbidden to build new churches in Egypt, that in certain situations it is obligatory for Muslims to destroy churches—a regular occurrence in Egypt—and that it is forbidden to bury Christians in Muslim cemeteries, “lest they [the Muslims] suffer from the Christian’s torments of the grave.”

Incidentally, Saleh is the same Brotherhood leader who was portrayed affectionately in the New York Times: “He is a distinguished 57, clean-shaven, with white hair, wearing an orange sweater and black flip-flops. He has a leopard tissue cozy: not a leopard-print container, but what looks like a toy stuffed animal around his tissue box…. He is immediately engaging, the kind of person you shake hands with at a conference then find yourself telling people, ‘He’s such a nice guy,’ without really knowing why.”

Why, indeed. Probably because he is a master at letting people hear what they want to hear, especially in English. (Watch Saleh as he leads an Egyptian mob chanting intolerant Islamist slogans and calling for the implementation of Sharia, and somehow he won’t appear like “such a nice guy.”)

Thus, as the U.S. director of national intelligence foolishly describes the Brotherhood as “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence,” and as President Obama asks Israel to make concessions to similar organizations, one must ask:

If top Islamist leaders have no problem lying about silly things to fellow Muslims—while swearing to God—how trustworthy are any of their words and promises to Western and Israeli leaders, that is, the hated infidels?


Raymond Ibrahim

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

Britain Admits Failure of Anti-Terrorism Program

by Deborah Weiss

After the 7/7 bombings on the London subway in 2005, the U.K. launched a 63 million pound program to combat terrorism. The program, named “PREVENT”, was recently reviewed. Subsequently, Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, admitted that the program had failed. Here’s why:

The program’s strategy aimed to counter terrorist groups largely by funding so-called “moderate” Muslim organizations in an attempt to work jointly toward its goals. PREVENT also financed overseas operations that were allegedly designed to stem terrorist activity in the U.K.

As it turned out, much of the program’s money went to support non-violent radical organizations that share the same hard-line Islamist ideology as Al-Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Further, the program’s emphasis on international projects merely wasted precious pounds and “diverted valuable resources” away from the prevention of home-grown terrorism, a growing concern in the U.K.

Home Secretary May confessed that the PREVENT program clearly failed to recognize how terrorist groups make use of the extremist ideology promoted by non-violent radical organizations. Therefore, the program was unsuccessful in convincing some parts of the Muslim community that terrorism is unacceptable and wrong. Additionally, the program only targeted a small segment of the audience that is susceptible to terrorist propaganda.

As a result of the review’s findings, there will be a significant shift in the program’s direction. PREVENT’s new strategy will tackle not only terrorism, but its underlying ideology. In so doing, it will focus on non-violent extremist organizations. It will also examine how schools, colleges, and mosques are addressing the problem of Islamic extremism. It will additionally evaluate the role of law enforcement as well as that of other government entities in combating the problem.

To its credit, the U.K. government will withdraw financial support from more than twenty Muslim organizations to which it gave money in the last three years for the purpose of fighting extremism. No additional funds will be delivered to any Muslim organizations without properly vetting them first. Any Muslim organization found to oppose British values such as human rights and equality under the law, will be denied government money.

PREVENT will now monitor the prison system looking for signs of radicalization, and target prisoners newly released from jail on terrorism charges. Additionally, the program will have a renewed focus on the internet, and is considering a “national blocking list” for violent websites. Computers in schools, libraries and colleges will be barred from access to these sites.

The budget for the program’s new strategy will be 36 million pounds. The Home Secretary believes that the successful prevention of radicalism will also depend on integration of the Muslim community rather than segregation. She asserted that espousing fundamental British values and denouncing extremist ideology can also help.

Although the government will continue to arrest suspects as necessary, the emphasis of the program will be on preventing radicalization in its early stages.

The U.K. government has finally realized – perhaps too late – that it is the underlying radical ideology that must be tackled in order to get at the root cause of terrorism. When will the U.S. government learn this same lesson?


Deborah Weiss is an attorney, writer and public speaker. She works for and is a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine and the American Security Council Foundation.

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

Why Is Weiner’s Muslim Brotherhood Wife Not Resigning?

by Arnold Ahlert

Anthony Weiner resigned yesterday, unable to withstand the relentless pressure put on him for his sexting extravaganzas. Yet if an article written by former PLO terrorist-turned-Christian and Israel supporter Walid Shoebat (along with KTEM radio host Ben Barrack) is any indication, it may very well be that the wrong member of the family resigned. According to Arabic sources translated by Mr. Shoebat, Huma Abedin’s mother and brother are both associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ms. Abedin’s mother, Saleha Mahmoud Abdeen, is reportedly part of a special woman’s unit known as the Muslim Sisterhood or the International Women’s Organization (IWO) which, according to a counter-terrorism report obtained by the Terrorism Committee of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, operates within the Brotherhood in Egypt and possibly other Arab nations as well. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Dostor confirms that the Sisterhood includes 63 international members in 16 different countries.

The group is being portrayed by Western media in a benign fashion, as noted in Der Spiegel and on its Facebook page. But a report by the Egyptian opposition newspaper Al-Liwa Al-Arabi paints a far more ominous picture. It reveals that these women, who are “the wives of some of the highest-ranking leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood” are being recruited to:

[S]muggle secret documents for the members since women go undetected by security surveillance…to spread the Brotherhood’s ideology by infiltrating universities, schools and homes…to lay the plans for the Sisterhood to work at the state level…[and]…to fulfill the interests of the Brotherhood and also to benefit from international women’s conferences and unify all efforts to benefit the Brotherhood globally.

Furthermore, the Sisterhood’s mission includes:

[O]rganiz[ing] projects which will penetrate its prohibited ideology into the decision making in the West and in an indirect way under the guise of “general needs of women”…through the university and the state capitals and institutions and is done in accordance to the project Al-Islam Huwa Al-Hal (Islam is the solution).

The newspaper then lists the names of the women who belong to the organization on a country-by-country basis. There are a dozen members of the Sisterhood from Saudi Arabia. Saleha Mahmoud Abdeen (Abedin) is one of them.

It has also been revealed in the Arab media that Huma Abedin’s brother Hassan is a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) at Oxford University in England. A number of Muslim Brotherhood members sit on the board, including Qatari cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has incited violence against Jews and Israel on numerous occasions. In 2009, Qaradawi’s role at Oxford and the Muslim Brotherhood was supported by Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi, one of 90 Muslim leaders who, in the same year, signed a pact in support of Hamas and for military action against the British Navy if it stopped an arms shipment headed for Gaza. Another member of the OCIS is Abdullah Omar Naseef, who founded the Rabita Trust, which was included in the first post-9/11 list of al-Qaeda supporters whose financial assets could be frozen. Naseef is chairman of the board of OCIS.

Not that the radicalization of English universities is anything new. In 2007, Professor Anthony Glees, professor of politics and director of the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, warned that British universities, “including Cambridge and Oxford” had been infiltrated by Islamic extremists. ”We must accept this problem is widespread and underestimated. Unless clear and decisive action against campus extremism is taken, the security situation in the UK can only deteriorate,” he said. Glees stated that as many as 46 other schools had been infiltrated as well.

Hassan Abedin himself has expressed an interest in spreading Islam in the West, meeting with billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Alwaleed is one of the largest shareholders in both Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Citigroup. He is also the same prince Alwaleed whose $10 million dollar check for post 9/11 disaster relief was rejected by then-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani when the prince suggested U.S. policies in the Middle East contributed to the attacks.

It is up for debate to what extent Hassan Abedin’s associations with the Muslim Brotherhood, OCIS and Prince Alwaleed could be construed as “innocent.” But one thing is certain: as Abdul Rahim Ali, Director of the Arab Center for Research and Studies pointed out in a speech at the International Center for Future and Strategic Studies (ICFS) in Cairo on Wednesday, January 27, 2010, the next generation of al-Qaeda and other Islamist organizations “will be better educated and more adopted to using technological means, particularly communications and modern weapons,” noting that they are “born in the West, flamboyant, multilingual, well-traveled, and eager for personal notoriety in addition to excelling in modern technology, physics and chemistry.” This sentiment was echoed in Senate testimony by the former leaders of the 9-11 Commission, Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, both of whom noted that the United States hadn’t done enough to protect itself from an “ever evolving” terrorist threat.

Which brings us to Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, who is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Ms. Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, MI, but moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the age of 2, before returning to the United States 16 years later to attend college. A detailed report from 2007 shows that the aforementioned Abdullah Omar Naseef was instrumental in the Abedin family’s move around 1977 — the same year that the Muslim Sisterhood was established. Huma Abedin has been working for Mrs. Clinton since 1996. Between that job and being married to a Congressman — in a ceremony officiated by Bill Clinton — Ms. Abedin is privy to sensitive and secret information. Walid Shoebat explains the significance: “Huma Abedin is a practicing Muslim and is still well-connected to her family. She also has access to highly sensitive State secrets–admitted by Hillary herself–as well as significant influence in the Obama administration.”

This brings us to a curious sidebar: how it is possible for a “practicing Muslim” woman to be married to a Jewish American? Islamic scholarship and Sharia law forbid Muslims from marrying non-believers. Mr. Shoebat translated the Al-Marsid newspaper, which reported on the Weiner/Abedin marriage specifically:

Dr. Anwar Shoeb of the faculty of Islamic law in Kuwait declared that the marriage between Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin is null and void, considering it adultery as confirmed in the Sharia position, prohibiting the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim, regardless of whether he is a Jew or a Christian. In this case, he assured the invalidity of the marriage certificate between them.

Yet far more importantly, how is it that Huma Abedin’s mother’s and brother’s associations with the Muslim Brotherhood, direct and indirect respectively, have remained beyond scrutiny? As for Ms. Abedin herself, it strains credulity to assume that she is unaware of those associations, just as it is impossible that Mrs. Clinton doesn’t know. NPR reported that Mrs. Clinton visited Dar al-Hekma college last Tuesday, where Saleha Mahmoud Abdeen is a vice dean and the school’s co-founder. Yet it took an Arabic news report translated by Shoebat to confirm the obvious:

Saleha Abedin spoke after Shuheir Qureshi (another member of the Muslim Sisterhood) and beamed in the presence of Secretary Clinton. Saleha’s speech preceded the former First Lady’s. Then Hillary stood. She donned a broad smile as she approached the podium… Clinton started with a strong word and she spent a long time complimenting Dr. Saleha Abedin regarding her daughter. Hillary explained that Huma holds an important and sensitive position in her office. She ended her speech by speaking of Saleha Abedin’s daughter (Huma), that a person must be happy if mentioned in a positive light but there is no happiness that equals the compliment given to children in front of a parent.

So, we essentially have a parent who is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, and a daughter who holds an “important and sensitive position” in one of the highest echelons of the federal government. In this context, would it really be that out of line to suggest that the real scandal in the Weiner family has less to do with Anthony, and far more to do with his wife Huma and her apparent enabler, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? And just how much of an enabler? In 2008, Dr. Mumen Muhammad wrote about why Huma promised to stay with Clinton even if she were to lose the presidential nomination to Barack Obama:

Abedin assures in press releases of her continuance on the path with Hillary Clinton, even if Clinton failed as a candidate. The candidate’s aids and other influential figures in the Democratic Party assure that they do not disregard Abedin running for election or taking her position in the political arena with the help in successive political administrations of the Clinton family itself.

If one good thing has come from the Weiner scandal, it is that this deeply troubling association has been brought to light. A thorough investigation and intense media scrutiny are immediately needed.


Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website

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

A Do-or-Die Moment

by Caroline B. Glick

As was the case in May 1967, when the combined Arab armies gathered with the express purpose of wiping the Jewish state off the map – today again, Israel is alone at its hour of greatest peril.

Every day, major stories come out of the Middle East. And behind each of these stories are major developments that deserve of our attention and, more often than not, our intense concern. Just this week, major stories have come out of Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen and Pakistan that are all deeply disconcerting.

In Syria, dictator Bashar Assad’s violent repression of the popular revolt against his tyrannical, minority regime has exposed the Syrian leader as a vicious murderer. While there is some room for hope that the Syrian people may successfully overthrow him, given the US’s refusal to provide any tangible assistance to the regime opponents, it is hard to see how such a happy future could come about.

For his part, Assad is the beneficiary of a steady stream of support from the Iranian regime. The mullahs and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards will ensure that he never runs out of bullets to kill his people.

As to the Palestinian Authority, this week’s Fatah-Hamas coalition negotiations in Cairo revealed the depth and breadth of Hamas’s control over the unity government now being formed. Despite massive American pressure, Hamas successfully vetoed Fatah’s bid to retain Salam Fayyad as prime minister in the unity government.

Moreover, in the face of significant international pressure, Hamas maintains its refusal to accept the so-called Quartet conditions of recognizing Israel, ending terrorism and agreeing to respect all previous agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel.

Given Hamas’s maintenance of its annihilationist goals toward Israel and Fatah’s inability to convince Hamas to accept its minimal demands, it is obvious that Hamas is the stronger force in the Palestinian unity government. It is also clear that this government will not under any circumstances agree to make peace with Israel.

AND YET, in the face of these realities, US President Barack Obama is intensifying his pressure on Israel to agree to the now-powerless Fatah’s preconditions for negotiating. Indeed, he has adopted Fatah’s preconditions as his own.

Obama is demanding that Israel agree to surrender its right to defensible borders by insisting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accept the pre-1967 boundaries – that is the 1949 armistice lines – as the starting point for future negotiations. Since Obama surely recognizes that a Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority will not accept Israeli control over anything from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley, he knows that he is requiring that Israel surrender its right to defensible borders before it even begins negotiating.

It is not surprising that the unity talks that crowned Hamas the king of Palestinian politics have taken place in post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite the rosy, post-Mubarak scenarios put forward during the revolution in January by American liberal and neo-conservative intellectuals, post- Mubarak Egypt is shaping up to be a dangerous, frightening place.

With the supposedly liberal Wafd Party merging with the Muslim Brotherhood this week, the Brotherhood took a significant step toward consolidating its rise to political leadership of the country in the elections scheduled for September.

The ruling military junta’s decision to arrest Israeli-American Ilan Grapel on trumped-up espionage charges last week is just one more signal that post-Mubarak Egypt is turning its back on Egypt’s peace with Israel.

And as The Washington Times reported last week, the US has been reduced to begging the Egyptian military authorities to re-arrest a number of top jihadist terrorists freed from Egyptian prisons in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. Yet, not only have the terrorists not been re-jailed, some of them have formed new political parties and are slated to run in September’s elections. Clearly, the US is also being betrayed by the new regime.

If the Muslim Brotherhood controls the next Egyptian government, Egypt will join Lebanon and Turkey as the newest member of the growing club of nations ruled by Islamic radicals. This week, Lebanon’s Hezbollah-appointed Prime Minister Najib Mikati finally formed his Hezbollah- controlled government.

Hezbollah has now officially swallowed Lebanon. The regional and indeed global repercussions of the development are simply mind-boggling.

Then there is Turkey. This week, the Turks went to the polls and re-elected Prime Minister Recip Erdogan and his radical Islamic AKP party to lead the country for a third term. In his victory speech, Erdogan signaled his Islamist and neoimperialist ambitions by stating that former Ottoman empire-controlled cities from Sarajevo to Jerusalem, from Damascus to Beirut to Ramallah should all be cheering his victory. Turkish intellectuals like Sinan Ulgen, who heads the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, are arguing for a more independent Turkish role within NATO.

Both nuclear-armed Pakistan and Yemen are quickly approaching the day when they will be led by al Qaida or its affiliates. The forced departure of Yemini President Ali Abdullah Saleh two weeks ago after he was wounded in an attack on the Presidential Palace was seen as a major victory for al Qaida. Al Qaida forces continue to attack government installations in Aden and other cities throughout the country.

As for Pakistan, the US’s assassination of Osama bin Laden last month exposed the dirty secret of Pakistani military collaboration with al Qaida for all to see. This week’s arrest of five Pakistanis accused of acting as informants to the US in its bid to locate the al Qaida chief is further proof – if any was needed – that the $21 billion in military and economic assistance the US has showered on Pakistan since 2002 has bought it precious little in the way of strategic support or partnership from Islamabad. Recent reports indicate increased concern that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal may eventually fall under the control of al Qaida sympathizers.

AMAZINGLY, WHILE all of these developments are alarming, and while all of them have justifiably dominated much of the coverage of the Middle East in recent weeks and months, the fact is that all of them pale in comparison to what is happening in Iran. And this story is receiving only scant and generally superficial attention from the international media and the major governments of the Western world.

Monday, The Wall Street Journal editorialists summarized the major developments on this front. First, last week the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency released previously classified sections of its latest report on Iran. The report says that in the last six months, Tehran enriched 970 kilos of uranium to reactor-grade levels, bringing its publicly known stockpile of low enriched uranium to 4,105 kilos.

Iran also has enriched 56.7 kilos of uranium to the 20% level, from which it is a relatively simple matter to increase enrichment levels to the 90% needed to make a nuclear bomb.

Iran has also installed upgraded centrifuges in its until recently secret enrichment facility at Qom.

Rand Corporation scholar Gregory S. Jones wrote this month that Iran has reached nuclear breakout capacity. In his words, “Iran can now produce a weapons’s worth (20 kilograms) of HEU [weapons-grade uranium] any time it wishes. With Iran’s current number of operating centrifuges, the batch recycling process would take about two months.”

Apparently owing to their certainty that Iran is an unstoppable nuclear power, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took their guard down in a recent issue of their in-house journal. The magazine published an article describing the day after Iran performs a nuclear test.

And the beat goes on. Yesterday, Iran successfully launched a second spy satellite into space.

The launch indicates that Iran is acquiring greater prowess in developing intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities. Such capabilities along with Iran’s nuclear program and global ambitions constitute a clear and present danger to Europe and the US.

Iran’s steady progress toward a nuclear arsenal was made all the more frightening in the face of the recent comments by retired Mossad director Meir Dagan. In a shocking breach of protocol and in apparent violation of the law, the man who until a few months ago stood at the helm of Israel’s efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions attempted to take Israel’s military option for striking Iran’s nuclear installations off the table. In press interviews, Dagan stated that it would be disastrous for Israel to strike Iran’s nuclear installations.

Dagan failed to note that it would be far more disastrous to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

At this point, it is inarguable that the policy of sanctioning Iran favored by the US and Europe has failed to dampen Iran’s commitment to developing nuclear weapons. It has also failed to significantly slow Iran’s progress towards the atom bomb. Obviously, the only possible way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons at this late hour is to attack its nuclear installations.

For years, Israel’s governments have taken a back seat to Washington on Iran. From Ariel Sharon to Ehud Olmert to Netanyahu, since Iran’s nuclear program was first revealed in 2003, Israel has allowed itself to believe that the US could be trusted to take the greatest threat to Israel’s survival off the table.

The belief that the US would lead a military strike against Iran was always based more on blind faith than fact. When, in 2003, George W.

Bush decided to work through the UN Security Council on the issue. despite Russia’s open assistance to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and China’s growing addiction to Iranian natural gas, it was already apparent that the US was not serious about preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And when, in late 2007, the US’s National Intelligence Assessment published the demonstrably false claim that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003, it became clear to anyone willing to see that the US had decided not to take any significant action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

This dire state of affairs was reinforced with the inauguration of Obama as US president in 2009.

Obama’s sole policy for dealing with the nuclear weapons-seeking and openly genocidal Iranian regime is appeasement. And Obama doesn’t seek to appease the mullahs in order to convince them to end their nuclear program.

For Obama, appeasement is an end in and of itself. This is why – even after Iran has spurned all his offers of appeasement and has been caught red-handed repeatedly aiding Iraqi and Afghan forces killing US servicemen, and despite Iran’s swift progress toward a nuclear arsenal – Obama refuses to even state openly that he would use force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

What this means is that – as was the case in May 1967, when the combined Arab armies gathered with the express purpose of wiping the Jewish state off the map – today again, Israel is alone at its hour of greatest peril. All of the lesser threats now gathering from Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey will become insurmountable if Iran becomes a nuclear power.

As was the case in May 1967, Israel has arrived at a do-or-die moment. And we should all pray for the strength and courage of our leaders, our soldiers and our nation at this time.


Caroline B. Glick

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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Addition of Jordan and Morocco to Gulf Cooperation Council – A New Sunni Arab Alignment Against Iran

by H. Varulkar

In recent months, the conflict between the Gulf states and Iran has escalated, culminating in February-March 2011, when the Gulf states claimed that Iran was behind Shi'ite protests in Bahrain calling for the ouster of the regime there, and that it was encouraging Shi'ite protests in Saudi Arabia. Officials from the Gulf states, chiefly from Saudi Arabia, accused Iran of meddling in the affairs of the Gulf states in order to topple their Sunni regimes and to spark unrest throughout the Gulf region. Events reached a climax on March 14, when the Gulf states dispatched thousands of Peninsula Shield Force troops to Bahrain in order to assist the regime there in suppressing Shi'ite protestors.

On May 10, 2011, as a result of this escalation, leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states announced, at the conclusion of an advisory summit in Riyadh, that they welcomed Jordan's request to join the council, and invited Morocco to join as well. This announcement came as a surprise to the Arab and Islamic world. Various reports indicate that some of the delegations which participated in the meeting were themselves surprised by the announcement.

It seems that the decision to include Jordan and Morocco in the GCC was driven by a combination of motives – political, sectarian, social, and economic – and came at this particular time in order to achieve a number of goals:

  1. Creating a new Sunni alignment against Iran and the Shi'a. Saudi and Jordanian newspapers did not hide the fact that including Jordan and Morocco in the GCC is aimed at strengthening the Gulf states' military capabilities, in preparation for a possible future military conflict with Iran. Some also claimed that it was an attempt to strengthen the axis of the moderate Sunni Arab states, which had suffered a major blow recently with the ouster of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt, one pillar of this axis. The desire to strengthen the Sunni states against the Shi'ite enemy would explain the GCC's decision to extend a membership invitation specifically to the distant Jordan and Morocco – which are both Sunni – rather than to neighboring Iraq, which has a Shi'ite majority and a Shi'ite-led government.
  2. Bolstering the internal strength and stability of the Arab monarchies, in light of the waves of popular protest and revolution which have swept the Arab world and overthrown several Arab republics, and which have also encroached on some of the Arab monarchies– chiefly Bahrain – threatening to topple their royal families.
  3. Creating a new inter-Arab political body, in light of the increasingly precarious state of the Arab League. The protests in the Arab world, particularly the Egyptian revolution that brought about the ouster of the Mubarak regime and the popular protests now threatening President Bashar Al-Assad's regime in Syria, have created a leadership vacuum in the Arab world. The Arab League, traditionally the political body that united the Arab countries and led joint Arab moves, is today barely functional. This is manifested, for example, by the cancellation of this year's Arab League summit – held annually in March – that had been slated to convene in Baghdad.

It would appear, therefore, that Jordan and Morocco's acceptance into the GCC is, among other things, an attempt by the Gulf states to make the GCC a new inter-Arab political body that will guide moves in the region and replace the Arab League – thus shifting the center of gravity and decision making in the Arab world to the Gulf region. For this reason, the Saudi press called the decision "a brilliant political move" and "a decisive and highly important stage in the political history of the Arab region and the Middle East."

The GCC's decision to accept Jordan and Morocco had its share of opponents, among them the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Kuwaiti Ummah Council members and Kuwaiti Shi'ite and Islamist columnists, and columnists in the Qatari press.


H. Varulkar

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Hearing Addresses Inmate Conversions to "Prislam"

by IPT

Los Angeles police have several active investigations involving radicalized prison converts, a commanding officer with the LAPD told a House committee hearing Wednesday.

"We have ongoing cases that involve convert prison radicals that are out in the community now," LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing told the House Homeland Security Committee.

The hearing, "The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons," was the second called by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., to address radicalization within the Muslim American community. The first, held in March, included testimony of two family members of radicalized Muslims.

Wednesday's hearing focused on the threat from "Prislam," which Downing described as an extremist "cut and paste" version of Islam practiced by inmates. The resulting ideology is what former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Smith said he saw in some New Folsom prison inmates whom he prosecuted for plotting to attack Jewish targets in Los Angeles and the LAX airport.

Smith testified that Folsom inmate Kevin James created the radical prison group Jam'iyyat Ul-islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) in 1997. JIS supported the killing of Jews and the implementation of an Islamic government in the United States. James recruited a fellow inmate named Levar Washington, who recruited two others upon his release, including an LAX employee, to assist with the terror plots.

"From the prison [Kevin James] was able to set up and set out an operation cell of would be jihadists on the streets of Southern California," said Smith. "James set up a system where he would send the protocol to mail on the outside."

The person on the outside would send the protocol back to inmates inside other prisons, spreading the JIS ideology.

Several factors contribute to inmate conversions to "Prislam," witnesses testified, including the accessibility of radical literature inside prison walls and prison chaplains who espouse radical beliefs.

Downing noted that the works of radical al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood scholar and al-Qaida inspiration Sayyid Qutb can be found in prisons.

"I would not be surprised to find a copy of al-Qaida's Inspire magazine in any prison," said Patrick Dunleavy, who retired after 25 years working in the New York State prison system as its deputy inspector. Dunleavy, author of the forthcoming book, The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism's Prison Connection, also said that literature has been sent directly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to New York State prisons.

Dunleavy's testimony emphasized the need for stricter chaplain vetting processes. He cited Imam Warith Deen Umar, former head of the New York State prisons' Muslim chaplain program, who has called the Holocaust punishment for Jews "because they were serially disobedient to Allah" and preached that Muslims should "be prepared to fight, be prepared to die, be prepared to kill." Umar called the 9/11 hijackers martyrs and heroes and has since been banned from New York State prisons.

"[Radicalization] often matures and deepens after the release," Dunleavy said, pointing to the case of four men who plotted to bomb a N.Y. synagogue and shoot missiles at U.S. military planes. The men, two of whom converted to Islam while in prison, did not know each other while incarcerated, said Dunleavy, but met each other in a mosque connected to Umar.

The four were convicted in October on charges related to the plot. Three of the defendants are set to be sentenced later this month.

Even if all chaplains were properly vetted, inmates could still spread radical versions of Islam, Dunleavy said. Sometimes, inmates will elect their own imam to supersede the authority of a government-appointed chaplain. Similarly, Smith reminded the committee that "the prison system is not in the position to say you can't preach your version of Islam to your fellow inmates."

Dunleavy's testimony echoed points made in a 2010 FBI Bulletin. "Prisoners with little training in Islam have asserted themselves as leaders among the prison population, at times misrepresenting the faith," it stated.

Witnesses and committee members spent much of the question and answer session debating the merits of the hearing's focus. Democrats criticized its focus on a specific religion and raised the specter of threats from a variety of other prison gangs.

"How many of the street gangs have an ideology that is dedicated to the destruction of the United States?" asked Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Cal. "None," witnesses replied.

"A gang member is interested in enriching themselves personally," Smith said, while jihadists are ideologically motivated to commit violence to terrorize the public.

"Prislam" is doubly dangerous, Smith said. "The jihadist mentality is basically overlaid on an individual who knows how to operate weapons," he said.

Wednesday's criticism from Democratic House members and some in the Muslim American community echoed complaints about the first radicalization hearing in March.

King defended the focus on Muslim radicalization in his opening remarks.

"The danger remains real and present, especially because of al-Qaida's announced intention to intensify attacks within the United States," he said.

King then cited a report by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., which said, "Three dozen U.S. citizens who converted to Islam while in prison have traveled to Yemen, possibly for al-Qaida training."

Several House members questioned the scope of Wednesday's hearing. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex., asked the panel whether Christians are capable of radicalization. "Anyone that goes about killing in the name of God is an ideologue," Dunleavy responded. "I don't know that Christian militants have foreign country backing," he added.

"What I disagree with is the scope of this committee only focusing on one particular group," said Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Cal., calling the focus "racist" and "discriminatory." King fired back, noting that Democrats controlled the Homeland Security Committee for four years but never sought hearings on radicalization involving other groups.

Even Purdue Sociology Professor Bert Useem, who testified that prisons have not served as a major source of jihad radicalization, agreed that "jihadists are the most dangerous … They are out to damage the country," he said.

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the committee, suggested that prison radicalization isn't a problem at all, saying only two examples have been connected to Islamist prison radicalization. "Our greatest threat is from lone wolves and solitary actors," he said. "We are not in danger from people who are already locked up."

But other participants in Wednesday's hearing emphasized that radicalization behind bars is indeed a problem. "It's a very serious issue that I don't think we yet know the scope of," said Smith. "We do have a problem. Prisons are communities at risk," Downing concluded his testimony.

Joe Molyneux, who retired last year from the FBI New Orleans office's intelligence program, agrees. Molyneux responded directly to a statement Thompson released last week, which claimed that "the facts have proven that prison radicalization is an unfounded fear in America."

"I am not sure where Congressman Bennie Thompson is coming from," he told Investigative Project on Terrorism. "It is real and is happening," Molyneux said. At least one agent in all FBI field offices serves as a liaison with area prison wardens to collect information on Islamic radicalization in the prisons.

The next radicalization hearing, scheduled for late July, will examine Americans who join the Yemeni-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), King said. The al-Qaida franchise has been linked to last year's airline cargo plot and the attempted 2009 Christmas day bombing of a Detroit airliner.


IPT (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)

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The Jewish Enemies of Israel

by David Solway

It has never been easy for Israel—the understatement of the century—from the day of its establishment in 1948 when it was invaded by seven Arab armies to the present moment when it is facing multiple threats to its very survival. It suffers a history like no other nation in the world, surrounded by enemies, fighting wars on every front, infiltrated by terrorists, confronting the wetware dreams of genocidal regimes, in particular the prospect of a nuclear Iran sworn to the country’s annihilation, and subject to an international delegitimation campaign carried out via the United Nations, the World Council of Churches, spurious NGOs and “peace” organizations, labor unions, university campuses, a hostile European Union, and the efforts of an American president who wants to see the country reduced to indefensible borders.

As if this were not enough, there is yet another menace it has to face, deriving from the Cain and Abel paradigm, which has inwardly corroded the Jewish community since the thunderous instant it purportedly received the tablets from Mount Sinai: betrayal from within. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram against Moses and his mission to create a unified and cohesive people set the tone for much of what followed in the history of the Jews. The record is inexhaustible: the backsliding tribes and their idolatrous rulers whom the Prophets railed against, the conflict between the brother states of Israel and Judea, the quarreling Jews Josephus tells us about who were in large measure responsible for the Roman victory and massacre in the first century A.D., the apostates, “wicked sons” and Court Jews who have proliferated through the ages, and those who contracted the wasting disease that Ruth Wisse in Jews and Power called “the veneration of political weakness.”

True, the quietist Jews who took refuge in ritual and scripture caused no material injury, but they, arguably, instilled an attitude of helplessness and defeatism into the plasm of the Jewish sensibility—precisely what the vigorous and determined Palmach fighters and the Zionist kibbutzniks who settled and farmed the land of Israel intended to counteract. They would no longer go “like sheep to the slaughter”; instead they put the debilitating syndrome to rest, struggled valiantly to survive and built a strong and proud country. However, the renegades and turncoats did, and continue to do, immeasurable harm. The motive for treachery seems to be immemorial. As Wisse writes, “For every Mordecai and Esther who risked their lives to protect fellow Jews, there were schemers who turned betrayal or conversion to profit.” Indeed, “the ubiquitous informer, or moser” is always with us. In the modern age they beget like rabbits on aphrodisiacs.

But it is not only a question of schemers and betrayers. There are many Jews who have turned against, or disembarrassed themselves of, their own compatriots for ostensibly “noble” reasons, like the Yevsektsiya or European and Russian Jews who joined the Bolsheviks and were instrumental in the formation of the Soviet Communist Party, until they were duly liquidated. Today, these are the Jews who embark on flotillas to abet a terrorist regime in Gaza, validate the Palestinian faux narrative, practice outreach and dialogue with Islamic murderers, vote “liberal,” pride themselves on their pacific and ecumenical ideology—a “universalist worldview,” as Daniel Gordis writes in a poignant Commentary essay, that “does not have a place for enemies”—and celebrate their birthdays in Ramallah bars festooned with “PLO posters advocating the death of Jews.”

Everywhere we look we see these broken Jews who have embraced left-wing causes, or assimilationist fatuities, or the temptations of social prestige, or the fashionable bromides of the zeitgeist that promise peace and understanding with anti-Semitic killers and despots in a pluralistic New World Order that exists only in their own febrile and disarrayed minds.

Their behavior is nothing short of scandalous: Reform and Reconstructionist Jews who profess to have as much (or more) in common with Muslims and Buddhists as with their embattled congeners in the Holy Land, espousing the Sabbatarian fiction of multiculturalism; intellectual and political recreants like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Michael Lerner, Neve Gordon, Joel Beinin, Charles Enderlin, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Richard Falk and the contemptible Richard Goldstone who labor to abolish the Jewish state or change its character unrecognizably, siding impenitently with its adversaries; artistic Jews—I have in mind people like Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Daniel Barenboim, Aharon Shabtai and the late Harold Pinter, among innumerable others—who give or gave succour to the enemy; media Jews who open their op-ed pages, both in Israel and America, to Palestinian “negotiators” and avowed terrorists; American Jews who vote for the most anti-Israel president who ever put his feet up on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, and who, as Isi Leibler says, have “adopt[ed] an anti-Israeli chic”; mogul Jews in the entertainment industry who tiptoe around the Islamic fact and have nothing good to say on Israel’s behalf; filmster Jews like Steven Spielberg, Eyal Sivan, Ran Edelist and Amos Gitae, among a multitudinous crew of pan-and-zoom Israel bashers, who can always be counted on to impugn the nation’s character or justify the Palestinians; and the endlessly ramifying Jewish anti-Zionist and post-Zionist organizations in Israel and the West that accuse the Jewish state of insensate aggression, or immorality, or original sin, or illegitimacy, or inflicting collective punishment on their neighbors, ad nauseam. As I wrote in Hear, O Israel!, it is almost as if there is something in the Jewish psyche that breeds sinat chinam, or baseless hatred, in the midst of an historic kinship.

These individuals and groups comprise a veritable host of Joseph’s Brothers who go about their business selling Israel out and, although they may not know it, are quite plausibly arranging for their own eventual misery. As Rabbi David Algaze of Havurat Yisrael said of Tony Kushner, the Jewish playwright who believes Israel was a mistake and falsely accuses it of engaging in “the deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture,” he “is ignoring history and history will come back to haunt him.”

The issue we are broaching is not only whether Israel can survive its obvious enemies both in the Islamic world and in the West. The situation is bad enough as it is. The issue is whether Israel can survive its own. For Israel may not win through if it is constantly maligned and attacked by a swelling fifth column of fellow Jews who may bring the same fate upon the nation as it suffered in Biblical and Roman times. The Assyrians and Babylonians and Romans of yore have not gone away; they have merely transmuted into contemporary forms.

If Israel is to survive it must be defended, or at the very least not undermined, by its ethnic compatriots in the Diaspora or the admittedly small, but influential, cadre of its fractious and deluded citizens. It must, as a minimal condition, be allowed to fight its wars in peace.


David Solway

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Islam and Nationalism

by Yoel Meltzer

One of the cornerstones of the two-state solution is the belief that the Palestinians, as well as the larger Arab world, will be satisfied with the creation of an Arab state either within the territory of Judea and Samaria alone or when combined with the smaller Gaza Strip. Either way such a country, as many of the two-state supporters claim, is all that the Arabs really want and therefore the fears that one day the Arabs will try to liberate all of “Palestine” are nothing but hot air.

In addition to whitewashing the PLO’s 1974 Phased Plan for Israel’s destruction, a plan which many argue is still in existence, as well as just being downright naïve following years of Arab belligerence, the faithful advocates of the two-state narrative are also ignoring another salient point.

As is well known the Palestinians, together with most of the Arab world, are overwhelmingly Muslim. This is a very key point because it affects the Arab outlook on state nationalism in a way that is very different from the standard Christian or Jewish perspective. For this reason it is erroneous to arrive at conclusions regarding Arab intentions based upon a non-Muslim mindset.

For instance, although in Judaism there is the concept of “the nation of Israel” (am yisrael) connecting all Jews throughout the world in a feeling of mutual allegiance and brotherhood, the existence of this international facet does not negate the distinct national aspect of Judaism, namely the obligation to establish Jewish sovereignty specifically in one area of the world known as the Land of Israel.

In Christianity the situation is different since there is no parallel concept to the “nation of Israel” fostering a kindred feeling amongst all Christians throughout the world. Thus without this binding factor a Christian living in France feels first and foremost attached to his French country and is committed to its wellbeing just as his fellow Christian in Argentina feels the same there.

In Islam, however, the situation is different from both Judaism and Christianity. There is the concept of the “ummah”, the nation of Islam, which unites all Muslims in the world as one family regardless of where they happen to dwell. Together with this there is the aggregate region where the Muslims at any one moment have complete sovereignty, itself a precondition for being allowed to freely and fully practice Islam, known as the Dar al-Islam or “abode of Islam”. Hence it is the combination of the two – the ummah creating the feeling of mutual obligation amongst all of the world’s Muslims and the Dar al-Islam, an entity which must constantly be expanded beyond its traditional Middle Eastern base – which precludes the idea of state nationalism from taking hold in the Islamic world in a way that is similar to either the Jewish or Christian world.

This being the case, it is foolish to believe that granting the Arabs another state will somehow make them sufficiently satisfied to the point of laying down their weapons and changing their ways since the whole concept of state nationalism, from a western perspective, is nonexistent in Islam. Similarly, it is wishful thinking to assume that they will ever accept the existence of a small Jewish “outpost” called the State of Israel, regardless of its size, in the heart of the Dar al-Islam.


Yoel Meltzer

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Syrian Military Splitting

by Ryan Mauro

At least 5,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey as the Assad regime is crushing Jisr al-Shughour after soldiers and police officers refused to fire on civilians. More and more stories are coming out of soldiers defecting and security personnel being executed for disobeying orders. These fissures in the military bring the threat to the Assad regime to a new height.

The U.S. is now defining the situation in Syria as a “humanitarian crisis” as the death toll approaches 1,500. The regime refuses to allow the International Committee for the Red Cross access, and Assad is ignoring phone calls from the U.N. Secretary-General. The Turkish government has turned on Assad, condemning the “atrocity,” and is preparing to host 10,000 refugees. The Turkish military is considering measures to “control and manage” the situation near Jisr al-Shughour, which is only 12 miles away from the border. Turkey may declare a buffer zone that could potentially extend into Syria.

President Bashar Assad has deployed the Republican Guards under the command of his brother, Baher, to Jisr al-Shughour. This is the regime’s most reliable force as it consists of recruits from the Allawite minority that Assad belongs to. The city became the focal point of the conflict recently after the regime claimed that “armed gangs” murdered 120 members of the security forces there. The opposition says that the truth is that they were executed by the regime for refusing to kill protesters.

The regime began a brutal offensive against Jisr al-Shughour, even using helicopters to attack its population. A “scorched earth” strategy is being employed. The city is blockaded, people are being shot in the streets, houses are being demolished, and crops are being burned up. Only about one-tenth of the 50,000 people who lived there remain. On Saturday, an army captain and 15 of his soldiers defected. An activist also reported that a lieutenant-colonel and 150 of his men about 10 kilometers west of the city have switched sides to unite with the residents of Jisr al-Shughour. About 60 soldiers that defected stayed in Jisr al-Shughour as the city was taken over this weekend. One resident who fled to Turkey said that four tanks switched sides and he saw fighting between military forces.

Videotaped testimonies of soldiers who have abandoned the army and fled to Turkey are streaming out of the country. One officer named Ali Hassan Satouf said, “They are killing my people, whether they are Christian, Allawite or Sunni. We are in the army to defend them against the Israeli enemy. It’s not the job of the army to kill our people, our families.” An officer from the 11th Battalion, Hussein Harmoush, said that the last straw for him was the “massacre” in Jisr al-Shughour.

“I announce my split from the Syrian army and I am joining the Syrian youth alongside a number of the free Arab Syrian army. Our current aim is the protection of the protesters who are asking for freedom and democracy,” Harmoush said on tape. He called on members of the security services to protect civilians and property from destruction.

“You did not join the army to protect the Assad clan. If you are an honorable officer, remain honorable, and if you are not honorable, stand by the Assad clan,” said First Lieutenant Abd Al-Razzaq Muhammad Tlas from the 5th Division.

There are even defections from the Republican Guard. Waleem Qashami told Amnesty International that he decided to quit after he saw three children, a young man, and a young woman killed in Harasta near Damascus in April. He and five others then abandoned the military. “We in the Republican Guard took an oath to protect the country, its citizens and leader, not to betray the country…We saw no armed gang. We didn’t even see anyone carrying a knife,” he said.

The questionable loyalty of the military is why the Assad regime is importing members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah. Refugees in Turkey say that bearded soldiers that do not speak Arabic are involved in the attacks on Jisr al-Shughour. One farmer said that the combatants admitted they were Iranians. A soldier who escaped to Turkey confirmed that the Iranians and Hezbollah are helping the regime, and are executing those who don’t follow orders.

There have been reports of defections since the uprising began in Daraa. The chief of police of that city and some of his officers were fired by the regime, and video emerged of soldiers leading protesters. There were also clashes in Daraa between defected members of the 5th Division and Maher Assad’s 4th Division. Between 60 and 70 soldiers exchanged fire with Assad loyalists in Homs earlier this month, with one witness reporting a clash between two tanks after 200 soldiers and 14 officers defected in Arrasta.

In May, the regime claimed that 10 soldiers were murdered in Homs, but the opposition says they were killed for defecting. A group of soldiers fought for two hours in Homs to defend the residents from attack. “Stiff resistance” from civilians armed with automatic rifles and RPGs in Tabliseh and Rastan in Homs Province has also been reported. In another incident, three soldiers who defended refugees from the Shabbiha militia tried to flee to Lebanon. One died from a gunshot before making the escape. The two survivors were then arrested and handed over to the Assad regime.

The fractures in the military are a positive development, but there defections are still not of a large scale like in Libya. There is no central location that has been freed of government control like Benghazi. Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democratic activist, says that this will not happen until the international community demands Assad’s resignation.

“Syrian army generals are the most paranoid in the world…until the West makes it clear that they view Bashar as illegitimate and they want him out, they will not make the leap themselves,” Abdulhamid told FrontPage.

He also said that the structure of the military prevents mid-level officers from rebelling. “[They must] try to refrain from engaging in too much bloodshed, or simply run. They are not in a position to arrange for a mutiny,” he said.

The regime’s violence is only causing more protests and more defections. The Assad regime may not face a major challenge from within its military yet, but the number of soldiers who have switched sides or want to quit is growing. Don’t count out the possibility of a civil war in Syria.


Ryan Mauro

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What Happens When America Outsources Foreign Policy Leadership to the UN

by Adam Daifallah

The Western democracies are finally facing up to the reality of the mission in Libya: Containment is impossible and Moammar Gaddafi must go. But American leadership is still missing, and it is unclear if some NATO countries have the necessary willpower to take this excursion to its logical end. And, even if they do, there is still no clear plan for how to get there.

The original purpose of the Libyan mission – to protect civilians from the murderous tyrant's bombs – has failed. It was bound to. It had no clear endgame and, it appears, no contingency planning was done. The result has been a case study in confusion. Retired Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie, who led the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, has called it a "dog's breakfast." This is what happens when America outsources foreign policy leadership to the U.N., as it did in this case: nothing bold gets done. The scope of the mandate to move forward is the result of a compromise to keep diverging interests happy.

However, all is not lost – and the newly assertive tone seen from some NATO members is encouraging. Yesterday, Canada joined Australia and Germany in announcing that it would formally recognize the National Transitional Council as the true government of Libya. The Obama administration remains on the relative sidelines. In Africa yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "urged" African states "to call for Gaddafi to step aside."

But making policy on the fly is never desirable. This is a desperate situation in need of desperate measures. Much more can, and should, be done. First, America ought to work harder to get all NATO members committed to the same end goal: removing Gaddafi from power and legitimizing the National Transitional Council, the rebel-led government controlling the eastern part of the country.

All NATO allies need to actively participate in the operation. At present, too many are playing too passive a role. Last week, NATO intensified its airstrikes on Tripoli, a result of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' frustration with the slow progress of the campaign. He also put the spotlight on five countries – Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, Germany and Poland – that he wished would help more. Gates called on the first three to commit to striking ground targets and not simply participate in the no-fly zone. He called for the latter two to commit military forces. (Most air strikes are being carried out by Canada, France, Britain, Denmark, Norway and Belgium.)

But military operations are not enough. The rebels need further encouragement, protection and support, which translate to military, financial and moral assistance. For example, all of Gaddafi's frozen assets (estimated at about $30 billion) should be freed and given to the National Transitional Council. This money is desperately needed for supplies and to pay the costs of running a government, for instance, paying police forces. The Senate Banking Committee will vote on Thursday to free up $4 billion in Gaddafi assets (with possibly another $4 billion later) but the money will only be used for humanitarian relief. It is not enough.

The situation is moving in the right direction, but more needs to be done. The focal point of the mission has to be Gaddafi's ouster. America needs to unequivocally state this and quit using weasel words. The Libyan dictator has made it clear on multiple occasions that he will never surrender and that martyrdom is his preferred fate. Whenever he is pushed, he pushes back harder. After last week's aerial bombardment, Gaddafi's troops unleashed a barrage of rockets and mortars against eastern rebels, killing ten and injuring 26. Another two dozen were killed Monday. These are the biggest attacks on Libyan rebels since April.

The American public, including Congress, is divided on the mission. So are the populations and governments of other NATO countries. But nations like Canada – which has also now pledged more money in humanitarian aid, on top of recognizing the new government – are showing what a difference political leadership can make. If the Obama administration were to do the same, we would be much closer to ridding the world of Gaddafi for good.


Adam Daifallah

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Britain Creating Parallel Islamic Financial System

by Soeren Kern

A British firm has launched a Sharia-compliant pension fund that will enable Muslims to save for retirement in compliance with Islamic principles.

The British government will begin offering Muslim workers Sharia-compliant pensions as of 2012. The launching of the funds, which are said to be structured around a strict code of ethics and based on the Muslim Koran and Islamic Sharia law (a religious code for living), reflects the gradual establishment of parallel Islamic financial and legal systems in British public life.

Pointon York, an independent financial services company based in Leicestershire in central England, announced on June 6 that it will begin offering four Sharia-compliant Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) products that do not bear interest nor invest in companies that trade in alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco or weapons, in conformity with Islamic law.

Pointon York is the first specialist SIPP provider to receive Sharia-compliant accreditation by the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), which has pioneered Islamic retail banking in the United Kingdom. The IBB will supervise the entire lifecycle of Pointon York's pension funds to ensure full compliance with Sharia legal principles.

In 2012, the British government will begin offering Muslim workers a Sharia-compliant pension fund in the public sector. A new government agency, the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), will give Muslims who do not already have a company pension the option of investing in the HSBC Life Amanah Pension Fund, a Sharia-compliant pension scheme.

NEST initiated the procurement process for a Sharia-complaint global equity fund in January 2011, by means of a tender which generated proposals from funds across Europe. In April, NEST announced that it had appointed HSBC, a huge global banking and financial services company headquartered in London, to run the Islamic portfolio. The initial target market comprises some 200,000 Muslims in Britain.

Muslim families in Britain can already acquire Sharia-compliant baby bonds under the British government's Child Trust Fund scheme. In 2008, Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) authorized the establishment of the country's first Islamic insurance company as well as the country's first Sharia MasterCard, called the Cordoba Gold MasterCard.

The new financial products are seeking to fill the growing demand for Sharia-compliant financial products in Britain in the wake of Muslim mass immigration to the country.

The United Kingdom is home to an estimated 2.8 million Muslims, which is equivalent to about 4.6 percent of the overall population. In absolute terms, Britain has the third largest Muslim community in Europe, after Germany (4.1 million, 5.0 percent) and France (3.6 million, 5.7 percent.) According to a recent survey conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, the Muslim population in Britain is forecasted to nearly double to 5.5 million within the next 20 years.

Little surprise, then, that Islamic banking is growing faster in Britain than it is in many Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia. According to the "Global Islamic Finance Report 2011," Britain has emerged as ground zero for Islamic banking in Europe; and London is now the main center for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.

With $19 billion in reported Islamic banking assets, Britain's Islamic finance sector ranks number one in Europe, and number nine in the world. It dwarfs those sectors of some states where Islam is the main religion, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Egypt, according to a new report titled "The City UK Islamic Finance 2011."

More than 20 banks in Britain now offer Islamic finance products and there are five fully Islamic banks in the country. In addition, there are 55 colleges and professional institutions offering education in Islamic finance in Britain – more than anywhere else in the world.

The establishment of Britain as a global center for Islamic finance is being promoted by the British government, which has extended tax relief on Sharia-compliant mortgages to companies and has eased the trade in Islamic bonds known as Sukuk. There were five Sukuk listings at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2010 and one in early 2011, bringing the aggregate total at the LSE to 31 listings worth nearly $20 billion.

The growth of Islamic finance comes as other aspects of Sharia law are becoming enshrined in the British legal system. At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in the country, almost 20 times as many as previously believed. A recent study by the London-based Civitas think tank titled "Sharia Law or 'One Law for All'?" found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, many operating in mosques. It warns of a "creeping" acceptance of Sharia principles in British law.

The study follows outcry over remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who has argued that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion in Britain. He also said: Sharia law in Britain is "unavoidable."

Somewhat belated efforts are now being made to push back against the spread of Sharia in Britain. Under a new bill introduced in the House of Lords, the lower chamber of the British Parliament, on June 7, Islamic courts would be forced to acknowledge the primacy of English law.

The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill would make it an offense punishable by five years in jail for anyone falsely claiming or implying that Sharia courts or councils have legal jurisdiction over family or criminal law. The bill, which would apply to all arbitration tribunals if passed, aims to tackle discrimination, which its supporters say is inherent in the courts, by banning the Sharia practice of giving woman's testimony only half the weight of men's.

The bill, proposed by Lady Caroline Cox-Johnson, and backed by women's rights groups and the National Secular Society, was drawn up because of "deep concerns" that Muslim women are suffering discrimination within closed Sharia law councils. Cox said she had found "considerable evidence" of women, some of whom are brought to Britain speaking little English and kept ignorant of their legal rights, suffering domestic violence or unequal access to divorce, due to discriminatory decisions made. "We cannot continue to condone this situation. Many women say: 'We came to this country to escape these practices only to find the situation is worse here.'"

The bill challenging Sharia law will be viewed as a declaration of war by many Muslims who view the institutionalization of Islamic law as a key component of their political strategy of Islamifying the West. In the words of Imam Abdullah al-Hasan of the East London Mosque: "Islam is here to stay in Britain."


Soeren Kern

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Confronting our Subversive Institutions

by Caroline B. Glick

Just as Israelis are denied their right to an open, objective public discourse due to the radical Left’s predominance in the media, so American Jews are denied their right to disown J Street due to the radical leftist American Jews’ takeover of key US Jewish umbrella groups.

Shimon Schiffer and Nahum Barnea are both senior political commentators for Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest circulation newspaper. They are both also leftist extremists. In their articles in last Friday’s weekend edition of Yediot they demonstrated how their politics dictate their reporting – to the detriment of their readers and to Israeli democracy. They also demonstrated the disastrous consequences of the Left’s takeover of predominant institutions in democratic societies.


Caroline B. Glick

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